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Irvine Blog - Posts from Local Experts

Posts for June 2014

OC Parks Summer Concert Series has Begun!

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Monday, Jun 30, 2014

OC Parks Summer Concert Series kicked off last Thursday at Craig Regional Park in Fullerton with the band 'No Duh', a tribute band to 'No Doubt'. The entire series  will run until August 28th and hosted in the cities of Irvine, Orange, Fountain Valley, and Dana Point with a different band each Thursday evening. 
All ages are welcome, and admission and parking are free! Bring lawn chairs, blankets, and snacks and find the perfect spot in the grass to enjoy live music; or you can join the crowd in the front for a dance party. Food trucks were also stationed at the park site if you want to get your grub on. It was so fun to see everyone enjoying the music and energy of the band!
In Irvine, the concert series will take place at Mason Park; see the entire concert schedule below! 
noduhband4 noduhband5

Segerstrom Center Presents Summer Movie Monday Nights

Posted by: Terry Winkler
Posted on: Sunday, Jun 29, 2014

Orange County movie fans can look forward to another great summer of free and fun films at Segerstrom Center for the Arts as Movie Mondays returns for its eighth season on the Arts Plaza. Movie Mondays 2014 kicks off with the heartwarming 1935 classic The Little Colonel, starring Shirley Temple. Next up is the 1990 London jet set musical, Spice World, starring Scary, Sporty, Posh, Baby and Ginger Spice. Then it is off to turn-of-the-20th century Paris with the Academy Award®-winning musical Gigi, directed by Vincente Minnelli and featuring some of the most memorable Lerner & Loewe tunes. Continuing with the winner of this year's Audience Favorite Fan Poll, Cabaret, starring Oscar winners Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey. Shirley MacLaine as the eternal optimist in Sweet Charity wraps up the summer film series. Center audiences will have a chance to see MacLaine live when she makes her Center debut on September 20 in her one-woman show. 

The annual alfresco Movie Mondays is held on the Center's Arts Plaza and everyone's invite to bring your beach chairs, snacks and picnic dinners to enjoy movie classics as well as a selection of the best animated short films from this year's Newport Beach Film Festival, to be shown prior to each week's main feature. Set-up begins at 5:30 p.m., with the movie starting at dusk (approximately 8 p.m.).   If you don't have time to put together a picnic basket, there will be food trucks on hand to serve dinners.

Contests, such as trivia games and dance contests, will be held prior to each screening and are open to all movie-goers. Prizes such as show tickets, apparel, CD/DVDs and other fun items will be awarded to winners.

Littlest Colonel

July 7 - The Little Colonel.  Set immediately after The Civil War, Shirley Temple stars in this family comedy - drama as the spirited granddaughter who tries to mend the estranged relationship between her cantankerous grandfather (Lionel Barrymore) and dismayed mother (Evelyn Venable). The classic film features the famous stair-case dance duet between Temple and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson.   NR (children's classic), 1935, 80 minutes.  Family friendly

Spice World

July 14 - Spice World.  Bob Spiers (director of TV's Absolutely Fabulous) directed this feature-film debut of the five Spice Girls - Posh Spice, Sporty Spice, Scary Spice, Ginger Spice, and Baby Spice - as the quintet challenges the London pop scene during five days before their first live performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Photojournalists follow as they travel from press conferences to practice sessions to photo ops, passing London landmarks in the comfort of their cavernous Spicebus and emerging in a musical cascade of color, trendy clothes and blinding flashbulbs. Filmed in 43 days, the movie features cameos by everyone from Elton John and Elvis Costello, to Stephen Fry and Bob Hoskins.    Rated PG, 1997, 90 minutes              


July 21 - Gigi. Leslie Caron is Gigi, a young girl raised by two veteran Parisian courtesans (Hermione Gingold and Isabel Jeans) to be the mistress of the wealthy, handsome young Gaston (Louis Jourdan). When Gaston falls in love with Gigi and asks her to be his wife, Jeans is appalled: never has anyone in their family ever stooped to anything so bourgeois as marriage! Weaving in and out of the story is Maurice Chevalier as an aging boulevardier who, years earlier, had been in love with Gingold's character. Chevalier gets most of the best Lerner & Loewe tunes, including "Thank Heaven for Little Girls," "I'm Glad I'm Not Young Any More," and his matchless duet with Gingold, "I Remember it Well." Filmed on location in Paris, Gigi won several Oscars, including Best Picture.  Rated G, 1958, 116 minutes     


July 28 - Cabaret. (Winner of this year's Audience Favorite Fan Poll!) Originally a 1966 Broadway musical, this groundbreaking Bob Fosse musical uses the decadent and vulgar cabaret as a mirror image of German society sliding toward the Nazis, and this intertwining of entertainment with social history marked a new step forward for the movie musical. Michael York plays a British writer who comes to Berlin in the early 1930s in hopes of becoming a teacher. He makes the acquaintance of flamboyant American entertainer Sally Bowles, played by Liza Minnelli. Sally works at the Kit Kat Klub, a Berlin cabaret where each night the smirking, androgynous Master of Ceremonies (Joel Grey) introduces a jazz-driven "girlie show" to his debauched audience. Virtually all the film's musical numbers are staged within the confines of the Kit Kat Klub, and each song comments on the plot and on Germany's "progression" from hedonism to Hitlerism. Most of the Broadway score by John Kander and Fred Ebb was retained, with the welcome addition of "The Money Song." Although it lost Best Picture to The Godfather, Cabaret won eight Oscars, including awards to Minnelli, Grey and Fosse.   Rated PG, 1972, 128 minutes     Adult themes; not for children

Sweet Charity

August 4 - Sweet Charity. Young Shirley MacLaine plays Charity Hope Valentine who, despite her job at a seedy dime-a- dance joint and topsy-turvy romantic entanglements, is an incurable optimist. Charity is able continually to pick herself up and live "Hopefully Ever After." Sweet Charity was adapted from the 1965 Broadway musical of the same name.  Rated G, 1969, 157 minutes 

Filed In: Events, History

50 Years Ago: UCI Dedication

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Tuesday, Jun 24, 2014

On June 20th, 1964, a crowd of 15,000 people followed newly paved, two-land roads to a wide-open, no shade site on former Irvine Ranch pastureland.

Invited guests and dignitaries filled the reserved seating area near the temporary stage. When the rest of the chairs were filled, the overflow crowd found spots to sit on the barren hillside. 

UCI Dedication 

They came out on that summer Saturday to witness an historic moment in local history.

The University of California at Irvine,  which was just beginning to rise out of cattle grazing hills , was about to be dedicated. The first day of class was still 15 months away, but hopes were high for the newest UC campus.  

After all, the President of the United States would soon be there.

UCI Dedication 

Presidential candidates had visited four previous times on campaign swings through southern California. But the UCI dedication appearance by Lyndon B. Johnson was the first time an elected  U.S. President had visited Orange County.

Just before midday, the 3rd Marine Aircraft Band began to play as the President's helicopter landed nearby. Johnson moved quickly though the receiving line and took his place on the covered stage. Chancellor Daniel Aldrich was the first to address the crowd.

UCI Dedication 

"It is my privilege on behalf of the family of the University of California at Irvine, to welcome all of you here to an event that marks the beginning of a chapter in the nearly 100 year history of the University of California."

-Chancellor Daniel Aldrich 

 A parade of speakers followed Aldrich, including Clark Kerr, President of the University of California and California Governor Edmund "Pat" Brown. Finally, the 36th President of the United States stepped to the podium. 

UCI Dedication

"All our hopes for peace depend on the kind of society we can build in the United States, and that in turn rests on our system of education."

   -President Lyndon B Johnson 

After the President's remarks, the All-Orange County High School Choir led the crowd in a rendition of the University Hymn.

uci Dedication 

President Johnson boarded his helicopter, but not before ignoring the concerns of the Secret Service and taking the time to shake hands with well-wishers.

UCI Dedication 

On Sunday, June 14th, 2014, President Barak Obama honored UCI's Site Dedication Anniversary when he gave the Commencement speech to the Class of 2014.  The graduating students assembled at Angels Stadium represented a diverse collection of cultures. 50% of them were first generation graduates. 

uci Dedication

To acknowledge that historic Saturday in June of 1964, the university invited representatives of all of the original dignitaries to attend the Commencement Ceremony. Founding First Lady Jean Aldrich was there.

"It is astonishing to me that I am here for the 50th Anniversary because it seems like such a short time ago," said Mrs. Aldrich. "We were fortunate to have been part of it."

Images Courtesy of UCI Special Collection Archive 

How to Find your Favorite World Class Golf Course in Irvine

Posted by: Guest
Posted on: Monday, Jun 16, 2014

Written by Joe Laing

Orange County golf courses are truly world class. Described as golfers' paradises to golfers' sanctuaries, several of them, in Irvine, will inspire you to improve your game. Whether you are traveling to Irvine for vacation or you live here, the real challenge may be how to pick the course you like best.

How to Pick Your Favorite Course

Here is a short synopsis of four local courses and their unique characteristics. Of course, playing the links is the only way you will know your favorite, so we suggest you play each and see which inspires you most.

1. Strawberry Farms Golf Club

Strawberry Farms is a public par-71, 6,700-yard course set amongst the picturesque canyons just south of the San Diego freeway (I-405) in Irvine. Its rolling greens and natural wetlands beauty include a 35-acre reservoir, natural waterfall and granite boulders. Doug DeCinces, former California Angels third baseman, developed the course.

The club has a great "old school" clubhouse, a driving range, a putting green, and a well-known David Leadbetter Golf Academy training center. The course can be narrow in spots, but overall it is a great, well-maintained course.

Strawberry Farms

2. Rancho San Joaquin Golf Course

Just east of San Diego Creek, you will find Rancho San Joaquin. This course may be more challenging for some golfers as there are various aspects like the rippling furrows of some of the putting greens. These will challenge even experienced players. Golf course architect William Francis Bell designed the course in 1964. Since opening in 1970, it has been a landmark course in Irvine. Rancho San Joaquin is set along a coastal inlet and features three different lakes. This locale is host to various summer camps with more than 200 juniors each year attending their programs.

3. Oak Creek Golf Club

Oak Creek Golf Club made it to the top 50 of public golf ranges in 2012 and 2013. This course, owned and operated by Irvine Company, received this honor bestowed by the Golf Range Association of America (GRAA). It is located just south and west of I-5, in the heart of Irvine.

Designed by Tom Fazio and opened in 1966, Oak Creek is home to a true "golfer's sanctuary." Golf Digest has rated it in 2009 with "4 stars" and as one of the "Best Places to Play."

Their large practice facility features a 100-yard wide natural grass practice tee, three practice greens and a large practice bunker. Golfers have access to many resources to help them improve their game including the Oak Creek Golf Academy where any level golfer can take advantage of private, semi-private or group clinic-style lessons.

Oak Creek Golf

4. Tustin Ranch Golf Club

While technically in Tustin, the Tustin Ranch Golf Club is just a short drive north on I-5 and CA Rte 261 from Irvine. Readers of the Orange County Register voted this 6900-yard, Par 72-course, "Best Orange County Golf Course 2009." It also has won a 4-star rating from Golf Digest Magazine several years in a row. Rated very highly, this course with breathtaking scenery is a golfer's paradise; a public club with a private feel. It is very popular with locals and visitors alike.

With the unique approach of the Golf School at Tustin Ranch, you can have your golfing abilities assessed as well as your golf fitness. You can get in shape and improve your golf performance at the same time.

Two more noteworthy golfing spots in Irvine:

5. PGA Tour Super Store, 107 Technology Drive
Just off the Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) at Barranca Parkway, you will come to Technology Drive. Besides being home to many high-tech chip makers, Orange County also hosts a PGA Tour Super Store to help you learn to make the most of your chip shots. Here you can find everything from high-tech Callaway Big Bertha Drivers to Nike Short Sleeve Polo shirts and ECCO Street Retro Golf shoes. Find just about anything you need for golf at the PGA Tour Super Store.

6. OC Indoor Golf, 17145 Von Karman Avenue
In this unique indoor setting, you can choose to play golf on any one of 43 courses around the world. There is the real-life simulation of the greens and fairways of St. Andrew's Old Course or Spyglass Hill at Pebble Beach, the doglegs and sand traps of Abu Dhabi National Course and Carnoustie's Scottish course, just to name a few. Travel the world's best courses without ever leaving home. You can make an appointment for expert coaching from owner, George Henry, PGA Pro.

With some of the best year-round weather for golf, and some of the best courses and golf clubs anywhere, Orange County and Irvine area golf courses are recognized as some of the best golf destinations in the world. Find your favorite course here and come back often.

About the Author: Joe Laing is the Marketing Director for El Monte RV, a nationwide RV rental company. His website is

Ten Fun Things To Do In And Around Irvine This Summer

Posted by: Sharlene Earnshaw
Posted on: Friday, Jun 13, 2014

Summer is here. With it comes long days, balmy nights and plenty of fun offerings to keep you occupied all season long. Here is a list of ten ways to get keep the summer fun going strong. 

1. Catch a concert


Music and summer seem to go hand in hand. OC Parks is putting on ten free concerts throughout the summer at various parks throughout Orange County, including Irvine Regional Park and Mason Regional Park. Big names, including Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Santana, Journey, and the Dave Matthews Band will be playing at Irvine's Verizon Amphitheater all summer long.

2. Get wild at the San Joaquin Marsh

 San Joaquin Marsh

Irvine's 300 acre San Joaquin Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary features 12 miles of trails, great for walking, jogging, or biking while viewing the hundreds of plant and animal species, some of them endangered, that call this biodiversity hotspot home. The coastal breezes make the marsh a cool place to enjoy all summer long.  

3. Experience the Irvine Spectrum

 Irvine Spectrum

It seems like every town has a mall these days but not every town has an outdoor shopping experience quite like the Irvine Spectrum. Kids love riding the carousel, Ferris Wheel, train, and grabbing sweet treats from places like Fuzziwigs Candy Factory, Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop, and Casey's Cupcakes. Couples looking for a night out can enjoy great eats at places such as Paul Martin's American Grill , Cucina Enoteca, Wood Ranch Barbecue, and Javier's Cantina followed by a movie at Edwards Irvine Spectrum 21 Imax. Of course, no mall is complete without shopping; luckily there are dozens of retail establishments for your inner fashionista to explore.  

4. Eat, play, and explore at the OC Fair

 OC Fair

The theme of this year's fair, which runs from July 11-August 10, is "Summer Starts Here". Will you start your summer eating something deep fried, atop the midway's giant Ferris Wheel , petting a cute critter at the farm, or listening to a star-studded music performance? I vote for doing it all! 

5. Have a beach day


How can you possibly spend any time in Orange County during the summer and not have a beach day? Several incredible beaches, such as Crystal Cove, Newport, and Laguna are less than 30 minutes away from Irvine, making for an easy day trip. Want to make an evening of it? Head to Corona del Mar or the Balboa Pier early in the day to secure one of the coveted beachfront fire pits. As of March 2014, regulations have been put in place requiring that only charcoal be burned.  

6. Go on an organic farm tour

 Tanaka Farms

Head to Irvine's own Tanaka Farm where visitors can hop on a wagon and take a ride through fields of produce. During June, visitors pick their own strawberries which July and August are the heart of watermelon season.  

7. Enjoy the Orange County Great Park

 OC Great Park 

Though it is still in its infancy, it seems like there is always something fun going on at the Orange County Great Park. A certified farmer's market take place every Sunday and art classes, gardening seminars, culinary workshops, and movies on the Great Lawn fill the summer calendar. Kids under six still get to ride the park's famous orange balloon for free. 

8. Allow the kids to play grown-up at Pretend CIty

 Pretend CIty

Orange County's largest children's museum, Pretend City, is a great place for the eight and under set. They always have a great time playing chef, doctor, farmer, builder, store clerk, fisherman, and art master at this hands-on museum dedicated to bring our big world to our favorite little people. This summer, the museum plays host to the Ultimate Recycling Machine, an fun exhibit that will teach kids about the importance of the three "R"s- reduce, recycle, reuse.  

9. Watch the boys of summer play at Angel Stadium


Any home game is a great time to head to Angel Stadium and watch our home team play but some special events might tempt you even further. Let the kids run the bases on Family Sundays, watch the fireworks on Saturday night games, or score Angels-themed goodies from bobble heads to cowboy hats at various special days held through the summer. 

10. Get cultured

A wide variety of music, dance, and theater productions are set to entertain Orange County all summer long. Irvine's own Barclay Theatre is featuring a wide variety of performances from an adaptation of a CS Lewis classic to the comical offerings of Colin Quinn. The Segerstrom Center for the Arts will be playing host to a variety of Broadway hits including Jersey Boys and Ghost the Musical. And if you if you just want to spend an evening laughing out loud, the Irvine Improv will be sure to tickle your funny bone.  

Filed In: Dining

Hotel Irvine: On Wednesdays We Wine + Thursdays We BBQ

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Tuesday, Jun 10, 2014



Have you been to the Hotel Irvine lately? Whether you're looking for overnight accommodations or a new weekly foodie excursion, the Hotel Irvine hosts weekly dining events that you'll want to be apart of.

Every Wednesday from 4-6pm,  the hotel's bar8 hosts Wine Down Wednesdays, guests enjoy complimentary wine tastings, select wines at $6 per glass and half-priced wines by the bottle, presented by renowned winemakers and distributors.


On Thursdays, join the Hotel Irvine from 11am-2pm for the Burgers & Blues BBQ (full buffet);  for just $7 featuring a new menu each week and special brews for sampling. Includes complimentary valet parking! 

17900 Jamboree Road Irvine, California, USA, 92614

hotelirvinebbqImages via Hotel Irvine & Destination Irvine

Only In Irvine: Mick's Karma Bar

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014

Good Karma comes from hard work and perseverance.

Sometimes it comes as a surprise.

Good Karma can also come in the form of an awesome burger; 

Honestly made and deliciously unexpected.

Mick's Karma Bar

Mick's Karma Bar is a one-of-a-kind, Irvine treasure hidden away in the Main Plaza office complex.

Don't be fooled. Mick's doesn't offer yoga classes or zen meditation workshops. And vegans beware: burgers are the center of Mick's universe; good, old fashioned, 100% angus sirloin burgers to be exact.

The secret is steak hache, which is made from freshly gound meat.  The burger patties aren't even formed until an order is placed. The result is a straight-off-the-backyard-grill flavor that makes you wonder why more restaurants don't follow Mick's simple plan. 

Mick's Karma Bar 

The menu is displayed on the wall-sized chalkboard behind the counter. It's a detailed list of all-natural burger concoctions featuring spicy hummus or portabello mushrooms or fresh guacamole. But it's the Karma Burger that has made Mick's an Orange County foodie favorite.

Mick's Karma Bar

Maybe it's the perfectly juicy beef patty.

Maybe it's the light and freshly baked bun.

Maybe it's the slightly spicy Karma Sauce dripping down the side.

Most likely it's the combination of all three; creating what is so desperately needed in a fussy-burger world: simple goodness.  

"I like to stick to the basics," said owner Michael Schepers. "I decided to simplify the menu so we could execute it well. We focus on making a good product with good service. It's what people like."

People definitely like Mick's Karma Bar; on Facebook, Yelp and Twitter.

Social media has turned Scheper's restaurant into an online sensation. Mick's doesn't use traditional marketing methods because the Internet reaches his burger-seeking consumers directly.

Mick's Karma Bar "It's so fast now," said Schepers. "We still listen to customers like we always have, but now the word spreads almost instaneously." 

Mick's Karma Bar

Schepers has learned to adapt to change.

For more than a decade, he has operated a cafe in the same Main Place location. First he had a coffee shop, then a juice bar.

But it wasn't until the economic downturn of 2008 that he learned to make lemonade out of lemons.

Strawberry Basil Lemonade, that is. 

"Most of my customers were losing their jobs back then and restaurants were closing," remembers Schepers. "I decided to offer what no one else around me was selling. I switched to burgers."

The result has been an overwhelming success. Most days, there's a line out the door. Mick's has even extended operating hours to include the weekend. 

Karma Burgers have received accolades from both food critics and loyal customers alike. 

When you see happy eaters filling the tables of what used to be a deserted office campus, you might think that Michael Schepers is lucky. But luck has nothing to do with it.

It's all about the karma.


Mick's Karma Bar

2010 Main St, Irvine, CA 92614
(949) 851-6316

at Main and Gillette


Mon-Sat   11am - 10pm

Sundays   11am - 8pm

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36 Executive Park, Suite 100 · Irvine, CA 92614
Phone: 949-660-9112
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