Show 238, August 26, 2017: Restaurateur & Chef Alan Greeley, The Golden Truffle

Alan GreeleyChef Alan Greeley of The Golden Truffle in Costa Mesa is an Orange County original. The destination restaurant is in a bit of an odd location for an establishment with its fine-dining reputation. He’s cooked for 4 US Presidents. Alan’s distinctive wine cellar was simply stocked with selections that he personally liked. After 37 years Chef Alan has closed The Golden Truffle. He’s off to Florida for the next chapter.

We’ll share some memories with Chef Alan and chat about the state of the restaurant business. Along the way he’s graciously mentored many young chefs who now have successful Orange County restaurants of their own.

What does it take to cook a high-ticket, breakfast fundraiser in Corona del Mar for a sitting US President? Chef Alan will share that story with us.

For menu highlights think Alan’s Caribbean Topless Tamale with Chile Verde.

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Show 223, May 13, 2017: Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio, Valentino Santa Monica

Piero Salvaggio of Valentino Santa MonicaValentino, the renowned Santa Monica restaurant by noted Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio that has defined Italian fine dining since its opening in 1972, is hosting a Wine Spectacular Series in May with four dinners (2 remaining on May 19th and 26th) curated by Selvaggio and James Beard Foundation award-winning chef Luciano Pellegrini, who recently returned as the restaurant’s Executive Consulting Chef.

The dinners, in partnership with the LA Times Food Bowl, celebrated citywide for the month, feature choice and rare selections from Valentino’s legendary wine cellar. Valentino presents the finest and most elegant in wine pairing dinners, showcasing Sicily on May 19 and culminating with the Cal-Italian Spectacular on May 26, 2017.

Selvaggio will speak to guests about his personal memories, deep connections to the territory, and of his many discoveries and experiences during 40 years of visits to his homeland. Each menu will be seven courses of authentic regional specialties prepared with a contemporary take on traditional recipes.

Reservations are required and can be made by calling Valentino at 310.849.4313 or email Giuseppe Mollica at giuseppe@valentinosantamonica.com.

Piero also graciously suggests that you can e-mail him directly @ welovewines@aol.com for reservations or more information.

Complete menus can be viewed here –>

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Show 223, May 13, 2017: Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio, Valentino Santa Monica continues…

Piero Salvaggio of Valentino Santa MonicaValentino, the renowned Santa Monica restaurant by noted Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio that has defined Italian fine dining since its opening in 1972, is hosting a Wine Spectacular Series in May with four dinners (2 remaining on May 19th and 26th) curated by Selvaggio and James Beard Foundation award-winning chef Luciano Pellegrini, who recently returned as the restaurant’s Executive Consulting Chef.

The upcoming wine dinner for Sicily is priced at $99 per guest, $55 for wine pairings. The Cal-Italian finale can be reserved with a ten-guest minimum and is priced at $499 per guest, all-inclusive of menus, wines, taxes and gratuity.

Reservations are required and can be made by calling Valentino at 310.849.4313 or email Giuseppe Mollica at giuseppe@valentinosantamonica.com.

Piero also graciously suggests that you can e-mail him directly @ welovewines@aol.com for reservations or more information.

Complete menus can be viewed here –>

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Show 125, June 6, 2015: Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish

Andrew GruelOne of the hottest topics in the hospitality business right now is the impact of Social Media and online reviews on restaurants. Social media, both positive and negative, can actually have a greater influence on guest counts than a conventional print review. Social Media can also have a longer shelf life (and more impact) than a print restaurant review.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish is an authority on the impact of Social Media on restaurants and how to best orchestrate this. That’s actually one of the key reasons he was cast as the co-host of his new FYI series, Say It To My Face.” Chef Andrew will discuss Social Media, how it affects restaurants and the obligations the restaurant-goer has in this new realm.

He reads, and responds, to every on-line review of Slapfish. Chef Andrew also personally answers other Social Media postings as appropriate.

He advises fellow restaurateurs to especially keep a cool head in responding to Social Media. It’s not personal…

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Show 110, February 14, 2015: OC Restaurant Week 2015

OC Restaurant WeekIt’s the 7th banner year for OC Restaurant Week coming up on March 1st (Sunday) through March 7th (Saturday.) The popular annual promotion provides a wide variety of dining options at over 100 restaurants ranging from casual and family friendly establishments to upscale and fine dining. The values at every price level are especially diner-friendly. During the weeklong event, participating restaurants will offer special three-course menus, many with a cocktail or signature item at no additional cost. Food lovers simply dine out at as many participating restaurants as they like.

Veteran restaurateur Don Myers, the co-owner of Brunos Italian Kitchen and ChaCha’s Latin Kitchen (both in Downtown Brea,) is participating in OC Restaurant Week. Brunos is offering a $30 dinner menu while ChaCha’s presents a $15 lunch menu and a $20 dinner menu. Myers is here to provide all the delicious details.

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Show 98, November 22, 2014: Chef Eric Greenspan Continues…

Eric GreenspanChef Eric’s new series, “Eric Greenspan is Hungry” debuts on the National Geographic Channel on Monday, November 24th.

“Famed Los Angeles Chef and Restaurateur Eric Greenspan believes there’s no better place to experience food than at the source. So, he’s hitting the road with his best friend and trusted sidekick, Captain Mauzner, to hunt for the best dishes America has to offer. From the field to the fire, they’re hunting, cooking and learning about authentic American food served up by the people who know it best.”

Thanksgiving is on Chef Eric Greenspan’s mind, too. He’s teamed up with Tillamook (think cheese) for a special promotion to honor the season of gratitude. Tillamook has also added premium ice cream to their product line.

“If you’re like us (Tillamook) you give thanks for cheese on a daily basis, so for the season of gratitude we thought it only fitting to take our appreciation up a notch. We’ve partnered with Grilled Cheese Guru and Master of Melt, Chef Eric Greenspan, to bring you Grilled Cheesegiving, featuring special Tillamook Thanksgiving menu items available at Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese in Los Angeles.”

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Show 89, September 20, 2014: Terri Henry, Terri Henry Marketing LLC

Terri HenryIf you’ve ever eaten at Norm’s, Chipotle, or Public School 612 then you’ve probably been influenced by the marketing strategies of Terri Henry. Before going out on her own (Terri Henry Marketing LLC) Ms. Henry was the long-time Vice President of Marketing for Grill Concepts, Inc. whose iconic brands include The Grill on The Alley, Daily Grill and Public School 310.

Her clients range from national restaurant brands to local restaurateurs and packaged premium food firms.

She is the co-founder and co-producer of both Eat LBC Long Beach Restaurant Week and Sip LBC Long Beach Wine, Beer & Spirits Week.

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Show 80, July 19, 2014: Tomas Estes, Mexico’s Tequila Ambassador to Europe

Tomas EstesThe Museum of the American Cocktail is hosting one of their special “Touring the Cocktail” evenings at Guelaguetza Restaurante on July 23rd. It’s a tequila appreciation evening with Oaxacan food tastes. Tomas Estes, Mexico’s official Tequila Ambassador to Europe has the details for us. He is also the author of The Tequila Ambassador.

Tomas Estes, London resident, native Angeleno, acclaimed restaurateur, and Mexico’s “Official Tequila Ambassador to Europe,” issues participants a passport to the world of tequila and takes them on a behind-the-scenes tour of agave spirits. Josh Goldman, Co-Founder of Soigné Group, a portfolio of 12 Los Angeles-area craft cocktail bars and restaurants, executes a drink menu that demonstrates tequila’s range and versatility.

A sampling of savory specialties from the authentic Oaxacan kitchen of Koreatown’s Restaurante Guelaguetza are included in the price of admission. Come taste why Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold says “Guelaguetza is the best Oaxacan restaurant in the country.”

Tickets are $45 in advance, $40 for MOTAC/SoFAB and USBG Members, and $50 at the door.

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July 19: Bestia, ADYA, Allan Karl, Spencer’s on the Mountain, Tomas Estes

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris preview the show
Segment Two: Chefs Ori Menashe and Chef Genevieve Gergis of Bestia, Los Angeles Part One
Segment Three: Chefs Ori Menashe and Chef Genevieve Gergis of Bestia, Los Angeles Part Two
Segment Four: Chef Shachi Mehra, ADYA – Fresh Indian Flavors, Anaheim
Segment Five: Allan Karl – Author of Forks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine and Connection Part One
Segment Six: Allan Karl – Author of Forks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine and Connection Part Two
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Eric Wadlund, Spencer’s Restaurant at The Mountain, Palm Springs
Segment Eight: Tomas Estes, Mexico’s Tequila Ambassador to Europe

Jet Tila and Producer Andy preview the show.

Bestia, which launched in late 2012 in a secluded location in the former warehouse district of Downtown Los Angeles (now known as the Arts District,) has been a high-profile foodie destination since the beginning. Meet the husband and wife team of Executive Chef Ori Menashe and Pastry Chef Genevieve Gergis and you’ll understand why.

Chef Shachi Mehra is well-known to Orange County diners as the opening chef for the fine-dining Tamarind of London in Newport Coast. Now Chef Shachi has branched out on her own and launched the more accessible ADYA in the Anaheim Packing House. It’s a reflection of modern India cuisine revolving around fresh, sustainable ingredients, simply prepared, in a casual setting.

Why would anyone sell nearly everything he owns, then pack up and travel for three years – alone – on a motorcycle? Meet world traveler and adventurer, Allan Karl, the author of Forks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine And Connection. The standout book documents his 62,000 mile journey through 35 countries on 5 continents as well as provides authentic local recipes.

Spencer’s Restaurant at The Mountain is consistently one of the most popular and favorably reviewed restaurants in the greater Palm Springs area. Since 2008 the secret has been the culinary talents of Executive Chef Eric Wadlund in the kitchen.

The Museum of the American Cocktail is hosting one of their special “Touring the Cocktail” evenings at Guelaguetza Restaurante on July 23rd. It’s a tequila appreciation evening with Oaxacan food tastes. Tomas Estes, Mexico’s official Tequila Ambassador to Europe has the details.

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

Executive Chef Ori Menashe and Pastry Chef Genevieve Gergis of BestiaBestia, which launched in late 2012 in a secluded location in the former warehouse district of Downtown Los Angeles (now known as the Arts District,) has been a high-profile foodie destination since the very beginning. Meet the husband and wife team of Executive Chef Ori Menashe and Pastry Chef Genevieve Gergis and you’ll better understand why.

Restaurant impresario Bill Chait is a partner.

The food is multi-regional Italian.

“The overall industrial feel of Bestia, couplled with the passion, hard work and talent of Chef Ori and Chef Genevieve make Bestia an honest Mom and Pop restaurant (with character) built to last.”

Charcuterie and Cured Meats at Bestia“Chef Ori maintains an aggressive house-cured meats program with over 60 different forms of charcuterie for Bestia. Bestia means “Beast” in Italian. He is also responsible for raising his own yeast culture which he uses to bake Bestia’s sourdough Pain au Levain, used as toast ubiquitously on the menu, as well as for the pizza dough, which rises and falls over a 24-hour cycle prior to being composed as a Napolitana pizza. It’s then baked in the Acunto (wood burning) oven at 900 degrees.”

‘On the dolci side of the menu, Chef Genevieve is preparing a plethora of desserts from scratch using the finest raw ingredients such as acquarello rice for her al dente rice pudding served with perfectly ripened in-season fruit or her earthy, nutty, chestnut flour zeppole served with house-made coffee gelato and cream. In addition Chef Genevieve was partially responsible for the design of Bestia. She re-furbished oil drum spouts converting them into lighting fixtures.”

Shachi MehraChef Shachi Mehra is well-known to Orange County diners as the opening chef for the fine-dining Tamarind of London in Newport Coast. Now Chef Shachi has branched out on her own and launched the more accessible ADYA in the Anaheim Packing House. It’s a reflection of modern India cuisine revolving around fresh, sustainable ingredients, simply prepared, in a casual setting.

Earlier in her career Chef Shachi was mentored by pioneering Indian Chef Floyd Cardoz in Manhattan. She worked at both Tabla and Bread Bar eventually rising to the position of Head Cook at Bread Bar.

“With ADYA, I present an Indian experience that will allow those who are both familiar and less experienced with Indian cuisine to embark on a delicious, unique culinary journey that emphasizes fresh ingredients and pronounced flavors,” commented Chef Shachi, who blends Western and Indian cultures to create artful dishes that successfully marry tradition with modernity. “The casual setting of ADYA makes it inviting and accommodating to a wide range of guests who seek out the rich experiences that Indian cuisine has to offer.”

Allan KarlWhy would anyone of sound mind sell nearly everything he owns (including a premium wine collection with cult California labels,) then pack up and travel for three years – alone – on a motorcycle? Meet world traveler and adventurer, Allan Karl, the author of Forks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine And Connection. The standout book documents his incredible 62,000 mile journey through 35 countries on 5 continents over three years as well as provides authentic local recipes.

Getting the beautiful coffee table book published was an additional three-year odyssey of its own that became a Kickstarter case study..

From Allan: “Through the pages of this book, I share not only incredible adventures, I share the powerful gift of human connection – often made over good food and drink. Readers can experience the world as I did by traveling through each country, meeting the people and their unique cultures, and tasting their food.”

“As I traveled it occurred to me how important is the ritual of sharing food and how much we learn when we take the time to connect and share a meal with strangers or good friends alike.”

Forks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine And Connections by Allan KarlForks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine And Connections is an oversized, coffee-table art-book with more than 700 photos, stories of adventure and survival and global local food.”

For two years Allan struggled to find a publisher willing to take on this unusual and ambitious book project. They couldn’t pigeonhole it…Finally he turned to Kickstarter to raise the needed initial funds to self publish. He raised almost twice his initial goal for a total of $44,994

After three years on the road Allan truly believes the Irish Proverb: “There are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met.”

Eric WadlundSpencer’s Restaurant at The Mountain is consistently one of the most popular and favorably reviewed restaurants in the greater Palm Springs area. Since 2008 the secret has been the culinary talents of Executive Chef Eric Wadlund in the kitchen. Their relaxing Sunday Brunch is top of the mind with the locals.

“Featuring Four Star American Cuisine with a French – Pacific Rim Influence in a casually elegant atmosphere.”

The restaurant’s outdoor patios and the striking indoor dining area create an extremely inviting visual experience.

Chef Eric was just four when he whipped up his first culinary delight: doughnuts. His father owned a bakery and taught him the tricks of the trade, and, most of all, to love food and cooking.

By the way, he’s cooked for the President, too.

Tomas EstesThe Museum of the American Cocktail is hosting one of their special “Touring the Cocktail” evenings at Guelaguetza Restaurante on July 23rd. It’s a tequila appreciation evening with Oaxacan food tastes. Tomas Estes, Mexico’s official Tequila Ambassador to Europe has the details for us.

Tomas Estes, London resident, native Angeleno, acclaimed restaurateur, and Mexico’s “Official Tequila Ambassador to Europe,” issues participants a passport to the world of tequila and takes them on a behind-the-scenes tour of agave spirits. Josh Goldman, Co-Founder of Soigné Group, a portfolio of 12 Los Angeles-area craft cocktail bars and restaurants, executes a drink menu that demonstrates tequila’s range and versatility.

A sampling of savory specialties from the authentic Oaxacan kitchen of Koreatown’s Restaurante Guelaguetza are included in the price of admission. Come taste why Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold says “Guelaguetza is the best Oaxacan restaurant in the country.”

Tickets are $45 in advance, $40 for MOTAC/SoFAB and USBG Members, and $50 at the door.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris preview the show
Segment Two: Chefs Ori Menashe and Chef Genevieve Gergis of Bestia, Los Angeles Part One
Segment Three: Chefs Ori Menashe and Chef Genevieve Gergis of Bestia, Los Angeles Part Two
Segment Four: Chef Shachi Mehra, ADYA – Fresh Indian Flavors, Anaheim
Segment Five: Allan Karl – Author of Forks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine and Connection Part One
Segment Six: Allan Karl – Author of Forks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine and Connection Part Two
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Eric Wadlund, Spencer’s Restaurant at The Mountain, Palm Springs
Segment Eight: Tomas Estes, Mexico’s Tequila Ambassador to Europe

June 21: Linda Kissam, Chianina Steakhouse, Back Forty Beer Co, Irvine Greek Fest

Podcasts

Segment One: Guest Host Linda Kissam and Producer Andy preview the show
Segment Two: Linda Kissam, food, wine and travel writer, 1st Vice President, IFWTWA Part One
Segment Three: Linda Kissam, food, wine and travel writer, 1st Vice President, IFWTWA Part Two
Segment Four: Alejandro Duran, General Manager, Chianina Steakhouse, Naples Island, Long Beach Part One
Segment Five: EAlejandro Duran, General Manager, Chianina Steakhouse, Naples Island, Long Beach Part Two
Segment Six: Jason Wilson, Founder, Back Forty Beer Co., Gadsden, AL Part One
Segment Seven: Jason Wilson, Founder, Back Forty Beer Co., Gadsden, AL Part Two
Segment Eight: Restaurateur George Kookootsedes, 36th Annual Greek Festival, St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church, Irvine

Guest Host Linda Kissam and Producer Andy preview the show.

How do you conduct a serious educational wine tasting (that’s also fun) with a group? Wine, food and travel writer Linda Kissam is with us to explain.

Quality Italian beef, pasta, and sustainable seafood are on the menu at the new Chianina Steakhouse in the Naples area of Long Beach. This is from the hospitality team known for Michael’s on Naples. Linda Kissam recently experienced a dinner there.

The craft beer movement, surprisingly, is vibrant and thriving in Alabama. Back Forty Beer Co. is the largest, and oldest, packaging brewery in the State.

The 36th Annual Greek Festival brings a “Taste of Greece” to Orange County at St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church from June 27th to 29th. More than 11,000 guests are expected to attend the three-day festival which will feature traditional Greek cuisine, wine tasting, live music, and authentic Greek dancing with lessons. It’s a family-friendly affair!

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

Linda KissamHow do you conduct a serious, educational wine tasting with a group that’s also entertaining and fun? Wine, food and travel writer Linda Kissam is with us to explain. She organizes tastings all the time…

She expertly demonstrated this recently for a group of professional food, wine, and travel journalists at the annual conference of the International, Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association in Montgomery, AL.

It was an organized tasting of five Italian Sparking Wines.

It’s fun but there is a proper way of doing this.

She also explains what the International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association does and what their mission is. Linda serves as their First Vice President.

Chianina SteakhouseHigh-end steakhouses with a serious bar and deep wine lists are very much in fashion these days.

How about an elegant steakhouse that serves limited availability, high-quality Italian beef, prime steaks, and sustainable seafood? There is also a well-regarded executive chef (David Coleman) overseeing things. We’ll be meeting the General Manager of Chianina Steakhouse in the Naples neighborhood of Long Beach, part of the ever expanding Michael’s Restaurant Group. We’re joined by Alejandro Duran of Chianina.

Chianina beef will soon be on their menu.

Jason WilsonFounded in 2009 by Jason Wilson, Back Forty Beer Co. is one of the oldest Alabama breweries and the first to distribute outside of the state. Back Forty beers are available statewide in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi. The brewery is located in Historic Downtown Gadsden, Alabama.

“In 2008, after several years in the corporate world and with over 150 brewery tours under his belt, founder Jason Wilson reached out to renowned Brewmaster Jamie Ray and asked for his help in developing recipes for Back Forty Beer Co.

The goal for the liquid was simple – to expose Southerners to the same craft beer culture that Wilson had been part of for the last ten years. This meant starting out with classic beer styles and evolving with customers along the way. Jamie agreed and in January of 2009 he became Back Forty’s first employee.

In June of 2009, Back Forty released its first offering, Naked Pig Pale Ale. The beer was only available in the North-Central Alabama home market, but the response was overwhelming. In March of 2010 the second Back Forty offering hit the shelves, Truck Stop Honey Brown Ale. Later that year Truck Stop Honey was awarded a Silver Medal at the Great American Beer Festival, and in the weeks following, distribution offers poured in that allowed Back Forty to expand its coverage throughout Alabama.

Jason revealed the great news that it looks like Back Forty Beer Co.’s styles will be available in Southern California by year’s end. We’ll keep you posted…

irvine-greek-festThe 36th Annual Greek Festival brings a “Taste of Greece” to Orange County at St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church from June 27th to 29th. More than 11,000 guests are expected to attend the three-day festival which will feature traditional Greek cuisine, wine tasting, live music, and authentic Greek dancing with lessons. It’s a family-friendly affair!

Legendary OC Restaurateur Mr. K (George Kookootsedes)
(John Dominis) is our guest…As a dedicated volunteer he puts the incredible food program together each year.

As guest host Linda Kissam notes , “It’s the next best thing to flying to Greece.”

Podcasts

Segment One: Guest Host Linda Kissam and Producer Andy preview the show
Segment Two: Linda Kissam, food, wine and travel writer, 1st Vice President, IFWTWA Part One
Segment Three: Linda Kissam, food, wine and travel writer, 1st Vice President, IFWTWA Part Two
Segment Four: Alejandro Duran, General Manager, Chianina Steakhouse, Naples Island, Long Beach Part One
Segment Five: EAlejandro Duran, General Manager, Chianina Steakhouse, Naples Island, Long Beach Part Two
Segment Six: Jason Wilson, Founder, Back Forty Beer Co., Gadsden, AL Part One
Segment Seven: Jason Wilson, Founder, Back Forty Beer Co., Gadsden, AL Part Two
Segment Eight: Restaurateur George Kookootsedes, 36th Annual Greek Festival, St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church, Irvine