Wednesday, April 27, 2011

SoCal Wildflower Fest and Hike-A-Thon

OC Parks is sponsoring a SoCal Wildflower Fest and Hike-A-Thon (presented by OC Hiking Club) this Saturday, April 30 from 9 am – 2 pm at Irvine Regional and Santiago Oaks Parks. The celebration will feature wildflower exploration, various levels of hiking, an Expo Fest, outdoor skills clinics, live music, and activities designed to raise money for OC Hiking Club and connect people to the wonders of nature.

Multiple nature hikes will be offered at the event for hikers of all skill levels and ages. The Vista Hike at 9 am is an 8-mile advanced level hike with a 1,000-foot elevation gain. The Exploration Hike at 9:15 am is an intermediate 4-mile hike with a 500-foot elevation gain. The Wildflower Hike at 9:30 a.m. is a moderate level 3-mile route with no elevation gain.

Various skill clinics will be available at the Fest after the hikes including introductions to Southern California Wildflowers, ultra light backpacking 101, how to get your kids on the trail, lessons in high altitude backpacking, tips for out of town day hikes, cooking on the trail, returning to the trail after an injury, water purification on the trail for backpackers, orienteering map and compass education and much more. Bring your dog and learn tips for keeping your pooch safe on the trails. Photographers will have a unique opportunity to capture the blooming wildflower season and awards will be presented for the Third Annual Wildflower Photo Contest. Take a relaxing break and enjoy a yoga class or invigorating massage in the great outdoors. A BBQ lunch will be available for purchase.

Registration begins at 8 am at Irvine Regional Park. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children under 18. Registration includes a t-shirt, all activities, parking, and goodies. Each hike acts as a fundraiser for OC Hiking Club, a non-profit organization, and donating $1 commits you to raise $100 to the cause. Prizes will be awarded to the top hike fundraisers and announced along with the winner of the OC Register/OC Hiking Club Wildflower Photo Contest at 1 p.m. at the event.

Location: Irvine Regional Park, 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, CA 92869
Contact and Registration:

Happy hiking!

listening to: NPR's first listen of Fleet Foxes' "Helplessness Blues"

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Be a "Fearless Woman" ACTivist

Here is your chance to be a “Fearless Woman” ACTivist. This Mother’s Day, ACT Today! (Autism Care and Treatment Today) will be hosting its annual “Fearless Women, Mother’s & Daughters Moving Mountains” fundraising luncheon on Monday, May 2nd at 10:30am.

Located at the luxurious Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Coast, Calif., the Mother’s Day event brings together the philanthropic community of Orange County with the goal of celebrating mothers and daughters while supporting children with autism.

This year’s keynote speaker is 21-year-old Katherine Schwarzenegger, daughter of Maria Shriver and actor/politician Arnold Schwarzenegger. Her new book titled, Rock What You’ve Got, Secrets to Loving your Inner and Outer Beauty from Someone Who Has Been There and Back describes the difficulties women have in developing a healthy body image and the importance of accepting oneself for our unique gifts.
"I want women to read this book and feel that it's ok to be themselves and to understand that every woman can be beautiful no matter what size and shape she is,” said Schwarzenegger. “You don't have to look like you're on a billboard to feel beautiful.

The luncheon will open with a silent auction from 10:30am to noon, which will include a variety of health & beauty packages, trips, and one-of-a-kind experiences. Special guests will include actress/singer/author Gloria Loring, the Restless actress Kate Linder, Lisa Foxx (DJ from 104.3 MYfm radio), renowned Los Angeles photographer Mary Ann Halpin,  and special musical performance by country singer/songwriter, Stephanie Quayle. Additional guests include autism ACTivists: Doreen Granpeesheh (Founder of ACT-Today and CARD CEO) and Lisa Ackerman (Founder of Talk About Curing Autism – TACA).

During the event, ACT Today! will be honoring OC-resident Becky Estepp, a fearless mother and autism advocate. "It is important that women take time out of their busy lives to be refreshed and inspired,” said Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson, ACT Today!’s executive director. “This luncheon provides the opportunity for women to celebrate their fearlessness as mothers and daughters while raising funds for families struggling to access and afford services for their children with autism."

Tickets are $150 for adults and $100 for guests 18 and under. For sponsorship opportunities and/or to register for the event, please contact Laura Marroquin at For more information about ACT Today!, visit

on my iTunes: Regina Spektor's "Us"

Friday, April 15, 2011

Paper Crane Folding Event to Support Japan

To help raise hope and spread awareness for the victims of the recent Japanese earthquake and tsunami, Segerstrom Center for the Arts and the Philharmonic Society of Orange County are hosting an origami paper folding event on Tuesday, April 19 from 5 – 9 p.m. in the lobby of the RenĂ©e and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. The community is invited to learn to fold and make paper cranes, with the ambitious goal of creating 1,000 cranes. In Japanese culture, the crane is a symbol of hope, luck and prosperity and folklore says the act of folding 1,000 cranes grants a wish. The completed cranes, with our wish of health and recovery for the Japanese people, will be sent to cultural arts organizations in the affected areas of Japan.

The paper folding event coincides with a concert by the internationally acclaimed Tokyo String Quartet in Samueli Theater. Members of the Tokyo String Quartet and Japanese Consul General Junichi Ihara are expected to be on hand to participate in making cranes. The ensemble is performing as part of the Philharmonic Society’s JapanOC, a festival being held in partnership with Carnegie Hall to explore the fascinating diversity of Japanese and Japanese-American arts and culture. While by no means necessary, donations for Japanese relief efforts will also be accepted at the concert.

The public is invited, and origami paper will be provided.

on my iTunes: Chris Brown's "Yeah 3x"

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Grilled Cheese

As you may already know, April is National Grilled Cheese Month. What you may not know is that James Beard nominated chef, John Cuevas of the crow bar & kitchen, serves up daily renditions of a classic grilled cheese sandwich all day, every day! Just ask for ‘Today’s Grilled Cheese Sandwich’ to find twists on the favorite comfort food dish. 

A few of Chef Cuevas’ unique grilled cheese sandwiches of the day include:

• Monterey Jack and Gorgonzola, Cremini Mushroom on Wheat Bread Grilled Cheese (pictured above)
• Smoked Mozzarella and Provolone with Selection of Cured Meats and Spicy Mustard on Wheat Bread
• Smoked Mozzarella and Grilled Zucchini, Heirloom Tomatoes and Olive Mayo on Country Bread
• Aged Cheddar and Braised Short Rib, Pickled Onion Aioli on Potato Bread
• Danish Havarti and Crispy Pork Belly, Haas Avocado, Caramelized Onion on Sourdough Bread

So, grilled cheese lovers looking for somewhere to celebrate the month of cheesy-gooey-goodness in Orange County, stop by the crow bar & kitchen.

the crow bar & kitchen
2325 East Coast Highway
Corona Del Mar, CA 92625
949.675.0070 |

on my grooveshark: Fleetwood Mac's "Say You Will"

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Japan Benefit at Kona Gallery in SC

It's been a month since the devastating 9.0 earthquake and deadly tsunami hit Japan. The fallout is still being felt worldwide. International Medical Corps, ZUMA Press, DOUBLEtruck Magazine, plus over two dozen merchants in San Clemente area have teamed up with the KONA Gallery and Photojournalism Workshop Center to throw a benefit for the victims. The benefit will auction and raffle off over $100,000 worth of goods and services.

This Saturday, April 16th, Kona Gallery in San Clemente is hosting a silent auction and raffle to raise money for the victims of the Sendai area earthquake and tsunami. The event will be from 6p.m. until 9p.m. All are welcome to participate in this cause and to be apart of a silent auction/raffle and general event to remember and benefit the victims.

Scott Mc Kiernan, owner of The KONA Gallery and Photojournalism Center, has generously donated all of the Limited Edition DOUBLEtruck Magazine prints in the current exhibition of 29 Seeing Double Exhibition, the 20x30 prints are framed in museum frames, valued at $1,500 each, to be auctioned off, totaling over $43,000.

Some awesome San Clemente companies have contributed to the silent auction: Del Mar Beauty Supply/Salon Bamboo, Chin’s Acupuncture, 5 Elements Spa, Sonny’s Pizza, The Cellar, Peligroso, Pizza Port, Bliss Boutique, San Clemente Wine Co, Beachfire, Skullcandy, Rainbow, Casa Tropicana, Nick’s, Hobie, Asana Fit, First Team Real Estate, Runmore, OltreMare, OC Tykes, Beach City Florist and St. Roy at Vine.

100% of the proceeds will go to Japan, through International Medical Corps and ZUMA Press's Tokyo Bureau.

For more information about the silent auction and The KONA Gallery, contact Rebekah Colby at (949) 481-3747 or email


on my grooveshark: The Shivers' "Beauty"

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


[ The 2009 Event.]

Executive Chef Craig Strong Joins Forces with Other Area Celebrity Chefs in Effort to End Childhood Hunger

On May 22nd, 2011, Montage Laguna Beach will host Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation®, one of America’s leading culinary benefits, in hopes of eliminating childhood hunger across the nation.

Seven celebrity chefs will share their passion and skills in preparing fresh farm-to-table delicacies to further Share Our Strength’s dream of ending childhood hunger by 2015. Attendees will enjoy an afternoon of delectable dishes, wine, signature cocktails, live music, and the picturesque panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean at Montage Laguna Beach. “In our ongoing commitment to the culinary focus at Montage Laguna Beach, we will be pairing each chef with local farms and wineries that will allow our guests to experience hyper-local food and wine for the ultimate farm-to-table experience,” said Todd Orlich, General Manager of Montage Laguna Beach.

Executive Chef Craig Strong of Studio, Montage Laguna Beach’s Signature Restaurant, will be joined by:
  • Chef Scott Conant –Scarpetta Beverly Hills & Food Network judge and host
  • Chef Richard Ruskell – Executive Pastry Chef at Montage Beverly Hills, Food Network “Challenge” winner and star of upcoming Food Network “Last Cake Standing”
  • Chef Mark Peel – Campanile, Los Angeles & Food Network “Top Chef Masters”
  • Chef Joachim Splichal – Patina, Los Angeles
  • Chef Alex Stratta – Alex, Las Vegas
  • Chef Alan Wong – Alan Wong’s Restaurant, Honolulu 
“Montage is proud to support such a wonderful cause and be a part of an amazing organization,” said Todd Orlich. “We are committed to Share Our Strength and that is why we have asked some of our closest friends in the industry to come together to help raise awareness for childhood hunger.”

As contributors to the charity’s cause, guests can choose between two of the following event packages:
  • Celebrity Chef Tasting 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased in advance for $150 per person or at the door for $175 per person.
  • VIP “Meet the Chefs” Reception 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Complete the night with VIP treatment and a sunset toast. Enjoy the Celebrity Chef Tasting followed by an after party to mingle with the chefs. Valet parking and post-event gifts are included. Tickets purchased in advance are $250 per person and $275 at the door.

The revenue from each ticket purchased for Taste of the Nation® goes to Share Our Strength’s “No Kid Hungry” campaign that advocates ending childhood hunger in America by increasing access to nutrition programs and investing in effective community organizations to fight hunger.

For more details regarding Taste of the Nation at Montage Laguna Beach and to purchase tickets, visit or call (877) 26TASTE (82783).

About Share Our Strength
Share Our Strength®, a national nonprofit, is ending childhood hunger in America by connecting children with the nutritious food they need to lead healthy, active lives. Through its No Kid Hungry(tm) campaign-a national effort to end childhood hunger in America by 2015-Share Our Strength ensures children in need are enrolled in effective federal nutrition programs, invests in community organizations fighting hunger, teaches families how to cook healthy meals on a budget, and builds public-private partnerships to end hunger, both nationally and at the state level. Working closely with the culinary industry and relying on the strength of its volunteers, Share Our Strength hosts innovative culinary fundraising events and develops pioneering cause marketing campaigns that support No Kid Hungry. Visit to get involved in the No Kid Hungry campaign.

About Montage Laguna Beach
Montage, set on a coastal bluff overlooking the Pacific in the heart of the vibrant arts community of Laguna Beach, offers 30 acres of oceanfront luxury.  The 250-room craftsman-style resort features beachfront accommodations; a 20,000-square-foot spa; destination dining at Studio; a wealth of outdoor recreation, including three pools, beach and water sports; a fine art collection; and more than 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space. For information and reservations, please contact Montage, toll-free, at 1-888-715-6700; or visit the Web site at

Friday, April 8, 2011

Chef Fabio Helps Olive Crest Raise Money for OC Children!

[Left to Right:  Casey Reinhardt of Casey’s Cupcakes, Darrel Anderson, Olive Crest Chairman of the Board and President, Retired, Knott Anderson Enterprises, Marsha Anderson, Darrel’s wife and Orange County philanthropist, and Chef Fabio Viviani]

OCG: You recently participated in a fundraiser here in Orange County with Olive Crest called “Harvesting Hope.” Did you have a good time?
CF: I did! I had a great time!  Raising money for a good cause and sharing my recipes is what I love to do.

OCG: What was your favorite part of the night?
CF: The auction was a lot of fun and I look forward to cooking for several of the generous donors to Olive Crest.  Casey’s Cupcakes were delicious too!

OCG: Why was this cause close to your heart?
CF:I love kids and any time I have the chance to give a child a better life, I will do anything to help. 

OCG: How did you like Orange County/Newport Beach?
CF:It’s beautiful! How can you go wrong with the ocean at your doorstep? I live in LA and it’s much more peaceful down here.

OCG: Apparently your cooking demonstration of the Mediterranean Style Pan Roasted Chicken was very entertaining and quite the crowd pleaser. Where does your sense of humor come from? 
CF: My grandma taught me to have fun in the kitchen and that is what I try to do.  To me, cooking is spending time with family and friends and enjoying the company, wherever you are.  

OCG: What’s your favorite dish to prepare?
CF:I love risotto.  It’s easy and delicious and you can make it a thousand ways.  I dream of new ways to make risotto. 

OCG: What’s next for you? Any events or projects in the works?
CF:This May, I’m coming out with an iPad application with Bertolli Olive Oil.  Download it and you’ll get 16 of my exclusive step-by-step videos of some of my all-time favorite recipes.  It’s going to be a lot of fun.

OCG: To help raise money, you auctioned off a four-course meal prepared by you for the winner at their house. Are you excited for that very private cooking gig? Have you already thought of the menu you’ll prepare?
CF: Definitely. It will probably be something light and delicious for the spring using fresh herbs and vegetables. I love grilling vegetables and even fruit.  

OCG: If you had to give our readers the number one secret to being a great chef, what would it be?
CF: I can’t tell you my secrets!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Olive Crest's Annual Harvesting Hope Event

I had the opportunity to attend Olive Crest's annual gala on March 19th- the Harvesting Hope for Kids event at Newport's Big Canyon Country Club. I went last year just before we printed a spotlight on Olive Crest. The Olive Crest Foundation has transformed the lives of over 50,000 abused, neglected, and at-risk children and their families in Orange County. Olive Crest is truly one of the most inspiring nonprofits in OC. 

At this year's Harvesting Hope For Kids event (which is an annual gala and fundraiser), we had the pleasure of watching Chef Fabio of Top Chef give a cooking demonstration. I got the chance to meet Chef Fabio personally (and have him sign a copy of his cookbook for me!), and he is so nice (and hilarious) in person. 

He was a great addition to the night's events, which also included a silent auction, a live auction, an opportunity drawing, more food and wine than you could imagine, and a cupcake bar!

Casey's Cupcakes provided the goods- from cupcakes to cake pops- that got us all salivating. Casey's Cupcakes just opened a location in Laguna Beach, by the way! Here I am with my friend Samira, enjoying a cupcake (or two) from Casey's Cupcakes:

Check out Olive Crest on their website (one simple way to help is by registering your Ralph's card- it's free!)
and read our article on Olive Crest here.


on my iTunes: Bon Iver's "Brackett, WI"
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