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OC Fair New Year’s Eve Block Party & Preview Event: Win NYE OC Tickets.

December 6th, 2010 10 comments

Mark your calendar — If local, you’ve got to check out the New Year’s Eve Block Party Preview Event.  It’s scheduled for Thursday, December 16, 2010, from 6 – 9pm at the OC Fair & Event Center, near the Pacific Amphitheatre Box Office.  It’s FREE to get in (and park).  The special preview event will feature music, karaoke and a sampling of gourmet food trucks participating in the New Year’s Eve Block Party event on December 31, 2010.  Food and beverage tastings will be offered for a small fee, varied by truck.  You just need to show up, park, walk up, then decide what to try first and bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to the special toy drive to receive $5 off a ticket to the New Year’s Eve Block Party.

Pictured here is a sampling from just one of the 50+ food trucks to be present at the New Year’s Eve Block Party.  The colorful French Toast (above) and Beef, Lamb & Chicken Skewers (below) will be served by Chomp Chomp Nation, one of the newer trucks on the road that’s operated by a proud husband and wife team.

You’ll be able to enjoy the pictured items (and so much more) at the OC Fairgrounds on New Year’s Eve and stop by the Preview Event happening Thursday, December 16th to check out other gourmet food truck options.  You’re sure to find something you’ll love!

And if you like what you see at the FREE Preview Event, why not ring in the new year at the OC Fair New Year’s Eve Block Party?!  There will be a lot going on.  Bring the family, friends, or come alone, as there will be plenty to do, EAT and see.  In addition to the 50+ gourmet food trucks, tribute bands will be playing throughout the evening (Pearl Jam, U2, Oingo Boingo, Led Zeppelin, The Smiths, The Rolling Stones, just to name a few), and there will be dancing, a demolition derby, a comedy hypnotist and a pyrotechnic laser show at midnight, and possibly a few rides — It’s almost the Orange County Fair in December.

PLEASE NOTE — The OC Fair New Year’s Eve Block Party will be different than past NYE events held at the venue, in that it’ll be hosted by the OC Fair & Event Center, not a private promoter seeking all hoochies.  It strives to be family friendly and fun, like a real block party.  Tickets are on sale now.

ATTENTION — If local, the above tickets can be yours.  We’re giving them away on December 20th.  Just leave a comment here or send a direct message to FoodBlog on Twitter NOW and you’ll be entered into a drawing to win them.  And if you reeeeeeaallllllly want them, you may leave a comment or send a direct Twitter message once daily to improve your odds of winning.  Good luck all!

12/20/10 Update:  Congratulations goes to John Lombardo of Huntington Beach — His name was drawn from about (33) who entered to win tickets to the OC Fair New Year’s Eve Block Party by leaving a comment here, sending a Direct Message through Twitter and/or Facebook.  Thanks to all who entered.  I hope to see you at the event.

Although Too Dry, The $3 Turkey Went A Long Way.

December 5th, 2010 No comments

Although the pictured 14lb. Turkey cooked up too dry, it was only $3 and provided a lot of tasty meals.  I think the oven was too hot.  During the holidays, Turkey deals are everywhere.  It’s fun to get a giant Turkey for the price of a Chicken and better yet when it’s cooked well.  Lemon slices were placed under the skin of this one, unlike another Turkey we’ve shown.  Let’s see what happens next time — We try different methods and always shoot for juicy.

Prior to morphatizing the leftovers, we enjoyed the dark meat with Sage Mashed Potatoes (Potatoes, Butter, Sour Cream, Milk, roasted/fried Sage Leaves and Salt & Pepper), Roasted ‘What’s On-Hand’ Veggies (Celery, Carrots, Onions, Garlic and Sage Leaves roasted in the oven with Olive Oil, White Balsamic Vinegar and Salt & Pepper), and Cranberry Sauce made with fresh Cranberries, Water, Sugar and Orange Zest.

Then it’s on to make the Turkey Stock that’s strained through cheesecloth and skimmed of fat.  Prior to its preparation, most Turkey meat is obviously reserved to make the following or whatever YOU want.

We always have a Turkey Sandwich (or 10).  Sometimes it’s only Turkey Sandwiches, because they’re simple and good.  Sandwich variations are endless, but we often find basic the best.

This Turkey Chili was made with roasted and peeled Tomatoes and Chilis (Poblano, Anaheim, Jalapeno), Garlic, Turkey Stock, Chili Spices, drained Kidney and Garbanzo Beans, and large chunks of white meat Turkey.

Turkey Quesadillas with Sharp Cheddar and Pepper Jack Cheese, Salsa and Sour Cream.

Turkey Noodle Soup made with the Turkey Stock and leftover Roasted Veggies (pictured above), that were pureed, then strained to leave behind the Celery fibers — The process produced a flavorful Soup base in which to add Noodles and Turkey chunks.

An attempt at Shepherds Pie in a Mason Jar was put forth with a thickened version of the Turkey Soup (using Arrowroot), minus most Noodles, which was then topped with Sage Mashed Potatoes and Paprika and baked in the oven.

The Shepherds Pie wannabe ended up cooking together.  It was pushed over its fine line of doneness, bummer — There was a moment when it looked great and was surely hot enough to eat.  It should’ve been pulled out then.

Happy Holidays — Give a cheap Turkey a good home, your stomach.

Thanks For Flashing Me Your Anatomically/Agriculturally Correct Drive.

December 1st, 2010 1 comment

Zespri, thanks for choosing me as a Semi-Finalist in your Kiwi A-Go-Go Bloggers’ Contest — I now live happily knowing that, and enjoy the use of this lovely anatomically correct GOLD Kiwifruit Flash Drive aka consolation prize.  If you don’t know, the gold KIWI differs in shape from the green in that it protrudes slightly at both ends, a fact I haven’t known for long.  Unfortunately I didn’t win the grand prize dream vacation for 4 to New Zealand, but do appreciate having a great shot.  It was fun to think about.

I still like playing The Kiwi Game, the new phenomenon sweeping the nation. 😉

 

Just In Time For Top Chef All-Stars: Fantastic Food, Fun & Fabio.

November 29th, 2010 2 comments

Top Chef All-Stars starts this Wednesday, December 1st on BRAVO — Bravo to that!  Here’s the contestant line-up, which includes Fabio Viviani from Season 5.  He has a restaurant in Moorpark, California — Café Firenze, where Bonnie, our traveling Guest Blogger recently dined.  She raved about her experience, thus we’re certainly rooting for him.  Other Top Chef All-Star picks will be selected after first airing.  Until then, Bonnie reports about her meal by Fabio.  I think she’s in love.  I sure wish she’d get a camera, as her Fabio photo and most didn’t turn out.  Nonetheless, I appreciate the report and wish I’d been there.  Go Fabio!

Fantastic Food, Fun & Fabio. Fabulous!  That’s how I would sum up our dinner Saturday night at Café Firenze in Moorpark, California.

BRAVO TV’s Top Chef Runner-Up and upcoming Top Chef “All Star” contender Fabio Viviani was on hand to greet us and, after spending several hours at his restaurant, I can assure you that you will not be disappointed. While he is just as charming off the screen as he is on it, it is his food that truly stands out as exceptional.

In fact, the five course tasting menu that Fabio designed especially for us was magnificent, but since we let him use his own discretion rather than ordering from the menu, I can’t remember every detail.  There were three appetizers, including a silky smooth Imported Burrata Mozzarella, a pasta with homemade Duck sausage and a pancetta wrapped Jumbo Shrimp filled with gorgonzola cheese.  I think the latter was the best shrimp I have ever eaten.

The entrée consisted of grilled Colorado Lamb with braised pistachios – a truly unique combination of flavors – and the desert was something so creamy and luscious that all I can remember is how delicious it tasted, rather than its name.

And dinner was a lot of fun too, thanks to bartender Damiano Carrara. What’s with all the charming Italian men at Café Firenze?  I don’t know, but Damiano’s accent and prowess with a bottle — ala Tom Cruise in “Cocktail” – was quite the show.  His signature cocktails, one made with 2 Nite Vodka from Italy and the other with pomegranate were the perfect accompaniments to our tasting menu.

At this point I probably have convinced you about the food, but I have to inspire you with the interior design as well.  Naturally, everything has been imported from Italy (Firenze is the town where Fabio was born) and no detail was spared.  So don’t forget to check out the coffered ceilings and stunning chandeliers.

Moorpark isn’t exactly known as a dining mecca, so Fabio’s restaurant stands out as an exceptional experience.  I can’t wait to go back!  Good luck on Wednesday night, Fabio, I will be rooting for you.

(Note that what we had is very similar to what is called “The Chef’s Table” where you get five courses paired with either wine or martinis to compliment each dish for $75 each or five courses without alcohol for $50 each.  We loved this innovative concept.) 

by Bonnie Flamm, Guest Blogger, Interior Designer, Writer

The Almond Breeze Blew In Just When I Was Craving Hot Chocolate.

November 28th, 2010 No comments

Nibbles of Tidbits is asked to try a lot of products — Some immediately interest us and others we’re not so sure about.  Since we can’t, nor want to try ’em all, we choose to try food products we’re curious about, that are unique, that we think we’ll like, or because it’s offered/provided at the right time.  If we report about a product, it’s guaranteed to be honest, good or bad, rain or shine, although good, shiny days are preferred. 😉

In this instance, I wasn’t quite sure about trying Blue Diamond’s Almond Breeze, a Non-Dairy Beverage made from real Almonds — I’m a hard core Milk drinker and the thought of Almond Breeze as a drink scared me.  I thought it would taste too sweet, but it’s not.

This product arrived timely in that I’d been wanting homemade Hot Chocolate and Almond Breeze came with an Almond Hot Chocolate recipe.  The stars aligned.  In addition, I love nuts (all kinds) and have purchased many Blue Diamond products over the years.  Their quality has been consistent.

I prepared the Almond Hot Chocolate by pouring hot (microwaved) Almond Breeze over Milk Chocolate Chips and powdered Cocoa (approx. 2 cups Almond Breeze, 6oz. Chocolate and 1 tsp. Cocoa) — Their official recipe is linked here.

Pour the hot Almond Breeze (or Milk) over the Chocolate Chips and Cocoa.

Prepare in individual cups with desired amount of Chocolate or in bulk to fill many cups.

Stir until Chocolate Chips are melted and Cocoa is blended.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first Almond Hot Chocolate in a cup from my Great Grandma Moore.

The combination of ingredients makes a rich, luxurious Hot Chocolate and the hint of Almond puts it over the top — It adds a nice, toasted flavor.  Cheers to all my loving Grandmas!

Almond Breeze makes an excellent Hot Chocolate.  The taste of it alone was surprisingly good, as it’s not sweet — I actually liked it.

It’s noted that Almond Breeze can be substituted, cup for cup in many recipes, which sounds exciting, but it appears it’s not true when it comes to the basic Minute Tapioca recipe.  Its preparation with Almond Breeze didn’t work, as it never firmed up properly and remained too runny.  The Almond garnish sank — Bummer!  It tasted good warm and perhaps cold it could be served as a boba drink, not.

Overall, we’re nutty about this product discovery.

Happy Thanksgiving: Do You Like Your Turkey With Lemon Under The Skin?

November 25th, 2010 No comments

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.  I’m thinking about placing Lemon under the Turkey skin before baking it — If I do, I’ll be sure to slice it thinly instead of in half, so not to have it turn out like this hoochie.   The photo was sent to me via an untraceable string of forwarded emails, thus I don’t know its origin.  If it’s your Turkey, I’d like to give credit.  It’s too funny!  I dare YOU to surprise your family with the same. 🙂

I Like The Way This New Style Whisk Works — Say That Three Times Fast.

November 24th, 2010 1 comment

I like the way this new style Whisk works, I like the way this new style Whisk works, I like the way this new style Whisk works — That’s hard to say outloud three times fast, or is it just me.  Regardless, the Whisk is by WMF.  Could it be that I put less effort into stirring this mix?  It kinda seemed like it and it worked well.  I liked using it. 

A few pros and cons include… The batter is less apt to get trapped in the Whisk, it’s comfortable and easy to use, but it may be a little louder, as the balls bounce off the edges of the bowl, and it’s harder to scrape the sides of the bowl with the Whisk, since the ball tips are wider than the prongs.  Overall, I love it as an acceptable, fun, useful kitchen tool option.

I received the Whisk (and other goodies) at the Foodbuzz Bloggers Festival in San Francisco, then graffiti’ed the above photo before re-posting it here.

Have You Had Your Grapple Of The Day (Or Ever)? It’s A Different Way.

November 22nd, 2010 4 comments

Have you heard of, seen or tried a Grapple yet?  I first saw them on Unwrapped.  They’re Washington Extra Fancy Gala or Fuji Apples that are infused with a concentrated Grape flavor.  It’s said that Grapples look like an Apple, but taste like a Grape, and is described to have the sweet distinctive flavor of a Concord Grape with the crispness of a fresh Apple.  Chef Lexi (below) from Kids in the Kitchen gives ’em a try.

And the verdict is in… Lexi and the tastin’ gang behind the camera (5 of us) were unanimous — The Apples were indeed fresh and tasted like Grape, but the Grape flavor unexpectedly tasted artificial.  Its scent and taste was reminiscent of purple, Grape flavored Candy or Soda, not that of a true Concord Grape, as we were hoping.

Since we’re always interested in different things, we had to try a Grapple.  They’re definitely of premium quality, but we didn’t fall in love with their flavor.  Regardless, we appreciate trying unique foods — It’s a fun time.

Are You Part Of The Foodbuzz Festival Collage? Do You See Waldo (Us)?

November 20th, 2010 No comments

Are you part of the Foodbuzz Blogger Festival collage?  If you’re a Food Blogger and attended the San Francisco event, and remember your mug shot with badge being photographed, you’re most likely pictured in Casey’s collage.  Casey of Eating, Gardening & Living in Bulgaria created a collage of 200+ participants, along with the respective blog and Twitter names for each.  Wow — That was a lot of work and now an excellent reference of the event.  Thanks!

We Interrupt Regular Scheduled Programming For A Tasty Discovery: Krusteaz Cinnamon Crumb Cake.

November 18th, 2010 No comments

With little time to spare, I was recently tasked with bringing dessert on a camping trip.  After scouting out potential mixes at the local grocery store, I chose Krusteaz Cinnamon Crumb Cake & Muffin Mix and a Ghiradelli Fudge Brownie Mix.  The Brownies were good, but the Crumb Cake was amazing — Yes, amazing.  The Cake was moist and the Crumb Topping stayed crisp.  We wrestled over who got the last piece and it wasn’t me.

I’ve since gone back to the store to purchase several boxes — A couple boxes will be tacked on to Christmas gifts (hopefully the recipients don’t read this), a few others are reserved for future preparation, and one box was prepared for co-workers.  Seven out of seven co-workers fell in love with it this morning.  And again, I missed out on the last piece.  It went fast.  I’m telling ya, it’s good stuff.

And since it’s soooo good, we’re anxious to try other Krusteaz products.  I currently have my eye on the Raspberry BarsKey Lime Bars and the Berry Cobbler mixes.  The results of those tastings will soon be reported here.  One co-worker says their Pancake mixes are first-rate too, but we’ve yet to try ’em.  FYI:  If you’re too fabulous to prepare a simple mix, recipes using the pictured product (and others) are available on Krusteaz website.

Foodbuzz Blogger Festival: Dinner With A Lot Of Wine Glasses.

November 17th, 2010 7 comments

I’m now reminiscent of the Second Annual Foodbuzz Bloggers Festival that took place November 5 – 7th in San Francisco.  I had a wonderful time meeting hundreds of notable Food Bloggers throughout the weekend.  This report is our final in the 3-2-1 Foodbuzz Blogger Festival Wrap Up.  Wish I could dig into it all again — Perhaps next year.

The Gala Dinner hosting 350 Food Bloggers on the last night of the festival was held at The Grand Hall, Ferry Building, which was nice and worked well.  The table settings were striking and filled with a sea of Wine glasses for pairing with each dinner course.  Bonny Doon Vineyard poured it all.  Thanks!

The Roasted Golden Beet Tart was paired with 2009 Bonny Doon Vineyard Ca’ del Solo Albarino.  And my favorite was the Rosemary and Garlic Infused Rack of Lamb paired with the 2006 Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare Volant.

Before entering The Grand Hall for dinner, we enjoyed hors d’oeurves and more Wine outside.  I was most impressed with the Cucumber basket weave mat beneath the Hoisin Beef and Scallion Rolls — It greatly contributes to presentation.

And the dinner ended with a Tarta de Almendras with Oranges — Would you believe its crowning garnish glory was made of Parmesan Cheese?  It was and I loved it.

I met countless Food Bloggers who flew in from everywhere — A few special friends included Ginny of Food-G, Geri of The Princess Gourmet and Mimi of Cute Pig.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Rosa of The Catty Critic, Kat of Kat’s 9 Lives, Elizabeth of Ms. Lin Guide, Jennifer of Kirbie’s Cravings, Donald of Mochi Thoughts, and several others soon to be linked below.  If pictured and your name and link isn’t included, PLEASE send your information, because I really want to include it — Didn’t collect all the cards I wanted.

Casey of Eating, Gardening & Living in Bulgaria, pictured next to her Foodbuzz badge will be posting a collage of hundreds posing the same way

Before the Farewell Brunch the next morning, I thought I might be done meeting and eating, as I’d overloaded on both throughout the weekend — Then met Angela of the Spinach Tiger, a fabulous lady living an admirable life in Tennessee.  Getting to know her over more food and drinks capped the weekend.  It was certainly a pleasure meeting all pictured bloggers and other fabulous mentionables soon to be linked here in an update.  Thanks Foodbuzz. 🙂

11/18/10 Update:  In addition to the talented Food Bloggers named herein and in previous Foodbuzz Blogger Festival posts, I’m happy to have met Greg of Sippity Sup, Joan of Foodalogue, Jeanne of Simple Math Bakery, Amanda of The Cilantropist, Cathy of Show Food Chef, Veronica of The Enchanted Cook, Kristin of The Cuisinerd, Norma of Platanos, Mangoes and Me, Michael of South Bay Foodies, Linda of Salty Seattle, Jenn of Just Jenn Recipes, Lindsey of Gingerbread Bagels, Becke of Columbus Foodie, Eddie of Culinary Studio, Catherine of Cate’s World Kitchen, Susie of Artisan Food Discoveries, Wendy of The Local Cook, Astrid of I Have Two Feet and Ten Toes, John of Food Wishes, Teri of A Foodie Stays Fit, Joel of Cooking with Words, Elaine of Virgo Blue, Kate of Something We Dreamed, Stephanie of Foodiacs, Jerry of Cooking by the Seat of My Pants, Jesse of Beer & Nosh, Allyson of Living My Whole Life and Renuka of Foodelicious, to name just a few.

Cookin’ Around An Open Fire And Dog Walking With Cheese Puffs.

November 14th, 2010 No comments

Been camping in South Carlsbad, but will soon post our final wrap up of the Foodbuzz Blogger Festival and back log of reports that’s ensued.  It’s all good.

Cooking Hot Dogs over the camp fire while the sun sets over South Carlsbad.

Relaxing.

Running through the Seagulls hoping for a few things not to happen.

Creative dog walking with a Cheese Puff and fishing pole — No hook. 🙂

Inspiring a lazy dog to walk.

It worked, but not for very long.

Wake up Maggie got it.

Painted rocks in South Carlsbad.  Nibbles of Tidbits left a special message on a rock — Find it and describe and we’ll send you a prize.  Good luck!

Another sunset on a mini vacation.

The Taste Pavilion At The Foodbuzz Blogger Festival.

November 12th, 2010 4 comments

We picked up an empty glass and bag upon arrival at the City View at the Metreon in San Francisco, then filled ’em up over-and-over again with seemingly endless samples of Beer, Wine and FOOD.  It’s what happened to 350 Food Bloggers during the Taste Pavilion, an afternoon prelude to the Gala Dinner commencing three hours later — The Foodbuzz Blogger Festival is an eating extravaganza. YEAH!

Only ended up taking a few photos here — I needed another arm, or two, or three — It was hard to eat, drink, write, shake hands, collect literature, and accept Beer, Wine and product samplings with just two hands.

The Frog Hollow Farm Pears were so juicy and a favorite from the event was their Granola.  It’s some of the best I’ve had.  I wish I’d brought back another bag of it — Soooo good!

Willow Bird Baking was one of the six recipe winners and Nature’s Pride Cooking Demonstrators at the Taste Pavilion.  Congratulations to all.

Fresh Express Salads, much needed greens.

The Cupcake of the weekend seemed to be everywhere and dare I say they were just okay.  Maybe I didn’t have the right one, because the Food Network was filming them for Cupcake Wars, or something like it — In love Food Bloggers will know better.

One of the coolest things there was the Buitoni Flip Book Booth, which converted short video clips into mini Flip Books – You then flip through the book pages to see yourself move — It’s like watching an old fashioned mini movie.

I captured talented Food Bloggers, Chef Dennis, Korean American Mommy, CaffeIna and What’s for Dinner Across State Lines making a Flip Book — What fun!

View from the Taste Pavilion — A new appetite had to happen before dinner and appetizers scheduled to be served three hours later.  It shall be reported as the final (1) in the 3-2-1 Foodbuzz Blogger Festival Wrap Up.

Blogger Festival Wrap Up In 3-2-1: Breakout Sessions At The Drake.

November 11th, 2010 2 comments

Before being spoiled at the Tasting Pavilion at the Metreon in San Francisco, most Foodbuzz Blogger Festival attendees participated in Morning Breakout Sessions/Seminars at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, conveniently taking place down the elevator from my 19th floor room.  During my first session, panelist Lick My Spoon, Kitchen Corners and Carrots N Cake talked about blogging success and what it means to each of them — Interesting and diverse points of view.

Mary Sue Millikin prepared Fish Tacos during the ‘Great Catch’ session presented by Alaska Seafood.  Food Bloggers got to make their own Fish Tacos at the Taste Pavilion that later followed.

It was fun watching the Food Bloggers edging to get the best photos — Some were right up in the Salmon’s face.  I’m sure many produced better photos than these, but I liked my seat.

During my last session, Chez Pim, Rhodey Girl Tests and Food Wishes talked about Video Blogging — Moderated by Krissy Wall.  Food Wishes offered great tips and was pretty funny too.  After all ended at noon, 350 Food Bloggers hiked it down to the Tasting Pavilion, reported about in (2) of the 3-2-1 Blogger Festival Wrap Up.

The Saturday Night Gala Dinner At The Grand Ballroom, Ferry Building.

November 8th, 2010 1 comment

There’s so much to write about and too little time with the busy work week ahead (and now have a cold).  Back from San Francisco and a giant box of goodies to arrive soon via Fed Ex — Had to ship it all back to avoid the heavy luggage fee imposed by United Airlines.  It’s truly gouging (12lbs. over = $100).  Excessive, yes, no?  I’ll be addressing a few issues with United and will report more when their response is received.  That experience was a bummer, but I otherwise had a crazily stufted time participating in the non-stop eating fest with 350 Food Bloggers from all over.  The farthest traveler came from Bulgaria to attend the Second Annual Foodbuzz Bloggers Festival.  I’ll be linking to all the talented Food Bloggers I had the pleasure of meeting and can’t wait to try the interesting products that are on the way.  Thanks for all Foodbuzz!

Welcome Reception At The Second Annual Foodbuzz Blogger Festival.

November 6th, 2010 No comments

Only posting a few photos throughout the weekend, but will later post a full report of the festivites including links to the many amazing bloggers I met throughout.  Currently on food and fun overload, but ready for the Saturday Night Gala Dinner to begin in a few hours.

Frog Hollow Farm Pears and more on every table.

More unedited Welcome Reception photos.

Viking Gumbo — Vegan or Non-Vegan options.

The Food Network was there filming a segment on Cupcakes — That’s all I know for now.

Endless Cupcakes, food and bloggers this evening and more to come — OMGosh.

Arrived At The Second Annual Blogger Festival: Ready To Party.

November 5th, 2010 1 comment

Not much time for words right now — Have a lot to report about the flight, but will do so later.

Sat in the very last row of the small plane.

Checking in at the Foodbuzz table. 🙂

Just got to the Sir Francis Drake.

View from my room.

Hello.

Thanks for the swag!  I already ate the 479° Black Truffle + White Cheddar Popcorn.  YUM!

Ready to start blogging, but it’s time to head to the Welcome Reception to meet everyone.

Foodbuzz Second Annual Food Bloggers Festival In San Francisco.

November 5th, 2010 No comments

I’m heading to the Foodbuzz Blogger Festival in San Francisco this weekend.  The experience will be completely new to me, as I’ve never been around a bunch of Food Bloggers — I’m gonna trip out on everyone taking photos of the food at the same time.  I think I might be more interested in photographing them photographing the food.  It’s a curious thing to me for some reason.  The food will surely be covered, thus posting the same here might be redundant.  We’ll see how it all goes down.  The plan is to write several short posts throughout the weekend if technically able.  Pictured above is of the “Foodie Gift” I’ve been asked to bring to the Welcome Reception Friday night at Fort Mason Center.  It’s in my suitcase getting ready to fly to SFO and  its contents sum up Nibbles of Tidbits.  More to be reported about that and the rest of the festivities later.

Orange County Food Examiner: Local Thanksgiving Starter Kit.

November 4th, 2010 No comments

Thanksgiving in Southern California — Are you still deciding how to celebrate Thanksgiving this year?  As the Orange County Food Examiner, I recently posted a Thanksgiving Starter Kit that includes links to most local happenings.  It’s a great place to begin your holiday planning.  We hope it’s helpful.  Happy Thanksgiving to ALL!

Nibbles of Tidbits is thankful for its many blessings, including YOU!

Cruisin’ In Style To Gladstones In Malibu (Pacific Palisades To Be Exact).

November 2nd, 2010 1 comment

What an amazing meal and time we had at Gladstones Malibu, technically located in Pacific Palisades.  Did you know that?  I didn’t.  It’s been about 15 years since I’ve been there.  Gladstones has been in existence for decades, but recently stepped into a new era with a new look and menu that’s true to its iconic heritage.  We fittingly cruised there in style.

Most were able to squeeze into the photo before setting out (minus the kids) to celebrate the 40th Birthdays of David and Chris (both in plaid).  I’m found above the yellow balloon. 🙂

I said CHEERS with a Watermelon Mojito, which was perfectly refreshing and strong.

We had a few Oyster virgins in the crowd who were willing to give ’em a try.

It was funny to watch — Let’s just say that no newbies fell in love, except for one, as shown below.  Jerry said ‘the aphrodisiac aspect of the Oyster kicked right in’ and Ami had to hide.

Get a room — Continuing on with the Seafood Ceviche.

And then the reeallllly great stuff came, Lobsters and USDA Prime NY Strip Steaks, oh my.

Gladstones Market Seafood Pasta.

My plate with King Crab Legs, always a fave.

The Curried Coconut Shrimp was reported to be very good, by the one who brought his homemade (grown and roasted) Salsa in the limo, which was fantastic too.

Most had the Lobster and Steak combination.

It was a little too cold to dine on the large patio with “jumbrellas” this October evening — The ocean view is nice, but best captured in photographs during the day.

Happy Birthday friends and thanks for all Jer!

We love how Gladstones packs goodies TO GO.  I brought home a marvelous Sea Turtle and almost felt bad digging into the leftovers the next day.

Happy Halloween: Be Safe And Filled With Goodies.

October 31st, 2010 1 comment

Happy Halloween!  These Cupcakes can easily be made using any Chocolate Cake Mix — Just add Frosting to a pastry bag with a Basket Weave Tip, then pipe it back and forth strategically over and around Edible Eyes.  That’s it.  Since I got the flu this year (from the flu shot mind you, no mas para mi), I was sadly unable to participate in our annual Halloween Cookie Decorating Party, thus post links from last year here and the year before here.

The Zespri Contests Are Wrapping Up: It’s Last Chance For Romance.

October 30th, 2010 2 comments

It’s going to be a tough decision for the judges and I’m thrilled to be in the mix — Can’t believe I now have a (6/1) chance of winning a Trip for 4 to New Zealand.  That’s incredible!  And tomorrow is the last day to enter the Kiwi A-Go-Go Bloggers’ Contest to be selected as Ms. or Mr. October, if you will.  Each month from May through October, Zespri picks a Semi-finalist.  The links will tell more.  The winning entry will then be selected by a triad of prominent Kiwi specialists… Karen Brux, Zespri’s US General Manager, a representative of Air New Zealand, and Peter Ombler, a Kiwifruit grower from the Bay Of Plenty.  The winner will be announced on November 15th. 

Good luck to all Semi-finalistsMayJuneJuly (Me)AugustSeptember and October.  If you’re not a Blogger, you may enter here to win your own New Zealand vacation.  And you’ll find more Kiwi recipes here.  Play The Kiwi Game often!

11/08/10 Update:  The Blogger Contest is now closed and October’s winner is linked above.

11/15/10 Update:  Congratulations goes to Baking Barrister for winning the Trip for 4 to New Zealand.  We were close, but no Kiwi for Nibbles of Tidbits.

Taco Dawg Critics Dinner 2010: The OC’s Original Mobile Food Restaurant.

October 28th, 2010 No comments

Taco Dawg will be serving up new menu items starting this Halloween in celebration of their one-year anniversary.  Taco Dawg is a gourmet food truck (a popular food option these days) that puts a spin on two classics — Tacos and Hot Dogs, hence the name.  We recently tried a few at Taco Dawg’s Critics Dinner 2010.  Thank you Taco Dawg!  We were happily impressed with the new and featured menu items.

All may try the pictured items for the first time on October 31st, somewhere in Irvine by day, then at the Spooktacular in Orange that evening.  Note: Since it is a truck, it’s best to follow Taco Dawg on Twitter to obtain their exact location.  To learn the names of the Tasting Menu items soon to debut, hover over each photo.  Starting from the top is the Taco Papa and above is The Samurai, my favorite — We all loved its Miso Caramelized Glaze.

Above is The Hipster, Taco Dawg’s first Vegetarian Taco, made with Portobello Mushrooms, Chipotle Sauce, Grilled Onions, Jack Cheese and Romaine Lettuce.

We appreciated the Beer and Wine and met cool new friends, including Taco Dawg.

OMGosh, we ate so much at this Critics Dinner.  It was on to the Hot Dogs, then back to the Tacos.  We tried The Reuben Dawg (above) and The Dirty Dawg  (below) that’s piled with Homemade Chili, Nacho Cheese, Crumbled Potato Chips and Onions — Both are made with an all Beef Hot Dog.

Continuing on, we tried The Big City Dawg (below).

And The Cuban (below), thought to possibly be the best item of the night, at least at our table — It’s a Taco variation of a Cuban Sandwich that includes a combination of Ham, Pickles, Swiss Cheese and traditional flavors.  The Cuban is the featured item of the month.  Each month, Taco Dawg will feature a special item that’s not on the menu.

It all ended with a miniature version of their Apple Taco — It was good, but thank God it was small, since we already ate so much.  Barely had enough room.

To learn more about Taco Dawg and the pictured Tacos and Dawgs, visit whaddupdawg.com and here — Their site will be relaunched next month, so check back for that.  Follow Taco Dawg on Twitter to learn their exact whereabouts.