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Irvine Blog - Posts from Local Experts

Posts for June 2017

Filed In: Dining

Find Your Favorite Drink at Irvine's Very Own Speakeasy

Posted by: Katie Bell
Posted on: Tuesday, Jun 20, 2017

It’s Friday night and I make my way to the bar. The bartender looks more like a chemist as he swirls and stirs, carefully pouring and mixing to create perfection. He is surrounded by jars of colorful garnishes and house-made syrups. Behind him, vanilla-infused orange slices, are dehydrating in a small oven, soon to be part of the house sangria.  The bartender doesn’t stay in his lab for long – soon he’s out among his guests, sharing the story of each creation and suggesting the perfect cocktail to match the individual drinker.

 

 

 

I haven’t wandered into some swanky, West Hollywood bar. I’m at YNK, Irvine’s very own speakeasy, tucked away inside the Irvine Marriott hotel.

 

 

YNK, an acronym for You Never Know, was created by the Ellis Adams Group in 2016. The concept was developed by mixologist Ravin Buzzell, who has been with the Ellis Adams Group for 17 years. YNK was not intended to be a speakeasy, but after a marketing plan that focused on word of mouth promotion, they embraced their role as Irvine’s speakeasy.  The result was a hit and, what started as a well-kept secret, now sees a packed room any given day of the week.

 

 

YNK switches up its menu every three to four months with globally inspired cocktails. Currently, Buzzell is pouring an Italian-infused menu, which includes both twists on classics and experimental sips concocted by the mixologists themselves.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

    



The Drinks
 

 

Lavender Bellini: A twist on the classic, Ravin topped the rosé and lavender peach puree with Himalayan sea salt encrusted limes and a lavender sprig.


The Scroppino: Mixed to perfection with lemon sorbet and a healthy pour of prosecco. It’s the perfect summer refreshment.

 

Espresso Martini: coffee lovers rejoice with the creamy combination of Vanilla bean flavors and espresso.

 

Aperol Spritz: At least five different people had this in hand when I arrived. Ravin decks out the drink with freshly shaved cucumber and describes it accurately as “a watermelon Jolly Rancher”.

 

Ravin’s Applewood Smoked Bacon Old Fashioned: This one surprised me. I’m not one for the sting of an old fashioned, but Ravin’s process of infusing applewood smoke into the drink curbed the bourbon’s bite.

 

 

 

These are just a selection of specialties from the diverse handwritten menu that are available until August.

 

Explore the whole menu here. 

 

YNK is open Tuesday-Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to “you never know”. The bar attracts a crowd of all ages and backgrounds with one common desire – to enjoy craft cocktails with good company.

 

Drinks range from $11-$14, with no reservations needed. If you want to bring in a pack of pals, Ravin suggests that you give him a call in advance. 

 

 

Where to Get Dessert in Irvine

Posted by: Guest
Posted on: Friday, Jun 16, 2017

By Ashley Burnett

From ice cream to waffles to boba, Irvine has a ton of dessert options for anyone with a sweet tooth. If you're interested in exploring all of the city's desserts, we've put together a selection of some of the best. Read on for where to find some sweet treats in the city of Irvine.

85°C Bakery Cafe

One of the most popular spots for pastries and sweets in Irvine is 85°C Bakery Cafe thanks
to its ever-rotating selection, inexpensive prices and fresh quality. Every day brings something new to this bakery, whether it's a croissant, cake or roll. There's a reason lines often go out the door-and trust us, it's completely worth it.

Honeymee

Honeymee's ice cream is made with 100 percent natural honey and fresh California milk,
which is why their special sundaes taste so good. Each version is just as rich and decadent as the last, whether you order the Dear Caramel, Dear Chocolate or one of the ice cream shop's other delectable flavors.

Sweet Origin

Try some Hong Kong-style desserts at Sweet Origin, which opened its doors very recently.
Offerings on the menu include Hong Kong-style egg puffs, mango sticky rice and sago with fruits, as well as souffles and French toasts. 

Sweet Combforts

Waffle desserts are extremely trendy, so beat all your friends to the punch by heading over to Sweet Combforts (which itself is less than a month old). Ingredients include everything from circus animal cookie butter to Cinnamon Toast Crunch to cream cheese frosting. Best of all, these desserts are extremely portable so you can munch on one as you explore the rest of the city.


Courtesy of Sweet Combforts

Honey & Butter Macarons

If you've ever passed by this Irvine Spectrum shop, you know it's a popular draw. Everything in the shop is made from scratch, from the shells and fillings of the macarons to their gelato, and each cookie is hand-piped and the details on each macaron hand-crafted. Flavors include dark chocolate and sea salt, matcha, vanilla bean and daily flavors-the latter is in limited supply, so remember to arrive early.

Stax Cookie Bar

The cookie ice cream sandwiches at Stax are super decadent, but don't let that fool you-the ice cream shop actually uses tons of natural ingredients, including non-GMO, certified organic flour, hormone-free ice cream and gluten-free vegan cookies are even on hand for those with an intolerance. Beyond cookies, the eatery also offers waffles, floats, sundaes, "creamritos" and more.

Afters Ice Cream

Afters Ice Cream is a sweet sensation that's been featured by the likes of Yahoo, Hypebeast, Zagat, Buzzfeed and more and has been so successful that it has opened multiple locations throughout California. The handcrafted ice cream sandwiches on the menu come in all sorts of fun, unique flavors, including churro, mint and jasmine milk tea, so you're sure to find something that satisfies your craving.


Credit Doug Stremel

BAMBU

BAMBU is all about che-home-made beverages, puddings and dessert drinks. Made to order with
fresh coconut water or coconut milk, BAMBU's che is a must-try. Along with fresh coconut, try exotic ingredients like pandan jelly, longan, lychee and taro-you can't go wrong with their myriad combinations and mixes.


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.  

Circus Vargas Comes to the OC Great Park

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Monday, Jun 12, 2017


Come one, come all and take wonder in the marvel that is Circus Vargas at the OC Great Park until this weekend, June 18th. Guests will get the full big top circus experience with sugary sweets, popcorn, snow cones and face painting as well as classic and new circus acts. 

This year, Circus Vargas embarks on a new adventure, Steam Cirque, under their blue and yellow big top. Jump into the world of steam punk, science fiction and exciting and suspenseful circus performances. While waiting for the show to start, kids can partake in pre-show activities in the circus ring, then join their families up in the stands or seats. The non-animal show is great for all ages with a robust mix of a traditional circus atmosphere including concessions and novelty items being sold throughout the stands, and a fun, action-packed show including acts such as trapeze, trampoline, aerial rope and a motorocycle cage; along with a journey through humour, mystery magic and more. The performers also include audience participants in comedic acts throughout the show, but it is fun and lighthearted; they know how to get everyone involved and have a good time. 

My fianceé Scott and I attended a Circus Vargas show last Thursday not knowing what to expect and we truly had a great time. We were blown away by the array and diversity of acts performed, and also in awe of how many roles each performer plays. You'll see all hands on deck to help run the show smoothly; a performer will be selling tickets at the ticket booth, to flying through the air in a death-defying act, then helping to move the sets around. You can really see how much hard work goes into this production. 

Get to Circus Vargas this week before the big top is gone! For more ticket information, click here.  








Photos taken by Feast.Fashion.Faves 

Where to Get Coffee in Irvine

Posted by: Guest
Posted on: Friday, Jun 02, 2017


By Ashley Burnett

Irvine is home to a plethora of coffee shops boasting unique drinks and great roasts, so if you're looking for some of the best cups of coffee in Orange County, look no further-Irvine has a way to get your caffeine fix. 

To that end, we've rounded up some of the tastiest coffee shops in the city below-read on
for where to get your next cup of joe.

BLK Coffee

Located on Jamboree Road, BLK Coffee offers all of the usuals-flat whites, Americanos and
lattes-as well as strong and sweet Vietnamese-style brews. Other standouts on the drink menu? Try the iced Thai tea and sea salt coffee, both popular options. Vietnamese influences extend to the menu, which offers selections like banh mi sandwiches as well as classic café fare like croissants and artisan bagels. 

Coffee Tomo

"Tomo" is the Japanese word for friend, and you'll definitely find a friendly, cozy atmosphere upon stepping into Coffee Tomo, which has a location in Culver Plaza. This café offers staples like cold brew coffee alongside unique selections like a sweet potato latte and red bean latte, as well as an array of teas. Their pretzels are also a must-try and come in fun flavors like red bean
and cheese, jalapeño and cheese, and more.

Cielo Coffee

If you're a fan of ice blended coffee drinks, head over to Cielo Coffee. Housed in Parkview
Center, its menu is full of tasty flavor options such as cookies and creme, double chocolate chip and chocolate mint chip. If you're more of a traditionalist, the café also boasts classic espresso drinks as well as options like an almond milk latte and even a sugar-free version.

85°C Bakery Cafe

You need only take a look at the lines that sometimes form at 85°C to know that this Diamond Jamboree bakery is a popular draw. While part of that is all of the delicious pastries, plenty of guests show up just to try their coffee and tea drinks. Their most popular is the iced sea salt coffee, but you can also find iced sea salt coffee smoothies, macchiatos and a wide variety of lattes on the menu. Of course, they all pair perfectly with the myriad desserts on hand.

 Photo credit Doug Stremel

Sootha Coffee

For 100 percent organic coffee, Sootha Coffee should be your choice. Enjoy a variety of
flavored lattes and ice blended drinks alongside mochas, macchiatos and more at this Irvine Boulevard café. What makes this space truly unique is the fact that is also boasts a conference room for those looking to study or work in peace while also sipping on some tasty brews.  

Station Café

Serving Stumptown Coffee, Station Cafe is a must for coffee aficionados. Try Stumptown's brew by itself or opt for one of their tasty blended drinks. The drinks are the perfect complement for café's other menu offerings, like the Denver panini with black forest ham or the turkey and cheese sandwich. All in all, this Barranca Parkway cafe is a great place to spend a couple of hours.

KRISP Fresh Living

Alongside Illy coffee, you'll find cool creations at KRISP like the Nutella madeleine latte, blueberry matcha latte, pistachio rose latte and more. A relatively new addition to Irvine's cafe scene (it's located on Michelson Drive), KRISP is a must not just for its unique selections but also its healthy fare like acai bowls and wraps.


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.  


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