The Diva Did McKenna’s on the Bay in Long Beach and liked it

 The Diva Did McKenna’s in Long Beach

At the suggestion of my friend Bob from Long Beach a group of friends and I went to lunch at McKenna’s on the Bay in Long Beach. We wanted a spot on the water. It was our first time and we were delightfully surprised by chef Arthur Gonzalez’s creative cuisine. And even more taken aback when my husband asked our waiter if he could have a seared Ahi sandwich (which wasn’t on the menu) and the chef fixed one perfectly. I had halibut fish and chips and asked if they could substitute the sweet potato fries for the chips and they did without a second thought. The Cole Slaw slide was as good as I make it, and that’s saying a lot. One friend had sushi rolls, another the Ahi salad, and everyone was happy with their choices. The prices are moderate, my meal was $16, not sure what the perfect cappuccino cost though because another friend treated and I never looked it up. We all skipped desert, but now I wish I hadn’t. Anyhow I highly recommend the place with its great views of the Bay and assorted sail boats, catamarans and boats plying the McKenna’s on the Bay, 190 Marina Drive, Long Beach, 562-342-9411. http://www.mckennasonthebay.com. close friends and I spent one of the best New Year’s Eve at the Island Hotel years ago when it was a Four Seasons. W The Diva Did McKenna’s in Long Beach At the suggestion of my friend Bob from Long Beach a group of friends and I went to lunch at McKenna’s on the Bay in Long Beach. We wanted a spot on the water. It was our first time and we were delightfully surprised by chef Arthur Gonzalez’s creative cuisine. And even more taken aback when my husband asked our waiter if he could have a seared Ahi sandwich (which wasn’t on the menu) and the chef fixed one perfectly. I had halibut fish and chips and asked if they could substitute the sweet potato fries for the chips and they did without a second thought. The Cole Slaw slide was as good as I make it, and that’s saying a lot. One friend had sushi rolls, another the Ahi salad, and everyone was happy with their choices. The prices are moderate, my meal was $16, not sure what the perfect cappuccino cost though because another friend treated and I never looked it up. We all skipped desert, but now I wish I hadn’t. Anyhow I highly recommend the place with its great views of the Bay and assorted sail boats, catamarans and boats plying the McKenna’s on the Bay, 190 Marina Drive, Long Beach, 562-342-9411. http://www.mckennasonthebay.com. e booked suites and partied all night because no one had to drive home The hotel changed names and management soon after, but retained its elegance and charm. The food under chef Bill Bracken is still fantastic. Spa treatments are top notch, the fitness center fits the bill, the swimming pool and deck area is divine and well it’s all good. So if you feel like ringing in 2010 in style check this out: For New Year’s Eve the Island Hotel will feature performances by Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. beginning with a cocktail reception from 8 to 9 PM featuring Asian delights like made-to-order Sushi, sashimi, California rolls, Peking duck, pot stickers and dim sum and that some. Super chef Bill Bracken (one of my favorite chefs) will also be fixing his famous Mac and Cheese Times Three–Classic, with Laughing Bird Shrimp and Crispy Sweetbreads. Don’t fill up, because that’s not all folks. Dinner’s served from 9 to 10:30 PM A feast of: Panko-Crusted Dungeness Crab Cake with Baby Beets, Shaved Persimmons, Blood Orange Vinaigrette Duet of Pan-Roasted Veal Chop & Roasted Maine Lobster with Yukon Gold Potatoes and Forest Mushrooms Trio of Decadent Chocolate and Mignardises Then settle back for a night of dancing and reveling with Grammy Award-winners Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. followed by a midnight champagne toast. Price is $795 per couple plus tax and tip. Add $100 for premier seating and $200 to spend the night. Island Hotel Newport Beach, 690 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, California 92660-6431, 888-321-4752. http://www.theislandhotel.com

The Travel Diva Does Brunch at the Belvedere at the Peninsula Beverly Hills

Brunch on the patio at the Belvedere Restaurant at the Peninsula Beverly Hills, it doesn’t’ get more civilized than this……

I
(The salmon was superb)


(Dessert Buffet)


(This chocolate cake was yummy)

(Breads were hard to resist)


(Superb salmon)

Your Travel Diva’s been on the road and found some deals on meals, fun spots and more.
My husband and I discovered a fabulous priced fixed $36 menu at Sirocco at the Renaissance Esmeralda in Indian Wells, California–not far from Pam Springs. We’re talking five courses and a glass a wine. The food was about as good as it gets, no kidding. Not over the top gourmet but really tasty, had two starters each, Mahi Mahi entree, creamy dessert, but bought our own bottle of top notch Rombauer Chard ($60) hey we saved so much on dinner it was worth the splurge.

(That’s the Pen’s executive chef James Overbaugh and I).

Sunday Brunch at the Belvedere Restaurant at the Peninsula Beverly Hills. $69 for multi-course gourmet meal created by executive chef James Overbaugh (whom we’ve followed from northern California to New Orleans to Beverly Hills). The food’s amazing, here’s proof:

Lunch at Red Seven by Woldgang Puck at the Pacific Design Center, one of Wolfie’s best auxiliary eateries. Moderately-priced, my crispy, spicy, Asian Chicken Salad was the just as good as the one at his Spago but a lot cheaper at $8.75. My friend Vicky and I had wine which added quite a bit to the tab at $12 a pop, but if you don’t drink, it’s a real deal. 700 N. San Vicente Blvd. at the Pacific Design Center, valet parking is validated. http://www.wolfgangpuck.com/

Monday nights at Michael Mina’s XIV when any $100 bottle of wine is half price. The food’s fantastic, too. Not a place to go for intimacy, it’s quite the rowdy scene, but lots of fun. Expensive but worth it.

The Diva Treats Her Main Man to a Birthday Desert Fling

Rich's birthday 2009 022

Rich's birthday 2009 016I treated Rich's birthday 2009 018Richard to a two night stay in a villa at Grand Champions in Indian Wells, California, for his birthday, complete with spa treatments and a World Series win by the New York Yankees. Well, it just happened that the last game was played on his birthday eve and we ordered room service so we didn’t miss an at bat. Glad we opened a bottle of fine champagne, too, because it was an apt celebration to our team’s victory and the beginning or myhusband’s birthday bash.

I booked him a “Gentlemen’s”  facial and deep tissue  massage at the hotel’s  Aqua Serena Spa (www.aquaserenaspa.com)  and while at it an Anti-aging ritual and deep tissue rub for myself, especially since anyone celebrating a birthday gets a free 50 minute treatment when accompanied by a companion who purchases one (so it’s half price essentially, and all were well worth it.

Took him to dinner at Sirocco Restaurant at the Renaissance Esmeralda, next door to Grand Champions) on his birthday and again we lucked out with a price fixed $35 tasting menu that was superb from appetizers to desserts with a glass of wine each thrown in plus yummy desserts. 

I had proscuitto and melon, we both had pastas, risotto,  Mahi Mahi) and an amazing creamy dessert with fresh fruit .We splurged on a big uttery bottle of Rombauer Chard which made a perfect accompaniment.  Also sat on the fireplace warmed patio prior to dinner where he enjoyed a perfect martini an me a so so glass of wine. The pre-dinner drinks and dinner set  me back  about $200 but he’s worth it.

And what’s more we stopped at Morongo Casino Resort & Spa on the way back to LA where I’m a slot machine member and I actually won. The casino gives you credit for play and I had enough for the lunch buffet, which is quite an amazing spread for $11 per person. We rode home happy.

For more info go to www.hyattgrandchampionscomwww.renaissanceesmeralda.com.