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Irvine Blog - Posts from Local Experts

Posts for September 2013

Filed In: Dining

New Irvine Restaurants Offer Casual, Quality Cuisine

Posted by: Terry Winkler
Posted on: Thursday, Sep 26, 2013

Several new restaurants have opened in Irvine, giving Irvine foodies even more options for fresh and healthy dinning. Here are three of my favorites:

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill 6278 Irvine Blvd., Irvine

GarbanzoGarbanzo Mediterranean Grill offers guests a variety of authentic Mediterranean items with an emphasis on flavor, freshness and quality, as well as a healthy trans-fat free menu. Guests have the ability to customize every meal with items such as pita, laffa, falafel, shwarma, hummus, seasoned rice, sauces and dressings. All Garbanzo salads and sauces are prepared on-site daily, and the pita are made from scratch throughout the day in every restaurant. Additionally, several ingredients are bought locally and some are imported directly from the Mediterranean region.

What people are saying:

"Went here twice in one day!  Food was delicious. Had the laffa (burrito) for lunch and the plate for dinner.  This place is like the Chipotle of Mediterranean food so you can customize your meal to your specifications."

"The Chicken Shwarma and falafel were delicious! I also really liked the homemade chips and fresh pomegranate lemonade, and the service was excellent! It was fast, easy, and fresh!"

"The falafel, the steak, and the Portobello mushrooms were delicious!  I love that it was so healthy too."



 PdM Kitchen   5781 Alton Pkwy.(off Jeffrey Road), Irvine

pdmPdM Kitchen, located in Irvine's Oak Creek Shopping Center, is the bigger bro of Pain du Monde fame. Not just a bakery, PdM Kitchen serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. The restaurant has bar seating with a view of the exhibition kitchen and everyone loves the patio for al fresco dining. There's a to-go counter, perfect for picking up morning coffee and pastries, or take-out for lunch and dinner.

Here's what they're saying about PdM Kitchen:

"We had breakfast.  Smoked Salmon Benedict was exceptional.  Fresh basil and asparagus, tasty little potato cakes in lieu of the traditional English muffin.  Fresh fruit was diverse and high quality."

"My favorites are the summer salad with chicken and the salmon with mango salsa. Everything I've tried there has been delicious. Their pastries are the best too!"

 "Their almond and cinnamon twists are out of this world, baked fresh throughout the day.  The salads are some of the most generous in terms of ingredients I have ever seen.  Lots and lots and lots of good stuff and not just a bunch of lettuce with a few things sprinkled on top.  The Mango Chicken and Mediterranean Humus Salads are my favorites.  But let's not forget the sandwiches, in particular the Bozeman Bacon and Southwestern Chicken, both made with freshly cooked chicken and with bread made from scratch."

Try PdM and enjoy an omelette with farm-fresh eggs, pastries baked fresh in-house each morning, salads, soup and sandwiches for lunch (available until 5 p.m.), and specialties such as Grilled Flat Iron Steak, Grilled Salmon, Lamb Sirloin Steak, Roasted Chicken or dinner (served until 9 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Sundays.)


Crispa Crepes 3945 Irvine Boulevard (at Culver Drive), Irvine        

crispaLocated in Northpark Plaza, Crispa Crepes started in the kitchen of a Frenchman living in Southern California.  Irvine resident and owner, Hadrien Curs, believes fast food restaurants can serve authentic French food with that special homemade quality.    Using high quality ingredients that bring out authentic flavors, Crispa Crepes creates innovative and delicious crepe creations.  Savory crepes are accompanied with an organic salad dressed in a homemade vinaigrette.  Sweet crepes are lightly dusted with powdered sugar and topped with a light whipped cream. Vanilla bean ice cream may also be added to any sweet crepe order.

What people are saying:

"The Savory Chicken crepe was fantastic. Vegetables were fresh and seasoned properly. The manager was very personable and wants the customers to be happy and satisfied.  It is definitely a new neighborhood favorite. Great alternative to the fast food scene."

"Loved the overall décor of the restaurant & the ease of finding the place. Got the London (Raspberry jam, and a hint of shredded coconut) & the Crispella: classic nutella! Nom nom nom!!"

"It's a very contemporary way to serve crepes and they are delicious! Our favorite is the French (ham, swiss and thyme). Love that there is also side salad of mixed greens. We've met the owner and such a great guy who clearly shows passion for his love of bringing a little bit of Paris to Irvine. We have been coming back every week since!"


Style Week OC is BACK!

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Monday, Sep 23, 2013

SWOCStyle Week OC is back for it's 6th year, at the Irvine Spectrum Center, Fashion Island, and The Market Place providing various fun, pop-up fashion events and in-store promotions, beauty and hair demos, and happenings as well as runway shows featuring emerging designers and local retailers starting this Saturday September 28 through October 5th. If you missed the TEEN VOGUE Back-to-School Saturday shopping and fashion extravaganza at the Irvine Spectrum Center this past August, you won't want to miss this month's fashionable week of SWOC events. This is seriously my favorite series of fashion events in the fall, and SWOC doesn't fall short of delivering amazing brands, styles, designs, soirees, and merriment to ring in Fall Fashion!

Check out a brief look at the schedule of events or a more in depth itinerary of all the participating stores below! Aside from the plethora of in-store and shopping center events that will take place, I am most excited for the Cadillac: Couture Design Competition runway shows that will occur at the Irvine Spectrum Center and Fashion Island; you can vote for your fave design that will walk the runway (click on the shopping center links to vote, and all designs are made from REAL Cadillac car parts)!

Saturday, September 28
o Style Week Orange County officially kicks off at Irvine Spectrum Center at 7 p.m. with the highly anticipated Cadillac Couture: Design Competition and Irvine Spectrum Center Collection Runway Show, hosted by celebrity fashion designer and personality Nick Verreos. Four fashion design students will showcase their elaborate cocktail dresses inspired by Cadillac car designs constructed from actual Cadillac car parts. The winning designer will receive $2,000 and will be announced on the runway.
o Following the Cadillac competition will be a runway show featuring the season's hottest looks from retailers such as Macy's, Nordstrom, Tommy Bahama, White House I Black Market, MaxStudio, American Apparel and more. Both the Cadillac competition and Irvine Spectrum Center runway show are open and free to the public

Wednesday, October 2
o Irvine Spectrum Center will host its pop-up style closets throughout the center from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to showcase fall trends from retailers such as Active Ride Shop, Foreign Exchange and Francesca's Collections. The style closets will feature informal modeling and music and will be located near the Edwards movie theater, Carousel Court and the Giant Wheel
o Fashion Island will host an accessories showcase at the Atrium Lawn starting at 6 p.m. Participating boutiques include C. Wonder, Kendra Scott and Uno de 50.

Thursday, October 3
o Irvine Spectrum Center's Giant Wheel Court will set the stage at 6 p.m. for beauty demos and makeovers from Cirque du Soleil's head makeup artist who will provide tips on how to create fall's dramatic makeup looks along with hairstyling demos by TONI & GUY

o Come check out Fashion Island's newest stores at a style showcase at 6 p.m. to welcome Kitson's newly expanded store and location, along with the arrival of contemporary womenswear brand Babakul.

Friday, October 4
o Fashion Island hosts its collection runway show at 7 p.m. in the Neiman Marcus-Bloomingdale's courtyard. Participating retailers include: Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus, Halston Heritage, Vince, Trina Turk, Joie and Gary's.
o Shoppers will also be able to enter to win a $500 shopping spree

Saturday, October 5
o The Market Place will feature pop-up fashion closets from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. featuring looks from Loehmann's, Ann Taylor LOFT, White House I Black Market and Steinmart.
o Style Week Orange County 2013 comes to a close with a finale as Fashion Island plays host to the 2nd Annual FABULOUS Soirée: A Benefit for the FIDM Museum & Galleries from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Neiman Marcus-Bloomingdale's courtyard. The FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising will present a two-part show with the FIDM Debut Show and a second Cadillac Couture: Design Competition. All proceeds benefit the FIDM Museum Fashion Council and their planned acquisition of The Helen Larson Historic Fashion Collection. Tickets: $100, can be purchased at

 Irvine Spectrum Center SWOC Events:
Fashion Island SWOC Events:
SWOC fashion island

 *Images & Schedule c/o Style Week OC

OC Brew Ha-Ha: Sept. 7

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013

Every August, craft beer lovers come together near Irvine Lake to quench their thirst with a cold brew.

OC Brew Ha-Ha 

On Saturday, September 7th, The O.C. Brew Ha-Ha will be celebrating the fine art of artisan beer, with a day of tasting, discussing and celebrating one of the world's oldest beverages.

The day long event takes place in the shade of Oak Canyon, centrally located in Silverado near Irvine Lake. 

2013 OC Brew Ha Ha Features:

* 175+ Craft & Import Beers from over 70 Top Breweries
* Commemorative Festival Glass
* Ten 4 oz Tastes
* Park Setting with Lots of Shaded Seating
* Homebrew Exhibitors
* Beer Appreciation Seminars by Renowned Experts
* Free soda and water
* Exclusive VIP Session
* Live Entertainment

Enjoy A Beer and Support a Great Cause!

Because the first event was on 9/11/10, OC Brew Ha-Ha continues its  partnership with the Local 3631 Firefighters Union.

oc Brew Ha-Ha

Most of the beer is served by off-duty Orange County Firefighters. This event raises thousands of dollars for the Fallen Fire Fighters Relief Fund, a non-profit organization that aids surviving spouses and children of Orange County Firefighters lost in the line-of-duty.

Fabulous Food will be available from local favorites like  Slater's 50/50 Burgers, 77 Pizza, and Slidebar Rock-n-Roll Kitchen.  


GENERAL ADMISSION - 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

 Includes: Commemorative Festival Glass & TEN 4 oz Tastes

VIP - 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

 Includes: Commemorative Festival Glass & FIFTEEN 4 oz Tastes +   (NEW for 2013)
   - One hour Early Entry
   - Five Extra Tastes
   - A VIP Exclusive Beer Appreciation Session with renowned beer expert and specially selected beer

DESIGNATED DRIVER - $20 reduced admission.  Can be purchased at the door / Must accompany a paid participant.



oc brew Ha-Ha

 For more details or to purchase tickets online, check out


Afternoon Tea in the OC

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013

My friend Angel introduced me to the concept of 'afternoon tea' so when I found out that Paris in a Cup located in Old Towne Orange offers a Lunch and tea fare in their Grand Salon, I had to experience it! Angel, her daughter Olivia, sister Ling, and our friend Tiffany headed over to Paris in a Cup for a bit of grandeur, romance; a little piece of 'Paris'. Along with a lunch menu item, we all shared an 'Afternoon Tea Fare' so we could each get to taste the pastries and small bites (this is usually a 1 person portion). The extensive tea menu categorized by types of teas got my senses going, so many try! And if you are not taking a fancy to the tea that you selected, the server is more than happy to swap it out. I was literally transported to another time, the ornate decor and fixtures, pretty table setting and lush seating was giving way to a 'Marie Antoinette' moment as I sipped my tea and munched on delectable delights. Walk-ins are welcome, but to ensure a table (especially on weekends), be sure to book a reservation! Paris in a Cup also offers a vast selection of small gifts, market items, and a French staple; macarons in their boutique & market!
Paris In A Cup
119 S Glassell St, Orange CA 92866
Phone (714) 538-9411 


Tea lounges and quick stops to tea salons that you might enjoy:

Afternoon Tea & Tea Lounge at the Playland Cafe
880 Roosevelt, Irvine, CA 92620
Queen's Bakery Cafe
2950 Grace Lane, Suite A, Costa Mesa, Ca 92626
The Tea Room
1703 Westcliff Dr, Newport Beach, CA 92660
Coffee, Tea & Tulips
25280 Marguerite Pkwy, Ste B2, Mission Viejo, CA 92692
McKenna's Tea Cottage
810 Electric Ave, Seal Beach,CA 90740
Phone Number: 562-431-0200/ 714-655-1456 
Tea & Teacups
18154 Imperial Hwy, Yorba Linda, CA 92886
Tranquil Tea Lounge
106 W. Wilshire Ave., Fullerton, CA 92832
Seventh Tea Bar
3313 Hyland Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Spring Tea Garden
 501 N Harbor Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92832
The Sussex Teapot
12752 Valley View St, Garden Grove, CA 92842

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