Talk about decking the halls! Roger’s Gardens in Newport Beach is a great place to start your shopping for holiday decorations. A little confession: we were on our way to the tree lighting at Fashion Island, and we were late getting out there (you all know, taking about 20 mins to get socks and shoes on, then having a last minute bathroom emergency as we start loading up the car). When we realized as we sat waiting in a long line of cars to get into the packed parking lot that we would not be able to find parking and get to the lighting in 12 mins, we planned our escape. Yes, the kids were a little disappointed to miss the official Christmas tree lighting, but we promised to bring them back another evening to see the tree. Seeing festive lights behind us, we flipped a U turn and followed the lights. To our pleasant surprise, we drove into a twinkling oasis. I have had Roger’s Garden on my list for awhile, so this accidental discovery was so timely.
For those that are not familiar, Roger’s Garden is a spacious outdoor nursery with an equally expansive indoor store. At the back of all this beautiful garden is their Farmhouse restaurant. The kids were so excited to roam the nursery that is currently decorated with beautiful holiday lights – simply magical! Holiday tip: if you call the Farmhouse restaurant, they are completely booked for reservations until January; however, we simply walked up and put our name on the wait list before exploring the garden. The wait was only an hour on a Thursday night, with plenty of open seating at the bar, but I will assume that it will be longer if you go on a weekend. This was just the perfect amount of time for us to enjoy the lights and do a little shopping. The have beautiful decorations and ornaments, with a good selection of traditional and marine themed holiday items – we are in Newport Beach, after all! The kids got some adorable fuzzy beanies with koala ears and owl ears (yes, I probably overpaid, but they were so darn cute!). There is also a coffee cart in the middle of the garden, so you can grab a coffee or a hot chocolate on a cold evening.
It would be difficult to find another location that feels as lush and secluded as The Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens. The outdoor patio is absolutely gorgeous nestled in the back of the nursery. It was especially perfect on this cold night, since they provide plenty of heat lamps and there are cozy blankets draped behind every chair for diners. Although we enjoyed kicking off our holiday season with a family dinner here, there were many open spots in the small and cute bar area if you just want to pop in for an impromptu date night and would rather not wait for a table. The cocktail menu seems well thought out and beautifully presented, even if I found it just a little fussy for my taste, but that may just be me because I prefer simpler or more classic drinks. I ordered one of the drinks that our server had recommended, Mama Needs Another Drink, which is farm fresh juice (orange when I had it), organic grapefruit liquor, and jardesca apertivo red wine. It tasted a little like a cross between a Capri Sun and a Sangria – in the cutest, but smallest glass you’ve ever seen – I believe this may be why it’s called Mama Needs Another Drink. My cousin had the stiff Oaxaca This Way, which is finger lime tincture, wild honey, mescal, and tequila. I am not a fan of mescal, too smokey for me, but she enjoyed it. But I look forward to experimenting with different drinks next time.
Farmhouse offers farm to table, fresh, and delicious food. The kids wanted something a little more special than what was offered on the kid’s menu, so they split the Grilled Asian Beef Short Ribs from the Share items. We were told that it would be more than enough for the kids to split, but I should have realized that the server doesn’t know how much meat our kids eat. The rest of us had plenty, and we were all tasting and sharing, so they simply enjoyed some of our dishes. We ordered the Herb Roast Jidori Chicken with pee wee potatoes, roast carrots, cipollini onions, green beans, and pan roasted gravy – hands down our favorite dish of the night – winner, winner, chicken dinner! We also had the Grilled Curry Crusted Pacific Swordfish with roasted spaghetti squash, broccolini and cipollini onions, roast maple bourbon butternut squash, and brown butter – a more mellow flavor but delicious dish. Our other dish was the Sea Scallops, Shrimp, Mussels & Parpardelle in a tomato pernod cream sauce – simply divine – the scallops were large, buttery, and perfectly cooked. We left full and happy, but I regret not trying some of the amazing looking desserts such as the Windrose Farms Apple Crisp, Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake, or the Grilled Sweet Potato and Ginger Poundcake, for instance. We will have to return and give you an update! The rest of the menu is impressive looking and I can’t wait for next time!
Roger’s Gardens & Farmhouse at Roger’s Garden: 2301 San Joaquin Hills Road, Newport Beach. (949)640-1415.
More photos of things to see at Roger’s Garden: