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NEWSBITES / BENJAMIN EPSTEIN

Guild Serves Up Six Months of 'Fine Dining'

June 29, 1995|BENJAMIN EPSTEIN | Benjamin Epstein is a free-lance writer who regularly contributes to the Times Orange County. Information for this column can be faxed to (714) 966-7790. Or call (714) 966-7700.

Forget those one-day, or even three-day, food festivals. The Gourmet Diners' Guild of Opera Pacific stages a culinary event you can enjoy for a long time. Six months, in fact.

"Festival of Fine Dining" starts Tuesday with a bring-your-own-banjo Yankee Doodle Celebration picnic at a home in Newport's Back Bay--$75 per person and limited to 20 guests--and wraps up with a Victorian Christmas Tea on Dec. 7 and a "Spirit of the Season" Boat Parade Party on Dec. 19. There are 20 events in all.

"It's kind of amazing," said festival co-chairwoman Carolyn Klein. "People open up their homes to complete strangers and, depending on the theme, get really creative. For a Marrakech party, the hostess tented the whole inside of her home. People love it. The dinners usually sell out as soon as the booklet comes out."

Exotic fare includes "A Fabulous Geechee Evening" and swim Sept. 3 ($75) and an "Istanbul Express" banquet ($85) with oud player John Bilezikjian and belly dancing Sept. 16, both in Laguna Beach.

Also on tap are a "Pizza Assoluta!" dinner for eight in Santa Ana on July 8 (at $60 per person) and an alfresco luncheon for 24 at an Italian-style villa on Balboa Peninsula on July 19 (at $50 per person).

Each event has been completely underwritten by the hosts, so all proceeds go directly to Opera Pacific. Last year's festival raised $20,000. For a complete schedule, call (714) 474-4488, Ext. 320.

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If it has been a while since you enjoyed kalua roast pig (buried and wrapped in banana leaves) and huli huli chicken (marinated in ginger and other spices) while watching the flaming fire-knife dance, you might want to check out "It's Luau Time" at Revere House Restaurant.

The buffet and Tiare Polynesian Review starts July 9 and runs Sundays through August. Singles are $35 per person including tax and gratuity, couples $55, children 6 to 10, $12.50, and 5 and under free. Reservations are required. Registration is at 12:30 p.m., assigned seating at 1 p.m.

900 W. 1st St., Tustin. (714) 543-9319.

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Hi-Time Wine Cellars has announced dozens of summer wine tastings, including some very fine French offerings.

They include tastings of Chateau Palmer on Wednesday and Pichon-Lalande on July 19, and a tasting of 1988 te^te de cuvees on July 8 from eight Champagne houses, including Roederer Cristal, Moet & Chandon Dom Perignon and Taittinger Comtes de Champagne.

The Champagne tasting is $50, with hors d'oeuvres; the Bordeaux tastings star six vintages each at about the same price.

For $20 or less per event, the shop will also host four tastings canvassing the gold-medal winning wines from the Orange County Fair. (The judges shouldn't have all the fun!) The first two rounds are July 21 and July 28, with two dates in August to be announced.

250 Ogle St., Costa Mesa. (714) 650-8463.

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