Family Friendly Dining

Last Week of Summer Sandwich Special!

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Disclosure: My family will receive a complimentary Last Week of Summer Sandwich Special to enjoy a beach picnic this week. Thank you Sessions! Follow me on Instagram, Twitter and FB for photos.

Sessions West Coast Deli

Sessions Sandwiches Newport Beach is giving locals the chance to celebrate the last week of summer with a special basket ready to take to the beach for a family picnic.

From August 25th through August 29th, Sessions West Coast Deli will offer a “Last Week of Summer Sandwich Special” beach picnic basket for $35 (a retail value $75), to serve four people.

The Sessions Sandwiches beach picnic basket features fans’ favorites including:

~ Meddock Melee sandwich
~ Summer Zephyr sandwich
~ Greatfella sandwich
~ Pirate Coast sandwich
~ Cucumber salad
~ Potato salad
~ Pasta salad
~ Shaka spuds
~ Any four fountain drinks

Check out the delectable descriptions of these sammies -> here .

Sessions West Coast Deli opened on the Newport Peninsula earlier this year and features 20 hot and cold sandwiches, housemade sauces with a variety of yummy sides, salads, and soups prepared daily.

From the freshly baked daily bread to the locally grown vegetables and the top-of-the-line meats, Sessions sandwiches brings gourmet to the simplest, yet perfectly complete meal – the sandwich.

And what is better than a truly delicious sandwich?


Sessions West Coast Deli Greatfella Sandwich with Shaka Spuds

With a minimalist feel, customers can eat in for breakfast, lunch or dinner in one of the region’s coolest new hangouts, decked out with vintage surf and skate photography OR grab your take-out order and head to the beach or home.

Sessions is located at 2823 Newport Blvd., Newport Beach, CA 92663 open daily 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Photo credits exterior and interior above: Andy Rodriguez Photography
Photo credit of delicious Greatfella Sandwich: Candace Rock Photography

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Staying at the Wyndham Anaheim Garden Grove Hotel

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Family-Friendly Hotel Near Disneyland

[Disclosure: My family received a complimentary room to facilitate this Wyndham Anaheim Garden Grove Hotel family review.] 

This Wyndham Anaheim Garden Grove Hotel review is for anyone looking for a fun, comfortable, family-friendly hotel near Disneyland (as well as lots of other great Orange County parks and attractions).  My family and I recently had the opportunity to stay at this newly renovated Wyndham property, and we had such a great time!  Let me share my experience with you…

The Rooms

Check-in was a breeze, and we excitedly took the elevator to our room.  We were told that we had a “family room,” so we were all excited to see what that meant.  My kids burst through the door…and squealed.  A family room means BUNK BEDS! You would have thought they had won the lottery. (No, we do not have bunk beds at home, so this was a BIG treat for them).

Giggles, ladder climbing, fort building and peek-a-boo from the top bunk ensued.

This mommy was happy because the rest of our room was clean, fairly spacious for our family of four, and comfortable.  Us parents got a nice Queen-sized pillow-top bed plus a coffee maker (check!), a mini refrigerator (check, check!) and flat screen TV you could see from all beds (check, check, check!).

I also wanted to say that after the kiddies fell asleep around 8:30 p.m., the hotel and surrounding areas were quiet.  Yes, please!  That was a BIG plus.

Bunk Beds in Wyndham Anaheim Garden Grove

Splash Time

What did we do five seconds after we finished oohhh’ing and ahhh’ing over the bunk beds??  Head to the pool, of course!  Vacation for my kids means swimming.  They would spend all their time in the pool if they could!

This pool was great for families – spacious, clean and inviting.  There were plenty of chairs, lounges and towels available.  Private cabanas are also an option on a first come, first served basis. We nabbed a few lounges and the kids dove right in.

Not too cool, not too warm.  The temperature was pretty comfortable!  The pool started at 3 1/2 feet…went to 5 feet toward the middle of the pool…and then tapered to 3 1/2 feet again on the other side.  Families and kids of all ages were there when we were there, so it was a nice mix of company.

There was also a comfy little hot tub….or as my son calls it, “the hot baby pool”…that felt great after playing in the water.  And again, very family friendly.

Wyndham Anaheim Garden Grove Pool

Eats at the Hotel

The Wyndham Anaheim Garden Grove Hotel has plenty of dining choices for your and your family.

The California Grill & Bar

We ate dinner at the California Grill & Bar, and it was delicious.  It is open all day, and serves quintessential California cuisine, including organic and gluten-free options.

I was especially impressed with their kid food options – for $7, each kid meal came with a (large) portion of the entree, choice of drink, and a post-dinner peanut butter cookie treat (make sure to ask for an alternative, if your child has a nut allergy).  That’s a pretty sweet deal for that price!  The food is quality (yes, I sampled both my son’s pizza choice, as well as my daughter’s mac and cheese – both yum!).

My husband and I started off the meal with creamy crab artichoke dip and crisp crackers (it was so delish, I could have made a meal off of that alone!), paired with a nice glass of Chardonnay.  Then, we each ordered two different entrees and enjoyed sampling – the Cobb Salad with Bleu Cheese dressing and the California Grill Burger with a side of mixed greens.

The Cobb Salad was enormous and very loaded with every possible Cobb topping you could imagine (And then some.  Like fresh mango)!  This could easily feed two people (perfect, if you’re splitting an appetizer and/or a dessert).

Their California Grill Burger was juicy, melty (cheese and topping goodness) and on a super soft, yummy Brioche bun.  The mixed greens was a great side (Yes, that night, I choose to believe that the green salad completely made the burger meal healthy!)

Blend™ Café

At the Blend Café, you can sip on a variety of freshly roasted and freshly brewed organic coffee drinks, and sample their baked pastries – perfect for a light family breakfast. They also offer stuffed Panini, freshly prepared sandwiches, and an assortment of gelato flavors – all day long – as well as a variety of tasty fare to grab-and-go.

We ate here for a light breakfast, and it was great!  The kids noshed on bagels and cream cheese, and I tried their hearty breakfast burrito for only $6 (so big, I couldn’t finish it)!  We took our plates out to the pool area and enjoyed a nice little meal in beautiful weather.  A great way to start the morning.

There’s more… 

There is also a wine bar and poolside dining (with a a wide variety of appetizers, entrées, drinks, and specialty cocktails).

Going to Disneyland?

The Disneyland theme parks are just 10 minutes away from Wyndham Anaheim Garden Grove…so this is a perfect family friendly hotel near Disneyland for you set up camp for your Disney vacation.

This hotel makes it as Disney accommodating for you as possible with their “Mouse Ear Disney® Desk” in the lobby, open from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily.  You can purchase tickets, pick up maps of the park, or ask their experts at the desk any of your Disney questions….they can provide information on all of the parks, the best rides, the best spots to eat, and all things Disney!

There is a Disneyland Shuttle (which is already included in your nominal “resort fee”) provided by the Wydnham that runs every half hour, starting with hotel departures at 7:10 a.m. (all the way to 10:40 p.m.)

Return trips from the parks to the hotel start at 9:30 a.m., all the way until 1 a.m.


Wyndham Customer Service

Three words:  Helpful, friendly, and attentive.  This is from my own hotel experience, as well as observing the customer service happening around me with other guests.  This makes such a huge difference in your hotel stay, especially when traveling with children.  Because inevitably, your kids will need an extra towel, pillow, napkin, bottle of water, toothbrush…you name it…at some of the most inopportune times.  Friendly service is a must!

You can read more of their hotel reviews here.

Good to Know…

– This hotel property is close to so many attractions and places!!!!  Check it out!

– Did you forget something?  Want to pick up munchies for your room?  Need more sunscreen?  You can literally WALK to Target AND Walgreens across the street.  Tell me that isn’t every mama’s dream when you’re away from home?!

– You are within walking distance to LOTS of great family friendly restaurants, including Red Robin, The Outback, Joe’s Crab Shack and Coco’s Bakery.

– The hotel provides complimentary 24-hour WiFi in your guest room.  You can choose to upgrade, should you need to.

– All rooms are non-smoking.

We loved staying at Wyndham Anaheim Garden Grove Hotel!  This is such a great family-friendly hotel near Disneyland for your next Disneyland (or Orange County!) vacation.

All opinions expressed here are my own – my family had a great experience here, and we hope you do to!

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The Scoop on Where Kids Eat Free in OC

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Where Kids Eat Free in the OC 1 Our family loves having meals together…and I especially love when I don’t have to always cook it for them!  Read here for my tips on where kids eat free in Orange County.

Yum!  Check Out these Kid-Friendly Restaurants…

Denny’s Restaurants (Mission Viejo location): Two days of fabulous kid meal deals!  Your kids can eat free every Tuesday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 10p.m. at participating Denny’s..I know the location in Mission Viejo honors this promotion…so if there’s a Denny’s closer to you, just call ahead and check first. Up to two kids can eat free per one adult entree purchase – sweet!

Farrell’s (Mission Viejo Mall location)Ice cream sundaes for dessert, anyone?  Pop on over to Farrell’s on Wednesdays…because kids eat free all day off the kid menu (with the purchase of one adult meal and one adult beverage, counted per child). 

Fred’s Mexican Cafe (Laguna Niguel location): Every Sunday evening from 4-9 p.m. your kiddos can eat off the kid’s menu for half price (there are a variety of items).  Valid with one adult meal per child’s meal.

El Torito (Irvine  location, MacArthur Blvd.): Munch on chips, salsa, guacamole…and order some delicious kids meals for your kiddos!  Your children can eat free on Wednesdays, with every regular adult entree purchase. (ages 12 and under).

IHOP Restaurants (Orange location): Select IHOP locations have “Kids Eat Free” afternoons – this one in Orange honors this promotion everyday after 4 p.m., when you buy an adult entree and an adult beverage. Since this great deal is restaurant specific, always make sure to call ahead and confirm if you are visiting another location.

Pasta Pomodoro (Newport Coast location): Feel like some pasta?  Visit Pasta Pomodoro, and your kiddos (12 and under) will receive a free kid’s meal on Tuesdays (all day!) with the purchase of an adult meal.

Ruby’s Diner (most locations – call ahead):  What’s better than red vinyl booths, burgers, fries and shakes?  Kids 12 and under eat free from the kids menu every Tuesday evening after 4 p.m – one free kid’s meal per one adult entree purchased.

Stadium Brewing Company (Aliso Viejo location): Start your week off right…every Monday after 5 p.m., kids 12 and under eat free with each adult entree purchase.

TGI Friday’s (Costa Mesa location) – I’m excited to share that this location offers TWO days of kids eat free!  You kiddos will enjoy a free kid’s meal every Monday and Tuesday (all day!), per purchase of an adult meal.

Z’Tejas (South Coast Plaza location):  If you’re doing a little shopping at South Coast, keep in mind that kids eat free on Sundays from 4 p.m. to closing  (per one adult entrée off of their regular menu).

*Note – Different chain restaurant locations may vary their promotions, so please always call your closest location ahead of time to confirm!

Where do you take your kids to eat?  Any other places that you know of where kiddos eat free in Orange County?

If so, share in the comments below!

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Sidecar Doughnuts

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Sidecar Doughnuts, a specialty doughnut store in Costa Mesa, opened its doors this month to the delight of Orange County doughnut aficionados everywhere.

First off, I love that they use the spelling of doughnut vs. donut, which after a quick Google search, is in fact the grammatically correct spelling. Who knew? I guess they did, and the spelling was only the first of many things they got right with their new business!

Dare I say, they really did score a hole in one. Sorry, couldn’t help it.

I was invited to a media sneak peek before it opened to the public and was able to meet the owners and find out more about their offerings.

We were also given this sampler plate of doughnuts along with a freshly brewed Stumptown latte. By the way, Sidecar is the only location in Orange County where you will find Stumptown coffee. AAAAMMMAAZING!

Now I am going to be honest: typically I eat a donut about once a year at a garage sale ~ a decision I usually end up regretting after when I get that “blah” feeling.

Not so with these yummy confections!

Sidecar Doughnuts is revolutionizing the doughnut world with doughnuts made from real ingredients.  We are talking doughnuts made fresh from scratch on the hour, using the finest ingredients and no preservatives.

Their speciality doughnuts include real yeast-raised, cake, and buttermilk varieties dressed up with fun extras to make unique flavors like Maple Bacon or Birthday Cake. Think your kiddo might like that one? You guessed right.

It was love at first taste for me. You can really taste the difference. My favorite? Maple Bacon hands down. It was an entire breakfast experience in one bite.

 Gluten-free Fridays! Avoiding gluten these days? Every Friday you will find gluten-free doughnuts; and even vegan options from time to time. Follow Sidecar Doughnuts on Facebook to find out when.

They are pricer than your typical donut, but worth the upgrade for the fresh ingredients and hip location. Plus, where else would you find a fresh, hot doughnut topped with crispy bacon?

[Disclosure: I was provided scrumptious bites and a latte complimentary; along with a doughnut box filled with some goodies. Glad they spotted me on the corner with my sign, “Will work for doughnuts.’]

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Our Medieval Times Buena Park Experience [+ Giveaway]

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When Medieval Times Buena Park contacted us to share about their new show and September SoCal resident special along with an offer for my family and Susanne’s to come and check it out firsthand for review, I thought, “Why not?! It would be something different.”

But I have a confession to make: I am a girly girl and I am the mother of two girly girls, so a visit to Medieval Times probably wouldn’t have occurred to me. My girls are not into swords or things of that nature so I honestly wouldn’t have thought of it as something they might enjoy. But oh, how WRONG I was!

Because the experience was AWESOME! The type of fun that makes your cheeks hurt from smiling and the type of joy that comes from seeing your kids in complete awe. Like when the show opened with this magical horse entering the arena…

Medieval Times brings you back to an age of bravery and honor with a dinner and spectacular tournament.

When we checked in, we were given seat assignments along with a special crown denoting our team (black & white) and the knight we would be cheering for.

Before the show we were able to enjoy a pre-dinner drink (a $6 glass of wine  – loved the reasonable price) and our kids were able to look around the gift shop and cruise around the garden.

Then we entered the theater in the round…WOW!

Our jovial waiter introduced himself, and let us know the food would be coming out in four courses, and a bar waitress would be coming around for any drink orders if we wished to partake.

It was nice to not have to order specific food (there is only one menu), which consisted of: tomato bisque, focaccia bread with olive oil, oven-roasted chicken, BBQ spare rib, herb-basted potato quarters, apple strudel. The food was delicious!

And then it begun!  A spectacle of beautiful horses and noble knights. As the show progressed, it was a sword fighting game of elimination where the knights competed in duels and the winner went on to the next level.

Unfortunately Mr. Black & White knight was knocked out the first round, but that was OK, because we were still able to cheer for our next favorite knight, the one my daughter picked based on outfit color.

Susanne’s daughter picked her favorite based on the amount of sparkles. What did I say about our girly girls? Here is Susanne’s cute family before the show…

For information on Medieval Times Buena, click HERE. Please also note that for the month of September 2o12, local Southern California residents can SAVE BIG with this special offer.

Our Medieval Times Tips!

Here are some of the things we would recommend if visiting Medieval Times with your family…

~ Arrive at least 30 minutes prior.  Probably 30 – 60 would be ideal. Seating is first come first serve. But there really is no bad seat in the house.

~ Come hungry. It’s a lot of food and it is so good you will want to keep eating the gluttonous sized portions. When in Rome, right?!

~ Bring a pack of baby wipes! In keeping with the theme of the times, you eat with your hands!  Yep, no utensils! Kids love this. And I thought it was fun too, but it is messy. The wipes will come in handy. Thanks to my Facebook fan for this tip.

~ Consider ordering one vegetarian meal when you check in. I ordered my one daughter the vegetarian meal, which included hummus and pita chips, grilled veggies and a stuffed pepper. The girls liked the hummus & pitas and my husband liked having some veggies too. Plus, there will be enough chicken to last you for days!

~ Don’t worry about all the leftover food – you can take it with you!  They are great with giving you take home containers and bags, so we ate the yummy leftover chicken throughout the whole next week.

~ If celebrating a special occasion, add on the Celebration Package for +$16pp and includes preferred seating, framed group photo, knights cheering banner, personalized announcement during the show, slice of cake, “Behind the Scenes” DVD and a commemorative program. I kept thinking what an awesome birthday party idea this would be for a small group of kids.

~ Take the kids potty before the show.  Once the action starts, you don’t want to miss a minute!  And after the show, there was a long line inside, but we found an open restroom outside that was vacant. Yay.

~ Be ready to CHEER! My oldest daughter was screaming so loud she got hoarse the next day. The more you get into it and cheer for your guy, the more fun it is.

Overall, we just had a blast, it was completely fun for everyone! And the food was DELICIOUS!

Family four pack ticket giveaway!

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Disclosure: Our families received complimentary tickets to the show to facilitate this review. Thank you Medieval Times! 

Photo credit: Medieval Times. Except for the personal pictures of course!

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