Looking for a great restaurant in San Juan Capistrano? Have you explored the quaint Los Rios Historic District? If you live in central or north Orange County, it is such a quick jaunt down the 5 freeway, or for a real treat, take the train a few stops from the Tustin or Irvine station, since it will drop you right in the heart of this town.
So here is our favorite weekend itinerary: take the kids to Zoomars in the morning, Zoomars is the sweet little petting zoo filled with furry guinea pigs for them to pet and feed, goats to groom, and horses/ponies and a mini train to ride. We have been taking them to Zoomars for years, and we even threw a birthday party for my son there, but it is still one of their favorite outings, even for my eleven-year-old! For a successful family outing, we always try to have something for the kids, then also something for the adults. Specifically, I like to end a kid’s activity with a good meal and a glass of wine. Everyone is happy!
Nothing says summer like seafood and beer! Here is a Mexican twist to that great combo: Mariscos Mocorito serves Sinaloa style seafood dishes just down the street in Orange.
If you have never been to a Mexican seafood place, then here are a few pointers and recommendations; and if you have, then come try Mocorito and let me know if you agree or if you have any other favorites. First, you get a basket of crunchy tostada chips and saltine crackers, with a side of salsa and lime when you sit down. View Post
We love our neighbors to the south. Our families love San Diego and visit often. MaryAnne recently posted a fabulous overview of the Westin Hotel and nearby restaurants. We will continue to add to this because San Diego is such an ideal getaway for us OC folks. Also, I lived in San Diego for several years since I did my undergrad there, so I would love to share some of my favorite local hangouts!
Best burger in San Diego: Hodad’s. Go there! Seriously. Although there are a couple of locations, including one in Pet Co Park (there are so many good food and drink options-and yes, we will definitely share a post of this fabulous ball park). There is one in the East Village, an up and coming neighborhood just east of Gaslamp District and Horton Plaza. However, my favorite spot for a Hodad’s burger experience is in Ocean Beach, or as the locals fondly call OB. It is just south of Pacific Beach, which is the more popular beach frequented by lots of rowdy frat boys and tourists. Don’t get me wrong, PB is a fun hangout and eating destination, but OB is my kind of beach town. Many moons ago when I was a San Diego local, OB was the quieter, local beach community with that boho, hippy vibe. Although it has gotten more populated with touristy bars and souvenir shops, it still retains a bit of that hippy charm. View Post
We recently enjoyed a San Diego Gaslamp Getaway. It’s our go-to weekend staycay spot! We stayed at the Westin Gaslamp Quarter, which is conveniently located next to the Westfield Horton Plaza Shopping Center. A hotel next to a mall? This made our teenager so happy! I love that San Diego is less than a 2 hour drive away from our home in Irvine. Just a quick road trip and we’re in a totally different and fun place.
Talk about decking the halls! Roger’s Gardens in Newport Beach is a great place to start your shopping for holiday decorations. A little confession: we were on our way to the tree lighting at Fashion Island, and we were late getting out there (you all know, taking about 20 mins to get socks and shoes on, then having a last minute bathroom emergency as we start loading up the car). When we realized as we sat waiting in a long line of cars to get into the packed parking lot that we would not be able to find parking and get to the lighting in 12 mins, we planned our escape. Yes, the kids were a little disappointed to miss the official Christmas tree lighting, but we promised to bring them back another evening to see the tree. Seeing festive lights behind us, we flipped a U turn and followed the lights. To our pleasant surprise, we drove into a twinkling oasis. I have had Roger’s Garden on my list for awhile, so this accidental discovery was so timely.
For those that are not familiar, Roger’s Garden is a spacious outdoor nursery with an equally expansive indoor store. At the back of all this beautiful garden is their Farmhouse restaurant. The kids were so excited to roam the nursery that is currently decorated with beautiful holiday lights – simply magical! Holiday tip: if you call the Farmhouse restaurant, they are completely booked for reservations until January; however, we simply walked up and put our name on the wait list before exploring the garden. The wait was only an hour on a Thursday night, with plenty of open seating at the bar, but I will assume that it will be longer if you go on a weekend. This was just the perfect amount of time for us to enjoy the lights and do a little shopping. The have beautiful decorations and ornaments, with a good selection of traditional and marine themed holiday items – we are in Newport Beach, after all! The kids got some adorable fuzzy beanies with koala ears and owl ears (yes, I probably overpaid, but they were so darn cute!). There is also a coffee cart in the middle of the garden, so you can grab a coffee or a hot chocolate on a cold evening.