My favorite French Bubbles that leaves you hangover-less. No more Andre or Veuve Cliquot. After visiting this winery in France, this champagne blew my top off! Its available locally. The beauty is it's under $40. Read more
Even though I have been eating at Ramos House for years, for me, it continues to get better and better every time I go. The atmosphere has also become more refined and sophisticated. Just look at this food. It is truly artistic and really delicious. You must come hungry and you'll leave extremely happy. Check out the San Juan Mission across the tracks if you need to walk it off a bit.
Some of my other favorite dishes are the Mac n Cheese w/ Wild Mushrooms and Black Truffle, and the Basil Cured Salmon Lox w/ Toast Points and Baby Herbs.
I am so impressed with John, owner and chef. He has been opened since 1994 and I truly respect him for keeping tradition. It is a very special place and he hasn't tried to expand out of his historical gem.
Ramos House Cafe, 31752 Los Rios Street, San Juan Capistrano, 949 443-1342
Every year I look forward to going to the OC Fair. For the rides? Are you kidding me? No thank you.
I'm strictly all about the fare at the fair.
After getting jacked by buying a used ticket off of someone leaving the fair, we were ready to hit the wine bar!
As usual, it was super crowded and hot. Luckily, my brother had saved us a great table in the shade, so we were ready to start sampling!
A few blurry hours later, the kids arrived with their selection of the best fair foods. Every year I leave it up to them to pick their favorite greasy treats.
Here we go...
The rides scare the crap out of me, but I don't mind checking out the fantastic lights. Trust me, I know who puts those rides together...
Next event at the fair: Demolition Derby tonight with my Trucker girlfriends!!
Stay tuned, more fair food to follow!
What a wonderful treat to be invited over to this beautiful spot on the river. Lynn's deck is one you can hang on FOREVER.
We started the night with a delicious tequila cocktail garnished with a serrano chile. Of course the OCWino kept chowing on the chile. The cocktail was made with tequila, cucumber, sparkling water, with a touch of mint, parsley, and a squeeze of lime. Look at this beautiful presentation! It makes anybody want to mix one!
Dinner was fantastic. With peaches so incredibly sweet this season, Lynn decided to grill them on the BBQ along with lamb chops. They were served with heirloom tomatoes, mint, and creamy burrata cheese. The lamb was garnished with a homemade chimichurri sauce. She threw the whole thing on the table and we munched away.
The dessert was homemade vanilla ice cream from a local dairy, muddled blackberries, and the rest of the barbecued peaches. Look out Martha Stewart(And OCWino)! You got some competition out there.
Thank you Lynn for a lovely evening at your beautiful riverside abode!
The OCWino went on a two day road trip with her friend Lori Bassler Hayes up to Sun Valley. Below is a little photo journal of all the shenanigans and misdemeanors that occurred in the Mojave desert. Initially we planned to spend one night in Lake Tahoe, but due to a wrong turn on interstate 6, we ended up in the lovely town of Ely with only one hotel room to spare. It didn't have the glitz, but it was waay more adventurous with many laughs along the way.
4th of July, 5th of July, and 6th of July....
Yes it is true. For three days straight, I made these delicious crowd pleasing creamy margarita popsicles. They are tart yet sweet due to the condensed milk. It literally took me 2 minutes to complete the recipe (minus the effort squeezing the limes). In 8 hours flat, you have a delicious adult popsicle.
If you use a plastic cup or dixie cup, they un-mold really easily. With a lime at the base, they have a great presentation. A regular popsicle mold would be a tad bit overwhelming. You can find the popsicle sticks at most craft stores.
It is much more fun to make multiple flavors. We also made pina colada, grapefruit basil and vodka, and... the grand finale... boozy red white and blueberry cheesecake pops.
Although you might desire to add more booze to your popsicles, you can only have 20% alcohol in your recipe. Otherwise they won't be able to freeze.
1¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 8 limes), plus 4 limes for stabilizing the popsicle sticks
1 (14oz) can of sweetened condensed milk
1 cup water
¼ cup tequila
2 tablespoons tangerine juice (orange juice works as well)
Kosher salt or margarita salt
You will also need:
12 (3oz) Dixie cups (I couldn't find dixie cups so used plastic ones)
Small popsicle sticks or craft spoons
A pitcher or large cocktail shaker
Another lucky night with Ms. Pearl! We decided on Mozza Newport Beach, a go-to spot of the OC.
Transplanted from Los Angeles, this delicious italian pizzeria has delicious appetizers and even more phenomenal pizzas.
Nancy Silverton started with the concept in Los Angeles on Highland and Melrose. Starting with the Pizzeria Mozza then later launching the Osteria Mozza and completing the trifecta with Chi Spacca, Silverton decided to bring the concept to Newport Beach. It truly is a go-to spot for both locals and tourists.
Grace is our adorable server who helped us pair our wines with our ridiculous amount of food choices. Ms. Pearl asked for specifically since she was hosting the dinner.
It is a must to start with a dirty martini. They come with smooth bright green olives that taste like butter. Seriously, it's the best martini in town.
My favorite starters on the menu are the meatballs, bone marrow, and my new favorite Shishito Peppers with Mozzarella cheese.
To cleanse your palette, the arugula salad is a delicious respite before you order your massive amounts of pizza.
My favorite pizza is the white pizza with the fennel sausage. My son's favorite is the meat lover and my daughter's favorite is the margarita.
Some like to sit at tables, I prefer the bar. Particularly the wine bar or the pizza bar.
I also understand that their whole roasted chickens are to die for, however I've been too full every time to even try them.
It's great to try their many desserts. Going with a crowd lends you the capacity to sample so many delicious flavors.
Bar none, their Buffala Mozzarella is so delicious with their bread baked in olive oil.
The haricots verts and the shishito peppers are new additions to the menu, however they kill it with the addition of the addition of buffala mozzarella.
You definitely need to do a spin class a day after, but it is a great to spend a meal with friends.
Reservations are requested.
We ended our meal in a secret location drinking limoncello to settle our stomachs and top off the evening.
Mozza Pizzeria at 800 West Coast Highway, Newport Beach, CA
FMI: Find their website here
Himalayan Salt Tequila Glasses
These fun tequila shot glasses are affordable and will make a great addition to your bar. They are $30 and carved from high quality Himalayan pink salt. Since they are already salted, no need for extra baggage on your crazy 4th of July adventure.
Find them here
Moonshine Making Kit
Want to channel those crazy kids on the peninsula? Make some moonshine!
This kit includes easy to follow directions, 3 bottles of essences (cherry, peach, and apple pie), and your very own Moonshine jug!
For anywhere from $45-$75 you too can make your own booze!
Other booze kits are Rum for $75, Bourbon Beer for $45, and Gin for $50
Find the kit here
This is the perfect way to tote around your wine without getting in trouble for an open container. The sleek bag features an airtight spout and room for a few icepacks if needed. You can even "slap the bag" and make those college kids proud (or uncomfortable).
Find this here
Last Saturday, I invited the Kramers and the Smiths for dinner. There was going to be five of us and I needed to prepare in advance since I had an adventure planned all day Saturday afternoon. Friday was my day to get things done. I needed to get flowers, set the table, and prepare my menu.
I had decided earlier in the week that I would be too pressed for time to cook for this crowd. Joni Peterka, a well known in home chef in Orange County, prepared the most delicious chicken and mushroom goat cheese roasted asparagus lasagna and a delicious salad of greens, cranberries, pistachios, and sliced oranges with a kalamata olive vinaigrette.
Nana Kramer started our meal off with delicious bruschetta. We drank Golden Eye Pinot, Rombauer Chardonnay, and started the evening off with delicious tequilas and scotch.
It went off without a hitch and somehow they believed I made it all. They asked me for the recipe and now I have no clue how to respond.
We finished the meal with a delicious lemon cake from Susie Cakes.
The table setting was simple but elegant, incorporating my grandmother's stemware and my mother's sterling silver.
Compliments to Joni and myself for pulling off a great dinner party!
If you want Joni to help you cater your next party, you can reach her at (949) 646-5069.
This past Tuesday, I took my tech girl Shelby out on the town to check out some of the best spots for happy hour in Laguna Beach. We went to some great new places, judged some pours, and even bought a bottle of wine!
We started our late afternoon jaunt at Laguna Wine, Coffee, and Specialty Foods. We first got distracted with their amazing selection of wine glasses, olive oils, and gifts. This OCWino got excited over their collection of Riedel Wine Glasses, and overjoyed when I found a beer stein with a wine glass inside.
After checking out the shop, we moved over to their wine tasting section. The store has something that could only be described as a wine tasting vending machine. First you can purchase a $10, $20, or $50 card. You enter the card into either the white or red side of the machine, and make a selection of which wine within the case you would like to sample. Place a glass underneath a spout, press your chosen button, and have a perfect amount of wine to taste dispensed. Each wine varied in price slightly, but we were able to sample about 6 wines for $20. The staff was incredibly friendly and helpful, quick to offer suggestions based on our palette preferences and show us their estate wines.
Our favorites included Butter, a nice chardonnay, Meomi, a pinot noir, and Neyers, an aromatic merlot. I decided to purchase a bottle of the Neyers since the bouquet and taste were both incredible.
Next stop was the newly opened Tortilla Republic and Margarita Bar, located on South Coast Hwy. The restaurant has two other locations in West Hollywood and Hawaii. We first came to the bar with the expectation for Happy Hour pricing. However we learned their happy hour menu was still getting developed and would be released in the coming month. However we were content ordering their wonderful margaritas and appetizers despite the extra dinero.
The friendly bartenders made a whole range of margarita specialties for us ranging from our favorite Sweet Chile Margarita, a spicy Jalapeño, the "Perfect", Cucumber Lavender, Spicy Pomegranate, and Hydration, which blended in coconut water. We got all our margs made skinny to cut back on sugar and calories. These drinks were not strong, so we were able to try a lot and save room for the great food.
To counter the tequila, we ordered many reinforcements. First, we started with a salsa tasting, which included a salsa mesa, salsa de tomatillo fresca, and salsa de payaya habenero. Armed with a basket of freshly baked chips, we finished the colorful and flavor packed dips easily.
Next came the Flautas de Pollo. Our bartender recommended them and we were not disappointed. Initially, I remarked how they were too beautiful to eat. However after our first bite, we dove in and demolished the delicious and savory treat.
We ended our mexican feast with a Queso Fundito. We weren't exactly sure what the dish would be, but since it had the words cheese and fun in it, we assumed it would be awesome. The ramekin filled with hot spiced cheese and fresh tortillas did not disappoint.
It was hard for us to leave to catch the sunset since our bartenders were so fun, especially Mark who gave us free drinks!
Disaster struck as we hit The Deck for sunset. Just as we sat down at the bar, an overhead seagull left a present on my freshly blown out do! People say it is a sign of good luck, but that unexpected surprise could have come a day earlier!
The Deck wasn't too crowded as it can be on the weekends, but it was a great place to watch the sunset, drink a final cocktail, and make new friends at the bar with Laguna locals. An OC musician, Kevin Miso, serenaded the patrons with the sounds of Jack Johnson, John Mayer, and some other beach-y classics. Overall, a great bar for a beach town.
As we finished our night, we headed back to Shelby's home in North Laguna, and enjoyed a slice of pizza, a final pour, and great conversation with her family.