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ORANGE COUNTY CALENDAR: ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT, LEISURE
| SUNDAY BRUNCH

Ritz-Carlton: A Feast for the Gods for a Price

April 08, 2001|KAREN NEWELL YOUNG

* It's Sunday, and there are so many crepes and omelets from which to choose. Here's a sampler of Sunday Brunch destinations in Orange County, culled from recent stories. Other reviews can be accessed at http://www.calendarlive. com/go/discover.

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Had it been around, the Ritz-Carlton in Dana Point is the kind of place where Truman Capote's high-society "swans" of the '40s and '50s would have gossiped over lunch before hitting the spa for mud wraps. It's a place where beautiful people in feathered hats and saris gather for a leisurely champagne brunch and some serious people-watching on the sun-splashed patio of the Terrace Restaurant, which overlooks the lively pool scene with its reggae band and bronzed sunbathers. Giant white umbrellas shield customers from the sun, glistening off the cobalt blue glasses and silver serving pieces. It's all very chichi in a casual way.

All this luxury and mise en scene comes with a price. One way to justify the $65-per-person cost is to consider that most everyone's favorite foods are available in unlimited quantities. Caviar? They have it. Buffalo mozzarella? They have it. Shrimp, smoked fish, stone crab? They have them.

After beverages are ordered, guests help themselves to various courses, starting with the caviar station (three different ones), smoked fish (salmon, hake, trout), seared ahi, shrimp, crab, bagels and a variety of cheeses, salads (with toppings that include smoked duck, pumpkin seeds, croutons and pine nuts), pa^te, fruits and smoothies. The next table offers hot foods: roasted, smoked leg of lamb; Sichuan pork with horseradish sauce; New York steak with wild mushroom sauce; chicken with rosemary; breakfast meats; pastas; eggs; waffles; and roasted vegetables. Omelets are available with about anything imaginable.

The Terrace Restaurant, Ritz-Carlton, 1 Ritz-Carlton Drive, Dana Point; (949) 240-2000. Sunday brunch, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Prices: $65 for adults; $32.50 for children ages 4 to 12; free for children 3 and younger.

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* A new Sunday Brunch review will run next Sunday in the Orange County Calendar.

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