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Laguna Beach Eats


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I'm headed to Laguna Beach for a vacation. Any good food suggestions? Those which are kid friendly would be especially appreciated as I'll be taking the little gremlins along.

What's wrong with peanut butter and mustard? What else is a guy supposed to do when we are out of jelly?

-Dad

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OO - be sure to hit Montage, even for just high tea or a drink - gorgeous environment/views. And I'm sure Las Brisas is on your list - better without the kids but workable either way. Coyote Grill has great Mexican, I'd recommend Rumari's for Italian, and Anastasia's does a nice breakfast.

I hope you'll be there for art-a-fair - definitely a highlight of the area for several months a year. Enjoy!

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We'll be staying at Montage, I'm so glad to hear it's a good food spot. Las Brisas would be nice and I always have to get my fill of Mexican cuisine while I'm there. Somehow it's just not quite as good up here in the north.

Thanks for your response, and welcome to eGullet :smile:

What's wrong with peanut butter and mustard? What else is a guy supposed to do when we are out of jelly?

-Dad

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I've always thought of Las Brisas more of a seafood restaurant with Mexican/Californian influences than a straight up Mexican restaurant. It's sort of a classic staple in that town. The view is great of course. Wilhelm's influence in Orange County is still around so you can always check out French 75, or head a little further South to Aqua at the Monarch St. Regis.

If you head North to Crystal Cove you can eat a nice breakfast at Pacific Whey Cafe. One of the partners there was formerly at Haute Cakes in Newport Beach. Apparently she was the more talented of the husband/wife team, because Haute Cakes has gone down hill and Pacific Whey still pumps. Get a pastry. They rock.

Vertical Wine Bar is a must try, as is their crispy sweetbread club sandwich with foie gras.

Have fun!

R. Jason Coulston

jason@popcling.com

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Five Feet Restaurant

328 Glenneyre St.

Laguna Beach, CA 92651

949-497-4955

The best duck I've ever had. And the wine brats call it a savvy spot. (I actually went there because of the wine list)

And the Travel Channel said this about it:

Best Original Eurasian

5'0" (Five Feet)

Where: 328 Glenneyre, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Phone: 949-497-4955

Hours: Sun - Thu 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; Fri - Sat 5 p.m.-11 p.m.

Prices: $18 — $30 entrees

When 5'0" (Five Feet) made its culinary debut, the restaurant offered a rarely seen blend of Asian techniques and ingredients and California cuisine, helped create the title "Eurasian," and sparked a culinary outbreak of copycat restaurants around the country. Today, the food fusion may seem less unusual, but the flavors are no less incredible. The menu changes daily, but regularly features delights such as crispy catfish and a stir-fried chicken in a savory curry-mint sauce.

Back to Top

Although this talks about another location that opened it gives some insight: http://www.coastmagazine.com/cuisine/cuisine_403.html

Javier's is the best Mexican in town--get the ceviche.

Las Brisas--I actually think that it is owned by the people who own El Torito--the chain. I took some friends their from out of town and no one was that impressed.

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Thought I'd check in after my trip to thank you all for the advice and let you know how it went. Beautiful spot, Laguna is, and a great eating town as well. I definitely didn't go hungry. Lixey... I wish I had seen your post before I left!

Montage is an incredibly beautiful resort and it does have some good food. Studio, their high end restaurant is pricey, but tasty. Their casual spot, The Loft, was only fair, especially considering the price. The homemade granola was good, but their hot breakfasts were no better than Dennys. Las Brisas was not bad... the food was fine, our mains were good but not spectacular and the wine list was pretty pedestrian. My dessert however was marvelous. Chocolate mousse in an almond brittle cup. The view is incredible, especially at sunset. It was a congenial evening.

Zinc cafe, on Ocean I believe, was a great local breakfast spot. I had huevos rancheros with paypaya that was delicious. It's cheap too, for this town at least and there was a great local vibe to the place. It was fun to read the bulletin board. Everything from tarot reading classes and used purple vw bugs, to job postings for "assistant screenwriters". There was a flyer for a middle eastern cooking class out of someone's house that looked really excellent. Wish I could have taken it.

The best guacamole, hands down, was at La Sirena. A very casual mexican place in the Albertsons strip mall directly across from the Montage. Great atmosphere (for a strip mall, I loved the detail of the tin wainscotting) and again, great local people watching. Everything from snowbirds perusing their vacation photos to surfer girls with rainbow hair and jewels in their navels. My quesadilla was pretty darn good too. I understand it's the second restaurant in a small local chain. Hope they do well. They made us very comfortable.

I also took a brief class at Laguna Culinary Artshttp://www.lagunaculinaryarts.com/, which was enjoyable. Though the menu was extremely simplistic, grilled Halibut in EVOO and herbs, rice pilaf, strawberry salad with balsamic vinagrette, I did learn a few things and it was fun to work in their environment. My favorite part was having a dishwasher boy all to ourselves. I need one of those at home. Again the dessert was the highlight. Individual chocolate soufles. Some of their other classes looked to be more challenging. Perhaps on the next trip. The shop was fun to peruse as well. I now want a stovetop smoker to play with. I couldn't see schlepping it home on the plane though. :)

As always there were many more spots I wanted to try than I actually got to. Next time!

What's wrong with peanut butter and mustard? What else is a guy supposed to do when we are out of jelly?

-Dad

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  • 1 year later...

Wakin' up this thread.

I've eaten take out roasted chicken from Wild Oats Grocery.

Breakfast at Anastasia's - frittata and a giant oj

Breakfast at Zinc Cafe (who knew it was vegetarian?) The pastries are better than the hot food. Embarrassed to overhear people ask (at a counter) for 2 poached eggs, 5 minutes, on sourdough, one poached egg, 4 minutes, on whole wheat, no butter...these people should stay home! Nice pain au chocolate etc. I saw another of these in Corona del Mar, and think there is a third.

Slice from "Z Pizza" up in Aliso Viejo. Eh. Also a ham sandwich at Bruggers Bagel Bakery (they still have these down here - I think they all closed in Seattle.)

Tried "242 Cafe Fusion Sushi." I loved the sandwich place that was here years ago. A tiny place on Coast Highway (yes, 242 N. Coast Hwy.) The food is pricey, but not out of reach. The creations are works of art, and parts are very tasty, but I don't think it works overall. Had a good salad with slices of seared albacore and peppered salmon. Also a "sashimi" plate of the usual suspects, but laid out in a platter of spicy vinegar sauce topped with very tasty cooked, cold shitake mushroom chunks. The sauce and shrooms overwheled the fish IMHO. The Chef uses some ingredients from her own garden.

You can open the web site without downloading the Japanese character program:

www.fusionart.us

I tried the bar at Montage last July and was underwhelmed by the food. Went to 5' years ago - may try that again.

I'll check into the others here, except Las Brisas ("Lost Bras" in the old days. Perhaps I am wrong, but I think of lots of plastic surgery and gold chains!) The Cottage looks like a dump these days, was it always?

Not looking to spend big bucks, but am interested in suggestions, especially in Laguna Beach and Aliso Viejo. Thanks.

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Spending more time in Aliso Viejo/Laguna Niguel.

Tried a beer and potsticker appetizer at Stadium Brewing Co yesterday. Okay for a pre-movie bite. Nothing special.

Today, visited Ted's Place, 23990 Aliso Creek Road, Laguna Niguel 92677 (949) 831-0061/0062. Open 7 days 6 am to 9 pm, except Sunday they sleep in until 7 am. They have a drive through, you order inside at the register and wait for a tray to take your food to a booth. TVs quietly playing all over. I think Ted is of Greek ancestry, clue framed on the wall, but the menu is pure diner with Mexican specialties added in.

You got your spaghetti specials, dinner specials (Thursday is liver w/ bacon and onions), salads, burgers, sandwiches, a gyro plate, 12 oz t-bone dinner for $8.39, fish & chips, breakfast menu of grill items, country breakfasts, burritos, omlettes, even eggs benedict. Then there are the mexican favorites - including today's lunch - 2 carnitas tacos with rice and beans. 4 smallish tortillas contained close to a half pound of meat, fresh onions, cilantro, and perfectly ripe avocado. Nice cup of fresh salsa on the side (and a salsa bar beckoned as well.) Beans and rice were standard Southern California style, but fresh. $5.99 and I barely sampled the b&r. Nice selection of beverages (no alcohol) including tamarindo and horchata.

The burgers looked great, as did a side order of fried zuchinni sticks (a platter-full.) This place is out in the middle of nowhere, to my eye, but a quick drive from all the wonders of Laguna Woods (a huge elderly housing community) and across from the Laguna Design Center.

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Laguna Beach has a Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings (about 3 blocks from the beach) - the same group appears in Laguna Nigel (La Paz, just off the 73 toll road, Long's drugstore shopping area) on Sunday morning.

Interesting bread and pastry from half a dozen vendors, fresh fruit and vegetables, honey, jam, flowers, sausage...there were fruits I don't know - and not enough time for an explanation (caught them as they closed at 1:00.) No information stand, but I assumed they had to sell their own stuff until I saw one of the vendors had mangos for sale. Is it possible they grow those themselves?

Do not appear to be organically oriented, as are Seattle's, more and more.

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Thai Brothers, in the main part of town of Laguna Beach, 238 Laguna Ave. has pretty good Thai food. Nice satay (very tasty side salad of shredded vegetables in a spicy dressing), very fresh shrimp and vegetables in a green curry sauce. They also have fried duck with sauteed vegetables that I would like to try, as well as some other specialties I haven't seen at home.

I understand this place has a sister restaurant further south - Laguna Thai by the Sea - 31715 Coast Hwy.

I looked in at Bluefin by Abe, sushi at Crystal Cove - very cool interiors and exciting menu (Franco-Japanese, ala Nobu), a bit pricey. It is new. Funny little mall off the Hwy - Pacific Whey, this place, Sage (menu looks pretty good), Z pizza, Trader Joe's, major mall shops (Gap, etc.) and some smaller shops.

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This is a funny one - but don't laugh.

Wandered around Fashion Island - the high end shopping mall up the road in Newport Beach. I've been going there since it originally opened and never knew about Mariposa at Neiman Marcus. I read about the complimentary popovers and had to check it out.

Big, bright room, with beautiful people lunching (okay, tennis chicks, business men, and ladies who lunch...) They serve a complimentary demitasse of chicken broth, and then these great, big as your head popovers with strawberry butter. I'd go again just to eat those, but also had a very good lunch of sea bass served with sake carrots, fresh bok choy, and a rice cake (rice and black sesame seeds rolled into a ball and deep fried, but not greasy.) Absolutely nothing to complain about. I also saw a couple of orders of seafood salad that almost made me hungry all over again. Too full for dessert, didn't even look. The lunch was $20.

Is this typical of all their stores? (And found they carry great flavors of Vosges chocolates, but they don't take VISA or Mastercharge!)

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Parting shot:

Had a very good dinner at Tabu Grill. 2892 South Coast Hwy. Slightly tropical in decor yet refined, dinner only, wine & beer. The food is flavored by the Pacific Rim, but solidly California cuisine...maybe. Very nice salads and starters, some solid looking meat entrees, tasty desserts. Mac and blue cheese - lighter than it sounds. Usually I like the starters as a dinner better, so I went this way, but having seen the entrees, I would go back for a steak or chop. Had an enjoyable time. It only sits about 25, with a handful of those at the counter overlooking and interacting with the kitchen.

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This is a funny one - but don't laugh.

Wandered around Fashion Island - the high end shopping mall up the road in Newport Beach. I've been going there since it originally opened and never knew about Mariposa at Neiman Marcus. I read about the complimentary popovers and had to check it out.

Big, bright room, with beautiful people lunching (okay, tennis chicks, business men, and ladies who lunch...) They serve a complimentary demitasse of chicken broth, and then these great, big as your head popovers with strawberry butter. I'd go again just to eat those, but also had a very good lunch of sea bass served with sake carrots, fresh bok choy, and a rice cake (rice and black sesame seeds rolled into a ball and deep fried, but not greasy.) Absolutely nothing to complain about. I also saw a couple of orders of seafood salad that almost made me hungry all over again. Too full for dessert, didn't even look. The lunch was $20.

Is this typical of all their stores? (And found they carry great flavors of Vosges chocolates, but they don't take VISA or Mastercharge!)

Don't know about typical of all NMs...

I worked across the street from Fashion Island for several years and ate lunch many times at Nieman Marcus--mostly just us "ladies" as it was dainty fare. :laugh: The restaurant name was different then, but they still had the popovers, strawberry butter and broth. That's been at least 18 years ago, if not more. Aaaack! :shock: I can't possibly be getting that old. :raz:

Edited to add: Oh--about the credit cards--you're supposed to have a NM card!! :wink: I did and suppose still do somewhere--just not sure where I've got the stash of cards that I never use anymore. :laugh:

Edited by Maison Rustique (log)

Deb

Liberty, MO

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The best guacamole, hands down, was at La Sirena.  A very casual mexican place in the Albertsons strip mall directly across from the Montage.  Great atmosphere (for a strip mall, I loved the detail of the tin wainscotting) and again, great local people watching.  Everything from snowbirds perusing their vacation photos to surfer girls with rainbow hair and jewels in their navels.  My quesadilla was pretty darn good too.  I understand it's the second restaurant in a small local chain.  Hope they do well.  They made us very comfortable.

There is also one of these right in town - tucked onto a side street up from Main Beach. Unfortunately, I didn't try it this trip.

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This is a funny one - but don't laugh.

Wandered around Fashion Island - the high end shopping mall up the road in Newport Beach. I've been going there since it originally opened and never knew about Mariposa at Neiman Marcus. I read about the complimentary popovers and had to check it out.

Big, bright room, with beautiful people lunching (okay, tennis chicks, business men, and ladies who lunch...) They serve a complimentary demitasse of chicken broth, and then these great, big as your head popovers with strawberry butter. I'd go again just to eat those, but also had a very good lunch of sea bass served with sake carrots, fresh bok choy, and a rice cake (rice and black sesame seeds rolled into a ball and deep fried, but not greasy.) Absolutely nothing to complain about. I also saw a couple of orders of seafood salad that almost made me hungry all over again. Too full for dessert, didn't even look. The lunch was $20.

Is this typical of all their stores? (And found they carry great flavors of Vosges chocolates, but they don't take VISA or Mastercharge!)

This does sound very typical NM. In fact, it sounds exactly like the one at Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto. NM takes Am Ex and their own store card only.

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