A Lively Evening at Brio Tuscan Grille

Brio Tuscan Grille
774 Irvine Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92618

I feel kind of bad that I’ve neglected Brio Tuscan Grille this long. I mean they are right next door to a restaurant that we’ve written about twice, Del Frisco’s Grille. We make at least ten trips a year to the Spectrum, where Brio is located, and have yet to dine here. It always looks so busy and inviting, but we have yet to go inside this restaurant, which has been around for a year and a half now. That was until we got a little nudge.

That nudge was in the form of an invite by the great folks at Brio, to come in and try their latest promotional items, The Tale of Two Risottos. For a limited time Brio is offering two seafood inspired versions of this classic Italian comfort food dish. We could not say no to this great opportunity, and quickly reached out to Brio to say that we could not wait to come in and try them out.

Before we left, I checked out the Brio website, and was surprised to learn that they have so many locations throughout the United States. They operate over 100 restaurants in 22 states, with two of those being in California. This Irvine location is joined by another at Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga. The focus food wise here is on Northern Italian cuisine, which they prepare with what they hope to be the freshest ingredients, in a lively Italian eatery. I was excited to see what they had in store for us this evening.

We arrived at just before 7pm, and were seated promptly in a comfortable side room, near the bustling kitchen. They nailed the lively atmosphere here. The space has a welcoming quality to it, an upscale vibe, but not in a stuffy way. I was struck by the wide array of people dining here. There were tables of businessmen talking shop, a gaggle of woman enjoying a ladies night out, friends celebrating someones birthday, and me and Katie enjoying a quiet date night, going over each others hectic days at work, which slowly melted away as the night went on at Brio.

The menu is pretty impressive here. What I noticed first and foremost were the prices. They were not as outrageous as I was expecting. No menu item is over the $30 mark, and most entrees are going to set you back less than $20. I made many mental notes of what I would be having here on my next visit to Brio. This trip was all about the risottos though, so let’s see how that worked out for us on this evening.

When we were sat, they almost instantaneously sat out this bread basket filled with some crisp pieces of bread and a half a loaf of sourdough. I much preferred the sourdough. It was served warm, and had a great pliable texture. A very nice bread, which came with plenty of butter. The crisp bread was seasoned well, but I could not stop eating the sourdough.

As first timers to Brio, we were advised that trying the Bruschetta Quattro ($15.95) would be a wise move for us, and that advice proved to be correct. This is a sampling of their four most popular bruschettas, and it’s easy to see why they are so well liked. Both Katie and my favorite was the sliced steak version, which also included Gorgonzola, arugula, charred tomato, and Parmesan. The steak was tender, and the big flavors played together nicely on the well toasted bread base. I also really enjoyed the version with the applewood bacon, tomato jam, ricotta cheese, Parmesan, and basil to to round it out. Not sure where it came from, but this had a good spice to it, which lingered awhile after consuming this. Other bruschetta versions included a roasted red pepper version and the chef’s seasonal bruschetta, which featured shrimp and a delectable sauce. A very good start to our time at Brio.

I kind of cringed when Katie ordered this Kale Caesar Salad ($7.25). Kale and I have a very stormy relationship. To be honest, I’m really not much of a fan, and was afraid that the kale would ruin one of my favorite salads. I’m pleased to announce, that I was wrong about this. This was one kale dish I could get down with no trouble. The marinated kale was joined with a whole cavalcade of items; pancetta, chopped egg, tomatoes, tricolore lettuce, Parmesan, and drizzled with a very good Caesar dressing. First and foremost, this was a good sized salad, the produce was fresh, and the kale was not as bitter as others we have had. A good take on a Caesar salad. I’m still estranged from kale, but this dish has at least opened up a dialogue between us two.

Lobster Bisque ($6.95) is always a good option, and that was the case here at Brio as well. This velvety soup came with a sauteed shrimp garnish in the middle of the bowl. This soup was predictably rich and flavorful, and I almost found myself licking the bowl after I was done with it. I had to control myself, since we had our entrees coming up next.

Our first of the two entrees was this Sea Scallops and Ratatouille Risotto ($19.95). The ratatouille is made up of some roasted eggplant, tomatoes, red peppers, zucchini, basil, and Reggieano cheese. The risotto really picked up each of these flavors, and was topped with five good sized scallops. The scallops were fork tender, and cooked well. The risotto shines here, and is not just a vessel for the scallops and other items. Katie loved the heartiness of this meal, which was just what the doctor ordered on this chilly evening.

When this Cold Water Lobster Tail with Shrimp Risotto ($19.95) hit the table, I let out an audible gasp. I could hardly wait to dig in to the lobster, but the shrimp risotto was also worth some admiration. Along with the shrimp, this risotto contained mushrooms, asparagus, roasted red peppers, basil, and Parmesan. Big time favor explosion here, and then you add the sweet and tender lobster, and it makes this dish a winner. Who could ever imagine lobster being this affordable? I ended up only finishing half of this, as I really wanted to savor this as I ate it. It was just as good the next day for lunch, and had a lot of coworkers envious that they did not have lobster for lunch.

We definitely did not need it, but could not resist this Torta Di Cioccolata ($6.95). This kind of chocolate lave cake was like three desserts in one. You of course had the moist, chocolate cake on the outside, and inside was an almost pudding like texture of the warm cake, which is then topped with a generous serving of vanilla bean gelato. Katie was pretty full by this point, so I was lucky enough to be able to eat most of this, which I did in record time. I liked mixing the warm center with the vanilla gelato. A great way to end our meal at Brio. 
We left here full, and content on this evening. Brio really impressed me on our inaugural visit here. Not only was the food good, but the value was too great to ignore, especially for the lobster dish that I had. The feel of the restaurant was like an upgraded Macaroni Grill, and of course the food was upgraded as well. We really felt like we were dining in a fine dining restaurant, at way more reasonable prices. Even though the prices were reasonable, the food was elevated at Brio. The service we experienced on this evening also deserves some accolades. Our server Shelia has been at this location of Brio since they opened, and all of her knowledge, suggestions, and attention that she lavished upon us has made us even bigger fans of Brio.

If you would like to experience the Tale of Two Risotto promotion, you have to hurry. It will only be around until March 27th. From our experience at Brio though, even if you do not make it in to have this fantastic deal, you will definitely find something on this menu to make you and your stomach happy. A special thanks to everyone that made this visit so enjoyable. Everyone we encountered on this evening was so pleasant, and really made us feel welcome.

If you would like to keep up to date with all of the happenings at Brio, or find your nearest location, head to their website here: http://www.brioitalian.com/index.html

Source – A Lively Evening at Brio Tuscan Grille

Original Source of this article: Ruth Davis’ OC Blog , https://ruthrdavisblog.wordpress.com


Los Angeles County Shutters

Los Angeles County shutters are beautiful Plantation style shutters from Villa Blind and shutter.  We have been serving the residents of Los Angeles for twenty years, we call it our Red Carpet Service.  We maintain a 97% customer satisfaction in Los Angeles County, because our staff has experience in all aspects of shutter manufacturing, design and customer service.

Villa provides Free In-Home design consultation, we refer to this as the Shutter Design process, where we educate our customers on material choices, frame choices and installation particular to your windows.

Today’s article shows off a recent installation of Onyx shutters in Los Angeles and has a few design choices to help you learn about shutters.  See the video below to see a huge Sunburst style shutter for Arched Windows.  A sunburst starts the louvers from the middle like a fan.  The other option is keeping the louvers Horizontal, which is the preferred way if the window arch is connected to the rectangle window.  (see the photos below)

We hope this helps you understand your choices with Arched windows.

Los Angeles County Shutters

Los Angeles County ShuttersBasswood shutterShutter samplesShutters sampleShutters samples

Please give Villa a call today (951) 847-7708, or contact us using  this Form.

The post Los Angeles County Shutters appeared first on Villa Blind and Shutter.

Source: http://villablind.tumblr.com/post/138424677686

Original Source of this article: Ruth Davis’ OC Blog , https://ruthrdavisblog.wordpress.com

That’s what SHE said: self-care without the meditation, 30 questions nobody has asked my husband, alternatives to resting bitch face, a white privilege breakdown, a teacher’s frustration with an absent conversation, and more…


Jillian Lauren shares 10 suggestions for self-care that doesn’t involve the sometimes impossible task of meditation…2. Slow down your transitions. That sounds so boring, I know. But when I have a ton to do, I can get into a sloppy, rushed mode that’s not only un-fun but also dangerous, particularly when it comes to cooking or driving or anything with sharp edges and moving parts. One thing I’ve learned from having two kids who struggle with transitions, is to slow way down and talk them through it. So I’ve started to do the same for myself. After I drop off my older son at school, I have a spot around the corner, where I pull the car over and just breathe and reconfigure my brain. I answer my texts. I pick out a podcast for the way home. I decide if I’m going to grab a latte or not. I take a breath. If the little one is with me, I still do an abbreviated version of this.


#4. Do you realize how blessed you are that your wife will babysit for you? #10. Why are you getting a graduate degree? #22. How do you balance it all?

THE YOGA LIFE | brookehoehne.com

Brooke Hoehne is forced to slow down when she goes to a non-fitness yoga class and is forced to stretch her wrists for twenty minutes. She is reminded of her week in Paso Robles as a volunteer farmer where she learned the farmers were trying to get her to slow down by telling her there was nothing to do. In a desperate race to fend off any notion of apathy and live every minute with a “life is short” type mantra, she questions what it takes and what it means to truly slow down“I think our obsession with abundance is actually indicative of most elements in our culture. We’re doing our best to keep up with all of the high volume low depth relationships, items to purchase, uninterrupted entertainment, self marketing, experience collecting race to the good life, when the guy on the farm probably beat us there a long time ago.” 

A comprehensive list of alternatives to the infamous “resting bitch face.” For example: I’m Just Now Registering That Horrible Thing You Did  Face or  Thanks So Much For Your Unsolicited Advice Face  or Tell Me Again About How as a Man You’re Terrible at Administrative Labor Face.

THIS IS WHAT WHITE PRIVILEGE IS | washingtonpost.com

A simple clear cut take on what white privilege looks like…“Taking for granted that when you’re shopping, you probably aren’t going to be followed or harassed. Knowing that you can curse, dress sloppily or misspell a word in a memo without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, poverty or substandard education of your race. Assuming that if you buy a house in a nice neighborhood your neighbors will be pleasant and welcoming. Understanding that if you ask to speak to the person in charge, you’ll almost certainly end up facing someone of your own race. Feeling comfortable and “normal” in all the usual walks of public life. What is white privilege? It’s the social advantage that comes from being seen as the norm in the United States, automatically conferred irrespective of wealth, gender or other factors. It smooths out life, but in a way that’s barely noticeable — unless it doesn’t apply to you. In her 1988 paper Wellesley College professor Peggy McIntosh described it as a set of unearned assets that white people can count on cashing in each day even as they remain largely oblivious to their advantage.”


A teenage Syrian refugee turned activist fights to help Muslim students feel safer in school amidst the rise of Anti-Muslim sentiment and threats, from the GOP candidates to the classroom…“The reports of threats and attacks are on the rise in schools across the United States, too. A seventh grader in Vandalia, Ohio, threatened to shoot a Muslim boy on the bus ride home from school, calling him a “towel head,” a “terrorist,” and “the son of ISIS.” A sixth-grade girl wearing a hijab in the Bronx was reportedly punched by three boys who called her “ISIS.” Even before Paris and San Bernardino, a 2014 survey by the Council on American Islamic Relations found that 52 percent of Muslim students in California reported being the target of verbal abuse and insults. That’s double the number of students who report being bullied based on gender and race nationwide.”


Washington state’s Teacher of the Year, Nate Bowling, voices his feelings about the conversation he is tired of not having when it comes to education policy reform, which is simply that America does not care what happens to poor people and most black people…”In my position as a Teacher of the Year and a teacher leader (an ambiguous term at best), I am supposed to be a voice and hold positions on a host of ed policy issues: teaching evaluations, charter schools, test refusal, and (fights over) Common Core come to mind. I am so sick of reading about McCleary (Washington’s ongoing intragovernmental battle for equitable funding for K-12) I don’t know what to do with myself. But, increasingly I find myself tuning out of these conversations. As a nation, we’re nibbling around the edges with accountability measures and other reforms, but we’re ignoring the immutable core issue: much of white and wealthy America is perfectly happy with segregated schools and inequity in funding. We have the schools we have, because people who can afford better get better. And sadly, people who can’t afford better just get less–less experienced teachers, inadequate funding and inferior facilities.”


Theatre-seekers in LA should be sure to check out some local gems such as  the world premiere of BED  by Sheila Callaghan on February 3 and How Love Lasts  premiering February 18 at the Echo Theatre Company. John Posey’s Father, Son and Holy Coach comes to the Odyssey with an all-new production on February 13 and Tempest Redux comes February 20. For Orange County folks, ITC kicks off its 2016 season with Closer Than Ever by Maltby and Shire on February 10.   Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo returns to Segerstrom February 12, PLACAS: The Most Dangerous Tattoo will have a limited engagement at Casa 0101, the 24th Street Theatre is bringing back the beloved Man Covets Bird, and The Matrix Theatre Company honors Black History Month with Katori Hall’s award-winning The Mountaintop. Also note, the fun folks at WeLikeLa have a list of 10 Things Under $10 to do this weekend with some unique finds.
New York families should check out The Secret Inside You at the American Museum of Natural History or Picasso Sculpture at the MoMA closing February 7, 2016. Also, The Astronaut’s Tale coming to BAM or The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show coming to the 47th Street Theatre or Step Afrika! at the Brooklyn Center for Performing Arts. For a family pleaser, check out Wicked on Broadway! New York parents looking forward to springtime theatre in New York, be sure to get your tickets now for  David Harrower’s new play Blackbird starring Jeff Daniels and Michelle Williams.

Source Link: That’s what SHE said: self-care without the meditation, 30 questions nobody has asked my husband, alternatives to resting bitch face, a white privilege breakdown, a teacher’s frustration with an absent conversation, and more…

Original Source of this article: Ruth Davis’ OC Blog , https://ruthrdavisblog.wordpress.com

Friday Finds

1.  Shark | Rocket Powerhead Vacuum 
2. Natural, Non-Toxic, Odorless Nail Polish | Piggypaint 
3. Nutri Ninja | Auto-iQ Compact System
4. Everyday Happy | All Purpose Cleaner 
5. Prenatal Vitamins | Everyday Happy 
6. Simply 7 | Lemon & Olive Oil Kale Chips, 3.5 Oz (Pack of 12) 
7. Chewbeads | Baby “Where’s the Pacifier?” Clip and Necklace Gift Set
8. Baby Girls Long Sleeve Top And Heart Overalls Set | The Children’s Place
9. Wearable Audio Monito | Summer Babble Band | Target 

Source Link: Friday Finds

Original Source of this article: Ruth Davis’ OC Blog , https://ruthrdavisblog.wordpress.com

Left Mom/Right Dad: talking politics with Paul Martin

My friend Paul and I have known each other for a long time. In addition to both being writers, we are also political junkies. Paul and I sit on different sides of the ideoligical aisle. Paul is a Republican, I lean towards Democratic Socialism. Despite this, we manage to have deep and robust conversations about politics . . . while staying civil. We decided to do a weekly video series leading up to the election this year. This is our first episode. We’re talking the mystery of Trump, the nation’s apparent discontentment with politics as usual, and the importance of civil discourse.

Source Link: Left Mom/Right Dad: talking politics with Paul Martin

Original Source of this article: Ruth Davis’ OC Blog , https://ruthrdavisblog.wordpress.com

What I want you to know about being an adoptive mother and a former foster child

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here.  Today’s guest post is by Hope. 

What I want you to know is that, actually, your adopted child IS lucky to have you. It’s hard to read anything written by an adoptive parent these days without the author commenting on how irritating it is when people say that their adopted child is lucky to have them. And to an extent, I get that. I really do. No child should ever have to long for a family. Ever. Adoption exists only because a deep and devastating loss has occurred, and there is nothing “lucky” about having to experience that kind of trauma as a child. If things were as they should be, no child would ever have to experience the kind of pain that leads to the need for adoption. And the adoptive parents, those who are graced with the gifts of these precious children, they are by far the lucky ones. True. I am a mother both by biology and by adoption from the foster care system. So on a very personal level I understand and feel the truth of all these things. However, I am also a former foster child. So on a very personal level I understand and feel the truth of what it means to grow up waiting and hoping for a permanent family. Seared into my heart and mind are the memories of my foster brothers and sisters from different homes as years went on, getting matched with families, and eventually moving away to be with their new forever family. And you know what those of us who were left behind thought of those foster kids, the ones who were swept up into the embrace of a family? We thought, “they sure are lucky”. We didn’t say it of course, no we had to be much tougher than that. But we felt it, we ached it, and we choked it down. Eventually I reached the age of double digits, which is pretty much the time when foster kids start to realize that they aren’t next, that there really isn’t a family out there for them, that no one is coming to look for a 11 year old with this kind of baggage. It’s not true for all foster kids of this age, but it was true for most of us. I was never adopted, I aged out of the system at 18 years old like so many others. So many thousands and thousands of others. I know that we as adoptive parents aren’t perfect. We aren’t heroes or saviors. We are just parents who love the children who have been entrusted to us with all of our hearts. I know that most of us wonder everyday how we were blessed enough to have been given these children. This piece isn’t about the adults in these stories, about how great we are to have adopted children. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is about acknowledging and honoring the pain and heartache of all the children still suffering. So what do I want you to know? I want you to know, and perhaps to remember, that as you talk about how your child is not lucky to have you, there are countless children languishing in foster homes that would give absolutely anything to be in your child’s place.

Source Link: What I want you to know about being an adoptive mother and a former foster child

Original Source of this article: Ruth Davis’ OC Blog , https://ruthrdavisblog.wordpress.com

Odds and Ends


1. I love Mary Louise Parker and am dying to read this. (Steamy!)

2. The problems associated with great taste. I had to laugh at this one.

3. No food is healthy. NO, NOT EVEN KALE.

4. How to cure winter skin. Love these tips.

5. Barbie will have hips?! Never thought I would see the day.

6. Have you see the new “reactions” debuting on Facebook soon?

7. Could you refrain from texting a significant lover for a week?

8. Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard’s “Africa” music video. Are they the coolest/funniest couple ever or what?

9. Who doesn’t love TED talks? Here are the top 10 from 2015.

10. Forget the class, I would like to major in tacos, thank you.

11. I’m sorry, but I’m just not down with this bra. Would you wear that?

12. Have you seen this brand of delicate pendant necklaces? I want to layer several of them.

Happy Friday, everyone! Have a great weekend.

image credit: way way allen



The post Odds and Ends appeared first on whoorl.

Original Source of this article: Ruth Davis’ OC Blog , https://ruthrdavisblog.wordpress.com

Eastvale Blinds and Shutters

Eastvale Blinds and Shutters are this Week’s Job of the Week, featuring an installation recently in Eastvale.  Oudom chose stained wood blinds from J.C. Window Fashions in Chino Hills.  See the video below for yourself how beautiful Wood Blinds can be for you Eastvale home.

At Villa Blind and Shutter we offer Free In-Home extimates and Design consultation.  We carry all available window coverings.

  • Wood Blinds
  • Plantation Shutters
  • Vinyl Shutters
  • Roller Shades
  • Roman Shades
  • Cellular Shades
  • Vertical Blinds
  • and More!
Eastvale Blinds and Shutters

faux wood blinds 2FauxWood_Premium_2in_lgEastvale Blinds and ShuttersPicture-100Eastvale Shuttersimageimage

Learn More About Villa Here

To schedule a appointment fill out our form on the Schedule an Appointment form, and you can select the date and time you desire.  Or simply call our offices any time and speak to our office manager.

Thank You

The post Eastvale Blinds and Shutters appeared first on Villa Blind and Shutter.

Source: http://villablind.tumblr.com/post/138223401326

Original Source of this article: Ruth Davis’ OC Blog , https://ruthrdavisblog.wordpress.com