Saturday, June 20, 2015

Cafe Firenze Feast of the Beast 2015

I have to begin by saying that the staff at Cafe Firenze is always amazing!! They are welcoming with warm smiles, knowledgeable of the menu, seem to have a passion for food and you can tell they love their jobs- at least most of them (which is so important!). It says a lot about management when the staff is happy and that makes me want to support this business even more! 

When I first heard about this event via social media, I got really excited! If you know me, you know I love fundraisers, supporting local organizations, and I LOVE food!!!! I then made the executive decision to attend, knowing my husband wouldn't object! 

As we arrived, I was surprised to find the outdoor portion of the event enclosed by chain link fence! My party planning mind wondered why they chose such an eye sore!? Were there other material options? Was it a budget issue? Who knows... I then realized I wasn't there to critique their chain link fence decor and my foodie mind then switched to what was important! The food!!! 

I was ecstatic because this event was going to be showcasing a roasted pig, a cow and house made sausages! Being such a foodie, my mind was floating all over and my expectations were high! I haven't had the opportunity to meet Fabio yet, but I knew with his name on the event, it was going to be great! 

Entering the right side of the restaurant, we realized this is where the cow was being displayed! Honestly, I have no idea what part of the cow was being carved but it looked great!! 
Now keep in mind this was our first time attending this annual event, so we had no idea what to expect! I was a bit surprised only one beef option was being served! Don't get me wrong, the meat was tender, the bread was soft and fresh and the Gorgonzola fondue was creamy with the perfect tang! I could have gone without the bread, only because I was there just for the meat!! I actually ended up requesting a plate of just meat ;-) the chef was kind and had a fun sense of humor! He gave me a generous portion topped with the balsamic glaze and a splat of Gorgonzola fondue on the side! My mini plate was now all I needed and wanted (for that tiny moment in time). I've never thought to use a balsamic glaze on beef, but HOLY COW... (Pun intended) it was delish!

While I ate the mini plate of beef, my husband ventured out to the street taco food truck parked within the chain link fence! 
Smoked Carnitas (one of my loves) street tacos were provided my Scratch Ventura!! I cannot even begin to tell you how mouth wateringly delicious these tacos were!
The picture doesn't do these precious babies any justice! The meat was moist, tender with the perfect amount of crisp. The tomatillo salsa was flavorful with a kick, and the watermelon radish gave the tacos that little bit of crunch to satisfy my textural delight! I love cilantro on almost anything... Need I say more!? I was feeling full pleasure at that moment and could have left the event saying like Porky Pig, "Th Th Th Th Th, That's All Folks!" However, my stomach and my heart reminded me there was more to experience for these taste buds of mine!!! So until next time Scratch Ventura... 

Onward we must go... To the roasted pig we shall travel!!  
I have never seen such a pig! And to think... For 10 years I was a pescatarian! Babe was my favorite movie! Meat grossed me out, yet here I am, eating off a whole roasted pig! The pig was delish!! Very tender and moist as it should be! Nothing but the pure flavor of the pig! Served along side a tiny tiny salad with walnuts and blue cheese. Best combination- Creamy and Crunchy and Fresh! This pig has inspired me to cook more pork!

Lastly, we headed to the back of the restaurant... This is where we found the house sausages!
 The lamb sausages were served atop a fancy plop of creamy polenta, peppers, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Once again, I am tastefully satisfied! Creamy polenta with anything at Cafe Firenze is heaven sent! One of the greatest comfort foods! Before this event, I'd never had a lamb sausage! I'm not usually a fan of sausages, but the freshness and smooth texture gave me confidence to try others in the future! (My husband is cracking up as I proof read this to him by the way... He's actually crying from giggling). Describing sausage is a new thing for me ;-) My only complaint is... There weren't other options! Oh and the beer paired with the sausage was AWESOME! Great Great beer! Enegren's Special brew was fresh, and crisp with a hint of banana! Nothing says summer to me like a cold bubbly beer! Excellent job!! 
Overall this experience was great! I'm hoping the Boys and Girls Club of Moorpark reached their goals from this event!! I would have liked more of a variety in all food areas! That would be my only disappointment (and not meeting Fabio)!  The food was satisfying, the wine was good, the beer was fantastic, and the people were awesome!! For me, anything involving food, networking and a classy environment is always going to make for a nice time! Date Night with my Hubby benefiting charity... Can't wait until next year! We will be reserving a table, who's with us!?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Hawaiian inspired Pork Chops

Per Ms. Lilly's request  sorry for the delay...

4 thick cut pork chops (about 1 1/2 inches thick)- I bought mine from Jons Market in Simi which were $3.99 lb 
1 cup white wine of your choice (choose something you would drink)
1 cup soy sauce (we used the Kikkoman Gluten Free Soy Sauce)
1 small can of Dole Crushed Pineapple
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tablespoons minced garlic (we buy the Kirkland minced garlic from Costco)

Marinade for at least 4 hours

Grill approximately 10 minutes per side or until each chop reaches an internal temp of 145 degrees... Making sure to char each side. 
Sorry this plated photo doesn't look professional and great... I was to excited to eat because they smelled sooooo good! I served them with a side of rice. My original plan was to pair them with artichokes; however, I failed to remember to cook them :-/ I will be enjoying the artichokes today!! Stay tuned... 

This recipe is so easy and super delicious!!! I hope you Enjoy and please comment below how yours turns out 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Rusty's Bar and Grill- Simi Valley

So, I am obviously a foodie if you haven't noticed by now. One of my favorite things to do (especially when kid free) is to try new places to eat. I have lived in Simi Valley for the last three years, and always seem to go to the same five or so places when needing a meal out. Actually, my family and I frequent Don Cuco's in Moorpark more than any place in Simi.... Don Cuco's has awesome service, delicious food, and the drinks are always refreshing and cold.... but that isn't the topic at the moment.

Yesterday I decided to visit Rusty's Bar and Grill based on Yelp reviews. Rusty's is located at 1368 Madera Road, Simi Valley, CA 93065. From the outside, it looks like a typical sports bar. Dark windows, beer advertisements, and their logo of a red head with big chi chi's... Stepping inside, the restaurant seemed clean and well kept. I have to admit however, there was a fishy scent that hit me as soon as I walked in the door. Maybe they just made a fresh batch of fish and chips, maybe the smell was coming from the sushi restaurant next door.... nonetheless, I decided to give it a try! I like to give places the benefit of the doubt (most of the time). 

The sever at the bar was friendly. I didn't get her name but she greeted us with a smile and seemed knowledgeable of the menu and drinks they had to offer. My go to drink is usually beer, but I decided to be adventurous and try a cocktail consisting of soju, sprite, and a splash of iced tea. I'd never heard of soju until yesterday! The drink I ordered was a Long Island type cocktail. It was refreshing, slightly sweet, with just the right strength!! If it was only for the drinks... I would go back... So the question is... What did I have to eat??

Jalapeno bottle caps- The first order was sent out burnt. Thankfully the server noticed before they even came to us and sent them back. She kindly asked the cook to make another batch. Based on their name and my lack of research, I expected something similar to a jalapeno popper. Much to my surprise, these were merely sliced jalapenos, battered and fried. I wouldn't be shocked if they were straight out of a can or jar. I think fresh fried jalapenos would have a different texture, but I could be wrong! They were tasty, but I was not impressed.

Fried Calamari- I am a huge lover of calamari!!! If calamari anything is on the menu, I have to try it! Again, I was not impressed. The batter was tasty, however the calamari was over cooked! Well don't calamari is not good! It was rubbery and hard on my jaw to chew. Since I was unimpressed my the jalapenos, I chose not to send back the order of fried calamari.

Buffalo Chicken Wings
NOT MY FAVORITE! Something else I love... A good dose of hot and spicy chicken wings! Actually my mouth is watering as I sit here and think about the tangy spicy sauce! These on the other hand... Not so great! The wings themselves were over done. Well done! Over cooked. Whatever you want to call it! We ordered the wings with the sauce on the side because my husband isn't a fan of the spicy sauce. I lathered mine up and took a bite. The sauce was typical but not fantastic! Hooters has the best wings... From what I've experienced! Disappointed again :-/ 

Overall- the experience was nice! The restaurant was clean, the drinks were good and the food was just ok... Will I visit again!? Not sure! There are so many other places I haven't experienced yet as a foodie! Hoping the next stop will be delish and not fail to amaze me ;-) 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Rockfish Experiment

From what I'm reading on the internet, Rockfish is supposed to be a pretty tasty and a mild flavored fish... I must have gotten a bad batch because I was NOT impressed! I don't usually buy frozen fish because I try to keep our family dinners as fresh as possible, but one afternoon while shopping at JONS Market, I felt like trying something new! I Love Jons Market because of their variety of ethnic foods, and I've seen Rockfish on several cooking shows! I guess the difference between me and the cooking show chefs are the skills and knowledge for the fish. I am a total fish lover! I especially love sushi, and I love trying new things! I like to be adventurous and I LOVE FOOD!!!! Anyone that knows me will tell you, I spend about half of my day thinking and talking about food LOL!

The About Food website describes Rockfish as being excellent no matter how its prepared.

I am willing to give it a second try, but I think I'll find it fresh and prepare for my meal better. Tonight I used a sauce I bought from Trader Joe's in Simi Valley! It's called Many Cloves of Garlic (Trader Joe's brand)... The sauce is awesome!! I've used it in the past to make a quick spaghetti sauce. Half this jar and a whole jar of Trader Joe's Marinara is a delish go to meal if I'm in a rush (which isn't the case). I thought for sure it would work for the rockfish! Garlic with anything is amazing!!!!! I sprinkled the top of the fish with salt and pepper, coated the rockfish with the Many Cloves of Garlic Sauce and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese! Baked at 400 for about 25 minutes... and just like that, it was done! I know, I know... Fish and cheese don't pair well. I use the Parmesan cheese more as a crust when I cook tilapia. My kids and I love it! So for tonights meal, I served it along side an organic quinoa mix. My kids didn't seem to mind the flavor of the fish, but it wasn't good to my taste buds =-( I ate my small portion, but now I'm thinking... What shall I do with all this cooked fish? I thought of making a "tuna" type salad with it. Adding Mayo and a ton of seasoning. I don't want to just throw it out. I seriously HATE wasting food!! I could give it to the dog, but then I still feel like I'm cheating my kids a meal. Living on a budget, I try to use our food to the best of it's ability! What do you suggest? What would you do? I guess for now... this story it To Be Continued! I usually take pictures of my food but because I was so unhappy with the flavors, a picture didn't cross my mind. (That NEVER Happens!!!).

Friday, December 5, 2014

Simple Salmon

1 large filet of salmon (enough for 4 people) 
1 cup white wine (I like to use a wine I enjoy drinking... Guaranteed yum and I can enjoy a glass while I cook lol- I used a Chardonay)
1 small package of sliced baby Bella's 
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1 tablespoon minced garlic 
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper 
1 tablespoon butter 

Season fish with salt and pepper... let sit while you Heat
pan and melt butter. 

Add mushrooms and cook on med/high heat until they start to crisp and brown. Move them to the side and add salmon. 

Reduce to medium heat and Brown salmon on both sides (add more butter if needed). 

Add olives, garlic
and wine. Cook on medium heat until sauce reduced by half. 

I paired the salmon with rainbow quinoa and steamed broccoli! My kids cleaned their plates!! Jacob had two helpings 


Monday, November 10, 2014

NEW- The Sandwich Spot in Simi Valley

We tried this new Sandwich Spot in Simi Valley yesterday... Overall, I'd have to rate it a 4 out of 5. Why you ask!? 

Walking in, I was excited to see two fairly large tv screens with a current Football game on! Going to any restaurant that draws sports fans is usually a fun place to hang out and people watch. Except we weren't there to see the game, we were there to eat!

Looking at the menu, I couldn't decide on which sandwich to order! Almost all of them had very appealing ingredients! I then decided to post something on Facebook: asking friends to pick a number between 1 and 24 (the menu items by number). The first number called out was the number four aka "The Hulk!" Marinated chicken, avocado, bacon, all the fixings (adding their BOMB SAUCE- homemade jalapeño ranch), on a fresh sourdough roll... How could It go wrong!?  

All of the staff was very friendly! Our order was taken within five minutes of standing in line. Granted We were there a little after 1pm so they were busy! The owner was working hands on at the register while helping his staff behind the counter when needed. He seems very excited for his new restaurant to succeed, and if you know me, I'm all about promoting local businesses! 

Now getting to the 4 out of 5 rating... It took almost 20 minutes to get our sandwich! The rolls were being baked while we waited. I'm not complaining about waiting necessarily for us because we had time to hang out and wait. Going in there on a 30 minute lunch break could be a bit of a problem however! With that being said, the overall taste of the sandwich was good! I wasn't sure about the marinated chicken. It kind of reminded me of the chicken Subway uses in the microwave! I feel the sandwich would be better with a deli sliced marinated chicken instead. P.S. My hubby got "The 805" pictures below! He enjoyed it on their Dutch Crunch roll. 

I will definitely go back to try another sandwich (or salad). I enjoyed all of the fixings... The pickles were great! The bread was amazing and so was the sauce! Go and try something! Comment below and share your experience! Let the owner know you are excited for him and you will help spread the word! Sending 
good vibes to this new local business!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Mommy adventure #1

Headed for a night out with my mommy friend Alyssa for her Birthday!! We originally planned to go to Bogie's in Westlake Village! Arriving in Westlake around 7pm, not realizing Bogie's doesn't even open until 9pm... Being mommies, we aren't used to this late night stuff anymore ha ha. Bogie's would have been fun since I personally haven't been out dancing in years! I don't even know if I can dance these days.  
We think quick and move on to plan two... Los Toros in Chatsworth it is!! Yes, we drove to Westlake and then drove all the way to Chatsworth! Alyssa had never experienced a Los Toros's house margarita!! What better than a birthday to celebrate with AMAZING margaritas! 
Margaritas ordered at the bar... The bartender was super friendly, providing great service! I should have gotten his name and let the boss know! He made a special birthday shot for Alyssa which was loaded with yummy mango and tequila goodness! 

Once a small table opened up in the bar area, we decided to move... We wanted to people watch and would have a better view from the table. While waiting for our "small" appetizer sampler, we realized moving wasn't the best choice. The server for our table seemed annoyed and unconcerned with our needs. We didn't need much, but a water and some jalapeños would have been nice! She eventually brought the jalapeños but I physically had to go to the bar to ask for more water!?!? Overall, we had s great time, the food was delish (especially the carnitas), the margaritas never disappoint, and I got to spend time with my girl Alyssa for her bday! 

Now the question is... Where should we take our adventure to next!?!? Sur? STK? Would you like to join in on our fun adventures!? Comment below to let us know where! What are your ideas? The more adventurous the better!!! XOXO