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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).

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.

Lay’s Passport To Flavor: Taste Testing With Leon On Dog Beach.

August 21st, 2016 No comments

Tikka Masala

You won’t need a passport to try Lay’s latest test Chip flavors… Indian Tikka Masala, Brazilian Picanha (Steak & Chimichurri Sauce), Greek Tzatziki and Chinese Szechuan Chicken, also known as Lay’s Passport to Flavor collection, and some will transport you to a dish from another country.

Lays Chip Taste Test

I appreciate the unique flavors Lay’s is willing to create.  They’re fun and interesting to try.  We’ve tried and reported about most of them here.  Leon likes all of them, because he likes anything.

Testing Lays Chips

After trying this passport series, our favorites are the Indian Tikka Masala and Brazilian Picanha. The thought of the Greek Tzatziki flavor is better than the actual, because it’s too subtle.

First and Second Place

If we were to buy any of them again, it would be the Indian Tikka Masala Chips, because they taste just like the dish.  I now want Indian food and will most likely order the Chicken Tikka Masala.

Indian Tikka Masala

The other Chips could use more flavor, though Leon would eat ’em up in a second.

El Amerikano: New American Cuisine With A Latin Influence.

February 27th, 2015 No comments

Al Pastor Chop

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.

El Amerikano

El Amerikano is part of the Kentro Hospitality Group, a group offering tasteful restaurants (including Kentro Greek Kitchen, steps away from El Amerikano), event planning and catering options.

Cucumber Ceviche

We were recently invited to a media tasting at El Amerikano and tried all pictured dishes.

Brussels Sprouts Dish

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.

Media Tasting

I was happy to learn they also have an outdoor patio, something I look for in a restaurant.

El Amerikano

Each dish seems to have a double-digit list of ingredients and an abundance of flavor.

Rib Eye

I like El Amerikano’s ‘To Share’ dishes and prices, which range from $3 – $9.

Food Photography

As I write this and read their MENU, I’m planning my next meal there asap.

El Amerikano Tasting

This taste of El Amerikano American & Latin Kitchen left me needing to have more.

Small Plate Sampling

I have sights on the Chorizo Sliders, Mac ‘n Queso, Michoacan Caesar and more.

El Amerikano Restaurant

El Amerikano’s Michoacan Caesar Salad has Char-Grilled Romaine, which I love when done right.

Food Demonstration

A cooking demonstration showed the care and time put into preparing their dishes.

Food Blogging

Food is ordered at the counter, then delivered to you — They offer Beer and Wine too.

Inside El Amerikano

Entrance to El Amerikano (below) with Kentro Greek Kitchen nearby — Great food in Fullerton.

Outside El Amerikano

Enlarge MENU (below) for a better view or access their menu link here.

El Amerikano Menu

Me with Vasili Kotsiovos, El Amerikano and Kentro Greek Kitchen’s should be proud Owner.

Me with Vasili Kotsiovos, founder of Kentro Hospitality Group

Thank you — We’ll be back.

Best Dessert In Fullerton: Sticky Toffee Pudding At The Olde Ship.

January 9th, 2015 No comments

Sticky Toffee Pudding at The Old Ship

Have you had the Sticky Toffee Pudding at The Olde Ship British Pub & Restaurant?  It’s one of the BEST Desserts I’ve had in my life and it’s perfectly served in warm Heavy Cream.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

I’ve had it three times and still can’t stop thinking about going back for it again.  I suggest going to The Olde Ship each time we’ve dined out recently, but my husband needs more food variety.  It’s a rich dessert that’s best shared, so not to be put over the Sugar edge.  The unsweetened Heavy Cream balances the sweetness beautifully.  I love The Olde Ship for this dessert, other authentic British dishes and its cozy atmosphere, especially during Christmas time.

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I searched for The Olde Ship’s Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe online, but didn’t find it, I’m told it’s made with Dried Apricots and other things.  I may attempt a copycat recipe after a little more study.  I visited The British Grocer, a store run by the same people at The Olde Ship in Fullerton and Santa Ana.  The British Grocer is in Fullerton, down the street from The Olde Ship British Pub & Restaurant on North Harbor Boulevard.  I’ve yet to visit its Santa Ana location, but hear it’s larger.

Heinz Sticky Toffee Pudding

Pictured directly above is a prepared, canned Sticky Toffee Pudding I purchased from The British Grocer.  I was told by a clerk there that’s its flavor is most like the one made at The Olde Ship. The store offered two options, one that’s frozen and this one that was canned.

Boiling Sticky Toffee Pudding

Surprisingly this one is made by Heinz and it does have a similar, rich flavor that’s good served with warm Heavy Cream, though it has a different, more Bread Pudding like texture, rather than a loose, Bran Muffin texture like the Sticky Toffee Pudding prepared at The Olde Ship.  I’ll buy more of both.

STP Label

I served the Heinz Sticky Toffee Pudding the same way, which made it taste great.

Heinz STP (Boiled)

It’s romantic and beautiful inside the Pub, with hundreds of lights in December.

Me at The Old Ship

Pictured below is the Great British Breakfast that’s served with a Banger, Baked Beans, Irish Bacon, a Tomato, Mushrooms and Fried Toast.  At first glance, the Toast looks basic, but it’s fried. I thought I’d like that more than I did, but toasted is better.  I like the Baked Beans a lot.

Breakfast at The Old Ship

The Olde Ship’s Famous Clam Chowder is very good too, with lots of Clams.

Clam Chowder

Back to why this post started… The magnificent Sticky Toffee Pudding at The Old Ship (below).

Sticky Toffee Pudding in Heavy Cream

Until we meet again, aka when my husband is ready to go back — I have to be reasonable.

Best Bar & Restaurant In San Juan Puerto Rico: La Factoria & El Jibarito.

November 4th, 2014 No comments

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It’s been a long time coming, but it can’t go unreported — We have a favorite Bar and Restaurant in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  We traveled there in February during our honeymoon and fell in love with La Factoria, a Bar in San Juan, Puerto Rico, pictured above and below.

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Cheers to La Factoria‘s artsy style and unique, gourmet cocktails.

Purto Rico - The Factory

The cocktails are thoughtfully made by scratch and hand.

Puerto Rico Bar

There are different rooms with different vibes, and some go off later than others.

The Factory in Puerto Rico

It was serene during our visit, thus we explored its cool spaces.  Look close — We’re in the mirror below with one of the hip guys running the place.  Our photos turned out magical.

We're in the mirror at The Factory in Puerto Rico

After La Factoria for a drink (all photos above), we went to Restaurant El Jibarito (all photos below) for dinner.  It was recommended by the locals, thus we went and enjoyed our meals.

Best Restaurant in Puerto Rico

There we were and wish we were now at El Jibarito in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

At El Jibarito in Puerto Rico

It’s casual and comfortable inside and the prices are good.

El Jibarito Menu

Cheers to us at El Jibarito — A few others there were celebrating birthdays.

Cheers in Puerto Rico

Much is served in Sauce and/or Gravy with Plantains — I like that.

Chicken Dish in Puerto Rico

I don’t recall our exact dishes, but the meat in both was very tender.

Chicken with Gravy in Puerto Rico

We were happy to have found El Jibarito too.

Nibbles of Tidbits in Puerto Rico

El Jibarito is our current favorite restaurant in San Juan, Puerto Rico, though we look forward to trying others in the future, after another stop at La Factoria, a Bar that’s hard to outdo.

Cruising to Puerto Rico

Cruising in to San Juan, Puerto Rico — Our favorite stop on the Celebrity Reflection.

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.

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 in San Juan, Puerto Rico is reported here.

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

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

April 21st, 2014 No comments

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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.

The Irvine Spectrum For Lunch: Dim Sum At Capital Seafood.

November 12th, 2013 No comments

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I’m new to Dim Sum and Capital Seafood at the Irvine Spectrum was a good place to start.

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A knowledgeable friend took me there and led the way — She ordered several of her favorites and I tried them all.  I can’t tell you the names and/or ingredients in what we had, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the food.  They serve over 100 types of Dim Sum.

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Much is offered by way of the traditional push-cart.

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Cart after cart, after tray, after cart, after cart stops by your table throughout.

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Servers have scissors ready to cut each or any as requested by you.

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Each piece is like a mini grab bag when you don’t know your Dim Sum.

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I’d like to study-up before next time to know and choose what I might like best.

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Capital Seafood Restaurant is fairly large inside and out and was mostly full this day.

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We sat on the outside patio where much was offered to us.

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We shared a good variety of Shrimp, Pork, crunchy, soft, sweet and hot Dim Sum.

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All was a well-rounded starter kit at a good restaurant for Dim Sum.

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There’s much more for me to learn about Dim Sum.

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Order off the menu or point to what you want from the ever-changing, then repetitive carts.

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They also have a Bar — $2 Beers are offered at Happy Hour M-F (3-7).

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The adjacent Wine fridge is pretty cool too — No pun, really.

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It also claims to be a trendy, hip and upbeat place to enjoy sports on multiple screens.

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I’d like to go back and try more as soon as possible.

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Our to-go boxes looked like this (below).

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Capital Y for Yes — I want more Dim Sum at Capital Seafood.

The Globe Dine • Bar: Bringing A Global Flavor To Orange County.

December 20th, 2012 No comments

We traveled to The Globe for dinner and reached La La Land, as we fell in love with the food and more in love with each other over Belgian Craft Beers and specially selected Hoppas.

The Globe Dine • Bar is owned and operated by a lovely husband and wife team from Belgium.

It’s in Historic Downtown Garden Grove — I didn’t know there was such the designation.

Since I generally like historic-anything and food-travel-everything, The Globe enticed.

And it delivered the most flavorful Hoppas (Hops + Tapas) we ever landed on.

Skirt Steak Florets, Blue Cheese, Roasted Pearl Onions with Red Wine Jus was transcending.

It’s pictured at top and directly above, along with Prosciutto Wrapped Scampi Shrimp

Gouda Croquettes and Cherry Tomato Bruchetta — All transported with exceptional flavor.

Belgian Craft Beers are served in signature glassware and poured following Cicerone rules.

Historic Main Street is fairly short and we think The Globe is the best place on the street.

Our sampling was so good, we hope to go back for more.  The menu explores the globe stopping in a different country each month — We took in a pleasing glance of France.

Traveling The Globe is worth it — You’ll find nice people, BEER and varying high-quality food.

Lindt Master Swiss Chocolatier Since 1845: Decades Journey To Big O.

December 12th, 2012 No comments

It’s great to see a Lindt Store is at The Outlets at Orange, formerly know as The Block at Orange (1998 – 2011), and perhaps to be known as O someday, jk, but reeallllly.  Why not?  On to the Chocolate… Lindt is my longest favorite and I LOVE the progressive new flavors.

Keep on Chocolatier-ing Swiss Master.  Mmmmmmmmm.

Cheers To National Lager Day: Traveling The Globe In December.

December 10th, 2012 No comments

We toast to the incredible food at The Globe, soon to be shown here, after recognition of National Lager Day — Other National Food Days in December are linked here, here and here.

The Olde Ship British Pub & Restaurant: You’ll Be A Stranger But Once.

November 20th, 2012 No comments

It’s another Fullerton find for me — I love The Olde Ship‘s interior and real Pub feel.

The Olde Ship British Pub & Restaurant is British owned and operated since 1993, but a first for me and it’s my kind of place.  I like the menu, lighting, friendliness, unique seating and Fish & Chips and want to try more.  Pictured below is the Whitby Platter with Cod and Shrimp.

A toast to how hip it is inside.

Churchill’s Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding is pictured at top and Soup of the Day below.

It was Broccoli Cheddar Soup and will be Award Winning Clam Chowder next time.

Thar-be another The Olde Ship in Santa Ana that’s grand and offers live entertainment.

I’m glad to ‘finally see the brilliance’ and now light-up for a line-up of Starters to try soon.

Oh Crap, What Am I Gonna Do? Yeeeah, Everything Tastes Great!

August 10th, 2012 No comments

I’ve been in this situation and it’s tricky — It happened most prominently in Denmark during an authentic Danish meal with relatives. Open-faced Danish Sandwiches were served with Dill Schnapps the morning after a wild Whiskey night in Denmark.  I don’t even like Whiskey, but it was our first night.  Still feeling it, I was afraid of the beautifully rich Sandwiches that would’ve been appreciated a different day, and I didn’t want to ruin this day so I just ate and swallowed ’em slowly.  Yes, they’re great, thanks!  I hope my aunt and uncle don’t read this.

Taste Of Greece Festival: Three Days Of Food, Wine, Music & Dance.

June 22nd, 2012 2 comments

Take me away — If no one does, the above photo will.  Since we all can’t travel to Greece on a whim, we’re going to Orange County’s 34th Annual Taste of Greece Festival for the 1st time.

We’re set to discover all that’s described below — Wrap us up in a Pita, we’ll take it. Opa!

Orange County’s 34th annual “A Taste of Greece” festival will be held on June 22-24 at St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church (4949 Alton Parkway, between Culver Drive and Jeffrey Road, Irvine, CA 92604). More than 11,000 guests are expected to attend the three-day festival, which will feature traditional Greek cuisine, wine tasting, live music, authentic Greek dancing with lessons and boutique booths reminiscent of the Plaka, a well-known picturesque historical neighborhood of Athens.

Festival hours are 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, June 22; noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday, June 23; and noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday, June 24. Festival admission is just $3 per person with free admission on Saturday, June 23 from noon – 5 p.m. for seniors older than 65 years. Children under the age of 10 are admitted free throughout the three-day festival. Free festival parking will also be available, with complimentary shuttle buses transporting guests from public parking sites in Irvine.

Greek cuisine and hospitality will be the focal points as the festival will feature authentic recipes for traditional Greek dishes, delicious pastries and a variety of beverages, highlighted with a wine “Taverna,” offering Greek wine and beer. The traditional Greek menu will include Chicken, Lamb Chops, Greek French Fries, Gyros, Pastichio (Greek lasagna), Loucanico (Greek sausage), Spanakopita (spinach and feta pie), Dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves), Saganaki (Greek brandy-flamed cheese), Loukoumathes (Greek doughnut holes), Greek Salad, Calamari and more. There will also be a Greek coffeehouse set up to serve Greek and American coffee drinks in a traditional Plaka setting with Greek dance lessons offered free to all. The Philoptochos, the church’s philanthropic group, will bake around the clock during the weeks leading up to the festival to prepare traditional Baklava and other exquisite pastries.

“As Orange County’s largest Greek Orthodox congregation, we are delighted to host a festival that offers an opportunity for the community to experience authentic Greek dining, wine, music, dancing and entertainment,” said Father Steven Tsichlis, St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Priest. “This year’s festival, our 34th annual, will offer something for everyone with a variety of Greek-themed activities.”

A family-friendly affair, the festival will be lined with boutique shops, a variety of games and a full-scale carnival. Event attendees can also enter an opportunity drawing for the chance to win cash prizes.

For more information on the “A Taste of Greece” festival, please visit www.IrvineGreekFest.com

IHOP’s National Pancake Day: Pancakes For Any Size Donation.

January 7th, 2012 No comments

IHOP’s Seventh Annual National Pancake Day will be happening on Tuesday, February 28th.  All day long, IHOP restaurants will be serving each guest a FREE Short Stack of Buttermilk Pancakes hoping they’ll donate what they would have paid, or more, to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and other local charities.  This year, the restaurant chain aims to raise $2.7 million, their most ambitious goal to date.  Mark your calendar to consume and contribute.

Note: In my own International Apartment of Pancakes, a Dutch Baby (pictured) was created.

Cost Plus World Market Contributions To A Christmas Party.

December 19th, 2011 No comments

A formal THANK YOU to Cost Plus World Market for the lovely prizes and party supplies.

All were pleased by the smart kitchen tools, house decorations and gourmet Chocolates.

Thanks also go to my friends who contributed the appetizing FOOD, even the Jack in the Box Tacos cut in half, disguised as an Appetizer — That’s funny Michelle.  What do you call ’em?  Ironically several were happy to eat them, and it was fast, easy and cheap for her.  So be it.

Always look forward to the Chocolate Dipped Oreos from Loretta — Wish I had some now.

Merci, Gracie, Danke Shoen, Mahalo, Arigato, Gracias y mas Cost Plus World Market.

A wave to you for making this 17th Annual Christmas Par-Tay a success.

I tour the world at CPWM.

2012 Food Trends By The Official James Beard Foundation Blog.

December 8th, 2011 No comments

I’m most excited about the Canelés, the so-called New Cupcake (left), a favorite in Bordeaux and the Turkish Lokma (right) that would be discovered on a Doughnut World Tour. You should be seeing more of both in 2012 according to The Official James Beard Foundation Blog. Other Food Trends I’m not so thrilled about, especially Diminishing Portion Sizes — I’d prefer to see diminishing prices.  All 2012 Food Trends are published on Delights & Prejudices.

Nibbles Of Tidbits In Orange County: Good For Locals & The World.

June 21st, 2011 No comments

Keep tuned in WORLD, as recipes, homemade dishes, contests, food news, cooking tips, experiments, brand comparisons, product testing, and interesting fodder will continue to be reported here — And ORANGE COUNTY residents and travelers to/from the OC should pay special attention, as we’re soon adding a New Category and Blogroll, Orange County (OC) Food and Orange County (OC) Bloggers, respectively.  It’s slated to happen in early July.

Nibbles of Tidbits will carry on as a source for world inhabitants, and become a go-to for restaurant reviews, event information and topics of interest to OC residents and visitors.  If looking for something specific (worldly or local), before or after the additions, check the related Category or use our Search Box.  Much is readily accessible, if not immediately seen.  You know what I mean Jelly Bean?!  Interested in the Strips and Cheese in HB?  See here.

Merci Pascal Times Three, More Still Yet To Be: Examiner, Not So Sure.

April 19th, 2011 No comments

Since our meal was so fabulous at Brasserie Pascal, previous visits to Tradition by Pascal and Pascal Epicerie & Wine Shop are linked in appreciation of consistently great meals.  Merci.

Another reason for this post is that I’m still sidestepping an Examiner report — I’m not a fan of pop-ups and would never put them here.  And I don’t appreciate them there, especially as a writer.  It feels like swatting flies.  Back to Pascal, I’ll soon be writing about the Brasserie Pascal Perfect 10 Menu as Orange County Food Examiner.  And after that will re-examine.

Homemade Spaetzle: Can I Get Pregnant From This?

March 13th, 2011 2 comments

Have you ever tried Spaetzle?  It’s a German Noodle.  I hadn’t tried, nor made it, but was curious about it, since it’s so easy and quick to make.  And compared to homemade Italian Pasta, Spaetzle seemed a cinch.  So I made it here and I’m not in love.  And I hope I’m not pregnant — Spaetzle’s shapes scare me, and its taste is just okay.  Who makes it the best?

The recipe I used is linked here — Since I’m breaking up with Spaetzle, this post is fleeting.

Add Salt, Pepper and Nutmeg to Flour, then form a well for a Milk and Egg mixture.

Stir Milk and Eggs into the Flour to form a smooth, thick Dough.

The printed (halved) recipe is shown below and linked on the Food Network’s site.

Once the Dough is prepared, it’s pressed through a colander into boiling Water.

And then you end up with whatever happens naturally — Ghosts, sperm, baby octopus, etc.

What do you think they look like?

Cook for about 3 – 4 minutes or until they float to the surface.

Strain the Spaetzle, then fry in Butter until browned and serve with Chives.

The final photos turned out blurry, which is just as well.  There was no romance.  It’s too heavy.  Auf Wiedersehen Spaetzle  — Maybe we’ll meet again in Germany, Austria, Switzerland or Hungary.

The New Savory Spice Shop In Corona Del Mar Is Hot (And Super Cool).

February 7th, 2011 No comments

Our Guest Blogger, Bonnie recently visited and fell in love with the Savory Spice Shop located in Corona Del Mar Plaza.  She talked to the owners, took photographs and tried unique spices.  It’s all seen and reported about by Bonnie as follows…

The New Savory Spice Shop in Corona Del Mar is Hot!

Make your Next Dish Savory! is the theme of the new Savory Spice Shop located at 928 Avocado Avenue, in Corona Del Mar (in the Bristol Farms Shopping Center). The owners are the husband and wife team of Randy Morton and Laura Shute. Here’s what they offer:

                                400 herbs and spices ground fresh weekly

                                Over 140 unique hand-blended seasonings

                                Specially packaged gift sets, soups, sauces, dips and extracts

                                Available in amounts from ½ ounce to pounds

                                Everything is available for tasting

After a lot of taste testing, I finally settled on two different kinds of dip. The first is a Taco Seasoning which consists of: Masa Harina, salt, chilies, tomato powder, garlic, cumin, California paprika, onion, white sugar, Mexican oregano and allspice.

The other was recommended by Laura. It’s their Gran Paradiso Cheese Sprinkle Dip which contains a truly interesting combination of spices: Green bells (I have no clue what they are!), Parmesan cheese, salt, toasted sesame seeds, shallots, green pepper, parsley, cilantro and chervil.

Both have now been paired with 8 ounces of sour cream and left to marry over night in the refrigerator. Tomorrow they will be brought to the First Annual Nibbles of Tidbits Super Bowl Party for taste testing. We may blog about it later as an update here.

Apart from being bowled over by all the choices, around half way though my tour, Laura pointed out that not all “spices” are (only) for eating. For example, Frankincense can be lit like incense and is meant to smell like the inside of a Church — A different way to enjoy a spice. On a personal note, I was excited to learn that they carry Spearmint Extract. I have been looking for it over a year!

I must also do a shout out on the interior design, which Randy and Laura did all by themselves. I love the wide plank hardwood flooring, tin ceiling and the brick focal wall. They combine to give the store a warm, homey effect.

Most importantly, what I noticed most about the Savory Spice Store was the smell.  On the day I was there the front doors were wide open, so I caught a whiff of it before I even got inside.  It was such a wonderful delight — something you definitely need to experience.

Thanks for the report and photos Bonnie — I’m ready to hit the Savory Spice Shop.