Archive for January, 2009

3-Thirty-3 Waterfront Restaurant View & Food.

January 31st, 2009 2 comments


This day we discovered the impressive interior and food at 3-Thirty-3 Waterfront Restaurant.  We especially liked the Gourmet Sliders and the stylish, spacious booths overlooking the Newport Beach Harbor.  And soon they’ll be starting construction on an outdoor patio.  They’ve got a great menu and view.


Our experience couldn’t have been better, but I’m cheerless that I had to rely on a friend’s camera with a weakening battery to convey it.  Above are the best of the captured photos that don’t show what you have to see — The Filet Mignon Bruschette, Gourmet Slider Combination Platter, and the Bourbon Street Bread Pudding.  We thought all were superb in real life.

The Gourmet Slider Combination Platter serves (1) each of (7) Gourmet Sliders offered at 333 Bayside & PCH — It includes Ground Angus Beef, Lump Crab Cake, Filet Mignon, Grilled Chicken, Blackened Ahi, Pulled Pork and California Cheese Sliders.  And it was so much FUN trying 1/2 of each, especially in this beautiful setting with a great friend. 

I want to do it again, but I better save up since the Slider platter is $49.  The prices are on the higher side, but the food quality appears to keep up, and then there’s the view and decor.  It was worth it.

Related Link:

Quaker Oats True Delights Chewy Granola Bars.

January 30th, 2009 4 comments


Introducing Quaker “True Delights” — They’re new Chewy Granola Bars distributed by The Quaker Oats Company.  I was recently given the opportunity to try them before they hit the market in January 2009.  I received two of each flavor.  True Delights are made with real Fruit, whole Nuts, Dark Chocolate, and of course Quaker Oats and more.

The specific flavors are Honey Roasted Cashew Mixed Berry, Toasted Coconut Banana Macadamia Nut, and Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond, respectfully pictured above from top to bottom.  Quaker Oats did an excellent job selecting the various Fruit and Nut combinations. 

My favorite is the Coconut Banana Macadamia Nut.  I ate both before anyone else had the opportunity to try them.  I’ll be purchasing a box in the future.  And I took the rest to the office where two others fell in love with the Honey Roasted Cashew Mixed Berry.  Overall, we were impressed with all three.  Thanks Quaker and Foodbuzz for the fabulous preview.  You both did good.

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The Cheesecake Factory’s New Small Plates Menu.

January 29th, 2009 2 comments


cheesecake-factory-004The Cheesecake Factory now offers a low priced “Small Plates & Snacks” Menu.  It’s currently in paper form and separate from their laminated menu-magazine.  The Small Plates Menu presents several unique and tasty food choices under $5.   We’ve only had the Fried Artichoke Hearts (pictured above) for $3.95.  That’s a pretty good deal, so I look forward to trying more options.  The prices make it possible — They’re great for the quality the Cheesecake Factory seems to maintain.  Also pictured is the Grilled Chicken Tostada Salad, one of the CF’s Salads that come in full portion only.  It’s a perfect Salad for two, since it’s served on two separate Tostada Shells.  It’s obviously not on the Small Plates Menu, but we shared it this day.

We’ve reviewed other Cheesecake Factory dishes and LOVE their Taquitos and many other items.

It’s Finally Time To Get Back To The Food.

January 28th, 2009 1 comment

YEAH! I’ve come out of a WordPress 2.7 upgrade nightmare. I apologize to those whose comments were dropped or rejected. It’s truly annoying when you take the time to write a comment, then receive an error message when you send it. Hopefully that didn’t happen to you — Perhaps it only occurred with the spammers. Now let’s get back to the food. There’s so much more to taste.

Categories: Food Pictures & More

Mesa Grill & Barbeque’s Irresistible Coupon.

January 24th, 2009 3 comments


Mesa Grill & Barbeque is on 17th Street where Baja Fresh used to be.  I just learned there’s two, this one in Costa Mesa and one in Santa Ana.  I recently received their menu and generous coupons in the mail, which gave me a great reason to give them a try.  I got all this food for $13.47, 50% off its regular price of $25.  Either price, it appears to be a good deal.


It’s the Mesa Platter for 2, which includes Half a Chicken, BBQ Baby Back Ribs, Tri-tip, Pulled Pork, Mesa Chicken Wings, Rosemary Potatoes, Tri-tip Beans, Corn on the Cob with Mesa Butter, Garden Salads, Cornbread, and a Spicy Cheese Fondue with Homemade Potato Chips.

Mesa Grill & Barbeque did good by distributing its menu and deals.  Unfortunately I hadn’t seen too many people eating there, but this night they had quite a few.  And I now know that the food and service is definitely worth a re-visit.  I especially liked the Tri-tip, Pulled Pork, Corn on the Cob, and Spicy Cheese Fondue with crispy Potato Chips.

Related Links:

UPDATE 08/01/09:  It unfortunately appears that this restaurant closed.

Three Dog Bakery (Barkery) For Dogs.

January 23rd, 2009 1 comment

tommy-bs-gyro-map-005Newport loves its Dogs, so it’s a perfect location for the Three Dog Bakery.  It’s a chain, but this one is in the Corona Del Mar Plaza in Newport Beach.  It’s near Fashion Island, an outdoor shopping center that welcomes Dogs.  It’s hard to go there without seeing one.  The Three Dog Bakery ( I like to call it Barkery) bakes cute treats that are easily digested by Dogkind.  I’m not sure, but this location may be their best franchise.

Related Links: – Three Dog Bakery in Lake Arrowhead – Corona Del Mar Plaza

Please Donate To Share Our Strength (SOS).

January 22nd, 2009 2 comments

Share Our Strength’s goal is to END childhood hunger in America.  That’s important!  Children shouldn’t have to live hungry.  When you’re hungry it’s hard to concentrate on anything else.  SOS raises money to feed ALL of America’s children.

One GREAT way to donate to Share Our Strength is to attend one of the “A Tasteful Pursuit” dinners, which will be taking place in a different city each month throughout the year.  Save up and buy a ticket.  It’s an evening with some of the country’s TOP CHEFS, amazing cuisine, and the opportunity to bid on fabulous auction items.  It’s a win-win.

Foodbuzz is sending (1 – 2) Featured Publisher Correspondents to report about each city.  I’ve submitted a proposal to (hopefully) be one of them.  Buzz me up on the bottom link below.  Also linked is Share Our Strength’s website and more about the A Tasteful Pursuit events taking place between January – November 2009.

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Homemade Gyro Meat and Tzatziki Sauce.

January 21st, 2009 5 comments


WOW.  I finally made my own Gyro Meat and it turned out terrific.  I captured the flavor and consistency without a rotisserie.  I researched several Gyro Meat recipes online to arrive at this perfect combination of a few.  And the preparation is relatively easy for the authentic tasting results.  The short RECIPE goes like this — Mix all ingredients together, puree, form into loaf, bake on a rack, let rest and slice thinly — EAT with Tzatziki.  If that doesn’t tell you everything, the step by step photos and ingredients are shown below.



1/2 pound of Ground Lamb
1/2 pound of Ground Beef
1/4 cup of minced Onion
1/2 teaspoon of minced Garlic
1/2 teaspoon of dried Thyme
1/2 teaspoon of dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon of dried Rosemary
1/2 teaspoon of dried Marjoram
1/2 teaspoon of ground Cumin
1/2 teaspoon of ground Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon of Salt


1.)  Combine and mix ALL ingredients together, then place in a food processor and puree until a paste consistency (1 – 2 Minutes).

2.)  Scoop mixture out of the food processor and into a plastic wrap lined loaf pan.  Press firmly into the pan to close all air pockets in the meat.  Tightly wrap the plastic around the meat and let chill overnight (or several hours) in the fridge.

3.)  Remove formed Gyro Meat from the loaf pan and plastic wrap and place on a rack on a foil lined cookie sheet — This allows all sides of the meat to cook and the fat to run off.  Bake in the oven at 325° for 1 Hour.

4.)  After baking, remove from the oven, cover and let rest for about 10 minutes, then thinly slice for a Gyro Sandwich or alone with Tzatziki Sauce.

The photographs note the progression from (L – R) downward.

tommy-bs-gyro-map-040 tommy-bs-gyro-map-042 tommy-bs-gyro-map-047

tommy-bs-gyro-map-051 gyro-greek-003 gyro-greek-016

Tzatziki Sauce Recipe:

1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
1/3 cup of grated English Cucumber
1 – 2 minced Garlic Cloves
1 teaspoon of Olive Oil
1 teaspoon of Lemon Juice (I’m heavy-handed)
1 tablespoon of fresh chopped Dill (Optional)

Mix all ingredient together and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or overnight while the Gyro Meat mixture is doing the same.

tommy-bs-gyro-map-032 tommy-bs-gyro-map-038 gyro-greek-030

For LEFTOVERS, when the Gyro Meat is cold and easier to slice thin, I cut a few slices, lay them on a Pita or Flat Bread, drizzle a little Olive Oil around the edges, then cook it in the toaster oven.  All you have to do is fold and eat.   It turns out great.

Or I’ll cook the sliced Gyro Meat in a skillet with/without a little Olive Oil.  It’s fun to have the meat on hand for quick lunches and dinners throughout the week.

gyro-meat-002 gyro-meat-004 gyro-meat-0021

NOTE:  This Gyro Meat Recipe makes a fair amount for two, but the ingredients can easily be doubled to serve more.

Related Links:

You Are “HOW” You Eat Says Food-ology.

January 20th, 2009 2 comments

“Food-ology, You Are How You Eat” offers great insight regarding YOUR eating habits.  Its founder really seems to be in tune with the correlation between the way people eat and what it reveals about their personalities.  The Food-ology website is well done, informative, fun and helpful.  I just took the posted Monthly Quiz, which appeared to accurately describe me — I’m not telling.  GIVE IT A TRY.

Apparently there’s much YOU can learn from how you prepare your food, how you eat it, shop for it, order it, and more.  So, not only are we “what” we eat, but now “how” we eat.  Knowing that, it’ll be helpful to learn what it says about us.  Insight is good, isn’t it?

I’ve deemed a fun FOOD-OLOGICAL site.  They might want to trademark that too, if not taken already.  Thanks!

Bristol Farm’s Strawberry Cupcake Up Close.

January 19th, 2009 3 comments

I read that Bristol Farm’s Cupcakes had been voted a local favorite by some — I don’t recall by whom, but I finally tried one.  I would usually chose a Raspberry over a Strawberry, but in this case the Strawberry was prettier.  The Raspberry Lemon Cupcake looked like it had a mound of Play Dough and Mozzarella on top – HA.


The Strawberry Cupcake was okay — Not fabulous.  I do love Bristol Farms.  They offer many great things, but the jury is still out on the Cupcakes in comparison to others I’ve recently tried.  Sprinkles Cupcakes is in the same parking lot at Corona Del Mar Plaza, and as of today I like theirs better.  It’s all good.

Related Links:

Tommy Bahama’s Lunch During Restaurant Week.

January 18th, 2009 5 comments

To kick off Newport Beach Restaurant Week, we had the prix-fixe lunch from Tommy Bahama’s Island Grille.  The cost is $20 for three courses.  It’s a great way to try a variety of gourmet dishes at a favorable price.  Our picks included the Saba Steak Salad, a reported popular entree at Tommy B’s.

And the Lobster Cove Grilled Cheese and Heirloom Tomato Soup we read about — Of course it had to be one of our choices.  It’s rich, but has a generous amount of Lobster.

They offer “Tommy’s World Famous Coconut Shrimp” and all featured course dishes in larger portions on their everyday menu.  If you love any of them, you’ll be able to get it after Restaurant Week is over.

Above is the special prix-fixe menu, the Millionaires Mojito, Big Island Goat Cheese, Tommy’s Trio and Pina Colada Cake.

Related Links:

It’s Time For Newport Beach Restaurant Week.

January 17th, 2009 2 comments

Newport Beach Restaurant Week 2009 starts Sunday, January 18th and goes through Thursday, January 22nd.  It’s a good time to try top-notch restaurants at a great price.  Several restaurants throughout Newport Beach, Corona Del Mar, and Balboa Island, Peninsula and Village offer gourmet prix-fixe menus for lunch and dinner.  A couple of us are starting at Tommy Bahama’s Island Grille tomorrow for the 3 course $20 lunch.  The menu looks fantastic — I know one of us will have to try the Lobster Cove Grilled Cheese, Maine Lobster with Four Cheeses, served with “From Scratch” Heirloom Tomato Soup.

See 2009 participating restaurants and menus HERE:

2007 Restaurant Week Review – A condensed version of this article was published in The Current Newspaper on February 9, 2007 –

Newport to 17th Street, Costa Mesa Eateries.

January 16th, 2009 No comments

Our walk on this warm afternoon in January started at Borders Books on Newport Boulevard with a Latte and Thumbprint Raspberry Scone — Then it was on to 17th Street “Promenade” and back.  We’ll show a few places to eat along the way.

From left to right, top to bottom, here’s a few edible options along the way — Starting with Border’s Books Pastry Case, The Yard House, BC Broiler Chicken, Dippity Donut, El Matador, Roman Cucina, Kura Sushi Revolving Sushi Bar, Mother’s Market & Kitchen, Panera Bread, Garduro’s Ristorante Italiano, Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant & Bar, and Pierce Street Annex Music-Dancing-Grill.

Then trekking on with an Iced Raspberry Chai from Starbucks — YUM, btw.  It’s got a good punch of flavor.  I had a coupon to try one for free, and of course we passed a couple Starbucks along the way. 

We’ll try a beverage from Buon Giorno Coffee next time.  It was then on to Ruby’s Diner, Haute Cakes Caffe, Susie Cakes, and Promelis Westcliff Market, a must stop for local grocery shoppers. 

And La Cave, a very cool dark underground restaurant, The Beach Pit BBQ and Marie Calendar’s.  As noted, these are only a few.  There’s a lot more eateries in between that’ll be featured in future posts.

UPDATE 01/07/10:  Borders Books on Newport Boulevard will be closing this month.  Mother’s Market & Kitchen will be opening up there soon.

Ikea’s Swedish Meatballs For Lunch.

January 14th, 2009 1 comment

If you work or live near an Ikea Store, you should consider it a worthy place for lunch.  The prices are reasonable, the food is good and the cafeteria environment is a fun escape.  Why not skip the fast food joint and opt for the Ikea Restaurant & Cafe.  It’s fast and roughly the same cost.  I always get the Swedish Meatballs with extra Gravy and Lingonberry Preserves.  I love the combination.  I also buy the frozen (Meatballs), powdered (Gravy) and jarred (Preserves) from their Food Market and make all at home.  It’s an enjoyable quick meal.

Related Links:

In Search Of Nice Hungry Seniors In Costa Mesa.

January 13th, 2009 No comments

I’ve sometimes got too much food that I’d love to share with a fixed income senior citizen — One who could use and appreciate some adventurous extra food from time to time.  If you know a senior who lives in Costa Mesa, please send an E-Mail to  I’ll have my bodyguard check him/her out and then we’ll get the food rolling. 🙂

Thank you.

I’m Impressed With These Mini Beef Wellingtons.

January 12th, 2009 No comments

I came across these Mini Beef Wellingtons in the frozen foods section at Smart & Final.  They were on sale and the picture looked good, so I gave ’em a try.  Thus far I’ve only tested three in the toaster oven, but the flavor of the Duxelles is perfect — I wish there was a little more inside.  And the Beef Tenderloin was tender.  The combination makes a yummy (authentic old school) appetizer or snack.  I can’t wait to serve them to someone.

Related Links: (Note: For some reason I didn’t see a post regarding this specific product, nor the Smart & Final affiliation listing on the manufacturer’s website, but Original Rangoon’s other appetizers look good too). – How to make Duxelles. – What is it?

Does My Blog Look Good In This Photo Contest.

January 11th, 2009 No comments

Does My Blog Look Good In This (“DMBLGIT”) is a monthly food photography contest initiated in 2005 by Spittoon.  It’s now hosted by a different food blog each month.  The submission criteria requires that the photograph be published on a blog the previous month — My January submission appeared on Nibbles of Tidbits in December.  The competition is always stiff, but I hope to win sometime.  So far this month I have a chance, but entries are being accepted until January 20th.  We’ll see what happens.

Check out ALL entries here below — Mine is photograph #9.

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Pound Cake, It’s Not Just a Van Halen Song.

January 10th, 2009 No comments

I’ll never forget that “Pound Cake” is the title of a Van Halen song.  My friends and I were once running late to a Van Halen concert at the Pacific Amphitheater, as Pound Cake was just starting to play.  I can’t write what my friend said as we were running in, but I’ll never forget it.  I like the song and the Cake.

Here I made the easy Betty Crocker Pound Cake Mix we’ve all seen in the grocery store for years.  It’s good and simple, but I like to doctor them up differently each time.  The mix makes two small loaves.  This time I added Cinnamon to one and Lemon Zest to the other.  I swirled both into the batter, then topped with leftover Streusel — I had made too much for a pie, so it came in handy here.  Both turned out yummy and are great to have on hand for guests.  Rock on. 🙂

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Do You Need A Few Words About Your Food?

January 8th, 2009 No comments

Renee’s Special At The Cheesecake Factory.

January 7th, 2009 1 comment

Another Mystery Shop at The Cheesecake Factory.  It appears the company really cares about customer satisfaction.  That’s a very good thing.  This lunch visit I had Renee’s Special.  I’m not sure who Renee is, but the Baked Potato Soup was amazing.  I’ll go back just for it.  The Cheesecake Factory possibly offers the most menu items I’ve ever seen.  I could eat there every day for a month!  I’d bet that all would be good too.  Renee’s Special includes the choice of two Sandwiches and comes all together with Soup of the Day and a Salad.  It’s a good combination for some, but there’s too many other options to get it again.

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Where’s My Extra Cheese Del Taco?

January 6th, 2009 No comments

Where’s my extra CHEESE Del Taco?  That’s what a few of us want to know.  Del Taco charges $0.39 for extra Cheese on their regular $0.59 Taco.  The cost of extra Cheese is more than half the price of the Taco.  And since we pay that much for the extra Cheese, WE WANT IT.  We’re not just interested in paying more for the Taco.  Can you PLEASE start giving us what we paid for?  Corporate needs to communicate this to all restaurants — ADD THE EXTRA CHEESE when a customer requests and pays for it!

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Fish Poached In Wine — This Time It’s Sculpin.

January 5th, 2009 No comments

I’m lucky to know a couple Fishing Charter Captains — Every now and then I get a fresh cut, cleaned piece of the catch.  This time it was Sculpin, which I’ve not tried.  I poached it in White White, Water, Fresh Dill, Garlic, a Bay Leaf and Pink Peppercorns. 

My preparation was an adaptation of the recipe linked below.  I used different poaching herbs, but finished the Fish with Kosher Salt, Olive Oil and Capers, which added the needed extra flavor to the Sculpin.  The Fish would have been a little bland otherwise, but the texture was flaky and white.  Thanks again Kat and Doug.

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Grilled Bacon Wrapped Asparagus On The BBQ.

January 4th, 2009 4 comments

Grilled Bacon Wrapped Asparagus on the BBQ – Just wrap bundles of Asparagus with strips of Bacon.  I usually wrap one slice of Bacon around 3-4 Asparagus.  I’ll add a well placed toothpick to each bundle, so not to worry about the Bacon unraveling on the grill — That’s a bad thing.  Bacon Wrapped Asparagus is an easy tasty appetizer or side dish.  Everyone loves them.

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