Show 163, March 12, 2016: Brady Lowe, Founder, Cochon555 Tour

Brady Lowe of Cochon 555COCHON555 Los Angeles is set for Sunday, March 13th at The Viceroy in Santa Monica. It’s 5 Chefs, 5 Winemakers, and 5 Pigs. Experience this must-see, annual pork-centric culinary competition as part of the L.A. stop of the extensive national tour. It’s five high-profile chefs cooking over 36 dishes prepared from whole, locally-raised heritage breed pigs.

This year’s competing chefs include Carlos Salgado of Taco Maria, Bruce Kalman of Union, Jason Neroni of Rose Cafe, Brooke Williamson of The Tripel and returning champion Walter Manzke of Republique.

The five chefs will prepare a maximum of six dishes from one whole hog and their utilization will help them win votes from a crowd of hungry gourmands and celebrated judges. In addition to the 36 dishes prepared from locally-raised pigs, guests will feast on educational experiences featuring boutique wines and culinary cocktails paired with delicious bites.

The winner of the regional event will be announced as the “Prince of Porc” and go on to compete for the national title of “King or Queen of Porc” at Grand Cochon, the tour finale, held at the Viceroy in Snowmass / Aspen on June 18th.

Cochon’s founder, Brady Lowe, joins us with all the porkalicious details.

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January 30: Naugles Tacos, Connie & Ted’s, The Halal Guys, Wine Exchange, Jason Neroni, Vaca

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Christian Ziebarth and Chef John Smittle, the new Naugles
Segment Three: Matthew De Marte, General Manager, Connie and Ted’s, West Hollywood
Segment Four: Thomas Pham, The Halal Guys (for SoCal) and Churned
Segment Five: Kyle Meyer, Co-Proprietor, The Wine Exchange, Tustin
Segment Six: Michael Rooney, Bar Manager, Amar Santana’s Vaca, Costa Mesa Part One
Segment Seven: Michael Rooney, Bar Manager, Amar Santana’s Vaca, Costa Mesa Part Two

Andrew Gruel at the AM830 KLAA StudiosExecutive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, LAX, Irvine at UCI and, now, Brea, is back as today’s regular Guest Host.

Next a tempting preview of Saturday’s delectable and always healful 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 absolutely a good thing…

The fondly remembered Naugles fast food restaurant chain was founded by Dick Naugle in 1970 in Southern California with 225 locations prior to merging with Del Taco in 1988. Sadly, Naugles lasted only 7 years after that and was absorbed into Del Taco. It featured an American and a Mexican kitchen. A new business group formed in the last few years has been patiently working on bringing the chain back. This grass roots revival is an incredible comeback story and we’ll meet the architect of it all, Christian Ziebarth.

Since partners Chef Michael Cimarusti, Donato Poto, and Craig Nickoloff opened Connie and Ted’s in West Hollywood in 2013 they have redefined the concept of a casual seafood dinner house serving premium seafood. New at Connie and Ted’s is a Weekend New England-style Seafood Brunch with freshly baked in-house breakfast breads and pastries. Opening General Manager Matthew De Marte provides the tasty details.

After launching its first two West Coast locations to huge crowds and an almost never-ending line, The Halal Guys are entering new territory with its upcoming grand opening in Koreatown, Los Angeles. The fast-casual New York concept opened its first West Coast location in Costa Mesa last October, its second location in Long Beach this past January and have plans to bring 50 units throughout Southern California.

Halal Guys local franchisee, Thomas Pham, is our guest. He’ll also talk about his new, soon to launch ice cream concept, Churned.

Our favorite purveyor of genuinely useful wine knowledge, Kyle Meyer, the Co-Proprietor of The Wine Exchange, joins us for his monthly tutorial. Kyle will provide a preview of coming attractions in wine for the New Year along with comparative discussions about Bordeaux reds and California Cabernet. He’ll also have some practical tips on properly storing wine after you’ve uncorked the bottle.

For the first time in its 36- year history the newly renovated Rose Café – Restaurant in Venice is now serving dinner under the direction of Chef Jason Neroni and Sprout LA. Chef Jason Neroni is our guest.

Chef Amar Santana’s Vaca in Costa Mesa has been one of the toughest reservations in town since its opening. It’s a busy spot. The ambitious bar program there also merits a lot of attention. Vaca has created an enticing by-the-glass program for Sherry. Jerez (Sherry) actually pairs very well with food as the Spanish already know. Vaca’s incredibly knowledgeable Bar Manager, Michael Rooney, joins us for a short course on the pure joy of appreciating Sherry.

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

Hombre Nachos at NuaglesThe fondly remembered Naugles fast food restaurant chain was founded by Dick Naugle in 1970 in Southern California with 225 locations prior to merging with Del Taco in 1988. Sadly, Naugles lasted only 7 years on its own after that. It featured an American and a Mexican kitchen. Popular items included the cheese burrito, the bun taco, the combo cup with tortilla chips, the Naugleburger, the Ortega burger and more.

A new business group formed in the last few years has been patiently working on bringing the chain back. The group recently opened a corporate kitchen with plans to expand to more locations. It’s open for service on Weekends.

This effort is not affiliated with Del Taco nor with any other prior owner of the brand. The mission is reviving the original concept with a new company.

In 2014 Gustavo Arellano, the editor of OC Weekly and the author of a highly regarded book on the history of Mexican food in America, recognized the new Naugles as one of his “5 Favorite Restaurants of 2014.”

“So Naugles isn’t technically a restaurant again yet, but the effort by a Naugles fan to bring back the legendary Mexican fast-food chain from the archives of Del Taco is not only a great story, but a delicious one. Are the meals Taco Maria-worthy ? Absolutely not. But they did teach me why people get so crazy over the popups. Go to the next one. Get a simple bean-and-cheese, and you’ll tell me what’s up.” Gustavo Arellano.

This unusual grass roots revival is an incredible comeback story and we’ll meet the architect of it all, Christian Ziebarth.

Matthew de MarteSince partners Chef Michael Cimarusti, Donato Poto, and Craig Nickoloff opened Connie and Ted’s in West Hollywood in 2013 they have redefined the concept of a casual seafood dinner house serving premium seafood. New at Connie and Ted’s from Executive Chef Sam Baxter is a Weekend New England-style Seafood Brunch with freshly baked in-house breakfast breads and pastries. It’s served Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Pastry Chef Melissa McFail creates all the breakfast baked goods in-house. Highlights are Biscuit & Butter, Grilled Pullman Bread and Cinnamon Roll with nutmeg, orange zest and cream cheese icing.

A brunch highlight is the Nor’Easter Breakfast Sandwich. It’s Nueske’s bacon, egg, clam strips, Hook’s cheddar, tartar sauce on a housemade English muffin and served with home fried potatoes.

Opening General Manager Matthew De Marte (a 3rd generation restaurant professional) provides all the tasty details.

Halal GuysAfter opening its first two West Coast locations to huge crowds and an almost never-ending line, The Halal Guys are entering new territory with its upcoming grand opening in Koreatown, Los Angeles.

The fast-casual New York concept opened its first West Coast location in Costa Mesa last October, its second location in Long Beach this past January and have plans to bring 50 units throughout Southern California.

Known for its famous white sauce, gyro sandwiches and chicken-and-rice platters, The Halal Guys menu offers a mix of different Middle Eastern dishes. The Halal Guys aim to be different and encourage patrons across America to ditch burgers for something unique.

They pride themselves on only using high-quality products like their chicken. It has never been frozen and is marinated and seasoned overnight, then cooked and chopped on the grill and served directly to the plate to ensure a crave -worthy meal that’s piping hot. The Halal Guys’ mission is to ensure that every customer leaves happy, with a smile on their face and a satisfaction that brings them back again.

Halal Guys local franchisee, Thomas Pham, is our guest.

He’ll also talk about his new, soon to launch ice cream concept, Churned.

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeOur favorite purveyor of genuinely useful wine knowledge, Kyle Meyer, the Co-Proprietor of The Wine Exchange, joins us for his eagerly anticipated monthly tutorial. We’re thirsty…

Kyle will provide a preview of coming attractions in wine for the New Year (think 2014 Pinot Noirs from Oregon) along with the chatter involving comparative discussions about Bordeaux reds and California Cabernet. He’ll also have some practical tips on properly storing wine after you’ve opened the bottle.

“For as long as we have been doing this, there have been comparative discussions about Bordeaux reds and California Cabernet.  A lot of that discourse centers on the fact that they are both essentially made from the same group of varietals.  Inevitably the bantering arrives at which is better, and that becomes a much more parochial argument with those in whichever camp arguing their side.  There is no middle ground.  Folks who like big bold Cabernets and other weighty renditions of Bordeaux varietals as they are made in California will point to Bordeaux and say they are thin.  Those in the Bordeaux camp will point to the ageability and complexity that Bordeaux has historically demonstrated, and call the Cali versions plodding and one dimensional.”

Jason NeroniFor the first time in its 36- year history the newly renovated Rose Café – Restaurant in Venice is now serving dinner under the direction of Chef Jason Neroni and Sprout LA. Chef Jason Neroni is our guest.

Rose Cafe – Restaurant, the long-awaited project from Chef Jason Neroni and Sprout LA, finally reopened its Venice doors this past November after a major overhaul and renovation. The Rose now serves breakfast, lunch, brunch, quick service, and most recently, a nighttime HEARTH menu, with a selection of options available at the bar only.

While still looking to keep the roots of the Rose, the expansion of dinner gives the community an opportunity to experience Neroni’s cuisines, in an even bigger way. The beautiful 120 seat main dining room is set off from bustling market and open kitchens.

All the breads are baked in-house.

Bread Plate from Rose Cafe in VeniceChef Jason Neroni’s Rose Café menu focuses on local Southern California cuisine with an international influence from his world travels. The bakery, helmed by Jacob Fraijo and Christina Hanks (Quince/Cotogna, SF) under the mentorship of Alen Ramos and Carolyn Nugent, celebrates American classics, as well as brings back some of the original Rose bakery classics re-conceptualized with their innovative techniques.

The bar program, from Julian Cox and Nick Meyer is an extension of not only Chef Neroni’s menu, but also of the Venice community. Taking the same approach of the kitchen by utilizing the freshest and most compelling ingredients to feature in the drinks, Meyer and team are also playing with curious ingredients like macadamia nuts, acid phosphate, licorice root, artichoke, and rhubarb. Favorites from the lunch and brunch menus will live on through the dinner menu and you’ll even find some fun dessert cocktails popping up.

As carefully as the culinary team has procured and selected produce and meat purveyors, Wine Director Nathaniel Muñoz has chosen a spectrum of wines from classic regions around the world that express their unique terroir and tradition. Whether you are ready for a classic rosé from Provence or venture into a bottle of Turkish Öküzgözü, the wine should be a delicious part of the culinary journey at The Rose.

Michael RooneyChef Amar Santana’s Vaca in Costa Mesa has been one of the toughest reservations in town since its opening. It’s a busy spot.

The ambitious bar program there also merits a lot of serious attention. They even create their own vermouth.

Vaca has developed an enticing by-the-glass program for Sherry. Jerez (Sherry) actually pairs very well with food as the Spanish already know. 17 distinctive Jerezes are available by-the-glass at Vaca. The Bar Manager was previously turned on to Sherry as a result of a transformative, 6-course Sherry paired dinner he enjoyed in Spain.

“The wines of the D.O. Jerez (Sherry) are beautiful, expressive wines ranging from bracingly dry, to complex umami, to fruity sweet.”

“They’re touted by Sommeliers around the World as ideal food-pairing wines for their strong acidity, complex palate, and ability to stand up to bold, flavorful dishes.”

Sherry can only come from a specific DO, a designated area in Southern Spain’s Andalucia region.

Vaca’s incredibly knowledgeable Bar Manager, Michael Rooney, joins us for a short course on the joy of appreciating Sherry.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Christian Ziebarth and Chef John Smittle, the new Naugles
Segment Three: Matthew De Marte, General Manager, Connie and Ted’s, West Hollywood
Segment Four: Thomas Pham, The Halal Guys (for SoCal) and Churned
Segment Five: Kyle Meyer, Co-Proprietor, The Wine Exchange, Tustin
Segment Six: Michael Rooney, Bar Manager, Amar Santana’s Vaca, Costa Mesa Part One
Segment Seven: Michael Rooney, Bar Manager, Amar Santana’s Vaca, Costa Mesa Part Two

Show 126, June 13, 2015: Show Preview with Chef Andrew Gruel and Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

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

Now a delectable preview of Saturday’s fully-leaded show.

Greenbar Craft Distillery located in Downtown Los Angeles represents the world’s largest portfolio of organic, handcrafted spirits, including BAR KEEP organic bitters, CRUSOE organic rums, FRUITLAB organic liquers, IXA organic tequila, SLOW HAND organic whiskey, TRU organic gin and TRU organic vodkas. It’s the first new distillery located in Los Angeles since the repeal of Prohibition. Co-Founder Litty Mathew joins us with the spirited background.

Catch & Release, newly opened in Marina del Rey in the previous Paiche space, is an ode to New England seafood with California inspiration from Chef/Partner Jason Neroni (exSuperba Snack Bar in Venice.) It’s a partnership with restaurateur Bill Chait’s Sprout L.A. Chef Neroni’s memories of Maine summers and precious time bonding over food with family led to the conception of Catch & Release. He’s our guest.

Beverly Hills is one of the toughest, and most unforgiving, markets for sophisticated dining in Los Angeles County. It’s hard to imagine thinking about quality Italian cuisine in Beverly Hills without mentioning il Pastaio, the celebrated Italian restaurant in the city’s center. For 21 years now, il Pastaio has served as an important gathering spot for locals as well as a place for celebrities to be seen. And for all of these years, one man has run the kitchen with an extraordinary eye for detail : Owner/Chef Giacomino Drago.

The soon-to-be-discovered Lodi Wine Country is one of California’s major winegrowing regions. It’s located 100 miles east of San Francisco near the San Joaquin/Sacramento River Delta, south of Sacramento and west of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Lodi is characterized by rural atmosphere where wineries and farms run by 4th and 5th generation families operate in tandem with a new group of vintners who have brought creative winemaking and cutting–edge technology to the region.

Camron King, the Executive Director of the Lodi Winegrape Commission, joins us with all the exciting 411.

Chef Akasha Richmond is one of the pioneers in destination dining in Culver City with Akasha which she debuted in 2008. Now she has launched her second restaurant in Culver City, Sambar, which is located steps away from Akasha. It’s inspired by her travels throughout India as well as her affinity for the rich culture and traditions of the country. Sambar showcases the diversity of Indian cuisine with an invigorating array of clean, bright flavors and choices – all inflected with familiar ingredients as interpreted through a California lens. Chef Akasha Richmond is our guest.

Don’t miss Guest Host Chef Andrew Gruel’s new restaurant makeover series, “Say It To My Face” on FYI. An original episode is aired every Thursday evening with an encore episode thereafter. Check your local listings. On-line food reviewers confront restaurateurs with the shortcomings of their establishments. It’s then up to Chef Andrew and his colleague, Chef Anthony Dispensa, to coach the chef and restaurateur to achieve a much higher level of guest satisfaction when the on-line reviews return for another look! Sometimes it’s tough-love…

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

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Show 126, June 13, 2015: Executive Chef & Partner Jason Neroni, Catch & Release

jason-neroniCatch & Release, newly opened in Marina del Rey in the previous Paiche space, is an ode to New England seafood with California inspiration from Chef/Partner Jason Neroni (exSuperba Snack Bar in Venice.) It’s a partnership with restaurateur Bill Chait’s Sprout L.A.

Chef Neroni’s memories of Maine summers and precious time bonding over food with family led to the conception of Catch & Release. Neroni has honed his culinary craft in kitchens all over the world, and these experiences are evidenced by the international influences on the menu. The range is from French bouillabaisse to Spanish paella. Catch & Release, while finding its providence in Maine, retains the California sensibility for which Neroni has become known, serving seasonal seafood and vegetables, whenever possible, from local and sustainable sources.

As a 16-year-old kid from Orange County, Neroni got a job working in Disneyland’s Club 33. There he discovered a love of, and aptitude for, the kitchen that would set him apart. His newfound interest and abilities took him north to Chez Panisse, where he worked the line for a year and began his career-long reverence for responsibly sourced ingredients.

Neroni’s next project with Sprout L.A. is a reimagining and refreshening of The Rose Café in Venice. It will be known simply as “The Rose.”

He’s our guest.

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June 13: Greenbar Craft Distillery, Jason Neroni, Giacomino Drago, Lodi Wines, Akasha Richmond

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Chef Andrew Gruel and Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Litty Mathew, Co-Owner, Greenbar Craft Distillery
Segment Three: Executive Chef & Partner Jason Neroni, Catch & Release
Segment Four: Executive Chef and Restaurateur Giacomino Drago
Segment Five: Camron King, Executive Director, Lodi Wine Commission Part One
Segment Six: Camron King, Executive Director, Lodi Wine Commission Part Two
Segment Seven: Chef Akasha Richmond, Sambar, Culver City Part One
Segment Eight: Chef Akasha Richmond, Sambar, Culver City Part Two

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

Now an enticing preview of Saturday’s fully-loaded show. Our goal is to leave you hungry and thirsty. In our case, that’s a good thing…

Greenbar Craft Distillery located in Downtown Los Angeles represents the world’s largest portfolio of organic, handcrafted spirits, including BAR KEEP organic bitters, CRUSOE organic rums, FRUITLAB organic liquers, IXA organic tequila, SLOW HAND organic whiskey, TRU organic gin and TRU organic vodkas. It’s the first new distillery located in Los Angeles since the repeal of Prohibition. Co-Founder Litty Mathew joins us with the spirited background.

Catch & Release, newly opened in Marina del Rey in the previous Paiche space, is an ode to New England seafood with California inspiration from Chef/Partner Jason Neroni (ex-Superba Snack Bar in Venice.) It’s a partnership with restaurateur Bill Chait’s Sprout L.A. Chef Neroni’s memories of Maine summers and precious time bonding over food with family led to the conception of Catch & Release. He’s our guest.

Beverly Hills is one of the toughest, and most unforgiving, markets for sophisticated dining in Los Angeles County. It’s hard to imagine thinking about quality Italian cuisine in Beverly Hills without mentioning il Pastaio, the celebrated Italian restaurant in the city’s center. For 21 years now, il Pastaio has served as an important gathering spot for locals as well as a place for celebrities to be seen. And for all of these years, one man has run the kitchen with an extraordinary eye for detail : Owner/Chef Giacomino Drago.

The soon-to-be-discovered “Lodi Wine Country” is one of California’s major winegrowing regions. It’s located 100 miles east of San Francisco near the San Joaquin/Sacramento River Delta, south of Sacramento and west of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Lodi is characterized by rural atmosphere where wineries and farms run by 4th and 5th generation families operate in tandem with a new group of vintners who have brought creative winemaking and cutting–edge technology to the region.

Camron King, the Executive Director of the Lodi Winegrape Commission joins us with all the exciting 411.

Chef Akasha Richmond is one of the pioneers in destination dining in Culver City with Akasha which she debuted in 2008 in the historic building which was originally the City’s first hospital. Now she has launched her second restaurant in Culver City, Sambar, which is located steps away from Akasha. It’s inspired by her travels throughout India as well as her affinity for the rich culture and traditions of the country. Sambar showcases the diversity of Indian cuisine with an invigorating array of clean, bright flavors and choices – all inflected with familiar ingredients as interpreted through a California lens. Chef Akasha Richmond is our guest.

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

Litty MathewGreenbar Craft Distillery located in Downtown Los Angeles represents the world’s largest portfolio of organic, handcrafted spirits, including BAR KEEP organic bitters, CRUSOE organic rums, FRUITLAB organic liquers, IXA organic tequila, SLOW HAND organic whiskey, TRU organic gin and TRU organic vodkas. It’s the first new distillery located in Los Angeles since the repeal of Prohibition.

When husband-and-wife team Melkon Khosrovian and Litty Mathew started Greenbar in 2004, they made conventional spirits with local, hand-processed produce. As their farmers switched to organics the Greenbar spirits started tasting different – better ! Greenbar Distillery switched, too.

Soon, their unique spirits won many awards. Melkon and Litty graciously couldn’t take all the credit. They learned their successes also hinged on some silent partners – the farmers who grew their ingredients. Several had moved to organic farming, resulting in more aromatic, flavorful produce. That, in turn, led to more flavorful, aromatic spirits.

“Today, Greenbar Craft Distillery produces and distributes the world’s biggest portfolio of organic spirits – all made by hand with real ingredients. The environment also benefits because the company uses lightweight bottles, 100 % recycled labels and plants a tree for every bottle sold.”

Co-Founder Litty Mathew joins us with the spirited background.

jason-neroniCatch & Release, newly opened in Marina del Rey in the previous Paiche space, is an ode to New England seafood with California inspiration from Chef/Partner Jason Neroni (exSuperba Snack Bar in Venice.) It’s a partnership with restaurateur Bill Chait’s Sprout L.A.

Chef Neroni’s memories of Maine summers and precious time bonding over food with family led to the conception of Catch & Release. Neroni has honed his culinary craft in kitchens all over the world, and these experiences are evidenced by the international influences on the menu. The range is from French bouillabaisse to Spanish paella. Catch & Release, while finding its providence in Maine, will retain the California sensibility for which Neroni has become known, serving seasonal seafood and vegetables, whenever possible, from local and sustainable sources.

As a 16-year-old kid from Orange County, Neroni got a job working in Disneyland’s Club 33. There he discovered a love of, and aptitude for, the kitchen that would set him apart. His newfound interest and abilities took him north to Chez Panisse, where he worked the line for a year and began his career-long reverence for responsibly sourced ingredients.

Giacomino DragoBeverly Hills is one of the toughest, and most unforgiving, markets for sophisticated dining in Los Angeles County. It’s hard to imagine thinking about quality Italian cuisine in Beverly Hills without mentioning il Pastaio, the celebrated Italian restaurant in the city’s center. For 21 years now, il Pastaio has served as an important gathering spot for locals as well as a place for celebrities to be seen. And for all of these years, one man has run the kitchen with an extraordinary eye for detail : Owner/Chef Giacomino Drago.

In Beverly Hills with its fickle clientele, it’s never easy to keep patrons happy. That Giacomino has consistently pleased his demanding customers for over two decades is a feat to be lauded. It’s clear something special is happening in the kitchen. Daily fresh-made pastas, traditional risottos, salads with Italian staples like artichokes, lentils and aged Parmesean, and entrees, including whole Branzino prepared simply with lemon, butter and capers. These are just a few of the fresh flavors that emerge from Giacomino’s kitchen.

Building upon the immediate success of il Pastaio, Giacomino opened the charming boutique trattoria Piccolo Paradiso in Beverly Hills. He also founded Panzanella in Sherman Oaks, il Segreto in the Bel Air hills, Via Alloro and il Buco, both in Beverly Hills, and Celestinio in Pasadena. In addition, Giacomino owns two fine dining sushi restaurants, SHU Sushi House Unico just a few doors away from his il Segreto in Bel Air, and Yojisan, a unique concept marrying Japanese and Italian cuisines into one. Here, albacore sashimi meets olive oil and persimmon for flavors never before considered. Taste the food you’ll agree it’s delicious.

Chef Giacomino is our guest.

Camron King of the Lodi Winegrape AssociationThe about-to-be-discovered “Lodi Wine Country” is one of California’s major winegrowing regions. It’s located 100 miles east of San Francisco near the San Joaquin/Sacramento River Delta, south of Sacramento and west of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Lodi is characterized by rural atmosphere where wineries and farms run by 4th and 5th generation families operate in tandem with a new group of vintners who have brought creative winemaking and cutting–edge technology to the region.

In Lodi, grape growing is inextricably woven into the culture : the city of Lodi’s police department prominently features a grape cluster in its logo, and high school teams are named after grape varieties.

Lodi has been a major winegrape growing region for over 150 years. Unlike many U.S. wine regions, Lodi actually prospered during Prohibition and as such has been a continuous source of wine grapes since the 1850s. In fact, when early trappers wandered into what is now Lodi, they called one stream they discovered “Wine Creek” because of the proliferation of wild vines found there. As more and more Italian and German immigrants made their homes in Lodi, vinifera varieties such as Zinfandel, Tokay, and Alicante appeared by the 1880s.

Camron King, the Executive Director of the Lodi Winegrape Commission joins us with all the exciting 411.

The about-to-be-discovered “Lodi Wine Country” is one of California’s major winegrowing regions but maintains a low profile. Lodi is characterized by rural atmosphere where wineries and farms run by 4th and 5th generation families operate in tandem with a new group of vintners who have brought creative winemaking and cutting–edge technology to the region.

The Lodi American Viticultural Area (AVA) was recognized by the federal government in 1986, and seven smaller AVAs within the Lodi area were added in 2005.

Lodi leads the state in its commitment to sustainable agriculture and has demonstrated this by establishing Lodi Rules™ in 2005, California’s first third-party sustainable winegrowing program. As the first in California, Lodi Rules™ serves as a model for many wine regions that are now adopting sustainable winegrowing programs.

The Lodi AVA has about 100,000 acres of winegrapes, farmed by more than 750 growers, many of whose families have grown grapes for a century or more. The region’s annual yield of nearly 750,000 tons of grapes in 2012 was valued at $500 million and comprised 19 % of California’s total wine grape production.

He’s our guest.

Akasha RichmondChef Akasha Richmond is one of the pioneers in destination dining in Downtown Culver City with Akasha which she debuted in 2008. Now she has launched her second restaurant in Culver City, Sambar, which is located steps away from Akasha.

It’s inspired by her travels throughout India as well as her affinity for the rich culture and traditions of the country. Sambar showcases the diversity of Indian cuisine with an invigorating array of clean, bright flavors and choices – all inflected with familiar ingredients as interpreted through a California lens.

The concept takes its name from a traditional Indian based vegetable stew that is a staple in most South Indian homes. It was the first Indian dish that Richmond had ever tried many years ago. “I’m enamored by the balance of the very complex yet comforting approach to Indian cooking,” says Richmond.

The menu at Sāmbār will change with the season as the kitchen turns out a selection of spice-driven dishes that focus on local California ingredients including small plates, snacks, and street foods. While the foods of India can be as diverse as the varying states, from the heartier and richer curries of the North, to the rice-based and more tropical fare found in the south, there is a common thread which Richmond has effortlessly captured with the Sāmbār menu emphasizing a balance of sweet, spicy, hot, and salty, dishes such as Sevpuri Chaat, Gunpowder Smashed Potatoes, Truck Stop Goat Curry, Mississippi Masala Wings, Cheese Thali, or Black Quinoa Uttapam–a small fermented pancake.

Chef Akasha Richmond is our guest.

Sambar is open for dinner to start with an announcement of lunch to follow. Richmond’s penchant for the lighter foods of the Southern region, as well as nourishing and curative ingredients will stand out at Sāmbār, such as the Pigeon Pea Fritters, Goan Chicken Xacuti, or Lemon Rice, as well as Curries and Vegetables including a Backwater Shrimp Stir-Fry and Punjabi Mama Greens, to name a few.

Exploring new techniques, the ever-evolving menu will showcase Richmond’s culinary prowess and ambition to try inventive dishes while striking a balance with approachable and crowd-pleasing items. “While there will be vegetarian options and we won’t have beef on the menu, we will have goat, lamb, and pork dishes, there will be something for everyone,” says Richmond. Additional entrées will include Tandoori-Style dishes such as a British Raj Chicken, Pistachio Lamp Chops, and Pork Shoulder roasted with vindaloo masala served with naan focaccia.

Think Indian food only pairs with beer ? Nonsense! Sāmbār’s resident mixology team will be led by Clare Ward who, together with Richmond’s influence, inspired the cocktail program at Sāmbār. Ward also serves as the lead mixologist at AKASHA, Richmond’s landmark Culver City neighborhood eatery. Spice driven cocktails, housemade bitters, and rare and interesting spirits will be found on the drinks menu including “Last Train to Goa” ̶ a punch made with Arrack and rose syrup, or East Indian Pimms made with fresh curry leaves.

The beverage program will also incorporate housemade chai and organic Indian teas. Guests can enjoy cocktails at the bar or take a front-row seat just steps from the kitchen and share Head on Prawns with Mango Powder Marinade and Turmeric Naan, or the Sāmbār Snack Mix and a drink.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Chef Andrew Gruel and Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Litty Mathew, Co-Owner, Greenbar Craft Distillery
Segment Three: Executive Chef & Partner Jason Neroni, Catch & Release
Segment Four: Executive Chef and Restaurateur Giacomino Drago
Segment Five: Camron King, Executive Director, Lodi Wine Commission Part One
Segment Six: Camron King, Executive Director, Lodi Wine Commission Part Two
Segment Seven: Chef Akasha Richmond, Sambar, Culver City Part One
Segment Eight: Chef Akasha Richmond, Sambar, Culver City Part Two

Show 76, June 14, 2014: Guest Host Kedric Francis, Executive Editor, The Orange County Register Magazine, Coast Orange County Magazine

Kedric Francis of Coast Magazine and the Orange County Register MagazineOur always debonair man about Orange County, Kedric Francis, did a little recent vacation swing down the Central Coast. The main destination was oceanfront The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay. Kedric spotlights the notable food and accommodations along the way. The report is family-friendly, too.

Also some breaking OC restaurant news including the tip that Venice’s Superba Snack Bar (Chef Jason Neroni) is on the way to a coastal Orange County City…

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Show 39, August 31, 2013: Food GPS Fried Chicken Festival

Joshua Lurie of Food GPSThere is no better Summer picnic food than fried chicken. Leave it to Joshua Lurie of Food GPS to create a festival around incredible fried chicken with an international flair!

The 2nd Annual Food GPS Fried Chicken Festival is set for Sunday, Sept. 15 from 4 to 7:00 p.m. in Downtown Los Angeles at LOT 613.

Eleven of L.A.’s top toques will be there showcasing multiple styles of their fried chicken for the guests to sample and enjoy at their pleasure. Also on the menu are appropriate side dishes, desserts, craft beer, and cocktails.

Chef Jason Neroni of Superba Snack Bar in Venice and producer Joshua Lurie of Food GPS joined us to preview the Festival. Superba’s popular fried chicken is on the menu for the Festival.

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August 31: Orange International Street Fair

Podcasts

Segment One: Guest Co-Host Kedric Francis, Producer Andy Harris and Jet Tila via Satellite
Segment Two: Scott Brandon, Chef / Proprietor of Linx in Old Towne Orange
Segment Three: Chef Marco Zapien of Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria in Pico Rivera
Segment Four: Deanna Durigon, Old Towne Orange Walking Food Tours
Segment Five: Executive Chef Greg Daniels & Managing Partner / Beverage Director Wil Dee of Provisions Market
Segment Six: Food GPS Fried Chicken Festival
Segment Seven: Wing Lam, co-founder of Wahoo’s Fish Taco
Segment Eight: Travis Rodgers, host of “The Travis Rodgers Show” on AM 830 KLAA

Please join us each week at our new starting time of 10:00 a.m.

Orange International Street FairToday it’s the last hurrah for the Summer. We broadcasting live from the Orange International Street Fair in Orange. This is a massive community event attracting up to 400,000 people to Old Towne Orange over the two and-one half day festival. The Fair continues until Sunday night.

All of the top quality ethnic street food available is authentically prepared by area non-profits. You have an international melting pot of flavors ranging from Australian to Swiss.

Eight entertainment stages, too!

Kedric Francis, the Executive Editor of both Coast Magazine and The Orange County Register Magazine joins us on Saturday for the festivities as co-host.

Scott Brandon of LinX DogsScott Brandon, the Chef/Proprietor of LinX Artisan Sausages at 238 W. Chapman Ave., is with us. Last year Chef Scott operated LinX out of a trailer at his location during the Fair because he hadn’t opened yet. On his menu are incredible artisan sausages.

Hand-cut Belgian fries are also top dog here. They are twice-fried and really good. They come with a variety of flavorful dipping sauces all prepared in-house.

Marco Zapien of Zapiens Salsa Grill and TaqueriaChef Marco Zapien is the owner/chef of Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria in Pico Rivera. It’s proudly family-owned and a locals’ favorite since 1994.

The fare represents the various regions of Mexico. They are known for lengua (tongue) and enchiladas en mole. The corn tortillas for the chips and salsa are made-in house.

On Saturday, September 7th Zapien’s is hosting their 2nd Annual Hatch Chile Roasting and brunch for charity. Hatch Chiles will be sold by the case, roasted or fresh, and Hatch Chile food and drink specials will be available.

Deanna DurigonWe’re in Old Towne Orange today. Old Towne is now home to an impressive variety of specialty restaurants. Haven Gastropub and LinX immediately come to mind along with original Bruxie.

Old Town Orange Food Walking Tours is a fun way to get introduced to the culinary delights of the area. They offer both the Orange Sampler Tour as well as the Vintage Orange Food Tour.

Co-owner Deanna Durigon, who both lives and works in Orange, is the co-owner. She joins us to provide all the appetizing details.

Greg Daniels of Haven GastropubProvisions Market, a new gourmet specialty food store, sandwich shop, and craft beer emporium, on Glassell is the talk of Old Towne Orange. 30 rotating beers are available on tap as well as Sidecar Doughnuts.

Coming soon will be a full service coffee bar operated by Portola Coffee Lab of The Mix in Costa Mesa.

Executive Chef Greg Daniels (Haven Gastropub) and Managing Partner Wil Dee will be with us to explain all the delicious elements and what’s to come.

Joshua Lurie of Food GPSThere is no better Summer picnic food than fried chicken. Leave it to Joshua Lurie of Food GPS to create a festival around incredible fried chicken!

The 2nd Annual Food GPS Fried Chicken Festival is set for Sunday, Sept. 15 from 4 to 7:00 p.m. in Downtown Los Angeles at LOT 613.

Eleven of L.A.’s top toques will be there showcasing multiple styles of their fried chicken for the guests to sample and enjoy at their pleasure. Also on the menu are appropriate side dishes, desserts, craft beer, and cocktails.

Chef Jason Neroni of Superba Snack Bar in Venice and producer Joshua Lurie of Food GPS join us to preview the Festival.

Wing Lam of Wahoo's Fish TacosThe coolest dude in Orange County has to be the incomparable Wing Lam, co-founder of Wahoo’s Fish Taco. It just comes to him naturally…It’s their 25th anniversary this year.

Wing is also active in many local charitable activities as well as enjoys teaching marketing. He’s also a master at guerrilla marketing.

Wing joins us in-person to reveal how he keeps Wahoo’s fresh after 25 years of increasing success…

Travis RodgersTravis Rodgers quarterbacks The Travis Rodgers Show heard weekday mornings on AM 830 KLAA from 6 to 10:00 a.m. It’s SoCal’s only live, local morning sports show. Travis actually lives in Orange County!

You might not know that Travis is equally passionate about all kinds of food. We’ll eagerly talk food with Travis and find out what he’s looking forward to tasting at The Orange International Street Fair this Weekend!

Podcasts

Segment One: Guest Co-Host Kedric Francis, Producer Andy Harris and Jet Tila via Satellite
Segment Two: Scott Brandon, Chef / Proprietor of Linx in Old Towne Orange
Segment Three: Chef Marco Zapien of Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria in Pico Rivera
Segment Four: Deanna Durigon, Old Towne Orange Walking Food Tours
Segment Five: Executive Chef Greg Daniels & Managing Partner / Beverage Director Wil Dee of Provisions Market
Segment Six: Food GPS Fried Chicken Festival
Segment Seven: Wing Lam, co-founder of Wahoo’s Fish Taco
Segment Eight: Travis Rodgers, host of “The Travis Rodgers Show” on AM 830 KLAA

Show 21, March 16, 2013: Paul Hibler, owner of Pitfire Artisan Pizza and American Gonzo Food Corporation

Paul Hibler of Pitfire Pizza and Superba Snack BarPitfire’s dough proofs for multiple days before baking and is unusually cooked in a wood-burning oven. The original unit in North Hollywood opened in 1989.

Expansion is something that has only happened in recent years. Paul likes to think of his units as the anti-chain. There are now seven locations. Each one is a bit different in design and all are family-friendly.

In the last year new locations have been added in Costa Mesa (the first unit in Orange County) and Manhattan Beach. The Costa Mesa Pitfire has a lounge in back with a full liquor license. All of the other Pitfire’s are beer & wine only.

American Gonzo Food Corporation’s first project is Superba Snack Bar in Venice which launched last July. The menu maker there is Chef Jason Neroni.

Play

March 16: Aarti Sequeira, Pitfire Pizza, Sara Moulton, Elizabeth Whitt, Muldoon’s Pub

Podcasts

Segment One: Chef Aarti Sequeira, Star of Cooking Channel’s “Taste in Translation” and “Drop 5LBS. with Good Housekeeping”
Segment Two: Paul Hibler, owner of Pitfire Artisan Pizza and American Gonzo Food Corporation
Segment Three: Celebrity Chef Sara Moulton
Segment Four: Chef Elizabeth Whitt, Culinary Instructor Part One
Segment Five: Chef Elizabeth Whitt, Culinary Instructor Part Two
Segment Six: Muldoon’s Irish Pub & Country Kitchen

This week it’s it’s about star power. We have one of the early star chefs of Food Network joining us along with a current celebrity chef prominent on both Food Network and Cooking Channel. Next we’ll hear from a veteran L.A. restaurateur who has slowly established a pizza empire and has now expanded to Orange County with more units on the way. Then it’s on to an inspiring Easter menu. Finally it’s a nod to St. Patrick’s Day from an Irish institution that’s seen it all.

Aarti SequeiraCelebrity Chef Aarti Sequeira (with the infectious laugh) of Food Network and Cooking Channel fame is back with us co-hosting the show. She’ll give us some insights on her new Friday evening series for Cooking Channel, “Taste in Translation.” We’ll also see how things are going on Cooking Channel’s “Drop 5 LBS.

Pitfire Artisan Pizza locations are popping up all over town. Costa Mesa and Manhattan Beach are the two most recent additions. The first location opened in North Hollywood in 1997. The expansion effort really didn’t start happening until recent years. Co-founder Paul Hibler joins us to talk about the atypical journey.

With Chef Jason Neroni, Paul also co-owns Superba Snack Bar in Venice which debuted last year and quickly earned a loyal following.

 

Sara MoultonChef Sara Mouton was the executive chef for Gourmet Magazine for many years but is probably best known as one of the early stars of Food Network. She did two live shows on weeknights with viewer call-ins. Talk about a nightly high wire act!

Her most recent TV effort, “Sara’s Weekday Meals,” (Season 3) can be seen on PBS stations across the country. Earlier in her career she was the culinary assistant to food world icon Julia Child on PBS’s “Julia Child & More Co.”

Sara is hosting a Friday luncheon (March 22nd) and performing a Saturday cooking demo (March 23rd) at next weekend’s “Food + Wine Palm Desert”.

Chef Instructor Elizabeth Whitt is back with us presenting a dazzling “Easter in Provence” menu.

What’s really helpful is that this festive meal can all be prepared ahead of time (with the exception of the roasting of the lamb) so you can enjoy your friends, family, and food.

Muldoon's Pub and Country KitchenFor 38 years Muldoon’s Irish Pub & Country Kitchen has been the place to be on St. Patrick’s Day! It’s still proudly Family-owned and located in the most unlikely of places – Fashion Island in Newport Beach.

They even bake their own Irish Soda Bread fresh daily. It’s a fun place but the kitchen is serious about the quality of their food.

Ask about the decadent chocolate pudding. When it’s available it’s only made in-house by the proprietress from her secret recipe.

Podcasts

Segment One: Chef Aarti Sequeira, Star of Cooking Channel’s “Taste in Translation” and “Drop 5LBS. with Good Housekeeping”
Segment Two: Paul Hibler, owner of Pitfire Artisan Pizza and American Gonzo Food Corporation
Segment Three: Celebrity Chef Sara Moulton
Segment Four: Chef Elizabeth Whitt, Culinary Instructor Part One
Segment Five: Chef Elizabeth Whitt, Culinary Instructor Part Two
Segment Six: Muldoon’s Irish Pub & Country Kitchen