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Where’s Maggi?

Maggi may or may not have been playing chess here. If you wanted to play, where would you find these tables?

Send your answers in to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The location will be revealed in Tuesday’s edition, and we’ll let you know who got it right.

Wheres Maggi 2 8 19

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Laguna Chefs share the Love on Valentine’s Day

By DIANE ARMITAGE

Yesterday, I was talking to one of our Laguna chefs about Valentine’s Day. 

Oddly, reservations for Valentine’s Day tend to occur well in advance, while Mother’s Day reservations tend to happen at the last minute. Imagine that. 

If you’re one of the few who’s still making your plan for next Thursday, Valentine’s Day, here’s a quick roundup from many of our local restaurants. More details are still rolling in from chefs, so be sure to check my blog at www.TheBestofLagunaBeach.com for the latest details. 

Laguna Chefs The Loft

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Courtesy of Montage LB

Valentine’s Day dessert – The Loft

Specially-Created Valentine’s Day Menus

I’m putting these in no particular order, but figure we should start with the newest chef on our block, Chef Greg Daniels, and his welcome talent at Harley. (Be sure to meet his new mixologist, Jeff, too. Awesome cocktails!) 

Harley Laguna Beach – Chef Greg Daniels is making a splash with a Valentine’s menu that starts with New Caledonian Blue Prawns, moseys through Wood-Grilled Scallops and Grass-Fed Filet Mignon, and offers up black truffle and wild mushroom risotto, pan-fried gnocchi, and quite luxurious desserts.

The cost is $90/person, including a $20 required deposit that will be removed from your final bill. 

Go to www.harleylagunabeach.com to reserve or call (949) 715-1530.

Harley’s regular menu is also available.

Wine Gallery Laguna – One of my favorite (and somewhat undiscovered) chefs, Chef Josh Mason, has returned to Wine Gallery, and he’s crafted a 4-course dinner that brings back the best of Josh. Options include Lobster Bisque, Prime Rib with Pommes Purée, and Halibut with a White Wine Tomato Brodo. 

The cost is $75/person with a $30 additional option for a flight of three hand-picked wines from Owner Chris Olsen. (I’d take the option any minute, just sayin.)

Go to www.winegallerylaguna.com or call (949) 715-8744 to reserve.

Pizza and salads from regular menu also available.

Nirvana Grille – I had the pleasure of having dinner with Chef Lindsay last Friday evening. It’s lovely to see her restaurant still filled with happy diners after all these years. She just signed a new 10-year lease, so be sure to keep Nirvana on your list. This year’s Valentine’s menu offers up options such as House Made Salmon Chowder, Grilled Center Cut Swordfish, Pepper Crusted Filet Mignon, Portobello Mushroom Risotto and more. Finish the evening with a decadent dessert trio. 

The cost is $79/person. Add Drew Barrymore Rosé for just $8 a glass or Bottomless Jean Phillipe Champagne for $25 per person.

Call quickly as she’s almost reached her reservations limit: (949) 497-0027 or go to www.nirvanagrille.com.

Broadway by Amar Santana – Chef Amar has come up with an inventive menu that features colors and flavors to entice the senses. Enjoy a “red-for-passion” course of beet-cured Wild King Salmon, a “green-for-vitality” course of Herb-Crusted Lamb Loin, and a black course for “power, decadence and sexiness” featuring Porcini Dusted Filet of Beef with black truffle purée and more. 

The cost is $135/person. Credit card is required at reservation. Call (949) 715-8234.

Broadway by Amar Santana’saA la carte menu is also available. 

Laguna Chefs Broadway

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Courtesy of Broadway by Amar Santana

Decadent dessert at Broadway by Amar Santana

Mozambique – Always a believer in music + great food for the most memorable Valentine’s days, Chef Braulio has created a menu that includes 11 entrée options featuring Chilean Sea Bass, Filet & Lobster, New Zealand Rack of Lamb, Cioppino and more. Live music on Valentine’s features special guest Louis B. Middleton in the Durban Room and the Neil Diamond tribute band America’s Diamond on the main stage. 

The cost is $79/person. Call (949) 715-7777.

Driftwood Kitchen – Chef Rainer Schwarz is pulling out all the stops with items such as Pan Seared Crab Cake, Double R Ranch Petite Filet with Maine Lobster, European Branzino and more. The meal includes a champagne toast and dessert for two. 

The cost $89/person. Call (949) 715-7700.

Note: For those of you who would rather whisk somewhere other than Laguna, check out Chef Rainer’s great Hendrix Restaurant in Ocean Ranch by Cinepolis. He’s created a very similar menu to the Driftwood Valentine menu, with pricing at $69/person.

Call (949) 248-1912.

Studio, Montage Laguna Beach – You know you can’t go wrong for romance at the renowned Studio. Chef Ben Martinek’s amuse bouche starts with a Shigoku Oyster on the half shell, and the menu rolls from there with Smoked Red Abalone, Roulade of California Petrale Sole, Duck Breast and more. 

The cost is $175/person, $270 with wine pairings. Call (949) 715-6420.

The Loft, Laguna Beach – New Chef Joosung Lee is offering a 4-course menu with items such as Steelhead Trout Tartare, Cauliflower Flan, Catalina Island Striped Bass, Sweet Potato Gnocchi and more. 

The cost $150/person, $210 with wine pairings. Call (949) 715-6420.

The Loft’s egular menu is also available.   

Valentine Specialty Items Served With Regular Menu

These restaurants are featuring specials along with the nightly regular menu: 

Sapphire Laguna – Any time Chef Azmin comes up with specialty items, you can be assured it’s going to be one of a kind. Opt for items such as Lobster & Shrimp Bisque, Oven-Roasted Steelhead Salmon, Raspberry Almond Tart and more. Call (949) 715-9888 for reservations.

Lumberyard – Always a local favorite, Owner Cary Redfearn and Chef Armando Ortega have drummed up some specials that you haven’t seen in the restaurant yet. Sorry, mum’s the word on this! 

Make reservations at www.lblumberyard.com or call (949) 715-3900.

230 Forest – Chef Marc is offering up a number of specials along with the regular menu. His is a popular restaurant for Valentine’s, so reserve soon at www.230forestavenue.com or call (949) 494-2545.

Skyloft – In addition to the regular menu, opt for off-menu items such as Salmon Quinoa or Grilled Pork Chop. The great musician Francois Dean in in the house beginning 7 p.m.

Watermarc – At his other popular restaurant, just a block from his initial 230 Forest restaurant, Chef Marc has organized a number of specials true to Watermarc’s cuisine. 

For reservations, call (949)-376-6272 or go to www.watermarcrestaurant.com. 

Valentine’s All Month Long

Ristorante Rumari’s – Owner Vince Crivello and his chefs decided to celebrate a month of amoré because…well, why not? This February menu is NOT offered on Valentine’s Day but is served Sunday through Thursday throughout the month. A three-course menu, it offers options such as Pollo Siciliana, Ravioloni Macchiati Con Vodka, Penne Al Salmone and more. The dinner includes a glass of house wine or Italian Prosecco. (Watch for my review on this next week in Stu News Laguna.)

The cost is $45/person. For reservations, call (949) 494-0400 or go to www.ristoranterumari.com.

Laguna Chefs Rumari

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Courtesy of Ristorante Rumari’s

Dessert at Ristorante Rumari’s

And, You Could Always Start with Dessert First

Montage Lobby Lounge – Leave it to Montage Executive Pastry Chef Lee Smith to roll out every sweet imaginable for a Dessert Buffet in the Montage Lobby Lounge. It’s a finer version of Willy Wonka’s world with tables piled with macaroons, brownie lollipops, ivory chocolate pots de crème, a “Montage Cream Bun Collection,” and an entire collection of chocolates, from eclairs to chocolate chunk cookies, house-made chocolate bonbons, and truffles. 

 The cost is $45/person and the entire table is required to purchase (no sharing please). 

Diane Armitage is the best-selling author of the book, The Best of Laguna Beach, and offers a cornucopia of Laguna based reviews, finds and upcoming events at her blog, TheBestofLagunaBeach.com.


Stu News Exclusive: Winners of the Kit-Lit Writing Contest announced – details to follow soon

Grant Hier, Creative Writing Professor at Laguna College of Art & Design, Anaheim Poet Laureate/Literary Ambassador, and esteemed judge of the Kit-Lit Writing Contest – which was sponsored by the nonprofit Catmosphere Laguna Foundation – has exclusively revealed to Stu News the names of the winners of the contest.

First place goes to Sarah Wolsey, for “A Letter From Magoo.” In second place is Kathy Hall for her poem “Luna”, and in third place is Diane Dorman for “Milo.” The other nine finalists are listed below.

A fun way to raise awareness for rescued cats

“To see such an enthusiastic response and such quality entries proves once again that literature is alive and well in our community,” Grant Hier said. “There are a lot of good writers out there, just looking for the opportunity to share their stories, so everyone should come to the event on February 13 and support the arts – and cats!” 

Hier noted that with 63 wonderful entries to read, it was a challenge for him to decide on the 12 finalists, not to mention the three top spots.

Stu News Boris

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Boris is looking at you: Come celebrate the Kit-Lit winners on Feb 13!

“All of the entries were steeped in sincerity and emotion, with many heartwarming tales of rescued cats who became beloved family members. Judging the contest was an absolute pleasure,” Hier added.

Raising awareness of the plight of rescued cats was one of the goals of the contest, and Gail Landau, owner of Catmosphere Laguna and founder of the nonprofit Catmosphere Laguna Foundation, declared herself very pleased with the results. 

Congratulations to the pawsome winners!

“I am so impressed by the quality of the writing,” Landau said. “I particularly love the humor in Sarah Wolsey’s piece. I’m very grateful to Grant for all his hard work in judging the entries and helping to brainstorm the best way to reach writers and encourage them to submit.” 

Laguna Literary Laureate Suzanne Redfearn, a best-selling novelist, was one of the instigators of the contest and provided enormous support during the rollout.

“It’s wonderful to see so many writers enthusiastic about their work and to read these engaging stories and poems,” Redfearn said. “I feel like the literary community in Laguna is really coming alive.”

Fun event will feature readings by winners

Winners and finalists are invited to read their work at a special event at Catmosphere Laguna Cat Café on Wednesday, Feb 13 from 5:30 – 7 p.m. There’ll be half-price bubbly for sale and lots of fun to be had.

The three winning entries will be published in Stu News on Friday, Feb 15.

Stu News Cats

The top prize-winner will receive $100 plus free visits to the Cat Lounge, along with plenty of Catmosphere Laguna swag. Second and third place winners will also get fabulous prizes – and each finalist will receive a little something also.

And so, what’s the verdict on the 2019 Kit-Lit Writing Contest?

“Just meow-valous!” Gail says.

Finalists

Finalists are listed below in alphabetical order:

Brian Barrett: “There Once was a Cat Name Fellini”  

Diane Dorman: “Hampton / My Unlikely Savior”  

Kerry Dunn: “Knowing”  

Sarah Durand: “Stan and Ollie”  

Victoria Kertz: “Orange is the new Cat”

Theresa Keegan: “Jefferson”

Sharon Kosco: “Catastrophe”  

Stephen Myer: “Rosemund”

Sarah Nuss-Galles: “Old Cat, New House”

Catmosphere Laguna is located at 381 Forest Ave. For more information, visit www.catmospherelaguna.com or call (949) 619-MEOW.

Catmosphere Laguna Foundation is a nonprofit whose mission is to place homeless cats and kittens in their “furrever” homes. The kitties are housed in a comfy, homey setting, full of fun toys, at the Catmosphere Laguna Café lounge while they wait to charm a future owner.


Woman’s Club to honor Kelly Boyd in outgoing Mayor’s Luncheon on Friday, Feb 15

The Woman’s Club of Laguna Beach will honor Mayor Kelly Boyd at the nonprofit’s annual outgoing Mayor’s Luncheon event, to be held on Friday, Feb 15, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

“Kelly Boyd is an icon in the town of Laguna Beach,” said Kitty Malcolm, Woman’s Club President. “Clearly, he is much beloved and has served the City and the community as a whole for many years. We are privileged – and proud – to honor his service as mayor yet again.”

Woman's Club to honor Kelly Boyd

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Woman’s Club to honor former mayor extraordinaire Kelly Boyd on Feb 15

Boyd’s many accomplishments, as presented in a proclamation from the City, include: addressing the impacts of homelessness, assisting of the transition of South Coast Medical to Mission Viejo Hospital, renovating Heisler Park, relocating the City’s maintenance operations, completing the City’s Village Entrance project, designing and reconstructing the Community and Susi Q Center, designing and reconstructing the Lifeguard Headquarters, creating the View Preservation and Restoration Ordinance, restoring hillside and restoring all public facilities for both Bluebird landslides among many other endeavors, supporting the establishment of a $6 million dollar Disaster Contingency Fund, serving on the City Council for the appointment of two City Managers, improving the mobility throughout the community via the extension of trolleys, fostering the Complete Streets Program to include promotion of the use of bicycles, bike racks, and safety, supporting Measure LL to increase the transient occupancy tax rate, designing and constructing the TOW Trail project and extending access, rehabilitating the Oak Street and Mountain Road Beach accessway, and working collaboratively with fellow City Council members while addressing matters.

Tickets are $40 for club members, $45 for non-members, and $320 for a sponsor’s table of eight.

Reservations for the luncheon are going quickly and must be received at the Clubhouse or paid online by February 12. 

To RSVP online, visit the Woman’s Club website at www.wclb.org/events. 

The Woman’s Club is located at 286 St. Ann’s Drive. Doors open at 11:30 am. The event runs through 1:30 p.m.


Laguna Beach goes “Live” with Text-to-911

Laguna Beach joined all other Orange County public safety agencies in launching text-to-911 across all of Orange County. It is designed specifically for those who are hearing impaired, speech disabled, or in a dangerous situation where calling 911 is not possible.

To use the service, individuals should enter “911” in the destination field of their mobile device, followed by their location and brief description of their emergency. It is important to note that while dispatchers will receive a geolocation from the caller’s cell phone in longitude and latitude, they will not have an exact address.

“The exact location is crucial to getting help to you, the GPS location accuracy varies by carrier and should not be relied upon,” Police Chief Laura Farinella said. “Also, messages should be sent in plain language, please do not use acronyms, short code messages, or emojis.”

You cannot include videos or photos in your 911 text, and you cannot include 911 in a group text. The service is only available in English at this time.

Calling 911 is always best as the interaction between the caller and a trained dispatcher is more easily coordinated through voice dialogue.

“Remember, call 911 if you can, text 911 if you can’t,” Chief Farinella said.

For more information, contact Support Services Supervisor Kristen Berry at (949) 497-0399 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To reach LBPD’s non-emergency number, call (949) 497-0701 or visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/police/.


LB Animal Services hosts low-cost dog and cat vaccine clinic on Saturday

Laguna Beach Animal Services is hosting a low-cost dog and cat vaccination clinic tomorrow, Saturday, Feb 9, from 1 - 3 p.m. at the ACT V city parking lot, located at 1900 Laguna Canyon Rd. Anyone may participate in the vaccination clinic, not just residents of Laguna Beach, hosted by the City. 

Visit www.Heart4Pets.org for information on all mobile services offered. A prior Rabies Certificate is required to receive a 3-year rabies vaccine; otherwise the vaccine will be good for one year. Bring other vaccine records if possible. If owners have a cat, please go to the front of the clinic line.

Lost cost Mary Hurlbut

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Submitted photo

LB Animal Services is hosting a low-cost dog and cat vaccine clinic on Saturday at the ACT V parking lot

Microchips for dogs and cats are $30. Roundworm and tapeworm de-worming is $15 to $35 per dose. Prices range from $17 to $24 for critical vaccinations, such as DHPP, Oral Bordetella, Lyme, FVRCP, and FELV.

Pets should always receive an initial series of vaccinations, two to three sets depending on age, approximately four weeks apart, then boosters in one year. Thereafter, annual vaccinations or vaccinations every three years are recommended, depending on the type of vaccine and the pet’s environment. Ideally, pets should receive one of their sets of initial vaccines between 14 to 16 weeks of age to achieve the best immunity against disease. Pets adopted from shelters should receive at least one vaccination booster between two to five weeks after being adopted, regardless of their age.

No checks will be accepted at the clinic. Prices, services, and products are subject to change. For more information, visit www.Heart4Pets.org, call (714) 993-9193, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You may also contact the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter at (949) 497-3552.


Creative Identity Laguna Beach seeks Assistant Program Manager

Creative Identity is seeking a qualified individual to fill the position of Assistant Program Manager at the nonprofit’s beautiful Laguna Beach program site. Applicants should possess a friendly, compassionate personality, good multi-tasking, organizing, and communication skills, and a highly dependable nature. 

The Assistant Program Manager will provide administrative support to the Assistant Program Director and facilitate classes in area of specialty and/or prevocational life skills to program participants (clients) who are adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

Occasional light maintenance and coaching/assistance to program participants with personal hygiene care will be required at times, along with other assigned duties related to serving the needs of the participants. Experience with Autism, Down syndrome, and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities is preferred.

Other requirements include CPR/First Aid training and certification, Hepatitis B vaccinations, TB testing, background check, and at minimum, a High School diploma (higher education is preferred). 

Established in 1996, Creative Identity is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit therapeutic music and expressive arts pre-vocational day program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

Creative Identity painting

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Courtesy of Creativeidentity-oc.org

Clients enjoying a therapeutic expressive arts class 

The organization is based on the belief that music and expressive arts can promote positive change on all levels of human health, well-being, and development. George Gilliam, a music therapist and professional jazz guitarist, founded creative Identity. 

Through hard work and determination, the organization has evolved from a small expressive arts program into the fine arts and pre-vocational skill building day program that serves musically and artistically talented program participants. 

Up to 160 music and expressive arts classes are offered each week in string and percussion instruments, choir, ceramics, and painting. At least six weekends out of the year are dedicated to community experiences where participants can sell their artwork and ceramic ware at local craft fairs or art exhibitions and showcase their talents, skills, musical, and artistic progress through paid and community service concerts. 

Creative Identity’s mission is to improve the lives and societal perceptions of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities by providing therapeutic and educational interventions that cultivate personal and social responsibilities, pre-vocational skills, independence, and creative potentials. 

Creative Identity envisions a supportive and integrated community where individuals with developmental disabilities are valued and accepted as creative and contributing members of society. 

For more information, visit www.creativeidentity-oc.org

To apply for the job, contact Andrea Hancock, Assistant Program Director, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 494-4001.


PMMC’s Camp Pinniped offers unique experience for young campers eight to 13 years of age

Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) has the perfect experience for budding veterinarians, scientists, and animal lovers ages 8 - 13: Camp Pinniped. The summer camp gives youngsters the opportunity to witness a marine mammal hospital in action. Campers learn how the animal care team rehabilitates their seal and sea lion patients through a series of mock activities including weighing fish, preparing fish smoothies, cleaning pens, and learning the art of marine mammal rescue. 

PMMC Camp surgery

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Courtesy of PMMC

Campers learn procedures used in treating marine mammals

In order to provide a well-rounded study of the ocean environment, each day has a different theme that is creatively reinforced through hands-on activities, science labs, and crafts. Campers leave empowered with ways they can help protect and preserve our oceans. Every summer has new content so that returning campers keep on learning. 

Camp hours are Monday through Thursday at PMMC from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Friday at an offsite location TBD.

PMMCs Camp seal eating

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Courtesy of PMMC

Attendees weigh and prepare food for the marine mammals

Monday - Thursday drop-off will be at 9 a.m. and pick-up at 3:30 p.m. Participants should enter through the visitors’ gate and wait in the outdoor viewing area.

Friday drop-off is at 8:30 a.m. and pick-up at 11 a.m. at an offsite location TBD.

PMMC will be offering an optional extended day care program before and after the regular summer camp hours (except on Fridays).

Extended day car program hours are (Monday - Thursday):

Drop-off: 8:15 a.m. for an additional fee of $7 a day per child

Pick-up: 4:15 p.m. for an additional fee of $7 a day per child

The cost of one week of enrollment in Camp Pinniped (not including extended day care before and after camp sessions) is $350 per camper.

PMMCs Camp mock rescue

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Courtesy of PMMC

Mock rescue

June camp dates are: June 10 - June 14, June 17 - June 21, and June 24 - June 28.

July camp dates are: July 1 - July 5, July 8 - July 12, July 15 - July 19, July 22 - July 26, and July 29 - August 2.

August camp dates are August 5 - August 9 and August 12 - August 16.

PMMC is located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Rd.

For more information and to register, go to www.pacificmmc.org or call (949) 494-3050.


Epic winter waves

Epic winter waves

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Photo by Josh Tanaka (Instagram @j.t.films) 

Surfing and a stunning purple sunset reflecting in the waves...a perfect combo


Registration open for 2019 Leadership Laguna 

Citizens’ Academy

The City of Laguna Beach is proud to announce registration is now open for Leadership Laguna 2019, a citizen’s academy consisting of a series of five workshops. The purpose of these workshops is to introduce participants to the various operations of the City.

Each workshop will deal with specific aspects of City functions: Local Government, Public Safety, Public Works, Community Services, Community Development, and Cultural Arts. Applicants accepted to the program will participate in workshops that will be held on five consecutive Thursday nights from March 7 through April 4.

Sponsored by the City Council, the program will provide information about the City’s various departments, committees, and commissions. Speakers from each department will address the participant’s questions.

Registration open for Dicterow

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Courtesy of City of Laguna Beach

Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow, City Council coordinator of Leadership Laguna, encourages locals to register

“We have residents who have attended previous Leadership Laguna programs and are now on our City committees and commissions, and some have even run for City Council,” said Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow, City Council coordinator for the program. “The goal of this popular and informative program is to provide information about the workings of City government and to encourage our residents to become more involved.”

Leadership Laguna takes place on five successive Thursday evenings beginning on March 7 and ending April 4. Sessions will start at 6:30 p.m. and end at 8:30, and will be held at the Community & Susi Q Senior Center, located at 380 Third St. Space in the academy is limited, so interested candidates should submit their application as early as possible. 

For more information and registration, go to www.lagunabeachcity.net/leadershiplaguna or contact Jeremy Frimond, Senior Administrative Analyst in the City Manager’s Office, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 464-6673.

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