Today at the Bloomingdale’s Cooking Demonstration, Executive Chef Owner Cathy Pavlos of Lucca Cafe announced that Orange County Restaurant Week has been extended for another week. That’s great news! There’s more time to enjoy the prix-fixe meals being offered at several OC Restaurants. Pictured here is the Braciole al Forno we had for dinner at Il Farro Caffe Trattoria. More about our visit will be reported in an upcoming post.
MORE INFO: http://www.orangecountyrestaurantweek.com/
Continuing with the Orange County Restaurant Week Cooking Demonstrations at Bloomingdales South Coast Plaza is Kimera Restaurant & Lounge. Chefs from Kimera made Crab Cakes and Shrimp Spring Rolls. Both seemed so quick and easy to make BECAUSE all the ingredients were chopped ahead of time. I subsequently had the IDEA to raid a Salad Bar for quick Spring Roll contents. Good idea huh!? That’s what I’ll do when I make them.
Kimera representatives so kindly gave all the Cooking Demonstration guests a $20 Gift Certificate. Thank you – I’ve been wanting to go there.
Kimera Restaurant & Lounge:
Orange County Restaurant Week:
Previous Cooking Demonstrations:
Hosea won Top Chef on tonight’s Top Chef New York Season 5 Finale. Congratulations — It’s a tough competition! My friend was in love with Fabio, the fourth runner up. She’ll be doing a write up about his Moorpark Restaurant soon on Nibbles of Tidbits. That’ll be interesting to hear about.
But my favorite was Carla – She’s funny and seems like a cool chick. It’s all good though. I have much respect for anyone in that competition. It’s crazy – FO SHO.
Fabio’s Restaurant in Moorpark: http://www.cafefirenze.net/
BK Burger Shots from Burger King aren’t those cute little Sliders we’re all liking these days, but instead it’s just one giant perforated Burger, HA. We tried a 6 Pack of Burger Shots and had to pull them apart to get one. You can tell these were made quickly. They taste just like a Whopper, but without the Lettuce and Tomato I’d prefer to have. This was $4.09 — I’d rather have a Whopper for a buck. Since Burger King’s website is a bit confusing and time consuming, only one related page is linked below.
Burger King: http://www.bk.com/#menu=2,91,-1
These are the “Delightful Surprise Clusters” I created for a Recipe Contest sponsored by Quaker Oats and Foodbuzz. They’re made with Dark Chocolate and offer many delightful surprises inside, Cashews, Almonds, Macadamia Nuts, Toasted Coconut, Dried Cherries, Orange Flavored Dried Cranberries and Banana Chips. All is topped with swirled White Chocolate. My office appears to be loving ‘em – That’s good. They’re Gourmet Nut Clusters!
Enter the Contest HERE:
Contest Inspiration – Quaker Oats True Delights Chewy Granola Bars: http://www.ineedtext.com/FoodBlog/?p=1985
Recipe Contest WIN too long ago:
I’m not sure why I wanted to try this, since I have a phobia of eating hidden Chicken from a Fast Food Restaurant, HA. I think it was the “Platter” aspect about it. Plus I didn’t know it had Chicken, even though it’s in the product name – Go figure. I was hungry and mostly curious. I only ate the edges so I can’t comment on the meat, but the Enchilada Sauce isn’t bad. I don’t think it’s new. I’d prefer it with Beans and Cheese, as a wet Burrito. And I like Taco Bell’s Chips, but not the Salsa that’s served with this platter. To wrap up my occasional snootiness, I prefer not to have the Sour Cream warm and melted after being encompassed under the giant cover. On the side is a must, always. This Spicy Chicken Enchilada Platter costs $4.99.
The First Annual Orange County Restaurant Week officially starts today and continues through February 28th — More details about it are linked below. As previously reported on Nibbles of Tidbits, participating Chefs are giving cooking demonstrations at Bloomingdale’s Home Store at South Coast Plaza.
Here Chef Paul French of The Californian at The Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach makes their Wild Mushroom Ravioli with sauteed Jewel Box Mushrooms, Farmer’s Market Vegetables and Brown Truffle Butter Sauce. WOW, it’s the best we’ve sampled (thus far) during these demonstrations. And it’s fortunately one of the dishes being offered during OC Restaurant Week.
This Macaroni and Cheese helped Rick Massa win $25,000 in a Food Network Ultimate Recipe Showdown Comfort Food Competition. And it’s now on T.G.I. Friday’s Menu. After seeing the Judges rave about it, I had to make it too, especially since it includes Bacon.
I followed the exact recipe. It was very good, but I didn’t fall in love with it like I wanted to. I toasted and smashed my own Breadcrumbs, which made the Cheese Crumb Topping extra tasty. I’ll definitely use the same topping on future casseroles – It’s excellent when crispy.
Bonus INFO: Collection of MORE Terrific Mac & Cheese Recipes
This is for my Grandpa who would have been 91 today. Last year the world lost a retired Masterful Meat Cutter and we miss our Grandpa, Dad, Husband and Great Grandpa, Vaughn Stricklin Moomey. We hope you’re celebrating in Heaven.
Related Link: http://www.ineedtext.com/FoodBlog/?p=401
To gear up for The First Annual Orange County Restaurant Week, 13 top Chefs from participating restaurants are demonstrating the preparation of their signature dishes. Today Ruth’s Chris Steak House Chefs showed us how to prepare their Sweet Potato Casserole and Creamed Spinach.
And this is ‘Ruth’ of Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Her last name isn’t Chris, but you’ll need to learn the rest of the story regarding the name on their website. The Chefs pre-prepared the Steaks, Shrimp and Desserts pictured above, but we didn’t get to try them.
If I ordered the Sweet Potato Casserole in the restaurant, it would be for Dessert — It is sweet city! And my rechargeable battery conveniently died at the Creamed Spinach. That’s okay, because I really wanted the Steak they weren’t serving.
Ruth’s Chris Steak House: http://www.ruthschris.com/
The Loft at The Montage Laguna Beach Cooking Demonstration:
Orange County Restaurant Week INFO:
I stumbled across the step by step photo instructions on how to prepare this Pomegranate Mousse with a White Chocolate Mousse topping. YUM! Since I had all the ingredients on hand, I made it. And it was as good as it looked, but I’m mostly inspired to know that I can make any flavor Mousse with Heavy Cream and Unflavored Gelatin, or use any flavor Chocolate. Since I cannot improve upon the step by step instructions I followed on FotoCuisine, I’ve linked them below. BTW, I left the Egg Whites out of my preparation, mostly to avoid the extra step, and all (texture & taste) turned out fine.
I love this easy recipe of roughly chopped Red Potatoes and Marinated Artichoke Hearts – That’s it. I simply combine the two in a baking dish with a little Artichoke Marinade and S & P, cover all with foil and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes at 425°. I then remove the cover and broil all for about 10 minutes, stirring once or twice to evenly brown.
I used to chop the Artichoke Hearts, but it’s best not to, since ‘too small’ pieces often disappear during the broiling process. The Marinated Artichoke Hearts are usually halved in the jar. I’ll leave them as is (minus the hard/woody parts) or cut ‘em in half lengthwise if they’re extra large. Caution: The final result is so good that it’s hard to stop eating them, so make enough or not too many, HA.
You’ve got to see these FOOD PHOTOS — Most are amazing, but I do apologize that a few are gross. Be warned.
Today Orange County Restaurant Week kicked off its pre-event festivities with the first of 13 Cooking Demonstrations to be held at Bloomingdale’s Home Store, South Coast Plaza. Chef De Cuisine Brian Black of The Loft at The Montage Laguna Beach prepared Barbecue-Braised Laughing Bird Shrimp with Warm Winter Citrus Vinaigrette, Spinach and Pine Nuts. It’s one of the dishes to be offered during the inaugural Orange County Restaurant Week, February 22-28, 2009.
Participating restaurants will be serving three-course pre-fixe lunches for $10 & $20, and dinners for $20, $30 and $40. During that time and leading up to it, select Chefs will demonstrate how to prepare dishes featured on their respective OC Restaurant Week menus. It’s a good way to sample a few items and see how they’re made.
The related Demos started today and will continue through the end of OC Restaurant Week. We’ll hopefully see and taste more. Chef Manny Gomez of Ruth’s Chris Steak House Irvine will be making Sweet Potato Casserole and Creamed Spinach at Bloomingdale’s Home Store on February 19 — That’s of interest. The rest of the schedule and more information is linked below.
Orange County Restaurant Week INFO:
Laughing Bird Shrimp INFO:
Apparently my “Cheesecake Flavor” is Adam’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple — An interesting combination that I wouldn’t generally pick, but it was fun taking The Cheesecake Factory’s ’What Cheesecake Flavor Are You?’ Quiz. I like the song on the site too. Aside from the quiz, my favorite flavor has actually been White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle.
My designated flavor describes me (and the Cheesecake) as “The incredible mix of qualities that makes you so appreciated is nothing short of miraculous, much like this Cheesecake. A lot goes into this flavor… Just like you, it’s an awe-inspiring combination of ingredients not soon forgotten.”
Learn About “Your Flavor” HERE:
My Flavor INFO:
My 2nd Flavor INFO:
* The photograph is unrelated to The Cheesecake Factory. It’s what Lake Arrowhead looked like a week ago driving down the mountain. It’s beautiful, but makes me want to stay warm inside, and take this quiz.
I got all of this at Ikea’s Restaurant & Cafe for $3.99 — It’s Penne Pasta with a combination of Marinara & Alfredo Sauce, Vegetables, Garlic Toast and a Salad. That’s less than you’d pay at a fast food joint, and a lot more food. As previously reported, the environment is relaxing and its cafeteria style ordering is fun.
HOWEVER, although this looks good, it’s kinda bland. I liked the Garlic Toast and the Salad Bar, but their Ranch Dressing has that tart taste I avoid in some. Overall, for the price I’d doctor it up with Salt, Pepper, and the Parmesan Cheese they offer with it. And I’d try a different Salad Dressing.
Ikea’s Salmon: http://www.ineedtext.com/FoodBlog/?p=2199
Ikea’s Meatballs: http://www.ineedtext.com/FoodBlog/?p=1743
If you love more than one on Valentine’s Day, it’s a good idea to make your own GOODIES. It’s fun and should cost less. HERE we packed small boxes with homemade White Chocolate and Crushed Cherry Life Savers molded into Lips & Hearts, White Chocolate Dipped Oreo Cookies, Milk Chocolate Dipped Graham Crackers, and more White Chocolate Cherry Life Saver Bark — It’s a color fitting and tasty combination.
Chocolate Dipped Oreos: http://www.ineedtext.com/FoodBlog/?p=2273
Valentine’s Day Cookies: http://www.ineedtext.com/FoodBlog/?p=2331
A couple of cool peeps I know are doing something great for Valentine’s Day. Instead of spending money on jewelry or an expensive dinner out, Betty and Mike Carroll of Laguna Niguel are making a donation to The Village of Hope, which helps homeless families transition into permanent shelter and sustainable jobs. It’s so important for the children.
In addition to The Village of Hope monetary donation Betty and Mike plan to make each Valentine’s Day, they’ll pack and take a Box of Love filled with non-perishable FOOD items to the Village of Hope in Tustin, where many families are temporarily living. The donations are much needed and appreciated. What a wonderful way to spread Valentine’s Day love — And food. How about doing the same?
These Valentine’s Day Cookies are the masterpieces (if you will) of five fabulous friends together again decorating Sugar Cookies made by Loretta, the intrinsic Orange County Baker. We’re decorating our way through the 2009 holidays. It’s a fun way to spend time and our families love it when we bring home trays of yummy Cookies — And Candies, to be posted HERE soon.
More Valentines: http://www.ineedtext.com/FoodBlog/?p=2273
Christmas Cookies: http://www.ineedtext.com/FoodBlog/?p=1551
Halloween Cookies: http://www.ineedtext.com/FoodBlog/?p=1214
The Best Chocolate Dipped Oreo Cookies are made by Princess Loretta. She’s the one in the middle with the floating Cookie Tiara. Her baked goods are much appreciated by her friends, family, clients, and expanding outward. And her Cookies are magically better than any we’ve purchased. She uses the best Chocolate for her Oreos. That’s just one reason why I’m lucky to be one of her best friends. And since Valentine’s Day is coming up, she made White Chocolate Dipped Oreos with red stripes. Everything she makes somehow tastes extra good. Cookies, Cakes and Candies are her forté, after training clients in her Huntington Beach Pilate’s Studio.
This day a group of us happily got together to decorate Valentine’s Cookies, and take home pretty boxes of Chocolate Dipped Oreo Cookies, White Chocolate Cherry Kisses and more. The decorated Cookies will be posted and linked soon. Gracias Loretta – It’s always a great time!
SPECIAL NOTE: If you’re local (Orange County) and want your own Chocolate Dipped Oreos by Loretta, please tell Nibbles of Tidbits HERE in a comment. More Chocolate Dipped Oreos: http://www.ineedtext.com/FoodBlog/?p=1247
The preparation of these Orange and Chocolate Cookies was inspired by a monthly food photography contest (DMBLGIT) submission, my love of all things Orange flavored, and the lack of ingredients to make the same Cookie.
Since I had to make them immediately, I used Brown Sugar instead of White Sugar, and Grand Marnier in place of the Orange Extract. Aside from those substitutions, I prepared the recipe that’s linked below. This variation worked well too, but I may add a little less salt next time. These Orange and Chocolate Cookies tasted good, though the photos don’t measure up to those posted by the ’What’s Cooking?’ recipe developer.
Recipe Link to What’s Cooking’s Orange and Chocolate Cookies:
January’s (DMBLGIT) Food Photography Contest:
A rainy day is a perfect day to try a few things at Pizza Hut. We’re hungry, busy, and don’t want to go out into the rain, so we were happy when this combination was magically delivered to our door in 25 minutes. Thank you Pizza Hut. Delivery from anywhere good can be fun.
This time we tried a couple Personal Pan Pizzas, the Quepapas Potato Bites, and the Breadsticks with Marinara Sauce. One Pizza had Pepperoni and Mushroom, and the other Ham, Pineapple and Jalapenos. We seamlessly ordered online and were eating in less than a half hour this day.
There were no complaints about this meal — The Breadsticks and Marinara are pretty good, and the Quepapas weren’t bad either, but next time we’d order an extra side of the Marinara to go with them. We’re now warm, dry and full.
Related Link: http://www.pizzahut.com/Default.aspx
Ikea’s Restaurant & Cafe is one of the best places for lunch. On Wednesdays I work in an office across the street from an Ikea — The inexpensive menu, unique foods, spacious dining area, cafeteria style ordering, and large windows make if a perfect place for lunch. And I’ve finally figured out how to leave the place without having to walk through the entire store, HA. That’s important!
I’ve always had their Swedish Meatballs, but they’ve got other dishes I’d like to try. This week it was Salmon with an Apple Glaze (I think), with Potatoes and Carrots. The vegetables were over-cooked, but tasted okay. The Salmon was good with the Lemony Sauce they offer, but I really didn’t taste ”Apple” in/on anything. Until I must have the Meatballs again, I look forward to trying new things on Wednesdays.
See Ikea’s Swedish Meatballs HERE: