Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Roasting Single Origin Espressos at ChocXO Allows Nuanced Choices

Happy National Coffee Day! Did you remember your cuppa this morning? If not, there is still time to get a hold of a delicious, expertly brewed espresso from ChocXO who roasts and grinds its own beans. Though their coffee service started out with just two types (light and dark roasts), they have since expanded into single origin espressos and various other ways to present coffees to their fullest potential. Don't worry - if the choices seem daunting, the flavor profiles on the menu will help out; these descriptions also allow you to determine how to play around with your chocolate mix-ins (should you choose to do them), and there are educated baristas to help.

While most coffee shops serve a single espresso, ChocXO stands out for giving you choice and why not? There are such varying palates and opinions about coffee that having just one type is a waste of taste. Not only are the beans unique there for these espressos but so is the whole process they do of roasting and grinding their own coffees. We got a personal look at how Lead Coffee Roaster Matt Thornley creates these perfect roasts for their coffee.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Culture and Chai with Chef Shachi Mehra at ADYA

"You always offer chai. It doesn't matter what time of day it is or if it is 100° out."
I don't remember exactly when I first started hearing about chai or when it became so ubiquitous but I did know that I initially did not enjoy it. There - I admitted it. However, my confession is not without reason. I want to say that the first time I had something "chai," it was astringent on my tongue, positively sharp and strong in aroma, and yet felt saturated in sugar. The scent of cinnamon was pervasive, and it just left a bad taste in my mouth overall. I'm not even sure where I first tasted it but it was not a pleasant first experience.

Then I started working for the couture events company I did a few years ago which had a basis in Indian weddings and celebratory events. Chai was everywhere, and I fell in love with the taste. Cast off your thoughts of "chai tea lattes" and "pumpkin chai Frappaccinos." Real chai is extraordinary with strong cultural significance to boot. We were extremely excited for the unique opportunity to join Chef Shachi Mehra of ADYA in Anaheim back in her kitchen to learn how to make masala chai the way she serves and drinks it. In addition to getting a behind-the-scenes look into how the drink is made, we then became privy to just how important chai is to the Indian culture and heard Chef Shachi's many memories surrounding the soul- and heart-warming tea.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Eatery - The Palace Grill (CA)

Palace Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

8 E Cota St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Pricing - $$/$$$ | Dining - Casual | Cuisine - Cajun/Creole

We needed to do it. We saw that there was a Cajun/Creole restaurant in Santa Barbara, and my friends and I decided it was necessary to visit. Not only that but there were rave reviews about how friendly Palace Grill was. That sounds like reason enough to drop by. Located right off of State St, the restaurant is easy enough to find and its loud, welcoming atmosphere welcomes everyone in right away. The decor inside is definitively inspired by New Orleans and the culture, making it a good time to be had by all. We went through the extensive menu and decided that we needed to not only get some of their most popular items but also to encourage the jokey and friendly staff to share with us their favorites.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Here Comes the 2nd Annual Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival (+ Giveaway)!

[Giveaway details at the bottom of the post] Did you miss last year's inaugural Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival? If so, you better not miss this year's event which takes place October 2-4, 2015 at Oak Grill & Aqua Lounge on Friday and the Newport Beach Civic Center on Saturday and Sunday. The event itself is three days dedicated to celebrating food and wine as well as the beautiful setting that is Newport Beach. During the festival, be prepared to find live celebrity chef cooking demonstrations, master sommelier wine panels, book signings, Grand Tasting Pavilions with samples from Orange County's finest chefs, mixology classes, wine and cocktails, and live entertainment. Better yet, the event will donate its proceeds to its benefit charity partner, Project Hope Alliance, which serves to combat the homelessness cycle of children in Orange County. Whether you decide to go for just the Friday Launch Party or the Saturday and Sunday Daytime Festivals, you will likely find some unique and tasty morsels and drinks.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Eco App Off at Green Feast 2015 Wows Attendees

Every year that it has been around, Green Feast has inspired us to be more cognizant of what we eat and use, and it has made us envious of those who are able to get tickets to each highly coveted seat. Green Feast is an annual fundraiser for The Ecology Center located in San Juan Capistrano and adheres to true farm-to-table methods. Participants must source all of their ingredients within 250 miles of The Ecology Center including staples such as flour, salt, and sugar! This year, as with the past ones, the event sold out nearly immediately and was well-attended by more than 200 guests. That evening of September 12, 2015, they sat along tables and indulged in food-conscious dishes prepared by 17 of OC's best chefs. We did not partake in the dinner but did get to enjoy the precursor to the fabulous meal - the Eco App Off.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

True Seasons Organic Kitchen is True Seed to Table

Farm to Table. Organic. Seasonal. Local. All these buzzwords have permeated our culinary culture these days, and every time we come across a restaurant that strictly adheres to these principles, it is worth talking about. True Seasons Organic Kitchen helmed by Chef Saifon Plewtong and located in Anaheim is one of those places. Need proof? Check out their social media channels or better yet, talk to the passionate chef herself when you sit down for your meal. Focusing on the simple goodness of ingredients, the restaurant is an organic hot pot joint that brings in the natural beauty of proteins and produce such as organic grass-fed beef, organic chicken, wild-caught seafood, and seasonal fruits and vegetables. Opened just a year ago, True Seasons seeks not only to bring good and healthful food to its customers but also to help the community at large; in celebration of their one-year anniversary, a portion of their proceeds this month (September) will go to The Free Pantry, a local nonprofit that provides fresh, nutritional food to low-income families. We were invited in one evening to see what they were all about.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Eatery - Kukai Ramen & Izakaya (WA)

Kukai Ramen & Izakaya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

14845 Main St, Bellevue, WA. 98007
Pricing - $/$$ | Dining - Casual | Cuisine - Japanese

Is it an issue that we are constantly looking for ramen everywhere we go? It seems like every trip we take, we wonder if the area has good ramen so we seek spots that seem promising based on reviews. When we went to Seattle, the spot was Kukai. We met up with a friend who had moved to the area recently, eager to see what there was to offer in that part of town. I had originally chosen this place because I noticed that had a yuzu shio ramen on the menu. Sounded interesting and unique so we had to go!