Nine Wanderful Years


Celebratory and welcoming desserts at enoSTEAK, the fine restaurant of the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel.

I want to Talk about a recent wander with David. We’ve been to countless cites and grand venues … but none could be so perfect as the last few days we spent enjoying our 9th Wedding Anniversary at The Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel. Mr. Planner made sure they were ready for us. Good wishes were at every encounter and at dinner we had decorated cakes honoring us and The Tolucan Times. Much appreciation to the resort’s PR maven Deanne French for helping to create this memorable stay and, for dosing us with chocolate via a large kit for making S’mores and some sensuous dipped strawberries in a bed of chocolate chip-lets.

I really recommend our room, number 1530 on the ground floor; it’s close to the pool and hot tub, but with a spectacular view of the ocean. Our private Terrace, where we lolled a lot, had a built in fireplace in the center of the low balcony facing the sea. We could sit with our feet up on the balcony and be warm while we read, watch the surf and surfers, the circling pelicans, or just feel the peace. Our bathroom had an enclosed loo, and two sinks which were perfectly lit for shaving or primping. The room also had a mirrored wall that hid a safe, a fridge, and space to store goodies (like our leftovers; the meals were that good!)

Speaking of meals, eating was a major activity. Our first dinner was at enoSTEAK. We each had a steak and agreed they were the finest in our experience. (The Prime Bone-in New York and the Beef Tenderloin each came from sustainable ranches and farms. Grass fed, no sneaky hormones, and a lot of TLC.) The Chef entrusted to perfectly cook this precious meal is delicious himself. Ben Ynda III, an Irish-Spanish lad is as full of personality as he is skilled. David swooned at the Crispy Parmesan-Truffle-Thyme Potato Fries; I loved the wild mushrooms and the tri-color Cauliflower, Romanesco Brown Butter ‘n Sage. For dessert, Chocolate Caramel Pretzel cake or the Warm winter crisp – spices, Apples and Pears, Oatmeal Crumble, and Salted Caramel Ice Cream do the trick. The venue is small and romantic, and a destination in itself. For an important dinner, enoSTEAK is well worth the drive. The Raya Restaurant is the Ritz Carlton’s larger room, with wall-to-wall windows facing the Pacific. Beautiful place for our Sunday Brunch and excellent dinner. The Sea Scallops with pork belly may sound unexpected, but it’s an inspired dish. I should know, I ate half of David’s.

(I’m moving over, while David chimes in:)

View from Room 1530.

“HAPPY, HAPPY NUMBER NINE: Unbelievable to us, but we’ve been married for nine years. I won’t bore you with our history, (mostly) ups and the downs, the losses and the (mostly) gains. I will only say that I’m happily looking forward to the coming year leading to Anniversary number 10.

“To celebrate our togetherness, we took out my eleven-year-old Jag, with just 13,000 miles on the clock (JACKIE: Yes, he uses my 10-year-old Prius most of the time). We headed down the Coast to the lovely, elegant, and comfy Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel. December is the perfect month to enjoy the warm atmosphere, the welcoming fireplaces, and the always-thrilling views. It’s not as crowded as in the summer months and the beach is sweetly romantic.”

We didn’t quite make it to the beach; it was a misty, rainy time (ultra romantic) but just gazing from our window while having the laziest days was heavenly. The Spa is so tranquil. After my rejuvenating massage with the magic Mickey, I melted in their lounge and snuggled while drinking healthy tea and spiritual snacks. Super facility and helpful staff every place you turn. And speaking of staff, everyone working in the hotel was so cheery and friendly they should give seminars on making guests feel welcome. And so many beautiful dogs were at this pet friendly spot.

For a lovely peek, pull up The Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel on the Internet and go to the Photo Gallery, it is transporting. Also check out the coming events. I’m sad to miss their Teddy Bear Tea on the next two Sundays. But we did enjoy the decorative Surf Boards hung throughout the main floor. They are for an Auction to fund Surfers Healing, an organization that introduces children with Autism to the unique experience of Surfing. To place a bid (these are real boards and magnificent art), go to Just another good thing about the Ritz Carlton world.

It was a very nice 9th …

We’ll Talk….

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