COUSIN ARTY                                             LONG BEACH, CA (PART 2)




Hey gang, this is Cousin Arty, contributor to and long time resident of San Pedro, California. My close proximately to Long Beach (separated by two bridges) has given me a unique perspective on that city's evolution. Sit back, read and discover why I'm totally stoked about my neighboring town -- it's not your grandpa's Long Beach anymore.

As a child, I could remember sitting in my parents living room and staring out through the windows at Long Beachís sparkling skyline. Over the years, Iíve witnessed the rejuvenation of this dynamic urban playground and thoroughly enjoyed my visits across the bridges. With the addition of unique bars, museums and restaurants (from beach casual to Hollywood chic), Long Beach should be a serious consideration for those looking to have a great time in a completely walk able central district.

The Omelette Inn for Breakfast.
If local joints are your thing, then the Omelette Inn is your place. With breakfast served all day, itís perfect for those lazy Sunday mornings after a tough night of shanagans. The " Omelette Inn" believes in perfecting the basics. Their " Menu" offers a variety of Omeletteís (12 in all or build your own), pancakes and French toast. They serve lunch as well, and their lunch menu reflects a similar approach. Hamburgers, sandwiches, soups and salads are available in hearty portions. Rest assure, you wonít leave this establishment hungry. I left and went into a food coma! Service is prompt and their prices are extremely reasonable. Weekends can be a little crowded, so you late birds might have a little wait. Coffee is free to those waiting, so just pull up a chair and remind your bros of their acts of idiocracy the night before. They are open daily from 7:00 am until 2:00 pm. The " Omelette Inn" is located at 108 West 3rd Street, Long Beach, Ca. 90802; TEL: (562) 437-5625.

Lunch at "Bubba Gumpís Shrimp Company"
If there were a word to describe "Bubba Gumpís" it would be fun. Iím telling you everything is fun about this place. They definitely took the Forest Gump theme and ran with it. I know what youíre thinking right now about "themed" restaurants, and Iím right with you. If the thought of mechanical monkeys swinging from the ceiling and the threat of potential preprogrammed conviently placed rain squalls has lost itís appeal, then itís time to bone out from the Brazilian rain forest and bone up on your movie trivia knowledge. My Forest Gump knowledge was a bit lackluster, but reading the "menu" I found a ton of useful information. The servers like to engage in a friendly battle of wits by challenging you with Forest Gump movie trivia.

Letís talk about the food, shall we? I was pleasantly surprised by how good the food actually was. In the past I avoided Bubba Gumpís Shrimp Company because I didnít think Iíd have an ice cubeís chance in hell of getting a decent meal. I was wrong. Their "menu" is quite extensive and offers everything from smoothies, great appetizers, shrimp specialties, Forrestís favorites, sandwiches and some crazy specialty drinks that are mixed right at your table. For lunch I opted to try the "Shrimp Po Boy Sandwich". It was quite tasty, but how can you go wrong with fried shrimp in a sandwich? Our group also tried the "Run Across America Sampler". This sampler platter was a nice introduction to many shrimp dishes that the restaurant offers. Although, if don't you want shrimp, this is definitely the place to come, the "menu" offers some great beef dishes as well. Dishes such as the "Directorís cut rib-eye", "Dixie Style Baby back Ribs" and the "Steak New Orleans" are a few of the reasons Iím going back. Oh yeah, did I mention I love dessert too! How good does the "Chocolate Cookie Sundae" sound? Donít be shy itís only a warm chocolate chip cookie topped with vanilla ice cream, caramel, chocolate, peanuts and some whip cream. Anyway, "Bubba Gumpís Shrimp Company" has earned a repeated visit in my book, so those of you looking to have an entertaining dinner and some great food, head on down, youíll be happy you did!

Bubba Gumpís Shrimp Company has several locations in California: Long Beach, Santa Monica, Monterey, and San Francisco. Also, located in the Hawaiian Islands at: Kona, Maui and Oahu. Across the U.S. you will find them at: Breckenridge, CO., Mall of America (Minnesota), Chicago, New Orleans, N.Y.C., Charleston, Daytona Beach and Miami. There are also some International locations such as: Tokyo and Osaka Japan, Cancun, Philippines and Bali. Their hours of operation are: Sunday -Thursday 11:00 am- 10:00 pm, Friday and Saturday 11:00 am Ė 11:00 pm. There are two huge parking structures located in "the Pike at Rainbow Harbor" and Bubba Gumpís Shrimp Company validates for 1.5 hours. "Bubba Gumpís Shrimp Company" of Long Beach, Ca is located at "The Pike at Rainbow Harbor", 87 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, Ca. 90802; TEL: (562) 437-2434.

Lets check out the Pike aboard a "Segway"
A great way to experience the sights and sounds of the Pike at Rainbow harbor are onboard a Segway or on top of an old time ferris wheel. Whether you want to eat fish at ""Gladstones for Fish" or wood fired pizza at "California Pizza Kitchen " or maybe catch a movie at the "Cinemark Theatres " and a fruity rum drink after at the "Mai Tai Bar" a Segway or ferris wheel are great ways to overview the "Pike". With over 30 attractions in all, there is a lot to see and do down there. Segways have the ability to run up to 24 miles on one charge. They travel up to 12 mph and are classified as pedestrians in Long Beach. This means that you have the opportunity to visit more locations in a single day than those on foot or in a car. In the past seeing a segway zip by always seemed a little goofy to me. So the thought of hopping on board one never even crossed my mind. Iím really glad I got the opportunity to ride one because they are a whole lot of fun!

If you are ready to throw caution to the wind and turn your sight seeing into more of an adventure, then you need to jump on a segway. "Segway of Long Beach" is located in the heart of the "Pike at Rainbow Harbor" and they offer a variety of services to help you make the best of your segway experience. Segway of Long Beach offers a 2-hour guided audio tour narrated by Janet Evans (3 time Olympic swimming gold medalist). The tour is called "The Segway of Long Beach Glide Through History Tour" and offers a very innovative way to learn about this once farming community turned to one of the busiest shipping ports in the world. There are multiple rental options from 10 minutes ($10) up to a full 8 hour day ($200). "Segway of Long Beach" will also deliver to you for either Ĺ day ($150) or a full day ($225). There is a minimum of 2 Segway units regarding the delivery service. If you are totally stoked on your Segway experience and toying with the idea of a purchase, give them a call. They will be more than happy finding the right Segway for you. They are open in the Summer Monday thru Sunday, 11AM-8 PM. Winter hours are 11 AM- 5 PM. All riders must be a minimum of 100 pounds. "Segway of Long Beach" is located at 27 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, Ca. 90802; TEL: (562) 437-9348.

And from the air on an old school ferris Wheel
The "Giant Wheel" as it is called is a classic style ferris wheel. Itís a great view of Rainbow Harbor and Downtown Long Beach for only $2 a person. The "Big Wheel" is located along Shoreline drive adjacent to the carousel. For more information on the Pike at Rainbow Harbor log onto any of the "Pike" links above.

Naples Island for a Venetian style gondola ride
Mama Mia! What a great opportunity for a little romance. A bottle of wine along with some complimentary hors díoevrs and the beautiful neighborhoods of Naples should be on every couples quick getaway list. The "Gondola Getaways" have been operating authentic Venetian gondolas since 1982 thru the enchanting canals and waterways of Naples Island. These cruises are offered 7 days a week from 11 am until 11 pm. Cruises last approximately one hour or longer depending on how many bottles of wine you bring. I recommend bringing at least 2 bottles and sharing with your Gondoliers. A tipsy gondolier is a happy gondolier and a happy gondolier will sing his pants off. "Gondola Getaways" has a fleet of eight boats and can accommodate a fleet cruise of up to sixty-four people. With each cruise you will be provided a basket of cheese and crackers, wine glasses and an ice bucket for your bottle of wine. As of January 1st prices are as follows: $75 for the first two people and $20 for each additional person up to six people; $25 per person for groups between seven and nineteen people; $20 per person for groups between twenty and fifty people.

Gift certificates can also be purchased on site or over the phone. Remember that reservations should be made 2 to 3 weeks in advance and the receptionists accept reservations from 10am to 5pm. The Christmas Season is a great time of year to come down. The canals are beautifully decorated and itís a great way to get into the holiday spirit. A big old blanket, eggnog and snuggle buddy are all youíll need to experience a California Christmas on the water. Around December 9th of every year is the Christmas boat Parade in Naples. If you want to walk or gondola through the neighborhoods and sing Christmas carols, Naples of Long Beach is the place to be. Iíve been told that the holiday season is the busiest time of year and reservations are typically made a year in advance, but let me tell you that it is well worth the wait!! "Gondola Getaways" is located at 5437 East Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, Ca 90803. TEL: (562) 433-9595.

La Traviata for some Italian cuisine and live operatic performances.
"La Traviata is truly fine dinning. Owner Mario Nasab has left no stone unturned providing an all encompassing dinning experience. From the moment you lay eyes on the 19th century opera house dťcor, you are transported back in time surrounded by the sights and sounds of this elegant period. Ambiance and atmosphere combined with Nouveau style Italian cuisine complete the play on our senses. What I also felt unique about "La Traviata" is the sense of warmth and comfort. There is a fine line to be walked with a restaurant of this caliber, but Mario manages to create an inviting environment without an air of pretentiousness.

Operatic singers accompanied by pianist can be experienced on Friday and Saturday night. The "menu" provides dishes such as Chilean Seabass baked in a miso glaze, topped with tobiko caviar, scallions and a splash of ponzu-soy sauce on a bed of Jasmine rice. Iím always a big fan of the seabass and this dish did not disappoint. Dishes range in price from $17 to $35. The menu also offers great appetizers and some of the best calamari that Iíve had. A thoughtful "wine list" has also been assembled that was awarded by Spectator Magazine (One of six establishments in the City of Long Beach to hold this honor). Lunch dishes are available as well and prices range from $12 to $24. "La Traviata" has Banquet facilities and can accommodate groups from 10 to 200. Also, check their website for events like the "Halloween wine Tasting". Monday thru Friday they are opened for lunch between the hours of 11:30 am to 2:00 pm. They re-open from 5:00 pm until 9:00 pm for dinner. Saturday and Sunday hours are 5:00 pm until whenever you leave. The dress is casual, but fashionable. Parking arrangements can be made for customers. If you have any further questions and prefer to email, "La Traviata" can be reached at "La Traviata" is centrally located downtown on 3rd and Cedar. Their address is 301 Cedar Ave, Long Beach Ca. 90802; TEL: (562) 432-8022.

PART 3 Next Week!

*Please tell us what you think of Cousin Arty's review!

Arty's Pics


Cousin Arty


Omelette Inn


Bubba Gumpís


Specialty Drinks


The Pike


Ferris Wheel


View From Top


Other Side


Arty On A Segway


Segway Map




Gondola Ride


Neighborhoods of Naples




La Traviata




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