Cocktail Recipe: Lychees are in Season, so Lets Make Drinks!

While stocking up for a quiet weekend indoors we found some fresh Lychees. What do you do with fresh Lychees? Well we make drinks! Two versions for you, one with vodka created by Kim and one with gin by me. Try them both and let us know which one you like more!

Lychee Drink Number 1

6 Fresh Lychees peeled
1 quarter sized slice of Ginger roughly chopped up

Muddle Ginger and 4 of the Lychee extracting the juice from both. Then add:

3oz Grey Goose L’Orange
1.5oz Fresh Blood Orange Juice
Splash of St. Germain

Shake with ice and strain into glass. Garnish with remaining Lychee.

Lychee Drink Number 2

6 Fresh Lychees peeled
1 quarter sized slice of Ginger roughly chopped up

Muddle Ginger and 5 of the Lychee extracting the juice from both. Then add:

3oz St. George Gin
3oz Fresh Blood Orange Juice
1.5oz Domain de Canton (Ginger Liquor)

Shake with ice and strain into glass. Garnish with remaining Lychee and some lime zest for freshness.

$15 Wine Special with Flatbread at Seasons 52

Last Wednesday I met a friend for drinks/dinner at Seasons 52 at South Coast Plaza. We chose it because it was located between her house and mine. We met at the bar and while contemplating what we were going to order, we noticed the couple next to us each had three wine glasses in front of them. It looked like they were having some type of wine flight, but couldn’t find it listed on their regular menu. We asked the server what they were having and she handed us a paper and informed us that Seasons 52 was having a special promotion.

“A Personalized Wine Tasting” as it is called, lets you select three wines from a choice of eight that were hand picked by Seasons 52’s master sommelier George Miliotes (@thewineexpert). After you’ve tried all three, you then tell your server which one you liked the best and they will pour you a full glass of your choice. That, plus your choice of one of their famous oh so flavorful flatbreads…all for just $15! In some places you go, a single glass of wine will cost $15 and here you are essentially getting 2½ glasses of wine (actually more cause they pour generously!) and your choice of flatbread for $15.

This must be their very best kept secret but I can’t let this go unnoticed. The promotion is only going until Aug 31, so I had to get the word out. This is just the excuse you needed to have that get together with friends and it’s so affordable.

Seasons 52 $15 wine and flatbread menu

We chose three red wines: Anna’s Merlot, Wrongo Dongo Monastrell and Gascon Malbec. All were lovely but my personal favorite was the Wrongo Dongo. I don’t think I’ve ever had a Monastrell before (Spanish name for Mourvèdre), or at least the Spanish version of it, so this was a great way to be introduced to it.

Oh the Wine!

For the flatbreads we chose Spicy Chipotle Shrimp with grilled pineapple, feta cheese, roasted poblano peppers and the Artichoke & Goat Cheese with leaf spinach, balsamic onions, roasted peppers.

Spicy Chipotle Shrimp Flatbread
Goat Cheese Artichoke Flatbread

There are three other flatbread options:

Ripe Plum Tomato with fresh basil, roasted garlic, melted Parmesan cheese
Garlic Chicken with balsamic onions, roasted red peppers, mozzarella cheese
Steak & Cremini Mushroom with fresh spinach, crumbled blue cheese

I’m going to sound like a used car salesman when I say, “This deal won’t last so you’ve got to get down there”!

100eats100days Presents: PigOut 1.0 Saturday, August 5, 2012

On Sunday, August 5th, 2012, Bobby Navarro of 100eats100days.com and Chef Amar Santana of Broadway in Laguna Beach will be paving the way of culture and class with this inaugural pig-centric social.

Fifteen of the best chefs in Orange County will be coming together to celebrate the “blessings of the swine” and help those in the culinary industry achieve their dreams. This will be the first event of its kind in Orange County, combining culinary creative with craft cocktails in the same forum. Those that attend will be savoring variations of pig, live music presented by the Nate Williams Band, signature cocktails from the craft bartenders of Orange County, and the stellar sights and sounds of the Newport Dunes Resort.

Chef Amar Santana of Broadway by Amar Santana will be joined by: Greg Daniels – The Haven Collective
Yvon Goetz – The Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar
Dee Nguyen – Break of Dawn

Eva Madray – Eva’s Caribbean Kitchen
Casey Overton – The Loft at Montage Laguna Beach Deborah Schneider – Sol Cocina
Mark McDonald – Old Vine Cafe
Seakyong Kim – Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale’s Franco Barone – Il Barone
Ryan Adams – 370 Common
Justin Miller – Pizzeria Ortica
Kevin Jerrold-Jones – Tabu Grill
Aron Habiger – The Crosby
Alessandro Pirozzi – Alessa

Gabrielle Dion and Ricky Yarnall heading the cocktail program at Broadway by Amar Santana will be creating craft cocktails side by side with the following bar programs:
320 Main
Side Door

Two 40 South

Our goal is to raise up to $120,000 to build the first funds for the passionate, talented and driven in the culinary industry to follow their vision and impact our community. In addition every ticket purchased will be contributing to C-CAP, a non-profit dedicated to making the culinary dreams come true of youth across the nation.

Guests at PigOut can choose two of the following options of support:

– PigOut VIP 12:00 p.m. – 4:00
Be the first to sample the swine fare in a leisurely atmosphere. Begin the day enjoying the company of the talented chefs and mixologists, passionate about Orange County and the impact we can make to our community. Receive a gift and PigOut tote upon arrival. Each VIP ticket is entered into a raffle with a chance to win a tasting menu for two at Broadway by Amar Santana. Taste, beverages and parking included. Tickets available for $100 per person at 100eats100days.com or $120 per person at the door. A limited quantity of tickets available.

– PigOut 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased in advance for $75 per person at 100eats100days.com or at the door for $90 per person. Ticket includes parking, and access to all tastes and beverages.

 

The Art Of Wine Tasting

Wine lovers and wine makers have particular appreciation on wine tasting. Imagine entering a wine cellar that has bottles coming from different countries—France, Italy or Spain to name a few. It makes you feel as if you were transported in a rustic place. There is a particular way of tasting wines. It’s not merely as easy as smelling it then drinking it. There are more things about it.

Learn wine tasting with these easy steps:

  • Observe the color and clarity of the wine poured in a wine glass. Red wine can be maroon, garnet, red, ruby, purple, brick or brownish. White wine can be clear, pale yellow, straw-like, light green, golden, amber or brown. The correct way of distinguishing the color and clarity is by tilting the glass a few meters from you then look at the rim edges to the center or middle of the glass where you will see the wine color. Differentiate between red or white wine then choose what specific kind of red or white it is.
  • Know the opacity of the wine. Tilt the wine glass and swirl it. It may either be watery or dark, translucent or opaque, dull or brilliant, cloudy or clear. Check it there are floaters such as cork bits and others particular matters.
  • Know the age of wines. Older wine usually has an orange tint than those made recently. Old white wines are darker than new ones made.
  • Smell the wine. For the first impression of its smell, swirl the wine glass for 10 to 15 minutes as the aroma evaporates in the air then take a whiff of it. For second impressions, inhale deeply with your nose going further inside the wine glass. You will ether smell vanilla, citrus, flowers, berries or oak.  The wine aroma tells you if it has good quality. Swirl it again to mix the aromas then take a sniff.
  • Taste the wine. Let the liquid touch your taste buds. Drink a small sip and roll it around your mouth. There are three phases:
    • Attack phase that gives your tongue the first impression. The alcohol content, acidity, tannin levels and residual sugar are the factors you will have to know upon tasting the wine. It blends together in varying intensity: sweet or dry, soft or firm, light or heavy and crisp or creamy.
    • Evolution/Mid-Palate/Mid-Range phase is when the tongue tastes the wine completely. Red wine varies so it’s either fruity (berry, plum, prune, fig); spicy (pepper, clove, cinnamon) or woody (oak, cedar, smoky). White wine is either fruity (apple, pear, citrus, tropical); floral; honey; butter; herbs or earthiness flavor.
    • Final Phase is the last stage wherein you swallow the wine. Know whether it’s light like water, medium like milk or full like cream. The consistent differs. Is there an aftertaste to it or the taste didn’t last long? Does it make you want to drink more or was it too bitter? Know the last impression if it’s fruit, butter or oak.
    • Record the impressions you got upon tasting the wine. Take note of the taste (sweet, sour, bitter); acidity and food to accompany the wine (cheese, bread or heavy meal). You will know whether you will purchase it or not. Write down the label, manufacturer and the date it was made.

These are just the basic steps in rating a particular wine. Of course experts may have other procedures. And even if you are busy with wine-tasting, make sure that you handle wine glass with care. For a great selection of wine glass rack, you may visit http://www.wineglassrackinfo.com.

Author Bio:

Liz De Ocampo owns a blog about food and drinks. She’s also passionate about writing interesting topics such as finding the best wine glass rack, tasting exquisite wine, and cooking with wine recipes.

Celebrity Chefs Robert Irvine & Fabio Viviani To Appear at OC Fair

The 2012 OC Fair (July 13-August 12) will welcome Celebrity Chefs Robert Irvine (July 26) and Fabio Viviani (August 2) in The Hangar at the OC Fair at 1p.m. Both performances are free with Fair admission and will be followed by a Q&A, autograph signing and prizes.

Robert Irvine – Thursday, July 26, 1 p.m.
Robert Irvine is host of the No. 1 show on The Food Network, Restaurant Impossible. He has previously hosted Dinner: Impossible, Worst Cooks in America, and The Next Iron Chef. He is the author of two cookbooks, “Mission: Cook!” and “Impossible to Easy.”

Fabio Viviani – Thursday, August 2, 1 p.m.
Fabio Viviani appeared on the fifth season of Top Chef on Bravo TV and was one of the final four and was voted “Top Chef Fan Favorite” by viewers. Viviani also works as the private chef of William Shatner. He is the author of “The Cafe Firenze Cookbook: Food and Drink Recipes from the Tuscan Sons.”

The 2012 OC Fair, themed Home Sweet Home, is July 13 – August 12 and will bring 23 days of food, rides, exhibits, animals, music, action sports and fun, as well as the Super Pass, Toyota Summer Concert Series at the Pacific Amphitheatre, The Hangar and Action Sports Arena. The Fair is open Wednesday-Sunday. Concert tickets, action sports reserved seats and single-day general admission are available for purchase online at ticketmaster.com or from the on-site Box Office. The popular Super Pass, which offers the passholder 23 days of admission, is available for purchase from any onsite box office or ticket booth.

Hungry? Get a Taste of "Home Sweet Home" at the 2012 OC Fair

The theme of the 2012 OC Fair (July 13-August 12) is “Home Sweet Home” and this year the Fair is not skimping on the “sweet.”

Whether Fairgoers want to learn about food, watch the pros prepare it or just want to enjoy some tasty treats, the OC Fair delivers something for everyone. Here is a mouthwatering preview of what the 2012 OC Fair is cooking up this year:

Chicken Charlie: If you like your food deep-fried, battered and on a stick, the 2012 Fair is the place for you. This year, Fair-favorite Chicken Charlie is taking fried food to the next level by deep frying cereal, peanut butter and jelly, spam, pineapple and more.

Need a Bacon Fix?: At the new Bacon A-Fair, choose from bacon-wrapped turkey legs, deep-fried beer-battered bacon-wrapped hot dogs or the Smokey Porkabello, a bacon-wrapped mushroom with smoked Gouda.
Take a Ride on the Pineapple Express: Not into the deep-fried thing? Then float on over to the new Pineapple Express (courtesy of Chicken Charlie) which features cored out pineapples filled with shrimp cocktail, fruit and grilled shrimp or chicken and more.

The Big Rib: Calling all carnivores! Looking to feed your wild side? Come to Biggy’s Meat Market for The Big Rib, a two-pound beef rib on a 17-inch bone, with your choice of homemade sauce. Can’t finish it all? Not to worry! Biggy’s provides an 18-inch Big Rib Doggy Bone bag—once the meat is devoured, take the bone home to your pooch.
$2 Taste of Fair Food: Every Friday from Noon-4 p.m., Fairgoers can sample the best the Fair has to offer for only $2 each. Fun-sized samples include funnel cake, BBQ tri-tip, lemonade, cinnamon rolls, corn dogs, tacos, gelato, cotton candy and more.

Celebrity Chefs: The 2012 OC Fair presents two shows in The Hangar featuring dynamic celebrity chefs demonstrating their culinary talents. Scheduled appearances include the Food Network’s Robert Irvine (July 26, 1 p.m.) and Bravo’s “Top Chef” fan-favorite Fabio Viviani (August 2, 1 p.m.). Free with Fair admission.
Food Truck Fare at the OC Fair: Find gourmet fare within the Fair as the popular Food Truck Fare continues inside Fair gates, offering food truck cuisine every Thursday from Noon-10 p.m. Access is free with Fair admission and prices vary per truck.

OC Fair Chowdown: Watch the best of the best face-off for culinary glory in a series of live cooking challenges. On July 19 and 28, see food truck chefs go head-to-head in competition as they put their delicacies to the test. On August 2 and 9, see Orange County amateur home cooks test their skills against professional chefs. Winners will receive bragging rights and an award to commemorate their culinary victory. Viewing is free with Fair admission.
Contests and Competitions: Whether you’re good at cooking or eating, the OC Fair is just the place to bring out your competitive side. Daily, free eating contests are held for children in the Fun Zone Tent at 6:30 p.m. (Registration is 30 minutes before each contest) and Knott’s Berry Farm hosts a pie-eating contest for all-ages at 7 p.m. in the Exhibit Promenade (Registration starts at 6:30 p.m.) Each Saturday, Fairgoers have the chance to compete in the Culinary Arts Special Contests, which are judged live at the Fair for the best cookies, cupcakes, chili and hometown dish (Online entry registration is the Wednesday before each contest. Visit ocfair.com/competitions for information and to register.)

Chocolate Unwrapped: This new exhibit in the Exhibit Promenade puts the “sweet” in “Home Sweet Home.” Come learn how chocolate is made, from the bean to the bar. Complete with demonstrations by Xan Confections.

Centennial Farm: Come learn where food comes from on this year-round, four-acre demonstration farm featuring educational exhibits, agricultural organizations, growing crops, livestock and the fruit & vegetable competitive entries with the biggest lemons, most unusually shaped vegetables and best home-grown pumpkins Orange County has to offer.

The 2012 OC Fair, themed Home Sweet Home, is July 13 – August 12 and will bring 23 days of food, rides, exhibits, animals, music, action sports and fun, as well as the Super Pass, Toyota Summer Concert Series at the Pacific Amphitheatre, The Hangar and Action Sports Arena. The Fair is open Wednesday-Sunday. Concert tickets, action sports reserved seats, single-day general admission and the popular Super Pass are available for purchase online at ticketmaster.com or from the on-site Box Office.

The OC Fair & Event Center is located off the 405 and 55 freeways at 88 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa. For more information, please visit ocfair.com, become a fan at Facebook.com/OCFair, follow us at twitter.com/ocfair or call (714) 708-1500. Also, look for the free OC Fair iPhone and Android apps this summer. Get excited for the 2012 Fair! Watch our new commercial on YouTube.

LIVE Maine Lobsters featured in a New England Lobster Bruxie this 4th of July!

Now those Maine Lobsters are Fresh!

Having received international attention for its unique concept known best for its savory and sweet gourmet waffle sandwich offerings, Bruxie will celebrate the 4th of July in culinary style with holiday specials worthy of fireworks! For the second year, in honor of the American holiday, Bruxie’s culinary team is flying in LIVE MAINE LOBSTERS to create the ultimate New England Lobster Bruxie. Other holiday specials include the new Vermont Apple Pie Bruxie, a Red, White & Blue Shake, and Bruxie’s seasonal Black Cherry Cane Sugar Soda. The following specials will be available at 11 a.m. (until sold out) at all Bruxie locations (Old Towne Orange, Brea Downtown, and Rancho Santa Margarita). 



Kim and I have been able to enjoy these spectacular Lobster Bruxies twice now and we highly recommend you get to you nearest Bruxie early to get yours. This is how every lobster roll should be!

New England Lobster Bruxie


Bruxie Fourth of July Specials:



-New England Lobster Bruxie – Tender Maine Lobster simply tossed with a touch of mayo, fresh chives and cracked black pepper $17.76



-Vermont Apple Pie Bruxie – Warm brown sugar spiced Granny Smith apples, Extra Sharp Vermont Cheddar Cheese and homemade crumble served with Bruxie’s award-winning Wisconsin Frozen Custard $7.95



-Red, White & Blue Shake – California Strawberry Shake with whipped cream and fresh blueberry drizzle $5.95



-Black Cherry Cane Sugar Soda – our new seasonal flavor! $2.50

Bruxie’s full menu will also be available and guests may enjoy Bruxie’s unique takes on authentic Belgian waffles, alongside salads, locally produced old-fashioned cane sugar sodas, real Wisconsin frozen custard, shakes, sundaes and floats. Bruxie also proudly serves Peet’s Coffee & Tea products. For more information, visit http://www.bruxie.com.

Bruxie is currently open daily in Old Towne Orange (292 N. Glassell Street at Palm Avenue), Brea Downtown (215 W. Birch Street), and Rancho Santa Margarita (22205 El Paseo). For more information, including full menus, specials, hours and directions, visit http://www.bruxie.com.

34th Annual Greek Festival Brings “A Taste of Greece” to Orange County June 22-24

Saganaki – Fried Greek Cheese Flamed with Brandy

Orange County’s 34th annual “A Taste of Greece” festival will be held on June 22-24 at St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church (4949 Alton Parkway, between Culver Drive and Jeffrey Road, Irvine, CA 92604). More than 11,000 guests are expected to attend the three-day festival, which will feature traditional Greek cuisine, wine tasting, live music, authentic Greek dancing with lessons and boutique booths reminiscent of the Plaka, a well-known picturesque historical neighborhood of Athens.

Festival hours are 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, June 22; noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday, June 23; and noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday, June 24. Festival admission is just $3 per person with free admission on Saturday, June 23 from noon – 5 p.m. for seniors older than 65 years. Children under the age of 10 are admitted free throughout the three-day festival. Free festival parking will also be available, with complimentary shuttle buses transporting guests from public parking sites in Irvine.

Greek cuisine and hospitality will be the focal points as the festival will feature authentic recipes for traditional Greek dishes, delicious pastries and a variety of beverages, highlighted with a wine “Taverna,” offering Greek wine and beer. The traditional Greek menu will include Chicken, Lamb Chops, Greek French Fries, Gyros, Pastichio (Greek lasagna), Loucanico (Greek sausage), Spanakopita (spinach and feta pie), Dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves), Saganaki (Greek brandy-flamed cheese), Loukoumathes (Greek doughnut holes), Greek Salad, Calamari and more. There will also be a Greek coffeehouse set up to serve Greek and American coffee drinks in a traditional Plaka setting with Greek dance lessons offered free to all. The Philoptochos, the church’s philanthropic group, will bake around the clock during the weeks leading up to the festival to prepare traditional Baklava and other exquisite pastries.

“As Orange County’s largest Greek Orthodox congregation, we are delighted to host a festival that offers an opportunity for the community to experience authentic Greek dining, wine, music, dancing and entertainment,” said Father Steven Tsichlis, St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Priest. “This year’s festival, our 34th annual, will offer something for everyone with a variety of Greek-themed activities.”

A family-friendly affair, the festival will be lined with boutique shops, a variety of games and a full-scale carnival. Event attendees can also enter an opportunity drawing for the chance to win cash prizes.

Kim and I attended a tasting last year and we had a spectacular time. This is really worth checking out. Great crowd and the food was incredible.

For more information on the “A Taste of Greece” festival, please visit www.IrvineGreekFest.com.

Slater’s 50/50 to Host “Best Burger Challenge” Contest at ORANGE COUNTY BBQ & Music Festival

Photo Provided by Slater's 50/50

On June 9 and 10, more than 20,000 people are expected to gather at the OC Fair and Events Center for the Fifth Annual OC BBQ & Music Festival. The event is one of the largest State Championship competitions and the Nation’s largest BBQ tasting event.

Scott Slater, owner of one of Orange County’s most popular burger boutiques, Slater’s 50/50, has issued a challenge to the competition teams to create a unique burger recipe fit to be served in his three Southern California restaurants as the famed “Burger of the Month”.

On Sunday, June 10 at 11 a.m., Slater will be joined at the judges table alongside Brad Lyons, Executive Chef of Slater’s 50/50, and Neil Saavedra, reporter and host of The Fork Report food show featured on KFI Radio.

The three judges will sample burger entries submitted from hopeful teams vying for the accolades of Burger Challenge Champion and to have their burger reign supreme in Slater’s restaurants in Anaheim Hills, Huntington Beach, and San Diego. Slater’s 50/50 will donate a portion of all Burger of the Month sales from the Burger Challenge Champion’s burger to Kristie’s Foundation.

OC BBQ Festival also features a concert by Sugar Ray, American Idol finalists, live music, Mr. BBQ Pageant, car show, a HUGE Kid Zone, and more!

About Kristie’s Foundation:
Kristie’s Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) that has been providing support and services to critically ill children and their families since 2003. It was founded by Laurie Kotas, a mother who lost her 7 year old daughter (Kristie) to Leukemia. Kristie’s Foundation is expanding their operations by creating Kristie’s Place, the first children’s end-of-life- care facility in Southern California. This will fulfill a desperate need in our community in the care of terminally ill children.

At Kristie’s Place, they will focus on life and helping families make the most of every moment their child is alive. They will also ensure that the children do not suffer. Laurie Kotas says, “At Kristie’s Place, we will help children live fully and find comfort in their final days”. Please visit http://www.kristies.org.

About Slater’s 50/50:
Slater’s 50/50® was founded in 2009 in Anaheim Hills, California by Scott Slater, a San Diego State graduate with a passion for gourmet comfort food and craft beer. Teaming up with Executive Chef Brad Lyons, they created the world’s first 50/50 burger – 50 percent ground bacon and 50 percent ground beef – taking the Southern California restaurant scene by storm. In 2011, the second Slater’s 50/50 opened in Huntington Beach followed quickly by the San Diego location. Since opening, Slater’s 50/50 has won a number of awards and accolades including “Best Burger” by the Orange County Register, OC Weekly, and Fox 5 San Diego as well as Best New Restaurant by San Diego Magazine. Slater’s 50/50 has also been featured on national television shows including the Travel Channel’s Bacon Paradise and Discovery Channel’s United States of Bacon.

Food Trucks Rally for the Walk to End Alzheimer's – June 2, 2012

Southern California’s hottest food trucks are partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association of Orange County for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s on June 2 at Tri-City Park in Placentia from 7:30AM – 12PM. This remarkable mobile dining event will allow food enthusiasts and novices alike to indulge in the variety of authentic, creative cuisines the restaurants on tires will have to offer while raising awareness of this dreaded disease that affects millions.

The goal of the walk is for the Alzheimer’s Association to raise $90,000 for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Admission to the mobile dining area is free. Check-in and registration open at 7:30AM. Don’t miss out on this incredible event, grab your friends, family and join the fight for a cure to recover the future for millions.

About Alzheimer’s Association, Orange County: The Orange County Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association provides a comprehensive suite of programs and services — provided at no charge — to meet myriad and evolving needs of people with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, their families, caregivers and the community. For more information, please go to, http://www.alz.org/oc, or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.

Who:
Southern California’s most popular gourmet food trucks including:
All American Gourmet Grill
Ludo Truck
Del’s Lemonade
Rolling Sushi Van
George’s Greek Cafe
Short Stop BBQ

When:
Saturday, June 2, 2012
7:30AM – 12:00PM

Where:
Tri-City Park
2301 North Kraemer Boulevard
Placentia, CA 92870