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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Madera Wine Trail, Part 2: Westbrook Wine Farm

Driving south from Idle Hour Winery in Oakhurst, I could enjoy the beautiful foliage as we whisked passed on rock carved roads toward O’Neals, CA. As you leave the mountain area, it opens up and reminded me of scenery in Oregon – open space, greenery, and overcast rays of sunshine.

Westbrook Wine Farm is a quaint winery located in O’Neals, CA. It is by appointment only and when you go there you’ll understand why. Ray and Tammy Krause love their wines and will talk anything “wine”. Ray reminds me of an esteemed college professor. As he poured each wine for tasting, the “students” sat back as he explained each wine from growing and harvesting grapes to the final wine produced. The intimate setting induces more comments and questions from the tasters as they sip the wine versus just standing at a wine bar with a huge crowd of people.
To read more and see slideshow, please visit:


OC Food Diva

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

OC Food Diva: 2013 OC Restaurant Week: OC Food Diva's Top 10 Pic...

OC Food Diva: 2013 OC Restaurant Week: OC Food Diva's Top 10 Pic...: OC Restaurant Week is in full swing. Click on the restaurant names to see their menu for this week. Five Crowns , Corona del M...

2013 OC Restaurant Week: OC Food Diva's Top 10 Picks

OC Restaurant Week is in full swing. Click on the restaurant names to see their menu for this week.

  1. Five Crowns, Corona del Mar, CA
  2. Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Anaheim & Irvine, CA
  3. Zimzala, Huntington Beach, CA
  4. Andrei’s Conscious Cuisine and Cocktails, Irvine, CA
  5. The Melting Pot, Brea and Irvine, CA
  6. Seasons 52, Costa Mesa, CA
  7. Tommy Bahama’s, Laguna Beach and Newport Beach, CA
  8. Anaheim White House, Anaheim, CA
  9. The Catch, Anaheim, CA
  10. JT Schmid’s Restaurant and Brewery, Anaheim & Tustin, CA
If you would like to read more about these restaurants, please view the list below of past articles:

Enjoy the flavors and savings to be had this week!


OC Food Diva

Saturday, February 23, 2013

OC Restaurant Week 2013: The Melting Pot in Brea and Irvine, CA

If you read my last article on The Melting Pot (, you know I’m a big fan of them. So I’m glad to see they are a part of OC Restaurant Week 2013, February 24 through March 2, 2013. It’s not just a date place. Have fun and go with a group of friends. Fondue is just a fun concept. Lunch and dinner menu offerings are really good deals so you don’t want to miss out on it. Let’s take a look:

The OC Restaurant Week Lunch Menu is $20 per person (excludes tax and gratuity, but includes iced tea, soda, or coffee.)
·         Option One has 3 courses:
o    Cheese Fondue with a choice of Cheddar, Spinach Artichoke, Wisconsin Trio, or Fiesta
o    Salad with a choice of California, The Melting Pot House, Caesar, or Spinach Mushroom
o    Chocolate Fondue with a choice of Flaming Turtle, The Original, Yin & Yang, Chocolate S’mores, Cookies n’ Cream Marshmallow Dream, Bananas Foster, or Pure Chocolate
·         Option Two has 2 courses:
o    Salad with a choice of California, The Melting Pot House, Caesar, or Spinach Mushroom
o    Fondue By You Entrée with a choice of three items including Teriyaki, Marinated Sirloin, Atlantic Salmon, Honey Orange Duck Breast, Pacific White Shrimp, Andouille Sausage, Citrus-Infused Pork Tenderloin, All-Natural Breast of Chicken, Chicken Potstickers, Spinach & Artichoke Ravioli, or Wild Mushroom Sacchetti. It is accompanied by a vegetable medley with a variety of dipping sauces and your choice of cooking style: Court Bouillon, Mojo, Coq qu Vin, Bourguignonnne ($5.95 extra).

The OC Restaurant Week Dinner Menu is $30 per person (excludes tax and gratuity).
·         First Course is a choice of cheese fondue or salad (pick from the same choices as the lunch menu).
·         Second Course is Fondue By You Entrée (pick from the same choices as the lunch menu).
·         Third Course is Chocolate Fondue (pick from the same choices as the lunch menu).

Mahalo and hope you enjoy OC Restaurant Week!

OC Food Diva

Melting Pot on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 18, 2013

Madera Wine Trail, Part 1: Idle Hour Winery in Oakhurst, CA

The Madera Vintners Association’s family wineries presented Madera Wine Trail’s Wine and Chocolate Weekend to kick off Valentine’s Day week. Our weekend started with a detour due to the 5 freeway being closed at the Grapevine. A four hour trip turned into a 6-hour cold, rainy drive up to Madera. Getting in at 1:30am on Saturday morning, we were tired and just wanted to go to sleep. I was amazed how courteous and accommodating the front desk staff was at the Hampton Inn in Madera. The front desk manager got us checked in, gave us our HHonor welcome goodies, and even an upgrade to a King suite (perks of being a Gold HHonors member). In less than 10 minutes, we were snoozing away and dreaming of our adventure ahead of the Madera Wine Trail.

We started at the northern-most point of the wine trail in Oakhurst, which is just 12 miles south of Yosemite National Park. We had stayed in Oakhurst before during a week-long vacation of visiting and hiking through Yosemite. In this quaint little town, you’ll find Idle Hour Winery. They even have Queen’s Inn attached, an 8-room inn complete with wine bar and beer garden. Idle Hour Winery produces small lot, single vineyard designated wines using sustainably grown grapes and makes the wine gently using native yeast fermentation, gravity flow and other traditional methods. They specialize in Viognier, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, Petite Sirah, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc. Their tasting room is very spacious for the size of the winery with wine barrels stacked along the edges and country décor all around. And while it’s a very open room, it still makes you feel at home.

To read more and see slideshow, please visit:

Mahalo and stay tuned for 3 more parts!

OC Food Diva

Thursday, February 14, 2013

OC Food Diva: Stonefire Presents: The Oscar Party Sweepstakes

OC Food Diva: Stonefire Presents: The Oscar Party Sweepstakes: Stonefire Presents: The Oscar Party Sweepstakes - Enter on Facebook ! Mahalo and Good Luck! OC Food Diva

Stonefire Presents: The Oscar Party Sweepstakes

Stonefire Presents: The Oscar Party Sweepstakes - Enter on Facebook!

Mahalo and Good Luck!

OC Food Diva

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Valentine’s Day at the Lazy Dog Cafe

Since my first visit to Lazy Dog Café in Irvine, I’ve been a fan ever since. The Brea location just opened and it sits in the former Le Vie en Rose plot. The building is brand new and has a mountain lodge look to it with floor to ceiling glass façade to let the natural light in. If you have ever been to Big Bear, the architecture is very similar to the homes facing the lake.

On Valentine’s Day, Lazy Dog will be kicking off sweet menu specials, including a Sparkly Strawberry Sangria, as well as Surf & Turf and Passion Fish entrees that are sure to win extra points with that special someone.

Let’s take a look at the Valentine’s Day Special Menu:

  • Sparkling Strawberry Sangria - Freixenet (an organic, sustainable sparkling wine), fresh strawberries, citrus juices ($7.50)
  • Surf & Turf - Hickory-smoked, bacon-wrapped USDA Prime Coulotte Steak, Grilled Garlic-Herb Jumbo Shrimp Skewer, Mashed Potatoes, and Broccolini with Burgundy Wine Sauce and Citrus Cream Sauce ($21.95)
  • Passion Fish & Champagne-Lump Crab Cream Sauce - Pan roasted Barramundi, Walnut Wild Rice, Sweet Pea Shoots with Champagne-Lump Crab Cream Sauce ($19.95)
  • Butter Cake – From the new dessert menu, homemade butter cake topped with strawberry compote garnished with balsamic reduction and mint chiffonade finished with vanilla bean ice cream ($4.95)
They also have an extensive selection on their menu to choose from as well. Let’s take a peek:

Lazy Dog Burger is a charbroiled 1/2-pound beef patty, mayonnaise, our house-made savory onion relish, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, red onion, atop a grilled soft potato bun. The burger was juicy and charbroiled to perfection. The bun was sturdy, yet spongy. The potato bread flavor was very apparent and added a great taste to the burger. The Cajun fries with chipotle ranch for dipping was awesome! If I had just the fries, I would be a happy camper! Thumbs up, way up!

To read more and see slideshow, please visit:

OC Food Diva

Lazy Dog Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Rubio’s® is spotlighting lighter, grilled seafood options

Rubio’s has been known for fish tacos and unique seafood dishes since 1983. In 2013, they are spotlighting fresh options from the grill. The recipes were developed by Ralph Rubio and his culinary team and include grilled sustainable Atlantic salmon and Pacific mahi mahi. Rubio’s practices sustainability when it comes to seafood.

Atlantic Salmon Plate is sustainable Atlantic salmon, grilled or house blackened on an authentic comal with a special garlic marinade and topped with fire-roasted corn with a pinch of ancho chile, creamy chipotle sauce and served with salad, rice, and beans. Salmon plate had a good portion of fish but would be better with mango salsa. The rice was a little bit crunchy and might be a little undercooked. The avocado salad and black beans were good.
To read more and see slideshow, please visit:


OC Food Diva

Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 8, 2013

February 8th is National Girl Scout Cookie Day

It’s that time again! Girl Scouts across Orange County begin the annual tradition of selling those delectable cookies that you know and love. It’s not all about the cookies. The Girl Scout Cookie Program helps these girls build skills. According to a survey from the Girl Scout Research Institute, 85% learn money management by developing budgets, taking cookie orders, and handling customers’ money, 83% build business ethics,  80% learn goal setting, 77% improve decision making, and 75% develop people skills equals The 5 Skills Girls Learn in the Cookie Program. In 2012, 16,891 Orange County Girl Scouts sold more than 2.5 million boxes of cookies.

To read more and see slideshow, please visit:

The first 3 residents of Orange County, CA who answer these 5 questions correctly will win a FREE box of Girl Scout Cookies:

1. What is the new cookie flavor this year?
2. What is the top selling Girl Scout cookie flavor?
3. Name one of the 5 Skills Girls Learn
4. What is my favorite Girl Scout Cookie?
5. How many Girl Scouts are there in Orange County.

Please use the comment section below to submit your answers and GOOD LUCK!



Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Globe Dine Bar showcases food from around the world in Garden Grove, CA

Michael Pauwels and Marijke Adam, natives of Belgium, have been in the restaurant business for years in Belgium and in the US. They wanted to opened up something they could call their own. With their combined experience, they opened up The Globe Dine Bar on July 28, 2011 with global inspired, seasonal cuisine and an exclusive selection of Belgian craft ales. Michael and Marijke are always around being the perfect hosts in the dining room and behind the bar. The ambiance has a neighborhood bar feel but yet European. Tables are wrapped in country highlights of Europe. We sat at the Greece table depicting images of Athens and specialty dishes like gyros. The music is streamed from Belgium with very few commercials – great music selection from 80s rock and news updates in French.

Charcuterie Platter is a chef’s selection of cured meats and pate from around the globe, with seasonal trimmings. The meats were perfectly sliced, especially the prosciutto, paper thin so it just melts in your mouth. The meats had different textures and flavors that satisfy the taste buds. Love the roasted garlic, so sweet, and it matches perfectly with the meats. An expertly sliced French baguette is the perfect vehicle to get these delectable meats into your mouth. Thumbs up, way up!

To read more and see slideshow, please visit:


OC Food Diva

The Globe Dine Bar on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 4, 2013

This Weekend: Madera Wine Trail’s 2013 Wine and Chocolate Weekend

The Madera Vintners Association’s family wineries present Madera Wine Trail’s Wine and Chocolate Weekend on February 9th and 10th. Sample a wide variety of local wines as you make your way through the wine trail. On this particular weekend, right before Valentine’s Day, the wineries will be pairing chocolate with some of their wines along with live music, local art, and delicious food.

The wineries participating are Birdstone Winery, Chateau Lasgoity Winery, CRU Wine Company, Fäsi Estate Winery, Ficklin Vineyards, Idle Hour Winery, Pacific Crest Winery, Papagni Wines, Quady Winery, San Joaquin Wine Company, Sumner Peck Ranch Winery, and Westbrook Wine Farm.

To read more, please visit:


OC Food Diva

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Part One: The Slidebar in Fullerton, CA is debuting new rockin’ menu options

My first visit to The Slidebar was August 2011 and was amazed by food. This rockin’ kitchen pushes out some of the best comfort food and innovative dishes around. Check out my previous article to see what was and is cooking.

Here’s a preview of some dishes Chef Al will be rolling out of the kitchen!

Kale Salad is fresh kale, crisp apples, pecans, and bleu cheese crumbles tossed in balsamic vinaigrette. Jeremy loves this salad with seared ahi on top. The salad was vibrant and crisp. The pecans were candied and added a great flavor. Apples were sweet and crisp. Bleu cheese was perfectly paired with its creamy and punchy flavor. The balsamic vinaigrette was just right adding just the right amount of flavor. Thumbs up, way up!


OC Food Diva

Slide Bar on Urbanspoon