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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.

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.

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.

Knott’s Season Dining Pass Report: Meals From Wilderness Broiler.

April 25th, 2016 No comments

Knott's Hamburger

Knott’s Season Dining Pass (Report #5):  1/2 lb. Cheeseburger (above) and a Spicy Chicken Sandwich (below) from the Wilderness Broiler on the edge of Ghost Town.  It’s our first time trying the Spicy Chicken Sandwich.  It’s not as commonly offered as the Cheeseburger.  Speaking of, we may be on the verge of discovering that Knott’s Cheeseburger tastes the same no matter what restaurant it’s from.  It’s just called a Cheeseburger at the Grizzy Creek Lodge, but it seems to be the same, though the Grizzy Creek Lodge has a Condiment Bar offering more to put on a Cheeseburger, Sandwich and/or Hot Dog.  Outside the Wilderness Broiler there’s Yellow Mustard and Ketchup only, and neither sound right to remedy a dry Spicy Chicken Sandwich.

Knott's Spicy Chicken Sandwich

I suppose it’s called a “Spicy” Chicken Sandwich because it has Jalapenos on it.  That’s the only spicy part.  The Chicken didn’t appear or taste spiced in any way.  The Chicken Breast was relatively thin, large, well-done and crispy — The type that’s best smothered in Gravy and had with a knife and fork, not served on a small, equally dry Focaccia Roll.  Where’s the Chipotle Mayo or something like it?  Flavor needs to be added to Knott’s so-called Spicy Chicken Sandwich.  I wish I could report it’s better.  We like Knott’s, but it’s only April and I’m starting to realize that I somewhat dread its meals, though we paid for an annual Season Dining Pass.  Well, there’s more to try and test and we’ll continue to hope for the best.  Come back later to read about the rest.

Plated (Recipe + Ingredients) Delivered: A Comparison to Blue Apron.

April 22nd, 2016 No comments

Plated Fish

It’s official — I’ve prepared 100+ Blue Apron recipes.  My husband counted them.  After two-hundred plus total dishes, I decided it was time to try a few other meal delivery companies.  At least three to start… Plated, Hello Fresh and Chef’d.  It’s not because we don’t like Blue Apron.  We love them.  I’m now curious how others’ dishes compare.  Are they as flavorful and international?

Plated Box

The Plated Report — Plated’s box was huge and all was packed within a thick insulation that looked like it should be recycled in the garden.  Different than Blue Apron, but it kept all cold and fresh.

Plated Dessert

One of the BEST things about Plated is they offer Dessert.  Blue Apron currently does not.

Plated Recipe Cards

Dessert (recipe and ingredients) costs about $8 more, over Plated’s meal plan — Most comparable to our Blue Apron Meal Plan (3 Meals for 2 People = $60), Plated offers (2 Meals for 2 People = $48 + $6 for shipping = $54).  Shipping is free with $50+ purchases.  I thus added one of Plated’s weekly Desserts to try and to qualify for free shipping.  $56 was our total for 2 Meals and 1 Dessert for 2 People from Plated.  Leon thought all looked good upon arrival (below).  I did too.

Leon and Plated

Plated’s recipes were well written and somewhat unique, like those offered by Blue Apron.  The pictured Plated meals were good, but none knocked our socks off, like many Blue Apron meals have. We also missed the third meal offered by Blue Apron.  Apples to Apples, the same Blue Apron Plan (3 Meals for 2 People = $60), costs $72 at Plated.  I wouldn’t mind future meals from Plated, but I prefer to save money.  Plated is good, but they charge more for the same comparison of food.

Plated Soup

I prepared Plated’s Pan-Roasted Redfish with Baby Kale Risotto (top), Cheese Tortellini with Basil and Spinach in Tomato Soup (above) and Caramelized Pear Shortcakes with Whipped Cream (below).  We liked the Pan-Roasted Redfish the best and the other two recipes were just average.  Plated’s recipe cards are nice and large, but not as glossy as Blue Apron’s.

Plated Shortcakes

The Caramelized Pear Shortcakes aka Biscuits were already baked, which made preparation easier, but the Dessert not as homemade.  I may order from Plated again to try a different Dessert if its weekly menu sounds better than Blue Apron’s weekly menu.  I’m currently subscribed to all listed herein, though opt for Blue Apron most of the time.  If interested in trying any meal delivery company, be sure to obtain a coupon or coupon code, as each offers a $20 – $60 discount on your first box.  Don’t miss out on that.  Check back soon to read our Hello Fresh and Chef’d Reports.

The ‘Superfood Side’ That Replaced Coleslaw At Chick-Fil-A.

April 12th, 2016 No comments

Super Food Salad

Though sad that Chick-Fil-A removed Cole Slaw from their menu, the pictured Superfood Side that replaced it is quite flavorful.  In fact I’ve been craving it ever since trying it.  I’ve now had it a few times for lunch aside Chicken Nuggets.  It’s funny and unexpected, since I liked Chick-Fil-A’s Cole Slaw so much.  I didn’t want to like their Superfood Side, whatever the heck it was, I initially thought.  Now I REALLY like it, ha.  It’s a tasty combination tossed in a tangy Maple Vinaigrette.

Note:  If you miss Chick-Fil-A’s Cole Slaw too, the recipe is posted here.

Knott’s Season Dining Pass Meal: Cheeseburger At Grizzly Creek Lodge.

January 9th, 2016 No comments

Knott's Cheeseburger

Our first meal with Knott’s Berry Farm’s Season Dining Pass was this mega Cheeseburger at Grizzly Creek Lodge in Camp Snoopy.  We each had one, though one Cheeseburger could certainly feed two. They gave us a lot of French Fries too.  Without the Season Dining Pass, the meal comes with a drink and costs $15.29.  We presented our Season Pass Cards and seamlessly received our meals.

Season Pass Dining

The Cheeseburger here is quite thick and large as mentioned, and tastes a little like Salisbury Steak, or the Burgers I used to get in elementary school.  There’s something home-y about it.  It’s old school tasting and I kind of liked that.  It’s not the best Cheeseburger in town and we didn’t expect it to be, but it will suffice.  By the end of the year, we will have tried all items available with Knott’s Season Dining Pass.  It will be interesting to see if the Burgers at the participating restaurants are the same or different.  I hope they will be different, but I suspect they’re the same.  We will see.

Grizzly Creek Lodge Cheeseburger

Season Pass meals are shown with a red fork, spoon and knife in a yellow circle that’s circled in blue.

Grizzly Creek Lodge

I like the large condiment bar at Grizzly Creek Lodge, but it may not end up being our first choice to eat, since it’s in Camp Snoopy and there were a lot of screaming kids inside there this day.  I may be more of a Cantina girl.  The year will tell and so will I.  It’ll be an adventurous time at Knott’s.

Blue Apron Review: The Menu Of The Week Never Looked So Good.

April 30th, 2015 No comments

Cod

Blue Apron Box Report No. 2 — We love them even more now.

Blue Apron

It’s Blue Apron’s unique and enticing recipes that I appreciate most — The meals are exciting to eat.

Chicken

We received 3 new recipe cards and the ingredients to prepare them all — Our final dishes are pictured on the right of its respective recipe card and our first Blue Apron report is linked here.

Cod

Each meal was completely different than the one before it and all had exceptional flavor.

Pork

We’re already looking forward to the next box from Blue Apron.  Originally I was just going to try them, but their weekly menus and quality of ingredients are keeping me interested.  I had also planned to try and compare similar companies, but after a little research it looks like Blue Apron may be offering the best deal.  If that continues to be true, I may not want to try nor like another. Each looks similarly impressive, but I must have a good price too.

Similar companies are listed below and prices may change — Check them out yourself.

Plated.com – Eating Well Made Easy ($12/Serving – $72/Week – 6 meals total for 2)

Hello Fresh – Restaurant Quality Meals At Home ($11.50/Serving – $69/Week – 6 meals total for 2)

Green Chef – Deliciously Simple ($14.99/Serving – $89.94/Week – 6 meals total for 2)

Forage – Recipes from Notable Restaurants ($7.50 – $15/Serving – $60/Week – 4 meals total, which may serve 2. It’s unclear)

Chef’d – The Easiest Way to Cook Like a Pro ($19 – $38/Serving for 2 – Each meal has its own cost)

Pizza Rev: A Further Comparison Of Craft Your Own Pizza Places.

April 26th, 2015 No comments

Pizza Rev

We’ve tried Pieology Pizzeria, Blaze Pizza, Pizza Studio and now Pizza Rev — All craft your own Pizza places.  Our new favorite is… Pizza Rev for its ultra-thin crust, though most others are good too.

Pizza Rev Pizza

Although Pizza Rev’s crust is thin, it stands up to too many Pizza toppings — It stayed crunchy, not soggy.  When able to add unlimited toppings at no extra charge, we tend to add too many, but still want the Crust to hold it all together.  Our Pizza Studio Pizza was good, but its Crust supported toppings the least, thus we didn’t post about it at the time.  It may have been a bad day for them.

Pizza at Pizza Rev

We like Pizza Rev, short for Pizza Revolution, a better name, but perhaps it’s taken by another.

Pizza Rev Slice

The Pizza Rev in La Habra has a small bar area, where we enjoyed Beer and Wine with our Pizzas.

Pizza Rev Bar

Pizza Rev’s prices aren’t bad — I appreciate a whole Pizza with unlimited toppings for around $8.

Pizza Rev Menu

I like the craft your own Pizza movement — I can finally have all the Pizza toppings I want without worrying about the extra cost.  All will suffice, especially Pizza Rev and Blaze Pizza at this time.

Pizza Rev La Habra

If we learn of others, we shall try and compare them too.

The Creamiest Ice Cream Is Made With Liquid Nitrogen At Creamistry.

December 7th, 2014 No comments

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Creamistry Ice Cream — Because Liquid Nitrogen is so cold, it causes the Milk particles to stay very small creating an ultra-smooth creamy texture, Creamistry reports, and after having it, I think it’s the creamiest Ice Cream I’ve ever had.  It is CREEEE-MEE!  Creamistry Ice cream is made using Liquid Nitrogen while you watch and wait.  Fresh ingredients are frozen fast.

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Chosen ingredients are frozen at 321 degrees turning all into a creamy goodness.

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Choose your SIZE, pick your BASE, and then choose your FLAVOR and TOPPINGS.

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I chose the PREMIUM BASE, Strawberry flavor with Roasted Almonds for a topping.

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The Liquid Nitrogen fogs up the place like dry ice — It’s fun to watch, though a little hard to see.

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I met a family in line who traveled from San Clemente to Irvine just to get Ice Cream here.

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I liked it more than I expected and now find myself craving its creamy texture and want to try other flavors.  Creamistry offers a multitude of flavors and toppings creating a slight dilemma when choosing.  I must go back to try more.  It can take some time getting through the line when it’s long and it’s not cheap, but a little goes a long way.  It’s ultra-rich, creamy and good.

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I wanted to ask more questions about the process and see all clearly from start to finish, but it was a busy day at Creamistry in Irvine.  It’s already loved by others, I’ve seen and heard, and now I like it too.  It’s not just another Ice Cream.  It’s fun to experience and different to taste.

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What Are The Best Things To Eat At Disneyland, I Asked My Phone.

October 22nd, 2014 No comments

Disneyland 015

What are the best foods to eat at Disneyland, I asked my semi-smart phone.  We were going to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure and wanted something different than an average Burger and Fries.  I hadn’t been to either park in 10 years.  After reviewing the search results, I chose two food dishes that were included on several lists — One at Disneyland and the other at Disney California Adventure, two places I’ve never known and probably wouldn’t have found.  Each sounded appealing.  We started with the Carthay Signature Fried Biscuits with Apricot Honey Butter at Carthay Circle Restaurant at Disney California Adventure.

Disneyland 017

Carthay Circle Restaurant is fancier than expected, but we sought to have the best food at Disneyland.  We went there to try the Carthay Signature Fried Biscuits that are described as amazing and to-die-for.  Stuffed with White Cheddar, Bacon and Jalapenos they sound good.

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They don’t look like much on the outside, then surprise with a gooey middle.  With the Apricot Honey Butter, it’s interesting and different — I like its concentrated flavor and it’s not bad on the Biscuits, but we really didn’t fall in love with them.  They’re good, not great and expensive for its small size and amount.  Several Starters looked better to us and more filling.

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My husband set out to photo bomb Goofy, but wasn’t obvious enough — At Disneyland.

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Across the square from Disney California Adventure, we sought to have the Lobster Roll at the Harbour Galley Restaurant in Critter Country at Disneyland.  It too appears to be a Disneyland favorite.  It’s less fancy than Carthay Circle with only a few takeout windows.

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I wasn’t able to take a good photo of the Lobster Roll, but the Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl looked, tasted and photographed well.  It too is well-liked by bloggers and papers.

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The Lobster Roll was great, with a good amount of Lobster and nice lemony flavor.

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We’d have the Lobster Roll again for $14.99, but not the Carthay Signature Fried Biscuits for $12.00.  Next visit we’ll try other Disneyland favorites discovered on my phone.  Thank you!

5-Hour Energy Yummification Contest: Introducing The 5 N’ Thrive.

August 19th, 2014 No comments

It’s likely we won’t win the 5-Hour Energy Yummification Contest, but we learned a lot trying.  The contest closes today, and then it’s our video amongst 400+ other video entries (I think) vying to win $50K, $30K, $10K or $1K.  All sound good to me.  We each created a Drink Recipe using (1) 5-Hour Energy Drink and a one-minute video preparing it.  Our drink, the 5′ N Thrive is simple to make and good tasting, but our video ended up compressed by time and size limits.  Overall, it was fun to do and we still hope for the best — Recipe is on the video.

Lay’s Do Us A Flavor Chip Contest Take Two: We Pick Only One.

August 14th, 2014 No comments

Lay's Chip Contest II

I submitted a Potato Chip flavor idea in Lay’s latest Do Us A Flavor – Choose Your Chip Contest, but never heard back.  It appears they didn’t choose my flavor idea… Steakhouse Bloody Mary Kettle Cooked Chips, which would have to be better than Cappuccino, don’t you think?  I was surprised to see and taste that option, but do appreciate its uniqueness.

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With respect to Lay’s actual picks (above), I was most excited about the Wasabi Ginger and Mango Salsa, thought the Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese to be basic, and the Cappuccino to be odd.  After tasting all, I’d only be able to eat an entire bag of one, the Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese.  I’m not sure how I’m able to taste Macaroni in a Potato Chip, but somehow can.  They’re pretty good.  Overall, we could only eat a couple Cappuccino Chips before they got sickening, a few more of the Wasabi Ginger Chips before being overpowered by their flavor, and the Mango Salsa Chips tasted like my favorite Fruit Lollipop at Disneyland, a flavor not sought in a Chip.  We say #SaveBaconMac, if any.  Vote for your favorite — Previous winners.

Blaze Pizza Unexpectedly Bursts Ahead Of Its Formidable Competition.

July 20th, 2014 No comments

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We love to build our ideal Pizza for a fair fixed price and can now do it at Blaze Pizza.

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Tell them exactly what you want on your Pizza and they’ll make and blaze it for you.

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Pick a Sauce, Cheese, Meat and/or Vegetables, or mix a few, several, or all if you like.

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Blaze Pizza offers Kalamata Olives, Pineapple, Roasted Garlic and Red Bell Peppers, sautéed Onions, Jalapenos and Artichoke Hearts, all my favorites, and more than what’s shown here.

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Its Thin Crust cooks fast and we realize we like Blaze Pizza slightly better than its local competition, Pieology, which has nothing wrong with it, but Blaze fires ahead in flavor.

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One just opened in La Habra and others will be opening soon throughout Southern California.

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The Pizza above was made with 1/2 Classic Red Sauce & 1/2 White Cream Sauce, and the other (top) was made with a Spicy Red Sauce and various toppings — We want another.

The Orange County Fair Starts Soon: More Culinary Contests To Enter.

June 27th, 2014 No comments

Fair Competitions

See what’s cooking at the OC Fair this year: Featuring 23 Days of Iconic Fair food, Celebrity Chefs, Craft Beer & Culinary Competitions and Exhibits — The 2014 OC Fair is cooking up a delicious summer for Fairgoers. From July 11 to August 10, 2014, the OC Fair is serving up summer fun, along with culinary events and new Fair food that are definitely worth the trip.

  • OC Fair Creations (Past Winner)Chicken Charlie is introducing the new-for-2014 Deep-Fried Doritos and Deep-Fried Chicken Skin in addition to his classic favorite fried treats of Oreos, cookie dough and Twinkies.
  • Bacon A-Fair is introducing Bacon-Wrapped Jack Daniels, a unique churro concoction with a little whiskey kick at the end (non-alcoholic). Also, a deep-fried bacon-wrapped turkey leg!Bacon Wrapped Turkey Leg
  • Biggy’s Meat Market is bringing gluten-free options this summer with GF hamburger buns, fries & a newly gluten-free The Big Rib.
  • Texas Donuts is putting a twist on its popular giant donuts with new flavors like Cherry Pop Rocks, Banana Chocolate Cream and Peanut Butter Cup. Also new this year, a Latin twist with the new deep-fried Gansito.
  • OC Fair Foodies, the OC Fair’s food-themed costumed characters, are back this summer. Join Olivia Orange, Cotton Candy Carl, Arturo Churro, Cornelius Corn and Ice Cream Scoop as they delight Fairgoers.
  • $2 Taste of Fair Food, held every Friday from Noon-4 p.m., offers Fairgoers the chance to taste Fair food for $2 per item. Fun-sized samples include funnel cake, tri-tip, lemonade, cinnamon rolls, corn dogs, tacos, gelato, cotton candy and more.Fair Competition Results
  • OC Brew Hee Haw, a craft beer roundup, is July 11-13 and will bring some of the best local craft beers to OC Fairgoers for five sessions of beer tastings, demonstrations and exhibits. Visit ocbrewheehaw.com for details and tickets.
  • Celebrity Chefs will bring their colorful cooking skills to The Hangar stage on three Thursdays. Scheduled appearances, include Carla Hall, co-host ABC’s lifestyle series “The Chew” (July 17, 4 p.m.); Roy Choi, founder of the famous Korean taco truck, Kogi BBQ (July 24, 4 p.m.); and Kelsey Nixon, host of her own show, “Kelsey’s Essentials” on the Cooking Channel (July 31, 4p.m.) Free with Fair admission and autograph sessions will follow each appearance. Presented by Vons.Fair Award - Shelly (Borrell) Freis
  • Chef Challenge will put talented culinary professionals in competition against each other with a themed cook-off every Friday at 7 p.m.: July 18 (Earth), July 25 (Water), August 1 (Air) and August 8 (Fire). Free with Fair admission.
  • Special Culinary Contests include Eating Smart Starts Here (July 19), Hot! Hot! Hot! Chili, Wings or Salsa (July 26), OC Cupcake Classic (August 2) and Fairtastic Food (August 9). Registration is the Wednesday before each contest. For a complete list, visit ocfair.com/competitions.
  • Daily Culinary Demonstrations can be enjoyed for free in the OC Promenade throughout the run of Fair. The Bakeology exhibit will highlight the wondrous things a baker can create from just butter, flour, eggs and sugar with daily demonstrations by Blackmarket Bakery chefs. Chef Ray Duey will carve works of art out of fruits and vegetables. Master Food Preserver Ernest Miller will teach Fairgoers how to preserve fresh vegetables, sauces and more. Artist Shaile Socher will create delicate edible sugar art and Cake Decorator Greggy Soriano (July 11-27 only) will make cake go from bland to grand.Fair 2013 Opening Day
  • Award-Winning Wines are available by the taste or glass in the Wine Courtyard throughout the Fair, and on weekends wine-lovers can learn more about the various varietals during the Orange County Wine Society’s Wine Seminars (most require an additional fee).
  • Centennial Farm, the OC Fair & Event Center’s year-round, three-acre demonstration farm is complete with crops, livestock and the Millennium Barn. Fairgoers can check out educational exhibits, agricultural organizations and the fruit and vegetable competitions.

The 2014 OC Fair, themed Summer Starts Here, is July 11 – August 10 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 and events in 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 ocfair.com or from the on-site Box Office. Free parking and shuttle service are available on Saturdays and Sundays from the Experian parking structure located off the Bristol St. exit of the 405 freeway.   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.

Fair Pie Contest

Credits:  Photos were taken during previous visits to the Orange County Fair and text is republished from the OC Fair & Event Center Communications Department.

 

Tana, Abyssinia & Merhaba: Ethiopian Restaurant Reviews.

June 9th, 2014 No comments

Ethiopian Food

Have you ever tried Ethiopian food?  I hadn’t until recently.  Do you know anything about it?  I just moved to Fullerton near several Ethiopian restaurants.  Curious about them, I researched ‘local Ethiopian food’ to learn which is best.  Since those closest (Tana, Abyssinia & Merhaba) had good reviews on Yelp, I became less clear where to go, thus I tried and compared them all myself, along with my adventurous husband – One Vegetarian Combination Plate at a time, served on Injera, a sourdough-risen flatbread with a slightly spongy texture.

Tana - Ethiopian

We started our Local Ethiopian Food Tour’ at Tana Ethiopian Restaurant (above) on La Palma Avenue in Anaheim.  It’s located in a small strip mall and doesn’t look like much on the outside, but inside it’s relaxed and smells like something good is cooking.  Don’t be timid to go inside, everyone’s nice — A common theme of all three.  There’s a better world inside each.

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We had a Vegetarian Combination Plate at each restaurant — It’s a varied combination of Shiro Wot, Kik Alicha, Gommen, Yemiser Wot, Sinegkarya, Lentil Stew, Potato & Carrot Wot, etc., which generally translates into Cabbage, Spinach, Potatoes, Carrots, Lentils, Split Peas, Green Beans and/or Chard cooked with Onions, Garlic, Ginger, Chili Powder, Turmeric and other spices.  A Wot is a thick stew of different vegetarian and non-vegetarian types.

Tana - Ethiopian Food

Inside Tana (above) — Toasting with African Beer.  Beer & Wine is served at all three.

African Beer

No utensils are provided — You eat with your hands using the Injera.  It appears most meals are served on it and more is provided on the side.  We didn’t take lessons on how to eat.  We just tore-off a piece of Injera, pinched a little Wot and ate it.  It worked well and made us full.

Ethiopian Style

The Injera can be quite filling — Towards the end, I wanted a fork to eat less of it.

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Abyssinia Ethiopian Cuisine (below) is the second Ethiopian restaurant we tried in Anaheim, California — It’s located off West Lincoln Avenue and it too is unfancy on the outside and welcoming inside.  Its Vegetarian Combination Plate also offered ten unique dishes.

Abyssinia - Ethiopian

Both Vegetarian Combination Plates thus far had similar dishes with a Salad.

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Except for the Salad, most dishes are served warm, though above had additional cold dishes.

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Inside Abyssinia Ethiopian Cuisine (above) — Toasting with Honey Wine & African Beer.

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We also tried their Doro Wot aka Doro Wat – A Spicy Chicken Stew made with Chicken Legs and Hard Boiled Eggs.  The Sauce was flavorful and the Chicken was tender, but there wasn’t enough of it — Abyssinia’s Vegetarian Combo was more filling than their Doro Wot.

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And finally, we tried Merhaba East African Restaurant (below), last on this tour, but certainly not least.  Consistent with the others, its exterior isn’t pretty, especially sandwiched between an Emergency Walk-In Center and a Thrift Store, but there’s a friendly escape inside.

Merhaba - Ethiopian Food

As shown, Merhaba’s Vegetarian Combination Plate (below) has six dishes and no Salad.  It includes fewer dishes than Tana’s and Abyssinia’s Combos, but we both liked Merhaba’s plate the best.  Each dish had an abundance of flavor.  It’s quality, not quantity at Merhaba.

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It’s funny… I was least excited to go to Merhaba, mostly because it has less of a presence online, but it may now be my first pick.  It’s similarly comfortable inside too (below).

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Cheers to Merhaba with a different African Beer.

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Next time we’ll try their special Coffee (below), which is served after a ceremonial process.

Ethiopian

As reported, Tana Ethiopian Restaurant, Abyssinia Ethiopian Cuisine and Merhaba East African Restaurant are indeed good and worth a visit and more.  All should definitely try Ethiopian food.  Contrary to what some think, Ethiopian food is filling and appetizing.

What The Happiest Place On Earth Is Going On?

May 27th, 2014 No comments

Downtown Disney Pizza

Have you tried Naples Ristorante E Pizzeria in the Downtown Disney District?

Naples Pizza

If not, you may want to skip it — Not because it’s bad, but because it’s ridiculously priced.

Naples Patio - Pizza

Disney related prices are high indeed and going up, as recently reported.

Downtown Disney - Olive Oil

After watching a Food Network Special on Pizzas, I had been craving a great one — Naples Ristorante E Pizzeria was the first Pizzeria we stumbled on after the show.  It didn’t satisfy, mostly because I have an aversion to being gouged.  Our “Individual” Pizza (pictured) was $19 and the next size up is $32.  We got the Finocchiona Pizza, which is made with Salami, sautéed Onions, Tomato and Mozzarella.  Again, it wasn’t bad, but I know there’s better.

Naples Pizza - Downtown Disney

We appreciate taste and value in a Pizza — It makes us happier on earth.

Latest Induction Into The Chili Cheese Fries Hall Of Named: It’s Portillo’s.

May 15th, 2014 No comments

Portillo's Chili Cheese Fries

Did you know that we taste and compare Chili Cheese Fries?  We do and our Orange County Chili Cheese Fries Comparison Report, with photos of all consumed thus far is linked here.  We recently tried and liked Portillo’s Chili Cheese Fries, which have just been added to our ongoing post.  Learn more about all here and/or suggest your favorite and we’ll give ’em a try.

The Original Umami Burger: What’s Not To Like About Its Definition?

March 28th, 2014 No comments

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Umami:  A taste sensation that is meaty or savory and is produced by several amino acids and nucleotides (as glutamate and aspartate) — It’s the definition of Umami.  Understand now?

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How about this… Umami is a savory taste, one of the five basic tastes (together with sweet, sour, bitter and salty).  A loanword from the Japanese, Umami can be translated as “pleasant savory taste” — It’s basically a description, NOT specific ingredients.  I didn’t know all this.

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Pictured is the Original Umami Burger from the Umami Restaurant Group’s Umami Burger.

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And Beer Battered Onion Rings from Umami Burger’s Sides Menu.  They were good, but I prefer thinner Onions.  Theirs are thick with too much Onion — Not sure if they are always like that?!

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As for the famous Original Umami Burger, I regret to inform that we thought it was just okay.  I’d heard great things about it over the past couple years, but we didn’t find it mind blowingly different.  It’s quite rich actually.  We like its ingredients… Shiitake Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions, Roasted Tomato, a Parmesan Crisp and Umami Ketchup, but idk — It was pleasantly savory, but other Burgers have been even more pleasantly savory, if allowed.

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It’s not inexpensive, but had to try it and you may still want to too.  I’d like to try Umami Burger’s Ahi Tuna Burger.  It looks and sounds impressive, like many of Umami Burger’s other Burgers.

Nice Buns Indeed: The Bun Does Elevate This Fast Food Burger.

November 29th, 2013 No comments

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Carl’s Buns are tight!  They’re fresh baked in the restaurants and served on Six Dollar ‘Thickburgers’ formerly known as Six Dollar Burgers.  I’m not sure if the Burger size is different, but Carl’s Jr. changed the Bun and altered the name, it appears, and we gave one a try.

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The Burger above was a little dry and the Bun slightly burnt, but it does make a better Burger.

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We say… keep up the Fresh Baked Buns — I’m reminded of my 8-Minute Buns DVD.

Two Saucy Broads In Fullerton: A Yelp (Meatball) Sandwich Pick.

November 18th, 2013 No comments

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Though you can’t see the Meatballs in this photo (above), it’s a Meatball Sandwich from Two Saucy Broads in Fullerton.  They’re reported to make some of the best Meatballs around, says Yelp.  Since I’m in the process of moving to Fullerton and was nearby, I gave them/it a try.

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The Sandwich is called Mom’s Meatball Parmesan — It’s different than the average Meatball Sandwich in that it’s baked in Pizza Dough, similar to a Calzone, but they don’t call it that.

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Also pictured are two Pepperoni Pinwheels with a side of Marinara Sauce.

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Both were very good and I love the name… Two Saucy Broads (one is pictured below).  Though the original focus was on the Meatball, it’s the Sauce and Dough that I liked best.

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Once settled in, I’ll go there again, once they’re settled in their new, larger location too — They plan to move from Commonwealth to Hyland in Fullerton by the end of the year.  I’ll be there.

Islands Nalu Nalu Burger: We Surfed The Roasted Garlic Aioli Wave.

October 24th, 2013 No comments

Islands Nalu Nalu Burger

Islands Fine Burgers & Drinks — It’s the Nalu Nalu Burger and it’s new on Island’s Menu.

Islands Burger - Nalu Nalu

It’s made with Roasted Garlic Aioli, Provolone Cheese, Sautéed Onions, Mixed Peppers, Hot Chili Pepper Rings and Lettuce.  Our Nalu Nalu Burger (above) was over-cooked and just okay.  We still prefer Mavericks, Kilauea, the Pipeline and the Hula to this Hawaiian wave.

Taste Of Temecula Wrapped Up With Samplings On SOCO Patios.

September 2nd, 2013 No comments

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We took a short trip to Temecula to celebrate our engagement.  Thanks for the engagement gifts and money.  We didn’t expect anything and finally cashed a few checks sent over a month ago.  Sorry.  We were set to spend it on backyard lounge chairs, but couldn’t find one long and comfortable enough for Mr. 6’4″, then considered it towards a new dishwasher, until deciding to spend it on a spontaneous weekend of eating and exploration.  Thanks for the fun!

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It started with Coffee, King’s Hawaiian Rolls and a Lottery Ticket from 7-Eleven in Fullerton.

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Without any research, we stopped at various places of interest along the way and all day.

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Once in Temecula, we started with a Mango Margarita at Rosa’s Cantina.

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Where next?  We picked on a whim.  If it sounded good and had AC we were in.

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One of our favorite stops was at Crush & Brew, where we sniffed and tasted Wine.

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We liked #3 (above) best and contemplated buying a bottle, but wanted to stretch our bucks to try more places and things.  Crush & Brew also offers the largest Flat Breads we’ve seen.

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We had the Greek Flat Bread, which filled us up good (and we were trying to save room).

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We take a moment to thank you for this opportunity — On to more Temecula finds…

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I’m not sure what Death Paste (above) was/is — We didn’t want any. 😉

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Soro’s Mediterranean Grill was our next stop for Dolma (aka Dolmades) and Iced Tea.

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Blackbird Tavern is below — It’s a large, super-cool, indoor/outdoor restaurant and bar.

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What a great space they have — You wouldn’t know it from the front.

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All this outside is hiding inside — Blackbird Tavern is the place I miss living next to the most.

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I’m not sure what you call the toss-the-beanbag-game, but we played it — See it in flight?

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I liked the starter (below) so much, I recreated it at home — See the recipe here.

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It’s called Olives & Almonds on their menu.

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Menus are inside album covers — I don’t know Lee Evans.  Also pictured is The Blackbird.

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We finally scratched our scratcher and won nothing — No worries, it’s a great day.

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All pictured above are located on or off Old Town Front Street in Old Town Temecula.

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Stopped at PALA Casino with only $20 of our $250 designated towards hopeful multiplication.

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It was instead hijacked from the bunch after a short time in play.  Adios.

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On the road again… We bought Avocados off the side of the road.  I always want an Avocado.

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On the way home, we stopped and walked around Oceanside — View from its pier on an overcast day.  The sun disappeared awhile, but do you see the giant bubble?  Some guy was making them.  Since we still had adventure money to spend, we planned to stop at The Beach House in Laguna Beach to exhaust the rest, but there was an hour wait and we didn’t want to.  Instead, all was saved for the next day’s escapades in the SOCO District of Fullerton.

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We started at our favorite Tea LoungeTranquil.  Iced is always refreshing and flavorful.

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Ended up at Joe’s No Limits! Bar & Grill — We sought to eat and drink on patios only.

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Had ‘Joe’s Picks’ Sausage selection — I liked the Chicken & Jalapeno Sausage, primarily.

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Though the menu doesn’t say, we were glad the above came with really good French Fries.

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After Joe’s, we went to The Slidebar Rock-N-Roll Kitchen (below).

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Cheers to more food and drinks on SOCO patios.

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The Slidebar offers a long list of Opening Acts (they call ’em) aka Appetizers.

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We had the Smothered Tots and Deep Fried Pickles — Well prepared and different.

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And the Deep Fried Mac N’ Cheese — Not the healthiest options, but it just so happened.

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Do you know where this heart is found?

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It’s at Fullerton Train Station.  We considered eating there, but opted for Hopscotch Tavern.

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We were down to our last few engagement-dollars and almost done eating.

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On our final SOCO patio of the day — Hopscotch Tavern we had a shot of Tequila — Mezcal.

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And Donuts with Lavender, a dessert special — I like the Hopscotch menu and will go back.

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We appreciate the weekend journey — It was worth it all and so much more.

Matt & Me

Smiling faces here. 🙂