Show 235, August 5, 2017: Executive Chef Marco Zapien, Hatch Chile Festivities at Zapien’s Salsa Grill

Marco Zapien of Zapiens Salsa Grill and TaqueriaOnce a year Zapien’s Salsa Grill in Pico Rivera (known for from-scratch, regional Mexican fare) hosts a series of interactive Hatch Chile-themed events to celebrate the famous New Mexican spicy and savory pepper. Along with Chef Marco Zapien’s Hatch Chile Cooking Demonstration and Dinner on August 10th (Hatch Chile Verde & Hatch Chile Colorado) the restaurant hosts a festive daytime Hatch Chile Roast on September 9th were cases of the roasted Hatch Chiles can be picked up and enjoyed.

At The Roast the guest selects the level of spicy desired ranging from mild to hot. Alongside the roasting on Saturday September 9th Chef Marco will be featuring a special Hatch Chile Brunch menu at Zapien’s. And, yes, scrumptious Hatch Chocolate Chip Cookies for dessert !

Chef Marco Zapien shares his Hatch Chile secrets with us. He’s just back from cooking at The Hampton’s Party of the Summer – The James Beard Foundation’s Chefs & Champagne Benefit at the Wolffer Estate Vineyard.


Show 227, June 10, 2017: Chef Ronnel Capacia, Journey’s End at Pechanga

Ronnel Capacia at the Chili CookoffRegular listeners of the “SoCal Restaurant Show” know Chef Ronnel Capacia as the master of the grill, smoker and pizza oven at Kelsey’s – Great Food & Drinks.

He’s just been promoted to Chef at Journey’s End at Pechanga, the stylish restaurant with incredible views located in the handsome clubhouse of the Journey golf course.

Special Father’s Day Brunch there on June 18th at $39 for Adults and $21 for Children. Everything from a Live Egg & Omelet Station to a Seafood Bar and Carved Roasted Prime Rib station. Also. a Louisiana-Style Seafood Boil.

Chef Ronnel is always a serious competitor (and one to watch) in the annual Pechanga Chili Cook-off.

We’ll get Chef Ronnel off the links for a chat.




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.


Show 184, August 13, 2016: Chef Ted Hopson & Beverage Director Ann-Marie Verdi, The Bellwether, Studio City

Ann Marie Verdi and Ted Hopson of the BellwetherThe Bellwether is the debut restaurant (launched in early August of 2015) and bar from Executive Chef/Owner Ted Hopson and Beverage Director/Owner Ann-Marie Verdi. The market-inspired menu aims to capitalize on the abundance of California produce in order to showcase one-of-a-kind food and drink menus that feature family style shareable dishes, unique infusion based cocktails, and a hand-selected list of beer and wine.

Equal attention is warranted for the thoughtful beverage program created by Ann-Marie Verdi (also formerly of Father’s Office) who has worked closely with Chef Hopson to create complementary cocktails infused with much of the same seasonal produce found in the menu.

A weekend Brunch standout cocktail is Mama Betty’s Bloody Mary. It’s house-infused Habanero Vodka, house mix, bacon salt and topped with a cute mini-BLT.

“Our years of combined industry experience have impacted every decision we have made throughout this process and seeing our ideas turn into reality has been incredibly rewarding,” says Hopson. “We focused on creating the type of experience we would want as guests, and we couldn’t be more excited to be able to share that with everyone !”

Chef Ted and Ann-Marie are our guests.



Show 184, August 13, 2016: Robert Schueller, Melissa’s World Variety Produce, Hatch Chile Season Continues…

Melissa's Hatch ChilesIt’s that most wonderful time of the year – Hatch Chile season! Grown only in the Mesilla Valley of New Mexico they are only available fresh for a few shorts weeks annually, now through mid-September.

Once roasted, Hatch Chiles are easy to peel and seed. Roasting heightens the robust earthy flavor of chiles and the texture of thick walls of the chile pod becomes lusciously rich. These unique qualities, and the peppers’ variable heat (unlike other chile peppers. Hatch Chiles come in varieties that cover the full spectrum of heat levels) have earned Hatch Chiles great popularity far beyond the local community of Hatch New Mexico.

Connoisseurs and chefs from all over the globe have adopted Hatch Chiles as a condiment of choice. Many a home cook and celebrity chef have gone further, incorporating Hatch Chiles into all kinds of superb dishes from burgers, pizzas, quiches, pancakes, milkshakes, pastries and even spiced ice cubes.

Chef Marco’s Zapien’s Salsa Grill & Taqueria in Pico Rivera really makes a celebration out of Hatch Chile season. For the 6th straight year Chef Marco Zapien is hosting an evening Hatch Chile interactive cooking demonstration, Hatch Chile Saturday parking lot roast and Hatch Chile Saturday brunch. The cooking demo is Wednesday, September 7th from 6 to 8:00 p.m. The roasting and Saturday Hatch Chile Brunch is set for September 17th. Think Hatch Chile Picadillo, and Tacos de papa con Hatch Chile.

Mouth-watering Hatch Chile recipes are available on the Melissa’s Website. Perfected recipes for Hatch Chile Guacamole, Hatch Chile Chili and Hatch Chile Salsa are all right there at the ready. The informative Melissa’s Hatch Chile Cookbook is also an excellent reference.


Show 165, March 26, 2016: Anita Lau, Mad Hungry Woman Blogger

Anita Lau of Mad Hungry WomanOur regular Contributor on the San Diego dining scene, Anita Lau, The Mad Hungry Woman blogger, joins us. She will provide us with the highlights of a magnificent Chinese New Year banquet she enjoyed with colleagues as well as profiles a bakery/café with an Irish twist that’s one of San Diego’s hottest brunch spots.

Anita enjoyed a lavish Chinese New Year repast with prominent San Diego chefs (including the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club’s Bernard Guillas) at the reenergized Emerald Chinese Cuisine in San Diego. The 12-course dinner was a “journey of Hong Kong classic cuisine with a modern inspiration.”

Anita’s brunch discovery is Chef Maeve Rochford’s Sugar and Scribe in La Jolla. Chef Maeve was the winner of Season 2 of Food Network’s “Holiday Baking Championship.” She is also very prominent in the expatriate Irish community in California. In addition to the crave-worthy baked goods Chef Maeve features recipes from her Irish grandmother. Think Rochford’s Shepard’s Pie and Erie Hash.

“This blog (Diary of A Mad Hungry Woman) is a journal of mostly my eating adventures, but also, other things I’m passionate about, including travel, the arts, and also, necessities to complete my life. Centered predominantly in and around Orange County, CA, some will extend to Los Angeles, San Diego and beyond. I am constantly searching for delicious food to eat and fun things to do, nothing is out of bounds. Sometimes it doesn’t end well, but I can definitely say, it will always be an interesting journey.”

When Anita is not writing or researching food she serves as Co-President of the Los Angeles / Orange County Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier.

Read both restaurant profiles with mouthwatering photos on Anita’s Website.


Show 136, August 29, 2015: Owner / Chef Marco Zapien, Zapien’s Salsa Grill

Marco Zapien of Zapiens Salsa Grill and TaqueriaIt’s New Mexico Hatch Chile roasting season. No independent restaurant in California celebrates this with the depth and flair of Chef Marco Zapien of Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Tacqueria in Pico Rivera. He hosts a Hatch Chile cooking demo with a full menu, a chile roasting and even a special Hatch Chile Brunch on September 12th.

Join Chef Marco Zapien at Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Tacqueria in Pico Rivera for a summer celebration of the arrival of New Mexico Hatch Chiles. It’s Wednesday, September 9th from 6 to 8:00 p.m. The interactive demonstration and class will include a full menu from Soup to Dessert and all of the Hatch Chile-inspired recipes. It’s Hatch Chile Pozole Verde, Hatch Chile Cilantro Caesar Salad, Hatch Chile Braised Short Ribs, Hatch Meatloaf, Hatch Chile Green Rice, Hatch Chile Buttermilk Biscuits and Hatch Chile Tres Leches Bread Pudding with raspberry whipped cream.

Saturday, September 12th from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. is the New Mexico Hatch Chile Roasting at Zapien’s plus the special Hatch Chile Brunch with action stations. Look for the Roasted Hatch Chile Picadillo.

Chef Marco joins us with all the flavorful 411.


Show 135, August 22, 2015: Executive Chef Jesse Barber, The Dudley Market, Venice

Jesse Barber of Dudley MarketAs Executive Chef at Venice’s Barnyard, Jesse Barber was known for his simple, honest food and ingredient-driven menu. In his newest venture, Dudley Market, Barber looks to continue his practice of utilizing local, seasonally fresh ingredients, maintaining the strong relationships with the farmers and purveyors he has worked closely with over the past few years.

Barber is inspired by the unique and vibrant Venice community, “Food is one of the most important connections between people and I hope to create lasting relationships with neighbors, friends, farms and local vendors.”

“The idea is simple, bring the community we know and love the everyday luxury it deserves. Our motivation is rooted in our obsession for outstanding quality and ethics in everything we procure. Using the tastiest ingredients and through detailed preparation we strive to turn what could be a daily routine into an unforgettable experience. We’ve pulled-back the curtain by introducing our community to our growers, artisans, and wine makers, inviting everyone to participate in the conversation and enjoy the results of what we find to be a very gratifying process.”

Local is part of the intriguing wine program, too. The emphasis is on small, relatively unknown California producers of limited production organic wines.

Dudley Market is open for Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch and Dinner.



Show 134, August 8, 2015: Chef Cody Storts, Grits, Fullerton

Cody StortsWhen it comes to Breakfast and Brunch in Fullerton, new and buzzworthy is Grits. They take Brunch seriously. One of their catch-phrases is : “Because BRUNCH in Fullerton needs a kick in the ass.”

“Grits is the new Fullerton home of Chef Cody Storts. The concept is classic Southern comfort food done with California creativity. The Kitchen is wide open and built to scratch-make everything that comes out of it. The food is real. Fresh, local, simple and clean. Nothing processed. Nothing corporate. Nothing boring.”

Chef Cody also has an affinity for creative creations with grits. After all he is from Texas. How about Jalapeno Cheddar Grits with white grits, roasted red fresno chiles and a sunny egg?

All the appealing baked goods and desserts are prepared right there. Look for Skillet Cornbread with bacon and maple & brown sugar butter and Biscuits & Bone Marrow with sweet butter, fresh fruit and seasonal jam.

There is even Scrapple on the menu, a favorite of Chef Andrew’s.

New additions to the menu are Pork Cheek Benedict and Chicken Skin.

Breakfast and Bruch are now a destination in Fullerton.




Show 90, September 27, 2014: Anepalco in Orange

Anepalco's CafeHidden, in plain sight, just South of Angel Stadium at the corner of State College and West Chapman Ave. in Orange is Chef Daniel Godinez’s Anepalco. Anepalco is best characterized as a modern Mexican-French restaurant with a refreshing cocktail program. It also has a shaded patio.

Anepalco takes authentic Mexican ingredients with their bold flavors and infuses them creatively with traditional French techniques. The result is a fusion of creams and chiles with the cuisine served in a gourmet manner. Chef Godinez’s kitchen only uses the freshest of ingredients.

In addition to the lunch menu available daily, Anepalco serves brunch seven days from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.