I’ve been on a nerd/geek convention kick as of late and when I learned about a new one in Southern California I was excited to see what it was all about. Just in its second year, NerdBot Con is the latest addition to mark residency at the Pasadena Convention Center. The one day convention boasted of it’s large cosplay presence so I dusted off my Wonder Woman uniform, grabbed my Lasso of Truth, and flew my invisible jet to get a first hand look at newest geek gathering.
The two story venue made for a lovely location as there was natural light and ample space for artists and vendors to display their work. One artist even drew a cartoon version of me – pretty accurate if you ask me 🙂 Check out his website: Jack of All Nerds Podcast. The intimate gathering also delivered on costumed attendees as they certainly attracted many diverse cosplayers and photographers.
I also got to meet and take a photo with Carla Perez the actress who played the original Rita Repulsa from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. She complimented my Wonder Woman cosplay and encouraged me to cosplay as her character!! Oh!!! The creative juices in my brain are turning.
Which character should consider brining to life at my next con?
When I first started attending tastings I remembered the Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival setting the bar of how all food festivals should be – refined and elegant, but casual and relaxed, all while highlighting the dishes as the stars of the show. I remembered each bite bringing together a myriad of bright fresh ingredients with complex flavors. This festival has since become a household name and this year’s increase in guest attendees reflects it’s popularity. I had the opportunity to attend the event again this year and the culinary lineup for 2017 was equally spectacular.
During Sunday’s tasting my plus one and I enjoyed the finer things in life and indulged in so many delicious tastes. Many of Southern California’s most esteemed fined dinning establishments were present including Pelican Grill and Bar, Red O-Restaurant, and Alexander’s Steakhouse just to name a few and there was an abundance of seafood and steak options. If you love wine there’s not better place to sample so many different varieties, though I fancied the Kentucky Straight from Duke Bourbon. There was also a cooking demonstration by Top Chef contestants Chef Amar Santana and Katsuji Tanabe and viewers had an opportunity to sample their version of arroz con pollo. It was hilarious to see those two banter back and forth.
If you love seafood and steak, this event harmoniously brings two of my favorite proteins together with class and style. While many vendors offered them prepared in a variety of manners – marinated with secret ingredients, roasted, fried, my favorite dish was the Baja cocktail served in a tin-can from A&O Kitchen and Bar. It was simple, but the large chunks of charred squid and shrimp paired with the creaminess of the avocado on a crunchy tortilla chip just made it a perfect afternoon bite. It reminded me how good squid tastes and how infrequent I eat it.
If you could have a festival featuring your favorite protein exclusively what would you choose?
Over the weekend I was invited to the Taste of Santa Ana at the lot of MainPlace Mall in Santa Ana. I’d gone to this event in the past, but this year definitely takes the cake in being their best year yet! From the pumpin’ live performances, to the fun giant games spread across the event, to the delicious noms and sips, this event has grown tremendously, and I had a great time. There were over 40 different food and beverage vendors and they all gave enormous portions for patrons to enjoy. There was everything from burgers from Slaters 50/50 to tacos from Wokano and everything in between.
One thing that made this tasting stand out was the accessible price-point. There were many families at this event and at $25 for general admission, this AYCE extravaganza plus entertainment makes it an easy family-friendly outing for everyone to enjoy. There was so many options and my friends and I confess that I made extra rounds for dessert – The pear tart yogurt from Yogurtland was sinfully addicting as was the Italian ice from Mustache Mike.
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?