Last week, I took my first trip down to the Carlsbad area to visit La Costa. In addition to enjoying the relaxed vibe, the great weather and the quintessential California Spanish Mission style architecture, I also learned about the new Season of Smoke menu at Omni properties. The latest Omni Originals culinary series, Season of Smoke, has now premiered nationwide at Omni properties just in time for Fall. This time of year usually conjures images of warm fires, cozy blankets and richer flavors which this seasonal menu ties into perfectly. It’s available at Omni properties across North America. Many dishes will be the same no matter which Omni property you choose to visit. However, each property also adds some regional flair and extra creativity to tweak the menu ever so slightly, perfectly fitting the location you’re in.
For instance at Omni La Costa, Chef Jason Adams does a wood-fired cooked whole orange with Chimichurri.
Other properties might add a taco or a corn salad as is the case in Chicago. But all menu items have the essence of Autumn via an element of literal smoke or a smoky flavor. It’s that element which ties it all together, hence the ‘Season of Smoke‘ name.
Season of Smoke Isn’t Just Food
I enjoy starting any great dining experience with a cocktail. So I was pleased to find ‘The Riff’ included in the Season of Smoke menu. It’s a specially crafted cocktail made with Woodford Rye, E+J Brandy, and Campari. Before serving, smoke is added via fired cedar chips to give the cocktail a taste that’s somewhere between a Manhattan and an Old Fashioned. You might say it’s “a riff” on those classics. It’s not too strong or too boozy. It is a little bit smoky, slightly sweet and far too easy to drink; it can easily be enjoyed on its own, or paired with food. Learn how to make your own with this Omni video.
What else is on the Season of Smoke Menu?
At Omni La Costa, the Season of Smoke menu also includes these autumn-inspired dishes:
- Smoke Ham Board: melon a la chapa, local cheeses, smoked hams, mustard & bread
- Caldero Duck Fat Fries: served with smoked ketchup
- Chorizo Stuffed Dates: wood oven-smoked duck prosciutto made in house at Omni La Costa
- Season of Smoke Blended Burger: Thomasville tomme cheese, smoked crispy fennel, roasted garlic, kalamata olive aïoli with watercress salad
- Brisket Croquetas: 16-hour smoked brisket with charred garlic scape cream and a breading made in house from crumbled chicharrón
- Pimento Cheese Parrilla Toast: crispy onions, picked radish, smoky bacon
- Bacon & Bourbon Brownie Infiernillo: hickory-salted caramel, vanilla bean ice cream, topped with smoked cherries (served with caramel sauce drizzled on top right in front of me by Executive Pastry Chef Keith Wallace)
Recommended beverage pairings are also included on the printed menu to bring an extra depth of flavor to the tastes and textures of the meal.
I enjoyed The Riff cocktail, the Duck Fat Fries and the Blended Burger the most. The burger included mushrooms in the patty blended with the beef. This was a revelation since I don’t particularly love mushroom. Done in this way, I could eat a lot more mushrooms!! And if you know me, you know I ALWAYS love fries but these fries in particular were better than most.
The Rest of my Season of Smoke-themed Stay
A two hour drive down from my home in Los Angeles via a car service brought me to Omni La Costa. I was welcomed in my room by a smoky Black Forest-style cupcake. Immediately the theme of my visit was tied in to my overall experience at the resort.
I walked around to get a feel for the grounds and found that the resort is home to Deepak Chopra and the Chopra Center for Wellbeing. Tennis and golf are also a major theme of this wellness-focused property. Yoga and meditation are offered on a complimentary basis almost every day of the week. I found the spa which I enjoyed very much the following day. Extensive grounds include an herbal garden, reflexology foot path, outdoor showers as well as indoor and outdoor pools. My massage therapist, Kris Coetzee, was divine. She teaches a class every Thursday on the Art of Aromatherapy.
Both mornings during my stay I enjoyed the complimentary coffee for Black and Platinum Level Omni members, delivered to my room.
I then had breakfast at Vue which has a view over the resort grounds and several greens which are part of the golf courses. I learned from Chef Jason that the resort has its own beehives. Currently they produce honey for the restaurants on site and for VIP guests to take home. There’s also an elevated herb garden onsite within Vue and Chef Jason has plans for more extensive gardens on the resort property in the future.
AND there’s a Lilly Pulitzer store within The Plaza shopping area, the perfect place to pick up anything you might have forgotten at home, near where there’s also The Marketplace which is open 24 hours daily.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Omni . The opinions and text are all mine.