Thursday, March 26, 2015

ChocXO Releases Exclusive Rare Chocolate "Tres Rios" and Single Origin Collection

By absolute luck at being in the right place at the right time, I found myself facing a shelf of enticing product design having been drawn in by the styling. Once I read further on the placard displayed next to the row of classily-packaged chocolate bars and boxes, I realized that I was in the presence of a unique opportunity. I hadn't seen any other buzz about it and considering its exclusivity, I made an instant decision to buy a 4.2 oz box of 20 small tasting squares for a whopping $30 at ChocXO's newest outpost in Irvine. The enticing foil patterning on the sleek black and white bars and boxes is attractive but even more so is the story of how "Tres Rios" came to be. Let's just say that your only chance to try out this rarity is at ChocXO and only before the limited edition boxes sell out. 500 bars and 500 boxes are available, and we have one of those. How many more will be left when you want your taste?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Five Crowns Celebrates 50 Year Legacy with Commemorative Menu

Few restaurants in Orange County can boast having been a part of the community for decades, much less half a century, but Five Crowns in Corona Del Mar has proudly reached that milestone. For 50 years, the classic restaurant has seen the likes of many and left tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of diners happy and feeling spoiled. It is also a favorite for celebrating special occasions but 2015 is the year for Five Crowns to celebrate its own special moment. The Lawry's family and Executive Chef Steve Kling have released an unprecedented menu along with new beverages that highlights not only popular classics but also modern soon-to-be favorites. This menu also stands apart from past ones in variety, offering nearly triple the amount of choices and even new family-style selections. In a media preview dinner, I was able to experience just how exciting this release will be for guests to come.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Recipe - Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili

A friend of ours recently held a potluck dinner get-together, and the theme requested was for all the dishes to be vegetarian. Considering how we have somehow recently found ourselves cooking less and less meat (not sure how this is happening...), the request was not too far-fetched and I decided I should also try to make it vegan. Since I'm still new to it all, I looked up ideas that would be hearty and easy to make since I wouldn't have much time to prep. Luckily for me, Duc was home to prep the ingredients so all I had to do was dump things together! The recipe itself was tweaked from the one here, and everyone seemed to enjoy how it resemble traditional chili quite well without being so. However, if you really are hankering for a meaty chili, try checking out this one here: Pink Bean Chili. Oh and bear in mind that this vegetarian one still has a spicy kick to it!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

2nd Eat LBC (Long Beach Restaurant Week) Runs March 22-28, 2015

Long Beach Restaurant Week starts this Sunday with more than 50 restaurants participating citywide! Called "Eat LBC," the celebratory week encourages people to dine in Long Beach and get some deals while doing so. This is the second year for Eat LBC and with three-course meals priced at $20, $30, and $40 (tax and gratuity not included), there seems to be something for everyone. New this year is also the option to opt for the "Chef's Tasting" menu which is available at the fine dining restaurants which are participating; this selection runs for $50 per person. The launch party took place March 15th at Hyatt the Pike Long Beach, giving people a week from then until Eat LBC's start date to decide which restaurants they will visit to get the special steals and deals this last part of March.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Bruxie Brings Bold Buffalo By - Kickin' Buffalo Chicken

"Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo" - the iconic grammatically correct sentence to show off multiple meanings for a single word...and what you might say if you stare at Bruxie's newest menu item line-up. They have run with the buffalo sauce flavor in more than one way but don't worry; a new soda is not one of those ventures. Instead, a kickin' salad, fingerlickin' tenders, and solid sandwich are the three ways you can enjoy having buffalo at Bruxie. We've been fans of the restaurant chain ever since it was just the original Orange location and even atended  a hard hat tour of the Huntington Beach opening a few years back. They were the first on the Orange County front to bring waffle sandwiches to the area and regardless of the gimmick (that some thought it was), they make some satisfying food. We were invited one afternoon to give their newest items a try, and we left quite happy with what we hope will be truly permanent dishes on their menu!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Recipe - Scampi with Angel Hair

Over the years as we have explored and gone on fooding adventures to check out different cultures and cuisines, we have fallen in love with more and more varieties of dishes. Even with all of that exposure, I still have a special place in my heart for my original love and favorite growing up - Italian food. Now, armed with more knowledge of the cuisine and having been exposed to the thrills and communities of Italy itself, I find that the dishes I had known in the past to be Italian have usually been modified for the American palate and people.

For example, the commonly seen dish called "shrimp scampi" is actually a tad redundant as scampi in Italian means "prawns." Shrimp...prawns? This dish of "shrimp scampi" is a combination of delicious shrimp, butter, and white wine - sometimes over pasta. Despite the slight inaccuracy, it has become a staple in Italian-American cuisine, and honestly, there is nothing wrong with preparing this; cultures evolve and change over time as does the food associated. Making this dish is an easy way to satisfy many and turn a regular weeknight into a delight. My recipe below omits the white wine for convenience's sake so my apologies ahead of time if you were looking for one with it!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

American-Latin Restaurant El Amerikano Releases New Menu Items This Spring

Nearly a year ago, the folks over at the beloved Kentro Greek Kitchen in Fullerton decided to pull together and open an American-Latin restaurant to give exposure to Latin and American classics will showcasing local ingredients. El Amerikano is helmed by Chef Konstantine Marougas, who also dishes up the food at Kentro, and features the food in a modern setting. We were invited one evening to a media event to see what new dishes were being added to the menu which boasts itself as "New American cuisine with a Latin flair" and protein-centric.