Stax Bakery & Creamery-Irvine

Stax Bakery & Creamery-Irvine

What: Stax Bakery & Creamery

Where: Irvine

For: All Ages

Stax Bakery & Creamery is located in the University Center across the bridge from the University of California, Irvine.  I attended UCI as an undergrad, and I used to go to University Center almost daily between classes.  There are so many stores and restaurants to explore, and my absolute favorite dessert place is Stax.  I took Skylar there a few years ago, and recently I took Ethan there for dessert after our Orange County Staycation.

The Bakery & Creamery

When you walk into Stax, you’re greeted with a clean and modern restaurant.  There are cookies displayed next to the cashier, and tubs of different flavors of ice cream line the wall.  The menu is straightforward, but there are also so many options to choose from!  I wasn’t sure what to get, so the cashier was kind enough to tell me about all the different types of desserts.

There are Thai-Style rolls, which is ice cream that is spread on a cold stone and rolled up and placed in a cup with individual toppings.  My favorite dessert is the cookie sandwich where you can choose any two of your favorite freshly baked cookies and whatever ice cream you want (you can also opt for the fixed cookie sandwich menu).  All the bread and cookies are made fresh and in-house daily.  There are fifteen unique flavors of ice cream, and the employees help you choose which flavor you want by offering you samples.   You can choose to have ice cream in a single/double scoop, ice cream float, milk shake, or sundae.  There are also ten different types of cookies (including vegan options!).

The Food and Drinks

Stax offers sandwiches, paninis, personal pizzas, salads and empanadas.  There is also a variety of coffee available for guests.  Most of the food is available in the refrigerated section to the right of the cashier.  When we went, it was lunch time on a Sunday and the selection wasn’t very big.  They told us that if we picked out a sandwich or panini that they could heat it up in the back.  It reminded me of the grab-and-go food options that Starbucks offers.

The Crowd

Since this is right across the street from UCI, there are many college students here.  You will also see a lot of families with young children at the University Center.  During the week, employees of nearby businesses come here for their lunch breaks.

Cost

The food cost from $4 to $9 with coffee costing from $1.95 to $3.50.  Thai Rolls are about $7, ice cream is from $2.95 to $5.95.  This is a very good price for novelty ice cream, and the serving portions are very big…each time I went I couldn’t finish what I ordered!

Stax Bakery & Creamery Information

4187 Campus Drive M174, Irvine, CA 92612

(949) 861-2055

staxbakery.com

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Fire + Ice – Anaheim

Fire + Ice – Anaheim

What: Fire + Ice

Where: Anaheim

For: All Ages

My family took me to Fire + Ice for my birthday three years ago, and it was a very interesting experience.  It’s right across the street from Disneyland, and it’s the perfect place to go as a group for some good food and company.  We’ll probably go again to eat after stopping in at Disneyland since they’re in such close proximity.

The Restaurant

Fire + Ice is a create-your-own-meal experience that serves Brunch, Dinner and Lunch at fixed prices.  Guests grab a bowl and fill it with their favorite ingredients before heading over to the sauce bar to add some extra flavor.  There is an assortment of toppings, sauces, spices and herbs for plates.  After patrons have mixed their perfect concoction, they bring it on over to the grill to watch the chefs cook their food.  It takes from five to ten minutes to gather your food and for the chefs to complete your plate, and you can come back as often as you want.  The chef was very personable, and it was nice to chat with him while he was preparing our meal on a huge grill in front of us.

There is both indoor and outdoor seating on the patio.  The patio includes a fire pit and live entertainment on the weekend.  Happy Hour is available all week from 3:00pm-6:00pm.  There is also a full bar available for adults.

The Food

The restaurant offers a variety of Asian, American, Latin and Italian flavors.  I made a few smaller dishes so I could try everything.  This is probably why we ended up staying in the restaurant so long (since it takes 10 minutes to make one dish).  The Asian food includes noodles, eggs, siriracha sauce, bok choy, soy and ginger (just to name a few!).  The American culinary experience includes wings, ribs and burgers.  Latin flavors give choices such as beans, rice and tacos.  The Italian experience focuses on pastas, sausage, meatballs and various herbs and spices.  Each dish that I threw together was cooked to perfection and tasted amazing.

The Crowd

The first time I came here was in the middle of the week during lunch time, so there was no wait.  The second time we attempted to come, there was a 90-minute wait.  I would suggest calling the restaurant to make a reservation or putting your information in online.  If you are able to get in, the experience lasts about an hour to 90 minutes.  Another thing to keep in mind is parking.  When we tried to get in at 5:00pm on a Saturday, we were circling the parking structure for 20 minutes trying to find a spot after finding out about the hour-and-a-half late before ultimately leaving and going somewhere else.

Cost

Brunch costs $14.99 per person for adults and $9.99 for kids ages 4-11.  Lunch costs $11.00 for adults and $7.99 for kids, with dinner coming in at $18.99 for adults and $10.99 for kids.

Fire + Ice Information

1104 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

(714) 808-9757

fire-ice.com

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Discovery Cube OC/Discovery Cube LA-Los Angeles and Orange County

Discovery Cube OC/Discovery Cube LA-Los Angeles and Orange County

What: Discovery Cube OC/Discovery Cube LA

Where: Los Angeles and Orange County

Summer 2018 Dinosaur Exhibit.

For: All Ages

The kids have been to Discovery Cube OC on many different occasions.  It makes for an entire fun filled day with the whole family.  There is an indoor and outdoor area filled with activities that promote learning.  Each time I’ve been to Discovery Cube OC, I’ve learned a lot of new things that I never knew.

Entrance to Discovery Cube OC.

The Ongoing Exhibits

Exhibits change seasonally (please check the corresponding websites for current exhibits) and are different in Orange County and Los Angeles.  In Orange County, the ongoing exhibits include: Mission Control (kids can complete a space mission inside a replica of the Jet Propulsion Lab’s control room), Helicopter Tour (fly in a virtual helicopter over Orange County’s landmarks), Water Gallery (a scientific look at water’s impact on the planet), Inspector Training Course (learn how to navigate your garden while eliminating vectors), PetersonVille Healthy Kitchen (kid’s cooking class with real food), Interactive Exhibits (cloud ring, rock wall, seismograph, shake-shack, hurricane), Science of Hockey (learn about and play hockey), Boeing Rocket Lab (learn about how rockets work), Discovery Theater (short feature films scheduled throughout the day), Planetary Research Station (learn all about weather on earth), and the Eco Station (save the world as a superhero).

Dinosaur Summer 2018 Exhibit.

The Exhibits in Discovery Cube LA include the Aquavator (descend into the earth’s crust with a special elevator), Discovery Market (learn the importance of making healthy choices when you shop) and Park Science.  The Science of Hockey, Planetary Research Station, 3D Theater, Helicopter Tour (pertains to LA landmarks), Race to Zero Waste and Inspector Training Course is the same as the Discovery Cube OC.

Aquvator Exhibit

There is a small healthy eating area with restaurant in the Discovery Cube.  They offer healthier options of snacks and lunch for the kids.  I can be very crowded around lunch time, so I would suggest going earlier in the day.

Bubblemania Bubble Fest

The Seasonal Exhibits

Currently, there is a Dinosaur exhibit going on for the summer.  I took Skylar here last year, and she had an amazing time looking at the life-sized animatronic versions of dinosaurs.  We’ve also been when there was a Dora the Explorer themed exhibit that taught kids about the rainforest and how to speak Spanish.  One of our favorite times there was when we went to watch Bubblemania and a Bubble Show.  Please check online for information about seasonal exhibits.

With Skylar and my Father at the Dinosaur Exhibit

The Crowd

It gets very crowded on weekends and later in the day.  Parking also becomes harder when there are bigger crowds.  I suggest coming when it opens so that there aren’t many lines for the little ones.

Skylar at the Garden Exhibit.

Cost

Adult admission is $19.95 and children admission (ages 3-14) is $14.95.  Check Living Social and Groupon for any deals to use.  For extra shows or exhibits there is an extra charge per person.  The discovery theater is an extra $3.00 per person.

Discovery Cube Information

Orange County: 2500 N. Main Street, Santa Ana, CA 91705

(714) 913-5040

Los Angeles: 11800 Foothill Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 91342

(818) 686-2823

discoverycube.org

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Medieval Times-Buena Park

Medieval Times-Buena Park

What: Medieval Times

Where: Buena Park

For: All Ages

We took Emma to Medieval Times to show her about the knights and take her back in time.  The entire experience lasted about two hours, and it was very interesting.  Emma loved the food and show, and a plus was that our knight won the tournament!

Pre-Show

Prior to the show, the guests are checked in and walk to a host stand where they are assigned a color of knight to root for and given a colored crown corresponding to the color of knight they are given.  There is a photo opportunity with a ‘King’ and ‘Queen’ before patrons walk into the castle.  The 11th Century European Style Castle has many things to do before the show.  There is a full bar available for adults.  A shop for souvenirs lines the wall.  All of the horses that are used in the show are in stables with glass windows, so guests can see them being groomed and fed prior to the main event.

There is a Hall of Arms where guests can admire elaborate Mediavel decorations.  This is also where the ‘Museum of Torture’ sits where replicas of old torture devices are on display.  Many weapons are on display from the Armory (some are for sale!).  Patrons can also buy replica smaller-scale weapons to take home.

The Show

The show starts out with an introduction of the knights and cheering sections.  There is a storyline where knights have to win various games in order to win the heart of the ‘Queen’.  The games were fun to watch, and the knights were given flowers by the Queen after each game.  In turn, the knights gave the flowers to girls in their corresponding cheering section.  Emma had a flower thrown to her and it made her night even more special.

The games included jousting which was probably the highlight of the show.  The knights get onto their horses and run at each other on different sides of a divider with long wooden spears that fly apart when they run into each other.  This was when the crowd was the loudest, cheering on their knight.  Fighting with weaponry is another highlight.  Knights utilize swords, shields, an alabarda (cross between a battle axe and a spear), mase, armor and lances to fight each other.

A royal falconer also comes out and lets his falcon fly around the heads of the crowd.  It’s so interesting to see how close the birds get to the patrons without straying from its goal of flying back to its handler.  A beautiful display of horsemanship is also a part of the show.  The horses are well trained and beautifully groomed.  One horse walked on its hind legs, and Emma couldn’t believe her eyes that the horse was walking like a person.  The ‘King’ also read out special occasions that patrons were celebrating to the crowd during dinner.

The Food

The food is served almost immediately.  A variety of soft drinks are offered for guests.  There is also a full bar available for adults.   Keep in mind that there are NO utensils offered for guests.  The appetizer is tomato bisque soup served in a cup with a handle with garlic bread on the side.  Diner is half of a roasted chicken with sweet buttered corn and herb roasted potatoes.  There is so much food that servers were walking around offering take-home bags.  We were so full at the end of the meal.  Dessert was pound cake and tasted amazing.  Coffee followed dessert.  There are no kids meals offered, but there are vegetarian meals available.

The Crowd

There are five Medieval Times castles around the United States.  The crowd consisted mostly of families and people celebrating special occasions.  There were also some schools there.  Ages ranged from infant to the elderly.

Cost

Adults cost $61.95 and kids (ages 12 and under) cost $36.95.  If guests sign up online, they are able to see seasonal deals as they come around.  When we went, I used a deal that allowed me to go for free on my birthday.  Groupon and Living Social often have deals so that guests don’t have to pay full price for tickets.  There is also a discount if you purchase tickets online.  Drinks were about $15 each (it’s cheaper if you buy it when you sit down for dinner rather than pre-show).  We bought Emma a little light-up flower that was $7.

Medieval Times Information

7662 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA 90620

(888) 935-6878

medievaltimes.com

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Irvine Park Railroad-Orange

Irvine Park Railroad-Orange

What: Irvine Park Railroad

Celebrating Father’s Day at Irvine Regional Park.

Where: Orange

For: All Ages

Rides and Attractions

The train ride is a family favorite, with patrons able to take a 1/3 scale train around the Irvine Regional Park.  The conductor gives a tour of all the attractions.  The ride takes about 20 minutes to make a full rotation.

Irvine Park Railroad offers bike rentals that can be enjoyed by one person or an entire group.  Since the park is so big, families can explore using a regular bicycle, a tandem bike or a quad bike.  Training wheels are also available for kids that are learning how to ride and double surreys allow up to six adults and two small children.  Helmets are provided with every rental for no additional cost.  Keep in mind that availability is on a first-come, first-served basis.

There is a large lake in the middle of the park that offers paddle boat rentals that can be enjoyed by two or three riders.  Children under the age of 13 are require to wear a life jacket.  There is also a height requirement that can be viewed on the website.

The Orange County Zoo allows patrons to visit animals native to California in their natural habitat.  All animals are domesticated and are rescues that cannot be returned to the wild.  There is a petting zoo where the children can feed and brush goats and pigs.  Various times during the year the zoo will put on family-friendly events.  Crafts and shows are available seasonally.

The park offers pony rides for kids and horse rentals for trail riding.  Horseshoe and volleyball set rentals are available for outdoor group and family fun.  There are also hiking trails that range from one to four miles long.

Party and moon bounce rentals along with party sites are available for rent on a first-come first-served basis.  I would suggest to make reservations four months in advance.  There are two snack bars in the park with food such as hot dogs, chips and ice cream.

The Crowd

There are always a ton of families and groups in the park.  We like to go for the themed events.  For Halloween they offer mazes, face painting, a pumpkin patch, etc.  We recently celebrated a Star Wars themed Father’s Day at the OC Zoo.

Cost

Train rides are $5 per person (children 12 months and younger are free).  Bike rental prices are based on the type of bike rented and time it is rented for.  Please check online for the hours of operation.  Pony rides are $5 each rider.  Moon bounce and party venue rental pricing can be viewed on the website.

Irvine Park Railroad Information

1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, CA 92869

(714) 997-3968

irvineparkrailroad.com

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Zoomars-San Juan Capistrano

Zoomars-San Juan Capistrano

What: Zoomars

Me holding a guinea pig.

Where: San Juan Capistrano

For: All Ages (Mostly Younger Children)

When we visit my parents, we like to take the kids to visit Zoomars Petting Zoo.  They can play with animals, run around on the jungle gym and ride a train.  Zoomars offers a Christmas Tree lot in December and a Halloween Carnival in October.  There are other events throughout the year listed on their Facebook Page.

Skylar grooming a goat.

The Animals

Zoomars has ponies, llamas, pigs, goats, sheep, chicken, alpacas, emus, cows, rabbits and guinea pigs.  All the animals are friendly, and you can use the salad baskets to feed each one.  The kids love feeding the guinea pigs in Guinea Pig Gulley.  This is a fenced-off area where the kids can walk into and pick up guinea pigs to play with and feed.  There are about 50 guinea pigs in the area, and each one has a name.  The kids love to pick up and pet each one.  It leads to hours of fun and entertainment.

Skylar holding a guinea pig.

The children are able to go into the goat and sheep pen where they can pick up brushes to groom the animals.  They enjoyed feeding the bigger animals such as the cow and the emu.  Every animal was very nice, and we were pleased with how domesticated they all were.  There is a hand-washing station for patrons to use after petting the animals.

Feeding the Llama.

The Attractions

The mini train is a kid favorite.  Tickets are available at the front desk, and the train goes around for a good amount of time.  Children can mine for ‘gold’ at Miner’s Gulch.  Skylar loved mining and came home with a little bag of fool’s gold and gemstones.

Mining for ‘gold’.

Horse and pony rides allow the kids to feel like actual cowboys/girls.  The animals are hand-led down a trail by experienced handlers.  A wooden playground gets the kids’ energy out.  It’s equipt with activities, swings and a slide on wooden mulch (you will get dusty!).  The corn pit is much like a sand pit.  It’s good for the kids because they don’t leave with sand in their shoes and clothes.  There are toys in the pit for toddler play.

Skylar in the playground.

The Crowd

Zoomars are geared towards younger kids.  Preschoolers would get the most of the Zoomars experience.  I’ve been taking Skylar here since she was a baby.  There are always things to do and a birthday party or two going on at the covered picnic table area.

Skylar and I in the corn pit.

Cost

Zoomars is open from 9:00am-5:00pm, weather permitting (please check the Zoomars Facebook Page for updates about hours of operation.  Adult admission is $12 with children admission $10 each.   Infants 12 months and under are free, and there are discounts for seniors and members of the military.  Groupons are available periodically for a good price.  Pony rides (ages 1-10) are $6 for 1 lap and $10 for 2 laps.  Train rides (ages 1-10) are $3 each, and salad baskets for feeding the animals are $5.  Gemstone and Fossil bags range from $8 to $10.  Zoomars takes cash, Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

Spending Halloween making crafts at Zoomars.

Zoomars Information

31791 Los Rios Street, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

(949) 831-6550

zoomars.com

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Skyloft-Laguna Beach

Skyloft-Laguna Beach

What: Skyloft

Where: Laguna Beach

For: All Ages/21+ at Night

I’ve been going to Skyloft since I turned 21 (I grew up in Orange County).  The most recent time we stopped by was for my 10-year high school reunion in May of this year. It is not only a great American restaurant with rooftop seating, but it turns into a club at night with live bands, a dance floor and huge main bar.

The Restaurant

Skyloft is on the second floor of a building in Laguna Beach.  It includes the entire second floor of the building and the rooftop deck.  Half of the second floor is dedicated to restaurant seating.  Patrons can walk upstairs to the roof for outdoor restaurant seating that has heaters at night when it gets cooler by the beach.  Guests can go to Skyloft for breakfast, lunch, dinner and Happy Hour.  A kids’ menu is offered for the littlest diners.  Food is an eclectic mix of American food, and menus can be acceded on Skyloft’s website.

The Main Bar

The Main Bar is on the main level and has 12 TVs throughout the room.  Décor is modern and clean, and the bar is three hundred-sixty degrees accessible.  Barstools surround the bar with cocktail tables and small lounge areas lining the walls.  A large selection of craft beers on tap along with a full bar are offered.

Nightlife

A security guard starts checking identification at the entrance of the restaurant starting at 9:00pm.  In the room attached to the main bar on the main level is a stage area.  Every Tuesday night there is a comedy night.  Cocktail tables for standing room along with sit down seating are around the stage and dance floor area.  Small booths for parties are on two sides of the walls. Live music is offered on the main floor six nights per week.  The dance area gets busy later in the night on Fridays and Saturdays.  The upstairs outdoor area is open during the night, and guests can go up to get some fresh air before resuming dancing the night away.

The Crowd

The crowd is more dressed up in true Laguna Beach Style.  A mix of younger and older patrons come to Skyloft, and Skyloft shuttles give free transportation to guests within a 3-mile radius of the restaurant.  Beach attire is not allowed.

Cost

Lunch and dinner costs approximately $20 to $25 per person (excluding drinks).  Lunch combos are offered at specific times (please check the website).  Happy Hour is 3:00pm until close on Monday and 3:00pm to 6:00pm from Tuesday through Friday.  Late Night Happy Hour is offered Sunday through Wednesday from 10:00pm until close.  Tuesday Comedy Night Tickets are $20 for VIP seated tickets and $10 for standing room tickets.  Drinks cost $12 to $15 per drink depending on what is ordered.

Skyloft Information

422 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 2651

(949) 715-1550

skyloftoc.com

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Goofy’s Kitchen-Anaheim

Goofy’s Kitchen-Anaheim

What: Goofy’s Kitchen

Where: Anaheim

For: All Ages

Since the girls’ birthday is one week apart, for the past two years we have been going to Goofy’s Kitchen for a buffet brunch before celebrating inside Disneyland for the day.  We not only enjoyed the family-friendly food, but the photo ops with the characters walking around every few minutes was a great addition.

The Restaurant

Guests can set reservations for Goofy’s Kitchen online (I suggest that you make reservations as soon as possible to ensure the tables don’t fill up) for breakfast and dinner.  The hostess won’t seat your party until all guests are present, which is something to keep in mind.  When you get to the front of the restaurant, they take your name and give you a photo op with Goofy in his chef’s outfit.  After seating, the waitress will bring you a printed-out photo of your group with Goofy that you can choose to buy.  There is a pass option to purchase where you can download pictures from the entire day in Disneyland and get the picture of Goofy which we decided to opt into.

Buffets are all-you-can-eat and include adult favorites (we’ve only gone for breakfast) such as a create-your-own omelet station and eggs benedict (cocktails are also provided at an additional cost).  The kids enjoyed the pizza, pancakes and bakery sweets.  There is also a huge dessert area and ice cream station.

Since we celebrated Emma and Sky’s birthday, the kids were each given a birthday button and special birthday cupcake with a candle to blow out.  The workers and characters also came around to sing ‘Happy Birthday’, which made the girls feel like VIPs.

The Characters

Every thirty minutes, the characters have a parade around the restaurant where they wave their napkins in the air.  The kids loved interacting with the characters and waving their own napkins.  Goofy, Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck, Pluto and Chip ‘n’ Dale were the only characters that we were able to see.  The great thing is that they walk around to every table to interact with the children and pose for pictures.

The Crowd

There are a lot of families here since it’s a character restaurant affiliated with Disneyland.  Although it was kind of loud, we didn’t mind since the girls were having a great time. Because the restaurant is located inside the Disneyland Hotel, many hotel guests came here prior to hitting the pool or theme parks.  The dress code is very casual.

Cost

The breakfast buffet costs $36 per adult and $21 per child.  Although the food isn’t gourmet, you’re really paying for the novelty of the restaurant along with the character experiences.  There is an automatic gratuity added to guests’ bill.  If you have an annual pass, there is a discount on your pricing.

Goofy’s Kitchen Information

Disneyland Hotel, Anaheim, CA 92802

(714) 781-3463

disneyland.disney.go.com/dining/Disneyland-hotel/goofys-kitchen

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Pretend City-Irvine

Pretend City-Irvine

What: Pretend City

Where: Irvine

For: Kids

If you’ve ever wanted to go to a Costco-warehouse sized mini-city for your kids, make sure to stop at Pretend City in Irvine.   It not only offers an air-conditioned play place for kids ages infant to 10, but it allows for parents to relax in an area without having to worry about if their children will run off.

The City

A variety of exhibits change offer a ton of play activities for the kids.  Seventeen exhibits are offered year-round.  There is an amphitheater where the kids can act as a DJ or dress up in costume and dance on the stage.  An art studio allows for craft making.  The bank teaches kids about tellers and how to make deposits.  The beach contains water play and sand toys.  The construction area allows children to build with various materials.  The café gives kids the opportunity to play chef.  The emergency services area gives children police and fire truck vehicles to drive along with hats and gear so they feel like real police officers/fire fighters.  The farm helps them ‘grow’ fruits and vegetables.  The gas station allows them to fill up their foot-powered cars while they’re on the go.  The marina offers water play and raincoats for curious kiddos.  There is a dentist and doctors office for kids to get their check-ups.  A house lets them play inside a child-sized home after visiting the Trader Joe’s.

Trader Joe’s

They can go to the post office to get their ‘mail’.  There is a library with books where parents can read stories to the little ones.  A real café with vending machines filled with food include tables for parents and kids to take a rest and snack.  For the toddlers, the orange plaza is offered as a safe place for them to crawl around and play with soft toys.  Please check the website for hours of operation.

City Center

The Imagination Playground is filled with building blocks where children can build as high as they want.  The blocks are soft, so it doesn’t matter if they topple over.  It allows for kids to utilize their critical thinking skills and encourages sharing and collaborating among children.

Skylar playing in the foot-powered car at the emergency services area.

The Crowd

There are a ton of families that come to Pretend City, especially on weekends and holidays.  Keep this in mind when traveling to the venue.  Although there is a free parking lot around and behind the building, Pretend City tends to get very busy during peak hours (around lunch time) that could cause you to have to find street parking.

Sushi restaurant

Cost

General admission for children over 12 months and adults is $12.50 each.  There are military and family discounts available ($9.50 each) with infants and members gaining free access.  After 4:00pm, general admission prices are half off.  We literally spent an entire 10 hour day here (with a stamp you can have in-and-out privileges).  This is definitely worth the price.  There is even a mini-mall store where you can take a piece of Pretend City home with you.  And for the adults, it’s right next to the Irvine Spectrum if you want to head over for lunch or dinner after your day of fun.

Skylar as the DJ in the Amphitheater.

Pretend City Information

29 Hubble, Irvine, CA 92618

(949) 428-3900

pretendcity.org

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Tapas Flavors of Spain-Mission Viejo

Tapas Flavors of Spain-Mission Viejo

What: Tapas Flavors of Spain

Where: Mission Viejo

For: All Ages/21+ after 9:00pm

Last weekend, Ethan and I went with my parents to Tapas Flavors of Spain to celebrate their 32 year wedding anniversary.  Located in Kaleidoscope off of the 5 freeway, I was very excited to come here since I’ve grown up in the area my entire life.  Kaleidoscope has always been a quiet mall with a small amount of traffic, so the fact that there was a club that opened on the main floor made our visit very interesting.  Please remember that Ethan and I also went to a similar Spanish flamenco show in Long Beach called Sevilla…and I strongly believe that Tapas was a better value with the show and food.  Club wise, however, I would lean toward Sevilla.

My dad dancing with one of the flamenco dancers on stage.

The Restaurant

The restaurant is Spanish themed and includes tables around a dance floor.  A full service bar is on the left side of the restaurant, and the dance floor includes a raised stage where we watched the flamenco dancers and band.  We ordered four appetizers and two entrees, which filled up four people.  The restaurant accommodates around 300 people, and all of the tables were completely occupied when we came at 7:45pm for our reservation on a Saturday night.  Reservations can be made on Yelp or the restaurant website, and you will receive text messages notifications on your phone reminding you of your reservation a couple days prior. We ordered all dishes tapas style (compare to family-style where each guest eats a little bit of every dish) from the restaurant, and we were not disappointed in our food or service.   All of the food is authentic Spanish cuisine, and it definitely tasted better than the comparable Sevilla that we visited in Long Beach.  Happy Hour is also offered on the bar and patio at specific dates and times (refer to the website).

The Show

Tapas Flavors of Spain used to be located in Newport Beach and has recently (as of January 2018) relocated to Mission Viejo.  The show started promptly at 8:00pm and went until 9:00pm with no intermission.  The band and dancers really felt like they transported you to Spain.  Their talent was undeniable.  At the end of the show, one of the female dancers invited my dad on stage.  This was quite the pleasant surprise, and our entire party enjoyed the audience participation.  The dancers even changed their clothes after the show and danced with the patrons on the floor when the DJ was brought up, which made the experience feel very intimate.

The Club

The club started after the flamenco show ended at 9:00pm.  At this time there is also security at the door checking identification and requiring a cover charge.  If you want to leave and re-enter, make sure that you get a stamp on your wrist.  There is an outdoor patio area for smokers.  There is also a small taco window on the patio where you can order chicken tacos and top them with a variety of foods.  We ordered 4 chicken tacos and paid $7 before loading them up with toppings.  It was a great way to fix our hunger pangs later in the night, and we ate our tacos while watching people dance inside the club.  The club consisted of a DJ spinning Latin and top 40 music.  It wasn’t as crowded as we anticipated on a Saturday night, and we thought that the club was only filled a quarter to capacity.  Make sure to check the website to see any special events or DJs.  The club is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 9:00pm to 1:30am.

The Crowd

The crowd varied in age.  Ethan, my parents and I all felt like we were blending in, as there was a distinct mix of people attending.  Some families attended dinner and the flamenco show before leaving when the club opened.  Multiple birthdays were being celebrated.  When the club started, the younger group cleared out leaving room for the adults.  My parents danced the night away on the dance floor and went home exhausted but happy.

Cost

Please refer to my post on Sevilla in Long Beach, where it cost $200 for two people to enjoy dinner and a show.  Tapas Flavors of Spain only cost $94 (excluding alcohol) for four people, which included dinner, a show and entry into the club.   This was the best value for our money spent, and we all left very happy with our experience at Tapas Flavors of Spain.

My dad still happily dancing on stage.

Tapas Flavors of Spain Information

27741 Crown Valley Pkwy, Mission Viejo, CA 92691

(949) 367-0373

tapasflavorsofspain.net

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever been to Tapas Flavors of Spain, please comment on this post!  Also, if you have suggestions of other places to go in the Greater Los Angeles Area, please let me know by e-mailing admin@la-staycation.com