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outh Orange County offers a wide variety of food options—a veritable culinary trip around the country and the world within a short drive. The options are endless: French, Italian, Indian, Asian, Mexican. Fish lovers are in for a treat since numerous restaurants serve up mahi-mahi, among other seafood dishes. There are plenty of options for vegetarians as well, but if you’re a carnivore, there’s no shortage of order options, either. Whatever your preference, you won’t go hungry looking for exceptional food in South Orange County. We visited local places to ask what they serve, the atmosphere customers can expect, and what makes their spot so special. Ricardo’s Place // Ricardo’s Place features Mexican food and caters to all ages, with a big portion of seafood available. The family-operated restaurant emphasizes different regions of Mexico, said Ricardo Beas, owner and general manager. “We have a variety of salsas,” Beas said. “The salsas complement the food.” The salmon tacos are popular, and they offer soups at a time when Beas said other places de-emphasize soups. Ricardo’s has been in their current location for 16 years, which for Beas “seems like yesterday, but time flies when you have fun.” The staff sees kids come in and grow up to continue being customers. “We’re very family-oriented,” Beas said. Along with burritos, tacos, and enchiladas, there are also happy hours. “We have a really good Taco Tuesday, too,” Beas said. 32082 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano

Gemmell’s Restaurant // Gemmell’s at Dana Point Harbor features French and continental cuisine. “We have sauces that are made from scratch,” manager Barbara Tagudar said. “We have creamy sauces. Some are fresh tomato-based. Everything is fresh. Nothing is out of a box, out of a can.” Melodic music plays in the restaurant, which is decked out with nutcracker figurines for Christmas. The tables and restaurant offer a ritzy but cozy ambience. “It’s very soft. People can talk with one another,” Tagudar said. “It’s a little romantic. We have a little hidden cove, where we sit people if they’re romantic. We can tell when you walk in the door if you’re a romantic couple.” Among other specialty foods, Gemmell’s does an escargot. The escargot is done different ways—traditionally with butter and garlic and the new style with finely chopped ham and mushrooms. Gemmell’s has been serving the community 18 years, and chef Byron Gemmell has been active for more than 50 years. “He’s got a lot of experience; he’s got a lot of awards for his cooking and his personality,” Tagudar said. “French (cuisine) is very unique and very flavorful. It’s very personable and quiet. We have personal service.” 34471 Golden Lantern Street, Dana Point


Passport to Dining Out




Full Moon Sushi // Who doesn’t love sushi? Stop in this relaxed, intimate spot to grab a roll and enjoy some Japanese cuisine. The food is delicious and the prices are affordable. Try the salmon, tuna or Hawaiian rolls. We personally recommend the cucumber roll with a soda. Full Moon Sushi’s menu also has Udon noodle dishes and various bowls, all at affordable prices. Miso soup and hand rolls are also available. Have a seat at a table or sit down at the counter. The chefs are hard at work when you order and diligently prepare your food right behind the counter. 647 Camino De Los Mares, San Clemente

Fratello’s // If you’re craving Italian food, this spot in San Clemente has what you’re looking for. Fratello’s menu includes items such as garden fries, artichoke salad, pasta and filet mignon. There are also plenty of pizza options, and a desert cannoli if you still have room after the main dishes, according to their website. Wines, cocktails and beers can also be ordered. The restaurant has been rated high in Facebook reviews. Visit fratellosonline.com for information on catering options. 647 Camino De Los Mares, Suite 126, San Clemente

r Basanti // Basanti serves up Indian food right in the heart of San Juan Capistrano. Owner Roshan KC called it a neighborhood spot that started two and a half years ago. The menu includes popular chicken dishes, lamb, salmon, and kabob. For the non-meat eaters, there are plenty of vegetarian options as well. “We are very vegan-friendly,” KC said. Most customers are regular patrons, including students and parents from St. Margaret’s Episcopal School across the road. KC has received a lot of support from the community since opening. Patrons can either stop in and sit at a table or get orders to go. “I’m very thankful for this location,” KC said of the restaurant’s spot along Ortega Highway. KC started Basanti as a tribute to his father, who passed away in 2002. KC fondly recalls his father cooking food for him when he came home. “I have been working in the restaurant industry for a long time,” KC said. “This is something I wanted.” Visit basantirestaurant.com or call 949.276.2166 for more information. 27221 Ortega Highway, San Juan Capistrano

It may not be as warm as usual right now in South Orange County, but that doesn’t mean you have to be cooped up indoors. If you’re looking for places to eat and spots to grab coffee, we have you covered with our winter 2019 Go.See.Do guide. Hungry residents and visitors can take a global trip with their taste buds through our Passport to Dining Out, which details international food options in the area. Whether it’s Mexican, Indian, Italian—whatever your choice of cuisine or mood—read on for an inside look. Craving a cup of java? We also have a tour of all the cool coffee shops. For the art fans out there, there’s also information about accomplished artists in the area and local galleries, as well as a peek at the movie theaters locally. After all, California is the home of entertainment and expression. Of course, we haven’t forgotten about the new year fast approaching. With 2020 on the horizon, we thought it would be good to check out affordable New Year’s Eve options. After all, some of us want to enjoy a fresh start without breaking the bank. Whatever your plans are, we look forward to your using this guide for fun ideas. Enjoy our side of paradise.

GO.SEE.DO | WINTER 2019-2020


Kevin Short Captures the West Coast’s Glare For nearly the past three decades, Dana Point artist Kevin Short has kept the focus of work between Trestles and south Laguna, targeting mostly the Salt Creek area. As an artist who fixates on “Glare,” he finds that the West Coast, particularly this region of South Orange County, is full of glare. While his extensive line of work has focused on this, Short said he’s most known for his oils on canvas. “I really like our local culture . . . our day-in, day-out lifestyle,” Short said of what guides him. He added, “I don’t do really fantasy paintings like woodies on the beach or retro paintings. I find our current life here inspiring . . . especially small little moments like in the painting called ‘Surf Team.’ It’s just a couple of people being talked to by the coach.”

“Surf Team” is currently on display, along with a couple of Short’s other paintings, at American Legacy Fine Arts (ALFA) in Pasadena. Locally, Short’s work has previously been featured at San Clemente’s historic Casa Romantica, where, he said, “they seem to be upgrading the quality of the art of the area.” The South County region in general, he added, has started to move away from “tourist art” to “have more quality museum fine art.” Though Short doesn’t have any firm exhibit dates lined up at the moment, he said he’s currently focused on working with one particular museum, though he couldn’t reveal which one. Short’s paintings at the ALFA can be seen by making an appointment with the Pasadena gallery at 626.577.7733. To view more of Short’s work, head to his digital fine art studio at kevinashort.com.

Rick Delanty Reflects on Time as SC High Art Teacher During local plein-air painter Rick Delanty’s tenure as an art teacher at San Clemente High School, he sought to be a better instructor than the one he had when he was in high school. “The reason that I became a high school teacher is my high school teacher in the arts was fairly disconnected with his students,” said Delanty who taught at the local high school for 31 years, from 1974 to 2006. “The students I thought were good in (my high school) class, he didn’t pay any attention to,” he continued. “The reason that I went into teaching is I thought teachers ought to be present. They really ought to give everything they have to give to kids that need that and deserve it.” Throughout his time teaching painting and drawing classes to students at San Clemente High, Delanty continued to paint for himself, working on his art. While he

greatly enjoyed inspiring young minds to get engaged in art, he admits that he more so enjoys what he’s doing now. “(Teaching’s) the best. It was the best. The only thing that’s better than that is what I’m doing now,” he gushed, later adding: “This is superior, only in that I am directing the whole show myself . . . it’s my own vision. And that’s what I’m so excited about—on my own in my career right now, just being able to direct that vision in a way I see fit and in ways that are most exciting for me.” For Delanty, whose plein-air style of paintings center around landscapes, his goal for his pieces is to have an emotional effect on those who view them. Painting landscapes, in particular, Delanty also said, is born of a spiritual nature, as landscapes show God’s handiwork. Delanty, arguably one of the premier painters and artists in South Orange County, has his works currently displayed at San Clemente’s Casa Romantica Cultural Center and can be seen at the California Fresh Paint Invitational in La Jolla. Delanty said he’ll also be holding a show at his San Clemente home next June and is currently coordinating with the Casa about doing a show in May of 2021. To find out more information about Delanty and check out his works, go to delantyfineart.com.

David Imlay Returns Home to San Juan We all come across a time where we need a change in our lives. That’s what recently happened to artist David Imlay, a native of San Juan Capistrano who had been living in San Francisco for the past 20 years. “It was just a change of pace. We also wanted to buy a house, and we just decided to move back down this way,” Imlay said of returning to San Juan this past year with his wife, Ana Carolina Imlay, a fellow artist. Imlay came from an artistic family, as his grandfather did pastels of Native American and cowboy culture while his father was an architect. Imlay said his father and grandfather both encouraged him to pursue the arts. Imlay, who considers his work to be American Contemporary Realism and Photorealism, primarily uses oil and water colors to paint, while focusing on 1960s and ’70s Americana, as well as old architecture.

Two of Imlay’s biggest influences include artists Robert Bechtle and John Register, who, he said, “were part of that movement that was post abstract, Photorealism and a contemporary take on Americana.” This past month, Imlay and his wife had their first show since moving back to San Juan that the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society hosted. Their paintings were on display at the Silvas Adobe in San Juan’s Los Rios District. To learn more about Imlay and check out his portfolio, check out his website at davidimlay.com.

MORE ART // CHECK OUT THESE LOCAL GALLERIES Brophy Art Gallery and Design Studio 139 Avenida Granada, San Clemente. 949.678.8133 brophyartacademy.com

Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens 415 Avenida Granada, San Clemente. 949.498.2139 casaromantica.org

JP Greenwood Gallery 151 Del Mar, San Clemente 626.524.5727 jpgreenwood.com

Laura Seeley Studio & Best Friends Art Gallery 24682 Del Prado Avenue, Dana Point. 415.310.9605 bestfriendsartgallery.com

Mission Fine Art Gallery 31760 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano 949.291.7738 missionfineart.com

Gallery Dana Bay 24682 Del Prado, Dana Point. 949.276.7597 gallerydanabay.com




New Year’s Eve celebrations tend to bring out the glitz, glam and, most often, the greenbacks. If your 2020 resolution is to cut back on spending, and festive options, look no further than the tri-city area.

StillWater Spirits & Sounds

This Prohibition era-themed bar and restaurant will ring in the 2020s by celebrating the Roaring 1920s with music from the 1980s. You can make reservations by calling ahead of time. For standing-roomonly, there is a $10 charge at the door. There will be a champagne toast at midnight. 24701 Del Prado Ave, Dana Point, 949.661.6003, danapointstillwater.com

Goody’s Tavern

Dance the night away, take home party favors and count down to midnight with a balloon drop. Live music will start at 9 p.m. There will not be a cover charge. 206 S El Camino Real, San Clemente, 949.492.3400, goodystavern.com

Swallow’s Inn

For $24 pre-sale tickets, celebrate the New Year country-style, with free two-step lessons from 6-7 p.m. Dancing will be until 10:30 p.m. with all-day happy hour and steak dinners for only $14. Grand Junction will be performing tunes. 31786 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, 949.493.3188, swallowsinn.com

GO.SEE.DO | WINTER 2019-2020

The baristas at Bear Coast Coffee make all flavorings and almond milk in house, to pair with their flavorful, ethically sourced coffee. Photo: Jenna Ross

Finding the Grind


A Guide to the Tri-City Coffee Joints BY LILLIAN BOYD


31892 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, 949.558.5310, elliestable.com

Ellie’s Table at Egan House in San Juan Capistrano is a modern tribute to Eleanor Mastroianni, whose cooking and baking expertise helped transform Jay’s Catering into a successful business out of Jay and Eleanor Mastroianni’s home in 1967. Ellie’s versatile menu includes unique seasonal drinks, like the rose latté or lavender latté. In addition to a full espresso bar, baristas use freshly roasted and environmentally conscious Kean coffee beans to hand-craft beverages. Ellie’s Table is a suitable coffee spot for social gatherings, enjoying the historical setting indoors or outside, or taking coffee to go to wander around San Juan Capistrano.


618 ½ Avenida Victoria, San Clemente, 34052 La Plaza #103, Dana Point, 949.482.0618 or 949.388.1103, bearcoastcoffee.com

Bear Coast Coffee was birthed in San Clemente nestled near the pier, with the goal of providing coffee directly sourced from farmers who produce their crops responsibly. Bear Coast now has a location in Dana Point near La Plaza Park. Baristas make almond milk, all sauces and flavorings in-house, including lavender-infused caramel, nutmeg-accented vanilla and dark chocolate ganache.


647 Camino De Los Mares, Suite 122, San Clemente, rapportcoffeecs.com

Rapport Coffee by Café Smith says the business’s goal is to serve the highest-quality coffee to the community of San Clemente. Rapport offers single origin and blended coffee brewed by an SCA-certified baristas. Rapport’s specialty beans are directly imported from coffee farms located worldwide. The coffee shop offers a cozy, quiet atmosphere ideal for remote work, studying or reading.

Coffee Importers 34531 Golden Lantern, Dana Point 949.493.7773 coffeeimporters.com Hidden House Coffee 31791 Los Rios Street, San Juan Capistrano 949.240.0200 hiddenhousecoffee.com High Tide Coffee 1624 N. El Camino Real, San Clemente 949.667.2599 hightidecoffeeco.com JC Beans Coffee House 34114 Pacific Coast Highway, Dana Point 949.496.4700 Maison Café 34320 Pacific Coast Highway, Dana Point 949.218.8431 maisondanapoint.com The Fuel Shack 360 Camino De Estrella, San Clemente 949.388.4015 thefuelshack.com Zebra House Coffee 1001 S. El Camino Real, San Clemente 949.218.6976 zebrahousecoffee.com

GO.SEE.DO | WINTER 2019-2020


Regency Theatres 2

MOVIES Done Right


With one of the year’s biggest blockbusters, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, fresh in theaters and

Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas

Regal Edwards Cinemas

2 01 EN NTERN N NI E 92 If you’re truly looking to treat yourself and make your viewing experience special, Cinépolis is the way to go. Located across the street from the Dana Point city limits, Cinépolis’ billing as a luxury cinema is accurate. There is a bar in the lobby to wait for your party before your showing. There is a wide-ranging food menu of starters, entrees and desserts, as well as the typical concessions. All of the bar and food amenities can also be accessed at your seat. Cinépolis offers waiter service at your seat with service available before the movie begins and during the movie with the push of a button. Cinépolis might even be best experienced by going straight to your seat and getting comfortable in the fully reclining leather seats that come with a swinging tray on which to enjoy your food and drinks.

EI E I I N IE I IE T WN ENTER IR INE E TR For your general movie experience, Regal Edwards provides all the wide releases and all of the amenities expected from the biggest movie chain in the area. The Kaleidoscope in Mission Viejo offers fewer theaters and showings, but all theaters are outfitted with leather reclining seats. The Aliso Viejo and Irvine locations offer the closest IMAX theaters. Aliso Viejo’s IMAX is slightly smaller than the Irvine IMAX, which provides the full IMAX screen and experience. Irvine also has a select amount of VIP theaters that have access to a full bar and leather reclining seats. Also note that the Irvine Spectrum location is undergoing a large refurbishment that is expected to last into early 2020.




2 ER T N N I TR N 92 The Regency Theatres in San Juan Capistrano offers one of the most romantic and intimate movie-going experiences in all of Orange County. Nestled within eyeshot of the Mission and the train station, the Regency’s signage and décor shows off an old-time cinema feel. The lobby is beautiful and ornate with its columns, staircase, light fixtures and balcony. The theaters themselves are smaller than many major chains, but the establishment gives off the feel of a private theater, an exclusive viewing. This is amplified in its VIP theater. Beyond the normal theater concessions fare, the Regency houses Rick’s Café and wine bar. There are a wide variety of food options and a happy hour. Like most theaters, tickets can be purchased online and in advance at regencymovies.com or on Fandango. Check out their $6.50 ticket specials on Tuesdays. Also check out the Regency Theatres Directors Cut Cinema in Laguna Niguel. In addition to the a few wide releases, the Directors Cut Cinema always offers a selection of independent films and the occasional documentary. It’s a must-visit specifically for anyone prepping for the awards season viewings.

The Metropolitan Luxury Theatre is currently under construction at the Outlets at San Clemente and is expected to open in fall 2020. The theater will offer luxury recliners, 4K laser projection and large-format screens along with a “floor-toceiling bar,” full-service restaurant and in-theatre service.

Profile for The Capistrano Dispatch

Go.See.Do. Winter 2019  

The Capistrano Dispatch

Go.See.Do. Winter 2019  

The Capistrano Dispatch