Show 210, February 11, 2017: Show Preview with Andy Harris

9th annual Pechanga Chocolate Decadence and Wine FestivalWe’re live on Saturday from the 9th Annual Pechanga Wine Festival and Chocolate Decadence. It’s a benefit for Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley. A few hundred of the finest vintages from Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Temecula, France, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand and beyond are available for the tasting. Also on the menu are a variety of impressive tastes from the award-winning chefs of Pechanga Resort & Casino.

Now an enticing preview of this Saturday’s totally decadent show with Co-Host Andy Harris. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s actually a pretty good thing…

Friday, February 10th is Chocolate Decadence at Pechanga. An incredible array of sinful chocolates and pastries are featured from the bakeshops of Pechanga’s Executive Pastry Chef, Jean-Jacques Granet. Chef Jean-Jacques puts down his whisk briefly to join us.

Wilson Creek Winery is a family-owned winery in the heart of Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country known for its quality wines and warm hospitality. The winery features a welcoming tasting room, full-service restaurant with vineyard view dining and expansive patio, creek side picnic area, indoor and outdoor conference and event spaces, romantic wedding venue and exclusive retreat accommodations. We’ll uncork it all with Winemaker Gus Vizgirda.

The Great Oak Steakhouse at Pechanga is one of the most highly regarded fine dining restaurants in the Inland Empire. It’s premium seafood, 100 per cent Prime Angus beef, and an exceptional wine cellar to match. The Great Oaks’ Manager, Alex Pena (who started at Pechanga 13 years ago as a server), is our guest.

Pechanga is well along with an ambitious $285 million expansion of the Hotel and all other guest amenities on the property with the exception of the Casino facilities. A new 2,400 space parking garage has just opened as the first part of the enhancements. Pechanga’s Digital Marketing Manager, Sean Macready fills us in.

Chef Marlene Moore is Pechanga’s two-time defending chili champ. She oversees all the food in the always busy Temptations Food Walk, Bingo Hall and the Poker Room. We’ll chat with Chef Marlene about what’s new on her menus.

We love inspirational entrepreneurial food success stories. For Melba Artea (and her husband Steve) of Crown City Toffee it all started with a family recipe for toffee (with chocolate & nuts) and a pressing need to provide more financial resources for her Family. Crown City Toffee is part of the Pechanga Wine Festival. We’ll get the full story on her popular toffee line that started in her home kitchen.

Temecula Valley has become a popular destination for both day visitors and longer stays, too. Temecula-based food, wine & travel journalists, Susan & Todd Montgomery, provide the local perspective. Sue is on the Board of Directors (also the Treasurer) of the International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association.

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

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Show 210, February 11, 2017: Food, Wine & Travel Journalists, Susan & Todd Montgomery

Susan and Todd MontgomeryTemecula Valley has become a popular destination for both day visitors and longer stays, too. In addition to the Pechanga Resort & Casino there are championship golf courses, the magnificent Temecula wine country and the attractions of Old Town Temecula. There is also a blooming arts community locally.

Temecula-based food, wine & travel journalists, Susan & Todd Montgomery, join us to provide the local perspective. Sue is on the Board of Directors (also the Treasurer) of the International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association. Todd is the duo’s official photographer.

Play

February 11: Live from the Pechanga Chocolate Decadence and Wine Festival

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Andy Harris
Segment Two: Jean-Jacques Granet, Executive Pastry Chef, Pechanga Resort & Casino
Segment Three: Gus Vizgirda, Winemaker, Wilson Creek Winery
Segment Four: Alex Pena, Manager, Great Oak Steakhouse, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula
Segment Five: Sean Macready, Social Media / Digital Manager, Pechanga Resort & Casino
Segment Six: Chef Marlene Moore, Temptations Food Walk, Pechanga Resort & Casino
Segment Seven: Melba and Steve Artea, Crown City Toffee
Segment Eight: Food, Wine & Travel Journalists, Susan & Todd Montgomerys

9th annual Pechanga Chocolate Decadence and Wine FestivalWe’re live on Saturday from the 9th Annual Pechanga Wine Festival and Chocolate Decadence. It’s a benefit for Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley. A few hundred of the finest vintages from Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Temecula, France, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand and beyond are available for the tasting. Also on the menu are a variety of impressive tastes from the award-winning chefs of Pechanga Resort & Casino.

Now an enticing preview of this Saturday’s totally decadent show with Co-Host Andy Harris. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s actually a pretty good thing…

Friday, February 10th is Chocolate Decadence at Pechanga. An incredible array of sinful chocolates and pastries are featured from the bakeshops of Pechanga’s Executive Pastry Chef, Jean-Jacques Granet. Chef Jean-Jacques puts down his whisk briefly to join us.

Wilson Creek Winery is a family-owned winery in the heart of Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country known for its quality wines and warm hospitality. The winery features a welcoming tasting room, full-service restaurant with vineyard view dining and expansive patio, creek side picnic area, indoor and outdoor conference and event spaces, romantic wedding venue and exclusive retreat accommodations. We’ll uncork it all with Winemaker Gus Vizgirda.

The Great Oak Steakhouse at Pechanga is one of the most highly regarded fine dining restaurants in the Inland Empire. It’s premium seafood, 100 per cent Prime Angus beef, and an exceptional wine cellar to match. The Great Oaks’ Manager, Alex Pena (who started at Pechanga 13 years ago as a server), is our guest.

Pechanga is well along with an ambitious $285 million expansion of the Hotel and all other guest amenities on the property with the exception of the Casino facilities. A new 2,400 space parking garage has just opened as the first part of the enhancements. Pechanga’s Digital Marketing Manager, Sean Macready fills us in.

Chef Marlene Moore is Pechanga’s two-time defending chili champ. She oversees all the food in the always busy Temptations Food Walk, Bingo Hall and the Poker Room. We’ll chat with Chef Marlene about what’s new on her menus.

We love inspirational entrepreneurial food success stories. For Melba Artea of Crown City Toffee it all started with a family recipe for toffee (with chocolate & nuts) and a pressing need to provide more financial resources for her Family. Crown City Toffee is part of the Pechanga Wine Festival. We’ll get the full story on her popular toffee line that started in her home kitchen.

Temecula Valley has become a popular destination for both day visitors and longer stays, too. Temecula-based food, wine & travel journalists, Susan & Todd Montgomery, provide the local perspective. Sue is on the Board of Directors (also the Treasurer) of the International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association.

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

Jean Jacques GranetFriday, February 10th is the always incredible Chocolate Decadence at Pechanga. An eye-popping array of truly decadent chocolates and pastries are featured from the bakeshops of Pechanga’s Executive Pastry Chef, Jean-Jacques Granet.

Jean-Jacques Granet, an acclaimed pastry chef who has worked on three continents, is the Executive Pastry Chef at Pechanga Resort & Casino. After spending nearly 15 years as pastry chef at two of the most prestigious luxury resorts in Las Vegas, Granet is now happy to call Southern California home.

Chef Jean-Jacques arrived at Pechanga in March 2015 and has implemented positive changes to the 20-person in-house bakery and pastry shop. He has changed the lineup of desserts offered at Journey’s End golf course restaurant, The Great Oak Steakhouse, Paisano’s Italian restaurant and Umi Sushi & Oyster Bar.

He’s always working on improvements to the desserts and pastries offered at Blends Coffee & Wine Bar. Ongoing is efforts with each of the 11 dining outlets and banquets departments to fulfill and exceed guests’ expectations in the sweets’ department.

Chef Jean-Jacques puts down his whisk briefly to join us.

Gus VizgirdaWilson Creek Winery is a family-owned winery in the heart of Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country known for its quality wines and warm hospitality. The winery features a welcoming tasting room, full-service restaurant with vineyard view dining and expansive patio, creek side picnic area, indoor and outdoor conference and event spaces, romantic wedding venue and exclusive retreat accommodations.

“Delightfully referred to as our “extended family,” the Wilson family is proud to have built a community around the sharing of wine, the celebration of family and the passion to enhance the lives of everyone our brand touches.”

Today, Wilson Creek’s 90 acres of old growth vines grace the Temecula Valley hills and produce over 40,000 cases yearly and include several award-winning varietals.  The two large Tuscan-inspired buildings house a unique tasting room, a grand ballroom and elegant restaurant.

Just as founders Gerry and Rosie Wilson wanted a place where family could come together, the winery grounds feature several spaces designed to bring people together including gazebos, a concert stage, outdoor patio dining and, of course, the peaceful sounds of Wilson Creek.

“The dream and vision of Wilson Creek continues to thrive with three generations of Wilsons involved in day-to-day operations, from wine tasting and tours to weddings and corporate events.”

They are known for their celebratory Almond Sparking Wine (which initially put them on the map) and Gus’ White Cabernet Sauvignon.

We’ll uncork it with Winemaker Gus Vizgirda.

Alex PenaThe Great Oak Steakhouse at Pechanga is one of the most highly regarded fine dining restaurants in the Inland Empire. It’s premium seafood, 100 per cent Prime Angus beef, and an exceptional wine cellar to match. It’s a consistent AAA Four-Diamond Award establishment.

“With an outstanding menu created by award-winning head chef Martin Venegas, a visit to Great Oak promises to be memorable on every level. Martin’s philosophy is no secret: find the best product, use the right ingredients, and execute every creation in a way that brings forward the very best of the flavor profile. Taste the art of deep culinary passion at this signature dining destination.”

The Great Oaks’ accomplished Manager, Alex Pena (who started at Pechanga 13 years ago as a server), is our guest.

Sean MacReadyPechanga is well along with an ambitious $285 million expansion of the Hotel and all other guest amenities on the property with the exception of the Casino facilities. A new 2,400 space parking garage has just opened as the first part of the enhancements.

The project involves adding a new, AAA Four Diamond, 568-room and suite hotel wing; a stand-alone luxury two-story spa and salon with 17 treatment rooms, a fitness center and hydrotherapy pool terrace; a resort-style pool complex with eight pool areas; two new restaurants; and an additional 67,000 square feet of event space.

“We estimate the expansion will result in an economic output of over $550 million, generating roughly 2,944 jobs up front as a result of construction-related activities,” said Dr. Christopher Thornberg, Founding Partner of Beacon Economics. “We estimate the local economy will benefit from an additional 560 jobs per year going forward as a result of expanded operations at Pechanga Resort & Casino.”

Pechanga’s Digital Marketing Manager, Sean MacReady fills us in.

Marlene Moore at the Pechanga Microbrew Festival and Chili CookoffChef Marlene Moore is Pechanga’s two-time chili champ. She oversees the always busy Temptations Food Walk.

Her realm includes Caffee Cocoa – Fine Coffees and Coffee (24 hours), Pronto Italian, Agave Mexican Delights, American Classics (24 hours), Little Wok Asian Specialties, Pechanga Fried Chicken and Banh Mi (made to order) and hot dog carts.

In addition to Temptations Food Walk, Chef Marlene oversees all the food in the long-running Bingo Parlor and bustling Poker Room.

We’ll chat with Chef Marlene about what’s new on her menus.

Melba ArteaWe love inspirational entrepreneurial food success stories. For Melba Artea of Crown City Toffee it all started with a family recipe for toffee (with chocolate & nuts) and a pressing need to provide more financial resources for her Family.

“Our English toffee is made with the freshest ingredients available. It is crispy with a wonderful buttery crunch and topped with a coat of creamy chocolate (milk or dark) with fresh-roasted almonds sprinkled on top.”

“Our Peanut Butter Drizzle is a huge favorite of many of our customers. It’s roasted peanuts topped over melted Peanut Butter Morsels and drizzled with milk chocolate.”

Crown City Toffee is part of the Pechanga Wine Festival. We’ll get the full story from Melba on her popular toffee line that started in her home kitchen. Based on demand they have graduated to producing in a commercial kitchen.

Susan and Todd MontgomeryTemecula Valley has become a popular destination for both day visitors and longer stays, too. In addition to the Pechanga Resort & Casino there are championship golf courses, the magnificent Temecula wine country and the attractions of Old Town Temecula.

Temecula-based food, wine & travel journalists, Susan & Todd Montgomery, join us to provide the local perspective. Sue is on the Board of Directors (also the Treasurer) of the International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association. Todd is the duo’s official photographer.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Andy Harris
Segment Two: Jean-Jacques Granet, Executive Pastry Chef, Pechanga Resort & Casino
Segment Three: Gus Vizgirda, Winemaker, Wilson Creek Winery
Segment Four: Alex Pena, Manager, Great Oak Steakhouse, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula
Segment Five: Sean Macready, Social Media / Digital Manager, Pechanga Resort & Casino
Segment Six: Chef Marlene Moore, Temptations Food Walk, Pechanga Resort & Casino
Segment Seven: Melba and Steve Artea, Crown City Toffee
Segment Eight: Food, Wine & Travel Journalists, Susan & Todd Montgomerys

Show 187, September 3, 2016: Linda Kissam, President, International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association

Linda KissamSo you want to be a travel writer…? If you can express yourself well then what are the needed prerequisites and how do you potentially make it happen?

Travel Journalist and President of the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA), Linda Kissam, joins us to provide the straightforward basics.

The International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) is a global network of professional journalists who cover the hospitality and lifestyle fields, and the people who promote them.

The International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association’s (IFWTWA) Annual Conference is coming up October 30th through November 3rd at The Loews Coronado Bay Resort in Coronado.

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Show 178, July 2, 2016: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel

Andrew Gruel at the AM830 KLAA StudiosHappy 4th of July Weekend to all of our loyal listeners. Wishing you the very best in culinary fireworks over the long weekend. Eat well and be safe…

Executive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, LAX, Irvine at UCI and, most recently, Brea, is back as today’s special Guest Host. Last month in Chicago he received Nation’s Restaurant News’ Trendsetter MenuMaster Award for Slapfish.

Now an enticing preview of Saturday’s lush, patriotic and abundant show and not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re doing it right we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s actually a pretty good thing…

Upscale senior living facilities offering incredible amenities and delicious, healthy, chef-prepared food of restaurant quality represent a huge growth industry nationally. One of the industry leaders is Morrison Community Living. We’ll meet their Senior Corporate Chef, John Rifkin.

The Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure returns to The Wiltern theater on July 9th.  Over 60+ artisan ‘garagiste’ winemakers from across California, including Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez and SLO counties; Napa and Sonoma counties, and Paso Robles will pour over 200 wines. Over 30% of the wineries are participating in the Los Angeles festival for the first time. Co-founder Doug Minnick pulls the cork on the festivities for us.

“The Art of Baja Wine & Beer Dinner” takes place at the newly renovated The Grill at the Lodge at Torrey Pines on Friday evening, July 15th. Baja’s Chef Drew Deckman has put together a four-course family style dinner highlighting traditional dishes and ingredients from this unique region, which will be prepared on the outdoor rotisserie of The Grill. The dinner will feature wine connoisseur and Michelin-starred Chef Drew Deckman (Deckman’s en el Mogor) as well as Hugo D’Acosta, the premier winemaker of Valle De Guadalupe. Executive Chef Jeff Jackson of The Lodge at Torrey Pines joins us.

Food, wine and travel writer Cori Solomon (a member of the prestigious International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association and Founder of L.A. Wine Writers) recently returned from a 10-night cruise of Italy and the Greek Isles aboard the Celebrity Reflection, the pride of Celebrity’s fleet. Her accommodation was a spacious, Deluxe Ocean View Veranda Stateroom. This is a Solstice class ship, the crown of Celebrity’s fleet. Modern cruising offers a memorable vacation experience for all ages with considerable value. Cori is with us to share her smooth-sailing, cruise highlights.

Many passionate Italian chefs will tell you cheese (even the incredible Parmigiano-Reggiano) should NEVER be added to a seafood dish (particularly a seafood pasta creation.) Yet you’re now seeing lobster macaroni and cheese prepared by fine-dining chefs and raved about by guests. Our own Chef Andrew Gruel has successfully used cheese with lobster and crab at Slapfish. Confused….? We’ll ask Chef Andrew to explain.

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

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July 2: Morrison Community Living, Garagiste Festival, Jeff Jackson, Cori Solomon

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: John Rifkin, CEC, Senior Corporate Executive Chef, Morrison Community Living
Segment Three: Doug Minnick, Co-Founder, The Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure
Segment Four: Jeff Jackson, Executive Chef, Lodge at Torrey Pines. Art of Baja Dinner
Segment Five: Food, Wine & Travel Journalist, Cori Solomon. 10-Night Cruise on Celebrity’s Reflection Part One
Segment Six: Food, Wine & Travel Journalist, Cori Solomon. 10-Night Cruise on Celebrity’s Reflection Part Two
Segment Seven: Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish Restaurant Group, Huntington Beach

Andrew Gruel at the AM830 KLAA StudiosHappy 4th of July Weekend to all of our loyal listeners. Wishing you the very best in culinary fireworks over the long weekend.

Executive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, LAX, Irvine at UCI and, most recently, Brea, is back as today’s special Guest Host. Last month in Chicago he received Nation’s Restaurant News’ Trendsetter MenuMaster Award for Slapfish.

Now an enticing preview of Saturday’s lush and abundant show and not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re doing it right we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s actually a pretty good thing…

Upscale senior living facilities offering incredible amenities and delicious, healthy, chef-prepared food of restaurant quality represent a huge growth industry nationally. One of the industry leaders is Morrison Community Living. We’ll meet their Senior Corporate Chef, John Rifkin.

The Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure returns to The Wiltern theater on July 9th.  Over 60+ artisan ‘garagiste’ winemakers from across California, including Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez and SLO counties; Napa and Sonoma counties, and Paso Robles will pour over 200 wines. Over 30% of the wineries are participating in the Los Angeles festival for the first time.  Co-founder Doug Minnick pulls the cork on the festivities for us.

“The Art of Baja Wine & Beer Dinner” takers place at the newly renovated The Grill at the Lodge at Torrey Pines on Friday evening, July 15th. Executive Chef Jeff Jackson has put together a four-course family style dinner highlighting traditional dishes and ingredients from this unique region, which will be prepared on the outdoor rotisserie of The Grill. The dinner will feature wine connoisseur and Michelin-starred Chef Drew Deckman (Deckman’s en el Mogor) as well as Hugo D’Acosta, the premier winemaker of Valle De Guadalupe. Chefs Drew and Jeff join us.

Food, wine and travel writer Cori Solomon (a member of the prestigious International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association and Founder of L.A. Wine Writers) recently returned from a 10-day cruise of Italy and the Greek Isles aboard the Celebrity Reflection, the pride of Celebrity’s fleet. Her accommodation was a spacious, Deluxe Ocean View Veranda Stateroom. This is a Solstice class ship. Modern cruising offers a memorable vacation experience for all ages with considerable value. Cori is with us to share her smooth-sailing, cruise highlights.

Huntington Beach restaurateur Alicia Whitney is seemingly taking over the City one block at a time. Her newest full-service restaurant is SeaSalt Woodfire Grill featuring Santa Maria-style barbecue. She is also now on the sand at Bolsa Chica State Beach with two open beach food stands and a third set to open this weekend. We’ll detour Alica for a quick respite and get all the tasty details.

Many passionate Italian chefs will tell you cheese (even the incredible Parmigiano-Reggiano) should NEVER be added to a seafood dish (particularly a seafood pasta creation.) Yet you’re now seeing lobster macaroni and cheese prepared by fine-dining chefs and raved about by guests. Our own Chef Andrew Gruel has successfully used cheese with lobster at Slapfish. Confused….? We’ll ask Chef Andrew to explain.

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

John RifkinUpscale senior living facilities offering incredible amenities and delicious, healthy, chef-prepared food of restaurant quality represent a huge growth industry nationally. One of the industry leaders is Morrison Community Living. We’ll meet their Senior Corporate Chef, John Rifkin.

Chef Rifkin joined Morrison Community Living in 2004 as corporate chef. In this role Rifkin was able to support the many Morrison Senior Living communities throughout the country and help to show the value of both Morrison and Compass Groups’ robust sustainable seafood program nationally.

In 2010 Chef Rifkin was promoted to Senior Corporate Chef. Under his leadership he has been able to drive Morrison Community Livings’ sustainable results even further, and along with his team of 10 Corporate Chefs, 24 Regional Chefs, and the over 400 plus chefs across the country to create very delicious sustainable seafood recipes.

Chef Rifkin knows that the generations entering Morrison Community Living communities have a very high expectation that they understand where their seafood and food comes from, but also that it is harvested responsibly as well. Chef Rifkin collaborates with many food service organizations to support him to bring the very best ingredients to the seniors that Morrison Senior Living prepares for. These guests have traveled the world, run Fortune 500 companies, and are master home chefs in their own right, cooking many meals for their family and loved ones throughout the years.

Garagiste FestivalThe Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure returns to The Wiltern theater on July 9th.  Over 60+ artisan ‘garagiste’ winemakers from across California, including Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez and SLO counties; Napa and Sonoma counties, and Paso Robles will pour over 200 wines. Over 30% of the wineries are participating in the Los Angeles festival for the first time.  Co-founder Doug Minnick uncorks the festivities for us.

Urban Exposure also presents the LA premiere of one of its signature comparison tasting seminars, “Tasting the Winemaker’s Spice Rack,”  on the stage of The Wiltern. Rendarrio Vineyards owner and winemaker Ryan Render and Michael Larner, winemaker and owner of the renowned Larner Vineyard, will use side-by-side comparisons to help wine consumers understand, through their taste buds, how different oak treatments – from type to region to toast – can affect the finished product and change the profile of a single wine.

Renowned for their ‘crazy thrill of discovery,’ one-on-one interactions with winemakers, and fun ‘no-snobs-allowed’ atmosphere, Garagiste Festivals offer wine lovers their only opportunity to taste so many small-production, hard-to-find wines, from so many regions, all in one place – over 60% of Urban Exposure winemakers are without a tasting room.

Drew Deckman“The Art of Baja Wine & Beer Dinner” takers place at the newly renovated The Grill at the Lodge at Torrey Pines on Friday evening, July 15th. Executive Chef Jeff Jackson has put together a four-course family style dinner highlighting traditional dishes and ingredients from this unique region, which will be prepared on the outdoor rotisserie of The Grill (which just completed a spectacular $2.5 million renovation.)

The dinner will feature wine connoisseur and Michelin-starred Chef Drew Deckman ( Deckman’s en el Mogor) as well as Hugo D’Acosta, the premier winemaker of Valle De Guadalupe who will showcase rare wines normally unavailable in California.

For those who prefer hops to grapes, Eugenio Wendtlandt of Wendlandt Brewery, voted best Mexican Brewery 2015, will also be in attendance in addition to other craft beer selections from the Agua Mala region.

Baja’s Chef Drew Deckman is also coming to San Diego. He has a restaurant project on Bankers Hill set to debut in early 2017.

Chefs Drew Deckman and Jeff Jackson join us.

Cori SolomonFood, wine and travel writer Cori Solomon (a member of the prestigious International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association & Founder of L.A. Wine Writers) recently returned from a 10-day cruise of Italy and the Greek Isles aboard the Celebrity Reflection, the pride of Celebrity’s fleet. Her accommodation was a spacious, Deluxe Ocean View Veranda Stateroom.

This is a Solstice-class ship. Modern cruising offers a memorable vacation experience for all ages and interests with considerable value. Cori is with us to share her smooth-sailing, cruise highlights.

“Celebrity Reflection® is our newest marvel. She boasts an expanded deck, 72 additional staterooms overall, more seating in the main and specialty restaurants, more sun lounges on the pool deck, and more seats in the theatre.”

“Celebrate the flavorful joys of outdoor grilling in the new Lawn Club Grill. Enjoy more than 20 delicious options in the Main Restaurant. Unwind in your own cabana-style haven, The Alcoves, on the Lawn Club. And check out all the new spa innovations in the enhanced Canyon Ranch SpaClub®.”

“Your vacation time is precious. Time aboard Celebrity Reflection will make the most of it.”

The Reflection can accommodate 3,046 guests served by a crew of 1,255.

From Cruise Critic:

With the impressive overall quality of food on board Celebrity Reflection there is little need to spend extra on specialty dining unless you feel like a treat. Even Oceanview, the cheerful buffet venue on Level 14, takes things to a new level with tasty International dishes that belie the restaurant’s casual surroundings.

Celebrity didn’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to dining on Reflection, sticking instead with familiar options. In the main dining room passengers can choose from traditional dining (6:15 p.m. for the early seating and 8:45 p.m. for the late) or the more flexible Celebrity Select Dining, which allows them to eat in the main dining room any time between 6 and 10 p.m. Bookings for Select Dining can be made online up to four days before the ship sails or once onboard. Or, like us, you can simply walk-in whenever it suits you. We never had to wait longer than five minutes for a table for two although we did notice a queue on one formal night.

The main dining area, Opus, occupies space on Reflection’s third and fourth decks. It’s an elegant venue, decorated in deep browns and silvers, with bright white tablecloths and crystal as far as the eye can see. The vast space — which accommodates 40 more seats than its counterpart on Celebrity Silhouette — is stunningly designed, though tables are a bit too close together making private conversation difficult (although this can be a good way to meet fellow passengers if you are so inclined).

Menus in Opus offer appetizers, soups and salads, entrees and desserts, and they’re flexible enough to accommodate specific dietary needs. You’ll choose from a variety of options, including favorites like shrimp cocktail, escargot, prime rib, rack of lamb and crème brulee. Food is generally good, with appropriate portion sizes and some surprises on the menu, like the beef Carpaccio or frog legs. Do ask your waiter what they recommend as suggestions are usually spot-on.

Vegetarian and healthier options are identified on the menu, but if you have specific dietary needs (vegan or gluten-free), discuss them with the maitre d’ before your first meal, and ask specific questions about the menu items you select.

Andrew Gruel and his son WilliamMany passionate Italian chefs will tell you cheese (even the incredible Parmigiano-Reggiano) should NEVER be added to a seafood dish. Yet you’re now seeing lobster macaroni and cheese prepared by fine-dining chefs and raved about by guests.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel has successfully used cheese with lobster at Slapfish. It’s popular with the guests. Confused….? We’ll ask Chef Andrew to explain.

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Show 154, January 9, 2016: 3rd Annual San Diego Travel & Adventure Show

Travel and Adventure ShowThe 3rd Annual Travel & Adventure Show returns to the San Diego Convention Center the weekend of January 16th and 17th. “The SoCal Restaurant Show” is broadcasting live from the Show on Saturday morning, January 16th from 10:00 a.m. to 12 Noon. We’ll be in the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association’s booth which is # 222.

Planning your next vacation has never been easier. This year’s event features a larger expo hall, with more travel destinations and expanded content and seminars. America’s favorite Travel Show series is sure to spark your wanderlust. Consider it the trip you take before your trip!

The Travel & Adventure Show matches travel enthusiasts with the top travel providers from around the globe to craft custom experiences that turn your ordinary get-aways into extraordinary vacations creating lasting memories for years to come. From Mammoth Lakes to Malaysia, Fiji to Florida, you will browse a huge variety of travel providers, and experience culture-rich demonstrations from your dream destinations. Interact with thousands of domestic and international destinations and travel experts that can help you plan your next vacation, customize your trip, and give you the expert, inside knowledge you need to “travel like a local”.

John Golicz, CEO of Unicomm, the event’s producer, joins us with a tempting preview of what’s in store.

We’d love to see you in San Diego on Saturday, January 16th. The producers of The Travel & Adventure Show have graciously extended an exclusive discount offer for our listeners for both One Day & Two Day admissions. A One Day Adult admission is $10 (versus $16) and a Two Day Adult Admission is $18 (versus $25.) Use the Offer Code: “JOHN.” on their website and then click on “Buy Tickets.”

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Show 133, August 1, 2015: Travel Journalist and IFWTWA Board Member, Susan Montgomery

Susan MontgomeryA group of professional journalists from The International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) is visiting the show. Their Board of Directors Secretary, Susan Montgomery, joins us. IFWTWA is now a global network of journalists who cover the hospitality and lifestyle fields, and the people who promote them.

In addition to explaining the mission of the IFTWTA Sue will highlight her recent visit to Casa Mayoral, a modern and comfortable Bed & Breakfast, in the Guadalupe Valley in Northern Baja California.

Located at the heart of the Baja Wine Country in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, Casa Mayoral is a welcoming Bed and Breakfast boutique hotel. It’s also an event venue offering culinary experiences. The modern rooms offer unmatched views of the Valley and the nighttime skyline. Unusually there is an ostrich farm in the valley right below Casa Mayoral.

It’s a hearty chef prepared-breakfast in the morning. The spread includes fresh juices, fruit, cereal, eggs, chilaquiles, pastries, and premium brewed coffee.

 

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Show 110, February 14, 2015: LA Travel & Adventure Show

Linda KissamThe 10th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show brings thousands of travel options and international culture and cuisine to the Long Beach Convention Center the Weekend of February 21st and 22nd. The nation’s largest travel show features an impressive roster of celebrity expert travel speakers including Travel Channel’s Samantha Brown, Rick Steves, Pauline Frommer, Peter Greenberg and Phil Keoghan.

The event will feature hundreds of exhibiting companies and countries representing some of the world’s most sought-after destinations, tour offerings and travel experiences. The Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show promises a weekend of discovery and inspiration to help travelers “dream it, plan it and book it.” Event attendees will be able to shop exclusive travel deals, attend travel seminars on three educational stages and meet prominent travel experts.

Food, wine and travel journalist Linda Kissam is the President of the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association. IFWTWA is part of the L.A. Travel & Adventure Show and Linda is with us to provide an overview of the event.

Linda notes that if you buy your tickets in advance via their website there is a big discount over purchasing tickets at the door (which requires cash.)

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Show 92, October 11, 2014: Chef Mark “Gooch” Noguchi and Michelle Winner

Mark NoguchiWe’re continuing our report on the recent Hawaii Food & Wine Festival based on Oahu. Food, wine and travel writer Michelle Winner encores with Chef Mark “Gooch” Noguchi of Lunchbox in Oahu.

Chef Mark Noguchi (along with Christa Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar in New York) was part of Laulima at Heeia, a cultural education event (and lunch) the Friday afternoon of the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival on Oahu. Part of the effort was in both a dry and wet taro field. The chefs got dirty…In Hawaii it’s traditionally used in the making of Poi.

Chef Mark also initiated the innovative LunchBox program for Hawaiian Airlines. Healthy meals prepared from locally sourced ingredients are now on the menu for Hawaiian Airlines’ employees at their company cafe.

In the wings for chef Mark is Mission, opening soon at the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic site in Kakaako. It’s a lunch café. On the menu will be “Contemporary Hawaii foods” sourced from local ingredients.

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