OC spas and restaurants serve up a secret—and beneficial—bill of fare
Written by Susan Irby
The word “spa” is so-named for the Belgian city of Spa, a place where guests have been relaxing in mud baths and sipping natural spring water since the 14th century, and the primary influence for the movement towards the beautiful low-fat, low cholesterol foods of the 1980’s. Today’s spa cuisine has reached new heights, with both resort spas and non-spa dining establishments creating menus using ingredients that nourish and rejuvenate the body from the inside out.
MONARCH BEACH RESORT
Monarch Beach Resort features the Miraval Life in Balance Spa and Miraval Spa Café, a sanctuary for those seeking self-improvement and life change. Exuding an aura of mindfulness through nutrition, fitness, spiritual healing, unique spa treatments and a whole food dining experience, spa-goers will find that indulging the Lemon Verbena Grilled Organic Chicken with Red Quinoa and Garden Harvest Spinach Wrap with Balsamic Roasted Portobello Mushrooms is a delicious way to expand the healing spa experience here—one that also offers new spa treatments using coastal inspired ingredients including sea salt, crystal salt stones, algae, and marine muds.
THE RESORT AT PELICAN HILL
Classically trained French chef Jean-Pierre Dubray shares that the spa cuisine of today emphasizes locally sourced produce, more seafood selections and versatile oils such as grapeseed. “We grow avocado and strawberry orchards on our company’s own land, providing a special freshness to our dishes,” states Dubray. In addition to the resort spa, guests can book a Wellness Day in a private Spa Suite for up to five people, or the Spa Suite for just a few hours. With its exclusive menu, cuisine selections include the Mochiko Chicken with Asian marinade, Crab Avocado Carpaccio.
With a mission to celebrate aliveness, “love is served” at GRATITUDE, along with unrivaled spa cuisine. Taking 100 percent organic plant-based cuisine to new heights with ingredients such as burdock root, goji berries, bee pollen and progurt probiotic of 1 trillion live probiotic microorganisms, fare is clean to the core. If concerned about contents, GRATITUDE’s Book of Knowledge details every ingredient for all dishes on the menu. Signature elixirs, Wellness Shots, Smoothies, and a full menu of delicious appetizers, salads, “bowls,” sandwiches, wraps, entrées and desserts, GRATITUDE is a nurtured dining experience like no other.
SYCAMORE SPA AT THE RANCH AT LAGUNA BEACH
An oasis in the canyons, The Ranch at Laguna Beach recently celebrated its “re-envisioned” style as a coastal ranch resort. Introducing a 3,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor spa, clientele can indulge in an array of restorative options such as the Stone and Shell Signature Treatment, Thermal Therapy. Cuisine from Harvest, The Ranch at Laguna Beach’s premier restaurant, may be enjoyed at the spa. Recommended selections include Gem Lettuces with green goddess dressing, Chopped Kale with cranberries, marcona almonds, and pickled shallots or Hamachi Crudo with yuzu vinaigrette and pickled pear.
An award-winning spa with two locations, Newport Beach and Rancho Santa Margarita, Spa Gregories provides an escape from life stresses with services that “nourish, heal, and balance.” For a quick respite, book the “Let’s Do Lunch” package (available exclusively at the Newport Beach location), a 45-minute massage or facial and in-studio lunch with menu items like the Wicklow Veggie Burger with Ortega chili pepper, mushroom and avocado, and the Chopped Salad with organic chicken and champagne lime vinaigrette.
SEABIRDS KITCHEN AT THE LAB
What began as a plant-based menu from a food truck is now a land-based restaurant “pushing the boundaries of vegan cuisine.” Locally grown fruits and vegetables combined with creativity in the kitchen translates to delicious selections such as the Maitake Fondue of tarragon béchamel, smoked carrot puree, maitake mushroom and horseradish gremolata; the gluten-free Kimchi Taco of grilled Korean style jackfruit, housemade kimchi, spicy aji yolk crema; the Beets Me Burger with housemade shitake, beet, chia patty; and desserts, including the churro waffle, Chaffle.