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Laguna Beach

Baas, Campbell, McGhee, Swimm will be featured at the Art-To-Go auction sell-out Sunday 5-8 p.m. at FOA

The Artists Fund at Festival of Arts will present its Art-To-Go silent auction sell-out, Sun Aug 27 from 5 – 8 p.m. Bid sheets will close starting at 7:45 p.m. “It will be nice having it in the evening this time, especially with the wine bar alongside us,” laughed Artist Fund Vice President Wendy Wirth.

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Photo by Mike Tauber

Festival Exhibits Manager Ron Morrisette admires a work by Jacobus Baas

The collection, themed The Art of Travel, features more than 50 originals donated by Festival exhibitors. New arrivals this week include jewelry by Linda Potichke, photography by Baldemar Fierro, Robert Hanson and Rick Ferncase, and paintings by Jacobus Baas, Mark Jacobucci, and Greg LaRock.

Of special interest is a scroll commemorating the Festival’s 85th Anniversary. Created by Ashley LaJune Gregg, Treasurer of The Artists Fund, and practitioner of Gregg Shorthand. The rice-paper document list names of all 140 exhibitors along with their symbols hand-inked in shorthand. 

“Some look like lips, bunnies, glasses and things I can’t mention in print!” joked Mike Tauber, Art-To-Go Coordinator.

One buyer will win a certificate for two-night stay at The Tides Inn in Laguna Beach. Proceeds from sales support artists suffering from injury, medical needs, disaster or unfortunate circumstances. 

View the collection at The Artists Fund on Facebook. Festival of Arts is open 10 a.m. - 11:30 p.m. through August 31. 650 Laguna Canyon Rd. (949) 612-1949.

Kick up your heels at the Labor Weekend three-day dance event at the Boom Boom Room from Sept 2-4

Why celebrate the Labor Day holiday for only one day, when you can celebrate for the entire three-day weekend at a dance event presented by the Boom Boom Room?  Put on your dancing shoes and go to the Boom Boom Room on Sat, Sept 2 through Mon, Sept 4, from 2 p.m. until 10 p.m., where there will be different DJs each day.  

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Endora pictured at the Gay Pride party at the Boom Boom Room

On Sat, the DJ will be Geoffrey Fox from OC, on Sun, Taj from San Diego, and on Mon, Dawna Montell from LA.

The three-day event will benefit OC Pride and HRC. The dance floor and the lower bar will be open.

The Boom Boom Room is located at 1401 S Coast Hwy.

Victoria Johnson brings elegance to the written word at calligraphy class at Susi Q on Sept 14, 21 & 28

At one time or another, everyone has admired calligraphy, on wedding invitations, thank you notes, and signs. Now a class taught by master calligrapher Victoria Johnson will be offered at Susi Q on Thurs, Sept 14, 21 and 28. Focusing on technique, it will cover beginning to advanced calligraphy in three two-hour workshops (from 6:30-8:30 p.m.) on consecutive Thursdays. 

Participants will learn the basics of Italic with the alphabet, numbers, spacing, various papers, inks and working with gouache. 

Victoria Johnson recently relocated to Laguna Beach from Beverly Hills, and has been a full-time calligrapher for 25 years. As a stay-at-home mom, her talents blossomed into a business with clients such as Chanel, Dustin Hoffman, Donald Trump Jr., The Beverly Hills Hotel, Vanity Fair, and The Los Angeles County Museum, to name a few.

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Master calligrapher Victoria Johnson offers class at Susi Q beginning on Sept 14

“I’ve never lost my love of lettering, inks, paints, and wonderful papers. For me, lettering is a passion,” Victoria says. “I dip my pen in ink or paint, and feel as though I’m dancing on paper. It helps to focus your mind, it’s therapeutic and artistic, gifts for others and jobs to make money. It brings so much to the table.”  

The class is for ages 12 and up. The fee is $120. To register, go to

For further information on Victoria, go to

For questions, she can be reached at 310-739-9230

Health in Balance offers free workshop recommending seven steps to relieve neck and back pain

Health in Balance is offering a free workshop on Tues Aug 29 at 6:30 p.m. for people struggling with neck and back pain who are seeking lasting relief. Health in Balance says that the secrets they plan to share have helped thousands and they believe they can do the same for those who attend the workshop.

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Teaching a patient how to relieve neck and back pain at home 

At this informative workshop, attendees will learn what they can do for 10 minutes each day to improve neck and back health and prevent injury and degeneration; the secrets to postural restoration and why it is so important; what never to do after injuries to maintain a healthy body; the top foods to eat to decrease proclivity to pain; and why symptoms don’t go away easily and what can be done about it. 

In 90 minutes, the workshop is intended to provide attendees with tools and advice that will relieve pain for good.

To RSVP, call at 949-497-2553 or visit Dinner will be provided at this interactive workshop. Health in Balance is located at 380 Glenneyre Suite G.

Laguna Food Pantry welcomes new executive director Anne Belyea

The Laguna Food Pantry has named Anne Belyea as its executive director. A recent addition to the nonprofit’s Board of Directors, she will vacate that position to fulfill her duties managing the Pantry’s development, communications, and administration. 

A resident of Laguna Beach for more than 25 years, the Louisiana native has previously worked as a senior analyst for the City of Laguna Beach and as executive director of a privately funded nonprofit transportation agency. She earned an MBA from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

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Anne Belyea

Dr. Korey Jorgensen, chairman of the Laguna Food Pantry board, commented, “Anne is a longtime supporter of the pantry and knows our organization well, so we jumped at the chance to recruit her for this leadership position. She has a strong business and nonprofit background and a track record as a disciplined administrator.

“We look forward to having Anne at the helm to further strengthen the Laguna Food Pantry, which offers a vital safety net to people who are struggling to make ends meet.”

Every weekday, Laguna Food Pantry provides free, nutritious groceries to 300 or more low-income families. Half of those families include babies and children. Located at 20652 Laguna Canyon Road north of the Dog Park, the Pantry is open from 8 to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. New volunteers are always welcome. Phone: 949-497-7121

Oak is designed for locals, by locals, and its American food with Latin flair is proving a huge hit with locals

Story and photos by LAURA BUCKLE

Finally this week I was able to report on our new restaurant Oak in Laguna Beach.

This was a review I was so excited to do having watched the former Olamendi’s and Seaside Lounge restaurant being literally transformed over the past few months into a stunning contemporary cool space which now has a totally different vibe, making the most of its central location and killer ocean views. 

Upon arrival at Oak, you just know that this place is all about detail, from the stunning wooden flooring that extends to the out door courtyard area, the inviting hostess stand, the artwork, the beautiful crafted bar area with a cool muted tile that faces out to the ocean and the balcony with comfortable and chic furniture. It is truly a job done well and has quickly become the talk of the town.  

Which is exactly what the developers of this restaurant wanted.

Becoming a local hangout was “a most important factor for Oak”

The VP of Hospitality Ann Page explained that being a local hangout was the most important factor in the whole development of Oak. “We wanted a place that local people would love, tourists are of course always welcome, but we really wanted this place to be a local hangout, for families to visit after the beach or for lunch.” (Oak is now open for lunch every day.) 

As well as having a very cool contemporary vibe, Oak’s family-friendly side shines through, with a great kids’ menu and a box of toys, including fidget spinners, for children to choose from upon arrival.

Oak’s local vision is reflected in their menu, which is an array of American comfort cuisine with a Latin flair, developed by Oak’s amazing (more on him later) executive Chef Chris Tzorin. 

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Chef Chris Tzorin’s Oak tattoo: the restaurant has literally gotten under his skin

With dishes such as Brooks Street classic meatballs and cocktails named the Lagunarita and the Brah Berry this menu reads like a conversation between two local surfers on the shore at Hakama. With an array of cocktails, more wine and beer choices than you can quite believe, this restaurant has left no stone unturned when it comes to catering for Laguna locals. 

I was delighted to speak to Chef Tzorin himself to hear just how he developed this menu and his journey to becoming executive chef of Oak.

It seems that, as with many people who end up in Laguna Beach, there is history and a magic that connects people to our town and chef Tzorin is no different. Upon meeting Chef Tzorin I liked him right away, he is straight talking but with edginess, a coolness that is emulated by his many tattoos: he actually has OAK tattooed on his arm. He’s like a rock star chef but is a family man with a beautiful fiancée, one young son and a baby on the way in January. His father was the corporate chef of the Beach House (before the The Deck and Driftwood Kitchen) in Laguna as well as two other locations. 

At the young age of 20, Chef Tzorin first became an executive chef

Chef Tzorin loved to cook from a very early age. At 13, he would regularly take charge in the family kitchen and would ask question after question regarding the science of cooking, and his father encouraged him to always carry a notebook, so that if he ever had a question or an idea he could quickly write it down. He still carries this notebook in his back pocket to this this day.  

At 17 years old Chef Tzorin would leave La Quinta High School every day and take the bus from Westminster to Laguna to help his father out in Laguna Beach, it was here he really fell in love with the town. Working with his father taught him many things: kitchen skills, how to pace himself for long shifts, budgeting and devising menu’s based on specials and seasons. As well as working at the Beach House, Chef Tzorin was also enrolled in culinary school, where he graduated with honors at 19 years old.

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The Heirloom beet salad looked beautiful and tasted great

At age 20, Chef Tzorin decided to leave the Beach House, for no other reason than he needed to spread his wings independently from his father. He took up residency at Opah under the watchful eye of Laguna’s favorite Marc Cohen (230 Forest and Watermarc). Chef Tzorin learned so much from Marc Cohen and thrived under his watchful eye as a sous chef.  

During that year he received a call from the Beach House location in Dana Point offering him the Executive Chef position. “I was 20 years old,” Tzorzin says, “and being offered an Executive chef position, no way would I turn that down.” 

After a successful time there, Chef Tzorin moved onto private catering, before working at acclaimed restaurants such as French 75 and Savannah Chop House and he was instrumental in the opening of Tortilla Republic located here in Laguna Beach. It seems that Laguna just kept luring him back.

A star on TV too

Following a brief hiatus from restaurant cooking, Chef Tzorin worked in cooking PR, private classes and was involved in television programs such as Cut Throat Kitchen and Guys Grocery Games (he was the season nine winner). He travelled to Mexico, learning more about culinary fare, specifically locating himself in Tijuana, which has become one of the most dynamic culinary cities in the world.  

After that time he returned to Laguna Beach, more knowledgeable, more mature and more eager to settle and make something of his own.  

Oak came at the right time and Chef Tzorin has been involved in the whole design of the kitchen ensuring it was just how he wanted it to run.  He designed the menu, sat on the steps at Oak Street Beach, or sat on the staircase below the building as it was renovated, asking various Laguna Beach locals what they wanted on the menu. 

My Food Journey at Oak

I decided to approach this food journey as a true Laguna Beach local. I was salty sandy and fresh off the beach, when my two children and I went in for an after-beach day meal. Our wonderful server Bri Terrafranca seated us and immediately gave us her recommendations, which I love a server to do, as I am very indecisive. We started with a few appetizers family style (to share). 

The calamari served with rice wine coleslaw and sriracha aioli, was delicious: small crispy calamari, pretty spicy to taste but not greasy and a good portion size.  The crispy duck drums were spectacular with a sweet citrus glaze. And my personal favorite, the Local Albacore stack, which consists of a spicy soy sriracha marinade, mango, avocado and wonton chips was so tasty (there was nothing left).

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The crispy duck drums were spectacular

Alongside this we also ordered the Heirloom beet salad, served with burrata cheese, watermelon, radish, candied pecans and garlic oil.  Not only did this look beautiful, but it was so tasty and I loved the combination of the red and golden beets. 

By this point we were kind of full, Oak’s portions are very generous and the thought of trying an entrée was overwhelming. However like true Buckles we rose to the challenge by ordering two dishes to share that we were recommended by the chef and our server. 

First up was Chef Z’s Hot Chicken, which is Chef Tzorin’s take on a chicken sandwich. It is rare I will order chicken sandwich (always favoring a burger) but this was insanely good, served with hot sauce and pickles with a side of fries. Delicious.

Next was the Chilean Sea Bass with whipped potatoes summer squash and blood orange butter. This dish was really tasty and my youngest child, who usually only eats fish if it is breaded, devoured this. 

It was then onto desserts and Oak does not disappoint, they served us a combination of two – Frozen Nutella Cappucino served in a large mug and absolutely decadent, and the doughnuts and ice cream which my children boxed, took home and devoured for breakfast the next day. (I know, I am Mother of the Year.) 

The food at Oak was great, we shall definitely return, but that is only one part of this place that will bring me back. This place has thought of nothing but locals in its design and its execution. The staff are wonderful, the chef is inspiring and they are open to suggestion critique and adjustments. 

I urge you to go and try it as soon as you can. Oak is located at1100 South Coast Highway, #202 (above Gina’s pizza). Phone: 949.940.3010


City Manager’s Updates

“Smoke-Free Superstar” - The City of Laguna Beach was recently awarded a Certificate of Recognition by the Orange County Tobacco Education Coalition designating Laguna Beach as a “Smoke-Free Superstar” for adopting a 100 percent smoke-free ordinance that protects the health and wellness of the Laguna Beach community.

Major Milestone at Laguna SOCWA Lift Station - After nearly nine months of construction, the wet well rehabilitation project is nearing completion.  As of this week the lift station bypass system was shut down and all operations have been transferred back to the lift station.  Construction activities will be complete by the end of August.

Coast Highway Lane Closures - On Sept 6, Caltrans will start construction work to abandon several groundwater monitoring wells. Work will begin along South Coast Highway near the intersection of Pearl Street and is scheduled to take three days and require one lane closure at a time in either the northbound or southbound direction between the working hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Minor traffic delays can be anticipated. For questions, please contact Sunil Patel with Wayne Perry Inc. at (714) 826-0352.

SCE Emergency Work on Coast Highway at La Brea Street - On Wed, Aug 30, Southern California Edison will be replacing the overhead lines crossing Coast Highway at La Brea Street as an emergency repair of degraded wires that have a potential for failure. La Brea Street near Coast Highway will be closed for much of the day. The work will also require three momentary closures of Coast Highway between 11 a.m. and noon for less than five minutes each.

NEW! Poetry of Memoir Workshop - Please jointhe City’s first Poet Laureate, Kate Buckley on Wed, Sept 20 from 5 - 7 p.m. for a freeworkshop specially prepared for the Laguna Beach’s seniors age 50+. Kate will provide an introduction to poetry as memoir, share some examples, and lead the class in writing their own poems, drawing upon memories and personal experiences. Please bring paper and pen. 

This program has been funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. To register, visit the front desk of the Community & Susi Q Center, call (949) 464-6645 or online at click “recreation classes.”

Affordable Housing Task Force is approved


The City Council has approved the request of the Housing and Human Services Committee to create an Affordable Housing Task Force.

Task Force membership will be selected at the council’s regular committee interviews on Feb 6, as recommended by staff. Applications will be accepted up until 5 p.m., Jan. 22, the absolute deadline, according to City Clerk Lisette Chel-Walker.  

The committee proposed that the task force be composed of two of its members, a planning commissioner, a Design Review Board member, a Realtor, an attorney, a Laguna Beach Seniors Inc., representative, one ad hoc position and a council member.

The committee also recommended that the task force should be assisted by the current city staff liaison.

Staff recommended adding an architect to the mix. 

“I support the Housing and Human Affairs Committee task force, and we should consider candidates from the backgrounds recommended by the committee,” said Councilman Bob Whalen.

However, he added the caveat that the council has the discretion to appoint candidates [it] feels would best serve the task force.

The council, Housing and Human Services Committee, the Planning Commission and Design Review Board will select their own representatives to the task force. 

In a memo to the council, the committee stated the timing is right to form the task force, based on its review of the city’s progress on implementing programs from the approved 2013-2021 Housing Element.  

The task force will address the 12-out-of-49 programs in the Housing Element of the city’s General Plan that deal with affordable housing.

Research and recommendations for a dedicated funding source for affordable housing will be submitted to the Planning Commission.

Alfie is on the hunt for a loving owner to adopt him from the Animal Shelter 

Alfie is a three year old neutered white Havanese male on the look out for a new home to take him in. He’s very active and loves to go on long walks to meet other dogs. Alfie is extremely playful and would be perfect in a home with kids. He is filled with love and is excited for the new adventures that lie ahead. Nancy Goodwin, shelter director, hopes Alfie will be taken in as soon as can be.

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Alfie looking for a new owner to play with

The Laguna Beach Animal Shelter adoption procedures are designed to make sure that both the potential family and the animal adopted are in the very best situation possible. Due to their approach to adoption, their return rate is five percent as compared to the national return rate of fifty percent.

The LB Animal Shelter is located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Rd, (949) 497-3552, or go to the website for information on adoption procedures:

CERT Training begins on Tuesday Sept 5

The next Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Class will start on Tuesday, Sept 5. 

The CERT program consists of 25 hours of classroom and hands-on training, and it concludes with a disaster exercise to apply the skills and knowledge obtained during the classroom sessions. 

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CERT team

Training includes the following topics: Disaster Preparedness, Light Search and Rescue, Fire Safety, Disaster Medical Operations, and much more. 

If you are interested in learning how to be better prepared and want to join the class, register through the following link: or through the recreation course sign-up on the City’s website. 

Any questions can be directed to Jordan Villwock, Emergency Operations Coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 497-0389

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