As a foodie I’ve gone to my fair share of food festivals, but when I was informed about an upcoming industry event I didn’t know quite what to expect. Hosted by US Foods and Food Fanatics LIVE at the Disneyland Hotel, this annual food convention helps individuals from all areas of the food industry to network and get the latest scoop on the hottest trends. Guest were given ample samples of a variety of entrees, desserts, and garnishes, and I was lucky enough to cover the event with a wide grin and stuffed belly – all in the name of journalism of course. 🙂 When I first entered the venue I was overwhelmed by the layout. At the center there was a culinary demonstrations with industry-leading chefs on the Food Fanatics Stage as well as belly bars for guests to enjoy samples while listening to the lectures. I decided to venture toward the left side of the event and boy did I feel like I hit the jackpot – it was the protein station! 😀 There were refrigerators filled with beautiful meat cuts including: lamb, beef, and pork. I waited in line and saw the chefs cook and slice the meat right in front of me. Stockyards definitely produces premium cuts and on the other side was the seafood section. Salmon, bay scallops, crawfish, you name it and prepared in a variety of ways, fried, steamed… or in the case of oysters raw.
After I stuffed my face with pretty much every type of protein known to man, I explored the right side of the arena and made friends with some of the US Foods staff. I fell in love with Hope’s Cookies – you might have seen then in Boudin Bakery, or Bristol Farms if you’re in California. The cookies were absolutely devine! There was also vegetable dishes, pizza, and the list goes on and on. It’s really quite incredible to have a place where restaurateurs and chefs can collaborate and partner together on creating something new.
What would you be most excited to see on a menu?
P.S. I’m giving away two $10 gift cards for Miguel JRs on my Instagram account. Come enter here
I still can’t believe that it’s already fall and that summer is behind us. Thankfully, I was able to capture the end of summer in a fabulous foodie fashion and made delicious memories. Over the Labor Day weekend I had the opportunity to attend The LA Times – The Taste Sunday Block Party, where I got the chance to sip refreshing spirits and munch on tasty treats at Paramount Studios, CA.
The afternoon affair was complete with all the Labor Day BBQ favorites, but with a gourmet twist. Sliders with chunks of lobsters was Slapfish’s contribution and Dog Haus served their dogs on buttered brioche bread with all the fixin’s – Yum! Salt and Straw, a Portland based Ice Cream Shop that recently opened a branch in LA, was a favorite among attendees as the temperatures that day reached the 90s. I also got a chance to participate in an educational champagne tasting class where my wine glasses were never empty – cheers!
Chef Jet Tila of 101 Asian Dishes you Need to Cook Before you Die and Judge on Cut Throat Kitchen was also among several celebrity chefs at the event and he entertained attendees with a live cooking demonstration. I was luckily enough to snap a photo with this awesome Asian American as I allowed my belly to digest all the scrumptious samples from event.
I absolutely miss summer, but am excited about all the upcoming holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas! Which holiday are you looking forward to most?
I don’t frequent the South OC Shop often, so when I was invited to attend the 6th annual Taste of Lake Forest this past Sunday I was curious to see their offering. I saw many soccer type moms with children at this event and the palm trees and bright sunny afternoon made it a fun family event for people of all ages to enjoy. One element of this tasting that’s different from other tastings I’ve attended in the past is how guests play an active role in selecting their favorite restaurant at The Taste of Lake Forest. With a map in one hand and a guide of all the participating restaurants, my guest and I went down the rows to sample each restaurants offerings to see which was our favorite.
There were many familiar restaurants and businesses that participated in the event including: Mimi’s Cafe, Pick Up Stix, and Jamba Juice just to name a few. Yet, my favorite was definitely Tito’s carnitas tacos with cabbage. It was juicy and the the tostado was a good solid base to carry this substantial bite. Miguel JRs was also present at the event, which is the perfect segway to introduce my Gift Card Winners. Drum roll please…. Congratulations Jean L and Lisa! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday September 29th to claim your prize!
Didn’t win this time? Don’t worry! I will throw another Miguel’s JR Giftcard giveaway on my Instagram account for another opportunity to win! Pst… there’s a good chance that it may be on Friday *wink wink*
Whats your criteria when judging a food competition?
Over the Labor Day weekend I came across a ridiculously awesome Flash Sale for a Six Flags Annual Pass. During that promotion I was able to get an upgraded Gold Pass with admission for the rest of 2017 and all of 2018, free parking, plus bonus “Holiday in the Park” ticket for a friend for just $80! Seemed like an amazing deal and since it’s been ages since I lasted visited Six Flags Magic Mountain I thought it’d be a great to revisit a theme park with my favorite DC characters and thrilling roller coasters!
I was completely thrilled at how they marketed their rides and restaurants. They had rides dedicated for Green Lantern, Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, you name it! And if you’re a Flash fan, they have a “Big Belly Burger” – the best burgers across the universe according to Barry Allen.
Recently, they added a new family friendly ride called “Justice League: Battle for Metropolois” – held inside of “The Hall of Justice.” The interactive 4D ride allows guests (known as the “Justice League Reserves”) to shoot for points to rescue members of the Justice League captured by Lex Luther and The Joker. At the end of the ride, guests can view points earned and their shooting accuracy. If you love videos games, you’ll definitely love this ride!
My friend and I went on an incredibly hot day, so we can’t wait to go back during the winter season when it cools down. We stayed mainly in the DC area, but there are many other sections with some really cool coasters. Their season passes are also very reasonably priced and if you go twice it pays for itself.
Huntington Beach is one of my favorite cities in Orange County. With the beach just footsteps away the ocean breeze blowing through your hair and people walking around in their favorite sunglasses and rainbow sandals the city evokes the quintessential Southern California lifestyle. Recently, Huntington Beach welcomed a new quick bite diner to Surf City, Miguel’s JR, a casual Mexican restaurant and celebrated Southern California staple. I attended their Grand Opening alongside prominent members of the community to welcome this new business.
The ceremony was an intimate one; however, several city council representatives came to present awards of recognition and to congratulate Miguel’s Jr owner. With 21 locations across Southern California Miguel’s JR roots lie in delivering fresh California Mexican cuisine in an inviting environment. The accessible price-point and counter-to-pickup model makes it an experience for people of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy. They have burritos, tacos, various combination plates and breakfast items too! I ordered the Carne Asada Taco Salad and that entree alone could feed several individuals.
I had a great time and want to share the wealth – so I’m throwing a GIVEAWAY!!! through all my social media accounts throughout the month! This week I will give two $10 Giftcards for my blog fans!
To enter (Southern California Residents Only):
Follow http://www.yurockstar.com – top right side of the website on desktop and all the way to the bottom on your mobile device (it’s free!)
Write a comment below on what you’re most excited to try – Taco? Burrito? Quesadilla?
Giveaway will end on 11:59pm Saturday September 23. Winner will be announced on Monday, September 25th.
Disclosure: Post is sponsored. Opinions and content are my own.
Santa Ana is a popular destination for authentic Mexican eats and treats, but did you know that Downtown Santa Ana (DTSA) is home to more than forty different ethnic and fusion restaurants? During the Savor Santa Ana tasting event last week guests were invited to take stroll through DTSA’s brick sidewalk or hop on a charming trolley to sample some rich and flavorful bites
With tickets in one hand and a map in the other guests explored the vibrant and historic community. The aromatic smells from the booths combined with live performances made the evening one for all the senses to enjoy. My friend and I throughly enjoyed sampling so many different cuisines but I’m very partial to the shrimp taco from Hectors on Broadway (OC Weekly feature) and Milk Man‘s itty bitty ice cream made from scratch.
Santa Ana is such an exotic neighborhood with so much flair and thankfully we can continue the celebration with Santa Ana Restaurant Week (September 24th – September 30th) and Taste of Santa Ana (September 30th). There’s a FREE BBQ tasting at Lola Gaspar on Sunday September 24 from 12-2, but you need to RSVP through the link above. Secure your spot! And your favorite blogger will be doing a giveaway for two complimentary tickets to the Taste of Santa Ana – so be on the lookout for upcoming posts.
Which restaurant are you most excited to try in Santa Ana?
I’ve been to a number of tastings, but never have I gone to them back-to-back let alone for multiple days! So when @foodiejudge (of Instagram) and I were invited to cover the LA Food and Wine festival I was beyond excited. This epic FOUR-DAY tasting featured culinary legends and new dishes at each venue (yes there are multiple), and I had the opportunity to check out Thursday’s Ultimate Bites of LA event and Saturday afternoon’s Lexus Grand Tasting. Both events were fabulous in their own rights; however, Saturday evening’s LIVE on Grand had a live hip hop performance by Wyclef Jean- you probably know him from Shakira’s hit song “Hips Don’t Lie.” Ah yeah…
While the entertainment headline was certainly a star-studded one, the restaurant line-up was certainly no joke. Celebrated chefs from across the nation including chefs from Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hill (Los Angeles), Hudson Valley Foie Gras (New York), Joe’s Stone Crab (Miami Beach), and Sydney Street Cafe ( St. Louis) plated the evening affair and I loved all the vibrant and tasty dishes. One of my favorite dishes was Tyler Florence’s “Bacon and Egg” concept where the breakfast duo was artistically presented inside the egg-shell – brilliant!
Yet excellent food paired with a bomb venue heightens the experience 10 folds. With the downtown cityscape and Walt Disney Concert Hall serving as the backdrop it doesn’t’ get more glamorous that this!
I thought the night couldn’t get any better until I saw and took a selfie with Celebrity Chef and Food Network Star Tyler Florence, as seen on Tyler’s Ultimate and The Great Food Truck Race. *Gush* but in all seriousness if you’re a foodie/wineo this is definitely an event you should add on your bucket list! I mean who wouldn’t want to wine and dine with the country’s best culinary personalities?
If you could have a meal with any celebrity chef who would it be?
Lobster will always be one of my favorite things to eat because the taste is unmatched by any other shellfish. The texture and depth of flavor is hearty, without tasting fishy and the large claws make an impressive statement to any dish. So, when I was invited to cover The Original Lobster Festival in Long Beach I couldn’t say no. After-all who could say no to lobster, especially ones flown in from Maine? 😀
Steamed whole lobster and dipped in hot melted butter, mMmmm… sounds like the perfect feast to wrap up summer and if you love crustaceans as much as I do then this post is going to be a real treat! Held in the beautiful Rainbow Lagoon in Long Beach the festival is an annual tradition for many California natives and tourists to enjoy. The Live steamed lobster was the star of the show and for a steal! $30 if you purchase your ticket online (includes admission and a whole lobster!); however, patrons could also try lobster roll, lobster on a stick among other things.
It was my first time attending this event, but as I was waiting in line I saw many veteran festival goers bring in lawn chairs and picnic blankets. Considering the beautiful weather and live local entertainment, this definitely was a perfect event for a family to enjoy.
How would you enjoy your lobster? in a roll? steamed with butter? Chinese style?
While summer may be coming to a close, the weather in Southern California sure doesn’t feel like it’s cooling down anytime soon. I periodically look at my car’s thermostat and it’s often in the 90-100 degree range – ouch! Thankfully, the warm climate attracts cool desserts like this ice cream and funnel cake concept!
Drizzle OC’s recently held it’s Grand Opening in the McDonald’s plaza in Fountain Valley (18972 Brookhurst, Fountain Valley, CA), so I went with some high school friends to welcome them to “A Nice Place to Live.” At the debut event, the first 100 guests were given the option to pick up a free keychain or t-shirt, as well as a complimentary honey green tea drink with purchase of a “Drizzle Specialty” item. I ordered the strawberry delight and picked up a t-shirt. My friends picked the Peaches N’Cream and Matcha Madness.
Once we got our orders, we snapped a few shots then proceeded to eat the sweet treat quickly – the ice cream was melting and the heat wasn’t helping. My first impression was that the two dessert items paired well with each other, and while the funnel cake didn’t quite taste like what you’d eat at the fair (It tasted more like a dense pancake), I felt like it complimented the ice cream and gave good texture. The dessert is definitely very photogenic and a tasty treat that everyone would enjoy.
All my travels this summer have been local, and while a part of me longs to fly away and explore new uncharted territories, I’m extremely lucky to have one of the most dynamic cities in my backyard – Los Angeles. Recently, I alongside my friend @foodiejudge (of Instagram) were invited to The Lexus Grand Tasting at LA Food and Wine at the historic Barker Hanger in Santa Monica where we wined and dined with some of the countries best chefs.
Twenty-five celebrity chefs from LA restaurant staples such as Bazaar By Jose,Astro Donuts, and Alexander Steakhouse plated the event and I was really impressed by the attention to detail placed on each dish. My friend and I enjoyed the diverse offerings and there were quite a few stations that incorporated exotic ingredients such as caviar, foie gras, and truffles. So fancy!! And of course there was plenty of beer and wine to go around.
Aside from the beautifully executed dishes and distinct alcoholic beverages, the venue location was also equally spectacular. The dramatic ceilings made for an impressive entrance to showcase some of Lexus’s specialty cars. I especially loved the car that was covered in LED lights. The event was definitely lit!
The afternoon event was sophisticated and fun, without being stuffy or arrogant. I especially loved how accessible the chefs were even got a photo with Celebrity Chef Brian Malarky, judge on Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games, and mentor on ABC’s The Taste! Overall, this was a great event and I can’t wait to go back next year!
What’s your favorite exotic ingredient to indulge in?