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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Drake Family Farms Goat Cheese and Scotty B's Hot Sauce - Two Fantastic Farmers' Market Finds

Drake Family Farms Goat Cheese and Scotty B's Hot Sauce are two products that I have recently stumbled across while wandering the local Orange County Farmers' Markets. Both of these products are locally made and available mostly through the Farmers' Markets.

Drake Family Farms is a goat farm in Ontario, CA. They originally started in Utah. They opened up their operation in Southern California in September of 2010. They sell a variety of plain and flavored goat cheeses. My two favorite flavors are Apricot Honey and Jalapeno (pictured above). This goat cheese is creamy and rich. Spreading a tiny bit on a cracker or mini toast is a decadent treat. I'm pretty sure that this is the best goat cheese I have ever had. A 4 oz. tub will set you back $6 or you can buy four for $20.

Drake Family Farms Goat Cheese is currently available at the following OC Farmers' Markets:

Sunday-Irvine Great Park Farmers' Market and Laguna Niguel Farmers' Market
Wednesday-Tustin Farmers' Market
Thursday-Costa Mesa Farmers' Market and Orange/Chapman Farmers' Market
Friday-Laguna Hills Farmers' Market

For more info:
Drake Family Farms
7255 Schaefer Ave.
Ontario, CA 91762

Scotty B's makes a line of hot sauce that is full of heat without sacrificing the flavor. They produce six different hot sauces that come in large 12.75 oz. bottles, instead of the small 5 oz. bottles that we are so used to seeing hot sauce come in. The price for a 12.75 oz. bottle is $8. My favorite hot sauce of the ones I have tried so far is the "Berries in Heat." This is a hot sauce that is made with fresh blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries. It has a nice kick to it and isn't overly sweet. I was afraid that all those berries would make a really sweet hot sauce, but it is really perfectly balanced. In looking at their website, I have found that one of the foods they recommend putting their hot sauce on is Arby's Roast Beef Sandwiches......ok....

The Scotty B's booth also sells something called Jalapeno Chips. These chips seems to be made by a company in Vermont though. The chips are freeze-dried jalapeno slices that have been tossed in either cheddar cheese powder or ranch dressing flavored powder. They are light and crispy and have some great heat. Each 2.25 oz. bag is $4.

Scotty B's Hot Sauce is currently available at the following OC Farmers' Markets:

Wednesday-Tustin Farmers' Market
Thursday-Costa Mesa Farmers' Market
Friday-Laguna Hills Farmers' Market
Saturday-Irvine Famrers' Market
Sunday-Garden Grove Farmers' Market

For more info:
Scotty B's Hot Sauce
Good Eatz Gourmet, LLC
P.O. Box 2235
Capistrano Beach, CA 92624

Monday, January 24, 2011

Taco Asylum - Costa Mesa

Taco Asylum
2937 S. Bristol St, B102
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
phone 714.922.6010

Are you crazy about tacos? If so, the newly opened Taco Asylum in The CAMP in Costa Mesa may be just the place for you. Taco Asylum was opened by the trio behind Haven Gastropub in Orange. The restaurant specializes in unique gourmet tacos that include ingredients such as grilled baby octopus and confit beef heart. They also have a selection of small craft beers in both cans and on tap. Non-beer drinkers can enjoy a variety of all-natural sodas including sarsaparilla.

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend a special preview event a couple of days before the official grand opening. I was able to try most of the tacos. The tacos I got to sample were:

Grilled octopus – flour tortilla, kalamata olives, oregano, feta, tomatoes $5

Pork belly – flour tortilla, carrots, daikon, onions, cilantro $5

Short rib – flour tortilla, pickled red onion, salsa verde, cotija cheese, cilantro $5

Curried paneer (Indian Cheese) – naan tortilla, raita, tomato chutney $5

Lamb – flour tortilla, olive tapenade, ratatouille, mâché $6

Corazon – flour tortilla, confit beef heart, pickled turnips and peppers, harissa $5

and Wild mushroom – herbed tortilla, mushrooms, garbanzo puree, parsley salad, fried chickpeas $5(FORGOT TO TAKE A PICTURE)

All of the tacos come prepared on fresh handmade tortillas. My favorite taco of the night was probably the curried paneer taco. The naan tortilla went perfectly with the authentic Indian flavor of the curried paneer. The wild mushroom taco was also very good. The fried chickpeas added a nice crunch that complemented the tender, meaty mushrooms. The Corazon taco was my first experience eating beef heart. It was surprisingly tender and tasty.

Unfortunately I had to leave before they sampled the ghost chili pork (flour tortilla, chili threads, pork cracklins $5) and duck (flour tortilla, camembert, dijon crème fraîche $6) tacos. I heard that these turned out to be two of the favorites for the night.

I'm sure you must be thinking that these tacos are extremely expensive. Well you're right. When you see and taste the high quality ingredients though, you understand why they demand a higher price than your average taco stand. For a better value, you can get a flight of 8 mini tacos for $18. If you're still scoffing at the idea of paying $5 for a single taco, just think of it as a chance to try some gourmet treats that happen to come served in an edible wrapper.

Overall, I think this is a place that people should try at least once. It's nice to go here to sample these tasty gourmet delights, but due to the high price tag, I don't think it will be making my list of "usuals." I also found it surprising that their menu states "changes and substitutions politely declined." I can understand not allowing certain substitutions, but I think if a restaurant is going to serve $5 tacos from behind a counter, they should be a little more willing to let the customer alter the taco to their liking. It's kind of shocking that you can customize your 49¢ taco at Del Taco, but not your $5-$6 taco from Taco Asylum....
Taco Asylum on Urbanspoon

Friday, January 7, 2011

Tustin Pizza Company

Tustin Pizza Co.
13842 Newport Ave # B
Tustin, CA 92780-7802
(714) 838-1944

I recently had a craving for pizza and I had a coupon for Tustin Pizza Company, so I decided to give it a shot. I ordered one large pizza with pepperoni and garlic on one half and bacon and jalapeno on the other half ($10.50 for pizza + $1.75 for each topping-$14.00 total). I also decided to get a bavarian cream dessert pizza that they call a "sweetzah pie" for $3. I got a free order of toasted ravioli for checking in on Facebook.

The toasted ravioli weren't bad. They were just your basic frozen appetizer, served with a side of marinara.

The pizza was of a decent size and had plenty of toppings. The bacon was actually large pieces of bacon instead of bacon bits. There was also a generous helping of garlic on the pepperoni side. The pizza was very good. The crust was of medium thickness and was chewy on the inside, but crusty on the outside. I thought the crust was nearly perfect, but V thought it was a little too chewy. The sauce had a nice tangy flavor and was not overly sweet like a lot of pizza places. The cheese was the perfect texture as well.

The dessert pizza was not as good as I expected it to be. It was basically pizza dough with a thick pudding on top that tasted really artificial. I might try their raspberry flavor sometime since they are only $3, but I will not get this bavarian cream one again

Overall I really enjoyed the pizza from Tustin Pizza Co. I will definitely be getting pizza from here in the future. I think I will stick to just the pizza though and pass on the appetizers and dessert.
Tustin Pizza on Urbanspoon