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FESTIVALS & EVENTS : Variety Flavors Taste of Newport

September 16, 1993|RICK VANDERKNYFF | Rick VanderKnyff is a free-lance writer who contributes regularly to The Times Orange County Edition.

More than 40 area restaurants, from the Hard Rock Cafe to the Five Crowns, will be included in Taste of Newport, which returns to Fashion Island Friday through Sunday.

The food-lovers' event highlights the second and final weekend of the Newport SeaFest. Also on tap for the festival: an 8K run, a pier swim, a yacht race and a kite festival.

Taste of Newport will also feature music from pop groups Ambrosia, Mickey Thomas & Starship and Billy Vera & the Beaters, along with nostalgia from the surf group the Chantays and '50s rockers the Coasters.

Organizers say more than 45,000 people attended last year's event, and they expect about 55,000 this year. Organizer Jim de Boom theorized that, in a tough economy where families are curtailing vacations, "people are doing things that are fun locally and are value-oriented."

Restaurant newcomers to the fifth annual event, in addition to the Hard Rock, include Slades Harvest Restaurant, Back Bay Cafe, Lorenzo's Spaghetti Bender, Britta's Cafe, What's Cookin' Bistro, the Arches, Mutt Lynch's/Balboa Club, Charley Brown's, Marco Polo, Ryba's Fudge Shops, California Pizza Kitchen and Koto.

Returnees include the Cannery, the Five Crowns, Ho Sum Bistro, Ristorante Cantori, John Dominis, Lido Shipyard Sausage Co., Gandhi Indian Cuisine, Tutto Mare, Bistro 210, Royal Khyber and Royal Thai Cuisine.

People attending Taste of Newport will be able to purchase "taster plates" with samples of menu items for prices ranging from $1 to $5.

n The average price of a sample has dropped, De Boom said, from just over $3 last year to $2.44 this year. Of 181 items (including refreshments) to be offered, only one will command the top $5 price tag.

Also at Newport SeaFest:

* Performances of "Mr. Roberts" at the Newport Theatre Arts Center, opening Friday and running through Oct. 17. Information: (714) 642-3555.

* Newport Pier Swim, Saturday at 10 a.m. (see Do It!, page 13). Information: 644-3044.

* Voyagers Yacht Club/SeaFest Challenge Cup, Saturday at noon. Information: (714) 723-0864.

* Kite Festival, Saturday and Sunday, at the foot of the Balboa Pier. Information: (714) 673-0450.

* The Newport SeaFest 8K and 4K run and walk, Sunday at 7:30 a.m. Information: 661-6062.

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