Show 226, June 3, 2017: Bella Lantsman, General Manager & Partner, Chinois on Main, Santa Monica

Belle LantsmanLongevity for a restaurant in the highly competitive Los Angeles restaurant arena isn’t an easy thing. Celebrity Chef Wolfgang Pucks 2nd fine-dining restaurant in the Los Angeles area after Spago was Chinois on Main in Santa Monica. It launched in 1983 and is still a landmark dining destination in Santa Monica that consistently delivers with memorable food and polished service. Many of the professional servers have, unusually, been there for years.

Chinois on Main boldly combines Chinese tradition and fresh California ingredients with contemporary French techniques. The restaurant pioneered Asian fusion cuisine in the United States. Today, Chinois remains a culinary icon with its timeless interior design by (Partner) Barbara Lazaroff, an open kitchen, full-service bar, and extensive (and expertly crafted) wine list.

The Executive Chef is Rene Mata. He started at Chinois on Main as a line cook in 1987.

GM & Partner Bella Lantsman has, extraordinarily, been there since almost the beginning. We’ll meet her.

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Show 226, June 3, 2017: Bella Lantsman, General Manager & Partner, Chinois on Main, Santa Monica Continues…

Belle LantsmanLongevity for a restaurant in the highly competitive Los Angeles restaurant arena isn’t an easy thing. Celebrity Chef Wolfgang Pucks 2nd fine-dining restaurant in the Los Angeles area after Spago was Chinois on Main in Santa Monica. It launched in 1983 and is still a landmark dining destination in Santa Monica that consistently delivers with memorable food and polished service. Many of the professional servers have, unusually, been there for years.

There is a hidden (and very exclusive) private dining room with all the amenities at Chinois accommodating up to 40 seated guests. It even has its own kitchen.

 

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Show 202, December 17, 2016: Claudia Ludlow, General Manager, Glorietta Bay Inn, Coronado

Claudia LudlowCoronado is “a bridge apart” from San Diego and is an incorporated City with a rich heritage and small town charm that is a great getaway. Longtime resident Claudia Ludlow is the General Manager of the historic Glorietta Bay Inn located across the street from the iconic Hotel Del Coronado. We’ll meet her.

“Overlooking the bay, Glorietta Bay Inn is located in the heart of Coronado one block from the Beach, shops, restaurants and world famous Hotel Del. With 11 Mansion Rooms and 89 Contemporary Rooms and Suites, Glorietta Bay Inn takes you back to a world of historic beauty with all the modern amenities. All rooms include complimentary continental breakfast. Prices starting at $179.”

“An island vacation awaits you at Glorietta Bay Inn. This boutique hotel is a historic landmark in Coronado and famous for its grandeur architecture, built in 1908 as the home of sugar baron John D. Spreckels (an early owner of the landmark Hotel Del Coronado).

Glorietta Bay Inn sits across the street from the famous white-sandy Coronado Beach, steps away from boutique shopping and restaurants, minutes from America’s Finest City’s best attractions, and just 8-miles from the San Diego International Airport.”

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Show 164, March 19, 2016: Brian Cousins, General Manager, Café Del Rey

Brian CousinsHow do you keep a fine-dining establishment with an incredible Marina-view fresh after 25 years? We’ll chat with Brian Cousins, the seasoned General Manager of Café Del Rey, about how he has accomplished this impressive feat at a well-known, wine-centric destination restaurant in Marina del Rey.

Executive Chef David Vilchez is new to the kitchen at Café Del Rey. He moved South to the Marina from sister establishment, Napa Valley Grille in Westwood.

Fortunately, this contemporary, marina-view establishment defies the convention that having a great view is an excuse for serving mediocre food. Although owned by a restaurant group based in Florida their fine-dining restaurants are run autonomously. The feel is that Café Del Rey is locally owned by hands-on management.

“Cuisine inspired by the coastal towns of the Mediterranean. Intuitive service and a beautiful seaside setting. The food is about discovery: the freshest fish, fire grilled steaks, roasted free-range poultry, citrus, olives and market fresh vegetables all bursting with flavor. The luscious desserts, sophisticated cocktails and wine complete your journey.”

Their wine dinners are out of the ordinary. Coming in April is an unusual salute to the wines of Portugal.

 

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Show 141, October 10, 2015: Bracero Cocina de Raiz and General Manager JM Woody van Horn Continues…

Chef Javier Plasencia’s General Manager and Sommelier at the new Bracero Cocina de Raiz in San Diego’s Little Italy, JM Woody van Horn continues…

The restaurant is on two levels. Reservations are taken, and the lower level is left for walk-ins. Also check Open Table. A few reservations typically become available “day of.

Of his new restaurant, Chef Javier says, “The traditional Mexican kitchen is a central gathering place, where lively talk resonates and generations of home-crafted meals are envisioned, created and enjoyed. So it is at Bracero Cocina de Raiz. We celebrate memorable dishes and specialty cocktails, and raise a toast to the heart and soul of those who have nurtured each and every plant that has produced what goes into recipes that are both reminiscent, and perfected in a way that has never tasted quite so good.”

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Show 132, July 25, 2015: Matthew De Marte, General Manager, Connie and Ted’s

Matthew de MarteThe casual, seafood centric Connie & Ted’s in West Hollywood has been a crowd-pleasing phenomenon since it opened its door two years ago.

Co-owner Chef Michael Cimarusti (Providence) is one of the most respected seafood chefs in the country. Partner Donato Poto (Providence) has a long reputation as one of L.A.’s consummate hosts. He speaks three languages.

Partner Craig Nickoloff is a veteran restaurateur best known for founding the hugely successful Claim Jumper restaurants (which he sold at their peak of popularity.) Craig knows how to feed a crowd and give them every reason to return.

Executive Chef Sam Baxter began his career with Chef Michael Cimarusti at Water Grill. Chef Baxter looks to demonstrate that the freshest seafood needs only a light touch and the simplest of preparations to make outstanding food.

At any given time the busy oyster bar showcases some 16 to 24 varieties of fresh oysters.

Connie & Ted’s opening General Manager, Matthew De Marte is our guest to share a few secrets of their incredible success. He’s a veteran of Providence.

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Show 118, April 18, 2015: ChocXo Bean to Bar Chocolatier Continues…

ChocXO Bean To Bar ChocolatierChocXO “Bean to Bar Chocolatier” continues with General Manager Armon Demarco.

ChocXO is the brainchild of Richard Foley, a third generation chocolate guy. Richard literally bleeds chocolate. For the past 30 years, Richard has immersed himself in the chocolate industry. From distribution to manufacturing, he’s about done it all.

“Come visit our Irvine factory and look through our viewing windows and see our factory for yourself. Take a tour while you’re here or just stop in to buy a chocolate bar. We’re proud of what we’re doing and look forward to sharing it with you.”

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Show 101, December 13, 2014: Chef Curtis Stone’s Maude

Ben Aviram of Maude RestaurantCelebrity Chef Curtis Stone’s (Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” and Food Network’s “Kitchen Inferno”) Maude in Beverly Hills was the Best New Restaurant of the Year for both LA Weekly and Eater L.A.

Every month there is a new theme ingredient around which a totally original, 9-course tasting menu is created. December is “Winter Squash.” The monthly ingredient themes for 2015 are already posted on Maude’s Website.

Because it’s so small you politely advised to make your reservation well in advance. It’s only 7 tables and 25 seats with an open kitchen. There is a carefully considered wine pairing option available, too.

At the beginning of a new month reservations open for dining in the next month. Be aware the restaurant is closed on Sunday and Monday. Reservation hours are on open days from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Also Maude will be closed for vacation the first two weeks of January.

General Manager and Wine Director Ben Aviram joins us to take us through the extraordinary dining experience at Maude.

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Show 94, October 25, 2014: Jim Colombo, General Manager, Five Crowns and Side Door

Jim ColomboIt’s time to catch-up with the iconic Five Crowns and Side Door in Corona del Mar. The restaurant is a charming replica of one of England’s oldest country inns.

The adjacent Side Door is a popular gastropub with its own identity and a youthful vibe. The Holidays are always a special time there and General Manager Jim Colombo (also a trained chef) will give us a preview of all the special Holiday happenings.

The food in the kitchens of both establishments is under the watchful eye of Lawry’s Restaurants corporate executive chef, Ryan O’Melveny Wilson. He represents the fourth generation of proud Family ownership!

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Show 92, October 11, 2014: Rene Tuinman, Hotel Director, ms Zaandam

ms Zaandam by Holland AmericaThe “SoCal Restaurant Show” was aboard Holland America Line’s ms Zaandam last week on the Vancouver, BC to San Diego sailing of a longer 22-day Inca Discovery Tour ending in Valparaiso, Chile. Over the next few weeks we’ll be giving you an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the key people who oversee this 716 room floating luxury hotel with some 1,400 guests aboard.

A key manager aboard the ms Zaandam is the Hotel Director. He’s basically responsible for everything other than moving, navigating, and maintaining the ship. He actually supervises more of the 615 crew members aboard than the Captain! Think of a luxury hotel General Manager who also oversees the preparation and serving of over 8,000 meals per day ranging from the casual to fine-dining.

Rene is also responsible for housekeeping, the cabin attendants and Shore Excursions.

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