VOTE YES ON MEASURES B, C & D WHAT REALLY MATTERS irvinecitynews.com
Are these the best restaurants in Irvine? See what critics think. page 8
Irvine Honors Veterans GIVING BACK TO THOSE WHO SACRIFICED FOR FREEDOM FEATURE
by Irvine City News staff
FEATURE by Irvine City News staff
THE PASSAGE OF MEASURES B, C, AND D ON JUNE 5 IS CRUCIAL TO MAINTAINING THE HIGH QUALITY OF LIFE AND STRONG PUBLIC SAFETY IRVINE RESIDENTS EXPECT
PATH TO IRVINE’S FUTURE TIED TO JUNE 5 ELECTION
he quality of life in Irvine as we know it is at a pivotal point. The 2018 elections will determine the course of the future. Should Measures B, C and D fail on June 5, things could change significantly, and not for good. The looming shortfall in city revenue, the result of declining retail sales, property taxes and tourism taxes, will hit the city budget hard. The city is looking at a
potential deficit for the first time in its history. Irvine is an exceptionally run city, and has the accolades to prove it. The city has been named the most-fiscally-fit municipality CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 >>
he citizens and city of Irvine, along with its businesses, organizations and nonprofits, have a strong history of supporting military service members, veterans and their families. On June 5, a “Yes on B” vote in support of the Southern California Veterans Cemetery will continue that tradition. The passage of Measure B will ensure that Irvine’s promise that veterans will have a final resting place on the former Marine Corps El Toro Air Station will be kept. Here are some of the many ways greater Irvine honors and supports the military and its veterans.
Military Banner Program
Family members and loved CONTINUED ON PAGE 4 >>
JUNE 2018 2
RISE UP AND VOTE ON JUNE 5
aise a glass to Freedom, Something they can never take away.” Orange County has been abuzz over the musical “Hamilton,” which recently concluded its sold-out run. Who could have imagined a younger generation so engaged in learning, singing, and rapping about the American Revolution? The right to vote is one of the things for which that revolution was fought, and won. Though, as the Schuyler sisters point out in the musical, not everyone was included: “We hold these truths to be selfevident/That all men are created equal/And when I meet Thomas Jefferson/I’m a compel him to include women in the sequel.” Women and people of color have had to protest, march, fight and sometimes die for the right to vote in this country, just as the American revolutionaries once did. Around the world right now people are fighting and dying to gain and protect their freedom,
including the right to vote. We all owe a debt to those who fought for our freedom and the rights we too often take for granted. We cannot squander their sacrifices. That debt is payable by participation in the democratic process. That debt is payable by voting. And not just in the presidential elections, but in local ones, like the one coming up June 5 in our city. So yes, I’ll vote on June 5, I always do. I see it as a civic duty. It’s a right, but also a responsibility I owe to my country and my community. We also owe a debt to our veterans who served and fought to protect us and our freedoms. So I’ll vote “Yes” on B to give them the cemetery they want, and so richly deserve. We hope you will too. Either way, please vote. It’s the way we can make a difference. “America, you great unfinished symphony. “You sent for me. You let me make a difference. “A place where even orphan immigrants can leave their fingerprints and rise up.” n
IrvineCityNews Editor and Publisher
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5319 University Drive Suite #440 Irvine, CA 92612
email@example.com • 949.296.8338 Irvine City News is a monthly publication serving the city of Irvine, CA. Irvine City News distributes 100,000 copies monthly via direct delivery and at 45 news racks in select locations throughout Irvine.
THE SITE OF THE APPROVED SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA VETERANS CEMETERY AT THE STRAWBERRY FIELDS AT BAKE PARKWAY AND THE 5 FREEWAY “PATH” FROM PAGE 1
in the nation, yet there’s no guarantee that future city council majorities will be as prudent with taxpayers’ money, especially in the case of an economic downturn affecting tax revenue. And that’s just what the city now faces. After significant growth since the recession, sales tax revenue has been decreasing in recent years. The 2017-2018 budget anticipated a $1.3 million drop in sales tax revenue for the city, the result of “increased reliance on online purchases as opposed to brick and mortar retailers and the loss of traditional storefronts due to closures.” Sales tax is the city’s largest general fund revenue source. The city collected $65.6 million in sales tax revenue for 2015-2016, which was expected to dip to $64.3 million in 2017-2018. The city council majority approved a fiscally-prudent budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. With the new fiscal year budget to be debated and adopted in June, estimates have been
circulated that the city’s shortfall could reach $6 million in 20182019. That deficit could very well increase dramatically, depending on the results of the June 5 election.
Voting Yes on Measure B is fiscally prudent
During last year’s budget debate, Councilmember Melissa Fox made a prescient point: “We have a very volatile revenue base,” Fox said. “This year is a good year. What happens in a bad year?” Then-Mayor Pro Tem Lynn Schott warned against seeking tax increases or other new revenue sources. “The temptation that we have to be on guard for will be to look for more and more revenue streams that involve higher taxes and fees.” Which is ironic, because Schott and Councilmember Jeffrey Lalloway have been the minority on the city council wanting to spend $38 million of Irvine taxpayer funds at a formerly proposed contaminated cemetery site, while asking state taxpayers to contribute the rest of
THERE’S NO GUARANTEE THAT FUTURE CITY COUNCIL MAJORITIES WILL BE AS PRUDENT WITH TAXPAYERS’ MONEY, ESPECIALLY IN THE CASE OF AN ECONOMIC DOWNTURN AFFECTING TAX REVENUE. the $77.4 million the California Department of Veterans Affairs estimates building the first phase of a cemetery there would cost. Lalloway and Schott continue to oppose building the veterans cemetery at the widely approved and much superior Strawberry Fields site at a city savings of more than $30 million in taxpayer money. CONTINUED ON PAGE 3 >>
“PATH” FROM PAGE 2
A “yes” vote on Measure B will ensure the city saves the millions of city funds that Schott and Lalloway remain eager to spend.
“Yes” on Measure C protects Irvine residents from tax increases Future city councilmembers might agree with Schott and Lalloway’s willingness to spend needlessly, and seek new or
increased taxes to fund increased and unneeded spending. Currently, a state law loophole allows a simple majority of the Irvine City Council to agree to place a tax increase or other tax measure on the ballot. A “yes” vote on Measure C closes a loophole for charter cities such as Irvine that allows a simple majority of the city council to propose new taxes. With the passage of the
measure, the council will need four out of five votes, or a twothirds majority, to put new taxes on the ballot.
“Yes” on Measure D to safeguard city funds
A “yes” vote on Measure D will add an amendment to the Irvine City Charter requiring that new development projects provide a financial benefit to taxpayers or be subject to possible
KIDS HAVING FUN AT THE OPENING OF THE ORANGE COUNTY GREAT PARK SPORTS PARK
additional forms of public approval. If passed, Measure D will protect Irvine’s high quality of life by safeguarding revenue that pays for public safety, supports public schools and helps fund infrastructure improvements. If Measure B fails, it will likely kill chances for a veterans cemetery in the city. However, city councilmembers could once again propose spending $30
million to $40 million to remediate the old cemetery site. Measures C and D also address the city’s ability to stay on track fiscally. Measure C prevents new taxes and Measure D assures economic development continues in a way that supports city services, including our police department, which keeps Irvine ranked as the safest city of its size in America. n
JUNE 2018 4
their transition to civilian and student life. n veteran.uci.edu
Irvine Valley College Veterans Service Center
The IVC Veterans Office has a stocked food bank and resource list to help make sure student veterans don’t go hungry. It’s just one of many services the center offers, including a writing tutor, mental health services, free dental and an on-campus VA Vet Success counselor, one of the few schools in the country to have one. The center was founded on the belief that “challenges faced by veterans may be addressed through a combination of services stressing academics, camaraderie and wellness.” n students.ivc.edu/veterans
Irvine’s military service members who died in the line of duty are honored with plaques at the Flag Monument, which occupies the high ground at Bill Barber Park. Eligible honorees are Irvine residents, defined as having lived in the city, worked or gone to school here. Biographies of those honored can be seen at cityofirvine.org/militaryveterans/military-memorial
THE MEMORIAL AT COLONEL BILL BARBER MARINE CORPS MEMORIAL PARK “VETERANS” FROM PAGE 1
ones may nominate an Irvine resident who is an active duty service member to be honored with a street banner with the individual’s name and photo. The banners are displayed on Culver Drive, between Alton and Barranca Parkways. For more information or to make a nomination visit cityofirvine. org/military-veterans/militarybanner-program
Each year the city of Irvine honors America’s military servicemen and women who have given their lives defending our nation. The official Memorial Day Ceremony is held at Col. Bill Barber Marine
Corps Memorial Park. A ceremony and candle lighting is held at Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial for those who lost their lives during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. n cityofirvine.org/play/ community-services-department/ city-special-events
Colonel Bill Barber Marine Corps Memorial Park The plaque at the park adjacent to City Hall helps explain why it’s the center of so much pride and patriotism: “To commemorate Colonel Bill Barber, Irvine resident and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient for heroism under fire at Chosin Reservoir, North Korea, November 28th
through December 2nd, 1950, and to the USMC whose presence in and around Irvine symbolized the security of our Nation. Thank You. The Residents of Irvine.” Barber’s Medal of Honor cites his “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.” As ICN noted in a previous issue: “At Bill Barber’s park, flags wave in the breeze and the playground is packed with kids. Cyclists and seniors enjoy the warm weather, and the sound of softballs hitting mitts fills the air. The diversity of Irvine’s population is apparent at this park, all drawn by the freedom that Barber and his fellow Marines helped ensure.”
Working Wardrobes Vet Net
The nonprofit’s career center is in Irvine, where its services include Vet Net: job services focused on transitioning veterans, as well as those in recovery or at risk of becoming homeless. The service also shares best hiring practices with the corporate community. n workingwardrobes.org
UCI Veteran Services
The program helps veteran and reservist students and their dependents obtain educational benefits by submitting entitlement requests to the VA. The center also provides resources to assist veterans in navigating
Heritage and Aviation at Orange County Great Park
Located in Hangar 244, the exhibits on display include World War II airplanes, historic images, and artifacts showing the evolution of the Great Park from its agricultural origins to its role in the military as the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro. The hangar also hosts a memorial to 84 men killed in 1965 when the C-135 Stratolifter transporting them to fight in the Vietnam War crashed into Loma Ridge just after takeoff, less than five miles from the base. Supporters and sponsors continue plans for an expanded Museum of Heritage and Aviation in the future. CONTINUED ON PAGE 5 >>
“VETERANS” FROM PAGE 4
American Legion Post 838
Irvine’s Bill Barber American Legion Irvine Post 838 serves veterans, military families and the community. Among the events and outreach Post 838 provides is the First Annual Flag Retirement Ceremony, complete with a concert featuring the All-American Boys Chorus. Held June 4 at Col. Bill Barber Memorial Park, the ceremony offers a way to retire these flags with what the American Legion describes as a legal and proper ceremony. n legion838.org
Orange County Real Estate Luncheon
benefit and welfare of the United States Marines and their families. The volunteer 2/11 Marine Adoption Committee raises money and assembles welcomehome packages for the battalion, and holds special events throughout the year. To volunteer or help go to cityofirvine.org/ military-veterans/ways-help-211
Walkable Historic Timeline at the Orange County Great Park
Stretching for 2,604 feet along a former runway, the historic timeline lists world events beginning in 13,000 B.C., as well as dates in the history of MCAS El Toro, the city of Irvine and Orange County.
Among the events noted that are significant to the base’s military history include July 1942, when the farmland was purchased to build the base, the conflict in Korea, the U.S. entry into the war in Vietnam, MCAS El Toro serving as a gateway for Vietnamese refugees, and the ending of the Cold War in November 1989, when the Berlin Wall came down.
Operation Valentine at Second Harvest Food Bank
Mothers and daughters from Southern California chapters of the National Charity League have gathered at Second Harvest Food Bank in Irvine each year for some 14 years to assemble hundreds of
care packages for local military veterans. According to Second Harvest, the veteran community is vulnerable to hunger. Some 25 percent of households served by Second Harvest include an active duty military person or veteran. n secondharvestfoodbank.org
Great Park Gallery
The art gallery at the Orange County Great Park was created out of former military buildings, and has featured numerous exhibits relating to the base.
Southern California Veterans Cemetery
Veterans have sought a cemetery on the former Marine Corps Air
Hundreds of professionals from top real estate companies, developers and financial institutions (many based in Irvine) helped support veterans by buying $500 tickets to attend the third annual Orange County Real Estate Luncheon held this April at Hotel Irvine. The event, which was completely underwritten by Donahue Schriber, has raised some $2 million in three years to support the health education and employment of Orange County veterans, in partnership with the Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF) Veterans Initiative.
Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial
Dedicated in 2010, Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial is the first permanent memorial to honor every American service member to die in Afghanistan and Iraq. What started as an informal memorial now includes granite pedestals engraved with the names of the fallen.
2/11 Marine Adoption
The city of Irvine “adopted” the 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division based at Camp Pendleton several years ago. The goal is to provide charitable and educational activities and support for the
THE VETERAN APPRECIATION DINNER IS HELD ANNUALLY AT UCI. COURTESY UCI VETERAN SERVICES
Station El Toro for more than 15 years. The closest veterans cemeteries are in Riverside and San Diego Counties. After much public debate and discourse, a site known as the Strawberry Fields located near the 5 and 405 Freeways on the former El Toro base was selected as the site and approved by local, state and federal officials. The owner of that land agreed to swap it for the same size property owned by the city of Irvine, resulting in some $30 million of savings in building the cemetery. If a majority of Irvine voters vote “Yes on Measure B” the veterans will have their cemetery. A “No” vote means they most likely never will. n
JUNE 2018 6
by ICN Editorial Board
hose who are new to Irvine might wonder why anyone opposes building a veterans cemetery at the city- and state-approved site known as the Strawberry Fields. Building that cemetery on the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro fulfills a long-made promise to veterans. There’s a clear consensus among veterans (and those in local and state government who have their best interests at heart) that the Strawberry Fields is the best location for a cemetery in the city. It’s also the fiscally responsible site. Building the cemetery at the Strawberry Fields will save city and state taxpayers $40 million to $77 million over the previous site. That’s because the old site faces significant demolition, remediation and potential litigation hurdles before its “shovel ready.” An Orange County judge confirmed as much when ruling that phrase—shovel ready—was false and misleading, and ordered it removed from ballot arguments. So why is there a well-funded opposition (those “No on B” signs all over town don’t come cheap) to the veterans cemetery? The answer is simple: Power. Larry Agran wants it back. The veterans cemetery is simply a wedge issue, one of several the former Irvine mayor and councilmember wields in an attempt to regain favor with voters who turned him out of office in 2014. Opposing the wishes of the
Vote “Yes” on B for the veterans... and for Irvine’s future. veterans serves Agran’s political purposes as he attempts to return to power and and resurrect his reputation. Not convinced? Here’s what Agran revealed in a story posted online at kcet.org last November 29, 2017: “When we take over Irvine’s City Council in 2018-2020, we can resurrect the original [Great Park] plans and…. we’ll build Ken Smith’s canyon.” The story, though a pro-Agran puff piece, was revealing. It seems Agran has never gotten over losing his city council majority in the 2012 election, and being cast out of power in 2014 entirely, when he came in a distant fourth in his last city council election. Or was it? Sure sounds like he’s priming the political pump for another run, featuring either himself as a candidate, or by a proxy, his usual modus operandi. For those who didn’t live here during the end of Agran’s last reign, let’s review it, using the words of OC Weekly watchdog investigative journalist R. Scott Moxley, written in 2015: “Larry Agran served as the leader of a political machine that for a dozen years dictatorially controlled Irvine and the Orange County Great Park project. “The ugly reality includes Agran’s penchant for secrecy, cronyism, narcissism and mismanagement, especially at the Great Park, a noble idea the career politician slyly converted into a biennial election tool to keep his council alliance in power. “Those of us who for 12 years closely watched Agran and his political machine operate dictatorial control over the project didn’t fall for the empty hype. Their
operatives received lucrative, no-bid contracts for a public park that didn’t yet exist. They wasted nearly $50 million on a park design plan that was laughably unattainable–a huge, man-made canyon and waterfalls!–the moment it landed on paper. “He and allies Beth Krom and Sukhee Kang spent $200 million in taxpayer funds at the Great Park without building one major facet of the project they’d originally proposed.” When one views the opposition to the veterans cemetery with an eye on Agran’s history, particularly when it relates to his failed vision for the Orange County Great Park, the “No on B” campaign comes into focus. Most veterans give Agran credit for supporting early efforts to establish a veterans cemetery. But Agran would rather kill the veterans dream of a final resting place on MCAS El Toro than have it moved from “his” original site. Irvine observer Greg Diamond confirms that view in a blog post: “Unless you care most about what was in the original plan—as one gets the sense that Agran still does above all—your real concern should be ‘what is the most fitting tribute to the memory of MCAS El Toro and those who served there?’” Diamond joins the consensus that knows the Strawberry Fields is the most fitting site. “Move it, build it, and celebrate the great accomplishment,” he says. “We are finally doing something for which future generations will remember us.” Vote “yes” on B. It’s what’s best for the veterans, for the city, and for the future. n
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IPSF STEAM Fest at the Great Park EDUCATION
by Irvine City News staff
n estimated 5,000 people came out to the Orange County Great Park on a sunny Saturday for the family-friendly OC STEAM Fest. Put on by Irvine Public Schools Foundation, the event had fun and interactive activities for kids designed to spark their interest in science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics, also known as STEAM. “The OC STEAM Fest provides students with a fun and
educational opportunity to explore interests and discover the many different kinds of STEAM-related career opportunities that are available to them,” says Neda Eaton, president and CEO of IPSF. There were some 50 booths offering activities that included a “work and learn” virtual reality station by presenting sponsor EON Reality and a life size human foosball by Waste Management. Live entertainment and innovative demonstrations were part of the event as well, including a robotics competition between IUSD middle schools refereed by John
Remar of Discovery Channel’s BattleBots. “Over the past 21 years, IPSF has proudly contributed over $68 million in programs and funds to support education in Irvine,” Eaton says. “It’s been so much fun to bring the community together with our partners and celebrate educational excellence for all children in Orange County.” IPSF provides millions of dollars in funding to Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) each year to support STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) education, small-group learning, afterschool and summer programs, grants for classroom innovation, and support for mental-health initiatives, athletic trainers and school nurses. For more information, visit ipsf.net. n
STUDENTS WERE INSPIRED BY ENGINEERING WITH LEGO AT IPSF’S OC STEAM FEST, COURTESY IPSF.
Running for fun SPORTS
by Irvine City News staff
he Irvine Junior Games and the OC Marathon’s Kids Run OC mile event brought local kids to the starting lines for fitness, fun and fundraising. The Irvine community turned out, as always, for the 31st annual Irvine Junior Games at Irvine High School. The annual sports competition for fourth- to eighth-graders from 32 schools helps raise funds to support the Irvine Children’s Fund (ICF). The competition includes track events such as 50- and 100-meter sprints; 400-, 800- and 1500-meter long distance runs; long jump and school relays, as well as bag shot, soccer kick and basketball shoot events. The opening ceremony features a parade of all the athletes marching with their schools, and includes the national anthem and the lighting of the Irvine Junior Games flame. The student athletes who compete in Irvine Junior Games come from 32 IUSD elementary and middle schools. The event draws 3,000 spectators and depends on the generosity of volunteers and sponsors, including Hoag, the 2018 presenting sponsor. The mission of nonprofit ICF is to raise funds to provide scholarships for low-income working families to access before- and after-school child care, to expand and maintain childcare facilities, and to support child wellness services at IUSD elementary schools. n irvinechildrensfund.org/irvinejunior-games
More than 1,000 Irvine elementary school-age kids joined their OC peers to run a timed mile at the Orange County Fairgrounds as part of the Kids Run OC program. The mile run is the final part of a 10-12 week program that promotes an active and healthy lifestyle to help prevent the onset of child obesity. Called Running Club at some schools, the program includes before- or after-school practices. Through games and fun activities, students learn proper running techniques, build up their strength and stamina, as well as develop healthy eating habits via weekly nutritional challenges. During the program the kids each run a cumulative 25.2 miles. With the final mile at the fairgrounds added, each student runs a marathon distance all told during the program. While it’s all about fun, fitness, and doing one’s best, a taste of healthy competition never hurts. And a look at the results reveals that kids from Irvine did quite well in all age groups. Below are some of the top results, with mile times and age groups. Of course, all the kids who ran deserve praise, as do the volunteer coaches and parents who made it all possible. n kidsruntheoc.org Can you run a mile in 7 minutes or under? These Irvine kids did! Age 10: Julianna Yoon, 5:46, first place; Age 9+ open division: Madison Ledgard (5:42), first place, Troy Kiem (5:46), second place; Age 9: Miguel Alencar, 6:22, third place, Ethan Wang 6:22, fourth place (looks like a tie to us!); Age 8 and under, open division: Grace Richardson (6:49), fourth, Stone Ho, (6:51), fifth; Age 8: Mason McIntyre (6:34), second place, Ranze Takashima (6:44), sixth place; Age 7: Armond Jackson (6:59), third place, James Buchen (7:02), fourth place, Tianzhi Neo Jiao (7:10), sixth place; Age 6: Eiler King (6:50), second place. n
JUNE 2018 8
Leading Link in a Chain
If you haven’t been to Houston’s in awhile, it’s just as good as you remember, and just as hard to snag a table. The things that most chains get wrong, Houston’s has down to an art. Order a cocktail and a Hawaiian ribeye, and relax. You’ll be well taken care of. n houstons.com/locations/ irvine
CULINARY SUPERLATIVES FROM IRVINE’S EVOLVING RESTAURANT SCENE
Irvine’s dining scene has improved significantly over recent years, with a much more diverse and authentic group of restaurants than in years past. Older chains and poorly performing restaurants have closed, to be replaced with new chef-driven concepts, food trucks remade as brick and mortar bistros, and local outposts of successful national and global restaurant groups. The changes reflect culinary trends, often fueled by social media and chef-driven television shows. Changing demographics, continued economic growth and more inspired leasing strategies by landlords are part of the story, too. Here are our selections for Irvine’s most superlative restaurants. While not intended to be encyclopedic, do let us know which favorites we’ve missed.
Most Impressive New Spot The most ambitious new restaurant of recent years has to be Habana, the Cuban-themed hot spot in the Irvine Spectrum that debuted last December. There’s amazing coffee and pastries in the morning at the bakery, a Latin and lively bar scene with Mojitos, Sangrias, Rum Cocktails and other tasty treats, and delicious Cuban-inspired cuisine all in a gorgeous tropical environment. n restauranthabana.com
Top Spot to be a Regular
It’s been two years since Angelina’s Pizzeria Napoletana
Irvine Legacy Award
SANDWICHES AT SESSIONS WEST COAST DELI
debuted at Los Olivos Marketplace, and it’s quickly become a favorite for lovers of things Italian. Dine there regularly, and soon everybody will know your name, from Mickey at the bar and COO/sommelier Antonio to owners Filippo and Sho Fusco. Order Chef Jonah Amodt’s charred octopus, a bottle of Italian wine and a perfect Neapolitan-style pizza or two. n angelinaspizzeria.com
Chicken strips are a staple of a family outing, and those at Sessions are top of the class. Plus, the prices are reasonable. Though TAPs Fish House and Brewery is more expensive, we love that the first course of the three-course meal comes out right away. But the best combo of a tasty and reasonably priced
No. 1 New Casual Restaurant
The owners of Sessions West Coast Deli came home to Woodbridge recently with the opening of their creative sandwich shop— they grew up in the Irvine village. The new anchor of the remodeled Woodbridge Village Center provides locals a taste of coastal casual cuisine with an artisanal edge that we’ve been missing. n sessionswcd.com
Sessions is also in the running for the best kids menu in town. HABANA
(considering the quality) kids menu is found at North Italia. Bonus points for it being a restaurant adults actually love. The grilled cheese ($6) and cheeseburger ($8) choices come with salad or potatoes, and spaghetti ($5) is like homemade. And all ages adore the zucca chips. n northitaliarestaurant.com
Irvine is one of the most inclusive cities in the country, but we don’t have as many female chefs as we should. The leader among them is Geeta Bansal, executive chef and co-owner of Clay Oven. For more than 30 years, the restaurant has featured gourmet Indian cuisine with cutting-edge offerings that include habanero pork vindaloo and the best swordfish in OC. Bansal is also a global culinary ambassador for Irvine, traveling the world and interviewing the greatest chefs in it for her influential blog, as well as magazines and websites. n clayovenirvine.com
Meizhou Dongpo. Offering fine Sichuan cuisine in a gorgeous setting, the restaurant is also as accessible as any in the city. Its easy-to-understand menu is welcoming, as is the multi-lingual staff. That isn’t always the case with spots as authentic as this.
Cool and Classic Sometimes we just want a taste of old school Irvine, with a menu that’s comfortable and classic, and a value, too. For those days we choose between Knowlwood and Lampost Pizza. For a few bucks more, you’ll find us reminiscing about the old days while eating at the bar at Gulliver’s. n knowlwoodrestaurants.com n lamppost-backstreet.com n gulliversrestaurant.com
HIVE & HONEY AT THE NEW MARRIOTT IRVINE SPECTRUM
It’s hard to argue with Hive & Honey, the rooftop lounge high atop the new Marriott Irvine Spectrum. n marriott.com
The interior design at North Italia is cool and contemporary, as is the attractive crowd dining there, like at the haute happy hour. n northitaliarestaurant.com
Best Billionaire’s Bistro
Andrei’s is one of the select Irvine restaurants not paying rent to our largest landlord—or to anyone, for that matter. It helps to own the land, and the office towers on it. Opened by the Olenicoff family in the name of their son/brother, the profits go to charity. The stylish restaurant draws a corporate crowd on weekdays. But in-the-know locals realize that restaurants located away from retail centers are great choices,
especially on weekends. Easy parking. Great cocktails. Upscale ambience. n andreisrestaurant.com
Tastiest Weekday Breakfast
We can’t get enough of S’Wich, a culinary treasure of a cafe tucked into a center near Blizzard, Hoag and Kaiser. The chef/owners are the nicest, and the food—breakfast burrito, chilaquiles, vibrant fresh fruit plates, addictive house glazed bacon—is worth searching out on weekday mornings (closed on weekends, alas). Lunch is amazing as well. n swichbistro.com
Top Power Spot
EATS Kitchen & Bar @ Hotel Irvine draws Irvine’s powerbrokers, civic and nonprofit leaders and tech industry leaders for breakfast and lunch confabs, while happy hour and later night action at Red Bar and Lounge draws a younger up-and-coming crowd. n hotelirvine.com
Irvine Image Award Irvine is diverse, safe, successful and educated, and at once global and local. The restaurant that best represents all these things is
Best Restaurant 2018 Our standard for the top restaurant in town is that it can hold its own anywhere in the world, with cuisine and a dining experience that meets the high standards of connoisseurs, critics and fans. We believe that Ootoro Sushi is that restaurant. It would fare well against the best sushi restaurants in L.A. and Tokyo for quality of the fish and its perfect preparation and presentation. Yes, it's expensive. But best-in-its-class cuisine like this is worth it. n ootorosushi.com
TOP CRITIC CHOOSES IRVINE’S BEST PLACES TO EAT Our city placed nine restaurant’s on OC Register critic Brad A. Johnson’s 75 Best Places to Eat in Orange County, recently updated for 2018. North Italia #22 “The pizza is very good. The pastas are even better.” Ootoro Sushi #35 “The quality of fish is strictly first rate.” Meizhou Dongpo #39 “Consider the dan dan noodles, the best example of Sichuan street-style noodles you’ll find in O.C.” Del Frisco’s Grille #46 “Hands-down the best overall restaurant at the Irvine Spectrum.” Kang Ho-Dong Baekjeong #49 “This Korean barbecue house [is] the best in O.C.” HiroNori #60 “This is the best ramen in Orange County.” Adya #66 “Easily the best Indian restaurant in O.C.”* Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen #71 “This is the best place for miles to get a great margarita.”
There’s something a little bit decadent about a gigantic brunch buffet like the abundant one at TAPs Fish House and Brewery. Select from seafood on ice, omelets made to order, carnivorous carving stations, and delicious desserts, and much more. It’s the best splurge in town. n tapsfishhouse.com
Haidilao Hot Pot #75 “The dancing noodles are a must.” *The critic focuses on the original Adya in Anaheim, but most dishes are available at Irvine location. OOTORO SUSHI
JUNE 2018 10
REACH OUT AND JOIN THE
OC Teachers of the Year: Irvine has two! EDUCATION
CONVERSATION ON FACEBOOK AT @IRVINECITYNEWS
by Irvine City News staff
he Orange County Department of Education revealed its 2018 Teachers of the Year recently, as Superintendent Al Mijares and an entourage traveled to six locations in a big yellow school bus to surprise six winning teachers in person. Two of the six stops were in Irvine: Kari Tucker-McCorkhill, who teaches psychology at Irvine Valley College, is the only community college honoree. And Irvine High’s Archana Jain is the second local educator to be named one of six Orange County Teachers of the Year. Archana Jain, who has been an IUSD math teacher for more than 12 years, was surprised with the Teacher of the Year honor in front of her students in her classroom. Superintendent Mijares, IUSD Superintendent Terry
Walker, Irvine High Principal Monica Colunga, IUSD Board Member Lauren Brooks, Irvine Teachers Association President Teri Sorey, and members of her family were present, along with other OCDE officials Prior to joining IUSD, Jain was an aerospace engineer for a decade. She was also named the district’s 2018 High School Teacher of the Year. She has encouraged and inspired young women to get involved in STEM, and is a mentor for the Robotics Club, the Society of Women Engineers, the Engineering Club, Astronomy Club and OC Maker Challenge. Jain not only uses her experience and impressive background in the classroom but she has also used it to create an engineering pathway for Irvine High School students. She formed the Irvine Technology and Engineering Center to give students access to rapid prototyping tools and industry software. By establishing
irvinecitynews.com KARI TUCKER-MCCORKHILL TEACHES PSYCHOLOGY AT IRVINE VALLEY COLLEGE AND IS THE ONLY COMMUNITY COLLEGE HONOREE
a dynamic, project-based environment, Jain has helped students find academic success and purpose. “This is such a huge honor,” Jain said. “We are all capable of achieving more than we think if we persist and believe in our abilities.” Kari Tucker-McCorkhill has earned a reputation among students and colleagues at Irvine Valley College as a dedicated, enthusiastic and passionate educator. One example of her devotion to education: she dedicated the proceeds of a statistics book she published to fund student scholarships at the college. Tucker-McCorkhill constantly strives to make her psychology lessons relatable with real-world examples. Her students have used psychology principles they learned in her class to create a mentoring system aimed at helping new students adjust to the college life. “With many years of experience in the classroom, I have come to realize that truly effective teaching is a career-long endeavor that requires constant attention to the most important goal we have as educators – to inspire and encourage student’s learning and growth,” TuckerMcCorkhill said. Congratulations to two of Irvine’s outstanding teachers. They and the other teachers of the year were awarded with a trophy and prizes, and all six will be guests of honor at a dinner gala held at the Disneyland Hotel in November. There, they’ll receive cash awards from sponsor SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union and the Dr. James Hines Foundation, established by Orange County residents Bill and Sue Gross. The five Orange County finalists who teach prekindergarten through grade 12 are eligible to compete in the California Teachers of the Year program. n
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UCI and the American dream
There are numerous ways to measure the success of a university. UCI is the 9th-best public university in the U.S., according to U.S. News & World Report, and seven of its graduate programs are also in the top 10 among the nation’s public universities. Going to college should be fun, too (at least we think so). Money magazine revealed what locals know: it’s a quick trip from Irvine to the beach. That fact, combined with UCI’s academic excellence, inspired the magazine to name UCI the top school in the country for beach lovers. But perhaps UCI’s greatest recent success has been recognition of how life-changing receiving a degree from the university can be. Forbes just ranked 300 of the country’s colleges and universities on their ability to deliver the best bang for the tuition buck based on tuition costs, school quality, post-grad earnings, student debt and graduation success. UCI came in fourth, trailing only UCLA, UC Berkeley and Brigham Young University, while beating out Harvard, Stanford and Princeton. Forbes also rated UCI No. 2 for having the most success with upward mobility. Which makes sense, as in recent classes as many as half of students have been the first in their family to graduate from college. And the U.S. Dept. of Education has designated UCI as a Hispanic, Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institution, demonstrating the university’s dedication to providing a worldclass education to every qualified student. “From The New York Times’ naming UCI No. 1 for doing the most for the American dream to Forbes’ best-value ranking, we’re thrilled to once again be recognized as a leading campus in the United States for providing unparalleled opportunities for all of our students to succeed, no matter what their background,” said UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman. “We are proud to offer California’s brightest young people a world-class education and the means to pursue the lives they want to lead as productive and informed citizens.”
For the second year in a row, the Irvine CubeSat STEM Program has been selected as one of only 34 small satellites nationwide to fly on NASA space missions planned to launch in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Beckman High School, Irvine High School, Northwood High School, Portola High School, University High School, and Woodbridge High School each formed teams of up to 30 students responsible for assembling and testing one component of the nanosatellite. Irvine CubeSat is the only high school chosen this year by NASA to participate in this prestigious program, otherwise reserved for top universities and research centers. Powered by $150,000 in seed funding from Irvine Public Schools Foundation (IPSF), the Irvine CubeSat’s mission is to teach, train, and inspire the next generation of STEM professionals, while creating opportunities for underrepresented groups in STEM-related fields. And also demonstrate “an X-ray Cadmium Zinc Telluride (CZT) sensor and electrospray thrusters.” Corporate sponsors include FivePoint, Ingersoll-Rand/Trane, Cisco, Resilient and Microsemi, Google, Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, Bilingual Interactive, Meggitt Defense, Virgin Orbit, and Thales.
The Midnight Special
The first full season of concerts is underway at FivePoint Amphitheatre and runs through Sept. 30. The venue is just steps from the Irvine train station, making it easy to take either Metrolink or Amtrak trains to the venue. Getting back home via the rails is an issue, due to a lack of late-night service. Now, for select concerts during the season Amtrak Pacific Surfliner will provide late-night service from Irvine toward Anaheim/Los Angeles and San Clemente/San Diego with trains departing 20 minutes after concerts. Note that it’s not all the concerts on the schedule, but does include Styx and Joan Jett, Chicago, Dirty Heads, Foreigner, Lady Antebellum & Darius Rucker, Jason Mraz, Rascal Flatts and more. Concert attendees who take Pacific Surfliner train to the FivePoint Amphitheatre can present their valid ticket at the gate to receive complimentary Fast Lane access, which allows expedited entry. For more information, including the full list of concerts, promotional fares and detailed train schedules, please visit pacificsurfliner.com/ livenation. n
AT THESE LOCATIONS DIAMOND PLAZA
2700 ALTON PKWY.
BCD TOFU HOUSE
2700 ALTON PKWY.
2710 ALTON PKWY.
BON EPI PATISSERIE CAFE
2750 ALTON PKWY.
AIRPORT EXPRESS SANDWICH
3198 AIRWAY # H
WAHOO’S FISH TACO
AL PHILLIPS CLEANERS
2636 DUPONT # 30
IRVINE CO. APT. COMMUNITIES
110 INNOVATION DR.
RACQUET CLUB OF IRVINE
5 ETHEL COPLEN WAY
JUICE IT UP
5365 #G ALTON PKWY.
5365 #D ALTON PKWY.
5366 #C ALTON PKWY.
SUNNY FRESH CLEANERS
5367 #E ALTON PKWY.
6721 QUAIL HILL PKWY.
6670 ALTON PKWY.
6650 ALTON PKWY.
WAHOO’S FISH TACOS
81 FORTUNE DR.
15215 BARRANCA #600
ARBOR ANIMAL HOSPITAL
JUICE IT UP
14031 JEFFERY RD.
BIKRAM YOGA IRVINE
IRVINE FINE ARTS CENTER
14321 YALE / WALNUT
HERITAGE PARK LIBRARY
13925 YALE #135
13925 YALE #155
IRVINE FAMILY HEALTH CENTER
14150 CULVER DR.
SUPER IRVINE MARKET
14120 CULVER DR.
CASPIAN PERSIAN CUISINE
14100 CULVER DR.
3963 IRVINE BLVD
WHAT REALLY MATTERS
JUNE 2018 12
Top Through 6.21 “Harmony of Light” at Irvine Museum
It’s the last chance to see a beautiful selection of paintings depicting spring in California by Impressionists working a century ago. irvinemuseumcollection.uci.edu
6.1-.6.23 Ballet at the Barclay
June is ballet and dance season at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, with recitals and performances by The Wooden Floor, Classical Dance Center, Southland Ballet Academy, Pacific Dance, and Focus Dance Center. thebarclay.org
6.2-6.9 “American Idiot” at UCI
Green Day’s chart-topping 2005
CLIFF CRAMP AT GREAT PARK GALLERY
Things To Do in June punk rock concept album is brought vibrantly to the stage for six performances at Claire Trevor Theatre. arts.uci.edu/event/americanidiot
6.3 Super Pet Adoption
It’s the 12th annual event at the Irvine Animal Care Center offering the opportunity to choose from 600 rescued animals, and give one a home. There are food trucks, silent auction items and more. cityofirvine.org/irvine-animalcare-center/super-pet-adoption
6.3-8.19 Cliff Cramp at Great Park Gallery
The influential Cal State Fullerton professor is a painter and
illustrator whose commissioned and original artwork includes paintings and digital media inspired by “Star Wars,” “Stranger Things” and many others. cityofirvine.org/orange-countygreat-park/palm-court-artscomplex
6.13-6.14 Bittersweet Farewell to Donald McKayle
UCI’s dance legend will be honored as UCI Etude Ensemble performs three of his masterworks. The June 13 performance will be followed by a reception and memorial event for McKayle. arts.uci.edu/event/bittersweetfarewell
6.16 Chicago and REO Speedwagon at FivePoint Amphitheatre
It will be a hit-filled Saturday in the Park as the two classic rock bands share the bill (along with singer songwriter Michael Tolcher) at the new amphitheater. fivepointamphitheatre.com
6.22 Super Swim Lesson
The city hosts its annual drowning awareness gathering at the Woollett Aquatics Center with a swim lesson for ages 3 and older, followed by a swim session with slides and diving boards, and a showing of “Despicable Me 3.” cityofirvine.org/aquatics-centers/ super-swim-lesson
6.22-7.7 Movies on the Lawn
The Orange County Great Park will feature family-friendly movies this summer, with classics (“Stagecoach,” “Brigadoon” and “Clambake”) on Friday nights and newer animated favorites (“Ferdinand,” “The LEGO Ninjago Movie” and “Peter Rabbit”) on Saturday nights. Bring a picnic or order from a gourmet food truck. cityofirvine.org/news-media/ calendar-of-events/event/movieslawn-stagecoach
6.23 Kevin Hart at FivePoint Amphitheatre
The actor and comedian brings The Irresponsible Tour to Irvine’s new outdoor concert venue. fivepointamphitheatre.com
CHICAGO AND REO SPEEDWAGON AT FIVEPOINT AMPHITHEATRE
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