Sometimes you have to get away from the OC. An easy day trip is down to San Diego for some fun. While the outlets may be calling your name, try to remain focused on your mission: Stone Brewery.
Even if beer isn’t your “thing,” give this place a shot. Every party needs a Designated Driver, so find that one person who likes Coors Light and sucker them into it. Once you drive to Escondido (leave around 9:30am to miss beach traffic), you will walk into one of the most unique places I have ever been. Stone has a restaurant, a bar, and a garden you can walk around. They also have $3 brewery tours, which to be honest suck. But for $3 you get 4 tastings, and if you are nice they may give you some extra pours. The food is supposed to be very good, so its worth a drive out there. Definitely take your time and walk around the garden with your favorite Stone beverage. Whether for a celebration or just getting out of town, this is a fun day trip from OC.
these are some more things you should definitely check out!
1. WAREHOUSE SALE!
What is better than shopping during Christmas at a sale? I mean come on guys, this is the cream of the crop. Baumvision HQ is hosting a huge warehouse sale Friday and Saturday. It will be crazy, it will be crowded and you will have to throw ‘bows. What to expect: brands like Rebecca Minkoff, Paul Frank, Soda & Scotch, and many more. I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford those things without a sale. Be prepared to fight for the things you like or possibly even don’t like. Advice? Just start grabbing things so that you can bargain with people later, you never know what might be handy later on…
2. Holiday Market Shopping.
Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop is hosing a holiday market at their 17th Street location on Saturday and Sunday. Shop at vendors such as B Toffee, Kean Coffee, Just A Bite and more! There will be some samples, you can snack at Greenleaf while you shop and the items you buy can even be made into a customized gift basket! Who said shopping for others couldn’t be fun!
3. If you are in the mood for some treats…
Old Vine Café premiered its Winter Chef’s Menu which includes some new twists to traditional Jewish dishes. The menu includes my absolute favorite – matzo-ball soup, as well as potato latkes, a tasty lamb dish with an ice cream sandwich to finish it off. If you would like to include the wine pairing with this amazing menu, it will round you off at $80 a person. While pricey, tis the season right?
4. Sawdust’s Winter Festival is on!
For those who have never attended the Laguna Beach Sawdust Festival, it is a sight you can’t miss. Local artists create and display their masterpieces before your eyes, and there is even the option to purchase your favorites. During Winter time, the festival provides live holiday music, outdoor cafes (it’s supposed to warm up this weekend), art classes, a petting zoo and you can even visit Santa! Not just an activity for kids, but something for you to stroll around with your loved one, best friend or even on your own. This is another opportunity to Christmas shopping in a unique setting, or just for some good wholesome fun to get you in the Holiday spirit!
Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I just get so happy listening to KOST and my Christmas Pandora station, seriously people try Christmas music when you are in a bad mood. Mind blown.
Anyway…this weekend there are a lot of fun activities to check out.
1. Chill at Queen Mary opened up right before Thanksgiving, but its definitely something you have to see. There is an ice skating rink, ice tubing, the Ice Kingdom and Santa. The Ice Kingdom is the thing to go for. They hand carve statutes from over two million pounds of ice to portray the story of The Nutcracker, this year. You have to bundle up, which is nice for us SoCal kids who don’t get much cold weather (thank god).
2. Corona Del Mar Christmas Walk is this Sunday. A fun festival of crafts, beer tents, and music is sure to make for a great Sunday Funday. The beer garden has an entry fee and then you get tickets for each beer you want. After walking around the different tables full of fun gift ideas, take your friends and go out to dinner at Sidedoor or walk to the cliffs to see the sunset.
3. OC Brew Ho Ho is on Saturday and is the largest Holiday Ale Celebration. While I have never attended, this seems pretty freaking cool. The 2nd annual Brew Ho Ho hosts 50 different craft beers and food vendors. For $55 you get four hours of unlimited tastings while you walk around other vendors to do some holiday shopping. Located at the Phoenix Club, make sure you have a designated driver.
4. Dana Point Wharf is having their annual boat parade this weekend. Private boats are decorated for your viewing pleasure and cruise around the harbor. Go down to the wharf yourself or hop aboard one of the city’s chartered boats to get up close and personal. Make sure you keep warm with some hot chocolate because its going to be a “cold” weekend out on the water!
When hungry, must eat.
So I’m not a big donut person. I know its sinful, but I just can’t wrap my head around the sweetness and heavy dough. However, there is this new concoction called the cronut that has become the new “it” thing at bakeries all over the country. A cross between a donut and a croissant, the Fusion Tea Bar serves their own version. The “doughssant” is filled with a sweet cream filling with croissant dough and all the sugary goodness that is a donut. Whether you are eating it for breakfast, or a mid day sugar rush, this is definitely worth a try. Just try and cut yourself off after one; I don’t want to be recommending diabetes.
|burgers, fries, shakes, fried chicken, prosciut
Fried chicken and waffles. No I am not talking about Roscoe’s; I’m talking about the new fine dining restaurant (I kid) called Bruxie. It is the latest in brunch spots and is popping up all over the place. They are opening up their newest location in Costa Mesa, but you can also go to Irvine and Old Town Orange. They have your standard fried chicken and waffles and other savory sandwiches, but they also have an assortment of sweet waffles, belgium fries, and my personal favorite, Frozen Custard. Trust me, its better than a milk shake. It is a Midwest Treat that California is lucky to finally discover. Bruxie is giving the OC a new take on traditional sandwiches and breakfast foods. It’s always packed though, so be ready to stand in line.
November in OC means 85 degree weather right? Unfortunately that is the case right now. (I never thought I would miss the foggy nights of SF.) However, warm weather means ice cream is still an appropriate food group. After a long day at work, or for some fun on a tame Saturday night, stop in at Creamistry. The thing with this place is that they make your ice cream right in front of you. No seriously, right in front of you. Their “thing” is that they use liquid nitrogen to freeze your chosen flavors into ice cream specifically for you. You pick your base – they even have dairy free – then your flavors, and then your toppings. Oh and by the way, they have cookie butter. I am not kidding. I will warn you, the “personalized” touches do take a while so on busy nights expect a 30 minute wait. Good luck not craving this place.
P.S. This post puts me at 1000 viewers. Thanks guys for all of your support! Hope you are trying out some of these amazing places, and be sure to tell me any of your favorite eateries or events in the OC!
So if every weekend in OC kinda seems like the last one, its time you tried something new.
Start your Halloween weekend with a traditional “scary” movie at the OC Mix Mart. This Friday at 6:30, The OC Mix will be previewing Hocus Pocus. Warning this is a kids event too so if you want adults only, this may not be your scene. They will have pumpkin “chalk-drawing” (I guess carving is too dangerous in a public space these days?) and you MUST stop in at Portola Coffee Lab for a cup o’ joe. Get some snacks and snuggle in with that special someone. Yes, Hocus Pocus is STILL scary…I get nightmares even in my 20s. Lay off.
The Hyatt at Garden Grove is hosting the Orange County Chocolate Festival. Yes, I am serious. For a mere $28, you too can taste all the chocolate your little heart desires. Actually just 8 tastings, but you get to partake in the Chocolate Festivities. There’s chocolate, wines and “holiday gifts.” I mean the people watching must be great too. Side note: for you jewelry goers, Stella and Dot will be one of the many vendors there. (Great gifts for your girlfriends!)
If you are feeling inspired, stop in at the Lab’s very own art exhibit at As Issued. The exhibition by Laura Levy is called “No Remorse” and portrays serial killers in four-foot tall scratchboard. Ponder their psyche or just get creeped out. (It is Halloween after all.) Afterwards stop in at Gypsy Den for a Chai Latte to make you feel better.
If you have a Halloween costume and are ready to dance the night away, Yost Theater
is hosting their annual Haunted Mansion party for one night only. They have a special Iranian singer performing, and they will have DJs going all night. It sold out last year, so buy your $20 ticket soon! Start off at some bars around the area, then get ready to dance your @$$ off at one of the best acoustic halls in OC.
Finish off the weekend with the OC Wheeze put on by Lululemon. If you aren’t too hungover from Saturday’s events, or glued to the NFL games, stop by Woodbridge Park for the event. It is the first ever event, and Lululemon is hosting free yoga all day with vendors and music playing. For those more adventurous there is a 5 and 10k. Its a minimal registration fee and all proceeds go to the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.
So while your hangover is still fresh, I thought we could remember all the great things about this weekend.
|Tapas style with an Asian Flair.
A MUST Eat: The Playground is the beginning of a new era for Santa Ana. A once sketchy area has now become the new hipster central, and this restaurant is in the middle of it all. Fresh food with a different menu every day.
If you are a picky eater, ask for substitutions or don’t like sitting next to strangers then
you suck don’t come here. This place is a food novel, starting with great cocktails and ending with the best Toffee Sticky Pudding anyone could imagine. Best meal in Orange County yet.
|Pizza, beer and sports: a true man’s spot.
Pitfire Pizza may be a chain, but it’s a pizza lovers delight. The Burrata Pie is delicious, as is the Pitfire Sasuage for meat lovers. For those that don’t like pizza the salads and sandwiches are also a hit! Great beer selection for pretty decent prices in East Costa Mesa. There is also a “speakeasy” in the back called Pie Society for those that enjoy a good Old Fashioned.
|Breakfast done right.
Hangover Cure/Best Breakfast Burrito in Orange County is at Nate’s Korner. Yeah it’s in Santa Ana, yeah you have to drive there, yet you will not regret this. Largest juiciest burrito you will find for a decent price, but it get’s crowded so call ahead. If that one person in your party doesn’t want a burrito, there are sandwiches, salads, bagels, etc. Buyer beware, the double cheeseburger with bacon will give you a heart attack.
What to do this Weekend
|Cheers to Friday!
Oktoberfest at the Old World Village. A small piece of Germany in Southern California. For $20 and a tight pair of lederhosen, join the traditional band and have a few liters of cold, wheat beer. Prost!
OC’s Ultimate Beerfest. Craft beers, vendors, food trucks, what more can a girl hope for on the weekend. There is even a flip cup competition for you old frat boys. $50 entry fee for some serious brews, $15 for your DD (ouch). Buy early because it will sell out.
|Two Trucks, Two New Restaurants
Seabirds Kitchen has opened up at The Lab. An all vegan cuisine that started as a food truck taking local, organic food and making it into something special. A must do on even a carnivore’s list.
OC Mix Mart:
Taco Maria opened its doors. Despite its name, and its past truck menu, Taco Maria doesn’t serve any tacos. Instead, diners can enjoy a 4 course meal with a beverage pairing option full of flavor, spice, and a new spin on traditional taqueria food.
Del sushi, now open at UTC, delivers sushi around the UCI area from 6PM – 2AM. If only they had this when I were students…Prices are reasonable, and did I mention its delivery!