Show 239, September 2, 2017: Show Preview with Co-Hosts Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel

Now a tantalizing preview of this Saturday’s Labor Day Weekend bubbling over 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…

Presented by Long Beach Chef AC BoralRICE & SHINE (an eight- course, family-style brunch experience) prides itself on being a completely unique brunch. You even leave with an edible care package. The next RICE & SHINE is set for Sunday, September 10th at 11:30 a.m. in a secret location in Downtown Long Beach. We’ll meet Chef AC.

When Chef & Restaurateur Michael McCarty opened the landmark Michael’s in Santa Monica back in 1979 I’m not sure he suspected that he would become one of the pioneers of what is known as California cuisine. A Michael’s in New York came on the scene about a decade later serving breakfast, lunch & dinner to the media elite. Just about a year ago Michael boldly rejuvenated Michael’s Santa Monica (working with son, Chas) by bringing-in a 28-year old rising-star chef with avant-garde ideas. Chef Michael McCarty is our guest.

Cleveland’s other popular celebrity chef, “Rocco Whalen, if nothing else, is wrapped up in the love of cooking: the idea and vitality of it, the doing of it, the invention and sustainability of it, the day-to-day enrichment of it, and, ultimately and significantly, the memory of learning all about it from his mother. All combine as convictions he affectionately shares with his regulars and first-timers who dine at his remarkable 15 year-old restaurant, Fahrenheit in historic Tremont, a stone’s throw from downtown Cleveland.” We’ll chat with the perpetually on-the-go Chef Rocco.

We’re delighted to welcome our Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, back to the show (in-studio) after his recent global travels. Chef Andrew will be discussing a benefit he’s hosting at Slapfish Huntington Beach for all of September in support of Bracken’s Kitchen. Also on the menu is a discussion of shrimp. When you’re buying shrimp as “fresh” is that really the case? Is there anything wrong with enjoying shrimp that has been properly frozen?

OCAPICA is celebrating 20 years at “Tastemakers of Orange County” on the evening of September 20th at SoCo and The OC MixTastemakers of Orange County 2.0” is a culinary event celebrating the Asian and Pacific Islander community, education, and heritage. The celebration includes food tastings, fun entertainment, and a silent auction. Their goal this year is 800 guests and 20 high profile Orange County chefs. Proceeds from this event benefit the non-profit organization, OCAPICA, and will support mental health, health, workforce, youth in education, and civic engagement opportunities for low income families. Executive Director and Founder Mary Anne Foo and participating Restaurateur Ed Lee of Wahoo’s Fish Taco join us with all the delectable details.

Special thanks to the OC Register’s Feature Reporter, Jackie Moe. This week she recognized the “SoCal Restaurant Show” on her list of the 25 top podcasts produced in Southern California that are “some of the most interesting, educational and entertaining recordings available.” We’re with some very impressive company and are deeply honored. We’re especially proud to be the only food, restaurant and libation show originating on local radio so recognized.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s show!

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Show 234, July 29, 2017: Executive Chef / Proprietor Amar Santana’s Vaca Friends of James Beard Benefit Dinner

Amar Santana at the Top Chef FinaleOn Thursday evening, August 10th Chef Amar Santana’s Vaca in Costa Mesa is hosting a sumptuous, 7-course wine-paired dinner with an abundance of passed hors d’oeuvre as a festive Friends of James Beard Foundation Benefit to celebrate South Coast Plaza’s 50th Anniversary.

Chef Amar is also well-known locally for Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach and as the runner-up from lucky Season 13 of Bravo’s “Top Chef” in what the judges noted was the tightest final competition of the series’ long history!

Santana and partner Ahmed Labbate, whose roots together at South Coast Plaza go back to 2008 when they opened Charlie Palmer, will welcome 100 discriminating guests with a love of food and wine to the Beard dinner. Santana is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America.

The festivities on August 10 will include a small silent auction during an al fresco reception. While enjoying the signature Vaca Tonic and hors d’oeuvres, guests may peruse deluxe offerings, which will include a LVMH Luxury Champagne experience for 16 guests; packages from South Coast Plaza, the Montage Laguna Beach and Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, unique dining experiences, luxury travel destinations, and high-end wines.

Seats are $350 and $300 for members of the James Beard Foundation, all inclusive. For reservations to the Friends of James Beard Dinner at Vaca, please register online her For more information, please contact VACA GM Ghali Benhima at 714.463.6060. A credit card will be requested to secure the reservation.

VACA Group Partner & Executive Chef Amar Santana (well-traveled) provides the tempting preview.

The Orange County Register’s long-time Food Business Staff Writer, Nancy Luna, had a great explanatory piece with Chef Amar on Vaca’s upcoming Friends of James Beard Benefit Dinner that ran in the print edition on July 27th.

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Show 233, July 22, 2017: Dominic Palmieri, The Midway Gourmet, OC Fair Continues…

Dominic Palmieri of Midway GourmetWe always look forward to sharing with you the new, creative taste sensations at The Orange County Fair on now through August 13th. Already creating excitement from The Midway Gourmet is Flamin’ Hot Cheetos on virtually everything edible including pizza and fresh corn.

Last year, 50% of Fairgoers surveyed said their favorite part of the Fair is the food. Fried, sugary or savory – and sometimes all three at once – the delectable edibles are some of the big stars of the OC Fair.

One of Chef Dominic’s returning star items is Fried A Fair’s deep-fried butter balls with maple syrup. Four to an order. The Orange County’s Register food staff writer, Nancy Luna, has already declared it one of her all-time Fair favorites.

New, and spectacular, on the RCS Midway at the OC Fair is the La Grande XL, the largest traveling observation wheel in the United States. Its cars (“cabins’) are even air conditioned. It’s carefully transported in 22 semi-trailers and 10 technicians using an 80-ton crane install it!

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Show 220, April 22, 2017: Chef Andrew Gruel, Opening Restaurants at Trade, Irvine, CA

Andrew Gruel at the AM830 KLAA StudiosEver wonder what it really takes to get an eagerly anticipated restaurant open?

For the last year we’ve been patiently following our own, Chef Andrew Gruel’s, progress in opening Two Birds (cluckin’ good chicken done two ways) and Butterleaf (vegetarian food for non-vegetarians) in the new Trade Food Hall in Irvine located near John Wayne Orange County Airport.

At long last they are about ready (subject to final permitting) to begin service. We’ll hear all about it.

Chef Andrew was also on the front page of the Orange County Registers “LifeStyle” Section on Thursday, April 20th talking about his openings at Trade. The feature, with photos, continues on Pages 3 and 6.

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Show 212, February 25, 2017: Zov Karamardian, Zov’s Bistro, Tustin

Zov Karamardian or Zov's in TustinThirty years ago Chef Zov Karamardian (now known for her unique Middle Eastern-fusion cuisine) opened her modest Bistro in 1,200 square feet in the Enderle Center in Tustin. Today Zov’s is the largest food tenant in the Enderle Center (12,000 square feet) with additional busy locations in Anaheim, Irvine, Newport Coast and John Wayne Orange County Airport. We celebrate with her…

Zov is celebrating by offering popular menu items at throwback prices. During the last week of each month (through November 4th.) Zov’s locations in Anaheim, Irvine, Newport Coast and Tustin will feature one dish at its original menu price.

“These flavors represent the foundation of my cooking,” Chef Zov said. “Over the years some of these dishes may have come and gone, but seemingly they have not been forgotten. We’re excited to share these special menu items in celebration with our longtime guests.”

Golden Lentil Soup from Zovs BistroFebruary 26th to March 4th is Golden Lentil Soup.

Happy to note The Orange County Register’s long-time Food Editor, Cathy Thomas, is back (after a year’s absence) contributing to the paper. This week’s feature is Orange County chefs talk about – and share recipes for – the dishes they just can’t ditch.” One of these highlighted recipes is Zov’s creation of Sauteed Calamari with shallots, lemon, fresh herbs and chardonnay butter sauce.

Inspired by (and later a friend to) Julia Child, Zov has authored 2 popular cookbooks while growing her restaurant group to locations in Anaheim, Irvine, Newport Coast, Tustin and John Wayne Airport. San Clemente will debut next.

Zov’s was awarded the 2015 Small Business Award by the State of California, and Zov had the honor of cooking at the James Beard Foundation in Manhattan for the third time in late 2015. She was honored as the 2016 Golden Foodies Chef of the Year by the Orange County Restaurant Association.

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Show 206, January 14, 2017: Executive Chef Amar Santana, Vaca and Broadway by Amar Santana

Amar SantanaAmar Santana is the Executive Chef/Proprietor of Vaca in Costa Mesa and Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach. Vaca was Orange County Register Restaurant Critic, Brad A. Johnson’s “Best New Restaurant of 2016. For Season 13 of Bravo’s Top Chef Amar was the runner-up by the thickness of an onion skin. Chef Amar is also a distinguished alum of the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP.)

Amar joins us to preview C-CAP’s Winter Harvest Benefit Dinner at James Republic in Long Beach on February 8th. The popular James Republic is one of the top destination restaurants in Long Beach. The evening is a spectacular, multi-course feast.

James Republic is co-owned by Executive Chef and Restaurateur Dean James Max (a multiple James Beard Award nominee) of DJM Restaurants. Chef Dean will be flying in from his base in southern Florida to present a course. James Republic’s executive chef, David MacLennan (opening exec chef) will also be preparing a course.

Chef Amar’s dish is under the veil of heavy secrecy but he does hint it will be a pork spectacular. The award-winning El Segundo Brewing Co. is brewing a special craft beer to pair with Chef Amar’s dish exclusively for the evening.

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Show 204, December 31, 2016: Marin & Executive Chef Noah von Blom, DirtySexyHappiness Hospitality Group, Costa Mesa

Marin Howarth and Executive Chef Noah BlomThe (greatly respected and always trendsetting) Union Square Hospitality Group (Union Square Café, the Modern, North End Grill…) in New York initiated a policy of “no tipping” earlier last year. The gratuity is included in the menu pricing. The concept is an effort to resolve the inequality in the compensation of the Front of the House Staff versus the hard-working kitchen staff who are not tipped.

The DirtytSexyHappiness Hospitality Group tried this in ARC and Restaurant Marin at SoCo in Costa Mesa. We’ll chat with proprietors Chef Noah and Marin von Blom to see how this innovation has worked out in their properties.

It’s been a great year for Restaurant Marin. Restaurant Critic Brad A. Johnson of the Orange County Register awarded Noah Blom and baker Christy Henry “Pastry Chefs of the Year” honors. Also the Marin Fries were one of Brad’s The Best Thing I Ate This Week” in 2016.

They are also about to open their 3rd concept at SoCo, The Guild Club. We’ll get a preview.

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Show 204, December 31, 2016: Food Journalist and Author, Cathy Thomas

Cathy ThomasWe know award-winning food journalist Cathy Thomas as the former long-time Food Editor of The Orange County Register and the author of 3 well-received cookbooks. She now has a new monthly, on-line feature in Orange Coast Magazine of a chef profile and accompanying cooking video recipe.

The feature with the video for December is “Making Scrumptious Salmon with Herb-Spiked Soffrito with Chef Michael Doctulero” (Waterman’s Harbor in Dana Point.) All the posted recipes are tested in a home kitchen.

A longer prose feature in December is Michael Campbell Makes Brunch Soar at The Loft at Montage.” Michael Campbell is the new Chef de Cuisine at The Loft at Montage.

She has also recently been a part of the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival in Orlando and journeyed to France on a barge cruise.

Look for her helpful e-Newsletter (typically ever two weeks), Cathy Thomas Cooks! It’s free to subscribe and there are, thankfully, no hidden sales pitches!

We’ll catch up with her.

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Show 163, March 12, 2016: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel, Founder, Slapfish Restaurant Group

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 special Guest Host.

Next an ear-catching peek at Saturday’s thoughtfully decadent show and not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re doing it right we will always leave you hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s actually a good thing…

COCHON555 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, over-the-top, annual pork-centric culinary competition as part of the L.A. stop of the extensive national tour. It’s five high-profile, local chefs cooking over 36 dishes prepared from whole, locally-raised heritage breed pigs.

Dry Creek Vineyard was the first winery established in the Dry Creek Valley area of California after Prohibition. It was founder David Stare’s vision to plant Sauvignon Blanc grapes that firmly cemented the winery’s legacy as one of California’s most important wineries. It’s still proudly Family-owned. Winemaker Tim Bell is our guest

On Sunday, March 13, 2016 (two seatings: 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.) lauded L.A. chef Josiah Citrin of the two-Michelin Star restaurant, Mélisse, presents a seasonally-inspired seven-course prix-fixe dining event ($195) honoring the world-renowned ment’or BKB Foundation. Each course will feature contemporary Parisian fare designed by six internationally recognized guest chefs, including Chef Shaun Hergatt (Juni), Chef Justin Cogley (Aubergine), Chef Trey Foshee (George’s at the Cove), Chef William Bradley (Addison), and Chef Justin Wangler (Kendall-Jackson) with the assistance of Chef Matthew Peters and Harrison Turone of the 2017 Bocuse d’Or Team USA. Chef Josiah and ment’or BKB’s Executive Director, Young Yun, join us with the eye-popping details.

It’s 2016, which means it’s time to put on the wooden barrel pants, held up by suspenders. Firkfest 2016 is being planned for March 19, 2016, in Anaheim at Farmers Park, which is in-between the Packing House and Umami Burger. From Event Producer Greg Nagel @OCBeerBlog: While standing in a 200 person line for a cask of Noble Ale Works Naughty Sauce at a beer festival this past summer, it dawned on me. Orange County needs a proper cask ale festival. Greg will tap the keg for us and provide a full pour on Firkfest 3.0 supporting the OCBrewersGuild.

If you’ve been to Hawaii then you probably have your favorite locals’ spot for authentic, fresh poke. Poke, done properly, is fresh, delicious and affordable. It’s become a popular alternative to sushi and a bit easier on the wallet. Sweetfin Poke debuted in Santa Monica last April. It’s in 1,000 square-feet and is already very, very busy. Founders Seth Cohen and Brett Nestadt join us with their unlikely fish tale.

Cathy Thomas is the award-winning, long-time Food Editor and food columnist for the Orange County Register. On Friday afternoon, March 18th you’ll have a chance to meet her from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at The Chefs’ Toys warehouse store in Fountain Valley located right off the 405 Freeway. Cathy will be selling & signing all her must-have Melissa’s resource and reference books. All are invited and this is a free event.

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

 

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March 12: Cochon 555, Dry Creek Vineyards, ment’or BKB, Firkfest 2016, Sweetfin Poke, Cathy Thomas

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel, Founder, Slapfish Restaurant Group
Segment Two: Brady Lowe, Founder, Cochon555 Tour
Segment Three: Winemaker Tim Bell, Dry Creek Vineyard, Healdsburg Part One
Segment Four: Winemaker Tim Bell, Dry Creek Vineyard, Healdsburg Part Two
Segment Five: Chef Josiah Citrin, Melisse, and Young Yun, Executive Director, ment’or BKB Foundation
Segment Six: Greg Nagel, Producer, FirkFest, OC Cask Beer Festival
Segment Seven: Sweetfin Poke, Santa Monica
Segment Eight: Cathy Thomas, Award-Winning Food Journalist & Author

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 special Guest Host.

Next an ear-catching peek at Saturday’s thoughtfully decadent show and not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re doing it right we will always leave you hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s actually a good thing…

COCHON555 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, over-the-top, annual pork-centric culinary competition as part of the L.A. stop of the extensive national tour. It’s five high-profile, local chefs cooking over 36 dishes prepared from whole, locally-raised heritage breed pigs.

Dry Creek Vineyard was the first winery established in the Dry Creek Valley area of California after Prohibition. It was founder David Stare’s vision to plant Sauvignon Blanc grapes that firmly cemented the winery’s legacy as one of California’s most important wineries. It’s still proudly Family-owned. Winemaker Tim Bell is our guest.

On Sunday, March 13, 2016 (two seatings: 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.) lauded L.A. chef Josiah Citrin of the two-Michelin Star restaurant, Mélisse, presents a seasonally-inspired seven-course prix-fixe dining event ($195) honoring the world-renowned ment’or BKB Foundation. Each course will feature contemporary Parisian fare designed by six internationally recognized guest chefs, including Chef Shaun Hergatt (Juni), Chef Justin Cogley (Aubergine), Chef Trey Foshee (George’s at the Cove), Chef William Bradley (Addison), and Chef Justin Wangler (Kendall-Jackson) with the assistance of Chef Matthew Peters and Harrison Turone of the 2017 Bocus d’Or Team USA. Chef Josiah and ment’or BKB’s Executive Director, Young Yun, join us with the eye-popping details.

It’s 2016, which means it’s time to put on the wooden barrel pants, held up by suspenders. Firkfest 2016 is being planned for March 19, 2016, in Anaheim at Farmers Park, which is in-between the Packinghouse and Umami Burger. From Event Producer Greg Nagel @OCBeerBlog: While standing in a 200 person line for a cask of Noble Ale Works Naughty Sauce at a beer festival this past summer, it dawned on me. Orange County needs a proper cask ale festival. Greg will tap the keg for us and provide a full pour on Firkfest 3.0 supporting the OCBrewersGuild.

If you’ve been to Hawaii then you probably have your favorite locals’ spot for authentic, fresh poke. Poke, done properly, is fresh, delicious and affordable. It’s become a popular alternative to sushi and a bit easier on the wallet. Sweetfin Poke debuted in Santa Monica last April. It’s in 1,000 square-feet and is already very, very busy. Founders Seth Cohen and Brett Nestadt join us with their unlikely fish tale.

Cathy Thomas is the award-winning, long-time Food Editor and food columnist for the Orange County Register. On Friday afternoon, March 18th you’ll have a chance to meet her from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at The Chefs’ Toys warehouse store in Fountain Valley located right off the 405 Freeway. Cathy will be selling & signing all her must-have Melissa’s resource and reference books. All are invited and this is a free event.

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

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.

Tim Bell of Dry Creek Vineyard“The history of Dry Creek Vineyard is a long and colorful one. Founded in 1972 by David S. Stare, Dry Creek Vineyard paved the way for a renaissance of winemaking and viticulture in the Dry Creek Valley. Before his arrival, the Dry Creek Valley was little more than a few family farms and prune orchards. It was Dave’s vision to start a Loire Valley inspired winery, which triggered a viticultural reawakening in northern Sonoma County.

Without a doubt, David Stare is a pioneer. Heading west in the late 1960s, he personified the character and work ethic of early Gold Rush pioneers. Inspired by his trips to the Loire Valley, he headed west to California to start his own family winery.

Upon his arrival, Dave began taking winemaking classes at UC Davis as a graduate student. On the weekends, he spent time looking at vineyard land from Monterey to Mendocino. It was during one of those weekend trips that fate drew Dave to the Dry Creek Valley. When he saw an old prune orchard across the street from the Dry Creek General Store, Dave realized that he had found his dream location.

He purchased the orchard and began planting vines. Captivated by his memories of Loire-style wines, Sauvignon Blanc seemed destined to figure prominently in the Dry Creek Vineyard portfolio. However, several famed vineyard specialists advised him against planting Sauvignon Blanc. Always looking to push the envelope, Dave planted the varietal anyway and the rest is history.

Today, our second-generation family owned winery continues to evolve and grow to meet the demands of a global wine marketplace. The primary mission of our winery is to produce distinctive wines that overdeliver on quality. For more than 40 years, this pursuit of winemaking excellence has led to many international awards and accolades. With a loyal following of wine club members and customers, the future of Dry Creek Vineyard has never been brighter.”

Winemaker Tim Bell is our guest.

Dry Creek Vineyard was the first winery established in the Dry Creek Valley area of California after Prohibition. It was founder David Stare’s vision to plant Sauvignon Blanc grapes that firmly cemented the winery’s legacy as one of California’s most important wineries. It’s still proudly Family-owned.

“Our wines show that Sonoma County and Dry Creek Valley can compete with any wine growing region in the world. Since 1972, our winemaking style has been to produce classic varietals that define their varietal category. From our signature offerings to our single vineyard and limited release wines, each bottling personifies our family’s passion to produce elegant, balanced and food-friendly wines. The wine from Dry Creek Vineyard reflects our desire for excellence.”

“Our Signature wines represent our passion for producing balanced wines that are true to the terroir in which they are grown. Each of our signature wines offers wonderful intensity of fruit, supple texture and a rich mouthfeel which make them easy to enjoy and extremely food friendly. At Dry Creek Vineyard we product a wide array of wines, many under $20, making them affordable for almost any special occasion or celebration.”

Young YunOn Sunday, March 13, 2016 (two seatings: 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.) lauded L.A. chef Josiah Citrin of the two-Michelin Star restaurant, Mélisse, presents a seasonally-inspired seven-course prix-fixe dining event ($195) honoring the world-renowned ment’or BKB Foundation. Each course will feature contemporary Parisian fare designed by six internationally recognized guest chefs, including Chef Shaun Hergatt (Juni), Chef Justin Cogley (Aubergine), Chef Trey Foshee (George’s at the Cove), Chef William Bradley (Addison), and Chef Justin Wangler (Kendall-Jackson) with the assistance of Chef Matthew Peters and Harrison Turone of the 2017 Bocuse d’Or Team USA.

Reservations can be made via OpenTable or by calling 310.395.0881.

Chef Josiah and ment’or BKB’s Executive Director, Young Yun, join us with the eye-popping details.

Greg NagelIt’s 2016, which means it’s time to put on the wooden barrel pants, held up by suspenders. Firkfest 2016 is being planned for March 19, 2016, in Anaheim at Farmers Park, which is in-between the Packing House and Umami Burger.

From Event Producer Greg Nagel @OCBeerBlog:

“While standing in a 200 person line for a cask of Noble Ale Works Naughty Sauce at a beer festival this past summer, it dawned on me. Orange County needs a proper cask ale festival.”

“Expect fifty-ish casks from true craft beer makers. Brewers love the fest, the press loves the fest, and I’ve heard nothing but praise from guests. So buy your tickets early and tell a friend!”

“Why a cask ale festival? A cask is simply a vessel filled with liquid meant to be served within a day or so once tapped. Brewers fill the cask with beer for conditioning and then can treat it like a blank canvas; adding fresh hops, blending beers, adding tea/coffee or other creative ingredients.  It’s a one-time shot to try something new and fun.”

Greg will tap one of the 50 plus casks for us and provide a full pour on all the thirst-quenching ingredients of Firkfest 3.0 supporting the OCBrewersGuild.

Sweetfin PokeIf you’ve been to Hawaii then you probably have your favorite locals’ spot for authentic, fresh poke. It’s an Islands’ specialty. Poke, done properly, is fresh, delicious and affordable.

It’s become a popular alternative to sushi and a bit easier on the wallet. Sweetfin Poke debuted in Santa Monica last April. It’s in a modest 1,000 square-feet and already is very, very busy.

How it works:

Choose a Signature Bowl or Build Your Own Bowl (BYOB) with our selection of fresh ingredients

BUILD YOUR OWN BOWL (BYOB)

At Sweetfin Poké the choice is yours to make our signature bowls your own. Choose from a selection of bases, fish and vegetarian toppings and a wide variety of add-ons for an endless combination of tastes and flavor profiles. Whether you’re Pescatarian, Paleo or prefer your bowls vegan or gluten free there’s a combination that will be just right for your palate.

1. Base It

Our three bases cover all the bases for the foundation of your bowl. Our green BAMBOO RICE is a short-grain rice that has been milled with bamboo juice – not only is it as flavorful and textural as sushi rice – but it is loaded with essential B vitamins. Our KELP NOODLE – CUCUMBER SLAW is extremely low-carb, gluten free and delicious while our CITRUS – KALE salad combines the nutrient superpower of Kale with an orange vinaigrette for a dash of Vitamin C.

2. Top It

We started with Yellowfin TUNA, also known as Ahi, and continued on with SALMON, SNAPPER and ALBACORE. Our fish is sourced from all over the world – and will vary with seasonality. Our fish is caught responsibly and sustainably to ensure maximum quality with a minimum environmental impact.

3. Finish It

Choose from a selection of our chef created sauces: the CLASSIC for a traditional finish, CREAMY TOGARASHI for a little bit of sweet heat, YUZU KOSHO for a citrus spice, ponzu lime for something a little sweet and SRIRACHA PONZU for our twist on your favorite sauce.

Our wide variety of ADD-ONS can add a crunch, a bite, or even some sweetness to your signature bowl. Fresh produce – like avocado, seaweed and jalapeño – is complemented by wasabi-toasted coconut flakes, carrots and pickled shiitake mushrooms. They’re so addicting we wouldn’t blame you for wanting a whole bowl.

Founders Seth Cohen and Brett Nestadt join us with their unlikely fish tale.

Cathy ThomasCathy Thomas is the award-winning, long-time Food Editor and food columnist for the Orange County Register. She also publishes a genuinely useful weekly newsletter on food, Cathy Thomas Cooks! On Friday afternoon, March 18th you’ll have a chance to meet her from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at The Chefs’ Toys warehouse store in Fountain Valley located right off the 405 Freeway. All are invited and this is a free event.

Cathy will be selling & signing all her must-have Melissa’s resource and reference books. Great gifts for that special foodie in your life. At 3 and 4:00 p.m. Cathy will be making “Produce Love” presentations along with demonstrating a few of her favorite Chefs’ Toys kitchen gadgets.

Chef Bill Bracken of Bracken’s Kitchen will also be in the house along with the Melissa’s chefs cooking up nibbles from the recipes in the books.

RSVP for Friday’s event at Chefs’ Toys here –>

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel, Founder, Slapfish Restaurant Group
Segment Two: Brady Lowe, Founder, Cochon555 Tour
Segment Three: Winemaker Tim Bell, Dry Creek Vineyard, Healdsburg Part One
Segment Four: Winemaker Tim Bell, Dry Creek Vineyard, Healdsburg Part Two
Segment Five: Chef Josiah Citrin, Melisse, and Young Yun, Executive Director, ment’or BKB Foundation
Segment Six: Greg Nagel, Producer, FirkFest, OC Cask Beer Festival
Segment Seven: Sweetfin Poke, Santa Monica
Segment Eight: Cathy Thomas, Award-Winning Food Journalist & Author