Sunday, August 31, 2014

Eatery - Tasty N Sons (OR)

Tasty n Sons on Urbanspoon

3808 N Williams Ave, Ste C, Portland, OR 97212 (Neighborhood: Northeast Portland)
Pricing - $/$$ | Dining - Casual | Cuisine - New American, Brunch

Portland, oh Portland. How I miss thee and your delectable delights. There are too many restaurants that one "must" eat at, and brunch seems to be a necessary part of the experience in that city. When we looked up good brunch places, the rave reviews were all about Tasty N Sons so how could we not check it out? Following recommendations to arrive early, we went a good 30 minutes prior to opening and found ourselves in a long line, barely making the cut-off for the first round of guests. Worth it? Absolutely.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Recipe - Spinach and Sausage Pasta Bake

[Original recipe post in December 2010] I'm working on revamping old recipes from when the blog first started. This pasta bake was a staple of my college days because I could work on it in one night's time and manage to eat it throughout the week. It's baked in a 9x13 dish, stacked quite high so that there is plenty to go around. I have my own version below but you can adjust with some ingredients here and there as you please. I have loved teaching this recipe to other people as well because you end up with something wonderful without need of much culinary expertise. If you are a fan of Italian ingredients and flavors, you'll love this hefty meal.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

LA's Sandwich-y Transplant: Mendocino Farms Hits OC

Founded just shy of 10 years ago, the Los Angeles-based sandwich shop sweetheart, Mendocino Farms, has finally reached down to Orange County to many people's delight. Opened in May of this year on the up-and-coming 17th Street in Costa Mesa, the "sandwich market" has already found itself some fans, particularly people who were accustomed to driving up to LA to get a bite of their favorite lunch. Since we had never visited its flagship location or any of the others in our neighboring county, we did not know what to expect when we arrived to dine (on invitation) at the first OC spot. I'll admit that the first impression was not good as the parking situation was atrocious but that is not the restaurant's fault. After we made our way in though, it was smooth sailing.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Taste of Tuscany in OC at BRIO Tuscan Grille

[Giveaway details at the bottom of the post] The signs that appeared at Irvine Spectrum months ago created some curiosity - what exactly is Tuscan cuisine? I and many others had seen the series of directional posters in the walkways of the center excitedly advertising the new opening of BRIO Tuscan Grille in the summer. It was the middle word that had people interested since there weren't other establishments in the area touting such style of food. It would be Italian but different somehow. After some delving, I realized that it was not a new restaurant by any means but rather, just new to the area being only the second Californian location of the chain. Meant to be a more upscale but casual restaurant, BRIO Tuscan Grille services to a wide range of clientele and aims to be a neighborhood restaurant. With their wide, wrapping patio, I can believe that! I came in on invitation to check them out a few weeks after opening. There were already several tables full that day for lunch!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Recipe - Tomato Bisque

We had a lot of tomatoes and a lot of milk. This is how ideas for dishes usually begin - there is a surplus of ingredients and I brainstorm a place for them all. Tomato bisque jumped to mind almost instantaneously though. A common but always welcomed soup, this creamy starter is actually not too difficult to make. It's actually a great go-to for when you want a comforting dish that isn't complicated. My recipe incorporates two ways to tackle tomatoes whether you use canned or fresh; go for the fresh if you've got enough time to!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Meet Bite Me Kitchen: Adam and Rose Zalewski

What do you get when you throw together a little bit of attitude, a good-sized chunk of amazing food, and a whole ton of passion for helping people get healthy and feel great about themselves? I'd say, you get Bite Me Kitchen. The husband-wife soon-to-take-over-the-world duo of Adam and Rose Zalewski have been building an empire of plant-based, nutritionally balanced, and great tasting food right here in Orange County, affecting lives all the way from San Diego to Santa Barbara (meals delivered via courier service in eco-friendly containers). Currently based out of one of our favorite places, The Hood Kitchen in Costa Mesa, Bite Me Kitchen (BMK) is a food service with fully-cooked meals available for delivery or for pick-up without any subscription services or set minimums. They focus their a la carte items on being robust in taste and responsible in sourcing, making everything from scratch from the sauces/dressings to breads to even faux meats. As they say,
"We believe in delicious, calorie-conscious, wholesome cuisine that's affordable, accessible, and above all - SATISFYING."
We admire that their from-scratch, plant-based meals are made from organic non-GMO ingredients without compromising taste or price. I have been on their mailing list for a while now and see the drool-inducing menu items available every single week; it is amazing just how diverse the menus are. We just had to get to know more about them so we pulled up a few chairs and had a chat to learn what exactly BMK was all about. Be warned - long post ahead. We just loved our interview and time with them a little bit too much.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Test Kitchen - Mediterranean Chicken with Pesto Couscous

I don't like making anything complicated because I want to be able to replicate it later. One late night, I decided I ought to work on our Test Kitchen ingredient of Israeli couscous. The typical routes of making a salad or throwing together a childish dish were not appealing. What about putting some basil pesto vinaigrette on it though? We had a bottle of it in the refrigerator. What to pair it with though? It seemed like a Mediterranean flavor, the pesto in couscous, so I came up with this Mediterranean chicken. It's a dry rub that infuses its flavors into the thin chicken breast to keep it moist and still flavorful. Check out the easy recipe below!