News: [desi]gn cakes & cupcakes Valentine's Day Pop Up Shop – February 13 & 14, 2014

Valentine's Day Pop Up Shops
Valentine’s Day Pop Up Shops

[desi]gn cakes & cupcakes is excited to announce that they will have 2 POP UP Shops for Valentines Day. Locations are Nordstrom at Irvine Spectrum & Everything Sweet in Redlands. Each store will have a variety available, perfect to grab for your sweetie.

News: “Permission to Come Aboard” with Cafe Del Rey's Deep Sea Fishing Excursion – Saturday, March 8, 2014

CAFE del REY
CAFE del REY

On Saturday, March 8, 2014, Marina del Rey’s iconic seaside dining destination, CAFE del REY will host the second installment of “Permission to Come Aboard,” a bi-annual package for seafood enthusiasts and adventurous diners in Los Angeles and beyond. Guests are invited to join Executive Chef Chuck Abair on a half-day fishing expedition ($55, ½ day boat trip and fishing license included) along the Marina del Rey coastline followed by a barbeque-style lunch at CAFE del REY featuring the freshly caught catch of the day ($110, boat trip and barbeque). The trip—with an intimate number of guests, ranging between 10 to 30 people – departs with Chef Abair from Marina del Rey in search of sustainable game fish in the Santa Monica Bay and is ideal for first-time fishermen, with boat fees and fishing license included.

“We try to source as locally as possible and ‘Permission to Come Aboard’ gives us the opportunity to explore our very own backyard,” says CAFE del REY Executive Chef Chuck Abair who is an avid fisherman. At the restaurant, Abair utilizes market-fresh ingredients from local artisans and farmers and incorporates an array of house-made specialties in his seasonal Mediterranean-inspired menus. Standout menu items for the winter menu include Fish Stew comprised of assorted fish and shellfish, orzo, chickpeas, carrots, fennel, and tomato broth and Dorade with couscous, tzatziki, red onion, mint, and cucumber.

Bringing farm-to-table dining to the next level, the “Permission to Come Aboard” package allows guests to have a hands-on-deck experience of the fresh seafood sourced daily from the Marina del Rey docks. The package will be available bi-annually with the next trip in the fall. The trip is approximately 4.5 hours beginning at 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Disneyland Knows Tiki – Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar, Disneyland Hotel – Anaheim, CA

One side of the bar
One side of the bar

We’ve been on a real tiki bar kick as of late. We enjoy the nostalgia that they invoke and so we started to look up tiki bars to experience them wherever we travel. We were recently turned onto a new tiki bar by a friend’s Facebook check-in and were surprised to discover it was practically in our back yard. It was Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki bar in Anaheim, CA. We were a little apprehensive when we found out it was at the Disneyland hotel. Would it be cheesy or overly theme-parkish? They cater to families and children, so even more importantly, would they know how to make a decent drink? I know that sounds ironic considering we’re talking about tiki bars where the entire premise is all a bit kitschy. To say the least, we went with pretty low expectations. We were greatly surprised by what we found.

Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar
Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar
Shrunken Zombie Head - Reserve & Aged Rums, Tropical Juices, Falernum and Cinnamon
Shrunken Zombie Head – Reserve & Aged Rums, Tropical Juices, Falernum and Cinnamon
UH OA! - Light & Dark Rums, Orange, Passion Fruit, Guava, and Grapefruit Juices, Falernum, Cinnamon, and Lime
UH OA! – Light & Dark Rums, Orange, Passion Fruit, Guava, and Grapefruit Juices, Falernum, Cinnamon, and Lime
Their Famous Krakatoa Punch - Reserve & Spiced Rums, Tropical Juices, Orgeat, Sam's Gorilla Grog and Hibiscus Grenadine - Yum!
Their Famous Krakatoa Punch – Reserve & Spiced Rums, Tropical Juices, Orgeat, Sam’s Gorilla Grog and Hibiscus Grenadine – Yum!

Disneyland did this place right, with just enough kitsch to be enjoyable. The bar creates a really fun and interactive experience. Depending on the tiki drink you order, the lights change colors, it rains or storms, and so much more! It’s a very nice touch like only Disney can do. In addition, they offer a number of collectible tiki cups which will make any tikiphile happy. Who knows we may just become regulars here!

Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar on Urbanspoon

Great Seafood in the Middle of Paso – Pier 46 Seafood – Templeton, CA

Pier 46 Seafood Market
Pier 46 Seafood Market

The Paso Robles region is an interesting conundrum for us. There region is bursting with amazing wine but the food choices are limited. As foodies, even if we go to Paso for the wine, we can’t help but want to have good food too. Don’t get me wrong, Paso has its fair share of high-end eats, but sometimes you just want a good, casual meal. We have been able to find a few gems, one of which is Pier 46 Seafood Market in Templeton, CA. It is a seafood market that also offers prepared foods. We make sure to stop by when we are in the Central Coast.

Halibut Fish & Chips with Sweet Potato Fries
Halibut Fish & Chips with Sweet Potato Fries

Their fish and chips are amazing. We chose halibut because it is my favorite fish for frying. Their batter is super light but incredibly crispy. Very addicting!

Fish Tacos
Fish Tacos

You can have the fish tacos fried or broiled. Since these guys can really fry we had to go fried for the fish tacos as well.

Ahi Tacos
Ahi Tacos

If you want a healthier option, try their fresh ahi tacos in wonton shells served with seaweed and octopus salads.

Pier 46 Seafood on Urbanspoon

Great Setting for Cocktails at Grand Central Terminal – The Campbell Apartment – New York, NY

This is a very fun spot at the world famous Grand Central Terminal in New York City. This bar is a popular hangout for locals waiting to catch the train after work. If you get in early you can grab a seat but it’s standing room only after the 5 o’clock whistle. It’s a fun place with tons of history that will transport you back in time and has a large assortment of vintage cocktails.

Campbell Apartment – New York City
Prohibition Punch - Passion Fruit, Appleton Rum, Gran Gala and Moet & Chandon
Prohibition Punch – Passion Fruit, Appleton Rum, Gran Gala and Moet & Chandon
Kentucky Ginger - Marker's Mark, Ginger Liqueur, Agave, Lemon and Rosemay
Kentucky Ginger – Marker’s Mark, Ginger Liqueur, Agave, Lemon and Rosemay
Highlander (Scotch, Sweet Vermouth & Orange Bitters) & Roaring Twenties (Rum, Ginger Liqueur, Grenadine and Lemon)
Highlander (Scotch, Sweet Vermouth & Orange Bitters) & Roaring Twenties (Rum, Ginger Liqueur, Grenadine and Lemon)
Beautiful Bar
Beautiful Bar

Campbell Apartment on Urbanspoon

The Original Tiki Drink Company – Don's Dagger Bar at Don the Beachcomber – Sunset Beach, CA

Don the Beachcomber
Don the Beachcomber

Kim and I have been on a mad hunt discovering different bars across the U.S. We are working to get them posted when we have time so we can share what we’ve found with you. Most of the time the bars we seek specialize in craft and vintage cocktails. One throw back of the vintage cocktails that we’ve enjoyed are tiki drinks. I’m sure you remember we created our own Mai Tai recipe.

Don the Beachcomber
Don the Beachcomber

There’s debate surrounding who created the famous Mai Tai. The two on the top of the list are Trader Vic’s and Don the Beachcomber. To be honest I have no idea who invented it but we’ve had the opportunity to try Don’s, and his version is good. Not as good as ours (j/k) but good none-the-less. In all seriousness, they have a number of classic tiki favorites, many of which I’m sure they created. Kim and I are slowly working our way down their menu and enjoying it!

The bar is part of a much larger venue that serves food and can hold private functions. The bar is dark, with a black painted popcorn ceiling designed to look like lava. They have everything from a tiki bar with a thatched roof, blowfish lanterns and a ton of classic tiki cups. When you walk in, it makes you feel like you stepped back in time. And after you’ve had a few, you lose all track, of time that is.

Here are some of the drinks we have sampled:

Classic Tiki Drinks!
Classic Tiki Drinks!
Beachcomber's Gold with Absinthe
Beachcomber’s Gold with Absinthe
PI-YI - As "Hawaiian" as Aloha
PI-YI – As “Hawaiian” as Aloha
Rum Barrel - Largest of Don's Drinks
Rum Barrel – Largest of Don’s Drinks
Incredible Tiki Glass Collection
Incredible Tiki Glass Collection
Hula Girls
Hula Girls

Don the Beachcomber on Urbanspoon

Craft Cocktail Recipe: #090713 Penny Packer Bourbon with Allspice Dram

Penny Packer Bourbon, Carpano Antica and Allspice Dram
Penny Packer Bourbon, Carpano Antica and Allspice Dram

We recently picked up a copy of Savory Cocktails: Sour Spicy Herbal Umami Bitter Smoky Rich Strong by Greg Henry. In it was a drink that caught our eye, “The Spice Trail”. Clove infused honey syrup, gin, rye, allspice dram and bitters. It’s a very complex drink, and like every other recipe we get our hands on, we tweaked it based on our own taste. We actually made Greg’s original and it was spicy, with depth and extremely smooth. Below is our interpretation of it. Hope you like it!

INGREDIENTS:

2.5 oz Penny Packer Bourbon
1 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
1/2 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup (recipe below)
2 dashes Bittermens XOCOLATL Mole Bitters
1 Orange Peel

PREPARATION:

Add bourbon, allspice dram, vermouth, simple syrup and bitters into a mixing glass. Stir 40 times with ice, and strain into a coupe. Garnish with a thick slice of orange peel, squeezing the orange oil over the top of the drink and the rim of the glass.

Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup Recipe:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 vanilla beans split down the middle

Pour sugar, water and vanilla beans into a pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool and then strain with cheesecloth into container for storage. Refrigerate for up to two months.

If you want to see other cocktail recipes from Saturday Night Foodies, go to <CLICK HERE>

Harvest Wine Weekend October 2013 – Paso Robles, CA

L'Aventure Winery - Photo Courtesy of Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance
L’Aventure Winery – Photo Courtesy of Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance

Harvest marks the end of the growing season and social importance of this event makes it the focus of many seasonal celebrations. For the central coast of California, such an event is the Harvest Wine Weekend in Paso Robles. The 2013 Harvest Wine Weekend will take place October 18 – 20, with more than 130 participating wineries. This is an opportunity for wine enthusiasts and novices alike, to enjoy the fruits of the winemakers’ labor and taste the new vintages. Paso Robles is idyllic at this time of year with grape leaves changing colors and expected temperatures in the mid to high 70s.

Many wineries will have special tastings, live music, winemaker dinners and much more. However, some wineries are getting creative in 2013, bringing new and different activities, educational opportunities and hands-on fun for Harvest Wine Weekend.

Below are the events planned by some of our favorite wineries.

J. LOHR VINEYARDS & WINES
6169 Airport Road, Paso Robles
805.239.8900

FRIDAY: Join in on the fun of a Cahoots-style lobster feed. Enjoy lobster, prawns, corn on the cob,
artichokes and much more! Select J. Lohr wines will be poured. Reservations required. 6:30 p.m.
$85/pp; $75/Club members.

SATURDAY: Club members and their guests receive VIP treatment in an exclusive tented area. Library
wines, barrel samples, snacks and music will be available between 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Complimentary, but
R.S.V.P. required.

SUNDAY: Enjoy pulled pork sandwiches, salad and dessert by Killereatz with a glass of select J. Lohr
wine in a tented area. Served from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Reservations recommended. $22.50/pp; $20/
Club members.

L’AVENTURE WINERY
2815 Live Oak Road, Paso Robles
805.227.1588

FRIDAY – SUNDAY: Come enjoy the harvest spirit of L’Aventure at our Harvest Wine Weekend open
house where we will be showing our 100% estate grown 2011 vintage. You will experience the spirit
of L’Aventure first hand through our winemaker Stephan Asseo’s Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah/Petit
Verdot Paso blends, Optimus and Estate Cuvée. Visit us and enjoy Paso Robles’s adventurous spirit
materialized in world class, balanced red blends.

JUSTIN VINEYARDS & WINERY
11680 Chimney Rock Road, Paso Robles
805.591.3224

FRIDAY – SUNDAY: Come taste our Cabernet Sauvignons and Bordeaux blends artfully paired with
cheeses from local cheese maker, Central Coast Creamery. Stop by Saturday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. to meet
award-winning cheese maker, Reggie Jones. Lunch available Friday – Saturday, brunch Sunday. Call for
Saturday dinner reservations.

3rd annual Gourmet Food Truck Festival – August 3, 2013 – Del Mar Racetrack

Gourmet Food Truck Festival

The Gourmet Food Truck Festival on August 3, 2013 will feature over 50 of the best gourmet food trucks from San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles. Hours are from noon to 6:00 p.m. and it will be held at the Seaside Concert Area within the Del Mar Racetrack.

Carnitas Fries from The Lime Truck
Carnitas Fries from The Lime Truck

Some of the trucks to look forward to are the The Lime Truck, Jogasaki Burrito, Devilicious and Ragin Cajun. For a complete list click here.

Spicy Tuna Nachos from Jogasaki Burrito
Spicy Tuna Nachos

Guests can also choose from more than 50 craft beers to pair with great gourmet food truck food. A portion of the proceeds will go to charity partner Meals on Wheels.

This is a perfect opportunity to get out and enjoy many of the best food trucks from Southern California. Don’t miss it!

Frieda’s Specialty Produce and Ralph’s Bring Hatch Chiles and Roasting Events to Southern California

HatchLogoCircleSticker_Final_FriedasLogo-01

Hatch chiles are a variety of peppers grown only in the Hatch Valley, an area stretching north and south along the Rio Grande from Arrey, New Mexico, to the south of Hatch, New Mexico. Known for its bold flavors when roasted over an open flame, they have a cult-like following and even an annual festival to commemorate its harvest. However, you don’t have to trek to Hatch, New Mexico, to get your hands on the world famous Hatch Chiles. Frieda’s Specialty Produce is bringing them to a Ralph’s near you. Every Saturday from August 10 through 24, you can find Frieda’s roasting stations at these locations from 8a.m. to 4 p.m. They will be available in three heat levels; medium, hot, and extra hot for $16.99 for 10 lbs. and $24.99 for 25 lbs.

Hatch Roasting Schedule
Hatch Roasting Schedule – Click to Expand

Jason gets excited when Hatch season comes around. He loves experimenting and coming up with new recipes for this bold pepper. Last year he created a hatch chili recipe which won first place and took the division overall at the OC Fair.

Awards from the 2012 Chill Competition at the Orange County Fair
Awards from the 2012 Chill Competition at the Orange County Fair

In order to preserve the reputation of the world-famous chile, Hatch, New Mexico, stops selling fresh ones after its Labor Day festival to ensure its quality. For that same reason, fresh hatch chiles will only be available at Frieda’s during the month of August so get yours while supplies last or stop by one of the roasting events.

HatchChiles3