MeatUp BBQ Celebrates 4th Anniversary Thursday with Epic Event!

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Placentia’s MeatUp BBQ will celebrate it’s 4th Anniversary Thursday Night with a beer event that will be one to remember … but, with beers this heavy, some might not!

Owner Luis Flores curates a beer event each month with a select brewery, but for the 4th Anniversary he’s opening up the taps to an array of his favorite breweries. The list includes:

ūüćļ¬†Bottle Logic 2018 Fundamental Observation, 13.2%
ūüćļ¬†Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. 8th Anniversary Sidecar Barley Wine, 12.5%
ūüćļ¬†Phantom Carriage Bavmorda Barley Wine, 10.2%
ūüćļ¬†4 Sons Self Taught Rye Coconut Amber, 16.3%
ūüćļ¬†El Segundo Imperial Revolucion, 9.3%
ūüćļ¬†Alesmith Sap Ness Monster Speedway Stout, 13%
ūüćļ¬†Good Beer Company Unlit, 8.5%
ūüćļ¬†Barley Forge The Black Dahlia aged in cognac barrels, 11%
ūüćļ¬†Epic 2018 Quadruple Barrel Big Bad Baptist, 11.7%
ūüćļ¬†Karl Strauss Bourbon Vanilla Wreck Alley Imperial Stout, 10%

They’ll also have a¬†Limited Edition 4th Anniversary Glass¬†to¬†keep, awesome raffles &¬†the return of¬†THE TEXAS CHOPPED MEAT SANDWICH!!

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It‚Äôs 2 split lobster rolls packed with hickory-smoked meats including brisket, pulled pork and bratwurst, plus bacon, pickles, and their signature Cracked Pepper BBQ!! It’s enough to feed 2 people, or someone really, really hungry!

MEAT UP BBQ 4TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY
5-10 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31
1450 N. Kraemer Blvd., Placentia
meatupbbq.com

P.S.: If you’re looking for a feast for the BIG GAME this Sunday, they also offer a killer package:

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$20 3-Course Lunch at Lido Bottle Works

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Newport Beach Restaurant Week runs now through Sunday, Jan. 27, featuring an array of Newport’s best restaurants offering delicious multi-course meals at special prices.

Lido Bottle Works on Newport Harbor is offering a $20 3-Course Lunch as part of this special event!

It includes:

FIRST COURSE
Soup du Jour or Charred Eggplant Hummus

SECOND COURSE
Crispy Jidori Chicken Sandwich or Gem Lettuce Salad

THIRD COURSE
Chocolate Mousse or House Spun Ice Cream

A few things you should know before you go … the soup changes daily (hence the name, and it’s always delicious)! I’m also partial to Chef Amy Lebrun’s¬†Crispy Jidori Chicken Sandwich because it’s marinated in Thai flavors and dressed with spicy peppers and cilantro! The Gem Lettuce Salad features amazing polenta croutons and a smokey ancho/honey chili paste.

It’s probably worth making reservations for 2 so you can try a little bit of everything.

Reservations & Restaurant Info: LidoBottleWorks.com

3 Tacos to Get Your Hands on This #NationalTacoDay

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Today’s¬†not just any Taco Tuesday, it’s National Taco (Tues)Day and for that we celebrate. The noble taco is always there to provide sustenance, a¬†trusty fallback and often an equally trusty fall-forward if we can call¬†it that. I just love tacos. And I’m pretty sure you do too.

In honor of the day, here’s 3 tacos to get your hands on this #NationalTacoDay:

Chorizo Breakfast Tacos at Alta Baja Market (above)
4th Street Market, 201 E. 4th St., Santa Ana
www.altabajamarket.com

Alta Baja Market’s menu¬†is full of Southwestern inspiration. Especially so on the weekends when the brunch menu features sweet or¬†savory versions of New Mexican blue corn waffles, plus some seriously overstuffed breakfast tacos.

ABM co-owner Delilah Snell’s kitchen features the best local ingredients. She makes her own¬†preserves, pickles and other goodies, and¬†she puts the same care into these amazing tacos by using the world’s most perfect flour tortillas from Burritos La Palma, chorizo (of the gods) by Electric City Butcher, delicious Gonestraw Farm Eggs and house made pico de gallo. Austin, we see you.


 

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Falafel Taco at Falasophy
Menu & Schedule: www.falasophy.com

No taco has been as unique to me this year as Rashad Moumneh’s Falafel Taco at Falasophy. His #FalafelChariot, aka the food truck he runs between OC and LA, doles out delicious twists on falafel and hummus to vegetarians, vegans and carnivores alike.

The taco’s components are well thought out: an El Metate flour tortilla cradling pineapple-juice pickled jalapenos for a mild bite, serrano chile crema for spicy-cool interplay and pickled cabbage for acidic crunch, all surrounding three golden, herbaceous falafels. The dish even landed at No. 33 on OC Weekly’s Top 100 Dishes of 2016, picked by “Taco USA” author and Editor-In Chief Gustavo Arellano. Quite the stamp of approval!


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Tahini Chicken Tacos at Zov’s
Locations throughout Orange County
www.zovs.com

2016 Golden Foodie Awards Chef of the Year Zov Karamardian is known for her blend of Mediterranean and French cuisines, but it’s her take on the chicken taco that had me swooning last year when I discovered these tasty bites on her Happy Hour menu in Anaheim.

The chicken is “spiced,” as it’s described on the menu, and I can’t really say what’s going on here except that it’s tasty and succulent. A mix of veggies, herbs and micro greens add a zip of freshness, with red pepper aioli and tahini providing a tasty sauce to tie all of the flavors together.

With the Ducks season about to start, these are a smart bet before the game, plus parking is validated for the entirety of the game so you can park and walk or Uber over. Tacos that basically pay for themselves … I’m in.

3 Golden Foodie Award nominees you should know

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Sunday marks the fifth annual Golden Foodie Awards at the Fairmont Newport Beach. The Orange County Restaurant Association’s premiere event features regionally¬†and nationally-regarded celebrity chefs, tons of great food and an awards gala honoring the best in Orange County’s culinary world.

It was a big year for Orange County chefs and their restaurants, and this year’s show will be themed¬†to honor both the legendary¬†chefs who paved the way and the trailblazers of today. Three of the restaurants Knife & Spork Public Relations works with are nominated this year. Whether they bring home Golden Foodies or not, here’s why you should know them:

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Zov Karamardian of Zov’s Restaurants
Nominated for Chef of the Year
zovs.com

There’s a handful of pioneering female¬†chefs in Orange County (thankfully, more so today), and Zov Karamardian is one of them. Her blend of Middle Eastern flavors and French influences have garnered¬†local enthusiasts for 30 years come 2017.¬†What started as one cafe in Tustin has grown to restaurants in Anaheim, Irvine, Newport Coast and Tustin, with a first-ever South Orange County location in San Clemente in the works.

While trends come and go, Zov manages to remain on trend year after year, adapting versatile menus that highlight her style of cooking while always showcasing what’s hot now, too. The Stadium Menu at Zov’s Anaheim is exemplary of her ability to reframe familiar classics including pizza, tacos and burgers in unique ways.

In late 2015 she cooked at the James Beard House in New York for the third time in her career and Zov’s was named the 2015 Small Business of the Year by the State of California for the 37th Senate District.¬†In 2016, Zov founded #ZovsFamilyTable, pairing with local nonprofits to provide healthy family meals to Orange County families.

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Falasophy
Falafel & Hummus Bar on Wheels
Nominated for Best Vegetarian
falasophy.com

Few food trucks on the road in Los Angeles and Orange County are as ingenious as Rashad Moumneh’s “Falafel Chariot.” The roaming falafel and hummus bar serves up Middle Eastern classics punched up with bold flavors and even bolder ideas. The former Taco Bell corporate executive started Falasophy with the idea of promoting plant power and, specifically, the nutritional powerhouse that is the noble¬†garbanzo bean.

Rashad’s falafels are crunchy bites of bright green heaven, but it’s not just how good they are, but how he uses them that sets Falasophy apart from the faux-lafel fakers¬†out there.

Try them in critically-acclaimed tacos, with pickled veggies and a spicy-cool crema, or shoved into a pita with Vietnamese-style veggies just like a banh mi. There isn’t much like this on the streets, so a stop at Falasophy is a must. Schedule here:¬†http://falasophy.com/#schedule.

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Grits owners Cody Storts and Darlene and Erik Arevalo.

Grits Fullerton
Nominated for Best Beer Selection
gritsfullerton.com

Grits Fullerton and beer go together like maple syrup and fish sauce, look it up. Boozie puts together a killer beer selection with taps and bottles from craft breweries near and far, complementing the “American-Food-on-Acid” style of¬†cuisine¬†Chef Cody Storts is known for.

Their ability to source great beer is best exemplified in their ambitious, themed beer dinners, which have seen the Grits crew pair with some of the best breweries in the country including Stone Brewing Co., The Bruery/Bruery Terreaux, Noble Ale Works, Golden Road and Sierra Nevada. Cody asks the breweries to truly dig into their archive or create new takes on beers they may be working on already.

The results are never disappointing, and even led to the creation of the best beer I’ve had all year‚ÄĒ”Poop Goes the Weasel” by Noble Ale Works during Grits’ “Blood & Guts” dinner. It’s a civet-poop coffee stout that I couldn’t get enough of. There were only 6 gallons made and it went fast. If I had a glass, I’d raise it!

Congratulations to the nominees!!

Grits’ “California Love” Beer Dinner highlights the Golden State in 6 plates

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So far this year, Grits Fullerton‘s beer dinners have seen Chef Cody Storts explore, among several themes, Blood & Guts with Noble Ale Works and The Dirty South with Golden Road Brewing. But he had yet to properly mine¬†his home state of California for inspiration.

For the¬†“California Love” beer dinner Sept. 9, the Grits crew set out to prove why the West Coast is the Best Coast.

They¬†tapped Chico, California’s¬†Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, their Barrel Room and popular Beer Camp series for six beers to pair with courses highlighting the traditional twists and out-of-bounds ideas Chef Cody’s known for.
Read more…

This Wu-Tang Clan Pop-Up Dinner Was Nothin’ to F#!K With

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I’ve been looking forward to Chef Linh Nguyen’s Wu-Tang Clan pop up at Mesa Lounge since he announced it earlier this summer. I grew up listening to the Wu, Shaolin’s finest rap collective, and can still rap the entirety of the song “Triumph”‚ÄĒthough a few lines get a little hazy these days.

The same goes for Nguyen, who might as well have come from the 37th Chamber. His love for these beats and rhymes goes back to when he was 10 years old. Inspired by¬†music and memories, Nguyen‚ÄĒalong with Ashley Guzman, his former cohort at the North Left, and current Pastry Queen at Irenia‚ÄĒdelved deep into their¬†catalogue to deliver 6 fresh cuts complete with drink pairings.

Nguyen, who is¬†Foodbeast’s house chef, told us he’s about to become Executive Chef again somewhere in Santa Ana. If this is the kind of creativity he’s producing, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Orange County next.¬† … Read more…

Grits Fullerton hosts “California Love” beer dinner with Sierra Nevada Sept. 9

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It’s going down Sept. 9 at Grits Fullerton! The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company Barrel Room will unleash some valued treasures for the One-Night-Only “California Love”-themed beer dinner by Chef Cody Storts.

RESERVE¬†YOUR SEATS before they’re gone at www.gritsfullerton.com by selecting 6:30 P.M. SEPT. 9 on their¬†reservations page ‚ÄĒDinner is $100 per person plus tax & tip.

YOUR CHANCE TO WIN: Visit this post on their Facebook page for a chance to win 2 seats at the dinner, just by sharing the post! See you there Orange County!!

Celebrating 10 Years of Break of Dawn

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When Chef Dee Nguyen opened Break of Dawn 10 years ago in Laguna Hills, the city was a culinary nowhere, sprinkled with chain restaurants and casual cafes, but few spaces that would constitute upscale dining. Even Break of Dawn itself opened with a menu as far from it’s current iteration as could possibly be.

Dee hawked pho and banh mi in his early days before abandoning that approach for the globally-inspired menu of today that brings us tempura fried eggs with pork belly and kimchi, lamb ragu with spaetlze and feta cheese, French toast with Mexican chocolate creme brulee, and more.

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AUGUST 2015

Break of Dawn exists because of Berlin, son of Dee and his wife Linh. Berlin requires daily medical care due to complications with a surgery he had when he was a baby, so Dee left his job at the Ritz to open a brunch restaurant, ensuring he would be home every night for dinner.

It’s incredible what Dee’s accomplished in a decade, especially considering that the restaurant has never been his first priority. Every day he plays a role far greater than restaurant owner, and a large percentage of the frequent diners who adore his cooking may never know how this drives him.

Not only does Break of Dawn turn 10 this year but¬†Berlin begins high school, an even greater milestone moment for the Nguyen¬†family. … Read more…

2016 Golden Foodie Awards Voter Guide

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Summer’s winding down and we’re headed into the final¬†third of 2016. It’s an election year, and you’re going to be faced with a tough decision this year, like you are every election year … Who will you pick to win at the 2016 Golden Foodie Awards?

Orange County’s premiere foodies-choice awards show returns this September and voting is live now! Use our handy Voter’s Guide to help you with your pics for several categories of voting, which take place Aug. 1-21, 2016.

We represent several clients who may be great for a specific category, so we’ll list them all and the decision will be yours based on what you like to eat and where. Thanks for your support!

CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR THE 2016 GOLDEN FOODIE AWARDS!!

Aug. 1-7, 2016:

Best American: Grits Fullerton
Best Vegetarian: Falasophy
Best Bartender: Cesar Cerrudo, Anepalco
Best Italian Food: Pizza e Vino
Best Mexican: Anepalco
Best Pizza: Pizza e Vino

Aug. 8-14, 2016: 

Best Mediterranean: Zov’s
Best Beer Selection: Grits Fullerton
Best Burger: The Beach Barrel, Grits Fullerton or Zov’s
Best Californian: Falasophy
Best Service: Anepalco or Zov’s

Aug. 15-21, 2016
Best New Restaurant: Grits Fullerton
Best Cocktails: Anepalco or Zov’s
Best Dessert: Zov’s
Best Wine: Pizza e Vino

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Break of Dawn gets RAW, again; looks ahead to Filipino pop-up

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This Saturday, July 16, Chef Dee Nguyen of Laguna Hills’ Break of Dawn will unveil his latest pop-up themed “Pinoy Summer,” a journey through Filipino cuisine. While I’m sad I’ll¬†miss Saturday’s event, I did have the pleasure of dining in late May at his “RAW 2” dinner, a second stab at a concept he masterminded¬†last year with Daniel Doki Kim, now of Sushi Roku.

No menu or descriptions of the dishes were provided. For the many prix-fixe meals I’ve been to, I definitely enjoy this element of surprise. It’s something Grits Fullerton Chef Cody Storts pulled off well with his recent “Blood & Guts” dinner with Noble Ale Works, and I hope the trend of mystery dinners continues to grow. (Speaking of which, did anyone else grab a ticket to Foodbeast Chef Linh Nguyen’s “Wu-Tang” pop-up at Mesa in August? Talk about ‘Raaaaawwwww.’)

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Dee’s dinner felt like a summation of everything he’s¬†done since the first RAW, from a trip through South America to foraging the hills and beaches of Orange County. As cliche as it sounds to say he gets better every time, he really does‚ÄĒcreating a style of Asian-influenced global cuisine like nobody else in O.C.

He did post the dishes on Facebook after the event, so everything is accurate to what we ate, though some¬†of the ingredients were things I couldn’t have imagined because I’d never heard of or eaten them before. Keep reading¬†for pictures of each course (and a few surprise guests!) …

Read more…