May 29, 2013

Maple Bacon Chocolate

It's blog post #99! One blog post away from the most incredible piece of work ever written on the face of this earth!!! OK, maybe it won't be that good, but it will definitely be a good read. In any case, what I have for you today is as simple as the title of this post. Chocolate with bits of bacon and hints of maple. Or is it that simple?

While some say you can put chocolate with anything, I disagree with that. There are some things I just don't want with chocolate. But, the idea of mixing chocolate with bacon has intrigued me. In fact, this bar of chocolate wasn't even my first run-in with this dastardly duo.

Every year around this time, the city of Garden Grove, CA has a strawberry festival. It's kind of like a state fair, except on a much smaller scale. You have a few small roller coasters, carnival games, and of course, lots and lots of food. One of the many eateries was selling chocolate covered bacon. I figured 'what the hell' and decided to give it a try. After two bites, I found the nearest trash can and threw that vile abomination away.

The strip of chocolate-bacon was almost ice cold. The bacon itself wasn't crisp, so I was chewing cold, stringy bacon. The chocolate tasted like they just melted down a bunch of bars of Hershey's or something like that. Just a complete cluster-fuck!

As bad as that was, it didn't scare me off of the idea. I figured some one-eyed, inbred carny had made that thing. If I ever saw a bacon-chocolate piece made from a reputable chocolate company, I would give it a try. Sure enough, as I'm strolling through my local grocery store, I see this chocolate bar from the company Chuao. I had heard of this company before and knew they had good chocolate. I couldn't find any reason not to try it at this point.

I broke off a small piece and took my first bite. The chocolate was a milk chocolate, probably around 30%. It had a softer mouth feel to it. The first flavors you get are from the bacon. You get that bit of saltiness right away, but it's not overpowering. As you chew, you can feel the small bits of bacon in the chocolate. They aren't large pieces, but you know it's there. After the hit of savory, you get the maple flavor at the end.

Overall, it's a good piece of chocolate.

Since I work around chocolate everyday, it's not a big deal for me. But for someone that doesn't, and likes to keep a little sweetness around the house, this could be a good buy for you. It's different, but in a good way.

If you are looking for a change in your chocolate routine, give this a try. Or give me a call. ;)

I'm out.

May 21, 2013

Cali Tacos

Welcome back for blog post #98! This one is going to be another quickie because I got bidnis to take care of. That's right, I said BIDNIS, not BUSINESS! Anyway, to start this one off, I have to back-track a little so you get an idea of how I found this place.

A little over a month ago, I bought a bicycle. I bought it for a few reasons, but the best part about buying it is that I've been able to get a little exercise out of it. On my days off from work, I'll usually go ride somewhere not too far for lunch or just to the park. During these rides, I've passed by a lot of places I didn't even realize that were there. This happened to be one of those places.

A banner on the outside of this place said it had some of the best burritos in San Diego. That sounded like a good enough reason for me to try it.

When I stepped in the restaurant, I walked up to the counter and started reading the menu. On it, they stated that they served the breakfast burritos all day. Personally, I'm always on the lookout for a good breakfast burrito. The girl working there told me about a couple of their higher selling burritos. They sounded good, but they weren't what I was in the mood for. I chose to go with a sausage and potato burrito.

After about 4 or 5 minutes, my burrito was done. The girl at the counter told me she put all 3 salsas in the bag to see which one I would like. That was a nice touch. :)

I took my food and rode over to the Starbucks I had intended on going to. I got my drink and sat outside. I opened my bag and this is what I was looking at:

This was a big burrito. It felt like it weighed around 1lb. In my opinion, ALL breakfast burritos should be this size! If you can't bludgeon a small dog to death with it, it's not big enough!

These are the salsas I got:

Like most places, red equals hotter and green equals mild. Those two were ok. The one at the bottom is what I would call a chipotle cream sauce. That sauce was rockin'! I would've licked that sauce off one of Oprah's old ass titties!

After a couple bites, when you get past all the tortilla at the end, I got to the goodies. was... well, see for yourself:

This burrito basically had 4 ingredients. Sausage, egg, potatoes, and cheese. The first 3 ingredients were basically mashed together. While the taste wasn't bad, it did have a real funky mouth-feel to it. There was almost no texture differential at all. Just soft, slightly oily filling from front to back. If I wasn't as hungry as I was, I don't think I would have finished it.

It didn't taste bad, but I like texture. I like seeing the layers of food. I like for the ingredients to be able to come together, yet still be good enough to stand on their own.

If I do go to this place again, maybe I'll just order tacos. Especially since "tacos" is part of their name.

Cali Tacos

1639 W Chapman Ave
Orange, CA 92868

(714) 912-4888

I'm out.

May 14, 2013

Surfas Culinary District

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

I'm Out!

May 8, 2013

Portola Coffee Lab

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. 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:

2.  Really???
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! 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!"

Sad...Very sad.

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
3313 Hyland Ave.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(949) 284-0596

Thanks for telling me about this one Lindsey!

I'm out!