James Beard Benefit Dinner

Chef Amar Santana
August 10, 2017 @ 6:00 pm America/Los Angeles Timezone
Vaca - Costa Mesa
South Coast Plaza
600 Town Center Dr, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
$350 per person (tax & gratuity included)
Vaca - TS

Celebrated chef Amar Santana and partner Ahmed Labbate will host a Friends of James Beard Benefit® Dinner on Thursday, August 10 at 6 p.m. at their acclaimed Vaca, a star of South Coast Plaza’s collection of fine restaurants.

The seven-course, sit-down dinner with wine pairings underwritten by Bodegas Torres, will raise funds for James Beard Foundation scholarships and other culinary programs. The dining extravaganza will be the O.C. culinary event of the summer and a highlight of the ongoing 50th anniversary of the premier shopping destination. Seats are $350 and $300 for members of the James Beard Foundation, all inclusive.

Located in Park Tower at 695 Town Center Drive between South Coast Plaza and the internationally renowned Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Vaca specializes in authentic Spanish cuisine with Southern California flair. It opened to great critical acclaim in December 2015.

Santana and Labbate, whose roots together at South Coast Plaza go back to 2008 when they opened Charlie Palmer, will welcome 100 guests with a love of food and wine to the Beard dinner. Santana is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. In 2016, he was runner-up on the Emmy-nominated Season 13 of Bravo’s “Top Chef.”

The festivities on August 10 will include a small silent auction during an al fresco reception. While enjoying the signature Vaca Tonic and hors d’oeuvres, guests may peruse deluxe offerings, which will include a LVMH luxury Champagne experience for 16 guests;  packages from South Coast Plaza, the Montage Laguna Beach and Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, unique dining experiences, luxury travel destinations, and high-end wines.

The Vaca Friends of James Beard Benefit Dinner menu follows.  All wines are generously donated by Bodegas Torres. Based in Pacs, Spain, the privately owned company founded in 1870 is managed by the fourth generation of the Torres family. Other event partnerships as of this date include Melissa’s/World Variety Produce, Parés Baltà and Bonne Fleur.

For reservations to the Friends of James Beard Dinner at Vaca, please register online at http://vaca.mybigcommerce.com/events/. For more information, please contact Ghali Benhima at 714.463.6060. A credit card will be requested to secure the reservation.


Signature Vaca Tonic

Passed Hors d’Oeuvres

Chicken Liver Toast, Pickled Red Onion

Tortilla Espanola

Anchovies & Olives Pincho

Baby Chorizo, Hot Pepper

Duck Gizzard & Papas Canarias

Mussel Escabeche, Saffron Jelly

Pan con Tomate

Chorizo, Romesco Arugula Coca

Creamed Leeks, Anchovies Coca

Eggplant Stew, Olives, Idiazabal Coca

Parés Baltà, Brut Cava, Penedes, Spain



Vaca Charcuterie & Cheese Board

Parés Baltà, Brut Cava, Penedes, Spain



Strawberry & Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho,

Confit Fennel, Crispy Quinoa, Ibérico Lardo

Rosado, Carinena Blend, De Casta, Miguel Torres,

Catalunya, Spain 2014



Slow Baked Cod, Stewed Peppers,

 Paella Broth, Crispy Wild Rice, Black Olive Oil

Verdejo, Miguel Torres Verdeo, Rueda, Spain 2014




Roasted Lamb Meatballs, Lemon-Yogurt, Cucumber

Albacore Tataki

Albacore Tataki, Avocado, Shallot Soy Vinaigrette,

Pork Cracklings

Canelon de Pollo

Smoked Chicken Cannelloni, Foie Gras Sauce, Sherry Reduction

Panza de Cerdo

Braised Pork Belly, Smoked White Bean, Pickled Peppers

Celeste Crianza, Miguel Torres, Ribera Del Duero, Spain 2013



Lobster Paella, Squid Ink Bomba Rice, Smoked Paprika Aioli, Leeks, Charred Lemon


New York & Prime Skirt Steak Tasting

A2, Romesco, Chimichurri

Salmos, Priorat, Spain 2013



Mama Santana Flan

Tocino de Cielo

Vermouth Flavored Tres Leches

For more information, visit www.vacarestaurant.com.

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