Monday, May 22, 2006

I know I'm not this pasty. Nico on the other hand...

This is at the end of our 65 mile bike ride on Saturday...actually, it was 70 miles due to some ongoing contruction on Pacific Coast Highway.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Things you may have overheard Michael yelling if you were at the KROQ Weenie Roast on Saturday.

1) "I am unchanged!" in response to a long winded speech from Tom Delonge of Angels and Airwaves, formerly of Blink 182. The speech looked something like this: "I love the idea that there's 15,000 people here tonight. Some of which are gonna go home and their friends will ask you, 'How was the show?' and you'll say, 'It was pretty fucking good.' There's a different part of you, a different group that will go home and your friends will say, 'How was the show?' You'll say, 'I was too drunk, I didn't fucking care.' There's one last group of you that will go home and you'll say, 'I joined a gigantic group of people with that one band called Angels & Airaves to feel something special, to do something different with my life'. It might happen, it might not. It's up to you, to pretend, that you're better than yourself."

2) "Play the theme from Ed!" when Dave Grohl (of the Foo Fighters) appeared with an acoustic guitar as the surprise mystery guest. Actually, I liked the theme from season 2 better than the Foo Fighters song. As an aside, all Foo Fighters songs sound better on an acoustic guitar (without a band).

3) "I want that job"...Damien "Jr. Gong" Marley had a guy waiving a Jamaican Flag through his entire set. Damien Marley talks about his father a lot. Here's a picture from some other concert:
Image Hosted by

4) "My butt hurts"...Nico and I biked 52 miles right before the concert. We're training for the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure on May 20th. If you have not yet made a contribution, please click here. Sitting on the ground for 8 hours really hurts after a 52 mile bike ride.

I have a cool picture of all the trash that had piled up on the lawn during the show, but I evidently have pay for some software to get it off my phone (or pay to email it to myself). So you have to trust me when I say there was a lot of trash on the lawn. That's about it. Does anybody else think Matisyahu is a hoax?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Screw You! - How Much it Costs to BYOB

[Update: 1/28/08--Due to numerous complaints that I only have expensive restaurants with high corkage fees on this list, I have tracked down a few moderately priced restaurants with free corkage. That's right, free corkage. If any of you readers know any other dining establishments offering free corkage, please let me know.]

Okay, I stole the title from this blog. But I like the idea so much, I've decided to create a list of corkage fees for Orange County Restaurants.

For those of you that do not know what a corkage fee is (from "a charge added at a restaurant for every bottle of wine served that was not bought on the premises"

For those of you that did not know what a corkage fee was -- you are probably now wondering why anybody would want to bring a bottle of wine to a restaurant. There are several reasons: most notably, the typical restaurant marks up their wine 2 1/2 to 3 times above wholesale prices. If you shop well, that makes your $20 bottle of wine from the Wine Club $50 to $60 in a restaurant. Also, especially here in the bubble, the wine list at said restaurant (that is charging you $60 for a $20 bottle of wine) may not be the greatest. For Nicole and I, we have a whole bunch of wine that we never drink unless we take it to a restaurant.

So on with the list, I expect this to be a long term project...please post any info you might have in the comments section. All prices are for 750 ml bottles, unless otherwise noted. The fees are only accurate since the last time I was there (or if I have another source listed, since it was last updated). Finally, if you'd like to get out of paying a corkage fee, offer a glass to your server...offer a few times until he or she takes you up on the offer. And really finally this time, many restaurants will waive a corkage fee if you buy a bottle from their list.

List of Corkage Fees for Orange County Restaurants

A Restaurant (Newport Beach) $10 (From the OC Register)
Abbondanza Italian Bistro (Newport Beach) $12
The Alley (Newport Beach) $12
Alvarado's Kitchen (Anaheim Hills) $10 (From the OC Register)
Ambrosia (Santa Ana) $10 (From the OC Register)
Avanti Cafe (Costa Mesa) $9.50 (As of 2/4/07)
Ayame (Irvine) $20 (From the OC Register)
Bambú (Newport Beach) $15 (From the OC Register)
Bandera (Cornona Del Mar) No Charge (As of 1/26/08)
Basilic (Newport Beach) $18 (as of 8/11/06)
Bayside Restaurant (Newport Beach) $15 (as of 1/24/08)
The Beach Pit BBQ (Costa Mesa/Tustin) $5 (From the OC Register)
The Beachcomber (Crystal Cove) $15 (As of 1/22/08)
Biggs (Long Beach) $10 (From the OC Register)
Black Sheep Bistro (Tustin) $0 (glasses rented at $2.50/stem--info from the website)
Blue Coral (Newport Beach) No corkgage; $10 if on the menu--I've heard the corkage has been raised to $20 (From the OC Register)
Blue Water Grill (Costa Mesa, Newport Beach) $5 (From; this website says to: "Bring your own glasses or call us to reserve--we only have limited Reidels (sic)".
Bourbon Street Bar & Grill (Fullerton) $12 (From the OC Register)
Buddah's Favorite (Newport Beach) $15
The Cannery (Newport Beach) $15; 2 bottle limit (As of 5/6/06)
Cafe Hiro (Cypress) $10 (From the OC Register)
Cafe R+D (Newport Beach) $0 (As of 7/5/08)
Cafe Tu Tu Tango (Orange) $10 (From the OC Register)
Cedar Creek Inn (Laguna Beach) $15 (From the OC Register)
The Cellar (Fullerton) $25 (From the OC Register)
Chakra Indian Cuisine (Irvine) $15 (From the OC Register)
The Counter (Irvine) $10 (From the OC Register)
The Crab Cooker (Newport Beach) $5 (From the OC Register)
The Crow Bar and Kitchen (Corona Del Mar) $20, 2 bottle limit; one corkage waived with each bottle purchased (as of 1/25/08)
Crystal Jade (Irvine) $10 From the OC Register.
Daily Grill (Newport Beach) $10 (As of 2/14/07)
The First Cabin (Newport Beach) $25 (From the OC Register)
Flight Bistro (Huntington Beach) $20 (From the OC Register)
Florentine's Grill (Fullerton) $10 (From the OC Register)
Forest (Laguna Beach) $15 (From the OC Register)
George's Greek Cafe (Belmont Shores--almost the OC) $10 (From the OC Register)
Green Parrot Cafe (Santa Ana) $9 (From the OC Register)
Harborside (Newport Beach) $15
Gulfstream (Newport Beach) No charge (As of 1/26/08)Il Farro (Newport Beach) $10
Hamamori Restaurant (Costa Mesa) $25 (From the OC Register)
Houston's (Irvine) No charge (As of 1/26/08)Infusion Restaurant and Martini Bar (Ladera Ranch) $20 (From theOC Register)
J. Tokyo (Westminster) $15 (From the OC Register)
Jack Shrimp (Newport Beach) $0 (As of 7/18/08)Kimera (Irvine) $15 (From the OC Register)
K'ya (Laguan Beach, Anaheim) $15 From the OC Register)
La Bettola (Yorba Linda) $15 (From the OC Register)
La Fondue (San Juan Capistrano) $15 (From the OC Register)
Landmark Steakhouse (Newport Beach [Corona Del Mar, but only if you live there]) $15 (From the OC Register)
Leatherby's Cafe Rouge (Costa Mesa) $0 (As of 1/12/08)Le Petit Paris (Huntington Beach) $20 (From the OC Register)
The Loft (Laguna Beach) $15--Limit one bottle per table (From the OC Register)
Mama Mia (Newport Beach) $10
Mario's by the Sea (Dana Point) $10 (From the OC Register)
Mastro's Steakhouse (Costa Mesa) $25 (From the OC Register)
McKenna's on the Bay (Long Beach--almost Orange County) $12 (From the OC Register)
Michael's on Naples (Long Beach) $20 (From the OC Register)
Modo Mio Cucina Rustica (Newport Coast) $10 (From the OC Register)
Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria (Anaheim)$15 (As of 10/25/07)
No Ka Oi (Huntington Beach) $10 (From the OC Register)
Newport Landing (Newport Beach) $15
Onotria (Costa Mesa) $25 (From the OC Register)
The Old Spaghetti Factory (Newport Beach) $10 (as of 1/1/09)
Oysters (Corona Del Mar) $15 for the first bottle, $25 for the second bottle--Magnums are $20 (As of 1/22/07)
Pangea (Santa Ana) $8 (From the OC Register)
Pinot Provence $0 (Never eaten here, but the entire Pinot chain is supposed to have free corkage)Port Restaurant/Bar (Corona del Mar) $20 (From the OC Register)
Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen (Anaheim) $10 (As of 10/25/07)
Rothschild's (Corona Del Mar) $20, 2 bottle limit (As of 1/23/08)
Roy's (Newport Beach) $15 (Not charged on 1/22/08)
Saphire (Laguna Beach) $20 (From the OC Register)
Savannah (Costa Mesa) $0 (From the OC Register)
Savoie's Fare (Laguna Niguel) $15 (From the OC Register)
The Spaghetti Bender (Newport Beach) $10 (As of 4/1/06)
SevenS (Tustin) $0 (From the OC Register)Shades (Huntington Beach) $15 (From the OC Register)
Silvera's Steakhouse (Huntington Beach) $25 (From the OC Register)
Spark Woodfire Grill (Huntington Beach) $8 (From the OC Register)
Stella's (Dana Point) $20 (From the OC Register)
Stonehill Tavern (Dana Point) $25 (From the OC Register)
Sweet Diva's (Brea) $15 (From the OC Register)
Taléo Grill (Irvine) No charge (From the OC Register)3-Thirty-3 Waterfront (Newport Beach) $35 (From the OC Register)
320 Main (Seal Beach) $15 (From the OC Register)
Tutto Fresco (Rancho Santa Margarita) $7 (From the OC Register)
Vue (Dana Point) $20--1 bottle limit (From the OC Register)
Waterfalls (Irvine) $10 (From the OC Register)
White Horses (San Clemente) $15 (From the OC Register)
Zov's Bistro (Tustin) $15 (Info from the website)
Zmario (Irvine) $12 (From the OC Register)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Nico and I are planning a few trips in the next couple of months, so I have decided to start a new feature, modeled after Cherie writes the boating column for the Orange County Register, a job which evidently allows her to travel a lot.

I have not yet thought up a name for my column, but I'm thinking of going with:

WhatWhich Time Zone Is Michael In?

Is that grammatically incorrect? Perhaps:

Inwhatwhich Time Zone is Michael?

Until you hear otherwise, I'll be on Pacific Daylight Time.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Las Vegas Observations...

If you want to assure yourself a crappy hotel room:

1) Book online, at the lowest possible price.

2) Check the price every couple of days, and if it's dropped $10: call the hotel for a reduction.

3) Repeat step #2 as necessary.

This might work at places other than Vegas, but I have never tried it.