Lazy Dog Cafe’s Spring 2018 Menu

I had the greatest pleasure of eating and photo-shooting the newest Lazy Dog Cafe dishes for Spring 2018, which has 25 locations throughout the USA. These courses are available to order starting March 28, 2018.

More than sampling or most likely gorging on the featured foods, Co-Founder Gabriel Caliendo spent valuable time chatting and describing to us guests how these foods came into fruition and eventually be set for this season.

The items I’ve consumed (hugely or minutely) included:

The instantly addicting Onion Dip

The exciting Street Corn Wheels

The mellow Burrata + Heirloom Tomato Crisp flatbread

The invigorating Burrata + Roasted Beet Salad

The unexpectedly wholesome and delicious BBQ Veggie Burger, in which the patty is meshed with black beans and ancient grains

The deconstructed yet filling Veggie Burger Bowl (the chopped patty containing the same ingredients as the previous)

The delightful Grilled Lemon Chicken, hiding underneath this scrumptious cauliflower mash and tahini sauce on the side along with the sauteed green beans topped with unassuming almond-walnut crumble

The sinful Peach Raspberry Hand Pie, which was consumed the quickest out of all of the presented dishes

And the gluten-sensitive yet proudly tasty Lemon Cake, with almond flour as one of the main ingredients and surrounded by a velvety huckleberry moat

I could not forget mentioning some of the cocktails introduced to the menu, such as this virgin Watermelon Margarita. If I didn’t head straight to my day job right after, the virginity would have disappeared. The adult version has a punch of Azul Reposada Tequila.

But I took a small, curious sip of the Honey Thyme Old Fashioned, with this quality-oriented and smooth Buffalo Trace Bourbon which I became quite infatuated — since bourbon or its “father” whiskey normally does not fall under Fia’s favorite alcoholic drinks.

Yet when I sipped into something like a certain favorite cocktail of Fia’s, such as the Huckleberry Mule, the more temptation pinched me harder. Don’t worry, folks: I kicked it away.

Though temptation followed me back with this Pineapple Mojito, and yet again I kicked it further into the kitchen.

Frankly these foods and drinks satisfied my taste buds that I’m anticipating a revisit and happily introducing my good friends to these colorfully enticing items. Of course their fluffy fur children are welcome to join us.

*Huge thank you to C-Squared PR for this amazing #mediatasting at Lazy Dog Cafe

Lazy Dog Cafe

Various locations

Media tasting at the Brea location: 240 S State College Blvd, Brea, CA 92821

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OC Restaurant Week’s 10-Year Anniversary

For a solid decade Orange County Restaurant Week unleashed on Sunday, March 4. Over 100 restaurants dared to showcase their pre-fixe course menu items as their way to commemorate this 7-day eating spectacle.

The day before Sunday brought in OC Restaurant Week’s Launch Party inside the Marriott Irvine Spectrum. My boyfriend and I appreciatively attended the VIP 1st hour, which we savored minute by minute for just that 1 hour right before leaving for a family member’s baby shower.

That seemingly short visitation resulted in feeling physiologically full and gluttonously satisfied from the myriad bites and samples from 20 (of about 25) different vendors, including these personal favorites of mine:

The Veggie Puff Pastry from Skyloft in Laguna Beach

The Esquite from Puesto in Irvine

The fantastic Artichoke Beignets, Seared Salmon Filet, and Salted Caramel Pudding from Del Frisco’s Grille (also) in Irvine

The Jalapeno Mac & Cheese from JT Schmidt’s in Tustin

The consistently delicious Buffalo Cauliflower from Tackle Box in Corona Del Mar

And the scrumptious Fresh Atlantic Salmon Filet from Sundried Tomato (that, like last year’s event, have seemed to consistently wowed my palate) in southern San Juan Capistrano

Other vendors not necessarily presenting their food items strictly for OCRW but contently participating for the event included Blackmarket Bakery, Melissa’s Produce (which by the way has supplied their fresh produce to several restaurants representing OCRW), and San Pellegrino.

These morsels certainly left such a lasting fullness in my tummy that I felt guilty of barely consuming the foods served at that family member’s baby shower. Most of those samples indeed brought out the flavors needed to wow guests when ordering from the OCRW menu in these participating eateries.

In spite of munching indulgently from various vendors within one hour I am eager to dine particularly at this Costa Mesa restaurant before catching the new Cirque Du Soleil show. Thank you, OC Restaurant Week, for the incredibly fun and super eventful VIP launch party to celebrate your 10 years! And special thank you to my boyfriend, Simon, for assisting me to photograph some of the items posted in this entry.

 

#ocrestaurantweek #eatdrinkrepeat #OCRW #orangecounty #foodblogger

Newport Beach Restaurant Week 2018: Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens

This 2018 for Newport Beach Restaurant Week my boyfriend and I dined outdoors under cozy night skies and superbly tolerable heat lamps at the new Farmhouse inside/adjacent to Roger’s Gardens.

Their version of #NBRW hosts a $50 dinner for 4-courses. All but the main course (i.e. 3rd course) had just 1 option to bite into, and on that main course there were 2 options available whether the eater craves for turf or surf. Come to think of it — most of the platters we’ve dug onto would be considered vegetarian cuisine.

Our 1st course featured a double deal. Our Seasonal Soup Shooter from “The Soup of the Day” fascinated our tongues from the dominant, great flavor of split peas, while interestingly warming my belly with ease once semi-gulping it. The frankly dainty House Cured Salmon with crispy potato cake, creme fraiche, and chives stunningly made our appetite yearning for more. It was honestly difficult for me to try to take more than 2 bites because I reluctantly wanted to finish them so quickly.

2nd course veered from a warming to cooling sensation in about a 10-minute interval. We were served the Root Vegetable Ribbon Salad meticulously tossed with caramelized cauliflower, arugula, puréed satsumaimo sweet potato and cauliflower, raspberry vinaigrette, pomegranate seeds, and candied pecans. This salad was overall too mild for my palate, yet the boyfriend stated that it was a delicious, well-balanced, and approachable way of intaking those nutritional needs, and at the same time became a mellow “pit stop” before moving on to the main course. Notably, this salad has actually been a seasonally everyday plate during lunch hours — except with some hankering shrimp on top! That said, that may change my mind when I’ll revisit in the daytime.

Now our 3rd course became vastly distinct between our dishes. The boyfriend got the Red Wine Braised Lamb Shank with roasted butternut squash, kale, and cipollini onions –smothered in Tehachapi Grain Project red life and Sonora, red lamb jus, gremolata plus topping off with crispy sunchoke chips. These huge mouthful mix of ingredients unfortunately led to little adoration, as the fall-off-the-bone characteristic received the only highly graded mark. The boyfriend did indeed finish up this rather decent entree while I was blissfully delighted with…

The Seared Sea Scallop dish with practically an equal mouthful of crispy sage, brown butter, sitting atop and around puréed roast maple bourbon butternut squash, roasted spaghetti squash, cipollini onions (also), and an incredibly soft and wonderfully juicy grilled Meyer lemon shyly placed next to the veggies. The presentation could have been much more graceful, while the portion of the proteins lacked brawn compared to the lamb shack. Regardless, my taste buds ignored the size of these perfectly delectable mollusks.

The last course, the Satsumaimo Sweet Potato and Banana Bread Pudding, ended with a deliciously fruity and rich touch alongside the ginger honey ice cream and the complimentary, unexpected Prosecco to bubbly pair. The bread pudding, though, deemed too dense of a texture that I failed to finish all of my dessert. Come to think of my last words — I partly blame my incessant hunger on our “pre-appetizer” featured in Farmhouse’s “regular, non-NBRW” dinner menu

The regally delicious and excitable Prince Edward Island Mussels faithfully cooked in white wine, garlic, and herb butter to soak with toasty garlic bread.

Throughout the NBRW dinner we pleasantly ate and intermittently became cordial with our curious waitress, Taylor, who I realized was equally enthused with photography by asking me about my camera, which I’ll mention on another post. For now I recommend dining at this garden-encompassed, welcoming outdoor restaurant, for any occasion, or for the upcoming OC Restaurant Week in early March (with different 4-course dinner items). Hopefully Farmhouse will continue lighting its NBRW torch next year!


Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens

2301 San Joaquin Hills Rd

Newport Beach, CA 92660

farmhouserg.com

(949) 640-1415

#farmhouserg #newportbeach #newportbeachrestaurantweek #NBRW

Jimboy’s Tacos: Crunch Time near The Happiest Place on Earth

Craving for a crunchy, beefy meal that has nothing to do with the bell icon — let alone be exponentially flavorful without the gimmicky slogans?

Down-to-earth Jimboy’s Tacos is more of your calling. This Sacramento-based, quality-emphasized chain trekked into Orange County — Anaheim and Aliso Viejo — hoping their “Original American Taco” would win hearts to the Southern Californian denizens.

One heart has won from myself. I ventured into the Anaheim location, which is minutes walking distance to and from The Disneyland Resort. I took recommendations from the manager in spite of being slightly absentminded after finding parking while simultaneously being famished.

One appreciable recommendation was Jimboy’s Tacoburger: yup, a hybrid of American savory eats folded into one. Smothering the crunchy shell was Parmesan cheese, which made that 1st bite a magical moment (can’t help it because it’s that close to Disneyland). This taco gave that kickin’ seasoning expected from typical ground beef served in this fashion — only in this case was undeniably tasty — with just the right balance of a burger personality without being overdone. I was impressed that this crisp pickle matched perfectly with the Tacoburger.

Jimboy’s also makes their salsa scratch-made, and from sampling 4 different varieties and 1 taco sauce packet, I liked pouring the salsa verde and the taco sauce onto my crunchy delectable.

Other foodstuffs I’ve eaten from Jimboy’s were their Taco Salad and Tahoe [Bean, Rice & Cheese] Burrito, both just as scrumptious and filling (with a splash of the salsa roja) as the Tacoburger. From this nightly feat sparked a epiphany about myself; if you sat with me in a restaurant and the food turned out to be amazingly yummy, whether it’s healthy or unhealthy, I don’t hesitate to finish the entire plate until I’m at risk of getting heartburn.

So to the Sacramento citizens who have about 30 Jimboy’s restaurants throughout their area, I want to state my mild jealousy for being close to these Parmesan-dusted tacos. At the same time I’m blessed that, as a Disneyland Passholder, I can amble towards Jimboy’s Tacos whenever I have this particular craving. The ones I have yet to taste would be the simple Original Ground Beef Taco, the Enchiladas, and the Breakfast Burrito Grande as the main fuel for walking around the theme park.

P.S. My boyfriend and I loved their Horchata and the fact I can get free refills.

#mediatasting #tacos #Anaheim

Jimboy’s Tacos

1650 S Harbor Blvd Suite C

Anaheim, CA 92802

http://www.jimboystacos.com

 

The Pizza Press in Long Beach Opening August 17

Here’s what’s extra about The Pizza Press. On Thursday, August 17 their wonderfully delicious, made-to-order “personal” pizzas will officially open at my college stomping grounds of 2nd Street Long Beach — and word has it that the first 1,000 pizzas will be given for free.

Right next to Legends Sports Bar (which was my occasional hangout with my college friends) is the newest addition, providing ample seating to comfortably enjoy build-your-own pies or the signature slices, such as The Tribune, to read up all about it on their menu.

I am the customizing type of person, and when I visited there for a tasting night, the flavorful toppings I selected below were catered particularly for anyone going gaga on garlic with a balance of healthy and indulgence. So feel free to take my choices more or less for your fresh pizza to publish.

Sauce: spicy red sauce

Cheeses: mozzarella, aged parmesan, and chevre

Veggie toppings: minced garlic, roasted garlic, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, Kalamata olives, spinach, kale, oregano

Protein toppings: bacon

The newsworthy topping of my day there was that my said pizza somehow was mistakenly delivered to another guest(s). Amazingly, one of the pizzamakers remade my pie AND awesomely remembered every overwhelming-sounding toppings I mentioned upon ordering my first. That person, along with the friendly Pizza Press team, deserved the hottest buzz of the day!

With all that said the Long Beach Belmont Shore location, again will be opening on Thursday, August 17. The first 1,000 pizzas that day will be given on the house. I hope that The Pizza Press will eternally be hot off the press — and I’ll be looking forward to the one near my current residence very soon!

If you (will) miss the first one thousand, you can still be able to get a complimentary pie with purchase of a beverage by signing up to thepizzapress.com/gpg, and from there you’ll be emailed a voucher to use on opening day.

***Special thank you to Jane Gillespie for organizing the media tastings for The Pizza Press, and super thank you to my close friend, Jay, for the indelible, media connection.***

#thepizzapress #thepizzapressbelmontshore

The Pizza Press, 5242 E 2nd St, Long Beach, CA 90803

http://www.thepizzapress.com

Museum of Ice Cream on a Sweet Saturday

I'm dedicating my 1st post on my new website on a fantastic trip to the Museum of Ice Cream — or so it appeared.

"What do you mean?" as you might ask either within your brain or speaking out loud.

My intent to visit this DTLA seasonal spot was a birthday treat for my boyfriend, Simon. Neither of us were expecting as high as a kid's excitement to Disneyland. But with the colorful, pink-empowered appeal that I've seen in social media, I was more curious to see what else the Museum of Ice Cream — which I'll be shortening the name to MOIC — has to offer.

My 1-sentence feeling about this brief adventure: it's what we've already seen on social media.

There were, indeed, a few that quite captivated my visit, such as:

The mint garden, grown out of chocolate-rich soil. Yep: their soil is full of antioxidants, theobromine, and inedible decadence. Plus we blissfully nibbled on the mint mochi ice cream from My/Mo.

The claw machine that can be played for free. Its tiny prizes of ice cream cone keychains, however, would easily escape from the lengthy, mechanical digits, even when the claw could be perfectly positioned towards an opportunistically free souvenir.

The fantastically delicious Dirty Mint Ice Cream from Coolhaus.

And the mini pink pancake "taco shell" that was both yummy and graciously fluffy — durable for a melting scoop of vanilla ice cream at the end of the trip.

Then were were notable disappointments…

The biggest one for me was that certain, past visitors had abused a few of MOIC's props in order to, say, get that dreaded, impeccable Instagram shot. As a result, 3 artwork showcases were untouchable per museum policy (as of 7.29.2017): the hanging bananas, the giant, jammed popsicles; and the splattered chocolate waffle cones.

Another huge bummer would be the sprinkle pool. Ideally, I'd love only my boyfriend and me spend just 2 minutes alone in the small pool of colorful, artificial (as in plastic!) sprinkles so that I, too, would love to attain a flawless portrait photograph or candid shot. But after all, the MOIC theme accentuates a dream fantasy, right?!

As a result, we were crowded with equally eager guests who tried to get as many camera/smartphone snapshots as possible. From this tremendously quick moment the 1st-come-1st serve approach led to a higher chance of the so-called perfect photo shoot, so that was a personal lesson learned.

In spite of my experience, I still will offer advice to those who are still interested in visiting, or especially those who've already purchased the online tickets either for this LA spot or the upcoming San Francisco location.

  1. Take LOTS of pictures. The host who will be standing behind the ice cream cart adjacent to the pink door will assure you can take your time embracing your precious minutes at MOIC — with the notable, timed exception at the Sprinkles Pool. Besides, you'll likely snap a few really good shots out of countless attempts to proudly display them on your own social media.
  2. For the LA location: depending on the day and time of your visit, it's nice to see that free street parking near MOIC may be available; the museum neighbors commercial buildings. But the cautious part of me must suggest that the $6 valet is also worth paying, especially if your time slot falls into the darkness in which an ice cream boogeyman could lurk out.

P.S. The taco trailer located right next to the MOIC exit contains crazily inexpensive, tasty mulitas. You're better off balancing your food intake between savory and super sweet.

#MOIC #DTLA #museumoficecream

Museum of Ice Cream, 2018 E 7th Place, Los Angeles, CA 90021

http://www.museumoficecream.com

 

 

OC Restaurant Week 2017: 1st Bites Launch Party

The most valuable week of the year in Orange County begins today (March 5) until Saturday the 11th. About 100 participating restaurants – spanning as eastward as Yorba Linda to down south like San Clemente – appeared eager to represent their cuisine composed as pre-fixe items.
A few noteworthy OC eateries offer lunch items as affordable as $10; I’m looking at you, Tackle Box, Wild Goose Tavern, and Stag Bar + Kitchen. Or if you have cash to lavishly spare, 8 enticing businesses can bid you an $80 Luxe Dinner for an impressionable date or a significant, celebratory party.
Speaking of party, at the day before this commencement, the “First Bites” Launch Party blasted off more outrageously than I anticipated.  The famished crowd instantly outnumbered the combined staff of the Marriott hotel and the venue participators from roughly 28 restaurants. In spite of the density I was blessed to taste a variety of items that will be offered on the respective menus, such as…

The tantalizing Spicy Salmon Tartare from Twenty Eight in Irvine

The deliciously healthy Tuna Poke from the Mix Mix Kitchen Bar in Downtown Santa Ana

The heavily crowd-pleasing Carnitas Taco from Sol Agave in San Juan Capistrano – home of the swallows in case you didn’t know

And the juicy Entraña de Villa Roma from Laguna Hills’ Villa Roma
Just like the overwhelming attendance at “First Bites” I hope the foods signifying OC Restaurant Week would bring the “wow” factor throughout this 1-week opportunity. I admit that there were a few participators that I hadn’t had a chance to nibble (my friend’s joyful baby shower was definitely an event I didn’t want to miss), but I took in whatever my 2 hands — sometimes 1 because the other hand was for my camera — could grab.

Thank you, OC Restaurant Association, for inviting me to attend this annual feast!oHHldfijifdlkdsjflaj

#OCRestaurantWeek #MediaDay #SneakPeek #OCFoodies