The Out of Towners
If you moved away from where you grew up, then you understand the importance of the family visit. I absolutely love when I have family in town! Lets be honest, Southern California is a pretty epic place to visit, especially when you have a local tour guide driving you all over the place, which is exactly what I did when my parents came to town last week.
I picked them up Wednesday morning at LAX, and the first thing we did was head south to Newport Beach. For our hotel, we decided on the highly recommended The Resort at Pelican Hill located in Newport Coast; it certainly did not disappoint, as everything about it is beautiful and indulgent. After checking into our Bungalow Suite, my parents rested a bit, while I got a quick work out at the hotel’s fitness center. Naturally, I had a solid plan set ahead of time, so the next few days unfolded as follows:
Wednesday evening, I got us tickets to see the Sunset Jazz Newport Summer Series at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa. We headed out for a an early dinner at Sam & Harry’s Steakhouse, which is located in the same hotel, before taking our seats for the 7:30 performance of Ken Peplowshi-Chuck Redd Quintet in Benny and Beyond with Tom Rainer, and Chuck Berghofer. The jazz was spectacular and an absolutely perfect evening to start off my parent’s vacation.
The next morning, we were up bright and early, mainly because my parents were a bit jet lagged and I didn’t have much choice but to wake up as well. Anticipating this, though I had already taken the liberty of scheduling some golf time for them on one of Pelican Hill’s stunning courses. While they took in a few holes, I seized the opportunity to do something I’ve been meaning to try for a while now, Paddle Board! The hotel concierge was extremely helpful in helping me set up my very first lesson. Overall, I’m guessing my parents faired a bit better on the course than I did on the board. Regardless of my skills, though I was thrilled to be out in the water paddling away.
Reconvening at Pelican Grill for lunch, we were all famished, so in our family’s fashion there wasn’t much conversation until the consumption of food began. My Mom and I went for salads, Cobb & Nicoise respectively, while my Dad opted for the substantial Kobe Burger. Completely satiated, they went back to the bungalow to rest and freshen up, while I went to get in some pool time.
Now don’t laugh but ever since seeing Javier’s Grill & Cantina on The Real Housewives of Orange County, I’ve wanted to try it. The menu and setting looked fantastic on their website, so I made us reservations for the night. Unsurprisingly, my Dad wasn’t impressed with my motivation behind choosing this spot, but my Mom loved it and as luck would have it the restaurant lived up to my star struck eyes and stomach. The atmosphere and service were great, as well so it made for a super fun night.
Since majority of our time on Thursday was spent on Pelican Hill’s stunning property, I planned an adventurous day for us out and about in Newport. To begin, we headed to Mariner’s Mile Duffy Electric Boat Company to pick up our water ride for the next few hours. I had reserved a Duffy in advance, so the pick up was easy breezy, and we were quickly off to do as the locals do – Dock & Dine.
The day was beautiful and completely relaxing to take in the sites via water. We packed a few bites and a bottle of Champagne to enjoy while we cruised around before docking for lunch at Newport Landing Restaurant. We sat outside and enjoyed the view while sipping wine and feasting on seafood and salads. Afterwards, we strolled along the sidewalks and took in the homes and beach on the peninsula before heading back to return the Duffy.
Back at the hotel, we decided to lounge by the Coliseum Pool before it was time to get ready for dinner. We decided to keep dinner convenient yet special, as our restaurant selection was Pelican Hill’s own, Andrea Ristorante. Everything from beginning to end was an absolute treat at dinner and the commute back to the Bungalow wasn’t so bad either.
The next morning, we said goodbye to the beautiful Pelican Hill Resort and set off for one more dining adventure; brunch this morning was to be dined at the historic Beachcomber Cafe at Crystal Cove. Needless to say, the restaurant had tons of character, tasty food and a beautiful setting that lived up to its historic roots. Simply put – it was the cherry on top of the fantastic times we spent together over the last few days.
As we drove back up to Los Angeles, I smiled knowing that this family visit was a complete success!
Photo Pictured: Beachcomber Cafe
Written By: Paige Yingst