|2008 Discussion - Best of the Year?|
The Surf & Sand is pricey, but for those who cannot resist the serenity of a balcony over the ocean, for those who love the fresh ocean air and the endless pounding of the surf through open double doors, there is no better place to be.
Laguna is internationally known for art festivals and events – most notably, the Sawdust Festival and the Pageant of the Masters. Sawdust is local art show, fun and casual; the kind of art and craft show that serves cold imported beers and offers free entertainment as part of the overall package. Strolling around Sawdust, a nice walk from downtown Laguna - a fine way to spend an afternoon – open 10 to 10 daily, it runs through September 2nd. All located in the same area of Laguna, the Festival of the Arts and the Pageant of the Masters (where art comes alive on stage) is the main event. Tickets for the Pageant can be a hot item.
|Nice Super Tuscan|
Breakfast in Laguna is a real pleasure. We visited two well regarded local establishments, the Cottage and the Beach House. The Cottage is just north of Main Beach and offers indoor and outdoor dining. Some of the locals absolutely swear by the place and it is good – we had some tasty and generous omelets. The Cottage also serves lunch and dinner – we will check that out down the line. The Cottage has been there since 1917 – a restaurant since the 1930’s.
|Beach House - Eat Outside on the Balcony!|
We were attracted to the look and the buzz at a restaurant called Asada, a nice open air venue in downtown Laguna. The business card has three words on it to describe the place: Steaks, Tequila, Fiesta. Right on target – the bar runs right down the middle of the place, so the diners and the revelers are in close proximity. Fun place. We started with some Guacamole Diablo – some Classic Albondigas Soup and tender Filet Mignon Tacos. A nice bottle of Brown Estate Zinfandel – direct from Bevmo – was perfect, bringing a rich berry flavor to the table, just right amid the spice. Our server enjoyed some wine with us and poof – no corkage.
|The Rooftop - It is a party up there!|
If there is a pulse to Laguna Beach, it has to be the Rooftop at La Casa Del Camino. It is a front row seat to staggering Pacific sunsets and quite the outdoor party venue. It could be the happy hour that has an impact – half price wine, well drinks, beer and the best Mojito we have enjoyed in a while. Maybe the setting makes everything taste better, the Baja Ceviche was excellent. This is a place to snack, drink and laugh out loud, especially at happy hour, when the patrons are revved up.
|Best thing we had at Katsuya|
At Katsuya, we kept waiting for one thing to taste as good as the bottle of 2008 Ferrari-Carano Tresor that we carried in. This wine was so exceptional, I am not even bitter about the $25 corkage. Yeah, maybe I am. But then again, someone has to pay for all that designer bling.
Here are the winemaker’s Notes from wine.com:
Inspired by the great wines of Bordeaux, our 2008 Trésor, meaning "treasure" in French, showcases the vintages' finest lots of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. The grapes are hand harvested from dry-farmed, low-yielding vines primarily on our mountain vineyards. Delicious aromas of black tea, cedar, earth, vanilla, blackberry and cassis combine with rich, wild berry flavors and a full mid-palate with considerable, round tannins. Lingering sweet oak notes of crème brûlée and dark chocolate add great depth. This wine's upfront silkiness and roundness make for a delicious selection now and will drink well for 15-20 years.
Blend: 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Petit Verdot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 10% Malbec
Here a tip from the locals. On our last night in town, around 9:30 PM, we were walking back to our hotel after that nice dinner at Asada. We chatted up the owner of a local t-shirt shop and the young man suggested a restaurant called Café Zoolu. As he put it, “A little place with the best seafood in town, the best.” So, we walked over to 860 Glenneyre and initially, could not find Café Zoolu on the dark street. An older couple passed us (even in the darkness, it was clear by the red hue that these locals need to find some shade once in awhile) and we asked them where Café Zoolu was. They pointed down the road at a small restaurant and added “The best seafood in town.” Next time, Café Zoolu for sure.
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