The Scoop on scoops at an Ice Cream Social:

Moulin celebrates its first summer in Laguna


Among a muffled (well, because our mouths were full) chorus of “ohhs” and “ahhs”, Laurent Vrignaud, owner of Moulin, presents one Coupes Glacees after another to a small group of writers on his café patio. In celebration of their first summer in Laguna, Chef Jeoffrey Offer created these hand-crafted ice cream concoctions, and they are now on the menu. The Coupes Glacees are yet another element of Laurent’s time in Montmartre, Paris, that has migrated to Moulin. Lucky for us.

“Growing up in Paris, some of the most memorable moments of childhood summers were spent getting lost in the simple indulgence of a Coupe Glacee,” recalls Laurent. “These classic desserts are reflective of the café culture we embody at Moulin; providing our guests with yet another way to escape in a daydream to Paris.” 

When he was young, he tells us, his grandmother would take him to fancy cafés, and sometimes he would get his own Glacee, but most often, he would take some of hers. In Paris, he explains, it can be eaten after lunch or dinner, accompanied by a cappuccino or champagne or a Rose.

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Submitted photo

Banana Split

We taste, and find the descriptions don’t do them justice: Banana Split -  fresh banana, split lengthwise with vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate ice cream, topped with whipped cream, chocolate coulis and almond tuiles: Poire Belle Helene - poached pear with vanilla ice cream, topped with chocolate sauce, whipped cream & almond tuiles: Dame Blanche vanilla ice cream topped with whipped cream, chocolate sauce & roasted sliced almonds: Cafe Liegeois - coffee ice cream topped with whipped cream, coffee coulis, almond tuiles, & chocolate confectionery; Boules de Glaces – choice of three scoops, vanilla, coffee, chocolate, strawberry, or exotic sherbert.

Strictly adhering to his Parisian roots (he won’t serve iced coffee because there’s no iced coffee in Paris), Laurent is clear that the Glacees must be served in glass and won’t be a to-go item. However, what will soon be a to-go item, is another new addition to the menu, a picnic lunch in a temperature controlled package, a fast and easy meal to pick up on the way to the beach.

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Submitted photo

Poire Belle Helene

Laurent sits across the bistro table (which, along with all patio furniture, came from Parisian cafes, one under the Eiffel tower), portraying Moulin’s fare as basic Parisian café food, but it is anything but typical to Laguna patrons. 

From the crepes to the sandwiches, to the pastries, it’s all extraordinary, and now he’s introducing the French “hot dog” (house-made Toulouse sausage and Dijon mustard tucked into a fresh-baked baguette). Again, nothing standard about it. “It’s all about the bread,” he says, “that first warm bite.” Only two condiments are served; always mustard, catsup is optional. 

Laurent pauses to dip a piece of almond tuiles in the ice cream and savors it, and I imagine that he must be thinking about his childhood and the Glacees he shared with his grandmother.

On this beautiful morning, the sun melts what little is left of the Glacees, and those on the patio enjoy the passersby who stroll with dogs or children and look at us with envy. The ice cream has made me content and lazy and ready for a nap. Across from us, a couple enjoy a late breakfast of eggs, at another table, a man leisurely sips coffee and reads a newspaper, and if I didn’t know we were on Forest Ave, it could be a café in Paris. 

Compared to his Newport Beach location, which Laurent says is fast-paced with customers always on the go, Laguna Beach patrons, whether it be tourists or residents, are more mellow. And today is a good example.

Moulin is located at 248 Forest Ave, and is open daily from 6 – 9 p.m. For more information, go to:

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