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Author Archive for Patty Pinto

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Hot Dish

Hot Dish

Savoring a Trip Too Long Overlooked   It is hard to fathom that only weeks ago Eva’s Caribbean Kitchen in South Laguna was closed due to an early morning fire in the storage area.  The temporary hindrance forced chef-owner Eva Madray to prep ingredients, blend spices and mix marinades from her home. But now, pungent […]

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Hot Dish

Hot Dish

Comfort Food is Anything But Common   At 6’1” and brandishing tattoos beneath his shirt-sleeves, Chef Ryan Adams’ appearance suggests a ruffian, ex-prison inmate. On closer inspection, though, each artistic piece of ink signifies Adams’ passion for all matters culinary. Beneath the intimidating façade resides a gentle spirit and culinary savant. Adams and trusty sidekick […]

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Hot Dish

Hot Dish

I approached my next restaurant review with a sense of apprehension. How could the amalgamation of cooking school, deli and retail wine store be a place for great food? Twice before I patronized Laguna Culinary Arts, buying cheese and eating a student created lunch. It was during the latter experience I concluded I would not dine at LCA again. Why patronize a cooking school where upcoming chefs learn to hone culinary skills?

As dining establishments go, the ambience in LCA failed to stimulate any excitement for my upcoming meal. A deli counter filled with prepared foods, a selection of cheeses and meats and retail wine store dominate the dining area. My enthusiasm was further dampened after a trip to the restroom, which is in need of a serious overhaul.

What happened next is a textbook lesson in expectations gone happily wrong.

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Hot Dish

Hot Dish

Broadway’s Chef, a Stand-Out Star   Years ago, I recall walking into one of the trendiest dining spots in downtown Laguna Beach, fondly and formerly known as Michael Kang’s Five Feet restaurant. Then, when entering the establishment, a partition wall blocked my view of the dining room. It created a foyer with a hostess stand […]

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Hot Dish

Laguna Beach’s Katsuya is the latest brainchild of master sushi chef Katsuya Uechi and Sam Nazarian, founder and chief executive officer of sbe, a conglomerate of real estate, entertainment and hospitality businesses. Known for hearty fare and signature cocktails, this eatery generates an LA-hip vibe that attracts patrons with a flair for panache.

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Hot Dish

The Lowdown in Art Fest Dining Visitors to the Festival of Arts can skip the snack bar and dine at Tivoli Terrace. The setting is sublime; an al fresco dining room embellished over 40 years while owned and operated by June Neptune and family. Dine amid a 200-year-old cypress tree, blooming bougainvilleas, huge banana trees, […]

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Hot Dish

Starfish, Wilhelm’s Asian Encore  Entering Starfish, the latest venture for local Laguna Beach resident and business owner Nancy Wilhelm, one entirely escapes from busy Coast Highway’s cacophony of cars and summer trolleys and engine exhaust. As I’m escorted past the hostess cubicle to my table, I find myself engulfed in a warm Shangri la and […]

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Hot Dish

Alessa in Laguna Beach By Patty Pinto My motis operandi requires dining at a restaurant on several occasions before critiquing. I broke my own rule regarding Alessa in Laguna Beach because it is worthy of a first time food critique.  Especially since I have kvetched about having to travel outside the perimeters of Laguna Beach […]

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Hot Dish

Hot Dish

French 75 The rumor-mill hummed with news that an “out-of-town chef” was teaming up with a long standing Laguna Beach restaurant to re-vamp and freshen its menu. In fact, months ago Newport Beach restaurateur and French chef Pascal Olhats took command of French 75 Laguna Beach.  Executive chef and managing partner, Olhats owns and supervises […]

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Hot Dish

Surf & Sand’s Splashes   A Laguna Beach landmark for 60 years, the Surf and Sand Resort continues to remain a desired destination for Lagunans and tourists alike. To the right of the hotel’s main entrance, an ocean view and pleasant al fresco seating area await you. Several steps from the outdoor lounge area, well […]

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Hot Dish

Maro Works Wonders Over a Wood Grill With open arms and a grateful palate, I extend a gracious welcome to my new neighbors Mariano and Patricia Molteni, chef-owners of Maro Wood Grill on Coast Highway. Along with sister, Fiore, and the creativity of executive chef Debra Sims, this team of culinary artistes and experienced restaurateurs […]

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Hot Dish

Local Chef-Owner’s Chop Delivers a Knockout Sunday Night Chef Fights was a bout to remember for our local hometown hero Chef Lindsay Smith-Rosales of Nirvana Grille.  Congratulations to Chef Lindsay for taking home the coveted championship on Sunday Night Chef’s Fight in Huntington Beach’s Standard of Excellence showroom and culinary arena. For the uninitiated, Sunday […]

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Hot Dish

Global Dishes Round Out Sapphire’s Menu   Well-known to Laguna Beach locals as the location of the old Pottery Shack, Sapphire Laguna has been offering cosmopolitan dishes since 2007. The restaurant’s indoor-outdoor dining areas – enchanting outdoor fire pit, warm dining room ambiance, global cuisine and chef-inspired signature cocktails lure loyal locals and tourist alike. […]

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Hot Dish

Sizing Up Newcomer Tommy Bahama    Restoration of the historical Heisler Building downtown is near complete and tenant Tommy Bahama is set to open shortly. The store inventory and restaurant menu will vary significantly from other Tommy B locations in order to reflect the Laguna Beach beach lifestyle, we’ve been told. Menu items will be […]