Archives for July 6, 2017

The Habit Burger Grill Celebrates Summer with the Return of the Delicious Strawberry Balsamic Chicken Salad Available for a limited time through August! You DON'T want to miss this one!

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The Habit Restaurants, Inc. (Nasdaq: HABT), an Irvine-based restaurant company renowned for its award-winning Charburgers, has announced the return of its Strawberry Balsamic Chicken Salad, a delicious salad as satisfying as summer itself. The limited time special is available now through summer at participating Habit Burger Grill locations, and is priced at $7.75.

The Habit’s Strawberry Balsamic Chicken Salad features a refreshing blend of perfectly seasoned chargrilled chicken breast atop a bed of hand-cut garden greens with fresh sliced strawberries, dried blueberries and feta cheese crumbles, tossed in a house-made strawberry balsamic vinaigrette making for a delightful option for any summers day.

“Last year, our guests loved this menu item that reflected the fun and refreshing feeling of summertime,” says chef Adam Baird, The Habit’s vice president of food & beverage and creator of this limited time special. “We decided to bring this salad back because when our guests think of summer foods, they think of delicious ripe strawberries. This salad is the perfect combination of summer’s favorite fruit, fresh greens and a tasty vinaigrette. We are certain that it will be a fan-favorite yet again.”

I had the opportunity to try this delicious salad and I highly recommend! I love the strawberries, feta cheese crumbles, and blueberries together! 

Connect with The Habit on social media at facebook.com/habitburgerinstagram.com/habitburgergrilltwitter.com/habitburger and youtube.com/habittube.

About The Habit Restaurants, Inc. 

The Habit Burger Grill is a burger-centric, fast casual restaurant concept that specializes in preparing fresh, made-to-order chargrilled burgers and sandwiches featuring USDA choice tri-tip steak, grilled chicken and sushi-grade albacore tuna cooked over an open flame. In addition, it features fresh made-to-order salads and an appealing selection of sides, shakes and malts. The Habit was named the “best tasting burger in America” in July 2014 in a comprehensive survey conducted by one of America’s leading consumer magazines. The first Habit opened in Santa Barbara, California in 1969. The Habit has since grown to over 185 restaurants in 10 states throughout California, Arizona, Utah, New Jersey, Florida, Idaho, Virginia, Nevada, Washington and Maryland as well as two international locations. More information is available at www.habitburger.com.

Self Disclosure: I had the opportunity to try this salad courtesy of The Habit. Information and photo also provided.

Hartz® Expands Popular Delectables™ Lickable Treat Line and my cat loves this treat! Introducing Kitten Life Stage and Veggie Additions in July

The Hartz Mountain Corporation announces the expansion of the popular Delectables Lickable Treats, the first wet cat treat line, with five new flavors including Bisque Kitten with Tuna, Bisque Kitten with Tuna & Chicken, Stew with Chicken & Veggies, Bisque with Tuna & Veggies and Chowder with Tuna & Veggies.
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Delectables Lickable Treats, available in 1.4 ounce pouches with three unique and delicious textures including stews, bisques and chowders, was launched in January 2015.  “Delectables Lickable Treats for cats is a new and better way to treat your cat and make them happy because it is super delicious and easy to eat,” says Lester Ding, Brand Manager.
“We have expanded our line to address the unique nutritional needs and taste preferences of kittens with Kitten Life stage,” says Ding.  “Our three additional vegetable-centric additions are appealing treats made with real chicken, tuna and vegetables and are ideal for cat parents who love to pamper their pets.”
Ideal as an in-between meal treat or as a savory topper for dry food, Delectables Lickable Treats’ convenient, single-serve pouches provide cats with tempting treats made with real chicken, seafood, and vegetables. Delectables Lickable Treats are available in multiple varieties including regular, life stage (for cats 10+ and 15+ years old and now for kittens up to 12 months old) and in 5 and 12-pack variety packs.
“Cats can be finicky and over time, their appetite may diminish which can be distressing to the cat and cat parent,” says Georgette Wilson, DVM, Director of Scientific and Medical Affairs.  “Delectables is a great solution, especially for older cats who may find certain foods to be either difficult to eat due to dental disease or unappealing due to their decreased sense of smell.”
“Delectables is the only wet cat treat brand with products formulated specifically for older cats,” adds Ding.  “Our Delectables Senior line is enhanced with vitamins and is highly palatable – benefits that are vital for mature cats.  They lick their bowls clean!”
Delectables Lickable Treats is also excited to announce “Empty Bowl,” a national advertising campaign for the second half of 2017.  It will include a targeted national TV commercial as well as digital and social media campaigns.  On Hartz’s FacebookTwitter, and Instagram pages, consumers are invited to share photos and videos of how crazy fast their cats lick up Delectables using hashtags #lickitloveit, #emptybowl, and #catsgocrazy4Delectables, and they will participate in weekly drawings for a chance to win Delectables Lickable Treats.
Lastly, in mid-2016 Hartz launched Delectables Squeeze Ups, the first interactive wet cat treat – a rich, thick, puree in a lickable tube that cat parents can hand feed to their cats – for a fun experience for both cats and cat parents.  Exciting Squeeze Up news will be announced shortly.
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My cats received a package with the new products and they were a hit! My cat Titan actually ate his favorite one up so fast that I couldn’t get a decent photo! 
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Titan’s favorite is the Delectables Stew with Chicken & Veggies!
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Look for them all at a retailer near you!
Self Disclosure: I received a package of treats for our cats (Thank you Hartz!) to facilitate this feature. Video and image was also provided. Titan Photo Credit: SoCal City Kids. 

Mama is Pet of the Week!

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Mama and her brother, Mr. Spot, were turned in by their owner at age 15! After spending a decade and a half with a family, they were dumped. How must they feel? Could you give them the golden years they deserve? Senior pets have the special adoption rate of $20—that’s win-win-win for everyone! Meet Mama and Mr. Spot at the Companion Animal Village at 7700 East Spring St., (562) 570-PETS. Ask for ID#A592311 for Mama and ID#A592310 for Mr. Spot.

 

(This rescue encouraged by the usual suspects.)

Credit: Courtesy of the Companion Animal Village.

Jelly of the Month Club & Flashback Heart Attack Return to Mason Park 7/6 & 7/13

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Fan favorite, Jelly of the Month Club, will be opening tomorrow’s concert at 6pm – the band was a hit at Babychella in March and we’re so excited to have them back at Mason Park! They’re sure to get your kiddos on their feet and groovin’ to the music.
Next Thursday, July 13 Journey Tribute band, Open Arms, and ’80s cover band, Flashback Heart Attack will play the best hits of the era.
More info:
Credit: OC Parks Summer Concert Series.

Celebrate Summer and the 4th of July holiday all week long at the House of Blues Anaheim – Kids eat free!

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Credit: House of Blues Anaheim.

Free Festival Featuring Rare Vintage Train Engines and Cars, Model Train Displays, a Kids’ Zone and Period Costumes Takes Angelenos on a Journey Through Time

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Take a nostalgic journey through time at Union Station’s Summer Train Fest, a free family event at LA’s iconic downtown venue featuring a rare collection of beautifully restored vintage train engines and cars from the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

The festival, held from Noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 15, throughout Union Station, will showcase exclusive and rarely seen train cars from Metrolink and Amtrak and fan favorites including:

  • Santa Fe 3751: 1927 Steam Locomotive
  • Overland Trail: 1949 Club Lounge train w/ passenger lounge, bar and barbershop.
  • Pacific Trail: 1950 fully restored passenger car w/44 seats.
  • Tioga Pass: 1959 Business car w/ lounge, sleeping quarters, dining room and kitchen.
  • National Forum, Pullman Car: 1956 sleeper car from the Pacific Railroad Society Inc.

 

Tickets will be available to tour the inside of the Santa Fe 3751 Steam Locomotive. Ticket prices are $20 for adults, $10 for Children (5 to 18 years of age). Children under age 5 are free.

 

Train enthusiast can enjoy a variety of model trains and special tutorials from the Los Angeles Model Railroad Society and Pasadena Model Railroad Club, along with a Kids’ Zone from Griffith Park Travel Town and tunes from award-winning harmonicist Ross Garren.

The stations South Patio will come alive with L.A.’s premier food trucks and music from the city’s hottest DJs.

Local vendors including Skylight Books, Train Shack and California Operation Lifesaver will offer model train supplies, train-themed merchandise, and train-safety education and awareness throughout the event.

Check in at the Union Station Information Booth for a festival map and free Event Passport. The first 1,000 guests to complete the passport will receive a commemorative Summer Train Fest pin.

Union Stations Summer Train Fest is hosted by Metro in partnership with Metrolink and Amtrak.

Visit Eventbrite to register for the free event. For additional information, visit www.unionstationla.com or Facebook.

Credit: Union Station LA.

Yogurtland Shares Summer Joy With Newest Scratch-made Delicious Flavors New Summer Spoons Highlight Watermelon Sorbet and Mud Pie Flavors

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This summer, yogurt lovers can pack up their picnic baskets and head to Yogurtland to enjoy five new scratch-made flavors that are reminiscent of family outings and warm summer nights.

These new promotional flavors, available from June 5 to August 6, explore the tastes of summer and are inspired by summer experiences, and the fresh fruits and desserts that are associated with them. These new flavors join Yogurtland’s more than 200 other handcrafted, gourmet flavors that are made at Yogurtland’s very own dairy with mastery and care, and with one thing in mind – delighting guests to the last spoonful.

 

“Our fans visit Yogurtland to enjoy and celebrate life’s special moments. The personalized experience lets fans craft their ultimate treat and choose the flavors and toppings they are craving. We are especially excited to introduce Watermelon Sorbet, a flavor our fans have been craving for some time,” said Chad Bailey, senior director of marketing and R&D, Yogurtland.

 

Yogurtland is also introducing two new collectible spoons, one featuring a red watermelon wedge and the other a slice of mud pie. Yogurtland is collaborating with the Watermelon Board to highlight the use of the juice of U.S-grown watermelons in this along-awaited flavor. To top off these delicious flavors, Yogurtland is introducing gummi butterflies as the perfect topping.

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The five mouth-watering flavors are:

 

–       Home Grown Watermelon Sorbet – Starting June 5, this delicious sorbet will have Yogurtland lovers quenching summer heat with the season’s favorite fruit. Combining everything there is to love about watermelon, sweet, fresh, and fruity, this flavor offers a refreshing experience on a hot summer day.

 

–       Sun Kissed Strawberry Shortcake – Inspired by summer’s favorite dessert, this flavor blends the deliciousness of real California strawberries with real sweet shortbread cookie and is available starting June 5. In each spoonful, the fruity, juicy strawberry taste is followed by notes of cake and whipped cream for a complete dessert sensation.

–       Sweet n’ Smooth Peaches and Cream Gelato- Available starting June 19, this combination of fruity tartness and creamy gelato makes for the perfect summer treat.  Inspired by some of the delicious treats individuals crave on a summer day, this flavor fills each spoonful with real Freestone peach taste.

 I absolutely love the Sweet n’Smooth Peaches and Cream Gelato! It’s delicious!

–       Larger Than Life Mud Pie – Starting July 3, chocolate fanatics rejoice, this ‘larger than life’ flavor layers rich chocolate, tasty coffee, and delectable chocolate cookies. The perfect balance of each layer comes through to create a decadent mud pie taste for all to enjoy.

 

–       Picnic Favorite Apricot Mango Tart- No picnic is complete without juicy summer fruits. The subtle balance between sweet and tart, this flavor combines two fruit favorites, sweet apricots and juicy mangos. This delicious flavor is available starting July 17.

 

Yogurtland’s flavorologists are continually seeking craveable flavors that keep fans loving their experience. Yogurtland owns its own dairy and by controlling the frozen yogurt making process, the company can deliver the highest quality flavors, setting new standards for millions of fans.

 

All of Yogurtland’s flavors meet the National Yogurt Association Criteria for “live and active culture frozen yogurt” and are produced in a kosher-certified facility. Yogurtland features non-fat and low-fat yogurt flavors as well as non-dairy and no sugar added choices while using milk that does not contain antibiotics or added hormones. Fruit flavors are fortified with Vitamin C for an extra boost.

 

Presently Yogurtland has more than 330 locations across the U.S., Australia, Guam, Singapore, Thailand, Venezuela and Dubai. For more information, visit http://www.yogurt-land.com or http://www.facebook.com/yogurtland.

Credit: Yogurtland provided information and a gift card for me to sample the delicious flavors. I am off to try the Larger Than Life Mud Pie today!

Spider-Man: Homecoming – Greatest Reboot Ever in Marvel Cinematic Universe

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Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May, under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark, Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.  KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O. comments, “Marvel has made over a dozen films in the last decade, each beating the previous one in quality. Spider-Man: Homecoming amazingly continues this trend by stumping all previous Marvel films in almost every category.” Ryan R. adds, “Spider-Man Homecoming is the greatest reboot that ever happened in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is a clever and incredibly funny film.” Sahiba R. sums it up with, “Spider-Man: Homecoming is a rollercoaster ride! At one moment I laughed so hard my stomach hurt and next, I was clenching my jaws while my heart raced… From the start, Peter Parker’s attitude as a young, curious teenager makes him a relatable and hilarious superhero.” See their full reviews below.

Spider-Man: Homecoming
By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

 

Marvel has made over a dozen films in the last decade, each beating the previous one in quality. Spider-Man: Homecoming amazingly continues this trend by stumping all previous Marvel films in almost every category.

The main focus of the movie varies. A major part, which the film shares with all other Marvel installments, is comedy. It doesn’t stand alone and drama also has an equally important role in the story. Deeper into the plot, there are small hints of romance and of course a background of action and intensity which never ceases to amaze and excite the viewer.

The film uniquely does not start with an average kid who gets bit by a radioactive spider. Instead, Spider-Man: Homecoming starts literally right after Captain America: Civil War. At this point, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) has already gained his spectacular spider-like abilities. As young 15-year-old Peter gets more comfortable in his role as Spider-Man, the superhero. He discovers a group of criminals fabricating weapons from alien technology and attempts to take them down. This isn’t the main conflict for Peter, though. Since he is a teen, the Avengers, specifically Iron Man aka Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) don’t trust him to go out fighting crime with a super suit that allows Peter to do almost anything. Spider-Man must not only deal with attempting to prove himself and taking down a dangerous organization, he also faces the challenge of balancing his normal teenage life in Queens with his role as a crime-fighting superhero.

I love the approach that Spider-Man: Homecoming takes with the story. So many Spider-Man books and films focus on his back story and many never even portray him as 15-year-old Peter Parker, just Spider-Man. This adaptation of the classic hero chooses differently and focuses mostly on Peter himself. This not only gives a very interesting perspective of having all this power and only being a kid, but also offers an interesting look into the private life of someone from the world of superheroes. This gives a very refreshing experience to what has become almost repetitive in the superhero genre and plays out very nicely throughout the film.

One important part that really sticks out is the acting. Tom Holland is not 15; he’s  21. Yes, he delivers a phenomenal performance as Peter and really comes across as a very relatable and likable kid. The classic Spider-Man theme sounds spectacular in this cinematic score. Music composer Michael Giacchino really creates an exhilarating soundtrack that fits the film’s pace perfectly. One small issue the film has many times is the comedy. The jokes themselves are perfect, but their timing leaves a bit to be desired. Many times, in very exciting and thrilling scenes there is a joke that would be funny elsewhere, but it comes across as inappropriate and destroys the mood at times. This makes the film seem like a parody when it’s far from that.

My favorite scene is one of the first scenes or sequence of scenes when the audience has the perspective of Parker’s phone videos. In the videos, he flies to Berlin and joins Tony Stark to help fight Captain America. These are the exact same scenes that take place in Captain America: Civil War, but from a completely different perspective. That is not only hilarious, but very unique and enjoyable.

Even though Peter himself really is just a kid, this film is not meant for young children. There are many dark action scenes and an equal amount of mature comedy. For that reason, I recommend this for  ages 14 to 18. I give Spider-Man: Homecoming 4 out of 5 stars for being an overall fantastic and enjoyable film with some bad timing in the comedic placement.

Spider-Man: Homecoming

By Ryan R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

 

 

 

Spider-Man Homecoming is the greatest reboot that ever happened in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is a clever and incredibly funny film. It takes place two months after Captain America: Civil War. Spider-Man wants to become part of the Avengers, however Tony Stark thinks he isn’t ready because he is a child and still needs to learn from his mistakes. Peter Parker tries to juggles being a high school kid with being a hero. Also in this film, Peter tries to stop a group of men from selling dangerous weapons to people.

 

I love this film for the characters and their banter. Tom Holland makes Spider-Man, the teenager, very loveable and relatable. I like how they show Spider-Man as a bit immature and relaxed, unlike other films where Peter is too serious and the films feel pretty dark and grim. My favorite character is Ned (Jacob Batalon) because he asks Peter so many questions about Spider-Man and that makes it really funny to watch. Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of Iron Man mentoring  Peter is quite wonderful. Iron Man helps him but he doesn’t take the focus away from Spider-Man. Spider-Man’s constant banter in this film is also quite amusing. This film makes certain that Spider-Man can stand on his own in another sequel.

 

There is one thing I did not like about this film and that is the storyline about his crush.  It really doesn’t develop and it seems that it is only there as filler. Besides that the film is great.

 

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 8 to 18. I think adults might like this as well. This film does contain intense scenes and some inappropriate language, making it unsuitable for younger viewers. This is a “know your kid” movie. I recommend it  to people who like action, adventure, comedy, films based on books and family movies. Make sure to see Spider-Man: Homecoming which arrives in theaters 7/7/2017. This is a movie worth seeing and I guarantee you will not only like this film, you will love it.

 

Spider-Man: Homecoming

By Sahiba K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

 

 

 

Spider-Man: Homecoming is a rollercoaster ride! At one moment I laughed so hard my stomach hurt and next, I was clenching my jaws while my heart raced. The first time Peter Parker aka Spider-Man (Tom Holland) is introduced, the entire theatre radiated with smiles and laughter. From the start, Peter Parker’s attitude as a young, curious teenager makes him a relatable and hilarious superhero.

 

The story focuses on fifteen-year-old high school boy Peter Parker who recently fought with and against the Avengers in Captain America: Civil War. He is eager to work with his mentor and friend Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) again, but finds himself rejected and treated as a child. Therefore, Peter Parker takes matters into his own hands when faced against a formidable foe.

 

Tom Holland effortlessly portrays a carefree teen who is very relatable for young adults. His actions and demeanor are innocent. Even when he is in his Spider-Man costume, Holland’s movements convey Peter Parker’s thoughts. The villain, Vulture is played by Michael Keaton whose acting sent chills down my spine. He gives the character a humane side and, with or without his Vulture suit on, he is terrifying. All the lead actors and supporting actors such as Zendaya and Jacob Batalon create a realistic high school experience combined with the thrills of a superhero movie.

 

The cinematography adds to the adrenaline rush when Spider-Man swings from web to web. Salvatore Totino, the cinematographer, has the camera right in front or by Spider-Man’s side while he is fighting. This allows you to become engrossed in these scenes and imagine how it might feel to swing across the streets and fight crime like Spider-Man. The graphics make the experience more realistic and futuristic. For example, the eyes on Spider-Man’s suit move with the expressions that he has underneath the suit. The special effects when Spider-Man is crawling up the sides of walls and swinging through the air made me feel as if I was next to him watching him with my own eyes. My favorite part is Peter Parker’s innocent humor because it makes him unique.

 

The message of the film is that even when no one believes in you, you can achieve great things if you follow your heart. I give Spider-Man: Homecoming 4.5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 11 to 18. Check out Spider-Man: Homecoming in theatres which opens nationwide on July 7, 2017.

 

Credit: KIDS FIRST!