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Taste Of The Nation Laguna Beach: Eat Well & Fight Childhood Hunger.

April 23rd, 2014 No comments

Taste of the Nation

CHEFS COOK TO FIGHT CHILDHOOD HUNGER IN LAGUNA BEACH AND ACROSS AMERICA

Montage Laguna Beach will host 7th annual Share Our Strength Taste of the Nation® Laguna Beach event on June 8, 2014 at the oceanfront resort.  A handful of celebrity chefs are coming together to prepare fresh farm-to-table delicacies to further Share Our Strength’s mission to end childhood hunger in Orange County and across the nation. Attendees will enjoy an afternoon of delectable dishes, wine, signature cocktails, and picturesque panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean at Montage Laguna Beach.  In addition to fabulous food and drinks, the event will feature a silent and live auction and live entertainment by local band The Kalama Brothers.

As contributors to the charity, guests can choose between the following event packages: 

• Celebrity Chef Tasting 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased in advance for $200 per person or at the door for $225 per person.

• VIP “Meet the Chefs” Reception 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Complete the night with VIP treatment and a sunset toast. Enjoy the Celebrity Chef Tasting followed by an after party to mingle with the chefs. Valet parking and post-event gifts are included. Tickets purchased in advance are $275 per person and $300 at the door.

Executive Chef Craig Strong of Studio, Montage Laguna Beach’s Signature Restaurant, will be joined by the following talented celebrity chefs:

  • Chef Nina Compton – Fontainebleau, Miami Beach, FLA
  • Chef Alan Greeley – The Golden Truffle, Costa Mesa, CA
  • Chef Duff Goldman – Charm City Cakes, Los Angeles, CA
  • Chef Brian Huskey – Picca, Mo-chica, Paiche, Los Angeles, CA
  • Chef Lee Smith - Executive Pastry Chef, Montage Laguna Beach, CA
  • Chef Alan Wong - Alan Wong’s Restaurant’s, Honolulu, HI

One in five children in this country struggles with hunger — The good news is that this is a solvable problem. The No Kid Hungry campaign is ending childhood hunger in this nation by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day by connecting them to nutrition programs like school breakfast and summer meals and by teaching families how to cook healthy, affordable meals at home.

Since summer 2011, No Kid Hungry efforts to expand access to summer meals and school breakfast have helped connect kids to more than 34 million additional meals. The No Kid Hungry campaign is replicating that success around the country by working collaboratively with its partners to feed millions of American children.  In 2013, Taste of the Nation Laguna Beach raised over $200,000 which helps connect children in need with up to 2 million meals.

One hundred percent of ticket proceeds from Taste of the Nation Laguna Beach benefit the No Kid Hungry campaign, thanks to generous support from National Presenting Sponsor Sysco, National Sponsors American Express and Food Network, and local sponsors Montage Laguna Beach, Mangia Inc., Celebrity Cruises, Southern CA Gas Company, Epstein Becker Green, Orange County Restaurant Association, Congenial Spirits, Aqua Panna, Bread Artisan Bakery Inc. and Orange Coast Magazine. Local beneficiaries include Second Harvest Orange County Food Bank, Community Action Partnership of OC, Father Serra’s Food Pantry (@Mission San Juan Capistrano).

To purchase tickets for Taste of the Nation Laguna Beach visit http://ce.strength.org/events/taste-nation-laguna-beach.

About Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry® Campaign

No child should grow up hungry in America, but one in five children struggles with hunger. Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry® campaign is ending childhood hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day. The No Kid Hungry campaign connects kids in need to effective nutrition programs like school breakfast and summer meals and teaches low-income families to cook healthy, affordable meals through Cooking Matters. This work is accomplished through the No Kid Hungry network, made up of private citizens, public officials, nonprofits, business leaders and others providing innovative hunger solutions in their communities. Join them at NoKidHungry.org.

* Above re-printed from a Press Release with approval to use photograph.  Previous Taste of the Nation reports on Nibbles of Tidbits are linked here and here.  It’s an important fight!

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.

Il Garage Near The Garden At Park Avenue In Stanton Off Beach.

April 7th, 2014 No comments

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It’s Il Garage (il garage ristorante) and it’s set back within/behind Park Avenue Restaurant in Stanton off Beach Blvd. – It’s a separate dining spot on the beautiful grounds of Park Avenue.

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We ate at Park Avenue Restaurant – It’s reported here.  This day we were in the garage. ;)

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I’m not sure if it really once was a multi-car garage, but it looks like it, tractor and all.

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The view of Park Avenue’s famous Garden from our seat couldn’t be beat.

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The Il Garage Ristorante menu changes daily and is dependent on their gardens.

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Our favorites were the Cavatappi Primavera (below), utilizing many vegetables from the PAG.

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And the Orange Panna Cotta — Truly the best Panna Cotta we’ve had in our lives (below).

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It had so much flavor — Cheers to that (and our Two Year Anniversary).

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Enter the PAG — Park Avenue Garden through here (below).

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The PAG is a dream garden, with raised beds and trees growing everything you’d want to eat.

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I think I’d want to live here.

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You’re free to roam the gardens, no matter where you dine.

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My husband, Matt is looking through the weather protectant, plastic drop, near the tractor.

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Nice to receive a $100 Gift Card as a Wedding Gift that can be used at either restaurant.

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It’s not in the best neighborhood, but once inside you forget about it – A good thing.

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We plan to go back to both for Dining & Cocktails, as suggested.

Mariscos Clemente Restaurant For Mexican Style Seafood In Fullerton.

April 4th, 2014 No comments

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Discovering Fullerton FOOD and most recently Mariscos Clemente Restaurant.

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It’s a fine, local find that serves authentic Mexican Style Seafood — Muy Bueno!

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Pictured from top down (a perfect sampling) — The Fried Fish (Tilapia w/ Tortillas, Rice & Salad), a Ceviche Tostada with Avocado and a Small Shrimp Cocktail, with Chips and Salsa.

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It’s a relatively small place with a small parking lot off Orangethorpe and Gilbert.

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Many are inside and have been going there for years — We’ll need to catch up.

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Mariscos Clemente’s Shrimp Cocktail is on the sweet side, if you like that.  We’re ready for their other Ceviche Tostadas and more Pescado Frito, etc — Yelp for more photos and information.

There Are No Bananas Here: April Fools, Only Dolphins.

April 1st, 2014 No comments

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Bananas in the HOUSE indeed – See them?  It’s not always clear.  I see Matt, and I see… ;) .

Right Place At The Right Time For A Chick-Fil-A Chicken Biscuit.

March 26th, 2014 No comments

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I tried one of these Chicken Biscuit Sandwiches one day while having lunch at Chick-Fil-A.  They were offering samples.  I couldn’t believe how good it was and I’m not a Biscuit person.

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Ever since then, I’ve wanted one for breakfast, but rarely seem to be near a Chick-Fil-A, while it’s open and still serving Chicken Biscuit Sandwiches (until 10:30 and not on a Sunday).

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When nearby, it’s a must and always a treat.

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I’ve liked Chick-Fil-A’s Original Chicken Sandwich for several years and now highly recommend their Chicken Biscuit Sandwich.  It’s surprisingly almost better than the original.  Try it and see.

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It’s buttery, flavorful and delicate, and compliments the Crispy Chicken well.

Staub Enameled Cast Iron: The Best Chicken In The Best Pot.

March 21st, 2014 No comments

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We received this Staub Cast Iron Cookware as a gift for our wedding.

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It’s from one of the attorneys I work for as a paralegal — His family swears by it.

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I’ve given away Cast Iron Pots in the past — I generally thought them to be unattractive, to rust easy, and be too heavy to use.  Well… This one is NOT unattractive.  In fact it’s so gorgeous I can’t stop staring at it.  I want to keep it nice forever.  It’s still pretty heavy, but I greatly appreciate its enameled surface and think it would be less apt to rust.  Thank you!

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The first thing I cooked (several times already) is a Whole Chicken.

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This one is seasoned with Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder and Paprika — Each has been different.

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And was simply placed a-top roughly chopped Onions and Carrots.

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I include Fresh Herbs if I have them.  Dill and Thyme (my favorite) were added to this Chicken.  I add most in its cavity and some to the Carrots and Onions, since I later puree all with a little Chicken Juice and Chicken Stock to make a Sauce to serve with it — A quick alternative to Gravy.  Cook Chicken covered in the oven at 325° for approximately 3 Hours.

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Put it in the oven and forget about it until the timer goes off.  It’s a great meal and our house smells good too.  I’ll experiment with a different pot to assess the difference in Chickens using the same cooking method and report back soon, if I can give up this pot for a bit.  Staub is made in France and this one has a self-basting system, you can read more about here.

The Twisted Vine: Fine To Dine & A Really Good Time With Wine.

March 5th, 2014 No comments

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The Twisted Vine is a Wine Bar & Shop in Fullerton, but don’t forget the food.

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These photos certainly don’t do it justice.  It’s nicely dark inside.  I met a group of friends there for the first time for Wine.  We shared everything pictured here, but didn’t take these photos until I went back a couple weeks later and had the exact same things.  All was that good!

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I especially love the Chorizo Crostini (above) and I’m ready to have it a third time.

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Also pictured is the Baked Brie in a Bread Bowl, Olives and Stuffed French Toast Empanadas.

Wahoo’s Fish Taco: Keep An Eye Out For This Next Restaurant Week.

March 2nd, 2014 No comments

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Orange County Restaurant Week is over for now, but it’ll be back — I’m not sure when, but you can check here.  Next time, we’ll opt for the Wahoo’s Fish Taco deal more than once.

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For $20 it included… (2) Drinks (Beer and/or Wine), an Appetizer (Baja Rolls) to share, (2) Entrees (Two Tacos and/or Two Enchiladas), and Dessert (Churro Chips) to share.

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It was the best deal that week — Though it has past, OC Restaurant Week will be back again.

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Until then, OC Cocktail Week starts TODAY — Here’s a link to more information about it.

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Though full from our Wahoo’s meal, we couldn’t stop eating the Churro Chips, which are similar to those in photo above – We were so busy inhaling them, I forgot to take a photo.

Cinnamon Chips (pictured above) — Photo Credit and Recipe

Matador Cantina: Three-Course Dinner For OC Restaurant Week.

February 26th, 2014 No comments

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For Orange County Restaurant Week, we chose Matador Cantina in Fullerton – Mostly because we’re based here now and it’s the best deal offered by 3 participating restaurants nearby.

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There’s ample parking and an entrance in the back — It’s dark, but don’t be intimidated.

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Enlarge Menu (above) for a better view — We had one of each, pictured herein.

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A Ceviche Tostada (above) and/or Banh Mi Tostada (below) were offered for the First Course.

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Second Course included Grilled Fish Tacos

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…and/or Chicken Mole Enchiladas.

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I especially liked the Cilantro Lime Rice served with the meals.

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All was fantastic and I see why Matador Cantina has been voted Orange County’s Best Mexican Restaurant by some.  Third of this Three-Course Dinner for $20 includes a Chipotle Apple Empanada (above) and/or Cro-Churros (below).  We couldn’t taste the Chipotle as much as we wanted to, but all was good and a great pick for OC Restaurant Week.

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The X O (above) goes out to my new husband and dining partner for life, Matt (below).  Hi. :)

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After this week passes, Matador Cantina will continue to offer Weekly Specials.

Orange County Restaurant Week Is Coming Right Up.

February 16th, 2014 No comments

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See Orange County Restaurant Week’s List of Participating Restaurants — It’s HERE, with respective menus and price listings.  We’ll be dining in Historic Downtown Fullerton this year, as it’s near where we just moved and still part of Orange County.  Matador Cantina, The Cellar and/or Hopscotch shall be our choice for lunch and/or dinner(s) next week.

Crispy Green Crispy Fruit On The Way To The Deep Blue.

February 10th, 2014 No comments

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It wasn’t easy saving these Crispy Fruit as munchies for our cruise,  because I LOVE Freeze Dried Fruit, and admit I did eat Crispy Green’s Crispy Tangerine too quickly to photograph it.

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Pictured above is the Crispy Fruit Pineapple aka Freeze Dried Pineapple — It is indeed crispy, like a Chip, and should not be confused with Dried Fruit, generally with a chewy texture.

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We were leaving Miami here for Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. Maarten, amongst the Virgin Islands, with bon voyage Fresh Apples and its Freeze Dried counter-part pictured below.

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The Apples were equally crunchy and crisp, either way — Fresh and/or Freeze Dried.

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Crispy Green makes it right, and crispy, which is everything to good Freeze Dried Fruit.

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It was then on to planning our first breakfast on the Celebrity Reflection — Sail back for more.

Creative Cakes OC: Custom Wedding Cake With Turnip Rose Package.

January 27th, 2014 No comments

Wedding Cake

Nice package indeed — We LOVED our Wedding Cake by Creative Cakes in Orange.  It came with the Wedding Package offered by The Turnip Rose Promenade & Gardens in Costa Mesa.  Our experience with both was superb!  We called it (above) our Graffiti Cake, since it was piped with amusing words and sayings related to us.  It looked cool and unique and tasted amazing.  As a bonus (also part of The Turnip Rose Package) – Instead of freezing the top layer of the Cake to eat it on our one-year anniversary, a tradition, Creative Cakes will bake us a fresh Cake to enjoy in its place.  We’ll just call around that time to tell ‘em what we want.

In The Mood For Heart Shaped Food Simply Because Loves Near Me.

January 17th, 2014 No comments

Heart Shaped Food

It’s not about me here, but some have asked… “Where have you been?”  Though FOOD is the star (and heart) of Nibbles of Tidbits, its publisher (me) is getting married in a week.  Oh boy!  So, I’m still here, but currently busy seeing the world through heart shaped glasses.

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Notwithstanding, there’s big stuff coming here, after the REALLY big stuff happens.

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I love this low calorie Banana Split (above) – Maybe I should marry it. ;)

Photo credits are linked here, here and here, respectively.  Thank you.

Fig & Olive Restaurant Opens At Fashion Island In Newport Beach.

January 5th, 2014 No comments

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At the Fig & Olive Restaurant in Newport Beach — I’ve finally arrived.

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I have wanted to eat there for some time and now don’t need to travel far.

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It’s in Newport Beach at Fashion Island — I believe it occupies Coco’s former location.

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Nibbles of Tidbits was fortunately invited to its Grand Opening Party.

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All was grander than expected — Its size, style, crowd and continuous appetizers.

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As shown throughout, we tried a fair sampling of many.

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Indoor/outdoor patio with fireplace (above) before it filled with people.

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I don’t recall all we ate, but pictured above is the Zucchini Carpaccio — See MENU.

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The hallway leading to the restrooms is filled with fresh Herbs, candles, vases and books.

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The Grand Opening Party was complete with models on platforms throughout.

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We were well positioned by the kitchen to receive the first right of refusal on appetizers.

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None were refused, all were well liked and some loved.

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The Truffle Mushroom Croquette (above) was a favorite of the evening.

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Crostinis are popular at the Fig & Olive Restaurant.

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I especially liked the Goat Cheese, Caramelized Onion and Chive Crostini.

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The large space got crowded, which made it harder to jockey for a good food position.

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We ultimately tried all pictured herein — For their complete MENU, see here.

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We’d like to go back for more Crostinis & Crudo to enjoy at our leisure

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Lunch starts in Newport Beach on January 6th and Brunch on January 11th, 2014.

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The Fig & Olive Restaurant is in several spots in New York, in Los Angeles and now nearby.

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Nice cars adorned the entry leading to a red carpet — I was underdressed, but treated well.

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Fig & Olive Ingredients and Design — It’s about passion for the best Olive Oils, flavors and cuisine from the Riviera and Coastal Regions of the South of France, Italy & Spain and their elegant, warm design with limestone stucco walls, terra-cotta ceiling, green Rosemary and Olive trees exude the essence of the Mediterranean (they say).  I like it!

Fish Heads, Fish Heads, Roly Poly Fish Heads: 2014 Food Trends.

December 26th, 2013 No comments

Fish Heads

2014 Food Trends:  Fish Heads, Fish Heads, roly poly Fish Heads — Eat them up, yum.  Well, not sure about the YUM part, but it appears Fish Heads and Fish Collars will be popular in 2014, so some say.  Oh boy!  And other, more desirable sounding food trends include… Haute Jewish Deli items, eating with your hands, raw Beef, house made Hot Sauces, Parfaits, Bugs, locally sourced everything, heirloom Beans, Peanuts and field Peas, reconsidered Rice, Ice Cream Sandwiches, edible food packaging, Tea, and Gluten-free products continue to grow.  All are reported about in detail here, here, here, here, here, here and here.  Happy eating!

We Wish You A Merry Christmas With Cookies And Cupcakes.

December 24th, 2013 No comments

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Back together again decorating Cookies and Cupcakes in 2013.

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With the Cookie Gang, minus member taking the photo — We wish you a Merry Christmas!

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Naked Cookies frosted to become Snowmen, Reindeer, Christmas Trees and more.

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Happy Birthday Jesus and Happy New Year to you — There’s much to appreciate throughout.

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Good tidings we bring to you and your kin — Good tidings for Christmas and always.

Shower The People You Love With Food: Show It’s The Way You Feel.

December 18th, 2013 No comments

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I’m grateful to be back to share (not enough) photos from a beautiful Bridal Shower.

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It’s mine — This stylish and tasty day was prepared for me (pictured in the Berry spoon).

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I feel showered by love and well displayed, satisfying, glorious food — Thank you so much!

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I’d been absent from here for good reason — To partake in this, move and finally reconnect.

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Is this (above) not the cutest Bridal Shower Cupcake Cake you’ve seen?  I just LOVED it!

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After the first guest arrived, I stopped taking photos of the food, thus missing the hot dishes… Quiches with Green Chili’s and Bacon, and delicious Potato Casseroles topped with crunchy Corn Flakes – With Mimosas, all was/is tailor made for a Special Bridal Shower Brunch.

Blue Water Grill Over Blue Water: Familiarity On Catalina Island.

December 8th, 2013 1 comment

Scallops

Blue Water Grill opened a restaurant on Catalina Island a few months ago.

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A group of us recently traveled across the sea for lunch — Well, not just for that, but it was nice to see a recognizable restaurant immediately upon disembarkment.  I had enjoyed Blue Water Grill in Newport Beach a few times before.  It’s not cheap, but the food is good.

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Pictured from top down we had Seared Scallops with Roasted Jalapeno Aioli — They’re great, but I’d prefer more than (3) for the price ($14.75) and it’s not ideal for five to share.

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Baked Crab & Artichoke Dip — It’s okay.  More of it would have been better too.

Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder — Always with Tabasco for me.

Salmon

Grilled Salmon with Vegetables.

Fish Sliders

Grilled Mahi Mahi Sliders.

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The main purpose of this trip was friends, not food.

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The new-ish Blue Water Grill is news, but my Bachelorette Party was most interesting.

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Much thanks to dear friends — I love Catalina and y’all.

Thank You Dear Friends!

Back to the food…

Nice Buns Indeed: The Bun Does Elevate This Fast Food Burger.

November 29th, 2013 No comments

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Carl’s Buns are tight!  They’re fresh baked in the restaurants and served on Six Dollar ‘Thickburgers’ formerly known as Six Dollar Burgers.  I’m not sure if the Burger size is different, but Carl’s Jr. changed the Bun and altered the name, it appears, and we gave one a try.

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The Burger above was a little dry and the Bun slightly burnt, but it does make a better Burger.

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We say… keep up the Fresh Baked Buns — I’m reminded of my 8-Minute Buns DVD.

Happy Thanksgiving: Thankful For Blessings Of Candy Turkeys.

November 28th, 2013 No comments

Oreo Turkey

Oreos, Whoppers, Candy Corn and Reese’s with a little adhesive Frosting anyone?  Recipe.

Well… We’re Movin’ On Up To Serve A Deluxe Piece Of The Pie.

November 25th, 2013 No comments

Moving Kitchen

Several food reports are in the writes (if you will), but I intermittently pause to move by December and prepare to marry in January.  Orange County FOOD reports will then be bigger and better and home cookin’ should get more interesting and will hopefully be aesthetically pleasing.  It’s a busy time, but I’ll soon be posting about Bruxie, Catalina and El Cholo.

Not Close Enough Is Our Verdict: No Dinero For These Potatoes.

November 20th, 2013 No comments

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Well… I learned how to make Gnocchi (a good thing) and other dishes I’d never choose to make, but didn’t win a prize.  All was for a Recipe Photo Contest sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission.  My photos weren’t selected and I think I know why.  It’s all about the food (or Potatoes in this instance), not background, though important too, and I didn’t get close enough.  Or the competition was stiff.  I don’t know.  I appreciate the incentive.

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Moving on… to packin’ for moving, as previously reported – I’ll compete again when time.