When you travel, you should always try the local specialties.
In northern Thailand, for example, you must try khao soi. In Bordeaux, France, you should definitely have a glass of wine (or a couple of bottles). And I’ll slap anyone who visits Naples, Italy, and doesn’t devour one of the city’s world-famous pizzas.
So, with that in mind, when you visit Newport in sunny California, you should definitely try one of these bad boys…
That, my friends, is what the locals call a Balboa bar – a sugary treat made of vanilla ice cream that has been hand-dipped in chocolate, and then coated in coconut, peanut shavings or hundreds-and-thousands.
They’re named after nearby Balboa Island, the largest of three modified or artificial islands in Newport Harbour (the others being Little Balboa Island and Collins Island).
The word on the street (and on the official Balboa Island website) is the Balboa bar was first created and served on Balboa Island in the 1950s.
Frozen dessert aficionados and fans of the show Arrested Development will know that Balboa Island and Newport is also famous for frozen bananas – a dessert made by putting a banana on a stick, freezing it, and then dipping it in chocolate.
Admittedly, Newport’s famous Balboa bar was a bit too sweet for my liking (my wife and I shared just the one) – but you should definitely give one a try. You’ll find Balboa bars for sale near the Balboa Fun Zone and the Balboa Pavilion, or at either Dad’s Donut & Bakery Shop or Sugar ‘N’ Spice on Marine Ave.