Archive for the ‘Pork’ Category

I’ve Finally Arrived At Park Avenue: The PAG Is Better Than Expected.

June 7th, 2013 No comments

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What a surprise — A Park Avenue Dinner for my birthday.  I’ve wanted to go there for so long.

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I’ve finally arrived!  I knew they had a garden, but WOW on the PAG — Park Avenue Garden.

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Cheers to this exceptional restaurant and to my hunny for ziz-zagging the streets to get us there on the sly.  Where are we going?  Park Avenue — It’s the best birthday dinner surprise!

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We started with Squash Blossoms filled with Goat Cheese and PAG Dried Oregano.

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Park Avenue seems to transcend decades — Its exterior is reminiscent of the 60’s or 70’s.

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It then travels through the food classics by way of modern, beautiful, sustainable gardens.

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It’s bigger than expected, she said — There’s a whole world going on inside Park Avenue.

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Our stuffed Squash Blossoms came from the PAG — A most impressive garden.

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Our night photography doesn’t do it justice — We hope to see all during the day sometime.

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It’s a romantic place with much to offer, including Il Garage, to be reported about next time.

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For Entrees we chose the Slow Cooked Pork Shank (top) and a Ling Cod Special (above).

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All was outstanding with a Happy Birthday Sundae — I wish… To eat here again soon.

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Chef/Managing Partner, David Slay walked throughout making sure all was better than good.

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We want to discover more.

Pozole Check-A-Roo: Reconstituted Dried Chiles That’s The Ticket.

October 20th, 2012 No comments

Dare to make Pozole — Check, and in most cases it’s all about the reconstituted Dried Chiles.

In researching how to make Pozole, I learned… Dried Chiles soaked in Hot Water, then puréed and added to the Broth commonly denote this Mexican Soup, as do its accompaniments.

Its familiar garnishes include all shown and more.  My first attempt at making Pozole turned out fairly well, but not great enough to add a recipe.  I referred to several recipes in order to make the pictured version and will add more Chiles next time — Extra RED to be best fed.

You Say Posole, I Say Pozolé: Let’s Call The Whole Thing Game On.

October 8th, 2012 No comments

You can’t make it as good as this he said.  Purposeful reverse psychology or not, I’m going to try.  It’s what I do and part of the reason why I started Nibbles of Tidbits.  We’re talking about Posole and the one we had here was good, but the Broth was a little flat.  The challenge now is to make a Posole that’s better than the one pictured.  Coming soon my friend (hopefully).  I’m not sayin’ it’ll be great, but it’s possible, thank God.  Check back to see if you get any. 😉

Posole aka Pozolé aka Pozolli is a Mexican Stew that’s most often made with Pork and Hominy.

I’m currently reviewing recipes to incorporate the best authentic and common themes.

Garnishes will be included, but no human meat — Pozolé has a bizarre history.

Update 10/20/12: First attempt at making Pozole shown here — Second attempt in order.

Bakin’ Bacon And Advice From Pigs: March For The BLTA.

March 18th, 2012 No comments

Technically it’s a BLT+A-L that’s preferred.  No suncreen is needed for that Sandwich.

BLT+A-L With Well-Spread M: A Just Right Sandwich Formula.

January 17th, 2012 No comments

BLT+A-L on Toasted White Bread with the perfect amount of Mayo — It’s how my Mom always made it and how I do now.  It’s just right.  We rarely add the Lettuce and mostly opt for Avocado with the Bacon and Tomato.  It’s technically a BAT or BTA, a tasty Sandwich.

Bacon, Tomato and Avocado — Layer in that order on Toasted White Bread with Mayo.

The amount of Mayo is key, not too much, nor too little — Mayo oozing out the sides is gross and not enough is dry.  I didn’t want any Mayonnaise on it as a kid and my Mom would add it when I wasn’t looking.  She knew, and I now know its compliment, when properly applied.

It’s a simple, flavorful Sandwich that consistently hits the spot with a cold glass of Milk.

A comfort food for years — With leftover or microwavable Bacon, it can be made in a flash.

Umbrella optional, unless it’s raining.

The Simplicity And Complexity Of Coming Home For Christmas.

December 18th, 2011 No comments

Uncle This, Aunt That, where is so-and-so, sometimes it’s not so easy, but still a great thing.

Shelter, warmth, love and (regardless of all) laughs around a dinner table are invaluable.

With Gravy on top of everything — Hang in there, count your blessings and dig in.

No matter what, this matters — We wish all families love and peace.

VIP Rib Village At The Orange County BBQ Bonanza.

August 19th, 2011 No comments

This weekend we highly recommend VIP Rib Village at the Orange County BBQ Bonanza.

Tender Ribs can be found within Fountain Valley Sports Park August 18th – 21st.

The VIP Rib Village experience includes all you can eat Ribs, Sides, Drinks and Desserts.

Check out The Big 6 National BBQ Cookers to learn more about the Ribs.

Entrance to unlimited Ribs and more.

Of course we tried them all several times.

Just one tasty option from Cowboys

Going back for another plate of everything.


Endless sides above, if you bother — We were diggin’ the bottomless Ribs, Beer and Wine.

There are plenty of tables with umbrellas in VIP Rib Village.

Different bands will be playing throughout the weekend — We enjoyed Grand Junction.

Some were dancing.

Others were eating.

We narrowed down our favorite Ribs to three, then tried them again — TBA.

As noted, VIP Rib Village includes all you can eat Dessert too — The cost for all is $100.  Why not make a day of it?  Enjoy excellent Ribs, good music, dancing and Drinks on a Summer eve.

He’s just sayin’…

More Ribs and Dessert in the Village.

Go in — It’s a messy, fun, flavorsome time.

Tennessee Q ended up being our favorite this kick-off evening.

And Johnson’s was a close runner-up.

You don’t have to spend $100 to try the Ribs — Event INFO is posted here.

How To Make (Or Not To Make) Chorizo: Unknown Cookbook Review.

June 30th, 2011 No comments

I get asked to review a lot of cookbooks, which is pretty cool.  Some I love and have used over and over, and others I’m not so sure about.  Just because a recipe makes it into a cookbook doesn’t mean it’s going to be good.  I’ve learned that the hard way many times.

I was recently reminded that all are not created equal, after a review of The Unknown Cookbook.  I appreciate the opportunity to try it, but the Chorizo (Mexican Sausage) recipe within tasted nothing like it.  Aside from that, it just wasn’t good.  Though the book will never be a favorite, I learned from the process.  In other words, it’s nice to know that I can make Chorizo without Salivary Glands, though this isn’t the recipe to do it.

All is posted to show that the method is easy with the right ingredients.

The pre-rolled Catfood-ish looking “Chorizo” (below) was a bit of a turn off.

Chorizo is better wrapped in plastic than intestines. 😉

We were excited about it, before we tasted it — Blah.

After being refrigerated for two days, we sliced it into patties and cooked it, then took a couple bites and tossed it in the trash.  I’m calling this the review of The Unknown Cookbook, so not to make the author feel bad.  We prefer to emphasize the positive and not hurt the sales of others with a bad review.  I’m sure there is something worth making in the book.  With respect to this recipe, we’re sticking with Soy Chorizo for now — We know it’s good.

Slater’s 50/50: Burgers Designed With 50% Bacon & 50% Beef.

June 15th, 2011 2 comments

At Slater’s 50/50, it’s an option to have a Burger made with 50% Bacon and 50% Beef — And if that’s not enough, add a Fried Egg, Avocado Mash, Pepper Jack Cheese and Chipotle Mayo and you have The 50/50 Burger, one of Slater’s Signatures.  We had to try it.

A partner at the fantastic law firm that employs me had been raving about it for months.

It was worth going there just to see the giant Burgers pictured above.  We’re not sure if the guys were able to finish them, since we left beforehand, but all nearby tables were watching.

While waiting for a table and perhaps inappropriate for a minor, Chef Lexi of Kids in the Kitchen pretended to pick up Kegs — Inconsequential to the report, but entertaining and cute to its publisher.  Back to the food and on to The 50/50 (blurry) photo below… 

The Burger was certainly interesting to try, but we prefer Bacon in its crispy form.  The Burger seems a bit dense and less juicy than an all Beef Burger and was too rich tasting for us. 

Regarding the sides… I wanted the Fried Dill Pickles (a unique option), but we settled on sharing the French Fries and Fried Macaroni N’ Cheese for the Pick 2 Combination Plate.  The French Fries were good, but we think Slater’s 50/50 may get their Fried Macaroni N’ Cheese from the same supplier as Del Taco.  Not saying it’s true, but it sure looks and tastes identical to the ones they sell and we don’t care for either of them — Too greasy.

We hoped to provide a more favorable report, but didn’t fall in love.  Sorry Mike.  HOWEVER, the service was great and we liked the feel of the place, thus may go back to try a different Burger and side, and probably more Beer for the non-driving adults.

Slater’s 50/50 is in a strip mall in Anaheim Hills and smells terrific from the parking lot.

We’ll try something different next time.

Quick Tender Oven Baked Baby Back Ribs & A Preparation Experiment.

April 12th, 2011 No comments

Have you tried Houston’s BBQ Pork Ribs aka Knife & Fork Ribs?  They’re some of the best I’ve had and a model for how I want my Baby Back Ribs to be.  And I’m content knowing I’ve previously accomplished it, BUT sometimes there’s not the time, nor grill, then what?

The above Baby Back Ribs were baked in the oven at 400° for 1 hour wrapped in foil (fat/meat side down), then unwrapped, turned over and lathered with BBQ Sauce and cooked 20 – 30 minutes longer unwrapped.  Below is how they looked, prior to turning to sauce.

And separately below we experimented with a Dry Rub on a different slab of Baby Back Ribs.

Last year at the Foodbuzz Blogger Festival in San Francisco, I was given a Brown Sugar Pork Rub developed by Tyler Florence.  I finally tried it on this second slab of Ribs.  And to compound the test, we cooked them as described above, but at 225° for 3 hours.

The consensus, the slower cooked Dry Rub Baby Back Ribs fell apart while cutting, not attractive for serving, and unnecessary since the top Ribs cooked in half the time and were perfectly tender.  That recipe is from Delicious House.  It’s a keeper happily collected, posted and linked here for future use.

And I’m sorry to report that I wasn’t excited by Tyler’s Brown Sugar Pork Rub, and it sounded so good too, but Salt and Pepper worked better on the first slab of Baby Backs, a winner.

Speechless Sunday: Uniquely Created In Inspiration Of Wordless Days.

April 10th, 2011 No comments

Easy & Delicious Appetizer: Bacon Wrapped Dates.

March 6th, 2010 No comments

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Bacon Wrapped Dates 004Bacon Wrapped Dates – They’re amazing tasting and one of the easiest appetizers to make.  The sweetness of the Date goes so well with Bacon, the only two ingredients in the recipe.  Just wrap short slices of Bacon around each Date.  I cut the Bacon with kitchen shears, after wrapping it once around the outside of the Date.  And I’ve since learned it’s not necessary to secure the Bacon on each Date with a toothpick, if you press it together well when assembling.  Then bake all in a 350° oven for 25 minutes (or until nicely browned) turning once about halfway through.  Cool slightly before diggin’ in, so not to burn your mouth on a hot Date.  With that in mind enjoy!

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Many Bacon Wrapped Date recipes include Cheese, such as Cheddar or Parmesan that’s stuffed in the center of the Date, but we prefer them without Cheese — It’s a good thing too, since they’re faster and easier to make.

* If you like this recipe, you might also like Bacon Wrapped Asparagus.

The New Breakfast Chips & Salsa: Egg Salad & Bacon.

February 3rd, 2010 2 comments

Egg Salad & Bacon

For breakfast I recently enjoyed a simple Egg Salad (Eggs, Apple Cider Vinegar, Mayo, Mustard, Salt and Pepper) with a few strips of nutritious Bacon — Instead of making a Sandwich, I ate ’em together like Chips & Salsa.  Why not?

Celebrating The Christmas Season At Beautiful Table Settings.

December 21st, 2009 No comments

Holiday Table Setting

We’re celebrating the holidays with lots of family and friends, and thus have been holdin’ on to several insightful reports that’ll be posted on Nibbles of Tidbits soon.  Delicious Ham leftovers are the commodity of the week — Merry Christmas to me.


Food Network’s Down Home With The Neelys, Pat’s Smoked Sausage & Pepper Sandwich.

August 18th, 2009 1 comment


Patrick and Gina of TV Food Network’s Show Down Home with the Neeleys are so cute — They have a lot of fun together centered around food.  Their happy interaction and enjoyment made me want to make Pat’s Sausage and Pepper Sandwich, and I’m generally not a fan of Sausage Sandwiches.  Another appeal is the Beer in the Sauce.  And since I didn’t have Neely’s BBQ Sauce (in the recipe), I used Lucille’s BBQ Sauce. 



I went to Henry’s Farmers Market for the Sausage — They didn’t have a Smoked Sausage, but the Butcher highly recommended the Pork Sausage  over the Turkey, when asked the difference between the two Sweet Hot Italians.  As a substitution, I opted for the Pork and was glad it was $1 less a pound.  And I ended up with Potato Rolls that were toasted inside. 


Confession:  It wasn’t until after the preparation of this recipe did I realize that I misunderstood and used the wrong type of Sausage.  The key word is “smoked” and I used fresh Sausage.  A Kielbasa in a vacuum pack may have been better, especially since casings gross me out.  Good thing I cooked the Sausage well done.  And I cooked all ingredients longer (except the Garlic) than noted on the above linked recipe.  Onions are always best caramelized and the Peppers were added after the Onions cooked a bit.

Overall, it’s a great recipe — The Sauce turns out pretty tasty.  I now wanna make it with a Kielbasa, and might not eat it on a Sandwich.  Luckily all who tried this preparation liked it.

Where to buy Neely’s BBQ Sauce:

Las Fajitas Restaurant On & In Newport.

June 29th, 2009 1 comment


import-003A fast pop into Las Fajitas Restaurant yielded great service, one of the better Salsa Bars (It includes Sour Cream and Marinated Carrots), and a Carnitas Taco that I would definitely have again.  Las Fajitas Mexican Grill Seafood Catering Restaurant is on Newport Boulevard in Newport Beach.  We’ll be going back to try more.  So far, so very good.

Las Fajitas Restaurant direct link and related report.

An Uncased & Butterflied Sausage Sandwich.

May 21st, 2009 1 comment


It’s easy to uncase and butterfly a Sausage Link, and convenient that it becomes the perfect shape for a Sandwich Roll.  Just cut the Sausage Link in (almost) half, peel off and discard its outer casing, then butterfly the meat.  It fries up well in a pan and could be a winner with tasty Sausage and a few more frills.


I like this Sandwich preparation idea, but will try it next time with a flavorful Italian Sausage, Marinara Sauce and Provolone Cheese.  The pictured Sandwich was bore-ring.  The Sausage was tasteless, which doesn’t work for anything, especially a Sandwich that just has it on it.

Related Links:

Brown Sugar Baked Bacon, Bakin’ Bacon Is Good.

May 18th, 2009 1 comment


Have you ever tried Brown Sugar Baked Bacon?  It’s so good!  And easier than frying too.  Just toss a few Bacon slices with Brown Sugar in a large baggie until well coated — Place the Bacon on a foil lined cookie sheet, then bake in the oven at 350° for about 20 minutes.  Be careful, there’s a fine line between cooking the Bacon perfectly and burning it.


When made right, it  tastes like Candy — When burned or cooked too long, you’ll save a lot of calories.  Another tip, cook the Bacon on a slant to allow the grease to run down.  I use 2 – 3 upside down metal ramekins to prop up one side while baking.  It works well.

Related Link:

Baked Eggs In Ham Cups, Aren’t They Cool?!

April 8th, 2009 4 comments


One of the magazines I currently subscribe to is Orange Coast and in this month’s issue is this amazing recipe.  It’s Baked Eggs in Ham Cups with Mushrooms and Shallots by Chef Jamie Gwen.  I fell in love with the photo, and the recipe is fairly easy so I had to make it. 


The taste and homemade presentation happily lived up to my initial reaction to the magazine photo (below left).  This recipe is so delicious and impressive looking.  A yummy sautéed Mushroom mixture is layered over the Ham and under the Egg, as you can see before it’s baked (below middle). 


The photo and recipe in Orange Coast Magazine (April 2009) are found within a Special Advertising Section by South Coast Plaza, 13-15. 


These Baked Eggs in Ham Cups are definitely worth making, especially for company.  They’ll definitely be a part of my Brunch repertoire in the future — They’re too FAB!

Chef Jamie Gwen INFO:

Orange Coast Magazine:

Note:  Leave comment HERE if larger recipe print is needed.

What I Learned From My First Large Ham.

December 30th, 2008 No comments

I learned there’s nothing to preparing a Ham, especially one that’s pre-cooked, like the one pictured here.  Since a Ham usually starts with a smoked flavor, it’s almost best to just place it in a Dutch Oven without anything else.  For this Ham, I read several recipes before choosing to add a combination of Brown Sugar, Pineapple Juice and Beer.  I also thought that a deep scoring would allow the baste to permeate more deeply into the meat and make it look prettier.

Overall, the Ham did look nice, but the too-deep scoring made it difficult to cut a decent slice for my guests.  It yielded too many small squares – HA.  And the Beer/Pineapple/Sugar combination wasn’t good either.  I could still taste the Beer, which I usually prefer in a glass.  I also added too much liquid to the pot, which isn’t necessary since the Ham was cooked covered.  When it was done (12 minutes per pound), I found myself shaving off the outside to obtain a reasonably sized slice of the traditional Ham inside.  Next time I’ll simply add a little Brown Sugar.  I had previously seen that recommendation, but thought I needed some liquid — I’ve since learned, when covered, a Ham will provide its own juice.  Now on to Split Pea and Ham Soup…

Ham & Cream Cheese Roll-Ups Are Easy & Good.

December 29th, 2008 No comments

My Aunt made a version of these for a Christmas appetizer.  The red and green colors worked well.  I must have had about twenty of them.  I was reminded how good Ham and Cream Cheese Roll-Ups can be.  My Aunt’s Roll-Ups were made with top quality Ham, Pimento and Green Onions.  This quick adaptation was made with Deli Ham, Red Bell Pepper and Chives.  Both combinations are quick, easy and yummy.  If you need to bring an appetizer somewhere, this is a good one.

Maple Pork Chops With Apples By Chef Lexi.

October 24th, 2008 2 comments

Here’s another installment of Kids in the Kitchen.  It’s Maple Pork Chops with Apples made by Chef Lexi.  She’s 9 and pretty much prepared the entire dish with little assistance from her Mom.  They said it tasted okay, but they did make a couple substitutions due to lack of ingredients.  Perhaps if the recipe is made as written it would taste better.  It certainly looks good.

The recipe is from one of the best Kid’s Cookbooks, Family Fun Cooking With Kids.  I’ve previously posted about it and will continue to do so, since it has so many great recipes.  Lexi plans to cook many of them.  It’s a great learning experience and she has so much fun with it.  Information about the Cookbook is found in the related link.  Great job Lexi!

Related Link:

Try Charlie Palmer’s Sliders, I’ll Concur With ABC News On This One.

September 26th, 2008 1 comment

KABC, Channel 7 recently revealed where to get the BEST SLIDERS (Mini Burgers) and it recommended we try Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale’s in South Coast Plaza.  Although they named the “Top 7 Slider Restaurants in Los Angeles,” they noted that Charlie Palmer’s in Orange County has exceptional Sliders too — I just tried two of the three.

I had the Kobe Beef Slider and the PBLT (Pork Belly, Lettuce & Tomato) Slider.  And before I even took a bite of the Kobe Beef Burger, I knew it was the Best Slider I’ve ever had.  Seriously, it’s aroma put me at the best backyard BBQ on a sunny day.  I usually don’t write this flowery, but it was that amazing to me.

And the PBLT was also surprisingly good.  “Surprisingly” because I’m generally a visible fat avoider — I trim all meat.  For that reason I haven’t gravitated towards Pork Belly, but I just went for it.  The texture was tender, not chewy as feared, but more like a thick slab of Bacon, which I love.

Both Sliders are worth traveling for.  Pictured above (L-R) PBLT, Kobe Beef & Kobe Beef — We haven’t yet tried the Crab Cake Slider, but may need to.  There’s more to this meal, but Charlie Palmer’s Sliders deserve a showcase.