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Irvine Blog - Posts from Local Experts

Posts for May 2016

Filed In: Insider Scoop

Men's Travel Style Essentials with South Coast Plaza

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Even if you're on vacation to unwind, you want to look your best, especially for those photo ops and film moments. As the last segment of the Travel Essentials Series featuring brands from South Coast Plaza, I am excited to share a selection of luxe men's clothing and accessories that can be worn casually poolside or at the beach, hanging at the OC Great Park or dressed up for a dinner date, night out or grabbing a cold brew.

Here are two stores, Sandro and John Varvatos at South Coast Plaza that are providing the upmost on-trend clothing and accessories for effortless men's style. Styling a vacation or daily outfit does not have to be complicated; here are a handful of pieces from both stores that will take the guesswork out of your travel wardrobe and allow time for you to completely relax and enjoy your vacation. 


Sandro has a great selection of contemporary and hip men's clothing perfect for travel and lounging.  Style a handful of tees, polos, and button downs along with shorts or slacks; the Beach Polo Shirt is 100% linen with a resort feel and can easily be worn with board shorts or Bermuda shorts during the day at the pool or for sightseeing, then transitioned to trousers like Sandro's Alpha Trousers which has an athleisure look to them (athletic + leisure) for an evening out. The slip on sneakers means no tying, so just throw them on to complete your outfit; and the suede finish gives the sneakers a dressier look. Travel essentials are not complete without a backpack or bag to carry your things; this Tracker Backpack has a modern, athletic look and is very functional with outside and inside compartments.

John Varvatos has the quintessential pieces to put together polished, luxe looks. The store has a vast array of henley tees and quirky printed button downs that can be styled with versatile shorts and slacks and embellished with a scarf or knit blazer. I was amazed at the selection of shoewear for men from leather high top sneakers and dress shoes to boat shoes and espadrilles. Their backpacks and messenger bags (and they also have larger duffle bags) will have you traveling in style without sacrificing functionality. Both the shoe and bag lines have the nicest, high quality craftmanship. John Varvatos has everthing you need to create or add missing pieces to your travel wardrobe and you can additionally style their pieces for your day to day outfits all while looking like a charming, well-dressed gentleman. 



Visit Sandro and John Varvatos at South Coast Plaza

3333 Bristol St,
Costa Mesa, CA 92626 

SANDRO - 714-557-2820
Level 2 - Bloomingdale's Wing

JOHN VARVATOS -  714-545-5551
Level 1 - Between Jewel and Carousel Courts

Happy Traveling & Shopping!

Amanda | Feast.Fashion.Faves

Filed In: Family Friendly

Summer Movies on the Lawn @ The Great Park

Posted by: Terry Winkler
Posted on: Saturday, May 28, 2016

I am so ready for summer! Warm nights, starry skies, picnic dinners...ahhh, perfect OC Summer fixin's.  One of my favorite things to do is spend an evening watching movies under the stars.

The Great Park is kicking off the summer movie series with two film flavors: Friday nights feature old Hollywood classic movies (my fav!).

Saturday nights are filled with animated family fun, starting on June 4th with Home, starring the voice talents of Jim Parsons, Steve Martin, Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez.

Friday Hollywood classics will start on June 10th with Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. A perfect summer date night to share with someone special.

Grab a blanket, chairs, friends and family and go enjoy this FREE outdoor cinematic experience at the OC Great Park! Movie begins at dusk. Bring low-back chairs, blankets and a picnic, or purchase items from the food trucks or snack bar. Movies are weather permitting.

The Orange County Great Park is located at 6950 Marine Way on the corner of Sand Canyon and Marine Way, and can easily be reached by the 5 or 405 freeways.

Here's the Summer Movie Schedule

June 4 - Home
An alien on the run makes friends with a brave girl who is on a mission of her own. Rated PG (2015), 94 minutes

June 10 - Roman Holiday
An American reporter and a princess hiding from her formal duties find whirlwind romance while touring Rome. Not rated (1953), 118 minutes

June 11 - Hotel Transylvania 2
A vampire, with the help of his monster friends, teaches his grandson how to be a monster. Rated PG (2015), 89 minutes

June 17 - Singin' In The Rain
Gene Kelly stars in this classic musical about Hollywood stars going from silent films to the talking pictures we know today. Not rated (1952), 103 minutes

June 18 - Minions
The minions are up to mayhem and mischief as they travel the world looking for an evil leader to follow.
Rated PG (2015), 91 minutes

June 24 - Bringing Up Baby
A potential $1 million dollar donation and a Brazilian leopard named Baby bring together a reserved paleontologist and a wealthy heiress. Not rated (1938), 102 minutes

June 25 - The Peanuts Movie
The beloved Peanuts gang is back, as Snoopy and Charlie Brown take on new and epic adventures. Rated PG (2015), 93 minutes

July 8 - State Fair
In the Frake family, everyone has something to gain when the Iowa State Fair comes to town for the summer. Not rated (1945), 100 minutes

July 9 - Kung Fu Panda 3
Po the panda returns to teach his new students the secrets of kung fu and finds a family he never knew he had. Rated PG (2016), 95 minutes

Let's Get Out! Irvine's Guide To The Best Outdoor Adventures

Posted by: Guest
Posted on: Friday, May 27, 2016

CBS Los Angeles

(credit: Petr Kopka/shutterstock)
(credit: Petr Kopka/shutterstock)

Summer is just around the corner! Are you looking to get outside more and enjoy all that the Irvine area has to offer? Whether you're looking to just relax and stretch your legs or you're itching to get in a good workout, the warmer temperatures make the summer a prime time to get out and do some exploring.
Irvine Open Space Preserve

Incorporated some 45 years ago, Irvine has done an excellent job of fostering the city's growth while still preserving all the natural beauty in and around it. With Irvine Open Space Preserve, locals and visitors can enjoy seeing the area's flora and fauna on the preserve's thousands of acres of native habitat.
Residents and those visiting the Preserve have many means with which to explore all there is to offer. Whether you're looking to take a hike, enjoy a bike ride, or ride a horse, there are numerous trails to cover during your excursion. For sizable groups of people wanting to visit the area (opens beginning at 7 a.m., closes at the time of sunset), take note that a permit is required.
The Mountains to Sea Trail

Encompassing nearly two dozen miles of the scenic outdoors, The Mountains to Sea Trail has something for just about everyone. A decade ago, the Trail received the distinction of being tabbed  a "National Recreation Trail" from the "National Park Service Rivers and Trails Assistance Program." Those who decide to do the entire trail are treated to a great workout, and will see some of the natural beauty that runs through nearly half-a-dozen towns and cities along the way. Don't hurry your trek through here; instead, take your time to enjoy the area's wildlife, plants, trees and more. Whether you decide to walk, hike or bike, a day-trip here is definitely worth your time.
Bommer Canyon
6400 Shady Canyon Drive

The City of Irvine, acquired Bommer Canyon more than 30 years ago from The Irvine Company. For a good day's workout among all that nature has to offer, Irvine's Bommer Canyon is another great destination for those who love the outdoors. Starting at 7 a.m., hikers, bikers, and more can enjoy the trails that encompass Bommer Canyon. 
A portion of the former Irvine Ranch Cattle Camp is part of the experience for those wanting to see some history on their tour of the Canyon. If you want to make the setting part of a family reunion, wedding or more, the area can be rented out for the day from April through October (reservations necessary).
Quail Hill Trailhead
34 Shady Canyon Drive
Irvine, Ca. 92603

The outdoors beckon you from the Quail Hill Trailhead. Nestled in natural beauty, this two-mile trail (for the most part, the terrain is flat) is great for a leisurely walk, run, or even bike ride. From birds to animals native to the area, don't be surprised to see a variety of nature during your time here. One of the many benefits to this trail is that dogs are permitted, so bring your furry friend out to get some exercise along side you.
San Joaquin Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary
5 Riparian View
Irvine, Ca. 92612
(949) 453-5300

If you enjoy seeing different bird species and other wildlife in their natural surroundings, you've come to the right place. Hundreds of acres of land give visitors the opportunity to stroll or get in a good workout during their visit. With a dozen miles of trails, visitors will be more than satisfied with their time spent here.
Open seven days a week (dawn to dusk), there is no cost to access the area for residents or visitors. There is free parking, along with bathroom facilities. While you can see office buildings in the background, keep in mind that you are out in some of nature's most beautiful surroundings. In fact, this used to be a great area for duck hunting back in the day.

Women's Travel Style Pieces at South Coast Plaza

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Friday, May 27, 2016

As apart of the Travel Essentials series featuring brands at South Coast Plaza, here's a look at luxe womens fashion pieces you can add to your wardrobe while traveling to Irvine or Orange County. I selected a handful of pieces fitting for wearing while traveling as well as for sightseeing, shopping or dining and entertainment.

When thinking about what to pack for a trip, I always take weather into consideration; being that you'd be traveling to sunny Orange County (well, mostly sunny), these pieces will be great for wearing in our mild to hot temps. I also like to pack clothing and accessories that are versatile and can be worn multiple ways (to cut down on the amount of items I pack), therefore, most pieces that I rounded up for this feature can be styled from a day to night look.

Vacation means you will most likely be documenting your trip in one form or the other, whether posting onto social media or printing photos to frame for your home or office; you'll want to put your best outfit forward for any photos and film footage. South Coast Plaza has an amazing selection of contemporary womens stores that offer a variety of statement, yet timeless pieces to add to your travel and long-standing wardrobe. I stopped into MAJE and SANDRO for key fashion pieces that can be seamlessly added to your travel style when visiting Irvine/Orange County.  


Maje is the epitome of all things pretty, chic and effortless. I could spend hours in this store. Whether traveling by plane or car, you always want a coverup piece to snuggle in or keep warm (in the chilly plane) without bringing a blanket with you. Maje has the perfect shawls and ponchos that are easy to throw over any outfit such as a t-shirt and jeans or shorts for a daytime / travel look. To take your shawl to an evening look, wear a basic top, black skinny jeans, heels or heeled booties, belt your shawl together and add a necklace. 

An easy way to look put together but not have to think about what to wear is by packing/shopping for statement dress styles; I don't mean a formal gown, but printed or textured dresses that need no other styling except for a handbag and shoes. My eye was immeditately drawn to a lace-type of white dress which can be styled casually with a light trench coat, pastel jacket or coat, or suede or leather jacket (for an edgier look). This dress also looks fresh, and along with the flowy, striped maxi-style dress I selected are perfect for wearing poolside or at the beach while walking along the boardwalk or dining on an oceanside patio for brunch. Both dresses can be styled with a sandal or booties for day and heels for night. If you want a dressier evening look, you can style a statement necklace that sits right along the neckline of the white lace dress; or a long or layered necklace for the striped maxi dress. 


Sandro is my go-to for a hip fashion-forward, street style kind of look. They have a great selection of blousey tops and shorts, so I selected two top and short looks that can be worn at the pool, for shopping, or a fun day at the beach. Each look can be styled with a simple sneaker or with sandals or wedges. Both tops have some kind of detail that sets it apart from just any ol' top, one top has a bold stripe with crochet sleeve details, and the other a retro plaid print with a back tied bow detail; each can be styled with what you already have and give off an effortlessly street chic look.

For a dressier look, I grabbed a flowy, printed midi dress that can be worn alone for a day look or easily paired with a suede or leather jacket for an evening look. The dress is cinched at the center and you can therefore accessorize with a belt over the cinch for a different look.

If you're into trends, Sandro has a plethora of unique, retro-inspired cuts and pieces that would make for a great outfit statement. 

Both MAJE and SANDRO are located on the 2nd floor of the Bloomingdale's wing of South Coast Plaza.  

3333 Bristol St,
Costa Mesa, CA 92626 
MAJE (714) 557-2933
SANDRO (714) 557-2820

Looking for things to go in Irvine/Orange County? Check out the events calendar here

Happy Shopping & Travels!

Amanda | Feast.Fashion.Faves 

Travel Accessories with Kate Spade at South Coast Plaza

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Saturday, May 21, 2016

As apart of the Travel Essentials Series featuring brands throughout South Coast PlazaKate Spade is my next stop for uncovering the most beautiful and resort themed handbags, hats, sunglasses, swimwear and more. Walking into the recently opened Costa Mesa flagship location is a magical experience; you are taken through a series of rooms that showcase various categories such as new styles, homegoods, bridal, kids clothing, shoes, the Madison Ave. Collection, and swimwear. 
Each room is more ellaborate than the last with custom wall paper and furnishings; from ceiling to floor, there is so much to look at and shop. Even each fitting room showcases personality and quirkiness (one room has a selfie wall)! 
The Kate Spade team was extremely accomodating, knowledgable and fun to work with on finding all of the vacation accessories that could be picked up if your're traveling to Orange County for a getaway. I found a plethroa of palm tree and seahorse embellished handbags, hats, scarves, shoes and tees; sunglasses and jewelry that make for a seamless and chic addition to any outfit; the swimwear collection features bikinis and swimsuits with a retro, pin-up inspired look; and the woven and straw handbags and totes fitting for a beach trip or poolside style.  

3333 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626 

Phone: 714-662-3956 

Level 2
Bloomingdale's Wing

Filed In: History

Lyon Air Museum: Wings of Freedom Tour

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Thursday, May 19, 2016

My Dad has always been my hero. 

On recent visit to the Lyon Air Museum in Irvine, I learned that he's a hero to others as well. 

I grew up hearing about his service in World War II, how he lied about his age and told the enlistment officer that he was a year older than his actual age of 17, so he could have the chance to join the Air Force. 

Then in 1946, 19-year-old Merle Baker, who had never travelled more than a few hours from his hometown of Chicago, shipped off to the exotic islands of the South Pacific. 

He joined Operation Crossroads as an Air Force photographer. His mission: take pictures of atomic bomb tests from the air. 

As a kid, I heard about the day he climbed into the belly of a  B-29 Bomber, opened the door at 15,000 feet, and took pictures of the blast below. 

I used to imagine my Dad high above that massive, sepia-tone, mushroom cloud pictured in his old photographs, and I always asked him the same question,

"Were you scared?"

"No," he always said. "I was just a kid."

70 years later, as we walked through the Lyon Air Museum, he's no longer a kid. The museum's collection of vintage war planes and bombers tower over him and it's hard to imagine that he's the same young man with the strong jaw and steely, blue eyes that stare out from his Air Force photograph. 


We're here for the "Wings of Freedom Tour," an exhibition of vintage war planes that have been lovingly restored by the Collings Foundation, a non-profit group that organizes and supports "living history" events at airports across the country. On display are three planes; a B-24 Liberator, a B-17 Flying Fortress, and a WWII P-51C Mustang dual-control fighter aircraft. 

I'm here to learn about these amazing planes. Dad is here to take a ride. 


After checking in and getting his boarding pass, we stand near the window with other museum visitors and watch groups of excited passengers board the planes. I wonder for a moment if this is a good idea. Will this experience be too strenuous for a man nearing his 90th birthday? There are no entry steps to the plane. Passengers hoist themselves up to board, just like young servicemen did decades ago. I look over to see if my Dad is nervous, and see that he's smiling. 

"Do you hear that sound?" he says, as the drone of the propellers gets louder during takeoff. "There's nothing like it."

Soon it's his turn and I watch him take his place with the others near the B-17.

They are all vintage plane enthusiasts, but Dad is the only one old enough to have been on one during active duty. They regard him with respect and shake his hand.

He smiles and shares his stories as they listen attentively. I am no longer worried. I am proud of him all over again. 

The Lyon Air Museum is a wonderful place. It's a treasure trove of historic preservation tucked away on the west side of Orange County's John Wayne Airport. Established by Major General William Lyon, the museum captures the remarkable history of World War II aviation. Its mission is to share stories of aviation's past and inspire visitors to preserve the heritage of the greatest generation.

I brought my father to the "Wings of Freedom" tour so that he could have the gift of going back in time, but I received a gift as well. I got a chance to see my Dad in a new light. My hero was an heroic example to others. 

For an afternoon, he was still my Dad and my kids' Grandfather. But as he got off the plane, eyes twinkling as he gave me an enthusiastic thumbs-up, I had the chance to see that teenager from Chicago too. 


19300 Ike Jones Road
Santa Ana, CA 92707
Phone: 714-210-4585


10 AM to 4 PM, every day


General: $12
Ages 5-17: $6
Under 5: Free
Seniors & Veterans: $9
Groups: $1-Off
School Groups: Free (Grades K - 12. By reservation only. Other restrictions may apply)

Filed In: Insider Scoop

Travel Skincare with Fresh at South Coast Plaza

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Tuesday, May 10, 2016

My first step into Fresh at South Coast Plaza and I was completely entranced by the fragrant scents, and airy, yet quaint feeling of the storefront space. As apart of a travel essentials series highlighting shops throughout SCP, Fresh is our first feature and has all of the products you would need to take care and maintain healthy, glowing skin while on vacation in Irvine or surrounding cities.

South Coast Plaza and the shops in this series are great places to stop in if you're already travelling in OC and looking to add to your vacation wardrobe or to add to your beauty/skincare regiment. 

I was greeted by sales consultant Kerry who showed me around Fresh and gathered the must-have skincare items for traveling. These essentials are also great for day to day use, made of natural ingredients and yummy scents, are for men and women, as well as suitable for all skin types. 

You'll want your travel skincare arsenal to include products that will sun protect, cleanse, detox, hydrate & moisturize, and refresh & soothe.  

The travel essentials from Fresh include the Umbrian Clay Mask and or Rose Face Mask; The Soy Face Cleanser; The Rose Floral Toner; The Sugar Sport Treatment Sunscreen and or Sugar Lip Treatment Sunscreen. Some products can be used alone or in conjunction with each other. 


Right off the bat, this cleanser needs to come home with me. Kerry noted that I don't need to add water to lather it up, it is meant to be applied dry and massaged on your face until it lathers then add water to continue massaging and rinse off. It is an extra-gentle cleanser and also serves as a makeup remover so it's eye-area friendly! 

Use this to eliminate day to day impurities without stripping your skin of moisture; this is a particular good product for sensitive skin but works well for all skin types. Who doesn't want glowing, soft skin?! What I like is that this cleanser is a no brainer and the cleanser I need to be taking with me on all vacations.  

The cleanser is packed with amino acid-rich soy proteins which help maintain elasticity and healthy skin; rosewater for calming and balancing; cucumber extract to soothe skin; and borage seed oil to nourish.


After being in the heat, whether poolside at the hotel, sunbathing on a sandy beach, or taking a stroll down the boardwalk; all I want is a refreshing mist on my face for a cooling and hydrating effect. This Rose Floral Toner is an alcohol-free toner that not only re-hydrates your skin throughout the day, but also has has significant moisturizing and skin-soothing properties (not to mention it also has a nice natural aroma from the rosewater. 

Spray directly onto your face with your eyes closed or use a cotton pad to apply all over you face and neck twice and day in the morning and evening after cleansing and prior to using serums or creams. The toner can also be used to set makeup!


Sun protection is a MUST, from daily-use to vacationing, it is imperative that you protect your skin. Even if you're not out in the sun for extended periods of time, there are still moments during your day in which your skin is exposed. This newest product launch, the Sugar Sport Treatment Sunscreen SPF30, is water-resistant and meant to not only protect your skin, but also moisturize and nourish it.  It's also in the brightest and cutest packaging, and is a handy-dandy size which is perfect for on-the-go and traveling. 

The sunscreen is a balm that is applied to your face, lips and eye area; Kerry applied it to my hand, therefore I'm sure you can use it for at least your arms if you would like, but you may prefer a lotion instead for your body so it's more efficient to apply than a balm (they unfortunately do not currently produce a body sunscreen, hopefully it will be another new product launch in the near future).

Kerry said she applied it to her face and after being out in the sun for 2 hours, did not see any edness, irritation or sun burn (except for a small area near her hairline in which she forgot to apply sunscreen), and her skin usually burns very easily. 

Hands down, you need to protect your skin; this sunscreen is made up of sugar, a natural humectant known to prevent moisture loss; avocado oil, a moisturizing and emollient oil that contains vitamins D and E; meadowfoam and black currant seed oils to help moisturize; grapeseed oil to smooth and soften and is rich in antioxidants to protect from damaging free radicals; and you receive SPF 30 protection. Kerry emphasized that this is a great product to apply onto kids' faces because it's no fuss!



If you already have you sunscreen regimen on lock-down, have you thought about sun protection for your lips? Either way, it's good to give your lips some extra love; and you can do so with Fresh's Sugar Lip Treatment which has SPF15. 

From the very popular Sugar Lip Care line, this Sugar Lip Treatment is Fresh's best-seller. You'll not only protect your lips but also sooth and significantly moisturize. The lip treatment has been proven to keeps lips soft and supple for 6 hours.  


UMBRIAN CLAY PURIFYING MASK $62 (a travel size is coming soon to the SCP store)

This is your ultimate detox mask. I usually stay away from clay masks as it can get too messy for me and be too thick of a consistency. This clay mask is magic; Kerry used the included mini spatula to apply the mask onto my skin, they rubbed it out until it was a thin layer (a little goes a long way). The mask did not seem thick on my skin at all and actually felt quite refreshing. It takes about 3-5 minutes to dry, then you rinse. You can also use the mask as a deep cleanser and apply to damp skin then rinse. 

Kerry mentioned that this is THE perfect mask to use while traveling to really cleanse and purify your skin after being on a plane or just around the elements and you want your skin to be able to breath as well as have a smoother complexion! The mask minimizes pores and can also be used as spot treatment to assist in minimizing imperfections. 

Within this clasy mask; the umbrian clay has high-mineral content to balance and clarify the complexion; the sandalwood oil acts as astrigent properties and helps calm skin; and chamomile and lavendar water are known for their soothing properties. And it does NOT dry our your skin.

The mask can be used alone or applied first, then followed by the Rose Face Mask for a boost of hydration and to tone your skin. Additionally, if you are not the face mask type, but you would like to experience the umbrian clay benefits; you can try the Umbrian Clay Purifying Facial Toner.


If you want your skin to be hydrated, nourished and look as radiant as ever, the rose face mask is the way to go. At first glance it looks like a jam/jelly and when you smell it; it has the most beautiful scent of roses and that's because it is infused with real rose petals and pure rosewater.
This mask is also made up of antioxident-rich green tea to brighten and protect skin; Porphyridium cruentum, a "smart" algae, delivers optimum moisture; and cucumber extract and aloe gel (which is how you get that gel-consistency) that soothes skin and has an immediate cooling affect on the skin, which I mentioned to Kerry because I could feel the mask cooling right as she applied it onto my skin. 
A little bit of this mask also goes a long way, and I'm interested to experience how my skin would look after using both masks together as Kerry had suggested so you get an all-around, encompassing treatment for your face. If you want to use the rose face mask by itself, apply to moist, damp skin and leave on for 5-10 minutes, then rinse. 
This mask is great for post-pool or day at the beach to calm the skin after being exposed to the sun. This is also fitting for if you didn't reapply your sunscreen and have a little bit of redness or a sunburn, as the aloe in the mask will be quite soothing for your skin.
And that's the roundup of travel must-faves from Fresh at South Coast Plaza. Come into Fresh, and meet Kerry and the wonderful staff, who will be so amazing to work with to assist you in finding the best product(s) for any skincare challenges, or treating yourself or gifting others with luxurious bath products and fragrances. There's a wide selection of yummy soaps, bodycare, haircare, candles, fragrances, and more (I hear a hotel room spa night in the works). They even gift wrap, and it is the most minimalistic yet exquisite packaging I've ever laid eyes upon. 
Fresh | South Coast Plaza

3333 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Phone:(714) 549-7086

1st floor, on the Bloomingdales side and facing the carousel.

Stay tuned for the rest of the travel essentials series in which I will showcase women's and men's fashion as well as swimwear and accessories right from South Coast Plaza stores. 

Happy Traveling and Shopping!

Amanda | Feast.Fashion.Faves 

Hike Irvine's Quail Hill Loop with man's best friend

Posted by: Guest
Posted on: Thursday, May 05, 2016

Written by Agnes Constante

There's a bountiful amount of activities ready for the taking in Irvine. From an abundance of restaurants, shopping options and outdoor adventures, there's something to do for everyone - including your dog!

If you're looking to do something with man's best friend in Irvine, the 1.8-mile Quail Hill Loop is a perfect option. And, fun fact: It's the only wilderness trail in the Natural Landmarks that allows people to hike with their dog(s) on a leash.

Quail Hill Loop is a really family-friendly trail that's pretty easy with a small stretch of incline that shouldn't be too difficult regardless of your level of fitness. The pathway is entirely dirt and is pretty close to the 405 freeway that on the majority of the loop, you can see and hear cars driving by. It's not too distracting, though, and it's actually kind of unique that the trail is located where it is.


Another cool part of the trail is that visitors can take an audio tour around the loop! Simply dial (949) 743-5943 on your cell phone and enter the number that corresponds to the marked locations around the path. While this tour is free of charge, visitors will be responsible for covering any costs associated with minute or data consumption.

One of the best parts of Quail Hill Loop is Vista Point, which offers a beautiful, panoramic view of the freeway and city.

Before walking or jogging this trail, it's worth noting that there's no shade. So if you go on a warm day, be sure to bring some water, a hat and/or sunscreen.

While this loop is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts, novice hikers, and other similar individuals, it is also a great spot for photography aficionados! The scenery is great for photo shoots, especially if you go into the taller-than-average grass.

The loop is open daily from 6am to sunset and can be reached via the Quail Hill Trailhead, located at:

34 Shady Canyon Drive,
Irvine, CA 92603

Parking is free and there are clean bathrooms on site to use.

Photos by Agnes Constante

Chef Spotlight: Shirley Chung

Posted by: Guest
Posted on: Monday, May 02, 2016

Written by Agnes Constante

When Twenty Eight chef partner Shirley Chung came to the United States, she was 17 years old seeking her college education. Born in Beijing, China, Shirley always loved food and was exposed to a variety of cuisines by her grandmother who had traveled the world.

"She believed in introducing the world through food," Shirley says.

"The way for me to explore the world is always putting something in my mouth."

Despite her long love for food, Shirley wound up graduating from college with a bachelor's degree in business administration, after which she worked for five years in Silicon Valley as a high tech regional sales manager for a semi conductor company focusing on firmware. At that point, she viewed cooking as a hobby. But after seeing a commercial for the California Culinary Academy, she signed up and pursued her passion for food.

Shirley is trained in classic French and Italian cuisine and became Top Chef season 11 New Orleans and Top Chef dual finalist.

Twenty Eight opened in December 2014, and she has served as chef partner since.

What are must-try menu items for people visiting Twenty Eight for the first time?
Pork belly buns, siomais, and the dim sum menu. 

For regular items, everything changes seasonally.

Our seasonal menus always come seasonally and we check what we have. We get our amazing seafood locally so we go to fisherman from Newport Pier, My fisherman's only 10 minutes away, and then we all shop at Irvine Mariners Church Farmers Market every Saturday. So we go with the season and what's available right now. 

Why should people try out Twenty Eight?
We're unique. We cook modern American fare with a Chinese soul. They're truly unique dishes. I also like to showcase what I accumulated over the years of my culinary experience, but mostly showcase what we have in Southern California, what we have in Irvine.

What is your favorite Twenty Eight dish to cook?
My current season favorite is my magical mushroom garden.

I like to say I'm a trendsetter because I have my take on new and more modern food dishes. It's a hard question because my cuisine - everything inspires me.

I like my dishes to tell a story but every season I put out different dishes. I cook with my feeling, I cook with my environment, what inspires me. So it's really hard to tell you what's my favorite because I change every season. 

What are three words that describe Twenty Eight?

Exciting, elegant, and delicious food.

What's your favorite guilty pleasure snack?
Dark chocolate, any time any day.

If you didn't become a chef, what would you be doing?
Most likely I would still be in the tech industry because I was
doing really well in that industry as well.

What's the best part about being head chef at Twenty Eight?
I have an amazing team and I have a really, really, great and understanding business partner. We share the same vision, but I think because of where we're at, I have all these great resources around me: fresh produce, fish and then meeting all local industry people is really great. And everybody I'm meeting and who are becoming my friends, because I'm new to Orange County,
I feel a really warm welcome in Orange County.

*Photos courtesy of Twenty Eight

2017-2018 Visitors Guide
Visitors Guide
Whether here for a business trip or a family vacation, let our free Visitors Guide be your constant companion.  More
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36 Executive Park, Suite 100 · Irvine, CA 92614
Phone: 949-660-9112
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