Orange County Welcomes the Inaugural Golden Foodie Awards September 30

Orange County is pleased to present the 2012 Golden Foodie Awards. The inaugural red carpet culinary awards show will celebrate the best in local food, restaurants and chefs. The Golden Foodie Awards season will launch in June with a calendar of special foodie events at restaurants and venues throughout the county leading up to the main Awards night gala on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at The Fairmont Newport Beach.

“Food unites us all,” comments Pamela Waitt, Creator of the Golden Foodie Awards and President of the OC Restaurant Association. “So we wanted to honor that unity with a season long grand celebration of everything culinary.”

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OC Food Diva

House of Balsamic brings aged balsamic vinegars from Italy to the cucina in the OC

House of Balsamic is an importer and distributor of fine Italian food products in Orange County. They are always in pursuit of unique gourmet food to create amazing culinary experiences. They offer high-quality ingredients and a knowledgeable staff, who are available to answer any questions along the way.

House of Balsamic takes quality to the highest level. They travel abroad to find the rarest and highest-quality artisan products from around the world, making these products readily accessible and available to their customers in the United States.

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OC Food Diva

House of Balsamic Academy on Urbanspoon

Seasons 52 unveils new summer menu for 2012

On June 19, 2012, Seasons 52 rolled out their new summer menu across the country savoring the fresh flavors of summer. Just like the name, Seasons 52 is always inspired by seasonal, farm-fresh produce and meats. I have personally been to the Fort Lauderdale and Orlando locations many times. I am so happy that we now have a location in Orange County where everyone can experience their wonderful cuisine. The restaurant interior is cozy with a slightly dark ambiance, which makes you focus on your food instead everyone else. Even on a Tuesday night, the dining room was bustling. I always get a little giddy when I go to a Seasons 52 as the surprise of what is on the menu just makes me so excited – the life of a foodie!

Let’s take a look at some of the new items to start your summer culinary adventure, presented by Clifford Pleau, Senior Director of Culinary, and George Miliotes, Master Sommelier:

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OC Food Diva

Seasons 52 on Urbanspoon

Downtown 3rd Farmers Market is an artisanal food fest every Friday

The old bus depot on the corner of North Casino Center Boulevard and East Stewart Avenue turns into the Downtown 3rd Farmers Market every Friday. This is unlike your traditional farmers market of produce farmers and ranchers. You still get the initial sense of a farmers market atmosphere when you enter the front door. Beautiful fruits and vegetables dazzle the senses with vibrant colors and wonderful sweet and savory scents. I was surprised how many fruits and vegetables are able to grow in the Las Vegas heat from beautiful leafy greens like arugula to sexy red strawberries. But as you walk pass the produce, the market turns into an artisan’s delight.

Let’s take a look at some of the vendors:  

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OC Food Diva

Eden Café is turning out Asian fusion cuisine for the college crowd in Fullerton, CA

Lucy always wanted her own restaurant. A perfect location opened up in Downtown Fullerton where the Lollicup used to be. With the interior already set-up as a tea-boba house, Eden Café opened in August 2010, serving food as well as all of the tea & fruit drinks that people crave. The interior is very neo-Tokyo with comfy sofas, chairs, and games. With Fullerton College within walking distance and Cal State Fullerton within a few minutes’ drive, it’s the perfect hang out for college student before, between, and after classes. It’s great place just to unwind and relax or sip a drink and munch while studying for your next class. It’s also a great place to meet for a study group. Lucy’s aspirations have raised the culinary bar. She makes her own soy milk for Eden Café’s beverages and prepares the fresh spring rolls daily.

Passion Fruit Tea is a great summer drink. Ice cold and subtly flavored with passion fruit, it’s a nice alternative if you’re not into the sweet drinks, yet want something cold. Thumbs up!

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OC Food Diva

Adoboloco Jalapeno Sauce bottles up jalapeno flavor with aloha

Tim Parsons and his family love to cook. Food brings the ohana together in the Hawaiian Islands. It all started from the family’s home school garden. With fertile volcanic soil, the jalapenos ripen in abundance. They didn’t want the produce to go bad, so Tim put on his thinking cap and decided to make a sauce with them. Eventually, it became a staple condiment on their table in an old shoyu (soy sauce) bottle. As family and friends came over, they wanted their own bottle to take home with them to use at their house. In 2011, Tim brought his family recipe to the public as Adoboloco Jalapeno Sauce. I can see why. This sauce is very tasty.

Here are two recipes that we tried with the Adoboloco Jalapeno Sauce:

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The Gravy Train Poutinerie is Canadian comfort food fit for the silver screen

Tum Cohl and Evan Goldberg are Canadian natives who moved to Los Angeles to start their careers in the movie and music industries. After moving from Canada, they missed a special part of their college days in Montreal – poutine. Poutine is a Canadian comfort food consisting of fries, gravy, and cheese curds. A light bulb went off! With many Canadian transplants in California, they decided to start a stand on movie sets to cater to the hungry production crews. They became so popular, that in March 2012, they made a move to the gourmet food truck world.

The Poutine Sliders are two mini all-beef burgers topped with hand-cut fries, fresh cheese curds, and choice of gravy on sweet Hawaiian rolls. These were amazing! The hand-formed, plump patties were juicy and flavorful. Having poutine actually in the slider added a crunchy texture from the crispy fries, velvety texture and porky flavor from the gravy, and creamy saltiness from the cheese curds. The sweet Hawaiian roll gave it a little sweetness to bring it all together. These giant sliders were served with even more crispy fries and sprinkled with a little sea salt. This was so good - a meal in itself! Thumbs up, way up!

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OC Food Diva

Border Grill Truck offers “Too Hot Tamales” flavors on the go in Southern California

Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken have gone mobile with their take of bold flavors of Mexico. It is not an impossible task, as many gourmet food trucks have proven, to have fresh, restaurant quality food out of a mobile food truck. Foodies flock from miles around just to see the crazy truck designs and delight their taste buds. Chefs Susan and Mary Sue had the perfect concept to go mobile with their modern Mexican cuisine. Let’s take a look at some of their ingenious menu choices.

Quinoa Fritters are made with quinoa (crunchy Aztec grain), cojita cheese, and topped with aji amarillo aioli. These babies had a crunchy exterior (from the deep fryer) with a nutty flavor from the quinoa. The cilantro and cojita cheese on the inside pumped up the flavor a bunch of notches. It was the perfect snack food – like a healthy tater tot! Thumbs up, way up!

Carne Asada Quesadilla contains lime, garlic marinated, grilled steak and Mexican cheeses. The carne asada was tender and the cheese made the meat taste like lamb by adding a little earthiness. I loved it! The sauce was flavorful and complemented the meat and cheese without overpowering. Thumbs up, way up!

Green Corn Tamal is sweet corn, crema, and salsa fresca. This is the best street food! The cone was a great vehicle choice and lends to walking around. The corn was like the best creamed corn I’ve ever had! It was sweet, fresh, and creamy. The sour cream and salsa added different flavor experiences. The mild salsa gave it a zingy flavor. Thumbs up, way up!

Yucatan Pork Taco is roasted achiote pork, pickled onion, and orange salsa. If you have been to the Border Grill restaurants, it’s the Yucatan Pork in a taco form. The pork had a good balance of meat and pork fat giving it the taste that you know and love about pork. It was juicy and tender. The pickled onion gave it that touch of tartness which worked really well. The orange salsa added a bit of sweetness and refreshing flavor. The tortillas were awesome! They were fresh and thick, no double tortilla necessary like your typical street taco. Thumbs up, way up!

Carne Asada Taco is grilled steak, salsa fresca, and guacamole. The steak was tender just like the quesadilla. Though the toppings didn’t quite make it on the “wow” scale, it was still a good carne asada street taco wrapped in a fabulous tortilla. Thumbs up!

Churro Tots are dulce de leche infused churros, cinnamon sugar, and served with whipped cream for dipping. These are amazing! It was like 3 desserts in one – fritters, churros, and dulce de leche cake. They were crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. These little devils will tempt you for more. If you think you are going to share an order, think again. Get an order for yourself! Thumbs up, way up!

If you are looking for mucho flavor on the go, check out Border Grill Truck. You won’t regret it!

Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Food: 5 out of 5 stars

For more information:
Trucking around Southern California

Border Grill Truck Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Melissa’s Deluxe Pantry Box Recipe Series: Quinoa Cranberry Pudding Parfait

Melissa’s Deluxe Pantry Box in this post was provided by Melissa’s Produce but the opinions expressed here are my own.