Archive for May, 2012

French Macarons By Nicole Lee Fine Chocolates: On Our ‘To Make List’.

May 31st, 2012 No comments

Until I attempt the process of making French Macarons, I enjoy testing the local best.

I haven’t found a French Macaron (around here) that I must have again, thus ordered a dozen from Nicole Lee Fine Chocolates, a company I learned about at the Los Angeles Luxury Chocolate Salon I helped judge last year — So far they are the best I’ve had.  Each unique taste combination is pleasantly identifiable within its respective, delicate, creamy, flavorful Cookie.  The preliminary favorites are Blackberry, Lychee Rose, Passion Fruit and Raspberry.

Next time we’ll try the Vanilla Olive Oil, Rum Raisin and Genmai Green Tea flavors, but can’t be ordering them too often, as they’re not cheap, especially combined with shipping.  To save money and experiment, French Macarons are on the ‘To Make List’ and when it happens I’ll start here, where there’s a collection of helpful tips and information about them.

The Opposite Side Of Obesity Dilemmas: Eat Something For Pete’s Sake.

May 30th, 2012 No comments

Is this ever YOU?  Hopefully the last photo isn’t.

Disco Party To Reminisce With Old Friends & New Kids: 45 Doesn’t Suck!

May 29th, 2012 2 comments

The ‘Dines’ Disco Den it was called — A family Disco Party to celebrate the 45th Birthday of a 20+ year old friend.  1970’s attire was requested of all and the food was caringly homemade.

How can you not have fun with Disco music playing throughout?  I can’t not dance.

Brian (above) is congratulated by Nora, his wife, the birthday girl and my groovy friend.

The Pasta dishes were inspired by their Spaghettini favorites and homemade by Brian.

I knew the Sauce was going to taste good when I saw it — Congratulations indeed.

A decorative Cheese Ball made by a fellow party-goer foodie fit in well with skillful flavor.

Kid’s tables on the backyard lawn — All were having fun.

Prize bowls filled with Zotz, Necco Wafers, Etch A Sketch, Whoopee Cushions, Trophies, etc.

Hoola Hoop Contests for kids (and adults) — It wasn’t boring.

Multi-talented Jacob announced games, handed out awards, disco’d down and hoola-hoop’d.

Definitely an entertaining way for all to spend a birthday, no matter what age — Why not?

Keeping 1970’s music, toys, candy and games alive, but it was hard to find clothes.

A special thanks to The Bee Gee’s, Donna Summer and Barry White (above)?!

Without The Sacrifice Of Our Veterans We Wouldn’t Be Free To BBQ.

May 28th, 2012 No comments

Our United States Veterans allow the rest of us to BBQ today — Never take that for granted.  Our sometimes Washington, DC Correspondent (dubbed by me), Steven Woo sent a report of a well spent day.  An excerpt is posted below with related photographs.  Thank you.

Attached are pix from the Wall.  The National Park Service routinely collects the artifacts but lets them accumulate on special occasions such as Memorial Day.  IMHO, the written words are the most-moving of the objects.  President Obama spoke at the Wall this afternoon; all the artifacts were cleared in advance of his visit.  Also included are pix of a Crab Feast at a friend’s house.  We spent the Sunday afternoon and evening hanging out, and didn’t make it to the National Memorial Day Concert — good thing because severe weather canceled the show half-way through.

Happy Memorial Day to all and God Bless America.

The Taste Of Orange County 5 Star Culinary Festival Is Coming Soon.

May 26th, 2012 No comments

The Taste of Orange County 5 Star Culinary Festival will be happening at the Verizon Amphitheater on June 16th and 17th.  Get your tickets now through OCSaverTime for a super deal, or visit the Taste of OC website for more information and tickets too.  See you there.

The Old Vine Café At The Camp: We Are Still Talking About It.

May 24th, 2012 No comments

WOW!  We had one of the best meals ever at the Old Vine Café at The Camp.

It’s a relatively small restaurant with airy, open indoor/outdoor seating.

We thoroughly enjoyed our patio seat and hope for the same one next time.

We like the Tasting Menus so much, we want to try them ALL.

There are 9 Tasting Menus to choose from, which are basically four course meals, with Wine paired with each course — The food portions and Wine pours are extremely generous too.

The Old Vine Café is stylish and its virtuoso menu is presented on painted canvas.

It was hard to decide, but we chose The Premium Tasting Menu and Savory Tasting Menu.  

TOAST between each course and if you fancy a Wine, take a bottle home.  We fell for the 2007 Von Hovel Riesling Spatlese, Mosel Saar Ruver Germany.  It was crisp and not too sweet.

The pictured are generally described — See Dinner Menu for complete (better) descriptions.

At top from first course down, we savored Large Shrimp with a Lemon Grass Curry Sauce.

And Seasonal Greens with Crispy Prosciutto, Fried Onions and Maytag Blue Cheese, a giant Hand Made Raviolo with Smoked Duck, Goat Cheese and Porcini Mushrooms in Brown Butter with Sage, and Prosciutto Wrapped Baby Artichokes with a Citrus Infused Olive Oil.

Char Grilled Lamb Chops with a Blueberry Malbec Demi Glace — The Sauce was magical.

Beef Tenderloin Stroganoff with Shitake Mushrooms served over Hand Made Fettuccini.

Artisan Cheese with Marcona Almonds and Fresh Fruit.

Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Cake — Cheers to that with Port.

All is set near tall pine trees, a CAMP fire, hammock and the largest wind chimes I’ve seen.

Mark McDonald is the Old Vine Café’s Chef and owner, and a true expert on Local Cuisine, where Orange County’s Best Restaurants are highlighted .  I’m also a listed expert and humbled to be named amongst others far more knowledge, especially after this meal.

It’s worth the sometimes parking hassles of The Camp — Once you’re there, it’s a delicious escape.  I love it, I love it, I love it, like a Joyologist, and should have my leg kicked up high.

Already ready for the next OVC Tasting Menu.

Eat Chow Part Deux: The Best Turkey Burger We Ever Had.

May 22nd, 2012 No comments

Part Deux on Eat Chow’s second location in Newport Beach — See our first report here.

A surprising thing happened at this gathering to celebrate the opening of Eat Chow II…

A few of us (especially me) think we had the best Turkey Burger ever (above), and I usually don’t care for them.  Eat Chow makes them with Shredded Lettuce, Tomato, Caramelized Onions, House Made Pickles and 1000 Island Dressing, and Cheddar Cheese on a Brioche Bun.

One cool server delivering Turkey Chili Cups to sample — Merci.

Truffle Parmesan Fries and Fried Green Tomatoes.

Media at this celebration to taste, photograph and tweet about the well crafted offerings.

Earlier posted photos are of the Spanish Style Roasted Chicken Salad and Curry Salmon Tacos.

Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding.

We’ll go back to Eat Chow for the Turkey Burger — Can’t believe I think that, but it’s true.

Zacks Jacks And Beach Boardwalk Snack Shacks: Some Stands Lack.

May 21st, 2012 No comments

Strips and Cheese aka Cheese Strips aka Beach Strips in Huntington Beach are sought after by generations.  I remember having them when I was Chef Lexi’s age and it’s brilliant to see they haven’t changed — You can’t say that about many things.  We’re glad they’re still around.

Look for Strips at Zacks or Jacks (not Babes in the distance below).  Although Babes are the more colorful snack shacks, they lack in service, selection and quality.  I give thumbs down to their freezer-burned Rootbeer Float in hand, while still smiling because it’s a beautiful day.

We say skip Babes and park your bike at Zacks and/or Jacks.

Grandpa Tell Me ‘Bout The Good Old Days: Beef Cut Reference Chart.

May 20th, 2012 No comments


I still have questions for my Grandpa, especially these days, and sure wish he was around to ask them.  He was a Butcher for decades and a very special man.  He lived past 90, so I’m thankful for that, but now must post the above chart for future Beef cut reference.  Boo. Moo.

Enlarge chart for a better view — Do you know your Beef?

We Heart Food, Color And Life: To Be (Or Not To Be) Next In A Series.

May 19th, 2012 No comments

Considering the next color to be featured in our Food Coloring Series.  Perhaps 50 shades of GRAY?  We’ve previously highlighted orangepurple, yellow, green, blue, red, white, black, brown and pink.  What color should be next?  Gold is valuable.  Rust isn’t.  Silver?  That’s gray.

By The Hip, Passionate & Friendly: Do You Know This Eat Chow Too?

May 18th, 2012 No comments

Eat Chow — Did you know there are two?  Another one recently opened in Newport Beach.

This is just a peek at a couple of the notable dishes we had there.

More soon to come to this blog in front of you.  Thank you Eat Chow — You’re cool peeps.

Come back after a libation to learn more about the above — It’ll be posted above it.

Ka Shabu Asian Fondue: Shabu Shabu Style Dining Near The Beach.

May 16th, 2012 No comments

At Ka Shabu, YOU are the Chef — Make your own Japanese Hot Pot / Soup.

Choose a Meat, Fish or Vegetable, or a combination of all.

Each seat has its own cooking station to create the Soup Base of your dreams.

Entrees include Rice, Vegetables and Soup Base, as pointed out by the chipped-polish server.

Add Green Onions, Garlic and Daikon Radish for texture, and Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil and whatever else you fancy.  I added much of the Ponzu Sauce that’s also served with the meal.

Kanpai Tomodachi.

YOU grind Sesame Seeds to help prepare a Sesame Peanut Sauce.

I had the Beef Filet and others had the Chicken, Shrimp and Vegetables.

The Chicken looked like Hamachi, which I’d prefer, though it’s not served here.

It’s an engaging experience and my Soup Base turned out pretty darn tasty.

Ka Shabu — The fantastic smell of Garlic boiling in Soup pots hits you when you walk in.

Extra Extra (Not): Sourdough Recognition Genes May Shrink.

May 15th, 2012 No comments

Regretfully I don’t even taste the Sourdough in this Bread, let alone the “Extra” Sourdough.  What’s up with that?  Have you also noticed that about many so-called Sourdough Breads?

The Park Bench Cafe Off Goldenwest: It’s For The Dogs (And You).

May 14th, 2012 No comments

The Park Bench Cafe — An outdoor Cafe in Huntington Beach that caters to dogs and people.

A serene place for Breakfast or Lunch — Dogs are treated to Canine Cuisine and people pay.

We had the Club House Sandwich pictured at top and the Supreme Melt below.

And Leon had the Peanut Butter Puppy.

Water is available for the Dogs.

And the surrounding park and lake are picturesque for all.

The French Fries are extra good.

Back view of The Park Bench Cafe and its outdoor seating.

And view from car, before backing out to head for nearby dog beach to soak in the sun.

Dog day afternoon without a bank robbery — I see why it always looks busy when I drive by.

Happy Mother’s Day To All You Muthas From Nibbles Of Tidbits.

May 13th, 2012 No comments

Chicken samples from the backyard grill on Mother’s Day — Anticipated and appreciated.

Bouquets of flowers and fruit flourish.

Tortilla Roll Ups with Smoked Turkey, Ham, Peppers, Cream Cheese, Chives and more.

Specific recipe for above to be posted soon — A past similar recipe is linked here.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom!  Thanks for ALL you’ve done and who you are.

I’m blessed and lucky.

Huevos Con (Yet Another Salsa): Rapido, Easy And Always Satisfying.

May 12th, 2012 No comments

It’s worth repeating and repeating and repeating, because it’s fast and easy to make, and always tastes good with a side of Sour Cream and Tortilla Chips, if on hand — Eggs hard or soft cooked in any fresh, jarred or canned Salsa is a favorite Breakfast for Dinner meal here.

Catch The Sushi Wave: A Rainbow Connection With Nothing To Hide.

May 11th, 2012 No comments

The lovers, the dreamers and me at Sushi Wave for a lunch escape, next door to Radio Shack.

A (blurry) vision, but not an illusion — It’s a House Salad and Rainbow Roll at Sushi Wave.

Delight on a whim — Past ready for lunch, I stepped away from the audio/video connector’s world for a peaceful, fresh, satisfying bite.  Don’t let this option hide from you on Newport Blvd.

Title and word play inspired by a favorite songwriter and the pictured Rainbow Roll.

Share Our Strength’s Taste Of The Nation At Montage Laguna Beach.

May 10th, 2012 No comments

Invited by a friend for my birthday, I’ll gladly be attending and reporting about the farm to table gourmet tastes prepared by celebrity chefs at Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation at Montage Laguna.  I’m ready to sip on wine, watch the sun set over the ocean, listen to live music, and bid on “fabulous” auction items to help end childhood hunger.  Eat so all may eat.

Pictured ingredients are from another Share Our Strength event — See you in Laguna.

The Best Things In Life Are Free, But You Can Give ‘Em To… Me Please.

May 9th, 2012 No comments

Truly free BC, or from a public garden today, as we must pay for property space to produce.

Grow your own food, FISH and pick fresh Herbs from communal locales along the way.  

While on a walk, look for Rosemary, Mint, Basil, Lemon, Lime and Orange trees and bushes offering Fruit and Herbs.  You’ll be surprised how many you see, especially those named here.  We appreciate ALL that grows and yields nourishment for life.  Air is the best of the free!

The Fair Is More Fun (And Costs Less) When You Enter A Competition.

May 8th, 2012 No comments

NOW is the window of time to enter a Competition at the Orange County Fair.

Did you know it costs less to enter a Fair Competition than it does to get in the Fair?

When you enter a Competition, you receive a Fair admission ticket — Enter here.

Do your Tomatoes look better than previous winners (above)?  If so, enter the Garden & Floral Competition.  Have you taken a dazzling photograph or do you paint?  Yes?  Enter the Visual Arts Competition.  Or view the complete list — There has to be a Competition for you.

Bottle Beer or Wine, can Jams or Pickles, or bake?  Enter the Tasty Creations Competition.

More Competition INFO can be read here and the specifics regarding all Culinary Competitions are linked here.  Enter most contests in May and June, and Single Day Contests (in person competitions, shown below) now or after the Fair opens.  See schedule here.  Good luck!

Don’t miss the sign up deadline(s) — You might just win.

Desperado Food Angles & Nostalgia With New Eyes On A Discovery Day.

May 7th, 2012 No comments

Partly titled desperado, because I didn’t capture what I set out to feature from an exploratory visit to the Natural History Museum, Page Museum at La Brea Tar Pits and California Science Center — Yet still piece together far reaching, less spectacular photo remnants, with no complaints about an awe-inspiring day that held the past, present and future in many ways.

Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Can is an obvious food angle, but how about above?  Do you see the Claussen’s Pickle Jar holding the Paleontologist tools?  That’s it, and I like the photo.

Lions eating Zebra, not pretty, but interesting to see in a museum.

Ostrich Eggs — Ever had one?  I haven’t and hear one roughly equals a dozen Eggs.

We had Fish Tacos from The Surfer Taco, a Food Truck lined up with others near the La Brea Tar Pits.  The extra food options came in handy before continuing our museum day and drive back to Orange County, along the coast with more discovery stops along the way.

Ever eat Walrus?  We’re going to pass on that one, and hope those below wouldn’t eat us.

Showering Babies On Cinco De Mayo: Cadillac Milk On The Rocks?

May 5th, 2012 No comments

A bib for the baby?  Here you go — Happy Cinco De Mayo!  It’s now on to La Espiga De Oro.

And we might want a big, fat, wet Burrito don’t you know.

Or we’ll make Nibbles of Tidbits’ Chipotle Barbacoa Beef Copycat Recipe?!

Or opt for Chinese take-out to avoid crowds and labor — TBD after the Cadillac.

Much to possibly do — Salud to a new Superman too!  Milk is good food.

A Season Of Foodie Events To Inaugurate The Golden Foodie Awards.

May 3rd, 2012 No comments

Nibbles of Tidbits hopes to be at The OC’s “Golden Foodie Awards” and looks forward to a Summer of foodie events leading up to it.  We hope to be everywhere that’s happening to report about it — Please see the press release below:

Orange County Welcomes the Inaugural Golden Foodie Awards September 30
A Season of Local Foodie Events Lead Up to the Glamorous Culinary Awards Show
Orange County is pleased to present the 2012 Golden Foodie Awards. The inaugural red carpet culinary awards show will celebrate the best in local food, restaurants and chefs. The Golden Foodie Awards season will launch in June with a calendar of special foodie events at restaurants and venues throughout the county leading up to the main Awards night gala on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at The Fairmont Newport Beach. “Food unites us all,” comments Pamela Waitt, Creator of the Golden Foodie Awards and President of the OC Restaurant Association. “So we wanted to honor that unity with a season long grand celebration of everything culinary.”
Honoring food, passion and glamour, the Golden Foodie Awards will recognize culinary excellence in 30 categories. 6 Best Restaurant Categories will include Best Mexican, Italian, Seafood, Sushi, Indian and Vegetarian. 4 Cuisine Categories span Best French, Asian, Mediterranean, Californian and American. 8 Best Specialty Menu Item Awards will be honored in the Categories of Best Steak, Burger, Pizza, Taco, Dessert, Wine List and Beer Menu. 11 Additional Special Award Categories will honor, Excellence in Service, Best Chef, Pastry Chef, Food Truck, Happy Hour, Mixologist, Cocktail, Food Writer or Blog, Restaurant Design, Restaurant Branding and Student Competition Category the Next Best Chef Presented by The Art Institute of California, Orange County.
Award category nominees are selected by public votes. Foodie fans can vote for their favorite chef, restaurant and dish online at beginning July 1st through September 1st. Foodies can also vote via Smartphone by downloading the free Golden Foodie Awards app courtesy of Iconosys from the website.
During the nominee-voting season, “The Golden Dine Out” will take place August 5th through 31st. Orange County restaurants in each Award Category will be participating in the month long dining event, creating specialty “Golden Dine Out” menus at affordable prices to encourage the public to enjoy a meal out and vote for their favorite restaurant in the Golden Foodie Awards. The list of restaurants participating in The Golden Dine Out will be available at
3 final nominees in the various Golden Foodie Award Categories will be announced weekly online at during Golden Dine Out month. The Golden Foodie Awards Guild will select the final winners of the Categories… Excellence in Service, Best Chef and Pastry Chef. The public will select the winners in all other Award Categories. The Guild is comprised of respected star restaurant and industry professionals.
Advance tickets to the Golden Foodie Awards event on September 30th are $150 and will go on sale July 1st. August 1st ticket prices will increase to $250. At the event, a red carpet arrival leads guests to interactive culinary stations presenting an overwhelming array of the best in food and cocktails covering the savory, sour, salty, sips, sweets and sexy sensory. Then guests will be seated for more specialty desserts and libations while enjoying the Awards Ceremony intermixed with live music and entertainment throughout the evening.
Stay connected with the Golden Foodie Awards through the exciting season of food, community and culture to stay up to date on the participating restaurants, nominees, announcements and fabulous culinary events.