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Carnitas – Day 1

Oh, boy, is your family in for a treat!  This recipe is simple, simple, simple and yet so good!  Get out your crock pot – your new best friend during your favorite busy sport season.   I guarantee your family will LOVE YOU!

{Please note:  my family involves 2 boys, 1 man-child, 1 man, and 1 female who likes to eat a lot of protein – we’re ALL carnivors, so we hope you enJOY all our meaty recipes!}



  • 3-5 lbs pork – shoulder roast (melts in the crock pot and shreds so nicely!) – enough for a 2nd meal, stay tuned!
  • 1 cup whole milk (this is a creamier version; 2% milk is OK too)
  • 1/2 orange – cut in half
  • 1 tsp sea salt (or whatever you have)
  • 2 tsp pepper (personally, I like cracked pepper)
  • 1/2 onion – chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves – chopped/pressed

Place pork in crock pot, fat-side up (so fat juices are pulled down through the meat while cooking,  mmmmmm!).  Add in milk, squeeze juice from the orange over the meat and throw in the rind, salt, pepper, onions and garlic.   Turn your crock pot on low for 6-8 hours.  Come home from practice and your house will smell like you’ve been cooking all day!

Serve with your favorites:

  • Flour/corn tortillas
  • Tomatoes – finely chopped
  • Onions – finely chopped
  • Cilantro – finely chopped
  • Corn – frozen white corn is our favorite; heat up in a hot water in the microwave
  • Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Guacamoli – home made if possible; check out my Guac recipe!

Let me know what you think… and check out “Carnitas, Day 2” – other meal options for the left overs.


These four paintings were custom designed to match the accessories in a young girl’s room, accenting pinks and black, and providing a relaxing atmosphere.


Sarducci’s Capistrano Depot


Camino Real Playhouse

  {San Juan Capistrano}


First, on a sad note:I have to share some sad news.  On the Thursday in June, when I dropped off a stack of “Coto Voice” review publications to Scott Selman, owner of Milo’s Café in Lake Forest, I never envisioned it would be his last.  That evening, at 42 years young, Scott passed away from a heart attack.  Struck and saddened by this news, I prayed for his wife of four-years, Grace, who’s background is in finance, but who has now found herself running her husband’s dream restaurant, that he fought so hard to create.  Milo and Jake are deeply saddened as well, and want you to come visit them to keep Scott Selman’s dream alive; they believe a good card game, a scratch under their chin, and some good food can turn anyone’s spirits up!  ( – off Lake Forest Parkway, across from the newly renovated Etnie’s Skatepark, in the Home Depot Shopping Center).  (For the Milo’s Café June review, visit




And if that news wasn’t bad enough, as I was strolling around downtown San Juan Capistrano, a flyer blew past me with disturbing news.  Curious, I grabbed it and it read, “Murder by the Mission”.  I had to investigate.  I discovered that Sarducci’s Capistrano Depot (the incredible brick, historic building of the old railroad station), now a wonderful restaurant, partners with the Capistrano Center for the Performing Arts to host “Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre!”  Intrigued, I booked us a reservation.

The Experience 

On a warm and incredible summer Sunday evening, Ken, Andrew, Cindy and I arrived in the beautiful, historic district of San Juan Capistrano around 5:30pm.  We had time before our 6:30 reservation, therefore crossed the tracks and discovered a lovely little cozy area of Los Rios Street — old homes turned into restaurants, shops and gardens (stay tuned for future reviews!).  As we chatted about our top-of-mind stressers of the day, the stroll and surroundings massaged our minds and souls and we became more relaxed.  It was hard to believe that there was a murder taking place.

 The Interrogation

Looking forward to dinner, we checked in at Sarducci’s and were greeted by a rude Detective Victoria Campbell who asked us where we had been in the last hour.  After questioning us, she had us go into a special room, where they happened to be serving champagne.  Having nothing to hide, we obliged.  Curious conversation began brewing about “a murder”.  They had us sit down at our dinner table while finishing up the interrogations of other guests.

 The doors shut, and we were trapped in a wonderful room along the train tracks, surrounded by facinating art and enticing smells.  Then the murder began to unfold with a cast of character actors, playing out a game of “who done it?”  Now, I’m not going to say much more, as I don’t want to give too much away.  But I will say that it was fun, interactive and wildly entertaining.   Oh, and pay attention! 

Dinner Review

I got lost in the story, forgetting that we were there to review the food.  Once our dinner arrived, I woke up to wonderful aromas of Ancho-Chili Salmon (fresh salmon fillet, pan-seared then baked with a glace of ancho chili, honey and dijon mustard; garnished with dollops of jalapeno sour cream and served with herbed mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables), Parmesan Crusted Chicken (a tender chicken breast coated with panko crumbs and parmesan cheese then lightly grilled and served with a lemon cream sauce, mashed potatoes and fresh asparagus), Asparagus & Sundried Tomato Pasta (fresh asparagus, mushrooms and sundried tomatoes with olive oil, basil and garlic on linguine noodles topped with shredded jack cheese) and Mini New York Steak & Shrimp (a tender 5 oz. New York strip loin cooked medium rare with a brandied mushroom demi-glace and grilled shrimp;  served with herbed mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables).  For dessert, we enJOYed two wonderful and heavenly choices:  Mini Molten Lava Cake (warmed and topped with Vanilla Bean ice cream), and Apple Cobbler (a thick layer of fresh apples baked into a sweet Southern biscuit cobbler and topped with Vanilla Bean ice cream, whipped cream and drizzled with caramel sauce).

Throughout the performance, the four of us, exchanged dinner samples.  As the food critique in “Ratatouille” said, in a low, highly judgemental voice, “If I don’t like it, I don’t swallow.”  You could read our faces.  We communicated by swallowing, rolling our eyes in pleasure, smiling, finishing every morsel on our plate and concluding with four thumbs up! 

By the end of the performance, we found ourselves trying to figure out who the murderer was.  Thank you to Tom and Dennis, the managers at Sarducci’s, for their hospitality.  All in all, we agreed that this overall experience rated very high in our books and we give Sarducci’s Capistrano Depot and Camino Real Playhouse a standing ovation! 

Book It @ Sarducci’s!

There are limited “Murder by the Mission” experiences and we highly recommend you book your “Murder Mystery Dinnter Theatre” event today for August 14th, September 11th, or October 9th!  For reservations at Sarducci’s, call 949-493-9593 (26701 Verdugo, SJC, CA  92675)

Camino Real Playhouse

Just up the street from Sarducci’s is the Capistrano Center for the Performing Arts, Camino Real Playhouse & Stage II, Capistrano Shakespeare Festival and Capistrano Acting Academy.  I must say, when I visited the center, it was bustling with summertime students, as well as professional actors.  It felt big time for our Orange County community.  I’d like to extend a special thank you to the writer/directors/producers of this unique experience, Beverly Blake and Tom Scott.  My hats off to you for your vision and creativity!  Visit their web site regularly to discover new events, classes and ticket information for their 2011-2012 season!  (31776  El Camino Real, SJC, CA  92675).                                                           


Christie Lynch – freelance restaurant reviewer

It’s official!  Our first book:  “You Wiped What WHERE?” has launched on — a great gift for any boy, or his mom, for under $10!  Order as a special gift, just because, and send it directly to their house.  The joy of any child (or mom) opening up a package is priceless! 

“Boogers, snot and smeared food everywhere!  Shaking her head in disbelief, Mom asks, “You wiped what WHERE?”  Mom is serious about stopping her boys disgusting wiping habits.  But how can she teach Anderson, Russell and Timmy the importance of good hygiene?  With a little creativity, and lots more boogers, snot and food crumbs, of course!”

Written by:  Amy Von Kaenel

Illustrated by:  Christie Lynch

 Scene:  Coto de Caza Gof Course (or it can be any golf course)

Plaque:  Rustic Wood

Hung by:  Wire or Frame Hanger or Can be propped up

Size:  Approximately 5″x6″  (sizes vary)

Cost:  $ 25

To order:  Contact Christie

I just completed a very enJOYable painting job for someone – upgrading their interior look, turning white railings and cabinets into rich, dark, custom accent focal points (to match their flooring and furniture). 






If you are in the Orange County area, let me know if you’re ready for such upgrades in your home!



Milo’s Cafe


“Welcome to Milo’s Café!  We hope you enjoy both our healthy & wholesome food with our dog-friendly ambiance.”


There is a new restaurant in Lake Forest that is healthy, not only for your mind and body, but your doggie spirit as well!  The owner and creator of this fabulous concept, Scott Sellman, was inspired by his adorable, two-years-young, adopted, American Bulldog Sharpei mix, named Milo, and Milo’s buddy, Jake the Pug.  Along with Chef Michael, they have created, not only a one-of-a-kind experience, but an amazing menu as well!



   The Experience

Milo’s Café is located off Lake Forest Drive, across from Etnie’s Skate Park, in the Home Depot/24-Hour Fitness shopping center.  As you drive through the parking lot, you’ll notice Milo’s – a unique looking café (for people) in the front of the building, and if you follow the arrows and doggie paw prints around the building, you and your dog can sit and dine on their back patio – equipped with dog play pens, toys, water AND a big screen TV, you know, so Fido can watch the Dog Network (and sports, of course)!  What a fun idea!  My dog, Buck, and I were greeted by wiggly canine friends, as well as chatty people friends.  Conversation over our beloved animals brought a strong sense of peace, love, fellowship and lots of smiles.  I’ve discovered at our local dog park, at the vet, on walks, and especially at Milo’s, that people talk about their dogs’ unique characteristics and bad habits, as much as parents talk about their children.  God created us (both dogs and people) to commune together and love on one another unconditionally.  Milo’s is a special place where you feel the love AND can nourish your body with tasty, fresh, all-natural meals.

The Menu

After a half hour of chatting and sniffing, it was time to finally order.  I love Milo’s menu – they combine vegan, vegetarian AND “less than healthy” choices; the “less than healthy” choices are indicated by a photo of Jake the Pug – too funny! I started off with Scott’s secret recipe for Milo’s Rockin Java “Guilt Free” iced coffee – coffee combined with their special protein blend and sweetened with natural stevia (approximately 150 cal and 17 grams protein) – sooo good!  I crave it now!  Breakfast includes:  World Famous Protein Rich Pan Crepes, Huevos Rancheros, Steel Cut Oatmeal, omelets, and breakfast sandwiches.  Appetizers include:  healthy Hummus & Chips (pita chips), Sliced Seared Ahi (yum!), Raw Veggie Plate, amazing Tomato Bruschetta served with low-fat parmesan flatbread, great Baked Chicken Wings, Chips & homemade Salsa (oh, so fresh!!!), among other greats.  Milo’s has a wide variety of Soups & Salads, made fresh daily.  Milo’s tasty Sandwiches and Burgers range from gourmet Roasted Pesto Chicken Sandwich, Jake’s Club Sandwich to Milo’s Signature Turkey Burger, Vegan Burger, and Jake’s Juicy Burger.  I happened to stumble upon Taco Tuesday and enjoyed their Carne Asada taco; next time I’m going to try their Tofu taco!  All their tacos are whole-wheat soft shell, accompanied with black beans & freshly made pico de gallo, AND you can substitute vegan cheese for no extra charge!  The Dinners at Milo’s are beautiful:  They have a nice Roasted Cedar Plank Salmon with mashed sweet potatoes, sautéed spinach & crispy leeks – YUM!  (my mouth is watering just thinking about it all!)  Milo’s has chicken and salmon pasta dishes (both whole wheat pasta as well as regular), Catch of the Day, and of course, a Stir Fry Veggie Plate.  For Dessert, you must try Milo’s Choc-Heaven Pie, “Less Guilty” Carrot Cake, Very Berry Cheesecake, and Jake’s Hot Fudge Sundae!!!!   This place is too much!!!!  I cannot conclude without the special mention of the Dog Menu – of course!  “We are proud to feature TrueFoodForDogs of Newport Beach on our menu.  Made entirely from USDA certified ingredients and formulated specifically for dogs.  Each delicious meal is 7 oz. and served lukewarm.”  Your choices are:  Lamb & Brown Rice, Turkey & Whole Wheat Pasta, and Beef & Russet Potato”. 

Operation Blankets Of Love (

Milo’s has partnered with OBOL, where you can bring cleaned and new blankets, towels, dog clothes, pet beds, pet toys, crates, carriers, collars & leashes, water & food bowls, as well as other dog and cat items to Milo’s to help provide comfort to homeless animals in shelters, rescue groups and fosters.  I met the founders Eileen while I was there the other night.  She definitely is passionate about pet rescue and adoption.  So when you go to Milo’s, don’t forget a little item for the donation bin.  You will be much appreciated!

In all my travels, I’ve never experienced a place like this!  I truly love it at Milo’s.   Tell all your friends! Meet at Milo’s for a doggie play date!  End your long walk at Milo’s!  Check out all the events happening at Milo’s on their web site.  Above all, at Milo’s Café, kick back and enjoy the fruits of health, companionship and be thankful for all your blessings.  And, don’t forget to bring your camera, because it’s quite probable that you can meet Milo and Jake personally, or join them in a card game!  

Milo’s Café

26771 Rancho Parkway

Lake Forest, CA  92630


Follow Milo and Jake on their web site:, Facebook page and Twitter.


Christie Lynch – freelance restaurant reviewer and dog lover