Friday, January 21, 2011

M is for....

Meat - Fellow blogger Griffin and I checked out a new place in Mission Viejo aptly named The Meat House. It's their second location in Orange County (first being Costa Mesa). Plans are already in the works for a Brea site. Their goal: 10 OC spots to choose between. World domination to extend to Northern California. They are primarily found along the East coast. Surprisingly, no reviews on Yelp to date. Who wants to be first?

Go for the quality beef, tasty morsels to sample, lovely variety of specialty items and carry out service (they insist!). We were informed they are well known for their marinades. I purchased a pound of bacon sliced to order. While it was a $9 dent in our wallet, Mr. brekkie fan cannot stop raving about its superiority. The website doesn't give a street address, so here it is:

23982 Alicia Parkway (cross street Jeronimo)
inside The Gateway Shopping Center

Microwave - We were fed up with our old one (came with our home) and were determined to purchase one this week. Note to self: mounted microwaves are tougher to find, require a drill and an extra body to help install. Thank you, Whirlpool, for making our reheating a little less cumbersome.

Mental - Like crazy/beautiful. Last week I attended a sneak preview of taco asylum. With tweets uploading on a flat screen monitor and indie soda & canned beers available, they are pushing the non-conformist envelope. Pleasing for both vegans and meat eaters, be sure to check out their FREE valet service at lunch. It gets even better: dual Happy Hours! (2-6p/9-11p). With such a, ahem, disturbing theme, I wonder if HH is the most desirable way to describe such a time. How about "involuntary commitment hour"?

More to come . . .

Friday, January 14, 2011

3 for free this weekend

Is there really so much going on that I have to post twice in one day? Yep.

If you're a relatively early riser, then stop by Chick fil-A at the Market Place in Irvine or The District at Tustin Legacy. From 8:30-10:30am they will be holding a pajama party. Show up in your comfy duds and receive a free original or spicy chicken biscuit. Saturday only, as they are closed Sundays. This brekkie fan will be in a sky blue waffle knit robe and sweats.

Waking up later? Stop by Bloomingdales at Fashion Island. The Home Store (on the 3rd floor of The Atrium) has 4 cooking demos starting at 11am. Local chefs will be showing their swagger in the kitchen. Here's the line up.

  • 11am - Chef Sam Tila from Royal Thai Cuisine
  • noon - Chef Rich Mead from Sage Restaurant
  • 1pm - Chef Steven Nyugen from Ten Asian Bistro
  • 2pm - Chef Zov Karamardian from Zov's Bistro

Did Saturday pass you by? That's alright. There's still time to catch the tail end of the Irvine Korean American Day Festival. Held at the Irvine Civic Center, there will be artwork on display, performances to enjoy, and cuisine to lunch on. A 'how-to' seminar on making kimchi is featured. Plus, what festival wouldn't be complete without a visit from a food truck? Kogi BBQ is scheduled to be taking orders.

Enjoy the holiday weekend.

I Watch TV - Part Two (or Clark & Couponing)

I found myself watching The Nate Berkus Show last week and realizing that it's not just about home decorating (You know, like how Bull Durham isn't really about baseball.). The episode I caught featured consumer advocate Clark Howard discussing how to save at warehouse clubs. Here's a few tips I learned.

  • Save money by splitting a membership with a friend. Cut your annual fees in half! Just make sure you are listing the same address for both of you. That's the key.
  • We all know a membership is not required to dine at Costco's "food court", but did you know the same also goes for the pharmacy? It's true. Bring your prescriptions and know you are paying some of the best possible prices.
  • Even warehouse stores have sales, they just don't communicate them the same way. At Sam's Club, the price will end in "1". BJ's Wholesale Club will use the word "clearance". Costco displays an asterisk "*" and list the item as "x.97"

The other show I was excited about was Extreme Couponing. The concept of clipping coupons never seemed like enough of a cost savings until I watched the profiles of four people. They all purchased basic grocery/personal care products and saved hundreds at the register. Amazing! While a great deal of time and energy is involved to generate the kind of savings they experienced, each has found a method that works for them. Joanie Demer (aka The Krazy Coupon Lady) is the person I've started following for advice.

On KCL's website they break down the various ways to save. There's a beginner's guide, sections for the major discount stores, links for all current coupons available, and even a place to brag about your shopping exploits. I'm even hoping to purchase the book in the not-so-distant future.

One term I finally caught on to after reading it so many times was Catalina. Being in Southern California, you can imagine my confusion. In grocery talk, Catalinas are coupons printed at the register after your transaction is complete. The name refers to the company that manufactures the machines. Typically, the savings are for upcoming promotions that expire in the next month or so.

The other thing KCL taught me was exactly how stacking works. The combined use of both a store *and* manufacturer coupon drives down the cost of whatever you're purchasing. The research in matching coupons to stores and sales is where it can be exhausting. The clipping of coupons can be a chore too, unless you pay for a service.

Try sharing a warehouse club membership or going to a store that accepts double coupons. Both acts can provide savings you wouldn't normally have in your pocket. That's what I think, but you don't have to take MY word for it.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I watch TV - Part One (or Burgers & Mac)

My name is brekkie fan, and I watch (what I consider to be too much) TV.

So much, in fact, that I'm going to pack topics so this does not turn into a television blog with food taking a supporting role. Get your mind out of the gutter if you started thinking food porn. Sheesh.

I read that Bob's Burgers was Executive Producer Jim Dauterive's way of filling the void after King of the Hill's cancellation. It premieres tonight on FOX and is about, "a man, his family and his burger joint". Offhand, I cannot recall another animated series that revolved around food. Maybe you know one?

Join Bob Belcher on his neighborhood quest to outdo Jimmy Pesto's Pizzeria. Or the kids (Tina, Gene, Louise) and their Wagstaff Middle School adventures. Perhaps wife Linda managing the roles of mother and wife will be most interesting. Only one way to find out.

To go with your burger, may I recommend some macaroni & cheese? You know what I'm talking about. The first of many projects for the rediscovered Ted Williams. Gotta admire an individual who can turn his career around. He's like John Travolta in Pulp Fiction, a comeback kid.

That's what's for dinner tonight.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Another reason to visit SoBeCa - Taco Asylum coming next week

Native Foods has been stationed there the longest, providing vegans a hipster alternative. East/Borough offers Vietnamese sandwiches without being in Westminster. Mesa is my LA dining experience. Milk & Honey is a sweet ending to anything. What else could I possibly want?

South On Bristol Entertainment Culture Arts is about to debut the next destination in Costa Mesa culinary culture. Taco Asylum, from the creators of Haven Gastropub, just announced a January 13 opening date. Before you start deciding between lengua and carne asada, know that this is neither OC chain (Wahoo's, Rubio's, Del Taco) nor the kind found in your OG food trucks. That was not a typo, by the way.

Per their Facebook fan page, here's what foodies can expect:

o grilled octopus – flour tortilla, kalamata olives, oregano, feta, tomatoes $5

o escolar – cabernet tortilla, aioli, green cabbage slaw $5

o pork belly – flour tortilla, carrots, daikon, onions, cilantro $5

o short rib – flour tortilla, pickled red onion, salsa verde, cotija cheese, cilantro $5

o curried paneer – naan tortilla, raita, tomato chutney $5

o wild mushroom – herbed tortilla, mushrooms, garbanzo puree, parsley salad, fried chickpeas $5

o lamb – flour tortilla, olive tapenade, ratatouille, mâché $6

o duck – flour tortilla, camembert, dijon crème fraîche $6

o corazon – flour tortilla, pickled turnips and peppers, harissa $5

o ghost chili pork – flour tortilla, chili threads, pork cracklins $5

This 50 seat dining space will be open daily from 11 to 11. 24 craft beers and a selection of bottled sodas were specifically selected by Beverage Director Wil Dee to complement the international selections.

Gotta go. Need to block out my calendar for Thursday and start the weekend.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy January!

In July of 2009 I was on a road trip up Highway 1 with Mr. brekkie fan. During the drive home, I started making a list on a piece of cardboard with a Sharpie. I kept that list in a place that forced me to look at it every day. Last week I took that list and narrowed the 20 items down to 3. Three "recurring events" that I wanted to focus on doing more often. They are jog, blog, and floss. I suppose you can label them resolutions. If I am able to avoid the sore throat slash asthma attack creeping up on me, I think accomplishing all items twice this week is entirely possible (knock on wood).

This month is all about celebrations and new beginnings. Restaurants are opening. Sales are making room for spring inventory.
My favorite shows on USA Network are starting up again. There's even a birthday to plan. I'm pretty excited. My only dilemma was what to blog about first? The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf decided for me.

Did you know that January is National Tea Month? While most others opt for coffee, I am in LOVE with this aromatic beverage. When you have Chinese, dim sum or Japanese, what do they always provide on the table? The Ritz-Carlton is known for their uppity afternoon service. Stores like Teavana are demystifying one's understanding of tea the same way Starbucks did for coffee. It can be soothing or energizing. It can be green, black, white or red. When used correctly, tea can even reduce puffiness around your eyes.

Here are a few fun facts to mull over the next time you sit down to a hot cuppa.

  • All tea comes from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis
  • The antioxidants in two cups of black tea are equivalent to one glass of red wine, seven glasses of OJ, and 20 glasses of apple juice
  • Tea can be used to soothe burns and sunburns. Put wet teabags on the affected areas or keep in place with gauze.
  • One teaspoon of loose tea is an easy way to measure out the perfect amount. Hence, the term, teaspoon!

My dear,
if you could give me a cup of tea

to clear my muddle of a head I
should better
understand your affairs.