Calgon, Take Me Away!

Five escapist eateries to make you forget our screwed-up world

Illustration by Bob AulWar. The SARS virus. Bush's inevitable re-election. Cher's new album. Why, it's not even worth picking up the dailies anymore the news is so depressing. Even if your main brain fodder comes from Orange Coast magazine and The Anna Nicole Show, all that negativity still creeps in through some weird osmosis. Short of jetting off to Polynesia with a suitcase full of gold doubloons, how can one elude this bad karma? Well, here are five spots to help your short-term memory loss when it comes to current events. Not the same as an island beauty in a sarong the size of a hanky plying you with drinks but better than reality.

C, 31631 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, (949) 661-0425. Flower-draped country inn across from Mission San Juan Capistrano. Enjoy the sweetbreads chasseur in sherry sauce while you slowly forget Dubya's still prez ($18.50).

THE STUDIO AT MONTAGE RESORT AND SPA, 30801 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 715-6030. After a filet of John Dory made with fennel and cauliflower ($34), breathe in the ocean winds, admire the 280-degree view, and wonder how the little people who pay taxes are getting by.

Location Info


Studio Restaurant at Montage

30801 S. Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > California

Region: Laguna Beach

The Ritz-Carlton

1 Ritz-Carlton Dr.
Dana Point, CA 92629

Category: Hotels and Resorts

Region: Dana Point

Splashes - Surf and Sand Resort

1555 S Coast Hwy
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Laguna Beach

RITZ-CARLTON LAGUNA NIGUEL, 1 Ritz-Carlton Dr., Dana Point, (949) 240-5008. There's no view in this swank dining room, but who cares when there's Colorado lamb rack roasted with red peppers, Japanese eggplant and basil ($39)?

SPLASHES RESTAURANT AT SURF AND SAND RESORT, 1555 S. Pacific Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 497-4477. Seaside dining on lobster ravioli with prawns ($16), and all you want to talk about is the federal budget deficit? Dude, where are your priorities?

MATSU RESTAURANT, 18035 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach, (714) 848-4404. You can't get more romantic than Matsu's art-deco room—it's like a cross between Moulin Rouge and Shogun. Their sashimi dinner with tuna, yellowtail and all the rest ($17.25) will banish all thoughts of quagmire from your cranium.