Submitted by Carmel Mooney

We'd heard Irvine, California was steeped in arts, dining, nightlife, shopping and all the typical things that we gravitate to when planning a getaway, but Irvine exceeded all our expectations which is quite a feat when you consider our diverse interests.

We used the Atrium Hotel right across from Orange County's John Wayne Airport, as our hub and home away from home. We chose to drive on this particular trip although other previous excursions to Orange County have found us flying in before.

So note to self, was what a great location the Atrium would provide if we had flown in. It was equally well situated for this car-centered road trip to Irvine. The boutique style resort property has a beautiful pool and a very satisfying breakfast buffet that we all appreciated for fueling ourselves for our exploration of Irvine.

Our first introduction to Irvine's diverse offerings was during our delicious dinner at Tokyo Table at the Diamond Jamboree. Tokyo Table was superb with each and every offering we sampled, brimming with delicious flavors stemming from fresh, seasonal ingredients. We had to try the OMG Roll and it is definitely appropriately named.

After our sumptuous meal we decided to check out a few of the amazing cultural offerings at the Diamond Jamboree. We sauntered over to the Plush Karaoke Lounge where we thoroughly enjoyed sipping tea while belting out some songs together in the posh nightlife style of a classy lounge with 17 private rooms, touch screen monitors and technological equipment.

We could have stayed all night having our own little all night Karaoke party but eventually we called it a night to rest up for our marathon of cultural immersion the next day....