Saturday, September 13, 2008


Well, I was having my birthday party in the Anaheim area and since I don't know that area very well, I asked my friend for dinner recommendations in the Anaheim or Fullerton areas. Being a long-time resident of Orange County, he suggested Heroes, so I sent a caravan of my friends to Heroes for my birthday dinner, having never tried the restaurant. Now that is trust.

Heroes is tucked into downtown Fullerton in a district called SOCO (South of Commonwealth Avenue). This area is full of red-bricked shops and restaurants that are within walking distance, something only found in Southern California's downtown areas.

While waiting for my entire party to arrive before being seated, I knew I was in for a treat just watching the patrons through the window. The sizes are gigantic, even the drinks are enormous!

Walking to our table at the rear of the restaurant's dining room, we walked past a long bar with a seemingly endless line of beers on tap. I would say there are two routes to go at Heroes: Order a couple pints of different beers to try what they have on tap or find something you already like and order it in their large size. For the occasion of my turning a year older, I took my friend's recommendation and ordered a large Newcastle Framboise, a mix of Newcastle beer with raspberry-flavored beer.

I ordered the Tuna Melt with curly fries . Thankfully the sandwich arrived already cut in half because I could only finish one of the halves before calling it quits. The curly fries were freshly fried, but unfortunately I must not have been paying attention because one of my friends ordered onion rings as his side, which were excellent. The Tuna Melt had a large portion of tuna salad, but an even larger portion of fresh veggies, which included lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles and was finally topped with cheddar cheese. Fortunately, the tuna salad was well seasoned and did not have a lot of filler vegetables, so the tuna salad shone through all the vegetables. This is a good place to split an entree with friends because of the enormous portion sizes.

Devin ordered a Patty Melt which was short compared to everyone else's entrees because of the absence of vegetables. Unlike the hamburgers, the Patty Melt did not have vegetables, used melted Swiss cheese, and had grilled sourdough slices as the bun. He also ordered curly fries and was barely able to made a dent in them.

At the end of the meal, I was presented with a delicious, hot peach cobbler that was topped with vanilla ice cream. Similar to our other dishes, the peach cobbler was large enough to pass through our party twice and I was still left with a portion that I couldn't finish. I never really met a cobbler I truly enjoyed until this one; the hot peaches melted in my mouth and were cooled by the vanilla ice cream. The crumb topping didn't get soggy and added a nice crunch. I especially appreciated this peach cobbler because the peaches weren't encased in a thick, sickly sweet syrup, but instead the natural juice released from the peaches during their time in the oven seemed to be the only sauce.

Heroes is a very relaxed atmosphere with large food and drink portions. They have a large selection of beers on tap and there are television screens tuned to sports throughout the restaurant so you can watch your favorite team. The service is very casual, with a different face appearing each time something is brought to the table. Although the atmosphere is appropriate for a large and noisy group, we received our bill as a single number circled on a piece of paper rather than itemized, leading to a lot of confusion at the end of the meal.

Heroes Bar & Grill
125 W Santa Fe Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92832

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Pioneer Woman Homemade Ranch Dressing

In the mood for salad and having all the ingredients on hand, but dissatisfied with store bought ranch dressing, Devin asked me to find out how restaurants make their ranch salad dressing.

I use a variety of salad dressings depending on my current mood, so maybe that is why I don't particularly pay attention to how a restaurant's ranch salad dressing tastes. In any case, store bought ranch dressing works for me, but in the interest in satisfying Devin's craving for restaurant-style ranch dressing, I turned to the Pioneer Woman's Homemade Ranch Dressing. Made of a base of mayonnaise, sour cream, and buttermilk (I had regular milk), with a few standard fresh herbs, this dressing can be easily suited to your personal tastes. On my first attempt, the raw garlic was a little too strong, so I don't add as much on my subsequent trials of this ranch dressing. In any case, Devin deems this homemade ranch dressing as pretty close to the restaurant version and it is deliciously creamy and flavorful with the fresh herbs, so it's a keeper. It can be made thick as a dip or thin as a dressing, depending on the amount of milk (or buttermilk) used.

In any case, I highly recommend the Pioneer Woman's website for amazing photos and witty posts.