Looking for a fantastic dinner experience at a family owned neighborhood bistro?

Champagnes Bistro & Deli in Newport Beach is celebrating 23 years in business, and it just debuted an expanded dinner menu that starts after 4:30 p.m. with bistro specialties and a sophisticated yet casual ambience with candles, linens and waiter service.

Favorites include new bistro-inspired starters such as caramelized Brussels sprouts ($8.50), firecracker shrimp ($10.95), crab cakes ($12.95), and French onion soup ($6.95), and entrées such as chicken breast paillard ($13.95), braised short rib beef bourguignon ($18.95), and fire crusted fresh Atlantic salmon ($16.95).

We also highly recommend the Champagnes Burger, which is made up of an Amish buttermilk bun, Angus beef, Tillamook cheddar cheese, the restaurant's caramelized onion relish, lettuce, tomato and roasted garlic aioli ($11.75). The thin-crust pizzas, which are made with handmade dough and the family's sauce, are among the best local pizzas we've tried ($11.95 to $15.95).

If you're craving something super healthy try the "Farm-acy" superfood salad, a mix of mixed greens, organic baby spinach, fresh fruit, dried cranberries, celery, red onion, cucumber, spiced almonds, blue cheese and orange Champagne vinaigrette ($10.95).

As soon as the weather cools off, you'll also want to try its famous turkey chili, a favorite for more than 20 years. Save room for some Callebaut Belgian chocolate mousse or sweetheart coconut cake with fresh raspberry sauce and creme anglaise ($5.95).

Champagnes Bistro & Deli is in the Newport North Center at 1260 Bison Ave., at MacArthur Blvd., in Newport Beach and is open 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

For more information, call (949) 640-5011 or visit http://www.champagnesdeli.com.


A&B offers quality furniture, upholstery

We know where many top chi-chi interior designers in Orange County go for quality custom furniture and upholstery. They call up David Madrid, owner of A&B Furniture + Upholstery in Westside Costa Mesa.

For more than 30 years, Madrid has offered top-notch custom upholstery and custom furniture at incredibly fair prices.

Madrid's team can even duplicate furniture from magazines. They're the go to source for refurbishing old wood, reupholstering outdoor cushions, and building pieces from scratch.

They also stock high quality fabrics, including Ralph Lauren, Duralee, Pindler & Pindler, Kravet and more.

The shop is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. 1711 Whittier Ave. in Costa Mesa. For more information, call (714) 540-1821.


Project Playhouse back at South Coast

Custom playhouses that look more like mini dream homes are on display for the first time at South Coast Plaza through Sept. 30, and open for tours from noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

The enchanting Project Playhouses, which will be auctioned off to benefit HomeAid OC, were designed by top designers and architects to help change lives for those in need.

Since its inception, the annual fundraiser, now in its 21st year, has raised $6.3 million for HomeAid OC. The finale of the Project Playhouse season will be a special event auction Oct. 5 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Balboa Bay Club that will include fine dining, a live concert and the auction of the whimsical playhouses.