Sunday, June 27, 2010

That's what he said. (Robert Irvine)


This Wednesday’s Dinner Impossible is probably one of the toughest Robert Irvine has ever done. He was more than happy to share some of the fishy details during the Food and Wine Festival at Disney’s California Adventure. While his storytelling is much more compelling, I will cut to the chase and give some highlights.

  • 45 hungry clients at Blackberry Farm, a Relais & Chateau property
  • Cooking ‘Rocky Mountain’ style
  • Running out of gas
  • Purifying their own water
  • Catching all the food (to cook), via fly fishing
  • 1 fish caught in an hour, after falling in a lake
  • Finishing at 11:30pm

Besides some fabulous tidbits into this week's mission, Chef Irvine also served up some advice on kitchen techniques.

Grape seed oil - Burns at such high temperatures, he considers it the best to cook with.

Mounting butter - Whisking cold butter into any water-based sauce at the end of cooking, giving the sauce a thicker body and a glossy shine. Highly recommended when sauces are not to your liking.

Paprika + 1/4 cup water + simmering for 3 hours = something special

And a final spoiler: Look out for Restaurant: Impossible in the not-so-distant future!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Food trucking with purpose

We all need to make a living. Pay our bills, support our family and so forth. I noticed that the trucks in my area are now conducting double duty with their appearances. Not only are they saving on overhead (by not being a traditional brick & mortar) and earning their keep, but their placement says even more about them than just "pick me, choose me, love me" Sorry, that was a quote from Grey's Anatomy. Here are three examples.

Crepes Bonaparte: Currently collaborating with Working Wardrobes and their retail outlet, The Hanger. Gaston and his cordial crew will be showing their wares during the store's "Wild Wednesdays" beginning June 30. Each Wednesday will be dedicated to a different location, with Brea receiving them first. For those not familiar with WW, they are an independent nonprofit organization providing career development and wardrobe services to men and women in need.

Louks: Spotted participating in Glow Fest at Disney's California Adventure. The Magic Kingdom has gone trending and invited Aki Vourakis and his gourmet Greek menu to DCA for five weeks this summer. When Mickey and Friends start knocking, you know you've arrived. Also slated to appear next month, my friends at Barcelona On The Go.

Taco Dawg, Piaggio On Wheels, Oh For Sweets Sake, Calbi, etc.: All attending Social Media Day on June 30 at the Orange County Register offices in Santa Ana. Not quite a holiday, but one where we acknowledge how sites like Twitter and Facebook have affected the way we communicate today. A groundbreaking event, these trucks are perfect examples of how social networking has allowed them to thrive. Speakers, networking and food. Sounds ideal to me.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Friendly advice on visiting your dentist

I am very fortunate to be in my 30s and not possess a single cavity (hear that? that's me knocking on my dining table). My semi-annual trips to Gentle Dental have had their share of ups and downs, but I've managed to conquer some of the anxiety that comes with them. Hope this helps you too.

Piece of advice (poa) #1 - Don't wear white.
When you're receiving that teeth cleaning (or deep cleaning, depending on who you are), stuff is flying. Water, cleaner, bits of food painfully scraped out. You name it. If you value that t-shirt or have to be somewhere afterwards, do yourself a favor and wear earth tones, darker clothes, or articles you don't mind getting stained. It reminds me of my first NYC trip. My friend was booking front row tickets to Stomp. The agent informed her to "wear clothing that you wouldn't mind getting wet". Um, yeah.

poa #2 - Bring your iPod.
(or similar mp3 player) My doctor's office is pretty sweet in that they have both radio music wafting throughout *and* movies playing in each patient room. None of that elevator/Muzak noise. I find myself wanting to watch the ending of a film all the time. However, when they get started on my chompers, nothing is more effective at drowning them out than some reliable tunes. And shutting your eyes.

poa #3 - Scheduling right after lunch.
You're only as efficient as the people around you. Often times, morning appointments are either running late or emergency drop-ins. Either way they are impeding on your face time with the dentist. Most offices are best to visit right after their lunch hour. Staff is refreshed. Nobody is ahead of you. It's go time. If nothing else, do this one.

poa #4 - Have a place to eat right after.
Now be honest. Do you hold off on eating that next meal until after the appointment? It's normal (unless you're one of those who packs a toothbrush). You may have the urge to visit the nearest drive-thru. If that's the case, go ahead. Make it a reward. As my husband would say, "If you're gonna eat bad, it better taste good". My closest options are a mall food court, Mexican fast food, and a cafe across the street. Gives me something to look forward to after all is said and done.