#foodismyfave

#foodismyfave

Food Adventure Collage.

carnitas snack shack. c-level. world famous. woodstocks. terra american bistro. buddies. corbins. casey's cupcakes. mandarin beijing. nazca grill. eiffel tower restaurant. gordan ramsay burgr. in-n-out. bankers hill bar and grill. los primos. bistro sixty. ruth's chris.

Welcome.

... to a place I like to call my very own. *waving hello*

I invite you to enjoy reading about the food adventures that I have with friends, family, and colleagues.

I adore food and I cannot just choose one particular food that is my fave.

Food is really is my favorite. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

La Fonda Del Sol - Scottsdale, Arizona


La Fonda Del Sol is my hubby's father's FAVORITE restaurant in Phoenix/Scottsdale area.  They are 'regulars' at the Sonoran Mexican restaurant and the owners know them by name.   La Fonda is tucked away in a shopping center and is a very small establishment.  It feels 'homey' and cozy once you walk in because it is like walking into someone's home when they invited you to dinner.  We have been here many times, as it became a tradition to visit when we were in town.  And, I fell in love with one thing here..... we'll get to that in a second.


Every table starts off with warm, freshly fried tortilla chips and bottles of this amazingly flavorful salsa (pico de gallo).  Yum, chunky tomatoes, onions, cilantro....

After coming here a number of times, I have tried the beef taco, enchiladas, chicken fundido burrito, and their rice and beans -- that's it, nothing else.  That's because the item that I absolutely adore is their.... enchilada sauce.

[cheese enchilada + crispy beef taco a la carte]

For my first experience here, we came for lunch and I ordered the taco and enchilada combination plate.  The taco shell is made from freshly made corn tortillas (no store bought taco shells here!) and fried to a golden crisp.  The shredded beef is flavorful on its own and when the taco shell is soaked up by that wonderful enchilada sauce...yum,  BONUS.  

It is very hard for me to describe the flavor of this enchilada sauce compared to every enchilada sauce I have tried, but I will do my best.  The sauce is not super salty, but has a perfect balance of saltiness to make you say "wow."  I have had enchilada sauces that are way too salty that it's not even enjoyable.  This one has a subtle, light flavor of tomato, chili powder, and other Mexican spices.  The sauce is not thick, but has a consistency of a light marinara sauce (non-chunky).  It is absolutely delicioso!!!

[chicken fundido]

This is the hubby's favorite item there -- the chicken fundido, which is a fried chicken chimichanga topped with cream cheese and 'melted' cheese.  What put me off is that they melt American cheese on top, instead of shredded cheddar cheese.  Still, it is a fried chicken burrito with cheese on top so it is good.  I have actually strayed away from the enchiladas ONCE and ordered this during one visit because it sounded really sinfully delicious, but I missed the sauce.

Now, I always order the beef taco and cheese enchilada a la carte.  In addition to the crispy tortilla chips and housemade pico de gallo to start, the two items always fill me up. 

The equation is simple... La Fonda Del Sol in Scottsdale, Arizona = Best Enchilada Sauce I've Ever Had.  

This still has not yet changed unless someone can convince me otherwise.  *smile*

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Smashburger Pre-Grand Opening in East Village - Downtown


Smashburger.  The answer is YES... I have been a grateful guest to many of the San Diego Smashburger VIP events, to include the pre-grand opening shindigs in Del Mar (thanks to Junvi) and in the East Village, new menu item tastings in Mission Valley [Smashchicken entrees] and was invited to lunch by the fabulous Dara B. from Elle Communications to try Smashburger's 'non-meat item', the savory black bean burger. 

I was invited to the opening of the East Village location, located on Market Street and 9th Avenue.  I brought my friend, T, to my food adventure so she can experience Smashburger for the first time.  There are many menu items that I have not yet tried, so it was easy for me to select what to eat....

We arrived promptly at 6:30 PM, our reservation time, said hello to the ladies of Elle Communications and waited in line for our Smashburger entrees.

I ordered the 1/3 pound Mushroom Swiss Smashburger with a side of Beefy Chili Fries.  I was surprised to see chili fries on the menu as a new side item since they are not listed on the San Diego menu on their website.  I originally was going to order a cup of beefy chili, but hey, adding french fries to the chili made it more tempting!


The mushroom swiss burger was DEE-LISH.  It came with their classic egg bun, garlic sauteed mushrooms, melted swiss cheese with a little mayonnaise spread thinly on the toasted bun.  Simple goodness.  I was surprised that there wasn't lettuce and tomato on the side, but after looking at the menu, this burger does not include them.  I did not miss the lettuce and tomato because the burger was perfect on its own.  The 1/3 pound beef patty was seasoned just right and I loved the flavors of the garlic mushrooms and swiss cheese together.  I loved every bite of this Smashburger.


As far as their chili fries, regular french fries were topped by the beefy chili, shredded cheddar cheese, diced onion and fresh jalapenos.  The portion was small, but it was absolutely the perfect size for me.  It was very good, but I prefer just having regular fries with a burger.  I am glad that I tried it though, given that the chili is the last side that I have not tried yet.


T ordered the Spicy Baja Smashburger - chipotle bun (spicy!), pepperjack cheese, lettuce, onion, guacamole, and tomato.   She loves spicy foods and she absolutely enjoyed the burger. 

[T ordered sweet potato fries too]

Geena the Latina from Channel 933 and Hula from Star 94.1 were the honorary "Smashers" that were the first ones to smash the first patties on the grill.  They were also sitting next to T and myself.  The owner of all the Smashburger franchises in San Diego went around to say hello to the tables, but then he totally skipped our table - from the radio personalities to our neighbors eating next to us!  Boo.  Regardless, T and I had a great time munching.

Thank you  to Elle Communications for another successful VIP event at Smashburger.  Special shout outs to Heather P., Dara B., and of course, Ms. Danielle!  Thank you for the invitation, ladies!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Club 33, Disneyland - Anaheim, CA


Being Disneyland Resort annual passholders since the hubby and I started dating, we both have always wanted to visit the famous Club 33 in Disneyland.  Every time we stepped out of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, we walked by the mysterious 33 door and have wondered what it was like dining inside the very exclusive club.


Five years ago, my cousin, out of the blue, asked us if we wanted to go...

....and our jaws immediately dropped.  Her former company has a membership and she invited the cousins to visit the Club for the first time and we accepted her invitation with much excitement!!!

Since 2006, we have been fortunate to visit Club 33 four times, including the most recent time, last September 2010 after the hubby and I finished the 5th Annual Disneyland Half Marathon.

After ringing the doorbell and checking in with the hostess desk, I, now, give you the tour of Club 33....

E N J O Y !

[staircase to lead you up to the Club]

[elevator which Walt Disney had replicated from one he loved in a Parisian hotel]

[hallway that leads to the main dining room, cold buffet, dessert bar, and alcohol/wine bar]
 
 [harpsichord made for Lillian Disney, Walt's wife]
 
 [bar ... the only place inside the Disneyland Park that serves alcohol]

 [walls of the Trophy Room where they sat our party in 2006, 2007, and 2010]

 [chandeliers in the Trophy Room... do you notice the...]
 
 [... microphones?]

It was stated that the operators of these microphones would pick up regular conversation from 33 guests and then respond accordingly with the 'animatronic' vultures in the room.  Unfortunately, those statues have been removed a while ago. 

[cool looking toilet]

[Mickey Mouse came to visit us!]

 [33 menu]

 
[beautiful 33 china]

[fine china made in england]

When having lunch at Club 33, the cold buffet is offered at no additional charge.

[sliced turkey + marinated olives / grilled zucchini squash / caprese]

[fruit + selection of fresh salads]

[breadsticks + olive oil + balsamic / in the corner... the BEST creamy soup]

[chilled crab claws + shrimp with spicy cocktail sauce, tartar, lemon and Tabasco]

 
[smoked salmon + capers + red onion / marinated mushrooms / fresh melons + berries]

The dessert bar is offered for lunch and for dinner...




* * * *

[first experience - may 2006 for lunch]
... pictures taken by E.K. ...

There were twelve of us for lunch at Club 33 for our first time there.  We were sat in the Trophy Room to accommodate our large party.  Back then, we were required to pre-select what we were going to order prior to visiting Club 33.   

There are only a handful of choices for lunch and the majority of us ordered the same thing.... the grilled sirloin with bearnaise sauce.

 
[fresh grilled salmon]


[grilled sirloin with bearnaise  + potatoes + broccoli rabe / carrots / cherry tomatoes]

The steak pretty much was one of the best things I have ever eaten at Disneyland.  The meat was cooked to a perfect medium temperature, the bearnaise was sinfully rich and delicious, and my sister's BF, at the time, raved about the carrot, which was really flavorful -- something I never thought a simple carrot would ever taste as delicious as that.  

[lumache fresh pasta : 3 x 3... marinara / alfredo / pesto + crostini]

 
[roasted chicken breast]

[plate from dessert bar]

 [cute Club 33 square after-meal chocolates] 

* * * *

[second experience - august 2007 dinner]
... pictures taken by E.K. ...

To celebrate August birthdays and our wedding anniversary, my cousin booked another reservation three months in advance for us to have dinner at Club 33 on a summer August evening.  We had another large party so we were put in the Trophy Room once again.  The cold buffet is not offered for dinner.  

The dress code is strict for dinner where we are not allowed to wear shorts, jeans, tennis shoes - basically casual resort wear is prohibited. 

[creamy lobster bisque]

 [petite chateaubriand]

I ordered the petite chateaubriand because of my love for red meat, especially at an exclusive restaurant like Club 33.  It was served on top of a bed of mashed potatoes and green beans.  It was lovely.... and mouthwatering.

[seared jumbo sea scallop]

 
[seared ahi tuna with potato puree]

[our special anniversary plate of chocolate goodness - so cute!]

* * * * 
[third experience - february 2008 lunch]
... pictures taken by E.K. ...

There were only ten of us for lunch so we were sat in the Main Dining Room - yay!  It is a much brighter and larger room that seats two and more and up to 10 people in a round. 

My sister's BF surprised ALL of us, except my cousin who made the reservation, by proposing to my sister right after we started on the cold buffet items.  Mickey and Goofy came out to assist and suddenly, everyone in the dining room was listening.  Everyone clapped after she said "Yes!" and there were even a couple of ladies tearing up.  It was a very special day!


[lunch menu - 2008]

 
[lamb top sirloin + polenta]

 
[pan seared chateaubriand + port wine reduction]

YES, it is hard to pass up the chateaubriand here.  Delicious, as usual. 

[refreshing cocktail from the bar]

* * * * 

[fourth experience - september 2010 lunch]
... pictures taken by me ...

I have ran the Disneyland Half Marathon for three consecutive years and the hubs ran it for his fourth time last year.  It was very nice of my cousin to offer to reserve Club 33 as a celebration lunch right after the race.  We were ecstatic that her family and my sister's family met us at the finish line.  It was my nephew's and niece's first time at Club 33 so it was fun to watch them experience it.

[lunch menu - 2010]


 [my cold buffet plate]

I tried to make my plate neat and picture friendly, but I was so hungry that it was difficult for me to 'organize' my plate.  I wanted everything!  I enjoyed cheese and crackers, chilled shrimp, lobster tails, crab claws, breadsticks, caesar salad, mushroom ravioli, and cantaloupe slices.


My favorite thing on the plate was the mushroom ravioli. It was chilled and it had a creamy dill sauce that was very absolutely divine.



There is something about this creamy soup that is very addictive.  It is the most simplest soup that you pour in these tiny cups.  It reminds me cream of chicken soup but without the chicken chunks. 

[mickey mouse shaped pasta for the kids ... a little under seasoned according to my cousin]

[*smirk* - I may get something different next time]

[halibut with mushroom risotto]

[yummy desserts]

[love the cute candied lemon]

 
[this chocolate straw was tiny ... such detail these pastry chefs put into their work]

[after dinner coffee + wafer]

[dish full of club 33 chocolates]

Lastly, I leave you with views from the Club 33 balconies of the rest of the park.  Club 33 is situated on the top floor at New Orleans Square after Blue Bayou and expands to the top of Cafe Orleans. 




Club 33 is a special treat and we are very grateful for what my cousin has the ability to do for our family.  The cost of lunch runs a little over $100 per person (with tax and 18% gratuity) and dinner is a bit more than that.  Every guest who visits Club 33 for a meal receives a complimentary day park hopper pass to the Disneyland Park and to California Adventures.  The ticket is only good for that day.  The ticket on the back states "Club 33" so it is a souvenir for guests to keep.  Club 33 merchandise is also sold there... from Mickey ears, to beer glasses, shot glasses, pens, bracelets, and t-shirts. 

We are excited to bring our little one to Club 33/Disneyland when he is a little older to experience what Mommy and Daddy have been fortunate to visit.  Oh, how we love Disneyland!
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