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St. Regis Monarch Beach & Stonehill Tavern

Good morning from Southern California! It’s really early here (still on east coast time…. ) and the moon is still out!

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I just finished making some lemon water and Green Vibrance… drinking some tea and deciding what I’d like for breakfast…

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Traveling yesterday was a breeze….

In the morning I fueled up with some watermelon and blueberries (hydrating for the plane), a workout, a Hari Shake and a big giant salad before getting on the bird.

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I didn’t eat much while flying – I packed some red pepper slices, celery, orange and a few of my favorite vegan cookies from Earth Fare. Yum.


I probably didn’t eat that much because I had fun watching my travel companion, my Mom, eat most of my other snacks. All I can say is  like mother like daughter! As part of her birthday present this year I brought her along with me to CA.

When we arrived at the hotel I was pretty famished.  We are staying by the coast at the lovely St. Regis Monarch Beach in Dana Point, CA. I am a long time starwood member traveling for work and pleasure for many years and have always wanted a chance to stay here using some my hard earned points.

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The place is really gorgeous – the room is very comfortable and over looks the pools and ocean. (My only complaint – I wish hotel rooms in the United States had those little hot water kettles like they do all over Asia….)

Last night we ventured into Stonehill Tavern – A Michael Mina Restaurant just to have some soup before hitting the hay…. Soup turned into a full on smorgasbord of delights!

We were promptly greeted by the general manager of the restaurant Pallava Goenka and seated a beautiful table.  We didn’t have any wine because I knew I was dehydrated from the flight and wanted to make sure that I was going to feel my best for the next day ahead… However, their wine collection was very impressive and might venture back over to check out the organic options.

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We were immediately presented with an amuse bouche from the chef – a small sip of roasted tomato soup with a gruyere bon bon.  I love being presented with amuse bouches especially when they are vegetable based.

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Next we had the most delightful treat of the evening.  When I saw “warm homemade pretzels” on the appetizer list – I had to order them. Most restaurants usually get their pretzel dough pre-made, from a box in the freezer and fake the homemade feel… there is one particular place in Charlotte that is famous for their pretzels but I’ve seen the box they come from and the ingredients in them! No thanks!

These pretzels came out HOT and melted in your mouth. The best freaking pretzels I’ve EVER had!  I immediately asked the manager for the list of ingredients – I just had to know…. he joked with me that the recipe was top secret!

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Next came the soup – A roasted squash with fresh chestnuts. We ordered the truffle crème fraîche on the side – I always order the creme on the side when ordering soup… We also ordered the garlic broccolini with chillies.  I didn’t like the broccolini that much – it was a little over salted and dressed.  I really like to “taste” the actual vegetable when I order them.

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These little fancy grille cheese toast points came with the soup and included more truffle and fontina cheese. Decadent and so sinful – I only ate one and a half…. after all those pretzels.  I felt so bad leaving so much food on the table… but seriously, we had no idea that ordering soup would be so extravagant!

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Because it was late and we were getting very sleepy, we decided to pass on dessert.  (However, The gingerbread cake with pineapple and brown sugar ice cream sounded AMAZING.) This didn’t stop the chef from sending out an extended birthday wish to my Mom.  A light and refreshing strawberry layer cake. Check out the beautifully cut mini strawberries…

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And then yet another treat compliments of the chef again to end the night.  Miniature ice cream cones filled with blood orange sorbet. Wow.

I have a prediction – these will become as widely popular as cupcakes one day.

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Before we rolled out of the restaurant – I was presented with a letter from Pallava. I couldn’t believe it.  The ingredients + the recipe for those RIDICULOUS pretzels.  Just wait….I’ll be taking this recipe to new levels when I get home…

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I think I’m going to order a juice from room service, hit the gym and head over to Expo West.  Can’t wait to share how that juice and this day will turn out!

Have a great weekend!

Food Babe

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19 responses to “St. Regis Monarch Beach & Stonehill Tavern

  1. Can’t wait cuz those rolls looked amazing! I love living vicariously thru you, sounds like you have exciting things always going on! I do too just totally different, stay at home mom waiting for #2 arrival end of April:)
    Safe travels!

    1. Yes – that’s totally exciting… I hope you have an Aries baby… (I’m an Aries – smile)…

  2. Hi Foodbabe. The food looks delish! That’s so nice that they gave you the recipe and personalized too! I can’t wait to see what new levels you will be taking the recipe! I can’t imagine what they taste like .. They look like little sausages?! The only pretzels I know are those funny looking figure 8s. Enjoy the expo and your stay!

    1. Thanks Sally! It was so refreshing to see a different design of the pretzel – Smaller manageable bite size sticks – YUM!

  3. What a fantastic meal! The pretzels look delicious and it is so sweet that they gave you the recipe. Let us know please if you make them! I might have to show my husband this photo and ask him to make them for me 🙂 How much of the all purpose flour does the recipe call for – it looks like it says “2x 12 oz” but I can’t see it clearly. Thanks!

    1. I will definitely let you know when I make them. Yes – I think it’s either 22 ounces of 24 ounces of flour – I’m going to confirm with restaurant just to make sure and let you know!

  4. I love when Chefs share their awesome recipes! Looks like you’re having a great time with your mama – and love seeing all of the delicious eats! I love balancing healthy eating with indulgent meals out!

    1. Totally Gillian – When I travel, its a free for all when it comes to things I don’t eat on a normal basis.. but I still keep the principle of real food with no chemicals in mind. I love this quote – “The food that enters the body, should be as pure as the food that enters your mind”

  5. That is so cool that they gave you the recipe. Thanks for posting it – I was looking for appetizer ideas for next weekend that would pair well with beer and I think those pretzels would be perfect! I alo also a longtime Starwood member, but I haven’t made it to the St. Regis yet. It looks gorgeous!

  6. I worked at making fresh handmade pretzels for years. This recipe is close to what I do but I don’t use sugar, I use honey and I mix half white bread flour with half whole wheat. Or oatmeal flour which is easy to make by grinding steel oats. and use half the amount called for with unbleached white bread flour and half oatmeal flour.

  7. I cannot see where the recipe for the pretzels is posted. The picture of the recipe is too out of focus for me to read. Would you please send me the recipe?
    Thank you,

  8. Vani, hi! I signed up for reports on vitamins, etc., from they have a “not approved” warning re: GREEN VIBRANCE because of 24.3 mcg. of arsenic per serving. I know you have mentioned using this product. Please check this out. They also publish recalls, even on cat and dog food. Your photos look lovely. I do hope you and your mom enjoyed Ca.

      1. I spoke with my partner who is chairman of Math and Chemistry department. He related this information about organic arsenic to one of his chemists. It turns out that there is no such thing as organic arsenic. My partner is gathering more information and I will provide this if desired. All heavy metals are extremely difficult to detoxify. The owner of Green Vibrance’s theory that his product detoxifies heavy metals because of its selenium content is ludicrous IMHO. It’s like, oh, there’s “poison” in my product, but it contains selenium, so therefore, it’s okay. Not good science at all. Like I said, we are speaking with some bio-chemists as well and will report on this if necessary. I wish FoodBabe would not have sent this “retort” from Green Vibrance’s owner without more investigation. Now people will believe this product is “safe”, and that is questionable at this point.

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