Show 229, June 24, 2017: Jeff & Christa Duggan, Portola Coffee Roasters

Jeff and Christa DugganIn conjunction with its 6-year anniversary, Portola Coffee Roasters has redesigned its flagship location inside The OC Mix at South Coast Collection in Costa Mesa. The new design, intended to improve the customer experience, takes advantage of the latest in brewing technologies to achieve a higher level of service, product quality, and consistency not possible before.

“The original idea behind the oval shaped bar was to create a visual theater for our customers curious about the brewing science we employ – it is both interesting and educational to be able to see firsthand how things are done at Portola,” explained Jeff Duggan, who, with his wife Christa, opened the flagship Portola Coffee Roasters location in Costa Mesa in 2011 to bring a 100% single-cup craft brew coffeehouse to Orange County.

“With the new design, this goal is better achieved. It will be much different than the ‘order here, pick up over there’ model. We will service customers in line so once they order, their drinks will be made while they watch, and they pay at the end when their drink has been served.”

Joining us with all the artfully brewed details are proprietors Jeff & Christa Duggan.


Show 222, May 6, 2017: 9th Annual Ka’u Coffee Festival, Big Island of Hawaii

Chris ManfrediThe ninth annual Ka‘u Coffee Festival (Big Island of Hawaii) celebrates its award-winning brew with a host of events starting May 19 and continuing through the weekend of May 27-28 with a java-jumpin’ ho‘olaulea‘a on Saturday and the Ka‘u Coffee College educational series on Sunday. Supported by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and a bevy of sponsors and volunteers, the Ka‘u Coffee Festival is designed to celebrate Ka‘u as a premium coffee growing origin and a unique visitor destination.

Many events are free, while others require a nominal fee and reservations.

An unspoiled land, sunny climate and misty afternoons give Ka’u coffee it characteristic deep flavors. One esteemed coffee taster described a special Ka’u coffee as “the taste of chocolate, cherry and coconut accented with floral notes of orchid and citrus flavors.”

“Unique cultivating practices including hand-picking, sun drying, warm sunny mornings and misty afternoon rains and fertile volcanic soils combine with the passion and aloha of Ka’u farmers to produce some of the finest coffees grown anywhere.”

Organizer Chris Manfredi of Ka’u Farm and Ranch (also President of the Hawaii Coffee Association) joins us.


Show 217, April 1, 2017: Abby Kircher, Founder, Abby’s Better Nut Butter

Abby KircherOne of our discoveries at the recently concluded Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim was Abby’s Better Nut Butter. Nut butters are a fast-growing category within natural products. It’s a great product (only 5 ingredients and no peanuts) but, more unusually, it was started by a 15-year old entrepreneur out of Mooresville, NC.

At the young age of 15, Abby Kircher created a product unlike anything else on the market. Hungry for a healthier alternative to peanut butter but unwilling to forgo flavor and variety, she decided to fill an unmet need on her own. After experimenting with different ingredients, including a variety of nuts, like cashews and pecans, to sweet add-ins, like dates, strawberries and coconuts, she landed on a product that didn’t only taste good—it was good for her, too. This was the beginning of Abby’s Better Nut Butters, and today, two years since its official launch, her product has successfully hit the shelves—and the pantries—of the in-demand health food market.

“My goal from the very beginning was to just make the best product I could find. I wanted to create something that was natural and pure but tasted amazing. When I realized my nut butters were something special, I had my family try it—I was surprised to hear that they actually preferred it over regular peanut butter. At that moment, I knew I had a real chance to share these flavors with even more people,” Abby said.

Abby’s Better Nut Butter boasts six unique blends: Coconut Cashew; Honey Almond; Date Pecan; Bourbon Maple Walnut; Coffee Almond; and Strawberry Cashew. Abby first began selling her product at local farmer’s markets in her hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina in 2015. By late spring in 2016, her nut butters expanded into the retail space, including all Lowes Foods location in the Charlotte area and beyond. Now, the clean eating brand is entering 2017 with an agreement with another major retailer—Whole Foods, for placement in their Southeast stores.

We’ll meet founder Abby Kircher.


Show 200, December 3, 2016: Artisan Coffee Roaster, Martin Diedrich, Kean Coffee

Martin DiedrichWhen it comes to world-class, artisan coffee roasters in Orange County the veteran bean roaster in chief is Martin Diedrich. He grew up on a coffee farm in Guatemala! Martin now oversees busy neighborhood Kean Coffee coffee shops in Tustin and Newport Beach.

“Kéan Coffee™ is the newest, most exciting coffeehouse concept by coffeehouse visionary Martin Diedrich. Our mission is to purvey fresh-roasted artisan coffee the way it is meant to be, in a beautiful, eclectic coffeehouse environment. Martin is craft roasting the finest coffees from around the globe on-site, many organic and fair-trade. This enables us to serve our coffee so fresh, most days it has been roasted within hours of the moment it reaches your cup. Our expertly trained baristas are creating the most innovative, cutting edge coffee beverages to be had.”

“Martin, local coffeehouse pioneer and founder of the Diedrich Coffee chain, left behind the world of corporate culture to return to his origins as an independent coffeehouse operator in order to stay true to his ideals of what a coffeehouse should be and what coffee culture should be.”

“Along with his wife Karen Varese Diedrich, Martin spent two years putting all of his creativity, inspiration and community and global awareness into bringing Kéan Coffee to reality. Martin and Karen Diedrich aptly named this next generation of coffeehouse after their son, Kean.”

Martin joins us.


Show 193, October 15, 2016: Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish Restaurant Group

Andrew Gruel at the AM830 KLAA StudiosOur Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, is a devotee of breakfast. Last week Chef Andrew shared his favorite hole-in-the-wall OC neighborhood spots for a hearty breakfast. We got such a good response to this segment that we’ll continue…

Every popular national fast food spot that serves breakfast has a signature a.m. menu item. Chef Andrew will highlight his favorites.

Our first breakfast bite comes courtesy of our regular contributor, Anita Lau, The Mad Hungry Woman Blogger. She has a certain fondness for Del Taco. Her thought for the a.m. is their bacon, egg & cheese taco.

Chef Andrew adds that Del Taco, unusually, is one of the only chain fast food establishments that freshly shreds/grates the cheese used in their menu items at each location. That’s extra labor…

Chef Andrew’s suggestions :

Grab that 2nd cup of strong, black Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and enjoy!


Show 173, May 28, 2016: Stan’s Donuts & Coffee

Stan and Ina Berman and Rich LabriolaFor over 52 years Stan Berman has baked some of the world’s best donuts at Stan’s Corner Donut Shop in Westwood located across from UCLA. Now it had grown to the Midwest with the addition of 6 busy Stan’s Donuts & Coffee cafes in Chicago and nearby suburbs. Two new stores, including a high-profile unit on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile on N. Michigan Ave., debuted on Saturday, May 21st.

Second generation Chicago restaurateur and baker Rich Labriola is the proud architect of the expansion. We’ll meet him and talk crullers and premium coffee.


Show 168, April 23, 2016: Sean Brennan, CEO & Co-Founder, The Pie Hole, Los Angeles & Pasadena

Sean Brennan and the Pie HoleSince The Pie Hole launched in The Arts District of Downtown L.A. in 2011 it’s been a word-of-mouth and social media sensation. The Pie Hole offers fresh baked sweet pie by the slice, individual savory pies, and their own premium coffee. Soon joining the second location in Pasadena will be cafes in Old Town Orange and Hollywood. All outlets are, unusually, located in distinctive, historic buildings.

“The Pie Hole is a family run organization hatched out of the dreams of a mother and son, Becky Grasley and Matthew Heffner who long dreamed of opening a place where they can share their family secret: pie is love. They roped Sean Brennan in to be their business partner and literally tied Matty’s fiancé, Lindsay Hollister, to the cash register and set out to leverage every favor and free hand to build what is now The Pie Hole (thanks friends!)”

“Matty and Becky hold the largest pie recipe book you have ever laid eyes on, and is in a safety deposit box in Switzerland. Matty learned pie-making as a youngster and part of the family tradition but is a tradesman at heart: there is nothing he can’t build from scratch. He is a science fiction nerd, just ask to see his newest ink. Sean is lactose intolerant and likes pie partly because it isn’t a cupcake but mostly because it has an authentic story and is what he calls ‘real food’.”

“Sean has been in the service industry for over a hundred years as a bar tender, wine director, consultant, and general manager, and is passionate about food, fine wine, hip hop, and the Green Bay Packers. We all love to chat, come on in and say hi!”

“The process of opening an LA’s first authentic pie shop was a daunting one, with thousands of hours of building, testing pie, tasting coffee, and bringing together an amazing team to provide the greatest possible pie experience known to man. We are fun, don’t take ourselves too seriously (the pie and coffee is very serious), and love to have a chat with all our customers, who inevitably become regulars.”

Co-owner Sean Brennan joins us with his piping hot, out-of-the-oven recipe for sweet success.


Show 120, May 2, 2015: Pastry Chef Mariah Swan, ICDC, Los Angeles’ Fairfax District

Mariah SwanPastry Chef Mariah Swan of BLD in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles is no stranger to listeners of the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” Her latest, long-in-the-works venture is ICDC (Ice Cream, Doughnuts and Coffee) located next door to BLD on Beverly Blvd. Everything is created in-house. The menu of ice cream and doughnuts changes daily.

The business planning side of this venture was done by co-owner Amy Knoll Fraser (Redbird and BLD.)

Swan created the popular Doughnut Shoppe Wednesdays at BLD which ICDC now replaces. Now you can get incredible fresh doughnuts every day ICDC is open (which is now 7-days.) You can get doughnut holes by the half-dozen. Look for her signature butterscotch doughnut or the outside-the-box rocky road. Also there are crave-worthy, gluten-free options.


Show 120, May 2, 2015: Pastry Chef Mariah Swan, ICDC, Los Angeles’ Fairfax District Continues…

Mariah SwanPastry Chef Mariah Swan of BLD in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles is no stranger to listeners of the “SoCal Restaurant Show.”

Her latest, long-in-the-works venture is ICDC (Ice Cream, Doughnuts and Coffee) located next door to BLD on Beverly Blvd. Everything is created in-house. The menu of ice cream and doughnuts changes daily.

It’s a super premium ice cream but Chef Mariah’s philosophy is to not make it overly rich with butterfat. For her fruit flavors the trick is not to overload the ice cream with fruit.

Look for the salted caramel


Show 95, November 1, 2014: CoffeeCon LA 2014

Coffee Con 2014 Los AngelesCoffeeCon LA 2014 will be held on November 8th at the classic former home of Mack Sennett Studios in Silver Lake from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Coffee Fest mixes music, food and coffee sampling from over 20 of SoCal’s finest roasters. Classes on coffee brewing and other coffee topics will run all day long.

CoffeeCon is the brainchild of noted coffee expert and author, Kevin Sinnott. After publishing his second book (The Art and Craft of Coffee) he realized that consumers still lacked the skills of hands-on brewing and the awareness of how different factors such as roast, the roasting method, roast profile and brewing technique have on even a single sample of coffee.

CoffeeCon was created to stage a day-long hands-on educational and fun festival to address these topics and spread skills among consumers. The first CoffeeCon was held in 2011 in the Chicago area.