Heli-Dining Is One Way To Have An Unforgettable Meal Experience

OC Helicopters is taking fine dining above and beyond by bringing it to the skies.

There are some moments in life that raise the bar on what qualifies as a memorable experience to a whole new level. This is the goal behind Heli-Dining, a service offered by Santa Ana-based OC Helicopters. Veteran owned and operated, the company provides six exclusive tours showcasing the coastlines of Newport Beach, Dana Point, Laguna Beach among other Southern California beach towns. Recently, the company expanded its operations to include helicopter flights to dining destinations of your choosing in locations stretching from San Diego to Santa Barbara. OC Helicopters seeks to transport guests from their everyday lives, even if only for a day or night. The team transports small groups and couples to dream locations more than a hundred miles away in a matter of minutes. And there are options within the Heli-Dining experience that cater to a variety of interests. Here’s a sampling.

Getting Your Feet Wet

If you’re a first timer when it comes to helicopter travel and just want to get a taste of the skies, OC Helicopters offers this premium ride. The ride consists of a shorter flight designed to whet your appetite, departing and returning from where you started, while still obtaining an exclusive view of the Orange County coastline. After landing back at the terminal, you then can dine in any of your choice of Orange County’s luxurious ocean-side restaurants that you just flew over. The 10-minute airtime adventure is perfect for those wanting to try out the experience of flying in a helicopter without committing to an entire evening in the sky.

Dinner and A View

If you’re looking for a night out, with dining at a restaurant in a dream location, OC Helicopters’ Heli-Dining experience picks you up at the terminal and drops you off in locations such as Palm Springs, Los Angeles, San Diego or Santa Barbara. All of these places typically take hours to reach by car, but a helicopter can get you there in just a matter of minutes. And in this case, the transportation becomes a main attraction of event. Just a few of the frequented destinations OC Helicopters has flown its VIPS to nearby helipads to then dine include Dana Point’s Monarch Beach Resort, the famed Nobu in Malibu, The Montage in Beverley Hills and the Hollywood Roosevelt boutique hotel.

A Day in Paradise

If you’re in the mood for a day-trip excursion, OC Helicopters offers flights to destinations that can afford clients five to eight hours at their destination. You can take a day trip to Santa Barbara, eat along State Street, lounge by the beach and be back in time for a comfortable dinner at home. For more of an extravagant occasion, OC Helicopters offers a lovely trip to Temecula for a day to sip wine on the countryside. The helicopters can land at the neighboring helipad or land directly at the base of beautiful remote champagne caves. Guests then have the option to sample wines, stroll through the vineyards or eat their way through Temecula’s renowned culinary delights and top restaurants.

OC Helicopters staff are known for their friendliness, and the team works to connect with their customers before and during the flight in order to create OC Helicopters staff are known for their friendliness, and the team works to connect with their guests before and during the flight in order to create a sense of trust and comfort. So, the moment you walk through the office doors to the second you land back onto the tarmac, you are only thinking about the experience, leaving all worries and stress on land. The fleet of helicopters have been a site for numerous wedding proposals, fun surprises and memorable moments. The team runs the operation out of passion, and the concept of Heli-Dining stemmed from a love for unique foodie experiences shared by the staff. So, keep reaching for the sky!

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Article by Makani Kirwin for Sauté Magazine. Photography by Phantomphan 1974 Photography. Read the original article here.

#foodbeast Culture Features Restaurants

This Italian Chef Is Using ‘Ancient Pastas’ To Breathe New Life Into The Cuisine


In a city deeply rooted in age old tradition, where heritage holds true, and the mettle of a chef is tested everyday, Chef Jordan Frosolone of 10 Corso Como is breathing new life into Italy’s storied pasta making history.  Applying old school Italian techniques, Chef Jordan brings history to the forefront to resurrect and refresh pasta recipes that date back centuries.  By taking this singular approach to Italian fare, you are sure to find a unique and authentic experience seldom found at most Italian places. Their ever-changing menu takes you through various regions of Italy that inspired these “ancient pastas” to be brought back into the spotlight.

Since 2003, Chef Jordan has worked as a Chef de Cuisine at Hearth, and more recently, the Director of Culinary Operations for the Momofuku Group in New York.  At 10 Corso Como, Chef prides himself with creating an approachable dining experience that is unrivaled in quality and attention to detail.  The thoughtful use of sustainable, seasonal ingredients, and fresh pasta milled in-house guarantees an immersive Italian episode you won’t soon forget.  Located in Manhattan’s Seaport District, the space is refined, trendy and distinctive; a complement to the fine-dining experience.

With respect to tradition and the desire to develop a deeper understanding of Italian culture and cuisine, Chef Jordan spent two years in Florence and Spoleto, Italy to cultivate his own philosophy of authentic Italian cooking.  It was his time there that drew him to the lore of forgotten traditional recipes that were once commonplace hundreds of years ago.

For example, the “Pasta Struncatura” on the menu is a multi-grain pasta from the Calabria region of Southern Italy, known to be the poorest.  Historically, this pasta was made from whatever scraps or “sawdust” leftovers were available from the floor of the grain mill, typically put together with anchovy paste to compensate for taste.  Also, the “Pasta Suddhi,” is a dish made using barley flour. The use of the robust barley grain is uncommon in today’s practice and was typically used when other grains were scarce.

When asked about his motivation in resurrecting these ancient techniques of pasta making, Frosolone said: “It’s a fascinating history… it is great being able to explore the culture and learn how these communities thrived. I wanted to gain a better cultural understanding and a grasp of its significance firsthand.”

Chef Jordan’s inspiration is drawn from the land itself.  He creates multifaceted dishes that portray Southern Italy’s different regions; serving pasta indegenous to certain areas.  It becomes a subtle history lesson, a beautiful case study on the Italian experience, if you will.

“We highlight simplicity above all, without bringing anything unnecessary to the table.” Says Chef Jordan.  While these dishes are unique and modern in their creation, they stay confident in their roots. It can be seen that these dishes are a true testament to the history of the art of pasta making — walking the line of tradition and innovation.

#foodbeast Brand FOODBEAST Restaurants SPONSORED

Meet The Chef Who Has Fed Millions Of Children Free Pasta For Over A Decade

One of the country’s most renowned fine dining restaurants has to be the Anaheim White House. This opulent Italian steakhouse and its celebrity chef, Bruno Serato, has been recognized with James Beard awards and more for its delicious take on Italian fare with a slight French twist.

Photo courtesy of Anaheim White House

Serato hasn’t had it easy over the past couple of years, however. In February 2017, the Anaheim White House suffered over $1 million in damages in an electrical fire, causing the restaurant to shutter for over a year as it rebuilt. It’s been reborn exactly the way it was before, though, and Serato has kept the menu and his mission consistent the entire time.

Photo courtesy of Caterina’s Club

That’s included his philanthropic work with Caterina’s Club, an organization named after Serato’s mother that provides over 4,000 meals a day across 29 different cities. Serato kept that work going even while his kitchen was being reconstructed, and to date has helped provide nearly 3 million pasta meals in need.

All of this happened while his organization trained over 100 children in the hospitality industry and helped close to 200 homeless families move into a safe home.

With the White House now back up and running, Serato hasn’t changed a single thing about day-to-day operations. The pasta dinners that will feed thousands are still prepared in the same kitchen space as his extravagant menu, showcasing his commitment to both high-quality food and giving back to the community that’s supported his rebuild.

You can learn the full account of Serato’s inspirational story and drool over some of his specialties, including an exquisite poached salmon with white chocolate mashed potatoes, in the above episode of Foodbeast’s Taste The Details.

Created in partnership with Visit Anaheim

Culture Video

Watch These Kids Experience 100 Years Of Fine Dining

Fine dining has evolved tremendously in the last century. We’ve seen simple ingredients fully transcend their simplest shells into a higher form of taste through decades of tinkering and conceptualization.

In one of Bon Appetit’s newest videos, a group of children experience the rich history of fine-dining dating back from 1920 to the present.

Dishes throughout the last hundred years include blini with caviar, pheasant, waldorf salad, lobster thermador, frog legs, mushroom cappuccino with lobster, risotto, tuna tartare, and farm-to-table veggies.

Check out the video to see how these adorable tots react to trying these fancy dishes originally intended for adults and the wealthy.

Man, it’s fascinating to see the decades where these iconic dishes were at the height of popularity. Wonder if the film crew got to try any of the foods these kids didn’t want to mess with?

Feel Good Hit-Or-Miss Opinion Toasty

Cannabis-Themed Dinners Are High-Key Becoming More Frequent

The latest in dope things that chefs are bringing to the table are cannabis “infused” multiple-course dinners. What a time to be alive! With recreational marijuana gaining speed in way of legalization it’s about time that it’s recognized in fine dining culture. Garden to table has taken on a whole new meaning with the inventive and elegant cannabis-themed dinners, and they’re a beautiful thing of the very near future for all of you Foodbeast marijuana enthusiasts.

Chefs are collectively one of the most creative groups of people in today’s society, so it’s no surprise that they’re continuing to find ways to introduce new and exciting techniques in the culinary industry.

One young California chef, Chris Sayegh has established quite a name for himself as the “Herbal Chef.” Born in New York, educated in Santa Cruz, and trained in Michelin-starred restaurants, he cultivated a successful career combining cannabis culture with his passion for cooking after growing tired of the pot-brownie edible scene. Sayegh has a background in molecular gastronomy so naturally, the science behind the infusing of ingredients with THC was something he found intriguing.

Said “infusing” consists of using cannabis oils and a vaporizer to very literally, infuse any ingredient with THC. This results in a strategically dosed ingredient that makes up an entire dish, therefore yielding diners with a precisely desired high.

Sayegh hosts these unconventional pop-up infused dinners around LA for $200-$500 a seat with the catch being, according to LA Weekly, “can only be hosted by a medical collective of which all diners are a member.” So you’ve got to be a part of the club.  Other cannabis pop-ups around NY and LA occur at undisclosed locations and are held in “secret,” but not for long.

A little taste of what you can expect from a pop-up hosted by Sayegh include dishes like: confit carrot gnocchi with cannabis infused pea emulsion, NY strip steak with parsnip puree and a “medicated” red wine reduction, and a sticky toffee pudding with toasted coconut and cannabis-infused chocolate. 

Now, I’m the kind of person who will order dessert before the main course, (some of you will call this gluttonous, I call it “priorities”) so this is like music to my ears as dessert is often my most highly valued course of a meal. I fully embrace the opportunity to experience one of my favorite things like dessert in an entirely new way: getting high by way of THC-infused sugar. 

Chefs across the globe are beginning to incorporate these infusions and other techniques and influences of the herbal dining in their upscale and multiple course diners. The primary focus still lies heavily on the use of fresh ingredients and unique dishes, as the cannabis infusions are only a way to elevate the fine dining experience to make it that much better. 

Some other big names in this cannabis cooking game include: Melissa Parks, who helped write the cookbook Herb: Mastering the Art of Cooking with Cannabis, which teaches us how to make cannabutters and cannaoils, then use them in various recipes.

Top Chef winner Hosea Rosenberg orchestrates another kind of elevated herbal dining experience with his “strain-pairing dinners.” He prepares several courses and appropriately pairs each dish with a complimenting strain. According to High Times, one of the parings at a Harvest Dinner hosted by Rosenberg included the use of a “more intense and spicy” OG White paired with the main entree of Boulder County flatiron steak, potatoes and squash, charred corn and herb sauce, supplemented by a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley. Rosenberg is also the guy behind the cannabis infused YOGA BRUNCH in Colorado this past August.

An expertly paired and prepared cannabis brunch following yoga with a view is something that likely came out of my dreams.

Come November, I sincerely hope that we are all fortunate enough to experience one of these extra special cannabis dinners as they’ll likely be popping up somewhere near you.

Fast Food

For One Day, McDonald’s Is Turning Itself Into A Fancy Pop-Up Called RESTAURANT M


A McDonald’s in Japan is turning itself into a fancy pop-up for a single day. Called “Restaurant M,” a Roppongi Hills McDonald’s is offering customers full course meals inspired by the fast food menu.

Items include deconstructed burgers served with skewers, french fry vichyssoise, veggie jelly and McDonald’s desserts served in fancy glasses. A far departure from the traditional fast food experience, everything at Restaurant M is eaten with utensils and plates.

Set to open on July 27, Restaurant M will only serve 10 groups of 20 customers who sign up through McDonald’s Japan’s website. Would you be down to try?

Photo: Kotaku


‘Reserve’ App Completely Manages Your Restaurant Experience


The fine-dining experience can often leave you flustered if you’re new to that world. Usually, things like recommendations and reservations can be a tad overwhelming. Because relying on technology is all the rage now (Black Mirror, anyone?), there’s an app that will completely take the wheel of your fine-dining experience. It’s called Reserve.

From recommending a restaurant to dine in to making a reservation for you, Reserve takes care of everything. The app will also pay for you and pretty much show you a night on the town. It kind of sounds like Reserve is taking you out on a date. Which is exactly what’s happening. If you bring someone along, they’ll more than likely be third-wheeling it.

The only work you’ll have to do is a few finger swipes and chewing your food. You might also have to put out, after.

Reserve can be found on both iPhone and Androids.


We Ate Everything on Fleming’s New Late Happy Hour Menu

deconstructed balvenie whisky s'more

The more I talk to restaurant professionals, the more it confirms the lengths fine dining restaurants are willing to go to bring in the heavily coveted millennial consumer. Gone are the days of the $150 floor prices for a full bottle of wine. You can thank the recession. And with Americans having more fast food, QSR, mobile delivery and casual dining options than ever before, the competition is fierce. Even within the fine dining industry, the National Restaurant Association reports that eight out of 10 tableservice operators say: Competing with other tableservice restaurants poses a significant or moderate challenge for their business. And to top off that sentiment, nine of 10 believe that the competition will only become more challenging or stay the same.

Since 82 percent of all adults list good value as a top priority at a tableservice restaurant, the puzzle pieces start coming together about why fine dining establishments, like the 66-US-location Fleming’s Steakhouse, has been placing more attention on value menus. Case in point, the new 8-9-10 Fashionably Late Happy Hour menu features eight shareable plates and eight cocktails/wines for $9 from 8-10pm, including the pictured Deconstructed Balvenie S’more. Yeah, that’s laced with Balvenie DoubleWood scotch and an entire mound of house-made marshmallow. But this menu is in addition to the other numerical alliteral 5-6-7 happy hour menu available from 5-7pm.

But why multiple menus? At first this tactic comes off as a bit desperate. I mean, there’s only an hour per evening from 5-10pm when you can’t order something under 10 bucks (a la you blew it showing up at 7pm). But I don’t think it’s desperation, rather a hedging of bets. These restaurants need us to walk through that door to build the future generation of patrons. Because old money dies. And to grab two cocktails and a shareable plate, then walk out the door circa $30 later, I think we’re going to walk through that door. And their hope is that the next time you’re making a reservation, it will be for the main dining room to grab their deconstructed porterhouse for two ($99, not on the regular menu).

Pictured below are a few of the items we sampled from the 8-9-10 Fashionably Late Happy Hour Menu. Not shown are the Savory Ahi Tuna Tacos, The Prime Burger and the rest of the wines/cocktails, including a Bourbon Peach Martini, Winter Chai Mule and Spiced Mango Smash, among others.

With the seemingly endless S’more dessert options available now at restaurants across the country, the S’more option from Fleming’s stands out. First, there’s alcohol involved. We like that. Second, they give you a heaping mound of charred, house-made ‘mallow at the table. Probably smart too, since restaurants that give patrons an open flame to char the ‘mallows seems real risky (we’ve seen it).

Dessert seems to take the cake since the other standout was the Chocolate Lava Milkshake with Maker’s Mark Bourbon. Imagine that lava cake you already order but in a frosty, boozier form. For those looking for a savory option, the best shareable seems to be the Filet Mignon Flatbread. You also can’t be mad at restaurant burger of that quality for under 10 bucks.

Warm cinnamon crusted donuts flemings

Warm Cinnamon Crusted Donuts

Housemade Burratta flemings

House-made Burrata. I could take a bath in Burrata. 

filet mignon flatbread flemings

Filet Mignon Flatbread with Danish Blue/Monterey Jack cheeses and red onion confit

chocolate lava milkshake flemings

Chocolate Lava Milkshake

lobster lettuce wraps flemings

Lobster Lettuce Wraps with bacon, onion strings, radish jicama slaw and soy lime aioli

short rib empenadas flemingsShort Rib Empanadas with roasted poblano sauce