In desperate need of time off, time away and no time to go very far, we did what many people in Southern California do: we headed for the beach. Not just any beach, but beautiful, charming Laguna Beach. The sea, the sand, and a wonderful spa. What a way to celebrate Kent’s birthday!
We are blessed to live in a great area of Southern California called South Orange County. Living here, it is easy to forget that people from around the world come here to vacation. So we decided to do what we have never done before; “staycation” close to home at the Montage Resort and Spa in Laguna Beach, about a 20 minute drive from home.
The Montage Resort, Laguna Beach
Walk into the main lobby and you are drawn to the giant open balcony that overlooks the beautiful blue Pacific. It’s breathtaking. Breathe deep and allow the fresh ocean air to refresh your tired soul. It’s heaven on earth. Crowning 30 lushly landscaped acres on a bluff above the Pacific ocean, the Montage Laguna Beach has warm, comfortable Craftsman-style architecture reflecting bygone days of the early 1900′s, the heyday of the California Arts and Crafts movement.
The Montage Laguna Beach has a world-class spa where you can get in a morning workout overlooking the ocean (got to work off those vacation splurges), enjoy a massage (one of the best in my life), melt away stress in the whirlpool, sauna and steam room, then totally jell out in a comfy chaise lounge by the quiet spa pool (no kids at this one).
The spa pool overlooks the sparkling Pacific. While you watch the waves roll in, your stress rolls out. Attentive staff fill your water glasses and deliver other libations as well as food from Mosaic Bar & Grill.
Two days in a row we had the incredible Lobster Salad for lunch. It is out of this world! Grilled lobster tail, buttery avocado, asparagus spears, sweet mango and grapefruit segments atop crisp salad greens with a light, creamy citrus dressing. The dressings really made it. I re-created the recipe for you. See this post for my take on the Montage Lobster Salad
My thanks to Mosaic Bar & Grill for telling me what was in the dressing. I took notes and created my own close version. The dressing? I could drink it. Not just for this salad, but it works great over grilled fish, shrimp, even boneless, skinless chicken breast or seared scallops.
Named one of the top tables in Southern California by publications such as Food & Wine, Esquire and Wine Spectator, the flagship restaurant of the Montage is Studio. Serving modern French cuisine with California influences, Studio is the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion. The restaurant sits on the front edge of the property overlooking the ocean in it’s own Craftsman-style cottage.
The Chef’s Garden
At the entrance to the restaurant is the Mediterranean-inspired Chef’s Garden, where Chef Strong raises organically grown herbs, beans, potatoes, berries and other delights used in Studio’s ever-changing fresh menu.
We were thrilled to be seated at the perfect corner table to watch the sunset and celebrate Kent’s birthday. And what a sunset it was!
After dinner Kent took this great shot of Executive Chef Craig Strong in Studio’s beautiful kitchen (yes, I’ve been in it). Shot through the window, you can see a private dining area called the Chef’s Table. Now that could be fun.
Treasure Island Beach
Our last morning, we headed down a windy path to Treasure Island Beach to explore, get our feet wet and take photos. It was mid-week and we practically had the beach to ourselves. This California girl has not had her feet in the sand for way too long and it felt great. Sure wrecks your pedicure! Ah well.
After a romp in the ocean getting photos and getting wet, we rinsed off and headed up to the Loft restaurant for breakfast. After eating a little bigger than usual for a couple of days, I really wanted a light breakfast.
The perfect solution: avocado and tomato toast with a poached egg on the side. It’s so easy and a great healthy idea. Not just for breakfast, but without the egg it’s a great afternoon snack. I want one right now. As soon as this post is out I am going to make one. Will have to post that easy idea too.
Nicely de-stressed, we packed up our bags and drove home. It was hard to leave. What a glorious few days it was. The good news is it’s close to home. We just have to get out of the house and down to the beach more often. These pictures will remind us do to just that.
So the staycation experiment was quite a success. In fact I think for Kent’s birthday, we should make this an annual tradition. Sweetheart, what do you think? I’m sure the answer is yes.