Show 229, June 24, 2017: Jeff & Christa Duggan, Portola Coffee Roasters

Jeff and Christa DugganIn conjunction with its 6-year anniversary, Portola Coffee Roasters has redesigned its flagship location inside The OC Mix at South Coast Collection in Costa Mesa. The new design, intended to improve the customer experience, takes advantage of the latest in brewing technologies to achieve a higher level of service, product quality, and consistency not possible before.

“The original idea behind the oval shaped bar was to create a visual theater for our customers curious about the brewing science we employ – it is both interesting and educational to be able to see firsthand how things are done at Portola,” explained Jeff Duggan, who, with his wife Christa, opened the flagship Portola Coffee Roasters location in Costa Mesa in 2011 to bring a 100% single-cup craft brew coffeehouse to Orange County.

“With the new design, this goal is better achieved. It will be much different than the ‘order here, pick up over there’ model. We will service customers in line so once they order, their drinks will be made while they watch, and they pay at the end when their drink has been served.”

Joining us with all the artfully brewed details are proprietors Jeff & Christa Duggan.


Show 229, June 24, 2017: Jeff & Christa Duggan, Portola Coffee Roasters Continues…

What began as the selfish pursuit for delicious coffee turned into a decade-long fanatic passion for home-roasting coffee for Jeff Duggan, who first opened Portola Handcrafted Coffee Roasters in Irvine in 2009. Using a very small batch roaster, Jeff worked feverishly to keep the pantries and hoppers full in many homes and food establishments throughout Orange County, but roasting meticulously sourced coffee beans and serving them ultra-fresh was not enough. He found that far too many great beans were destroyed at the hands of poor equipment, flawed technique, and coffee service dispensers.

With a focus on quality ingredients, brewing science and freshness – all still relatively uncommon in the industry – Jeff and his wife, Christa, created Portola Coffee Roasters in 2011. The goal was to create a quality-centric coffeehouse that re-focused on the most important ingredient – coffee.

Within a year of bringing a never-before-seen concept and style of coffee to Orange County, Portola Coffee Roasters began creating a distinct brand that revolves around producing an artisanal culinary product, Craft Coffee.

Jeff and Christa Duggan now own and operate six locations within Orange County. Their focus remains on empowering the community with quality, traceable, fresh-roasted and fresh-brewed coffee, presented in an artful context – one cup at a time.

Portola Coffee Roasters locations:


Show 229, June 24, 2017: The Street Gourmet’s Bill Esparza

Bill EsparzaThe Street Gourmet, Senor Bill Esparza, is back with us with his first cookbook. Richly photographed and authentically local, L.A. Mexicano showcases L.A.’s sophisticated and diverse Mexican-food culture, from Oaxacan tlayudas to Nayarit ceviches, Alta California gastronomy to Boyle Heights burritos.

It’s got it all: recipes, insightful and inspirational profiles of chefs, bakers, restaurateurs, and vendors, and neighborhood guides that point readers to the best markets, taco trucks, restaurants, bars, and more. Part cookbook, part food journalism, and part love song to Los Angeles, it’s a definitive resource for home cooks, Mexican food lovers, and hungry Angelenos and visitors.

With a foreword by Taco USA‘s Gustavo Arellano, L.A. Mexicano shines a long-overdue light on the people behind one of the world’s most complex and delicious cuisines, in one of the world’s most exciting food cities.

Bill Esparza is winner of a James Beard award (with Lesley Bargar Suter) for his coverage of the LA taco scene in Los Angeles Magazine. Considered one of the country’s leading experts on Mexican food, the LA native curates the annual Tacolandia festival in Los Angeles and writes about Mexican food for Los Angeles Magazine and other notable publications.

Catch Bill in-person at Friends & Family on Hollywood Blvd. (5150) in Thai Town on Saturday, July 8th from Noon to 3:00 p.m. He’ll be there meeting the guests & signing copies of L.A. Mexicano. There is a strong rumor that Bill’s Grandmother’s recipe for Huevos Rancheros will be on the menu as a special that day!


Show 229, June 24, 2017: Anne Marie Panoringan, OC Weekly’s “On the Line” Columnist

Anne Marie PanoringanWhat’s it like to experience a very special $310 per guest meal (and it’s a tough pre-paid reservation to even secure) at California’s celebrated The French Laundry in Yountville in the Napa Valley?  Chef’s daily nine-course tasting menu and nine-course vegetable tasting menu highlight French technique and the finest quality ingredients available.

There is also a magnificent new $10 million state-of-the-art kitchen where your repast is artfully prepared. If you ask politely you can also get a tour of it. Very few restaurant kitchens of its equal in the world. Impressive…

OC Weekly’s “On the Line” columnist, Anne Marie Panoringan was just there and provides the salivating commentary. It’s not her first meal at The French Laundry either…


Show 229, June 24, 2017: Restaurateur Russ Bendel, Ironwood, Laguna Hills

Russ BendelThree words — cellar, craft, cook — capture the essence of the year-old Russ Bendel-conceived restaurant Ironwood in Laguna Hills , which uped the ante on the south Orange County dining scene with worldwide wine selections, craft beers, creative cocktails and wine country cuisine made daily with the freshest and finest seasonal ingredients by Bendel’s partner, chef Jared Cook (Vine.)

Ironwood’s offerings showcase seasonal ingredients of the highest quality that are prepared daily from scratch. Guests have the choice of selecting from more than 25 global wine selections by the glass, from a cozy indoor bar and dining area or from an outdoor patio featuring spectacular views of Saddleback Mountain. Ironwood is open for dinner only.

Bendel, a longtime fixture on the Orange County dining scene who honed his craft at such fine establishments as Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in Newport Beach, assumed ownership of Vine Restaurant & Bar, a Napa Valley-influenced restaurant in San Clemente in 2013. Jared Cook also heads up culinary at the critically-acclaimed, popular eatery. Another Fleming’s veteran and certified sommelier, Kevin Franke, serves as operating partner.

The name of the restaurant was inspired by the evergreen desert tree, the Ironwood, known for its hardiness and used for handles of culinary tools. Two Ironwood trees grace the entrance to the restaurant.

Proprietor Russ Bendel is our guest.


Show 229, June 24, 2017: Executive Chef / Proprietor Steve Samson, Rossoblu, City Market South

Steve Samson of SottoChef Steve Samson is well-known to lovers of regional Italian cuisine in Southern California. He first came into local prominence as the Executive Chef at Piero Selvaggio’s classic Valentino in Santa Monica. From there he was the opening chef at Pizzeria Ortica in South Coast Plaza. Next was branching out with his own establishment, Sotto, located near Century City. The distinctive wood-burning pizza oven there was imported from Italy and assembled inside the restaurant by skilled Italian artisans.

His newest project with his wife, Dina, is the ambitious Rossoblu in the emerging City Market South development in the Fashion District of Downtown Los Angeles. The complex of buildings was the first wholesale produce market in Los Angeles. The menu is influenced by Chef Steve’s summers in Bologna and Emilia- Romagna while he was growing up.

We’ll pull Chef Steve away from his wood-fired grill in the open kitchen for a full briefing.


Show 229, June 24, 2017: Executive Chef / Proprietor Steve Samson, Rossoblu, City Market South Continues…

Steve Samson of Sotto and RossobluRossoblu celebrates Chef / Proprietor Steve Samson’s two home cities, Los Angeles and Bologna, Italy. The menu features house-made salumi, soulful pastas, market produce, and wood grilled fish and meats.

Located in downtown’s City Market South, the site of Los Angeles’s original produce market, Rossoblu’s vaulted dining room and open kitchen create a festive dining environment. The restaurant’s private outdoor piazza allows al fresco diners to feel far removed from the nearby city bustle. An intimate basement wine cellar can be reserved for private parties.



Show 228, June 17, 2017: Farmer Luke Girling, Cyclops Farms, Oceanside

Luke GirlingFarmer Luke Girling is an unusual organic urban farmer in Oceanside, CA. He has two acres of farm land tucked into a quiet residential neighborhood with an ocean view.

In addition to his popular Saturday Farm Stand he also supplies fruits, vegetables (by the season) and flowers to savvy young chefs at local restaurants.

An incredible experience at Cyclops Farms is Farmer Luke’s Sunday (once-a-month) Water Bill Dinners hosted on the farm. Young, enthusiastic guest chefs from the area collaborate in preparing a real multi-course farm dinner. Even the heartiest eaters leave fully satiated!

The meal’s backbone is what’s fresh from the farm. Area craft beer and wines paired with each course are curated by Native Wines. The premium bread is from Prager Brothers Artisan Bread in Carlsbad.

“Two Farmtables and a Microphone” is a special evening at Cyclops Farms coming up on July 23rd. It combines visionary ideas and unforgettable cuisine. The guest chef is Lan Thai, “aka Drunken Master Chef of Enclave.”

We’ll get Farmer Luke out of the strawberry patch for a chat.


Show 228, June 17, 2017: Matt Sobczak, Certified Sommelier, Presqu’ile, Santa Maria

Matt SobczakLocated in the heart of Santa Barbara County’s Santa Maria Valley, Presqu’ile (pronounced press-KEEL) is a small, family-run winery dedicated to crafting exceptional cool-climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Designed and planted to create a diverse tapestry of vineyard blocks, the sustainably certified, 73-acre Presqu’ile Vineyard features an array of clones, exposures and elevations. Made using this estate fruit and grapes from a handful of the finest vineyards in the valley, Presqu’ile’s wines capture the essence of their vineyards and vintages, and have earned acclaim for their elegance and balance. The striking, contemporary winery building and tasting room are a destination on their own.

Presqu’ile is a multigenerational collaboration between Madison and Suzanne Murphy, their three adult children, Matt, Anna and Jonathan, and their daughters-in-law, Amanda and Lindsey. No strangers to agriculture, four generations of the Murphy family have been farming land in Louisiana going back almost a century.

The Murphys are also a family of wine lovers, with a deep appreciation for the world’s great Pinot Noirs. This love of the land, combined with their shared reverence for great wine, and a deep desire to create something meaningful and enduring together, led the Murphys to pool their talents and establish Presqu’ile Winery.

Certified Sommelier Matt Sobczak, Presqu’ile’s Assistant Tasting Room Manager, joins us with the story.



Show 228, June 17, 2017: Cheese Monger Tracy Nelsen, SideDoor, Corona del Mar

Tracy NelsenSideDoor in Corona del Mar is known for its award-winning cheese and charcuterie offerings, and now dedicates one evening a month to boutique creameries and specialty cheeses. Monthly SideDoor will embrace a full “cheese takeover” showcasing a select portfolio of artisanal cheeses. On Wednesday, June 21 SideDoor welcomes Cypress Grove Creamery.

SideDoor’s own certified expert and cheese monger, Tracy Nelsen, will be on hand at each takeover to educate diners on the various cheeses presented and recommend the perfect pairings. The featured cheeses will also find their way into select SideDoor menu items for that evening only. A different creamery will be featured monthly culminating with the ultimate complete cheese takeover celebration showcasing the four creameries of the series in August.

SideDoor’s own resident certified expert and cheese monger, Tracy Nelsen, is our guest. She has just returned from a cheese & wine research trip to France.