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NEWSBITES

And the Oscar Watchers Go to . . . Roxbury, for Big-Screen Thrills

March 25, 1993|ANNE MICHAUD | Anne Michaud is a staff writer for The Times Orange County Edition

Oscar night celebrations Monday at Roxbury will include a special dinner menu, prizes for guessing Oscar winners and a 15-foot stuffed ape.

The gorilla, a King Kong look-alike, will grace the front of the building, while actress Jonnie Peckham plays the ape's Fay Wray.

Roxbury will show the Academy Awards telecast beginning at 6 p.m. on large screens in its four rooms.

A three-course dinner menu, prepared by David Wilhelm, will be served after 5 p.m. It includes coconut shrimp with tangerine sauce and spicy cashew coleslaw, sweet corn and Maine lobster chowder, grilled filet with black peppercorn bearnaise, rack of lamb with roasted garlic sauce, and warm chocolate mousse cake with hazelnut anglaise.

Admission on Oscar night is $25 per person, or $50 with dinner. Black-tie optional. 2 Hutton Center, Santa Ana. (714) 662-0880.

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Have you ever had your pre-dinner conversation drowned out by a restaurant's public address system? Ever wish you could wait for your table in someplace besides a smoky lounge?

If you answered yes to either question, you'll be happy to know that two Southern California restaurants--the Cheesecake Factory in Newport Beach (see Max Jacobson's review, above) and Houston's in Century City--are handing out pocket pagers to customers who must wait for a table.

The beepers--hand-sized devices that can be attached to belts--vibrate when tables are ready.

The Cheesecake Factory, which opened a Fashion Island location on Feb. 14, was using 80 pagers on a trial basis, and has decided to keep them, said manager Bob Lombardo. (The restaurant is part of a chain, with locations in L.A. and Washington, D.C. Only the Newport Beach location uses the beepers.)

"People seem to love it," Lombardo said, "it gives them a little freedom."

When the restaurant installs its permanent antenna, Lombardo said, customers will be able to cruise half of Fashion Island while waiting for dinner.

The Cheesecake Factory serves 43 kinds of cheesecake and has about 300 menu items, including fresh fish, pasta, salad and pizza. Entrees range from $6.95 to $14.95. It is open from 11:15 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday.

The Cheesecake Factory, 1141 Newport Center Drive, Fashion Island, Newport Beach. (714) 720-8333.

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Gabbiano's Italian Market & Deli will host a dinner Wednesday to benefit Saddleback College's performing arts program. The five-course Italian dinner with wine costs $80 per couple, or $45 per individual. The ticket price includes $15 per person that will be donated to support the college's summer stock program, guest artist series and children's theater.

The dinner, which begins at 8, will include mushrooms stuffed with lobster and crab, eggplant parmigiana, chicken with artichoke hearts cooked in a white wine and cream sauce, and veal stuffed with pine nuts and raisins. Dessert is tiramisu with cappuccino or espresso.

Each course will be accompanied by a glass of Mirasou wine.

The dinner is also sponsored by the Angels, a support group for the performing arts at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo.

Reservations are a must; ask for Lani Sinkway. 30100 Town Center, Laguna Niguel. (714) 582-4763.

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A night of flamenco dancing, music and Spanish dishes is planned for Saturday at the Cafe Fleuri in Le Meridien Hotel, Newport Beach. Special dishes, which will be served a la carte beginning at 7, include Spanish paella, seafood, saffron rice, sangria and desserts in addition to the regular menu.

Lilia Llorens, a professional dancer and teacher of Spanish ballet, will perform the flamenco, accompanied by guitarists and dancers. Llorens has performed at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles.

On Saturday, two shows are planned: at 7:45 and 9 p.m. There is a $5 cover charge for the entertainment.

Le Meridien Hotel, 4500 MacArthur Blvd., Newport Beach. (714) 476-2001.

Information for the Newsbites column can be Faxed to (714) 966-5663, or addressed to: Newsbites/OC Live!, The Times Orange County, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, Calif., 92626. Or call (714) 966-7898.

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