Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Laguna Originals

The Rose and I had originally planned to explore Dana Point today, but once again we were drawn to Laguna Beach. We decided to save Dana Point for another day, so stay tuned.

We began our day together with an early lunch at Asada (my new favorite place and also one of The Rose’s chosen spots). We parked directly in back at the two-level parking structure on Glenneyre Street and walked right across the alley and into the back door of Adasa (, where we were immediately greeted with a smile and a “Welcome Back!” by Manager Scott McIntosh. 

We made our way to the open-air patio in front of the restaurant — complete with ocean view across Coast Highway — and were pleased to find it was enclosed with see-through plastic shades, since there was a bit of wind and a slight nip in the air in Laguna today. 

Our waiter arrived, and lo and behold, he was another Brit: Mark from Derby (pronounced Dar-bie, according to The Rose), England. While chatting with Mark, we received our heated salsa (different from the typical cold salsa served at most Mexican restaurants) and tortilla chips with a touch of seasoning. The Rose ordered hot green tea to warm up, I got my usual Diet Coke, and we proceeded to go over the extensive menu featuring not only Mexican specialties such as chicken taquitos and carne asada, but a variety of other cuisine as well — from salads to sandwiches (the burger is one of my favorites) to a New York strip and Baja lobster tail. The Rose even remarked on the kid’s section of the menu, noting there’s something on the menu for every taste.

Since I’ve been to Asada once before and The Rose has been there several times, we each decided to try something new. I ordered the roasted vegetable quesadilla with chicken (for $12), and she got the crispy smashed papas ($7) and spicy chicken tortilla soup ($6). While waiting on our order, Scott came over and asked if we’d like to try a shot of his favorite tequila from among the 30 or so varieties offered (including the 1800 Coleccion Anejo at $150 per shot). I declined (as I haven’t had a drink in 19-plus years), but I enjoyed watching The Rose try her taste of Gran Centenario Anejo, a smooth and silky tequila with a slight kick priced at $11 a shot.

The food arrived shortly afterward: the soup with huge chunks of white chicken, carrots, squash and zucchini, roasted poblano cream and tortilla strips on top (hands down the best The Rose says she’s ever eaten!); the papas, which loosely resemble potato pancakes; and the quesadillas, a man-sized portion loaded down with shredded chicken, vegetables of all kinds and a side of guacamole.

 So much food ... and not enough stomachs to hold it! We both asked for to-go boxes and went on our way.

With boxes safely ensconced in the car, we made our way down Glenneyre to Forest Avenue — our decided-upon destination for the day. Our first stop was LF Stores (, which is well known for its selection of one-of-a-kind styles created by designers from London, Paris and Italy (available in all sizes). I noticed The Rose was eying a pair of high-top leopard-skin tennis shoes, with purse and gloves to match. I bet she’ll be back!
 Next we were drawn to A Step Back in Time (thanks to shop mascot, Tango the dog), a Laguna gem that sells and fixes unusual timepieces.

Moving on, we stopped in at Ken’s Jewelry, located in Laguna’s oldest standing commercial building (circa 1916) at 326 Forest Ave. We were lucky enough to run into Ken, the owner, who told us how he and the shop’s other goldsmiths sell and create custom-designed gold and sterling-silver jewelry, including a fabulous Brazilian stone (Kunzite) and diamond pendant that sells for $3,600. Tell him a design you have in mind, and he’ll be happy to make it, he says.

 A few doors down, at the Lumberyard Plaza Shopping Center (384 Forest Ave.), The Laguna Colony Co. called our names with its distinctive home furnishings and gifts (“great for one-off presents,” says The Rose — that’s “unique” for you Peaches), including soaps, plaques, candles and even Magi cards. (By the way, the Magi cards showed our personality traits based on our birth dates, with The Rose known for her cooperation and communication and I for my determination). Store manager Sam Mosley says you’re sure to find something new each time you come into The Laguna Colony Co., which has been open since 2004.
  Next, since we didn’t eat and drink enough for lunch (big smile), we forced ourselves to partake in some lattes and baked goods at the Coffee Pub (also at the Lumberyard Center). This sister establishment of CafĂ© Heidelberg on Coast Highway offers coffee, loose teas, and baked treats such as scones (maple, blueberry, wholegrain); mini-cakes (try the lemondrop); saucer-sized cookies (from butterscotch to chocolate chip); and made-to-order sandwiches.
Once again full and happy, we checked out Tibet Handicrafts, with all goods made in Tibet — from prayer bowls (The Peach thought the Brit said prayer “balls,” mind you! The diction differences lead to quite a good laugh sometimes) to clothing and everything in between — and C.J. Rose, a women’s clothing store with economical prices to fit any budget (both next door to the Coffee Pub, and both original and worth visiting).

We headed back to the car (not before The Peach bought ANOTHER Laguna Beach T-shirt to add to her vast collection at her favorite T-shirt store Cotton Place (, once again realizing how unique and original Laguna Beach is and how much it has to offer everyone and anyone.


  1. Tell the rose to buy the tennis shoes and wear them to class. My fav bath shop is in lacuna called bubbles. If you like bath products stop in there. See you guys in April.

  2. Hey Deb! I LOVE Bubbles, especially the lilac soap. See you soon :)