Multitudes of sushi, sashimi, and sake selections grace candlelit tables in Sushi Zen Bistro's spacious Triangle Square lounge. Eager diners and Jungian analysts will adore an appetizer of Jalapeño's Dream ($9.95), a piquant fried pepper stuffed with crab, spicy tuna, avocado, and cream cheese, wrapping taste buds in spice and an odd sensation of weightlessness. Choose a robust recipe such as the yaki beef, thinly sliced rib eye marinated in teriyaki sauce ($14.95) or dive into rice-laden sushi and sashimi delicacies. Savory selections include the baby lobster roll (cut roll, $11.95; hand roll, $9.95) with avocado and cucumber wrapped in soy paper, and the baked halibut roll (cut roll, $12.95; hand roll, $7.95) packed with crab, avocado, and asparagus. More particular palates can curb carbs with rice-free rolls ($9.95), soy-paper snuggled and filled with a tasty medley of flavorful ingredients, or keep voracities vegetarian with fish-free options such as the veggie Zen roll (cut roll, $9.95; hand roll, $7.95), loaded with yam tempura, avocado, cucumber, fried jalapeño, and gobo, a Japanese root vegetable. Innovative cocktails ($7.95), red and white wine ($6.95–$9.95), beer ($4.50–$8.95), and more than a dozen varieties of sake ($3–$17.95) complement chopstick choices and make for lavish beginnings to evenings at the movies, dancing dates, or the courting of a comely kraken.
One of the oldest amusement parks in southern California, Balboa Fun Zone is a harbor-sized time capsule sent from an era when carnival rides were designed with a distinctive panache. The colorful attractions have occupied the Balboa Peninsula since 1936, when the original landowner converted an old boat yard into a seaside carnival. The peninsula juts out from Newport Beach to form the storied patch of real estate that has attracted countless patrons with spinning carousels, arcades, and a ferris wheel known for its longish rides and elevated views of the Pacific's horizon.
The amusement park enjoyed a rebuilding in 1986 and today retains its original elegance despite decades of serial owners and various changes to the landscape and surrounding shops. Although the beloved merry-go-round was retired in 2011, the wooden stallions still drop in once a summer to greet old friends and nibble on cotton candy.
Diners take the reins and forge their own meals at Ka Shabu, an upscale Asian-style fondue joint in downtown Huntington Beach. Premium meats such as Kobe and Angus beef, chicken, salmon, and shrimp simmer in pots according to Ka Shabu's cooking guide before guests fish out the morsels and dip them in customizable sauces alongside fresh veggies, udon and rice noodles, and steamed white or brown rice. Even though all the meal-preparing power and palm-reading information lies in patrons' hands, Ka Shabu's friendly attendants always wait nearby to assist with any questions. Inside the eatery, wood-accented tables and chairs surround a grand open kitchen and a bar that serves up martinis and flavor-infused sakes.