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 ;-)