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Frank R. Bowerman Landfill Tour

April 12th, 2017

 

Touring a landfill might not seem like the most popular tourist activity, but this incredible tour has a few surprises. Hosted by OC Waste & Recycling, every attendee is required to sign a waiver and wear suitable, closed-toe shoes. In 90 minutes, which includes an overview of safety, visitors learn what really happens to the tons of trash and recycling Los Angeles creates.

Only municipal and commercial solid waste haulers dump at this landfill. A daily tonnage limit is set by the county, and Bowerman has more “diversions” (rejected trucks) than any other landfill in the region. Bowerman is renowned for engineering and environmental excellence. Open for less than one year, the landfill has already racked up awards and established partnerships with the City of Anaheim to power over 26,000 homes.

Green Ideals

At Bowerman, visitors see the incredible benefits landfills offer via state-of-the-art renewable energy technology. Bowerman hosts a number of environmental protection systems and engineering excellence. There’s also a nature reserve, an erosion and sediment control area, and landslide mitigation management.

Children at least five years old are welcome, and carpooling is encouraged since parking is scarce. Located in nearby Irvine with easy interstate access, contact the landfill directly to schedule your tour. Public tours are capped at 14, but larger and private groups can be arranged.

What’s on Rodeo Drive Right Now?

April 8th, 2017

 

Famous Rodeo Drive is known for high-end shopping, but few non-locals can say exactly which shops are available. Current options include 208 Rodeo, Anne Fontaine and Balenciaga. You’ll also find Burberry and Bulgari, and affordable staples like Brooks Brothers. At the intersection of fashion, entertainment and dining, it’s truly an outing destination for all.

Check out the renowned Beverly Hills Wilshire where numerous films and photo shoots take place. It’s also a popular event venue available to rent. Cartier, Chanel and Céline are on the strip, along with Dior and Dolce & Gabbana.

Head to the 90210

In the heart of Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive is home to Fendi, Giorgio Armani, Gucci and Harry Winston. Shoppers can also find Guess, Jimmy Choo and La Perla Boutique. Lacoste has a boutique on Rodeo, as well as the world-known Lancer Skincare dermatology suite. Stop by Louis Vuitton, or spend the afternoon perusing Miu Miu.

On Rodeo Bistro and Lounge is a favorite spot for drinks and light fare, or check out Sidebar for a classic cocktail. The Polo Lounge is another hot spot, where you can take your breakfast while seated in the lap of luxury (or enjoyed in front of Tiffany).

LA Beer Fest

April 5th, 2017

 

April 8th marks the 9th annual LA Beer Festival. Buy your tickets soon! Last year’s event sold out, and this year is slated to be even bigger and better. Enjoy dozens of domestic and international beers, more than a dozen food trucks, and live entertainment throughout the festivities. Located at the LA Center Studios, this short and lively festival goes only from 12 – 3p.m., so come early to imbibe.

A second session is available from 5 – 8p.m., and many beer lovers reserve both tickets. Admission includes bottomless tastings, but food is sold separately. Opt for a Connoisseur’s Ticket for $80 to take advantage of a reserved indoor/outdoor deck, one-off beers not available for general admission, and luxury restrooms.

Bottoms Up

All proceeds benefit Noah’s B-ark, Inc., an organization that rescues dogs from kill shelters to place them in loving homes. Proceeds specifically help with funding food, veterinary bills and shelter for the rescued pets.

Reserve your tickets now, and make sure to coordinate with friends so everyone is at the same session. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to try out a variety of gourmet beers and cuisine from some of the area’s top-ranked establishments.

 

The Area’s Top Burgers

April 1st, 2017

 

When staying in Anaheim, sometimes nothing will do but the best burger in town. That’s when you head to The Counter, a build-it-yourself joint and local chain. Every possible sauce and topping is available here along with a smorgasbord of buns. Simply tick off what you want and pick any sides, and your customized burger is whipped up by the fast and friendly crew.

The aptly named Best Burgers is part burger restaurant and part Mexican cantina. You’ll also want to try their wings served with a variety of sauces. If you can’t decide between homemade burgers or Mexican cuisine that’s authentic and fresh, why not have both?

Burger Up

Stout Burgers and Beers are known just as much for their brews as their innovative burger toppings. Try the Truffle Shuffle with sautéed mushrooms, brie and truffle aioli. The Six Weeker features fig jam, arugula and caramelized onions. Even better, all their burgers come with a recommended beer pairing.

Ohana Burger boasts Asian-inspired flavors alongside local beers. However, you have to start with the oxtail chili cheese fries smothered in garlic aioli, jalapeños, cilantro and topped with a fried egg. You can build your own burger or select from classic or Asian inspirations, including the Warrior with marinated Angus beef, sweet onion marmalade, Japanese coleslaw, katsu BBQ, citrus aioli and a fried egg.

Anaheim Spring Break Guide

March 20th, 2017

 

With more than 15,000 schools letting out for a full week throughout March and April, Anaheim is, and has always been, a popular spring break destination. Of course, the weather is perfect for a trip to Disneyland where you’ll find the park decked out for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations as well as spring break revelers. However, what if you want a cooler option this time around?

Visit the many water parks the Anaheim area has to offer, like Great Wolf Lodge—perfect for families, singles and couples! Get a daily pass for their slides and pools, and there are many dining and shopping options. The Howlin’ Tornado twister of a ride, slick Coyote Cannon and Totem Towers await.

Wet Escapades

At Knott’s Soak City, just a few miles from your guest room, you can see what the 2017 expansion has ushered in. The biggest water park in Orange County boasts a brand new Shore Break, an almost vertical fall featuring S-curves that only the bravest should dare attempt.

Hopping on a whale-watching excursion is a leisurely and romantic spring break option. With migration season in full swing and the Anaheim area a sanctuary, it’s nearly guaranteed that you will spot gray and blue whales, dolphins and more marine life.

Hawaiian Grub in the OC

March 19th, 2017

 

Hawaii might be just a hop over the Pacific, but it’ll feel like you’re living the Aloha life at one of these local 808-themed establishments. Matiki Island BBQ serves classics like kalua pork along with generous side dishes including musubi and macaroni salad. It’s a laidback, casual environment that’s family-friendly. Here, the flavors are incredible, and the portion sizes are impressive.

Roy’s is your upscale pick for Hawaiian fusion cuisine. Located along the Garden Walk, many locals love their Aloha Hour where you can get a Hawaiian martini, tempura-crusted ahi rolls, lump crab fried rice and a lot more for very little. The kalua pork sliders with crispy onions are always a hit.

Island Life

Try the aptly named Hawaiian King BBQ where there’s shaved ice, shrimp rice and pulled pork, and try the famous platters spilling over with short ribs, grilled spam and delectable seafood. Being so close to the Pacific means every platter is fresh.

Maui Rose is a quaint, family-owned establishment where you can get fast, delicious Hawaiian cuisine for dine-in or takeout. Try their various side dishes with your pick of protein, and get a taste of the tropics right in Anaheim.

 

Go Green This St. Patrick’s Day

March 14th, 2017

 

Irish pubs and southern California might not sound like a common pairing, but the Anaheim area is home to some of the best St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the country. Check out the top Irish bars in the area, like Tom Bergin’s, a tavern where you’ll be treated to Celtic music, authentic grub, and plenty of imported beer including the famous Guinness. (Green beer is also available on the big day!)

South Bay’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities include a family-friendly parade and festival at the Pier Plaza. Located close to Hermosa Beach, it’s the perfect way to kick off the holiday before heading to the Pacific for a surf lesson, sun bathing session, or hopping on a whale-watching expedition.

Luck of the Irish

Wear your green when going to the Hooley in San Pedro. Hosted by the Knights of Columbus, a “good old-fashioned Irish hooley” is just what your next vacation in Anaheim needs. A dinner of corned beef and cabbage, a full dessert bar, and all the Celtic entertainment you can handle is yours at this annual 18+ fundraiser.

Of course, you can always loop back to Tom Bergin’s and take part in their annual marathon where the course is full of Guinness trucks, beer pong tables and Irish entertainment. The “Shamrock Hour” is where many go for low-cost beer, fare, and a little debauchery.

Old Orange County Courthouse

March 6th, 2017

 

History buffs and appreciators of architecture will adore the 1893 Old Orange County Courthouse which is open for self-guided tours. It was the very first building in Santa Ana and opened in 1897 as a jail. However, in 1990 it began to transition into a courthouse and became the most striking building in the area throughout the first half of the twentieth century. It took 17 months to turn into a courthouse and was ushered into the new century and Orange County in 1901.

Unsurprisingly, the courthouse has been a staple in a number of big cases including the ruling which gave California royalties for off-shore drilling easements. In 1947, the streets were flooded with hundreds of people to catch a glimpse of the defendants in the People v. Gollum and Overell case. The courthouse became a landmark in 1983 and is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Visiting the Courthouse

As part of the OC Parks System, the courthouse is open to the public, and you’ll find volunteers on site to answer questions. You can schedule group tours Monday through Friday, and the museum portion of the courthouse is open daily. It’s still a functioning courthouse with offices for marriage licenses, the OC archives, and hearing rooms for appeals.

Various wings of the courthouse are available for special events, and getting married at the Old Courthouse is very popular. Stop by for a museum tour, to explore the archives, or schedule your next event at this charming destination.

What’s New at Madame Tussauds?

February 24th, 2017

 

If it’s been a while since you visited the Madame (or if you’ve never been!), it’s time to tick this southern California staple off your bucket list. The famous wax statue museum is so massive it’s broken into categories including Spirit of Hollywood, Modern Classics, Making Movies, Marvel Superheroes, A-List Party, Country Western, and Crime. Even President Obama has his very own niche!

Private events and group sales are available if you’re traveling with a crowd, otherwise slip inside seven days a week, and “meet” your favorite stars. Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Charlie Chaplin and Elvis Presley are waiting to greet you. Take a photo with Selena, snag a selfie with Jason Derulo, or get your photo with Adele.

VIP List

Everyone’s a VIP at Madame Tussauds when there’s Rihanna, Taylor Swift and Will Smith awaiting your arrival. In the crime wing, you’ll find Anthony Hopkins, Marlon Brando and Pierce Brosnan.

Shrek and Edward Scissorhands are always popular picks, and you’ll get the real 4-D experience in the Marvel wing! Thor, Wolverine, Captain America and more are all on hand to make your visit or special event one worthy of a hero.

 

Whale, Then

February 20th, 2017

 

Are you ready for the big migration? Every year, the massive gray whales migrate back up from Mexico along the coast of Newport and Laguna Beach, a protected haven for the big beasts. Along with gray whales, blue whales and an array of dolphin species also make the journey, and February is prime time to catch a sighting and photo of several of the migrators.

Cruises in Newport Beach start at just $16, but you can also opt for a romantic dinner or brunch package. It’s nearly guaranteed that you’ll enjoy some great sightings during this migratory period, especially thanks to the crystal clear waters and expert knowledge of your captain.

What to Expect

The migration takes place January through April, so any month in winter and early spring is a fantastic time to get on board. However, for February, consider booking a romantic holiday whale watching cruise. Cozy up with someone you love, and enjoy a special outing on turquoise waters to see a variety of marine wildlife.

Choose from a selection of tour providers, lengths and vessels to make this trip one you’ll never forget. Bring binoculars to get even “closer” to the whales and dolphins, and don’t forget to come back at the end of summer to watch their return migration!