Off the Menu OC

Covering the dining scene in and around the OC

Wizard of Food meets “Wizard of Oz”

Executive Chef Ross Pangilinan of Leatherby’s Café Rouge

Executive Chef Ross Pangilinan of Leatherby’s Café Rouge

Executive Chef Ross Pangilinan of Leatherby’s Café Rouge at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa loves to create themed menus for the Broadway musicals that come to the Center.

We sampled his “Chicago” and “Beauty and the Beast” menus last month, and were delighted with the inventive combination of ingredients that not only blended perfectly on the plate and on the palate, but fit the themed of each show.

Chef Pangilinan has done it again with his fun menu for “The Wizard of Oz,” which runs through February 23.

For those who don’t know, Andrew Lloyd Webber has transferred the beloved 1939 movie musical to the stage with all the familiar songs, plus a few new ones penned by Webber and Tim Rice (they wrote “Evita” together).

Each course of the “Wizard of Oz” menu is titled after an iconic songs.

First is “We’re Off to See the Wizard” starter: Hamachi roll with ponzu gelée, yuzu air, wasabi, avocado, and puffed sushi rice. Then it’s on to the “If I Were King of the Forest” entrée:

“We’re Off to See the Wizard” starter: Hamachi roll with ponzu gelée, yuzu air, wasabi, avocado, and puffed sushi rice

“We’re Off to See the Wizard” starter: Hamachi roll with ponzu gelée, yuzu air, wasabi, avocado, and puffed sushi rice

cedar smoked duck breast, bacon, forest mushroom, sweet potato, turnips, maple & cider jus. Dessert is “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” caramel pretzel bread pudding, with stewed apples, caramel apple ice cream, kettle corn caramel, and pretzel tuile.

The three-course, prix fixe “Wizard of Oz” menu is $45 per person, or $60 with wine pairings.

Because Leatherby’s Café Rouge does not charge a corkage fees (one of the few local restaurants with this policy), Chris brought a bottle of Gypsy wine from Epiphany Cellars (“Gypsy for the wandering that Dorothy does in the play, and Epiphany for Dorothy’s epiphany moment at the end of the show,” explained Chris).

“The smoked flavor of the duck is perfect, and really enhances the flavors of the dish, especially when combined with the earthiness of the mushrooms, sweetness of the potato and salty flavor of the bacon,” noted Catherine. “And the dessert has an amazing artistic presentation with its edible yellow brick road next to the bread pudding.”

“If I Were King of the Forest” entrée: cedar smoked duck breast, bacon, forest mushroom, sweet potato, turnips, maple & cider jus

“If I Were King of the Forest” entrée: cedar smoked duck breast, bacon, forest mushroom, sweet potato, turnips, maple & cider jus

“Goodbye, yellow bricked road,” Chris sang as he helped demolish the dessert. “I agree with you, the duck was perfect, I also loved the Hamachi roll appetizer—very delicate yet filling, and full of fun flavor combinations.”

“Something that I marvel at with Chef Pangilinan’s dishes—they’re all artistic and visually pleasing, and combine unexpected ingredients that each have their own different flavors and textures that leave you anticipating the next dish,” said Catherine.”

“I’d say Chef Pangilinan is the wizard of food,” Chris said with a smile. “But speaking of Wizard, we need to get to our seats!”

One of the things we like about dining at Leatherby’s is the one minute walk to Segerstrom Center, so we can scurry from the restaurant five minutes before curtain and still make it to our seats before the lights go down.

Needless to say, we were thrilled with “The Wizard of Oz.” All the iconic songs and characters from the movie are perfectly performed,

“Follow the Yellow Brick Road” caramel pretzel bread pudding, with stewed apples, caramel apple ice cream, kettle corn caramel, and pretzel tuile

“Follow the Yellow Brick Road” caramel pretzel bread pudding, with stewed apples, caramel apple ice cream, kettle corn caramel, and pretzel tuile

and the new songs – while not exactly memorable – do fit well within the story. The special effects are impressive, and the large dollops of humor worked well and made the show even more enjoyable. Also nice to see so many children in the audience—this is indeed a great opportunity to introduce kids to musical theater.

For more information on Leatherby’s, visit http://www.PatinaGroup.com or call (714) 429-7640.

For more information on Segerstrom Center, http://www.visit SCFTA.org.

 

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