We’re influenced by our environment when we eat or drink. Like Pavlov’s dog, we pick up on cues and use them to infer what our experience will be – how tasty something is, how much we’ll like it. Don’t believe me? Think about the temperature in restaurants. When it’s colder, you eat more. Or when you smell popcorn, your mouth waters. The Deck on Laguna Beach takes all five senses into account when serving food. The location, the sounds, the presentation, the service, the pairings, and the flavor all come together to create the ultimate dining experience.
We arrived at The Deck on Laguna Beach at 7pm just as the sun was setting over the Pacific Ocean. It was surreal. I sat down next to Darren and instantly felt more relaxed. The only separation between us and the setting sun was a piece of glass below eye-level and nothing above.
With a soft ocean breeze and typical SoCal temperatures, the weather was warm enough for casual clothing yet cool enough to be refreshing. The lack of humidity is the key to the perfect California climate. Dining outdoors is always a great option but add the ocean views and sounds and you can guarantee smiles all around.
The live music made us feel like we were at a coffee house with a professional musician. We found out his name, Jonathan Blake Salazar, and wondered if he was well-known. He’s definitely a talented artist. Live music can be over-powering during a dinner but his laid-back tunes and soothing voice were a welcomed addition to our senses experience.
Our waitress was friendly and extremely knowledgeable of the menu. I like to be difficult sometimes and I asked her to pick a drink for me. All I said was I like “girly” drinks and no rum. I’m more of a Vodka kind of gal. She returned with a Red Tide (See the details below.) It hit the spot and went well with our small pates of House Made Hummus Dip and Cheese Board.
Darren and I love to order a Cheese Board and discover which flavors we prefer and which breads pair well with them. The problem is that we never know the names of the cheeses. He asked the waitress a few questions by describing the color and texture of his favorite cheese and she knew every detail. I know a waitress is expected to know the menu but knowing the names of every cheese on the plate as well as what’s in them was exceptional. It became like a game to Darren and the more he asked her, the more impressed we were with her knowledge. Did she make the cheeses herself? Was she a cheese connoisseur? Where did they find this girl? Was it just the Cheese Board that she knew about or was she this informed about everything on the menu? We wanted to know.
As an entree, I ordered the Rib Eye with Whipped Yukon Gold Potatoes, and Creamed Kale and Darren opted for the Laguna Cioppino with Mussels, Clams, Shrimp, Scallop, and Daily Fish in a Tomato-Saffron Broth.
Three years ago, if you asked me how I wanted my steak I’d have said, “well-done” and shuttered at the thought of blood in my food. I’ve come a long way from that inexperienced meat-eater. Now, I know exactly what a medium-rare steak should look and taste like. I savor the taste and my mouth waters when I cut into it and it’s cooked medium-rare to a T. The Deck Rib Eye could be served in a brothel and I’d still visit for that perfect piece of meat…. The Deck Rib Eye.
Darren’s choice was equally gratifying. Huge chunks of delicious fish filled his bowl and delicious flavor erupted from the sauce.
We had been chatting about our day and upcoming travel plans until our main dishes arrived but the conversation came to a halt as we enjoyed the first few bits of our meal. After cutting a piece of steak and putting it in my mouth with a scoop of potatoes, I put down my fork and looked around. I would never have dreamed that I would be living in southern California and dining on Lagnua Beach yet there I was with my handsome husband, my savory steak, and the most unbelievable surroundings. Regardless of the struggles I face in life, this is pretty darn good.
We finished our meal with one more drink and a warm Rocky Road dessert. My salty drink heightened the sweet taste of the rich chocolate ice cream and marshmallow sauce.
It wasn’t just the food that made The Deck a great dining experience. The inclusion of all five senses greatly enhanced the goodness of The Deck on Laguna Beach. Just talking about the experience makes me want to book a table for this evening. My mouth is watering again and because my first experience was so amazing, I will have found memories every time I return.