Paradise Revisited: Tommy Bahama Tropical Cafe

I went on my first and last blind date a few years ago, as a naive twenty-something. My friend thought it was a good idea to set me up with one of her single, guy friends. He was a nice guy and a fairly good-looking, courteous fella but the only thing we had in common was that we were single. He rambled on and on about himself the entire time and, although I prefer listening than talking most of the time, it got to a point I wanted him to just shut the hell up.

The worst part of it all was that he took me to Tommy Bahama’s Tropical Café in Newport Beach. The restaurant was superb as always – with wonderfully tropical and coconut-y décor, delicious Caribbean-inspired dishes and consistently amazing service. In fact, this place is one of my favorite places to dine. The worst part was that the place happened to be gazillion miles away from home and thus not giving me the chance for a getaway. It was the most excruciating evening of my dating life and I promised myself then that I would never go on a friggin blind date ever again. I know I sound so mean by saying this but if you were there with me that night, you will totally sympathize. Just for the record, he was not a bad guy at all. We just had no chemistry at all.

Last Saturday was the first time I visited Tommy Bahama’s since the incidence, and luckily I was with a darn good company this time. My best friend’s pals were visiting the area from San Francisco so she and her other friends, who lives in San Diego, decided to meet up in the middle for a mini reunion, and I was her plus-one for the afternoon.  I have met them all before and I absolutely adore them.

With great wine, food and friends, I was able to wash away the bitterness of the yesteryears and begin a new memory with Tommy!

Tortola Tortilla Soup, a savory blend of ground corn tortillas and vegetables with grilled chicken seasoned with island spices and garnished with lime sour cream.

Saba Steak Salad, marinated and char-grilled tenderloin medallions served over a bed of fresh mixed greens tossed with tamarind vinaigrette. Garnished with grilled potatoes, vine-ripened roma tomatoes, shiitake chips and garlic aioli.

Tommy’s Great Big Crispy Fish Sandwich, crispy beer battered local island fish topped with honey-roasted onions. Served with french fries and island tartar sauce.

Wha’Jamaican Chocolate Cake, a flourless chocolate espresso cake served with white chocolate crème anglaise and garnished with chocolate shavings.

Pina Colada Cake, a moist vanilla layer cake with Myers Dark Rum and chopped pineapple, covered with white chocolate mousse and toasted coconut.

Tommy Bahama Tropical Cafe: 854 Avocado Avenue, Newport Beach, CA 92660