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Friday, April 29, 2016

Build your food at STACKED in Huntington Beach, California

On January 18, 2016, Huntington Beach welcomed the newest STACKED location across the street from Bella Terra. STACKED’s tagline is “Food Well Built” and they mean it. You are allowed to customize any dish to your liking from burgers, sandwiches, salads, mac ‘n cheese, shakes, desserts, and now breakfast. All of your food is ordered through an interactive menu on the tables. You can customize your dish with a swipe, adding and deleting to your heart’s content. Don’t worry, you still have a server who will take your drink orders and help you in case you have questions. In March 2016, STACKED introduced a calorie counter so you can track your calories too.

The restaurant exterior and interior has a rustic, outdoorsy feel with wood tiled walls and lots of windows for ample lighting during the day. The furnishings are diner-like with high booth vinyl seats. The service is attentive, courteous, friendly, and down to earth.

Here are some breakfast options to try (Huntington Beach STACKED only):

Blueberry Fritters (special) are served with blueberry yogurt for dipping. The texture is almost donut-like and packed with blueberries. The blueberry yogurt is a creamy, refreshing dip. It is not overly sweet, but just right. Rating: 5/5

Honey Smoked Salmon Scramble is scrambled eggs, honey smoked salmon, and cream cheese. It was customized by removing the cream cheese and adding Canadian bacon, Swiss cheese, green onions, and olives. The portion is a little small, but enough if you’re going to split something sweet along with it. The salmon should really be chunked versus shredded as it gets a little dry. The olives and Canadian bacon added just the right amount of salt to push the flavor forward. Avocado would be a great addition to add a creamier texture. Rating: 3.5/5

Sweet Hawaiian Berry French Toast is sweet Hawaiian bread with caramel, strawberry jam, and fresh berries. It was customized by removing the strawberry jam and fresh berries and adding bananas, chocolate chips, and whipped cream. The French toast has a good texture, not dry and not mushy, and has a slightly sweet flavor. Bananas and chocolate chips make a great combination with the creamy sweetness of the bananas to balance the bittersweet chocolate chips. The whipped cream and caramel add a luxurious decadence. The presentation is simply stunning! Rating: 4.8/5

Here are some lunch, dinner, and dessert options to try:

Chili Cheese Fries ($7.90) are topped with cheddar and jack cheeses, hearty, homemade beef and pork chili, sour cream, and green onions. The fries are crispy with just enough width to scoop the chili and toppings. It is a great appetizer for two people to share while you decide on what to eat as your main dishes. Rating: 4/5

Stack Your Own Burger ($15.88 after customization) starts very simply with a third pound angus beef patty and bun. It was customized with a pretzel bun and stacked with sharp cheddar cheese, smoked gouda, pastrami, jalapeno bacon, sautéed mushrooms, tomato, pickles, onion strings, green leaf lettuce, and roasted red pepper aioli. This has to be one of best burger creations ever! The pretzel bun is outrageous with is beautiful shiny exterior and chewy texture. Smoky flavor comes from the gouda and bacon. Pastrami adds a cured peppery flavor to the mix. The onion strings add a nice textural crunch. Calories count: 1598 Rating: 5/5

Lobster Mac ‘N’ Cheese ($27.02 after customization) starts with lobster, roma tomato, fresh garlic, bread crumbs, and basil. It was customized by removing the tomato, fresh garlic, and crumbs and replacing them with flat iron steak, fried egg, more lobster, and roasted garlic. This order was prompted by a fabulous review from Wendyful World. The mac n’ cheese base is very creamy and holds up well to any flavors added to it. The surf and turf route is a great choice for the sweet, succulent lobster meat balanced with the grilled meaty flat iron steak. The fried egg added a decadent richness, but a sunny side egg might be better next time. Calorie count: 1330 Rating: 4.5/5

STACKED Bread Pudding ($7.10 after customization) starts with a bread pudding base. It was customized with toasted coconut, caramel, chocolate chips, bananas, marshmallows, and whipped cream. The bread pudding is thick and custardy. The toasted coconut adds a sweet nutty flavor. The chocolate chips and caramel add a decadent flavor. The bananas add refreshing sweetness. The marshmallows and whipped cream add creaminess and fun to the party. Rating: 4.5/5

No matter if it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner, STACKED in Huntington Beach has what you are craving. Your customized meal is just a tap and swipe away!

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

For more information:
7490 Edinger Ave.
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
Hours: Sunday through Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Parking: Free in shopping center lot

STACKED Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, April 28, 2016

BG’s Café has been a downtown Oxnard institution since 1971

If you are making your way to Santa Barbara, sometimes an early morning start is the best plan of action so you can stop at places along the way. A great place to stop for breakfast is BG’s Café in downtown Oxnard, CA. It has been a favorite among locals since 1971. Current owners, Jose Rodriguez and Veronica Munoz, have been keeping BG’s Café’s spirit alive since 2003. BG Café’s salsa won “Best Red” and “Best Mild” categories at the Oxnard Salsa Festival last year and have won in previous years as well. Located on A Street, it is very easy to find. Just follow the aroma of coffee, eggs, and bacon and you’ll find a cluster of cars parked right in front since it is the only business open this early on the weekends. The interior is a little dated, but it works by giving the restaurant character since it is 45 years old this year. The service is friendly, courteous, and attentive. Veronica works the front of the house and Jose works the back. Their combined efforts display their hard work, service, and fantastic food coming out of the window.

Here are some amazing breakfast options to try:

Chilaquiles and Eggs ($8.50) is crispy tortilla strips tossed with onion and tomato, topped with red salsa and cheese, served with sour cream and your choice of either home fries, hash browns, refried beans, sliced tomatoes, cottage cheese, or fresh fruit. It also comes with your choice of toast, English muffin, buttermilk biscuit, or tortillas. These are one of the best chilaquiles you’ll ever have. Since they use their award-winning salsa, the tortilla strips absorb the flavors of the tomatoes, onions, and spices. It has a slightly spicy kick but is not overwhelming. The sour cream adds a creamy cooling quality to finish it off. Rating: 4.5/5

One Biscuit and Country Gravy ($3) is really a meal in itself. The homemade buttermilk biscuits are gigante! They are light and fluffy and you can tell that they are freshly baked that morning. The gravy has a great peppery sausage flavor with a creamy texture. Rating: 4.9/5

Avocado Eggs Benedict ($12) is two poached eggs on grilled English muffins with grilled tomatoes, two slices of ham, and topped with creamy hollandaise sauce and sliced avocado. The creamy hollandaise works excellently with the buttery avocado. The thick-sliced ham adds a meaty texture and saltiness to the dish. The perfectly poached eggs have flowing liquid gold yolks and the tomato adds a hint of sweetness. Rating: 4.5/5

Chile Verde Omelet (look for this as a special) is beautifully made with tender pork chunks in a slight spicy chile verde sauce. The cheese is gooey inside and also melted on top. It is a wonderful fusion of an American style omelet with Mexican flavors. Rating: 4.4/5

With tummies full, it was time head over to the Downtown Ventura Farmers Market to walk off some of these delicious calories!

Atmosphere: 4 out of 5 stars
Décor: 3 out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Food: 5 out of 5 stars

For more information:
428 S. A St.
Oxnard, CA 93030
Hours: Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Parking: Free street parking on A St.

BG's Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Heritage cultivates an inventive menu in Reno, Nevada

An early morning start was mandatory as it is a long drive back to Southern California. A hearty breakfast was definitely in order. Located on the first floor, Heritage is Whitney Peak Hotel’s restaurant. Described like the extended version of an INXS song, “Cultivate. Congregate. Celebrate.”, Heritage sources food from local area farms and ranches. Scratch kitchen dishes are inspired by the seasonal foods and show inventiveness with a culinary flair. The interior is inspired by the mountains and woods that surround Reno and uses reclaimed wood furnishings to provide an outdoorsy feeling with rustic décor. Floor to ceiling windows provide ample lighting during the day. The service is friendly, courteous, and attentive.

Here are some amazing breakfast options:

Smoked Fish ($11) includes smoked salmon, mackerel, capers, red onion, low-fat cream cheese, hard-boiled egg, and pumpernickel bread. The smoke mackerel has just the right amount of smoky flavor. The fatty fish almost tastes like “pork belly of the sea”. The smoked salmon is succulent and not overly salty. Capers add a nice vinegar acidity. Combining it all together on the pumpernickel bread is the perfect match to its hearty nutty flavor. Rating: 5/5

White Trash Croque Madame ($9) is a grilled cheese toad-in-a-hole with chorizo gravy and potatoes. This is a fantastic combination of flavors and textures from the rich yolk, creamy, spicy chorizo gravy, gooey cheese, and crunchy grilled sourdough. Nothing in this dish is wasted, even the cutout bread for the hole is made into a tiny grilled cheese and used as a topper. The breakfast potatoes wedges are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Use the chorizo gravy for dipping them. No ketchup necessary. Rating: 5/5

Blueberry Muffin ($3) is visually appealing with perfectly rounded top and spots of caramelized blueberries. The interior is fluffy. It just needs a side of butter. Rating: 5/5

Fresh Berries ($3) are surprising to see in snowy Reno. They add a refreshingly sweet and tangy flavor to breakfast. Rating 4.5/5

Hub Coffee ($3) drip is a great breakfast blend to start the morning. It has a smooth flavor with a roasted, nutty aroma. Rating: 4/5

With tummies full, it was time to get back to the room, finish packing, and start our road trip back to Southern California.

  • Happy Hour: Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. - $3 wells, $2 off draft beers, half-off select bar menu items

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

For more information:
255 N. Virginia St.
Reno, NV 89501, United States
Hours: Monday through Thursday from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. for breakfast and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. for dinner, Friday and Saturday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Parking: Complimentary valet parking when dining at Heritage

Heritage Restaurant (Inside Whitney Peak Hotel) Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato