Archive for January, 2011

“Coto Voice – Food Finds” – February Issue 2011

Simply Fondue

 

 

February is traditionally the month of celebrating LOVE with our special sweetheart.  For a special dinner experience, we recommend you get a reservation (not required, but suggested) at Simply Fondue at one of their two locations (off Los Alisos in Mission Viejo, or across the street from the historic Mission in San Juan Capistrano).  Both locations have a dark, sultry and romantic feel and a European food experience that is unforgettable.

What Simply Fondue wants you to know…

“Recently voted as one of the Most Romantic Restaurants in Orange County for both locations, Simply Fondue has become a popular destination for food lovers who enjoy an interactive dining experience while indulging in their savory cuisine.  With its bright, eclectic décor and savory fondue cuisine, Simply Fondue is quickly gaining a reputation among patrons and critics alike as one of the coziest and most intimate restaurants to debut in Southern California’s recent history.  Experience the difference with over 100 designer martinis, award winning wines, homemade crepes and exceptional fondue!  Our Old World Eclectic San Juan Capistrano location or our European Chic Mission Viejo location is a perfect fit for an incredible evening with family and friends.  Simply Fondue recently won five awards in the “Best of Citysearch 2010 including Best Wine List and Best Dessert.”

Our Experience

Nic, the wonderful general manager at the Mission Viejo restaurant, warmly greeted us on a busy Sunday evening.  With a booked evening as it was, we couldn’t really tell because of the great service he provided and the great way the booths are designed – tall sides, so you’re not distracted by all the other guests around you.  Another unique feature is the small stove in the middle of your table for the fondue experience.  On this stovetop, two pots of fondue can be heated.  Fondue, by the way, by original definition is “a saucelike dish of Swiss origin made with melted cheese and seasonings together with dry white wine, usually flavored with kirsch: served as a hot dip for pieces of bread.”  As a kid I always wondered why I didn’t care for my parents’ fondue and now I know why – those are mature flavors for a kid! Well, welcome to 2011!  Simply Fondue has taken traditional fondue to new flavor levels (even kids like Simply Fondue)!

After ordering a couple designer martinis, we started off with four traditional salads:  The Greek, Classic Caesar, Spinach & Strawberry and Gorgonzola Field Greens.  All were full of fresh flavors and homemade dressings.

Next, Nic educated us on cheese fondues.  Each fondue is served with an assortment of fresh bread, crisp vegetables and fruits.  We experienced two.  First The Mediterranean which, in a fondue pot, melted together sharp cheddar cheese, beer, basil pesto, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes.  Secondly, we had The Italian Fontina, which, combined a rich blend of Fontina d’Aosta, grated Romano cheeses, tomato sauce, white wine and vegetable broth.  Both were very enjoyable.

Next, Nic suggested we order the Fondue Feast – a four-course sampling of their finest fondues and meats ($49/pp).  On the table he began heating up a pot for a vegetable boil and a skillet to cook the meat.  A platter of assorted meats and vegetables were brought to us and the interactive cooking began.  The four of us divided up the meat and had our assignments.  Together we cooked, with garlic butter and oil: beef tenderloin, sea scallops, salmon, pecan-crested mahi-mahi, coconut shrimp, bacon-wrapped tenderloin, seasoned chicken, ahi sesame tuna, Jamaican jerk chicken, herb-crusted pork tenderloin, roasted garlic chicken, and teriyaki sirloin salmon!  They served at least six tantalizing sauces for dipping as well.  The aroma coming from our table was drop-dead heavenly and the taste was extraordinary.

After wiping our mouths, rubbing our bellies, and clearing our table, Nic brought, for dessert, chocolate fondue ingredients and a tray of pound cake pieces, triple chunk brownies, marshmellows, rice crispy squares, rolled cookies, peanut butter balls, pineapple, strawberries, bananas, maraschino cherries and sugar bites.  Fire up the pots!  Yet, another fondue experience!  Ready for this?!  Reeses Peanut-Butter Fondue – Reeses Peanut-Butter added to their already famous milk chocolate as well as Kahlua Heath Krunch – creamy milk chocolate, swirled together with Kahlua liqueur and topped off with crunchy Heath Bar toffee bits.  Other dessert options are (and you can let your imagination flow with these titles): Raspberry Cabernet, Snicker Fondoodle, Thin Mint, Chocolate Grand Marnier, Chocolate Bliss (dark chocolate), Chocolate Confusion (white & milk chocolate swirled together), The Grand White (silky white chocolate swirled with Grand Marnier), Rocky Road, Pecan Caramel Swirl, and Campfire Chocolate, just to name a few!  I can see why they received the Best Dessert award in 2010!

Two and half hours later, we were done.  Cooked.  Stick a fork in us.  Our four course meal left us overly satisfied.  We all slept well that night and feared the scale in the morning.  All in all, Simply Fondue was a very unique, romantic, intimate dining experience that was simply pleasurable.

Visit them on their web site:  www.simplyfondueoc.com

Mission Viejo (in the same shopping center as Piccolino’s)

28719 Los Alisos Blvd, MV, CA 92692

949-707-5200

San Juan Capistrano

31761 Camino Capistrano, SJC, CA  92675

949-240-0300

If you’ve eaten at any of the places we’ve reviewed or have a place you’d like to recommend, please let us know on our blog:  dinendesign.wordpress.com.  We’d love to hear from you!

Bon Apetit!

Christie & Cindy

Recently I was fortunated enough to visit Bacara Resort and Spa in Santa Barbara.  Immediately, in the lobby, my breath was taken away with this amazing daisy flower arrangement! 

Is that fantastic, or what?!  I absolutely love this simplicity, consistency and grandness of this display!  Bravo flower arrangers!  As we continued our stay, I was struck by an overall tropical feel on the grounds.  As I walked around (in the rain – which I love to do!)  I noticed many courtyards with unique succulent flower centerpieces as well as tropical themes.  

            

What I love about these gorgeous succulents is that they are drought tolerant, which is ideal for Southern California terrain. 

Succulents are a great investment and are hard to kill and when layed out well, can be quite impactful.  Personally I’m so tired of planting $150 worth of flowers and they’re all dead 3 months later.  Roger’s Garden in Newport Beach and Laguna Hills Nursery sell a variety of succulents and where I get my inspiration.

   

If you have any arrangements you’d like to share, email them to: c7sdesignteam@gmail.com  I plan on adding more as I stumble upon them.

EnJOY your day and stop and smell the flowers!

It seems like the day after Christmas the Valentine decorations in the stores come out!   In January I’m already seeing Easter stuff.  Yikes!  Society! Merchandisers!  Slow down!
 
In January I don’t mind still having some RED (a rich, deep red; not the red of this font!) in my warm-colored home.  I love the color RED, both at Christmas and to support the “love” theme of Valentine’s Day.  I’m not into the tchocky Valentine decorations as much as I am into a classic, clean, simple yet impactful look of a flower arrangement.  And how great if you can find fake flowers that look so real (from a distance!). 
  

A Love Journal can be an easy but impactful way to let someone know you care about them.
 
“Love Journal” – Create one!
 

 

 

  • Purchase/Make a small – medium sized journal
  • Add photos you like and hand-write what you love about that photo/person
  • This is a great Valentine’s gift.  Everyone loves photos and telling someone what you love about them, can’t hurt either!

EnJOY and tell me about yours!

xo

 

Year Round Designs

Posted: January 6, 2011 in Decorating
Tags: , ,

Oversized Ivy Wreath – so stunning, and can be updated with ribbon accents for holidays.

      

I love updating the look of fountains, retaining walls, horse jumps, etc. 

     

Selma’s Chicago Pizzeria

“We’ll Save You a Trip to Chicago”

We had so much fun last night!  Date Night lead us to our local Selma’s Chicago Pizzeria to check out their new Tap Room.  Ken, Andrew, Cindy and I have enjoyed Selma’s since it arrived in Rancho Santa Margarita in 2003, and they just seem to be getting better.  Honestly, we’ve been in the habit of ordering their pizza to go.  Old habits are meant to be changed up and I highly encourage you to come visit Selma’s new additional kids’ game room and grown up Tap Room.  The story behind the conception of the Tap Room reads something like this:

The Story of Our Berriphany

     “We were brainstorming in an intense meeting with a few cold beers one summer morning trying to come up with a great add-on to our successful restaurant. 

     What would complement Selma’s?  Donuts?  No, we like to sleep more than that.  Sushi?  Seemed a bit odd.  Coffee shop?  No, the triple mocha latte with 2 shots, sub soy, no whip, non-fat and add two ¼ pumps butterscotch flavoring seemed too confusing for us.  After throwing back a few more, we continued to praise the outstanding flavors of the local brewed beers we were drinking.  Hoppy, full-bodies, rich in aromas, yet smooth on the lips.  Then it came…an epiphany like no other…a beer epiphany!

     Hey, let’s open up a Tap Room!  A room filled with handles of small batch beers from local to abroad to allow other thirsty folks a chance to experience beer as we were that fateful summer morning.  A place of cheer, a place of flavor, a place of beer! 

     We then had the arduous task of sampling as much beer as we could to determine what beers would best represent this beer-iphany.  After hours and hours of “research” our work was completed.  (We have one hell-of-a-beer pong game now too!).  So, with that said, we hope you enjoy our vision to bring to you…Selma’s Tap Room.

 

Cheers,

Mike & Eric