Thursday, February 3, 2011
Eat and shop at the same time? Sure! If the place is packed and you have some time to kill then you can peruse around the Tommy Bahama store. Of course I am all about the food but it never hurts to have other options. We were lucky to arrive early because the place started to get packed as time went on. As soon as you walk in the doors there are people to greet you and a nice bar area to the right for some delicious concoctions.
Stepping through the doors, the setting is very reminiscent to a calm serene island decor. I love the use of fresh orchids.
Our server highly recommended their cocktail menu. Ms. Lin and I started off with a Coconut Cloud Martini and Cant-E-Lope Martini. Got to love the names. For the CCM they used Tommy Bahama White Sand, Stoli Vanil, Cruzan Coconut, and Cream of Coconut topped off with shredded Coconut. This drink might look airy and fruity. but it definitely packs a punch. The CT was made with Ketel One, Melon Liqueur, and Fresh Orange finished off with fresh Cantaloupe Melon Balls. This drink is very dangerous because the drink tastes like a candy drop and you can't feel the effects of the alcohol.
Everyone was super friendly and they provided top notch service. We started the night off with a bang. They brought us a nice serving of Ahi Tuna Tacos. Stuffed between Wonton Shells were Asian Slaw, Ahi Tuna, and Wasabi-Lime Infused Avocado. There are slight hints of ginger embedded that take away any fishiness from the tuna. I really liked this starter because it was light and refreshing. It would definitely be a great snack after a nice day on the beach. I was very greedy and got a second order at the end, but I think I was too full to enjoy it as much as I did in the beginning. Lesson is not to be greedy and to order this again on my next trip, because after all there are plenty future trips to come.
Ms. Lin and I were unanimous that we need to have the Lobster Corn Dogs. They use whole claws covered in a Sweet Corn Batter and served with Mango Ketchup plus a Sriracha Mustard. Props to them for being creative with the dipping sauce. You can taste a slight tangy difference in the ketchup. They didn't skimp on the quality and portion size.
We were ecstatic to see that they offered a Lobster Mac & Cheese as a side. The price is very reasonable so we were a little afraid of how it would turn out. To our surprise they use a good amount of lobster and cheese, which is of course the most important part to us. The lobster mac & cheese was made with Cavatappi, Shiitakes, Truffle Oil, and 3 different Cheeses. For me, I wished it was a little bit more salty and cheesier. Still, it was nicely made and flavorful. As a side, it would go well with most dishes as it does not fight or compete in flavor with other components on the plate.
A surprisingly delicious dish was the Ahi Noodle Salad part of their Specialties menu. At first I was very skeptical because I normally don't go for the healthier looking dishes but I am a fan now. The Ahi Tuna is Lemongrass Encrusted and Seared then paired with Shredded Romaine, Carrots, Edamame, Peppers, Wakame, Buckwheat Soba, Ponzu, and Red Miso Vinaigrette. I thought the flavors really popped and it was a great mix of savory with a slight tangy kick. The aromatic sesame seeds used really enhanced the dish. Not only do you get a tasty dish, there's a lot of healthy components that help balance out the dish.
They have a nice selection of drinks to pair with the dishes. Ms. Lin decided to try the Bahia Sangria with Brandy, Red Wine, Pomegranate, Orange, Green Apple, and Lemon. The fruity flavor emanated through the alcohol. This is perfect for those who don't like a strong alcoholic flavor but enjoy a drink every now and then.
We were fortunate enough that they made us a little sampler of the P.E.I Mussels with White Wine, Meyer Lemon, and served with a Grilled French Baguette. The most important part of eating mussels is to submerge the bread early on so that it will soak in all the flavor by the end.
I looked forward to try their Shrimp BLT because you can never go wrong with mixing shrimp and bacon. Actually just having bacon and avocado in any dish kicks it up a notch. Inside the sandwich was Grilled Shrimp, Nueske's Applewood Bacon, Romaine, Romas, Avocado, and Garlic Aioli all between Grilled Sourdough with Fries on the side. I loved what was listed, but I wished this was just a little more savory so that it would pop more, but that could just be a personal preference.
What night would be complete without Filet & Shrimp. A nicely cooked 6 oz. Beef Tenderloin, Herbed Cheese, and Cracked Pepper Demi-Glaze served with Chipotle-Lime Shrimp and Whipped Yukon Golds. The shrimps were delicious, well seasoned, and grilled to perfection. I could go for a whole dish of these shrimps or maybe even an appetizer set. The filet was good but I wanted more oomph and flavor. Maybe Ms. Lin has affected me with her salty taste, but it is just personal preference. We kept most sauces to mix and match with the other dishes.
Not sure if this is how they normally serve their Root Beer Float dessert but they brought us the cutest miniature mugs. They use Abita, Ciao Bella Vanilla, White Chocolate, Caramel, and Whipped Cream. My only qualm is that even though the tiny mugs are adorable, I want more! Root beer float is a secret weakness of mine. Of course the ones I make at home aren't nearly as tasty or fancy but once I start... I can't stop. Hmmm maybe I need to go back just for this and some ahi tuna dishes.
They brought us the Banana Cream Pie with an Almond Crust, White Chocolate, Whipped Cream, Toasted Coconut, Caramel, and Caramelized Bananas. Needless to say my favorite part was the nicely caramelized bananas that were sweet with a slight crisp. I like how they don't do the same old banana cream pie. Instead they use a tart shaped crust filled with banana cream and topped off with caramel. It was huge and perfect to share with a group of friends.
Another choice of dessert is the Triple Chocolate Cake with four layers that include Chocolate Ganache and Mocha Mousse Whipped Cream in between the cake. This reminded me of the motherload cake from Claim Jumpers, but more moist and less crazy. If you are a chocolate lover then this would satisfy your craving.
For those of you who don't like to finish off the night with a sweet dish, then you should definitely go for their Cheese Plate. At first I didn't think they would have a great selection because I have never been to a Tommy Bahama store and would never have thought they served food. Well they proved me wrong because they paired their cheeses with Truffled Honey, Fig Jam, Fruits, Nuts, and French Baguette. After one bite of the truffled honey, I was a believer. They actually had a decent variety of cheeses. The truffled honey alone is worth ordering the cheese plate so you can feel the elated joy we felt after whiffing the delicious aroma of truffle flavor embedded into the honey.
All in all it was a great evening filled with great drinks, great service, and great food. Who knew that Tommy Bahama offered more than clothing? Located near the beach makes it convenient for snacking, a meal, or even just a drink while spending the day along the waters. Be sure to look into reservations because they were pretty busy on a weeknight. The secret is out that Tommy Bahama serves food so be sure to get in and try it out for yourself.
Tommy Bahama Laguna Beach
400 South Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651