Restaurants Dressed With Holiday Cheer
Excitement builds with the splendor & sparkle of the upcoming holidays! Now that the turkey has been carved, we wrangle to wrap our heads around the upcoming holiday season. And here in Newport Beach, there are so many places to visit to “get your sparkle on” and become instantly infused with the joy of the season. From fine restaurants with elegant decor, to gardens shimmering in all their red & green finery—we enjoy spectacular lights, to waterfront parades. So let’s explore a few of my favorite spots to get in YOU instantly in the “holiday spirit”…
Five Crowns Restaurant-Carolers Set The Mood…
Who can resist the Caroler’s dressed in period costumes, ringing bells, donning hats and singing our favorite Christmas tunes? This once English Tudor-style home, turned restaurant, is an icon in the Corona del Mar & PCH corridor. Originally built in 1936 and called the Hurley Bell, in its early days, this Inn was named after a B&B just north of London. At Christmas time, the garlands are delicately draped along the staircase, with twinkling white lights, and red bows. The rooms are lit by candlelight, and the mood is set each evening for a lovely dining experience of Prime Rib and other delicacies.
The Carolers are a special holiday tradition at Five Crowns. They are there each evening now through December 30th (except Christmas Day when the restaurant is closed). They kindly accept your music requests as well. Reservations are booking up fast, so please call right away to book your holiday dinner at 949.760.0331. I have booked mine!
3801 E. Coast Highway- Corona del Mar, CA 92625- 949.760.0331
Monday- Thursday & Sundays: 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm & Fri – Sat: until 10:00 pm
The Sidedoor Gastropub offers Sunday Brunch.
21 Oceanfront-Beachfront Bliss and Vintage Décor…
This restaurant is tucked into the first floor of the historic McFadden Building, with an Inn on the upper floors. This building was built in the late 1890s by landowner brothers James and Robert McFadden, and connected the transport of goods from incoming boats to the railroad and then inland to Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside. 21 Oceanfront has enjoyed many restaurant facades—-from Red Car, to Rex’s, Alley West and The Ritz. It has been “21 Oceanfront” for as many years as I can remember. And when we climb the short flight of stairs, we see an elegant dining room that is elevated ever-so-slightly with commanding views of the sea. It is truly breathtaking.
During the holidays, the dining room is completely enveloped in green garlands, red bows, gold accents and white lights. It is a spectacular and romantic sight to behold. If guests can arrive just before dark, they can enjoy the sunset to the West and the change of the light from day to evening. The dining room features a showcase of large picture windows, half round black leather booths, crisp white tablecloths and dainty lamps. The waiters attend to all the details.
A classic “steak and seafood” restaurant, the choices are so plentiful I actually have a hard time deciding. Executive Chef Miroslav Rusev, and his team make it all seem so easy. This is also a great spot to meet up with friends during the holidays. We often slip into the bar and enjoy appetizers, drinks and music right there overlooking the boardwalk and beach beyond. Cheers to that!
21 Oceanfront Restaurant
2100 West Oceanfront- Newport Beach, CA 92663- 949.673.2100
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 5:00-9:30pm & Friday-Saturday 5:00-10:00pm
Bar & Lounge Opens 4:00 Daily
Live Music Nightly at 5:30pm weekdays and 6:00 weekends
Balboa Bay Resort- The Perfect Place to Watch the Boat Parade…
The Balboa Bay Resort is always full of decorations for the holiday season, and the perfect vantage point to watch the parade glide by with over 100 boats. It typically starts to pass by the Resort at 7:30pm. So, from Wednesday the 17th of December to Sunday the 21st, the Boat Parade will be out on the bay from 6:30pm to 9:00pm. Boats, kayaks, canoes, and even yachts get into the action. Guest can walk along the boardwalk, dine in the Waterline restaurant, or enjoy cocktails and appetizers at the A&O bar and lounge. Reservations are required for dining in the restaurant. (I suggest taking a look at the Route Map and the timing of the parade, so guests can find a special vantage point to catch the show! See below for a link to the Route Map.)
The Resort at Pelican Hill- A Plethora of Activities To Celebrate the Holidays…
In addition to incredible holiday dinners and places for celebrating, The Resort at Pelican Hill also has numerous activities for guests young and older to enjoy. Here are just a few for consideration….
Decorate Your Villa
Guests can plan their “holiday get-away” and leave the decorating to Pelican Hill! Simply select from their menu of holiday décor options. For example… the “Deck the Villa” includes: a six-foot silk Christmas tree adorned with white lights, ornaments & trimmings, a 36″ silk wreath displayed over the fireplace, Eighteen-foot decorative silk garland draped on mantle, holiday candle holder on the coffee table, two poinsettias in the dining room area. All for a mere $1,040.
Holiday Tea Time Renaissance
A grand fireplace, ocean views and a classical harpist set the scene in the Great Room for traditional afternoon tea every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 2:00 to 5:00pm . Available now through December 30, 2014. The cost is: $55 per adult, $40 per child; price excludes tax and service charge.
Childrens’ Gingerbread House Decorating- Sunday, December 7, 2014
Pelican Hill’s Pastry Chef highlights a favorite holiday tradition in this culinary class. Children ages 5 and older will enjoy lunch and create a masterpiece to take home. Parent supervision is required throughout the class for all children ages 10 and younger. ($80 per person, excluding tax and service charge.) Below, Chef Jeff Lehuede has shared his Gingerbread Man Cookie Recipe with us!
Gingerbread Man Cookies Recipe
From the Kitchen of Pelican Hill Pastry Chef Jeff Lehuede
Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies.
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. baking soda
2¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
2¼ tsp. ground ginger
1½ tsp. ground allspice
1½ tsp. ground cloves
1½ tsp. salt
1 lb. unsalted butter
½ cup brown sugar
2½ cups molasses
In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar, then add the egg and molasses. Mix wet ingredients until combined. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients, including flour, baking soda, spices and salt.
Fold dry ingredients mix into wet ingredient mix until dough forms. Remove dough from the bowl, package in plastic wrap, and chill for 3 hours.
Lightly dust your work area with flour. Roll out dough evenly into ¼-inch thickness. Cut out cookies using a gingerbread cookie cutter. Bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees until lightly browned. Decorate creatively with frosting and candy.
Breakfast with Santa- December 20th, 2014 from 10:00am to Noon
Kids can come and tell Santa their holiday wishes. Children and their families will enjoy seasonal music and a traditional breakfast buffet, featuring favorites such as scrambled eggs, chicken apple sausages and French toast. A to-go candy buffet and Santa photo souvenir are included. Parent supervision is required throughout Santa visits and breakfast. (Cost is: $60 per adult or child; price excludes tax and service charge.)
106th Annual Christmas Boat Parade- Newport Harbor
December 17-21, 2014
On opening night, comedic actress Leslie Mann and singer/actor Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray will reign as the first ever Grand Marshals for the parade. Hailed as one of the “World’s Best Christmas Parades” by Conde Nast Traveler and one of “Top Ten Christmas Happenings in the Nation” by the New York Times, Newport Harbor transforms into an illuminated wonderland. Over 100 vessels of all sizes are adorned from top to bottom with lights, decorations, moving displays, dancers, music and more! The theme this year is “Deck the Hulls with Bows of Jolly”.
Beautiful multimillion dollar yachts, kayaks, canoes and other small boats will light up the harbor as a dazzling array of holiday lights and music fill the air at the Christmas Boat Parade. Many of the boats will be richly decorated with animated Christmas scenes accompanied by music and costumed carolers. Some boat owners in the past have spent over $50,000 to decorate their vessels for the event. The Christmas floats will wind their way some 14 miles around the harbor to give viewers in restaurants, yacht clubs, on public beaches, and in private homes an incredible sight that has delighted millions of people for a century.
The Christmas Boat Parade, which has been hailed as “one of the top ten holiday happenings in the nation” by the New York Times, is truly a magical holiday tradition for all ages. The parade continues to be a premier event during the holiday season in Southern California that brings joy and happiness to all that view it.
For Details: www.visitnewportbeach.com/christmas-boat-parade/
I suggest taking a look at the Route Map and the timing of the parade, so you can find a special vantage point to catch the show! Here is the link to the Route Map for 2014
Ring Of Lights- Balboa Island- Along The Balboa Island Bayfront
During the holiday season guests can stroll along the Bayfront of Balboa Island and enjoy the homes decorated for the holiday season. With fanciful lights and animated toys, it is such fun to stroll along and see the creativity at hand. During the Boat Parade the judging takes place and awards are made to various Homeowners. This is a Self-Guided Walking Tour.
Roger’s Gardens- Corona del Mar
This is a 3.5 acre garden, nursery and home decor mecca. And as one holiday fades to the next, I always enjoy seeing the lovely displays Roger’s erects in the gazebo at the corner of San Joaquin and MacArthur Boulevard. It signals what is to come—from Valentines, to Easter, Fall Harvest and Christmas. My suggestion is to stroll through the gardens and pop into the huge barns filled with candles, ornaments, and gift items. I get so many wonderful ideas right here! I typically spend a few hours at a time and snap photos to remind me of their incredible design ideas. I come during the day, and again in the evening, since it looks completely different under the sparkle of white lights and hints of the soft candle lit decor. www.rogersgardens.com/holiday-2/christmas-2014/
Sherman Gardens and Cafe Jardin Restaurant
This lovely enclave has been here since1955, and is somewhat a “secret garden” to many. If you have not been here, your really are in for a big treat.
In 1955 Arnold D. Haskell (1895-1977) bought the Norman’s Nursery property at the corner of Dahlia Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway in Corona del Mar, California. The property included a small adobe house that he planned to use as his Orange County office. Shortly after occupying the adobe Mr. Haskell began landscaping the nursery site and the surrounding property. Mr. Haskell’s concept for the property was then expanded to include the building of a beautiful garden that would be open to the public. It was to be a serene oasis – a respite from the stress and pressures of daily schedules. During the 1960s the balance of the property making up the entire 2.2-acre block, which is now occupied by Sherman Library & Gardens, was acquired. Mr. Haskell named the Library & Gardens after his mentor and benefactor, M.H. Sherman (1853-1932).
Walking the grounds during the holidays is so invigorating. It is such a quiet little splendor amid a very busy city just outside its gates. And during the holidays there are numerous classes, special holiday dinners and other activities. Please visit this web site to view the special programs and dinners available during December. www.slgardens.org/classes-events
There are also three dining options here at Sherman Gardens. Café Jardin is always a favorite “ladies lunching” spot for my girlfriends and I.
The “coastal garden” cuisine at Café Jardin marries vibrantly fresh California produce with a French pedigree thanks to Chef Pascal Olhats. The restaurant is located center stage of the central flower garden. Dining takes place outdoors for the most part, moving indoors in case of inclement weather. (Note: Café Jardin will be closed Friday, December 26 through Sunday, January 11th and reopening Monday, January 12th.) Hours are: Monday through Friday 11:30am to 2:00pm.
For reservations: Please call 949.673.0033.
The Tea Garden Creperie offers a casual outdoor dining experience. Listen to ambient music as you enjoy a delicious handmade crepe in the beautiful and serene Tea Garden. They serve handmade crepes, pastries, sandwiches and specialty coffees and teas. Hours are: Saturday & Sunday 11:30am to 2:30pm, with no need for reservations.
Afternoon Tea- Guests enjoy afternoon Tea amidst the beautiful floral setting of the Gardens. This is offered the last Wednesday of each month. The seating times are: 2:30, 2:45 and 3:00pm. (Cost is $29 per person plus gratuity and tax (includes $3 admission fee to the gardens.) By reservation only: 949.673.0033
Regardless of what you make time for—here’s hoping you enjoy a wonderful holiday and find a little “sparkle” along the way….. Happy Holidays!