Show 120, May 2, 2015: Show Preview with Guest Host Chef Andrew Gruel and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

Andrew GruelExecutive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, and, now, Newport Beach is today’s special Guest Host. His new restaurant makeover series on FYI, “Say it to My Face,” launches Saturday evening, May 9th at 10:00 p.m. on FYI.

Now a preview of today’s satisfyingly overstuffed show.

The Museum of the American Cocktail (MOTAC) announces its next Los Angeles seminar, “Vive l’Aperitif! An Invitation to Preprandial Drinking,” Monday, May 11th, 2015 at one of L.A.’s happening restaurants, Scopa Italian Roots in Venice. Sampling of classic aperitifs is on the menu. It’s all in celebration of National Aperitif Day. Scopa’s Steve Livigni and MOTAC’s Philip Dobard join us to explain what an aperitif is and how it fits into a modern cocktail program.

When two highly regarded young chefs get together for a collaborative dinner that’s a recipe for true dining excitement! On Tuesday, May 12th, Chef Eric Samaniego of Little Sparrow in Santa Ana and Chef Carlos Salgado of Taco Maria at SoCo in Costa Mesa will partner up for a special chefs collaboration event, Little Maria. The five-course dinner will be hosted at Little Sparrow, featuring dishes that motivate both chefs to break out of their comfort zones. Little Sparrow’s Chef Eric Samaniego is our guest with all the tantalizing 411.

Executive Chef Ross Pangilinan oversees the high-end Leatherby’s Café Rouge at the striking Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa. It’s part of the prominent Patina Restaurant Group. Unusually it’s only available for dining on performance nights. Fortunately it’s not a stripped-down pre-theater, “get ‘em out fast” approach. It’s leisurely fine-dining that’s part of the evening’s show experience. Chef Pangilinan joins us to explain his novel “meal and a performance” approach to fine-dining.

Daniel Minjares, a senior restaurant manager at The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon in Anaheim, has recently assumed an additional role as mixologist for the restaurant. Minjares, a Southern California native, and a 33 year restaurant veteran was the beverage manager at SkyCity Restaurant at the Seattle Space Needle prior to joining The Ranch team three years ago. Currently, he is combining the unique offerings of the restaurant’s heirloom vegetable farm in creating farm-to-glass cocktails, complimenting the restaurants’ seasonally driven menu.

Pastry 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. The sweets menu changes daily. Swan created the popular Doughnut Shoppe Wednesdays at BLD. Look for her signature butterscotch doughnut.

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

 

Play

Show 120, May 2, 2015: Mixologist Dan Minjares, The Ranch Restaurant, Anaheim Part One

Dan MinjaresDaniel Minjares, a senior restaurant manager at The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon in Anaheim, has recently assumed an additional role as mixologist for the restaurant.

Minjares, a Southern Califorenia native, and a 33 year restaurant veteran was the beverage manager at SkyCity Restaurant at the Seattle Space Needle in Seattle prior to joining The Ranch team three years ago. Currently, he is combining the unique offerings of the restaurant’s heirloom vegetable farm in creating farm-to-glass cocktails, complimenting the restaurants’ seasonally driven menu.

The Edwards Ranch Estates heirloom vegetable farm is located on Ranch Owner, Andrew Edwards’s private estate and is where a portion of the produce is grown that supplies the restaurant’s menu. The farm supports Executive Chef Michael Rossi’s vision of a seasonally driven menu and provides Rossi the creative freedom and flexibility to design menus and dishes around the seasons. Initially intended for restaurant menu development, the farm will now support a seasonally driven beverage menu.

Rossi and Minjares are currently working together on plans for the upcoming season. “Having the ability to blend the flavors from fruits, herbs, peppers and heirloom vegetables grown on our own farm, creating our own unique flavors for cocktails, it just doesn’t get any better,” said Minjares. Currently Minjares is also barrel aging and crafting his own bitters and aromatics for the new Spring cocktail menu.

Expect The Ranch’s incredible heirloom tomato garden to be the base for The Ranch’s house-prepared Bloody Mary Mix. You can’t get any fresher than that.

Play

Show 120, May 2, 2015: Mixologist Dan Minjares, The Ranch Restaurant, Anaheim Part Two

Dan MinjaresMixologist Dan Minjares of The Ranch in Anaheim continues…

This Spring’s beverage menu is divided into three sections, leading with Edwards Ranch Estates farm crafted cocktails featuring the LemonThyme Cocktail with house-made Meyer Limoncello, Nolet Gin, muddled Edward Ranch Estates lemon thyme, simple syrup, fresh lemon and a splash of soda. Listed next are the Signature cocktails and includes the Chipotle Margarita – Riviera Magazine’s 2013 Cocktail Tour Winner and the Old Fashion Cowboy. Signature Martinis & Manhattans complete the new menu and includes The Ranch Cucumber Martini, The Two-Step and the California Manhattan.

The special featured cocktail of the week is the Orange County Mint Julep in honor of the running of the Kentucky Derby.

Play

May 2: Philip Dobard, Scopa Italian Roots, Eric Samaniego, Ross Pangilinan, The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon, Mariah Swan

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Guest Host Chef Andrew Gruel and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: MOTAC’s Philip Dobard and Scopa’s Steve Livigni
Segment Three: Chef Eric Samaniego and “Little Maria” Evening
Segment Four: Executive Chef Ross Pangilinan, Leatherby’s Café Rouge
Segment Five: Mixologist Dan Minjares, The Ranch Restaurant, Anaheim Part One
Segment Six: Mixologist Dan Minjares, The Ranch Restaurant, Anaheim Part Two
Segment Seven: Pastry Chef Mariah Swan, ICDC, Los Angeles’ Fairfax District Part One
Segment Eight: Pastry Chef Mariah Swan, ICDC, Los Angeles’ Fairfax District Part Two

Andrew GruelExecutive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, and, now, Newport Beach is today’s special Guest Host.

Now a preview of today’s satisfyingly overstuffed show.

The Museum of the American Cocktail (MOTAC) announces its next Los Angeles seminar, “Vive l’Aperitif! An Invitation to Preprandial Drinking,” Monday, May 11th, 2015 at one of L.A.’s hottest restaurants, Scopa Italian Roots in Venice. Sampling of classic aperitifs is on the menu. It’s all in celebration of National Aperitif Day. Scopa’s Steve Livigni and MOTAC’s Philip Dobard join us to explain what an aperitif is and how it fits into a contemporary cocktail program.

When two highly regarded young chefs get together for a collaborative dinner that’s a recipe for true dining excitement! On Tuesday, May 12th, Chef Eric Samaniego of Little Sparrow in Santa Ana and Chef Carlos Salgado of Taco Maria at SoCo in Costa Mesa will partner up for a special chef collaboration event, Little Maria. The five-course dinner will be hosted at Little Sparrow, featuring dishes that motivate both chefs to break out of their comfort zones. Little Sparrow’s Chef Eric Samaniego is our guest with all the tantalizing 411.

Executive Chef Ross Pangilinan oversees the high-end Leatherby’s Café Rouge at the striking Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa. It’s part of the prominent Patina Restaurant Group. Unusually it’s only available for dining on performance nights. Fortunately it’s not a stripped-down pre-theater, “get ‘em out fast” approach. It’s leisurely fine-dining with flair that’s part of the show experience. Chef Pangilinan joins us to explain his novel “meal and a performance” approach to fine-dining.

Daniel Minjares, a senior restaurant manager at The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon in Anaheim, has recently assumed an additional role as mixologist for the restaurant. Minjares, a Southern California native, and a 33 year restaurant veteran was the beverage manager at SkyCity Restaurant at the Seattle Space Needle in Seattle prior to joining The Ranch team three years ago. Currently, he is combining the unique offerings of the restaurant’s heirloom vegetable farm in creating farm-to-glass cocktails, complimenting the restaurants’ seasonally driven menu.

Pastry 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. The menu changes daily. Swan created the popular Doughnut Shoppe Wednesdays at BLD. Look for her signature butterscotch doughnut.

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

Steve LivigniThe Museum of the American Cocktail (MOTAC) announces its next Los Angeles seminar, “Vive l’Aperitif! An Invitation to Preprandial Drinking,” Monday, May 11th, 2015 at one of L.A.’s hottest restaurants, Scopa Italian Roots in Venice. Sampling of classic aperitifs is on the menu. It’s all in celebration of National Aperitif Day.

Ever wonder what distinguishes an aperitif from a digestif ? And what their culinary function is? Well, celebrate National Aperitif Day with The Museum of the American Cocktail and wonder no more. Celebrated mixologists and restaurateurs Steve Livigni & Pablo Moix lead participants on a tasting tour of aperitifs both common and rare, neat and cocktailed. Guests will learn what they need to know to select and appreciate a fine before-dinner drink and enjoy innovative takes on Italian classics from “Top Chef” star Chef Antonia Lofaso (who is a co-owner.)

Scopa’s Steve Livigni and MOTAC’s Philip Dobard join us to explain what an aperitif is and how it fits into a contemporary cocktail program.

Eric SamaniegoWhen two highly regarded young chefs get together for a collaborative dinner that’s a recipe for true dining excitement! On Tuesday, May 12th, Chef Eric Samaniego of Little Sparrow in Santa Ana and Chef Carlos Salgado of Taco Maria at SoCo in Costa Mesa will partner up for a special chef collaboration event, Little Maria. The five-course dinner will be hosted at Little Sparrow, featuring dishes that motivate both chefs to break out of their comfort zones.

“Guests can expect the unexpected” Samaniego said. “This has been in the works for a long time and Carlos and I are excited it’s finally happening.”

The Little Maria dinner features two seatings, at 6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., priced at $85 per person with an optional $30 wine pairing. Tickets must be purchased in advance. To maintain the element of suspense the menu will not be revealed until a few days before the dinner.

Both Chef Samaniego and Salgado have made a huge impact on the Orange County culinary scene in the past year. Little Sparrow recently had their debut on Season One of Bravo’s “Best New Restaurant” series hosted by Chef Tom Colicchio while Chef Salgado was recognized by Food & Wine magazine as one of the “Best New Chefs of 2015.”

Little Sparrow’s Chef Eric Samaniego is our guest with all the tantalizing 411.

Ross PangilinanFor over five years Executive Chef Ross Pangilinan has overseen the high-end Leatherby’s Café Rouge at the striking Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa. It’s part of the prominent Patina Restaurant Group. Unusually it’s only available for dining on performance nights. Fortunately it’s not a stripped-down pre-theater, “get ‘em out fast” approach. It’s leisurely fine-dining that’s part of the full show experience.

Currently the creative pre-theater menus are the continuation of their Broadway-themed menus. They take inspiration from the music and characters of the running shows. Pangilinan and team transport patrons into the world of highly acclaimed theatrical performances through carefully crafted three-course menus that pay tribute to each cherished tale.

June showcases a Broadway jukebox musical, Motown, with dishes such as Motown Sound featuring Smoked and Grilled Pork Porterhouse, Lobster Mac and Cheese, Roasted Vegetables, and Rosemary Jus.

Chef Pangilinan joins us to explain his novel “meal and a performance” approach to creative fine-dining.

Dan MinjaresDaniel Minjares, a senior restaurant manager at The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon in Anaheim, has recently assumed an additional role as mixologist for the restaurant.

Minjares, a Southern Califorenia native, and a 33 year restaurant veteran was the beverage manager at SkyCity Restaurant at the Seattle Space Needle in Seattle prior to joining The Ranch team three years ago. Currently, he is combining the unique offerings of the restaurant’s heirloom vegetable farm in creating farm-to-glass cocktails, complimenting the restaurants’ seasonally driven menu.

The Edwards Ranch Estates heirloom vegetable farm is located on Ranch Owner, Andrew Edwards’s private property and is where a portion of the produce is grown that supplies the restaurant’s menu. The farm supports Executive Chef Michael Rossi’s vision of a seasonally driven menu and provides Rossi the creative freedom and flexibility to design menus and dishes around the seasons. Initially intended for restaurant menu development, the farm will now support a seasonally driven beverage menu.

Rossi and Minjares are currently working together on plans for the upcoming season. “Having the ability to blend the flavors from fruits, herbs, peppers and heirloom vegetables grown on our own farm, creating our own unique flavors for cocktails, it just doesn’t get any better,” said Minjares. Currently Minjares is also barrel aging and crafting his own bitters and aromatics for the new Spring cocktail menu.

This Spring’s beverage menu is divided into three sections, leading with Edwards Ranch Estates farm crafted cocktails featuring the LemonThyme Cocktail with house-made Meyer Limoncello, Nolet Gin, muddled Edward Ranch Estates lemon thyme, simple syrup, fresh lemon and a splash of soda. Listed next are the Signature cocktails and includes the Chipotle Margarita – Riviera Magazine’s 2013 Cocktail Tour Winner and the Old Fashion Cowboy. Signature Martinis & Manhattans complete the new menu and includes The Ranch Cucumber Martini, The Two-Step and the California Manhattan.

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.

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. (Closed on Monday.) You can get doughnut holes by the half-dozen. Look for her signature butterscotch doughnut.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Guest Host Chef Andrew Gruel and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: MOTAC’s Philip Dobard and Scopa’s Steve Livigni
Segment Three: Chef Eric Samaniego and “Little Maria” Evening
Segment Four: Executive Chef Ross Pangilinan, Leatherby’s Café Rouge
Segment Five: Mixologist Dan Minjares, The Ranch Restaurant, Anaheim Part One
Segment Six: Mixologist Dan Minjares, The Ranch Restaurant, Anaheim Part Two
Segment Seven: Pastry Chef Mariah Swan, ICDC, Los Angeles’ Fairfax District Part One
Segment Eight: Pastry Chef Mariah Swan, ICDC, Los Angeles’ Fairfax District Part Two

Show 85, August 23, 2014: Guest Host Kedric Francis and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris preview the show

Kedric Francis and Andy HarrisGuest Host Kedric Francis of The Orange County Register Magazine & Coast Orange County Magazine and Producer Andy Harris preview the show.

The always debonair Kedric Francis, our dashing man about Orange County, is the Executive Editor of both publications.

Also joining us at 10:45 a.m. is Travis Rodgers of the “Travis Rogers Show” heard weekday mornings on AM 830 KLAA from 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. Travis’ loyal fans know his second most favorite subject is food! He’s serious about eats. “The Travis Rodgers Show” is SoCal’s only live and local sports morning show.

Arriving on August 29th and continuing through August 31st is the Los Angeles Times The Taste at Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood. Los Angeles Times Food Editor Russ Parsons and Chef Michael Cimarusti of Providence and Connie & Ted’s are participants and our very special guests.

Kedric Francis of the Orange County Register Magazine and Coast Orange County Magazine has been out and about exploring the latest finds in the OC. He was at the very exclusive pre-opening preview lunch for the eagerly anticipated Din Tai Fung Dumpling House in South Coast Plaza on August 15th and will share some of his observations.

Executive Chef Michael Rossi (ex-Napa Rose) has been at the helm of The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon since it’s opening day in early 2012. He was actually on the ambitious project over a year testing recipes before the first guests were greeted. The Ranch (unusually) has its own farm located on the Edwards Ranch Estates in Orange which provides a lot of the fresh fruits and vegetables used at the highly regarded and much acclaimed restaurant. It’s a chef’s dream to have these resources…

Freddy Vargas is the forward-thinking executive chef of the high profile Scarpetta located in the Montage Beverly Hills across a pocket park from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Beverly Hills. This is one of Celebrity Chef Scott Conants’s restaurant properties. At lunch on Weekdays he’s operating a to-go Paninoteca. Think gourmet Italian sandwiches like a Porchetta. It’s spiced pork belly, broccoli rabe pesto and a fried hen egg on house-baked bread.

Brad A. Johnson is the James Beard award-winning restaurant critic for both the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Register. Where does a restaurant critic eat when he’s not reviewing? Those are the spots we all want to go…Brad shares with us some of his favorites in both Orange County and Los Angeles. The origin of this discussion was a recent article Brad wrote for the Orange County Register Magazine.

The show was live on Saturday morning from The Valley View Casino. The fine dining restaurant there is Black & Blue – The Place For Steak. We’ll meet Chef de Cuisine Michael Knowles.He started cooking at age 14! He has elevated Black & Blue to an award-winning California steakhouse that’s true destination dining for San Diego residents.

Travis Rodgers is the easy-going Iron Man of personalities on AM 830 KLAA. Every weekday morning he’s on AM 830 KLAA talking sports for four hours beginning at 6:00 a.m. After he’s finished at 10:00 a.m. on AM 830 he continues his national show for Yahoo Sports Radio for another hour until 11:00 a.m. That’s five hours on Weekdays as the solo host.

Travis’ second favorite subject is good food. Did we say Mexican? The discussion with Travis is on assorted cravable eats.

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

 

Play

Show 85, August 23, 2014: Michael Rossi, Executive Chef, The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon

Michael Rossi of the Ranch Restaurant and SaloonExecutive Chef Michael Rossi (ex-Napa Rose) has been at the helm of The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon since it’s opening day in early 2012. He was actually on the ambitious project for over a year testing recipes before the first guests were greeted.

The Ranch (unusually) has its own 2-acre farm located on the Edwards Ranch Estates in Orange which provides a lot of the fresh produce used at the highly regarded restaurant. Think of over 600 heirloom tomato vines featuring 90 different varieties. Original (and fully mature) orange and fig trees are also part of the property.

Future expansion plans for the Edwards Ranch Estates include avocado trees, olive trees, and grape vines.

It’s a chef’s fondest dream to have these incredible resources…

One of Chef Michael’s signature menu items is the much talked-about 58 oz. bone-in Cowboy Ribeye chop.

Congrats to Chef Michael and The Ranch Restaurant for their 2014 nominations for the Golden Foodie Awards including (the peer-nominated) The Golden Chef and The Golden Pastry Chef. They also have been nominated for “Best Steak” in the public voting.

Play

August 23: Live from Valley View Casino with Kedric Francis, Travis Rodgers, Russ Parsons, Michael Cimarusti, Michael Rossi, Freddy Vargas, Brad A. Johnson

Podcasts

Segment One: Guest Host Kedric Francis and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris preview the show
Segment Two: Preview of Los Angeles Times The Taste
Segment Three: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor, Orange County Register Magazine
Segment Four: Michael Rossi, Executive Chef, The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon
Segment Five: Freddy Vargas, Executive Chef, Scarpetta, Montage Beverly Hills
Segment Six: Brad A. Johnson, Restaurant Critic, The Orange County Register & The Los Angeles Register
Segment Seven: Chef Michael Knowles, Black & Blue Steakhouse, Valley View Casino
Segment Eight: Travis Rodgers, “The Travis Rodgers Show” on AM 830 KLAA

Kedric Francis and Andy HarrisGuest Host Kedric Francis of The Orange County Register Magazine & Coast Orange County Magazine and Producer Andy Harris preview the show.

The always debonair Kedric Francis, our dashing man about Orange County, is the Executive Editor of both publications.

Also joining us at 11:00 a.m. is Travis Rodgers of the “Travis Rogers Show” heard weekday mornings on AM 830 KLAA from 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. Travis’ loyal fans know his second most favorite subject is food! He’s serious about eats. “The Travis Rodgers Show” is SoCal’s only live and local sports morning show.

Arriving on August 29th and continuing through August 31st is The Los Angeles Times The Taste at Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood. Los Angeles Times Food Editor Russ Parsons and Chef Michael Cimarusti of Providence and Connie & Ted’s are participants and our very special guests.

Kedric Francis of the Orange County Register Magazine and Coast Orange County Magazine has been out and about exploring the latest finds in the OC. He was at the very exclusive pre-opening preview lunch for the eagerly anticipated Din Tai Fung Dumpling House in South Coast Plaza on August 15th and will share some of his observations.

Executive Chef Michael Rossi (ex-Napa Rose) has been at the helm of The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon since it’s opening day in early 2012. He was actually on the ambitious project over a year testing recipes before the first guests were greeted. The Ranch (unusually) has its own farm located on the Edwards Ranch Estates in Orange which provides a lot of the fresh fruits and vegetables used at the highly regarded and much acclaimed restaurant. It’s a chef’s dream to have these resources…

Freddy Vargas is the forward-thinking executive chef of the high profile Scarpetta located in the Montage Beverly Hills across a pocket park from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Beverly Hills. This is one of Celebrity Chef Scott Conants’s restaurant properties. At lunch on Weekdays he’s operating a to-go Paninoteca. Think gourmet Italian sandwiches like a Porchetta. It’s spiced pork belly, broccoli rabe pesto and a fried hen egg on house-baked bread.

Brad A. Johnson is the James Beard award-winning restaurant critic for both the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Register. Where does a restaurant critic eat when he’s not reviewing ? Those are the spots we all want to go…Brad shares with us some of his favorites in both Orange County and Los Angeles. The origin of this discussion was a recent article Brad wrote for the Orange County Register Magazine.

The show is live on Saturday morning from The Valley View Casino. The fine dining restaurant there is Black & Blue – The Place For Steak. We’ll meet Chef de Cuisine Michael Knowles .He started cooking at age 14! He has elevated Black & Blue to an award-winning California steakhouse that’s true destination dining for San Diego residents.

Travis Rodgers is the easy-going Iron Man of personalities on AM 830 KLAA. Every weekday morning he’s on AM 830 KLAA talking sports for four hours beginning at 6:00 a.m. After he’s finished at 10:00 a.m. on AM 830 he continues his national show for Yahoo Sports Radio for another hour until 11:00 a.m. That’s five hours on Weekdays as the solo host.

Travis’ second favorite subject is good food. Did we say Mexican ? We’ll talk assorted cravable eats with Travis

Russ Parsons of the Los Angeles TimesArriving on August 29th and continuing through August 31st is the Los Angeles Times The Taste at Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood. Los Angeles Times Food Editor Russ Parsons and Chef Michael Cimarusti of Providence and Connie & Ted’s are participants and our very special guests.

On Saturday morning, August 30th at 11:00 a.m. Russ Parsons and Nancy Silverton (Mozza) will be hosting “Field to Fork.” “The city’s best eats are in season.”

On Sunday, August 31st at 7:30 p.m. Chef Michael Cimarusti and Jonathan Gold will be hosting “Flavors of L.A.” “Find great eating around every corner.”

Din Tai Fung Dumpling HouseKedric Francis of the Orange County Register Magazine and Coast Orange County Magazine has been out and about in the OC. He was at the pre-opening preview lunch for the eagerly anticipated Din Tai Fung Dumpling House in South Coast Plaza (August 18th was Opening Day) and will share some of his observations.

Din Tai Fung is most famous for XiaoLongBao, the Shanghai-style soup dumplings which became a signature dish at the original site in Taipei.

Din Tai Fung at South Coast Plaza is over 8,000 square feet, making it one of the largest in over 100 locations worldwide.

Michael Rossi of the Ranch Restaurant and SaloonExecutive Chef Michael Rossi (ex-Napa Rose) has been at the helm of The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon since it’s opening day in early 2012. He was actually on the ambitious project for over a year testing recipes before the first guests were greeted.

The Ranch (unusually) has its own 2-acre farm located on the Edwards Ranch Estates in Orange which provides a lot of the fresh produce used at the highly regarded restaurant. Think of over 600 heirloom tomato vines featuring 90 different varieties. Original (and fully mature) orange and fig trees are also part of the property.

Future expansion plans for the Edwards Ranch Estates include avocado trees, olive trees, and grape vines.

It’s a chef’s fondest dream to have these incredible resources…

One of Chef Michael’s signature menu items is the much talked-about 58 oz. bone-in Cowboy Ribeye chop.

Freddy VargasFreddy Vargas is the forward-thinking executive chef of the high profile Scarpetta located in the Montage Beverly Hills across a lush pocket park from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Beverly Hills. This is one of Celebrity Chef Scott Conants’s restaurant properties.

At lunch on Weekdays he’s operating a to-go Paninoteca. Think gourmet Italian sandwiches like a Porchetta. It’s spiced pork belly, broccoli rabe pesto and a fried hen egg on house-baked bread.

Photography by Brad A JohnsonBrad A. Johnson is the James Beard award-winning restaurant critic for both the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Register. He’s also an accomplished photographer.

Where does a restaurant critic eat when he’s not reviewing? Those are the spots we all want to find…Brad shares with us some of his favorites in both Orange County and Los Angeles. The origins of this was discussion a recent article Brad wrote for the Orange County Register Magazine.

Michael Knowles of Black and Blue SteakhouseThe show is live on Saturday morning from The Valley View Casino. The fine dining restaurant there is Black & Blue – The Place For Steak.

We’ll meet Chef de Cuisine Michael Knowles.He started cooking at age 14! Chef Michael cooked at Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio in San Francisco in the 90s. He has elevated Black & Blue to an award-winning California steakhouse that’s true destination dining for discerning San Diego residents.

All of his pastas are made in-house along with some of the cheese.

His “Signature Indulgence” on the Black & Blue menu is “The Ultimate Surf & Turf” for $75.00. It’s also part of a betting challenge. How about Lobster Creamed Spinach as a premium side?

Travis RodgersTravis Rodgers is the easy-going Iron Man of personalities on AM 830 KLAA. Every weekday morning he’s on AM 830 KLAA talking sports for four hours beginning at 6:00 a.m. After he’s finished at 10:00 a.m. on AM 830 he continues his national show for Yahoo Sports Radio for another hour until 11:00 a.m. That’s five hours on Weekdays as the solo host.

He’s also the master of engaging with his listeners via Twitter.

Travis’ second favorite subject is good food. Did we say Mexican? We’ll talk assorted cravable eats with Travis!

Podcasts

Segment One: Guest Host Kedric Francis and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris preview the show
Segment Two: Preview of Los Angeles Times The Taste
Segment Three: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor, Orange County Register Magazine
Segment Four: Michael Rossi, Executive Chef, The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon
Segment Five: Freddy Vargas, Executive Chef, Scarpetta, Montage Beverly Hills
Segment Six: Brad A. Johnson, Restaurant Critic, The Orange County Register & The Los Angeles Register
Segment Seven: Chef Michael Knowles, Black & Blue Steakhouse, Valley View Casino
Segment Eight: Travis Rodgers, “The Travis Rodgers Show” on AM 830 KLAA