Oozefest 2016

OOOUUU. That Oozefest tho.

Alright, enough of that. Last year, I remember watching all the foodies have a blast at the now annual Oozefest put on by FoodBeast. Featuring restaurants that are already well known in the area of deliciousness, each one comes up with their own cheese filled/infused/topped/smothered creation for this event held in DTSA.

This year, it was my turn to live the dream. I arrived to the 4th Street Market area around 6pm and it was PACKED.

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The first thing I tried was Urbana‘s Choriqueso Dobladito Taco. It was a bite of heaven. I wont lie, the boyfriend and I went back and ended the night on this one. (Thank you Javier & Andrea of Urbana, it was great to see you again!) img_1938

Puesto‘s Pork Belly Goat Cheese Chorizo on Blue Corn Tortilla. (Pictured Left) There was literally grilled/burnt cheese wrapped around the pork belly, and made into a taco, topped with micro greens and a vinaigrette (but…perhaps just a citrus) type sauce. Phenomenal.

Queso Caliento Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Ghost Pepper Cheese from Elbows MNCThis mac was cheesy, spicy, topped with guacamole AND had a beef taquito sticking out of it. What more do you want in a bite? (pictured below).

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Honestly, after those I said, “I need to slow down.” But, the show must go on.

I had a slice of pizza with spaghetti on top (pictured below) and then I saw it. NACHO NATION. Serving up LA Pizza Nachos (also pictured below). Marinara, Pepperoni, Mozzarella, Jalapenos, Nacho Cheese, Ranch and Hot Cheetos. A thing of beauty and carbs, it was one of the longest lines there. So unique in taste, but once you start telling yourself “this doesn’t work” it starts to work in all the right ways. Heart eyes emoji for this one.

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If you’re wondering how I kept eating after this, I couldn’t tell you. I really impress myself sometimes. I continued with a Lobster Eggroll from Slapfish, and a Mozzarella stuffed and fried meatball from Sgt. Pepperoni’s Pizza, one of my favorite places in Newport Beach!

Writing this, I think I’m hungry all over again. If you have a chance to visit Oozefest next year, it’s a cheesy experience! No pun intended. If you did go –  What did you think? As for what I learned from Oozefest – Cheese makes me SO thirsty. Thank Goodness for Hubert’s Lemonade.

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OC Night Market 2016 Favorites

After several attempts, I finally made it over to the OC Night Market. Here are my favorites from this year and YES – you should go next year. ABSOLUTELY.

The Lowdown: 

Price: Reasonable ($5ish per place, per item). Admission is $5, Parking is $8 at the OC Fairgrounds.

Crowds/Lines: I went on a Friday night. Not too crowded, perfect amount of people.

Food/Drinks: Asian-inspired, novelty type creations. But, yummy. Only alcohol available was Kirin.

Shopping: Eh.

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First stop was Hotato Potato. I walked into the venue and immediately streamlined towards these spiralized potatoes on a stick. Cajun flavored, they were freshly fried and heavily coated with seasoning. Borderline “too salty”, I still devoured the entire stick. Worth it! Also, it pairs perfectly with beer. A great “appetizer” for the night of eating ahead.

Next stop was Squidies! I’ve been eyeing the iconic light bulb drinks on Instagram! They’re just too cute to pass up, and I was curious to try the smoothie itself. At about $7, you get the lighbulb glass, a light-up keychain and the drink of course (I got Mango!). I’d call it a deal. The line was long and they were really pumpin’ ’em out like crazy but I have to give them props for still having icy, cold, real fruit smoothies. At $3 for a refill, I wish I had a chance to go back and try the Lychee flavor. img_1342

Gotta show some love for the filipino booths at the night market. Boy in the Kitchen was serving up Kuya Bombs – Your choice of meat (Chicken Adobo, Kare Kare or Pork Asado) inside a ball of steamed rice then wrapped with a lumpia wrapper and deep fried. GET IN MY MOUTH.

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I wanted to try an item from one of the longest lines there, besides the giant fried squid. I went for some steam buns and WOW, they were as big as my face, authentic, warm and delicious. To end, we hit up Rolling Ice for the Thai rolled ice cream. They start out with milk and the ingredients for the ice cream, and once it’s well mixed, it’s poured onto a cold plate and spread around until frozen. Once it’s solid, they scrape the ice cream in strips with a spatula so that it creates little rolls. Not sure if it’s the look or the actual method, but this ice cream is LEGIT. So tasty, with bits of whatever you got in it. MUST TRY! Here’s a photo of my cookie butter bowl! img_1338There’s always next year, but I’m honestly concerned on how I can wait that long. Did you get to experience the night market? Let me know what you thought and what you tried!

Stadtgarten Fullerton

Downtown Fullerton’s newest addition, Stadtgarten, serves up “artisanal wurst & bier” – so naturally, I wanted to try it.

Located at what I call “the end” of Downtown Fullerton, where the Fox Theatre building is, there’s a new little corner area which is the home of Dripp (coffee, ice cream, etc.) & now, more recently, Stadtgarten.

It seems to be the first location in Southern California, so it’s pretty cool that Fullerton was the lucky winner of the home store. A short distance from Cal State Fullerton, and an eIMG_1165ven shorter drive from Fullerton College, this place is sure to get a lot of business.

The decor is very modern, mostly wood, and is epic in it’s Instagram worthiness. There is an outside seating area with picnic benches, lights and a fountain. You can also choose to eat inside on long communal tables. Very LA, it reminds me a lot of Wurstkuche.

I tried a bite of the Bratwurst (pork) and had a Polish (pork, beef) sausage to myself. A friend tried the Rabbit (w/veal), and boyfriend tried the Hungarian Kolbasa (pork). The sausage of your choice comes with two toppings, so I went for grilled onions and hot peppers. I wasn’t expecting two large red peppers laying across with the stems still intact, but I can’t say it wasn’t bad because I enjoyed it.

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It seems as though everyone enjoyed their sausages. They were fresh, juicy and had a nice snap to them. The bun was warm, soft and delightfully crusty. As for condiments, there are large squeeze bottles of mustard and ketchup on the tables. The spicy brown mustard was by far the best out of the bunch.

I wouldn’t call myself a beer person, based on my knowledge of which beers are good. However, I really liked the two I drank and it’s cool that each beer has it’s own unique branded glass to go with it.

The disappointment of the night was the giant German Pretzel. It was obviously stale, very tough and not even warm. To add, the special sauce we got to choose to go with it – avocado ranch – was still defrosting. There was literally ice in it. Never again!

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So, to end, would I go back? Probably, but mostly for the beer and to try the Frites which I now regret not ordering. The food overall was okay, service was eh, but I personally don’t find myself craving sausage over burgers anyway.

I would love to come back with a group of friends to have some brews while enjoying the outdoor garden. If you decide to spend some time here, let me know what you think – but maybe I’ll give Stadtgarten some time to work out the kinks before I return.

Sliders & Tiki Drinks at Hatch

IMG_1036For anyone that knows me personally, they know how I feel about sliders. I love appetizers, and I love burgers – therefore I’m obsessed with sliders.

My favorite places for sliders are The Pint House, DogHaus and Yard House (because they’re cheap during happy hour and you get three). Well, Hatch has been added to the list. Here’s why:

The Look & Feel: If it’s hipster, chances are I’m going to fan girl over it. Located at Union Market at The District (Tustin), this place is right up my alley. If you haven’t paid a visit to Union Market – you should! Lots of DELICIOUS, trendy food options in there. Hatch is located in the back, look for the sign and go left into a littler corner. IMG_1039The place is small, there’s about 5 booths inside, bar seating and an outside patio. Luckily, I was seated right away. The decor is 1950’s kitchen meets Hawaii. With classic surf songs playing in the back, it really is a treat. Such a pleasant atmosphere!

The Drinks: Who doesn’t love a good tiki drink? I would definitely take advantage of their 13 option cocktail menu instead of having a beer or something. I had a Donn’s Dream: Rum based, with other alcohols mixed together to create amazing-ness. Fruity, not too sweet, lime-y and strong. SO GOOD.

The Food: The deal here is you can choose 2 sliders and get 1/2 a side and a special sauce of your choosing for $14. They also offer Loco Moco for $10. You choose a slider from the following categories: Moo, Oink, Flap, Swim & Sprout. I went for The Hatch – beef patty, fried onions, hatch sauce, and cheddar. A classic approach, but outstanding! My second choice was the Fried Soft Shell Crab – fried crab, tomato, greens and togarashi aioli. This slider had so many textures and flavors within each bite. It’s definitely a must try! So crispy!

I was able to sneak a bite of a few others: Skirt Steak, Tonkatsu, Duck and Fried Oyster. Gotta eat ’em all – go with friends! Their fries are pretty good. I’m not a fan of shoestring fries, but they were crispy which I can appreciate. Oh and the sauces are a great addition, their Sriracha ketchup is a must!

If you happen to give this place a try, invite me.

 

The Hype – Raising Cane’s

Alright everyone, I’m going to start a new segment here on OC Grub. I promised in my first post that I’d let you know if a place was up to the hype or not (in my opinion, obviously). So, let’s start with the ever so popular Raising Cane’s!

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What do you know about Raising Cane’s? Without googling, I know it originated in Louisiana and that their fresh and never frozen fried chicken made it across the US slowly over time. And now, we have a couple locations in OC that have really sent foodies into a frenzy. For weeks all I saw on Instagram were photos of chicken strips and “crack” sauce.

Now, this place was all the rage probably more than a couple months ago. I was on a healthier…diet…at the time but I found myself at Raising Cane’s recently as a treat and decided I still wanted to share my thoughts.

The chicken: IS GOOD. They’re not lying. It’s freshly fried and not frozen. Not greasy, just golden, crispy deliciousness. The amount of seasoning is perfect, and the breading to meat ratio is on point. The best part is that when you take a bite, you see actual chicken, not mystery McNuggets. I will not be comparing Raising Cane’s to Chick-fil-A because you can’t. They’re different entities.

The sauce: IS OK. I’m unapologetically a sauce boss, I love sauces!  Everyone was about to faint over this sauce and to me, it’s not THAT good. It’s tasty, I used two of them LOL, but I expected it to be better. It kind of tastes like ketchup and mayo mixed together with tons of black pepper. Let me know what you think if you give it a try! IMG_1033

The sides: ARE GOOD. The crinkle cut fries were crispy and they’re a good size. The Texas toast was a real treat. It was oddly sweet, but also garlicky which in the end won me over. The coleslaw, I honestly had one bite and didn’t attempt to eat it after that.

The verdict: Raising Cane’s does NOT live up to the hype it received. But it does deserve recognition.

Honestly, I’m going to eat here again so I can’t say that it’s bad when it’s not. However, the hype they received was WAY over the top. This is still fast food, there’s a drive thru! With that said, knowing that I can get quality chicken strips without getting out of my car is dangerous!

 

The Big Cheese

Literally. Thanks to Del Taco!

If you haven’t heard, Del Taco has spruced up their tacos that everyone knows and secretly loves. Now called, The Del Taco, these new tacos are meatier and cheesier! They were nice enough to bring some of their new tacos to the OC Weekly offices during lunch time last week.

In honor of this promotion, they also delivered a 40 lb. edible work of art. WOW. IS THIS REAL LIFE?

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As I chose a taco (or three) out of the brown paper bags, you could immediately tell it’s a little on the heartier side. There’s more freshly grated cheddar cheese, more beef (or turkey, which I LOVE) and they’re crunchier!

Of course, you get the tomatoes and lettuce per usual. And let’s not forget about doubling up on Del Inferno sauce.

If this post made you hungry, and you have $1.39 then I’ll meet you at the drive-thru.

Tullamore D.E.W. Tasting

This past week, the brand ambassadors of Tullamore D.E.W. visited the OC Weekly offices. We were given an informational tasting, as well as lunch provided by Whole Foods.

How nice, right? Talk about work perks!

tully1First off, I’m not a Scotch/Bourbon/Whiskey drinker. I prefer “lighter” options like Vodka or Gin. However, Tullamore D.E.W. did such a fantastic job informing us about the process and it’s uniqueness that I’m honestly willing to refer it to anyone. Now that’s what I call great marketing!

Walking into the room where the tasting was being held, it was almost as if we entered the distillery itself. The smell was intense, but since it was 2pm on a Thursday, nobody was complaining.

We were able to experience three different bottles: Tullamore D.E.W. Original, the 12 Year Old Special Reserve, and the 15 Year Old Trilogy. All of them were very pleasant to drink straight, and incredibly smooth. The crowd favorite was the 12.

A huge thank you to Jane Maher, our guide for the afternoon! She was filled with information about Tullamore D.E.W. that kept us engaged and laughing the whole time. Originally from the distillery in Dublin, Jane is the newest US brand ambassador. You can follow her @Tullarmoredew_J on Instagram for more information on getting your #WhiskeyEducation on.