Sunday, November 29, 2015

Your Fix of Southern Hospitality: Sunday Brunch at Lillie's Q

With barely a year under its belt, Lillie's Q in downtown Brea launched a Southern brunch September 20th to take place every Sunday from 10AM-2PM, and they are no stranger to Southern hospitality. The boastful buffet comes with mimosas, endless amounts of food including their signature smoked meats, and an easy-to-swallow price tag: $24.99 per adult. There is also a short order menu on hand in case you want the chefs to whip you up something wonderful from their brunch list as well as specialty drinks for an extra charge. Started by Chef Charlie McKenna, Lillie's Q has a national reputation along with the chef so it was big news for Orange County when the restaurant opened a southern California location right here in Brea. Now with brunch on its rotation, we're guessing many more people will flock to it because that is an important mealtime around these parts. If the smoked meats and Southern dishes don't pull you in, think of the other goodies in store. We stopped in upon invitation one morning to indulge ourselves and take a look at what Chef de Cuisine Kody Havener had in store for brunch that day.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Eatery - Parker & Otis (NC) Revisited

Parker and Otis Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

112 S Duke St, Durham, NC 27701
Pricing - $ | Dining - Casual, To-Go | Cuisine - American, Sandwiches

Ah, Durham. The old haunt. In all the years since I graduated from Duke, I hadn't traveled back to the area despite all the news I heard about the changes happening to both the culinary scene and city overall there. I had been meaning to return with Duc in tow since he had never been there so when our schedules opened up for an opportunity (and opportunely, it was Homecoming Weekend), we decided to go! Though there were new spots in town that had opened up, I wanted to make sure we visited Parker & Otis because I had enjoyed it so much (old review here). It's the perfect lunch spot and with so many sections of gifts and products at their location, it's just a fun place to browse. The restaurant still stood and was just as busy as ever; we plopped down for lunch one afternoon, and I still really enjoyed what they had to offer.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Eatery - Moena Cafe (HI)

Moena Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

7192 Kalanianaole Hwy, Suite D 101, Honolulu, HI 96825
Pricing - $$ | Dining - Casual | Cuisine - Breakfast

When your friend tells you there is a brunch place that serves Kalua Pork Benedict, you go. You just go. The lines at Moena Cafe are well-known so even though we thought we got there early on a rainy morning, there was still a decently long wait. No matter - we were in good company. The menu sounded delicious from what we read so it was difficult to decide finally on what to get. Good thing we had the wait outside to figure it out. There are several signature items here so we made sure those made it to our list. This small restaurant is known for its unique breakfast items done well and with a mom-and-pop feel to it. Once we got seated, we knew we were in for a treat.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

#CommunityTable at The Ecology Center: Chef Ryan Adams and Cook Pigs Ranch

"When we eat, we can make a positive change with every bite we take. What we sustain ourselves with everyday is damaging this beautiful planet; we can change that."- Evan Marks, Founder, The Ecology Center
Fifteen years ago, Evan Marks was inspired to become a farmer and attempt to turn around the negative impact that agriculture and human living was having on the planet. From this motivation came The Ecology Center which resides in San Juan Capistrano on an acre of land that includes the historic Congdon Farmhouse erected in 1878. A non-profit, dynamic educational facility that allows people to roll up their sleeves and build a self-rejuvenating community for the environment, The Ecology Center hosts a variety of events from workshops to school programs to even the beloved Community Table dinners for both members and non-members. While their annual Green Feast event is well-known, the quarterly (sometimes monthly) Community Tables are more low-key but still fuel the discussion on what it means to eat consciously. On Sunday, November 15, 2015, they hosted their last dinner for the calendar year, featuring Chef Ryan Adams of Three Seventy Common and Cook Pigs Ranch as the partnered farm source. We joined others that long afternoon to indulge on the chef's creations and to learn more about how we could make each bite we take it worth it for our bodies and for our planet.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tangata Unveils New Design and New, Asian-Inspired Menu

One of the beauties of art is that its ever-changing nature constantly redefines what beauty is. Throughout history, whether as an aspect of culture or a representation of a practical part of life, art has served some type of form or function, and capturing its path throughout the years has constantly been on the forefront of people's minds. At the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, their newest exhibition, The Red that Colored the World, documents the history of the color red and all the parts of life that have been affected by this hue. With its debut also comes the reopening of the museum's in-house restaurant, Tangata, which was closed for renovation and has now opened with a brilliant new design from renowned Los Angeles-based designer Heather Aston. The redesign of the space also brought in a revamped menu featuring Pacific Rim-influenced dishes by Executive Chef Donald Harris, a menu we were eager to try and did upon invitation.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Cookbook Release - Fig & Olive: The Cuisine of the French Riviera

"The best cooking is like Francine's: simple, fresh, and in full, flavorful view on the plate and on our palate."
One of the aspects I have always admired about Fig & Olive was that not only is their food a point of inspiration for myself as a cook but it is also consciously created with health and untainted ingredients in mind. So, when I found out that a cookbook was being released on their 10th anniversary featuring the many recipes of Chef Laurent Halasz, I was more than excited to see what was in store for this publication. What I got to see during the official launch party and dinner was a little more than expected as I was previously unaware of the massive influence that the chef's mother, Francine Halasz, had on him and his cooking. FIG & OLIVE: The Cuisine of the French Riviera launched in October in association with renowned publisher Assouline and is the first cookbook for Fig & Olive. It features stories about the chef's culinary career, its start, and the results (recipes) of such a journey. I joined many others one evening in early November to celebrate the launch and indulge in exciting inspired dishes derived from the book.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Bad to the Bone BBQ Bests Barbecuing Beasts

After a long week's worth of barbecue in North Carolina due to a recent trip, Duc and I were feeling almost at our limits for smoked meats...but then again, how could you deny the smoked meats after knowing just how much care and attention went into perfecting the art? We've always known others in Orange County to say that there isn't any decent BBQ in the area, or if there is, the restaurants are rare gems. I'm not surprised - it just isn't in the culture here in southern California. However, that shouldn't deny those who have brought the skill to the area and with 10 years under its belt, Bad to the Bone BBQ in San Juan Capistrano has gifted us just that around these parts.

Started in 2005 to fill the void that is BBQ in Orange County, Bad to the Bone smokes and grills their meats on site, serving up full-service goodness as well as delivery and occasionally catering. Not only does its food style set them apart due to a dearth of decent BBQ, the commitment to quality does too. Owner Marty Wells told us just that when we stopped in for an interview one morning -
"BBQ is hard to do consistently every day but we do our best to start with a quality product. All of our meats are Choice-grade and nothing is frozen. Everything's fresh as possible - 95% of the menu is made in-house from beans to BBQ to potato salad to fries. We even make our own hamburger patties which are 1/2 lb three-way mixes of short rib, chuck and brisket."