Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Calivino Wine Pub Brightens Anaheim's Terroir

"A wine pub? What's that?" you might be asking yourself. I asked myself the same question when I first got a sniff of the new restaurant's opening. I hadn't heard the two words used together before but the blend was intriguing. Calivino Wine Pub opened May 10, 2014 but apparently already has regulars. It's located near Angel Stadium and is nestled among other eateries that I would not expect to be nearby such as a Subway and Hooters. However, this also manages to give the area a place Anaheim does not really have for wine aficionados in the community - good food and a decent wine list experience. We stopped in one day to meet Owner Daniel Bradley, check out the digs, and delve into what was making Calivino already a popular hangout spot for the locals.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Test Kitchen - Gianduia (Chocolate Hazelnut Spread)

I love hazelnuts. Their flavor is unmatched by other nut flavors, and when combined with something like chocolate, it is sublime. I brought back quite a hefty bag of the nuts from our Portland trip and couldn't quite figure out what to make with it; thus, it became a Test Kitchen ingredient. I was tempted to eat the whole bag but I needed them to grow on their own. I loved the suggestions that came through of which one frequently suggested one was Nutella. While that was a great idea in its own right, my dear talented chocolatier friend (Amy Jo of Valenza Chocolatier) suggested gianduia which is pretty much the mother to Nutella. Challenge accepted! With some research through this nifty 35-part series and other parts of the internet, I came up with something that beats out the sugary, oily jar that is Nutella. It's purer, more nutty, more chocolatey, and made of ingredients we know and trust. Make yourself this recipe using only six ingredients and live happy with jars of decadent happiness.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Recipe - Powerhouse Polish Sandwich

The Polish sandwich struck my interest when it first showed itself on the menu of a nearby Weinerschnitzel when I was young. Soon after, I saw a Polish hot dog at Costco and I wondered what gave these dishes their denominations. Lo and behold, the kielbasa! What a lovely sausage it is. We got our hands on some of these Polish sausages from Zeigler's Sausages (a local sausage-maker) and the ideas came slowly on what to do with them. Inspiration struck one morning as I thought about what it was that I loved kielbasa with and sauerkraut came to mind. The idea turned into a rudimentary sketch on a nearby Post-It note which became a reality once I grabbed my other ingredients which included marble rye bread from Blackmarket Bakery (local bakery) and hot and sour pickles from Pernicious Pickles (local pickling company). I also contributed my own mustard seeds, sauerkraut, and even wasabi mayo. Yum!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Event - Nirvana Grille Greets the Season with a Taste of Summer

What do you get when a naturopathic doctor raises a daughter who is interested in food and cooking? Executive Chef and co-owner Lindsay Smith-Rosales, the passionate creator of Laguna Beach's Nirvana Grille. A restaurant based on sourcing as sustainably as possible, Nirvana Grille was built to be committed to responsible ingredients for its dishes. Chef Lindsay believes in feeding the body what it is supposed to have and has walked the many paths to find the balance herself, having run the full gamut from being vegan to not. As she says, "It really is about feeding your body what it deserves." I joined other food media folks one summer evening to indulge in the restaurant's new seasonal menu and got to see what a difference the ingredient sourcing makes on a meal.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Sessions Sandwiches Serves Up West Coast Gold

"When you take a bite of our sandwiches, we want you to be able to distinctively taste each ingredient which, when combined together, is also amazing." - Matt Meddock, Founder and Co-Owner
If you have been harboring a unique idea for a passion project for 6+ years, you should realize that it's something you really want to do. For Matt Meddock, founder and co-owner of newly opened Sessions Sandwiches, that concept floating in the back of his mind for years during his work in promotions for bars/restaurants/nightclubs and as a paramedic was to fill the void that southern California has when it comes to sandwiches. Never having owned a restaurant before in his life, Matt was trying to figure it out after selling his marketing company and while working a hectic paramedic's life; his thoughts kept returning to his sandwich chain idea and with some encouragement from his wife, he opened Sessions Sandwiches on the Newport Beach peninsula. We stopped in to get a taste of what turned out to be some of the best sandwiches we've ever had. Maybe he's onto something here...

Monday, June 30, 2014

Valenza Chocolatier Masterfully Engages and Educates through "Chocolate Tasting 101"

If I were to tell you that in a span of less than two hours' time, you would be able to describe the taste and feel of any chocolate in your mouth with the same weighty words as sommeliers use for wine, would you believe me? Nary a person in the room seemed surprised that different chocolates yielded different flavor and texture profiles but they did seem pleasantly awed by how distinctive the varying tastes were. We would have to chalk that up to the excellent guidance given by Amy Jo Valenza Pedone of Valenza Chocolatier during her inaugural "Chocolate Tasting 101" workshop. Held on a weeknight in June at the Hood Kitchen space, this introduction to the wonders of chocolate and what it means to really taste chocolate was engaging, interactive, and very educational. It was merely the first in her budding series of tasting workshops (and eventually chocolate-making workshops) and a strong promise of how astounding her upcoming events will also be. Now that the first Valenza Chocolatier workshop is over, my advice to you would be to get your tickets right now for the next one you can make before the seats sell out.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Finding Farmers' Markets - Irvine, CA (Great Park)

This post is part of a series Much Ado About Fooding is doing on farmers' markets - Duc and I plan to visit as many as we can, starting in southern California, to get a sense of what sets each apart, what drives communities to them, and what gems people should look out for. To keep track, bookmark the "Farmers' Market" category.

We should have foreseen the glaringly obvious issue we would run into as we covered more and more farmers' markets - they change with the seasons. Why didn't I think of that? As we hop around every weekend seeking out the ones in different cities, we should also be paying attention to what the weather and land will be governing for the markets. Both you (the reader) and I should also be aware that farmers' markets change quite rapidly aside from their vendors available who flow in and out with the seasons. Duc and I went back to the farmers' market located at the Great Park which is open on Sundays from 10am to 2pm after not having gone for a few months, and the set-up had completely changed. The vendors were still great (those who were present) but there was a marked difference in the layout and even the number of available stands.