Fred Elm creates classic Canadian fare using local ingredients of SoCal

Fred Elm is the story of a man, who could have very well existed - adventurer, outdoorsman, master cook, and hunter. Read about his adventures on their website. Sharon Kelly, is the woman behind the man behind the food. With culinary training and restaurant experience since 2007, she really missed her home in Canada. She found other transplants, from the land of the maple leaf, missing it as well. She wanted to share some of her food memories of her grandmother’s cooking from Tourtiere (tor-tee-air), Cucumber Relish, and the precious Potted Pork Rillettes. In May 2012, Fred Elm was born.

To read more and see photo slideshow, please visit:


OC Food Diva

Melt your post-Black Friday stress away with Baileys Irish Cream

Baileys Irish Cream is a combination of premium quality Irish dairy cream, fine spirits, Irish whiskey, and a proprietary recipe of chocolate flavors. The cream comes from 38,000 top-bred Irish pasture-fed cows in Ireland producing the more than 220 million liters of fresh milk required to manufacture Baileys. The whiskey is supplied by a number of distilleries including The Old Bushmills Distillery, County Antrim. Their proprietary cocoa extract recipe lends the chocolate character and essence.

Shopping and catching all of those special sales on Black Friday can be an arduous task. One way to celebrate the money you saved is relaxing at home. Bailey’s Irish Cream is to here to warm your spirits with a unique drink.

To get the recipe, please visit:


OC Food Diva

The 9th Annual San Diego Food & Wine Classic was an epicurean spectacle

The San Diego Food & Wine Festival was a multi-day event of special food & wine dinners at restaurants in San Diego culminating with the Grand Tasting this past Saturday, November 17, 2012. The Grand Tasting Event was like “The Best of San Diego Restaurants” plus wineries and breweries from around the country. Even with 3-4 hours to walk around and just see every booth, you don’t have enough time to see it all. It gives you an excuse to come back the next year! It’s not all just handing out of food and drink. There are also demonstrations and ability to meet your favorite celebrity chef.

Let’s take a tour, shall we:

As the general admission line started up, there was a great band entertaining us. Within in minutes the line stretched past where the eye could see. I wondered, “Can they accommodate all of these people?” At the stroke of high noon, they allowed us in and I was in awe. I said to myself, “There will be more than enough for everyone!”

Our first stop was Sea Rocket Bistro. They had a pork belly appetizer. It was a good portion of braised pork belly with shredded pickled radish mixture, puffy cracker that looked like a pillow, thin slice of jalapeno, and wrapped in a thin slice of cucumber. It had a great mix of flavors and textures – from the crisp cucumber, crunchy cracker, melt-in-your-mouth pork belly, slight heat from the jalapeno, and subtle saltiness from the shoyu marinade. It made me want to check out their restaurant. Their Live Point Loma Sea Urchin sounds awesome! For more information, please visit their website (

To read more and see photo slideshow, please visit:


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Bruxie Gourmet Waffle Sandwiches now open in Chino Hills, CA

On November 14, 2012, Bruxie opened their 4th location in Chino Hills, CA. It all started back in 1999, when Dean Simon traveled in Belgium for business. He became fascinated with the local farmers markets and street vendors, particularly, homemade waffles prepared to order. In 2006, Brux Waffles was born after development of a waffle recipe reminiscent of this Brussels street food. Brux Waffles could be found in hotels around America and even on cruise ships. In 2009, Chef Kelly Mullarney was hired and ideas of making waffles an “all-day offering” combining sweet and savory combinations became the mission. The waffles were made thinner and folded for portability. Bruxie was born! It began Orange and opened three locations in Brea, Rancho Santa Margarita and now, Chino Hills. The location chosen at The Shoppes at Chino Hills is optimal. Facing the main street from the freeway, it’s hard to miss. At night, the Bruxie signage glows and catches your curiosity right away. The restaurant space is very open and colorful. Menu boards are hung high above so you can read them whether you are up close or back a bit in line. The Bruxie team is very friendly, attentive, and very excited to be a part of the Grand Opening.

Let’s take a look at some of their menu items:

Roasted Mushroom & Goat Cheese is Laura Chenel’s Chevre Goat Cheese, fresh basil, arugula, and balsamic reduction. This savory number could be great for breakfast (think of these items inside an omelet). The goat cheese was smooth, creamy and matched perfectly with the fresh basil. The roasted mushrooms played well with the ingredients. The arugula gave it a refreshing crisp green flavor. If you like sun-dried tomatoes, they can be added on for $1 more. Thumbs up!

To read more and see photo slideshow, please visit:


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Bruxie Gourmet Waffle Sandwiches  on Urbanspoon

Tis’ the Season for Avocados from Mexico

Avocados are a versatile fruit and used around the world. In the US, we see it made into guacamole, added to sushi, sandwiches, and salads. In other parts of the world, Ethiopia makes a juice out of it. In Suriname, it’s made into a liqueur. In Brazil and Southeast Asia, it’s used in desserts, smoothies, and milkshakes.

Here are some fun facts about Avocados from Mexico:
·         Avocados have been tempting taste buds for over 10,000 years. Archaeological evidence of avocado usage found in the caves of Mexico.
·         Avocados ripen off of the tree, around 7-10 days after being harvested.
·         Idyllic climate, varying elevations, abundant rain, and nutrient-rich volcanic soil make Mexico the only place in the world where Hass avocado trees naturally bloom 4 times a year, selling 2.6 billion pounds of avocados every year.
·         Avocados work as a “nutrient booster” helping your body absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, like lutein, alpha and beta-carotene.
·         American Heart Association says the mono- and polyunsaturated fats in avocados can help lower blood cholesterol levels when eaten in moderation and in place of saturated or trans fats.
·         “Avocado” comes from the ancient Aztec word “ahuácatl” (meaning “testicle”, because avocados hang in pairs).
·         A one-ounce serving of avocado (1/5 of a medium avocado) contains 20 vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients (beneficial plant compounds), 50 calories, 4-5 grams of fat 3.5 grams mono- and polyunsaturated fat, 0.5 of a gram of saturated fat), 2 grams of dietary fiber, 0 cholesterol, and 3 grams of carbohydrates.

I was invited to be a host of my own Avocados from Mexico House Party. Let’s look at some recipes where this buttery fruit can dazzle your family and friends:

Pineapple Cucumber Guacamole recipe is from the Truly Mexican cookbook by Roberto Santibañez. The combination of cucumbers, red onion, jalapeno, lime juice, salt, avocados, pineapple, and cilantro was just out of this world! Close your eyes and you can see yourself on the beach under a shaded hut using tortilla chips to scoop of this tropical delight. The pineapple and avocado paired well together – buttery silkiness combined with sweet, tropical flavor. The cucumbers added a refreshing flavor and crunchy texture along with the red onion and jalapeno. If you don’t like it too spicy, make sure you take the seeds out of your chiles. Thumbs up, way up!

To read more and see photo slideshow, please visit: 


OC Food Diva

Pei Wei Asian Diner now open in Laguna Niguel, CA

Pei Wei Asian Diner (fast-casual concept restaurant by P.F. Chang’s China Bistro) opened a new location on September 10, 2012. They use a Mandarin-style wok cooking process (600 degrees) and feature cuisine from five Asian countries: China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, and Thailand. From the exterior, it looks like your typical quick service restaurant, but once you step inside you’re welcomed by LCD rolling menu boards that have beautiful photos of the food and extended descriptions. With the changing graphics, it keeps you entertained while you are in line thinking about what you want to order. The service was very friendly and helpful. I had not been to a Pei Wei in a while and the cashier helped me with ingredient questions on some of the menu items. The interior décor is very Asian, like you are outside dining al fresco in Bangkok near the river. They also have interactive Coca-Cola soda machines where you can mix and match soda flavors or just fill up on your favorite beverage.

Pork Egg Roll is filled with pork, Napa cabbage, black mushrooms, carrots, scallions, and rolled in a crispy egg roll wrapper. It had a lot of ground pork inside. The pork was flavorful, but could still use a little more spice. It also could be a little crispier on the outside. One of the best things about egg rolls is the crispy crunch on the outside. A sweet chili sauce would have been better than Asian mustard for dipping.

To read more and see photo slideshow, please visit:
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Pei Wei Asian Diner on Urbanspoon

Definition of Family from Gallo Family Vineyards

Gallo Family Vineyards recently commissioned a national survey* polling Americans on what their current definition of family is. Gallo Family Vineyards is a family-owned winery, so their heritage is what inspired the idea for the survey.

Here are some interesting results from the survey:
  • 88% of Americans have a “found family,” or at least one person who is not a blood relative that they consider to be family
    • Of these “found families,” friends make up 76% of them
  • More than half of Americans have a famous family recipe, but only half of them are written down.
  • 71 % of Americans have “work family,” or a group of coworkers that they are particularly close with.
  • Half of Americans defined family as "someone who is always there for me."

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Celebrate Dia de los Muertos with Tequila Don Julio Reposado

Known as the Day of the Dead, Día de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday that is now celebrated by numerous cultures throughout Latin America. Honoring deceased ancestors, family and friends celebrate the lives of lost loved ones through parades and festivals that are full of delicious food and drinks.  The Sangrita, meaning little blood, along with Tequila Don Julio Reposado is the perfect accompaniment to this authentic Mexican holiday as it’s a traditional Mexican sipper paired with the most popular luxury tequila in Mexico.

To read more and see recipe, please visit:

Mahalo and Happy Dia de los Muertos!

OC Food Diva

Melissa’s Deluxe Pantry Box Recipe Series: Quinoa Cranberry Pudding Parfait

Melissa’s Deluxe Pantry Box in this post was provided by Melissa’s Produce but the opinions expressed here are my own.