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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Get Your Fair Face On!

It's almost fair time again!
The 2016 OC Fair starts July 15th and runs through August 14th
(Wed - Sunday ONLY!)
This year it's back with all kinds of new yummy creations!

Pork Belly Corndog

French Toast Bacon Bombs!

Chicken in a Waffle on a Stick
The Daenerys 'Mother of Doggies' Dog!
Bacon Wrapped Baked Potato

Bacon Cheddar Brat Burger

Check them all out:

  • Chicken in a Waffle On a Stick: Chicken Charlie’s making the popular chicken-and-waffles combo portable by cooking fried chicken tenders in a waffle and serving it all on a stick, with a side of maple syrup.
  • French Toast Bacon Bombs: Bacon A-Fair’s new breakfast-inspired offering will make French toast desirable any time of the day as sweet dough stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon is deep-fried and rolled in cinnamon sugar.
  • S’moreo Texas Donut: Bigger is better when it’s a soft, Texas-sized doughnut topped with chocolate drizzle, Oreo cookie crumble, graham cracker crumbs and marshmallow cream.
  • Bacon Nutella Pickle: Pickle O’ Pete’s takes the popular hazelnut cocoa spread Nutella and fills a dill pickle that gets wrapped in bacon, dipped in a funnel cake batter and deep fried.
  • Pork Belly Bacon Dog: At Biggy’s, two feet of bacon are wrapped around a slow-smoked pork belly that is dipped into a corn dog batter and deep fried.
  • Deep-Fried Pizza Log: Mozzarella cheese and pepperoni are wrapped inside of thin pizza dough which is deep fried until crispy and flaky. Served with marinara sauce on the side from the Apple Fries booth.
  • Diabilito Sundae: Fruit Caboose is going loco and adding to their creamy ice cream the Latin-inspired flavor of tangy Tamarindo and hot chili chamoy sauce.
  • Kool-Aid Hot Wings: Chicken Charlie’s taking his breaded wings and tossing them up with his new, slightly-spicy Kool-Aid sauce. He will serve the orange flavor exclusively at the OC Fair.
  • Dole Whip: Fairgoers can cool down with this refreshing, pineapple-flavored soft serve dessert available for the first time inside the OC Fair at Crutchee’s Ice Cream.
  • Bacon-Wrapped Baked Potato: At Bacon A-Fair, a giant one-pound potato is wrapped in a half pound of bacon and slow cooked in a wood-fired smoker oven. Served with butter, the Bacon A-Fair signature bacon-infused sour cream, grilled veggies, blue cheese and choice of hot buffalo sauce or nacho cheese and jalapenos.
  • Bacon Cheddar Brat Burger: Grant’s Tasti Burger is taking burgers and brats to the next level with this massive burger that combines a bratwurst and an Angus beef patty with cheddar, chopped candied pecans, Applewood smoked bacon, Sriracha Bourbon and chipotle sauces, lettuce and tomatoes and served inside a pretzel bun.
  • Pink’s Hollywood-Inspired Dogs: The Daenerys Mother of Doggies pays homage to the Game of Thrones’ queen of the dragons with a spicy Polish dog topped with sour cream, sauerkraut, onions, radish sprouts and Sriracha sauce. The Lord of the Rings Dog highlights the mystical movie with an all-beef hot dog encircled by fried onion rings and topped with barbecue sauce.
  • Juicys: New this year, OC Fair mainstay Juicys is serving up organic meat and nitrate-free hot dogs and sausages.
  • More Offerings: All American Reuben Burger (Grant’s Tasti Burger), Pickle Fries and Pickled Cheese on a Stick (Pickle O’ Pete’s), Shrimp Fried Rice on a Stick (Chicken Charlie’s), Som-Mor-Bacon (Fruit Caboose), Bison Burger (Juicy’s), Lasagna Sandwich (Pignotti’s Pasta), Oreo Churro (Dutchmen’s Funnel Cake).

$2 Sample Day! 
On a new weekday this year, foodies can sample their way through the 2016 OC Fair on Thursdays from Noon-4 p.m. with $2 samples during the Taste of Fair Food promotion. Fair admission is required and samples vary per vendor per week.

Free parking and shuttle service are available on Saturdays and Sundays from the Experian parking structure located off the Bristol St. exit of the 405 freeway. The OC Fair & Event Center is located off the 405 and 55 freeways at 88 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa. For more information, please visit, become a fan at, follow them at or call (714) 708-1500. Also, download the free OC Fair iPhone and Android apps available this summer.

Fair tickets Giveaway!The fair has generously given me a pair of tickets to give away to a lucky reader! These include 2 carnival ride cards (good for 3 rides each!)  To enter, leave a comment as to what new food you're most excited to try by the end of the day on July 3rd on my Facebook:  or
my Instagram
A winner will be picked randomly on July 4th and notified via direct message. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

OCFoodieGirl in the SD's visit to 'Bracero Cocina'

I recently traveled down to San Diego to visit friends & family and had to make a side trip to Chef Javier Plascencia's new downtown hot spot, Bracero Cocina. I'd been trying to get my booty down to Bracero since it opened almost a year ago and was so excited to finally be able to check it out. It's been pretty much non-stop accolades since it opened so I had some pretty hefty expectations!

The first thing you'll notice as you arrive at Bracero is it's outdoor seating area and the beautiful glass-encased upstairs deck above you.

The upstairs also has a beautiful wrap-around bar that extends onto the deck - the perfect place to cool off with a drink on a sunny San Diego day! The locals have obviously come to the same conclusion as the bar portion on the outdoor deck was packed on my visit here!

The inside part of the bar...
Once inside you'll be struck by the homey decor - reminiscent of being in your Mexican Grandmother's kitchen. Even so, there's still a modern feel to the space which gives you a hint of the modern Mexican food you're in store for upon being seated. The decor is a really well done blend of old and new.  Of course, even as lovely as the decor is at Bracero, this all means nothing if the food isn't up to par right? ;)

We started our dinner with a cocktail for me and bowl of homemade house guacamole for my avocado-loving friend.

The 'Mahola Guey'

My cocktail, the 'Mahalo Guey' (Hey Buddy!) was super refreshing with a unique combination of green tea infused rum, kalani coconut, lime and orgeat. It was slightly reminiscent of an amaretto sour and was the perfect accompaniment for a sunny day on the deck.

House Guacamole - yummy yum!

The house guacamole was not just your standard mashed avocados - this guacamole was almost a meal all by itself with lentils, chickpeas & blackbean hummus incorporated into creamy avocados. Insanely delicious!

Tijuana Original Caeser!

Seeing as Chef Plascensia also owns the infamous Caeser's Restaurant in Tijuana, where the original Caeser Salad was invented we couldn't resist ordering the 'Original Caesar Salad'. I have to say this doesn't disappoint -- at first glance (see for yourself in my pic) it doesn't look that exciting but the flavors are spot on with the perfect mix of dijon, garlic, parmesan, anchovy and lime. This is a MUST order here if you're a fan of this salad. :)

Shrimp & Bone Marrow Sopes - SO good!

Our hands down favorite dish was delivered next - the Shrimp & Bone Marrow Sopes. Now, I love a good basic sope to begin with but this is way beyond a basic sope. First off, the masa corn cake was perfectly cooked and was the ideal vessel for the delicious bone marrow shrimp mix, topped with fried crispy parsley,radish wedges and a creamy chile de árbol sauce. Heaven on a corn cake basically!
Crispy Brisket & Shortrib

Our final dish was the Crispy Brisket & Shortrib which comes out almost as a stew with an ayocote bean caldillo, chochoyones (corn dumplings), avocado leaf, wood fired baby sweet potatoes and a serrano gastrique sauce. Needless to say it was fabulous - they also brought out some homemade warm corn tortillas (divine all by themselves!) with which to eat the dish. The tortillas were the perfect match for the fall of the bone, flavorful beef, and dipping the tortilla in the sauce just added more of that wonderful flavor to each bite.

Dark Chocolate Mole Cake

Grapefruit Panna Cotta
We couldn't decide on just one dessert from the yummy list so we opted for two - the grapefruit panna cotta and the dark chocolate mole cake. Both were very tasty but the grapefruit panna cotta really stole the show. The minute it hits your tongue you're overcome by the bright citrus flavor melded into the creamy texture of the panna cotta, all perfectly contrasted with the sweetness of the passion fruit sherbet and the salty crunch of ground pistachios. It's a play on unique flavors and textures that works really well together. HIGHLY recommend.

All in all I was very impressed with Bracero and have to say all the accolades are highly deserved! Next time you're heading to San Diego, I highly recommend you make a reservation and indulge your hunger in the wonderful flavors that Chef Plascencia has created at Bracero.

Bracero Cocina is located in the Litte Italy section of downtown San Diego at 1490 Kettner Blvd.  For more information, including menus, hours & to make a reservation, check out their full website here:

Monday, June 6, 2016

New Restaurant Review: The Rye Truck in Tustin

So I had been trying to get to the Rye Truck for a few months before I was actually able to get there... admittedly, their hours are pretty limited. They are only open three days a week for a total of 7 hours total but trust me, make a point of getting there during one of those precious hours cuz it's well worth the effort!

The first thing that caught my eye upon arriving at the truck were the cinnamon rolls - speckled with cinnamon and slathered with a thick mound of frosting. Just their appearance made it impossible for me to refuse one of these bad boys!

Cinnamon Rolls w yummy icing

The other thing I couldn't resist were the pop tarts. Holy cow... I've had a few gourmet poptarts in my day including some infamous ones like the one at the Nickel Diner in downtown LA but I have to say this is the BEST poptart I've ever tried! It was perfectly flaky and filled with this wonderful homemade berry compote and topped with this sweet, but not too sweet, frosting sprinkled with crispy cereal. 
The sinful Poptart - a MUST order when you visit!

They also had several other baked goods that looked very tempting but I couldn't quite justify ordering one of everything, although I wish I had but some of the other items that were hard to resist included the see salt chocolate brioche bun and the blueberry lime muffins. I've also heard they have amazing banana bread and bacon scones but they were sold out of these when I visited - gives me something to aspire for next time I visit! ;)

They also serve the infamous Portland Stumptown Coffee.  Their hours are Tuesday & Friday 8-10am and Sunday 9-noon. The truck is parked during these times in the parking lots of Mrs. B's Consignment Store, on the corner of Main Street and El Camino Real,

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Golden Chef Series

The 2016 Golden Chef Series! 

Have you heard about the Golden Chef Series? It's a series of FREE chef demonstrations that showcase local OC Chefs and unfortunately, it's almost over!

There is only one demo left scheduled for Saturday, June 18th featuring Chef Josh LaQuet of Brio Tuscan Grille & 
Chef Alejandro Benes of  Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill.

The event is FREE and takes place near the big wheel at the Irvine Spectrum shopping center. If you'd like a VIP seat you can purchase one for $25 with the proceeds going to the Golden Rule Charity, a local Chefs' charity. Seating is limited to just 40 seats, however these demos encourage as many people as would like to attend as there is plenty of standing space to watch the demos. There will be TV screens and high top tables for all guests to enjoy the demos, as well as fresh fruit provided by Melissa's Produce free of charge.

I just went to the Demo this past Saturday featuring Chef Tony Trujillo from Cucina Enoteca and Casey Reinhardt from Casey's Cupcakes, and it was such a fun event with fabulous food!

Chef Trujillo was up first and walked us through his dish starting with your basic pasta making. He prepared a delicious sweet corn ricotta agnolotti w a side of salty speck and arugula on a bed of wonderful sorrel puree that just brought the dish together beautifully.

 It was so good that when they came around with seconds we gladly accepted them! It was even more delicious than it looks in the picture below!

The Sweet Corn Agnolotti from Cucina Enoteca

Here is the emcee extraordinaire, Wing Lam of Wahoo's personally handing out samples to the VIP section. 

One of the advantages of purchasing a $25 VIP seat is that you get to taste everything! Did I mention the $ goes to charity too?? :)

Casey Reinhardt

 Next up was Casey Reinhardt, owner of Casey's Cupcakes and winner of Cupcake Wars on The Foodnetwork.  Casey walked us through making her popular White Russian Cupcakes starting with the batter which she makes with the surprise ingredients of sour cream and mayonnaise! She then went on to show us how she makes the frosting and filling using real Bailey's Irish Cream! (YUM!)

She also demo'd for us how to fill and frost them, then she surprised us all in the VIP section with our very own cupcake, boxed and bagged for us to take home. They were also handed out to us by her adorable assistants (see below!)

The beautiful AND sinful White Russian Cupcakes from Casey's Cupcakes!
The cutie patootie Casey's girls handing out our treats!
 It was a really fun and educational afternoon! I highly recommend you attend the last demo on June 18th if you're able to... very worth your time! :)

The Golden Chef Series is presented by Fisher & Paykel and DCS is part of of the exciting line-up of pre-eventw fo the highly enaticipated Golden Foodie Awards. 

For more info: