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I've always wanted to explore the numerous hiking trails that are readily accessible throughout Orange County.  While looking over Destination Irvine's Biking and Hiking Trail Map, I noticed that there was a nice 2.8 mile loop trail nestled in the Quail Hill Preserve; one of many wilderness trails that are apart of the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks.

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The following day, which oh so happened to be sunny and clear; I geared up in my athletic attire and shoes, and headed over to Quail Hill Trailhead, located at the end of Sand Canyon Road. When exiting the freeway, turn toward Quail Hill. After seeing the sign "Quail Hill Trailhead" located on the right-hand side, make a right turn into the parking lot. There are plenty of parking spots, clean bathrooms, extensive trail maps, picnic areas, and clear informational signs.

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What I enjoyed most about this trail was the feeling of being apart of nature's beauty and the wilderness, but also getting a great vantage point of the developed areas around the natural preserve; it's the best of both worlds. I had fun capturing quick snapshots of creatures here and there, as well as some beautiful foliage! This trail is open from dawn to dusk, is dog-friendly, and offers a self-guided cell phone audio tour!

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After the hike, I grabbed lunch at Red Brick Pizza located in the center down the street. I would have loved to have packed a homemade lunch and savor it in the shady picnic area, but that'll have to wait for next time. Quail Hill Trailhead, a refreshing way to start off my day and has gotten me so excited to embark on another trail!

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Later that night, I headed over to one of my fave restaurants Tokyo Table, in the Diamond Jamboree Center.  I didn't make it in time for the 'Happy Hour' menu, but nevertheless had a spectacular meal. Whether you're dining while on a date, with friends, or celebrating a special event in one of the private rooms; the cuisine is always spot on, and there's such a variety of authentic Japanese and infusion dishes. 

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 Some of my must have dishes (because I like so many) are the Yukari French Fries, Agedashi Tofu, Asparagus Tempura,  Assorted Nigiri 'Plum' plate, Garlic Shrimp Rice, Stir-Fried Udon, Tokyo Shoyu Ramen, and Zaru Soba.

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I can't leave out the drinks! There are a variety of sake (especially a great sake sampler), Beers, and my two faves the Tropical Lychee Saketini and Passion Fruit Vodka Soda.  Keepin' it simple? Try the the hot mint tea, mango iced tea, a shake or a 'Tokyo Soda'!

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I almost forgot DESSERT! You absolutely can not leave Tokyo Table without trying their house specialty, 'Honey Toast'. It is absolutely the best $7 I spent because of the thick french toast cut outs stacked on top of each other, filled with toast cubes drenched in honey, topped with vanilla ice cream, and drizzled with more honey (or flavored syrups). You have the option of chocolate, caramel, cinnamon, or strawberry; I've tried chocolate and strawberry...both are scrumptious! 

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Dining at Tokyo Table is always a delightful experience; what can beat fantastic service, exceptional food,  and an intimate and inviting atmosphere?!

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Happy Hour:

Everyday/ 3:00 PM to 6:30 PM, 7 Days a Week

Late Night/ 10:00 PM to 11:00 PM, Sunday to Thursday

Weekend/ 11:30 PM to 1:00 AM, Friday and Saturday

Happy Exploring!

Amanda 

 

(Hiking Images taken by Amanda Nguyen, edited on Picnik. Tokyo Table Image Sources 1,2,3,4,5,6,7)