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

December 5th, 2016 No comments

Fool

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

D'Vine Sign

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

Cold Mezza's

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

Chips

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

Dip

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

Interior

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

Arak and Cooler

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

Kefta

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

Shawarma

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

Interior/Kitchen

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

Smoking Area

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

Event Room

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

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

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

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

November 26th, 2016 No comments

Ike's

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

Ike's in Irvine

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

Inside Ike's in Irvine

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

Line at Ike's in Irvine

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

Ike's Sandwich

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

One of many Sandwiches

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

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

November 9th, 2016 No comments

patriotic-cake

 

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

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

WHAT:

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

WHERE:

Participating IHOP Restaurants in the United States.

WHY:

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

WHEN:

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

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

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

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

October 14th, 2016 No comments

Treehouse Lounge

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

Asparagus Appetizer

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

Tanner's Treehouse

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

Tanner's

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

The Bungalow

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

Penzeys Specialty Spice Retailer: An Aromatic Oasis In Anaheim.

September 18th, 2016 No comments

Inside Penzeys

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

Penzeys Anaheim

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

Various Pepper

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

Kid's Area

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

Cute Area at Penseys

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

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

August 5th, 2016 No comments

Croutons Lunch

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

Croutons Cost

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

Croutons Irvine

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

Tomato Basil Soup

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

July 24th, 2016 No comments

Pepsi Donut Bacon Dog

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

Food Tasting

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

Bacon Cheddar Brat Burger

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

Pineapple Bowls

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

Chicken Charlie

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

Pinks

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

Dominic Palmieri at OC Fair

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

Pickle Fries

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

Tasti Chips

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

Me at the OC Fair

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

Dahlia

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

Photographing Flowers

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

Baby Pigs

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

Me at Fair

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

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

July 18th, 2016 No comments

Hello Fresh Test

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

Box from Hello Fresh

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

Hello Fresh Menu

All ingredients were well packed and arrived fresh.

Leon and Hello Fresh

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

Hello Fresh Packaging

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

Hello Fresh Ingredients

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

Hello Fresh Meat

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

Hello Fresh Recipe

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

Hello Fresh Meal

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

Hello Fresh Shrimp Dish

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

Hello Fresh Risotto

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

Hello Fresh Chicken Dish

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

Burger King’s Mac N’ Cheetos: A Fun Concept That Misses.

July 3rd, 2016 No comments

Mac N' Cheetos

We tried Burger King’s new Mac N’ Cheetos (pictured) — Macaroni and Cheese inside fried batter shaped like Cheese Puffs.  The Macaroni and Cheese in Burger King’s ad looks creamy and their “Cheetos” appear to be dusted with an orange, cheesy powder, but in person they look different.

Burger King Mac N' Cheetos

I hate to report it, but they kind of look like little fried turds — That’s from a consensus of three tasters.  Burger King’s Mac N’ Cheetos were darker than expected and had no visible orange flavored powder, like Cheetos and Cheese Puffs do.  If the batter is supposed to be made with Cheetos, we couldn’t taste the Cheetos flavor in it.  And the Macaroni and Cheese inside was very dry.

Inside Mac N' Cheetos

I didn’t want more than just one Cheeto.  That’s not good.  I didn’t expect them to be great, but they’re just plain funny and bad, like crazy Fair food.  Maybe BK should wrap them in Bacon, JK.  I waited in line too long for them, and the first BK I went to ran out of them, while I was stuck in the drive-thru.  That wasn’t good either.  I wish I could report better, but three tasters on behalf of Nibbles of Tidbits do not want them again, though all appreciate the fun concept of ’em.

Menu Change Update: Get The Caramelized Brussels Sprouts I’m Told.

June 8th, 2016 No comments

Brussels Sprouts

It’s happened again, a favorite dish is taken off the menu.  For some reason I tend to favor dishes that don’t sell as well as others.  This time it’s not much longer after reporting about it that it’s gone.  It was Simmzy’s Cauliflower with Cilantro Pesto, linked here.  After sitting down with a Beer Flight at Simmzy’s Long Beach location, we learned it’s no longer on their menu.  What? Maybe they will bring it back.  Until that fine day, we tried Simmzy’s Caramelized Brussels Sprouts (pictured), a suggested popular dish.  It’s good, but it’s not their super-tasty Cauliflower with Cilantro Pesto that is now on my copycat list.  I must try to recreate what I can no longer point to and have.  Aside from these dishes, Simmzy’s menu offers much I’d like to try.

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.

Nibble’s New Obsession: Simmzy’s Cauliflower With Cilantro Pesto.

March 30th, 2016 No comments

Cauliflower

It’s from Simmzy’s Eat – Drink – Pub — I had seen photos of great looking food at Simmzy’s and have wanted to dine there for some time.  While in Huntington Beach recently, we stopped at Simmzy’s for a Beer and Starter.  Only one, since we had just dined at Saint Marc footsteps away, but we had to try something.  We opted for the Cauliflower with Cilantro Pesto, caramelized florets with Garlic Breadcrumbs and Lemon (pictured above and described below).  It has such a tasty, bold, lemony flavor I had it again at Simmzy’s Long Beach location a couple weeks later.

Simmzy's Menu Excerpt

Simmzy’s Eat – Drink – Pub’s Long Beach location is on a corner in Belmont Shore (below).

Simmzy's

It’s where the Shore House Cafe used to be when I lived in Belmont Shore years ago.

Simmzy's Menu

Simmzy’s Menu — Enlarge for a better view.

Simmzy's HB

Simmzy’s Huntington Beach location is pictured above — Most seats offer an ocean view across PCH.

Shake Your Money Maker: The ‘Kettlebar Pan Roast’ At The Kettlebar.

March 24th, 2016 No comments

Kettlebar Pan Roast

It’s called the Kettlebar Pan Roast (above) and it’s offered at Kettlebar Southern Seafood & Spirits aka Kettlebar Steam Cooking in Anaheim at the Anaheim Packing District, and in Tustin at The District.  Our server at the Anaheim Packing District told us the Kettlebar Pan Roast is their money maker, and after one bite we knew why.  Literally one bite.  It’s surprisingly one of the best dishes I’ve had.  It doesn’t look extraordinary on the surface, but it’s loaded with Snow Crab, Shrimp, Lobster and Chicken.  All were cooked perfectly and served in a well-balanced Tomato Cream Sauce. It’s served mild, medium or spicy.  The medium spice was just right for us.

Kettlebar Anaheim

Many Kettlebar dishes are cooked in steam pots, but I’m not sure how it’s done.  I’ll pay more attention when we return for another Kettlebar Pan Roast.  It’s already calling me back.

Matt at Kettlebar

Matt and others in front of the basement level Kettlebar Restaurant at the Anaheim Packing District.

No More Cole Slaw At Chick-Fil-A: Making Way For A Superfood Side.

March 9th, 2016 No comments

Chick-Fil-A Cole Slaw

What?  No more Cole Slaw at Chick-Fil-A?  Really?  I don’t think it’s a good decision, but it does ease my disappointment a bit to have the recipe.  Chick-Fil-A says they removed Cole Slaw from their menu to make room for their new Superfood Side (pictured below courtesy of Chick-Fil-A).

Superfood-Side

Their Superfood Side is actually a Kale Salad with Broccolini, Roasted Nuts and Dried Sour Cherries, which sounds good to me, but I think Chick-Fil-A’s Cole Slaw would appeal to more people, especially since it was a darn good Cole Slaw.  Everyone doesn’t like Kale.  Please bring back the Cole Slaw.

Cole Slaw Recipe

Until then, here’s the recipe if you liked Chick-Fil-A’s Cole Slaw too.

Update on 04/12/16:  Review of Chick-Fil-A’s Superfood Side.

Saint Marc Pub-Cafe´ Bakery & Cheese Affinage In Pacific City.

February 21st, 2016 No comments

Watermelon Feta

I love sharing small plates of food and Hors D’Oeuvres and I just discovered Saint Marc — That’s Saint Marc Pub-Cafe´ Bakery & Cheese Affinage.  They offer an amazing, lengthy selection of Hors D’Oeuvres, Bacon Bites, Bacon by the Slice, and much more.  It’s in Pacific City, a new-ish indoor/outdoor ocean-front shopping, dining and entertainment center in Huntington Beach.

Me at Saint Marc

Saint Marc is located upstairs towards the south end at Pacific City.

Matt at Saint Marc

It’s an open air indoor/outdoor restaurant, bar, bakery and specialty ingredient shop.  If a table isn’t reserved, seat yourself and secure an iPad for your table — You’ll need one to order food and drinks via Saint Marc’s Touch Menu.  View the food photos and prices, select items and order at your leisure.  Stagger your selections or order all at once.  You’ll also need to swipe a credit card to start.

St. Marc Bar

We’ve dined at Saint Marc twice in the last few weeks and I’m ready to go back < Read that hunny?

Menu

When I’m hooked on a dish or restaurant, I want it again and again, and right now it’s Saint Marc.

Bacon Bar

We’ve only tried a few of Saint Marc’s fabulous sounding menu items and have our sights on others. Pictured from top down is the Watermelon, Feta & Jalapeno stack and select Bacon Slices.

Deviled Eggs

Bacon & Eggs, Saint Marc’s version of Deviled Eggs.  The Bacon makes them.

St Marc

Bacon Wrapped Dates — One of my favorites.  I plan to try the Bacon Wrapped Artichokes next.

Bacon Dates

Swedish Meatballs served in a cast iron skillet.

Meatballs

Blue Celery & Walnuts — Celery stuffed with a Blue Cheese spread, topped with Walnuts.

Celery

Pretzel Bites & Beer Cheese — The Beer Cheese Sauce is perfect.

Pretzels

Avocado Crostini — You only get one big one per order.  It’s a bit hard to share, but we did.

Crostini

The Crostini Bread is really good.

Another Crostini

Burrata & Grape Essence, it’s called (above) — Burrata is a creamy Cheese.  It’s not Ice Cream on top of that Bread.  I’ve decided I’m not much of a Burrata fan, like others proclaim these days.

Rumaki

Rumaki — Bacon Wrapped Chicken & Water Chestnuts with a Ginger Glaze.  The Chicken was a little dry, but they’re working on improving it we’re told or they’ll take it off the menu.  They care.

Maple Bacon

Tender Belly Maple Bacon, another slice we tried — Next time I want to try the Apple Pie Bacon.

Cheese Curds

Wisconsin Cheese Curds — Matt had to have them.  I usually don’t like the texture of Cheese Curds, but I ended up liking these (above).  Maybe because they are fried.  I liked the batter too.

Donuts

And I haven’t even mentioned the Desserts — Lagniappe on the menu, a little something extra. We had the Beignets and Chocolate Fondue.  The Fondue Chocolate Sauce is the best I’ve had.

Fondue

An upscale Spork will be your utensil and food is delivered by Saint Marc’s Free Flow Ambassadors.

Spork

In front of Saint Marc again — It’s a stylish, inviting place, day or night.

Me at Saint Marc, again.

We’ll be back, though there are several interesting restaurants to choose from at Pacific City.

Orange County Restaurant Week: Instagram Photo Contest.

February 17th, 2016 No comments

OCRW 2016

Knott’s Berry Farm Season Dining Pass Meals: Tostada Salad And More.

February 12th, 2016 No comments

Tostada Salad at Cantina

We’re eating our way through Knott’s Berry Farm’s Season Dining Pass — The Chicken Tostada Salad (above) from the Cantina in Fiesta Village is my current favorite meal there, though I haven’t yet tried them all.  Pictured below is the Pepperoni Pizza and French Fries from Boardwalk Barbecue.  It was described as a Flat Bread Pizza, but appears more like a typical slice of Pizza, and with French Fries it’s quite heavy.  It would be better if the Pizza was served with a Salad.

Pizza and Fries

All Knott’s Season Dining Pass Meals will eventually be pictured here on Nibbles of Tidbits — Check back once I stop eating the Chicken Tostada Salad.  Previous meal reports are linked here and here.

Fine Food In A Beautiful City: Newport Beach Restaurant Week.

January 28th, 2016 No comments

 

OCRW

Newport Beach Restaurant Week wraps up this Sunday, January 31, 2016.  We attended its kick-off event at the Balboa Bay Resort, along with the Mayor of Newport Beach and the President of the Newport Beach Restaurant Association (on stage above) and many others.  We toasted to NBRW.

OC Food

It’s always a great time to dine out in Newport Beach — It’s such a beautiful city and prices are especially good now.  When NBRW is happening I like to try new restaurants.  It’s in its 10th year.

Ahi Sliders

We sampled several dishes currently being offered on various prix-fixe menus.

Ahi Slider

Pictured above is the Grilled Albacore Sandwich available at the Lighthouse Bayview Cafe, a fairly new restaurant on the Balboa Peninsula.  Did you know Newport Beach has 450+ restaurants?

Media Event

It does — See which restaurants are participating in Newport Beach Restaurant Week here.

Newport Beach

The view was gorgeous and well captured above by Matt, my photographer husband below.

Matt

We have four more days to enjoy the fruits of Newport Beach Restaurant Week.

Matt and Me

We reveled in all this evening — Dine Newport Beach for sure!

Newport Beach Restaurant Week(s) Starts Soon: We’re Always There.

January 14th, 2016 No comments

Bayside Lamb Chops

Though it’s called Newport Beach Restaurant Week, it’s two weeks long — Newport Beach Restaurant Week(s) starts Monday, January 18th and runs through Sunday, January 31st, 2016. It’s the best time to dine out in Newport Beach.  During that time many restaurants will be offering prix fixe menus for lunch and dinner.  Participating restaurants and menus can be viewed here.

Billy's

The pictured dishes (from top down) are from four of the restaurants participating in Newport Beach Restaurant Week — Bayside Restaurant, Billy’s At The Beach, Bluewater Grill and Woody’s Wharf.

Bluewater Grill

Nibbles of Tidbits will be attending a special media reception tomorrow at the Balboa Bay Resort to kick off this money saving, tasty annual event — More will be reported here after a few samplings.

Woody's

Once we select a restaurant (or more), it’s back to beautiful Newport Beach.

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.

Knott’s Berry Farm Season Pass Dining: Eat Twice A Day Every Day.

December 17th, 2015 No comments

Sutter House

We just purchased Knott’s Berry Farm 2016 Season Passes and Knott’s All Season Dining Pass. For around $185 each, we get (1) Lunch and (1) Dinner every day in 2016 at Knott’s Berry Farm. There are no blackout dates.  What a deal!  We technically wouldn’t need to spend anything more on food or entertainment for the entire year.  We can go to Knott’s every single day and eat twice. There’s a (4) hour interval between meals.  Locals should seriously consider this as a good meal and entertainment plan, especially if poor and often bored.  We’re within biking distance and couldn’t pass it up.  We plan to try and report on the food at all participating restaurants.  There are seven.

Sutter's Grill Menu

With a Season Pass Dining Plan one can enjoy Lunch and/or Dinner at each of the following restaurants… Sutter’s Grill, Wilderness Broiler, formerly known as Bigfoot Broiler, Hollywood Hits, Coaster’s Diner, Boardwalk Barbecue, Cantina and Grizzly Creek Lodge — They are listed in the same order they’re pictured herein.  We barely photographed all of them before the sun went down.

Season Dining Pass

Sutter’s Grill is pictured at top, as Matt points out, and its Season Pass Dining Menu is below it.

Big Foot Broiler

If you circle Knott’s Berry Farm clockwise from the front gate, you’ll find each of these participating restaurants in the same order they are presented here.  The Wilderness Broiler, also in Ghost Town is pictured next.  They’re grilling up Chicken Sandwiches, Cheeseburgers and Hot Dogs.

Wilderness Broiler

It’s hard to see the various menus here (better if enlarged), but they’re all somewhat similar.

Menu

Moving into Boardwalk, Hollywood Hits restaurant offers Pizza.

Hollywood Hits

If wanting Pizza instead of a Burger or Hot Dog with Season Pass Dining, go to Hollywood Hits.

Knott's Pizza

Each participating restaurant menu offers four Combos and a Caesar Salad to choose from.

Menu

Coaster’s Diner (below), also in Boardwalk is a cute place to eat.

IMG_1470

Chicken Tenders and a Southwest Cheeseburger are offered here, differing from the other menus.

Inside Coaster's

Boardwalk Barbecue (below), another participating restaurant is also in Boardwalk.

Cantina

In addition to a Grilled Foot-Long Hot Dog, Cheeseburger and Grilled Chicken Sandwich, Boardwalk Barbecue offers a Flat Bread Pizza.  And then there’s the Cantina in Fiesta Village, the only restaurant where you can get a Burrito, Taco or Tostada Salad on the Season Pass Dining Plan.

Cantina

The Cantina is pictured above and below.  Every restaurant offers a Caesar Salad too.

Cantina Menu

And finally there’s Grizzly Creek Lodge, the largest restaurant of all in Camp Snoopy (below).

Grizzly Creek Lodge

It offers dining downstairs and upstairs, inside and out.

Grizzly Menu

Once you have circled the park stopping at each of the participating restaurants on Knott’s Season Pass Dining Plan, there are no new menu offerings at Grizzly Creek Lodge, except for the large condiment bar pointed out by Matt below.  Though the menu items are somewhat repetitive, the deal is good, since each combo costs around $15.  Drinks are not included with Season Pass Dining.

Knott's Food

A 2016 All Season Bottle can be purchased for about $25 for Unlimited Free Refills on drinks.  We didn’t purchase that.  I believe we’re allowed to bring a bottle of water into Knott’s (I need to confirm that), which will suffice since we rarely drink sodas.  We’d rather purchase a liquor plan.

Matt

We start our Season Pass Dining at Knott’s Berry Farm in 2016.

KBF

Check back to see what tastes best there.