June 10: Live from the 9th Annual Pechanga Microbrew Festival & Chili Cookoff

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Hosts Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: Chef Marlene Moore, Temptations Food Walk, Pechanga Resort & Casino
Segment Three: Commander Robert Durant (retired) & Bill Sutton, Inland Wharf Brewing, Murrieta
Segment Four: Ericka Luna, Director of Catering, Pechanga Resort & Casino
Segment Five: Chef Damian Stanley, Assistant Executive Chef, Pechanga Resort & Casino
Segment Six: Sciabica’s California Olive Oil, Modesto
Segment Seven: Tammy Marine, Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley
Segment Eight: Chef Ronnel Capacia, Journey’s End at Pechanga

Now an intriguing preview of this Saturday’s properly effervescent show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a pretty good thing…

Pechanga Microbrew FestivalCraft beer enthusiasts rejoice ! We’re live this morning from the 9th Annual Pechanga Microbrew Festival and Chili Cook-off in beautiful Temecula Valley wine country. VIP entry into The Grand Ballroom is at 12 Noon and General Admission is from 1 to 5:00 p.m.

Chef Marlene Moore of the Temptations Food Walk at Pechanga is the 2-time, defending Chili Champ among the highly-talented chefs at Pechanga. For Saturday’s competition she is showcasing two chili creations. Bragging rights for the next year are on-the-line. We’ll talk about crowd pleasing, award-winning chili (and more) with Chef Marlene.

One of the newest craft breweries in the Inland Empire, Inland Wharf Brewing Co., is part of today’s Microbrew Festival for the very first time. Their specialty is cask conditioned ales. Owners Commander (Retired) Robert Durant and Bill Sutton are our guests.

Ericka Luna is Pechanga’s veteran Director of Catering. She joins us for a status report on the in-progress, ambitious, $285 million expansion project. The new Hotel Tower is on track to welcome guests in December. Just in time for the Holidays.

Chef Damian Stanley is the busy Assistant Executive Chef at Pechanga. The highlight of his achievements to date is the revamping of the restaurant space that has evolved into the highly successful Umi Sushi & Oyster Bar. He’s also a two-time Pechanga Chili Champ but has gracefully retired from competition to let the restaurant chefs shine.

Sciabica’s California Olive Oil has been cold pressed in Modesto, California since 1936. The olive oil is used in the kitchens at Pechanga and Sciabica’s, now in its 4th generation of Family ownership, is part of the Microbrew Festival. Jim Livesay is our guest representing Sciabica’s California Olive Oil.

Regular listeners of the “SoCal Restaurant Show” know Chef Ronnel Capacia as the master of the grill, smoker and pizza oven at Kelsey’s – Great Food & Drinks. He’s just been promoted to Chef at Journey’s End at Pechanga, the stylish restaurant with incredible views located in the handsome clubhouse of the Journey golf course. We’ll get Chef Ronnel off the links for a chat.

Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley is the long-time charitable beneficiary of the Pechanga Microbrew Festival and Chili Cook-off. The mission of Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley, in partnership with God, is to facilitate the dream of homeownership, as well as improve living conditions for those in the community. We’ll meet long-time Executive Director, Tammy Marine.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s show!

Marlene Moore at the Pechanga Wine FestivalChef Marlene Moore of the Temptations Food Walk at Pechanga is the 2-time, defending Chili Champ among the highly-talented chefs at Pechanga. For Saturday’s competition she is showcasing two chili creations. Bragging rights are on-the-line.

All of the menu items at Temptations ranging from authentic Chinese stir-fry to Pechanga fried chicken are conveniently available to-go, too.

We’ll talk about crowd pleasing, award-winning chili (and more) with Chef Marlene.

Commander Robert Durant of Inland Wharf BrewingOne of the newest craft breweries in the Inland Empire, Murrieta’s Inland Wharf Brewing Co., is part of today’s Microbrew Festival for the very first time. Their specialty is cask conditioned ales.

“The calling card for Inland Wharf Brewing Co. is the unique and labor intensive, Cask Conditioned Ales served via Beer Engines.  In addition, Inland Wharf serves other beers on regular carbon dioxide and nitrogen regulated draft beer taps. Even though our Cask Conditioned Ales and Draft Beers use the same ingredients and recipes, their processing techniques vary widely.”
“The time-honored brewing and serving methods followed by Inland Wharf Brewing Co. ensures the development of exceptional appearance, aroma, and flavors in both its Cask Conditioned Ales and it’s Draft Beers.”

Owners Commander (Retired) Robert Durant and Bill Sutton are our guests.

Ericka LunaEricka Luna is Pechanga’s veteran Director of Catering. She first joined Pechanga in 2004 as Manager of Catering and was promoted to her current post in 2010. Erika joins us for a status report on the in-progress, ambitious, $285 million expansion project.

The ambitious project involves adding a new, AAA Four Diamond, 568-room and suite hotel wing; a stand-alone luxury two-story spa and salon with 17 treatment rooms, a fitness center and hydrotherapy pool terrace; a resort-style pool complex with eight pool areas; two new restaurants; and an additional 67,000 square feet of event space.

The new Hotel Tower is on track to welcome guests in December. Just in time for the Holidays. The fabulous Las Vegas-style pool deck with cabanas and all the requisite luxury VIP amenities will debut in the Spring.

Danian StanleyChef Damian Stanley is the Assistant Executive Chef at Pechanga. The highlight of his numerous achievements to date is the revamping of the restaurant space that has evolved into the highly successful Umi Sushi & Oyster Bar.

Umi means “sea” in Japanese. On the extensive menu are sushi, sashimi, nigiri, rolls, oysters on the half shell, seafood platters, specialty cocktails and so much more.

He’s also a two-time Pechanga Chili Champ (2014 & 2015) but has gracefully retired from competition to let the individual restaurant chefs have a clear field.

Sciabica's California Olive OilSciabica’s California Olive Oil has been cold pressed in California since 1936. The olive oil is used in the kitchens at Pechanga and Sciabica’s, now in its 4th generation of Family ownership, is part of the Microbrew Festival.

“The Sciabica family’s long tradition of olive oil production began in Sicily, in the olive oil mills of Castelvetrano in the province of Trapani – a region famous for olives and olive oil. In 1887 Nicola (Nick) Sciabica was born in Marsala, Sicily and as a young man, he learned the ancient art of producing olive oil in Trapani.”

“In 1911 Nicola immigrated to the United States, settled and started a family in Waterbury Connecticut, but longed for the warm Mediterranean climate. After many years of searching, he eventually found Modesto, California. He fell in love with Modesto. Nicola said, “This is like home.” and in 1925, with his wife and their 3 sons, he purchased a small ranch in Modesto.”

“11 years later, in 1936, with the knowledge that Nicola brought from olive oil making in Sicily, the Sciabicas began cold-pressing Marsala® Brand Olive Oil (named after his birthplace). Marsala is now the undisputed oldest continuously produced California Olive Oil. Today, the Sciabicas still reside, farm and cold-press olive oil on the same property.”

“In the late 80’s the family pioneered “single varietal” olive oils, keeping individual olive types separate (just like wine). For over 30 years we have been offering our single varietal olive oils under the Sciabica’s® label, ranging from Buttery-Sweet to Peppery & Robust, depending on the olive varietal and season of pressing. In the 90’s the family again blazed a new path with ‘Fresh Flavored’ olive oil, uniquely made fresh in the press by sending fresh fruit, herbs or peppers (such as Lemons, Basil and Jalapeños) with the olives through the presses. 2 ingredients, no artificials or heat infusion, resulting in a remarkable fresh flavor and health experience.”

Jim Livesay is our guest representing Sciabica’s California Olive Oil.

habitat-humanity-inland-valleyHabitat for Humanity Inland Valley is the long-time charitable beneficiary of the Pechanga Microbrew Festival and Chili Cook-off. The mission of Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley, in partnership with God, is to facilitate the dream of homeownership, as well as improve living conditions for those in the community.

Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley was founded on Christian principles in 1991, as an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, to provide low income housing for families in the Inland Valley.

“We serve the cities of Temecula, Murrieta, Wildomar, Lake Elsinore, Canyon Lake, Sun City, Menifee, and Perris. Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally, as well as globally, through constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their housing conditions.”

“Habitat for Humanity was founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a simple, decent place to live and that it should be a matter of conscience and action for all.”

We’ll meet long-time Executive Director, Tammy Marine.

Ronnell Capacia at the Pechanga Microbrew Festival and Chili CookoffRegular listeners of the “SoCal Restaurant Show” know Chef Ronnel Capacia as the master of the grill, smoker and pizza oven at Kelsey’s – Great Food & Drinks.

He’s just been promoted to Chef at Journey’s End at Pechanga, the stylish restaurant with incredible views located in the handsome clubhouse of the Journey golf course.

Chef Ronnel is always a serious competitor (and one to watch) in the annual Pechanga Chili Cook-off.

We’ll get Chef Ronnel off the links for a chat.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Hosts Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: Chef Marlene Moore, Temptations Food Walk, Pechanga Resort & Casino
Segment Three: Commander Robert Durant (retired) & Bill Sutton, Inland Wharf Brewing, Murrieta
Segment Four: Ericka Luna, Director of Catering, Pechanga Resort & Casino
Segment Five: Chef Damian Stanley, Assistant Executive Chef, Pechanga Resort & Casino
Segment Six: Sciabica’s California Olive Oil, Modesto
Segment Seven: Tammy Marine, Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley
Segment Eight: Chef Ronnel Capacia, Journey’s End at Pechanga

June 3: Tacolandia, Breakwater Brewing, OC Foodie Fest Pub & Grub, Greg Daniels, Chinois on Main

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: 5th Annual Tacolandia Preview with “Tacorazza” Bill Esparza (The Street Gourmet)
Segment Three: Shannon Sager, CEO & General Manager, Breakwater Brewing Co., Oceanside
Segment Four: James Foxall, Pub & Grub’s Curator & Chef Jake McPeck, The Mess Hall Canteen Food Truck
Segment Five: Executive Chef Greg Daniels, Haven Gastropub, The James Beard Foundation’s Blended Burger Project
Segment Six: Bella Lantsman, General Manager & Partner, Chinois on Main, Santa Monica Part One
Segment Seven: Bella Lantsman, General Manager & Partner, Chinois on Main, Santa Monica Part Two

Now an enticing preview of this Saturday’s ample, and calorie-packed, show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a pretty good thing…

The madness that is LA Weekly’s 5th Annual Tacolandia presented by Tabasco returns on Saturday, June 17th at El Pueblo de Los Angeles with over 120 taco vendors. The best-of-the-best tacos represented are personally selected by Street Gourmet’s Bill Esparza, known as the Tacorazza. We’ll talk taco with Senor Bill.

The 9th Annual Pechanga Microbrew Festival and Chili Cook-Off taps the craft beer keg in Temecula on Saturday afternoon, June 10th. One of the new participating craft breweries at the Microbrew Festival is Breakwater Brewing Co. in Oceanside. Founder Shannon Sager (CEO & GM) is our guest.

You’ve been hearing us talk about OC Foodie Fest’s Pub & Grub – A Culinary Crawl happening in Downtown Santa Ana on Saturday, June 10th. It’s time to get the specifics. Joining us is James Foxall, the curator of Pub & Grub and Chef Jake McPeck of the crowd-pleasing Mess Hall Canteen Food Truck.

The national challenge of The James Beard Foundation’s annual Blended Burger Project is on! Answering the call in the OC is Chef Greg Daniels of Haven Gastropub in Orange with his creation of the Haven Breakfast Burger. We’ll hear all about blended burger deliciousness with Chef Greg and how you can vote in support of Chef Greg’s creation!

Executive Chef Nick Liberato of Venice Restaurant Group and The Venice Whaler is no stranger to the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” Just in time for Summer The Venice Whaler has a new Dinner Menu, Brunch Menu and Cocktail Program. Chef Nick will fill us in with what’s new at the beach.

Longevity for a restaurant in the highly competitive Los Angeles restaurant arena isn’t an easy thing. Wolfgang Puck’s 2nd fine-dining restaurant in the Los Angeles area after Spago was Chinois on Main in Santa Monica. It launched in 1983 and is still a landmark dining destination in Santa Monica that consistently delivers. GM & Partner Bella Lantsman has, extraordinarily, been there since almost the beginning. We’ll meet her.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s show!

Bill EsparzaThe madness that is LA Weekly’s 5th Annual Tacolandia presented by Tabasco returns on Saturday, June 17th at El Pueblo de Los Angeles with over 120 taco vendors from California, Mexico and beyond. The best-of-the-best tacos represented are personally selected by Street Gourmet’s Bill Esparza, known as the Tacorazza.

Visitors get to enjoy unlimited tastes of these signature tacos. Some are from prized family recipes that have been around for generations. The taco fiesta is paired with some thirst-quenching, ice-cold beer and margaritas.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel will be there with Slapfish. Thinking a lobster taco.

It’s Los Angeles’ largest ticketed taco festival and it continues to grow each year.

VIP is, unfortunately, already sold-out!

We’ll talk taco with Senor Bill.

Shannon SagerIf you’ve been wanting to try out the burgeoning Southern California craft brew scene, this June in Temecula is your chance. Craft beer makers throughout Southern California and beyond will all come together in Temecula Wine Country for a festival in support of Habitat for Humanity. The 9thAnnual Pechanga Microbrew Festival and Chili Cook-off is Saturday, June 10, from 1 – 5 p.m. inside the Pechanga Resort & Casino Grand Ballroom.

One of the new participating craft breweries at the Microbrew Festival is Breakwater Brewing Co. in Oceanside. The restaurant started brewing on-site in early 2009. Their 6.8 per cent Rye Dawn (a Brown Ale brewed with rye, oats, wheat and barley) won a Gold Medal at the 2016 World Beer Cup.

Founder Shannon Sager (CEO & GM) is our guest.

Guests must be 21 or older to attend. For tickets or for more information, visit Pechanga’s Website or call (877) 711-2946.

Jake McPeckYou’ve been hearing us talk about the upcoming OC Foodie Fest’s Pub & Grub – A Culinary Crawl happening in Downtown Santa Ana on Saturday, June 10th. Attendees are invited to “crawl” through Downtown Santa Ana deliciously eating and drinking every step of the way.

It’s Orange County’s most mouth-watering edibles including smothered tots, addictive tacos, and piping hot churros. Multiple bars with craft beer, wine, and outrageous cocktails. Our own Chef Andrew Gruel will be represented there with Two Birds’ drool-worthy, Hot Fried Chicken Sandwiches.

The June 10th event will take place in two parts. The Artisan Bazaar, buy-as-you go area for a modest $10, will run from 12 Noon to 11:00 p.m. Tickets for the 2-sessions of the All-Access Area, all you can eat and drink section are $60. Tickets available now right here.

Joining us with all the details are James Foxall the curator of Pub & Grub and Chef Jake McPeck of the crowd-pleasing Mess Hall Canteen Food Truck. Mess Hall is famous at Festivals for their signature Drunken Sailor Tots. Just look for the long, line line…

Greg Daniels of Haven GastropubThe national challenge of The James Beard Foundation’s annual Blended Burger Project is on! Answering the call in the OC is Chef Greg Daniels of Haven Gastropub in Orange with his creation of the Haven Breakfast Burger.

“The James Beard Foundations’ Blended Burger Project invites past and new Blended Burger Project™ participants to join a movement that strives to make burgers better by blending ground meat with chopped mushrooms, creating an incredibly delicious patty that’s healthier for your guests and more sustainable for the planet.”

The Haven Breakfast Burger contains more than 25% mushroom chorizo, combined with Haven’s custom grind, Tillamook sharp cheddar, maple coffee braised bacon, fried egg, arugula, and Haven ketchup, on an OC Baking Company double egg-washed brioche bun.

“My culinary team and I had a lot of fun creating a blended burger for the James Beard Foundation. Blending meat with mushrooms reduces calories, fat, and sodium while adding important nutrients like vitamin D, potassium, and B vitamins,” explained Chef Daniels, whose original Haven Burger has received national acclaim. “A blended burger also brings more sustainable, plant-based items to menus allowing Americans to enjoy the taste and flavor of the burgers they love, knowing it’s a healthier and more sustainable preparation.”

Haven Gastropub is asking guests to post photos with the hashtags #havenbreakfastburger and #blendedburgerproject. All guests who vote for their favorite blended burger online will also be entered to win an all-expense paid trip for two to the 2018 Blended Burger event at the James Beard House. More information and a list of all participating restaurants can be found online here.

We’ll hear all about blended burger deliciousness with Chef Greg.

Belle LantsmanLongevity for a restaurant in the highly competitive Los Angeles restaurant arena isn’t an easy thing. Celebrity Chef Wolfgang Pucks 2nd fine-dining restaurant in the Los Angeles area after Spago was Chinois on Main in Santa Monica. It launched in 1983 and is still a landmark dining destination in Santa Monica that consistently delivers with memorable food and polished service. Many of the professional servers have, unusually, been there for years.

Chinois on Main boldly combines Chinese tradition and fresh California ingredients with contemporary French techniques. The restaurant pioneered Asian fusion cuisine in the United States. Today, Chinois remains a culinary icon with its timeless interior design by Barbara Lazaroff, an open kitchen, full-service bar, and extensive (and expertly crafted) wine list.

The Executive Chef is Rene Mata. He started at Chinois on Main as a line cook in 1987.

GM & Partner Bella Lantsman has, extraordinarily, been there since almost the beginning. We’ll meet her.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: 5th Annual Tacolandia Preview with “Tacorazza” Bill Esparza (The Street Gourmet)
Segment Three: Shannon Sager, CEO & General Manager, Breakwater Brewing Co., Oceanside
Segment Four: James Foxall, Pub & Grub’s Curator & Chef Jake McPeck, The Mess Hall Canteen Food Truck
Segment Five: Executive Chef Greg Daniels, Haven Gastropub, The James Beard Foundation’s Blended Burger Project
Segment Six: Bella Lantsman, General Manager & Partner, Chinois on Main, Santa Monica Part One
Segment Seven: Bella Lantsman, General Manager & Partner, Chinois on Main, Santa Monica Part Two

May 27: Geraldine Gilliland, Pechanga Microbrew Festival, Creme Café, Wine Exchange, Matt Moore

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Hosts Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: Chef & Restaurateur, Geraldine Gilliland, Santa Monica
Segment Three: Executive Chef Duane Owen, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula
Segment Four: Restaurateur & Artisan Baker Tarit Tanjasiri, Crema Café and Crema Artisan Bakery, Seal Beach and Irvine
Segment Five: Kyle Meyer, Co-Proprietor, Wine Exchange, Santa Ana
Segment Six: Matt Moore, “The Quintessential Southern Cook” and author of The South’s Best Butts – Pitmaster Secrets
Segment Seven: Chef Andrew Gruel’s Tutorial on Pickled Vegetables
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel on the National Restaurant Association’s Trade Show in Chicago

We have a Family 4-Pack of Halo tickets for Sunday June 4th versus the Minnesota Twins to award to one lucky listener. Be alert…

Now an alluring preview of this Saturday’s packed Memorial Day Weekend show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a pretty good thing…

Long-time Santa Monica restaurateur Chef Geraldine Gilliland is represented there on Main Street with Lula Cocina and Finn McCool’s. The Lula Cocina Cookbook has just been released in paperback. Proceeds benefit Gerri’s 501 (c) 3 animal rescue agency. We’ll meet her.

The Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula wine country is hosting its 9th Annual Microbrew Festival & Chili Cook-Off on Saturday, June 10th from 1 to 5:00 p.m. 100s of different styles of craft beer will be conveniently available for the tasting. Pechanga’s executive chef, Duane Owen, joins us with a thirst-quenching preview.

Tarit Tanjasiri is the founder of the ever-popular Crema Café and Artisan Bakery in Seal Beach. His booming wholesale business has recently expanded into a new production facility in Irvine. Crema Café is now suppling their baked goods to the Portola Coffee Roasters. We’ll break bread (hopefully a Kouign-Amann) with Tarit.

It’s about that time to again uncork it with our resident wine authority Kyle Meyer of Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange. Is bag-in-a-box wine worthy of purchase? We’ll ask Kyle. Rose has improved in quality and gaining popularity. It’s the perfect Summer picnic wine. We’ll get Kyle’s thoughts.

It’s time for barbecue. The South’s Best Butts: Pitmaster Secrets for Southern Barbecue Perfection by Matt Moore (the quintessential Southern cook) will delight home cooks with the long kept secrets behind some of America’s greatest ‘cue. Matt joins us.

Pickled vegetables are finding their way on to better restaurant menus as intriguing side dishes and components of entrees. Our own Chef Andrew offers pickled veggies at his new Butterleaf. We’ll get all the tips and hints from Chef Andrew.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s show!

Geraldine GilliliandLong-time Santa Monica restaurateur Chef Geraldine Gilliland is represented there on Main Street with Lula Cocina and Finn McCool’s. The Lula Cocina Cookbook has just been released in paperback. Proceeds benefit Gerri’s 501 (c) 3 animal rescue agency. We’ll meet her.

With The Lula Cocina Cookbook – My favorite Recipes, from Mexico to Malibu, chef, author and accomplished restaurateur Geraldine Gilliland takes you on a fun, easy to read tour of her favorite recipes from Mexico, all the way to her hilltop Ranch in Malibu.

Learn not only her best recipes, but how to put your own spin on them to create your own signature dishes…all while helping a great cause.

“All proceeds from this book will go to benefit the non-profit, Chiquita’s Friends,” I founded that is dedicated to helping abused, neglected and abandoned dogs in and around the Southern California area. We have rescued and successfully placed over 1,000 dogs in loving homes with the help of this network of allies in the fight against animal negligence and abuse.” Geraldine Gilliland

Duane Owen of Pechanga Casino and ResortIf you’ve been wanting to try out the burgeoning Southern California craft brew scene, this June in Temecula is your chance. Craft beer makers throughout Southern California and beyond will all come together in Temecula Wine Country for a festival in support of Habitat for Humanity. The 9thAnnual Pechanga Microbrew Festival and Chili Cook-off is Saturday, June 10, from 1 – 5 p.m. inside the Pechanga Resort & Casino Grand Ballroom.

Beer enthusiasts can taste unlimited samples of craft and small production brews from San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles and Orange counties, as well as selections from Northern California, the Midwest and even the East Coast. Ticket holders also can enjoy limitless tastes of eight varieties of homemade chili, fired up by the award-winning chefs at Pechanga Resort & Casino. Pechanga chefs go head-to-head each year to determine the AAA Four Diamond property’s best chili maker.

In addition to sampling some of the best craft beers and chili varieties and enjoying live music, the 9th Annual Pechanga Microbrew Festival features a silent auction with prizes including getaway stays, golf outings, sports memorabilia, fine wine and beer gift baskets, and much more. Proceeds from the event support Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley programs including homebuilding, free Healthy Homes and Financial Wellness workshops, neighborhood revitalization, and home improvement on behalf of veterans.

VIP festival tickets are available and are a great choice for guests who seek a more intimate environment to taste and appreciate the more than 100 beers and chili varieties on hand. VIP tickets are $65 and allow pass holders an early entry at 12 p.m. instead of 1 p.m. for general admission.

General admission Pechanga Microbrew Festival tickets are $50. Guests receive a two-ounce souvenir glass to sample unlimited beer tastings. Designated driver tickets are available for $30. Both ticket levels allow guests to indulge in the homemade chili and other gourmet food samples, enjoy live music by San Diego’s Safety Orange and participate in the extensive silent auction.

Guests must be 21 or older to attend. For tickets or for more information, visit Pechanga’s website or call (877) 711-2946.

Pechanga’s executive chef, Duane Owen, joins us with a thirst-quenching preview.

Tarit TanjasiriTarit Tanjasiri is the founder of the ever-popular Crema Café and Artisan Bakery in Seal Beach. His booming wholesale business has recently expanded into a new production facility in Irvine. Crema Café is now supplying their baked goods to the Portola Coffee Roasters.

“The Crema Cafe is a European-inspired restaurant and bakery in beautiful downtown Seal Beach, California. We serve breakfast and lunch 7 days a week. Our menu offers classic favorites and delicious new alternatives. From our famous sweet and savory crepes to our tempting pastries, hearty sandwiches and fresh salads, we offer a variety of breakfast and lunch choices.”

“Our Artisan Bakery offers a full range of fresh-baked goods. We use the finest ingredients like real butter and wholesome grains. Our assortment of handcrafted breads includes our signature 7-grain Crema Multigrain bread, sourdough and raisin pecan. You can also indulge your sweet tooth with our enticing array of cookies, muffins, scones, sweet croissants, and macarons— baked to perfection.”

We’ll break bread (hopefully a Kouign-Amann) with Tarit.

Kyle Meyer of Wine Exchanget’s about that time to again uncork it with our resident wine authority Kyle Meyer of Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange.

Is bag-in-a-box wine worthy of purchase? We’ll ask Kyle.

Rose has improved in quality and is gaining popularity. It’s the perfect Summer picnic wine. We’ll get Kyle’s thoughts.

Matt MooreIt’s time for barbecue. The South’s Best Butts: Pitmaster Secrets for Southern Barbecue Perfection by Matt Moore (the quintessential Southern cook) will delight home cooks with the long kept secrets behind some of America’s greatest ‘cue.

Using the almighty pork butt – long considered to be one of the South’s most revered cuts – as his cornerstone, Matt leaves no pits, ovens, grills, or smokers unturned, as he interviews the famous and not-so-famous pitmasters of America’s Southern barbecue region for the techniques and recipes that have made their barbecue some of the most sought after from Texas to Tennessee.

While pork butt is the star here (according to Matt, “True Southern BBQ has one and only one common denominator : pig.”) , the book includes almost every rub, sauce, and grilling technique for the sought after cut. The South’s Best Butt’s also features everything from Smoked Turkey Sandwiches to Pork Belly Tonkatsu Ramen to Fried Banana Pudding and all of the starters, sides, and desserts in between within its 150 plus recipes.

The son of a cattleman and a grandson of a butcher, Matt Moore is the quintessential Southern cook.

Matt joins us.

Andrew Gruel and his son WilliamPickled vegetables are finding their way on to better restaurant menus as intriguing side dishes and components of entrees.

Our own Chef Andrew offers pickled veggies at his new Butterleaf in Irvine. We’ll get all the snappy tips and hints from Chef Andrew.

Chef Andrew was just in Chicago around the National Restaurant Association’s annual gathering. He was the recipient of industry honors as well as was a guest speaker on some high-profile industry/trade panels. We’ll hear all about it.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Hosts Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: Chef & Restaurateur, Geraldine Gilliland, Santa Monica
Segment Three: Executive Chef Duane Owen, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula
Segment Four: Restaurateur & Artisan Baker Tarit Tanjasiri, Crema Café and Crema Artisan Bakery, Seal Beach and Irvine
Segment Five: Kyle Meyer, Co-Proprietor, Wine Exchange, Santa Ana
Segment Six: Matt Moore, “The Quintessential Southern Cook” and author of The South’s Best Butts – Pitmaster Secrets
Segment Seven: Chef Andrew Gruel’s Tutorial on Pickled Vegetables
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel on the National Restaurant Association’s Trade Show in Chicago

May 20: Deborah Madison, Silverado Vineyards, Al Mancini, Eric Samaniego, Carlos Salgado

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Deborah Madison, Icon of Vegetarian Cuisine Part One
Segment Three: Deborah Madison, Icon of Vegetarian Cuisine Part Two
Segment Four: Russ Weis, President & General Manager, Silverado Vineyards
Segment Five: Al Mancini, Staff Writer, Las Vegas Review-Journal Part One
Segment Six: Al Mancini is a Staff Writer at the Las Vegas Review-Journal Part Two
Segment Seven: Eric Samaniego, Executive Chef, Michael’s on Naples, Long Beach
Segment Eight: Co-Host Andy Harris with an airline food story…

Now a tempting preview of this Saturday’s drool-worthy show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a pretty good thing…

From perhaps the foremost authority on vegetarian cooking and one of the most trusted voices in food comes a carefully curated and updated collection of 100 favorite and most inspired recipes, reflecting how Deborah Madison loves to cook now. Her new book is In My Kitchen – A Collection of New and Favorite Vegetarian Recipes. We grab Deborah from her New Mexico garden for a chat.

In 1981, Ron and Diane Miller established Silverado Vineyards to make wine from the six historic vineyards of their estate. Napa pioneers first planted these ranches to vines between 1865 and 1895. Silverado Vineyards long-time President and General Manager, Russ Weis, is our guest.

Journalist Al Mancini is well-known in Las Vegas hospitality circles. He’s been reviewing restaurants there for over 15 years. In 2011 he co-created the definitive Las Vegas dining guide – Eating Las Vegas – The 50 Essential Restaurants. He recently joined the Las Vegas Review-Journal as a staff writer primarily covering the food, restaurant and libations beat. We’ll meet him.

Executive Chef Eric Samaniego (ex-Little Sparrow) is hosting an unusual 5-course collaboration dinner with Taco Maria’s (SoCo in Costa Mesa) acclaimed chef/proprietor Carlos Salgado on May 24th at Michael’s on Naples in Long Beach. This is part of Michael’s on Naples ongoing monthly “Guest Chef’ing” series. Chefs Samaniego and Salgado join us for an enticing preview.

Co-host Andy Harris has an airline main cabin food story to share. It’s just for laughs…Frustration and bewilderment with the lack of planning only goes so far! Other food news of note, too, as time permits.

Deborah MadisonFrom perhaps the foremost authority on vegetarian cooking and one of the most trusted voices in food comes a carefully curated and updated collection of 100 favorite and most inspired recipes, reflecting how Deborah Madison loves to cook now. Her new book is In My Kitchen – A Collection of New and Favorite Vegetarian Recipes.

Deborah Madison’s newest book shares 100 beloved and innovative recipes from her vast repertoire, all pared down to the key ingredients needed to achieve delicious, nuanced flavor, with simplified preparations.

In My Kitchen is a vegetable-forward cookbook organized alphabetically and featuring recipes like Roasted Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Sunflower Sprouts; Fennel Shaved with Tarragon and Walnuts; and Olive Oil, Almond, and Blood Orange Cake. With dozens of tips for building onto, scaling back, and creating menus around, Deborah’s recipes have a modular quality that makes them particularly easy to use.

Deborah Madison, the founding chef of San Francisco’s popular Greens restaurant, is the author of nine highly regarded cookbooks. Deborah Madison’s The Savory Way, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and Local Flavors have all received James Beard Foundation Awards.

A cooking teacher for two decades, a contributor to many magazines, and long involved in the local food and farming movement, Madison is the recipient of many other awards, including the MFK Fisher Mid-Career Award.

We grab Deborah from her New Mexico garden for a chat.

In My Kitchen is Deborah’s most personal cookbook. It takes you inside her home, reflecting how she cooks and eats today – with sophisticated and layered recipes that have been pared down and perfected after years of refinement. The more than one hundred recipes included here showcase Deborah’s style of carefully considered, forgiving, and endlessly adaptable recipes – perfect as they are, but also ripe for modification and improvisation.

Russ WeisIn 1981, Ron and Diane Miller established Silverado Vineyards to make wine from the six historic vineyards of their estate. Napa pioneers first planted these ranches to vines between 1865 and 1895.

Each vineyard played an important role in establishing the reputation of their growing area : Carneros, Coombsville, Yountville, Soda Creek Canyon and Stags Leap District. The beautiful fruit from these six vineyards is the exclusive source of Silverado Vineyards’ Estate and Single Vineyard wines – the Miller family’s highest expression of the Napa Valley they love and admire.

“The beginning of vine planting is like the beginning of mining for precious metals: the winegrower also ‘prospects’.”

– Robert Louis Stevenson,
The Silverado Squatters, 1880

A century later, the Miller family began the journey Stevenson described, establishing Silverado Vineyards in 1981. “It was beautiful land, and it was land that was working,” observed the late Diane Miller of their first vineyards, purchased in the 1970s. Diane and Ron sold their grapes to some of Napa’s best vintners, who made award winning wines from them year after year. Encouraged, they struck out on their own with the goal of making the best wines the estate could produce at a fair price. This has remained the guiding philosophy over the years.

The winery’s name, Silverado, comes from the abandoned mining town at the top of the Napa Valley, where Stevenson stayed so many years ago. It is an appropriate symbol: three generations of the Miller family are still “prospecting” for wine, staying true to the idea of coaxing something precious from the soils we are privileged to care for.

Silverado Vineyards long-time President and General Manager, Russ Weis, is our guest.

Al ManciniJournalist Al Mancini is well-known in Las Vegas hospitality circles and beyond. He’s been reviewing restaurants there for over 15 years. In 2011 he co-created the definitive Las Vegas dining guideEating Las Vegas – The 50 Essential Restaurants. He recently joined the Las Vegas Review-Journal as a staff writer primarily covering the food, restaurant and libations beat. We’ll meet him>.

Al discovered his passion for food while living in New York City, where he attended law school by day, tended bar and made pizza at the infamous punk club CBGB by night, and explored the Big Apple’s dynamic dining scene during every spare moment in between.

Eric SamaniegoExecutive Chef Eric Samaniego (ex-Little Sparrow) is hosting an unusual 5-course collaboration dinner with Taco Maria’s (SoCo in Costa Mesa) acclaimed chef/proprietor Carlos Salgado on May 24th at Michael’s on Naples in Long Beach. This is part of Michael’s on Naples ongoing monthly “Guest Chef’ing” series.

Among the many accomplishments of Chef Salgado is being named one of Food & Wine’s Best Chefs of 2015. Taco Maria is known for Alta California cuisine, an intriguing fusion of Mexican and American flavors and cultures.

Chef Samaniego never reveals in advance what he and his guest chef will prepare simply because he’s not quite sure himself.  The evening tends to be spontaneous, much like going to a friend’s home for dinner and leaving the menu up to the host. Both chefs will shop the local farmers’ markets and visit Farm Lot 59, the local urban farm, for ingredients just days before, which will drive the creativity of their five-course dinner.

“I really like collaborating with other chefs,” said Samaniego.  “I love to try new techniques and experiment with new ideas in the kitchen. It’s even more fun when you’re cooking with someone you have tremendous respect for and consider a friend.  I’m looking forward to having Chef Salgado join me on May 24.”

Chefs Samaniego and Salgado join us for an enticing preview.

Collier Cook of Santa Catalina Island Company and Andy HarrisCo-host Andy Harris has an airline main cabin food story to share. It’s just for laughs…Frustration and bewilderment with the lack of planning on the part of a major air carrier only goes so far! Other fresh food news of note, too, as time permits.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Deborah Madison, Icon of Vegetarian Cuisine Part One
Segment Three: Deborah Madison, Icon of Vegetarian Cuisine Part Two
Segment Four: Russ Weis, President & General Manager, Silverado Vineyards
Segment Five: Al Mancini, Staff Writer, Las Vegas Review-Journal Part One
Segment Six: Al Mancini is a Staff Writer at the Las Vegas Review-Journal Part Two
Segment Seven: Eric Samaniego, Executive Chef, Michael’s on Naples, Long Beach
Segment Eight: Co-Host Andy Harris with an airline food story…

May 13: Piero Salvaggio, Sam Fox, Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, Caroline Styne, Terry Smith

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio, Valentino Santa Monica Part One
Segment Three: Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio, Valentino Santa Monica Part Two
Segment Four: Sam Fox, Fox Restaurant Concepts, Phoenix
Segment Five: Pam Cooper, Co-Founder, Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, Hawaii
Segment Six: Caroline Styne, Lucques Group, Hollywood Bowl Food + Wine
Segment Seven: Terry Smith, the radio voice of Angel Baseball
Segment Eight: Remembering Harry & Marilyn Lewis’ The Hamburger Hamlet

Now a provocative preview of this Saturday’s packed show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a pretty good thing…

Andrew and William GruelOur busy Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, is on the road this morning at Trade Food Hall in Irvine near John Wayne Orange County Airport. It’s the official Grand Opening. The first 100 fortunate guests in line at the 11:00 a.m. opening get a passport good for generous free tastes at all 9 establishments including Center Hub. We’ll catch-up with him by phone.

Valentino, the renowned Santa Monica restaurant by noted Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio that has defined Italian fine dining since its opening in 1972, is hosting a Wine Spectacular Series in May with four dinners (2 remaining on May 19th and 26th) curated by Selvaggio and James Beard Foundation award-winning chef Luciano Pellegrini, who recently returned as the restaurant’s Executive Consulting Chef. The dinners, in partnership with the LA Times Food Bowl, celebrated citywide for the month, feature choice and rare selections from Valentino’s legendary wine cellar.

Sam Fox (Fox Restaurant Group) has been an industry leader since founding his company in 1998 in Phoenix. His uber successful restaurant group boasts nearly 60 locations and 16 unique concepts in nine states. We know him best locally for North Italia, True Food Kitchen and Las Vegas’ Culinary Dropout. Sam is our guest.

The Big Island of Hawaii’s first tree-to-bar chocolate producer is The Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory. In Kailua-Kona they grow cacao on their own plantation, ferment it, dry and process the beans and then create premium, single origin chocolate of the highest quality. Founder Pam Cooper joins us.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association has announced details of enhancements and menus from Hollywood Bowl Food + Wine for the 2017 season at the Hollywood Bowl. Building on the success of last summer’s inaugural season with James Beard Award-winning chef Suzanne Goin and business partner restaurateur Caroline Styne of The Lucques Group, and Sodexo Sports & Leisure, Hollywood Bowl Food + Wine promises exceptional dining options for visitors to the iconic venue. Caroline Styne comes backstage with us to share all the appealing updates.

Since 2002 Terry Smith has been the official play-by-play radio voice of the Angels on AM 830 KLAA, the flagship radio home of Angels Baseball. Terry is a foodie and during the season has the special opportunity to be on the road in some of the best dining cities in America. We’ll break bread with Terry Smith and, unusually, talk food and life on the road for six months of the year!

“The Better Burger” is all the buzz right now on restaurant menus but it’s not actually a new innovation. It started in Los Angeles in 1950 on The Sunset Strip with the founding of Harry & Marilyn Lewis’s Hamburger Hamlet. Marilyn passed away recently and we’ll chat about the pioneering legacy of Hamburger Hamlet – “Known for Simply Marvelous Food & Drink.”

The AM 830 KLAA Promotions Department has done it again. At 11:45 a.m. on Saturday our Question goes out on the airwaves. If you listen to the first half-hour of the show you’ll know the answer! If you are then the first caller to 1-714-2-830-830 with the correct answer then a Family 4 Pack of Halo tickets is yours. It’s for 7:07 p.m. on Wednesday evening May 17th. The Halos are playing the Chicago White Sox. Good luck!

All of this plus a cargo ship full of more deliciousness on today’s show!

Piero Salvaggio of Valentino Santa MonicaValentino, the renowned Santa Monica restaurant by noted Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio that has defined Italian fine dining since its opening in 1972, is hosting a Wine Spectacular Series in May with four dinners (2 remaining on May 19th and 26th) curated by Selvaggio and James Beard Foundation award-winning chef Luciano Pellegrini, who recently returned as the restaurant’s Executive Consulting Chef.

The dinners, in partnership with the LA Times Food Bowl, celebrated citywide for the month, feature choice and rare selections from Valentino’s legendary wine cellar. Valentino presents the finest and most elegant in wine pairing dinners, showcasing Sicily on May 19 and culminating with the Cal-Italian Spectacular on May 26, 2017.

Selvaggio will speak to guests about his personal memories, deep connections to the territory, and of his many discoveries and experiences during 40 years of visits to his homeland. Each menu will be seven courses of authentic regional specialties prepared with a contemporary take on traditional recipes.

The upcoming wine dinner for Sicily is priced at $99 per guest, $55 for wine pairings. The Cal-Italian finale can be reserved with a ten-guest minimum and is priced at $499 per guest, all-inclusive of menus, wines, taxes and gratuity.

Reservations are required and can be made by calling Valentino at 310.849.4313 or email Giuseppe Mollica at giuseppe@valentinosantamonica.com.

Complete menus can be viewed here –>

Sam FoxSam Fox (Fox Restaurant Group) has been an industry leader since founding his company in 1998 in Phoenix. His uber successful restaurant group boasts nearly 60 locations and 16 unique concepts in nine states. Sam is a nine-time James Beard Foundation Award nominee for Restaurateur of the Year.

We know him best locally for North Italia, True Food Kitchen and Las Vegas’ Culinary Dropout at the Hard Rock Hotel.

“The things that drive Sam are delicious food, amazing design and thoughtful hospitality. A master of details, you’re likely to find Sam snacking on the turkey pastrami sandwich from Culinary Dropout while personally developing the design plan for one of the several new restaurant concepts he’s launching this year. From selecting the perfect furniture fabric on one of his restaurant’s signature patios to determining the exact ratio of spirits in a new craft cocktail, Sam’s powerful attention to detail guides the business. Today, Fox Restaurant Concepts employs more than 6,000 people with plans for significant and strategic growth in years to come.”

Sam Fox is our guest.

Pam CooperThe Big Island of Hawaii’s first tree-to-bar chocolate producer is The Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory established in 1999. In Kailua-Kona they grow cacao on their own plantation, ferment it, dry and process the beans and then create premium, single origin chocolate of the highest quality in a multi-step process.

“Welcome to Kona on the Island of Hawaii, home of Original Hawaiian Chocolate – the only chocolate of its kind in the world!”

“Beginning in 1997 we have dedicated ourselves to creating the most delicious and unique of chocolates – 100% Hawaiian made and grown. There is something about our volcanic soil, Island showers and tropical Hawaiian sun that blesses the cacao trees with a unique flavor that is world renowned.”

“We are the first producers to grow and process 100% Hawaiian cacao chocolate anywhere on earth. We process only Big Island grown cocoa beans. Our processing factory is completely self-contained, assuring total quality control from the fields to the final chocolate bars.”

“We invite you to experience our exceptionally unique chocolate, grown, harvested, processed and packaged in Hawaii – America’s own. And remember, Chocolate is Aloha!

Founder Pam Cooper joins us.

Caroline StyneThe Los Angeles Philharmonic Association has announced details of enhancements and menus from Hollywood Bowl Food + Wine for the 2017 season at the Hollywood Bowl. Building on the success of last summer’s inaugural season with James Beard Award-winning chef Suzanne Goin and business partner restaurateur Caroline Styne of The Lucques Group, and Sodexo Sports & Leisure, Hollywood Bowl Food + Wine promises exceptional dining options for visitors to the iconic venue.

This year premieres the newly-built Plaza Marketplace – located in the completely renovated Box Office Plaza – which offers pre-entry shopping for picnics on the grounds. Suzanne Goin’s “grab-and-go” prepared foods will be available along with fresh breads, cheeses, and snacks, complemented by a collection of Caroline Styne’s favorite wines. This location will also be the new pick-up spot for pre-ordered picnic boxes.

Another pre-entry dining option is a new snack bar located on Peppertree Lane, featuring classic concession food including nachos, hot dogs, popcorn, and soft pretzels, as well as chips, beer, and sodas. Inside the venue, a second stand offering a choice of hand-crafted pizzas has been added alongside a new BBQ kiosk.

Hollywood Bowl Food + Wine’s many dining options range from two full-service restaurants, food kiosks, and custom picnic boxes for pre-order, to Supper in Your Seats. For private events, Hollywood Bowl Food + Wine will also provide catering at several locations for groups both large and small.

One of the largest natural amphitheaters in the world, with a seating capacity of nearly 18,000, the Hollywood Bowl has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since its official opening in 1922, and plays host to the finest artists from all genres of music. It remains one of the best deals anywhere in Los Angeles; to this day, $1 buys a seat at the top of the Bowl for many classical and jazz offerings.

Caroline Styne comes backstage with us to share all the appealing updates.

Terry SmithSince 2002 Terry Smith has been the official play-by-play radio voice of the Angels on AM 830 KLAA, the flagship radio home of Angels Baseball. Terry is a foodie and during the season has the special opportunity to be on the road in some of the best dining cities in America.

Smith joined the Angels in 2002 after serving as the radio voice of the New York Yankees Triple-A affiliate Columbus Clippers for 19 seasons. From 1983-1997, Smith also served as Sports Director on WBNS AM in Columbus, Ohio and was simply known as “The Voice” serving as play-by-play announcer for the Ohio State University Football and Basketball Radio Network from 1986-1997. Smith was recognized three times by the Ohio Associated Press for his sportscasts and WBNS AM was named the Outstanding Sports Operation in Ohio six times by the Associated Press.

We’ll break bread with Terry Smith and, unusually, talk food and life on the road for six months of the year!

Vintagfe Sunset Strip Hamburger Hamlet“The Better Burger” is all the buzz right now on restaurant menus but it’s not actually a new innovation. It started in Los Angeles in 1950 on The Sunset Strip with the founding of Harry & Marilyn Lewis’s Hamburger Hamlet.

Marilyn passed away on May 3rd and we’ll reminisce about the pioneering legacy of Hamburger Hamlet – “Known for Simply Marvelous Food & Drink.”

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio, Valentino Santa Monica Part One
Segment Three: Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio, Valentino Santa Monica Part Two
Segment Four: Sam Fox, Fox Restaurant Concepts, Phoenix
Segment Five: Pam Cooper, Co-Founder, Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, Hawaii
Segment Six: Caroline Styne, Lucques Group, Hollywood Bowl Food + Wine
Segment Seven: Terry Smith, the radio voice of Angel Baseball
Segment Eight: Remembering Harry & Marilyn Lewis’ The Hamburger Hamlet

May 6: Brendan Colllins, Ted Hopson, Ann-Marie Verdi, Rooney’s Irish Pub, Susan Feniger, Ka’u Coffee Fest

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Executive Consulting Chef Brendan Collins, Tower 12, Hermosa Beach
Segment Three: The Bellwether’s Executive Chef / Proprietor Ted Hopson & Proprietor / Beverage Director Anne-Marie Verdi
Segment Four: Tim Rooney, Proprietor, Rooney’s Irish Pub, Orcutt, CA
Segment Five: Susan Feniger, Border Grill, The Los Angeles Times Food Bowl
Segment Six: 9th Annual Ka’u Coffee Festival, Big Island of Hawaii
Segment Seven: Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish Restaurant Group

Now an intriguing preview of this Saturday’s tantalizing show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a pretty good thing…

Tower 12, located on Hermosa Beach’s Pier Avenue, is a new hang that throws it back for the local community. The new South Bay spot incorporates vintage artifacts, furnishings and artwork that rep the laidback surf, music and beach scene. Wanting to create a welcoming, truly unique space for friends and neighbors to kick back and enjoy incredible food and drink, the Tower 12 team called on Consulting Chef Brendan Collins (Birch in Hollywood) to create California-inspired, updated spins on American classics. Chef Brendan joins us with the edible highlights.

The Bellwether (Studio City) owners Chef Ted Hopson and Beverage Director Ann-Marie Verdi will come together on May 17th to host a collaborative dining experience with none other than Food Network’s Chef Jet Tila who is also the executive chef & partner of Pakpao Thai in Dallas. Guests will enjoy a tasty five-course prix fixe menu with an optional beverage pairing. Chef Ted and Ann-Marie join us.

Rooney’s Irish Pub and Shanty Irish Brewing Co. are the pride of Orcutt, CA. With a superb culinary team, Rooney’s is recognized as a “gastropub,” known for its excellent gourmet pub fare. Rooney’s is also a ‘brewpub,’ proudly introducing the area to freshly made craft beers. Rooney’s turns out some of the freshest ales; Ambers, Blonds, Porters, IPA’s and other seasonal specialty ales, lagers, and pilsners. Rooney’s also offers an extensive ‘cellar’ list of fine craft brews, sharing Tim’s love of some of his other favorite breweries. Proprietor Tim Rooney moves out from behind the long bar and is out guest.

We’re continuing our preview of the Los Angeles Times Food Bowl which is on now through May 31st. Joining us is Susan Feniger of Border Grill fame. Border Grill, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger are all participating in multiple events as part of the Food Bowl. Their contribution to “Things In A Bowl Menu Items” is an Heirloom tomato gazpacho in a bowl topped with shrimp and crab salpicon.

The ninth annual Ka‘u Coffee Festival (Big Island of Hawaii) celebrates its award-winning brew with a host of events starting May 19 and continuing through the weekend of May 27-28 with a java-jumpin’ ho‘olaulea‘a on Saturday and the Ka‘u Coffee College educational series on Sunday. Supported by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and a bevy of sponsors and volunteers, the Ka‘u Coffee Festival is designed to celebrate Ka‘u as a premium coffee growing origin and a unique visitor destination. Many events are free, while others require a nominal fee and reservations. Organizer Chris Manfredi joins us.

Our Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, is on the road this morning. We’ll catch-up with him by phone.

If you perhaps missed last Saturday’s show from the 6th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival at The Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel there is hope. The podcasts of the show segments from the Reef Lounge are available for the listening via our website or on iTunes.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s show!

Brendan CollinsTower 12, located on Hermosa Beach’s Pier Avenue, is a new hang that throws it back for the local community. The new South Bay spot incorporates vintage artifacts, furnishings and artwork that rep the laidback surf, music and beach scene. Wanting to create a welcoming, truly unique space for friends and neighbors to kick back and enjoy incredible food and drink, the Tower 12 team called on Consulting Chef Brendan Collins (Birch in Hollywood) to create California-inspired, updated spins on American classics.

Tower 12’s food program is guided by Consulting Chef Brendan Collins, one of Los Angeles’ most distinguished culinary names, alongside Executive Chef Alex Granados. The Tower 12 team created a menu full of delights for the hungry surfer.

Shareable starters include Woodfired Garlic Blue Shrimp with Whole Caledonian Shrimp, garlic butter & charred sourdough, Cheese Steak Poppers with Yorkshire popovers, ribeye, peppers, onion & cheese sauce and Chicken Lollipop Wings with green apple & bourbon chipotle hot sauce. Tower 12 also offers an assortment of chef selected charcuterie and artisan cheese boards. Signature salads include Roasted Heirloom Beets with Caña de Cabre Goat Cheese, baby greens, cherry tomato, Banyuls vinaigrette and Smoked Chicken Waldorf with house-smoked chicken, candied walnuts, green apple, bleu cheese, baby gem & cranberry balsamic vinaigrette.

Hand-tossed pizzas baked in Tower 12’s woodfired oven include the Banzai Pipeline Hawaiian Pizza with parma cotto ham, pineapple, Fresno chilis, mint & tomato sauce and Magic Mushroom Pizza with forest mushrooms, truffle gremolata, crème fraiche & arugula. Among the “between the bread” offerings are a House-Smoked Pastrami Sandwich with double-smoked, hand-cut pastrami, Emmental cheese, coleslaw & house Russian dressing on grilled marble rye and Ahi Tuna Banh Mi Burger with sushi grade tuna, cucumber, Vietnamese mint, nam sauce, roasted peanuts, cilantro, hoisin, pickled carrots & cucumbers on a sesame seed bun.

Hearty entrees include a 12-Hour Braised Short Rib with brown butter mashed potatoes & grilled broccolini and Organic Salmon on Cedar with a miso glaze, grilled broccolini & chile marmalade. Rounding out the menu are vegetable sides such as Grilled Broccolini with lemon, garlic, shallots, extra virgin olive oil & chili flakes and Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes with Yukon potato & caramelized brown butter.

Tower 12 houses two full-service bars specializing in handcrafted cocktails, wine and 30 local brews on tap. Located on a second story deck with beautiful ocean views, Tower 12 features a wraparound, wooden outdoor balcony and interconnected rooms that feel more like a kickback for friends than a public space.

Chef Brendan joins us with the highlights and the surf report.

Ann Marie Verdi and Ted Hopson of the BellwetherThe Bellwether (Studio City) owners Chef Ted Hopson and Beverage Director Ann-Marie Verdi will come together on May 17th to host a collaborative dining experience with none other than Food Network’s Chef Jet Tila who is also the executive chef & partner of Pakpao Thai in Dallas. Guests will enjoy a tasty five-course prix fixe menu with an optional beverage pairing.

The Bellwether is the debut restaurant and bar from Executive Chef/Owner Ted Hopson and Beverage Director/Owner Anne-Marie Verdi. The market-inspired menu aims to capitalize on the abundance of California produce in order to showcase one-of-a-kind food and drink menus that feature family style shareable dishes, unique infusion based cocktails, and a hand selected list of beer and wine.

Chef Ted and Ann-Marie join us.

Tim RooneyRooney’s Irish Pub and Shanty Irish Brewing Co. are the pride of Orcutt, CA. Also famous (Orcutt) for “Old Maud,” a gusher of an oil well discovered there in 1904. With a superb culinary team, Rooney’s is recognized as a “gastropub,” known for its excellent gourmet pub fare.

Rooney’s is also a ‘brewpub,’ proudly introducing the area to freshly made craft beers. Rooney’s turns out some of the freshest ales; Ambers, Blonds, Porters, IPA’s and other seasonal specialty ales, lagers, and pilsners. Rooney’s also offers an extensive ‘cellar’ list of fine craft brews, sharing Tim’s love of some of his other favorite breweries.

“Being of Irish heritage, I have always loved everything Irish. Much of our inspiration developed as our family traveled to Ireland where we toured much of the Emerald Isle. I’m not sure if we missed many Irish pubs along the way, but we loved the people, countryside, and “craic,” as they say. “

“Our love for craft beer began in the early 1980’s where finding anything beyond the basic lagers was difficult. Finally discovering Sierra Nevada, Anchor Brewing, and Sam Adams it opened a new world of freshly made, hoppy greatness.

“For as many Irish pubs we have visited, we have probably discovered more craft breweries, brewpubs, and micro brews throughout California and beyond. Our love for both had us filling a need in the Santa Maria Valley; an Irish Brewpub! Although the original vision was that of a small humble establishment, Rooney’s opened in July of 2010, and has been recognized as one of the most beautiful and authentic Irish pubs on the Central Coast. “

There is no better place to eat well, drink deep, and celebrate every good day than at Rooney’s Irish Pub, where

“There are no strangers, only friends we’ve never met.”

Proprietor Tim Rooney moves out from behind the long bar and is our guest.

Susan Feniger of Mud Hen TavernWe’re continuing our preview of the Los Angeles Times Food Bowl which is on now through May 31st. Joining us is Susan Feniger of Border Grill fame. Border Grill, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger are all participating in multiple events as part of the Food Bowl. Their contribution to “Things In A Bowl Menu Items is an Heirloom tomato gazpacho in a bowl topped with shrimp and crab salpicon.

Susan will also be previewing the May 19th screening at The Huntington, Pasadena of the new documentary, James Beard: America’s First Foodie. Beard is revered (and remembered) as the Dean of American Cookery.

Susan’s business partner, Mary Sue Milliken, knew Beard and will be a part of a panel with Chef Jim Dodge and the filmmakers after the screening of the documentary.

Chris ManfrediThe ninth annual Ka‘u Coffee Festival (Big Island of Hawaii) celebrates its award-winning brew with a host of events starting May 19 and continuing through the weekend of May 27-28 with a java-jumpin’ ho‘olaulea‘a on Saturday and the Ka‘u Coffee College educational series on Sunday. Supported by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and a bevy of sponsors and volunteers, the Ka‘u Coffee Festival is designed to celebrate Ka‘u as a premium coffee growing origin and a unique visitor destination.

Many events are free, while others require a nominal fee and reservations.

An unspoiled land, sunny climate and misty afternoons give Ka’u coffee it characteristic deep flavors. One esteemed coffee taster described a special Ka’u coffee as “the taste of chocolate, cherry and coconut accented with floral notes of orchid and citrus flavors.”

“Unique cultivating practices including hand-picking, sun drying, warm sunny mornings and misty afternoon rains and fertile volcanic soils combine with the passion and aloha of Ka’u farmers to produce some of the finest coffees grown anywhere.”

Organizer Chris Manfredi of Ka’u Farm and Ranch joins us.

Andrew and William GruelOur Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, is on the road this morning. We’ll catch-up with him by phone.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Executive Consulting Chef Brendan Collins, Tower 12, Hermosa Beach
Segment Three: The Bellwether’s Executive Chef / Proprietor Ted Hopson & Proprietor / Beverage Director Anne-Marie Verdi
Segment Four: Tim Rooney, Proprietor, Rooney’s Irish Pub, Orcutt, CA
Segment Five: Susan Feniger, Border Grill, The Los Angeles Times Food Bowl
Segment Six: 9th Annual Ka’u Coffee Festival, Big Island of Hawaii
Segment Seven: Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish Restaurant Group

April 29: Live from the Big Island Chocolate Festival

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 Eyewitness News’ (Chicago) – “The Hungry Hound”
Segment Three: Farsheed Bonakdar, President, Kona Cacao Association (KCA)
Segment Four: Chef Peter Abarcar Jr., Director of Culinary & Beverage Operations, Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel
Segment Five: Executive Pastry Chef Alicia Boada, West Coast Technical Advisor, Barry Callebaut Chocolate North America
Segment Six: Chef Elizabeth (Betty) McDonald, B3 “A Beach Bunny Bakery”, Maui
Segment Seven: Donald Wressell, Executive Chef, Guittard Chocolate Company
Segment Eight: Chef Instructor Teresa “Cheech” Shurilla, University of Hawaii-Maui College

It’s a very special day of indulgence on the “SoCal Restaurant Show.”

Big Island Chocolate FestivalWe’re coming to you from the 6th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival at The Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. We’re broadcasting from the Reef Lounge with an incredible ocean view.

Hawaii is the only state in the USA where cacao, the primary base of chocolate, can be successfully grown commercially.

Now a properly decadent preview of this Saturday’s full show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a pretty good thing…

When it comes to insider’s knowledge of the vibrant Chicago food scene one of the best sources is Chicago ABC 7 Eyewitness News’ Food Reporter, Steve Dolinsky, “The Hungry Hound.” Steve was recently nominated for his potential 14th James Beard Foundation Award for journalistic excellence in reporting. The James Beard Awards Gala is May 1st at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. As a veteran of The James Beard Awards in both New York and Chicago, Steve joins us with a preview of what’s in store and a report on the Media Awards.

Farsheed Bonakdar is the President of the Kona Cacao Association, the Producer of the 6th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival. The mission and goal of the Kona Cacao Association is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawaii by presenting the Big Island Chocolate Festival as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. We’re talking all things chocolate with Farsheed.

Hawaii Island native Peter Abarcar, Jr. was promoted in 2015 from executive chef of Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel to director of culinary and beverage operations. Chef Abarcar now oversees all culinary, food and beverage operations at the 350-room oceanfront resort including the resort’s signature restaurant, Coast Grille. He also supervises operations for extensive catering and banquets, the Ocean Terrace Restaurant and The Beach Bar. We’ll pull him out of the busy kitchens and “Talk Story.”

Alicia Boada is an acclaimed pastry chef and instructor with 20 plus years of experience in the culinary industry. She is the West Coast Technical Advisor for Barry Callebaut Chocolate (The Barry Callebaut Group) whose brands include Cacao Barry, Callebaut and Mona Lisa, among more. As a Corporate Pastry Chef & Chocolatier, Chef Alicia’s role often calls on her to perform demonstrations and training worldwide keeping her on the edge of what’s happening in the contemporary pastry and chocolate world. Chef Alicia will be performing a chocolate demonstration as part of the Festival in addition to judging the Gala’s delicious offerings.

Maui Chef Elizabeth (Betty) McDonald of B3 A Beach Bunny Bakery is a judge for the Gala as well as the College Competition. She is a veteran of The Big Island Chocolate Festival. Chef Betty has been in the culinary field since 2003, developing a love for baking at a young age from her mother and grandmothers. She has been fortunate enough to travel with her husband living and working in the four corners of the country.

Guittard’s Chocolate Company’s Executive Chef and Chocolatier, Donald Wressell, really needs no long introduction to listeners. Prior to his joining Guittard Chocolate as the in-house pastry chef, Donald Wressell spent 19 years at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills where he was named the 2005 Pastry Chef of the Year, won Silver and Gold medals in the Grand Salon Culinaire and placed second at the Les Masters du Chocolat competition. Chef Donald also represented the USA four times in Le Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie and captained the winning team at the 2011 National Pastry Team Championship.

Chef instructor Teresa “Cheech” Shurilla of University of Hawaii – Maui College oversees the college competition at The Big Island Chocolate Festival and has done if for several years. The Festival has had student participants from UH-Maui College, UH-Hilo and UH-Palamanui in Kona. It is Friday, April 28th and winners are announced at the Festival Gala. Chef Shurilla has been working and teaching in the culinary field for over thirty-four years. Prepare to be judged…

Andrew and William GruelChef Andrew Gruel is at Trade in Irvine this Saturday (busily training & cooking) in the soft opening phase of Two Birds and Butterleaf. He’ll happily fly the coop and be back with us next week.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s show!

Steve Dolinsky and Andreew GruelWhen it comes to insider’s knowledge of the vibrant Chicago food scene one of the best and most reliable sources is Chicago ABC 7 Eyewitness News Food Reporter, Steve Dolinsky, “The Hungry Hound.”

Steve was recently nominated for his potential 14th James Beard Foundation Award for journalistic excellence in reporting. The James Beard Awards Gala is May 1st at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

As a veteran of The James Beard Awards in both New York and Chicago, Steve joins us with a preview of what’s in store and a report on the Media Awards, held on Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers, New York City.

Farsheed BonakdarFarsheed Bonakdar is the President of the Kona Cacao Association, the Producer of the 6th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival. The mission and goal of the Kona Cacao Association is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawaii by presenting the Big Island Chocolate Festival as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts.

Beyond creating, implementing and promoting the Big Island Chocolate Festival, the Kona Cacao Association works with cacao growers, producers, chocolate enthusiasts and chefs to help create a recognizable brand for Hawaii Island Chocolate. KCA members work together towards creating a structure to maintain the quality of cacao grown, marketed and shipped from Hawaii for the future growth of this fledging industry.

We’re talking all things chocolate with Farsheed.

Peter Abarcar JuniorHawaii Island native Peter Abarcar, Jr. was promoted in 2015 from executive chef of Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel to director of culinary and beverage operations. Chef Abarcar now oversees all culinary, food and beverage operations at the 350-room oceanfront resort including the resort’s signature restaurant, Coast Grille. He also supervises operations for extensive catering and banquets, the Ocean Terrace Restaurant and The Beach Bar.

Abarcar first began his Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel career as lead cook in 1997. In 2000 he left the Hapuna family to become Executive Chef at the Club at Hokuli’a. Eight years later, Abarcar returned to Mauna Kea Resort to help reopen Mauna Kea Beach Hotel as sous chef, following the hotel’s closure and extensive renovation. In 2010, he was promoted to chef de cuisine at Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel’s signature restaurant, Coast Grille. The following year, he was promoted to the position of Executive Chef.

Chef Abarcar enjoys pairing varieties of ethnic flavors from his Hawaii Island upbringing. His keen sense of local produce and seafood paired with his culinary talent and passion for creative food results in exciting tastes on each of the menus at Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel.

We’ll pull him out of the busy kitchens and “Talk Story.”

Alicia BoadaAlicia Boada is an acclaimed pastry chef and instructor with 20 plus years of experience in the culinary industry. She is the West Coast Technical Advisor for Barry Callebaut Chocolate, North America (The Barry Callebaut Group) whose brands include Cacao Barry, Callebaut and Mona Lisa, among more.

As a Corporate Pastry Chef & Chocolatier, Chef Alicia’s role often calls on her to perform demonstrations and training worldwide keeping her on the edge of what’s happening in the contemporary pastry and chocolate world.

Chef Alicia will be performing a chocolate demonstration as part of the Festival in addition to judging the Gala’s delicious offerings.

Alicia also serves as President of the Women Chefs & Restaurateurs.

Betty McDonaldMaui Chef Elizabeth (Betty) McDonald of B3 A Beach Bunny Bakery is a judge for the Gala as well as the College Competition. She is a veteran of The Big Island Chocolate Festival. Chef Betty has been in the culinary field since 2003, developing a love for baking at a young age from her mother and grandmothers.

She has been fortunate enough to travel with her husband living and working in the four corners of the country. Growing up in Rhode Island and attending culinary school in Massachusetts cemented her base knowledge and passion for traditional pastries.

Traveling the country and landing in the tropical destination of Maui has blended beautifully with Betty’s pastry skills. The tropical fruits and flavors have really made for an exciting flavor profiles in classic desserts.

Upon moving to Maui, chef Betty became the executive pastry chef for restaurateur Mark Ellman. Betty made her mark on the culinary scene at Mala an Ocean Tavern and Honu Seafood and Pizza, becoming an award-winning pastry chef. As the executive pastry chef for these restaurants Betty was awarded the Star Chef’s Rising Star Award for her desserts with vibrant and bright tropical flavors with gluten free and vegan options.

Chef Betty has continued her rise in the Maui culinary scene. In the summer of 2014 Chef Betty opened B3 “A Beach Bunny Bakery”. Specializing in cakes and cupcakes for all occasions. B3 also bakes fresh and delivers scrumptious desserts to several restaurants and coffee shops on the west side of Maui, most notably Paris Nabavi’s Sangrita Grill and Cantina.

Donald WressellGuittard’s Chocolate Company’s Executive Chef and Chocolatier, Donald Wressell, really needs no long introduction to listeners. Prior to his joining Guittard Chocolate as the in-house pastry chef, Donald Wressell spent 19 years at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills where he was named the 2005 Pastry Chef of the Year, won Silver and Gold medals in the Grand Salon Culinaire and placed second at the Les Masters du Chocolat competition.

Chef Donald also represented the USA four times in Le Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie and captained the winning team at the 2011 National Pastry Team Championship.

In his spare time Chef Donald created the spectacular “Official” Birthday Cakes for the City of Beverly Hills’ Diamond Jubilee (1988) & Centennial (2014) Anniversary celebrations. The Centennial creation yielded 15,000 ample servings and not a crumb was left!

Teresa Cheech ShurillaChef instructor Teresa “Cheech” Shurilla of University of Hawaii – Maui College oversees the college competition at The Big Island Chocolate Festival and has done if for several years. The Festival has had student participants from UH-Maui College, UH-Hilo and UH-Palamanui in Kona.

The college competition is set for Friday, April 28th at Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel and winners are announced at the concluding Saturday night Festival Gala. Chef Shurilla has been working and teaching in the culinary field for over thirty-four years. Prepare to be judged…

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 Eyewitness News’ (Chicago) – “The Hungry Hound”
Segment Three: Farsheed Bonakdar, President, Kona Cacao Association (KCA)
Segment Four: Chef Peter Abarcar Jr., Director of Culinary & Beverage Operations, Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel
Segment Five: Executive Pastry Chef Alicia Boada, West Coast Technical Advisor, Barry Callebaut Chocolate North America
Segment Six: Chef Elizabeth (Betty) McDonald, B3 “A Beach Bunny Bakery”, Maui
Segment Seven: Donald Wressell, Executive Chef, Guittard Chocolate Company
Segment Eight: Chef Instructor Teresa “Cheech” Shurilla, University of Hawaii-Maui College

April 22: Sessions West Coast Deli, Mamma Chia, Masters of Taste, Wine Exchange, LA Times Food Bowl, Indie Brewing

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Hosts Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish
Segment Two: Matt Meddock, Co-Founder, Sessions West Coast Deli, Newport Beach & Huntington Beach
Segment Three: Janie Hoffman, Founder & CEO, Mamma Chia, Carlsbad
Segment Four: 2nd Annual Masters of Taste Benefit, Rose Bowl, Pasadena
Segment Five: Wine Stemware Made Easy, Kyle Meyer, Co-Proprietor, Wine Exchange
Segment Six: Los Angeles Times Food Bowl Preview, Noelle Carter, Test Kitchen Director
Segment Seven: Connor Forbes, Co-Founder, Indie Brewing Company, Los Angeles
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel, Opening Restaurants at Trade, Irvine, CA

Be listening for your chance to win a Family-4 Pack to an upcoming Angels Game at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. Go Halos…

Now a tempting preview of this Saturday’s ample show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a pretty good thing…

Sandwiches, made from fresh, premium ingredients, have come into their own as serious eats. In Spring 2014, when Sessions West Coast Deli opened its first location in Newport Beach, its owners had one mission: to serve the best sandwiches to ever hit the lip. As a neighborhood-casual concept designed to serve its immediate community, Sessions embraces the area’s surf culture as it presents a menu of gourmet, culinary-focused sandwiches in a relaxed environment. Co-Founder Matt Meddock joins us.

Chia seeds are moving into the mainstream from health food stores. One of the first pioneers of producing high quality, chia-based foods and beverages is Mamma Chia based in Carlsbad. We met Mamma Chia’s founder and CEO, Janie Hoffman, at the recent Natural Products West Expo in Anaheim. Janie is our guest “planting the seed” on the healthful benefits of chia. Chia, for example, has 2 times more potassium than bananas.

The 2nd Annual Masters of Taste benefit, an outdoor, luxury food and beverage festival is being held on Sunday, May 7th, 2017 from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm on the field of the iconic Pasadena Rose Bowl!

The Benefit will bring over 2,500 food and beverage enthusiasts together from all over Greater Los Angeles for one afternoon to celebrate this exhilarating festival, which will include the finest fare from over 40 Culinary Masters and restaurants, delectable sweets prepared by L.A.’s top Sweet Masters, signature handcrafted cocktails and tastings from over 30 Beverage Masters, including L.A’s top bartenders and cocktail bars, local California wineries, local craft breweries, pressed juices, hand roasted coffee, live entertainment and much more. The Chairman of Masters of Taste, Robert Levy, joins us for a stellar preview along with participating Chef Michael Hung of K-Town’s Mama Lion.

If premium wine wasn’t expensive enough as it is there is also the perplexing matter of what stemware to properly serve the wine in. Some of the fine, imported wine glasses are plenty pricey. Time to separate the practical from the salesmanship. Our resident wine expert, Kyle Meyer of Wine Exchange, joins us with sound advice on what you really should buy without breaking the bank.

Debuting May 1st to 31st is the ambitious L.A. Times Food Bowl (“A New Kind of Food Festival”), a monthlong festival celebrating the city’s dynamic, influential food scene and promoting awareness about food waste and hunger. The Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen Director Noelle Carter joins us with an overview.

One of the participating craft breweries in Masters of Taste is the Indie Brewing Company, based in Los Angeles. It’s the typical craft brewery start-up tale of four partners leaving safe jobs in geology, advertising and law to create limited production beer. Of course… Co-founder, Connor Forbes, is our guest to tap the keg on Indie Brewing Company.

Ever wonder what it takes to get an eagerly anticipated restaurant open? For the last year we’ve been enthusiastically following our own, Chef Andrew Gruel’s, progress in opening Two Birds and Butterleaf in the new Trade Food Hall in Irvine located near John Wayne Orange County Airport. At long last they are about ready (subject to final permitting) to begin service. We’ll hear all about it.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s show!

Matt MeddockSandwiches, made from fresh, premium ingredients, have come into their own as serious eats. In Spring 2014, when Sessions West Coast Deli opened its first location in Newport Beach, its owners had one mission: to serve the best sandwiches to ever hit the lip. As a neighborhood-casual concept designed to serve its immediate community, Sessions embraces the area’s surf culture as it presents a menu of gourmet, culinary-focused sandwiches in a relaxed environment.

In Summer 2015, Sessions opened its second Orange County location on the waterfront in Huntington Beach. The opening of this location reinforced Sessions’ dedication and commitment to its community by becoming a local hub for surfers, skaters and area beachgoers looking for great sandwiches.

“Unlike most sandwich shops in the region, Sessions proudly boasts a scratch kitchen with housemade sauces, sides, salads, and soups prepared daily. All sandwiches are made to order with fresh, locally grown produce; humanely and naturally raised meats; and locally baked bread delivered daily from local artisan, OC Baking Company. In addition, the restaurant proudly serves a selection of locally roasted coffee beverages from Kean Coffee.”

Co-Founder Matt Meddock joins us to get between the bread slices and build a proper sandwich.

Janie HoffmanChia seeds are moving into the mainstream from health food stores. One of the first pioneers of producing high quality chia-based foods and beverages is Mamma Chia based in Carlsbad. We met Mamma Chia’s founder and CEO, Janie Hoffman, at the recent Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim. Janie is our guest “planting the seed” on the healthful benefits of chia. Chia, for example, has 2 times more potassium than bananas.

“Mamma Chia is a conscious and sustainable company that honors and uplifts both the soul of humanity and the soul of the planet. Dedicated to sharing the Magic of Chia through delicious, nutrient-rich, organic foods and beverages powered by chia, Mamma Chia is continually adding innovative products to our already robust and delightful offerings.”

“Mamma Chia donates one percent of sales to support farmers, community groups and organizations that build healthy, local food systems.”

“If you’re looking for healthy snacks and beverages that are also delicious, then Mamma Chia is perfect for you!  All of our products are packed with organic chia seeds that provide a plant-based source of Omega-3s, dietary fiber, complete protein and much more.  From our lightly sweetened, refreshing beverages to our satisfying bars and granola, you will be delighted with the energy, strength and vitality you feel.  The best part is that Mamma Chia is organic, Non-GMO, kosher and gluten free.”

Rob LevyThe 2nd Annual Masters of Taste benefit, an outdoor, luxury food and beverage festival is being held on Sunday, May 7th, 2017 from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm on the field of the iconic Pasadena Rose Bowl!

The Benefit will bring over 2,500 food and beverage enthusiasts together from all over Greater Los Angeles for one afternoon to celebrate this exhilarating festival, which will include the finest fare from over 40 Culinary Masters and restaurants, delectable sweets prepared by L.A.’s top Sweet Masters, signature handcrafted cocktails and tastings from over 30 Beverage Masters, including LA’s top bartenders and cocktail bars, local California wineries, local craft breweries, pressed juices, hand roasted coffee, live entertainment and much more.

100% of the proceeds from Masters of Taste 2017 will directly benefit Union Station Homeless Services, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to helping homeless men, women and children rebuild their lives. Union Station is part of a premier group of human services agencies in Los Angeles County that are leading the way to end homelessness in our community and offers an array of services including street outreach, meals, shelter, housing, case management and career development.

Last year, Masters of Taste 2016 raised over $435,000 for Union Station Homeless Services, and this year Masters of Taste hopes to grow that number to $560,000.

Ticket Information: Masters of Taste will take place on Sunday, May 7th, 2016. A VIP Power Hour will be held from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm and General Admission will be from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Tickets to this event are only available for guests 21+ and over. For more information on Masters of Taste or to book your tickets directly, please visit right here.

The Chairman of Masters of Taste, Robert Levy, joins us for a stellar preview along with participating Chef Michael Hung of K-Town’s Mama Lion.

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeIf premium wine wasn’t expensive enough as it is there is also the perplexing matter of what stemware to properly serve the wine in. Lot of hype out there…Some of the fine, imported wine glasses are plenty pricey.

Time to separate the practical from the impressive salesmanship. Our resident wine expert, Kyle Meyer of Wine Exchange, joins us with sound advice on what you really should buy when it comes to wine glasses that won’t break the bank.

Noelle CarterDebuting May 1st to 31st is the ambitious L.A. Times Food Bowl (“A New Kind of Food Festival”), a month-long festival celebrating the city’s dynamic, influential food scene and promoting awareness about food waste and hunger.

“For the entire month of May, Food Bowl will seek to engage our community in the importance and enjoyment of food. Our ambition is to produce the city’s largest and most inclusive food festival. While we celebrate the sprawling creativity and diversity of L.A.’s cuisines and the world’s best chefs, we will also confront hunger.”

The Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen Director Noelle Carter joins us with an overview.

Connor ForbesOne of the participating craft breweries in Masters of Taste is the Indie Brewing Company, based in Los Angeles. It’s the typical craft brewery start-up tale of four partners leaving safe jobs in geology, advertising and law to create limited production beer. Of course…

“We set out to give L.A. amazing local beer, and the tasting room it so deserves. We dreamt of a casual spot where people could hang out with other beer lovers and watch bands, talk about sports, and maybe even do a little trivia night. No velvet ropes, no guest lists. Our idea of “bottle service”? Having your growler refilled by the guys who brewed the beer.”

“And who are we? We’re 4 guys who met in the strangest of ways over our mutual love of brewing. This love began in 2009 with homebrews in pots on an electric stovetop. The operation grew with time, and eventually, we were using every free minute we had to make beer. We left our “normal” jobs in geology, advertising and law to spend as much time as possible creating pale ales, saisons, porters and more. We want to put L.A. on the map for something other than movie stars and one-word nightclubs. It’s our mission to take L.A.-based craft beers to new heights.”

“But enough about us – let’s talk about you. Whether you’re a USC or a UCLA fan, an electrician or an actor, you need delicious, local craft beers made by guys you can actually talk to. You need a welcoming spot to hang out with your friends and the rest of L.A.’s beer-loving community.”

Co-founder, Connor Forbes, is our guest to tap the keg on Indie Brewing Company.

Andrew Gruel at the AM830 KLAA StudiosEver wonder what it really takes to get an eagerly anticipated restaurant open?

For the last year we’ve been patiently following our own, Chef Andrew Gruel’s, progress in opening Two Birds (cluckin’ good chicken done two ways) and Butterleaf (vegetarian food for non-vegetarians) in the new Trade Food Hall in Irvine located near John Wayne Orange County Airport.

At long last they are about ready (subject to final permitting) to begin service. We’ll hear all about it.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Hosts Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish
Segment Two: Matt Meddock, Co-Founder, Sessions West Coast Deli, Newport Beach & Huntington Beach
Segment Three: Janie Hoffman, Founder & CEO, Mamma Chia, Carlsbad
Segment Four: 2nd Annual Masters of Taste Benefit, Rose Bowl, Pasadena
Segment Five: Wine Stemware Made Easy, Kyle Meyer, Co-Proprietor, Wine Exchange
Segment Six: Los Angeles Times Food Bowl Preview, Noelle Carter, Test Kitchen Director
Segment Seven: Connor Forbes, Co-Founder, Indie Brewing Company, Los Angeles
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel, Opening Restaurants at Trade, Irvine, CA

April 15: Crave Desserts, Moxie Cafe, Veggie Fries, Meat Street, Ca’ Del Grevino, Big Cheese ‘Wrap’

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Hosts Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: Pastry Chef Heather Roseborough, Crave Dessert Company, Marina del Rey / Culver City
Segment Three: Caleb Granski, Catering & Events Manager, Moxie Café, Santa Maria, CA
Segment Four: Dave Peters, Founder & CEO, Veggie Fries (Farmwise)
Segment Five: FOODBEAST’s Meat Street Festival
Segment Six: Easter Cooking Tips with Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish Restaurant Group
Segment Seven: Jon Karlo Macias, Café & Tasting Room Manager, Ca’ Del Grevino Estate, Santa Maria, CA
Segment Eight: 4th Annual The Big Cheese Festival & Competition: “People’s Choice” Winner

Easter and Passover good wishes to all of our listeners.

Now an appealing preview of this Saturday’s over-stuffed Holiday Weekend show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a pretty good thing…

What’s Easter & Passover without some special Holiday sweets? Pastry Chef extraordinaire, Heather Roseborough, is the co-proprietress of the aptly named Crave Dessert Company in Marina del Rey. A selection of incredibly rich brownies are among her specialties. We’ll meet her and hear about her collection of properly decadent treats.

Eat well…be well” is the motto of the unusual, 3-meal-a-day Moxie Café located well off the beaten path is a light industrial area of Santa Maria. Creator Jay Hardy, the founder of Hardy Diagnostics, has realized his dream of having healthy food that was also delicious. Moxie’s Catering & Events Manager, Caleb Granski, joins us to explain all.

Veggie Fries (really tasty) are frozen French fries made from a blend of all-natural, farm grown vegetables, legumes, and potatoes, chopped and blended together with herbs, spices, and just a pinch of sea salt. Veggie Fries are vegan, Non-GMO certified and free of the top 8 allergens including gluten, soy, dairy, and wheat. We’ll pull Founder & CEO Dave Peters out of the veggie patch for a chat.

Foodbeast is launching what they bill as the ultimate meat festival of Southern California. All of the meat-centric grub you can imagine is coming to the Main Place Mall on April 22, 2017. Presented by Foodbeast and The Makers of The SPAM Brand, this one-day meat fest will feature a wide variety of delicious and crazy exclusive culinary creations, as well as drinks and other fun activities. Producer Bobby Navarro of 100eats joins us with participating Chef Cody Storts of Salt and Ash with the meaty specifics.

What’s the Easter Holiday without access to a real chef’s fun tips and practical advice for that sumptuous Holiday Table? Chef Andrew Gruel to the rescue.

Ca’ Del Grevino is located in the Santa Maria Valley appellation of Santa Barbara County. The vineyard is located just 10 miles from the Pacific Coast and benefits greatly from cool, maritime influences. The vineyard is planted methodically and meticulously, with special attention paid to varietals best suited to the estate’s terroir. Taking into account the soils, the meso- and micro-climates, the coastal influences and the orientation of the sun upon the hillsides, you can find here Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Grenache, Dolcetto, Riesling and Syrah. Jon Karlo Macias, Café & Tasting Room Mannager, walks us through the lush vineyard estate.

The 4th Annual “The Big Cheese” Grilled Cheese Festival & Competition appropriately conducted on National Grilled Cheese Day (April 12th) is now history. We’ll report on the winners and their melty and gooey creations.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s show!

Heather RoseboroughWhat’s Easter & Passover without some special Holiday sweets? Pastry Chef extraordinaire, Heather Roseborough, is the co-proprietress of the aptly named Crave Dessert Company in Marina del Rey. A selection of incredibly rich brownies are among her specialties.

Chef Heather was the pastry chef at the original Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City. She also worked in the pastry department at Chef Tom Colicchio’s Craft, Century City

“We offer a wide range of desserts with unique flavors, customizable for a variety of private events and catering.”

“We specialize in small batch baking and offer a variety of house-made delicious desserts. We also love to tailor desserts for whatever your needs are. Stop by and see us, or call / e-mail to inquire about our custom desserts. We offer a large selection of gluten free desserts, too, which taste amazing!”

We’ll meet Pastry Chef Heather and hear about her collection of properly decadent treats.

Moxie CafeEat well…be well” is the motto of the unusual, 3-meal-a-day Moxie Café located well off the beaten path is a light industrial area of Santa Maria. Creator Jay Hardy, the founder of Hardy Diagnostics, has realized his dream of having healthy food that was also delicious.

“Since you care about your health, at the Moxie Cafe you can depend on us to offer a selection of tasty, fresh, and healthy choices. We pledge to never tempt you with excessive fat or sugar laden meals. In fact, you will not find a fryer or a soda fountain at the Moxie! We believe that healthy food should taste good. Come in and let us prove it to you!”

“Our goal was to create a selection of fresh, wholesome foods you could eat day-after-day, feel satisfied afterward (not bloated and sluggish), and not gain weight. We wanted to source our food locally and go organic whenever possible. We wanted to completely ban trans-fats, fried foods, and MSG from the premises. We wanted to create a place where our guests would not be tempted to eat things that are not good for them and their children.” Jay Hardy, Founder, Moxie Cafe

Moxie’s Catering & Events Manager, Caleb Granski, joins us to explain all.

Dave Peters of Veggie Fries“Our story is probably your story; a family searching for healthy and delicious food for our three daughters. We achieved the best of both worlds in some of America’s most iconic foods. Our whole family loves French fries and tater tots, so we made them healthier; blending in our favorite vegetables to make a tasty nutritious treat. We experimented with over 300 recipes to create perfect fries and tots –extra crispy on the outside, fluffy and tender on the inside using a delicious blend of vegetables, legumes, and potatoes. We hope your family loves them as much as we do.”

Veggie Fries are really tasty frozen French fries made from a blend of all-natural, farm grown vegetables, legumes, and potatoes, chopped and blended together with herbs, spices, and just a pinch of sea salt. Veggie Fries are vegan, Non-GMO certified and free of the top 8 allergens including gluten, soy, dairy, and wheat.

Each batch of Veggie Fries provides a crispy texture on the outside, fluffy and tender on the inside. Every variety has at least 27% of non-potato vegetables and legumes, containing 9 vegetable servings and a substantial amount of vegetable nutrition in every14 oz. bag.

We’ll pull Founder & CEO Dave Peters out of the veggie patch for a chat.

Cody StortsFoodbeast is launching what they bill as the ultimate meat festival of Southern California. All of the meat-centric grub you can imagine is coming to the Main Place Mall on April 22, 2017. Meat Street, Presented by Foodbeast and The Makers of The SPAM Brand, this one-day meat fest will feature a wide variety of delicious and crazy exclusive culinary creations, as well as drinks and other fun activities.

“MEAT STREET will showcase the best meat dishes that Southern California has to offer. Grilled, fried, on a stick… however you like your carne you can bet it’ll be there. You can expect exclusive items from eateries such as Slater’s 50/50, Bruxie, Mess Hall Canteen, Elbows Mac n Cheese, and more. With a large number of participating vendors bringing the best of their offerings, and incorporating the Foodbeast elements we all know and love (we’re talking epic eats you won’t find anywhere else), guests are guaranteed to leave full and maybe even considering vegetarianism.”

There is a Marketplace for General Admission guests and two sessions of VIP.

Producer Bobby Navarro of 100eats joins us along with participating Chef Cody Storts of Salt and Ash with the meaty specifics.

Andrew and William GruelWhat’s the family-focused Easter Holiday without access to a real chef’s helpful tips and genuinely useful advice for that sumptuous Holiday Table? Chef Andrew Gruel to the rescue.

Ca’ Del Grevino is located in the Santa Maria Valley appellation of Santa Barbara County. The vineyard is located just 10 miles from the Pacific Coast and benefits greatly from cool, maritime influences. The vineyard is planted methodically and meticulously, with special attention paid to varietals best suited to the estate’s terroir. Taking into account the soils, the meso- and micro-climates, the coastal influences and the orientation of the sun upon the hillsides, you can find here Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Grenache, Dolcetto, Riesling and Syrah.

“Our vineyard produces some of the finest wines in California. The region’s cool climate, geology and topography provide the opportunity to create uncompromised, premium wines. Ca’ Del Grevino, meaning “House of Grewal Family Wines”, produces fine wines steeped in Italian tradition with a distinctive California style.”

Jon Karlo MaciasCa’ Del Grevino is the signature wine brand of our estate representing regality, tradition and opulence. Nestled in California’s prestigious Central Coast is the lovely Santa Maria Valley. The unique micro-climate of the valley produces cool mornings and long warm afternoons. Together with us the best quality fruit produced and attention to detail produces our award -winning Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, White Riesling and Syrah wines.”

Ca’ Del Grevino wines are available to their Wine Club members and at their distinctive area Tasting Rooms. Each Tasting Room has a bit of a different character. The Orcutt Tasting Room is also a Café. The Los Olivos Tasting Room skillfully pairs their wines with cheese, charcuterie or chocolate plates. The Tasting Room in Santa Barbara is in the vibrant “Funk Zone” at the Santa Barbara Wine Collective. An attraction there is Helena’s Bakery with a menu of custom-baked sweet and savory goods.

Jon Karlo Macias, Café & Tasting Room Manager, walks us through the lush vineyard estate.

The Big Cheese Grilled Cheese CompetitionThe “SoCal Restaurant Show” was honored to be part of the Judges’ Panel for the 4th Annual “The Big Cheese” Grilled Cheese Festival & Competition on National Grilled Cheese Day at Orange’s Provisions Market.

We’ll chat with the winner of the People’s Choice recognition and recap the winning sandwich from the Judges’ Panel.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Hosts Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: Pastry Chef Heather Roseborough, Crave Dessert Company, Marina del Rey / Culver City
Segment Three: Caleb Granski, Catering & Events Manager, Moxie Café, Santa Maria, CA
Segment Four: Dave Peters, Founder & CEO, Veggie Fries (Farmwise)
Segment Five: FOODBEAST’s Meat Street Festival
Segment Six: Easter Cooking Tips with Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish Restaurant Group
Segment Seven: Jon Karlo Macias, Café & Tasting Room Manager, Ca’ Del Grevino Estate, Santa Maria, CA
Segment Eight: 4th Annual The Big Cheese Festival & Competition: “People’s Choice” Winner

April 8: The Big Cheese, Gretchen Kurz, Angels Baseball Bites, Far Western Tavern

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: “The Big Cheese” Grilled Cheese Festival & Competition
Segment Three: Gretchen Kurz, Dining Writer, Critic, Orange Coast Magazine Part One
Segment Four: Gretchen Kurz, Dining Writer, Critic, Orange Coast Magazine Part Two
Segment Five: Executive Chef Robert Biebrich, Angel Stadium, Legends Hospitality Part One
Segment Six: Executive Chef Robert Biebrich, Angel Stadium, Legends Hospitality Part Two
Segment Seven: Susan Righetti, Far Western Tavern & Susie Q’s Brand, Santa Maria & Orcutt, CA Part One
Segment Eight: Susan Righetti, Far Western Tavern & Susie Q’s Brand, Santa Maria & Orcutt, CA Part Two

Now an enticing preview of this Saturday’s ample show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a pretty good thing…

“The Big Cheese” Grilled Cheese Festival & Competition (4th Annual) returns to Provisions Market in Orange on the evening of Wednesday, April 12th. It’s National Grilled Cheese Day of course! Event Co-Founder Chef Greg Daniels (Haven Gastropub & Provisions Market) and Chef Max Schlutz of Sessions West Coast Deli are our melty & cheesy guests.

Ever wonder how Orange Coast magazine’s annual April Restaurant issue comes together? Orange Coast’s long-time Dining Critic Gretchen Kurz shares an exclusive behind-the-scenes peek into this year’s 30-plus favorite restaurants and the bizarrely inexplicable “Orange Coast Curse.”  Do restaurant critics have “Pet Peeves” ? You bet, and we’ll discover some of Gretchen’s most bothersome…

Innovating the outstanding gameday experience with new levels of flavor and fun, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Legends Hospitality have further expanded the menus and fan apparel and collectible retail destinations at Angel Stadium of Anaheim for the 2017 MLB Season. Officially premiering on April 7 when the Angels play the Seattle Mariners season home opener, an even more outstandingly diverse and exciting selection of food, beverage and retail destination options and items will satisfy fan appetites for big delicious flavor and premium Angels branded gear with custom and personalized detail. Halos’ Executive Chef Robert Biebrich joins us.

The Santa Maria area is known for classic Santa Maria BBQ, pinquito beans, and great California Pinot Noir, Syrah and Chardonnay. All of these tasty elements come together on the menu at Far Western Tavern in Orcutt established in 1958. Co-Proprietress, Susan Righetti (representing the founding Minetti Family) joins us. It’s quite a meaty story…

Chef Andrew Gruel is on the road today in the wilds of New Mexico. He’ll rejoin us next Saturday.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s show!

The Big Cheese Grilled Cheese Competition“The Big Cheese” Grilled Cheese Festival & Competition (4th Annual) returns to Provisions Market in Orange on the evening of Wednesday, April 12th.

In celebration of National Grilled Cheese Month in April, Provisions Market and OC Baking Company will once again join forces to host The Big Cheese, Orange County’s grilled cheese festival and competition. Event Co-Founder Chef Greg Daniels and his fellow OC Chefs will compete for the title of “The Big Cheese” in this 4th annual event to be held on National Grilled Cheese Day on Wednesday, April 12th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Provisions Market (143 N. Glassell Street, Orange, CA 92866).

OC Baking Company Master Baker Dean Kim will supply locally produced freshly baked bread to the competing chefs, while the farmer-owned dairy cooperative Tillamook County Creamery Association will offer a selection of its award-winning butter and cheeses for use at the festival, including new Farmstyle Cut Shredded Cheese crafted for ideal melt. Competing chefs will present their own spin on the classic grilled cheese sandwich that will be evaluated by a panel of judges who will determine The Big Cheese 2017. In addition, the festival attendees will sample and then vote on a “People’s Choice” winner from the collection of high-profile chef participants including Amar Santana of Vaca and Broadway by Amar Santana.

“This is our 4th year, and I love how this event keeps bringing our local chefs together in a lighthearted competition to melt cheese and make people smile,” commented Chef Greg Daniels, who oversees the kitchens at Provisions Market and Haven Gastropub.

Event Co-Founder Chef Greg Daniels (Haven Gastropub & Provisions Market) and Chef Max Schlutz of Sessions West Coast Deli are our melty & cheesy guests.

Orange Coast Best Restaurants 2017Ever wonder how Orange Coast magazine’s annual April Restaurant issue comes together? Orange Coast’s long-time Dining Critic Gretchen Kurz shares an exclusive behind-the-scenes peek into this year’s 30-plus favorite restaurants and the bizarrely inexplicable “Orange Coast Curse.”  Do restaurant critics have “Pet Peeves?” You bet, and we’ll discover some of Gretchen’s most bothersome…

“Where should we eat? Some foodies never ask this, as they always have a hot place in mind. Other friends are open to anything, any time. When I have to decide where to go, it’s usually about the atmosphere as much as the food. A rainy day lunch with girlfriends calls for a different venue than a special-occasion date night. And what better way to please out‑of‑town guests than Sunday brunch on a waterfront patio?”

“Whatever your appetite, we’re sure to have something that suits you in our Best Restaurants feature (Page 116) as we’ve tripled the size of our list this year and broken it into categories. So you won’t just find the best new restaurants, but also the classics, most-improved spots, and delightful one-of-a-kind places, among other groupings. This issue is a fascinating chance to get into the head of our dining critic, Gretchen Kurz. She comes in for a planning meeting, we talk trends, what she likes (and doesn’t), and we leave those meetings excited and hungry—no more food meetings before lunch! One pattern we’re noticing is fewer lunch options. About half of the 30-plus restaurants we feature in this issue don’t offer weekday lunch and have added weekend brunch instead. Other places have decided to focus only on daytime dining. The scene in Orange County is shifting, and sometimes it moves fast—we had to swap or remove at least three dining listings in our last issue just before we went to print. Keeping up is a challenge we relish, most of the time. Be sure to check out Gretchen’s essay about the downsides of her job (Page 125). It will make you grateful to be able to choose where you eat after she does the preliminary work.”

Best Restaurants is the April 2017 issue of Orange Coast – The Magazine of Orange County. “For the first time, we (Orange Coast) give you an expanded list of O.C.’s standout restaurants—everything from new to classic, cozy favorites to attention-getters.”

Robert BiebrichInnovating the outstanding gameday experience with new levels of flavor and fun, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Legends Hospitality have further expanded the menus and fan apparel and collectible retail destinations at Angel Stadium of Anaheim for the 2017 MLB Season.

Officially premiering on April 7 when the Angels play the Seattle Mariners season home opener, an even more outstandingly diverse and exciting selection of food, beverage and retail destination options and items will satisfy fan appetites for big delicious flavor and premium Angels branded gear with custom and personalized detail.

From mouthwatering, on-trend recipes crafted from premium fresh ingredients, to sensational pairings with craft beers and cocktails, to fan apparel tailored to each fan’s preference, the 2017 season at Angel Stadium of Anaheim is sure to exceed fan expectations with the innovation and energy that are a Southern California tradition and standard.

Halos’ Executive Chef Robert Biebrich joins us with all the crave-worthy details. Here’s his his overview of what’s new in food and beverage at Angel Stadium for 2017.

Super Food Salad is new from Melissa’s. It’s baby and Tuscan kale blend with quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes, dried cherries, golden carrots, edamame, toasted walnuts and pumpkin seeds with a zesty lime vinaigrette. Location: Melissa’s at 1st & 3rd Base Food Court on Field Level, plus The Corner Market, Section 221 Terrace Level, as well as In Seat Service.

Crafty Dawg Signature “Pastrami Dawg” – all-beef hotdog topped with shaved pastrami, sauerkraut and sweet and spicy mustard. Location: Section 127 Field Level and 420 View Level

Oke Poke – a fresh and satisfying poke bowl destination with all the classic Hawaiian dish elements, and variety. Fans will be able to custom build a bowl or burrito started with tuna or salmon with choice of brown or white rice in the following options: Crunchy Garlic – ‘Oke’ garlic sauce, ginger, sesame oil, honey; Fire Cracker – spicy mayo, ‘Oke’ garlic sauce, sesame seeds, Hawaiian sea salt; Okeechi -Korean Napa cabbage, minced garlic, kimchee sauce; Bailey – ‘Oke’ sweet chili, cucumber, carrots, cilantro, scallions, sesame seeds.   Also featuring authentic Hawaiian shaved ice. Location: 3rd base food court on Field Level, In Seat Service and The Corner Market, Section 221 on Terrace Level.

LA Rotisserie Opening later in the season, this new destination eatery delivers a new incredible dining experience of fresh and delectable fine roasted meats and poultry to our concessions concourse. Located directly behind home plate on field level this new location will feature a delicious variety of composed salads and slow roasted chicken roasted with savory spices, served as a wholesome platter or in hand-crafted sandwiches. Location: Behind Home Plate on Field Level.

Susan RighettiThe Santa Maria area is known for classic Santa Maria BBQ, pinquito beans, and great California Pinot Noir, Syrah and Chardonnay. All of these tasty elements are on the menu at Far Western TavernContemporary California Ranch Cuisine in Orcutt established in 1958.

“Welcome to the Far Western Tavern – Contemporary California Ranch Cuisine inspired by local traditions. For more than five decades, spanning three generations of Minetti family ownership, the Far Western Tavern has been driven by a timeless appreciation for regional cuisine and an inherited commitment to hospitality.”

“Our restaurant is recognized as a landmark of Santa Maria Style Barbecue, a renowned regional fare rooted in native ingredients and methods that were first popularized by 19th century rancheros. Our menu blends this local barbecue style with other dishes that reflect our family’s heritage in the Santa Maria Valley’s Swiss-Italian ranching community. Our menus are graced with fresh flavors from the nearby farms, ranches and vineyards.”

“The Far Western Tavern was established in 1958 by Clarence and Rosalie Minetti along with Rosalie’s cousin Richard Maretti and his wife Jean. Originally located in the historic Palace Hotel building in the town of Guadalupe, the Far Western Tavern quickly became a hometown favorite, attracting locals and visitors alike with its legendary fare and welcoming ambiance. Today the restaurant has its home in a beautiful building in Old Town Orcutt.”

“Since those early days, the Far Western Tavern has outlasted countless culinary trends, remaining true to its original style while keeping pace with contemporary tastes. As Clarence was fond of saying, “To last in this business, you have to like people and you have to serve great food. It’s that simple.” Today, Clarence and Rosalie’s children and grandchildren remain committed to advancing the Far Western Tavern tradition.”

Co-Proprietress, Susan Righetti (representing the founding Minetti Family) joins us. She is also the proprietress of Susie Q’s Brand, purveyors of gift packages of signature local food products. It’s all quite a meaty story…

“Welcome to the Far Western Tavern—contemporary California ranch cuisine inspired by local traditions.”

“Our restaurant is recognized as a landmark of Santa Maria Style Barbecue, a renowned regional fare rooted in native ingredients and methods that were first popularized by 19th century rancheros.”

“Our menu blends this local barbecue style with other dishes that reflect our family’s heritage in the Santa Maria Valley’s Swiss-Italian ranching community, all prepared with fresh flavors from nearby farms, ranches and vineyards.”

Buon appetito!

-The Minetti Family

“Sharing the unique flavors of the Santa Maria Valley with the world”

“As a young girl, Santa Maria style cuisine was always a central part of gatherings at our family ranch. I can still recall the aroma of my mom’s beans simmering on the stove, while ranch-raised steaks, seasoned with the perfect blend of garlic, salt and pepper, sizzled over coals of red oak.”

“This style of cooking, pioneered by Spanish vaqueros of the Santa Maria valley over a hundred years ago, is unique to the central coast of California. The cuts of meat, the flavorful seasonings and the use of local ingredients, like plump, pink pinquito beans, have been passed down for generations; including to my parents, whose love of Santa Maria barbeque led them to open the Far Western Tavern in 1958.”

“While I was working at my parent’s restaurant I enjoyed meeting diners from all over the world who traveled here to experience Santa Maria cuisine. It inspired me to find a way to share the wonderful flavors of my family’s culinary heritage beyond the restaurant. So in 1981, I created the first Susie Q Brand products and created relationships with local grocers who kindly put them on their store shelves.”

“I’m proud that Susie Q Brand is the original maker of authentic, artfully-crafted Santa Maria style food, and even as we’ve grown, we’re still a family run business. Today my children, and even grandchildren, help us share more of our family recipes, including delicious Santa Maria style salsas, locally grown pinquito beans, and red oak chips for grilling – everything you need to create an authentic Santa Maria style barbeque in your own home!” – Susan Righetti

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: “The Big Cheese” Grilled Cheese Festival & Competition
Segment Three: Gretchen Kurz, Dining Writer, Critic, Orange Coast Magazine Part One
Segment Four: Gretchen Kurz, Dining Writer, Critic, Orange Coast Magazine Part Two
Segment Five: Executive Chef Robert Biebrich, Angel Stadium, Legends Hospitality Part One
Segment Six: Executive Chef Robert Biebrich, Angel Stadium, Legends Hospitality Part Two
Segment Seven: Susan Righetti, Far Western Tavern & Susie Q’s Brand, Santa Maria & Orcutt, CA Part One
Segment Eight: Susan Righetti, Far Western Tavern & Susie Q’s Brand, Santa Maria & Orcutt, CA Part Two