At Bistro K, traditional Italian recipes merge with eclectic New World flavors for a menu that's reflective of the international history of the family behind it. That story starts back in Italy with the four Bagatta brothers, all chefs who later traveled on to France, South Africa, and Southern California. It was during these wanderings that Tony Bagatta met Massimiliana, the woman who would become his wife. Today, Massimiliana and her daughter Katia run Bistro K as a mother-daughter team, serving up hearty plates from traditional Italian gnocchi to gourmet burgers smothered in gruyère.
A rustic Spanish-style farm in the heart of San Juan Capistrano that's been standing since 1890 promises more creatures than just the area's famous swallows. The picturesque estate is part of Zoomars?an all-ages petting zoo that's USDA-approved for cleanliness and the place where more than 200 animals call home. The residents range from the familiar to the exotic: goats, sheep, and kunekune pigs mingle alongside exotic emus, zebus, and zebras that greet visitors for pets and feeding. One of the zoo's most popular areas is the guinea-pig patch, where some of the farm's fuzziest and friendliest creatures reside. Zoomars also features family-friendly attractions ranging from a miniature train and pony rides to the newly installed playground with four slides to the rustic Miner's Gulch, where panning the water reveals rare treasures such as gemstones.
Owner Carolyn Franks started down the path to animal care in college when she created her own line of dog toys. She soon moved from New Jersey to California where her passion snowballed: developing a full line of pet products, hosting an animal show for kids, running a chain of exotic bird stores, and even traveling to Brazil to learn about animal conservation. In 2005, she used her knowledge to take over the Jones Farm petting zoo, expanding its pens and transforming its brand into Zoomars.
Franks is joined by a well-trained staff of zookeepers and wranglers who share her vision in entertaining kids?and teaching them how to interact with the animals?as they are in caring for and shepherding mammals and birds.
Bearing the initials of the Big Apple, NYC Cafe & Catering keeps Southern California bellies full with its expansive spread of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. The family-oriented establishment makes everything from scratch, from its marinara sauce to bread baked fresh every morning. Visitors bask in this freshness while feasting on specialty pastas, sandwiches, or pizzas, including a special New York pie loaded with pepperoni, sausage, and double cheese. They also offer a variety specialty gyros, where meat and pita come together in an effort to learn how to love again. Conveniently, the cafe caters to Orange County, meaning patrons don't have to stuff their cheeks with lasagna if they want to enjoy their meal at an alternate location.
The pristine sheets of ice at Ice Palace’s outpost in Aliso Viejo serve as a well-kept tundra ideal for diversions such as hockey, figure-skating, and public skating sessions. Future NHL stars and misinformed basketball players can both sharpen their stick-handling skills in the facilities' Learn to Play Hockey programs, whereas Learn to Figure Skate sessions teach beginners everything from forward and backward moves to entry-level jumps and spins. Held throughout the week, open skating sessions allow the general public to let loose as couples slip on their skates, hold hands, and fearlessly tie each other's laces.
Like a real jungle, Scooter’s Jungle is full of vibrant colors and potential for adventure; unlike a real jungle, however, most of its attractions are inflatable. Named for its tropical theme, the indoor family-fun center’s inflatables range from gargantuan slides and a zip line to an obstacle course, where kids can build the agility necessary to finally outrun their shadows. For a break from the pillowy structures, kids can play ping-pong and air hockey at the free game tables, or nosh on pizza during private birthday parties.