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The Hobbit Restaurant In Orange May Serve Your Best Meal Ever.

July 27th, 2014 2 comments

The Hobbit Lamb

Have you ever been to The Hobbit?  It’s a restaurant and unique dining experience in Orange that has nothing to do with the novel, movie or Hobbit character, whew – At least I didn’t see any visual cues of it, though didn’t ask the origin of its name.  Regardless, it’s simply a great place to possibly have the best meal of your life, if you have a few hours to spare.

Shelly Freis at The Hobbit

After years of hoping to dine at The Hobbit, my husband took me for my birthday, another reason why I married him this year.  Dining here could be an annual occasion, he may be afraid to learn, as it’s not inexpensive, but worth the time and money – It’s a good value, I think.

The Hobbit Patio The Hobbit Entrance The Hobbit Dining Room

We’ve arrived – Who and what’s behind the door?  Looks like a speakeasy slot, I like it.

Thee Hobbit Bar

We started with a Glass of Wine and seat in the Bar (above) – The Hobbit experience starts with an optional drink in the Bar, or in one of the other sitting areas inside or outside.

Upstairs Hobbit Bar  The Hobbit - Me in Bar Mirror  Cheers at The Hobbit

After orientation of the Bar and various rooms within an old converted house, all head downstairs to the Wine Cellar for Champagne & Hors d’ Oeuvres (included in a fixed price).

The Hobbit Wine Cellar Stairs

You may eat and enjoy as many Hors d’ Oeuvres and drink as much Champagne as you like.

The Hobbit Hors d' Oeuvres

The photos don’t do all justice – Each Hors d’ Oeuvre was exceptional, delicious and top notch.

Beef Satay  The Hobbit App  At The Hobbit

Busy trying everything while I could (about ten dishes over and over again), I didn’t take notes – Amongst other dishes, they offered a smooth Liver Pâté, Steak Tartare, Beef Saté, Caviar, etc.  I’m personally not a big Caviar fan, but appreciate their generosity.

The Hobbit Caviar

I loved The Hobbit’s Steak Tartare — It was perfectly chilled and fresh.

Wine Cellar

If you like, while in the Wine Cellar, select a bottle of Wine to have with dinner.

The Hobbit - Our Dinner Table

The experience continues upstairs, from the Wine Cellar at a privately assigned table.

View from Dinner Table

It’s romantic too.

The Hobbit Dinner Roll

Even the Bread Roll was extra special, with a lot Herbs.

The Hobbit - Menu of the Day

The Hobbit meals come with an ever-changing menu/program, with intermission and all.

The Hobbit Salad before Intermission

Your menu will most likely be different, but ours included Seared Loin of Lamb with Organic Red Quinoa and a Tart Cherry Reduction (top photo), Butter Lettuce with Roquefort Dressing and Port Poached Pear (directly above), and Wild Mushroom Stuffed Filet Mignon (below).

Wild Mushroom Stuffed Filet

Almond Cake, Apricot Ice Cream and a Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse (below).

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Enlarge photo with menu (above) to view descriptions of all dishes.

The Hobbit Chefs in the Kitchen

During intermission that’s followed by Sorbet and the main entrée, we visited the kitchen and enjoyed our Wine on the outdoor patio, while hoping to make room for more food.

Matt & Me at The Hobbit

We toast to the Chefs and owners of The Hobbit — We LOVED our meal and time there.

Cheers to going back to The Hobbit someday...

Make another reservation for me, PLEASE!

The World’s Most Expensive Food For Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

July 22nd, 2014 No comments
most expensive dishes

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.

Alegria Cocina Latina In Long Beach For Sangria, Flamenco & More.

July 8th, 2014 No comments

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It was great to be back at Alegria Cocina Latina in Long Beach.  I have old memories there.  It’s probably been over 15 years since I’ve been to Alegria and it looked just as good, if not better than I remember.  It has new owners who continue to care for and enhance it.  I’ve always liked the bright, multi-colored tile floor, stylish bar and outdoor patios, and their Sangrias of course.  Nobody does them better! A lot of care and time is put into making them.

Alegria - Sangrias

They offer a Red, White and Seasonal Sangrias all the time.

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Alegria’s cuisine is a fusion of Spanish, Mexican and Latin American flavors.

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A portion of Alegria’s patio is above and one dining area is set for a large party below.

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We tried a few dishes, including Paella Valenciana (top) and Ceviche De Cameron (below).

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I liked the Red Sangria best and the guy looking at you below liked the White Sangria better.

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They also have a Flamenco Stage with a band and dancers - You can watch, or dance too.

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The Humitas Chilenas (below) was different and decadent — It’s a Homemade Sweet Corn Tamale Soufflé with Shrimp and a Cayenne Cream Sauce.  I’d have it again next visit.

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We enjoyed the El Gaucho too (below) — It’s was quite flavorful and tender.

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And it’s literally called… El Grande Final! (below) — A platter of Alegria’s bite-sized desserts.

Alegria Desserts

My favorite was the CapirotadaTheir Bread Pudding with Fruit and Nuts.

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And yet in another room (below), a painting class was taking place — Very cool.

Alegria - Brush Strokes and Bevs

It’s an occasional gathering at Alegria put together by Brushstrokes and Beverages.

Alegria - Painting Class with Wine, etc.

Pine Avenue has a lot to offer — New restaurants, long-time beloved ones and more.  Alegria included, there are countless reasons to spend time in Long Beach.  LOVE the LBC and miss it.

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.

 

Pieology Pizzeria: The Study Of ‘K’ustom Pizza At One Fair Price.

June 21st, 2014 No comments

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At Pieology Pizzeria, I can finally get all the Pizza toppings I want without worrying about cost.  I usually limit Pizza toppings to 3 max, otherwise it gets expensive.  Here it makes sense to have more.  For one price — $7.95 — You can have them all if you want.  And it’s fast too.

Pieology

It’s easy — Just go through the assembly line and tell them what you want.

Custom Pizza

What kind of Sauce?  What kind of Cheese?  1/2 and 1/2?  Simple?  Complex?

Kustom - Custom Pizza

It’s all up to you.  Want more Pepperoni than generally allotted?  You can have it – I like that!

Cheese Options

To simplify, you can also choose one of Pieology’s 7 Specialty Pizzas from $6.45 – $7.95.

Pieology Pizza Oven

It’s a nice sized Pizza with a perfectly crisp, thin crust, for one or two people.

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A friend of mine works at a movie theater near a Pieology Pizzeria and says many sneak Pieology Pizzas into the theater.  I’m not sure how, but it’s done.  And he says… it’s the most coveted leftover by those cleaning theaters – Some like it so much, they’ll eat a stranger’s last slices if they’re left in the theater.  Yikes!  I surely wouldn’t do that (hahaha), but it goes to show how good it must be, or theater employees need to eat before going to work.

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.

It’s My Birthday And I’ll Eat A Free Grand Slam At Denny’s If I Want To.

June 5th, 2014 No comments

Denny's FREE MealChecking ID20140605_122237Receipt

Show your ID at Denny’s on your birthday to receive a FREE Grand Slam Breakfast – Thanks!

Whole Roasted Cauliflower: StoneFire Grill Has A Lot More To Love.

May 31st, 2014 No comments

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I’ve loved StoneFire Grill for a few years now and always get the same thing — The Lemon Garlic 1/2 Chicken and Gorgonzola Butter Tri Tip.  Both are consistently, absolutely amazing.

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I didn’t need anything else, until I recently tried several of StoneFire Grill’s new menu items.  They’re grilling, chopping and serving up much more than I ever realized.  It’s a restaurant for everyone, especially me more often.  Everything they make has an abundance of flavor.

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We tried new Sandwiches, Sides and other ‘From The Grill’ specialties I already want again.

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StoneFire Grill’s MENU is here.

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Photo of my first plate (above) and of one of my new favorite dishes (below) — The Shrimp with Lemon, Olive Oil, Garlic, Chili Flakes and chopped Parsley served with Quinoa.  So tasty!

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And their ‘Incredible Carrot Cake’ is indeed incredible and very moist.

Stonefire Grill Carrot Cake

Other new favorites are the Whole Roasted Cauliflower (top photo) that’s served warm topped with Lemon Tahini and chopped Parsley – It’s a most impressive Side dish.

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And my favorite Sandwich was the Roasted Cauliflower Pita — It’s spicy, different and delicious.  There are currently seven StoneFire Grill locations.  Most photos here were taken a menu tasting in Irvine and the better ones were provided.  While there I learned that it all started with a large, close family and it’s run by friendly, connected people.  They say… Let the fire spread from our kitchen to your heart.  It’s shown through the food and people.

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.

Reflections Of Food On The Celebrity Reflection Cruise Ship.

May 21st, 2014 No comments

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We recently cruised on the Celebrity Reflection by Celebrity Cruises and now reflect on the food we had on the ship.  We didn’t have a bad meal.  The food was delicious and plentiful.

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Thanks to Executive Chef Darran Ridley (above) and his staff for our never-ending meals.

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I took the Heartbeat of the Operation Galley Tour – A behind the scenes look at the Galley.

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In the Galley are photos (above) of every dish prepared for the Main Restaurant (below).

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Guests seated above were waiting to tour the Galley, while Chefs answered their questions.

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Did you know 2,300 Dozen Eggs and 3,800 lbs. of Butter are on the Celebrity Reflection for an average 10-Day Cruise?  And 1,000 Gallons of Ice Cream and 75,000 lbs. of Fresh Fruit.

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2,000 liters of Heavy Cream, 1,900 lbs. of Salmon and 12,300 lbs. of Potatoes get consumed.

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3,000 lbs. of Tenderloin and 2,740 lbs. of Rack of Lamb – I don’t recall how many Lobsters.

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Unlimited Main Restaurant/Dining Room FOOD is available inclusive for all.

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Post cruise reflection… I should’ve had more Oysters Rockefeller.

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I didn’t photograph everything and don’t have any menu descriptions, but know that I would’ve appreciated finding this information after researching Celebrity Reflection.

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All food posted is for the Main Restaurant and included in the cruise price.

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 For an extra cost, Celebrity Reflection has several other restaurants to choose from.

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The ever-changing Main Restaurant MENU was so good each night, we never strayed.

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Celebrity Reflection also offered a Sushi Making Demonstration and Star Chefs Cooking Show.

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And several Wine Tasting Workshops around the ship.

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Our Eastern Caribbean Cruise stopped in Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. Maarten

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We thoroughly enjoyed each port with Celebrity Reflection’s lovely meals woven in between.

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Baked Alaska on a cruise, of course.

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A Chocolate Soufflé.

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And Cherries Jubilee.

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We were in Concierge Class and received daily snacks and flowers — A sample daily snack (below) included Olives, Hummus, Chips, Cheese and Salsa.  It could’ve been better.

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We became fond of Cellars Masters, a sophisticated, Enomatic Wine Dispensing Bar (below).

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Us (below) on Formal Night, while on our Honeymoon, btw.

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Celebrity Reflection docked in Puerto Rico (below), our favorite port, though we loved them all.

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Info regarding our favorite Bar and Restaurant discoveries in Puerto Rico to be reported soon.

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Cheers to us here and always!  I didn’t even mention Celebrity Reflection’s Buffet… tmi.

Recipe Photo Contest: Bad Time To Taste Better Than Photograph.

May 18th, 2014 No comments

Potato Salmon Hash

Not sure that my photos will be chosen this go around, but we enjoyed the meals, though I’d rather have the $500 per photo prize from the Idaho Potato Commission for entries in their Recipe Photo Contest.  There’s still time to enter for a prize, or at a minimum eat a good meal.

Potato Contest Dish

The pictured weren’t chosen as official entries in the Idaho Potato Commission’s contest.

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Each is a different dish/recipe in the contest, ending May 29, 2014.  I made and entered (3) of the (6) posted recipes (from top down) — The Salmon and Shitake Idaho Hash that’s half eaten, the Western Scramble introducing the Eggs, and the French Red Wine Infused Idaho Grown Fingerling Potato Salad, a snooty sounding Salad with hard to find Fresh Chervil.

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.

Dami Sushi & Izakaya: Unwind And Hang Out Izakaya Style.

May 9th, 2014 No comments

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My husband says Dami Sushi & Izakaya is his new favorite Sushi place.  We were in awe over their Hamachi and Maguro (above) – Both were strikingly gorgeous, fresh and delicious.

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It’s a hip place too.  I didn’t take many photos, since most seats were full and I didn’t want my camera to flash in people’s faces.  We’ve dined at their Sushi Bar a couple times since they opened a few months ago.  We appreciate the promptly served Edamame and Pickled Vegetables.  Upon our first visit, we were served Miso Soup — A nice bonus that varies.

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Everything that came out of the Sushi Bar this night looked like a work of art.

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We had Dami Sushi’s Beach Roll (below) – It’s made with Spicy Tuna, Crabmeat, Avocado, Gobo and Salmon and is deep fried.  It has an enchanting combination of flavors.  It’s not guaranteed that yours will look exactly like ours, but it’ll be pretty and fresh.  They also have an extensive, GREAT sounding menu, with several listed items I’d love to try.  See MENU.

Dami Sushi

Izakaya — A Japanese drinking establishment that serves food to accompany the drinks.  A tavern or pub for after work gathering for drinks and small dishes to share.  Dami does it well.

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Dami Sushi & Izakaya is at the Village Circle on Beach in Buena Park — Open 5 to Midnight.

Alligator At World Famous Islamorada Fish Company Restaurant.

May 1st, 2014 No comments

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The World Famous Islamorada Fish Company Restaurant is attached to Bass Pro Shops.

Bass Pro Shop Restaurant

It’s where I tried Alligator for the first time — It’s on their menu, when it’s in season.

Alligator

Alligator (pictured at top and above) is a bit tough — Its texture reminds me of Frogs Legs.

Bass Pro Shop Aquarium

I had to try Alligator at least once — Done.  It doesn’t taste like Chicken, as some say.

Catfish Po Boy

Other than that, we’d go back to Islamorada Fish Company just for its gorgeous aquarium.

Cobb Salad

And the pictured Catfish Po Boy and Cobb Salad — Both were great with a giant Beer.

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We LOVE Bass Pro Shops, which is more of an amusement park or museum than a store.

Fudge Shop

I’m not sure about all Bass Pro Shops, but Rancho Cucamonga has its own Fudge Shop too.

Attention Chili’s: Please Put The Drink Prices On Your Menu.

April 29th, 2014 No comments

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Where are the prices?  I can’t think of one good reason (for the consumer) not to have drink prices on a menu.  Chili’s Restaurant doesn’t put drink prices on its menu.  Drinks can be expensive.  I don’t want to ask… How much is this Margarita, or that one, or how about that Glass of Wine, etc.  It’s a little uncomfortable, but I don’t want a big surprise on the bill, thus I’m less apt to order a drink at Chili’s, especially a Specialty Margarita.  Do you feel the same?

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On a positive note, I’ll always order their Chips — Chili’s Chips are the best.

Taste Of The Nation Laguna Beach: Eat Well & Fight Childhood Hunger.

April 23rd, 2014 No comments

Taste of the Nation

CHEFS COOK TO FIGHT CHILDHOOD HUNGER IN LAGUNA BEACH AND ACROSS AMERICA

Montage Laguna Beach will host 7th annual Share Our Strength Taste of the Nation® Laguna Beach event on June 8, 2014 at the oceanfront resort.  A handful of celebrity chefs are coming together to prepare fresh farm-to-table delicacies to further Share Our Strength’s mission to end childhood hunger in Orange County and across the nation. Attendees will enjoy an afternoon of delectable dishes, wine, signature cocktails, and picturesque panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean at Montage Laguna Beach.  In addition to fabulous food and drinks, the event will feature a silent and live auction and live entertainment by local band The Kalama Brothers.

As contributors to the charity, guests can choose between the following event packages: 

• Celebrity Chef Tasting 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased in advance for $200 per person or at the door for $225 per person.

• VIP “Meet the Chefs” Reception 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Complete the night with VIP treatment and a sunset toast. Enjoy the Celebrity Chef Tasting followed by an after party to mingle with the chefs. Valet parking and post-event gifts are included. Tickets purchased in advance are $275 per person and $300 at the door.

Executive Chef Craig Strong of Studio, Montage Laguna Beach’s Signature Restaurant, will be joined by the following talented celebrity chefs:

  • Chef Nina Compton – Fontainebleau, Miami Beach, FLA
  • Chef Alan Greeley – The Golden Truffle, Costa Mesa, CA
  • Chef Duff Goldman – Charm City Cakes, Los Angeles, CA
  • Chef Brian Huskey – Picca, Mo-chica, Paiche, Los Angeles, CA
  • Chef Lee Smith - Executive Pastry Chef, Montage Laguna Beach, CA
  • Chef Alan Wong - Alan Wong’s Restaurant’s, Honolulu, HI

One in five children in this country struggles with hunger — The good news is that this is a solvable problem. The No Kid Hungry campaign is ending childhood hunger in this nation by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day by connecting them to nutrition programs like school breakfast and summer meals and by teaching families how to cook healthy, affordable meals at home.

Since summer 2011, No Kid Hungry efforts to expand access to summer meals and school breakfast have helped connect kids to more than 34 million additional meals. The No Kid Hungry campaign is replicating that success around the country by working collaboratively with its partners to feed millions of American children.  In 2013, Taste of the Nation Laguna Beach raised over $200,000 which helps connect children in need with up to 2 million meals.

One hundred percent of ticket proceeds from Taste of the Nation Laguna Beach benefit the No Kid Hungry campaign, thanks to generous support from National Presenting Sponsor Sysco, National Sponsors American Express and Food Network, and local sponsors Montage Laguna Beach, Mangia Inc., Celebrity Cruises, Southern CA Gas Company, Epstein Becker Green, Orange County Restaurant Association, Congenial Spirits, Aqua Panna, Bread Artisan Bakery Inc. and Orange Coast Magazine. Local beneficiaries include Second Harvest Orange County Food Bank, Community Action Partnership of OC, Father Serra’s Food Pantry (@Mission San Juan Capistrano).

To purchase tickets for Taste of the Nation Laguna Beach visit http://ce.strength.org/events/taste-nation-laguna-beach.

About Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry® Campaign

No child should grow up hungry in America, but one in five children struggles with hunger. Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry® campaign is ending childhood hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day. The No Kid Hungry campaign connects kids in need to effective nutrition programs like school breakfast and summer meals and teaches low-income families to cook healthy, affordable meals through Cooking Matters. This work is accomplished through the No Kid Hungry network, made up of private citizens, public officials, nonprofits, business leaders and others providing innovative hunger solutions in their communities. Join them at NoKidHungry.org.

* Above re-printed from a Press Release with approval to use photograph.  Previous Taste of the Nation reports on Nibbles of Tidbits are linked here and here.  It’s an important fight!

Everyday Thai Cooking By Katie Chin: Book Signing & Cooking Class.

April 21st, 2014 1 comment

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Thanks to Katie Chin of The Sweet & Sour Chronicles — I’ve already made three dishes from her new cookbook, Everyday Thai Cooking.  We learned a lot at her recent cooking class.

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You can obtain her latest cookbook through Amazon or attend her next book signing and cooking class scheduled for May 8, 2014 at the Inspire Artistic Minds Culinary Center.

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The IAM Culinary Center is located in Orange and is brought to you by 100Eats and Le Gourmet Kitchen.  More information about Katie Chin’s upcoming book signing and cooking class is linked here.  She’ll be making a few items from Everyday Thai Cooking, as pictured.

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We got to try her Chiang Mai Chicken in Lettuce Wraps with Lime Ginger Dipping Sauce, Pineapple Fried Rice, Panaeng Curry Meatballs and Coconut Cake with Mango Sauce.

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All were flavorful and relatively easy to make.

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After our class, I made the Pineapple Fried Rice, Shrimp Coconut Soup (last photo) and the Chiang Mai Chicken in Lettuce Wraps and all turned out fantastic – Thai food is so tasty.

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Also, thanks to Greg of the OC Beer Blog, who brought Beer to compliment the food.

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Though I don’t have the specifics, he did a great job – His Beer selections paired well with all.

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Katie’s Coconut Cake with Mango Sauce is on my “To Make List.”

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If this looks good to you, be sure to attend Katie’s next cooking class and book signing.  She’ll be making all shown here and signing more books.  Thanks Katie — We’re happily cooking.

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And thanks to the IAM Culinary Center too, for current and future food possibilities.

Howdini Video: 7 Easter Celebration Ideas In 2 Minutes 20 Seconds.

April 18th, 2014 No comments


Happy Easter from Nibbles of Tidbits — More food PLEASE and much THANKS for all.

Appreciation For El Torito’s 60 Years Of Innovative Mexican Cuisine.

April 14th, 2014 No comments

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Comida del Oceano — A Limited Edition Seafood Menu currently being offered at El Torito Cantina Authentica in honor of its 60th Anniversary.  They’re having a ‘Year of Celebration’.

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Nibbles of Tidbits was invited to try most items on El Torito’s Comida del Oceano Menu.

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It was an honor for us, as we respect and appreciate El Torito’s 60 Years of Service – Gracias!

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Cheers to that with a Spicy Pepino Margarita and Yerba Buena, described below and here.

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My favorite, the Spicy Pepino Margarita is made with Cucumbers, Cilantro and Jalapenos.

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Also on the Comida del Oceano Menu, pictured from top down is the Calamari Filet Appetizer (Crispy Calamari Filet Strips served atop Baby Arugula with a Sweet Chili Sauce), which was perfectly crisp and tender, nicely cooked and the best Calamari I’ve had in a long time.

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Enchiladas de Mariscos filled with Shrimp, Crab and Three Cheeses.

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The Enchiladas are served atop tasty sautéed vegetables, as shown above and in first photo.

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Tacos de Camarones, served in Guajillo basted Tortillas — We loved that about them.

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The Salmon Polanco-Style is a work of art and great atop Spinach and Chimichurri Sauce.

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Camarones en Garlic-Lemon Butter Sauce — Loved the Roasted Tomato Butter Sauce too.

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Cheers to El Totito’s longevity and continuous progression.

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Our menu tour concluded with the Seafood Fajitas Supremas, a guest and employee favorite.

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It includes Shrimp, Mahi Mahi and Crispy Calamari — A supreme Fajitas combination indeed.

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Flourless Chocolate Cake, a gluten free choice by many — It’s ultra-moist with excellent flavor.

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Thank you dedicated Chefs!  Looks like they have a great team under Chef Loreto Alcala (right).  Chef Arturo Castillo (left) heads up El Torito’s Orange location off The City Way.  We dined at the Fullerton location this day, a nice, large space with a Bar and Outdoor Patio.

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We wish El Torito 60+ more years of success combined with dish and drink innovation.

Il Garage Near The Garden At Park Avenue In Stanton Off Beach.

April 7th, 2014 No comments

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It’s Il Garage (il garage ristorante) and it’s set back within/behind Park Avenue Restaurant in Stanton off Beach Blvd. – It’s a separate dining spot on the beautiful grounds of Park Avenue.

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We ate at Park Avenue Restaurant – It’s reported here.  This day we were in the garage. ;)

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I’m not sure if it really once was a multi-car garage, but it looks like it, tractor and all.

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The view of Park Avenue’s famous Garden from our seat couldn’t be beat.

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The Il Garage Ristorante menu changes daily and is dependent on their gardens.

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Our favorites were the Cavatappi Primavera (below), utilizing many vegetables from the PAG.

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And the Orange Panna Cotta — Truly the best Panna Cotta we’ve had in our lives (below).

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It had so much flavor — Cheers to that (and our Two Year Anniversary).

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Enter the PAG — Park Avenue Garden through here (below).

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The PAG is a dream garden, with raised beds and trees growing everything you’d want to eat.

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I think I’d want to live here.

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You’re free to roam the gardens, no matter where you dine.

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My husband, Matt is looking through the weather protectant, plastic drop, near the tractor.

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Nice to receive a $100 Gift Card as a Wedding Gift that can be used at either restaurant.

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It’s not in the best neighborhood, but once inside you forget about it – A good thing.

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We plan to go back to both for Dining & Cocktails, as suggested.

Mariscos Clemente Restaurant For Mexican Style Seafood In Fullerton.

April 4th, 2014 No comments

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Discovering Fullerton FOOD and most recently Mariscos Clemente Restaurant.

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It’s a fine, local find that serves authentic Mexican Style Seafood — Muy Bueno!

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Pictured from top down (a perfect sampling) — The Fried Fish (Tilapia w/ Tortillas, Rice & Salad), a Ceviche Tostada with Avocado and a Small Shrimp Cocktail, with Chips and Salsa.

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It’s a relatively small place with a small parking lot off Orangethorpe and Gilbert.

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Many are inside and have been going there for years — We’ll need to catch up.

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Mariscos Clemente’s Shrimp Cocktail is on the sweet side, if you like that.  We’re ready for their other Ceviche Tostadas and more Pescado Frito, etc — Yelp for more photos and information.

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.