ATTENTION!! On the left hand column, you will find links to search by cuisine or city. You will also find a restaurant index of all of the places I have written about on the column on the right. If you enjoy the site, please bookmark the site and tell a friend! You can also subscribe to be notified when the site updates by entering your e-mail address in the box on the left. Happy Eating!

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happy Hour Week Launch Party at SOL Cocina

I was recently invited down to the launch party for happy hour week at SOL Cocina in Newport Beach. There was a VIP Media tasting of food and tequila before the public was let in. During the tasting, we got to taste three different Peligroso Tequilas paired with food. The three food items we got were:

HOT & RAW CEVICHE paired with Peligroso Blanco:
Fresh albacore, kosher salt, fresh squeezed lime juice, tomato, white onion, mango, pineapple, fresh orange bits, cucumber, habanero chiles, cilantro & avocado

CHIPOTLE CHICKEN SOPE paired with Peligroso Reposado:
Fresh corn masa flavored with garlic & ancho chile, formed into sopes and toasted, then fried. Topped with oaxacan cheese, poblano chiles & onions cooked with cream, epazote leaf, black pepper, salt, roasted chicken with chipotles in adobo & garlic; spicy cabbage slaw and habanero-pickled red onion on top

CORN, SHRIMP & BLACK BEAN CAKE, Tomatillo Salsa & Queso Fresco paired with Peligroso Anejo:
Fresh white corn, shrimp, garlic, black beans, white onions, jalapeno , salt; bound with panko, egg & mayonnaise. Salsa: tomatillos, onion, serrano, cilantro, salt. Queso Fresco made by Los Altos Cheeses in LA.

Each item was pretty tasty. I really liked the ceviche, but I think the corn and shrimp cake was my favorite. I am not sure if these items are available on SOL's everyday menu, but they show that chef Deborah Schneider is able to make tasty, upscale Mexican food that I believe is better than Taleo and rivals the food at Gabbi's. Her use of habanero proves that she isn't trying to cater to the bland palate of the masses, but is truly dedicated to putting her own spin on authentic Mexican food.

In addition to participating in Happy Hour Week, SOL Cocina will now be hosting a weekly taco and tequila Tuesday with street tacos 2 for $2.50, $5 Margaritas and $3 Mexican beers.

Carne Asada Street Taco

Carnitas Street Taco

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Noonerz and partner up to support Autism Speaks


Inside Javatini's Coffee House
22972 Moulton Parkway
Laguna Hills, CA 92653

Inside Green Earth Coffee
20025 Lake Forest Dr, Unit 101
Lake Forest, CA 92630

I have decided to walk in this year's Autism Speaks Walk at Angels Stadium of Anaheim on 11/13/2010. Noonerz heard about my participation in the walk and the owner was awesome enough to offer to do a fundraiser to support me.

On Wednesday, October 13th, Noonerz will be donating $2.00 for every sandwich that they sell to people participating in the fundraiser. ***PLEASE MENTION " Fundraiser" WHEN ORDERING!!!*** All sandwiches are served with your choice of a side AND a cookie or brownie for dessert.

The sandwiches here are fantastic. I have been eating here since they were known as Cornerstone Cafe. They used to be located on UCI campus and then they moved to Laguna Hills. (UCI Peeps-This is the place that used to have the roundabouts!) Please stop by either location and buy a sandwich on Wednesday October 13th! Please tell your friends, family, neighbors, enemies....everyone!

If you'd like to personally sponsor me, please visit the following URL to make a donation. THANKS FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Thai Fuzion Sauce

I recently received a free sample of Caprine's Cuisine Thai Fuzion Sauce in the mail. I like to help promote small, local companies that produce a good product, so I thought I'd let you all know about this sauce.

Thai Fuzion is described by Caprine's Cuisine as an exotic dipping sauce that can awaken any food. I first tasted the sauce by itself, straight off of a spoon. The sauce has a great fresh, clean flavor with a good amount of spice. This is not a sauce for people that aren't able to handle a little heat. The flavors that stand out the most in this sauce are Thai chiles, lime and cilantro. Later in the day I poured a generous amount of the sauce on to a block of cold tofu. What a delicious after dinner snack!

If you're a fan of hot sauce and Thai flavors, I would definitely recommend that you try this sauce.

Retail Price $4.99-$5.99 for a 5.5 oz bottle. Available at the following OC retailers:

Gelson's Markets
Pacific Ranch Market-Orange
Promelis-Newport Beach
Marbella Farmers Market-San Juan Capistrano
Plowboys-Fountain Valley
The Meat House-Costa Mesa
Farm to Market-San Juan Capistrano

Monday, October 4, 2010

Leatherby's Cafe Rouge

Rene and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall
615 Town Center Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626


I was recently invited down to a media dinner at Leatherby's Cafe Rouge to sample the culinary creations from their fairly new executive chef, Ross Pangilinan. Leatherby's seems to be a restaurant that a lot of people in Orange County have never heard of. This is a shame, because the food here is top notch. Leatherby's is located on the first floor of the Rene and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. The restaurant is frequented by patrons of the Orange County Performing Arts Center and SCR. Therefore, if you dine there after the nightly shows begin, you will most likely be dining in an almost empty restaurant.

(Please excuse the graininess of the photos. The lighting in the restaurant is dim and I was not using a flash.)

We had a preset menu for the media dinner. The meal started with an amuse bouche sent out by the chef. It was a small cube of compressed watermelon topped with a balsamic vinegar sphere and pop rocks. It was very tasty and very fun to eat with the pop rocks exploding in your mouth.

Our first course was a Fresh Seafood Quartet. The quartet contained octopus, lobster, ahi tuna tartar in a cone and smoked hamachi. Each item on the plate was absolutely delicious. The octopus was the most tender piece of octopus I have ever had. I think my favorite had to be the lobster though, with the tuna cone coming in a close second.

The second course was house made fettuccine with roasted mushrooms and white wine parmesan sauce. The dish was topped with a generous serving of truffle shavings. I enjoyed this dish so much that I waved down the waiter and asked him if there was any way I could get an order of this to take home. I was more than happy to pay any amount for this dish. Sadly, when I got home and opened the container, there were no shaved truffles on top. The truffles are what made this dish truly special. I think the truffle shavings on top may have been special for this media dinner because the online menu for the restaurant only lists "truffle essence" in the description.

For our main course, we had the choice of three dishes, all of which are available on their daily menu. Our three choices were:

Black Striped Bass (Market Fish of the Day, normally market price)
Israeli couscous paella, mussels, shrimp, chorizo, saffron.

Duo of Beef Shortribs
(normally $28)
Braised and grilled, raclette potatoes, yellow and green bean salad, mushroom red wine sauce.

Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast (normally $29)
Mushroom risotto, caramelized blackberries, Szechuan pepper, cider jus.

All of the dishes sounded fantastic, but I finally decided on the short ribs. The grilled short rib was served on top of the raclette potatoes, which were basically pureed potatoes with a little cheese in them. The braised short rib was served with the yellow and green bean salad on top. Both versions were absolutely delicious. If I had to pick a favorite though, it would have to be the braised. It's just so hard to go wrong with braised short ribs. It was tender, full of flavor and scrumptious.

After dinner, we were presented with an assortment of desserts to share. Pictured are a trio of chocolate desserts, panna cotta, cheesecake and bread pudding. They also served an assortment of gelatos and sorbets. All of the desserts were presented nicely, but were pretty average. The only thing that stood out was the watermelon and black pepper sorbet. Everyone at the table had fun trying to figure out what flavor the watermelon was paired with.

Chocolate Trio


Panna Cotta

Bread Pudding

Overall, I think that Leatherby's is a fantastic choice if you are looking for a delicious, upscale meal in Orange County. You're not going to get huge portions here, but the food you do get will be amazing. Everyone should treat themselves to this place at least once.