Day 4–Laguna Beach

Now that the SO has had the Vegas experience, it's time to branch out to California. We got up early Sunday morning and headed west through the desert to the hills of Orange County (on the recommendation of a friend whose family lives there--I wanted to avoid L.A. traffic).

When we arrived in Laguna Beach, it was just before lunch time and we weren't really hungry, so we just bummed around Heisler Park for a little while until it was time to check in at the bed and breakfast. But after we did check in, we realized we were just a little too hungry to wait for the wine and cheese reception, so we drove just a bit up the PCH to a little place called a la carte. Apparently, their main thing is catering, but they have a small store where they sell sandwiches and salads. We got a pint of the spicy noodles in peanut sauce, which really hit the spot. We took it back to the hotel and ate it next to the pool (which has views of the ocean).

After that, we cleaned up and got ready for dinner. We did stop by the b and b's reception, but we weren't feeling all that social. Many of the other guests were having a great time meeting each other but both the SO and I are professionally obliged to talk and be friendly and this was a vacation, so we kept to ourselves.

The SO didn't really require too much of this vacation other than wanting some good seafood and sushi. Since I don't eat either of them, I did quite a bit of research to choose a place that would offer something for both of us. I decided on k'ya. What was of particular interest was the ability to order small plates, so the SO could get a variety of seafood (he ordered sea scallops and seared ahi) instead of having to choose just one. And, okay, these guys really had me at "three cheese macaroni." Y'all know I love my macaroni and cheese.

k'ya did not disappoint us one bit. Everything we had was exceptionally good. We started out with a couple of small salads: Honey Poached Pear & Bermuda Triangle Goat Cheese Salad and Gold Beet, Baby Tomato & Feta Cheese Salad. I wish I could pick a favorite among these two, but I can't. Both were excellent and the chef, I think, showed both great restraint and creativity with both (particularly considering the very delicate dressings on both). Also shown is the sauteed wild mushrooms which were also quite good. There were about three of four different mushrooms and the portion was quite generous (we were only able to eat about half).

While the SO was enjoying his sea critters (he's not yet stopped talking about those scallops), I set upon the mac and cheese. Divine, simply divine. Though I could have done without the additional wild mushrooms that found their way into my pasta. It was well-seasoned and creamy and the breadcrumbs cooked on top were a nice substitute for the hard-cheese crust I usually prefer.

And then there was dessert. It was really hard for me to pass up the molten chocolate cake, but I didn't want to be up all night (I'm so susceptible to sugar and chocolate) and we really didn't have room for more than one dessert to split between us. So we went for the mascarpone cheesecake. Even though I know in my heart that it was not likely vegetarian-friendly (as was the likely case with the cheese in my mac and cheese). I try to be good, but I fall off the rennet wagon once in a while. But at least I can comfort myself with knowing that the cows that produced this wonderful cheese were treated well and came up with a fine-tasting cheesecake. Though I generally prefer my cheesecake to be more of the cake-y type rather than creamy, the taste of the mascarpone made this creamy cheesecake a real winner. This ain't now Philadelphia cream cheese cheesecake. It was very delicate and fresh-tasting--the perfect way to end an incredible dinner. k'ya: thumbs very up.

Up next: breakfast at Casa Laguna.

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