Friday, December 10, 2010
One of my favorite places to go in Orange County during the holiday season is Roger's Garden. This place becomes pretty magical during this time of year.
Located near Fashion Island in Newport Beach/Corona Del Mar, Roger's Garden is a very classy nursery. It's a place I like to frequent, but during the holiday season is when it becomes spectacular.
You'll see all kinds of cool plants here, and the Christmas decorations that they have on display are very very cool. It's a place where you're suppose to do some shopping, but I like to just go and walk around sometimes because its so beautiful.
It might be a good idea to go at around sunset so that you can enjoy both their nursery when there's some light, and all the lights on their Christmas trees when it gets dark.
As you can see, their Christmas ornaments are very special. You don't find ornaments this special very often.
This one above is a cute little cookie jar that they had.
And you'll see all kinds of Christmas trees decorated differently. This one was one of our favorites.
Roger's Garden is definitely a great place to go when looking for special gifts for your family and friends. Be sure to check it out this Holiday Season.
Hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays!
2301 San Joaquin Hills Rd
Corona del Mar, California 92625
Toll Free @ 1.800.647.2356
Open Daily 9am-8pm
Monday, November 29, 2010
Ever feel a bit artistic with the need to want to be creative? Orange County's art scene is most prominent in Laguna Beach. There, you'll find all kinds of galleries that you can visit to get inspired. And if the art itself is not enough, just visit the beach right by to get some inspiration from the West Coast's best beaches.
Also in Laguna Beach is a little museum called the Laguna Art Museum. It's not a huge museum. You can probably look through the entire museum in about 30 minutes if you rush it.
Oftentimes, the Laguna Art Museum showcases art created by local artists in Orange County. When I visited, they had the "Art Shack" exhibition. It showcased little shacks that were artistically created. I personally loved the exhibition.
The cool thing about the Laguna Art Museum is that it changes around its exhibitions pretty often, thereby allowing you to enjoy all sorts of art. If you're a local, it maybe a place where you may want to consider getting an annual membership so that you can stop by every so often to check out their new exhibitions. It'll also give you a reason to visit Laguna Beach.
I'm not sure if this is a common thing lately, but the Laguna Art Museum had an iPhone and iPod Touch App where you can download to get a more detailed explanation of the exhibition going on. I didn't try it out, but seemed like something pretty cool thing to be able to try.
Well, next time you feel like seeing some art to get inspired in OC, I recommend the Laguna Art Museum.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Heard of Five Guys Burger? Some people call it the In-N-Out of the East Coast.
Recently, the Five Guys Burger has been setting up shop in Orange County. And as a guy that loves reasonably priced, tasty burgers, this was a "must" to go check out.
The menu at Five Guys Burger consists mostly of Burgers and Hot Dogs. But since you're here, why go anything else then a burger?
The cool thing here: a regular burger comes with two patties of meat. So basically, you get a double cheeseburger for ordering a regular cheeseburger. If you're on a diet, go with the "little" burger which only has one beef patty. I think for anybody trying out Five Guys for the first time, they should go with a "Regular" burger.
Prices for the burgers were: $4.49 for a Regular burger, and $3.49 for a Little burger. Check out their website or call the local store for the latest prices.
Another cool thing at a Five Guys Burger is that you can pick and choose from all the toppings available. And regardless of how much of it you order, they are all free. When you want all the toppings on your burger, just say, "All the Way."
Of course, I went "All the Way."
Here are the toppings available at Five Guys Burger:
Mayo, Relish, Onions, Lettuce, Pickles, Tomatoes, Grilled Onions, Grilled Mushrooms, Ketchup, Mustard, Jalapeno Peppers, Green Peppers, A-1 Sauce, BBQ Sauce, Hot Sauce.
Compared to In-N-Out, you'll definitely be pretty satisfied in terms of amount of food that they serve you. It's a lot of meat and toppings on a burger, and overall it's bigger than an In-N-Out burger.
I enjoyed a Five Guys Burger a lot.
Hope you go out and try out a Five Guys Burger in OC to figure out which burger you like more.
Five Guys Burger
18571 Beach Blvd
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
And a few more around Orange County...
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Ever want to go out and listen to some live jazz in Orange County?
Well, the Steamers Jazz Club and Cafe is the spot to go. Located in downtown Fullerton, Steamers is one of my favorite places to go in OC. During the day, they operate as a regular coffee shop & cafe. But at night, that's when things start to happen.
Every night starting at 8PM, there is a jazz performance at this club. The awesome thing is that they don't charge a cover on most nights. You basically get to enjoy live jazz performances for the price of coffee cheaper than Starbucks! While you're there, don't forget that they also have great deals on their food too.
It's good practice to try and get there a little early since you want to get a good seat up at the front. You might also want to order some food prior to the show starting since that way, things aren't too crowded, and will be easier to order. The cafe itself is pretty big, but the stage really isn't, so you'll end up being tightly squeezed in with others to check out their daily jazz performances.
The experience at Steamers is excellent. You get that jazz club feel that you may find in New York or LA. The cool thing is that you're right here in OC.
Places like the Steamers is a rare gem in Orange County, and it should be OC's cultural treasure. Be sure to check it out next time you're feeling like you want to listen to some live jazz music.
Steamers Jazz Club and Cafe
138 W Commonwealth Ave
Fullerton, CA 92832
Jazz: Sun-Thu 8pm-Midnight;
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Though I know Joshua Tree isn't in Orange County, it is about a one and a half hour drive, so I wanted to post something about it.
Joshua Tree National Park is a pretty cool place. Filled with all kinds of funky trees, beautiful stars, and rock mountains, it really is a power spot where you can go and rejuvenate from all the daily stress. The Joshua Park National Park is a great hiking/camping/rock climbing spot, and you can walk through a variety of trails there.
We got to visit Joshua Tree this summer, and hiked through all kinds of trails in 106 degree weather. It was pretty hot when we went, so you will definitely need water, sun block, and a big hat to keep you away from the sun. You might want to go check out a swap meet in Orange County to buy a big farmer's hat for $4.
When we went, we stayed at the Spin and Margie's Desert Hide-a-Way. It was a cute little bed and breakfast (no breakfast though) type of hotel with only five rooms. The owners at this hotel did an awesome job with their hotel, and it surely is a place where you can re-energize from the daily hustle and bustle.
At night, the stars were amazingly beautiful since there really aren't any city lights in Joshua Tree. You can see all kinds of stars that you never knew existed above us. We went during a time when there were a bunch of shooting stars, so got to see a few of them while we were there.
If you're feeling stressed, or just want to get in touch with nature again, Joshua Tree National Park is one great place you go and check out. Only about an hour and a half from Orange County.
Joshua Tree National Park
74485 National Park Drive
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277
7-Day Vehicle Permit: $15
Friday, October 15, 2010
There's something about a new market that you love. Everything is in order. Fully stocked. Clean. They're willing to give you a lot of free samples. And its just fun seeing a new grocery store.
There's a brand new Whole Foods Market in Huntington Beach. Just opened this week on October 13th, 2010. It is inside the Bella Terra Mall in Huntington Beach. This will be the third Whole Foods Market in Orange County. The other two are in Irvine and Laguna Beach.
I took some photos there since I like to see fully stock stores with aisles of products neatly stacked.
So here are some pictures that I took. I'm testing out a Flickr feature. New to Flickr still... I hope you like it.
I'm so glad to see the Bella Terra Mall in Huntington Beach is doing well these days. I've been a Huntington Beach resident for almost 28 years, and the old Huntington Beach Mall was one of my favorite spots to go when I was a kid.
Whole Foods Market, Huntington Beach
Inside the Bella Terra Mall
7881 Edinger Ave Suite 150
Huntington Beach, CA 92647 USA
7am – 10pm Everyday
Huntington Beach, CA 92647 USA
7am – 10pm Everyday
Thursday, October 14, 2010
There is finally a Sonic Drive-In in Orange County. The Santa Ana one is a pretty convenient location since it is close to South Coast Plaza and Orange Coast College.
Anyway, visiting a Sonic Drive-In is pretty cool if it's your first time.
Anyway, visiting a Sonic Drive-In is pretty cool if it's your first time.
You drive-in to a little parking spot that is all yours, and order off of a "drive-thru-like" device. You can take all the time in the world since the order taker doesn't talk to you until you push the "ready to order" button. Of course, you can go to their website and check out their menu before you go, since what you see on the website is exactly what you'll see when you order.
Sonic Drive-In has a cool atmosphere since you order from your car, wait in your car for the food to arrive, and eat in your car. I guess we experience all this anyway at a normal drive thru, but the only difference is that you are parked and the engine is off. I guess that's what makes it feel different and a little special.
The food here is pretty good. Sort of a good fast food quality food. I would say it's comparable to a Wendy's or a Carl's Jr. We got the Super Sonic Cheeseburger and the Bacon Cheeseburger Toaster with a side of Chili Cheese Tots. Good stuff.
After we paid with a credit card, a cute girl in roller skates brought us our food in about 5 minutes.
What really impressed me at Sonic Drive-In was their drinks. They have awesome drinks! We got the famous Cherry Limeade and the Coke Blended Float. I have to say, I was a bartender in the past, and I'm pretty picky about my drinks; but these drinks were awesome. Especially the blended float. I'm sure it's just a coke float blended, but it was perfectly smooth, easy to drink, and extremely tasty.
Now, I really want to go and check out their shakes and malts as well since those must be awesome too.
Anyway, this seems like a pretty cool date spot that won't cost you a fortune. They're open late too - 12AM. I also want to try going on a rainy day since I like to hang out inside my car on a rainy day. It must be good drinking a shake and eating a burger in the rain in your car.
Since Sonic is a pretty new thing in OC, it's definitely worth a try!
3541 S Fairview St
Santa Ana, CA 92704
Saturday, February 13, 2010
So we're now in our Valentine's weekend. I'm sure all the guys out there have already made plans for your loved ones. But for those of you who are still in search of what to do for Valentine's Day in Orange County, here is a little list of my recommendations for a nice romantic meal on Sunday.
The Beachcomber in Crystal Cove: Good for a nice romantic sunset dinner right on the beach. You'll sure impress your date here.
The Hobbit: This restaurant is pretty special. A bit pricey, but the food is great. Be ready to eat for 3 hours here.
Garlic Jo's: Maybe not the best place on a Valentine's Day dinner, but the food here is great. With a lot of garlic, you will have a lot of energy after dinner.
Marche Modern: Kind of a nice little restaurant inside South Coast Plaza. This place got some hype after the Housewives of Orange County visited them. Its French food that they serve here, and its really good.
Basilico: Nice cozy restaurant perfect for a Valentine's Dinner. This is actually where I went last year. Good food, great staff. You need to get a bottle of wine when you dine here. Only downside is that they don't take reservations... Wait around at the Irish bar nearby until they call your name.
The Montage: World Class hotel resort in Laguna Beach. They have numerous restaurants here that are also World Class. Impress your date by taking them here with its great food and spectacular views.
Those are my picks. Hopefully, as I continue with this blog, I can post more pages with my other favorite picks as well. By the way, those are links up there to my posts about the place.
Reservations are required for all these restaurants for you to be smooth on Valentine's Day.
Hope you have a lot of fun!
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
It's that time of the year again. Newport Beach Restaurant Week is starting this Friday.
Hope you enjoy it too!
January 22nd - 28th, 2010.
I personally love this event. I know that they have the Orange County Restaurant Week, and Dine LA in Los Angeles. But this Newport Beach Restaurant Week just has a special aura to me. You sort of have this sense that it's a local city thing, and its nice to get to know all of the great areas and restaurants around Newport Beach.
Anyway, I just wanted to recommend a few things since this is my third time attending this event.
1. Go for lunch. Lunch is cheaper to go compared to dinner. You spend only $15 or $20 for lunch compared to $25 to $35. If you go with two people, it makes a huge difference in the total bill after you finish eating.
2. If you want to save money, be cheap, and just order water. Drinks tend to add to the total bill, and I'm not sure if you want to do that because part of the fun is being able to eat great food at a great restaurant for a great price. So just drink H2O. It's good for you, and its free.
3. Check out the lunch menu on the online menu feature they have on the event's official website. Some restaurants are a little cheap, or they just didn't want to put the extra effort to put up a good menu for you. They will only give you two courses, or count a soda as your first course. It is a suppose to be three course prix fixe menu, so when that happens, it is a bit disappointing. Of course, some other restaurants are extremely generous on their offering, and that's what I'm going to show you next.
Out of my experience, these are the restaurants that give the best deals for the Newport Beach Restaurant Week. Again, try to go to these places for lunch. Unlike the Dine LA event, the Newport Beach Restaurant Week allows you to reserve during the weekend. So you should be having lunch at these places this weekend.
Anyway, here are my recommendations. All of them are hyperlinks so just click on them to see my review.
I've tried all of the restaurants above with the exception of Tommy Bahama Island Grille, where I am going to kick off this year's Newport Beach Restaurant Week with. They are all worth your money and time.
Hope you enjoy it too!
Monday, January 18, 2010
So, you're looking for a special dinner for that special person?
Well, look no further than to The Hobbit in Orange, CA. This is probably one of the most special dinner experiences you will ever treat someone to in Orange County.
The Hobbit is a special little restaurant that's been around for some time. The owners transformed their house into a restaurant. Once you're here, you'll feel just like family.
The evening starts off by some cocktails with other guests if you get there a little early. You will need reservations to dine here, so as long as you made it, they will have a tab set up for you under your last name. Just go up stairs to enjoy some cocktails at the bar with other guests. When we were there, people were celebrating their anniversaries, birthdays, and just having a special dinner with good friends.
Once you have your initial cocktails, you are led into The Hobbit's basement - their wine cellar. They will welcome you with a glass of champagne and many many hors d'oeuvres. The hors d'oeuvres are served buffet style, so you are welcome to eat as much as you want. Of course, you do not want to over do yourself here because you came to The Hobbit for a 7 course dinner. That being said, all of the hors d'oeuvres are just awesome, and I definitely went for seconds and thirds.
Alongside your hors d'oeuvres, since this is the wine cellar, your main purpose here is to pick out the wine you want to have during your dinner. The staffs at The Hobbit will help you pick out some of the best wines from all over the world. Since we're no sommelier, we decided to go with the wine pairing option that they have for people like us.
Once you are done with this step, you are off to your table. The servers here are amazing, and the setting is also beautiful. You will definitely be in for an experience when you dine here. Our dinner started at about 7:30PM and we were there till about 11:30PM dining. There's actually an intermission between your meals since its so long. How about that for an experience?
Here was the menu that we had when we went.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
If you're looking for a nice sophisticated place for brunch in OC, look no further than to the Plum's Cafe in Newport Beach. This place offers very good breakfast dishes with a lot of grace and elegance. Its like a brunch place for adults. At least that's the kind of feel I get.
Once you're here, do not hesitate to get yourself a glass of mimosa. This is a place for a nice morning cocktail. Without it, you won't get the full Plum's Cafe experience.
We got a couple dishes when we arrived here. (Alongside my bloody mary.) I always like to get one plate that's sweet, and one plate that's savory. And we share the two dishes between the two of us. That way we get to enjoy the best of both worlds.
So, we got the Northwest Berry Waffle and the Alderwood Smoked Salmon Hash.
Both were delicious. And as you can see from the pictures, the dishes here all seem to have vibrant colors that enhances your appetite even more. Both were prepared perfectly to my liking.
Plum's Cafe is a popular brunch destination in Orange County, so be sure to make reservations if you are going during brunch hours on the weekend.
Hope you get to enjoy the great food here!
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Do you ever feel like dim sum, but don't want to gather up all your buddies to gobble up all that good food?
Well, this place is for you. And I personally love this place!
The Ym Cha Cafe inside the My Thuan Market is "dim sum to-go." You can get all that good quality food for take out. And starting at only $0.99 a dish. Now how awesome is that?
I found out about this place from a good buddy of mine. It's like the super secret of Orange County in my eyes.
The place is sort of set up like a Chinese take out joint where you pick 2 items along with your fried rice and chow mein. Only difference is that you'll find dim sum food here.
All the goodness of fried sesame balls, shrimp dumplings, to whatever its called dim sum food. Everything you find at a regular dim sum, you'll find here. Awesomeness.
The food is good, and best of all, it is super cheap.
Check it out, I got all this food pictured above, plus a little more for only $13.81. 10 dishes total. Enough to feed two hungry people, or four regular people.
Got to say, awesome deal! You got to go check it out!
Friday, January 15, 2010
So its been a while. I've been a bit busy taking care of things, so I neglected this blog for a while... Sorry for any of my readers who were actually waiting for my blog post.
The other day, I got to go visit OC Performing Arts Center. There are numerous concert halls there, and we got to visit the Renee and Henry Segerstorm Concert Hall. It was my first time there. The concert hall is relatively new; opened its doors in 2006.
We got a good deal on tickets off of Travelzoo to go watch the Tchaikovsky Spectacular concert.
I have to say, the concert hall was absolutely beautiful. The architectural details were very nice, and I'm sure acoustically, it is good as well. We got one of those seats behind the orchestra since I always wondered what it felt like to sit behind the orchestra. To my surprise, it was one of the best experiences I had at a classical concert.
Since you sit right behind the orchestra, you sort of have a front row seat to them. You get to sit above them, so you can check out everything they are doing, up to the music they are playing off of. Another cool thing is that you get to see the conductor up close and personal, and get to see how he moves with the orchestra. A three hour performance, and the conductor was sweating at the end. I'm sure it's a lot of work physically to conduct. Good cardio. No wonder the conductor is fit.
Now, I'm no classical snob so I enjoyed every moment of it. It was a very fun night.
Lastly, though I didn't take any pictures, the cafe inside the concert hall looked very trendy. Cafe Rouge is the name of it. You can have dinner and drinks before or after the concert. A great way to enjoy a sophisticated night in Orange County.
Hope you get to visit soon!