Posts Tagged ‘Christie Lynch’

 

 {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

949-858-3360

Tutto Fresco Trattoria/Orange

1333 N. Glassell

Orange, CA  92867

(714) 771-1555

http://www.tuttofresco.biz

Enjoy!

Christie Lynch – freelance restaurant reviewer

Blog:  www.dinendesign.wordpress.com

Trabuco Oaks Steakhouse, Trabuco Canyon

If you think back to why you moved all the way out to the Coto/Trabuco Canyon area, you’d have to admit that you enjoy the secluded, rustic, California terrain.  The stories the hills, horse trails and ancient oak trees of our Trabuco Canyon could tell…tales of cowboys and indians, hunting excurtions, and the people of our local canyons are told and retold everyday, and they never seem to get old.   I recently met Dori Nordeck-Odenath, a Coto de Caza resident, and 25-year owner of Trabuco Oaks Steakhouse, and her husband, Al.  Over an amazing steak, crab, halibut and ribs dinner, they told Cindy, Andrew, Ken and I the legend of Trabuco Oaks Steakhouse.

The History

On June 28, 1968, Eleanor, Duke and Randy Sherod, opened Trabuco Oaks as a snack bar serving campers from O’Neill Park, as well as Trabuco Canyon residents.  Eventually they began serving dinner with two rules:  1) “Keep it simple”, and 2) “Do it right”.  Ever since, the steakhouse “serves only USDA CHOICE  corn-fed beef, the best available, aged just right, and hand-trimmed to their exacting standards.  Extra-thick top sirloins, T-bones, and hand-cut filets are broiled over real mesquite charcoal.  No gas, no electricity, no folderol.  Just the best darn steaks you have ever tasted.”  And they truly are!

“Doing it right” has attracted many repeat customers, like the local fire fighters, local football teams, other sporty and local legends, as well as President Nixon (there is actually a picture on the highly decorative wall of Eleanor cutting Nixon’s tie!).  Please note:  There is a tradition here; if you choose to wear a tie, it will be cut off and placed amongst the millions of ties adorning the walls throughout the restaurant.  You’ve been warned!

 

Location

If you’ve never been to Trabuco Oaks Steakhouse, it seems so close, yet so far away.  Leaving the big skies of Coto, you venture down into the canyon and will find yourself under an umbrella of oak and sycamore trees.  From Coto de Caza Drive, take Plano Trabuco Road out the north un-manned gate, pass SMHS.   As you descend into the canyon, Plano Trabuco will turn into Trabuco Canyon Road (Hang on!  It’s a curvy road!  And watch out for bikers, hikers and horseback riders!), cross the creek, and, at the ol’ General Store, take a right onto Trabuco Oaks Road and Trabuco Oaks Steakhouse will be on your right.  Welcome to rustic Trabuco Canyon!

Inside the Steakhouse

After parking your car/horse with their complimentary valet, you will enter a unique world, overwhelmed with old photos and collectables that tell stories of days of old.  We were escorted to a corner table, literally beside a tree!  The original owner of this house, actually built the structure to include the tree in the room!  Dori took us on a tour of this dark, eclectic steakhouse.  She shared with us a “special room”.  The staff refers to it as “table 24”.  In this private room, is a table that seats about ten.  Real barn doors adorned the walls and old pictures hang telling tales of people from years past.  As we continued to circle around the steakhouse, we ended up in the front room, decorated with more fabulous ties, an amazing tie quilt, and cool red vinyl booths.

Dori’s Staff

Dori can not say enough about how much she “LOVES HER STAFF”!  Her loyal cooks, servers and bar tenders have been with the steakhouse a good 20 years!  Our server, Kendall, one of the newer hires, has been waiting on steakhouse customers for only 10 years!  All the staff we talked to truly enjoy taking care of their guests and love what they do.  This attitude is both refreshing and important, and, says a lot about the owner.  Bravo Dori!

The Food

Upon arriving at the restaurant and smelling the BBQ smoke, I realized I was ready, and in the mood for, hearty eating.  We had an amazing spread that night, one that any cowboy would have been thoroughly satisfied with.  To start off, Ken and Andrew enjoyed a couple of tasty bloody marys.  Cindy had her signature Pinot, and I, my dry cab.  Dori suggested ordering “Fresh Off the Prairie” – a healthy vegetable ensemble of plump mushrooms, onions and pieces of bell peppers, served in a piping hot skillet, simmering slowly in red eye (sherry), blanketed in cheese and topped with a touch of “prairie dust”.   It was easy to entice me to order the special filet (so tender and juicy!) with crab legs (sweet!). Ken downed the Cowpoke – 16 oz Top Sirloin (the “bigger bang for your buck”).  Cindy enjoyed a Kansas City Rib Steak – a juicy 18 oz. bone-in cut mesquite grilled rib eye steak.   Andrew’s Catch of the Day was a really good 10 oz. filet of Halibut, which was cooked nicely over mesquite and served with tartar sauce (this was another of my favorites!).  We shared a wonderful plate of BBQ Beef Ribs, glazed with homemade BBQ sauce.  All entrees are served with their signature house salad (with blue cheese on the side – a nice touch that I really enjoyed!),their homemade baked beans and great baked potatos.  Needless to say, none of us had much room for dessert but decided to split a wonderful Hot Cherry Gizmo – cherry pie filling wrapped in a flour tortilla, deep fried, and topped with hot cherry sauce and whipped cream – oh yeah… it was good!

The menu at Trabuco Oaks Steakhouse goes beyond steak.  They make a mean patty melt (that I hear is quite addictive), downhome spaghetti, mesquite grilled chicken, fish plates as well as something for the vegetarians.  Next time you go, don’t forget your little buckaroos, as they have a great dinner menu for kids also.

The Morning After

The beauty of this meal is that it was hearty, healthy, satisfying, and, bizarrely enough, I felt great Sunday morning!  We brought a little extra steak home and had the left overs with our eggs,  a pot of coffee, and a bon fire outside amidst the cool morning air.  Ken and I thought of what legends we will leave behind – some can be retold, and some will go with us to the grave.

Thank you, Dori and Al, for your humor, company and hospitality.  Thank you, also, for sharing with us the great tales of Eleanor’s vision and continuing to “do it right.”  And finally, thank you for keeping the fun and unique traditions of Trabuco Oaks Steakhouse alive.

—————————————————

Trabuco Oaks Steakhouse (reservations recommended)

20782 Trabuco Oaks Road

Trabuco Canyon, CA  92678

949-586-0722

www.trabucooakssteakhouse.com

Hours:   Mon-Th  5:00pm-9:00pm;   Fri, Sat, Sun  4:00pm-9:00pm

Enjoy!

Christie Lynch – freelance restaurant reviewer

Blog:  www.dinendesign.wordpress.com

With your left over carnitas from yesterday, you can do one of many easy things for tonight:

1) LOUISIANA STYLE:

Shopping List:  Box of Black Beans & Rice, Frozen White/Roasted Corn, Turkey Sausage Link, Frozen Cooked Shrimp, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Red Onion, Ranch Dressing

This is one of my husband’s favorites:  In a big pan, make Black Beans & Rice (usually a Louisiana-style box of rice – follow box directions), add the carnitas, some corn, and cut up turkey sausage (like Hillshire Farms brand), defrost some cooked shrimp, if you have it.  Heat up and serve.  Eezy Peezy!  And it’s husband approved! 🙂     Add a salad, mixture of lettuce, tomatoes, red onions and Ranch Dressing

2) SOUTHWEST STYLE:

Shopping List:  Big Tortillas, Frozen White/Roasted Corn, Cheedar Cheese (shredded), Can of Black Beans, Enchilada Red Sauce, Corn Bread Mix, El Torito brand green cilantro salad dressing, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions

This one, also husband approved! Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grab some big tortillas, corn, shredded chedder cheese, some canned black beans, and the left over carnitas.  Get a 9″x13″ pan, coat with canola oil and about 1/3 cup of Enchilada red sauce (Trader Joe’s has a good one).  Fill the middle of each tortilla with the ingredients, wrap like a burrito and lay about 6 on top of red sauce/oil.  Pour remaining red sauce over the top of the burritos and rub sauce all around to coat.  Shred more cheese on top and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.   Whip up some corn bread (from a box; we love Trader Joe’s) and bake according to directions.  Make a quick salad with lettuce, cut up tomatoes, cheddar cheese, cut up red onion and El Torito’s green cilantro salad dressing.   You’ll look like a super star at the dinner table!  Don’t forget to say grace and be thankful!

3) BREAKFAST BURRITO:

Shopping List:  Eggs, Big Tortillas, Cheddar Cheese, Tomatoes, Red Onion, Salsa, Hot Sauce for dad, Juice/Milk Boxes, paper towels, tin foil, and plenty of Coffee of course 🙂

On game day, these are a hit, especially on the road, early in the morning.  First off, make your coffee (always take care of #1)!  Then make 6 eggs, any style; I prefer making egg whites in a small saute pan.  In each big tortilla, add carnitas, eggs, shredded cheddar cheese, and tomatoes, and onions, salsa, hot sauce (or whatever your favorite ingredients are).  Wrap into a burrito, then wrap in paper towel (your napkin for the road) and then wrap in tin foil (to keep warm).  Pour your coffee, grab the boys’ juice/milk boxes and off you go!  Kids get a healthy, hearty meal before the big game!  Note:  These can be made the night before for grab-n-go in the morning (just don’t forget to heat in the microwave withOUT the tin foil!)

Let me know what you think!

EnJOY!

Carnitas – Day 1

Oh, boy, is your family in for a treat!  This recipe is simple, simple, simple and yet so good!  Get out your crock pot – your new best friend during your favorite busy sport season.   I guarantee your family will LOVE YOU!

{Please note:  my family involves 2 boys, 1 man-child, 1 man, and 1 female who likes to eat a lot of protein – we’re ALL carnivors, so we hope you enJOY all our meaty recipes!}

 

CARNITAS

  • 3-5 lbs pork – shoulder roast (melts in the crock pot and shreds so nicely!) – enough for a 2nd meal, stay tuned!
  • 1 cup whole milk (this is a creamier version; 2% milk is OK too)
  • 1/2 orange – cut in half
  • 1 tsp sea salt (or whatever you have)
  • 2 tsp pepper (personally, I like cracked pepper)
  • 1/2 onion – chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves – chopped/pressed

Place pork in crock pot, fat-side up (so fat juices are pulled down through the meat while cooking,  mmmmmm!).  Add in milk, squeeze juice from the orange over the meat and throw in the rind, salt, pepper, onions and garlic.   Turn your crock pot on low for 6-8 hours.  Come home from practice and your house will smell like you’ve been cooking all day!

Serve with your favorites:

  • Flour/corn tortillas
  • Tomatoes – finely chopped
  • Onions – finely chopped
  • Cilantro – finely chopped
  • Corn – frozen white corn is our favorite; heat up in a hot water in the microwave
  • Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Guacamoli – home made if possible; check out my Guac recipe!

Let me know what you think… and check out “Carnitas, Day 2” – other meal options for the left overs.

EnJOY!

Football — Meaty Marinara Sauce 

The excitement is starting!  Football season kicks off this weekend with Pop Warner scrimmages and High School practices and preseason games!   To create a great, hardy meal for your family with little effort, get your crock pot out and let’s make some Meaty Marinara Sauce!                                                                 

Ingredients to throw into the Crock:

  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • 1 pound Ground Beef (already cooked and seasoned with salt and garlic powder)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Dash of Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Basil
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Oregeno
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 3 large Garlic Cloves (skins removed, finely chopped)
  • 3 (14-oz.) cans of Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt (or whatever you have)

 Set the Crock on low and let slow cook for 6-8 hours.

When ready to serve, take out the bay leaf, boil up some of your favorite pasta, throw a quick salad together and dinner will be ready for you and your family after practice (and, oooooohhh, your house will smell GOOD!)   EnJOY!

Go Titans!  and EnJOY!

xo  Christie (Team Momster)

 

Who’s who?

xo

These four paintings were custom designed to match the accessories in a young girl’s room, accenting pinks and black, and providing a relaxing atmosphere.

Ahhhhh….

Sarducci’s Capistrano Depot

 &

Camino Real Playhouse

  {San Juan Capistrano}

 

First, on a sad note:I have to share some sad news.  On the Thursday in June, when I dropped off a stack of “Coto Voice” review publications to Scott Selman, owner of Milo’s Café in Lake Forest, I never envisioned it would be his last.  That evening, at 42 years young, Scott passed away from a heart attack.  Struck and saddened by this news, I prayed for his wife of four-years, Grace, who’s background is in finance, but who has now found herself running her husband’s dream restaurant, that he fought so hard to create.  Milo and Jake are deeply saddened as well, and want you to come visit them to keep Scott Selman’s dream alive; they believe a good card game, a scratch under their chin, and some good food can turn anyone’s spirits up!  (www.miloscafe.com – off Lake Forest Parkway, across from the newly renovated Etnie’s Skatepark, in the Home Depot Shopping Center).  (For the Milo’s Café June review, visit www.dinendesign.wordpress.com.)

MURDER BY THE MISSION!

 

 

And if that news wasn’t bad enough, as I was strolling around downtown San Juan Capistrano, a flyer blew past me with disturbing news.  Curious, I grabbed it and it read, “Murder by the Mission”.  I had to investigate.  I discovered that Sarducci’s Capistrano Depot (the incredible brick, historic building of the old railroad station), now a wonderful restaurant, partners with the Capistrano Center for the Performing Arts to host “Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre!”  Intrigued, I booked us a reservation.

The Experience 

On a warm and incredible summer Sunday evening, Ken, Andrew, Cindy and I arrived in the beautiful, historic district of San Juan Capistrano around 5:30pm.  We had time before our 6:30 reservation, therefore crossed the tracks and discovered a lovely little cozy area of Los Rios Street — old homes turned into restaurants, shops and gardens (stay tuned for future reviews!).  As we chatted about our top-of-mind stressers of the day, the stroll and surroundings massaged our minds and souls and we became more relaxed.  It was hard to believe that there was a murder taking place.

 The Interrogation

Looking forward to dinner, we checked in at Sarducci’s and were greeted by a rude Detective Victoria Campbell who asked us where we had been in the last hour.  After questioning us, she had us go into a special room, where they happened to be serving champagne.  Having nothing to hide, we obliged.  Curious conversation began brewing about “a murder”.  They had us sit down at our dinner table while finishing up the interrogations of other guests.

 The doors shut, and we were trapped in a wonderful room along the train tracks, surrounded by facinating art and enticing smells.  Then the murder began to unfold with a cast of character actors, playing out a game of “who done it?”  Now, I’m not going to say much more, as I don’t want to give too much away.  But I will say that it was fun, interactive and wildly entertaining.   Oh, and pay attention! 

Dinner Review

I got lost in the story, forgetting that we were there to review the food.  Once our dinner arrived, I woke up to wonderful aromas of Ancho-Chili Salmon (fresh salmon fillet, pan-seared then baked with a glace of ancho chili, honey and dijon mustard; garnished with dollops of jalapeno sour cream and served with herbed mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables), Parmesan Crusted Chicken (a tender chicken breast coated with panko crumbs and parmesan cheese then lightly grilled and served with a lemon cream sauce, mashed potatoes and fresh asparagus), Asparagus & Sundried Tomato Pasta (fresh asparagus, mushrooms and sundried tomatoes with olive oil, basil and garlic on linguine noodles topped with shredded jack cheese) and Mini New York Steak & Shrimp (a tender 5 oz. New York strip loin cooked medium rare with a brandied mushroom demi-glace and grilled shrimp;  served with herbed mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables).  For dessert, we enJOYed two wonderful and heavenly choices:  Mini Molten Lava Cake (warmed and topped with Vanilla Bean ice cream), and Apple Cobbler (a thick layer of fresh apples baked into a sweet Southern biscuit cobbler and topped with Vanilla Bean ice cream, whipped cream and drizzled with caramel sauce).

Throughout the performance, the four of us, exchanged dinner samples.  As the food critique in “Ratatouille” said, in a low, highly judgemental voice, “If I don’t like it, I don’t swallow.”  You could read our faces.  We communicated by swallowing, rolling our eyes in pleasure, smiling, finishing every morsel on our plate and concluding with four thumbs up! 

By the end of the performance, we found ourselves trying to figure out who the murderer was.  Thank you to Tom and Dennis, the managers at Sarducci’s, for their hospitality.  All in all, we agreed that this overall experience rated very high in our books and we give Sarducci’s Capistrano Depot and Camino Real Playhouse a standing ovation! 

Book It @ Sarducci’s!

There are limited “Murder by the Mission” experiences and we highly recommend you book your “Murder Mystery Dinnter Theatre” event today for August 14th, September 11th, or October 9th!  For reservations at Sarducci’s, call 949-493-9593 (26701 Verdugo, SJC, CA  92675)  www.capistranodepot.com

Camino Real Playhouse

Just up the street from Sarducci’s is the Capistrano Center for the Performing Arts, Camino Real Playhouse & Stage II, Capistrano Shakespeare Festival and Capistrano Acting Academy.  I must say, when I visited the center, it was bustling with summertime students, as well as professional actors.  It felt big time for our Orange County community.  I’d like to extend a special thank you to the writer/directors/producers of this unique experience, Beverly Blake and Tom Scott.  My hats off to you for your vision and creativity!  Visit their web site regularly to discover new events, classes and ticket information for their 2011-2012 season!  http://www.CaminoRealPlayhouse.org  (31776  El Camino Real, SJC, CA  92675).                                                           

EnJOY!

Christie Lynch – freelance restaurant reviewer

www.dinendesign.wordpress.com

It’s official!  Our first book:  “You Wiped What WHERE?” has launched on www.Amazon.com — a great gift for any boy, or his mom, for under $10!  Order as a special gift, just because, and send it directly to their house.  The joy of any child (or mom) opening up a package is priceless! 

“Boogers, snot and smeared food everywhere!  Shaking her head in disbelief, Mom asks, “You wiped what WHERE?”  Mom is serious about stopping her boys disgusting wiping habits.  But how can she teach Anderson, Russell and Timmy the importance of good hygiene?  With a little creativity, and lots more boogers, snot and food crumbs, of course!”

Written by:  Amy Von Kaenel

Illustrated by:  Christie Lynch

      

We are truly fortunate to be living in this beautiful community of ours, in a climate that rivals any in the world.  As the summer approaches we can look forward to warm evenings and Southern California sunsets.  When the weather gets warm, my family goes to the beach, and more often than not, we go to Laguna, because Laguna has my favorite beaches.  For this month’s Food Finds, we’re going to venture outside our little sphere, to the incredibly beautiful town of Laguna, to tell you about a new restaurant with a familiar name:  Tommy Bahama.  Some of you may be thinking that you have already been to Tommy Bahama, and that they are all the same, but the one in Laguna is different.  The food can be best described as a lighter healthy fare exclusive to the Laguna location.

We just happened to go to Tommy Bahama on a very hot and balmy Saturday night, the perfect night to go into Laguna Beach.  The ambiance of the Laguna Tommy Bahama gives you the feeling that life’s just one BIG weekend with its laid-back décor and airy atmosphere.  The entry foyer looks and feels as if you are visiting a friend’s beach home with a very inviting and cozy feel.   The walls are all adorned with the most fabulous photos of Laguna’s beaches, the boardwalk, as well as long ago shots of downtown.  No matter where you are seated within the restaurant, there are perpetual views of the ocean from the surrounding sparkling windows.  We truly lucked out the night we went and were able to catch the sunset from our table while entranced in the amazing flavors being served to us.

Tommy Bahama in Laguna Beach has it’s own unique menu, which is on the lighter side and features seasonal changing dishes.  Executive Chef Marcus Lage has come up with many incredible fusions of tastes to tantalize any newcomer to the restaurant.  We started off with the Muscles (which I have never had before…) they are served with an amazing broth that you can soak up with some of the tastiest garlic bread around.  Yup I will definitely be having muscles again.  The Lobster Corn Dogs are perfectly fried (not too heavy), and definitely the bomb at Tommy Bahama, which are served with Sriracha Mustard (Nice N spicy) and Mango Ketchup dipping sauces.  You must try them!  My favorite appetizers of the night were, the Lobster Corn dogs and the Ahi Tuna Tacos.  The Ahi Tacos are served with a lightly fried wonton shell with the most amazing Asian slaw and perfectly topped off with a Wasabi-Lime infused avocado sauce.  Seriously I really could have eaten the whole plate myself. 

Dinner was on its way and we were already in food heaven.  We had the Atlantic Char, which is a cross between Salmon and Trout.  It was extremely delicate and lightly prepared with a Sweet Pea Risotto and Fennel slaw.  Atlantic Char is farmed here in the US and considered very safe to eat, a new favorite of mine.  The Mahi Mahi was served with Grilled asparagus and Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc Red Quinoa.  The Mahi Mahi was cooked excellently giving it the perfect lightness that you want from Mahi Mahi, and the Quinoa  was very tasty.   All the Seafood and Meat served at Tommy Bahama is locally sourced and humanely raised whenever possible. Next we had the Filet and Shrimp, which was the most  tenderest Tenderloin topped with herbed cheese, served with Chipole-lime shrimp, the fluffiest whipped mashed potatoes and a cracked pepper demi glaze.  If you’re a steak lover, then you have to try the Filet.  The meat was very tender and moist and cooked to perfection.   I know it sounds like we had everything on the menu… but that’s what you MUST do to during a review.  Lucky us, we even got to have the Steak Salad, which was served with their mouth watering tenderloin, watercress, baby greens, cucumbers, roma tomatoes, all drizzled with sweet onion vinaigrette dressing.  The Tenderloin salad is the perfect salad for a light appetite.

Ok, Ok, on to the desserts!  We had the Root Beer Float, which brings back childhood memories, and is served with drizzled caramel on top and definitely a great treat after a long warm afternoon at the beach.  The Banana cream pie is nestled in a graham cracker crust drizzled with caramel sauce.  If you’ve never had Banana Cream pie, then this is the place to indulge.  You will be hooked and begging for more.   The triple chocolate cake has three different kinds of chocolate with four layers of chocolate perfection.  Definitely large enough to share but it might be hard to give up one bite of this delicious cake. 

Tommy Bahama in Laguna Beach is committed to being an Eco-friendly company, and are constantly working on ways to reduce waste by using sustainable systems such as a high tech compost system and donating their compost to the a local elementary School.  Nutra, an environmentally friendly water filtration system, is used to serve the most delicious water in a reusable glass bottle that is placed on your table while you dine. The Natura water filtration system eliminates the impurities and retains the healthy minerals in water.    We ate EVERY last bite of our meal and had no need for To Go containers.  However if you cannot finish your meal, the good news is, their To Go containers are made from biodegradable cardboard.  Tommy Bahama is definitely on the for front of the Green movement with their Eco-Friendly ways and sustainable commitment to our community. 

Tommy Bahama of Laguna Beach, a great place to take the family for an extremely delicious meal and as well as a great place to go after a long and warm day spent on the beautiful beaches in Laguna.  Where you can feel like you’re on vacation without having to go far from home. 

Also don’t forget to check out their retail store, which is just steps up from the dining room on a mini replica of the boardwalk from main beach.   Tommy Bahama has always been known for their fashionable clothing and will not disappoint here in their new Laguna location.

We hope to see you at the new Tommy Bahama next time we’re in Laguna!

                                                        Cindy and Christie

Tommy Bahama

400 South Coast Hwy

Laguna Beach, CA 92651

949-376-6886

www.tommybahama.com

Open 11:30 AM-11PM Sun-Thurs

Open 11:30AM-Midnight Fri & Sat