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Irvine Blog - Posts from Local Experts

Posts for March 2016

Whole Foods Market Irvine Opens March 16

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Tuesday, Mar 15, 2016

This is the moment many Irvine and Orange County residents have been waiting for, the opening of the Whole Foods Market in the Los Olivos Marketplace (on the other side of the 405 freeway across from the Irvine Spectrum Center). I myself have been anxiously awaiting this momentous occasion, as I am all about getting my hands on natural and organic food, produce and health/beauty products; and now, I don't have to drive to Fashion Island in Newport Beach (as much as I love Newport) to get my Whole Foods fix. 

The Whole Foods Market Irvine location opens March 16, 2016 at 9am! This will be the 41st store in Southern California and brings more than 150 jobs to the area. The location will be open daily 7am-10pm; enjoy and shop 42,638-square-feet of shopping, dining delights and entertainment. Whole Foods Market Irvine will bring a mix of innovative offerings and vibrant designs which reflect the community. 

I'm most excited about the juice & smoothie bar, the bar restaurant, self-serve pizza, and made-to-order poke; can I just live there?! Whole Foods Market Irvine offers an array of options for health enthusiasts, devoted foodies and shoppers with families; as well as offerings for those looking to stop in for a quick lunch or pick up groceries after work. This is pretty much the go-to location for all your food needs and a convient location for Orange County residents and professionals. 


Join the Whole Foods Market team members, city officials and the community tomorrow, March 16th 9am for a "bread-breaking" ceremony. Shoppers can enjoy free samples and the first 300 shoppers will receive a reusable shopping bag (while supplies last). From 10am-12pm, kids (all ages) can enjoy bag decorating with vegetable stamps made of potatoes, wood blocks and corks. There will be food and beverage demos, a DJ, selfie station and photo contest for a $100 gift card. 

If you're a Wi-Fi nut like I am, this location offers free Wi-Fi to shoppers in seating areas throughout the store, and there's also a kid-friendly section in the grocery department as well as a Kids' Club that will host events and activities for families' young children. Shoppers who buy a case of any product receive 10% off.

Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, Whole Foods Market Irvine is also involved in and supports our community, this location has partners with like-minded organizations including the Irvine Public School Foundation which will receive 5% of the store's net sales on Thursday March 24. 

See you at the new Whole Foods Market Irvine!

Los Olivos Marketplace

8525 Irvine Center Dr, Irvine CA 92618

 Photos taken Amanda during a media viewing of Whole Foods Market Irvine on 3/14/16

Filed In: Dining

Chef Spotlight: Jason Montelibano

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Monday, Mar 07, 2016

EATS Kitchen & Bar - Irvine

Orange County Restaurant Week begins on Sunday, March 6th and continues through Saturday, March 12th 2016. 

It's the perfect time to get out there and explore culinary creations all over the county. 

Each participating restaurant will be serving up their best dishes at discounted prices. 

All week long, the food will take center stage. But the chef working behind the scenes in the kitchen deserves to share the spotlight.

Jason Montelibano has been the executive chef at EATS Kitchen and Bar since it debuted in 2015. Before that, the graduate of Le Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena was Executive Chef at Chapter One in Santa Ana.

But his love for cooking goes all the way back to his childhood kitchen in the Philippines, where he was raised on the traditional dishes of his mother and grandmother. 

The result is California regional cuisine with Filipino flair; a creative twist on comfort food classics. 


5 Questions with Chef Jason.... 

If someone is visiting EATS Kitchen & Bar for the first time....they shouldn't  leave without trying.....

Definitely the EATS Burger, which is on our lunch menu for OC Restaurant Week. It has been on the menu since we opened and is definitely our go-to burger of choice. The saltiness from the bacon paired with the sharpness of the white cheddar and sweetness of the pear jam goes so well together. Guests are always surprised by the combination, but then they come back to order it over and over. It's hands down one of the most popular dishes on the menu. 

Three words that describe EATS Kitchen... 

Creative, relaxed, local. And Pork.

Why do you like participating in Orange County Restuarant Week? 

Restaurant week is the perfect time to introduce new guests to our restaurant. Everyone is always looking to check out new places or a spot they've heard of but maybe never been to. It's just a great way to make some new friends and new fans while we showcase a few of our crowd   favorites that are on the menu. Plus, our regulars jump at the chance to come in for lunch or   dinner since the pricing is such a deal during Restaurant Week. 

Favorite Guilty Pleasure Snack.... 

Fried chicken and caramel crunch ice cream. Not necessarily together, but that's not out of the question.

If you didn't become a chef, what would you be doing? 

Growing up, I thought i'd be an engineer. Today, if I wasn't in the kitchen, I'd be rocking out in a band as their drummer. Or at least that's what i'd be dreaming about!

How would you describe your cooking style? 

I usually joke around and say that I'm a fat kid at heart. And then I think about it, and I really am a fat kid at heart! There's honestly nothing I would say no to when it comes to food. I'll eat just about anything, and there's a good chance i'm going to really like it. 

EATS Kitchen & Bar is offering multi-course lunch and dinner specials all week long.

Orange County Restaurant Week Menus - $10 for lunch, $20 for dinner

in Hotel Irvine
17900 Jamboree Road, Irvine 92614 

OC Restaurant Week 2016 at Holsteins Shakes and Buns

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Saturday, Mar 05, 2016

OC Restaurant Week kicks off tomorrow Sunday March 6 and runs until March 12. Get your fill of amazing pre fixe lunch and dinner menus at restaurants all over Orange County. I had the wonderful opportunity to get my first taste of OCRW at Holsteins Shakes and Buns at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. Known for their innovative burgers, small bites, delicious entrées, salads and signature "Bamboozled" shakes, Holsteins originates from Las Vegas, with Orange County being its second location, and a third coming soon to Portland, Oregon!

I came into Holsteins starving and left in a complete and utter food coma. When you first walk in (from the street entrance and not from inside Bloomingdales), you are greeted by the Holsteins neon pink signature cow. All around the restaurant, the walls are accented by bright and instinctually nostalgic pop art from local artists including Shelby and Sandy, Juan Muniz, and KD Matheson. The restaurant space features rustic, leather-tufted booths with matching banquettes and red leather accent chairs; as well as many flat-screen TVs sprinkled throughout the restaurant for your viewing pleasure.


Holsteins also boasts a beer cellar with private seating for up to 12 guests complete with its own entertainment area set below the main floor, plus a more intimate private dining room, perfect for semi-large groups seeking a space to host their upcoming event or party. Enough of the restaurant tour, let's get down to Holstein's OC Restaurant Week menu. For only $20 a person, you receive a 3-course meal which includes 1 appetizer (fried pickles or poutine fries), 1 burger (gold standard, the crazy bird or the captain hook), and 1 dessert (chocolate stout trifle, see the menu offerings below).

I tasted almost the entire OCRW menu items so that I can share my thoughts of each dish. I started with the fried pickles, which are the best fried pickles I've ever had due to the perfectly fried batter. The pickles didn't fall apart while biting into them and the herb-caper mayo was the perfect sauce complement. My dinner guest does not like pickles whatsoever, and he even thoroughly enjoyed eating fried pickles. The poutine fries were not overwhelemed with toppings, but I would have preferred just a smidge more gravy and for the short rib to be a tad more shredded.

My dinner guest ordered the Gold Standard which is a staple burger for the restaurant, and I ordered The Captain Hook burger. The Gold Standard is your ultimate 'Bacon Cheeseburger' (however my dinner guest did not order the burger with cheese, but I could imagine that it would be even tastier with cheese); the tomato confit adds the most delicious roasted flavor due to the tomato being sliced in half, having the juice squeezed out and marinated in the tomato juice and other herbs for 3.5 hours before being roasted and placed in the burger. My The Captain Hook burger was one of the best salmon burgers I've ever eaten; it features seared and smoked salmon which work very well with the tangier tastes of the remoulade sauce and pickled shallots. The seared salmon was perfectly crisp and the textures of the seared and smoked salmon worked well with the frisee. 

We ended our dinner with a Chocolate Stout Trifile which is served in a glass, featuring decandent layers of chocolate stout cake, chocolate sauce and malted whipped cream. Although the chocolate sauce was very, very rich; it was complemented by the whipped cream and crunch from the carmelized bacon rice crispies. However, I would have preferred the carmelized bacon to be broken down and added as layers of the trifle instead of topping the dessert as a garnish. Delicious regardless! 

Our OC Restaurant Week meal was accompanied by Holstein's infamous booze-y (alcoholic) milkshakes; I ordered The Fatboy (uv candy bar vodka, reese's, pretzels, sprinkles, cap'n crunch, oreo cookies, butterfinger) and my dinner guest ordered Campfire S'mores (smirnoff marshmallow vodka, chocolate marshmallow, graham cracker crumbs). I have to say that when dining here, a milkshake is a MUST; and you can order one with or without alcohol; each milkshake is so unique and loaded with yummy goodness. 

Don't miss out on an opportunity to try Holsteins Shakes and Buns with this awesome OC Restuarant Week menu!  Check out the OCRW menu, the regular menu, and make reservations here!

Search OC Restaurant Week's participating restaurants by city here, or for specifically for Irvine here!

Happy Eating!



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