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?
It’s not easy being a hero, and while many civilians had a three day weekend to enjoy with family and friends I decided to pull a double shift to protect the planet from evil. As Wonder Woman (@TheGeekyGuide) I got a lead that some of Arkham’s master criminals were up to no good at Long Beach Comic Con and with some help from the Justice League we were able to put them all behind bars.
It’s not often that my geekiness oozes out on these blog posts (although it’s starting to become more frequent). I was really excited to share some of the new adventures at this convention. Saturday was excruciatingly hot and I felt like I was going to melt, but I loved cosplaying with so many DC Comic cosplayers! I met up with some friends who I’ve seen at other conventions and made some new friends.
The convention itself was a medium sized one and showcased a large number of vendors and independent artists. I will say that because the great hall was located downstairs it evoked a type of indoor swap meet type of feel with an emphasis on comic books and collectibles. Nevertheless, I would definitely return next year so I can meet-up with and see all my favorite characters brought to life.
I’m thinking about becoming a villain next time – who should I portray? 😀
When I think of Labor Day Weekend I think of families and friends coming together to enjoy food and friendship, so when it came time again to attend the LA Times Annual Tasting event I was thrilled for another evening of scrumptious noms and sips. Saturday evening’s event entitled “Dinner with a twist hosted by Jonathan Gold” was almost too hot to handle, but a treat when enjoyed with people with great taste!
During the tasting my friends and sampled some unique flavor combinations in the Paramount Studios Lot. Some of my favorites were the black ink squid soup dumplings from Little Fatty as well as the lamb bacon and fig from Wolf. Yum! But the highlight of the night definitely was watching Phil Rosenthal (I’ll Have What Phil’s Having), and LA Time’s Food Critic Jonathan Gold speak about their culinary adventures on stage.
The evening also supported tourism for various countries and naturally I gravitated towards the motherland. The Tour Taiwan booth allowed “The Taste” attendees to sample Tea Station’s latte with artwork and boba and play games to win prizes. I was briefly interviewed as a past Miss Taiwanese World titleholder and got to mix and mingle with some other media personalities.
If I were a celebrity this is how I would imagine an Oscar afterparty to look like – patrons dressed to impress, a red carpet filled with the best chef’s showcasing signature dishes, and booze galore! While I may not be an Oscar recipient anytime soon, this foodie red carpet event was nothing short of spectacular. Held just outside the Walt Disney Concert Hall (111 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA), I had the opportunity alongside @FoodieJudge (Instagram Food Influencer) to attend the kick-off party to celebrate the 7th Annual Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival.
During the event we enjoyed the kick-off celebration entitled – the “Ultimate Bites of LA hosted by Curtis Stone” which featured some of LA’s most celebrated culinary talent from Downtown, Westside, Hollywood and MidCity/Beverly Hills. There was a DJ spinning pop tunes, photographers capturing every moment, and a plethora of delectable bites and strong spirits to enjoy. Some dish highlights include the BBQ Pork Brisket from Belcampo Meat Co, donuts from The Church Key, sugar custard from 71 Above, and sandwiches from Fleishik’s #nomnom!
I definitely felt like this was one of the most glamorous tastings I’ve ever attended and one thing that I loved about this event was the VIP treatment! The lines were short and the servers took away all finished plates and drinks throughout the event keeping the venue in impeccable condition. If you consider yourself a food and wine connoisseur this is definitely the place to be.
What would you be most excited to try at the LA Food and Wine event?
As a food and travel writer I’m often looking for different locations to enjoy a good meal while working on blog posts – kill two birds with one stone. Haha…. I’m efficient that way 🙂 So when my foodie friend (@foodiejudge on Instagram) invited me to a private media tasting I was curious to see if this cafe could be another remote LA work station for me. The Korean fusion restaurant serves traditional cafe fair, but recently launched a new concept for a day and night crowd.
Like any good cafe, quality coffee is key to a good start. The owner informed me that they had serve Intelligentsia, which is a celebrated coffee brand with distinct robust flavors. They had to purchase special equipment to brew the beans to bring out the flavors, so you know that they’re serious about their product. Be sure to order your coffee black so that you can really taste every note. Mmm… and of course all good cafe had wifi, which worked well for me.
Once everyone arrived, we were treated to their most popular items family-style. If you’re a vegetarian or looking to eat something light their Berry Garden Salad was amazing! Their raspberry vinaigrette dressing topped with avocado feta cheese, strawberries, and blueberries over a bed a mixed greens was not only a beautiful display but tasty as well. On the flip side, if you’re looking anti-veggies their chicken wings brought some heat. And if you’re like Switzerland and fine with both meat and veggies, their sandwiches are solid. I tried the Korean Cheese Steak, Apple Tuna, Pastrami and the later two were my favorite. Apple Tuna is a solid cold sub and the hot pastrami was so mouthwatering. I loved it!
While the restaurant is known for their home-made recipes and secret sauces, they recently got their alcohol license and based on the atmosphere I can definitely see it as a prime spot to cheer on afternoon sporting events.
I’ve a veteran convention goer, but San Diego Comic Con is a completely other animal. The standard logic in making the most the most of a conventions don’t apply SDCC, and giving yourself enough time to secure an activity is of utmost importance.
For me, I absolutely love attending panels and I saw on the Comic Con app the new Marvel TV Show: Marvel’s Inhuman in Ballroom 20 – I definitely wanted to see that! So, after I hopped off the trolley, I headed straight to Ballroom 20 – arguable SDCC’s second most popular Hall. BTW, I highly recommend taking the trolley if you’re not staying in the Gaslamp District. Driving and parking in this area is really tough and expensive.
I was advised by some friends that if there’s a popular panel that you want to watch you should sit in on the panels before it to secure a spot. Not knowing if the new Marvel series would be a hit or miss I decided to sit through all the two panels beforehand. Luckily, the shows at least peaked my interest.
When I first entered Ballroom 20, I was blown away by the sheer size of the room, the room capacity is 4800 and and while it wasn’t overflowing, I’d say about 90% of the seats were taken. There were multiple screens for people to watch the panels so even at the back of the house attendees could still enjoy the panels.
After looking for single seats I was able to secure one about mid-way in the room. The Season 4 actors and actresses from “The Strain” all came out and they even showed us an exclusive clip from an upcoming episode. In a nutshell “The Strain” is an American horror drama television series about vampire zombies, and while it’s not really my type of show, it was cool chat with the cast.
The panel following was “Legion,” a series tied to the X-Men franchise. They showed an amazing silent film style clip of the mutants fighting to “Bolero” an orchestral piece by Maurice Ravel, and while the two ideas seem to clash it was so tastefully done. Prior to coming to this panel I knew very little about this series, but I left wanting to watch the entire series. Thankfully FX renewed Season 2 and the series is expected to air in February 2018.
Finally Marvel’s Inhumans Panel was up. I was beyond hungry at this point (my stomach kept growling at me), but was thrilled to learn all the juicy details on ABC’s newest series. The entire cast came and spoke about their auction experience and gave us some insight to their character. A number of them told us how they had no idea who they were auditioning for and after they were casted understood some of the very strange requests from the directors. It was pretty hilarious.
They then showed us a few teaser clips from the premier episode. One was of the royal family having a discussion on next steps and another was a battle scene between two unexpected characters.
The one thing I thought was silly was that they were going to show a premier of Inhumans THAT night – but it was scheduled to show right after this panel and at a location 15 minutes away. Good thing I’ll get to catch it at home on September 29th (8/7c).
Which show excites you most? “The Strain,” “Legion,” or “Inhumans”