Show 218, April 8, 2017: Gretchen Kurz, Dining Writer, Critic, Orange Coast Magazine

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.”

Alan Gibbons, Editor-In-Chief, Orange Coast

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Show 218, April 8, 2017: Gretchen Kurz, Dining Writer, Critic, Orange Coast Magazine Continues…

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…

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.”

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Show 218, April 8, 2017: Executive Chef Robert Biebrich, Angel Stadium, Legends Hospitality

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 7th when the Angels play the Seattle Mariners in the 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.

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Show 218, April 8, 2017: Executive Chef Robert Biebrich, Angel Stadium, Legends Hospitality Continues…

Robert BiebrichHalos’ Executive Chef Robert Biebrich continues with 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.

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Show 218, April 8, 2017: Susan Righetti, Far Western Tavern & Susie Q’s Brand, Santa Maria & Orcutt, CA Part One

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…

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Show 218, April 8, 2017: Susan Righetti, Far Western Tavern & Susie Q’s Brand, Santa Maria & Orcutt, CA Part Two

Susan RighettiThe Far Western Tavern’s Susan Righetti continues…

“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. Our menus are graced with fresh flavors from the 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, OrcSanta 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

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Show 217, April 1, 2017: Show Preview with Co-Hosts Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel

Now an appetizing preview of this Saturday’s abundant 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…

Franciacorta is considered by connoisseurs as the luxury Italian sparkling wine. The name identifies both the production method as well as its growing area in Italy. Brand Ambassador Laura Donadoni pops the cork for us.

Oceanside’s Beach House Winery is an award-winning winery with all wines produced onsite. The Winery offers unrivaled ocean and panoramic views of San Diego County. Proprietress Kimberly Murray is our guide through the vineyard.

One of our discoveries at the recently concluded Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim was Abby’s Better Nut Butter. Nut butters are a fast-growing category within natural foods. It’s a great product (only 5 ingredients and no peanuts) but, more unusually, it was started by a 15-year old entrepreneur out of Mooresville, NC. We’ll meet founder Abby Kircher.

Powerhouse blogger and online phenomenon Tess Masters (AKA The Blender Girl) offers up more incredible tasty vegan and gluten-free recipes that help you lead a vibrant healthy life in The Perfect Blend – 100 Blender Recipes to Energize and Revitalize. Tess is our guest to explain all that is delicious & healthy.

In 1988, four enterprising partners (including winemaker Aurelio Montes Sr.), sharing a common dream, embarked on a project to make high quality Chilean wines at a time when, strange as it may sound, such an idea was considered a high-risk venture. Starting from the ground up with modest resources Vina Montes led what became a new wave of producers making sustainable, premium-quality wines, and adhering to solid management principals. Aurelio Montes Sr., President of Montes Winery, is our guest.

King Solomon’s Table – A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World is just out from Joan Nathan, the James Beard Award-winning, much-loved cookbook author and authority. It’s a fresh, around-the-world collection of recipes from the global Jewish diaspora—an essential book of cooking and culture. Joan Nathan joins us and has upcoming book tour appearances next week in Los Angeles that are open to the public.

Time to catch-up with our always on the run Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish. He’s been in “Silicon Flats”, Utah opening the first Slapfish located outside of California. Do the locals appreciate fresh seafood in Lehi, Utah? Stay tuned…Also, a spirited discussion of a controversial topic…the basic Tuna Melt. Seems to be no middle ground in the appreciation (or lack thereof) of this staple item…

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

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Show 217, April 1, 2017: Laura Donadoni, Brand Ambassador, Franciacorta

Laura DonadoniFranciacorta is considered by connoisseurs as the luxury Italian sparkling wine. It’s a good value for the quality. The name identifies both the production method as well as its growing area in Italy. It’s also the Consorzio Del Franciacorta.

The Consortium was founded on March 5, 1990 in Corte Franca to guarantee and monitor compliance with the rules for producing Franciacorta wine. The name of the geographic region where its Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc vines are grown is used to identify this wine, which is produced exclusively by the method of secondary fermentation in the bottle. In one word, Franciacorta describes an area, a production method and a wine. 

Having moved to its present site at Erbusco in 1993, the Consorzio Franciacorta has about 200 members including wine growers, wine producers, bottlers and others involved in the production chain for the designations Franciacorta DOCG, Curtefranca DOC and Sebino IGT.

Its distinctive logo with a castellated letter F distinguishes its wines and refers back to the ancient mediaeval towers that characterize 19 municipalities in the heart of Lombardy, by the shores of Lake Iseo: Adro, Brescia (part), Capriolo, Cazzago San Martino, Cellatica, Coccaglio, Cologne, Corte Franca, Erbusco, Gussago, Iseo, Monticelli Brusati, Ome, Paderno Franciacorta, Paratico, Passirano, Provaglio, Rodengo Saiano and Rovato,

The cultivation of vines has ancient origins on the hills of Franciacorta, as evidenced by the findings of prehistoric grape seed and the writings of classical authors such as Pliny, Columella and Virgil. Rich archaeological material dating from prehistoric times, such as the remains of stilt house foundations found in the bogs of Sebino, reveal how primitive populations settled here and gradually took over from the Cenomani Gauls, the Romans and the Lombards.

Vine cultivation has been a constant in Franciacorta, where grapes were grown from Roman times to late antiquity and the Middle Ages, thanks to its favorable climatic and soil conditions. Though good and bad periods alike, viticulture in these lands never stopped.

Brand Ambassador Laura Donadoni graciously pops the cork on the Italian bubbly for us.

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Show 217, April 1, 2017: Kim Murray, Proprietress, Beach House Winery, Oceanside

Kimberly MurrayOceanside’s Beach House Winery is an award-winning winery with all wines produced onsite. Two and one-half acres of the four-acre site are planted in vineyards.

The Winery offers unrivaled ocean and panoramic views of San Diego County, and is the first vineyard “Vigna al Mare” (Vineyard at the Sea) and winery established in this beautiful seaside community. The comfortable Tasting Room is open on Weekends and by appointment.

Beach House Winery’s pursuits are providing fine wines with time-honored processes to be enjoyed with family and friends.

Proprietress Kimberly Murray is our guide through the vineyard.

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Show 217, April 1, 2017: Abby Kircher, Founder, Abby’s Better Nut Butter

Abby KircherOne of our discoveries at the recently concluded Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim was Abby’s Better Nut Butter. Nut butters are a fast-growing category within natural products. It’s a great product (only 5 ingredients and no peanuts) but, more unusually, it was started by a 15-year old entrepreneur out of Mooresville, NC.

At the young age of 15, Abby Kircher created a product unlike anything else on the market. Hungry for a healthier alternative to peanut butter but unwilling to forgo flavor and variety, she decided to fill an unmet need on her own. After experimenting with different ingredients, including a variety of nuts, like cashews and pecans, to sweet add-ins, like dates, strawberries and coconuts, she landed on a product that didn’t only taste good—it was good for her, too. This was the beginning of Abby’s Better Nut Butters, and today, two years since its official launch, her product has successfully hit the shelves—and the pantries—of the in-demand health food market.

“My goal from the very beginning was to just make the best product I could find. I wanted to create something that was natural and pure but tasted amazing. When I realized my nut butters were something special, I had my family try it—I was surprised to hear that they actually preferred it over regular peanut butter. At that moment, I knew I had a real chance to share these flavors with even more people,” Abby said.

Abby’s Better Nut Butter boasts six unique blends: Coconut Cashew; Honey Almond; Date Pecan; Bourbon Maple Walnut; Coffee Almond; and Strawberry Cashew. Abby first began selling her product at local farmer’s markets in her hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina in 2015. By late spring in 2016, her nut butters expanded into the retail space, including all Lowes Foods location in the Charlotte area and beyond. Now, the clean eating brand is entering 2017 with an agreement with another major retailer—Whole Foods, for placement in their Southeast stores.

We’ll meet founder Abby Kircher.

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