Posts Tagged ‘Food Truck’

We live in a day and age of heavy social media influence. Back in the day prior to the advent of smartphones and social media, people had to rely on word-of-mouth or print publications to learn and discover new things. Those days have long passed, and today’s technology allows people to learn and discover new things almost instantaneously. This brings the drawback that people now pay more attention to their online first impression and how people see them online, leading to oversharing even minuscule things. In a sea of pictures and posts not exactly noteworthy, one may have trouble finding something new, so we turn to verified “curators” to share something worth our attention, such as the treats from Kream Kong.

Having just launched this past summer, Kream Kong has descended upon Southern California to deliver unto us their monstrous take on a sweet & cool treat. At the moment, one can discover Kream Kong as either a booth at events or a food truck. At first glance, especially when looking at their social media pages, Kream Kong looks like they serve up generic Instagram-worthy ice cream. Kream Kong earns their originality with their signature Kong’s Cookie. Imagine a reverse ice cream cookie sandwich, or a single-serve Pizookie that you can take with you on the go. A Kong’s Cookie consists of a cup with vanilla ice cream on the bottom, your choice of cookie layered in the middle, your choice of ice cream on top of the cookie, and your choice of toppings to top it off. Just like a Pizookie, Kream Kong serves you the cookie hot, meaning you should enjoy this treat fast before the cookie cools down and loses its warm & soft texture.

If this treat sounds appealing to you, track down Kream Kong at a local event, such as night markets, or food truck meetup in Southern California. You can see what they have and find out where they will appear on their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.

Some time after the frozen yogurt fad took off around 2004-2005, the cupcake trend emerged thanks to the opening of Sprinkles Cupcakes in Beverly Hills. After their success, hundreds of pastry chefs across the nation followed that trend and soon opened up their own cupcakery. Many have tried, yet many have failed due to bad cupcakes. However, some cupcake stores have proven that they deserve to remain in the business. Some television shows have helped to keep cupcakes in the spotlight, such as Cupcake Wars. With cupcake stores all over the place, it takes some time and dedication to discover which ones truly stand out for the quality of their cupcakes. Throughout my travels, my sweet tooth has led me to a bunch of different dessert places, some classic and some inventive. While I always appreciate new and unique desserts, sometimes it helps to go back to the classics, which has led me to My Delight Cupcakery in Ontario.

For over seven years now, My Delight Cupcakery has doled out some of the best cupcakes this side of the Mississippi. During their early years, I recall that they only had their mobile food truck to serve their scrumptious cupcakes out of. Since I discovered My Delight, they have since opened as storefront in a corner of Ontario close to Upland and Montclair. My Delight utilizes organic and all-natural ingredients to give their cupcakes the texture, moisture, and sweetness that makes a cupcake worth it. Prominently, their frosting does not taste overwhelmingly of butter, which many other cupcakeries seem to not pay any attention to. This allows their cupcakes to portray more of the true flavors of the cupcakes rather than the richness found in most other frostings elsewhere. My Delight rotates the flavors of their cupcakes monthly, so while they will always carry their standard lineup of cupcakes, My Delight will also have a great assortment of seasonal flavors.

My Delight understands the art of baking, as evident in their little packages of goodness. Make a road trip to My Delight, and you will not regret it. Check out what My Delight has baking up by liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter.

Summer has undoubtedly arrived, what with the heat wave and all. The weather does not seem that it will lose some degrees in the next month or two, so cool off with a nice cold treat. Some people may not have a sweet tooth like I do, but they have to treat themselves occasionally. Sometimes, your body just craves it – when you feel hot, your body tells you to go find something cold to eat or drink. If you plan on powering through this heat wave, I have some suggestions on how to cool yourself off in Southern California.

5. Café Lucca‘s Daily Gelato

Who can resist ice cream? I generally avoid temptation unless I cannot resist it. When presented with fresh gelato made daily, then my heart melts and gives in to the temptation to order it. Walking into Café Lucca in Orange, you immediately stumble upon a wealth of Gelato that they make daily. Flavors vary from traditional stracciatella or lemon to far-out combinations like the Melvis (pictured above) – banana gelato with peanut butter swirls, honey, and bacon bits. No matter what flavor you prefer, you will surely find a gelato that you would love to share, but will probably finish on your own. Small, medium, and large sizes cost $4, $5, and $6, respectively.

4. Capital Seafood‘s “Egg Pudding”

Making food taste good represents a primary challenge to all chefs and cooks, as every single person in the world has a unique palate. One particular food that a person likes may not resonate so well with the next person. In the end, everyone agrees that food that looks visually appealing will taste better than something merely thrown onto the plate. Capital Seafood understands this concept well, as they carefully administer the finest designers for all of their dishes. While Capital Seafood specializes in family-style servings, they can get intimate with some items, especially dessert. As a special treat, Capital Seafood has their own rendition of “Egg Pudding” unlike traditional egg pudding that looks like flan. The tops of brown eggs shells get carefully carved out to allow just enough room to insert a spoon, and those hollow egg shells get filled with a variety of special custard-like puddings. The list of flavors contains a strong amount of choices, such as strawberry, vanilla bean, green tea, and sesame. So far, I have only spotted this at the Irvine Spectrum location of Capital Seafood. Call ahead of time to ensure that they have this egg-cellent dessert available.

3. Flurries Shaved Snow Bar‘s Tropical Colada

Tropical flavors typically resonate well with people seeking a refreshing treat to cool off from the hot weather. Tropical treats exist virtually anywhere, but Flurries Shaved Snow Bar in Cypress does a great job at incorporating not only light refreshing flavors, but also richer and unique combinations. One cannot easily describe what shaved snow looks and tastes like. I describe shaved snow as shaved sorbet or gelato, but even that does not truly describe Flurries. To see for yourself, head on in and order the Tropical Colada, which contains pineapple snow, pineapple syrup, oranges, and coconut shavings. Keep in mind that each cup comes with two layers – snow at the bottom, toppings in the middle, more snow over that, and more toppings on top. One may immediately ponder that two layers means sharing. Allow me the pleasure of suggesting that you order your own, because you will not want to share upon your first bite.

2. Bruxie Waffles‘ Dulce De Leche Shake

When thinking about refreshing treats during the summer, people tend to stay away from heavy and/or rich treats. A piña colada will occupy more hands at a beach than a chocolate milkshake. Once in a while, you just get that craving that you must satisfy your sweet tooth, despite the weather. Luckily, you can both satisfy your sweet tooth and refresh yourself at your local Bruxie Waffles. Bruxie may have a solid lineup of waffle eats, but they also hand-craft their own drinks, such as their Dulce De Leche Shake. Caramel milkshakes exist all over the place, but this one has a more icy feel to it than a thick feel, resulting it a crisper, colder drink with just as much of a caramel burst. Add some zing to your meal by ordering this baby the next time you visit Bruxie Waffles for one of their yummy waffle sandwiches. This milkshake will bring YOU to the yard.

1. Tropical Shave Ice‘s Hawaiian Shave Ice

How can you go wrong with a classic? A large difference exists between shave ice and shaved ice. Shaved ice represents another term for a snow cone, simply ultra-crushed ice, resulting in a gritty crunchy feeling when eating the ice. Also, this ice does not absorb flavorings very well, such as syrups and cream. Shave ice represents ice shaved so finely resulting in a smooth and velvety texture, almost like eating ice cream. Tropical Shave Ice roams around Southern California providing authentic Hawaiian Shave Ice to the masses. Owners Rick & EJ come directly from Hawaii to show you not only the Aloha spirit, but shave ice so fine that you would swear upon eating ice cream. They make all syrups and flavorings at home using real cane sugar and natural flavors, without worry about preservatives or artificial ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup. A regular size costs $3.50, while a large costs $4.50. In the hot summer weather, prepare to eat this fast, because when this heats up, the shave ice loses its texture as it all melts together. For the best traditional shave ice, track this truck down!

Over time, human tastes change due to exposure to new things, new experiences, and new knowledge. Starting off as a child, we consumed basic foods mainly for nutrition, not for enjoyment. Once we left our toddler stage, we start to eat common foods like hot dogs, pizza, and hamburgers, as well as crave sweets. From that point on, we would slowly start to like new and different foods and different tastes. For example, most kids and teenagers love ketchup, but cannot stand mustard. Conversely, adults tend to prefer mustard over ketchup due to its flavor complementing meat products, as well as having no sugar. Once we get older, we tend to stick with what we have come to eat on a regular basis. Sometimes, we start to crave what we once had as children. This concept of eating what we did as children, known as comfort food, has recently gained popularity with today’s society, but with gourmet twists to satiate our adult needs. Sure we may want basic macaroni & cheese sometimes, but order it while dining out, and you may receive it with bread crumbs, truffle oil, and/or some kind of meat in it, like bacon. Sometimes, you just want the original thing, and you want it to taste good. Whether you want the original or a rebooted original, comfort food will always have a part in our lives. If you desire comfort food, check out these five comfort foods that you can find in the greater Los Angeles area.

5. La Palma Chicken Pie Shop‘s Chicken Pot Pie

Longevity of a business typically indicates that any business does their job well at staying in business. If a business can remain open for years in a highly competitive industry, that business deserve to remain there. La Palma Chicken Pie Shop has existed in Anaheim for so many decades that nobody can truly claim local status without having heard of this place. Since their inception in the 1950’s or whenever they opened, they have done their thing and have not changed a bit. Find all your typical comfort foods here, from the turkey sandwiches to the chicken noodle soup to all the delightful pastries and baked goods here. Of course, anyone visiting this quaint shop must try their namesake, the Chicken Pot Pie. For less than $5, you can order a smothered chicken pot pie a la carte. This pot pie contains nothing extraordinary – just your typical chicken meat, peas, carrots, and gravy. When you order it a la carte, they smother it with more gravy. Sure it may not contain anything unique, but it tastes exactly as how you would imagine it. No reason exists to fix something not broken.

4. The Crooked Duck‘s Duck Chili

Do you occasionally drive down a busy street and see businesses to the side that makes you wonder what they have? Some major roads have plenty of great local businesses along the path, but the majority of everyone driving on that road simply zooms past these businesses and never take time to discover what awaits if they stop to visit. Slowing down may lead you to discover interesting places, such as The Crooked Duck in Long Beach. I feel that its location hinders its popularity, as the speed limit in front of The Crooked Duck clocks in at over 50 MPH, so most people zoom past this place and never know what lies here. I can tell you now that if you stop to visit this place, you will discover amazing comfort food prepared with local ingredients. But since they have duck in their name, you can expect some of the greatest duck dishes here, such as their Duck Chili. This black bean chili has 5-spice duck in it, with wonton chips and a hoisin sauce drizzle on top. Despite the presence of a strong sauce, the duck boldly stands out. For just $5.25, you can get this duck on and satisfy your hunger with a right portion.

3. The Viking Truck‘s Nemesis Corn Dog

In recent years, Disneyland has stepped up the quality of their food in regards to ingredients. Unfortunately, the price increases of everything including the entrance ticket does not justify visiting this theme park for a mere bite. For years, I have sworn by the corn dog from the Little Red Wagon in Disneyland, but could not afford to visit the park whenever I craved it. Fortunately, the discovery of The Viking Truck in Orange County has nullified any reason I have to go into Disneyland for a corn dog. The Viking Truck, which roams Orange County in their food truck, specializes in gourmet sausages, and utilizes them not only in sandwiches, but in corn dogs. Using a homemade batter, The Viking Truck uses their gourmet sausages for unique corn dogs not easy to replicate. Their signature corn dog, the Nemesis Corn Dog, contains their smoked bratwurst. This combination works so well because of the batter’s sweetness matched with the bratwurst’s smokiness and meatiness. The flavors contrast so well, but the addition of spicy brown mustard adds an additional sour flavor, completing the full taste bud spectrum. This brilliant corn dog costs just $6.50 (when not at special locations such as a convention center), slightly more than a Disneyland corn dog. But when you consider the freshness of this corn dog, and the fact that you do not have to pay to visit this food truck, who cares about which one costs less?

2. Beer Belly‘s Beer Belly Grilled Cheese

If something does not fit in with the others, do you call it a black sheep or a wolf in sheep’s clothing? You probably answered black sheep… but what if the black sheep holds power over the herd? Enter Beer Belly, Koreatown’s wolf in sheep’s clothing. A random gastropub tucked away in the urban sprawl of Korean businesses… no one would believe a hidden gem like this exists in such a town. Once you discover it and venture inside, you will discover that you may fall in love with Beer Belly. For a place so small, Beer Belly offers a vast variety of not only food, but beer as well. Their reinvention of classic comfort food into a fine dining experience will leave you craving more, especially their Beer Belly Grilled Cheese. At $12, this one-of-a-kind grilled cheese basically takes two grilled cheese sandwiches and utilizes each of them as a bun, resulting in a sandwich containing four slices of bread. Playing along with the power of Four, four cheeses play into this sandwich: cheddar, asiago, gruyère, and goat cheese. As if four cheeses did not appear enough, the center layer contains applewood-smoked bacon, and the entire sandwich receives a drizzle of maple syrup. I sincerely hope that if you plan to tackle this beast of a sandwich that you do not follow any diets. As they say about comfort food: good for heart, but bad for your heart.

1. Tavern On 2‘s Rosa’s Chilaquiles

I love to watch the evolution of local establishments. New businesses mostly start out small, and with the growing fan base, the business must grow too. When Tavern On 2 finally unveiled the doubling of their dining area, business boomed for them, as expected. One of two gastropubs in Belmont Shore (the other one counts as a chain), Tavern On 2 understands their loyal customers, and constantly adapts to the changing times of not only the local community, but to the frequent visitors from out of town. Those who have not visited Tavern On 2 within the past few months ought to return to gaze upon the new menu curated by Tavern On 2’s new chef. Many of the old favorites remain on the menu, such as their Oxtail Poutine, but the brunch menu has received a complete overhaul, which now lists some interesting dishes, such as Rosa’s Chilaquiles. This modern reinvention of a classic starts with a traditional chilaquiles base of egg-washed tortilla pieces smothered with chile verde. This dish receives a generous helping of avocado, sliced radishes, cilantro, queso fresco, crema, and roasted pork belly. Wait, what? Looks like the chef decided to place a spin on this traditional dish. Although the pork belly represents a small portion out of the entire dish, it brings enough porky undertones to make its presence felt during the course of devouring. Score this rad dish during brunch on the weekends for just $12. Do not forget to pair this with some great craft beer that Tavern On 2 changes weekly!

The word “Moody” best describes the weather in Southern California. One day, you can lay out in the warm sun on the beach. The next moment, you could get rained on for a few minutes. Suddenly, the sun may pop out again. Southern Californians have learned to not trust weather forecasts so much, but to simply stick their heads out their windows in the morning to get a feel of the daily weather. We never can accurately predict the weather, so Southern Californians usually prepare for the middle range temperatures. For those hot days this season, finding a cool treat may hit the spot to keep you cool. When traveling around the greater Los Angeles area, stay vigilant for these five cold treats that will surely satisfy your sweet tooth while cooling you down.

5. Chunk N Chip‘s Ice Cream Sammiches (any flavor)

Soft oven-warm cookies with hand-scooped ice cream best describes how people should eat a real ice cream sandwich. Chunk N Chip does just that with their simple yet unique design. With Chunk N Chip, you get to build your own ice cream sammich by selecting up to two cookie flavors and up to two ice cream flavors. They offer between three to six different kinds of cookies, and four to eight different kinds of ice cream at any given time. The best part? Chunk N Chip comes to YOU. They either roll out in a little ice cream truck, or they bring a booth to set up. Either way, you cannot go wrong with a handmade ice cream sammich.

4. Fluff Ice‘s Peach Me

So the picture may not do it justice, but I tried this one first, and I always go back to it. What do you get when you cross ice cream with shave ice? You get Fluff Ice! Known as shaved snow to the common world, Fluff Ice can really quench your thirst with their refreshing take on flavored shave ice. Much like how slicing prime rib turns into roast beef, slicing whole ice cream/sherbet/sorbet blocks turn into Fluff Ice. Sure you can design your own, but of all the pre-made creations, the Peach Me stands out as the crowd favorite. They use peach fluff and top it with egg pudding (similar to custard or flan), lychee jelly, and sweetened condensed milk. This sweet and sour creation keeps you cool and cools you down further with its tartness. You can find Fluff Ice in Monterey Park, Arcadia, or Costa Mesa, or you can wait for their truck to swing by you!

3. Pono Burger‘s Salted Caramel & Niman Ranch Bacon Bits Milkshake

Traditionally, people never think to add savory elements into dessert. The turn of the century has shattered that old perception, and we now can encounter said savory elements in dessert, such as the one at Pono Burger. “If you blog about burgers, why mention them in a dessert post?” Why yes, I have written about Pono Burger in the past. They craft some of the most amazing burgers west of the Mississippi River. But I have an irk about one-trick ponies, and I generally tend to avoid them. Luckily, Pono Burger does more than just one trick, as evidenced in their Salted Caramel & Niman Ranch Bacon Bits Milkshake. Caramel milkshakes exist all over the place, but have you drank one with sea salt and bacon bits in it? Add some zing to your meal by ordering this baby the next time you visit Pono Burger for one of their yummy burgers. This milkshake will bring YOU to the yard.

2. Lazy Ox Canteen‘s Butterscotch Pudding

For you fancy people out there, Downtown Los Angeles has all you could fathom to throw your money at. But if you could throw your money at one place, choose the Lazy Ox Canteen, the wise choice. This small upscale restaurant just outside of Little Tokyo chooses quality over quantity when they prepare their powerhouse dishes. Aside from their stellar entrées, Lazy Ox also whips out fancy drinks and desserts, such as their Butterscotch Pudding. This simple yet effective chilled treat comes with a dollop of crème fraîche and a mini biscotti cookie. Wholesome, filling, and low on guilt, the Butterscotch Pudding takes comfort food to a new level, and will remind you of dessert from your childhood.

1. Hula Girls Shave Ice‘s Pineapple Dole Whip Shave Ice

Southern Californians recognize Disneyland for not just the amusement aspects, but for their food as well. Disney kitchens have churned out some of the most unique foods the world has seen, so when other places can produce similar products they may even taste better, the locals flock to it. I used to swear by Disneyland’s corn dogs until I discovered The Viking Truck. Finally, locals can now find the beloved Pineapple Dole Whip at Hula Girls Shave Ice. Hula Girls serves Hawaiian shave ice and soft serve ice cream out of their little shop down in Huntington Beach. What makes them stand out relates to Disneyland, as Hula Girls serves Pineapple Dole Whip soft serve. Combining their products together, you get a Pineapple Dole Whip Shave Ice, where shave ice with the flavors of your choice sit on top of a swirl of Pineapple Dole Whip soft serve. Enjoy this classic that Disneyland fans rave about without having to pay the exorbitant price to enter the theme park by visiting Hula Girls Shave Ice.

Much discussion has arisen over the nutritional value behind white meat and red meat. The general consensus tells us that the lighter the meat, the greater the ratio between nutrition and fat. For example, fish & seafood contain more protein and omega 3’s for its portion, whereas red meat from terrestrial animals may contain more fat. While clear categorization exists for most types, a grey area always exists, where we question how to categorize a particular item. Society accepts that chicken, turkey, duck, and other poultry fall in the white meat category, while beef, lamb, and bison fall in the red meat category. An age-old debate circulates the world regarding pork, however. While science tells us that pork should fall in the red meat category, practicality tells us otherwise. How does pork appear white despite deriving from a terrestrial animal? Despite scientific claims, society generally accepts pork as white meat, a claim sure to please anyone that finds themselves dining at Porko Rico BBQ.

Currently in their second month of operation, Porko Rico BBQ has carved out a solid following in such a little time. Their clever fusion of traditional Southern-style BBQ meats and Caribbean preparation techniques does not narrow their audience – it covers both grounds. Fans of BBQ will enjoy the variations that Porko Rico BBQ places on their dishes, while fans of Caribbean cuisine will enjoy hearty portions of meat in their items. For example, you will get a lot of meat in The Brig, a rather manly sandwich. This sandwich comes with pork three ways: pulled pork, ham, and bacon. These three meats get topped with pepper jack cheese and Porko Rico BBQ’s jerk sauce, which tastes similar to a sweeter, lighter BBQ, but with a light spice kick to it. In the end, you end up with a sandwich sure to please the carnivorous side in you. For maximum flavor enjoyment, place the top bun on the sandwich, flip it over, then remove the bottom bun. Doing so should keep all the meat in place, and you have half as much bread since bread tends to dilute flavors, allowing you to savor the meats’ true taste. Although it appears small, this sandwich will definitely fill you up, even if you remove the bottom bun as previously instructed.

Craving some meat? Once you hunt down Porko Rico BBQ, you can slam your own order of The Brig for $9. White meat or red meat, no one can deny – we all love us some pork, however we can get our hands around it.

Since the beginning of civilization, humans have learned that trading/bartering benefit both sides of the transaction. What one person may find useless, another person may find value in. By trading, humans share information and carry it with them as they part ways. This leads to the spread of culture around the world, creating melting pots in populated countries. In many countries, people of varying nationalities reside in harmony, with little care about a person’s ethnicity anymore. Upon further inspection, people everywhere love to eat good food, regardless of where it originated. Cuisine from around the world has traveled around the world thanks to visionary chefs who carry the culinary knowledge back to their homes. We can now enjoy food from different cultures and not have to worry about the origins. For example, whether you like pizza from one area versus another, we can all agree that we love pizza. If you find yourself in the greater Los Angeles area, check out these five pizzas that you ought to seek out. The variety of these may not sit well with purists, but I assure you that any pizza fan will enjoy them all without fuss.

5. The Pizza Studio‘s Island Pizza

A former university instructor of mine once said, “Liberal Arts majors cry, while Business majors make money off of them.” Basically, an actor (or person with some other talent) cannot do anything without the right business agent to discover opportunities. If the talent cannot find the right business person to team up with, the talent must manage their own business, taking up time away from their work. A lack of time for personal care due to a full focus on work creates the image of the starving artist, a concept that The Pizza Studio recognizes all too well. The Pizza Studio exists to cater to YOUR needs. This small pizza shop in Los Angeles allows customers to build their own custom personal-size pizza with any and all toppings available. Customers choose the dough (gluten-free available), sauce, cheeses, veggies, meats, and spices, all for $7.99 each. However, if customizing a personal pizza requires too much thought, The Pizza Studio offers their Starving Artists menu, a selection of five pizzas with pre-selected toppings, each for only $5.99. One of these pizzas, the Island Pizza, contains Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, Caramelized Onion, Crispy Bacon, Pineapple, and Basil on traditional dough. Can you believe you get this many toppings for just $5.99?! Check out their website for a full list of the delicious toppings that The Pizza Studio offers. Once you make up your mind, preorder your pizza on your phone – they have a mobile website just for ordering.

4. TJ’s Woodfire Pizza‘s Gianelli

Cheers to technology advancements – without them, we would not have the plethora of amazing machines and gadgets that exist today. 2014 means that society should have inventions that can do almost anything, such as an entirely portable brick oven for firing pizzas in. Sounds preposterous, but it appears that TJ’s Woodfire Pizza made that idea come true. This gourmet food truck roams Orange County, firing up authentic Neapolitan-style pizzas for their hungry fans and customers. Their menu contains nothing too crazy or unique – they stick with traditional combinations that their customers love, such as the Gianelli. This premium pizza gets topped with burrata cheese, fennel pollen, garlic oil base, Italian sausage, truffle oil, and basil. All combined, each flavor stands out on its own, with no single ingredient overpowering another. I thank the truffle oil for bringing out the best of this pizza – the pungency of the truffle oil helps to highlight everything else going on with this pizza. Once you track down TJ’s Woodfire Pizza, order up the Gianelli for $17. If the price hurts your wallet, check out the rest of their menu, as you cannot go wrong with TJ’s.

3. Michael’s Pizzeria‘s Anatra e Provola

Americans do it with their hands. Italians do it with a knife and fork. Who would expect that a country that derived from England would develop eating habits that would disgust the eastern world? While America continues to come up with ridiculous things like Mountain Dew Cheetos or a burrito vending machine, Italians will keep things classy and tasty by devising amazing eats. If you want authentic Italian pizza, you have to travel to Italy, no questions asked. However, if you want the next closest thing, look no further than Michael’s Pizzeria. With locations in Long Beach and Rancho Mirage, Michael’s Pizzeria abides by Italian standards with their Neapolitan-style pizzas. Along with the finest ingredients both local and imported, Michael’s serves you an uncut pizza. This prevents the sauces and juices from seeping through the cuts and making the crust soggy. This also preserves the toppings by keeping them fresher than after slicing. If you order the Anatra e Provolo, you will understand. This pizza comes with tomatoes, shredded duck confit, smoked mozzarella, and caramelized onions. The resulting duck confit means that the duck fat spreads through the cheese and sauce, allowing the duck fat to cover a majority of the surface of this pizza. For that, you would not want any of it to seep down to the bottom of the pizza – you want it all on top to preserve the flavor. Does that mean you have to eat fast? Not necessarily – as long as you can eat it all in one sitting, you will receive the full enjoyment than if you took some to-go. Depending on when you go to Michael’s, you may see a variant of this pizza where they use kale instead of onions. We all love kale, right?! All Michael’s locations carry this pizza for $17. If the price scares your bank account, enjoy any of the rest of their menu. With quality this high, this pizza will surely please.

2. Domenico’s Restaurant‘s Ground Pepperoni & Sausage Pizza

New year’s resolutions? Who honestly sticks to a resolution for long enough to matter? To the few persistent souls out there that actually abide by their resolutions for a long term, godspeed to you. To everyone else, give up the charade and resume your normal life. Remember to indulge once in a while too, as a little variety and excitement makes for a healthier lifestyle overall. When you see what Domenico’s Restaurant can do, you may want to indulge yourself more often. This historic restaurant in the Belmont Shore neighborhood of Long Beach mainly serves traditional American-Italian cuisine in a family-friendly setting. The menu contains the American-Italian staples that many will recognize: Chicken Parmigiana, Eggplant Parmesan, and lots of pasta. They also list varieties of pizza that many may overlook, but carefully analyzing the pizza menu will reveal this manly combination: the Ground Pepperoni & Sausage Pizza. With minimal sauce and cheese, Domenico’s slathers this pizza with mounds of ground sausage and ground pepperoni to create this ultimate meaty salty explosion of a slice. I hope your heart can handle this cholesterol and sodium attack, because after one bite, you will forever want more until your heart can take no more. I strongly suggest splitting this with family and/or friends, because at about $23 for a large, indulging on this too often will leave you unable to afford anymore. As an unnamed politician once said, “Have a good time… but not TOO good.”

1. Hollywood Pies‘ Sausage ala Zweig

In today’s world, people love seeing “food wars” on the mainstream media. Food wars like vanilla vs chocolate, coffee vs tea, Coke vs Pepsi, shaken vs stirred, Texas BBQ vs Memphis BBQ, and so on have existed for ages. Perhaps the one food battle that rages across the minds of Americans across the country involves Chicago versus New York. People everywhere hear it all the time – do you like Chicago pizza or New York pizza more? When it comes down to it, the styles bear so many differences that comparing apples to oranges makes a lot more sense. A majority of pizza found nowadays resemble New York pizza due to the ease of baking them, as opposed to Chicago’s deep dish pizzas. Finding the right Chicago-style pizza outside of Chicago may prove challenging, but Hollywood Pies would like to alleviate that challenge. As one of the few places in Southern California baking up Chicago-style deep dish pizzas, Hollywood Pies has carved a name for themselves in a city largely dominated by New York pizzas. Chains like Pizza Hut may offer “deep dish” pizza, which sadly has nothing to do with Chicago-style deep dish. These Hollywood Pies stand over an inch tall and weigh so much that you almost need a plate and utensils to eat it. This size allows for more toppings to fill the inside, almost resembling actual pies. If you order the Sausage ala Zweig, prepare to get messy. Arranged reversely from normal pizzas, whole milk mozzarella covers the bottom of the deep dish dough. Then, a layer of ground mild Italian sausage covers the entire surface of the pie before receiving a layer of zesty chunky tomato sauce. Just for kicks, they dust grated imported Pecorino Romano cheese on top. If you eat it at the right angle, all the toppings stay neatly on top and do not fall. However, after one bite, you may start to eat faster and forgo holding it upright, creating a mess all over your face and lap. A small costs $16, while a large costs $27. Plan to order one? Keep in mind that each pie takes at least 45 minutes to bake. I suggest saving their phone number, because calling ahead of time to place an order will save you time as you prepare to take down this behemoth.

With a cold winter approaching, what do we as humans seek out to escape those unfavorable conditions? Usually a blanket or a nice warm bed will do the trick, but most people cannot just carry a bed around everywhere. When the cold weather has people down, they seek warm, comforting food and drinks to warm out the body. A hot drink such as coffee or tea may make you feel warm, while something heavier like soup or noodles will retain the heat better. When people think of warm and comforting food, they will likely think of comfort food – food that we enjoyed while younger that made us feel good. Grilled cheese and tomato soup make for great examples of comfort food. In today’s culinary world, every chef and cook has placed their own spin on classics, bringing traditional comfort food to the table using exquisite ingredients or preparation styles. One can find a grilled cheese around every nook and cranny, or just wander around Orange County until Porko Rico BBQ comes into sight.

After an exciting first month in business, the Porko Rico BBQ food truck has not only acquired a generous following, but has launched a few new items for their current menu. Currently roaming in Orange County, Porko Rico BBQ specializes in Southern-style BBQ with a Caribbean spin. The overall vibe of Porko Rico BBQ has changed over the past month, now that not only does the menu fit the theme, but the staff fit the theme as well. Their Pulled Pork Sandwich that I reviewed last month now goes by the name Pillager Pulled Pork. They have introduced some new items to their menu as well, such as their Shipwreck Grilled Cheese. This meaty sandwich comes with tender brisket, fire-roasted tomatoes, coconut pesto, and muenster cheese, all on buttered & grilled toast. At first bite, you can immediately taste the beef, accompanied by the pesto. The brisket just oozes out natural meat juices, exhibiting its freshness. The pesto stands out with its use of coconut in the ingredients, meshing well with the fire-roasted tomatoes for a balance of flavors to highlight the beef.

You can crush your own Shipwreck Grilled Cheese for just $9 from this Orange County food truck. Why look anywhere else for a great grilled cheese sandwich? Stick around for a bit, and Porko Rico BBQ will eventually come to an area in Orange County near you.

Welcome to 2013, a time of progress and innovation. In this day and age, society now accepts and rejects different things than last decade. For example, society now accepts same-sex couples instead of deeming them taboo. The prevalence of social media has allowed for instantaneous spread of information, a tool that existed last decade, albeit underdeveloped. We can expect that expectations will change over time, and the rate of change differs from year to year. As another example, the gourmet food truck craze really took off in 2009, and peaked largely in 2011. Since then, the trend has wavered off, mostly due to the sheer number of bandwagon people that did not live up to expectations, but simply started a food truck as a means of capitalizing on a fad. Not all food trucks start off equal – some start off with good footing, led by experienced people. When experience counts, you will want to seek out Porko Rico BBQ.

From the creative masterminds behind The Viking Truck comes Porko Rico BBQ, a food truck that specializes in southern-style BBQ with a Caribbean twist. Having just launched their grand opening this past weekend, they currently operate with a limited menu, as they test out their kitchen’s creations on the streets and parking lots of Orange County. The current offerings feature traditional southern-style BBQ dishes, such as pulled pork and brisket, but prepared with the tropical flavors of the Caribbean. For example, their Pulled Pork Sandwich features a generous scoop of their citrus-infused pulled pork, topped with mango slaw, and drizzled with citrus BBQ sauce. All sandwiches come with a side choice of coconut creamed corn, pineapple baked beans, or pulled pork fries. Pro tip: do not eat the top bun – eat the sandwich open-faced for maximum flavor. Why interfere with the flavor by adding more bread that would otherwise take away from the meat?

Expect to see new menu items rolling out in the upcoming weeks, as they fine-tune their menu and add more scrumptious dishes. Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter to always know where to locate Porko Rico BBQ.

Reminiscing back to our childhoods, we recall all the good times and bad times that significantly impacted us as children. Everyone remembers certain moments during their childhoods that has permanently affected our personalities today. Even without anything to capture those moments, we can still reminisce about the good old days through photos taken way back then. In fact, today’s society has accepted Throwback Thursdays as an homage to the good old days, when life did not bear so much worry, and we could live out our days without fear or oppression. These days, society has to deal with corruption on many levels, from governments to the internet to bullies in school and more. Like the human immune system, society reacts to these corruptions by implementing methods to combat those problems by either minimizing problems or eliminating them altogether. This may not restore the good old days, but as a society, we still like to look back to what paved the way for us to stand here today. Significantly, we remember the foods we once ate as children, even recalling the low prices. Those old signs advertising $0.10 French Fries did not lie – food stands actually sold items that now cost ten times more, or even more than that! Though we can still buy the same fast food items as back then, we have much better options today as far as finer dining without the inflated price tags. If you miss those $0.10 fries, wait until you see some of the fries that you can eat as entrées. I have discovered five different fries entrées that you can find in the Greater Los Angeles Area, and I highly suggest seeking them out this season, as some of these may not linger around once the season ends.

5. Dos Chinos‘ Garden Grove BBQ Papas Fritas

Throughout this Top 5 list, you may notice a common trend among the entries – the word poutine. For those unfamiliar with poutine, this Canadian dish, at its very base, consists of fries, gravy, and cheese curds. From there, the person preparing it may add whatever to this canvas of a dish, typically some sort of meat. While this certainly sounds like a meal already, not every fries entrée must contain gravy and/or cheese. In the case of Dos Chinos, they do not even think about gravy, in favor of their Asian heritage. This fusion food truck from Orange County takes traditional Asian flavors, such as Vietnamese-style pork belly or garlic butter shrimp, and cooks them into Latin/Mexican preparations, such as tacos, burritos, or quesadillas. Over the past few years, they have greatly expanded their menu offerings in both directions, and utilize a chart system in ordering. In other words, customers simply choose the meat, then choose the preparation. For example, their Garden Grove BBQ Papas Fritas combines their Korean Mexican BBQ Beef with red cabbage and crema sauce over a bed of shoestring fries, jack-cheddar cheese, chopped onions, and cilantro. The beef will remind you of traditional Chinese takeout, but prepared much more flavorful, with an emphasis on high-quality grass-fed angus beef and the right balance of marinade on the beef. Where traditional Chinese restaurants serve this with white rice, Dos Chinos serves this to you with fries – for America! The fries provide a different texture than the soft nature of rice, so you have more going on in each bite as you crunch your way through this bowl of meat and potatoes big enough to share. But why would you want to share? At $8 per bowl, you can own this steal of a deal at the Dos Chinos truck, constantly roaming around Orange County. Pay attention to their Twitter to discover their future locations!

4. Haven Gastropub – Orange‘s Lamb Neck Poutine

As mentioned above, the most basic poutine consists of fries, gravy, and cheese curds. Increasingly popular in Canada, poutine has made landfall here in America due to its unique combination of ingredients that appeals to many appetites as not only a snack food, but as a fulfilling meal. Among conscious eaters, poutine has increased in popularity because of the freshness of cheese curds. Ideally, people should consume cheese curds within hours of its creation, so unless a restaurant produces its own cheese curds, poutine would use other types of cheese besides cheese curds. Regardless of the method of acquisition, Haven Gastropub understands the importance of quality cheese curds, as well as the importance of all of the restaurant’s other locally-sourced ingredients. Formulating the standard structure for any respectable sustainable restaurant, Haven Gastropub has pioneered the art of pub faire and introduced it to the modern American fine dining setting. By reinventing these dishes, Haven aims to take foods with a reputation as bar food and transform them into beautiful entrées that customers will want to brag about having eaten. While corporations have created a greasy image for poutine in Canada, Haven turns that all around with their Lamb Neck Poutine. Using braised lamb neck as the spotlight ingredient, Haven constructs this poutine with their pommes frites, dijon lamb gravy, and fresh cheddar cheese curds. Some people would turn an eye away from hearing “lamb neck” mentioned in food, either at the though of eating neck or of the texture of the meat. If the latter, the braising of the meat gives it an utmost tender texture, as it falls apart like braised short ribs do. Traditional poutine may look like this, but in terms of flavor, it can come nowhere close. Keep in mind that Haven Gastropub in Orange County serves this dish, as the Pasadena location does not list it on their menu.

3. The Federal Bar‘s Short Rib Poutine

When a brand grows large in popularity and demand, one should expect that brand to expand the reach to a larger scope or audience. For example, Southern California’s own Slater’s 50/50 has opened six overall locations, while Eureka Burger has FINALLY concocted plans to expand into Los Angeles and Orange County. Not too long ago, when The Federal Bar in North Hollywood grew beyond their walls, they first opened up another restaurant right around the corner under the name Bow & Truss. Eventually the demand for The Federal Bar grew so much that they had to expand past their little bubble in North Hollywood. As a result, they opened their second location in Downtown Long Beach this past April. Boasting nearly the same menu, The Federal Bar maintains the theme of a prohibition-era federal reserve bank while operating as a full-fledged gastropub. With a penchant for terrific craft beers, fine wines, and artisanal spirits, The Federal Bar serves up classic gastropub faire with a gourmet spin. For example, take a look at their version of poutine, the Short Rib Poutine. First, they take their House Fries, which comes with herbs, parmesan, and garlic, then they top it off with fresh mozzarella cheese curds, shredded beef short rib, and a blue cheese drizzle, which gives it a unique kick that poutine normally would not have. The Federal Bar may list this in the Starters section of their menu, but the resulting dish more than fills up one person. In fact, you may actually have to either share this with someone, or take the rest to-go. Just remember to savor the short ribs well, and get as much of the blue cheese as possible with the short rib. The savoriness of the meat with the sharp flavor of the blue cheese create a potent yet irresistible match-up of short rib and sauce. You can order this off their regular menu for $11, but arrive during Happy Hour from 3pm to 6pm everyday, and you can order this dish for $2 off! Even better during Happy Hour, you can also receive drinks at Happy Hour prices, so pair this fries entrée with a cold, refreshing IPA for the perfect evening meal.

2. 1321 Downtown Taproom Bistro‘s Pork Fries

Who said that Bacon has to reign as the all-time best pork preparation of all time? We can all agree that bacon makes any food and drink taste better, but when you get to a point where you just eat bacon so much that the thought of bacon gets desensitized in your mind, you have to start searching for alternatives. Fortunately there exists visionary chefs who worship pork and the versatility of this wonderful meat. Versatility lives on at 1321 Downtown Taproom Bistro in their Pork Fries. Although 1321 Downtown Taproom Bistro lists their infamous Pork Fries under their Firsts, or appetizers, this large pan can serve a party of 2-3. This skillet consists of thin fries covered with pulled pork confit, stout-braised onions, melted sharp cheddar, and smoked tomato rémoulade. Picture the pork sitting in a marinade of salt, seasonings, and herbs, then cooked in its own drippings. What results from the process tastes like roasted and somewhat crispy shredded pork with a heaping level of smokiness and salty flavors attacking your taste buds. The onions braised in stout contribute to this dish with its tender, sweet, and dark flavors. The cheese comes melted and soft, but hardens quickly. As a result, I highly suggest eating this the moment your server brings it out, and not wait to eat it. Note that you can order this during Happy Hour from 4pm to 7pm for a reduced price, so aim to go during Happy Hour, and pair this with a nice cold pale ale!

1. Umami Burger‘s Truffle Royale Poutine

From Day 1, ever since I started this blog, I vowed never to give a spotlight to corporate businesses, but to focus on the best in the local scene of Southern California. Understandably, something may grow in popularity so much that expansion comes natural. For example, Hof’s Hut has gained enough local popularity that expansion to greater territory only seems natural at this point. Other businesses expand rapidly yet remain in Southern California… for now, such as Slater’s 50/50. One such entity remained solely in Southern California for just two years, and rose in notoriety so much that they expanded to Northern California after two years in business. Now with a location in Florida and plans to expand into New York, Umami Burger has more than cemented its name into the history of food in America. In fact, Saturday Night Live even name-dropped Umami Burger, proving the dominance of this burger chain. Umami did not reach their current status with just marketing and timing – they earned their reputation with quality unlike any other. Although pricey, their burgers will more than satisfy a craving for an amazing burger, as their menu now contains more than just burgers. Most customers will want to stick with burgers like the namesake indicates, but sometimes customers can get a little adventurous by ordering a modified burger. Umami now offers a modified burger in the form of turning any burger into a poutine dish. Have you seen a poutine with a burger patty in it? Go all-in with their Truffle Royale Poutine, their signature Truffle Royale burger served over fries with house gravy. The original burger comes with a beef patty topped with braised short ribs, garlic aioli, truffle glaze, and truffle cheese. Why bother with truffle oil at this point when the dish already contains so much truffle? The truffle levels in this dish exceed nine thousand, as you cut into the medium rare patty and braised short ribs, and scoop up the perfect bite with a little of everything in this dish. The Truffle Royale burger costs $15, while you can “poutine-it” any burger for an extra $2, so the Truffle Royale Poutine will cost $17 altogether. Not every Umami Burger location serves the Truffle Royale, and not every location has the “poutine-it” option, so refer to the Umami Burger website for a menu from each location before you venture out in search of meaty fried goodness. The old saying that you cannot judge a book by its cover typically does not apply to Umami Burger, as they strive for excellent plating and deliciously gorgeous burgers. When it comes to poutine, the gravy will cause a mess, so carefully plating poutine takes extra practice. While the photo looks like a mess, the umami sensory explosion will make you forget what it looked like when the server brought it out to you.