Dia de Los Puercos “Firme Comida Xicana”

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From creating T-shirts for chefs to a food truck to a brick and mortor in West Covina and just recently opening new digs in Pomona and at the Riverside Food Lab, Rick “El Chefe” Garcia is channeling both his inner Homie and his Grandma “B” Beatrice. “El Chefe” has built his menu around his Grandma “B”‘s recipes, home cooking with a Chicano twist, a visit to Dia de Los Puercos is like visiting your Primo’s pad in East Los, complete with lowriders parked out front to a pair of Cortez hanging inside. The Pomona location is bigger than the West Covina site, the first room you enter is a bar area, you then walk into the main dining room which is like a big hall, tons of room and seating. I was actually in Pomona to visit Homage Brewing and was told that Dia de Los Puercos was nearby, ORALE! I have been hearing nothing but good things about DDLP so I grabbed my hyna and hustled on over to get our feast on.

The menu at Dia de Los Puercos is so inviting, so very familiar. We right away gravitated towards the appetizers, we ordered the Mexicorn-corn off the cob, mayo, cotija cheese, lime,  powdered chili , topped with bacon bits. Taquitos de Weenie- 4 taquitos with beef weenie, ketchup, may, mustard, onions and cotija cheese, Chicha and Chile-huge plate of chicharrones with salsa roja, lime, and chili salt, El Tri- 3 tacos with your choice of meat, so we picked uno de lengua and dos de mochomos(crispy pieces of pork). This was plenty for 2 of us but doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of the complete menu that is full of your favorites, tortas, burritos, sopes, more tacos, quesadillas, there’s also dessert and plenty of drinks. And don’t you worry Mr. and Mrs. Vegan there are options!!

Put Pomona on your list of places to visit. Besides Homage Brewing there’s also Sanctum Brewing nearby, both are excellent breweries and with Dia de Los Puercos it’s GANGSTA AF! C/S BobbyKnowsTacos  BobbyKnowsBeer

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Hot Tip of the Week: Breakfast Bolillos at El Molino de Oro in Orange

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El Molino de Oro recently opened their third restaurant in Orange County, in the city of Orange, and it’s a combination of panaderia, tortilleria and restaurant, so it took a few visits to determine. Yay or Nay. Well it is a definite Yay! First of all the pastries, breads and tortillas are super fresh and they are good, second everything is very affordable, and everything has been very tasty.

I first tried a torta de asada a few weeks ago for lunch, pretty good, like I said the roll was super soft and fresh, meat was tender and flavorful. Then I came by for some tacos. I ordered 2 carnitas and 1 al pastor. Tortillas were also super fresh and very flavorful, you could taste the corn, the al pastor was also tasty, a little fatty but it tasted fine, the carnitas  though, plenty of meat, my tacos were full, no fat just meat, I was stuffed and very happy.

On both these visits I had my eye on the pan dulce and the breakfast bolillos, so I told my compadre if he wanted to meet up and try the breakfast menu and he agreed whole heartily. Breakfast bolillos, you don’t see those on too many menus so I was intrigued, they’re priced from $1.50 to $3.75 and there’s 15 different ones. I ordered the #10 chorizo, potato, egg , compadre ordered #12 egg, sausage, bacon, beans, cheese. Just so you know my compadre is very picky, finnicky, he’s kind of weird. Always complaining and he can sometimes be embarrassing, that’s why I invited him. He ate his bolillo and told me not to review this place, he liked it so much he wants it to be a secret, don’t tell anyone! they’re going to raise the prices! He loved his #12 breakfast bolillo which he washed down with coffee and a pan dulce-that he said-not everyone makes these! My #10 bolillo was also perfect, ask for the red hot sauce, it’s just right, bolillo was soft and fresh, I liked them because it was not huge, I enjoyed every bite, I didn’t feel too full, I had room for a pan dulce-I bought a beso- not everyone makes them!

Thank me later! BobbyKnowsBreakfastBolillos!

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Kelly’s Korner Tavern in Placentia

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Every town has it’s local watering hole but not every town has a Kelly’s Korner Tavern which is located in the beautiful city of Placentia, y’all are lucky AF. Walking into Kelly’s is literally like walking into Cheer’s, they will remember your name. I’ve been there two handful of times and as soon as I walk in it’s, hi Bobby! They are so nice, from the owner, Jim Rafferty to the bartenders and servers, it’s always a good time at Kelly’s Korner Tavern.

Sit down and you are surrounded by Big Screen TV’s, there’s pool tables, a Lotto machine, dart boards, plenty of alcoholic beverages and some great grub. There’s daily lunch specials, Taco Tuesday specials, Happy Hour all day on Monday, Tues-Friday 3-6pm, Burger Wednesdays 20% off all burgers, Trivia Thursdays, Prime Rib Fridays $20 Prime Rib, baked potato, garlic bread and side salad, Steak dinner Saturdays(sometimes it’s Salmon Saturday) usually around $15.99. Everything is meticulously prepared by Chef Christian Virrueta and it shows, sandwiches are stacked sky high, Big salads, Huge nachos, you won’t be disappointed. You will be back!

Kelly’s has 37 taps of craft beer that they rotate on a daily basis, once the keg kicks they hook up another new beer. All styles are represented, Stouts, IPA’s, Lagers, Sours, One Offs, there’s also Bud Light, Modelo, Dos Equis on draft. I follow them on Instagram to find out the latest craft beer, this week they brought in from Alpine Brewing, Nelson IPA 7%(ABV) a limited release, using generous amounts of Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand while brewing and then it’s dry hopped with more Nelson Sauvin hops, European rye malt is added for balance. This is a whole lot of beer, tons of flavor, tons, the Nelson Sauvin hops are actually a subtle hop that will give off hints of grape, somewhat tart and sweet, but Alpine is on steroids, which is a good thing, West Coast is the best coast! Alpine is one of the best IPA’s ever brewed, if you like hops you will ❤this IPA. Por Vida. Get some while it lasts! I also drank a Modern Times Critical Band IPA 6.7%(ABV) using Simcoe, Centennial and Citra hops, Denali Oil, this is a juicy IPA, very juicy, with tropical fruit notes up front, hoppy, very enjoyable, Modern Times is really doing some great stuff right now, they’re pushing the craft beer envelope! Winner!

Kelly’s Korner Tavern is located in Placentia but I wish there was one in every city, especially mine! One can only hope. Cheers! Bobbyknowsbeer!

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Bodhi Leaf Coffee Traders; Colombia-Women of Pijao

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I’ve been drinking coffee for a few years, I started after reading an article in the New Yorker on Aida Batlle, she owns a plantation in El Salvador and has won numerous awards for her coffee beans. I don’t mind paying $30 for a 12 oz bag of joy, it works out to about $1 a cup and beats any cup of Starbucks. At home I use a French Press or I will do a pour over, I also own a Keurig but rarely use it. I drink my coffee black with a piece of pan dulce or pastry, so yes I am a #coffeesnob.

Now that I’m retired I do drink coffee daily but when I was working I only drank it on my days off, I would never drink it at work, it gets me too amped and I usually will come down off the caffeine high and take a nap. It works out well. I discovered Bodhi Leaf Coffee Traders thanks to a friend, Thien Le, he’s a home brewer who has roasted coffee beans with his friend who owns a roasting house in Arkansas. Bodhi Leaf has 5 locations in Orange County and was founded by Steve Sims in 2009, the location in Orange on Katella is their main warehouse where you can purchase bags of the raw or roasted beans along with a wide variety of coffee drinks: lattes, espresso, cappuccinos, iced drinks, smoothies, etc. I go for the straight pour, they offer 3 single origin beans that alternate weekly and your choice of full immersion, pour over V60 or French Press, the fresh drip is a house Colombian, I have tried them all and they are all so GOOD! Fresh pastries and empanadas are available with some vegan selections. The café in Orange is pretty large but it can get full during peak hours, they are constantly roasting beans and it can be loud if you’re looking for a quiet place to study.

I’ve been wanting to buy a bag of beans for home and they just came out with a light – medium roast from Colombia, Women of Pijao, Las Mujeres Association, a group of women farmers from the town of Pijao, Quindío. The notes are cherry, cocoa and vanilla, I grind just enough beans for my one cup and use a French Press, it smells so wonderfully delicious. Try it black so you can taste the richness, it’s soooooooo rich, it’s has deep chocolate notes with a dark cherry backbone, you get the vanilla on the back end. Since I purchased these beans I have not ventured out to my other coffee houses, the coffee is so enjoyable. I’m hooked!! A one pound bag of Women of Pijao coffee beans retails at $19.99 and is worth every penny. So which came first? the coffee or the donut?  BobbyKnowsCoffee!

For all location go to www.bodhileafcoffee.com

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Modern Times Beer Dinner at Chapter One: the modern local

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Modern Times Beer is building their Leisuretown in Anaheim, and when it’s completed will be a destination like an adult Disneyland , with suds, coffee and a swimming pool! In the meantime I was fortunate to attend the Modern Times Beer Dinner at Chapter One: the modern local last month, with all the freshly brewed beer here in Orange County I hadn’t really had a chance to drink much that Modern Times has to offer so this was a perfect opportunity to try some of their brews and enjoy some great food pairings. Chef Chicken Wang gave his sous chefs a chance to shine and they really brought their A game! Shout out to Tony Castaneda, Temoc Chavez, Trevor Prindiville and Timmy Morley, our server was the very helpful Linsey Onken and at the Bar was Russel Feldt. A huge thanks to Ryan Harding and Mr. Jeffrey “JJ” Jensen.

The festivities started with a Fruit Salad paired with a Modern Times Ice Pilsner, my date this evening was the lovely, Julianna Castillo, she loved the Ice Pilsner, she’s not a fan of hoppy beers and I have to agree that the Pilsner was very refreshing, great body, it looks light but has plenty of flavor. The fruit salad had ripe pieces of peaches and watermelon that had been slightly smoked, mango sprinkled with tajin, goat cheese and a citrus vinaigrette. Delicious!

Next up was a citrus cured scallop aguachile, simply amazing with corn puree, avocado crème, pickled pearl onion, paired with a Modern Times Factory Cathedral Imperial Gose, brewed in their L. A. location. I could have eaten this all night, the scallops melted in your mouth, all the different ingredients came together perfectly. The Gose was tart and tangy, a bit sweet and fruity. It was only the second course and we both were just blown away with both the food and beer and we still had 3 more courses! Yay!

Third course was a shrimp taco paired with a Modern Times Blazing World Hoppy Amber. Off the charts! Shrimp taco came with a bean puree, tomatillo salsa, radish and watercress, the shrimps were huge and so tasty, slightly spiced, each bite was heaven in a tortilla, I savored mine to the last bite. The World Hoppy Amber was right up my wheelhouse, it was hoppy but not bitter and had a strong malt backbone. YUM. If I was to brew a beer this would be it, the best of both worlds!

For the fourth course they served us a charcoal grilled ribeye that was sliced over a chorizo mole with roasted summer veggies and paired with a Modern Times Orderville IPA. Ribeye was perfectly grilled and fork tender, no knife necessary! Also no steak sauce was needed, the steak mixed with the mole was crazy good! Again, each bite, each morsel of fat I cherished as I slowly devoured each and every ounce of this juicy AF steak. The IPA totally complimented the ribeye, with my fourth Modern Times beer I can see a consistency with their brewing; smooth, balanced and clean finish. BOOM

Time for dessert! A Stout Cake accompanied with berries and cream float, we were encouraged to add some of Modern Times Monsters’ Park Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout into the float. The Monsters’ Park was aged for 1 year and the (ABV) was 14.2%, it paired well with the cake which was baked and prepared by Amy Schwan. A perfect dessert for a perfect beer dinner!

The next beer dinner is coming up this Thursday when Towne Park comes in to Chapter One, make your reservations! Don’t miss out!

Bobbyknowsbeer!

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The Polly Burger at Polly’s Pies

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The Polly Burger at Polly’s Pies in Santa Ana                                                                                  The Butcher

I know ya’ll been sleeping on the Polly Burger at Polly’s Pies. Every time a Top Ten list of the Best Burgers In Orange County comes out Polly’s doesn’t even earn an honorable mention and most of those Top Ten end up going out of business, AmIrite! Of course when you think of Polly’s Pies you automatically think of their freshly baked pies, seasonal fruit pies, apple, pumpkin, cherry, lemon meringue, so many choices! Then there’s all their other baked goods, muffins, cookies and those CINNAMON ROLLS!!!

Breakfast also comes to mind, thick Cherry Wood bacon, Tri-Tip, 3 egg omelettes and scrambles, pancakes piled high with bananas and strawberries, Belgian waffles, French Toast and quiches, all breads are baked daily so the toast is always a must order with their home made jam. The coffee at Polly’s is roasted exclusively for them in Belmont Shores, Long Beach, grab a bag of beans for home, as a certified #coffeesnob I give Polly’s coffee a #BobbyKnowsCoffee thumbs up! 👍

Come to Polly’s for lunch or dinner then bring your A game appetite or expect to take home some leftovers. Sandwiches are stacked and of course the bread is baked and sliced fresh. The Chicken Salad on toasted raisin walnut bread is my strong recommendation or go for a half sandwich and a dinner salad, a winning combo. The dinner menu is a wide variety of solid homestyle grub, Turkey meatloaf, Baby Back ribs, pork chops and their famous Rotisserie chicken dinner all come with tasty side dishes. They also have a Whole Rotisserie chicken dinner to take home, complete with dinner rolls, mashed potatoes and cole slaw, they’ll quarter it on request. The salads are also huge and delicious, the Asian Noodle Salad with Grilled Chicken is enough for two persons, I’ll order the Turkey Chili to go and use it on hot dogs or burgers at home. Thank me later!

The burger menu alone is a Top Ten list, Polly’s uses only fresh ground beef and all their buns are baked fresh daily. They make a great Turkey Burger and a very good Veggie Burger, one of my faves is the Avocado and Friends Burger, avocado, ripe tomatoes and Alfalfa sprouts! Healthy AF! 😝 In all honesty I like my burgers simple, with lettuce, pickles, cheese and a good spread, that is The Polly Burger, juicy, tender beef patty, seasoned perfectly, All-American as apple pie! There are 15 Polly’s Pies throughout the Southland, I am a regular at the Santa Ana location, I’ve been going there with my family for 30 plus years. The service there is awesome, everyone is always happy and ready to take your order. I was recently at the Montebello location and happened to be there on a Wednesday night which turns out to be Bingo Night! It’s the only Polly’s that currently plays Bingo and it was so much fun. You get a chance to win Cinnamon Rolls, Cookies and Pies. Oh My! So ignore those trendy Top Ten  lists and enjoy a juicy, fresh Polly Burger with a nice slice of pie! #BobbyKnowsBurgers!

 

 

 

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Home Brewing Class 101 at El Indio Botanas Y Cerveza

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Writing craft beer reviews over the last few years has stoked my interest in brewing my own suds. I’ve been invited to brew days by my compadres the SoCal Cerveceros, a rapidly growing Latino home brew club. While I know how much I will enjoy learning a craft that will result in tasty brews, I also know how compulsive I can get with a new hobby. When I learned how to golf it became an obsession that led to me collecting a literal forest of persimmon woods in my garage, so if learning how to brew beer will result in a refrigerator full of beer then so be it!

I heard that El Indio Botanas Y Cerveza would be hosting a home brew class led by husband and wife, Robert and Zaida Ramirez, @Amor_Y_Cerveza on Instagram and AmorYCerveza.com, their blog. Robert and Zaida have been home brewing for three years and belong to the Long Beach Home Brew Club where they now live,, they’re both originally from Santa Ana and Robert works at El Indio. In less than a year El Indio Botanas Y Cerveza has established itself as the go to spot for Baja Craft Beer and delicious home made Mexican food in Orange County. Most evenings they have a D.J. spinning jams, weekends they’ll have live music and their Taco Tuesday is one of the best around with $1 tacos and $3 Indio beers.

The class  started at noon on a Saturday so everyone ordered their food and got ready to learn how to brew beer. I opted for the tacos de barbacoa, 3 tacos stuffed with perfectly cooked meat, tender and flavorful, other favorites are the tacos de canasta, sopes, Mole chicken wings and the quesadillas. The Baja Craft beer list is a variety of styles from Border Psycho, Fauna, Agua Mala, Insurgente and Wendlant  priced at $5 and $6, this school Rocks!

Robert and Zaida were going to teach us a method of brewing that is becoming popular called Brew In the Bag. This process is perfect if you don’t have the room for a full home brew system that can include up to 3 to 4 separate vessels. Local home brewer, Thien Le, uses this method since he lives in an apartment and his beers have earned numerous awards, including a second place medal at the 2018 National Home Brew Competition held this June in Portland, Oregon. Home brewing takes time so if possible you will want to start early in the morning. Robert and Zaida took us through all the steps up to fermentation, they were going to take the “wort” home and add the yeast there. They not only explained the steps on how to brew but gave us insight on possible mistakes you can make at that particular stage of brewing, they let us ask  questions as we progressed through the brewing process. Since it did take some time they also talked about the different grains that are used in brewing beer and passed around containers of grains so we could taste and smell them, they also did this with the different hops that they were using. They did emphasize the importance of sanitation, always had a spray bottle of Star San handy and used it constantly on the ladle they were using to stir the grain as it boiled. Robert is Mexican and Zaida is from El Salvador so they use their different cultures to influence the styles of beer they brew, Tamarind Passion Heff and Ponche Double IPA are just 2 examples of what types of beer they are creating. YUM!

Here are the steps to BIAB, click here to watch a video on BIAB.

  1. The MASH > 60 minutes. Heat 5 gallons of water to 160 degrees, add mesh bag and stir in grain, constantly stir so no lumps form.
  2. The BOIL > 60 minutes. Pull out the bag and rinse it with water to collect additional sugars in the pot. Bring 6 gallons of wort to boil, add hops once the water is at “rolling boiling”.
  3. COOL THE WORT – After the boil you will have sugar water called “wort”. Now is the time to cool this as fast as you can to room temperature using an ice bath or wort chiller.
  4. PITCH THE YEAST – Transfer your wort to a clean fermenter or glass carboy. Pitch the yeast at or near 70 degrees and move the fermenter to a cool dark area.
  5. FERMENTATION > 2 WEEKS. Ferment your beer for 2 weeks. During this step the yeast eats the sugar in the wort and converts it to alcohol (YAY!) and CO2 gas. you can also add more hops to dry hop the beer or you can also add fruit or anything you like to add additional flavors. After the 2 weeks you can bottle or keg the beer. Enjoy!

You will need to visit a home brew store and Robert and Zaida recommend Windsor Home Brew Supply in Costa Mesa, an entry level home brew system can cost anywhere from $100 to $200 depending on what you want. If you know specifically what you will need Windsor can custom build your system. Muchos Gracias to El Indio, Oscar Olivares, Chef Ramon and Robert and Zaida! I might be changing my # to #BobbyBrewsBeer! Cheers! 🍺🍺🍺

 

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The Best One Hour Taco Tuesday! SOHO Taco Truck

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Taco Tuesday has emerged as the favorite day of the week followed closely by Meatloaf Monday, Fish Fry Friday and Tofu Thursday. A restaurant based in Wyoming has even trademarked the term “Taco Tuesday” and files cease and desist orders every year. Read all about this fascinating history in the latest Thrillist post by Gustavo Arellano. Since I’m Mexican I consider every day Taco Tuesday so if they want to get @ me then buena suerte. Taco Tuesday! Taco Tuesday! Taco Tuesday!

Tacos and craft beer make a such perfect pairing that this year alone I have attended three craft beer and taco festivals. A hand made corn tortilla filled with al pastor or carne asada then topped with salsa, cilantro and onions in one hand and an IPA in the other is as common at a tailgate party as hot dogs, burgers or brats, and as delicious.

Every Tuesday in the Delhi neighborhood of Santa Ana, Cismontane Brewing Company hosts the SOHO Gourmet Taco Truck

Since 2009 SOHO has set the bar for Gourmet taco trucks, using the best ingredients along with their on-site hand made tortillas they also cater weddings and special events. Cismontane Brewing has also been around since 2009, coincidence? Ha! They originally opened in Rancho Santa Margarita but are now permanently settled in SanTana where they brew their award winning Mesa V 7%(ABV) 60% Pilsner, 40% Riesling, 100% Genius. In 2017 Cismontane Brewing brought home a Silver Medal from The Great American Beer Festival, the beer menu is stocked with familiar styles, IPA’s, Blondes, Stouts, but the crew at Cismontane loves to experiment and a great example is their Zonifornia Native Sour Gruit 5.5%(ABV), yes that’s Gruit, I didn’t misspell fruit. This is a collab with Thunder Canyon Brewery from Tucson, Arizona. Using only herbal mixture found out in the open trails and meadows, gruit is German for herb, it’s a light but full bodied ale with zero IBU’s. Gruit is one of the oldest methods of brewing but was basically outlawed in 1516 when Germany adopted the Reinheitsgot, also know as the German Beer Purity Law that proclaimed only water, barley and hops were allowed when brewing beer. Know your brewing history!!!

Tacos aren’t the only thing brewing on Tuesday’s at Cismontane, it’s also Cask Night! Every Tuesday Cismontane brews a small batch specialty craft beer, follow them @cisbrewco on Instagram for up to the minute updates.

So here’s the deal; from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. SOHO sells their gourmet tacos for 99 cents! Even their scrumptious shrimp taco is 99 cents(the mahi taco unfortunately is regular price), the tacos are regularly priced at $3.59 each and for 99 cents you get that very same, filled to the rim, taco. SOHO doesn’t skimp on their deal, like most places I’ve been to, you show up for 99 cent or $1 tacos and they give you a tortilla barely filled with meat, you look at them like, hey, where’s the beef! and you get the, Dude, they’re 99 cents, what do you expect, womp, womp.

Cismontane Brewing and SOHO Gourmet Tacos delivers the BEST deal on Taco Tuesday(from 5pm to 6pm), how many can you eat in an hour? I once saw a homie eat 9 tacos! Yikes! I’m good with cuatro, dos de asada and dos de carnitas, with all the goodies, the salsas are all fresh and espicy and the beers are cold and enjoyable. Thank me later! BobbyKnowsTacos! BobbyKnowsBeer!

 

 

 

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Happy Hour at Chapter One: the modern local in Santa Ana: #BobbyKnowsFood

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Chapter One: the modern local is located on the corner of Broadway and 3rd Street in Downtown Santa Ana in what used to be a bookstore. Going in to Chapter One you can expect great craft cocktails, 200 aged whiskeys, a rotating list of craft beer and a menu of food that needs to be explored to discover Executive Chef Chicken Wang’s superior culinary skills. Chapter serves Lunch, Dinner, Late Dinner and a rambunctious weekend Brunch. Different evenings bring different events, whether it’s a Taco Crawl with D.J. “I C U Bobbin Ya Head” Lexakhan, a 5 course Dinner with Modern Times Beer or Comedy Night in the Red Room there’s always a damn good reason to chill at Chapter One.

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