Jody Robinson

Jody Robinson

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

When I was a child, I remember my parents moving our family into a new house, with pristine, white carpets. Beautiful to look at, but completely impractical when you consider that two young children would soon be tromping about.

As expected, my brother and I managed to ruin a swath of the floor covering in spectacular fashion … and in relatively short order. Enough so that it was replaced with a more manageable shade. Had my parents discovered the benefits of professional carpet cleaning services like those offered by the Laguna Niguel-based Beacon Carpet Cleaning, they certainly would have been better able to keep their flooring, countertops and upholstery from looking like they’d survived the tornado of their kids.

Ken and Linda Rogers, who founded Beacon in 1988, originally intended to simply find something they could do side-by-side. Both having spent their careers in various customer service oriented businesses, and searching for an opportunity to branch out, they decided upon carpet cleaning. In the years since, the couple and their longtime staff “family” have set the standard in residential and commercial carpet cleaning across Orange County.

An IICRC, Wools of New Zealand and Carpet and Rug Institute certified firm, Beacon takes the process of education to the next level, ensuring their team of professionals are trained to an unprecedented degree of sharpness and quality. The Master and Journeyman Certifications, highest available in the carpet cleaning industry, ensure that Ken and Linda’s customers enjoy a necessary service given by a trustworthy crew.

Premium Carpet CleaningPremium Carpet CleaningFast forward (a few) years and I’m now a grown-up with kids of my own. By pure happenstance, our family inherited the gorgeous off-white carpeting that came with the home we purchased a few years ago. Add the happy fact that our abode has been the scene of many an afternoon play date and the recent addition of a new puppy and you can probably imagine the toll the carpets have taken. But unlike my parents, I have long recognized the importance of calling in the experts - well before the point of no return.

When we called Beacon Carpet Cleaning, Ken personally came out to give us an estimate. In utilizing their services, I can confidently share that he, Linda and their crew - many of whom have been with the company for over a decade - are not only highly professional, but are among the nicest people in the business. They did a great job and given that our kids and pup are still young, we’ll very likely be calling on Beacon again in the not-to-distant future.

Maintaining one’s floors, showers, countertops, upholstery, rugs, mattresses, and other areas around the home can be overwhelming: with or without children running amok. Since its inception, Beacon evolved to encompass a complementary business - Marblelife Stone and Tile Restoration with the goal of engaging its clients on as many surfaces as possible. Beacon providing protectants and cleaning services for almost anything you can think of: your Grandmother’s antique Oriental rug to yacht and boat cleaning in the harbors of Orange County.

“Each of these surfaces work together to create a cherished expression of your identity, dreams, and values,” says Ken. “It’s a unique space to celebrate with friends, or just to enjoy time by yourself. We can meet you in that space and help you protect what you invested in, keeping it looking its best for as long as possible.”


IMG 0642Beacon Carpet Cleaning and Marblelife is located at 27665 Forbes Road in Laguna Niguel. To connect with Ken and Linda, call (949) 525-4742 or visit www.beaconcarpetcleaning.com or www.marblelife.com

JaxThis handsome guy is Jax, a 1 ½ year old Great Dane mix looking for a new start in life. Before coming to the shelter, Jax was shuffled through multiple short-term homes and never quite got the chance to truly belong anywhere.  Now, he’s ready to become a permanent fixture in an active household where he can really thrive.  Could Jax be the match for you?

 

 

 

FondueOne year old Fondue is a happy little guy with a quirky personality to match.  He enjoys outdoor activities and playing with his canine pals.  Full of energy, Fondue is looking to find someone who loves to have as much fun as he does!

 

 

 

 

MitsyMitsy is a big kitty with an even bigger personality.  Her general hobbies include sunbathing, playing with toys, and ruling over everything in her cat domain.  Mitsy would make a great companion and would do best as the only cat in a home where she can be the center of attention.

 

 

 

 

MatzoFive year old Matzo is a well-mannered canine who would make great addition to the family! Matzo loves to go for walks and run around and play in the yard with his other dog friends. He has a friendly personality, is well potty-trained, and would be good in a home with other dogs or kids.

 

 

 

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.

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

April 3, 2017 in Segerstrom Hall

Segerstrom Center for the Arts welcomes back legendary composer and performer YANNI in a special appearance during An Evening In Conversation With Yanni and his Piano on Monday, April 3, 2017 in Segerstrom Hall. On his upcoming tour, YANNI, one of the most celebrated composers and multi-gold and platinum-selling artists of our time will provide fans with the unprecedented opportunity to talk with him directly. For decades, YANNI has thrilled audiences worldwide with his dynamic live performances.

Now, for the first time, he is stepping off the concert stage to give his fans the chance to interact with him on a more intimate and personal level. Rather than having the backing of an orchestra, this tour will feature YANNI and his piano, which he will play from time to time throughout the show. YANNI will share his experiences traveling the globe, insight into his creative process, his understanding and interaction with cultures from around the world, and his experience planning and performing in mega shows in some of the most revered places on earth. Fans will be encouraged to ask any question that is on their mind.

Single tickets start at $59 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. For inquiries about group ticket savings for 10 or more, call the Group Services office at (714) 755-0236.

bootsBoots is a 10 year old kitty looking for a new lease on life.  Don’t let her age fool you; This little lady is full of life and just loves having company!  While she does get along well with other cats, Boots’ favorite pastime is spending the afternoon in the lap of a friendly human.  She would make a spectacular companion for someone looking for some real one-on-one time.

 

 

 

cindySeven year old Cindy is quite the little sweetheart.  She absolutely loves to be around people and will happily climb into your lap if given the chance. With a mellow personality and lovable charm, Cindy is sure to win your heart!

 

 

 

 

merlynMerlin is a blue-eyed Dutch neutered male rabbit. One of several hundred rabbits brought into the OC Shelter from a single residence, Merlin was transferred to the San Clemente Dana Point Animal Shelter as part of A Rescue Mission program.  Though he can sometimes be a bit shy to start, he’s actually a very sweet bunny who loves getting pets and cuddles. Merlin is a well-mannered rabbit with excellent litter box habits and would be a great bunny for a first-time owner!

 

 

caviarThis little cutie is Caviar, a 2 year old Miniature Pinscher mix ready to be your very best friend!  She is very friendly and always on the lookout for a comfy lap to sit in.  With her happy mild-mannered personality, Caviar would make a great pet for family members of all ages.

 

 

 

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.

If you’ve got a nagging ache in your neck, or persistent back pain that makes you twinge when you move – you’re not alone.

Nearly 40 million people in America deal with chronic, severe pain, and sometimes medication isn’t enough to treat it. About 30 percent to 40 percent of these people use drug-free, complementary medicine treatments during any given year, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. The government agency recently analyzed 105 clinical trials on alternative pain treatments. They found that certain treatments may help ease common aches and pains as part of an overall wellness plan.

Dr. Samuel Bederman, an orthopedic spine surgeon at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, spotlights the following five drug-free treatments:

Yoga: Promoting flexibility, strength and deep relaxation, yoga can ease pain by building a supple body and easing stress. If you have chronic pain, consider signing up for a yoga class. Let your yoga teacher know, as some poses may be more beneficial for you than others. Yoga is also good for back pain.

Acupuncture: This ancient Chinese treatment relieves pain when needles are stuck into points throughout the body; the location of the needles depends on where the pain is originating. Treatment may require multiple, ongoing session. Acupuncture is good for knee pain caused by osteoarthritis and back pain.

Tai chi: Like acupuncture, tai chi also comes to us by way of China. It’s an exercise that consists of low-impact, slow and deliberate movements paired with focused breathing. As with yoga, you should make sure your chronic pain doesn’t contradict any tai chi moves. Tai chi is good for knee osteoarthritis.

Massage therapy: It’s hard not to feel good after a message, thanks to its pain- and stress-relief powers. There are many types of massage out there so you can pick one that will most benefit your particular pain problem. Ideally, find a state-licensed massage therapist. Massage therapy can also help with neck pain.

Relaxation techniques. Living with chronic pain can be stressful, so relaxation techniques are a valuable way to manage that while instilling a positive mindset. Try deep breathing, meditation, progressive muscle relations, positive visualization or art therapy. Relaxation techniques are also good for headaches.


Dr. Bederman is a double fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, part of the St. Joseph Hoag Health network of care.

The Beach Boys
MARCH 3 – 4, 2017, 8:00 P.M.

In the pantheon of pop, few groups have enjoyed the success of The Beach Boys. Their close vocal harmonies and “Good Vibrations” conjure timeless memories of surf, sun and endless summers. Known for such irresistible chart-topping hits as “Surfin’,” “Fun, Fun, Fun,” “I Get Around,” “Kokomo,” “Help Me Rhonda” and “California Girls,” these Rock and Roll Hall of Famers have performed more concerts than any major rock band in history.


Pacific Coast Wine Festival
MARCH 11, 2017, 5:00 P.M.

The 10th Anniversary Pacific Coast Wine Festival will be a sensational wine auction and dinner, featuring extraordinary wine tasting of exceptional wines from the premier wine producing regions of the world, imaginative silent-auction offerings including fine wines that range from cult and storied artisanal wines to wines that need no introduction, a gourmet dinner with exquisite wine pairing and a live auction of rare and exceptional wines and extraordinary travel opportunities. The 2016 event featured: Aubert Wines, BOND Estates, Château Cos d’Estournel, Château Mouton Rothschild, Château Margaux, Herb Lamb Vineyards, Hundred Acre, Marcassin, Peter Michael Winery, Scarecrow and Vega-Sicilia.


metropolis robotFritz Lang’s Metropolis
MARCH 12, 2017, 3:00 P.M.

Fritz Lang’s sci-fi masterpiece influenced such films as “Star Wars” and “Blade Runner.” Experience this cinematic tour de force projected on the big screen while organ virtuoso Peter Richard Conte performs the unforgettable soundtrack live.

 

 

 

 

 


ZeeZee 2Piano Masterclass with Zhang Zuo
MARCH 22, 2017, 7:00 P.M.

World-class pianist Zhang Zho hosts a multi-generational masterclass in the intimate Samueli Theater. Participants will include a high school student, a college student and an adult pianist from the community. All will prepare their own performance for Zhang Zuo, who will then work with each to continue to refine and develop their musicianship. Tickets to observe are $10 and there is limited seating, so get yours soon! Learn how to ENTER THE COMPETITION to be one of the 3 masterclass participants!


For information, visit www.pacificsymphony.org or call (714) 755-5799.

April 23, 2017 in Segerstrom Hall

Segerstrom Center for the Arts welcomes the return of Mexican American singer and songwriter Lila Downs and the Center debut of one of Colombia’s leading bands Monsieur Periné in a special double bill concert on April 23 that will feature an array of global music and genres all while incorporating Latin influence into the mix.

Multiple Grammy Award-winning artist, Lila Downs, has one of the world’s most singular voices and innovative approaches to music. Reinterpreting the roots of music, she weaves various musical forms such as blues, jazz, soul, cumbia, bolero, rock, even rap and klezmer music, with traditional Mexican and native Mesoamerican music, creating an exciting fusion of international sounds. Singing in both Spanish and English, and sometimes the indigenous languages of the Mixtec, Zapotec, Maya and Nahuatl, she eloquently reflects the diverse cultures of Oaxaca, Mexico and the U.S., in which she grew up. Backed by her long time band, La Misteriosa, comprised of international multi-instrumentalist musicians, Downs’ offering will include new songs from her forthcoming album, and favorites from the vast repertoire cultivated throughout her illustrious career.


Single tickets start at $29 and are available online at SCFTA.org, by calling (714) 556-2787 and at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. For inquiries about group ticket savings for 10 or more, call the Group Services office at (714) 755-0236.

In the 5th century BC, Sun Tzu compiled thirteen chapters worth of military strategy and tactics. At a great many business schools today, The Art of War is required reading for those looking to conquer the corporate ladder, or succeed in courtrooms across America.

What is missing from the classic text however, is the ever necessary treatise regarding the age old battle that rages in those homes of our American tycoons of industry and their corporate lawyers. That classic skirmish against cracked, aged, moldy grout in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.

And the war cry? Care. How to care for something that seems to so easily wear away, discolor, or become damaged. Luckily for you, a field medic exists on the battlefront, and the doctor is in.

Grout doctor 2Elvin Jenkins has been in the business since 1992, and as part of a nationally supported network, is bringing The Grout Doctor to your front door. Specializing in tile, stone care, and yes, grout, Elvin and his team can renew, restore, and protect your home -- or change the look of it dramatically!

“We want you to love your tile and stone areas every day, not just the day they were installed. While tile is a non-porous material, the grout between the tiles absorbs everyday spills and dirt, almost like a sponge. If not cared for, over time, you’re going to have a problem.”

Grout doctor 3Offering free evaluations and a written estimate, The Grout Doctor would like the chance to take a look at each option open to you as a homeowner. If you’re on a budget, “restoration is less expensive, can often be completed in one day, and is good ‘green’ karma for you.”

Repair, regrouting and recoloring are also options. Locally owned and operated, Elvin and his team use their own proprietary products to ensure the highest level of quality care for your home environment.

Grout doctor 4Grout doctor 4If you were to search “grout” on Pinterest, there greets you an endless scroll of advice from home improvement bloggers, 5,467 photos of subway tile, and a healthy handful of posts regarding the newest trend on the housing market: bold, colorful grout.

(Including but not limited to glitter grout. Look it up, it exists.) Clearly the battle is raging -- choose to attack on the home front by letting the Grout Doctor fight for you.


For a FREE estimate, call Elvin and his team at (949) 336-1893 or visit www.GroutDoctor.com

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