Sunday, March 26, 2017

Award winning Austerity wines were introduced at an elegant wine and food dinner

Sitting across  from Steven DeCosta, the young, knowledgeable and incredibly enthusiastic winemaker of Austerity wines, was contagious. He explained that the premium Austerity wines are wines of the highest discipline, and come from the best and up coming appellations and finest vineyards from San Francisco to Los Angeles along California's Central Coast, including Paso Robles, Santa Lucia Highlands and Arroyo Seco.

He was indeed a highlight of this very special evening where Steven and the feedfeed community with food by James Beard award-winning Chef Suzanne Goin took place at the uber-chic 5-star Lucques at 8474 Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood

Our first  course was Leeks Vinigette with Prosciutto, Dandelion, Mustard Breadcrumbs and soft cooked egg, accompanied by a 2015 Austerity Chardonnay. This was followed by a mouthwatering Braised Beef Short Ribs with sauteed greens cipollini onions and horseradish cream and paired with an exceptional 2015 Austerity Pinot Noir. Topping it all off was a Chocolate Cremeux Tart with Cardamom Cream (no need say anymore) paired with  the bold flavor of the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Austerity wines poured had received bronze awards in an international competition and we applaud their achievements.  We also extend kudos to both Chef Suzanne for her sumptuous culinary feast, and Lucques for both their outstanding restaurant and incredibly delightful and attentive staff.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Royal Thai Cuisine

Although I had heard so many wonderful things about Royal Thai Cuisine in Newport Beach, I was  delighted to have the opportunity to feast on their unique and exquisite flavors of Thailand.
For over forty years Sumeth (Sammy) Tila and his lovely wife Chau have served authentic Thai cuisine created and presented with traditional dishes refined into a delicate and subtle culinary art. It's no wonder Sammy had received so many rewards over the years including " Restaurateur of the Year," an honor bestowed on him by the Southern California Restaurant Writers, as well as five star awards for his restaurants.
I started my culinary adventure with an exotic drink from the  beautiful fully stocked bar. Then sitting at one of the festively arrayed tables in the eye catching dining room, questions about the menu were answered by the knowledgeable and friendly staff.
Start with your choice of beautifully plated Naked Shrimp,;Shrimp;Calamari or Tofu and veggie Tempura with chutney dipping sauce; Summer Rolls; Thai Spring Rolls; or Satay.
In the mood for soup, there is a wonderful selection from Tom Kah spicy coconut soup; to Soup Royale with chicken,pork,veggies and glass noodles.
The tasty salads that play with flavors include, Thai Salad; Som Tum and Spicy Veggie Salad, ;and Siam Forest Salad..
If Wok Noodles is your passion, try Pad Thai;Lard Nar; and special Drunken Noodles, a combination of chicken,shrimp, and squid with veggies and chili.
How about the Rice! There's delicious Thai Fried Rice, Spicy Fried Rice with your choice of chicken,pork, beef or shrimp with  broccoli, onions, sweet basil,egg and mushrooms; or the Royal Thai Crab Fried Rice.
Then come the sumptuous Specialties like Thai Chicken Flame; Crying Tiger; Royal Duckling; or Honey Duck. For Seafood there is Siamese Catfish; Steamed or Grilled Catch of the Day; Royal Thai Snapper or Halibut.
There's a tantalizing array of Royal Thai signature entrees from: Shrimp with Paht Jungle with mushrooms, bamboo shoots, green onions, snow peas, baby corn and carrots in a light garlic sauce; Kang Panang a special smooth light red curry with carrots and  bell peppers; Kang Quah with sweet curry and pineapple; Sweet and Sour with mixed veggies and pineapple; and Royal Thai Asparagus with carrots, garlic and Royal Thai sauce.
Top it off with the yummy fresh coconut or house ice cream, accompanied with a delicious thirst quenching Thai Iced Tea or Iced Coffee.
. For two people to large  groups there is a choice of Prince of Thailand, Queen's Royal Banquet and King of Thailand all pre-set delicacies.
Open everyday- the The Royal Thai Restaurant is located at 4001 W. Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach (949) 645-8424. In Laguna the location is at 1750 South Coast Highway (949) 494-8424.
`. Cooking Classes are available four times a year at the Newport Beach location.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Benjies New York Deli Restaurant and Avenue K Bar in Santa Ana

I knew this was going to be a delicious and delightful double header for me just from the aromas wafting through the parking lot. I also had the feeling that  the passage of time would come to a halt.
Even before I met Lloyd Weinstein, the energetic and enthusiastic "mensch" and owner of Benjies New York Deli Restaurant and Avenue K Bar, childhood memories from the East came flooding back. Most of all I was thrilled to find that I wasn't in the least bit wrong. After reminiscing about the old days, Lloyd and I discovered that in Brooklyn our homes were a block apart, and that we also lived with 3 generations of our families. Yiddish was spoken widely, there was lots of delicious cooking and baking, lots of revelry and most of all lots of love.
Celebrating the "nachas" (joy) of 50 years, family owned restaurant and bar, Benjies & Avenue K, has proven that if you give the customers' good food and service,  they will keep coming back.
Lloyd and his lovely wife and partner Noriko Weinstein are proudly celebrating this anniversary in honor of their parents, Stan and Ellie Weinstein, who found Benjies in 1967.
Their menu includes mouthwatering starters like nova lox or whitefish, stuffed cabbage roll, lox and cream cheese on a bagel, creamed or pickled herring with sliced onion, potato latkes served with applesauce and sour cream, chopped liver with sweet red onions, kishka (stuffed derma)  veggie sausage sliced and grilled with brown gravy on the side, meat or potato filled knish baked into a golden brown pastry.
Benjie Specialties include The Benjie Special, hot pastrami with cole slaw and Russian dressing; Francheesy, grilled knockwurst with crisp bacon and American cheese; Coney Hot Dog Vienna Coney Island Hot Dog on a grilled egg bun with sauerkraut and diced onions on the side; Deli Feast with all deli favorites, corned beef, pastrami, turkey,tongue,salami and chopped liver; and the  House Specialty is sauced brisket of beef. All are offered  with delicious sides of potato salad, cole slaw macaroni salad and a variety of pickles.
You must leave room for  dessert with mouthwatering choices of apple or cherry strudel, New York cheesecake, a wedge of Halvah with nuts (incredibly sentimental), and the favorite-bread pudding with bourbon sauce and whipped cream.
Located at 1828 N. Tustin Avenue, Santa Ana 92705, phone (714)541-6263 or
Open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 8 a.m.  to 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. on weekends.
Happy Hour from 3-7 p.m. with ice cold craft beer on tap and house specialty cocktails.
Take out food and catering are available.
            Very well worth the trip wherever you are coming from.