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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chomp Chomp Nation brings Singapore’s Street Hawker Favorites with an American Twist to SoCal

It all started when Shaun Ng came to the US and had dreams of opening his own Singaporean restaurant. He partnered with Robert Zuetell and his wife, Gina Galvan, who own a restaurant concept business. Together, they researched and, at the time, SoCal had just started on the up-climb to Southeast Asian food like Vietnamese and Thai. With the upfront costs of opening a restaurant, it was just too soon to know if it would work. Last year, Robert saw the huge popularity of gourmet food trucks and decided to do some field work. He attended the 1st Annual OC Foodie Fest and it just amazed him – a sold out event and every single truck had an hour plus long line. The light bulb lit up so bright that even his sunglasses couldn’t shield it. They needed to bring Singaporean Street Hawker food to SoCal and the food truck was the ticket. On October 10, 2010, Chomp Chomp Nation debuted with a truck designed in the Year of the Tiger with coloring distinctive to tigers – orange with black stripes.

Like a tiger, Chomp Chomp Nation has been prowling the streets of SoCal delivering tasty Singaporean delights that appeal to the American palate. Robert took a lot of time with the menu as typical dish names in Singapore were simply too foreign for SoCal unless you were from Singapore or you had been there before. In order to bring guests in, he chose names that infused American iconic dishes and used presentations that were familiar. He did a great job. He brings them in with the name and then they come closer to read the description. As I watched, about 90% of the people went from the menu right to the order window. It was amazing!

To read more and see photos, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/restaurant-in-anaheim/chomp-chomp-nation-brings-singapore-s-street-hawker-food-with-an-american-twist-review


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Chomp Chomp Nation (Food Truck) on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Refresh Truck is serving up fresh, local grown foods with a splash of Pacific Rim

Aubrey Duran is a foodie and is always on the search for her next food fix. A few years back, The Wicked Garden in Dana Point was her favorite restaurant for good times and good eats. Chef Jordan Hamada was the executive chef and added his Pacific Rim fusion culinary skills to the menu. Aubrey got to meet her favorite chef and was a little star-struck. Foodies are always star-struck when we meet a chef that we follow. They are like rock stars in the culinary world. Unfortunately, The Wicked Garden closed and was replaced by Caliente. But, Aubrey had a dream to bring the fine dining plate experience to the masses at decent prices. In June 2010, her dream became a reality with The Refresh Truck partnering with her favorite chef, Chef Jordan, at the culinary reigns. They have a few staples on the menu, but as the climate changes, so does their menu - every two weeks or so. With so much locally grown foods in California, the sky’s the limit! They pour their heart and soul into the food and the service is both energetic and friendly.

Let’s hang-ten! Pork Belly Sliders is shredded pork belly on a Hawaiian roll and topped with Cojita, guacamole, Asian slaw, and sour cream sauce. All I have to say is “WOW”! You’ll definitely have an OMG moment or two. The pork belly is absolutely divine! It is tender and packed full of flavor. The guacamole is refreshing and creamy. The Asian slaw is sweet and tangy. When you put all of these flavors together and you end up with a symphonic masterpiece of flavor, tantalizing your taste buds. Thumbs up, way up!

To read more and see photos, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/restaurant-in-anaheim/the-refresh-truck-is-serving-up-fresh-local-grown-foods-with-a-splash-of-pacifi-review


OC Food Diva

Monday, October 24, 2011

Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que brings Southern barbeque to Lake Forest, CA

Nestled in The Orchard at Saddleback, near the corner of El Toro Road and Rockfield Boulevard, is Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que. The exterior looks like a farm house with side veranda (patio seating). Once you enter, the bustling servers are running around with plates of barbeque and the decorative signs and photos pop out at you with vibrant colors. Visit Lucille’s website for the history of the restaurant: http://www.lucillesBBQ.com/about. It’s quite a heart-warming story.

In the Appetizer section are Lucille’s Onion Straws. A mountain of irresistible buttermilk battered fresh onions, seasoned and deep-fried and served with their own BBQ ranch dipping sauce. These onion straws are amazing! These are fried like a good fried chicken – salt, pepper, flour. If you can get the right combination, the flavor is addictive. The portion is just right for 2 people to share while your barbeque plates are being prepared. Thumbs up, way up!

To read more and see photos, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/restaurant-in-anaheim/lucille-s-smokehouse-bar-b-que-brings-southern-barbeque-to-lake-forest-ca-review


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Lucille's Smokehouse BBQ (Lake Forest) on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Butternut Squash Bake

Another fabulous butternut squash dish. I substituted the extra-wide noodles with angel hair pasta. I would definitely adjust roasting time on the butternut squash. It was still too hard when roasted for only 30 minutes. I would go for 45-60 minutes to soften the squash a bit more. Thumbs up, way up!


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Jeweled Spaghetti Squash...

OMG - This dish is amazing. The only thing I substituted was the dried tart cherries with dried cranberries. The flavors are wonderful and harmonize so well together. Thumbs up, way up!


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Roman-Style Artichokes...

This recipe is okay, not the best artichoke recipe out there. It was bland and needed more garlic and maybe butter.


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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Famous Dave’s serves slow-smoked award-winning BBQ ribs in Orange, CA

Located in The Village at Orange, Famous Dave’s sits right on corner of Tustin Street and East Village Way. Once you park your car, let your nose lead you to the restaurant. You will easily be able to smell the smoky, porky goodness exuding from the restaurant. Nothing smells better than BBQ. Opening almost a year ago on November 15, 2010, I was so happy that we finally had a Famous Dave’s in Orange County. The only other closest locations that I had been to were in Las Vegas.

Dave Anderson, founder of Famous Dave’s, always had a passion for ribs and barbeque. His passion started when he was growing up in Chicago where his dad would bring home the best tasting slow-smoked ribs and not from a restaurant. This is how good recipes are born. We do this in small town Hawaii too. You’ll drive down the street and folks are selling local foods made right from their kitchen. It’s a wonderful way to spread your love of food to the masses. Dave set out on a 25-year journey around the country, tasting and learning how to make smoked meats from barbeque joints to mesquite pits. In May 1994, Dave opened his first location in Hayward, Wisconsin and rest is history.

To read more and see photos, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/restaurant-in-anaheim/famous-dave-s-serves-slow-smoked-award-winning-bbq-ribs-orange-ca-review


OC Food Diva

Famous Dave's BBQ Shack on Urbanspoon

Famous Dave's  Restaurant Reviews

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pasta Creation

  1. In a saute pan, I added 1 teaspoon rendered bacon fat, 1 tablespoon butter, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  2. Added cubed grilled chicken and sauteed to coat.
  3. Added cooked angel hair pasta and sauteed it to soak up all of the sauce.
  4. Plated and added grated parmesan and snipped parsley.
It was delicious! Great substitute if you're allergic tomatoes.


OC Food Diva 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

My Tornado Potato is spiraling up with their revolutionary French Fry in Southern California

Chris Kim, Honolulu-born and raised, moved to Southern California like many Hawaiians for more opportunities on the mainland. Back in the 1990s, an Englishman in South Africa invented the idea of deep-frying a spiral cut potato. This idea took off in Asia like hot cakes. Chris saw the craze and said to himself, “I need to bring this phenomenon to the folks in Southern California.” In October 2010, My Tornado Potato hit the streets with this revolutionary French Fry. But, being from Hawaii, he knew you needed some meat with your starch (1 scoop rice and/or mac salad is always the case in Hawaii). He developed a way to put a sausage in the middle of the spiral. Don’t bother asking how he does it. It’s a family secret!

Okay, let’s get it on! Truffle Tornado is the Tornado brushed with White Truffle Oil. Oh, so fancy! The spiral potato is fried to a perfect golden brown. The spirals help give each bite a crispy outer shell with a tender center. The truffle oil is generously brushed on and takes the potato to a whole new level. The taste of truffles is hard to explain if you’ve never had it before. It reminds me of a little of garlic, but not really. The flavor hits you in different points on your taste buds which keeps them jumping for joy. Thumbs up, way up!

To read more and see photos, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/restaurant-in-anaheim/my-tornado-potato-is-spiraling-up-with-their-revolutionary-french-fry-socal-review


OC Food Diva

Brats Berlin serving authentic German bratwursts in Southern California

Joseph Sue (Calbi) and Christian Murcia (Crepes Bonaparte) have joined forces to create Brats Berlin, serving authentic German bratwursts to hungry foodies. These aren’t your everyday Johnsonville store-bought brats. These brats are made especially for Brats Berlin. Joseph and Christian noticed that there were a lot trucks experimenting with hot dogs, but what about bratwurst? On July 4, 2011, they staked their claim as the only bratwurst truck roaming the streets of Southern California.

Their truck is a piece of art, actually hand-painted by the artist Evolve. Take a close look and you’ll see the actual paint strokes. They wanted a truck that looked like a piece of the Berlin Wall. It’s definitely a magnificent sight to behold.

To read more and see photos, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/restaurant-in-anaheim/brats-berlin-serving-authentic-german-bratwursts-southern-california-review


OC Food Diva

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pigs definitely do fly at the Flying Pig Food Truck

Rolling down the streets of Southern California is a pink food truck with porcine angels flying on the side. Chef Joe is Le Cordon Bleu-trained and has blended Asian & Pacific Rim flavors with a French flair.

Snort like a pig! Pork Belly Taco is braised pork belly with red onion escabeche, pickled sesame cucumber, and death sauce on a steamed bao bun. This is just insane! The pork belly is like butter and just melts in your mouth. The toppings round out the flavors and give it a nice crunch. The bao bun is just right; light on the inside and chewy on the outside. This will definitely give you a foodgasm. Thumbs up, way up!

To read more and see photos, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/restaurant-in-anaheim/pigs-definitely-do-fly-at-the-flying-pig-food-truck-review


OC Food Diva

Flying Pig Truck on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 10, 2011

Crepes Bonaparte has the best crepe in Southern California

Christian Murcia went to Paris and fell in love with crepes. When he got back to California, he knew what Southern California needed – a mobile crepe stand. Evolving from his USC Graduate School project, his dream became a reality with Crepes Bonaparte in early 2009. Coming in 5th place on The Great Food Truck Race Season 1, Crepes Bonaparte has truly opened up the eyes of SoCal’s foodie scene as to what crepes should taste like. The best part is watching them make them before your eyes - great food and a show to dazzle the masses.

Crepes are not just sweet, but they come in wonderful savory flavors too. The Caprese is filled with chicken, mozzarella, tomato and pesto. It tastes like a margarita pizza with chicken. It’s light and bursts with flavorful freshness, very healthy. The pesto is fabulous and really makes the crepe pop! Thumbs up!

To read more and see photos, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/restaurant-in-anaheim/crepes-bonaparte-has-the-best-crepe-southern-california-review


OC Food Diva

Crepes Bonaparte Food Truck on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Nori’s in Hilo, HI has a hometown feel with worldly flavors

Beth Ann Nishijima had a dream to open a restaurant. In 1983, her dream became a reality with Nori’s. Her beloved family dog, Nori, became the namesake for this iconic restaurant. It started as a simple noodle shop. Hilo is considered rain forest area so it rains a lot. Noodles and hot soup are perfect on rainy days (and their busiest days for the restaurant). Now, Nori’s is much more than that.

If you’re not from Hilo, this hidden gem can be a bit hard to find. Nestled in a small strip mall that is away from one of the main drags into downtown Hilo, Nori’s neon sign glows and buzzes beckoning you to come closer. Once through the door, the narrow hallway to the dining room is adorned with photos of Beth Ann with famous celebrity chefs. The picture that caught my eye was Beth Ann with Iron Chef French, Hiroyuki Sakai. As you make your way to the dining room, it looks like your typical local restaurant, booths and simple d├ęcor. Don’t let that fool you, the dishes are not at all simple. Some are downright complex. Just like an Iron Chef, Beth Ann infuses local favorites with culinary flavors of the world.

To read more and see photos, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/restaurant-in-anaheim/nori-s-hilo-hi-has-a-hometown-feel-with-worldly-flavors-review


OC Food Diva

Nori's Saimin and Snacks on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Baking stylings of Leora - Brownie Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Leora came up with this creation by thinking outside of her baking collection. She used a brownie cookies recipes she found on allrecipes.com. She sandwiched french vanilla ice cream between 2 cookies. The whole office went wild over these (some even ate a second one!)


OC Food Diva

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Lime Truck wins The Great Food Truck Race Season 2

On Sunday, September 25, 2011, The Lime Truck won The Great Food Truck Season 2. The grand prize was $100,000. How will they celebrate with this chunk of change? Jason Quinn definitely knows what he’s going to do with his share – open his own restaurant. Coming soon to Santa Ana, The Playground will be the new hip place to be for local microbrews and gourmet burgers. I can’t wait to see what innovative creations will be coming out of his kitchen!

Let’s take a look back at some of the food that made The Lime Truck what it is today – an ingredient-driven, fresh food powerhouse.


OC Food Diva

The Lime Truck on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Calbi Truck is serving Korean fusion with tacos, burritos, and quesadillas

Joseph Sue saw that there weren’t many Korean gourmet food trucks around and wanted to stake a claim. In 2010, he opened the Calbi Truck serving healthy Korean fusion food. Unlike his Mexican counterparts, Joe’s taco, burritos, and quesadillas contain no rice nor beans, but are stuffed with fresh meats and vegetables instead. Joe is very customer-oriented and doesn’t like to see the customer wait very long (I know I certainly don’t). You get your order in, your order is up a few minutes later, and you’re on your way. Calbi customers are happy customers!

The beef taco is served with chopped romaine, shredded radish and cheese. The beef was perfectly marinated with a sweet calbi rib flavor until tender. The lettuce and radish were refreshing with a touch of rice wine vinegar and sesame. The flavor combination was outstanding. Thumbs up, way up!

To read more and see photos, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/restaurant-in-anaheim/the-calbi-truck-is-serving-korean-fusion-with-tacos-burritos-and-quesadillas-review


OC Food Diva

Calbi on Urbanspoon