Happy Hour Review–Casanova Ristorante

August 14, 2009 at 7:37 pm (Happy Hour) (, , , , )

Dining out is expensive, even if you do take advantage of the dining deals out there. But since Mr. Frugalicious and I are both at home all day, every day thanks to our status as involuntary freelancers (read: laid-off employees), sometimes we are desperate to get out. Sure, we could just go to lunch, but even though we don’t have an office to return to, we feel it’s a bit unseemly to be knocking back cocktails in the middle of the day. Luckily, lots of restaurants in Orange County are now offering happy hour specials. I’ll be reviewing one each week (I hope!).

Back when we were gainfully employed, Mr. Frugalicious and I visited Casanova Ristorante in Dana Point several times for dinner, and it was always delicious. It offers a charming atmosphere and delicious Italian food. And now, it’s got a great happy hour. From 3:30 to 6:30, you can belly up to the bar and take advantage of specialty martinis for just $5…my favorite is the “Casanova martini,” a winning combination of vodka, pomegranate juice, peach nectar and a squeeze of lime. A glass of wine or a beer will run you between $4 and $6.

The specialty martinis are potent, and as everyone knows, you should never drink on an empty stomach. That’s why I’m glad that Casanova’s also offers a selection of appetizers and small plates for just $5 to $7. The bruschetta is heaped with tomatoes and basil, and the pepperoni pizza could easily serve as dinner for one. The happy hour food isn’t extraordinary, but the price is right.

Although the leather banquettes look inviting, do not sit in them if you’re there for happy hour. The happy hour specials are only served to patrons sitting at the bar, and the bar can get crowded. To snag a space, plan on heading to Casanova’s on the early side…maybe a little before 5:00. The good news is that Casanova’s offers its happy hour specials seven days a week, making it an ideal spot to relax with a drink on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

If you decide to check out Casanova’s happy hour, let me know. I’ll meet you there…especially if you’re buying!

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Dining Out Deals

August 12, 2009 at 8:38 pm (Dining Deals) (, , , )

If you’re on a budget, of course it is most sensible to stay home and cook your own meals. But sometimes, you’ve just gotta live a little. Although we enjoy cooking at home, every once in a while, Mr. Frugalicious and I like to head out to a restaurant and let someone else sweat over a stove. To save money, though, I keep an eye on special deals at our favorite spots. And now, the Dana Point Times has compiled a round-up of deals at local restaurants. The list has a lot of good information on food and drink specials, at upscale restaurants and at casual joints.

I’m looking forward to trying the $3 appetizers at Salt Creek Grille, and I can’t imagine anything more pleasant than sitting on the Chart House patio overlooking the Dana Point Harbor while sipping a discounted specialty cocktail and nibbling on a $4 appetizer.

What are your favorite restaurant deals?

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