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Laguna Beach is Southern California's premier seaside destination, midway between Los Angeles and San Diego. A year-round retreat for art lovers, nature enthusiasts and beach goers, Laguna Beach features seven miles of soft sand and surf.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I ♥ Laguna Beach

With each milestone in my life, I find that more and more I need my Mom. I have come to realize that having her as friend and a confidant is what makes the Mother-Daughter relationship special. So when she told me that she was coming into town for a visit, I instantly knew that we needed to have a night out…just the two of us.

We started off at Romeo Cucina, located one block from Main Beach on Broadway. Inside the restaurant is a blend of old-world charm and modern elegance, with a know-how for keeping things casual and comfortable. In the bar area there are three large flat screens with sporting events or movies on. In the dining room, a piano player tickling the keys.  Also a chef counter and bar to sit at and watch the pizza oven at work.

Mom and I ordered the house wine, her a Chardonnay and I a Merlot. As we sipped our wine, we enjoyed fresh homemade bread and olive spread while looking over the menu. Mom decided to go with the salmon special.

Above the grilled salmon filet topped with Limoncello sauce served with fresh vegetables and Capellini Checca (angel hair pasta with fresh diced tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil).

I chose the Ravioli Ostello. Ravioli filled with a caponata of zucchini, eggplant, celery, onions and pine nuts in a fresh tomato sauce and basil.

What a delight, our dinners were nothing less than AMAZING. The pasta melted in your mouth. The salmon was grilled to perfection and the vegetables tasted as if they were picked from a sun-soaked backyard. Needless to say we both cleared our plates sopping up every last remnant with our bread.

When we told owner and Chef Ignazio Romeo that we were headed to opening night of ‘I Loved Lucy’ at The Laguna Playhouse, he invited us to come back for dessert after the show. We smiled and decided to come back for more of his fantastic food!

Celebrating their 90th anniversary, The Laguna Playhouse is pulling out all the stops for celebrating a milestone! The world premiere of ‘I Loved Lucy,’ by Lee Tannen opened to a full house. The play, based on the best-selling memoir by the same name, is about America’s comic sweetheart, Lucille Ball (played by Diane J. Findlay.)  It’s a behind the scenes real life look at Lucy in her golden years. During that time of her life, Lucy became obsessed with backgammon playing up to 5 and 6 hours a day. She also loved 5 letter word scrambles, spam, grilled cheese ‘cut in thirds,’ Kraft Mayo, and ‘slushies’ (a special concoction of diet 7-up, tequila, triple sec, and lots of ice.) In all these things Lee Tannen (played by Jeffrey Denman) became Lucy’s partner.

Lee Tannen was a distant relative through Lucy’s marriage to Gary Morton. The character Lee explained his relation to the star like this, ’Gary’s sister Helen’s husband’s first cousin’s second son.” Although they were separated by 40 years, their friendship was based on the mutual affection and acceptance of one another. Like so many Hollywood stars we only ever saw the public persona of Lucy. But this play showed that beneath, was a lady that was human in every sense of what it means…she was funny but also vulnerable, fiercely loyal, giving, and at times lonely.  Lee became the companion she craved and seemed to fill that lonely void in her.  They had their differences and the play highlights a falling out they had. Yet in the end he became her “N-A-L-E-G.” (The 5 letter scramble Lucy, the character, used to describe Lee…ANGEL) This heart-warming portrayal of Lucille Ball is playing at The Laguna Playhouse now through October 31, 2010.

After the show we topped off our night by returning to Romeo Cucina for dessert and limoncello (An Italian after dinner drink made from lemon zest and liquor. Romeo Cucina has their own top secret recipe for this delicious treat.)

Above crème brulee.

Above tiramisu.

Mom and I were glad to have had the opportunity to spend a night together catching up on life, eating good food, and seeing a great play.

I  Romeo Cucina
I  Laguna Playhouse
I  Laguna Beach

And, I  you Mom.

By Anne-Marie S.

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