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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bubba Sweets serves up their unique spin on cupcakes in Huntington Beach, CA

Erieka Pimentel (aka Bubba) has been making her family’s 1967 blue ribbon cake recipe for family and friends for years. In September 2011, Erieka and her husband, James, opened up Bubba Sweets to show off her unique spin on cupcakes and other sweets. Her sultry red hair, spunky style, and big smile invite you in. The walls are adorned with a yummy pink color, reminding you of cake frosting. All of their flavors of the day are displayed on silver cake stands and made fresh daily.

PMS Cure is Hershey’s chocolate cake, caramel buttercream, filled and topped with sea salt caramel. The chocolate cake was moist and the scent of chocolate will fill your senses. The caramel buttercream was creamy with a subtle caramel flavor. The star of the cupcake was the homemade caramel. It’s gooey like it just came out of the vat and just before it hits the candy stage. It was velvety and sensual. Don’t forget the middle. Inside you’ll find salted caramel for that sweet and salty balance. Thumbs up, way up!
 
 
 
Mahalo,
 
OC Food Diva

Bubba Sweets on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Celebrate Halloween with Ketel One Oranje Vodka

Picking out the perfect pumpkin can be a challenge. However, mixing up the perfect pumpkin cocktail is easy thanks to this simple recipe from Ketel One. This Halloween, treat your guests to this tasty pumpkin-inspired cocktail that will get them into the spirit of the scary season.

Ketel One Oranje (debuted in 2010) is their Ketel One Vodka infused with the essence of orange for a crisp, refreshing vodka taste. The essence is a result of the careful selection of the best Valencia oranges from around the world. It is refined and blended at a flavor house in Grasse, France. When it is delivered to the Nolet Distillery in Schiedam, Holland, the orange essence is blended with the Ketel One Vodka and allowed to marry for 24 hours. The final result is Ketel One Oranje, a super-premium vodka with a fresh, bright orange zest with hints of warm spice. Each run of Ketel One Oranje is personally approved by a Nolet family member before bottling. It’s the personal dedication to the final product that amazes me about Ketel One, founded in 1691  - over 300 years ago.


To see the recipe, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/review/celebrate-halloween-with-ketel-one-oranje-vodka

Mahalo and Happy Halloween!

OC Food Diva

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My N.Y. Pizza serves family-style Italian cuisine in Fontana, CA

Betty and Jose Torres had a dream of opening a restaurant they could call their own. In 2010, their dream became a reality with My N.Y. Pizza. Everything is made fresh daily from the pizza dough to the sauces with no preservatives. They have a fabulous pasta selection and I watched as the Alfredo sauce was made before my eyes. The scent of fresh garlic and fresh baked pizzas allures you as you open the door. With an open kitchen, you can watch as your order is made. They have nothing to hide. The Torres family also cares about their communities and schools and will donate 30% of sales back to your non-profit organization when you hold a fundraiser with them.

Antipasto Salad is turkey, salami, ham, lettuce, tomato, onions, olives, cheese, red onions, pepperocinis and your choice of dressing. The medium size is enough for 4 people to share. The vegetables were fresh, sweet, and crisp. The mozzarella was cool and creamy. The meats were chopped into perfect bite size pieces and contained the perfect mix of deli meats. The salami was hearty, yet just melted in the mouth like any good Italian cured meat should. The flavors were balanced and their ranch dressing matched perfectly. Thumbs up, way up!



To read more and see photo slideshow: http://www.examiner.com/review/my-n-y-pizza-serves-family-style-italian-cuisine-fontana-ca

Mahalo,

OC Food Diva

My N.Y. Pizza on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Press Release: Total Wine & More introduces next-generation retail experience

ORANGE COUNTY, (August 10, 2012) – Total Wine & More, America’s largest independent retailer of fine wine, spirits and beer, will introduce its new, “next-generation” retail experience in Southern California with the opening of its latest location in Laguna Hills, Calif. on August 16.


The beverage superstore has created a unique retail environment centering around the latest technologies to enhance its customers’ experience, according to David Trone, co-owner of Total Wine & More. Next-generation elements include iPads which allow customers to interact with an app that recommends wine and food pairings, a fully-equipped education center to facilitate wine, beer, and spirits tastings, and flat panel video screens which provide continuous educational content on wine, beer and spirits makers and their trade. Coming soon, QR codes will provide customers with on-demand video content and will include full details of each product’s tasting profile, ratings and price.


“Today’s customers are seeking increased information from retailers about the products they see and like, and Total Wine’s new, ‘next-generation’ environment delivers on all of those fronts,” says Trone, who co-owns Total Wine & More with his brother Robert Trone. “While we continue to focus on delivering market-leading prices, selection, and service, we have expanded our objectives to ensure that we are also technology leaders in our industry.”


The new retail experience in the latest Total Wine & More store begins with flat panel screens at the entrance of the store that stream video content on vintners, their wineries and how the wine is made. At the state-of-the-art tasting bar, customers may utilize Total Wine’s proprietary iPad app, which provides recommendations based on pairing beverages with various meals. Coming soon, customers may utilize QR (quick response) codes to surf the web for product information and price comparisons.


“For example, customers are often seeking suggestions for a wine to pair with dinner,” explains Trone. “Using Total Wine’s app, our customers can input the food they are planning to prepare and the app will provide a recipe as well as multiple recommendations for wines which would pair nicely with the meal.”


Recipes and recommendations may be printed in the store or e-mailed for easy reference while browsing the thousands of wine selections available in each Total Wine Superstore, according to Trone.


In addition to the unique iPad kiosk, Total Wine & More’s new retail environment features an updated education center, equipped with wireless communications capabilities.


“One of the features that makes Total Wine unique is our educational ‘Meet the Maker’ series. These sessions give local customers a chance to interact with well-known makers of wine, beer and spirits to taste and learn about the rich history of various beverages,” says Trone. “Through our enhanced retail design, we will now be able to offer these classes with updated graphics and information, enriching the educational experience for our customers.”


In addition to enhanced tastings, Total Wine & More offers classes on various types of wines, beers and spirits. The state-of-the-art education center is also available to be booked for use by local non-profits and businesses at no charge.


Throughout the new, next-generation store, customers will also enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi, which Trone says is essential in providing price transparency.


“It might surprise people to know that we really want our customers to have the ability to compare prices,” he explains. “By providing customers with connectivity throughout our stores, we are giving them the opportunity to ensure they are getting the best prices in the market when shopping with us.”


Trone adds that “the idea behind each of these enhancements is to provide a fully integrated and enjoyable customer experience.”


About Total Wine & More


Total Wine & More operates 82 wine superstores in 13 states, with expansion reaching 14 states by the end of 2012. The company’s vast selection of products, combined with low everyday prices and expertly trained wine associates, brings a unique shopping experience to the customer. Total Wine & More has the distinction of being Beverage Dynamic’s 2008 Wine Retailer of the Year, Market Watch’s 2006 Retailer of the Year, and Wine Enthusiast’s 2004 Retailer of the Year. Since opening its first store in 1991, Total Wine & More has been committed to being the premier wine retailer in every community that it serves. More information and stores locations are available at www.totalwine.com.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Multi-sensory experience at Taste It! in Fullerton, CA

Tim Heide spent many years in Europe and enjoyed the tasting rooms of not only wineries, but traditional, multi-generational family makers of premium olive oils and balsamic vinegars. He found the perfect place in Fullerton to show the OC this multi-sensory experience called Taste It! Just like wine, olive oils and balsamic vinegars have beautiful tasting notes. When infused with spices, fruits and herbs, they take on a life of their own. The store interior makes you feel like you are in Italy, maybe a Tuscan villa. The scent of fruits, herbs, and spices greets you at the door and beckons you to come inside. Large silver decanters shine brightly inviting you to try. Yes, you can try them all. As you taste, your mind will fill with wonderful combinations like sautéed vegetables, grilled meats, poultry, and seafood, or special vinaigrette. The possibilities are almost endless. They even provide recipes to try.

Let’s take a look at recipes that I tried at home using their olives oils and balsamic vinegars:

Chili Lime Shrimp (http://www.tasteit.co/Recipes.html) is Tiger Prawns, Taste It! Lime Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), Taste It! 25-star dark balsamic vinegar, Taste It! Roasted Chili Olive Oil, shoyu (soy sauce), and cracked black pepper. This recipe is so easy and quick. Mix the ingredients together, marinate the shrimp for at least 30 minutes or longer, and either sauté or grill them up. I was surprised how quickly the shrimp absorbed all of the flavors. As the shrimp cooked, you can experience an aromatic bouquet – from the lime, chili pepper, and sweet balsamic. In about 4 minutes, it’s done to perfection. The flavors are infused and enhance the sweetness of the shrimp. This recipe is a keeper!


To read more and see photo slideshow, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/review/multi-sensory-experience-at-taste-it-fullerton-ca

Mahalo,

OC Food Diva

Monday, October 8, 2012

Press Release: JOIE DE VIVRE HOTELS ANNOUNCES “DITCH” INITIATIVE AT PROPERTIES THROUGHOUT THE SOUTHWEST

San Francisco, CA (July 27, 2012)-- To celebrate the carefree spirit of the summer, Joie de Vivre Hotels is putting extra emphasis on the "play hard" part of the phrase "work hard, play hard" with the kick-off of their Ditch campaign, launching this week at six of JDV's boutique properties throughout the Southwest.  We all need a day (or two, or three) to ditch the stresses of everyday life and go off the grid whether that means getting a tattoo followed by cocktails at Hotel Erwin in Venice Beach, or touring celebrity mansions followed by dinner at The Saguaro in Palm Springs.  We've got something for everyone.  All you need is an excuse to Ditch and in incognito photo taken upon check-in to prove your rebellion.  Those with the best excuses and photos get entered to win a grand prize later in the year.  The price of the package ranges per property - the desert hotels average $129.00 while the beach hotels average $249.00. 

Here's the breakdown of how it works: 
  1. Pick a hotel.  The choices are The Shorebreak Hotel in Huntington Beach, Pacific Edge in Laguna Beach, Hotel Erwin in Venice, Custom Hotel near LAX, The Saguaro in Palm Springs, and The Saguaro in Scottsdale.  
  2. Select an experience-based package based on the desired length of Ditch time and the activities you like. Rates vary depending on the property and time of week. 
  3. Find an event near your destination of choice to enhance the Ditch experience. 
  4. Tweet your best excuse for a chance to win a free 2-night stay at the property of your choice later in the year. 
  5. Take a photo upon arrival in a disguise provided by the hotel to share your experience while still being incognito.  The best photo also wins a 2-night stay.  

Ditch campaign and contests runs starting now thru November 15, 2012.  Visit www.ditchcampaign.com for further information and details.

You have a little more than a month left! If you pick The Shorebreak Hotel, get some grub or tasty libations from Zimzala, located inside the hotel!



Mahalo,

OC Food Diva

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Tam O’Shanter celebrates its 90th anniversary in Los Angeles, CA

It all started back on June 26, 1922, when Lawrence L. Frank and Walter Van de Kamp opened Tam O’Shanter. It became one of the first restaurants in the country to offer drive-in service. Distinctive Storybook-style architecture designed by Hollywood set designer Harry Oliver. The Tam was named after the famous poem, “Tam O’Shanter”, by Scottish poet Robert Burns. The Scottish motif is evident on the interior from Scottish medieval weapons, crests, kilts, tartans, and Coats of Arms. Hamburger steaks were their specialty for almost 40 years until the introduction of their current specialty, Prime Rib, in the late 1950s. If you have never been to a Lawry’s restaurant and not had their Prime Rib, you are missing out. It is the best in the country - always tender, juicy and consistent no matter which location you go to. It tastes exactly the same and I’m not kidding when I say, “You can cut it with a butter knife.” The Tam has a casual atmosphere with Scottish charm.

There is a lot of history at this location. Walt Disney was one of their most loyal patrons from 1925 to 1939. He even had his own table, #31. Disney’s Hyperion Studios were right down the street at the time and Tam O’Shanter became the unofficial commissary for the studio employees. Animators would sketch their ideas on napkins at the bar and the server would deliver Walt’s drink with these napkin sketches. Talk about getting your ideas in front of your boss!


To read more and see photo slideshow, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/review/tam-o-shanter-celebrates-its-90th-anniversary-los-angeles-ca

Mahalo,

OC Food Diva

The Tam O'Shanter on Urbanspoon

Gotta Have S’more is the evolution of campfire comfort sweets

Carmen Lindner and her husband had joked around for many years about opening a S’more store. One day, Carmen decided to get in the kitchen and start experimenting with different shapes. This was the first time she really enjoyed baking and couldn’t stop creating. In December 2009, the S’muffin was born =  S’more goodness in the shape of a muffin. It’s not a cupcake or muffin as there is no cake in it at all. It has graham cracker on the bottom with roasted marshmallow on top. A candy piece is buried on top (also a great product identifier for the flavor of each S’muffin) and the bottom is hand-dipped in either white or dark chocolate (to match the candy piece). Gotta Have S’more also donates a portion of their proceeds to support Women for Women International, which helps women survivors of war rebuild their lives.

Let’s take a look at some of the different options to tickle your S’more palate:

Milk Chocolate S’muffin is everything you remember as a child, gooey marshmallow, crunchy graham cracker, and silky milk chocolate (candy piece on top and chocolate dipped on the bottom). As you bite into it, the flavor combination takes you aback for a moment. As the chocolate melts in your mouth with the marshmallow and graham cracker, it takes on a more decadent flavor than just S’more. It’s more of a dessert than sweet snack. Thumbs up, way up!


To read more and see slideshow of photos, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/review/gotta-have-s-more-is-the-evolution-of-campfire-comfort-sweets

Mahalo,

OC Food Diva

Monday, October 1, 2012

Tony Roma’s in Fullerton, CA is famous for their ribs and more

It all started on January 20, 1972. The first Tony Roma’s opened in North Miami, Florida with a simple menu or great tasting food, reasonable prices, late evening service, and live entertainment. People traveled  miles to sample the signature Baby Back Ribs. Now, almost 40 years later, Tony Roma’s is nearly 200 locations strong spanning 33 countries! The Fullerton location opened in 1988 and still going strong. The restaurant is decorated with red brick walls and a festive mural with different translations for "Famous for the Ribs". They even have a great bar area if you're meeting friends after work for happy hour.

The sourdough rolls are glistening and crusty on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. The garlic butter is awesome and goes great with the sourdough rolls.


To read more and see photo slideshow, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/review/tony-roma-s-fullerton-ca-is-famous-for-their-ribs-and-more

Mahalo,

OC Food Diva

Tony Roma's on Urbanspoon