Show 324, May 18, 2019: Chef Andrew Gruel, Co-Host and Founder of Slapfish Restaurant Group

Andy Harris and Andrew Gruel at Cabana 14 at the Cove at Pechanga Resort and CasinoOur Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, the Founder of The Slapfish Restaurant Group, rejoins us from the road where he is in the process of opening 3 new Slapfish restaurants. We’re resuming Ask the Chef.”

Chef Andrew discusses what it’s like to take an established & successful American restaurant concept overseas. Does everything typically translate well?

How does the Slapfish concept adapt to local regions across the USA? Do tastes in seafood differ on the East Coast and in Utah and New Mexico? Is it important to adapt to the local area when branching a successful concept?


Show 324, May 18, 2019: John Nguyen, Garden Grove’s Pho 79, 2019 Recipient of James Beard Foundation’s America’s Classics Award

John Nguyen of Pho79The James Beard America’s Classics Award is given to locally owned restaurants that have timeless appeal and are cherished for quality food reflecting the character of their community. The five 2019 honorees join the ranks of over 100 restaurants from across the country that have received the award since the category was introduced in 1998.

The Tran Family’s Pho 79 is a 2019 Honoree as an America’s Classics. This honor represents the first James Beard Foundation Award ever presented to an Orange County Restaurant or Chef!

“Orange County, California, claims one of the most vibrant Vietnamese-American communities in the country. Pho 79 was founded by Thọ Trần and Liễu Trần who opened in 1982, when it was among the area’s very first restaurants of its kind, introducing Americans to bowls of slippery rice noodles in beefy broth, topped with eye of round steak, brisket, tripe, meatballs, or the restaurant’s justifiably legendary oxtails. With chef Lieu Trần in the kitchen, Pho 79 helped pave the way for southern California’s Little Saigon to become the dynamic hub of Vietnamese cuisine it is today. The next generation of the Trần family continues to operate the restaurant, as well as others in the area including Pho 101. The family’s story is as much about intrepid entrepreneurship and excellent cooking as it is about a community that rose from war and displacement to forever change American cuisine.”

The Tran Family’s other Pho restaurant is Pho 101 in Westminster.

Do keep in mind it’s cash only.

We’ll meet Tran Family member, John Nguyen.


Show 324, May 18, 2019: Farmhouse at Roger’s Garden’s Anthony Laborin, Head of Cocktail R & D

Anthony Laborin of Farmhouse at Rogers GardenOne of the special attractions at Farmhouse at Roger’s Garden in Corona del Mar is the Farmhouse Bar under the direction of Anthony Laborin, head of Cocktail R & D. He shops weekly for seasonal ingredients at the Wednesday morning Farmers Market in Santa Monica with Owner/Executive Chef Rich Mead.

He has 13 new cocktails on the Spring Menu. Among Anthony’s latest creations is Scandalous Scandinavian Panamanian Daiquiri with lime, Swedish Punsch and Panama Pacific Rum.

Also just introduced is Laborin’s Counterfeit Cocktail menu with a tempting selection of four non-alcoholic specialty beverages. Think The Green with cucumber water, pineapple, citrus, wild honey and seedlip.

“The kitchen table is where problems are solved. This is something that Anthony Laborin, head of Cocktail R&D at Farmhouse learned at an early age as he helped his mother and aunts in the kitchen. Since those early days, Anthony has loved the social aspect of the culinary experience. Inherently friendly and genuinely interested in people, he values the interaction with guests that tending bar gives him. Special moments come from listening to guests, learning what kind of drinks and flavor profiles they enjoy and then using that information to introduce them to a specially made, handcrafted cocktail that they never would have thought to order. “When I can convince a guest to try something new and they like it, it brightens my day,” shares Laborin.”


Show 324, May 18, 2019: Winemaker Bibiana Gonzalez Rave of Cattleya Winery with a Preview of a Latin Roots Collaboration Dinner with Ricardo Zarate

Winemaker Bibiana Gonzalez RaveAs part of the Los Angeles Times Food Bowl embrace Latin cuisine with Latin Roots: Food & Wine With Passion showcasing a four-course meal created by chef Ricardo Zarate and featuring wine pairings by Bibiana González Rave of Cattleya Winery. (This is the evening of May 26th at Los Balcones in Studio City.)

The theme of the meal is Latin Roots, and each course will be a blend of Peruvian and Colombian cuisine, with the spirit of Los Balcones Studio City’s “mestizo style” of cooking (a blend of Spanish and other European influences). All four courses will celebrate the flavors of Colombia, Peru, Europe and California.

Bibiana joins us to share her incredible journey and preview Latin Roots: Food & Wine with Passion.” In 2015 she was named “Winemaker of the Year” by the San Francisco Chronicle.


Show 324, May 18, 2019: Orange Coast Magazine’s Dining Critic Gretchen Kurz on 2019’s Best New Restaurants Issue

Orange Coast Best RestaurantsThe April issue of Orange Coast Magazine is Orange County’s Best New Restaurants of 2019. Restaurant of the Year is Chef Zachary Geerson’s Journeyman’s Food & Drink in Fullerton.

‘Eat, write, repeat’ summarizes the notable career of Gretchen Kurz, who is Contributing Editor at Orange Coast Magazine and its Dining Critic since 2004. She was also the Zagat Local Editor for Orange County for 13 years. A native of southern California, she first fell under the spell of restaurant writing as a journalism student and freelancer for San Jose Magazine. Her very first writing gig: sewing names on mouse ear hats at Disneyland.

Orange Coast’s long-time Restaurant Critic and Contributing Editor, Gretchen Kurz, is our appropriately opinionated guide.


Show 324, May 18, 2019: Innkeeper Richard Slosky, La Maison Palm Springs Hotel

Richard SchusterLa Maison Palm Springs Hotel is an award-winning boutique hotel property in Palm Springs. They are a member of the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels. This boutique hotel is a Mediterranean-inspired property, complete with clay tile roofs, terracotta floors, and a walled garden, offering a tranquil place for guests to unwind. The unique ambiance combines the relaxing colors and warmth of Provence with the vibrant energy of Palm Springs.

“Indulge in lavender scones and handcrafted lattes each morning. Spend the day lounging by the pool in our charming inner courtyard. At night, enjoy the most peaceful sleep on your feather bed dressed in imported luxury linens.”

“Here at La Maison Palm Springs Hotel, we know that every detail is important. All 13 guest rooms surround the pool and lush gardens. Each room is individually decorated and includes either a queen or king feather bed with luxury linens, seasonal down comforters and a small guest fridge. Our bathrooms have marble or granite accents, L’Occitane bath amenities, plush bathrobes and rain showerheads. The pièce de résistance? A complimentary lavender sachet on your pillow at night.”

Our gracious host is Proprietor Richard Slosky (who operates the property with his wife, Cornelia Schuster.)


Show 324, May 18, 2019: Chef Andrew Gruel, Co-Host and Founder of Slapfish Restaurant Group – “Ask the Chef”

Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group at the AM830 KLAA StudiosOur own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group joins us with another informative “Ask the Chef” segment. With the Summer grilling season on the horizon it’s great to have a real working chef in our corner always providing handy and practical advice!

Raw oysters have been in the news of late. Chef Andrew serves up what we need to know about continuing to enjoy them free of worry. Don’t hesitate to ask your server where the oysters were sourced from. They should know…


Show 323, May 11, 2019: Al Mancini, Staff Writer, Las Vegas Review-Journal

Al Mancini of the Las Vegas Review JournalOne of our most reliable sources of primo restaurant news in Las Vegas is Al Mancini, who is a staff writer for The Las Vegas Review-Journal covering food, restaurants and other aspects of entertainment. Al has been working the Vegas food scene since 2003. He was one of the creators of the popular, and widely referenced, Eating Las Vegas restaurant guide series. Al joins us for his observations on Vegas Uncork’d, Vegas Unstripped and worthy dining happenings about the town.

“Al Mancini is a graduate of Seton Hall University and Brooklyn Law School, who began his career in journalism as a music reporter for ABC News Radio in 1996. He moved to Las Vegas to cover Southern Nevada for the network in 2001, and has covered the local dining scene for numerous publications since 2003. Al joined the Review-Journal in 2016.”


Show 323, May 11, 2019: Wyndee Forrest, Co-Founder, CraftHaus Brewery, Henderson

Wyndee Forrest of CraftHaus BreweryThe CraftHaus Brewery team is not only passionate about craft beer, but also sharing it with their Las Vegas community. They were established in Henderson is 2014.

“Co-owners and married couple, Wyndee and Dave Forrest, conjured up the big idea for CraftHaus Brewery while traveling through Europe. They noticed that they were immersed in a craft beer culture where people take their time to enjoy quality beer just as much as they enjoy talking to the people around them.” Now, they have brought that effervescent culture back home and continue to build their Las Vegas community one refreshing pint at a time.

Along the way Wyndee and Dave were successful in changing city licensing to a more modern, craft friendly license. Dave’s craft beer roots started with a passion for homebrewing and bringing people together around a beer or two. Wyndee’s background is in working as a publicist on the famed Las Vegas Strip. They are both University of Nevada, Las Vegas graduates.

CraftHaus Brewery is part of Saturday night’s “A Smokin’ Good Time with Susan Feniger” at Border Grill Mandalay Bay as an event for Vegas Uncork’d. Among the thirst-quenching styles served will be one created just for the festivities, Blood Orange Pale Ale.

In other CraftHaus Brewery news they will soon be opening a 2nd tasting roomlocated right across the street from Chef James Trees’ Esther’s Kitchen in the Arts District of Downtown Las Vegas.

Wyndee taps the keg for us.


Show 323, May 11, 2019: Chef Lorena Garcia, Chica at The Venetian Resort, Las Vegas

Chef Lorena Garcia of Chica Las VegasChica Las Vegas at The Venetian, now celebrating its 2nd Anniversary, delivers the robust and vibrant flavors of Latin cuisine combined with a dynamic wine and mixology program. Crafted by celebrity Latina chef (and Chica Partner) Lorena Garcia, the diverse menu draws inspiration from classic renditions and provides guests the opportunity to explore the flavors of Latin American cuisine as one culture, with influences from Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina, among many more.

Latin-inspired cocktails are a must at Chica to complement the vibrant cuisine, highlights include handcrafted margaritas, sangrias and Spanish-style gin & tonics, as well as brunch favorites like spicy, savory Bloody Marys or Marias, sweet Mimosas infused with fresh fruit purees and an array of options from the Juice Bar for those looking for a healthful kick.

Chica is open daily for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Weekend Brunch.

Chef Lorena pops out of the busy Chica kitchen to chat.