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Archive for October, 2011

Happy Orange And Pumpkin Season On This Halloween Day.

October 31st, 2011 No comments

It’s Halloween all around the neighborhood.

Trick or preferably a TREAT.

Do you think these houses give out good CANDY?

Some decorations emphasize the scary and others are simply stylish.

Lots of cobwebs, always a Pumpkin, and some straight up facades amuse.

And the house ship takes the Candy

Below might be my favorite and some were just too gross to post.

Fancy cobweb work was happening this year — Next year it’ll cover the whole house.

Ralph’s Halloween Bakery Cupcakes for a party on the way out.  They go over well.

Now on to Orange November with more Pumpkins and remnants of Trick-or-Treat Candy.

Someone Cares Soup Kitchen And A Pin On The Map Of Herbs.

October 30th, 2011 No comments

Stopped by to learn more and will be donating time to Someone Cares Soup Kitchen in November and December when it’s needed most.  How about you?  Come do it too.

Read more and watch a video about the volunteer experience here.  Also appreciate the Rosemary bursting through the fence at Someone Cares Soup Kitchen — We’re always on the lookout for Herbs planted around the city.  An abundant find saves money and inspires new dishes.  In this case, a Rosemary sprig will come in handy for Union Square Cafe Bar Nuts.

Someone Cares Soup Kitchen In Need Of Volunteers – How About You?

October 30th, 2011 No comments

Someone Cares Soup Kitchen can always use volunteers and donations.  Contact them today.

It’s Possible To Love The Other: Memphis At The Santora I Do.

October 28th, 2011 No comments

It was a Crawfish Boil tasting at Memphis at the Santora that got me there.

I’m akin to Memphis in Costa Mesa and now dig its cousin in Artist Village.

Have you tried Crawfish?  I hadn’t until this day — Had been a bit apprehensive for some reason, but was invited to Memphis at the Santora for a Crawfish Boil Tasting.  It was time.

Crawfish to be continued — Keen on abundant outdoor patio seating and alluring designs.

Also like its colors and unique curves.

Enchanting outdoor and indoor lighting abounds curled puffy booths, benches and a Bar.

Back to the Crawfish — Food Bloggers were invited to a Memphis Crawfish Boil.

We sat down communal style to partake in a Crawfish Boil by Executive Chef Diego Velasco.

Bloggers (est. 20) sat inside and outside with Brut and Dixie ready for the Crawfish.

Top that paper, grab another Dixie, pour more Brut and allow for photos.

My continued interest in photographing Bloggers photographing FOOD.

Finally tried Crawfish, but just couldn’t suck out its brains and found nearby flavors liver-ish.

Had ‘em with Corn Bread Muffins, Corn on the Cob, Smoked Sausage, Potatoes and Beignets.

The Memphis Crawfish Boil is currently available to you — Dig in and start crackin’.

Our table included writers of the New Santa Ana Blog, Greer’s OC, Wandering ChopsticksGourmet Pigs and Great Taste Magazine, and yielded several bowls of shells.

Overall, it was fun to commune over the Louisiana style meal, but don’t need a lot of Crawfish in my life.  Though entertaining, it’s messy work for diminutive meat.  We favored the juicy Smoked Sausage and fell for Memphis at the Santora, its building and peeps.  It’s cool.

Maggiano’s Little Italy: Marco’s Meal Deal Is The Tit-Tallys.

October 26th, 2011 No comments

Have you heard about Marco’s Meal For Two at Maggiano’s Little Italy?

It’s more like a meal for four than two, and it’s only $39.95 any day at Maggiano’s.

You choose any Appetizer, Two Classic Pastas and a Dessert (plus more later).

We opted for the Stuffed Mushrooms, Mom’s Lasagna Marinara, Baked Rigatoni Pomodoro and Tiramisu — All was generous in size and amazing to eat.  We’d go back again for the same.

And as if that’s not enough, you get to take home two additional Classic Pastas.

Further details are shown above — See MENU for Classic Pasta options.

Cheers to a wonderful Italian meal in Little Italy for dinner.

Two Take Home Classic Pastas, plus leftovers to enjoy a couple times after – A fine value.

The above was pegged an Oil & Vinegar Pac Man and post title includes a fictitious word inspired by another, who expressed Maggiano’s is ‘tops’ in three other letters after the t.

So many love Maggiano’s and I’m always reminded why — Fly me to the spoon and dish up.

Maggiano’s South Coast Plaza yesterday and take away Eggplant Parmesan today.

Traveling Taquiza: An Instant Taco Party Where Ever You Want It.

October 24th, 2011 No comments

Taquiza — Do you know what it is?  We’re calling it an Instant Taco Party.

Where do you want it?  In your backyard, at a park, or how about your office parking lot?

Went to a party last weekend and saw a small truck with an attached trailer park nearby.  Didn’t think much about it until it seamlessly turned into a full Taqueria in my friend’s backyard.

It was there Gallegos Taquiza cooked (and served) Chicken, Carne Asada and Carnitas for all.

That little truck and trailer brought all the meat and fixins’ for an Instant Taco Party.  If local, you may want to contact Gallegos Taquiza for your next party – Not sure of the cost, but they did a great job.  Or search Taquiza catering near you for good, fun party food.

Marco’s Meal For Two At Maggiano’s: Thanks To A Chicago Maitre D.

October 22nd, 2011 No comments

Can’t wait to get my hands on this spectacular deal at Maggiano’s — Enlarge for a better view.

Mushroom Ravioli al Forno above and a Gnocchi Special below at Maggiano’s Little Italy.

Marco’s Meal for Two is available every day – The pictured are from earlier days.

Time To Gather A Pumpkin To Carve And Ideas Too.

October 21st, 2011 No comments

A work in progress by Kids in the Kitchen — Some of the Best Carved Pumpkins are HERE.

McCormick & Schmick’s Supplemental Happy Hour Report: Go Monday.

October 20th, 2011 No comments

One of the Best Happy Hours in town is at McCormick & Schmick’s Pilsner Room in Irvine.  We’ve now tried almost everything on McCormick’s Happy Hour Menu and the $2.95 full size Cheeseburger and French Fries will always be a must.  It’s filling, cheap and tasty. 

We highlight it and supplement our previous post with Ceviche.  It’s good too, though not as delicious as Mary Sue Milliken’s Ceviche had a couple days prior, but enjoyable in its edible bowl for $4.95.  Their Happy Hour is generally between 4 – 7 PM.  This day we practically killed ourselves trying to make the 7PM cut-off, then learned that HH is all night during Monday Night Football.  Cool, we didn’t need to order everything at 6:55PM.  It seems that Monday is a good day for some things.

Dashed High Hopes: It’s Sad To See Any Restaurant Close.

October 19th, 2011 No comments

New or long-standing, all restaurants have high hopes.  It’s sad when one has to close, and more job loss isn’t good either.  I just walked by Marie Callender’s Restaurant & Bakery in Costa Mesa, an old faithful to many and learned it’s no mas – No more Soup for me there.  At least with this restaurant there are other locations to obtain whatever you’re going to miss.

Judges Pick, Popular Pick, All Ran Expectedly Well At The Cadillac Event.

October 18th, 2011 No comments

After the Irvine Spectrum, the Cadillac Culinary Challenge Test Drive Event drives on.

As reported, I was one of five Food Blogger Judges at Cadillac’s Irvine stop.

As one lucky Judge, I got to taste the dishes prepared by Mary Sue Milliken and Yvon Goetz.

The event’s sponsors also include Share Our Strength, Bon Appétit and Epicurious.

Samples were delivered to the first two rows of the audience — Get to the next event early.

Halfway through Mary Sue’s sample the Judges were informed they’re to receive larger samples than the audience.  Wow, okay.  I quickly finished the small sample of Ceviche to prepare for the larger sample.  Happiness, because it was perfectly tangy and spicy.

And then tried Chef Yvon Goetz dish, Chili Lime Rubbed Hawaiian Mahi Mahi (above). 

Both dishes were impressive and the Mad Hungry Woman wrote more about ‘em here.

Voting – Three of five Judges voted for Chef Yvon Goetz dish and two voted for Mary Sue’s.

Beautiful, fresh ingredients were used by both.

And the winner of this challenge was Chef Yvon Goetz.

I voted for Mary Sue’s Ceviche — It received the popular (audience) vote.  No losers here.

I like taking photos of other bloggers taking photos of FOOD.

Before, during and after the competition, some test drove Cadillacs — Love the Escalade.

What a terrific, well run event — Check the schedule to see if it’s heading towards you.

Can I just travel the country judging food competitions?  Thanks for the taste.

Knick Knack Cadillac Give Your Lucky Judge A Plate.

October 16th, 2011 No comments

The Cadillac Culinary Challenge Test Drive Event made a stop at the Irvine Spectrum.

Chef Mary Sue Milliken went head-to-head with local Chef Yvon Goetz of The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar.  Both prepared Fish and I luckily got to judge one of the competitions.

Guess who won?  One won the Judge’s vote and the other won the popular/audience vote.

All was nicely done as shown in this Guess Who Report — Back to Cadillac after we mack.

What Up Panama Joe’s – Hoochified By The Shark From Baja?!

October 16th, 2011 No comments

It’s Panama Joe’s in face only, but truly a Shark behind the awning, Baja Sharkeez that is.

It’s really not Panama Joe’s anymore, the local bar I liked most when living in Belmont Shore a lifetime ago.  We loved dancing to their live bands — Let’s go crash that party down in Normaltown tonight and we’ll go skinny dippin’ in the moonlight, the Deadbeat Club in PJ days.

PJ’s was a kick-back, fun neighborhood bar and restaurant where we had some times, and it’s now marketed as a party-down place with distracting TV overload.  BS is trying to be cool when PJ’s already was.  Everyone at BS seemed nice but… RIP the real Panama Joe’s.

Shannon’s Bayshore: Dive Bar Still Going Strong And Longer.

October 15th, 2011 No comments

Oh Belmont Shore I have a special place for thee — Hadn’t been back for some time.  Memory lane happened today with a stop at Shannon’s Bayshore for a Shoot the Root and game of pool.  A lot has changed and much remains the same on Second Street.  A good change for Bayshore is its longer bar that now stretches most the length of its narrow space. 

Shoot the Root — A Shot of Root Beer Schnapps dropped into a glass of Beer.

Tried The $2 And $4, But Not The $6 Or $8 On Denny’s Value Menu.

October 14th, 2011 No comments

I like the idea of the $2, $4, $6, $8 Menu at Denny’s and had to try something for $2.

Thumbs up on the $2 Biscuits and Gravy with Eggs — It beat other choices for lunch this day.

Also tried the Build Your Own Chicken Wrap for $4 — A fair amount of food, but no thanks.

And didn’t find anything irresistibly valuable under the $6 or $8 — Enlarge Menu to view.

Cadillac Culinary Challenge Test Drive Event: Next Stop Irvine Spectrum.

October 13th, 2011 No comments

This weekend the Cadillac Culinary Test Drive Challenge will be happening at the Irvine Spectrum CenterMary Sue Milliken of Border Grill Restaurant & Truck (among other accolades) will be competing against local famous Chef Yvon Goetz of The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar.  I hope to be there on Saturday (or Sunday) to help JUDGE one of the six presentations / challenges and possibly test drive an Escalade.  Good luck to both Chefs — See you there.

Smile It’s As Good As It Looks: La Espiga De Oro Panaderia.

October 12th, 2011 1 comment

Check it out — La Espiga De Oro Panaderia.  Remember what we said about it?  And the verdict is… It’s as great as it looks and relatively inexpensive for the quality and splendor.

All that’s pictured totaled $8.55 — Why not take a box of this to the office instead of Donuts?

There’s a lot more to choose from than what you see here.

This fine Panateria is off 19th and Placentia in Costa Mesa.  Have a nice day!

La Espiga De Oro Bakery Panaderia: Bienvenidos 19th Street Amigos.

October 11th, 2011 No comments

I’m gettin’ some asap, Mexican Sweet Bread (and Cookies) from La Espiga De Oro Bakery Panaderia and do believe I’m about to get hooked — I should’ve bought a few pieces when stumbling upon them the other day, but all seemed too busy to acknowledge the gringa.

Hhmmm, it’s okay – I studied the baked goods (in amazement) for a fair amount of time and can now be purposeful and confident when gettin’ my Panaderia on.  It all looked so faultless.

Unfortunately no pictures were taken inside La Espiga De Oro and the photos outside do it no justice.  The pictured Mexican Sweet Breads are borrowed from Texas Cooking.  Our soon to be obtained and photographed Panaderia will convey what I say one fine day.

Crow Burger Kitchen Fine Food + Beer (Now Open In Newport Beach).

October 10th, 2011 1 comment

We liked the Crow Burger Kitchen, whew.  Pre Nibbles of Tidbits we ate and drank at The Crow Bar and Kitchen in Corona Del Mar and haven’t been back.  Didn’t have the best experience at the time — Food was not as described and we didn’t like their touted Bloody Mary.  We like unique, but tasty too.  We had high hopes for their distinctive menu and may need to give it another try.  We’ll definitely go back to Crow Burger Kitchen for the Green Bean Fries.

It’s a limited menu at Crow Burger Kitchen — Mostly Burgers, matchless Fries and Beer.

We had the Cheeseburger Cheeseburger Cheeseburger, which includes Black Pepper Cheese, Cream Cheese and Goat Cheese.  It’s rich but good and comes on a Wheat English Muffin, but we opted for a Buttermilk Bun.  And a friend previously had the Green Label Burger, which was described as “excellent” – It’s 3 ounces larger than their other Burgers.

All Burger meat is fresh and ground in-house and we love the Fry Sauce selection.

And must also mention that the service at Crow Burger Kitchen was outstanding this day.  We will be sure to try The Crow Bar in CDM again, as they must be doing something right – We’ll just have to find and eat [it] next time.  Caw, caw.

Staples Center Food: Unsophisticated, Over-Priced And Dawdling.

October 9th, 2011 1 comment

Why must it take so long at the Staples Center to obtain food and drinks from a poor selection to later feel unsatisfied and ripped off.  Parking was time consuming and expensive enough.

The food was mediocre at above average prices and served with no sense of urgency.  Huh?

Thanks for the Keith Urban concert – Hardly know his songs, but he put on a good show, though he didn’t sing the one song I do know, love and was hoping to hear.  But For The Grace Of God go I.  Oh Lord I’d be lost but for it.  And a positive aspect about the venue…

We like the Dessert Cart at the Staples Center, though it may only be available to the Suites.

Does Ruby’s Corner The Market On Piers? It’s A Fine Corner.

October 8th, 2011 No comments

Sunset on the Oceanside Pier — These photos almost look like paintings.

We valued the beauty and freedom of our drive from Newport to Oceanside and back.

And hark another Ruby’s Diner at the end of a Pier — Not a bad corner, reliable and agreeable.

Peek Back In Time: Who Used These Vintage Kitchen Tools?

October 7th, 2011 No comments

I’m fascinated by old photographs and objects from days gone by and have often declared the following… I wish I could pick up an old or ancient object, close my eyes and step back in time to see it being used or displayed.  Perhaps the Whisk, Potato Ricer or Masher above?  It would be mind-blowing to instantly be transported to a place that once was, to silently observe the past life of an object you’re holding or seeing today.  I’d want to take it all in, though I might be leery to learn more about a few of the pictured items, yikes, hahaha, hhmmm. ;)

Aetna Healthy Food Fight And A Surprise Semi-Finalist In LA.

October 6th, 2011 No comments

Aetna wants you to join their Healthy Food Fight – FOOD Competitions are taking place at County Fairs and Festivals across the states.  Aetna is actively in search of the most nutritious and best tasting recipe.  All officially got cooking at the Los Angeles County Fair last week. 

Semi-finalists (48) in LA, Dallas, Atlanta and Philadelphia prepared/will prepare their recipe LIVE to hopefully be chosen ”the one” to represent their city at the final competition that’ll take place in New York in December. Anyway, look it up, I don’t need to know all that.  I’m interested because my childhood friend, Denise Davidson Coulombe was a Semi-finalist.

Denise is the one prominently featured throughout and she made Turkey Vegetable Soup.

She chose an apron, was assigned a stove top, collected her ingredients and got cooking.

Judges and LA County Fair goers stopped by to watch and ask questions.

Presentation to the Judges…

More Semi-finalists presenting dishes to the Judges and Bloggers — All did a great job.

Check out the Aetna Healthy Food Fight website to view Semi-finalists’ recipes.

Denise did famously, but another was picked to represent LA — The Aetna crew will resurface at the Texas State Fair October 15 – 16, 2011.  After our healthy competition was over, we shared Pink’s Chili Cheese Fries and a Chuckwagon Beef Brisket Sandwich, and did some wine tasting to celebrate healthiness and D’s win.  Her family is proud.  Cheers and congrats!