Since it’s National Eat Outside Day, how about lunch on the beach while the weather is still terrific, but watch out for those pesty seagulls. Or check out the list of Orange County restaurants posted on Examiner.com — All have outdoor patios.
Thanks to all who entered a comment to win a case of the new aluminum Coca-Cola bottles. And congratulations to the Cupcake Activist — We picked your name fair and square. So you may enjoy ’em at your Labor Day Party, they’ll be shipped right out. Nibbles of Tidbits appreciated the opportunity to host this giveaway. Be sure to check back for future food and drink prizes worthy of winning.
What to make with the PRIZE: All-American Apple Pie Slushie (recipe below).
6 ounces of Diet Coke®
6 ounces of Applesauce
1 cup of Ice
Combine first 3 ingredients in a blender and process until smooth — Pour into a 16-ounce glass and garnish with Cinnamon. Enjoy!
Did you know that you can BBQ with a gas or propane grill in the Angels Stadium parking lot? The grill must have a fuel valve that turns off. And charcoal grills are not allowed. To learn all the rules, view the Angels Stadium of Anaheim Tailgate Policy. For tailgating food ideas and to see how the Angels are doing this year, check out the OC Food Examiner.com report and its related links.
More Tailgating IDEAS.
I bought these fresh White Currants for less than a dollar at Grower’s Direct. The price was good, like most of the produce there, and I’d never tried them before. You’ll find great prices on fruit and vegetables at Grower’s Direct, if you can put up with the narrow aisles, people traffic and (sometimes) parking issues. I went there for the makings of a Vegetable Platter and tacked on these White Currants for a try.
I quickly learned that White Currants aren’t too edible alone — They’re tart and have a lot of crunchy seeds inside. So much for simply enjoying a new tasty Berry, HA. I was hoping to eat ’em like a Blueberry, Raspberry, etc. The next thought was to make something out of them. What? The obvious was Jam/Jelly, which I don’t use. And I couldn’t see them enhancing the flavor of anything that’s quick and simple to make.
Since I didn’t want to waste all of them, I tossed some in a small batch of Rice Pudding, which isn’t as simple as it sounds. I had the prepared (leftover) Rice, but it’s necessary to pick off both ends of the White Currants before adding to a recipe. And by the time you pick off the bottom fur-ish part, you’re left with mostly seeds and skin, HA. It’s real worth it, not.
Overall, they weren’t bad in the Rice Pudding, nor good either. I learned a lot, yet still don’t know the best thing to do with White Currants. That’s okay, because it’s always fun to try new things — Some are fabulous finds and others just an educational story. Next.
The answer to the above question is YES. Enter a comment HERE on Nibbles of Tidbits to have a FREE case of the new aluminum Coca-Cola bottles delivered just in time for your Labor Day Party. Right now they’re only found in the hippest of places. Could that be your party?
Coca-Cola announces the arrival of the new aluminum bottles. The redesigned packaging incorporates the classic iconic Coca-Cola look in a stylish 8.5 oz bottle that serves to keep beverages cooler longer, while also offering the perfect taste and carbonation. Varieties available include Coca-Cola Classic®, Coke ZeroTM and Diet Coke®.
The new aluminum bottles are currently available in select hotels and bars throughout Los Angeles, including SLS Hotel and a variety of bars on Sunset Boulevard. In celebration of the upcoming holiday, we’d like to offer a mixed case (24) of these exclusive bottles to one lucky reader.
Anyone may enter to win by simply leaving a comment on this post. On August 31st, we’ll randomly draw (1) winner from all who commented. For better odds, you may enter/comment once a day. GOOD LUCK.
FYI: This Coca-Cola Bottle Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM (Pacific) on August 30th, 2009 — Be sure to enter a comment before that time. The lucky winner will be notified via e-mail. Once we obtain a mailing address, the case will be sent out to proudly attend your Labor Day Party.
If you’re interested in taking a cooking class or two in Orange County, you can learn a lot more information HERE. Ciao.
Patrick and Gina of TV Food Network’s Show Down Home with the Neeleys are so cute — They have a lot of fun together centered around food. Their happy interaction and enjoyment made me want to make Pat’s Sausage and Pepper Sandwich, and I’m generally not a fan of Sausage Sandwiches. Another appeal is the Beer in the Sauce. And since I didn’t have Neely’s BBQ Sauce (in the recipe), I used Lucille’s BBQ Sauce.
I went to Henry’s Farmers Market for the Sausage — They didn’t have a Smoked Sausage, but the Butcher highly recommended the Pork Sausage over the Turkey, when asked the difference between the two Sweet Hot Italians. As a substitution, I opted for the Pork and was glad it was $1 less a pound. And I ended up with Potato Rolls that were toasted inside.
Confession: It wasn’t until after the preparation of this recipe did I realize that I misunderstood and used the wrong type of Sausage. The key word is “smoked” and I used fresh Sausage. A Kielbasa in a vacuum pack may have been better, especially since casings gross me out. Good thing I cooked the Sausage well done. And I cooked all ingredients longer (except the Garlic) than noted on the above linked recipe. Onions are always best caramelized and the Peppers were added after the Onions cooked a bit.
Overall, it’s a great recipe — The Sauce turns out pretty tasty. I now wanna make it with a Kielbasa, and might not eat it on a Sandwich. Luckily all who tried this preparation liked it.
Where to buy Neely’s BBQ Sauce:
We’re going camping on the beach, so I made the perfect Cupcakes. Aren’t they cute?! They’re easy to make too. I used a Spice Cake Mix, then topped each Cupcake with an Orange Powdered Sugar Glaze. The sand is ground Teddy Grahams and the towel is a piece of a Fruit Roll-Up. Just lay a Teddy Graham on the towel, prop open a cocktail umbrella to block the sun and voila.
Since there was extra batter, I made a small Cake in the toaster oven. It turned out good, but needed to be cooked a little longer than noted. And as you can see in the photo, it became a sun bathing cliff for the Teddy Grahams. My Chef Nieces are going to love it. FYI: I did not come up with this idea. Similar Cupcakes won an Honorable Mention at the OC Fair this year. Unfortunately I didn’t catch a name, nor a photo of the original Cupcakes. If its creator stumbles across this post, please make yourself known — This copycat is a memory of yours. 🙂
Does this mean I might know something about which I write? Although the purple ribbons only mean participate, I’m happy to have them too. The Orange County Fair left town, but I picked up these ribbons today among the rubble of the broken down rides. Each year the OC Fair runs a Culinary Arts Competition and sign up is 3 months preceding it. I finally met the deadline this year for the first time and pleased to report that all (4) entries placed — Not too shabby, though some of my friends say the contest must be easy, HA.
I was happy to see that The Counter Custom Built Burgers will be taking the place of the former Pasta Bravo in Westcliff Plaza in Newport Beach. I’ve got a few more Hamburger combinations to test out. According to the sign, it’ll be open in early 2010. We wish it would open sooner. And please excuse the light post shadow down the middle of the photo. 🙂
The Counter DIRECT: http://www.thecounterburger.com/
The Orange County Fair closes at midnight tonight, then it’s on to Los Angeles. You’d better hurry back NOW, if you’ve got to have that certain food item one more time. We may have tried it all, but will be going back for the final concert, Three Dog Night, and will certainly round up our options and final enjoyments this year. Until then, we’ve posted previously unpublished OC Fair food photos here.
Thai Tasty Corner Restaurant closed, then moved down the street renamed Thai Tastee. The rent is better they say. Although I never ate at Thai Tasty Corner, I gave them a try as Thai Tastee. I had their Thai Fried rice with Shrimp and regret to report that the first bite included an eggshell — That’s never happened. Past that, the Rice was good and the staff is very nice. Thai Tastee is worth giving a try and better suited in its new location (formerly Mazzottis) down the street.
And Carm’s Coneys will soon be occupying Thai Tasty Corner’s former location. To continue musical restaurants, Jimmy’s Burger Joint now occupies Carm’s Coneys former location. We hope all will do well and serve great food.
UPDATE 10/10/09: It looks like Carm’s Coneys changed their mind about moving to the above location. The coming soon sign is no longer in the window. We’ll report if they end up somewhere else in Orange County.
The new Orange County Food Examiner is me, Shelly Borrell. For information about food in Orange County, visit the Examiner online. You’ll find restaurant reviews, recipes, cooking tips, food product reviews, food event reports, and a whole lot more. We’ve only just begun.
Nibbles of Tidbits has a Guest Blogger, Bonnie who dines out a lot. This is her first report about Sol Cocina in Newport Beach. She offers a unique perspective on a dining experience — Three Interior Designers walk into a restaurant for a birthday celebration and . . .
Greetings and thanks to Nibbles of Tidbits for allowing me to “Guest Blog” today. By way of introduction, I’m an Interior Designer, but have come on board the foodie train since my good friend Shelly started this blog — I will approach this review from that point of view.
Today I am writing after a memorable visit to the brand new SOL Cocina in Newport Beach. First off, you can’t come here without mentioning something about the beautiful view, as this restaurant sits smack on top of Newport Bay. Here, virtually every seat in the house has a stunning water view to begin the dining experience.
Although we didn’t make it to the bar, we began with the House Specialty Margaritas, which are essentially Cadillac Margaritas but obviously made from truly fresh ingredients, just like our server promised they would be. We also tried the Pineapple Serrano Margarita and my favorite, a Tequila Mojito that was to die for! We then started our feast with Naked Guacamole and Toritos. Again, the freshness of the ingredients was what struck us most, but the flavors were memorable too. And ditto for the Black Bean Dip.
Continuing on to our main course, I opted for the Lamb Taco. I am a firm lover of Lamb, and this dish did not disappoint. We also tried the Chipotle Chicken (pictured), which was awesome and worth going back for. The only thing we were a bit perplexed about was that we were served a leg and thigh, rather than a breast for this entree. Perhaps I will ask about this next time. We also indulged in one of SOL’s Street Tacos, which were not only delicious, but at $6.00 for two, proved to be one great bargain. Indeed, the prices at this decidedly upscale restaurant were surprisingly affordable, with the other stand out being the Lamb Taco at $5.25. It’s definitely worth it!
With our birthday celebration coming to an end, we were delighted with a surprise – a complimentary Nacho Desert, which was anything but ordinary. Here, the Desert Nachos consist of Flour Tortillas that are deep fried, sprinkled with Cinnamon, drizzled with Chocolate and normally topped with Whipped Cream, which we had with ice cream. Ole! It made for a sweet and savory desert.
While the food was a definite stand out at this new restaurant, from an Interior Designer’s point of view SOL Cocina is in need of some basic improvement. We could not help but notice that the décor had been completely redone from when it was Mama Gina’s and is quite impressive, but someone completely dropped the ball when it came to the acoustics. Indeed, the restaurant was not even completely full at 8:30 on a Wednesday night when we noticed that it was awfully loud in there.
How about adding some windows that open up to let out some of the noise? This is just one suggestion from us three Interior Designers, who can appreciate the tasteful decor but cringe when we think about going back to a restaurant where the noise level is annoying. Someone definitely needs to take care of this before SOL can, and should — become Newport’s newest spot for contemporary, Baja-style dining.
Sol Cocina DIRECT (251 PCH, former Mamma Gina’s location): http://www.solcocina.com/
There are way better photos than my Guest Blogger took linked directly below. J.K., but it’s true, although I greatly appreciate the efforts nonetheless. http://ocmexfood.blogspot.com/2009/06/sol-cocina.html
Bonnie Joy Designs: http://www.bonniejoydesigns.com/
We’ve recently reported about a few restaurant closures (Mesa Grill & Barbeque, Mazzottis, Taco Surf, etc.) and below is a list of others throughout Orange County.
MORE Restaurant Closures:
We predict that Melissa will be chosen as The Next Food Network Star tonight, 9PM ET/PT — She’s our choice too. We’ve liked Jeffrey along the way, but believe Melissa pulled ahead in the final stretch. She’s likable and provides a lot of good information.
UPDATE: It’s been confirmed. Congratulations Melissa!