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Las Brisas embraces new changes with updated weekend prix-fixe four-course brunch menu

With the restaurant’s revamped culinary program – now under the direction of Bay Area chef Michael Gaines, who grew up in Orange County – and the completed bar and lounge, Las Brisas is embracing new change all around. 

Since 1979, Las Brisas has welcomed families for their beloved weekend buffets, but timed to this year’s 40th anniversary, the restaurant decided it was time for a brunch makeover. 

Las Brisas breakfast scenic 

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Las Brisas’ new brunch menu with a view

Matching the property’s vibrant ocean setting, the new brunch prix-fixe menu offers plenty for everyone to enjoy, serving traditional brunch dishes with a Mexican-inspired twist. The prix-fixe brunch includes four courses and pairing options like the classic bottomless mimosas, or signature day-time cocktails. Las Brisas continues to serve Laguna Beach weekenders, and remains an ideal setting for unwinding and soaking up the views on the cliffside for many years to come. 

Weekend brunch is served from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Las Brisas french toast

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French toast with a flair

Four-course brunch ($45) highlights include:

--Upgrade with bottomless mimosas or mix & match with signature cocktails – $15 


--Pozole Verde – pulled chicken, tomatillos, poblano peppers 

--Salmon Tostadas – crema, pickled red onion, capers, chives 

--Yogurt & Granola – seasonal fruit, Straus whole milk yogurt, coconut, agave 

Las Brisas bar

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Revamped bar area 


--Crab Scramble – scallions, crème fraiche, crispy potatoes, and fresh corn tortillas 

--Filet and Lobster Enchiladas – guajillo sauce, tomatillo sauce, black beans, rice 

--French Toast – seasonal fruit, cocoa nibs, toasted macadamia nuts, tangerine butter 

--Asparagus Omelet – asparagus, peppadew, goat cheese, avocado, cilantro, crispy potatoes


--Trio of Sorbet – coconut, mango, pineapple 

--Traditional Flan – with seasonal fruit 

Las Brisas is located at 361 Cliff Dr.

For more information, go to or call (949) 497-5434.

Selanne Steak Tavern awarded “Best of Award of Excellence” from Wine Spectator magazine 

Selanne Steak Tavern’s wine list has again earned the second highest level of recognition – “2019 Best of Award of Excellence” from prestigious industry publication Wine Spectator magazine. 

Award winners will be featured in the August 31 Wine Spectator issue, which hits newsstands this month. Full award listings are found at

“We are once again very proud of our wine collection, which has been supervised and maintained by Certified Advanced Sommelier Vito Pasquale since we opened in 2013,” said Selanne Steak Tavern owners Teemu Selanne and Kevin Pratt. 

They continued, “Vito and his team of wine experts provide our guests with the highest level of wine hospitality and always graciously guide diners to explore the wonderful world of wines that pair well with the chef’s menu and the particular occasion.”

Selanne Steak room

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Selanne Steak Tavern’s wine collection lands them top honors 

According to Wine Spectator, “The Best of Award of Excellence, granted to 1,244 restaurants in 2019, honors wine programs that take their commitment a step further; it recognizes lists that display excellent breadth across multiple regions and/or significant vertical depth of top wines, along with superior presentation.” 

It is an award only garnered by restaurants that typically offer 350 or more selections and are destinations for serious wine lovers – places that have a deep commitment to wine, both in the cellar and through their service team.

Selanne Steak Tavern has received this award based on its impressive wine inventory of over 3,000 bottles with list strength in selections from California, Burgundy and other French regions, Italy, and Germany.

The list includes over 425 global selections, Old and New World from Washington, Oregon, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, Argentina, Germany, Austria, South Africa, Portugal, Canada, and Australia. While it is heavily focused on California cult wines with many highly allocated, low production, big scoring selections, it is designed to appeal to all wine lovers.

Selanne Steak Tavern opened in November 2013 and is owned by Hockey Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne and local Orange County businessman Kevin Pratt. Housed in a reimagined 1934 historic home along the Pacific Coast, it’s an upscale contemporary steak house with an upstairs dining room, downstairs tavern and bar area, a wine room for more intimate dining, and two patios for alfresco dining. 

The restaurant supports local farms and fisheries that practice sustainability and humane practices. Menus feature the finest of steaks and seafood served with a variety of accompaniments enhanced by herbs from the restaurant’s herb garden. 

Along with its carefully selected California-focused wine list, craft signature cocktails are created from quality farmers’ market produce, homemade mixers, and top-notch shelf spirits. Selanne Steak Tavern is open for dinner nightly starting at 5 p.m. 

For reservations and more information, call (949) 715-9881 or visit   

Selanne Steak Tavern is located at 1464 South Coast Hwy. 

VINO POP takes wine lovers on a Drive Through Napa with vino and food on Friday

Laguna residents and couple Kathy Lajvardi and Naushad Huda, founder of I Like Grape, teamed up with author Paul Hodges to produce the book Drive Through Napa: Your Ultimate Companion to Napa Valley’s Wine Regions. Out of this collaboration have come events including the upcoming VINO POP.

VINO POP, a unique Napa wine and food event inspired by the acclaimed book Drive Through Napa, will take place on Friday, July 12 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the GARAGE collective.

Lish Bradbury, founder of LisherB Events, is producing VINO POP.

Float through a Laguna Beach summer evening enjoying unexpected bites that surprise the senses and extraordinary wines featured in the book Drive Through Napa. The evening will be led by a certified wine expert who will walk guests through wines from some of the 16 AVAs (American Viticulture Areas) of Napa. Guests will learn about the unique characteristics of the wines that are derived from the unique lands on which the grapes are farmed. 

Vino Pop trio

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(L-R) Kathy Lajvardi, author Paul Hodges, and Naushad Huda

To add to the palette pleasing evening, VINO POP will feature one-of-a-kind small food pairings by chefs Wes Minichiello and Angela Samuels of The Hardware House Kitchen. The duo’s surprise menu will include a theme that threads the event. Additionally, the creativity of Tablo will provide a designed grazing table of charcuterie, cheeses, crudites, and artisanal breads.

“Our goal is to create unique, curated live experiences around wine. Last year we paired five Kanye West songs with five original art pieces, five Top Chef-driven food courses and five Spanish!” says Naushad.

While enjoying the food and wine, guests will wander through the chic indoor/outdoor space of the Garage Collective. The evening starts with a chilled glass of LVE Rosé by John Legend & Raymond Vineyards and concludes with the blind tasting of a wine from the classic Rombauer Vineyards. 

In the interim, guests will be poured beautiful and interesting wines from iconic Napa Valley producers Trefethen Family Vineyards and Tamber Bey.

Vino Pop two girls

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(L-R) Chef Angela Samuels of The Hardware House Kitchen and Lish Bradbury of LisherB Events 

“I’m excited about VINO POP. The event will give locals a chance to taste and learn more about California’s most popular wine region,” says Lish.

As an added bonus, in addition to amazing wines and distinctive foods, each guest will receive a signed copy of Drive Through Napa. The book has racked up accolades from casual wine drinkers to industry experts. Readers appreciate its bold design and user-friendly tone as it relays valuable information to visitors and drinkers of Napa Valley wines.

The Garage Collective is located at 1524 S Coast Hwy

For information and tickets to this 21-and-over event, visit or contact Naushad Huda at (949) 441-4832 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Ranch to host “A Day in the Canyon” benefitting Adventure Camp Youth Outreach 

Locals are invited to attend “A Day in the Canyon” at The Ranch at Laguna Beach on Thursday, Aug 22 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Held on at the property’s coveted Scout Camp, this interactive community event will include outdoor activities, delicious organic cuisine, beer and wine pairings, and fun for the whole family. 

At 7 p.m., the day will shift to a separate adults-only VIP event called “A Night in the Canyon” featuring an outdoor movie screening under the stars in a remote part of the canyon.

The Ranch sunset

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A Day in the Canyon will include delicious BBQ, entertainment, and more

 “A Day in the Canyon presents a rare opportunity to experience one of the most treasured locations in Orange County, while helping to create opportunities for underserved youth to forge a meaningful connection with the Great Outdoors,” said Kurt Bjorkman, General Manager of The Ranch at Laguna Beach. 

“Scout Camp has a rich history of immersing Orange County youth in nature, born from its past as a former YMCA and Girl Scouts camping location in the 1940’s. That spirit echoes through Aliso Canyon to this day, and we are thrilled to share it with the community while benefitting California kids.”

The Ranch at Laguna Beach will open its ultra-exclusive Scout Camp to community members and visitors, along with food, entertainment, and immersive outdoor experiences for all ages. The full day of programming begins with a Santa Maria-style BBQ, sustainable and local seafood, and artisan cheese station, plus wine, beer and whiskey tastings, live music, and interactive tours of The Ranch at Laguna Beach’s organic Harvest Garden with Farmer Leo, The Ranch LB’s on-site Farm Manager.

The Ranch screen

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The Ranch will host a VIP movie screening under the stars

Sponsored by Cox Charities, the adults-only “A Night in the Canyon” VIP experience kicks off in a remote part of the canyon and is open to a limited number of guests. Tickets must be purchased separately from “A Day in the Canyon” and will include a private outdoor screening of Academy Award-winning documentary Free Solo, as well as hosted dessert, wine, beer and cordials, live music, and astronomer-led stargazing and night sky photography. 

Attendees will mix, mingle, and dance before settling into cozy chairs and plush custom souvenir throw blankets for a private movie screening under the stars.

Tickets to “A Day in the Canyon” are $75 per person and $25 for children ages 6-12. Tickets to the adults-only “A Night in the Canyon” VIP Experience are $150 per person. 

All proceeds for the ticketed events will benefit The Ranch at Laguna Beach’s Adventure Camp, which provides no-cost overnight camping and enriching day programs for nonprofit organizations serving underprivileged youth. Adventure Camp is made possible by The Ranch at Laguna Beach, The Ocean Institute, and Cox Charities.

To purchase tickets to the family-friendly “A Day in the Canyon” event or the adults-only “A Night in the Canyon” VIP experience, visit or call (949) 496-2274. 

For additional information on The Ranch at Laguna Beach, visit

Night at Nirvana Grille 

Night at food

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One of the dazzling dishes at Nirvana Grille

Night at group

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Fun night for Stu News at Nirvana Grille, get the full story of the fantastic fare in Barbara Diamond’s Column in Friday’s edition

The Ranch launches beer and wine menu at Lost Pier Café

The Ranch at Laguna Beach announced this week the addition of a new beer and wine menu at its oceanfront dining venue, Lost Pier Café, located on Aliso Beach. Added due to popular demand, the new menu includes a mix of craft brews and West Coast wines to complement the restaurant’s beach-friendly, locally sourced cuisine.

The new wine and beer menu at Lost Pier Café includes wines from beloved California producers, including Sterling Vineyards Rosé, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon; Tangent Wines Sauvignon Blanc; Nielsen Wines Chardonnay; as well as Pinot Gris from Wines by Joe, a cult favorite producer which crafts wines from Oregon’s top vineyards. 

The beer menu offers classic refreshers for California beach days, including Corona, Modelo, Stone IPA, Stem Cider, and Coors Light.

The Ranch umbrellas

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Lost Pier Café, located on Aliso Beach, has launched a new beer and wine menu

“We are thrilled to now offer wine and beer at Lost Pier Café. The beverage list was thoughtfully curated by our culinary team to best complement the restaurant’s cuisine and sunny days on Aliso Beach,” said Kurt Bjorkman, General Manager of The Ranch at Laguna Beach. “A dinner menu and extended hours are in the works as well to encourage locals and guests to make the most of our golden summer evenings in Laguna Beach.”

Lost Pier Café opened August 2018 as the first official beachfront extension of The Ranch at Laguna Beach, allowing guests to enjoy delicious local cuisine, exhilarating ocean activities, or a relaxing day on the sand. 

With menus by Executive Chef Kyle St. John of The Ranch at Laguna Beach’s Harvest Restaurant, the refreshing coastal oasis serves fresh California cuisine highlighting the region’s bountiful array of vibrant year-round ingredients.

The Ranch beer

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The new beer menu offers classic refreshers for California beach days

Menu highlights at Lost Pier Café range from hearty breakfast burritos, avocado toast, and Paper Bag Beignets for breakfast, to fresh fish tacos, burgers, salads, and seafood for lunch. The kid’s menu is also a crowd-pleaser, with handheld summer classics like cheese quesadillas, burgers, and hot dogs.

Lost Pier Café also offers daily rentals for beachgoers, including chairs and umbrellas, as well as sunscreen and towels for purchase.

Lost Pier Café is located at the south end of Aliso Beach and is open daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

For more information, visit or call (949) 715-4210.

Taste of Laguna and KX 93.5 concert join for special event on Oct 3, tickets available now

The Taste of Laguna Food & Music Festival combines two of Laguna’s favorite events, The Chamber of Commerce’s Taste of Laguna and KX 93.5’s concert, into one mega evening for foodies and live music fans. Early bird tickets, starting at $75, are available now for the event on October 3 at The Festival of Arts. 

“By partnering with KX 93.5 we are giving Laguna an elevated event with amazing food and fun music. We believe that by creating this relationship you get a two for one experience,” said Chamber Executive Director Paula Arnold.

Taste of Laguna with concert 1

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The Chamber’s Taste of Laguna and KX 93.5 concert event are teaming up as one fun-filled evening for the community to enjoy

More than 30 local restaurants and award-winning chefs will showcase their most popular menu items, signature recipes, and specialty dishes. The festival stage will spotlight four decades of cover bands each hour with ‘60s music at 6 p.m. with Woody and the Longboards, ‘70s music at 7 p.m. with Polyester Express, ‘80s music at 8 p.m. with Flashback Heart Attack, and ‘90s music at 9 p.m. with Sega Genecide. 

“We are committed to bringing an epic concert to Laguna Beach every year, but we always felt that our ‘vendor village’ had room for improvement, so we’re extremely excited to create this dual-event with The Chamber,” said KX 93.5 General Manager Tyler Russell. “Decades of awesome tunes, delicious food, the best venue in Laguna, and one affordable price…what’s not to like?”

Taste of Laguna with concert 2

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Enjoy amazing cuisine and ‘60s to ‘90s musical groups during the Chamber and KX 93.5’s combined mega-event

Woody and the Longboards is one of the highest-demanded cover bands in the country, with a focus on Beatles and Beach Boys songs. Polyester Express is known for their fun-loving vibe, spot-on horn sections, and the authentic approach to 1970s dance music. Flashback Heart Attack, known for their red jumpsuits, is a Laguna Beach staple, and has played with Alice Cooper, Eddie Vedder, and Green Day. Sega Genecide is one of Orange County’s premiere ‘90s tribute acts, previously nominated for several OC Music Awards. 

Taste of Laguna 2017

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Don’t miss the deliciousness of the Chamber’s Taste of Laguna cuisine with the perfect mix of KX 93.5’s music event

The bar will include special selections from Laguna Beach Beer Company and Wine Gallery, as well as handcrafted cocktails made with Tito’s Vodka. Plus, attendees will get to take advantage of a robust mobile auction featuring unique experiences, vacations, and items. 

All of this is offered at a reduced ticket price of $75 early-bird admission. Early-bird VIP tickets are $125, which include early admission, reserved complimentary parking, two drink tickets, and a private bar/reception/viewing area. Ticket prices will become $85 and $150 on August 2. 

All of the proceeds of this event co-benefit nonprofits The Chamber and KX 93.5. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Chef Craig Strong introduces new summer menu at Ocean at Main

Michelin-starred Chef Craig Strong has unveiled a new menu at his scenic Laguna Beach restaurant Ocean at Main. Inspired by his recent travels through Italy, Greece, and Croatia, Strong’s new summer dishes mark the first major menu overhaul since the restaurant opened in October 2018.

Recently honored as a Best New Restaurant by Orange Coast Magazine and named among James Beard award-winning critic Brad A. Johnson’s “75 Best Places to Eat,” Ocean at Main has made a splash in the heart of Laguna Beach. 

Since its debut last fall, the restaurant has attracted a loyal crowd of locals and curious travelers alike. As the restaurant heads into its first peak season of summer, Strong presents new dishes that artfully display both his pedigree and personal style.

Chef Craig salad

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Start off with a mouth-watering Watermelon Heirloom Tomato Salad

“Early in my career, I had the opportunity to work in Barcelona. My time cooking there made a big impact on my life and career,” comments Chef Craig Strong who held a sous chef position at the prestigious Hotel Arts. “When it comes to art and cuisine, Spain holds on to tradition while simultaneously pushing its boundaries; I find myself inspired by that same duality when I’m cooking.”

Awakening the senses to a summer spent abroad, Strong’s new menu delivers the richness of European fare through Spanish chorizo and housemade pasta with a contrast of refreshing seasonal ingredients like English peas, rhubarb, and watermelon. With vibrant, geometric pops of color, Strong’s dishes visually resemble the Gaudí-adorned streets of Barcelona where you’ll find a convergence of classic technique and modern design.

Chef Craig Halibut

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Dive into the Halibut with saffron couscous, rhubarb, buttermilk sauce, tarragon oil, asparagus and almond

While staples like Strong’s Oxtail Kale Risotto and Roasted Beet Salad remain, Ocean at Main’s new summer menu includes the following new dishes:

--Crab and Melon Salad - Dungeness crab, vanilla aioli, cantaloupe, honeydew, daikon radish, honey vinaigrette

--Watermelon Heirloom Tomato Salad - watermelon, cucumber, tomato, jicama, gazpacho

--Summer Cavatelli - cherry tomato, English peas, pea tendrils, brodo, sugar snap peas, chorizo

--Corn Ravioli with Lobster - lobster, corn, truffle butter, brown butter crumble, lime cream, lime zest

--Halibut - saffron couscous, rhubarb, buttermilk sauce, tarragon oil, asparagus, almond

--Scallops - sunchoke, cordycep, kumquat, chicken jus

--Lamb Chop and Croquette - lamb, haricot vert, fava bean, maitake mushroom, mustard frill

--Grilled Una Salmon - artichokes, squash blossom, fennel salad, bouillabaisse

--Charred Garden Pizza - burrata, arugula, fennel, cauliflower, onion, black garlic

Chef Craig dessert

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For dessert, the vegan Coconut Pavlova will take you to the tropics 

Pastry Chef Keara Wilson’s new dessert menu featuring dishes like Dulcey Panna Cotta shows off summer strawberries while a vegan Coconut Pavlova gives a taste of the tropics with passion fruit, guava, and coconut.

Ocean at Main is located in the heart of downtown Laguna Beach (222 Ocean Ave) and is open for lunch and dinner daily from 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., and for weekend brunch from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. 

For more information, visit or connect with @oceanatmain on Instagram and Facebook.

BBQ with Kitchen in the Canyon this Memorial Day

Let Kitchen in the Canyon take care of your Memorial Day BBQ this Sunday, May 26, as the restaurant will be serving a special holiday menu for $18 a plate from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Beer and wine will also be available for purchase. 

Kitchen in the Canyon is a neighborhood café where friends, family and enthusiastic food lovers can come together, eat delicious food and enjoy amazing Kean coffee in a warm, casual atmosphere, with a commitment to exceptional customer service. 

Kitchen in the Canyon is open every day from 7 a.m. - 3 p.m. at 845 Laguna Canyon Rd. 

For more information, visit

Three new chefs helm the luxury culinary experiences at Montage Laguna Beach

Montage Laguna Beach is pleased to announce three new talented chefs holding key positions on the culinary teams for the resort, including the elegantly casual all-day dining venue The Loft and the standalone signature restaurant Studio.

“With the addition of these three exceptional, highly experienced and innovative talents, we are excited to provide new destination-worthy dining pleasures throughout Montage Laguna Beach,” said Anne-Marie Houston, general manager for the 255-room resort. “New Executive Resort Chef David Serus, The Loft Chef Joosung Lee and Studio Sous Chef Robert Rando each bring enthusiastic dedication to his craft and expert culinary management leadership skills to the various dining venues at the resort.”

Chef David Serus brings to Montage Laguna Beach his refined approach to food preparation by outsourcing the best seasonal products, applying well-executed classic techniques and keeping flavor profiles clean and distinctive. With over 25 years of luxury culinary experience, he is well equipped to oversee operations for the resort’s special events, meetings, weddings, and banquets. Additionally, lending his culinary support and business acumen to the resort’s restaurants, Serus is looking forward to perfecting the exceptional dining options Montage Laguna Beach offers.

Raised in Le Mans, France, and taking early inspiration from watching his grandmother in her kitchen and working at his uncle’s bakery during school vacations, Serus knew early on excelling at fine hotel restaurants would be his chosen career. After attending cooking school in Quimper, France, he served a year in the French navy and then worked at two Michelin Star restaurants – one in London and the other in the South of France. 

Three new Serus

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Executive Chef David Serus joins the Montage s

He went on to work seven years at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, followed by 17 years working for The Ritz-Carlton Hotels & Resorts across the U.S., including serving as executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, Arizona; The Ritz-Carlton, Orlando Grand Lakes, Florida; and The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C. In 2013, Serus was awarded the prestigious title of Maître Cuisiniers de France (Master Chef of France) from the French culinary community, of which there are only 86 in the U.S. He’s an avid cookbook collector and enjoys exploring the region on his motorcycle.

Seoul, Korea-born and raised, Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park graduate Chef Joosung Lee is leading the culinary team at The Loft at Montage Laguna Beach. He is introducing enticing lunch and dinner menus that reflect inventive California cuisine heightened by Asian and other global food influences and flavors. 

With over 15 years of working in prestigious kitchens, including the now closed The Dining Room Ritz-Carlton Pasadena, Charlie Palmer in Costa Mesa, and at Scarpetta, Montage Hotel and Spa, Beverly Hills, Lee is excited to be creating new dishes at The Loft drawing on his love for the bounty of seasonal, interesting multi-cultural ingredients available from area markets and purveyors and the use of fresh herbs from the resort’s gardens.

Overlooking the Pacific, The Loft, a chic all-day dining destination for Montage Laguna Beach guests and local casual food lovers, is known for its outstanding dining experience and interactive Cheese Gallery with over 30 selections of regional and international cheeses. 

Lee’s innovative new lunch menu offers temptations including Artisan Sandwiches such as Arugula Pesto Wrap and Crispy Chicken with emmental and red cabbage. New entrées include Shrimp Chitarra, Seared Ahi Tuna Niçoise, and more. His new dinner menu designed for food devotees features refreshing Cantaloupe and Cucumber Gazpacho; Superior Farms Lamb Chops with sorrel pesto, vanilla-braised treviso and aged balsamic; Sunburst Squash with tarragon, chili flakes and lime; and other new selections. The chef has also created new Pasta and Grain dishes, Choices From The Ocean and local side Accompaniments.

Since attending The Culinary Institute, Hyde Park, New York, Studio’s new Sous Chef Robert Rando’s culinary career trajectory started when he worked at various starting positions at Relais & Châteaux Toppers at the The Wauwinet hotel in Nantucket, Mass. Then it was on to NYC’s Eataly and positions at Mario Batali’s former Lupa Osteria Romana, also in Manhattan. From there, Rando gained the job as saucier chef de partie and then sous chef at famed Relais & Châteaux Castle Hill Inn, Newport, Rhode Island, and most recently he returned to Toppers as sous chef and then chef de cuisine.

Rando has left the East Coast to bring his years of high-end luxury dining experience to the West Coast, where he will be in the kitchen of Studio, working in collaboration with Chef de Cuisine Benjamin Martinek at this luxurious signature restaurant perched bluffside over the Pacific. Rando will be an important part of the team that creates Studio’s à la carte menus, much-loved tasting menus, special wine dinners, and private dinners at the Chef’s Table – all featuring exquisite French cuisine inspired by local purveyors and markets, as well as Studio’s expansive garden. Rando says he “is particularly excited to be cooking with diverse seasonal Southern California ingredients in such a stunning ocean setting.”

 For more on the Montage Laguna Beach, visit

The Montage Laguna Beach is located at 30801 South Coast Hwy.

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