Archive for February, 2014

Two months into 2014 have come and gone, meaning that by now, the majority of people who resolved on New Year’s to get fit have already dropped their resolution. Stories about losing weight fast typically derive from get-rich-quick scams, because no known trick exists for rapidly losing weight. For those who have stuck with their resolutions and have lost some weight, kudos to you. For those who have dropped that resolution, or never made a resolution in the first place, you have free will to indulge yourself in the wonders of the world. Of course, over-indulgence can lead to severe health problems or, in the worst-case scenario, death. The word moderation comes into play here, as any human should always do and consume everything in moderation. Unfortunately for that notion, we live in America. We live in a country that boasts about size. Regardless of what the silent majority says, size matters, and Leadbelly’s Barbecue also believes that size matters.

Leading the way for BBQ so close to the Cal State Fullerton campus, Leadbelly’s Barbecue satisfies that BBQ craving that locals tend to not tend to. Now in the space of the former Shortstop BBQ, Leadbelly’s claims to serve up traditional Southern-style BBQ. While many people will picture meat with BBQ sauce, Leadbelly’s differs by emphasizing meat portions rather than sauce. In most of their dishes, the absence of sauce feels unknown to most palates. The absence of sauce allows customers to better taste the meat’s true flavors. For example, their Loaded Pork Garlic Fries comes with the sauce on the side by default. This massive mountain of fries gets smothered with minced garlic, pulled pork, chopped bacon, sliced pork belly, Parmesan & pepper jack cheeses, and chives. White gravy comes on the side, although customers may request the gravy on the fries. However, you should always take some bites at the start without the sauce. This pork attack contains enough meaty goodness that adding the sauce may muddle the flavors of the meat. Bear in mind that Leadbelly’s serves craft beer, so for a beer pairing for this monstrosity, you cannot go wrong with an IPA to cut through all that pork.

This dish can easily serve four and costs just $10. Pull up to Leadbelly’s Barbecue in Fullerton just off the 57 and 91 freeways, and enjoy large portions in a small space.

Cheap Sex performing Dick Cheney at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA. Filmed on January 11, 2013.

As we delve deeper into 2014, we look back on the previous year to learn and make progress for the rest of this year. Day by day, people live their lives, some by a set routine, others by thriving on new discoveries and expansions. The human race always seeks to progress culture by devising and adapting new approaches to existing methods. While not all humans share the same interests, all humans at least bear knowledge about food, as everyone has eaten food their entire lives. From the early days of basic meats, vegetables, and grains, food has evolved into a vast range of ingredients, tastes, cooking methods, and presentation. Innovative foods often make headlines as a new discovery, so as a result, many modern chefs tend to experiment more rather than stick to basics. Over time, many food trends surface, giving way to entrepreneurs to capitalize on those growing trends, such as cupcakes, frozen yogurt, and the recent gourmet food trucks trend. However, many food trends remain relatively undisturbed, known only to the true food fans. Last year saw a few food trends touched on, yet they still have not flourished. Read on to find out five food trends to pay attention to this year.

5. Frozen S’mores

From the creative minds behind the world famous Cronut comes new, never-before-seen desserts. Last year, the release of the Cronut went viral, and soon the entire world would go hysterical to try one. Plenty of knockoffs now exist around the world, but none compare to the original in New York. Now that same purveyor has introduced another luscious creation – the Frozen S’mores. Just like the Cronut, Frozen S’mores combines two completely different foods: ice cream and s’mores. This inside-out hybrid starts with an ice cream center, wrapped in a chocolate cookie/wafer, then stuffed inside a marshmallow. This gets frozen to maintain its shape, and whenever a lucky customer orders one, the customer receives it flash-torched to quickly crisp the outside while maintaining the frozen center. The past few years have always seen some type of new pastry or dessert that becomes a hot food trend for that year. Perhaps in 2014, the Frozen S’mores will expand beyond its home in New York and find new stomachs to nestle in around the world.

4. Ice Cream inside unexpected foods

Following up from the previous entry, we can all agree that everyone loves ice cream. Even vegan and gluten-free people love ice cream, or at least their versions of it (sorbet, etc). Traditionally served in a cone or straight up in a cup or bowl, multiple generations have enjoyed this cold treat throughout their lives. In the past few decades, we slightly see more and more ice cream inside unexpected foods. Sure an ice cream cake made sense, and only a matter of time separated the first ice cream cake from the first ice cream cupcake. Then people started inserting ice cream into any sort of dessert, such as ice cream cannolis, ice cream tacos, and deep-fried ice cream. But then where does one go from there? Once all the dessert ideas run out, start looking into meals. Would you boldly try a burger with ice cream in it? (Slater’s 50/50, first photo above) As strange as that sounds, it did not taste bad, but the rest of the burger masked the ice cream in it. The latest craze to hit the airwaves comes to us from Orange County, where ravenous millennials can wrap their hands around ice cream-filled doughnuts. (Afters Ice Cream, second photo above) This time, I feel that they just want to capitalize on a fad, as this tastes exactly how you picture it in your mind – a doughnut (glazed or non-glazed) with ice cream. But with the advent of this, who honestly knows where the culinary world will go from here?

3. Japanese meets Western

Last year, the revelation of the Ramen Burger (Go Squared, first photo above) turned into the most talked-about subject during its 15 minutes of fame. No one had seen anything like it before, and when an opportunity to try one locally cropped up, the entire region flocked to the destination, generating lines lasting over three hours just to try this new food. Once the fad settled, knockoffs appeared everywhere in an attempt to capitalize on the public’s desire to keep up with trends. We now see many different ways where Japanese cuisine meets Western preparations in addition to a Ramen Burger. Somewhere out there, a Ramen Pizza exists. Elsewhere, creative home cooks have discovered how to make things like Ramen omelets, Ramen burritos, Ramen chili, Ramen casserole, and many more things with Ramen in it. But why stop at Ramen? Japanese cuisine consists of far more different foods than just that 10-cent college meal every adult recognizes. Have you heard of Okonomiyaki? Some genius decided to attempt an Okonomiyaki Burger (Mitsuwa Marketplace, second photo above) one day. How about everyone’s favorite Japanese food, sushi? Hybrid sushi has already existed for some time, such as a Cheeseburger Sushi or Teriyaki Pork Sushi (Yatta Truck, third photo above). What other creative things can you think of to do with Japanese cuisine?

2. Hot Sauces

If you have not heard the news about Sriracha sauce, the city of Irwindale, which houses the primary facility that produces Sriracha sauce, aims to shut down the factory due to foul odors emanating from the facility. Thanks to this scare that Sriracha sauce in the United States may cease to exist, chefs, home cooks, and food fans across the country scrambled to search for suitable hot sauces to replace their beloved rooster sauce. Plenty of different types of hot sauces exist, and Americans already have fallen in love with both Tabasco and Tapatío sauces. However, nothing can truly replace Sriracha sauce – its combination of ingredients yield an intense spice full of harmonic flavors that help to open up one’s palate to fully absorb the food that the sauce dresses. In fact, Los Angeles even hosted a festival dedicated to Sriracha recently. Heat seekers swear by Sriracha, and will have to look high and low for new hot sauces to satisfy their need for heat.

1. Cauliflower

Every year, some obscure vegetable that nobody ever paid much attention to enters the spotlight and suddenly becomes a thing that everyone wants. In 2012, Brussels sprouts came out of nowhere and took the world by storm, leaving everyone craving more Brussels sprouts. In 2013, everyone suddenly wanted to eat more kale. Now in 2014, we see the inevitable rise in the popularity of cauliflower. Traditionally seen in salads, creative chefs have come up with new ways to deliver cauliflower such that casual customers would crave more, such as Roasted Cauliflower (Tavern On 2, pictured above) with ingredients like capers, bacon, and more. Sooner than later, much like with Brussels sprouts and kale in the previous years, people originally adverse to cauliflower may turn a new leaf this year and give it a try. With high nutritional density, people can view cauliflower as similar to broccoli in terms of serving. More importantly, nutritionists have linked the consumption of cauliflower to reduced risk of prostate cancer. Gentlemen… eat more cauliflower!

In today’s society, the spread of information, such as the advent of social media, has helped to educate citizens about the benefits of higher quality products. Tastes and preferences constantly change, and we now see that more and more people start to prefer quality over quantity. If we look around the world, the terms we associate with quantity tend to refer to corporations that have a global reach, such as some soft drink companies or fast food chains. If we want quality, we tend to search locally, as local businesses focus more on the quality of their products and services. For example, in the past few years, a large shift in the preference of beer has gone underway, where most beer-drinkers now prefer local craft beers as opposed to mass-produced light beer common around the world. Microbreweries tend to crop up in geographical clusters centralized along a particular city or region, such as Vista or Mira Mesa down in San Diego County. Craft beer fans in the greater Los Angeles area can find breweries all over the place, but will soon want to start visiting the South Bay more often.


Smog City Brewing

For the longest time, little to no one regarded the South Bay as the place to go for craft beer. Historically, South Bay contains a wide ethnic variety of citizens with clearly defined neighborhoods and cities. Industrial businesses take up most of the inland space, while areas closer to the coast appear more like surf towns, which gave way to a handful of bands and musicians popular today. Corporate businesses quickly took up residence to attract the business of the hundreds of thousands of visitors that the South Bay sees annually. Over the past decade, the amount of local businesses have started to increase, and with it, the preference of locals to visit these local establishments over the corporate businesses. This change in tastes opened the door for microbreweries to move in and take up residence as well. When the dust had settled, craft beer fans can now see the South Bay as a place to visit for at least a day to get their beer-tasting on.


Strand Brewing

From breweries to brewpubs to specialty beer stores, the South Bay will feel like home to any craft beer enthusiast. Powerhouses like Strand Brewing, Smog City Brewing, El Segundo Brewing, and Monkish Brewing have settled in nicely within the community, while newcomers like King Harbor, Absolution Brewing, and Dude’s Brewing seek to establish themselves as one of the fine breweries in the South Bay. Specialty beer stores, such as Select Beer Store, provide an interactive shop to browse through many beers, as well as ask questions and learn more about beer. Craft beer bars, such as the infamous Naja’s Place, allow groups of friends and/or families to congregate and enjoy some food & drinks.


Dude’s Brewing

No matter what type of facility the business operates in, craft beer has found a home in the South Bay. Whenever you find yourself heading towards the Los Angeles area or Orange County, make a detour and check out how craft beer runs in the South Bay.

Orange County Restaurant Week
February 23 – March 1
Various restaurants in Orange County
http://www.orangecountyrestaurantweek.com/

For one week, numerous restaurants in Orange County will offer prix-fixe multi-course meals, ranging from $10-20 for lunch and $20-40 for dinner.

2014 OC Music Awards Showcase Series Finals
7:30 pm – 11:30 pm, February 25
The Observatory, Santa Ana
http://www.facebook.com/events/552588158143432/

This free and all-ages show will feature some of the nominated musicians for the OC Music Awards. Five different local artists will perform and compete for the title of Best Live Band awarded at the OC Music Awards in March. Come see the best of the 7-week series duke it out one last time.

Dirty Little Secrets Rock Burlesque – Last Thursdays @ One Eyed Gypsy
9:00 pm – 11:30 pm, February 27
One Eyed Gypsy, Downtown Los Angeles
http://www.facebook.com/events/524366924350286/

Get your fill of burlesque every last Thursday of the month at One Eyed Gypsy in Downtown Los Angeles, for free! Guests can park on the street for free after 8pm. No one under 21 may enter.

Neighborhood Watch – Punk Show @ Blacklight District Lounge
7:00 pm – 2:00 am, February 28
Blacklight District Lounge, Long Beach
http://www.facebook.com/events/1399024127026156/

Catch some good ol’ punk rock in Long Beach this Friday night with Neighborhood Watch and more great local bands. The cover for this show costs just $5. No one under 21 may enter.

Punk & Skacore Show @ The World Famous Doll Hut
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, February 28
The World Famous Doll Hut, Anaheim
http://www.facebook.com/events/1386039024992801/

Pay just $5 to check out some great local punk rock and skacore bands this Friday night at the World Famous Doll Hut in Anaheim. No one under 21 may attend.

Get Happy – Old Pasadena Happy Hour Week
March 1-15
Participating locations, Old Pasadena
http://www.oldpasadena.org/happyhourweek/

Enjoy extended Happy Hour food & drink specials at participating locations in Old Pasadena during this two-week period.

The Makeup Show – Los Angeles
9:00 am – 6:00 pm, March 1
9:00 am – 5:00 pm, March 2
California Market Center, Los Angeles
http://www.themakeupshow.com/makeupshow/LA/index.html

Exhibit beauty, fashion, makeup, and more at this trade show all weekend in Los Angeles. This two-day event will feature workshops, seminars, live demos, merchandise, samples, and more. Presale tickets cost $48 for one day and $68 for both days. Tickets at the door will cost $10 extra.

Inland Empire Brewing Company 5th Anniversary Beer & Food Festival
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, March 1
Inland Empire Brewing Company, Riverside
http://www.iebrew.com/news/product/beer-and-food-festival-ticket

The IEBC will celebrate their 5th anniversary this weekend just like they did last year – with a massive festival at their brewery. Featuring over 30 breweries, plenty of food trucks, and live music, this festival will please any beer drinker. General admission costs $40, begins at 1pm, and includes 15 beer tasters. VIP admission costs $50, starts at 12pm, comes with 20 beer tasters, and allows access to the VIP area.

13th Annual Lantern Festival
12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, March 1
Chinese American Museum, Los Angeles
http://www.camla.org/lanternfestival.html

This free and all-ages festival celebrates Chinese tradition with recreations of street fairs filled with illuminating lanterns, music, lion dance, interactive arts & crafts, and more, all culminating with a glow-in-the-dark dragon dance at the end of the day. Local food businesses will sell authentic Chinese food and drinks as well.

Valiant Brewing 1st Year Anniversary Celebration
12:00 pm – 11:00 pm, March 1
Valiant Brewing, Anaheim
http://www.facebook.com/events/509421035842680/

Just over a year ago, Valiant Brewing opened their doors to the public to ravishing reviews. This Saturday, the folks behind the brews will celebrate the first year of their brewery with an all-day celebration at their tasting room. Expect a grand total of 26 different beers available to the public, many of which the public have not seen. For your entertainment, check out the mini hot-rod collection that will park outside the tasting room all day. Attendance requires no entry fee – simply show up, show your ID, and pay for beers as you go. This event will allow attendees under 21 to go inside; however, they still cannot drink any beer.

Long Beach Mardi Gras
1:00 pm – 6:00 pm, March 1
Shoreline Village, Long Beach
http://lbmardigras.com/

Shoreline Village plays host this Saturday to a myriad of music, art, activities, entertainment, dance, parades, and more. The actual parade starts at 3pm at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Completely free to attend for all ages, all guests can get involved with the festivities, from the dancing to the games and more. Dress up to get even more involved!

Punk Rock Night in La Habra
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, March 1
13th Frame Lounge, La Habra
http://www.facebook.com/events/1451654678398695/

Catch an all-ages punk rock show in La Habra this Saturday night for just $5.

Orange County Cocktail Week
March 2-8
Participating locations, Orange County
http://www.occocktailweek.com/

Enjoy cocktails, appetizers, and pairings at participating locations all week for $20.14 per person.

The Coaster Run 5K/10K/Kids Run
6:00 am – 10:00 am, March 2
Knott’s Berry Farm, Buena Park
http://www.renegaderaceseries.com/index.php?view=details&id=12%3Acoaster-run-at-knotts-berry-farm&option=com_eventlist&Itemid=146

Participate in a charity run through an amusement park this Sunday morning with the Coaster Run. Choose between a 5K or a 10K, or a Kids Run for the little ones. As a charity run, no participant can win – all participants will receive a commemorative medal for finishing the run, plus a complimentary slice of Boysenberry Pie. All participants also receive a coupon for half off an adult’s admission to the amusement park good for up to a month following the run. Registration varies in price depending on the course, so refer to the website for details.

Lower Class Brats performing New Seditionaries at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA. Filmed on January 11, 2013.

People often idolize a famous figure or group in a way that they want to go the same route as that famous entity. In the 1990’s, the quote “Like Mike” refers to people, mostly children, idolizing Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan represents the ideal successful role model, thus leading to that phrase that many followed. Besides famous people, famous groups tend to have legions of fans, some even to the point of a cult-like following. In music, cover bands and tribute bands exist to pay homage to older bands that have left a significant impact on the music industry. Commonly-known bands like The Beatles and Queen have tribute bands all over the world, and even some lesser-known bands may have tribute bands, such as how Operation Milo pays tribute to The Descendents and Operation Ivy. In the food & beverage industry, some restaurants name menu items after famous people. On the east coast, travelers will undoubtedly find Elvis Presley references in many places, but to find tributes to more recent famous figures, we have to search high and low. Luckily for heavy metal fans, Grill ‘Em All does the work of paying homage to famous people in metal.

Having opened just over a year ago, Grill ‘Em All continues to rock out killer burgers from their home in Downtown Alhambra. From their start as a gourmet food truck up until now, Grill ‘Em All has satisfied countless hungers from across the world – yes, they attract fans from other countries! All of their signature menu items all bear names that reference a person, band, song, or lyric in the music industry, most of which come from heavy metal. From their fan-favorite Dee Snider burger to the I Wanna Be Your Dog that references Iggy Pop, fans of any music genre love the unique burger combinations churning out of this kitchen. Every month, Grill ‘Em All deploys a burger-of-the-month, inspired by current happenings in the music industry. For the month of February, their burger pays tribute to Joey Belladonna, the vocalist for Anthrax. The Joey Belladonna, A.K.A. the Pizza Burg, starts with a pepperoni pizza bagel that acts as the bun. This burger starts with the bottom of the bagel getting hit with pepperoncini aioli, arugula, a 1/2 LB beef patty (medium rare by default), a fried block of mozzarella, marinara sauce, and finally the top of the pepperoni pizza bagel. Normally with burgers, one can smash the burger down to make it more feasible to chew on. However, a couple of factors with this burger prevents that. The pepperoni pizza top means you cannot push down from the top with just your hands, or you will feel the wrath of the pepperoni, cheese, and pizza sauce on the top. The density of the bagel means you cannot press it down, unlike the fluffiness of a normal bun. Also, their thick beef patty does not press easily. Not forgetting about the fried block of mozzarella means you have a burger on hand that you have to bite the corners off at a time. Do not expect to walk away from this without a mess on your hands – just get in there, dig in, and let loose on this burger.

As the February burger-of-the-month, you have a limited time to get the chance to savor this beast of a meal. Hurry in to Grill ‘Em All by the end of the month to slam this burger!