The pinnacle of Southern California Marina hospitality

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel at Marina Del Rey in Los Angeles, offers a commanding vista of one of the largest, most beautiful marinas in the world.

It is one of the 85 Ritz-Carlton properties in the world.  When I viewed the boats docked in the blue Pacific on a picture-perfect day in L.A. from the Concierge Lounge, I couldn’t help but go back to my first experience with the Ritz Hotel in Paris — different view, same awestruck feeling of the pinnacle in hotel living.  “Putting on the Ritz” still sets the tone in song, as it did many years ago in a popular song composed for the original Ritz in Paris.  Later, this hotel was merged with the Carlton in London with the first Ritz-Carlton opening in 1927 in Boston, a model for what was to come.

Ritz-Carlton has twice won the prestigious National Quality Award for hotels, and plans are to expand to 30 more hotels and residential projects, including the Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage in the desert, most of which has already been completed and open for guests.

The Ritz-Carlton has conceived a maximum guest service on an upper floor appropriately named the Club Lounge.  Club concierges attend to Club guests from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. with superior comfort and services.  This includes breakfast, lunch, hors d’oeuvres and late night treats from tables and chairs with a commanding view of the marina and the ocean. Complimentary Business center and Wi-Fi are available, as well as premium beverages anytime during service hours — kudos to management for requesting that no cell phone conversations be made in the lounge.

The center of my interest was the makeover of the waterside restaurant, Cast & Plow, with panoramic views of the marina.

The menu underlined “Community Made” with fresh, organic, locally grown and raised ingredients from seed to your table.  Its 80-indoor/outdoor seats allow for dining and gathering at intimate locations within the restaurant, for full breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I was impressed by the 32-day-aged, smoked rib-eye steak, with sides that included asiago cheese potato puree, oversize asparagus tops and an herb salsa verde spread over the steak.  Superb!

I must congratulate the Sommelier/Wine Steward Mitchel Ober for his choice of wine for this choice of entrée.  It could not have been better.  It was the 2010 Figgins Estate Red from Walla Walla, Wash.  This is a blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with small portions of Merlot and Petit Verdot aged in French oak for 20 months.  Chris Figgins also makes wine for the well-known Leonetti Wines in the same Walla Walla area.

The Ritz-Carlton Marina Del Rey is paradise found!  Visit  HYPERLINK “” for more.

Review: Night at the Mission San Luis Rey

The historic Mission San Luis Rey hosted their 3rd annual Night at the Mission to benefit the Old Mission Montessori School.  St. Francis of Assisi once said, “for it is in giving that we receive.”  Thanks went out to Charlie Plummer, Oceanside resident and newly appointed Regional Sales Manager for Jackson Family of Fine Wines for his organizational skills and wine contributions.  In all, 17 wine, beer and food companies contributed to the pristine venue.

Wine Bytes

Cougar Winery in Temecula is having a Blending Party June 8 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  Be a winemaker for a day and compete in this best blend contest as a 2013 Miscuglio Del Circolo is created.  Appetizers served.  $30 per person; reduced cost for club members.  Call (951) 491-0825.

It’s Feel Good Friday with Blu Gruv music at Orfila Winery in Escondido, June 13 from 4 to 6 p.m. Admission free for the Jazz music, with wine and food an additional cost.  More on this at (760) 738-6500 ext. 22.

Morada at the Rancho Santa Fe Inn presents Wine Tastings June 19 from 5 to 6:30 p.m.  Cost is $25 for 8+ tastings and includes light appetizers.  RSVP at (858) 381-8212.

The Women’s Museum is holding its 7th annual Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Festival, June 20 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the museum at Liberty Station in Pt. Loma.  Cost is $50 and includes the music of Sue Palmer, the Queen of Boogie Woogie.  Learn more at (619) 233-7963.


Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator. His columns can be viewed at  HYPERLINK “”  He is one of the top wine commentators on the web.  Reach him at



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