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Irvine Blog - Posts from Local Experts

Posts for July 2017

Filed In: Dining, Events

AC Hotel Irvine Launches New Event Series at AC Lounge

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Monday, Jul 24, 2017

AC Hotel Irvine launched a new series of events this past week at their cocktail spot, AC Lounge. Guests can have fun taking part in a trivia night series hosted by Kiss Kiss Bangs Bangs or unwind with live entertainment from musician Troy Ritchie, seen on NBC's The Voice. Aside from the festivities, AC Lounge will offer special pricing on beer, wine and cocktails and Spanish style tapas. Follow their expert mixologist Luis Delpozo @bowtie_lu to get the scoop on his secret off-the-menu items. Check out the scheduling below for the event dates through August, and hope you get to visit the AC Lounge in the newly opened AC Hotel Irvine

Trivia Night Series
Where: AC Lounge at AC Hotel Irvine
When: 7:30pm-9:00pm - Thursday July 27, Thursday August 3
Lounge Specials: $2.00 off beer, food, and wines on tap from 4pm-9pm
Prizes include:
1st: A complimentary stay at the hotel (based on availability)
2nd place: complimentary drink & tapas plate on next visit
3rd place: complimentary tapas plate on next visit

Live Music featuring Troy Ritchie (featured on the show The Voice)
Where: AC Lounge at AC Hotel Irvine
When: Music Starts at 7:30pm-9:30pm - Wednesday July 26
Lounge Specials: $2.00 off beer, food, and wines on tap from 4pm-9:30pm


A twist on the traditional hotel bar, the AC Lounge serves up beer from local breweries, specialty wines by the bottle and on tap, expertly made craft cocktails and a selection of tapas-style small bites. A nod to the hotel's European heritage, the lounge's signature cocktail, The Swedish Fish, was developed with Orange County's first craft distillery, Blinking Owl, and is a unique infusion of the Scandinavian spirit, Aquavit and garnished with its namesake candy. In the morning, AC Kitchen serves a European-inspired continental breakfast selection of flaky croissants, savory egg tarts and Nespresso coffee. The Berkel slicer, an AC Hotels staple, offers visitors hand-cut meats including artisanal La Quercia Prosciutto for a true taste of Spain. The AC Store, open 24 hours, also offers a selection of beverages including Four Sons Brewery beer, Cutwater spirits, wine by the bottle and soft drinks as well as a variety of premium snacks and sweets.


Photos provided by Calee Killion
Filed In: Family Friendly

OC Fair Offers Bargains to Save $$

Posted by: Terry Winkler
Posted on: Saturday, Jul 22, 2017

Everyone loves a bargain, so here are the top tips for saving some cash at this year's fair. Take advantage of these great deals, discounts and promotions at this year's OC Fair, through Aug. 13. For more information and a full schedule of Farm Fresh Fun, visit


Super Pass - One of the best bargains is the Super Pass, which allows Fairgoers to enjoy all 23 days of the Fair for one low price. On sale now, Super Passes are $35 for general admission and $28 for seniors and youth ages 6-12. New this year: Super Pass holders who come to all 23 days of the 2017 OC Fair will win the Perfect Attendance Award and receive a free 2018 Super Pass.

Best Deal Ever - On Saturdays and Sundays, Fairgoers can take advantage of this promotion featuring half-price admission and carnival rides for half the usual number of tickets.

Veterans and active-duty military personnel - Admission is always free with ID and their guests can purchase up to six half-price tickets.

Read and Ride - Bookworms ages 5-11 can read two books to earn three free carnival rides. Download book report forms at and redeem them at the Centennial Farm information booth.

Bounce-back tickets - Save your San Diego Fair (June 2-July 4) or Ventura County Fair (Aug. 2-13) tickets to get free admission to the OC Fair. Your OC Fair ticket gets you into the Ventura County Fair for free.

We Care Wednesday - Get free admission and one free carnival ride when you donate items to select local nonprofits between noon and 3 p.m. On July 19, bring five nonperishable food items to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank and the OC Food Bank. July 26, donate three new or gently used children's books for Think Together. Aug. 2, bring five clothing items to benefit Goodwill Orange County. Aug. 9, donate school supplies valued at $5 or more (receipt required) for Share Our Selves.

Unlimited carnival rides - Enjoy all the carnival rides you can handle for $30 on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Wristbands are sold until 5 p.m. and are valid until 8 p.m. You get two free games, too. Fair admission sold separately.
$3 Taste of Fair Food - Samples of select Fair treats are just $3 every Thursday noon-4 p.m.

Kids Day - Each Thursday, children 12 and under get in free all day.

Seniors Day - Free admission for those 60 and older every Friday.
$2 rides and $2 games - On Fridays noon-4 p.m. rides and games are just $2 in the main carnival and the kiddie carnival.

Free offsite parking on weekends - Park in the Experian structure at 475 Anton Blvd. (near the Bristol exit off the 405 Freeway), in Costa Mesa and catch a free shuttle to the Fair 10 a.m.-1 a.m.

OC Fair Express - Take an OCTA bus from one of nine locations direct to the Fair and receive a coupon for $3 general admission, one coupon per person. Bus fare is $2 each way on Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m.-midnight. For more information and locations, visit

The 2017 OC Fair is going on now through Aug. 13 and offers 23 days and nights of entertainment, food, rides, shopping, exhibits and more. The Fair is open Wednesdays through Fridays from noon to midnight, and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to midnight.
For more information, visit

8 Perfect Date Ideas in Irvine

Posted by: Guest
Posted on: Friday, Jul 21, 2017

By Ashley Burnett

Looking to plan a romantic afternoon or night with your significant other? Whether your sweetheart is into hiking, skating or just a delicious meal, there are a ton of options in Irvine to plan the perfect date. Below we've rounded up just a few of the best date ideas in Irvine.

Picnic in William R. Mason Regional Park

Pack a picnic (or grab food to go at a casual spot like CAVA or Mendocino Farms) and head to William R. Mason Regional Park for a picnic. Spread out a blanket and sit by the lake to watch ducks float on the water, or choose a spot on one of the grassy knolls and grab some sun at this peaceful spot.

Skating at The Rinks

Public skating at The Rinks (which is set to also open a second Irvine location at the Great Park) is a great idea for more active couples. The rink is open to the public on Saturday nights and select hours during the weekdays. Skate rentals and general admission are inexpensive and worth every penny for a unique experience in the city.

Bowling at Irvine Lanes

Bowling is a classic date idea for a reason. Irvine Lanes has specials like their Ten Dollar Tuesdays, which include two games and shoe rentals, as well as Galaxy Bowling with fun colors, music and lasers on Tuesdays and weekend nights. You can also grab a wide variety of food and drinks at the bowling alley, making it a one-stop shop for the perfect date night.

Fondue at The Melting Pot

Dinner at The Melting Pot is truly an experience and perfect for couples. Dinners are totally customizable-choose the number of courses, the cheeses, the salad, the chocolate and more. Far more interactive than the usual dinner, The Melting Pot is sure to stimulate conversation (and whet your appetite).

Credit Melting Pot

Hiking at Bommer Canyon

One of Irvine's most scenic hiking spots, Bommer Canyon has trails for every activity level, and all offer great views of the city or canyon itself. Choose to go head off on the trail with just the two of you, or head out for a guided tour to check out some spots that are typically closed off to the public.

Hot Air Balloon Ride at The Great Park

You and your sweetheart can fly up 400 feet from the ground at this iconic Irvine attraction. Offering the best view of the city-make sure to buy a ticket at night to see Irvine all lit up-this activity is one of the most romantic in Irvine.

Dinner at All That Barbecue

Another fun, interactive dinner date can be had at All That Barbecue. Cook bulgogi and kobe beef and pig out for a night of all you can eat Korean barbecue. Afterward, head to one of the many coffee and tea spots nearby to finish off with a sweet treat.

Visit the OC Zoo

This cute spot at Irvine Regional Park is perfect for a daytime date. Check out the native Californian species at this eight acre zoo or species like the bald eagle, black bear, mountain lion, vultures and more. The petting zoo is also fun-take turn feeding the goats and sheep some grain, or hang out with the chickens.

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.   

Shooby Dooby Down to Ruby's for Burger Day

Posted by: Sharlene Earnshaw
Posted on: Thursday, Jul 20, 2017

Ruby's Diner has been a fixture in Orange County for 35 years. The very first Ruby's opened on Balboa Pier in 1982 and the chain quickly became a fixture at beaches and shopping centers across Orange County. This 1940's themed diner is wildly popular for its juicy burgers and legendary shakes. In my opinion, Ruby's peanut butter cup shake is the best milkshake on the planet but Ruby's offers a variety of flavors such as carmel banana, mint chocolate, and orange 50/50 which are all winners as well.  

In celebration of Ruby's 35th birthday, Ruby's will be offering a 1/4 lb 35th Anniversary Burger (a smaller version of the 1/2lb classic) along with fries for just $2.99 on Wednesday, July 26th. $1 of each purchase will go to The Ruby Dooby Foundation which is dedicated to the supporting the health and well being of children.  

Have a bigger appetite? Then enter the Ruby's Stack Attack Challenge which will take place on Wednesday, July 26. For $35, challengers have 35 minutes to eat a 3.5lb burger featuring six 8oz. all-beef patties, RubySauce, onion rings, bacon, tater tots, and jalapenos along with a shake and fries. If the challenge is completed, winners will receive a $35 Ruby's gift certficate, a t-shirt, and that ever-important social media recognition. Even if you don't have the appetite to tackle the Stack Attack Challenge, it will surely be entertaining to watch others take it on. For a list of participating locations- including the Irvine Spectrum and South Coast Plaza restaurants- and to register for the challenge, head to  

Filed In: Dining

5 Best Irvine Happy Hours

Posted by: Katie Bell
Posted on: Thursday, Jul 20, 2017

You know the feeling—driving home on a Friday evening trying to shake off that mind-numbing 4 o’clock meeting. You’re ready to embrace the weekend, and like most of us, without breaking the bank. To fuel some fun, here are a few of my favorite Irvine go-to’s to kick-start the weekend.


1.    Yard House at the Irvine Spectrum


This happy hour hits the spot with the best drink specials in the entertainment hub of Irvine. Indulge in $3 beers and half-price apps surrounded by TVs and a fun crowd. Sprawling with twenty-somethings looking for a nice finale of the workweek, you’re bound to make a pal or two.


Monday – Friday: 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.


Late Night Happy Hour:

Sunday – Wednesday: 10 p.m. – close

Yard House 


2.  Eureka!


This spot is located right by the UCI campus with an awesome outdoor patio and even more awesome drink specials during their “Hoppy Hour”. Personally, I think this is the most well rounded happy hour. It’s different every day; live music, brunch specials, and what's more, they give you stuff! Every Wednesday, beer enthusiasts can “steal the glass” by ordering the featured beer and later "stealing" the the glass souvenir for the ride home.


Daily "Hoppy Hour": 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. & 9 p.m. – 12 a.m.


Festivities on top of Hoppy Hour:

Tuesday: Half-Price Wine

Wednesday: Steal the Glass

Thursday: Live Music

Saturday & Sunday: $5 Bloodys and Mimosas




3.    Puesto at Los Olivos


Puesto not only offers happy hour Monday through Friday, it also hosts #TacoTuesday! Every Tuesday from 3 p.m. to close, tacos are only $2.50 and Modelo cans are $3.50. I suggest sitting at the patio bar, but if you prefer a nice, air-conditioned experience, there's an equally fun bar for you in the main dining room. 


Happy Hour: Monday through Friday 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Taco Tuesday: Every Tuesday 3 p.m. – close




 4.    Red Bar & Lounge


You’ll find this hotspot in the lobby of Hotel Irvine. Red Bar & Lounge’s daily happy hour includes cocktails made for the occasion. You can find half-price plates including Ahi Poke, Flatbread, Beef Sliders and more. At $5.50, you can order a specialty cocktail like an Icy Hot or an Apple Cinnamon Sidecar.


Daily: 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.


Red Bar 


 5. Center Hub at Trade Food Hall


This spot is brand spanking new. Located near one of Irvine’s larger business parks and John Wayne Airport, this is a great after-work or post-flight destination. Within the Trade Food Hall, you’ll find various gourmet food vendors to settle the belly after you indulge in Center Hub’s happy hour.


Monday – Friday: 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Saturday & Sunday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.


Center Hub 


Filed In: History

South Coast Plaza Celebrates the Big 50

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Tuesday, Jul 18, 2017

South Coast Plaza, the luxury retail center known for being fashion forward, is taking time to celebrate its past.

“Segerstrom Pioneering Spirit: An American Dream,” is a 50-year anniversary celebration located in the center’s Jewel Court. The exhibit, open until July 31,  tells the story of the pioneering family that built one of the world’s most successful shopping destinations. It follows the journey of the Segerstrom family from present day successes all the way back to their humble roots.

The story of South Coast Plaza begins in 1967, when cousins Henry and Harold Segerstrom built an indoor shopping mall on a portion of their family’s farm.

Sears and May Co.  were the original retail anchors and, when the 405 Freeway was extended past the center a year later, success was insured.

 For the mall design, C.J. Segerstrom & Sons hired Los Angeles-based Victor Gruen Associates to design the shopping center. Initial development was based around the idea that the mall would likely expand on a large scale, so removable panels were incorporated—making it easier than ever when they did, in fact, extend the building. 

Early shoppers were drawn to its festive indoor carousel and the comfort of air conditioning. Eventually, what began as an island of retail in a sea of bean fields and orange groves, became a luxury landmark with 250 stores attracting 22 million visitors each year and almost $2 billion in annual revenue.


South Coast Plaza may be known around the world as a first-class shopping destination, but many don’t realize that the luxury center is actually a family business. Today’s generation brings the same careful attention that their patriarch, CJ  Segerstrom, used to cultivate the family farm.

Hard work was a fact of life for the Segerstom family who moved to Orange County in 1898 and turned acres of potential into one of the largest lima bean fields in the world.


“Segerstrom Pioneering Spirit” follows the Segerstroms as they emigrated from Sweden and eventually settled on the land where South Coast Plaza sits today. The exhibit tells the story through never before seen photographs, many from the personal archives of Ruth Ann Moriarity, sister of Henry Segerstrom. The result is an intimate portrait of a tight-knit family, that worked together to cultivate their land.

“As South Coast Plaza celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, it is the perfect time for our family to reflect upon our beginnings,” Moriarty says. “This exhibit enables us to share with others our appreciation for the opportunities we have had to fulfill an American dream.”




Filed In: Dining, Events

Early Bird Tickets to Pacific Wine + Food Classic this August 19th & 20th

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Thursday, Jul 13, 2017

The highly anticipated Pacific Wine + Food Classic comes to Orange County at the Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort on Saturday August 19th and Sunday August 20th with a spectacular culinary entertainment line up and the best in food, wine and cocktails. 


Aside from experiencing the more than 100 food, wine and cocktail stations, the Fisher & Paykel / DCS Cooking Stage hosted by Food Network Star Simon Majumdar will feature live culinary demonstrations of dishes and cocktails inspired by the flavors of summer, as well as cooking tips from an incredible lineup of local celebrity chefs.


VIP guests will get to enjoy a refreshing hand crafted Patrón cocktail at Pacific Food & Wine Classic as apart of 27 locations worldwide featured in the Patrón the Summer Cocktail Tour. What else do VIP guests receive?

  • One hour early admission
  • Access to the Grassy VIP lounge overlooking the bay that will serve special bites
  • Patrón infused popsicles and Chunk'n Chip Patrón infused Ice Cream Sammiches
  • VIP tickets are very limited, and you can purchase yours at $200 for single day admission and $350 for two-day admission
General tickets are $150 for single day admission and $250 for two-day admission, for more ticket information, click here!

Culinary Entertainment Schedule:
· Chef Geeta Bansal, Clay Oven - How to prepare Watermelon Curry
· Tricia Carr, Master Mixologist will show us how to make 2 of her summer cocktail favorites
· Chef Jamie Gwen, Culinary Radio Host - How to make Spanish Summer Gazpacho & Summer Fruit Soup
· Tess Masters "The Blender Girl" - How to make Pineapple Salsa Smoothie
· Chef Kris Morningstor, most recently with Terrine - How to make Truffled Chicken Liver
· Chef Ray Garcia, Esquire's Chef of the Year and Executive Chef of Broken Spanish - How to make Broken Spanish, B.S. Taqueria
· Chef Brian Malarkey, Creator of over a dozen restaurants including Herb & Wood
· Kim Beto, Sommelier (SWS) - Wine pairing
· Eric Entrikin, Master Sommelier (SWS) - Wine pairing and what you should know about Rose Wines
· Ira Norof, Sommelier (CWE) - What you should know about Rose Wines with Eric Entrikin
· Chef Katy Smith, Puesto - How to make flor de calabaza soup and the corn stock
· Chef Ivan Calderon, Taco Mesa - How to make his famous Margarita
· Chef Linda Johnsen, Filomena's Italian Kitchen - How to make Salmon cheesecake
· Chef Cathy Pavlos, Provenance - How to make Grilled Peach and Heirloom Tomato Salad
· Chef Arthur Ortiz, Skyloft - How to make Shrimp Shooters
· Chef Pascal Olhats, Pascal Restaurant - How to make Scampi Provencal
· Chef Stan Frazier, Rock Star, Winner of the Chef Race & Owner of Sgt. Pepperoni Pizza - How to make Summer ceviche
· Chef Joe Youkhan - How to make charred eggplant Baba Ganoush
· Chef Brian Huskey, Bravo's Top Chef and Executive Chef/Founder of Tackle Box - How to make Beach Corn
· Kim Beto, Sommelier (SWS) - Wine pairing
· Eric Entrikin, Master Sommelier (SWS) - Wine pairing


is an incredible world-class culinary experience. Taste bites from local top chefs, explore over 100 wines and hand crafted premium cocktails. Enjoy celebrity chef demonstrations, master sommelier discussions and summer mixology demos. Taste the flavors of summer as the region's top chefs and mixologists create dishes from their favorite summer memories. The Pacific Wine & Food Classic is a fantastic gourmet experience on the beautiful soft sand in Newport Beach, you'll be surrounded by music and ocean breezes while enjoying the region's top chefs.


Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits, Fisher & Paykel, DCS, Melissa's Produce, Sunset Magazine, IHeartRadio, The Fork Report with Neil Saavedra, LA Times, 95.5 KLOS, The Tasting Panel, Orange Coast Magazine, The Clever Root, GoVino, The Ace Agency, OCfoodies, LA Specialty, Celebrity Cruises, Patron, Maker's Mark, Absolut Elyx, Bacardi, Fashion Island, Marriott Newport Beach, Greers OC, LA Travel Magazine, Viele & Sons, Gelson's, Kind Bar, Baja Shellfish Farms


The success of this great event depends on our wonder culinary community. Net proceeds will be given to Golden Rule charity as the beneficiary of the Pacific Wine and Food Classic in order to give back to the restaurant industry that works so hard. Golden Rule is a local charity founded in order to give back and support those in need IN the restaurant industry. Golden Rule Charity administers grants and acts as a liaison between the community and those faced with an unanticipated crisis. Big or small.

Location Address: 1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport Beach, CA, 92660


Public Contact: 949-230-0739,


Instagram: @PacificWineandFoodClassic  

Photos via OC Restaurant Association + Pacific Food and Wine Classic Website 

A Few of the Best Brunch Spots Around Irvine

Posted by: Guest
Posted on: Friday, Jul 07, 2017

By Ashley Burnett

On a lazy Saturday or Sunday, there's nothing quite like having a delicious brunch to
celebrate the weekend (or as one last hurrah before the work week begins). Whether you're opting for a spot with alfresco views or one with bottomless mimosas, Irvine has plenty of options for the most important meal of the weekend. Read on to discover six must-try brunch spots around the city.


On weekends, Stacks is absolutely buzzing with customers. And it's no wonder, as this spot
(located in the Walnut Village Center) puts a delicious, Hawaiian spin on breakfast staples, pairing classic pancakes with coconut syrup and offering menu items like loco moco topped with brown gravy. If you're looking for a classic brunch that still lets you try out something different when the mood strikes, turn to Stacks.


Bruxie's menu already combines the best of breakfast and lunch, using waffles as the
bread for their tasty, decadent sandwiches, so this spot is a natural pick for a weekend brunch. Breakfast options include the green eggs and ham with arugula pesto, country sausage and egg and bacon egg and cheddar. You might also skip the breakfast section and go straight for their delicious dessert creations. For a quick and tasty brunch, Bruxie in Heritage Plaza is your best bet.

Panini Cafe

For Mediterranean flavors paired with classic brunch fare, look no further than Panini Cafe, which has two locations right here in Irvine. Panini Cafe offers omelets, breakfast sandwiches and-a personal favorite-scrambles and poaches like the pepper bacon scramble. There's even a create-your-own option when it comes to scrambles, poaches and omelets, as well as delicious add-ons like apple chicken sausage.

TLT Food

When you think brunch, you might not immediately conjure up an image of TLT Food at
Irvine Spectrum, but that would be a mistake. On Saturdays and Sundays, TLT Food offers bottomless mimosas and yummy brunch options like the brunch taco with braised pork belly and AM Quesadilla with scrambled eggs and chipotle-honey aioli for a true south of the border brunch experience. Next time you're craving a special meal, head to the Spectrum and grab a table here.


Eats Kitchen & Bar

This gastropub on Jamboree Road offers one of the best brunches in the city with a menu offering everything from a portobello benedict (think: prosciutto roasted tomatoes mizuna) and shrimp and grits smothered in roasted tomatillo salsa. For those opting to eat lighter, there's a section of the menu just for that and also the option to build your own bloody mary. Other drink options include a flight of mimosas or Irish cream coffee.

Avocado Café

If you're trying to eat healthy, turn to this cute little cafe by University of California, Irvine, for all of your brunch needs. Avocado toast, apple granola and salmon toast will fill you up without being too heavy. Pair it with a smoothie for a sweet and salty brunch that won't make you feel too guilty come Monday.

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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