The Kettle Restaurant
1138 Highland Avenue
Manhattan Beach, California
Instead of spending a 6 hour layover in the not-so-comfortable International departures area of LAX, I was lucky that my family came to pick me up at the airport to take me out for lunch. We drove out to Manhattan Beach and enjoyed a nice lunch at The Kettle restaurant a couple of blocks up from the beach.
801 West Georgia St.,
Ph: (604) 673 - 7000 or Reserve Online
Before going to see La Cage aux Folles at the Vancouver Playhouse, I was invited to dinner at Hawksworth. Although it had been on my "must visit" list for a while, this was my first opportunity to dine here and I was looking forward to it.
We both decided on appetizers and an entree, self-righteously planning on not having dessert. Although that plan did not last much past our first look at the dessert menu.
Generally on my visits to Orange County my culinary explorations with my family tend to be limited to places suitable for taking young children. Unlike my usual dining choices therefore, in California my eating out tends much more toward casual or fast food dining.
So with the children at school and my son having a rare day off work, we took the opportunity to go for lunch to try some of the finer fare of Orange County.
As one who loves word play, while looking through the array of options for restaurants in this area, my attention was first caught by the name, Watermarc. I was therefore not surprised to read that the chef-owner is Marc Cohen, of the group that operates OPAH and 230 Forest Avenue.
We decided to go for a brisk walk in Laguna Beach followed by lunch at Watermarc which was a few minutes walk up from the beach area. It proved to be an excellent choice. The menu offered a range of dishes from interesting grazing plates to flatbread, burgers or full entrees. My only disappointment was that the foie gras brulee that had caught my eye on the online menu did not seem to be offered at lunch. I would have liked to compare it with the foie gras sundae I had at Ensemble in Vancouver.
We were looking for somewhere to have lunch In between Summerworks shows on a hot Toronto day. We were in the King Street West area so I checked out UrbanSpoon and Open Table, and found a listing for Wabora in the Thompson Hotel.
After leaving the Factory theatre area we walked to the restaurant. The cool interior was very welcome, and our server graciously brought me a damp napkin to mop my bright red face.
Even though I come from Vancouver, which probably has more superb sushi restaurants per square mile than Tokyo, I was intrigued by the unusual selection of rolls - quite inventive. We could not resist trying two; the crab dynamite roll and the South Beach roll.
20 College Street,
We were looking for a restaurant for a late breakfast before heading back to the Summerworks Festival to see a play at noon.
Fran's Restaurant , an American style diner, was close by and we thought it looked perfect for brunch.
We both had coffee and declined juice. Amidst the several omelette offerings the menu listed a "build your own omelette" option. Starting with three eggs, you can add a variety of fillings such as various cheeses, bacon, ham, onions, peppers, sautéed mushrooms and salsa.
I picked whole wheat toast. Michael had rye toast. Both omelettes came with a pile of the most perfectly cooked hash brown potatoes. The were so good that I got our server to remove my plate so that I would not eat the whole pile.
After several rather grey and overcast mornings, Thursday dawned with a clear sky and my IPhone told me that there was going to be a temperature high of around 20º in Whistler. It was definitely the day for us to do the Peak to Peak Gondola ride.
The Peak to Peak Gondola connects Whistler and Blackcomb mountains on a 4.4 kilometre long ride. Opened in December 2008, it breaks three world records. Supported by only four towers, two on each mountain, it boasts the longest unsupported span of 3.024 kilometres, is the highest lift of its kind rising 436 metres above the valley floor and completes the longest continuous alpine lift system on the globe.
It really was an amazing and spectacular ride.
After buying our tickets in Whistler Village, we first rode the Whistler Village Gondola up to the Roundhouse lodge. There we walked around and marveled at the spectacular view before getting aboard one of the red cabins.
I was up by 7 as usual and brewing coffee. Breakfast for the second day was a bowl of Liberté Mediterranean yogurt, thick and creamy, with blue berries and strawberries. Then while my friend headed off for a golf lesson at Whistler Golf Club Driving Range, I settled down to catch up on my writing.
By 11:30 we were ready to head out on an exploratory walk around the village to see what was open for lunch. We wandered by Alta Bistro but saw that it only served dinner. Elements was packed and noisy, and we did not want to wait. We wanted to fit in a meal at Umberto's Il Caminetto but by the time we had wandered up to the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, we were ready for an immediate lunch! That mountain air does it every time. We looked in at the Wildflower Restaurant but it was not open for lunch
We were directed to the Mallard Lounge and terrace where lunch was being served. My friend was craving a bowl of creamy mushroom soup and we shared a charcuterie plate featuring meats from Two Rivers and an artisan cheese platter with cheeses from Farm House Cheese in Agassiz and Poplar Grove on the Naramata Bench.
Tuesday dawned overcast and grey but I was optimistic that the sun would be busting through the clouds a little later. After coffee and a breakfast of yogurt and berries, I went off to the Avello Spa to be indulged!
At the Avello Spa they were offering a special treatment deal for a paraffin wax manicure and pedicure. I was greeted by the reception staff and then Aiko, a delightful young aesthetician originally from Osaka, came to show me into the spa area. As I was the only client there at the time it was quiet and relaxing.
This spa has an elegant yet efficient look to it with 6 workstations, each a nice distance from the next. The chair was very nicely designed, and able to swivel back and forth over the water bath area making it really easy to soak one foot at a time or to dip one foot into the paraffin wax bath. Aiko made sure I was comfortable and draped a cover over me to keep me warm during the treatment.
Araxi was the fourth of the major restaurants that are synonymous with fine dining in Whistler, that we could try on this brief five day visit.
A five minute walk from our hotel in the village, Araxi's patio seating looked inviting with its white table cloths and comfortable-looking chairs. Despite the lingering sunshine, we opted to eat inside and I liked the ambience of the restaurant interior.