Archive for November, 2008

Top Chef A Bit Too Commercial With Swansons.

November 30th, 2008 No comments

Swanson’s Chicken Broth/Stock is okay.  I’ve used it many times, but it’s not gourmet.  If the sponsor (Swanson’s) hadn’t paid to be on Top Chef, the Judges might scoff at it being added to a recipe.  Maybe — Although they wouldn’t want to injure a brand.  Instead the products were highlighted in way too many frames.


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Edamame Are Soybeans, A Healthy Snack.

November 29th, 2008 1 comment

Edamame are one of my favorite snacks.  I prefer them warm with Salt — That’s what I just made HERE.  Most Japanese Restaurants appear to serve them chilled.  I’ve seen and like both offerings.  When not eating out, I buy them frozen, cook for 10 minutes, drain, Salt and eat.

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Thanksgiving In Southern California.

November 28th, 2008 3 comments

Thanks to my Parents for this wonderful Thanksgiving meal.  A few of us can’t hold back from eating the Crispy Turkey Skin (with Salt) before the Turkey is carved, hence its less than pristine exposure. 

And Chef Lexi made Apple Betty for Dessert — She shows how good it was.  More Chef Lexi meals and recipes can be found under the ‘Kid’s In The Kitchen’ section.

Everything was great as usual.  I’m a bit spoiled in that all I have to do is show up and eat.  I’m thankful for all my blessings and I do help with the dishes.

More Yard House 1/2 Price App’s In The House.

November 27th, 2008 4 comments

This time we tried the Spicy Thai Chicken Pizza and Moo Shu Egg Rolls.  Both were top notch, just like most dishes at the Yard House.  The price and quality are there.  And the varied menu items are consistently good.  There’s more photos of other fabulous Yard House appetizers linked below.  We’re getting around to trying them all.  Why not?

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Neiman Marcus Cookie RECIPE Isn’t A Myth.

November 26th, 2008 2 comments

The recipe is real, but the story behind it isn’t.  You must have heard the story about the lady who paid $250 for the Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe from Neiman Marcus?!  When I heard about it, the amount was $2,500 — You know how stories get exaggerated.  Either way, Snopes reports it to be false.  The full interesting story is linked here.

Aside from that, an old friend recently reminded me how “freaking good” they are.  I used to make the recipe a lot and do think they’re possibly the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies in the world — The blended Oatmeal and grated Chocolate certainly contribute to it.  I usually add Walnuts, Pecans or Macadamia Nuts.  The recipe is linked above and below on an album page I created over ten years ago.  It’s not fancy but includes four bonus recipes if interested.

Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Munchos Potato Crisps — They’ve Got A History.

November 25th, 2008 2 comments

Munchos are so salty good.  I remember eating them as a kid and then they seemed to disappear, so I was thrilled when I saw Munchos again a couple years ago.  And it’s great to see that they’re readily available here now.  Since I’ll eat a whole bag in an instant, I don’t buy too many, but I’m glad to know that I can.  It’s the only Potato Chip I eat without Dip — It must be that it’s a Potato Crisp?!  I’ll let Wikipedia tell you more about Munchos history.  It’s interesting.

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A Favorite Addition To Any Basic Stuffing.

November 24th, 2008 No comments

It’s Chicken Liver.  I fry small cubes then add them to any basic Stuffing / Dressing recipe.  Here I made Mrs. Cubbison’s Original Recipe – Basic Dressing Casserole.  It’s on the back of the box, which also notes a Lite Recipe.  After making the Original Recipe (OR), I learned that next time I’ll try the Lite Recipe.  I thought this one was too buttery — The OR seems to call for an unnecessary amount of melted Butter.

If you’re not completely adverse to Chicken Liver, you’ll love it in a good Stuffing Casserole.  Just bake it on the side or in the Turkey or Chicken.  Thanksgiving is around the corner — Why not give this addition some consideration?

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A Walk Around Costa Mesa And Newport Beach.

November 21st, 2008 1 comment

There are so many restaurants in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa.  You especially notice them if you’re on foot.  Below is a pictorial view of our walk from Costa Mesa to Newport Beach, then back.  Are you local?  Can you trace the route by street?  These pictures are in travel order from (general) start to finish.  Aloha Grill was our first stop, which is finally open — Then working on down (L-R) is Super Pollo, Santa Monica Seafood and continuing.

Mesa Grill & Barbecue, The Omelette Parlor/Chester Drawers, Billy’s at the Beach, Wine Lab Newport, Villa Nova Ristorante and A Restaurant (formerly The Arches).

On to Woody’s Diner, Avilas El Ranchito, Ten Sushi Steaks, Woody’s Wharf, The Crab Cooker and The Chicken Coop.

I’ve tried most of the above and wrote about some on Nibbles of Tidbits and for other publications.  I haven’t yet tried Mesa Grill & Barbecue, The Omelette Parlor, Ten, A Restaurant, or the Wine Lab Newport, so check back HERE for future information about them.

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What I’ve Got Pizza Didn’t Quite Make It.

November 20th, 2008 1 comment

This Pizza was okay.  I bought Trader Joe’s Pizza Dough and Pizza Sauce, then added what I had on hand — It has Cheddar Cheese, Salami, Pineapple and Jalapeno.  The Sauce was good and the Dough works, but I might want to try it another time with Mozzarella, Pepperoni, Mushrooms, Olives, Pineapple, Artichoke Hearts, Jalapenos, and maybe more. 

I think I overcooked this Pizza and made the Dough too thick.  Good thing I didn’t videotape myself trying to spread out the Dough and make it stay – HA.  I really wanted to throw and spin it up in the air, but feared I’d drop it on the kitchen floor.  I wished I had a big bolt of plastic to lay down.  I might pick some up before the next Pizza.

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Top Chef New York – The Next Episode.

November 19th, 2008 2 comments

So far I like the European Guys better than Team Rainbow.  I think Hosea’s Hot Dog was the best during the Quick Fire Challenge, and Radhika’s second best, although I didn’t have the actual pleasure.  The Beef Carpaccio made by Fabio was my favorite during the Elimination Challenge.  And Carla deserves an honorable mention for her food and personality.  I think the appropriate person, Jill was eliminated tonight. 

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Wienerschnitzel’s Pastrami On A Bun.

November 18th, 2008 3 comments

Pastrami on a Hot Dog Bun is currently being sold at Wienerschnitzel formerly known as Der Wienerschnitzel — For some reason I’ve been wanting to cook Pastrami, so I tried this Sandwich for a quick fix.  And now I really want to make my own.  It didn’t taste bad at all, but I want to freely bite into a Pastrami Sandwich knowing there’s no fat chunks in it.  Is it just me?

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Mi Casa Comida In Costa Mesa.

November 17th, 2008 No comments

I finally ate at my house, I mean Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant.  It has only been in Costa Mesa for 30 years — And I’d heard many good things about it.  So three of us recently went there for a friend’s Birthday.  We had excellent Margaritas and the food you see here.  It’s a Beef Burrito, Chicken Taco and Chili Relleno Combination, and a Beef Taco Combination.

We just happened to meet the owner, who seemed like a sweet man.  It appears he runs a great place to have in the neighborhood.  We liked our meals and I’d go out of my way just to get a Mi Casa Chicken Taco.  It was gigantic, crispy and tasty.  They also surprised us with a Birthday Pumpkin Frozen Dessert — I didn’t get the actual name, but it was good too.  My friends ate most of it, HA.

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Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant & Bar –

A Burger Sunset From Islands At Bella Terra.

November 16th, 2008 No comments

It appears we’re working our way through all of Island’s Burgers at Bella Terra and other locations.  This time it was the ‘Sunset‘ with BBQ Sauce, Cheese and fix-ins minus the raw Onion.  A BBQ Burger isn’t usually a top pick of mine, but the Sunset was excellent, like all Island’s Burgers I’ve had thus far.  Now we’re heading to Kilauea.

Update 01/28/10:  The Sunset Burger appears to have a new name — It’s now called a “Mavericks” Burger.

The Cheesecake Factory’s Spicy Chicken Chipotle Pasta TO GO On The Down Low.

November 15th, 2008 3 comments

I recently conducted a Mystery Shop for an un-named company — The assignment was to order something TO GO from The Cheesecake Factory at Fashion Island in Newport Beach.  It sounded like a great project to me, so I chose the Spicy Chicken Chipotle Pasta, called it in, then picked it up about 15 minutes later.  And I was very happy to report that the service and food quality were excellent.  I’d have this dish again too.

I love Fashion Island — It’s got some great restaurants and three of many are just steps away from each other.  Actual view pictured above from left to right is California Pizza Kitchen, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro and The Cheesecake Factory, where I picked up my lunch.  During the day you can see the Pacific Ocean from the windows of these restaurants.

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Bright Knives, Big City, Top Chef New York.

November 14th, 2008 No comments

Top Chef New York just started, so I thought I’d give some quick first impressions of Opening Night.  I usually look forward to watching Top Chef — It can be an intense competition.  I’d be way too Chicken to compete there and wouldn’t want to get cooked. 

I was reminded how brutal it can be — You’ve gotta be a fast cook, quick thinker, good planner and beautiful presenter.  There’s no room for error.  Although I can make some fabulous food, I’ve made a lot of mistakes and wouldn’t want them mercilessly spotlighted.  I do like and respect all the Judges, but yikes sometimes.  I’d love to try the food with them.  Can I take Ted’s place???

Here’s a few excerpts if you missed it — The Chef Competitors, an Apple peeling and fine dicing contest as an immediate ‘Quick Fire Challenge’ that doesn’t allow one Chef to continue, then a toast to those who made it into the New York high rise apartment, the ‘Elimination Challenge’ and judging with Chef Jean Georges, and then say goodbye to the two Chefs hugging below.  To get the full story visit Bravo.

Sometimes all a dish needs is a little Salt and Pepper — Said by Chef Tom Colicchio this episode and it’s so true.  And I’ll add Freshly Ground Pepper to that mix.  Be sure to stop by after the next episode and I’ll tell you who I like.  Top Chef Season Five is on Wednesday nights at 10:00 on channel 76 here, but you’ll need to check your own listing if not with Time Warner Cable in Orange County, CA.

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Yum, I’ve Got A New Great Fish Recipe.

November 12th, 2008 1 comment

Today a friend gave me some fresh caught Rockfish, which I don’t think I’ve ever tried.  I asked how she prepares it and she told me that her husband kinda poaches/simmers it in Butter, Pickle Juice and Lemon.  How easy!  And she said it’s always awesome.  

With that combination I had to do the same, and I’m so excited to know about this quick and tasty recipe.  I cooked the Rockfish for less than 10 minutes.  It just flaked apart and the broth was delicious.  I added a little Parsley at the end.  Thanks Kat and Doug.

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What is Rockfish? –

I love Bubbie’s Pickles –

Do You Remember Sid’s On Old Newport?

November 11th, 2008 No comments

At the time it was open, it almost looked the same as this – HA.  It was cool though — No signs, no outside lights, but there was a fun food party going on inside.  I loved Sid’s Cajun Baked Shrimp, or something like that.  You had to peel them, but they were worth it.  And if you ordered Jack Daniels you’d be kicked out — maybe.  I don’t know the whole story there.  Plus NO Salt & Pepper for you.

If you remove the beat up car, I could possibly hope it’s open again.  Or is it and YOU just don’t know about it yet?  HA.  That won’t happen for various reasons not to be reported here.  You’ll have to dig that up elsewhere.

Categories: Food Expose, Food News, The Bad

The Yard House Happy Hour Food Pictures.

November 10th, 2008 3 comments

Most of The Yard House’s Appetizers are half price Monday through Friday from 3:00p.m. to 6:00p.m.  Here’s a few we recently tried at the Fashion Island location.  The Lettuce Wraps are really good – I like the accompanying Sauces.  The Chinese Garlic Noodles are okay, a little boring, but the unique California Roll made up for it.  It’s flavorful and different than any California Roll I’ve ever had.

We finished with the Pint Sized Trio Sampler with included a Chocolate Souffle, a Lemon Souffle and a Peach Apple Cobbler.  It was a dream combination for me.  WOW!!!  I want it again.

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Which Pastrami Sandwich Do You Like Better?

November 9th, 2008 2 comments

Tommy Pastrami’s NY Blackened Pastrami Sandwich (above). 


The Hat’s “World Famous” Pastrami Sandwich (below)?

Both Sandwiches are good yet different from each other.  I liked the look of Tommy Pastrami’s Pastrami.  The meat was lean and athetically pleasing.  The Hat’s Pastrami was fattier, and I most often prefer a leaner meat — However, it’s not all over with that observation.

The Hat’s Pastrami was more flavorful and juicy.  In comparison, Tommy’s Pastrami was unexpectedly bland/dry, but tasted good with Mustard.  Between these two Sandwiches, I may wear The Hat for a while.  Whose Pastrami do you like better?  I know there’s a lot more Pastrami Sandwiches out there, but do you have an opinion on these two?

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Aloha Grill & Tiki Bar Is Now Open In Costa Mesa.

November 8th, 2008 3 comments

It looks like the Aloha Grill & Tiki Bar is finally open in Costa Mesa.  You’ll see it off Newport Boulevard on Superior.  I wanna try a Hula Burger and “World Famous Rainbow” or the Kahlua Pork Hawaiian Plate and an Aloha-Rita.  I like the nice big outdoor patio – It’s always a plus in my book.  The MENU is linked HERE.

Do You SEA The Crab Cooker In Newport Beach?

November 7th, 2008 No comments

I like this picture, but it might be hard to tell that the above is fresh-sliced Smoked Albacore Tuna, Lemon and Tartar Sauce.  It’s from The Crab Cooker in Newport Beach and makes a tasty TO GO snack for the ocean and beach across the street.   

When I eat inside the restaurant, I look forward to their Cheese Potatoes, Grilled Fish and King Crab Legs.  And one time I saw Adam Ant dining there.  Do you remember him?  He was just a few tables away.  That was cool because I used to be a big fan — Dog Eat Dog, Ant Invasion, etc.  For fun and quick reference (for myself), I linked two Adam and the Ants videos below.

Okay, back to the food.  The Cheese Potatoes are reminiscent of those served at the old Seafood Broiler Restaurant.  Once upon a time I worked at the one in Lakewood.  Do you remember them?  They were great.  The Crab Cooker reminds me of the admired Seafood Broiler — So if you’ve been looking for the Cheese Potatoes ever since they closed, you should check out The Crab Cooker.  I think you’ll be happy.

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Orange County Chili Cheese Fries Comparison Report.

November 6th, 2008 6 comments

Where’s your favorite place to get Chili Cheese Fries?  We’ve been trying a few around town and would love to know whose Chili Cheese Fries you like BEST.  Some are extra good and some are just okay.  We describe a few, but want you to be the judge too.  Each photograph will have a brief description and related restaurant link directly below it.  And we’ll be adding more Chili Cheese Fries photos and observations, so keep checking back.

The Hat’s Chili Cheese Fries with Pickles & Tomatoes – You get a lot of them.  It’s heavy.

Tommy Pastrami’s Chili Cheese Fries – It’s got nice Steak Fries, but the Chili is a bit Tomato-Paste tasting.  It has big chunks of Beef in it, which is ok, but generally not preferred in a CCF.

Carl’s Junior’s Chili Cheese Fries – They’re not bad.

Fatburger’s Chili Cheese Fries – For some reason I expected more, but they were good.  Fatburger offers a choice of Skinny Fries or Fat Fries.  Pictured here are the Skinny Fries.


SONIC Drive-In’s Chili Cheese Fries – I haven’t tried these yet, but others like them.

Orange County Fair’s Chili Cheese Fries – You can only get them during the OC Fair.

Wienerschnitzel’s Chili Cheese Fries – Unfortunately they’re not one of my top picks.  I’d have to go with Carl’s Jr.’s Chili Cheese Fries before these (above).


Pink’s Chili Cheese Fries – Very good.  Second favorite to Original Tommy’s Chili Cheese Fries.

Del Taco’s Chili Cheese Fries – I’d pick them over Carl’s Jr. ones, since the Fries are better.

EZ Take Out Burger’s Chili Cheese Fries – I liked them, especially the French Fries.  Their Hamburgers are similar to In-N-Out’s Burgers, but dare I say I like EZ Take Out’s Fries better.  And Chili Cheese Fries don’t appear to be an option at In-N-Out Burger.

Johnny Rocket’s Chili Cheese Fries – They’re acceptable.  Nothing to rave about, nor rag on.  On a separate note, their Hamburgers are very good.

Original Tommy’s Chili Cheese Fries – They still stand as my favorite over all those pictured.

Wendy's Chili Cheese Fries

Wendy’s Chili Cheese Fries — It’s made with Chili that should be served in a bowl with a side of Buttered Crackers, but instead it’s dumped over French Fries and topped with Cheese.  I don’t think so.  They’re not recommended.

Chili Cheese Fries - Jack in the Box

Jack in the Box Loaded Chili Cheese Wedges — Good with the Onions picked out.

Portillo's Chili Cheese Fries

Portillo’s Chili Cheese Fries — Portillo’s Chili has a really good flavor that goes well with their crinkled-cut French Fries and a little melted Cheese.  We’d have them again.

Santa Fe Cafe Chili Cheese Fries

Santa Fe Cafe Chili Cheese Fries — They’re best had on their outdoor patio with a Pitcher of Beer.


Restaurantica’s Blog Post About Nick’s Pizza.

November 5th, 2008 No comments

Nick’s Pizza Ristorante Italiano is on Restaurantica –

Nick’s Tortellini and Chicken with Artichoke Hearts, Prosciutto and Green Peas in a Light Cream Sauce.

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