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

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 234, July 29, 2017: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris

Program Note for Saturday, July 29th. We followed the Halos, come-from-behind victory at a special time. Next Saturday, August 5th we are back at our usual time of 10:00 a.m. to 12 Noon. Please join us.

Now an enticing preview of Saturday afternoon’s fully-packed 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…

Step off the pristine, white sandy beach and into the open-airHau Tree restaurant & bar on the Big Island of Hawaii at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel for a causal dining menu which includes sandwiches, wraps, hamburgers, salads, ice cream, their famous Ovaltine Froth, or a cooling Fredrico cocktail which originated right there. We pull the newly married Chef Chris Galindo off the beach for an overview.

In her new book The Migraine Relief Plan: An 8-Week Transition to Better Eating, Fewer Headaches, and Optimal Health, health coach and wellness authority Stephanie Weaver explores the connection between lifestyle, food, and wellness for people with migraines, vertigo, and related conditions like Meniere’s disease. With more than 36 million Americans dealing with migraines, and many more with chronic headaches, this is genuinely useful information.

On Thursday evening, August 10th Chef Amar Santana’s Vaca in Costa Mesa is hosting a sumptuous, 7-course 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. VACA Group Partner & Executive Chef Amar Santana (just back from Ibiza, Spain) provides the salivating preview.

Journalist Al Mancini is well-known in Las Vegas hospitality circles. He’s been reviewing restaurants there for over 15 years. In 2011 he co-created the first edition of the definitive Las Vegas dining guide – Eating Las Vegas – The 50 Essential Restaurants. Late last year he joined the Las Vegas Review-Journal as a staff writer primarily covering the food, restaurant and libations beat. We’ll chat with Al about the rise of Downtown Las Vegas as a dining destination and also get updated on other local foodie news of note.

DINE LBC Long Beach Restaurant Week is set for August 5th through August 13th, 2017. More than 60 diverse Long Beach restaurants spanning 12 neighborhoods will offer special multi-course menus at affordable prices. Encoring in DINE LBC are Chef Arthur Gonzalez’s Panxa Cocina (modern Latin Cuisine) and Roe Seafood (the home of seafood fanatics). We’ll meet the proprietor, Chef Arthur Gonzalez.

Every year at the OC Fair is the eagerly anticipated Concessionaires Cup Challenge. The Fair’s hugely competitive food concessionaires compete to win the bragging rights in ten food categories. OC Weekly’s “On the Line” correspondent, Anne Marie Panoringan, was one of the 21 esteemed judges. Anne Marie also had the honor of being one of the three judges deciding the “Best Overall Item” honors. That’s the big one…She joins us with the lip-smacking results.

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

Play

Show 234, July 29, 2017: Executive Chef / Proprietor Amar Santana’s Vaca Friends of James Beard Benefit Dinner

Amar Santana at the Top Chef FinaleOn Thursday evening, August 10th Chef Amar Santana’s Vaca in Costa Mesa is hosting a sumptuous, 7-course 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. For reservations to the Friends of James Beard Dinner at Vaca, please register online her 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 & Executive Chef Amar Santana (well-traveled) provides the tempting preview.

The Orange County Register’s long-time Food Business Staff Writer, Nancy Luna, had a great explanatory piece with Chef Amar on Vaca’s upcoming Friends of James Beard Benefit Dinner that ran in the print edition on July 27th.

Play

July 29: Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Stephanie Weaver, Amar Santana, Al Mancini, Arthur Gonzalez, Anne Marie Panoringan

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef Chris Galindo, Hau Tree restaurant & bar, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Kauna’oa Bay, The Big Island of Hawaii
Segment Three: Author Stephanie Weaver, MPH, CWHC. The Migraine Relief Plan – An 8-Week Transition to Better Eating, Fewer Headaches, and Optimal Health
Segment Four: Executive Chef / Proprietor Amar Santana’s Vaca Friends of James Beard Benefit Dinner
Segment Five: Journalist Al Mancini, Las Vegas Review-Journal Part One
Segment Six: Journalist Al Mancini, Las Vegas Review-Journal Part Two
Segment Seven: Restaurateur / Executive Chef Arthur Gonzalez, Roe Seafood & Panxa Cocina. DINE LBC Long Beach Restaurant Week
Segment Eight: Concessionaires’ Cup 2017, OC Fair. Judge Anne Marie Panoringan, OC Weekly Contributor

Program Note for Saturday, July 29th. The Halos are playing the Blue Jays in Toronto during our normal broadcast time so we’re graciously stepping aside. All is still well because we simply shift to 2 to 4:00 p.m. the afternoon of July 29th only. Same packed show…Please join us then and don’t keep it a secret!

Now an enticing preview of this Saturday afternoon’s fully-packed 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…

Step off the pristine, white sandy beach and into the open-airHau Tree restaurant & bar on the Big Island of Hawaii at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel for a causal dining menu which includes sandwiches, wraps, hamburgers, salads, ice cream, their famous Ovaltine Froth, or a cooling Fredrico cocktail which originated right there. We pull the newly married Chef Chris Galindo off the beach for an overview.

In her new book The Migraine Relief Plan: An 8-Week Transition to Better Eating, Fewer Headaches, and Optimal Health, health coach and wellness authority Stephanie Weaver explores the connection between lifestyle, food, and wellness for people with migraines, vertigo, and related conditions like Meniere’s disease. With more than 36 million Americans dealing with migraines, and many more with chronic headaches, this is genuinely useful information.

On Thursday evening, August 10th Chef Amar Santana’s Vaca in Costa Mesa is hosting a sumptuous, 7-course 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. VACA Group Partner & Executive Chef Amar Santana (just back from Spain) provides the appetizing preview.

Journalist Al Mancini is well-known in Las Vegas hospitality circles. He’s been reviewing restaurants there for over 15 years. In 2011 he co-created the first edition of the definitive Las Vegas dining guide – Eating Las Vegas – The 50 Essential Restaurants. Late last year he joined the Las Vegas Review-Journal as a staff writer primarily covering the food, restaurant and libations beat. We’ll chat with Al about the rise of Downtown Las Vegas as a dining destination and also get updated on other local foodie news of note.

DINE LBC Long Beach Restaurant Week is set for August 5th through August 13th, 2017. More than 60 diverse Long Beach restaurants spanning 12 neighborhoods will offer special multi-course menus at affordable prices. Encoring in DINE LBC are Chef Arthur Gonzalez’s Panxa Cocina (modern Latin Cuisine) and Roe Seafood (the home of seafood fanatics). We’ll meet the proprietor, Chef Arthur Gonzalez.

Every year at the OC Fair is the eagerly anticipated Concessionaires Cup Challenge. The Fair’s hugely competitive food concessionaires compete to win the bragging rights in ten food categories. OC Weekly’s “On the Line” correspondent, Anne Marie Panoringan, was one of the 21 esteemed judges. Anne Marie also had the honor of being one of the three judges deciding the “Best Overall Item” honors. That’s the big one…She joins us with the lip-smacking results.

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

Chris GalindoStep off the pristine, white sandy beach and into the open-airHau Tree restaurant & bar on the Big Island of Hawaii at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel for a causal dining menu which includes sandwiches, wraps, hamburgers, salads, ice cream, their famous Ovaltine Froth, or a cooling Fredrico cocktail which originated right there.

This is an unparalleled spot in The Hawaiian Islands to enjoy the nightly Sunset. Truly spectacular…

Hau Tree offers a grab-n-go breakfast, sit-down lunches and relaxed dinners on the Big Island of Hawai’i. It’s complete with a gazebo-style bar perfectly situated for enjoying cocktails while anticipating the sunset’s elusive green flash.

We pull the newly married Chef Chris Galindo off the beach for an ono overview.

Stephanie WeaverIn her new book The Migraine Relief Plan: An 8-Week Transition to Better Eating, Fewer Headaches, and Optimal Health, health coach and wellness authority Stephanie Weaver explores the connection between lifestyle, food, and wellness for people with migraines, vertigo, and related conditions like Meniere’s disease. With more than 36 million Americans dealing with migraines, and many more with chronic headaches, this is genuinely useful information.

One in four U.S. households includes someone with these symptoms; the traditional approach of prescriptions or injections is ineffective for many.

Stephanie took her own surprising diagnosis-at age 53!- and set out to create a different strategy to help herself and others. No other book for migraines or headaches features a comprehensive, realistic lifestyle approach, providing guidance for a full six months as readers learn how to create their own migraine-friendly lifestyle.

Stephanie brings warmth and humor to a normally clinical topic, and her lively presentation style showcases her approach to being “an incredibly healthy person who happens to get migraines.”

In the book (with 75 recipes) Stephanie explains in depth about the challenge of recipe development using a limited palette of foods, explores the concept of food substitutions, and showcases what a plant-forward migraine-friendly plate looks like.

Amar Santana at the Top Chef FinaleOn Thursday evening, August 10th Chef Amar Santana’s Vaca in Costa Mesa is hosting a sumptuous, 7-course 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. For reservations to the Friends of James Beard Dinner at Vaca, please register online her 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 & Executive Chef Amar Santana (well-traveled) provides the tempting preview.

Al ManciniJournalist Al Mancini is well-known in Las Vegas hospitality circles. He’s been reviewing restaurants there for over 15 years. In 2011 he co-created the first edition of the definitive Las Vegas dining guideEating Las Vegas – The 50 Essential Restaurants. Late last year he joined the Las Vegas Review-Journal as a staff writer primarily covering the food, restaurant and libations beat.

We’ll chat with Al about the rise of Downtown Las Vegas as a dining destination and also get updated on other local foodie news of note.

We’ll then continue our insider’s chat with Al about Vegas foodie news of note. Also we’ll hear about what Al has to say about a 2-unit restaurant group in Las Vegas testing the uncharted waters of going cashless.

Arthur GonzalezDINE LBC Long Beach Restaurant Week is set for August 5th through August 13th, 2017. More than 60 diverse Long Beach restaurants spanning 12 neighborhoods will offer special multi-course menus at affordable prices.

Encoring in DINE LBC are Chef Arthur Gonzalez’s Panxa Cocina (modern Latin Cuisine) and Roe Seafood (the home of seafood fanatics). We’ll meet the proprietor, Chef Arthur Gonzalez.

Panxa Cocina opened in December 2014 and is located on the corner of Broadway and Termino in the Belmont Heights neighborhood of Long Beach. Since opening, Chef Gonzalez has been serving both quality interpretations of classic dishes and daring new ventures into the uncharted territories of food.

Panxa’s interior reflects the hip sensibilities of the surrounding area while also paying tribute to its Latin and New Mexican roots. This ground-floor restaurant offers the choice to observe passers-by from many tables throughout the restaurant, or enjoy the full menu at the bar.

Roe Seafood is the new home for seafood fanatics in Belmont Shore. Roe offers inspired, handcrafted, mouth- watering seafood dishes that blend both seasonal and local ingredients with bold flavors and exciting tastes.

“All ingredients are fresh and in season. If you’d like to know where we source our fish, shellfish, vegetables, or breads, please ask.

Join us for lunch or dinner 7 days a week for the freshest and most delicious seafood you’ve ever tasted. You can always call us and order take-out, because everything on the menu at Roe is always ready to go.”

Anne Marie PanoringanEvery year at the OC Fair is the eagerly anticipated Concessionaires Cup Challenge. The Fair’s hugely competitive food concessionaires vie to win the bragging rights in ten food categories. OC Weekly’s “On the Line” correspondent, Anne Marie Panoringan, was one of the 21 esteemed judges.

Anne Marie also had the honor of being one of the three senior judges deciding the “Best Overall Item” honors. That’s the big one…She joins us with the lip-smacking results.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef Chris Galindo, Hau Tree restaurant & bar, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Kauna’oa Bay, The Big Island of Hawaii
Segment Three: Author Stephanie Weaver, MPH, CWHC. The Migraine Relief Plan – An 8-Week Transition to Better Eating, Fewer Headaches, and Optimal Health
Segment Four: Executive Chef / Proprietor Amar Santana’s Vaca Friends of James Beard Benefit Dinner
Segment Five: Journalist Al Mancini, Las Vegas Review-Journal Part One
Segment Six: Journalist Al Mancini, Las Vegas Review-Journal Part Two
Segment Seven: Restaurateur / Executive Chef Arthur Gonzalez, Roe Seafood & Panxa Cocina. DINE LBC Long Beach Restaurant Week
Segment Eight: Concessionaires’ Cup 2017, OC Fair. Judge Anne Marie Panoringan, OC Weekly Contributor

Show 207, January 21, 2017: Executive Chef / Restaurateur Dean James Max of DJM Restaurants & Executive Chef David MacLennan of James Republic, Long Beach

Dean James MaxThe Founder and Co-Proprietor of James Republic Restaurant in Long Beach is Chef Dean James Max of DJM Restaurants, a multiple James Beard Award nominee. His opening Executive Chef there is the talented David MacLennan. In a bit over three years they have made this relaxed vibe restaurant one of the best dining destinations in Long Beach. Their Brunch is a standout, too. Think Chorizo & Cheddar Croissant.

On February 8th at James Republic at Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Long Beach they are presenting a multi-course dining spectacular along with Chef Amar Santana (Vaca & Broadway by Amar Santana) to benefit the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP.) Chef Amar is a distinguished C-CAP Alum.

The evening includes a cocktail reception with local craft beer, sparkling wine and still wine and passed hors d’oeuvres. Then it’s a sumptuous seated dinner with three waves of ample food platters served Family-style. Each wave of the three incudes separate platters from each chef. That’s three platters of delights for each wave. Dessert and gourmet chocolates conclude the festivities. If you go away hungry it’s your own fault. There is also both a live & silent auction with crave-worthy items with great appeal for any foodie.

Tickets (and there are only 150 reservations available) are $195 per guest with $150 of that being Tax Deductible.

Chefs Dean & David join us to preview C-CAP’s Winter Harvest Benefit Dinner at James Republic on Wednesday, February 8th.

Play

Show 206, January 14, 2017: Show Preview with Andy Harris, Co-Host & Executive Producer and Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group

Andy Harris and Andrew Gruel at the Pechanga Wine Festival for Angels Radio AM830 KLAANow a hunger-evoking preview of Saturday’s fully-loaded show with Co-Hosts Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group. 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 actually a pretty good thing…

The 11th Annual Newport Beach Restaurant Week is upon us from January 16th to 29th, 2017. The Bungalow Restaurant, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last October, is one of the 60 plus restaurants participating. Terri Henry of Terri Henry Marketing joins us to highlight her client’s Lunch and Dinner Restaurant Week menu options.

The always “in-the-know” Anne Marie Panoringan is a contributing writer for OC Weekly. She is also a recognized authority on cocktails from the consumers’ point-of-view. Experience counts! Anne Marie joins us with a recap of her recent OC Weekly piece, “Top 5 Orange County Cocktails of 2016, Anne Marie Edition!” Cheers…

Amar Santana is the Executive Chef/Proprietor of Vaca in Costa Mesa and Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach. Vaca was Orange County Register Restaurant Critic, Brad A. Johnson’s “Best New Restaurant of 2016. Chef Amar is also a distinguished alum of the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP.) Amar joins us to preview C-CAP’s Winter Harvest Benefit Dinner at James Republic on Wednesday, February 8th.

We know Chef Marc Johnson as the opening chef for both the Oak Grill Restaurant and Aqua Lounge at The Island Hotel in Newport Beach. Chef Marc has now taken his spice rack and seasonings over to the Red O Restaurants (Fashion Island, Los Angeles and Santa Monica) where is the Corporate Executive Chef. We’ll get all the spicy details with Chef Marc.

Some of the best Mexican street food available in Puerto Vallarta is found at the 10 year-old Vallarta Botanical Garden. Let’s talk about those incredible fish tacos and really fresh chunky guacamole! It’s all served with style, too, in an unequaled setting. The garden itself is an impressive attraction, too. We’re sipping local Raicilla (available in their gift shop) with Curator and Founder, Bob Price.

“Noods Noods Noods” – The Noodle & Asian Themed Food Festival in on for January 14th, 2017 in historic Downtown Santa Ana. This one-day Festival presented by Foodbeast and Nissin, The Original Cup Noodles will feature some of the craziest, most delicious noodle and Asian-themed creations. Our own Chef Andrew Gruel will be debuting an item from his soon-to-open Two Birds at Trade in Irvine. Festival Producer Bobby Navarro of 100 Eats is our guest.

What’s trending in fruits and vegetables for the new year? Produce Guru (aka The Prince of Produce) Robert Schueller of Melissa’s World Variety Produce has the answers. For openers everything “Coconut” is hot…

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

Play

Show 206, January 14, 2017: Executive Chef Amar Santana, Vaca and Broadway by Amar Santana

Amar SantanaAmar Santana is the Executive Chef/Proprietor of Vaca in Costa Mesa and Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach. Vaca was Orange County Register Restaurant Critic, Brad A. Johnson’s “Best New Restaurant of 2016. For Season 13 of Bravo’s Top Chef Amar was the runner-up by the thickness of an onion skin. Chef Amar is also a distinguished alum of the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP.)

Amar joins us to preview C-CAP’s Winter Harvest Benefit Dinner at James Republic in Long Beach on February 8th. The popular James Republic is one of the top destination restaurants in Long Beach. The evening is a spectacular, multi-course feast.

James Republic is co-owned by Executive Chef and Restaurateur Dean James Max (a multiple James Beard Award nominee) of DJM Restaurants. Chef Dean will be flying in from his base in southern Florida to present a course. James Republic’s executive chef, David MacLennan (opening exec chef) will also be preparing a course.

Chef Amar’s dish is under the veil of heavy secrecy but he does hint it will be a pork spectacular. The award-winning El Segundo Brewing Co. is brewing a special craft beer to pair with Chef Amar’s dish exclusively for the evening.

Play

January 14: The Bungalow, OC Weekly, Amar Santana, Marc Johnson, Vallarta Botanical Garden, Noods Noods Noods, Melissa’s Produce

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Andy Harris, Co-Host & Executive Producer and Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group
Segment Two: The Bungalow Restaurant, Corona del Mar, for Newport Beach Restaurant Week
Segment Three: Food & Libation journalist, Anne Marie Panoringan, Contributor to OC Weekly
Segment Four: Executive Chef Amar Santana, Vaca and Broadway by Amar Santana
Segment Five: Marc Johnson, Corporate Executive Chef, Red O Restaurants
Segment Six: Bob Price, Curator and Founder, Vallarta Botanical Garden, Jardin Botanico De Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta
Segment Seven: Bobby Navarro, Producer, Noods Noods Noods Noodle and Asian Fusion Festival
Segment Eight: Robert Schueller, Director of Public Relations (The Produce Guru), Melissa’s / World Variety Produce, Inc.

Now a hunger-evoking preview of Saturday’s fully-loaded show with Co-Hosts Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group. 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 actually a pretty good thing…

The 11th Annual Newport Beach Restaurant Week is upon us from January 16th to 29th, 2017. The Bungalow Restaurant, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last October, is one of the 60 plus restaurants participating. Restaurant management veteran Louie Feinstein (a co-owner) joins us to highlight their Lunch and Dinner Restaurant Week menu options.

The always “in-the-know” Anne Marie Panoringan is a contributing writer for OC Weekly. She is also a recognized expert on cocktails. Experience counts! Anne Marie joins us with a recap of her recent OC Weekly piece, “Top 5 Orange County Cocktails of 2016, Anne Marie Edition!” Cheers…

Amar Santana is the Executive Chef/Proprietor of Vaca in Costa Mesa and Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach. Vaca was Orange County Register Restaurant Critic, Brad A. Johnson’s “Best New Restaurant of 2016. Chef Amar is also a distinguished alum of the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP.) Amar joins us to preview C-CAP’s Winter Harvest Benefit Dinner at James Republic on Wednesday, February 8th.

We know Chef Marc Johnson as the opening chef for both the Oak Grill Restaurant and Aqua Lounge at The Island Hotel in Newport Beach. Chef Marc has now taken his spice rack and seasonings over to the Red O Restaurants (Fashion Island, Los Angeles and Santa Monica) where is the Corporate Executive Chef. We’ll get all the spicy details with Chef Marc.

Some of the best Mexican street food available in Puerto Vallarta is found at the 10 year-old Vallarta Botanical Garden. Let’s talk about those incredible fish tacos and really fresh guacamole! It’s all served with style, too, in an unequaled setting. The garden itself is an impressive attraction, too. We’re sipping local Raicilla with Curator and Founder, Bob Price.

“Noods Noods Noods” – The Noodle & Asian Themed Food Festival in on for January 14th, 2017 in historic Downtown Santa Ana. This one-day Festival will feature some of the craziest, most delicious noodle and Asian-themed creations. Our own Chef Andrew Gruel will be debuting an item from his soon-to-open Two Birds at Trade in Irvine. Festival Producer Bobby Navarro of 100 Eats is our guest.

What’s trending in fruits and vegetables for the new year? Produce Guru (aka The Prince of Produce) Robert Schueller of Melissa’s / World Variety Produce has the answers. Everything “Coconut” is hot…

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

Louie FeinsteinThe 11th Annual Newport Beach Restaurant Week is upon us from January 16th to 29th, 2017. The Bungalow Restaurant, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last October, is one of the 60 plus restaurants participating.

For Restaurant Week The Bungalow offers a $20 per guest 3-course Lunch menu with a choice of 8 entrée options including Grilled Mahi Mahi & Wild Rice Salad. For Dinner there is a $40 menu option as well as a $50 menu.

The Bungalow is a local favorite at the crossroads of Coast Highway and MacArthur Boulevard in Corona del Mar. Its shingle façade, striking black awnings, and Arts and Crafts font displaying the restaurant’s name gives the feel of dining in a charming Craftsman retreat.

The Bungalow’s menu specializes in USDA Prime Steaks, fresh seafood and handcrafted cocktails. The restaurant also boasts a 160-label wine cellar featuring premium vintages. A full bar and menu of signature cocktails adds to the restaurant’s allure.

Restaurant management veteran and co-owner Louie Feinstein (ex-Grill Concepts) joins us to highlight their Lunch and Dinner Restaurant Week menu options.

Anne Marie PanoringanThe always “in-the-know” Anne Marie Panoringan is a contributing writer for OC Weekly. She is also a recognized expert on cocktails. Anne Marie joins us with a recap of her recent OC Weekly piece, Top 5 Orange County Cocktails of 2016, Anne Marie Edition!”

“Another year, another round of drinks. It’s a great time to love me some cocktails, because more places than ever have been pouring some of the best I’ve seen and tasted. We turn back the clock 300-ish days to recap on some of my favorites for the year. Any hey – they don’t all contain whiskey.”

One hint: “Pineapple Under the Sea at TAPS Fish House & Brewery ranks #5.

Amar SantanaAmar Santana is the Executive Chef/Proprietor of Vaca in Costa Mesa and Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach. Vaca was Orange County Register Restaurant Critic, Brad A. Johnson’s “Best New Restaurant of 2016. For Season 13 of Bravo’s Top Chef Amar was the runner-up by the thickness of an onion skin. Chef Amar is also a distinguished alum of the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP.)

Amar joins us to preview C-CAP’s Winter Harvest Benefit Dinner at James Republic in Long Beach on February 8th. The popular James Republic is one of the top destination restaurants in Long Beach.

It’s co-owned by Executive Chef and Restaurateur Dean James Max (a multiple James Beard Award nominee) of DJM Restaurants. Chef Dean will be flying in from his base in southern Florida to present a course. James Republic’s executive chef, David MacLennan (opening exec chef) will also be preparing a course.

Marc JohnsonWe know Chef Marc Johnson as the opening chef for both the Oak Grill Restaurant and Aqua Lounge at The Island Hotel in Newport Beach. Chef Marc has now taken his spice rack and rubs over to the Red O Restaurants (Fashion Island, Los Angeles and Santa Monica) where is the Corporate Executive Chef. La Jolla launches in April.

Focusing on Red O Restaurants, Chef Johnson is shaking things up with his passionate drive. “Joining Red O Restaurants has been an amazing opportunity to push the limits of what I can do creatively in the kitchen,” says Chef Johnson.

With a focus on flavors from Central Mexico, Baja and MexiCali, Chef Johnson finds a balance with Red O mainstays that guests have come to love, while introducing new menu offerings with a seafood focal point. Hearty or light, all of Chef Johnson’s dishes feature fresh, vibrant ingredients reminiscent of the beachy lifestyle South of the Border.

From the sauces to the tortillas all made fresh daily, nearly 100% of the food prepared at Red O Restaurants is made in-house. “A lot of labor and passion goes into the process of bringing the components of these dishes to life,” says Johnson.

We’ll get all the spicy details with a side of guacamole with Chef Marc.

Bob PriceSome of the best & tastiest Mexican street food available in Puerto Vallarta is found at the Vallarta Botanical Garden (“Where Mexican plants meet the imagination!”) Let’s talk about those incredible fish tacos and fresh guacamole! It’s all served with style, too, in an unequaled setting. The garden itself is an impressive attraction, too.

“The mission of the Vallarta Botanical Gardens is to create Mexico’s foremost botanical garden for the discovery, study, propagation, conservation and display of native and exotic plants for the enjoyment of Puerto Vallarta’s residents and visitors.”

We’re sipping local Raicilla with Curator and Founder, Bob Price.

Bobby Navarro“Noods Noods Noods” – The Noodle & Asian Themed Food Festival in on for January 14th, 2017 in historic Downtown Santa Ana. This one-day Festival will feature some of the craziest, most delicious noodle and Asian-themed creations. Our own Chef Andrew Gruel will be debuting an item from his soon-to-open Two Birds at Trade in Irvine.

Asian-Inspired Comfort Foods — NOODS has brought some of the best food geniuses around to this epicenter of Asian-eats. The innovative dishes at NOODS are promised to be nothing short of newsworthy and drool-worthy. This event will host multiple vendors, each supplying exclusive Asian-inspired and/or noodle-tastic comfort-food items.

Among the lineup of participating restaurants and their creative food items:

Anchor Hitch: Deep Fried Uni pasta with swiss cheese, lightly coated in panko, drizzled in uni cream sauce, topped with Smelt Roe and Shredded Nori

Mess Hall Canteen: Award Winning White Boy Ramen with tonkatsu style pork broth, crispy pork belly, pickled jalapeños and shallots, dandelion greens, mushroom, sous vide egg

Two Birds: Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish debuts his newest concept to NOODS and will present Jidori Chicken and a Ramen Burrito

Shrimp Daddy: The OC Debut of June Quan’s AKA @stirandstyle’s Hawaiian garlic shrimp concept

Festival Producer Bobby Navarro of 100 Eats is our guest.

Robert Schueller of Melissa's World Variety Produce in the AM830 KLAA StudioWhat’s trending in fruits and vegetables for the new year? Produce Guru (aka The Prince of Produce) Robert Schueller of Melissa’s World Variety Produce has the answers.

Everything “Coconut,” for instance, is hot…Melissa’s is introducing Fresh Coconut. It’s fresh coconut juice (with no additives) in a genuine coconut grown in Vietnam. Also available are coconut hearts & slices, young coconuts, packaged coconut clean snaxs and lots more.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Andy Harris, Co-Host & Executive Producer and Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group
Segment Two: The Bungalow Restaurant, Corona del Mar, for Newport Beach Restaurant Week
Segment Three: Food & Libation journalist, Anne Marie Panoringan, Contributor to OC Weekly
Segment Four: Executive Chef Amar Santana, Vaca and Broadway by Amar Santana
Segment Five: Marc Johnson, Corporate Executive Chef, Red O Restaurants
Segment Six: Bob Price, Curator and Founder, Vallarta Botanical Garden, Jardin Botanico De Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta
Segment Seven: Bobby Navarro, Producer, Noods Noods Noods Noodle and Asian Fusion Festival
Segment Eight: Robert Schueller, Director of Public Relations (The Produce Guru), Melissa’s / World Variety Produce, Inc.