Show 267, March 31, 2018: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris

Now a tantalizing preview of Saturday’s enticing 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… Happy Easter and blessed Passover greetings to all our loyal listeners. Keep in mind we’re here with you live every Saturday morning with a fresh show.

Love The Wild is an innovative sustainable seafood company that produces an appealing line of tasty fish entrees for the home table. They were a discovery at this year’s Natural Products Expo West. “People are hungry for better solutions. Something that satisfies both hearts and taste buds. That’s why we’re spearheading a better way to raise our food. Partnering with compassionate farmers. Blazing a trail for frozen fish. Because as we’ve found out, the best practices make the best dishes. This isn’t just the most delicious fish you’ve ever tasted. It’s the lowest impact way to produce animal protein on the planet. And we’re here to stay. In fact, that’s the whole point.” We’re reeling in Founder, Jacqueline Claudia.

The Kali Kollaboration is Kali’s owner / chef Kevin Meehan’s monthly dinner series where he invites 3 to 4 prominent L.A. chefs to have a night of fun with him preparing a special menu for guests at Kali. Next up is April 10th with “SoCal Restaurant Show” chef friends Antonio Lofaso and Ted Hopson along with Phillip Franklind Lee & Margarita Kallas-Lee. Chefs Kevin & Ted join us to explain what’s on the menu.

Revier Cattle Company (RCC) raises Prime / Choice-graded Black Angus cattle in Olivia, MN. All RCC’s purebred Black Angus operations seed stock is developed with no expense spared to achieve the highest quality beef. With decades of cattle raising experience dating back to 1867, RCC is a true expert when it comes to choosing and nurturing Premium Cattle. As a result of this commitment, consumers can be assured of safe, high quality, sustainable beef as part of a balanced, highly nutritious, and delicious diet at home and in the finest dining establishments. 4th generation cattle rancher Tom Revier is our guest.

Nestled between the San Francisco Bay and the Sierra Nevada Mountains lies Lodi Wine Country, a region fast becoming one of California’s true wine stars. Lodi Wine Country offers a rural atmosphere and relaxed pace for you to enjoy its beautiful vineyards and premium wines. Winemaker Stuart Spencer of Lodi’s St. Amant Winery and also the Program Manager for the Lodi Winegrape Commission pulls the cork for us.

Coast Fish Company is the relatively new brand and concept from the same family of restaurants (family owned and operated for 94 years) as El Cholo and The Cannery in Newport Beach. The fast-casual Coast located in the Los Olivos Marketplace in the Irvine Spectrum brings the best premium seafood from both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts to Orange County. 4th Generation restaurateur Brendon Salisbury is our guest.

Our always informed Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, continues with his “Ask the Chef” series. It’s lobster madness in today’s “Ask the Chef” segment. To begin with why is lobster so expensive? What drives the price? Why does Maine Lobster carry such cache? How does Pacific Spiny Lobster compare to its cousin from Maine? Does size really matter for taste & flavor? What’s the best preparation method? Chef Andrew puts the bib on and has the tasty specifics for us.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Play

Show 267, March 31, 2018: Winemaker Stuart Spencer, Program Manager, Lodi Winegrape Commission

Stuart SpencerNestled between the San Francisco Bay and the Sierra Nevada Mountains lies Lodi Wine Country, a region fast becoming one of California’s true wine stars. Lodi Wine Country offers a rural atmosphere and relaxed pace for you to enjoy its beautiful vineyards and premium wines.

Lodi is predominately a red winegrowing region, with approximately two-thirds of the acreage dedicated to red varieties. Lodi is home to all of California’s leading varieties, and has long been the leading producer and California’s best kept secret for Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel. However, with over 100 varieties now in production, Lodi offers a vast portfolio of diverse and interesting wines.

“The most obvious distinction that sets Lodi apart is our treasure trove of own-rooted old vineyards. There are literally hundreds of these old blocks throughout the region that, in many cases, have yet to be discovered or had the opportunity to truly express their real character.” –Stuart Spencer

Lodi is the self-proclaimed Zinfandel Capital of the World producing over 40 percent of California’s premium Zinfandel. Journalists and wine enthusiasts alike have long recognized Lodi as the home of highly acclaimed Old Vine Zinfandels, with some plantings dating back to 1888. These vines, many of which are still planted on their own roots, are naturally low-yielding due to their age and consistently produce high quality fruit. Although expensive to maintain, Lodi winegrowers are committed to continuing this California heritage.

Winemaker Stuart Spencer of Lodi’s St. Amant Winery and also the Program Manager for the Lodi Winegrape Commission pulls the cork for us.

Play

March 31: Love The Wild, Kevin Meehan, Revier Cattle Company, Lodi Wine, Coast Fish Company

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Jacqueline Claudia, Co-Founder, Love The Wild, Boulder, CO
Segment Three: Owner / Chef Kevin Meehan, Kali, Los Angeles
Segment Four: Revier Cattle Co’s Tom Revier and Paul Hillen Part One
Segment Five: Revier Cattle Co’s Tom Revier and Paul Hillen Part Two
Segment Six: Winemaker Stuart Spencer, Program Manager, Lodi Winegrape Commission
Segment Seven: Brendon Salisbury, 4th Generation Restaurateur, Coast Fish Co., Irvine
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel’s “Ask the Chef”

Now a tantalizing preview of this Saturday’s enticing 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… Easter and Passover greetings to all our loyal listeners. Keep in mind we’re here with you live every Saturday morning with a fresh show.

Love The Wild is an innovative sustainable seafood company that produces an appealing line of tasty fish entrees for the home table. They were a discovery at this year’s Natural Products West Expo. “People are hungry for better solutions. Something that satisfies both hearts and taste buds. That’s why we’re spearheading a better way to raise our food. Partnering with compassionate farmers. Blazing a trail for frozen fish. Because as we’ve found out, the best practices make the best dishes. This isn’t just the most delicious fish you’ve ever tasted. It’s the lowest impact way to produce animal protein on the planet. And we’re here to stay. In fact, that’s the whole point.” We’re reeling in Founder, Jacqueline Claudia.

The Kali Kollaboration is Kali’s owner/chef Kevin Meehan’s monthly dinner series where he invites 3 to 4 prominent L.A. chefs to have a night of fun with him preparing a special menu for guests at Kali. Next up is April 10th with “SoCal Restaurant Show” chef friends Antonio Lofaso and Ted Hopson along with Phillip Lee & Margarita Kallas-Lee. Chefs Kevin & Ted join us to explain what’s on the menu.

Revier Cattle Company (RCC) raises Prime/Choice-graded Black Angus cattle in Olivia, MN. All RCC’s purebred Black Angus operations seed stock is developed with no expense spared to achieve the highest quality beef. With decades of cattle raising experience dating back to 1867, RCC is a true expert when it comes to choosing and nurturing Premium Cattle. As a result of this commitment, consumers can be assured of safe, high quality, sustainable beef as part of a balanced, highly nutritious, and delicious diet at home and in the finest dining establishments. 5th generation cattle rancher Tom Revier is our guest.

Nestled between the San Francisco Bay and the Sierra Nevada Mountains lies Lodi Wine Country, a region fast becoming one of California’s true wine stars. Lodi Wine Country offers a rural atmosphere and relaxed pace for you to enjoy its beautiful vineyards and premium wines. Winemaker Stuart Spencer of Lodi’s St. Amant Winery and also the Program Manager for the Lodi Winegrape Commission pulls the cork for us.

Coast Fish Company is the relatively new brand and concept from the same family of restaurants (family owned and operated for 94 years) as El Cholo and The Cannery in Newport Beach. The fast-casual Coast located in the Los Olivos Marketplace in the Irvine Spectrum brings the best premium seafood from both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts to Orange County. 4th Generation restaurateur Brendon Salisbury is our guest.

Our always informed Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, continues with his “Ask the Chef” series. It’s lobster madness in today’s “Ask the Chef” segment. To begin with why is lobster so expensive? What drives the price? Why does Maine Lobster carry such cache? How does Pacific Spiny Lobster compare to its cousin from Maine? Does size really matter for taste & flavor? What’s the best preparation method? Chef Andrew puts the bib on and has the tasty specifics for us.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Jacqueline ClaudiaLove The Wild is an innovative sustainable seafood company that produces an appealing line of tasty fish entrees for the home table. They were a discovery at this year’s Natural Products Expo West.

“We are passionate about, and have put our efforts toward protecting and providing fantastic fish. More specifically, we want to change the way people eat one of the most efficient, healthy proteins in the world.”

“The seriousness of overfishing, pollution, and acidification of our oceans is well documented and incredibly frightening. So the question then is: How do we save our oceans and fish, while at the same time make sure people still continue to eat fish? Our answer: help preserve our wild fish stocks by not depleting (overfishing) them all. We are doing that by supporting our awesome friends who are doing amazing things with aquaculture, and utilizing their fantastic farmed fish to create the most mind-blowing fish dishes you’ll find in stores.”

“These dishes can’t suck though. Frozen fish is generally thought of as gross, and cooking fish is perceived as difficult. And we’re changing those perceptions. With a culinary taste-first approach we have created the perfect equation. World-class aquacultured fish + mouth-watering delicious sauce + your dinner table = pure culinary bliss.”

“We believe the world “wild” means many things, from protecting and respecting our wild fish populations, to creating wildly delicious sauces, to pursuing a wildly adventurous lifestyle. Most people equate the words “wild fish” to “sustainable” or “higher quality”. Without question, wild fish can be sustainable in limited quantities, in ideal conditions. Without question, farmed fish can be higher quality and even more sustainable. Our passion is to prove that to the world. That is why we built this company.”

We’re reeling in Founder, Jacqueline Claudia.

Kevin MeehanThe Kali Kollaboration is Kali’s owner/chef Kevin Meehan’s monthly dinner series where he invites 3 to 4 prominent L.A. chefs to have a night of fun with him preparing a special menu for guests at Kali. Next up is April 10th with “SoCal Restaurant Show” chef friends Antonio Lofaso and Ted Hopson along with Phillip Franklind Lee & Margarita Kallas-Lee.

“We created the Kali Kollaboration Dinner Series to celebrate our talented culinary community by bringing chefs together for a fun night of great food, drinks, and camaraderie and to share this with our guests. On Tuesday evening, April 10th a special five course menu will be offered for $95 or $125 with wine pairing.”

“With the opening of Kali Restaurant, Chef Kevin Meehan’s broad 23-year culinary career reaches its apex. At Kali, Meehan, whose deft hand was cultivated in Los Angeles’ most prestigious kitchens, joins forces with long-time friend and professional colleague, Drew Langley, previously the wine director at the iconic, Michelin-starred Providence.”

“For the 40-year-old Meehan, Kali represents the evolution of not just Kali Dining, his roving private dinner pop-up, but the rigorous years he spent refining his craft. The contemporary California restaurant blends the precision and hospitality of the white tablecloth kitchens where Meehan developed his culinary acumen, with the accessibility and ease of a local’s favorite neighborhood haunt.”

Chefs Kevin Meehan and Ted Hopson join us to explain what is on the menu.

Tom RevierRevier Cattle Company (RCC) raises Prime/Choice-graded Black Angus cattle in Olivia, MN. All RCC’s purebred Black Angus operations seed stock is developed with no expense spared to achieve the highest quality beef. With decades of cattle raising experience, RCC is a true expert when it comes to choosing and nurturing Premium Cattle.

As a result of this commitment, consumers can be assured of safe, high quality, sustainable beef as part of a balanced, highly nutritious, and delicious diet at home and in the finest dining establishments.

“Revier Cattle Company (RCC) effectively and efficiently manages livestock production while protecting the environment. Livestock manure is full of natural soil nutrients. Utilizing manure as fertilizer reduces the need for mined and manufactured sources. The fence lines and pastures necessary for livestock production add diversity to the environment by protecting soil and providing a habitat for wildlife.”

“RCC facilities incorporate tertiary anaerobic digester technology to capture and treat animal waste. The solids and liquids are separated to provide flexibility in application of this natural soil enhancer. In the future, plans are to capture additional energy from animal waste and convert it in to compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel for company trucks and equipment.”

“In 1867, the Revier family homesteaded in Renville County, an area abundant with rich soil and quality water. Through hard work and dedication, generations of Reviers have made their livelihood by farming and raising beef cattle on the fertile prairie land.”

“From the very beginning, the Revier family of farmers continuously found ways to raise better beef, preserve, and protect the land and water. Today, the Reviers continue this tradition with Revier Cattle Company (RCC) and Revier Farms. Brothers Tom and Dave, graduates of Concordia College in Moorhead Minnesota, work together to balance and support the complex operations and economics of a successful farm.”

“With a solid foundation of education and a lifetime of hands-on experience, they continue building a sustainable future in agriculture for themselves, their family and the world.”

5th generation cattle rancher Tom Revier is our guest.

Stuart SpencerNestled between the San Francisco Bay and the Sierra Nevada Mountains lies Lodi Wine Country, a region fast becoming one of California’s true wine stars. Lodi Wine Country offers a rural atmosphere and relaxed pace for you to enjoy its beautiful vineyards and premium wines.

Lodi is predominately a red winegrowing region, with approximately two-thirds of the acreage dedicated to red varieties.  Lodi is home to all of California’s leading varieties, and has long been the leading producer and California’s best kept secret for Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel.  However, with over 100 varieties now in production, Lodi offers a vast portfolio of diverse and interesting wines.

“The most obvious distinction that sets Lodi apart is our treasure trove of own-rooted old vineyards. There are literally hundreds of these old blocks throughout the region that, in many cases, have yet to be discovered or had the opportunity to truly express their real character.” –Stuart Spencer

Lodi is the self-proclaimed Zinfandel Capital of the World producing over 40 percent of California’s premium Zinfandel.  Journalists and wine enthusiasts alike have long recognized Lodi as the home of highly acclaimed Old Vine Zinfandels, with some plantings dating back to 1888. These vines, many of which are still planted on their own roots, are naturally low-yielding due to their age and consistently produce high quality fruit. Although expensive to maintain, Lodi winegrowers are committed to continuing this California heritage.

Winemaker Stuart Spencer of Lodi’s St. Amant Winery and also the Program Manager for the Lodi Winegrape Commission pulls the cork for us.

Brendon SalisburyCoast Fish Company is the relatively new brand and concept from the same family of restaurants (family owned and operated for 94 years) as El Cholo and The Cannery in Newport Beach. The fast-casual Coast located in the Los Olivos Marketplace in the Irvine Spectrum brings the best premium seafood from both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts to Orange County.

What’s a bit unusual is that the taco or entrée choices comes with the guest’s selection of fish. Seasonal options include Ahi Tuna, Barramundi, Catfish, Halibut, Mahi Mahi, Salmon, Swordfish, and Tilapia.

Sides include the expected chips & salsa and avocado but also feature mushroom risotto.

Happy Hour is new on the menu with $1.50 beers and half-price appetizers.

4th Generation restaurateur Brendon Salisbury is our guest.

William, Andrew and Lauren GruelOur always informed Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, continues with his Ask the Chef series.

It’s lobster madness in today’s “Ask the Chef” segment. To begin with why is lobster so expensive? What drives the price? Why does Maine Lobster carry such cache? How does Pacific Spiny Lobster compare to its cousin from Maine? Does size really matter for taste & flavor? What’s the best preparation method?

Chef Andrew puts the bib on and has the tasty specifics for us.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Jacqueline Claudia, Co-Founder, Love The Wild, Boulder, CO
Segment Three: Owner / Chef Kevin Meehan, Kali, Los Angeles
Segment Four: Revier Cattle Co’s Tom Revier and Paul Hillen Part One
Segment Five: Revier Cattle Co’s Tom Revier and Paul Hillen Part Two
Segment Six: Winemaker Stuart Spencer, Program Manager, Lodi Winegrape Commission
Segment Seven: Brendon Salisbury, 4th Generation Restaurateur, Coast Fish Co., Irvine
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel’s “Ask the Chef”

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!

Play

Show 126, June 13, 2015: Camron King, Executive Director, Lodi Wine Commission

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.

Play

Show 126, June 13, 2015: Camron King, Executive Director, Lodi Wine Commission Continued…

Camron King of the Lodi Winegrape AssociationThe 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.

The recommended introduction to Lodi Wine Country is the Lodi Wine and Visitors Center operated by the Winegrape Commission. A fascinating experience for anyone interested in grapes or wine, the Center features an expansive tasting bar offering a wide selection of regional wines, an educational demonstration vineyard, and a gift shop stocked with handcrafted products and Lodi giftware. The well-trained staff lead guests through a guided tasting of the region’s wines, from the nearly 80 local vintners.

 

Play

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