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Laguna Food Pantry awarded $15K from Sempra Energy Foundation COVID-19 Nonprofit Hardship Fund

The Sempra Energy Foundation COVID-19 Nonprofit Hardship Fund recently awarded the Laguna Food Pantry with a $15,000 grant. Recognizing that smaller nonprofits are having a harder time right now, just as smaller businesses, Sempra Energy Foundation stepped in to help the most vulnerable. 

The money from this very generous donation will be used to continue supplying essential groceries to an increasing number of families in need during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.

Laguna Food outside

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Photo by Scott Brashier

The Laguna Food Pantry serves our neighbors in need

“The New York Times recently reported that the COVID-19 pandemic could double how many people go hungry this year to 265 million worldwide,” said Laguna Food Pantry’s Executive Director Anne Belyea. “Thanks to the generosity of the Sempra Energy Foundation Nonprofit Hardship Grant Award, the Laguna Food Pantry can continue to serve our neighbors in need and provide food to the growing population of those with food insecurity. Our heartfelt thanks for believing and supporting our mission that no one should go hungry.”

“For many nonprofit organizations, the COVID-19 pandemic is straining resources as demands increase,” said Dennis V. Arriola, board chair of the Sempra Energy Foundation, and executive vice president and group president of Sempra Energy. “The Sempra Energy Foundation grants are helping organizations provide critical services, and in the case of Laguna Food Pantry, ensuring nutrition to those in need.”

The Laguna Food Pantry is open Monday through Friday from 8 to 10:30 a.m. and now operating with a drive-through distribution system. Anyone in need is welcome to visit the site once a week. Please pass this information along to anyone who may benefit. The Laguna Food Pantry is always in need of donations. 

To donate or find out more information, visit www.lagunafoodpantry.org

The Laguna Food Pantry is located at 20652 Laguna Canyon Rd.


May is Mental Health Month: Mission Hospital develops Health Wellness Box for a pick-me-up

Providence St. Joseph Health is activating Each Mind Matters, California’s Mental Health Movement, in Orange County. Each Mind Matters, Orange County, is a joint effort between Mission Hospital, St. Joseph Hospital, and St. Jude Medical Center and is a campaign that recognizes the challenges each of us face on a daily basis and encourages us to support one another. The campaign promotes open and honest conversations with friends and family to improve community understanding, acceptance, and support of mental health and wellness. 

Through this multilingual (English, Spanish, and Vietnamese) campaign, Providence St. Joseph Health continues its steadfast commitment to serve all communities, especially those in need. They are collaborating with community partners to increase awareness about the importance of taking care of our minds and bodies. They are also going into communities and sharing resources and tools to help people connect to needed support and services.

Wellness boxes

In observance of May Mental Health Month, #PromisetoTalk has launched a new text to promise campaign aimed at reducing the stigma surrounding mental health issues. Orange County’s Each Mind Matters – #PromisetoTalk encourages all of Southern California to Make a “Promise to Talk” openly about mental health and to “Promise to Listen.” Now, residents can make a promise to talk today on their website and app, or text ‘Promise’ to 474747, making it even easier to talk about mental health.

Mission Hospital says, “In the past, we have used wellness boxes to encourage people to talk about mental health and break the stigma. This time, we designed the boxes to be more of a mental health comfort box given the current situation, encouraging people to reach out and connect to friends and family during times of physical distance. The items in the box can be used to encourage people to take mental health breaks throughout the day, and to encourage people to talk about mental health.”

May is outside

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Show someone you’re thinking about them 

Understandably so, many people are taking extra precautionary measures to stay safe during this time of uncertainty. This unprecedented time has taken away the ability to be able to bond with friends and family in person. As a result, many people can start to feel stressed, overwhelmed, and even depressed. There is no better time to do something for them than now, letting them know that they are not alone and that you are thinking of them. 

We could all use a pick-me-up right now, so why not take this time to create a “mental health wellness box”? Creating a “mental health wellness box” is simple, easy to personalize, and cost-effective – everything you need can be ordered online and straight to your door. Not only does this D-I-Y project benefit those you care about, but it can also benefit you. This simple exercise can give you the necessary distraction you need in your life right now.

Create something memorable 

Take some time to create something memorable that you’ll be able to send to your grandparents, friends, family members, and maybe even drop off at your neighbor’s door. Remember, all your items can be personalized and tailored to each person on your list, and most importantly, everything can be ordered online!

Consider including these items when creating your own “mental health wellness box”: Water bottle, journal, sleep mask, healthy snack, board game, D-I-Y activity kit, or a candle. 

Mental Health Awareness Month

Diana Linn, PsyD, MFT, manager, Community Behavioral Health

Mission Hospital, says, “It’s May, Mental Health Awareness Month, and it has never been more important to soften the stigma surrounding the topic of mental health. Because human connection is so important, we really encourage everyone to reach out to their family and friends. Even while socially distancing, there are so many ways to connect and make it safe to talk about mental health. 

“During this time when we are all ‘safe at home,’ this social isolation has taken away our ability to meet with our friends and family in person, and offer hugs. Lots of us are starting to feel scared, stressed, lonely, or even depressed. We can still reach out and ask, ‘How are you doing? How are you feeling?’ and start a conversation about mental health.

 “We have made it easier than ever to make a #PromiseToTalk about mental health. You can make your #PromiseToTalk today on the website and app, or just text ‘Promise’ to 474747.”

May is inside box

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Make your own Mental Health Wellness Box 

St. Joseph Providence Health is sharing the movement with everyone in Orange County, “Because when it comes to health, our minds deserve the same attention as our bodies. Together we strive to continually improve the health and quality of life of the people in the communities we serve — body, mind and spirit. 

“As a community we need to have honest and open conversations about mental health. Because when we help each other, we can build a supportive community for mental wellness. Regardless of what situation you may find yourself in – in wellness or not – help is available, and it’s time to talk about it.” 

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. It means having good ways to deal with your feelings and how to enjoy life, even when things are hard. Mental health is important at every stage of life.

For more information on mental health resources, conversation starters, and more, visit www.PromiseToTalk.org or download the free Promise to Talk App on the Apple Store or Google Play Store.


Copy & Print Center offers yard sign sale: choose from designs or create custom-made

Since many events have been canceled – graduations, birthdays, anniversaries – one way to honor someone is to put a sign out for all to see and celebrate. As a result, Copy & Print Store is featuring a sale on yard signs.

Mehdi Zahedi, owner of Copy & Print Store since 1990, says, “We have printed large color banners and yard signs for about ten years. Since we were getting many requests, we decided to have some generic (signs) ready, however, we can do customized. We also can do the setup.”

Copy & store

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Sign in the window of Copy & Print Center

He says the “Thank You” sign is the most popular. 

Copy & Print Center has been proudly serving the Laguna Beach community as well as the greater Sothern Orange County area. Zahedi says, “It is a family owned and operated business, and for almost two decades, our print shop has been expanding its capabilities in a wide range of services and products. 

Copy & Greeters

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Photo by Doug Cross

Greeters Corner 

“Beyond the traditional copying and printing, we offer our customers digital color printing, custom binding, marketing packages, business stationery, banners, custom postcards, invitations, and other personalized items. Please do not hesitate to challenge us with any other requests; our talented staff will gladly assist you with creative ideas and designs for your special project. 

 “The technology in our industry grows rapidly; therefore our print shop strives to remain current with new technological advances. Today, our family and dedicated staff continue to blend old-fashioned service and experience with the latest technologies.” 

Copy & TOW

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Photo by Lisa

Residence at Top of the World

“We regularly update our equipment and train our staff on the latest developments. It is our commitment to provide our customers with exceptional, dependable, and friendly service. Our fast turnarounds, the high-quality work, and reasonable prices have been our pride for many years. At Copy & Print Center we are focused on our business, and, therefore, on you.”

Copy & Print Center is located at 240 Beach St.

Call at (949) 494-5005 with any questions and requests or visit www.CopyPrintCenter.com for the full spectrum of services and to upload project files online.


Spotlight on Seniors

By Laguna Beach Seniors at the Susi Q

Introducing a new bi-monthly column highlighting the achievements of the 55-year-plus residents of Laguna Beach, as well as detailing opportunities for enrichment, education, and available resources. Please send your thoughts about people or topics you’d like to see covered to Jo Ann Ekblad at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

Why the “Susi Q” Senior Center?

In 2006, the four Quilter brothers – Charles, Pat, Matt, and Chris – donated $750,000 to kick-start fundraising to build a Senior Center in Laguna Beach. 

Ann Quilter, Charles’s wife, partnered with Darrcy Loveland Bickel to chair the capital campaign, originally started by former Laguna Beach mayor and City Council member Elizabeth Pearson. 

Enough money was raised to fund the LB Seniors’ share of the building on Third Street, which also houses the Community Center. Patty Quilter, Matt’s wife, is the program coordinator for the Community Center.

Chris Quilter is a former president of Laguna Beach Seniors and still a board member.

But who exactly was “Susi?” Chris Quilter explains

Q: Why is the Senior Center named the Susi Q?

A: Our mother was “Liz” to her friends, but most people in Laguna Beach knew her as “Susi Q” because for many years before her death in 2002, she wrote the “Diary of Susi Q” for the Coastline News. (The editor then was Stu Saffer!) An “Elizabeth Howe Quilter Senior Center” would have been much too formal for Mom. But the Susi Q Senior Center? We think she would have been tickled.

Spotlight on Liz

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Liz Quilter, aka Susi Q

Q: Tell us a little about your mom.

A: Mom had an independent spirit that saw her through multiple wartime separations from her husband, his death in 1978, and what she called the banana peels of life. Through it all, she remained in the home she loved in the town she loved and very much in charge of her life.

Even as her health failed, writing her column kept her an active part of Laguna Beach. Independence and community were bedrock values for Mom, as they are at Laguna Beach Seniors – and that’s a big reason why we chose to get involved in the new center.

What’s the difference between Laguna Beach Seniors & the Susi Q?

Nadia Babayi, executive director, explains: “Laguna Beach Seniors is a self-supporting nonprofit organization funded by donations and grants. We offer resources to keep our over-55 population safe and secure, connected with the community, and fulfilled – as well as entertained and educated through the many clubs, classes, and activities we provide at the Center or remotely.

“The Susi Q Senior and Community Center refers to the building and facilities, though it’s often used as shorthand for our programs.”

TED Talks Club at the Susi Q “is not a spectator sport,” says moderator Al Gumb

“Our TED Talks Club at the Susi Q is not just a spectator sport,” says the amiable Al Gumb, moderator of the discussion group. “The videos we watch just beg for involvement. They inspire curious people to share their views in a rich setting. 

“It’s fascinating to hear the different perspectives offered by participants from varying backgrounds, each of whom brings a depth of experience and knowledge, from doctors to lawyers to teachers. It’s inspiring and fun.”

The idea of starting the TED Talks group came from Al’s participation in the Science Salon, another Susi Q program that meets bi-monthly to discuss articles published in Scientific American.

“I was so impressed with the quality of the discourse,” he says. “So I decided to put together a program that covered a broader range of subjects. Someone told me about TED Talks. I checked out their website and was fascinated by the range of subjects covered.”

Spotlight on Gumb

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The ever-resourceful Al Gumb

The Club has been going strong now for more than five years. Over the course of a year, an average of 80 participants attend, approximately twenty to twenty-five people per session, representing a mix of attendees from 55-year-olds to octogenarians like Al. 

“It’s pretty much 50-50 men and women,” he says. “All have curious minds. That’s the only criterion that matters.” 

How topics are chosen

“I send an email asking participants to take a look at the TED website and send me the link to a talk they find interesting,” Al explains. 

“Then I send out the links and ask everyone to vote their favorites – I tell them, assume you had 100 virtual pennies, how would you disperse them among these talks? I choose the two with the most ‘pennies.’ We watch them, then have a spirited discussion, with a break in between. 

“We expose ourselves to big ideas, topics that don’t lend themselves to a ten-second soundbite.”

The subject matter is often serious, and sometimes lighter fare, but one thing they have in common: they’re consistently riveting. 

“A fellow who taught geography and anthropology suggested Mozart Reborn, about a young woman, 13 or 14, who would pull three [music] notes out of a hat. Then within 60 seconds, she’d compose and play a beautiful piece of music on the piano,” Al says. “Amazing.”

Yuval Noah Harari, the acclaimed author of Sapiens: A brief history of humankind, among many others, is another favorite of the Susi Q group. He speaks on a variety of topics including “What explains the rise of humans?” to “Nationalism vs Globalism: The new political divide.”

Spotlight on session

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The TED Talks Club in session (in the good old days!)

Participant Diana Owings says that she has been astonished and touched by the honest and heartfelt life experiences that many of the attendees have shared during the discussions.

“They are a moving tribute to the lives they’ve lived and the difficult lessons they’ve learned. I feel honored that they trust the members of the group to respect and embrace their journeys.”

Al Gumb’s storied life

Al’s storied life, and his eclectic interests, including a deep love of physics, science, and economics, make him the ideal leader to moderate the discussions. 

His first job out of undergraduate school at Duke University was as a member of the launch crew on the first guided Thor missile from Cape Canaveral.

In 1962, while working for TRW as a systems engineer at Vandenberg AFB, near Santa Maria, the Cuban missile crisis occurred. As TRW had the contract for System Engineering and Technical Direction on the Minuteman Missile program, and Minuteman was not yet operational, Al spent several weeks hunkered down below ground in a Launch Control Facility as the Launch Control Supervisor.

“We, the USA, and the world were extremely fortunate to have survived that situation, and to have had Kennedy and Khrushchev with their wisdom as our respective leaders,” he says. “We must never try that again!”

Al is fascinated by our changing world and the challenges that humanity – and democracies – are currently facing, including the growing schism globally between the rich and the poor, climate change, and, of course, pandemics. 

Engagement with others is enriching for all

Al has lived in Laguna Beach for 48 years. He and his wife Marjorie were attracted to Laguna Beach because of its beauty and uniqueness. He loves our town, despite how crowded it can get these days. 

“I think it’s great, I love to see people enjoying themselves,” he says, recalling his own days as a beach bum while growing up in Wilmington, North Carolina.

And there’s something he wants to add.

“One thing our discussions aren’t, and that’s group-think,” he adds. “It’s collective thinking, it’s hearing new perspectives that enrich our lives and broaden our understanding of the issues, and the world.”

Spotlight on Diana

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Participant Diana Owings feels honored to be part of TED Talks

Al is a great leader, Diana Owings says. “He keeps us organized and focused on the task on hand. He’s open to new ideas and has been very creative in pursuing new opportunities, such as our inter-generational TED Group.”

For now, the TED Talks are conducted via Zoom. Al is looking forward to a return to in-person gatherings, when it is feasible and safe. 

“These kinds of programs are especially important for people over the age of 55,” he emphasizes. “People, as they get older, have a tendency to ‘silo’ themselves. The number of people they have regular contact with grows smaller.

“It’s important instead to keep engaged and connected and inspired, and that’s what our TED Talk Club accomplishes. And that’s what Laguna Beach Seniors at the Susi Q is all about.”

Sessions take place on the first and third Tuesdays of every month, from 10 a.m. to noon. For more information, or to sign up, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.thesusiq.org.


3,092 reported cases of COVID-19 in OC to date, 40 reported cases in Laguna Beach to date

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency yesterday, May 7, reflect that there have been 3,092 reported cases of COVID-19 in Orange County to date, including 96 new cases reported yesterday. Laguna Beach has a cumulative case count of 40 cases to date, a net increase of two cases from the previous day's report.

Laguna Beach has the second highest per capita rate in OC at 1.712 cases per thousand residents. Los Alamitos, with a population of 11,721 and 35 reported cases to date, has the highest per capita rate in OC, 2.986 cases per thousand residents.

Newport Beach has had 104 reported cases to date. Irvine has had 139 reported cases to date. Dana Point has had 22 reported cases to date.

Anaheim has had 457 reported cases to date. Santa Ana has had 429 reported cases to date.

The County reports 217 cases to date in its “Other” category, which includes the aggregate case count of the unincorporated areas of the county that have less than five cases, plus cases incarcerated in Orange County jails.

Sadly, the County reports 66 deaths due to COVID-19, including one death reportedyesterday. 186 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 69 are currently in ICU.

The County Public Health lab and reporting commercial labs have tested 43,351 people as of yesterday, with a 7.1 percent positive rate.

The County is not releasing data on the number of individuals who have tested negative following a positive test at this time.

For more information, visit www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus.

Numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna.

3,092 reported cases 1

3,092 reported cases 2

3,092 reported cases 3

3,092 reported cases 4

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data, as of May 7;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE 

May 8, 2020

Don’t let the pressure get to you! 

Dennis 5Here in Southern California, the barometer doesn’t fluctuate that much from day to day, with average readings somewhere between 29.80 and 30.20 inches of mercury (1,010-1,023.5 millibars). It rarely drops below 29.50 inches (1,000 millibars), only when a deep low from the Pacific makes landfall south of the Bay Area. Most Pacific storms make landfall somewhere between the Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest. The lowest barometric reading I’ve recorded was 29.08 inches (984 millibars) on January 25, 2010. We usually get our lowest readings during an active winter when there’s a strong El Niño in the water and the Pacific storm track shifts much farther south. The lower the pressure in the storm’s core, the stronger the system.

The opposite is true when the pressure is above 30 inches. Very seldom will you see inclement weather when pressures are above this point. The highest pressure I’ve ever recorded was 30.38 twice. Our geographical location puts us quite a distance from extremely high or low pressure cells. 

We get strong Santanas when our pressures are at their highest – maybe up to 30.30. Over southern Utah, where the wind source is, that high pressure sometimes gets upwards of 30.70 inches of mercury (1,040 millibars). We’re always hundreds of miles away from these weather makers. The lowest pressures are found in Category 5 hurricanes, with Category 5 Hurricane Patricia taking top honors with a central pressure of 886 millibars in October of 2015 (just off the Mexican mainland coast at Puerta Vallarta – 26.34 inches of mercury at one point). The highest barometric pressures occur in central Canada high pressures, part of the polar vortex, where readings can be well above 31 inches of mercury. 

Pressure swings in parts of our country can be extreme in the course of just 24 hours. There’s an event called a cyclone bomb when pressures drop 24 millibars or more in that short span of 24 hours. For instance, Hurricane Michael in the Gulf of Mexico in September of 2018 saw pressures drop over 40 millibars in a matter of just 24 hours. That hurricane went from a Category 1 to exploding into a dangerous Category 4 in just one day, thanks to hot waters off the west coast of Florida – sea surface temps reached a ridiculous 91 degrees with virtually no upper level wind shear. 

Here in Southern California, if the pressure drops or rises 10 millibars in 24 hours, it’s newsworthy, so we’re in a relatively quiet zone. On Thursday, our pressure here in Laguna was a mellow 30.19 inches.

Yesterday there was a wild one to report. The high temp in Fairbanks, Alaska, latitude 64.49 degrees north, was forecast to be 73 degrees while the expected high in Mobile, Alabama, latitude 30.18 degrees north, was 57 degrees – thanks to a mid-spring version of a polar vortex riding the jet stream all the way from northern Canada near the Arctic Circle!

Meanwhile, it was sunny, calm, and warm with a high near 80 here in town. That’s why we live here!

Have a nice weekend, ALOHA!


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An Updated List of Mother’s Day Special Meal Options

By Diane Armitage

In Tuesday’s Stu News Laguna, I published the first round of Laguna restaurants that are offering special menus for Mother’s Day. This is a follow-up with many added options. 

We all know that moms, aunts, nieces, sisters, and dog/cat/turtle moms love to get out of the kitchen on Mother’s Day – it is easily the busiest day in restaurants all year long. 

This year, the scenery is a little different. You may be stuck in the house, the backyard, or in a park somewhere, but you can still rescue that dear woman from cooking. 

Pre-order today (Friday) or Saturday

Just about every restaurant is asking for pre-orders so that they can control ordering and costs. You will see their specific instructions below. Now is the time to jump on it! 

All of the below options are priced with tax and tip being additional. 

This time, I’m starting with last in the alphabet first, because we’re all about fairness here: 

Restaurants with special menus

The Drake Laguna Beach is offering a prix-fixe menu of hearty options that feed up to four people. The springtime chopped salad starts the party, with main course options being filet mignon ($195), ribeye steaks ($195), Alaskan halibut ($220), or a mixed grill of pork chops, lamb “lollipop” chops, two filets, and two Jidori chicken breasts ($240). Three sides accompany each order as well as dark chocolate Budino (Italian custard). A slew of craft Mother’s Day specialty cocktails are available to-go as well. 

An updated list lollipops

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Courtesy of The Drake Laguna Beach

For one of its Mother’s Day options, The Drake is offering lamb “lollipops” and Mother’s Day cocktails to-go 

I’m sure that pre-ordering is preferred by The Drake for Friday or Saturday, but I haven’t been able to confirm. Pick-ups begin at 3 p.m. on Saturday, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday (Mother’s day). 

Skyloft is offering a special brunch or pre-ordered family meals for Mother’s Day. Pre-orders must be done by Thursday at 2 p.m. Brunch options are available same day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for $9 each. Regular lunch and dinner menu options are also available all day long.

Pre-ordered family meals for Mother’s Day feed four to six people with dinner options that include prime rib ($175), oven-roasted salmon ($160), Cajun pasta ($130), and Beyond Meat stuffed bell peppers ($100). All selections come with house salad, Texas toast, red velvet cake, and a choice between two bottles of wine.

Selanne Steak Tavern is offering two remaining options: Order from an a la carte brunch menu of nine popular items plus sides. Or, pick and choose options in their family-style Mother’s Day Brunch for Two priced at $130. 

Pre-order your brunch options through Saturday afternoon. Pick up your brunch items on Mother’s Day between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and pick up Mother’s Day Dinner between 3 and 6 pm.

Sapphire, Cellar. Craft. Cook, our newest entry to Laguna Beach, is offering yet another peek into its coming menu with a Mother’s Day meal package priced at $169 for four to six people. Pre-order through Saturday between 2 and 8 p.m. and choose your day and time for pickup. 

Start with a large family-style salad of butter lettuce, hothouse tomatoes, and herbed goat cheese. Your primary proteins are an even split between two salmon filets and two ribeye steaks. Family portions continue with mashed potatoes, sautéed vegetables, and oatmeal raisin cookies. Add a 6-ounce Alaskan halibut filet for an added $20. 

An updated list Sapphire

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Courtesy of Sapphire, Cellar. Craft. Cook.

Order Sapphire’s Mother’s Day meal package and receive gifts for Mom, too

As an added gift, every Sapphire Mother’s Day Meal Box also includes a gift package for Mom with a Sapphire gift card for $25 and Spa Gregorie’s goodies that include a facial mask, cell phone sanitizer, and a $20 Gregorie’s gift card.

Royal Hawaiian Fire Grill is re-introducing its Easter success, a full rack of Australian wood-grilled lamb dinner for $89, which feeds three or four people. Pre-order by Friday, May 8 before 8 p.m., with pickup only on Sunday, May 10, from 2 to 7 p.m.

The lamb dinner includes mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, and the Farmer’s Market salad, plus a choice between two bottles of wine. 

Reunion Kitchen is offering a “brunch feature” on Mother’s Day – short rib benedict with a poached egg and chipotle hollandaise. Or, order the Mom’s Prime Rib Dinner for $30, which includes a 4-ounce boneless cut with blue cheese mashed potatoes and asparagus. No pre-ordering is necessary.   

Oak Laguna Beach is offering a prix-fixe menu of options for up to four people for $175. Pre-order until Saturday at 3 p.m. 

Choose from two different salad options and a choice of two of three “main events” that include herb-roasted chicken, grilled baby back ribs, or broiled salmon. Choose two sides, too, and enjoy fresh-based cornbread and house-baked cheesecake for dessert. 

Oliver’s Osteria is offering two surf and turf menu options in its “Menu Della Mamma.” Each menu is priced for individuals as well as for a family meal that feeds four. 

Oliver’s first four-course menu option is $60 per person or $200 for the family meal and starts with Chef’s best-selling beef meatballs stuffed with fontina cheese. Then, it’s a “primo” course of ribbon pasta with mascarpone cheese and porcini mushrooms. The third course offers sautéed chicken breasts in artichoke sauce with a fourth-course finish of house made Tiramisu.

An Updated list seabass

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Courtesy of Oliver’s Osteria

Oliver’s Osteria is offering two separately priced prix-fixe menus, one of which includes Chef’s best-selling whole seabass 

Oliver’s second menu option starts with a salad of octopus, apples and celery. The second course is spaghetti with fresh mixed seafood, with the third course being whole Seabass filet baked in a bed of sea salt and fresh herbs. Tiramisu finishes the meal. This second menu option is $75 per person or $260 for four people. 

Nirvana Grille is offering a variety of a la carte options for Mother’s Day. Pre-order in advance for pickup and delivery on either Saturday or Sunday. Choose from salmon and bagel boards for starters, consider more than 10 appetizers, four salads, eight sides, and eight desserts. Proteins on Mother’s Day include steelhead salmon, herb-grilled whole Loup De Mer, rack of lamb, grilled filet, and Herbs de Provence pork.

An updated list Nirvana

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Courtesy of Nirvana Grille

On Mother’s Day, Nirvana Grille is offering a variety of a la carte specialties, including grilled filet

Lumberyard is offering both brunch and dinner options for four. Pre-order by calling the restaurant. Brunch orders will be available for pickup on Saturday between noon and 8 p.m., and Mother’s Day dinner orders will be available for pickup on Sunday between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. 

Brunch, priced at $70, is more of a fun craft kit, starting with smoked salmon and herbed creme fraiche, and then throwing in everything you could possibly need for a make-at-home brunch including artisan bread, house made pancake batter, a dozen farm eggs, and a bottle of Prosecco. Syrup and churned butter are included, too. 

Dinner comes ready-made and priced at $85 with salad, a whole rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn bread, apple cobbler, and a choice between two bottles of wine.

GG’s Bistro is offering two options – one for up to five people, and another for a party of two. Pre-order by Saturday morning for pickup on Saturday or Sunday. 

An updated list appetizers

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Courtesy of GG’s Bistro

GG’s Bistro’s Mother’s Day combination plate includes popular Mediterranean appetizers, Turkish meze items, as well as a heaping plate of the restaurant’s best-selling kebabs (pictured below)

The larger option is a Mediterranean mixed grill platter entrée that serves up something fun for everyone. Priced at $95, the combo includes GG’s best-selling kebabs, a variety of Mediterranean appetizers, and added Turkish meze items (i.e. house made hummus, roasted pepper carpaccio, and eggplant dolmas).

For smaller parties, enjoy GG’s popular Avocado Crevette appetizer and the same mixed grill platter described above, sized for two. It sells for just $45.   

An updated list kebabs

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Courtesy of GG’s Bistro

GG’s Bistro’s best-selling kebabs

Broadway by Amar Santana is offering three specialty menus, each of which serves two or four people. Pre-order can be placed through this Friday, May 8 before 4 p.m. Pick up any time on Mother’s Day between noon and 6 p.m.

From Broadway, choose from Roasted Chilean Seabass Cioppino ($150-$280), Braised Lamb Pappardelle ($95-$180), or Beef Chateaubriand ($150-$280). Each includes starters, salads, and a choice of dessert. 

Consult my Restaurant Directory for all to-go options for Mother’s Day

Every restaurant currently open in Laguna Beach is here for you on Mother’s Day. While the above restaurants have created specialty menus, you have plenty of options with regular brunch, lunch and dinner menus. 

Kitchen in the Canyon is now open for curbside and delivery orders Tuesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Welcome back! 

Check out all the latest updates in my Laguna Beach Restaurant Directory©. Now in its 12th version, it’s updated weekly via my conversations with each of our restaurants offering to-go options. It’s now accurate through Friday, May 8.

Just go to my website, https://thebestoflagunabeach.com/, to download it.

Let’s get out and support our Laguna Beach restaurants and keep this community of amazing restaurateurs and chefs alive.    

The best-selling author and blogger on The Best of Laguna Beach™, Diane Armitage is on an endless quest for the most imaginative adventures in Laguna’s restaurants, events, and lifestyle. Check out chef interviews, retail and restaurant news, and favorite events at https://thebestoflagunabeach.com/ and follow on Instagram @BestofLagunaBeach (look for Diane’s smiling face).


Barbara’s Column

Let’s celebrate

By BARBARA DIAMOND

COVID-19 be damned – Sunday is Mother’s Day and it will be celebrated. 

No Square Theatre will present a free Mother’s Day Concert Sunday. Moms and everyone else are invited to tune into www.nosquare.org at 10 a.m. 

Among the parodies to be performed: “Mama” and “You’ve Got a Friend.” 

Like Cher, the cast said, no last names are needed. Look for Ella, Kirsten, Eric, Bree, Marc, Bridget, Rob, Paul, Jay, and Yvonne.

Let's celebrate No Square

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Finale of past year’s Lagunatics: cast members of No Square will present free Mother’s Day Concert

Diane Kloke received an early Mother’s Day present and neither she nor husband Cort could ask for a better one. 

Their son Nathan, daughter-in-law Lauryn, and grandsons Leroy, 6, and Alexander, 1, arrived Tuesday from New York City for an extended stay in California. 

“They lived in an apartment in New York, but they have rented a house here with a yard so the children can go outside,” said Kloke. “They will quarantine themselves for two weeks.

“We will postpone celebrating Mother’s Day until Father’s Day in June, which will be about the end of the quarantine.”

Any reason to celebrate is good, two reasons are better.

Johanna Felder’s family is combining Mother’s Day and a birthday party for one of her five grandchildren, Landon, who is turning 14. The combined parties will be held in the San Clemente home of Felder’s son, Mark Agosto.   

“I will be making the strawberry shortcake that I always make for my grandchildren’s birthdays,” said Felder. 

A skilled hostess, Felder tried coordinating socially distanced cocktail parties, but yelling from one back yard to another just didn’t strike the right tone, so she gave it up. She and husband Gene do discretely imbibe on their back deck and sometimes the neighbors come out on theirs, but nothing is planned.

Let's celebrate painting

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Submitted photo

Sande St. John’s grandsons Dylan and Tyler paint signs

Sande St. John’s grandsons, Dylan, who will turn 8 on Mother’s Day, and his brother Tyler, 4, have painted huge –12-foot long – signs under the direction of their father, wishing Grandma Happy Mother’s Day and Happy Birthday to Dylan himself and his cousin, Katelyn, who will turn 19 the same day. The original plan was to have a garden party at the home of St. John’s son and daughter-in-law, Derek and Maria St. John, keeping proper social distance, of course.

However, Dad made the decision to conform to the more stringent COVID-19 requirements.

“We will decorate Mom’s porch for Mother’s Day,” said her son. “The rest will be a virtual party in our back yard.” 

The hat trick will include Katelyn’s siblings, Camryn and Kelsey, and their parents, Wayne and Shanin Ostrander, Sande St. John’s daughter. 

Dylan and Tyler, who both attend St. Catherine of Siena Parish School, have also made congratulatory signs to honor transitional kindergarten teacher Daina Frias and second grade teacher Haley O’Donoghue to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, which began May 3 and ends today. 

The boys are getting really good at sign making. They started with the ones used to decorate the cars that paraded in front of the Laguna Beach home of Maria Siani, on her 96th birthday.

Let's celebrate sign

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Dylan holds sign for his teacher Haley O’Donoghue

Connie Burlin’s birthday turned into quite a production.

Larry and Jean Lewis called me and said they were going to drive by at 5 p.m. to toast my birthday,” said Burlin. “I went outside and waited, but I went back inside when the phone began ringing. 

“It was them, saying ‘Get out here.’” 

A parade of a dozen or so cars greeted her. Among the well-wishers: No Square Theatre founder Bree Burgess Rosen, performing and teaching musician Roxanna Ward, Jean Followfield, City Treasurer Laura Parisi, Carrie Reynolds, comedian and speech pathologist Lynn Epstein, Steve McIntosh of Chapped Cheeks fame, and St. John.

Gifts tossed at Burlin included masks, sanitizer, balloons, and, of course, toilet paper. Best gift: Pat Quilter singing “Happy Birthday” and the Quarantine Song. 

“It was so much fun and a total surprise,” said Burlin.

Burlin also was wished a safe Happy Birthday by her daughter Shawnna and two grandchildren, Odin, 15, and Soren 10, by phone. 

Families won’t be taking Moms out for a meal this Mother’s Day – but meals can be brought to them from local restaurants. Call your mother’s favorite eatery about lunches or dinners to go.

Here are a couple of ideas. 

Lumberyard is offering two specials – one for lunch and one for dinner.

“Mother’s Day is one of busiest days of the year for us, and by far the biggest lunch day,” said Cary Redfearn, owner of the Lumberyard. 

To keep the tradition going, order by Doordash or call (949) 715-3900. 

Nirvana Grille has posted a special Mother’s Day menu on its website at www.nirvanagrille.com/pages/mothers-day.

The menu includes brunch, lunch, and dinner selections. Call before 2 p.m. for same-day delivery. 

Candy is another appreciated gift – especially when made by an accomplished chocolatier. 

Let's celebrate chocolates

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Courtesy of The Chocolate Soldier

Selections from the Chocolate Soldier

“Mother’s Day is not as big for us as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or Easter,” said Detra Francis, owner of the Chocolate Soldier in The Old Pottery Place. “It’s more of a flower day. But remember, life is uncertain, eat dessert first.”

Phone orders may be picked up at the Dutch door of the shop or in the alley behind the center. For more information, call (949) 494-4462.

Bouquets are always welcome and Mother’s Day business has been one less adversely affected by the COVID-19 than expected – at least at The English Garden.

“We’re busier than we thought we would be,” said Christine Coultas.

Examples of bouquets are on the florist’s website, but special arrangements can be ordered. Call (949) 494-7114 or visit www.englishgardenflorals.com

Now more than ever is the time to stop and smell the roses. 

Stay safe, my friends, and I will celebrate that. 

Contributions to this column are welcomed. Send comments or suggestions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


County of Orange receives $900K for dislocated workers

The County of Orange has received a $900,000 grant from the California Employment Development Department (EDD) to provide economic support for dislocated workers.

Orange County residents whose employment recently ended as a result of COVID-19 are eligible for the Orange County Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) program. The program is designed to meet employer needs by helping job seekers upgrade skills, obtain employment, gain credentials, improve job retention, and increase earnings. 

The grant will support approximately 1,500 Orange County residents who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 and need assistance.

Orange County WIOA Adult & Dislocated Worker program participants are eligible to receive up to $800 reimbursement for essentials such as housing, utilities, childcare, and transportation costs. 

“The county continues to explore ways we can provide resources and relief to our residents during this pandemic,” said Chairwoman Michelle Steel, Second District. “This grant will allow us to offer some much-needed support for workers trying to navigate this challenging time.”

Dislocated workers can enroll in WIOA through OC One-Stop Centers located in the cities of Irvine and Garden Grove. 

For more information on One-Stop Centers, visit www.oconestop.com or call the Economic and Business Recovery Call Center at (714) 480-6500. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, OC One-Stop Centers are providing services by appointment only.


COVID-19 Relief Fund raises $185,000, more is needed

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The COVID-19 Relief Fund is almost halfway to reaching its goal of raising $400,000 to help needy Laguna residents to cope with the financial consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic.

As of Thursday, 280 folks adversely affected by the virus have applied for grants, said Bob Mister, one of the fund’s founders. 

“We anticipate 300 to 400 applications all told,” said Mister.

Applications are available at the Boys and Girls Club of Laguna Beach. They are reviewed by the LBCF COVID-19 Fund Advisors and Community Committee, and grants will be awarded to support those most affected and in need.

The focus of the group is to provide immediate financial aid to those who live or work in Laguna Beach with emphasis on those in the restaurant, hospitality, retail, and personal services industries.

Emergency Assistance Mini-Grants will be awarded to applicants consistent with the mission and focus of Laguna COVID-19 Relief.

Donations should be made out to the Laguna Beach Community Foundation with the memo to the COVID-19 Relief Fund and mailed to Laguna Beach attorney Tom Davis, 580 Broadway St, Suite 204, Laguna Beach, CA 92651. 

For more information, call (949) 415-0345 or visit www.lagunacovid19relief.com/.

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