Whiting Ranch

Whiting Ranch

Sleepy Hollow Trail

Whiting Ranch is located in Foothill Ranch and is full of trails for hikers and bikers. There is a wide variety of trails to be found here. Some sections of the park including Vista Outlook and Dreaded Hill are great for inclines with great rewards at the top. The top of Vista Outlook has a picnic table to sit and enjoy lunch overlooking the hills while Dreaded Hill has a memorial bench for a biker that was killed by a mountain lion in the park 10 years ago. There are two entrances to the park. I like to start in Foothill by Ralphs. Make sure you grab a park map before heading in.

Whiting Ranch

Whiting Ranch Entrance

My favorite trail route is: Borego to Mustard to Billy Goat to Cactus Hill to Santiago to Sleepy Hollow to Whiting Road to Four Corners back down Mustard and out through Borego. This is about 9 miles and will take a little over 3 hours at a steady pace with a few water stops.

Whiting Rd Trail

Whiting Rd Trail

Check it out here: http://ocparks.com/parks/whiting/

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Mission San Juan Capistrano is an old mission that was founded over 200 years ago. Spend a few hours walking through the mission looking into life as it was or bring a blanket and a book and lay in the gardens until your heart is content. This can be a romantic day trip with the gardens and also a great educational family trip. It is located in downtown San Juan Capistrano which is filled with antique shops, gift shops and restaurants.

Mission San Juan CapistranoMission San Juan Capistrano

I recommend El Adobe for lunch after, just two blocks down from the mission. It has an old world feel with elegant charm. The food was also some of the best I have had since I moved to California.

Mexican Steakhouse Mexican Steakhouse

Check it out here: http://www.missionsjc.com/

Check it out here: http://www.eladobedecapistrano.com/

San Diego Safari Park

safari park

Just a short ride south of Orange County an adventure awaits! The San Diego Safari Park is separate from the San Diego Zoo. This park takes a more hands on approach. Many of the paths feel more like trails helping you connect with the animals. They have a cheetah run here which is fascinating to see up close in person. You would expect the park to have many animals, but on top of that they also have a few gardens including a bonsai greenhouse. Food options are limited which is understandable for a park. Overall a great place for the family.

Check it out here: http://www.sdzsafaripark.org/

 

Queen Mary Scottish Festival

Put on your plaid and head to the ship!!

 

Scottish Festival Scottish Festival

 

The Queen Mary hosts many festivals including the Scottish Festival every year. This year it was held in February, so keep your eyes peeled for next year. The festival includes many vendors of fine things including medieval weaponry, kilts, jewelry, hand bags and more. There is no shortage of beer and cottage pies while you watch the Scottish games and sheep dog herding demonstration. This festival is great for friends and family.

Check it out here: http://www.queenmary.com/scotsfestival/

 

May’s Line Up

This month’s line up of games includes: Borderlands 2, Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls, and Hearthstone. 

Bioshock series is now complete, unless they have some new content on the way. I am really not sure where they could go from here but we will see. Below is a photo of some little sister cosplay I put together for Halloween a few years back.

Little Sister

Bioshock

 

I am still playing through Borderlands 2 and Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls, but have started a new Blizzard game called Hearthstone. Hearthstone is a card based game that is free to play with your Battle Net account. The game is really fun and addictive full of  fun voice overs and effects. You can play casually winning extra cards as you play or you can purchase extra decks to obtain more cards to build your ultimate deck.

Check it out here: http://us.battle.net/hearthstone/en/

 

Also, for those of you who have not heard of  Tropico, make sure you check it out. This is one of my most favorite games. There are several expansion for the game as well as specific themed games. In short, you run your own island working to meet specific mission goals.

Check it out here: http://www.worldoftropico.com/us/

 

Eins, ZWEI, DREI…….Oktoberfest!

Alpine Village Oktoberfest

We go to Oktoberfest every year at Alpine Village. You can attend on a Friday or Saturday night for a younger more club like crowd or stop by on Sunday afternoons on family day. Do not be fooled. Family day is still a huge party! I actually prefer Sunday’s, because the crowds are less making the beer and sausage lines smaller. They have a live  band as well as many drinking games and German dancing, including the chicken dance up on stage. They also have a small gift shop where you can by das boot and the signature stein for the year. Alpine Village has a few shops, including one for antique steins and traditional German attire. Many people dress up for this event, but many people also dress casually. There is a German restaurant there as well as a German market. Below are some photos from previous Oktoberfests. As of today there’s only 193 days left to Oktoberfest 2014!

Oktoberfest 2011 (4) Oktoberfest 2011 (3) Oktoberfest 2013

 

Check it out here: http://www.alpinevillagecenter.com/oktoberfest/

Playground DTSA

playground

 

Playground is in Downtown Santa Ana right next to the Yost Theater. It is somewhat small and can have a long wait so its best to make a reservation. I got lucky this past weekend and was able to get seated at a community table with only a 5 minute wait. The food here is family style, and for the quality reasonably priced. Although the food is served family style, the restaurant itself does not have a family atmosphere. This place is great for a date or night out with friends. They change their menu frequently keeping things fresh and in season. I love that I will always have something new to try. On this particular night they had cauliflower nachos. I am a huge fan of substituting carbs and starches with cauliflower, but had never heard of this. Essentially you fry or bake cauliflower until crisp and top with nacho toppings. I will have to try to replicate at home.

playground2

Cauliflower Nachos

 

Check it out here: http://playgrounddtsa.com/