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It has been a whole year since the pandemic forced many local restaurants to shutdown. It was a wonderful and hopeful site to see local restaurant Sapphire, Cellar. Craft. Cook, thriving and buzzing during Brunch on a beautiful Saturday in the HIP District of Laguna Beach.
Under new ownership since March of 2020, the experienced team of partners made some remarkable changes to the restaurant and pantry, bringing a fresh interior design and an outstanding menu selection. The staff was so accommodating, including our friendly and attentive server Conner who kicked off our dining experience with his highly recommended favorite, the Patio Pounder. They go down easily, so the name made perfect sense—this super refreshing citrus cocktail of vodka, Meyer lemon, and champagne packs a punch. The best part was the garnish of a frozen tangerine popsicle and a fresh basil leaf. I highly recommend the Meyer Lemon Waffles to go with this delicious cocktail. They come with various fresh berries, Crème fraîche, and the best part, their homemade warm bourbon maple syrup.
My friend ordered the Smoked Salmon and Blue Crab Omelette, and I opted for the Filet Mignon and Fried Eggs. The omelet had a very generous portion of salmon and crab paired so nicely with a garlic Fromage blanc (white cheese) and vegetable hash. My filet was cooked to perfection and went lovely with a green peppercorn-cognac reduction and my Titos Bloody Mary.
What's better than dining with an ocean view, watching the thrills of Coast Hwy., and enjoying a relaxing brunch with friends? Sapphire is down-home cooking, Southern Style dishes including favorites like Homemade Biscuits and Gravy.
It was not my first time trying their brunch menu. I loved the Pork Belly Benedict in past visits, but one of my favorites is the Crispy Duroc Pork Schnitzel. I enjoy trying nontraditional breakfast items, and this dish is so unique and flavorful with the sugar pumpkin Spätzle (egg noodles) and apple cider, and whole grain mustard gravy.
Already feeling satisfied, we managed to make room for a mimosa and dessert tasting. Out of the three mimosa selections on the menu, my friend and I agreed the Strawberry and Thyme was the best. It was light, not too sweet, with a fresh herbal finish. It paired perfectly with our favorite dessert, Dark Chocolate Chunk and Fromage Blanc Cookies, served with peanut butter cup gelato and a Spanish peanut crunch. It checked all the boxes with flavors and textures. Even for someone who is not a big peanut butter fan like myself, I enjoyed every bite.
In addition to their expanded patio for their busy weekend brunch, they have somehow managed to nail a perfect people-pleasing playlist that has something for everyone. I have complimented the management numerous times on the ambiance; give a listen when your there, and see if you agree.
If there is a positive outcome of the shutdown that I hope will not change, I'd have to say it's Drinks to Go! The mixologist, Gabe Whorley, does a fantastic job creating super tasty libations, and they are available in The Pantry in cute mini glass jars to go. If you bring back the jars, you even receive a discount on your next purchase. There are quite a few to try, and me being a big fan of tequila, my two favorites are the Mariposa Effect and the Uno Mas.
Visit Sapphire, Cellar. Craft. Cook American Restaurant
1200 South Coast Hwy. (949) 715-9888
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