Portola Coffee - Review and Giveaway!

From the moment I opened the bag, I knew that something was different about this coffee.  The strong, delicious smell of coffee permeated the room almost immediately, to the degree that my entire home smelled like a coffeehouse for the rest of the morning.  The beans, perfectly medium brown, glistened on their surface with oils released from roasting only a few days prior.

I knew almost immediately that this coffee would be different, but only upon tasting did I realize HOW different.  There is really nothing like drinking coffee that has been roasted mere days and ground mere minutes ago.  This is a pleasure that I have rarely– if ever–experienced before, but will be experiencing much more often thanks to local company Portola Handcrafted Coffee Roasters.  Portola roasts their coffees to order right here in Irvine so that their customers can enjoy the freshest coffee any time.  Portola’s beans are sourced from organic farms–a must for any organic consumer since coffee beans can be one of the most chemically contaminated crops in the world.  Even better, they are Fair Trade Certified and maintain direct relationships with their growers around the world so that you can be assured that your coffee was grown with pride and compassion.

The coffee that I have been enjoying is from Portola’s Peru CENFROCAFE Microlot.  Even prepared in my simple french press, the coffee is so smooth and without bitterness that I almost perceive it to be sweet.   Like a fine wine, the brew surprised me with a depth and complexity of flavors that defy description (from me at least).  Usually I enjoy my coffee with a good dash of cream, but this I enjoyed black because there are none of the usual bitter flavors to counteract with the creaminess.  In fact, I have found myself drinking much more coffee over the past week than I normally do- I think Portola’s Decaf Sumatra should be my next coffee purchase!

If you want to try this amazing coffee for yourself, check out Portola’s roasterie inside of Layer Cake Bakery at 4250 Barranca in Irvine.  Their coffee is also now available in Whole Foods at the District!  If you can’t pick up a bag in person, you can also order from their website.

Portola has also generously offered another bag of coffee to give away to one Local Oranges reader!  To enter, post in the comments section below this message about your favorite way to enjoy your coffee.  If you “Like” Local Oranges on Facebook or follow our Tweets, post again for an extra entry!  I will close the giveaway on July 24th and contact the winner to mail or deliver your own bag of Portola coffee.  (Random.org picked the 15th post.  Congratulations Sandy!)

The disclosures: Local Oranges did not receive any compensation for writing this review.   While I did receive a free sample from Portola, this review reflects my true opinions of the coffee and was not affected in any way by receipt of the sample.

Kid's Restaurant Week coming to OC June 27-July 3!

As anyone with young children can attest, dining out with the kiddos can sometimes be the fastest way to lose your appetite.  But, even though embarrassing behavior, long waits and picky eaters often make us drive home thinking “NEVER again”, we always venture out in a few weeks.

So naturally I was excited to hear that Orange County is getting our own “Kids Restaurant Week” this summer.  Throughout OC, great restaurants will be featuring special menus, activities and discounts just for stroller-setters like us!   I perused the participating restaurants, and definitely want my family to check out 118 Degrees in Costa Mesa.   Nirvana Grille is another great restaurant with two locations that feature local and organic ingredients.

Check out www.kidsrestaurantweek.org to get all the information to plan your week of delicious dining.  Then pack your bibs and go!  Good behavior not guaranteed.

Welcome to Local Oranges!

I stumbled upon my first Orange County farmers market in early 2002, in search of  local oranges.  I had recently married and moved to OC from the midwest, and was captivated by the small orange grove that was bursting with ripe fruit near my home.  Of course, none of this bounty was anywhere to be found in the chain supermarkets.  As I was driving near the Orange Circle one day, I spotted a farmers market and found what I had been seeking–fresh, local and delicious produce.  I was hooked from that day on, and have been frequenting farmers markets around Orange County ever since.

Although the market in the City of Orange is sadly gone (the parking lot where it used to set up was bulldozed and a building was built over it), the farmers market is alive and well in Orange County.  The recent trend towards more local, sustainable and organic eating has made them more popular than ever.  I am starting this site in the hope of making information about how to live this way in Orange County more accessible.  I plan to visit at least one certified farmers market every week and provide detailed information about what you might find.  I also want to provide information on alternative sources of local and organic produce, farm-to-table restaurants, and other great finds around Orange County.  Finally, there will be some quick and delicious recipes to get you on your way cooking with the seasonal bounty you buy.

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