Archive for September, 2009

What To Eat While Watching Family Feud?

September 30th, 2009 1 comment

Family FeudAlthough technically not food related, it may be of interest to some.  If you’re on the east coast, you may be able to catch us on Family Feud tonight.  Our show should air on 09/30/09 & 10/01/09 in the east, and on 12/23/09 & 12/24/09 in the west (KCAL Channel 9 @ 6PM).  We’ll be popping open a bottle of Champagne on December 23rd, but we’re still working on the appetizer menu.  If anyone catches tonight’s broadcast, we’d love to hear about it.  You’ll be seeing it before we do.  Family Feud was a blast!  Back to the food, us girls wouldn’t mind taking a bite out of John O’Hurley. 🙂 Would that be considered an acceptable appetizer?  Probably not.

Are You A Food, Wine Or Spirits Blogger?

September 29th, 2009 No comments

If you’re an official food, wine or spirits blogger, there are a limited amount of tickets still available for the 1st Annual Foodbuzz Blogger Festival.  The 3 day schedule of events is a food lover’s dream that takes place in the heart of San Francisco.  If it happens for me, I’ll report all about it.

Pinkberry Is My New Favorite Frozen Yogurt.

September 27th, 2009 1 comment

Pinkberry, Open Sesame 015

I’ve noticed a lot of different Frozen Yogurt shops opening up all around Orange County and thus far Pinkberry is my favorite — HOWEVER, it’s the only Frozen Yogurt I’ve tried in a long time.  I’m more of an Ice Cream fan, but just learned I can be converted by Pinkberry.  Their Yogurt has that tang I’ve missed in past Frozen Yogurts.  It actually tastes like Yogurt and I can’t wait to have the same combination again, especially the Passionfruit.

Pinkberry, Open Sesame 017Pinkberry, Open Sesame 014Pinkberry, Open Sesame 018

I tried a small with 3 Flavors — Coconut, Passionfruit and Pomegranate with Fresh Blackberries and Honey Almond Granola, and a friend had the same Yogurt with Fresh Coconut and Kiwi, while two others opted for the Original Flavor with Pinkberry’s new liquid topping of Italian Caramel.  When opting for toppings on a small, you currently get to choose two.

ANNOUNCEMENT:  Starting October 7, 2009, if you pay for toppings, you’ll be able to add as many as you like — That’s a good thing and makes sense, since only so many toppings can fit on each.  And it’s more satisfying and fun for Pinkberry’s customers, but I wrote this song…”You had me at two toppings.

Mixed Poblano, Pasilla, Anaheim, Tomatillo, Red & Green Jalapeno Chili Chili.

September 25th, 2009 2 comments


I made this Poblano, Pasilla, Anaheim, Tomatillo, Red & Green Jalapeno Chili Chili by roasting the Peppers and Tomatillos in the oven, then peeling and chopping all to be combined with seared Beef Cubes.


This Chili was improvised, but happily turned out great with the addition of Crushed Tomatoes, Tomato Paste, Water, pressed Garlic, Chili Powder, Cumin, Garbanzo Beans, Kidney Beans and Black Beans, fresh chopped Cilantro, Salt and Pepper (Black & Cheyenne).  All was simmered covered on the stove for about 2 1/2 Hours, until the Beef would fall apart.


As usual with Chili, this Chili Chili got better as the days went on.  It became more tasty and spicy.  Measurements aren’t needed when you prepare it based on desired taste and consistency.

A Favorite Snack — A Deconstructed Sandwich.

September 24th, 2009 No comments


Sometimes you don’t even feel like making a Sandwich — Inspired by Top Chef’s Deconstruction Challenge, I had Deli Shaved Honey Turkey with Sliced Aged White Sharp Cheddar Cheese and my favorite Dill Pickles.  A Sourdough Crouton, Aioli and a lot more style might make it a show contender?!  This is the one minute unsophisticated, I’m hungry now version of a Turkey Sandwich on a paper plate.  It hits the spot with a glass of Milk.

Free Meals For Kids Today.

September 23rd, 2009 No comments

If you’re going to eat out today and have kids, be sure to eat at one of these restaurants — They’re offering free meals to kids.  The options are great.  Enjoy.

Wienerschnitzel Is Bringing The Der Back.

September 22nd, 2009 No comments


A few days a week I work in an office building that happens to house the Wienerschnitzel Corporation (Galardi Group).  The aerial view of the Wienerschnitzel Mobile is from my office on the 7th floor.  Today they gave away their New 100% Angus Beef Hot Dog (and French Fries) to all occupants of the building.  Our office consensus of 7 (today) is they’re very good and perhaps Wienerschnitzel’s best Hot Dog.  Thanks for the free try.

Autumn Begins Tomorrow — Time For Cozy Meals.

September 21st, 2009 No comments


Fall is in the air, although it still feels like Summer in Southern California.  This Cappuccino was enjoyed on the garden patio at Sage on the Coast.

Taste Of Newport (Foodbuzz) Review.

September 20th, 2009 No comments


As a Food Correspondent for Foodbuzz, I attended the Taste of Newport Food Festival and reported about it on  See more photos there and most of the review below.

The 21st Annual Taste of Newport Food Festival happened this year on September 18th – 20th.  And I was there as a Foodie Correspondent on behalf of Foodbuzz.  The beautiful city of Newport Beach is home to some of the finest restaurants in Orange County, California, and over 30 of them were serving top notch fare on Newport Center Drive, around Fashion Island.  The food was amazing as usual and this year’s musical headliners were Sugar Ray, Train and David Cook.  Do you think David can cook?  Maybe he’ll cook me dinner some night.  In any event, it wasn’t a food event to be missed.  Happy 21st Taste of Newport!  We celebrated by taking in all it had to offer – Indian, Italian, Brazilian, Thai, Japanese and more.

Taste of Newport provides a great opportunity to sample dishes from several local restaurants in one evening.  For the price of admission, one can participate in cooking demonstrations, corporate giveaways, and superior entertainment.  Some even consider the Taste of Newport a great concert with access to fabulous food.  We had fun dancing at the Sugar Ray concert this year, especially with a Lamb Chop in hand.

Unfortunately the food isn’t included in the $25 cost of admission – Once you’re inside, it’s necessary to purchase an eScrip card in any amount between $1 and $100, which is then swiped at the various food booths in lieu of cash.  The process works well, after you get passed the two lines.  The restaurant lines aren’t too bad if you arrive when it opens, but the event packs them in and gets pretty crowded.  For optimum enjoyment it’s best to get there early and bring cash, as the credit card lines to purchase tickets and eScrip are much longer than the cash lines.

Our favorite restaurants this year were Chakra Creative Indian Cuisine and Agora Churrascaria.  Another benefit of attending Taste of Newport is taking home lots of coupons as an incentive to visit the actual restaurants – I can’t wait to eat at Agora Churrascaria with my $10 off coupon.  As a Foodie Correspondent for Foodbuzz this year, I learned how best to navigate a Taste of Newport next year, which will hopefully helps others.  The event isn’t cheap, but a portion of the proceeds are donated to various local charities.  And my final recommendation is to select a few Christopher Michael Handcrafted Chocolateson the way out with the balance left on your eScrip card. 





Rumbi Island Grill Opens In California.

September 19th, 2009 No comments


Rumbi Island Grill is opening with a bang in California.  Its first restaurant here is in Mission Viejo and they’re having a Grand Opening Party to celebrate.  The first 100 guests in line will receive a free meal card.  And a drawing will be held to giveaway a free meal card for a year.  The festivities are detailed below and will be followed by music and fire dancers.

WHEN: Monday, September 21, 2009 (11 – 11:30AM).

WHERE: 24000 Alicia Parkway Boulevard, Mission Viejo — The Gateway Center, near Jeronimo and Via Fabricante.

Welcoming remarks from Ron Brown, Rumbi Franchise Owner.
Welcoming remarks from Kat Vermelis, representing State Senator Mimi Walters.
Welcoming remarks from Mission Viejo Council-member Trish Kelley.
Welcoming remarks Chamber President Dennis O’Connor.
Remarks from Margaret Pendleton, President of Saddleback Valley Educational Foundation.
Ribbon cutting by Mission Viejo Chamber Ambassadors.


Nibbles of Tidbits was invited to attend a pre-grand opening cooking demonstration at Rumbi’s new Mission Viejo location — We sent guest blogger, Bonnie to cover the event.  She’s an OC Interior Designer, foodie, International Surfing Museum Board Member and friend, and always provides a unique perspective.  Unfortunately her camera didn’t deliver the food photos we were hoping for, but you can read her report below.

GO TRIBAL. EAT TROPIC.  That’s the tag line of the brand new Rumbi Island Grill, according to co-founder and Vice President of Operations Deven Moreno, who hosted the hour long event. Deven is passionate about this new restaurant and stated that Mission Viejo is the first of 8 planned “fast casual” Island cuisine restaurants for Orange County. It is the 25th restaurant in the chain which started in Utah in 2000 and has since expanded to Colorado and Arizona.

The Rumbi concept centers on “gourmet” rice bowls. The bowls are combined with salad and then topped with chicken, steak, pork, veggies, tofu or shrimp.  A variety of signature sauces and dressings are then added for a unique, customized dining treat. For this special Media event, Moreno cooked two of Rumbi’s most favored dishes – the Aloha Chicken Salad and the Volcano Blackened Mahi. Both are grilled or fried in 7 minutes or less using a small amount of sesame oil, which makes them not only fresh but healthy too.

Moreno emphasized that this is “Island” food rather than Hawaiian, and this theme is carried over and translated very well in the interior design.  The interiors vary at each restaurant. At the new Mission Viejo store, there is a bit more emphasis on the surfing theme, with a picture of “Duke” Kahanamoku and other old time surfers in one corner. Other elements such as spears, arrows and palm trees are more universal, but the over-all look is both fun and family-friendly.

Whatever tropical island it invokes, the Rumbi concept is unique to Southern California and will surely catch on quickly. With all entrees priced under $10, their prices and attention to quality cannot be beat. It’s highly recommended that you mosey on over to Rumbi Island Grill to experience this brand new taste sensation!

Thanks  Bonnie and welcome to California Rumbi Island Grill.

21st Annual Taste Of Newport Food Festival.

September 17th, 2009 No comments


The 21st Annual Taste of Newport Food Festival starts Friday, 09/18/09 and happens until Sunday, 09/20/09.  Sugar Ray, Train and David Cook are the headlining musical guests this year — And I’ve got a pass for all 3 days.  We’ll be posting about the festivities on Foodbuzz, and here on Nibbles of Tidbits.  Hope to see you there!

Homemade Pickles With Leftover Pickle Juice.

September 15th, 2009 No comments


misc-021I’ve always wanted to make my own Dill Pickles, but dread the whole canning sterilization process — It’s a turn off, HA.  So I searched for a way around it and came across a good shortcut for a quick, easy homemade Dill Pickle.  Its author, Michele of Cooking with Michele used Cucumber spears, but I was in need of chips.  And with some leftover Bubbies Pickle Juice and a self sealing mason jar, the result is above.  After a week, they were nicely crunchy and absorbed some of the Bubbies flavor and Dill Pickle taste.  It’s a great use for leftover Pickle Juice — It’s like getting a second jar of Pickles for free, or for the price of a few Cucumbers.

It’s Orange County Restaurant Week Again.

September 14th, 2009 No comments

Access information about Orange County Restaurant Week through the OC Food Examiner online.  And to see reviews and photos of previous Orange County Restaurant Week meals and cooking classes click HERE.  It’s a great week to dine out, now through September 19, 2009.

Mariners For Breakfast Today, A Good Start.

September 13th, 2009 2 comments


Donuts are available for breakfast every Sunday at Mariners Church in Irvine.  It’s what I had for breakfast this morning — ALL these Donuts.  I’m stuffed. 🙂 The middle photo is of their new Chapel, a beautiful setting for a wedding or funeral.  And Rosemary bushes are planted throughout the campus, so I grabbed a sprig for dinner tonight.

Best Happy Hour In Orange County Is At Bayside.

September 11th, 2009 1 comment


So far we’ve determined that Bayside Restaurant in Newport Beach has the Best Happy Hour in Orange County.  Their Tapas Menu is fabulous.  This visit we had the Crab Cake with Herb Cabbage Slaw and Chipotle Aioli (above) and  Fusilli Carbonara with Bacon and Parmesan (below).


And the Sliced Beef Sirloin with Roquefort Blue Cheese Leek Fondue (below) is divine.  As like our last visit, the Tapas were top quality and excellent tasting.  The Bayside Tapas Menu is served daily from 5 to 9PM in the Lounge and on the Terrace.  Each item is only $5.95 and unique Martinis and select glasses of Wine are available for $6.


Most Happy Hours end at 7PM — We appreciate that Bayside’s Tapas Happy Hour lasts until 9PM.  We’re still searching for a restaurant that can top their selections, service, prices and hours.  If so, we’ll surely report about it.

The Olive And The Caper: Greek Fried Egg.

September 10th, 2009 1 comment


misc-022Did you know that many in Greece start the day with an Egg fried in Olive Oil?  It’s true according to The Olive and The Caper.  The recipe for one Greek Fried Egg in this books calls for 1/4 Cup of Olive Oil.  I’ve always used a pat of Butter, but gave the Olive Oil a try.  I was unsure about using the entire 1/4 Cup, but did it anyway.  And the cooking instructions require the Olive Oil to be HOT to brown the Egg to a crisp around the edges.  I was a little afraid of that too, but complied.  And just before turning out to a bowl, you’re to spoon the hot oil over the top of the Egg.  All is then transferred to a bowl to eat.  The Greeks enjoy the Egg while sopping up the Olive Oil with a crusty loaf of Bread.  The book says that you’ll love it — I liked it a lot.  The author reports that her hair and skin never looked as clear and shiny as it did when she was living in Greece and eating hundreds of Greek Fried Eggs — That can be a good incentive to eat ’em.

Ice Cream And Cake, Do The Ice Cream And Cake.

September 8th, 2009 No comments


Baskin Robbins Ice Cream and Cake Dance commercial — Have you seen it?  Some find it completely annoying and others find it oddly funny.  What do you think about it?  We had one of the Ice Cream Cakes for a birthday celebration.  It was okay.  I like the combination, but (unfortunately) always find the Cake portion a little dry.  Back to the commercial, Ice Cream and Cake, Do the Ice Cream and Cake — I find it oddly funny, boarderline annoying and a little creepy, my Mom says she can’t turn the channel fast enough when it comes on, and my Brother-in-Law sings it at the Fire Station with another Fireman who thinks it’s funny.

Tacos On Tuesday In Orange County.

September 7th, 2009 3 comments


Just reported on Examiner is a collection of places to go for Taco Tuesdays.

Happy Labor Day — Let’s BBQ, Drink & Be Merry.

September 6th, 2009 No comments
Happy Labor Day to ALL — It’s a great day to BBQ!

El Pollo Loco Chicken Grilling Instructions.

September 4th, 2009 1 comment

As previously reported on Nibbles of Tidbits, I ♥ El Pollo Loco Chicken.  Of all the fast food restaurants I know, EPL’s Chicken can’t be beat.  I’ve tried many times to replicate the flavor at home and still haven’t been close.  There are several copycat recipes on the web, but none appear to be accurate.  Since then, I’ve learned a few grilling tips from El Pollo Loco — Perhaps I’ll give it one more try, until then I’ll continue to buy it.


When grilling whole chickens, time and temperature are critical. Using the below technique, it will take about 45-55 minutes to grill a 3 to 3 1/2 pound bird (chicken); a few minutes longer for barbecue chicken.

At El Pollo Loco, whole chickens are first “split” and the wings cut so that the chicken will lay flat on the grill, helping to ensure that the chicken grills evenly. You can do this by cutting the chicken along the middle of the breastbone. Then open the chicken, cavity side down, and press firmly on the thigh joints. To make the wings lie flat, make a cut about a half-inch into the joint at the breast. This allows the wings to be twisted so that they lay flat without detaching the wings. The chicken is then marinated and seasoned with salt and pepper before placing it on the grill. Follow the five steps below to grill perfect chicken every time.

1) Invest in a meat thermometer or “temperature probe.” This is an essential tool for preparing perfectly grilled chicken. To check the internal temperature of chicken, place the thermometer into the meat where the leg and thigh come together, taking care not to touch bone.

2) Always grill chicken over a low to medium flame or charcoal temperature. Experiment with the setting, cooking at the highest temperature possible without flame flare-ups. Such flare-ups will cause the chicken to cook too fast, resulting in chicken that is charred on the outside, yet not fully cooked on the inside. If flare-ups occur, lift the chicken off the grill for a moment and move it to another area of the grill; reduce the flame if necessary.

3) Begin cooking the chicken by placing it on the grill cavity-side down. During grilling, turn the chicken three times. Turn it the first time when the skin begins to lose moisture, and the chicken becomes rigid. Turn it a second time when the juices pool in the cavity. Turn the chicken a third time when the internal temperature reaches approximately 165 degrees. Finish by cooking the chicken, cavity side up, with a higher flame to crisp the skin.

4) For barbecue chicken, baste with your favorite BBQ sauce before and after the last turn. Grill marks that appear as you cook the basted chicken signal that sugars in the sauce are “caramelizing,” producing the most intense flavors.

5) The chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees. Remove it from the grill and cut the chicken into individual pieces. Remember– grilling is an art, not a science, so it’s important to practice, practice again, and then practice some more.

Source: El Pollo Loco

Thanks for the grilling instructions EPL — They’re just in time for Labor Day.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar Deals.

September 3rd, 2009 No comments

During the month of September, Fleming’s Steakhouse & Wine Bar is offering a few great deals.  Be sure to stop in each Wednesday for a complimentary tasting of their Prime Burger Bar Menu.  They serve 5 Gourmet Burgers that you’ll get to try for FREE — Every Wednesday in September, between 5 – 7 PM, they’ll be serving a different mini version of each Burger.


And if you can’t make it there on a Wednesday, another September deal is the 5 for $6 until 7 — Translated, they’re dishing up 5 Appetizers, 5 Wines & 5 Cocktails for $6 (each) until 7 PM.  All menu items are usually twice the price.  Pictured here, we had the Tenderloin Carpaccio with Creole Mustard Sauce (excellent) and a Fleming’s Prime Burger with Bacon, Cheese and Onion Rings, along with a tasty Glass of Pinot Noir and a Kettle One Martini.  Our total bill was only $26.  This deal is available 7 nights a week throughout the entire month of September.

5 Minute Fried Won Tons, Made With Asian Slaw.

September 2nd, 2009 No comments
Indeed these Fried Won Tons took only 5 minutes to make and they were delicious.  I made them using an Asian Slaw and Chicken Breast I prepared a couple days prior.  I further chopped the Slaw and Chicken into smaller pieces, mixed the two together, then filled and folded the Won Ton Wrappers.  I heated Peanut Oil to about 365° and each Won Ton fried up in less than a minute.  They weren’t greasy at all and were so good with a little Soy Sauce and Sweet Chili Sauce.  The combination sure jazzed up the leftovers I was avoiding — Now I’m glad I still have some left. 🙂