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Toast the End of Summer and Welcome Fall at Two Unique Outdoor Dining Experiences

Written By: Whitney Aronoff
Photography Provided By: Pacific Dream Photography Culinary Cookout Series

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel invites guests to soak in the last days of summer and toast fall with the Culinary Cookout Series—two exclusive culinary experiences with an interactive outdoor kitchen on the Dana Lawn. On Sept. 13, indulge in the tastes of the Pacific Northwest Seafood Celebration with fresh, seasonal ingredients and fine wines from Oregon’s Ponzi Vineyards. Then, on Oct. 20, get in the spirit of Oktoberfest with Coastal Brews & Bites. Feast on globally inspired street food and local craft beers, all with a view of Strands Beach. We chatted with Executive Chef Andrew Litherland to get you all the inside details.  


1 | Taste the Seasons Culinary Cookout Series

Experience the fall harvest of the Pacific Northwest and street fare from around the globe without leaving Orange County. “The Pacific Northwest reminds me a lot of my home country, New Zealand,” says Chef Litherland. 

What is he most excited to serve? Halibut cheeks. “Guests can taste the product, learn how to get it in the market and how to utilize it at home as we prepare it in our interactive outdoor kitchen.” 


2 | Five-Star Culinary Tips Culinary Cookout Series

Want to know how to build a five-star seafood tower? Here’s your chance. Chef Litherland wants you to bring your culinary curiosity to the table. “We’ve created these experiences to be kitchen-to-table, allowing guests to see how the food is prepared and get hands-on with plating,” Chef Litherland explains. 

The interactive outdoor kitchen allows guests to ask questions, learn about the food and pick up new techniques. Know how to use a double-decker grill? Come find out.

“We are setting up our outdoor kitchen so we can still perform our culinary symphony while our guests are in a comfortable setting,” says Chef Litherland. 


3 | Cheers to the West Coast Culinary Cookout Series

Get a taste of Orange County’s brewing craft beer scene at Coastal Brews & Bites. Relax in the re-imagined backyard barbecue with local brews from Stone Brewing, Laguna Beach Beer Company, Docent Brewing, Left Coast Brewing, Lost Winds and Pizza Port. 

You can also expand your wine pedigree while sipping Oregon’s Ponzi Vineyards during the Pacific Northwest Seafood Celebration. Swirl and sip with President and second-generation vintner Anna Maria Ponzi. 


4 | Bask in the Golden Hour

Both events will be held on the Dana Lawn, overlooking Strands Beach in Dana Point. Only in Orange County can you dine on exquisitely sourced cuisine and beverages with a million-dollar ocean view. Charge your phone and come ready for photo ops and that golden hour lighting. 

5 | Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall

These two unique family-style events are all about enjoying great food with great company. “We are bringing Ritz-Carlton quality you enjoy, while still being creative and approachable,” says Chef Litherland. What better way to toast the end of summer and welcome in the fall harvest than with good food, new friends and a California sunset. 

Native Knowledge: Consider yourself a foodie? Mark your calendar for both events and get a reduced ticket price of $200 per person. 


The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
1 Ritz-Carlton Dr
Dana Point, CA 92629