Archive for the ‘SoCal’ Category

Basic Train-ing

Last Saturday, I was to meet my wife in Burbank in the afternoon, so we could go out in L.A. The problem was she already had a car, so if I drove, we’d have to take 2 cars home. I could have driven her up there at 7am, but who wants to do that? Luckily, Metrolink had a few trains running, several of which would get me up to L.A. right at about 4 o’ clock, which is when she would be done! I saw this as a nice opportunity to document what worked and what didn’t for those of you who may be a little weary of the trains. I made a video for your viewing pleasure. Here are a few things to note about the trains and the video before you watch:
-I’m sorry the walking bits are so shaky. It’s not easy to hold the camera steady when you’re rushing to catch the trains.
-Once you figure out how to read the train schedule, it’s fairly simple to figure out connections and the like, but there is definitely a bigger learning curve to Metrolink than say, New York MTA.
-The trains are NOT marked! The first time I attempted Metrolink travel I ended up on my way to the I.E. instead of Los Angeles! If there are trains departing just minutes from each other, ask the other riders around you to make sure the one at the station is the right one.
-Union Station need to label the trains better. According to the schedule online, my train to Burbank ended in Burbank, yet it was labeled the Lancaster train! I just made my train by literally less than a minute. I’m sure trains have been missed because of the same problem.
-Remember, if you plan to leave for home after around 7pm, don’t plan on the train. They don’t run at night.

And now, the video:

OC Beerfest: Sweaty, Beery Fun

Beerfest mug

4 ounce tasting mug

As many of you know, the Orange County Beer Festival was held yesterday at Irvine Lake. As promised there were lots of breweries, lots of beer to drink and plenty of heat.

Since it was so hot – the thermometer in my car showed 100 degrees – I was shocked at how many people had on jeans, closed-toe shoes and dark shirts. However, most people seemed to be aware we were in the middle of a heat wave and dressed as such. Thankfully there was shade to be had and the vendors that happened to be in the shade produced a crowd.

Our purpose was to try beers we’d not had before. I sampled 14, but did not entirely drink them all. Some were just too heavy for such a hot summer day. I tried to stick to lights, wheats, whites, etc. plus that’s what I tend to prefer. Although, one of my favorites was none of those, exactly. MateVeza an organic beer with caffeine.

More photos and commentary after the jump.


ICME: Speaking Of Fires……..

As I was passing over the 5 tonight I saw this……..

This picture was taken above the “Orange Crush” where the 5, 57, 22 and 55 (kinda) all meet. That’s right…..the fire in L.A. the San Gabriel Valley is so large, you can see the flames from Orange County.

As Gina said, we know what you’re going through. Stay safe folks!
(More pics after the jump: (more…)

Tickets Still Available

There are still tickets available to the Orange County Beer Festival taking place on Sunday, August 30 at Irvine Lake. Please note the web address on the flyer had to be changed due to technical difficulties. This is the active web address: or you can just click on the flyer.

Please note: the address in the flyer had to be changed due to technical difficulties. Use this instead:

To order tickets click on the top right of the Drink:Eat:Play website or here. Tickets MUST be purchased in advance, none will be available at the door. There is also a designated driver special of $15, which gives you access to everything except the beer tastings, obviously. Enter code “dd” when ordering tickets.

Remember folks it’s gonna be hot, Hot, HOT on Sunday. In addition to all of the wonderful beer we’ll be drinking don’t forget to drink plenty of water. I don’t want to see someone keeling over ’cause, you know, that’d ruin my buzz. All kidding aside drink responsibly people and that means water and lots of it … that goes for yours truly as well. And to prevent this nonsense from happening iced tea and water will be available for FREE.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the  LA Beer Festival on September 19th.

This is a 21+ only event. Even if you are the designated driver you must be 21 to attend.

Newport’s Banana Stand is Back in Business

… at least according to Jason Bateman the Arrested Development movie IS going to happen.

George Michael talking to GOB at the Banana Stand

George Michael talking to GOB at the Banana Stand

At a roundtable interview for his new movie, Extract, Jason Bateman gave away some details about the status of the film verision of Arrested Development.

What is the state of “Arrested Development”?

Jason Bateman: The script’s being written and when Mitch (Hurwitz) is done with it we can go to the scheduling part of it which will probably prove to be a bit challenging given the size of the cast.

And they’re all attached?

Jason: He is asked us not to speak about specifics, but that he’s working on it.

It seems like 5 or 6 months there was a lot of momentum. A lot of people talking about the film. And then it seemed like it sort of got a little bit quiet. Everyone’s a little nervous it’s actually happening. Is it, in fact, actually being written right now?

Jason: Yes.

That’s 100%?

Jason: Yeah. Yeah. That’s never changed. I mean people have guessed and “rumored” and all that other stuff in all areas of the media. I’ve always been a little sort of…I’ve always felt bad that I never had more information to give people when they asked me about it, but I guess people kind of got frustrated by that and they just started kind of making up their own sort of “well, we haven’t heard that much” or “news hasn’t changed so it must be going away”. I don’t know. It sort of took a life of its own on and fatigue started to set in I think about the whole story of it. I mean, there’s really no need to write anything about it at all until he’s done writing it. Once he writes it then, just like any movie, then it becomes something a little bit more real and then you try to figure out scheduling and you try to figure out people’s deals. I mean, it’s got the same life that any other project would have. It has just as much a chance of happening as it does of not happening really.

All I can say is YAY!!! I love this show and I can’t wait for the movie.

Photo courtesy of

Get Your IC Light in Orange County

I’m sure many of you are wondering what the hell I’m talking about. On the other hand, I know there are a lot of Western Pennsylvania/tri-state area transplants that live in Orange County and know exactly what I’m referring to. I’m also sure there are many of you that don’t give a crap.

IC Light served in a one pint stubby bottle

IC Light served in a one pint stubby bottle at Players Sports Grill

Since it’s football season again that means it’s time for me to head back to my local Steelers sports bar*. There are a few in Orange County, but Player’s Sports Grill is the official OC home to the Black & Gold Brigade and the one I frequent. During football season they carry Iron City and IC Light beers in bottles only.

Iron City (yuk!) and IC Light (yum!) are readily available in every single bar in Pittsburgh, so no big deal. However, it is a big deal in Orange County, well, at least for some of us, OK … me. For the record it’s not the best light beer, but it’s better than Coor’s Light. I think so anyway.

IC Light isn’t even my favorite regional beer, that would be Straub, but I’ve yet to find it in Orange County. So, if anyone has come across it, comment away.

I’m sharing this since it is quintessentially Pittsburgh and I still miss my city, especially after reading this. I’m guessing there are some of you out there who’d like a taste of home that’s not limited to Heinz ketchup. Don’t we all want and get excited for things that are not readily available, especially if it makes you feel nostalgic?

So OC Metbloggers, share your hometown imports – and where we can find them – with the rest of us, maybe we’ll get turned on to your local/regional favorites. SoCal favorites are accepted as well. Nor does it have to be beer … where to find homemade pierogi would also be of interest to yours truly.

* Click on this list to see all of the Steelers fan-friendly bars, not only in Orange County, but all over the country.

OC Beer Festival

Fans of beer and/or drinking, mark your calendars now for Drink:Eat:Play‘s first ever Orange County Beer Festival and hopefully not the last. It will be held on Sunday, August 30, 2009 from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. at Irvine Lake. Please note, this is a 21+ only event.


With so many great Orange Country breweries, the OC shouldn’t be limited to wine tasting and pairings, which are good too. However, it’s about time for OC to have it’s own beer festival. The event will highlight Orange County’s top breweries, in addition to over 60 domestic and international brands. Click for full OC Beer Fest List. Since it really wouldn’t be a festival without food and music they’ve got that covered as well. The festival will feature barbeque, In-n-Out, and some great ’80s glam rock from Metal Shop.

To purchase tickets and for more information, click on the flyer. Tickets are $40 per person and will NOT be available at the door.

Recently a shoe outlet opening, now a festival dedicated to beer and it’s football season again. I think I’ve died and gone to heaven. Go Steelers!!! ;)

For those of you who can’t get enough beer or just one beer festival just won’t do – and really, who wants to limit themselves to one? – there will be another: LA Beer Festival on Saturday, September 19th.

P.S. I will be posting a follow-up blog about my time at the OC Beer Festival.

Opening Date Set for Taryn Rose Outlet

As I was leaving work today I noticed the doors were open to the Taryn Rose Outlet, so me being me I poked my head in and asked when they’d be opening. As luck would have it the manager, Erin Escobar, was there and was able to give me the store details. She was even aware of this. :)

Taryn Rose sign

Shoe lovers of Southern California rejoice, the Taryn Rose Outlet is reopening this Friday, August 21, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. at the Irvine Spectrum Center. Many of you probably remember them from their previous location in Rancho Santa Margarita.

The Spectrum store, like the one in RSM, will, most likely, be temporary. However, this may change depending on any number of factors. Ms. Escobar explained it’s a business decision as rents/leases are much more flexible for – what the retail industry calls – pop-up stores (think Halloween or Christmas). Rest assured they will be at their current location for at least two months. For all of you who will be traveling from L.A. and San Diego Counties this location is much more accessible from both the 5 and 405 freeways (the mall literally sits between the two at the split). This is the ONLY Taryn Rose Outlet in the country. Again, depending on how things go another may open somewhere else. Continue reading for pricing and contact information.


I Went to Tiki Oasis and…

All I got was this tiki-tacky ashtray! Full. Of. Win.


Well that’s only sorta true, I also got a set of lovely atomic-tiki bar glasses and a wonderful clock to augment the object d’art above. If you have never been to Tiki Oasis, it’s a poly-pop appreciation weekend in San Diego that is full up hipsters, hippies and lots and lots of rum. I went with the wife and friend for a day trip and I have to tell you it was pretty fun! I was initially concerned that it would be too much of the renaissance-fair set and too little of the middle-aged hipster set. Turns out it was just a bunch of drunken tiki worshipers having a really big party!

Orange County, as you may or may not know, was once rife with tiki temples. Alas those days are gone and only a couple of places remain. Notable among these are the Enchanted Tiki Room and the former Sam’s Seafood in Huntington Beach; the later of which has changed hands and names so many times I’ve lost count. Anyway, if you want to relive the glory days of swinging bachelor pads and jet-set exotica that California was once famous for, Tiki Oasis is the place to do it. Maybe we’ll see you there next year!

Orange County China

No, I am not talking about flatware.

Whilst scouring the world wide web for ideas to post about Orange County (after all, these little gems I write don’t just land on my desk you know), I stumbled across this newish housing development called Orange County. The twist is, it’s located in China. Apparently the obsession with Western culture doesn’t just end with Disneyland, but also extends to Disneyland’s home in the real Orange County California. Some genius created a housing development that looks and feels just like living in Orange County — South County to be exact. I’ll leave you to ponder that for just a moment.


At least I assume it’s based on California as there are eight different Orange Counties sprinkled throughout the United States (who knew). You can view some articles and magnificent photos by clicking here, here or here. They have ridiculous pointless guarded gates, just like we do. All the homes have a remarkable sameness about them, just like ours do. They park Hummers in their driveway, just like we do. And if you look at some of these pictures, you’d be hard pressed to distinguish this Chinese OC from an Irving Company development.

What I find stunning about this is, the part of culture they seem to be obsessed with. We have so many other distinct American communities to use as inspiration that don’t look like Woodburry or Portola or Mariner Square. Wouldn’t they do better to copy Colonial Williamsburg or row houses in Boston or even the log cabins of the Northwest, rather than the stucco familiarity of our planned communities? Eh. Maybe not.

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