Archive for August, 2008

Balboa Fun Zone

The other morning I was out and took some photos at the Balboa Fun Zone. Although it was overcast, it was a great morning. People were lined up to board the Catalina Flyer for a daytrip or weekend trip to Catalina Island. Unfortunately the arcades were not open yet so I could not get my Skeeball fix in. I used to live on Balboa Island so this area has a special place in my heart. I love the way the past stays alive here.

Check out the OC Metblogs Flickr pool for a few more photos

The International City of Orange?

Can anyone tell me what’s the deal with the banners over the streets around the Orange Circle? (I took pictures with my phone, but can’t seem to upload any at the moment…) Mexican Street? Switzerland? Is there some kind of international street fair happening in the near future??

Triangle Square circling the drain?

Today I was driving by Triangle Square in Costa Mesa (remember when they were touting it as “Newport Beach”) and I noticed most of the lower area windows where whited out. According to the new management company, River Rock Real Estate Group, is “Changing the shape of Triangle Square.” According to the brochure on the River Rock Site:

“Triangle Square is a 191,000 square foot mixed use residential, specialty retail and restaurant redevelopment project.

• A Primary trade area offers outstanding demographics with an average household income of over $115,000.

• A completely redesigned project with attention focused on creating the ease of access to all areas of the project

for customers in an upscale and comfortable environment.

• Valet Service and re-configured parking make arriving, shopping and dining at Triangle Square a pleasure.

• The Yard House, The Gap and other successful existing restaurants and retailers are just the beginning of the story.

• Marquee restaurant and retail sites available.

• Total redevelopment to be completed by the year 2010.”

The first part of the plan that I noticed is the one to reconfigure the parking. A must if they want the place to survive. One of the major faults with the original design was how hard it was to get in and out of the complex. In looking at the layout, it does not look like much has changed, so I hope they have something in mind. The plan also shows residential units on the corner of Nineteenth and Harbor on both the street and plaza levels. That means the Edwards Cinemas are on their way out. My guess is that they will be loft style apartments. I am not sure how that will mix with the restaurant/bar clientel they already have.As for retail, while the layout shows that they are still tenants, the former locations of The Gap and The Closet were also vacant and whitewashed. The Closet now has a location across Newport Blvd as well as a location coming soon to the Irvine Spectrum Center. The Triangle Square location is no longer listed on the Gap site either. If that is true, that means that only approximately 25k Square feet of the approximately 90k square feet that are available have been leased. Filling that other 65k square feet is a tall order to accomplish by 2010, with no major anchor in place currently.
To my knowledge, this is the third management company to try and save Triangle Square. While I hope they succeed, I cannot help but be a little cynical given it’s track record. If you had the chance to redo Triangle Square, what would you do?

Beep Bip Boop Beep Boop Boop Bip Bip Boop Beep…

Do you find the title annoying?

Then dialing the phone is gonna suck for you. Yes, starting today, OC residents must dial 714 for every number they call, even their neighbor across the street. Not so bad for the numbers you can re-program on your speed dial, but crappy for every other number.

May I say, the PUC are the annoying ones?

How that is easier than just introducing a new area code without an overlay is completely beyond me. 

I’ve always wondered why they can’t just assign cell phones and faxes their own area code.  I’m sure it’s been brought up, but I’ve never heard of it being adopted anywhere.

Damn.  See what happens when you don’t go to those PUC community input meetings?

Duke’s For Brunch- I’ve Had Much Worse…

Actually for the price, it was pretty good.

We went to Duke’s for Sunday brunch not too long ago, and were pleasantly surprised by the food.  The price is only $22.00, which is much less than most brunches in the area (Hyatt and Hilton, I’m looking at you!).

Granted there isn’t a great deal of variety, but most of what is out there is solid.  You get all your breakfast regulars- belgian waffles, french toast, eggs, bacon, hash browns, etc.. Also there is fish, teriyaki chicken, rice, and prime rib for the “lunch” portion of the meal if you so choose.  Lots of yummy breads, fruits, and a smattering of desserts round things out.  The biggest disappointment was the prepared cold salads.  One was a pesto pasta and the other a Thai noodle, both of which were not really finished by anyone who picked them. Including me.

All in all, a good value for where you are eating, which is of course, right on the beach.  Besides, exactly how much can one person eat, anyway?  I would recommend reservations, as it starts geting crowded around ten o’clock.

Saving Water v2

Last week I wrote an article about Saving water and the artificial grass in Irvine. This morning I came across this article relating to the “outlaws” in Garden Grove who are unknowingly violating city ordinances by having artificial turf for lawns. One even won best lawn a few years ago and the voting committee was unaware.

Is this something the city of Garden Grove should really be focusing on?

Bolsa Chica Wetlands

When still I lived in LA County almost seven years ago, my then-boyfriend and I (now husband) would often go walking at the Bolsa Chica Wetlands.   We liked being outdoors, by the beach but without the pesky traffic that happens on the pathway along Huntington Beach, and the fact that the loop was dirt, not concrete.  Kinder to the knees and all that.

Back then, the Wetlands was just basically a couple strips of water and some dirt that would fill up with rainwater, then stagnate, stink badly, then dry up.   On the right day and with a stiff breeze, the smell was bearable.

And of course, there was the big lawsuit against the developers wanting to build thousands of homes on the land, and the subsequent legal victory. We hadn’t been back since the completion of the rehabbing of the wetlands almost two years ago.

We remedied that on Sunday, taking our son to see it for the first time.  Can I just say that I applaud the Bolsa Chica Land Trust and all of the hard work they have put into restoring the wetlands. It has been an effort well worth the results.  It made me so happy to see such beauty, but saddened me a bit as well to think of all the similar wetlands that have been lost forever.

What used to be vast swaths of broken and rusty fencing, dirt, and oil pumps is now a cohesive network of paths, sightseeing points, and of course, lots of lovely water for the birds and other wildlife.  The change is quite breathtaking for someone who last saw it so long ago.

I highly recommend a visit to the Bolsa Chica wetlands.  They now have benches along the loop, and the pathways themselves have been raised a good four feet, ruts filled in, and widened. 

We saw any number of birds including egrets, plovers, pelicans, cormorants, least terns, and probably seven or so others that I can’t name.  Squirrels, round rays by the bridge, a sand shark, and literally hundreds of fish, including very large ones at least four feet long. 

Guided tours are given the third Sunday of each month, go here for more information. It was a real treat for all of us, and I can assure you that even though we no longer live as close as we used to, we’ll be back.

The OC is Filthy

I was just checking out this list of restaurants with major health violations on the Register’s site when I realized that waaaay too many are closed due to cockroach or rodent infestations.

Some of the choice closures include:

  • Vermin (other) infestation in the Santa Ana Meat Market
  • Cockroach infestation at the Mimi’s Cafe in Fountain Valley
  • Rodent activity and infestation at the Mommy’s Nutritional Center in Anaheim
  • Sewage overflow at a Jack in the Box in San Juan Capistrano
  • “Adulterated/Contaminated Food or Unapproved Food Source” combined with roach or rodent infestations at several markets and restaurant (makes you go hmmm…)

Finally, the award for having the most health violations go to Sushi Wave in Costa Mesa for the following: Cockroach Activity in a Critical Area, Cockroach Infestation, Eating/Drinking/Smoking in Food Storage/Preparation Areas, Improper Holding Temperature of Potentially Hazardous Food, and Lack of/Improper Sanitizer Concentration/Method.

So, anyone up for take-out?

Sidewalk Sale!

For all your trendy kids: The Camp and The Lab in Costa Mesa are having their annual sidewalk sale this Saturday, August 16! I might go check out humanitaire for their collection of vegan bags and footwear (like 25% off select Harvey’s Seatbelt Bags). They will also be selling some copies of Skinny Bitch autographed by co-author Rory Freedman, with proceeds going to Animal Acres.

We Need Those Stinkin’ Badges

The Los Angeles Times reports that over forty official badges from former Sheriff Carona’s dubious “Professional Service Responders” division have been declared missing.

Sheriff Hutchens has asked for all participants in that program to give their badges back, and I think that is a good move.  If you are truly in the program to serve the community, then it should be no problem to complete a reserve academy and become a true reserve officer, not just one who may or may not have been handed a badge because money was donated to Carona’s campaign fund.

These are supposed pillars of the community, and you are telling me they have all lost official law enforcement badges?  Or are they just disagreeing with the new sheriff and conveniently claiming they can’t find them?

Embarassing.  In more ways than one.

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