Show 255, January 6, 2018: Executive Chef Duane Owen, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula

Duane Owen of Pechanga Casino and ResortJust before year’s end Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula opened their doors to guests for the first phase of their ambitious $285 million expansion, including 568 new rooms & suites. In the new atrium is The Lobby Bar restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also launched on Thursday nights is the all-you-can enjoy Lobster & Seafood Extravaganza at The Pechanga Buffet.

The Lobby Bar restaurant located in the atrium is an inviting, open California bistro and bar serving breakfast, lunch and dinner bringing forth fresh, locally harvested ingredients to create seasonally changing specialties.

Chef Jose Mendoza (who returns to Pechanga from a tour in Las Vegas) melds unexpected flavors and Temecula-area components in a menu that pleases and excites. With many vegetarian dishes available, and cocktails hand crafted using local fruits and herbs, the Lobby Bar stands out among Pechanga’s 13 dining options.

The 2nd new restaurant to open as part of the current expansion is the Pool Bar & Grille at The Cove. Looking for a March launch.

We entice Pechanga’s Executive Chef Duane Owen out of his busy kitchens for the details.

Play

Show 255, January 6, 2018: Executive Chef Duane Owen, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula Continues…

Duane Owen of Pechanga Casino and ResortLaunching on Thursday nights is the all-you-can enjoy Lobster & Seafood Extravaganza.

Pechanga Buffet guests can now satiate their fill of all you can enjoy, one-and-one-quarter pound whole Maine lobster done in an East Coast lobster bake style with roasted potatoes and corn on the cob. From 4PM to close at 10PM on Thursdays, diners receive a piping hot lobster bake bag containing the just-cooked lobster (flown in from Maine the night before) and fixings. The adult price is $44.99 per guest.

Chef Duane forecasts cooking & putting out 300 to 400 lobsters every 45 minutes on Thursday evenings starting at 4:00 p.m. He vows to never run out.

Guests can also fill their plates with enhanced buffet seafood selections from the upgraded sushi station, a whole-salmon carving station, fresh and baked oyster station, snow crab, fish tacos, ceviche, calamari, Dungeness crab, clam chowder, steamed shrimp and much more.

The Pechanga Buffet offers the hungry a wide-ranging and mouthwatering menu featuring over 250 fresh items and interactive action stations for custom-ordered pastas, sushi, seafood, BBQ and grilled meats, pizza and flatbreads, as well Asian food, Mexican and Latin specialties, and Italian and Mediterranean options.

Pechanga sources the lobsters from ecologically responsible purveyors in Maine. Their products are fully inspected and certified. Fisheries they work with use sustainable methods and practices. The lobsters coming to Pechanga are caught one day, refrigerated, packaged, and shipped live across the country where they land at LAX overnight. They are immediately put onto a delivery truck and brought to Pechanga in Temecula. Pechanga’s buffet chefs cook small batches at a time and remaining lobsters are put into tanks.

 

Play

Show 255, January 6, 2018: Ahmed Labatte, Partner, Vaca Restaurant Group

Ahmed LabatteChef Amar Santana and his business partner, Ahmed Labatte (Broadway by Amar Santana and Vaca in Costa Mesa) had an incredible 2017. Among other notable achievements they hosted one of the premier events celebrating the 50th Anniversary of South Coast Plaza at Vaca. It was a lavish, multi-course dinner matched with outstanding wines to benefit The James Beard Foundation.

For late 2018 their ambitious new project will be The Hall Global Eatery in South Coast Plaza. Early advance info is that it will be a Global Marketplace with multiple food counters and an exhibition kitchen.

There will be a grab-and-go market area with freshly prepared salads and sandwiches. Everything else will be prepared to order. Expect Mediterranean kebabs and Shawarma.  The location is the expansive former Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill space.

Ahmed joins us with a tantalizing sneak preview.

Play

Show 255, January 6, 2018: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish Restaurant Group

Andrew and William GruelOur always dynamic Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, is back in-studio from his adventures in Park City, Utah where he has just debuted the third Slapfish in Utah. Chef Andrew will share (and explain) some important hospitality business trends he sees for 2018.

Where is fine-dining headed? Where is the labor pool of tomorrow coming from? Is the restaurant business over-seated?

This is Part 3 of his spirited conversation continued from the previous two weeks.

Play

Show 254, December 30, 2017: Raicilla Expert & Festival Producer, Edgar Cisneros, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

Edgar CisnerosIn the holiday spirit we’re journeying back to sunny Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. The area is the home of the potent, distilled Racilla from the green agave plant, a distant cousin of the better-known Tequila. Raicilla is the local spirit of Puerto Vallarta and is prepared nearby in the towns of San Sebastian del Oeste and El Tuito.

It’s a slow process as the nine varieties of local Agave that Raicilla can be made from take some nine to twelve years to mature. Then the distilled Raicilla needs more time to age in oak barrels.

Tequila and Raicilla tastings can be done at most restaurants and haciendas around Puerto Vallarta.

Raicilla types :

  • Blanco: when it hasn’t been kept in oak barrels
  • Joven (Young): less than one year in oak barrels.
  • Reposado: Between 1 and 2 years in oak barrels
  • Añejo: More than 2 years in oak barrels.

Raicilla expert Edgar Cisneros is our well-informed guide. He organizes regular Raicilla tasting in greater Puerto Vallarta as well as the upcoming DamaJuana Raicilla Festival in Puerto Vallarta on March 16th & 17th.

For info on Edgar’s upcoming Raicilla Tastings Google “Alma de Agave, Puerto Vallarta.”

Play

Show 254, December 30, 2017: Executive Chef Ross Pangilinan, Mix Mix Kitchen Bar, Santa Ana

Ross PangilinanYear anniversaries in the turbulent, fine-dining restaurant business are occasions to be celebrated. A salute to owner/Chef Ross Pangilinan (ex-Leatherby’s Café Rouge in the Segerstrom Center for The Arts in Costa Mesa) who just observed the 1st Anniversary of downtown Santa Ana’s Mix Mix Kitchen Bar.

When it comes to owning a restaurant, there’s no such thing as smooth sailing. That being said, it seems as though we’ve had something to celebrate since the day we first opened our doors,” comments Chef Ross Pangilinan who received a nomination for Chef of the Year at the 2017 Golden Foodie Awards. “I am honored by the support of the Orange County community, grateful for the dedication of my team, and could not be more excited to see what new celebrations Year 2 will bring.”

An Orange County native, Ross Pangilinan discovered his passion for cuisine at a young age. Adventurous dining experiences he shared with his father and cooking shows like Frugal Gourmet, have influenced his global palate and helped define his career as a chef.

After high school, Pangilinan enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena. Excelling in his courses, he went on to work at various Southern California restaurants and in France for the two-Michelin-starred Les Trois Marche.

At the age of 21, Patina Restaurant Group recognized Pangilinan’s skills and offered him his first sous chef position at Pinot Provence in 2005. After two years, he returned to France to work in the Michelin-starred Regis restaurant where he strengthened his culinary technique and back of the house operations.

His sous chef position at the flagship Patina at the Walt Disney Concert Hall helped earn the restaurant its Michelin star in 2007. A year after various successes, including opening the modern Italian restaurant Sinatra within Encore at the Wynn in Las Vegas, Pangilinan returned to Patina Restaurant Group in 2009 as Executive Chef at Leatherby’s Café Rouge, where he led the culinary team for 7 years.

Now he proudly presents, Mix Mix, his global dining concept exemplifying the techniques and traditions formed throughout his culinary journey.

It’s Dinner nightly and Sunday Brunch (think Shrimp Lumpia & other delights) from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Closed on Monday.

Chef Ross pops out of his open kitchen for a welcome chat.

Play

Show 254, December 30, 2017: Melissa’s Robert Schueller (a.k.a “The Prince of Produce”)

Melissa's Robert Schueller at the SoCal Restaurant Show 5th AnniversaryFruits and vegetables are delightfully moving to the center of the plate in more and more restaurants. Chef are intrigued with the possibilities. What produce items were hot in 2017? What’s now trending for 2018? Our resident Prince of Produce, the esteemed Robert Schueller of Melissa’s World Variety Produce, joins us with all the delicious and farm-fresh intel.

Kiwano Melon is one of the Top 10 specialty produce items for 2017 based on sales. Once grown only in New Zealand, Melissa’s Kiwano Melons are now grown in California as well. Consumers are drawn to these intriguing, yet versatile tropical fruits whose look easily captures attention. The spiky, orange colored shells of Kiwano Melons encase a soft, succulent bright green flesh. Melissa’s Kiwano Melons are mild in flavor and similar in taste to juicy, seed-filled cucumbers. Once peeled, Melissa’s Kiwano Melons can be tossed in fresh fruit salads or served as a garnish with roasted meats.

There is a new, exciting variety of Dragon Fruit coming into the marketplace from Ecuador. It’s pleasantly sweet and yellow-skinned.

 

Play

Show 254, December 30, 2017: Melissa’s Robert Schueller (a.k.a “The Prince of Produce”) Continued…

Robert Schueller of Melissa's World Variety Produce in the AM830 KLAA StudioFruits and vegetables are delightfully moving to the center of the plate in more and more restaurants. Chef are intrigued with the possibilities.What’s now trending for 2018? Did you know Jackfruit is one of the most visible fruits on the internet?

Melissa’s Jackfruit is the world’s largest tree fruit, averaging between 15 and 33 pounds per fruit. This large fruit grows directly out of the trunk or branches. The exterior of the Jackfruit is covered with spiny, knobby bumps and is green in color.

Jackfruit can also be enjoyed unripe, cooked in various recipes. The flesh of the Jackfruit can be used in desserts, as well. The many seeds in the Jackfruit are sensational when roasted, similar to a chestnut in flavor.

Don’t overlook the Cherimoya. This heart-shaped sub-tropical fruit from Melissa’s will leave you pleasantly surprised with its tasteful blend of pineapple, pear, lemon, mango and strawberry flavors. On the outside, the Cherimoya has a pale green, shingled skin that must be handled with care to avoid bruising. Inside, the ivory-colored flesh of the Cherimoya is creamy (similar to a ripe peach) and contains several black inedible seeds.

Originally grown by Inca farmers in Ecuador and Peru, the Cherimoya is now savored world-wide. Pollination is done by hand to ensure an abundant crop.

Our resident Prince of Produce, the esteemed Robert Schueller of Melissa’s World Variety Produce, now continues with all the delicious and farm-fresh intel.

Play

Show 254, December 30, 2017: Chef Noah & Marin von Blöm, ARC Pizza House, South Coast Collection

Marin Howarth and Executive Chef Noah BlomHusband-and-wife team, Chef Noah and Marín von Blöm, have introduced ARC PIZZA HOUSE, featuring a menu of unique wood-fired pizzas, at Costa Mesa’s South Coast Collection (3321 Hyland Avenue, Suite G).

This new concept is an extension of acclaimed restaurant, ARC, and is located in the space formerly occupied by Restaurant Marin, which will be relocating to a new home on the Newport Beach Peninsula in early 2018, when the von Blöms’ DirtySexyHappiness Hospitality Group will debut a new culinary concept including a bakery and butcher shop.

Chef Noah Blöm brings his signature style to create 8 unique pizzas. Offerings range from The House Pizza Pie with housemade sausage, pepper and mushroom, and The Cheeeeseee Pizza with queso fresco, mozzarella, parmesan and goat cheeses, to the more adventurous Roasted Duck Pizza with romesco, olives and goat cheese, and the Shortrib Pizza with bleu cheese, fresno chiles, basil and parmesan.

The menu, offered from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, also features three salad offerings with a Chopped Salad with roasted chicken, Chef’s Salad with smoked salmon, and refreshing Strawberry Salad. Diners also have access to ARC’s lunch and dinner dishes.

Chef Noah and Marin are our guests.

Play

Show 254, December 30, 2017: Kyle Meyer, Wine Exchange, Santa Ana

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeWhat’s new or on the horizon of significance in the world of wine for the New Year? What impact will the tragic fires in the Northern California wine regions of Napa and Sonoma have on the California Wine Industry?

Oddly the USA has a much lower per capita consumption of wine than the European Countries. Where is that trend going? Where is pricing moving on domestic wines as well as imports?

What are the emerging countries to watch where the quality wines now represent a great value for the money?

Our resident wine authority, Kyle Meyer of Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange, joins us with the needed insight.

Play