Show 213, March 4, 2017: Executive Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish Restaurant Group

Andrew and William GruelOur Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, is a recognized expert on seafood. Poke outlets are seemingly popping up on every corner and fresh sushi is now available at your neighborhood convenience store.

How do you know if your poke and sushi are really fresh ? Raw fish needs to be handled, and stored, with care. Chef Andrew (calling in from the newest Slapfish located near Salt Lake City) to the rescue with what you should know to be better informed!


Show 212, February 25, 2017: Chef Louie Jocson, Vice President, Food & Beverage, California Fish Grill

Louie JocsonWe all know the experts suggest we get more heart-healthy seafood into our regular diet. How do you dine out and find quality seafood at affordable prices? Answering that need has been the Ambitious goal of California Fish Grill since the first location opened in 1998.

“Since 1998, California Fish Grill has been serving quality seafood at affordable prices to our loyal customers and their families. The vision for our restaurant came more from a simple question than the thought of a successful business enterprise. It is widely known that seafood is rich in nutrients and healthy omega-3 oils. The Surgeon General recommends that Americans eat 2-3 servings of seafood per week to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”

“Why is it so hard to find a place that serves great seafood at prices someone could afford to eat 2-3 times per week?” That is where the concept of California Fish Grill was born.”

“Our menu consists of grilled and fried seafood to satisfy anyone’s palate. We also offer wonderful crisp, fresh salads topped with your choice of grilled fish or seafood. One of our most popular offerings is fish tacos. We offer the widest variety of fish tacos served anywhere. From grilled Mahi-Mahi, Tuna, Salmon and Shrimp to our fried selections of Arctic White Fish and Shrimp.”

It’s a fast casual concept. You order and pay up front and then your food is delivered to your table by a runner when it’s ready. There is a separate order counter for takeout.

Veteran Chef Louie Jocson, Vice President, Food & Beverage for California Fish Grill joins us with all the details.


Show 204, December 31, 2016: Ben Sabouri, Partner, The Ritz Prime Seafood, Newport Beach

Ben SabouriThe Ritz Prime Seafood launched late last year in Newport Beach. The $5 million update to the previous Chart House location was lavish.

It was a bit of a misfire as long-time guests of the departed The Ritz in Newport Center (famous for elegant Continental dining) were expecting a refreshening of that legendary and venerable establishment and this was actually an entirely new, contemporary concept. Oops…Now let’s meet the totally fresh The Ritz Prime Seafood 2.0.

“Located along Newport’s scenic Mariner’s Mile, The Ritz Prime Seafood offers a fine dining experience harbor side, with a globally influenced menu featuring sustainable fish and seafood flown in daily, as well as dry-aged steaks, chops and Jidori chicken. It’s a reconceived, all new and different incarnation of the past three-decade-old The Ritz. This chic, upscale restaurant has new culinary offerings and its own look, social buzz and vibe – already becoming a Southern California “modern legend” with its own distinctive personality.”

“Dinner is served nightly and highlighted by entrees, including from the Sea: Branzino with sunchoke, pistachio, couscous and sultana; Sea Scallop with cauliflower, pomegranate and hazelnut brown butter; and Alaskan Halibut with red bell pepper, eggplant puree and confit tomatoes. From the Land are Lamb Rack with zucchini mint puree and Israeli couscous; 16oz Tomahawk Steak with bone marrow butter, broccoli potato au gratin and marsala jus; Jidori Chicken; and other entrees.”

The Ritz Prime Seafood is one of the many restaurants participating in the annual Newport Beach Restaurant Week set for January 16 to 29, 2017. This is a prime opportunity to experience the new dinner menu at The Ritz Prime Seafood. It’s 3 courses with choices for each course for $50 per guest. The entree possibilities are Pan Seared Sea Bass, Pan Seared Jidori Chicken Breast and Prime Filet Mignon. (the full menu is posted within their Website.)

Partner Ben Sabourui, a hospitality veteran, joins us with the details.


Show 196, November 5, 2016: Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish Restaurant Group

Andrew and William GruelOur Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish Restaurant Group, is in the know. He now shares a new list of personally researched and hand-selected “Finds” with us. Previously suggested were primo breakfast spots that are a bit hidden, fast food breakfast items that are real standouts, child friendly restaurants in the OC that are chef-driven, better burger spots and more…

Seafood consumption in the United States continues to grow. This is an encouraging trend because seafood is healthy and highly beneficial to be a part of your regular diet.

Chef Andrew’s list for today is foods which pair well with seafood.

  • Blood Oranges
  • Lemon Zest
  • Potato Chips
  • Cucumber (fresh)
  • Fish Sauce

Show 195, October 29, 2016: Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish on Smoked Fish

Andrew Gruel at the AM830 KLAA StudiosOur own Chef Andrew Gruel is no stranger to the intricacies of seafood. Smoked fish is pretty simple, right? Not exactly.

Was that lox you just enjoyed prepared by hot or cold smoking? What’s the difference? It can be an elaborate process. What techniques are possibly correct for different types of fish? A measure of smoked fish adds flavor & complexity to any number of dishes.

Chef Andrew explains with a promise of no smoke.


Show 192, October 9, 2016: Chef Art Gonzalez, Roe Seafood Xpress & Roe Restaurant, Long Beach

Arthur GonzalezWe know Chef Art Gonzalez from the popular Panxa Cocina in Long Beach. Chef Art has recently revived his fondly-remembered Belmont Shore casual spot, Roe Restaurant & Fish Market. It’s now morphed (after a substantial remodel) into Roe Seafood Xpress and the just opened, dinner only, Roe Restaurant. We’ve reeled in Chef Art to explain all the details.

“roe offers inspired, handcrafted, mouthwatering seafood dishes that blend both seasonal and local ingredients with bold flavors and exciting tastes.”

“roe is a lifelong dream-come-true to create a neighborhood restaurant for seafood connoisseurs – a comfy place neat the sea where people who love ocean-friendly seafood and have adventurous appetites are always rewarded with exceptionally fresh fish, inspired artisan cooking, and local flavors.”


Show 184, August 13, 2016: Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish – In Defense of Tilapia

Andrew Gruel at the AM830 KLAA StudiosTilapia is particularly appreciated in the Asian and Hispanic communities but needs more love in the United States. It’s flavorful, easy-to-prepare and value priced. It’s been called the “aqua-chicken.”

Our resident seafood authority and Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, provides the informed perspective with no fish tales.

It’s key to source your Tilapia from a country with safe seafood practices including The United States, Canada and Ecuador. Also look for BAP (Best Aquaculture Practices) certification.

According to Seafood Health Facts:

“Tilapia has progressively grown in popularity since 2002 when it first entered the top ten list of the most frequently consumed seafood products in the United States. It’s the third most popular aquaculture or farm raised seafood product behind shrimp and salmon. Since 2006, Americans have consumed over 1 pound of tilapia per person each year. Predictions suggest it will remain a popular selection due to its mild flavor and taste, versatility in preparation, and competitive prices.”

“Tilapia is a sustainable farm-raised product. Because tilapia are herbivorous fish that feed on algae, there is no need for feeds produced from wild caught fish. Raising tilapia in some ponds or other small water bodies can actually help improve the quality of waters compromised by excessive algae blooms. Some farming operations are using a technique called aquaponics to cultivate fish and vegetables or herbs together to produce two or more products in the same water based system.”


Show 178, July 2, 2016: Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish Restaurant Group, Huntington Beach

Andrew Gruel and his son WilliamMany passionate Italian chefs will tell you cheese (even the incredible Parmigiano-Reggiano) should NEVER be added to a seafood dish. Yet you’re now seeing lobster macaroni and cheese prepared by fine-dining chefs and raved about by guests.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel has successfully used cheese with lobster at Slapfish. It’s a favorite with the guests. Confused….? We’ll ask Chef Andrew to explain the apparent contradiction.

Chef Andrew mentions that the delicate flavor of many fish species is simply overpowered by the taste profile of sharp, aromatic cheeses.

Shellfish pair best with cheese. A shrimp or scallop pasta can easily handle a shaving of grated cheese. Smoked seafood also matches well with cheese.

A Slapfish guest favorite is a lobster & crab grilled cheese sandwich. White American cheese is the cheese of choice here.



Show 174, June 4, 2016: Chef Andrew Gruel – Mercury in Fish

Andrew Gruel and his son WilliamThere is a legitimate concern about rising mercury levels in certain seafood. No reason to panic. Our resident seafood authority, Chef Andrew Gruel, joins us to separate the honest truth from fanciful (and alarming) fiction. Find out what you really need to be concerned about. Remain calm…

From Chef Andrew’s informed perspective there are only a handful of fish to be potentially concerned about. The FDA has specific dietary guidelines. Keep in mind these cautions are also predicated by where the fish was caught and its age.

  • Tile Fish (Gulf of Mexico)
  • Shark
  • Swordfish (certain types)
  • King Mackerel

This doesn’t mean don’t eat these types of fish. Just don’t overdo it with massive consumption…

Keep in mind seafood should absolutely be part of a balanced & healthy diet.


Show 172, May 21, 2016: Executive Chef Dirk Flanigan, Ocean Cut, Chicago

Dirk Flanigan of Ocean Cut ChicagoChicago’s C Chicago in River North has just been reconceptualized as Ocean Cut under the culinary leadership of Dirk Flanigan (ex-The Gage.) Guests can expect fresh fish flown in daily along with 100 per cent USDA Prime steaks. Chicago’s Chef Dirk Flanigan is our guest.

Ocean Cut is the newest seafood concept from the owners of Chicago Cut Steakhouse. The restaurant is centrally located in Chicago’s vibrant River North restaurant scene.

With culinary pioneer Dirk Flanigan serving as Executive Chef and powerhouse General Manager Raylene Westbrook leading the floor, this nautically-focused concept is approachable yet adventurous. Co-proprietor Matt Moore is highly visible working the floor and checking on guests.

The culinary philosophy behind Ocean Cut balances simplicity and creativity while maintaining a culture based on quality and fresh ingredients.

This is also the House of Irish hospitality. A lot of the staff are from Ireland or are of Irish heritage and it adds an unexpected welcoming ambiance to the property.

Designed by leading Chicago architect Mark Knauer, the 8,000 square foot, two-story restaurant is a modern interpretation of classic maritime influences.

Not to be missed is Chef Dirk’s $23 Lunch Prix Fixe Menu. It’s a choice of Appetizer, an Entrée with a Side of seasonal vegetables and Dessert. We enjoyed the Greek Branzino (half) with lemon vinaigrette and a side of beautifully roasted cauliflower. A quality Key Lime Pie (house-baked) was our dessert choice.