Recommendations Requested: Laguna Beach, CA And Environs

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Recommendations Requested: Laguna Beach, CA And Environs

Postby Gary Barlettano » Tue Jul 25, 2006 6:10 pm

At the end of September I'll be attending the Snack Food Association's Top Management Seminar. My marketing folks would like to stage a customer loyalty event at which about 20 of us, salesfolk and customers, will be putting on the old feedbag. At the moment I have them looking at the Summit House in Fullerton and the Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel. The owners of my company will be coming in from Australia. I haven't met them yet, but they seem to be down-to-earth, friendly folks who appreciate a good time and a good restaurant over one which is simply ostentatious.

What say you? Anything which you think might fill the bill in or near Laguna Beach, CA? It doesn't necessarily have to be a wine place (although in my own selfish interest, that wouldn't hurt :roll: )

Thanks!
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Re: Recommendations Requested: Laguna Beach, CA And Environs

Postby Jenise » Tue Aug 01, 2006 10:39 pm

Gary, where's the event itself you're attending being held? I take it you're talking Laguna--if so, there's no reason on the planet to go to Fullerton. It's just another crowded Southern California town that's a pain to get to, and there are many excellent choices in and around Laguna, like the Ritz that you mention. Can't beat it for the view and the weather--your Aussie friends would KILL you if you made them leave the breezy idyllic coast for a hot, smoggy, inland nowhere like Fullerton.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Recommendations Requested: Laguna Beach, CA And Environs

Postby Gary Barlettano » Tue Aug 01, 2006 11:04 pm

Jenise, The event itself is being held at the Montage Resort and Spa in Laguna Beach. I know how ugly Fullerton can be, but the Summit House is a nice venue ( = the devil I know). Still, it would be nice to find something closer and I just don't know the area well enough. Maybe I should just take them all to the Outback :roll: A friend of mine suggested Las Brisas in Laguna Beach. Do you know it?

The search goes on ...
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Re: Recommendations Requested: Laguna Beach, CA And Environs

Postby Jenise » Wed Aug 02, 2006 1:36 am

Montage? Okay, you DON'T want to go to Fullerton. That's an hour away. Lesser food will be well worth staying put--the trip inland can be grueling and on a hot day, you'd get murdered for making people leave the coast. For food and indie atmosphere, I would tend to recommend Five Feet. Cool place. But no view. For view and local effect, Las Brisas is hard to beat. They have a dynamite patio with incredible vistas on which I spent many an evening back in my single days. The food won't send you reeling, but it won't embarrass you and neither will the fauna. I also love the patio at the Hotel Laguna. Right on the sand, as it were. A bit extra-pricey because of that, but where else can you be THERE?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Recommendations Requested: Laguna Beach, CA And Environs

Postby Howie Hart » Wed Aug 02, 2006 9:58 am

FWIW - I was channel surfing last night and Rachel Ray's "$40 a Day" show was about Laguna Beach, CA. Sorry, I didn't watch it. :roll:
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Re: Recommendations Requested: Laguna Beach, CA And Environs

Postby Gary Barlettano » Wed Aug 02, 2006 11:30 am

Howie Hart wrote:FWIW - I was channel surfing last night and Rachel Ray's "$40 a Day" show was about Laguna Beach, CA. Sorry, I didn't watch it. :roll:


Knowing this group, $40.00 won't cover the tab for drinks before dinner for even one of them! :lol:
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Re: Recommendations Requested: Laguna Beach, CA And Environs

Postby Gary Barlettano » Wed Aug 02, 2006 11:45 am

Jenise wrote:Montage? Okay, you DON'T want to go to Fullerton. That's an hour away. Lesser food will be well worth staying put--the trip inland can be grueling and on a hot day, you'd get murdered for making people leave the coast. For food and indie atmosphere, I would tend to recommend Five Feet. Cool place. But no view. For view and local effect, Las Brisas is hard to beat. They have a dynamite patio with incredible vistas on which I spent many an evening back in my single days. The food won't send you reeling, but it won't embarrass you and neither will the fauna. I also love the patio at the Hotel Laguna. Right on the sand, as it were. A bit extra-pricey because of that, but where else can you be THERE?


Thanks, Jenise, I just checked out Five Feet on the web and, seeing as how I am overnighting again here in La Mirada, I might just try to convince the boss to go down there. Las Brisas sounds like somewhere I should take a date!!
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Re: Recommendations Requested: Laguna Beach, CA And Environs

Postby Jenise » Wed Aug 02, 2006 12:50 pm

Howie, just as well. That cheapskate trollop wouldn't have gone anywhere worth going. She never does.
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Re: Recommendations Requested: Laguna Beach, CA And Environs

Postby Dale Williams » Fri Aug 04, 2006 3:24 pm

While I'm an East Coaster, I'm in Laguna at least once a year. As noted in another thread, not my favorite dining town, but by end of September there will be less tourist crush, which helps. I'd say:

5 Feet: Foodwise I had a good experience, then a not so good one, then a good one. I think I learned from Jenise the middle one coincided with the chef opening a 2nd restaurant, then after it closed he returned "home". Overall a pretty good place. Though it's small I seem to remember a party of 15-20 getting a long table in the back, so possible for a group. Service wise I've had issues (last time they poured about 3 oz of the Bonne Mares I brought into a glass of $9 Pinot Blanc, then acted offended when I pointed out at check time that they charged me $12 for a Chardonnay rather than the PB. As I had been very nice and said "don't worry about it" as they wasted half the glass of white I paid for AND $15-20 worth of my Burg, I thought the fact they charged me- much less overcharged me- sucked).

Las Brisas: view is best part, but food is ok if you stick to simpler stuff (seafood salads, quesdillas, etc). But best for a glass of wine on the terrace.

230 Forest - Kriss Reed set up a small offline there. Good if not great food, nice service (and only charged us corkage on about 40%).

Splashes - I wasn't enamoured of meal there, but great setting just above the waves.

French 75 still reigns as my worse value for meal champ in any location, Laguna or elsewhere.

If Jenise looks back in, maybe she can chime in with name of place between Costa Mesa & Corona del Mar where we met her. Food was good if not elaborate, big place that might more easily accomodate 20.

Of course if you are at the Montage I'm sure you know Studio has a very good rep, though likely to be VERY expensive.
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Re: Recommendations Requested: Laguna Beach, CA And Environs

Postby Jenise » Fri Aug 04, 2006 3:44 pm

Checking back in--Dale, that was Gulfstream. It's in Newport, Gary, about five milesish upcoast from Laguna and right on PCH. It's in the new style of supersized restaurant so larger than most, and when we were there they didn't charge corkage though of course that could change. It's not the French Laundry but the food was good.

Giving further thought to Las Brisas, Gary--it's a gorgeous building (real old, used to be the Victor Hugo when I was growing up, and yes it has been the scene of a romantic mid-day break :oops:). It's pure white and California Spanish in architecture, and the food is upscale California-Cabo tropical Mexican seafood. It's not the French Laundry, but I've never had a bad meal there and considering that you're hosting visitors from Australia, this could be the California they're looking for.

Dale filled you in on Five Feet. It's as close to funky, little indie restaurant as you'll find in the area. Fun to be at for that reason, but noisy.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Recommendations Requested: Laguna Beach, CA And Environs

Postby Gary Barlettano » Wed Aug 09, 2006 9:53 pm

Thanks for all the input. It looks like our marketing maven has selected Las Brisas.

Now, here's the funny part. I don't get to go to the conference, but I have to fly down just for the dinner. Oh well, it's better than running barefoot over shards of glass.
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Re: Recommendations Requested: Laguna Beach, CA And Environs

Postby Jenise » Fri Aug 11, 2006 4:16 pm

Gary, that's good. Las Brisas won't rock your world foodwise, but it's a classy setting, you'll eat well and as Dale said, it's all about the view. Used to be part of a large group of Newport Beach singles who would head down there on Wednesday nights because the Mariachis played on the patio that night. I remember it fondly.
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