Show 283, July 28, 2018: Tommy Martin, Guest Ambassador, Five Crowns, 50 Years of Service

Tommy MartinBrit Tommy Martin started as a Bartender at Corona del Mar’s Five Crowns back in 1968. 50 years later Tommy is the longest serving, active co-worker at Five Crowns. Earlier this Summer he was recognized with a very special honor.

“In 1968, our favorite Brit, Tommy Martin, moved to Orange County from the East Coast. Seeing Five Crowns’ Tudor architecture and red English phone booth, he quickly applied for a job, sensing he and the restaurant would be a perfect fit. Lucky for us he was right. Little did we know that half a century later, after working as bartender, wine captain and now as our Guest Ambassador, Tommy would be Lawry’s longest serving active co-worker.”

“His energetic, positive attitude and genuine desire to make every moment memorable have endeared him to two generations of guests. For many, a night at Five Crowns without a visit tableside from him doesn’t quite seem the same. For first-timers, meeting such a colorful and charming character, English accent and all, has been a wonderful introduction to the restaurant, its hospitality and its history.”

When you see Tommy at Five Crowns ask him about the night Elizabeth Taylor came in and had a special request…

Five Crown’s Guest Ambassador, Tommy Martin is our guest.

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Show 245, October 21, 2017: Lloyd Weinstein, Proprietor, Benjies N.Y. Deli, Restaurant & Avenue K Bar, Santa Ana

Lloyd WeinsteinBenjies New York Deli, Restaurant & Avenue K Bar in Santa Ana has been operating as a two-generation family owned New York-style deli originated by Stan Weinstein in 1967 and still operated today by Stan’s son and daughter-in-law, Lloyd & Noriko Weinstein. On October 6th they celebrated their 50th anniversary of continuous service.

The Weinstein’s strive to maintain the family-oriented-style, quality restaurant created by Stan, while keeping up with modern trends in dining. Benjies offers the truly New York style deli experience in Orange County, California—large portions, fresh products and an extensive array of menu items—mouth-watering pastrami on rye, and soul-warming Matzo Ball soup to absolutely decadent desserts. Their signature Reuben Sandwich was a past 1st place winner at the O.C. Fair.

Added in the last 18 months is the Avenue K Bar with a modern stylish atmosphere. On the menu are a broad selection of ice cold craft beers on tap and specialty cocktails. Also available in Avenue K is Benjies’ full menu along with a standout Happy Hour appetizer (think Reuben fritters) and cocktail Menu served from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. With multiple HD, wall-mounted large-screen televisions placed strategically around the room it’s a great spot to enjoy college and pro football as well as Anaheim Ducks Hockey.

2nd generation deli-maven Lloyd Weinstein is our guest.

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Show 233, July 22, 2017: Ahmed Labbate, VACA Group, Friends of James Beard Benefit Dinner at Vaca

Ahmed LabatteOn Thursday evening, August 10th Chef Amar Santana’s Vaca in Costa Mesa is hosting a sumptuous, 7-course, premium wine-paired dinner with an abundance of passed hors d’oeuvre as a festive Friends of James Beard Foundation Benefit to celebrate South Coast Plaza’s 50th Anniversary. Chef Amar is also well-known locally for Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna beach and as the runner-up from lucky Season 13 of Bravo’s “Top Chef” in what the judges noted was the tightest final competition of the series’ long history!

Santana and partner Ahmed Labbate, whose roots together at South Coast Plaza go back to 2008 when they opened Charlie Palmer, will welcome 100 discriminating guests with a love of food and wine to the Beard dinner. Santana is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America.

The festivities on August 10 will include a small silent auction during an al fresco reception. While enjoying the signature Vaca Tonic and hors d’oeuvres, guests may peruse deluxe offerings, which will include a LVMH luxury Champagne experience for 16 guests; packages from South Coast Plaza, the Montage Laguna Beach and Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, unique dining experiences, luxury travel destinations, and high-end wines.

Seats are $350 and $300 for members of the James Beard Foundation, all inclusive. If you’re celebrating something very special this is the over-the-top culinary evening experience you’ll want to be a part of!

For reservations to the Friends of James Beard Dinner at Vaca, please register online here. For more information, please contact VACA GM Ghali Benhima at 714.463.6060. A credit card will be requested to secure the reservation.

VACA Group Partner & CEO Ahmed Labbate provides the tempting preview.

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Show 214, March 11, 2017: Anne Marie Panoringan, Food & Libation Journalist

Anne Marie PanoringanOur irregular ace field correspondent, Anne Marie Panoringan, (a regular contributor to OC Weekly) has previewed the 50th Anniversary Dining Specials (March only) at South Coast Plaza in a marathon eating tour. We’ll hear about all the delicious morsels being showcased.

Anne Marie managed six courses in one evening’s ample dining excursion. Course Four was an intriguing Lima Bean Soup from zCafe. It’s a tribute to the farmland that was the past of the land South Coast Plaza now occupies. The “farm” was planted in lima beans. They still grow a few lima beans on Segerstrom property, and the Lima Beans used in the anniversary soup are actually sourced from this property!

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Show 214, March 11, 2017: Chef Brian Huskey, Tackle Box, South Coast Plaza’s 50th Birthday

Brian HuskeyIt’s the 50th Anniversary of Costa Mesa’s celebrated South Coast Plaza. Most of the restaurants there are doing something special to celebrate during the month of March.

Bravo’s “Top Chef” Season 11 alum, Chef Brian Huskey of Tackle Box (on the sand in Costa Mesa), has created the Camarena Tequila chipotle-braised carnitas taco entrée for Wahoo’s Fish Taco in South Coast Plaza.

It’s available exclusively for $5.50 at Wahoo’s SCP (2nd level of the Crate and Barrel / Macy’s Home Store Wing) for the month of March, only.

Wahoo’s 30th Anniversary will be next year in 2018!

We’ve reeled in Chef Brian to provide the lip-smacking details.

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Show 185, August 20, 2016: Brock Radke, Managing Editor, Las Vegas Weekly Part One

Brock Radke of Las Vegas WeeklyJournalist Brock Radke is our well-connected Las Vegas insider. He’s the Managing Editor of Las Vegas Weekly and has been reporting on the dynamic Las Vegas scene for 15 years. He’s back with his regular dining update.

We’ll get updated on Downtown Las Vegas restaurant happenings, celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Caesars Palace, and talk about the late Chef Michel Richard’s restaurant there, Central Michel Richard.

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Show 160, February 20, 2016: Jenny Rush, Blue Plate Restaurant Group & 2016 PPLA Food Fare

Jeniifer Morton of Blue PlateFor the first time ever, Planned Parenthood Los Angeles (PPLA) is recognizing a Restaurateur of the Year for the upcoming 2016 PPLA Food Fare on March 3rd in Santa Monica. This inaugural honor has been proudly presented to Jenny Rush, head and founder of the Blue Plate Restaurant Group in Santa Monica and Los Angeles.

Jenny Rush owns and operates Blue Plate in Santa Monica, Blue Plate Oysterette in Santa Monica and West Hollywood, and Blue Plate Taco in Santa Monica. “PPLA Food Fare is pleased to recognize Jenny for her outstanding contributions to Los Angeles’ culinary culture as well as her dedication to PPLA’s mission to support community health, education and wellness.”

PPLA Food Fare is one of Los Angeles’ most highly anticipated annual foodie events. On Thursday, March 3, 2016, this gastronomic affair will showcase over 100 of Southern California’s best chefs, restaurateurs, caterers, wineries, breweries, vendors and merchants, as well as entertainment, raffles and auctions.

Food Fare is PPLA’s largest fundraising event of the year. Proceeds benefit the health care and education services that PPLA offers through their 20 health centers throughout LA County. Founded in 1965, Planned Parenthood Los Angeles will be celebrating its 50th anniversary at the 2016 Food Fare.

Honoree Jenny Rush is our guest.

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Show 115, March 21, 2015: General Manager Jim Colombo and Mad Bar Scientist Amber, Five Crowns

Jim ColomboLook who is turning 50 this year! 2015 marks the 50-year legacy of dining at Five Crowns in Corona del Mar.

To celebrate, the Lawry’s family and newly promoted Executive Chef Steve Kling have unveiled a brand new menu and beverage program unlike any other menu this fabled establishment has offered in its 50-year history. It’s not your Grandparents’ Five Crowns anymore (although they are still most welcome.)

The refreshed menu presents nearly three times the culinary selections of past menus including a broad array of starters, main dishes, new family-style options and seafood selections. It breaks guests out of the expected course structure of fine dining. The fare pays homage to some of the Five Crowns heritage items, but with a modern twist. The new menu and beverage program are only the beginning of exciting Five Crowns at 50 announcements expected throughout the year.

There is also some quiet conversation about a “rediscovered” hidden speakeasy.

General Manager Jim Colombo (who is also a chef by training) and resident “Mad Bar Scientist Amber” join us with a tempting overview of the creative enhancements.

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Show 115, March 21, 2015: General Manager Jim Colombo and Mad Bar Scientist Amber, Five Crowns. Continues…

Jim ColomboThe Five Crowns General Manager, Jim Colombo (who is also a chef by training) and resident “Mad Bar Scientist Amber” continue with their tempting overview of the creative enhancements to the restaurant to celebrate their 50th Anniversary in Corona del Mar.

There is lots more than the wonderful Lawry’s prime rib on the menu these days!

Amber is doing a whole bar program with Absinthe. She explains why Absinthe has been rediscovered in the United States.

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