Taste of the Town

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A restaurant resource for dining out in Laguna Beach
Umami Craze Set to Land in Laguna

The wildly popular gourmet LA burger shack is heading to Laguna.

Umami is a mysterious fifth piece of the taste bud puzzle, a flavor component never readily associated with sweet, sour, bitter or salty—yet always right on the tip of the tongue. However, Umami Burger aims to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue as it opens up shop in Laguna Beach—their burgers already known for satisfying the taste buds of many an Angeleno up the freeway.
The focus of their restaurants is on quality and freshness of ingredients, with house-ground meat and fresh baked bread leading the way for a prime, gourmet burger experience. Having recently won “Burger of the Year” in GQ, the newest Umami Burger will open up at 610 N. Coast Hwy., and will feature a nautical theme to complement its full arsenal of burgers, sides and drinks.
Locals can start reveling in the sweet (or is it savory?) umami-ness starting in early 2012. (umamiburger.com)

A Taste of India Arrives in Crystal Cove

Tamarind, the acclaimed, Michelin-starred Indian restaurant, makes its way west from London.

Famous in London for quite some time now, Tamarind now joins the rarified culinary air of Crystal Cove, and aims to share its northwest Indian favorites with Southern California’s hungry beachside diners.
Recognized by the illustrious Michelin Guide with a star for over a decade, Tamarind of London aims to duplicate its success in Orange County by utilizing locally sourced ingredients and building upon its eclectic small plate menu.
“Our U.S. culinary team, headed by Indian born Chef Shachi Mehra, has been working closely with Executive Chef Alfred Prasad, whose 11-year Michelin Star legacy at Tamarind in the UK has set the standard for elevated Indian dining.” says Maneesh Rawat, general manager of the new location.
Diners will be welcomed by three large, authentic tandoor ovens and an action-packed, open kitchen.
The new location brings crossover treats that weave their flavors between Indian and American, including scallops, calamari, chicken tikka, all sorts of kebabs and coconut steamed mussels.
Better make those reservations pronto. (7862 E. Coast Hwy.; 949-715-8338; tamarindoflondon.com)

Rock’N Your Lunch Hour

Local seafood favorite adds a faster and friendlier “Ready Set Lunch” menu to its regular array of options, as well as Prime Rib Sundays.

Rock’N Fish recently introduced a new lunch series for its midday diners, allowing them to enjoy a three-part meal for a great price. For just $12.95, “Ready Set Lunch” includes a choice of soup or salad, an entrée with a side and a refreshing beverage from the bar—which includes patron’s choice of wine, beer or house specialty Navy Grog. The menu encompasses a wide variety of land, sea and garden offerings, including fish and chips, a pulled pork sandwich and a fresh wedge salad, to name a few. The menu is ideal for those with limited time, looking for a hearty, budget-conscious lunch at one of Laguna’s premier seafood houses. This specialty menu is available during the week from 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., and allows loyal return customers the chance to order a different combination each time they sit down for lunch.
In addition, Rock’N Fish is also introducing prime rib Sundays. For $24.95 diners will get to choose between a soup or salad to go with their prime rib and dessert. (422 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-497-3113; rocknfishlb.com)

An Uncommon Experience

Chef Ryan Adams transforms conventional dining in his exciting new culinary adventure.

Gourmands take heart, the former Sorrento Grille, now 370 Common, is a new creation by the master madman in the kitchen, Ryan Adams, and promises to be a more fun, let’s-get-cozy, communal dining experience.
With a world of varying kitchen experience under his apron, Ryan aims to challenge and change typical interpretations of a night out for dinner by presenting his local, seasonal cuisine in a uniquely engaging setting. His meat and seafood classics are prepared and served in a vibrant environment that puts diners in friendly, spoken-word proximity with each other—encouraging strangers to leap the hurdles of unfamiliarity and find common joy together in a memorable surrounding.  Sharing stories and scallops is the ideal way to make new friends, and here’s how to do it at home in 370 Common style.

Seared scallops with spicy maple bacon vinaigrette and Brussels sprout gratin:
12 dry large (U-10) scallops
¼ cup grapeseed oil
4 slices nitrite-free smoked bacon (cooked)
2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Spicy maple bacon vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Brussels sprout gratin (recipe follows)
Method: Pat the scallops dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the oil to the pan and carefully place the scallops into the sauté pan, searing evenly on both sides, about three minutes, until medium-rare. Transfer scallops to a plate and keep warm. To serve, spoon some Brussels sprout gratin slightly off-center on each plate. Line the front of the gratin with three scallops. Spoon the spicy maple bacon vinaigrette around the scallops and then lay a bacon strip atop the gratin. Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Spicy maple bacon vinaigrette:
¼ cup nitrite-free smoked bacon, finely diced
½ cup water
1 cup sherry vinegar
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Method: In a stainless steel pot, combine the bacon and water, and place over medium heat. Cook until the water has evaporated, then reduce heat to low and continue to cook until the bacon is crisp. When done, deglaze with the vinegar and reduce by a third. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for five minutes. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Brussels sprouts gratin:
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup minced onion
½ cup flour
4 cups whole milk
2 pounds Brussels sprout, stemmed and quartered
½ tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup bread crumbs
Method: Preheat oven to 375° F. In a stainless steel pot, add the butter, shallots, garlic and onion, then cook over low heat, sweating the vegetables until soft. Add the flour and cook for five minutes. Then whisk in the milk and continue whisking until the mixture is free of any lumps. Stir in the Brussels sprouts, season with salt to taste and cook 10 minutes at a low simmer. Stir in ½ cup of the Parmesan and transfer the mixture to a greased baking dish. Top with the breadcrumbs and remaining Parmesan, and cover with foil. Place the baking dish into oven and bake covered for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake uncovered for an additional 5 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
Courtesy of Chef Ryan Adams, 370 Common (370 Glenneyre St.; 949-494-8686; 370common.com).


Three Cheers for Chocolate

Triple chocolate cake makes the perfect winter indulgence. Bake up one of Tommy Bahama’s sinfully delicious cakes at home this holiday season.

Triple Chocolate Cake
6 ounces Guittard Cocoa Rouge
24 ounces water
1 pound, 12 ounces all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon iodized salt
2 ½ tablespoons baking powder
2 ½ pounds sugar
24 ounces buttermilk
18 ounces vegetable oil
7 whole eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Method: Bring water to boil, turn off and add cocoa powder and stir until thick. Set aside to cool. Put the dry ingredients in a mixer with whip attachment. Mix on low to medium speed for three minutes until mixed thoroughly. Add all liquids at once except chocolate to the dry mixture while mixing. Scrape well. Mix for two minutes at a medium speed. Scrape well and add chocolate mixture. Scrape again. Mix to combine for about a minute on medium speed. Rest the batter for one hour. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut out parchment circles and place into greased cake pans. Spray non-stick cooking spray on top of the circles. Divide rested batter into two 10-inch cake pans. Bake for an hour. Insert toothpick to come out clean when completely done. Cool on wire rack.
Triple chocolate ganache frosting:
5 ounces of 61 percent Guittard chocolate
30 ounces powdered sugar
20 ounces sour cream
20 ounces butter
10 ounces Guittard Oban Wafers

Method: Use a double boiler to melt chocolate together until no lumps (110 – 112 degrees), and slowly add butter to chocolate. In a small mixer with whip attachment add all of the powdered sugar and all of the sour cream at once and whip on high speed until incorporated, about two minutes. Add chocolate mixture to the sour cream mixture, and whip until lighter brown (milk chocolate color) for about four minutes. Refrigerate frosting for 20 – 30 minutes while cutting the layers of cake so it firms up. It should be around 60 degrees when building the cakes.

Cake assembly: Take cooled cake out of pans, then invert cake on cutting board with the top of the cake facing upwards. Gently slice cake with ¾ inch cake cutter. When finished cutting the layers, trim them all so they are the same size. Reserve all cake trimmings and place in food processor and pulse until coarse. Place on sheet pan and put into oven to dry out and reserve for later. Place 12 ounces of frosting onto each layer, spread evenly. Repeat for each of the three layers. Place 24 ounces of frosting onto top and sides, spread evenly. Add dried out cake trimming around top and sides then place into refrigerator.

Chocolate whipped cream:
1 quart of heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons Guttiard Cocoa Rouge
8 ounces Swiss Chalet white chocolate mousse powder

Add:  all ingredients to mixing bowl and whisk together, then transfer to mixer with whip attachment and whip cream until thoroughly mixed.

Plating: Cut cake into eight large pieces, then spoon chocolate whipped cream onto cake. Garnish with chocolate curls.
Recipe courtesy of Tommy Bahama Laguna Beach Bar & Grill (400 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-376-6881; tommybahama.com).

Taco Tuesdays at Raya

Raya at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel offers a weekly experience to challenge and excite the taste buds of Taco Tuesday lovers.

Maybe it’s chunks of freshly prepared lobster served in black bean puree, chile de arbol salsa, cilantro and avocado. Or maybe it’s the surprise of Korean fried chicken with dragon sauce, kimchee and a lettuce cup, or perhaps it’s thick and juicy smoked swordfish in a freshly warmed tortilla—regardless of whatever’s inside the taco, the ever-changing menu that chefs Richard Sandoval and Marissa Gerlach of Raya roll out each Tuesday offers something delectable for taco lovers.
Raya takes the fun of taco Tuesday and imparts its own distinct flavor on the great SoCal tradition, as unexpected culinary surprises greet diners that come in for the always-fresh weekly specials. Tacos are $4 each, and are best devoured by the plateful—from 6 – 9 p.m. each Tuesday. (One Ritz-Carlton Dr.; 949-240-2000; ritzcarlton.com/raya)

Tempting Timballino

Enjoy a savory Italian main dish from Romeo Cucina. Find out how Jack Daniels finds its way into the tempting Italian dish.

Timballino Romeo Filling:
½ of one zucchini
½ of one squash
½ of a small eggplant
8 pieces of sundried tomato
8 pieces of mushrooms
2 shitake mushrooms
1 whole porcini mushroom
2 cups grated fresh mozzarella
1 cup grated Parmesan
2 cloves of garlic, diced
½ cup of manufactured cream
½ cup tomato sauce
250 grams of rigatoni pasta
1 cup Jack Daniels
1 large 10 x 17 inch sheet of puff pastry

For presentation:
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons diced fresh tomatoes
Few basil leaves

Method: Cook pasta in boiling water for about six minutes and drain, do not blanch. In a large pan, sauté garlic with extra virgin olive oil, add all the vegetables (except sundried tomatoes), and cook until golden brown. Add salt, pepper and Jack Daniels, let simmer for about two minutes. Add cream, tomato sauce and sundried tomatoes, a pinch of salt and black pepper. Add rigatoni and reduce the sauce until gets a pink color. In a large oiled baking pan, lay the puff pastry and add filling to half, then fold over the other half of the pastry and press with a fork all around to seal it. Bake it in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes, until the pastry gets golden and crispy. Place on a serving plate and sprinkle Parmesan, diced tomatoes and basil leaves.
Courtesy of Romeo Cucina (249 Broadway St; 949-497-6627; romeocucina.com).

High Taste From the Low Country

Skewer up some shrimp for an easy and flavorful appetizer. Country ham, bourbon, mustard and brown sugar flavor these simple and delicious skewers from The House of Big Fish & Ice Cold Beer.

Low Country Shrimp Skewers
16, 6-inch thin slices of country ham or prosciutto
16 uncooked large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
8 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
½ cup Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons bourbon
Vegetable oil
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
Method: Wrap a piece of ham or prosciutto around each shrimp. Thread two shrimp on each skewer and place on baking sheet. Mix mustard, bourbon and brown sugar. Brush on both sides of shrimp. Chill 30 minutes to two hours.
Prepare barbecue (medium to high heat). Brush grill with oil. Press one tablespoon of sugar through sieve over shrimp. Turn shrimp over and repeat with remaining sugar. Let stand 15 minutes. Grill shrimp until cooked through, about three minutes per side. Transfer to plates and serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy of House of Big Fish & Ice Cold Beer (540 S. Coast Hwy. #200; 949-715-4500; houseofbigfish.com)


BJ’s Pizza and Grill
280 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-3802;
328 Glenneyre St.;
The Cliff Restaurant
577 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-1956;
The Cottage Restaurant
308 N. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-3023;
Hennessey’s Tavern
213 Ocean Ave.; 949-494-2743
384 Forest Ave.; 949-715-3900;
Royal Hawaiian
331 N. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-8001;
Ruby’s Diner
30622 Coast Hwy.; 949-497-7829; rubys.com
Splashes Restaurant and Bar
1555 S. Coast Hwy. at Surf & Sand Resort; 949-497-4477; surfandsandresort.com
Stonehill tavern
One Monarch Beach Resort; 949-234-3200; surfandsandresort.com
Tommy Bahama Bar & Grill
400 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-376-6886;
Tivoli Terrace
650 Laguna Canyon Rd.; 949-494-9650;
Tivoli Too!
650 Laguna Canyon Rd.;
949-494-6044; tivoli-too.com

Brussels Bistro
222 Forest Ave.; 949-376-7955;

California Contemporary
230 Forest Avenue
230 Forest Ave.; 949-494-2545;
Café Anastasia
460 Ocean Ave.; 949-497-8903
Blue Laguna
696 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-376-2583;
Cafe Zoolu
860 Glenneyre St.; 949-494-6825;
K’ya Bistro Bar & The Rooftop Lounge
1287 S. Coast Hwy. at Hotel La Casa del Camino; 949-376-9718; kyabistro.com;
The Loft
30801 S. Coast Hwy. at Montage Laguna Beach; 949-715-6420;
Madison Square & Garden Cafe
320 N. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-0137;
Mosaic Bar and Grille at
Montage Laguna Beach
30801 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-715-6420;
Nirvana Grille
303-101 Broadway; 949-497-0027;
Sundried Tomato
361 Forest Ave.; 949-494-3312;
Tabu Grill
2892 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-7743;
The Terrace
425 S. Coast Hwy. at the Hotel Laguna; 949-494-1151; hotellaguna.com
The White House Restaurant & Nightclub
340 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-8088;
Watermarc Restaurant
448 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-376-6272;

Eva’s Caribbean Kitchen
31732 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-499-6311;

Mandarin King
1223 N. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-8992

Dizz’s As Is
2794 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-5250;

C’est La Vie
373 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-497-5100;
French 75
1464 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-8444;
Studio at Montage Laguna Beach
30801 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-715-6420;

Global Cuisine
1 Ritz-Carlton Dr.; 949-240-2000
Sapphire Laguna Restaurant & Pantry
1200 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-715-9888;

Italian & Pizza
Cucina Alessa
234 Forest Ave.; 949-497-8222
Gina’s Pizza
610 N. Coast Hwy.; 949-497-4421; 1100 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-4342; ginaspizza.com
Pizza Lounge
397 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-497-2277;
Polina’s Salerno Italian Restaurant
220 Beach St.; 949-497-2600
Ristorante Rumari
1826 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-0400; rumari.net
Romeo Cucina
249 Broadway; 949-497-6627; romeocucina.com
Ti Amo Ristorante
31727 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-499-5350;
Z Pizza
30902 Coast Hwy.; 949-499-4949; zpizza.com
610 N. Coast Hwy.; 949-497-5051;

GG’s Café-Bistro
540-108 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-9306;
Ocean Avenue Brewing Company
237 Ocean Ave.; 949-497-3381;
Zeytoon Cafe
412 N. Coast Hwy.; 949-715-9230;

480 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-715-5533;
Avila’s El Ranchito
1305 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-376-7040;
Coyote Grill
31621 Coast Hwy.; 949-499-4033;
Laguna Feast
801 Glenneyre St.; 949-494-0642
La Sirena Grill
347 Mermaid St.; 949-497-8226; 30862 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-499-2301; lasirenagrill.com
Las Brisas
361 Cliff Dr.; 949-497-5434;
1100 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-497-4148;
Taco Loco
640-1B S. Coast Hwy.; 949-497-1635;

The Beach House
619 Sleepy Hollow Lane; 949-494-9707;
Claes ovation
425 S. Coast Hwy. at Hotel Laguna; 949-376-9283; claesrestaurant.com
House of Big Fish & Ice Cold Beer
540-200 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-715-4500;

Mozambique Steakhouse & Coastal Lounge
1740 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-715-7100;

Rock’n Fish
422 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-487-3113;
30832 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-715-9200;
Laguna Culinary Arts
845 Laguna Canyon Rd.; 949-494-4006;

242 Café Fusion Sushi
242 N. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-2444;
Hapi Sushi
250 Beach St.; 949-494-9109;
858 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-793-4030;
O fine japanese cuisine
30872 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-715-5551;
San Shi Go
1100-303 S. Coast Hwy. (upper level);

Laguna Thai by the Sea
31715 Coast Hwy.; 949-415-0924;
Royal Thai Cuisine
1750 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-8424;
Thai Bros.
238 Laguna Ave.; 949-376-9979;

Zinc Cafe
350 Ocean Ave.; 949-494-6302;
zinccafe.com LBM

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