We realize that sometimes our Grub Guides are full of boozy festivals and not much else. This week is different. Plant sales, a grand opening and even a “green” recipe are on deck this week. Sure, there’s still booze; it just isn’t the main focus.
Sandwich for a Cause – all OC Mendocino Farms locations
Kicking off this week and lasting through the 25th, the newest collaboration from Mendo is with Los Angeles Chef Bryant Ng of Cassia. All proceeds from the sale of his Lemongrass Chicken sammich will go towards The People Concern, a non-profit helping to improve the lives of people who are food insecure, homeless or victims of domestic violence. With a chickpea coconut curry dip, fresh herb salad, fontina cheese and provolone outer layer on rustic white bread, this messy flavor explosion is sure to please. Mendocino Farms has locations in Tustin, Brea, Irvine and Costa Mesa. www.mendocinofarms.com.
Boysenberry Festival at Knott’s – Buena Park
Our favorite time of the year starts tomorrow through April 8, as things berry delicious are back over at Knott’s Berry Farm! Curious eaters can try purple hummus or quesadilla (Both taste better than they appear). Those with a sweet tooth will go for a dipped and drizzled cheesecake on a stick. Glutton for punishment? Attempt to devour a two-foot hotdog, served alongside a trio of boysenberry condiments. Our hidden gem was their tasty pierogi. Bonus: Wine pairings are a casual way to educate yourself about reds and whites. 8039 Beach Blvd., (714) 220-5200; www.knotts.com.
SAJJ Grand Opening Festivities- Rancho Santa Margarita
Defined as a grill used in Middle Eastern cuisine for cooking bread, SAJJ is a Bay Area food truck gone brick-and-mortar. In recent months, they’ve hit the road and expanded to South County. Today marks their Grand Opening, and they’re kicking things off with a ribbon cutting this morning. Afterwards, all visitors coming in for lunch between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. will receive an entree at no cost! If you miss out Thursday, know that 10% of all sales this weekend will go towards RSM schools, so there’s still a reason to stop by. While you’re there, drop off a calling card for a chance to win catering for 10 of your family, friends or co-workers. If you’re on the ‘gram, be sure to tag photos with “#ILOVESAJJ” and include what you love about their food; one lucky winner will receive a $100 gift card for their eating habit. 22245 El Paseo, Ste. A, (949) 709-7779; www.sajjstreeteats.com.
Ecology Center Fundraiser at Farmhouse – Corona del Mar
Next Monday’s multicourse dinner (with drink pairings) by Chef Rich Mead will not only feature seasonal tastes, but provides a unique opportunity to meet a number of industry professionals responsible for putting together the evening’s festivities. Sara Lezama and Kyle Titterud of Rye Goods Co., Robin and Brian Christenson of Blinking Owl Distillery and Evan Marks of The Ecology Center are some of the featured guests. Our favorite two courses listed (subject to change) are the Grilled Kumquat Glazed Cod, featuring cipollini onions and Tehachapi Heritage Grain Project sonora grain, plus the Schaner Farms Citrus and Avocado salad with toasted pine nuts. All-inclusive dinner tickets are still available for $150. Do visit their homepage for more information. 2301 San Joaquin Hills Rd, (949) 640-1415; www.farmhouserg.com.
Veggiepalooza at the Arboretum – Fullerton
Head to a super-sized plant sale this weekend, as tomatoes and peppers will be up for grabs. The largest in the region, sale hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Proceeds from the sale of over 100 varieties of tomato plants (as well as 70+ pepper varieties) will support the Fullerton Arboretum. Flex that green thumb and give a plant a home. 1900 Associated Rd., (657) 278-3407; www.fullertonarboretum.org.
Sushi Roku Week of Wagyu – Newport Beach
If you enjoy your Japanese spirits as much as you do beef, then next week’s tasting menu will excite you. Featuring Bungo beef (considered exceptionally high-quality Japanese grade of Wagyu), the trio of tastes will be paired with equally special sips. Wagyu Steak is served alongside Akashi Whisky; Wagyu Sushi with Soto Sake; and Wagyu Skewer paired with Ginza no Suzume Kohaku Shochu. Eiji Mori, Roku’s General Manager and Sake Sommelier, has this priced at $85 and will be served only from March 19 through March 25. Go ahead. You’re worth it. 327 Newport Center Dr., (949) 706-3622; www.innovativedining.com
St. Patty’s Day Recipe: Edamame Hummus from Panini Kabob Grill
Owner Ali Kazemi knows that kids love the ease of hummus; parents know it’s actually good for you. To celebrate Green Saturday, he wanted to share one of the recipes in Panini Kabob Grill’s Hummus Trio. With only six ingredients (two being salt and pepper), this is one snack that will please everyone.
4 cups edamame beans
1.5 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic puree
3 ounces fresh lime juice (can substitute with one whole lemon)
1.5 cups olive oil
Put the edamame beans into a large saucepan. Fill water to just above the level of the beans and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes, until the beans are tender.
Transfer the beans to a colander, rinse with cold water and drain well.
Add the beans and all other ingredients to a blender or food processor, or process with a stick blender in a large, round container. Process until smooth and creamy. Cover and refrigerate.
Panini Kabob Grill has locations in Irvine (two!), Santa Ana, Newport Beach and Aliso Viejo
A contributing writer for OC Weekly, Anne Marie freelances for multiple online and print publications, and guest judges for culinary competitions. A Bay Area transplant, she graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management from Cal Poly Pomona. Find her on Instagram as brekkiefan.