Wednesday, February 21, 2007

McCormick & Schmick's $25 Dining Certificate For Making an Online Reservation

Thanks to "mofomo" of

1.Visit: to make your reservations.

2. Print the confirmation and note your Confirmation Number.

3. Visit: to print an online dinner certificate.

4. Write your confirmation number on your dinner certificate.

5. Bring your dinner certificate to the restaurant to enjoy the freshest seafood, a great steak or one of our other 80+ menu items

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Stephen Colbert's Americone Dream

My favorite political comedian and my favorite (store bought) ice cream come together at last. Last week Ben & Jerry announced a new ice cream flavor in honor of The Comedy Central comedian called Stephen Colbert's Americone Dream. It's vanilla ice cream with fudge-covered waffle cone pieces and caramel. Ben & Jerry jokingly refer to it as "The sweet taste of liberty in your mouth". Colbert, who spoofs flag-waving conservatives on his show, The Colbert Report, is donating his proceeds to charity through the new Stephen Colbert Americone Dream Fund, which will distribute the money to various causes. Being the type of individual who is easily fixated on things I began looking for the new flavor at grocery stores in the Orange County area. After being unable to find it, I only wanted it more! I've since visited the Ben & Jerry's shop at The Block in Orange and a couple more grocery stores and I am still unable to locate the new flavor. Any of you foodies out there seen it?

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Bangkok Taste

This is qiuckly becoming my favorite place to eat. These days if I don't eat at Bangkok Taste at least once a week, then something seems amiss. Located in a strip mall in Santa Ana, Bangkok Taste has consistenly churned out fabulous Thai dishes such as Larb and Pad Thai.

Their curries are also excellent, their Yellow Curry with Chicken and Potatoes is still my favorite. If you manage to save a little room for dessert I'd recommend the Sticky Rice with Mango, which is one of my favorite desserts and I'm not even particularly fond of mangos. When you pop in be sure to checkout what their daily specials are, as they are usually not on the menu. Also make sure to not order your dishes extra spicy unless you're positive you can handle it, otherwise you'll be drinking water by the gallon.

Bangkok Taste is located at:
2737 N Grand Ave
Santa Ana, CA 92705
(714) 532-2216

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

New Shanghai Closing Soon

I was told by the boss at New Shanghai that the restaurant is sold and that it will be closed end of February. I don't know if the new owner will take over the restaurant and runs it as is or it will be closed down and reopened as another new restaurant. Either way, I am very sad because New Shanghai is definitely one of my favorite Chinese restaurants in Irvine. In fact, it's the only Shanghainese restaurant around that serves cheap and very decent food.

For those who love New Shanghai, the clock is ticking, so go there and load up on the special menu items on weekends or for lunch/dinner.

I love their weekend brunch menu and here are some of my favorites:

Yau Char Kway/Chinese Doughnut. This goes very well with their soy bean milk.

Fiery hot noodles soup.

Wine and sweet rice ball dessert.

Jiao Zhi/dumplings.
New Shanghai
5408 Walnut Ave # B
Irvine, CA 92604
Open until midnight every night

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Chowhound Orange County?

If you're like me, you occasionally visit, click down on Boards, and curse a little, silently under your breath, about how Orange County has been subsumed into "Los Angeles Area". Then you type "orange county" into the search bar, read a few posts, and then wonder why you can't RSS subscribe to the search results even though can subscribe to the "Los Angeles Area" board as a whole. And then you read a bit about Yahoo Pipes, and realize you can DIY.

Okay, maybe you're not like me. But maybe you'd still like to just read just Chowhound's Orange County related posts in your own newsreader or personalized homepage. Here's a link to the pipe I've made- you can see and edit the search terms if you'd like by making your own copy of the pipe and editing. Hope you enjoy it.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

La Calle

I'm not sure where to begin. I had read good things about this restaurant tucked deep into a tiny strip mall years prior, but every time I happened to be in the area the place was closed. These days however, it is now my good fortune to live a hop, skip, and a jump away from what may be the best Mexican food I've ever had.

The first thing I'd highly reccomend ordering is the Panbaso, which is a soft bollillo roll dipped in a mild red sauce, filled with chorizo and potatoes, and topped with lettuce, sour cream, and green salsa. This is quite simply delicious...and at only a few dollars a pop you can't afford not to try one. The Potato and Chorizo Tacos in a hard shell (also shown above) are also especially tasty.

I'd also recommend you try the Chicarron (deep fried pork skin) Quesadilla. The crisp homemade dough is finished with lettuce, cotija cheese, green salsa, and sour cream and is light years away from any quesadilla I've ever eaten.

The Carne Asada Tacos (shown above) are also great, as are the Mole Enchiladas. I'm slowly beganing to work my way through the entire menu and I have yet to try a dish I haven't thoroughly enjoyed. The place boasts a new name now (El Moctezuma #3), but the food (I'm told) is still the same muy excelente comida as always.

La Calle (or El Moctezuma #3) is located at:
1740 W. Chapman Ave. Orange, 92868
Tel: (714) 456-0800

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Thursday, February 8, 2007

Sage Restaurant (Newport Beach) - LA-OC Foodie's Report

After hearing about Newport Beach Restaurant Week last month on this very blog, I knew it would be a good excuse to check out some OC dining at a discounted price (during Restaurant Week, 3-course lunches are $12.95, and 3-course dinners $26.95.) As I scroll through the list of participating restaurants, which include the usual popular suspects such as Newport Beach Brewing Company, Rusty Pelican and chains French 75 & Daily Grill, my eyes fell upon Sage Restaurant and its sister Sage on the Coast. At first, I thought they're rivaling/piggybacking the Stinking Rose with their own herb, but upon seeing their menus online I realized the restaurants specialized in "creative American cuisines" with a nod to Pan-Asian and Mediterranean styles. Interested, and relieved it wasn't "let's put sage in, on and around everything", I made my reservation and took a trip to Sage (not Sage on the Coast, which was a bit further south in Newport).

Sage Restaurant is in the corner of the Eastbluffs Village Plaza, which has a small collection of shops and eateries and is anchored by CVS & Ralphs. The interior is both cozy and airy at the same time: dimmed lighting, blond wood floors with cream-and-sage colored walls and nondescript plants and paintings in a dining space that seats about . I went on a weekday around 8 p.m., and the crowd was pretty much professionals and colleagues having afterwork dinner, along with a few mature couples and foursomes.
Normally I don't talk much about bread (let alone take pictures of them), but the warm, sage-infused foccacia here are something special - a nice crust with a soft texture and a green grassy, slightly-minty perfume of sage, just strong enough against the accompanying garlicky hummus-like spread.

Shortly afterwards, my wine (a light, crisp & fragrant
albarino) arrived with my appetizer:
Spicy ahi tuna spring rolls with a sweet-spicy sauce with asian slaw - I had higher expectations of the bite-sized rolls, which, while light and crispy, turned out have fairly bland and dry fillings and I had to submerge each in the soy-based sauce (a cheap trick, in my opinion) to make them kind of palatable. But I did love the slaw, bespeckled with toasted sesame seeds and tossed in a wonderful fruity, nutty dressing. If it was me, I'd rather bill and build the starter as "heaven-on-earth Asian slaw, accompanied with tuna rolls", but that could be just me.

Having mixed feelings already, my entree came:
Herb-crusted salmon over risotto with leeks, peas, beans and mushrooms with a champagne-saffron cream sauce. A bit clichéd but Holy crap! This is frickin' delish! The buttery and slightly salty salmon melds wonderfully with the sublimely aromatic sauce, and the creamy vegetable risotto side dish are better than most of the risotto main courses I've had at other places. Even though I tend to be mindful of how much
refined carbs I'm eating, I can't help but take another half-slice of the bread to mop up the rest of sauce, risotto bits and stray flakes of salmon.

The wine paired well enough with the courses so far, even though in hindsight I should've chosen something a little more full-bodied (despite my love affair for lesser known, fragrant whites).
Wrapping up it all up, a vanilla cheesecake with creme anglaise and a citrus salad. The cheesecake was light and airy (as opposed to the dense NY style ones) with good vanilla flavors, and the oranges and grapefruits were good for rounding off the palate.

And so concludes my experience @ Sage Restaurant - all in all I really like the place and the food. I do feel just a little young and under-dresseed for the occasion, but when all your senses are locked upon great food and not how other diners are looking at you - who cares?

The Bill:
Three-course prix-fixe: $26.95
Wine: $8
Pretax/tip total: $34.95

The Rating:
Ambience: 3/5 (A nice, cozy place with nothing particularly remarkable. Tables spaced just a little too close for my comfort)
Value: 4/5 (For this event, I think the prices are more than reasonable -- perhaps less so for their regular menu which I also looked at, where a dinner can run around $35-50 a person, without drinks)
Service: 7/10 (Staff was prompt, efficient and attentive, but not particularly beyond-the-call-of-duty stellar and there was a bit of a lag time between courses)
Food: 16.5/20 (Lovin' it overall! The only downer was the spicy ahi tuna spring rolls)
Bonus/Demerit: +.5 for a perfectly-portioned prix-fixe (most others I've had is WAY too much food, this one left me thoroughly satisfied, but not bloatingly full.)
Overall: 31/40 (Worth the trip if in the area or for a slightly upscale occasion.)

Other notes:
*keep your change & small bills at home - ample free parking in the lot (thanks to Ralphs/CVS)
*according to the Website, they also have a small plates, small tastes menu (reminds me of tapas) ~ I didn't notice it when I was looking at my regular menu, so probably best to call them up on it.
*Sage on the Coast, on the other hand, offers a reasonably-priced prix-fixe menu year round ($30 , $40 with paired wines)

Sage Restaurant
2531 Eastbluff Dr
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 718-9650

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Sunday, February 4, 2007


After a late night I tend to wake up craving hangover remedies like pho or pozole. The typical eggs and bacon just don't seem to cut it for me these days, but then again Jagerhaus doesn't serve your average breakfast. This past weekend I packed up the family and headed to Anaheim to partake in an authentic German breakfast.

I started off with the German Apple Pancakes, a moist fluffy apple-stuffed pancake topped with powdered sugar is eons away from the sort of pancake you'd get at ihop. The pancake is accompanied by a delicous homemade apple jam that also goes great on toast. I also sampled some of the Fresh Corned Beef Hash and Eggs with Tomatoes plate and the Farmers Breakfast (Ham, Bacon, Onion, Potato, and Eggs). It's worth noting just how good and different from the norm the bacon (not greasy in the least) and the corned beef hash are.

The last time I was here for breakfast I ordered the German Omelette (with Polish Sausage or Brautwurst) with Sauerkraut and Onions and it was as good as I imagined it would be. The Crailsheimer Potato Pancakes with Applesauce are also especially delicious. I can never manage to save room for dessert and if you're hoping to I'd suggest you bring your appitite.

Jagerhaus is located at:
2525 East Ball Road at 57 Fwy
Anaheim, CA 92806

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