Tag Archives: Orange County

Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee – Costa Mesa, Calif.

9 Jun

You have got to go here…Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee – Costa Mesa, Calif.

Sidecar

Do you love doughnuts?  Well, then I have the place for you…

Located in Costa Mesa, Calif., Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee, in my humble opinion, has some of the best tasting delights that my lips have ever touched.  Made fresh every day without preservatives, these doughnuts will have your taste buds dancing.

When you enter this charming cafe make sure and check the flavors of the day.  I warn you though, it will be hard to choose so why don’t you just try them all like we did?

Flavors!!!
Doughnuts-Yum!

DSCN6791

Here is what we sampled: Cinnamon Crumb, Huckleberry, Birthday Cake, Maple Bacon, Bavarian Cream and Green Eggs and Ham!  YES, I said Green Eggs and Ham and let me tell you it was DELICIOUS!  The combination of the savory ham and eggs with the sweet doughnut was enough to send you to heaven.  My other favorites were Maple Bacon ( I honestly have to say that I have tried many different varieties of this type of doughnut and Sidecar’s is by far the best) and Birthday Cake (look for the fun surprise in the middle).

The flavors change every week so be sure and check out the rotating variety so you can sample them all. OH and every Thursday there is a Vegan option and on Friday feel free to try a Gluten Free creation.

So obviously the treats make this place, but there are some other very cool things about Sidecar.  The people are so friendly and there is a great vibe.  I love the way it feels like a community, a place where you can listen to classic music on vinyl and where you are always told to have a nice day!

Have a nice day!

SidecarMusic for the soul.

OK, now you have been told…this place has amazing doughnuts.  Grab your friends and family and put a smile on their face like I did with a trip to Sidecar.

All smiles!!!

Happy Doughnuting,

Crystal

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Victoria Beach – Laguna Beach, Calif.

26 Sep

You have got to go here…Victoria Beach – Laguna Beach, Calif.

I am sure many of you have heard or been to Laguna Beach, Calif., but have you stepped off the beaten path and been to Victoria Beach ,or better yet seen the Victorian Tower?

Located off Victoria Drive and Pacific Coast Highway, Victoria Beach is dubbed “The most private public beach in Laguna”.  Parking is hard to come by (pay extra attention to signs to make sure you don’t get a ticket or get towed), but trust me when I say this beach is worth the extra time to find a space or the extra walk you may need to take.

Here is a sneak peek to keep you interested…

OK, so the first adventure – the staircase!  Just kidding, it really isn’t as bad as it looks.  It is quite pretty and there is a bench along the route to stop and take a breather.

Once you get to the bottom, make a right.   You will see amazing tide pools (remember this is a natural habitat so please don’t touch).  Luckily the tide was low and I saw the most amazing starfish ever!  Be on the look out as you never know what you may see…

Take your time to explore – you have all day.  Once you are ready, head towards the castle (you can’t miss it)…you heard me!  OK, so it isn’t really a castle, but it sure looks like one.  Built in 1926, this Rapunzelesque Tower is something straight out of a fairytale.  Originally it was used as a staircase to the beach by the owner above, but now it sits as a beautiful piece of scenery to enjoy.

It’s really an awesome structure and to think it is still standing almost 90 years later.  You can walk around it and take in all the sights it has to offer.  I loved sitting next to it, just gazing out at the ocean – dreaming of what it was like in 1926…

Want to see more?  Well, then you will have to go here!  Grab a towel, some lunch  and head on down! Another secret, this beach is hard to find so there are rarely crowds.  It is a nice place to spend a relaxing day with your friends and family.  It can be your little secret hide-a-way (wink, wink)!

Happy Castling,

Crystal

the oc mart Mix – Costa Mesa, Calif.

2 Jul

You have got to go here…the oc mart Mix – Costa Mesa, Calif.

Are you looking for a fun place to hang out, relax, eat, drink, shop and be merry?  Well look no further than the oc mart Mix.

Located off the 405 freeway (you can’t miss it), and open seven days a week (hours vary) – the oc mart Mix has something for everyone…so park your car, walk through the welcoming double doors into a vast open space and prepared to wowed!

Are you hungry?  Why not grab a gourmet sandwich from The Cheese Shop or a simply divine s’mores bar from the Portola Coffee Lab (who also makes FABULOUS coffee and iced tea)?

Not hungry, just want to relax?  No problem – there are tons of outdoor and indoor spaces for you to read, write, socialize or just sit and enjoy the moment.  They also have free Wi-Fi!

Not interested in sitting down?  Dozens of one-of-a-kind shops for you to browse through at your finger tips.  Everything from the Savory Spice Shop, where you can get handmade spices, to the funky and adorable clothing store Deer Lovely.

Don’t have much time and just want to have a drink and unwind after work? Well, the We Olive and Wine Bar is just for you!  Gourmet olive oils, tempting wines and tapas OH MY!

So there couldn’t possible be any thing left to do right?  Incorrect!  Eclectic events are offered as well (like a farmers market every Saturday), so make sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter for the latest and greatest!

In addition to the many options and cool vibe that surrounds the oc mart Mix – I love the people.  I am a frequent visitor and all the shop owners I have encountered have been super friendly and helpful!  It makes me so happy to have a space so unique that is full of business owners who appreciate your patronage.

Happy Mixing,

Crystal

Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar – Disneyland U.S.A.

21 Jun

You have got to go here…Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar – Disneyland U.S.A.

So you think you have already discovered all the best places at the Disneyland Resort?  Well, I may just have a place that you haven’t been to – Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar.  After a long day on your feet, this is a perfect place to pull up a chair and relax!

Located in the Disneyland Hotel, Trader Sam’s is like stepping into a tropical bar in a far away place.  Once you walk through the doors and are greeted by the crowd with an “ALOHA”, you will never want to leave!

Where to start…get a table right away and let the fun begin.  Don’t for get to follow the rules!

RULES!

There are tons of  tropical drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) to choose from along with tasty appetizers.  I suggest trying out one of their specialty drinks as they often come with a show too – you will see what I mean…go ahead, I dare you to order one!  Watch out for fire and rain (wink, wink)!

OK, so you have your drink ordered, now take some time to look around and enjoy the scenery (even the bathroom is themed).  The bar is full of tropical artifacts and the walls are covered in decor that is a must see!


Did I mention this place is also fun?  From the witty bartenders, to the erupting volcanoes, to the live music…this bar is truly a gem!

You would never know that you were in the center of the hustle and bustle of the Disneyland Resort.  Trader Sam’s allows the kid in you to jump out and do the happy dance – don’t be shy, join the party – you will be glad you did!

Oh and for all you Disney enthusiasts…don’t forget to look for  the hidden Mickey!

There is no cost to enter Trader Sam’s.  If you park in the Downtown Disney District, the first two hours are free and you can receive an additional three hours free with validation.

Happy Tiking,

Crystal


Pacific Marine Mammal Center

27 Apr

You have got to go here…Pacific Marine Mammal Center – Laguna Beach, Calif.

Have you ever wanted to something fun while on vacation and help out a good cause as well?  Look no further than the Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC).

Located just minutes from the beautiful Pacific Ocean, PMMC has been working to rescue, rehabilitate and release animals since 1971.  Not only are they doing good work here, but they allow visitors to come and observe – I guarantee you will have a smile on your face when you leave!

Once you enter the parking lot (free parking), just follow the seal to a fun educational experience!

As soon as you round the corner you will hear the sounds of the many animals that PMMC is helping.  Once you enter the grounds be prepared for lots of cuteness…

I couldn’t help but be drawn to the pools that housed the gorgeous native animals.  On the day that I visited there were a mixture of Elephant Seal Pups and California Sea Lions.  Watching them swim and play was addicting.

Not only can you sit and observe them playing for as long as you like, you may also get an opportunity to see the selfless volunteers help nurse these animals back to health.  While I was watching the animals, a friendly volunteer gave me a history of the facility and was more than happy to answer any questions I had.  In addition to being a fun place to visit, PMMC is just as much an educational center and offers programs for both adults and children.  They also have many volunteer opportunities for people who may have a passion for these animals that goes above just learning about them.

PMCC is place that will warm your heart and your day.  If you are visiting the Laguna Beach area, this is a must visit.  It is the perfect place to either come by yourself or your family.  Spend as little or as long as you want on the grounds taking in the glorious creatures.

While there is no fee to visit, please consider a small donation to help continue the life-saving efforts of PMCC.

My pictures do not do the animals justice, so I encourage you to take some time to see them with your own eyes. OH and by the way, feel free to visit as often as you want as you never know what new arrivals will be on hand!

Happy Sealing,

Crystal

Montage – Laguna Beach, Calif.

20 Apr

You have got to go here…Montage – Laguna Beach, Calif.

If it was up to me I would be relaxing at a five-star resort every day, unfortunately that is not possible…but I have discovered an inexpensive way to relax and take in all of the beauty that a gorgeous resort has to offer.

One night after dinner some friends suggessted visting the Montage Resort  for a drink and I am sure glad I agreed to go. 

I have always loved visiting this resort as the architectures is beautiful and the ambiance is welcome and cozy, but on this night I stumbled upon something very cool in the Lobby Lounge – TEA TIME!  While glancing over the menu I noticed that in addition to the normal libations that a hotel bar has to offer, the Montage also offers over 10 brewed loose-leaf teas – and that is not all, they even come in your own personal tea pot. (Please remember that I am a big kid and it is truly the small things that make me happy.)  I wasted no time in ordering my yummy drink!

Tea selection...

TEA TIME!

Not only does your tea come with a small jar of honey just for you, it is also accompanied by some of the best biscotti and nuts I have ever eaten.  I was in  culinary heavan!

While I sipped my Malabar Sunrise, sounds of a pianist filled my ears and I couldn’t help but take in the beautiful scenary.

There are plenty of places to sit and enjoy your time.  Choose from cozy couches that look out at the ocean or venture on to the deck and take in the sea air.

After several rounds of tea and many laughs with friends, it was time to leave.  My night at the Montage was a great lesson in not judging a book by its cover.  I thought that I was headed to a typical hotel bar for the evening, but was surprised by what I found.  You just never know what treasures are out there until you look!

Some tips – there is public parking just south of the hotel and after 7 p.m. it is free.  There is also beach access if you are interested in a stroll that is gorgeous both day and night!

OH WAIT!!! I forgot to tell you the best part…this night of fun and relaxation only cost roughly $20 for two people!  Sometimes the best things in life don’t have to cost an arm and a leg!

Happy Teaing,

Crystal

Orange Balloon, Great Park – Irvine, Calif

14 Feb

You have got to go here…Orange Balloon, Great Park – Irvine, Calif.

Who wants to ride on a balloon that soars up to 400 feet?  OH and did I mention it’s FREE???

Up up and away!

Located in the Great Park, the Orange Balloon is open Thursday through Sunday (hours vary) on a first-come, first-serve basis.

I had heard about how fun the balloon was for years and finally decided to go check it out!  The sky was blue and the clouds were puffy on the day we went for a ride, so I knew we would be able to see for miles.  I had butterflies in my stomach, but was looking forward to the amazing view that we were about to witness.

Upon arrival head to the information center where you will sign up and be assigned a time to take your ride.  You may have to wait, but don’t fret there are things to keep you busy until your flight.  A playground, carousel and an art museum just to name a few are at your fingertips…and the best part – ALL FREE!

When it is your time, head towards the balloon and get ready for a great trip!

Ready to get on!

Once in the basket at the base of the balloon you will slowly rise up – at approx. 400 feet the balloon will stop ascending and give you a chance to take in all the sights for about five minutes.  Feel free to walk around the whole balloon to see Orange County from all the angles!

The ride is totally thrilling, but it is high so if you are afraid of heights this may not be the place for you.

As we headed back to the ground I was eager to fly again – next time I will for sure try the night flight!

My recommendation is to take a picnic lunch and when you are done with your flight, relax on the lawn and watch others take their journey…

The balloon from the ground.

Happy Flying,

Crystal