Spring Season Leads to Menu Changes For Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar (and Partners)

Daniela Kelly April 14, 2019
 Spring Season Leads to Menu Changes For Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar (and Partners)

Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar is redesigning its plates and glasses to welcome in the spring season.

Chef Gabriel Caliendo has been using flowers to accentuate several dishes and specialty drinks on the restaurant’s spring menu. Caliendo is also vice president of the Orange County-based casual dining restaurant, which has 26 locations out west (13 of them in Southern California).

In both the spring and fall, Caliendo makes some major menu changes. In the summer, he offers a three-month promotion as well as offers limited-time food and drink items.

According to Caliendo, the dishes are Americana-rooted, which is what Lazy Dog is completely about. While Lazy Dog was founded in Huntington Beach, it had a Rocky Mountain theme with its rustic design and creative influences on the comfort foods using seasonal ingredients he has sourced.

He said he’s all about improving “grandma’s favorites.”

The spring menu will include his version of pork ‘n beans using pork belly slow-brained in bone broth, which will be topped with a green onion crumble and pickled mustard seeds. It also includes a pork belly BLT and heirloom bean salad.

Caliendo is partnering with six restaurants to revamp menus because of the passion they share. He said their names will be called out on the menu – something that’s been done every so often but never on the entire menu. He said the idea is to highlight the Americana products.

Zursun Idaho Heirloom Beans is one of those partners, which has dozens of legumes that it sources from small-scale farms along the Snake River Canyon.

Caliendo said there are about 50 beans, which look similar to Jelly Beans but with different textures and colors. He said four of those beans were chosen because of how gorgeous they were, but that was itю

Lazy Dog is also partnering with Local Hive Honey, revamping its spring dessert menu. The company, which is based in Colorado, works with various U.S. beekeepers to supply honey to the restaurant from various regions.

Caliendo has a test kitchen that’s lined with honey bottles and finds that the Southern California honey has a color different from the Northern California honey.

According to Caliendo, the test kitchen is his playground where he can come up with all kinds of creations. He said once a menu has been chosen, regional directors and chefs will visit and be taught how to recreate the dishes on the menu.

Caliendo is working on other menu changes such as using maple in beer. For example, he bought maple bars from a donut shop that he put into a beer when he boiled it. When it was done fermenting, he added maple syrup to it. He thinks he’ll use maple syrup rather than honey during the fall season.

What are some of the new Lazy Dog spring dishes?

  • Spiked Sweet Peach Tea – This uses Stillhouse Original Whiskey
  • Green Goddess Salad – Includes a house-made dressing that is topped with a goat-cheese-stuffed squash blossom
  • Pork Belly Belt – This is served on whole grain wheat bread with mayo and candied bacon
  • Carrot & Cucumber Tonic – This is made with Rain Cucumber Vodka, turmeric and fresh carrot juice
  • Goat Cheese and Pepper Jelly – This is an appetizer that’s made with from-scratch jelly