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5 of the Best Burgers in Irvine

Posted by: Guest
Posted on: Friday, Sep 22, 2017

By Ashley Burnett

There's nothing quite like a nice, juicy burger. Luckily for Irvine locals (and travelers to the city), our SoCal town has plenty of amazing spots to get a great burger. From the classics to classics-with-a-twist, you can't go wrong with a burger from any of the city's top restaurants. But if you're not sure where to start, check out five of our suggestions below.

Mick's Karma Bar

Located on Main Street, Mick's Karma Bar is known for their signature steak haché patties and made-to-order burgers. With options like the habanero burger with garlic mayo and chile escalivada, Karma Swiss Onion Style and the Baja with guacamole and sour cream, there's something for every taste at this burger joint. Finish off your meal with some chunky fries and mojito iced tea for the ultimate burger experience.

The Stand

Housed in the Oak Creek Shopping Center, this spot is perfect for those looking for a classic burger. Order the Stand Burger or regular cheeseburger, both favorites among locals. Or, go for something unique and try the French onion soup burger with parmesan-crusted bun, gruyere cheese and red wine onions. The El Capitan is another must-try-pickled peppers, sweet chili and a fried egg. What could be better? 

MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes

If you're all about customization, head to MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes. This Alton Square burger joint allows you to build your own burger, choosing from options such as angus beef, turkey and chicken as well as potato buns, lettuce or gluten-free bread and a whole variety of veggies and sauces. However, if you're indecisive, they also have a whole slew of burgers-the Oktoberfest, for example, is just the right way to celebrate the season with applewood smoked bacon, angus beef and grilled onions.   

Umami Burger

Umami Burger is an institution for a reason. Grab a spot at their Irvine Spectrum location and get ready for a great burger. The Sunny Side Burger is a personal favorite with its fried egg, truffle thyme compound butter and truffled aioli and arugula, but the spicy Hatch Burger and indulgent Manly Burger are also menu standouts. If you can't decide, order the sliders and try three different styles of burger. 

Aioli

Aioli's half-pound burgers will fill you up. Situated on Main Street, Aioli's sirloin beef is charbroiled and served with either fries or a salad. Favorite flavors include Fire, which is topped with a southwest rub, chipotle aioli and hot giardiniera; the Boss with applewood smoked bacon and barbecue sauce; and the Old Fashion, a classic burger cheddar cheese and a brioche bun.

Ashley Burnett is a writer and editor living in southern California. Her work has previously appeared in Locale, LA Travel Magazine, TravelAge West and various other publications.    
 

Filed In: Events

OC Decadence 2017

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Monday, Sep 18, 2017

Dec - a - dence (.noun)

unrestrained, or excessive self-indulgence. 


So it's Friday...you've worked hard all week.

What better way to kick off the weekend than with a little harmless decadence?

On Friday, September 29th, OC Weekly will be hosting the OC Decadence 2017 event at Hotel Irvine. This local foodie festival is celebrating its 14th year, and has become Orange County's largest food soiree. Over 40 vendors will be on hand, providing unlimited samples of their best creations. 

 


The most sought-after restaurants from Orange County and Long Beach will be on hand as well as top mixologists and craft brewmasters. Burgerim,  5 Crowns, Cucina Enoteca, and Old Vine Cafe are just a few of the delicious options..

Check out the full line up here.

Bites

Sips 

All-inclusive, all-you-can- sample tickets are available online at ocdecadence.com  for $55 per person.

Complete the Decadent Experience and splurge with another $15 for the VIP pass, which gives you early access and first tastes...plus a swaggy VIP gift bag!

Buy today as this event sells out! 

Best of all, the food and fun lead to philanthropy. Every year, OC Decadence proceeds support a local charity...this year's event will join the fight against breast cancer by supporting The American Cancer Society Making Strides Foundation. 

So you see....even a little decadence can be a very good thing.  

 

 

Filed In: Dining

Pacific Wine + Food Classic Celebrates a Successful Weekend

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Friday, Sep 15, 2017

This year's Pacific Wine & Food Classic successfully closed out a weekend filled with an exciting array of food, wine and spirits as well as culinary demos all amoungst the beautiful backdrop of the Newport Dunes Waterfront. I attended day 1 of the weekend events, and was taken back by the organization and ease of getting into the event - clear direction to the entrance, getting wristbanded, being given instructions and handed our unbreakable and recycable Govino 'glass' to use for the day and take home as a souvenir. I was impressed at the amount of vendors involved and the variety of food and drinks available. I tasted tacos, noodles, sliders, seafood and more, as well as enjoyed sipping on a multitude of wines, mixed drinks and beers. 

There were a few longer waits for some food and drink stands, but I never felt like anyone was going to run out of their offerings. Everyone was prepared to accomodate the amount of guests attending (some places being able to provide 2nd and 3rd helpings), there was more than enough seating to get to sit down and relax - higher table, lounge seating and the beach was open to lounge; and overall, it was a very fun and enjoyable experience. I would definitely attend again, visit the Pacific Wine & Food Classic website for more information

 

Photos taken by Amanda of Feast.Fashion.Faves 

Filed In: Events

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME at Segerstom Center for the Arts

Posted by: Terry Winkler
Posted on: Monday, Sep 11, 2017

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME is the Tony Award winning play by Simon Stephens, adapted from Mark Haddon's 2003 best-selling novel.

It tells the story of fifteen-year-old Christopher, who has an extraordinary brain. He's exceptionally intelligent but ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. When he falls under suspicion for killing his neighbor's dog, he sets out to identify the true culprit, which leads to an earth-shattering discovery and a journey that will change his life forever.

Winner of FIVE 2015 Tony Awards® including BEST PLAY!

"One of the most fully immersive works ever to wallop Broadway"- The New York Times "Dazzling" - Associated Press 

 

Audience Advisory: This production features moments of loud music, bright lighting and strobe effects. Please also be aware that the show contains some adult language and themes.

While the musical's subject is serious, the show will still satisfy theatergoers who love spectacle. It features intimate moments of human emotion while constantly keeping the audience on the edge of their seats with stunts like wall flips and actors suspended in the air.

"It's like ‘Hamlet' combined with Cirque du Soleil," says Adam Langdon, the actor who plays the teenage detective. "It has incredible moments of crazy physicality. This is the most unique and incredible play that's come around for a while, so it'll be a great move for everybody to come and see this."

Do what Langdon says and get your tickets to go see THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

September 12 - 17, 2017
Tuesday - Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday at 1 and 6:30 p.m.
The 2 p.m. performance on Saturday, September 16, 2017 will include audio description, open captioning and sign-language interpretation.
600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA

Purchase tickets, starting at $29, online at www.scfta.org or in person at The Box Office, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa.

Filed In: Events

Tall Ships Festival in Dana Point

Posted by: Terry Winkler
Posted on: Monday, Sep 04, 2017

One of the most thrilling things to take place in Dana Point is the annual Tall Ships Festival, where the Ocean Institute annually hosts a fleet of historic tall ships to sail into Dana Point Harbor. History comes alive, as crews from each ship, along with historical re-enactors, engage the public in cannon battles, pirate adventures, mermaid encounters, ship tours, and so much more!

Here's what's happening this weekend:

Friday, September 8

Parade of Sail (4:00 pm-7:30 pm): Join the armada as you cast off for adventure aboard a historic tall ship during the annual tall ships parade at sunset. Work with the crew hauling up sail or simply sit back and enjoy the spectacular demonstration of skill, knowledge and survival!


Sails ‘n Ales (6:00 pm -9:00 pm): Craft beer tasting from five (5) different California breweries, live music, mermaids and prime viewing for Parade of Sail!


Saturday, September 9 & Sunday, September 10:

Mermaid Breakfast (9:00 am-10:30 am): Join our mermaid friends for brunch, storytime, and under the sea crafts.

Festival (10:00 am-4:00 pm): Tall Ships tours, pirate adventures, mermaid encounters, unique vendors, Sierra Nevada Beer Garden, and more await for you at the 32nd Annual Festival. For a full list of activities, please click here. 

Cannon Battles (4:30 pm-7:30 pm): Enjoy blasting cannons, towering rigging, bustling decks, and the magnificence of a canvas full of wind during a Cannon Battle! Work with the crew hauling up sail or simply sit back and enjoy the spectacular demonstration of skill, knowledge, and survival!

TICKETS Festival Admission, Sails, & Special Events

 Ocean Institute

24200 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point, CA 92629

Get Ready…A Hotbed Of New Hotels Are Coming On-Line in Irvine!

Posted by: Deirdre Michalski
Posted on: Tuesday, Aug 22, 2017

Picture above courtesy of AC Hotel

Beginning this spring, and looking ahead to the year's end, there have been, and will be four new hotels with a total of 760 new guestrooms coming on-line. This also adds 23,081 square feet of meeting space to the Irvine landscape.  In this article we are pleased to share with you details about each of these new properties. This new bevy of hotels are redefining stays with unique event space, one with a rooftop bar and terrace, resort-inspired pools and restaurants that are meeting the changing needs of their guests.

New Hotels

Guestrooms

Meeting Space - Sq. Ft.

AC Hotel 176 788
Hampton Inn & Suites 164 2,539
Irvine Spectrum Marriott 271 18,754
Hyatt House 149 1,000
                       Total 760 23,081

AC Hotel Irvine - Just Opened April, 2017

Marriott has recently introduced a relatively new brand to its collection. The AC Hotels celebrates the beauty of classic modern designs with its European and Spanish roots. Renowned Spanish hotelier Antonio Catalan founded the brand in 1998 and grew it into one of the most well-respected hotel brands in Spain. Following its success in Europe, a joint venture was formed with Marriott International in 2011 which then launched AC Hotels by Marriott into France, Italy, Portugal, Denmark and now into the United States as well. 

The AC Hotel Irvine is a boutique-style hotel located in the Park Place business park (at the corner of Jamboree Road and Michaelson). The hotel features 176 spacious guest rooms with a modern décor and integrated work stations in each guestroom. There are also upgrades in room type to guestrooms with balconies that overlook the plaza. On the second floor a fitness center, heated swimming pool and sun-filled terrace can be found.

In terms of meeting space, they have 788 square feet of flexible meeting space. The meeting space includes: The AC Meeting Room which accommodates up to 40 guests theater style, and up to 25 for a conference meeting. The AC Meeting Room is 500 square feet. There are two Media Salons that are each 144 square feet and can accommodate up to 6 guests in each salon. Meeting Planner Reward Points are available for groups as they can double dip with points booked for guestrooms and meeting space.

The AC Kitchen can also be used after 11:00 in the morning. The breakfast space can be transformed for a sit down meeting of up to 70 guests, or for a stand-up reception of 164 guests. The room features large picture windows and natural light. The sales team indicates that they have accommodated up to 200 guests for a reception, which also flowed into the lounge area just steps away from the AC Kitchen. And in addition to this space, they can also accommodate receptions on the second floor pool deck featuring an open terrace.

Breakfast in the AC Kitchen is a European Buffet Breakfast with the freshest of ingredients, such as hand-sliced prosciutto, and croissants that have been flown in from France and baked on the premises. In the evening, the attention turns to the AC Lounge with tapas-inspired small plates, handcrafted cocktails, wine on tap and a selection of beers. The Lounge is flanked by the bar on one end, and a large, comfortable living room setting and large picture windows. Just steps away, guests can enjoy numerous restaurants for lunch and dinner dining options.

3309 Michelson Drive, Irvine, CA 92612
(949) 471-8710
www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/snaai-ac-hotel-irvine/

Hampton Inn & Suites- Opening November, 2017

Hilton has over 2,000 Hampton hotels in North America, Europe and India.  The brand offers consistent accommodations with a comfortable Hampton bed®, in-room mini-refrigerators, desk and chair for productive working and free Wi-Fi. Mornings start off right with their complimentary hot breakfast including fresh baked waffles and hearty oatmeal. Members of the HHonors guest reward program will receive points for their stays.

In November of this year, a brand new Hampton Inn & Suites in Irvine will be added to their portfolio.  Situated less than 1 mile from John Wayne/OC Airport, the hotel will offer a complimentary shuttle to and from the airport. The hotel will feature 164 guest rooms, of which 52 will be King Studio Suites. There will be 2,539 square feet of meeting space, including a 1,161 square foot ballroom, 378 square feet of pre-function space, and a 1,000 square foot multi-use room. One unique feature of this property is that it will feature a full bar. Typically, Hampton Inns do not offer food and beverage, beyond the breakfast, however this bar and lounge will offer cocktails and a small selection of delicious appetizers.

2192 Dupont Drive, Irvine, California, 92612
www.irvineorangecountyairport.hamptonbyhilton.com
For more information please contact Sheryl Montour-Director of Sales at: 949-656-8701

Irvine Spectrum Marriott - Opening Winter of 2017

Located in the heart of Irvine Spectrum this inventive new hotel was designed with the tech-savvy traveler in mind.  The building stands 15 stories tall amidst a landscape of business parks and the mega-outdoor Irvine Spectrum shopping center nearby.  The hotel will feature 271 guest rooms, including 50 suites. On the main level Marriott Rewards members will enjoy the exclusive MClub lounge. A bi-level state of the art fitness center is perfect for business travelers on the go, and after a long day guests can retreat to the resort-inspired pool with cabanas and an expansive patio.

Guests will enjoy unwinding in style in their chic lobby area and on the 15th floor guests will soak in the panoramic views on the rooftop terrace with a full bar and lounge area. California cuisine will be the focus of this three-meal, farm-to-table oriented restaurant, with a bar for evening cocktailing. There will also be an on-site Starbucks® for those who want to get up and go quickly! Members of Marriott's guest reward program will receive points for their stays.

As for meeting space, this hotel honors the exceptional weather we experience here in Southern California. Natural light is a vocal point and with movable walls, the sense of blending the indoor and outdoor venues will be seamless. Meeting planners will have a creative canvas from which to design their functions, receptions and dining while on-property. This will also be perfect for social engagements and parties as well.  The 5,000 square foot ballroom and pre-function space have telescoping walls that will disappear and open the space up to the outdoors. There are multiple meeting rooms, totaling 18,754 square feet of space. There is also a lush outdoor event lawn overlooking a dramatic fire feature with the resort-style pool beyond. Private pool cabanas will also be available to watch presentations on a big screen, or provide creative, out-of-the-box breakout space for groups to brainstorm. And for those groups that are in need of additional space, there will be a walking path providing direct access to the space at the neighboring Courtyard Irvine Spectrum.  

7905 Irvine Center Drive, Irvine, CA 92618
949-759-0200
www.marriott.com/snamc

Hyatt House- Irvine/John Wayne Airport- Opening November 15, 2017



The Hyatt House Irvine/John Wayne Airport is a brand new hotel, scheduled for opening in mid November, 2017. The hotel is designed to accommodate extended stay guests and will feature 149 guestrooms, including both studios and one bedroom suites. A majority of the suites will have full kitchens, a sitting area and bedroom. The hotel is located only 1.5 miles from John Wayne Airport and will operate complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport. Guests will receive World of Hyatt rewards points (formerly Hyatt Gold Passport) for their stays and also for meetings booked at the hotel. 

One of the signature services of the Hyatt House will be the complimentary breakfast featuring a full American-style buffet. The daily breakfast will include an array of menu items including: cage free eggs, rotating protein, made to order omelet station, fruit, yogurt, pastries, juice and coffee bar. In the evening, the hotel's guests will enjoy Happy Hour on their outdoor patio. Local beer and craft cocktails will be served from the full bar and the in-house restaurant HBAR will be serving evening appetizers and dinner options.

For meetings, Hyatt House is building 1,000 square feet of meeting space called the Gathering Room. This space will be divisible into two rooms 600 square feet and 400 square feet with use of an air-wall. When divided into two, they will be referred to as Gathering Room 1 for the larger space and Gathering Room 2 for the smaller room. The Gathering Room will offer the much desired natural light and will provide flexible meeting packages to accommodate various budgets. Their flexible setup and pricing structures will be perfect for corporate events, receptions and social functions as well.

2320 Main Street, Irvine, CA 92614
www.irvinejohnwayneairport.house.hyatt.com
For more information, please contact Adam Drescher-Director of Sales at: 949-936-4280

Author's Note: There is another property that we anticipate will be coming on-line, however further details and an opening date were not available at the time of this submission. Towneplace Suites, an extended stay hotel with 165 guestrooms will be located at: 2652 White Road in Irvine and we will share further details as they become available to us.

Deirdre Michalski is a travel and culinary writer covering topics near and far. She explores new local restaurants, activities, interviews chefs, lifestyle adventures, the meetings market, spas and enjoys discovering intriguing international travel destinations and the oldest restaurants around the globe. Deirdre writes for her own web site, www.TastesAndTravel.com  as well as other publications, including: Newport Beach Lifestyle Magazine, Visit Newport Beach, Visit Huntington Beach and Destination Irvine. She is an active member in two organizations: the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA), and She's Wanderful- Women In Travel.  When not tied to her ipad, or traveling, she can be found in her garden, the kitchen, researching a trip, or on the coastal bike paths. Visit her web site to learn more about "How to Do Machu Picchu Without Killing Yourself" and how to "Live Like a Local in Italy", adventures in the South of France, Budapest and Prague. This summer she will be exploring the Baltics on a cruise with its own Bon Appetit Cooking School on the ship!



 






 



 

Filed In: History

Pageant of the Masters: The Irvine Connection

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Monday, Aug 21, 2017

It’s our summer tradition.

 

Every year, my daughter Katie and I travel down Laguna Canyon Road to see our mutual favorite: The Pageant of the Masters. We brave the crowds, rent a pair of binoculars and a blanket, and take our seats under the stars to watch Laguna Beach locals create living tableaux of classic works of art.

 

The premise seems a bit odd. What could possibly be interesting about watching two-hours of people standing still? For years, I felt the same way. But then Katie and I took the plunge five years ago and bought a pair of tickets.  After an evening of breathtaking art, captivating stories and a lush original musical score performed by a live orchestra, we were hooked.

 

The theme changes every year, but the same consistent quality of production makes each season’s show a stunner. Year after year, audiences say the same thing:

 

“How did they do that?”

 

This year, the Festival of the Arts celebrates it's 85th anniversary with the Pageant of the Masters production of "The Grand Tour." Performances continue until August 31st.


The Pageant of The Masters is known for the amazing technical production, the original musical and the cast of dedicated local volunteers. But many do not know that this Laguna Beach classic has an Irvine connection.


The History

The Festival of The Arts began in the depths of the Depression, when locals in Laguna Beach were struggling to keep their artist colony alive.


"In 1932, they began their crusade...to find new ways to display their wares. Ideas were presented, locations were discussed. How and when would be the most profitable time of year for the event?"


-Merle and Mabel Ramsay "Laguna Beach: The First Hundred Years."


The Festival of the Arts began that summer as a showcase for local artists and The Pageant of The Masters was started a year later. Both events were staged at various locations around Laguna Beach. One of the favored spots was a eucalyptus grove next to the Women's Club. (near present day City Hall) The Laguna Beach Arts Association negotiated with the city to purchase the land, but an agreement was never made. A new permanent home was sought and the present Festival location in Laguna Canyon was selected.

 

The Irvine Connection 

 

The land was part of James H. Irvine's ranch.


"The site of the Festival of Arts and Pageant of The Masters was to be a community park, which was chosen in 1938. In April, the citizen's of Laguna Beach passed a "Park, Music, and Advertising Tax" of 10 cents on each $100 of assessed valuation to purchase and develop the Irvine property."


"The original deed stated that the city 'shall use said property for the following purposes only, and for no other, to wit: for the construction, enlargement, improvement, maintenance and operation of the outdoor amphitheater now situated theron and known as Irvine Bowl, for the production and holding of concerts, theatrical performances, festivals, exhibits and any all forms of public entertainment and recreation." 

 

-Belinda Blacketer, "The History of Laguna Canyon" 

 

A Star Is Born 

 

The Irvine Bowl was dedicated on November 16, 1941, but the advent of WWII stalled the Pageant's performances for the next four years. Then, in 1947, after James Irvine's death, the park was donated to the City of Laguna Beach by the Irvine family.




"James Irvine donated the Irvine Bowl and some adjoining acreage to provide the city with necessary recreational and cultural facilities. The Bowl soon became an indispensable community institution and made possible the present development of the famous Laguna Art Festival." 

 

-Robert Glass Cleland "The Irvine Ranch"



 


 

If you'd like to see a fun and informative documentary about the Pageant of The Arts from 1958, click here to watch..

 

 

 


OC Soccer Club Game in the NEW Great Park Stadium

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Thursday, Aug 17, 2017

The Orange County Soccer Club kicked off their first game in the newly unveiled Championship Soccer Stadium at the Great Park against the Tulsa Roughnecks FC this past Tuesday August 15th. The Champion Soccer Stadium resides within Irvine's Great Park Sports Complex, which grand opened to the public on August 5th. Along with the stadium, local residents and visitors may enjoy facilities for tennis, soccer, volleyball and more! There are also other athletic fields for use as well as a whimsical children's play area and various lawns and spaces to explore. 

The Champion Soccer Stadium itself accommodates up to 2,500 seated spectators and includes locker rooms, training facilities, a box office, concession areas, upper level viewing deck, berm seating, city athletic offices and of course the regulation soccer field. This stadium is the new home of the Orange County Soccer Club, which will host grand opening celebrations tomorrow August 18th with post-game fireworks - get tickets to the game here

For season tickets or single game tickets, click here. Take a look at the game schedule here

The stadium has a spacious, clean and beautiful design. There are certain elements from the color selection of the spectator seats to architectural beams that ascend from the top of the stadium that really elevate it from just a typical sports stadium. There is a strong security and police presence at the stadium which create a safe-feeling environment for visitors. There were a range of visitors from die-hard Orange County SC fans, to families and soccer enthusiasts. 

Learn more about the Great Park Sports Complex here, and the Orange County Soccer Club here.  

 
Photos taken by Amanda at Feast.Fashion.Faves 

Celebrate Labor Day Weekend in Irvine

Posted by: Guest
Posted on: Tuesday, Aug 15, 2017

By Ashley Burnett

Labor Day is counted by many as the unofficial end of the summer season. Saying goodbye to barbecues, dips in the pool and hikes in the great outdoors can be a bitter experience, so ease the pain by planning a fun three-day weekend in Irvine. With Irvine's plethora of entertainment and events, it's the best place to spend your Labor Day vacation.
 

Friday Night

Say "cheers" to the long weekend by grabbing drinks at one of Irvine's numerous lounges. Hotel Irvine is home to both Red Bar and Lounge and Eats Kitchen & Bar, with both offering happy hour deals. The latter offers $2 bites, $3 draft beers and $4 wines and cocktails, while the former has special deals on select plates. Either way you can't go wrong. Current happy hour offerings at Red Bar and Lounge include lumpia egg rolls, ahi poke and steamed buns, while Eats Kitchen has garlic tots and queso fundido.



Photo credit Hotel Irvine 

You might also try Red Bar and Lounge's Sip and Smoke program, which starts up in September. Sample three vintage single-malt Macallans paired with a cigar while soaking up the sun on the
eatery's patio. It's a truly luxurious event that makes the perfect opener to your weekend.

Saturday

Take it easy after last night's happy hour with a fresh, healthy breakfast. Paradise Bowls offers acai bowls loaded with fruit while Euro Caffe has crepes with fresh veggies on the side.

Afterward, head to Irvine Regional Park. Rent a bicycle, surrey or chopper and spend an hour cruising around the gigantic outdoor space. Or, rent a paddleboat instead and spend some fun time out on the water. If you have any kids in tow, they'll also love the park's zoo and pony
rides. Once you work up an appetite, grab some snacks at either the Lakeside Snack Bar or Train Station Snack Bar.

Next, head to nearby Boomer's. Whether you're with kids, or just a group of adults, Boomer's mini golf is fun for everything. Games are quick, yet challenging, and you can extend the fun at the arcade. 

Once the sun starts going down, enjoy another happy hour at Andrei's. Available every day except Sunday, Andrei's offers gourmet happy hour bites like portobello steak fries, spiced lamb spring rolls and seafood ceviche. You might also consider grabbing a drink at Eureka! which
has plenty of brews available, as well as standout menu items like the Napa chicken sandwich and pan-seared salmon.

 

Sunday

Sleep in and grab brunch at TAPS Fish House & Brewery. Enjoy bottomless mimosas, fresh oysters and crab legs, omelets and, of course, plenty of desserts. After brunch, head to Tanaka Farms. This cute little farm offers "u-pick" tours for different types of produce, depending on the season. You can also buy from their stand, where they offer barbecue, fresh lemonades and juices, vegetables and fruits, jams and different snacks.

If you don't spend all day at Tanaka Farms (even though you can), consider another tour at ChocXO. This Irvine-based chocolate factory will take you behind-the-scenes tour of their inner workings, while also letting you sample their wares. You might also try booking this one on Saturday, when they offer their chocolate bark-making tutorial.

After your tour (whether healthy or indulgent), head to Irvine Spectrum. There's plenty of fun to be had at this shopping center-from a quick ride on the Ferris wheel to the The Ride 7D, a unique
little "amusement park" that offers thrilling, immersive rides that allow you to do everything from take down Godzilla to run from zombies. You might also head over to Dave & Busters for some arcade games or catch a movie at the theater.

Once you've worked up an appetite, Irvine Spectrum also offers tons of options for dinner. Check out BRIO Tuscan Grille for Italian, Urban Seoul 2.0 if you're looking for a fun fusion of Asian and
Latin flavors or Javier's Restaurant for any Mexican cravings. 

Monday

Grab breakfast at Mustard Cafe for a quick and easy bite-think: eggs and bacon, pancakes and other breakfast classics. Next, if you have kids in tow, Labor Day is the perfect time to head to Pretend City Children's Museum. The kid-friendly museum is open all Labor Day and will be
hosting the final day of its "Adventure Under the Sea" theme.

For lunch, turn to Mick's Karma Bar for delicious burgers or Burnt Crumbs for one of their special sliders. The Southern fried chicken option is a personal favorite.

Whether you have kids or not, you can also head out to the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center for that most quintessential of summer experiences: a dip in the pool. Open to the public, enjoy the water slide, diving pool and deep end for one final summer swim.

At night, relax with a low-key dinner at one of Diamond Jamboree's myriad options. Kids will love ordering via computer at KULA Revolving Sushi Bar, while adults won't mind the cocktails at Tokyo Table. Afterward, grab dessert at Afters or 85°C Bakery Cafe. It'll help ease the pain
of the work week returning. And, after all, you've earned it.

Ashley Burnett is a writer and editor living in southern California. Her work has previously appeared in Locale, LA Travel Magazine, TravelAge West and various other publications.   

Stargazing Tips for Travelers in Irvine

Posted by: Guest
Posted on: Monday, Aug 14, 2017


In previous posts, I've spoken about the wealth of outdoor recreation Irvine offers. But I haven't mentioned one activity that can extend your enjoyment of Irvine outdoors well into the night-stargazing.

While major population centers in Orange County make it more difficult to see the stars, there's always a way to discover the wonders of the night sky near Irvine. You could, for example, take advantage of the nighttime activities at Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. Docent-led hikes include viewing the stars through powerful telescopes, so be sure to check their calendar for opportunities during your trip.

Another popular stargazing venue near Irvine is the beach. Orange County's famous beaches are minutes away, no matter where you're staying in Irvine. Bring your blanket and your telescope and set up for an evening of star spotting. Here are some tips for optimizing your stargazing at the beach:

  • Check the website for the beach you plan to visit. Some Orange County beaches have a sunset curfew, while others are open to 10 p.m. and later.
  • Some Orange County beaches open as early as 5 a.m. Plan an early-morning star party and stay for the sunrise.

One more night-sky-viewing idea while visiting Irvine: Drive or take public transportation to Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles, where you can see the night skies through several
world-class telescopes every night the building is open. There's also a free star party one Saturday a month from 2 to 9:45 p.m.


 
2017 Solar Eclipse in Irvine

We can't discuss the celestial views from Irvine without mentioning this year's solar eclipse. While Irvine is south of the path of totality-the diagonal sweep across America where the August 21, 2017, solar eclipse will be most visible-you'll still be able to see about 65 percent of the eclipse from here.

If you plan to watch the partial eclipse from Irvine, be sure to purchase ISO- and CE-certified eclipse-viewing glasses to protect your vision. With proper eye gear in hand, make your way outdoors between 9:06 a.m. local time (when the Earth, sun and moon begin their alignment), 10:21 a.m. (when the greatest amount of the moon's shadow on the sun can be seen), all the way through 11:45 a.m., when the phenomenon concludes.

Prime places for solar eclipse watching in and around Irvine? Here are just a few suggestions to help you plan Solar Eclipse Day 2017:

  • Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park in San Juan Capistrano will host an eclipse-viewing event in the Nature Center parking lot. Special filtered telescopes will be available for viewing the eclipse safely.
  • Check out the Pretend City Children's Museum, which is opening early to host a Solar Eclipse Event. They'll be featuring special presentations to celebrate the eclipse, as well as helping museum visitors safely view the phenomenon.

  • Take a hike or a stroll in one of Irvine's premier outdoor spaces to view the partial eclipse in a beautiful setting. Irvine Regional Park and multiple natural areas within the Irvine Open Space Preserve offer trails, scenic views and outstanding surroundings in which to view the partial eclipse.
  • Although the UCI Observatory is now closed, former staff who presented fascinating demonstrations there now host public events such as the 2017 Eclipse Viewing at the UC
    Yosemite Field Station. Consider taking a road trip to this facility five hours north of Irvine in the town of Wawona.


Of course, the partial eclipse will be visible just about anywhere in Irvine, so put on your eclipse-viewing glasses and get outdoors to see it!

The near-perfect weather and exceptional outdoor spaces in Irvine will tempt you to step away from whatever brings you here and look to the heavens. Whether it's tracking the stars or watching the historic 2017 Solar Eclipse, Irvine has a beautiful place to do it. 

Joe Laing is the marketing director for El Monte RV, a nationwide RV rental company. Laing has
been on the road working within the travel industry for more than 20 years and greatly enjoys exploring the outdoors. He has been camping across the United States, from coast to coast, and makes a point to stop at national landmarks along the way. He is also actively involved in numerous campground associations, including
Recreation Vehicle Industry Association's Go RVing, as well as travel industry associations.

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