It's National Grilled Cheese Month, and you celebrate everyday by trying some of the best in grilled cheese creations at some of my fave spots.
At Zinc Café & Market in Laguna Beach and Corona del Mar, I can't get enough of the gruyere cheese grilled in sourdough with pickles, marinated onions and tomato and served with whole grain mustard for $8.95.
Zinc is at 3222 E. Coast Hwy in Corona del Mar and 350 Ocean Ave. in Laguna Beach. For more information, call Corona del Mar at (949) 719-9462 or Laguna Beach at (949) 494-6302 or visit http://www.zinccafe.com.
Eat Chow in Costa Mesa makes a simple grilled cheese sandwich with your choice of wheat or sourdough, cheddar and muenster, but I say go for the combo. It comes with avocado, tomato (ask for bacon, too) and your choice of soup or salad for $7.50 to $9.50. If it happens to be tomato soup, order that — yum!
Eat Chow is at 1802 Newport Blvd. in Costa Mesa. For more information, call (949) 650-2469 or visit http://www.eatchownow.com.
At Avanti Café in Costa Mesa, I'm obsessed with the Avanti grilled cheese goodness, with havarti and white cheddar, blood orange honey Dijon, garlic shallot arugula and spinach melted on Avanti cranberry walnut bread. It's served with a side of dressed organic mixed greens for $9.
Avanti Café is at 259 E. 17th St. in Costa Mesa. For more information, call (949) 548-2224 or visit http://www.avantinatural.com.
The Lazy Dog Café in Huntington Beach, Westminster, Orange and Irvine serves an indulgent grilled cheese sandwich with cheddar, gouda and jack cheeses melted between parmesan sourdough toast for $8.25. We say order this with a side of Cajun fries with chipotle ranch for an extra 95 cents. Pure heaven. For locations, visit http://www.lazydogcafe.com/location.
Forget the soup of the day at the Crow Bar and Kitchen in Corona del Mar. James Beard-nominated chef John Cuevas serves up daily classic grilled cheese sandwiches. A few of Cuevas' unique grilled cheese sandwiches of the day include smoked mozzarella and provolone with cured meats and spicy mustard on wheat bread.
The Crow Bar is at 2325 E. Coast Hwy. in Corona Del Mar. For more information, call (949) 675-0070 or visit http://www.crowbarcdm.com.
Plants and veggies for sale
The students at Orange Coast College's Horticulture Department have been busy growing vegetable seedlings and flowering pots so you can plant a beautiful spring garden. To support school programs, visit OCC's annual spring plant sale the next three Fridays, April 22 through May 6, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Horticulture Garden Nursery near the Adams Avenue parking lot.
More than 2,500 plants will be on sale, including heirloom tomatoes, bell and chili peppers, squash, cucumbers, basil and 14-inch parsley bowls, as well as beautiful scaevolas, mixed-color baskets, geraniums and hydrangeas. Orange Coast College is located at 2701 Fairview Road in Costa Mesa. For more information, call the plant sale hotline at (714) 432-0202, ext. 26533, or visit http://www.occhorticulture.com.
Tour de Force, again
For one night only, Tour de Force II brings a phenomenal cast of international dance stars on stage at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
Anyone who was fortunate enough to see the original Tour de Force in 2009, can vouch that the performance at 7:30 p.m. April 28 will be an incredible night of dance artistry. Tickets to Tour de Force II start at $40 and are available at http://www.scfta.org at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa or by calling (714) 556-2787.
Psychic reading at Playhouse
I'm usually not big on psychics — if they really could predict the future, they would be rich! But to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, you can join psychic Bill Philipps at a special reading at 7:30 p.m. April 26 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. At just 26 years old, he's considered one of the world's youngest psychics and says he specializes in helping people deal with the grief of losing loved ones. Tickets cost $40. Tickets can be purchased by visiting http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/158217.
Laguna Playhouse is at 606 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach.
Order dessert, help Japan
In this case, it's best to order dessert first! Sushi Koto in Fountain Valley is offering a special dessert menu through May 6, with all proceeds going to UNICEF to help aid the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund. The selection includes homemade Japanese custard puddings like hoji cha tea, matcha green tea, yuzu fruit, (kabocha) pumpkin and (ninjin) carrot. Each dessert costs $3.75.
Also, every Friday from 6 to 9:30 p.m., there will be live performances by SouLandscape, a local piano and vocals duo. Sushi Koto offers traditional dishes to give Japanese families a sense of home and gives new diners an opportunity to taste the wonders of Japanese cuisine.
Sushi Koto is at 18225 Brookhurst St. in Fountain Valley. For more information, call (714) 964-0988 or visit http://www.kotooc.com.
Debuting World Denim Bar
Consider yourself a denim aficionado? American Rag Cie at Fashion Island just debuted its World Denim Bar featuring an unrivaled selection of denim. The bar boasts more than 85 brands and more than 1,000 styles. Choose from Levi's, RRL, J Brand, Earnest Sewn, AG, Genetic, Nudie, Acne, Rag & Bone and many more.
American Rag is a favorite of trend-conscious shoppers seeking international emerging designers, casual apparel, footwear and accessories. It also carries an eclectic mix of French housewares, music and books.
It's very own Café Beau Soleil is a full-service organic Mediterranean restaurant with an expanded menu. For more information, call (949) 760-1510 or visit http://www.amrag.com/pag285.aspx
Easter Bunny meet-and-greets
Take the kids to meet the Easter Bunny at South Coast Plaza. You have two choices, children can engage in a conversation with the chatty Easter Bunny in Carousel Court, or visit with a traditional Easter Bunny in the Macy's Home Store Wing. Capture the moment with Easter photos, or take part in springtime crafts available at both locations.
Guests can also ride the bunny carousel open through Saturday. South Coast Plaza is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday at 3333 Bristol St. in Costa Mesa. For more information, call (714) 436-0263.
GREER WYLDER writes Greer's OC for the Huntington Beach Independent each Thursday and the Daily Pilot and Coastline Pilot each Friday. She's the founder and president of greersoc.com, a free daily e-mail service that provides the latest in Orange County fashion, dining, music, events and trends. Her blog can be viewed http://www.greersoc.com and she can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.