Seemingly free or not, there were times that I just couldn’t eat it — I didn’t want to use Knott’s Berry Farm’s All Season Dining Plan, though I had already paid for it. Sometimes because the food just didn’t sound good, and other times because I didn’t want to wait in a long line to be greeted by a Knott’s employee with no sense of urgency. They get paid no matter how many meals are served.
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‘ 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.
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.
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.
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.
All ingredients were well packed and arrived 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.
The smaller boxes are impressive, but unnecessary — Hello Fresh can save on this packaging.
The proteins arrive under blocks of ice, as like the others, and all was perfectly fresh.
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.
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.
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).
I’m not sure why my Shrimp Risotto (below) looked albino compared to its photo (above).
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 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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We sampled several dishes currently being offered on various prix-fixe menus.
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?
It does — See which restaurants are participating in Newport Beach Restaurant Week here.
The view was gorgeous and well captured above by Matt, my photographer husband below.
We have four more days to enjoy the fruits of Newport Beach Restaurant Week.
We reveled in all this evening — Dine Newport Beach for sure!
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.
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.
Once we select a restaurant (or more), it’s back to beautiful Newport Beach.
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.
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.
Season Pass meals are shown with a red fork, spoon and knife in a yellow circle that’s circled in blue.
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.
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.
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.
Sutter’s Grill is pictured at top, as Matt points out, and its Season Pass Dining Menu is below it.
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.
It’s hard to see the various menus here (better if enlarged), but they’re all somewhat similar.
Moving into Boardwalk, Hollywood Hits restaurant offers Pizza.
If wanting Pizza instead of a Burger or Hot Dog with Season Pass Dining, go to Hollywood Hits.
Each participating restaurant menu offers four Combos and a Caesar Salad to choose from.
Coaster’s Diner (below), also in Boardwalk is a cute place to eat.
Chicken Tenders and a Southwest Cheeseburger are offered here, differing from the other menus.
Boardwalk Barbecue (below), another participating restaurant is also in Boardwalk.
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.
The Cantina is pictured above and below. Every restaurant offers a Caesar Salad too.
And finally there’s Grizzly Creek Lodge, the largest restaurant of all in Camp Snoopy (below).
It offers dining downstairs and upstairs, inside and out.
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.
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.
We start our Season Pass Dining at Knott’s Berry Farm in 2016.
Check back to see what tastes best there.
Thank you precious United States Veterans! I will forever honor you and contribute money and time to assist you how I can. We at Nibbles of Tidbits wish all Veterans a very happy Veterans’ Day. On Wednesday, November 11, 2015, several restaurants will show Veterans how special they are by offering them something special. Cheers to those that do something special for a Veteran.
Famous Dave’s BBQ – Free Appetizer or Dessert
IHOP Restaurant – Free Red, White and Blue Pancakes
Claim Jumper – Free Dinner or Lunch
Denny’s – Free Grand Slam Breakfast
Applebee’s – Free Meal from a Special Veterans’ Day Menu
California Pizza Kitchen – Free Meal from a Special Veterans’ Day Menu
McCormick & Schmick’s – Free Meal from a Special Veterans’ Day Menu
Wienerschnitzel – Free Chili Dog and Small Pepsi
Additional Veterans’ Day offerings are here. Show a military ID to receive all of the above and more.
Although Pizza Rev’s crust is thin, it stands up to too many Pizza toppings — It stayed crunchy, not soggy. When able to add unlimited toppings at no extra charge, we tend to add too many, but still want the Crust to hold it all together. Our Pizza Studio Pizza was good, but its Crust supported toppings the least, thus we didn’t post about it at the time. It may have been a bad day for them.
We like Pizza Rev, short for Pizza Revolution, a better name, but perhaps it’s taken by another.
The Pizza Rev in La Habra has a small bar area, where we enjoyed Beer and Wine with our Pizzas.
Pizza Rev’s prices aren’t bad — I appreciate a whole Pizza with unlimited toppings for around $8.
I like the craft your own Pizza movement — I can finally have all the Pizza toppings I want without worrying about the extra cost. All will suffice, especially Pizza Rev and Blaze Pizza at this time.
If we learn of others, we shall try and compare them too.
It’s happening right now — Orange County Restaurant Week. Go out to eat. The prix-fixe meal deals keep getting better. Over 100 restaurants are participating. Don’t know where to go? You can search by city, meal price, lunch or dinner menu, or restaurant on OC Restaurant Week’s website. Lunches range from $10-$20 and dinners from $20-$50. Complete menus and prices can be viewed on their site. Decide where to go, what to eat and get there this week only.
It’s food from El Amerikano American & Latin Kitchen in downtown Fullerton and I already have a favorite — Everything I’ve had so far, especially the Warm Mushroom Salad and Mole Eggplant.
We were recently invited to a media tasting at El Amerikano and tried all pictured dishes.
From top down — Al Pastor Chop, Cucumber Ceviche Salad, Brussels Sprouts, Mole Eggplant, Asada Bravo and Warm Mushroom Salad, I think. See El Amerikano’s MENU for the enticing descriptions.
I was happy to learn they also have an outdoor patio, something I look for in a restaurant.
Each dish seems to have a double-digit list of ingredients and an abundance of flavor.
I like El Amerikano’s ‘To Share’ dishes and prices, which range from $3 – $9.
As I write this and read their MENU, I’m planning my next meal there asap.
This taste of El Amerikano American & Latin Kitchen left me needing to have more.
I have sights on the Chorizo Sliders, Mac ‘n Queso, Michoacan Caesar and more.
El Amerikano’s Michoacan Caesar Salad has Char-Grilled Romaine, which I love when done right.
A cooking demonstration showed the care and time put into preparing their dishes.
Food is ordered at the counter, then delivered to you — They offer Beer and Wine too.
Entrance to El Amerikano (below) with Kentro Greek Kitchen nearby — Great food in Fullerton.
Enlarge MENU (below) for a better view or access their menu link here.
Me with Vasili Kotsiovos, El Amerikano and Kentro Greek Kitchen’s should be proud Owner.
Thank you — We’ll be back.
Creamistry Ice Cream — Because Liquid Nitrogen is so cold, it causes the Milk particles to stay very small creating an ultra-smooth creamy texture, Creamistry reports, and after having it, I think it’s the creamiest Ice Cream I’ve ever had. It is CREEEE-MEE! Creamistry Ice cream is made using Liquid Nitrogen while you watch and wait. Fresh ingredients are frozen fast.
Chosen ingredients are frozen at 321 degrees turning all into a creamy goodness.
Choose your SIZE, pick your BASE, and then choose your FLAVOR and TOPPINGS.
I chose the PREMIUM BASE, Strawberry flavor with Roasted Almonds for a topping.
The Liquid Nitrogen fogs up the place like dry ice — It’s fun to watch, though a little hard to see.
I met a family in line who traveled from San Clemente to Irvine just to get Ice Cream here.
I liked it more than I expected and now find myself craving its creamy texture and want to try other flavors. Creamistry offers a multitude of flavors and toppings creating a slight dilemma when choosing. I must go back to try more. It can take some time getting through the line when it’s long and it’s not cheap, but a little goes a long way. It’s ultra-rich, creamy and good.
I wanted to ask more questions about the process and see all clearly from start to finish, but it was a busy day at Creamistry in Irvine. It’s already loved by others, I’ve seen and heard, and now I like it too. It’s not just another Ice Cream. It’s fun to experience and different to taste.
It’s a perfect place to gather with friends after work — A plan is in the works.
There is comfortable seating throughout — Tall and short tables, couches and a bar.
We tried a few menu items this visit — The Warm Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Chinese Sausage, Shishito Peppers, Fried Garlic and Sesame Ponzu (above). There’s more to be tried.
Lobster & Spanish Chorizo Fondue with Manchego Cheese, Smoked Peppers and Cream Cheese, served with a French Baguette (above) — It’s creamy, unique and pretty good.
We also had the Prosciutto Flatbread with Fontina, Gorgonzola, Fig Jam & Red Onion (above) and the Butterscotch Pot De Creme (below). The Fig Jam was terrific on the Flatbread and the consistency and flavor of the Pot De Creme was ideal, though rich, but not overly so.
It’s a seamless Wine Store along its parameters and the prices are surprisingly good for such an expensive looking place. Their food prices are reasonable too, another reason to go back. And there’s live entertainment… A guy played the guitar in front of the Wine Case behind me.
The Roman God of Wine’s Wine was delicious as well — Thanks Bacchus!
Note: Camera issues beset this visit. Subsequent dishes shall be posted as clear updates.
I’ve had a lot of great Brussels Sprouts lately, but DANG — The Brussels Sprouts glazed with Honey and Sriracha at the Egg Cracker Restaurant in Fullerton are the BEST. They’re perfectly crispy on the outside, sweet and hot, and each is tender enough to eat, which is very important. If any are still too hard to eat, it’s often bitter and inedible though served. Twice we’ve had the Brussels Sprouts at the Egg Cracker and each little Sprout was cooked to perfection, which is specifically important we learned from one of the owners.
Not only do they have the Best Brussels Sprouts, but the Egg Cracker Restaurant has one of the best-priced, high-quality, convenient-time Happy Hours — It’s from 3:00 pm – 9:00 pm, so you don’t need to speed after work to get there. You order off a menu too and the price for the quality is fantastic. The Brussels Sprouts are $3 during Happy Hour and $5 regularly.
Current Happy Hour Food Menu (above) and Chilaquiles (below).
We also tried the Portobello Fries (below), which are sliced Portobello Mushrooms with a Panko Breading to form Fries — They’re meaty and crunchy and good with the Sauce.
Zucchini Bread (below) is served to all, with all, Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner — I think.
We had breakfast at the Egg Cracker twice before and received it then also.
For Dessert we had one of the Egg Cracker’s most popular Breakfast items, the Campfire Pancakes with Chocolate, Graham Cracker Crumbles and Homemade Marshmallow Cream. I just love the Egg Cracker’s MENU. There are many things I want to try — Breakfast is served all day too. And it should be mentioned that Beer & Wine is only $3 during Happy Hour.
We’re going back for more of everything (and much we have yet to try).
We can walk or bike to Totally 80’s Bar & Grille in Fullerton — It’s a relatively new Bar, Restaurant, Dance Club & Karaoke Bar in the neighborhood. It occupies the space of a former Mexican Restaurant, Bar & Event spot. There’s little change to its exterior other than the somewhat cheesy sign (sorry). Its theme caught our attention and made it a must stop.
I love 80’s music and inside it’s a whole new retro world — We’re impressed!
It’s well decorated and fun throughout. We’re unsure about the “Grille” part of Totally 80’s Bar & Grille, as we only tried the ‘Totally Awesome Tots’, which appear to be popular. We tried two of the three offered — The Chili Cheese Tots and Nacho Cheese Tots. The third, Tots Poutine includes Gravy and an Egg. Good combinations. The Tater Tots were crisp, but a bit expensive ($10), if not from their Late Night Menu ($6) — We’ll try the Tots Poutine then.
Robert Smith (above) of one of my favorite bands, The Cure — We’re definitely going back to try and photograph more. Actual 80’s bands, real and cover play here too. We’re monitoring their events schedule. Welcome to the hood Totally 80’s Bar & Grille. Great to see you!
We love to build our ideal Pizza for a fair fixed price and can now do it at Blaze Pizza.
Tell them exactly what you want on your Pizza and they’ll make and blaze it for you.
Pick a Sauce, Cheese, Meat and/or Vegetables, or mix a few, several, or all if you like.
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.
One just opened in La Habra and others will be opening soon throughout Southern California.
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.
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.
It’s easy — Just go through the assembly line and tell them what you want.
What kind of Sauce? What kind of Cheese? 1/2 and 1/2? Simple? Complex?
It’s all up to you. Want more Pepperoni than generally allotted? You can have it — I like that!
To simplify, you can also choose one of Pieology’s 7 Specialty Pizzas from $6.45 – $7.95.
It’s a nice sized Pizza with a perfectly crisp, thin crust, for one or two people.
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.
Have you tried Naples Ristorante E Pizzeria in the Downtown Disney District?
If not, you may want to skip it — Not because it’s bad, but because it’s ridiculously priced.
Disney related prices are high indeed and going up, as recently reported.
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.
We appreciate taste and value in a Pizza — It makes us happier on earth.
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?
On a positive note, I’ll always order their Chips — Chili’s Chips are the best.
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?
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.
Pictured is the Original Umami Burger from the Umami Restaurant Group’s Umami Burger.
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?!
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.
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.