Call me old fashioned, but I believe that physical photos are a medium worth preserving. When I recently sat down to put together my daughter’s baby book, I thought of how printed images might at times seem like a thing of the past. But then I can’t imagine showing off my family photos by scrolling through all the images I posted to Facebook once upon a time.
Diana Schmitt of the San Juan Capistrano-based Accents Portraits by Diana understands the desire for individuals and families to preserve their most precious memories in more than merely a digital format. She has spent the better part of 30 years specializing in family portraits, wedding photos and capturing the most priceless of moments in all types of life celebrations.
With nearly 30 years of experience, Diana’s focus is families, and she always aims to deliver “extraordinary customer service.”
“Diana is amazing,” says Heidi Hitt. “She has taken so many special pictures over the years for me and my family. They all turn out so beautifully. I am so blessed to have someone I can trust to help me capture special moments in time. Everybody loves when we send out our Christmas cards; they can’t believe how beautiful the pictures are. Thank you Diana for all the beautiful memories.”
Accent Portraits by Diana and San Juan Photo and Digital is located at 32281 Camino Capistrano, Suite C-104 in SJC. They can be reached at (949) 661-6465 or online at www.accentportraitsbydiana.com
Rosie is a pretty Snowshoe cat now available for adoption. Recently relinquished to the shelter, Rosie is doing her best to get her bearings while patiently awaiting her forever home. At eight years old, Rosie is a low maintenance kitty who would thrive in a quiet home where she can settle in permanently.
One year old Nala is a happy little Boxer who just wants someone to love. Whether she’s running around in the yard or simply relaxing, Nala is happiest by your side. This friendly and fun-loving pup also enjoys outdoor activities and would do well in an active household.
Only 8 weeks old when he first arrived at the shelter in January 2011, Trentino has spent most of his life at the shelter. Sadly, he recently also lost his sister rabbit and is now looking for another companion. Trentino is a sweet and calm rabbit who is used to being handled. He has excellent litter box habits and would be a real joy to have around the house.
Chantilly is a sweet Miniature Pinscher ready and waiting for her new best friend. Three years old and full of fun and lively energy, she enjoys playing in the yard with other dogs her size. A lap dog at heart, Chantilly would make a great dog for almost any family.
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.
The last time we showcased Ortega Animal Care Center in South County Magazine, Dr. Fluent and Dr. Brehmer were excited to begin offering the highest quality veterinary care and scope of offerings to South Orange County’s animal residents.
“Our main focus was growing the hospital by expanding the hours and making ourselves available 7 days a week,” says Dr. Lynlee Fluent. “We’ve done quite a bit more than that in the past few years.”
In fact, since they opened three years ago, staff at the Ortega Animal Care Center has doubled, and not only are their in-house services available 7 days a week, they offer a 24-hour pet hotel staff, pick up, and delivery. Front to back administrative changes include digital dental radiography and a comprehensive in-house laboratory and full-service pet pharmacy. So why all the upgrades?
“We’re constantly looking for new ways to make pet care as convenient and accessible for pet owners as possible, while keeping our prices reasonable,” says Dr. Fluent. “With our main focus on providing the best care, we have to keep up with the ongoing demands of our clientele: your pets!” Starting with a complete revamp of their Play Group for dogs, Ortega Animal Care has significantly improved the safety, lighting, acoustics, and ventilation of their play rooms, in addition to adding an all new play set for the dogs to climb and explore.
As far as I can tell, no other center in South County provides grooming, socialization and veterinary care all under the same roof. They’ll even pick up your pet and safely deliver them home after their day of “fun, wellness care, and pampering.”
If your pup can’t play in a group setting? There is a Personal Play area - so each dog has his day. Offering 10-day, 30-day, and 90-day Play Group Passes at discounted rates, you can rest assured that while you’re away, your pup will get its exercise, medicine and groom on. Each visit is well rounded and optimized with a full line of prescription pet foods and treats.
A husband and wife team with a passion for veterinary medicine and the expertise to back it up, Dr. Brehmer and Dr. Fluent are sick of animal care centers that give customers the runaround or charge unnecessarily for testing or treatments. Combining their passions for animal care and small animal hospitals has turned a childhood growing up in 4H, and one spent in a small beach town into the premier veterinary center in Orange County.
“Most people don’t realize that we’re here 7 days a week, when most vet offices are closed on Sundays. And if you’re going out of town? We can provide a safe and fun place for your dogs to play while you’re away.”
Still, growing the business is a never-ending task, and not just a simple equation for Drs. Fluent and Brehmer.
“We want to engage with the community: the whole community. We’re strong supporters of rescued pets, and work closely with the Ark of San Juan Capistrano, and Doggie Bonez Dog Rescue to provide veterinary care, spay/neuter, and housing until they are paired with foster families or forever homes.”
So much can happen in a year - in fact, many pets can appear to reach full maturity in the span of 12 months, with dogs doubling or tripling their size and weight in that span again if they are a larger breed. The Ortega Animal Care Center would like the chance to take care of your pet as they hit each milestone, and are prepared to provide the utmost in convenience and accessibility for you, as you watch your furriest family member mature.
Ortega Animal Care Center (OACC) is located at 23741 Ortega Hwy. in San Juan Capistrano. For more information, call (949) 487-7600 or visit www.oaccpets.com
Full service is a tough term to adequately define. The breadth and scope of it is so far reaching that in certain situations, it can be overwhelming to imagine all the possible combinations playing out: especially when it comes to travel. The variables involved in planning a family trip can often add up to an unbelievable amount of stress - all in order to find a safe haven far from your stresses. Picking a destination, drawing out a budget, deciding on points of interest, museum tours, airline tickets, travel visas, or railway passes, eating out or eating in, grocery shopping, souvenir shopping; hotels with pools or hotels with fitness centers? All before even getting your entire family on board. Each person adds new complexities - like building a rubber band ball that with each layer has an even greater chance of bouncing the wrong way and going through the nearest window.
Craig Carter is no stranger to the requirements of full service travel. Previously with American Airlines, Craig and his wife Amy were transferred to Orange County in 1997. Originally residents of Aliso Viejo, Craig and Amy moved to San Clemente in 2007, just one year before launching LUXE Travel Management. The result of a strong commitment among a handful of travel “pros”, LUXE was both an agreement and a vision: to provide their clients with the most comprehensive travel services available. Drawing from the shared experience of over one hundred travel agents and professionals from across the industry, the team at LUXE builds events, corporate retreats, meetings, group exercises and even worldwide leisure packages from the ground up.
“Our cross section of the industry is very impressive. Everyone says ‘our people set us apart’, but this could not be more true at LUXE,” says Craig. Being an ex-exec himself, Craig knows the ins-and-outs of quality service, and brought together a core management team that hails from virtually every facet of the industry: airline executives, Fortune 500 travel directors, hotel representatives, and private agency owners.
“Yes, we have all of the state-of-the-art industry tools and technologies at our fingertips,” he says. “But we also have a group who chose to leave other positions to form LUXE - and our presence in the leisure travel world has reflected that dedication to excellence and detail by its tremendous growth.”
Craig and his family have faced down the trials and tribulations of getting the whole family on board before. So LUXE’s leisure travel sits especially close to home. “Finding something that my two sons, daughter, and wife can all enjoy is a difficult enough task,” Craig notes, “and we love to travel together.”
Multi-generational travel comes with a special set of complications, like the rubber band ball - but LUXE controls the bounce, and can even direct the most varied of energies. “Cruising has become the go-to solution for family reunions and group travel. Everyone from grandparents to grandbabies can find something to fit their own unique needs.” Examples of itineraries LUXE can deliver include experiencing Europe at Christmastime (visiting charming villages and the Christmas markets on a Scenic River Cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam), indulging in an all-inclusive family reunion at Beaches, Turks & Caicos, forging an unforgettable family adventure to Steamboat Ski Resort in Colorado or partaking in a luxuriously pampering Paul Gauguin Cruise to Tahiti.
Group fares help lower the overall cost, even when you factor in the actual expense covering breakfast, lunch, dinner - specialty dining for kids, age appropriate entertainment, scenic ports with individualized adventures, and on board perks like a carousel for the kids and spa treatments for Mom and Dad. With offices in Boca Raton and Clearwater, Florida, and headquarters in Irvine, California, LUXE offers coast to coast peace of mind for the group traveler.
Lessening the unknowns and leveraging leisure are just side effects of a full service experience. “We expect the unexpected, anticipate your needs, and exceed the expectations you have for your personal vacation. We’ve been where you want to go, and we can help you create a truly one-of-a-kind experience.”
Luxe Travel Club is located at 16450 Bake Parkway, Suite 100 in Irvine. Connect with Craig and his team of professionals by calling (949) 336-1000 or visit www.luxetm.com
Owning your own home is a huge part of the American dream – but it’s not just owning a home … it’s the pride of ownership that extends to the care you put into the way the property looks – inside and out.
The front lawn is one of the first things about your home that people see, and a tidy, lush-looking lawn not only adds to your home’s curb appeal, but also adds to the overall aesthetic appeal of your neighborhood. But “lush” might be quite a stretch to achieve when conserving water. That is, unless you call Gorilla Grass – providers of the highest quality synthetic lawn grass for both residential and commercial customers.
For our part, my husband and I were tired of looking at a barren patch of dirt in our backyard and I hesitate to call what was struggling to grow there “grass.” We decided to install a synthetic lawn and called on Gorilla Grass owner Denis Weber and his professional team to try to make the area look better and have it be a more useable space for the kids could play.
Serving Orange County since 1998, Denis has continually grown the company year after year – a testament to the quality of his product and service. Gorilla Grass provides two types of grass: Synthetic Lawngrass and Professional Putting Greens. Synthetic grass can help you cut down significantly on your water usage and judging by the results we achieved, you don’t have to sacrifice beauty for cost-savings.
“Synthetic or artificial lawn grass is so sophisticated today, that is very closely imitates real live grass,” says Denis. “In general, by switching to artificial lawn, the savings in water consumption amount to about 48 gallons per square foot, per year!”
When we spoke with Denis, it was immediately evident that he is extremely proud of his product, but we were equally impressed by personal testimonials of his many happy customers like Mike and Shannon Wells who raved “Denis has done an incredible job with an incredible product. The kids play constantly on the grass, and we will be adding a new family member (a puppy) without any worries. We cannot say enough about how happy we are with the product as well as with Denis and his team.”
Customer Dr. Dante Toriello agrees with the Wells’ assessment and adds that the work was so good, his lawn had become “uniform, maintenance free and beautiful.” His American dream had been fulfilled, and in Dante’s words, thanks to Gorilla Grass, his home had now become “the showplace in the neighborhood.”
According to Denis, the ways in which Gorilla Grass simulates real grass are numerous: “its weight (double the average at 143oz per square yard), its high density, its extra softness and plushness, its resiliency, its height (2”, whereas most lawns are 1 1/2” to 1 3/4”)”, and its special diamond-shaped fibers - which help make Gorilla Grass more resilient and more realistic. Gorilla Grass is just like real grass, only better.
Connect with Denis Weber and Gorilla Grass by calling (949) 370-4988 or visit www.gorillagrassandgreens.com
180blu offers inventive dishes, hand-crafted cocktails and unparalleled, awe-inspiring views
Here in South Orange County, we’re pretty lucky to live so close to the coast and have an abundance of wonderful dining destinations to choose from. But for inventive cuisine coupled with awe-inspiring ocean views, there are few establishments that rival 180blu. Located in The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel - the aptly named 180blu boasts an outdoor lounge/deck situated 150 feet above Salt Creek Beach, defined by breathtaking 180 degrees of blue sky and clear blue ocean water.
180blu’s culinary offerings showcases Pan-Latin Coastal Cuisine prepared with sustainable seafood, local produce, natural and organic meat. Acclaimed Chef Richard Sandoval’s signature Latin flavors define the seasonal menu which draws inspiration from California and Asian cuisines.
The dining destinations at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel have long been favorites for special occasions, date nights and girls’ night out - the service here is what you’d expect of The Ritz-Carlton and consistently so: Attentive yet unobtrusive, professional, yet casually friendly. And 180blu is THE perfect locale to find yourself at happy hour - for the food, the handcrafted cocktails and the spectacular sunsets.
The menu here is characterized by refreshing hand-crafted beverages (watch Mixologist Erin Snider demonstrate how to make Tequila Sangria, one of the specialty drinks served here), small plates (our favorite here is the Wild Mushroom Huarache - a variation on flatbread piled with wild mushroom, caramelized onion, black bean, goat cheese and truffle oil), sushi (on Friday and Saturday from 6 pm to 9 pm) and desserts. Bonus! Weather permitting, live music Thursday through Sunday from 6 pm - 9 pm.
Other popular small plates include the lobster tacos (enhanced by chile de arbol salsa) and baby kale salad tossed with date, Spanish manchego cheese, roasted beet, toasted almond and a sherry guajillo vinaigrette.
The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel is located at 1 Ritz Carlton Drive in Dana Point. For more information, call (949) 240-2000.
Many years ago, a manager I had said something to me that I’ve never forgotten: “That good customer service isn’t simply the absence of bad customer service.” In today’s retail environment, it sometimes seems a challenge to find businesses that consistently adhere to that adage. Perhaps the ever increasing reliance on technology is to blame; people come face to face less. Perhaps there is more traffic, or more days feel like Mondays, and the attitude of service gets shifted to one of self-reliance. Perhaps the customer has learned to expect outstanding customer service, so it’s just harder to please everyone who walks through the door.
Dennis Penman, owner of the San Juan Capistrano-based Sanctuary Home Furnishings by Renaissance thinks that good customer service is more than just making clients satisfied, he wants them happy. Dennis believes that happiness will translate into repeat customers and positive, word of mouth referrals.
The transformation from sales associate to partner, and partner to owner may have something to do with Dennis’ dedication to his clients. But simple ownership is never the full story.
“I have always been a people pleaser,” says Dennis. “Just ask my friends - I’m a guy they can turn to for help with whatever. All my jobs have been in a customer service field. I like the feeling when I know I have done the customer right, whether it’s guiding them on sizing, color and style to providing the lowest price.
“I found my way to Renaissance Home Furnishings in 2003 when the business was just two and a half years old. I fell in love with the business as each day presented new opportunity to help others and be creative. Nearly 15 years later, my favorite parts of the business are still creating new looks to keep up with the shifting trends of home décor and ensuring customers are happy.
“This month, with the immense assistance of my design and sales team we have completely redesigned our 11,000-square-foot showroom starting with our new name Sanctuary Home Furnishings by Renaissance. “We started in San Juan Capistrano, and now we’re coming home - to help local home owners design their home to reflect their personality.”
Growing up in Mission Viejo, Lake Forest, Laguna Niguel and now residing in Capistrano Beach gives Dennis a unique perspective on local taste and expected quality. Renaissance Home Furnishings has long been known for their Mediterranean and Spanish Tuscan flair but as trends have shifted and Renaissance becomes Sanctuary Home Furnishings by Renaissance Sanctuary can now help the Spanish Tuscan homes bring in a cleaner Coastal Transitional feel without requiring a home remodel. “For all the new homes in Rancho Viejo our look is perfect- we can help their homes look like the models.”
Not ironic too, that the heart of the coastal transitional design trend is the word refuge; a perfect synonym for sanctuary. A safe place to rest one’s head.
“The showroom has an abundance of sofas, sectionals, accent chairs, media chests, accent pieces, bedroom suites, art, mirrors, area rugs and accessories,” says Dennis. “Most everything on the showroom floor can be delivered straight to the customer’s home.”
Having three local manufacturers at its disposal helps immensely. In two to three weeks, Sanctuary can customize, to the inch, a sofa, sectional, or chair to the scale and color palette of the client’s home.
“We can fit any room, in any scale and in any fabric color.”
Sanctuary tries to make the customers shopping and buying experience relaxing and not intimidating. At their store they allow clients to come in and peruse without being tracked throughout the store by a “suit with a clipboard.” They want you to take your time, “tush test the seating”, and know the designer is available yet not hovering. Sanctuary offers piece of mind shopping by allowing customers to memo out products they like but aren’t sure it will work in their home they can check out the item(s) to see them in their homes before purchasing.
Most stores would like to be known for low prices but they offer poor quality goods. Sanctuary wants to be known for quality furnishings at low prices. “I think what really sets us apart is our quality, pricing and the ability we have to work with our clients on every level, from design to customization to installation all at low pricing.” Often, Sanctuary Home Furnishings is lower priced than online but if not they will match the price you find.
Nowadays, that elusive “good customer service” typically goes hand in hand with a commissioned sales force. Motivated by the sale, associates will bend over backwards for their clients. Not necessarily bad for the customer, unless the customer isn’t ready to buy.
“We understand that sometimes it takes a little back and forth to make decisions about your home - you may have these furnishings for the next ten or fifteen or twenty years,” says Dennis. “We want to make the process as easy as if you had the choice to redesign every calendar year.” No pressure, with a non-commissioned sales force. Dennis wants every customer to be helped by any available person at anytime - before, during or after the purchase.
As I shared earlier in this edition, one of the perks of publishing South County Magazine is that I am provided a venue to share with our readership personal experiences of local business owners whose services I have utilized either personally or professionally. Our introduced a furry new addition to our home last year - a beautiful and rambunctious yellow lab puppy named Bella who prompted wreaked havoc with the wooden legs of the barstools, the couch cushions and the coffee table. When she started to mellow out on the chewing phase a few months later, we surveyed the damage and determined that it might be time to redecorate. As luck would have it, we happen to know a local purveyor of fine furniture and home accents at affordable prices - yep, you guessed it … Dennis Penman and his team at Sanctuary Home Furnishings couldn’t have made the process any easier. Dennis made recommendations based on the colors scheme and general style I said I was looking for and I literally walked out in less than an hour with an delivery date on the calendar. When the pieces arrived, his crew set everything up, hauled the old items out to the garage and voila! … the room was back to being a beautiful space in spite of our pup’s best efforts.
That same manager I had years back told me one other thing that has stuck around all these years. That we were in the business where the word “no” didn’t exist. You can find that adage anywhere you look at Sanctuary Home Furnishings. As Dennis puts it: “Yes. That is all we try to say.”
Sanctuary Home Furnishings is located at 31896 Plaza Drive, Suite E-7 in San Juan Capistrano. Connect with Dennis and his team by calling (949) 248-9772 or visit www.sanctuaryhf.com
Thomas is an eight year old sweetie who is finally ready to settle down. A gentle and mild-mannered cat, he enjoys spending his afternoons lounging on a sunny window sill or birdwatching. Thomas has an adorable and quirky personality and would make a great companion for almost anyone.
Four year old Gumbo is a happy guy who just loves to make new friends. Full of energy and a fun personality, he enjoys going on walks and playing with his canine buddies in the yard. If you’re looking for an all-around great dog, Gumbo might just be your perfect match!
Sweet little Burberry is a great dog on so many levels. At four years old, he has a patient and gentle personality while still loving to run around and have fun. Burberry is potty-trained and would get along well with family members of any age!
When it comes being friendly, no one can beat six year old Cuddles. As her name suggests, she is very affectionate and playful and doesn’t mind a good snuggle after an energetic game of catch the mouse toy. Give her a chance and she’s sure to win you over with her winning personality.
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.
It takes a trained eye to note the subtle shading needed to contour a surfboard. To taper the rails just so. To send the airbrush lightly over the fin box and trace the shape perfectly, symmetrically, precisely. It takes a trained eye to paint the female form, to counter shadow and shape until a living woman appears on the page. It takes a trained eye to dive below what William Asbury called the “large-scale manifestations of classical biology” to the molecular plane below. For Kristy Fleming, MD, each of those became immediately necessary and tangential to another when she discovered that skin cancer often occurs in cosmetically sensitive areas that take a nuanced hand to repair. “My specialty is repairing the defect left by the removal of cancer. Each one is unique, a puzzle to solve in order to give my patients the absolute best cosmetic outcome.”
A board-certified dermatologist and fellow of the American Society for Mohs Surgery, Dr. Fleming has been preparing for this task her entire life. An attendee of the University of San Francisco, Kristy graduated summa cum laude, moving on to the University of California, Irvine - where Alpha Omega Alpha elected her as part of their top tier graduate honor society. Not quite finished with her education, she moved to Houston, Texas for a residency in dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine.
“In my training at Baylor, and later as a faculty member at UCLA, I became accustomed to seeing very challenging cases,” says Dr. Fleming. Everything from minor skin concerns to life-threatening dermatologic disorders. Those are the cases that keep my days exciting and force me to stay current with emerging treatments.”
Treatments which have gained Dr. Fleming a dedicated patient following- one that made her transition from Newport Beach to Laguna Hills difficult. “I’ve been slow to move out of the Newport office because I didn’t want my patients to feel abandoned. I know it sounds cliche, but patients really become part of our family. And I believe our dedication to them is really what sets us apart.” Kristy’s sister also works in the office; a talented hair stylist and brow expert. Unique in their ability to provide multiple services at once, it is not uncommon to see Kristy offering Botox or filler treatments to patients waiting for their hair to set. Though the Mohs micrographic surgery allows Kristy to treat her patient’s skin cancers, its efficacy can affect a cosmetic change, and however small, the team wants to fix it all. “All procedures are performed in-house, under my hand. We don’t have nurses or physicians assistants working on our patients. I want you to know you are personally being taken care of.”
On top of skin cancer removal and cosmetic dermatology, Dr. Fleming is personally invested in the physical health of her community.
“We’re very excited to be partnering with the Orangewood Foundation to provide laser tattoo removal to victims of human trafficking,” says Dr. Fleming. “The girls are branded with large tattoos across their necks, or chests. We’re out to change that.” Kristy and her team also began a program called Fresh Start, which provides basic skin and hair care products to women and children who fled from unsafe living conditions, and are currently residing in shelters for battered women.“
Now open 5 days a week at their location in Laguna Hills, Kristy and her team are excited to become a staple in the local community, and start changing the way patients view themselves. It doesn’t take a trained eye to see the good in that.
Fleming Dermatology & Aesthetic Center is located at 23141 Moulton Parkway, Suite 110 in Laguna Hills. For information, call (949) 916-5956 or visit www.coastalhillsdermandplastics.com
Inventive dishes, award-winning cuisine and stellar service make this intimate OC steakhouse a standout
Whether your tastes run to dishes influenced by exotic culinary spices or dishes that tend toward simpler, seasoned fare, there is certainly no shortage of diverse dining destinations from which to choose here in South Orange County. But if you’re looking for inventive cuisine coupled with exemplary service in the spirit of a time-honored classic American steakhouse, there are but a handful worth writing home about.
The elegant enoSTEAK (located in the gorgeous Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel) harkens back to an earlier era - a time steeped in tradition and attention to detail in everything from its interior design and decor to its exquisite culinary offerings and expansive list of highly-rated California vintages (on impressive display as the centerpiece of the dining room is a floor-to-ceiling glass wine cellar). The restaurant’s interior is defined by rich wood, marble flooring, upholstered furnishings and accented by artwork by critically acclaimed painter Sandra Jones Campbell.
On a recent date night, my husband, Tim, and I reserved a table next to the crackling fireplace to indulge in a glass or two of fine wine and each course of beautifully presented, delicious dishes made from the highest quality ingredients … including what are arguably among the best steaks in Orange County featuring prime and grass-fed, pasture-raised beef. The organic produce is locally grown and harvested at the peak of the season. The majority of the herbs used to enhance each specialty appetizer and entree are gathered from the resort’s organic garden. The fish is sustainable and either farm raised or pole/troll caught. enoSTEAK also highlights artisanal cheeses, charcuterie and of course, the aforementioned selection of fine wines.
The menu changes are based on the essence of the season. enoSTEAK’s spring menu - which debuted the night we visited last month - features noteworthy starters, including the decadent crispy brie accompanied by a jalapeño bacon jam, strawberry and pistachio lightly drizzled with balsamic, the Cali onion soup was flavorfully rich with sherry, crouton, San Geronimo, Sonoma Jack cheese and topped with crispy shallots.
Our server Christian recommended that we sample with the chef’s signature spring pea salad. Now I fancy myself somewhat of a salad connoisseur and as such, was expecting it might fall short of expectation. But I have to say, Chef nailed it with what is now be my new favorite salad - which combines micro greens and fresh-from-the-garden peas with toasted almonds, feta and carrot atop an aromatic arugula pesto.
A meat-and-potatoes man, my husband chose the filet mignon and while I typically steer toward seafood selections, opted instead for the Wagyu NY steak prepared Oscar-style with dungeness crab, asparagus and bearnaise – again at Christian’s suggestion. Both of our steaks were grilled to perfection and literally melted in our mouths.
Showcased entrees range from a dry-aged prime ribeye chop, grass-fed filet and coffee-rubbed Wagyu NY Steak (a more marbled cut than the filet) to pan-seared sea bass and Mary’s farm fried half chicken. Accompanying the handcrafted meats and seafood are a selection of five signature compound butters including creamy horseradish, garden herb and garlic/truffle butter, cognac green peppercorn, béarnaise and enoSTK sauce. Enhancements to the entrees include sherry cream sauteed mushrooms, truffled white cheddar cavateli (the chef’s inspired spin on “mac and cheese), Yukon potato mash and creamed corn.
With enoSTEAK, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel has certainly raised the bar for destination dining in the region and for our part, we can’t wait to visit again and experience what will undoubtedly be an equally-inspired summer menu.
Open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday, enoSTEAK is located in The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel at One Ritz Carlton Drive in Dana Point. For more information or reservations, please call (949) 240-2000 or visit www.ritzcarlton.com/lagunaniguel