Blaze Pizza in Orange County

Blaze Pizza Irvine. www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMy family and I don’t eat out very often. I really like to cook our meals at home for diet and budget reasons. And my husband’s work hours mean that if we had to wait for him to get home and then go out to dinner, we would eat way late. Like, I’d be extra cranky kind of late. But sometimes my boys and I just want to get out of the house. And I’m finding the more I try to watch what I eat, the more I want to eat pizza. One of our favorite places to get pizza is Blaze Pizza in Irvine. 

Blaze Pizza is a great family dining option in Irvine and other Orange County cities! www.cupcakesandcutlery.comIt’s sort of a chose-your-own-adventure in pizza making and you can hand-pick what you want to have on your pizza. This works perfect for my family since we all like something different. I prefer a BBQ chicken or something similar.  My husband likes the meats and usually any vegetable I don’t like. And my kids would never be able to finish one of these pizzas by themselves so it’s super awesome that Blaze will do half one type of pizza and half a totally different kind so they can split one. 

Love the branding of Blaze Pizza. www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI’m in love with the branding and design of the restaurants. The industrial look of the restaurants are still warm and inviting while be totally cool. And the orange is one of my favorite colors so…While I’m partial to the iced tea, my kids are totally in to the lemonade.

Fast fired pizza from Blaze Pizza Irvine. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI’ve tried several of the several of the Signature Pizzas (I adore you White Top) as well as created my own and they have all been absolutely scrumptious. There is something about the crust that I just love. It has a wonderful crunch while being tender and just the right thickness.  Mmmm, I wish they delivered… And if you have food allergies, they have a great, easy to use chart on their site to make your choices a little bit safer.

Blaze is set to open several more Orange County locations to add to the 3 already open in Mission Viejo, Irvine and La Habra. These restaurants are super kid friendly but I’d totally stop here for a casual date night as well. I’m a total dessert girl and that is the only thing that I think the restaurant could try to improve.  They do have a S’more Pie but when I go out to eat I want the dessert to wow me. Full disclosure, I have actually not tried the S’more pie yet. Looks like I’ll have to take another trip to Blaze to give it a try. ;)

Find out more about Blaze Pizza on their site!

*Blaze Pizza invited my family and I to try out one of their restaurants and provided us with dinner. All opinions are mine. And chances are if someone gives me pizza, it’s going to make me happy. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep me full of pizza.

 

Food and Fun in Loreto, Mexico

Villa del Palmar Loreto in Mexico, Baja California. #VDPLFam #villadelpalmarl // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThis post is the last in a series of 3 documenting my trip to Villa del Palmar Loreto earlier this summer.  The trip was paid for by the resort but all opinions and crazy awesome experiences are mine!

So I’ve told you all about Loreto, Mexico and what makes the hotel part of Villa del Palmar Loreto special.  So now it’s time to share some of the extracurricular activities you can do at the resort. You know, the fun stuff.  Like the hike we got to take. This is the view from the very top. It was well worth the physical exertion.

Amazing hike at Villa del Palmar Loreto. #VDPLFam #villadelpalmarl // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comOne early morning (you have to go early or it will get too hot), we took a really cool hike that is on the resort property to one side of the hotel. The trail was amazing.  It was clearly marked and the views and landscape were stunning.  This hike could have easily been self guided and there were signs with plant info all along the way.  I am not an avid hiker and I was able to complete it (but I did sweat a lot…) and I’m so glad I did!

Nature hike on the property of Villa del Palmar Loreto. #VDPLFam #villadelpalmarl // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comOur hike was led by a local nature expert who I have no doubts could survive on Naked and Afraid. This was such an awesome way to learn more about the area, the sea life and folk history. I would highly recommend trying to set up a hike with a guide if at all possible on your stay! I even got to try some cactus fruit at the very top of our hike. It was kind of awesome. From that high perspective, we were able to check out several of the surrounding islands. These islands are not inhabited (well, there might be one dwelling on one of them) and are the perfect spot for a white sand beach picnic.

Beers on a boat excursion turing the islands of Loreto. #VDPLFam #villadelpalmarl // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comOur boat excursion was one of my favorite part of the trips. We picked up the boat from town with the intent to tour some of the islands, eat lunch at one of them and then be dropped off back at our resort.  The boats are super comfortable, with cushioned seats including compartments to make sure your stuff stays dry, a covered portion near the rear and a ladder to easily climb back in to the boat. And there were beers.

Tour the islands of Loreto and swim in the gorgeous blue waters. #VDPLFam #villadelpalmarl // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comOur boat trip got started a little bit later than we had hoped and by the time we got to our first island, the tide was too high for us to go ashore.  But that didn’t stop us from dropping anchor and snorkeling around a bit.  The water was warm and beautiful.

Swimming in the Sea of Cortez. #VDPLFam #villadelpalmarl // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMost gals snorkeled but I just hung out in the water.  After a short time we got back on the boat and made our way to the next island where we had a little time to snorkel again. Once our play time was over, we continued on to the hotel while checking out all other islands, by boat, along the way.  The rock formations and dessert landscape was gorgeous and like nothing I have ever seen.  And being on the boat was so much fun. A glass bottom boat is also available which would be really cool.  I’m ok with fish as long as there is a bunch of safety glass between me and them.

The best place to stand up paddle board - Loreto, Mexico. #VDPLFam #villadelpalmarl // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThe resort has plenty of water sports as well. I tried stand up paddle boarding for the first time!  And you can’t tell from this photo but my legs were totally shaking! It wasn’t really that difficult but I didn’t want to fall off in to the water.  The water is really shallow for a ways out but that meant you could see the fish swimming under you.  That part freaked me out. And since it was my first time I was afraid of getting to far away from shore.  I paddled around, close to shore for about half an hour and then called it a day.  I would totally do it again though.

Kayaking in Loreto, Mexico. #VDPLFam #villadelpalmarl // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI did really enjoy kayaking however!  We were lucky enough to get to use one of two glass bottomed kayak boats.  The kayak holds two people and was really easy to manuever in the calm waters of the bay.  We didn’t get too adventurous but we could have taken the boat to a nice little white sandy beach around the side of the bay if we wanted to.  I am going to put that on my list of things to do for my next trip there.  I think my boys would LOVE to do this!

Eating fresh chocolate clams straight out of the ocean at Villa del Palmar Loreto. #VDPLFam #villadelpalmarl // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWhile I was kayaking, some of the other gals got to go diving for chocolate clams! The chocolate clams are abundant in this bay and are absolutely delicious. This was one of the coolest experiences ever.  The team was able to find about 100 clams and they brought them right up on to the beach. The kitchen sent out some salt, lime and hot sauce and we all got our turn to try these straight out of the water clams. I really hope that isn’t a once in a lifetime experience.

Dressed for dinner at Villa del Palmar Loreto. #VDPLFam #villadelpalmarl // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThe night we dressed up for dinner was really fun.

Refreshing drinks on the beach at Villa del Palmar Loreto. #VDPLFam #villadelpalmarl // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThe evening started off with cocktails before we moved in to Danzante Restaurant for a delicious dinner experience. The food at Villa del Palmar Loreto is SO amazing. You could get the traditional Mexican dishes that you want in a trip to Mexico but they are elevated.  There is a fine dining touch to them.

Delicious tortilla soup at Danzante Restaurant at Villa del Palmar Loreto. #VDPLFam #villadelpalmarl // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comOur meal started with an amazing tortilla soup. This could have easily been served in the bowl but they chose to share it with a gorgeous presentation, where the waiter attends to each guest to complete the dish. You can’t see it from this photo but the way the avocado was placed in the dish was a really nice touch and showed just how much care goes in to creating each dish.

Fantastic food can be found at Villa del Palmar Loreto. #VDPLFam #villadelpalmarl // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThe fresh seafood was crazy good and showed a fusion of flavors from other parts of the world. My trip to Cabo, last year, was a huge disappointment in the food category and I was not sure what to expect here.  I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of food and level of sophistication.

Specialty coffee at Danzante Restaurant at Villa del Palmar Loreto. #VDPLFam #villadelpalmarl // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd they know how to put on a good show.  This custom coffee presentation was both fun to watch and delicious to drink.

Tomato stack appetizer on Italian night at Villa del Palmar Loreto. #VDPLFam #villadelpalmarl // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd you don’t just get Mexican food at this resort.  They do theme nights with the food too. This was part of Italian night and we were treated to some favorites, like this caprese stack and bruschetta along with a delicious steak. There are three restaurants on site. One is super casual and easy.  One has seating indoors and out and features a buffet and the fine dining option of Danzante.  You can also use in-room dining.

Buffet dinner at Villa del Palmar Loreto. #VDPLFam #villadelpalmarl // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI am not a buffet gal, but this may have been the best set up I’ve seen.  Everything on this buffet was really nicely displayed, was super fresh and very tasty.  There were tons of fresh options as well, like a taco bar and fresh tostadas for dinner or omelet bar in the morning.

Breakfast at Villa del Palmar Loreto. #VDPLFam #villadelpalmarl // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWe were treated to an extra special breakfast on the terrace of one of the Presidential Suites. Not only was the suite ridiculously awesome, with a 3 sided, wrap around terrace, but it also featured a private jacuzzi. When you stay in this suite, you can request a chef to come up and help you prepare dinner on the outdoor barbecue.

Chilaquiles breakfast at Villa del Palmar Loreto. #VDPLFam #villadelpalmarl // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThese chilaquiles and tamale was my favorite. I can’t wait to try my hand at making some at home!

All pastries and breads are made on property at Villa del Palmar Loreto. #VDPLFam #villadelpalmarl // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAll of these glorious pastries are made on property by someone who obviously knows what they are doing.  They were flakey and delicate and tasted amazing.

Health conscious "green juice" featuring local ingredients. #VDPLFam #villadelpalmarl // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd while a vacation can tend to be full of decadence, the staff knows that health is something that many people are interested in.  Each morning they presented us with this special green juice to start the day off on the right foot. Featuring celery, aloe, mint and more it was sweet and delicious but good for you too.

Several great eateries to choose from at Villa del Palmar Loreto. #VDPLFam #villadelpalmarl // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd they weren’t stingy with the guacamole.  They all but refused to serve guacamole on my trip to Cabo, which was a big let down.  I knew the resort was on top of it when this was one of the first things I tried once I arrived.  It was absolutely delicious.

Drinks on the beach at Villa del Palmar Loreto. #VDPLFam #villadelpalmarl // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAs were the drinks…from the margaritas

Coconut drinks by the pool at Villa del Palmar Loreto. #VDPLFam #villadelpalmarl // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comto the coconut drinks by the pool, they totally nailed the cocktails.

The resort has themed nights featuring entertainment for the whole family to enjoy. #VDPLFam #villadelpalmarl // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd there was plenty of nightlife for me. One night we watched a stage show featuring Mexican dances and stories. The dancers interacted with the crowd and it was really fun.  On another night, there was a musician playing classic rock songs on his guitar which was also really fun.  The outdoor restaurant features a large wrap around bar and was the perfect place to retire after dinner for a night-cap.  I just think resort will appeal to all kinds of people looking for their perfect vacation spot.  Read yesterdays post to see my info about the private night club on the resort. And of course, each room features a private patio that would be another perfect spot for enjoying the sunset or view of the lighted resort at night. There is a little something for everyone here and I highly recommend you check it out for yourself.

Villa del Palmar Loreto is offering some bonuses if you book your trip and mention a special code. Hop back over to yesterdays post to see the deal and all the info about the hotel you could need!

Thank you, Villa del Palmar Loreto, for bringing me to your fine resort and letting me share it with my readers. My extended family has talked about coming back next summer and I really hope we do!

Read more about Loreto, Mexico

Read more about hotel Villa del Palmar Loreto

 

Villa del Palmar Loreto – Best Resort in Mexico

Hotel Villa del Palmar Loreto is the best place to stay in Mexico. #VDPLFam #villadelpalmarl // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHere she is.  Villa del Palmar Loreto. The resort paid for my trip to come and check out the hotel and town.  All opinions are mine.  And in my opinion, this is the best place to stay in all of Mexico. 

In July I was invited to come stay at Villa del Palmar Loreto.  It was a press trip for myself and about 9 other bloggers/journalists and the trip was absolutely amazing. This hotel is perfection. From the grounds to the amenities.  All of it.  But mostly, the staff.  You can tell they are proud of the work they do and they do it well.  This hotel feels like luxury, but without any of the pretension or price. Which suits me perfectly. If you missed my post yesterday, go back to read all about what makes the town of Loreto so special. I used to vacation there as a child and it was really cool to see how it has changed since then. This resort, however, is only about 3 years old and has all the modern amenities you could dream of.

This post is extra long! Read on to find out all about the resort! [Read more...]

Loreto, Mexico – Your New Favorite Vacation Spot

The town of Loreto, Mexico. #VDPLFAM #VillaDelPalMarL // www.cupcakesandcutlery.com*I recently was invited to go on a press trip to a wonderful town in Baja, California called Loreto to learn all about the amazing resort called Villa Del Palmar Loreto. The trip was paid for by the resort but all opinions are my own. In my opinion, Loreto is the best town in Mexico and I can’t wait to tell you all about my visit.  Loreto is just a 2 hour plane ride from Los Angeles on Alaska Airlines and you seriously need to vacation here.

This post is full of great photos and info! Read on to find out all about my trip!  [Read more...]

Orange County Summer Events for Kids

Roller Coaster at Sunset at the Orange County Fair //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSummer is slowly winding down.  The OC fair just ended so you may be looking for more Orange County summer events to do with your kids to keep them entertained before school starts.  By the way, that photo above was taken with my iPhone, no filter, at the fair the other night on a family roller coaster ride.  I’m kind of in love with it.  Especially because I know the squeals and joy that was in our roller coaster car, that resembled a mouse, that night.  It really made me want to make sure that I take the kids on fun outings and keep trying new things before we get back in to the grind of homework, sports and bed times.

Gardens and Villa at OC Parks Summer Concert Series //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI’m not sure if you have heard of the OC Parks Summer Concert Series cohosted by KROQ.  Every Thursday, the entire summer, there have been rad concerts at various parks around Orange County.  Last week we took the family to Miles Square Park, in Garden Grove, to see one of my fave bands, Gardens and Villa.  There was a food truck and Front Porch Pops and an awesome atmosphere for seeing live music.  We missed the opener (thanks rush hour traffic!) but got to see the band – whose frontman grew up locally, play for over an hour.  And the kids loved it.  My littlest danced his heart out.  My oldest just chilled.  There are still two more weeks of shows before the series winds down, both at Bluff Park in Dana Point.  Do not miss them! Moonsville Collective plays August 21 and Matt Costa (Do NOT miss him! And plan ahead, this one might have more of a crowd as he is a local favorite!) plays, August 28th.  All shows are from 6 – 8 pm.  Bring a picnic blanket and lawn chairs, bring your dinner or buy it there.  I wish we would have started this earlier in the summer!

Kid's events at Kaleidoscope Center in Mission Viejo //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd if you are looking for something to do during the day, Kaleidoscope Center in Mission Viejo has a ton of family friendly businesses open year round as well as fun special events for the summer.

Special kid events at Kaleidoscope Center in Mission Viejo // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThis past Tuesday, my boys and I checked out the percussion event.  It was loud and super fun. The shows begin at 11:30 am and run for an hour.  They are all interactive and engaging and the kids had a great time!

Tuesday, August 19th, is a free Magic Wizard show! I am sure the kids are going to love it!  And Tuesday, August 26th, the series ends with the Kids Carnival from 11:30 – 2:30 pm. Proceeds will benefit Make-A-Wish (so bring a new toy or backpack and you’ll get game tickets!) and will feature bounce houses, games, face painting and more!  The organizers assured me this will appeal to kids of all ages so be sure to come and check it out.

I had no idea that the Kaleidoscope center had SO many great activities all in one place!  I hadn’t been there in years so after the percussion event, my kids and I spent the rest of the afternoon there having a little adventure.

Buffalo Wild Wings at Kaleidoscope Center Mission Viejo // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWe started off our afternoon with lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings.  Full disclosure, they comped our meal.  That was super nice of them and we totally appreciated it!  I had never been to a Buffalo Wild Wings before and didn’t know what to expect.  While the restaurant is pretty much sports-themed, the staff was crazy friendly and fantastic.  (If you go to the Kaleidoscope location, ask for Taylor! She was our server and she was awesome!) Each booth has a little touch-screen gaming system that kept my boys entertained.  $1 got them 4 credits, or about 4 games).  And the screen kept them entertained well after the money ran out.  The food was delicious and it was easy to find something for my son with food allergies to eat. We tried the fried pickles, because duh, you have to.  And my wrap was super yummy.  We will definitely be back! Thank you so much for having us, Buffalo Wild Wings!

There are ton of super fun family-friendly options at the Kaleidoscope Center in Mission Viejo // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comNext we headed to Jump N’ Jammin which the kids were super excited for!  Everyone MUST wear socks, including adults, so don’t be a loser like me and have to buy some there.  For about $25 the kids and I got a few hours of fun.  Cubbies are kept behind the counter to hold your shoes and bags.  Nick, the assistant manager, told me all about how safe the facility is and I loved knowing that my kids could run wild and I didn’t have to stay on top of them the whole time.  That is really good for me.  I tend to hover… There is one inflatable and then a number of obstacle style areas for the kids to play in.  They also have a horizontal climbing wall that is really fun.  For the moms, they offer a wi-fi password, a little vending machine area with plenty of tables and also a selection of magazines to keep you entertained.  The music they played was pretty good and I never once got bored as the boys played and made new friends.  They also have a drop off program which I will totally be using in the future! There are some limitations so check with Jump N’ Jammin first.

A fun obstacle at Jump N' Jammin' Mission Viejo // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHe came in like a wrecking ball… Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

Laser Quest at Kaleidoscope Center Mission Viejo // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comOur last stop of the day was to Laser Quest.  Since we had never played before and I wasn’t sure how my youngest would handle being in the dark (and could he even carry the pack?!) so we opted to play one game. For two kids it was about $20 and one game was seriously plenty for my kids (ages 5 and 8).  The staff was really fun and friendly and even though we were the only people in the building, they really made us feel welcome and gave us all their energy. Because we were the only ones playing, they let me go in too which was awesome since I could be there in case my youngest freaked out but also, I’ve never played laser tag before so it was cool to see what it was all about.  The packs are pretty heavy and although my 5-year-old made it through the game, he struggled a bit and by the end was super tired.  The room is dark, although there is a lot of black lights so it is never pitch black, and it took him about two minutes to warm up to it then he was off on his own, running through the mazes trying to shoot his brother.  I think they had a lot of fun.  We will certainly be doing this again.

Aside from Jump N’ Jammin and Laser Quest, the center has a movie theater, Color Me Mine, Howie’s Game Shack and for tween girls, Bold Girlz.  One of my son’s told me that next time we would bring Dad with us so they could go play laser tag and I could go to Bold Girlz by myself. :)  So nice of him.  And there are several great restaurant options too.  Check out the Kaleidoscope center directory to see the center has to offer!

One thing I’m really excited about is the opening of a Union Market in the fall.  The Tustin location is about ready to open and I know that Mission Viejo residents will be glad that there will be some great dining options in their neck of the woods pretty soon!

My boys and I spent about 5 hours at the Kaleidoscope Center and had a blast.  I highly recommend it for family time!  We’ve already talked about going back to paint and play games at Howie’s Game Shack.  Maybe we’ll see you there.