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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Russ Bendel tempts us what’s on the menu.


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

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

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


Show 244, October 14, 2017: JC Clow, Founding Managing Partner, The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar

Andy Harris, Andrew Gruel and JC Clow of the Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar at the SoCal Restaurant Show 5th AnniversaryOver the past decade at The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar, Partners JC Clow, William Lewis and Chef Yvon Goetz have created quite a stir by successfully pairing contemporary California regional cuisine, with a hip, vibrant, sophisticated setting, to create a cutting-edge dining experience. They are also noted for their deep and carefully curated wine cellars. Located at The District in Tustin and on the Bay in Newport Beach, The Winery was named “Restaurant of the Year” by the Orange County Concierge Association in its first year in business.

The 3rd location of The Winery Restaurant will launch before year’s end in La Jolla in the lavishly renovated Westfield UTC. The restaurant menu will focus on contemporary California regional cuisine at its finest, with Executive Chef & Partner Yvon Goetz directing a team that delivers a culinary experience straight from the Wine Country.

At The Winery La Jolla, Chef Goetz’s menu will feature wild game and USDA Prime Steaks, as well as Pacific Rim flavorings, such as fresh line-caught Opah, Mong Chong, Ono & Mahi Mahi flown in daily from Hawaii.  Tying the expansive wine list into the menu, Chef Goetz will feature numerous wine-infused ingredients into many of his signature dishes.

“At The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar, we pride ourselves on really focusing on our guest experience. Our third location to open in La Jolla will have the same level of service, with highly skilled Chefs to orchestrate a warm and passionate menu created by our award-winning Chef Yvon Goetz, and a team of Certified Sommeliers to oversee an incredible wine program,” explained JC Clow, Founding Partner of The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar. “It’s exciting to join a group of retailers that are among the best in their respective fields. We anticipate endless possibilities, with something to suit every palate.”

Restaurateur and Managing Partner JC Clow is our guest.


Show 240, September 9, 2017: Chef Ivan Calderon, Taco Rosa’s “Battle of the Taquileros” Part Two

Ivan CalderonWith locations in Newport Beach and Irvine, California, Taco Rosa is the upscale, full-service sister restaurant to Taco Mesa. Chef Ivan Calderon’s award-winning menu utilizes sustainable ingredients and artisanal spices brought to life through authentic and contemporary cooking techniques.

Presenting the very best dishes and beverages from a variety of regions throughout Mexico, Taco Rosa takes their commitment to authenticity and sustainability one step further by using GMO-free masa for their corn products and tortillas. For more information, visit the Taco Rosa website.

Ivan Rogelio Calderon is the founder of Taco Mesa, Taco Rosa, and Taco Mesa Tortillería Orgánica & Café. As a third-generation restaurateur, Calderon began his career in the restaurant industry at El Torito Grill as a bus boy in Marina del Rey and as he worked his way through college began to move upward within the company, eventually earning himself a role in management. As a manager, he made it his mission to elevate El Torito’s operating standards. He helped lead the chain in opening several locations across the United States, eventually earning a position as regional manager.

In 1992, he opened the original Taco Mesa in Costa Mesa which garnered him recognition for bringing healthy and authentic, quick-service Mexican cuisine to Orange County. The Taco Mesa brand has expanded to include four locations in Costa Mesa, Mission Viejo, Orange (which he re-opened as his new tortilleria), and Foothill Ranch.

Calderon’s newest concept,Taco Mesa Tortillería Orgánica & Café, produces GMO-free corn masa for all his locations and will soon offer GMO-free tortillas to retailers and other restaurants.



Show 232, July 15, 2017: Froze at SOL Mexican Cocina, Colin Pflugradt, Director of Beverage

Colin PflugradtFroze is all the rage this Summer on better bar menus all over town. SOL Mexican Cocina (Newport Beach & Playa Vista) along with sister restaurants solita Tacos & Margaritas was one of the area pioneers of popularizing this now trendy libation. Their version uses a frozen Margarita as a base which is then infused with frozen sparkling rose and a dash of guava nectar.

For SOL it all started as a creation to support Pink Drink Month benefiting City of Hope last year. The Froze creation proved so popular that it found its way on to the permanent bar menu.

We’ll get the full (and colorful) story from SOL Mexican Cocina’s Director of Beverage, Colin Pflugradt.


Show 230, July 1, 2017: Proprietress Juliette Chung & Executive Chef Daniel Hyatt, Juliette Kitchen & Bar, Newport Beach

Juliette Chung and Chef Daniel HyattThe ownership and culinary team behind Newport Beach’s Juliette Kitchen + Bar present a philosophy based on the exploration of diverse flavors and the commitment to employing only the best ingredients. This all adds up to a continually evolving experience.

“Juliette Kitchen & Bar is where seasonal and local ingredients come together in vibrant, modern and balanced dishes. Always, rustic, warm and inviting, Juliette Owners Juliette Chung and John Hughes, along with Executive Chef Daniel Hyatt, welcome the community to indulge in good conversation and great food.”

Juliette Kitchen & Bar is now serving Weekend Brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Executive Daniel Hyatt’s menu draws inspiration from locally sourced ingredients, so guests can look forward to enjoying seasonal brunch dishes with a modern American twist. Lending her own touch to the menu, restaurant co-owner Juliette Chung has added her own house-made granola and fresh biscuits to the menu, which also features housemade juices and brunchtime cocktails, such as the Mimosa Lisa and Top of the Morning Irish Coffee.

Proprietor Juliette Chung and Executive Chef Daniel Hyatt are our guests.


Show 220, April 22, 2017: Matt Meddock, Co-Founder, Sessions West Coast Deli, Newport Beach & Huntington Beach

Matt MeddockSandwiches, made from fresh, premium ingredients, have come into their own as serious eats. In Spring 2014, when Sessions West Coast Deli opened its first location in Newport Beach, its owners had one mission: to serve the “best sandwiches to ever hit the lip.” As a neighborhood-casual concept designed to serve its immediate community, Sessions embraces the area’s surf culture as it presents a menu of gourmet, culinary-focused sandwiches in a relaxed environment.

In Summer 2015, Sessions opened its second Orange County location on the waterfront in Huntington Beach. The opening of this location reinforced Sessions’ dedication and commitment to its community by becoming a local hub for surfers, skaters and area beachgoers looking for great sandwiches.

“Unlike most sandwich shops in the region, Sessions proudly boasts a scratch kitchen with housemade sauces, sides, salads, and soups prepared daily. All sandwiches are made to order with fresh, locally grown produce; humanely and naturally raised meats; and locally baked bread delivered daily from local artisan, OC Baking Company. In addition, the restaurant proudly serves a selection of locally roasted coffee beverages from Kean Coffee.”

The two most popular sandwiches are the Summer Zephr and The Meddock Melee. A worthy burger is rumored to be on the way in addition to new locations.

Co-Founder Matt Meddock joins us to get between the bread slices and build a proper sandwich.


Show 200, December 3, 2016: Artisan Coffee Roaster, Martin Diedrich, Kean Coffee

Martin DiedrichWhen it comes to world-class, artisan coffee roasters in Orange County the veteran bean roaster in chief is Martin Diedrich. He grew up on a coffee farm in Guatemala! Martin now oversees busy neighborhood Kean Coffee coffee shops in Tustin and Newport Beach.

“Kéan Coffee™ is the newest, most exciting coffeehouse concept by coffeehouse visionary Martin Diedrich. Our mission is to purvey fresh-roasted artisan coffee the way it is meant to be, in a beautiful, eclectic coffeehouse environment. Martin is craft roasting the finest coffees from around the globe on-site, many organic and fair-trade. This enables us to serve our coffee so fresh, most days it has been roasted within hours of the moment it reaches your cup. Our expertly trained baristas are creating the most innovative, cutting edge coffee beverages to be had.”

“Martin, local coffeehouse pioneer and founder of the Diedrich Coffee chain, left behind the world of corporate culture to return to his origins as an independent coffeehouse operator in order to stay true to his ideals of what a coffeehouse should be and what coffee culture should be.”

“Along with his wife Karen Varese Diedrich, Martin spent two years putting all of his creativity, inspiration and community and global awareness into bringing Kéan Coffee to reality. Martin and Karen Diedrich aptly named this next generation of coffeehouse after their son, Kean.”

Martin joins us.


Show 177, June 25, 2016: Executive Chef Jonathan Blackford, A Restaurant, Newport Beach

Jon Blackford of A RestaurantIt’s just about time for the 29th Annual Hoag Summer Classic featuring great food and live musical performances at Newport Dunes in Newport Beach. More than 30 of Orange County’s most crave-worthy restaurants will be serving incredible tastes from their menus. Last year’s event raised a cool $135,000.

Joining us with all the edible details are Jonathan Blackford from A Restaurant (a four-year returning participating restaurant) and the Hoag Hospital Foundations Deb McCune.

Thanks in large part to philanthropy, Hoag has become one of the nation’s finest health care systems and serves a diverse and growing population. Hoag Hospital Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Hoag (a separate 501(c)(3) corporation), is an integral partner in Hoag’s vision to become a trusted and nationally recognized health care leader.

Under the direction of a volunteer Board of Directors, the Foundation launched Hoag Promise, Our Campaign to Lead, Innovate & Transform with a goal of $627 million by 2020. Comprehensive in the truest sense of the word, the Hoag Promise campaign encompasses every institute, center and specialty area of Hoag and includes programs, innovation opportunities, research, technology, facilities and staff to drive Hoag’s continued clinical leadership, innovative spirit and transformative potential.



Show 170, May 7, 2016: Oak Grill’s Executive Chef, Marc Johnson, Island Hotel, Newport Beach

Marc JohnsonExecutive Chef Marc Johnson at Oak Grill at The Island Hotel in Newport Beach just launched Slow Smoked Sundaze. It’s a relaxed, family-style, smoked BBQ Sunday. Chef Marc is here with all the succulent details.

Chef Marc isn’t just playing around with grilling and barbecue here. He has three years of serious regional cooking experience in Huntsville, Alabama. That’s real barbecue country! His creations at Slow Smoke Sundaze play homage to the various styles of American regional barbecue.

“All summer long you’ll find us smoking up Southern goodness at Oak Grill. Join us for Slow Smoked Sundaze and devour authentic BBQ smoked on property with a mixture of cherry and oak wood.”

“Choose from baby back ribs, brisket, cedar-plank salmon, fried chicken and whole roasted catch of the day. The mains are accompanied by deliciously authentic sides and down-home desserts.”

“Wash it down with our backyard lemonade, spiked with Tito’s Vodka if that’s your thing.”

Slow Smoked Sundaze is an inspired idea for Dad on Father’s Day on June 19th. It’s a reasonable $34 for adults with generous portions. You’ll probably have food to take home.