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Culinary creativity continues to flow from the kitchen at L'Auberge Del Mar with the introduction of a new dessert menu that pairs classic favorites with the kitchen's signature modern and playful style.  The approachable, yet innovative menu of sweets is featured in the acclaimed KITCHEN 1540 restaurant, as well as the Living Room Bar, a popular evening venue for after dinner drinks and desserts.

The creation of the new dessert menu was a collaborative effort led by Chef de Cuisine, Jon Bautista, a San Diego native who previously honed his skills in the kitchens of Roy's restaurants, Alinea in Chicago and iNK Los Angeles.  Working with Executive Chef Scott Thomas Dolbee and the other restaurant cooks, Bautista designed a menu inspired by the favorite flavors and desserts of his peers and hotel staff.

"I think I asked nearly everyone in the hotel about their favorite desserts," says Bautista.  "From there, it was a lot of trial and error.  We'd come up with something, taste it, then tweak it until it was perfect."

In the end, four sumptuous desserts made the cut: Frozen Yuzu Lime Pie with Lime Sugar and Nori Cookie; Red Velvet Cake with Vanilla Beet, Flexible Chocolate and Cocoa Nibs; Tres Leches with Coconut Macaroon, White Chocolate Powder, Pickled Blueberries and Frozen Milk; and Carrot Cake with Candied Pecans, Carrot Sorbet and Cream Cheese Frosting. With each dish, Bautista kept the flavor integrity of the classic original, but enhanced the dessert experience through both visual appeal and by varying textures, temperatures and aromas on the plate.

“For the guest, it’s not what’s in the menu descriptions, but rather the little touches that they can taste and feel, which make the experience both exciting and delicious,” says Bautista.

For example, the Japanese inspired yuzu pie features an accompanying nori cookie. To create the cookie, the chefs freeze nori sheets in liquid nitrogen and then grind it into powder to mix in a vanilla flavored cookie. The cookies go on top of the frozen pie with floral finger-lime cells that literally pop in the mouth like lime caviar. Use of ground Thai Long pepper in the coconut macaroons of the Tres Leches dessert is another good example. The pepper adds a deeper dimension to the dish and is pleasing to the palate.

According to Bautista, the dessert menu is a natural progression of a meal in KITCHEN 1540 in large part because it is the same kitchen staff conceiving and producing both menus.

“There’s not one guy or girl that only does pastry at the hotel, so there’s a lot of love behind every menu,” says Bautista. “Our sauté cook starts his day by making yuzu lime pie before he goes into fabricating fish for dinner service. The raw bar cook makes nori cookies before shucking oysters in preparation for happy hour. Our lead cook pickles blueberries in red wine and honey before roasting lamb bones for sauce. To us, it’s about cooking and developing food that people enjoy eating whether it’s sweet or savory. That translates into something delicious on a plate.”

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About L’Auberge Del Mar

Located in the heart of Southern California’s most picturesque coastal village of Del Mar, L'Auberge Del Mar overlooks the Pacific Ocean and offers a resort experience reminiscent of a private, coastal estate. Managed by Destination Hotels & Resorts, this historic seaside hotel offers 120 guest rooms and suites, refreshing dining options, a cheerful and cozy spa, a private path to the beach and peaceful pool area. The award-winning, signature restaurant, KITCHEN 1540, blends energy and intrigue with a fresh, lively atmosphere. The restaurant’s extensive offerings meld the classic and the unexpected, making KITCHEN 1540 something one simply has to try when dining in Del Mar. For more information, please visit or

Lori Kennedy or Shae Geary
JLK Marketing Communications

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