Yes, another Laguna Beach posting I’m afraid. I guess I used to feel it was so far to drive to Laguna and I forget how stunningly beautiful it is there. I guess if traffic is unaccommodating, the canyon can be your worst enemy, but when it affords you a smooth drive, it takes me only about 15 minutes to reach the full view of the magnificent scenery in front of me as I reach PCH from the 133 Hwy.
My The Hungry Dogg blogger pal was already waiting for me when I arrived. As we made our way towards the Terrace Cafe I am taken aback at the glorious view in front of me.
The view is spectacular and took my breath away. The sound of the waves makes me wish I was living in Hawaii again — okay, not really, but it was a nice thought — but instead, I like the cool breeze Laguna Beach much better than the humid one on the islands.
Austin started off with a Screwdriver ($7.50), sipping on it while we took our time to soak in the moment and peruse the menu.
The dolphins were out in full force and we noticed them diving in and out of the water, about 8 of them traveling in packs of 2 or 3. It was a mesmerizing sight, one which I don’t think I fully grasp when I’m going about my day to day dealing with the issues of my life.
Our server Genia is a sweetheart who didn’t rush us when we repeatedly apologized for not having looked at the menu because we were too busy watching everything else around us.
We started with Lemon-scented Pancakes ($11) served with blueberry compote, maple syrup and Chantilly cream. I am not partial to a sweet breakfast but I took a bite of these anyway. Austin thought the texture was too al dente but this is precisely the kind of texture I like in pancakes. I liked its toothy and chewy characteristics without being doughy.
My favorite is still Rae’s in Santa Monica but these came pretty close. The Chantilly cream had only a hint of sweetness which worked really well for me. I loved the freshness of the blueberry compote with just a touch of tartness. The only downside to the pancakes was they were devoid of any lemon both in taste and aroma.
Next came the Short Ribs Hash ($16). The meat was flavorful and very tender. Root beer is used in the braising process which lend a little sweetness to the final result. The savory sweet meat worked well with the potatoes and with runny poached eggs oozing throughout the hash, it was mouthful after mouthful of gooey goodness. The crispy onions added a nice crunchy dimension to the dish.
My favorite was surprisingly Hotel Laguna Omelette ($14). I asked for egg whites (you can have eggs too) just as a healthier option. It was fluffy and light, stuffed with spinach, feta and roasted red peppers. The combination of the ingredients was a perfect marriage with just the right amount of saltiness from the feta, a touch of sweetness from the peppers and the spinach added a sprightly freshness.
Austin ordered the Crab Cake Benedict ($17) served on brioche toast. Blue crab cakes were topped with poached eggs and paprika Hollandaise but unfortunately was my least favorite of the lot.
I didn’t like the texture of the brioche. It was too soft, making it almost similar in consistency as the crab cake. I needed a different component and I wasn’t getting it. The crab cake itself was a little fishy for me, so at the end of the day, I would pass on this dish all together.
Of course, we weren’t able to finish everything we ordered, so I had my short rib hash to go. We stayed for a while longer, soaking in the ravishing blue skies and most importantly for me, the nippy coolness of the air. This is a gorgeous spot to breakfast, lunch or have an early dinner at. I’m sure the dusky skies would make the most romantic backdrop to any dinner for two. When I find someone to do that with, I’ll be sure to come back again.
at Hotel Laguna
425 S Coast Hwy
Laguna Beach, CA 92651