The Malibu Cafe at Calamigos Ranch

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CThe other Sunday we were looking for something new to do in Malibu-- specifically we wanted to have brunch and spend the day just relaxing.  We are big fans of  Malibu Family Wines, where you can pack a picnic and while away the afternoon tasting wines and listening to live music, but we've done that so many times already that it was time to break out of the mold. Our subsequent internet research turned up a place that had previously escaped our notice: the Malibu Cafe at Calamigos Ranch.  It was right nearby Malibu Family Wines and looked intriguing based off of their website, so we decided to give it a try.

We had reservations for noon, and when we arrived, the first thing we walked past was a giant oak tree covered in petite white lights and hanging lanterns.  On our search for the Cafe entrance, we passed a charming little area set up for an outdoor afternoon wedding, and then walked into a giant Ranch House that would most likely serve as the cozy reception area.  Turns out the whole property is filled with quirky hidden spots-- and tons of fun to explore.

Once we entered the actual Cafe, we were taken across a bridge to our table, which was in the middle of a big garden and right next to a large free-standing fireplace.  We ordered bloody marys and then took a few minutes to explore further-- we discovered a pond with paddleboats for rent, a Shuffleboard table in a little wooded cove and a pool table with a rustic chandelier dangling above from an oak tree.  Another part of the seating for the Cafe is on a sprawling outdoor deck, and yet another is in an arbor that happened to be decorated with upside-down hanging purple and white umbrellas.

As we sat down to our cocktails, we admired a trio of ridiculously cute dogs nearby-- two chocolate labrador puppies and a french bulldog-- all having the time of their life.  Turns out the Cafe is completely pet friendly, and one of my favorite parts of the day was admiring all of the doggies that came and went.

The food was OK-- not great, but not terrible.  Tony and I split the Lobster Benedict (good pieces of lobster meat and tasty side potatoes) and the Blueberry Waffle (good but I could have easily made it myself).  The cocktails on the other hand were excellent.  Throughout the day our group was able to sample a few and my favorites were the Bathtub Gin: muddled cucumber, jalapeno, organic mint, fresh lime, lemon, and grapefruit juices, gin, and agave syrup and the Southern Vacation: muddled ginger, fresh lime and pineapple juices, agave syrup, whiskey, and seltzer water.  There are also unlimited mimosas at Sunday Brunch.

After breakfast we played a few rounds of shuffleboard as couples in paddleboats leisurely floated by.  There was also a live jazz band so we lounged around a little more just chatting and listening to their tunes.  We ended up heading home in the late afternoon, although I wished we could have stayed until dusk.  I had noticed that there were white lights everywhere (my favorite!) as well as torches, fire pits and many other types of lanterns.  And apparently it's popular to make s'mores around the fires in the evenings....  Oh well, that will have to wait until next time!