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Enjoy Newport Beach on the Cheap

There are plenty of places in Newport to eat, shop and be merry without breaking the bank.

This economy is killing my social life! Friends are missing in action because they can't afford to go out. Dates expect you to pay for half your meal.

What is this world coming to? 

Having fun in Newport Beach can be enough to send someone to the poor house (that would be a house NOT in Newport Beach). However, retailers and restaurants are getting the hint that, in order to get the dollars that are still available, they need to offer more for less.

Being the social coordinator for my group of friends can be a daunting task (that's the topic for another column, though). But finding fun things to do on the cheap is a challenge I welcome like chapped lips welcome lip balm. Surprisingly, there are plenty of deals in Newport for the social butterfly on a budget.

Eat

Eat like a prince, but pay like a pauper at with $10 prime rib served from 4 to 10 p.m. every Tuesday. Enjoy a generous serving of savory prime rib with a side of garlic and romano mashed potatoes and seasonal veggies. Reservations are recommended since this great deal draws a crowd.  And you'll plenty of cash left over for dessert.

And for breakfast, serves up half-orders of fluffy pancakes and fresh fruit for just $4. Alta only serves pancakes on Saturdays and Sundays (which is good, because those are the only days I eat pancakes), but it has other breakfast offerings, as well as a lunch menu, available all week. In addition to the food, Alta has : It has a funky, old-school coffee house vibe (definitely not Starbucks, though Alta does provide free Wi-Fi).

Shop 

Crush Boutique on Balboa Island is a new shop that offers trendy fashions for $30 or less. I've purchased many a things there to complete my spring wardrobe. The jeggings I got there are my new best friend. From tops and bottoms to shoes, coats and accessories, this boutique has style without breaking the bank. The service is great too. 

I went to Las Vegas recently. Before I left Newport, I purchased my "I'm going out on the strip, but I don't want to look like a stripper" outfit at at —all for less than $75 (shoes and accessories included). I put together the outfit myself: a top and long skirt from opposite ends of the store that, once paired, looked like something off the Stella McCartney Spring 2011 Runway. Although the outfit was inexpensive, I still looked like a million bucks (unfortunately I couldn't put myself on the roulette table and bet Red 7).

Mingle 

SOL Cocina's Tuesday Tacos & Tequila night has live music and $2 tacos. Margaritas are $5 and enjoy any beer for $3. It's one of the few taco Tuesday happy hours in Newport that lasts until closing. 

I like to take the ferry—costs just a dollar—from my Balboa Island home to , where I mingle over $3 Mai Tais. If I close my eyes tight enough, I can pretend I'm in Tahiti being fanned by a pool boy (oh, that's just the ceiling fan above the bar). But it's not just Mai Tais. Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m., Newport Landing has a menu with an variety of $3 food and drink offerings: draft beers,  wines by the glass, taquitos, oysters, nachos, crab cakes, mini burgers. Do I need to go on?

Unwind at at Fashion Island after getting your shop on at Forever 21. I like the $3 Imported beers, $4 sake and well drink specials. Their dumplings (3 for $3.25) are a good sake partner. These specials are available from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. everyday. 

Want to make the most of your Sunday before the start of the work week? Try Martini Madness at . All Specialty Martinis are $4 all day long on Sundays. 

The next time one of your friends pleads poverty when you want to hit the town, show her this column (and feel free to show her , as well) and tell her that just because we're broke, doesn't mean we need to be boring.

c April 10, 2011 at 02:43 AM
Brasserie Pascal in Fashion Island dinner $10 & other prixe fix menus http://pascalnpb.com/Perfect%2010%20Poster%20BP-Flat%20Letter.pdf
Gloria Schmidt April 10, 2011 at 04:26 PM
Like columns like this...makes us realize there are places out there (without researching myself, lots of work and time) offering special meals.Would welcome it weekly.

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