Monday, July 23, 2007


About a month ago, I thought it would be a good idea to get Jon and I tickets to Pageant of the Masters tickets for the Sunday before the bar. It would force me out of the house, and something pretty relaxing. I also thought it would be a nice last evening for me and Jon before I head off for the week.

The Festival of the Arts is a tradition in Laguna. This year its celebrating its 75th Anniversary. There's tons of great and fascinating art to look at, and unlike the Sawdust Festival, Jon and I could look without being tempted to buy anything because of the REALLY HIGH prices. We just do not have $26,000 to spend on art right now. But it sure is nice to be able to look at it!

When we got in, I noticed that Sundays they were doing an "Art of Cooking" series! They brought in notable chefs from the community to do a demonstration. I was so excited I asked Jon if we could go. Jon agreed even before he knew he would get to sample the food. Yesterday was Mexican Fiesta with Chef Octavio Montoya.

He made Gorditas - which are like mini Mexican pita pockets, stuffed with tri-tip and red salsa with California Chilis. These were sooooooo messy! They were also super tasty though. I don't know if I'll make the gorditas, but the meat and salsa? For sure going to be attempted in my kitchen.

Chef Montoya also showed us how to make Pico de Gallo and Guacamole. It was interesting to watch, because these are both things I make at home. He uses lemons instead of limes - I don't know if I'm willing to make that switch. He also doesn't use garlic. The final difference is that he is REALLY into mashing his guacamole. It is soooo smooth its almost like guacamole mayonaise. I like mine chunky.

What he did do that I will certainly add, is to squeeze his tomatoes so the juices don't over power the guacamole. I personally, think this will make the guac a lot less runny so I'm all in.

The final thing we learned how to make was Aqua de Tamarindo, which is basically Tamarind juice. We didn't love this - Jon thought it tasted like sweet pickles. But it was certainly refreshing! Probably won't be making it at home.

The real reason for going to the Festival of Arts though, was Pageant of the Masters - a tableaux vivant (or living picture) show.

This was so neat! You're not allowed to take pictures, so check out this link if you want some examples. What they do it take works of art and recreate them with actual people subbing in for the pictures of people in the work. Its fantastic. Really. The narration is great, and they include a lot of live action to "distract" you while they change scenery. My favorite part was the "builder" where they show you exactly how they create the image on stage.

We wanted to go someplace special for dinner, so we went to Claes, which is our new favorite restaurant. Jon has seriously never enjoyed a dinner out so much. Even if the food had been less than spectacular, the view of the ocean would make up for it. Luckily, the food is phenomenal.

They brought us some lobster and fried leaks to start out with. Jon ordered the scallops for dinner.

Our waiter told us that Jon was lucky to get them, since they were so popular, they almost sold out last night and only had a few left over to sell today. These things were gigantic - have you EVER seen scallops this large? And Jon loved the buttery rich sauce.

I had the NY Steak (iron iron iron) which was sooooo good. The meat was so rich, tender, perfectly cooked medium rare. Jon thought he got the better dish, but I disagree.

After dinner, we split a brown butter pear tart with marscapone ice cream. The ice cream was soooo great with the sweet pear. Jon ordered a coffee, and when it came the smile on his face was larger than I'd seen in a long time. They brought over a gigantic individual french press for him - and left it at the table. It was like the malts he loves so much!

We highly recommend this restaurant, and this day. It was just what I needed!

1 comment:

  1. Those food pics rule! Those are, like, SUPER scallops!