Nibbling at Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival

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.

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Snapshots from the event

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.

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Seafood and Steak noms

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?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

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Chowing down tasty noms at the Taste of Santa Ana

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.

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Snapshots from the event 

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.

 

Whats your favorite dessert?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

 

 

Featuring US Foods and Food Fanatics LIVE Anaheim at the Disneyland Hotel 

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. 🙂 img_2398When 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! 😀 img_2395-1There 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?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar
P.S. I’m giving away two $10 gift cards for Miguel JRs on my Instagram account. Come enter here

Taking Over the Taste of Lake Forest and Miguels JR Gift Card Winners Selected!

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.

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Tastes at the Taste of Lake Forest

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 yurockstar4life@gmail.com 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?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Celebrating Miguels JR Grand Opening in Huntington Beach Plus GIVEAWAYS!!!

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.

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Grand Opening Ceremony and Celebration
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):

  1. 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!)
  2. 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.

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

 

 

Disclosure: Post is sponsored. Opinions and content are my own.

Sampling at Savor Santa Ana in DTSA 

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

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DTSA’s bites and entertainment

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.

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More shots from Savor Santa Ana

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?

 

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

 

Drizzle OC Dessert Truck Grand Opening 

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!

T-shirts and Drizzle Speciality Items

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.

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Menu and Honey Green Tea

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.

 

What flavor would you choose?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Wining and dining at the Pacific Wine and Food Classic at Newport Beach 

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.

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Tropical treats at Newport Beach!

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.

VIP Patron Patio

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 🙂

Food samples and Simon Majumda of Food Network

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.

 

Whats your favorite food to enjoy on the beach?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Minnie Mouse Haute Couture Fashion Collection at D23 (Disney Convention) in Anaheim

Minnie Mouse is known for her iconic red dress with white polka dots (pink depending on which version), but for special occasions she debuts some bold fashion choices. At the bi-annual D23 Expo (Disney Convention) in collaboration with Honda the expo showcased some of her flirty fashion choices throughout the years.

Paris, California, Shanghai outsides

Disneyland Paris 20th Anniversary 2012 – This bell-sleeved pink-and-purple ombre dress is decorated with a night motif of stars and crescent moons.

Disneyland Resort 60th Anniversary 2015 – In Spring 2015, Minnie Mouse wore her traditional red dress silhouette with rhinestones and crystals to celebrate the Diamond Celebration.

Shanghai Disney Resort Grand Opening 2016 – With a Grand Opening, it’s expected for the host to debut a stunning number. Minnie Mouse certainly didn’t disappoint with her Asian inspired ensemble. With soft pinks and gold embroidery this piece is inexcusably royal

Minnie Van by Honda

Minnie’s dress is unmatched by her iconic oversized bow. I feel that this feminine accessory really makes any outside complete and of course Honda wouldn’t be doing Minnie justice without it.

In this photo I’m wearing my recently purchased clip-on bow from D23. They had designs inspired by all the Disney Princesses as well as some multi-colored one. Mine is the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland and this design will be available at the parks at the end of the year!

Paris, Rock the Dots 2015, Rock the Dots 2017

Disneyland Paris Fashion Parade 2013 (Designed by Alber Elbaz of Lanvin Paris) – Minnie wouldn’t be a household name without taking some fashion risks and at Fashion capitol of the world, Minnie debuted an incredibly presidential attire. She adorned a form-fitting royal blue with symmetrically patterned jewels.

Rock the Dots 2015 (Designed by Christian Siriano) – Project Runway Winner and “Fierce” Haute Couture Designer created a one of a kind ensemble for this “Fierce” one of a kind mouse. He drew inspiration from her bubbly, but girly personality and added bows and rhinestones to show off her playful nature.

Rock the Dots 2017 (Designed by Olumpia Le-Tan) – This custom dyed blue dress was created with 53 custom appliquéd polka dots and paired with a signature monogram leather belt buckle of Olumpia Le-Tan. This little sequin dress is both flirty and fierce.

Hong Kong, Fashion LA, Russian Vogue Magazine

Hong Kong Disneyland 10th Anniversary 2015 – Wow! If you’re ready to party, this dress will definitely turn heads. This brightly colored and festive ensemble was designed by the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and designed to dance the night away.

Fashion Los Angeles Awards 2017 (Designed by Stacy Bendet of Alice + Olivia) – I definitely see nods to Jackie Kennedy here. This hight-low gown is covered with 14,000 hand-applied jet black crystals and accessorized with oversized glasses. The look is complete with red patent pumps – a staple in every girls closet.

Mink and Roses Russian Vogue 2008 (Designed by Oleg Ovsiyoy) – When Minnie took a vacation away from her sunny Southern California home, she certainly dressed to impress. WIth her faux mink fur and accented with sequins, this warm, fuzzy look is functional and stylish.

 

I loved Minnie’s daring Disneyland Paris Fashion Parade ensemble. Which outfit was your favorite?

 

XOXO,

 

Black, White, and Red all over – 2014 February Outfits and Events

Happy Lunar New Year everyone, albeit late, but better late than never! February has been crazy busy with events galore and all with red themes. So today’s post will feature a few of my favorite ways to wear this “not for the faint” color. Hope you enjoy the post!

Every girl should have a red dress in her closet and this little Betsey Johnson number is one of my favorites – purchased at a trunk show in New York for $20 new (crazy I know!!). It’s a showstopper number and I absolutely love the layered tiers and the crinkled texture of this dress. I paired with piece with pearls and nude heals, making it the ultimate girly ensemble (but with a classic twist). Photographer David Lin did a great job in capturing this dress in all its glory. Check out the rest of his work here.

Yet, a skirt can also be a stand-alone piece as well. I recently wore this beautiful Asian designed lucky skirt at Yelp’s Sweet Social event in downtown Buena Park, CA. I decided to wear it with tights and a slick black blazer to pull the entire look together and keep warm as the event was held outdoors in the Krikorian Metroplex courtyard. The Sweet Social featured local businesses from around the area and yelpers and guests had the privilege to sample various food and beverage items. My favorite items were the dole whip Berrysweet (yelp page) and the salted caramel ice cream made from liquid nitrogen from Poof Ice Cream (yelp page).  Mmm… yummy, delicious dessert indeed! Splendid photobooth was also present and we all enjoyed poising for the camera. It was a great event.

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The next day I attended a Matthew Morrison concert in Costa Mesa, CA. Name not ring a bell? Matthew Morrison is a broadway regular, but most people know him as the High School Choir Teacher – Will Schuester – on Glee. Ah, yes… it all makes sense now. He serenaded the audience with a range of show tunes and blue grass music that was to die for! Such a talented artist and you bet he gave us an incredible performance.

The concert was hosted at Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall (yelp review), so it was definitely a dress to impress type of soiree. As I looked into my closest to find the perfect dress, I pulled out this sparkly Cynthia Steffe number – it screamed “pick me!” so naturally I obliged. I paired it with a white tuxedo blazer from Aidan Mattox that I purchased for less than 1/7th of the original price (retail $350, Loehmanns $50) and my favorite red Revlon lip butter (in the color wild watermelon). I also accessorized my nails with my 1st high-end nail polish purchase from Deborah Lippman‘s glitter line (in the color Ruby Red Slippers) to help add a pop of color. Red is such a statement color and it could easily be one that completes an outfit.

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I love the color red as it symbolizes good fortune and can help anyone exude confidence.

How do you wear the color red?

XOXO

Rockstar