Sunday, October 30, 2011


Foodies of Orange County, mark your calendars!  Saturday, November 19th from 9am - 2pm, the SoCo Farmers' Market in Costa Mesa will host the second 'Farm to Food Truck Challenge' - A creative cook-off event where gourmet food trucks go head-to-head using local SoCo Farmers’ Market ingredients to create culinary masterpieces that are judged by a panel of aficionados. It's a fabulous, fun (and free!) day for food-lovers!

15 gourmet food trucks will be at the event, serving throughout the day. Of the 15 present, 6 gourmet food trucks will compete in the challenge & fight for the title of 'Top Chop Truck'.  The 6 competition trucks are: Taco Maria, Home Skillet, Seabirds, SlapFish, The Flip Truck and Piaggio

Over the next few weeks, I'll be giving you a sneak-peek here on the Anne Watson Photography blog with a behind-the-scenes look into the culinary specialties of each of the 6 competing trucks.  Complete with plenty of drool-instigating food photos, of course!

First-up is a new-kid-on-the-block that is quickly gaining notoriety with gastronomes across Orange County - the Taco Maria truck.  On the food truck scene for just 2 1/2 months now, Taco Maria is taking mobile Mexican cuisine to a new level, shattering any preconceived notions of what a 'food truck taco' is.  They serve mind-blowing creations at affordable prices.

Family-owned and operated, Taco Maria is under the management of a fantastic brother-sister team, Carlos and Silvia Salgado. The Salgados have been on the OC food scene for over 25 years already with their family restaurant, La Siesta Mexican Food, near Old Town Orange.  So, making a move into mobile gourmet cuisine was a natural next step for them.

And, with Carlos Salgado at the helm as Executive Chef of the Taco Maria kitchen, this truck is in excellent hands.  Carlos has a long history in the culinary world - most recently working for 6 years in San Francisco as a highly-skilled pastry chef in some of the city's top restaurants.

Carlos' training and exquisite standards for his kitchen are immediately apparent when you set foot into the truck. Everything is immaculate - you could eat off of the floors they are so clean - and the ambiance is one of calm, sophisticated organization, even during the heaviest part of the lunch rush. Patrons can view everything through the huge glass picture-windows that run the length of the front of the truck. Taco Maria clearly has nothing to hide - This is Michelin-star-quality stuff.

So, to whet your palate, below you can feast your eyes on a small taste of what Carlos and his team are creating in the Taco Maria kitchen at the moment. And then be sure to bring your appetite on Saturday, November 19th to SoCo Farmers' Market as Taco Maria goes head-to-head with the other 5 trucks in the Farm to Food Truck Challenge II!

Stay tuned for more details on the competing trucks in the coming days - next up, Home Skillet!...

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Executive Chef of Taco Maria, Carlos Salgado, preparing one of their most popular dishes - the Quesadilla de Tuetano; crispy bone marrow quesadilla with queso oaxaca and herbs & garlic al molcajete
Perfectly-crisped, just-out-of-the-fryer bone marrow
A Concord Grape & Hibiscus Agua Fresca, made with locally-sourced grapes from the SoCo Farmers' market
Taco Aracherra; grilled marinated hanger steak, charred shisito peppers, carmelized onion & applewood bacon
Taco Jardineros; roasted pumpkin, black beans, queso cotija & salsa de semillas
Taco Mole de Pollo; chicken thighs stewed with chcolate, chile, toasted almonds & figs
Chilequiles de la Casa; fresh tortilla chips sauteed in chile cascabel sauce with queso fresco & a fried farm egg

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I don't know about you, but I love breakfast.

Not only is it the most important meal of the day, but it's also is my favorite meal of the day because it has an excellent 'bacon factor.' The bacon-to-other-food-on-the plate ratio tends to be quite high during breakfast hours. This, in my book, is an excellent thing.

So, when I was brought on to shoot the menu for the new Bistro 24, my eyes lit up when the breakfast items began rolling out of the 24 Carrots Catering kitchen. First up, a warm bacon, scrambled egg & aged cheddar sandwich on perfectly-toasted sourdough with a side of roasted breakfast potatoes. Heaven.

Then, for those with a sweet tooth, there was the decadent Creme Brulee French Toast. I love any plate of food that is actually a giant dessert disguised as a meal. Complete with caramel, fresh whipped cream & raspberries on top. Um... Yes, please!

And, last but certainly not least on the Bistro 24 breakfast preview menu, a sneak-peek at their breakfast plate - complete with avocado-topped fluffy scrambled eggs, tomatoes with ooey-gooey warm brie, roasted breakfast potatoes and, yes, a nice hefty side of bacon. Excellent bacon factor points here, guys!

So, it's just a few more weeks 'til 24 Carrots opens the doors at Bistro 24... Doors are scheduled to open on November 14th and there's lots more info coming soon! Meantime, stay tuned for even more sneak-peeks through photos here on the Anne Watson Photography blog...

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Now, that's a breakfast sandwich that's got some good 'bacon factor'

Thursday, October 20, 2011


If you live in Orange County, California, chances are you've likely heard of the area's top caterer, 24 Carrots Catering & Events. And, if you're really lucky, you've had the opportunity to attend one of their events, devour their delicious food and be spoiled by their amazing staff. 

In this humble photographer's opinion, the chefs in the kitchen of 24 Carrots are nothing short of culinary geniuses.  I don't know about you, but when I used to think of the term 'catered food', images of mass-produced rubbery chicken in a mystery cream sauce, soggy boiled frozen vegetables, and bad salad from a bag were what used to pop to mind. That was until I discovered 24 Carrots

These guys produce food on a large scale without compromising quality (what a concept!).  And, their creativity has no bounds.  For years, their customers have been asking, "So, when are you guys going to open a restaurant?!"  And next month, the owners of 24 Carrots are opening the doors to their answer to that question in Irvine, California -- introducing, Bistro 24.  

Recently, as they've been preparing for the Bistro's launch, I've had the honor of being hired as their food photographer for the new Bistro 24 Menu. And, what can I say but... Wow. Wow wow wow.  24 Carrots fans - brace yourselves - you will not be disappointed!

Over the coming weeks I'll be giving you a lil' 'sneak-peek-through-food-photos' of the Bistro 24 Menu here on the Anne Watson Photo Blog.  Starting today with one of my personal weak spots. The cheeseburgers.

These are no average burgers. As you'll see - these are BIG burgers. Mouth-watering, juicy, pink-in-the-middle just-the-way-I-like-'em burgers oozing with gourmet ingredients - such as the first burger pictured below; melted brie, roasted figs, caramelized green apples and (get this!) TRUFFLE HONEY. Oh, dear God. The truffle honey. It is so good. Makes me wanna cry tears of sweet truffle honey joy.

So, enjoy this visual cheeseburger feast and daydream away about fresh-baked buns, avocados, pickled sweet peppers, frizzled onion hay... and, of course... bacon. Mmmm. Bacon.  

And if you like what you see here, just wait 'til you see what else they have in store! More to come soon - so, stay tuned...

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