Archive for November, 2009

PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur For The Last Day Of Pomegranate Month.

November 30th, 2009 No comments

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Although it’s the last day of National Pomegranate Month (November), Pomegranates are still in season and should be continuously enjoyed in recipes, drinks or alone.  They’re good for you too.  We celebrated by adding PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur to Champagne.  If searching for other uses, PAMA’s website has several excellent drink and food recipes.  Previously reported on Nibbles of Tidbits, our favorite drink recipes on the site include the Margarita and Martini.  And we haven’t yet tried it, but the PAMA Barbecued Salmon recipe sure sounds terrific.  Today it’s bottoms up.

Why Deal With Black Friday? Hello South Carlsbad & Beach Grilling.

November 29th, 2009 No comments

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Doesn’t this look nicer than dealing with the holiday shopping crowd the day after Thanksgiving?  We took a family RV down to the South Carlsbad Cliffs and had fun BBQ’ing, walking along the beach, playing Wii games, painting rocks, laughing, chillin’, eating and drinking — All are much better than following the lines.  No thanks Black Friday, we Christmas shop on our own time.

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It’s a Nibbles of Tidbits moment of branding painted by one of our Kids in the Kitchen contributors, Artist Bailee — Great job on the Egg and Bacon, always a favorite.

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I pre-steamed the Artichokes at home, then grilled them on the BBQ at our camp spot while watching the sunset over the ocean.

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And made 3 different Dipping Sauces for the Artichokes — Garlic Aioli, Lemon & Dill and Walt’s Wharf’s Lea & Perrin’s Sauce.  Most dipped into was the Garlic Aioli (Mayo, Lemon, Garlic & Seasoning Salt). 🙂

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We also tested the Cook or Be Cooked Wii Game in the RV and will post about that soon.  And the Chocolate Cake previously reported about was good, but certainly not the best ever.

Chocolate Cake (With A Scoop Of Mayo) And Orange Glaze.

November 27th, 2009 No comments

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My sister recently reported that she had the best Chocolate Cake in her life.  She obtained the surprising recipe and it’s what I made here.  It’s a Devil’s Food Cake Mix prepared with the addition of Mayonnaise (approximately a tablespoon).  It may sound scary to some, but it’s basically just more egg and oil if you think about it.  The Cake my sister ate was made with a canned Chocolate Frosting, but I made a Glaze of Powdered Sugar, Orange Zest and Orange Juice.  I haven’t tried it yet — We’re taking it luxury camping over the weekend and will report our results here soon.

Update (11/29/09):  The Cake was good, but certainly not the best ever.  It was a little overcooked too.  We’ll try another variation some time.

Happy Thanksgiving: Counting Our Blessings Of Food, Shelter & Love.

November 26th, 2009 No comments

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Happy Thanksgiving!  This Turkey was fall off the bone tender, one of the best made by my dear parents — I’m thankful for them and so much more.  And think-FULL, if you dig what I’m say’in.  It was a beautiful day in La Palma, the 90623.

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An Amazing Lunch At Javier’s Cantina & Grill, At The Irvine Spectrum.

November 25th, 2009 No comments

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If going to Javier’s Cantina & Grill at the Irvine Spectrum for lunch, early or late after the crowd passes is the best time — It gets busy.  After this lunch we can see why.  What we had here was amazing and many other menu items sound fantastic.  The decor is sexy too, but it ain’t cheap.  The prices are on the high side, but the quality is there.  We started with the Guacamole, one of the best around, thought by all dining together today.

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The Carnitas are very good, but wished my cut this day would have been a little less fatty.  Their Refried Beans and Roasted Salsa are incredible.

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Callitos Mazatlan— Scallops sauteed in a Butter, Garlic and Chipotle Sauce.  The Scallops were perfectly cooked and even the plain looking white rice tasted special.

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And a Chicken Chimichanga, with large chunks of white meat Chicken, plus more Guacamole and Beans — Yum.  There’s definitely remarkable stuff being served at Javier’s.  I want to go back.

Mr. Yoshida’s Marinated Chicken Breasts On A Ronco Rotisserie.

November 24th, 2009 No comments


misc-037Have you tried Mr. Yoshida’s Original Gourmet marinade?  I’m not generally a big Teriyaki fan, but the variation made my Mr. Yoshida won me over.  Haven’t tried it on Beef yet, but it’s made Chicken breasts, thighs, wings and legs juicy and flavorful.  I  usually marinate the Chicken pieces overnight, then place ’em in the Ronco Rotisserie and forget about it, before the timer reminds.  Not much effort is required and the combination always turns out tender and tasty.  We appreciate having both products.  For additional recipes using Mr. Yoshida’s marinades, click here.  Enjoy!

Trader Joe’s Box Of Belgian Chocolate Fancies.

November 23rd, 2009 No comments

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I initially bought these Belgian Chocolate Fancies to be a prize at a Christmas Party I’m hosting next week.  I usually buy about (10) $5.00 prizes to award to the winners of the crazy games I conjure up.  This year will be my 15th Annual Girl’s Christmas Party and it appears I’ve already won (or cheated), since I’m eating them.  I’m not supposed to do that, but couldn’t resist after reading the package.  The natural fruit flavors sounded way too delicious, plus I’ve been craving fancy Chocolates after recently trying those made by Christopher Micheal Chocolatier.

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These Belgian Chocolate Fancies are sold at Trader Joe’s for only $4.99, which is less expensive that those by Christopher Michael — They’re good too!  It looks like I’ll need to go back to TJ’s to buy a replacement box, before my party guests see this.  Nibbles of Tidbits highly recommends these Chocolates for their flavor and beauty.

Update 01/29/10:  When I last saw them at Trader Joe’s, they were on sale for $2.99 a box — I’m not sure if they’re still selling them, since their products change quite often.  The packaging didn’t do ’em justice.

Jelly Bellys: One Of The Best Candies In The World.

November 22nd, 2009 2 comments

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Nibbles of Tidbits votes Jelly Belly as one of the best candy choices in the world.  Jelly Belly Jelly Beans are always good and most flavors are spot on.  We like the company too.  They’re constantly developing new flavors and packaging combinations — One day, years before this blog, I wrote a letter to the Jelly Belly Candy Company praising those things.  During that time I wanted to write a positive letter to counteract the various demand/complaint letters being written as a Paralegal and for (see About Us page).  Subsequently, Jelly Belly’s President sent me a thank you for my thank you.  And it was especially nice that it included a pound each of my (3) favorite Jelly Belly flavors.  Wow!  In my letter I mentioned several favorite flavors, but certainly didn’t expect anything.  The response was impressive and made me happy, thus this post shall serve as another thank you to the Jelly Belly Candy Company.  I’m a longtime customer and hope to tour the Fairfield headquarters someday.

P.S.  My favorite flavors are… Blueberry, Raspberry and Margarita.  What are yours?  Pictured above is the Tropical Mix combination (perfect Easter colors) — Wanted Fruit Bowl, but it wasn’t available where I shopped today.

Coca-Cola Tasting Event At Hotel Erwin’s High Rooftop Lounge.

November 20th, 2009 1 comment

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It’s reported that Coca-Cola’s new aluminum bottle design keeps Coke 15% colder (longer) than a standard shaped can — I’m certainly a fan of that.  Nibbles of Tidbits previously ran a contest and the prize was a case (24) of them.  And since that time, I’ve learned they’re quite the hot commodity.  You’ll never see them in a boring grocery store — They’re way too cool!

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We attended a Coca-Cola Tasting Event at Hotel Erwin in Venice Beach, steps away from the sand.  It was on their High Rooftop Lounge, that’s broken down into stylish pod groupings overlooking the ocean and city.  We missed the sunset, but the city lights were beautiful too.

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At this tasting event, 3 cocktails were made with Coca-Cola Classic®, Coke Zero™ and Diet Coke®, each mixed with a different liquor and served in its respective aluminum bottle.  As common in parts of Europe, drinks are made and served in the same can or bottle.  The bartender at this par-tay mixed the drinks over ice, then funneled them back into the bottles before serving ’em with a straw.  They were strong, but good — We liked the Lemon Chilled the best.

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The appetizers were good too — There’s a fabulous Chef at the Hotel Erwin.  My favorite was the Mini Corn Dog on a Stick.  The batter was light and corny-crunchy, and they were served with a Coca-Cola Ketchup Sauce.  All went together well.

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It was fun to meet other bloggers, like Peachhead, Coastal California, The Girl Blogger and their guests.  My Interior Designer guest requested a tour of a couple suites, which added to our overall cool experience — Down to the fun robes in the rooms.

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One takes the elevator all the way up, then walks a scenic platform to the High Rooftop Lounge.  This evening we enjoyed appetizers and Coca-Cola’s hottest coldest drinks.  The bottle design is nostalgic and the drinks were served extra cold — Hope you stumble upon them at a hip place soon.

Brussels Sprouts Roasted In The Oven With White Balsamic & Olive Oil.

November 19th, 2009 No comments

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Inspired by the coverage of the Foodbuzz Blogger Festival, I made Roasted Brussels Sprouts.  At the Outstanding in the Field style dinner held at the Greenleaf Warehouse in San Francisco, it seems like everyone loved the Brussels Sprouts.  They looked terrific on the various event recap posts, which made me want to make ’em. 

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The recipe of the actual dish served at the festival is here, but I made something else.  These Brussels Sprouts have a nice roasted char, but different ingredients.  I tossed this bunch of hot water washed, halved Brussels Sprouts with Olive Oil, White Balsamic Vinegar and Salt & Pepper — That’s it.  Just roast all in a 425° oven for about 25 minutes.  Stir occasionally and add more Olive Oil and Vinegar as necessary or to taste.  They turn out sweet and caramelized.

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I can’t say these Brussels Sprouts are as good as those served at the Foodbuzz dinner, since I sadly wasn’t there, but they’re darn good and easy to make with what’s on hand.  I’ll surely make them again — Super easy and tasty is my favorite combination.

Learn Where The Cooking Festivals, Food Shows & Events Are Happening.

November 17th, 2009 No comments


As a FOODIE, I’m constantly looking for a good food festival, a chili cook-off, a BBQ competition, a taste of a city, a cooking contest or any fun event that’s food related.  It seems like there’s always something going on somewhere.  To assist with finding more in the future, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best resources I’ve found — They’re linked below.  I know there’s a lot more happening out there, so please share your favorite food event source in a comment.

Find a Food Festival

Food Network All American Festivals

Food Reference – Upcoming Food Events

Gayot – Food Related Event’s Calendar

Local Wine Event’s Calendar

They’re Called Ribbon Fries At A Carnival Or Fair.

November 16th, 2009 2 comments

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These Chip/Fries are called Ribbon Fries at a Fair or Carnival — You can’t tell from the photo, but they’re connected in long strings.  We tried ’em at a Veteran’s Day Carnival this weekend and are glad that they can’t be obtained at a stationary location all year long.  They’re good, but we shouldn’t eat too many of them.  We’ll be in search of Ribbon Fries when the next Fair or Carnival rolls into town.

Bayside Restaurant’s 10th Anniversary Meal.

November 15th, 2009 2 comments

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Bayside Restaurant in Newport Beach recently had its 10th Year Anniversary.  To celebrate they offered a 4-Course Menu that included some of their best dishes and customer favorites over the years — Our Friday the 13th (coincidentally) menu included Slow Roasted Pork Belly with Hawaiian Pineapple Carpaccio and Macadamias.

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Fall Vegetable Bruschetta with Goat Cheese, Pumpkin Seed Essence and a Balsalmic Reduction.

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Lamb Loin with a Port Wine Black Garlic Sauce, Roasted Tomato, Baby Artichokes and Potato Puree — This dish was amazing.

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Miso Glazed Chilean Seabass with a Sesame Seaweed Salad and Ponzu Sauce.

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Mango Sorbet with Ginger Blackberries.

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A Composition of Chocolates with Chambord Raspberries.  And a complimentary Glass of Champagne and Amuse Bouche of Beets, Endive and Goat Cheese.  The high quality4-Course Menu was only $25 per person.  Bayside Restaurant offers a lot of specials, so keep checking their calendar.  They’ll also be serving Thanksgiving Dinner this year, along with many other Orange County restaurants.

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I scored because my dinner guest doesn’t like Beets or Champagne — I love ’em both, so guess WHAT?  It was double Amuse Bouche and Champagne for me. 🙂

Thank You All Past And Present Veterans.

November 14th, 2009 No comments

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War Soldiers are preparing meals in between battle times — I went to a Veteran’s Day Parade and Carnival today in honor of our much appreciated Veterans.  Thank you ALL past and present Veterans of the United States of America.  Your job is very important and greatly respected by me.  It’s because of you that the rest of us enjoy freedom!  God bless you.

Fantasy Springs Buffet In Indio — So Far It’s Our Favorite Buffet.

November 13th, 2009 3 comments

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Just went to Fantasy Springs Resort Casino for the day.  It was our second time having their amazing Buffet.  Continuing our tour of local Indian Reservation Casinos and Buffets, so far this one is our favorite.  They seem to offer everything you’d want and all was fresh and delicious during both visits.  This is our first report with photographs.  The Brisket (above) and the Turkey (below) were especially good, perfectly cooked and carved to order.

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They offer almost every ethnicity and type of food — American, Italian, Chinese, Mexican, Salads, Soups, Fresh Fruit, Grilled Vegetables, Cheese and much more.  We captured a lot, but certainly not all.

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And almost every Dessert imaginable, Ice Cream, Bread Pudding, Cheesecake, Pies, Cakes, Cobblers, a Chocolate Fountain and more.

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Our lunch this day was only $12.99, which isn’t bad for all you can eat — Unfortunately we could only eat so much.  We wished we could take home doggie bags. 🙂

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Below is a photo of only one of our plates — We were stuffed and happy by the time we hit the video poker machines.  And we didn’t do too bad at that either.  Fantasy Springs entertainment line-up is pretty good too.  We learned that Morrissey will be playing there on December 5th and are considering going to that.

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Check out Nibbles of Tidbits’ Buffet category to see where else we’ve been.  Thumbs up for Fantasy Springs Resort Casino Buffet.

Best Wor Wonton Soup In Town At Diho Siam.

November 11th, 2009 2 comments

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So far, Diho Siam has the best Wor Wonton Soup in Costa Mesa.  The broth is amazing!  Due to the weather and being under the weather, I’ve had a lot of Soup lately.  This is the second day in a row I’ve had the Wor Wonton Soup Bowl from Diho Siam — (949) 645-3259.  Too bad I didn’t photograph it yesterday, the Broth was crystal clear like the best Consomme ever seen, and the Shrimp was on top.  It would’ve made for a better photo.  Consistently both, and all previous bowls, were flavorful, convenient and satisfying.  If local and under the weather too, you’ve got to try it.  And if searching for other cold comforts read here or to view more Diho Siam meals click here.

Carl’s Jr.’s New Menu Offerings Observed.

November 10th, 2009 No comments

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It’s always fun to try something new, even though some things we like and some we don’t.  We thank Carl’s Jr. for the opportunity to try their new menu items.  We recently tasted their 100% Black Angus Beef Burger (aka Original Six Dollar Burger), which they purport to be “better than the new McAngus Burger from [the] clowns down the street.”  Although we haven’t tasted the referenced competition, we’d most likely agree, since our preference is largely every Burger over a McAnything.  Also pictured above, we tried Carl’s Jr.’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Hand Scooped Ice Cream Shake and their Chicken Parmesan Sandwich.  Although there’s real Ice Cream in the Shake, our preference is for a hard serve scoop, rather than a soft serve Ice Cream — Carl’s Shake is too rich and creamy.  While that doesn’t sound bad to some, we’re not a fan of their “hand scooped” Shakes.  And finally, the Chicken Parmesan Sandwich isn’t bad.  We hoped for more Sauce on ours, like in the commercials, but ultimately we’d choose the Charbroiled Santa Fe Chicken Sandwich over it — That’s our favorite.

FYI:  We were surprised to learn that Carl’s Original Six Dollar Burger, recently marketed as the 100% Black Angus Beef Burger comes with Sweet Pickles instead of Dill Pickles.  We’d want to swap ’em for Dill next time.

Comfort Food: Orange Roughy Chowder Quick From Scratch.

November 9th, 2009 2 comments


I love my Quick From Scratch Food & Wine Cookbooks — They seem to have the best recipes.  Today I made the Corn and Cod Chowder with Orange Roughy instead of Cod, since it was the freshest Fish at the market.  I like Cod in this recipe too, but Orange Roughy is a tasty substitution.  All other ingredients are the same, except I used Chicken Stock in place of the Clam Juice.  It’s usually a seamless replacement I prefer in recipes.  I like Clams, but have a mental problem adding Clam Juice to a recipe.  When called for, I’ll generally substitute Chicken, Vegetable, Shrimp or Lobster Stock.

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As you can see from the cookbook stains, I’ve had Food & Wine’s Quick From Scratch Fish & Shellfish for quite sometime and everything I’ve made from it has turned out great.  That can’t be said about all cookbooks, thus I highly recommend this one and Food & Wine’s Quick From Scratch Pasta.  I’ve made many fabulous meals from both.

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It’s Soup season and time to make comfort dishes that fragrant the house.  They’re cozy, convenient and ready to be warmed up for lunch or dinner throughout the week.  All I need tonight is a piece of Sourdough with (real) Butter, a bowl of this New England style Chowder and a blankie.  The work is done and now it’s pure enjoyment time.

See Who’s Serving Thanksgiving Dinner In Orange County.

November 7th, 2009 No comments

Thanksgiving 002If you don’t feel like cooking and cleaning on Thanksgiving, check out my post on  It provides an excellent collection of the best menus being served in Orange County on Thanksgiving Day.  As you can ascertain from the photo, our family wrongly loves the crisp Turkey Skin, thus haven’t been able to capture a pristine photo of a beautiful Turkey out of the oven.  A little Turkey Skin with a little Salt is generally a tasty Thanksgiving appetizer.  Bon Appetit!

I’m At The First Annual Blogger Festival In Spirit.

November 6th, 2009 No comments


Sadly, I’m unable to attend the First Annual Blogger Festival that starts today — I had hoped to meet hundreds of foodies in San Francisco this weekend, but instead my diet has been (and will be) consisting of Cough Drops, Mucinex DM, Sudafed PE, NyQuil, etc.  I’m sure none of that will be on the Foodbuzz menus.  I’m envious thinking about what everyone else will be eating.  Nibbles of Tidbits will be there in fantasy and spirit and I truly hope to meet y’all next year.  Have an amazing weekend, but not too amazing. 🙁

One Stop Source For Cooking & Recipe Contest Links.

November 5th, 2009 1 comment

Do you like entering cooking or recipe contests?  Some rewards can be quite fabulous.  I certainly like entering them when I have time.  Contests, sweepstakes, games and alike have been hobbies of mine for years, especially if they relate to food.  To assist you (and myself in the future), I’ve scoured the Internet to collect the best up-to-date contest resources.  I’ve linked a few below and will continue to add additional findings to this post.  Good luck to ALL!

Contest Cook

Food Reference Contests

Food and Drink Contests in Yahoo

Food Network Contests and Offers

Pomegranate Drink Taste Test Comparison Party.

November 3rd, 2009 1 comment

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We were going to run this report on for National Liqueur Month (October), but didn’t have the necessary “Liqueur” to qualify for that category.  And since it’s now National Pomegranate Month (November) and I received POM Wonderful’s New Pomegranate Nectarine and Pomegranate Kiwi the very same day we planned this drink comparison, we substituted it in place of the Liqueur.

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We set out to make 6 different Pomegranate Drinks and rate them.  The numbered rating cards are from one of my favorite boardgames, iMAgiNiff.  They come in handy for taste test comparison parties like this.  We got all our recipes from the PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur site, but used POM Wonderful’s Juice in place of the Liqueur.  We’ll post about the PAMA Liqueur later this month.  Overall, we found the recipes very adaptable and most tasted fantastic.

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For this taste test, we made a Margarita and unblended Daiquiri, respectively posted above, and Pomegranate Juice with Club Soda, a Blushing Lady, a Pomegranate Juice Lemon Drop and a Martini, respectively shown below.  POM’s Juice substituted well for all — We particularly favored the Pomegranate Nectarine Juice, which is refreshing and flavorful on its own.

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And since Pomegranate Juice is so good for you, we felt we received a healthier buzz, if you will. 🙂

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We garnished the drinks with a variation of Lemon wedges and twists, Lime slices and Pomegranate Seeds (fabulously in season), then determined our favorites.  Our number one cards were awarded to the Margarita and Martini— Both tasted as if they were prepared by a professional mixologist and thus made us very happy.

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We found the Pomegranate Juice and Club Soda a refreshing combination for any day, since it was the only drink without alcohol.  We’d probably pass on the Blushing Lady next time, but give the Pomegranate Lemon Drop an honorable mention.  Overall, we think PAMA’s recipes are good and look forward to trying their Liqueur.  And we always appreciate having POM Wonderful’s Juice — It’s the best 100% Pomegranate Juice.

A Creative Halloween Party In The Port O’ Baltimore.

November 2nd, 2009 1 comment

IMG_2053Although Halloween is officially over, our DC Correspondent, Steven Woo sent us a few photos we just had to post.  He reports:  “Arghhh — I was in the Port O’ Baltimore for a Halloween Party, hosted by a zombie bride and groom.  They had some very creative decorations, including a skull ice sculpture that chilled the punch kettle, chili with and without flesh, mad scientist lab jars (cauliflower = brain, grapes = eyes, fennel = heart) and an inflatable coffin with ice cold beverages.  The last shot was some of my intake for the evening.  Are Rolaids available in fun size?”

Thanks Steven — It looks like it was a morbidly fun party.  They certainly were creative with the use of food.  Hopefully that’s not a real finger on the chopping board!  And I agree that Rolaids (like candy) should come in fun size packs too.