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Monday, August 18, 2014

The Kickin’ Crab is Cajun seafood with an Asian kick in Orange County and beyond

Jan Nguyen and her family immigrated to the USA from Vietnam back in the 1970s with the little that they could carry. Her family landed in Louisiana where she worked in restaurants where she quickly learned the Cajun style of cooking. Incorporating what was available in the bayou from crawfish to shrimp, she was introduced to a range of spices and flavor profiles quite different from her native Vietnamese cuisine. In her years in the restaurant business, she began tasting foods and then recreating them at home with her own twist. Her dream of having a restaurant serving Cajun seafood for families in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere, became a reality with the 2010 opening of
The Kickin’ Crab located in Santa Ana, CA. In less than 4 years, The Kickin’ Crab has grown to 7 locations in Orange County, Los Angeles County, and Santa Clara County with 2 locations opening soon.

Fried Oysters are lightly breaded, fried to a golden brown, and served with cocktail sauce. These oysters are gigantic! They are so big that you will need to bite into them. They are way too big to just pop in your mouth. As you bite into them, they are sweet and juicy, unlike any fried oyster I’ve ever had. I’m a raw bar gal when it comes to oysters, but these were just fantastic. I love the light breading as it did not smother the sweetness of the oyster. The cocktail sauce has a nice horseradish kick that pairs well with the oyster. Thumbs up, way up!

Kickin' Crab on Urbanspoon

Sunday, August 17, 2014

4th Annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival returns August 21-24, 2014

Starting this Thursday, the Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival, with support from founding partners FOOD & WINE, Lexus, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, JENN-AIR, and Delta Airlines, a four-day epicurean exhibition will showcase the finest in food and drink culture throughout Los Angeles, and culinary personalities from throughout the country. Just like a Hollywood movie, the scene is set amidst one of the country’s foremost cultural destinations along Grand Avenue from the famous Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and in actual movie soundstages like LA Center Studios. The event spans the city and offers guests the chance to sample the cuisines and products from some of the most prominent epicurean influencers, while enjoying the sights and sounds of the entertainment industry’s brightest talents. The star-studded culinary master lineup includes Curtis Stone, Michael Chiarello, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, Thomas Keller, Guy Fieri, Robert Irvine, and local favorites such as Rory Herrmann, Michael Voltaggio, Matsuhisa Nobu, and Sang Yoon.

Schedule below highlights some of the ticketed events:

  • Iron Chef Morimoto Cooking Demonstration, 8/22/2014, 5:30pm-6:30pm, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion: Masaharu Morimoto is the chef who put the iron in the Iron Chef franchise, first in Japan and then in the US via Iron Chef America. From Kitchen Stadium to Los Angeles, Morimoto brings his trademark skills to you in this up close and personal battle. Exclusive access to this cooking demonstration is available only to VIP ticket Holders for the Asian Night Market event and only a handful of tickets available a la carte.
To read more and see highlights from last year, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/article/4th-annual-los-angeles-food-wine-festival-returns-august-21-24-2014

Friday, August 15, 2014

2014 Costa Mesa Restaurant Week starts TODAY

A wonderful reception last night signaled the start of the 2014 CostaMesa Restaurant Week. Costa Mesa chefs, socialites, and foodies mingled together with delectable food, silent auction, and music at the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity in SOCO in Costa Mesa, California. Wonderfully fun and creative passed appetizers were created by Chef Ashley at 24 Carrots. Sponsors for the event are Environment, Granola Babies, Smocking Birds, Surfas Culinary District, 24 Carrots Catering, LCA Wine, Greenleaf Chopshop, Pueblo, Susie Cakes, Stephane Treand Patisserie Chocolat, Urban Pie, Taco Maria, The Cellar Cheese Shop, The Mixing Glass, Portola Coffee Lab, and Seventh Tea Bar.

To view a slideshow of culinary offerings, click here.

Here are my picks of Costa Mesa restaurants that you can’t miss this week (Click on the restaurant name to view this week’s menu):
  1. PIE-NOT 
  2. Pinot Provence
  3. Taco Maria 
  4. Taco Asylum 
  5. Scott’s Restaurant and Bar 
  6. Memphis Café 
  7. Lawry’s Carvery - $5 off $25 purchase
  8. Seasons 52 
  9. Greenleaf Chopshop 
  10. Jerry’s Dogs 
  11. Blackmarket Bakery 
  12. Seabirds Kitchen – 20% off bill
Happy Costa Mesa Restaurant Week! The “coastal tableland” will definitely delight your taste buds!

For more information:
Costa Mesa Restaurant Week

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Great Pepper Cookbook by Melissa’s Produce + Margarita Chile-Cheesecake Bars Recipe

Joe and Sharon Hernandez founded Melissa’s Produce using their experience in the produce industry. It started small – a small, rented produce warehouse lunchroom with three telephones and four chairs. In a few short years, the company would grow to occupy a newly renovated and expanded 280,000 square foot office, warehouse complex, and state-of-the-art CCOF/QAI Certified Organic Packing Facility. In Melissa's/World Variety Produce, Inc. warehouse, one is sure to find the freshest fruits and vegetables - quality products with exceptional value and first-class service. Melissa's/World Variety Produce, Inc. is currently the largest distributor of specialty produce in the United States.

Melissa’s Produce is also all-knowing about “the pepper”. And what better way to celebrate this sometimes “hot little number” than with a cookbook! The Great Pepper Cookbook acts as a primer of all varieties of peppers, both fresh and dried. There are beautiful color images of all varieties peppers, recipes and includes the “dreaded” Scoville chart heat rating. 150 delicious recipes will take you from appetizer to dessert (I’m serious, chile peppers in dessert!) Put down those jalapenos and take a walk on the wild side!

In the Appetizers, Snacks, and Drinks section, Crab-Stuffed Cucumber Cups are a party pleaser. Here are some added tips to help you during prep:

  • First, roast an ear of corn in the oven, 350 degrees for 30 minutes so it will be ready for the crab filling.
  • For the cucumber cups, after removing the middle of each cucumber and salting them, put the cucumber cups opening side down on paper towels. The salt will start to leach the water out from the cucumbers. It will save you from excess dabbing later in the process when adding the crab filling.
  • I could not find Manzano (or manzana) peppers in my local area so I substituted habanero peppers. I didn’t want to shock my guests with the spiciness of the pepper so I diced up two habaneros and it was perfect. The roasting process actually makes the pepper a little sweeter. The cream cheese and sour cream act as a cooling agent if you happen to get a large piece of habanero in your serving.
  • I substituted crab claw meat instead of the lump meat. Smart & Final sells the perfect size can for the recipe in the refrigerated section. It is much cheaper than the lump crab meat and it tastes great too.
To read more, see slideshow, and get the recipe for Margarita Chile-Cheesecake Bars, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/review/the-great-pepper-cookbook-margarita-chile-cheesecake-bars-recipe

Monday, August 11, 2014

Review: Tequila Partida Blanco + Partida Margarita Recipe

Tequila Partida all starts with blue agave grown near a dormant volcano in Tequila Valley. The process is one of patience as la piña ripens and matures over 7 to 10 years. They use state-of-the-art stainless steel ovens to bake their agave, creating a smoother, cleaner agave flavor. The tequila is aged in one-pass Jack Daniel’s American Oak barrels.

Tequila Partida Blanco, on its own, has a floral aromatic that is recognizable for any tequila. Citrus and tropical fruit flavors are crisp as they hit the palate. It is strong yet very smooth. The color is perfectly clean and clear. Thumbs up!