Andre Blasczak has only worked as the executive chef at the Coronado Island Marriott Resort & Spa for a month. But he’s already making some exciting changes, infusing the hotel’s restaurant, Albaca, with new culinary creations.
“I get my inspiration from local foods and flavors, and I love working with different kinds of meats,” says Blasczak, who grew up cooking in his native country of Brazil where churrasco-style preparation is all the rage. “I’m really looking forward to bringing some new dishes to the menu.”
The easy, breezy Albaca restaurant is already a relaxing, inviting space to grab a long lunch or leisurely dinner. The vacation-vibe is heady; families splash around in the pool, chill diners clink glasses and watch the moonrise over the bay against the backdrop of the Coronado Bridge.
It’s the perfect place for a festive beverage. Oscar, our server, recommended the otherworldly Cosmic cocktail. It’s made with Patron Silver, pomegranate and something called “space dust” which is bright and sparkly, like glitter.
My guest ordered the Grand Manhattan with Bulleit Rye, Grand Mariner and Vermouth: the perfect “golden hour” libation.
Then, came our appetizer: an impressive market board of jalapeño cheese bread with a luxurious house-made ricotta and olive dipping sauce, and surprisingly tasty and refreshing stuffed grape leaves and assorted meats and cheeses. Delightful little morsels, each and every one!
The picturesque and summery salad boasted chunks of California heirloom tomato, feta cheese, basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar with a touch of thinly-sliced red onion and greens. It’s hard to imagine a better complement to a warm and balmy palm-tree-swaying kind of day. We ate each and every bite.
The next dish, the lentil soup, is something I probably wouldn’t have thought to order but I was impressed by it’s earthy, rich flavor. It was warm and comforting without being overly-filling.
Our main course was an insanely tender short rib dish that had been simmering for about ten hours, according to the chef. Not only did the meat fall off of the bone, but it was served with an incredible sauce made with orange zest, a sweet and savory delight. The short ribs were served atop polenta and alongside trumpet mushrooms, a winning combination.
For dessert, we enjoyed the traditional chocolate cake, a resort staple that just oozes decadence. Alongside a full-bodied Cabernet, it was the perfect end to an evening of culinary contentment. We will definitely be back to partake in the Albaca dining experience, glitter and all.
Albaca is located at the Coronado Island Marriott Resort & Spa
2000 Second Street • Coronado