The Orange County Fair starts Friday, July 16, 2010. Little Chef Alexis (aka Chef Lexi) has entered her Food Eraser Collection into the Youth Competition, Junior Collections. Nibbles of Tidbits hopes Chef Lexi gets a Blue Ribbon! It’s too late to enter the competition now, but you can see the results at the OC Fair — See you there.
We’re currently workin’ on a Sauerbraten recipe similar this this one, with a couple variations/additions — We’ll report the results once consumed. It takes 3 days to marinate the Beef. You know you must be on your way to goodness when that’s in the instructions. We’ll see…
While in college once upon a time, I waitressed at a Red Robin Restaurant. I shouldn’t tell this next part, but I told ’em I’d waitressed before, but hadn’t — Sorry. Luckily all went well and I still have friends whom I met there so long ago. And now, several years after graduation and not eating at Red Robin, I met a long lost former co-worker there for lunch. We were both happy to see that the BLTA Croissant Sandwich is still on the menu and it’s as good as we remember. Also pictured is the Bleu Ribbon Burger, which we tried for the first time. It was good, but unfortunately not great — It includes Chipotle Mayo, which sounds great on the surface, but seemed to overtake the “Bleu” aspect of the Burger. Combined with an Herbed Bun, there are just too many competing flavors happening with it. We give thumbs up to the management of the Santa Ana (Sunflower) location, as they appear to really care about Red Robin customers. Business was booming this lunch day and management was walkin’ the floor making sure all was satisfactory.
It seems that more and more good things are coming from trucks. Not only did Sarnoff’s Summer Splash include a couple Kogi BBQ trucks as previously reported, but also Coolhaus, a gourmet Ice Cream Sandwich truck.
Coolhaus Ice Cream is all natural and handmade. As you can see, the Ice Cream Sandwiches are gigantic too — And the paper wrapped around ’em is edible. How fun is that!
They’re happily served from converted chromed-out postal trucks with pink tops. The flavors are cool too — Dirty Mint Chip on Chocolate, Vanilla Bean on Chocolate Chip, Meyer Lemon on Ginger Cookie, Chocolate on Snickerdoodle, Brown Butter with Caramelized Bacon on Chocolate Chip, plus other varying flavor combinations.
Believe it or not, several reported that they ‘really liked the Brown Butter with Caramelized Bacon on Chocolate Chip’ Ice Cream Sandwich — They said it didn’t taste much like Bacon, but more like Butter Pecan Ice Cream. That’s a good thing. Coolhaus is a cool house.
* We’re not sure what’s up with the serious looking photos on the side of the truck!? It looked a little trippy. 🙂
Today my food and legal worlds happily collided — I happen to make a livin’ as a Litigation Paralegal and Freelance Writer majoring in food. 🙂 Our law office was invited to a Summer Splash Party that was hosted by Sarnoff Court Reporters and catered by Kogi BBQ trucks.
By now most have heard about the elusive Kogi BBQ trucks drivin’ and parkin’ around Orange County and Los Angeles, offering Mexican/Korean cuisine to eagerly awaiting Kogi lovers — And today they came to me with ease.
Since Sarnoff sponsored the party, we had the Kogi trucks all to our legal selves. We only had to wait in line a couple minutes, unlike many others at popular destinations.
We each received a Kogi Beef Slider, Kogi Pork Taco and Kogi Chicken Taco. All were very good as reported by countless others, but we weren’t knocked off our chairs. We wouldn’t wait hours as some have, but maybe 15 minutes or so for another Beef Slider and their Short Rib Taco (a specialty not offered today).
Thanks Sarnoff — You always have the best food at your parties! And thanks Kogi BBQ for the fast tasty food.
I never considered making my own Pop-Tarts until contacted with the idea, then thought it’d be fun to give it a try. The pictured Pop-Tart was indeed good, but questionably worth the work. With respect to Pop-Tarts, I’d rather grab one out of the box and put it in the toaster oven. This one tasted like dessert — A scoop of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream would’ve been right on with it.
I followed the Pop-Tart recipe forwarded to me and used the best Raspberry Preserves I could find. It’s suggested that one simply use their favorite Pie Crust recipe along with the best, thick Preserves to create the ultimate Pop-Tart. The recipe used to make the pictured Pop-Tart was thought to be a little too buttery for breakfast, but yummy for a desserty-ish treat.
Overall, it’s fun to make homemade Pop-Tarts once. It’s decided that we’d prefer to make a Pie rather than multiple Pop-Tarts. It’s less work and nicely cooked packaged Pop-Tarts are good enough.
Chef Kristine Subido’s Breakfast/Nourish Menu at Wave inspired our attempt at making the pictured homemade Pop-Tart. We’d love to travel to Chicago sometime to have the real goods. They say believe in breakfast again — We try.
* Our apologies for the quality of the pre-baked Pop-Tart photo directly above.
After seeing Cher perform at Caesars Palace, we walked over to nearby BOA Steakhouse for a late dinner. It was hard to narrow down a restaurant, since there are so many to choose from, but after this amazing dinner, we knew we made the right choice. In Las Vegas, BOA Steakhouse is located on the 3rd level of Caesars Forum Shops. There is also one in West Hollywood and Santa Monica.
The pictured Petite Filet Mignon might be the best we’ve had thus far, which is quite a statement since we’ve enjoyed many-a-good Steak. This one just seemed to melt in our mouths. It was ordered with a side of Bearnaise, which was also exceptional.
Pictured above is the Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras and the Chipotle Lime Corn is shown below. We devoured all with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Cadillac Margaritas, and a BLT Salad.
And for dessert we had Hot Fresh Donuts that were liberally rolled in Cinnamon and Sugar and filled with melted Chocolate. Yum! As a bonus, they were served with a Vanilla Bean and Caramel Sauce.
All was so good that we wanted to have the same meal the next day, but unfortunately had to leave town. We defintely look forward to going back someday. BOA Steakhouse isn’t cheap, but it’s worth it. The service was excellent too!
Just got back from Las Vegas and although we didn’t eat at Beijing Noodle No. 9 at Caesars Palace, it’s definitely worth showing. The entrance is truly amazing, as it includes aisles of giant fish tanks stocked with hundreds of large goldfish. Just pick the one you want and they’ll get it out of the tank and cook it for you — Just kidding, that part is just for show. They do, however, offer an authentic taste of Northern Chinese Cuisine. We’ll have to test it out next visit. This time we chose to eat at Rao’s and BOA Steakhouse and will be reporting about them shortly. Las Vegas has too many great restaurants to choose from, not that we’re complaining. Viva!
Just made my first Cheesecake and I’m excited it couldn’t have turned out better. A friend recently presented me with a photocopy of an amazing Cheesecake method that yields endless flavor variations. I tested it out by making the pictured Cheesecake with a little Mascarpone Cheese, Orange Zest and Frangelico Liqueur — Happy Father’s Day Dad! We’ll post more about it later. Until then, check out these really cool Father’s Day Tie Cakes.
What a great bunch of people they have working for Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine. We recently visited Roy’s in Anaheim at The GardenWalk. Did you know that each location’s Chef Partner is trained by Roy Yamaguchi himself, yet is encouraged to infuse their own style and inspiration into Roy’s classic menu items? We just learned that cool fact, which makes each Roy’s special in its own way, thus if you’ve been to one Roy’s, you haven’t been to ’em all.
Roy’s just kicked off its L.A. Ohana Tour, which will give guests the opportunity to experience the different taste variations each time they visit a new Roy’s location — The specifics are detailed in bullet points below.
During our first tour stop, we thoroughly enjoyed Roy’s Original Hawaiian Martini, which includes fresh Pineapple, SKYY Vodka, Stoli Vanil Vodka and Malibu Coconut Rum. And we loved the flavors of the Ekolu Tuna Roll, the “Rim Fire” Calamari and the Sweet Corn & Blue Crab Crusted Barramundi, which was our favorite — It’s made with a Sun Dried Tomato and Wild Mushroom Anisette Cream Sauce. If you’ve never tried Barramundi, you’re missing out. It’s a sustainable farm raised Fish with sweet succulent flesh indigenous to Australia.
And for dessert, Roy’s Pineapple Upside Down Cake with caramelized Pineapple baked with Brown Sugar Pound Cake and Coconut Ice Cream was the perfect finish.
Roy’s recently announced the launch of its L.A. Ohana Tour, a new rewards program designed for diners to experience the creative chef variations on popular menu items offered at each location. From June 9th until August 31, 2010, guests are invited to visit (3) Southern California Roy’s restaurants to receive dining rewards and be entered to win an all-inclusive trip to Hawaii, where guests will enjoy a personal dinner with founding chef Roy Yamaguchi.
Your chance to win a trip to Hawaii starts with an inaugural visit to any one of Roy’s participating restaurants, as noted below:
· At the inaugural (first) trip to any participating Roy’s restaurant, guests are awarded an Ohana Tour Card to present at the next Roy’s location.
· On the second visit, guests will receive a complimentary Chocolate Soufflé with the purchase of an entrée.
· At the third location, guests will receive a $20 Gift Card with the purchase of an entrée, plus an entry into the Hawaiian sweepstakes.
· Restaurants participating in the tour include Roy’s Anaheim, Los Angeles, Newport Beach, Pasadena, and Woodland Hills locations.
THEY SAY: “In the Hawaiian culture, ‘ohana’ means family,” said Leiala Whattoff, V.P. of Training & Development, Roy’s restaurant. “We designed this tour to thank our frequent guests and encourage new guests to experience our exquisite food and the aloha spirit with their friends and family. By visiting three of our Southern California locations, guests will receive delicious rewards and the chance to win the ultimate dining experience in Hawaii.”
Nibbles of Tidbits will be heading to Roy’s in Fashion Island next for our complimentary Chocolate Soufflé. Hope to see you on tour!
* We had hoped to post more food photos, but unfortunately didn’t capture the deserving quality of all aforementioned dishes.
We’ve attended and reported about many Cooking Classes in Orange County, but no matter where you live (including the OC), you can easily arrange to have a Professional Chef teach cooking in your own home. Chefz Table makes it happen. To learn about the Professional Chefs near you, just go to their website and enter your zip code. After that, select the Course you’d like to learn… A Taste of Italy, French Bistro, Indian Feast, Tamales and Sangria, Southern Cookin’, Advanced Knife Skills, Pies and Tarts, a Date Night to Remember, Cheese and Wine Pairing, etc. All Course details and prices are clearly provided at Chefz Table. We haven’t tried ’em yet, but it’s nice to know the fun possibility is only a few clicks away — The menus sound good too!
* Semi-related photo was taken at a Bloomingdales South Coast Plaza Cooking Class.
Why did we feel guilty eating these Carrots? It’s probably because they seemed to be in love. We got ’em during our tour of Tanaka Farms. Carrots are one of the amazing clues left by God — Read more about that here.
StoneFire Grill is better than we remember — Ate there a few years ago, before Nibbles of Tidbits and don’t recall much, but after today’s lunch we can’t wait to go back. The Individual Meal prices aren’t bad, especially since you get a lot of good food. You order at the counter and they deliver your food, which makes it an efficient treat for lunch. It’s comfortable and the service is excellent at the Irvine location.
All meat was beautifully cooked and the Sauce options pushed the flavors over the top. Loved all Chicken and Tri Tip combinations and really like the Garlic Mashed Potatoes too. We were excited to see the Cartwheel Salad as a choice with the Individual Meals, since the ingredients impressed us, but found the taste to be a little off. Next lunch stop we look forward to much of the same and more. They also serve up a lot of Garlic, YUM.
Upon each visit to Maggianos Little Italy, we’re amazed that they’re always so busy. They still pack ’em in and we know why — Large portions, excellent Italian food, nice atmosphere, Sinatra music and great service. This time we tried a couple new dishes, starting with the Pepperoni and Arugula Flatbread Pizza (above). It’s a seemingly simple appetizer, but very tasty. We’ll definitely get this appetizer again.
We also enjoyed the Veal and Mushroom Ravioli Al Forno, a Gnocchi and Shrimp Special, Sauteed Spinach and Strawberry Shortcake. As usual, all dishes were fantastic. We’ve never been disappointed after dining at Maggianos. Click here to view other meals we’ve enjoyed in the past.
As previously noted, it’s highly recommended that you make reservations, if you don’t want to wait too long. Even with reservations, we waited 20 minutes, which is fine with a Glass of Wine in hand. Without reservations, the wait could be a couple hours on some nights.
The largest Sweet Onions in town can be found at Tanaka Farms. Continuing our report about our recent visit to Tanaka Farms — In addition to the Strawberries, we took home a giant Sweet Onion to make one of our favorite side dishes, Baked (or BBQ’d) Onions.
Tanaka Farms grows their Onions amongst the Strawberries. They say it helps to keep certain pests away from the Strawberries and it sweetens the Onions.
Without visiting the above recipe link, know here that it’s an Onion that’s tented in foil with Bacon Grease, Salt and Pepper — And then it’s baked in the oven or on a BBQ for about an hour. This extra large Onion took longer (a little under 2 hours) and indeed it was incredibly sweet to eat. It served two very well.
Baked Onions are so easy to make. The rule is generally (1) Onion per guest — If getting them from Tanaka Farms, they can be shared.
If this doesn’t sound good to you, it’s understandable — We once appalled at the idea too, but they’re sooooo good. You might be missing out.
I discovered the best Strawberry Buttercream Frosting in Southern Living’s Classic Southern Desserts Cookbook. And the interesting thing about it is… I don’t even like Buttercream Frosting. All my life I’ve dumped Cake slices upside-down on the plate to have the Frosting stick to it — That way I’d eat the Cake and the Frosting would be left behind. After making the pictured Strawberry Cake, I’m converted, at least with respect to Southern Living’s recipe. It yields a perfect balance of fresh pureed Strawberries, Powdered Sugar and Butter. I brought this Cake to the office and everyone raved about the Frosting. The Cake is a different story, since I used my own recipe that wasn’t that terrific. Fortunately the Strawberry Buttercream Frosting made up for it. Did I just write that?
Have you been to Tanaka Farms yet? If you haven’t, you’re missing out. It’s in Irvine and is also known as Orange County’s Largest U-Pick Farm. During certain tours you get to pick your own Strawberries, Watermelon and much more. We recently went on the Strawberry Tour, which was more fun than we imagined.
At the end of the Strawberry Tour, you get to pick and take home your own large basket of Strawberries, which happens after you eat as many as you can stuff down. We all said they were the best Strawberries we had in our lives. Not sure why, but they’re amazingly sweet. The tour lasts about an hour.
While on the tractor ride that’s included with the Strawberry Tour, you get to try a few of the seasonal vegetables along the way. After sampling all, you feel like you’ve just had a healthy meal. We joked that we should bring Salt, Pepper and Ranch Dressing next time — And we seriously might.
In addition to the endless Strawberries, we ate Radishes, Carrots, Sugar Snap Peas, Green Beans, Iceberg and Red Leaf Lettuce directly from the field. What a treat! And when you’re done eating, you just toss the remains (aka Carrot and Radish tops, Strawberry leaves, etc.) over your shoulder off the tractor.
Weekend Strawberry Tours are running now through June 27th (weather permitting) and the Watermelon Tours begin in early July. Tanaka Farms also offers Cookout Tours, whereas you get to pick, wash and cook your own meal directly from and at the farm. The view from the cookout area is beautiful.
We still keep talking about how much fun this was and that we now look forward to enjoying Tanaka Farms all year long. They have a fresh produce stand that’s open daily.
Family run Tanaka Farms is organized, friendly, fun, clean and pesticide free. They do a lot of creative planting to put forth the best produce possible. We’re impressed with ALL.