New Oven-Roasted Wings at Mountain Mike’s Pizza

The food in this post were provided by Mountain Mike’s Pizza but the opinions expressed here are my own.

Earlier this summer I had the opportunity to try Mountain Mike’s Pizza for the first time. My pizza-geek friend, Charmaine, had tempted me with tales of this fantastic pizza place years ago when she lived up in NorCal. Now, there are 9 locations in SoCal for us to enjoy. There are many ways to enjoy your meal at Mountain Mike’s Pizza.

If it is your first time, I would suggest the All-You-Can-Eat Buffet. Not because it is all-you-can-eat, but it is a great way to try different pizzas and get some salad veggies too. Plus, at $7.99 for lunch and $8.99 for dinner, it’s a bargain! Kids, 10 and under, are only $5.99! Watch the video above to see what is on the buffet. Next time you want pizza, you’ll know what to order.  

Have a group that just can’t decide on one pizza? Mountain Mike’s can make a half and half. We ordered Chicken Club (creamy garlic white sauce, chicken, bacon, diced tomatoes, and green onion) on one side and on the other, Garlic Tuscan (traditional red sauce, Louisiana hot sausage, salami, black olives, garlic, green onion, and sundried tomatoes). I just love pizzas with white sauce! Tomatoes can cause problems for me, so I try to avoid it as much as I can (as a food writer, it’s hard). The white sauce is creamy and garlicky (I could handle more). The pizza really resembles the flavor of a chicken club sandwich with the chunks of chicken and smoky, salty bacon. The green onions add a nice refreshing zing. The Garlic Tuscan is the hubby’s favorite (not just because he’s part Italian)! He just loves meaty pizzas. The slightly spicy sausage, salami, and olives exude savory flavors while the green onion refreshes the palate and the sundried tomatoes add a bit of sweetness.

Snowy Alps is my favorite pizza! It starts with creamy garlic white sauce topped with pepperoni, mushrooms, black olives, sausage, green onions, and diced tomatoes. It combines my love of the garlic sauce with a meaty pizza. I didn’t mention it before, but I also love their traditional crust. I don’t like it too thin and I need to be in the mood for a thick crust (because it just fills you up). Mountain Mike’s has perfected the thickness compared to the ratio of toppings.

If you read the headline, Mountain Mike’s has new and improved bone-in chicken wings, the perfect complement to their pizzas and just in time for football season! You can choose from 4-piece, 12-piece, and 24-piece orders. You can also choose from four new sauces: Frank’s RedHot® Buffalo, Frank’s Stingin’ Honey Garlic, Frank’s RedHot Sweet Chili™, and KC Masterpiece® Original Barbecue.

My favorite is the Frank’s Stingin’ Honey Garlic! It is sweet, garlicky, and balances well with the chicken wings. The sweetness also balances with a savory pizza like the Snowy Alps!

Frank’s RedHot Sweet Chili tastes exactly like the sweet chili sauce you would get with lumpia or eggrolls. The outer crispiness of the chicken wings matches perfectly with it.

Frank’s RedHot Buffalo is exactly how a buffalo wing should taste like. The initial inhale of vinegary aroma and the spiciness of the sauce is the perfect experience.

KC Masterpiece Original Barbecue is an old faithful favorite because everyone loves barbecue! It has a nice balance of smoky and sweetness.

Craving dessert? Chocolate Chip Pizza Cookie is the way to go. It reminds me of the Tollhouse Cookie Bars my mom used to make when I was little. Tastes like homemade with the buttery richness, brown sugar sweetness, and warm, gooey chocolate chips.

If you love pizza and chicken wings, head to your nearest Mountain Mike’s Pizza and enjoy great food and watch the game!

For more information:
22942 Ridge Route Dr.
Lake Forest, CA 92630
Hours: Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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Las Brisas unveils new patio and dinner menus in Laguna Beach, CA

The food in this post were provided by Las Brisas but the opinions expressed here are my own.

Since last year, Las Brisas is my go-to spot for breathtaking views of Laguna Beach and a great foodie destination. With our lingering summer weather in SoCal, there is more time to enjoy the warm weather. In June, Las Brisas unveiled a new patio menu where the items are prepared in its outdoor kitchen. From an operations standpoint, it makes good sense to utilize the outdoor kitchen with staff dedicated to the patio. It frees up the main kitchen to stay on top of their dining room guests’ orders. The patio menu is as chic as the dining room menu with amazing “pub meets Mexican coastal cuisine” feel.

Let’s take a look:

Passion Fruit Mai Tai is made with Cruzan white aged rum, myers dark rum, orange curacao, pineapple juice, and passion fruit. I love Mai Tais and this passion fruit version  just puts it over the top for me. It reminds me of home.

Guacamole made with avocado and topped with pico de gallo and cotija cheese. It has a creamy flavor with slight chunkiness from diced avocado. The cotija cheese adds a nice saltiness while the pico de gallo brightens the palate with sweet tomatoes, zingy onion, and refreshing cilantro.

Skillet Nachos are fresh tortilla chips topped with pepper jack cheese sauce, black beans, Brisas sauce, pico de gallo, and cotija cheese. You can also add chicken tinga or short rib for an additional charge. We got it with short rib and it adds a nice beefy flavor and just melts in your mouth.

Taco Trios are three tacos served with your choice of black beans, fries, or side house salad. You can choose from ahi tuna, short rib, roasted portobello, and chicken tinga. We tried the short rib. It is guava and guajillo-braised beef topped with avocado, pico de gallo, and cotija cheese. These are the most tender and tasty beef tacos I’ve ever eaten. The beef is tender and just melts in your mouth. The condiments refresh the palate but that short rib is truly the star!

Brisas Burger is topped with Nueske’s bacon, roasted green chiles, charred scallion aioli, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato atop a brioche bun and served with battered fries.

Grilled Salmon is served with roasted tomatillo sauce, fingerling potatoes, and charred asparagus.

Ahi Tuna Burger is seared ahi tuna patty topped with charred pineapple-mango relish, chipotle aioli, and served with battered fries. If you love burgers but just don’t feel like beef, this ahi tuna version will knock your socks off. I like how they made a course chop of the tuna like tartare, formed into a patty, and seared the outside. It is so much easier to eat than if it was a whole tuna steak.

A new dinner menu was unveiled in September which has several staple menu items, revamped dishes, and brand-new entrees and sides. 

Some parts of the dining room have been updated with a beautiful oceanic, underwater feel.

Let’s take a look:

Fried Calamari is topped with pepitas, lemon zest, chile flakes, and served with romesco aioli. The calamari are perfectly fried with a crispy exterior and tender interior. The play of slightly sour and slightly spicy is a nice touch. I also enjoyed the crunchiness of the pepitas.

Chicken Mole is epazote marinated chicken served with mole negro and topped with pico de gallo.

Branzino a la Plancha is served with pine nuts and heirloom tomato relish.

Panko Crusted Ahi Tuna served with grilled pineapple-mango salsa and guajillo sauce.

Prime New York Steak is served with grilled scallions, maldon salt, and Las Brisas steak sauce. I normally do not order this cut of steak, but I craved beef. I love this steak. The marbling is beautiful and is the most tender New York steak I have ever had. Even at rare, it is juicy and full of flavor.

New Zealand Lamb Shank is braised in pozole rojo, topped with pico de gallo and served with flour tortillas. If you love lamb like I do, you need to order this! The braise removes some of the gaminess from the lamb and makes the meat so tender. You don’t even need a knife as it just falls off the bone. Plus, if you like bone marrow, the shank has a nice helping inside. Ask for an extra straw to pick it out or just suck it out.

Can’t go home without dessert!

Mixed Berry Tostada is an almond Florentine shell with vanilla ice cream topped with agave glazed berries. It is a light end to a meal and comes with an edible bowl!

With the fall/winter holidays heading our way, Las Brisas is the perfect place to celebrate. This is also a great time to secure your company holiday parties as well!

For more information:
361 Cliff Dr.
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
  • Breakfast Buffet Hours: Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Dining Room Hours: Sunday through Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Patio Hours: Sunday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Sunday Brunch Hours: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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2nd Annual Pacific Wine and Food Classic was a summer foodie wonderland

The admission to this event was provided by Pacific Wine and Food Classic but the opinions expressed here are my own.

This was my first time experiencing the Pacific Wine and Food Classic. It was a sunny summer day but since the event was right along the Newport Dunes’ beachfront, a sweet, cool oceanic breeze made it a very comfortable event. Another positive is that the event was not oversold so it wasn’t overly crowded and had plenty of areas to stop, relax, and enjoy the food & wine.

Here are some of my favorite bites and creative presentations (there are even more on the YouTube video above):

Melissa’s Produce served up a deconstructed street corn with hatch chile powder. I am a HUGE hatch chile fan and just love this…

And Keitt Mango Agua Frescas hit the spot with its creamy, tropical flavor.

Texas de Brazil served up Skirt Steak with mashed potatoes. This is my favorite churrascaria in Orange County!

Villa Roma served up their famous Paella. Watch the video above to see it in all its magnificence!

Silva’s Fresh Eatery + Churrascaria served up Ceviche. It was perfectly made without being overly lemony.

SideDoor had a beautiful display of charcuterie and cheeses. Is there anything better?!

Atria Senior Living served up Hamachi Poke…

And Salmon Poke. I loved that they had the essence of the authentic poke without adding avocado or tropical fruits. Shaka, chefs!

Toast Kitchen and Bakery served up a Lemon Sorbet with fruit and chia seeds. It was a simple dessert yet so elegant!

Chunk-N-Chip served up a Maker’s Mark ice cream with bacon brittle and burnt caramel orange sauce sandwiched between gluten-free chocolate chip cookies. I’ve been following Chunk-N-Chip since 2010 and they never disappoint!

Golden Spoon served up Affogato (vanilla ice cream in espresso). For a minute, I was taken back to Italy…

LSXO served up Chocolate Whoopie Pies…

And Vietnamese bĂșn (cold vermicelli noodles) with beef. Such a refreshing dish and perfect for a summer day!

If you would like to enjoy the Pacific Wine and Food Classic next year, follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to learn more and save the date!

For more information:

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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.