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Category - Family Friendly

Circus Vargas Comes to the OC Great Park

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Monday, Jun 12, 2017


Come one, come all and take wonder in the marvel that is Circus Vargas at the OC Great Park until this weekend, June 18th. Guests will get the full big top circus experience with sugary sweets, popcorn, snow cones and face painting as well as classic and new circus acts. 

This year, Circus Vargas embarks on a new adventure, Steam Cirque, under their blue and yellow big top. Jump into the world of steam punk, science fiction and exciting and suspenseful circus performances. While waiting for the show to start, kids can partake in pre-show activities in the circus ring, then join their families up in the stands or seats. The non-animal show is great for all ages with a robust mix of a traditional circus atmosphere including concessions and novelty items being sold throughout the stands, and a fun, action-packed show including acts such as trapeze, trampoline, aerial rope and a motorocycle cage; along with a journey through humour, mystery magic and more. The performers also include audience participants in comedic acts throughout the show, but it is fun and lighthearted; they know how to get everyone involved and have a good time. 

My fianceé Scott and I attended a Circus Vargas show last Thursday not knowing what to expect and we truly had a great time. We were blown away by the array and diversity of acts performed, and also in awe of how many roles each performer plays. You'll see all hands on deck to help run the show smoothly; a performer will be selling tickets at the ticket booth, to flying through the air in a death-defying act, then helping to move the sets around. You can really see how much hard work goes into this production. 

Get to Circus Vargas this week before the big top is gone! For more ticket information, click here.  








Photos taken by Feast.Fashion.Faves 

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 
 
 
 
Photos c/o PHG PR TEAM + FEAST.FASHION.FAVES 

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


Butterleaf


Two Birds


Portside


Megadon

Happy Eating!

Amanda

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

The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Monday, Apr 03, 2017

The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch is about a 45 minute drive south of Irvine and worth the trek to get to see and experience the ranunculus covered hillsides. The season, the Flower Fields opened to the public in March and remains open for 10 weeks ending on May 14, 2017. 

You could spend hours on the 50 acres of blooming hillsides, nursery, gardens and more; which overlook the Pacific Ocean and Carlsbad Outlets. Come with family and friends and enjoy a day taking in the colorful ranunculus flowers which you can walk up to or take an antique tractor wagon ride around the fields to access the numerous rows of flowers. There are educational programs, workshops and exciting events; as well as an Arts & Crafts show, food vendors and live music entertainment during the weekends. If you'd like to take home fresh cut ranunculus blooms, stop by the Armstrong Garden Center Gift Shop on your way out. For ticket information, click here

TIPS

  • If you're visiting over the weekend, be sure to get here before or when the Flower Fields open to avoid long lines a the ticket booth and tractor rides. It'll also be less congested so you can move about the gardens and fields freely. 
  • You can take photos, but any professional equipment would need prior approval.
  • You can't step in between the rows of flowers, but there are inlets with small benches where you can take photos within the flowers, some inlets have a photographer assistant that can take photos for/of you. 
  • Wear sunscreen and any other sun protection necessary since you will be under direct sunlight.
  • Bring a light jacket or cover up as it can get windy
  • If you're planning on walking up to the fields instead of taking the tractor, be sure to wear comfortable shoes.
  • For FAQs, click here
  • You can purchase tickets online and avoid waiting in line to purchase tickets. 

The Flower Fields History 

Today, the fields are a direct result of over 85 years of floral cultivation that began when Luther Gage, an early settler and grower settled in the area in the early 1920's. Mr. Gage brought Ranunculus seeds to the area and began growing them in his fields next to Frank Frazee's small vegetable farm in South Oceanside. This started a business called "Luther Gage Giant Tecolote Ranunculus bulbs". The name "Tecolote" came from the owls that nested on his property. 

Read more about the Flower Fields History here. If you're not able to make it down to the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch this season, check out this previous post on the wildflower bloom in Orange County! 

 

It's Wildflower Season in Orange County

Posted by: Sharlene Earnshaw
Posted on: Monday, Mar 20, 2017

After years of crippling drought, the 2017 rainy season has brought much-needed relief to California. Reservoirs are full, snow pack is high, and our rolling hills are vibrantly green once again. One of the most pleasant side effects of an ample rainy season is the explosion of wildflowers that is currently taking place in and around Orange County. Now is the time to hit the trails and appreciate Orange County area parks wilderness areas at their absolute finest. 

One of the best place places to see a diverse array of wildflowers is Irvine's Bommer Canyon.  Here hikers will discover lupine, goldfields, fiddlenecks, chia, thistle, storksbill, blue dicks, prickly pear, poppies, and more.

Beyond Bommer Canyon, expect to spot wildflowers in Hidden Canyon, Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, Santiago Oaks Regional Park, Caspers Wilderness Park, and Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. Special guided wildflower-focused hikes will take place in various locations at the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. Advanced signup is necessary.  

 

East of Irvine, a massive wildflower explosion in occurring in Chino Hills State Park. Carpets of poppies, lupine, and various other wildflowers are blanketing the vibrantly green hillsides, making it one of the prime wildflower viewing locations in the entire state.  The drive from Irvine to the State Park along the 241 Toll Road is incredibly scenic with all sorts of wildflowers to gaze at along the way. 

One other location not to be missed is Walker Canyon, located about an hour from Irvine off I15 near Lake Elsinore. This location has caused traffic jams because gawkers gazing at the fields of poppies that can be spotted from the freeway. A short walk uphill from the parking area off of the Lake Blvd exit will allow you to be up close and personal with California's official state flower.

 

Want more wildflower fun? Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks is hosting 24 Hours of Wildflowers on all their social media platforms in celebration of wildflower season! Every hour for 24 hours on March 21, 2017, they will be featuring a different native wildflower and sharing where you can find it out on the park land. The fun will start at 9 a.m. Follow the hashtags #24HoursofWildflowers and #OCMountaintoSea.

 All photos by Sharlene Earnshaw 

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! 

Free Yogurtland on February 6 for the 1st International Frozen Yogurt Day!

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

Irvine's very own Yogurtland is kicking off the first ever International Frozen Yogurt Day on Monday, February 6th, with free frozen yogurt at participating Yogurtland locations around the world between 4-7pm (local time). 

Join in on this global celebration with the self-serve frozen yogurt pioneer by enjoying a free frozen yogurt and toppings in a limited-time only cup as well as receiving a limited edition Hersey's® collectible spoon. Yogurtland will also feature a new Peanut Butter Cup frozen yogurt flavor made with Reese's® and Hershey's® ingredients, and the popular Chocolate Milkshake made with Hershey's® flavor and real, creamy California Milk. These two delicious flavors will continue to be served at Yogurtland locations throughout the month of February.

 

International Frozen Yogurt Day is sponsored by Yogurtland and The Hershey Company, locations throughout the United States, Australia, Dubai, Singapore, Thailand, and Venezuela will be participating in this momentous and delectable occasion.

Find out more on the festivities here and on facebook. Hashtag your photos #YogurtlandIFYD to be featured on our social channels and the Yogurtland website!  

 

Filed In: Family Friendly

Eskape Rooms: Irvine's Brain Teaser Challenge

Posted by: Terry Winkler
Posted on: Sunday, Jan 29, 2017

Sometimes teens want nothing more than to escape their parents, but I made my kids and their cousins join me in a locked room, where we'd have to cooperate to find our way out. Sounds crazy, right? Actually, it was a blast.

I had the kids join me at Irvine's Eskape Rooms, the brainchild of UCI alumni, Chris Im and Daniel Lee (that's Chris Im in the picture above with the kids). The challenge is to find clues and solve a series of puzzles, unlock cabinets to reveal even more clues until you ultimately solve all the puzzles to unlock the exit within one hour's time.

After a short briefing, we were lead into the room. We watched as the door closed, locked and the countdown clock began.

And oh boy, the pressure was on! Immediately everyone's personalities were magnified. We had the leader who organized the quest, the cheerleader who kept the pace going and encouraged the team, the wise guy who offered suggestions for others to solve and gain the win, the quiet ones who worked in the background. There was some competition for leadership, then we instinctively broke into two small groups and worked different parts of the room in tandem. If you get stuck you can ask for a hint, but if you're competitive like we were, you can save your hint for when time's running out.

And when the time is running out it's better than any action movie. We were yelling, high-fiving, dashing around the room. Talk about adrenalin! Did we win the challenge? Well, we missed it by THAT much. Seconds. Drat!!

 

Even though we failed the challenge, the best part of the day for me was driving home. Not one kid was on their phone. They were full of enthusiastic storytelling, reliving the experience with laughter and playful ribbing. And THAT was a huge win.

Helpful hints:

  •  Reservations are booked as a private party, so strangers won't join your group. Exklusive. I like that.
  • Keep your squad between 3 and 8 to have the best chance to eskape. We had 5 people and it was perfect.
  • We made sure to show up 15 minutes early to get checked in and briefed. Be warned, you risk losing your adventure if you arrive more than 15 minutes after your appointment time slot, and you definitely don't want to miss out on all the fun.
  • You're in a locked room and the clock is ticking. Go to the bathroom before the challenge. ‘nuff said.
  • Emergency? Claustrophobic? Just tell the gamekeeper, who monitors via video. You'll be let out, no problemo.
  • Want to book a private event? Email support@eskaperooms.com or call (949) 387-8073 for a custom booking time.
  • Located at OC Plaza at 575 McCabe Way, Irvine, CA 92614

Book your Eskape Room Challenge today!

The Ride 7D Secret Menu

Posted by: Sharlene Earnshaw
Posted on: Monday, Jan 23, 2017

The Ride 7D, the Irvine Spectrum Center's destination for immersive multi-dimensional thrills, has become quite popular since its opening in 2015. The 3 original rides- Los Banditos, Gigamon, and Zombies! continue to bring back riders again and again to shoot their way to victory while 3D glasses, motion, wind, interactivity, and scoring immerse them in the action. But did you know that The Ride 7D has a Secret Ride Menu as well? Three more rides are available Monday through Thursday and they pack in as much fun and excitement as the originals.

Pirates is classified as the adventure-themed ride out of the trio. It is also the best ride for young children (alongside Los Banditos) who might spook easily. The goal is to BlueJacket Jack fight off pirates and recover lost treasure.

Alien Asteroid is a thrilling experience in which riders join the space patrol fleet protecting Earth to keep a mysterious asteroid field from getting closer to the planet.

Forbidden Mine is the creepiest of the three rides, but to be honest, it isn't nearly as creepy as Zombies! My son, who easily spooks, really enjoyed this ride which took us into an ancient mine taken over by ghouls, ghosts, and mummies. We shot the creatures and zipped through the mine, avoiding targeting the old prospector along the way.

 

Rides are $10 each but you can ride all three for $20. There is also a discount card which can be purchased for $25 which allows riders to $4 off a ride for 16 rides, $2 off a ride for 6 rides and two 70% off coupons.

New to the regular Ride 7D menu is Road Fighters, a nod to the wildly popular movie Mad Max: Fury Road. The ride is set in the year 2156 where pollution, famine, and war has brought civilization as we know it to an end. This ride is reminiscent of the action-packed scenes in the movie where battles were waged from tricked out vehicles. There are plenty of gruesome foes and fantastic explosions to keep things fun and exciting.

Good to know: If you are prone to motion sickness, the ride operators can turn off the motion function of your chair. I have a fickle stomach and turning off the motion allowed me to enjoy the ride without getting queasy. Breaks in between rides help as well.

Want details on Los Banditos, Gigamon, and Zombies? Check out my original write up on The Ride 7D.

Disclosure: My sona and I received a complimentary 7D experience for the purposes of this feature. All opinions are my own.

The Christmas Guide to Orange County 2016

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Thursday, Dec 08, 2016

Orange County has a variety of Christmas festivities to enjoy this holiday season. Although we may not experience below freezing temperatures or snowfall, you will be overcome with merry, holiday spirit through these decked out places and cheerful entertainment.

Knott's Merry Farm

Until January 1, 2017, experience Knott's Berry Farm's transformation into a winter wonderland with thousands of twinkling lights and holiday décor. Join in the fun with the ice skating spectacular, Snoopy on Ice, sing-along with the Calico Carolers, meet Santa Claus in his Christmas Village and be dazzled by the all new production, ‘It's The Merriest Christmas Show Ever, Charlie Brown'. At night, Ghost Town comes alive with Snow and Glow, a holiday celebration of music, lights and a blanket of snow that falls from the sky. Click Here for more information. 

OC Chill Ice Rink in Irvine

At the Irvine Spectrum Center, visitors can ice skate until their heart's content at one of Orange County's only outdoor ice rinks. Now through January 16, 2017 the rink will be open daily from 11 a.m. until 9:15 p.m. and guests of all ages can shred the ice for only $20 per person with rentals. On Saturday nights, grab a hot cocoa and enjoy live bands scattered throughout the Center. For this upcoming Saturday, enjoy Snow Day! presented by the Active Ride ShopClick here for more information.  

Christmas Boat Parade

A combination of opulence and beauty, the 108th Annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade showcases luxury yachts, personal boats, and kayaks covered in Christmas lights and holiday decorations. Running December 14th through the 18th, 2016 the annual tradition is one of Orange County's most popular attractions and was even named "one of the top ten holiday happenings in the nation" by the New York Times. The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is one of the local traditions that I look forward to and if I'm able to make it, enjoy every year! I love getting a toasty cup of hot cocoa or coffee and walking on the boardwalk along the water as the boats sail by. There are many spots along the water in which you can take a seat to watch (bring blankets to get extra snuggly). You'll really have fun seeing the creativity, and ingenuity that is poured into lighting up these small to large boats! Click here for more information and a map of the parade route!

"Pirate's Take Christmas!," at Pirate's Dinner Adventure

Shiver me timbers...scoundrel pirates have captured Santa and Mrs. Claus and are threatening to put an end to the holiday season at Pirate's Dinner Adventure. The two hour, interactive Christmas dinner show runs December 5th through the 25th, 2016 and includes a delicious, four-course holiday feast. View the Pirate's Dinner Adventure's Rise of the Sea Dragon show below to get a taste of what's in store. Get tickets to Pirate's Take Christmas here!
 


Video and Images via Pirate's Dinner Adventure

Bolsa Chica's Christmas at the Beach

To escape the cold of the North Poll, Santa Claus visits Bolsa Chica ever year on December 11th, 2016. Garnering his favorite Southern California outfit, Santa meets with all the good boys and girls on his Christmas jet ski. After the sun sets, put on your ugly Christmas sweater and cozy up by the fire to roast marshmallows and watch the hit movie, "Despicable Me." Sounds like the perfect evening with a loved one or family!

Holidays at the Disneyland Resort

One of my all time favorite places has been sprinkled with pixie dust for a transformation into a winter wonderland for Holidays at the Disneyland Resort which runs now through January 8th, 2017. The iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle glimmers with Christmas lights, Jack Skellington has taken over the Haunted Mansion and boughs of holly line Main Street. Visitors can also enjoy favorites like It's A Small World Christmas with over 100,000 lights, the beloved Fantasy Parade and the night-time firework spectacular. You can even catch Santa Clause and his merry elves at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail at Disney California Adventure Park. While in the Disney California Adventure Park, experience cultural traditions with the Disney Festival of Holidays, and you'll want to stay for the World of Color - Season of Light, your favorite water and lights spectacular with a holiday twist! Santa will also visit the Disneyland Park and he can be seen at a special location in Critter Country. You'll also want to try the variety of holiday-inspired decorated sweet treats available at the Disney Parks! Click here for ticket info!

The Christmas Carol at the South Coast Repertory

Charles Dicken's classic, A Christmas Carol comes to life at the South Coast Repertory. The whole family will enjoy the live play depicting Scrooge as he transform from a cold, greedy man to a generous, kind-hearted business owner set in nineteenth-century London. The limited time production runs November 25th through the 26th, 2016.  Click here for ticket info!

Images via South Coast Repertory 

Festival Ballet Theatre's The Nutcracker Ballet

Take part in the grandeur and extravagance of the timeless Nutcracker ballet - the holiday season isn't complete with out dancing mice and snowflakes, the sugarplum fairy & nutcracker and more! The Festival Ballet Theatre is back with a performance of over 100 dancers at  Barclay Theatre! Click here for ticket info!

Images and Video via Festival Ballet Theatre
 
Happy Holidays!
 
Some event information provided by Visit Buena Park 
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