Newport Beach is the city I'd happily live out my dying days in were money no object. Fashion Island, Balboa Island, the Back Bay, Crystal Cove State Beach, miles of canyon and coastal hiking, Rogers Gardens, gorgeous homes, people and cars - I seriously have such a love affair with this city. So just for giggles when we went house hunting a few months ago, I spent some time researching housing prices there, and found that even on the fringes of the city, inland from the ocean, a million will only get you an under-2000 sq. foot condo with no views or outside space. Sigh. So as we continue to ponder a move closer to the ocean in the next few years, I've officially given up on ever living in Newport Beach, instead focusing on more reasonably priced, adjacent cities, like Laguna Niguel and Aliso Viejo. We're eyeing 2020 to make this change, which is when the first of us turns 65 and begins to collect additional revenue flows via pensions, Social Security and the lowering of our health care premiums via Medicare. Because, even if we pay cash for a new home our tax base will likely triple, so waiting until our income flow bumps up permanently seems prudent to me. The I'll-sleep-better-at-night thing if you will.
In the meantime, we content ourselves with visiting on a fairly frequent basis. It's about a 25 minute drive to Newport Beach from where we currently live, making it an easy getaway for things like hiking, kayaking, running, shopping, and eating out.
I'm a big, big fan of TravelZoo dining deals, and one recently came my way for Pelican Grill, one of three restaurants at Pelican Hill Resort in Newport Beach. Pelican Hill Resort is on a gorgeous stretch of hills overlooking the ocean, plus it's the home of Andrea, one of the top 10 OC restaurants on the Guyot list we are slowly working through, so I was immediately intrigued. The dining deal was priced at $50, and was good for $80 worth of menu items plus a bottle of wine, easily a $100 value being offered at half off. So I bought one, and we used it the other night.
The restaurant was lovely inside, with gorgeous ocean views. While we didn't get the terrace seating shown in the photo above, we did get placed in front of a window looking out at the ocean, plus it was warmer inside than out, so we were more than good with that. Our waiter was attentive, and our meal was absolutely delicious. We started with a trio of different bruschettas, moved on to Caesar salads, then finished with seafood: pan seared Chilean sea bass over a bed of black rice and orange coconut milk for me, and pan roasted salmon and tomatoes over carrot risotto for my husband. No dessert though - polishing off an entire bottle of Chardonnay over our two+ hour dinner was dessert aplenty. And the total out-of-pocket, including the price of the TravelZoo deal and tip, was just $70, so that was nice too. (They didn't charge sales tax for some odd, but nice, reason.)
We were both a little sad to depart in that we'd had such a nice time talking and laughing over dinner. So I was happy to wake up this morning to find a new TravelZoo deal for another of Pelican Hill Resort's restaurants, the Coliseum Pool & Grill. I found a photo of the restaurant's pool adjacent location below, and we're looking forward to to a return visit in March or April, when the days are a little longer and warmer and we can sit outside in comfort.
Both deals were good for just Sunday - Thursday, but that works just fine for us. Traffic makes getting to Newport Beach during the week a bit difficult, but going on a Sunday in retirement works out perfectly. In a 180 switch from our working years, we now prefer to stay stay out of popular restaurants on Saturdays, preferring Sunday nights when it's less crowded. Funny how normal that now feels, after six years of being retired.
What I'm . . .
Watching: The Good Wife on Hulu. It's always fun to find a new series years late, then watch at your own leisure until you catch up or finish.
Thinking About: A new group I'm joining tonight, an offshoot of our attendance at the Unitarian Congregation. This group, called a Chalice Circle, is made up of a small community of members, so we can cover discussion topics in depth. There are multiple groups starting up simultaneously in that each one is limited to about a dozen attendees. I'm intrigued about how it will all work, but eager to experience the personal growth I think it will afford.
Thankful For: My granddaughter, whom I love more than the sun and the moon. We'll be Skype'ing with her tomorrow morning, and the plan is to talk, read, sing and dance for as long as her little 27 month attention span allows. She's learning Spanish, and I can't wait to hear her new words. Last week it was 'Rojo,' one of her favorite colors, her numbers from uno to diez, and 'moquea' the Spanish word for a runny nose, which seems to be a constant with her this winter. It made me laugh every time she yelled out 'Mommy, moquea!' in her toddler-demanding request for a tissue. I have no doubt that soon she'll be way ahead of me in the learning-a-second language department.
Looking Forward To: A luncheon later today with my Art Alliance group at The White House in Anaheim. I joined this group last year, and am so enjoying it. Many of the members come from art backgrounds, or if not, seem to be very knowledgeable about it. The group is the philanthropic arm of our university's art program, and thus offers ongoing educational, museum and dining programs as a way of raising scholarship funds. The fees for each event are doubled to accomplish this, a much more enjoyable way of donating funds than simply writing a check.
Frustrated About: That it's approaching 9:00 AM and my landscaper is not yet here on what is supposed to be our project start day. Grrr . . .