My husband and I are huge fans of mixing our family’s travels with historic adventure, always mindful of creating wonderful memories while crafting an itinerary that blends fun with a bit of education. When we recently decided to trek to the Grand Canyon, we discovered what we believe to be the very best way to experience the majesty and magnificence of what is considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World (and a trip that required very little “planning” on our part): An all-inclusive package that encompassed accommodation at the warm and welcoming Grand Canyon Railway Hotel and scenic (and entertaining) train travel to the South Rim.
Chartered in 1866 to build west from Springfield, Missouri, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway ran along the 35th parallel, eventually connecting Amarillo to Pecos, Pecos to New Mexico, Barstow to San Diego. Along this 7,500 miles of track was the unwavering line between Williams, Arizona and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. First afforded status as a Forest Reserve in 1893, the park did not receive national status until three years after the creation of the National Park Service itself, in 1919. Today, the park receives nearly five million visitors. Roughly one hundred times more than the 44,000 visitors it averaged from 1919-1920, and right around the time that the Santa Fe became famous for its passenger trains.
Known for covering long distances of line without access to water, the Santa Fe was one of the first rail companies to purchase diesel locomotives for freight service, which housed on-line eating houses and dining cars operated by Fred Harvey. Harvey’s legacy is vast in Williams and the Grand Canyon for his gem of architectural elegance placed directly on the rim of the crevasse: El Tovar.
Between the historic town of Williams and Grand Canyon National Park lies the Grand Canyon Railway and Hotel. Built in 1908 by Harvey House Corp., the hotel had a variety of guest rooms, a formal dining room, cafe, bar, and a news room. A perfect compliment to the Williams Depot, the hotel still stands today. The Railway itself has been taking guests into the heart of the canyon for over a century, and riding it has become much more than just a way to get from point A to point B: it is a time machine and a postcard - a wonderful way to experience the romance of travel by train.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the oldest poured-concrete structure in the state of Arizona, the Williams Depot is and has been an oasis for visitors travelling to and from California along the main line for decades. En route to the canyon are varied landscapes, including pine forests and sprawling prairies with ample opportunity to spot antelope, the California condor, fox, deer, bald eagles and wild horses. Onboard, colorful railway characters bring history to life with mock train robberies and strolling cowboy musicians with a keen sense of humor lead passengers in old-time sing-alongs. Our kids were particularly enthralled by a Western gunfight portrayed by authentically raucous actors prior to boarding and a train robbery on the return trip.
Once we arrived at the log-cabin style Grand Canyon Depot in the South Rim, we found ourselves within easy walking distance of many popular scenic overlooks and most of the village’s historical buildings, which we had plenty of time to explore at our leisure during the four hour “layover” before boarding the train once again for the journey back to Williams.
After the two-hour ride to the northern terminus of the line, experience the luxury of a bygone era at the newly refurbished Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. Standing just next to the historic depot and a skip, hop and jump away from downtown Williams, those looking for an easy way to see the grandeur of the park can purchase a getaway bundle, including everything from train travel to a hotel suite or spot in the Grand Canyon RV Park. With a variety of amenities, the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel features 298 rooms, complimentary wi-fi, an indoor pool, hot tub, and delicious dining options at the Grand Depot Cafe and Spenser’s Pub. Open year-round, the hotel and train operate under the unpredictable weather of the Canyon, and guests can find comfort and refuge any time of year - from late-summer thunderstorms to winter’s snow and ice (aboard the Railroad’s Polar Express). For more information, and to book your adventure today, visit www.thetrain.com.
A friend warned me that if our family spent a weekend at Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort, we’d end up booking our next trip before we even left the property.
Nestled in the scenic rolling hills of the lush Santa Ynez Valley, Alisal is a full-service 10,000-acre, all-inclusive resort/dude ranch experience that combines the elegance and comfort of the western lifestyle with a working cattle ranch where 2,000 head of cattle and 100-quarter horses leisurely graze.
Beautifully manicured lawns characterize the grounds of the main “resort” - connecting 73 California ranch-style cottage studios and suites to restaurants and recreational facilities.
Since 1843 when conquistador Raimundo Carrillo received a land grant and became the first cattle rancher of the Santa Ynez Valley, the Alisal (meaning “grove of sycamores” in Chumash, a Native American language) established itself as a working cattle ranch. In 1943, the property was purchased by The Jackson Family and evolved into a guest ranch. The exclusive hideaway opened its doors to summer vacationers with 30 initial guestrooms converted into bungalows.
The Alisal’s rich heritage and idyllic setting make it a haven for rest and relaxation and one of American’s most prestigious properties boasting a well preserved civilized past. Couples honeymoon here, families enjoy reunions and executives find a welcome respite from urban life.
In our case, we were looking for a brief respite from the day-to-day without having to travel too far from home. While Alisal is only a three to four hour drive from Orange County, it feels worlds away – the property is blessed with an abundance of wildlife and hiking trails meander around the resort’s rich flora and fauna (nature lovers can take a self-guided hike through Deer Canyon where some 64 different animals including deer, possums, bobcats, mountain lions, wild boar and black bears reside).
Back at the ranch, children as well as adults can participate in the caring of the ponies, bottle-feeding the goats, calves, exotic miniature horses and sheep seven days a week at The Alisal Barn Yard. Because our kids (ages 8 and 9) were to be first-time horseback riders up to the historic Adobe Camp for pancake breakfast the morning after our arrival, we “practiced” riding around a corral atop a gentle horse that spends a few hours each day tethered to a tree so the resort’s youngest guests can have their parents lead them around the corral at their leisure). Kids can also participate in egg gathering, grooming and exercising the animals in the corral.
A recreation center unto itself, the 100-acre spring fed Alisal Lake, filled with bass; trout; and bluegill, offers “catch-and-release” fishing. You can rent a boat or fish off the dock – our son caught his first fish (a Bigmouth Bass reeled in with Daddy’s help) by casting (also with Daddy’s help) from the dock. This sportsman’s paradise attracts bird watchers and guests with canoes, rowboats, peddle boats, kayaks or sail boats. As one of two California properties to be an Orvis-endorsed fly-fishing operation, Alisal offers fly-fishing and boating lessons for children and adults.
Visitors rarely leave the Alisal during their stay and for good reason. Leaving at dawn, guests enjoy more than 50 miles of equestrian trails on horseback circling the magnificent hills and sycamore groves. Twice daily group rides, private rides and breakfast rides to the historicAdobe Camp round out a stay.
Aspiring equestrians can hone their riding skills at the corral with private lessons. Children delight in the Alisal Rodeo with stick horse and gunny sack races and boot relays in an authentic western arena.
Wranglers show off with quick draw demonstrations, calf roping and barrel racing. Following the rodeo is an extravagant western barbecue with live entertainment and traditional line dancing.
For those seeking more civilized pursuits, two 18-hole championship golf courses – the par 72, 6,500-yard Ranch Course and the par 72, 6,800-yard River Course with four lakes - provide impeccably manicured fairways and greens with spectacular views of the Santa Ynez River and nearby Santa Ynez Mountains. A full range of facilities and services are offered at both courses including a clubhouse, driving range, putting green and pro shop. Private and group lessons by PGA and LPGA professionals are also available.
A full-service Tennis Center with a well-equipped pro tennis shop is situated on a scenic area of the Ranch. Tennis buffs can choose from seven hard courts. Tennis professionals, one of whom is nationally ranked, offer both clinics and private lessons by appointment.
After a lengthy day of horseback riding, the Alisal’s outdoor heated swimming pool and adjacent eight-seat spa are the perfect way to unwind.
The Ranch Room, the resort’s restaurant, serves American and western style favorites. Guests enjoy a choice of a hearty a la carte American breakfast menu items that include Linguisa scrambled eggs over a Grilled Portobello Mushroom, savory Huevos Rancheros and the Alisal’s own Buttermilk Pancakes. A lavish Ranch Room breakfast buffet of Eggs Benedict and Corn Beef Hash is also served with freshly squeezed orange juice and homemade baked muffins, pastries and breads.
Dinner is formal (dinner jackets are required for the men - and a great excuse to get gussied up for the girls) and frontier-size portions of juicy barbecued steaks, tender prime rib of beef and the fresh catch of the day including swordfish, John Dory and Seabass are guest favorites. Specialty dishes such as Osso Bucco, Hickory Smoked Briskett and slow roasted Farm Raised Wild Boar are prepared with the freshest ingredients for the guests’ dining pleasure. The Alisal features a Modified American Plan. Menus are rotated seven days a week, year round.
At the historic Adobe Camp, the resort treats guests to a full ranch breakfast including buttermilk flapjacks, scramble eggs, bacon, sausage, ham and more complete with a whimsical performance by Jake Copass, resident wrangler and cowboy poet, accompanied by Dave Stamey, the Alisal’s award-winning singing cowboy on guitar.
Alisal’s 73 guest units are decorated in classic California ranch design and configured as either comfortable studios or spacious one-bedroom suites. Each unit, designed for maximum privacy and comfort, includes a wood-burning fireplace with complimentary firewood; high-beamed ceilings; Western art; refrigerator; coffee maker (coffee and tea supplied in rooms), and filtered water dispenser. To maintain the cozy, quiet atmosphere, there are no in-room televisions or telephones; however, complimentary wireless Internet is available throughout the ranch.
The Cancer Research Collaboration (CRC) was created with a single goal — to help patients beat cancer. We have worked tirelessly to bring state-of-the-art clinical trials to patients and to provide investigators with the tools to research the cause of cancer and to find a cure. One of our biggest initiatives is the development and funding of a biobank. This will house tumor specimens and blood samples taken from cancer patients, along with copies for their clinical history. These specimens provide genetic information that will help researchers develop new medicines, vaccines, and tests that will improve cancer diagnoses and patient outcomes.
As researchers have discovered more ways to identify cancer genes and their functions, they have been able to synthesize more data from biospecimens, patient records, and clinical trials, allowing them to identify new cancer subtypes and develop new strategies for diagnosing and treating cancer.
Their work has dramatically improved our understanding of the role genes play and their abilities to impact disease, helping them:
Partnerships are vital to the progress we have made. Curing cancer will take more than one person or one organization. It will require many people, organizations, doctors, and patients, all working together. By partnering with investigators like Dr. John Link and his team of breast cancer specialists at Breastlink Medical Group, the Cancer Research Collaboration hopes to continue making strides on behalf of men and women everywhere who are fighting this disease.
As a medical oncologist, I have been studying breast cancer since 1975. For over 40 years, I have watched the cure rate climb from 55 percent to 80 percent, progress made possible by the clinical trial process, which tests new treatments against the current standard of care. Slow and laborious, clinical trials are why current breast cancer treatment is less deforming and less toxic than it was in the past. It's taken us from radical mastectomy to lumpectomy and allowed us to eradicate escaped microscopic spread using less lymph node surgery and medication. Now, with our increased understanding of the genomic basis of cancer, progress is occurring even faster.
Breastlink and the Cancer Research Collaboration are working hard to accelerate this progress. Breastlink has a robust research program — 12 active protocols testing new, targeted medicines, procedures, and genomics — and the Cancer Research Collaboration is one of our most valuable, strategic partners. Their biobank initiative, which will store and preserve tissue and blood samples from cancer patients, will be an extremely important tool for our researchers. It will allow us to compare treated cancer cells with original cancer cells, using genomic analysis and we are very excited to be participating in this endeavor. Research is an important part of what we do.
It allows us to offer our patients state-of-the-art treatment and make advances that will allow us to help more women in the future.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women over the age of 25. Orange Coast Memorial is dedicated to keeping your heart healthy with our Women’s Cardiac Health Program. We offer an $85 comprehensive cardiac screening just for women, which includes:
To schedule your comprehensive cardiac screening, please call (714) 378-7234.
Tribute to Charles McPherson
Friday, 2/3 @ 8PM
Sax legend Charles McPherson gained fame playing with Charles Mingus in the 60s, but it has been his continuing work with multiple jazz luminaries that places him among the top sax players in the jazz world.
Saturday, 2/18 @ 8PM & Sunday 2/19 @ 3PM – Attend Both!
Matt Haimovitz, renowned as a musical pioneer, Haimovitz has inspired countless listeners by bringing his artistry to any place he can bring his cello. In this case he will be bringing his instrument to the Soka Performing Arts Center to perform Bach’s Six Suites for Cello, plus overtures to Bach written by contemporary composers such as Phillip Glass, Du Yun, and Vijay Iyer.
Maria Schneider Orchestra
Tuesday, 2/21 @ 8PM
2016 two-time Grammy Award winner, Maria Schneider’s music has been hailed as evocative, majestic, magical, and heart-stoppingly gorgeous. The Maria Schneider Orchestra is among a small few to have received Grammys in multiple genres, having received the award in both jazz and classical categories, as well as for her work with David Bowie.
Sundays@SOKA – w/Sean Chen
Sunday, 2/5 @ 3PM
The Sundays at Soka features Beethoven Piano Concertos hosted by conductor Carl St.Clair. Rising star Sean Chen, 3rd prize winner in the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano competition will perform.
Beethoven – Piano Concerto Nos. 2 & 3
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
Saturday, 2/11 @ 8PM
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble are seven brothers from the south side of Chicago. They come from an extraordinary musical family. The band freely mix the brass band tradition with generous doses of hip hop, soul, and funk, creating an intoxicating and boisterous blend that is just barely contained.
Come early for Dinner! Soka Bistro is open for dinner M-F 5:30-7:30 pm, Sat/Sun 5:00-7:00 pm.
Only $11.25 for an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Here in South Orange County, we’re pretty blessed to live so close to the coast and have an abundance of wonderful dining destinations to choose from. But for inventive cuisine and exemplary service in the spirit of much-loved classic American steakhouses and taverns, there are precious few establishments that rival Selanne Steak Tavern.
Situated along Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach, the restaurant is housed in a historic 1934 two-story country cottage complete with a faux water well and bucket pouring water, red brick walkways and wooden shingled roof tiles. Step through the hand-carved wooden door into the main entry and you’ll find that the interior ambiance and décor is decidedly classic modern - from the stunning glass chandelier suspended from the ceiling in the elegant foyer to the sleek Carrara marble fireplace, wide-planked oak floors, clean lines, upholstered furnishings and accented by local abstract art created by Laguna Beach artist Nick Gaetano throughout the classy bar and five dining areas (The Loft - upstairs dining room; The Wine Library; downstairs in The Tavern; or outside on The Veranda or Sunset Terrace).
Owned and operated Teemu Selanne, hockey legend and former NHL star player for the Anaheim Ducks, and local businessman Kevin Pratt. The longtime friends and neighbors, the pair share a commitment to making their restaurant a place for “friends and families to enjoy great food and libations in a comfortable, appealing eatery.”
I would have to say the restaurant’s proprietors have certainly hit the mark – and raised the bar for destination dining in the region. On a recent date night, my husband, Tim, and I reserved a table in the upstairs dining room to indulge in a glass or two of fine wine (focused on California cult wines and other highly-rated, world class wines) and beautifully presented, delicious dishes including what are arguably among the best steaks in Orange County.
Executive Chef Joshua Severson has created a menu defined by his distinctive version of contemporary American steakhouse fare with a wonderful variety of top meats from Filet Mignon to Australian Wagyu. There are actually eight options on the menu, including the Chef’s Signature 38 oz Lord Stanley Cut, which serves two.
Our server Mike recommended that we start with the chef’s signature Pacific Diver Scallops, which he claimed were the best he’d ever eaten “with no other coming in a close second.” Now I fancy myself somewhat of a seafood and sushi connoisseur and as such, was expecting it might fall short. But I have to say, Chef nailed it with a perfectly prepared dish enhanced by a delicious cauliflower/pickled chanterelle.
A meat-and-potatoes man, my husband chose the filet mignon and while I typically steer toward seafood selections, opted instead for a 12 oz prime Rib Eye – again at Mike’s suggestion.
The marbling was superb, soft, and tender. Served with Chef’s seasonal marrow butter and bordelaise sauce, the beef literally melted in our mouths. A favorite side dish is Selanne’s signature Mac and Cheese – a decade five-cheese fondue topped with brioche crumbs.
The menu also features several other seafood dishes which include a 2 lb. Atlantic Maine Lobster and smoked Skuna Bay Salmon. For vegetarians, Selanne’s serves up a Forest Mushroom Risotto flavored with black truffle oil. There is something delicious for everyone’s taste.
Selanne Steak Tavern is located at 1464 S. Coast Hwy. in Laguna Beach. For reservations or more information, call (949) 715-9881 or visit selannesteaktavern.com
Segerstrom Center for the Arts welcomes the return of popular musical ensemble Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox on February 17, 2017 in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. In 2015, the group’s sold-out tours of Australia and the United States prompted the Buffalo News to proclaim, “Postmodern Jukebox is literally a postmodern success, extending its reach from the virtual to the real world, touring and performing around the globe for an ever-growing fan base.”
Created by Bradlee, the rotating collective of Postmodern Jukebox has spent the past few years amassing more than 600 million YouTube views and 2 million subscribers, performed on “Good Morning America,” topped iTunes and Billboard charts and played hundreds of shows to packed-house crowds around the world. As NPR put it, they’ve done this by “taking current Top 40 hits and re-imagining them as coming from older eras of popular music.” In one such remake, Bradlee and Postmodern Jukebox turned Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” into a doo-wop ditty that’s garnered over 15.4 million views. Last year, they envisioned Radiohead’s alt-rock hit “Creep” as a torch-like ballad that’s racked up over 16.9 million views and was named one of the “9 Best Viral Cover Videos of 2015” by People magazine. MultiGrammy winning artist Lorde praised Postmodern Jukebox’s vintage take on her hit single, “Royals,” which has been viewed over 15.3 million times, as her “favorite.” They recently performed a ‘30s jazz remake of Elle King’s “Ex’s & Oh’s” for MTV UK.
Tickets to Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox start at $39 and are available online at SCFTA.org, at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa or by calling (714) 556-2787. A limited number of VIP packages will be available for purchase.
This green-eyed beauty is Squeeky, a seven year old kitty looking for a new start. Squeeky is mild-mannered and very sweet would make a spectacular lap cat. With her mellow personality, she would thrive in a quieter home with someone special to call her own.
Pop is a 1 year old neutered lionhead-mini-lop mix. With his memorable hairdo and furry mustache, Pop is a real cutie with personality to match his looks! While he can sometimes be a little shy at first, but he loves to be held and cuddled. He absolutely adores pets and head rubs. Pop has good litter box habits and will be an awesome rabbit companion for a happy, loving indoor home!
Mojito is an 8 month old calico kitty ready for fun. Striking good looks paired with a lively personality make Mojito an entertaining playmate. She enjoys playing with her twin sister Daiquiri. While not required, the two would love to go home together and keep up their dynamic duo.
Eight month old Brock is quite the sweet and gentle soul. A bit shy at the start, Brock warms up quickly and loves to rest his head in the crook of your arm. He gets along well with other cats and would make a great kitty companion in a steady home.
If you would like to know more about the animals listed here, please call the San Clemente/Dana Point Animal Shelter at (949)492-1617, or visit with them at 221 Avenida Fabricante, San Clemente.
Concert features West Coast Premiere of New Center Commission by British Composer Mark-Anthony Turnage
Segerstrom Center for the Arts welcomes the annual return of acclaimed ensemble, the Emerson String Quartet on March 28 in a program that will feature the first West Coast performance of Shroud by British composer Mark-Anthony Turnage. This new work was commissioned in part by longtime supporters of the Center’s Chamber Music Series, Elizabeth and Justus Schlichting. The evening also includes Ravel’s String Quartet in F Major and Tchaikovsky’s Quartet No. 3 in E-flat minor, Op. 30. The Emerson String Quartet includes Eugene Drucker and Philip Setzer, violins; Lawrence Dutton, viola and Paul Watkins, cello. Orange County Register declares “The group remains one of our best chamber ensembles, not merely precise but expressive and intelligent to the last ounce.”
Mark-Anthony Turnage, celebrated composer of the recent opera Anna Nicole, wrote Shroud, the new string quartet specifically for the nine-time Grammy Award–winning Emerson String Quartet. The work is being performed during the Emerson’s 40th anniversary celebrations and international tour. Shroud received its world premiere on September 27, 2016 in Ohio at Akron’s Tuesday Musical in the E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall. As its name suggests, Shroud is an emotional work that mourns the loss of two of Turnage’s dear friends who passed away close together in time. The new work is approximately 25 minutes long and is composed in five movements, with the first and last movements serving as bookending tributes to each friend. The middle three movements are lighter in tone and are dedicated to the Emerson String Quartet.
Single tickets start at $29 and are now available online at www.SCFTA.org, at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa or by calling (714) 556-2787. Ticket holders are invited to attend the Preview Talk at 7:15 p.m.
We knew we were in for a memorable weekend when the driveway to the Fairmont Grand Del Mar (fairmont.com/san-diego) took its sweet time delivering us to the resort. A canopy of autumn colors rustled in a lazy and surprisingly warm San Diego breeze as we made our way into the canyon just a couple of miles inland from the 5, which might as well have been 500 miles from kids, laundry, work, obligations. The autumn colors eventually broke to reveal an expertly meandering golf course, which in turn gave way to the fountained entrance to our longtime-in-coming getaway with girlfriends.
Situated adjacent to the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve in San Diego, the Grand Del Mar is a mere hour’s drive from most of Orange County, but, once there, you feel utterly removed to the warmth of a Mediterranean estate. That utter removal can be of just about any flavor – we were making it a girl’s weekend, with a focus on rejuvenation and simple togetherness, but golf aficionados, outdoor enthusiasts, couples, families and foodies will all find something exceptional at the Grand Del Mar.
It is remarkable to think that, with all the affluence and attraction of Southern California, with swank people desirous of swank accommodations, it is the Grand Del Mar, nestled rurally in North County San Diego and quite out of the way of Rodeo Drive, that consistently earns the highest ratings from all the swankest reviewers and publications. Travel+Leisure named the Grand Del Mar as “California’s #1 Resort” and one of the world’s best; TripAdvisor called it the United States’ best hotel; it has swept all categories – hotel, spa, dining – with five stars from Forbes.
The Grand Del Mar is not an historic hotel – it opened in 2007 – but for those who love the richness of historic luxury, it satisfies abundantly. Many varieties of wood, marble and tapestry abound in artisan expression that is opulent without gaudiness, a balance struck by the best historic hotels. Of course, if you are one of those history types, you’ll know that historic properties are typically high on charm and low on space. Not so here. The rooms are commodiously cozy (or cozily commodious, per your preference), where you can sprawl out and never feel cold. Our suite was on an upper level with a balcony overlooking the canyon and portions of the golf course, with palm fronds swaying in the breeze just feet from us as we sipped our morning coffee.
Los Peñasquitos Canyon is a nature preserve with historical significance as the first route from Yuma to San Diego, which is today a beautiful hiking, biking and horseback riding destination. Guests of the Grand Del Mar have access to all the canyon has to offer, with bikes available for pickup at the front desk, and horses at the on-site stables ready for trail riding. For those whose outdoor adventures entail a driver and a putter, the Grand Del Mar features the only Tom Fazio-designed golf course in San Diego, complimented by swing analysis technology services, a SAMPutt lab, specialized practice areas used by some of the world’s top professionals, and more. If you’re of the aquatic persuasion, the property features two pools, one ideal for families and one infinity (read tranquility) pool for adults only. Not far beyond pools are the resort’s private beach and oceanic excursions including sunset sails and whale watching. And this only scratches the surface.
For spa enthusiasts, the Grand Del Mar offers one of the most acclaimed in the country. Naturally it features a comprehensive menu of treatments, such as cleansing facials and therapeutic massages, as well as a custom line of organic products; but it also offers a world-class spa experience, with wet and dry saunas, indoor whirlpools, separate men’s and women’s relaxation lounges with fireplaces, access to the adults-only relaxation pool and all the hot tea, snacks and chocolates you could ask for.
The dining experience at the Grand Del Mar stands on its own and is itself the reason that many travel long distances to visit the resort. Six on-property dining venues offer something for every taste, mood and interest, often to the sound of live music. Addison, led by celebrated executive chef William Bradley, is the Grand Del Mar’s signature dining feature. Local ingredients are combined with contemporary French influences and presented with exceptional service to make Addison Southern California’s most awarded fine dining restaurant.
Amaya is a more casual option fusing Spanish, Italian and French fare with expansive, sunny views of the canyon and golf course. We enjoyed a sumptuous breakfast of various benedicts and the “Black & Blue” Brioche French Toast with granola, lemon crème fraîche and berries, and an immunity smoothie for good measure (the effects were immediate). But excellence does not stop at Addison or Amaya. From its restaurants to its in-room dining, from its robust wine program to its seasonal menus and Afternoon Tea, the Grand Del Mar has something for every epicurean.
With all that the Grand Del Mar has to offer in activities, amenities, services and dining, the delight of being there is ultimately of the atmosphere, and that comes down to two things: beauty and people.
The staff members at the Grand Del Mar have a special quality. While hospitality professionals are typically welcoming, of course, the folks at the Grand Del Mar are authentically welcoming. So much so that either the resort has found hundreds of matchless thespians to do everything from valet the car to turn down the sheets, or the Grand Del Mar’s people truly enjoy being there. I want to believe that it is the latter.
As to beauty, the Grand Del Mar is simply an exquisitely designed place with lovely spaces; from the driveway to the marbled entrance to the furnishings and the vistas, you cannot escape a floor-to-ceiling sense of beauty of the most approachable kind. And so at every turn you are inspired to tranquility and delight. In the end, that is how we spent our 24-hour break from our everydays – enjoying each other, and simply basking in what the Grand Del Mar is. Long, slowly winding driveways always lead to something good.