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All About Food: A delectable treat in Laguna Beach

October 16, 2013|By Terry Markowitz

A wonderful new store in Laguna Beach — Laguna Wine, Coffee, & Specialty Foods — is an oenophile's paradise and a gourmet's delight. Even if you are neither, you will find the knowledgeable and friendly staff eager to help you make your choices.

The owner, Daniel Huang, a dentist, is a wine and food lover who has dreamed of opening a shop like this for many years. He tasted food, talked to people and researched for six months, then opened in June.

A coffee bar in the front of the shop serves award-winning Verve coffee from Santa Cruz, prepared in a filtered Chemex carafe, and espresso and lattes from an Italian La Marzocco espresso machine noted for its precise temperature control.

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You can enjoy your coffee at a table in the bar area or buy a bag of one of the shop's specialty varieties to brew at home. The stores claims to have the best cup of coffee in town, and I have to agree. You will also find a nice selection of teas and all the accompanying accoutrements for these beverages.

Step further into this large, attractive, open and airy space, and you will find a glassed-in wine room on the right. Its cool atmosphere is designed to keep the wine at the appropriate temperature. Racks lining the wall hold a large selection of California wines as well as imports from around the world.

Cards in front of the wines tell briefly about each bottle and offer ratings from the many wine magazines. A selection of Japanese sakis can also be found in this room.

Across the aisle is another cooled, glassed-in room that contains more expensive estate-bottled wines. The prices range from $5 to $2,000.

Huang prides himself on his competitive pricing, equaling what you might find on the web. He is also offering discounts for volume even on purchases of three or more bottles.

Further back is yet another climate-controlled area with Champagnes, Proseccos, sparkling wines and beers. You will find beer from Ireland, Germany, England, France and other countries, as well as stouts, lagers, porters, pilsners, ales and special craft beers. The craft beers are from small microbreweries, which emphasize flavor and brewing technique.

You will also find lots of wine paraphernalia such as gift bags, glasses, openers, wine stain emergency kits and carafes. The store has numerous wine-flavored foods like chardonnay artichoke pesto, roasted garlic champagne mustard, garlic salsa with Zinfandel and more. It even carries wine candy.

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