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

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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

SeaLegs Wine Bar: an OC Eat Up Night

Gathered Wednesday night last month was a bundle of epicures hosted by OC Foodies for an intimate #OCEatUp soiree at SeaLegs Wine Bar.

With Melissa’s Produce as the main purveyor of our fall tasting menu, we blissfully savored on 6 intriguing courses, unsurprisingly accompanied with paired wine (and cocktail for the last course).

Course 1: Kabocha Squash Coconut Curry Crab Soup topped with Creme Fraiche, Yuzu Zest, and Pumpkin Seeds

Not certain whether this piquant, luxuriously creamy crab delight belongs to the healthy side or indulgent side, this nevertheless assured me to discover it’s both because I dislike taking sides anyway.

Complemented wine: Marston Family Vineyard Proprietary White Wine

Course 2: Organic Hidden Rose Apple, Pear, Beet Salad with Rocket Arugula, whipped Goat Cheese, Blood Orange Vinaigrette, and Pomegranate Arils

This complex medley wondrously synced together with bittersweet, fruity, and tart elements. At the same time it felt like a palate cleanser between the previous course and the subsequent one.

Complemented wine: Darloush Vlognier

Course 3: Seared Scallop Spaghetti Squash, Sauteed Mushrooms, Yuzu Thai Basil Beurre Blanc

From the subtly sharp tang of the beurre blanc to the effortless, natural zing of the vegetables and scallop, it’s my personal all-time favorite that I purposely took small, enjoyable bites of this dish.

Complemented wine: Hanzell Chardonnay

Course 4: Roasted Apples, Brussels Sprouts, Persimmons with Smoked 5 Spice Pork Belly and Candied Walnuts Maple Glaze

Inspired by the Chinese version, the cast iron-executed, family-friendly dish was evidently a crowd favorite due to its tender, indulgent pork. I personally was as enamored with the caramelized fruit and veggies that I easily scooped these up when everyone else concentrated on the meat.

Complemented wine: Darloush Merlot

Course 5: Braised Oxtail with Roasted Cipolline Onions, Rainbow Carrots, Sunchoke Puree, and Cabernet Reduction Sauce
This melt-in-your-mouth moment lingered throughout every piece cut through this indulgent “steak,” which interestingly looked like a 6-pedaled flower.
Complemented wine: Marston Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Course 6: Apple Pear Persimmon Cast Iron Pie with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
As the last of another snapshot-calling, family-style platter–although the granola crust proved lots of toughness in the chew–the flavors fully delighted my satiety of baked apples and cinnamon with any kind of grain of crust with them.
Complemented drink: Housemade Irish Coffee

Thank you, Nick Q, for the cordial invitation, and thank you to SeaLegs owner, Alicia Whitney, for having us over to eat merrily and snapshot eagerly.

SeaLegs Wine Bar
21022 Beach Blvd #105
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
(714) 536-5700
www.sealegswinebar.com

Melissa’s Produce
5325 N Soto St
Vernon, CA 90058
(800) 588-0151
www.melissas.com

Foodie at PoqetDONUTS

In Irvine, at the 405 near the Jamboree Blvd exit (which is the same exit for the 1st U.S. 85C Bakery) leads to a new artisan donut shop called poqetDONUTS, whose grand opening was Saturday, November 14th. If you happen to be one of first 100 guests in line for a free donut: I hope you liked it!

In spite of a small shop, whose pronunciation of the first name sounds exactly the same as “pocket,” a vast, eclectic array of these colorful fritters stun curious, sweet-loving customers.  As of this writing there are at least 17 signature flavors to choose from, additionally with their “Mini Me” counterparts.

Dear friends of mine would know already how zealous I get with anything blueberry, so I assertively needed to have at least one donut with this tinge. With just 3 notes to describe this palm-sized treat: fluffy, slightly sweet, and tart done right especially with its blueberry glaze.

My boyfriend chose the Pistachio Creme Brulee and revered its utter indulgence topped with crunch. The flavor of cream filling particularly reminded me of licking some good ice cream.

Personally a surprise, my all-time favorite signature treat would be the gently sweetened Matcha Green Tea. Rest assured that they genuinely used the legitimate powder to give off that comforting stance found in your go-to green tea lattes.

That said, how poqetDONUTS stands out even further from a multitude of other shops (no matter the tier): the custom-built option.

Without going rather insane on the flavors to instead focus more on a tried-and-true approach, a staff member helped me construct a simple glazed doughnut topped with that aromatic, gorgeous glaze; fresh blueberries; sliced almonds; and cream cheese in the center.

Possibilities are endless with this BYOD option–starting with one of 4 bases: glazed, chocolate cake, vanilla cake, and vegan–that I’ve seen fellow foodies show off their artsy, tasty-looking creations.

Whether opting for custom-made or signature, poqetDONUTS is a handful–or a box full–to enjoy.  Other notable sweets I deemed yummy are the Maple Bacon and Avocado–yes, you read right (and bottom center of the photo).

(Almost) random fact: I really thought “poqet” was pronounced like the raw fish marinated with sesame oil and soy sauce.

P.S. I want to thank Moxxe PR for the invite; I came to the shop the 2nd time and on its 2nd day unannounced, as an FYI.

poqetDONUTS
17655 Harvard Ave Unit B
Irvine, CA 92614
http://www.poqetdonuts.com
(949) 932-0800

poqetDONUTS Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato