Has anyone been to this Mexican restaurant, off the Circle in Orange? We went to a birthday party there Saturday night, and what a find it is! Great, authentic, upscale Mexican food in a cool 1903 building on S. Glassell, by the Army Navy store. It's owned by Gabbi & Ed Patrick (friends of friends of ours), and she's a classically trained chef with a passion for regional Mexcian cuisine.

We dined in the new wine cellar - available only for private parties, I believe - and can't wait to go back and eat in the main restaurant. Ours was a five-course meal with wine pairings (which were surprisingly, unbelievable good - I somehow didn't expect great wine with Mexican food; how naive am I??). I don't have a copy of the full menu, but here's what we had:

1st course: Champagne Demoiselle Brue "Effervescent!" Perfect balance with the queso Oaxaca, has a citrus note, nice acidity and pairs very well with the acidity in the tomatillo and cascabelle sauce.

2nd course: Domanie Des Grandes Perrieres 2005 Sancerre, Sauviognon Blanc. This wine was bottled at the property of Jeome Gueneau in the Sancerre Appellation, Loire Valley, France. Fantastic minerality with this wine, it pairs very well with the earthiness of the beets and is a classic with goat cheese.

3rd course: Conde Valdemar Grand Reserva 1998 Classic from the Rioja region of Spain. 90 percent Tempranillo fro mone of their oldes vineyards, Earty red fruit, aging has given this wine elegant balance, give the Chilean Sea Bass with saffron sauce an enhanced and lasting impression.

4th course: Kilikanoon, Baroossa Valley Shiraz 2005. Luscious black fruit, blueberry and ripe plum notes, fantastic combination with the New York Medallion and Mole Sauce. Silky smooth with the butternut squash tamale.

I wish I had a better description of the food, but everything was wonderful. My favorites were the queso Oaxaca in tomatillo and cascabelle sauce, the beet salad (who knew beets were so good??), and the butternut squash tamale.

The web site is www.gabbismexicankitchen.com, and in my opinion it's well worth a visit if you are in that area.