Show 243, October 7, 2017: Joshua Turner, Chef & General Manager, Wolfgang Puck Kitchen, South Coast Plaza

Joshua TurnerLocated in Macy’s South Coast Plaza shopping center in Costa Mesa, California, the new Wolfgang Puck Kitchen specializes in Wolfgang’s interpretation of global comfort fare. The menu features a variety of signature recipes made with the best available, locally-sourced ingredients.

Highlights include the signature Chinois Chicken Salad, Crab Cakes with marinated tomatoes and basil aioli, and Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf with Yukon gold potato puree, crispy onion strings and with a port wine sauce. Wolfgang Puck was one of the pioneers of California-style pizza at the original Spago located high above the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. The Smoked Salmon Pizza with dill cream, capers and chives is now an off-menu item at Spago but part of the regular menu at Wolfgang Puck Kitchen.

As one of the newest casual concepts in the Wolfgang Puck dining collection, Wolfgang Puck Kitchen promises a welcoming and relaxed dining environment, appropriate for a business meeting, leisurely lunch, family dinner or meal on the go. A peaceful, shaded patio (where you can have a real conversation) is part of the design.

General Manager and Executive Chef Joshua Turner joins us.

 

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Show 239, September 2, 2017: TasteMakers of Orange County 2.0 Benefit

Tastemakers of Orange County 2.0OCAPICA (Orange County Asian Pacific Island Community Alliance) is celebrating 20 years of community service at Tastemakers of Orange County 2.0” on the evening of September 20th at SoCo and The OC Mix in Costa Mesa.

Tastemakers of Orange County 2.0″ is a culinary event celebrating the Asian and Pacific Islander community, education, and heritage. The 2nd annual celebration includes ample food tastings, fun entertainment, and a silent auction. Their goal this year is 800 guests and 20 high profile Orange County chefs. (The prominent chefs are already in place.)

Proceeds from this event benefit the non-profit organization, OCAPICA, and will support mental health, health, workforce, youth in education, and civic engagement opportunities for low income families.

If you buy your tickets now there is a $15-off discount per ticket for VIP and $10-off for General Admission. Use the Offer Code available on the Website. Discount Offer expires soon…

OCAPICA Executive Director and Founder Mary Anne Foo and participating Restaurateur Ed Lee of Wahoo’s Fish Taco join us with all the delectable details.

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Show 238, August 26, 2017: Restaurateur & Chef Alan Greeley, The Golden Truffle

Alan GreeleyChef Alan Greeley of The Golden Truffle in Costa Mesa is an Orange County original. The destination restaurant is in a bit of an odd location for an establishment with its fine-dining reputation. He’s cooked for 4 US Presidents. Alan’s distinctive wine cellar was simply stocked with selections that he personally liked. After 37 years Chef Alan has closed The Golden Truffle. He’s off to Florida for the next chapter.

We’ll share some memories with Chef Alan and chat about the state of the restaurant business. Along the way he’s graciously mentored many young chefs who now have successful Orange County restaurants of their own.

What does it take to cook a high-ticket, breakfast fundraiser in Corona del Mar for a sitting US President? Chef Alan will share that story with us.

For menu highlights think Alan’s Caribbean Topless Tamale with Chile Verde.

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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.

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Show 232, July 15, 2017: Rance’s Chicago Pizza and DINE LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week

Rance Ruiz and Aaron TofaniAuthentic Chicago-style Pizza in Long Beach (and Costa Mesa) from young proprietors who grew up in Orange County? You bet…

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.

New to DINE LBC is Rance’s Chicago Pizza in Belmont Shore. They are already something of a local institution for Pan, Stuffed and Tavern styles of pizza. Also wings with praise-worthy, house-created sauces.

We’ll meet the proprietors of the dough, Chef Rance Ruiz and Aaron Tofani.

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Show 232, July 15, 2017: Rance’s Chicago Pizza and DINE LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week Continued…

Race Ruiz and Aaron Tofani or Rance's Chicago Pizza at AM830Authentic Chicago-style Pizza in Long Beach (and Costa Mesa) from young proprietors who grew up in Orange County? You bet…and it’s Rance’s Chicago Pizza (Belmont Shore & Costa Mesa) a first-time participant in the upcoming DINE LBC Long Beach Restaurant Week.

They also are earning praise for their new wings with accompanying sauces, and salads with house-prepared dressings. The next Rance’s will be in the ambitious University Village center just North of the existing University of Southern California campus.

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.

Just as many regions around the country hold city-wide restaurant week events, the participating Long Beach restaurants will be offering multi-course, “value-oriented” meals set at one of six price points: $15, $25, $35, $45, $55 or $65 per guest.

Founder and organizer Terri Henry, who brought restaurant week to Long Beach in 2014, said that besides attracting local “foodies”, Dine LBC allows those who view dining out as a luxury to also enjoy an exceptional experience. The nine-day event that includes two full weekends gives locals the opportunity to visit multiple participating restaurants and also allows those in neighboring cities who find it difficult to travel to Long Beach during the week more options.

“With recent minimum wage increases, overhead and cost of goods increases, an annual restaurant week drives much needed traffic into our valued restaurants”, said Henry, who said the event will span across twelve Long Beach neighborhoods and has a comprehensive marketing, advertising and PR campaign valued at over $500K to support the nine- day event.

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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.

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Show 214, March 11, 2017: Anne Marie Panoringan, Food & Libation Journalist

Anne Marie PanoringanOur irregular ace field correspondent, Anne Marie Panoringan, (a regular contributor to OC Weekly) has previewed the 50th Anniversary Dining Specials (March only) at South Coast Plaza in a marathon eating tour. We’ll hear about all the delicious morsels being showcased.

Anne Marie managed six courses in one evening’s ample dining excursion. Course Four was an intriguing Lima Bean Soup from zCafe. It’s a tribute to the farmland that was the past of the land South Coast Plaza now occupies. The “farm” was planted in lima beans. They still grow a few lima beans on Segerstrom property, and the Lima Beans used in the anniversary soup are actually sourced from this property!

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Show 214, March 11, 2017: Chef Brian Huskey, Tackle Box, South Coast Plaza’s 50th Birthday

Brian HuskeyIt’s the 50th Anniversary of Costa Mesa’s celebrated South Coast Plaza. Most of the restaurants there are doing something special to celebrate during the month of March.

Bravo’s “Top Chef” Season 11 alum, Chef Brian Huskey of Tackle Box (on the sand in Costa Mesa), has created the Camarena Tequila chipotle-braised carnitas taco entrée for Wahoo’s Fish Taco in South Coast Plaza.

It’s available exclusively for $5.50 at Wahoo’s SCP (2nd level of the Crate and Barrel / Macy’s Home Store Wing) for the month of March, only.

Wahoo’s 30th Anniversary will be next year in 2018!

We’ve reeled in Chef Brian to provide the lip-smacking details.

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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.

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