I arrived a bit early and had a few minutes to burn while I awaited my breakfast mate, Anita (MadHungryWoman). As I walked through the lobby and on down a long hallway, I was intrigued by the numerous black & white photographs of Laguna Beach past, that line the wall. These range from the late 1800’s to the mid 1950’s and WOW, has Laguna changed in 100 years. Most of these are historical photographs that are the Hotel Laguna centric, which is quite interesting, as you see the hotel change shape and form from a humble two-story, sandy and wood sided retreat to the beautiful icon it is today. I easily spent over 20 minutes looking closely at these records of the amazing Hotel Laguna and Laguna Beach’s past.
I’ve been a resident of Laguna Beach for over 14 years now, though I’ve played, eaten and partied in and about the town for more like 20 years. I sadly say, I have missed out on one of the most unique restaurant locations this town has to offer. This is the very first time I’ve had the pleasure to eat at The Terrace Cafe.
Once Anita arrived, we made our way to The Terrace Cafe, which is down the hallway to the left just beyond the historic pictorial passage. As you enter you are greeted by a warm, comfortable and casual space which seems most likely, at this early hour, meant for the lunch and later cocktail crowd.
From there you’ll walk around a bar and down some steps, when you realize there is a gorgeous view and extensive patio before and beyond the windows in front of you.
These were a triad of large tender cakes, at least 8-9 inches in diameter each, perfectly griddled and golden. They were of light texture with an almost ‘Al Dente’ chew. I know that’s an odd way of describing a pancake but I haven’t been able to come up with one that better describes the tender pull and pleasant chewyness of them. I’m baffled as to what makes them so. Hopefully Chef Paul Bauer will whisper his recipe and technique to me during a future visit.
The Vanilla Bean Chantilly Cream paired beautifully with the tart Blueberry Compote, so much so, I completely ignored the Pure Maple Syrup.
The only chagrin was the scent of what? Lemons? Other than the lovely lemon twist garnish, I could detect nothing of the citrus about the dish. Was that the point? It’s neither here nor there for me, though what I’d like you to know is that I did have to take 2 of the 3 pancakes home and that they reheat beautifully in the microwave. Clamshelled between two plates and reheated at half power for a gentle warming, the pancakes retain their light, tender chewyness as if freshly table brought.
Now onto more delectables!
Anita ordered the Hotel Laguna Omelette (egg whites, spinach, roasted red peppers, feta cheese) which was surprisingly more flavorful than either she or I expected. Egg Whites tend to be bland but with the generous and flavorful filling, you enjoy it as part of the inclusive whole.