May 14, 2013
Glad you could stop by for post #97! I'm slowly working my way up to #100, which I can assure you, will knock your fucking socks off! For now, let's talk about a place I almost passed up.
Last blog post, I told you about the Portola Coffee Lab, a small coffee shop located in a hipster shopping center in Costa Mesa, CA. Upon finishing my coffee, I walked around the shopping center for a bit, just as a way to kill a little time. When I was ready to go, I got to the parking lot and noticed a few stores located on the other side. One store had a bunch of food related words like "Tasty" or "Savory" or "Crunchy" written on a banner. I figured there might be another small restaurant there, so I should probably give it a quick look before I head home. I am so glad I decided to stop by!
As I got closer, I saw the logo had a little chef hat and whisk. That seemed like a good sign to me. When I walked through the doors, my heart skipped a beat. This wasn't some little cafe, it was a restaurant supply store!
I can't speak for all the chefs out there, but, for me and most of my food biz cohorts, being in a restaurant supply store is like a kid in a candy store. You see all the tool and toys of a kitchen and think "I could use this in my house!" or "I could fit this somewhere in my kitchen.".
Then you start to ask yourself questions like:
How much do I have in my checking account right now?
Do I really need to pay bills this month?
When is the last time I treated myself to anything?
Why haven't I checked my bank account yet?!?!
Honestly, this place is a foodies dream. They have a specialty cheese section. They have a huge selection of specialty herbs and oils that you won't find at a regular grocery store. They sell frozen purees and chocolates that I have only seen on the professional side of cooking. Oh yeah, they also have every cooking tool you need to stock a kitchen. It was almost breathtaking! I think I was at full mast the entire time I was there!
When some of the blood returned to my brain, I noticed that they also had a small cafe connected to the store. I told myself I would stop by there after purchasing a few things for work and home.
In the end, I spent around $30 bucks or so. It took quite a bit of restraint to keep it that low.
When I got to the food area, this is what I was looking at:
To be honest, I didn't look that deeply into the menu. I saw a grilled cheese sandwich on there, and that was enough for me.
I made my order of a grilled cheese sandwich and an Arnold Palmer. I must say that the service at the cafe and the store were great. All the employees I came across were very friendly and ready for any question I had. They get a big thumbs up in that regard.
My drink came up first:
This was one of the better AP's I've had. Very refreshing, and, you could tell that the iced tea and lemonade would be good on their own.
When my food was up, this is what I saw:
And now for a slightly closer look:
The cheeses in the sandwich were on the lighter, creamier side of things. I know brie was in there. I'm not sure on the rest. I know, I really should take better notes! In fact, I should start taking notes!
While the cheese blend was good, the star of the show was the bread. It was whole wheat and had almond, pistachio and dried cranberries. The taste was familiar in some ways, but the sweetness from the cranberries was unexpected and brought a complexity to the whole sandwich. I wasn't sure that I liked that sweetness at first, but in the end, I felt it made sense.
The salad was about as fresh as it gets. It had a raspberry vinaigrette that worked very well against the creaminess of the cheese. As in many aspects of life, it's all about balance.
In the end, it was a great lunch. Not too heavy and full of flavor. You can't really ask for too much more. I guess a lap dance at the end would have really sealed the deal, but then again, I'm not sure I'm crazy enough to eat food from a strip club.
That's it for this one. Come back soon for more of my adventures in food and insanity. :)
Surfas Culinary District
3309 Hyland Ave
Costa Mesa, CA 92626 (714) 453-2665
May 8, 2013
Hi folks! I mean...Hi Everybody! Ugh...I'm going to level with you. I'm tired. It's late at night as I'm writing this and, odds are, my jokes might be a little lame this time around. Sorry in advance. Anyway, a friend at work named Lindsey turned me on to this coffee shop in Costa Mesa. So...here it is!
That last paragraph was bad. Sorry. Anyhoo....Lindsey told me that they make really good coffee, but, it's littered with hipsters. Ewww....hipsters are gross! And they smell like incense and urine! Yuck!!! I was going to make a few more hipster jokes, but I just saw something on the late news show that had me laughing almost to the point of tears. Oddly enough, it was a little related to these wonderful hipsters.
The news article I saw was about disillusioned twenty-somethings who have a miserable outlook on their future. My first thoughts were this:
4. Quit bitching, do your FUCKING JOB and SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!
For real, these little pansies were depressed because they weren't billionaires by the age of 25. How sad is that??? The thoughts of these pathetic bastards must go something like this:
"My life is such..a..epic..fail! I'm 23, went to college for 4 years, and what do I have to show for it? Nothing! All I have is my Prius and vegan girlfriend! My job is horrible and my boss is a Nazi! All the time he is telling me 'You can't wear sandals to work!' or 'Why can't you show up to work on time?'. Do you know how hard it is to wake up for work at 9 in the morning? It's fucking unbearable! Plus, this nazi wants me to shave my beard! No way bro! This beard is a part of me. This beard represents so much of me. I swear, if I don't make it big in the next 3 years, I'm just going to say 'fuck it, bro!' and walk away from it all!"
Back to the coffee!
So, this place has all the baristas in lab coats and a bunch of different ways to brew coffee. Ok, I think it's more like three ways to brew the beans, but, whatever. I'm tired.
One of their brewing techniques is done by using a siphon. Sounded cool to me, so I tried that one. When I ordered it, the guy working there gave me a description of how it worked and that it would be best to drink it without cream or sugar. I like strong coffee, so no problem there. He also said it would take 8-9 minutes for the order. That's cool too. I don't mind waiting for something freshly made.
Since I was going to be waiting for a few minutes, I ordered a cookie sandwich called the "Big O". It was made with mexican chocolate and had a buttercream center. While I didn't show my O-face after taking a bite, it was tasty and well made.
I walked around to the other side of the coffee stand to see my drink being made. Cool Stuff! I took the picture before he added the beans, but it's still cool looking.
When I got my drink, I got it on a fancy little tray. I was warned that the temp of the coffee was close to that of the sun, so I should take my time. I was also informed that I should just add a bit more coffee to the cup as it starts to cool. No problem there, either.
As a coffee lover, I would have to say that this is like the fine wine of coffees. While the overall strength of the coffee is on the lighter side, it makes up for it by having almost no bitterness. Without that bitterness, you are able to get all the little flavor nuances you wouldn't normally be able to get. It was a really unique and special experience.
While the coffee was very good, it did come at a price. It's not cheap at all. If you search for reviews of this place, that's one of the biggest gripes about it. Personally, I couldn't afford to drink their coffee everyday. But, I wouldn't mind treating myself to a cup every so often.
I almost forgot to mention that the place has a pretty cool vibe. Very upbeat with a wide variety of music being played over the speakers. I heard everything from Ice Cube to The White Stripes.
If you love coffee and don't mind a few stinky hipsters, I definitely recommend this place. In fact, I was planning on going there in the morning.
In other news, this is my 96th post! I know, it's not that special. It does mean that I'm creeping up on post 100, and I have something special planned for that one. I've been sitting on a post since last year that I've wanted to share, but I've been waiting for that right time. Plus, after post 100, I've got something up my sleeve that will have you checking back at all hours of the night! You'll have to come back to find out what's in store!
Here's some info on PCL:
Portola Coffee Lab
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Thanks for telling me about this one Lindsey!
April 29, 2013
I have to admit something to you today that I'm not exactly proud of. Maybe you can relate to this yourself, and you take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. If you can't relate to what I am about to tell you, then I ask that you don't judge me too harshly. And that 'something' that I am admitting to is this: Sometimes....I....give in to advertising! WHEW! I can't believe I finally said it out loud! A few of those bricks I've been carrying around can finally be lifted!
OK, maybe that was a tad dramatic. The truth is, there have been numerous fast food items that I've tried simply because I was beaten over the head with all the advertising for it! Sure, I'm not putting all the blame on a marketing campaign. There is thing called Self Control that I could have easily put into play. But, after seeing commercials for Taco Bell's Cantina Menu every single fucking commercial break, I lost it. I thought to myself one night "FUCK IT! I'LL TRY THIS FUCKING SHIT FROM TACO BELL AND MAYBE I WON'T HATE THESE GODDAMN COMMERCIALS SO FUCKING MUCH!"
So, after a shift from work, I stopped by TB and tried the Cantina Bowl. When I sat down with it, I honestly thought I was getting a salad. All I saw was lettuce and veggies. When I dug my fork in and started to mix everything around, I saw beans, rice and chicken. It kind of freaked me out, and I thought "What kind of fucking salad is this?!?!" Then I remembered that it's not a salad, it's a bowl. Once I pulled my head out of my ass, it was time to eat.
I can honestly say that I liked it. It didn't have that normal Taco Bell taste to it. The corn and beans stood out well on their own. The guacamole was a lot better than what they had previously been using. While it didn't create one harmonious flavor, all the individual elements shined bright. Not a bad meal at all.
Next up, we have the McWrap.
Now, I wasn't bludgeoned to death with advertising on this one, but the deal they pitched wasn't bad.
When McDonald's first introduced the McWrap, they were selling it for $2 each for the first week. A buddy at work had said that they were a good size and worth it for two bucks. So, why not give it a try?
They have three different flavors, but I only got two. I ordered the chicken & ranch and chicken & bacon. I was hungry, alright!
I took a bite, and in my opinion, it tasted like any other chicken sandwich from McDonald's. Except that it's in a tortilla. It didn't taste bad, but it just felt like more of the same.
For $2, I can't complain too much. I don't think that I'm willing to pay much for this wrap.
That's about it for this one. Well, not quite. Here is a picture of a note I found in my tool box at work.
Yeah, that put a smile on my face! Especially since I'm the farthest thing from a gangster and my lips aren't that big. But, it made me smile, and, I smiled the whole time I wrote this part. :) I know who wrote it, but I'm not gonna put her on blast. Thank you, who I won't name on here!