November 2011

Ruby's fish and shrimp comboA Deemers burger with extra avocadoEating out with a hungry toddler and pre-schooler can be challenging but in the many mini-cities of south Orange County there are plenty of diners where a "terrible-two's" unpredictable behaviour raises no eyebrows. On this short trip   I had occasion to try out two  kid friendly places; Ruby's Diner, a regular favorite for the kids, and Deemer's American Grill, to which we had never previously been.

Ruby's Diner Laguna Hills
24155 Laguna Hills Mall
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
Ph: 949-588-7829

bluecheese pear tarts with red wine syrupWatermarc Restaurant
448  S. Coast Hwy.,
Laguna Beach, CA
Ph: (949] 376-62 or Reserve Online at OpenTable

WaterMarc Grill on Urbanspoon

Generally on my visits to Orange County my culinary explorations with my family tend to be limited to places suitable for taking young children. Unlike my usual dining choices therefore, in California my eating out tends much more toward casual or fast food dining. 

sizzling garlic shrimpSo with the children at school and my son having a rare day off work, we took the opportunity to go for lunch to try some of the finer fare of Orange County.

As one who loves word play, while looking through the array of options for restaurants in this area, my attention was first caught by the name, Watermarc.   I was therefore not surprised to read that the chef-owner is Marc Cohen, of the group that operates OPAH and 230 Forest Avenue.

the fillet mignon pot pie the pot pieWe decided to go for a brisk walk in Laguna Beach followed by lunch at Watermarc which was a few minutes walk up from the beach area. It proved to be an excellent choice. The menu offered a range of dishes from interesting grazing plates to flatbread, burgers or full entrees. My only disappointment was that the foie gras brulee that had caught my eye on the online menu did not seem to be offered at lunch. I would have liked to compare it with the foie gras sundae I had at Ensemble in Vancouver.

A Camembert from Vancouver Island's Natural PasturesOysters, Cheese and Sauces - who knew these things but chefs, fishmongers and dairy people?

Cheese: Our recent tasting of Soft-ripened Bloomy Rind Cheeses prompted questions from our tasters like  "how are Camembert and Brie different anyway?" It was a question that had frequently flitted across my mind, but one that I had never seriously set out to research. So now was the time.

So here goes with some foodie trivia: Without  any books on cheeses in my library, my first visit was the web - but as usual I found conflicting information but this is what I gleaned from my reading.

 The modern day form of both Brie and Camembert that we get in North American s similar in that both are soft ripened and often made with similar bacterial cultures.  The original French Brie has a long history, and was often required as a tribute by the French Kings. Camembert is named after the 18th century Norman village of Camembert, where its originator Marie Harel lived. The name was given to this cheese after Napoleon had enjoyed a sample presented to him by one of Marie's daughters in 1855.

Vitaly ''magics'" green leavesLast night a group of friends and I drove over to the Culture Lab at the Cultch to see Vitaly Beckman perform his show of amazing illusions.   I first saw Sensation of Magic over a year ago at the Havana Theatre on Commercial Drive. At the time I was completely blown away by what I saw and could not stop puzzling over how this disarmingly youthful performer  works his magic.

Since this was my second time seeing his show I figured I could watch really really carefully and see what he does. Then by a twist of fate (ha! superstition) or just my slow reflexes , I ending up holding a "life preserver" that was being tossed round- and found myself on the hot seat.   Or rather the hot "X marks the spot on the floor." 

Sampler CD from the original Broadway cast The national tour of Jersey Boys will explode onto the Vancouver scene in the Queen Elizabeth Theatre  in September 2012. Somehow I missed seeing Jersey Boys in New York, London and Toronto, so I was excited to hear about this upcoming show.

I grew up in an era when a musicologist might say that rock-n-roll was supposedly past its peak. Elvis was off in the army and  Buddy Holly and Richie Valens had died in a plane crash.

But far away at the southern tip of Africa, no one had told us teenagers that rock 'n roll was dead. Every weekend a group of us gathered  in the large garage that had been converted into a rec-room and we danced the afternoons away.

We did not need drugs to fly high as kites. We didn't drink and we didn't smoke.  We were not concerned with fashion fads or fast cars. All that mattered was how good a dancer you were and how much fun you had dancing. We "twisted" and "rock 'n' roll'-ed but our favorite dance style was "bop", which I think has evolved into today's  East Coast jive. And as my regular readers know, I have never lost my addiction to dance.

tuna tartare specialSage Bistro at UBC
6331 Crescent Road,Vancouver.
Ph: 604 822-0968

Sage Bistro on Urbanspoon

It has been ages, probably several years, since I had lunch at Sage Bistro. Before I chose to redeploy myself from university professor to  on-line media professional, Sage Bistro was the place of choice for on-campus lunch meetings.

UBC greensI was delighted to be invited to join a friend for lunch at Sage prior to attending a talk and curious to see whether the food was as good as I remembered. Luckily it was. 

Mornay sauce modified  by meOysters, Cheese and Sauces - who knew these things but chefs, fishmongers and dairy people?

On my to-do list of items I had said I would follow up on from previous stories, the second item was Sauces. Way back in April when we were cooking low carb dishes and I made a Mornay sauce to accompany a shrimp dish, I promised to summarize different sauce names for the non-chefs among us who don't remember the difference between Béarnaise and Hollandaise. I had let that promise slip until I was recently reminded of it by a discussion of Hunter's sauce over lunch at Sage Bistro.

So here is foodie trivia: Part II: The main course Sauces. This represents what I have gleaned from a number of different sources (no pun intended); cookbooks, encyclopedias and posts on the net, and Hopefully it is a fairly accurate summary.

With respect to the sauces commonly used in Western cooking it is simple to think of sauces as primary or mother sauces (as classified by French chef Auguste Escoffier) and secondary sauces, made by adding other ingredients to a primary sauce.

Sign Up For E-Mail Updates

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Follow Me

The Community