For the past 3 year I’ve been fortunate to attend the Los Angeles Times The Taste at the Paramount Studios. The venue layout is really fun and I always have a blast (Summer 2018, Summer 2017, Summer 2016). When they announced starting a second location in Orange County I could not be more ecstatic!!
The three day event was held at The Met, a courtyard just outside of South Coast Plaza. I had other obligations on Friday’s launch date and was eager to see what the Costa Mesa location had to offer. When I first arrived, I saw a roasted pig turning at the center of the plaza along with rows of fresh coconuts. I attended a media event for Habana in the past so I loved that they brought some Cuban flair to this inaugural event.
I also loved Hai Di Lao‘s offering as they assembled a mini hot pot bowl for guests to enjoy. There were also freshly shucked oysters from Water Grill and other vendors gave out extremely generous portions of their dishes. I’ve been to quite a few food festivals and as it’s first year festival I was incredibly impressed by the vendors. I loved the care and hospitality and can’t wait to come back next year – especially since it’s so close by!
Earlier this month Cal Poly Pomona hosted their annual weekend Pumpkin Festival, which featured a corn maze, pony rides, produce vendors and of course their pumpkin patch! Coincidentally that was the same weekend (and LAST weekend) The Donut Man‘s Famous Strawberry Donut were going to be sold. I’ve never had the Alton Brown approved treats, so I knew I had to make it a priority. 🙂
My friends and I arrived at the event in the mid-afternoon to be greeted by hundreds of other enthusiastic guests. (*Note – go early in the morning 1) It’s much cooler 2) Parking is more available.) There were also tons of different Cal Poly Pomona student groups selling merchandise, food and drinks, in addition to food trucks and other vendors. Admission was $5 a person, and for an additional $5 guests could roam the pumpkin patch and pick their favorite pumpkin (any size!). There were definitely a lot of choices and I saw a number of families roll away with several large pumpkins in their little red wagon.
After spending an hour or so to pick my perfect pumpkin, my friends and I took a short trip up to Glendora to try California’s best donut – the strawberry donut from The Donut Man. I typically don’t eat donuts, but had heard so many wonderful things from friends who had eaten there in the past. Suffice to say, this donut is really good and I had to stop myself from finishing the whole thing. After all I wouldn’t’ want to spoil dinner at the Palms Family Restaurant. I mean look how much food they give!!
Now with my perfect pumpkin and Oct 31st just around the corner, I now need to figure out what I’m going to be for Halloween! I love playing dress-up and while I’ve been many different characters at different conventions (SDCC 2018, Power Morphin Con 2018, and LACC 2017) I still have no idea who I’m going to be! Classic #cosplayerproblems.
In previous years this festival focused primarily on the edible guilty pleasures and this year moved to highlight other activities. Wine and other libations made up 1/2 of the festival and vendors specializing in pampering experiences such as a braid bar, silly photo booth stations, and luxury furnishings had a large presence. There were also several large art displays for guests to enjoy.
My favorite sample at the event had to be the seared-diver scallops with quinoa served by Pelican Grill. The chef continuously laid large plump pieces on the portable grill, seared them perfectly, and served them fresh to the guests. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I had three servings because it was so so good. *Drool*
Personally I enjoy eating more so than drinking, but there were so many different libations to choose from. Guests could enjoy a cider from Stella, Macallan a prominent whiskey brand, and so much more.
It’s no secret that I love to eat meat, but finding alternatives to red meats is definitely something I try to incorporate more of into my daily diet. So when I was invited to cover the California Vegetarian Food Festival at Raleigh Studios in Los Angeles, CA, I was curious to learn about the various options. Suffice to say this intimate event brought some distinguished vendors with different organic, Non GMO, and gluten free options.
While there were samples at a few of the booths a number of them were selling full servings of their products. A most memorable item was the Mushroom Jerky from Pan’s Mushroom Jerky. The shitake mushroom has a very meaty texture and there were several different flavors including Applewood BBQ and Zesty Thai, though I really enjoyed the original!
The two day festival also had live music, vendors showcasing sustainable products and some non-profits advocating for animals rights. The vendors were very eager to talk to patrons about their products so if you’re newer to the healthy lifestyle movement these vendors definitely will spend time to walk you through.
Halloween is just around the corner so I’ve increased my exercise regime and returned to eating very lean meats and healthy, nutritious meals to prepare for my fall cosplay outfits. While I’ve seen positive results in these changes, I’ve incorporated at least one cheat day a week to balance my cravings. The OC Weekly Decadence event on Friday evening was nothing short of a self-indulgent.
This yearly event was hosted outside of the Segerstrom plaza in Costa Mesa and as a VIP guest I was given admission to check out all the glorious noms and sips at 6pm. I was also given a really sturdy tote bag and later found out was filled with tons of great goodies! As my friend and I wandered around the plaza trying everything, we both agreed that the steak over garlic mashed potatoes from Texas de Brazil and Bourbon Bread Pudding from Sweet Dixie Kitchen were the dishes of the night. There was also plenty of alcoholic libation poured and photo booth opportunities to pose for.
Like many food festivals that I attend this had a great variety of local restaurants; however, the swag bag was definitely one of the best that I’ve seen. The gave away an elegant necklace perfect for a night out on the town along with generous coupons to visit the participating restaurants in the future. My favorite swag item had to be the $20 gift certificate from Mozambique. Can’t wait to try their exotic flavors and see their dessert options.
The weather has been extremely muggy, and the heat doesn’t make it any better. Yuck! But I guess at the very least that gives me a legitimate reason to savor some sweets treats and Macchiato one of my favorite Taiwanese dessert shops is opening another location in Hacienda Heights (15840 Halliburton Rd, Hacienda Heights, CA 91745)!!! WEE!!! To celebrate they’re giving away some goodies on Saturday August 11th from 11am-12am. See details below!
The First 100 People will get a free drink; Next 100 People will get a BOGO Promotion (Same Drink); and if you miss those they’ll be doing BOG1 50% off all day. EVERYONE will be entered to win a Nintendo Switch! Oh!! I love how that sounds!
They’re known for their Special Potted Plant Milk Tea ($4.50) and you’ve probably seen them all over Instagram or at the night-markets. In essence it’s crushed up Oreo cookies on top, with cream, and your choice of milk tea as the base. Super kawaii and a fun way to enjoy a cool beverage.
Be sure to pair your drink with some noms. These two are my top picks!
*Macchiato Sundae Waffle ($8.75) – Mochi style with strawberries, bananas, blueberries and three scoops of ice cream. Guests do have the option to order it crispy (which is a typical waffle), but the mochi style definitely gives the dish more flair. The chewy texture reminds me a lot of a traditional Chinese dessert and it’s beautifully presented. I ordered this at their Santa Ana location and the quality was consist here too! Loved it!
*Charcoal Waffle ($9.50) – A black waffle with strawberries and bananas paired with vanilla and Nutella ice cream and caramel sauce. I think this item is new because I didn’t recall a black waffle in the past. I wanted to order it as it seemed very Instagram worthy and to my surprise, it tasted really good as well! Photogenic desserts don’t always tasty as good as it looks, but this was the best of both worlds. It has a more cake-like texture with a charcoal aftertaste and goes nicely with the ice cream. Two thumbs up!
What will you be trying this weekend??
Macchiato Grand Opening – August 11th from 11am-12am – 15840 Halliburton Rd, Hacienda Heights, CA 91745
When I think of Anaheim I think of Mickey Mouse and tourists galore. Rarely, do I think about it being a destination for authentic ethnic food – let alone solid Taiwanese food. Yet, Celebrity Chef Theresa Lin recently debuted some of her signature dishes at Tru Grits so I obviously wanted to taste her creations. Good Taiwanese food outside of Taiwan is hard to come by so I was excitedly try some authentic dishes so close to home
Located inside the Sheraton Hotel, many guests wouldn’t think twice about a hotel offering tasty ethnic food; however, this branch deviates from that notion and dare I say the flavors are very comparable to a restaurant in Taiwan. The Taiwanese Minced Pork Rice dish ($9) was so simple, but packed with immense flavor and the Free-Range Hainan Quarter chicken ($13) with savory rice and pickled vegetables was so moist and tender. However, the signature tycoon beef short rib ($23) was easily the highlight of the night. When I cut into the meat, it just fell right off the bone and paired with garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus made it a complete meal. The value on this particular dish is very reasonable, without compromising the taste.
We ended our meal with some traditional American faire and the bread pudding with ice cream is a must. I’m on a low carb diet for 2018, but this dish is definitely a decadent and wonderful treat. The presentation is wonderful as it’s delivered in a small cask-iron pan, and the taste is equally impressive. Get this and you will not be sorry!
Orange County isn’t typically known as an authentic Asian cuisine location. I typically drive up to the 626 area for that; however, I’m happy to welcome a great local option that’s just footsteps away from “The Happiest Place on Earth.” Cheers!
Bread pudding is one of my guilty pleasures. What’s yours?
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.
New York has Serendipity3 and Orange County has Scraps. For all you non-chick flick movie goers, Serendipity3 is where they shot the ironic romantic comedy called Serendipity staring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. It’s a must see feature that is the epitome of romantic comedy and there are very few movies that even come close to this classic. The two stars shared a dessert and the rest is history- gosh I miss New York!
So for the Orange County hopeless romantic, I found the best substitute! The Panna Cotta ($7) with homemade kumquat marmalade at Scraps (Yelp Review) is amazing and way too good not to share. It’s silky smooth, but with a firmer consistency than pudding. Combined with the tart kumquat, this dessert is heavenly.