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The absolute deliciousness of pizza.

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Show 83, August 9, 2014: The Golden Foodies

Golden Foodie AwardsOrange County’s answer to the prestigious, red carpet awards shows is The Golden Foodies. Voting has started for this year in the first group of categories and the public is invited to vote for their favorite restaurants and related categories. There are two more weeks of voting cycles…

Winners are chosen by the people. It’s a People’s Choice Food Awards. The Golden Foodie Awards Gala at The Fairmont in Newport Beach is Saturday evening, September 28th. Good luck to all…

Voting concludes on August 9th for the categories of : Mexican, Vegetarian, Pizza, Beer, American Cuisine, Burger, Cocktail, and Best Food Talk Radio Show.

The Founder of The Golden Foodies, Pamela Waitt, and J.C. Clow of The Winery Newport Beach join us. It’s been announced that J.C.’s The Winery Newport Beach has been nominated (one of three nominees in the category) for Best New Restaurant. Congratulations…!

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August 9: Jimmy Shaw, FoodGPS, Richard Foss, AlXimia Vino Elemental Winery, CremaCafe, David and Lesley Jacobs Solmonson, Golden Foodies

Podcasts

Segment One: Guest Host Chef Jimmy Shaw and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris preview the show
Segment Two: Chef Jimmy Shaw of Loteria! Grill and The Torta Co.
Segment Three: Food GPS Fried Chicken Festival, Chinatown
Segment Four: Food Historian & Author Richard Foss
Segment Five: Manuel Alvarez of AlXimia Vino Elemental Winery
Segment Six: Tarit Tanjasiri of CremaCafe & Bakery
Segment Seven: The 12 Bottle Bar
Segment Eight: The Golden Foodies

Guest Host Chef Jimmy Shaw of Loteria! Grill restaurants and Producer Andy preview the show.

Chef Jimmy Shaw of Loteria! Grill is with us. He brought the rich Mexican Street Food of his native Mexico City to Los Angeles. Keep in mind that Los Angeles is the 2nd largest Mexican City in the World. It all started in 2002 with a modest stand in the Original Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax in Los Angeles.

Chef Jimmy Shaw educates us on the ample Mexican sandwich, The Torta. He also talks about stocking Mexican ingredients in your home pantry.

Josh Lurie of Food GPS is at it again with delectable food and beverage events. The 3rd Annual Food GPS Fried Chicken Festival is set for Sunday afternoon, August 17th in Chinatown’s historic Central Plaza.

The Museum of the American Cocktail (based in New Orleans at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum) is presenting an evening of cocktails, food, and entertainment featuring (the always entertaining) culinary historian and author Richard Foss on August 18th at 6:30 p.m. at Roxanne’s Lounge in Long Beach. The presentation is : “Dry With a Twist: A Liquid Lesson in How Prohibition Changed America.”

One of the most important wine regions in Mexico is the Valle de Guadalupe located about an hour and one-half South of Tijuana. The best of these wines are slowly finding their way North to Southern California. Manuel Alvarez of AlXimia Vino Elemental winery joins us from the Valle de Guadalupe with his Family’s story.

Tarit Tanjasiri is the baker/proprietor of the revered CremaCafe in Seal Beach. It started as a small breakfast and lunch spot. Tarit couldn’t source a bread for his sandwiches that satisfied him so he added an adjacent production bakery. We’ll meet him.

“A new kind of cocktail book, The 12 Bottle Bar, distills the craft cocktail movement for the home bar. Irresistibly uncomplicated, just 12 bottles create over 200 distinct and seasonal cocktails, including beer and wine cocktails.” The husband-and-wife authors are with us.

Orange County’s answer to the prestigious, red carpet awards shows is The Golden Foodies. Voting has started for this year in the first group of categories and the public is invited to vote for their favorite restaurants and related categories. Good luck to all…

All of this and lots more absolutely incredible deliciousness on Saturday’s show!

Jimmy Shaw of Loteria Grill and Torta CompanyChef Jimmy Shaw of Loteria! Grill is with us. He brought the rich Mexican Street Food of his native Mexico City to Los Angeles. Keep in mind that Los Angeles is the 2nd largest Mexican City in the World. It all started in 2002 with a modest stand in the Original Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax in Los Angeles.

There are now Loteria! Grill restaurants in Hollywood, Studio, City, Westlake Village, Santa Monica and Downtown at Fig at 7th.

“Lotería! Grill has grown from the open-air stall at the Farmers Market to become a nationally renowned group of restaurants that offer a casually elegant, fun and relaxed atmosphere in which to enjoy everything from a refreshing agua fresca or margarita to award-winning, delicious regional specialties and slowly cooked guisos served with handmade corn tortillas.  Favorites like the Chicharrón de Queso, and the Probaditas, a mini-taco sampler of our signature guisos, have their guests coming back frequently for more.”

Chef Jimmy Shaw educates us on the ample Mexican sandwich, the Torta. He also talks about stocking Mexican ingredients as part of your regular home pantry.

Joshua Lurie of Food GPSJosh Lurie of Food GPS is at it again with delectable food and beverage events. The 3rd Annual Food GPS Fried Chicken Festival Presented by Bolthouse Farms is set for Sunday afternoon, August 17th in Chinatown’s historic Central Plaza. Hours are 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

This all-inclusive, chef-focused event includes some of L.A.’s best chefs preparing unique fried chicken dishes and complimentary sides. Additionally, there are an array of delicious desserts (Valerie Confections) and beverages.

Participating chef Jesse Furman (Free Range LA) and Josh Lurie of Food GPS preview the Festival.

Dry with a Twist: A Liquid Lesson in How Prohibition Changed AmericaThe Exhibition Room at Roxanne’s Cocktail Lounge & Latin Grill, Long Beach’s “hidden speakeasy,” hosts the next edition of Touring the Cocktail: MOTAC Los Angeles, a liquid lesson in how Prohibition changed America. Come out for an evening of culture and cocktails, costumes and music! Dress as a flapper, bootlegger, moonshiner, or temperance crusader (no hatchets please, ladies). There will be prizes for the best costume, giveaways, and more!

Whether you were a regular tippler or never let a drop of alcohol past your lips, Prohibition affected every American’s life. Dining options, dating habits, vacation choices, and perhaps most infamously, the attitude of citizens toward law enforcement, were forever altered by the temperance movement’s short-lived crowning achievement. Even so, most Americans don’t really understand who we were before that great experiment, how Prohibition came to pass, and the ways in which the period reverberates to this day.

Historian Richard Foss, author of “Rum: A Global History,” transports participants to a world of temperance terrorists and flappers, moonshiners and smugglers, and ordinary citizens who just wanted a drink and would get it by any means necessary. Drinkmaster David Valiante executes a menu of five period cocktails, illustrating the ways in which America’s palate for drinks has changed.  (Don’t worry, bathtub gin will not appear on the menu, but some delightful and largely forgotten beverages will make a glorious reappearance.) A light dinner of savory specialties from Roxanne’s Latin Grill is included in the price of admission.

Tickets are $40 in advance, $35 for members of SoFAB/MOTAC and the USBG. Tickets at the door are $50 (subject to availability.)

Manuel Alvarez of AlXimia Vino ElementalOne of the most important (and historic) wine regions in Mexico is the Valle de Guadalupe located about an hour and one-half South of Tijuana. The best of these wines are slowly finding their way North to Southern California. Manuel Alvarez of AlXimia Vino Elemental winery joins us from the Valle de Guadalupe with his Family’s story.

Wine tasting and tours are available to visitors at this architecturally significant winery.

“AlXimia is a wine-making project born from the meeting of the senses and the world, with special attention to the earth, the plant, the fruit and its benefits. We are trying to understand, use and preserve nature.

Baja California is wine country, and wines are, in our view, the product of the transmutation of the four natural elements:

  • the earth that nourishes and gives rise to the vineyards
  • the scarce water that is vital in the Valle de Guadalupe
  • the fresh air that comes from the sea and
  • the fire in the form of the heat from the sun, providing the freshness and warmth needed to ripen the grapes and give them the adequate acidity, while at the same time generating the energy needed for the process
  • When you assemble these 4 elements, the space (or ether) becomes the fifth element that makes possible their existence.

AlXimia is a family business focused on the work of the sensible. It is a group born at home, amidst the respect for the environment, in the tradition of teaching and knowledge transfer. AlXimia travels through the wine trail manifested in a free and existential thinking against the structured and accurate scientific thought process, daring to innovate.  Started by a mathematician turned winemaker, this amazing winery was built by an innovative architect, the mathematician-winemaker and his astronomer father.”

Tarit TanjasiriTarit Tanjasiri is the consumed baker/proprietor of the revered CremaCafe & Artisan Bakery in Seal Beach. It started eight years ago as a small breakfast and lunch spot. Tarit couldn’t source a bread for his sandwiches that satisfied him so two years ago he added an adjacent production bakery. It’s the café on one side and the bakery on the other. We’ll meet him.

Tarit’s Kouign Amann was one of the OC Weekly’s “100 Favorite Dishes of 2014.”

According to Anne Marie Panoringan of the OC Weekly : “Per Tarit, a Kouign Amann is a pastry from the Brittany region of France. It’s often considered more of a cake than a pastry, although Crema utilizes croissant dough for their version. Layers of butter, dough, sugar and a bit of sea salt are formed. Shaped to resemble a blooming rose, it is then placed in the deck oven to bake. Sweetness and density are much higher in France, and they come in many more sizes, shapes and filling flavors.”

David and Lesley Jacobs Solmonson“A new kind of cocktail book, The 12 Bottle Bar, distills the craft cocktail movement for the home bar. Irresistibly uncomplicated, just 12 bottles create over 200 distinct and seasonal cocktails, including beer and wine cocktails.”

David Solmonson and Lesley Jacobs Solmonson, the husband-and-wife authors (and noted cocktail enthusiasts) are with us.

“We’re living in the midst of a cocktail renaissance – artisanal cocktails. Celebrity mixologists, drink menus that outshine wine lists and feature ingredients as fresh and complex as the most sought after meals. Just as home cooks have looked to popular restaurants and chefs for new recipes, imbibers want to bring the magic of a local speakeasy straight to the living room.”

Golden Foodie AwardsOrange County’s answer to the prestigious, red carpet awards shows is The Golden Foodies. Voting has started for this year in the first group of categories and the public is invited to vote for their favorite restaurants and related categories. There are two more weeks of voting cycles…

Winners are chosen by the people. It’s a People’s Choice Food Awards. The Golden Foodie Awards Gala at The Fairmont in Newport Beach is Saturday evening, September 28th. Good luck to all…

Voting concludes on August 9th for the categories of : Mexican, Vegetarian, Pizza, Beer, American Cuisine, Burger, Cocktail, and Best Food Talk Radio Show.

The Founder of The Golden Foodies, Pamela Waitt, and J.C. Clow of The Winery Newport Beach join us. It’s been announced that J.C.’s The Winery Newport Beach has been nominated (one of three nominees in the category) for Best New Restaurant.

Podcasts

Segment One: Guest Host Chef Jimmy Shaw and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris preview the show
Segment Two: Chef Jimmy Shaw of Loteria! Grill and The Torta Co.
Segment Three: Food GPS Fried Chicken Festival, Chinatown
Segment Four: Food Historian & Author Richard Foss
Segment Five: Manuel Alvarez of AlXimia Vino Elemental Winery
Segment Six: Tarit Tanjasiri of CremaCafe & Bakery
Segment Seven: The 12 Bottle Bar
Segment Eight: The Golden Foodies

August 2: Rich Perelman, SYNEK, Slapfish Seafood, James Republic, Fiestas del la Vendimina, OC Fair, Olympic Cuisine

Podcasts

Segment One: Guest Host Richard (Rich) B. Perelman and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris preview the show
Segment Two: Steve Young, Founder, SYNEK
Segment Three: Executive Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish, Huntington Beach and Laguna
Segment Four: Restaurant Chef David MacLennan, James Republic, Long Beach
Segment Five: Javier Plascencia’s “From Farm and Vineyard to Your Table” Dinner
Segment Six: Rich Perelman on The Los Angeles Olympics, 1984
Segment Seven: Bakelogy and The OC Promenade at The OC Fair
Segment Eight: Food Service for the Spectators at The Games of the Twenty-Third Olympiad, Los Angeles

Guest Host Richard (Rich) B. Perelman and Producer Andy preview the show.

It’s our salute to the 30th Anniversary of the Games of the Twenty-Third Olympiad, Los Angeles, 1984. Guest Host Rich Perelman was the youngest Vice President of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee responsible for Press Operations and the Editor-in-Chief of the Official Report after the Games. Rich explains the continuing financial legacy to youth sports in Southern California as a direct result of the incredible success of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

SYNEK (a recent Kickstarter success story) is a nifty countertop draft system that serves any beer, fresh from the tap, anywhere you want it. Steve Young, based in St. Louis, MO is the Founder. His modest objective is to do for quality beer what Keurig did for single-brewed cups of coffee. With the phenomenal success of his cleverly orchestrated Kickstarter campaign he’s now well on his way…

Chef Andrew Gruel’s (of Slapfish) mission is to make quality seafood popular with everyday folks. He started with one modest food truck in 2010. It quickly expanded into four food trucks. The first Slapfish brick and mortar restaurant opened in Huntington Beach a year later. Laguna Beach recently launched and more restaurants are in the works.

James Republic in Long Beach orchestrates one of the very best, honest Farm-to-Fork dinner series around. It happens monthly on a Sunday under the name of the Dinner Bell Supper Series. The restaurant’s chef, David MacLennan, joins us with the specifics.

Every year in Northern Baja is the Fiestas del la Vendimina celebrating the bounty of wine and food in the region over a two-week period. One of the best single events is Chef Javier Plascencia’s (Tijuana’s Mision 16) “From Farm and Vineyard to Your Table” dinner at his ranch, Finca Altozano, in Valle de Guadalupe. It’s a 6-course, wine paired feast.

Time to hit the OC Fair in its final week. We’ll hear about Bakeology and all the tasty culinary events in the OC Promenade Building. Also the winning Fair Food item!

As part of our tribute to the Los Angeles Olympics we’ll also be looking back at the food served to the spectators. Surprisingly there was lots more variety to the offerings than plain boiled hot dogs and bagged chips. Innovations in food for 1984 are now part of guest expectations in 2014!

All of this and lots more absolutely incredible deliciousness on Saturday’s show!

Synek SystemSYNEK (a recent Kickstarter success story) is a nifty countertop draft system that serves any beer, fresh from the tap, anywhere you want it. Steve Young, based in St. Louis, MO is the Founder. His modest objective is to do for quality beer what Keurig did for single-brewed cups of coffee. As a result of the inspired, oversubscribed Kickstarter campaign he’s well on his way…

“In 2013, Steve Young started to take notice of the craft beer industry as a stock market analyst. He wanted to know how the craft beer industry was making these great strides and what risk factors could cause it to become a “bubble” like the industry saw in the 1990s.”

He knew the industry was growing with thousands of amazing brands created every week. However, to his surprise, every brewer he spoke with complained about the exact same issue : “We make amazing beer, but we can’t get it into our customers’ homes and make money at the same time. If there was a way to create a growler that maintained our beer’s quality longer than two days, it would change everything.”

“Steve was so moved by the brewers’ intense frustration that he quit his job to assemble the best beer engineering team in the world and implement a solution to this beer packaging epidemic.”

Andrew GruelFood trucks have proven to be a worthwhile testing ground for innovative food concepts. A great example is the fast growing Slapfish with a limited service, fast-casual restaurant in Huntington Beach located in a strip center. A new Laguna Beach location (across Pacific Coast Highway from the beach) launched earlier in the Summer.

The partners started with one modest food truck serving the OC in 2009. By 2011 they had four trucks serving both Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

Executive Chef (and co-founder) Andrew Gruel is with us to fill us in on the Slapfish tale. New locations both in the United States (airports, too) and the Middle East are on the way.

They like to characterize Slapfish as a modern seafood shack. It’s a real American seafood experience that revolves around fresh, sustainable fish, prepared simply, but delivering big flavors.

Dave MaclennanJames Republic, located in Downtown Long Beach, organizes one of the very best Farm-to-Fork dinner series around. It happens monthly on a Sunday under the name of the Dinner Bell Supper Series. The proprietor of James Republic, Chef Dean James Max, developed the original concept. The restaurant’s chef, David MacLennan, joins us with the specifics.

On the Sunday morning of The Dinner Bell Supper the culinary team gathers at the Long Beach Farmers Market to search for the ideal ingredients to serve as the basis for that evenings’ family-style supper. For the guests the evening begins with market inspired cocktails and passed canapes at 4:30 p.m. At 5:00 p.m., the dinner bell rings and the guests gather at a long, communal table to enjoy California wines and a bountiful three-course menu prepared by Chefs James Dean Max, Chef David MacLennan and their team. Area guest farmers take part in the engaging dinner conversation. The idea is for former strangers to become friends over a superb meal (with a side of good conversation) without this being forced.

The August 24th dinner is sold out. Future dates are September 14th, October 26th, and November 23rd.

Every year in Northern Baja is the Fiestas de la Vendimina (The Harvest Festival) celebrating the bounty of wine and food in the region over a two-week period. The Festival gives thanks and celebrates the beginning of a (hoped for) bountiful grape harvest.

Javier PlascenciaOne of the best single events is Chef Javier Plascencia’s (Tijuana’s Mision 19) “From Farm and Vineyard to Your Table” dinner at his ranch, Finca Altozano, in Valle de Guadalupe. It’s a 6-course, wine paired feast.

Prominent guest chefs from Southern California and Mexico are part of the culinary team. This year Ori Menashe from Bestia and Timothy Hollingsworth (The Restaurant at The Broad & ex-French Laundry chef de cuisine ) will be part of Chef Javier’s high-profile guest chefs’ team.

Chef Plascencia has been featured on Food TV with both Anthony Bourdain and “Bizarre Foods’” Andrew Zimmern.

For info please contact Chef Javier’s assistant, Diana Jimenez.

Rich PerelmanIt’s our salute to the 30th Anniversary of the Games of the Twenty-Third Olympiad, Los Angeles,1984. Our Guest Host, Rich Perelman, was the youngest Vice President of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee responsible for Press Operations and the Editor-in-Chief of the Official Report after the Games. Rich explains the continuing financial legacy to youth sports in Southern California as a direct result of the incredible success of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

Every Olympic Organizing Committee is mandated by the International Olympic Committee to document their Games in the Official report. It’s two volumes. One volume is a comprehensive recipe on how the Games were produced with some analysis. The other volume is the complete results and photos.

Rich Perelman was the Editor-in-Chief of the Official Report for the Los Angeles Games. The finished, two-volume report is 1,552 pages and weighs in at 38 lbs ! A full-time staff of 25 was responsible for the effort on a budget of some $4.33 million.

Rachel Klemek of Blackmarket Bakery and the CampTime to hit the OC Fair in Costa Mesa in its final week. Food is always front row center!

We’ll hear about Bakeology and all the other tasty culinary events in the OC Promenade Building.

Rachel Klemek of the award-winning Blackmarket Bakery in Costa Mesa is programming Bakeology at the Fair. Rachel and her staff are mixing, kneading, whipping and blending at the Bakeology exhibit in the Culinary Arts Building (The OC Promenade) at the Fair.

Also with us is the Fair’s Communications Director ,Robin Wachner. Robin will fill us in on all the Culinary activities in the OC Promenade Building.

We’ll also talk about the top vendor food item at this year’s Fair. 70 entrants competed and there was one big winner! Unbelievably it’s not even deep-fried!

Vegetarian PitaWe’re back to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and now talking about the food for the spectators.

Peter Ueberroth, the architect of The Games, wanted there to be more variety and freshness in the food available for purchase by the spectators at the Los Angeles Olympics than typically found in sports facilities of the day.

While common today 30 years ago it was unusual to see some of these items. Fresh fruit cups were on the menu as well as yogurt. Among the fresh sandwiches on the menu was the choice of a Vegetarian Pita. In addition to the usual ice cream novelties there was a place for natural Frozen Fruit Bars.

Food and beverage sales for the 16 days totaled over $11 million dollars. 5.8 million guests were served!

Podcasts

Segment One: Guest Host Richard (Rich) B. Perelman and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris preview the show
Segment Two: Steve Young, Founder, SYNEK
Segment Three: Executive Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish, Huntington Beach and Laguna
Segment Four: Restaurant Chef David MacLennan, James Republic, Long Beach
Segment Five: Javier Plascencia’s “From Farm and Vineyard to Your Table” Dinner
Segment Six: Rich Perelman on The Los Angeles Olympics, 1984
Segment Seven: Bakelogy and The OC Promenade at The OC Fair
Segment Eight: Food Service for the Spectators at The Games of the Twenty-Third Olympiad, Los Angeles

Cooking with Booze

Chef Jet offers Travis the most practical tips in cooking with beer, wine, and spirits. Keep in mind that you should never cook with a beverage you wouldn’t want to drink.

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Show 35, July 13, 2013: Chef Jet Tila with “Sushi 411.”

SushiJet has extensive experience in teaching the sushi basics to professionals so we asked him to share the fundamentals of sushi etiquette so guests will have the ability to eat better at their favorite sushi spot. With that said Jet also respectfully suggests that you follow the course in a sushi restaurant that provides you with the most pleasure.

Sushi was originally created in China as a way to preserve fish before refrigeration. It was layered, and heavily salted and vinegared.

The three basic types of sushi are sashimi, maki, and hand rolls. It takes years of rigorous training to become a master sushi chef.

One big faux pas in a sushi bar is to mix the soy sauce and wasabi together into a pool. The shaved ginger is actually a palate cleanser and not a side salad. Jet explained where each should be properly used.

If you sit at the sushi bar the chef is stealthily watching how you eat. At a sushi bar there are the seafood equivalents of filet mignon, rib eye, and chuck. All are edible of course. If the chef sees that you aren’t discriminating then the sushi you get will be the equivalent of “chuck.”

The chef knows what’s the best because he’s been prepping it all day. Omakase (literally) “trust the chef” is the way to go for a special experience. It’s a personalized tasting menu left in the hands of the chef. The sushi chef will present you one item at a time (from lighter to heavier) to savor.

If you really want to an impression with the sushi chef send over a beer or sake for them during the meal with your compliments. You’ll likely see some incredible fish as a result…

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Show 32, June 22, 2013: On the Road with Chef Jet and Producer Andy

Chef Jet has really rolled up the airline miles this works. Looks like 3,000 plus.

Chef jet Tila and Alton BrownHe was a key part of the annual college and university dining conference at UMass in Amherst, Massachusetts this week. This brings together the management teams and chefs from prominent universities across the country to discuss trends. Harvard and Cornell University were there for starters. Jet has been a conference participant for a long time.

University students are the restaurant diners of tomorrow and are increasing in sophistication about food and cooking. Colleges and Universities serve from 1,000 to 20,000 or more meals a day when school is in session. Pizza and burgers on the menu don’t cut it anymore!

Jet brought Food Network’s Chef Robert Irvine to the gathering. He was part of a “Chopped”-style competition there that Jet was the host for. It was 16 prominent chefs in four rounds of competition.

When Jet got back to Los Angeles he was a solo celebrity chef judge for an episode of a smart, new Food Network competition series hosted by Alton Brown that is currently in production. More to come on this…

A Taste of Greece in IrvineProducer Andy reported on “A Taste of Greece” which is this weekend. It’s the 35th Annual Greek Festival produced by St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church on Alton Parkway in Irvine. It’s Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday. Over 11,000 guests are expected this year. Info phone is : 949.733.3102

Chef Cathy Palvos of the popular Lucca (Italian-fare) in Irvine is very involved in the Festival.

It’s three days of delicious Greek food, Greek wine and beer, cooking demonstrations, Greek folk dancing lesions, games, and carnival rides. You’ll have a hard time finding a better variety of exquisite Greek pastries baked by the church’s capable philanthropic group. Adult admission is a modest $3.

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Show 20, March 9, 2013: Jason Quinn, Executive Chef and Owner of Playground & Playground 2.0 in Santa Ana Part Two

Playground DTSA in Santa AnaJason’s newest project is Playground 2.0 located on the walking street side of Playground. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights Jason is offering IO (invitation only.)

You need to be invited by a Playground server to be able to dine at the 17-seat IO.

It’s an incredible, multi-course extravaganza of rare and unusual ingredients. Jason, and his chefs cook everything right in front of you as well as provide entertaining commentary.

His sommelier Rhett Butler pairs every bite with a special libation. These intriguing pairings include spirits, beer, sake and wine.

Kevin Eats” is a well-known food blogger who Jet Tila respects for his honesty. He pays for every meal he writes about. Producer Andy dined at IO at Playground 2.0 on March 7th. “Kevin Eats” was also a guest that night.

His superb, course-by-course posting of the meal with photos is available here. By all means give it a read!

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Show 14, January 26, 2013: Al Mancini, restaurant critic for CityLife (Las Vegas)

Eating Las Vegas the 50 Essential RestaurantsAl is part of an unlikely group of three local restaurant critics who dominate the Las Vegas restaurant review scene. The other two members of this exclusive trio are the scholarly Max Jacobson who reviews for Vegas Seven and John Curtas, esq., a practicing attorney.

Over three years ago Al Mancini came up with the idea of penning the definitive guidebook to the 50 essential restaurants in Las Vegas. The thought was that it would be updated annually. Al brought in fellow critics Max and John to add diversity to the selection process and sold the idea to Huntington Press in Las Vegas.

For a restaurant to make it into the “50 essential” all three critics must agree. This is where the fun starts because the three seldom agree on anything! One of the highlights of the book is the list in the back of restaurants that didn’t make it because of a veto. You have the explanation from the nominator about why it was included and then the thumbs down from the critic who disagreed.

Also in the book is a useful section on where to get specific food items. For instance there are helpful listings for beer, buffets, burgers, pizza, steakhouses, Sunday Brunch, and sushi.

Eating Las Vegas : The 50 Essential Restaurants is now in its 3rd Edition.  It’s a value @ $12.95.

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