Latest Addition To What To Make With Yellowtail: Yellowtail Chowder.

November 23rd, 2014 No comments

Yellowtail Soup

Yellowtail Chowder:  It’s just as good as Clam Chowder.  In a quest to make Yellowtail everything, the latest is this Yellowtail Chowder, which turned out perfect.  I didn’t miss the Clams and loved the meaty pieces of Yellowtail Fish.  Unfortunately I didn’t write down the recipe, but used the best combination of the following ingredients — Fresh Yellowtail cut into good size chunks, Chicken Stock, Clam Juice, Sweet Onions, Potatoes, Carrots, Celery, Thyme, Parsley, Garlic, Butter, Olive Oil, Flour, Heavy Cream, Salt & Pepper.  I meant to add crumbled, cooked Bacon, but forgot, and then decided it wasn’t needed.  I didn’t use much Cream either. All was cooked to optimum consistency. What to make with Yellowtail?  Other ideas are here.

Bacchus Bar & Bistro: The Roman God Of Wine Is In Irvine.

November 18th, 2014 No comments

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Bacchus Bar & Bistro — Classy is a word that comes to mind.  It may look small on the outside tucked in a corner, but there’s a lot of stylish space inside.  Their menu is impressive too.

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I’m happy to discover Bacchus Bar & Bistro (formerly Bacchus Secret Cellar) — It’s down the street from my Irvine office, in the Quail Hill Shopping Center, amongst other businesses.

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It’s a perfect place to gather with friends after work — A plan is in the works.

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There is comfortable seating throughout — Tall and short tables, couches and a bar.

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We tried a few menu items this visit — The Warm Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Chinese Sausage, Shishito Peppers, Fried Garlic and Sesame Ponzu (above).  There’s more to be tried.

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Lobster & Spanish Chorizo Fondue with Manchego Cheese, Smoked Peppers and Cream Cheese, served with a French Baguette (above) — It’s creamy, unique and pretty good.

Bacchus Food

We also had the Prosciutto Flatbread with Fontina, Gorgonzola, Fig Jam & Red Onion (above) and the Butterscotch Pot De Creme (below).  The Fig Jam was terrific on the Flatbread and the consistency and flavor of the Pot De Creme was ideal, though rich, but not overly so.

Bacchus Dessert

It’s a seamless Wine Store along its parameters and the prices are surprisingly good for such an expensive looking place. Their food prices are reasonable too, another reason to go back. And there’s live entertainment… A guy played the guitar in front of the Wine Case behind me.

At Bacchus with Wine

The Roman God of Wine’s Wine was delicious as well — Thanks Bacchus!

Note: Camera issues beset this visit. Subsequent dishes shall be posted as clear updates.

Two Ingredient Pizza Dough: Self Rising Flour & Plain Greek Yogurt.

November 14th, 2014 No comments

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Did you know that you can make a Pizza Dough using only two ingredients?  You can.

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Two Ingredient Pizza Dough is made with Self Rising Flour and Plain Greek Yogurt.  I heard about it and had to try it.  And it’s true, it works with (1 ½ Cups of Self Rising Flour & 1 Cup of Plain Greek Yogurt).  I simply combined the two, then kneaded both into Dough.

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It didn’t take much time or effort to convert into a blank Pizza canvas.

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I made a basic Pepperoni & Pineapple Pizza, with a Pineapple homegrown by my husband, I might add.  I also added Pizza Sauce, Parmesan and Mozzarella Cheese — Other Recipes.

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The Pizza was baked in a preheated 450° oven for 12 minutes and all turned out well, though the flavor of the Pizza Crust is a little bland and would taste better as a Three Ingredient Pizza Dough with the addition of a little Salt — That’s what I’ll make next time.

Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar: Ideal Spot To Celebrate A Dog’s Birthday.

November 10th, 2014 No comments

Leon at Lazy Dog Cafe

His name is Leon (above) and he just turned 8 — We celebrated him and his birthday at the Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar at Cerritos Mall.  It’s an ideal place for a Dog’s Birthday or any day, since dogs are allowed on their patio and served a complimentary Bowl of Water.

Lazy Dog Cafe Cerritos

It’s a good place for adults too, though it was Leon’s day, but we pay. ;)

Cerritos Patio

We tried the Sangria Sampler — The White Peach Sangria (middle) was my favorite.

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The Lazy Dog Hand Crafted Drafts Sampler hits the human spot too.

Beer Flight

Leon chose the Grilled Chicken Breast and Brown Rice from the Dog Menu.

Leon's Birthday Dish at Lazy Dog Cafe

He ate all quickly, much how he eats everything, and appeared to like it.

Leon's Birthday at Lazy Dog Cafe

We had the Brick Oven Spinach & Sundried Tomato Cheese Dip (below), which could use more Spinach and Sun Dried Tomatoes, but the Cheese combination is good.

Spinach Dip

And the Chipotle Chicken Quesadilla — Overall, Lazy Dog’s food is consistently good.

Quesadilla

Afterwards we went for a walk along Dog Beach in Huntington Beach.

Leon's Birthday - Walk on the Beach

It’s a true dog day afternoon at the Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar and Dog Beach.

Lazy Dog Cafe - Dog Menu

There’s a Dog Friendly Patio at the Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar — Enlarge photo to read their Patio Rules and don’t be shy, bring your dog with you, especially if it’s his or her birthday.

Best Brussels Sprouts In Town Unexpectedly Found At The Egg Cracker.

November 7th, 2014 No comments

Egg Cracker Brussels Sprouts

I’ve had a lot of great Brussels Sprouts lately, but DANG — The Brussels Sprouts glazed with Honey and Sriracha at the Egg Cracker Restaurant in Fullerton are the BEST.  They’re perfectly crispy on the outside, sweet and hot, and each is tender enough to eat, which is very important.  If any are still too hard to eat, it’s often bitter and inedible though served.  Twice we’ve had the Brussels Sprouts at the Egg Cracker and each little Sprout was cooked to perfection, which is specifically important we learned from one of the owners.

Egg Cracker Restaurant

Not only do they have the Best Brussels Sprouts, but the Egg Cracker Restaurant has one of the best-priced, high-quality, convenient-time Happy Hours — It’s from 3:00 pm – 9:00 pm, so you don’t need to speed after work to get there.  You order off a menu too and the price for the quality is fantastic.  The Brussels Sprouts are $3 during Happy Hour and $5 regularly.

Egg Cracker Happy Hour Menu

Current Happy Hour Food Menu (above) and Chilaquiles (below).

Egg Cracker Happy Hour Dish

We also tried the Portobello Fries (below), which are sliced Portobello Mushrooms with a Panko Breading to form Fries — They’re meaty and crunchy and good with the Sauce.

Egg Cracker Portobello Fries

Zucchini Bread (below) is served to all, with all, Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner — I think.

Egg Cracker HH

We had breakfast at the Egg Cracker twice before and received it then also.

Egg Cracker Campfire Pancakes

For Dessert we had one of the Egg Cracker’s most popular Breakfast items, the Campfire Pancakes with Chocolate, Graham Cracker Crumbles and Homemade Marshmallow Cream.  I just love the Egg Cracker’s MENU.  There are many things I want to try — Breakfast is served all day too.  And it should be mentioned that Beer & Wine is only $3 during Happy Hour.

Egg Cracker Receipt

We’re going back for more of everything (and much we have yet to try).

Best Bar & Restaurant In San Juan Puerto Rico: La Factoria & El Jibarito.

November 4th, 2014 No comments

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It’s been a long time coming, but it can’t go unreported — We have a favorite Bar and Restaurant in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  We traveled there in February during our honeymoon and fell in love with La Factoria, a Bar in San Juan, Puerto Rico, pictured above and below.

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Cheers to La Factoria‘s artsy style and unique, gourmet cocktails.

Purto Rico - The Factory

The cocktails are thoughtfully made by scratch and hand.

Puerto Rico Bar

There are different rooms with different vibes, and some go off later than others.

The Factory in Puerto Rico

It was serene during our visit, thus we explored its cool spaces.  Look close — We’re in the mirror below with one of the hip guys running the place.  Our photos turned out magical.

We're in the mirror at The Factory in Puerto Rico

After La Factoria for a drink (all photos above), we went to Restaurant El Jibarito (all photos below) for dinner.  It was recommended by the locals, thus we went and enjoyed our meals.

Best Restaurant in Puerto Rico

There we were and wish we were now at El Jibarito in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

At El Jibarito in Puerto Rico

It’s casual and comfortable inside and the prices are good.

El Jibarito Menu

Cheers to us at El Jibarito — A few others there were celebrating birthdays.

Cheers in Puerto Rico

Much is served in Sauce and/or Gravy with Plantains — I like that.

Chicken Dish in Puerto Rico

I don’t recall our exact dishes, but the meat in both was very tender.

Chicken with Gravy in Puerto Rico

We were happy to have found El Jibarito too.

Nibbles of Tidbits in Puerto Rico

El Jibarito is our current favorite restaurant in San Juan, Puerto Rico, though we look forward to trying others in the future, after another stop at La Factoria, a Bar that’s hard to outdo.

Cruising to Puerto Rico

Cruising in to San Juan, Puerto Rico — Our favorite stop on the Celebrity Reflection.

The Catch Of The Month Is Yellowtail: Fruits Of ‘The San Diego’ Labor.

November 2nd, 2014 No comments

Yellowtail Smoked Fish

My husband, Matt recently went on a 3/4 day sport fishing vessel called The San Diego and caught some nice-sized Yellowtail.  He brought home approximately twenty pounds of fillets and one whole Yellowtail for smoking.  It was Operation Yellowtail at our house.  We prepared several dishes immediately, gave a few fillets to neighbors and co-workers and froze the rest.

Matt's Yellowtail

The San Diego is known as one of the best sport fishing vessels in San Diego and Matt agrees. He loves fishing and even holds a state record for catching the largest California Sheephead Fish at 30lbs., 8oz., from his kayak in 2009.  It was quite impressive, like the Yellowtail above.

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As shown, we smoked the whole Yellowtail for 4 1/2 hours and it turned out amazing.

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It was tender and flaky with the perfect amount of smoke flavor.

Eating Smoked Yellowtail

Smoked Yellowtail is a real treat with Cocktail Sauce, Lemon Caper Dill Sauce, Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Cream Cheese, Red Onions, Capers, Pickles, Crackers, Red Bell Peppers and Pickles.

Smoked Yellowtail and Accompaniments

On the first day, I made Ceviche and Poke with a few of the Yellowtail fillets.

Ceviche and Poke

The Ceviche was simply made with Red Onions, Red Bell Peppers, Jalapenos, Cilantro, Lime and Lemon Juice — The Yellowtail marinated quickly and was ready to eat in 15 minutes.

Yellowtail Ceviche

Another batch of chopped Yellowtail was mixed with Soy Sauce, Ponzu Sauce, grated Ginger and Green Onions to make Poke, which was pretty much ready to eat immediately too.

Yellowtail Poke

We grilled Yellowtail fillets and ate ‘em with a Mango Salsa made with fresh cut Mango, Red Bell Peppers, Red Onions, Jalapenos, Cilantro and Lime Juice — It was all so fresh tasting.

Yellowtail with Mango Salsa

We fried Yellowtail fillets to have with leftover Lemon Caper Dill and Cocktail Sauce.

Fried Yellowtail

Yellowtail fared well with all preparations — Raw (Hamachi), rare, smoked, grilled and fried.

Yellowtail Fried with Sauce

The rest was frozen to later prepare differently — Perhaps bake, stew and/or broil, etc.

Yellowtail Frozen

Preparation of the frozen Yellowtail fillets shall be posted as updates below.

Yellowtail Recipe Update:  Yellowtail Chowder.  Check back for more to be linked here.

Halloween Cupcake & Cookie Decorating: Priceless Annual Treats.

October 27th, 2014 No comments

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The true annual treat is spending time with best friends decorating Halloween Cookies, Cupcakes and Candy.  Each year we take home trays and boxes of homemade and hand decorated treats after a fun evening of trickery — It’s quite a funny bunch (below).

Halloween 2014 Friends

I’m truly grateful for all!

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This year’s decorating ideas are posted here and others from previous years are linked here.

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We’re no design professionals, but have a lot of laughs and the Cookies always taste great.

Halloween Cookies 2014

It’s also possible that you may learn how not to decorate your Halloween Cookies here. ;)

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Halloween Appetizer Idea — Deviled Eggs with Olive Spiders.  You can figure it out.

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Happy Halloween from Nibbles of Tidbits and friends.

What Are The Best Things To Eat At Disneyland, I Asked My Phone.

October 22nd, 2014 No comments

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What are the best foods to eat at Disneyland, I asked my semi-smart phone.  We were going to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure and wanted something different than an average Burger and Fries.  I hadn’t been to either park in 10 years.  After reviewing the search results, I chose two food dishes that were included on several lists — One at Disneyland and the other at Disney California Adventure, two places I’ve never known and probably wouldn’t have found.  Each sounded appealing.  We started with the Carthay Signature Fried Biscuits with Apricot Honey Butter at Carthay Circle Restaurant at Disney California Adventure.

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Carthay Circle Restaurant is fancier than expected, but we sought to have the best food at Disneyland.  We went there to try the Carthay Signature Fried Biscuits that are described as amazing and to-die-for.  Stuffed with White Cheddar, Bacon and Jalapenos they sound good.

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They don’t look like much on the outside, then surprise with a gooey middle.  With the Apricot Honey Butter, it’s interesting and different — I like its concentrated flavor and it’s not bad on the Biscuits, but we really didn’t fall in love with them.  They’re good, not great and expensive for its small size and amount.  Several Starters looked better to us and more filling.

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My husband set out to photo bomb Goofy, but wasn’t obvious enough — At Disneyland.

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Across the square from Disney California Adventure, we sought to have the Lobster Roll at the Harbour Galley Restaurant in Critter Country at Disneyland.  It too appears to be a Disneyland favorite.  It’s less fancy than Carthay Circle with only a few takeout windows.

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I wasn’t able to take a good photo of the Lobster Roll, but the Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl looked, tasted and photographed well.  It too is well-liked by bloggers and papers.

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The Lobster Roll was great, with a good amount of Lobster and nice lemony flavor.

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We’d have the Lobster Roll again for $14.99, but not the Carthay Signature Fried Biscuits for $12.00.  Next visit we’ll try other Disneyland favorites discovered on my phone.  Thank you!

Calivino Wine Pub In Anaheim: More Spinach Wontons Please.

October 14th, 2014 No comments

Calivino House Burger

Have you been to Calivino Wine Pub?  It’s in Anaheim, near the Honda Center, Angel Stadium of Anaheim and other happenings, off Katella Avenue. We just learned about it and gladly so, since the food is terrific. We’ve been to other Wine Bar/Pubs that serve great food, like Sealegs and The Twisted Wine, so the test-bar is high, but Calivino unexpectedly stood out.

Calivino Wine Pub

Calivino Wine Pub is a bit hard to see off Katella.  Its cross-street is Howell — Just turn into the business park area, keep heading left and you’ll see it slivered-in, amongst other businesses and eateries.  Hooters is across the parking lot to drop off the boys on a Girl’s Wine Night out.

Toast to Calivino Wine Pub

Seating includes a long bar and a good combination of couches and tall and short tables.

Calivino, Anaheim

It’s rare when everything on a menu sounds appealing, well not that rare, but I do want all on Calivino’s Menu.  Since we weren’t sure where to begin, we tried a few house favorites.

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FOOD pictured from top down:  The House Burger with Fried Onions, Onion Jam and Havarti, which is sweet, spicy and juicy – Bacon Dates with Goat Cheese and Honey – Spinach Wontons with Parmesan and Garlic – Brussels Sprouts roasted with Crispy Pork.

Calivino Spinach Wontons

I’d have all again and the Spinach Wontons (above) every day — You certainly can’t tell how great they are from the dark photo, but WOW, they’re a perfectly seasoned combo of Baby Leaf Spinach and crunch.  Each Wonton tastes like the best Spinach Dip already on a chip.

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Oh yeah, Wine.  It’s a Wine Pub after all — I like Wine too.

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The Reds, Whites, Sweets & Sparkling — Calivino’s owner, Daniel hand selects them all.

At Calivino Wine Pub

And there’s Beer too — A rotating selection of fine, local brews are noted on a chalkboard.

Calivino WP USA

Calivino — Cali for California and Vino for Wine.  We like it and the CA Flag Bear on the logo.

CWP (Wine & Beer)

It’s a nice mix of old world and new world and it feels that way.

Matt at Calivino

We tried REDS from California and Spain — Leaping Horse Cabernet (2013), Beso De Vino Garnacha (2011), Reserva Eguia Tempranillo (2009) and Artezin Red Zinfandel (2012).

Calivino - Semi-Changing Wine Menu

We liked sipping Wine on the couch and the rustic tables with bottled water and succulents.

Chillaxing at Calivino Wine Pub in Anaheim

I’m heading back soon with a group of girls for more bites and Tempranillo.

Calivino Sign

Calivino Wine Pub — A great stop before or after an event, for Happy Hour (3-7pm, Sun – Fri), 1/2 Price Bottles of Wine on Wednesdays, and 1/2 off Glasses of Wine on Thursdays.  See their website for more info and/or changes.  New food dishes will be added below.

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Updated 10/21/14: Next visit we had more of the same, which was equally as good, and Alison’s Baked Brie in a Puff Pastry with Candied Nuts and Honey (above).

Totally 80’s Bar & Grille In Fullerton: Oh Good, It’s In The Hood.

October 5th, 2014 No comments

Totally 80's Bar

We can walk or bike to Totally 80’s Bar & Grille in Fullerton — It’s a relatively new Bar, Restaurant, Dance Club & Karaoke Bar in the neighborhood.  It occupies the space of a former Mexican Restaurant, Bar & Event spot.  There’s little change to its exterior other than the somewhat cheesy sign (sorry).  Its theme caught our attention and made it a must stop.

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I love 80’s music and inside it’s a whole new retro world — We’re impressed!

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It’s well decorated and fun throughout.  We’re unsure about the “Grille” part of Totally 80’s Bar & Grille, as we only tried the ‘Totally Awesome Tots’, which appear to be popular.  We tried two of the three offered — The Chili Cheese Tots and Nacho Cheese Tots.  The third, Tots Poutine includes Gravy and an Egg.  Good combinations.  The Tater Tots were crisp, but a bit expensive ($10), if not from their Late Night Menu ($6) — We’ll try the Tots Poutine then.

Totally 80's Bar - Robert Smith

Robert Smith (above) of one of my favorite bands, The Cure — We’re definitely going back to try and photograph more.  Actual 80’s bands, real and cover play here too.  We’re monitoring their events schedule.  Welcome to the hood Totally 80’s Bar & Grille.  Great to see you!

Related — That 80’s Bar in Montclair and New Wave Restaurant in Lakewood.

Listen To Dining With Dills On Angels Radio: Cheers To Elmer Too.

September 30th, 2014 No comments

Peter Dills

It’s Peter Dills in the photo with me.  He’s the son of a man I admired, Elmer Dills, a good man and former long-time Restaurant Reviewer, etc. on KABC.  Elmer passed away in 2008, but his son, Peter carries on his niceness and love of food.  As far back as he can remember, Peter was following Elmer from restaurant to restaurant — That’s some fabulous training!

Matt at The Catch

Did you know that Peter Dills has a radio show on Sundays on AM 830 KLAA Angels Radio?  It’s called Dining with Dills and starts at 11:00a.m.  Give it a listen.  We went to The Catch restaurant in Anaheim this day to celebrate Dining with Dills, and eat and drink of course.

The Catch Kitchen

The Catch kitchen (above) — I like its open look.  Can’t hide anything here.

The Catch Dining

It’s a large restaurant with dining all around — Above is just one stylish sliver of it.

The Catch Apps

Though blurred, I like the photo above — Delicious appetizers were served, but hard to obtain if you weren’t immediately adjacent to its introduction.  It was a bit of a frenzy to get them.

Peter Dills Event

I’m not sure if I got to try all the appetizers, but my favorite was a Fish Cake Lolli-Pop of some sort (not pictured) that I don’t currently see on their online menu — It was a round, crunchy fish cake served on a stick.  It had a great flavor and perfect texture.  I wanted more.

Peter Dills Event at The Catch

We over took the back room of The Catch, which lead out to a fenced in, outdoor patio.

With Patty Mitchell at The Catch

Me with Patty Mitchell, the Executive Producer at Peter Dills, TV Show, etc.  She’s sweet too!

The Catch Bar

The Bar at The Catch (above) — We need to spend time in here next visit.

City National Grove of Anaheim

The Catch is across the street from many events at the City National Grove of Anaheim.

Toasting To The Best Blog Days Ahead Thanks To Cornell Care.

September 29th, 2014 No comments

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It’s become necessary to make improvements and upgrades to Nibbles of Tidbits — THANKS to Cornell Care, we’re moving on up to a deluxe apartment in the sky.  They’ve been working hard behind the scene to make all here the best it can be.  Cheers to that!  Now let’s eat.

The Funny: Food Related Comic Relief Whenever (Microwave Pranks).

September 17th, 2014 No comments

Microwave Funny

It’s been too hot to blog, though it’s never too hot to eat.  I have a lot to report on — Food in Michigan, most specifically the Pasty, the best restaurant and bar in Puerto Rico, the Anaheim Packing District and its speakeasy, The Blind Rabbit, and more.  Check back if interested.

Credit: Someecards.

Crispy Artichoke Hearts At El Galleon Restaurant: Get Something Else.

September 9th, 2014 No comments

Fried Artichoke Hearts

Do you see the pool of Garlic Butter under the Crispy Artichoke Hearts (above)?  We had the same Hot Appetizer at El Galleon Restaurant in Avalon on Catalina Island, except our pool of Garlic Butter was twice as deep.  Our formerly Crispy Artichoke Hearts could high dive into it.  We were surprised to see them served that way.  Why would El Galleon fry them to a crispy, golden brown only to place them essentially in Oil again?  It’s simply a bad idea.  The Garlic Butter should be served on the side to preserve crispiness.  Don’t you think so?  And they’re too expensive at $11.95.  We’ll get something else next time.  El Galleon is otherwise a fun place with Live Karaoke and countless other dishes and specialty drinks to choose from.

Matt and Shelly Freis in Catalina

We LOVE spending time on Catalina Island — See our previous Blue Water Grill report.

Tortilla Republic In Laguna Beach: It Really Is A Feast For All Our Senses.

September 5th, 2014 No comments

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First, we LOVE Tortilla Republic’s location, location, location.  It’s in Laguna Beach off PCH with an outdoor patio view of the ocean.  We recently sampled a few items from its Brunch Menu.

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Though it’s often hard to park in the heart of Laguna Beach, there’s a small parking structure directly behind Tortilla Republic.  It’s best to park there, as there were spaces available.

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Tortilla Republic’s Brunch Menu is impressive — Several items are pictured here.

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I highly recommend the Salsa Trio and Guacamole sides (above).  All three Salsas were different and flavorful, and the Guacamole was fresh, dense and excellent tasting.

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My photos don’t do it justice — It’s a cool looking, nautical-ish, dark and light, stylish place.

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The front is completely open to allow most inside to view the ocean across the street.

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They have a Brunch, Lunch, Afternoon and Dinner Menu and/or Bar for just a drink.

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I’m not sure, but believe the above is a Hibiscus Margarita — They offer many unique drinks.

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Pictured from top down, we tried Tortilla Republic’s Huevos Rancheros, Fresh Corn & Blueberry Pancakes, aforementioned Salsa Trio and Guacamole, and Egg White Omelete.

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Carnitas Tacos (above) — See Tortilla Republic’s Menus for additional descriptions of all.

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Pescado a la Parrilla aka Seared Albacore Tuna Taco (above).

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Chilaquiles (above).

Tortilla Republic Burrito

Machaca Burrito (above).

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Mole Enchiladas (above).

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Black Beans & Mexican Rice, a side option.

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Seared Albacore Tuna & Sweet Potato Hash, served with two Poached Eggs (above).

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At Tortilla Republic Restaurant in Laguna Beach — View from inside looking out.

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Hallway in and out — It’s hard to see, but it’s the sea, past the nice cars out front.

Cheers to Tortilla Republic

Cheers to Tortilla Republic with their Prickly Pear Bellini!

Bistango Gardens: A Hidden Al Fresco Dining Area At Bistango.

August 31st, 2014 No comments

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I’ve loved Bistango Restaurant for years, its Bar, and paintings throughout its walls, and now there’s Bistango Gardens, a relaxing oasis in the heart of the Irvine business district.

Bistango Lamb Sliders

We recently enjoyed a sampling of Bistango GardensTerrace Menu designed for sharing.

Bistango Wine Toast

CHEERS to outdoor patio dining near a fountain with great Wine — We seek that out.

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The Souvlaki Greek Marinated Beef Kabobs (above) were nicely tender and flavorful.

Bistango Fish Tacos

They offer several tasty Small Plates, a few are pictured.  Some photos are from Bistango.

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See linked MENU for plate specifics.

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We tried all the items listed below, savored each bite and left wanting more.

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We especially liked Bistango Gardens‘ Lamb Sliders with Brandied Balsamic Cherries, Goat Cheese and Arugula on a Brioche Bun (pictured at top).  The flavor combination was perfect.

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Chili Marinated Shrimp (below) — See Bistango’s Menus to learn more about all.

Bistango Shrimp

The best part of this report is that… I will most likely be moving into the building across the street from Bistango, its Gardens and all of this, at the beginning of January 2015.  My other career, Paralegal, takes me there.  I was very happy to see all within walking distance from a high story window view in the center of great things.  I’m looking forward to more.  Thanks!

Bistango / Airport Tower

I appreciate Bistango’s exemplar hospitality over twenty-plus years.

The ‘Real’ Fresh Brothers Pizza-Salad-Wings Land In The OC.

August 24th, 2014 No comments

Fresh Brothers Pizza

The real brothers of Fresh Brothers Pizza-Salad-Wings are pictured above at the opening of a new Fresh Brothers in Newport Beach.  It’s their first in Orange County.  I’m not saying they’re fresh, but their Pizza is.  And they really are brothers, but their last name isn’t actually Fresh.

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Their Pizza is good, but I fell for the Fresh Knots aka Garlic Bread tied in a knot and dusted with Parmesan Cheese, served with Pizza Sauce on the side.  I’d make a meal of it.

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Their Pizza liked me too — Thumbs up to much success.

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Samples of most items were offered to media invitees and passers by this day — Thanks Bro’s!

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Fresh Brother’s Wings are baked and never fried — They offer 6 different kinds.

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Meatball Sliders served on Kings Hawaiian Sweet Rolls are available too.

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What do you see below?  Not Chicken Tenders.

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They’re Vegan Tenders that seem like Chicken and they’re pretty good too.

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One of my plates (above) — All was enjoyable.

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Fresh Knots reiterated (above) — Yum.

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They also offer Make-Your-Own-Pizza-Party packages for kids — A fun idea.

5-Hour Energy Yummification Contest: Introducing The 5 N’ Thrive.

August 19th, 2014 No comments

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.

Lay’s Do Us A Flavor Chip Contest Take Two: We Pick Only One.

August 14th, 2014 No comments

Lay's Chip Contest II

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.

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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.

OC Fair Report: Second Place Equates To Three Wins For Shelly’s Jellies.

August 7th, 2014 No comments

OC Fair Win - Watermelon Shelly's Jellies

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.

Deep Fried Lobster on a Stick

This year we tried the Deep Fried Lobster on a stick with Pineapple — Not bad, but not cheap.

Fruit Carvings

We’re back tomorrow for more FOOD and Fruit Sculptures — The OC Fair ends this week.

The Hobbit Restaurant In Orange May Serve Your Best Meal Ever.

July 27th, 2014 No comments

The Hobbit Lamb

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.

Shelly Freis at The Hobbit

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.

The Hobbit Patio The Hobbit Entrance The Hobbit Dining Room

We’ve arrived — Who and what’s behind the door?  Looks like a speakeasy slot, I like it.

Thee Hobbit Bar

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.

Upstairs Hobbit Bar  The Hobbit - Me in Bar Mirror  Cheers at The Hobbit

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).

The Hobbit Wine Cellar Stairs

You may eat and enjoy as many Hors d’ Oeuvres and drink as much Champagne as you like.

The Hobbit Hors d' Oeuvres

The photos don’t do all justice – Each Hors d’ Oeuvre was exceptional, delicious and top notch.

Beef Satay  The Hobbit App  At The Hobbit

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.

The Hobbit Caviar

I loved The Hobbit’s Steak Tartare — It was perfectly chilled and fresh.

Wine Cellar

If you like, while in the Wine Cellar, select a bottle of Wine to have with dinner.

The Hobbit - Our Dinner Table

The experience continues upstairs, from the Wine Cellar at a privately assigned table.

View from Dinner Table

It’s romantic too.

The Hobbit Dinner Roll

Even the Bread Roll was extra special, with a lot Herbs.

The Hobbit - Menu of the Day

The Hobbit meals come with an ever-changing menu/program, with intermission and all.

The Hobbit Salad before Intermission

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).

Wild Mushroom Stuffed Filet

Almond Cake, Apricot Ice Cream and a Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse (below).

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Enlarge photo with menu (above) to view descriptions of all dishes.

The Hobbit Chefs in the Kitchen

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.

Matt & Me at The Hobbit

We toast to the Chefs and owners of The Hobbit — We LOVED our meal and time there.

Cheers to going back to The Hobbit someday...

Make another reservation for me, PLEASE!

Quick Reference Baby Shower & Bridal Shower Food Ideas.

July 24th, 2014 No comments

Baby Shower Idea

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).

Wedding Shower Idea

More baby shower food ideas are here — More about my Cupcake Bridal Shower Cake is here.