Terranea: Babymoon Staycation


While many of our readers on Facebook and Instagram already know news, we want to share that we are going to welcome  a little sous chef to the family!  It still hasn’t hit us yet as we’ve yet to set up a nursery or buy hundreds of baby items that Babies-R-Us recommends (which makes us wonder how did our parents manage back in Vietnam?)   With a new sous chef in the kitchen and hearing the “horror” stories of sleep deprivation that would await us, we knew that these last few months of alone time together would be precious. We vowed to enjoy more date nights and small weekend get aways, or babymoons, before the baby arrives.


Kim has a beautiful baby bump as you can see, so in our search for the perfect babymoon, we didn’t want to travel far and deal with airports and luggage. A staycation within 45 minutes of Los Angeles would be ideal. We searched from Malibu to Orange County and discovered a resort just 40 minutes south of us, The Terranea.  Located on  Palos Verdes peninsula.  Only 5 years old, this resort was built on the grounds of former Marineland of the Pacific, at one point the largest oceanarium in the world. With it’s unique location on a penninsula, we enjoyed panoramic ocean views from almost anywhere on the property.


In fact, as soon as you step in the spacious and wide open entrance to the resort, the ocean view and breeze just beckons you in.  Check in was effortless— no doubt due to the plentiful staff, but certainly not hurt by complimentary glasses of champagne offered to all the guests.


We were surprised by how much of the resort was natural and undeveloped, compared to the all inclusive resorts we’ve been to in the past.  As it turns out, the footprint of the resort is only one quarter of it’s over 100 acre property, leaving 75 acres untouched natural landscape. Before each meal we would take walks along the several easy trails and take in the gorgeous scenery such as Point Vicente Lighthouse.  Migrating gray whales and dolphin pods are a common sighting.  We were both taken about to how beautiful rocky ocean cliffs were and how little we get to enjoy the ocean being so close.


Since it was our babymoon after all, we had to partake in the spa services. Secluded from the resort pool and children’s splash zone, the spa was an oasis of tranquility with an amazing panoramic view of the ocean.  I got Kim the pre-natal massage package since the pregnancy has put a lot of stress on her back, neck, and shoulders. She couldn’t stop raving about her experience afterwards from the massage itself and the amenities. A happy wife is a happy life they say. I think i’ll be in her good graces for a while.

Low_H5PEO_31131585_4 - Resort Pool

While the ocean and spa provided an idyllic setting, the dining options are always top priority when we look for a vacation. Terranea has no shortage of dining options from fun and casual to cozy and romantic. Our first meal of the weekend was at Mar’Sel, the high end romantic dining option.

What we loved about Mar’Sel was it’s commitment to being as local and sustainable as possible.  They have a garden right outside the kitchen that produces many of the herbs and vegetables for the restaurant.  They also supplement their produce with harvests from the many small neighboring farms.  Expect citrus salad or Meyer lemon tart to be harvested just right down the road.  The chefs regular hold cooking classes and demonstrations as well.  Everything we ate was fresh and seasonal.   The flavors all  worked well together,  especially the rich roasted marrow and delightful pickles.  Ingredients were left to shine on its own, particularly the Dungeness crab toast, just simply seasoned,  sweet and tender.  Oh, did we mention the outside patio has one of the most romantic views we’ve been too in Los Angeles? It’s a perfect date night out.


Following a restful night sleep,  we had brunch at Terranea’s more casual Asian bistro Bashi, named after one of the earliest Japanese farming family on the Palos Verdes peninsula.  We always hesitate to try pan Asian restaurants because often, these restaurants try to recreate dishes from many ethnicities and often, doing so clumsily and unfocused.  We didn’t find this to be the case at Bashi. The chef draws inspiration from many Asian and Southeast Asia and creates dishes that uses different ethnic ingredients such as lemongrass, hoisin, and nuoc mam to recreate similar flavors profiles and not replicating  the actually dishes.

The hoison glazed ribs, marinated for 24 hours and slow roasted for 4 hours is a perfect example and combining Asian flavor profiles into a winning dish. Sweet, salty, tangy and absolutely finger licking delicious and a must order.  The whole roasted fish curled around a bed of vegetables is also an absolute stunner. Perfectly cooked and simply dressed, it’s just done right.


After brunch, our check out time was fast approaching. We were honestly sad that our short babymoon staycation at the Terranea resort was coming to an end.  It turned out that during our search for the perfect vacation spot, we didn’t have to look very far from LA.  Spectacular views, luxury accomm0dations, , fantastic dining, and activities galore the Terranea resort was all that we could want in a get away.  We’ll definitely be coming back for another staycation—with our little sous chef.

Disclaimer: We were invited as guests of the Terranea, however opinions are our own.

Cha Que Vietnamese Cinnamon Pork Pate

Cha Que Vietnamese Cinnamon Pork Pate

My parents visited recently over the holidays (This post took a lot longer then we expected, but never late then never! ) and did some baking.  But to mom, baking is much more savory endeavor. She doesn’t have a...

Snow Affogato

Snow Affogato

Are you ready to prepare a dessert that’s a showstopper and will knock the socks off of everyone? It’s the snow affogato. Click the video above and see. The first time we heard of this dessert from Cafe Maji...

Hainan Chicken Rice Com Ga Hai Nam

Hainan Chicken Rice Com Ga Hai Nam

For a simple dish, com ga or chicken rice is a beloved dish in our family. Although it originated from a small island of Hainan or Hai Nam  in the South China Sea between Vietnam and China, it’s popularity...

Sous Vide Lamb Chops with Basil Chimichurri

Sous Vide Lamb Chops with Basil Chimichurri

Fresh herbs are quintessential to Vietnamese cooking.  During the summer months, we try to grow basil, mint, perilla (tia to) coriander (rau ram), and our favorite rice paddy herb (ngo om) in our backyard garden.    But now in...


Bò Nhúng Dấm

Looking to impress guests and host the easiest Vietnamese dinner party ever?  We’ve got just the meal for you, called bò nhúng dấm. It’s basically a Vietnamese shabu-shabu and the best part is your guests can do the cooking.  The...

48 hours in New Orleans

48 hours in New Orleans

How can you experience as much as you can about a city over a weekend trip? This was our challenge as we embarked on our first journey to New Orleans, arguably by all accounts we’ve heard, is one of...


Tomato Galette

Summer, or tomato season as we like to call it is in full bloom.  Its one of our favorite rites of summer, picking fist sized heirlooms and grape like clusters of cherry tomatoes in our garden. Growing our own...


Miến Gà Vietnamese Chicken Glass noodle soup and a Family Story

This is a special guest post told by my dad, Tung.  He’s been hanging out with us for the past month helping around the garden and loves to tell stories and repeats them almost endlessly.  We asked if he...


Eating in Nha Trang

From the fertile mountainous hillsides of Da Lat to the beautiful city by the bay,  Nha Trang, Kim’s uncle Anh Dung would boast that there’s no country in Asia that has such a diverse geography like Vietnam. He insisted...