This past Saturday I attended the “Salute to Veteran’s” community event held at the OC Fair Grounds in Costa Mesa, CA. The fun family friendly gathering had a great turnout and there was live music and entertainment, bounce houses and free food for veterans. Additionally there were 70+ booths with information on services for veterans including employment opportunities, health screening among other resources.Many veterans attended the event with their spouses and kids and I made sure to shake their hands to thank them for their service. Yet, not all servicemen and women were fortunate to attend, so I made a thank you card at one of the vendor booth stations as a small gesture to thank thank for their service. I had a great time looking at all the military vehicles and see our military men and women united with their families, but the moment that stood out to me the most was when I entered Hero’s Hall. There were so many powerful images and it reminded me on the sacrifices men and women make every day so that we can live freely. Thank you for your service and may God bless you.
Growing up I’ve had the mentality to wait – for the latest gadget to go sale, the hottest trend to cool down etc. and while that’s a great philosophy to abide by I’ve learned over the years that nothing lasts forever and that some things are worth the investment. I’ve always wanted to see Michael Jackson perform live, and since he’s gone I won’t ever be able to change that. As a result, I always make it a priority to watch live performances because I won’t know if I’ll get that opportunity again in the future. Last Friday my friend invited me to watch Coldplay at the Rose Bowl Stadium and while I’ve heard nightmare stories about parking and traffic (there was a Dodgers Game, Lakers Games, plus another concert going on in the area), but I knew that it’d be worth it.
To avoid the $40 parking fee at the Rose Bowl Stadium my friend and I parked at the Parson’s Parking Lot ($15 onsite) and took a shuttle to the stadium. If you pre-order your shuttle tickets online it’s $5 versus $10 round-trip at the venue. The show start time was 7pm and we parked at 6:30 and got to the venue at 6:50, just enough time before Swedish singer Tove Lo performed. She belted out her hits including: Talking Body and Habits. Cold Play came out around 9pm and boy was it a psychedelic performance! Each audience member had a light-up wristband, there was fireworks, and lots and lots of lights. Even after the performance I think I was still seeing stars. haha…
Music feeds the soul, and listening to a performance live has is an experience that in unmatched. Your eyes and ears get this rush from the audios and visuals, and you’ll find yourself dancin’ and fist pumpin’ to the beat. I was definitely up and off my seat when Coldplay performed Yellow, Paradise, and Something just Like This – it just couldn’t be helped. They did an amazing show and I was glad that I got to be a part of it.
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 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?
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.
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? 😀
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?
Orange County is home to “the real housewives”, beautiful beaches, and some amazing restaurants so it should come to no surprise that there’d be a spectacular outdoor festival to wrap up summer in pure California style. Over the weekend I partnered with Trip.com (a travel app) to attend the Pacific Wine and Food Classic at the Newport Dune Waterfront Resort (Newport Dunes, 1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport Beach, Ca 92660), where more than 100 food and beverages were prepared by some of Orange County’s finest chefs and mixologists.
If you need a vacation this resort-style tasting basically transports you to a relaxing getaway. With the event held on the sand overlooking the dunes, I enjoyed the warm weather and scenic view. The water glistened and the weather was perfect with the sun shining brightly with a small ocean breeze. Most foodies have to choose environment or food quality, but both were equally desirable here. I loved the variety of food available at the tasting and felt that the samples were light and evoked the essence of California cuisine. Some of the small bites that I enjoyed included fusion tacos, seared sashimi, scallops, gazpacho and sliders just to name a few.
I spent quite a bit of time at the VIP Patron Patio as the area was equipped with fun photo booth opportunities and unique booze infused creations. I had a patron infused pineapple popsicle, which kept me cool under the hot sun. The area also had several couches and seats for patrons to lounge around while enjoying the beautiful day – something I took full advantage of 🙂
During the event guests could also watch different cooking demonstrations of executive chefs signature dishes on the Fisher & Paykel / DCS Culinary Stage. Food Network Star, Simon Majumdar of Cutthroat Kitchen hosted and provided his own culinary tips and tricks as well.
I had such an amazing time at this tasting and one thing that I loved about this event was that it was well organized and not too crowded. The lines for each vendor were all very manageable and it was such a classy affair. I’d definitely come back next year, but will wear flip flops. I made the mistake to wear wedges not realizing that it was actually on the sand. Nevertheless, a great event and one where I think all adults would enjoy.