Birthday celebrations have always been a big deal to me! I’m not a sit at home and have cake kinda gal… I’m more of a — let’s rent a hotel suite on the beach, take a weekend cruise to the Bahamas, drive a Pontoon — kinda birthday girl.
So this year, my first birthday in LA, we took it to Newport Beach (about an hour drive from Hollywood)! I wanted this birthday to be memorable but not in the #turntup kinda way, more relaxing and laid-back. So we started with brunch at the Back Bay Bistro. The restaurant was mostly made of glass which further enhanced the ambiance as the sun was shining beautifully for my day. They have a weekend champagne brunch — buffet style. Omelettes prepared to order, fresh fruit and steady flowing mimosas… or just champagne for those who prefer to get crunk at breakfast! Lol.
Almost everyone ordered the brunch but if you’re feeling like having something a little less filling, they also have a pretty extensive bistro menu. Other than another large party, also celebrating a milestone birthday, the restaurant was relatively empty (which for us was a good thing and meant no lines).
After an amazing brunch, more because of the ambiance than the food, we headed to the Marina where we had reservations with Newport Pontoons. We had a difficult time finding the main office (it’s on the top level of the building) but once we did, we met a very friendly staff. Our boat was out with another group when we showed up but the staff ensured us that we would have a little extra time for having to wait.
Once we all got on the boat, got directions on where NOT to go, it was time to roll. Did I mention I was the captain of this vessel for 12 butts! Did I also mention that the only boat I’ve ever driven was a 2-seater the month prior. Ok… you get the picture… I had NO idea what I was doing but the good news is… It’s super easy! Other than almost running us into a yacht trying to get out of the dock, it was smooth sailing!
The boat came equipped with cup holders, a cooler and ice, storage for purses and best of all… a speaker system for us to hook up an iPod. We rode past beautiful homes, Balboa Park, saw a seal and John Wayne’s old house. Spent 2 hours on the water dancing, drinking and hanging out. Ended up being a very memorable birthday for us all!
Pros: Back Bay Bistro – amazing ambiance, great for large parties, good service; Newport Pontoons – affordable alternative to a yacht or party boat, friendly staff, easy to drive
Cons: Back Bay Bistro – food was just OK, not too much of a dessert selection, kinda pricey; Newport Pontoons – Can’t go above 5mph (marina rules), kinda out of gas if you have to potty, not enough cup holders/table space for food for 12