For more than 15 years, SoCal Event Staffing has not only matched experienced bartenders with restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and catering companies, they've also taught novices the ins and out of the bartending trade. Their two-day certification program prepares students for the nightlife industry, teaching them more than 150 drink recipes and how to wield a drink umbrella in the event of a water main burst. Program graduates then earn a lifetime of placement assistance from the company, which matches them with full- and part-time positions at more than 300 venues.
When something is simply referred to as "the beast," there's probably a good reason. In the case of Blake's Place BBQ, The Beast refers to a monster of a sandwich: slow-smoked pulled pork, pulled barbecue chicken, chopped beef brisket, coleslaw, sliced red onion, and a dousing of Blake's BBQ sauce. All those ingredients teeter between an over-sized bun, and as a whole, The Beast weighs in at 2.5 pounds. If you devour it in 20 minutes or less, you earn a T-shirt and food challenge immortality, and if you make it disappear behind someone's ear you earn lots of attention for your party-magician business.
Of course, plenty of people come to enjoy the food, not just to defeat it. The original Blake's opened in Anaheim in 1996 and has since filled the bellies of more than one million customers. A second location in Los Alamitos was added in 2012. At both, chefs use high-tech wood-burning barbecue pits that are big enough to smoke more than 3,500 pounds of meat at one time—some for as long as 16 hours. The resulting menu features entire plates of baby back ribs, hot sandwiches, and even smoked wings. Homemade desserts round out the Southern-style selection, including peach cobbler and bread pudding. And none of this goes unnoticed: Blake's was voted The Best of Orange County and Best Barbecue in Orange County by the Orange County Register, as well as Zagat-rated in 2013.
Served in the kingly confines of its facility near the shore of Lake Alhambra, Almansor Court's feasts treat revelers to a welcome royal regimen of freshly formed eats. Normally known for housing festive private receptions, Almansor Court throws open the doors of its well-appointed banquet hall for its all-encompassing Sunday champagne brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., serving public palates without the pretense of invitations or fancy tongue-size tuxedos.
It’s easy to become mesmerized while standing in line at Fresh Cutt Carving Grill—just behind the counter, slabs of roasted meat are finished on the grill and hand carved to order. This is where Fresh Cutt’s signature three-step ordering process begins. First, customers select one of the high-quality meats, such as all-natural chicken, prime cut steak, and chipotle PorkBelly, to be hand-carved. Then, they can have their chosen meat rolled into a pita or tortilla, spread across fresh salad greens, layered into a plump sandwich, served as is on a plate, or fashioned into a cummerbund for black-tie butcher’s galas. Finally, they can customize their meaty creation with a colorful assortment of fresh ingredients, such as wok-sizzling vegetables, fresh cut slaw, and pinto beans. If they’re not in the mood to make their own meal, they can order from an unintimidating menu that features specialty dishes, such as a pizzeta layering spicy shrimp, avocado-jalapeno salsa, fresh cilantro, and cheeses atop a pita crust, and sides such as hand-cut fries and avocado salad.
Dr. Bobbie McDonald completely dedicates herself to helping patients bring healthy, positive change into their lives. In addition to earning a doctorate in counseling psychology and sharing her expertise with CNN and ABC 15, Dr. McDonald also champions the salutary effects of hypnosis and hypnotherapy.
Each session begins with the hypnotherapist gently talking the patient into a more relaxed state, where the mind is more vulnerable to suggestion. Highly specific language patterns and techniques can reduce the subconscious urges that encourage people to fall into bad habits, such as smoking, overeating, nail biting, impulsively buying big-ticket items, or paying for big-ticket items with nothing but pennies. McDonald also claims hypnosis may help patients to overcome fears related to test taking, public speaking, or sports performance.
At Tarascos, owner Antonio Garcia and his chefs blend the comfortable and familiar with the slightly out of the ordinary. A chalkboard-scrawled menu lists Mexican classics such as enchiladas alongside lesser-known dishes such as huaraches, large, oblong tortillas stacked with charbroiled meats. Plates of barbacoa feature the seasoned beef wrapped in maguey leaves and slow-steamed until tender. Likewise, the tap menu mixes Mexican imports such as Pacifico and Modelo Especial with Tarascos's own home-brewed organic beers.
Patrons can dine inside or outdoors on a beer garden–style patio shaded from weather and warmed with gas heaters. On the patio, Tarascos also regularly holds cooking classes, such as a tamale class that was featured on ABC 7.