An invitation to The Beachcomber, on the sand with a panoramic ocean view at Crystal Cove State Park in Newport Coast, had my taste buds tingling, my mind freed, and my heart and soul rejuvenated!
The Beachcomber’s Executive Chef Carlos Olivera is an Orange County local from Costa Mesa and is a veteran in the kitchen with over 15 years experience. “My passion for food began in my childhood, cooking alongside my mother in Oaxaca, Mexico” said Chef Olivera, “I love to use fresh seasonal ingredients to create dishes that are as colorful as they are flavorful. Spring is the season for color, so I aimed to create beautiful Spring dishes with equally delicious flavor profiles.”
I had the privilege of being among the small group invited to preview Executive Chef Carlos Olivera’s new breakfast, lunch and dinner menu items inspired by the natural beauty and storied history of Crystal Cove and incorporating Spring’s fresh seasonal ingredients in his signature blend of American Contemporary and California Coastal cuisines.
Arriving shortly before sunset, our beach experience began in the best possible way – with a refreshing Pimm’s Cup prepared with suitable aplomb and served with a gorgeous smile by the Beachcomber’s awesome bar staff.
The Beachcomber Pimm’s Cup
The dramatic ocean view demands a memorable Bloody Mary, and fans of the spicy concoction should definitely experience The Beachcomber’s eye-opener featuring their house made mix and arriving at your table with a veritable meal in tow.
Unless you emerge from the sea like a shimmering Bond girl, the Bootlegger Bar welcomes visitors who arrive via the Los Trancos parking lot shuttle bus or walk in through the underground tunnel. If you didn’t plan ahead and make a reservation, definitely grab any available stool – the Bootlegger aptly pours everything from a tropical slush to a classic Martini and the full menu is available on the patio.
Among the many mouthwatering menu items we sampled that evening, we enjoyed tasting portions of Mahi Mahi Spring Rolls with a vibrant tropical mango salsa, Ahi Tacos, Lemongrass Chicken Skewers; Seared Ahi brightened with a zippy lime wasabi aioli and peppery watercress as featured in the Seared Ahi Sandwich and perfectly prepared Chilean Sea Bass alongside earthy Forest Mushroom Tortellini and hearts of baby bok choy in a pool of fish consommé.
The new spring menu items are featured on The Beachcomber breakfast, lunch and dinner menu include:
Pulled Pork Benedict
Two organic eggs, citrus braised pork shoulder, house-made buttermilk biscuit, roasted poblano peppers and carmelized onions, green poblano hollandaise sauce
Mahi Mahi Spring Rolls
Mahi mahi, zucchini, carrots, green carrots, green onions, mango papaya salsa, huli huli dipping sauce
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
Kale and red leaf, candied oranges, pecans, parmesan cheese, beets, black figs, mustard vinaigrette
Grilled Cajun Trout
Grilled trout, lemon garlic sauce, lyonnaie potatoes, grapes
Seared Ahi Sandwich
Yellowfin ahi, lime wasabi aioli, grilled pineapple, iceberg lettuce, tomato, avocado, caramelized bun
Island Roasted Chicken
Half roasted chicken, huli huli glaze, coconut rice, bok choy
Honey Maple Glazed Kurobuta Pork Chop
Roasted pork chop, braised rainbow Swiss chard, baby potatoes
Seared Crusted Yellow Tuna
Wasabi potato puree, purple asparagus, forest mushroom wine sauce, watercress
The Beachcomber catering space and Educational Commons.
The Beachcomber is a historic cottage reimagined into a coastal cuisine restaurant nestled in the heart of Crystal Cove’s Historic District, within Crystal Cove State Park on the Newport Coast. The cafe is on the sand and features an open air deck (tented during Winter season) with an unparalleled oceanfront view. The breathtaking natural beauty of the ocean front location is the perfect spot for any special event, from weddings to team meetings and The Beachcomber boasts five unique catering spaces: on the sand, the historical Beaches Cottage (featured in the move Beaches starring Bette Midler), Cottage 34 Deck, the Beach Promenade and the Educational Commons.
Simply reveling in a day at the beach? Beachgoers enjoy access to the Beachcomber’s Beach Service including rental of beach chairs, umbrellas, fire pit/BBQ units and seasonal food and beverage offerings on the sand. So what are you waiting for?! If you’ve never been to Crystal Cove or, like me, it’s been awhile, you absolutely must set aside a beach day, delve into the history behind the Beachcomber cottages and stick around for the traditional raising of the Martini flag. Cheers!
The Beachcomber Cafe at Crystal Cove
15 Crystal Cove Newport Coast, CA 92657
Telephone: 949-376-6900 Fax: 949-644-4625 Catering: 949-644-8759