Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel
When you feel like taking a break from your everyday activities and want to slow down the pace a little there’s a special place in Corona del Mar that’s just steps from the beach…but a world away – the Sherman Library & Gardens.
An oasis of tranquility that was first opened to the public in 1966, the Sherman Library & Gardens (2647 E. Coast Highway) has colorful flower beds…
a tropical conservatory, water fountains, cacti and succulents, and a tea garden perfect for lingering over tea or indulging in a Sunday brunch.
SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel opted for the latter – a relaxing brunch in the Gardens’ Café Jardin and the chance to sample award-winning chef Pascal Olhat’s French “coastal cuisine.”
With Patti’s husband Greg Kishel on board for the culinary adventure, part of the fun was picking out the different menu items we wanted to try.
The seasonal 4-course brunch ($35 per person), served from 10:30 am – 2 pm, includes an assortment of appetizers, a starter course, main dish, and dessert.
To get the total Café Jardin experience, our game plan called for ordering a variety of dishes – and promising to share.
The appetizers were like miniature artworks – tomato and onion tarts, mini-quiches and a mix of olives, arranged beautifully on the plate.
For the second course, Greg opted for the Vichyssoise cold potato soup, while Sunny went for the smoked salmon mousse and Patti the country paté.
With the main course, Greg ordered eggs Benedict, cooked in the French style with ratatouille and asparagus.
The roasted chicken breast and herb risotto got Sunny’s attention.
And Patti couldn’t resist the grilled salmon.
Then, when we were all still talking about how good everything was, the dessert tray appeared with an assortment of mini-pastries, berries, and individual chocolate mousse cups.
By the time we finished eating we were ready to explore the gardens, named after early California business pioneer Moses Hazeltine Sherman, who achieved success in mining, cattle, and real estate…selling Henry Huntington the Los Angeles Pacific Railroad electric railway system in 1904.
Wandering the gardens, immersed in the bygone California landscape, the 21st century was easily forgotten…except for the occasional intrusion of a car horn from the Coast Highway.
To make your own garden brunch get-away from the everyday, contact the Sherman Library & Gardens for reservations. Sunday, October 12, is the last day for brunch service until spring 2015.
Or stop by to browse in the library’s extensive Pacific Southwest California history collection, check out the unique items in the gift store or enjoy handmade crepes in the Tea Garden Creperie.
Whatever you choose, like a character in a Thomas Hardy Victorian novel, you’ll be “far from the madding crowd.”
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