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Irvine Blog - Posts from Local Experts

Posts for July 2013

Family Film Nights at the Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort!

Posted by: Terry Winkler
Posted on: Saturday, Jul 27, 2013

 Newport Dunes Movies on the BeachOne of our favorite family summer activities is over at the Newport Dunes for their traditional summer Family Film Night every Friday and Saturday night through August.   It's a quick 20 minute drive from Irvine, so vacationing families and locals all around OC all love picnicking under the summer stars while watching family friendly movies. The weekly event is open to the public, so bring your blankets, low beach chairs and jackets, as it can get chilly. Concessions are available for purchase and you can bring your own picnic basket for a lovely family outing with coastal breezes and salt air completing the perfect evening event with family and friends.  My son has been known to watch the movie atop the giant tree he loves to climb, so one less beach chair for me to pack in the car!  See you soon at the movies on the beach!


July 27:                The Indian in the Cupboard

August 2:             The Jungle Book

August 3:             Big Fat Liar

August 9:             Elf

August 10:           Home Alone 2

August 16:           Aladdin

August 17:           E.T.

August 23:           Rango

August 24:           Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

August 30:           Ice Age 4

August 31:           TBD

 (Movie titles are subject to change):

Newport Dunes Directions Irvine

Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina

1131 Back Bay Dr., Newport Beach, CA, 92660

(949) 729-3863

 A 100-acre waterfront resort offering an RV park, marina, cottages for camping, a private no waves beach and playground, water activities, summer events, and more. The Dunes offers rentals of kayaks, windsurfers, pedal boats, bicycles, 18-foot electric boats and an aquatic park filled with giant inflatable recreation equipment (open during summer).

Blue Whale Watching in Orange County

Posted by: Sharlene Earnshaw
Posted on: Thursday, Jul 18, 2013

Did you know there is a creature with a heart the size of a Toyota Corolla, a tongue as heavy as an elephant, and a body longer than a regulation-sized basketball court that is lurking off the Orange County coast? Luckily, we have nothing to fear  (these giants eat krill, not people) and plenty to get excited about because there is no better place to go blue whale watching than right here in Orange County.

Blue Whale Watching 

Whale watching is much more than searching for a glimpse of an elusive endangered species. It's trading in a summer heat wave for a cool breeze and some salty sea air. It's taking in postcard-worthy views of the Laguna Riviera and watching your kids delight in a pelican they've named "Moe" who has decided to hitch a ride on the boat's stern for a while. It's spying sleepy sea lions bobbing on buoys and the overwhelming excitement of discovering a smiling pod of silver dolphins as they surf in the boat's wake.

The 2004 earthquake and resulting tsunami in Indonesia brought about shifts in the ocean's currents, leading to an increase in the krill population off the Orange County coast. Blue whales happen to think that eating krill for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is the only way to dine, so they have been making their way to our nutrient-rich coastal waters for several years now. What was once an incredibly rare sighting has now become a daily occurrence for whale watching boat captains.

Blue whales are the largest animals on the entire planet.They average 100 feet in length and have a major artery that is large enough for a small child to climb inside of it. Before the extensive over-whaling of the
1800s, there were around 200,000 blue whales swimming in our Earth's oceans. The mass extermination of these creature resulted in their numbers dipping below 2000 before protection efforts were made. Luckily, protection seems to be working and there are now approximately 12,000 blue whales worldwide. Still, given their impressive size and growing population, only 1% of Americans will ever catch a glimpse of these gentle

Blue Whale Watching 

Allow your family to become part of the 1% by visiting Dana Point, a seaside town a quick 25 minute drive south of Irvine. Dana Point has quickly become one of the whale watching capitals of the United States, due to its pleasant weather and year-round whale watching opportunities.  Recently, my family headed out with Dana
Wharf Whale Watching to try our luck at whale spotting. We enjoyed a typical Orange County afternoon with sunshine and blue skies welcoming us out onto calm waters. It didn't take the captain long to point out the towering spray of our first blue whale of the day.  The whale graced us with her presence for a couple minutes before flipping its giant tail towards the sky and diving back down into the depths to feed.  Blue whales feed like clockwork, diving down deep for about 8-10 minutes before returning to the surface for a breath,
exhaling with a telltale spout into the air. When whale watching, those 8-10 minutes seem to move like molasses because every onboard just can't wait to catch another glimpse of the massive creature.There is just something so special about witnessing the largest animal to ever live on Earth going about its day. Our boat ended up spotting three blue whales that day, along with a minke whale, sea lions, and pods of two different types of dolphins.

For more information on whale watching excursions with Dana Wharf Whale Watching, visit their website.  Tip: if you are looking to save money,consider whale watching on Tuesdays when tickets are half price.


Filed In: Events, History

Wall That Heals Visits Irvine

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Tuesday, Jul 09, 2013

Woodbridge Community Park: July 18-21

Extraordinary. Breathtaking. Awe-Inspiring.

I will never forget my visit to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. It was a busy summer afternoon and, even though the Mall was filled with passing tourists, the atmosphere around The Wall was still and reverent. All visitors fell silent as soon as they approached, as if the sight of thousands of engraved names demanded their attention and respect.

the wall that heals

Somehow seeing all of those names, gathered in one continuous list, made the sacrifices seem more real. So many names. 

Although most Americans are aware of the casualties of the Vietnam War, many have not had the opportunity to visit Washington D.C. and see The Wall for themselves.

The wall that heals

To solve this problem, on Veterans Day 1996, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund unveiled a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., designed to travel to communities throughout the United States. Since its dedication, the exhibit has visited more than 350 cities and towns throughout the nation, spreading the Memorial's healing legacy to millions. 

The traveling exhibit, known as The Wall That Heals, allows the many thousands of veterans who have been unable to cope with the prospect of facing The Wall to find the strength and courage to do so within their own communities, thus allowing the healing process to begin.

Now the The Wall That Heals exhibition, a half-scale replica about 250 feet in length, will visit the City of Irvine July 18th-21 and be open to the public at Woodbridge Community Park. 

the wall that heals

The exterior sides of the trailer that carries The Wall That Heals open to become a mobile museum.  Information cases display photos of service members whose names are found on The Wall, along with letters and memorabilia left at The Wall in D.C. The Museum also includes a map of Vietnam and a chronological overview of the conflict in Vietnam.

The exhibits tell the story of the Vietnam War, The Wall and the era surrounding the conflict, and are designed to put American experiences in Vietnam in a historical and cultural context. 

For the first time, The Wall That Heals will be joined by The Global War on Terror Wall of  Remembrance which lists the names of 9/11 victims as well as those who made the ultimate sacrifice after the attack. 

Manned by volunteers, the Memorials will be open 24 hours a day.  

 Schedule of Events

Wednesday, July 17                 Wall and Escort arrive in Irvine between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30   

Thursday, July 18 - 10 a.m.       Opening Day Ceremony

Thursday, July 18 - 7 p.m.         Bridging the Gap
                                                        Honoring both U.S. and South Vietnam Veterans  
                                                        *Please refrain from wearing military uniforms 

Friday, July 19 - 7 p.m.             POW/MIA Tribute and Candle Lighting Ceremony
                                                       Red Shirt Friday*   
                                                       *Wear a RED shirt to Remember Every Deployed

Saturday, July 20 - 10 a.m.     Welcome & Gratitude Ceremony (Main event)

Sunday, July 21 - 6 p.m.           Closing and Honor Walk of Flags Ceremony

Seating is limited, please bring folding chairs or blankets to sit on during the ceremonies. 

For more information on how to volunteer or donate to insure future exhibitions, click here

the wall that heals 

Hail to the Homemade

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Wednesday, Jul 03, 2013

Nothing screams SUMMER like enjoying homemade ice cold treats! Unfortunately, I have my lazy moments and can't wait around for popsicles to freeze and definitely don't know how to make ice cream, so what's a quick fix? Going to a homemade ice cream, custard, or popsicle shops. Here are my top 5 fave hot, I mean COOL spots around Orange County:

1. Strickland's Ice Cream- IRVINE

4523 Campus Drive
Irvine, California 92612

When I attended UCI, I loved coming here late afternoons after class to indulge in homemade ice cream! Strickland's started in Akron, Ohio by Akron Pure Milk company employee Bill Strickland after creating his original homemade recipe which yielded  (and still does) rich frozen custard, soft serve ice cream, yogurt, and sorbet. The Irvine location serves a mean Dole Whip Float (and the classic Dole Whip in cup/cone); if you can't readily make it to Disneyland, it is comparable to that of the one sold at the Tiki Juice Bar. Strickland's of Irvine won the Orange County Hot List's 2012 BEST Ice Cream Shop Award, and I can see why; the ice cream is made fresh every morning and there is a plethora of unique flavors like green tea, banana, peach, thai iced tea, taro, mud pie served up on certain days (check out the flavor calendar)! Don't forget Milkshake Mondays (1/2 prices small-medium milkshakes 4-8pm every Monday) and students can receive 10% off any ice cream item with a student ID!

*Images via Strickland's & FB Page

2. Han's Homemade Ice Cream & Deli-SANTA ANA

3640 S Bristol St,
Santa Ana, California 92704
(714) 979-8815

Homemade ice cream daily! Every summer, I can't go without the Watermelon Sherbet! I'll take it by the gallon...well, I think pint is the largest that's available. Some of my other must haves are Wild Mountain Blackberry, Strawberry Cheesecake, and Coconut Pineapple, heck, I like them all! There are at least 30 homemade, scrumptious flavors and various chocolate dipped waffle cones to choose from. I also fancy their  BLT sandwich and  a Cherry Coke. Perfect way to cool off and experience a sense of diner nostalgia. Stop in soon!

Before you enjoy some photos for your viewing pleasure, here are some facts about Hans':

1. After 40+ years of being a cash only business, we now accept all forms of credit cards!

2. We source all of our dairy locally, and use the richest cream available (16%). We don't whip any air into our ice cream to fluff up the volume, so our ice cream is very dense and you can really sink your teeth into it!

3. We've been revamping our brand with a new logo, t-shirts, business cards, uniforms, and new menus coming soon.

4. Our loyal customers always look forward to "Fresh Peach" and "Watermelon Sherbet" in the summertime.

5. We've got some new flavors like.. Banana Cabana, Peppermint OREO, Honey Vanilla, and Salted Caramel.




*Images via FB

Not Ice Cream, but still de-lish nonetheless:

3. Confetti Italian Ice & Custard-COSTA MESA

1175 Baker St, Suite E-22
Costa Mesa, California 92626
(714) 545-1175

Come into this Costa Mesa gem and experience sixteen interchangeable Italian Ice Flavors alone or layered with various custard flavors! Yes, you can make your own ice combos! Enjoy unexpected flavors through Confetti Ice's 'Flavor of the Week'; excite your palette with 'Strawberry Lemonade' (Strawberry Lemonade Ice with Lemon Custard), Chocolate Raspberry Truffle (Raspberry Ice, Chocolate Custard, Drizzled in Raspberry Sauce), Blueberry Pancakes (Blueberry Ice, 1/2 Vanilla & 1/2 Cheesecake Custard, topped with Caramel & Cinnamon Sauze), Starburst, Rootbeer Float, 50/50 Ba, Snickers, Taro and Thai Tea to name a delicious few. Confetti Ice also caters events and hosts fundraisers! Enjoy this twist on a classic treat and also receive 5% off when you 'check-in'!

 *Images via FB

4. Front Porch Pops-ORANGE

120 E Chapman Ave
Orange, CA 92866
(714) 614-0857 

*Grand Opening July 11th 2013, with a ribbon cutting, giveaways, and popsicles of course!

Nothing reminds me more of my childhood than popsicles. I was so excited to first stumble upon a Front Porch Pops cart at the Patchwork Show in Long Beach, then again at the SOCO Farmer's Market; then so thrilled to discover that a storefront location will be opening next week, July 11th, in one of my all-time fave OC districts, the Orange Circle in Old Towne OrangeFront Porch Pops was created by proprietor and chef Erin Whitcomb with her very first creation, the Tangy Lemon Cream pop; and has since taken pride in handcrafting gourmet ice pops and ice cream in a wide variety of fun flavors. Front Porch Pops strives to live and offer the following philosophy:

  • We use real fruit and fresh dairy to make our pops.
  • ?Our pops are handcrafted by our staff using our own recipes.
  • ?You'll never find artificial colors, flavors or high-fructose corn syrup in our pops. Ever.
  • We use locally grown, organic produce whenever we can. We sell our pops at farmer's markets and take great pride in saying, "The plums from that farmer over there are in this popsicle right here!"
  • You deserve to know what's in your pops. We'll always be able to tell you exactly what ingredients we used.

Now doesn't that sound just absolutely healthy and divine? It's truly 'Happiness on a Stick!'

Front Porch Pops also bakes pies, caters with their awesome popcarts, and hosts fundraisers...did you know there are mini pops too? 


*Images via Front Porch Pops

5. Joe's Italian Ice-GARDEN GROVE

12302 Harbor Blvd
Garden Grove, CA 92840
(714) 750-1076 



Joe's Italian Ice located in Garden Grove was started by Mike Abeyta, and brings a Philadelphia treat to you. The authentic Philly-style water ice is homemade in over 50 flavors at Joe's with fresh fruit, and soft serve ice cream is shipped from Pennsylvania then cooked at ultra high temperatures from a creamier, sweeter taste. Try a straight up Italian ice, or choose from select Dreyer's Ice Cream flavors, smoothies, shakes, floats, super sundaes, or a signature Joe Latti; that's Italian ice topped with soft ice cream! Yes please!

*Images via Joe's Italian Ice

Happy Summer!

Amanda Nguyen

P.S. Check out other places to dine and dessert in Irvine HERE!

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