Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Favorites from 2012


 I am not one for making lists because it is so hard to choose favorites from all the places I have eaten at in 2012. But a lot of the time I do get asked what has been my "favorite" place to eat. So I thought I would share some of my favorites, in no particular order.

1. The Filling Station in Orange started my year out on the right foot. Awesome breakfast and the family has been back for dinner which was also damn good.

The Filling Station 

2. Tummy Stuffer in Anaheim has been a favorite of mine for years and in 2012 I finally took the time to write about it.

Tummy Stuffer 

3. Sharky's Wood Fired Mexican Grill in Long Beach is a must whenever the family goes to the Aquarium of the Pacific.

 Sharky's

4. The Playground in Downtown Santa Ana was definitely a hit with my wife and I.

The Playground DTSA 

5.  Mi Casa was recommended by friends and readers and a good recommendation at that.

Mi Casa 

6. The Globe would be my most recent addition to this list.

The Globe 

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Global Dinner at The Globe

The Globe
Dine and Bar
12926 (Historic) Main Street
Graden Grove, CA 92840
714-537-7471

  I was contacted by Michael, the owner of The Globe, through this blog. He offered me a $30 gift certificate to come check out his restaurant and I gladly accepted. I never started PapaKaster Eatin' with the idea that I would get anything from it, but do feel it is fair to let my readers knows if any portion of the meal was comped to me.

  My wife and I went to the The Globe on a Saturday night, the restaurant was busy but not crowded and we sat down right away. Unknown to me at the time the owner Michael was helping us and took our drink order right away. After delivering our drinks he took a meal order which consisted of the cheese board for starters. My wife then ordered one of the monthly specials which was the Aussie Mixed Grill and I ordered the Globe Short Rib. For dessert we ordered a Belgian waffle. This entire would have been $67, but with the certificate the price was cut in half.

  The cheese board was $14 and had a selection of  artisan cheeses which included manchego, aged cheddar, house made goat cheese and brie. There was also some fresh strawberries, sun dried tomatoes and an apple compote. The machego cheese paired nicely with the fresh strawberries. The sweet strawberries cut through the sharp cheese and the balance of flavors was nice. The aged cheddar was mild but very good. This was my first experience with goat cheese and it was okay, the fresh herbs helped to cut through some of the gamy flavor the cheese had. Lastly I had the brie and apple compote a classic combination and it was delicious. The creamy brie and the compote made for a perfect bite. This was an excellent start to the meal.


  The Aussie Mixed Grill at $18 was part of a monthly menu offering done by The Globe. Every month they will be visiting  a new destination and this month it happened to be Australia. The Aussie Mixed Grill contained char-grilled steak, lamb sausage which my wife had substituted for a bratwurst, lemon grass shrimp and a potato gratin. I snagged a couple pieces of the bratwurst and the steak, but left the shrimp all to my wife. The bratwurst was cooked nicely with a crisp skin while the meat was moist and flavorful. The steak was cooked to a perfect medium and covered in a meaty pan sauce. My wife said the shrimp were plump and juicy with a nice cream sauce. My wife enjoyed thi meal and said she enjoyed the steak the most but that everything else was also really good.


  I was torn between ordering the Globe Short Rib at $17 or the Herb Stuffed Chicken at $16 but decided to go with the short rib in the end. The Globe Short rib is a slow cooked, boneless short rib served with natural jus for the sauce. The rib it self was so tender I did not need a knife and could cut the meat with my fork. The sauce was seasoned perfectly, I did not need to add any salt or pepper. The meat was everything a good short rib should be, tender meat filled with fatty bits. The veggies were good, I even tried a beet for the first time and enjoyed it. The potato gratin was also really well done. The potatoes were cooked so they were soft but not mushy then loaded with cream and covered in cheese. Not sure what cheese was used but I am guessing it was the aged white cheddar. Each bite of the gratin was cheesy goodness. I very much enjoyed my meal and thought the portion size was pefect because I was full but not so full we could not enjoyed some dessert.


  To end the dinner we went with a Belgian waffle at $6 and it was covered in fresh house made whipped cream and chopped strawberries. The waffle it self was crisp on the outside while being soft and fluffy on the inside. The waffle was not overly sweet, the whipped cream, strawberries and sprinkled powered sugar added the right amount sweetness. This dessert was light and not too rich which completed this meal in just the right way.


  As the meal ended Michael introduced him self and we spent about twenty minutes talking with him about his ideas behind the The Globe. He told my wife and I that he wants people to come to The Globe and enjoy their time in the restaurant and not be rushed. He wants his customers to get a feel for what a European restaurant experience is like. He also never wants any of his customers to feel like they are just a number in a corporate machine turning tables as quickly as they can. I have to say this has been accomplished. At no time did I ever feel like my wife and I were being pressured to place our order quickly, finish our food so we could be replaced by the next paying customer. We actual spent almost two hours at The Globe because we were in no hurry and The Globe was glad to have us there.

  I would have been fine with paying the $67 tab for this meal. The food was excellent, the service was awesome and the ambiance was great. In fact each table is a different European country so you can literally travel the world going from table to table. We happened to sit at England. I would definitely return to The Globe and can easily recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for a great dinner.


The Globe Dine Bar on Urbanspoon

The Globe Dine Bar on Foodio54

Monday, November 19, 2012

Suggest PKE to your friends!

  I am not one to ask for this kind of thing often and have not done so in a long time. But I would like to ask readers that enjoy the post on PapaKaster Eatin' to go to PKE on Facebook and like the Facebook fan page. The page is about 21 likes short of 100 and it would be awesome to get to 100 by the end of this year. Please recommend the Facebook fan page to any friends or family that you also think would enjoy PapaKaster Eatin'.

Thank you,
~PapaKaster

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Earl of Sandwiches?

Earl of Sandwich
1565 S. Disneyland Drive
Anaheim, CA 92802
714-817-7476

  After months of waiting and hearing about Earl of Sandwich from other food bloggers I finally had my chance to try it out. This location is inside the Disney walk next to the movie theater. My wife and I ended up there on a Friday night right around dinner time so there was a long line but the line moved quickly. The Earl of Sandwich definitely planned ahead for these kind of lines because it was very smooth and despite the amount of people ordering, the food was ready quickly. My wife and I ordered a bowl of chicken noodle soup to share, my wife ordered The Full Montagu and I ordered the chicken chipotle sandwich. With one drink this meal was about $18.50 with a 10% discount for being Disneyland pass holders.

  The chicken soup was warm, full of thick noddles, pieces of chicken and pieces of carrots. The broth was full of chicken flavor and the chicken it self was tender. The veggies were sparse but I was okay with that because this was a good bowl of soup and on a cold night it really hit the spot. The broth was thick and not watery at all. I know the picture would make you think different about the veggies but that was about all the carrots there was in that bowl of soup. The bowl of soup was $2.99.

  
  The Full Montagu my wife ordered is freshly roasted beef, turkey, aged swiss and sharp cheddar, lettuce, tomatoes and the Earl's mustard sauce. Being allergic to mustard my wife order her sandwich sans the mustard sauce and added mayo in place. My wife and I ended up sharing sandwiches so we could each get a taste of something different. This sandwich did have all the above listed ingredients, the meat was sliced thinly, with a couple slices of tomatoes and a few leafs of lettuce. The cheese was melted and the bread was toasty. I couldn't really distinguish anything from anything. The flavors just all came together as one. The sandwich was a good version of meat and cheese sammy.

    
  The chicken chipotle sandwich had chuncks of chicken, bacon, avocado and chipotle sauce. The chicken chunks were large, the avocado was visible and the bacon was chopped. The sandwich it self was full of smokey chipotle flavor, the chicken was tender and still moist but kind of flavorless. The bacon added a saltiness to the sandwich without being overpowering. While the richness of the avocado helped to cut through some of the spice from the chipotle sauce. The bread on this sandwich was also toasted, as are all the sandwiches. The bread was lightly crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. A tasty sandwich that I enjoyed more then The Full Montagu.

  
  Here is my real issue with Earl of Sandwich, the prices. Each sandwich is $6.99 and about six inches long maybe a bit longer. The sandwiches were good, don't get me wrong but I can think of one local sandwich shop that I enjoy much more and the prices are better for the amount of food you get. I do think Earl of Sandwich will be just fine and continue to serve many customers. I would go back if I was in the area but this not a place I would go out of my way to try again simply based on the cost alone.


 
Earl of Sandwich on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Mi Casa es Su Casa

Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant
296 E. 17th Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
949-645-7626

  A few readers of PapaKaster Eatin' have recommended I take the family to Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant in Costa Mesa. The PKE family finally made it down there and I was very impressed. My daughter ordered the kids bean and cheese burrito with fruit, my son ordered the Mi Casa grande burrito, my wife ordered a two item combo with a chicken enchilada in green sauce and a carne asada taco, I ordered a two item combo with a fish taco and a pollo asado taco. We also got an order of two chicken flautas which started the meal. With drinks this dinner was about $62.

  The a la carte order of chicken flautas came to table first and was a great way to start dinner. The flour tortilla was crisp and each flauta was loaded with white meat chicken. The guacamole was creamy and had a bit of sweetness to it that I really liked. The red sauce added a nice tang to the overall taste of this starter.

  
  My daughter enjoyed her bean and cheese burrito. I was glad to see her eat something other then chicken nuggets or a cheese burger. The burrito was just the right size for her as she was able to eat it all and finish her fruit. Even the fruit was a good mix of grapes, strawberries and blueberries. Since she did such a good job eating her dinner the waitress got my daughter a few extra cherries that are served in the drinks.


  So my son is playing freshman basketball and his coach has asked him to gain some weight and I think my son is taking that request to heart. The Mi Casa grande burrito is full of meat, he chose carne asada, rice, beans, cheese and lettuce. Then his burrito was covered in melted cheese. My son manged to eat all but about three bites of this grande burrito. My son said the burrito was good and that he liked the entire burrito. He didn't give too many details because he was too busy eating the burrito. This burrito was huge and I was shocked to see how much my son actually finished.


  My wife was glad to find out that her chicken enchilada could be made with green sauce upon request. She offered me a bite and I gladly accepted. The chicken was still moist and looked like it too was made with all white meat. The green sauce was flavorful and not spicy at all. The enchilada was also loaded with melted cheese which made this even better. In my opinion everything can be better with melted cheese. The taco had to be served on the side due to the shear amount of food that covered my wife's plate. I nabbed a couple pieces of the carne asada to give it a try and the meat was tender and had a grilled taste to it. 



  As for me I went with two tacos simply because my readers suggested Mi Casa has some of the best tacos around. I took one look at this plate of food and could not decide where to start. I figured the chicken taco would be a good starting point. This taco had so much inside of it the ingredients spilled out with each bite. The chicken was chopped in bits but still very moist. The chicken also had a nice smokey taste to it from the grill it must have been cooked on. The rest of the fillings in this taco was also pretty damn good, crisp lettuce, a mild red sauce and tons of cheese. My next offering was the fish taco which was made with cod. The fish it self was coated with a batter and then deep fried until it crispy. The fish was flaky and the white sauce was rich. The salsa on this fish taco helped to cut through the richness of the white sauce and the acid from the fresh lime added a nice brightness to each bite. Each combo plate comes with rice and beans. The rice was fluffy and the beans were creamy. After my one chicken flauta, two tacos and some rice and beans I was a happy camper.

  
  Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant did not disappoint. The food was excellent, the waitress we had was super nice and the prices were reasonable. This kind of food is what I think of when I think of good Mexican food and very much reminded of the Mexican food I would eat as kid with my family. I would highly recommend Mi Casa to anyone and encourage you to take a trip to Costa Mesa because it is worth the travel time. I must say thank you to my readers who made this recommendation. I know I will be back and will enjoy trying something different from the menu.

Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant on Foodio54

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A stop at Wing Stop

Wing Stop Sports
1541 East Katella Ave
Orange, CA 92867
714-289-9464

  Wing Stop Sports is a new concept restaurant by the people who brought us Wing Stop. Wing Stop Sport had just opened they day we visited and the place was busy from the moment the family walked in and crowded busy by the time we left. The menu is the typical wings that you have come to expect and few new offerings. The Wing Stop Sports has many more seats then you normally see inside a Wing Stop and there are many TVs playing sports.

  The family ordered a 40 wing pack which includes one large fry, two orders of veggies, your choice of four wing flavors and four dipping sauces. With four drinks the entire meal was about $45. We ordered ten wings boneless and plain, fifteen lemon and pepper with the last fifteen garlic and parmesan. My daughter liked her boneless wings and ate almost all ten by herself. I did get a couple of these boneless wings and there were coated with a crunchy outside and had a moist inside.


  Lemon and pepper and the garlic and parmesan are my two favorite flavors at Wing Stop and of course Wing Stop Sports delivered the same great tastes. The wings themselves have a crisp skin while the dark meat wings remain moist and full of flavor. The lemon and pepper have a nice lemon flavor that is not too over powering with a bit of kick from the pepper. The melted butter helps to coat each wing with this combination. The garlic and parmesan are loaded with parm and hint of garlic in the background. These too are covered in melt better which makes it so each wing is loaded with parmesan cheese. I have tried other flavor sauce but always end up back with these two.



  The french fries at Wing Stop Sports are like no other fries and I have not been able to find any that match these fries. I wish I knew what the original seasoning was made of but I suspect there is some sugar in it because these fries are sweet and savory at the same time. I personally love the little crispy bits of fries at the bottom of the basket. These are some the best fries around and I will literally crave these things.


  The family was able fill up with the meal but we were not over full. I know we could have easily done the 50 wing pack and next time that might be the order. I must say I did enjoy the larger seating area in this new Wing Stop Sports because I did not feel so cramped. Oh and they also two of the new Coke machines were you can choose from like fifty different flavors of drink. I am so excited to have a Wing Stop close to home and will continue to visit this location.

 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Smoqued Dinner

Smoqued California BBQ
128 N. Glassell St.
Orange, CA 92866
714-633-7427

  I was craving BBQ and knew that Smoqued California BBQ had just opened in the Orange Circle. Always looking for good BBQ the family and I took a short trip into Orange to Smoqued. Upon walking into the restaurant we were greeted by a welcoming staff and immediately seated. Good thing we got there when we did because the tables filled fast as it got closer to dinner. My daughter ordered kids chicken strips, my son ordered the pulled pork, my wife ordered the half chicken and I ordered the two meat plate which I got St. Louis style ribs and beef brisket. Each meal comes with a choice of two sides we all got mac and cheese and something else. With drinks this meal was about $56.

  My daughter enjoyed her chicken strips and gobbled them up quickly. She also enjoyed the fries with her side of ranch. She said the chicken was crunchy and the fries were yummy. My son is an eating machine and was done with his pulled pork within minutes. So I grabbed a chunk before it was gone. The pork was still moist with a nice smokey taste. The addition of some home made BBQ sauce finished the pork nicely. My son also said the french fries were good.



  My wife and I shared our meat so we could try a variety of the menu offerings without having to order massive quantities of food. My wife gave me the chicken wing and some of chicken breast. I really liked the chicken rub but my wife thought it was little heavy on the paprika side. I really enjoyed the tiny bit of heat in the chicken rub which complimented very nicely with the BBQ sauce. The chicken it self was cooked perfectly while remaining juicy and tender. My wife said her side of green beans were very good because the green beans were cooked well and retained a bit of snap when eaten.


  I really liked the service of food. A large eating surface that allows you to get messy which is required when eating BBQ. I started my meal with the beef brisket, it had a nice smoke ring and was tender enough to cut with a fork. The brisket was flavorful, moist and full of good smokiness. The slices were thick which made them fulfilling but another slice would have made me happier for the price. The ribs were pull away from the bone tender. I was able to clean the meat off each rib without any problems. The ribs had a nice bark on them from the dry rub which added a fair amount of flavor to each bite. The meat on the ribs was a bit dry but the additional BBQ sauce I added made up for that without any real issues. The BBQ beans were a mix black beans, navy beans and bits of brisket. The BBQ beans almost had the same thickness as a hearty chili. I really enjoyed the sweet yet savory BBQ beans. The awesome mac and cheese as Smoqued calls it, really is pretty awesome. The creamy cheese sauce covers the al dente noodles. Not sure what combination of cheese they use but it was cheese to the max. This could have been a meal on it own. Lastly the corn bread was sweet with little bits of corn cooked into it. The perfect vessel to soak up left over sauce and bits of meat.



  We all walked of Smoqued California BBQ with full bellies but not so full that we didn't want to move. We all agreed that the food was delicious. Overall the portion sizes were good for the price and the quality of the food made the prices fair. The staff at Smoqued was also super friendly and very helpful which also adds to the appeal of this restaurant. One thing I know for sure if the family is in need a good BBQ fix Smoqued will be on the top of our list.

Smoqued BBQ

Smoqued BBQ on Yelp
  
Smoqued California BBQ on Urbanspoon