location > 437 South Highway 101, Solana Beach
phone > 858-792-0072
chef > Wade Hageman
A JAUNT ON HIGHWAY 101 to Solana Beach used to be reserved for the leisurely Sunday drive. But a new lounge attracts a mélange of well-to-do cosmopolitans to its doors any night of the week.
VIBE: You’ll feel a world away from the modest strip-mall surroundings, as finely groomed guests mingle and order colored martinis from pricy menus. Amid a dim euphoria, the Blackberries buzz, and politicking permeates. A cliquey clientele of 20-something trust-funders and midlife millionaires seems straight off The O.C. set.
DÉCOR: Chic is the mantra in this classy establishment, where subtle references to its moniker grace every corner. A sizable concrete bar with a frosted white finish mimics an ice rink, while the surrounding pearl-white booths offer great views. A wall of wine and spirits separates the bar from a comfortably furnished den where a flat-screen television and muted earth tones invite patrons to view, converse and treat their taste buds.
EATS & DRINKS: Swanky circles sip from large glasses of deeply poured wines, with 25 varieties available by the glass. An abbreviated bar menu masterminded by chef Wade Hageman——a protégé of Michael Mina and Wolfgang Puck——is complemented by seasonal specialties and year-round favorites like truffled French fries.
MISCELLANY: Blanca’s opulence is overwhelmingly apparent with its unexpected valet, designedly overstaffed wait service and a top shelf sporting high-end cognacs costing $160 per glass. Owners Seth Baas (nephew of Padres owner John Moores) and Deborah Hugonin could have one-upped themselves only by leasing a larger space——one where conversations wouldn’t intrude on the enchanting vibes.