Show 255, January 6, 2018: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel

Happy New Year.

Now an abundant preview of Saturday’s salivating 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, upon careful reflection, that’s probably a pretty good thing… Keep in mind we’re here with you live every Saturday morning throughout the new year.

No leftovers here.

It’s the beginning of another year of enticing food & beverage festivals in sunny Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. Upcoming is the 5th edition of the popular Ceviche and Aguachile Festival on Sunday afternoon, January 28th. Festival Producer Edgar Cisneros has the tempting preview.

Restaurateur Ray Lasher surprised the Long Beach dining community when he closed the original Lasher’s in 2012 after a 15-year run. He’s now back in Belmont Shore on E. 2nd Street with a revised concept, Lasher’s Kitchen. Executive Chef & Partner Raquel Jubran has returned to create the refreshed menu. She joins us.

We last spoke with Chef Brendan Collins when he was running the underappreciated Birch located on a side street just off Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood. He is now back on the Westside creating the rejuvenated menu at The Wilshire Restaurant in Santa Monica. Guests have already noticed the new energy there along with the refreshed commitment to service. The Roast has moved there too, from Noon to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Just before year’s end Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula opened their doors to guests for the first phase of their ambitious $285 million expansion, including 568 new hotel rooms & suites. In the new atrium is The Lobby Bar restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also launched on Thursday nights is the all-you-can enjoy Lobster & Seafood Extravaganza at the Pechanga Buffet. We entice Pechanga’s Executive Chef Duane Owen out of his busy kitchens for the details.

Chef Amar Santana and his business partner, Ahmed Labatte (Broadway by Amar Santana and Vaca in Costa Mesa) had an incredible 2017. Among other notable achievements they hosted one of the premier events celebrating the 50th Anniversary of South Coast Plaza at Vaca. It was a lavish, multi-course dinner matched with outstanding wines to benefit The James Beard Foundation. For late 2018 their new project will be The Hall Global Eatery in South Coast Plaza. Ahmed joins us with a tantalizing sneak preview.

Our always dynamic Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, is back in-studio from his adventures in Park City, Utah where he has just debuted the third Slapfish in Utah. Chef Andrew will share (and explain) some important hospitality business trends he sees for 2018. Where is fine-dining headed? This is Part 3 of his conversation continued from the previous two weeks.

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

Play

Show 255, January 6, 2018: Ahmed Labatte, Partner, Vaca Restaurant Group

Ahmed LabatteChef Amar Santana and his business partner, Ahmed Labatte (Broadway by Amar Santana and Vaca in Costa Mesa) had an incredible 2017. Among other notable achievements they hosted one of the premier events celebrating the 50th Anniversary of South Coast Plaza at Vaca. It was a lavish, multi-course dinner matched with outstanding wines to benefit The James Beard Foundation.

For late 2018 their ambitious new project will be The Hall Global Eatery in South Coast Plaza. Early advance info is that it will be a Global Marketplace with multiple food counters and an exhibition kitchen.

There will be a grab-and-go market area with freshly prepared salads and sandwiches. Everything else will be prepared to order. Expect Mediterranean kebabs and Shawarma.  The location is the expansive former Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill space.

Ahmed joins us with a tantalizing sneak preview.

Play

January 6: Ceviche and Aguachile Festival, Lasher’s Kitchen, Brendan Collins, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Ahmed Labatte

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: 5th Ceviche and Aguachile Festival, Producer Edgar Cisneros, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
Segment Three: Chef-Partner Raquel Jubran, Lasher’s Kitchen, Long Beach
Segment Four: Executive Chef Brendan Collins, The Wilshire, Santa Monica
Segment Five: Executive Chef Duane Owen, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula Part One
Segment Six: Executive Chef Duane Owen, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula Part Two
Segment Seven: Ahmed Labatte, Partner, Vaca Restaurant Group
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish Restaurant Group

Happy New Year.

Now an abundant preview of this Saturday’s salivating 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, upon careful reflection, that’s probably a pretty good thing… Keep in mind we’re here with you live every Saturday morning throughout the new year.

No leftovers here.

It’s the beginning of another year of enticing food & beverage festivals in sunny Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. Upcoming is the 5th edition of the popular Ceviche and Aguachile Festival on Sunday afternoon, January 28th. Festival Producer Edgar Cisneros has the tempting preview.

Restaurateur Ray Lasher surprised the Long Beach dining community when he closed the original Lasher’s in 2012 after a 15-year run. He’s now back in Belmont Shore on E. 2nd Street with a revised concept, Lasher’s Kitchen. Executive Chef & Partner Raquel Jubran has returned to create the refreshed menu. She joins us.

We last spoke with Chef Brendan Collins when he was running the underappreciated Birch located on a side street just off Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood. He is now back on the Westside creating the rejuvenated menu at The Wilshire Restaurant in Santa Monica. Guests have already noticed the new energy there along with the refreshed commitment to service. The Roast has moved there too, from Noon to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Just before year’s end Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula opened their doors to guests for the first phase of their ambitious $285 million expansion, including 568 new hotel rooms & suites. In the new atrium is The Lobby Bar restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also launched on Thursday nights is the all-you-can enjoy Lobster & Seafood Extravaganza at the Pechanga Buffet. We entice Pechanga’s Executive Chef Duane Owen out of his busy kitchens for the details.

Chef Amar Santana and his business partner, Ahmed Labatte (Broadway by Amar Santana and Vaca in Costa Mesa) had an incredible 2017. Among other notable achievements they hosted one of the premier events celebrating the 50th Anniversary of South Coast Plaza at Vaca. It was a lavish, multi-course dinner matched with outstanding wines to benefit The James Beard Foundation. For late 2018 their new project will be The Hall Global Eatery in South Coast Plaza. Ahmed joins us with a tantalizing sneak preview.

Our always dynamic Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, is back in-studio from his adventures in Park City, Utah where he has just debuted the third Slapfish in Utah. Chef Andrew will share (and explain) some important hospitality business trends he sees for 2018. Where is fine-dining headed? This is Part 3 of his conversation continued from the previous two weeks.

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

Edgar CisnerosIt’s the beginning of another year of appealing food & beverage festivals in sunny Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. Upcoming is the 5th edition of the ever-popular Ceviche and Aguachile Festival on Sunday afternoon, January 28th.

Puerto Vallarta remains a gastronomic destination with an intriguing variety of high-quality food and libation events held every year that delight both visitors and locals. 2018 starts with the flavors of the sea with the 5th edition of the Festival of Ceviche and Aguachile. Guests can sample more than 30 varieties of exquisite ceviches and aguachiles. Expect a boatload of fresh seafood including marlin, shrimp, tuna, octopus and stingray. Also cocktails and local craft beers will be available to purchase.

The date is Sunday, January 28th from 12 Noon to 7:00 p.m. in Puerto Vallarta’s Lazaro Cardenas Park. Tastes range from a reasonable 15 to 40 pesos per item.

Festival Producer Edgar Cisneros has the tempting preview.

Raquel JubranRestaurateur Ray Lasher surprised the Long Beach dining community when he closed the original Lasher’s in 2012 after a 15-year run. He’s now back in Belmont Shore on E. 2nd Street with a refreshed concept, Lasher’s Kitchen.

“It feels good to be in front-of-the-house again,” said Lasher.  “The original restaurant was open for 15 years, and I enjoyed every minute of it.   I continued working in the restaurant industry as a consultant.  Then this location came along and it was a game changer.”

Lasher’s Kitchen, which opened last April, is a more casual concept than the original Lasher’s.  The 45-seat restaurant offers a contemporary design with a color palette of warm hues and wood accents, original artwork, and an intimate wine bar.  The restaurant also features a pet-friendly sidewalk patio and a communal table positioned front and center.

The menu has a few dishes, such as the clam chowder, fried green tomatoes, and meatloaf, from the original restaurant, but Chef-Partner Raquel Jubran, better known as Chef Roq, is constantly creating new dishes often dictated by season.   The menu is divided into four categories:

  • Shareables
  • Journeys
  • Sidetracks
  • Sweet Destinations

Chef Roq’s signature dishes include Crispy Yuca Fries with banana ketchup and Aji Amarillo salsa, the pastry-filled Savory French Cigar with chicken and bacon ragout, Fleet Street Meat Pie made with braised short rib and root vegetables with a pastry crust, Braised Pork Belly with Cherry Cola Demi-Glace served on a crispy potato cake with tobacco onions, and Asiago and Cheddar Grilled Cheese.

Lasher’s Kitchen opens at 9:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday for weekend brunch, which features an array of morning and mid-day favorites.  Social Hour, which takes place weekdays from 2-6pm, features a menu of shareable plates and $5 pours of selected red and white wines.  Every Wednesday Lasher’s Kitchen caters to oenophiles with its “no corkage fee” followed by Prime Rib Thursday for carnivores.  Fresh fish also plays a prominent role on the menu.

“It feels great to be back doing what I love,” said Lasher.  “And with the people I love – my wife, who is also a partner – as well as our daughters who help out at the restaurant after school and on weekends.  Having our former guests experience our new concept feels great, and we’re happy to be part of the Long Beach restaurant community once again.”

Executive Chef & Partner Raquel Jubran has returned to create the refreshed menu. She joins us.

Brendan CollinsWe last spoke with Chef Brendan Collins when he was running the underappreciated Birch located on a side street just off Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood. He is now back on the Westside creating the rejuvenated menu at The Wilshire Restaurant in Santa Monica. Guests have already noticed the new energy there along with the refreshed commitment to service. The Roast has moved there too, from Noon to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.

“At Wilshire our menu has been developed by acclaimed Chef Brendan Collins around local, organic and seasonal ingredients taking advantage of our uniquely rich and diverse farmers’ markets. Dishes originate from a fusion of American and International influences presented in a simple and accessible style. We call this “New Urban Cuisine”, reflecting the modern sensibilities of supporting sustainable farming, enjoying sophisticated and excellent food, and gathering in a beautiful but casual atmosphere.”

“Wilshire is a neighborhood restaurant. We pride ourselves on friendly and attentive service, and look forward to welcoming you for lunch, dinner, or a cocktail sometime soon.”

Wilshire Happy Hour is in full swing from 3pm-7pm M-F and 5-8pm Saturdays. To cap off those long work weeks, the restaurant is serving $4-5 beers, $7-8 cocktails, $5-6 wine and a delicious array of bar bites starting at $6.

Duane Owen of Pechanga Casino and ResortJust before year’s end Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula opened their doors to guests for the first phase of their ambitious $285 million expansion, including 568 new rooms & suites. In the new atrium is The Lobby Bar restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also launched on Thursday nights is the all-you-can enjoy Lobster & Seafood Extravaganza at The Pechanga Buffet.

The Lobby Bar restaurant located in the atrium is an inviting, open California bistro and bar serving breakfast, lunch and dinner bringing forth fresh, locally harvested ingredients to create seasonally changing specialties.

Chef Jose Mendoza (who returns to Pechanga from Las Vegas) melds unexpected flavors and Temecula-area components in a menu that pleases and excites. With many vegetarian dishes available, and cocktails hand crafted using local fruits and herbs, the Lobby Bar stands out among Pechanga’s 13 dining options.

We entice Pechanga’s Executive Chef Duane Owen out of his busy kitchens for the details.

Launching on Thursday nights is the all-you-can enjoy Lobster & Seafood Extravaganza.

Pechanga Buffet guests can now enjoy their fill of all you can enjoy, one-and-one-quarter pound whole Maine lobster done in an East Coast lobster bake style with roasted potatoes and corn on the cob. From 4PM to close at 10PM on Thursdays, diners receive a piping hot lobster bake bag containing the just-cooked lobster (flown in from Maine the night before) and fixings. The price is $44.99 per guest.

Guests can also fill their plates with enhanced buffet seafood selections from the upgraded sushi station, a whole-salmon carving station, fresh and baked oyster station, snow crab, fish tacos, ceviche, calamari, Dungeness crab, clam chowder, steamed shrimp and much more.

The Pechanga Buffet offers the hungry a wide-ranging and mouthwatering menu featuring over 250 fresh items and interactive action stations for custom-ordered pastas, sushi, seafood, BBQ and grilled meats, pizza and flatbreads, as well Asian food, Mexican and Latin specialties, and Italian and Mediterranean options.

Pechanga sources the lobsters from ecologically responsible purveyors in Maine. Their products are fully inspected and certified. Fisheries they work with use sustainable methods and practices. The lobsters coming to Pechanga are caught one day, refrigerated, packaged, and shipped live across the country where they land at LAX overnight. They are immediately put onto a delivery truck and brought to Pechanga in Temecula. Pechanga’s buffet chefs cook small batches at a time and remaining lobsters are put into tanks.

Ahmed LabatteChef Amar Santana and his business partner, Ahmed Labatte (Broadway by Amar Santana and Vaca in Costa Mesa) had an incredible 2017. Among other notable achievements they hosted one of the premier events celebrating the 50th Anniversary of South Coast Plaza at Vaca. It was a lavish, multi-course dinner matched with outstanding wines to benefit The James Beard Foundation.

For late 2018 their ambitious new project will be The Hall Global Eatery in South Coast Plaza. Early advance info is that it will be a Global Marketplace with multiple food counters. The location is the expansive former Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill space.

Ahmed joins us with a tantalizing sneak preview.

Andrew and William GruelOur always dynamic Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, is back in-studio from his adventures in Park City, Utah where he has just debuted the third Slapfish in Utah. Chef Andrew will share (and explain) some important hospitality business trends he sees for 2018. Where is fine-dining headed?

This is Part 3 of his spirited conversation continued from the previous two weeks.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: 5th Ceviche and Aguachile Festival, Producer Edgar Cisneros, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
Segment Three: Chef-Partner Raquel Jubran, Lasher’s Kitchen, Long Beach
Segment Four: Executive Chef Brendan Collins, The Wilshire, Santa Monica
Segment Five: Executive Chef Duane Owen, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula Part One
Segment Six: Executive Chef Duane Owen, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula Part Two
Segment Seven: Ahmed Labatte, Partner, Vaca Restaurant Group
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish Restaurant Group

Show 253, December 23, 2017: Show Preview with Co-Hosts Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel

Now a joyful preview of Saturday’s festive 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, upon careful reflection, that’s probably a pretty good thing… Keep in mind we’re here with you live every Saturday morning throughout The Holidays.

Greatly respected restaurateur Donato Poto, in partnership with Chef Michael Cimarusti, is responsible for the L.A. fine dining treasure, Providence, as well as the more casual Connie & Ted’s (with restaurateur Craig Nickoloff) in West Hollywood. It’s been a busy few weeks for them as they have launched il Pesce Cucina in Eataly in Westfield Century City as well as Best Girl, a 3-meal-a-day restaurant in The Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. We’ll get the full briefing from Donato.

Our Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, joins us from Park City, Utah where he has just debuted the third Slapfish in Utah. Chef Andrew will share (and explain) some important hospitality business trends he sees for 2018.

We know restaurateur Russ Bendel from his successful wine country-themed establishments in Orange County, Vine in San Clemente and Ironwood in Laguna Hills. Now it’s a threesome with the launch of the handsome Olea, already making waves in Newport Beach. Russ Bendel explains what’s on the menu.

Lawry’s Beef Bowl is college football’s most celebrated bowl game tradition. Each year since its inception prior to the 1957 Rose Bowl Game, Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Beverly Hills has honored the players and coaches of each Rose Bowl‐bound team for their gridiron achievements. This is the 62nd year of Lawry’s proud association with The Granddaddy of Them All.® Lawry’s Beef Bowl historian Todd Erickson is our guest. He actually authored the coffee table book on the official history of Lawry’s Beef Bowl.

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

Play

December 23: Donato Poto, Russ Bendel, Lawry’s Beef Bowl

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Hosts Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: Restaurateur Donato Poto, il Pesce Cucina and Best Girl Part Two
Segment Three: Restaurateur Donato Poto, il Pesce Cucina and Best Girl Part Two
Segment Four: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Five: Orange County Restaurateur, Russ Bendel, Olea Part One
Segment Six: Orange County Restaurateur, Russ Bendel, Olea Part Two
Segment Seven: Sports Historian Todd Erickson, Lawry’s 62nd Beef Bowl Part One
Segment Eight: Sports Historian Todd Erickson, Lawry’s 62nd Beef Bowl Part Two

Now a joyful preview of this Saturday’s festive 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, upon careful reflection, that’s probably a pretty good thing… Keep in mind we’re here with you live every Saturday morning throughout The Holidays.

Greatly respected restaurateur Donato Poto, in partnership with Chef Michael Cimarusti, is responsible for the L.A. fine dining treasure, Providence, as well as the more casual Connie & Ted’s (with restaurateur Craig Nickoloff) in West Hollywood. It’s been a busy few weeks for them as they have launched il Pesce Cucina in Eataly in Westfield Century City as well as Best Girl, a 3-meal-a-day restaurant in The Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. We’ll get the full briefing from Donato.

Our Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, joins us from Park City, Utah where he has just debuted the third Slapfish in Utah. Chef Andrew will share (and explain) some important hospitality business trends he sees for 2018.

We know restaurateur Russ Bendel from his successful wine country-themed establishments in Orange County, Vine in San Clemente and Ironwood in Laguna Hills. Now it’s a threesome with the launch of the handsome Olea, already making waves in Newport Beach. Russ Bendel explains what’s on the menu.

Lawry’s Beef Bowl is college football’s most celebrated bowl game tradition. Each year since its inception prior to the 1957 Rose Bowl Game, Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Beverly Hills has honored the players and coaches of each Rose Bowl‐bound team for their gridiron achievements. This is the 61st year of Lawry’s proud association with The Granddaddy of Them All.® Lawry’s Beef Bowl historian Todd Erickson is our guest. He actually authored the coffee table book on the official history of Lawry’s Beef Bowl.

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

Donato PotoGreatly respected restaurateur Donato Poto, in partnership with Chef Michael Cimarusti, is responsible for the L.A. fine dining treasure, Providence, as well as the more casual Connie & Ted’s (with restaurateur Craig Nickoloff) in West Hollywood. It’s been a busy few weeks for them as they have launched il Pesce Cucina in Eataly in Westfield Century City as well as Best Girl, a 3-meal-a-day restaurant in The Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.

Headed up by acclaimed L.A. restaurant Providence, Il Pesce Cucina is Eataly’s fish market-inspired restaurant. For more than a decade, the team led by Chef Michael Cimarusti and Donato Poto has worked to elevate the standards of modern American seafood restaurants. At Eataly, Providence highlights the delicious varieties of California’s wild fish in their menus. All of the fresh seafood is responsibly sourced, with a particular focus on wild-caught and raw options that promise to satisfy every taste.

Tables are available on a first-come, first-served basis; il Pesce Cucina does not accept reservations.

“Providence, a restaurant with two Michelin stars, has defined a new standard of seafood cuisine in America. Led by Chef Michael Cimarusti and co-owner Donato Poto, this signature L.A. restaurant found its roots in the search for sustainable fish, wild caught and of the finest quality. Ingredients are treated with the greatest respect and technique, with the goal of bringing the freshest seafood flavors to your table. Eataly partners with Providence at Il Pesce Cucina because we believe in the same emphasis on ingredients and search for quality.”

We’ll get the full, mouthwatering briefing from Donato.

Named after the first film screened at The Theatre (now the Ace Theater adjacent to the Ace Hotel) in 1927, Best Girl is Downtown Los Angeles’ local haunt featuring rotating, seasonal fare and classic favorites. Best Girl is in partnership with the inimitable Chef Michael Cimarusti and business partner Donato Poto, renowned for championing sustainable seafood and elevating impeccable service in a casual atmosphere.

A multi-nominee for a James Beard Award, Cimarusti’s critically acclaimed restaurants Providence and Connie and Ted’s have earned him two Michelin Stars and international recognition as an industry giant. Cape Seafood and Provisions, his seafaring market, offers sustainable, wild caught fish, prime cuts and grab-and-go dishes. Chef Cimarusti’s menu for Best Girl represents his favorite meals made at home for family and friends — inviting and simple, every dish is expertly crafted, wholly delicious and available every day.

We’ll continue the full briefing from Donato.

Andrew and William GruelOur Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, joins us from Park City, Utah where he has just debuted the third Slapfish in Utah. Chef Andrew will share (and explain) some important hospitality business trends he sees for 2018. It’s a challenging time for the restaurant business at all levels from fast casual to fine-dining.

We know restaurateur Russ Bendel from his successful wine country-themed establishments in Orange County, Vine in San Clemente and Ironwood in Laguna Hills. Now it’s a threesome with the launch of the handsome Olea, already making waves in Newport Beach.

Russ BendelNamed for a genus of trees that flourish in warm and tropical regions, Olea gives Bendel’s award-winning Napa and Sonoma wine country concepts at Vine, in San Clemente, and Ironwood, in Laguna Hills, a European accent with extensive wine selections from Italy, France and Spain.

Chef-Partner Jared Cook has created a menu of modern California cuisine that perfectly complements the “global wine country” approach the Bendel team has taken at Olea.

“It’s great to return to the community where my business partners and I began our careers,” said Bendel, a graduate of The Collins College of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona who spent nine years at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar at Newport Center / Fashion Island before striking out on his own.

“Olea represents the continued progression we have created with our other two wine country-inspired cuisine restaurants,” Bendel said. The restaurant is Bendel’s largest, seating 130 guests, and like the other two locations is open for dinner nightly.

Cook has created new dishes exclusively for Olea, including blue crab baked oysters with champagne tarragon butter); terrine of duck liver, bacon and bourbon; wild-caught Pacific Blue Nose sea bass; herb-roasted prime beef cheek stroganoff with house-made rosemary pappardelle; Pacific Northwest filet mignon with black truffle and blue crab Béarnaise; and seasonal apple and pear cobbler with oatmeal crumble and cardamom ice cream.

Also on the menu at Olea are Vine / Ironwood crowd-pleasers such as Meyer lemon & honey duck wings and jumbo lump blue crab with roasted heirloom beets.

Olea’s interior is Tuscany wine country meets California Cuisine. An eclectic blend of timeless natural backgrounds includes antique French white oak floors, Black Mountain ledge-stone, black walnut millwork complemented with contemporary decorative lighting, and clean soft lines and a warm taupe color palette.

Dining areas are divided with sculptures instead of walls, made from natural tree branches on steel bases that lend privacy. The completely weatherproofed dining patio has a parkway setting with swagger light fixtures and citrus trees and herbs in large planters. Two olea (olive) trees flank the entrance of the restaurant.

A focal point of Olea, which totals 3,647 square feet, is a custom-made captain’s table in the wine room that can seat 10. The captain’s table is surrounded by working wine storage and wine displays, artwork and beautiful lighting fixtures.

Olea is located at The Walk, 2001 Westcliff Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660, by Kéan Coffee.  Reservations are accepted on OpenTable, or by calling 949-287-6807. There is self-parking in a newly-constructed 300-car parking structure adjacent to the restaurant.

Russ Bendel tempts us what’s on the menu.

Road to the Rose Bowl 50 Years of Lawry's Beef BowlLawry’s Beef Bowl is college football’s most celebrated bowl game tradition. Each year since its inception prior to the 1957 Rose Bowl Game, Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Beverly Hills has honored the players and coaches of each Rose Bowl‐bound team for their gridiron achievements. This is the 61st year of Lawry’s proud association with The Granddaddy of Them All.®

Tradition. College football is steeped in it, and there isn’t any tradition more enduring than “The Granddaddy of All Bowl Games,” the Rose Bowl. For 62 years, Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Beverly Hills has been a vital marketing partner in this tradition with its annual Beef Bowl (staged over 2 nights) serving as the proverbial rite of passage for champion gridiron gladiators in quest of Big Game glory.

This legendary private event (where only Tournament of Roses officials and sports media are granted access) has largely remained a mystery to the public while quietly generating a treasure trove of behind-the-scenes photo ops, stories, anecdotes, and quotes from college football’s most well-known players, coaches and sports commentators.

This year’s unusual Rose Bowl pitting the Oklahoma Sooners against the Georgia Bulldogs is the College Football Playoff Semifinal.

Lawry’s Beef Bowl historian Todd Erickson is our guest. He actually authored the coffee table book on the official history of Lawry’s Beef Bowl, Road to the Rose Bowl: 50 Years of Lawry’s Beef Bowl.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Hosts Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: Restaurateur Donato Poto, il Pesce Cucina and Best Girl Part Two
Segment Three: Restaurateur Donato Poto, il Pesce Cucina and Best Girl Part Two
Segment Four: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Five: Orange County Restaurateur, Russ Bendel, Olea Part One
Segment Six: Orange County Restaurateur, Russ Bendel, Olea Part Two
Segment Seven: Sports Historian Todd Erickson, Lawry’s 62nd Beef Bowl Part One
Segment Eight: Sports Historian Todd Erickson, Lawry’s 62nd Beef Bowl Part Two

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.

Play