Archive for June, 2011

How To Make (Or Not To Make) Chorizo: Unknown Cookbook Review.

June 30th, 2011 No comments

I get asked to review a lot of cookbooks, which is pretty cool.  Some I love and have used over and over, and others I’m not so sure about.  Just because a recipe makes it into a cookbook doesn’t mean it’s going to be good.  I’ve learned that the hard way many times.

I was recently reminded that all are not created equal, after a review of The Unknown Cookbook.  I appreciate the opportunity to try it, but the Chorizo (Mexican Sausage) recipe within tasted nothing like it.  Aside from that, it just wasn’t good.  Though the book will never be a favorite, I learned from the process.  In other words, it’s nice to know that I can make Chorizo without Salivary Glands, though this isn’t the recipe to do it.

All is posted to show that the method is easy with the right ingredients.

The pre-rolled Catfood-ish looking “Chorizo” (below) was a bit of a turn off.

Chorizo is better wrapped in plastic than intestines. 😉

We were excited about it, before we tasted it — Blah.

After being refrigerated for two days, we sliced it into patties and cooked it, then took a couple bites and tossed it in the trash.  I’m calling this the review of The Unknown Cookbook, so not to make the author feel bad.  We prefer to emphasize the positive and not hurt the sales of others with a bad review.  I’m sure there is something worth making in the book.  With respect to this recipe, we’re sticking with Soy Chorizo for now — We know it’s good.

It’s Just Another Wordless Wednesday: Wish It Was __________ ?

June 29th, 2011 No comments


No words needed here, just a hand. 🙂

Pickles And Ice Cream: It’s Not What You Might Think.

June 28th, 2011 No comments

When I only purchased Pickles and Ice Cream, the grocery checker asked if an announcement was going to be taking place.  I’m glad she didn’t ask when I was due, hahaha.  Funny, but both were picked up for a purpose during a recent lunch break.  The reason for the Pickles was a debate over the best — And the justification for the Ice Cream is that it’s reported to be outstanding.  A co-worker brought in a baggie of Famous Dave’s Pickle Chips claiming they’re the finest around.  After one bite, I knew it wasn’t true.  They’re too sweet and not what I want in a Pickle.  Sorry for spitting it back into the bag so no one else could eat them.  Ooops, my bad.  In my opinion, the best Pickles are Bubbies, pictured above.

And with respect to Graeter’s Ice Cream — It is pretty darn good.  Mike got this one right.  Over the years he’s paid hundreds of dollars to have it shipped to California from Ohio and now it’s available here.  He recommended the Black Raspberry Chip, which is fabulous and made up for the Pickles.  None of us ate both together.  We’re not pregnant.

Time Is A Great Teacher: It’s That Time.

June 27th, 2011 No comments

Time is a great teacher, too bad it kills ALL its pupils.  Where did I read a variation of that?  Inedible Dahlias are on sale again — I just spoke with the nice gentleman that sells them.  He and his wife have a lovely garden of spectacular Dahlias in Costa Mesa.  Stop by before sundown, call if you can, or just park and walk towards their backyard.  They’re usually there.

Decaf Peach Iced Tea: A Beverage For Hot Summer Days And Nights.

June 27th, 2011 No comments

For some reason I always wanted to make Peach Iced Tea — It just seems like a refreshing Summer drink.  The pictured was made using two Peaches and three Decaf Green Tea Bags. 

To make it — Peel, cut and puree the Peaches in a mini food processor, then strain the puree through Cheesecloth to produce the juice pictured in the above pitcher.

Then pour boiling Decaf Green Tea over the Peach puree, directly into the pitcher.

The Decaf Peach Tea is then chilled and served over Ice.

It turned out good, but needed more Peach flavor — Four Peaches will be better next time.

Long And Winding Road That Leads To The Pie In The Sky’s The Limit.

June 24th, 2011 No comments

Will walk for food — Pondering language variations and communication this day.

Will the real Pie in the Sky PLEASE step right up?!  Is it a Pie Pie or Pizza Pie?

Let me know the way to the right bite. 😉 Where’s the snipe?

A New Category Has Been Implemented: Orange County (OC) Food.

June 23rd, 2011 No comments


As previously reported, we’ve implemented a new Category — Orange County (OC) Food to complete Phase I of our OC additions.  During Phase II, we’ll be adding a new Blogroll, Orange County (OC) Bloggers, which will provide links to numerous OC Blogs.  To locate OC food news and reviews predating today, please use our SEARCH BOX and/or see other Categories.

Note:  The pictured dishes are from Nick’s Pizza, Maggianos and Kimera, respectively.

Seven Days Of Zimzala Happy Hour With A View (And Late Night Too).

June 22nd, 2011 1 comment

Zimzala Restaurant & Bar located in the Shorebreak Hotel in Huntington Beach serves Happy Hour seven days a week.  Between 3 – 7 pm daily and 10 – 11 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, select Appetizers and Drinks are offered at a discount, and not many HH spots have this ocean view.  It’s always a good time there with high quality food and a pleasurable landscape.

The pictured Cheeseburger Sliders are some of the best we’ve had.

The Zimzala Hummus comes with a few Fried Chick Peas (also on the HH menu), thus you may not need to order them separately, unless you want a lot of them.  We were satisfied having those that came with the Hummus (shown above).

Also available during Happy Hour at a price cut is the Sweet Potato Tater Tots with Lime Salt.

Parmesan Herb Fries with Garlic Aioli.

Plus everything listed on the Happy Hour Menu (above), along with other daily specials.

Nibbles Of Tidbits In Orange County: Good For Locals & The World.

June 21st, 2011 No comments

Keep tuned in WORLD, as recipes, homemade dishes, contests, food news, cooking tips, experiments, brand comparisons, product testing, and interesting fodder will continue to be reported here — And ORANGE COUNTY residents and travelers to/from the OC should pay special attention, as we’re soon adding a New Category and Blogroll, Orange County (OC) Food and Orange County (OC) Bloggers, respectively.  It’s slated to happen in early July.

Nibbles of Tidbits will carry on as a source for world inhabitants, and become a go-to for restaurant reviews, event information and topics of interest to OC residents and visitors.  If looking for something specific (worldly or local), before or after the additions, check the related Category or use our Search Box.  Much is readily accessible, if not immediately seen.  You know what I mean Jelly Bean?!  Interested in the Strips and Cheese in HB?  See here.

Revere The First Summer Day & Birthday Of A Sweet Sister.

June 21st, 2011 No comments

Fresh cut Strawberries and Kiwis, if you get to them before the kids — Happy 1st Day of Summer to all and Birthday to Ami on the longest DAY of the year.  Yeah we’re hap-happy…

Colored view from the HB Pier in June — It happened the same day as this.

The 4th Annual ‘Chili At The Beach’ Event In HB For CHOC.

June 20th, 2011 No comments

As previously noted, we attended the Chili at the Beach event in Huntington Beach.

It appeared to have a great turnout and the proceeds will be going to CHOC.

We had the opportunity to taste 21 different Chili’s for $15 – All participants are listed above.

One of the many decorated Chili booths (above).

Chili Score Card and just one of numerous Chili samplings.  We got to vote for our favorite.

The above was from Whole Foods, and below I don’t recall, but liked the Cornbread.

Don the Beachcomber was there representing well with a friendly booth.

Endless Chili.

The Sugar Shack had cute little helpers checking off Score Cards when dishing out the Chili.

Rotating bands played all day long at two ends of Main Street.

Kid’s area on Olive, paralleling Main Street — Loved the giant shark.

And since my friend is on the Board of Trustee’s at the International Surfing Museum, we luckily parked in their lot for the day.  Thank you HBISM.  If you haven’t been there in a while, major changes are happening.  It recently merged with the Surfing Heritage Museum and thus money is now available to make improvements.  Check it out.  Overall, it was a beautiful, uncomplicated and filling day at the Chili at the Beach event.

THE RESULTS:  The 2011 Winners were Duke’s Ohana “Uncle Matty’s Famous Pork Chili” for Best Tasting Chili, Aloha Grill Tiki’s for Most Enthusiastic Chili Team, and Chronic Jerky’s “Chronic’s Outhouse Chili” for Best Chili Name.  We’re somewhat in agreement, but must also mention that we liked the Chili from Gallagher’s, Baja Sharkeez, Killarney, 2nd Floor and Beach Pit BBQ.

Happy Father’s Day To Good Dads Everywhere, Especially Mine.

June 19th, 2011 No comments

Is this all it takes?  Really?  Okay, have a happy one. 🙂

Chili At The Beach Benefiting CHOC: All Before Zimzala Happy Hour.

June 18th, 2011 No comments

Chili at the Beach benefiting CHOC Children’s Hospital appeared to be a success today.

It seemed like everyone was having a good time.

$15 got us a taste of twenty-one different Chili’s — Good for us and CHOC.

After that, we kicked it with Zimzala’s 7-Day a week Happy Hour and beautiful view.

More will be reported about both separately soon.

06/20/11 Update:  The link to more about the Chili at the Beach event is here.

It’s The Kind: Frickin Phenominal Fruit & Nut Bars.

June 17th, 2011 No comments

Unsolicited recommendation, like most here — Kind Healthy Snacks are the best Fruit & Nut Bars.  It’s the clear packaging that got me to try them and the taste keeps me buying them each week.  Unlike many Snack Bars, you can see what you’re getting and it’s even better than it looks.  The pictured Almond & Apricot and Mango Macadamia are the two I eat most, but all flavors tried have been exceptional.  Kind offers a lot of combinations to choose from.

Mimi’s Slow Roasted Turkey Breast: Just Right For A Bare Stomach.

June 16th, 2011 No comments

The Slow Roasted Turkey Breast wouldn’t be my first pick at Mimi’s Cafe, but one must ease into nourishment when returning from infirmity, where I unfortunately visited a couple days.  Eating for the first time after that, it had to be something good for me.  Had nothing in-house and didn’t want to cook, drive, or shock the system with something too adventurous (the status quo) — A reproduction of Thanksgiving dinner ended up being just right for an unfilled stomach and is now recommended by Dr. Me.  It provided agreeable sustenance at the time.

The Slow Roasted Turkey Breast is served with Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Cornbread Dressing, Vegetables and an Orange Cranberry Relish, and an added French Onion Soup for $2 more.  Luckily a Mimi’s Cafe is within easy walking distance.  When all was picked up, the server asked if I ever had the Turkey before — I said no, and she said… “It’s so good?”  I thought GREAT, but how good could it be?  It’s just a basic Turkey dinner, right!?

What’s GREAT about it is the quality and juiciness of the tender Turkey Breast.  The server was right.  The Dressing, Potatoes and Veggies were a little bland, but necessary at the time.  Overall, each item was appreciated for lunch, dinner and mini-lunch again.

Slater’s 50/50: Burgers Designed With 50% Bacon & 50% Beef.

June 15th, 2011 2 comments

At Slater’s 50/50, it’s an option to have a Burger made with 50% Bacon and 50% Beef — And if that’s not enough, add a Fried Egg, Avocado Mash, Pepper Jack Cheese and Chipotle Mayo and you have The 50/50 Burger, one of Slater’s Signatures.  We had to try it.

A partner at the fantastic law firm that employs me had been raving about it for months.

It was worth going there just to see the giant Burgers pictured above.  We’re not sure if the guys were able to finish them, since we left beforehand, but all nearby tables were watching.

While waiting for a table and perhaps inappropriate for a minor, Chef Lexi of Kids in the Kitchen pretended to pick up Kegs — Inconsequential to the report, but entertaining and cute to its publisher.  Back to the food and on to The 50/50 (blurry) photo below… 

The Burger was certainly interesting to try, but we prefer Bacon in its crispy form.  The Burger seems a bit dense and less juicy than an all Beef Burger and was too rich tasting for us. 

Regarding the sides… I wanted the Fried Dill Pickles (a unique option), but we settled on sharing the French Fries and Fried Macaroni N’ Cheese for the Pick 2 Combination Plate.  The French Fries were good, but we think Slater’s 50/50 may get their Fried Macaroni N’ Cheese from the same supplier as Del Taco.  Not saying it’s true, but it sure looks and tastes identical to the ones they sell and we don’t care for either of them — Too greasy.

We hoped to provide a more favorable report, but didn’t fall in love.  Sorry Mike.  HOWEVER, the service was great and we liked the feel of the place, thus may go back to try a different Burger and side, and probably more Beer for the non-driving adults.

Slater’s 50/50 is in a strip mall in Anaheim Hills and smells terrific from the parking lot.

We’ll try something different next time.

Happy Birthday Mom And A Happy Flag Day To All.

June 14th, 2011 No comments

The OC BBQ Festival: One Of The State’s Largest BBQ Cook-Off’s.

June 12th, 2011 No comments

The Orange County BBQ Festival happened yesterday at the OC Fairgrounds.

It’s best to buy tickets online, so to avoid an extra line.  There’s a service charge, but it might be worth it — I personally have low tolerance for long lines.  Inside the event was better.

There were lines for some BBQ, but none were horrible and they moved fairly quickly.

I tried to keep track of what we were eating and drinking and its origin, but forget it.

There were too many BBQ’s and Breweries to remember and I needed an extra hand.

There was a lot of Brisket, Pulled Pork, Tri Tip, Chicken, Sausage, Ribs and Meatballs.

One serious BBQ team.

Though much looked good, it took a while to find the best BBQ, as some meats were tough, fatty and surprisingly bland.  And others were dry, but okay sauced.  Tender is imperative.

A neighbor, The Meat House was there serving the Beef (below) and Chicken.

I liked the name and look of Big Rick and the BBQ Chicks, but didn’t try their Brisket.

Never had trouble sharing a table with anyone and the sun came out.

Grilling.  Btw, I’ll never go on the background chair lift again — Did it last year and it’s scary.

We used tickets to receive generous servings of BBQ and Brew — It worked well.

And here’s Mr. BBQ, who won the Mr. BBQ Pageant.

He was sooooo funny and kept saying… It’s hard being this sexy.

An old-fashioned, new fangled Ice Cream Truck — There was a Car Show happening too.

Farmer John was there offering free Pork Sausage.

Bands were playing.

Pass the Sauce

Towards the end, Famous Dave’s was giving away free Pulled Pork, because they wanted everyone to know how good it is — We were full and out of tickets and thought their Pulled Pork was better than many others.  There’s a debate happening regarding their Pickles.

The Famous Dave’s Pickle debate will soon be reported and linked here.

It’s agreed, Famous Dave’s Pulled Pork is good and they served it to the end.  We appreciate that, since too many BBQ teams ran out of food way too early — Not cool!  We had plenty of food, though expected the option of more.  I planned to name the super early closers, but stopped caring when full, and didn’t separate the good business cards from the bad ones.

And then came The Rib Eating Contest

The Ribs were weighed, documented and distributed to the contestants, who ate as much as they could within the allotted amount of time.  Each batch of Ribs was then re-weighed to determine who ate the most in pounds and ounces.  I had never seen it done in person.

We had a great spot — Thankfully it wasn’t too gross to watch.

The cost was $50 to enter the contest, but you take home the balance of the Ribs.

If you still want them?!

Time is up.

And the winner is… this guy, on the left, and last year’s winner is on the right.

IMPORTANT INFO:  The OC BBQ Festival is a fundraiser benefitting Kristie’s Foundation for critically ill children, and all proceeds go to them.  That’s a great thing.  Mark your calendar for next year’s event or make a donation at the link above.  The winner of The Rib Eating Contest donated his $250 prize to Kristie’s Foundation — Wow, that was a cool thing to do!

Salad And Sea Bass At Sandy’s Near The Sand In Surf City.

June 10th, 2011 No comments

Can you repeat the title three times fast?  Though named Shelly, I’ve never sold sea shells by the seashore (thanks for asking), but instead skated to Sandy’s Beach Grill in Surf City (aka HB) for shared Sea Bass, Salad and Mai Tai’s.  How many S’s is that?  Who cares, cheers to the seashore.  I was last at Sandy’s for a Grand Opening Party about a year ago, pictured here.

Grilled Hearts of Romaine Salad — Happy to see it on the menu, but it’s not the best I’ve had.

Sea Bass — Pecan crusted and served with Shrimp Couscous and Red Pepper Butter.

Mai Tai’s pictured with sketch editing for amusement — It’s a day vacation in Huntington.  We skated from Newport (Orange) to the HB Pier and back.  Thanks again for lunch dear friend.

The Capital Grille In Beverly Hills: It’s South Coast Plaza Next Time Baby.

June 9th, 2011 No comments

I contemplated posting this report, since our handy dandy Guest Blogger, Bonnie focuses more on getting lost than the food, but I don’t blame her — I’m sure I would’ve been frustrated too, thus do post her account below, mostly so not to stymie the amazing food and professional photographs provided by The Capital Grille in Beverly Hills.  Although pissed about the drive, she loved the food.  I’ve yet to dine at The Capital Grille and will most likely opt to do so at the South Coast Plaza location.  A photo of the Bar is posted first, because Bonnie needs a drink after telling her story…

The Capital Grille in Beverly Hills — Having had such a wonderful meal at the Capital Grille in Costa Mesa only a week before, I decided to start my night in Beverly Hills at their brand new, sister restaurant in the Beverly Center. 

It wasn’t their fault that I got totally and completely lost. I should have known better than to make the drive from Newport Beach to Beverly Hills at 5:00 p.m. on a Thursday night without anydirections on me at all. But heck, I’ve been to the Beverly Center before. Indeed, I was born and raised in Los Angeles, so I know it quite well. And geewhiz — I have GPS — so why would I need directions?

Because — truth be told, I haven’t lived in LA for thirty years, so I completely forgot how to get to the Beverly Center. And the directions my girlfriend’s daughter gave me over the cell phone were quite detailed, but…


Plus, nobody at the restaurant could figure out where I was when I told them what cross streets I was passing.


Adding final insult to injury, my GPS would not “accept” an address on Beverly Boulevard beginning with the number “8”.


Once I finally arrived though, we were treated to the same fine service and attention from the Capital Grille’s staff, along with some delicious food and drink. Our server, Charles, graciously apologized (even though he didn’t have to!) for my hour and a half of misfortune, and then served us a beautiful Steak with Béarnaise Sauce and Crab, Macaroni and Cheese with Lobster, and Sautéed Spinach on the side.

We didn’t have time to take a tour of the restaurant that was offered to us by Managing Partner Gina Doyle, but we sure appreciated the fact that they treated us to another Exceptionally Distinctive Guest Experience.

Thank you — Charles and Gina — and next time I come to LA, I promise to bring directions.

Thanks Bonnie — I’m glad I wasn’t with you, though I am ready for their SCP location.

Yogurt And Granola: An Achievable Breakfast When You’re Not Ready.

June 8th, 2011 1 comment

I’m rarely hungry in the morning, but know I “should eat breakfast” — If and when I do, it’s usually a V8, Jamba Juice, KIND Bar, Clif Bar, or some sort of bottled Green Juice.  It’s seldom a full breakfast, unless enjoying a special, leisurely weekend.  In that case it might be Huevos Rancheros or Eggs Florentine, but lately it’s been Plain Yogurt and Granola (with sometimes Berries).  How can it taste so crazy good?  It just does.  The tartness of the Plain Yogurt goes well with Granola and I’m really liking the Maple Pecan Granola Clusters from Fresh & Easy.

Walt’s Wharf Restaurant Wrap Up And A Mystery Solved.

June 7th, 2011 No comments

Those Cadillac Margaritas go right here, thank you — At Walt’s Wharf Restaurant in Seal Beach for the Oak Grilled Artichoke, dinner, drinks and to explore Main Street.

In the Bar having Walt’s Famous Oak Grilled Artichoke and Lea & Perrins Sauce.

View looking out the Bar window on to Main Street, a couple blocks from the ocean.

The kitchen, grill and pick-up window.

White Wine cases lining the entrance.

Lovely Hostesses of the evening.

Warm Sour Dough Bread.

Dinner Salad.

The Trout was excellent.

A Blackened Halibut (split).

Looking in from the outside — Got there during daylight and left when it was dark.

Walt’s Wharf Birthday Dessert — Thank you.

And thank you dear friends for the appetizers, dinner, drinks and guaranteed laughs.

Those piggies ate most of the dessert. 😉

I drift back in time and I find my feet down on Main Street.

Note:  Mystery solved is found in the links above and summarized here — We observed that Walt’s Lea & Perrins Sauce n/k/a Lea and Perrins Aioli is slightly different.  The ingredients are the same, but the measurements have changed.  We like the original recipe better.

Slater’s 50/50 Burgers By Design: The Preliminary Burger Report.

June 6th, 2011 No comments

These were our neighbor’s Burgers at Slater’s 50/50 Burgers by Design in Anaheim Hills.  I’ve never seen one that big.  We were there to try The 50/50, Slater’s Signature with 50% Ground Beef and 50% Ground Bacon that comes with a Fried Egg, Avocado Mash, Pepper Jack Cheese and Chipotle Mayo.  It’s a crazy Burger joint — One gnarly report coming right up.