Thursday, December 11, 2014

SOCIAL - The Restaurant Costa Mesa Needs


When a star-studded team starts conversations about coming together, you should listen. The buzz about SOCIAL's coming at the start of fall was warranted - names such as Andrew Dorsey, Jeffrey Boullt, and Mike West were associated with the concept. From the beginning, there were many expectations for the restaurant, and we're happy that after our visit, we believe that even those expectations have been surpassed. Duc and I were invited in one early evening to taste what SOCIAL had to offer, and we both left convinced that it is the restaurant the Costa Mesa (heck, Orange County!) needs not only for its communal atmosphere and excellent buildout but also the impressive food and drink.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Test Kitchen - Hoppin' John


The latest Test Kitchen ingredient to grace the pages of the blog was a package of steamed black-eyed peas by Melissa's, and the suggestions that came through when we posed it centered on an upcoming Southern tradition. You see, there is a dish celebrated during the new year as an indicator of good luck and fortune upon the eater if enjoyed on January 1st. That would be hoppin' john and it is primarily a black-eyed pea and rice dish. How appropriate! So I got to reading about it and though the basic makeup requires just some onion, black-eyed peas, bacon, and rice, there is definitely more that can be added to make a superb one-pot dish for a whole lot to share. Check out the recipe and make some to bring prosperity to your friends and family!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Duck, Duck, Goose: A Foie Gras "Foiebidden" Dinner in Downtown LA


It coats all parts of your mouth the instant it passes your lips in its luxurious, fatty creaminess. The texture of foie gras undoubtedly takes some getting used to that not everyone will clamor for but it does have its merits in the world of fine dining. When the ban struck California to prevent the purchase and selling of the delicacy, it caused an upset in the restaurant industry and sparked a conversation about the ingredient's nature. Is it wrong? Is it right? Is it ethical or not? The discussion became a dividing factor between food-loving friendships, yet there has not been a definitive moral answer to the subject. What it has done, though, is create a black market feel to the average consumer for this rare(r) item, and it set the tone last week for a secret dinner in downtown LA featuring some Orange County chefs. We waited for the text to come just 24 hours prior to the event, telling us where to drive to, and the "foiebidden" night soon began.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Recipe - Honey Oat Mini Muffins


I have finally done it. I have finally made honey oat muffins without messing up somehow. I'm not sure what could have been difficult in the past but every time that I made honey oat muffins, they never turned out right. These mini muffins turned out beautifully though, and everyone ate as many as s/he could, likely also because they were miniature. What I like about honey oat baked goods is that the sweetness from the honey is apparent and leaves out the need for other types of sugars to be baked in. Also, the oats give it a good texture and the maker feels as if s/he had made a difference on the recipients' healths...even if that's not true! Oats are heart-healthy after all, correct?

Friday, December 5, 2014

solita Runs Small But Solid Brunch


If Mexican food sounds like a good brunch cuisine to you, then we should be friends. If you already like solita out in Huntington Beach, then we should really talk. Duc and I have enjoyed dropping by the sister restaurant of SOL Cocina ever since it opened; we discovered the joys of the tacos and margaritas spot and recently learned of its brunch option. Served Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 3pm with live music at noon on Sunday, brunch features a short list of items but when those dishes get add-ons of signature proteins, they shine. We were invited in to give the weekend perks a try.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Experiencing Nekter's Classic 3-Day Juice Cleanse


[Giveaway details at the bottom of the post] I remember that my first impression of Nekter Juice Bar was, "Wow, they are everywhere," and this was apparently only during their first year. The company only recently celebrated its fourth anniversary but already boasts nearly 50 locations across 5 states, the majority of which are in southern California where it was founded. Blame the health craze that has been sweeping the nation; as people seek to reverse the damage their bodily neglect as done, they have taken to juicing and indulging in fruits and vegetables. Nekter launched in a beneficial time for growth in this area. I have always been a huge fan of juices in general but never considered juicing. What I didn't realize was that Nekter also carries several different products that would easily make me a repeat visitor like their acai bowls...yum! Their juices follow the cold press method, and a big part of the company's draw is their offering of a juice cleanse. We initially had gone in to try out their juices, smoothies, and acai bowls but my curiosity got the best of me. I wanted to challenge myself to do the cleanse, and Nekter agreed. Check out my three-day journey on their Classic Cleanse and maybe you'll figure out if it's something you'd do too!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Recipe - Homemade Biscuits


Do you need a reason to make biscuits at home? Biscuits should have a free pass when it comes to inclusion in a kitchen because they are just too good. Sop up some butter or honey with it...or have it with preserves for breakfast. What's interesting though is how easy it is to make once you consider how few ingredients one needs. Whenever I make biscuits, Duc eats way too many in a day so they never last long! Some people will use buttermilk but if you are like me and don't typically buy just one ingredient when you want to make something (yes, I'm lazy), you can combine milk with cream of tartar from your pantry. Also, I used whole wheat flour to dust and work with the dough instead of all-purpose to give a grittier texture on the outside; it's a preference thing. Let's get started.