Having grown up on a farm in central Canada, Marlowe Huber already knew about crop harvesting and soil when he began making wine in the early 1980s. He refined his skills still further by studying oenology in Vancouver before embarking on his first wine-business venture with his brother, Darren. Together they ran two wineries in British Columbia for 15 years before opening Laguna Canyon Winery in 2003. Today, staffers pour out a diverse selection of Laguna Canyon wines in the Barrel Tasting Room.
At Romeo Cucina, the chef prepares fresh pastas daily, from gnocchi to stuffed ravioli and tortellini, alongside a menu of pizzas and other Italian specialties such as veal scaloppini and linguine with fresh clams and mussels. Both eateries also share a similar inviting d?cor, with white linen-covered tables along with Italian-inspired art on warm yellow or exposed brick walls.
Housed in a historical home, The Cottage Restaurant has charmed diners for the past 35 years with a garden view overlooking the Laguna surf and a menu of elegant breakfast and supper fare. More than 30 egg creations, such as eggs florentine ($13.75) and a chicken-fajita omelette ($11.25), conquer morning plates, and chefs toy with fresh ingredients, traditional recipes, and ancient sorcery to create stacks of homemade pancakes bedecked in a spectrum of flavors, including cranberry orange ($6.30 for four) and blueberry buckwheat ($8.30 for four). Lunchtime feasters can indulge in charbroiled salmon resting on a bed of rice and crisp vegetables ($10.25), or mouth-dive into a french dip sandwich nurtured by tender roast beef ribbons and swaddled with savory au jus ($10.25). Dinner commences with crispy bruschetta ($7.25) or succulent salmon and crab cakes ($8.95) before waiters parade to tables armed with a slew of fresh salads, pastas, and giant inflatable Snoopys.
Founded on the Pacific Coast Highway in 1931 and relocated to Laguna Beach in 1986, Orange Inn continues to purvey a menu of simple and delicious sandwiches, salads, dinner entree specials, and freshly baked muffins and pastries. The Orange Inn breakfast sandwich ($7.95) uses whole-wheat toast to pinch the cheeks of avocado, sprouts, cheese, and two scrambled eggs, and the intoxicating aroma and secret-spilling steam signals of house-blend coffee ($1.45–$1.95) radiate from mugs to awaken taste buds during early morning hours. The eatery's namesake Orange Inn smoothie ($4.95) expertly blends fresh strawberries, dates, bananas, bee pollen, and juices into icy perfection. At lunch or dinner, diners can bite into the Lagoona Toona sandwich ($6.95), with albacore, cilantro, and onion, or munch on the chicken platter ($7.65) bedecked with a bed of sprouts and vegetables tucked in by thin sheets of chicken. The fresh garden salad ($6.45) hosts croutons and lush greens such as carrots, olives, cucumbers and tomatoes that complement refreshing sips of soda ($1.75), chocolate milk ($2.25-$2.95), or ranch dressing.
Executive chef Thomas Crijns of Brussels Bistro teams up with fellow Belgian Philippe De Smedt and French restaurateur Thierry Perreau to give his seasonally inspired menu of Belgian-style cuisine a French twist, earning the restaurant recognition as one of the 2012 Top 10 Orange County Bistro Restaurants in Gayot and named Best French Fries in 2008 in OC Weekly for their signature side with dipping sauces. With live jazz music each Tuesday through Thursday and DJs spinning music under pulsing colored lights Fridays and Saturdays, it is not surprising that OpenTable also took notice of the spot and awarded Brussels Bistro the Diners Choice for Late Night Find.
While known for its late night offerings, Brussels Bistro features a menu of lunch fare including quiche Lorraine packed with gruyere cheese, tomatoes, and bacon and savory ham-and-cheese crepes. Diners may opt to share their bountiful pots of mussels and Belgian-style fries on the sunny outdoor terrace while sipping one of nine Belgian beers on tap or 15 bottled varieties each served with a signature glass etched with its family tree.
Voted Best of San Clemente People’s Choice Award for three years straight, Velvet Yogurt dishes out healthy yogurt, fresh fixings, and an eco-friendly philosophy. Guests start their journey toward cultured snacking by choosing one of 12 self-serve frozen-yogurt flavors before topping it with as much fresh fruit, crunchy add-ins, and spoons as they could possibly eat ($0.39/oz.). For fans of un-frozen feasting, the acai bowl offers up tepid tastes of coconut milk, hemp milk, or apple juice blended with acai berries and slices of fresh fruit for a treat loaded with antioxidants, amino acids, and vowels ($6.25 on average). Goji berries and granola join a handful of other fresh add-ins and toppings that add texture and taste without adversely affecting the fiber-rich snack's healthful reputation. The staff at Velvet Yogurt swirls together its probiotic-rich snacks with a heaping helping of environmental awareness, using only 100% biodegradable spoons, napkins, and cups for its chilly concoctions. Carved pub tables and handcrafted artwork fashion a lively environment for guests as they enjoy a snack or attempt to calculate their yogurt's value in Aruban florins.