So, here’s the thing I’ve learned about my beloved Laguna chefs and restaurateurs this week: If you want to see the real creativity they possess, just take them out of their daily routine and tell them to figure out how to make business happen any way they can.

These people are amazingly resilient and cheerful, given the circumstances. They deserve our ongoing support if only because they’re so much more imaginative than the rest of us.

First, an overall update:

We still have about 65 Laguna Beach restaurants offering to-go and delivery options. Hours and days of operation are changing often. Please call or check their websites for changes. I’m also offering a complete Laguna Restaurant Directory as a downloadable PDF with hours and specials THROUGH WEDNESDAY of this week. I’ll be putting a new update out on Monday, March 29th, after we get through this weekend. I update this with direct phone calls and texts with each of these restaurateurs to keep it very accurate. Opt-in to grab it here.

Restaurants: I need your info and stories

If I don’t have your information listed here or if it needs to be updated, please contact me at Further, great photos and specials are always appreciated for my Instagram feed. Bring those photos on!

New “to go” stories to share:

Here’s what we’re seeing in this week’s update.

In addition to sundry items, wine and beer, pick up a freshly-made coffee at the Pearl St. General Store. Credit: Pearl Street General Store.

Although the backroom Seahorse Lounge is closed to the public, the Pearl St. General Store is still open for business as an “essential grocery” with plenty of sundry items as well as many bottles of wines and beers (chilled and unchilled).

And, if I’m not mistaken, Pearl St. is also the last (strictly) coffeeshop standing in Central Laguna. (Boat Canyon’s Blk Dot is still operating on the north side of town, and Peet’s in Gelson’s is still operating on the south side.) So, see? There’s hope for that perfectly swirled latté after all.

Scott McIntosh’s Asada Tacos + Beer is now opening on Mondays “due to high customer demand.”

Never one to stay out of the creative fray too long, Ivan Spier’s Mozambique Steakhouse is now permitted to provide a Food Truck Drive-Thru featuring Burger Monster (a burger truck), Montoya’s (Mexican food) and Nostimo (Greek Mediterranean). The trucks trundled into play yesterday (Thursday) and all three trucks will visit each day, seven days a week.

Chef Tomas’ Brussels Bistro has hit it out of the park with vacuum-packed meals that can be refrigerated for up to seven days. So, the team has expanded to allowing for pick-up five days a week at the Laguna location, Monday through Friday, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. Your order must be made online by 6 p.m. the day prior.

5. Michael and Christine Avila at Avila’s El Ranchito might be the only restaurateurs in town still honoring their daily specials and happy hour offerings during their usual happy hour timeframe. They’ve also expanded their menu of freezable options, including a dozen bean & cheese or shredded chicken & rice burritos for just $20 a dozen. (See large photo, above.) Order bags of chips, pints of salsa and rice, and ready-made fajita dinners that include a quart of steak or chicken fajitas, too.

The Poutine (named “The Goon”) is one of a handful of best-selling “visiting team” items that have been introduced at Selanne Steal Tavern from Teemu’s other restaurant, Garden Grove-based “The Penalty Box.”

Selanne Steak Tavern has been offering popular menu options as well as butcher shoppe meats and a pop-up grocery of fresh produce and dairy. Now, they’ve added cocktails to go, wines by the bottle and vacuum-packed meat cuts for easy refrigeration and freezing.

The visiting team has come to play at Selanne,too. Best-selling menu items from Teemu’s new restaurant in Garden Grove, The Penalty Box, have been added, too. Teemu has closed those doors temporarily there, so he’s moved items like Poutine (with an egg!), and his specialty burger and hot dog to the Selanne location.

Mini markets are sprouting at some of our restaurants. I just came across a Coyote Grill offer of plenty of fresh produce and toilet paper, and Chef Rainer Schwarz is doing a larger pop up today  (Friday) until 6:00 and on Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 6 p.m. each day at Driftwood Kitchen. Offerings will include portion cut steaks, pork, lamb and fish options; freshly baked breads; fresh produce offerings; a variety of grocery goods, such as oils, nuts and honey; 50% off bottled wines; batch cocktails to go; and household supplies, including toilet tissue, paper towels and gloves. Cash and credit cards are accepted; drive-up shopping offered; and guests are encouraged to bring their own bags.

8. One of our newest restaurants, The Drake Laguna Beach is handling this crisis with style with Chef Paul doling out new menu items and their prize craft cocktail makers brought back in play for craft cocktails to go. Class act all the way.

Lastly, Chef Maro Molteni looks to be back in play at Royal Hawaiian Fire Grill next week, bringing his immediate family into the restaurant kitchen to help him cook and package family-style meals. (Now that’s some home schoolin’!) It’s great news as I was beginning to hanker for the restaurant’s great wood-grilled everything. Stay tuned for details early next week

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