OCTOBER 2017 ART AND CULTURE
Contemporary art at the Great Park Gallery by female painters inspired by the abstract masters page 5
The best Irvine bars and restaurants to watch the NFL play on Sunday page 6
WHAT REALLY MATTERS irvinecitynews.com
Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen brings modern Mexican cuisine to the Market Place page 9
OPENING ACT FIVEPOINT AMPHITHEATRE ON TRACK FOR OCT. 5 DEBUT
Fall-ing for Irvine FAMILY-FRIENDLY FUN FOR THE COOL SEASON FEATURE
by Irvine City News staff
year since Gadhia and the group he leads played at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre on the final night of that venue’s 35-year history. It was Oct. 30, 2016, and Young the Giant joined Save Ferris as opening acts for headliner Gwen Stefani. As concertgoers took that last, long walk down
hen the kids are out of school for the summer it’s pretty easy to find things to keep their bodies and brains busy. Summer camps, concerts in the parks, swim teams, enrichment courses and play dates at Irvine’s many playgrounds offer nearly endless opportunities for summer fun in the city. While autumn in OC’s finest family-friendly city may not have quite the lineup of activities as the hotter months, there is still plenty to do on
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THE STANDS AND STAGE NEARING COMPLETION AT THE NEW FIVEPOINT AMPHITHEATRE, WHICH WILL HOST ITS FIRST SHOW OCT. 5 FEATURE
by Irvine City News staff
hen Irvine’s own Sameer Gadhia sings the first song in indie rock band Young the Giant’s set at the new FivePoint Amphitheatre on Oct. 5, it will be less than a
OCTOBER 2017 2
’m glad I live in Irvine,” was the refrain that kept running through my head while watching the coverage of the hurricanes hitting Houston, Florida and the Caribbean. It’s possible, I think, to have deep empathy and compassion for fellow human beings suffering disaster and tragedy while still being thankful one is not in their circumstances. While Irvine has its share of issues, we’ve been lucky enough to avoid major natural disasters. I have a relative who enjoys using quaint sayings such as, “Don’t spit into the wind,” and “Don’t stir the pot.” Maybe there’s one about not spitting into the pot. I don’t recall. Don’t tempt fate, is how I interpret the one about the wind. So I certainly won’t suggest that Irvine is immune from natural disasters. After all, we sit a few
miles from the Newport-Inglewood Fault, which was responsible for the 6.3 Long Beach earthquake in 1933. We’re in no hurry to experience a major quake, and if we learned anything from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma it’s the importance of preparation for disaster. How is your plan? It’s hard to imagine what our fellow citizens in Florida and Texas have endured in what’s a historically dangerous hurricane season. Which is why I urge my fellow lucky locals to go to the disaster relief page on the city of Irvine’s website. There are suggestions on ways to donate to hurricane relief, and in so doing help those who don’t have the good fortune and foresight to live where we do. n n cityofirvine.org/irvine-gives/ disaster-relief
THE PUMPKIN PATCH AT TANAKA FARMS IS READY FOR FALL “FALL-ING” FROM PAGE 1
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weekends and after school, including for younger kids not yet in class. Here are a few ideas to get families out and about!
Irvine was founded on an agricultural and ranching empire, and there are still some spots to get in touch with our fall harvest heritage. Tanaka Farms has “UPick Tours” where kids can select and pick produce right from the plant, and then purchase it at market prices and take the healthy choices home for dinner. The farm’s Pumpkin Patch is always a hit. There’s a corn maze, petting zoo, pumpkin cannon, wagon rides and more, for a $3 entrance fee, or a $10 package fee. n tanakafarms.com/tourspumpkin-patch
The Farm + Food Lab is an underrated element of the Great Park experience, with bountiful gardens, photo ops, fun and informative displays about bugs and butterflies, and of course every kid’s favorite: the chicken coop filled with exotic fowl. There’s usually a friendly expert gardener volunteering on the plot of land. They’re happy to answer questions.
Engaging your kids in discussions about where the fresh food they eat actually comes from can be a fun part of a weekend morning. Check out one of Irvine’s Farmers Markets for an opportunity to learn about seasonal treats while enjoying the sunshine and smiling faces. Typically there are food trucks and music, and both of Irvine’s markets have playgrounds
nearby. Saturdays (8 a.m.-12 p.m.) at Mariners Church, at the corner of Bonita Canyon & Turtle Ridge Road, and Sundays (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) at the Orange County Great Park.
There are little pockets of history available to explore, like the Irvine Ranch Historic Park. The Katie Wheeler Library’s shelves, staircases and rooms offer readers an adventurous place to explore. And for kids less intrigued by the old days, no worries: there is plenty of room to roam among the old buildings and gardens. Other historic hideaways in the city include the Irvine Historical Museum, the Irvine Ranch Water District Duck Club at the San Joaquin Marsh, and Knowlwood Restaurant at Old Town Irvine, where you can get a side of CONTINUED ON PAGE 3 >>
“FALL-ING” FROM PAGE 2
history with your hamburgers in what was once an Irvine Ranch blacksmith shop. n ocparks.com/historic/ irvineranch n irvinehistory.org n irwd.com/san-joaquin-marsh/ the-duck-club
For the birds
There’s not just history at the San Joaquin Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary. The roads and trails around the marsh are great for bird-watchers and nature lovers, with a variety of routes in and around the ponds offering an easy walk or hike for families. The Sea and Sage Audubon Society group based there offers nature walks and a Junior Naturalist program. n seaandsageaudubon.org
Adventure is out there
The Adventure Playground has been part of growing up in Irvine since 1977. So when it closed in 2008 during the rehabilitation of University Community Park and didn’t reopen when the rehab was complete, the play area seemed in danger of going away forever. Dedicated locals fought for its return, and in Dec. 2015, the Adventure Playground was back and better than ever. It’s not quite as untamed as it once was, but there’s still plenty of opportunity for kids to have unstructured fun, with arts and crafts opportunities, giant blocks to build with, slides to ride and walls to climb. There’s also the feeling of security of knowing the area is enclosed, everyone signs in and there are two staff members present. n cityofirvine.org/parksfacilities/adventure-playground
Dedicated adult cyclists argue for riding with traffic separated only by a white line on the pavement. But when the kids are out on two or more wheels, most families stick to the dedicated bike paths set apart from the roadways.
Luckily, there are enough offstreet bikeways (some 62 miles of them, according to city statistics, such as the San Diego Creek Trail and Peters Canyon Trail) that one can have a nice outing with the family while feeling safe. There are exceptions—avoid freeway crossings and major intersections and don’t be afraid to use pedestrian paseos where it feels necessary—but it can be done.
Need for speed
Tucked in among the concrete tilt-ups and construction in the Irvine Business Complex is an indoor go-kart racing track of K1 Speed. There are two tracks for racing fun, one dedicated to younger racers who pass the 48-inch height limit. The facility itself is modern and well kept, with leather couches, food and new virtual reality bays to play cutting-edge games. n k1speed.com/irvine-location. html
Most parents agree that their children already get enough screen time, thank you. But a fun family outing to enjoy computer games together is a different thing…right? Spend an hour or so at Boomers! to play the latest crazy video games, or check out the motion ride/laser blasting experience of The Ride 7D at its new Spectrum Center location, or work on the family’s golf game with a virtual lesson at OC Indoor Golf. Then get back outdoors and get some exercise! n boomersparks.com/Irvine n theride7d.com n ocindoorgolf.com
three playgrounds, walking and biking paths, bridges, a butterfly garden and more, all in the heart of the city. And with each new addition like the recently opened first phase of the Sports Park, the Orange County Great Park draws more and more families out to enjoy its features, old and new.
When the Great Park Ice Complex now under construction opens sometime next year, it will be a 280,000-square-foot facility with four ice rinks designed for NHL and Olympic-size specifications, plus a 2,500-seat arena. If your kids can’t wait to skate, the OC Chill ice rink by the Giant Wheel at the Spectrum will open around Nov. 1.
In Irvine many of us are lucky enough to live within a walk, bike ride or short drive of an expanse of open space, wildlife sanctuaries and wilderness parks. The Irvine Open Space Preserve includes some 5,200 acres of open space and wild lands, and the Irvine Ranch Conservancy helps care for 50,000 acres of permanently protected wild lands and
parks in greater Orange County that were once part of the Irvine Ranch. This includes many family-friendly and accessible areas in and near Irvine, including the mostly gentle trails of Bommer Canyon and Quail Hill. There are also scheduled events, such as the full moon hike in Bommer Canyon on Oct. 6 (minimum age 8) or one of the free monthly nature walks for all ages at the beautiful San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. n letsgooutside.org
What child isn’t fascinated by trains? We’ve seen parents spend an hour or two at the Irvine Station, just watching Metrolink and Amtrak trains stop and go at the station. Or climb onboard for a day trip to OC cities including Orange and San Juan Capistrano, or go all the way to Oceanside or Downtown L.A. n cityofirvine.org/transportation/ irvine-station
Younger kids love Pretend City Children’s Museum, a magical, interactive “city” where kids can play grown-up by going to work, buying groceries, visiting the
Irvine is known for its city, regional and state parks. A few favorites include Quail Hill Community Park, a 17-acre spread that includes a 12,000 square foot community center and a new adventure themed playground. Mason Regional Park is an expansive 339 acres with a lake, FAMILIES GATHERED BY THE CAROUSEL IN THE ORANGE COUNTY GREAT PARK
doctor and collecting their pay. OK, so it may not sound fun to adults who live that experience every day, but we do love that our kids love it. Plus, the facility does amazing work offering education and interactive opportunities for kids on the autism spectrum. n pretendcity.org
Many of us mix an errandrunning excursion at the Irvine Spectrum Center with some playtime for the kids. While the Macy’s makeover took away the little pirate park, the splash pad returned this summer, offering a place for kids to run and play. With Toddler Tuesdays, a 21-screen theater, a carousel, kids’ play area, and Giant Wheel, the center is almost as good as a theme park, and a lot closer to home. We’re really looking forward to more family fun at the Woodbridge Village Center when its $30 million remodel is complete. The expanded outdoor area looks amazing, and we can’t wait to try Sessions West Coast Deli. But mostly we’re thrilled that old favorites like Ruby’s Diner, Barnes & Noble and the discount movie theaters will remain. n
OCTOBER 2017 4
WORKERS PREPARE THE FIVEPOINT AMPHITHEATRE FOR THE FIRST OF THREE CONCERTS IN OCTOBER WITH A FULL SEASON SET FOR 2018. “OPENING” FROM PAGE 1
the hill to the parking lot after the final show, the movement to keep live music in the city was well underway. By the time of that final Irvine Meadows show, the Save Live Music Irvine campaign had collected more than 30,000 signatures from concertgoers and others who wanted a new outdoor music venue in Irvine. Live Nation Entertainment and FivePoint had announced plans for an interim amphitheater between the Irvine train station and the Orange County Great Park, just two miles from the old Irvine Meadows. But nothing had been approved, and there were probably more naysayers than
true believers that a new venue could be planned, approved and constructed in time for concerts in 2017. Well, score one for the optimists. The Irvine City Council unanimously approved the proposed interim venue in March at a hearing that drew hundreds in support of the new amphitheater. And while the 2018 outdoor concert season at the 12,000-seat FivePoint Amphitheatre will be brief, consisting of three shows on Oct. 5 (Young the Giant), Oct. 6 (95.9/FM The Fish’s Fish Family Night), and Oct. 7 (JACK 93.1/FM’s 12th Show), it will provide a preview of the full seasons to come. And, art, culture and music aficionados in the city hope
the new venue will help inspire the planning and approval of a permanent new amphitheatre at
the Great Park. The first show at the amphitheater has a decidedly youthful feel,
YOUNG THE GIANT, THE IRVINE-BORN BAND HEADLINING THE OPENING NIGHT CONCERT AT THE NEW FIVEPOINT INTERIM AMPHITHEATRE
with Young the Giant joined by Cold War Kids, a band that also has OC roots, plus opening acts Sir Sly and Joywave. For those less familiar with Young the Giant, suffice it to say that the band represents Irvine well as it tours around the country. It’s known as a “thinking person’s rock band” and the diversity of the band’s members is reflective of the city were the band was formed. The theme of the band’s most recent recording, “Home of the Strange,” is of “the modern American immigrant story,” according the band’s bio. “It’s especially relevant to the quintet as they’re from different ethnic backgrounds and most are immigrants or first-generation Americans. Sameer Gadhia is Indian-American, Jacob Tilley (guitar) is British, Eric Cannata (guitar/vocals) is a New Jerseyborn Italian-Jewish, Payam Doostzadeh (bass guitar) is Persian-American, and Francois Comtois (drums/vocals) is French-Canadian.” Jon Caramanica, music critic for The New York Times, describes the band as balancing “introspection and longing with ambition and scale.” Caramanica went on to say that what unites the band is lead singer Sameer Gadhia, “who has one of the great contemporary rock voices, capable of huge swells without sounding pompous, and also of gentle gestures that connote despair and ache. He sings without self-consciousness, and it’s almost always striking. Few rock vocalists have his ease and confidence.” That’s high praise indeed for a young man who recalls playing free shows in Irvine parks just a few years ago. “It feels like a full journey,” Gadhia told an OC Register reporter about performing at the opening night of the new amphitheater. “I was just back in Irvine last week sort of reminiscing actually about some of the places we used to play CONTINUED ON PAGE 5 >>
HOW TO GO: FivePoint Amphitheatre 14800 Chinon Irvine, California, CA 92618 Door/gates to the public are expected to open 90 minutes prior to the start of the performance, and the parking lot will open one hour prior to the opening of the door/gates to the facility. Concerts will be required to end by 11 p.m. The site’s 4,000-space parking lot is free, and will be accessible primarily from Chinon, off of Irvine Boulevard. Irvine Station should be a convenient pickup and drop-off area, with a pedestrian walkway available after crossing the pedestrian bridge over the tracks. Car service companies will have drop off and pick up areas off of Marine Way/Perimeter Road. n The amphitheater will include both standing and seating areas, including features such as: 116,000 square feet of festival grounds, 38,000 square feet of bleacher seating, 29,000 square feet of turf seating, 3,000 square feet of box seating, and 23,500 square feet for a VIP area and hospitality zone. n The annual revenue generated to the city is estimated to be at least $20,000 to $30,000, from onsite sales tax. Costs of service for Irvine Police Department personnel, both onsite and offsite, are covered by the operators of the amphitheater. “OPENING” FROM PAGE 4
back at home, like Heritage Park Community Center,” he said. “We played every random place that you can play in Irvine, so it’s great that we’re finally making a splash by doing this big opening for this new amphitheater. We are all very excited … and so are our families.” The FivePoint Amphitheatre concert in Irvine will be the 30th and final show in the
band’s summer tour that started August 2 in Louisville, Kentucky. The tour has taken Young the Giant from Vancouver, British Columbia to Miami and covered some 21 states, including shows in New York’s Central Park and at iconic venues like Red Rocks near Denver. The new amphitheater is steps from the Irvine train station, and indeed there will be a nicely landscaped walkway connecting the station’s platform to the new venue. So perhaps when Young the Giant plays its song “My Body,” the lyrics will be on track for the group and its Irvine audience: “The train is riding down to the station where I lived when I was a cool kid…” There will be little time for staff at the amphitheatre to take a break between shows, as the next night after Young the Giant sees a contemporary Christian lineup featuring singer-songwriter Jeremy Camp, rock band Big Daddy Weave, Irish worship band We Are Messengers and Christian pop singer Micah Tyler. Big Daddy Weave is considered one of the top artists in Christian music, are among the most requested and played artists on Christian radio, and have received many industry awards and nominations. The final show in the short season is decidedly more secular, featuring another top band with an Orange County origin story, The Offspring. The band’s 1990s album “Smash” made it one of the most popular punk and KROQ bands of its era. The band will be joined on the JACK 93.1 radio station bill by Lit, Cypress Hill, Gin Blossoms, 311, and Eve 6. For those who can’t wait for the full 2018 season at the interim amphitheater, this just in: Irish boy band heartthrob Niall Horan of One Direction fame has announced his Flicker World Tour 2018 is coming to FivePoint Amphitheatre on August 5. Fans can go to Facebook to register for presale opportunities. n
ART AND CULTURE
“WOMEN INSPIRED BY THE MASTERS” EXHIBIT AT GREAT PARK GALLERY
ART IN THE ABSTRACT Abstract art is an acquired taste. The “my kid could paint that” critique is an easy out for those who don’t appreciate art that isn’t realistic. But even more sophisticated viewers who appreciate the importance and impact of abstract art might prefer Impressionism or Plein Air paintings over Expressionism or Conceptual schools of art. Whatever ones appetite for abstraction, the current show at the Great Park Gallery through Nov. 12 offers a look at what contemporary female artists are creating. The show is “Painting in the Abstract: Women Inspired by the Masters,” and features the work of six SoCal artists, including a few in MFA programs at UCI.
The Great Park Gallery has high, open ceilings, a reflective concrete floor and stark white walls. Light streams in through roll-up garage doors. It’s the perfect downtown loft-like place to spend time appreciating art of any genre. While this show isn’t as instantly accessible as the “Walt and the Flying Bull” exhibit that preceded it, the abstract paintings show particularly well in the Great Park Gallery space. The large and linear Hard Edge-esque paintings of Maggie Low Tennesen and the swirling work by Fatemeh Burns are particularly intriguing. Coastline Community College professor Jane Bauman is also among the artists featured in the show. Across the plaza, a selection of work by Coastline students is also on display. We do wish there was just a bit more context provided in the exhibit. We’re told via the wall labels, online summaries and artist bios that the work
on display owes much to the influence of under-appreciated female masters of abstract art, such as Elaine de Kooning and Helen Frankenthaler. “Painting in the Abstract: Women Inspired by the Masters explores the impact and diversity of women in the Southern California art scene while showcasing how they are challenging the medium and echoing the legacies of the midcentury female masters.” We just wish there was more of an explanation as to how the artists included in the exhibit were impacted by the artists that preceded them, and how they themselves are advancing the cause of female artists, either in the abstract or otherwise. Great Park Gallery is open Thursday-Sunday, noon-4 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on weekends. n n cityofirvine.org/orange-county-great-park/palm-court-artscomplex
OCTOBER 2017 6
by Irvine City News editorial staff
s we were going to press with the October issue of Irvine City News, we learned that Henry and Susan Samueli were donating another $200 million to UCI. It’s the largest gift in the history of the university and the seventh-largest donation to a single public university in the U.S. The result will be the Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences, which will be “the first university-based health sciences enterprise to incorporate
An optimistic look at progress and promise in Irvine integrative health research, teaching and patient care across its schools and programs” and “positions UCI as a bold, new leader in population health, patient care, education and research,” according to a statement from UCI and the Samuelis. We are not surprised by the generous gift. After all, the Samuelis and their foundation gave $30 million earlier this year to fund a convergent science building at UCI, part of $70 million the couple had given to the school prior to the most recent donation. The generosity of the Samuelis represents an optimistic view of the future of humanity. Their plan is to change healthcare
as we know it, including how doctors, nurses and pharmacists are trained. “The Samuelis’ vision means UCI will be a beacon for the brightest faculty and students in all related disciplines—a place where they can do their best work and tackle grand challenges,” said Dr. Howard Federoff, CEO of UCI Health. The impact the gift could have on the health of all our children and grandchildren is mindboggling. The ultimate goal is nothing less than optimal wellness. And here’s a thought: the wealth that supports the couple’s philanthropy was created right here in Irvine. Broadcom Corp. was founded
THE SUSAN AND HENRY SAMUELI COLLEGE OF HEALTH SCIENCES WILL INCLUDE A NEW BUILDING HOUSING STATE-OFTHE-ART TECHNOLOGY AND LABS. COURTESY UCI
in 1991, moved to Irvine in 1995 and went public in 1998. The company’s products have helped make possible the computer and communications networks upon which we all now rely. A good deal of wealth was created in the process, and many lives were changed for the better. Including the life of this city, and the university that shares its name. It’s because of people like the Samuelis and institutions like UCI that we are optimistic about the future of this city. We think many, if not most, Irvine residents are hopeful and optimistic by nature. It’s a California thing, as well as something often seen in newcomers and immigrants, who endure much to provide their children with an exceptional education and their families the opportunity for a better life. Of course, there are those who live in and love Irvine who believe the city’s best days are in the past. That we must limit our vision, cut our expectations, and tell our children not to dream so big. We are not among that pessimistic crew. Who knows what innovations are being developed right now in Irvine, what artists are emerging, what visions being born? No doubt there are businesses making the choice to locate in the city, drawn by the same qualities that attracted Broadcom’s founders. We believe that in the decades to come the milestones and accomplishments of the past few years—and those coming just around the corner—will serve as an inspiration to future Irvine residents, and those who live elsewhere. Folks like the Samuelis who came to Irvine hoping to do well, succeeded, and in turn have given back to this city and its people more than they received. n
THE SUNDAY FOOTBALL FIX
WHERE TO CATCH THE BIG GAME SPORTS
by Irvine City News staff
ne of the consequences of going from zero to two professional football teams in the Los Angeles/Orange County television market is that it complicates trying to watch games on TV. For decades, fans of the NFL in the area didn’t have to worry much about the vagaries of the blackout rules, as we could usually depend on getting the best “game of the week” national matchups the networks were televising. Now, with the Chargers and the Rams in town, the network schedule is decidedly more complicated. That’s because by NFL rule no game can air opposite a local franchise’s broadcast, and the local team’s game is blacked out if the game isn’t a sell-out at the stadium. Whether the stay-at-home fan has cable or satellite, has cut the cord and relies on streaming services and mobile devices, or buys into the Sunday Ticket, Red Zone and other premium packages, there will be a “where’s the game?” moment of panic during the season. Luckily, joining friends and fans at Irvine restaurants, bars and entertainment venues that offer NFL games all day Sunday, plus Thursday and Monday nights, can assuage that pain. As can the adult beverages served at the following football hotspots.
The big lobby bar area offers a giant screen that shows a collage of CONTINUED ON PAGE 7 >>
First Class Pizza
The Woodbury Town Center spot usually opens at 11 a.m., but on Sundays during the NFL season you can arrive at 9:30 a.m. to claim a favorite table. There are craft beer specials at $3 a pint and $12 a pitcher (the Irvine location has one of the best beer selections in town), and the pizza of the month is always worth a try while watching your favorite team. Plus, we love that this First Class hires high school kids to serve and cook, just like the local pizzeria where we grew up. n firstclasspizzawoodbury.com
The sports bar chain is the 800-pound gorilla when it comes to Spectrum locations to catch a game. With televisions at every angle, it’s usually easy to pick a spot to watch your favorite team. With hundreds of beers on tap, you can choose from among all the trendy seasonal types from the restaurant’s Chalkboard Series (Greenflash Spanish Trampoline, say, or Firestone Luponic Distortion), or go for an old-school big brand. n yardhouse.com
Dave and Buster’s
FANS WATCH THE EARLY NFL GAMES AT EUREKA! “FOOTBALL” FROM PAGE 6
the best of NFL Sunday football, perfect for those with short attention spans or trying to track their fantasy football roster. The massive 10-foot TV in the Red Bar comes with split-screen technology – where fans can watch up to six games at once, plus track the scoring action on NFL Red Zone. There’s also all-you-can-eat wings for $10, $4 bottled beers, $8 bottomless Mimosas and a buildyour-own Bloody Mary bar. n hotelirvine.com
Buffalo Wild Wings
The chicken wing emporium is tucked into the corner of the Heritage Plaza Center at Culver Drive and the 5, and offers what pretty much every other BWW in the nation does: TVs, and lots of them, wings as spicy as you’d like and plenty of cold beer to wash it all down. Our only criticism of the quintessential experience is that the technology isn’t exactly on point: some of the TVs are projection types, meaning the picture isn’t as crisp as the wings.
If we’re going to watch a game at the shopping center off of Culver, it’s much more likely you’ll see us at the pizza parlor owned by the Barros family than at the giant B-dub chain. They’ve been at that location for more than 40 years, offering a top venue for sports fans, pizza lovers and youth sports teams. Order a beer from Backstreet Brewery, and cheer on your favorite team. n lamppost-backstreet.com
If you’ve got gamers in your group, or kids who don’t share your love of football, the Spectrum’s Dave and Buster’s can be a good choice to keep everyone happy and occupied while you watch the game. There are giant screen HDTVs, and during the game you can order $5 appetizers, or go for a combo of all you can eat wings and a $10 game card for just $19.99 per person. n daveandbusters.com
Mega-venues not for you? The cool UCI-adjacent Eureka! opens at 10 a.m. on Sundays during the season. The food is more innovative than at most of the big box sports and wings bars, while the dirnk menu offers craft beers, small-batch whiskeys and $5 Mimosas and Bloody Marys. Or
RIDE THE RAMS TRAIN
For those going to a Rams home game live and in person at the L.A. Coliseum, consider skipping the traffic and $50 parking spots by taking the train from Irvine Station. Roundtrips are $10, and include the trip to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, the subway ride a couple of stops to Seventh and Metro station, where you catch the Expo Light Rail line that stops right across from the stadium. There’s also an option to go catch a Chargers game at StubHub Center, but from Irvine it’s easier to drive than to take the Blue Line across town from Union Station. And the StubHub route involves a shuttle, and we don’t do shuttles. For more information about the Metrolink’s special service to pro football games, go to metrolinktrains.com/football
try the green-tinted tequila and tomatillo cocktail called “Do You Even Juice, Bro?” n eurekarestaurantgroup.com
The Irv at Whole Foods
Though the restaurant and bar at the Los Olivos Whole Foods only offers the main broadcast games, the healthy food available on the menu or in the market make it a top choice for many. While Amazon ownership has brought down prices on produce in the store, we haven’t seen a carry-over to the bar. But that’s OK, because there are brunch specials, craft beers and of course there’s the green Bloody Mary with the evocative name: Chupracabra Tears. n wholefoodsmarket.com/ service/irv n
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UP N SIGODAY T AN ARTISTS RENDERING OF THE NEW CADENCE PARK K-8 SCHOOL AT THE SEPT. 7 GROUNDBREAKING
K-8 school coming to North Irvine EDUCATION
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by Irvine City News staff
he Irvine Unified School District broke ground on its newest school, Cadence Park, on Sept. 7. When it opens in August 2018, Cadence Park will be IUSD’s fourth K-8 and its 40th school. “Few communities get the rare chance to build an institution of learning from the ground up,”
said IUSD Board of Education President Ira Glasky. “It’s an opportunity to forge a new school and a new school culture that will serve as the educational foundation for future generations. And very few, if any, will ever create a school as incredible as Cadence Park will be.” During the groundbreaking ceremony, Glasky was joined by members of the IUSD Board of Education, Irvine Councilmember Melissa Fox, IUSD Superintendent Terry Walker, Cadence Park Principal Carlo Grasso, IUSD staff, and representatives from city of Irvine. Also recognized were the school’s designer PJHM Architects, builder C.W. Driver, and FivePoint, IUSD’s development partner funding construction of the school. The 94,000-square-foot Art Deco-inspired campus is on 13 acres near Irvine Boulevard and Portola High School. The school will include:
Next generation innovation lab that includes a makers space with an attached videoproduction room. The space will also be equipped with sinks and a roll-up door to the exterior to create a flexible learning space; n Library with several windows for natural light that includes a dedicated storytelling space, which will also double as a small group work area; n The 6-8 grader quad will include an outdoor amphitheater, covered small group instruction areas, space for outdoor science activities and a garden; n Classrooms in grades 1-5 will have a direct connection to interior student collaboration spaces; n Outdoor collaboration spaces throughout the campus for all grade levels; n A gymnasium with attached fitness lab. Cadence Park School will serve families living in the Great Park Neighborhoods, including Parasol Park and Cadence Park. n n
NEW MEX IN THE MIX!
CHA CHA’S LATIN KITCHEN BRINGS A FUN AND FLAVORFUL EXPERIENCE TO THE IRVINE MARKETPLACE
The diversity of Irvine’s restaurants has improved exponentially in recent years, with the most impactful advances centered on the innovative and authentic Asian cuisine scene. Plus, we’ve had dozens of fast-casual hamburger and quick-bake pizza spots open, and several close. But fans of modern Mexican cuisine have missed out, as the dining trend has mainly passed Irvine by—until now, that is. Javier’s at the Spectrum was the pioneer. Then Puesto opened at Los Olivos Marketplace offering innovative tacos and tasty cocktails in an open and high-ceilinged setting. A second Puesto location was soon announced, coming soon to the AC Hotel in Park Place. Last April we learned that Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen would add a second location at the Market Place. For seven years Cha Cha’s has been a hit in downtown Brea, a block or so from TAPS Fish House and Brewery. Or so we heard. Brea is one of those OC cities we find it hard to get to, so we don’t really try. Luckily, the best of Brea has come to Irvine. First, TAPS made the move, opening at Market Place in 2015, replacing Buca de Beppo in a nicely re-imagined space. And now Cha Cha’s has
migrated south as well, replacing the IHOP at the center. One thing all these new restaurants have in common is major improvement in the interior design. While each is different, what they have in common is major renovations of their existing spaces, well beyond what Irvine diners have come to expect. We probably have North Italia and TAPS to thank.
We heard that TAPS owner Joe Manzella drove a hard bargain with his landlord, insisting on an expanded footprint and extensive improvements to the old Buca space before he’d accept a longstanding invitation to move to an Irvine Company center. And North Italia raised the bar as far as contemporary, open design goes in the city, setting the
THE BAR AT CHA CHA’S LATIN KITCHEN OPENS ON TO THE PATIO. BELOW: A MARGARITA AND FLAUTAS FROM THE MENU AT CHA CHA’S.
stage for the look and feel of Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen. We love the way the patio, bar and dining room all connect at the new restaurant. During the summer heat wave it was almost too much indoor/outdoor ambience, as the air conditioning fought hard to keep up with the heat flowing through the large, retractable windows. But we decided to grin and bear it, imagining we were in a sweltering Cabo San Lucas resort. Ordering a sampling of the Cha Cha’s famously delicious Margaritas helped in that endeavor. Our only quibble with the design is outside. The parking can be a challenge, thanks in part to the popularity of BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse. So we park on the patio side of Cha Cha’s. But there’s a badly landscaped median right where there should be a pathway to the restaurant, forcing folks to walk through the parking lot
instead of directly to the entrance. Someone should fix that. So how’s the food? As a friend always says, you can’t eat the ambience. So far, we’ve been satisfied with the dishes we’ve tried, but not yet blown away. The guacamole is good, bordering on great. The woodfired queso fundido served over roasted potatoes should be illegal, as addictive as it is. The tacos are tasty (we preferred the short rib, the carnitas and the mushroom varieties). We ordered the chicken flautas off of the appetizer list, mainly for the photogenic mango-habanero salsa that tops it—what, you never order a dish just for its Instagram appeal? The dish itself was disappointing, with a mushy texture hiding beneath the crispy exterior. We’d include the short rib enchiladas, served open-faced with the meat braised in Guajillo chile, on our list of best entrees at the restaurant, as would the carne asada and the carnitas. On Tuesdays, Cha Cha’s offers 50 percent off on tacos and premium tequilas, starting at 4 p.m. until close. And there are daily Happy Hour deals (4-6 p.m. on weekdays; plus 10 P.M. to close on Friday and Saturday), including $2 off appetizers and $1 off beer and wine by the glass. Alas, the beer list is a bit short on craft offerings, especially from Mexico. And the wine list doesn’t venture into the Guadalupe Valley at all. Puesto’s beer and wine list is better than Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen as far as artisan options, though we’ll have to study and compare the Margaritas at each more closely to choose an overall winner in Irvine’s emerging modern Mexican cuisine category. n n chachaslatinkitchen.com
OCTOBER 2017 10
Oktoberfest fun and Halloween happenings COMMUNITY
by Irvine City News staff
rvine celebrates Halloween and the changing of the seasons with a wide variety of events, both family-friendly and for adults who love playing dress-up for the holiday. Choose a costume and enjoy a chill-filled celebration of all things creepy, mysterious and spooky. Here are some choices for Halloween fun around town, and nearby:
Costume Week at Pretend City
Oct. 22-28 Dress your kids in costume and go to Pretend City Children’s Museum the week before Halloween and receive 25 percent off a second admission. Also check out Frankenstein Friday on Oct. 27, Healthy Halloween Oct. 30, Trick and Treat through the City on Oct. 31 and Dia de los Muertos on Nov. 2. n Pretendcity.org
Haunted Hotel at Wyndham Irvine
October 28; 9 p.m.-2 a.m. For over 21 Halloween fun, the third annual Haunted OC Hotel bash features 4 DJs on two floors of the Wyndham Irvine, with ballrooms, bottle service and VIP areas set up throughout the hotel. Tickets range from $23-$1,200. n orangecountynightlife.com/ event/71501/haunted-oc-hotelhalloween
Boot Hill haunted house for CHOC
October 13–14, 20–22, 27–29; 7–10 p.m. It’s the 18th year that the folks at 16 Goldenrod in Irvine have hosted an Old West-themed haunted house, complete with a creepy cemetery and a creative back story about the town of “Bridgewood” that once stood where Woodbridge is now. It’s free, there’s parking at nearby Springbrook Elementary, expect a line and please donate generously to CHOC Children’s Hospital, the beneficiary of all the boos at Boot Hill. Note that it’s not open on Halloween itself! n legendofboothill.com
Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch & U-Pick Tours
Through October 31 Find your way through the corn maze, visit the petting zoo, take a wagon ride around the farm, and pick your own pumpkin right off the vine. And on weekends, the Fall Harvest Festival includes a pumpkin cannon, carnival games, food and more. n tanakafarms.com/tourspumpkin-patch
ENJOY A PUMPKIN PATCH, HAY MAZE, PONY RIDES AND MORE AT IRVINE PARK
Eat, Drink and Be Scary Costume Party at Hotel Irvine October 28; 9 p.m.–2 a.m. This Halloween, partygoers should don their scariest, most original costumes and creep over to Red Bar and Lounge for its second annual Halloween party. There will be Halloween-themed specialty cocktails to sip, while fans of fun mix and mingle with other creatures of the night and enter the group costume contest to win some scary-good prizes. n hotelirvine.com/happenings
Oktoberfest at Hotel Irvine October 29; 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Sample craft beers from Ballast Point, Stella Artois, North Coast, Stone and others, along with a menu featuring rustic
sausages, hot dogs, burgers and more, in Hotel Irvine’s big back yard space. There’s live music, games and activities for all ages. General admission is $40 per adult; $15 per child ages five to 12; children under four years complimentary. n hotelirvine.com/happenings
Irvine Park Pumpkin Patch
Through October 31; Irvine Regional Park, Orange Enjoy a pumpkin patch, hay maze, pony rides, haunted house, face painting, bouncy houses, games, food and of course the train ride at our favorite park not in Irvine. n irvineparkrailroad.com/events/ pumpkin-patch n
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IrvineCityNews New lanes approved
At the Sept. 12 City Council session, the council unanimously approved a project to widen University Drive from four to six lanes for the 1.1 miles between MacArthur Boulevard and Campus Drive. The project will add a new third travel lane in both directions, and also includes traffic mitigation improvements at the University/Campus intersection, funded by the developer of Park Place, as mitigation construction impacts at the Jamboree/Michelson center. The $17 million project will begin in January 2018 and is set to be completed in May 2019.
UCI is one of the most significant elements driving excellence in the city of Irvine. U.S. News & World Report has again ranked UCI ninth among public universities in the U.S. in its recently released 2018 Best Colleges report. It’s the third consecutive year that UCI has claimed the No. 9 spot. Among all 1,611 U.S. colleges and universities—public and private—evaluated by the magazine, UCI ranks 42. UCI was rated the 16th best university for veterans and 18th best for least amount of student debt upon graduation. The school’s undergraduCOURTESY UCI ate business program was ranked 31 and its engineering program was ranked 40 by the magazine. “We are delighted that UCI is deservedly recognized as one of the finest public universities in the U.S.,” said Chancellor Howard Gillman. “We are especially proud that UCI provides world-class opportunities to those who traditionally have not had access to higher education, as more than half of our undergraduates are first-generation students.” The U.S. News’ Best Colleges
report categorizes universities by mission, based on factors developed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and then applies weighted measurements of graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity and more. In addition, analyses by administrators at peer institutions are taken into account. UCI was also recently named the No. 1 university in the U.S. “doing the most for the American dream,” due to its commitment to economic diversity, according to the annual New York Times College Access Index. It was the second time UCI was ranked at the top in that category.
Speaking of superlatives, WalletHub ranked the city of Irvine as the ninth best place to raise a family in the United States out of the 150 most-populated cities in the country. Metrics in which Irvine did particularly well include the lowest violent crime rate, the lowest percentage of families receiving food stamps and the second lowest divorce rate among all the cities. The overall top-ranked city was Overland Park, Kansas. Other cities ranking higher than Irvine include Madison, WI; Plano, TX; Seattle, WA; Fremont, CA: Minneapolis, MN, Virginia Beach, VA; and Sioux Falls, VA. Birmingham, AL, ranked the worst among the 150 cities. WalletHub’s analysts compared the 150 most-populated U.S. cities based on 41 key metrics that take into account essential family dynamics, such as the cost of housing, the quality of local school and health-care systems, and the opportunities for fun and recreation.
Spectrum tower tenants
Irvine cyber-security company Cylance is moving from its current headquarters in the IBC to be lead tenant at 400 Spectrum Center, the second of the twin glass towers that are the tallest buildings in Orange County. Cylance is a global provider of cybersecurity products and services. Mazda is the lead tenant at 200 Spectrum Center, the first of the two towers to open. n
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WHAT REALLY MATTERS
OCTOBER 2017 12
Top Through 10.28 Irvine Fine Arts Center Show
The Irvine Fine Art Center’s latest exhibition, All Media 2017, is open at the gallery, now through Saturday, Oct. 28. The juried show features a variety of artwork from Southern California artists. irvinefinearts.org
Through 11.12 Women Inspired Exhibit at Great Park Gallery
The impact and diversity of women in the Southern California art scene is the focus of the current exhibit at the Great Park Gallery. These artists are challenging the abstract medium of the too-often overlooked midcentury female masters.
Things To Do in October 10.7-12.16 Pacific Standard Time at UCI
UCI’s University Art Galleries will present the first survey of one of the most iconic figures of the Chicano art movement, Gilbert “Magu” Luján (1940–2011). The UCI alum was part of a small group of dedicated artists and intellectuals who set about defining a Chicano identity and culture as part of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. arts.uci.edu/events
10.7-2.8 Moods of California at Irvine Museum
California painters exploring the unique ecological regions and picturesque landscapes of the state is the focus of this museum exhibit. irvinemuseumcollection.uci.edu/ event/moods-of-california
10.8 and 10.25 NTL Screening at Irvine Barclay
10.14-10.15 “Alice in Wonderland”
Enjoy HD broadcasts from the National Theatre in London at Irvine Barclay with a familyfriendly performance of “Peter Pan” on Oct 8 and “Salome” on Oct. 25. thebarclay.org
Festival Ballet Theatre invites dance fans and families to take a journey down the Rabbit Hole into Wonderland as Lewis Carroll’s classic comes to life, complete with colorful sets, costumes and choreography. thebarclay.org
10.14-10.15 Spooktacular Fun Days at OC Great Park
10.19 A Celebration of Nat King Cole
Enjoy a pumpkin patch, gourmet food trucks, games and other treats while supporting hunger relief by donating nonperishable food to OC Food Banks. cityofirvine.org/play/communityservices-department/city-specialevents
AZTLÁN TO MAGULANDIA: THE JOURNEY OF CHICANO ARTIST GILBERT “MAGU” LUJÁN
Tony and Emmy Award winning actor Keith David brings his show “Too Marvelous for Words” to Irvine Barclay in a celebration of the songs, life and music of one of America’s greatest performers. thebarclay.org
10.20-10.22 Harvest Cup Soccer Tournament
IPSF and local sports leagues present the 37th annual Harvest Cup Tournament, held at the OC Great Park. It’s part of the Irvine Youth Sports Tournament of Champions, which includes elementary and middle schools competing to be the school with the most points at the end of the year. irvineyouthsports.org
10.28 Pianist Robert McDonald at UCI
Chamber Music | OC in association with the Claire Trevor School of the Arts presents international concert pianist Robert McDonald. McDonald has appeared with major U.S. orchestras, was the recital partner to Isaac Stern, and is Chair of Piano Studies at The Juilliard School. arts.uci.edu/events
FESTIVAL BALLET THEATRE’S “ALICE IN WONDERLAND” AT THE BARCLAY