Opinion: Celebrating Dad, why Father’s Day deserves more love 


By Rachelle Cano, Special to the Independent

Why is it that Laguna Beach restaurants, for the most part, are not celebrating Father’s Day this coming Sunday with the same fervor as they do Mother’s Day?

After calling up all of Laguna Beach’s top restaurants listed online on review platforms and checking restaurant websites, only to find out there is no special celebration or menu for Father’s Day, I came to the conclusion that even Laguna Beach and its most beloved restaurants are passively and collectively dissing dads–those fathers who are equally important in the family structure, yet historically, do not evoke the same sentimental or societal emotions that surround motherhood.

The stark differences in how America celebrates Father’s Day compared to Mother’s Day largely stem from cultural, historical, and longstanding social constructs tied to traditional gender roles. However, should there be a disparity in honoring those who gave us life and nurtured us into adulthood? It seems society is still fixated on these set gender roles without considering how they may have evolved or the equal importance of each in parenting. Many single fathers today are as nurturing as any mother, demonstrating that being a dad transcends the traditional roles of “protector” and “provider.” Responsibilities and tasks have increasingly crossed gender lines, with children now turning to both parents for emotional support and understanding. Perhaps it was always this way, but less apparent when fathers consciously adhered to expected traits and roles. I believe we need to show our fathers more love for all their previous roles in our lives.

For those of us who grew up in the last century, celebrating our fathers was a family affair that we cherished just as much as celebrating our mothers. While dining out wasn’t always the tradition, times have changed. Today, fathers have evolved in their tastes and ideas for marking special occasions, deserving the same festive recognition and appreciation as mothers. But it seems the anticipation of the day has since diminished, and marketing efforts are practically non-existent. You will not see a flower ad for Father’s Day, or items pushed beyond the gadgets advertised at hardware stores that further portray father in the utilitarian light vs. the caring and nurturing role he often plays in the lives of his children. The commercialization of Father’s Day has not kept pace with changing societal norms to include dining experiences as much as power tools and barbecues.

But what if dad now prefers gnocchi or huevos rancheros at his favorite beachside restaurant over a ribeye? He doesn’t have a choice unless his family does a little legwork to scout out which restaurants are going out of their way for dads. In my search, I found a few chefs who are also young fathers themselves and who value this special holiday day enough to create special menus. I’m impressed.

The two I found have thoughtfully created a menu for Father’s Day I’d like to share with Laguna Beach readers.

Broadway By Amar Santana, Laguna Beach

328 Glenneyre Street Laguna Beach, Calif. 92651

9490715-8234, [email protected]

Executive and Celebrity Chef-Partner Amar Santana and his business partner, Ahmed Labbate of Vaca and Broadway, did not forget dad. Oh, no, they have created a special menu that will definitely get Dad away from the television and into the restaurant to enjoy amazing food and drinks and, most of all, to create special memories with the people he loves.

“I love being Cyrus’s Dad,” Santana said. “He is the best recipe I have ever created.”
Amar Santana’s skirt steak at Broadway by Amar Santana. Photo courtesy of Broadway by Amar Santana

Aside from the special menu, Broadway has something for just about everyone on the menu. What if dad could put down the barbecue tools, turn off the TV, and have a world-class grilled prime New York steak prepared just right for him? He’d definitely feel like a king, much like a mother feels on her special day.

If Dad is more of a pescatarian, the fish choices are extraordinary, from Mediterranean branzino to Scottish salmon to Chilean seabass. Are you with me? Let’s take a stab at changing societal norms. Open for dinner at 4:30 p.m. Reservations recommended.

Branzino at Amar Santana. Photo courtesy of Broadway by Amar Santana

Father’s Day menu from Broadway

Appetizer Special

Vermicelli Stuffed Chicken Wing, Fish Sauce Caramel, Chicken Skin Everything Spice, Scallions, Thai Green Curry

Entree Special

Blue Cheese Crusted Filet of Beef, Bone Marrow Mashed Potatoes, Braised Swiss Chard, Truffle Jus

Dessert Special

Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Honey Grapefruit Sorbet, Candied Ginger

Todos Santos Balboa

501 Park Avenue

Newport Beach Calif., 92662



In Newport Beach, hidden in Balboa’s quaint residential community, Todos Santos on the island is a local favorite. Their special Father’s Day menu will include a variety of choices for brunch or dinner. Restaurateur Daniel Osorio has dreamed up a special margarita just for dad, calling it the ‘Jefe Spicy Margarita’ made with premium, top-shelf tequila. It’s strong but kind,” he said. I had to include Osorio in this article, highlighting extraordinary food and fathers. He also knows how to bring the love to dad’s palate.

The Jefe Spicy Margarita at Todos Santos. Photo/Rachelle Cano

“Being a father is the masterpiece in the journey of life,” Osorio said. “Just the nature of it. I love the responsibility of being a father, who has to be creative with time to blend into a beautiful scene like a painting or a poem. Every laugh, every smile, and every hug from my kids is a love note written in my heart. The greatest gift I can get from being a father is the quality time I share with them and the living memories throughout these years.”


The restaurant’s main location in Rancho Santa Margarita was added to the prestigious Michelin Guide within two years of operation, and the Balboa Island location offers the same delicious, healthy and authentic Mexican cuisine.

Shrimps Diablo at Todos Santos. Photo/Rachelle Cano

Laguna locals may recognize Osorio from his decade-long tenure at Carmelita’s, where he transformed it into one of Laguna’s premier destinations for fresh Mexican food with a gourmet twist. He has brought that same passion and creativity to his new restaurant, Todos Santos and has created a special menu for this Sunday’s Father’s Day celebration. He and his chefs will be in the kitchen early, simmering the chile verde and baking those scrumptious butter cakes to serve with fresh berries for dessert. Todos Santos makes delicious Succulent Coffee Roasters branded coffee to complement any dessert. It’s the perfect way to start the day with breakfast and coffee by the sea, especially on Father’s Day.

Daniel Osorio with his daughter, Daniela. Photo courtesy of Daniel Orsorio

Father’s Day Specials at Todos Santos Balboa:

Appetizer Special

Beef Short Rib Flautas

Shrimps Diablo

Entree Special

Huevos Rancheros

Steak & Egg Fajitas

Slow-Cooked Chile Verde con Ossobuco Pork

Enchiladas Suizas con Pollo (rolled or flat)

Tacos Balboa

Dessert Special

Warm Margarita Butter Cake with fresh berries and vanilla ice cream

Carmel Churros

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