It’s likely we won’t win the 5-Hour Energy Yummification Contest, but we learned a lot trying. The contest closes today, and then it’s our video amongst 400+ other video entries (I think) vying to win $50K, $30K, $10K or $1K. All sound good to me. We each created a Drink Recipe using (1) 5-Hour Energy Drink and a one-minute video preparing it. Our drink, the 5′ N Thrive is simple to make and good tasting, but our video ended up compressed by time and size limits. Overall, it was fun to do and we still hope for the best — Recipe is on the video.
I submitted a Potato Chip flavor idea in Lay’s latest Do Us A Flavor – Choose Your Chip Contest, but never heard back. It appears they didn’t choose my flavor idea… Steakhouse Bloody Mary Kettle Cooked Chips, which would have to be better than Cappuccino, don’t you think? I was surprised to see and taste that option, but do appreciate its uniqueness.
With respect to Lay’s actual picks (above), I was most excited about the Wasabi Ginger and Mango Salsa, thought the Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese to be basic, and the Cappuccino to be odd. After tasting all, I’d only be able to eat an entire bag of one, the Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese. I’m not sure how I’m able to taste Macaroni in a Potato Chip, but somehow can. They’re pretty good. Overall, we could only eat a couple Cappuccino Chips before they got sickening, a few more of the Wasabi Ginger Chips before being overpowered by their flavor, and the Mango Salsa Chips tasted like my favorite Fruit Lollipop at Disneyland, a flavor not sought in a Chip. We say #SaveBaconMac, if any. Vote for your favorite – Previous winners.
What, no Blue Ribbon? It’s Second Place for my Watermelon Jellies (above) – Orange, Grapefruit and Lemon/Lime Jellies previously won First Place Ribbons, a division win in Confections, and were close to Best in Show. Last year my Strawberry Stars Jellies earned a Blue Ribbon too. Each flavor is carefully made with 100% real fruit. Collectively all have been dubbed Shelly’s Jellies. I make them because they’re one of my favorite Candies. I’ve always liked Jelly Candies and can’t believe I can actually make them, and better than any I’ve purchased. I’m grateful for that and for any win at the fabulous Orange County Fair.
This year we tried the Deep Fried Lobster on a stick with Pineapple — Not bad, but not cheap.
We’re back tomorrow for more FOOD and Fruit Sculptures – The OC Fair ends this week.
Have you ever been to The Hobbit? It’s a restaurant and unique dining experience in Orange that has nothing to do with the novel, movie or Hobbit character, whew – At least I didn’t see any visual cues of it, though didn’t ask the origin of its name. Regardless, it’s simply a great place to possibly have the best meal of your life, if you have a few hours to spare.
After years of hoping to dine at The Hobbit, my husband took me for my birthday, another reason why I married him this year. Dining here could be an annual occasion, he may be afraid to learn, as it’s not inexpensive, but worth the time and money – It’s a good value, I think.
We’ve arrived – Who and what’s behind the door? Looks like a speakeasy slot, I like it.
We started with a Glass of Wine and seat in the Bar (above) – The Hobbit experience starts with an optional drink in the Bar, or in one of the other sitting areas inside or outside.
After orientation of the Bar and various rooms within an old converted house, all head downstairs to the Wine Cellar for Champagne & Hors d’ Oeuvres (included in a fixed price).
You may eat and enjoy as many Hors d’ Oeuvres and drink as much Champagne as you like.
The photos don’t do all justice – Each Hors d’ Oeuvre was exceptional, delicious and top notch.
Busy trying everything while I could (about ten dishes over and over again), I didn’t take notes – Amongst other dishes, they offered a smooth Liver Pâté, Steak Tartare, Beef Saté, Caviar, etc. I’m personally not a big Caviar fan, but appreciate their generosity.
I loved The Hobbit’s Steak Tartare — It was perfectly chilled and fresh.
If you like, while in the Wine Cellar, select a bottle of Wine to have with dinner.
The experience continues upstairs, from the Wine Cellar at a privately assigned table.
It’s romantic too.
Even the Bread Roll was extra special, with a lot Herbs.
The Hobbit meals come with an ever-changing menu/program, with intermission and all.
Your menu will most likely be different, but ours included Seared Loin of Lamb with Organic Red Quinoa and a Tart Cherry Reduction (top photo), Butter Lettuce with Roquefort Dressing and Port Poached Pear (directly above), and Wild Mushroom Stuffed Filet Mignon (below).
Almond Cake, Apricot Ice Cream and a Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse (below).
Enlarge photo with menu (above) to view descriptions of all dishes.
During intermission that’s followed by Sorbet and the main entrée, we visited the kitchen and enjoyed our Wine on the outdoor patio, while hoping to make room for more food.
We toast to the Chefs and owners of The Hobbit — We LOVED our meal and time there.
Make another reservation for me, PLEASE!
I’m not sure where the baby shower idea and photo (above) originated, but think it’s adorable, thus post it here along with my favorite bridal shower FOOD idea (below).
We love to build our ideal Pizza for a fair fixed price and can now do it at Blaze Pizza.
Tell them exactly what you want on your Pizza and they’ll make and blaze it for you.
Pick a Sauce, Cheese, Meat and/or Vegetables, or mix a few, several, or all if you like.
Blaze Pizza offers Kalamata Olives, Pineapple, Roasted Garlic and Red Bell Peppers, sautéed Onions, Jalapenos and Artichoke Hearts, all my favorites, and more than what’s shown here.
One just opened in La Habra and others will be opening soon throughout Southern California.
The Pizza above was made with 1/2 Classic Red Sauce & 1/2 White Cream Sauce, and the other (top) was made with a Spicy Red Sauce and various toppings — We want another.
It was great to be back at Alegria Cocina Latina in Long Beach. I have old memories there. It’s probably been over 15 years since I’ve been to Alegria and it looked just as good, if not better than I remember. It has new owners who continue to care for and enhance it. I’ve always liked the bright, multi-colored tile floor, stylish bar and outdoor patios, and their Sangrias of course. Nobody does them better! A lot of care and time is put into making them.
They offer a Red, White and Seasonal Sangrias all the time.
Alegria’s cuisine is a fusion of Spanish, Mexican and Latin American flavors.
A portion of Alegria’s patio is above and one dining area is set for a large party below.
We tried a few dishes, including Paella Valenciana (top) and Ceviche De Cameron (below).
I liked the Red Sangria best and the guy looking at you below liked the White Sangria better.
They also have a Flamenco Stage with a band and dancers - You can watch, or dance too.
The Humitas Chilenas (below) was different and decadent — It’s a Homemade Sweet Corn Tamale Soufflé with Shrimp and a Cayenne Cream Sauce. I’d have it again next visit.
We enjoyed the El Gaucho too (below) — It’s was quite flavorful and tender.
And it’s literally called… El Grande Final! (below) — A platter of Alegria’s bite-sized desserts.
My favorite was the Capirotada — Their Bread Pudding with Fruit and Nuts.
And yet in another room (below), a painting class was taking place — Very cool.
* The pictured is not an official entry in the contest. The chosen ones are much better, I think.
A Cheese Platter doesn’t come with a Newport Fun Tours cruise — We brought it and the Grey Poupon too, just in case anyone asked for it, plus it goes well with a fabulous Cheese Platter.
Balboa Fun Zone view (below) from our Luxury Electric Boat — Well, I really wouldn’t call it luxury, since our boat was a bit used looking, like an old water limo, but it ran well for us.
The day was cloudy, brightened with Cheese, Wine and cute, smiling serving utensils.
I made the pictured Cheese Platter with 5 kinds of Cheese, Salami, Crackers, Pecans, Grapes from our garden, Kalamata Olives and Roasted Red Peppers, Peperoncinis and Pickles, with Mustard on the side – A couple seagulls landed on the bow wanting some. Negative, sorry.
Wine and snacks are sold at Newport Fun Tours check-in, but the options aren’t this good.
See what’s cooking at the OC Fair this year: Featuring 23 Days of Iconic Fair food, Celebrity Chefs, Craft Beer & Culinary Competitions and Exhibits — The 2014 OC Fair is cooking up a delicious summer for Fairgoers. From July 11 to August 10, 2014, the OC Fair is serving up summer fun, along with culinary events and new Fair food that are definitely worth the trip.
- Chicken Charlie is introducing the new-for-2014 Deep-Fried Doritos and Deep-Fried Chicken Skin in addition to his classic favorite fried treats of Oreos, cookie dough and Twinkies.
- Bacon A-Fair is introducing Bacon-Wrapped Jack Daniels, a unique churro concoction with a little whiskey kick at the end (non-alcoholic). Also, a deep-fried bacon-wrapped turkey leg!
- Biggy’s Meat Market is bringing gluten-free options this summer with GF hamburger buns, fries & a newly gluten-free The Big Rib.
- Texas Donuts is putting a twist on its popular giant donuts with new flavors like Cherry Pop Rocks, Banana Chocolate Cream and Peanut Butter Cup. Also new this year, a Latin twist with the new deep-fried Gansito.
- OC Fair Foodies, the OC Fair’s food-themed costumed characters, are back this summer. Join Olivia Orange, Cotton Candy Carl, Arturo Churro, Cornelius Corn and Ice Cream Scoop as they delight Fairgoers.
- $2 Taste of Fair Food, held every Friday from Noon-4 p.m., offers Fairgoers the chance to taste Fair food for $2 per item. Fun-sized samples include funnel cake, tri-tip, lemonade, cinnamon rolls, corn dogs, tacos, gelato, cotton candy and more.
- OC Brew Hee Haw, a craft beer roundup, is July 11-13 and will bring some of the best local craft beers to OC Fairgoers for five sessions of beer tastings, demonstrations and exhibits. Visit ocbrewheehaw.com for details and tickets.
- Celebrity Chefs will bring their colorful cooking skills to The Hangar stage on three Thursdays. Scheduled appearances, include Carla Hall, co-host ABC’s lifestyle series “The Chew” (July 17, 4 p.m.); Roy Choi, founder of the famous Korean taco truck, Kogi BBQ (July 24, 4 p.m.); and Kelsey Nixon, host of her own show, “Kelsey’s Essentials” on the Cooking Channel (July 31, 4p.m.) Free with Fair admission and autograph sessions will follow each appearance. Presented by Vons.
- Chef Challenge will put talented culinary professionals in competition against each other with a themed cook-off every Friday at 7 p.m.: July 18 (Earth), July 25 (Water), August 1 (Air) and August 8 (Fire). Free with Fair admission.
- Special Culinary Contests include Eating Smart Starts Here (July 19), Hot! Hot! Hot! Chili, Wings or Salsa (July 26), OC Cupcake Classic (August 2) and Fairtastic Food (August 9). Registration is the Wednesday before each contest. For a complete list, visit ocfair.com/competitions.
- Daily Culinary Demonstrations can be enjoyed for free in the OC Promenade throughout the run of Fair. The Bakeology exhibit will highlight the wondrous things a baker can create from just butter, flour, eggs and sugar with daily demonstrations by Blackmarket Bakery chefs. Chef Ray Duey will carve works of art out of fruits and vegetables. Master Food Preserver Ernest Miller will teach Fairgoers how to preserve fresh vegetables, sauces and more. Artist Shaile Socher will create delicate edible sugar art and Cake Decorator Greggy Soriano (July 11-27 only) will make cake go from bland to grand.
- Award-Winning Wines are available by the taste or glass in the Wine Courtyard throughout the Fair, and on weekends wine-lovers can learn more about the various varietals during the Orange County Wine Society’s Wine Seminars (most require an additional fee).
- Centennial Farm, the OC Fair & Event Center’s year-round, three-acre demonstration farm is complete with crops, livestock and the Millennium Barn. Fairgoers can check out educational exhibits, agricultural organizations and the fruit and vegetable competitions.
The 2014 OC Fair, themed Summer Starts Here, is July 11 – August 10 and will bring 23 days of food, rides, exhibits, animals, music, action sports and fun, as well as the Super Pass, Toyota Summer Concert Series at the Pacific Amphitheatre and events in The Hangar and Action Sports Arena. The Fair is open Wednesday-Sunday. Concert tickets, action sports reserved seats, single-day general admission and the popular Super Pass are available for purchase online at ocfair.com or from the on-site Box Office. Free parking and shuttle service are available on Saturdays and Sundays from the Experian parking structure located off the Bristol St. exit of the 405 freeway. The OC Fair & Event Center is located off the 405 and 55 freeways at 88 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa. For more information, please visit ocfair.com.
Credits: Photos were taken during previous visits to the Orange County Fair and text is republished from the OC Fair & Event Center Communications Department.
At Pieology Pizzeria, I can finally get all the Pizza toppings I want without worrying about cost. I usually limit Pizza toppings to 3 max, otherwise it gets expensive. Here it makes sense to have more. For one price — $7.95 — You can have them all if you want. And it’s fast too.
It’s easy — Just go through the assembly line and tell them what you want.
What kind of Sauce? What kind of Cheese? 1/2 and 1/2? Simple? Complex?
It’s all up to you. Want more Pepperoni than generally allotted? You can have it – I like that!
To simplify, you can also choose one of Pieology’s 7 Specialty Pizzas from $6.45 – $7.95.
It’s a nice sized Pizza with a perfectly crisp, thin crust, for one or two people.
A friend of mine works at a movie theater near a Pieology Pizzeria and says many sneak Pieology Pizzas into the theater. I’m not sure how, but it’s done. And he says… it’s the most coveted leftover by those cleaning theaters – Some like it so much, they’ll eat a stranger’s last slices if they’re left in the theater. Yikes! I surely wouldn’t do that (hahaha), but it goes to show how good it must be, or theater employees need to eat before going to work.
We got this Cake for our parents 50th Wedding Anniversary — It’s them on the edible topping. They were impressed to see it and so were we. It’s from Albertson’s Bakery. It tasted good too, with a Whipped Cream Frosting, Vanilla Cake and Strawberry Filling.
Have you ever tried Ethiopian food? I hadn’t until recently. Do you know anything about it? I just moved to Fullerton near several Ethiopian restaurants. Curious about them, I researched ‘local Ethiopian food’ to learn which is best. Since those closest (Tana, Abyssinia & Merhaba) had good reviews on Yelp, I became less clear where to go, thus I tried and compared them all myself, along with my adventurous husband – One Vegetarian Combination Plate at a time, served on Injera, a sourdough-risen flatbread with a slightly spongy texture.
We started our Local Ethiopian Food Tour’ at Tana Ethiopian Restaurant (above) on La Palma Avenue in Anaheim. It’s located in a small strip mall and doesn’t look like much on the outside, but inside it’s relaxed and smells like something good is cooking. Don’t be timid to go inside, everyone’s nice — A common theme of all three. There’s a better world inside each.
We had a Vegetarian Combination Plate at each restaurant — It’s a varied combination of Shiro Wot, Kik Alicha, Gommen, Yemiser Wot, Sinegkarya, Lentil Stew, Potato & Carrot Wot, etc., which generally translates into Cabbage, Spinach, Potatoes, Carrots, Lentils, Split Peas, Green Beans and/or Chard cooked with Onions, Garlic, Ginger, Chili Powder, Turmeric and other spices. A Wot is a thick stew of different vegetarian and non-vegetarian types.
Inside Tana (above) — Toasting with African Beer. Beer & Wine is served at all three.
No utensils are provided — You eat with your hands using the Injera. It appears most meals are served on it and more is provided on the side. We didn’t take lessons on how to eat. We just tore-off a piece of Injera, pinched a little Wot and ate it. It worked well and made us full.
The Injera can be quite filling – Towards the end, I wanted a fork to eat less of it.
Abyssinia Ethiopian Cuisine (below) is the second Ethiopian restaurant we tried in Anaheim, California – It’s located off West Lincoln Avenue and it too is unfancy on the outside and welcoming inside. Its Vegetarian Combination Plate also offered ten unique dishes.
Both Vegetarian Combination Plates thus far had similar dishes with a Salad.
Except for the Salad, most dishes are served warm, though above had additional cold dishes.
Inside Abyssinia Ethiopian Cuisine (above) – Toasting with Honey Wine & African Beer.
We also tried their Doro Wot aka Doro Wat - A Spicy Chicken Stew made with Chicken Legs and Hard Boiled Eggs. The Sauce was flavorful and the Chicken was tender, but there wasn’t enough of it – Abyssinia’s Vegetarian Combo was more filling than their Doro Wot.
And finally, we tried Merhaba East African Restaurant (below), last on this tour, but certainly not least. Consistent with the others, its exterior isn’t pretty, especially sandwiched between an Emergency Walk-In Center and a Thrift Store, but there’s a friendly escape inside.
As shown, Merhaba’s Vegetarian Combination Plate (below) has six dishes and no Salad. It includes fewer dishes than Tana’s and Abyssinia’s Combos, but we both liked Merhaba’s plate the best. Each dish had an abundance of flavor. It’s quality, not quantity at Merhaba.
It’s funny… I was least excited to go to Merhaba, mostly because it has less of a presence online, but it may now be my first pick. It’s similarly comfortable inside too (below).
Cheers to Merhaba with a different African Beer.
Next time we’ll try their special Coffee (below), which is served after a ceremonial process.
As reported, Tana Ethiopian Restaurant, Abyssinia Ethiopian Cuisine and Merhaba East African Restaurant are indeed good and worth a visit and more. All should definitely try Ethiopian food. Contrary to what some think, Ethiopian food is filling and appetizing.
Well… I wouldn’t yell at my husband if he did this — I’d just make fun of him.
I didn’t need anything else, until I recently tried several of StoneFire Grill’s new menu items. They’re grilling, chopping and serving up much more than I ever realized. It’s a restaurant for everyone, especially me more often. Everything they make has an abundance of flavor.
We tried new Sandwiches, Sides and other ‘From The Grill’ specialties I already want again.
StoneFire Grill’s MENU is here.
Photo of my first plate (above) and of one of my new favorite dishes (below) — The Shrimp with Lemon, Olive Oil, Garlic, Chili Flakes and chopped Parsley served with Quinoa. So tasty!
And their ‘Incredible Carrot Cake’ is indeed incredible and very moist.
Other new favorites are the Whole Roasted Cauliflower (top photo) that’s served warm topped with Lemon Tahini and chopped Parsley – It’s a most impressive Side dish.
And my favorite Sandwich was the Roasted Cauliflower Pita — It’s spicy, different and delicious. There are currently seven StoneFire Grill locations. Most photos here were taken a menu tasting in Irvine and the better ones were provided. While there I learned that it all started with a large, close family and it’s run by friendly, connected people. They say… Let the fire spread from our kitchen to your heart. It’s shown through the food and people.
Have you tried Naples Ristorante E Pizzeria in the Downtown Disney District?
If not, you may want to skip it — Not because it’s bad, but because it’s ridiculously priced.
Disney related prices are high indeed and going up, as recently reported.
After watching a Food Network Special on Pizzas, I had been craving a great one — Naples Ristorante E Pizzeria was the first Pizzeria we stumbled on after the show. It didn’t satisfy, mostly because I have an aversion to being gouged. Our “Individual” Pizza (pictured) was $19 and the next size up is $32. We got the Finocchiona Pizza, which is made with Salami, sautéed Onions, Tomato and Mozzarella. Again, it wasn’t bad, but I know there’s better.
We appreciate taste and value in a Pizza — It makes us happier on earth.
We recently cruised on the Celebrity Reflection by Celebrity Cruises and now reflect on the food we had on the ship. We didn’t have a bad meal. The food was delicious and plentiful.
Thanks to Executive Chef Darran Ridley (above) and his staff for our never-ending meals.
I took the Heartbeat of the Operation Galley Tour – A behind the scenes look at the Galley.
In the Galley are photos (above) of every dish prepared for the Main Restaurant (below).
Guests seated above were waiting to tour the Galley, while Chefs answered their questions.
Did you know 2,300 Dozen Eggs and 3,800 lbs. of Butter are on the Celebrity Reflection for an average 10-Day Cruise? And 1,000 Gallons of Ice Cream and 75,000 lbs. of Fresh Fruit.
2,000 liters of Heavy Cream, 1,900 lbs. of Salmon and 12,300 lbs. of Potatoes get consumed.
3,000 lbs. of Tenderloin and 2,740 lbs. of Rack of Lamb – I don’t recall how many Lobsters.
Unlimited Main Restaurant/Dining Room FOOD is available inclusive for all.
Post cruise reflection… I should’ve had more Oysters Rockefeller.
I didn’t photograph everything and don’t have any menu descriptions, but know that I would’ve appreciated finding this information after researching Celebrity Reflection.
All food posted is for the Main Restaurant and included in the cruise price.
The ever-changing Main Restaurant MENU was so good each night, we never strayed.
Celebrity Reflection also offered a Sushi Making Demonstration and Star Chefs Cooking Show.
And several Wine Tasting Workshops around the ship.
Our Eastern Caribbean Cruise stopped in Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. Maarten
We thoroughly enjoyed each port with Celebrity Reflection’s lovely meals woven in between.
Baked Alaska on a cruise, of course.
A Chocolate Soufflé.
And Cherries Jubilee.
We were in Concierge Class and received daily snacks and flowers — A sample daily snack (below) included Olives, Hummus, Chips, Cheese and Salsa. It could’ve been better.
We became fond of Cellars Masters, a sophisticated, Enomatic Wine Dispensing Bar (below).
Us (below) on Formal Night, while on our Honeymoon, btw.
Celebrity Reflection docked in Puerto Rico (below), our favorite port, though we loved them all.
Info regarding our favorite Bar and Restaurant discoveries in Puerto Rico to be reported soon.
Cheers to us here and always! I didn’t even mention Celebrity Reflection’s Buffet… tmi.
Not sure that my photos will be chosen this go around, but we enjoyed the meals, though I’d rather have the $500 per photo prize from the Idaho Potato Commission for entries in their Recipe Photo Contest. There’s still time to enter for a prize, or at a minimum eat a good meal.
The pictured weren’t chosen as official entries in the Idaho Potato Commission’s contest.
Each is a different dish/recipe in the contest, ending May 29, 2014. I made and entered (3) of the (6) posted recipes (from top down) — The Salmon and Shitake Idaho Hash that’s half eaten, the Western Scramble introducing the Eggs, and the French Red Wine Infused Idaho Grown Fingerling Potato Salad, a snooty sounding Salad with hard to find Fresh Chervil.
Did you know that we taste and compare Chili Cheese Fries? We do and our Orange County Chili Cheese Fries Comparison Report, with photos of all consumed thus far is linked here. We recently tried and liked Portillo’s Chili Cheese Fries, which have just been added to our ongoing post. Learn more about all here and/or suggest your favorite and we’ll give ‘em a try.
Ladyfingers, Fruit, Whip… Ladyfingers, Fruit, Whip… Ladyfingers, Fruit, Whip — That’s basically how you make it. Insert any Fruit for the “Fruit.” I used Strawberries, Blueberries and Kiwis. The Ladyfingers were store bought to save time, but I will always whip my own Heavy Cream with a little Sugar to make it taste best. The pictured Fruit Trifle was made for Mother’s Day.
If wanting to make it extra pretty, create the Trifle’s outer design separately from its layering. Fruit looks best vertically through the glass, but is layered horizontally – In other words, place the Fruit and Ladyfingers against the glass as shown, or how you want it, and then layer as chanted in the middle/inside. Repeat process as you build upward.
My husband says Dami Sushi & Izakaya is his new favorite Sushi place. We were in awe over their Hamachi and Maguro (above) – Both were strikingly gorgeous, fresh and delicious.
It’s a hip place too. I didn’t take many photos, since most seats were full and I didn’t want my camera to flash in people’s faces. We’ve dined at their Sushi Bar a couple times since they opened a few months ago. We appreciate the promptly served Edamame and Pickled Vegetables. Upon our first visit, we were served Miso Soup — A nice bonus that varies.
Everything that came out of the Sushi Bar this night looked like a work of art.
We had Dami Sushi’s Beach Roll (below) – It’s made with Spicy Tuna, Crabmeat, Avocado, Gobo and Salmon and is deep fried. It has an enchanting combination of flavors. It’s not guaranteed that yours will look exactly like ours, but it’ll be pretty and fresh. They also have an extensive, GREAT sounding menu, with several listed items I’d love to try. See MENU.
Izakaya — A Japanese drinking establishment that serves food to accompany the drinks. A tavern or pub for after work gathering for drinks and small dishes to share. Dami does it well.
Dami Sushi & Izakaya is at the Village Circle on Beach in Buena Park — Open 5 to Midnight.