Hello Kitty Grand Café – Orange County (Irvine)

Hello Kitty Café – Orange County (Irvine)

What: Hello Kitty Café

The Hello Kitty Grand Cafe in Irvine, CA

Where: Irvine

For: All Ages

The pastries

Hello Kitty Café is one of our kids’ favorite places to stop by.  Not only is it very kid-friendly, but it is a dream for anyone who loves Sanrio and Hello Kitty merchandise.  An added plus is that everything is so cute that the Café is sure to brighten up anyone’s Instagram feed!

Skylar with Hello Kitty

The Café

The Grand Café is located at the Irvine Spectrum Center in Irvine, California.  It serves a very limited quantity of food and drinks, and everything is Hello Kitty themed…from cakes to cookies and donuts!  Beverages include teas, coffee and blended drinks.  Special themed merchandise is available for purchase as well.  Make sure to check out the hours online and be prepared for a decent wait if you decide to go on the weekends or during evening hours. 

The Bow Room Set Up

There is a very special and exclusive bow room that can be reserved for parties to enjoy afternoon tea or evening cocktail service (for ages 21+).  The Bow Room has a different menu selection than the rest of the café and includes fruit, sandwiches, sweets and choice of fine tea.  A credit card number is required to hold reservations, which can be made up to 60 days in advance.

The Bow Room: Afternoon Tea or Evening Cocktails

Hello Kitty Café Truck and Pop Ups– Traveling

The Hello Kitty Food Truck

The Café was so popular that there is a traveling food truck that has a schedule available online (mostly available at popular malls).  Because of the limited selection available, sometimes seasonal items can sell out.  Many times there are Facebook events that are created based on the scheduled stops that allow fans to plan what time they want to arrive.  Each time we have come to the Hello Kitty Café Truck there has been a large line, so be sure to come early!

Pastries and Drinks

Some mini-cafes and pop-ups have been created throughout Southern California, albeit for a limited time.  These smaller cafes have small seating areas and a limited selection of drinks, pastries and merchandise available for sale.

Water Bottles and Cookies

The Crowd

As mentioned before, I would advise anyone to come early and be prepared to wait in a decent sized line when experiencing the Café or Food Truck.  There are a bunch of families present along with kids who enjoy Hello Kitty.

The Cafe

Cost

The Bow room costs $55 per person for afternoon tea (2 person minimum and only even number of guests).  Make sure to remember that there is a required gratuity for parties of 6 or more patrons.  Drinks are generally around $4 with pastries costing approximately $5 and bottled water is $2.  If you want a bag, you will have to pay an additional $1.

The Drinks

Hello Kitty Café Information

860 Spectrum Center Drive, Irvine, CA 92626

(949) 536 – 5357

https://www.sanrio.com/pages/hellokittycafe

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever been to Hello Kitty Café, 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

Pelican Hill – Newport Coast

Pelican Hill-Newport Coast

Pelican Hill

What: Pelican Hill

Where: Newport Coast

For: All Ages

My little brother used to work at Pelican Hill, and we would visit him there and lounge by the pool while eating at the pool restaurant.  It’s quite the experience, with all amenities you could ever think of.  You never even have to leave the resort!  This is definitely a luxury five-star hotel that highlights Newport at its finest.

The Rooms

The Resort

The resort sits on over 500 acres of beautiful land and boasts six restaurants, a golf course, spa and pool.  Luxury bungalows and guest rooms provide an expansive view with the extravagant feel of a five star hotel.  Camp Pelican is a kid’s day-camp provided for children ages 4-12.  Kids can partake in activities with the camp leaders while their parents enjoy the amenities of Pelican Hill.  Additional camps and excursions are provided for the older children at an extra cost.  A gift shop located inside the main building of Pelican Hill allows for patrons to pick up beach-themed clothes and trinkets from their stay.  A spa boasts over 20 treatment rooms with a diverse menu of treatments to choose from.  The 36 hole golf course is a world-class course with breathtaking views of the ocean at every hole.

Coliseum Bar and Grill

The Restaurants

The Coliseum Bar and Grill is the restaurant that my brother worked at.  All the food was not only delicious but very filling.  We always enjoyed the ability to either eat seated at the restaurant or dine at cabanas by the pool.  Andrea at Pelican Hill is a sit-down fine dining Italian restaurant located in the center of the main building.  Pelican Grill provides a dining experience that overlooks the gorgeous views of the golf course and ocean.  Vacationers can go to the Villa Clubhouse and experience Piccolo to eat small bites and appetizers to share.  The Great Room Social Lounge provides dining with drinks and music.  One of our favorite places to stop by was the Caffe and Market, which serves gelato.  We always ordered gelato and enjoyed it while taking in the breathtaking views. The golf course boasts its own Pelican Hill Golf Club Caffe for hungry golfers looking to take a break from the game.  And if you don’t want to leave your room, there’s always the diverse room service menu to take advantage of! 

Sky and I at the Pool

The Pool

The Coliseum Pool is the largest circular infinity pool in the world.  It’s surrounded by cabanas and lounge chairs, and floating lounges are provided by the resort.  A small kids pool sits on the second level, and it is secluded enough that patrons can enjoy the water without the hustle of the main Coliseum pool.  Guests can take in the beautiful ocean views and surrounding golf course from the comfort of their private cabanas.

Bird’s Eye View

The Crowd

There is a diverse crowd at Pelican Hill.  My brother used to always tell me of the famous actors, musicians and athletes that he would serve.  Although it is a family friendly resort, it still keeps the elegance of an Italian resort.  All of the workers attend to every need of the patrons, which makes anyone feel like they are on an expensive vacation.

The Grounds

Cost

Daily guest fees for golfing is $295.  Room prices range from $400 into the thousands depending on which room is chosen.  Dining ranges from $20 to $60 per person dependant on the restaurant that is chosen.  Please keep in mind that there are additional charges for Camp Pelican and Spa Treatments.

Sunset on the Course

Pelican Hill Information

22701 S Pelican Hill Rd, Newport Coast, CA 92657

(855) 315 – 8214

https://www.pelicanhill.com/

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever been to Pelican Hill, 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

Habana – Orange County

Habana-Orange County (Costa Mesa & Irvine)

The Bar

What: Habana

Where: Orange County (Irvine and Costa Mesa)

For: All Ages

Outdoor Seating

Habana is a Cuban restaurant in Orange County that I was introduced to by my coworkers.  I’ve been here a few times, and it not only has authentic décor but the food is amazing.  They also make pretty strong drinks!

Coconut Mojitos

The Restaurant

When you walk into the restaurant, you’re greeted with a beautiful authentic Cuban setting.  Both indoor and outdoor seating is provided for guests.  Although I’ve never been to the Irvine location, I can only imagine it’s just as beautiful as the Costa Mesa location (please note that there is no bathroom in the Costa Mesa location). 

Paella

A gorgeous bar with dim lighting creates a posh ambiance in Habana. On Friday and Saturdays in the Costa Mesa location, they have ‘Habana Nights’ where live musicians play music for patrons from 10:00pm to 2:00am.  The Irvine location entertains from Wednesday nights to Saturday nights. 

Sunday Brunch

The Food

On Sundays, Habana offers a brunch from 9:00am to 3:00pm with picks of all types of food from seafood to paella.  Mojito Mondays offer $6 mojitos all day.  Specialty cocktails are also offered.  We ordered a ton of different appetizers and entrees, each one seemingly tasting better than the rest. 

Specialty Cocktails

The food combined with the lush atmosphere of the restaurant really transports you to Cuba.  The wide variety of choices for food gives an option for everyone.  My favorite drinks were the mojitos that came out in fresh cut coconuts…which we ended up eating after our meal!

Outdoor Brunch

The Crowd

I’ve been to Habana for both lunch and dinner, and I can’t decide which time is better.  If you go to the Costa Mesa location, beware of parking…you will probably be forced to valet (which is complimentary if you show them your receipt from the restaurant).  The crowd consisted mostly of adults, assumingly because of the complexity of the dishes that required a more refined palate.

The Amazing Food of Habana

Cost

Sunday brunch is $45 per person with kids under ten years old costing $19.  Without drinks, we spent about $35 per person, with drinks costing about $10 to $13 each.

The Indoor Seating Area

Habana Information

Costa Mesa: 2930 Bristol Street, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

(714) 556- – 0176

Irvine: 708 Spectrum Center Drive, Irvine, CA 92618

(949) 419 – 2500

www.restauranthabana.com

Sunday Brunch

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever been to Habana, 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

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

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever been to Stax Bakery & Creamery, 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

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

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever been to Discovery Cube, 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

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

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever been to Zoomars, 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