Archive for October, 2008

Say Happy Halloween With Chocolate Dipped Oreo Cookies.

October 31st, 2008 6 comments

They’re so easy to make.  Just dip Oreo Cookies in melted Milk Chocolate and vuala.  To add the contrasting stripes, melt orange Chocolate pieces and drizzle over the Cookies.  We got ours from Michaels — They offer various colors.  The Pumpkin and BOO Cookies were made with Chocolate molds.  If you’ve never tried a Chocolate Dipped Oreo Cookie, you’re missing out.  It’s a simple tasty treat.  Happy Halloween to you!

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Free Lemons At Bella Terra in Huntington Beach.

October 30th, 2008 1 comment

You probably wouldn’t want the Lemon pictured here, since it’s pretty freaky looking — But there are several Lemon trees in front of Kohl’s at the Bella Terra Shopping Center in Huntington Beach.  And you’ll also find a few Rosemary bushes there too.  So if you’re local and need Lemons and/or Rosemary for a recipe, drive down to Bella Terra to save a few bucks.

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Categories: Food News, Fruit, The Funny

Island’s Burgers Now Come With French Fries.

October 29th, 2008 2 comments

Did you know that Island’s Burgers and Sandwiches now come with French Fries?  Yes, they finally do.  It used to cost another $5 for a Basket of Fries, which isn’t that bad if you’re with a group, but if alone it was too many Fries for too much extra money. 

It’s rare that a restaurant start giving more for less, but by popular demand Island’s changed the rules and did it.  Here we had the Pipeline Burger at the Bella Terra location.  Island’s Pipeline is equivalent to a Chili Cheese Burger.  All was very good, and our waiter even asked if we wanted more Fries.

Thanks for the French Fries Islands — It’s a much better deal, which we all need.  Ciao.

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Restaurantica Wrote An Article About Me.

October 28th, 2008 1 comment

Here’s the article:–A-Food-Writer-in-the-Making/124/

Restaurantica offers more than 350,000 restaurant listings across the United States and Canada.  Its format is similar to Yelp and Chow.  Restaurantica’s been providing down to earth, honest restaurant reviews since 2003 and now has more than 184,000 reviews.  You can search for the restaurant you’re looking for, after searching for it here of course. 🙂

I’ll be their Costa Mesa expert, if you will.  I’ll be posting monthly on Restaurantica about all the fabulous food finds in Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Orange County, and wherever I might travel.  The above photo is related to my post about Nick’s Pizza Ristorante Italiano.  Restaurantica has ALL the yummy food pictures and details.

Be sure to check the Restaurantica Blog for monthly reviews and food photos by me, then write about your favorite restaurant.  The more reviews the better.

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October’s 24, 24, 24 On Foodbuzz Is In Full Force.

October 27th, 2008 No comments

Foodbuzz’s live blogging event which hosts 24 Posts by 24 Foodies around the world in 24 Hours is happening right now.  Since September’s 24, 24, 24 was such a success, Foodbuzz may be making it a monthly event.  Below is a medley of September’s 24 with fun music, but you’ll need to log on to Foodbuzz to see what’s cooking in October. 

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Decorating Halloween Treats With Friends.

October 26th, 2008 5 comments

Decorating Halloween Treats is now a super fun tradition with my best friends.  One friend makes all the basics and the rest of us just get to show up and decorate them.  I’m one of the lucky decorators. 🙂

The Cupcake topping in the main photo is made from ground Oreo Cookies and the goodies in the bags above are Milk Chocolate dipped Oreo Cookies.  The Halloween Cookies are homemade with my friend’s favorite Sugar Cookie recipe, then cut into pumpkins, bats, witches, cats, ghosts, Frankenstein and more.  The Cupcakes are Chocolate.  All are fresh baked and yummy.

Above are just a few of the tools and below is just some of the fun.  After all, we each get to take home trays of Cookies, Cupcakes and Chocolates.  It’s a lot of laughs too, especially with this crazy bunch. 🙂

I rarely post people pictures on this blog, since it’s all about the food, but I’m wearing my Foodbuzz Apron, so I’d thought I’d let them know.  Thanks Foodbuzz!  And a big THANKS to Loretta for doing all the hard work so we can just show up and have fun.

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Nick’s Pizza Is A Lot More Than Pizza.

October 25th, 2008 No comments

Here’s Deep Fried Crab Ravioli with Spicy Marinara Sauce, an uncommon Appetizer at any restaurant.  Nick’s Pizza in Costa Mesa is family owned and has been open since 1968.  And the name ‘Nick’s Pizza’ doesn’t do it justice, since it offers so much more. 

I hear its Pizza is great, but haven’t gotten around to trying it yet, because the Pasta is excellent.  Below is the Chicken Portobello, a grilled boneless Chicken Breast and Portobello Mushroom, with Artichoke Hearts and White Wine, served with Pappardelle in Gorgonzola Sauce.

I’ll be posting more about Nick’s Pizza on Restrauntica, so please check there for more food pictures and information, and then check back here for more to come.

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Maple Pork Chops With Apples By Chef Lexi.

October 24th, 2008 2 comments

Here’s another installment of Kids in the Kitchen.  It’s Maple Pork Chops with Apples made by Chef Lexi.  She’s 9 and pretty much prepared the entire dish with little assistance from her Mom.  They said it tasted okay, but they did make a couple substitutions due to lack of ingredients.  Perhaps if the recipe is made as written it would taste better.  It certainly looks good.

The recipe is from one of the best Kid’s Cookbooks, Family Fun Cooking With Kids.  I’ve previously posted about it and will continue to do so, since it has so many great recipes.  Lexi plans to cook many of them.  It’s a great learning experience and she has so much fun with it.  Information about the Cookbook is found in the related link.  Great job Lexi!

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Maggianos Little Italy Is Bigger And Better Now.

October 23rd, 2008 2 comments

Maggianos in Costa Mesa just recently expanded their bar area.  It’s a much needed expansion, since the bar and waiting area was way too small for the volume.  They took over the Corner Bakery and it’s now all Maggianos.  I thought I was going to be walking in through the Corner Bakery as usual and was pleasantly surprised to see that it’s more of Maggianos.  There’s now plenty of room to spread out and meet friends for a drink in the bar.

This night we had Mom’s Lasagna and Veal and Mushroom Ravioli al Forno.  All was fabulous as usual.  Abbondanza!

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Bar Food At The Harp Inn, An Irish Pub in So Cal.

October 22nd, 2008 1 comment

It’s been open for twenty years, but we just recently stopped in for the first time.  A friend called to get together — Her criteria was that she wanted to go to a place where she can eat, drink and smoke on an outdoor patio.  I told her there’s not too many places left for all that, but then called The Harp Inn to learn they’re still one of them.  She got what she wanted. 

And the food wasn’t bad either.  The Salads were fresh, the Jalapeno Poppers were served with Celery and Carrots (a healthy bonus), and the service was friendly.

The Harp Inn has live music most Thursdays through Sunday.  It starts at 9:30p.m., unless otherwise specified.  They also offer several television screens for sports enthusiasts.  It’s quaint and casual.  We’d go back again for the same and to perhaps catch one of the bands.

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Ratatouille, Not The Movie & Maybe Not The Dish — It’s an Eggplant Experiment.

October 21st, 2008 No comments

This was more of an Eggplant experiment turned into a what’s on hand Ratatouille.  Many Eggplant recipes require that you Salt and drain the Eggplant for an hour before cooking.  Salt is supposed to pull out the bitter flavors sometimes found in Eggplants — But I don’t want to do that.  Call me impatient, plus the process makes the Eggplant seem unappealing to me afterwards, so I never do it.

Here I conducted an experiment.  I cubed an Eggplant and sautéed half in a little Olive Oil and Salt over the stove, and baked the other half with some Olive Oil and Salt in the oven.  Since Eggplant absorbs oil like a sponge, I add more as needed while trying not to add too much.

Overall, I thought the texture of the baked Eggplant was more desirable than the sautéed Eggplant.  The baked Eggplant is pictured above being added to the Sauce.  I thought the stove cooked Eggplant was a little tough and less flavorful.  None were bitter.  I enjoyed eating the baked Eggplant straight from the oven, but the other wasn’t as enjoyable.

I added both Eggplant batches to sautéed Sweet Onion, lots of minced Garlic, chopped Tomatoes and served all over Angel Hair Pasta with a little Shaved Parmesan.  I would have been satisfied if I had just baked the Eggplant, ate it from the oven and skipped everything else.

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Blood Orange Juice For Your Health & For Fun.

October 20th, 2008 4 comments

Italian Organics sent me a couple bottles of their Organic Sicilian Blood Orange Juice.  They’re based in Staten Island, New York.  I did a little work for them some time ago and have been wanting to try this juice ever since.  Thanks for sending it Alfredo.  It’s tasty.  Italian Organics (I.O.) is working on finding more suppliers across the United States.  Right now it’s available in New York, but let’s hope it’s soon shelved in a store near us.

You can drink to your health knowing that Organic Blood Oranges contain Anthocyanins, which act as powerful Antioxidants.  I.O. harvests this exceptional fruit in volcanic soil near Mt. Etna Sicily.  Not only does it taste great, but it’s rich in Potassium, Calcium, Iron, Fiber, and Vitamins A & C.

And since it’s so good for you, if you want to make a Blood Orange Martini out of it, that’s okay.  The recipe I used is linked below.  Instead of using typical Orange Juice in your Martini, shake things up with this colorful juice.  It makes a prettier presentation too.  And I added a Sugared Rim to sweeten the deal.  Yummy!


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Spicy Baked Shrimp Recipe Made With Chicken.

October 19th, 2008 1 comment

The recipe and Shrimp preparation is linked below.  Unlike the Shrimp, the Chicken is covered with foil while baking, then removed to another pan to broil until browned (approx. 5 minutes) before serving. 

Here I used wings, thighs and legs, since the breasts were used for another recipe.  The Shrimp is only cooked for 20 minutes uncovered, but the Chicken was cooked at a lower temperature, 375° for 55 minutes.  Both recipes made tender, tasty meat.


I just love the flavors in this recipe — They seem to make a fabulous dish out of any meat.  Next time I’ll try it on Beef.  Keep an eye out for that report.

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The Cheesecake Factory’s Taquitos Are Delish!

October 18th, 2008 1 comment

“Crispy Taquitos” are an unlikely choice at The Cheesecake Factory, especially since there are so many great Mexican Food Restaurants around, but they make them soooo good.  We recently had ’em on the patio at Bella Terra in Huntington Beach. 

It’s our third time eating them and they’ve been consistently tasty each time.  They are made with Spicy Chicken and can be found under Appetizers on The Cheesecake Factory’s magazine-menu, if you know what I mean.  You can take a peek at the link below.


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Carm’s NY Coneys & Franks In Costa Mesa — Now Closed, Looking For A New Spot.

October 17th, 2008 2 comments

I heard Carm’s Coneys on 17th Street in Costa Mesa is really good.  I hadn’t even seen it, since it’s sandwiched among many other small restaurants and businesses.  Its owner was born in Brooklyn, NY.

I stopped in tonight and tried The Original Coney said to be one of their most popular Dogs and is made with all white Veal.  You get a choice between a New England Roll or Bun.  Upon recommendation I had the New England Roll and Carm’s Award Winning Chili.  I liked it — It’s different tasting.  They say if you bite into a Dog you don’t like, they’ll give you something else.

The place is really cute and it had a lot of people inside.  Apparently I’m the only one out of the Famous NY Dog’s loop.  I found the service super friendly, helpful and happy.  I’ll go back and try a few more things.  I’ve got my eye on the Zweigle (Red or White Hot), Bratwurst, Salt Potatoes and Sweet Potato Fries.

And I’ll also try the Chili Cheese Fries, since I’m putting together a post all about Chili Cheese Fries.  Carm’s Coneys first opened in Newport Beach in 1985, closed in 1991 to pursue other interests, and is now re-open with an expanded menu in Costa Mesa.  It’s a nice little place with good food and service.

UPDATE (11/30/08):  The location is now occupied by Jimmy’s Burger Joint, which officially opened yesterday.  Jimmy is/was a partner of Carm’s and says Carm is looking for a new location to re-open.  I’m advised that the Chicago Dog is one of the things to try at Jimmy’s Burger Joint — I guess I’ll need to do that sometime.


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Carl’s Jr.’s So-Called $6.00 Burger For Real.

October 16th, 2008 No comments

I finally tried one of Carl’s Jr.’s Six Dollar Burgers – The Guacamole Bacon Burger, which sells for about $5.00.  I’m not impressed.  It tastes more like a $3.00 Burger, and frankly I like their less expensive Burgers better.  It certainly doesn’t taste like a restaurant Burger, but more like a fast food Burger, which it is.  Don’t be fooled by their advertising.  It’s priced too high and doesn’t deliver what it boasts.  This Burger is smaller and less attractive than the one currently featured on Carl’s Jr.’s website.  If you haven’t tried it yet, be warned, it’s not worth the money and isn’t what it claims to be.

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Here’s a good looking Burger in real life –

Successful Banana Cake Experiments.

October 15th, 2008 3 comments

Since I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand to make Banana Bread, I made improvised Banana Cakes.  The experiments started with a White Cake Mix, 3 large extra ripe Bananas and a box of Vanilla Pudding Mix. 

I mashed the Bananas, then added in the Cake Mix and Pudding Mix.  And I prepared as instructed on the Cake Box, less 1/4 Cup liquid.  The Cake Mix I used called for 3 Eggs, 1/3 Cup of Oil, and 1 1/4 Cup of Water – I added only 1 Cup of Water and used Walnut Oil.

For a second experiment I poured most of the batter into a baking tin for the oven, and the rest into a small glass bowl for the toaster oven.  I cooked both Cakes 5 minutes longer than directed on the Cake Box. 

And happily both Cakes turned out really good — Moist and Banana-Bready.  I mixed Powdered Sugar, Vanilla Extract and Milk to make a Glaze that’s seen on both Cakes. 

These experiments were born from over ripe Bananas with no flour on hand — And since there was an excess of batter, why not make a baby Cake too?!  Plus I’d never made a Cake in the toaster oven before, so I wanted to try it.  I had the larger Cake as a back up if it didn’t go well.  

Overall, I would make and enjoy the very same again.  The flavor and texture were agreeable and it was fun to have a “tasting” Cake.  Others really liked it too.

UPDATE (12/14/08):  Subsequent Toaster Oven cooking (experimentation) has revealed it’s necessary to add 5-15 minutes to the cooking time of a Cake, Bread or Custard.

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Piece of Cake Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies.

October 14th, 2008 No comments

There’s no Cake here right now, but it’s way too easy to make fresh baked Chocolate Chip Cookies.  This is the first time I’ve seen the Nestle Toll House Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies.  And I don’t even need to slice them.  You know how tiring that can be – Ha. 

I just break them off the Cookie block and pop ’em in the Toaster Oven.  They’re great to have in the fridge for a quick dessert, snack or indulgence.  Is four a day bad?  It’s just a phase.

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Foodbuzz Publisher Community Launches Today.

October 13th, 2008 No comments


San Francisco – October 13, 2008:   Foodbuzz, Inc., officially inaugurates its food blogger community with more than 1,000 blog partners, a global food blogging event and an online platform that captures the real-people, real-time power of food publishing in every corner of the world.  At launch, the Foodbuzz community ranks as one of the top-10 Internet destinations for food and dining (Quantcast), with bloggers based in 45 countries and 863 cities serving up daily food content.  

“Food bloggers are at the forefront of reality publishing and the dramatic growth of new media has redefined how food enthusiasts access tasty content,” said Doug Collister, Executive Vice President of Foodbuzz, Inc.  “Food bloggers are the new breed of local food experts and at any minute of the day, Foodbuzz is there to help capture the immediacy of their hands-on experiences, be it a memorable restaurant meal, a trip to the farmers market, or a special home-cooked meal.”    

Foodbuzz is the only online community with content created exclusively by food bloggers and rated by foodies. The site offers more than 20,000 pieces of new food and dining content weekly, including recipes, photos, blog posts, videos and restaurant reviews.   Members decide the “tastiness” of each piece of content by voting and “buzz” the most popular posts to the top of the daily menu of submissions.  Foodbuzz currently logs over 13 million monthly page views and over three million monthly unique visitors.      

“Our goal is to be the number-one online source of quality food and dining content by promoting the talent, enthusiasm and knowledge of food bloggers around the globe,” said Ben Dehan, founder and CEO of Foodbuzz, Inc.  

The Foodbuzz blogger community is growing at a rate of 40 percent per month driven by strong growth in existing partner blogs and the addition of over 100 new blogs per month.   “The Web site is like the stock of a great soup.  The Web site provides the base or backbone for bloggers to interact as a community, contribute content, and have that content buzzed by their peers,” said Mr. Dehan.

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Philly’s Best (PA in CA) – I Love Their Sandwiches.

October 12th, 2008 No comments

This is a Chicken & Cheese from Philly’s Best, and they’re grilling Steak below.  Both the Steak & Cheese and Chicken & Cheese Sandwiches are made with White American Cheese, unless otherwise requested — They offer Wiz too, if you’ve got to have it.  And of course grilled Onions, Peppers and Mushrooms can be added. 

The Steak and Chicken Sandwiches are equally awesome.  I like to eat them with Pickles and Peppers.  They have two different kinds of Pickles and I like them both, and I’m particular about my Pickles.  I’ve been to the Irvine and Huntington Beach locations, but ‘Philly’s Best – Authentic Cheesesteak and Hoagie Shop’ now has over twenty restaurant locations.

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This Spicy Baked Shrimp Recipe Is Fabulous!

October 11th, 2008 1 comment

Like the recipe says, this Spicy Baked Shrimp recipe is yummmmmmy!  If I had more Shrimp, I’d make it again right NOW!  I halved the recipe for what’s pictured here — I need more Shrimp asap.     

I just mixed ALL the ingredients together, added the Shrimp and baked the combination in the oven for 20 minutes.  The preparation couldn’t be easier — Love that.

I served the Shrimp with warm crusty Sourdough Rolls that tasted so good dipped in the Sauce.  I’m glad I discovered this delicious recipe.  It’s officially a new, rustic and fun staple in my food repertoire.  You gotta try it too.

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A Visit To Pick Up Stix At Westcliff.

October 10th, 2008 No comments

I think Pick Up Stix does a pretty good job.  These pictures are from a pop in at the Westcliff location in Newport Beach, California.  TIP:  Try not to hit it when the nearby High School is releasing students.

Pick Up Stix is featuring Crispy Honey Chicken, Rice and a Salad for $4.99 — It’s in a Coupon Packet I received in the mail, but you don’t need the coupon to get it.  Since it sounded good and I pass by one, I got that Special to go.  I liked the Honey Chicken, but the Salad tasted bagged and was wilted.  I did ask that it be packed on the side, but they overlooked that request.  The Dressing for the Salad isn’t terrific either — I ended up using my home favorite Sesame Dressing.  Overall, I do like Pick Up Stix, but need to be selective with a couple items. 

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More OC Restaurant Reviews are HERE.

October 9th, 2008 No comments

I’ve written other lenghthy and short restaurant reviews in addition to those on Nibbles of Tidbits.  All are located in Costa Mesa, Newport Beach and Irvine, California — Reviews of the Greek Town Grill, Saagar Indian Cuisine, Catalina Fish Kitchen, The Wild Rabbit, El Matador, El Toro Bravo Tortilleria, Taco Rosa, El Chinaco, Islands and Houstons can be read below.  Or use this blog’s Search Box to find what you’re looking for, and don’t forget to check out the ‘Restaurant Reviews’ Category.

OC MEX Food Blog:



Chow Hound:

Hungry City Guides:  I’ve written several other reviews for the OC Hungry City Guide.  The book is due to be published late this year or early next year.  It appears to be a little up in the air.  I’m sure I’ll let you know when it’s out. 🙂

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