Executive Chef Eric Harring
Per Eric Harring, Executive Chef at Ristorante Villa Portofino, Catalina Island is a place where "you feel you're a million miles away...it feels like another Country."
If you want to getaway from the hustle and bustle and go back in time, check out California's Catalina Island.
People have been living on Santa Catalina Island for at least 7,000 years.
In September 2011, I took the Catalina Express Ferry from Long Beach to Avalon and stayed at the Oceanfront Hotel Portofino which has very friendly and professional staff. I stayed in a nice upgraded room with a fireplace, balcony, marble bathroom, and partial ocean view. I would recommend you stay at least one night to really start understanding the Catalina Island ambiance and make a toast to the beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
Chef Eric is originally from Wisconsin and is very proud of his staff and cuisine. He says, "We have a great staff, one of my senior cooks has been here for 20 years, and we go out of our way for our guests"
During Dinner, I ordered the Kundera Family Estate Sustainably Farmed 2007 Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, and it was superb with every appetizer and entree.
The Minestrone was recommended by Chef Eric, and it included flavorful sautéed fresh vegetables in a light herb and tomato broth with carrots.
The Vegetable Lasagna was prepared with fresh seasonal vegetables, cauliflower, carrots, and marinara sauce. As soon you're served your entree, freshly ground pepper awaits along with Italian music playing in the background with a view of the Pacific Ocean.
For Dessert, I chose the homemade Tiramisu, and it was paired with cappuccino and a gorgeous sunset. Perfect! All the guests seemed to be happy and relaxed.
The next morning, the Hotel Portofino served a continental breakfast for the guests. While we were sitting outside admiring the beautiful morning ocean view...
.. a Pigeon eagerly trying to enjoy breakfast with me had a string caught in between its feet and it could only hop. After some patient tries, I carefully caught and lifted the bird, and through some group collaboration by getting a pair of scissors from the hotel's front desk, the string was cut and removed. Success! :) The bird flew to the roof next door and my breakfast patio counterparts clapped!! The bird's rescue was one of the best parts of the trip for me.
I recommend taking a nice walk along the Ocean at least once during your stay to enjoy the soothing sound of the waves.
If you go, please let me know your thoughts and experiences!