Take a Bite out of Black Friday in Newport Beach
For a lot of us, Thanksgiving is a day where we gather with family and loved ones to count our blessings over copious amounts of food. But for a select few brave souls, the turkey, parades, and football games are just a preamble for the extended weekend’s main event: Black Friday. Part bargain hunter’s fantasy, part Thunderdome, the frenzied affair offers a rush of exhilaration to those looking to put substantial dents into their Christmas list. Sure, news footage informs of potential injury for participants, but the opportunity to save a few bucks on a TV or a blender apparently minimizes concerns of risk. The whole affair is kind of like the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, except there are discounted gifts at the end of the madness.
If you’ve ever engaged in Black Friday shenanigans before, you already know getting something to eat during the frenzy is a must. The food you’ll seek will clearly provide the fuel needed to get through the day, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for mediocrity to fulfill this important need. Newport Beach provides several culinary pit stops perfect for delicious energy replenishment. Each venue featured here can please your palate, nourish your body, and soothe your soul, something that you’ll probably want after the grumpy old person with the perma-scowl jumps in front of you to snag the last Let’s Dance Elmo from the shelves. Sorry about that.
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Hopdoddy Burger Bar – We all know the components of a bad Thanksgiving meal. The turkey’s bone dry. The sides barely have flavor. The pumpkin pie’s crust collapses into crumbles of inedible blackness when touched with a fork. When this happens, we tend to develop a desire to put something familiar and delicious in our mouths as soon as possible. Heaven forbid this scenario happens to you, but if it does, this Fashion Island burger joint will be a welcome. The between-bread options here are all plump, juicy, and will block out memories of your relative’s failed attempt at a feast. The venue also offers a delectable do-over: their Mayflower burger features a homemade “pilgrim” patty of turkey, diced ham, and dried cranberries topped with deconstructed sausage stuffing and sweet potato marshmallow butter.
Jan’s Health Bar – Thanksgiving isn’t just a heavy meal. It’s an exercise in gastronomic brutality. It’s this way be design. There is an overabundance of dishes traditionally served on turkey day, and we feel compelled to load up on heaping helpings of everything until our plates threaten to crack. If you’re health conscious – and even if you’re not – you may find yourself craving something light, refreshing, and little kinder to your digestive system. Don’t worry, though: this cozy Corona Del Mar spot can help you beat your overstuffed Black Friday blues. Their dazzling array of acai bowls, smoothies, juices, and salads provide you plenty of ways to deliver an apology to your stomach for letting the previous day’s epicurean misadventure get out of hand. Because everything served up here tastes so good, you’ll undoubtedly be forgiven.
Malibu Farm – Leftovers are one of the best parts of Thanksgiving. They can also be one of the worst parts if you’re not careful. While they give you the opportunity to feast on Turkey Day goodness in solitude, too many consecutive days of the same meal can get boring rather quickly. It’s wise to pace yourself, and Black Friday is as good a day as ever to give yourself a little break from what may threaten to be a routine. It’s also a good idea to make such deviations count, and that’s why this Lido Village venue is a terrific option. Their packed brunch menu ranges from light fare like yogurt and granola to hefty stuff like miso tahini salmon, giving you plenty of options to spare your palate from a repeat of the previous day’s flavors. Its sleek patio also provides a panoramic view of Newport Harbor, a feature that’s bound to be more appealing than the previous day’s Bears-Lions game.
Royal Hen – Thanksgiving dinner only works if it’s served on the fourth Thursday in November. Don’t believe us? Try serving the meal on a Sunday in March and see how many weird looks you get. This singularity makes it sacred, and the best way to keep it special may be to indulge in a meal that’s as far removed from the day’s traditions as possible the day after. This is what makes a stop at this Balboa Island gastropub essential Black Friday dining. The venue’s name may be inspired by a fellow fowl, but you won’t find turkey here. Instead, you’ll find approachable yet sumptuous contemporary fare like achiote hanger steak tacos, brown butter scallops, and tiger prawns in a tom yum marinade. There’s even a chicken pot pie on the menu if you’re not quite ready to totally abandon Thanksgiving’s homespun vibe. Whatever you order, it will be perfectly acceptable to enjoy.
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Sushi Roku – Black Friday moves fast. Slow down too much, and you may miss out on a good deal or a must-have item. This is especially true if you plan to descend upon Fashion Island and navigate through its labyrinth of luxury shops. You’ll want to grab a relatively brisk bite at the shopping center, but you may find yourself in the mood for something striking a balance between sophistication and efficiency. This popular sushi venue achieves such equilibrium almost effortlessly. Lunch offerings like their ramen bowls, bento boxes, or their sushi six assortment are built for the speed required for power lunches. At the same time, each plate carries an organic sense of elegance you may want from a Fashion Island restaurant. This is a guaranteed win-win in a day where guarantees may be hard to obtain.
Written By: Rich Manning