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Irvine Blog - Posts from Local Experts

Category - Dining

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. 



AC Hotel Irvine Grand Debuts as First of Its Kind in Southern California

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Friday, May 26, 2017

Orange County's newest European-inspired hotel, AC Hotel Irvine grand debuted last week with a chic soiree of live music, tapas, signature cocktails and wine, spirits from Blinking Owl, craft berrs, Puesto tacos and sweet treats. Guests had the opportunity to enjoy the hotel's communal spaces as well as receive a tour of the rooms. 


AC Hotel Irvine, a Marriott property opened by the Pacific Hospitality Group, is the first of its kind in Southern California and located within 1 mile of John Wayne Airport, in the heart of Park Place, a thriving community of popular restaurants, shops, residential housing and corporate businesses. The hotel appealing to next-gen travelers has 176 guest rooms; beautiful open spaces to lounge or mingle in; a heated roof-top pool; complimentary WiFi, a state-of-the-art fitness room and hydration stations on every guest-room floor. For those looking for the perfect place to conduct business, AC Hotel Irvine provides three distinct meeting spaces including two intimate, audiovisual-equipped Media Salons (up to 8 people), and a 500-square-foot Meeting Room (up to 40 people). AC Hotel is a mix of innovative touches, modern design through the furnishings and artwork as well as aligning with the hotel's European heritage through their lifestyle offerings.


For seamless service, Kallpods, wireless service buttons, are provided in the public and meeting areas which allow guests to immediately request a staff member's attention. For a specialty cocktail or craft beer and tapas, take a seat at the AC Hotel Lounge bar. For a truly European inspired breakfast, dine at the AC Hotel Kitchen, I was told the croissants are flown in from France! There's also a Berkel slicer to serve up hand cut meats. For the individual needing a quick bite or beverage, the AC Store is open 24 hours and has a variety of drink and snack options. 


This new Orange County gem not only offers an elevated guest room experience to be able to wind down and get a good night sleep, but strives to provide an unparalled lifestyle experience for all guests and also catering to those that are on-the-go. 


"We've created an atmosphere that allows locals and visitors to comingle, share ideas and socialize in an environment that offers a sense of place," said Paul Maddison, general manager at AC Hotel Irvine.  

Visit the AC Hotel Irvine

Address: 3309 Michelson Dr, Irvine, CA 92612
Phone: (949) 471-8710 

Trade Food Hall Opens in Irvine This Saturday May 13, 2017

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Friday, May 12, 2017

A new food hall is grand opening in Irvine this Saturday May 13th! Trade Food Hall located in Irvine, is offering up a variety of innovative and unique savory to sweet food options in Orange County. Trade is an open-air patio space featuring a vertical garden display and crisp decor; a place for everyone to come together to enjoy good food and good company.

Taste an array of culinary dishes from pork sliders to veggie delights, fusion tacos to fresh seafood, grilled chicken sandwiches to gyros, and ramen and sushi to sweets and cocktails. You really won't know where to start (unless you're set on trying a certain type of food or vendor), but this is the place to step out of your food comfort zone if you're looking to try something new or if you're a seasoned foodie looking for the next mouthwatering instagrammable feast. 

Trade has been soft opened for the past few weeks with limited menus, but many in the community got to experience an exclusive taste on Wednesday May 10th during a preview. Some notable items to try include:

  • Butterleaf: The new vegetarian. Serving up the Signature Butterleaf Burger (sweet potato, kale, melted onions, kimchi sauce)
  • Two Birds: Cluckin’ good chicken. Serving up Bird In The Bush (Salad, salt and vinegar slaw, tomato, pickle, romaine lettuce, pickled onion, and cucumber)
  • Center Hub Bar: Your new favorite bar. Serving up The Stubborn Mule (Hangar One Vodka, Muddled Cucumbers and Mint Leaves, Lime Juice, Blueberry Syrup, Ginger Beer)
  • Dos Chinos: Latin Asian grub. Serving up Chorizo Fried Rice (chorizo, Chinese sausage, chimichurri, pineapple)
  • Megadon: Latin, Asian, and Mexican fare. Created by Hop Pham of Dos Chinos. 
  • Gyro King: Mediterranean fare. Serving up the Gyro (served with gyro meat, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and tzatziki sauce)
  • Pig Pen Delicacy: Pork-haven eatery. Serving up the Candied Bacon Egg & Cheese Sandwich (candied bacon, soft scrambled eggs, cheddar, banana ketchup)
  • Portside Fish Co.: Fresh seafood. Serving up the Fresh Calamari Bowl and Fresh Fish Taco
  • Sweet COMBforts: Home of the Waffle Pop. Serving up Fruity Pebbles n Cereal Belgium Liege waffle

Visit Trade Food Hall:
2222 Michelson Dr.
Irvine, CA 92612

Business Hours:
Monday - Thursday: 8am - 9pm
Friday - Sunday: 8am - 10pm 

Pig Pen Delicacy

Dos Chinos 

Center Hub 

Sweet Combforts

Gyro King


Two Birds



Happy Eating!


*All Images and information provided by 100eats, Trade Food Hall and/or their respective restaurant social media platforms.  

Filed In: Dining

Unique Dining Experience at Mesa Lounge

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Thursday, May 04, 2017

Mesa Lounge in Costa Mesa is serving up a unique dining experience for guests. Every Tuesday, the restaurant hosts a Chef's Table dinner inspired by a singer or music group. The menu is specially created and curated by Mesa's chef, Niki Starr; last month, I had the pleasure of getting to attend a Chef's Table dinner highlighting Frank Sinatra. 

As Ol' Blue Eyes' music played throughout the restaurant, my friend and I enjoyed a pre-fixe four course dinner, with a cocktail pairing for each dish. My favorite part about the dinner was getting to taste chef Niki Starr's creations, as each dish has a unique and innovative twist on French culinary classics. I also liked how she kicked up the presentation aspect a bit by serving a couple of the dishes tableside. 

"For the Frank Sinatra dinner, I was inspired by the very first kitchen I worked in: French 75 in Laguna Beach. It seemed like every time I would walk through the dining room with red velvet booths, dim lighting, and an old school fine dining feel, Frank would be playing through the speakers, giving the restaurant even more of a classic and romantic feel.
This is a homage of sorts to my time at French 75 -- classic french dishes, paired with the timeless voice of Frank Sinatra." - Chef Niki Starr (source 100 Eats)

Frank Sinatra Menu

1st Course:
French Onion Soup, Short Rib, Puff Pastry
Cocktail Pairing: DO I WORRY - Bourbon, Lucano, Cio Ciaro, Sarsaparilla, Bitters


2nd Course:
Foie Tourchon, Pickled Cherry Compote, Måche, Onion Ring Maldon Salt served with Rustic Loaf
Cocktail Pairing: POOR YOU - Reposado, Aperitif, Heering, Citrus


3rd Course:
Coq Au Vin served with Cauliflower Puree (Prepared Tableside)
Cocktail Pairing: SOME OTHER TIME - Gin, Cava, Jasmine, Honey, Lemon

4th Course:
Chocolate Soufflé, Hot Chocolate Ganache, Chantilly Cream (Prepared Tableside)
Cocktail Pairing: GOODBYE LOVER, GOODBYE - Vermouth, Fernet, Irish whisky, Coffee, Egg


The month of April came to a close with the Frank Sinatra Dinner, for May, the Tuesday dinners are inspired by Talking Heads and the month of June will highlight Florence and The Machine. For the foodies out there or if you're looking for a unique dining experience, the Chef's Table dinner at Mesa is a must. Check out the Chef's Table dinners and other events here.


725 Baker St, Costa Mesa CA 92626
Phone: 714-557-6700

Chef's Table Dinner
$60/person +$25 drink pairings
Seatings at 6pm and 8pm

Mesa is located a few minutes from Irvine and is best known for it's nightlife offerings.

Happy Eating!


Filed In: Dining

Twenty Eight Restaurant Raises the Bar with a Whole New Menu

Posted by: Terry Winkler
Posted on: Monday, Mar 13, 2017

Chef Jay Lacuesta must have been channeling his inner Henry David Thoreau when he created a unique starter plate to share. If you want to "live deep and suck all the marrow out of life" you better get over to Twenty Eight Restaurant in Irvine and order the Uni & Bone Marrow Toast.

 It's a whole new take of surf and turf when you spoon out the marrow and blend it on top of the Santa Barbara Uni and toasted country loaf, garnished with micro greens.

Chef Lacuesta's goal is to make the menu approachable and fun by presenting familiar tasets in unique ways. Chef has a solid win with his new menu.

Lacuesta has debuted other standout dishes, including a 24-ounce Kurobuta pork shoulder and a 40-ounce, dry-aged, bone-in rib-eye. Some of the larger plates are served family-style for sharing, so gather your co-workers, family and friends for a taste experience you'll truly enjoy.


Filed In: Dining, Events

OC Restaurant Week- - Fine Dining Specials at Orange County's Premier Shopping Destinations

Posted by: Sharlene Earnshaw
Posted on: Tuesday, Mar 07, 2017

Orange County Restaurant Week is a great  time of year to get out and taste some of what the OC food scene has to offer. 100 restaurants participate in this week-long event, offering specially-priced  menus that highlight what makes each dining destination so special.

Orange County has long been known as a shopping destination for tourists, especially those with an eye for sophistication. Thankfully, premier shopping destinations such as the Irvine Spectrum Center and South Coast Plaza are also great places for a sophisticated meal. Over a dozen restaurants in these expansive shopping and entertainment centers are participating in OC Restaurant Week. Here is a look at three of our favorites.


Del Frisco's Grill

Irvine Spectrum Center

$20 2-Course Brunch Menu

$20 2-Course Lunch Menu

$40 3-Course Dinner Menu

Whether you start your day with brunch or end it with dinner and dessert, you are sure to find something tasty on Del Frisco's Grill's OC Restaurant Week menus. Brunch temptations include Red Velvet Belgian Waffles, Chicken Avocado Salad Wrap, and Deviled Eggs with a Truffle Chive Vinaigrette. Brick Chicken, Shaved Prime Steak Sandwich, and Seared Salmon Fillet are amongst the lunch options. For dinner, is Prime Beef Short Rib Stroganoff calling your name? Or perhaps it is the Mesquite Smoked Pork Chop with Bourbon Apple Glaze that is calling your name. Both sound like they would go perfectly with Nutella Bread Pudding or Turtle Cheesecake. 


The Capital Grille

South Coast Plaza

$20 3-Course Lunch Menu

$50 3-Course Dinner Menu

$80  Luxe Menu

The Capital Grille's Restaurant Week menus are quite diverse. Their $20 three-course lunch menu is a tremendous value with entrees such as New York Strip Steak and Citrus-Glazed King Salmon accompanied with soup or salad and the indulgent dessert options of Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake or Classic Creme Brulee. For a truly indulgent and luxurious evening, opt for their Luxe Menu which includes two wine pairings and a glass of tawny port. This menu begins with a choice of salads or Lobster Bisque followed by entree options such as Kona Crusted Filet Mignon and Porcini Rubbed Bone-In Ribeye and include two accompaniments-choose from Mashed Potatoes, Au Gratin Potatoes, Soy-Glazed Brussel Sprouts, or Grilled Asparagus. Enjoy your port with either Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake or Cheesecake with Seasonal Berries.


Paul Martin's American Grill

Irvine Spectrum Center

$20 3-Course Lunch Menu

$40 3-Course Dinner Menu

Paul Martin's does American classics well. Highlights of their OC Restaurant Week menu include Braised Short Ribs with mashed potatoes, Columbia River Steelhead Salmon, and their signature Bistro Cheeseburger which features grass-fed Angus beef, Tillamook cheese, house-made pickles, and a  black pepper aioli.  All featured entrees come with your choice of soup or salad and homemade ice cream. 

Filed In: Dining

OC Restaurant Week : Food and Wine

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Monday, Mar 06, 2017

Orange County Restaurant Week is the prime time to enjoy the best of local dining, to visit old favorite places and to discover brand new ones. For 7 delicious days, 100 restaurants will be offering specially-priced tasting menus that celebrate the county's best cuisine made better with the perfect bottle of wine.

Orange County may not be known as a wine region, but the availability of a wide selection of wines gives Orange County diners a multitude of pairing choices. Local wine lists offer not only the best of California producers but international selections as well. Orange County diners are the beneficiaries of this wine bounty as wine-themed restaurants have grown in popularity. 

Orange County Restaurant Week is the best time to not only sample new foods but to try new wines as well.  


CUCINA Enoteca

Irvine Spectrum Center

$20 Lunch Menu

$30 Dinner Menu

"Enoteca" means "Wine Shop" in Italian, which makes CUCINA Enoteca the perfect place to find your new favorite bottle at an affordable price. The restaurant's mission is to provide exceptional wines at the best possible value, and the extensive wine list of domestic and global wines accomplishes that goal. CUCINA Enoteca avoids traditional restaurant markups by charging only a nominal $9 corkage fee for wines on its list. Selected Wines of The Month have no corkage fee at all.

The wine is the star here, but the food shares the stage quite well. The menu features handmade pasta and pizza finished with locally-sourced ingredients. Comfortable, delicious food paired with easy-on-the-budget wines. Did I mention the sweet and sunny patio? 


Sea Legs Wine Bar 

21022 Beach Blvd. - Huntington Beach 

$40 Dinner Menu


A sign above the door reads, "If you're lucky enough to drink wine by the sea, you are lucky enough."  

Sea Legs Wine Bar is only a few blocks from the sand in Huntington Beach. The nautical decor is a natural for this California Wine bar with a casual beach vibe. The award-winning menu is paired with an international wine list. Wine Wednesdays are celebrated each week with 50% discounts on selected bottles. Tourists and sunseekers are happy customers, but the place is often filled with locals who come to visit their own bottles in private wine lockers. 

Some of the tasty treats on this week's  $40 Dinner Menu...Baked Ricotta Dip seasoned with thyme and rosemary and topped with a melted parmesan crust...lightly breaded and pan seared Chicken Picatta served with fresh pasta....and don't forget to try the Bailey's Oreo Cookie Mousse for dessert. Perfect with a glass of Cabernet! 


The Winery Restuarant and Wine Bar

3131 W Pacific Coast Highway  - Newport Beach
2647 Park Ave. Tustin @ The District

$50 Dinner Menu - Newport Beach

$40 Dinner Menu - Tustin 

The name says it all: The Winery Restuarant and Wine Bar is an Orange County classic that features a traditional, fine dining, food-meets-wine experience.  

The interior is as rich as a hearty cabernet, and its cellar holds over 6,500 bottles of wine. There are also 34 different wines by the glass available for those who want to do a little wine tasting. Chef Yvon Goetz has created a menu of California contemporary entrees that are inspired by the wines that accompany them.

Dinner at The Winery Restuarant and Wine Bar is an elegant splurge featuring specialties such as Jumbo Maine Scallops & Wild Rice Shrimp, with Saffron, Roasted Red Pepper & Edamame Beans Risotto, crispy prosciutto in a Red Wine Reduction. Or you could try the Zinfandel Braised Angus Beef Shortrib with Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus, Carrot Infused Pearl Couscous in a Zinfandel Reduction.

Hungry yet?

OC Restaurant Week 2017 Kicks off at the Irvine Marriott

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Sunday, Mar 05, 2017

Foodies and culinary enthusiasts gathered at the Irvine Marriott on Saturday, March 4th to kick off OC Restaurant WeekRestaurants, eateries, and cafes that are participating in OCRW gave guests a sneak peek look and taste at what their OCRW pre-fixe menus have to offer this year. This is OC Restaurant Week's 9th year bringing together the top 100 OC restaurants for you to discover and indulge in. 

OCRW starts today March 5th and ends on Saturday, March 11th, check out the complete list of restaurants here. You can also view restaurants by various price points for lunch or dinner service as well as by city. For the list of Irvine restaurants, click here

If you haven't done OC Restaurant Week before, you can see our previous coverage here. If you've gotten to experience OCRW, there's always a diverse and exciting selection of restaurants to choose from this year - take this opportunity to try a new restaurant or different type of food. Restaurant menus will showcase and reflect each chef's unique culinary style. Enjoy lunch priced at $10, $15 and $20 per person pre-fixe menus, or dinner priced at $20, $30, $40 and $50 per person pre-fixe menus (some restaurants require reservations for the dinner service). 

Have fun experiencing OC Restaurant Week whether you're with family, friends, or on a special date! 

Filed In: Dining

Q & A with EATS Kitchen & Bar Welcomes New Executive Chef Jeff Moore

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Friday, Mar 03, 2017

EATS Kitchen & Bar and the Red Bar and Lounge at Hotel Irvine has welcomed a new executive chef, Jeff Moore who brings a multitude of culinary, customer service and management skills and knowledge from his many years working in the food and hospitality industry. Moore is currently creating seasonal menus that highlight the highest quality ingredients and promote local sustainability. He looks forward to hosting wine and beer dinners and other fun culinary promotions. In this new position, Moore wants to extend the restaurant's outreach to support more local vendors and producers. 

"Jeff is known for his exemplary work ethic, team leadership and creative kitchen style," said Hotel Irvine's General Manager Jeroen Quint. "We know with all his chef strengths and talents, along with his reputation for mentoring and being fun to work with, EATS Kitchen & Bar will continue to flourish as one of the places to dine in Orange County." 

I'm excited to share a quick Q+A with Jeff Moore so you can get to a know a little more about him before diving into the culinary offerings at Hotel Irvine's EATS Kitchen & Bar and Red Bar and Lounge.

1. What has been the most memorable moment or achievement in your chef career?

During my pastry days, I made a panna cotta that blew me away. I was so high on what I had made that I wasn't sure anything could ever possibly be better. I'll never forget how amazing it felt to create something so glorious.

2. What's your favorite dish to create at home?

Guilty pleasure: Trader Joe's Mandarin Orange Chicken. I eat the whole bag.

3. As executive chef, what are you most excited to contribute or bring to EATS Kitchen &
Bar and Red Bar and Lounge?

Seasonal and locally inspired dishes that are delicious, approachable and exciting to our guests.

4. Favorite meal of the day (breakfast, lunch dinner) to cook/serve in a hotel restaurant?

I personally like cooking for the "food industry people" who come in often late at night, after their own regular dinner services.

5. Favorite ingredients to work with?

Shallots for their sharpness and crunch, butter and cream for richness, and salt because it highlights and brightens other ingredients if used in moderation.

6. Any hints on what we can expect on the upcoming menu?

Look forward to trying tuna tartare with orange blossom, carrots, and pistachio, strozzapreti, highland kale, Castroville artichokes. And, our burger will be fantastic.

Previously, Moore distinguished himself as executive/regional chef for the Lounge Group in Newport Beach, Calif. He was responsible for supervising eight properties throughout Orange County that received industry honors and Orange County media kudos during his tenure. Earlier in his career, he worked as chef de cuisine at Hopscotch Tavern, a former Lounge Group property in Fullerton, Calif., at Montage Laguna Beach's award-winning The Loft and for several years did stints at restaurants in Utah, including Desert Bistro in Moab.

Moore has two children, ages two and four, and when he's not cooking and enjoying his family, he likes to hit the ski slopes and mountain bike. 


Information and images provided by  Marguarite Clark Public Relations

Filed In: Dining

Irvine Marriott Unveils Multi-Million M Club and Hotel Redesign

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Monday, Feb 27, 2017

The Irvine Marriott recently unveiled a multi-million redesign to their M Club Lounge and hotel space, which I had the opportunity to experience through a culinary adventure utilizing my five senses. The M Club Lounge renovation completes the hotel's final phase of the $35 million remodel.

Along with the M Club Lounge renovation, other additions include:

• New Front Entrance - Lined with soaring palm trees, the entry welcomes guests with a freshly designed aesthetic that reveals an invigorating escape in Orange County. With a majestic waterfall as the centerpiece, a calming water cascade provides a relaxing soundtrack for guests as customizable LED lighting offers seasonal color and flare.

• Great Room - The grand gathering space showcases a seaside-meets-city-vibe accented by works from local artists, and stunning white limestone that provides a place for  time, not simply passing by. Additionally, a custom built ‘Fusion Table' moonlights as a pool table, but is easily lowered six inches and covered with a lid to be transformed into a dining table.

• Culinary and Beverage Concepts - Keeping glasses raised and conversation buzzing, FLOE Lounge dishes coastal-inspired menus and features relaxed seating with acoustic alcoves, large communal tables, and a private dining room. Inspired by wanderlust, Y.N.K (You Never Know) offers an evolving cocktail and culinary experience that ‘pops-up' as new destinations every few weeks with fresh globally inspired food and beverage offerings.

• Outdoor and Pool Areas - Travelers recharge poolside in the California sun at the Irvine Marriott's new pool area, which features fire pits, open area for events, and modern furniture. A nearby living herb garden adds flavor to libations and culinary programming.

• Fitness Spaces - The Irvine Marriott's new fitness center offers a selection of workout choices to help guests align the body and mind. Precision training equipment and exterior spaces provide alternative training experiences to meet the fitness needs of guests.

• Meetings Imagined - Designed to encourage a group's ingenuity, meetings at the Irvine Marriott provide a blank canvas to create an event with purpose and glass-encased meeting spaces can be customized with lighting, video projection, digital mapping and more.

• Cannery Row - Offering 3,016 square feet of event space, the Cannery Row shipping container spaces maintain an element of surprise, allowing planners to bring their most ambitious event ideas to life in the unique outdoor space.

• Networking: Alone or Together - For a moment of solitude amidst the buzz of a meeting, Cocoon Seating provides privacy and personal space by shielding against outside noise. With smartphone connection capabilities, meeting goers can play music through built-in Bluetooth speakers, or join a conference call without noise and distractions. For groups, Team Foosball allows for up to 12 players to join in on a high-energy teambuilding game for shoulder-to-shoulder networking outside of the meeting room.

Visit Irvine Marriott for more information or to book rooms! Join the Marriott Rewards program for great perks! 

The M Cub Lounge, available to Elite and Club members, has the first ever (in the brand's portfolio) exterior entrance and includes "a range of complimentary food and beverage options such as hot breakfast, evening drinks, hors d'oeuvres, and premium beverages including espresso and hand-crafted libations. Accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the M Club Lounge also offers free Wi-Fi, printing and power supplies to ensure uninterrupted productivity for business travelers".

This lounge is the perfect place to get into work mode or wind down, recharge and enjoy the amenities. I really loved the coastal decor and vibes - there are a variety of tables, booth-like seating and comfy couches to enjoy. This is the area that kicked off our progressive dinner, it was explained to us that we would visit different sections of the hotel and in each section, we would experience a different dish or libation focused through our senses. 


Our first stop was the Floe Lounge dining area in which we had a carrot-themed dish focused around the sense of touch, but we weren't actually touching the food. We witnessed the chef put together various layers of carrot ingredients of different textures - from pureed to carrot shavings then topped with a grainy like texture. Although we didn't touch it ourselves I could imagine what each ingredient would have felt like in my hand.

Our second stop was YNK (You Never Know), a hidden bar area behind the Irvine Marriott's main bar which offers a great place to get away from the grind and enjoy seasonal bespoke cocktails inspired by different places around the world. We experienced the making of an old fashioned through the sense of sight by wearing ear buds so we could focus on the visual of the making of the cocktail (it looked really cool with the smoke). 

After YNK, we headed over the patio area that overlooks the Irvine Marriott pool. While enjoying a steak meal that had been encased in a dome we were serenaded by UCI's acapella group. This meal focused on the sense of smell through the release of a smoky, herb fragrance when we opened up the dome from our dish. 


Our last stop brought us back to Floe Lounge to experience seafood bites through the sense of sound by listening to ambient ocean sounds. Overall, this was a very immersive experience, and an innovative way to experience culinary and cocktail creations; as well as get to see the Irvine Marriott's beautiful remodel. 

Irvine Marriott information provided by Fast Forward Events 

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