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Brunch with a view at Back Bay Bistro

Posted by on Mar 30, 2018 in Dining | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of the venue I’m not one to indulge in buffets very often, mostly because I don’t have that large of an appetite. But, I was recently invited to a brunch buffet at Back Bay Bistro in Newport Beach. And, since my last outing there about a year earlier for a small event had been a thoroughly enjoyable one, I gladly accepted and brought along my friend, Kathy. Kathy, it should be noted, is a fantastic candy and dessert maker. More about that later. If you’re not familiar with Back Bay Bistro, it’s understandable as it’s tucked away on Back Bay Drive, just off of Jamboree next to Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort. You’d never even know a restaurant was hidden there… a restaurant with a relaxing marina view and a wide-open, light-filled interior perfect for...

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Celebrating Spring at Farmhouse Restaurant

Posted by on Jun 21, 2017 in Dining, Uncategorized | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of the venue I don’t know about you, but for me the luxury of living in an area with weather that permits year round outdoor dining is one of my favorite things about living in Orange County. And judging by the wait time to get a seat at the relatively new, Farmhouse at Roger’s Garden, I am not alone in this sentiment. Since its opening last year, I’ve had an increasingly difficult time getting in to this, one of my favorite new spots. With lines for bar seating and long lead times for reservations, I consider it a real treat when I do get to dine here. So, when invited to a preview of Chef Rich Mead’s new Spring Menu, there was no way I was not going. There’s a reason for this. Farmhouse,...

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The Boss Baby: Something for Everyone

Posted by on Mar 31, 2017 in Film | 0 comments

  Earlier this month, my sister, Shan and I, along with a group of L.A. mom’s, dad’s and kids, attended a screening of DreamWorks’ “The Boss Baby”, an adorable, touching, and hilarious animated movie adapted from Marla Frazee’s acclaimed children’s book of the same name. The screening was followed by a Q & A with Lisa Kudrow, Director Tom McGrath, and Producer Ramsey Ann Naito, moderated by Denise Albert and Melissa Gerstein, AKA TheMOMS. I am a long time fan of the smart, funny, beautiful Lisa Kudrow, so I was psyched to hear a little about what went on behind the scenes. And as a bonus, we got a snapshot into Kudrow’s mind. For a quick peek, take a look at this video where she answers rapid-fire questions from The MOMS in 60 seconds. So what about the movie?...

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Chocolate Passion Fruit Tart Recipe

Posted by on May 5, 2016 in Recipes | 0 comments

  What to do when you are invited to a dinner party with foodie friends and you’re charged with making dessert? Especially when you spend far more time contemplating the savory side of a menu than the sweet side. This was my challenge one recent Friday evening. And I wanted to bring my A game. While it seems almost everyone loves chocolate for dessert, I lean towards something with fruit. And this got me thinking about a memorable sweet treat I had tried recently… a passion fruit filled chocolate. The tropical tang of the passion fruit is so unique and one of my all time favorites. Combine it with dark chocolate and it’s a match made in heaven. After a little thought, I decided to make a Chocolate Passion Fruit Tart. And while it’s been several years since I’ve...

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A “Sneak Beak” at The Angry Birds Movie

Posted by on Mar 9, 2016 in Entertainment, Film | 0 comments

 We attended as a guest of Sony What happens when you sit comedians Jason Sudeikis (“We’re the Millers”, “Horrible Bosses”), Josh Gad (“Frozen”, “The Book of Mormon”), Danny McBride (“Despicable Me”, “Tropic Thunder”) and Bill Hader (“Saturday Night Live”, “Inside Out”) down together for a sneak peek screening of their “The Angry Birds Movie” and a Q & A led by Producer, John Cohen (“Despicable Me”)? A lot of laughs that’s what. And presumably with the comedic chops of the cast, Directors Fergal Reilly “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs”) and Clay Katis (“Frozen” animator) and writer, Jon Vitti (“The Simpsons”, “King of the Hill”) there will also be plenty of laughs in the movie as well set to open in May. With over 3 billion downloads, it’s safe to say most anyone with a cell phone has at...

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Cooking with Fig & Olive: The Cuisine of the French Riviera

Posted by on Feb 24, 2016 in Family, Recipes | 0 comments

  Well, it’s the New Year. The holidays are behind us and if my Facebook news feed is any indication, I’m not the only one looking to get serious about eating right after a month long blow out. Okay, it might have been two months. The timing could not have been better to receive a copy of Fig & Olive, The Cuisine of the French Riviera. This bi-coastal restaurant shares many of the recipes that have made it a popular dining destination. The recipes feature fresh, colorful ingredients with flavorful olive oils used in place of butter and cream. After flipping through and considering recipes to try out for dinner such as Whole Branzino stuffed with lemon, rosemary, thyme and garlic; Côte de Boeuf With Olive Oil Bérnaise; and Seared Orange Scallops with carrot purée, I came upon Francine’s...

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Newport Beach Restaurant Week

Posted by on Jan 18, 2016 in Dining, Events | 0 comments

 Explore the Newport Beach Culinary Scene During Dine NB Restaurant Week If you’re anything like me, you have a list of restaurants you keep meaning to try, but just haven’t quite gotten around to. The good news? Newport Beach Restaurant Week gives you not just an excuse, but an excellent incentive by way of some great deals on prix fixe lunch and dinner menus to hit a few of the places that are on your list. Celebrating its 10th year, Newport Beach Restaurant Week is the longest running Restaurant Week event in Orange County. For two full weeks you are invited to enjoy great deals while sampling the menus of some of the areas most popular restaurants. The event begins Monday, January 18th and runs through Sunday, January 31st with lunches range from $10 to $25 and dinners ranging...

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Lightening It Up With White Bean Salad

Posted by on Nov 25, 2015 in Recipes | 0 comments

  With the holidays almost here overindulging is a certainty for me. Creamy buttery mashed potatoes with Madeira gravy, Italian sausage dressing, turkey skin… my favorite part of the bird, and that’s really just a glimpse of the gluttony I fall prey to. After a couple of days of this sin, I need a break. Something lighter and healthier starts to sound really appealing. Something like White Bean Salad. High in protein and low in fat, white beans are the perfect size, shape and texture to mix with vegetables and greens to create a delicious and satisfying meal or side dish. The bean salad keeps well and can be eaten cold or warm temperature, and best of all it’s easy and you can add pretty much any raw vegetables that appeal to you. I like to start with cooked...

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Chicken Tortilla-less Soup Recipe

Posted by on Sep 18, 2015 in Recipes | 0 comments

  I’m calling this recipe my Tortilla-less Soup. I forgot the tortillas and honestly, this healthy soup doesn’t need them. Boasting tons of flavor from fresh vegetables, cumin, and roasting juices, it’s a light soup that’s easy to make and easy on the figure. Here are a few tips for making the soup: Cook the chicken breasts in advance until just done and then shred in long strips with the grain. To prevent chicken from becoming overcooked do not add into the soup until near the end, giving it just enough time to warm up. As the cooked chicken breasts rests, they will form juices. Be sure to add these juices to the soup. It’s a real flavor boost! For a textural difference, I like to julienne the vegetables rather than dice them. There is something so satisfying about...

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Quick and Easy Moroccan Spiced Wings

Posted by on Sep 10, 2015 in Recipes | 0 comments

  Wings and football just go together. Here’s a quick and simple recipe for Moroccan Spiced Wings perfect for game day. These crowd pleasers require four ingredients, a grill, and minimal prep. While pretty much any rub you like will work, one of my recent discoveries that I absolutely love is the Moroccan Spice Rub from Spice Merchants in Laguna Beach. This blend of garlic, onion, chilies, sea salt, bay leaf, and spices such as cumin, clove, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon, and ginger is perfect for grilled wings and a departure from the usual. They’re addicting. A few tips: If party wings aren’t available at your grocer, simply buy whole wings, remove the tips, which can be frozen and reserved for stock, and cut the wings at the joint. Dry wings before seasoning with kosher salt. Allow to sit for...

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Smoky Corn and Shrimp Chowder

Posted by on Aug 26, 2015 in Recipes | 0 comments

  Soup… I love soup. Even in the summer. While usually I’ll go for the chilled soups when it’s hot out, say an Andalusian gazpacho or a chilled summer squash yogurt dill soup, when the weather cools down a bit, like it did this past Sunday, chowders start to sound good to me. And what could make a better summer chowder than a corn and shrimp chowder? Usually when I see chowders they have potatoes in them, but corn is already carb heavy so I figured I’d ditch the potatoes and come up with a way of making it creamy, but still chunky without them. I prefer my chowders a little more on the brothy side anyway. So with that I came up with my own version. This one has bacon, and smoked paprika giving it a smoky flavor...

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A Sneak Peek Into This Year’s Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival

Posted by on Aug 25, 2015 in Dining, Events, Featured | 0 comments

 We attended the preview as a guest of the NBWFF What could be better than spending a warm summer evening over looking the harbor on the gorgeous back patio of a home in Corona Del Mar? How about adding small bites of amazing dishes prepared by some of the area’s most esteemed chefs along with refreshing cocktails and a selection of sensational wines. Such was the scene at The Preview for The Second Annual Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival where we were treated to the creations of more than a dozen local chefs who will be dazzling guests at the upcoming Wine and Food Festival scheduled for October 3rd and 4th. This highly anticipated event will feature 30 different local chefs… 15 each day so that both Saturday and Sunday are a unique experience for guests. In addition to delicious...

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Dining In the Vineyards at Welk Resorts and Spa in San Diego

Posted by on Jul 7, 2015 in Dining, Featured, San Diego, Travel | 0 comments

 We attended as a guest of the resort Before there was Donny and Marie, even before there was Sonny and Cher… there was Lawrence Welk. the legendary host of his own self named variety show, which launched in 1951 and aired for three decades. While best known as an entertainer and big band he also became the owner of what is now Welk Resorts and Spa in the early 80’s. Recently, we were invited to dine “under the stars” in the Lawrence Welk Vineyard in Escondido at the Welk Resorts and Spa and celebrate Welk’s new craft beer and wines produced in collaboration with partners Iron Fist Brewing Co. and Belle Marie Winery. A stay at one of the resort’s villas following the tasting was included in the invitation, thankfully! Join us on a photo tour of his resort...

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Bringing Art to Life: Festival of Arts & Pageant of the Masters

Posted by on Jun 24, 2015 in Events, Featured | 0 comments

 We attended a media preview For 82 years, Laguna Beach’s The Festival of the Arts has played host to the world famous Pageant of the Masters, delighting audiences with awe inspiring realistic recreations of both classical and contemporary art works casting real people within each living picture. Set to a score performed live by The Pageant’s own orchestra, with each picture narrated outdoors in the Irvine Bowl set amidst the trees, The Pageant is one of Orange County’s most anticipated events by both attendees and the hundreds of volunteers that create the magic each night during the summer. This summer’s theme, The Pursuit of Happiness will bring an international feel with art works from American artists as well as other countries and cultures. Says Pageant Director Diane Challis Davy, “The desire for happiness, is integral to being human. Today...

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Soul Satisfying Spaghetti Carbonara With Brussels Sprout Leaves

Posted by on Jun 14, 2015 in Recipes | 0 comments

  On a cool evening earlier this week, I was craving a comforting but easy dinner. I already had Brussels sprouts on my brain and was thinking about how good they’d be if I separated them into leaves and sautéed them with bacon and tossed them with a few toasted bread crumbs. Not exactly a meal, but fortunately I also had some Parmesan and eggs in the refrigerator and spaghetti in the pantry and realized I had the makings of Spaghetti Carbonara. A perfect place for my Brussels sprouts leaves I thought. While Spaghetti Carbonara is very simple dish, its success is all about timing because the pasta needs to be hot when the eggs are added so they cook. To accomplish this I like to get the pasta water boiling and then reduce the heat until I’m ready...

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The Ultimate Ranch Experience At Holman Ranch

Posted by on Jun 8, 2015 in Carmel, Travel | 0 comments

 We stayed as a guest of Holman Ranch Carmel is a favorite destination for wine lovers and nature lovers alike. With coastal area, a charming European style village full of restaurants, shops and galleries, vineyards set in the rustic valley, and Pacific Coast Highway beckoning it’s the perfect getaway weekend or vacation for couples or with a friend. Recently, my sister and I took a three-day trip up the coast spending our first afternoon and evening at Holman Ranch. After a leisurely drive up from Orange County, we checked in to our room, one of 10 on the ranch, caught up on a couple of emails and freshened up a bit. The rooms are bunkhouses that have been converted to ranch themed rooms in a beautiful rustic setting amidst dirt roads and trees. A very nice and peaceful getaway...

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The Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten Comes to Segerstrom

Posted by on May 7, 2015 in Entertainment, Theatre | 0 comments

  In a sea of Food Network’s celebrity chefs, The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten is a standout. Why do I adore her so? Is it because she turned her passion for entertaining into a career and successful business? Is it because she makes cooking delicious meals look so effortless? Is it that that you don’t have to be a trained chef or even that experienced of a cook to make her recipes work? Is it her simple yet elegant style? Is it that watching her show is a calming escape into a perfect world of lunch in the garden with friends and romantic date nights with her husband, Jeffrey? Yes. It’s all of these! Speaking of escaping, now I can escape into The Contessa’s world at The Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa where she will appear...

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Richard Blais Adds Sizzle To Baker Ranch Unveiling

Posted by on Feb 27, 2015 in Events, Giveaways, Recipes | 3 comments

 We attended as a guest of the venue Saturday Baker Ranch, Lake Forest’s resort style master-planned community went all out with a Grand Unveiling event featuring appetizers by Suzanne’s Catering, smoothies, tours of model homes by Toll Brothers and Shea Homes, plans for the community’s Promenade Park, live music, massages by Spa Gregorie, synchronized swimming demos, and my personal favorite part of the day, a cooking demo with Top Chef Winner and 2014 James Beard Award nominee, Richard Blais. Blais packed the beautifully equipped party room of Baker Ranch’s luxurious Grove Clubhouse charming his audience with humor and stories, providing tips on upping your cooking game should “Tony Bourdain show up” for dinner, all while walking us through how to make his gluten free pasta dish, Buckwheat Spaccatelli with Broccoli Pesto. This pesto was made with finely chopped broccoli...

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes With A Twist

Posted by on Feb 21, 2015 in Family, Recipes | 0 comments

   Without a doubt one of my top two favorite things in the world to do is spend an evening with family or friends or both cooking a wonderful meal. Two weeks ago my niece, Madi was on Christmas break from her first semester in college and I was beyond honored that she wanted to spend her very last evening home cooking a dinner with her mom and me. So what was Madi’s last dinner request? Chimichurri steak over arugula with roasted sweet potatoes. My sister Shan and I got to work on the chimichurri while Madi replicated her good friend Bryce’s sweet potato recipe. I have to admit I had my own idea of what I wanted my roasted sweet potatoes to taste like going in. Thyme, olive oil, salt… roasted. But Madi was raving about Bryce’s version...

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Disney’s Inspiring Film McFarland, USA Opens

Posted by on Feb 20, 2015 in Disney, Entertainment, Film | 0 comments

 We attended the screening as a guest of Disney For so many of us living in affluent Orange County, life is pretty comfortable. We have it really good. We have nice homes, drive nice cars, wear nice clothes, and there’s no shortage of food on our tables. And most of us probably give very little thought to how that food gets there. Based on a true story, Disney’s inspiring film McFarland, USA takes us into a world few of us have much exposure to or spend much time pondering… the world of the Latino picker. A world as foreign to us as to Coach Jim White who lands in the rundown small farming town of McFarland in California’s Central Valley with his family in tow after an unfortunate outburst of anger ends his job as a football coach in...

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