Archive for the ‘Soups & Stews’ Category

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

Latest Addition To What To Make With Yellowtail: Yellowtail Chowder.

November 23rd, 2014 No comments

Yellowtail Soup

Yellowtail Chowder:  It’s just as good as Clam Chowder.  In a quest to make Yellowtail everything, the latest is this Yellowtail Chowder, which turned out perfect.  I didn’t miss the Clams and loved the meaty pieces of Yellowtail Fish.  Unfortunately I didn’t write down the recipe, but used the best combination of the following ingredients — Fresh Yellowtail cut into good size chunks, Chicken Stock, Clam Juice, Sweet Onions, Potatoes, Carrots, Celery, Thyme, Parsley, Garlic, Butter, Olive Oil, Flour, Heavy Cream, Salt & Pepper.  I meant to add crumbled, cooked Bacon, but forgot, and then decided it wasn’t needed.  I didn’t use much Cream either. All was cooked to optimum consistency. What to make with Yellowtail?  Other ideas are here.

Tracy’s King Crab Shack: The Best Alaskan King Crab Bisque In Town.

April 3rd, 2013 4 comments

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From Alaska to California and hopefully back for more — I’ve never been there, but our resident photographer cruised Alaska last year and came back exclaiming he had the ‘Best Crab Bisque’ ever.  It was at Tracy’s King Crab Shack in Juneau and he couldn’t stop talking about it.


I tried to find its recipe online, but could not, thus resorted to having it shipped from Tracy.

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It’s not cheap (mostly due to shipping), but I learned it’s worth it — Wow!  I see now.

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Though not as pretty as when it’s served to you in Juneau, Alaska, it cooked up flawlessly.

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One has the option to add Cream, Milk or Stock — I added Cream, as recommended by Tracy.

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She also suggests a squeeze of Lime at the end — It has generous pieces of King Crab.

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This King Crab Bisque is superb without a Lime squeeze and magnificent with one.

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Tracy’s King Crab Shack was recently featured on Top Chef, as shown in a few TV pics.

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Chef-testants had to quickly create a dish with Tracy’s Crab Legs — The Best Legs in Town.

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Tracy’s King Crab Shack Story and Stovetop Instructions are above.

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Thanks to Matt for the beautiful Alaskan photos and tip on Tracy’s — I’m hooked on all!

Big Kid Grilled Cheese Sandwich At The New Panera Bread.

December 10th, 2012 No comments

A new Panera Bread just opened in Costa Mesa and I went for the Big Kid Grilled Cheese.

It’s off Harbor near Target and Henry’s Farmers Market.

This Panera Bread has an outdoor patio and fireplace (indoors and out).

The new Big Kid Grilled Cheese is described below.

The bites with Applewood Smoked Bacon were divine — It’s an amazing, rich Sandwich.

Combined with Creamy Tomato Soup, it was a most satisfying lunch.

They open early for breakfast.

I may need to go back soon for the same — Extra crispy on the outside is preferred.

Panera Bread offers a good meal — Thanks!  See what we’ve said previously.

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.

Junior Mints, Chocolate Babka, Muffin Tops, Jujyfruits And Soup For You.

June 12th, 2012 1 comment

Seinfeld — It’s one of the Best Snacks on television, as it serves up re-runs that still satisfy.

Dare to order Soup?  Forget about it George.

Panera Bread: Strawberry Fields For (Hopefully) Ever.

June 3rd, 2012 No comments

I love me some FRUIT in Panera Bread‘s Strawberry Poppyseed & Chicken Salad — Not only does it have Strawberries, but Blueberries, Pineapple, Mandarin Oranges and Pecans.  Yum!

I felt ready to walk miles after this healthy, refreshing Salad and Creamy Tomato Soup.

And a Strawberries and Cream Scone for the road — Fueled for a 5+ mile hike after.

Panera Bread — A good start for many things, though wish I had opted for the Chips, instead of an Apple with the Soup & Salad Combo.  You get a choice of Bread, Fruit or Chips with it, and the Chips would’ve gone well with the Soup, as there was plenty of Fruit in the Strawberry Salad.  It’s not all about health you know… It’s about taste too and all was well.

Ka Shabu Asian Fondue: Shabu Shabu Style Dining Near The Beach.

May 16th, 2012 No comments

At Ka Shabu, YOU are the Chef — Make your own Japanese Hot Pot / Soup.

Choose a Meat, Fish or Vegetable, or a combination of all.

Each seat has its own cooking station to create the Soup Base of your dreams.

Entrees include Rice, Vegetables and Soup Base, as pointed out by the chipped-polish server.

Add Green Onions, Garlic and Daikon Radish for texture, and Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil and whatever else you fancy.  I added much of the Ponzu Sauce that’s also served with the meal.

Kanpai Tomodachi.

YOU grind Sesame Seeds to help prepare a Sesame Peanut Sauce.

I had the Beef Filet and others had the Chicken, Shrimp and Vegetables.

The Chicken looked like Hamachi, which I’d prefer, though it’s not served here.

It’s an engaging experience and my Soup Base turned out pretty darn tasty.

Ka Shabu — The fantastic smell of Garlic boiling in Soup pots hits you when you walk in.

Desperado Food Angles & Nostalgia With New Eyes On A Discovery Day.

May 7th, 2012 No comments

Partly titled desperado, because I didn’t capture what I set out to feature from an exploratory visit to the Natural History Museum, Page Museum at La Brea Tar Pits and California Science Center — Yet still piece together far reaching, less spectacular photo remnants, with no complaints about an awe-inspiring day that held the past, present and future in many ways.

Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Can is an obvious food angle, but how about above?  Do you see the Claussen’s Pickle Jar holding the Paleontologist tools?  That’s it, and I like the photo.

Lions eating Zebra, not pretty, but interesting to see in a museum.

Ostrich Eggs — Ever had one?  I haven’t and hear one roughly equals a dozen Eggs.

We had Fish Tacos from The Surfer Taco, a Food Truck lined up with others near the La Brea Tar Pits.  The extra food options came in handy before continuing our museum day and drive back to Orange County, along the coast with more discovery stops along the way.

Ever eat Walrus?  We’re going to pass on that one, and hope those below wouldn’t eat us.

Asparagus Potato Soup: A Shake Up Of Carrot Soup Superstar.

March 24th, 2012 No comments

This Asparagus Potato Soup was inspired by the Carrot Soup we can’t get enough of.  With no more Carrots on hand, Asparagus and Potato stepped in with Rosemary, and a shake up of the process — Instead of caramelizing the Onions in a pan, I roasted one with Bacon Grease in the oven.  Unlike the Carrot Soup, this one tastes better with a squeeze of Lemon at the end.

Asparagus Potato Soup — General instructions posted.  Please see here for related prep.

Roast Asparagus in the oven with Olive Oil and S & P, until they start to char.  Cut-off Asparagus tips and set aside.  In a Dutch oven, sauté sliced Potato with fresh Rosemary until softened and slightly browned, then add the Roasted Asparagus stalks and Chicken Stock.

I’m presently hooked on Knorr’s Homestyle Stock Concentrate — Just add Water.

Stir, then squeeze Roasted Garlic from the Bulb directly into the mixture — You can see it (below).  Also add an Onion that’s been baked in the oven, and Rosemary instead of Thyme.

A Baked Onion was substituted in for the Caramelized Onions in the Carrot Soup.

All is then puréed in a blender, drizzled with Lemon Juice and garnished with Asparagus tips.

TIPS for all Soup variations — There should be just enough Chicken Stock added to cover all vegetables, which should be soft and cooled down (somewhat) before blending.  The variations seem endless and none need Cream to be creamy or to taste superb.  The Carrot Soup is preferred to this one.  Also, the Asparagus Potato Soup purée may need to be strained to remove some of the hard stalk inherent to Asparagus.  Or peel the lower ends before roasting.  I had to pull a few fibers from my mouth.  This Soup is good, not a superstar.

Easiest Recipe For The Tastiest 5 Ingredient Carrot Soup.

March 22nd, 2012 No comments

This Carrot Soup is the absolute best, because it’s easy to make and tastes complex.

The 5 ingredients are Carrots (8 – 10), Roasted Garlic (1 Bulb), Caramelized Onions (1 Sweet Onion), Fresh Thyme Leaves (2 Sprigs) and Chicken Stock (3 – 3 1/2 Cups).  You basically combine all and cook until the Carrots are soft, then puree and eat — It’s good for you too. 

More INFO, if needed…

• Roast a Garlic Bulb (in foil, with top cut off, drizzled with Olive Oil) in the oven at 400° for 45 minutes.  I generally have one or more on-hand, since I roast ’em often to add to many things.

• Caramelize chopped Onion in a pan with a little Olive Oil, then add the peeled, chopped Carrots towards the end and cook 5 – 10 minutes longer.  Add the Chicken Stock, Thyme Leaves and Roasted Garlic (squeezed from the bulb) to the sautéed Carrots and Onions.

• Cook until the Carrots are soft, then purée all in batches in a blender.  Transfer to a sauce pan to re-warm and add Salt and Pepper to taste, if needed.  Season the Onions and Carrots with S & P along the way, and with a good Chicken Stock it’s generally perfect after blending.

Get Your Eyes Off These Carrots: Ingredients For The Best Carrot Soup.

March 8th, 2012 No comments

Hhhmmmm — Not sure where to start regarding the above, so instead report about the Carrot Soup I made and will post the recipe when prepared again and photographed.  It was a superb combination of Roasted Carrots, Chicken Stock, Caramelized Onions, Roasted Garlic and Fresh Thyme, puréed.  It was beautiful, complex and flavorsome.  The pictured Carrots weren’t used for my Soup, somehow it wouldn’t seem right!?  Should they put on pants?

Chilled Tomato And Cucumber Gazpacho, Not Mexican Shrimp Cocktail.

December 27th, 2011 1 comment

The posted RECIPE is an Award WINNER and officially named Chilled Tomato and Cucumber Gazpacho.  It’s not a Mexican Shrimp Cocktail silly — Duly advised, but it reminds me of one.  Either way, it may be the best I’ve had.  It’s fresh tasting, flavorful and super easy to make.

Chilled Tomato and Cucumber Gazpacho

3 ripe Tomatoes, cored and cut into large cubes [I seeded them]

1 Cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into large cubes [I didn’t seed it; used an English Cucumber]

1/2 Green, Yellow or Orange Pepper (or tricolor combo), diced [I used half a Green, half an Orange]

1/2 Shallot, or 1 Tablespoon Red Onion, diced [Shallot]

1/2 cup Scallions, chopped

Juice of 1 Lime

1 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 T. Worcestershire Sauce

1/2 t. Tabasco [or other hot pepper sauce, like Red Rooster, which I now like better–use 1 T.]

1/2 cup V-8 Juice [buy one small bottle at a liquor store; grocery stores only sell it by the case!]

Lemon Pepper to taste

Seasoned Salt to taste


Combine all Soup ingredients in blender until well blended (ingredients will retain some pulp, which is great).  Pour into chilled bowls and garnish as desired.  Makes 1/2 gallon–6 appetizer servings or 3 main dish servings.  Tastes better if you make it the night before.

Garnish (with one or more)

1/2 lb. chilled, cooked Shrimp [buy the fresh $10 Shrimp tray from Costco; scarf the leftovers with the Cocktail Sauce]

1 chilled, sliced Avocado

1 T. fresh Cilantro, chopped

Follow and vary the RECIPE to your taste — Above [brackets] indicate specifics by Arlene T., 2011 Best Appetizer Winner.  She agreed to share all on Nibbles of Tidbits and we thank her.

I recently made the same for a Holiday Party and everyone loved it well chilled in a cup.

Someone Cares Soup Kitchen And A Pin On The Map Of Herbs.

October 30th, 2011 No comments

Stopped by to learn more and will be donating time to Someone Cares Soup Kitchen in November and December when it’s needed most.  How about you?  Come do it too.

Read more and watch a video about the volunteer experience here.  Also appreciate the Rosemary bursting through the fence at Someone Cares Soup Kitchen — We’re always on the lookout for Herbs planted around the city.  An abundant find saves money and inspires new dishes.  In this case, a Rosemary sprig will come in handy for Union Square Cafe Bar Nuts.

Dashed High Hopes: It’s Sad To See Any Restaurant Close.

October 19th, 2011 No comments

New or long-standing, all restaurants have high hopes.  It’s sad when one has to close, and more job loss isn’t good either.  I just walked by Marie Callender’s Restaurant & Bakery in Costa Mesa, an old faithful to many and learned it’s no mas — No more Soup for me there.  At least with this restaurant there are other locations to obtain whatever you’re going to miss.

Aetna Healthy Food Fight And A Surprise Semi-Finalist In LA.

October 6th, 2011 No comments

Aetna wants you to join their Healthy Food Fight — FOOD Competitions are taking place at County Fairs and Festivals across the states.  Aetna is actively in search of the most nutritious and best tasting recipe.  All officially got cooking at the Los Angeles County Fair last week. 

Semi-finalists (48) in LA, Dallas, Atlanta and Philadelphia prepared/will prepare their recipe LIVE to hopefully be chosen “the one” to represent their city at the final competition that’ll take place in New York in December. Anyway, look it up, I don’t need to know all that.  I’m interested because my childhood friend, Denise Davidson Coulombe was a Semi-finalist.

Denise is the one prominently featured throughout and she made Turkey Vegetable Soup.

She chose an apron, was assigned a stove top, collected her ingredients and got cooking.

Judges and LA County Fair goers stopped by to watch and ask questions.

Presentation to the Judges…

More Semi-finalists presenting dishes to the Judges and Bloggers — All did a great job.

Check out the Aetna Healthy Food Fight website to view Semi-finalists’ recipes.

Denise did famously, but another was picked to represent LA — The Aetna crew will resurface at the Texas State Fair October 15 – 16, 2011.  After our healthy competition was over, we shared Pink’s Chili Cheese Fries and a Chuckwagon Beef Brisket Sandwich, and did some wine tasting to celebrate healthiness and D’s win.  Her family is proud.  Cheers and congrats!


Lunch In Little Oregon: Cafe Rose Express Off Scenic Avenue.

August 26th, 2011 2 comments

Off Scenic Avenue literally and figuratively is Cafe Rose Express, my favorite lunch spot of all time.  I call it Little Oregon to honor its peaceful Northern looking beauty and for the special people I know from Oregon.  The photos are momentous for a few reasons.  It’s also been a while since I had Lobster Bisque with generous amounts of Lobster in it and true to form Cafe Rose Express serves generous everything.  I’m consistently and pleasantly amazed by their top-notch food offerings.  I’d eat here every day if I could.  It’s a satisfying weekday escape.

And I’m now a Zucchini Bread lover, at least of theirs.

Every picture tells a story — It has all been said before, not really though.  Appreciate all.

Chili At The Beach Benefiting CHOC: All Before Zimzala Happy Hour.

June 18th, 2011 No comments

Chili at the Beach benefiting CHOC Children’s Hospital appeared to be a success today.

It seemed like everyone was having a good time.

$15 got us a taste of twenty-one different Chili’s — Good for us and CHOC.

After that, we kicked it with Zimzala’s 7-Day a week Happy Hour and beautiful view.

More will be reported about both separately soon.

06/20/11 Update:  The link to more about the Chili at the Beach event is here.

Zucchini Potato Soup From The Farmer’s Market Cookbook.

March 29th, 2010 No comments

Farmer's Market Soup Ingredients

Zucchini Potato Soup is the first recipe we made from Southern Living’s Farmer’s Market Cookbook.  We got all ingredients (except Bacon) from the Corona Del Mar Farmer’s Market, since that’s what it’s all about.

                   Homemade Chicken StockFryin' the BaconCookin' the Soup

We made Chicken Stock from a leftover Rotisserie Chicken, a leftover piece of El Pollo Loco Chicken and a leftover piece of Boston Market Chicken — We just so happened to have all on hand, ha.  It turned out great and made the Zucchini Potato Soup more flavorful.

Final Soup with Bacon and Sour Cream

Overall, the Soup was good and easy to make.  The recipe is pictured below, if you can see it.  We added a little Lemon Juice to the Soup, and Sour Cream as a garnish to go with the yummy Bacon on top.  Since the recipe was inspired by Vichyssoise, it’s to be served cold.  My friend loves it that way, but I prefer it warm.  This Soup is flexible that way.

Farmer's Market Cookbook Recipe

The recipe is well written, like many we’ve read in this Cookbook — In other words, the order of instructions make sense for optimum freshness and flavor.  However, whenever sauteing Onions with Garlic, we always caramelize the Onions and add the Garlic at the very end, no matter what the recipe states, because we think it ultimately creates the best flavor.

Hanukkah Begins At Sundown Today – How About Matzo Ball Soup?

December 11th, 2009 No comments


We posted a few Hanukkah tips on  This year Hanukkah is celebrated on December 11th through December 19th.  Happy Hanukkah to my wonderful Jewish friends and joy to the world.  We love Matzo Ball Soup.

Best Wor Wonton Soup In Town At Diho Siam.

November 11th, 2009 2 comments

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So far, Diho Siam has the best Wor Wonton Soup in Costa Mesa.  The broth is amazing!  Due to the weather and being under the weather, I’ve had a lot of Soup lately.  This is the second day in a row I’ve had the Wor Wonton Soup Bowl from Diho Siam — (949) 645-3259.  Too bad I didn’t photograph it yesterday, the Broth was crystal clear like the best Consomme ever seen, and the Shrimp was on top.  It would’ve made for a better photo.  Consistently both, and all previous bowls, were flavorful, convenient and satisfying.  If local and under the weather too, you’ve got to try it.  And if searching for other cold comforts read here or to view more Diho Siam meals click here.

Comfort Food: Orange Roughy Chowder Quick From Scratch.

November 9th, 2009 2 comments


I love my Quick From Scratch Food & Wine Cookbooks — They seem to have the best recipes.  Today I made the Corn and Cod Chowder with Orange Roughy instead of Cod, since it was the freshest Fish at the market.  I like Cod in this recipe too, but Orange Roughy is a tasty substitution.  All other ingredients are the same, except I used Chicken Stock in place of the Clam Juice.  It’s usually a seamless replacement I prefer in recipes.  I like Clams, but have a mental problem adding Clam Juice to a recipe.  When called for, I’ll generally substitute Chicken, Vegetable, Shrimp or Lobster Stock.

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As you can see from the cookbook stains, I’ve had Food & Wine’s Quick From Scratch Fish & Shellfish for quite sometime and everything I’ve made from it has turned out great.  That can’t be said about all cookbooks, thus I highly recommend this one and Food & Wine’s Quick From Scratch Pasta.  I’ve made many fabulous meals from both.

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It’s Soup season and time to make comfort dishes that fragrant the house.  They’re cozy, convenient and ready to be warmed up for lunch or dinner throughout the week.  All I need tonight is a piece of Sourdough with (real) Butter, a bowl of this New England style Chowder and a blankie.  The work is done and now it’s pure enjoyment time.