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Diver Scallops with grilled king mushrooms at restaurant bar 20/Twenty in Carlsbad. Photo courtesy of Kimberly Motos
Columns Lick the Plate

Lick the Plate: Staycation at the Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa

Before I get into my recent staycation, I’d like to mention how fun the restaurant/bar 20/Twenty is on the property. Named for its picture-perfect coastal views, 20/Twenty is perched atop Carlsbad’s highest point. As the signature restaurant, its location provides a fantastic backdrop to a world-class dining experience. The menu features farm-to-coast cuisine with flavors and styles in-spired by the California coast. All plates are made with fresh ingredients that are organic and locally sourced whenever possible.

There is an upscale dining room, intimate bar, relaxing lounge or popular outside covered terrace I mentioned. Heaters allow for year-round enjoyment of the terrace with an array of cozy and communal seating spaces to choose from, while custom-designed fire and water features add to the allure. The heated terrace fills up with locals, tourists, and business travelers and the ocean view sunsets are amazing. Happy hour happens seven days a week from 4 to 6 p.m. and they offer $2 off 15-plus specialty cocktails, wells, house wine pours and bottled beer plus half off select starters. I’m putting this place on my permanent list of area happy hours then make it a point to stick around for dinner.

My staycation started with me checking in to the fabulous Grand View Tower and yep, that’s what it was, an amazingly grand view! Seriously folks this room had views of the ocean, Legoland, and north and south for quite a distance and a nice balcony. The room itself was also very nicely appointed and had there not been so much else to do I would have spent more time in it. I did have a radio interview with Steve George, the beverage manager at 20/Twenty. We met on that killer patio I mentioned that was filling up on a late Thursday afternoon.

George has been managing the drink scene on the property and in the restaurant since it opened nine years ago. His vision and eye for trends has kept things fresh behind the bar year after year. George started at 20/Twenty in 2008 as lead bartender and mixologist before he was promoted to the newly created position of beverage manager, a position he has held for the last eight years. He has made a nice career doing what he loves in an amazing location. As beverage manager, George is solely responsible for customizing on-trend beverage programs for both 20/Twenty and corporate events on the hotel’s property and I should mention it’s the perfect location for business functions.

Santa Ana winds were blowing so it was a warm late afternoon and my request of a crisp, dry, refreshing white wine was met with exactly that. I should also mention that he paired my wine with my dinner courses that followed perfectly, something he has trained his entire staff of servers at 20/Twenty on.

My dining experience started with a half dozen Pacific Oysters with Apple Shiso Ponzu, Horseradish, Coctail Sauce and Lemon and they were as chilled, crisp and fresh as the wine, a perfect way to start the meal. The perfect Bartlett Pear Salad was next with a nice blend of Baby Gem, Baby Kale, Glazed Pecans, Roasted Red Onions, Midnight Moon Cheese and Black Garlic Vinaigrette.

My main was the “Local Catch” and that day it featured Sea Bass with Sweet Corn Risotto, Fennel, Confit Lemon and Petite Spinach. I’m a big fan of local fish on risotto and this was a very nice interpretation of that.

As the evening settled in and the air cooled off a bit, the terrace was still buzzing with activity. A nice evening walk around the grounds was in order and I was already anticipating one of my favorite staycation experiences, room service breakfast the next morning. Before I get into that fabulous experience, let me touch on some of the other amenities you can add to your staycation experience. Of course, they have a full-service spa, some very nice outdoor heated pools, golf, very nice fitness center and 7 Mile Kitchen as a more casual dining experience.

The next morning, I enjoyed a nice cup of coffee on the balcony with the stellar view and ordered up an egg white omelet, a bagel with lox and cream cheese, and a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice. I’ve never seen a stack of lox so big and the bagel was quite good. It was a very enjoyable breakfast.

In fact, as quick as it was, the whole staycation was a nice break from my fast-paced life of deadlines and such. And don’t forget, treat yourself to one with this locals’ discount. Call (877) 632-1147 to book and receive 30% off your stay now through the end of the year! Mention code SAVE30. And even if you don’t make it a staycation, put this place on your list of happy hour and local restaurant stops. You will feel like you are on vacation for a few hours.

They are located at 5480 Grand Pacific Drive in Carlsbad. Check out the restaurant at