Archive

Archive for the ‘RESTAURANT REVIEWS’ Category

Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern: Love At First Sight & Bite.

January 16th, 2017 No comments

It was really love at first sight and bite at Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern (JFAT).

First, I love Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern’s MENU and pretty much want to try everything listed.  I reviewed their menu online before visiting this JFAT in Brea — It’s one of five JFAT locations. The others are in Dana Point, San Diego, Woodland Hills and Santa Monica.

Before tasting anything, we appreciated JFAT’s exterior entrance lights, outdoor patio and courtyard view, and its dimly lit, stylish America-inspired interior.  God Bless America indeed.

My first bite came from the Pimento Cheese Dip in JFAT’s Dueling Southern Dips.  It’s served with a Roasted Corn & Poblano Guacamole and Tortilla Chips — And wow.  We were happy with the amount of flavor in both Dips.  Every dish we shared had an amazing amount of flavor.

It was love at first bite in conjunction with its appealing sight — Pictured from top down is JFAT’s Signature Grilled Santa Fe Caesar Salad with Fried Chicken, the Dueling Southern Dips, the Whisky Shrimp, and BBQ Spice Crusted Salmon with Creamed Corn, Green Beans, Bacon and Crispy Onions.  Each dish was seasoned, grilled and prepared well.  Nothing is bland at JFAT.

I’m pictured below with Chef Kim.  He is so nice and worked hard to make our plates great.  Good people work at JFAT.  We also thank Manager Todd Cords for his superior hospitality.  When we have time, there is much more to go back for — The FOOD, cocktails, atmosphere and friendliness.

I’ve highlighted, at least, ten dishes I want to try — They include JFAT’s Boneless Short Rib Stroganoff, White Truffle Mac and Five Cheese, Charred Brussels Sprouts, Santa Fe Honey-Poblano Pesto Grilled Flatbread, etc.  Enlarge menu below or see link here to view food and drink options.

My favorite JFAT Cocktail was the Cucumber Cooler.  It’s made with Finlandia Vodka, St. Germain, Fresh Cucumber and Lemon Juice.  See Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern’s full list of “Liquid” items here.  JFAT says get in here and we want to get back there.  ASAP.

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

December 5th, 2016 No comments

Fool

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

D'Vine Sign

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

Cold Mezza's

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

Chips

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

Dip

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

Interior

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

Arak and Cooler

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

Kefta

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

Shawarma

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

Interior/Kitchen

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

Smoking Area

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

Event Room

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

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

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

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

November 26th, 2016 No comments

Ike's

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

Ike's in Irvine

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

Inside Ike's in Irvine

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

Line at Ike's in Irvine

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

Ike's Sandwich

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

One of many Sandwiches

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

Example of Ike’s Dutch Crunch Bread unwrapped (above).

I’ve now had so many Sandwiches I don’t know which one is posted above, but I know I loved it.

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

October 14th, 2016 No comments

Treehouse Lounge

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

Asparagus Appetizer

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

Tanner's Treehouse

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

Tanner's

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

The Bungalow

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

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

August 5th, 2016 No comments

Croutons Lunch

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

Croutons Cost

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

Croutons Irvine

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

Tomato Basil Soup

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

June 8th, 2016 No comments

Brussels Sprouts

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

Knott’s Season Dining Pass Report: Meals From Wilderness Broiler.

April 25th, 2016 No comments

Knott's Hamburger

Knott’s Season Dining Pass (Report #5):  1/2 lb. Cheeseburger (above) and a Spicy Chicken Sandwich (below) from the Wilderness Broiler on the edge of Ghost Town.  It’s our first time trying the Spicy Chicken Sandwich.  It’s not as commonly offered as the Cheeseburger.  Speaking of, we may be on the verge of discovering that Knott’s Cheeseburger tastes the same no matter what restaurant it’s from.  It’s just called a Cheeseburger at the Grizzy Creek Lodge, but it seems to be the same, though the Grizzy Creek Lodge has a Condiment Bar offering more to put on a Cheeseburger, Sandwich and/or Hot Dog.  Outside the Wilderness Broiler there’s Yellow Mustard and Ketchup only, and neither sound right to remedy a dry Spicy Chicken Sandwich.

Knott's Spicy Chicken Sandwich

I suppose it’s called a “Spicy” Chicken Sandwich because it has Jalapenos on it.  That’s the only spicy part.  The Chicken didn’t appear or taste spiced in any way.  The Chicken Breast was relatively thin, large, well-done and crispy — The type that’s best smothered in Gravy and had with a knife and fork, not served on a small, equally dry Focaccia Roll.  Where’s the Chipotle Mayo or something like it?  Flavor needs to be added to Knott’s so-called Spicy Chicken Sandwich.  I wish I could report it’s better.  We like Knott’s, but it’s only April and I’m starting to realize that I somewhat dread its meals, though we paid for an annual Season Dining Pass.  Well, there’s more to try and test and we’ll continue to hope for the best.  Come back later to read about the rest.

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

March 30th, 2016 No comments

Cauliflower

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

Simmzy's Menu Excerpt

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

Simmzy's

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

Simmzy's Menu

Simmzy’s Menu — Enlarge for a better view.

Simmzy's HB

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

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

March 24th, 2016 No comments

Kettlebar Pan Roast

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

Kettlebar Anaheim

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

Matt at Kettlebar

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

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

February 21st, 2016 No comments

Watermelon Feta

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

Me at Saint Marc

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

Matt at Saint Marc

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

St. Marc Bar

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

Menu

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

Bacon Bar

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

Deviled Eggs

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

St Marc

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

Bacon Dates

Swedish Meatballs served in a cast iron skillet.

Meatballs

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

Celery

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

Pretzels

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

Crostini

The Crostini Bread is really good.

Another Crostini

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

Rumaki

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

Maple Bacon

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

Cheese Curds

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

Donuts

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

Fondue

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

Spork

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

Me at Saint Marc, again.

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

Wings Cafe Will Be Opening Soon: Hoping For Good Final Inspections.

September 28th, 2015 No comments

 

Wing's Cafe

I wrote about Wings Cafe five months ago and I finally see its runway leading us there.

Wing's Cafe 2

We rode bikes there last week to sneak a peek and we were invited in by its owners.

Wing's Cafe Booths

Brian and Sherri White were there putting the finishing touches on their cafe.

Nose Cone Movies

What a GREAT JOB they have done to make Wings Cafe unique, cool and stylish — Mission accomplished.  Above is an actual plane nose cone that’s showing real footage that was shot with the camera built into it.  It prominently hangs on a wall.  And the airplane it’s from is shown below.

Airplane of Nose Cone

The ceiling at Wings Cafe — It was new, then each square was hand distressed by them to the point of perfection.  The final result compliments the historical and other creative aspects of the cafe.

Wing's Cafe Roof

The flight suit and helmet of Brian White’s father stands in one of the cafe corners — He’s a decorated Marine.  Thank you for your service, and thank you Brian and Sherri for inviting us in.

Owner's Father's Uniform

A few days later we attended a Wings Cafe opening event and saw more finishing touches.

Inside Wing's Cafe

The glass partition was illuminated, airplane components were added to booths and more.

Peek Window at Wing's Cafe

I love the peek-a-boo window where all can see what’s happening behind the scenes.

Unique Light

Much in Wings Cafe is made from airplane parts.  Each piece has a different story and they can probably tell you about it.  And the view… there are moving airplanes.  It’ll be a fun place for all.

Wing's Cafe View

Wings Cafe is scheduled to land October 5, 2015 (Soft opening with Bacon, Eggs and Pancakes) with its Grand Opening to be October 10, 2015, provided inspections go well — They have two more to go and then Wings Cafe can really take off.  We wish Brian, Sherri and staff many years of success.

Soco Sushi & Gastro Pub Is Primed To Be The Next Happening Spot.

June 3rd, 2015 No comments

IMG_0581

SOCO Sushi & Gastro Pub — It opened a few weeks ago.  It’s SOuth of COmmonwealth (hence the name) in the cool, fun part of downtown Fullerton, amongst other bars, restaurants and shops.

Soco Sushi

It’s a Sushi Bar and Gastro Pub all sushi-rolled into one — I like the variety they offer.

Fiery Rice Bombs

We had the Fiery Rice Bombs (above) and Melts My Heart Quesadilla (below).

Melts My Heart Quesadilla

Most appreciated is SOCO Sushi & Gastro Pub’s hospitality — Everyone is welcoming and friendly.

Yellowtail Cheeks

And we thoroughly enjoyed the cooked, meaty Yellowtail Cheeks (above), after having different parts of Hamachi (top)  — We mustn’t discard the cheeks of Matt’s next Yellowtail catch.

Matt posting on Facebook

It’s nicely styled inside to accommodate small and large groups.

Soco Sushi

One can dine and drink at SOCO’s Sushi Bar or at their Gastro Pub Bar — That option is matchless.

Soco Sushi Room

You can reserve a private room if needed.

Albacore on Acid

Albacore on Acid (above) is another one of SOCO Sushi & Gastro Pub’s unique creations — Menu items are differently and comically named, adding to the fun there.  Much sounds great to try.

IMG_0578

It’s said to be the place to start your night — I’d agree with that and from what we experienced and sense, it could be the place you’ll want to end your night also.  It’s positively distinctive and offers food dishes and drinks to please all.  Say “Hi” to Davis Jeong, Executive Sushi Chef.  He and all care about your satisfaction.  Check out their MENU for more info re the pictured items and others.

Nine Seafood Restaurant: It’s Hidden In Cerritos For Your Enjoyment.

June 2nd, 2015 No comments

 

Nine Seafood

Pictured is “Combo #1” at Nine Seafood Restaurant, which is located off South Street in Cerritos, but hardly seen from the street, since it’s set back in a large parking lot.  Combo #1 includes a King Crab Leg, Snow Crab Legs, Shrimp, Crawfish, Clams and New Zealand Mussels, with Red Potatoes, Sausage and Corn on the Cob.  Combo #1 and much there is served in a bag with a bib.

Matt at Nine

We shared all with complete satisfaction and will go back for more of Nine’s varied seafood selection.

Best Huevos Rancheros and Hash Browns At The Golden Ox.

April 10th, 2015 No comments

Huevos Rancheros at Golden Ox

It looks different than most I’ve had, but the pictured Huevos Rancheros at the Golden Ox Restaurant in Fullerton is one of my favorites for breakfast, lunch or dinner, which is served all day.

Golden Ox

As a bonus, it comes with Bacon, Beans, Rice, Hash Browns, Tortillas on the side, and Salsa.

Golden Ox Drive Thru

It’s not a fancy place as you can see, but they do a great job there.  The Huevos Rancheros is consistently good, even when had three times in a week.  I’m hooked.  And now my husband is too, which helps get me there more often, yay.  It’s off Commonwealth where North Brookhurst ends.

End of Brookhurst

Dine in or drive through — Inside food is served on plastic plates.  It’s a little fancier than fast food.

Golden Ox Restaurant

The Sauce on the Huevos Rancheros is excellent.  It has a long, home cooked flavor and we love it.

Huevos Rancheros

Also, I’ve never been a Hash Browns fan, but I’m a big fan of theirs.  I look forward to having them almost as much as the Huevos.  And it shouldn’t go unmentioned that the Bacon is always extra crispy, and the Beans and Rice are above average too.  All make up a masterpiece at the Golden Ox.

Hash Browns

We shall have it again soon, I’m sure.

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.

IMG_9789

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.

Bacchus Bar & Bistro: The Roman God Of Wine Is In Irvine.

November 18th, 2014 No comments

Bacchus 002

Bacchus Bar & Bistro — Classy is a word that comes to mind.  It may look small on the outside tucked in a corner, but there’s a lot of stylish space inside.  Their menu is impressive too.

Bacchus 004

I’m happy to discover Bacchus Bar & Bistro (formerly Bacchus Secret Cellar) — It’s down the street from my Irvine office, in the Quail Hill Shopping Center, amongst other businesses.

Bacchus 007

It’s a perfect place to gather with friends after work — A plan is in the works.

Bacchus 009

There is comfortable seating throughout — Tall and short tables, couches and a bar.

Bacchus 010

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.

Bacchus 012

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.

Bacchus Food

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.

Bacchus Dessert

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.

At Bacchus with Wine

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.

Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar: Ideal Spot To Celebrate A Dog’s Birthday.

November 10th, 2014 No comments

Leon at Lazy Dog Cafe

His name is Leon (above) and he just turned 8 — We celebrated him and his birthday at the Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar at Cerritos Mall.  It’s an ideal place for a Dog’s Birthday or any day, since dogs are allowed on their patio and served a complimentary Bowl of Water.

Lazy Dog Cafe Cerritos

It’s a good place for adults too, though it was Leon’s day, but we pay. 😉

Cerritos Patio

We tried the Sangria Sampler — The White Peach Sangria (middle) was my favorite.

Leon's Birthday 020

The Lazy Dog Hand Crafted Drafts Sampler hits the human spot too.

Beer Flight

Leon chose the Grilled Chicken Breast and Brown Rice from the Dog Menu.

Leon's Birthday Dish at Lazy Dog Cafe

He ate all quickly, much how he eats everything, and appeared to like it.

Leon's Birthday at Lazy Dog Cafe

We had the Brick Oven Spinach & Sundried Tomato Cheese Dip (below), which could use more Spinach and Sun Dried Tomatoes, but the Cheese combination is good.

Spinach Dip

And the Chipotle Chicken Quesadilla — Overall, Lazy Dog’s food is consistently good.

Quesadilla

Afterwards we went for a walk along Dog Beach in Huntington Beach.

Leon's Birthday - Walk on the Beach

It’s a true dog day afternoon at the Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar and Dog Beach.

Lazy Dog Cafe - Dog Menu

There’s a Dog Friendly Patio at the Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar — Enlarge photo to read their Patio Rules and don’t be shy, bring your dog with you, especially if it’s his or her birthday.

Best Brussels Sprouts In Town Unexpectedly Found At The Egg Cracker.

November 7th, 2014 No comments

Egg Cracker Brussels Sprouts

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.

Egg Cracker Restaurant

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.

Egg Cracker Happy Hour Menu

Current Happy Hour Food Menu (above) and Chilaquiles (below).

Egg Cracker Happy Hour Dish

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.

Egg Cracker Portobello Fries

Zucchini Bread (below) is served to all, with all, Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner — I think.

Egg Cracker HH

We had breakfast at the Egg Cracker twice before and received it then also.

Egg Cracker Campfire Pancakes

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.

Egg Cracker Receipt

We’re going back for more of everything (and much we have yet to try).

What Are The Best Things To Eat At Disneyland, I Asked My Phone.

October 22nd, 2014 No comments

Disneyland 015

What are the best foods to eat at Disneyland, I asked my semi-smart phone.  We were going to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure and wanted something different than an average Burger and Fries.  I hadn’t been to either park in 10 years.  After reviewing the search results, I chose two food dishes that were included on several lists — One at Disneyland and the other at Disney California Adventure, two places I’ve never known and probably wouldn’t have found.  Each sounded appealing.  We started with the Carthay Signature Fried Biscuits with Apricot Honey Butter at Carthay Circle Restaurant at Disney California Adventure.

Disneyland 017

Carthay Circle Restaurant is fancier than expected, but we sought to have the best food at Disneyland.  We went there to try the Carthay Signature Fried Biscuits that are described as amazing and to-die-for.  Stuffed with White Cheddar, Bacon and Jalapenos they sound good.

Disneyland 010

They don’t look like much on the outside, then surprise with a gooey middle.  With the Apricot Honey Butter, it’s interesting and different — I like its concentrated flavor and it’s not bad on the Biscuits, but we really didn’t fall in love with them.  They’re good, not great and expensive for its small size and amount.  Several Starters looked better to us and more filling.

Disneyland 020

My husband set out to photo bomb Goofy, but wasn’t obvious enough — At Disneyland.

Disneyland 003

Across the square from Disney California Adventure, we sought to have the Lobster Roll at the Harbour Galley Restaurant in Critter Country at Disneyland.  It too appears to be a Disneyland favorite.  It’s less fancy than Carthay Circle with only a few takeout windows.

Disneyland 023

I wasn’t able to take a good photo of the Lobster Roll, but the Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl looked, tasted and photographed well.  It too is well-liked by bloggers and papers.

Disneyland 026

The Lobster Roll was great, with a good amount of Lobster and nice lemony flavor.

Disneyland 030

We’d have the Lobster Roll again for $14.99, but not the Carthay Signature Fried Biscuits for $12.00.  Next visit we’ll try other Disneyland favorites discovered on my phone.  Thank you!

Calivino Wine Pub In Anaheim: More Spinach Wontons Please.

October 14th, 2014 No comments

Calivino House Burger

Have you been to Calivino Wine Pub?  It’s in Anaheim, near the Honda Center, Angel Stadium of Anaheim and other happenings, off Katella Avenue. We just learned about it and gladly so, since the food is terrific. We’ve been to other Wine Bar/Pubs that serve great food, like Sealegs and The Twisted Wine, so the test-bar is high, but Calivino unexpectedly stood out.

Calivino Wine Pub

Calivino Wine Pub is a bit hard to see off Katella.  Its cross-street is Howell — Just turn into the business park area, keep heading left and you’ll see it slivered-in, amongst other businesses and eateries.  Hooters is across the parking lot to drop off the boys on a Girl’s Wine Night out.

Toast to Calivino Wine Pub

Seating includes a long bar and a good combination of couches and tall and short tables.

Calivino, Anaheim

It’s rare when everything on a menu sounds appealing, well not that rare, but I do want all on Calivino’s Menu.  Since we weren’t sure where to begin, we tried a few house favorites.

Calivino 020

FOOD pictured from top down:  The House Burger with Fried Onions, Onion Jam and Havarti, which is sweet, spicy and juicy – Bacon Dates with Goat Cheese and Honey – Spinach Wontons with Parmesan and Garlic – Brussels Sprouts roasted with Crispy Pork.

Calivino Spinach Wontons

I’d have all again and the Spinach Wontons (above) every day — You certainly can’t tell how great they are from the dark photo, but WOW, they’re a perfectly seasoned combo of Baby Leaf Spinach and crunch.  Each Wonton tastes like the best Spinach Dip already on a chip.

Calivino 5

Oh yeah, Wine.  It’s a Wine Pub after all — I like Wine too.

C W P

The Reds, Whites, Sweets & Sparkling — Calivino’s owner, Daniel hand selects them all.

At Calivino Wine Pub

And there’s Beer too — A rotating selection of fine, local brews are noted on a chalkboard.

Calivino WP USA

Calivino — Cali for California and Vino for Wine.  We like it and the CA Flag Bear on the logo.

CWP (Wine & Beer)

It’s a nice mix of old world and new world and it feels that way.

Matt at Calivino

We tried REDS from California and Spain — Leaping Horse Cabernet (2013), Beso De Vino Garnacha (2011), Reserva Eguia Tempranillo (2009) and Artezin Red Zinfandel (2012).

Calivino - Semi-Changing Wine Menu

We liked sipping Wine on the couch and the rustic tables with bottled water and succulents.

Chillaxing at Calivino Wine Pub in Anaheim

I’m heading back soon with a group of girls for more bites and Tempranillo.

Calivino Sign

Calivino Wine Pub — A great stop before or after an event, for Happy Hour (3-7pm, Sun – Fri), 1/2 Price Bottles of Wine on Wednesdays, and 1/2 off Glasses of Wine on Thursdays.  See their website for more info and/or changes.  New food dishes will be added below.

Disneyland 002

Updated 10/21/14: Next visit we had more of the same, which was equally as good, and Alison’s Baked Brie in a Puff Pastry with Candied Nuts and Honey (above).

Crispy Artichoke Hearts At El Galleon Restaurant: Get Something Else.

September 9th, 2014 No comments

Fried Artichoke Hearts

Do you see the pool of Garlic Butter under the Crispy Artichoke Hearts (above)?  We had the same Hot Appetizer at El Galleon Restaurant in Avalon on Catalina Island, except our pool of Garlic Butter was twice as deep.  Our formerly Crispy Artichoke Hearts could high dive into it.  We were surprised to see them served that way.  Why would El Galleon fry them to a crispy, golden brown only to place them essentially in Oil again?  It’s simply a bad idea.  The Garlic Butter should be served on the side to preserve crispiness.  Don’t you think so?  And they’re too expensive at $11.95.  We’ll get something else next time.  El Galleon is otherwise a fun place with Live Karaoke and countless other dishes and specialty drinks to choose from.

Matt and Shelly Freis in Catalina

We LOVE spending time on Catalina Island — See our previous Blue Water Grill report.

Tortilla Republic In Laguna Beach: It Really Is A Feast For All Our Senses.

September 5th, 2014 No comments

Tortilla Republic 032

First, we LOVE Tortilla Republic’s location, location, location.  It’s in Laguna Beach off PCH with an outdoor patio view of the ocean.  We recently sampled a few items from its Brunch Menu.

Tortilla Republic 043

Though it’s often hard to park in the heart of Laguna Beach, there’s a small parking structure directly behind Tortilla Republic.  It’s best to park there, as there were spaces available.

Tortilla Republic 025

Tortilla Republic’s Brunch Menu is impressive — Several items are pictured here.

Tortilla Republic 023

I highly recommend the Salsa Trio and Guacamole sides (above).  All three Salsas were different and flavorful, and the Guacamole was fresh, dense and excellent tasting.

Tortilla Republic 006

My photos don’t do it justice — It’s a cool looking, nautical-ish, dark and light, stylish place.

Tortilla Republic 010

The front is completely open to allow most inside to view the ocean across the street.

Tortilla Republic 011

They have a Brunch, Lunch, Afternoon and Dinner Menu and/or Bar for just a drink.

Tortilla Republic 018

I’m not sure, but believe the above is a Hibiscus Margarita — They offer many unique drinks.

Tortilla Republic 030

Pictured from top down, we tried Tortilla Republic’s Huevos Rancheros, Fresh Corn & Blueberry Pancakes, aforementioned Salsa Trio and Guacamole, and Egg White Omelete.

Tortilla Republic 028

Carnitas Tacos (above) — See Tortilla Republic’s Menus for additional descriptions of all.

Tortilla Republic 029

Pescado a la Parrilla aka Seared Albacore Tuna Taco (above).

Tortilla Republic 026

Chilaquiles (above).

Tortilla Republic Burrito

Machaca Burrito (above).

Tortilla Republic 031

Mole Enchiladas (above).

Tortilla Republic 027

Black Beans & Mexican Rice, a side option.

Tortilla Republic 038

Seared Albacore Tuna & Sweet Potato Hash, served with two Poached Eggs (above).

Tortilla Republic 044

At Tortilla Republic Restaurant in Laguna Beach — View from inside looking out.

Tortilla Republic 045

Hallway in and out — It’s hard to see, but it’s the sea, past the nice cars out front.

Cheers to Tortilla Republic

Cheers to Tortilla Republic with their Prickly Pear Bellini!