Sunday, May 1, 2011
Three days into Spring Break we had Groupon tickets to go whale watching out of Newport Landing in Newport Beach. Two days into Spring Break Mark and I celebrated our 14th anniversary at our favorite restaurant, Osteria Mozza in Hollywood. I thought I only had two glasses of wine, but as Mark pointed out, those demi caraffes they give you when you order a glass are large, so it's more like I had half a bottle. Damn, though it was great wine. We shared three appetizers -- prawns, and two of the mozzarellas from the mozzarella menu which were out of this world. Then, I get the pasta I always get that sounds really plain, but made with fresh pasta, lots of cheese and lots of pepper, it is simple perfection. We were going to blow off dessert, but the cute waiter offered us something we could not refuse -- flourless chocolate cake (right up Mark's Celiac alley!) so we caved. Needless to say, the next morning I was not moving too quickly. But I had promised Aidan, Beckett and Jack we would go whale watching, so whale watching we went.
We got down to Newport in about an hour, parked and walked toward the dock. There were all kinds of unexpected amusements at the dock - a mini ferris wheel, bungee jumping, and all kinds of tourist traps selling sharks' tooth necklaces, churros and "Newport Beach" shot glasses. We presented our tickets (which included binoculars) and boarded the boat. Usually, I love boats, but things were just a little off that day. It was chilly, our whole area of the boat was shaded, so we were not in direct sun. The water was rough, and overall, the whole thing was a bit of a bust. We saw some sea lions and seals, but apart from that, nada. With all the white caps on the water it was really hard for the captain and his crew to see shinola out there. I snapped a few pictures of sea lions only to realize there was no memory card in my camera - doh! To top off our misadventures, I had heated up some chicken nuggets for lunch, only Mark bought a new brand -- (usually the frozen ones I buy are pre-cooked, but these were raw). So I heated them up and threw them in a tupperware. Beckett, Aidan and Jack were munching away on them when Aidan said these don't taste the best. I took the nuggett, looked at it, saw that it was raw and frantically ripped the other nuggets out of Beckett and Jack's mouths. A few minutes ago I had been worried about feeling queasy, now I was in a mounting panic that I had given the kids salmonilla for lunch. This was really not helping my mood, or my general queasiness. The kids went on to eat hot dogs they purchased on board, (I know, don't ask) along with the rest of the untainted bits I packed for lunch, and they were totally fine.
After the 2 plus hour boat ride I was so thrilled to see the land mass growing larger and larger as we approached shore. Halle frickin lujah. They offered us coupons to come back for free since the whole thing was such a bust, and all I could think was you could not pay me enough money to come back next week and do this again. The whales blew us off, alas. I'd be willing to try again in Hawaii or possibly Malibu, but I am a bit soured on Newport Landing. I was glad the kids had a good time, and I was glad as hell to get back in my Highlander and get out of there.