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Saturday, July 4, 2015

2nd Annual Big Bite Bacon Fest starts on August 1, 2015 at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California

Dozens of local restaurants and chefs are back again this year to make their most bacony creations at the 2nd Annual Big Bite Bacon Fest August 1-2, 2015 at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA. More than 15 local breweries will be sampling a variety of craft beers - beer and bacon, another perfect match.

Here are some of the bacon-infused line-up:
  • Red Leprechaun – Pulled Pork Sliders
  • Stuff N’ It Burgers – Stuffed Bacon Bombs
  • Fry Fry Truck – Bacon Filled Twinkies and Bacon Cheddar Fries
  • Go Fushion & Grill – Pork-adillas
  • Dia De Los Puercos – Hog Pocket, Bacon Churros, and Spicy Bacon Corn Slaw
  • Artesana Pops – Bacon Ice Pops
  • Slater’s 50/50 – B’B’B’ Bacon Burger
  • Waffle-Oh – Bacon Waffles-Ohs
  • Sugar Spin – Salted Caramel Bourbon Spiced Candied Bacon Cotton Candy and Breakfast for Dinner Cotton Candy
  • The Bacon Babe – Dark Chocolate Bacon Tarts with Cinnamon Whiskey Buttercream (VIP only)
  • Bundt’s on Melrose – Maples Bacon Mini Bundt Cakes (VIP only)
  • And much more…

Here are some of the local breweries that will be sampling:
  • Absolution
  • Ale Smith Brewing
  • Angel City Brewing
  • ACE Cider
  • Bootlegger’s Brewery
  • The Bruery
  • Coronado Brewing
  • Golden Road Brewery
  • Green Flash Brewing
  • Hangar 24
  • Lagunitas Brewing
  • Ninkasi Brewery
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Stone Brewing
  • And many more…

Self-guided tour of the Queen Mary is included in your admission ticket in case you want to take a break from the bacon or want to tour after your bacon-filled day is over. There is also the Pig Pen where you can test your skills at pork-inspired games and activities including Pork Ladder Toss, Bacon Bags a.k.a. Cornhole, Connect Swine, and Bacon Chess.

A portion of the proceeds from Big Bite Bacon Fest will go to Team Red, White and Blue (Team RWV). Their mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by reintegrating them back into their communities.

Tickets:

*Beer sampling wristbands will only be issued to attendees showing a government issued ID verifying 21 years of age or older. The wristband is good for 10 – 3 oz. samples of beer. Additional wristbands can be purchased onsite for $15.

**VIP Bacon Lovers: Entry one hour prior to all other guests, access to the exclusive VIP Bacon Lounge with shaded seating and tastings, receive a souvenir cup, and access to private restrooms.

Bacon is squealing your name! Make plans to attend the Big Bite Bacon Fest!

For more information:
1126 Queens Highway
Long Beach, CA 90802, United States
+1.877.342.0738

Friday, July 3, 2015

B&B breakfast, fudge, taste of the Comstock, and culinary artistry in Virginia City, Nevada


As the morning sun broke through from the east, a quiet and beautiful day was just about to start. After a restful sleep, I wrestled with my mind to get up. Up on B Street, the town was so quiet and serene with a beautiful view of the valley and surrounding mountains. A lizard greeted us at the front of the Silver Street House while he was basking in the morning rays. I think he wanted us to take a picture as he posed for the camera.

Edith Palmer’s Country Inn provides a home-cooked breakfast to order. Breakfast is served in the Cider Factory which was originally established in 1863. There is seating inside and outside in the courtyard. It was such a cool and beautiful morning, we decided to enjoy our breakfast outside under the shade of a tree. A plated breakfast of pancakes topped with chunky raspberry syrup and whipped cream, bacon, and scrambled eggs were served along with coffee and choice of juice. The pancakes were fluffy and tasted like homemade. The syrup and whipped cream gave it a slight sweetness. The bacon was perfectly cooked with a smoky, salty flavor. The scrambled eggs were a bright yellow and fluffy. After relaxing in the courtyard for a bit, it was time to pack up and move the car down a few streets.

Grandma’s Fudge Factory was founded by Julie Loop and has been a local confectionary icon since 1971. The building itself has been many things after it was built, from a grocery/convenience store to a movie theatre. Jim Ward is the current owner and uses Julie’s original recipes for a consistent and memorable product. They also sell barks, caramels, caramel apples, brittles, and ice cream. The fudge texture is unlike any other fudge I have had. The fudge is heavy in weight, but when you slice it up and eat it, it is light, fluffy, and melts in your mouth with a velvety richness. Our favorite flavors are Peanut Butter Chocolate, Rocky Road, and Double Chocolate. They make the fudge and confections right in front of the store where the process can be observed from the front window, reminiscent of our days working at Disneyland where the candy store on Main Street had the same concept.

Taste of the Comstock started at 11am where guests could sample savory bites from Virginia City’s proprietors. Your ticket in was a wristband and a map showing all of the stops. Bill & Tamis Old Corner Bar was our first stop. Nestled inside of Piper’s Opera House, the bar is almost out of an old west movie with a long bar and crocheted table coverings. They served up Raspberry Jello Shots. It was a quick and cold sweet treat with a good punch of vodka.

The Canvas Café started our trek down C Street and served up a taste of breakfast of buttered sourdough toast, perfectly scrambled egg, and thick, meaty cut bacon. Even though it was breakfast, it made me want to come back for more.

Virginia City Brewery Taphouse served up a sample of their margarita. Since we just had breakfast, it tasted like a Tequila Sunrise without the grenadine. The citrus flavor was bright and sweet with a little kick of tequila.

A return stop at Grandma’s Fudge Factory for a taste of Peanut Butter Chocolate and Rocky Road. I loved the red foil wrapping they used for the cubes of fudges. It was a nice elegant touch. Peanut Butter Chocolate has the creamy, nutty peanut butter flavor along with the swirl of chocolate. Rocky Road is chocolatey with soft, creamy marshmallow and crunchy walnuts.

The Delta Saloon’s Original Sawdust Corner Restaurant served up a Stuffed Bacon and Grilled Onion Slider topped with bleu cheese dressing. The patty was huge for a slider! It was grilled right in front of the restaurant with a caramelized outside and juicy, flavorful interior. This was one of our favorites!

The Palace Restaurant and Saloon served up their Award Winning Chili. It was chunky and meaty with tomatoes, bell peppers, and kidney beans. It had a good spicy kick to it as well.

Mark Twain Saloon & Casino served up Cheese & Onion Pie and Chocolate Mousse. The cheese & onion pie was almost like a quiche with caramelized onion and cheese, very rustic. The chocolate mousse was rich and creamy.

Reds’ Old Fashioned Candies had a variety of choices to choose from. We tried the Turtle Fudge and Caramel Apple. The fudge was thick and liked the addition of caramel. The caramel apple had a thick and creamy caramel coating.

Ponderosa Saloon served up Ham & Roast Beef Paninis. They were okay. A little too much mustard on them, but cute little bites.

Virginia City Kettle Corn Depot gave out samples of their Kettle Corn. It had a light sweet and salty coating on the outside of the popcorn.

The Virginia City Jerky Co. & Smoke House BBQ served up a variety of beef jerky. We tried the Ol’ Mexico and Teriyaki. The Ol’ Mexico is slightly spicy with a nice smoky flavor. The Teriyaki had a nice flavor, but very sticky sweet as if it were glazed and not as tender as the Ol’ Mexico.

Café del Rio served up Carnitas Gorditas and Aguas Fresca. The gordita was layered with refried beans, juicy and flavorful carnitas, pico de gallo, and cojita cheese. The aguas fresca was made with pineapple, cilantro, spinach, and agave syrup. This was another one of our favorites!

Crown Point Restaurant at The Gold Hill Hotel served up Blueberry Cheesecake in parfait form. The graham cracker crumbs were mixed in with the cheesecake mixture and topped with fresh blueberries. It was creamy and rich. The graham cracker crumbs added an interesting texture.

Mustang Ranch Steakhouse served up Cheeseburger Sliders. It reminded me of White Castle. The burger was juicy but seemed like it was steamed cooked. It would have been better with some chargrill flavor.

Bonanza Café served up Chocolate Chip Cookies. These cookies were packed with chocolate chips.

Our leisurely 3-hour Taste of the Comstock came to an end with The Roasting House. They served up Mocha Brownies topped with a cold brew glaze and Iced Cold Brewed Coffee. The brownie had a great chocolatey flavor, but the glaze was unnecessary. It made the brownie way too sweet. The cold brew coffee was smooth, balanced, and paired perfectly with the brownie.

It was time to check in at the Silverland Inn & Suites. This inn is has the creature comforts of a hotel with indoor pool, gym, laundry facilities, break room with hot drinks and juice, and large parking lot. Our 2-queen bed room included landline phone, small table with chairs, satellite TV, complimentary WiFi, iron & ironing board, and hair dryer. This hotel has pet-friendly rooms available as well. It was time to put our feet up and relax for a bit.

For dinner, we headed up to The Canvas Café. Chef Richard Oates and Alexia Sober are the proprietors. Chef Richard is from Ayr, Scotland, and brings his love of food, European cooking techniques, and fresh local produce and meats together. Using a plate as his canvas, he uses culinary artistry to prepare wonderful meals. Breakfast and lunch menus are available, but for dinner, a different technique is used to get your meal. Chef Richard sits with you and finds out what you like to eat and feel like eating. Then, he uses the “omakase” way of cooking to deliver one of the best meals you’ll ever have. The meal starts with fresh baked bread and butter.

Funky New York Strip is served atop potatoes and topped with bacon, grilled onion, tomato, scallion, alongside mixed green salad, fresh beets, and grilled squash. The steak was meaty and tender. It could have been cooked a little less to a medium rare. The bacon added a smoky, salty flavor that accentuated the flavor of the beef. The potatoes were cooked perfectly with a tender texture and buttery flavor. Rating: 4.5/5

Medieval Duck is served atop potatoes and alongside mixed green salad fresh beets, and grilled squash. I have never had duck prepared like this before. It is a Scottish recipe from the 1400s and Chef Richard is one of 10 chefs in the world who know how to make it this way. The duck was juicy and tender. The skin and fat melted in my mouth like slow-cooked braised pork belly. I was literally floored by this dish. Rating: 5/5

A food packed day slowly came to an end as we walked back to the Silverland Inn. A dark gray streak came over the sky to the east. The smoke was from the Lake Fire which is still burning (80% contained as of today). More adventures ahead after a restful night’s sleep.

Additional photos can be found on OC Food Diva's Facebook page.


For more information:
416 South B Street
Virginia City, Nevada, 89440, United States
+1.775.847.7070

20 C Street
Virginia City, Nevada, 89440, United States
+1.775.847.0770

Next event is on August 29, 2015

100 North E Street
Virginia City, NV 89440, United States
+1.775.847.4484
 
110 North C Street
Virginia City, NV 89440, United States
+1.775.453.5167

Trip was sponsored in part by Virginia City TourismCommission