Friday, June 26, 2015

TAPS Fish House & Brewery Expands to Irvine

June 8th welcomed the newest addition to the TAPS Fish House & Brewery family - a location in Irvine! Situated in The Market Place, the restaurant boasts 10,000 ft² of space in furnishings atypical of the other locations. Instead of being heavily bricked, TAPS Fish House & Brewery in Irvine features darker tones and use of distressed wood to portray a more South County appropriate atmosphere. Nevertheless, the offerings remain very similar and the emphasis on their excellent seafood and housemade charcuterie has stayed. We stopped in prior to the grand opening to preview the space, and there was much to catch one's eye.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Recipe - Carrot Pecan Loaf Cake

Growing up, I was never a fan of carrot cake. It always had a strange texture, especially since the grated carrots seemed to be dry and a little hard. There was always a plastic-tasting "cream cheese" frosting on top as well. Why would you put cream cheese with carrots? It was the problem with having only store-bought, mass-produced carrot cake though. Quality control isn't 100% there, and I knew no different. Therefore, I ascertained that carrot cake was not for me. However, as I got older, I decided that maybe younger Minerva had no idea what she was thinking and I ought to give it a try. Not bad, I felt. Then I kept trying until I wanted to make some myself. Here's a version in loaf form (for easy breakfast grabbing!) using pecans and golden raisins as sidekicks. Hope you enjoy making it!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Eatery - Mark's Place (HI)

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1610 Haleukana St, Ste A, Lihue, HI 96766
Pricing - $ | Dining - Casual, To-Go | Cuisine - Hawaiian

Our friend insisted that at least one time on our Hawaii trip, we must have "plate lunch," as they call it there. Our chance came when we decided to make a one day trip to Kauai and searched for places highly rated for lunch. Mark's Place came up and was a plate lunch spot so we could kill two birds with one stone. It served up the standard stuff but we were quite happy to be grabbing what we could of the local culture while we could.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Georgia's Restaurant Serves Heart and Soul Food in Anaheim - Meet the Owners

"It's always been a passion of mine to cook.."

Gretchen Shoemaker tells me with a happy gleam in her eye. The lively woman sits across from Duc and me outside of the Anaheim Packing House as she begins the story of how Georgia's Restaurant came to be. Joined by her daughter Nika Shoemaker-Machado, Gretchen dives into the history of the restaurant, and as the two talk, we realize once again why these small business stories are so important. They are the hopes and dreams of people brought to life. When news spread that the new Anaheim Packing House would soon be home to a soul food restaurant, the community seemed eager to taste its menu but what they might not have expected was to also fall in love with the people there. We were one of those who got a lick of their food and became curious about the backstory. After all, who doesn't love a good story? Fueled by the passion of Gretchen and her daughter Nika (with her husband Marlon Machado), Georgia's Restaurant opened as the family's first brick-and-mortar business and was met with success. With barely a year's span under their belts, the owners have proven that Orange County needs some good ol' soul food cooked up with love. We met with the trio one afternoon and found ourselves also craving the glow they exuded for their restaurant and their community.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Eatery - Tamira (CA)

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1027 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Pricing - $/$$ | Dining - Casual, To-Go | Cuisine - Indian

What food comes to mind when you think of Santa Barbara? I'm sure an eclectic bunch considering how many different types of restaurants line its streets. My friends and I had taken a trip up there for a few days' respite and were trying to make sure that we had a diverse spread of food indulgences during our adventures. The day we meant to leave did not have very much planned so we decided to go the way of our AirBnb hostess' suggestion of trying out Tamira on State St. Its alluring smells had already caught our attention the day prior as you could smell yourself approaching the restaurant before even seeing it. Whatever spices they heat up throughout the days really help. The online reviews looked promising, and the price point was comfortable so we dropped by for a quick lunch!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Eatery - Kalaheo Cafe and Coffee Company (HI)

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2-2560 Kaumualii Hwy., Kalaheo, HI 96741
Pricing - $/$$ | Dining - Casual, To-Go | Cuisine - Breakfast, Brunch

A quick jaunt to Kauai during our Oahu trip revealed to us that there was more to the little island than we had originally anticipated. Unfortunately we were not able to reach every single key destination on Kauai but we got a general feel of the land. It's certainly a fantastic island to visit if you're looking for low-key, rural relaxation, and it has the food style to fit it. Before our hike to Waimea Canyon, we needed to get ourselves some breakfast and chose to stop into the Kalaheo Cafe and Coffee Company restaurant to get ourselves fuel for the trail. There was a diner feel to it, complete with the homeyness that a small community has.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Recipe - Chai Tea

I have to credit Savory Spice Shop for this recipe as it was labeled on the side of my bottle of chai spices from them which contains crystalized ginger nibs, Saigon cinnamon chips, green cardamom pods, star anise, cloves, black peppercorns, and bay leaves. Duc absolutely adores chai but had never asked for any; to surprise him, I brewed up a batch using this recipe and created an instant hit. It's actually much simpler than I expected so I hope you can make use of it yourself as well.