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Dining Guide for Families in Orange County

Newport Beach Duffy Boat Lunch Spot: The Trough Sandwich Kitchen

Posted by on Apr 6, 2016 in American, Featured, Reviews, Travel | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of the venue While on our Spring Break family staycation in Newport Beach, we picked up lunch from the popular sandwich shop, The Trough Sandwich Kitchen on the Peninsula to take with us on a Duffy Boat ride around the harbor. The Trough Sandwich Kitchen is one of the most innovative new sandwich shops in Orange County that uses high-quality meats, cheeses, and freshly baked bread. We walked into the restaurant and immediately was greeted by the friendly staff who helped us to select some sandwiches that would be good to enjoy while on the water. Once our sandwiches were ready, they provided us with everything that we needed to take lunch on the boat including utensils, and napkins. While our on the boat enjoying the beautiful sunny spring afternoon, when the kids tummies...

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Santa Barbara’s 5th Annual Winter Wine Classic Wows Wine Lovers

Posted by on Mar 14, 2016 in Events, Travel | 0 comments

 We attended as a guest of the venue I entered the Fess Parker resort wide-eyed. In front of me were what seemed like endless tables of winemakers pouring generous sips of all their best grapes. I grabbed my glass and hit the ground running. With nearly 100 wines to choose from, and not knowing where to start, I’d often ask the question, “Can I try your most popular wine or what you’re known for?” Frequently, I’d get the response, “Our most popular wine isn’t here. We’re pouring from our reserve (or ultra-premium) wines tonight.” This was possibly the best response an oenophile could hope for and part of what made the 5th Annual Winter Wine Classic such a unique tasting experience. I put myself in their elite hands and was transported on a tasting journey from Santa Ynez to...

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Sip in Santa Barbara for the Fifth Annual Winter Wine Classic

Posted by on Feb 17, 2016 in Dining News, Events, Travel | 0 comments

  It’s winter in Santa Barbara and the sun is shining, people are biking, and the surf’s up. What better way to celebrate the lack of inclement weather than by enjoying another fabulous aspect of California living – wine! The Fifth Annual Winter Wine Classic in Santa Barbara will bring together one of the largest assortments of top California winemakers and wine lovers alike for a night of sipping, learning, and sampling at the ballroom of The Fess Parker – A Doubletree by Hilton Resort. Notable producers include Bernardus Winery, Charles Krug, Etude and Whitehall Lane, as well as Ahnfeldt, Beckmen, Alma Rosa, and Tablas Creek. Santa Barbara County Vintners’ Association, Santa Rita Hills Wine Alliance and Paso CAB Collective will be featured wine regions of the night. “Most wine events would be thrilled to have one or two...

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Miner’s Diner in Julian

Posted by on Jan 3, 2016 in Featured, Travel | 0 comments

  During our day trip to Julian, we had an incredible experience doing the mining tour together as a family. Our kids had worked up quite a big appetite after the tour, and we walked to downtown Julian for some lunch. It was a holiday weekend, and the streets of Julian were crowded with hundreds of people. Every restaurant had more than an hour wait, but we knew that there was not any other restaurant in the area for at least a 45-minute drive outside of Julian, so we waited the hour wait to have lunch at the popular Miner’s Diner. Once we took a seat at our table, we felt like we had been swept into a different era. There were people having dessert at the soda fountain bar, children bringing up candy to purchase from the candy...

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Old Vine Café and The Splendors of Italy

Posted by on Oct 21, 2015 in Cooking Classes, Italian, Reviews, Travel | 0 comments

 We attended as a guest of the venue Cooking classes in Italy. This is near the top of my bucket list. If you share my love for incredible food, cooking, and travel, Old Vine Café and The Culinary Institute will be hosting a 10-day epicurean adventure to Calabria and Sicily this April where travelers will enjoy hands on cooking lessons, fabulous meals, wine tasting, sight seeing and more. While sadly it does not look like I will be going this spring at least, I did have the consolation of attending a private food and wine pairing dinner at Old Vine Café celebrating authentic dishes from Italy prepared and presented by Chef/Owner Mark McDonald and Sommelier Kate Perry where Chef Mark’s passion for authenticity, using seasonal local ingredients, and sharing his knowledge of Italy’s regional cuisine made my first dining...

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Barbecue Bliss Marie Callender’s in Redding

Posted by on Oct 6, 2015 in Travel | 0 comments

  After an active day hiking around the Lassen Volcanic National Park while on our summer road trip, we had worked up a huge appetite. We drove into the city of Redding where we checked into the Comfort Inn Hotel, and then walked next door to the local Marie Callender’s restaurant. I had not eaten at a Marie Callender’s for many years and was excited to see what was new on their menu. The kids menu was larger than I had remembered and even featured barbecue ribs! My little meat lover, Ella, didn’t surprise me with her order of the ribs with my other two kids went with the macaroni and cheese. While my kids ordered their favorite dishes from the kids menu, I was tempted by the delicious pictures of their barbecue specials. Since I had walked for...

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Dutch Bros. Coffee in Redding

Posted by on Oct 5, 2015 in Breakfast, Coffee, Reviews, Travel | 0 comments

  Before leaving the town of Redding to continue our family summer road trip, I couldn’t leave without trying some of the popular Dutch Bros. Coffee. I have been hearing about Dutch Bros. coffee forever, and couldn’t wait to see if their coffee lived up the hype surrounding their brand. There are multiple locations throughout the city, and while we went to one of their drive-thru locations, we still got out of the car to order our coffee. As we walked up to the window to order our drinks, we were immediately greeted by the friendliest staff I have ever come across at a coffee shop. They took their time to not only welcome me…but also my children! I ordered my usual latte with extra shots of espresso, and the kids ordered their smoothies. With it being in the...

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J’s Ice Cream Parlor in Redding

Posted by on Oct 1, 2015 in Dessert, Travel | 0 comments

  After spending the afternoon kayaking around the Whiskeytown Lake, we were desperate for a refreshing treat. With it being our first time in Redding, we turned to Yelp to help guide us to the best ice cream shop in town, and that was J’s Ice Cream Parlor. When we first arrived at the ice cream shop, it was located in the middle of a strip mall next to a laundromat. There were a lot of people hanging out in front of the restaurant waiting for their laundry and licking their ice cream cones. We walked into the small restaurant and was immediately greeted by a very friendly employee. She allowed our kids to sample the different ice cream before making their final delicious decision. Excited to find out what all the hype is around Gunther’s Ice Cream, the...

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NYC Meets the OC with the Opening of The Halal Guys

Posted by on Sep 29, 2015 in Featured, Mediterranean, Reviews, Travel | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of the venue Who doesn’t love New York City street food? The last time I was in New York, I took the subway in freezing temperatures to get myself a gyro from The Halal Guys. Guess what? OC locals no longer have to fly across the country, and put on snow boots to get some of America’s favorite street food from The Halal Guys. Because they are opening their first Southern California location right here in Costa Mesa on October 2nd! I had the pleasure of taking my daughter with me to a pre-opening of The Halal Guys to see if they are living up to the NY reputation. The minute that we walked in the door, we were greeted by friendly staff that walked us through the ordering process. Ordering is simple. 1....

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Vessel Restaurant at the Kona Kai Resort in San Diego

Posted by on Sep 15, 2015 in American, Featured, Reviews, Travel | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of the venue One our favorite things about staying at the Kona Kai Resort in San Diego was dining at Vessel Restaurant. The restaurant came with the highest yelp ratings in the area and lived up to their expectation when we dined for dinner. We had made reservations to dine at sunset, and even though it was extremely warm outside, decided to dine on the outdoor patio. Once the sun disappeared the temperature cooled, and we were given a spectacular show of bright, beautiful colors blending in the sky. We began dinner with the delicious lobster macaroni and cheese. The appetizer featured a cheddar fondue, panko, chives and large pieces of fresh lobster. The sinful dish satisfied all our rich cravings and was the perfect prelude to our meal. For the main dish, my...

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Lucha Libre Taco Shop in San Diego

Posted by on Sep 14, 2015 in Mexican, Reviews, Travel | 0 comments

  Where is the coolest place to have tacos in Southern California? Lucha Libre Taco Shop! While I was in San Diego for the weekend with the kiddos, I wanted to take them somewhere fun for lunch. With all the hype surrounding this popular taco joint, I decided to bring them to Lucha Libre for lunch. Parking was not easy to find with the restaurant being located right next to a freeway entrance, but that didn’t stop us from finally scoring a spot. Once we had battled the parking challenge came the next challenge of waiting in a line that wrapped around the corner of the building. Just when I thought my kids were going to completely melt down, we finally made it inside to place our order, and realized that it was worth the wait. It was indeed...

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A Taste of Hawaii in San Diego at Bali Hai

Posted by on Sep 11, 2015 in Featured, Reviews, Travel | 0 comments

  After checking into the Kona Kai Resort in San Diego, I couldn’t decide where to go for dinner. Since we were dining at Vessel Restaurant located at the resort on the second night of our stay, we took the advice from the front desk and went to Bali Hai for dinner. Thank goodness that the resort had made a reservation for us because the waiting room was packed full of people waiting to get a table for dinner. We were lucky enough to walk right into the Polynesian-themed restaurant and get a table right next to the glass that overlooked the beautiful crystalline waters. The restaurant was filled with tables of people laughing, and celebrating life together over delicious cuisine. We started dinner by sharing the coconut shrimp appetizer. The deep fried coconut covered shrimp came served with...

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Con Pane Rustic Breads & Cafe in San Diego

Posted by on Sep 10, 2015 in Bakery, Featured, Travel | 0 comments

  After spending the morning exploring the Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego, my kids had worked up a huge appetite. A lunch spot that I have been wanting to try for months, Con Pane Rustic Breads & Cafe, was just a short drive from the National Park. Once all our exploring was done, we headed over to the cafe to get some tasty sandwiches for lunch. I had heard that all of the bread and pastries were made fresh onsite daily, and I was thrilled to find out that it was true. When we walked into the restaurant, the kids got to see a real working bakery in action through all of the large glass windows. They got to see the big machinery, ovens, and racks of freshly made pastries. As we made our way toward the counter...

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Authentic Mexican Food at El Rinconcito in Redding

Posted by on Aug 31, 2015 in Featured, Mexican, Travel | 0 comments

  While spending a couple of days in Redding this summer, we couldn’t decide where to go for dinner. There were so many restaurant choices in the Redding area, with all of them having raving online reviews. There was one restaurant that stood out to us the most, so we made the choice to go to El Rinconcito for authentic Mexican food. I drove past the restaurant at least twice before realizing it was tucked away behind a local gas station in a car repair and liquor store parking lot. Since I was traveling alone with my three children, I was nervous about going into a restaurant that was so hidden from the street, but all the raving online reviews couldn’t have steered us wrong. When we walked into the small restaurant, we were immediately greeted by the family...

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Dorn’s Original Breakers Cafe

Posted by on Aug 3, 2015 in Travel | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of Morro Bay When we first arrived in Morro Bay, we checked into our hotel, and then walked over to the popular Dorn’s Original Breakers Cafe for dinner. The restaurant featured the most majestic panoramic views of Morro Bay, and we sat down to eat just as the sun began to set. After we had sat down at the table, the kids walked to the outdoor patio where they admired the sunset while I relaxed and sipped on a glass of wine. Once the sun had finished setting, the kids joined me for what was going to be one of the most relaxing meals we had during our stay in Morro Bay. The restaurant has the decor of a “date night” dining destination but with a relaxed family-friendly vibe. Guests that are looking for...

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Dutchman’s Seafood House in Morro Bay

Posted by on Aug 2, 2015 in Travel | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of Morro Bay On our last night in Morro Bay, we savored a delicious dinner at Dutchman’s Seafood House. The restaurant in located right on the water offering guests beautiful panoramic water views paired with fantastic seafood. We sat together as a family right next to the water and began our dining experience while sharing our favorite memories from the day. One of the things that I liked about Dutchman’s is that all of the tables are spaced apart nicely so your family can have an intimate dining experience. The restaurant is family owned, and they are one of the only restaurants in the bay that has their own dock, so you’re getting some of the freshest seafood available in Morro Bay. My husband ordered their clam chowder that was both fresh and delicious....

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Best Clam Chowder in Morro Bay: Blue Sky Bistro on the Bay

Posted by on Aug 1, 2015 in Featured, Travel | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of Morro Bay Where is the best place to get clam chowder in Morro Bay? Blue Sky Bistro on the Bay. While spending some time in Morro Bay this summer, I had a chance to eat clam chowder at almost every restaurant, and Blue Sky Bistro on the Bay was the clear winner for having the best in the bay. Not only does the restaurant have the best clam chowder, but they also have one of the best dining views from being located right on the waterfront. My kids and I had lunch at Blue Sky and dined at one of their outdoor patio tables. We were able to enjoy the cool ocean breezes while absorbing the majestic view. My two boys each ordered the quesadilla while my daughter and I shared the clam...

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Crills Saltwater Taffy: Crills II

Posted by on Jul 29, 2015 in Travel | 0 comments

  After spending an hour on the waters of Morro Bay with Sub Sea Tours, we were ready for a refreshing summer treat. We left the dock, and right around the corner was Crills II. We had wanted to stop into the original Crills while on our morning bike ride but didn’t have time, so we were excited to be still able to experience Crills with Crills II. The minute we walked in the door, we were in heaven! The entire store smelled of freshly baked cinnamon rolls, and there was every flavor of salt water taffy to satisfy our taste buds. Not only did they have cinnamon rolls, salt water taffy, and chocolate treats, but they also had ice cream cones. Since we were looking for a refreshing sweet treat, we filled a bag full of salt water...

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Krusty Burger at Universal Studios Hollywood

Posted by on Jul 27, 2015 in American, Theme Park Dining, Travel | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of Universal When visiting Universal Studios Hollywood this summer, I got super excited to see that they added a new Krusty Burger restaurant. When it came to lunchtime inside of the park, there was no question that we were going to eat at Krusty Burger. We entered the restaurant, and I felt like I had just walked into the real Krusty Burger in Springfield. It was a popular dining destination in the park as the line twisted around the restaurant and overflowed out the front door. When we got to the front desk to order our food it was Krusty Burgers for all of us that also included fries (something you don’t normally see in a theme park). We paired our burgers with a collectible character sipper that gave us $.99 refills in the...

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Phineas Q. Butterfat’s Ice Cream Parlor at Universal Studios Hollywood

Posted by on Jul 24, 2015 in Dessert, Theme Park Dining, Travel | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of Universal Where is the coolest place to grab a refreshing ice cream in the town of Springfield from The Simpsons? Phineas Q. Butterfat’s of course. Now, your family can experience the sweet treat that Bart and Lisa love at Universal Studios Hollywood. While our family was visiting the theme park this summer, we cooled down from the summer heat with a refreshing ice cream treat at Phineas Q. Butterfat’s Ice Cream Parlor. The ice cream cones are unique by offering guests to add their own “flavor swirl.” First guests pick their favorite soft serve ice cream flavor and then add their favorite flavor swirl. The flavor swirls include strawberry, banana ripple, root beer, watermelon, tropical orange, black cherry, cotton candy or chocolate swirl. My son and I had our cones swirled with a...

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