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Archive for June, 2012

What’s Cooking At The Orange County Fair This Year? What’s Not?!

June 29th, 2012 No comments

It’s almost time for the Orange County Fair again and there will be much NEW to report – Until then, you may learn about the food related happenings here from the OC Fair & Event Center Press Release (below), combined with snapshots of past OC Fair visits.  What’s cooking…

Hungry? Get a Taste of “Home Sweet Home” at the 2012 OC Fair — Enjoy Deep-Fried Classics, New Creations and Food Exhibits, Cooking Demonstrations and Contests

The theme of the 2012 OC Fair (July 13-August 12) is “Home Sweet Home” and this year the Fair is not skimping on the “sweet.” Whether Fairgoers want to learn about food, watch the pros prepare it or just want to enjoy some tasty treats, the OC Fair delivers something for everyone. Here is a mouthwatering preview of what the 2012 OC Fair is cooking up this year:

  • Chicken Charlie: If you like your food deep-fried, battered and on a stick, the 2012 Fair is the place for you. This year, Fair-favorite Chicken Charlie is taking fried food to the next level by deep frying cereal, peanut butter and jelly, spam, pineapple and more.
  • Need a Bacon Fix?: At the new Bacon A-Fair, choose from bacon-wrapped turkey legs, deep-fried beer-battered bacon-wrapped hot dogs or the Smokey Porkabello, a bacon-wrapped mushroom with smoked Gouda.
  • Take a Ride on the Pineapple Express: Not into the deep-fried thing? Then float on over to the new Pineapple Express (courtesy of Chicken Charlie) which features cored out pineapples filled with shrimp cocktail, fruit and grilled shrimp or chicken and more.
  • The Big Rib: Calling all carnivores! Looking to feed your wild side? Come to Biggy’s Meat Market for The Big Rib, a two-pound beef rib on a 17-inch bone, with your choice of homemade sauce. Can’t finish it all? Not to worry! Biggy’s provides an 18-inch Big Rib Doggy Bone bag—once the meat is devoured, take the bone home to your pooch.
  • $2 Taste of Fair Food: Every Friday from Noon-4 p.m., Fairgoers can sample the best the Fair has to offer for only $2 each. Fun-sized samples include funnel cake, BBQ tri-tip, lemonade, cinnamon rolls, corn dogs, tacos, gelato, cotton candy and more.
  • Celebrity Chefs: The 2012 OC Fair presents two shows in The Hangar featuring dynamic celebrity chefs demonstrating their culinary talents. Scheduled appearances include the Food Network’s Robert Irvine (July 26, 1 p.m.) and Bravo’s “Top Chef” fan-favorite Fabio Viviani (August 2, 1 p.m.). Free with Fair admission.
  • Food Truck Fare at the OC Fair: Find gourmet fare within the Fair as the popular Food Truck Fare continues inside Fair gates, offering food truck cuisine every Thursday from Noon-10 p.m. Access is free with Fair admission and prices vary per truck.
  • OC Fair Chowdown: Watch the best of the best face-off for culinary glory in a series of live cooking challenges. On July 19 and 28, see food truck chefs go head-to-head in competition as they put their delicacies to the test. On August 2 and 9, see Orange County amateur home cooks test their skills against professional chefs. Winners will receive bragging rights and an award to commemorate their culinary victory. Viewing is free with Fair admission.
  • Contests and Competitions: Whether you’re good at cooking or eating, the OC Fair is just the place to bring out your competitive side. Daily, free eating contests are held for children in the Fun Zone Tent at 6:30 p.m. (Registration is 30 minutes before each contest) and Knott’s Berry Farm hosts a pie-eating contest for all-ages at 7 p.m. in the Exhibit Promenade (Registration starts at 6:30 p.m.) Each Saturday, Fairgoers have the chance to compete in the Culinary Arts Special Contests, which are judged live at the Fair for the best cookies, cupcakes, chili and hometown dish (Online entry registration is the Wednesday before each contest. Visit ocfair.com/competitions for information and to register).
  • Chocolate Unwrapped: This new exhibit in the Exhibit Promenade puts the “sweet” in “Home Sweet Home.” Come learn how chocolate is made, from the bean to the bar. Complete with demonstrations by Xan Confections.
  • Centennial Farm: Come learn where food comes from on this year-round, four-acre demonstration farm featuring educational exhibits, agricultural organizations, growing crops, livestock and the fruit & vegetable competitive entries with the biggest lemons, most unusually shaped vegetables and best home-grown pumpkins Orange County has to offer.

The 2012 OC Fair, themed Home Sweet Home, is July 13 – August 12 and will bring 23 days of food, rides, exhibits, animals, music, action sports and fun, as well as the Super Pass, Toyota Summer Concert Series at the Pacific Amphitheatre, The Hangar and Action Sports Arena. The Fair is open Wednesday-Sunday. Concert tickets, action sports reserved seats, single-day general admission and the popular Super Pass are available for purchase online at ticketmaster.com or from the on-site Box Office. [Photo: Replica of Table Setting Competition]

The OC Fair & Event Center is located off the 405 and 55 freeways at 88 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa. For more information, please visit ocfair.com, become a fan at Facebook.com/OCFair or follow us at twitter.com/ocfair. Also, look for the free OC Fair iPhone and Android apps this summer. Get excited for the 2012 Fair! Watch our new commercial on YouTube.

See you there — Nibbles of Tidbits and Kids in the Kitchen love the OC Fair!

Pizzeria Ortica Family Style Communal Dinner With Old Friends And New.

June 27th, 2012 No comments

It was a pleasure to see you here at this communal table at Pizzeria Ortica.

Pizzeria Ortica is set to launch a new round of three-course Italian family style dinners.

The restaurant occupies the old Turner New Zealand spot and I love its East Coast feel.

Our food appreciative group felt like family after sharing Verdure and Panzanella.

Also known as Grilled Zucchini, Cippolini Agro Dolce, Roasted Green Beans and Marinated Eggplant, and Baby Heirloom Tomatoes, Cucumber, Green Onions and Basil with Rustic Bread.

Mint Salsa Verde, Roasted Rosemary Potatoes, Peas and Cippolini — Yum.

Roasted Nectarines with Mascarpone Cheese and more I’m not sure about, but it was good.

We’re always looking for a tasty outdoor patio too – Pizzeria Ortica goes on that list.

Blurry I know, but I like its sentiment — Sharing a Brown Butter and Hazelnut Torte.  Grazie.

Update:  Upcoming dinner dates for the Italian family style dinners are July 31st, August 28th, September 25th, October 30th and November 27th.

You Ain’t Nothing But A Horehound Teasing All The Time.

June 26th, 2012 No comments

Don’t knock the Horehound Drops, they’ve got history — Today they’re mostly spotted in old fashioned candy shops.  Look… Horehound Drops, hahaha.  I’ll have you know that it was my Great Grandmother’s favorite candy and will forever remind me of her.  I love seeing them.  Aside from that, others appreciate its purported health benefits.  Though an early valued herb, mysteries about the Horehound are still being uncovered.  What’s that slutty dog up to?

Things You Might See & Taste At A Greek Food Festival.

June 25th, 2012 No comments

What we tried at the Taste of Greece Festival — Saganaki with Gyro was our favorite.

Our experience started with a ride on the 11-Special Shuttle, with a bubble blowing driver.

Grilled Lamb Chops — We appreciate having many.

Keftethes, Souvlaki and Greek Seasoned Fries — The Fries were surprisingly excellent.

Making more Saganaki, fried Cheese flamed with Brandy.

A close call during the flaming of the Brandy.

The Gyro Meat was lean and flavorful.

Chicago Brand — I may need to buy a package of the pictured Cooked Gyros Slices.

Rising Dough for Loukoumathes.

Greek Doughnuts covered with Honey and Cinnamon.

Greek Pastries to go — Sure wish I had some Theples now.

St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church Sanctuary is grand and beautiful.

Peaceful pieces of Greece were much appreciated this day.

Taste Of Greece Festival: Three Days Of Food, Wine, Music & Dance.

June 22nd, 2012 2 comments

Take me away — If no one does, the above photo will.  Since we all can’t travel to Greece on a whim, we’re going to Orange County’s 34th Annual Taste of Greece Festival for the 1st time.

We’re set to discover all that’s described below — Wrap us up in a Pita, we’ll take it. Opa!

Orange County’s 34th annual “A Taste of Greece” festival will be held on June 22-24 at St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church (4949 Alton Parkway, between Culver Drive and Jeffrey Road, Irvine, CA 92604). More than 11,000 guests are expected to attend the three-day festival, which will feature traditional Greek cuisine, wine tasting, live music, authentic Greek dancing with lessons and boutique booths reminiscent of the Plaka, a well-known picturesque historical neighborhood of Athens.

Festival hours are 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, June 22; noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday, June 23; and noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday, June 24. Festival admission is just $3 per person with free admission on Saturday, June 23 from noon – 5 p.m. for seniors older than 65 years. Children under the age of 10 are admitted free throughout the three-day festival. Free festival parking will also be available, with complimentary shuttle buses transporting guests from public parking sites in Irvine.

Greek cuisine and hospitality will be the focal points as the festival will feature authentic recipes for traditional Greek dishes, delicious pastries and a variety of beverages, highlighted with a wine “Taverna,” offering Greek wine and beer. The traditional Greek menu will include Chicken, Lamb Chops, Greek French Fries, Gyros, Pastichio (Greek lasagna), Loucanico (Greek sausage), Spanakopita (spinach and feta pie), Dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves), Saganaki (Greek brandy-flamed cheese), Loukoumathes (Greek doughnut holes), Greek Salad, Calamari and more. There will also be a Greek coffeehouse set up to serve Greek and American coffee drinks in a traditional Plaka setting with Greek dance lessons offered free to all. The Philoptochos, the church’s philanthropic group, will bake around the clock during the weeks leading up to the festival to prepare traditional Baklava and other exquisite pastries.

“As Orange County’s largest Greek Orthodox congregation, we are delighted to host a festival that offers an opportunity for the community to experience authentic Greek dining, wine, music, dancing and entertainment,” said Father Steven Tsichlis, St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Priest. “This year’s festival, our 34th annual, will offer something for everyone with a variety of Greek-themed activities.”

A family-friendly affair, the festival will be lined with boutique shops, a variety of games and a full-scale carnival. Event attendees can also enter an opportunity drawing for the chance to win cash prizes.

For more information on the “A Taste of Greece” festival, please visit www.IrvineGreekFest.com

From New Orleans To San Clemente: Iva Lee’s Restaurant & Catering.

June 21st, 2012 1 comment

Iva Lee’s Restaurant is a Southern Dinner House in San Clemente (and more).

It’s charming, welcoming and hometown, and an all around nice place to hang out.

It’s co-owned by a husband and wife team, whose grandmother was Iva Lee.

Most of the food pictured here is from their Catering Menu – All was served during Iva Lee’s Restaurant’s Ten Year Anniversary celebration.  Fried Green Tomatoes with Sonoma Goat Cheese Crème (below) are popular.  All Hors D’ Oeuvres were stirringly first-rate.

The restaurant’s interior is sexy and quaint.

Live Blues and Jazz play in a modest and stylish, relaxed Bar.

See Iva Lee’s website for food, entertainment and catering specifics — We just enjoy it.

Signature Cocktails on the patio on a Sunday afternoon in the Summer time.

Cheers to one of the best days ever — Behind the scenes, complimented with Iva Lee fare.

There Is A Way To Get Back Homeward: Golden Bread Fills Your Eyes.

June 20th, 2012 No comments

French smiles await you when you rise — Pandor Artisan Boulangerie and Café is open.

Its offerings are French to the Bread bone – Breakfast, Savories, Salads, Paninis and more.

And seemingly endless exquisite Desserts.

Once there was a way to get back home — Its owners want to bring France to the OC.

Food Media relished the taste of Pandor’s long journey to Newport Beach.

It’s where/when I learned how special the food and all that’s behind it actually is.

Our photos don’t do it justice — The Sandwiches and Salads are filled with sophisticated flavor.

I loved the Habano Sandwich, Grilled Vegetable Panini and Baby Spinach Turkey Salad.

Pandor means Golden Bread and each is made with loving French care.

Our hope is to try everything pictured here and more.  It’s an exceptional place.

I left the taste-transport feeling French with Baguettes in hand. 

Then we had our own private Idaho, a Bread Sampling Party.

Life is beautiful — Bonne Chance Amis.

Food & Court Reporting Collide With A Chopped Guacamole Challenge.

June 19th, 2012 No comments

It’s a Holy Moly Guacamole Chopped Challenge — Ingredient options are on the table.

My food and legal worlds (again) collide at a Sarnoff, Veritext Company Fiesta.

Sarnoff knows how to throw a party — Contestants (Lawyers, Paralegals & Secretaries) suit up in aprons and sombreros to make the Best Guacamole possible within 2 minutes.  Go!

Scrambling for choice ingredients — Limes, Cilantro, Onion, Chili Peppers, Hot Sauce, etc.

Time is up — Bring your Guacamole to the table.

What would you put in your Guacamole?  And what would you call it?

Contestants had to title their Guacamole and present it to the Judges.

And the winner is… this guy (below).  Congratulations.

For extra caution, the Avocados were cut, halved and seeded pre-challenge.

A Mariachi Band played.

Tacos were served.

And they were just okay — Taco Cart and shirt names withheld.  The Asada was too gristly.

Endless Churros and Virgin Margaritas were there for the taking.

A Chopped Challenge is a fun, interactive activity for an above average office party.

Taste Of Orange County: A Smooth Landing After Some Turbulence.

June 17th, 2012 5 comments

The Taste of Orange County didn’t start off pretty – Long lines, slow processing and network glitches frustrated a lot of people including us, but we hung in there to eventually enjoy a sunny day filled with appetizing food, cooking demonstrations, artwork and live bands.

FOOD commenced with a Spicy Lobster Shrimp Grinder (at top) from SlapFish.

And the fare continued all day with specialties from several local high-quality restaurants, including Tamarind of London, which offered a nice seating area too, as did a few others.

Though not pictured, Mastro’s Steakhouse presented one of the best lounge areas.

The hip set-up paired well with Mastro’s Steak and Lobster Mashed Potatoes (above).

A few favorites came from Red Table.

We loved the Yuzu Crab Ceviche Tacos and Braised Beef Short Ribs.

We meant to go back for Red Table’s Broken Banana Cream Pie after savory, but forgot.

Spicy, tender, flavorful Chicken from Clay Oven.

Haven GastroPub served up Crab Rolls (above) and Fried Pigs Ears (below).

Pig’s Ears were another first – The pictured were sweet, spicy, crispy and tasty.

Short Rib and Crab-related offerings seemed to be popular, an agreeable thing.

The grilling meat reminded us of the upcoming Orange County Fair.

Chef Demo Host, Chef Jamie Gwen and Executive Chef Rob Wilson from the Montage Laguna Beach show ‘Easy Luxury Hors d’oeuvres Tricks & Tips’ with audience member volunteers.

Great OC Farm-To-Table Dinner, an extra cost but valuable – 7 Courses by 9 Top Chefs.

The Ultimate Stones cover band – They were good and almost as old as the originals.

Thanks for the Cupcakes — Media break under a tree with a glass of Wine.

We’re glad we stayed for all.

The Taste Of Orange County Is Literally And Virtually Happening Now.

June 16th, 2012 3 comments

Many will be at Verizon Amphitheater this weekend tasting Orange County’s best.  We’ll be there Saturday to see what’s up — And plan to bring it virtually @FoodBlog on Twitter.

Iva Lee’s Restaurant: A Southern Dinner House Near A Western Beach.

June 15th, 2012 No comments

Too much living (not complaining) with much reporting to do.  Until the full story is posted, we wish Iva Lee’s Southern Dinner House a Happy Ten Year Anniversary and many more to come.  We celebrated with them in San Clemente and all aspects about it were delightful.

Sweet Potato Fries in Bamboo Cones with Red Eye Aioli hidden in the tip, a fitting preview.

Pandor Artisan Boulangerie & Café De Provence Opening Soon.

June 13th, 2012 No comments

A true French experience will be waiting for you at Pandor Artisan Boulangerie & Café.

It’s about to open at Westcliff Plaza in Newport Beach and we got a spectacular preview.

And this is your foretaste in photos — More will soon follow with an expanded report.

Merci to Pandor Artisan Boulangerie & Café for now.

Opening June 2012 and possibly this week – It’s top to bottom French deliciousness.

Junior Mints, Chocolate Babka, Muffin Tops, Jujyfruits And Soup For You.

June 12th, 2012 1 comment

Seinfeld — It’s one of the Best Snacks on television, as it serves up re-runs that still satisfy.

Dare to order Soup?  Forget about it George.

Is This Food Fast Enough To Escape Mayor Bloomberg? Run Soda Run.

June 11th, 2012 No comments

Each is responsible for him/herself — Government need not mandate how much one can eat or drink, drugs and alcohol aside. There are more important issues to tackle.  Mayor Bloomberg’s latest proposal is simply ridiculous on quite a few levels, but since Nibbles of Tidbits is a food blog and not a political blog, I’ll move on.  Run Soda run, and Hot Dog, you’d better hide.

Note: This is a variation of a pre-published report, posted again to assess technical issues.

Mexican Food Con Amigas Near The Playa: Life Esta Bien.

June 7th, 2012 No comments

Mexican Food with friends is one of the best things in life.

Avila’s El Ranchito in Huntington Beach is where we were today — It’s an open indoor/outdoor space, perfect for Main Street and a few blocks from the pier.  Stop in for lunch after surfing.

My camera often freaks out at night, which bestows a vintage haze in photos, to put it nicely.

Apologies for substandard photos of their Grande Taco Salad, Chingolingas and Mama Avila’s Famous Chicken Soup, an El Ranchito favorite.  All looked and tasted better than viewed here.

And a pitcher of Margaritas for the Senoritas.

Gracias dearest amigas for another birthday dinner for me — We’re all blessed and lucky.

Birthday Food Freebies List: How Many Stops Can You Map Out?

June 6th, 2012 No comments

Much work went into the preparation of this list — The Birthday (Food) Freebies List.  It’s a notable compilation, though we have not verified all.  Do you know the restaurants?  We’re familiar with most of them.  How many stops can you schedule on your birthday?  It might be fun to make an entire day of it.  We’ll surely document it when it happens.  I know a few birthdays coming up.  Anyone game?  More birthday freebies are listed here, here and here.

 Restaurant: Birthday Gift Freebie: 
Abuelo’s Free dessert.
Acapulco Free entree.
Amato’s Sandwich Shop Free large Amato’s original 9″ cheese pizza or a cheese pazzo bread.
Applebee’s Signup form claims a free dessert.
Arby’s Free 12oz. milkshake with any purchase.
Atlanta Bread Company Free cookie.
Au Bon Pain Free sandwich or salad.
Auntie Anne’s Pretzels Free BOGO coupon for any pretzel item.
Bakers Square Free slice of pie with any adult entree purchase.
Baskin Robbins Free 2.5 oz scoop of ice cream or a swirl of soft serve.
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Free dessert with the purchase of any entree.
Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream You become a Chunk Spelunker and get a free scoop of ice cream plus $3 off an ice cream cake!
Benihana’s Japanese Restaurant $30 gift certificate.
bd’s Mongolian Grill Free stir-fry meal.
Biggby Coffee A snail mailed coupon for a free grande beverage.
BJ’s Restaurants Free Pizookie dessert (otherwise known as a delicious dessert).
Black Angus Steakhouse Free BOGO steak dinner, up to $19.99.
Black Dear Diner Free dessert with any food purchase.
Boston Market Free individual dessert with purchase of any create your plate meal.
Boston’s The Gourmet Pizza Free flatbread.
Bonanza Steakhouse BOGO coupon for one free steak or buffet.
Brio Tuscan Grille Free filet and crab shrimp cake.
Bruegger’s Free cookie and an e-mail with a goofy looking mascot.
Bruster’s Free BOGO coupon for a waffle cone.
Buca di Beppo Free small appetizer for groups up to 5. Free large appetizer for groups of 6 or more.
Buffalo Wild Wings Free dessert.
Captain D’s Your choice of a 2 piece fish dinner, fish & shrimp dinner, or season tilapia dinner.
Caribou Coffee Free medium drink.
Carrabba’s Italian Grill Free dessert with purchase of an entree.
Carrows Free dessert.
Chevys Free entree.
Chick-fil-A  TBD
Chili’s Free brownie sundae.
Coldstone Creamery  TBD
Country Buffet $3 off a regular adult dinner.
Country Kitchen Free dinner entree up to $8 in value with valid ID.
Culver’s Free one-scoop sundae.
Dairy Queen One BOGO coupon for a free mini, small or medium blizzard.
Daphne’s Greek Cafe Free entree. They also promise the meal will be delicious.
Del Taco Free premium milkshake.
Denny’s (L/U)
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit BOGO coupon for one free BBQ sandwich.
Dippin’ Dots Free small cup of Dippin’ Dots.
Don Pablos $10 gift certificate.
Einstein Bros Bagels Free breakfast sandwich when you buy any drink.
El Chicos Free fried ice cream.
El Torito Free entree.
Famous Dave’s Barbeque Free dessert with the purchase of an entree.
Fazoli’s Free dessert.
Firehouse Subs Free medium celebratory sub with valid ID.
Flat Top Grill Free stir fry, however they’re planning on changing this to a $5 off coupon.
Fox and Hound Free BOGO coupon for any entree.
Friendly’s Free single cone with any Friendly’s purchase.
Fuddruckers Free 1/3 lb. burger with the purchase of another Fudd’s entree.
Genghis Grill Free birthday bowl.
Glory Days Grill Free Oreo sliders.
Gold Star Chili Free meal.
Gordon Biersch Free BOGO coupon for an entree.
Great American Cookies Free cookie cake slice with the purchase of a regular soda. Because nothing goes with a cookie like sugar water.
Hometown Buffet Free BOGO adult dinner buffet.
Hooters 10 free wings.
Houlihan’s Free menu item up to $15.
HuHot Mongolian Grill Free grill meal.
IHOP Free Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity breakfast. In English, that means two eggs, 2 bacon strips, 2 sausage links, and two pancakes.
Jack in the Box Free dessert with a valid ID and the printable coupon.
Jason’s Deli $5 off any item.
Jersey Mike’s Free regular sub and 22 oz. fountain drink.
Joe’s Crab Shack Free appetizer.
Johnny Rockets Free hamburger with the purchase of any entree and drink. So basically a BOGO.
Juice It Up Free BOGO 24 oz. smoothie.
Keg Steakhouse and Bar Free 10 oz. Prime Rib classic dinner and caesar salad for US visitors only and you must sign up a month in advance.
Keva Juice Free 24 oz. regular blend smoothie.
Krispy Kreme Good question.
la Madeleine Free pastry.
Logan’s Roadhouse Free Nutter Butter Fudgeslide with any entree purchase.
LongHorn Steakhouse A delicious free dessert.
Maggianos Coupon for $10 off any check of $30 or more.
Maggie Moo’s Free ice cream cone.
Marble Slab Creamery Free ice cream cone.
Marie Callenders $5 coupon and a free slice of pie.
McAlister’s Deli $5 coupon. I’m starting to see a pattern here.
Memphis BBQ Free entree up to $20.
Mimis Cafe Free entree up to $10 value with any $20 check.
Moe’s Southwest Grill One free entree (excluding fajitas) as well as free chips and salsa.
Ninety Nine Free dessert
Noodles & Company Free bowl of soup.
Not Your Average Joe’s Free entree and dessert.
O’Charley’s $5 coupon with any $20 food purchase.
Old Country Buffet Free BOGO adult dinner buffet.
Olive Garden TBD
On The Border Free dip trio or brownie sundae.
Orange Julius Free BOGO 20 oz. Julius or premium fruit smoothie.
Papa Murphy’s Free cookie dough with the purchase of any pizza.
Planet Smoothie Free small smoothie.
Ponderosa Free steak dinner
Qdoba Mexican Grill BOGO free entree coupon.
Red Lobster $5 off two adult entrees.
Red Robin Free Gourmet Burger if you pick up a Red Royalty Card at your local restaurant and then register it online.
Rita’s Italian Ice Free regular Italian Ice.
Romanos Macaroni Grill Free slice of chocolate cake.
Ruby Tuesday Free handcrafted burger of your choice.
Ryan’s Free BOGO adult dinner buffet.
Schlotzsky’s Free small sandwich.
Sharis Restaurant Free slice of pie.
Smokey Bones Free slice of cake.
Smoothie King BOGO coupon for a free 20 oz. smoothie.
Sonic Free regular cream slush, medium tator tots, or medium drink.
Souper Salad Free lunch or dinner buffet.
Spaghetti Warehouse Free spaghetti entree and spumoni sundae.
Spicy Pickle Free entree.
Starbucks Currently unknown.
Steak ‘n Shake Free Double Steakburger with Cheese ‘n Fries.
Sticky Fingers This might be my favorite offer yet. You get a free half-slab of ribs or any other menu item priced up to $13.99.
Taco Bueno Free cheesecake chimichangas with the purchase of any entree.
Taco Cabana Free flauta plate, which includes 3 chicken flautas with rice, beans, pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole and 2 fresh flour tortillas.
Taco Del Mar TBD
Taco John’s Free cini-sopapilla bites. I’ve never had these before, but if they’re as delicious as they are hard to spell, I’m excited.
TCBY Free small cup of frozen yogurt and $3 off a cake or pie.
Ted’s Montana Grill Free cookie and ice cream dessert.
Texas De Brazil Free BOGO coupon for a dinner.
Texas Roadhouse Free appetizer or sidekick of ribs.
T.G.I. Friday’s Free dessert with the purchase of an entree.
Tony Roma’s Free entree up to $15.99.
Tropical Smoothie Cafe Free smoothie.
Waffle House Free waffle.
Wendy’s $1 off any premium combo.
Which Wich Free regular Wich (AKA sandwich).
Wienerschnitzel One free corndog.
Wingstop Free large fresh cut seasoned fries.
Zaxby’s Free nibbler and free meal deal.
Zoes Kitchen Free BOGO coupon for an entree.
Z’ Tejas $10 coupon. 

Happy Birthday to you, whenever it may be…

Taste Of The Nation At The Montage Laguna Beach.

June 5th, 2012 No comments

Grilling Scallops with an ocean backdrop — It’s for Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation at the Montage Laguna Beach, dedicated to making sure no kid in America grows up hungry.

There were familiar faces from Top Chef, Top Chef Masters and other popular local restaurants.

The event was staffed and serviced to the hilt — Welcoming and immediately clearing plates.

All was top notch — From the view to the never-ending, high quality food. 

Top Chef Masters Winner, Floyd’s Shrimp with Watermelon, Arugula and Mint was a favorite. 

Do you remember Jennifer from Top Chef Season 6?

She served a Duck Heart Salad — I tried it.  Check.  Thank you.  The end.

And there was a Salmon Roe Panna Cotta type dish — Tried it too and no can do.

Hey what’s that behind you?  Lo siento.

The longest line was for Alan Wong’s Short Ribs with Shrimp, deservingly so.

Tender, sauced-up, slow cooked Short Ribs topped with a sautéed Shrimp.

It was a lot of flavor in a beautiful, generous dish — Impressive.

Remember Michael from Top Chef 6 – He’s one of the two brothers I could never tell apart.

Okay, I really liked his “Cold Cuts” with a liquid nitrogen type of Horseradish Cheese, I think.

Until I learned it’s Tongue, and then slowed down on the Cold Cut party train.

Guests purchased keys to potentially unlock and take home displayed liquor towers.

The day was a bit overcast, but still picturesque.

Perfectly cooked Lamb Loin hand delivered by Montage Laguna Beach servers.

There was a silent and live auction to raise even more money for the important cause.

The Montage Laguna Beach grounds are exquisite.

Set up (below) for the VIP after party to meet the Chefs.

I feel I already met them, as each handed me their delicious dish — Sufficiently satisfied.

My silent auction bid landed me (2) Tickets to the Irvine Improv, $25 at The Cheesecake Factory and more.  I’m happy to contribute and partake.  I appreciate all my blessings.

Panera Bread: Strawberry Fields For (Hopefully) Ever.

June 3rd, 2012 No comments

I love me some FRUIT in Panera Bread‘s Strawberry Poppyseed & Chicken Salad – Not only does it have Strawberries, but Blueberries, Pineapple, Mandarin Oranges and Pecans.  Yum!

I felt ready to walk miles after this healthy, refreshing Salad and Creamy Tomato Soup.

And a Strawberries and Cream Scone for the road — Fueled for a 5+ mile hike after.

Panera Bread — A good start for many things, though wish I had opted for the Chips, instead of an Apple with the Soup & Salad Combo.  You get a choice of Bread, Fruit or Chips with it, and the Chips would’ve gone well with the Soup, as there was plenty of Fruit in the Strawberry Salad.  It’s not all about health you know… It’s about taste too and all was well.

Panini Cafe: The Chicken Shish Kabob Is (A Must) Indeed!

June 2nd, 2012 No comments

The Chicken Shish Kabob Mediterranean Entree is A MUST, as noted on Panini Cafe’s Menu and verbalized by friends.  Four of us recently had lunch on their patio in Irvine to celebrate a couple birthdays.  My original sights were set on Lamb, Mousaka or a Panini, but had to try the Chicken Shish Kabob due to the hoopla.  We all ordered the same plate, not a food bloggers dream, but WOW is the word — It’s beautiful, extremely flavorful, tender and juicy baby.

It’s the Best Chicken Kabob we’ve ever had — My friends go to Panini Cafe for it as often as possible.  Their office is within walking distance and now I wish mine was too.  It’s superb.

The pictured dessert isn’t served at Panini Cafe.  It was made by a dear friend and amazing baker for our birthdays – A tasty lunch indeed.  Let’s meet back here soon for another Kabob.

June’s National Food Holidays: Candy, Papaya, Iced Tea & More.

June 1st, 2012 1 comment

It seems my birthday falls on National Gingerbread Day and almost half the year is over.  I jokingly tell people it’s almost Christmas during January, as time flies by, thus it’s Christmas in June, which makes Gingerbread more appropriate – Hope photo doesn’t suggest implications.

Note: Additional June Food Holiday INFO is here, here and here – A Merry Month to you.