Archive for the ‘Fish & Shellfish’ Category

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

October 28th, 2011 No comments

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

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

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

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

Also like its colors and unique curves.

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

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

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

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

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

My continued interest in photographing Bloggers photographing FOOD.

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 20th, 2011 No comments

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

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

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

October 18th, 2011 No comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beautiful, fresh ingredients were used by both.

And the winner of this challenge was Chef Yvon Goetz.

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

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

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

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

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

Knick Knack Cadillac Give Your Lucky Judge A Plate.

October 16th, 2011 No comments

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

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

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

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

Shark Bites, Shark Bleeds, It Hopefully Won’t Bring You To Your Knees.

October 4th, 2011 No comments

Hopefully this Shark didn’t eat any people — If so, we’re gonna eat more Shark.

Sharks should stick to consuming the above and/or other Fish. 😉

The pictured are part of an Exhibit at the LA Fair, which just swam town to I don’t know where.

If in the ocean or at a restaurant, keep an eye out or take a bite out.

A remarkable creature, and it’s tasty too — Sharka-meata-vegamin.

Frolicking And Fishing In The Fall Season At Crystal Cove.

September 25th, 2011 No comments

Always ready for the catch of the day (happening behind me) and frolicking on a Southern California beach, where it’s almost Summer all year long.  Officially though, it’s Happy Fall to all and just about time for warm, cozy food and a sweater.  Hearty Soups, Roasts and Chilis are on the agenda after the Watermelon is gone, and perhaps an Oyster Stew after the half shell.

The Oysters are from Gladstones in Malibu and the above was taken near The Beachcomber.

Should I Trust The Gorton’s Fisherman? In Some Cases, Yes.

September 14th, 2011 No comments

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and taste of Gorton’s Grilled Tilapia.

It’s not something I usually eat, but it was on special and cooked up fast.  I had yet to prepare pre-cooked frozen Fish in the microwave.  After seeing and eating Gorton’s Signature Grilled Tilapia, I wanted to do it again.  The Tilapia was all white and flakey, mandatory to me.  It really doesn’t have that much of a grilled flavor, but it’s more than all right for a quick bite.

It looked like a frozen block out of the freezer and turned into an enjoyable lunch.

Happy with the results, I tried Gorton’s Grilled Fillets Garlic Butter, but they didn’t measure up.

It appeared to be made of Fish pieces pressed together and had way too many dark strains running throughout — Opposite of the Grilled Tilapia, it was sadly inedible.  No bueno.

What’s up Gorton?  I’m told to trust you — Quality consistency is important.  Who likes a hodge podge of this kind of dark meat?  Not I, but still glad you’re around.  It’s 50/50 for now.

We Say… Put It On The Menu Rubios: The Farmer’s Market Fish Taco.

September 12th, 2011 No comments

We recently tested the Farmer’s Market Fish Taco currently available at a few Rubio’s.

Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill will officially be offering the Farmer’s Market Fish Taco in October, but right now it’s being tested at select restaurants in Orange County.  I tried it and love it.

I don’t know the ins-and-outs of its future, but will surely seek it out in October.  After that, we vote Rubios put it on the menu.  It’s fresh tasting with Roasted Corn, Avocado and hand battered Fish, and especially good on a Flour Tortilla.  Keep an eye out for its official debut.

09/14/11 Update:  Corrected the name to ‘Farmer’s Market Fish Taco‘ after having it again and learning I didn’t provide its full accurate name.  My bad.  It’s still an excellent Taco.

The Original Fish Company: Fine Dining And Fresh Fish Market.

September 7th, 2011 No comments

Happy 30th The Original Fish Company — It’s been one of my favorite restaurants for the majority of the thirty, though it’s been too many years since I’ve dined there.  Once upon a time I lived in Los Alamitos and went there all the time.  Now it’s just an occasional luxury and it was awesome to get back.  We shared an amazing meal of classic appetizers starting with the Crab Trio with chilled Dungeness, Jumbo Lump and King Crab.  I want all of the same.

Steamers with 1/2 Clams and 1/2 Mussels — The “Original” Broth is the best.

Finally satisfied a craving for Oysters Rockefeller, not often seen on menus.

The Smoked King Salmon was moist and flavorful — I used to get the Smoked Albacore a lot.

And must get their Award Winning Clam Chowder every visit.

We built a Tower of Shell — The Fish Company is still remarkable.  For fun we used the Clam Shells as mini cups to drink the Steamer Broth.  Cheers!  This night we had the nicest Server, Curtis (pictured below).  Ask for him.  I’m already standing by to go back.  Got that Jack?

Can’t Be Coy When Stuff Needs To Get Done: Labor Day Is Here.

September 2nd, 2011 No comments

Happy Fish Friday and Labor Day Weekend — BBQ, eat Fish, whatever, but don’t eat the Koi.

Lunch In Little Oregon: Cafe Rose Express Off Scenic Avenue.

August 26th, 2011 2 comments

Off Scenic Avenue literally and figuratively is Cafe Rose Express, my favorite lunch spot of all time.  I call it Little Oregon to honor its peaceful Northern looking beauty and for the special people I know from Oregon.  The photos are momentous for a few reasons.  It’s also been a while since I had Lobster Bisque with generous amounts of Lobster in it and true to form Cafe Rose Express serves generous everything.  I’m consistently and pleasantly amazed by their top-notch food offerings.  I’d eat here every day if I could.  It’s a satisfying weekday escape.

And I’m now a Zucchini Bread lover, at least of theirs.

Every picture tells a story — It has all been said before, not really though.  Appreciate all.

Sailing Away On Silent Sunday At Newport Landing.

August 21st, 2011 No comments

View from Newport Landing — FOOD soon to be delivered in photos and words.

Takin’ it easy now.

Salad And Sea Bass At Sandy’s Near The Sand In Surf City.

June 10th, 2011 No comments

Can you repeat the title three times fast?  Though named Shelly, I’ve never sold sea shells by the seashore (thanks for asking), but instead skated to Sandy’s Beach Grill in Surf City (aka HB) for shared Sea Bass, Salad and Mai Tai’s.  How many S’s is that?  Who cares, cheers to the seashore.  I was last at Sandy’s for a Grand Opening Party about a year ago, pictured here.

Grilled Hearts of Romaine Salad — Happy to see it on the menu, but it’s not the best I’ve had.

Sea Bass — Pecan crusted and served with Shrimp Couscous and Red Pepper Butter.

Mai Tai’s pictured with sketch editing for amusement — It’s a day vacation in Huntington.  We skated from Newport (Orange) to the HB Pier and back.  Thanks again for lunch dear friend.

Walt’s Wharf Restaurant Wrap Up And A Mystery Solved.

June 7th, 2011 No comments

Those Cadillac Margaritas go right here, thank you — At Walt’s Wharf Restaurant in Seal Beach for the Oak Grilled Artichoke, dinner, drinks and to explore Main Street.

In the Bar having Walt’s Famous Oak Grilled Artichoke and Lea & Perrins Sauce.

View looking out the Bar window on to Main Street, a couple blocks from the ocean.

The kitchen, grill and pick-up window.

White Wine cases lining the entrance.

Lovely Hostesses of the evening.

Warm Sour Dough Bread.

Dinner Salad.

The Trout was excellent.

A Blackened Halibut (split).

Looking in from the outside — Got there during daylight and left when it was dark.

Walt’s Wharf Birthday Dessert — Thank you.

And thank you dear friends for the appetizers, dinner, drinks and guaranteed laughs.

Those piggies ate most of the dessert. 😉

I drift back in time and I find my feet down on Main Street.

Note:  Mystery solved is found in the links above and summarized here — We observed that Walt’s Lea & Perrins Sauce n/k/a Lea and Perrins Aioli is slightly different.  The ingredients are the same, but the measurements have changed.  We like the original recipe better.

Bite These Crab Claw Appetizers Gently Cuz They’ll Bite You Back.

May 4th, 2011 No comments

At some point the real Crab Claw Shell begins hidden under the breaded, pressed fake and real Crab combination.  Be careful when nearing the end of the Claw, as Crab Shells are hard.  Don’t get too happy — And there really isn’t need, since they’re not that remarkable, other than the fact they are different.  Although flawed, I appreciate the creativity of ’em and other unique offerings at Fresh & Easy, newly opened within walking distance.  Bite at your own risk.

Grateful For The Many Food Blessings On This Good Friday.

April 22nd, 2011 No comments

Thank you Lord for the magnificent ocean and all the Fish in the sea.  With a speck of your many blessings, Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale’s South Coast Plaza made the pictured Crisp Pacific Sea Bass with a Miso Orange Vinaigrette and Edamame Shitake Ragout. 🙂

Pearson’s Port In Newport Beach Under The PCH Bridge Near Bayside.

February 4th, 2011 No comments

Looking for live Crab, Lobster or Fish?  Have you been to Pearson’s Port?  Don’t forget about the tiny shack tucked under the PCH bridge in between Dover and Bayside.  Since they don’t appear to have a website, read what people are saying about it on Yelp.

Calypso Tuna Cakes Recipe And Extended Challenge Recap.

December 12th, 2010 1 comment

A few months back, I entered the Tonnino Tuna Chef Challenge for which I created a recipe using Tonnino Tuna and a video preparing same.  I didn’t expect to win (and didn’t), since my first recipe video was fraught with technical errors, but I did learn a lot, like not to take longer to combine the recipe ingredients than the video is allowed to be.  That’s pretty important!  

Aside from the video, the recipe turned out damn good — And now that the competition is officially over, I’ve decided to publish my Calypso Tuna Cakes recipe below.  To find out more about the challenge, recipe and video see here.

Regarding competitions, challenges and contests… It’s not cool, right, nor appreciated if/when entry deadlines are extended — It’s a little unfair, inequitable, unprofessional, misleading and disrespectful to those who entered on-time or by the competition’s posted deadline.  The Tonnino Tuna Chef Challenge deadline was extended twice.  I didn’t like that and hope not to encounter it again.  However, I am pleased to discover Tonnino’s high quality Tuna.  It’s impressive, but not inexpensive.

Calypso Tuna Cakes

1 (6.7 oz.) Jar of Tonnino Tuna Fillets with Jalapeno in Olive Oil (loosely chopped)

1/2 Cup Bread Crumbs (1/4 Cup for Tuna Cake mixture + ¼ Cup for Tuna Cake coating)

1 Egg

1 Tbsp. chopped Cilantro

1 Tbsp. chopped Green Onions

1 Tbsp. Lime Zest

1/3 Cup Corn (roasted and cut off cob)

1/3 Cup Red Bell Pepper (diced)

1 Tsp. of Mayonnaise

1/4 Tsp. Cumin

Olive Oil for baking sheet

* A little reserved Jalapeno Olive Oil, if necessary to moisten Tuna Cake mixture (optional).

Preheat oven (and a baking sheet) at 400°.

Combine all ingredients reserving 1/4 Cup of Bread Crumbs on a plate.  Mix other ingredients together and form into (4 – 6) Tuna Cakes depending on preferred size.  Coat each Tuna Cake with the reserved Bread Crumbs.  Add Olive Oil to the heated baking sheet, and then add the Tuna Cakes.  Bake for 15 minutes turning once halfway through.  Remove from the oven, cool slightly and dig into the Calypso — YUM!

The Calypso Tuna Cake above was served with a blend of Chipotle Peppers and Sour Cream, Pico De Gallo and Hava Chips.  And they’re named ‘Calypso’ for their regional ingredients, vibrant colors and tasty flavors, likened to the enlivening feeling of Calypso music.  Finally, it just so happens that I’ve met John of Food Wishes, the guy who actually won the Tonnino Tuna Chef Challenge and he’s a cool guy.  Congratulations John!

* Unfortunately the final Calypso Tuna Cake photos aren’t as fabulous as the recipe, but had to show something — To be replaced when made again.

Cruisin’ In Style To Gladstones In Malibu (Pacific Palisades To Be Exact).

November 2nd, 2010 1 comment

What an amazing meal and time we had at Gladstones Malibu, technically located in Pacific Palisades.  Did you know that?  I didn’t.  It’s been about 15 years since I’ve been there.  Gladstones has been in existence for decades, but recently stepped into a new era with a new look and menu that’s true to its iconic heritage.  We fittingly cruised there in style.

Most were able to squeeze into the photo before setting out (minus the kids) to celebrate the 40th Birthdays of David and Chris (both in plaid).  I’m found above the yellow balloon. 🙂

I said CHEERS with a Watermelon Mojito, which was perfectly refreshing and strong.

We had a few Oyster virgins in the crowd who were willing to give ’em a try.

It was funny to watch — Let’s just say that no newbies fell in love, except for one, as shown below.  Jerry said ‘the aphrodisiac aspect of the Oyster kicked right in’ and Ami had to hide.

Get a room — Continuing on with the Seafood Ceviche.

And then the reeallllly great stuff came, Lobsters and USDA Prime NY Strip Steaks, oh my.

Gladstones Market Seafood Pasta.

My plate with King Crab Legs, always a fave.

The Curried Coconut Shrimp was reported to be very good, by the one who brought his homemade (grown and roasted) Salsa in the limo, which was fantastic too.

Most had the Lobster and Steak combination.

It was a little too cold to dine on the large patio with “jumbrellas” this October evening — The ocean view is nice, but best captured in photographs during the day.

Happy Birthday friends and thanks for all Jer!

We love how Gladstones packs goodies TO GO.  I brought home a marvelous Sea Turtle and almost felt bad digging into the leftovers the next day.

Orange County Restaurant Week Specials Start Soon.

September 21st, 2010 No comments

As Orange County Food Examiner, I just posted details and links regarding Orange County Restaurant Week, which starts (again) this Sunday, September 26th.  It’s always the best time to dine out in the OC.  You get more food for less money.

* The pictured Sizzlin Blue Crab Cakes are from Ruth’s Chris Steak House, an Orange County Restaurant Week participant.

Join Roy’s L.A. Ohana Tour: It’s Going On Now Through August.

June 17th, 2010 No comments

What a great bunch of people they have working for Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine.  We recently visited Roy’s in Anaheim at The GardenWalk.  Did you know that each location’s Chef Partner is trained by Roy Yamaguchi himself, yet is encouraged to infuse their own style and inspiration into Roy’s classic menu items?  We just learned that cool fact, which makes each Roy’s special in its own way, thus if you’ve been to one Roy’s, you haven’t been to ’em all.

Roy’s just kicked off its L.A. Ohana Tour, which will give guests the opportunity to experience the different taste variations each time they visit a new Roy’s location — The specifics are detailed in bullet points below.

During our first tour stop, we thoroughly enjoyed Roy’s Original Hawaiian Martini, which includes fresh Pineapple, SKYY Vodka, Stoli Vanil Vodka and Malibu Coconut Rum.  And we loved the flavors of the Ekolu Tuna Roll, the “Rim Fire” Calamari and the Sweet Corn & Blue Crab Crusted Barramundi, which was our favorite — It’s made with a Sun Dried Tomato and Wild Mushroom Anisette Cream Sauce.  If you’ve never tried Barramundi, you’re missing out.  It’s a sustainable farm raised Fish with sweet succulent flesh indigenous to Australia. 

And for dessert, Roy’s Pineapple Upside Down Cake with caramelized Pineapple baked with Brown Sugar Pound Cake and Coconut Ice Cream was the perfect finish.

Roy’s recently announced the launch of its L.A. Ohana Tour, a new rewards program designed for diners to experience the creative chef variations on popular menu items offered at each location.  From June 9th until August 31, 2010, guests are invited to visit (3) Southern California Roy’s restaurants to receive dining rewards and be entered to win an all-inclusive trip to Hawaii, where guests will enjoy a personal dinner with founding chef Roy Yamaguchi.

Your chance to win a trip to Hawaii starts with an inaugural visit to any one of Roy’s participating restaurants, as noted below: 

· At the inaugural (first) trip to any participating Roy’s restaurant, guests are awarded an Ohana Tour Card to present at the next Roy’s location.

· On the second visit, guests will receive a complimentary Chocolate Soufflé with the purchase of an entrée.

· At the third location, guests will receive a $20 Gift Card with the purchase of an entrée, plus an entry into the Hawaiian sweepstakes.

· Restaurants participating in the tour include Roy’s Anaheim, Los Angeles, Newport Beach, Pasadena, and Woodland Hills locations.

THEY SAY:  “In the Hawaiian culture, ‘ohana’ means family,” said Leiala Whattoff, V.P. of Training & Development, Roy’s restaurant. “We designed this tour to thank our frequent guests and encourage new guests to experience our exquisite food and the aloha spirit with their friends and family. By visiting three of our Southern California locations, guests will receive delicious rewards and the chance to win the ultimate dining experience in Hawaii.”

Nibbles of Tidbits will be heading to Roy’s in Fashion Island next for our complimentary Chocolate Soufflé.  Hope to see you on tour!

* We had hoped to post more food photos, but unfortunately didn’t capture the deserving quality of all aforementioned dishes.

Fresh Rainbow Trout And Budweiser: A Dad’s Dream.

May 2nd, 2010 No comments

My Dad’s favorite things… Rainbow Trout he caught in Bishop during opening weekend and Budweiser — He should be their spokesperson.  We’ve bought him many an 18 Pack over the years for Father’s Day.  Beer and lottery tickets, but no cigarettes, ha.  He likes his “Bud” and we like the BBQ’d Trout. 🙂

What If The Hokie Pokie Is Really What It’s All About?

April 1st, 2010 No comments

Chicken Cordon Bleu ;)

Happy April Fools Day!  This day always creeps up on me without enough planning.  Darn.  And I’m quite the practical joker too.  I suppose future joke ideas will be best reserved for the rest of the year, when people aren’t expecting ’em. 🙂 Until then, enjoy the Chicken Cordon Bleu.