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Colleen Dunn | Photo: Courtesy Image | May 20, 2013
Just in time for warm weather, some of our favorite chefs have freshened up their menus, making use of this season’s bounty of local ingredients. Time to lighten up!
1. Veladora chef Eric Bauer is an avid surfer who spends his mornings between ocean waves and farm rows at Chino, a ritual that’s reflected in spring’s marinated fluke crudo. Sweet strawberries balance the delicate fish and pair well with a chardonnay from the Rancho Valencia restaurant’s impressive 600 bottle wine list. Roasted California lamb loin is another new standout. 5821 Valencia Circle, ranchovalencia.com
2. Fellow early riser Amanda Baumgarten spends her mornings at the airport, picking up the freshest catch destined for the Herringbone kitchens. For spring, La Jolla’s ultimate outdoors-indoor locale offers a seafood smorgasborg of entrees starring scallops, swordfish, yellow fin tuna and salmon. Start the night with $1 oyster happy hour and of course, a tasty Peter Rabbit cocktail, fast becoming the fabric empire’s signature drink. 7837 Herschel Ave, herringboneeats.com
3. The ultimate in approachable elegance, downtown classic Grant Grill at US Grant mixes sophistication (dark woods) and sparkle (dripping chandeliers). Chef Chris Kurth follows the same cue with his jazzy white-tablecloth-worthy dishes. For spring, updates borrow from mixologist Jeff Josenhans’ culinary cocktail lexicon, like California white sea bass steamed in sake. New sweetbreads and pork belly dishes also give us plenty of reasons for a repeat visit. 326 Broadway, grantgrill.com
4. Perennial Bird Rock favorite Beaumont’s Eatery has a brand new look, but hasn’t lost its casual-chic vibe. Grab a seat by the open windows and let ocean breezes help work up your appetite for chef George Morris’s laid-back cooking. Local mussels and day boat scallops are light spring fair reminiscent of the not-so-far-away seashore. 5662 La Jolla Blvd, beaumontseatery.com
5. Pick up a new spring wardrobe and a new spring attitude at Fashion Valley’s True Food Kitchen. The farmers market salad is a minty medley of Champagne-vinaigrette-dressed greens tossed with spring peas and asparagus, while the pan seared sea bass with snap peas and mushrooms proves that you can be health conscious and a foodie. Punctuate your shopping pause with a berry cup cocktail (organic vodka, honey and fresh berries) while you debate the merits of that printed pants purchase. 7007 Friars Road, foxrc.com/restaurants/true-food-kitchen