OC Food Diva Orange County restaurants

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Summer in South America: Handcrafted, "Winter" Cocktails at The CANTINA at Border Grill Downtown LA

Border Grill Downtown LA's cocktails are flying south for the winter and landing in sunny, summertime South America.  Inspired by regional spirits of South America and vibrant flavors from the Hollywood Farmers Market, Border Grill Downtown LA’s mixologist, “Cantinero” Alexander Fazio, and Bar Manager Jane Park have crafted four new cocktails that will have you dreaming about your next exotic getaway.  The Pisco Sangre marries Peruvian brandy with blood orange for a perfectly balanced sweet tart sipper.  The Coco Falso features the Andean fruit cherimoya and antioxidant-rich coconut water for an elevated spin on the ubiquitous piña colada.  Argentina's love of bitters led to the creation of the Argentine Agridulce with its bittersweet, herbaceous bite.  And the Omim-fum-fum is Brazilian Carnival in a cocktail shaker with its potent cachaça punch softened by passionfruit, guava, and Meyer lemon.  For an up-close, personal experience, watch the "cantineros" or bartenders in action in The CANTINA at Border Grill Downtown LA, now through March 21, 2012.

Pisco Sangre - pisco, blood orange   13.00
Coco Falso - 10 cane rum, cherimoya, coconut water   13.00
Omim-fum-fum - meyer lemon infused cachaça, passionfruit, guava   13.00
Argentine Agridulce - pimm's, aperol, orange bitters   13.00
Cantinero’s Creation - you call it, we create it   13.00 

Border Grill Downtown LA
445 S. Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA  90071
213.486.5171

Saturday, February 25, 2012

CITY Night at Border Grill

Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger Cook Nostalgic - Featuring the Flavors that Launched Their Careers

The menu that launched the careers of celebrity Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger is back for one night only on Wednesday, February 29! Before they were Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” and Food Network’s “Too Hot Tamales”, these young chefs were shaping the culinary landscape of Los Angeles forever at their first restaurant CITY (1981-1995) with dishes from Thailand, India, Greece, Italy, France, and beyond. Whether you’re feeling nostalgic for the original CITY, or just in the mood for bold, eclectic flavors, CITY Night is a journey back in time you’ll look forward to again for years to come! Menu details coming soon . . .

Wednesday, February 29, 2012
5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Border Grill Downtown LA
445 S. Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90071
213.486.5171
http://www.bordergrill.com/

It's next week - make your reservations now!

Mahalo!

OC Food Diva

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Valentines' Day Family Edibles

Chocolate Covered Strawberries made by my sister-in-law.

Manju made by my momma.

Fog Harbor Fish House offers quintessential waterfront dining in San Francisco, CA

Scooter Simmons has always been passionate about the restaurant business. 35 years of working his way up the ranks from washing dishes and waiting tables has made him appreciate what people want from their dining experience. Fog Harbor Fish House opened in 2007 and has been giving the visitors of Pier 39 the perfect dining experience with beautiful views of the San Francisco Bay. It is the first and only sustainable seafood restaurant on the pier. Simmons also owns the Pier Market, Wipeout Bar & Grill, and Biscoff Coffee Corner on Pier 39 which his family works and operates. Food brings the family together.

Fog Harbor Fish House located on the 2nd level of Pier 39 with unobstructed views of the San Francisco Bay. You can even hear the barking of sea lions in the background. The interior reminds me of a yacht house with wood accents with a nautical feel. During the day, plenty of windows let in the natural light making the restaurant bright and vibrant, inviting you in with the scent of fresh seafood in the air. At night, it becomes more elegant with low lighting and lights from the city and surrounding area reflecting in the bay. The service is attentive, making every visitor, whether you are a first-timer or a regular, feel special. Your dining experience starts out with the standard bread of San Francisco, sourdough. The sourdough has a wonderful glaze on the outside for a crispier crust. The fluffy interior is chewy and has that great sourdough taste.

To read more and see photos, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/restaurant-in-anaheim/fog-harbor-fish-house-offers-quintessential-waterfront-dining-san-francisco-review

Mahalo!

OC Food Diva

Fog Harbor Fish House on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Home Skillet Truck Brings Modern American Comfort Food to Orange County, CA

Chef Christie Morisoli has worked in restaurant kitchens in Austin, San Francisco, and our own Orange County, CA. She went on to start her own catering company, Lula, in 2009.  She partnered up with her boyfriend, Vinnie Gagliano, to develop a food truck concept. On August 6, 2011, The Home Skillet Truck was born and now feeds the hungry masses looking for the comfort food they crave with a modern twist. They are a free-spirited bunch – Vinnie runs the front of house, order taker/pickup window, and Christie runs the back of the house, cooking and creating wonderful dishes for you to try. I also love the ironing boards used as standing tables for folks to eat and mingle with each other.

Pork Belly Sliders are topped with Serrano aioli, Home Skillet sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese. These sliders are HUGE! The pork belly was tender and juicy. The Serrano aioli was mildly spicy and matched perfectly with the pork. The Swiss was melty, gooey, and enveloped the pork belly so lovingly. Not too crazy for the sauerkraut. The sliders work just fine without it. Thumbs up!

To read more and see photos, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/restaurant-in-anaheim/the-home-skillet-truck-brings-modern-american-comfort-food-to-orange-county-ca-review

Mahalo!

OC Food Diva

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Reserve Your Seat: Four Course Prix Fixe Brunch at SoCo Farmers’ Market on March 10, 2012

SoCo Farmers’ Market presents a Four Course Prix Fixe Brunch with Chef Joe Youkhan’s Tasting Spoon and Chef Carlos Salgado’s Taco Maria on Saturday, March 10, 2012. The Four Course Menu is inspired by SoCo’s own Farmers’ Market ingredients. For $45 per person, it includes all the culinary mastery and artistry of two of Orange County’s best chefs, reserved seating, table service, bottled water, and sales tax. The pre-sale only reservation line is open now – 949.973.7102.

This concept came about a few months ago, when Chef Joe Youkhan and Chef Carlos Salgado met during a SoCo lunch event. In the foodie world, “chef crushes” are happening all of the time. Both chefs couldn’t believe the flavors that were coming out of each other’s trucks. This chef crush became a friendship and gave them an idea of showcasing their real talents of making 5-star food from their own food truck kitchens. Both trucks have elaborate kitchens, stocked with equipment you would find in a high-end restaurant. With fresh, organic, farm-fresh foods available to them right in SoCo’s Farmers’ Market, their culinary canvas is ready to dazzle foodies around Orange County.

To read more and see photos, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/restaurant-in-anaheim/four-course-prix-fixe-brunch-at-soco-farmers-market-on-march-10-2012

Mahalo!

OC Food Diva

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pholicious in Irvine, CA is delicious

Hidden in a business park on the corner of Alton Parkway and Irvine Boulevard, is Pholicious. The tables and chairs are mix-matched much like a noodle shop in Vietnam would be. The service is scattered, but is very typical of most Southeast Asian restaurants. The food is totally worth it.

#4 Pho Tai Sach is noodle soup with rare steak and book tripe and topped with thinly sliced onions and chopped green onions. Their broth is lovingly made with a deep rich flavor of beef and spices. The basis of any Pho is the broth. If the broth isn’t good, you might as well throw in the towel. Pho here is served with bean sprout, Thai basil, lime wedges, and jalapeno slices. Make sure to put in the bean sprouts and tear up the basil leaves when you get the soup. Stir it around so the flavors mix and the sprouts absorb the tasty broth. If you are feeling a little daring, squirt in some Vietnamese chili sauce and you’re good to go. It’s extremely spicy, but also adds the benefit of a slightly sweet flavor. The rare steak was thinly sliced and rare. If you like your meat cooked a little more, just swirl it around in the broth. It will cook in less than a minute. The book tripe adds a unique texture and flavor to the dish. It’s a little chewy and crunchy, but flavorful without the fattiness like honeycomb tripe tends to be in menudo. This combination of flavors and textures makes a great dish. Thumbs up, way up!

To read more and see photos, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/restaurant-in-anaheim/pholicious-irvine-ca-is-delicious-review

Mahalo!

OC Food Diva

Pholicious Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

California Grill Truck brings Korean/Japanese fusion to the streets of Orange County, CA

Danny Moon worked in the Korean and Japanese restaurant business for 9 years doing everything from washing dishes to apprenticing for top notch sushi chefs. His love of Japanese food and Korean heritage became his dream come true with his own food truck in August 2011. Absent the confinement enforced by restaurant menus, Danny can work his culinary magic and create beautiful Asian-inspired dishes from his own food truck. He loves to talk about his food. If you have questions, feel free to ask him. He wants to make sure you’re happy!

The Short Rib (Kalbi) Sub is da bomb! The bread is fresh and has a great texture that matches with the kalbi. The kalbi is perfectly flavored, more teriyaki-like but super-tender. The Euro-lettuce blend adds a bit of crispy and spicy green flavors to the mix. This is the perfect size for a meal, no sides necessary. Thumbs up, way up!

To read more and see photos, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/restaurant-in-anaheim/california-grill-truck-brings-korean-japanese-fusion-to-orange-county-ca-review

Mahalo!

OC Food Diva

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tommy Bahama’s Island Grille in Newport Beach, CA serves up Island Inspired Upscale Cuisine

Located in the bustling Corona Del Mar Plaza, Tommy Bahama’s Island Grille stands out from the rest of the store fronts with the exterior look of an island-style plantation house – tall wooden window shutters and tropical plants everywhere. The interior is cozy – dark wood from floor to the ceiling, comfy booths with cushy pillows just like home and fits their brand motto, “Make Life One Long Weekend.” It’s earned its place in the plaza since it opened in November 1998 as Tommy Bahama’s Tropical Cafe. In 2007, it went through a renovation, changed its name to Tommy Bahama’s Island Grille, and hired Chef Jacquelyn Nabong (originally from Kona, HI) to showcase her talents in fresh seafood and seasonal cuisine. This location serves some of the most popular items that Tommy Bahama’s is known for but also has dishes that you can only find in Newport Beach. 13 locations in all, stretching from Myrtle Beach, SC to Kihea, HI with a new location opening this fall in New York City.

Something new called Muse Bites – little daily complimentary mini bites from the kitchen to get your taste buds going. On this occasion, it was a Fluke Ceviche Shot. It was perfectly flavored with a mild citrus flavor. The fish was luscious with a mild flavor which allowed absorption of the citrus flavor as the perfect compliment. The caviar on top added a little luxurious flavor with a slightly salty finish. Thumbs up!

To read more and see photos, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/restaurant-in-anaheim/tommy-bahama-s-island-grille-serves-up-island-inspired-upscale-cuisine-review

Mahalo!

OC Food Diva

Tommy Bahama's Bar & Grille on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Chinese New Year Potluck

I'm glad to work at a place that loves to cook! Check out some of these dishes made by our employees:

 Shrimp Fried Rice

Spicy Noodles

Hand-carved roast pork tenderloin

Vegetable Tempura

Organic Potato Salad

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies

Kiffles

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Just Married & Cooking is a great starter cookbook for newlyweds and beyond

Do you want to learn about cooking and just don’t know where to start? Are you engaged, overwhelmed by the sea of kitchenwares, and don’t know what you should put on your registry? Are you a newlywed and don’t know what to do with the kitchenwares you received as gifts? Just Married & Cooking is your beginning survival guide to make every day food for your family and easy luxurious dishes for dinner parties.

The cookbook has an introduction and two parts for recipes. The introduction goes over items for your kitchen registry, pantry items, glossary of cooking terms, and caveats (information that may be common sense to a chef, but not to a beginner). Part 1 “Life As We Know It” contains recipes for everyday cooking for family at home. Part 2 “New Traditions” contains recipes for entertaining or special occasions like Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Eve to celebrate with your family and friends. I would have found this cookbook helpful when I starting cooking 20 years ago.

To read more and see photos, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/restaurant-in-anaheim/just-married-cooking-is-a-great-starter-cookbook-for-newlyweds-and-beyond-review

Mahalo!

OC Food Diva