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Went to Pinot Provence today, in Costa Mesa, near South Coast Plaza, in the Westin Hotel. This is a very nice restaurant, which has ABSOLUTELY NO CORKAGE FEE! Menu is French/Med food.

We started with Sauteed Foie Gras on pears, which was absolutely outstanding and the highlight of the evening. Flavorful and tender, this was a great match for the half bottle of '01 Rieussec that I brought.

For the main courses we had duck breast with balsamic glaze and lamb ribeye with dolma. Both were outstanding, and portions were extremely generous for a French restaurant. For the main course, I cracked a '02 Pride, which was tremendous.

For dessert, we both had the flourless chocolate cake, and paired it with '99 Vin d' Constance, a perfect match.

Overall a great meal, and price was extremely affordable, especially with free corkage!
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The Pinot chain, of which I think there are maybe 3 restaurants, charge no corkage. We should patronize them because of this understanding of some of us who sometimes like to bring our own special bottles.

But buy from their list, some of the time.

Yes, I have been to two of their restaurants, and yes, very imaginative menus.

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