Orange Coast Magazine

Taste of O.C. | Priscilla Mayfield on food


Invite Cauliflower to Your Mardi Gras Party

Vegetables laissez les bon temps roulez, too

There’s more than one way to represent the gold, green, and purple of Mardi Gras on your menu Tuesday. And I’m not talking about the classic tri-color frosting of the king cake that I wrote about last year.

I’m talking vegetables. On a recent Saturday at the Irvine farmers market near UCI, I’d made a mental note to visit the Cal Poly Pomona booth this weekend, where the student farmers sell cauliflower in all its many hues. (This is Cal Poly’s only O.C. farmers market presence, by the way.)

I love cauliflower, any color, just about any preparation. Last week I found two cauli dishes on the excellent buffet at the new India Kitchen in Tustin, where I lunched with’s Jay Selman, who’s sort of the silent member of our own The Wine Dudes blog. The restaurant serves a very good aloo gobi (potatoes and cauliflower), a regular item on many Indian steam-table buffets. But it also offers the more obscure, curry-like Manchurian (sometimes called Mongolian) cauliflower, blanched florets fried in a light batter then bathed in a tomato-y, gingery sauce. It’s one of the best things ever. Another surprise at this in this humble spot was the discovery of an intense tomato chutney alongside the usual tamarind and cilantro-chile types. It’s similar to chef Suvir Saran’s recipe I’ve made for years, flavored with mustard seed and curry leaf. It’s very hard-core. And did I mention the restaurant’s dark, delicious goat curry? Must return asap.

Note: If you can’t make it to the Irvine market, you can find colorful cauliflower in supermarkets, like the gorgeous specimens from Los Alamitos-based Frieda’s pictured here.


Leave a comment:

· Subscribe to comments
Be the first to comment here.

OC Guides


OC Guides
  • O.C.’s Best: Tiki Drinks

    Though some regard them as overly cloying concoctions, tiki cocktails such as mai tais and zombies are enjoying a resurgence in Orange County. Craft bartenders layer the rum-based drinks with multiple spirits and spices to create beguiling and complex potions. Here are five great places to get your tiki on. Read More
  • Neighborhood: Dana Point

    Perched above Pacific Coast Highway, Monarch Bay Plaza reflects the relaxed sophistication of its Dana Point neighborhood. In the Spanish-style mall with red tile roofs, ocean breezes blow through white stucco archways, and upscale-yet-casual boutiques and restaurants attract locals and tourists. Read More
  • O.C.’s Best: Vegan Breakfasts

    Veg-heads don’t just mow down bowls of granola and slam wheatgrass shots at the break of dawn. Most want to enjoy brunching on Sunday-Funday with everyone else. And because it can be hard to find tofu scrambles and dairy-free waffles, we’ve rounded up five local eateries that provide tasty vegan options to start the morning right. Read More
  • Best of 2014: Nutty Brûlée

    No one can resist breaking into the sugary crust of crème brûlée, and this one packs an extra surprise with its abundance of silky-smooth chocolate-hazelnut custard below—thanks to the addition of Nutella. This sinful dessert is incredibly rich and best shared with a friend. $8
    704 E. Balboa Blvd., Newport Beach, 949‑673‑7173,

    Read More
  • Best of 2014: Honey Bee Chicken

    You’ll fall in lust with the chicken pieces at BBQ Chicken at Diamond Jamboree in Irvine. Fried in olive oil for a crunchy exterior, they’re tossed in a sweet honey sauce making them all the more delicious. $11 to $21

    Read More

Expert Advice from Orange County's GrapeRadio Hosts
wine blog

stuff we love

Charitable Events Calendar