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Irvine Blog - Posts from Local Experts

Posts for March 2012

Day Hike/Date Night 2

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Sunday, Mar 25, 2012

header
 
  ----Upper Newport Bay----
 I checked another Irvine Ranch Natural Landmark off of the list with my recent visit to Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve; one of the last remaining and pristine estuaries in Southern California (operated by OC Parks & Newport Bay Conservancy). What is an estuary you might ask? It is "a place where fresh and salt water meet and mix". Upper Newport Bay in particular is a nature and ecological preserve of approximately 1,000 acres; a home to many species of birds and a community of grasslands and coastal sage scrub.
Although I stopped by quite early in the morning on a weekday, I still enjoyed a magnified view of the landscape through the binoculars on the rooftop lookout point of the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center; a facility that continually strives to maintain the conservation and preservation of the area's natural state through environmental education. This center is ideal for exploring our coastal wetlands, the habitats and wildlife that reside within them, and really gaining interesting knowledge. Check out school and family programs conducted here!
 
  - 2301 University Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949)923-2290 or (949)923-2295
-Free Parking
-Muth Center is open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-4pm, Free Admission
-Park open 7am-Sunset
 
While in college at UCI, I had volunteered a few times with the ROOTS program, an ongoing restoration event that occurs on Saturdays. I helped others remove invasive, plant natives from the land surrounding the bay, thus providing habitats for wildlife. 
There's going to be a huge EARTH DAY event taking place at the Muth Center, if you are free on Sunday April 22nd, definitely stop by! Flyer below!
scene
Take a walk, hike, run, ride your bike, or go bird watching along the 2.24 (One-Way) mile  Upper Bay Trail, apart of the 10.5 mile Back Bay Loop. *Kayak Tours in the bay, and horseback riding permitted on horse trails!
  binoculars
center
Peruse pretty pics (and add your own) in Newport Bay Conservatory's flikr album!
entrance
Posts with names of butterfly species that can be found in the area are scattered around, leading up to the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center.
butterfly pole
  bench
flyer
  sign
The Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive center has captivating architecture, and is quite the hidden gem; it can not be seen from street level! Want to get hands on and be apart of nature conservation and preservation? Become a volunteer!
triangles
  -----------------------------------------
 
  ----6ix Park Grill/6ix Bar- Hyatt Regency Irvine----
   I had the chance to taste 5 specialty burgers that are currently being served at 6ix Park Grill, a wonderful restaurant over at the Hyatt Regency Irvine. These 5 burgers are exclusive to Burger Wars, a contest that is taking place until April 9th. When you order one of the specialty burgers, you receive an entry into the contest which for the winner, yields either a 2-night stay in the Presidential Suite or 20,000 Gold Passport points. Eating more burgers will increase your chances of winning, I suggest coming on separate occasions to enjoy these burger delights. You can read about my experience here.
 
HAPPY HOUR HELPINGS:
Monday-Thursday 5:30-7:30
Friday 5-7:30
ipad 
After enjoying such delicious burgers, I had to come back with my friends the following evening to savor the Happy Hour menu. I was bummed that I couldn't make it to the $3 $4 $5 @6ix HAPPY HOUR on Fridays; $3-$5 appetizers dishes and drinks, 1/2 OFF bottles of WINE, AND BOGO(Buy 1 Get 1 Free) Entrees!
 
Regardless, my friends and I had a delightful time browsing through the beer and wine lists on the restaurant's iPad, and sharing Kobe Sliders and Green Bean Fries (a new FAVE...everyone MUST try!)
beer
Happy Hour Beers are 12oz, not what is shown above. But thought I would include.
wine bottles
Great Wine selection...not all is shown here.
kobe sliders
Kobe Sliders
  green bean fries
Green Bean Fries
fire pit
Lovely outside patio dining area with lounge chairs and a fire pit. Join friends here or come for a date, and relish in the delicious food, drinks, and intimate atmosphere! 
 
I'm looking forward to summer mixers at 6ix Park Grill; which include live music, wine tastings, and appetizers served to complement wine selections. 
 
Happy Exploring & Eating,
Amanda

Family Fun at the Irvine Spectrum

Posted by: Terry Winkler
Posted on: Saturday, Mar 24, 2012

One of my favorite places in OC for a fun family outing is the Irvine Spectrum.  It hosts a wide range of things to do - entertainment, shopping (my daughter's favorite), tons of great dining options the whole family will love, not to mention people watching the beautiful shoppers of OC.

Spectrum2Our most recent trip to the Irvine Spectrum was on a perfect Southern California day. We walked around the mall, window shopping while enjoying the beautiful weather.  We decided to take in a late afternoon movie matinee at the lush Edwards Irvine Spectrum 21, followed by a relaxing dinner at Paul Martin's American Bistro. 

My son's first impression:  "This movie theater is HUGE!"  With so many screens there's always a movie and show time to fit our schedule. This may sound like a "mom" thing, but I'm also a fan of the Edwards Irvine Spectrum because it's clean.  Don't you hate going to a theater with sticky floors and food spilled all over the place?  My son loved the state of the art customized soda machine where he could mix his own soda flavors.  I feel rather spoiled making my own vanilla coke with just the right amount of ice.  Taking in a movie at the Spectrum is always a treat.

Spectrum4When I was a kid my mom used to roast a prime rib every Sunday.  The aroma of the savory meal filled the house and I couldn't wait for dinnertime. Paul Martin's American Bistro now helps me relive my childhood with their Sunday dinners.  I love this menu of prime rib, mashed potatoes, salad and dessert.  It's Americana at its best.

I loved the comfortable yet sophisticated setting, with old brick, wood with a beautiful outdoor patio for outdoor dining in the fabulous OC climate.  The wine selection is impressive as is the quality of the Cedar Planked Salmon baked with shallots and bacon.  My daughter says the Bistro Burger was absolutely the best burger she's had in her whole life. It's a must try for any burger fan.

We ended the evening with a ride on the famous Ferris wheel. It's romantic for the adults and exciting for the kids as we all enjoy the spectacular view of the nighttime sky.  The Irvine Spectrum sets the stage for a lovely time with my family, which is just one of the reasons everyone should plan a visit to this lovely outdoor mall.

spectrum5

Filed In: History

Irvine: A Master Plan for Success

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Monday, Mar 05, 2012

In 1960, William Pereira was presented with an unprecedented opportunity. Not only had he been assigned to design a major university, but also to master-plan the entire community of which it would be a part.

William Pereira 

The concept of the new town, a residential environment that contained all of the elements needed for its citizens, was a revolutionary idea at the time. Similar communities had been created across the country with encouraging success. Irvine was to be the largest.

Early UCI 

 The university was intended to be the heart of the new community that would soon surround it.

Pereira wrote that "The "starfish shape" of the campus will allow the university to penetrate into the surrounding community, drawing strength from it and infusing it with intellectual vitality."

UCI 

After the University of California-Irvine was completed, Perieira moved his attention to developing the master plan for the city that would surround it.

Open Space 

In 1963 he wrote, "In recent years, we here in California have become rather expert at abusing our land and our resources. Here we have a tremendous opportunity to point people's tastes and expectations in another direction. And we can do it-the sheer size of the place makes almost anything possible."

Ray Watson 

On March 19, 1970, Irvine Company President William Mason and Vice President Ray Watson announced plans for the largest totally planned city in the western hemisphere.

The City of Irvine, comprising 53,000 acres, would be twice the size of the City of San Francisco.  

University Park 

It would be home to 24 separate residential villages, over 4,000 acres of industrial development, and 2,400 acres of open space for parks. 

Fluor

 But Irvine's most unique feature was not the quantity of its acreage, but the quality of life it offered.

The LA Times wrote, "...The plan presents an encouraging awareness of life values to go along with property values. Its accent is not as much on size and growth as on the quality of the environment."

 Jeffrey Open Space Trail

Today, over 40 years after its incorporation as a city, William Perieira's ideas are still receiving raved reviews.

The award winning school district, diverse corporate community, and its "safest city" designation, did not happen by mere coincidence.

It was all part of the plan. 

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