Tag Archives: suburbia

Return to Temporary Wetlands

Early last month I posted some photos of ponds in an empty lot in the Irvine Spectrum area, fed by the winter rains. Well, the rains have been tapering off, and the weather has been warming up. It’s been at least two weeks since it last rained, and the ponds are drying out.

Drying Office Park Pond
Drying Office Park Pond, originally uploaded by Kelson.

On the plus side, all the sun has brought out the wildflowers. It’s still nowhere near the 2006 level, when hillsides were covered with patches of dark green, light green and bright yellow…

…but there was a nice patch of lupins at one end of the lot.

Lupin Patch
Lupin Patch, originally uploaded by Kelson.

Office Park Ponds

Office Park Ponds (2/3)
Office Park Ponds (2/3), originally uploaded by Kelson.

There are still a few empty lots in the Irvine Spectrum office park area, and the recent rains have turned them green…and for the first time I remember noticing, filled hollows with water to create temporary ponds. There were even a half-dozen ducks milling about while I took these pictures. Continue reading

Lost Food: Panda Panda

Panda Express as it stands today. (Literally, today, 20 minutes before posting this.)

When I lived in Lake Forest during the year 2000, I used to frequent a place called Panda Panda. It was your basic steam table Chinese restaurant, but it was good. I remember the occasional evening on which I’d think, “Do I go to the store, buy ingredients, come home, then spend time cooking just for one person, or do I go out and grab some fast-ish food?” Panda Panda was a frequent winner of these decisions.

It was located at the corner of El Toro and Raymond, near the library. Panda Panda shared a building with a Quizno’s sandwich place and was one driveway away from a Wendy’s.

I don’t know if they were a small chain or a solo restaurant, but they were eventually bought out or otherwise assimilated by Panda Express, which I’ve never particularly liked. (Though Panda Inn, a table-service restaurant owned by the same company, has been consistently good.) Naturally they homogenized the menu as well.

That was the end of that.

A few years later, as part of the big project to renovate the area, both buildings were bulldozed to make way for a new strip mall segment. Panda Express got the prime spot in the new building, but all traces of Panda Panda are lost.

For the record: I’m currently sitting in a Wahoo’s taco place roughly where the driveway used to be.