I was invited to a media tasting at Islands. All opinions are my own.
Summer is still going strong and I can’t get enough of the days at the beach and the pool. I’ve gotta say that after a long summer day in the sun, there’s nothing better than a burger and an ice-cold brew at Islands Restaurant!Right now, Islands Restaurants is featuring two new limited-time menu items: their Waimea Burger and Islands Golden Ale! This combo represents a toast to summer! For Islands’ 35th anniversary year, they’ve brought back this fan-favorite Golden Ale, handcrafted exclusively by Karl Strauss Brewing Company. It’s a medium-bodied draft beer with roasted malt flavors, floral hop aromas and a crisp, clean finish. The refreshing ale was created to pair well with Islands’ signature burgers (and delicious Cheddar Fries).The Islands Waimea Burger is topped with Kalua pork, fresh grilled pineapple rings, Swiss cheese and caramelized onions smothered in a tangy teriyaki sauce. The sweet and savory flavors pair so well together. If you’re not a fan of beer, why not pair this delicious burger with one of Islands’ many tropical cocktails? There are so many to choose from. (and have you been in during their Happy Hour?)
Although it’s the middle of summer, I can’t resist a delicious bowl of Islands Tortilla Soup on every visit, as well as an order of their Spinach Artichoke dip, served with warm tortilla chips. So yummy! I’m also a HUGE fan of dessert and their Kona Pie out of this world! Our family has a tough time sharing it. I wonder why? In celebration of summer, I’m hosting a giveaway for one lucky winner to win a $25 Islands gift card. To enter the giveaway just go to the Rafflecopter below! Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway
This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
One of our new favorite local places to visit is Anaheim GardenWalk. Have you been there before? This outdoor dining, entertainment and shopping destination is situated in the heart of the Anaheim Resort District just steps from the Disneyland® Resort and Anaheim Convention Center, GardenWalk offers guests a variety of these popular restaurants:
The Cheesecake Factory
California Pizza Kitchen
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
McCormick & Schmick’s
Grasslands Meat Market
Fire + Ice Grill + Bar
McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon
McMormick & Schmick’s Grill
GardenWalk also offers a vibrant nightlife, an escape room, a magic store and cabaret, trendy shops and an upscale bowling lounge. Some of the newest tenants to join the property include House of Blues Anaheim, Mission Escape Games, Artists Republic Gallery, and Go VR Gaming.We were invited to spend a fun evening out at GardenWalk to experience “Rock the Walk”. a summer concert series. Rock the Walk, is a live music experience showcasing local artists and takes place on Thursdays from 5:30-7:30 p.m.through August 24. During Rock the Walk, guests can also enjoy free tastings from participating restaurants in the center, get free Henna, and enter giveaways. We listened to live music from Hoity Toity, an up and coming band that’s local.There’s also a DJ on hand during Rock the Walk. It’s a great way to spend time outdoors, with family and friends, on Southern California summer nights. There’s a great ambiance at GardenWalk with many great art pieces, galleries, and murals to check out too, including great backdrops for photos.We were also treated to a very special dinner that night at Fire + Ice Bar + Grill, which has got to be the coolest interactive grill I’ve ever experienced. The eatery welcomes diners of all ages and preferences, offering an incredible selection of fresh veggies, meats, pastas, seasonings and sauces. Their pro-grillers entertain the crowds as they sizzle up your culinary creation on an open grill. Here’s a fun video to give you an idea of what it’s like at Fire + Ice Bar + Grill:
It’s cool to be able to choose what you want to have for dinner, whether it be a noodle dish with an Asian flare or an Italian pasta or even a pizza cooked right there on the grill. You get to put together your creation and then watch the grillers prepare right in front of you!Fire + Ice is such a fun place to go, especially at night when it gets on the busier side because the grill gets full and it’s super cool to watch the grillers juggle all of it while still having fun with guests. The food was delicious and the staff went above and beyond. We had a great experience at Fire + Ice.
Rock the Walk will take place on Thursdays through August 24. Here is a schedule of featured artists for Rock the Walk in August:
I was invited to dine at Angelina’s Pizzeria in order to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own.
We recently had the opportunity to dine at Angelina’s Pizzeria Napoletana in Dana Point (they also have a location in Irvine) and had such a wonderful experience as a family. The location we visited is across from the beach and is light & bright with windows all around.Angelina’s menu offers:
Le rosse pizza (red pizza)
Le bianche pizza (white pizza)
There are also offerings on the Happy Hour menu, which you can order from in the restaurant.
We started off with an order of Bruschetta Del Giorno. It was so fresh and light. We also ordered a Pizzetta Pancetta E Patate, which is a flatbread topped with pancetta potatoes and rosemary. Mmm!
Our salads were so colorful and delicious. The Golosa is made with chopped romaine hearts, red onion, tri-colored bell peppers, artichoke hearts, pumpkin seeds, fontina cheese and chef’s refreshing mustard lemon dressing. The Dall’orto is made with local organic greens, avocado, red onion, lemon vinaigrette and Grana Padana cheese. Both of these salads are a must-try, in my opinion.Penne Al Sugo Con Polpette, is a dish made with penne pasta, San Marzano DOP pomodoro sauce, Napoletana-style meatballs, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil. This came highly recommended, specifically the meatballs, which are made with a “secret recipe” and we devoured the entire thing. It was amazing!For me, dessert time is my favorite part of any meal! If it were an acceptable custom in the U.S., I’d eat dessert first. We shared a Chocolate Tartufo which was beyond decadent. I also had my very own COCOAccino, which is Angelina’s signature dessert coffee. It’s cappuccino served in a Nutella rimmed coffee cup. It was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before and I was literally licking my cup! (which was acceptable in this case.)What stood out most to me the most about Angelina’s food were the fresh ingredients in each of the items. Just as important was the level of service, which was so tailored and personal. There is nothing better than finding a family dining destination where you can actually taste the passion behind the food. This is what you’ll find when you dine at Angelina’s. Whether you stop by the Irvine or the Dana Point location, you’re going to experience a wonderful meal that will have you visiting again soon. To learn more or view Angelina’s full menu, go here.
I was invited to a media tasting at Islands Restaurant. All opinions are 100% my own.
If you have ever checked out my Instagram, you already know that one of my favorite places to eat is Islands Restaurant! It’s one of our family’s “go-to” places and we love to dine there because there’s something for everyone on the menu.Our most recent dining experience at Islands involved a lot of pineapple. We were invited by Islands to do a media tasting of their Pineapple Pairing Menu and everything I tried was delicious!The items on the Pineapple Pairing Menu features signature drinks from Islands bar paired up with delicious menu items and include:
Hawaiian Burger & Big Island Iced Tea
Toucan Sandwich & Longboard Lager
Yaki Tacos & Pina Colada
Hoisin Bowl & Mai Tai
All of the items on the Pineapple Pairing Menu can be ordered separately are interchangeable as well. I started out with a Pina Colada which made me feel like I was sitting on the beach. I love their Spinach & Artichoke Dip appetizer. Have you tried it before? It’s big enough to share with everyone at the table! Next, I got to try both the Hawaiian Burger and the Hoisin Bowl, both of which I had never tried before. The Hawaiian Burger is made with fresh pineapple, teriyaki sauce, lettuce, tomato, onion, swiss & mayo and served on your choice of a white or wheat bun. It’s served with their must-have fries, too!They also brought out a Hoisin Bowl, which is made with fresh grilled pineapple, red bell peppers, snow peas, water chestnuts, red onions, broccoli, and diced scallions It’s topped wth hoisin sauce, but is also available with teriyaki sauce. The Hoisin Bowl comes with your choice of grilled chicken or grilled mahi mahi and is served over brown rice. It was very colorful with all of the veggies and seemed like a pretty healthy option from their menu. Although it isn’t “pineapple”, I always love to finish off a meal at Islands Restaurant with a slice of Kona Pie! It’s such a generous portion that we all shared just one piece! It’s the perfect way to finish your meal off!
I’m hosting a giveaway for one of my lucky readers to win a $25 Islands Gift Card so they can dine at their local Islands Restaurant! To enter the giveaway just go to the Rafflecopter below! Thanks for entering! Good luck, everyone!
The latest location of The Pizza Press recently opened in Rancho Santa Margarita and as soon as I saw the sign, I was excited to try it. I’d heard great things about this eatery, as they’d already opened 8 other locations in Southern California and have several more on the way.The Pizza Press offers a variety of delicious new creations and old classics. Guests also have the choice to create their very own pizza, which is prepared right in front of you, using the day’s freshest ingredients! The Pizza Press is revolutionizing America’s favorite food.the chance to “publish” their pizza to their liking.Guests at The Pizza Press get to start building their custom pizza with “a blank slate”, a.k.a. their dough. They then get to select their choice of sauce, then cheese, and finally the toppings from the day’s freshest ingredients. Once this is all done, their pizza is “published” as it goes into the 475 degree pizza oven for about 4 minutes. What comes out is a delicious pie!The Pizza Press also offers fresh salads. You can start with greens and add your choice of toppings to customize your salad. Caesar and Bow Tie Pasta salads available.We opted to add some Garlic Cheesy Bread to our meal which is made with extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, mozzarella, aged parmesan, Italian herbs and comes with a side of red sauce. Yum!The theme and decor inside The Pizza Press is modern twist on the Roaring Twenties, complete with quirky newspapers from yesteryear. It’s such a fun atmosphere and the food is outstanding. You’ll want to visit Pizza Press soon so you can “publish” your own meal!To learn more about The Pizza Press and see their full menu, go here.
We were invited to a media tasting in order to write this review. All opinions are 100% my own.
Calling all Yogurtland fans! Have you heard about the Yogurtland’s irresistible new Trolls- inspired flavors? The flavors will have you singing, dancing, and smiling while you’re them! Each of the creamy flavors was inspired by the colorful characters of the new DreamWorks Animation film Trolls, which arrives in theaters November 4th. Your tastebuds will dance to each of the 10 colorful flavors are available October 20th – December 21st and you won’t want to miss out on any of these fun flavors!
Poppy’s White Chocolate Raspberry
Cooper’s Caramel Apple
King Peppy’s Chocolate Covered Pretzel
Branch’s Peanut Butter Caramel
Guy Diamond’s White Chocolate Peppermint
Creek’s Butterscotch Pudding Gelato
Smidge’s Cinnamon Donut Holes
Biggie’s Frosted Cookie
Satin and Chenille’s Blueberry Mangosteen Tart
DJ Suki’s Cranberry Raspberry Tart
To complement the flavors, Yogurtland is introducing Milk Chocolate Mini Twist Pretzels as a new topping. These twists perfectly combine sweet and savory in each crunchy bite! Mmm!Also, for a limited-time only, Yogurtland has two new collectible spoons inspired by the Trolls main characters Poppy and Branch so guests can bring home the fun from Trolls and the tasty flavor from Yogurtland. These collectible spoons are only available while supplies last so hurry in to get yours!So, are you headed to Yogurtland right now? I would be! You can also enter my giveaway for a $20 Yogurtland giftcard. Just go to the Rafflecopter below! Good luck everyone! a Rafflecopter giveaway
Connect with Yogurtland on Facebook,Twitter, and Instagram.About Trolls Movie
From the creators of Shrek comes DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls, a smart, funny and irreverent comedy about the search for happiness, and just how far some will go to get it. This hilarious film transports audiences to a colorful, wondrous world populated by the overly optimistic Trolls, who have a constant dance in their step and a song on their lips, and the comically pessimistic Bergens, who are only happy when they have trolls in their stomachs.
This is not a sponsored post. I was invited as a guest of Yogurtland to try out these amazing new flavors and share about my experience. All opinions are 100% my own.
Our family loves to dine at Islands Restaurant and when we heard a new location was now open at The Shops at Mission Viejo, we were excited because it’s literally a hop, skip, and a jump away from where we live! The newly opened location is beautiful and is the 11th location in Orange County! In addition to indoor seating and a full 600 square foot bar area, the location also features an outdoor, open air, wrap-around patio for outdoor dining. Amongst the surf-inspired décor, you have a grand view of the 14 huge wall-mounted TVs, from wherever you are seated and will feel like you’re on the beaches of Hawaii as surf videos play on some of the screens. Sports fans won’t miss a play during their favorite games as they dine, with some of the other screens showing “the game” when it’s on.Islands offers an extensive menu with a full bar so I decided to have a fun drink to start off with. I ordered The Islands Mai Tai. Made with a marriage of two exotic rums, tropical fruit & essence of the islands, this is literally “Paradise in a Glass”! Have you checked out Islands NFL Happy Hour yet? Right now, football fans can enjoy extended happy hour from 4 p.m. to close in the bar area, and all day happy hour on Sundays. All items on the happy hour menu are under $10, including think loaded nachos, sliders, wings, featured IPAs and mai tais. Islands Restaurants will be playing NFL Redzone and NFL Sunday Ticket.
Our favorite appetizer to start with at Islands is the Spinach and Artichoke Dip. Served with fresh chips, this dip is made with chopped spinach & artichoke hearts mixed with sautéed onion & garlic in a creamy alfredo sauce and is delivered to your table piping hot and is enough for your entire family.Kids dining at Islands have quite a few choices on the “Gremmie” menu. I appreciate that they can choose from applesauce, carrots and ranch, carrots, or fries. Kids like to be able to make choices on what they’re going to eat.I tend to be a creature of habit when I visit and usually end up ordering the Chicken Club Wrap which has grilled & chilled sliced chicken breast, Applewood smoked bacon, avocado, cheddar, jack, lettuce, tomato, ranch dressing & bbq sauce and is served in a flour tortilla. It’s so delicious that it’s difficult for me to want to order anything else. Mmm, BBQ sauce! I didn’t realize they had sweet potato fries on the menu so I had to try them and they were yummy!Bacon lovers dining at Islands will be happy to know Islands includes a BLT on the menu called “The Wedge“. It’s made with Applewood Bacon, cheddar, jack, lettuce, tomato & mayo, served on an Islands white or whole wheat bun. It’s also served with Fresh Cut Island Fries. Yum!Although we were pretty full at this point, there’s no denying dessert at Islands. It’s hard to choose between Kona Pie and the Fudge Brownie, so we splurged and ordered one of each. Islands’ Kona Pie is made with Mocha Almond Fudge, ice cream & cookie crust topped with chocolate fudge, whipped cream, roasted nuts, and a cherry. Their Fudge Brownie is made with a rich fudge brownie served warm and topped with vanilla ice cream. They’re both perfect for sharing. Have you had either? Oh goodness, they’re both delicious and I had to stop myself from finishing them all by mysefl!
You can also enter to win a $25 Islands Restaurants giftcard. Enter below on the Rafflecopter. Good luck everyone! a Rafflecopter giveaway
As fans of Fresh Brothers Pizza, our family couldn’t be happier about the opening of their two newest locations in Laguna Niguel and Newport-Mesa! With 14 locations already open in LA and Orange County, the 2 new stores make 16 total! Did I mention that one of the new stores is literally a hop, skip & a jump from our home? When it opened, it was like Christmas came early and we jumped for joy about it! My daughter actually did all he jumpiing as you can see at the end of this short video of our visit there:
Only the Freshest Ingredients
Fresh Brothers Pizza is way more than ordinary pizza though. I mean, their pizza is fabulous and differs from other places? Why? Well, the word “Fresh” is part of the name because they only use the freshest ingredients in their sauces, their dough, and the toppings on the pizzas. This actually holds true for their delicious salads and other food items on the menu. We want to feed our families the freshest and best foods, especially on occasions when it’s necessary to eat away from home or even when we bring in. Special Menu Offerings for Dietary Restrictions
Not only does Fresh Brothers Pizza offer the freshest foods but they’re also considerate of those with gluten sensitivities. Most people know usually think of pizza as an option on a gluten-free diet, but Fresh Brothers offers gluten-free options on their menu. That’s a win-win for a lot of families! They also offer vegan menu items. Some of My Favorite Menu Items
You probably got a peek at some of my favorite Fresh Brothers menu items if you saw me my Instagram during the grand opening week of the Laguna Niguel store. I will fully admit that I’m a creature of habit and find it necessary to order a couple of the same items on every visit. Obviously pizza, but I also can’t resist the Greek Town Special salad, Fresh Knots, and Meatball Sliders. When they recently added Sweet Knots to the menu I could (previously only get them in the terminal at LAX), my life was complete! Fresh Brothers Gives Back to the Community
It makes me happy when I see establishments, like Fresh Brother, that “give back” to the community. During the soft opening of the Laguna Niguel store, guests could choose one of three local schools to have 100% of their purchases go to. I don’t know an exact figure but Fresh Brothers donated over $10,000 to local schools after their Laguna Niguel soft opening. That’s amazing! They are big supporters of community events and schools all around. To read more about their community involvement, visit here. They Offer Birthday and Team Parties
Fresh Brothers offer birthday parties, team parties, and any kind of parties, that are super fun for kids! (and adults). We actually celebrated my daughter’s 10th birthday there and the girls loved getting to decorate their own pizza boxes, make their own pizzas, play with pizza dough, and hang out with their very own party host. Read about our pizza party here.
Let Them Cater Your Special Occasion
Fresh Brothers offers special packages and pricing on their menu for Family-Style Meals and catering. When we recently threw a party at our house, we ordered a bunch of pizzas, Fresh Knots, and salads from the menu to serve to guests. Our friends were raving about how delicious the food was! They were also pleased to learn that we now have a location close by. I can tell you first-hand that your guest of honor will be beyond ecstatic if you serve Fresh Brothers Pizza at your party. I know mine was!
Why I Love Fresh Brothers MOST
By this point, you already get how much I love Fresh Brothers’ food but there’s actually another reason that keeps us coming back again and again. It’s because there’s an amazing family behind the name. Nowadays, there aren’t a lot of companies run by families who actually still have a direct hand in the business. When you visit one of their locations, you’re likely to meet at least one of the “brothers” or other family members. Not only will you meet them but they will chat with you and they always make sure everything tastes just as it should because they care about what guests think. That’s somewhere I want to take my family. Don’t you agree?Have you visited a Fresh Brothers Pizza location yet? What was your favorite menu item? Share with me in the comments.
The Melt, newly opened inside of The Shops at Mission Viejo is a fun, casual eatery that boasts bright white and orange decor and a menu that caters to cheese lovers of all ages!
The Melt’s menu is built around a simple key principal: better comfort food for today’s kids (and adults). They feature a variety of our favorite All-American classics on the menu, but prepare them in a way that doesn’t leave you feeling with discomfort or heaviness you sometimes take away from a typical “comfort food” meal. The Melt uses only the freshest ingredients, including locally sourced produce for their menu items. They’re nostalgic about their no-artificial-flavors-necessary offerings like ooey, gooey grilled cheeses melted to order. They offer juicy burgers made with a custom blend of Angus and Wagyu beef, chicken sandwiches, comforting homemade soups, and mac n’ cheese with real aged cheese. Oh and did I mention their all-natural sodas and shakes? You won’t find any artificial color or sweeteners used in them. Their handmade shakes are delicious! The Melt offers a great kids menu. The portions are hearty and are served with sliced apples. We added a salad onto ours. I believe our most favorite item on their menu, hands down, was the Mac Daddy! It’s a grilled cheese sandwich made with an Aged Sharp & Mild Cheddar Cheese Blend, Macaroni, and Bacon, served on grilled Artisan White Bread! This sandwich is everything!
The Melt prides itself on the ability to create some real happy moments for its customers, using quality ingredients including everything from high fructose corn syrup free-ketchup to artisan-baked buns to the season’s peak produce. As a parent who’s trying to feed her family the best food choices, this makes me a “real happy mom“!
To find the closest location to you, visit their site here.
I was invited to a media menu tasting in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% my own.
Tempo Urban Kitchen in Brea was the place to be the night I was invited to join an eclectic group of local foodies, for a special media menu tasting. The unique eatery, owned by Restaurateur Jorge Cueva, serves up Modern American Cuisine with an urban twist, that’s completely unique from anything else I’ve ever experienced.The Brea location is run by Head Chef Chris Tzorin. If Chris’ face looks familiar to you, it may be because he’s appeared on the Food Network several times, most recently winning on Guy Fieri’s show “Guy’s Groceries“!
Chris says “Food is his therapy“, but he isn’t referring to eating it, himself. He puts an immeasurable amount of passion into creating innovative culinary dishes in his kitchen and seems to gage his own success by others’ satisfaction and enjoyment of his food. If you have the chance to hang out with Chris, you’ll pick up on his frequent mentions of his children, Armani and “Little Chris”, and the immense love he has for them. He’s one of the proudest dads you’ll meet and he attributes his drive and success in the industry to how much his children have motivated him to strive for his dreams. On the evening of my great culinary adventure at Tempo Urban Kitchen, guests were treated to a meal collaboratively created by not 1 but 3 well-know chefs. Joining Chef Chris were also Chef Charly Urban and Chef Salvador Carrillo. The dishes they each prepared for us that night could be described as “campestre” or “farm-to-table” creations, incorporating the freshest ingredients and boldest combinations of flavors. Before the food even started to roll out, we were served these amazing handcrafted Mango Serrano-Infused Margaritas with Tajin on the rims. They were so smooth, mine didn’t last very long. Tempo has an extensive bar and I definitely recommend you visit it at some point, for some drinks and even happy hour one day during the week. The first dish of the night was a delicious Grilled Octopus with house-made Chipotle Aioli, plated on a wooden plank, and served on a bed of micro-greens. The tender pieces of octopus were so delightful and tender and it was obvious that the room was been filled with seafood lovers because it got really quiet during this course.Next, we were served a “Deconstructed Korean Taco“. This Asian-inspired dish was made with the most tender, pork belly I’ve ever tried. It was seared just enough to have a slightly crispy top and the soy-lime and Serrano flavors enhanced it even more. It practically melted on its own in my mouth. The plate was beautifully garnished with a real mango roll, which I devoured in about a second. The third course in our meal was a Slow-Cooked Short Rib topped with Vegan Caviar. (aka Mustard Seeds). The plate was so colorfully garnished with beet sauce and prosciutto. I definitely enjoy beef and this dish was outstanding!
After dinner, all 3 chefs created something extra special for our dessert. They utilized giant KitchenAid mixers. We waited as patiently as we possibly could while they combined fresh ingredients in the bowl. Then they wow-ed us as they brought out the Liquid Nitrogen and turned the mixture into fresh, delicious ice cream! I loved it! We were each served a generous scoop of ice cream served on a delicious waffle cone. I felt like a kid in a candy store. It was the perfect ending to our meal! I loved the subliminal message in the backround too. “La Familia es Todo!” (Family is everything!) As a guest at Tempo Urban Kitchen that evening, I was definitely made to feel like part of their family!
Tempo Urban Kitchen is located at:
1060 E Imperial Hwy
Brea, CA 92821