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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Spring/summer menu offerings at Eureka!

Eureka! is one of my favorite burger places in Orange County. But, with the seasons comes a wave of new flavors to shake up the menu. These scratch-made dishes created with locally sourced, fresh, and delectable ingredients provide guests with more options. Along with the food, the craft beverage menu has some new “mocktails” with refreshing flavors as well.

Ginger Lime Soda is crafted with fresh pressed ginger root, lime juice, and sugar. This drink will really wake up your senses. It is bright, sweet, and tastes like a limeade soda with a ginger kick. The sweetness could be toned down a tad. Rating: 4.5/5

Beet Detox is made with freshly juiced beets, sumac, and lemon juice. The beet juice combined with the lemon juice creates a flavor similar to lihimui (a popular Hawaiian seasoning) – sweet and tangy. The bubbly soda water makes it crisp and refreshing. Rating: 4.5/5

Crispy Glazed Brussels Sprouts are topped with herb oil and macadamia nuts. The glaze has a sweet orange, Asian flavor profile. The roasting process helps bring out the natural sweetness of the brussels sprouts. The macadamia nuts add a nutty flavor and richness to the dish. Rating: 4.4/5

Slow-Roasted Pork Ribs are glazed with orange chili sauce, topped with chimichurri, and served with confetti coleslaw. These tender ribs have an Asian-inspired flavor profile with sweet and spicy notes. A little bit of a fermented sauce flavor like sriracha or fish sauce could be detected. The spiciness is just right to balance out the sweetness. The slaw also has an Asian flair. The oil and vinegar flavor provides it with extra brightness. The green apple and red pepper provide sweetness. Rating: 4.3/5

Credit: Eureka!
Lobster Tacos (Limited availability) are two lobster tacos with knuckle and claw meat topped with cabbage, avocado, saffron crema, watermelon radish and served with signature hand-cut fries. These tacos are wonderful and filled with 1.5 ounces of lobster meat in each taco. The cabbage adds a nice crisp texture like a baja-style taco. The avocado and saffron crema create a nice creamy flavor and texture. Rating: 4.4/5

Chocolate Torte is a dark chocolate torte topped with vanilla bean ice cream and macadamia nuts. This dessert is rich and dense with a decadent fudgy center. It is very chocolatey with the texture of a lava cake but without the molten center. The vanilla bean ice cream adds a cold creamy contrast to the cake. The macadamia nuts add a nice crunchy texture. Rating: 4/5

With the sizzling hot summer in full swing, stop by Eureka! for a refreshing bite and drink.


  • Daily “Hoppy” Hour from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close
  • Tuesdays – Half Price Wine
  • Wednesdays – Steal the Glass
  • Thursdays – Live Music
  • Saturdays and Sundays - $5 Bloody Mary/Mimosa Weekend

Atmosphere: 5 out of 5 stars
Décor: 5 out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Food: 4 out of 5 stars

For more information:
7631 Edinger Ave.
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
Hours: Sunday through Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11am to 12am
Parking: Free shopping center parking lots

Eureka! Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Brewed hops and tasty cows meet at Hopdoddy Burger Bar in Newport Beach, California

In 2010, Hopdoddy was born in Austin, TX, delivering fresh, all-natural angus burgers alongside Kennebec hand-cut fries, farm fresh salads, handcrafted milkshakes, and, of course, craft beer. Since then, they have been named one of the “Best Burgers in America” by Food & Wine, one of the “33 Best Burgers in the Entire Country” by Thrillist, and just received the #1 spot on Business Insider’s list of the “50 Best Burger Joints in America”. Once you have a bite of their burgers, you’ll know exactly why they have made it on so many best burger lists. In November 2015, the newest California location opened inside of Fashion Island in Newport Beach. They garnered a corner location for good visibility with a patio area.


The interior is a little bit hipster meets warehouse feel with reclaimed wood tabletops, dark brown booth seating, and bright green chairs. The bar area is centrally located in the restaurant for ease of service. Their scratch kitchen is exhibition-style yet still lies behind windows as if on a factory tour. The service is attentive and courteous.


Caramel & Sea Salt Shake ($6) has a really good salted caramel flavor. The shake is creamy and velvety with granules of salt for texture. Rating: 4.5/5

Buffalo Bill Burger ($10) starts with a bison burger patty topped with Applewood smoked bacon, blue jack cheese, Frank’s RedHot Sauce, sassy sauce, red leaf lettuce, white onion, and beefsteak tomato. The meaty patty has a great bison flavor. Its deceptively simple ingredients create an extremely flavorful burger! It is slightly spicy but not overwhelming. But, the bacon got a little lost in the shuffle. The bun is sturdy to stand up to the sauces yet not too thick or bready. Rating: 4.8/5

Chile Con Queso ($6.75) comes with Kennebec fries. The fries are tasty, crispy and well-seasoned. Chile con queso is creamy with a chili powder kick. It is super cheesy. Although, a thicker cut fry would work better for dipping with this heavier sauce. Rating: 4.9/5

Truffle Fries ($6.95) have a great truffle flavor and aroma. It is topped with a good amount of parmesan cheese and parsley. The truffle aioli is creamy and adds more truffle flavor to the mix. Rating: 4.5/5

Primetime Burger ($12) starts with Texas Akaushi beef topped with brie cheese, arugula, caramelized onions, truffle aioli, steak sauce, and beefsteak tomato. The beef burger patty has a perfect blend of beef. It is meaty and juicy even at medium rare. Brie adds a creamy, buttery cheese flavor. Arugula adds a green component along with some bitter flavor. The truffle aioli lends a truffle aroma and slight truffle flavor. Rating: 5/5

Primetime Burger pairs well with Barley Forge’s Patsy Coconut Stout ($8).

If you need a break from shopping and have a craving for a great burger, hop on over to Hopdoddy Burger Bar!

Atmosphere: 5 out of 5 stars
Décor: 5 out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Food: 5 out of 5 stars

For more information:
Hopdoddy Burger Bar
311 Newport Center Dr.
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Hours: Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Parking: Free shopping center parking
Hopdoddy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Culinary Fight Club 2016: The Blended Burger Battle in San Diego, California

A bright sunny afternoon became the backdrop of an ensuing battle…the battle of the best blended burger. There can be only one! Culinary Fight Club presented their inaugural Southern California event called the Blended Burger Battle where 4 contestants must turn in a burger whose patty is blended with 25% mushrooms. The burgers are scored by a panel of judges and the winner receives $200, the Culinary Fight Club Trophy, and a Golden Ticket for entry into the World Food Championships. There is also a people’s choice vote. That winner receives $50 and a Culinary Fight Club Apron.

The competitors were Chef Tom Logsdon of The Balboa Bar and Grill,

Chef Bobby Mariner of Viejas Casino,

Chef Cheryl Cruz of Loft 94 and Beer Garden,

and Chef Alexis Rangel of Svante's Restaurant.

All competitors were able to source their own proteins (beef, bacon, seafood, etc.) Produce, seasonings, condiments, buns, cheeses, etc. were available in the pantry. But, the chefs only had 60 seconds in which to shop for them but couldn’t use any sort of basket or cart. So they elected to use their aprons as their “shopping basket”. The chefs were allowed to view what was in the pantry ahead of time so they could at least strategize on what to grab. 

During the mad dash, similar to what you might have seen in a show called, “Cutthroat Kitchen”, a bottle of molasses became an unfortunate casualty. You can almost hear a bugle softly playing Taps as the jar’s sticky, sweet goodness bled out onto the pavement.

The clock started and the chefs had 1 hour in which to prep, grill, cook, and plate their burger for presentation to the judges. It seems like a long time, but I know firsthand that these timed competitions can easily get the better of you. Suddenly you hear, “Chefs, you have five minutes left!” Frantic mode kicks in but you need to stay focused.

Chef Tom Logsdon’s entry was “The Good Trip” made with a blended beef and mushroom patty, rosemary aioli, beer and butter sautéed onions, green leaf lettuce, and tomato.

Since I was judging, I was unable to take notes on the ingredients and I’m recalling what I can from memory. Chef Bobby Mariner’s entry was a blended mushroom and beef burger topped with a tomato bacon jam, cheese, and shrimp.

Chef Cheryl Cruz’s entry was her take on a Banh Mi sandwich. The burger patty had an Asian flavor profile with hoisin, ginger, scallions, and shiitake mushrooms. She topped it will pickled jicama, watermelon radish, rainbow carrots, onion, and cilantro on a toasted black and white sesame seed bun. It was presented on a banana leaf inside a Chinese steam basket.

Again, since I was judging, I was unable to take notes and recalling ingredients from memory. Chef Alexis Rangel’s entry was a blended mushroom and beef burger with heirloom tomatoes, grilled mushrooms, avocado, and sliced zucchini.

The judges for the Blended Burger Battle were yours truly, Chelsea Madren aka OC Food Diva. I’ve judged several other regional competitions as well as the World Food Championships in 2014 and 2015. As such, the Cheferee let me hold the Golden Ticket! 

Tommy Gomes, fishmonger extraordinaire, from Catalina Offshore Products, was the second judge. Chef Bobby procured the shrimp from him. 

And finally there was Chef Jeffrey Roberto of Sushi on a Roll. He kindly lent his location for the event along with Chef Keoni Simmons to help coordinate the logistics. As a teenager, he apprenticed with the first Japanese sushi bar in San Diego. His knife and hand skills are masterful. You’ll need to come to SOAR one day to watch him work.

After the judges marked their scores, it was time to tally up and announce the winner. Here were my scores and notes:

  • Chef Alexis Rangel: Execution – 9, Appearance – 8, Taste – 7 (Notes: Beef mixture was overworked resulting in a tough burger patty. Burger needed a creamy sauce or cheese.)
  • Chef Cheryl Cruz: Execution – 9, Appearance – 10, Taste – 9 (Notes: Beef mixture was perfectly blended and had an Asian flavor profile similar to what you might see in Hawaii. Very juicy. The presentation was beautiful! Definitely up to par for World Food Championships. Since her dish was finished after the final whistle blew, she received penalty points.)
  • Chef Bobby Mariner: Execution – 8, Appearance – 8, Taste – 9 (Notes: Surf and Turf profile was a great idea. Shrimp were cooked perfectly with a nice snap. The tomato bacon jam was a great idea for flavor and sauce but it overtook the dish. Mushrooms were not detectable in the meat, but I know they were in there. Presentation could use more color like green leaf lettuce either on top or underneath burger to make it pop.)
  • Chef Tom Logsdon: Execution – 10, Appearance – 9, Taste – 10 (Notes: This is one of the best burgers I have ever had! It was juicy and hit all of the flavor notes I was looking for. Presentation could have been better by using a nicer plate.)

Chef Tom Logsdon swept the competition with a win from the judges. He received a Golden Ticket to the World Food Championships, Culinary Fight Club Blended Burger Battle trophy, and $200. He also won the people’s choice vote and received a Culinary Fight Club Apron and another $50.

Congratulations, Chef Tom. I look forward to seeing you at the 2016 World Food Championships in Orange Beach Alabama!

For more information: