Show 253, December 23, 2017: Show Preview with Co-Hosts Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel

Now a joyful preview of Saturday’s festive show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case, upon careful reflection, that’s probably a pretty good thing… Keep in mind we’re here with you live every Saturday morning throughout The Holidays.

Greatly respected restaurateur Donato Poto, in partnership with Chef Michael Cimarusti, is responsible for the L.A. fine dining treasure, Providence, as well as the more casual Connie & Ted’s (with restaurateur Craig Nickoloff) in West Hollywood. It’s been a busy few weeks for them as they have launched il Pesce Cucina in Eataly in Westfield Century City as well as Best Girl, a 3-meal-a-day restaurant in The Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. We’ll get the full briefing from Donato.

Our Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, joins us from Park City, Utah where he has just debuted the third Slapfish in Utah. Chef Andrew will share (and explain) some important hospitality business trends he sees for 2018.

We know restaurateur Russ Bendel from his successful wine country-themed establishments in Orange County, Vine in San Clemente and Ironwood in Laguna Hills. Now it’s a threesome with the launch of the handsome Olea, already making waves in Newport Beach. Russ Bendel explains what’s on the menu.

Lawry’s Beef Bowl is college football’s most celebrated bowl game tradition. Each year since its inception prior to the 1957 Rose Bowl Game, Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Beverly Hills has honored the players and coaches of each Rose Bowl‐bound team for their gridiron achievements. This is the 62nd year of Lawry’s proud association with The Granddaddy of Them All.® Lawry’s Beef Bowl historian Todd Erickson is our guest. He actually authored the coffee table book on the official history of Lawry’s Beef Bowl.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s show!

Play

Show 253, December 23, 2017: Orange County Restaurateur, Russ Bendel, Olea

Russ BendelWe know restaurateur Russ Bendel from his successful wine country-themed establishments in Orange County, Vine in San Clemente and Ironwood in Laguna Hills. Now it’s a threesome with the launch of the handsome Olea, already making waves in Newport Beach.

Named for a genus of trees that flourish in warm and tropical regions, Olea gives Bendel’s award-winning Napa and Sonoma wine country concepts at Vine, in San Clemente, and Ironwood, in Laguna Hills, a European accent with extensive wine selections from Italy, France and Spain.

Chef-Partner Jared Cook has created a menu of modern California cuisine that perfectly complements the “global wine country” approach the Bendel team has taken at Olea.

“Olea represents the continued progression we have created with our other two wine country-inspired cuisine restaurants,” Bendel said. The restaurant is Bendel’s largest, seating 130 guests, and like the other two locations is open for dinner nightly.

Cook has created new dishes exclusively for Olea, including blue crab baked oysters with champagne tarragon butter); terrine of duck liver, bacon and bourbon; wild-caught Pacific Blue Nose sea bass; herb-roasted prime beef cheek stroganoff with house-made rosemary pappardelle; Pacific Northwest filet mignon with black truffle and blue crab Béarnaise; and seasonal apple and pear cobbler with oatmeal crumble and cardamom ice cream.

Also on the menu at Olea are Vine/Ironwood crowd-pleasers such as Meyer lemon & honey duck wings and jumbo lump blue crab with roasted heirloom beets.

Olea’s interior is Tuscany wine country meets California Cuisine. An eclectic blend of timeless natural backgrounds includes antique French white oak floors, Black Mountain ledge-stone, black walnut millwork complemented with contemporary decorative lighting, and clean soffit lines and a warm taupe color palette.

Dining areas are divided with sculptures instead of walls, made from natural tree branches on steel bases that lend privacy. The completely weatherproofed dining patio has a parkway setting with swagger light fixtures and citrus trees and herbs in large planters. Two olea (olive) trees flank the entrance of the restaurant.

A focal point of Olea, which totals 3,647 square feet, is a custom-made captain’s table in the wine room that can seat 10.  The captain’s table is surrounded by working wine storage and wine displays, artwork and beautiful lighting fixtures.

Olea is located at The Walk, 2001 Westcliff Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660, by Kéan Coffee. Reservations are accepted on OpenTable, or by calling 949-287-6807. There is self-parking in a newly-constructed 300-car parking structure adjacent to the restaurant.

Russ Bendel tempts us what’s on the menu.

Play

Show 253, December 23, 2017: Orange County Restaurateur, Russ Bendel, Olea Continues…

Russ BendelWe know restaurateur Russ Bendel from his successful wine country-themed establishments in Orange County, Vine in San Clemente and Ironwood in Laguna Hills. Now it’s a threesome with the launch of the handsome Olea, already making waves in Newport Beach.

“It’s great to return to the community where my business partners and I began our careers,” said Bendel, a graduate of The Collins College of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona who spent nine years at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar at Newport Center / Fashion Island before striking out on his own.

Play

December 23: Donato Poto, Russ Bendel, Lawry’s Beef Bowl

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Hosts Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: Restaurateur Donato Poto, il Pesce Cucina and Best Girl Part Two
Segment Three: Restaurateur Donato Poto, il Pesce Cucina and Best Girl Part Two
Segment Four: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Five: Orange County Restaurateur, Russ Bendel, Olea Part One
Segment Six: Orange County Restaurateur, Russ Bendel, Olea Part Two
Segment Seven: Sports Historian Todd Erickson, Lawry’s 62nd Beef Bowl Part One
Segment Eight: Sports Historian Todd Erickson, Lawry’s 62nd Beef Bowl Part Two

Now a joyful preview of this Saturday’s festive show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case, upon careful reflection, that’s probably a pretty good thing… Keep in mind we’re here with you live every Saturday morning throughout The Holidays.

Greatly respected restaurateur Donato Poto, in partnership with Chef Michael Cimarusti, is responsible for the L.A. fine dining treasure, Providence, as well as the more casual Connie & Ted’s (with restaurateur Craig Nickoloff) in West Hollywood. It’s been a busy few weeks for them as they have launched il Pesce Cucina in Eataly in Westfield Century City as well as Best Girl, a 3-meal-a-day restaurant in The Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. We’ll get the full briefing from Donato.

Our Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, joins us from Park City, Utah where he has just debuted the third Slapfish in Utah. Chef Andrew will share (and explain) some important hospitality business trends he sees for 2018.

We know restaurateur Russ Bendel from his successful wine country-themed establishments in Orange County, Vine in San Clemente and Ironwood in Laguna Hills. Now it’s a threesome with the launch of the handsome Olea, already making waves in Newport Beach. Russ Bendel explains what’s on the menu.

Lawry’s Beef Bowl is college football’s most celebrated bowl game tradition. Each year since its inception prior to the 1957 Rose Bowl Game, Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Beverly Hills has honored the players and coaches of each Rose Bowl‐bound team for their gridiron achievements. This is the 61st year of Lawry’s proud association with The Granddaddy of Them All.® Lawry’s Beef Bowl historian Todd Erickson is our guest. He actually authored the coffee table book on the official history of Lawry’s Beef Bowl.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s show!

Donato PotoGreatly respected restaurateur Donato Poto, in partnership with Chef Michael Cimarusti, is responsible for the L.A. fine dining treasure, Providence, as well as the more casual Connie & Ted’s (with restaurateur Craig Nickoloff) in West Hollywood. It’s been a busy few weeks for them as they have launched il Pesce Cucina in Eataly in Westfield Century City as well as Best Girl, a 3-meal-a-day restaurant in The Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.

Headed up by acclaimed L.A. restaurant Providence, Il Pesce Cucina is Eataly’s fish market-inspired restaurant. For more than a decade, the team led by Chef Michael Cimarusti and Donato Poto has worked to elevate the standards of modern American seafood restaurants. At Eataly, Providence highlights the delicious varieties of California’s wild fish in their menus. All of the fresh seafood is responsibly sourced, with a particular focus on wild-caught and raw options that promise to satisfy every taste.

Tables are available on a first-come, first-served basis; il Pesce Cucina does not accept reservations.

“Providence, a restaurant with two Michelin stars, has defined a new standard of seafood cuisine in America. Led by Chef Michael Cimarusti and co-owner Donato Poto, this signature L.A. restaurant found its roots in the search for sustainable fish, wild caught and of the finest quality. Ingredients are treated with the greatest respect and technique, with the goal of bringing the freshest seafood flavors to your table. Eataly partners with Providence at Il Pesce Cucina because we believe in the same emphasis on ingredients and search for quality.”

We’ll get the full, mouthwatering briefing from Donato.

Named after the first film screened at The Theatre (now the Ace Theater adjacent to the Ace Hotel) in 1927, Best Girl is Downtown Los Angeles’ local haunt featuring rotating, seasonal fare and classic favorites. Best Girl is in partnership with the inimitable Chef Michael Cimarusti and business partner Donato Poto, renowned for championing sustainable seafood and elevating impeccable service in a casual atmosphere.

A multi-nominee for a James Beard Award, Cimarusti’s critically acclaimed restaurants Providence and Connie and Ted’s have earned him two Michelin Stars and international recognition as an industry giant. Cape Seafood and Provisions, his seafaring market, offers sustainable, wild caught fish, prime cuts and grab-and-go dishes. Chef Cimarusti’s menu for Best Girl represents his favorite meals made at home for family and friends — inviting and simple, every dish is expertly crafted, wholly delicious and available every day.

We’ll continue the full briefing from Donato.

Andrew and William GruelOur Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, joins us from Park City, Utah where he has just debuted the third Slapfish in Utah. Chef Andrew will share (and explain) some important hospitality business trends he sees for 2018. It’s a challenging time for the restaurant business at all levels from fast casual to fine-dining.

We know restaurateur Russ Bendel from his successful wine country-themed establishments in Orange County, Vine in San Clemente and Ironwood in Laguna Hills. Now it’s a threesome with the launch of the handsome Olea, already making waves in Newport Beach.

Russ BendelNamed for a genus of trees that flourish in warm and tropical regions, Olea gives Bendel’s award-winning Napa and Sonoma wine country concepts at Vine, in San Clemente, and Ironwood, in Laguna Hills, a European accent with extensive wine selections from Italy, France and Spain.

Chef-Partner Jared Cook has created a menu of modern California cuisine that perfectly complements the “global wine country” approach the Bendel team has taken at Olea.

“It’s great to return to the community where my business partners and I began our careers,” said Bendel, a graduate of The Collins College of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona who spent nine years at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar at Newport Center / Fashion Island before striking out on his own.

“Olea represents the continued progression we have created with our other two wine country-inspired cuisine restaurants,” Bendel said. The restaurant is Bendel’s largest, seating 130 guests, and like the other two locations is open for dinner nightly.

Cook has created new dishes exclusively for Olea, including blue crab baked oysters with champagne tarragon butter); terrine of duck liver, bacon and bourbon; wild-caught Pacific Blue Nose sea bass; herb-roasted prime beef cheek stroganoff with house-made rosemary pappardelle; Pacific Northwest filet mignon with black truffle and blue crab Béarnaise; and seasonal apple and pear cobbler with oatmeal crumble and cardamom ice cream.

Also on the menu at Olea are Vine / Ironwood crowd-pleasers such as Meyer lemon & honey duck wings and jumbo lump blue crab with roasted heirloom beets.

Olea’s interior is Tuscany wine country meets California Cuisine. An eclectic blend of timeless natural backgrounds includes antique French white oak floors, Black Mountain ledge-stone, black walnut millwork complemented with contemporary decorative lighting, and clean soft lines and a warm taupe color palette.

Dining areas are divided with sculptures instead of walls, made from natural tree branches on steel bases that lend privacy. The completely weatherproofed dining patio has a parkway setting with swagger light fixtures and citrus trees and herbs in large planters. Two olea (olive) trees flank the entrance of the restaurant.

A focal point of Olea, which totals 3,647 square feet, is a custom-made captain’s table in the wine room that can seat 10. The captain’s table is surrounded by working wine storage and wine displays, artwork and beautiful lighting fixtures.

Olea is located at The Walk, 2001 Westcliff Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660, by Kéan Coffee.  Reservations are accepted on OpenTable, or by calling 949-287-6807. There is self-parking in a newly-constructed 300-car parking structure adjacent to the restaurant.

Russ Bendel tempts us what’s on the menu.

Road to the Rose Bowl 50 Years of Lawry's Beef BowlLawry’s Beef Bowl is college football’s most celebrated bowl game tradition. Each year since its inception prior to the 1957 Rose Bowl Game, Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Beverly Hills has honored the players and coaches of each Rose Bowl‐bound team for their gridiron achievements. This is the 61st year of Lawry’s proud association with The Granddaddy of Them All.®

Tradition. College football is steeped in it, and there isn’t any tradition more enduring than “The Granddaddy of All Bowl Games,” the Rose Bowl. For 62 years, Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Beverly Hills has been a vital marketing partner in this tradition with its annual Beef Bowl (staged over 2 nights) serving as the proverbial rite of passage for champion gridiron gladiators in quest of Big Game glory.

This legendary private event (where only Tournament of Roses officials and sports media are granted access) has largely remained a mystery to the public while quietly generating a treasure trove of behind-the-scenes photo ops, stories, anecdotes, and quotes from college football’s most well-known players, coaches and sports commentators.

This year’s unusual Rose Bowl pitting the Oklahoma Sooners against the Georgia Bulldogs is the College Football Playoff Semifinal.

Lawry’s Beef Bowl historian Todd Erickson is our guest. He actually authored the coffee table book on the official history of Lawry’s Beef Bowl, Road to the Rose Bowl: 50 Years of Lawry’s Beef Bowl.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Hosts Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: Restaurateur Donato Poto, il Pesce Cucina and Best Girl Part Two
Segment Three: Restaurateur Donato Poto, il Pesce Cucina and Best Girl Part Two
Segment Four: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Five: Orange County Restaurateur, Russ Bendel, Olea Part One
Segment Six: Orange County Restaurateur, Russ Bendel, Olea Part Two
Segment Seven: Sports Historian Todd Erickson, Lawry’s 62nd Beef Bowl Part One
Segment Eight: Sports Historian Todd Erickson, Lawry’s 62nd Beef Bowl Part Two

Show 229, June 24, 2017: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris

Now an enthusiastic preview of Saturday’s fully-loaded show. 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 probably a pretty good thing…

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

The Street Gourmet, Senor Bill Esparza, is back with us with his first cookbook. Richly photographed and authentically local, L.A. Mexicano showcases L.A.’s sophisticated and diverse Mexican-food culture, from Oaxacan tlayudas to Nayarit ceviches, Alta California gastronomy to Boyle Heights burritos. Part cookbook, part food journalism, and part love song to Los Angeles, it’s a definitive (and hugely practical) resource for home cooks, Mexican food lovers, and hungry Angelenos and visitors.

What’s it like to experience a memorable $310 per guest meal at California’s celebrated The French Laundry in Yountville ? There is also a magnificent new $10 million kitchen where your repast is prepared. OC Weekly’s “On the Line” columnist, Anne Marie Panoringan, was just there and provides the salivating commentary.

Three words — cellar, craft, cook — capture the essence of the year-old  Russ Bendel-conceived restaurant Ironwood in Laguna Hills, which uped the ante on the underserved south Orange County dining scene with worldwide wine selections, craft beers, creative cocktails and wine country cuisine made daily with the freshest and finest seasonal ingredients by Bendel’s partner, chef Jared Cook (Vine.) Russ joins us with the tasty specifics.

Chef Steve Samson is well-known to lovers of regional Italian cuisine in Southern California. His newest project (with his wife, Dina) is the ambitious Rossoblu in the emerging City Market South development in the Fashion District of Downtown Los Angeles. The menu is influenced by Chef Steve’s summers in Bologna and Emilia- Romagna while he was growing up. We pull Chef Steve away from his custom-built, wood-fired grill in the open kitchen for a full briefing.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s show!

Play

Show 229, June 24, 2017: Restaurateur Russ Bendel, Ironwood, Laguna Hills

Russ BendelThree words — cellar, craft, cook — capture the essence of the year-old Russ Bendel-conceived restaurant Ironwood in Laguna Hills , which uped the ante on the south Orange County dining scene with worldwide wine selections, craft beers, creative cocktails and wine country cuisine made daily with the freshest and finest seasonal ingredients by Bendel’s partner, chef Jared Cook (Vine.)

Ironwood’s offerings showcase seasonal ingredients of the highest quality that are prepared daily from scratch. Guests have the choice of selecting from more than 25 global wine selections by the glass, from a cozy indoor bar and dining area or from an outdoor patio featuring spectacular views of Saddleback Mountain. Ironwood is open for dinner only.

Bendel, a longtime fixture on the Orange County dining scene who honed his craft at such fine establishments as Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in Newport Beach, assumed ownership of Vine Restaurant & Bar, a Napa Valley-influenced restaurant in San Clemente in 2013. Jared Cook also heads up culinary at the critically-acclaimed, popular eatery. Another Fleming’s veteran and certified sommelier, Kevin Franke, serves as operating partner.

The name of the restaurant was inspired by the evergreen desert tree, the Ironwood, known for its hardiness and used for handles of culinary tools. Two Ironwood trees grace the entrance to the restaurant.

Proprietor Russ Bendel is our guest.

Play

June 24: Portola Coffee Roasters, Bill Esparza, Anne Marie Panoringan, Ironwood, Steve Samson

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Jeff & Christa Duggan, Portola Coffee Roasters Part One
Segment Three: Jeff & Christa Duggan, Portola Coffee Roasters Part Two
Segment Four: The Street Gourmet’s Bill Esparza
Segment Five: Anne Marie Panoringan, OC Weekly’s “On the Line” Columnist
Segment Six: Restaurateur Russ Bendel, Ironwood, Laguna Hills
Segment Seven: Executive Chef / Proprietor Steve Samson, Rossoblu, City Market South Part One
Segment Eight: Executive Chef / Proprietor Steve Samson, Rossoblu, City Market South Part Two

Our Angel ticket giveaway is on. Be listening to the first half-hour of the show and you’ll know the answer to the question that goes out at 11:30 a.m. If you’re then the first caller to 1-714-2-830-830 with the correct answer you’ll win a Family 4 pack of tickets to see our Halos play the Seattle Mariners on Sunday, July 2nd at 12:37 p.m. Good luck…

Now an enthusiastic preview of this Saturday’s fully-loaded show. 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 probably a pretty good thing…

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

The Street Gourmet, Senor Bill Esparza, is back with us with his first cookbook. Richly photographed and authentically localL.A. Mexicano showcases L.A.’s sophisticated and diverse Mexican-food culture, from Oaxacan tlayudas to Nayarit ceviches, Alta California gastronomy to Boyle Heights burritos. Part cookbook, part food journalism, and part love song to Los Angeles, it’s a definitive resource for home cooks, Mexican food lovers, and hungry Angelenos and visitors.

What’s it like to experience a memorable $310 per guest meal at California’s celebrated The French Laundry in Yountville? There is also a magnificent new $10 million kitchen where your repast is prepared. OC Weekly’s “On the Line” columnist, Anne Marie Panoringan, was just there and provides the salivating commentary.

Three words — cellar, craft, cook — capture the essence of the year-old  Russ Bendel-conceived restaurant Ironwood in Laguna Hills, which uped the ante on the south Orange County dining scene with worldwide wine selections, craft beers, creative cocktails and wine country cuisine made daily with the freshest and finest seasonal ingredients by Bendel’s partner, chef Jared Cook (Vine.) Russ joins us with the specifics.

Chef Steve Samson is well-known to lovers of regional Italian cuisine in Southern California. His newest project (with his wife, Dina) is the ambitious Rossoblu in the emerging City Market South development in the Fashion District of Downtown Los Angeles. The menu is influenced by Chef Steve’s summers in Bologna and Emilia- Romagna while he was growing up. We’ll pull Chef Steve away from his wood-fired grill in the open kitchen for a full briefing.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s show!

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.

What began as the selfish pursuit for delicious coffee turned into a decade-long fanatic passion for home-roasting coffee for Jeff Duggan, who first opened Portola Handcrafted Coffee Roasters in Irvine in 2009. Using a very small batch roaster, Jeff worked feverishly to keep the pantries and hoppers full in many homes and food establishments throughout Orange County, but roasting meticulously sourced coffee beans and serving them ultra-fresh was not enough. He found that far too many great beans were destroyed at the hands of poor equipment, flawed technique, and coffee service dispensers.

With a focus on quality ingredients, brewing science and freshness – all still relatively uncommon in the industry – Jeff and his wife, Christa, created Portola Coffee Roasters in 2011. The goal was to create a quality-centric coffeehouse that re-focused on the most important ingredient – coffee.

Within a year of bringing a never-before-seen concept and style of coffee to Orange County, Portola Coffee Roasters began creating a distinct brand that revolves around producing an artisanal culinary product, Craft Coffee.

Jeff and Christa Duggan now own and operate six locations within Orange County. Their focus remains on empowering the community with quality, traceable, fresh-roasted and fresh-brewed coffee, presented in an artful context – one cup at a time.

Portola Coffee Roasters locations:

Bill EsparzaThe Street Gourmet, Senor Bill Esparza, is back with us with his first cookbook. Richly photographed and authentically localL.A. Mexicano showcases L.A.’s sophisticated and diverse Mexican-food culture, from Oaxacan tlayudas to Nayarit ceviches, Alta California gastronomy to Boyle Heights burritos.

It’s got it all: recipes, insightful and inspirational profiles of chefs, bakers, restaurateurs, and vendors, and neighborhood guides that point readers to the best markets, taco trucks, restaurants, bars, and more. Part cookbook, part food journalism, and part love song to Los Angeles, it’s a definitive resource for home cooks, Mexican food lovers, and hungry Angelenos and visitors.

With a foreword by Taco USA‘s Gustavo ArellanoL.A. Mexicano shines a long-overdue light on the people behind one of the world’s most complex and delicious cuisines, in one of the world’s most exciting food cities.

Bill Esparza is winner of a James Beard award (with Lesley Bargar Suter) for his coverage of the LA taco scene in Los Angeles Magazine. Considered one of the country’s leading experts on Mexican food, the LA native curates the annual Tacolandia festival in Los Angeles and writes about Mexican food for Los Angeles Magazine and other notable publications.

Anne Marie PanoringanWhat’s it like to experience a very special $310 per guest meal (and it’s a tough pre-paid reservation to even secure) at California’s celebrated The French Laundry in Yountville in the Napa Valley? Chef’s daily nine-course tasting menu and nine-course vegetable tasting menu highlight French technique and the finest quality ingredients available.

There is also a magnificent new $10 million state-of-the-art kitchen where your repast is artfully prepared.

OC Weekly’s “On the Line” columnist, Anne Marie Panoringan was just there and provides the salivating commentary. It’s not her first meal at The French Laundry either…

Russ BendelThree words — cellar, craft, cook — capture the essence of the year-old Russ Bendel-conceived restaurant Ironwood in Laguna Hills , which uped the ante on the south Orange County dining scene with worldwide wine selections, craft beers, creative cocktails and wine country cuisine made daily with the freshest and finest seasonal ingredients by Bendel’s partner, chef Jared Cook (Vine.)

Ironwood’s offerings showcase seasonal ingredients of the highest quality that are prepared daily from scratch. Guests have the choice of selecting from more than 25 global wine selections by the glass, from a cozy indoor bar and dining area or from an outdoor patio featuring spectacular views of Saddleback Mountain. Ironwood is open for dinner only.

Bendel, a longtime fixture on the Orange County dining scene who honed his craft at such fine establishments as Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in Newport Beach, assumed ownership of Vine Restaurant & Bar, a Napa Valley-influenced restaurant in San Clemente in 2013. Jared Cook also heads up culinary at the critically-acclaimed, popular eatery. Another Fleming’s veteran and certified sommelier, Kevin Franke, serves as operating partner.

The name of the restaurant was inspired by the evergreen desert tree, the Ironwood, known for its hardiness and used for handles of culinary tools. Two Ironwood trees grace the entrance to the restaurant.

Proprietor Russ Bendel is our guest.

Steve Samson of SottoChef Steve Samson is well-known to lovers of regional Italian cuisine in Southern California.

He first came into local prominence as the Executive Chef at Piero Selvaggio’s classic Valentino in Santa Monica. From there he was the opening chef at Pizzeria Ortica in South Coast Plaza. Next was branching out with his own establishment, Sotto, located near Century City. The distinctive wood-burning pizza oven there was imported from Italy and assembled inside the restaurant by skilled Italian artisans.

His newest project with his wife, Dina, is the ambitious Rossoblu in the emerging City Market South development in the Fashion District of Downtown Los Angeles. The menu is influenced by Chef Steve’s summers in Bologna and Emilia- Romagna while he was growing up.

We’ll pull Chef Steve away from his wood-fired grill in the open kitchen for a full briefing.

Rossoblu celebrates Chef / Proprietor Steve Samson’s two home cities, Los Angeles and Bologna, Italy. The menu features house-made salumi, soulful pastas, market produce, and wood grilled fish and meats.

Located in downtown’s City Market South, the site of Los Angeles’s original produce market, Rossoblu’s vaulted dining room and open kitchen create a festive dining environment. The restaurant’s private outdoor piazza allows al fresco diners to feel far removed from the nearby city bustle. An intimate basement wine cellar can be reserved for private parties.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Jeff & Christa Duggan, Portola Coffee Roasters Part One
Segment Three: Jeff & Christa Duggan, Portola Coffee Roasters Part Two
Segment Four: The Street Gourmet’s Bill Esparza
Segment Five: Anne Marie Panoringan, OC Weekly’s “On the Line” Columnist
Segment Six: Restaurateur Russ Bendel, Ironwood, Laguna Hills
Segment Seven: Executive Chef / Proprietor Steve Samson, Rossoblu, City Market South Part One
Segment Eight: Executive Chef / Proprietor Steve Samson, Rossoblu, City Market South Part Two