Show 180, July 16, 2016: Chef Eric Samaniego, Chef de Cuisine, Michael’s On Naples, Long Beach

Eric SamaniegoChef Eric Samaniego (Bravo TV’s “Best New Restaurant“), formerly of Little Sparrow in Santa Ana, has joined Michael’s On Naples in Long Beach as the award-winning restaurant’s chef de cuisine.

In addition to changes in the kitchen, Michael’s on Naples is experiencing an aesthetic transformation as well. The restaurant’s rooftop terrace has been under construction as it undergoes a major expansion and renovation. The Rooftop (opens July 20th) will now have its own kitchen along with a separate menu featuring more casual fare and shareable plates.

The main floor’s menu will focus on the nightly changing Chef’s Tasting Menu and the five-course Pasta Tasting. The Michael’s on Naples tradition of suggesting inspired wine and food pairings will continue.

Chef Samaniego, who began his career working for the late Charlie Trotter in Chicago, joined Michael’s On Naples in April working under the tutelage of former Corporate Executive Chef David Coleman. A graduate of Johnson & Wales University, Samaniego is a native of Southern California with his formative years spent in the Central Valley. His culinary credits include a seven-year stint with David Myers working at the high profile Sona and Comme Ca (both now closed) in Los Angeles.

Chef Eric Samaniego joins us.

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Show 172, May 21, 2016: Executive Chef Carrie Nahabedian, NAHA and Brindille, Chicago Continues…

Carrie NahabedianChef Carrie Nahabedian is one of the pillars of dining in Chicago. After departing her position as Executive Chef of the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, Carrie Nahabedian returned to her native Chicago to open NAHA in 2000, which garnered her a James Beard Award and four consecutive Michelin stars. Chef Nahabedian continues with us.

Brindille (Chef Carrie’s latest venture), named “Best New Restaurant in 2013” by Chicago Tribune, offers a glimpse into refined Parisian cuisine and atmosphere from the team that brought you NAHA. It’s Dinner, only.

In 2015 Brindille was awarded the James Beard Award for outstanding Restaurant Design (for an establishment under 75 seats.) It’s all of 30 seats.

For all restaurant information, go to their website.

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Show 154, January 9, 2016: Executive Chef Michael Hung, Viviane Restaurant, Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills

Michael Hung“Welcome to Viviane Restaurant, a collaboration between Bombet Hospitality Group and Proper Hospitality, located in the iconic Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills. Viviane features award-winning chef Michael Hung’s (Esquire Magazine’s Best New Restaurant) modern California interpretation of classic European and American cuisine.

Chef Michael’s menu is paired with a curated wine list of boutique vineyards and 1950’s inspired seasonal cocktails. Join us daily for lunch and dinner, weekdays for breakfast, and weekends for brunch. Experience food, drink, and festivity indoors or poolside in our Kelly Wearstler-designed space, a mid-century modern oasis sequestered away from the hurried pace of Los Angeles.”

“We love classic American and European cuisine. Dishes as simple as a properly roasted chicken or decadent as lobster cloaked in cognac and cream speak to us. At Viviane, we revive these flavors with a sense of California freshness. We present them to you with care. We hope a conversation begins with you.”

Chef Hung and Viviane Restaurant go out of their way to create special menus (with a sense of humor) for the Holidays. Christmas Day was a tribute to the feature film, “A Christmas Story,” and highlighted Chef Michael’s take on dinner at Chop Suey Palace. Check into their upcoming Valentine’s Day menu for added inspiration.

Tucked in a secluded residential neighborhood adjacent to Los Angeles’ most famous restaurants, shopping and cultural attractions, Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills was originally built in 1949 as the Beverly Carlton. Once a home-away-from-home for mid-century celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Mae West, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, the hotel got a second life and its current name when it was revamped by The Kor Group and Kelly Wearstler Interior Designs in 1999. Today, the property comprises three unique structures – the Olympic Building, Beverly Tower and Cañon Building – and offers 84 guestrooms, a full-service wellness studio, an hourglass pool and patio with outdoor dining.

Chef Michael Hung (ex-Faith & Flower) is our guest.

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Show 144, October 31, 2015: Executive Chef Jeffrey Boullt, SOCIAL Costa Mesa

Jeffrrey BoulltSOCIAL Costa Mesa just celebrated their Year Anniversary and a lot of credit for their success can be attributed to their personable Executive Chef Jeffrey Boullt. He’s out there cooking memorable tastes at a lot of high profile special events.

At the recent inaugural OozeFest in Santa Ana his dish was an incredibly tasty Confit Duck Hot Pocket! Chef Jeffrey always shows his imagination with a side of fun.

SOCIAL is a new-American restaurant offering chef and ingredient-focused dinner, brunch, late night bites and craft cocktails.

For 2015 SOCIAL Costa Mesa is the recipient of The Golden Foodie Awards for Best New Restaurant and Best California Cuisine.

Chef Jeffrey has had quite a culinary career for someone who is all of 35. He’s a native of the OC. After working in New Orleans (Commander’s Palace) and throughout Southern California (Playground,) he is merging the two regional cuisine styles and bringing them to life through his playful and thoughtful menu at SOCIAL Costa Mesa.

On YouTube you can find Cathy Thomas’ (Cathy Thomas Cooks!) instructional video of Chef Jeffrey preparing Vibrant Roasted Vegetables with French Goat Cheese and Italian-style Salsa Verde.

We’ll meet Chef Jeffrey and perhaps pick up a few tips for success.

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Show 140, October 3, 2015: 100eats.com and Foodbeast’s Ooze Fest

Foodbeast OozefestWe’re celebrating American Cheese Month with the World’s Tallest Cheese Stack (hopefully) as part of the inaugural Ooze Fest on October 10th. Bobby Navarro’s 100eats Team has partnered with Foodbeast to create a stream of unique and creative events with (promised) never seen before activations and food items unique to Ooze Fest.

The debut of 20 original cheese dishes from energized area restaurants will be on the tasting menu including creations from SOCIAL Costa Mesa (Best New Restaurant at The Golden Foodies,) Chef Andrew Gruel’s Slapfish (Lobster Marscapone Beignets,) Little Sparrow, Blackmarket Bakery and Grits Fullerton. A variety of craft beers will be there on-tap to quench the thirst of all melted cheese-lovers.

“Ooze Fest. Where the cheese drools as much as the people who are anxiously waiting to eat. The national food publication, Foodbeast, is bringing record breaking, heart burn amounts of cheese at Ooze Fest, a cheese festival located in Santa Ana.”

Foodbeast.com is working toward the goal of making internet food a reality to their legion of fans, and the local community. Nguyen Tran of Starry Kitchen and the new Button Mash in LA is coming to OC to host. Tran will rally the crowd and share about the cheese love.

Standard and VIP tickets include all-you-can-eat-and-drink food and beer. Cheers! Nosh on one of a kind, never before seen fare, brought to you by local restaurants that love cheese just as much as you do. VIP tickets include early admittance to the event, along with a t-shirt and a commemorative glass.

The standard ticket is 50 dollars and VIP is 75 dollars. The event is broken up into two sessions, first session is from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. and second session is from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. (VIP’s enjoy 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. respectively). Early birds in the first session get the glory of seeing the world’s tallest grilled cheese stack first ever attempt.  The second session will feature the Famous Eaters Grilled Cheese Eating Competition and the award for best cheese item of the festival.

 

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Show 140, October 3, 2015: Moulin Bistro and Proprietor Laurent Vrignaud

Laurent VrignaudMoulin Bistro in Newport Beach, celebrating their first anniversary, is an incredible success story. It’s a busy French bistro, epicerie, boulangerie and patisserie under one roof. (“Always Fresh, Always French.”) All the appointments and fixtures are French. The ambitious proprietor (unbelievably) had no previous restaurant experience.

It’s already the darling of Orange County Food writers. Moulin was one of three nominees for “Best New Restaurant” at The 2015 Golden Foodie Awards.

The French Rotisserie Chicken is a standout.

Laurent wanted to close at 7:00 p.m. but his French guests had another opinion. By popular demand he opened on Tuesday evenings for Dinner at Moulin. It’s a weekly changing appetizer, main dish, and dessert for $25.00. It now sells out at capacity way in advance. Laurent then added Thursday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. It’s Entrecote Frites night with unlimited fries. It’s also $25.00.

The Orange County Register’s long-time food writer Cathy Thomas recently did a feature on Moulin’s Le Croque Madame. The video (demonstrating the recipe with Laurent and French-born Chef Jeoffrey Offer) is available for viewing on You Tube.

Laurent also has several entertaining video interview segments (including one with his daughter who works at Moulin) on Grub Tribe. Worth viewing…(Check-out the video about French Wi-Fi.)

Proprietor Laurent Vrignaud joins us.

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Show 133, August 1, 2015: Food Network’s Simon Majumdar Continues…

Simon MajumdarMajumdar is also the new Master of Ceremonies for the upcoming 2015 Golden Foodie Awards presented in the red carpet affair on September 27th at the Fairmont Newport Beach.He was previously a Presenter in 2014.

Majumdar will lead the Golden Foodie Awards on-stage unveiling winners in over 25 categories including Golden Chef, Golden Pastry Chef, and Best New Restaurant.

The Golden Foodie Awards honor Orange County’s culinary community and creates an environment where nominees and foodies can indulge in an evening of accolades and decadent cuisine.

On-line voting (for seven days only) in the initial seven categories starts Saturday August 1st. These include Best Cocktail, Bartender of the Year, Best Food Talk Radio Show, Best Food Writer, Best Sushi, Best Dessert and Best Service Award.

Simon is understandably neutral on suggesting the possible nominees for Best Food Talk Radio Show. He has been a guest on the three radio shows nominated last year. He does politely suggest voting in the categories of your choice and making your voice heard…

On the “SoCal Restaurant Show” we’re not neutral. If you enjoy what we do every Saturday morning we’d greatly appreciate your vote before Friday night, August 7th. It’s really easy to vote. Once you see the category of “Best Food Talk Radio Show” write in “SoCal Restaurant Show” and click “Vote’ It’s just that easy. Thanks for your consideration.

The next group of categories are eligible for voting starting on August 8th.


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Show 109, February 7, 2015: Executive Chef Eric Samaniego, Little Sparrow Café

Eric SamaniegoEric Samaniego (ex- Comme Ca in West Hollywood) is the acclaimed Executive Chef of Little Sparrow in Santa Ana. The Orange County Register’s Restaurant Critic, Brad A. Johnson, awarded Little Sparrow recognition as “Best New Restaurant” in 2013. Samaniego’s Pastry Chef, Nasera Munshi, was Johnson’s choice as “Pastry Chef of the Year” in 2014. It’s only 42 seats.

If all of that wasn’t enough recognition Little Sparrow was selected by the producers (including Tom Colicchio) of Bravo’s “Best New Restaurant” competition series as one of 16 USA restaurants from four cities to vie for the title of Best New Restaurant and a cool $100,000 cash prize. Chef Eric credits Brad Johnson’s coverage of Little Sparrow in the “Orange County Register” in attracting the initial attention of the producers of “Best New Restaurant.”

Despite not having any formal restaurant background, married owners of Little Sparrow, Bruce Marsh and Naseem Aflakian, opened the restaurant with financial help from Kickstarter.

They are proud of their guest-friendly boutique wine program where serious effort is given to matching appropriate wines with Chef Eric’s cuisine. On Wednesday nights all full bottles of wine are priced at half-off, and there is no corkage on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights.

With eager anticipation we’ll see how Little Sparrow does in their initial episode airing on Wednesday evening. Feb. 25th. In this first round they compete against Chef Gabe Thompson and L’Apicio, located in Manhattan’s East Village.

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Show 103, December 27, 2014: Brad A. Johnson, Restaurant Critic, Orange County Register Part One

Photography by Brad A JohnsonIt’s our pleasure to welcome back Brad A. Johnson, the Orange County Registers award-winning restaurant critic to the show. Brad is going to share his 2014 Orange County restaurant awards with us. These include his selections for Restaurant of the Year, Chef of the Year, Pastry Chef of the Year, Outstanding Wine Service and Best New Restaurant. Additionally we’ll hear about his favorite Orange County dishes of the year.

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Show 92, October 11, 2014: Selanne Steak Tavern

Sellane Steak TavernSelanne Steak Tavern in Laguna Beach debuted with a splash about a year ago. It’s been a really great inaugural year. At the recent Golden Foodie Awards Selanne was the recipient of “Best New Restaurant” (an award decided by peers) and the people’s choice award (decided by popular vote)for “Best Steak.”

Selanne’s accomplished pastry chef, Heather Fisher, was also nominated for Golden Pastry Chef at The Golden Foodie Awards, also a prestigious peer-decided category.

Joshua Severson is the executive chef at Selanne Steak Tavern. It’s owned by legendary former Anaheim Ducks hockey player and six-time Olympian Teemu Selanne and local Orange County businessman Kevin Pratt.

Leo Fenn is the Operations Director.

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