Posts Tagged ‘food’


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The Fall 2017 Santa Ana Patchwork Indie Arts & Crafts Festival returns to Downtown Santa Ana this coming Sunday. Now at a new location at East 4th Street and Spurgeon Street, this semi-annual arts & crafts fair consists of a series of Sunday fairs in Long Beach, Oakland, and Santa Ana. To envision Patchwork Fest, imagine an arts & crafts fair, but catered to a modern trendy crowd. As I describe it to others, imagine an art fair full of hipsters, but in a non-offensive way. The many local vendors set up their booths here, selling their wares, merchandise, apparel, accessories, foods, desserts, music, and so on. Patchwork Fest emphasizes supporting the local community, a perfect follow-up to Small Business Saturday that takes place this Saturday, a day prior to Patchwork Fest.

Completely free to attend to the public, Patchwork Fest openly welcomes pets, and boasts a free bike valet for visitors. Each branch of the streets will feature dozens of different local vendors all selling their various goods and/or services. Check out the few music booths around the area, which will host local musicians. Visitors who get hungry can enjoy fresh hot eats from the various food vendors throughout the event area, or can browse through the various food booths in the fest for portable eats. As this event takes place in Downtown Santa Ana, visitors will walk by a handful of great local restaurants as well.

As a FREE event open to all ages and all pets, Patchwork Fest presents a welcome opportunity to support the local community. Commuting visitors should look for parking in the neighborhood to the south. Come experience what makes Patchwork Fest a repeat success, and support local businesses while having fun this Sunday. For more information about this Sunday’s event and future events, make sure you keep up with Patchwork Fest by liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter.

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Food news & media giant Foodbeast brought back one of their major events this past Saturday, Ooze Fest, for its third year running. Hailed as Southern California’s premier cheese festival, this tasting event brought out dozens of Orange County restaurants to serve up their best cheese-inspired food samples to the hundreds of attendees. In addition, a handful of Southern California’s microbreweries set up to serve some refreshing brews to pair with all the food going around. Ooze Fest took place across two different time slots on Saturday in order to spread out the amount of attendees: an afternoon session and an evening session. Each session allowed all attendees to have unlimited food and drinks while supplies lasted, and as far as the first session went, no booth ran out of food. The first session featured a grilled cheese sandwich eating contest, while the second session featured a pizza eating contest and a hot sauce challenge. Other than that, this event ran exactly how they described it originally – pay to get in, then eat and drink as much as you can until the event ends. Fortunately, spreading this event over two sessions meant that attendees did not have to deal with long lines at the food and drink booths.

In the days leading up to this event, I only worried about excess attendance and having to wait in lines for food. Fortunately this issue never surfaced greatly thanks to having two sessions instead of cramming everyone into one session. At times, a few of the vendors had to catch up on making food, so some people inevitably had to wait in a line. In the end, this event never turned into a wait fest, unlike some other similar events. Stay tuned in the upcoming year as they plan to bring back some of their other events, such as a noodle fest.

Cuisine all around the world has its variances depending on the location and region. While each culture has its own flavors and uniquer ingredients, many places utilize the same base dish to deliver the flavor. For example, you can find fried chicken just about anywhere in the world. However, the flavor of the fried chicken will greatly depend on your location and where you get it from. Sure fried chicken in itself tastes great, but many places like to add their own personal twist to fried chicken. Check out these five places in the greater Los Angeles area that you can get some tasty and unique fried chicken.

5. Howlin’ Rays‘s Nashville Hot Chicken

When a place takes upwards of two hours from getting in line to receiving food for customers, that either means they work slowly or they have sky-high demand. Luckily for Howlin’ Ray’s, they fall under the latter case. In fact, they even boast when their line only takes an hour to get through. So this Howlin’ Ray’s place in Los Angeles’ Chinatown only opens for five hours on five days of the week. No matter what day or time you go there, expect to wait at least an hour to finally receive your food. Why does it take that long? Howlin’ Ray’s makes the best Nashville Hot Chicken this side of the Mississippi. Nashville Hot Chicken does not taste like any ordinary spicy chicken – it has its own unique combination of savory, zest, zing, tart, and spice that no other type of chicken can match. You could only find better Nashville Hot Chicken in Nashville itself. If you find that you have up to two hours to kill, why not spend it waiting for some Nashville Hot Chicken from Howlin’ Ray’s?

4. Jumping Däk‘s Korean Fried Chicken

If you visit Jumping Däk, you will get Korean Fried Chicken and not much else, but you will get Korean Fried Chicken made very well! Having just opened about a year ago, Jumping Däk boasts a menu specializing in the savory food, along with sides and desserts to accompany the main course. This fast-casual restaurant replaced an old Hawaiian BBQ fast-food restaurant that never really saw too many customers. However, with the recent opening of a ramen restaurant next door, it made sense to open something here to take advantage of the overflow of the ramen restaurant’s customers, and here we have Jumping Däk. For those who have never tasted Korean Fried Chicken, luckily Jumping Däk provides samples of their three flavors: Sweet, Spicy (pictured below), and Fiery. Sweet and Fiery explain themselves, while Spicy represents a happy medium of the Sweet and Fiery. Basically, imagine popcorn chicken tossed in their signature sauces. Customers can enjoy this Korean Fried Chicken a la carte, as a sandwich, or as a combo with sides and a drink.

3. Densetsu no Sutadonya‘s Karaage Don

We moved from Nashville to Korea, and now we move to Japan. Fried chicken exists all over Asia, and each country does their fried chicken a little differently. In the case of Japan, each city or region cooks differently. However, for the major cities of Japan, they have a locally popular place called Densetsu no Sutadonya, known for their Sutadon. The word Sutadon consists of “suta” for stamina and “don” for bowl, so Sutadon literally means “stamina bowl” in Japanese. While originally found in Japan, Southern California now has a Densetsu no Sutadonya in Mitsuwa Marketplace in Torrance. This location prepares food the same way they do in Japan – using extremely high temperatures to cook everything quickly and all at once. You can taste this best in their Karaage Don. They basically flash-fry the meat, so it gets cooked without having it soak in all the oil. That way you can enjoy the chicken’s true flavor instead of a mouthful of oil.

2. Abigaile Restaurant‘s Fried (Jidori) Chicken

Have you heard of Kobe Beef? Kobe Beef represents a higher quality of beef, much higher than that of Angus beef. A higher quality grade of meat applies to more than just beef – it applies to chicken too, but in this case, we refer to it as Jidori Chicken. Just like how Kobe Beef tastes better than normal beef, Jidori Chicken tastes better than regular chicken, and you can taste the difference at Abigaile Restaurant in Hermosa Beach. Although appearing upscale and fancy, Abigaile actually functions like a casual gastropub, especially given their location by the beach so that beachgoers can dine at Abigaile without worry of their outfit. Perhaps Abigaile appears upscale due to their food menu, which contains some highly eclectic items such as their simply named Fried Chicken. Abigaile’s approach to Jidori Chicken contains togarashi in the batter, giving it a kick in each bite without the need for sauce. Speaking of sauce, this chicken comes with housemade hot sauce and preserved lemon gribiche, along with papaya slaw. $15 allows you to taste this upscale version of fried chicken.

1. Jimmy’s Famous Tavern‘s Southern Fried Chicken

If you seek classic American cuisine with an artisanal touch, look no further than Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern (JFAT). Reinventing traditional restaurant faire, JFAT covers many grounds of cuisine familiar to many with their high-quality approach to cooking. Currently boasting five locations between Los Angeles County, Orange County, and San Diego County, JFAT takes what you know about traditional American restaurants and turns it up to eleven. Between brunch, lunch, dinner, and a full bar, any time of the day makes for a great time to stop on by JFAT and enjoy a bite or sip or more. Any time of the day makes a great time to sink your teeth into JFAT’s Southern Fried Chicken. The batter contains Herbes de Provence, which gives the chicken so much flavor that you do not need any sauce or condiment for it – enjoy the chicken on its own for true bliss. Anyway, this fried chicken comes served with garlic mashed potatoes, thyme gravy, and green beans, all for $20 a plate.

When the seasons change, many more things change than just the weather. Looking at the weather alone, Southern California currently experiences a massive heat wave that may make you believe that the seasons had not turned yet. The pharmaceutical industry has come under heavy scrutiny. Scientists have discovered flowing water on Mars. A drought threatens the inhabitation of California. As a society, we cannot accurately predict what radical event will change the world next, but we can brace ourselves for anything, as we always have in the past as an enduring society. We can also fall back on what we typically associate with this time of the year. Fall, as we know it, indicates pumpkins, red wine, NFL, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the fall harvest, especially the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, giving us a reason to gorge on Mooncakes. Looking at all these opportunities to feast on favorable foods, we should not overlook outdoor grilling, nor the foods prepared that way. Though the winds will chill the air more so than in the summer, many folks will still utilize the grill up through Thanksgiving. In homage of the veritable fall feast, take a look at these five burgers in the Greater Los Angeles Area that I highly recommend seeking out this season.

5. The Federal‘s Smokehouse Burger

When it comes to barbecue, nothing can beat the meats. Southern barbecue boasts all types of meats, from the smoked chicken to the pulled pork to the spicy sausages to the various beef types and much more. Barbecue restaurants typically limit you to a two-meat or three-meat platter. However, The Federal would like to break that barrier by delivering four different types of meat to your face. As a gastropub, The Federal focuses on quality and taste above all else. Between the craft food, craft beer, and craft cocktails, The Federal carefully creates everything from scratch, such as their Smokehouse Burger. A grilled Angus beef patty gets topped with smoked turkey, pepper bacon, BBQ pulled pork, and smoked cheddar all on a milk bun. For $16, you can experience this mountain of meat that can hardly fit in your mouth.

4. Burger Boss‘ Double Grassfed Beef Burger

As a basic human truth, humans want to have control. When one has control, they feel more comfortable. You may ask,”Control over what?” This can apply to just about anything: control over life, control over work, control over a business, control over simple choices, and more. This paves the way for customization, as it gives customers complete control over what they can order. We have plenty of build-it type restaurants, especially when it comes to sandwiches or pizza. We have not seen many customizable burger places up until now, where we have Burger Boss. Burger Boss may feel like a corporate business what with their multiple locations. However, they only have locations in Orange County and Riverside for now, so you can enjoy this local flavor with their Grassfed Beef Burger. At $8.99 for a double, you get to choose the bun, cheese, sauce, and regular toppings. Go premium for $1.19 per topping by adding things like turkey bacon or avocado.

3. Mighty Kitchen‘s Sliders

Would you consider sliders as burgers? Sliders tend to have a greater bun-to-meat ratio than burgers, which explains why I tend to avoid sliders, not to mention that sliders cost as much or more than fast-food burgers. Few places get sliders right, but luckily I discovered that Mighty Kitchen in Los Alamitos actually does a decent job at delivering fun and tasty sliders. You cannot order sliders a la carte at Might Kitchen – you have to order two or three, and they come with fries. I go with three sliders for $15.50 for the better value, and Mighty Kitchen carries many varieties of sliders, such as (pictured from left to right):

  • HHG (Hella Hot Guac): Chorizo patty, pico de gallo, pepper jack cheese, cholula, spicy mayo, housemade jalapeño pepper jelly, guacamole
  • Western Slider: Cheddar cheeseburger, applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, fried onion ring, pickle, BBQ sauce, special sauce
  • PBM Bacon Cheeseburger: Maple peanut butter, applewood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, onion, special sauce

2. Humble Potato‘s Karê-bága

Many foods have a region that they typically derive from. For example, schnitzel derives from German cuisine, gyros derive from Greek cuisine, and sushi derives from Japanese cuisine. Some foods have regional differences, such as curry. You can have British curry, Indian curry, Thai curry, Japanese curry, and more, and each type tastes different than others. Speaking of curry, sure you can find curry bowls at just about any Japanese restaurant, but what if you want to enjoy curry as something else? Enter Humble Potato, a humble eatery bringing cuisine from the land of the rising sun to the wild west. Despite the name of the business, Humble Potato carries more than just potatoes – they sling out awesome Japanese-inspired burgers as well, such as the Karê-bága (curry burger, get it?). At $12, this messy burger contains an Angus beef patty, slow-cooked Japanese curry, tomato, yuzu-jalapeño slaw, and a fried egg. For the true burger experience, dig both your hands in and smother your face with this burger.

1. Abricott‘s Abricott Burger w/ Korean Pork Belly

Traditional hamburgers contain a ground beef patty accompanied by an assortment of toppings, usually vegetables as a means of including something somewhat healthy in the burger. The changing times have led to many others ingredients getting thrown into burgers, including other meats, something that Abricott does very well. Locals recognize the small yet humble Abricott in Pasadena for the fusion menu that combines French, Vietnamese, and Thai cuisines. With so many options on the menu, one may overlook the simply titled Abricott Burger. At first, this burger sounds simple with seasoned ground beef, tomato, onions, lettuce, and mayonnaise on a brioche bun, all for just $11.95. However, Abricott turns things up a notch by allowing you to add Korean Pork Belly to the burger for just $1. Suddenly you have a phenomenal taste of the east in your hands. Surprisingly, each mouthful allows you to savor both the beef patty and the pork belly. Abricott does food well, and you ought to taste how well they do food by seeking out this burger the next time you find yourself in or near Pasadena.

Modern desserts look a lot different than they did a few decades ago. While a lot of traditional desserts still exist, their appearance and method for making them have gradually changed over time. Thanks to the prevalence of social media, food appearance matters more than ever. On top of people wanting food that looks good, methods for creating such food has changed much over time as well. For example, decades ago, very few thought to create instant ice cream using liquid nitrogen. Makers had to make a batch of ice cream and store it in a freezer of an ice cram machine. Now with the spread of liquid nitrogen, lots of places can now create fresh ice cream instantly, such as at Scoops N Scoops Creamery.

The use of liquid nitrogen in cuisine has spread far by now, and Scoops N Scoops Creamery utilizes that technique to get creative. Scoops N Scoops Creamery has all the necessary tools that one would expect of a place that does liquid nitrogen ice cream – they can create any flavor on their menu that a customer requests, and they can add toppings to any order. However, Scoops N Scoops Creamery does something a little different at their little shop – they can put their ice cream inside a macaroon to create a Macaroon Ice Cream Sandwich. The name says it all – you get Scoops N Scoops Creamery’s fresh ice cream, and place it between two macaroon halves to create a giant ice cream sandwich. The small size costs $5 but grants you two heaping scoops of the ice cream flavor of your choice. At just a small, you would still need a spoon to eat one of the scoops before you can think of eating this like an actual sandwich and picking it up by hand.

Scoops N Scoops Creamery currently has two locations: Irvine and Chino Hills. If you seek a fun and delicious dessert to sate your sweet tooth, head on over to Scoops N Scoops Creamery and try their Macaroon Ice Cream Sandwich today. Check them out on Facebook and Twitter to see what else they have to offer.

They say that variety adds to the spice of life. One can live life completely routinely and habitually day by day, but that leads to a dull and predictable life. These type of people live by the motto, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In other words, why change something if it already works just fine? I would argue about how boring that sounds, but another would argue “Better safe than sorry.” While you may not successfully convince the stubborn people, many others accept variety in their lives. Trying something different makes life much more interesting, especially when it already changes on a set schedule. In this case, I refer to things that change monthly, such as a monthly pint nite, bottle share, or food specials menu. Speaking of the latter, you can find a terrific monthly specials menu at Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern.

Dedicated to the heart of true craft, Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern (JFAT) understands that cooking requires more than simply skill – cooking requires HEART. Sure their menu contains plenty of amazing dishes that you will want to come back for over and over again in order to try everything. But did you know that JFAT carries a monthly specials menu? In addition to continually updating their menu and adding new items, all JFAT locations now offer a limited-time monthly menu with seasonal eats. This month, I got to try three items from their current specials menu:

  • Grilled Prosciutto-wrapped Figs with Arugula, Goat Cheese, Pine Nuts and Balsamic Syrup – Four halved fresh figs, wrapped with prosciutto, lightly grilled, served around arugula lightly dressed with sherry vinaigrette, and sprinkled with crumbled goat cheese & toasted pine nuts. Figs come drizzled lightly with balsamic syrup
  • Grilled Zucchini, Corn, Red Pepper, Ricotta and Squash Blossom Flatbread – Flatbread topped with Fontina, Ricotta, Parmesan, grilled zucchini, roasted corn, red peppers, and zucchini squash blossoms
  • Pasta with Clams, Andouille Sausage, Corn and Tomatoes – Thick-cut pappardelle pasta tossed with Manila clams, spicy Andouille style sausage, white wine, garlic, tomatoes. and corn

Enjoy something unique at any Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern location while the season lingers! Check out JFAT’s Facebook and Twitter pages to see what else they have that you may like your taste buds to tango with.

The city of Downey celebrated their annual International Food & Music Festival this past Saturday evening on the streets of Downtown Downey. Free to attend for all ages, this street fair contained all sorts of activities and entertainment for the family. Visitors would find multiple stages for music and entertainment at the ends of streets, which contained dozens of food vendors, from booths of local businesses to gourmet food trucks. At another end of the event, rides and games awaited children and anyone else wanting to play with something. This event represents a good way to discover the local food of Downey aside from having the locally famous Porto’s Bakery right there.

The Orange County Brew Ha Ha returns for its eighth iteration this Saturday at Oak Canyon Park in Silverado. Benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, this craft beer festival will feature over 90 different breweries, over 200 different beers, many food trucks, seminars from beer experts, live entertainment, and more. General admission costs $45 and begins at 1pm, while VIP admission costs $60 and begins at 12pm. All beers will cease pouring at 4pm, leaving the final hour to sober up and find food.

  • REMEMBER to bring PHOTO ID! Amazingly, many guests think they can enter without showing it to the front security.
  • Look up directions before arriving – cell phones receive no signal as you approach the park.
  • Basic toll-free directions: Get to the 55 freeway, exit Chapman Avenue, then drive east until you reach the lake, where a sign should point out when to turn left into the park.
  • Bring cash for parking in case they charge for parking. Because of the park’s location, I do not recommend riding a bike or walking, although you may get dropped off.
  • Food come at a separate cost, so anyone wanting to eat should arrive with extra cash. Click here for a list of attending restaurants and food trucks.
  • If you see that it has no signal, just turn off your cell phone during the fest. Smartphones can enter Airplane Mode instead.
  • Though the park contains many trees, consider applying sunscreen, and have extra sunscreen available. Security will not confiscate sunscreen from you.
  • For prolonged drinking, start with lighter beers and work your way to stronger beers. Click here for a list of attending breweries.
  • Try to hold on to your beer glass – guests receive no replacement for lost or broken glasses.
  • All beers stop pouring at 4pm. An extra grace hour will allow guests time to sober up and find food before leaving.
  • Oak Canyon Park only has two exits: one back towards Orange, the other through the mountains leading of Rancho Santa Margarita. Police WILL patrol both roads leaving the park!

Check out these pictures from last year’s OC Brew Ha Ha:

The 68th Annual Long Beach Greek Festival returned this past Labor Day weekend to Assumption Greek Church on Pacific Coast Highway between Bellflower and Loynes. At this all-ages fair, visitors found a multitude of Greek foods & desserts, wine, beer, ouzo, and more to keep everyone entertained throughout the holiday weekend. Complete with merchandise, food, dessert, drinks, music, dance, rides, exhibits, and more, this annual fair brings a wealth of things for you, your friends, and your family to enjoy and make a lasting memory out of. While any visitor can participate in the dancing going on under the main tent, I opted to simply admire those who bravely stepped forth to display their Greek dancing abilities. For me, I chose to enjoy the eats of Greek culture with some Gyros and Ouzo. Support this local Greek Fair by following them on Facebook and liking them on Twitter.

The last quarter of the year always makes for the busiest time of the year for just about anyone. Retail workers start working mandatory overtime, food industry workers start working additional weekends & nights, and most other workers have to work increased hours to meet quota by the year’s end. At the same time, many events start taking place, such as holiday parties, football parties, or lots of family events, such as holiday parades. Why would all of this take place at the same time when most people lack time management skills? Luckily, some events can work around your schedule, and work with you to brighten up your holiday season. For those looking for a holiday party venue that works with your needs, look no further than Lucky Strike in Orange.

A bar & restaurant can only provide so much entertainment for parties, and Lucky Strike Orange has that plus bowling. Most visitors to Lucky Strike will find a menu with familiar American cuisine, as well as a full bar carrying all the essentials. However, most visitors may not immediately encounter Lucky Strike’s event/catering offerings. Upon entering the venue, guests can discover a smaller room to the left complete with its own set of bowling lanes. This represents the private party side, and Lucky Strike has recently revealed their holiday events menu. For Lucky Strike’s holiday menu, they offer a more unique selection of food than what they offer in the regular dining area. In addition to the food and drinks provided by Lucky Strike, Lucky Strike can bring in vendors to help with the party, such as a candy counter, photo booth, nitrogen ice cream bar, live DJ, and magician.

If your group or company has not yet decided on a venue for booking a holiday party, check out Lucky Strike at The Outlets at Orange. Explore Lucky Strike’s offerings on their Facebook and Twitter pages as well.