Cake Guest Manager: Chef Robert Irvine

March 21, 2017 / Uncategorized I was invited to a media event in order to write this post. All opinions are 100% my own.    Spring has sprung” when you start to hear about the upcoming Boysenberry Festival at Knott’s Berry Farm. Knott’s is actually the birthplace of THE boysenberry so a festival to celebrate this time of year seems fitting for the occasion.  Since I grew up in Southern California, I’ve always associated Knott’s with Boysenberry Punch, Mrs. Knott’s Boysenberry Pie, and Boysenberry everything!.  This year April 1st and will offer park guests  23 days of special boysenberry offerings, After attending a media tasting and getting a sneak peek at this year’s menu, I’m pretty sure this year’s Boysenberry Festival is going to be the best one by far! Knott’s has a line-up of over 70 mouthwatering boysenberry-inspired foods and drinks to choose taste this year. You’re not going to want to miss out on any of it! I was absolutely wow-ed by some of the new offerings this year’s Boysenberry Festival! First of all, they’ve got an incredible Boysenberry Pizza that will drive your palette crazy! It’s made with arugula, smoked ham, and goat cheese, and topped with Knott’s very own boysenberry Sriracha sauce. It was delicious! Another new menu item is the boysenberry ravioli! Who would’ve thought? This ravioli dish is packed with boysenberry flavors and so savory! Also new for this year is the freshly-baked boysenberry fry bread! Mmm! Some other guest favorites from years past, which will be offered again this year, include: lip-smacking corn on the cob with boysenberry butter and mayo finger-lickin boysenberry BBQ wings crispy, deep fried alligator bites paired with farm-made zesty boysenberry aioli Guests who want to take home the exquisite Boysenberry BBQ sauce, Boysenberry Butter, Boysenberry Dressing and Boysenberry Chipotle Sauce can do so by stopping by the Berry Market located in the California MarketPlace and General Store located in Ghost Town. *Select items are available on the online Berry Market store. One of the best ways to experience the Boysenberry Festival is with a Boysenberry Bites Tasting Card. For only $25, the tasting card includes generous portions of six delectable treats: Guests at the Boysenberry Festival can also visit the Wine and Craft Brew Garden, which is located inside of Ghost Town’s Wilderness Dance Hall. Those guests who are 21 years of age and older can enjoy 4 craft brews and over 50 different wines from 36 producers including boysenberry beer and boysenberry wine. There’s also a tasting card iavailable for only $25, which includes 6 tastings paired with snacks. As you can see, there is lots to see and do at Knott’s Boysenberry Festival this year! In addition to all of these food and beverage offerings, there’s also an entire lineup of live entertainment during the festival, which I’ll be sharing more about once it begins. To see a schedule of the live entertainment, go here.  You can join in on the “Boysenberry Conversation” by sharing your own Boysenberry Festival pictures on Twitter and Instagram using #BoysenberryFestival. What are you most excited for at this year’s Boysenberry Festival? Some images and logo are property of Knott’s.    March 19, 2017 / Entertainment, Movies I cannot believe it….Gru has an identical twin brother! His name is Dru! How hilarious is this poster for the upcoming “Despicable Me 3”? Now I really can’t wait to see the film and learn the history of these two brothers! I can only imagine how opposite they must be!  From the creators of Despicable Me, Despicable Me 2, and Minions, Illumination brings us another chapter in the adventures of Gru, Lucy, their adorable daughters—Margo, Edith and Agnes, and don’t forget those adorable Minions too! Watch this hilarious new trailer:  Joining Steve Carell (Gru and Dru) and Kristen Wiig in Despicable Me 3 is Emmy, Tony and Grammy Award winner Trey Parker, co-creator of Comedy Central’s global phenomenon South Park and the Broadway smash The Book of Mormon. Parker voices the role of villain Balthazar Bratt, a former child star who’s grown up to become obsessed with the character he played in the ‘80s, and proves to be Gru’s most formidable nemesis to date. Despicable Me 3 is directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda and co-directed by Eric Guillon. It’s written by Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio and the animated film is produced by Illumination’s Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy, and executive produced by Chris Renaud. Are you as excited for Summer now as I am?  DESPICABLE ME 3 is in theaters June 30! Get the latest news about the film by following along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Join in on the conversation at #DespicableMe3. This is not a sponsored post. Images and clips are property of Illumination. All opinions are 100% my own.   I was invited to attend an event at Great Wolf Lodge Southern California in order to write this post. All opinions are 100% my own.#GWLSoCalTurns1 #GWLSpring   I can’t believe it’s already been a year since Great Wolf Lodge Southern California opened! I was so honored to be invited to a special celebration for their 1st anniversary, complete with special birthday hat wolf ears, character photos, and delicious cupcakes. Guests staying at the resort and media were in attendance and got to hear from Great Wolf Lodge General Manager Phil Cunningham.  To celebrate their 1 year anniversary/birthday, Great Wolf Lodge Southern California collaborated with  artist Linda Mihara and had her create the world’s largest origami cake, which was unveiled at the ceremony. The details of the artwork were incredible and my favorite piece of the “cake” were the origami animals on top. During my visit to Great Wolf Lodge Southern California that afternoon, I was also treated to a very special lunch, prepared by Great Wolf Lodge Executive Chef Hany and his team. They put together a menu for lunch that was absolutely amazing! Chef Hany prides himself on using only the freshest and finest ingredients to resort guests. A majority of the produce is locally grown and I appreciated how sensitive they were to special dietary needs and allergies of guests when preparing the dishes. Great Wolf Lodge does an amazing job at catering to guests of all needs and sensitivities. We feasted on a variety of foods which are included on the resort’s menu during Spring-a-Palooza. Spring-a-Palooza will take place at Great Wolf Lodge locations, March 10 through April 16, 2017 this year, the Spring-a-Palooza event is offered at all of the Great Wolf Lodge resorts to families visiting, as a way to commemorate the turn of the season. The Grand Lobby at the resort is Spring-a-Palooza central. Guests will find colorful spring decorations throughout, including a special Great Wolf Lodge character-themed garden for children to explore. During Spring-a-Palooza, Great Wolf Lodge will offer additional entertainment options for guests to enjoy, with special spring-inspired activities and events taking place daily. Some of the scheduled events include: Spring Picnic: A time-honored spring tradition gets a Great Wolf twist, as guests can grab a blanket, spread it out on the floor and enjoy an afternoon picnic in the Grand Lobby. Guests can sip complimentary Minute Maid beverage available from the Great Wolf Lodge character-themed Lemonade Stand and play a few rounds of DzTake A Wiley Guessdz card game. Bubble Dance Party: This special Spring-a-Palooza event fills the Grand Lobby with cascading bubbles while Great Wolf Lodge’s Ambassadors of Fun keep energy-levels high with a family-friendly dance party. Spring-a-Palooza Story Time: Great Wolf Lodge’s nightly Story Time takes on a spring theme with a new tale featuring the Great Wolf Lodge characters called DzNatural Wonders.dzKids are encouraged to wear their favorite jammies to the Grand Lobby for this event and will have the opportunity to meet one of the Great Wolf Lodge characters in person. Spring Scavenger Hunts: Great Wolf Lodge will introduce two self-guided scavenger hunts as part of Spring-a-Palooza. The “I Spy Spring” scavenger hunt will have guests looking high and low in the Grand Lobby to find a dozen hidden objects and claim a prize. The “Spring Sprint” scavenger hunt has guests solving clues that will take them on a journey throughout the lodge. When all 10 clues are solved, guests are rewarded with a prize. Character Themed Flower Gardens: A highlight of the Spring-a-Palooza celebration is the colorful springtime gardens found in the Grand Lobby. The gardens are designed and hand-crafted by Pack Members from the resort. Surrounded by a fence, the collection of flower pots are inspired by the Great Wolf Lodge characters. Guests are encourage to stroll around the garden and vote for their favorite display. Jelly Bean Guessing Game: A gigantic jar filled to the brim with jelly bean candies sits in the Grand Lobby and guests are invited to enter a contest guessing how many delicious treats are within the jar. The guests closest to the correct number without going over will be entered for a chance to win a Great Wolf Lodge Gift Card. Spring Themed Crafts: During Spring-a-Palooza, the resort’s Ambassadors of Fun will host several spring-inspired craft making events for kids of all ages. Character-themed crafting projects include Oliver’s Crazy About Bugs Jar, Violet’s Springtime Noodle Doodle, Brinley’s Don’t Blow Away Kite and Wiley’s Can You Spot It Binoculars. In addition to admission into the indoor water park, all of the Spring-a-Palooza events are also complimentary to guests staying at Great Wolf Lodge through April 16. A complete listing of daily activities and times can be found in the Lodge Life event schedule, which is provided to guests upon check-in. As you can see, there’s so much Spring fun going on at Great Wolf Lodge during Spring-a-Palooza that you won’t want to miss out! For more information about Great Wolf Lodge, please visit greatwolf.com. Some images and logo are property of Great Wolf Lodge.    March 15, 2017 / Uncategorized This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Evite. All opinions are 100% my own. #Evite #BeOurGuest #BeThere #ad   The countdown is on until the release of Disney’s live action feature film “Beauty and the Beast” in theaters nationwide on March 17 in IMAX & 3D! I cannot wait for this movie. As a huge lover of the original animated version of “Beauty and the Beast”, released in 1991, I am excited to see how this live version compares to the original. How can you not be excited for this adaption of everyone’s favorite Disney Classic? I’m also excited to see it because I’m a huge Emma Watson fan. Not only is she a talented actress, her voice is amazing too! Have you watched the “Beauty and the Beast” Official Trailer yet? (Be sure to grab a tissue.) Just in time for the film’s release, Evite has created a special Be Our Guest – Beauty and the Beast custom category of invitations that Disney fans are going to love! There are 10 invitations in the category to choose from, suitable for different events like Girls’ Movie Night Out, Dinner Party, Awards Party, Birthday for Kids, etc. How fun is that? Here are some of the designs. My favorite invitation from this Evite collection is the Girls’ Movie Night Out design and I’m planning mine already so I can use it. My plan is to invite several of my closest girlfriends over, along with their kids, and host a Beauty and the Beast potluck dinner, prior to going out all together to see the film in the theater. I love that Evite allows you to include a list, when you send one of their invitations, so each of your friends can choose something to bring your party. Evite makes party planning so much easier especially access on my phone via the app. To view the entire collection of Beauty and the Beast invitations, go here. In honor of Disney’s newest “Beauty and the Beast” film and one of my favorite characters from the animated version, I decorated a Beauty and the Beast-Inspired “Chip” cup. I love Chip! He just holds a special place in my heart. The mug is perfect for cocoa or coffee and is pretty durable. It was very simple to do and is something you can easily recreate on your own. Here are the supplies you’ll need to make your own: a plain, white ceramic mug fine and regular tip permanent markers (oil-based, paint markers work best) paper towels Make sure your mug has been washed and is completely dry. Find an inspirational picture of Chip’s face to use as a guide. Start by coloring the rim of the mug with yellow (or gold) and use a black marker to create the “chip” at the top. Making sure the handle of the cup is centered as the nose, and start with black, drawing his face, including eyes, eyebrows, and mouth. Color in the eyes with blue and draw on cheeks with pink. *If you make a mistake, immediately wipe off your error with a baby wipe and dry the area with a paper towel before re-drawing. After you’ve drawn the face, use yellow (or gold) to color the handle. (a.k.a. the nose) Allow the mug to dry for a few hours. Before using the mug for anything, it needs to be baked in the oven. Start by placing the mug, on a cookie sheet, in a cool oven. With the mug already inside the oven, turn the oven on to 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow the mug to completely cool down inside the oven. This will prevent cracks. Note: The mug is best if washed by hand. Although “Beauty and the Beast” opens in theaters everywhere on 3/17 in IMAX & 3D, you can now purchase your tickets on pre-sale by clicking here. I already purchased tickets for all of my friends who are coming to my potluck party because I plan on being there on opening night! Have you gotten your tickets yet? Don’t forget to follow Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest movie news! Connect with Evite on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram, too. Some images, logos and trailer are property of Evite and/or Disney.   Did you know that nearly 400 million guests have embarked on the swashbuckling adventure, Pirates of the Caribbean, at Disneyland Park? The lyrics to its theme song–“Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)”– are something that’s recognized around the world and guests on the attraction can often be heard singing them in unison as they venture through the attraction. On March 18, 2017, this popular attraction celebrates its 50th anniversary and guests at Disneyland Park are invited to celebrate this special occasion with pirate-themed entertainment, exclusive merchandise and special food and beverage offerings, all beginning March 16. Guests may feast upon special, pirate-themed food at French Market Restaurant, Mint Julep Bar, Harbour Galley, Royal Street Veranda, Cafe Orleans and Blue Bayou Restaurant. (Blue Bayou also celebrates its 50th anniversary on March 18). Food items vary by location and will include: Buccaneer Pulled Pork Sandwich: Jerk-spiced Pork, Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce, Pineapple Caribbean-style Slaw and Fried Yucca Lost Treasure Beignets: Lemon-flavored Beignets with gold shimmer dust Jolly Roger Punch: Spiced Tropical Juices with hints of Pineapple, Orange and Mango Onions, Carrots, Celery, Tomatoes, Potatoes and Yucca Golden Churro: Gold-dusted Churro Friday, March 17: Pirate-themed entertainment comes alive throughout New Orleans Square, including performances by the Bootstrappers and Lucky the Pirate. Saturday, March 18: Even more entertainment will be added on the attraction’s official anniversary, including appearances by the legendary pirate himself, Captain Jack Sparrow. Limited-edition, anniversary merchandise will be available for purchase in New Orleans Square, while supplies last. Pirate Speak! collectible cards will be available for guests who wish to talk like a pirate. Guests may discover additional special surprises on March 18. The original Pirates of the Caribbean attraction set the bar for future theme park attractions with masterful storytelling and technology that introduced approximately 120 Audio-Animatronics characters. The popular attraction has inspired five films and the fifth, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” is set to open in theaters May 26, 2017. This is not a sponsored post. Images are property of Disney. All opinions are 100% my own.    This is not a sponsored post. I was invited to attend a media event, as a guest of Discovery Cube, in order to write this post. Some images are property of Discovery Cube. All opinions are 100% my own.    Discovery Cube Orange County invites families to step into the pages of Eric Carle’s colorful picture books by visiting The Very Eric Carle Exhibit.  Eric Carle’s classic “Very” series, all illustrated in his hand-painted tissue paper collage technique, introduces five special insects who take journeys of discovery. Each story is a testament to Eric Carle’s’ love of nature, his respect for the emotional lives of children, and his recurring themes of friendship creativity, and the power of imagination. Eric Carle stories included in the exhibit are: The Very Hungry Caterpillar – a story about hope. You, like the little caterpillar, will grow up, unfold your wings, and fly off into the future. The Very Busy Spider -a story about work and how we need to work and finish our tasks despite our many distractions. The Very Quiet Cricket – a story about love. Crickets and people alike go in search of a suitable mate. The Very Lonely Firefly – a story about belonging. We all want to belong to a group, a family, and our own fellow creatures. The Very Clumsy Click Beetle – a story about persistence. Each of us faces some obstacles in life, but we need to try and try again until we overcome the challenges. Interactive exhibit activities include: Test your dexterity, strength and flexibility as you step through a giant, web-like structure Compose a night symphony Test your balance as you rummage across a pile of pebbles Crawl through tall blades of grass  The Very Eric Carle exhibit is designed for children 2 to 8 years of age, their families, and pre-school and school groups ages 2 to 8 years.  Very Eric Carle: A Very Hungry, Quiet, Lonely, Clumsy, Busy Exhibit was co-organized by Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. The exhibit is included in the price of regular admission. For more information about the Very Eric Carle exhibit or to purchase tickets, go here. About Discovery Cube Discovery Cube inspires and educates young minds through engaging science-based programs and exhibits to create a meaningful impact on the communities they serve. Their mission is brought to life through the cornerstones of their four core initiatives, including: STEM Proficiency, Early Learning, Healthy Living and Environmental Stewardship. This exhibit represents their evolving commitment to expand STEM proficiency by keeping up with the trends, events and news that are capturing kids’ attention – and creating an entertaining way to approach education through a day of family bonding. Disneyland! Located in Fantasyland, inside the space that’s normally Village Haus, this quick-service restaurant offers a variety of delicious dishes that make you feel like you’re a guest in Beauty & the Beast. As you enter the restaurant, you’ll find subtle,decorative changes inside that vibe with the movie’s theme. I was there before it was fully finished so I only saw a few of the touches. (I can’t wait to visit again now that it’s all done.) On my visit, I didn’t have the chance to eat a full meal, although I did try the desserts. (see below)  I cannot wait to go back and sample some of these other menu offerings: The Beast’s Burger – A 1/3 pound Angus beef patty, slow-cooked beef, Gruyere cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato and horseradish aioli on a toasted roll. Class Angus 1/3 lb Cheeseburger – An Angus beef patty with cheese, lettuce, tomato and signature sauce on a toasted roll. Enchanted Cauli-Flower Sandwich – A grilled cauliflower steak, spicy lime aioli, tempura-battered green beans, lettuce and tomato on a toasted roll. Slow-Cooked Beef Poutine – Chicken Sandwich à la Lumière – Grilled chicken breast, apple slaw, onion-bacon jam and fried cherry peppers on a toasted roll. Chef’s Chopped Salad – Cabbage, Romaine and iceberg lettuce, smoked bacon, apple, hard-cooked eggs, blue cheese crumbles, garlic croutons and apple vinaigrette. Poutine Flatbread – Garden Mozzarella Flatbread – Pulled Pork Flatbread – Topped with pulled pork, roasted corn, sweet and spicy barbecue sauce, pickled onions and cilantro Red Rose Taverne also offers Kids’ Meals, referred to as “Chip’s Dishes”, and a Toddler Meal. In addition to regular beverages, you can also order  Gaston’s Famous Brew at Red Rose Taverne, which is an apple-mango punch topped with passion fruit foam. Guests have the option to order it in a souvenir mug for an additional $8.00.  Now let’s talk about the desserts because that seems to be the most important part. I promise that you’ll want to stop by and enjoy one of each for yourself on your next visit to the Park! I started off by trying some of “the Grey Stuff” They named it  Grey Stuff Gateau. It’s a white chocolate mousse and red velvet cake with a sweet raspberry center and was delicious!  Next, I tried the Lemon Rose Cake, which is a lemon mousse cake with strawberry-rose filling. This one was bright, colorful and oh-so-tasty. I also took home one of the Mrs. Potts Krispy treats so I could enjoy it the next day. I’m really excited about everything going on right now at Disneyland Resort surrounding the upcoming release of Disney’s “Beauty & the Beast” in theaters on March 17th! Did you know that you can catch a special 8-minute sneak peek of the film right now in Disney’s California Adventure Park through March 26th? Stop by the Sunset Showcase Theater in Hollywood Land to get an advance look of a scene from the movie, presented in 3D with special in-theater effects, presented continuously throughout the day. While you’re there, be sure to check out the special lobby display featuring a few costumes and props used in the production, too! This is not a sponsored post. Artwork property of Disney. All opinions are 100% my own.    The latest location of The Pizza Press recently opened in Rancho Santa Margarita and as soon as I saw the sign, I was excited to try it. I’d heard great things about this eatery, as they’d already opened 8 other locations in Southern California and have several more on the way. The Pizza Press offers a variety of delicious new creations and old classics. Guests also have the choice to create their very own pizza, which is prepared right in front of you, using the day’s freshest ingredients! The Pizza Press is revolutionizing America’s favorite food.the chance to “publish” their pizza to their liking. Guests at The Pizza Press get to start building their custom pizza with “a blank slate”, a.k.a. their dough. They then get to select their choice of sauce, then cheese, and finally the toppings from the day’s freshest ingredients. Once this is all done, their pizza is “published” as it goes into the 475 degree pizza oven for about 4 minutes. What comes out is a delicious pie! The Pizza Press also offers fresh salads. You can start with greens and add your choice of toppings to customize your salad. Caesar and Bow Tie Pasta salads available. We opted to add some Garlic Cheesy Bread to our meal which is made with extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, mozzarella, aged parmesan, Italian herbs and comes with a side of red sauce. Yum! The theme and decor inside The Pizza Press is modern twist on the Roaring Twenties, complete with quirky newspapers from yesteryear. It’s such a fun atmosphere and the food is outstanding. You’ll want to visit Pizza Press soon so you can “publish” your own meal! To learn more about The Pizza Press and see their full menu, go here. We were invited to a media tasting in order to write this review. All opinions are 100% my own.    Keegan Gerhard In addition to culinary demonstrations and seminars, guests will enjoy an exciting musical program with eclectic bands that add an authentic “California vibe” to the Festival. Children ages 3 to 11 may join in the fun with the popular, complimentary Junior Chef experience (led by Chef Goofy (available on a first-come, first-seated basis), and the Jammin’ Chefs, who serve up tasty rhythms with pots and pans that really get cooking with the help of sous chefs Chip ‘n Dale.  Many of the Festival events are included with admission to Disney California Adventure. Guests who want to add the Signature Events may purchase separate tickets at an additional fee for the following events: “In the Kitchen with …” – Each Celebrity Chef will lead a 60-minute culinary demonstration and Q&A followed by an autograph session. The experience includes a  tasting of some of the prepared dishes. (offered on Saturdays from 6 to 7 p.m.) Sweet Sundays – culinary arts. Following a light breakfast and a sparkling toast, the Guest Chef for that  day will demonstrate up to three recipes. Guests will enjoy samples from the chefs. (offered on select Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to noon.)  Winemaker Dinners and Brewmaster Dinners – A four-course dinner features wines  and winemakers or beers and brewmasters. Wine or beer selections will be paired with  courses created by the Disney Executive Chef Team and each winemaker or  brewmaster will speak on the libation and the pairing. (offered on Thursdays from 6:30 to 9 p.m.)  Additional ticketed programs include: Culinary Demonstrations (presented daily throughout the Festival) – Guests will enjoy 30-minute culinary demonstrations presented by local, visiting and Disney chefs. Each demo will focus on a single recipe, ingredient or cooking style. Guests will receive a tasting sample of the dish prepared. Wine, Beer or Spirits Education and Tasting Seminars (presented daily throughout the Festival) – Beverage seminars presented by industry experts will enlighten guests who want to learn more about their favorite spirits. Each 30- to 45-minute seminar will focus on a specific beverage type, region or label, and guests will enjoy tasting samples of some of the beverages discussed. Beginning March 10 through April 1, guests may make reservations for Signature and other ticketed events by visiting Disneyland.com/foodandwine. Reservations for events later in the month of April can be made beginning 60 days prior to the date of the individual event. For more information about the Disney California Adventure the Disney California Food & Wine Festival, visit http://www.Disneyland.com. Please note: Separate admission to Disney California Adventure Park is required and is not included with the cost of signature events. Space is limited for all ticketed events; advance reservations are recommended. Full payment may be due at time of booking, and cancellation fees may apply. No refunds, credit or date or time changes. Guests must be 21 years of age or over to consume alcohol; valid photo ID required. Events and demonstrations are subject to change or cancellation without notice. This is not a sponsored post. Some images are property of Disney. All opinions are 100% my own.   

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