The Champion's Table
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Monday, December 30, 2013

Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop’s New Cocktail Menu in Costa Mesa, CA

With two successful Costa Mesa locations under their belt, Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop debuted a new cocktail menu – unique cocktails made with wine-based liquors and house made ingredients. With flavors that remind you of the holidays or a warm, winter day in Orange County, the bar staff has just the right libation to wet your whistle.

Let’s take a look at some items on the New Cocktail Menu:

Cranberry Noir contains Leese Fitch Pinot Noir, cranberry juice, vanilla extract, lemon zest, sea salt, and sparkling soda. It had a light flavor - creamy vanilla aroma on the nose and floral finish. The lemon zest added a zingy flavor. I found the cranberry flavor was too subtle as the pinot noir took over the palate, but had a beautiful deep magenta color. Thumbs up!

To read more and see slideshow, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/review/greenleaf-gourmet-chopshop-s-new-cocktail-menu-costa-mesa-ca

Mahalo,

OC Food Diva

Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 29, 2013

OC Food Diva: Leftover Creations

OC Food Diva: Leftover Creations: Here are some leftovers creations I made over the Thanksgiving holiday: Jalapeno Spam, Chopped Green Beans, and Egg Breakfast Tacos ...

Leftover Creations

Here are some leftovers creations I made over the Thanksgiving holiday:

Jalapeno Spam, Chopped Green Beans, and Egg Breakfast Tacos

Hawaiian-Style Corned Beef Patty (made by my mom) with sunny side egg.

Quick Strawberry Shortcake - Pound cake, whipped cream, and sliced strawberries.



Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Scott’s Restaurant and Bar serves up Winter 2013 Crafted Cocktails in Costa Mesa, CA

Scott’s Restaurant & Bar has been part of the South Coast Plaza experience for 24 years offering sustainable seafood and prime-aged steaks for theatre attendees and shoppers alike. Honestly, I haven’t been to Scott’s since the mid-1990s while I was dating my future husband. As I entered, I noticed that the name had changed from Scott’s Seafood to Scott’s Restaurantand Bar. The entry was as beautiful as I remembered with the tropical flora and then the formal welcome as you enter the reception area of the restaurant. The newest member to the Scott’s Restaurant family is lead mixologist, James Wood. James brings his award-winning experience and passion about mixology to create and craft cocktails that are approachable, yet sexy and sophisticated.

Here’s a peek at the new Winter 2013 Crafted Cocktails Menu:

Blossom contains Templeton Rye (whiskey), St-Germain (Elderflower liqueur), Noilly Prat (French vermouth), and whiskey barrel bitters. By itself, it was very strong and masculine in flavor. But when paired with the Scott's Burger (served in slider form for the tasting), the flavor actually changed to caramel and citrus which complemented the beef, Havarti cheese, and homemade pizza dough bun. Thumbs up, way up!

To read more and see slideshow, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/review/scott-s-restaurant-and-bar-serves-up-winter-2013-crafted-cocktails-costa-mesa

Mahalo,

OC Food Diva

Scott's Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Giveaway: Veggie Grill serves 100% plant-based food in a casual atmosphere along the West Coast


It started in 2006 when T.K. Pillan and Kevin Boylan formed a partnership to create a new restaurant that offered great-tasting, convenient, feel-good food. Along with Chief Foodie Ray White, they hoped to show people how delicious and enjoyable plant-based food could be when prepared correctly. Veggie Grill is also taking advantage of the fresh, local seasonal produce so entrees will always feature the freshest and most sustainable products available during any season. Keep reading and find out how you can win a free entrée from Veggie Grill!

 Harvest Bowl is Field Roast sausage, herb-roasted veggies, super grains, porcinis, mushroom and miso gravy, and hemp seeds. The Field Roast sausage, even though it was vegetarian, had a familiar texture and sausage-like flavor. I loved the herb-roasted vegetables, but I think the root vegetables need to either be roasted separately or roasted longer as they were a bit undercooked. The rest of the vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, and zucchini) were perfectly roasted. The super grains gave it a hearty, nutty flavor. The kale added a refreshing green flavor. Thumbs up, way up!


Bombay Bowl is herb-roasted veggies, super grains, steamed kale, cannellini beans, cilantro/green curry sauce with coconut milk, almonds, and hemp seeds. As with the Harvest Bowl, the root vegetables need to be roasted longer. The green curry sauce was mild and complemented the taste of the vegetables. I liked the contrasting textures from the soft cannellini beans and the crispy almonds. Thumbs up!


Herb- Roasted Veggies is on the Sides menu -- a seasonal selection of herb-roasted root vegetables, squash, mushrooms, and red onions. Again, the root vegetables need to be roasted longer, but the rest of the vegetables were al dente. The mushrooms absorbed the flavors from the herbs and acted as the "salt and pepper" for the vegetables. This is a great vegetable side option instead of fries.


Mexi-Mini is a Mini Wrap with a taco blend, Mexican spices, avocado, lettuce, and spicy sauce. The aroma from the wrap was just like a burrito you would get at a fast food restaurant from the spices. The texture was similar to chicken but a little softer. If you are familiar with sesos (brains) in Mexican cuisine or a tofu burrito, the texture is very similar to that. The flavor isn't very spicy and could be a little hotter. Interesting for a snack concept but not for dine in. I would suggest ordering some sides if you plan on eating this for a meal.


Buffalo-Mini is a Mini Wrap with Buffalo Chickin’ tender, lettuce, and ranch dressing. It has a really good buffalo flavor, just spicy enough. The Chickin’ tender has a texture just like that of a chicken nugget or patty and even looks like chicken when you bit into it. But again, interesting for a snack concept but not for dine in. I would suggest ordering some sides if you plan on eating this for a meal. I also think that this buffalo chickin’ would work great on a salad. I’ll have to try the B-Wing Salad next time. Thumbs up, way up!


BBQ Tempeh Plate is organic blackened tempeh, caramelized onions, house-made BBQ sauce, super grains, and cole slaw. Tempeh has a very different texture and flavor that you may not be accustomed to. This is definitely for the hard core vegetarian. Truthfully, I had a really hard time eating this. I prefer the other “protein” styles better. The house-made BBQ sauce was really good with sautéed onions. The cole slaw was refreshingly creamy and the currants added a nice sweetness to it.


Quinoa Power Salad is Quinoa + Kale Salad, avocado, fresh fennel, cannellini beans, carrots, almonds, currants, mint, citrus dressing, and hemp seeds. This salad was light and the mint added a refreshing flavor. It was hearty from quinoa. The avocados they use are very cool and creamy, almost like the ones we have in Hawaii, with a buttery flavor. I would add the Chickin’ protein to this one as well. Thumbs up!


Chocolate Pudding Parfait is made-from-scratch pudding, topped with chocolate sauce, crushed cookies, and walnuts. I heard the carrot cake is awesome, but due to my allergies, I wasn’t able to try it. Instead, I tried the Chocolate Pudding Parfait and it was very good. Almost a cross between a pudding and a mousse, it was silky smooth, yet had a rich chocolate flavor like a gourmet mousse. The chocolate sauce intensified the flavor and the walnuts and cookies added a crunchy texture. Thumbs up, way up!

Try Veggie Grill for your next meal! Find out how to enter for a free Veggie Grill entrée below.
  
Giveaway: Win a free entrée from Veggie Grill! Here’s how to enter:
  • Commenting below on the Veggie Grill blog post on OC Food Diva
  • Liking the Veggie Grill post on OC Food Diva’s Facebook page
  • Retweet the Veggie Grill post on OC Food Diva’s Twitter page
  • One (1) winner will be chosen at random after giveaway closes on Tuesday, December 31, 2013.

Atmosphere: 5 out of 5 stars
Décor: 4 out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Food: 4 out of 5 stars

For more information:
22 locations and counting on the West Coast – Find one near you
Like them on Facebook
Follow them on Twitter

Veggie Grill on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The 10th Annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival: The Grand Tasting, Part 2

Ready to read more about the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival’s The Grand Tasting!

Uptown Tavern, owned by the Verant Group, Robert Jones, and David Cohen, opened in 2012 with Chef Dana holding down the fort in the Hillcrest district of San Diego. They served Persimmon and Pineapple Halo Halo with condensed milk caramel, avocado ice cream and pistachios. OMG! Best Halo Halo ever! Avocado ice cream! Yes, avocado is a fruit and matched perfectly as a creamy, cool ice cream. The shaved ice added a contrasting texture. The persimmon and pineapple added a tangy, sweet, refreshing flavor. This was the best dessert item at the festival. Reserve your table today!


Mahalo,

OC Food Diva

Uptown Tavern on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 29, 2013

The 10th Annual San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival: The Grand Tasting, Part 1

Excitement was in the air as the VIP early entry started at 11:00am. With general admission starting at high noon, foodies and wine aficionados patiently waited with live music and perused food & wine magazines feeding their taste buds with anticipation. As high noon rolled around, people were clapping and cheering as the line started to move. With over 170 wine & spirit purveyors pouring over 700 different wines, there is no way to try them all. The trick is not to be overwhelmed and just pace yourself. Interspersed were 70 of San Diego's Top Chefs and over 30 gourmet food companies for you to nosh your way through.

Rubio's served up Regal Springs Blackened Tilapia Tacos. The slightly spicy flavor worked well with the tender, flaky tilapia. The creamy sauce added cool, refreshing flavor to the crispy cabbage. Lolailo Sangria garnished with lime and mandarin orange was fruity and refreshing like adult punch. Rubio’s strives to offer seafood that is certified sustainable  or from responsibly managed fisheries that maintain healthy populations and ecosystems. Currently, 85% of the seafood served at Rubio’s is certifiedsustainable. Seasonal Langostino Lobster Taco and burritos are now available until Tuesday, January 7, 2014. Find a Rubio’s near you and try some of these options for you next meal!


Mahalo,

OC Food Diva

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Creekside Farms has the perfect gift for the special foodie in your life

Carol and Larry Umbarger moved to a Monterey County ranch in 1969 to offer their children a rural upbringing and space for their seven horses. As their children grew older, the Umbargers were trying to figure out how to pay for their oldest children's college tuitions. In the 1980’s, they started to grow ornamental and culinary herbs. To help a Smith and Hawkins’ vendor meet a deadline, the Umbargers learned how to make herbal wreaths and the rest is history. Now, Creekside Farms is featured in major catalogs such as Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, and Harry and David.


To read more and see slideshow, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/review/creekside-farms-has-the-perfect-gift-for-the-special-foodie-your-life

Mahalo,

OC Food Diva

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Heighten your senses with Ascendant Spirits in Buellton, CA

Stephen Gertman, Master Distiller, organized Ascendant Spirits with the help from friends and family in late 2011. It is the first craft distillery in Santa Barbara County to legally produce whisky, vodka, moonshine, and other spirits since prohibition. Ascendant Spirits uses the best American grains and local organic produce to make its distinctive, handcrafted spirits. A 500-gallon American-made custom-built copper still is used to patiently produce small batches of distinctive spirits.

Silver Lightning Moonshine is ultra-premium moonshine with floral and maize (from the 100% American yellow corn) notes and a mildly sweet finish. It is also received the 2013 Double Gold Winner at the New York International Spirits Competition. The SoCal MoonshineFlash is a fun drink with the agave syrup adding a caramel-like flavor and tangy zing from lime juice. The lime juice actually softens the moonshine’s harsh bite (straight up). It’s strong stuff but could easily be used as a vodka alternative.





Mahalo,

OC Food Diva