Show 169, April 30, 2016: Villa Roma Restaurant, Laguna Hills

Teresa RazoVilla Roma restaurant in Laguna Hills is one of the undiscovered gems of dining in South Orange County. Unusually they serve a menu of both Argentine and Italian Cuisine. Their Chimichurri is a word-of-mouth favorite. Co-Owner Teresa Razo (also the Marketing & Catering Director) joins us.

The traditional housemade Argentine-style empanadas are standouts. Usually available are your choice of chicken, beef or spinach. Tuesdays are Empanada Tuesdays at Villa Roma. All empanadas are 99 cents for either take-out or dine-in.

“Villa Roma is a unique restaurant combining Argentine and Italian flavors. Our cuisine combination was inspired by “La Boca”, a neighborhood of the Argentine capital. La Boca is located in the city’s southeast near the old port. In the early 1900’s, Argentina had over 2 million Italian immigrants, most of them settled in this southeastern part of the country because of the similarity to their port town named Genoa, Italy.”

“La Boca is a popular tourist destination in Argentina. It’s known for its colorful houses and pedestrian street, “El Caminito”, where street tango artists perform, musicians, and tango memorabilia is sold. Tango music drifts through the air from one restaurant bar to another.”

“We decided to continue history and bring the Argentine and Italian flavors to Orange County. Just as La Boca retains a strong Italian flavor, we retain our unique Argentine and Italian cuisine flavor.”

Play

Show 103, December 27, 2014: Brad A. Johnson, Restaurant Critic, Orange County Register Part Two

Photography by Brad A JohnsonIn mid-October Brad A. Johnson penned an intriguing piece for The Orange County Register about the arrival of the new Italian cuisine. The title of the piece is “This isn’t your father’s pasta: The future of Italian cuisine has arrived.” He characterizes it as “nothing short of a revolution.”

We’ll hear about this movement from Johnson along with the restaurants in Los Angeles and Orange County who are part of this exciting new wave.

Play

Show 75, June 7, 2014: Negroni Week. Chef Peter Serantoni of Brunos in Brea

Peter SerantoniCelebrating authentic Italian cuisine while raising a glass to a good cause has never been easier. From June 2nd to 8th, Brunos Trattoria in Brea will be participating in the nationwide Negroni Week, presented by Campari and Imbibe Magazine. A portion of the proceeds from every Negroni sold at Brunos during this time will benefit The Mobile Closet, a local organization which helps the community by distributing clothing and blankets to people in need.

Let’s root Brunos on…By the end of the week if Brunos comes out as the top fundraiser in the nation, Campari will donate an additional $10,000 to The Mobile Closet.

“The Negroni is a classic Italian cocktail, originating in Florence, Italy. Staying true to the heart and quality of Brunos’ beverage program, the Negroni at Brunos utilizes premium Italian spirits and liqueurs to create an authentic, memorable experience.”

Co-Owner and Chef Peter Serantoni is our guest. Brunos Trattoria is named after his father and mentor, Papa Bruno.

Play

June 7: Leo Maurelli III, StarChefs, Brock Kleweno, Piero Salvaggio, Jimmy Shaw, Peter Serantoni

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef Leo Maurelli III of Central, Montgomery, Alabama
Segment Three: The StarChefs Rising Stars Revue, Los Angeles
Segment Four: Brock Kleweno, Executive Chef and General Manager, Yamashiro Hollywood
Segment Five: Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio, Valentino, Santa Monica, CA
Segment Six: Chef Jimmy Shaw, Loteria Grill! – “600 Years of Mexican Wine.”
Segment Seven: Negroni Week. Chef Peter Serantoni of Brunos in Brea
Segment Eight: Host Jet Tila

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Central located in the heart of Montgomery, Alabama’s vibrant Downtown entertainment district is a true gem of an American find.

The engaging executive chef with an easy-going manner sets the tone for the place.

The StarChefs Rising Stars Revue is coming to Los Angeles on June 12th. It celebrates Los Angeles’ brightest culinary talent.

Brock Kleweno (Kla-ve-no) is both the executive chef and GM of the historic Yamshiro Hollywood. Their ever-popular Thursday Night Farmers Market has returned through September 4th.

Piero Selvaggio’s Valentino in Santa Monica is celebrating its 41st year. Piero and Executive Chef Nico Chessa have introduced a nightly changing special Italian tasting menu there at the Vin Bar.

Loteria Grill! is celebrating 6 centuries of Mexican Wine with the introduction of a broader selection of fine wines from Northern Baja on their list.

The Negroni is a classic Italian cocktail originating in Florence Italy. It’s Negroni week in the United States and charities are the beneficiaries.

Jet has been doing some top-tier dining in Las Vegas at Raku and L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon. Producer Andy experienced one of the top restaurants in Tijuana.

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

Leo Maurelli IIICentral, located in the heart of Montgomery, Alabama’s Downtown entertainment district, is a true American restaurant highlighting local and seasonal ingredients. The locally owned establishment offers wood-fired dishes in a restored 1890s warehouse space boasting exposed brick, flickering gas lanterns and a bustling open kitchen,

In the main dining room 16-foot ceilings, spectacular overhead lighting, a central bar comprised of reclaimed wood all overlook Montgomery’s downtown Alley.

Chef Leo Maurelli, III is the Executive Chef of Central Restaurant. He is a native of the Republic of Panama and shares his unique multicultural take on traditional Southern dishes and cuisine.

Chef Leo is the recipient of many honors including the 2011 Chef of The Year awarded by the Alabama Restaurant & Hospitality Alliance.

Chef Leo is an avid supporter of local farmers, cheese makers, craft beer producers and artisans. He is an advocate for healthy sustainable food consumption and has partnered with EATSouth Farm to not only cook with fresh ingredients, directly from the local farm, but also serve as an ambassador in the community promoting healthy lifestyles through education and sustainable food production.

StarChefs Rising Stars Los AngelesThe StarChefs Rising Stars Revue is coming to Los Angeles on June 12th at Vibiana in Downtown Los Angeles. It celebrates Los Angeles’ brightest culinary talent.

The VIP Host Chef is Neal Fraser of the soon-to-be Redbird at Vibiana.

Antoinette Bruno, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of StarChefs.com joins us to preview the awards. Rising Star Award Winners David Rodriguez of Providence and Chef Atsushi Takatsuki of MB Post are also our guests.

Brock Kleweno of YamashiroBrock Kleweno (Kla-ve-no) is both the executive chef and GM of Yamashiro Hollywood. Their ever-popular Thursday Night Farmers Market has returned through September 4th. It operates from 5 to 9:00 p.m.

Yamashiro’s Pagoda Bar will be open for libations and light fare each week.

The Farmers Market also marks the seasonal return of Chef Brock’s famous tacos! They are the darlings of restaurant critics.

Piero Salvaggio of Valentino Santa MonicaLegendary Los Angeles restaurateur and gracious host Piero Selvaggio has overseen Valentino on Santa Monica for some 41 years. His elegant Vin Bar at Valentino was one of the first wine bars in Los Angeles.

Piero, along with his Executive Chef, Nico Chessa, have developed the Il Quadrifoglio menu. It’s an Italian-style bento box of four seasonal dishes for $25.00. The quartet of dishes changes nightly and is designed for both its visual and flavor balance.

Valentino is renowned for its use of exceptional Italian products which are showcased in the menus: specially selected Colatura di Alici, 24- Months Aged Prosciutto de Parma, Cerignoli Olives and Bottarga, among others.

Selections from Pierro Selvagio’s legendary wine cellar and Valentino’s extraordinary desserts may be ordered separately. Availability for the Vin Bar at Valentino is on a first come basis and does not require reservations. Quadrifoglia at the Vin Bar is available Tuesday through Sundays from 5:00 p.m. to closing.

Selvaggio and Chessa designed the menu for casual dining at a great price. “We wanted to be able to offer a value where our guests can drop in for an informal meal,” states Selvaggio. “It’s wonderful to be able to taste all four of these dishes for under $30.”

Jimmy Shaw of Loteria Grill and Torta CompanyChef Jimmy Shaw of Loteria Grill! fame (Original Farmers Market, Hollywood, Studio City, Santa Monica, Westlake Village and Fig at 7th) has just presented two nights celebrating “600 Years of Mexican Wine” with an 8-course seated dinner in Hollywood and then a stand-up street food and wine evening in Santa Monica.

His celebrated guest chef was Javier Plascencia of Northern Baja. His flagship restaurant in Tijuana is Mision 19. According to The New York Times, “He brings a flair for dramatic presentation, an appreciation for Tijuana’s street foods deep flavors and a binational approach to farm-to-table cooking.”

Loteria Grill! Hollywood, Santa Monica, and Studio City now feature an expanded selection of Northern Baja’s best wines.

More quality Mexican restaurants should offer a selection of Mexican wines.

Peter SerantoniCelebrating authentic Italian cuisine while raising a glass to a good cause has never been easier. From June 2nd to 8th, Brunos Trattoria in Brea will be participating in the nationwide Negroni Week, presented by Campari and Imbibe Magazine. A portion of the proceeds from every Negroni sold at Brunos during this time will benefit The Mobile Closet , a local organization which helps the community by distributing clothing and blankets to people in need.

Let’s root Brunos on…By the end of the week if Brunos comes out as the top fundraiser in the nation, Compari will donate an additional $10,000 to The Mobile Closet.

“The Negroni is a classic Italian cocktail, originating in Florence, Italy. Staying true to the heart and quality of Brunos’ beverage program, the Negroni at Brunos utilizes premium Italian spirits and liqueurs to create an authentic, memorable experience.”

Co-Owner and Chef Peter Serantoni is our guest. Brunos Trattoria is named after his father and mentor, Papa Bruno.

Jet Tila and Giada De LaurentiisIt’s been an unusually memorable week of dining out for Jet and Producer Andy.

Jet has been in Las Vegas taking in the opening of Giada De LaurentiisGiada restaurant at The Cromwell on The Strip, Raku, and L‘Atelier de Joel Robuchon at the MGM Grand.

Producer Andy dined at the acclaimed Mision 19 in Tijuana.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef Leo Maurelli III of Central, Montgomery, Alabama
Segment Three: The StarChefs Rising Stars Revue, Los Angeles
Segment Four: Brock Kleweno, Executive Chef and General Manager, Yamashiro Hollywood
Segment Five: Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio, Valentino, Santa Monica, CA
Segment Six: Chef Jimmy Shaw, Loteria Grill! – “600 Years of Mexican Wine.”
Segment Seven: Negroni Week. Chef Peter Serantoni of Brunos in Brea
Segment Eight: Host Jet Tila

We’ll paint the picture…

C-CAP Los Angeles Dinner Series at DOMA Beverly Hills

Monday, April 7, 2014
6:30pm
DOMA Restaurant
362 N. Camden Way (at Brighton Way)
Beverly Hills, CA 90212

$150 per guest
For reservations, please visit C-CAP’s website or call Gloria Barke at (818) 756-1260

There will also be a sensational live auction to benefit C-CAP

DOMA is considered one of the finest new restaurants in Los Angeles. in the grand European tradition, but with a sleek and modern twist. Dustin Trani is a C-CAP graduate and also a fourth generation chef who mastered the art of pasta-making at Michelin-starred Guido da Costigliole in Piedmont, later augmenting his skills at celebrated restaurants in Zagreb and Bangkok. His modern Mediterranean repertoire incorporates Italian and Asian elements plus nuanced surprises from around the globe. Gayot has named Trani one of the top five rising star chefs in 2013. An expert on pasta, seafood and subtly balanced seasonings, he will present a cornucopia of dishes that will leave you swooning.

Contributions are fully tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. The non-deductible portion of each ticket is $75.

Menu

Passed Appetizers

“arancini” risotto balls
assorted pizza
grilled prosciutto wrapped fig with Gorgonzola dolce tempura shishito peppers with sweet chili beurre blanc tuna tartar on wonton with ginger soy, thai basil

Dinner

King salmon carpaccio
Shallot, Fresno chili, ginger lime, water-cress, cilantro flower, toasted cashew, coconut air

Mascarpone Agnolotti
Butter Parmesan, truffle salt, sage, drizzle of 48-hour veal stock reduction

Pan Roasted Veal Tenderloin
Smoked port and fig compote, braised fennel purée, crispy polenta, petite mustard greens

Dessert

Blood Orange Tart
Chocolate shortbread, blood orange crème, espresso mousse, blood orange caviar, crispy white chocolate, meringue

Select wines will accompany the meal

Show 62, February 22, 2013: Executive Chef Dustin J. Trani, DOMA Beverly Hills

Dustin TraniDoma Beverly Hills opened rather quietly at 362 N. Camden Dr. in Beverly Hills in 2012. The address is well-known as the long-standing former home of Prego.

What’s creating a lot of excitement there with foodies is the young executive chef, Dustin Trani. He’s all of 29 years-old. He has worked at a Michelin starred restaurant in Italy, cooked at the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, and was chosen by the Governor to represent California in a prestigious national seafood competition in New Orleans.

He’s a 4th generation Los Angeles area Italian chef who started working at age 11 in his family’s restaurant, J. Trani’s, in San Pedro which opened in 1925. He’s also a C-CAP alum (Careers through Culinary Arts Program in High School.) His food is contemporary Mediterranean/Italian with an emphasis on seafood.

His talented pastry chef is Marissa Sharon previously at Scott Conant’s Scarpetta in Beverly Hills. Her mini-cannoli is a real standout.

Play

Show 56, January 11, 2013: Executive Chef Paul Bartolotta, Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, Las Vegas. Continues…

Bartollota Ristorante di MareThere is lots more to this fascinating story so Chef Paul Bartolotta of Bartollota Ristorante di Mare at Wynn Las Vegas continues with us.

The concept of the elegant restaurant on two levels with outdoor poolside cabanas is serving the very best of Mediterranean seafood flown in fresh daily from Italy and simply prepared. Through a network of skilled buyers overseas Chef Paul imports a ton and one-half of fresh seafood each week. There is also a live program. Spiny lobsters from Sicily, in season, are in live tanks in the kitchen!

The servers expertly debone the fish at tableside. It’s not unusual to see Paul on the floor touching tables and explaining his dishes.

This is what veteran Las Vegas restaurant journalist Max Jacobson has said about Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare : “The chef is both a fanatic and masterful technician, so expect perfection.”

Play

July 13: Mary Sue Milliken, Bill Chait, Anita Lau, Jet Tila on Sushi

Podcasts

Segment One: Dining discoveries of the week with Chef Jet and Producer Andy
Segment Two: Restaurant Impresario Bill Chait Part One
Segment Three: Restaurant Impresario Bill Chait Part Two
Segment Four: Mary Sue Milliken, Executive Chef & Partner of Border Grill
Segment Five: Anita Lau, creator of the Mad Hungry Woman Blog
Segment Six: Chef Jet Tila with “Sushi 411.”

Previews of potential dining adventures…

Khao Soi at Spicy Thai BBQChef Jet somewhat reluctantly shares his recommendation for Northern Thai food in Los Angeles. It’s a small place with 15 seats but worth seeking out. Their signature dish is khao soi.

Producer Andy highlights Marche Moderne’s (Penthouse @ South Coast Plaza) annual Bouillabaisse festival running nightly until July 18th. It’s an authentic Marseillaise-bouillabaisse with all the fish flown in from the South of France. Spoil yourself with the very best and a glass of Rose! Reservations are a must…

If you dine-out in Los Angeles you’ve no doubt heard of Rivera and Bestia in Downtown Los Angeles. You probably also know the Italian favorite Sotto and the Peruvian-flavored, Picca located just East of Century City. How about Short Order and Short Cake at the Original Farmers Market at Third & Fairfax?

Bill ChaitWhat you probably don’t know is that all of these popular, chef-driven restaurants are ventures put together by low key restaurant impresario, Bill Chait. Bill joins us to discuss how he has created a string of successful, and enduring, restaurants (done on a budget) with talented celebrity chefs in a very tough business environment.

In the pipeline for Chait are Chef Walter Manzke’s Republique in the former Campanile space on La Brea Avenue and Neal Fraser’s Redbird in the former Vibiana Cathedral space in Downtown Los Angeles.

Mary Sue Milliken of Border GrillOn Monday, July 22nd at 6:30 p.m. at Border Grill Las Vegas Mary Sue Milliken, Susan Feniger, and Border Grill Executive Chef Mike Minor are teaming up with Chef Rick Moonen of rm seafood and Chefs Collaborative to host a Trash Fish Dinner. The cocktail reception and dinner will feature tasty alternatives to the seafood we love and, unfortunately, eat too much of. Understand the fish is delicious…

Mary Sue Milliken joins us to preview the fun evening with a purpose.

Time for Fair Food!

Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe from Chicken CharliesThe OC Fair is on through August 11th! Mad Hungry Woman blogger, Anita Lau, is with us to discuss what extreme foods are new at the Fair for 2013. She will actually be judging some Fair food contests during the event.

Fair food vendor, Chicken Charlie’s, always is always out there with fab fried food items. Eagerly anticipated is his new Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe’s and Bacon A-Fair’s Wild Boar on a stick (an OC Fair exclusive.)

According to the Orange County Register’s Nancy Luna, Chicken Charlie sold 50,000 deep-fried Twinkies last year at the Fair!

Other Chicken Charlie highlights are a deep-fried bacon pickle and a waffle dog.

SushiDo you crave sushi but feel somewhat compromised about proper manners and ordering technique in a sushi restaurant? When do you use the ginger, soy sauce, and wasabi? Is omakase (“trust the chef”) the best way to go? If you sit at the sushi bar how do you convey respect to the sushi chefs?

Listeners to the “SoCal Restaurant Show” are in luck. When he was helming Wazuzu at Encore Las Vegas, Jet had some of the most highly regarded sushi in Las Vegas on his menu. Backing it all up was in-house master sushi chef (and his highly trained team.) He will give us the 411 on ordering, and enjoying, sushi.

Podcasts

Segment One: Dining discoveries of the week with Chef Jet and Producer Andy
Segment Two: Restaurant Impresario Bill Chait Part One
Segment Three: Restaurant Impresario Bill Chait Part Two
Segment Four: Mary Sue Milliken, Executive Chef & Partner of Border Grill
Segment Five: Anita Lau, creator of the Mad Hungry Woman Blog
Segment Six: Chef Jet Tila with “Sushi 411.”

Show 32, June 22, 2013: On the Road with Chef Jet and Producer Andy

Chef Jet has really rolled up the airline miles this works. Looks like 3,000 plus.

Chef jet Tila and Alton BrownHe was a key part of the annual college and university dining conference at UMass in Amherst, Massachusetts this week. This brings together the management teams and chefs from prominent universities across the country to discuss trends. Harvard and Cornell University were there for starters. Jet has been a conference participant for a long time.

University students are the restaurant diners of tomorrow and are increasing in sophistication about food and cooking. Colleges and Universities serve from 1,000 to 20,000 or more meals a day when school is in session. Pizza and burgers on the menu don’t cut it anymore!

Jet brought Food Network’s Chef Robert Irvine to the gathering. He was part of a “Chopped”-style competition there that Jet was the host for. It was 16 prominent chefs in four rounds of competition.

When Jet got back to Los Angeles he was a solo celebrity chef judge for an episode of a smart, new Food Network competition series hosted by Alton Brown that is currently in production. More to come on this…

A Taste of Greece in IrvineProducer Andy reported on “A Taste of Greece” which is this weekend. It’s the 35th Annual Greek Festival produced by St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church on Alton Parkway in Irvine. It’s Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday. Over 11,000 guests are expected this year. Info phone is : 949.733.3102

Chef Cathy Palvos of the popular Lucca (Italian-fare) in Irvine is very involved in the Festival.

It’s three days of delicious Greek food, Greek wine and beer, cooking demonstrations, Greek folk dancing lesions, games, and carnival rides. You’ll have a hard time finding a better variety of exquisite Greek pastries baked by the church’s capable philanthropic group. Adult admission is a modest $3.

Play

Show 32, June 22, 2013: Chefs Steve Samson and Zach Pollack of Sotto in Los Angeles

Steve Samson and Zach Pollack of SottoSamson and Pollack are the co-executive chefs and partners (with restaurateur Bill Chait) in Sotto on Pico Blvd in West Los Angeles. The exterior has a very New York-brownstone feel. The restaurant is actually located a few steps below the sidewalk. Above is Picca featuring the cooking of executive chef Ricardo Zarate.

Steve Samson’s mother is Italian so the foods of Northern Italy are something he grew up with. During the time he was with Piero Selvaggio of Valentino fame (Santa Monica & Las Vegas) he traveled extensively in Italy to master regional Italian cuisine. Sotto is actually their interpretation of Southern Italian fare.

Zach is not Italian. His love affair with Italy started when he was a college student studying architecture in Florence. He is a master at preparing the authentic Naples-style pizza. His special Italian wood-burning pizza oven was actually shipped to Los Angeles from Italy and assembled on-site by skilled Italian masons.

In the mornings they bake the Sotto bread in that oven.

Play