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Morro Bay, 360 MAGAZINE, California

5 Ways to Enjoy Morro Bay

The crowds are gone, the sunsets are as breathtaking as ever, and the weather in this seaside town of Morro Bay is extraordinary – which is why locals call October and November Morro Bay “Secret Season”. In the fall the coast is clear, sunny, and warm, and this years Secret Season is infused with new ways to enjoy Morro Bay. The opening of Port House, a new waterfront restaurant, the new Fire Pits at Morro Rock, and the new Estero Adventures are bringing smiles to everyone’s faces this fall. On top of miles of beaches and the unavoidably beautiful 576-foot tall volcanic rock sitting at the front of a bustling harbor filled with sailboats, kayakers, pelicans, sea lions and otters, here are 5 new and fun ways to enjoy Morro Bay this fall.

1) Dinner with a Sunset View at the NEW Port House Restaurant

Soak up the amazing sunsets while you drink hand crafted cocktails and dine on California coastal cuisine with an Italian flairߞand really great steaksߞat the new Port House Restaurant. That’s how executive chef Joe White describes the menu at this new eatery that recently opened on Morro Bay’s Embarcadero at 885 Embarcadero, the former site of Otter Rock Cafe. The location has been completely renovated with a nautical theme throughout, expanded waterfront seating, overstuffed couches and a beautiful bar, this restaurant is a new addition to the fine dining establishments in the middle of the Embarcadero. Don’t miss out on the Port House’s weekend brunches or rent out the entire location for your holiday party! Specialty drinks recipes like this one called the Port House will make any occasion special. Port House Cocktail, basil Hayden’s bourbon, 20 yr port, bitters, luxardo cherry, straight up. Delish!

As well as renovating the entire building, there’s also a NEW marina waterside at the Port House. The marina consists of five new docks, and a newly installed kayak and standup paddleboard launch area. Tiki bar tours, whale watching excursions, a charter boat company offering deep sea fishing excursions, and boat rentals are located only steps away from your delicious Port House. There’s even space for transient boaters, so you can cruise over for excellent food and a table by the window.

2) Enjoy the NEW Morro Rock Fire Pits

An excellent way to witness the stunning sunset is to take your surfboard at dusk and surf Morro Rock’s epic waves. Afterwards, enjoy an evening bonfire at the city’s new Morro Rock Fire Pits that overlook the beach or the bay, where you can stargaze to the sound of the waves cashing on the shore or enjoy watching the sea otter families in the harbor as they dive and dine on local shell fish. Sprawling from the base of Morro Rock to the north, Morro Beach is perfect for playing, beach combing or taking a cruise on a beach cruiser from Beachfront Kites and Surreys. Morro Bay’s Harbor Department also offers beach wheelchairs for people who are mobility challenged. Call the harbor department at (805) 772-6254, let them know when you’ll arrive and they will bring the equipment to you at the Morro Rock parking lot.

3) Cruise the Bay or the Boardwalk with the NEW Estero Adventures

Estero Adventures is a one stop for active adventurers offering a large selection of outdoor activities including electric pontoon boats, kayaks, standup paddleboards, and fat-tire beach bike rentals. Perfect for making memories and going on adventures, Estero Adventures is conveniently located along the Embarcadero inside the Estero Inn. The dock is located right in front of the Inn, close to the sand spit with an easy launch area perfect for all skill levels.

4Romantic Engagements abound in Morro Bay

We must mention that in Morro Bay, being home to two oyster farms that deliver local oysters to restaurants throughout town, romance and getting paramours in the mood for love is kind of our thing. Romance reaches new heights at the iconic Morro Rock, especially if you or your future someone is expecting a “big rock” for their engagement ring and want the perfect Insta location. The blufftop of Black Hill is a memorable location to pop the question, and with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and Morro Rock Éc;Yes!Éd; will definitely be the answer. Or, take the engagement to the water on a tour of the bay while cruising the harbor with Chablis Cruises, a 50-foot, two-story riverboat serving up elegant brunches and beautiful views, perfect for dropping that ring in a glass of champagne. Want something more traditional? Windows on the Water or the Galley offer beautiful waterfront settings for any engagement, offering floor to ceiling views of the bay from their restaurants, patios and lounges. For those who’d like to say “I do” at any of Morro Bay’s amazing venues, Toes-In-the-Sand Weddings will help take care of everything.

5) FUN Outdoor Patios Great for Dining and Sunsets

Morro Bays restaurants serve up a bounty of produce and award-wining California wines grown in nearby farms and vineyards from Paso Robles to Edna Valley, not to mention the abundance of fresh local seafood caught by Morro Bay’s multi-generational fishing families. Find a plethora of great places to eat and drink featuring outdoor patios like Bayside Cafe, a hidden gem located next to the Marina in Morro Bay’s own California State Park, or Dorn’s Original Breakers Cafe, a Morro Bay favorite since 1942. Downtown, Pizza Port has an amazing yard for family games and outdoor dining and Shine Cafe, offers vegan and vegetarian street side patio dining under the city lit trees that line Morro Bay Boulevard. Blue Sky Bistro sits right on the water’s edge above the Morro Bay Marina and, offer al fresco dinning. And, let’s not forget Morro Bay’s local seafood markets that double as fantastic seafood restaurants: Tognazzini’s Dockside, Too and Giovanni’s Fish Market & Galley. They offer fantastic menus and patio seating with views of wildlife, kayakers, and fishing boats coming in from a long day at sea. Additional waterfront locations with patios that offer a wide variety of cuisine include Thai Bounty & MIlanes Cuban Cuisine, Lil Hut, Hofbrau and Beach Burger, so donߣt wait any longer if you are hungry for great patio dining, Morro Bay is the spot!

For more information about visiting the seaside town during the secret season, check out www.morrobay.org !

Estero Inn

Estero Inn on the Waterfront of Morro Bay
Estero Inn is an intimate boutique hotel on the waterfront of Morro Bay.
Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway or a revitalizing stop on your coastal journey the Estero Inn is awaiting you with cozy fireplaces, private balconies and wet bar. Relax on their seaside landing, enjoying panoramic ocean views, amazing sunsets and inspiring wildlife including sea otters, sea lions and seals with Morro Rock as the backdrop.
The Inn is gently removed from highway 1 on the Bay & Embarcadero, just steps away from exceptional shopping, dining and your complimentary wine tasting.

Brunch Life Fest

Some of the best restaurants in Long Beach, Orange County, and Los Angeles came together for the first ever Brunch Life Fest in Long Beach, CA. At the event, there were local brunch tastings, mimosas, and specialty drinks. Bottomless mimosas, beer, and brunch? What can be better than that?

This was a one-day outdoor food and entertainment festival that debuted at Long Beach’s Rainbow Lagoon Park at 400 E Shoreline Dr, Long Beach, CA. The parks turf recreational lawns, waterfront views and walkways are the draw at the traditional Japanese-style park. This event was exclusive to 21+  on August 4, 2018. with day drinking, samples, and tastings while supplies lasted.

At the event, full sized entrees and beverages were available through vendors. Agaves Kitchen, GD Bro Burger, Gourmet Blends, Padre, Drake’s Brewing, Essential Water, and Liberation Brewing were just some of the vendors at the event offering tastings and specialty drinks. Pearson Brother’s Winery provided a mimosa bar. Patrons were able to try the first grapeless wine made with wildflower honey, valencia orange, and indonesian vanilla.

Event goers enjoyed live music and entertainment from local bands, photo booths, lawn games, and other fun activities.  VIP tickets were $90 and that included open mimosas bar, bloody marys, beer tastings, brunch food samples, access to the VIP section, and cocktail bar.

General Admission tickets were $75 and that included open mimosas bar, bloody marys, beer tastings, brunch food samples, and access to merchants and vendors.

A La Carte was offered to patrons and that paid entry to the festival, and access to food vendors and merchants.

If you’re a brunch enthusiast, you’ll want to head over to the Brunch Life Festival in Long Beach on August 4.

The event was packed by mid-morning and drew in so many people in Southern California. The Brunch Life crew worked around the clock pooling funds to pay for the event and sourcing local businesses to create this fun day for patrons. There first time doing this was a success and they hope to continue to do this annually.

DURBAN × EATS

BRAAI AND BEYOND: WHAT TO EAT IN DURBAN AND WHERE TO EAT IT

South Africa’s melting pot swirls with a sophisticated and contemporary culinary scene that gives a nod to its cultural heritage

Durban, South Africa, the seaside gem of KwaZulu-Natal Province, is best known for its golden beaches and relaxed surf culture which is about to heat up in the summer months of November through March.

Beyond the waves, Durban’s vibrant culinary scene offers a mix of classic dishes that are a delightful blend of the Zulu, Indian, and European cultures that make up the city’s rich heritage. From flavorful hometown favorites like Bunny Chow, to the regional barbecue known as braai and traditional afternoon tea, visitors can eat like locals with thefollowing culinary experiences that give Durban its unique flavor.

Indulge in braai & Zulu cuisine at Max’s Lifestyle

V1328 Mbe Road, Umlazi

Meat is at the heart of Zulu cuisine, so it is no surprise that South Africans love a good barbecue, known as braai throughout the country. The legendary Max’s Lifestyle in the heart of Umlazi Township is the best place to enjoy a traditional shisa nyama, Zulu for “hot meat,” while listening to local Kwaito music and sipping a cold drink. People from around the world mingle over drinks and traditional food at this hotspot, which also boasts a VIP lounge and Sunday dance parties. The onsite butchery offers a variety of meat prepared braai style and served on a wooden platter in the traditional Zulu way.

Grab pub grub & a craft beer at Robson’s Real Beer

72 Mahatma Gandhi Road, Point Waterfront

Maize starches are another staple of Zulu cuisine and are often used in porridges, or in the liquid form as beer. Robson’s Real Beer brewery and restaurant, located on the reclaimed Point Waterfront, is home to one of the oldest craft beers in South Africa. A family-owned business, Robson’s pioneered bottle conditioned beers, made by a method similar to champagne that produces beer with remarkable complexity and taste. The eatery located inside Robson’s brewery pairs natural, locally inspired beers like the Robson’s Pale Ale and East Coast Ale with sophisticated pub fare, like panko crusted prawns and grilled peri-peri chicken. Robson’s also brews up an immersive experience for visitors by offering beer tasting tours for those wanting an inside look at the craft brewing process.

Catch some rays and fresh eats at a beach shack

Surf Riders Café (17 Erskine Terrace, South Beach)

Afro’s Chicken Shop (2 OR Tambo Parade, South Beach)

After working up an appetite with a stroll along Durban’s popular Golden Mile promenade, visitors can kick back at one of the beach shack-style eateries where the views and food can’t be beat. The laidback beachy vibe at Surf Riders Café captures Durban’s quintessential surf culture, offering burgers, pizza, and more, along with breakfast served in biodegradable cartons for visitors to enjoy at a table or on the beach. Afro’s Chicken Shop offers up simple and affordable chicken takeaway in an iconic bright yellow refurbished shipping container. Known for its chicken and “tjips” (chips), Afro’s Chicken also serves post-surf fare like egg and bacon rolls.

Hop over to CaneCutters for Bunny Chow

53/55 Helen Joseph Road, Glenwood

Durban’s top culinary delight is its signature dish of Bunny Chow, Indian curry housed in a hollowed-out loaf of white bread that serves as a portable bread bowl. Not to worry, no rabbits were harmed in the making of this dish. The name “bunny” originates from an Indian term referring to merchants. Highly recommended by locals and known for its award-winning Bunny Chow, CaneCutters is an authentic Indian restaurant that uses recipes handed down from generation to generation. Visitors can enjoy freshly prepared curries, like their popular “bean bunnies,” traditionally served with crushed chili pickles, carrot sambals (a simple carrot salad), and coriander.

Kick back with a golf legend at Big Easy Winebar & Grill at Hilton Durban

Echoing champion South African golfer Ernie Els’ laidback style, Big Easy Winebar & Grill at Hilton Durban is an unpretentious yet sophisticated spot to enjoy perfectly executed South African cuisine among friends. Dishes like oxtail and marrow fritters; grilled ostrich; and a braai platter for two with lamb chops, boerewors, sirloin steak, and peri peri chicken wings bring a true South African spirit to the table. Diners Club Winelist Awards has recognized the restaurant’s stock of Ernie Els’ signature and other carefully selected wines with its highest accolade, the coveted Diamond status.

Delight in quality steaks & wine at Butcher Block

140 Florida Road, Windermere

2 Ncondo Place, Umhlanga

Butcher Block prides itself on serving the best steaks in the country with locations on Florida Road, Durban’s bustling culinary and entertainment epicenter, and the upscale beach resort area of Umhlanga Rocks. The menu includes meats aged to perfection, like tender fillet stack with herbs and spicy butter, and steak with bacon and biltong, a dried, cured meat that originated in South Africa. Nestled inside of each Butcher Block location is a celebrated wine cellar, featuring some of South Africa’s best-known wines.

Experience the decadent high tea or famous curry buffet at The Oyster Box

2 Lighthouse Road, Umhlanga Rocks, 4319

An ode to its colonial past, the tradition of high tea is still celebrated in Durban. Visitors can step into The Oyster Box hotel’s charming sunlit Palm Court and enjoy the grandeur of the past surrounded by ceramic chandeliers purchased from the Savoy Hotel in London, natural sunlight, and towering palms. This leisurely affair takes place each afternoon from 3 to 5 p.m. and features live piano music and lavish baked scones, pastries, quiches, cakes, and finger sandwiches. Visitors will also want to take their time savoring the bold flavors of the renowned curry buffet in the hotel’s Mediterranean-inspired Ocean Terrace Restaurant with stunning views of the Indian Ocean. Foodies seeking to spice up their life can indulge in more than 10 meat, fish, and vegetarian curries accompanied by homemade chutneys and a selection of Naan.

ABOUT DURBAN

Located an hour southeast of Johannesburg by air, Durban is the beachfront gem of KwaZulu-Natal Province (KZN). A bustling harbor city and popular surfing spot, Durban lies on the Indian Ocean and is South Africa’s third largest urban area.

Remnants of British colonialism and a mix of Zulu, Indian, and Afrikaans traditions give the city a rich cultural heritage, while outdoor activities abound on the signature Golden Mile beachfront and in the lush rolling hills that encompass Durban’s suburbs. For more information, visit http://visitdurban.travel.