We Eat It So You Don't Have To: Taco Bell's Breakfast Waffle Taco

Photo by Charles Lam

Surprise: It's mediocre.

For a month, all I've been hearing is waffle taco this and waffle taco that. It's been a little ridiculous -- especially when you realize we live in Orange County, where Bruxie has been shoving eggs, cheese, and bacon inside a folded waffle for years now.

But still, as much as I tried to ignore the buzz, I did have a kind of morbid curiosity. The waffle taco did, after all, remind me of those rushed elementary school-provided breakfasts I had in the 90s. Up in San Jose, we had about three choices: cereal and milk with a piece of fruit, a pastry and milk with some fruit, or -- on special occasions -- eggs, breakfast meat, and miniature pancakes or waffles.. with milk and a piece of fruit.

The cool kids (or the kids whose parents got them late to school) would pile their pancakes or waffles with eggs and meat before drowning the entire thing in syrup. I'm pretty sure we invented waffle tacos first, but that's besides the point.

Let's get to why the waffle taco is mediocre.

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We Eat It So You Don't Have To: Afters Ice Cream's Ice Cream-Stuffed Donut

Categories: Taste Test

Photo by Charles Lam
This is what you guys want to see, isn't it?

Everyone knows that I hate when people smash two different foods together and call it magic. Cronuts? Meh. Ramen burgers? I don't even want to pick one up. And don't even get me started on Pizookies.

So, I had to have been belligerent when I heard about Afters Ice Cream's "Milky Bun," a warm donut filled with ice cream, right? ..right?

Okay, I admit it. I thought it was a good idea I heard about it. Ice cream sandwiches are cool, and donuts are better than cookies, so what could go wrong. I thought it was such a good idea that I braved an hour-long line to try it. How is it? Well...

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We Try 6 Different Trader Joe's Nut Butters

Categories: Taste Test

Photo by Cleo Tobbi
Enough to cause a panic attack

I never understood why there were so many different nut butters at Trader Joe's. You can get peanut butter, almond butter, cookie butter, sunflower seed butter, so many other butters, many available in creamy, crunchy, salted, unsalted, organic or normal. Wow. Needless to say, TJ's nut butter wall is the stuff of panic attacks.

But how are the nut butters even different? How's the crunchy, salty peanut butter compare to the raw, organic almond butter? Or the crunchy, salty and organic peanut butter for that matter. Well, I did it. I braved the wall of butters to try six different nut butters. Sunflower; crunchy, salted peanut; organic, crunchy, salted peanut; raw, crunchy salted; and better'n peanut butter are all here, with a special guest of crunchy cookie butter. What's the difference? Well..

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We Eat It So You Don't Have To: Del Taco's Turkey Tacos

Photo by Charles Lam
The abominations

I really don't like turkey, but I have a big soft spot for Del Taco, so when a box full of green and red feathers arrived at our office announcing the debut of some new ground turkey tacos, I didn't really know how to feel.

I was confused and conflicted, torn between my love for a fast food restaurant that -- by all standards -- is much better than it needs to be and my hatred for one of the worst proteins in existence.

Why would Del Taco do this to us? Is turkey meat cheap right now? Does Del Taco want to cut food costs without going the way of Jack in the Box and using soy protein? Are they really, really trying to be healthier?

All I knew that, as hesitant as I was, I'd have to try the turkey tacos, if only for you guys.

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Taste Testing Ben & Jerry's Scotchy Scotch Scotch

Categories: Taste Test

Anne Marie Panoringan

I like ice cream. I like butterscotch. Ergo, I kinda, sorta had to pick up a pint o' limited edition B & J's ode to Will Ferrell. Since Anchorman 2 runs rampant this week, I seized the opportunity to have some dessert go down, down into my belly.

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We Eat It So You Don't Have To: Sriracha Candy Canes

Photo by Charles Lam

The Internet is a silly place.

It's spawned dancing hamsters, overly attached girlfriends, pedophilic bears, an unhealthy love of bacon and countless other strange, strange things.

Of course it's also at the center of the capsaicin cult that surrounds sriracha, what is probably the United States' favorite hot sauce.

So, when J&D Foods, the Seattle-based makers of bacon salt and frequent contributor with Web Comic Magician The Oatmeal, announced that they were releasing sriracha candy canes in time for the holidays, I can't say I was surprised.

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An Exploration of Steamers Jazz Club: The Good, The Bad, and The Magnificent Cocktails

LP Hastings
The Red Wedding; The King of the North is no longer available...

Steamers has been in Fullerton a long damn time. Like before obnoxiously drunk college kids realized there was no better place to get in fights, pee on walls, and just generally go buck wild-long time. But its seniority and location a ways down from the hobbling girls trying to cross the street has made it one of the few good places to hang out on the weekends in Downtown Fullerton.

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New Cooking Channel Show: Get Ready To Trip Out with Alie and Georgia!

Cooking Channel
We definitely caught people's attention initially by making ridiculous drinks.

What do you get when you take two gorgeous, talented, funny, free spirited and stylish gals and add in a few cocktails? OK...get your minds out the gutter people. The right answer (of course) is that you get Tripping Out with Alie & Georgia where two besties (Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark) go on spectacular adventures and kick up booze filled beverages in ways that you could never imagine!

Premiering on the Cooking Channel Friday June 21st at 7:30pm (PST), Alie and Georgia travel to destinations like Las Vegas, Miami, and San Francisco to take in local libations and activities and then, come back to good ol' Los Angeles to show why they are the hostesses with the mostest by planning fantastic parties for their friends based off of their travels. We know, it sounds like a real "can't miss" so the real question is...why would you want to?

OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): Being that you're both writers, I can totally relate that you got into creating cocktails because deadlines and drinking kind of go hand in hand. How you'd end up getting on Cooking Channel because of it though?

Alie Ward: I was a journalist at LA Weekly and the LA Times and was covering cocktails, events, and nightlife. I was reading and experiencing the craft cocktail scene a lot and at that point, it was just starting to get a little bit out of control. Georgia and I had this fictitious drink that we would joke about that didn't exist called, "The McNuggetini." We'd want to have it after work because our hours were so late and we would want a dinner and drink all in one.

Georgia Hardstark: Yeah so, we made up this McNuggetini and it was totally an inside joke between us that we thought was so funny. We had a friend who made videos for Funny Or Die and he agreed to make a "how to" video for us. So we filmed it in my grandma's kitchen in Los Angeles and the video totally went viral. We didn't expect it at all. After we made a couple of videos, Cooking Channel contacted us and were like, "Can you guys do this for real and not as a joke?" We were like, yes we can! So from there, we just started making videos and cocktails for them!

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DX Peruvian Closes in Santa Ana; Inka Mama's Takes Over

Edwin Goei
DX Peruvian--the restaurant at the corner of Bristol and Sunflower next to Bella Cuba and technically in Santa Ana although it's directly across from South Coast Plaza--has closed and now become the fourth branch of Inka Mama's. The switch-over happened this week.

This INCArnation (sorry, couldn't resist) operates on a similar menu as the rest of the South County mini-chain with a few additions and omissions. The aji sauce is served not by squirt bottle but in a ramekin with a spoon, meant to be dripped onto soft baguette-like bread cut into pieces split in the middle to receive it. 

They mix a very good pisco sour at the bar (more on this next week), and when you order any meal that requires rice, it comes molded in a rectangular shape on a rectangular plate.

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Hollingshead's Deli's Love Affair With Pliny the Younger

Categories: Taste Test
LP Hastings
Steve, holding out his mug of Pliny the Younger

The cult surrounding Pliny the Younger from the Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa is well-known in the beer world, and it's the kind of cult that'll have people waiting six hours just for a pint. For those who don't know: the Younger is a triple IPA, created via a fiendishly difficult process with spectacular results that are released once a year.

You can only taste the Younger during February, on draft and at select locations. One location to host the event was the beloved Hollingshead's Deli in Orange, and the crowd yesterday was as orderly as a mass of beer lovers could possibly be.
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