Show 256, January 13, 2018: Elie Ayrouth, Founder of Foodbeast, Noods Noods Noods

Elie AyrouthJanuary 27th marks the return of Orange County’s all-noodle-everything food festival, NOODS NOODS NOODS, presented by Foodbeast. This wild and unrestrained food festival will feature some of the craziest, most delicious, and inspired noodle creations.

Event Date: January 27th, 2018
Event Location: Downtown Santa Ana, outside of Esports Arena at 120 W 5th st, Santa Ana CA 92701

Standard Ticket Price: $10 Marketplace | $60 VIP

Tickets for NOODS NOODS NOODS can be purchased right here.

Listen to the podcast to obtain a special discount offer for VIP admission exclusively for our listeners. It does sell out!

Foodbeast Founder Elie Ayrouth joins us with the slurp-worthy details.


Show 256, January 13, 2018: Jon Sanchez, Proprietor, Native Son Alehouse, Santa Ana

Jon SanchezAll sports fans eagerly anticipate putting their brackets together for the college basketball championships also known as March Madness. Why not a craft beer bracket competition with great prizes and samples of unique craft beers from 14 small producers?

For the 3rd year the ever- creative Jon Sanchez, the proprietor of the popular Native Son Alehouse in Downtown Santa Ana, has done just that. Every Thursday night, with the finals on March 29th, craft brewers are competing head-to-head in pairs. All participants were invited by the staff at Native Son Alehouse.

Already decided are the matchups between Artifex and Cellador Ales, and Mikkeller and Homage Brewing.

At any given time Native Son rotates a carefully hand-picked selection of 27 craft beer styles for their discriminating guests to enjoy. A new addition is the Ember BBQ kitchen serving Kansas City-style barbecue. We’ll be visiting with the dedicated culinary team of Embers BBQ on January 27th.

Jon taps the keg on the spirited competition just for us.


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.


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.


Show 247, November 11, 2017: Kyle Meyer, Co-Proprietor, Wine Exchange, Santa Ana

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeIt’s typically a conundrum in selecting the wines for the Thanksgiving feast that really pair well with all the diverse trimmings. You can’t always please all palates but you give it a go.

Kyle suggests that sparkling wines carry deliciously through the entire Thanksgiving feast. Don’t forget Prosecco and Sparkling Shiraz from Australia. Other thoughts include a half-dry Riesling, a California or Oregon Pinot Noir, and French Beaujolais.

Our upbeat resident wine expert, Kyle Meyer of Wine Exchange, joins us with his accessible, informed perspective. Cheers!


Show 245, October 21, 2017: Lloyd Weinstein, Proprietor, Benjies N.Y. Deli, Restaurant & Avenue K Bar, Santa Ana

Lloyd WeinsteinBenjies New York Deli, Restaurant & Avenue K Bar in Santa Ana has been operating as a two-generation family owned New York-style deli originated by Stan Weinstein in 1967 and still operated today by Stan’s son and daughter-in-law, Lloyd & Noriko Weinstein. On October 6th they celebrated their 50th anniversary of continuous service.

The Weinstein’s strive to maintain the family-oriented-style, quality restaurant created by Stan, while keeping up with modern trends in dining. Benjies offers the truly New York style deli experience in Orange County, California—large portions, fresh products and an extensive array of menu items—mouth-watering pastrami on rye, and soul-warming Matzo Ball soup to absolutely decadent desserts. Their signature Reuben Sandwich was a past 1st place winner at the O.C. Fair.

Added in the last 18 months is the Avenue K Bar with a modern stylish atmosphere. On the menu are a broad selection of ice cold craft beers on tap and specialty cocktails. Also available in Avenue K is Benjies’ full menu along with a standout Happy Hour appetizer (think Reuben fritters) and cocktail Menu served from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. With multiple HD, wall-mounted large-screen televisions placed strategically around the room it’s a great spot to enjoy college and pro football as well as Anaheim Ducks Hockey.

2nd generation deli-maven Lloyd Weinstein is our guest.


Show 241, September 16, 2017: Corkage in Restaurants, Kyle Meyer, Wine Exchange

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeThe Corkage Fee charged in restaurants is always a subject of spirited conversation. What is really reasonable that’s equitable to both the guest and restaurant? There is a real cost to the restaurant (and lost revenue) when a guest brings in their own wine. Hospitality comes into play, too. Should a guest even be allowed to bring in a wine already on the restaurant’s wine list regardless of the corkage fee? What’s proper etiquette?

One of our worldly resident wine experts, Kyle Meyer of Wine Exchange, beings his practical thoughts to the weighty subject.


Show 237, August 19, 2017: Robin & Brian Christenson, Founders, Blinking Owl Distillery, Santa Ana

Brian and Robin ChristensonSanta Ana’s The Blinking Owl Distillery is the very first craft distillery in Orange County. The Blinking Owl is one of the first distilleries in the state of California to hold the Type 74 Craft Distillers License allowing them to operate their own tasting room and sell a few bottles there. The Distillery makes Vodka, Gin, several types of Whiskey, and the Scandinavian spirit, Aquavit.

“We are locavores, grain nerds, and control freaks so we decided to actually make our booze the long way: from grain rather than pre-made spirit. We mill it, mash it, ferment it, distill it, and, in the case of whiskey, barrel age it (which means we will not have a 9-year old Bourbon to sell until 9 years from now).”

“The Founder, Brian Christenson, had a bootlegging great-grandfather, Fred P. Armbrust. Fred had a still on his dairy farm hidden in the basement behind secret passageways. He would covertly provide his local farmers with his “good spirits”. Brian’s dream is to carry on Fred’s passion by providing “good spirits” to our very own neighborhood, legally, of course!”

Brian and Robin Christenson, longtime Santa Ana residents, had heard stories of the midcentury “Blinking Owl Bar” on the corner of Birch and Third Streets, known for an iconic owl sign that would “blink”. Inspired by the craft cocktail movement, the farm-to-table food movement, and current thriving craft distilleries, the husband and wife team saw an opportunity to bring a local distillery to the neighborhood, paying homage to the history of Santa Ana.”

Brian & Robin step out from behind the long bar in their Tasting Room to join us.


Show 237, August 19, 2017: Robin & Brian Christenson, Founders, Blinking Owl Distillery, Santa Ana Continue…

Brian and Robin ChristensonSanta Ana’s The Blinking Owl Distillery is the very first craft distillery in Orange County. The Blinking Owl is one of the first distilleries in the state of California to hold the Type 74 Craft Distillers License allowing them to operate their own tasting room and sell a few bottles there. The Distillery makes Vodka, Gin, several types of Whiskey, and the Scandinavian spirit, Aquavit.’

The Products

42.5% ABV (85 PROOF)
“Blinking Owl Vodka has stunning earthiness, subtle flavor and rich, full-bodied mouth feel. Distilled in house from organic wheat grown in California, and our unique twist from the organic malted barley that was added to the mash bill adding hints of sweet vanilla and caramel. Distilled in our Carl still from Germany (that includes 34 rectification plates alongside a pot still), Blinking Owl Vodka transfers the essence from the grain it was made from to the glass.”

Flavored Vodka
42.5% ABV (85 PROOF)
“Beginning with our beautiful Vodka, we add 130 pounds of whole Valencia oranges that come from Heritage Museum of Orange County. We hand-cut the oranges and let the entire orange soak (including flesh, pith, juice and peel) in the Vodka overnight. The vodka is then re-distilled with oranges added to our vapor basket in the still. The combination of natural orange macerations and vapor distillation to an already rich, sweet vodka base creates a true orange essence to this flavored vodka that is full-bodied and delicious. Heritage Museum of Orange County.”

42.5% ABV (85 PROOF)
“We set out to make an aquavit reminiscent of the great Aquavits of Scandinavia but with a California twist. After crafting our base spirit with organic wheat and malted barley, we macerate 10 gorgeous organic botanicals (with a final steep in Caraway, leaving a natural golden hue). The primary flavors of our Aquavit are caraway, fresh dill, and hibiscus (the flower of Santa Ana), with undertones of fennel and cardamom. The result is a complex aquavit that can served chilled as a digestif or can add incredible flavors to a variety of cocktails.”

OLD TOM Barrel Vacationed GIN
48% ABV (96 PROOF)
“Our super special limited release of Old Tom Barrel Vacationed Gin is coming out soon!

We get a limited number of late harvest semillon wine barrels from a prestigious Napa producer each year. These particular barrels not only allow the Gin to age, but they also impart a hint of sweetness from the late harvest semillon they were previously holding.

This BARREL VACATIONED OLD TOM GIN basically took a vacation in the barrels for approximately 3 months, got a nice tan, and picked up a lucious hint of sweetness (thus we categorized it as an Old Tom). No sugar, flavoring, or coloring was added. The end result is pure, delicious liquid gold!”

Many have been waiting and asking to get on the presale list. The Gin is ready, it will be bottled soon at 48% ABV and released late-August. Each bottle will be numbered for this annual release and will only be sold from our tasting room.

This is owner, Robin Christenson’s, personal favorite and she having a very tough time not buying all of this gin herself. BUT she has decided to find it in her heart to share (at least some of it).”


Show 226, June 3, 2017: James Foxall, Pub & Grub’s Curator & Chef Jake McPeck, The Mess Hall Canteen Food Truck

Jake McPeckYou’ve been hearing us talk about the upcoming OC Foodie Fest’s Pub & Grub – A Culinary Crawl happening in Downtown Santa Ana on Saturday, June 10th. Attendees are invited to “crawl” through Downtown Santa Ana deliciously eating and drinking every step of the way.

It’s Orange County’s most mouth-watering edibles including smothered tots, addictive tacos, and piping hot churros. Multiple bars with craft beer, wine, and outrageous cocktails. Our own Chef Andrew Gruel will be represented there with Two Birds’ drool-worthy, Hot Fried Chicken Sandwiches.

The June 10th event will take place in two parts. The Artisan Bazaar, buy-as-you go area for a modest $10, will run from 12 Noon to 11:00 p.m. Tickets for the 2-sessions of the All-Access Area, all you can eat and drink section are $60. Tickets available now right here.

Joining us with all the details are James Foxall the curator of Pub & Grub and Chef Jake McPeck of the crowd-pleasing Mess Hall Canteen Food Truck. Mess Hall is famous at Festivals for their signature Drunken Sailor Tots. Just look for the long, line line…

Here’s an incredible extra discount for our listeners. Until day of the Festival on June 10th, $30-off discount tickets (half-off) are available for either of the two sessions of All-Access Area. Also, half-off the regular $10 ticket price for the Artisan Bazaar area option. Use the code, “foodiefestfamall in lower case. Jump on this…J