Show 215, March 18, 2017: Rick Reich, Proprietor, W.I.N.O, Brix at The Shore, Long Beach

Rick ReichWhen it comes to personable characters with their own sense of style on the Long Beach dining scene, Rick Reich of Brix at The Shore in Belmont Shore wears the befitting crown. It’s a taste of the Big Apple with its iconic, piled-high pastrami sandwiches, intimate wine bar ambiance and a standout rotating selection of craft beer. It’s all of 65-seats.

Brix at The Shore offers something the area is lacking: a place that caters to Generation X and Baby Boomers where these forty to sixtysomethings can make their own hangout with music from their era, everything from ‘80s alternative to Sinatra; a rotating wine list with an impressive and thoughtful selection of vintages; a collection of taps that pour craft beer; and an intimate environment that provokes casual conversation among its guests.

“I call Brix at The Shore an adult amusement park,” says owner Rick Reich, who also doubles as the restaurant’s sommelier. “Belmont Shore has plenty of places that appeal to college kids, but what the area was lacking was a hangout for a more established crowd who needed a place to unwind after work, enjoy a good glass of wine or beer, grab a bite to eat, and occasionally break out into song – trust me, it’s happens. We’ve had the entire restaurant singing to Dean Martin on a Saturday night. And that’s what makes Brix so appealing.”

The menu features an array of shareable plates, flatbread sandwiches, salads, deli sandwiches, artisan pizza, burgers and entrees.

We pull W.I.N.O Rick out of the kitchen (and from behind the well-stocked bar) to tell us all about it.

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Show 215, March 18, 2017: Kim Heim, Main Street Oceanside, Sunset Market

Kim HeimThe expansive Thursday evening Sunset Market in Downtown Oceanside is the weekly gathering spot for up to 8,000 locals. Eighty-eight top quality food stands featuring appealing ethnic cuisine from around the globe are one of the primary attractions. (There is little duplication of menu items between food stands.)

Think of an intriguing mix of everything from Chicago Polish pierogis to wild caught salmon that is eye-catchingly fire-roasted in front of you on oak planks. Then, for dessert, there are the incredible Atsuko’s Japanese Cakes, an unusual taste experience with exotic natural flavors.

Southern California has attracted people from all over the world and is renowned for its diversity which is reflected in the distinctive international food offerings of the Sunset Market.

Kim Heim from Main Street Oceanside is our informed tour guide.

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Show 215, March 18, 2017: Executive Chef Craig Strong, Studio, Montage Laguna Beach

Craig StrongKnown for presenting extraordinary seasonal tasting menus, Executive Chef Craig Strong has introduced a new Vegetarian Tasting Menu at Studio at Montage Laguna Beach. The new tasting menu, now offered at the Laguna Beach free-standing, ocean-view restaurant, highlights the restaurant’s 1,000-square-foot raised bed garden with dishes that play on classic French specialties made deliciously vegetarian. We pull Chef Strong out of his amazing kitchen for a brief chat.

“This new tasting menu highlights vegetables at the center of the plate with twists on classics, like Pot‘ato’-au-Feu, a take on the traditional Pot-au-Feu beef stew, and Crimson Beet Tartare, my take on a traditional steak tartare, with a golden beet ‘yolk’ in place of the expected raw egg yolk,” explains Chef Strong, who is known for his modern French cuisine with California influences. “I believe that we ‘eat’ with our eyes and noses long before we taste anything, and this menu allows my guests to do just that with nature’s bounty.”

“This is a great menu for vegetarians and non-vegetarians, alike,” commented Chef Strong, whose family garden of zucchini and tomatoes first inspired him to experiment in the kitchen as a child. “Diners who are looking to explore the best seasonal and local produce will find adventure in this menu.”

Studio has been recognized with Five Stars from Forbes Travel Guide, Three Stars from Los Angeles Times, Robb Report as one of “America’s Finest Dining Restaurants,” and Food & Wine Magazine’s “Top 50 Hotel Restaurants.” Studio has also earned the “Best of Award of Excellence” from Wine Spectator and is rated one of Zagat’s “America’s Top Restaurants.”

Studio serves dinner nightly from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Dark on Monday evening.

Congrats to Chef Strong. This June marks his 8th Anniversary at the helm of Studio!

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Show 215, March 18, 2017: Celebrity Chef Vikram Vij, Vij’s, Vancouver, B.C.

VIkram VijWhen it comes to star chefs and high-profile Food TV personalities in Canada the top of the class is surely Vancouver’s Chef Vikram Vij. He has introduced the joy of Indian flavors to tens of thousands of fortunate Canadians since he debuted the original (no-reservations) 14-seat Vij’s in 1994. The incredibly popular restaurant has since relocated and expanded to 85-seats plus a bar / lounge area.

The no reservations system is designed to be fair to all. Everyone is a VIP and if you get there at the evening opening the line to be seated moves quickly. Once seated the servers offer chai and complimentary appetizers as a welcome to set the stage for the evening’s pleasures. Nice touch…

In December 1994 Vikram married Meeru, who then joined him at the restaurant. “Our cuisine has stood out from others in that we do not serve what is typically expected from an India restaurant. We prefer to stay away from the tandoor oven since it’s already being used in so many other restaurants. Our philosophy behind the food has always been to keep our spices and cooking techniques Indian – from all regions of India – while using meats, seafood and produce that are locally available. To this effect, we change our menu seasonally.”

Last December 10th in Las Vegas Chef Vikram was one of the high-profile celebrity chefs (along with Thomas Keller, Ming Tsai and Curtis Stone) presenting a standout course at The Venetian’s & Palazzo’s annual Ultimo: A Weekend of Excellence. (The “SoCal Restaurant Show” was there observing in the kitchen.) Chef Vij’s dish for Ultimo’s Grand Banquet (a super luxe extravagance) was Marinated Lamb Popsicles with Fenugreek Cream Curry. (The complex sauce slowly simmered for five hours.) The recipe was published in the December 5th issue of Parade Magazine Daily.

We’ll meet the incredible Chef Vikram

 

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Show 215, March 18, 2017: Celebrity Chef Vikram Vij, Vij’s, Vancouver, B.C. Continues

VIkram VijWhen it comes to star chefs and high-profile Food TV personalities in Canada the top of the class is surely Vancouver’s Chef Vikram Vij. He has introduced the joy of Indian flavors to tens of thousands of fortunate Canadians since he debuted the original (no-reservations) 14-seat Vij’s in 1994. The incredibly popular restaurant has since relocated and expanded to 85-seats plus a bar / lounge area.

Vikram was born in 1964 in India and grew up in Amritsar and Bombay. His most vivid childhood memories revolve around food and family. He pursued this further by studying Hotel Management in Salzburg, Austria. After his studies, Vikram continued working at various fine dining restaurants in Austria and, in 1989, moved to Canada to work at the Banff Springs Hotel.

Meeru was born in India but moved to Washington, D.C. at a very young age with her parents. Prior to marrying Vikram and moving to Canada, she worked with various organizations in human rights and international development projects.

“Along with the kitchen staff’s dedication and our love of experimenting, Vij’s blossomed quickly and won its first award from Vancouver Magazine for Best Asian restaurant in March 1995. In September 1996, we moved to a larger location and Meeru took over the kitchen and the recipes for the most part. Vikram focused his efforts on the overall running of the restaurant, the presentation of the food and the wine list. In October 2001, Vikram became a certified Sommelier.”

Vikram’s biography, Vij’s: A Chef’s One-Way Ticket to Canada with Indian Spices in His Suitcase publishes on March 21st.

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Show 215, March 18, 2017: “The Meatheads” (Terry and Jay) From West Coast Prime Meats

Premium Lamb from West Coast Prime MeatsPassover and Easter are on the immediate horizon. For serious home cooks that means a family table of ham and/or lamb for Easter, and lamb for Passover. Our resident meats experts (The heralded Meatheads from West Coast Prime Meats, Terry & Jay) have some practical advice and cooking tips for us.

What’s all the fuss about lamb from Colorado and New Zealand? We’ll find out. The Meatheads give us the 411 on American lamb, Colorado lamb, and lamb from New Zealand from two different points-of-view. Do note there are grades of lamb.

Lamb Crown Roast is a great variation for Easter or Passover and don’t forget the Country Ham option for the Easter table. Grilled marinated Leg of Lamb is a good option, too.

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Show 215, March 18, 2017: Farm Lot 59 Benefit at Roe Seafood, Long Beach

Arthur GonzalezBelmont Shore, Long Beach restaurant Roe Seafood (Owner / Chef Art Gonzalez) will host an “Electric Fundraiser” to benefit Farm Lot 59 on Wednesday, March 22nd from 4 – 7p.m. The food and cocktail-centric event is open to the public and proceeds will fund Farm Lot 59’s efforts to bring much needed electricity to the property.

“With recent vandalism and safety and security concerns, our need for electricity is greater than ever,” Farm Lot 59 founder and farmer Sasha Kanno said. “We’re excited to partner with Roe to help raise the funds needed to install power to the property so the farm can continue its mission to service the community and provide our youth with an ‘edible education’.”

100% of proceeds from Farm Lot 59 signature cocktails and appetizers will go to the farm, as well as 10% of the proceeds from Roe Seafood’s regular menu that evening. Guests are encouraged to call the restaurant in advance at (562) 546-7110 to reserve a table for dinner service.

Sasha KannoFounded by Sasha Kanno in 2010, Farm Lot 59/Long Beach Local is an agriculture-based official 501(c)(3) non-profit, organic and biodynamic farm that promotes the direct connection between farmer and consumer and serves as an educational resource for children through its Living Classroom program.

Farm Lot 59 grows vegetables, fruit and flowers without pesticides, herbicides or chemicals. Farm Lot 59 also creates local green jobs and grows healthy fresh food on a historically significant site, with an overall goal to make a difference in the local and global community by combining resources with the city, local partners, and friends.

Farmer Sasha and Chef Art Gonzalez are our guests,

 

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Show 214, March 11, 2017: Anne Marie Panoringan, Food & Libation Journalist

Anne Marie PanoringanOur irregular ace field correspondent, Anne Marie Panoringan, (a regular contributor to OC Weekly) has previewed the 50th Anniversary Dining Specials (March only) at South Coast Plaza in a marathon eating tour. We’ll hear about all the delicious morsels being showcased.

Anne Marie managed six courses in one evening’s ample dining excursion. Course Four was an intriguing Lima Bean Soup from zCafe. It’s a tribute to the farmland that was the past of the land South Coast Plaza now occupies. The “farm” was planted in lima beans. They still grow a few lima beans on Segerstrom property, and the Lima Beans used in the anniversary soup are actually sourced from this property!

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Show 214, March 11, 2017: Robert Schueller, Prince of Produce, Melissa’s World Variety Produce Part One

Robert Schueller of Melissa's World Variety Produce in the AM830 KLAA StudioOur resident Produce Guru, Robert Schueller of Melissa’s, joins us with his first, of two, segments today. He’s now telling us about the recently concluded International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) annual conference in Louisville and then providing an overview of the 2017 Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival which is on now through April 16th in Anaheim.

Robert and Melissa’s Executive Chef Ida Rodriguez will be conducting two Cooking Lessons as part of Disney’s California Adventure’s Food & Wine Festival. On Friday afternoon, March 24th at 2:00 p.m., Robert & Chef Ida are cooking up “Amazing Potatoes with Melissa’s Produce.” Then on Saturday, March 25th at 4:00 p.m. they are encoring the “Amazing Potatoes with Melissa’s” presentation.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel is also performing three Culinary Demonstrations at the Food & Wine Festival. The first, representing Slapfish is Friday, March 17th @ 2:00 p.m. Next Chef Andrew is hosting a Butterleaf (Trade in Irvine) demo at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, March 31st. Lastly, it’s a demo spotlighting Two Birds (Trade in Irvine) at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday April 15th.

Our good friend Chef Jet Tila (Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen with Alton Brown) conducts an entertaining Celebrity Chef Cooking Demo on Saturday, April 15th from 6 to 7:00 p.m. in the Festival Showplace, Stage 17 in Hollywood Land (with an added $99 per person admission fee.)

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Show 214, March 11, 2017: Evan Rapport, Founder & COO, Evans Brewing Co., Irvine

Evans BrewingEvans Brewing Co. was formed in 2014 when it absorbed the assets of Bayhawk Ales, Inc., Orange County’s oldest operating microbrewery established in 1994 and then became publicly traded.

The production brewery (with new, enhanced equipment) is still based in an unusual space adjacent to McCormick & Schmick’s in Irvine where Bayhawk Ales was originally founded. The brewing process can be observed through floor-to-ceiling windows from the adjacent Pilsner Room at McCormick & Schmicks’s

The new Director of Brewing, Kevin Hammons, has tweaked all the beer recipes. Year-round styles are Chocolatte (Chocolate Porter), The Krhopen (India Pale Ale), Pollen Nation (Honey Blonde), and Oaklore (Brown Ale).

Last December Evans Brewing Co’ launched The Public House in Fullerton, a full-service restaurant and Tasting Room. A 2nd The Public House is slated for 2017 in Huntington Beach.

The menu of elevated from-scratch pub fare was developed by executive chef, Amanda Platt and features dishes that pair well with the company’s craft ales & lagers. Brunch is served on Weekends from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Selections include the signature Sweet Corn Skillet Hoe Cake, with peppers and onions, applewood smoked bacon and honey butter; Fennel Sausage Flatbread with shaved onions, marinara, shredded mozzarella and grated aged parmesan Reggiano; Fried Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich with arugula, manchego, charred cherry tomatoes and buttermilk ranch on a pretzel bun; and Wild Caught Salmon with a creole sauce. Even the vegetarian option is a thoughtful Grilled Portobello Banh Mi Sandwich served with pickled carrots and daikon, cucumbers, jalapenos, fresh herbs and sriracha aioli.

The COO and Founder of Evans Brewing Co., Evan Rapport, joins us with a cold one.

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