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Lovely L' Auberge Del MarAuthor: Jill Weinlein (More Trip Reviews by Jill Weinlein)
Date of Trip: March 2014
After driving three hours to the L’Auberge Del Mar from Los Angeles to Northern
SanDiego County, we were happy that we both had spa reservations to help us
relax and get into the vacation mood.
The hotel is situated on 5.2 acres of verdant landscaped grounds. The Spa has
been renovated by acclaimed architect Cary Collier of Blue Spas Inc., to look like
a whimsical beach cottage with surf boards hanging on the wall.
There is an indoor and outdoor relaxation area for before or after a signature
treatment. The full-service spa offers massages, facials, body treatments,
manicures and pedicures. The 5,000 square foot oasis includes 10 treatment
rooms, a couple’s suite and lovely outdoor relaxation areas. The Spa uses a
unique collection of organic and vegan product lines that include Osea, Olavie,
Moroccan Oil, and Skinceuticals products and their own Ocean
After a mini facial and fabulous massage by Michelle, I reunited with my husband at the front desk of the hotel to check into our room.
Located on the top floor, our room on the third floor shared a common sun deck with other rooms. Walking out onto the deck I could see the Pacific Ocean beyond the lovely pine trees.
Each of the 120 guest rooms were renovated in 2008 and offer plush bedding, a sitting area, lovely marble bathroom with a huge walk-in shower and signature bath amenities, high-speed Internet access, in room coffee, 42” LCD flat screen television and bathrobes during your stay.
After unpacking, we took a walk to the beach to curl our toes in the sand. It’s only one block to one of the prettiest beaches in Southern California. A row of frothy white waves bathed the shore. The beach offers good surfing, boogie boarding and swimming conditions. Locals and visitors jog on the sand and along the bluffs next to the train tracks.
Back at L’Auberge Del Mar, we took a dip in the heated pool overlooking the ocean. There was a wedding being set up near the pool that was entertaining to watch.
Even though there are 50 restaurants in Del Mar village, we stayed at the resort and dined at Kitchen 1540.
Guests can sit either outside on the lovely patio near a beautiful succulent vertical garden or inside. We chose a table next to an tiled fireplace and glanced at the new Executive Chef Brandon Fortune’s menu. Many of his dishes looked enticing.
Chef Brandon works with Chef de Cuisine Jeff Hubbard in preparing a whimsical approach to Modern American cooking. With Chef Brandon at the helm, the menu will continue to change a little within the next month to incorporate a new evolution of beach cuisine.
After enjoying our appetizers, Chef Brandon came out to our table to greet us. When I asked him when did he decide to be a chef, he responded that he wanted to be a baseball player as a kid. He enjoyed cooking and preparing meals for tailgate parties. However, instead of sitting in a dugout, he graduated from the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Atlanta. Afterwards, he came out to California to open the fine dining restaurant at the nearby Grand Del Mar.
We remarked that his cuttlefish appetizer was so unique. Chef Brandon told us it is a labor intensive dish that resembles pasta and is ideal for gluten-free diners. It is sauteed in garlic olive oil and parmesan with basil. The cuttlefish ribbons are adorned with abalone and sea urchin.
Chef Brandon shared that he is going to incorporate some new dishes into the menu that may include Shrimp and Grits served in and elevated classic way. He will smoke his own ham and prepare some Cajun dishes.
“The menu will have some simple, less progressive and more French dishes that are less molecular and more soulful,” said Chef Brandon. His fried Brussels Sprouts has some soul with a flash of chili fire, bacon and crumbled blue cheese.
For entrees there is a nice offering of fresh fish. I ordered the Chilean Sea Bass that arrived with two pieces of fish, on a smear of carrot coriander with a dash of nutmeg and clove. There were al dente carrot tops on little dabs of green pesto.
My husband ordered the Black Cod with roasted clams in their shells, potato confit, black French mussels, fennel and arugula.
Pastry chef Derek Fledman makes a terrific housemade cinnamon bun with bay leaf ice cream. A sweet ending to a wonderful meal.
Walking out of the restaurant we noticed the lobby was filled with locals enjoying the live music and socializing. It’s a popular gathering spot on Thursday through Saturday evenings. We sat at a comfortable bench and listened to the music while people- watching.
Back in our room, we opened the window to hear the sound of the waves and enjoy the fresh salty air.
After a restful night we took another walk along the beach and strolled back to L’Auberge for a light breakfast at the resort’s Waterfall Terrace Restaurant. Sitting outside we enjoyed the oceanview and pool setting.
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