Orange County Quarterly News: Winter 2019

The OC is Alive with Holiday Cheer, Delicious Food, Beer,
and Winter Activities for the Whole Family!

Visit Anaheim, in collaboration with American Heart Association (AHA), Orange County Division, has completed its multi-year program by providing each of the eight Anaheim Union High Schools with multiple American Heart Association CPR in Schools Training Kits™. The final phase of the campaign provides the district’s remaining four high schools (John F. Kennedy, Magnolia, Savanna and Cypress) with four kits each, along with training provided by AHA to teach life-saving tactics.

Launched in Nov. 2017, Visit Anaheim’s “Heart-to-Heart” campaign celebrates and supports AHA’s mission to help educate and train individuals to fight heart disease. The campaign was created to give back to the residents of Anaheim by providing life-saving CPR skills and education to local high school students. Katella and Anaheim High Schools received the kits in the program’s inaugural year. Loara and Western High Schools were the recipients in the second year. With the completion of the campaign, more than 30,000 students are now enabled with lifesaving CPR skills.

“Visit Anaheim is honored to give back to our community and also invest in our future – it’s a fundamental part of what we do as an organization. The “Heart-to-Heart” campaign has now furnished all Anaheim Union High Schools with life-saving kits, and I’m so excited that our multi-year effort has come to fruition,” said Jay Burress, President and Chief Executive Officer, Visit Anaheim. “The idea for the campaign was inspired by the American Heart Association’s decision to host their 2017 Scientific Sessions at the Anaheim Convention Center after a 16-year absence. The program celebrates them and their mission to help educate and train our future to fight heart disease.”

According to the Orange County Health Profile, heart disease is the leading cause of death in Orange County. Roughly 70 percent of cardiac arrests that occur outside a hospital occur at home and 90 percent of those victims do not survive due to people around them not knowing how to administer CPR. Education and CPR training is the best defense in preventing the devastating effects of heart disease. By providing Anaheim high school students with CPR training, the hope is that more lives will be saved in Anaheim and Orange County. “Thanks to the incredible generosity of Visit Anaheim, Anaheim high school students now have the ability to save a life,” said Danielle Sapia-Fragalla, Executive Director of the American Heart Association, Orange County Division. “We now look to further increase the survival rates of people experiencing cardiac arrest.”

“Anaheim Union High School District is very thankful to the American Heart Association and Visit Anaheim for their generous gift of CPR kits to all of our high schools,” said Patricia Hatcher, Health Curriculum Specialist, Anaheim Union High School District. “This donation will provide training for more than 30,000 students in critical emergency lifesaving procedures. We’re proud to know that our students may be able to save a life in the future.”

Heart-to-Heart Campaign Details

In collaboration with the American Heart Association, Orange County Division, Visit Anaheim’s Heart-to-Heart campaign has equipped all eight Anaheim Union High Schools with life-saving CPR kits.  AHA will also facilitate a CPR demonstration to each school’s faculty to ensure proper CPR training is offered to students. Each CPR kit includes 10 mannequins to train up to 20 students at one time.

CPR in Schools Training Kit Information

The American Heart Association’s CPR in Schools Training Kit™ enables students to learn the lifesaving skills of CPR in just one class period. Plus, the kit teaches AED use and choking relief. The easy-to-use kit is designed specifically for the needs of schools. The kit’s brand new wheeled bag allows for convenient movement from classroom to classroom and easy storage. It’s also reusable – one kit can train hundreds of people.

Visit Anaheim Giveback Efforts

Anaheim is a premier destination for meetings and conventions attracting nearly one million convention attendees per year. Many of the events and trade shows hosting meetings at the Anaheim Convention Center and surrounding hotels incorporate give-back programs that positively impact the community. Engaging in philanthropic projects that serve the residents of Anaheim and surrounding Orange County continue to benefit the local community long after convention attendees and visitors return home. For more information on Visit Anaheim’s giveback efforts, go to

Visit Buena Park

Behind the Merriment of Knott’s Merry Farm
It’s amazing how the park goes from Scary to Merry in a matter of days! As easy as it seems to be, it takes a large team and months of serious planning to make the seasons change at Knott’s Berry Farm. So just what does it take to make Knott’s Berry Farm the Merriest Farm around? Check out just some of the fun details that go into making families flock back to the park year after year to enjoy the holidays with their loved ones!

Merry Farm Decor
It takes lots of holiday decorations to transform every corner of the park and all the spaces in between, here is the short list of what goes into transforming the farm for the holiday season: 143,000 lights, 20,000 feet of foliage, 400 bows, 120 Christmas trees, 200 wreaths, 100,000 various ornaments and one surfboard tree, just for good measure.

Home for the Holidays
This year’s all-new, most ambitious stage set undertaking to date, ‘Home for the Holidays Show’ debuts during Knott’s Merry Farm on the Calico Mine Stage. The show is inspired by a Currier & Ives hand-colored lithographic print from the 19th century that features a full facade of a home that opens up to reveal a cozy living room equipped with a fireplace and a two-story staircase. The 25-minute show, starring 20 talented performers, transports the audience to the Harper Family’s residence where they are busy preparing for a Christmas Eve gathering with their friends and loved ones. The 1915 period costumes are perfection and the show includes a mix of ballet, tap and jazz dance set to traditional holiday musical numbers. The finale is a dramatic dusting of real snow, strewn across the stage and audience.. 

Find Home for the Holidays on the Calico Mine Stage on select days from November 20th through January 3, 2020.

Travel Costa Mesa

The holidays are in full swing and that means family, friends and food! Costa Mesa is the perfect place for a culinary celebration. Our restaurants continue to earn accolades, including Orange County’s only two Michelin stars. The Los Angeles Times recently named Taco Maria as #3 in their 101 Best Restaurants of 2019! We’ve put together a list of five events for the festive food lovers this holiday season. Stay for more foodie fun with one of our holiday hotel deals!

Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge
The American Ballet Theatre’s “The Nutcracker” comes to Segerstrom Center for the Arts December 14-23. If you’re planning to attend, why not make it a celebration?

Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge, located within the center, is featuring an exclusive Nutcracker pre-fixe menu during the run of the show. Start with a roasted beet and apple salad with tarragon, Silton blue cheese, candied walnuts and a chardonnay vinaigrette. The entree is a pork loin with cranberry-orange chutney, baby fennel, shallots and horseradish potatoes. For dessert, enjoy their Buche de Noel with coffee buttercream and cranberry sorbet. Then, join Clara, toy soldiers, sugar plum fairies and more than 100 performers in this acclaimed production.

Silver Trumpet Restaurant and Bar
Celebrate the holidays without cooking or cleaning! Silver Trumpet Restaurant and Bar invites you to join them for a 5-course holiday menu December 24-25 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Dine on a first course of cauliflower soup with toasted hazelnuts and Calabrian chili oil, your choice of crispy pork belly or cured jumbo lump crab for the second course, followed by a persimmon beet salad with a wildflower honey vinaigrette. There are five choices for the entree course, including lamb loin, filet of beef, half chicken, mahi-mahi or beef ravioli.  The final course is a raspberry mousse with basil gelée, raspberry ice cream and candied pistachio. Holiday Dinner on the Avenue is $75 per person (tax and gratuity are not included and their regular menu will not be served). Silver Trumpet is conveniently located in the Avenue of the Arts, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel.

Water Grill
Ring in the new decade at Water Grill, across the street from South Coast Plaza, in their private event room for New Year’s Eve from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. The event includes complimentary serving from their raw bar, hors d’oeuvres, dessert bites and two drink tickets. There will also be a DJ, dancing, photo booth and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight during the balloon drop. The event is standing room only, with guaranteed seats available with a VIP package. General admission tickets are $125 per person.

Mesa Lounge
See Mesa Lounge transformed into a Bali getaway with their Escape to 2020 New Year’s Eve event. The evening includes passed and stationed hors d’oeuvres, entertainment, gifts, a champagne toast at midnight and more. Pre-sale tickets are $100 until December 25, general admission tickets are $150.

Want more ideas? Check out our calendar for all of the festive events happening in Costa Mesa. Our holiday hotel packages continue through the new year, so you still have time to make it an Eatcation™!

Visit Dana Point

Get Out on The Water
With nearly seven miles of sun-kissed Southern California beaches – it’s the birthplace of the Surf Culture – and a 2,500-boat/yacht marina, Dana Point is your go-to for big splashy fun in the sun. So dive right in! Enjoy your favorite water sport. Or learn a new one. From kayaks to paddle and boogie boards, serene sails to wave runners, whale watching, fishing – and of course the best surfing in California –whatever floats your boat, you’ll love it in Dana Point. No gear? No worries. Dana Point rental companies have it all, and many hotels offer rental and free water toys to guests.

Watching the Big Ones — It’s a fact. Dana Point is “The Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital of the World,” with the best year-round whale watching, and the largest concentration of blue whales and dolphin in California.  Join one of the three primary whale watching tour operators: Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari, Dana Wharf Whale Watching, and the Ocean Institute. You’ll likely see gray whales just seconds after leaving Dana Point Harbor. Seasonal oohs and aahs include Orcas and Fin, Minke and Humpback whales. Sea lions, harbor seals and dolphin are a given.

Surf’s Up – Always — Grab your surfboard or boogie board and ride the waves that started the Surf Culture back in the 1950s. The perfect waves at mile-long Doheny State Beach are ideal for seasoned dudes and newbies. Girl in the Curl offers surf lessons right on the beach. You’ll find rad breaks at Stand Beach. And test your skills at Salt Creek, where the experts go to get barreled. Body surfing is also great at these beaches.

Angling in Paradise — Deep sea or from a kayak, fishing off Dana Point is a dream come true. For fun or competition, throw out your line and reel in yellowtail, yellowfin, Bluefin tuna, Dorado, halibut, bonito, sand bass, calico bass and more. Dana Point Harbor has plentiful sport fishing boat rentals and charters. Tournaments such as the Annual Halibut Derby and the Fishing with Friends Kayak Tournament add to the thrill.

Smooth Sailing — Life doesn’t get any better than gliding across the water with the sea breeze in your face and the beautiful Dana Point coastline in your sights. For romance at sea, Dana Wharf Whale Watching & Sportfishing offers the only sunset wine and cheese cruise in Orange County. Argh, maties – treat your family to a fun, and informative, pirate-themed sail with the Ocean Institute. Set sail yourself, with family and friends, in two-person skiffs rented from Westwind Sailing. If you don’t know the ropes, Westwind has lessons for adults and kids.

Watercraft Wonders — Get up close and personal with the water, the harbor, the wildlife and the awesome coastline outside the jetty with a variety of personal watercraft. You’ll feel as cool as you look, paddleboarding across the sunny scene. For an added workout, take a paddleboard yoga class with I Heart Yoga. Jump in a single or double kayak and explore with family and friends, or take a guided kayak tour. The calm water of Baby Beach makes an excellent launch spot for paddleboarders and kayakers to get your sea legs before heading out to sea.  Satisfy your need for speed on single or double jet skis at up to 60 mph! Capo Beach Watercraft rentals and Dana Point Jet Ski & Kayak Center/Pure Watersports have them all.

Sensational Swimming — It’s the classic beach pastime, splashing and swimming with your family and friends in the glistening Pacific Ocean. Bring the toddlers to Baby Beach, its mellow waters are ideal for family fun. Soak up the surf vibe at Doheny State Beach, Salt Creek Beach and Strands Beach.  While famous for surfing, there’s plenty of room for swimming and sunning on these legendary sands.

Visit Huntington Beach

Tasting rooms keep popping all over Southern California, bringing great gathering places to quench your thirst and get social. Surf City USA has become a popular destination to explore the booming craft beverage scene while keeping it true to the city’s surf culture and laid back vibe. From locals’ favorite stops for a pint after work to handcrafted cocktails that draw a big crowd, here are the most sought out sips around town.

Riip Beer Co
Launching a brewery is no easy task so Riip started hand-delivering growlers & bottles of its beer in an Iconic 1931 Helms Bakery Coach. They’ve grown to become one of the most respected brewers in the area by handcrafting top-quality beer from “Grain to Glass” in HB. Their renovated tasting room is already a hit with locals and out-of-towners, and it’s right on PCH.

Location: 17214 Pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Beach, CA 92649

Main Street Wine Company
A favorite local staple that brings out a country atmosphere to the heart of Surf City USA. Main Street Wine Company is a premier wine store and bar that specializes in boutique wines, handcrafted beers and artisan meats and cheeses. Need another reason to visit? Score $5 wines Monday through Friday from 4pm to 6pm while people-watching in their quaint patio, just steps from the beach.

Location: 301 Main St, Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Surf City Still Works

Surf City Still Works is the first craft distillery in Huntington Beach, created by locals who only use quality ingredients and traditional distilling methods. Each batch of vodka, whiskey, gin, rum and bourbon is hand bottled here. Raise a glass for these guys as they celebrate our community and support local artists by featuring historical photographs and artworks on their bottles. Tasting room hours are limited but check their website and social channels for special events and holiday hours.

Location: 7242 Heil Ave, Huntington Beach, CA 92647

Four Sons Brewing
Four Sons Brewing is a family-run, award-winning brewery that caters to locals and visitors as the perfect spot to kick back with friends and bring the pups. They offer 16 different beers on tap and a new release every week. Arrive early if you’re looking to try their session Ale brewed with pineapple in collaboration with the Dirty Heads, it sells out as fast as you can down a pint. Are you hungry? Rotating food trucks are parked right outside and complete the welcoming vibe of this laidback tasting room.

Location: 18421 Gothard St Suite 100, Huntington Beach, CA 92648

The Dudes’ Brewing Company
When it comes to beer, The Dudes’ Brewing doesn’t mess around. Their 24 beers on tap appeal to everyone, from casual beer drinkers to craft fanatics. There’s nothing like a refreshing pint of their Blood Orange Amber after a surf session under the California sun. Folks come through for the beer, but weekly trivia and game nights are just another reason to stick around the bustling Lot 579 in Pacific City.

Location: Inside Lot 579 in Pacific City – 21058 Pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Beachwood Brewing
Beachwood is a real neighborhood gem. They currently offer 16 taps, which you can savor at their family-friendly tasting room or take home in cans, crowlers or growlers. The Amalgamator, a dynamic West Coast-style IPA that’s delightfully light in body and bursting with unique aromas and flavors, is a crowd pleaser that will keep you coming back for more. But just like the best things in life, every time they sell out on one of the rotating taps, it is gone for good.

Location:  7631 Woodwind Dr, Huntington Beach, CA 92647

Golden Road Brewery
This boutique brewery and full-service restaurant is headed to the recently renovated Peter’s Landing in the heart of Huntington Beach. Experience the Golden Road flavor with indoor and dog-friendly outdoor seating, corn hole, and bocce ball. Golden Road Brewing is constantly experimenting with the freshest ingredients through a collection of rotating, seasonal and limited-edition brews. Enjoy year-round offerings such as Mango Cart, Point the Way IPA, Wheat Ale, and more!

Location: 16390 CA-1, Huntington Beach, CA 92649

Destination Irvine

Festival Ballet Theatre Presents the Nutcracker at the Irvine Barclay
Festival Ballet Theatre’s family-friendly breathtaking production features superb colorful scenery and dazzling costumes, which make this age-old tradition sparkle like new. Be swept away by Tchaikovsky’s iconic score as the Sugar Plum Fairy, our heroine Clara, and a cast of hundreds take you on a magical journey to mystical lands. This full-length traditional production is choreographed and directed by Festival Ballet Theatre’s Artistic Director, Salwa Rizkalla, and features world-renowned guest artists, FBT’s professional company dancers, and exceptional young talent from across the Southland.

Kick off an evening at the ballet with a pre-show Nutcracker Tea Party. Guests will enjoy tea, lemonade, finger sandwiches and sweet treats with Clara herself; champagne for the grown-ups as well. Clara will join in as the story of the Nutcracker ballet and the magical adventure is told. Expect a special appearance by the Nutcracker Prince and his archenemy, the Mouse King, too! Photo opportunities and party favor for each guest included.

The elegant sit-down tea will be prepared by Chef Laurent of White House Catering. The party is held at the Barclay’s Jade Room.

Visit Newport Beach

Balboa Island – Eat. Sea. Do.
To visit Balboa Island during the holidays is to be charmed anew. Accessible by car, foot, or ferry, Balboa Island is one of Newport Beach’s most popular destinations year-round, but the holiday season adds an extra element of warmth and community. At just 0.2 square miles, Balboa Island is a true gem down to its streets, almost all of which are named after a precious stone. Trust us, you will be as dazzled meandering down Diamond Street as you will be sauntering along Sapphire. So how do you replicate the cozy itinerary you saw here? Follow along for our favorite spots.

Arriving by ferry, a mode of transportation celebrating its 100th year of operation, you walk right into a beautiful residential community with a few locally-owned businesses nestled on Agate Avenue. Warm-up to the day in Succulent Roasters, a local favorite for its excellent coffees. Enjoy every perfect sip.

Arriving by car or foot brings you to Marine avenue, which is dotted with quaint boutiques and intimate restaurants. Every Saturday and Sunday in December, Balboa Island is hosting a Christmas Walk – just look for the window decals that identify participating merchants and restaurants. Enjoy unique decorations and merchandise that will inspire numerous gift ideas (to give and get, of course).

Even the iconic Balboa Bar gets a holiday makeover. Stop by Sugar N Spice and order a Cringle Balboa Bar; the same luscious ice cream but with a candy cane coating in lieu of summertime sprinkles. Pop into Island Home, a boutique with great taste in all things especially gifts. The friendly staff and unique selection make the experience a treat for locals and visitors alike. As the sun starts to dip, it’s time to head to Royal Hen, a cozy California gastropub with an artfully edited menu bursting with seasonal ingredients. The perfect end to your holiday on Balboa Island is a walk around the boardwalk to take in blocks of dazzling decorations. More than two dozen of these gorgeous homes are officially registered in the Ring of Lights, an annual tradition that lights up the waterfront in glorious color and creativity.