Thursday, February 28, 2008

Knott's Berry Farm
Company Picnic
8039 Beach Blvd
Buena Park, CA

Another day, another catch up post. I'm getting used to this, gaining momentum...hopefully I'll be able to post about things that happened a lot more recently soon. But for now, let's look at some GROSS things I ate last July...namely, food that I'm sure came from a bin and heated up and fed to the masses. I'm talking about COMPANY PICNIC FOOD!!! Awww yeah!

We were invited to go to a Company picnic that took place at Knotts Berry Farm. I hadn't been to a company picnic in ages (the last one I remember was when I was a kid, for my dad's old company), and even further in my memory was a picnic that took place at an amusement park.

So Knotts. Oh how I hate you. Their parking situation is horrible, all the people clamoring to get there blocks up all the streets and heaven forbid Knotts invest in SIGNAGE to tell people where to go. So after a few hair pulling mishaps, we parked in a far away parking lot, opting to walk the perimeter of Knotts than to brave the streets again. So this is the kind of mood we were in, going into the picnic grounds. And sooo...we wait in the food find....THIS.

OMG! "Burger" patties that have never even touched a grill, yet, have grill marks! I love that these are swimming in a warm pool of disgusting meat juices. This makes me feel like I'm back in elementary school, chowing on something that I'm SURE was made and formed in the 50's, and reheated for human consumption (prison, public school, whatever!) Oh yes. I ate one. I'm not happy, or proud about it. I'm probably still digesting parts of it today. With THAT in mind...
...let's move on to Knott's Berry Farm's "famous" fried chicken. Or, should I say in this state, frozen, then fried, then steamed in this container so by the time it reaches your mouth, it's a mushy gloppy mess that makes the insides of your mouth feel like a caterpillar. I admit, I've had Knotts fried chicken before (long ago, at the beginning of my stay in Los Angeles) and it isn't bad, so the complaints mainly stem from the fact that the chicken is served in this container that steams everything to keep it warm. Still destroys any kind of good chicken though.
Now what could this be....more unidentifiable BINS of stuff...they might as well be pig troughs. Upon closer study...
(tilt your head sideways, everyone...still have an issue with rotation of pictures on here)...oh, look, it's BEANS. And not just any beans, too! I think the crust of one half of the beans is in a war with the other half of the not as crusty beans...forming a BEANMONSTER of EPIC PROPORTIONS.

This is the saddest thing of all - if anyone knows me, they know that I love fake nacho cheese. I can't say I know why, but I will almost always order it if a place offers it. But...look what this nacho cheese has become - a tectonic plate of a crusty, old nacho cheese river. I can't even bear it. Poor nacho cheese.
Here's the cold food got your mayo laden stuff....your other mayo laden stuff...this meal is straight from the 50's! The watermelon slices in the far distance at least tell me that there was an effort for health. I think the slice that I had was..ok..but not very sweet.
Nothing horrifies me more than corn that has been steamed so long that it wants to commit corn suicide.
And here's a plate of all this stuff, as nice as you can display it. It almost looks edible! Almost...
And finally, to wash it all down - here are slices of their "famous" boysenberry pie. I don't think this pie deserves the acclaim...the crust was too heavy and dense, the boysenberries too tart and mushy. Disappointment city. Probably could have been vastly improved if ice cream was around.

Well Knotts, thanks for disappointing me again. I was sorely disappointed when I went to Knotts Scary farm a few years back, and I was willing to give them a chance again for this...but again, failure. At least they're consistent. Oh, the highlight though was the company I was keeping. You guys rule! This food didn't!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

various locations across Southern California, but the one I went to was at:
2991 Michelson Dr, Irvine, CA 92612

As a testament at how backlogged I have become - I am blogging about food I ate ALMOST HALF A YEAR AGO. Talk about paying my dues. I am determined to slog through this, luckily, I remember a lot after seeing the pictures I took, and sometimes, when the food is good enough, it's that memorable. Like when you pick something out of your teeth that has been bothering you for the whole evening...uh, yeah maybe something a bit more glamorous, but I definitely have a huge satisfactory feeling that almost rivals a good meal. Or accompanies one. But onwards!

Patty's birthday dinner location choice was Houston's, a CHAIN restaurant (all you food snobs, together with me - SCOFF! SCOFF!) I usually hate and avoid chains if I have to - but be it sacrilege or not, I like Houston's. The decor is always really clean, contemporary, I like their wood block tables, the service is usually sterling. they make a mean arnold palmer. As far as I know, there are no Houston's in Northern California, so I never got to experience one in my younger days.

We started off with drinks - oh I love the glasses they use for drinks! A square-ish shaped bottom tapering up to a wide circular mouth, perfect for holding any cold liquid. I got my usual Arnold Palmer. We decided on a favorite of Owen's...

...spinach artichoke dip (excuse the blurriness and rotation, for the life of me it won't adjust the other way). This was a really really good dip - the spinach even tasted really fresh. Salsa and sour cream also accompanied this dish, which....
...tortilla chips were liberally used to scoop everything up. A great start to an even more exciting meal...
Patty got one of her favorite things to eat here - seared ahi tuna with tricolor cauliflower, and tomato with basil and balsamic vinegar on top. First of all, amazing presentation - how could you lose with a color palette like that? It was like the skittles dinner - all colors of the rainbow (incidentally, also the name of Brad and Patty's macaw - I don't usually get "pun"ny but I guess there's a first time for everything). In any case, Patty seemed to enjoy her meal thoroughly.
Brad stuck with his favorite - a Hickory Burger with canadian bacon on top, cheddar, onion and hickory sauce. We had our choice of sides, and he went with the loaded baked potato. I had one too, more about the spud later. He basically licked this plate clean.

Paul got a set of BBQ ribs plate, with cole slaw and fries. We all "ooooh'ed when one of the waiters set this down in front of Paul. He rocked this plate and left no scraps. I tried a little, it was fall off the bone amazing.

Finally, to me and Owen. I decided on their special - crab cakes. I had a choice of 2 sides, which left me with a problem. I love fries, but I desperately wanted to try the baked potato. And I wasn't going to have fries AND a baked potato - tater overload. Owen nobly stepped in and wanted a baked potato too - so I ordered 2 loaded baked potatoes! Yikes! This plate looks like oval shaped things overload! Once I handed Owen his baked potato, the plate seemed a bit more manageable. So how did everything taste? This crab cake was one of the top 5 crab cakes I've ever had in my life. Big lump crab meat, SWEET crab meat, I'd like to add...with a bit of crunchy browning on top and a kick ass sauce. The baked potato was potato heaven. Not to be missed for anyone able to go to a Houston's. Owen got a fried chicken salad, because where there is bacon and avocado, there will be Owen. Namely, he loved it. This salad was huge, I don't think he finished it, even with me pecking at the sides a bit.
Another special of the night - strawberries, with a bit of balsamic vinegar drizzled over the top, with fresh whipped cream. These extremely sweet and fresh strawberries were everything you could have wanted out of a berry. Owen can't help himself. When it comes to their warm chocolate brownie, with nuts and vanilla ice cream on top, he can't resist. He has to get this every time he comes here. I'm not much of a sweets person, but I admit this combination is pretty great. I ate 2 bites of this, and went into chocolate overload.

I really had no complaints that night. Everything was spectacular, from service to food, to ambiance and great company. Go!

Coffee Company
8751 La Tijera Boulevard
Westchester, CA 90045

Having a decent coffee shop around the corner is a big deal. Breakfast is so easy to make but it's all about having a place to go on the weekends, and there's just something so...I don't know, uniquely leisurely about having a convenient place to go down the street.

Sooo, Coffee Company it was. This place gets SUPER crowded on the weekends - especially on Sunday, when folks head there from the church across the street. There's sometimes a line out the DOOR but they keep things moving along here, and you usually are seated before you know it.

We usually start our meal with a glass of their orange juice...I think it's fresh squeezed or some of the best quality store bought stuff that they could find because this stuff is seriously delicious...
...and sometimes a coffee. They keep the coffee cup full here...I mean, it IS called the coffee company for a reason, right? They have the huge containers of sugar here (where you just tip it over and see that huge LINE of sugar pouring out), but I try to stick to Splenda nowadays.
This was Owen's french toast plate, with bacon and eggs over easy. Good, but not great, diner food. This isn't THE BEST french toast, but it's definitely tasty. They're really fast, too. Oh, and I know they're not shown here, but they have THE BEST biscuits. Fluffy, well flavored, good crusty outside. I'm not a biscuits and gravy kind of person but if you're into that, this is the place to go. (Honey's Kettle has got the market cornered on sweetened southern style biscuits, but this place has the more savory country style. Just wanted to clarify)
I wasn't in a breakfasty mood for some reason, so I got a club sandwich with fries. Maybe I should have stuck with breakfast, cuz this club sandwich didn't have...I dunno, DIFFERENTNESS. Like, I could have made this at home. But I am lazy! So Coffee Company wins. I actually like crust, so it was unfortunate that they cut the crust off, but I can deal. I liked the bacon and fries a lot though (go figures, the things that are FRIED...!), crinkly fries for the win!

Since we live fairly close to the Coffee Company, we usually get coupons in the Value pak in the mail for half off the second meal, which is a great discount for gluttons like us. Admittedly, that gives me a bit of sympathy for any complaints I might have (not many to begin with), so take that to heart. And YES I rummage through the Value Pak, even though most of the coupons in there are for things I would never use (1000 address labels, water delivery, rain gutter cleaning...thanks but no thanks!)

Huzzah to the first (finally) post of 2008 for Drink your Milk and eat your greens...many more to come!
A new year, a new look...

SLACKER. Yes. I am labeling myself a SLACKER, so you, the reader of this humble blog, do not have to. It's been way too long. I've missed this. And hopefully you've missed me too. I've made a few changes, slapped on a few of my favorite colors, and now ready to kick your eyeballs out with some great food I've been eating...I must share it all with you!

So, forgive me, for my absence - I will make it up to you!! It's not you, it's me! And all those other lame excuses!