Show 255, January 6, 2018: 5th Ceviche and Aguachile Festival, Producer Edgar Cisneros, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

Edgar CisnerosIt’s the beginning of another year of appealing food & beverage festivals in sunny Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. Upcoming is the 5th edition of the ever-popular Ceviche and Aguachile Festival on Sunday afternoon, January 28th.

Puerto Vallarta remains a gastronomic destination with an intriguing variety of high-quality food and libation events held every year that delight both visitors and locals. 2018 starts with the flavors of the sea with the 5th edition of the Festival of Ceviche and Aguachile. Guests can sample more than 30 varieties of exquisite ceviches and aguachiles. Expect a boatload of fresh seafood including marlin, fresh shrimp, tuna, octopus and stingray. Also, Raicilla-based cocktails and local craft beers will be available to purchase.

Think of Aguachile as the chili-spiked version of Mexican ceviche.

The date is Sunday, January 28th from 12 Noon to 7:00 p.m. in Puerto Vallarta’s Lazaro Cardenas Park. Tastes range from a reasonable 15 to 40 pesos per item.

Festival Producer Edgar Cisneros has the tempting preview.


Show 251, December 9, 2017: Chef Mike Minor, Border Grill Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Mike Minor of Border Grill in Las VegasMike Minor is back as the Executive Chef of Mary Sue Milliken’s and Susan Feniger’s original Border Grill Las Vegas (launched in 1999) located by the lazy river adjacent to Mandalay Beach at the Mandalay Bay Resort on The Strip. Chef Mike grew up in Las Vegas and has a huge locals’ following. We’ll meet him.

This Border Grill is known for their incredible Weekend, all-you-can-enjoy brunch with everything cooked to order. There is also bottomless sparkling wine. Talk about indulgent…It’s Vegas, baby !

Ironically, it was a French restaurant where Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger first tasted authentic Latin flavors. While guests were dining on escargot out front, in the back of the house Mary Sue and Susan were discovering the home cooking of Oaxaca and the Yucatan at staff meals prepared by their fellow cooks from Mexico. Unlike anything they had ever tasted in Mexican restaurants in the United States, the dishes were as varied and complex as the French fare the chefs were serving out front.

In 1985, Mary Sue and Susan packed a VW bug and took a road trip far south of the Mexican border. Never setting foot in a “fine restaurant,” they learned the recipes and techniques of market vendors and home cooks, from street corners in downtown Mexico City to back road family barbecues and taco stands along the beach. When they returned they opened Border Grill and “applied the same intelligence,” noted Los Angeles Magazine, “to green corn tamales and cactus-paddle tacos that other chefs might to a lobe of foie gras.” Border Grill quickly established a new standard for gourmet Mexican fare.


Show 233, July 22, 2017: Restaurateur Don Myers, Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen

Don Myers of Cha Cha's Latin Kitchen in Brea and IrvineBrea’s popular Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen has just opened a second location in The Market Place in Irvine.

“Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen was born out of a love and passion for Latin cuisine…”

“The Latin inspired menu adapts the culinary heritage of Mexico and Latin America to a fresh modern style. In the open kitchen guests can watch savory dishes being prepared in the wood-fired oven, while free-range Jidori chickens roast to perfection and tacos are topped with house-made fire-roasted salsa.”

Their special creation for National Tequila Day (July 24th) is the specialty margarita, the El Palomar. It’s 100 % blue agave tequila, fresh serrano chile, orange liqueur, freshly squeezed lime juice, agave nectar and a float of house-brewed Hibiscus tea.

Proprietor Don Myers (also Brunos Italian Kitchen), a veteran restaurateur, is our in-studio guest.


Show 213, March 4, 2017: Katy Smith, Executive Creative Chef, Puesto, Irvine’s Los Olivos Marketplace

Katy SmithSan Diego’s thriving taco hotspot, Puesto, has expanded to Orange County with a new restaurant in Irvine’s Los Olivos Marketplace. The concept is a fresh, contemporary take on authentic Mexican fare in a relaxed environment.

Puesto’s menu encourages guests to mix and match from an offering of specialty tacos such as the Filet Mignon Taco with crispy melted cheese, avocado & spicy pistachio serrano salsaChicken Al Pastor Taco with crispy melted cheese, hibiscus & chipotle tinga, avocado & piña habanero pico, vegetarian options such as the Zucchini & Cactus Taco with crispy melted cheese, zucchini, corn, tomato, cactus, avocado & cilantro-tomatillo, and sustainable seafood options like the Tamarindo Shrimp Tacos with crispy tamarindo-chile shrimp nestled in guacamole & cilantro. All of Puesto’s salsas are made from scratch using local ingredients, with tortillas made in-house using organic, non-GMO, blue corn masa sourced from local purveyor, Kernel of Truth.

Puesto’s extensive beverage program offers nearly 50 kinds of tequila and mezcal, 12 local and Mexican beers on draft, six wines on tap and specialty cocktails made with freshly squeezed juices and house-made liqueurs and sodas. Popular libations include the Puesto Perfect Margarita with blue agave reposado tequila, lime & agave nectarEl Mezcalito with Vida mezcal, Guanabana, tamarindo, lime & charred orange and La Rosita with house-made strawberry-cilantro infused vodka, lemon & cane sugar.

Puesto’s Executive Creative Chef Katy Smith is our guest.



Show 199, November 26, 2016: Chef/Proprietor Marco Zapien, Zapien’s Salsa Grill & Taqueria

Marco Zapien of Zapiens Salsa Grill and TaqueriaIt’s our salute to Small Business Saturday and the backbone of small business, the family-owned, local dining destination.

Since 1994 Zapien’s Salsa Grill & Taqueria has been the standout Mexican restaurant in Pico Rivera. It recently underwent a major refreshening.

In 2003, Chef Marco Zapien joined The Grill full-time as the Executive Chef and partnered with his father, Jess, to become co-owner. Chef Marco has elevated the cuisine and enhanced its popularity well beyond the borders of Pico Rivera. He also operates a full-service catering firm creating dishes of global cuisine beyond the Mexican pantry.

Chef Marco has refined a unique style of cooking that incorporates two generations of his mother’s and father’s family recipes with the passionate creativity he has enhanced throughout his culinary career.

The Salsa Grill serves truly traditional Mexican food with items such as Lengua and Enchilades en Mole on the Chef’s Specialties menu, Camarones Mojo De Ajo and Tequila Fried Shrimp on its Seafood Specialty Menu, and fresh Menudo, Cocido and Pozole served daily.

They even make their own tortillas right there fresh throughout the day. This is the base of their addictive tortilla chips, too. Can’t get any fresher than this! Most everything (including all sauces) is created from scratch on site. That’s a genuine commitment to quality!

Chef Marco is our guest.


Show 179, July 9, 2016: Amelia Ceja, Ceja Vineyards and Executive Chef Danny Godinez, Anepalco and El Mercado Modern Cuisine, Santa Ana

Danny Godinez of AnepalcoOC Meets Napa and Baja on July 16th at Mission San Juan Capistrano will feature wines from premier wineries in Baja and from Napa’s own Mexican American Vintner Association (MAVA). The event will also include imaginative food from top Latin OC restaurants, live music, an exclusive wine auction and a few entertaining surprises!

All proceeds from the wine tasting benefit AltaMed OC Pediatrics and Breast Cancer Screenings.

Owner/Executive Chef Danny Godinez of Anapalco (and the just-opened El Mercado Modern Cuisine in Santa Ana) and Amelia Ceja of Ceja Vineyards join us with the preview. They are returning participants to The Benefit.


Show 169, April 30, 2016: El Chavo’s (Silver Lake) Cinco De Mayo Celebration

Matt LandesCinco de Mayo is pretty much a non-event in Mexico but it’s now a huge celebration in the United States. Might possibly have something to do with all the Mexican beer and tequila sold for the festivities.

One of the bigger Cinco de Mayo fiestas in Los Angeles will be staged at Silver Lake’s El Chavo on May 5th from 4:00 p.m. to close.

Lots of satisfying food and drink including Mezcal and Mexican cerveza. Look for the street tacos and corn.

Matt Landes from Cocktail Academy (one of the event organizers) is with us to provide all the festive details.


Show 112, February 28, 2015: Chef Marlene Moore, Temptations Food Walk, Pechanga Resort

Marlene MooreFor the last seven years Chef Marlene Moore has been overseeing the busy Temptations Food Court, the Poker Room, and Bingo Parlor at Pechanga Resort & Casino. The Food Court features American, Italian, Mexican, Fried Chicken, Espresso, Pastries, Bahn Mi, Hot Dogs, finished-to-order Donuts and fresh Lemonade.

The outlet names at Temptations are American Classics, Agave Mexican Delights, Pronto Italiano, Caffe Cocoa, Little Wok Asian Specialties, and Pechanga Fried Chicken.

Chef Marlene explains why her special fried chicken (prepared to order) is well-worth waiting for!



Show 95, November 1, 2014: Jennifer Morton

Jeniifer Morton of Blue PlateThe always on the go, Jennifer Morton, is a serial restaurateur who is always overflowing with creative ideas. She was the co-founder of the highly successful Divine Pasta Co. which supplied a range of fresh pastas to discriminating restaurants. Even the typically hard-to-please Italian chefs were big fans of the pasta.

Chapter Two for Jen was buying what is now Blue Plate on Montana Avenue and repositioning it as a full-service, neighborhood restaurant. Staying in Santa Monica (where she also resides) Jen then created the Blue Plate Oysterette, her homage to a New England seafood shack. A new Blue Plate Oysterette recently opened on W. Third St. in Los Angeles.

Blue Plate Taco, also in Santa Monica, is Ms. Morton’s take on costal Mexican fare using local ingredients with a distinctive California flair. Think crab guacamole with house-made chips and chicken tinga tacos with chipotle sauce and pickled onions.

There is also a lot of attention toward the tequila-based signature drink creations.

We’ll meet her.


Show 90, September 27, 2014: Anepalco in Orange

Anepalco's CafeHidden, in plain sight, just South of Angel Stadium at the corner of State College and West Chapman Ave. in Orange is Chef Daniel Godinez’s Anepalco. Anepalco is best characterized as a modern Mexican-French restaurant with a refreshing cocktail program. It also has a shaded patio.

Anepalco takes authentic Mexican ingredients with their bold flavors and infuses them creatively with traditional French techniques. The result is a fusion of creams and chiles with the cuisine served in a gourmet manner. Chef Godinez’s kitchen only uses the freshest of ingredients.

In addition to the lunch menu available daily, Anepalco serves brunch seven days from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.