Being a non-meat eater I’m a huge fan of “Meatless Monday” becoming a thing. Mainly because I feel its raising awareness about the awesome dishes possible without having a formerly living creature in the recipe (tehehehehe).On a given Monday it’s always super exciting to see all the different recipes and dishes being showcased in the interwebs! Jackfruit tacos, DIY chickpea veggie patties, tofu nuggets – oh my! Little by little the rest of the world is being exposed to the lavish lifestyle non meat eating tastebuds are subjected to.
Usually others will ask “OMG how can you live without meat? It’s so delicious blah blah blah.” The answer is now becoming clearer to them. I’ll be showcasing some of my fave dishes from a local gem of mine you can make your new Meatless Monday go to’s.
Habana, a beloved restaurant among locals to Costa Mesa for over 20 years, just opened a new location in Irvine. This lavish new spot opened its doors to the public a couple months ago and after scoping out the images of the design on Google, I couldn’t turn down an invite to taste their brunch.
Executive Chef Alex Moreno tells me that this has been a 3-year long project to get the second location running, but good things come to those who wait!
Over the weekend our friends over at L.A. Paella Catering invited us to visit them at the inaugural Paella Wine and Beer Festival in Orange County. Paella, wine & beer? Of course I would join! It was a beautiful day at the OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa and I could smell the paellas on the other side of the parking lot. Maybe it was the 80 degree weather or perhaps it was the red hot competition, nonetheless the aromas had me dreaming of winning the contest and the trip to Spain.
After much debate and consideration I was able to narrow down the awesome (pescatarian friendly) bites and beverages from AltaMed’s East LA Meets Napa & La Rioja as well as OC Meets Napa & Mexico. The events were incredible fundraisers with proceeds supporting health care for uninsured patients (from AltaMed). I couldn’t believe how huge the event was and was happily jumping from one table to the next in my attempts to try everything.
The favorite cocktail of the evening was The Botanist Gin and Tonic. This G&T incorporates fresh muddled cucumber for a very refreshing taste! Favorite treats included Mary’s Fried Chicken Strips, Margherita Flatbread, Vegetarian Flatbread and the Mushroom and Mozzarella Flatbread.
We’re already in talks to host another event with them, so stay tuned to the Weekly Wanderlust Column for the next collaboration with Hooch!
Ginger here: Every time I visit Houston my friends take me to wherever Chef Ryan Hildebrand is behind the pass. That place used to be the upscale Triniti restaurant, but since it recently closed Chef Hildebrand has gone in the opposite direction, to the land of burgers and brews (or what I’ve seen described as “road trip inspired food”). But please don’t confuse FM Kitchen and Bar with your average gas station and roadside diner food! The food at FM is leaps and bounds above quickie road-side fare!
In fact, the burger is so mouth-watering that it won a blind taste-test conducted by staff at the Houston Press, and if you think that’s fake news then consider this: I prefer not to eat burgers often for health reasons and yet I ate this burger twice in a 3-day period (the second time in my car during the 3.5 hour drive back to Dallas) and my nephew dragged his father to FM four times in one week for the burger while mother was out of town.
Order your burger as a single or double with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and secret Shhh sauce (so darn good!) and, instead of the standard fries, pair it with a side of hush puppies or tater tots. I think the burger is a must, but there are plenty of other tasty non-beef items like the fried shrimp and hush-puppy plate (add a side of smothered green beans for some veggies) or the lemon-thyme brick chicken.
You can’t leave without trying one of the cocktails (all under $9), like the strong but refreshing Watermelon Mule made with melon vodka, fresh watermelon and ginger beer or the Farmhouse Tea with TX Ranger whiskey, lemon and tea.
Have room for dessert? Then try a virgin shake for the kiddos or a loaded shake with shots of alcohol for the hard-working adults. You can work off the calories by playing yard games on the patio while listening to live music.
Carla here: Hey all! I’ve been a pescetarian for more than 7 years now and yet my love for burgers has never left my side.Burgers without meat are always better since they have to try a little harder. #fact.
I am beyond blessed to have the absolute best vegetarian burger in OC down the street from my home. May I present to you… Burger Parlor’s Portland Burger.Contrary to most vegetarian options, a veggie doesn’t replace the meat patty. At Burger Parlor, a square of fried mozzarella is the patty that brings envy to all your pals eating cows. The pickled carrots, sprouts and arugula are greatcompanions as well, but the marinated beets really get you to flavor-town.
Friends, please don’t be scared of beets — they are amazing when done right! The onion rings here are beer battered, which make them of the softer variety and beautifully melt in your mouth. If you want to be a little healthier Burger Parlor allows you to get any of their burgers in salad form or, if cheese isn’t your thing, you could also sub any of the patties for a portobello mushroom. Also, try the shakes, they get slept on way too often!
Paula here: We are now officially in the middle of summer, which means we are embarking on fresh delicious veggie season! Beans, corn, sugar snaps, and of course… zucchini!
Zucchini is such a versatile vegetable. You can make anything with it! From sweet zucchini breads to my personal fave Pesto and Goat Cheese Stuffed Zucchini. Luckily, it’s super easy to make and a perfect addition to any summertime BBQ.
Pesto and Goat Cheese Stuffed Zucchini
-2 large zucchini sliced thin and length wise
-1/4 cup basil pesto
-1/2 cup goat cheese
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-salt and pepper to taste
First either fire up your BBQ or start heating up the grill on your stove. Brush the zucchini with olive oil, both sides and place on the grill. Make sure you get those beautiful grill marks. Cook for about 5 minutes on medium high then flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Transfer to a cool plate and set aside for 10 minutes until it has cooled down.
Next, spread a good amount of pesto over each zucchini slice. At the thicker end of the zucchini place some goat cheese. Don’t be shy, goat cheese is life. Once all of that is done start rolling the slice, starting with the goat cheese side, and secure each one with a toothpick. Sprinkle with salt and pepper then chill in the fridge for an hour. Such a great little appetizer! Enjoy!
Stay tuned for next week when we feature a Bay Area Bakery and an upcoming event from our friends at Thrillist.
In the north end of Orange County lies the beautiful city of Fullerton. While this opinion may be slightly skewed since I’ve lived here for more than half my life, Fullerton really is pretty. This time of year the Jacarandas are in full bloom so Downtown Fullerton looks extra gorgeous with all the purple trees against the old historic buildings. Slidebar is one of those buildings and is filled with musical history from OC. Memorabilia from tons of huge rock bands pepper the walls and give the place a cool vibe.
I always feel my best when I’m following a pescatarian diet. I may post the best burgers in town, but in my off time, I try to limit my proteins to ocean and plant based ones. When I was invited to taste items from the Hermosa Beach Fish Shop menu I was relieved, cause after so many meat-packed tastings, I was excited to try some lighter bites.
WTF! Weekly Taco Feature that is. Who Song & Larry’s in Orange, California, has created a weekly taco menu with the most interesting flavors ever seen in taco form. It’s not your typical taco Tuesday – mostly because it’s only available on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. W.T.F… get it?
We headed to their media tasting event to check out what they have in store for restaurant-goers, and were seriously impressed by what we were served!
You’ll enjoy creations like The Silent Lamb, a braised lamb taco with fava beans; short rib tacos; shrimp po’boy tacos; a Caprese concoction with rice paper “tortilla”; and The Shroom taco, pictured below, an amazing vegan taco with portobello mushrooms, asparagus, and “bacon” bits.
Perhaps the star of the show was The Big Dripper, inspired by Chef Vegas’ days when he would end a shift at two a.m. and join his fellow chefs at the local food truck meet up. He would get a burger from one of the trucks with a fried egg on it, with a yolk so runny he had to lean over a trash can to eat it, or it would run all down his arms. Here was born The Big Dripper, a corn tortilla topped with a sunny side up egg, Serrano ham, and shaved Parmesan. Definitely, eat this one while leaning over your plate! We loved every single one taco we were served, so we suggest you try them all!
And of course, they made equally delicious signature cocktail pairings for their tacos. Our favorites were the Strawberry Moon, a moonshine mixer that goes down sweet and smooth like lemonade, and the Agua Fresca, a delightful cucumber refresher.
Get these weekly featured tacos every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at Who Song and Larry’s In Orange, CA.