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NEWSBITES / BENJAMIN EPSTEIN

A Maine Event for Labor Day

August 31, 1995|BENJAMIN EPSTEIN | Benjamin Epstein is a free-lance writer who regularly contributes to the Times Orange County. Fax, (714) 966-7790; phone, (714) 966-7700.

Whether you're planning a Labor Day cookout or feast-in, here's a deal you can really sink your claws into: Cost Plus in Mission Viejo is offering 1 1/2-pound live lobsters, flown directly from the coastal waters of Maine, at $15 each.

What makes it a good deal is that proceeds benefit Saddleback Community Enterprises, an education, training and employment program for individuals with developmental disabilities. Lobsters can be picked up Friday and Saturday.

Far out!

Actually, further out.

"I just got off the phone with the fisherman," said Saddleback Community Enterprises spokesman Michelle Anstadt. "There are apparently two kinds of lobsters, offshore and 'further out,' and we need the hardier kind, the further out. We're picking up between 500 and 1,000 lobsters at Orange County airport on Friday, and for people planning for Labor Day, we want them to still be alive on Monday."

All of the proceeds go to SCE, but how much profit is made on each lobster depends on the wholesale cost. "The price fluctuates according to the harvest," Anstadt explained. "It's a lot like commodities."

For those too squeamish to do it themselves, lobsters can be cooked on the spot. Cost Plus is also providing coffee and food tastings, lobster recipes and wine information. The lobsters will be available both days from 1 to 8 p.m.

Cost Plus World Market, 23841 Marguerite Parkway, Mission Viejo. (714) 837-7280.

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More lobster: Every night but Labor Day, Diva is offering a four-course prix fixe dinner through September beginning at 7:45 p.m., and two of the four entree choices feature Maine lobster. One entree is baked lobster with fresh tarragon, Dijon mustard and Cognac; the other has the crustacean tossed with asparagus, corn, tomatoes and basil on a bed of saffron linguine.

Dinner begins with an appetizer sampler and soup or Caesar salad; for dessert, choose between creme bru^lee and poppy-seed cake Napoleon with raspberry coulis and espresso cream, or triple chocolate decadence cake with hazelnut cream. It's $35 before tax or gratuity.

600 Anton Blvd., Costa Mesa. (714) 754-0600.

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For fans of fungus among us, Katsuo Nagasawa of Marina del Rey's Cafe Del Rey teaches a class on cooking with mushrooms Sept. 7 at Robert Mondavi Wine & Food Center.

According to Nagasawa, he uses a half dozen types of mushroom at his restaurant at any given time. He'll talk about the varieties and how to use them in recipes. Among those he'll focus on in class are the shimeji from Japan, portabello from Italy and chanterelle from France.

The cost is $50, and class begins at 6:30 p.m.

1570 Scenic Ave., Costa Mesa. (714) 979-4510.

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