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Irvine Blog - Posts from Local Experts

Posts for August 2014

Experience London Theatre in HD at the Irvine Barclay. Huzzah!

Posted by: Terry Winkler
Posted on: Thursday, Aug 28, 2014

Have you ever wanted to go spend the year abroad to soak up all the amazing theater throughout London?  Me, too!  Alas, reality won't let me run off to London

Hey, nonny nonny, don't fret. There's a brilliant alternative afoot.  Join me in experiencing some of the best London stage productions by signing up for the National Theatre Live package at the Irvine Barclay TheatreBuy a package of at least three performances to save 10% on tickets plus reduced service charge.  Huzzah for great London theatre and the ability to see if from lovely Irvine (can I get another "Huzzah!" for not having to go through a TSA pat down and 10 hours of a kid kicking the back of your airline seat?)


 Barclay National Theatre Live

The National Theatre Live is a successful initiative that takes performances from the National's stages in London to cinemas and performing arts centers worldwide.  Since its first season, which began in June 2009 with the acclaimed production of Phédre starring Helen Mirren, over half a million people have now experienced the National's acclaimed work on movie screens around the world.

Shot in high definition, you can experience the best of British theatre up close and personal, shown in high definition on the Barclay's giant screen. You'll always have the best view in the house!

September 21, 2014: Medea
Highly acclaimed modern twist on Euripides' powerful tragedy.

October 22, 2014: Streetcar Named Desire
Gillian Anderson (The X-Files, The Fall) stars as Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams' timeless masterpiece.

October 31, 2014: Frankenstein
The award-winning production of Frankenstein starring Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek: Into Darkness, BBC's Sherlock) as the Creature and Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting, CBS's Elementary) as Dr. Frankenstein.

November 13,2014: Skylight
A beautifully acted play starring Carey Mulligan (Inside Llewyn Davis, The Great Gatsby) and Bill Nighy (Love Actually, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) as two former lovers who attempt to rekindle their once passionate relationship.

January 8, 2015: JOHN
Extraordinary and touching, JOHN authentically depicts the real-life story of a man struggling to survive.  JOHN contains adult themes, strong language and nudity. Suitable for 18yrs+.

February 15, 2015: Treasure Island
Robert Louis Stevenson's classic story of murder, money and mutiny is brought to life in a thrilling new stage adaptation.  Suitable for 10 years +

Since opening its doors in 1990, Irvine Barclay Theatre has emerged as one of California's most imaginative performing arts showcases. A unique collaborative venture among the City of Irvine, the University of California, Irvine, and the private sector, the theatre has a reputation for wide-ranging programming in the fields of contemporary dance, music, and theater arts. Performances take place in the 756-seat Cheng Hall, renowned for its intimate atmosphere and superb acoustics.

The partners created Irvine Barclay Theatre to showcase top quality artists, to provide a superior facility for local and regional arts groups, and to enhance UCI's educational mission, particularly the programs generated by its School of the Arts. The theatre building is named for Mr. Richard Barclay, an area philanthropist, who provided the leading gift for the theatre's construction. The theatre auditorium is named for Dr. George and Arlene Cheng, also area philanthropists.

Irvine Barclay Theatre is located at 4242 Campus Dr., Irvine, CA, 92612.  (949) 854-4646

Explore the OC Great Park's Farm+Food Lab

Posted by: Sharlene Earnshaw
Posted on: Friday, Aug 22, 2014

It's no wonder that the Orange County Great Park has a Farm+Food Lab. Orange County has a rich agricultural past and backyard farmers know that it is fairly easy to grow most edibles in our neck of the woods. It wasn't long ago that Irvine was filled with fields of lima beans and orchards of citrus. Though UC Irvine sits in our backyard, this large demonstration garden is actually run through and extension of UC Davis which is one of the nation's leading agricultural institutions. The garden is a great way for visitors to experience Orange County's agricultural past, learn about what food actually looks like as it grows (which can be downright shocking to city kids), and take back newfound knowledge so that their own gardens will flourish.

Farm Food Lab 

My children and I recently took a fieldtrip the Farm+Food Lab. The kids had shown an interest in what vegetarians eat and how plants grow so we headed over to the Great Park for some free education of the subject. The kids and I are quite familiar with the park's Orange Balloon, carousel, and playground but had yet to experience the great park's demonstration garden. We were pleasantly greeted by Hank, one of the cheerful gardeners who keeps this special place running. He explained that the purpose of this garden was to help visitors learn practical knowledge about backyard gardening and take that information home with them to grow their own food. As a novice backyard farmer, I have grown my fair share of crops over the years and consider myself fairly knowledgeable on the subject but I still managed to learn some new things. For instance, did you know okra grows up from its stem, instead of down like a chili pepper? And were you aware that apple trees can be espaliered and trained to grow up along trellises or fences? This certainly opens up the possibilities for those of us bound to the fenced in confines of a small, suburban backyard.   

Farm Food Lab Hopscotch 

The kids were eager to say hi to the chickens, play hopscotch underneath the massive sunflowers, play a rousing game of "Good Bug/Bad Bug", and sniff and touch just about everything in the sensory garden. Hank informed us that a new batch of worms would be arriving soon to replenish the worm bin and koi were going to be residing at the farm sometime in the near future. I enjoyed seeing beautiful examples of produce and herbs that I was familiar with growing alongside some plants that I had never actually attempted to cultivate. But perhaps, most exciting of all was knowing that there were Master Gardeners either on site or reached via email which were available to answer every question a gardener could ask. Whether you snap a picture of bugs on a plant that you want identified, are curious why Pride of Madiera bush isn't blooming (like I am), or want to know which varietal of apple is best for your neck of the woods, the Master Gardeners of the University of California Cooperative Extension have the answers. Have gardening questions? Contact the UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County via email: or visit

Though the Farm+Food Lab is open daily from 10am to 3pm, the best time to visit is Sunday, after a visit to the Great Park's Farmer's Market. Master Gardeners are available onsite to answer questions and special Children's Workshops are offered every second Sunday from 11am to 1pm. Visit for more information.

Only In Irvine: Gaufree Artisan Waffle Sandwiches

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Thursday, Aug 14, 2014

Only in Irvine: GaufreeAt Gaufree, the waffle sandwiches come with more than just a side of fries.

They come with an attitude.

Only in Irvine: GaufreeAs soon as you enter the restaurant at Westpark Plaza you can feel it.

From the positive affirmations on the wall to the fresh, organic ingredients in the food.

Everything at Gaufree is about celebrating what's good.  

Only in Irvine: Gaufree

Only in Irvine: Gaufree

Chef and Owner, Paul Hortobagyi opened Gaufree in September of 2013 after seven years as General Manager of the JW Marriott Hotel in Santa Monica.

Hortobagyi matched his spirit of adventure with his training in culinary arts. The result was Gaufree Artisan Waffle Sandwiches.The name, pronounced "go free," symbolizes the philosophy behind the restaurant.

"GAUFRE in French means Waffle," explains Hortobagyi.  "We have added an extra "e" on the end in order to encourage people to GO FREE: of pesticides, processed food, anger, prejudice, your car every other Sunday,  etc."

Freedom is all about choices, and the varied menu of inventive sandwich and salad options has plenty to choose from.

Like marinated, slow-cooked, pulled pork served with Boston coleslaw, homemade BBQ sauce and a side of horseradish yogurt.

Or a grass-fed burger covered in port-wine caramelized onions, melted Gorgonzola and Gaufree sauce.

Maybe a kale salad with fresh cucumbers, thai basil, red beets, roasted peanuts and goat cheese?

And for dessert, Nutella madness with sliced bananas and whipped cream.

only in irvine: gaufree

When it was time to choose the perfect home for his new restaurant concept, Paul Hortobagyi picked Irvine because of the highly-educated population.

"We felt that the sophistication and eating habits of Irvine residents would be a good fit," he said. "They are more likely to see the benefits of organic greens, free range chicken, grass fed beef, fair trade organic coffee; giving their children sodas free of high fructose syrup sodas etc."

Only in Irvine: Gaufree

Now, Irvine is home to Gaufree's special brand of freedom.  

Freedom from boring, tasteless, unimaginative fast food.

Freedom from unhealthy restaurant meals.

Freedom to enjoy what's good in life, like a bowl of fresh ice cream for dessert or a good conversation with a new friend.

Go to Gaufree and experience this freedom for yourself.

Only in Irvine: Gaufree 3851-A Alton Parkway, Irvine, CA 92606


Exciting Workout in Orange County- Aerial Fitness OC

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Wednesday, Aug 06, 2014

tissuaerial fitness oc

Are you tired of the gym, looking to mix up your workout routine, or just want to get into a fitness activity? Well, I've experienced and found the perfect workout that you will want to try out, Aerial Fitness Orange County in Costa Mesa! Aerial Fitness OC offers a fantastic body strengthening and core intensive workout by using silks (tissu), lyra (hoop), and trapeze.

After just taking one class, I instantly gained better body awareness and felt how much I had used my arms, upper body and abdominal area while using the silks (evidence in the soreness I had the next day that lasted a week and a half). I have a dance background and therefore had more strength in my legs and lower body, but don't get me wrong, I still had the most intense but fun workout of my life. 

My class was taught by Aerial Fitness OC owner Doug and he was really great! At first, using the silks or anything else hanging from the ceiling can seem daunting. I don't have a fear of heights, but I did have a preconceived notion in my mind that mastering even just climbing up the silks would be difficult because I've seen aerialists perform amazing tricks that seem impossible for me to ever master unless I received lots of training. 

Lucky me, I climbed up the silks quite easily and quickly with Doug's guidance and also was able to do the splits (and invert that position), hold poses, and learn to control my body movements as I got into a position and transitioned to the next position. 

I took the class with two friends so it was a great class dynamic and made it easy to focus on the skills we were being taught. The classes max out at 6 and usually average 4 students a class so you get great individual attention. 

Aerial Fitness OC borders Irvine, so it's just a hop skip and jump away! Come take a class at Aerial Fitness Orange County! Kids, Teens & Adults Welcome:
151 Kalmus Dr, J-7 Costa Mesa, California
(949) 631-5587

Parking: Parking Lot
The studio is located behind the dance studio Dance Asylum (you walk through the main studio to get to the room where the aerial classes are held. This room can also be accessed from the other side of the building through the service doors.
The studio can be tricky to find within the business complex so be sure to clarify with the Aerial Fitness OC Staff!
There are 1 Class Drop in Rates as well as Packages, contact the studio for more information and how to register!



Free Family Fun at Irvine Lanes and Boomers

Posted by: Sharlene Earnshaw
Posted on: Sunday, Aug 03, 2014

Summer and fun. Those two words just seem to go hand in hand. For children, it is a time to sleep in , play with friends, and embrace all that is great about being kid. Of course, it only takes a few days of hanging out at home before the inevitable "I'm bored" routine begins. I want to get my kids out of the house to have fun but I don't want to spend an arm and a leg fulfilling my role as the chairwoman of our family's entertainment committee so I am always on the lookout for bargain-friendly fun. This summer, we have been spending a good deal of our time enjoying all the free fun at Irvine Lanes and Boomers Irvine. After all, what's more bargain-friendly than free?


Irvine Lanes is part of the Kids Bowl Free program, a national program designed to give kids a safe and fun activity to enjoy all summer long. Joining the fun is as simple as signing your kids up on KidsBowlFree.comand printing out weekly coupons which are redeemable for two free games per kid, per day, seven days a week. The program at Irvine Lanes is designed for children age 15 and under but up to four adults can be included on a family pass which allows each adult to each bowl 2 games per day throughout the summer for a $30 one-time fee. Such a bargain! Kids Bowl Free hours take place between 10am and 5pm daily and run now through September 30th.

Boomers Irvine 

Next door to Irvine Lanes is Boomers, another great place to enjoy inexpensive summer entertainment. When I was a kid, our local miniature golf course had two 18-hole courses and a small arcade. Boomers feature three mini-golf courses, bumper boats, two go-kart tracks, batting cages, small carnival rides, rock wall, laser tag, a huge arcade, and a snack bar. And, as if that wasn't enough, the park now features Buccaneer Cove, a sparkling new mini water park featuring exhilarating water slides and plenty of splashtastic water play. During the month of August kids play free with the purchase of every adult Champ Pass for $30. The Champ Pass is good for four hours of unlimited fun on the rock wall, playing tag, riding bumper boats, racing go karts, riding rides, or playing mini golf. Locals and those visiting the area for an extended period of time will find tremendous value in the 3-month season pass which is good for 4-hours of fun on everything listed above as well any arcade game that doesn't give out game tickets for just $49.99. Still want more? $10 more gets you all of the above plus access to Buccaneer Cove. Details can be found and tickets can be purchased at

*Bowling photos courtesy of Flickr users Kathleen Moore and Frank Juarez.  

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