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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

#OCEATUP at Ritz Prime Seafood

I had the pleasure of being included in the most recent #OCEATUP hosted by the gracious folks from Melissa's Produce and the OCFoodies. They treated us like royalty, even greeting us with a glass of champs as we walked into the restaurant!

The restaurant itself is simply stunning with modern sleek decor and a beautiful water views. I've been there a few times before -- once for OC Restaurant Week and another time for Happy Hour on the patio. Both were great experiences so I knew we were in for a treat! 

The dinner started with a bang with the amazing hamachi crab roll w avocado mango tobiko and lime. This was SERIOUSLY delicious and one of my favorite items of the evening. Very fresh fish paired with creamy avocado and the sweet mango just made for a perfect combination!

Next up was Oysters Rockefellar w creamed kale, grana padano cheese and topped w panko - all broiled up nice and toasty. This was one amazing little bite!

After the appetizers we were served some yummy salads - I especially enjoyed the chopped wedge w kurabota bacon, tomatoes, and roquefort cheese. I could've eaten this alone for dinner and been a very happy camper! The other salad was a tasty caeser salad w Spanish anchovies, grana padano cheese & torn croutons.

Up next were the four amazing entrees...all of which were perfectly cooked and served w complimentary veggies and sauces.

My favorite was the American Wagyu short ribs with whipped yukon potatoes, demi-glace and cipollini onions. It was literally fall apart tender and paired perfectly with the creamy potatoes...I would order this again in a heartbeat.

My other favorite was the Georges Bank sea scallops w smoked carrot puree...sweet tender scallops went perfectly with the slightly sweet puree topped with crispy slivers of carrot.

The salmon was also perfectly cooked and served with a super tasty kohlrabi cream....yum!

Jidori chicken with corn and bacon pudding with pan roasted jus was the final entree. The pudding alone was a meal all by itself - very substantial and super tasty with the bacon studded throughout. We also go to try the creamed spinach which was loaded w bacon and extra creamy - loved it even though my waistline probably didn't! ;)

I also have to make a comment about the amazing wine pairing we were served with each dish AND the stunning craft cocktails - which I HIGHLY recommend! 

Sunday, April 24, 2016


Have you heard of the newest early morning and late night obsession in downtown Santa Ana?! Downtown Donuts opened up in early December and have developed quite the following especially by the late night crowd as they stay open til midnight on Friday & Saturday nights. They also happen to be ridiculously delicious! Cooked to order and served fresh and warm with your choice of topping- powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar (my personal fav!) . They also offer several sauces for .50 cents extra, ranging from sweetened condensed milk and nutella to the occasional special sauce of maple (yum!)  A measly $3.50 will get you a half dozen of these delightful little donuts and an even $6 will get you a full dozen.

The warm cinnamon sugar donuts w
caramel & chocolate sauce - sooo good!
They are only open Wed - Saturday, which is a tad bit of a bummer if you get a craving on say a Sunday, which has been known to happen to this fan. ;)  Located in a tiny space with only a window to order and easy to spot with cute hot pink decor.  Beware that parking right in front can be challenging during busy times in downtown BUT there are lots of meters one street up on 4th as well as a public parking lot across Broadway. Trust me, they are well worth the effort!

Donuts w maple sauce...melt in your mouth delicious!

Downtown Donuts, 307 W 3rd Street (near corner of 3rd & Broadway) in Santa Ana
Check out their full menu here:

Friday, April 22, 2016

Beer Fests! (as promised in my previous post on spring festivals!)

Sunshine means it’s time for a cold brew, and OC is not lacking when it comes to Beer Festivals where you can sample some of your favorites or find a few new ones to add to the rotation!

San Clemente Micro-Brew Fest  - this upcoming weekend!
Saturday, April 23rd 12-5pm, $40 at door
This event features primarily micro-brews from all over So Cal. They will also have food provided various non-profits for purchase - not included in the price of admission. Live music too which always add to the fun! 

Newport Beach Beerfest at The Dunesthis upcoming weekend too!
Saturday, April 23rd 7-10pm, $40 if purchase online by 4/22 (Hurry!) or $50 at door; VIP +$10.
This event is held on the beach at Newport Dunes.  With your admission you get unlimited tastings of 150+ craft beers, wines & spirits – this one is not just beer folks!  This event also features a great line up of live music – this year’s artists include Hoobastank, Kottonmouth Kings, Alien Ant Farm, and Whitney Peyton.  Food is not included but is available via foodtrucks. Proceeds from this event go to support the 1/1 Marine Foundation of Newport Beach so you can feel good about indulging! ;)

Saturday, April 30th, 12-4pm, $61 online, $72 at door 

This annual event is an OC Brew Ha Ha event – for those of you not familiar, these are uber popular events that are usually very well done. This one takes place at Silverado Canyon. For the price of admission you get unlimited tastes of over 60+ breweries and are able to purchase $3 gourmet tacos from well-known OC Chefs.  They are also having Mexican Lucha Libre wrestling which should be a hoot! There are also lots of other fun things planned during the event including games, contests and even a cigar lounge for the aficionados.  As an added bonus, they also offer a FREE shuttle from The Tustin/Irvine Marketplace so uber/lyft there and don’t worry about driving!

Saturday, May 7th, 1-5pm, $43.19 Gen Adm, $56.74 VIP
This is the 8th year of this very popular event which often sells out so if you want tix better buy ‘em soon! The event is held at The Phoenix Club in Anaheim and feature dozens of beers – not just CA ones but international ones as well. Food is not included in the price of admission but is available via foodtrucks.  The event also features live bands.  Proceeds go to rescue dogs’
non-profits so you can drink for the doggies at this one. ;)

Saturday, June 4th, 1-5pm, $46 Gen Adm
This is a newer event that focuses primarily on California breweries such as Lagunitas, Ballast Point, Angel City, etc.  It’s also being held at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim (popular venue for beer fest – German influence maybe? ;) Features live music and gourmet food trucks. 

Beer Camp (just like when you were a kid!)
Saturday, June 25th, 1-5pm, $50/$70 for pre-sale, $65/$85 after pre-sale sells out/at door
This is a national event coming to the Long Beach Queen Mary events area – known for bringing craft brews from all over the US to your doorstep for your tasting pleasure! The list of breweries participating is pretty impressive and also features some cideries too this year! Live music and foodtrucks will be there for food purchases.

Saturday, June 25th, 12-7pm, $40 til June 20th then goes to $50

This one is held at Sea Terrace Park in Dana Point and includes unlimited tastes of over 50+ breweries and over 50+ wines. This event is being held in conjunction with the larger OC Food, Wine & Music Festival so there will be lots going on at the same time including live music and a food festival w food for purchase. You can also buy the $100 VIP ticket which includes all food and alcohol – not a bad deal if you’re gonna hang out all day! ;) Info on that is here:

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

It's Spring and that means... Festival time!

Spring Food Festivals Galore!

So many food festivals so little time! Sure spring means flowers, and longer sunny days but if you’re a lover of food and libations then spring also means food/beer/wine festival time! Below is a list of upcoming festivals that are worth the price of admission IMHO! I’ll be adding different events in upcoming days… starting with the….

Taste of “    “ Events
Taste of events are a great way to sample a bunch of local restaurants in one swoop and for one price of admission – which depending on how hungry you are can be a great deal! They also usually involve live music, fun vendors and sometimes other fun entertainment.

Sunday, April 24th , noon – 4pm  $70 per ticket
This is a super fun event with just about every restaurant in HB handing out their fare and lots of wine and beer samples. They also always have a great band playing and after a few drinks everyone is ready to boogie! Another thing unique to this event is the silent auction with some pretty fabulous donated gift baskets. One of the years I went I ended up winning 3 of them and all of them were worth more than I paid for them so be sure to take a look at ‘em!  Another nice thing about this event is that they let you bring in blankets/chairs so you don’t have to stand the whole time or fight with others for the limited tables/seating. The event takes place primarily on a grassy lawn so it’s perfect for sitting down in between bites/drinks to enjoy the music. It is $70 per ticket but you’ll definitely eat/drink at least this much plus the $ made goes to HB Children’s Library so it’s even partially tax deductible!

Sunday, May 1st , 3-7pm  $40 per ticket
So, admittedly I’ve never been to this Taste event BUT I’ve heard great things AND I am planning to attend this year. The $40 ticket price only includes food – wine/beer is available to purchase but not included.   The list of restaurants participating is pretty varied from the Orange staple of Zito’s Pizza to the yet to open Pie Hole & Burger Parlor! This is also a charity event with proceeds going to the Assistance League of Orange - $20 of the ticket is tax deductible which is a nice added bonus!  

Thursday May 12th, 5:30-9pm  $40 pre-sale/$45 at event
This event takes place at the Gardenwalk center and in the past has included a lot of the restaurants there as well as from Downtown Disney – which is not a bad thing as these two centers have some pretty great places to eat!  I attended a few years ago and it was a fun event and we left TOTALLY stuffed as there was no lack of food and the portions were very generous. I also liked that most of the restaurants had special coupons/deals they were handing out to entice you to dine there later – freebies are always a nice perk!  They also typically have live music which adds a nice vibe to the outdoor center.

Sunday May 15th , 3-6pm  $200 Gen Admission/$275 VIP
As the price and the name imply, this is the crème de la crème of taste events bringing together the BEST restaurants and chefs in not just the OC but from LA proper! Held at the Montage Resort in Laguna Beach, the venue is just as spectacular as the food and wine. Yes, it’s expensive but if you’re an aficionado of fine dining then this event is worth the price of admission for you! Featured restaurants include Studio, Republique, Broken Spanish and several others. 

Thursday May 26th, 5-9pm  $20 pre-sale/$25 at event
The Taste of Brea takes place in downtown Brea and they block off the street so it’s pedestrian friendly. The list of participating restaurants is pretty impressive and includes such great Brea eateries as Lillie Q’s, Taps Fish House & Bruno’s Trattoria! This sounds like a fun way to spend a spring evening and the price is pretty good for a Taste event!

Next post to come is all about the BEER FESTS!