Thursday, June 23, 2016
Last year's 50th anniversary celebration at Five Crowns in Corona del Mar did not just end on December 31st. Interior and exterior renovations were part of the process and continued into 2016 for several months before finally unveiling themselves in whole recently. The project was a large collaboration by several well-known southern California businesses such as Hatch Design Group, YYES Design Studio, Robertson Hill Architecture, and Roger's Garden, and all of the work truly paid off in both maintaining the heritage of Five Crowns while updating everything to be contemporary. The renovations also included the addition of a new bar - Cooper's Bar in the Greenhouse - where a craft cocktail program lives. Not only has the restaurant itself gone through changes but the menu has also been scrutinized and improved upon.
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
"Let's go on a lark!"
The phrase itself seems so whimsically fun that you want to learn more. I had heard about Lark Artisan Market a few months ago but couldn't join them for their pop-up dinner then. Luckily, there was opportunity to attend Lark #19 by their invitation, and I was glad to have been a part. Lark Artisan Market itself is a pop-up concept that hosts dinner events with a featured chef at a featured location. It migrates from place to place because of this, and every single one of them is geared towards fostering a sense of community through active conversation, beautiful design and lifestyle, mindful food, and local thoughtfulness by supporting artisans and creators. This evening featured Chef Kyle Powers of Fork in the Road Catering and Tolosa Wines in a four-course wine pairing menu that had my mouth watering just from reading it online. By the way, the more you read, the more you might be tempted to join them on the next one!
Friday, June 17, 2016
What would you do if you had 25 acres of land to use in Orange County? Would you build up some houses and start diving into real estate? Would you start farming livestock and tending to the earth-planted crops you started? You could make quite the contribution to the local agriculture and community by doing so.
However, if you were really innovative, you could think outside of the box and do what the pioneering Chef Adam Navidi did. He built up Future Foods Farms in Brea as one of the largest aquaponic operations in the entire state. Though the produce harvested from the farm's greenhouses is used for commercial purposes in restaurants and catering, the intent behind this system of growing food is not for profit. Rather, Navidi is rapidly growing these organic crops using methods he has developed with the goal of helping make agriculture more sustainable and ubiquitous to the world. He wants to help fight hunger all over. We had to learn more about how his systems work towards that goal of eliminating starvation.
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
I can't deny it; I have a tea problem. Whenever I travel, I seek out loose leaf tea stores and buy a few varieties. Unless there is a particular leaf I want, I check out the unique blends each spot has put together just to understand their style. Despite being unable to leave my fascination of tea, I have yet to enjoy an afternoon tea service outside of my single experience in DC a few years ago. Therefore, when I learned that American Tea Room in Newport Beach was introducing their afternoon "Tea Service" a few weeks back, I was immediately interested. This program is a result of collaboration with Valerie Confections and presented on custom boards from The Wooden Palate. We were invited in one afternoon to give them a try, and there was certainly quite the spread.
Friday, June 10, 2016
2115 Holly Street, Austin, TX 78702 (Neighborhood: Holly)
Pricing - $$ | Dining - Casual, Dressy Casual | Cuisine - New American
We immediately agreed the moment we saw Launderette from the street - the only word to properly describe the place was "adorable." The classic old-timey diner feel permeated from the entrance through the entire interior and even in the mannerisms of the staff there. I got first wind of the restaurant from the rave reviews online for its food and environment but upon seeing their website and their online menu, I knew it was a must-visit for our Austin trip. Good thing we committed too; it ended up being our favorite meal there! Expect a lovely atmosphere and even lovelier food when you arrive.
Tuesday, June 7, 2016
Has it already been five years since the first Stacked restaurant opened in southern California to the joy of many? Congratulations to the regional brand which has found success in five different locations now! A full-service restaurant that focuses on putting choice into customers' hands, Stacked operates in a manner that suits the modern casual diner. Orders are plugged in by the customers themselves via iPad, and every single item can be customized based on one's taste buds. We were invited to check out Huntington Beach's outpost (which we had previously visited for a spring specials tasting) and the menu offered there. Need a casual spot for a large group of friends with varying food preferences? Stacked could be it for you.
Thursday, June 2, 2016
217 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701 (Neighborhood: Downtown)
Pricing - $$ | Dining - Casual, To-Go | Cuisine - BBQ
If you go to Texas, don't even try to get a consensus from the community there of where the best BBQ joint is. You'll get so many variations of suggestions that it will be overwhelming. What you want to know before you go down that rabbit hole is the style of BBQ you like because America has a wide range of barbecuing styles that hit on whichever flavor profile you can think of and Texas loves its barbecue. On our trip in Austin, we asked my cousin for his recommendations specifically based on our own preference for North Carolinian BBQ and its vinegar base. Immediately he pointed us in the direction of Cooper's, and we were quite glad we went!