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SPECIAL TOPICS: Taco TuesdayDisneylandMenudoMexican Flavors on the High Seas

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pedro's Tacos (San Clemente)

Date of Visit: March 12, 2011

Pedro's Tacos
550 N El Camino Real
San Clemente, CA 92672
(949) 498-5908

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Shortly after starting this blog I was told by some friends that had moved out of state years earlier that they really liked a place in South Orange County called Pedro's Tacos. Not long after that I went to the Pedro's in San Juan Capistrano and figured I had found their prized food stop only to have it dawn on me that it wasn't the Pedro's I had been referred to. The Pedro's in San Juan Capistrano fits with the nearby mission theme while the Pedro's in San Clemente fits in with the surrounding surfer theme. In fact Pedro's surfer mascot looks like it could be buds with the Kanvas by Katin mascot.

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Now, there are two Pedro's in San Clemente (and one or two in San Diego County) and they are both on El Camino Real. One is considered the south one and one is considered the north one. I tried the north one first and was dismayed to find out that it's a drive thru and a walkup window only with no seating to be found. A lot of people were ordering their food at the window and taking it back to their car to eat it. But the food is messy so I ate mine on the hood of my car.

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It was also discouraging that the employees acted very disinterested and slightly annoyed that customers were showing up. Maybe I caught them at the wrong time. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt and try not to assume that their behavior in one encounter is what they are always like. And I tend to be more concerned about food quality than service so no biggie.

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On this visit I got a fish taco, a carne asada taco, and their much lauded potato taco which is literally a taco with a fried hash brown in it, just like the kind I used to fry up when I worked at Jack in the Box before the clown was put back in charge, the kind that's shaped like a rectangle with slightly rounded corners. The fish taco and the potato taco come with cabbage and salsa and their dressing, similar to Del Taco's secret sauce. The carne asada taco comes with salsa and guacamole. All are served on a thick corn tortilla stuffed to the gills and almost overflowing then sort of wrapped and rolled into foil. I think I would've been fine with just two tacos. All were at least serviceable; none were too memorable. Oh, and their Heinz hot sauce packets tasted just like old school Taco Bell hot sauce. Kind of nostalgic.

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Verdict: This is beach food, pure and simple. It is not meant to have the flavors too deeply analyzed. You go to Pedro's to load up on some sustenance so that you can concentrate on more important things in life: like enjoying the surf and the sand. Three Speedy Gonzaleses:

Speedy Gonzales Speedy Gonzales Speedy Gonzales



Date of Visit: March 14, 2011

Pedro's Tacos
2313 S El Camino Real
San Clemente, CA 92672
(949) 498-5904

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Two days later I decided to try their south location. This spot actually has several outside tables, and employees that are slightly less blasé . . . but not much.

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This time I got their chicken quesadilla, which was more like a cross between a quesadilla and a burrito (going off of the unique way it was folded) and their taquitos, which they list on their menu as "rolled tacos" but all the customers just call them taquitos. Again I ordered too much food; the quesadilla is a meal in itself and the chicken chunks inside are huge. Oh, and there's some cheese (American?) and guacamole in there too. The three taquitos (might've come from Costco) had coagulated into one solid shape with their grated cheese and guacamole toppings gladly joining the party.

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My take on Pedro's is: don't go out of your way to get there but if you're nearby and you're hungry then give it a shot. It's also pretty cool just to watch all the surf mobiles going through the drive thru for some grub. And if you try that fried chicken taco on their menu leave a comment and let me know what it was like.

For having tables and somewhat more enthusiastic employees this Pedro's location gets 3.25 Speedy Gonzaleses:

Speedy Gonzales Speedy Gonzales Speedy Gonzales Speedy Gonzales

View the complete photo album (17 photos so far) at flickr.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chipotle Opens in Brea Today


But wait, there's more, and it's not just for Brea:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

SOS Wild & Crazy Taco Night 2011

UPDATED (May 1, 2011) Here's a slideshow of the event:


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Elizabeth Evans
Marketing & Communications Manager
949-270-2137
efevans@shareourselves.org

SHARE OUR SELVES ANNOUNCES CHEF LINEUP FOR 18th ANNUAL WILD & CRAZY TACO NIGHT

Share Our Selves has confirmed the date and chef lineup for the 18th Annual Wild & Crazy Taco Night, April 28th at Halecrest Swim & Tennis Club in Costa Mesa. Twenty three of Orange County's most prominent and innovative chefs will join an expected 600+ supporters of SOS for an evening of fun, friendship, and exotic tacos.

In the spirit of good-natured competition and to support a great cause, these generous chefs will be whipping up delicious and unique tacos. Last year's selections included lobster, Peking duck, pork, meatball, and s'mores style chocolate & marshmallow cream tacos.

Back by popular demand is the pre-event VIP Party, but we've made some exciting changes! Participating guests will enjoy early admission into the event and will have the opportunity to meet all of the chefs and sample their tacos before the general event begins. VIP guests will also be served Patrón margaritas.

Proceeds from the event benefit the SOS Orange Aid Project which collects retrievable food from restaurants, grocery stores, bakeries, and caterers to distribute to low income Orange County residents. Six mornings a week, volunteer and staff drivers collect food from throughout the county and deliver it to SOS. Five days a week, SOS distributes approximately 300 bags of groceries a day to individuals and families in need.

WHEN: Thursday, April 28, 2010, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., VIP Pre-Party 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

WHERE: Halecrest Swim & Tennis Club – 3107 Killybrooke Lane, Costa Mesa, 92626

COST: General Admission $60, VIP Admission $150 ADVANCE SALE ONLY

CONTACT: To purchase tickets, please contact SOS at 949-270-2134 or sos@shareourselves.org.
ORANGE COUNTY'S PREMIERE PARTICIPATING CHEFS:
Bert Agor
TAPS Fish House & Brewery
Nelson Barillas
The Catch Restaurant
Franco Barone
Il Barone
Bill Bracken
The Island Hotel
Paul Buchanan
Primal Alchemy
Victor Cabral
Orange Hill Restaurant
Ivan Calderon
Taco Mesa/Taco Rosa
Mark Cleveland & Tanya Fuqua
Avanti Café
David Coplin
Chef David's Catering
Yves Fournier
Andrei's Conscious Cuisine
Mark Gagnon
Newport Beach Plaza Retirement Community
Alan Greeley
The Golden Truffle
Scott Green
Salt Creek Grille
Carlito Jocson
Yard House
Louie Jocson
F & f Concepts/Red Table Restaurants LLC
Rachel Klemek
Blackmarket Bakery
Jason Kordas
Jason's Catered Events
Rich Mead
Canyon & Sage Restaurant
Alessandro Pirozzi
Cucina Alessá
Ted Rodriguez
Flavor Rush Food Truck
Deborah Schneider
SOL Cocina
Paul Squicciarini
Fujisan
Marco Zapien
Melissa's Produce
SHARE OUR SELVES is one of the largest, most comprehensive, voluntary support agencies providing for the needs of those living in poverty in Orange County. All services are free and include medical and dental care, counseling, case management, food, clothing, financial assistance, legal aid and special holiday programs. In these difficult economic times, the integral safety net services that SOS provides to the community are more important than ever.

###

www.shareourselves.org

Saturday, March 12, 2011

St. Patrick's Day 2011

St. Patrick's Day is coming up and people love blending Irish and Mexican things together. If you know of any St. Patrick's Day specials at any Mexican restaurants in the county please e-mail me at reviews@ocmexfood.com. So far I know that the Matador Cantina in Fullerton is going to be very ready for the occasion:

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Mexican Cooking Class and Demo Coming Up

Just found out that two of the best Mexican chefs in the county, Deborah Schneider of Sol Cocina and Gabbi Patrick of Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen, will be doing cooking classes or demos this coming Saturday and Tuesday.



SOL COCINA CHEF DEBORAH SCHNEIDER SHOWS NEWPORT BEACH "WHAT'S COOKING AT THE LIBRARY"

Newport Beach Public Library offers unique cooking experience with class on traditional Mexican cuisine – MARCH 15, 2011
NEWPORT BEACH, CA (MARCH 2011) – Chef Deborah Schneider of SOL Cocina in Newport Beach will share some of her secrets for creating authentic Mexican cuisine at "What's Cooking at the Library" on Tuesday, March 15th at 7 p.m. at the Newport Beach Central Library (1000 Avocado Avenue in Newport Beach). The cost of the class is $20 per person and guests may register online at www.newportbeachlibrary.org.

The menu for the evening includes SOL House Margaritas, Pico de Gallo, Naked Guacamole, Avocado Caesar Salad, Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas, Salsa Ahogada and Warm Chocolate-Banana Bread Pudding with Cinnamon Crème Anglaise. In addition to enjoying a talk and demonstration of the menu items, guests will have the opportunity to purchase complete recipes in her most recent cookbook, the SOL-inspried Amor y Tacos. Chef Deb will be able to sign the copies of Amor y Tacos, which puts an exciting spin on modern Mexican food and cocktails.

To register for the event, the public may pick up a "What's Cooking" Registration Form at any of the Newport Beach Public Library locations or register online at www.newportbeachlibrary.org or the City's Recreation Class sign-up under Library Programs at www.newportbeachca.gov.
ABOUT THE NB PUBLIC LIBRARY "WHAT'S COOKING AT THE LIBRARY" SERIES
The "What's Cooking at the Library" series offers food lovers the unique opportunity to participate in an up-close cooking experience with some of Orange County's most talented culinary masters at an affordable price. Many top chefs in the Newport Beach area have participated since the series began in 2010. For more information, call (949) 717-3800, extension 2 or visit the website at www.newportbeachlibrary.org.
ABOUT CHEF DEBORAH SCHNEIDER
Executive Chef/Partner of SOL Cocina in Newport Beach, Deborah Schneider has introduced a fresh and different approach to Mexican cuisine, gathering inspiration from taco bars and roadside stalls in Baja and street-side trucks in Tijuana. In Orange County, she has revamped traditional Mexican flavors, delivering fresh, new ways to "do" Mexican in an upscale/fine-dining setting.

Dubbed by Bon Appetit Magazine, "The reigning queen of San Diego chefs," Chef Schneider is a published author of four cookbooks, including SOL-inspired Amor y Tacos (Stewart, Tabori & Chang), award-winning Baja! Cooking on the Edge (Rodale) and Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta (STC), which was nominated for a 2009 James Beard Award. Chef Deborah Schneider began her culinary career in the early 1980s, while living in Athens, Greece, where she worked as a chef on a succession of luxury charter yachts and later, as a yacht chef in Florida and the Caribbean. In 1983, Schneider settled in San Diego, where she made a culinary name for herself as the creative force behind the area's best-known restaurants and hotels, including the acclaimed Jsix/Jbar, Hilton Torrey Pines, Dobson's, Grant Grill and La Gran Tapa. Schneider received her Certified Executive Chef ranking in 2001 from the American Culinary Federation. In mid-2009, Schneider, with two Partners, opened her own restaurant, SOL Cocina, where she currently serves as Executive Chef.
About the books…
Chef Deborah Schneider's first cookbook, ¡Baja! Cooking on the Edge, was published in Spring of 2006 and chosen one of "The Best of the Best" of 2006 by Food & Wine Magazine. Through her restaurant work and writings, Deborah Schneider was an early advocate of the local farm-to-table movement and in supporting sustainable fisheries in California and Baja.

Her second book, Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta: Recipes from the World Famous Spa, published in September 2008, was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award. This gorgeous cookbook celebrates the organic gardens and cooking school of Rancho La Puerta, one of the world's most famous fitness resorts, where Schneider is a frequent guest teacher.

Chef Schneider's third book, which she co-authored, is Williams-Sonoma's Essentials of Latin Cooking, published in 2010.

Her SOL-inspired fourth book, Amor y Tacos, debuted in early 2010 as a fresh and different approach to Mexican cuisine, gathering inspiration from taco bars and roadside stalls in Baja and street-side trucks in Tijuana. The book shakes up and revamps traditional Mexican flavors, delivering fresh, new ways to "do" Mexican. The recipes are quick and easy-to-make and, in addition to tacos, include antojitos (the "little bites" that are Mexico's variation on tapas), salsas, tequila and mescal-based cocktails, and the amazingly thirst-quenching fruit drinks called aguas frescas.
ABOUT SOL COCINA
SOL Cocina is a unique restaurant and bar celebrating traditional Baja cuisine with a fresh, modern interpretation. Designed to echo the expansive sea, sky, and desert of the Baja peninsula, SOL features old world charm juxtaposed with an urban comfort, including an open exhibition kitchen with counter seating for guests who like to see the bustling kitchen that mimics the Baja taco bar. SOL offers a decadent menu of the freshest seasonal ingredients and authentic Mexican flavors, along with a vibrant bar that honors the flavors of the Baja region with artisan tequilas and mezcals.

Located at 251 E. Pacific Coast Highway at Bayside Drive, on the Balboa Marina, SOL is open daily for Lunch (11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; TOUR de SOL tasting menu offered Mon-Fri 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.), Dinner (Sun-Wed 4:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.; Thurs-Sat 4:30 p.m. – 11 p.m.), Happy Hour (4 p.m. – 7 p.m. daily in the bar and patio), Late-Night Dining (11 p.m. – 1 a.m. Thurs-Sat), and Weekend Brunch (10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday & Sunday). In addition, guests may take advantage of Taco & Tequila Tuesday specials every week (Tues 4 p.m. – 10 p.m.), and Industry Hours with 50% off cocktails, beer and wine to those with proper ID working in the hospitality industry (Sun-Weds 9 p.m.-midnight; Thurs-Sat 11 p.m.-close). Private Room available.

For more information, call 949-675-9800 or visit http://www.solcocina.com/.

*****
For more information, contact: Mona Shah, Moxxe PR at +1 818 749 1931 or mona@moxxepr.com







Click flyer image to view larger. Read Gabbi's blog entry here.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Wahoo's relocating at Fashion Island


Image used with permission from Belinda Dao

Pretty sure I recently read that Wahoo's Fish Tacos was closing at Fashion Island but I just got this press release saying they are coming back, or, more accurately, just moving to a bigger spot there (UPDATE: found out it was never anything but a relocation and rumors that Wahoo's there was "closing down" were unfounded):

FIVE RESTAURANTS OPENING IN FASHION ISLAND’S ATRIUM CAFES

New Wahoo's Flagship Will Feature First Bar in California

Newport Beach, California, March 4, 2011 – Fashion Island has announced that five casual restaurants will open or relocate to the Atrium Cafés this spring and summer. The new eateries will include a flagship location for the popular Wahoo’s Fish Taco, which will become the company's largest restaurant and feature a full bar.

The new Wahoo's, which will occupy a 4,500 sq. ft. space with indoor and outdoor seating, is fifty percent larger than its existing location upstairs near the Edwards Island Cinemas. The restaurant, which opens this summer, will also boast a patio overlooking the beautiful Atrium Court Garden with a 24 ft. water wall, as well as the first Wahoo's bar in California, offering favorite cocktails from Margaritas and Bloody Marys to wine and beer on tap.

Wahoo's is known for its fusion menu with Mexican, Brazilian and Asian influences. There are a variety of grilled meat, fish or veggie tacos, burritos, enchiladas and salads, all which can be accompanied with ahi rice and mild or spicy beans.

Hana Grill, featuring Japanese cuisine, recently opened in the Atrium Cafés. Hana Grill serves a variety of Teriyaki Bowls, Sushi Rolls, and Combinations served with a choice of mixed vegetables or market salad, steamed rice and miso soup. Many menu items are prepared to order on a teppan grill in front of the customer. Specialty dishes include Teriyaki Chicken Bowl and Teppan Yaki as well as sushi rolls.

Slated to open this spring is Stone Oven, which will serve gourmet sandwiches made with flatbread baked fresh on the premises, along with fresh tossed salads. An assortment of sandwiches will include Garden Vegetable, Spicy Chicken, BBQ Beef Brisket, Santa Fe Hot Ham and more. The salad selection will include Asian Chicken, Mediterranean Chicken, Walnut & Green Apple, Southwest Chicken Caesar, and others.

Also opening in the Atrium Cafés is Subway, which will relocate from its current space in the spring. Subway, the world's largest submarine sandwich franchise, has made "Eat Fresh" a way of life for millions of customers by offering submarine sandwiches made fresh to order. The casual restaurant also offers catering with Party Subs, Party Platters, Cookie Trays and Lunch Boxes. Subway, along with Wahoo's, is currently located by Edwards Island Cinemas, which recently closed for a remodel, and will reopen for the Christmas 2011 movie season.

Also opening this summer is Sbarro Fresh Italian Cooking, known for its fresh and authentic Italian fare, including homemade pizza, pasta, salads and other authentic Italian entrees. The casual restaurant uses homemade mozzarella, imported cheese, and delicious sausage and salami.

As Orange County's premier coastal shopping and dining experience, Fashion Island features specialty boutiques, world-class department stores and a wide assortment of restaurants and cafes. Visited by more than 13 million people annually, Fashion Island offers a sophisticated yet relaxed atmosphere that is distinctively Southern California.

Owned by Irvine Company, Fashion Island is home to Orange County's only Neiman Marcus, as well as Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, Bloomingdale's Home Store and Macy's. For more information, please visit www.ShopFashionIsland.com.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

March Madness at Frieda's Produce


One of our favorite produce places around is ready to hook people up with some party boxes to win from their Facebook page and these party boxes have a definite Mexican influence to them. Here's the details they sent:

Wild about March Madness? Win a Free Final Four Party Box from Frieda's Specialty Produce!

Frieda's Final Four Hoops & Scoops party box includes:

  • Frieda's Fresh Salsa & Guacamole
  • Frieda's Hummus
  • Tostitos Corn Chips
  • Jicama
  • Sugar Cane Swizzle Sticks
  • … and more!
Enter to Win on Facebook:
Already a fan?
Post the following to the Frieda's Specialty Produce Facebook Wall: "I want a Frieda's Final Four Hoops & Scoops party box!"
New to Frieda's?
First, click on the "Like" button on our Facebook Welcome Page. Second, post the following to the Frieda's Specialty Produce Facebook Wall: "I want a Frieda's Final Four Hoops & Scoops party box!"

All entries must be made between March 1, 2011 and March 31, 2011. The winners will be announced on the Frieda's Specialty Produce Facebook page and will be contacted directly via Facebook email on April 1, 2011. All winners must claim gift no later than Monday, April 4, 2011. Void where prohibited. All entrants must reside in the USA and be 18 years of age or older to enter.



Frieda's Inc. will be celebrating the start of its 50th year in business this April! Based in Los Alamitos, Frieda's is the first wholesale produce company in the United States to be founded, owned, and operated by a woman and remains a family-owned and operated business today. Frieda Caplan is Chairman of the Board, while her daughters Karen and Jackie serve as President/CEO and Vice President, respectively. Learn more about Frieda's by reading CEO Karen Caplan's blog, "What's On Karen's Plate:" http://whatsonkarensplate.blogspot.com and visiting www.friedas.com.