Sunday, July 24, 2011


Yesterday I spent a fantastic day at Orange County's most up-and-coming shopping district, the OC Mart Mix and SoCo (South Coast) Collection where the weekly Saturday SoCo Farmers' Market is held.  In addition to stall-upon-stall of gorgeous, locally-grown organic produce, the SoCo Farmer's Market is also home to some of the best gourmet food trucks in the country.

This week was a particularly fun week to attend the Farmers' Market, as it played host to the first annual Farm to Food Truck Challenge where participating food trucks were given an hour to dash through the market, gather fresh ingredients and then another hour to create a unique dish that would be evaluated by a panel of judges. The winner of this year's event, crowned the 'Top-Chop Truck' was the fabulously-named Bacon-Mania Truck.  And, for People's Choice, the always-popular, local favorite, SlapFish Truck took top spot by a landslide.

I, of course (being both a photographer and a self-proclaimed 'Foodie'), was in heaven.  Of course there was the incredible produce on offer in the market itself.  But, move over to the food trucks, and your olfactory senses are sent into hyper-drive... From amazing carnitas tacos and ahi tuna nachos at The Lime Truck, to slow-roasted smoked pulled pork and beef brisket at the Rancho a Go-Go Truck, to incredible seafood grinders at the SlapFish Truck, and delectable gourmet nutella-filled French crepes at the renowned Crepes Bonaparte Truck -- everywhere you turned, there was something to feast your eyes, nose and taste buds on.

While the Farm to Food Truck Challenge was an annual event, you can still visit a large selection of these food trucks that rotate through the SoCo Farmers' Market every Saturday.  So make it a Saturday tradition! Head on over, grab some gourmet food-truck brunch, and then wander the market to buy some gorgeous produce to take home for dinner -- sounds like a great Saturday to me!  (Just North of Harbor Blvd. off the 405 in Costa Mesa at 3315 Hyland Ave.)

Meantime, feast your eyes on the deliciousness that awaits you!..

My personal favorite dish of the day -- The Lime Truck's Ahi Tuna Poke Nachos with passion fruit-sesame dressing, edamame, grapefruit slaw, sesame seeds and fresh homemade tortilla chips. Dee-lish!
Another Lime Truck delicacy, The Ultimate Taco: 10-hour roasted carnitas pork, guacamole, honey chipotle slaw and cojita cheese.
The lines at the SlapFish Truck are WELL worth the wait...
The SlapFish Truck's ahh-mazing Spicy Lobster and Shrimp Grinder: Lobster and shrimp mixed with mayo, celery, green apple and lemon on a toasted roll with lettuce and tomato.
The SlapFish Truck's 'Minor Crunchy' (a mini-version of their larger sandwich, 'The Major Crunchy'): Seared seam bream with lettuce, tomato, pickles and - the part that gives it its signature 'crunch' - potato chips. All served with SlapFish's 'Awesome Sauce' in a slider bun.
Dieters, beware!... The Bacon-Mania Truck is NOT for the faint of heart!
The Rancho A Go-Go Truck is famous for their slow-roasted BBQ meats - a perfect combination? This pair of sliders... A Carolina Pulled Pork Slider with pulled pork smoked over 14 hours, cole slaw and BBQ sauce, and a Texas Beef Brisket Slider made with Angus brisket smoked over 12 hours and BBQ sauce. So good it makes you just wanna shout, "God Bless America!!
Have a sweet tooth? Satisfy it at the award-winning Crepes Bonaparte Truck with 'Le Classique' Crepe: Bananas, Nutella and fresh whipped cream. Très délectable!
Life is so beautiful at the SoCo Farmer's Market, it's more than just a bowl... it's a few bushels of cherries!

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Saturday, July 9, 2011


4th of July has always been an interesting holiday in our household. I'm American - my husband is English. 'Nuff said.

BUT, this past year my husband & I did achieve the difficult, time-consuming, expensive and, frankly, emotionally-draining task of securing him his official status as a 'Legal U.S. Resident' (yay!) -- so, this July we just had to celebrate the 4th together in good ol' American, Southern-California style.

We ventured through the North Orange County towns of Santa Ana, Fullerton and Brea during the day - just soaking up the Americana and searching for celebrations.  We ended up at the 32nd Annual Brea County Fair - a perfect 'small-town' Americana setting where we were able to soak up everything from a classic car & hot rod show, to live bands, to row upon row of American-themed merchandise booths, carnival games, and of course - fresh-grilled Hot Dogs served-up by U.S. War Veterans of American Legion Unit 181.  It was a fantastic afternoon that made me feel like a kid again - and reminded me of why I'm so proud to be American.

Then, we ended the day back in our neck of the woods in the city of Santa Ana - one of the few remaining cities in Orange County where fireworks are still legal.  And, it's hard to describe just how loud, crazy and FUN it is in our neighborhood once the sun goes down... Fireworks of every kind - from small, store-bought sparklers & poppers all the way to full-blown rockets (the quite illegal, imported-from-Mexico kind - my favorite!).  So many fireworks are set off up & down every street, by the end of the night it looks like a fog has rolled in... but, it's just smoke settling after the excitement has died down.

God bless America.