los angelenos in disguise pt.1

one of the greatest things that ever happened in january was the birth of martin luther king jr.-my utmost respect goes to the reverend for what he had done for the civil rights movement. i too have a dream. I have a dream that one day on the hills of temecula, the sons of los angeles and the sons orange county will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. today, it’s a dream come true.

los angelenos in downtown, laguna!

sophie, jina (remember her?), and i went to college together. these workaholics are working in los angeles day and night. and they really needed to escape the smog-laden metropolis to the rustic country of southern o.c. and to temecula. (sophie keeps a blog about her fabulous daily adventures and the treasures she finds).

l.a. girls surrounded by o.c. housewives at nick’s laguna

first stop was at laguna beach. made a popular attraction by not-so-real reality shows, laguna beach satiates o.c. residents with art galleries, wine tasting rooms, bars, restaurants, and a wholefoods market. the town, really, is mediocre at best. nick’s at laguna, however proves there’s still some hope (and serious potential) for laguna.

nick’s laguna beach
440 s coast hwy
laguna beach, ca 92651

overall: ☆☆☆☆
price: $$

at doffo’s winery

heading south on the pch (pacific coast highway or ca-1), the drive was more pleasant than i expected. we passed through chains of palm trees, small beach towns, rocky valleys bridged by a rainbow, and finally through vineyards with rows of newly-grafted vines.

i have a lot to cover, so i’ll cut to the chase. the experience at the first winery (oak mountain) was abysmal to say the least. this place is classy, with a pizza parlor, distasteful music, and a sports bar like tasting room (yes, with sports memorabilia in a glass cabinet). the wine? we’d rather drink a box of franzia than to suffer through the flights that never seemed to end. did i mention that they suggested having it with goose meat? but i can see pilot sullenberger enjoying that very much.

‘we love full-bodied cabs!’

doffo, on the other hand, made our trip to temecula worth its while. the argentine estate’s vintage collection tinged our faces with the color of their special reserve cab. our sommelier was well versed with top-notch service, wine-tails, and boba. (the man was obsessed with the tapioca drink).

our glasses were never empty to the point where we had lost count of how many we had. he was never stingy with his wine, pouring generous amounts every time. if you’re checking out temecula, make sure you stop by this family-run estate.

doffo winery
36083 summitville st

temecula, ca 92592

overall: ☆☆☆☆½
price: $$½

beer & wine + tapas to go with

i sobered up while the girls enjoyed the third and final stop. not much to talk about here. we headed back for dinner at cucina alessá in newport beach. excellent food and service as always.e

on a completely unrelated note, the italian word ‘cucina‘ means kitchen. ‘ristorante’ is a formal restaurant, ‘osteria‘, a place where wine and small plates are served (french equivalent: bistro), ‘trattoria’ falls in between the previous two, and finally ‘enoteca‘ is a ‘wine library’ or a tasting room. so next time you see this lexicon take part in the name of your local italian, you’ll know what to expect.

day two: south coast tour!

after the dinner, we dragged our inebriated bodies to have some more drinks and food to go with them: chocolate chips, sweet potato & beet chips, rosemary croccantini, fig and olives crisps, german champignon, swedish 20-month cheddar, english 10-month white cheddar, blueberries, raspberries, mozzarella balls & grape tomatoes, and cantaloupe & prosciutto. yes, it was quite a feast.

the stag’s leap cabernet sauvignon 2008 was completely subdued by our lingering palate from doffo‘s, but the unibroue‘s blanche de chambly did not disappoint. jina and sophie passing out at 1am, most certainly did. (yes, we’re getting old).

blanche de chambly
unibroue, canada
witbier, 5.00% abv

light’s out kids.

bright, gorgeous smiles…for brunch!

day two: irvine and the vicinity. for brunch, we went to the old vine café at the camp mall in costa mesa. exquisite brunch for exquisite guests! we went both sweet & savory, perfect balance to start off the day. (sorry i’m too lazy at the moment to upload food pictures, i will cover this later!)

old vine café 
2937 bristol st
costa mesa, ca 92626

overall: ☆☆☆☆½
price: $$

jina, make up your mind!

so we checked out a few boutiques, shops, and the parking lot. because here at the camp mall, at every parking spot there are ‘hipster-quotes’ that read ‘smile’, ‘relax’, ‘take a vacation’, ‘people make history’, ‘drink coffee’, ‘become a barista’, ‘use mac’, ‘drive a prius’ and so on. (okay the last three, i made up).

we camped at the mall (it’s really a portable boutique shop)

we had our brunch, a walk around the mall, so what comes next? needless to say, espresso!

en route to portola coffee lab!

thankfully, the weather forecast was wrong and it did not rain a single drop. so we were able to sit outside and relax in the sun, enjoying our drips and espresso. the o.c. mart mix is literally a ‘mix’ of boutiques in a market-like setting. there are flower shop, wine & oil shop, cheese shop, paper, cruiser bike, surfing, spice, furniture, cake, antiques, etc.-all presenting the finest offerings.

single origins and a blend (with a dash of ganache)

after a cup of coffee (and a brief photo shoot), we left for the sculpture park near the south coast plaza. before i jump to the next slide, this post is getting ridiculously long, so i’ll cut it here and start the reel on the next post!

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