Snack, Sip & Surf Event benefitting Mauli Ola at the Pacific Edge Hotel in Laguna Beach, CA

On Sunday, March 11, 2012, an afternoon of friendly competition ensued at the Pacific Edge Hotel in Laguna Beach, CA. Proceeds from this event went to Mauli Ola, benefitting children with Cystic Fibrosis. Since 2007, the Mauli Ola Foundation (MOF) introduced surfing as a natural treatment to people with genetic disorders with a focus on Cystic Fibrosis. MOF promotes education, awareness of genetic diseases, and research for genetic disorders. The funds support programs for keiki (children) and adults with life-threatening illnesses and disabilities through events such as the Snack, Sip & Surf Event. Visit their website for more information:  http://www.mauliola.org/ Mahalo!

At 2pm, the aromatic scent of warm tortillas signaled the start of the first competition: Tacos. Three restaurants in Laguna Beach - La Sirena Grill, Olamendi’s, and The Basement Table - set their sights on the championship. La Sirena Grill was serving Braised Short Rib Tacos. Jeff Elias, their General Manager, had me when he said, “Braised Short Rib”. The short ribs were tender, juicy, and robust with the juices from the braising process. Topped off with a lettuce-cabbage slaw and pico de gallo sauce, it was perfectly executed! Everything worked great together – rich beef flavor, tanginess from the slaw, and sweet and spicy from the pico de gallo. 

Olamendi’s Pork Taco was the little squirt of the bunch. With only two slivers of pork, caramelized onions, and sauce, it was just okay. Adding a little bit more pork and maybe some fresh vegetables would have boosted them up a little bit more. 

The Basement Table had a Vegetarian Taco. It sounded good, but unfortunately, upon careful inspection, it contained my arch nemesis, the beta carotene root vegetable (carrots or sweet potatoes). I regretfully had to pass on this tasting, although I heard guests raving about it.

The second competition coinciding with the tacos was the Cocktail Competition. There was plenty of food to go around so you could drink a cocktail, eat, try the next cocktail, and so forth. Mixologists and bartenders from around SoCal came to duke it out: Erik Trickett representing Angel’s Envy Bourbon, Gabrielle Dion representing Zaya Rum, Giovanni Labile representing St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Danielle Tarango representing Chase Vodka, and Steve Garcia representing Peligroso Tequila. 

Erik’s drink, the Triple Creek, was STRONG due to its copious amount of bourbon, yet refreshing thanks to the cucumber! I think I saw fumes on my exhales. This is a cocktail that a person staying at the hotel should sip while reclining in the bar. 

Gabrielle is definitely a “show girl”. She had the crowd chanting her name while she was shaking and twisting away on her entry, the Seaside Swizzle. The cardamom added a smoky flavor to a slightly sweet drink and complemented the rum rather well. The tall glass presentation was a beautiful reminder of the beach. 

Giovanni’s, Fragolicious, made with strawberries or ‘fragola’, in Italian, was my favorite drink. The flavor was calm, refreshing, and fruity from the elderberry liqueur and strawberries. The rose petal made it more luxurious, almost spa-like. 

Danielle’s, Vacation in a Cup, was made with passion fruit and vodka – imagine a screwdriver with passion fruit juice instead of orange juice. The sugar/chile rim was a delightful surprise. 

Steve loves to talk about ingredients. His Medicine Rattle drink contains lots of ingredients: tequila, pineapple juice, shiso (muddled Japanese Beefsteak leaves), green tea & jalapeno simple syrup, grapefruit juice, and saké. It’s refreshing yet strong with a beautiful presentation showcasing the shiso and pineapple leaves.

At 3pm, local surf/paddle board experts, teamed up for a relay race on the beach. Teams were Hobie Sports, Infinity Surfboards, SUP Company, and Costa Azul. The relay started steps away from the Cabana Deck where the food and drinks were being served. The team members had to race to the surf, jump on a paddle board, paddle out to a buoy marker, paddle back to the shore, and race back to the starting line to tag in their next team member. They make paddle boarding look so easy, but it is very hard – it requires a lot of balance and upper-body strength, especially when racing or catching the perfect wave.

Ambiance music was provided by Kevin Miso. Hailing from Long Beach, CA with Hawaiian family roots, Kevin’s music brings out the sounds of the island with a contemporary pop feel. With his shorts, t-shirt and rubba slippers, he definitely looks like “Ohana!”  Check out his website for more information: http://kevinmiso.com/home

At 4:30pm, votes were tallied and the winners were announced. DRUM ROLL!!! SUP Company won the paddle-board race, La Sirena Grill won the Taco Competition, and Gabrielle Zion won the cocktail competition with her entry, Seaside Swizzle. Her drink will become the signature cocktail at The Deck (beachside bar in the Pacific Edge Hotel) this summer.

It was the perfect day for this event – sunny day, cool ocean breeze, great food, drinks, music, and entertainment for all. Come down to the Pacific Edge Hotel this summer to try the Seaside Swizzle at The Deck. Put your feet up, relax, and enjoy the view!

The Pacific Edge Hotel
647 S Coast Hwy
Laguna Beach, CA 92651-2415
949.281.5709

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