Full Moon Magic

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Splashes green gazpacho_credit Ashley Ryan
Green gazpacho with sourdough and spiced prawns at Splashes Restaurant | Photo by Ashley Ryan

As the tides rise, enjoy a special monthly dinner series at Splashes Restaurant.

By Ashley Ryan

 

The magic of the full moon is said to be good for many things, from charging and cleansing crystals to meditating and making wishes. But some of these healing vibes can also come from the ocean, with tides that are higher than usual when the moon is full.

Splashes Restaurant at Surf & Sand Resort is trying to harness some of this lunar power with its new monthly High Tide Dinner Series. Offered for one night only, the curated, chef-driven experience features a multicourse menu—complete with wine pairings—that is inspired by the moon and tides.

scallops at Splashes_credit Ashley Ryan
Seared scallops with English peas, prosciutto and a glass of pinot noir | Photo by Ashley Ryan

And there is no better spot in Laguna than Splashes for this type of culinary event. Set right above the beach, the dinner series is accented by the scent of salty mist in the air, the sound of rolling waves crashing on the sand and views of the golden sun as it shifts to an orange-pink hue and sets below the horizon line. While the bright moon isn’t visible from the restaurant, the high tide certainly is, illuminated by spotlights on the side of the building.

Each full moon, the menu changes. The first one, in April, offered a seafood-filled Super Pink Moon Menu. Following an appetizer of fresh bread, served with a tapenade made of sun-dried tomatoes, olives and capers, the meal started with a green gazpacho, poured tableside over crunchy sourdough topped with pieces of spicy prawns, avocado and pickled red onion. Though nice and light, the chilled soup drew a slight zest from its tomatillo base. The dish was paired with the fruity Crowded House sauvignon blanc, which offered a crispness to complement the shrimp.

Next up, guests were treated to a dish that combined soft seared scallops with English peas—both whole and pureed—as well as shavings of purple cauliflower, crisp layers of flavorful prosciutto, a citrusy orangecello emulsion and thin slices of Fresno chiles to add a spicy kick. The waiter offered a choice of pinot noirs to accompany the scallops, settling on a varietal crafted by Starmont.

The finishing touch, served once the moon had risen (though out of view) was pink peppercorn and lychee panna cotta, served with pieces of pistachio and raspberry sorbet then sprinkled with shortbread crumbs. And the beverage pairing: Royal Tokaji, a late harvest wine from Hungary with a high sugar content that pairs expertly with light, fruity desserts such as this one.

Pink peppercorn and lychee panna cotta_by Ashley Ryan
Pink peppercorn and lychee panna cotta | Photo by Ashley Ryan

While each touch was as airy and delicious as the ambiance, don’t expect the same menu next month, as the offerings change with the season. The menu for the upcoming Flower Moon on May 26 is still being finalized, but may include dishes such as a spot prawn aguachile (similar to the green gazpacho), spring pea and black truffle agnolotti pasta, pork belly with an agave-chile glaze, a Colorado rack of lamb or a white chocolate mousse sphere.

Additional dates are scheduled for the Strawberry Moon on June 24 and the Harvest Moon on Sept. 20, though a trip to Splashes is equally as lovely when the moon is not full. Sip a fruit-forward cocktail, like the tropical Guavarita or the rum-filled Bikini on the Rocks, while enjoying tastes from the dinner menu. Standouts include ahi tuna crudo, crisp octopus or tableside lobster bisque to start, while the restaurant features entrees like king salmon, seared petite filet and grilled pork chops accompanied by a carrot and blood orange puree. Additional desserts, such as a unique tropical cheesecake and creme brulee with berries, are also available.

Yet, somehow, everything just seems more magical bathed in the light of the full moon.

Splashes Restaurant
at Surf & Sand Resort
1555 S. Coast Highway
877-741-5908; surfandsandresort.com/splashes

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