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Annual Guaranteed Fun At The Orange County Fair: We’re In.

July 23rd, 2017 No comments

It’s happening now through Sunday, August 13, 2017 and you don’t want to miss it.  We never do. The Orange County Fair has much to offer adults and children alike.  And it’s a great place for those adults who act like children, though we don’t know anyone like that. 😉  See you there.

The 2017 OC Fair Goes Gourmet And We’re Set To Substantiate That.

July 8th, 2017 No comments

 

It’s my favorite thing at the OC Fair — The FOOD.  And it’s about gourmet food this year.  That’s even better.  It’s reported that ‘The 2017 OC Fair Goes Gourmet’.  See the OC Fair’s official press release below and we at Nibbles of Tidbits will see you at the Fair.  It starts July 14th and we’re ready to taste everything.  I usually enter the Culinary Arts Competitions, but our kitchen is currently being remodeled.  I caught myself thinking up ideas of what to enter this year, but remembered, duh, I don’t have a kitchen right now, and probably won’t for another three to four weeks. You’ll see that here later.  Until then, read what will soon be happening at the OC Fair.

Farm to fork. Artisan crafted. Locally made. Small batch. These words don’t just define a food revolution, they hint at what you’ll find in the culinary exhibits and demonstrations at the 2017 OC Fair. Steal away from the midway for a little while to discover artisans who bring the “Farm Fresh Fun” theme to life. Taste award-winning California olive oil. Sample locally made kombucha. Learn how butchers, bakers and local booze makers are changing the way things are crafted in Orange County and beyond. The culinary team at OC Fair & Event Center has curated a lineup that showcases top local chefs, TV celebrities, cookbook authors and local businesses to help Fairgoers get a taste of what that food revolution is like.

Let’s take a look at what and who you’ll find at the Fair in the OC Promenade Culinary Arts Building:

Pies: Karen Uyeda is a passionate fair attendee and previous OC Fair Blue-Ribbon Winner for her pies. She launched Sweetcie Pie and her business has flourished. Learn her pie-making secrets. July 19, 3 p.m.

Spirits: Brian and Robin Christenson launched the very first craft distillery in Orange County, Blinking Owl. These locavores and grain nerds will teach how they mill, ferment and distill barrel aged whisky and more. They have a great local story to tell. July 22, 3 p.m.

Paella: Junior chef Isabella Vegh is a member of 4-H and a previous triple Best of Class Winner in Preserved Foods and Winner of the Youth Spam Competition. Isabella will demonstrate how to make authentic Paella Valencia. July 20, 5 p.m.

Butchery: Chef Noah Blom of ARC Restaurant, Restaurant Marin and The Guild will give a primal cut butchery demonstration and he’ll share his best tips. Aug. 2, 5 p.m.

Meat:  Executive Chef Melissa Cortina, of Bavette’s Meats and Provisions, attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, and learned at the hands of master Italian butchers. She will answer questions about buying, using and preparing meat. Aug. 13, 5 p.m.

Bread: Cortina will be joined by former Blue Man Group performer Don Kohler who will demonstrate how to make unique Icelandic geothermal rye bread in your home kitchen. Kohler is now star of Hallmark Channel’s The Home & Family Show. Aug. 13, 5 p.m.

Beer: The first and only non-GMO, vegan-friendly beer, Dr. Jekyll’s Craft Beer, is produced by Tom Costa, an avid home brewer of more than 25 year. Learn how to bring craft beer into the kitchen and onto the plate. Aug. 6, 3 p.m.

Fermented Food: Fairgoers can learn about the health benefits of lacto-fermentation from Dr. Yasmine Mason of Fermentation Farm, and try a free sample of kombucha. Daily

Seasonal: Chef Ernie Alvarado, pictured above, of Urbana is bringing Farm Fresh Mexican-inspired dishes to the table. Find out how he has mastered the use of seasonal produce in his creations. July 22, 7 p.m.

Sweets: Chef Stéphane Tréand will showcase his incredible talents by creating a highly technical sugar sculptor showpiece. July 30, 5 p.m.

Produce: Robert Schueller of Melissa’s Produce is known as Produce Guru. Become one of his followers and increase your knowledge of fruit and vegetables.  July 20, 2 and 4 p.m.

Here’s their Official List of all the Culinary Events and Demonstrations happening this year.

The OC Fair Is Coming, The OC Fair Is Coming: Fab Annual Occurrence.

July 5th, 2017 No comments

The Fair will be at the Orange County Fair Grounds starting Friday, July 14th.  And we can’t wait. We will be there on July 22nd for a media event.  And before and after that date, because we love the OC Fair.  More about this year’s Orange County Fair to be reported here on Nibbles of Tidbits.

Bottle Logic Brewing: India Pale Ales Are My New Favorite Brew.

June 20th, 2017 No comments

Bottle Logic Brewing — United in the thirst of knowledge and BEER.  It’s a hip brewery in Anaheim.  We stumbled upon it, after kitchen remodel shopping directly across the street.  We asked our phones where to get a Beer and lucked out learning about Bottle Logic.  Their Beer makes me love Beer, especially IPA’s.  And Bottle Logic loves dogs.  We brought Leon on our second visit.

The Constants is Bottle Logic’s Tasting Flight — It offers (5) tastes for $8.  Two IPA’s, a Brew, Ale and a Stout.  It’s how I fell for IPA’s.  Particularly the Recursion and Double Actuator.

Grab a stool at the bar, near the containers or outside, if available — With or without your dog.

A different Food Truck is parked outside Bottle Logic Brewing each day.

This day it was Falasophy — We had their Brussels Sprouts (above) with a Sweet and Spicy Tahini Sauce and Hummus & Zaatar Pita Chips (below) with Olive Oil and Cumin, both I’ve hoped to have again each subsequent visit, but haven’t timed it yet.  We absolutely loved both.  All was perfectly prepared and very flavorful.  The Food Truck schedule is posted on Bottle Logic’s website.

Water bowls for dogs are provided inside and out.  Thanks Bottle Logic.  Very nice!

Leon likes you too.  He’s with Matt above and below.  We’ll be back.

It’s such good brew, Matt gets a growler to-go.  And last time I was envious of him having it at home, so I’m getting one to-go next time.  Various brews are sold to-go in various sizes.

The line for brews can be long at times, but it moves along and it’s worth the wait.  We think.

Burger Parlor: Oh Those Onion Rings & Gringo Bandito Tostada Burger.

May 12th, 2017 No comments

We LOVE the Burger Parlor’s new Gringo Bandito Tostada Burger (pictured above) — It’s made with a Hormone-Free Nebraskan Beef Patty and includes a Crisp Tostada Shell (yes, it’s true), Crushed Avocado, Roasted Anaheim Chili, Marinated Carrots, Gringo Bandito Crema, Gringo Bandito Aioli and a Fried Egg.  The well-selected ingredients create an amazing Burger.

What is Gringo Bandito you might ask — It’s a Hot Sauce created by The Offspring’s Lead Singer, Dexter Holland.  Well, we also love The Offspring and saw them in concert the last two years at the Orange County Fair.  Together Dexter Holland and the Burger Parlor’s founder, Joseph Mahon created the Gringo Bandito Tostada Burger.  And it’s now on the Burger Parlor menu.

The Burger Parlor could make the best Onion Rings I’ve ever had.  We had them a few times previously and I’d considered writing an entire post about them, but didn’t get around to it.

Inside the Burger Parlor’s Fullerton location (above and below).  There’s another one in Orange.

They have Beer and Wine too, in addition to Milkshakes and Sodas — Cheers to that.

We were The Ramones #57 waiting for food delivery.

This visit we also had the Kali Burger made with Smoked Bacon, Crushed Avocado, Provolone Cheese, Peppers, Caramelized Onions, Arugula and Chipotle Aioli (below).  Another great combo.

We split and shared both.

It’s tricky cutting a Gringo Bandito Tostada Burger, due to the Tostada Shell (and Egg) on it.

A Tostada Shell is an unusual ingredient on a Burger, but it really works, especially with Marinated Carrots between the Burger and the bottom of the Bun.  Both are perfect with an Egg.

I may have a whole one next time, if I can decide between all the gourmet combinations.

The also make a House Ketchup that’s offered next to Heinz.  We got one of each and used all the House Ketchup.  You cannot tell the difference by looking at them, but Burger Parlor’s House Ketchup tastes like it’s meant to go with the Onion Rings.  There’s something special there.

The Burger Parlor knows how to make things right — Their wall instructions impressed us (below).

We highly recommend the Burger Parlor and their Onion Rings — To me, they kind of taste like Shrimp Tempura, especially with the House Ketchup.  The duo is on my favorite’s list.

The Burger Parlor is a favorite of many and has the awards to prove it.  We’ll be back.

Grateful To Grow: The Start Of This Year’s Garden.

April 29th, 2017 No comments

Last year we planted six Tomato plants in one raised bed and this year we only planted four.  Though we love an abundance of Tomatoes, we could hardly get to them.  It became a Tomato jungle we had to forge through.  They look sparse now, but we hope to have the same luck this year.

In our other raised garden, we planted Jalapenos, Poblano Peppers, Japanese Eggplant, Red, Brown & White Onions, Cilantro, Curly Parsley, Purple Basil, Lime Basil, Pineapple Sage and Thyme.

We’re seeing at least ten small clusters of Grapes growing on the old Grape vine.

We bought a two-inch Boysenberry vine from Knott’s Berry Farm last year and we’re happy that it continues to grow.  We hope to see Boysenberries on it some year down the road.

Matt has a green thumb, and especially a Pineapple green thumb — We have one starting above, one maturing below, and four others that we’re hoping will do something.  He’s grown several.

Wild Blackberries grow on the other side of the house — They’re great to have, but VERY thorn-ey.

Serrano Peppers grow throughout the year in a couple other pots, whether we want them or not.

Zucchini is growing in another corner of the yard.  I have not grown it before.

And Oyster Mushrooms are growing in the house — In a Mini Mushroom Farm we got from Home Depot.  We soaked its internal plastic bag in water for a day, cut an ‘X’ in the front of it and returned it to its box to grow.  Pictured below is five days growth.  It’s fun to watch them grow so fast.

For non-edible enjoyment, flowers grow in the side planter below.  We planted hundreds of miscellaneous flower seeds to yield a flower-grab-bag to surprise us all summer long.

I had the sign below made for our garden shed — FW stands for Freis West.  Most of the Freis live back East.  In Michigan and Wisconsin.  They’re Freis East and we’re Freis West (FW for short).

We’re also growing Meyer Lemons, Limes, Tangelos and Rosemary (not pictured) and tend to our gardens daily.  We’re grateful to see all grow and will share the abundance in a few months.

Porto’s Bakery & Cafe Is Now Open On Beach In Buena Park.

April 10th, 2017 No comments

I’ve only heard good things about Porto’s Bakery & Cafe, so I was excited that they opened up one in Buena Park, off Beach Boulevard down the street from Knott’s Berry Farm.  It just opened last month. We attempted to go there a couple times, but the line wrapped around the building.

We finally went there recently and only had to wait in line for 15 minutes.

A large, beautiful space with indoor and outdoor seating was constructed for Porto’s in Buena Park.

On this day (and perhaps always), there were secondary lines.  Once inside, we were directed to one of two other lines to order food.  Each area included glass cases displaying gorgeous desserts and savory items — Cakes, Cookies, various Pastries, Croquettes, Empanadas, and much more.

I asked for (at least) one of each of the House Specialties listed below.

Though I ordered one of each of the House Specialties, I only ended up with most of them — One of each from the case below, except the Rellenito, because they were out of them.  Now we have to go back for the rest, plus more, which is fine without a line.  Matt (pictured at top) leaving with our sweet and savory boxes — A great moment.  We were eager to get home to try it all.

Our savory box below included a Ham Croquette, Cheese/Pepper Potato Ball, a Chicken Empanada, a Chorizo Pie, a Seafood Potato Ball, two Meat Pies, and two Potato Balls, because it is one of Porto’s specialties — Potato Balls filled with ground Beef and Peppers.  We each had to have our own.

We shared it all — And the Potato Ball was our favorite too.  The meat inside it is so well seasoned.

We also shared a Guava Strudel, Raspberry Kiss Cookie, Cherry Turnover and Mango Empanada.

I loved the Raspberry Kiss Cookie — It’s not the most dazzling dessert there, but it is tasty.

Porto’s closes at 7 p.m., but allows those in line at that time into the building to order.

Porto’s prices are pretty good too — There’s much more we want to try there.

Chili’s Skillet Queso Dip Copycat Recipe: A Perfect Mash Up Of Others.

February 21st, 2017 No comments

We love Chili’s Skillet Queso and Chips on Chili’s Appetizer Menu.  And now I can make it perfectly at home.  Well, we think so — That’s six of us here who have tried it several times.  I searched the internet for a good copycat recipe and found five.  Enlarge photo above to view them. I took all into consideration to subsequently create my own, slightly different than the other’s variations, based on what I know about its actual flavor and texture.  My Chili’s Skillet Queso copycat recipe is posted below.  For the Dip only.  Chili’s Chips are too good to copy.

To make Chili’s ‘Skillet’ Queso Dip as easy as possible, I combine all ingredients in a small crock pot and occasionally stir — Technically this recipe should be called… Shelly’s Crock Pot Queso Wannabe Chili’s Skillet Queso, which is a long, dumb sounding name, but that’s what it is and how it tastes.

However, for the authentic Chili’s Skillet Queso and Chips experience, I serve the Queso in the small skillet below and pick-up Chili’s Chips to go, since I cannot re-create their thin, delicately crispy texture.  I’ve previously posted about Chili’s amazing Chips and Skillet Queso Dip here.

Shelly’s Crock Pot Queso Dip Recipe — A Copycat of Chili’s Skillet Queso Dip

Ingredients:

16 ounces of Velveeta Cheese (Chopped into small chunks)

(1) 15 ounce Can of Spicy Hormel No-Bean Chili (Or non-spicy version or other non-verified brand)

1 1/4 Cups of Milk

(1) Tbsp. Chili Powder

(1) Tbsp. Cumin Powder

(2) Tsps. Paprika Powder

(1) Tbsp. Lime Juice

(1/4) Tsp. Cayenne Powder (optional)

Salt to taste

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients in a small crock pot and stir occasionally until evenly melted.  Serve the Queso Dip from the crock pot or transfer to a small skillet or bowl.  If you don’t have a small crock pot, combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and cook on low stirring occasionally.

FYI:  After this process, I now realize that Chili’s Skillet Queso is most likely not prepared in the small skillet it’s served in, ha — Chili’s may need to clarify ‘Skillet’ too.

Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern: Love At First Sight & Bite.

January 16th, 2017 No comments

It was really love at first sight and bite at Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern (JFAT).

First, I love Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern’s MENU and pretty much want to try everything listed.  I reviewed their menu online before visiting this JFAT in Brea — It’s one of five JFAT locations. The others are in Dana Point, San Diego, Woodland Hills and Santa Monica.

Before tasting anything, we appreciated JFAT’s exterior entrance lights, outdoor patio and courtyard view, and its dimly lit, stylish America-inspired interior.  God Bless America indeed.

My first bite came from the Pimento Cheese Dip in JFAT’s Dueling Southern Dips.  It’s served with a Roasted Corn & Poblano Guacamole and Tortilla Chips — And wow.  We were happy with the amount of flavor in both Dips.  Every dish we shared had an amazing amount of flavor.

It was love at first bite in conjunction with its appealing sight — Pictured from top down is JFAT’s Signature Grilled Santa Fe Caesar Salad with Fried Chicken, the Dueling Southern Dips, the Whisky Shrimp, and BBQ Spice Crusted Salmon with Creamed Corn, Green Beans, Bacon and Crispy Onions.  Each dish was seasoned, grilled and prepared well.  Nothing is bland at JFAT.

I’m pictured below with Chef Kim.  He is so nice and worked hard to make our plates great.  Good people work at JFAT.  We also thank Manager Todd Cords for his superior hospitality.  When we have time, there is much more to go back for — The FOOD, cocktails, atmosphere and friendliness.

I’ve highlighted, at least, ten dishes I want to try — They include JFAT’s Boneless Short Rib Stroganoff, White Truffle Mac and Five Cheese, Charred Brussels Sprouts, Santa Fe Honey-Poblano Pesto Grilled Flatbread, etc.  Enlarge menu below or see link here to view food and drink options.

My favorite JFAT Cocktail was the Cucumber Cooler.  It’s made with Finlandia Vodka, St. Germain, Fresh Cucumber and Lemon Juice.  See Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern’s full list of “Liquid” items here.  JFAT says get in here and we want to get back there.  ASAP.

Happy New Year From Nibbles Of Tidbits: A Toast To Food In 2017.

January 1st, 2017 No comments

I’m thankful for this guy — My back-up better photographer, husband and best friend.  Cheers to him.  He’s a trooper.  And he’s fun, funny and smart.  Now enough about him.  We’re moving on to 2017 and more FOOD related reports from Nibbles of Tidbits.  Happy New Year to you from us.

Big things will be happening here next year and we’re excited.

In 2017, Nibbles of Tidbits will feature more home cooking, restaurants reviews, product, ingredient and recipe testing, food competitions and culinary events — It’s ‘more of everything’ if it involves food.  And in conjunction with all that, we’re remodeling the kitchen from its current 1970’s style (rarely seen here) to a modern food blog-worthy kitchen.  We’ll show its transition here.  Until then, upcoming reports pertain to Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern in Brea, Chili’s Skillet Queso Dip and Food Dehydration.  I received a food dehydrator for Christmas.  Reports coming soon to this blog near you.

Photos:  At Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern in Brea.  Report will follow.

Dirty Sauce: It’s Ike’s Love & Sandwiches Very Special Ingredient.

December 30th, 2016 No comments

Dirty Sauce

It’s the Dirty Sauce that makes Ike’s Love & Sandwiches so darn great (and the Dutch Crunch Bread).  Ike’s Dirty Sauce is on every Sandwich, unless specified otherwise.  This time I ordered it on the side to decipher its ingredients.  It’s one of the things I like to do.  Breakdown a recipe.  And from what I can taste, see and smell, it appears to possibly be made with Mayonnaise, Butter, Garlic, Cayenne Pepper, a few fresh and/or dried Herbs, Salt and maybe other Spices — Not the precise breakdown I hoped for.  It’s more complex than I thought it would be, though I should have known that by its elevated flavor.  That’s why it’s so good and why it’s on most Sandwiches.  Boom.

Dirty Sauce — It sounds weird, but don’t be afraid of its name.  Get it on your Sandwich.

Wrapping Up Knott’s Berry Farm’s All Season Dining Plan: Whew.

December 28th, 2016 No comments

Seemingly free or not, there were times that I just couldn’t eat it — I didn’t want to use Knott’s Berry Farm’s All Season Dining Plan, though I had already paid for it.  Sometimes because the food just didn’t sound good, and other times because I didn’t want to wait in a long line to be greeted by a Knott’s employee with no sense of urgency.  They get paid no matter how many meals are served.

This Southwest Burger could be our last meal using Knott’s All Season Dining Plan.  The Southwest Burger at Coaster’s Drive-In at Knott’s consists of a Hamburger, Cheese, BBQ Sauce, Fried Jalapenos and Pickles.  Different.  That makes a Southwest Burger?  Well, it wasn’t too bad this evening.  We were hungry and they have good Pickles.  And most meals come with a lot of French Fries.  I almost want it again, before the end of 2016 when our plan ends.  We’ll see.
 
This will be my last report regarding Knott’s All Season Dining Plan, unless we renew it sometime down the road.  Also, we will not be renewing Knott’s annual pass in 2017.  We tend to purchase one every other year.  Knott’s meal plan is a great deal, but, well, you know.  It’s explained above and in previous reports.  The Knott’s employees we encountered in 2016 were nice. Overall, we love and appreciate Knott’s Berry Farm, with, but most likely without, a meal plan.

D’Vine: A Fresh & Authentic Mediterranean Experience In Fullerton.

December 5th, 2016 No comments

Fool

D’Vine Restaurant in Fullerton — Somehow it feels hidden, though it’s within plain sight in the heart of downtown Fullerton, an area hosting some of the best restaurants in Fullerton.

D'Vine Sign

It has been open a few months and I’m glad to finally try it.

Cold Mezza's

D’Vine is a gem and its Master Chef Owner, Walid Alarja is a Star.  His food is truly authentic, fresh and flavorful — Love of food, cooking, and years of worldly experience are behind each and every ingredient and dish.  An authentic Mediterranean experience is created, as the D’Vine sign says.

Chips

Pita Chips, Olive Oil and a Spice mixture of Thyme, Sumac, Sesame Seeds, Salt (and maybe more) are served upon arrival — I like that.  All is house-made, dried, baked, mixed, toasted, etc.

Dip

First Dip the Pita Chip into the Olive Oil and then in D’Vine’s Special Spice Mixture.

Interior

This is D’Vine’s second location.  The other one is in Brea — It’s been open for about five years.

Arak and Cooler

I had Arak on the Rocks with Water (above right) — Arak is a traditional drink in the Middle East. We tried it and a Mediterranean Cooler (above left) and both ultimately wanted the Mediterranean Cooler.  Though I knew Arak to have an Anise flavor, it punched us in the face, ha.  It was a flashback to my Jagermeister college shot days.  Not the best choice to compliment this wonderful meal, but fun to try it.  D’Vine offers several Signature Drinks and a full bar of options.

Kefta

We also shared the Kefta made with grilled ground Beef and Lamb, finely chopped Onions, Parsley and House Spices, along with their Red Cabbage Salad — All Entrees are served with your choice of (1) one of D’Vine’s Cold Mezza’s (they make and offer 14), Rice and Pita Bread.

Shawarma

We enjoyed D’Vine’s Chicken Shawarma made with grilled, thinly sliced marinated Chicken Thigh Meat, with their Cucumber Yogurt Salad.  Walid even makes his own Yogurt.  He is quite impressive.  We were honored to meet him and taste why we should go back.

Interior/Kitchen

It’s very nice inside with a long bar, and tall and short tables.

Smoking Area

There’s a sometimes smoking area (above) that leads out to a large outdoor patio.

Event Room

And there is a beautiful room (above) for events of all kinds.  It could be a perfect venue for a wedding reception with < 120 people.  It’s attractive and serves great food, which is sometimes hard to find in a venue.  This room makes me want to have a party.  Cheers to all parties there!

And finally, there is Fool (top photo) — Of course I loved it.  Fool is offered under D’Vine’s Hot Mezza’s.  It’s seasoned Fava Beans with Lemon, Garlic, Olive Oil and Jalapenos.  It’s so flavorful and great with Pita Bread.  It’s what I want most again.  I also have much respect for Walid’s Turshi, house-made Pickles, Olives, Beets, Turnips, etc.  All were better than imagined and well flavored.

Note:  Apologies for the date stamp on some photos (above).

Ike’s Love & Sandwiches: Best Sandwich ‘Ever Had In My Whole Life’.

November 26th, 2016 No comments

Ike's

I had the best Sandwich I’ve ever had in my whole life — That’s what my employer/attorney/foodie friend Mike said about Ike’s Love & Sandwiches in Newport Beach.  He recently had a couple Sandwiches there and told me that.  I work in the Newport Beach/Irvine area three days a week. And now, after four consecutive work days of Sandwiches from Ike’s Love & Sandwiches, it’s my new obsession.  Mike is right.  Ike’s makes some of the best Sandwiches I’ve ever had too.

Ike's in Irvine

Pictured is the Matt Cain Sandwich, made with Roast Beef, Turkey, Salami, Provolone Cheese and Godfather Sauce, whatever that is.  I don’t know what it is, but it’s sure tasty.  The photo does not do it justice.  Ike’s Sandwiches are named after famous people, different things, and some have quirky names like… Name of the Girl I’m Dating.  Thus far I’ve tried the Jim Rome, The Little Mermaid, Steve Jobs and Matt Cain, and all could contend for the best Sandwich ever.

Inside Ike's in Irvine

It’s true — Each Sandwich is loaded with flavor.

Line at Ike's in Irvine

So far, the Jim Rome is my favorite — It’s made with Turkey, Avocado, Cheddar Cheese, and Ike’s Red Pesto Sauce, made from Sun Dried Tomatoes, I think.  Simple ingredients, but so dang good.

Ike's Sandwich

It’s busy at Ike’s Love & Sandwiches in Newport Beach so we call in our Sandwiches, pick them up fairly quickly and eat ’em in our office conference room.  It’s an efficient method that’ll be in play again next week.  My sights are set on Adam Richman, a Sandwich made with Fried Chicken, Ham, Honey, Pesto, Avocado and Swiss.  We’ve had all on Ike’s World Famous Dutch Crunch Bread.

One of many Sandwiches

Better photos of our next amazing Sandwiches will soon be posted.

Example of Ike’s Dutch Crunch Bread unwrapped (above).

I’ve now had so many Sandwiches I don’t know which one is posted above, but I know I loved it.

God Bless America (Especially Veterans) Post Election Day & Always.

November 9th, 2016 No comments

patriotic-cake

 

IHOP® RESTAURANTS THANK VETERANS AND ACTIVE DUTY MILITARY
ON VETERANS DAY WITH FREE RED, WHITE & BLUE PANCAKES

Servicemen and Women are Invited to Savor Time with Family and Friends Over a Made-to-Order Breakfast at IHOP on November 11, 2016 — Including a Free Pancake Offer From 7 AM – 7 PM

WHAT:

On Friday, November 11th, Veterans and Active Duty Military can enjoy three of IHOP restaurant’s hot-off-the-griddle, world famous Buttermilk Pancakes with glazed strawberries, blueberry compote and whipped topping for free at participating U.S. locations, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., as part of the Red, White & Blue Pancake promotion for retired and active duty military personnel.

WHERE:

Participating IHOP Restaurants in the United States.

WHY:

For close to six decades, IHOP has been the leader in bringing guests a freshly made breakfast served any time of day, every day, as well as unique, made-to-order limited time menu items. IHOP is proud to honor veterans and active duty military this holiday.

WHEN:

FRIDAY, November 11, 2016, 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Photo Credit:  The pictured Cake is unrelated to the Pancakes being served at IHOP — The Cake recipe is linked here if you want to make it for someone special this Veterans’ Day.

And IHOP is just one of many appreciative businesses offering deals to deserving American Veterans on Veterans’ Day.  That’s nice of IHOP and others.  Additional offerings to Veterans are linked here. I’m grateful for the service of each and every serviceman and woman and thank all so very much.

Best New Views In Huntington Beach: At Pacific City And Pasea Hotel.

October 14th, 2016 No comments

Treehouse Lounge

We toast to several new restaurants with a view in Huntington Beach.  Here we’re at the Treehouse Lounge at Tanner’s, which is part of the Pasea Hotel & Spa.  You don’t have to stay at the hotel to enjoy its fabulous restaurant, Tanner’s with floor-to-ceiling upstairs and downstairs views of the Pacific Ocean across Pacific Coast Highway.  We enjoyed beers and a couple appetizers there — Grilled Asparagus and Chips, Salsa and Guacamole.  All was fantastically flavorful.

Asparagus Appetizer

Though the view and food are terrific at the Treehouse Lounge at Tanner’s, more shade is needed upstairs to enjoy all during the day — It’s stylish and comfortable, but there is not enough cover.

Tanner's Treehouse

We plan to try more from Tanner’s menu, after the sun goes down and the fire pits are lit.

Tanner's

Next door to Tanner’s is The Bungalow, another amazing new restaurant with a view.  Below we toast with specialty drinks at The Bungalow, where a little more shade can be found during the day.  The food is tasty at The Bungalow too, though prepared by the restaurant downstairs and delivered via dumbwaiter upstairs.  The kitchen below it created a special menu just for The Bungalow.

The Bungalow

At The Bungalow, it feels like you are enjoying drinks and appetizers at a friend’s house and Tanner’s feels like you’re at a nice beach resort.  Both are a wonderful addition to Huntington Beach.

Penzeys Specialty Spice Retailer: An Aromatic Oasis In Anaheim.

September 18th, 2016 No comments

Inside Penzeys

I’ve used Penzeys Spices for years.  I ordered them through the mail.  It was the only way to get them some time ago, but now there are six Penzeys retail stores in California.  And one of them is in Anaheim, a few miles from our house.  This Penzeys store is an oasis in a busy shopping center off Euclid and Crescent — It’s spacious, welcoming, aromatic and tranquil in contrast to outside.

Penzeys Anaheim

One of the best things about shopping at Penzeys is… YOU can smell everything they sell.  Each herb and spice is presented in a large jar for the sole purpose of smelling it.  Put your nose in and take a whiff — Doing so helps to distinguish flavor nuances in similar spices like Vietnamese and Indonesian Cinnamon, Californian and Hungarian Paprika, and herbs like Turkish and Mexican Oregano, etc.  How do they differ?  How are they alike?  Aside from taste, your nose can tell.

Various Pepper

You may not want to smell the Mignonette (above) and other Pepper, but you can.

Kid's Area

Penzeys‘ Anaheim store has an adorable kids area where kids color while you sniff and shop.

Cute Area at Penseys

There is also a retro kitchen display that offers the best in baking Spices, Extracts and Vanilla Beans. Once past the hustle and bustle outside, it’s fun to shop inside Penzeys in Anaheim.  Its employees are friendly and knowledgeable, and prices are good too, especially since you don’t have to pay for shipping.  I love Penzeys Spices and retail store option.  I’m lucky one is nearby.

Pickles Loves Pickled Grapes: Favorite Blue Apron Repeat Recipe.

September 5th, 2016 No comments

Pickling Grapes

Have you ever tried Pickled Grapes?  I hadn’t until last year and will now eat them forever.  I buy Grapes more often because of it.  Pickled Grapes are amazing, especially when served with Fish over a Summer Succotash, pictured below — It’s our favorite Blue Apron meal that I’ve made several times.  The original recipe used Cod, which is fine, but I’ve since used Salmon and Yellowtail at different times.  This dish is extremely flavorful with much attributed to the Pickled Grapes.

Favorite Blue Apron Meal

A little White Wine Vinegar (2 T.), Sugar (1 T.), and a big pinch of Salt do a lot to elevate Grapes (at least 2 oz.), to a refreshing gourmet topping, side or special ingredient in another dish. Simply combine cut Grapes with all ingredients, let marinate for at least 10 minutes and see what we’re saying.  Yum!  Pickling is a beautiful thing, I’ve discovered.  And my husband happens to call me Pickles.  It’s just meant to be.  Consult Blue Apron for more about recipe #227.  We love it too.

Lay’s Passport To Flavor: Taste Testing With Leon On Dog Beach.

August 21st, 2016 No comments

Tikka Masala

You won’t need a passport to try Lay’s latest test Chip flavors… Indian Tikka Masala, Brazilian Picanha (Steak & Chimichurri Sauce), Greek Tzatziki and Chinese Szechuan Chicken, also known as Lay’s Passport to Flavor collection, and some will transport you to a dish from another country.

Lays Chip Taste Test

I appreciate the unique flavors Lay’s is willing to create.  They’re fun and interesting to try.  We’ve tried and reported about most of them here.  Leon likes all of them, because he likes anything.

Testing Lays Chips

After trying this passport series, our favorites are the Indian Tikka Masala and Brazilian Picanha. The thought of the Greek Tzatziki flavor is better than the actual, because it’s too subtle.

First and Second Place

If we were to buy any of them again, it would be the Indian Tikka Masala Chips, because they taste just like the dish.  I now want Indian food and will most likely order the Chicken Tikka Masala.

Indian Tikka Masala

The other Chips could use more flavor, though Leon would eat ’em up in a second.

Season The Day They Say: At Croutons With Especially Excellent Soup.

August 5th, 2016 No comments

Croutons Lunch

During the week, I provide paralegal services for a law firm in Irvine.  My office, pictured above is on the 9th floor.  It’s where I’ve enjoyed several of Croutons‘ Soups, Salads and Sandwiches for lunch.

Croutons Cost

Croutons‘ Salads and Sandwiches are good, but I especially love their Soup.  I generally alternate between Croutons’ Tomato Basil Soup and Chicken & Wild Rice.  Actual Croutons are served with the Soup and I ask for extra.  Croutons’ Soups are consistently flavorful and taste homemade.

Croutons Irvine

They’re often busy, but operate efficiently.  Though their line seems daunting at times, it moves along well.  Prices are okay, on the higher side, but you get a fair amount of good quality food.

Tomato Basil Soup

Nibbles Of Tidbits: It’s Worth Testing Logo Designs With Fiverr.

July 31st, 2016 No comments

Nibbles of Tidbits LogoI like the one pictured above — With little instruction, effort and money put forth, I received these logos.  Not bad at all.  I used Fiverr.com and reported about them previously.  One is able to buy and/or sell graphic design services there and more, which has seamlessly served me well so far.

nibbles_of_tidbits_2

I appreciate the time that I didn’t spend creating all.NibblesofTidbits LogoEach can be used at any time, but the first, top one is the winner of this batch of inexpensive logos.

Fun Fair Food & Competitions Happening NOW At The OC Fairgrounds.

July 24th, 2016 No comments

Pepsi Donut Bacon Dog

How about a Pepsi Donut Bacon Dog?  You can get one at the Orange County Fair now through August 14, 2016.  It’s a Hot Dog that’s wrapped in Bacon and served on a Donut topped with a Pepsi Glaze.  We had the opportunity to try it and other new food options at this year’s OC Fair.

Food Tasting

We attended a “Media VIP Food Party” to taste “Interesting & New Foods at the 2016 OC Fair.”

Bacon Cheddar Brat Burger

The Bacon Cheddar Brat Burger is pictured above and found at Tasti Burger on Livestock Lane.

Pineapple Bowls

Yes, there are healthy options at the OC Fair — My favorite is the Shrimp Pineapple Bowl found at Pineapple Express in the Main Mall area.  They also offer a Teriyaki Chicken Pineapple Bowl.

Chicken Charlie

And you’ve heard of Chicken Charlie right?  Of Chicken Charlie’s?  He’s pictured above and always serves something interesting — One of his menu items this year is a Chicken in a Waffle on a Stick.  It’s a Waffle with pieces of Fried Chicken cooked into it and it comes with Maple Syrup.

Pinks

Pink’s Hot Dogs is a booth I frequent every OC Fair, but it’s because of their Chili Cheese Fries, another one of my favorites.  Aside from that, they’re offering a couple of new Hot Dogs this year, like The Lord of the Rings Dog, a Hot Dog served with Onion Rings wrapped around it.

Dominic Palmieri at OC Fair

Dominic (pictured above) of Biggy’s and Fair Fix & Fried A Fair, both located in the Main Carnival area, tops himself this year with the Bacon Wrapped Pork Belly Dog, Deep Fried Butter, Deep Fried Nutella and more.  Stop by and say “Hi.”  All the food vendors we met are friendly.

Pickle Fries

A drum roll for the Pickle Fries — I love Pickle Fries, especially since my name is Pickles Freis.  My husband nicknamed me Pickles and my last name is Freis.  Thus I’m Pickles Freis.  And these are good Pickles and the Batter is thin and crunchy too.  Pickles Freis very much likes these Pickle Fries.

Tasti Chips

Tasti Chips with Parmesan Cheese from Tasti Chips, located on Livestock Lane is pictured above. We had the Jalapeno Cheddar Tasti Chips after seeing The Offspring concert last week.

Me at the OC Fair

I love the Orange County Fair — There’s so much to do and see.

Dahlia

Though you can’t eat these flowers, I must post at least one, and Matt capturing them.

Photographing Flowers

The baby pigs below were only 4 days old when they were photographed here.  They grow fast.

Baby Pigs

As always, I will be entering the culinary competitions happening at the end of July and in August. I’m working on a couple ideas and hope to claim the first place ribbon I have my head through below.  I tested one of my recipes and it turned out well, but I will report the judge’s results.

Me at Fair

See you at the OC Fair — Too bad it’s not all year long.

Hello Fresh Meal Delivery: A Comparison to Blue Apron And Plated.

July 18th, 2016 No comments

Hello Fresh Test

Well… Hellooooooo Fresh.  It’s finally your turn — Nice to try you.  It’s hard to give-up Blue Apron, but I’m ready.   Temporarily that is.  We previously tried and reported about Plated, another meal (recipe + fresh ingredients) delivery company.  It’s my plan to try most, if not all of the popular meal delivery companies and here we try and compare Hello Fresh to Blue Apron and Plated.

Box from Hello Fresh

The Hello Fresh ingredients and recipe cards arrive in a large box that lists the enclosed meal’s nutrition facts on its side — A nice feature not included on the Blue Apron and Plated boxes.

Hello Fresh Menu

All ingredients were well packed and arrived fresh.

Leon and Hello Fresh

In fact, each meal is packaged individually in nice windowed white boxes.  It’s different than Blue Apron and Plated — The recipe ingredients are contained and sealed together in the large box.

Hello Fresh Packaging

The smaller boxes are impressive, but unnecessary — Hello Fresh can save on this packaging.

Hello Fresh Ingredients

The proteins arrive under blocks of ice, as like the others, and all was perfectly fresh.

Hello Fresh Meat

The Hello Fresh recipe cards are smaller than all others I’ve used, including the recipe cards from Chef’d, soon to be reviewed here on Nibbles of Tidbits — Check back for that comparison.

Hello Fresh Recipe

The Hello Fresh recipe cards are harder to read than the others — The card and photo are smaller, thus appear less detailed.  The Blue Apron recipe cards are more user-friendly than those printed for Hello Fresh and Plated.  Blue Apron includes a photo of the chopped ingredients and the others do not.  I had no trouble following the Hello Fresh recipe cards, but Blue Apron’s are better.

Hello Fresh Meal

Taste and the recipes — I made Jamie’s Roasted Chicken with Lemony Bombay Potatoes (above) and Spring Asparagus and Shrimp Risotto with Meyer Lemon (below).

Hello Fresh Shrimp Dish

I’m not sure why my Shrimp Risotto (below) looked albino compared to its photo (above).

Hello Fresh Risotto

Dukkah-Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes, Snap Peas and Citrus Sour Cream (below). I liked it best from our first box.  Not pictured, we also tried three Hello Fresh vegetarian meals. Since I forgot to deselect upcoming meals, I received a second Hello Fresh box in the mail. Related to that, the Hello Fresh web interface could use improvement.  It’s not as easy to view and/or cancel future meals as it is on the Blue Apron and Plated websites.  I had switched from the Hello Fresh ‘Classic Box’ to the ‘Veggie Box’ subscription on their website, because it’s a better value.

Hello Fresh Chicken Dish

Hello Fresh costs approximately $10 more for a Classic Box (three meals w/meat) = $70.  Three meals w/meat from Blue Apron costs the same as three vegetarian meals from Hello Fresh = $60. Aside from cost, we agree that Blue Apron meals are more flavorful and sophisticated overall. And since they do cost less, they’re a better deal all around.  I keep the Hello Fresh and Plated subscriptions open in case there’s a meal I can’t refuse, but need to manage them better so not to receive meals from all companies in the same week.  Each offers potential for a great meal.