We got this Cake for our parents 50th Wedding Anniversary — It’s them on the edible topping. They were impressed to see it and so were we. It’s from Albertson’s Bakery. It tasted good too, with a Whipped Cream Frosting, Vanilla Cake and Strawberry Filling.
Under the boardwalk, we’ll be having some fun — At the Redondo Beach Pier, people walking above. Fish Markets and Old-Time Arcades, people falling in love. I’m grateful to be reminded of the magic that’s there and hope to return to experience more soon. There’s so much to do.
And much more to eat under the boardwalk around the Redondo Beach Pier.
Many things I love like Crab and Lobster, but we weren’t so excited about the Sea Urchin.
Others were eating ’em up, after a breaking of its shell and a quick rinse of water.
Several fresh Oyster types were available to be shucked and consumed.
The offerings are varied and seem endless — Pick something, have it cooked and eat outside.
Free cooking — Broiled, fried or otherwise.
Smelt — I remember my Mom serving them for dinner when I was a kid and I liked them.
We opted for Ceviche this day — There are so many choices above and under the boardwalk.
Ceviche, Tortillas and a giant Pacifico on the patio with much more to go.
One of my favorite Old-Time Arcades is here near the Pier.
We had a blast with $20 — Its old-time prices go with its nostalgic experience.
Mostly old-fashioned games meet a few worthy new ones — Didn’t catch the Candy though.
Caught a Jawbreaker that escaped during its retrieval and bounced down the boardwalk. 🙂
Like some newer Arcades, tickets are earned towards prizes.
We chose Surprise Boxes — The sampling above wasn’t too bad. I can use the basting brush.
This day we also walked along the shore from Hermosa Beach to Manhattan Beach (and back), ultimately to El Torasco, a long-time favorite Mexican restaurant of mine, and then barely made it back to Hermosa before the sun went down — A beautiful day indeed!
Whole Foods Market Newport Beach came along just in time to elevate the Special Menu (below) — It’s an incredible store and where I bought the best of the best ingredients for a “You Pick, I Prepare” Dinner. And I thank Whole Foods Market for its $100 Gift Card towards all. Though this post is partially sponsored, I will always tell it like it is, yo yo yo. 😉
What would you pick? Remember Slam Books? What’s your favorite FOOD? Fill-in the blanks.
My answers would be very different than these, with all due respect — That’s all I’m gonna say. Okay, I might heckle about it later. My Slam Menu picks would likely include King Crab Legs and a Soufflé. I got off easy with the Special Menu above, though still managed to create fodder for ‘The Bad’ segment of Nibbles of Tidbits. It’s always a learning experience.
Most turned out well. The Shrimp for the Shrimp Cocktail was sweet and tender, not tough, and I thank the Whole Foods Market Seafood Department for deveining them for me. It saved a lot of time and it’s a job I certainly don’t love. Now that’s some super service!
The Split Pea and Ham Soup (made without a recipe) fortunately turned out tasty as all get out. And the Parmesan Crisps are what’s best about this Caesar Salad — It’s Shaved Parmesan Cheese that’s cooked in a skillet on medium (without oil) until golden brown and crisp. I always add ’em instead of Croutons. And then there’s the Meatloaf… Meatloaf, really?
It’s mostly ironic, since I never liked it. Growing up I’d ask what’s for dinner and when my Mom would laughingly say “your favorite” I knew it was Meatloaf. She knew it was the opposite of my favorite. And here I am faced with it again. I got past it by converting my true favorite Meatball Recipe into a Meatloaf, and served it with a Sauce made of Tomatoes, Roasted Garlic and Caramelized Onions (puréed). If I think of a Meatloaf as a giant Meatball, I’m better.
I’ve made plenty of Twice Baked/Re-Stuffed Potatoes in my life and most have turned out perfectly fine, but these didn’t. Isn’t that terrific when it matters. They tasted good, but had too much Cheese (with Butter), which made all runny and oily. Wouldn’t you know it?!
The Carrots were a bonus — They were roasted in the oven with Sweet Onions and Garlic.
And then there’s the Banana Cream Pie aka Banana Pot Pie, as dubbed by the mystery guest. The Pie didn’t set and I’m not sure why. Cornstarch has been problematic for me lately and will opt for Flour next time. A Chocolate Bundt Cake from a mix was made for backup.
It was suggested that the Banana Cream ‘Pudding’ be spooned over the Chocolate Cake.
All was not lost. Nothing was lost. It was all good — And the time was especially great.
Thanks Whole Foods Market Newport Beach — I look forward to seeing you again.
Whole Foods Market in Newport Beach — A fresh, colorful place perfectly set to test out a new (much needed) camera, and it appears Nibbles of Tidbits’ photos are looking up.
I’m grateful for the camera, and the $100 Gift Card from Whole Foods Market to tell you about their Newport Beach location — A piece of Cake, as I would’ve written about it anyway.
I love Whole Food Market, especially at Fashion Island where the service and selection is tops.
Interesting samples are set-up throughout the store and I finally tried Dragon Fruit.
Its texture and flavor is comparable to a Kiwi with less flavor.
And I love Passion Fruit (above), but it’s trippy looking inside — Scary or is it just me?
Amongst the paradise of food is Whole Fresh Fish, sometimes difficult to find.
How about Sea Urchin? It was cool to see Fresh Abalone, but Shrimp was on the menu today.
This store is like a Newport Beach city hosting two Bars to re-group with a drink.
Happy staff was available at every turn to answer questions and/or offer a helping hand.
If there’s something you’d like to try, ask and they’ll open it for you. They offered to do so.
Entrance to Whole Foods Market’s Back Bay Tavern — Why not park your cart for a quick one?
Cart with high quality food (above) on its way to become a meal requested by Sweetie Freis.
My Mom and I enjoyed the shopping experience with a Glass of Wine in between.
And the tram ride to our car with heavy groceries was welcomed — Thankful for that too!
See what’s on the MENU (above). It’s different than what I would’ve picked, which made all more motivating to prepare. It’s what’s asked for, thus it’s what will be! Check back to see how all turned out. Overall it went well, except for one thing — We’ll post about it soon.
Thanks Whole Foods Market Newport Beach — I’ll be back, voluntarily.
Nibbles of Tidbits has partnered with Whole Foods Market to help celebrate the opening of their Newport Beach store and it’s going to be big — It’ll be a one-stop shop to gather ingredients for a perfect dinner party and I’m having a special one soon. It officially opens September 19th, 2012. Check back (and below) to see all that it has to offer and find out how our dinner turns out. Why not enter the I Love Newport Beach Photo Contest while you wait?!
- The Tea Hive, a brand-new fusion café and tea bar that will offer green, black or oolong tea in almost any imaginable form – whether frozen, sparkling, iced or steamed – paired with natural fusion entrees, such as bowls and wraps using local and organic products
- Back Bay Tavern ~ a relaxing and casual bar/restaurant with a rotating selection of 24 craft beers on tap, plus wine and spirits, along with an extensive menu of beef, seafood, vegetarian and vegan meal options
- A smaller “Express” wine and beer bar with 12 beers on tap at the front of the store for quicker service
- In-house executive chef
- Meat department with a full line of locally sourced, 100% grass-fed beef, chicken and turkey and high end cuts of meat not easily found in other markets
- Seafood department featuring sustainably sourced fresh and seasonal specialties
- In-store bakery with scratch-made breads, muffins, cakes, pies, cookies, gluten-free items.
- In-store kitchen that features handcrafted pizza, in-house chips and dips, rolled-to-order sushi, organic salad bar, hot soups, meals-on-the-go and Weekday Deals
- 48 feet of local beers of which 8 ft. is canned beer selections
- Grass fed and raw milk cheeses
- A burger program, in-house smoker and ‘Get Crocked’ section that features complete meals that can be taken home and easily prepared in a crockpot
- Over 1300 gluten free items including dairy and frozen foods
- Seasonal and locally sourced conventional and organic produce
- Value-conscious items like 365 Everyday Value, hundreds of products priced on sale daily
- Expanded bulk and raw foods section
- Step Cleansing program in the juice bar
- Whole Body section with a focus on organic products for the body.
- “Upgrade your Bouquet” program in the floral department
- Indoor/outdoor seating for 150 with free Wi-Fi and plenty of parking
French smiles await you when you rise — Pandor Artisan Boulangerie and Café is open.
Its offerings are French to the Bread bone — Breakfast, Savories, Salads, Paninis and more.
And seemingly endless exquisite Desserts.
Once there was a way to get back home — Its owners want to bring France to the OC.
Food Media relished the taste of Pandor’s long journey to Newport Beach.
It’s where/when I learned how special the food and all that’s behind it actually is.
Our photos don’t do it justice — The Sandwiches and Salads are filled with sophisticated flavor.
I loved the Habano Sandwich, Grilled Vegetable Panini and Baby Spinach Turkey Salad.
Pandor means Golden Bread and each is made with loving French care.
Our hope is to try everything pictured here and more. It’s an exceptional place.
I left the taste-transport feeling French with Baguettes in hand.
Then we had our own private Idaho, a Bread Sampling Party.
Life is beautiful — Bonne Chance Amis.
I’d been looking for the right Lobster Roll to try and it finally came along with great satisfaction — My first ever, since they’re more popular on the East Coast. That’s my excuse and/or they are expensive when offered and haven’t had the quality ingredients sought.
The Lobster Roll is a popular special at Santa Monica Seafood — Generous chunks of Lobster are tossed with a refreshing Lemon Aioli and Chives, then served on a soft Roll. It’s perfect.
Dine inside, on the patio, at the Oyster Bar or take something to-go from the Fish Market.
Shucking Oysters (below) — Tell them what kind you want or what you like in an Oyster.
We tried the Kusshi (left) and Misty Pointe (right) — Both were superb, especially the MP.
They have an amazing, well displayed and serviced selection at Santa Monica Seafood.
Live Lobster, an option I’m skipping for a while. See why here — Too much going on.
Sashimi Grade Fish is also available. Someday I’ll make Sushi.
Several kinds of Crab, Shrimp, Lobster and Fish are sold daily.
Prices vary and may not be the same as shown here today.
Indian Candy, a sweet, salty and smoky Salmon, in the case above is a favorite.
Cheese, Wine, Herbs, cooking tools and all necessities for a nice meal or picnic are here.
Since their re-design that happened about a year ago, it’s nice to dine in with a Glass of Wine.
Our server, Ashley was awesome, sweet and cool, and reminded us of Jody Foster.
Happy Hour looks good, if you can make it in before the 5PM cut-off. It’s an early one.
And here’s that Lobster Roll I kissed — Smooch. Time to get a room. It was sooooo good. 😉
Santa Monica Seafood is better than ever and family owned since 1939.
It’s a dining option I’ll think of more often — There’s a lot to see, cook and eat.
Whoever started Wordless Wednesday is a genius, though I rarely take full advantage of it, as you see words — There’s a lot to say about Santa Monica Seafood and its new-ish design, the Oyster Bar, the market, and the Lobster Roll that didn’t get away, but not today.
Soon back for (and with) more of everything — Cheers to that!
Now back to Wordless Wednesday ;).
Cost Plus World Market is a terrific place to find unique food items. We’ve previously reported about a few of them. What would you buy with a $2,000 Gift Card? YOU could win it and a trip to the Greek Theatre to see the Go-Go’s with (10) of your best friends. Please choose ME or YOU. I’d pick up several bottles of Champagne at Cost Plus and we’d be Beauty and the Beat on the way to the Greek. Enter before July 23, 2011. Good luck!
Have you seen the California Pizza Kitchen Original BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad Kit?
It’s sold at Costco, unsure if exclusively — And my Mom loves it.
She and Chef Niece Bailee of Kids in the Kitchen mixed it all together.
My thoughts… It’s not bad, but I don’t love it. For its cost of $9-something, I’d rather go to California Pizza Kitchen to have the real thing, or make the Salad from scratch using my CPK Cookbook, as I did once before. The Salad Kit comes with everything the Original BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad does in the restaurant, except Romaine — You’ll need to purchase and add it separately, which ultimately adds to its cost.
What do you think about it?
Testing out photo editing at the Huntington Beach Farmers’ Market and Art Fair happening every Friday at Pier Plaza from noon to dusk — On skates this day, thus didn’t buy anything to have hands ready for a potential fall. Was this yesterday or 1975? And have you ever seen Heirloom Artichokes with purple flowers? I hadn’t, but the background looks best below.
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.
We cracked up reading several Wine Bags at Cost Plus World Market today. They have some of the funniest we’ve seen. Although I don’t need any, I had to buy this one. Funny yes, no?
It shall be received by the next party host, unless already seen here. 😉
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.
Since it’s across the street, I’d like to walk here someday when it FINALLY opens. It’s been about 8 months since we first reported seeing Fresh & Easy signage in Costa Mesa. I don’t know why it has taken so long — I’ve seen several potential customers park, and then walk purposefully towards the store to learn it’s still not open. Bummer. It’s been a bit of a tease.
At last, Fresh & Easy will be opening in Costa Mesa (Newport and Harbor) on February 9th.
Yes, I buy inexpensive Olive Oil — When I get home from the store, I just transfer it to the above bottle and forget that it’s cheap. 😉 Somehow it tastes better. As long as your bottle has a secure top dispenser, you’ll always be ready to pour. The pictured is from Cost Plus World Market and I love it. It looks good sitting out and works well too. Enter to win some good, attractively bottled Olive Oil here.
I concur with the message in this video by the Bulk is Green Council. You can save time and money buying certain items in the bulk aisle, rather than elsewhere scattered throughout the store. I recently experienced its benefits at Henry’s Farmers Market — A great store for bulk.
Above is just a sliver of Henry’s bulk foods selection — Don’t forget to write the item number on each tag / bag sealer, so the checker will know how to ring it up. Many items look the same, especially the powdered goods. It can be a fair amount of writing if you get a variety. This day we tried a little of a lot (about 15 items). It was entertaining and we did see that money can be saved when needing a little or a lot of certain things.
I’m advised that it’s National Bulk Foods Day on October 23rd — Hhhmmm, it seems there’s a day for everything now. Did you know it’s National Nibbles of Tidbits Day on December 3rd? It is! Until then, buy from the bulk foods aisle.
When was the last time you had a picnic? We mustn’t forget the simple enjoyment of a picnic. It seems Americans don’t take enough pleasure in them. While traveling through many parts of Europe, you’ll see people having picnics everywhere and often. It’s a great thing.
We’re inspired to have more picnics and Cost Plus World Market, a favorite destination for unique and imported food items can make it happen on a moment’s notice. It has everything one could need for a picnic. We prepared for this one by getting ALL shown from Cost Plus, including the insulated picnic basket that transported the Salami, Cracked Pepper Smoked Salmon, Bruschetta, Roasted Artichoke Hearts, Pepper Jack Cheese, Assorted Crackers, Almonds, Pickles, Olives, Wine and Cookies.
This day it was too windy to show you it was too windy — Meaning, we couldn’t back up for a wide photo, since all hands were necessary to hold down the light stuff during the wind gusts. It was (kinda) funny, until it blew over our Chardonnay, and it was a bit scary thinking the Smoked Salmon could possibly land on us, but ultimately it was a lot of fun.
We had this picnic in Temecula, near Pechanga Resort & Casino, where we took our Grandma to see her favorite singer, Engelbert Humperdinck. Prior to the concert, we laughed eating the Orange Chocolate Rolled Wafers — They are sooooo darn good and fodder for immature jokes that transcend generations, Groucho Marx impersonations and more.
We recently wandered into Zinc Cafe & Market in Corona Del Mar a half hour before closing time and happily learned that their Market Salads are 1/2 price during that time, the last half hour before closing. It was great timing for us, thus we went crazy and got eight of them, five are pictured here and all are always good. They offer a shady outdoor patio too, but we enjoyed our Salads on the beach (away from the seagulls) and for lunch the next day. What a deal — It’s the best time to go there.
We didn’t capture the official name of each Salad, since we ate them so fast — Many are seasonal anyway, so you’ll just have to see what’s available and check out their website to see what’s possible. They offer a lot and will tell you more than we can.
The beach is walking distance from Zinc Cafe & Market in Corona Del Mar. If I could own a home anywhere around here, it would be in Corona Del Mar, near many restaurants and the amazing beauty pictured below.
‘Pick out all the Candy you want’ is what I said to my Chef Nieces, Baliee and Lexi from Kids in the Kitchen — It would’ve been a dream come true for me as a kid. I still love Candy and Cost Plus World Market has the best selection, if you don’t know that already!?
Come with me and you’ll be in a world of Pure Imagination — A song superbly sang by Gene Wilder in one of the most magical movie clips ever and appropriate to this post. Cost Plus could be a modern day Willy Wonka. Today it was.
I think I would have picked out way more Candy than they did, hahaha, but we did end up with a good cross-section of nostalgic, imported, mainstream, unique and extreme Candy, which was fun to try — On a rowdy sugar high we dumped the tub of Old Time Favorites over Chef Lexi’s head. It’s raining Candy. 🙂
We had a great time trying the Violet Mints, Candy Buttons, Mango Gummy Candy, Ginger Candy Chews and various small imported Chocolate Bars. And we enjoyed having a couple nostalgic favorites, like Chick-O-Sticks and Bit-O-Honey. The Toxic Waste Candy pictured below was ridiculously strong. They do call it ‘hazardously sour Candy’ and you can tell by the post-sampling expressions.
We haven’t yet tried the Bean Boozled by Jelly Belly. We’re afraid and may need to host a Jelly Belly Fear Factor Game later — Stay tuned for that when we find a couple brave volunteers. So far all asked say no way José.
Note: Photos for this Candy Taste-Off were taken at the Bella Terra Cost Plus World Market. If going to the movie theater nearby, we suggest stopping in Cost Plus to get the Candy — Shhhhhh. So sorry, theater Candy prices are gouging and I buy the Popcorn.
So many Chips, so little time — Well, we actually have the time, but can only eat so many Chips. We thought it would be fun to sample a cross-section of the vast Chip selection offered at Cost Plus World Market. Although they have much more than you see here, we ultimately decided to try (7) Bags of Chips and (4) Salsas for our Chip Invasion Taste-Off.
Seven of us gathered for the festivities to determine our favorites — To learn more about the Chips, hover your cursor over the pictured plates below to match ’em up with the Chip Bags above. It’s always good to see what’s in a bag before you buy it.
The variety we selected appears to be a good representation of Chip types and brands. Some are produced especially for Cost Plus World Market, and others you’ve seen there and at other popular markets (i.e., Kettle Chips).
The same applies to our Salsa selection — The (2) on the left below are specially made for Cost Plus World Market and the other (2) can be purchased there and elsewhere. And the Salsa verdict is… All were good and enjoyed for their comparative uniqueness. In other words, the pictured Salsas would be a terrific combination for a party. One was spicy (Chipotle), one was mild (Roasted Tomato), one was cheesy (Chili Con Queso) and one was chunky (Corn, Black Bean & Red Pepper). All were picked as a favorite by one or another, with the most votes cast for the Frontera Chipotle and Cost Plus World Market Chili Con Queso.
With respect to the Chips, the verdict was all over the board. The favorites were the Gaytan Baked Cheese Puff, Sweet & Spicy Tortilla Chips with Flaxseed and the Death Valley Chipotle Chips. We really don’t think the Spinach & Artichoke Chips taste like Spinach and Artichoke, but they’re a good dipping Chip for any Salsa. The favored combo seemed to be the Veggie Tortilla Chips (due to their neutral flavor) dipped in the Chipotle Salsa. It’s all good.
Note: Nibbles of Tidbits loves Cost Plus World Market — Check back to learn about our future Candy Taste-Off, our picnic inspired by Cost Plus products and more. We have a lot of great ideas, because they have so much cool stuff!
The largest Sweet Onions in town can be found at Tanaka Farms. Continuing our report about our recent visit to Tanaka Farms — In addition to the Strawberries, we took home a giant Sweet Onion to make one of our favorite side dishes, Baked (or BBQ’d) Onions.
Tanaka Farms grows their Onions amongst the Strawberries. They say it helps to keep certain pests away from the Strawberries and it sweetens the Onions.
Without visiting the above recipe link, know here that it’s an Onion that’s tented in foil with Bacon Grease, Salt and Pepper — And then it’s baked in the oven or on a BBQ for about an hour. This extra large Onion took longer (a little under 2 hours) and indeed it was incredibly sweet to eat. It served two very well.
Baked Onions are so easy to make. The rule is generally (1) Onion per guest — If getting them from Tanaka Farms, they can be shared.
If this doesn’t sound good to you, it’s understandable — We once appalled at the idea too, but they’re sooooo good. You might be missing out.
Have you been to Tanaka Farms yet? If you haven’t, you’re missing out. It’s in Irvine and is also known as Orange County’s Largest U-Pick Farm. During certain tours you get to pick your own Strawberries, Watermelon and much more. We recently went on the Strawberry Tour, which was more fun than we imagined.
At the end of the Strawberry Tour, you get to pick and take home your own large basket of Strawberries, which happens after you eat as many as you can stuff down. We all said they were the best Strawberries we had in our lives. Not sure why, but they’re amazingly sweet. The tour lasts about an hour.
While on the tractor ride that’s included with the Strawberry Tour, you get to try a few of the seasonal vegetables along the way. After sampling all, you feel like you’ve just had a healthy meal. We joked that we should bring Salt, Pepper and Ranch Dressing next time — And we seriously might.
In addition to the endless Strawberries, we ate Radishes, Carrots, Sugar Snap Peas, Green Beans, Iceberg and Red Leaf Lettuce directly from the field. What a treat! And when you’re done eating, you just toss the remains (aka Carrot and Radish tops, Strawberry leaves, etc.) over your shoulder off the tractor.
Weekend Strawberry Tours are running now through June 27th (weather permitting) and the Watermelon Tours begin in early July. Tanaka Farms also offers Cookout Tours, whereas you get to pick, wash and cook your own meal directly from and at the farm. The view from the cookout area is beautiful.
We still keep talking about how much fun this was and that we now look forward to enjoying Tanaka Farms all year long. They have a fresh produce stand that’s open daily.
Family run Tanaka Farms is organized, friendly, fun, clean and pesticide free. They do a lot of creative planting to put forth the best produce possible. We’re impressed with ALL.