Search This Blog

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Memory JAR’s heartfelt Butterfly Effect

On June 8, 2014, families all around Orange County gathered to be a part of Memory JAR’s The Butterfly Effect at Blondies Style in Tustin, CA to celebrate the memory of a loved one.

Blondies graciously donated their space to host this event and displayed beautiful OC fashion.

Reception drinks provided by St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery.

 Butterflies decorated the event from the newly released grief packets to mini cupcakes. 

Butterflies were released for each passed love one in unison. 

The event ended with an auction of gift baskets to help fund Memory JAR’s events and services. 

We released one for my mom’s dad and the best grandpa on the planet, Hideharu Ogawa. My best memories of my grandpa were spending the summers in station wagon riding along with him on his calls – filling vending machines with candy and cigarettes (yes, the old days when cigarettes were in pull-tab vending machines) around Hilo. At the end, each grandchild got to choose one candy to eat later. When we got home, we played with the empty cardboard boxes, pushing each other around like we were in cars and then stacking them up to make forts. Also, being his first grandchild, I remember him rubbing my tummy to help me go to sleep.

For more information:
Memory JAR

Blondies Style
155 El Camino Real
Tustin, CA 92780

St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery 
8440 St. Helena Hwy
Rutherford, CA 94573

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Wild Horse Winery & Vineyards reigns the Year of the Horse

Wild Horse Winery, named for the wild mustangs that used to roam the hills above the vineyard, has been an icon since 1983 as California’s Central Coast luxury winery. California’s Central Coast is the largest American Viticultural (science, production, and study of grapes) Area with home to 360 wineries. Since Day 1, practicing sustainability has been a part of the process – weeding is done by their Barbados sheep and Floyd the llama, recycling winery wastewater for irrigation; planting covering crops to attract beneficial insects, control erosion, and increase nitrogen in the soil; mixing grape pomace (solid remains of grapes after pressing) with manure to produce high-quality compost; and providing homes for owls who patrol the vineyards for rodents and other pests.

2013 Viognier started with grapes from the Central Coast near Paso Robles. The 2013 growing season was 70% drier than average, yet temperatures and overall conditions were favorable. It produced a slightly higher than average crop with fruit from Wild Horse Estate, Nevarez, and Fralich. From bin to press, free-run juice was separated from the press fraction to maintain pH balance and avoid bitterness from the tannins. Fermented in tanks and transferred to neutral French oak barrels at 17° Brix to complete fermentation. The wine aged sur lie in neutral French oak for six months prior to blending and bottling. Tasting notes: Lychee, citrus, and stone fruit aromatics experienced; Peach flavor experienced on the front of the palate and lemon on the back end; Food pairing: Chicken and light pasta dishes. Rating: 3.6 out of 5 stars!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Back to School: Squeez’Ems for the lunchbox

Squeez’Ems reusable food pouches are perfect food vehicle for the kids. They are easy to fill, clean and store. Squeez’Ems are great for yogurt, applesauce, smoothies, or any blended food or juices. Squeez'Ems are also BPA, PVC, and phthalate free. This is a great way to teach the kids about being earth-friendly as well - refillable, reusable, and recyclable. This will also allow you to buy in bulk and fill these up for school day lunches or snacks for a weekend road trip 

Photo courtesy of BooginHead

To read more and see smoothie recipe, please visit:

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Road Trip: San Diego International Wine Show in Del Mar, CA

On April 26, 2014, we took a leisurely drive down to the DelMar Fairgrounds & Race Track for the San Diego International Wine Show. As we got off the 5 freeway, dark clouds loomed overhead. We arrived a little early and decide to hang out in the car . . . then the rain started. But, just like rain in Hawaii, it was gone just as fast as it came. We hoped the cloud coverage would stay as it would help keep it cooler for an outside event and even better, light diffusion for beautiful photography.

The San Diego International Wine Show took over The Paddocks which is set up like a beautiful courtyard, some of the wineries and artisans were in stalls where prized horses are kept in between races. Others were in tented stalls around the courtyard. Plus, there were tables and chairs to relax and enjoy the wines of your choice. The 17 Hands Restaurant served a limited menu and also housed the culinary demonstrations.

Let’s take a look at some of the wineries & culinary artisans:

Two Shepherds is owned by William Allen. William has a passion for wine – Rhône enthusiast and former wine writer/blogger. Two Shepherds began commercial production in 2010 and specializes in Rhone varieties like Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Roussane. 2012 Grenache Blanc is clean, crisp, bright, and slightly sweet. It would be perfectly paired with seafood linguini in either a light cream sauce or tossed in olive oil or shrimp or scallop scampi. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Kickin’ Crab is Cajun seafood with an Asian kick in Orange County and beyond

Jan Nguyen and her family immigrated to the USA from Vietnam back in the 1970s with the little that they could carry. Her family landed in Louisiana where she worked in restaurants where she quickly learned the Cajun style of cooking. Incorporating what was available in the bayou from crawfish to shrimp, she was introduced to a range of spices and flavor profiles quite different from her native Vietnamese cuisine. In her years in the restaurant business, she began tasting foods and then recreating them at home with her own twist. Her dream of having a restaurant serving Cajun seafood for families in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere, became a reality with the 2010 opening of
The Kickin’ Crab located in Santa Ana, CA. In less than 4 years, The Kickin’ Crab has grown to 7 locations in Orange County, Los Angeles County, and Santa Clara County with 2 locations opening soon.

Fried Oysters are lightly breaded, fried to a golden brown, and served with cocktail sauce. These oysters are gigantic! They are so big that you will need to bite into them. They are way too big to just pop in your mouth. As you bite into them, they are sweet and juicy, unlike any fried oyster I’ve ever had. I’m a raw bar gal when it comes to oysters, but these were just fantastic. I love the light breading as it did not smother the sweetness of the oyster. The cocktail sauce has a nice horseradish kick that pairs well with the oyster. Thumbs up, way up!

Kickin' Crab on Urbanspoon

Sunday, August 17, 2014

4th Annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival returns August 21-24, 2014

Starting this Thursday, the Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival, with support from founding partners FOOD & WINE, Lexus, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, JENN-AIR, and Delta Airlines, a four-day epicurean exhibition will showcase the finest in food and drink culture throughout Los Angeles, and culinary personalities from throughout the country. Just like a Hollywood movie, the scene is set amidst one of the country’s foremost cultural destinations along Grand Avenue from the famous Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and in actual movie soundstages like LA Center Studios. The event spans the city and offers guests the chance to sample the cuisines and products from some of the most prominent epicurean influencers, while enjoying the sights and sounds of the entertainment industry’s brightest talents. The star-studded culinary master lineup includes Curtis Stone, Michael Chiarello, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, Thomas Keller, Guy Fieri, Robert Irvine, and local favorites such as Rory Herrmann, Michael Voltaggio, Matsuhisa Nobu, and Sang Yoon.

Schedule below highlights some of the ticketed events:

  • Iron Chef Morimoto Cooking Demonstration, 8/22/2014, 5:30pm-6:30pm, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion: Masaharu Morimoto is the chef who put the iron in the Iron Chef franchise, first in Japan and then in the US via Iron Chef America. From Kitchen Stadium to Los Angeles, Morimoto brings his trademark skills to you in this up close and personal battle. Exclusive access to this cooking demonstration is available only to VIP ticket Holders for the Asian Night Market event and only a handful of tickets available a la carte.
To read more and see highlights from last year, please visit:

Friday, August 15, 2014

2014 Costa Mesa Restaurant Week starts TODAY

A wonderful reception last night signaled the start of the 2014 CostaMesa Restaurant Week. Costa Mesa chefs, socialites, and foodies mingled together with delectable food, silent auction, and music at the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity in SOCO in Costa Mesa, California. Wonderfully fun and creative passed appetizers were created by Chef Ashley at 24 Carrots. Sponsors for the event are Environment, Granola Babies, Smocking Birds, Surfas Culinary District, 24 Carrots Catering, LCA Wine, Greenleaf Chopshop, Pueblo, Susie Cakes, Stephane Treand Patisserie Chocolat, Urban Pie, Taco Maria, The Cellar Cheese Shop, The Mixing Glass, Portola Coffee Lab, and Seventh Tea Bar.

To view a slideshow of culinary offerings, click here.

Here are my picks of Costa Mesa restaurants that you can’t miss this week (Click on the restaurant name to view this week’s menu):
  1. PIE-NOT 
  2. Pinot Provence
  3. Taco Maria 
  4. Taco Asylum 
  5. Scott’s Restaurant and Bar 
  6. Memphis Café 
  7. Lawry’s Carvery - $5 off $25 purchase
  8. Seasons 52 
  9. Greenleaf Chopshop 
  10. Jerry’s Dogs 
  11. Blackmarket Bakery 
  12. Seabirds Kitchen – 20% off bill
Happy Costa Mesa Restaurant Week! The “coastal tableland” will definitely delight your taste buds!

For more information:
Costa Mesa Restaurant Week