After our last trip to Disneyland, I decided we needed a vacation from our vacation away from the hustle and bustle of the park. I did a little searching to find a new hotel in the former Marineland area off the coast of LA with phenomenal reviews. We just had to try it out. The kids were blown away by the incredible list of things to do, and we were equally happy with the high-quality childcare so that we could enjoy an adult night out at the restaurant on-site, Mar'Sel.
We started our morning out with room service, as we had travelled through the evening after a long day at the parks and wanted to relax and take in the incredible view from our room. I could have stayed in there all day.
It's tough to imagine a better way to wake up. The ocean breeze was blowing in through the windows, and the view was intoxicating. The morning light bathed the room in gold.
After getting ourselves together (which took forever - who would want to leave that space?), we needed some pool time to burn off the boys' energy. Terranea conveniently provides a server that comes out to you at the pool to check on your needs and bring food and drink. Nothing feels quite as tropical and heavenly as a margarita by the pool, am I right?
A beautifully acidic margarita with a house-made mix. Heaven. It was the perfect way to have a relaxing afternoon and enjoy the kids and husband playing in the pool without a care in the world.
But, our reservation Mar'Sel was fast approaching, so we whisked the kids off to their childcare and activity center so that we could celebrate our anniversary and each other.
I had made a reservation for outdoor seating, hoping the weather would hold out, and it did. It had just rained the night before, so the view of the coast was completely unobstructed by even the slightest bit of smog or dust. Clear viewing for the wildlife was proven to be a delight for us both, and the restaurant even provides binoculars so that you can enjoy the dolphins, whales, pelicans and seals. As the sun went down, we saw a great number of them in and above the surf.
We could have had a bite of every item on the diverse and delicious list. Being from Idaho, I was amused that the pork chop was featured from my home state.
The menu was incredibly promising. It took us 30 minutes to just decide on what we wanted!
We settled on a salad and the elaborate seafood tower, which was a substantial $230, but seemed to be the most diverse choice we could make at that price point. We are both seafood lovers to the core, and what a way to celebrate.
The salad we chose had endive, prosciutto, bread, sardines, basil and shaved parmesan cheese. It was some of the best prosciutto we've had stateside. It was lightly dressed and the perfect size for a starter. The sardine was a surprising and welcome addition, providing the necessary saltiness and a mild flavor.
Shortly after and as the sun went down, we began the main event. This tower had everything. Clams, mussels, oysters, crab, prawns, lobster tail and sea urchin. There were several options for sauces and accompaniments; lemon, tiny bottles of hot sauce, cocktail sauce, blackberry mignonette, lime and drawn butter. Being inlanders, we were total suckers for this impressive display.
Each bite was more delicious than the last. The look on Mr. Plately's face says it all.
A delightfully deconstructed banana split ended our meal by the ocean. Each of the house-made ice creams were subtle and perfectly textured, and the bruleéd banana was like a glassine caramel crisp on top of the fruit.
An absolutely beautiful evening, and a wonderful memory. The waitstaff made sure that our glasses were never empty, and that our smiles remained throughout the night. They were attentive without being invasive, and had wonderful recommendations for wine.
What made our dinner even more memorable was that just two tables over sat a comedy great. My husband is a HUGE fan of the art of comedy, and Martin Lawrence had also apparently heard about how fabulous this establishment is. He greeted him as he exited, albeit briefly, and we giddily talked about this evening the whole way home.
The next morning, I was still in a food coma. How do you compete with such greatness? A poolside smoked salmon bagel shared by my husband was the best way to wake up. Their delicately flavored and very fresh house cold-smoked salmon with fresh dill, local tomatoes, microgreens, capers and onion was one of the best I've had to date.
Terranea was everything we'd hoped and more, and we hope to go back often!
In all, Terranea hit all the right notes in the best way. We felt perfectly at home and yet perfectly detached from the outside world. We will be back as soon as we are able!