By guest Wine Chix Carmen Micheli
Carmen is a freelance wine, food and music writer living in Temecula Valley Wine Country. An amazing home chef, mother of two and wine aficionado she writes about those in-the-know and on-the-go. With a pulse on the latest in dining, entertainment, events and more, Carmen delivers the latest news and happenings around the city, showcasing the best that Temecula Wine Country and the SoCal area has to offer.
Irvine: The True Heart of Southern California
Every year, travelers from all across the globe are attracted to the consistently gorgeous weather, and variety of experiences the Southern California region has to offer. Sporting Events, beaches, hiking, horseback riding, theme parks, shopping, museums, theatres, wine country, golf, and restaurants featuring edgy, healthy, global or entertaining cuisine, it’s all here; it’s just a matter of where to base yourself during your visit. Destination Irvine and the Hyatt Regency Hotel suggest you consider Irvine. Irvine is the true heart of all the So Cal action. With just about everything within easy driving distance, it is a prime spot to stay, enjoy, and discover the wide array of activities the area has to offer.
The luxurious, stylish Hyatt Regency Hotel and Destination Irvine were host and sponsor to the 2012 International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) regional luncheon at the 6ix Park Grill, and overnight FAM Tour. Our team of fifteen talented writers, photographers, and authors were treated to a gourmet lunch and an extensive tour of the AAA Four Diamond Hyatt Regency .
Hotel Manager, Mark Bastis, admirably keeps the entire hotel, its staff, and services operating at a notch above any hotel standard in the area. Impressive, high-tech meeting/board rooms, a conference theater, charming outdoor terraces, Irvine’s largest ballroom, a state-of-the art fitness facility, heated outdoor pool, a tennis court, and complimentary bikes for the nearby biking and jogging trails are just a few of the many perks offered here. In addition, The Café, bar8, and the elegant 6ix Park Grill located on the hotel property are available to satisfy almost any craving.
Just outside the hotel there are many “off-site” adventures such as bird-watching, hot-air balloon rides, sunset biking, and world class golf. Or perhaps a visit to Turtle Rock Nature Center or catching a symphony, ballet or Broadway Show at Segerstrom Center for the Arts are more your style? “The perception of most visitors is that Irvine is a business community; hosting writers from the IFWTWA was an opportunity for Destination Irvine and its tourism partners to showcase the city’s unique offerings,” explains Wendy Haase, Director of Tourism Marketing, Destination Irvine. For a fun list of “41 things to do in Irvine” and tour details check out their website at: http://www.destinationirvine.com/things-to-do/irvine/ .
The 6ix Park Grill may be located in a Hotel, but it is not your typical Hotel Restaurant. The restaurant features fresh, healthy California Cuisine cooked on a wood-fire grill, in an elegant atmosphere that is suitable for any gathering. Our group was escorted to a charming private dining room behind rustic wood sliding doors for a 3 course lunch created by talented chef Ted Hill. The “gem” of all wedge salads adorned my plate with organic little gem lettuce, chopped applewood bacon, point reyes blue cheese, red onion, and grape tomatoes with buttermilk citrus vinaigrette. I found it a wondrous pair for the crisp, buttery 2010 Dunnigan Hills, Match Book Chardonnay. Grilled Skuna Bay Salmon resting on a bed of coconut bacon rice, asparagus accented with lemon butter sauce, and 2010 Lake County, Match Book
Cabernet Sauvignon came next and there was not one bite left on my plate. The layers of flavors in this dish are masterful. Just when I thought the meal couldn’t possibly be any better, a fresh peach Crème Brulee with caramelized Peaches and a Pecan Cookie made an entrance. At the 6ix Park Grill, meals are not merely cooked and served, but elaborately created and presented. What a stunning restaurant with a hip, modern twist serving great, fresh food. Encore please!
There is so much to do, eat, and see in Irvine. Whether it is business or pleasure, the Hyatt Regency , its amenities, affordable price point combined with the surrounding area of Irvine are primed to make any event, meeting, activity or vacation a success. Destination Irvine is the official Convention and Visitors Bureau for the city and is dedicated to helping visitors of all ages and interests experience the beauty and bustle the area has to offer. Visit them at www.destinationirvine.com for information on the happenings in the area, then, go to www.irvine.hyatt.com to book your stay at the only AAA Four Diamond Hotel in Irvine. Stay awhile, relax, and enjoy time well spent in the true heart of Southern California.