Bistango and the Bastille Bash

blog by Robyn Wyman-dill

It’s been a patriotic week. Sheathed in red, white and blue. Apparently, the sight of strips of loosely woven red, white and blue English wool bunting arouses flag-waving emotions in humans a lot. The proof is in the 36 countries around the world who have inspired their own people with a sense of national pride waving the red, white and blue flags on their behalf. The next red, white and blue flag bash is coming up on July 14, when France celebrates Bastille Day, (Which commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution back in 1789.) This is France’s Independence Day, folks. And because the French know how to celebrate life right, the occasion has turned into an international party. (New York, London, Sydney and LA host week-long events.) Just done the road, Bistango in Irvine will be honoring the French holiday with a special small plates menu and selection of rosés. In honor of freedom. Now doesn’t that sound like a lovely way to spend a summer’s day.

Earlier this week, OC Register Restaurant Critic, Brad A. Johnson, put together a list of ten top restaurants where power players like to lunch in the Irvine-Costa Mesa banking and financial corridor. Bistango – which opened its doors in Orange County almost 30 years before – was first on it. Known for its pastas and its pizzas and its delicious American fare, the restaurant serves lunch and dinner during the weekdays with dinner-only on Saturdays.  Their cocktail list of classics and house specialties with 400-bottle wine list have been trumpeted by Wine Spectator.

A Kansas City native, Timothy Doolittle is bringing his talents and work experience from Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio Restaurant in the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino and Emeril Lagasse’s Emeril’s Miami Beach to his new post as Executive Chef here. His Bastille day menu will be authentic French cuisine with puff pastry cups with escargots, garlic butter and parsley(which I grew up eating – living near the French-German border in the Pre-EU era.), Tart Oignon Chévre with caramelized oinion, goat cheese and Balsamico d’Oro, Pan-Bagnat of tuna, olive oil, hard egg, sweet onion(the street food of Nice) and pommes gaufrettes (checkerboard-square, waffle french fries). Add lamb sausage sandwiches with onion and pepper on a baguette, French desserts like Crêpe Suzette and a variety of Macarons and you’ve got yourself a gourmet party with plates between $3-$10. Repeat after me. Vive La France!

However, a party is not complete without drink.

Sommelier Bill Blank has selected Château de Campuget, Costiêres de Nîmes and Gerard Bertrand Cotê des Roses, priced between $8-$11 a glass, to mingle with your food – beginning at 5pm.

The cause for the July 14th celebration can be traced back to 1789, when a group of Parisians stormed the Bastille fortress, sparking the end of the monarch and beginning of the modern republic in France. (Now Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables was not based on Bastille Day. The epic novel, musical and film are based on the June Rebellion or Paris uprising of 1832. Just thought you’d want to know.) Their flag, made of blue, white and red vertical panels – known as the French Tricolour or Tricolour – was designed with symbolism in mind.

Early in the French Revolution, the Paris militia, who played a prominent role in the storming of the Bastille, wore a badge of blue and red on their hats to represent the city’s traditional colors, (Blue and red are the traditional colors of Paris which are used on the city’s coat of arms.) The color choice and color placement hold significance too.images-2

While blue and red are associated with the Virgin Mary, the patroness of France, the tricolors are also believed to represent the three main estates of the Ancien Régime. The Clergy is white. Bourgeoisies are blue. While the nobility commands red. The order of the color scheme is purposeful too. Blue – symbolizing the people – comes first, separated by white – symbolizing God and Clergy – and red – representing the nobility – is last. Today, everyone in France and in Francophile hotspots around the world celebrate Bastille Day – regardless of race, creed, class or color.

In celebration of our Independence Day, people raised the flag across the US on July 4. Since 1777, the star-spangled banner and the US nation have grown ‘in size’ a lot. (If you remember from your history books, Seamstress Betsy Ross started with 13 stars and a red, white and blue color scheme. Red was meant to represent hardiness and valor. White symbolized purity and innocence. Blue conveyed vigilance, perseverance and justice.) The shape, design and arrangement of the star-spangled banner would require Congress to pass several acts – allowing for more stars and strips to accommodate the new states that were adding up. Meanwhile, the red, white and blue color trio has remained the same but the story continues.

Bistango, which is located at The Atrium in Irvine, will be setting up their B-day affair in their lovely al fresco lounge in Bistango Gardens. See you there under the red umbrellas by the fountain.  Stay tuned

For more information visit or call 949-752-5222.                             @Bistango_Irvine



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