Old Town Temecula Tour #LorimarSleepover

Lorimar Winery in Temecula. #LorimarSleepoverI worked with Lorimar Winery and VisistTemeculaValley.com to put together a fun wine tasting trip to Temecula for myself and 7 other bloggers including a sleepover in a home just off these lovely vineyards. Our costs were generously covered by several companies.  All opinions are my own.

So pretty, right?! This was the view of Lorimar Winery off my balcony on our second day of our #LorimarSleepover.  You can check out our first day in of wine tasting in Temecula here. I can’t imagine heading home after a day of wine tasting so staying in town is key. The rental property behind Lorimar is amazing and has you right among the grapes and horses. And with views like these in the morning, well, they were lucky we left on our own. There was talk of squatting.

Hot air balloons in Temecula. #LorimarSleepoverAnd then I heard Lauren outside on the balcony gasping. I looked over and there was a hot air balloon straight out in front of us, pretty much at eye level. It was huge. And then we noticed others that had already taken off just flying over the vineyards. I had heard that Temecula is known for this (they have a huge balloon festival each year) but had never really wanted to do it. But when you see them in action, it is awesome! [Read more…]

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#LorimarSleepover Wine Tasting Trip to Temecula

Wine Tasting Trip to Lorimar Winery. #LorimarSleepoverOn my previous trip to Temecula, I fell in love with Lorimar Winery. Not only are the grounds gorgeous, but the people are also my favorite. So when the marketing department said I should bring a group of bloggers to visit, I was SUPER excited.  They also invited us to stay in a rental home behind the property for the night. We worked with VisitTemeculaValley.com to put together a really fun wine tasting adventure. The visit was a blast! Read on to find out why I’ve fallen in love with the Temecula Valley!  [Read more…]

Bacchus Bar and Bistro in Irvine

Bacchus Bar and Bistro in Irvine. Last Friday my husband and I were invited to Bacchus Bar and Bistro to taste some wines and delicious food from their Bistro menu. All opinions are mine and it is my opinion that you need to go and try this restaurant out for yourself.

Located in a quiet shopping center in Irvine (Sand Canyon and the 405 Fwy), Bacchus is a hidden gem that I am pleased to share with you. I’ve shopped in this center for years and thought this was a just a wine shop. And while that may be how it started out, it has evolved in to a full fledged bistro with great beers and wines and a fantastic menu that I can’t wait to eat my way through.

Wine everywhere at Bacchus Bar and Bistro in Irvine. The interior was larger than I expected but still felt intimate. It was the perfect date night spot but also seems perfect for a girl’s night out situation. There is a tiny little patio out front which I am now dreaming about for sipping rose on a summer evening. From the moment my husband and I walked inside we asked ourselves how we had never been there before. And of course, started planning our return visits. I love how they have the wines displayed. It feels like you are in a wine cellar and it made it feel very warm and cozy.

The food is exceptional at Bacchus Bar and Bistro in Irvine. I thought it was just a wine bar, but it is not. It's delicious! Along with a great list of beer and wines, Bacchus also has an awesome menu. There are plenty of plates to share and dishes that will appeal to all kinds of palettes. This is not a steakhouse kind of a place so if the men in your group are looking for a hearty steak, they aren’t going to find it here. But they will find a delicious looking burger (on my list of things to try on my next visit) and other hearty sandwiches (I’ve got my eye on you too, Lobster Grilled Cheese!) as well as some foodie favorites like a lamb quesadilla and veal and fontina meatballs. So instead of stopping here for a drink before or after dinner, this is where you should spend your night. And on the weekends, they feature live music. Such a great spot!

Great atmosphere and rad staff at Bacchus Bar and Bistro in Irvine. The space is comfortable and the staff is crazy knowledgeable. The decor is simple and there are two televisions for viewing sports, which of course, my husband loved. The TVs didn’t make it feel masculine or like a sports bar at all, which I liked.  When we arrived for our 6 pm reservation there were only a few tables filled. But by the time we left, the place was full. Be sure to make a reservation to ensure your spot!

Build your own cheese board at Bacchus Bar and Bistro, Irvine.Who doesn’t love a good cheese plate? They make it super easy to order what you like by filling out their order form. I loved that there were some straight forward choices but then a few that sounded totally unusual like the Barely Buzzed Espresso and Lavender! I knew my husband wouldn’t be in to that so I saved that one for next time I go. But we did try the Chevre with Rose Preserves. The rose preserves were way more subtle than I was expecting and was absolutely delicious. We kept it simple by ordering the French Bread, but it came out warm and crusty and was ridiculously good as only warm bread can be.

A delicious Pinot Noir from a great date night spot in Irvine: Bacchus Bar and Bistro.Just as I was about to order my standard Sauvignon Blanc, our server, Julia, came by and offered us a glass of Pinto Noir. One of their best customers was in, who loves to share his wine. Since I am really enjoying trying new wines, I decided to go for it. It was delicious! I’m finding that people who love wine really love to share their passion with others and I think that is so cool. And I was totally right in my feeling that I would probably enjoy reds and just wasn’t tasting the right ones yet.

Micro brews on tap and beer samplers at Bacchus Bar and Bistro in Irvine.My husband decided to go with a beer sampler. He listed off his preferences to Julia and she helped him pick 4 beers that he would enjoy. The staff here is well trained and are so helpful with navigating the beer and wines on the menu. One of his selections was a seasonal pumpkin ale, which at first he was unsure about, but ended up really liking it. This is absolutely one of those places that you and your husband or boyfriend would both be happy with. They have done an amazing job of being a well rounded bistro.

Fresh, warm French bread to eat with our amazing cheese plate. The chevre with rose preserves was amazing!  At Bacchus Bar and Bistro in Irvine.Our cheese plate arrived and we enjoyed every single second of it. Because, cheese.  The presentation was pretty and it was the perfect way to start off our food adventure.  Something to know before you go, though, is that the kitchen is closed on Sundays. But cheese plates are always available.

Lobster and Chorizo Fondue! Delicious Brussels Sprouts! LOVED the food at Bacchus Bar and Bistro in Irvine. And then the other dishes started coming out. When you see a Lobster and Chorizo Fondue on the menu, you just have to try it. And it was so good. Real good. Look at how the cheese is all crusty around the edges! And I’ve never met a Brussels Sprout I didn’t like. The ones on the Bistro menu were mixed with Chinese sausage, shishito peppers and fried garlic in a light sesame ponzu dressing. I think my husband got to taste these but I pretty much ate that whole plate by myself. And I’d do it again without hesitation.

Pork Belly Tacos at Bacchus Bar and Bistro in Irvine.And if I could hold hands with these Pork Belly Tacos, I totally would. The flavor was bold and smoky with a little tang from the kimchi salsa. This is one of those dishes that you immediately start thinking about how often you can get there to eat them. Like, I was trying to figure out if my kids could play out front while I ate them on the patio so I wouldn’t have to find a babysitter. That’s how amazing the flavor was. As if I hadn’t wanted to return before, these made me want to come back and try absolutely everything on the menu. The menu items are total comfort food but with a twist. They are not your run of the mill dishes but tweaked to make them interesting and memorable. And they nailed each and every one of them.

Then, when you find out the kitchen is about the size of your own tiny kitchen at home, you shake your head and marvel at how the chef puts out this amazing food.  The more we spoke with the staff, the more we fell in love with Bacchus. They are serious about running a great restaurant and are doing a fantastic job.

Butterscotch Pots de Creme! Yum! At Bacchus Bar and Bistro in Irvine. I barely had room for dessert but you don’t say no when there is a Butterscotch Pots de Creme on the menu. The menu has pairing suggestions but since I am pretty unfamiliar with port, I decided to stay closer to what I know I love. Julia suggested an albarino as something new to try (which I ended up taking a bottle of that home with me as well, it was the Marques de Caceres 2012 Albarino). The size of the dessert was perfect and it was just as creamy and dreamy as I hoped it would be.

The dessert pairing was SO good at Bacchus Bar and Bistro in Irvine.And because Julia is super awesome, she brought out a little of the port for me to try alongside the pots de creme. It was magical. To smell the port on its own was like smelling gasoline. It was harsh on my nose and burned from the alcohol. But when sipped following a bite of the dessert, it brought out these amazing caramel tones and almost a burnt sugar flavor. Magnificent! I loved that she went out of her way to teach me something and it really showed just how great the bistro is at putting together a well thought out food and beverage program. We all have our preferences and the things we love. But sometimes we really just need to put our trust in the hands of the professionals to truly be wowed.

Come to Bacchus Bar and Bistro in Irvine for a yummy meal and sample some wines, then take a bottle home with you. Bacchus was delightful in every way. I highly recommend you go and check it out for yourself. I was blown away by what they are able to do in that small space. Now, who wants to meet me there?  Head to their site to see the full menu and hours!

Bacchus Bar and Bistro

6735 Quail Hill Parkway

Irvine, CA 92603

www.bacchusbarandbistro.com

Brio Tuscan Grille at Irvine Spectrum

Brio Tuscan Grille at Irvine Spectrum. If you’ve noticed, I’ve begun sharing my favorite local (Orange County, CA) spots every other Friday here on the blog. You may want to check out all my posts tagged Orange County, to see where else I have been!

Today I’m sharing about my first time at Brio, one of the new restaurants at The Irvine Spectrum. The Spectrum is like my second home. It is close by, has great shops and restaurants and fun stuff to keep the kids entertained. When I saw that some new restaurants were opening up I couldn’t wait to try them out. So when I won an Instagram contest run by the Spectrum which included dinner at Brio, I was pretty dang excited.

We got our hair done by My Blow LA at the Irvine Spectrum for Style Week OCThe contest was in conjunction with Style Week OC and included myself and my best friend getting our hair blown out at My Blow LA. It was so awesome to get a little pampering done. And I only had one minor heart attach when I realized they probably weren’t using a sulphate free shampoo which can cause a Keratin treatment to wear off sooner. And it was kind of funny to watch the gal try to curl my hair. Since the treatment pretty much straightens your hair, albeit pretty temporarily, it would not take the curl when she tried to use a curling iron. My hair basically laughed at it. We finally got some curl with the straightening iron technique though.

Styleweek OC at the Irvine Spectrum Center.Next we got to sit front row at the fashion show featuring clothes from some of the stores from the Spectrum. It was fun and I saw plenty of things I wanted to run off and buy.

Brio Tuscan Grilled at The Irvine Spectrum. And then it was time for Brio!! The restaurant seems HUGE. And it was quite loud. It seems like a great place to go when you have a large group of people who want to get together for dinner. I would have preferred it to be a little bit less noisy, but our visit was during peak hours on a Friday night so I can’t really complain.  They were running a wait, but since we had reservations, we were seated fairly quickly. You guys this, as well as the other new restaurant Del Frisco’s Grille, seem to be a hit. Both are always busy and they are great new additions to the mall (I’ll share about Del Frisco’s soon! Spoiler alert, I love it too!) The restaurant design is inspired by a Tuscan Villa and is warm and inviting. I can’t wait to dine out on their patio too. I love the fabric they chose for their outdoor chairs.

Brio Tuscan Grille at Irvine Spectrum.The Brio menu is not huge but has something for everyone. The menu is based on northern Italian cuisine and has tons of lighter options for those not looking to consume thousands of calories in one meal. But if you are looking for a super satisfying, hearty comfort food style dish, they have those too.  And their bread basket came with this crazy yummy flatbread that made my heart and my mouth happy.

Delicious bruschetta appetizer at Brio Tuscan Grille, Irvine Spectrum. We started off with the Bruschetta Quattro, featuring four different combinations, that was super tasty. We pretty much inhaled this and I would totally order this again.

Yummy dinner at Brio Tuscan Grille at the Irvine Spectrum.And for our main course, we decided to share two entrees. The kitchen split them up for us which was super nice of them and made it really easy to try two things that both sounded amazing. On the left is the Gorgonzola Crusted Beef Medallions served with mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables. And on the right was the Sweet Potato and Chicken Risotto. Both dishes were fantastic! I would recommend both of them. But now I need to go back and try out some more things that stood out to me on the menu.

Dessert at Brio Tuscan Grille, Irvine Spectrum.To end our night, we tried out the Torta di Cioccolata, which is a warm chocolate cake served with vanilla bean gelato and the Peanut Butter and Chocolate Mousse. Both were crazy good.  I could have eaten about 2 gallons of the peanut butter mousse. The presentation of all the dishes was great and we enjoyed every part of our Brio experience.

Aside from the wonderful food, the staff and service were super friendly and accommodating. I’m absolutely looking forward to another visit.

I was not required to share my visit as part of the contest but I enjoyed everything so much that I wanted to. All opinions are my own and in my opinion, this place is great! Have you been yet?

Brio Tuscan Grille at The Irvine Spectrum 618 Spectrum Center Dr., Irvine, CA  92618 .  phone (949) 341-0380

Temecula Wineries Tasting Trip : Part 2

 Doffo Winery, Yuan Restaurant and Old Town Temecula

Wine in the vineyard at Doffo Winery. #temeculaIn case you missed yesterday, today’s post is Part 2 of my wine tasting trip to Temecula. Take a minute and go back to read Part 1.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait…

VisitTemeculaValley.com helped me put my trip together and I couldn’t be more grateful. I want to remind you that all opinions are my own!

Wine Tasting in Temecula in an antique pink cadillac. So let me catch you up (this is the “Previously on the Real Housewives…” part of the post). At this point in my Temecula trip, we are two wineries in, we’ve had a fantastic lunch and we are being driven around Temecula in an Antique Pink Cadillac. I highly recommend hiring a car when you do your wine tasting. That will ensure that everyone has an amazing time and be the safest for everyone, everywhere. It was so nice to have a car waiting for you to take you on to the next location and of course with Sergio, you get so much more. Sergio knows a ton about Temecula and the wineries themselves and is super nice. [Read more…]