Posts Tagged ‘catering’

“Coto Voice – Food Finds”  January Issue 2012

Savoie’s Fare Pastry & Cafe, Laguna Niguel 


 In an effort to figure out who I was last year, I came up with the blog:, because when I’m not dining, I’m designing (and vice versa).  I recently experienced both at a wonderful bakery and café, called Savoie’s Fare in Laguna Niguel.  Local Coto de Caza resident, Kristine Stack, owns this wonderful little establishment and recently has updated the look, tone and feel and had me transform the feel into relaxed, faraway places of Venice and Capri through murals in the dining rooms.

A Unique Painting Experience

After a long productive day of making many people very happy through Savoie’s Fare’s artistic cakes and pastries, lovely menu items and cheerful service, the kitchen was cleaned, the beautiful pastries were delicately put away in an oversized refrigerator, the servers had cashed in their tips, and Kristine locked up and said, “Good night, Christie.  Help yourself to some pastries. And, oh, there is some wine open if you’d like.”   I thought to myself, “Is this really happening?  It’s 10:00pm, I’m alone in this restaurant, amidst fading dinner aromas, moody jazz music, I’m able to have any pastry I want, and a glass of wine to boot, and my “job” is to paint beautiful scenes from faraway places.”  Life doesn’t get much better than this!  Every one of my senses was evoked and I thought I was in heaven!  After an hour or so of painting, I took a break and had a sample piece of their Chocolate Truffle Mousse Cake.  Un-believable!   As I stood on top of my ladder, this euphoria came over me.  I felt so blessed for so many reasons and was so thankful for this experience.  Could chocolate actually affect me in this way?  I know in my favorite movie, “Chocolat,” that the main character’s chocolates aroused people (and the worst part was it was during Lent – oh the temptation!).  Over the next few weeks, I painted many nights and Mondays (as they are closed on Mondays) and I can truly attest that there is something special in Savoie Fare’s desserts (because I tried a lot of them)… and I like them all!  I need to pray for self-control, because if this is like a drug, I’m hooked!

Chef Jacques Savoie

Through many early mornings, I met and got to know Chef Jacque Savoie who has had a 30+ year, distinguished career as a Pastry Chef working at notable places, such as the Westin Hotel, Ottawa, the Four Seasons Hotel in Montreal, The Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel, Pasadena and the Ritz-Carlton in Mauna Lani, Hawaii.  He has won many competitions at culinary shows well before there was such a thing as Cake Wars on the Food Network.  His wedding and specialty-order cakes are truly works of art!  We agreed that if I teach him to paint, he’ll teach me to be a pastry chef.  Life keeps getting more interesting!

The Staff

The wait staff, chefs and assistant pastry chefs have been with Savoie Fare for at least 6-13 years!   They really are a lovely group who truly love serving others, in life, and at the restaurant.

The Menu

Savoie’s Fare has a well rounded and delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner menu (please note hours/days of the week they serve at the end of this article).  Cindy, Andrew, Ken and I went to breakfast on a crisp December morning.  When it’s cold outside the smells of the café came alive even more.  Among the four of us we had the following yummy breakfasts: Eggs Not Quite Benedict (two poached eggs on English muffins, served with Brie cheese and fresh fruit); Skirt Steak & Eggs (eggs, yummy seasoned potatoes, sliced tomato and choice of toast); Savoie’s Fare Scramble (eggs, spinach, mushrooms, tomato, topped with melted Swiss cheese and served with fruit/potatoes); Crepe Dianne (one thin crepe stuffed with chicken, asparagus, Swiss cheese and Bechamel sauce & topped with cranberries – my favorite!).  I regret not trying the Quiche, as I hear it’s worth coming back for. Their lunch menu is full of creative plates like, wonderful soups, salads, pastas, sandwiches (my choice: Grilled Portobello Mushroom sandwich and the French Onion soup!).  In the evening, to start off with, I would recommend the Coconut Shrimp, Chicken Pot Stickers, and/or Tuna Tartar.  For dinner, they have a wide variety of mouth watering entrees (starting at about $22); some of my favorites choices are the Baked Salmon, Alaskan Halibut, Filet Mignon and the Meatloaf.

The Reviews Are In – Comments from others

It seems I’m not the only one with positive things to say about Savoie’s Fare.  Some other comments read as follows:  “This is the only place in OC with truthful genius French pastries…if I want to waste my calories on dessert, it will only be here.”  “Best kept secret.”  “Pros:  great menu, desserts, service/staff, cakes and selection; Cons:  closed on Mondays.”  “The desserts are beautiful and taste like heaven.”  (Honestly, there were at least 3 reviewer comments like this one and mine!)  “My wedding cake was amazing!”  “It is my favorite place for a special lunch or quiet dinner.”

Web Site & Location

To see more works of culinary art, visit Savoie’s Fare web site:, or better yet, stop by and see art in action yourself!

Savoie’s Fare Pastry & Cafe
31161 Niguel Road (at Clubhouse Drive)
Laguna Niguel, CA  92677

Call to make a reservation for a special Valentine dinner!  Or order individual pastries as special gifts for others.  There is something here for everyone!

Breakfast:  Sat/Sun 8:00am-12:00pm
Lunch:  Tues-Sun  11:00am-5:00pm
Dinner:  Wed-Sun 5:00pm-9:00pm

Bon Apetit!

Christie, Cindy, Andrew & Ken


 {Rancho Santa Margarita & Orange}


One of the restaurants in our South Orange County area that I have frequented often, by pure craving, is Tutto Fresco – located in the beautiful foothills of Rancho Santa Margarita as well as a fun location in Orange (a must stop prior to an Angels or Ducks game!  Bring your Angels/Ducks ticket and you can receive a free appetizer or dessert too!).  Tutto Fresco, translated to “everthing  fresh”, says it all.  Their ingredients are always so “totally fresh” and carefully and artistically blended to be appealing to the eye, as well as evoke your  taste buds.  I sat down with owner, and Coto de Caza resident, Debbie White (co-owner with husband, Steve White) the other day over an amazing lunch at Tutto Fresco/RSM to discuss their restaurant philosophies.

The Team

The true food artist and one of the main ingredients to Tutto Fresco’s success, is Dan Johns — both chef and general manager.  Dan is passionate about the experience he wants his guests to have.  Along with his sommelier talent (buying and selling premium wines that compliment his clientel’s taste, both financially, as well as, of course, complimenting and enhancing the food), and his creativity with the menu (always a seasonal menu in addition to their main menue which is full of fresh variety), he truly knows his purpose in this life.  Dan’s foodie talent, along with Steve and Debbie White’s  combined years of experience and consulting in the restaurant industry, makes this Tutto Fresco team, top notch.  The best part?!  They all truly enjoy what they do!  You can feel that sentiment through their plates and willingness to please their customers.  For example, Dan, on an occasional busy Friday or Saturday night, will take a platter of samplers out to the patrons who are waiting for their table.  This team gets involved with and gets to know their customers — that truly is an added bonus in my books and a key ingredient to success.

The Atmosphere

Debbie, you can tell, had a say in the décor – very tastfully accented and comfortable, with a touch of an Italian flair.  Patrons have a choice to sit either indoors (like a family living room) or outside on their patio where you can watch the hustle and bustle of RSM life.  City Hall is across the street and the movie theater is across the way, making it a very convenient place to eat prior to a local event, or movie showing.

The Food

Life is full of choices and when it comes to restaurants, we don’t want to waste our time and money, and we expect the food to be amazing every time.  Restauranteurs really need to nail it, knowing that they are pleasing most of the people, most of the time.  At Tutto Fresco, I would bet you’ll be pleased all of the time with innumerable options of:  appealing appetizers, pasta dishes, vegetable dishes, great salads, tasty soups, paninis, wraps, sandwiches, chicken,  fish and seafood, lamb, sausages,  pizzas, calzones, desserts (awarding winning carrot cake!), etc. etc.  Their menu is quite extensive.  Their three most popular dishes are the Baked Sausage Lasagna (true “man food”), Rigatoni della Camera dish, and the Spinach Ravioli.  New recipes make their debut on the seasonal menu, then, based on consumer interest, they will pass and make it on the big menu.  And I must say, the menu is growing!!!

Dan personally came out and started us off with one of his many new creations:  Bruschetta Parmesan Nest,  a beautiful presentation, easy to eat, and full of parmesan and fresh tomato flavor!

Always thinking and creating, Dan came up with another Bruschetta al Pomodoro   served with grilled corn and home-made guacamoli – a must try.

Next, we tried his Mini Fig Pizza  which is a wonderful combination of sweet figs and savory pancetta with Norwegian goat cheese – great bold flavor with a balance, very, very good and one of my favorite flavor combinations.  Debbie ordered the Blackened Shrimp & Peach Salad (no photo here, we ate it too fast!  Oops!) – a great summer choice, and the shrimp was done just right.  And finally, we had lamb.  I must note, that I was honest, and told Dan and Debbie that I am not a fan of lamb, but they insisted I give it a try.  From the appetizer menu, another beautiful presentation of four Macadamia Nut Baby Lamb Chops  with a macadamia pesto and mustard sauce – I was impressed and I WILL order it again, it was that good.  I’ve been won over!

Menus everywhere seem to be declaring the American consumers’ cry for “health conscious choices”.  Tutto Fresco hears you and has developed healthy menu items, including a Fitness Wrap and a great Tortilla Soup, just to name a few.

After Debbie’s and my big, wonderful meal, there was no room for dessert.  Ironically enough, at my Girls Game Night Out the next evening, the hostess ran out to Tutto Fresco and ordered an assortment of appetizers, salad and their little aMAZing Chocolate and Carrot Cakes.  I know I haven’t had everything on the menu yet, but everytime I go/order from Tutto Fresco, I’m going to try something new.  I’m thinking eggplant next time…

Fund Raisers

Not only is Tutto Fresco a truly great destination for wonderful family dinners, sporting lunches/dinners, wedding showers, baby showers, birthday celebrations, Mother’s Day brunches, but also a wonderful place to have a fund raiser for a school, a team, or helping someone out in the community.  Debbie and Steve White,  are always eager to participate in community events and fund raisers.  Just last week at the restaurant,  the Santa Margarita Catholic High School Girls Cross Country families held a successful fund raiser dinner for their team.  Fund raising dinners have helped out Tesoro High School’s football team, drama group, as well as Tijieras Creek Elementary and St. John’s schools.  We held a very successful dinner fund raiser to help out the Fallon family last year when our friend, Luke, had sudden brain surgery; Luke showed up and was greeted by familiar and unfamiliar faces in support of his recovery.  (I’m happy to report that, a year later, he is doing more than amazingly well!).  Debbie and Steve are more than willing to give back 20% of lunch/dinner sales (dining in/take out orders apply), Mondays-Thursdays.  Give Debbie a call to set up your fund raiser today:  (949) 858-3360.

All in all, I can’t say enough about Tutto Fresco – amazing food for all occasions.  Contact me on my blog and tell me about your favorite menu items!

Buon Appetito!

Tutto Fresco Trattoria/RSM

30642 Santa Margarita Parkway, Suite E104

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA  92688


Tutto Fresco Trattoria/Orange

1333 N. Glassell

Orange, CA  92867

(714) 771-1555


Christie Lynch – freelance restaurant reviewer