At Driftwood Kitchen, Brunch and Wine Pairings Beckon

My love for brunch is unwavering.

Brunch gives us the societal green light to sleep late, eat late, eat slowly, dress up or dress down, read quietly, or toast and laugh with fervor. We all savor the meal, the company and the setting. Brunch is a requisite in our weekends and is most often enjoyed at home in our jammies. I do love venturing out, though, as we did on Labor Day to Driftwood Kitchen in Laguna Beach.

I’ve been eyeing Driftwood all summer.

I drove by it daily this July and August trekking my daughter back and forth to her responsibilities at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center. Discreetly tucked off the Pacific Coast Highway main drag, Driftwood’s signage of warm, seaside blue colors felt perfectly local and inviting. Driftwood Kitchen sits alongside the popular “The Deck” of Pacific Edge Hotel. Our arrival immediately reminded us this was the last holiday of summer in ever-busy Laguna Beach. The queues for the valet were long but efficient, and the directions from staff to Driftwood were curt yet courteous.

Driftwood Kitchen has three distinct feels to it from the modern outdoor deck at entry to the dark wood of the stateroom bar, and lastly, the white of the seaside shiplap and blonde wood of the main dining room. Driftwood is clearly a busy tourist and local draw as we were asked by no less than five employees if we had reservations. The rooms were lively with glasses clinking, golf on TV in the bar, and the line of brunch arrivals.

I kicked off our holiday with a glass of Col Di Salci Italian sparkling rose, while my husband enjoyed a “Bloody Pirate,” a brunch-only Bloody Mary. The wait to get our drinks was a wee bit long, but our lovely waitress, Marina, covered this first round in a first-class move of great service. The food was amazing. Amazing, like I-can’t-wait-to-go-back amazing. My daughter ordered the French toast with hazelnut caramelized butter, while the order ooooh’d and aaaah’d at her steak and eggs. My husband had the Laguna Beach omelet with crab, and I had the DK Benedict with skirt steak instead of Berkshire Ham. I was considering a red wine such as the Paring red blend to go with the steak and hollandaise but chose a dry Riff pinot grigio from Alto Adige instead.  Though we were beyond full, we couldn’t pass up the mango and raspberry sorbet, nor the warm toffee cake for dessert. Marina noticed my love for drier whites, so she brought me a taste of the Stonestreet sauvignon blanc, which had an incredible nose and a beautiful peach and stonefruit essence. After a happy, long brunch, we sauntered steps below to the sand, where we dipped our toes in the ocean and soaked in the final hours of summer.

I can’t wait to return to Driftwood Kitchen, be it brunch, lunch, or dinner. Marina noted how incredible the dinners are, as well as the foresight taken in their wine pairings. I appreciated that the wine menu noted the opportunity to purchase a bottle to take home, if you were so inclined. There were also wine flights available, for diners seeking new experiences or differing varietals.

Back to reality on Tuesday, I harkened back to my Driftwood memories by eating not only my leftovers the next morning, but my daughter’s as well.

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