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 –>

Play

Show 167, April 9, 2016: Chef Michael Puglisi, Electric City Butcher, 4th Street Market, Santa Ana

Michael PuglisiChef Michael Puglisi (ex-Bouchon Beverly Hills) is the Electric City Butcher at the 4th Street Market in Santa Ana. He was greatly influenced by a cousin in Sicily who has a popular, neighborhood butcher shop there. Chef Michael is a custom, whole animal, artisan butcher. We’ll meet him.

From Michael Puglisi:
“Electric City Butcher is built upon relationships – our relationship to you, our relationship to sustainable farmers and humanely raised animals, and your relationship to the food that you serve to your friends and family. ECB is modeled after our family’s shop in Sicily, where guests arrive with an idea of what they’d like, have a conversation with the butcher and leave with freshly prepared cuts. We take the time to offer personalized service and the highest quality products, because we believe that it matters what we serve to our family and we believe that you will taste the difference.”

In the neatly ordered shop just about everything is house-made except the prosciutto de Parma which is imported from Italy. In-house they prepare and cure salumi, sausages and create wonderful charcuterie platters. It’s all about the throwback, personal service and butchers who come from a serious culinary background.

Play

Show 134, August 8, 2015: Sal Maniaci, Proprietor, Pizzeria Sapori, Newport Beach

Sal ManiaciThe very hands-on Sal Maniaci has presided over Sapori Ristorante in Newport Beach for over 25 years. There is a lot to be said for longevity in a very tough market.

He had a good pizza on the menu but wasn’t quite satisfied with it. Using his Italian roots (he’s from Sicily) for inspiration he researched wood-fired Neapolitan pizza and the result is Pizzeria Sapori adjacent to Sapori Ristorante. It features, of course, traditional Italian Neapolitan-style pizza baked in a wood-fired oven imported from Naples.

What truly sets Pizzeria Sapori apart from others is the science behind the pizza dough. Sal and his team use a “mother” dough from a strain of yeast that is 80 years old. It is incorporated into each and every batch of dough, which they allow to mature for 72 hours. The result is a far superior crust – one that is soft yet crispy, thin but slightly chewy.

You’ll hear from Sal himself what an incredible process making the dough is!

 

Play

May 17: Old Vine Café, Truck U Barbecue, Ruth Reichl, Sheerwater, Deborah Schneider, District Wine, Kedric Francis

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Owner / Chef Mark McDonald, Old Vine Café, The Camp in Costa Mesa
Segment Three: Chef Mike Minor of the Truck-U Barbeque rolling grill, Las Vegas
Segment Four: Ruth Reichl, New York Times bestselling author and long-time Editor of Gourmet Magazine
Segment Five: Charles “Chuck” Watson, Chef de Cuisine, Sheerwater, Hotel del Coronado, Coronado, CA
Segment Six: Executive Chef Deborah Schneider, Partner, SOL Cocina, solita and cookbook author
Segment Seven: Mark Dunton, Proprietor, District Wine, Long Beach
Segment Eight: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor, The Orange County Register Magazine, Coast Orange County Magazine

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

The Old Vine Café, now in its 6th year, is a real crowd-pleaser at The Camp in Costa Mesa. Owner/Chef Mark McDonald gives us the background.

When we last visited Las Vegas Chef Mike Minor (ex-Executive Chef at Border Grill) he was just about to launch his TruckU Barbeque there. Now that his rolling grill is on the road and serving guests we’ll get the saucy update…

After you’ve been the esteemed and high-profile editor of Gourmet Magazine and, prior to that, the powerful & influential restaurant critic of The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times what’s next? In the case of our guest, Ruth Reichl, you pen your first novel.

The Hotel Del Coronado is California’s premier, classic beachfront hotel dating back to 1888. It represents the pinnacle of luxury from another age. One of their casual restaurants, with an incredible ocean view, is Sheerwater. We’ll meet the chef.

Executive Chef Deborah Schneider of SOL Cocina and solita Tacos & Margaritas in Huntington Beach is a well-traveled authority on the foods of Baja. Her first cookbook Baja! Cooking on the Edge is now out in a 2nd edition.

What’s special about District Wine in Downtown Long Beach? Meet the personable proprietors Mark and Angela Dunton and you’ll know.

Our debonair, roving food and travel correspondent based in the OC, Kedric Francis, checks-in. He’s the Executive Editor of both The Orange County Register Magazine and Coast Orange County Magazine. He’s updating us on the new food market halls arriving in the OC.

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

Mark McDonald of the Old Vine CafeSome six years ago owner/chef Mark McDonald opened the Old Vine Café hidden in The Camp in Costa Mesa. Unusually for a fine-dining establishment he serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Chef Mark also has a serious wine program with a fun, educational component.

It’s top quality cuisine and wine in a non-pretentious, casual atmosphere. Mark did a lot of cooking in Southern Italy and that’s reflected on the seasonally changing menu.

Chef Mark really wants his guests to enjoy, and sample, new wines. His “6 for $60” wine program encourages this.

He also leads annual escorted tours to Italy in association with The Italian Culinary Institute. His next “Splendors of South Italy” tour (Calabria and Sicily) is set for March 20 to 29, 2015.

Mike Minor of Truck U Barbecue in Las VegasWhen we last visited Las Vegas Chef Mike Minor (ex-Executive Chef at Border Grill) he was just about to launch his Truck-U Barbeque there. Now that the rolling grill is on the road and serving guests we’ll get the meaty update…

The truck itself was designed by HGTV star Luca Paganico.

Chef Mike calls it “meat candy on wheels.” It’s “urban hipster” barbecue. The food is Mexican with a Southern twist.

Look for the Short Rib Enchiladas and the Chipotle Fried Chicken. How about Maple Bacon Churros…???

Ruth ReichlAfter you’ve been the esteemed editor of Gourmet Magazine and, prior to that, the powerful & influential restaurant critic of The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times what’s next? In the case of our guest, Ruth Reichl, you pen your first novel. It’s Delicious! – A Novel.

“Ruth Reichl is a born storyteller. Through her restaurant reviews, where she celebrated the pleasures of a well-made meal, and her bestselling memoirs that address our universal feelings of love and loss, Reichl has achieved a special place in the hearts of hundreds of thousands of readers. Now, with this magical debut novel, she has created a sumptuous, wholly realized world that will enchant you.

Billie Breslin has traveled far from her home in California to take a job at Delicious!, New York’s most iconic food magazine. Away from her family, particularly her older sister, Genie, Billie feels like a fish out of water—until she is welcomed by the magazine’s colorful staff. She is also seduced by the vibrant downtown food scene, especially by Fontanari’s, the famous Italian food shop where she works on weekends. Then Delicious! is abruptly shut down, but Billie agrees to stay on in the empty office, maintaining the hotline for reader complaints in order to pay her bills.

To Billie’s surprise, the lonely job becomes the portal to a miraculous discovery. In a hidden room in the magazine’s library, Billie finds a cache of letters written during World War II by Lulu Swan, a plucky twelve-year-old, to the legendary chef James Beard. Lulu’s letters provide Billie with a richer understanding of history, and a feeling of deep connection to the young writer whose courage in the face of hardship inspires Billie to comes to terms with her fears, her big sister and her ability to open her heart to love.”

Sheerwater Restaurant at the Hotel Del CoronadoThe Hotel Del Coronado is California’s premier, classic beachfront hotel dating back to 1888. It represents the pinnacle of luxury from another age.

One of their casual restaurants, with an incredible ocean view, is Sheerwater. The Chef de Cuisine there is Charles “Chuck” Watson.

They pride themselves on using fresh, local, sustainable seafood where possible. Think Mexican prawns and Baja scallops for starters.

All of the fish trimmings at this high volume establishment contribute to the house-specialty cioppino.

Chef Chuck is the culinary liaison at the Del for the SEA + FOOD event on Saturday afternoon, June 7th on the Windsor Lawn. It’s a one-day Pacific coast food festival to remember with delicious local seafood, BBQ from the Lil’ Del BBQ, and libations including craft beers, wines and spirits. Live retro rhythm and blues music, too.

The Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation to benefit childhood cancer research is the charitable beneficiary.

$100 admission includes tax, gratuities and parking. Adults only, please.

Deborah SchneiderChef Deborah Schneider brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role as Executive Chef and Partner of Mexican restaurants SOL Cocina (Newport Beach & Scottsdale, AZ) and solita (Huntington Beach & soon Valencia) Schneider draws upon her rich culinary background and more than 25 years of professional cooking experience to bring the superb tastes and relaxing beach vibe of the Baja Peninsula.

Schneider’s passion for Baja was stoked by countless surf trips down the Peninsula. There, at small street stands and on pristine beaches, she discovered flavorful, healthy cuisine, rich with fresh seafood and inventive preparations that are at the heart of her restaurants.

Chef Deb has just released a second edition of her critically acclaimed first cookbook, Baja! Cooking on the Edge. It features a mixture of authentic recipes and Chef Deb’s own Baja-inspired dishes. This is the book that drew Chef Deb’s (now) restaurant partners to her for the SOL Cocina project.

Baja! features more than 150 easy-to-follow recipes, peppered with fantastic stories and images that are as vibrant in color as the dishes are in flavor. Chef Deb explores these different cultural influences of Baja street food – everything from the classic Fish Tacos and Seafood Cocktels, to a wide range of inspired meat-based tacos – chicken, pork, chorizo – and fresh salsas. The uniquely Baja recipes featured includes delights like Clams in Tequila Butter, One-Pan Paella, Garlic Cilantro Steak and Chocolate-Jalapeno Truffles.

Seasoned travel journalist and wine and food writer Linda Kissam knows what makes for a good wine bar…

Angela and Mark Dutton of District WineWhat makes a great wine bar? Before I put my dollars down, I like to look inside and make sure there are really plenty of interesting bottles of wine that appear to be available by the glass and small plates of food that complement the wine promising a special evening. A good wine bar isn’t just a bar with some wine. It specializes in wine. I like a place where the owner takes a real interest in making my wine time a memorable experience.”

District Wine in Downtown Long Beach is such an establishment. They just celebrated their 4th anniversary. Angela & Mark Dunton are the welcoming proprietors.

As Linda confidently observes, “These guys know their stuff.”

Kedric Francis of Coast Magazine and the Orange County Register MagazineOur always debonair, roving food and travel correspondent in the OC, Kedric Francis, checks-in. He’s the Executive Editor of both The Orange County Register Magazine and Coast Orange County Magazine. He’s updating us on the new food market halls arriving in the OC.

Kedric will update us on the progress of the soon-to-be 4th Street Market in Downtown Santa Ana and The Anaheim Packing District. (That includes The Packard Showroom, Farmers Park, and Packing House.)

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Owner / Chef Mark McDonald, Old Vine Café, The Camp in Costa Mesa
Segment Three: Chef Mike Minor of the Truck-U Barbeque rolling grill, Las Vegas
Segment Four: Ruth Reichl, New York Times bestselling author and long-time Editor of Gourmet Magazine
Segment Five: Charles “Chuck” Watson, Chef de Cuisine, Sheerwater, Hotel del Coronado, Coronado, CA
Segment Six: Executive Chef Deborah Schneider, Partner, SOL Cocina, solita and cookbook author
Segment Seven: Mark Dunton, Proprietor, District Wine, Long Beach
Segment Eight: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor, The Orange County Register Magazine, Coast Orange County Magazine

Show 65, March 15, 2014: Chef Michael Puglisi, Proprietor, Electric City Butcher Shop

Michael PuglisiMembers of Chef Michael Puglisi’s immediate family in Sicily are well-known Old World artisan butchers. Starting this summer Chef Puglisi will be using those skills at his own Electric City Butcher Shop which is a major component of Santa Ana’s much –anticipated (and talked about) 4th Street Market Food & Culinary emporium. Puglisi was previously the sous chef of Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Beverly Hills.

While the build-out of 4th Street Market is going on Chef Puglisi will be honing his hand-made sausage making skills at the just opened Picnik in Old Town Pasadena in partnership with Chef Eduardo Ruiz of Corazon y Miel in Bell. Old World sausage-making traditions will be used. Every gourmet sausage served will be twisted and cased by hand.

Play

March 15: Ivan Flowers, Bruxie Bold Blend Coffee, Michael Puglisi, All Star Chef Classic, Cook Pigs Ranch

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Executive Chef Ivan Flowers, Top of the Market, San Diego
Segment Three: Chef Kelly Mullarney, Co-Owner, Bruxie
Segment Four: Chef Michael Puglisi, Proprietor, Electric City Butcher Shop
Segment Five: Lucy Lean, Co-Producer / Executive Director, All-Star Chef Classic at L.A. Live
Segment Six: Krys and Mike Cook, Co-Presidents, Cook Pigs Ranch, Julian Part One
Segment Seven: Krys and Mike Cook, Co-Presidents, Cook Pigs Ranch, Julian Part Two
Segment Eight: Jet Tila and Andy Harris on “The 14 Most Expensive Tasting Menus in America”

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Heritage breed pigs are the talk of in-the-know chefs these days. We’ll meet the enterprising husband & wife couple behind Cook Pigs Ranch, a noted local producer of “farm to table heritage pigs.” You’ll also learn the intriguing story of a former Bouchon Beverly Hills chef who is soon to open an ambitious artisan butcher shop utilizing Old-World techniques in Santa Ana.

We’re journeying to San Diego where an energetic new executive chef is taking a San Diego seafood classic to a higher level with nightly changing tasting menus that are paired with boutique premium wines. The meals are, surprisingly, served with an incredible view of the bay.

We’re nuts about coffee on the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” So are our friends at the chef-driven Bruxie, the Belgian waffle sandwich guys. After a lot of research they have recently introduced their own “Bold Blend” custom crafted coffee. It’s a proprietary four-bean blend.

Los Angeles has a new food event with celebrity master chefs. It’s the All-Star Chef Classic at L.A. Live. We’ll have a preview.

High-end Tasting Menus at rarified fine-dining establishments are getting a lot of attention. Chef Jet and Producer Andy will be talking about Eater’s “14 Most Expensive Tasting Menus in America.”

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

Ivan Flowers of Top of the MarketTop of the Market, harbor-side in Downtown San Diego, is one of those classic destination restaurants where the food is actually on par with the magnificent bay view. Quite a feat…

Executive Chef Ivan Flowers in newly arrived and his worthy mission is to add to the achievements of this popular restaurant. His concept is “boat-to-table.” New to the dinner menu options is a very special seven-course tasting menu. Chef Ivan then works with their inspired and talented Sommelier, Anne Estrada, to offer carefully selected boutique wines to compliment each dish. No mass market wines in this cellar…As a package it’s an evening of memorable dining. We’ll be visiting with Chef Flowers to get all the specifics.

Bruxie Bold Blend CoffeeWe’re fans of Bruxie. These are the premium sandwich folks who use a creative version of an authentic Belgian Waffle (they developed the proprietary recipe) as the bread. The waffle is light, airy, crispy and not sweet. Since they opened their first location in a classic former burger stand in Old Towne Orange within walking distance of Chapman University they have quickly grown to a total of six company-owned restaurants! No short cuts with quality ingredients here.

Bruxie partner and noted chef, Kelly Mullarney, is truly coffee obsessed. As a side project he set out to create a chef-driven coffee experience that would be bold and complex enough to stand up to, and complement, the flavors on the Bruxie menu.

The result is The Bold Blend, a proprietary, four-bean blend of 100 percent fair trade imported coffee beans. It’s now the house blend served at all Bruxies.

Michael PuglisiMembers of Chef Michael Puglisi’s immediate family in Sicily are well-known Old World artisan butchers. Starting this summer Chef Puglisi will be using those skills at his own Electric City Butcher Shop which is a major component of Santa Ana’s much –anticipated (and talked about) 4th Street Market Food & Culinary emporium. Puglisi was previously the sous chef of Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Beverly Hills.

While the build-out of 4th Street Market is going on Chef Puglisi will be honing his hand-made sausage making skills at the just opened Picnik in Old Town Pasadena in partnership with Chef Eduardo Ruiz of Corazon y Miel in Bell. Old World sausage-making traditions will be used. Every gourmet sausage served will be twisted and cased by hand.

All Star Chef ClassicThe Inaugural All-Star Chef Classic at L.A. LIVE, a never-before-seen modern food event bringing together over 25 highly acclaimed chefs from around the country for unique and interactive dining experiences, is set to launch March 21st to 23rd at L.A. Live’s Event Deck. The event is organized by culinary industry veterans and founders of Alice in Events, LLC., Lucy Lean and Krissy Lefebvre. They have partnered with AEG, owners and operators of the downtown Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment District.

The three-day event will feature master chefs cooking and collaborating in venues designed to provide guests with up-close, unique and interactive culinary experiences.

The grand finale on Sunday, March 23rd from Noon to 2:30 p.m. is “Savor the Season Presented by Melissa’s Produce.” This event will wrap up the enticing weekend with a Farmer’s Market celebration of what LA has in abundance – seasonal , fresh, local ingredients cooked up and elevated to great heights by All-Star Chefs including Wylie Dufresne, Graham Elliot, Nancy Silverton, David Myers, Vinny Dotolo, David LeFevre, Josiah Citrin, and Waylynn Lucas. The chefs will create seasonal dishes using produce from a local purveyor/farmer providing the 600 guests with a variety of tastes as well as recipe cards to prepare each dish at home.

Co-Producer/Executive Director Lucy Lean is our guest.

Cook Pigs Ranch is a proudly family-owned, farm-to-table operation with a focus on Heritage pigs. The varieties include Red Wattles, GOS, Large Blacks, Berkshires, Durocs, Tamworth, Mulefoot, and crosses of these magnificent breeds. Cooks also raises KuneKune pigs. The ranch is located in Julian, CA, in the Cleveland National Forest, about one hour East of San Diego.

Cook Pigs Ranch is not a large commercial farming / ranching business. Instead their goal is to maintain a small and boutique ranching operation which allows their pigs to free-range and grow slowly in a humane and stress-free environment.

Kryz and Mike Cook of Cook Pigs RanchKrys and Mike Cook are the co-Presidents of Cook Pigs, and they run the day-to-day operations of the ranch.

At Cook Pigs Ranch they experience all four seasons. The ranch is situated at approximately 4,200 feet in elevation. The combination of the local environment and Cook’s feed program produces a high quality product very similar to the renown Iberian Pork from Spain & Portugal.

Cook Pigs RanchAt the recent Cochon 555 stop in Los Angeles defending champion Chef Ray Garcia of FIG Restaurant at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica successfully defended his title once again. He prepared & cooked a Large Black from Cooks Pig Ranch.

The Pop-Up Butcher Shop (Lindy & Grundy) @ Cochon 555 used a Berkshire from Cook Pigs Ranch.

Cook Pigs Ranch will soon have a retail facility in San Diego ( Kearny Mesa) to serve the public.

The Farm Shop at Primal Pastures in Temecula all sells Cook Pigs Ranch meats.

The Fourteen Most Expensive Tasting Menus in America by Eater NationalEater National posted an intriguing piece entitled “The 14 Most Expensive Tasting Menus In America” back on January 28th. The feature was authored by Gabe Ulla.

Number 14 is Daniel in New York with a price tag of $567 for two guests. It gets progressively more expensive on the way up to Number 1 which carries a lofty $1,160 tab for two. Ouch…

Chef Jet and Producer Andy have been fortunate enough to experience a handful of these incredible dining spectaculars. We’ll paint the rarified picture…It’s not for everyone. Forgive us.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Executive Chef Ivan Flowers, Top of the Market, San Diego
Segment Three: Chef Kelly Mullarney, Co-Owner, Bruxie
Segment Four: Chef Michael Puglisi, Proprietor, Electric City Butcher Shop
Segment Five: Lucy Lean, Co-Producer / Executive Director, All-Star Chef Classic at L.A. Live
Segment Six: Krys and Mike Cook, Co-Presidents, Cook Pigs Ranch, Julian Part One
Segment Seven: Krys and Mike Cook, Co-Presidents, Cook Pigs Ranch, Julian Part Two
Segment Eight: Jet Tila and Andy Harris on “The 14 Most Expensive Tasting Menus in America”

Show 56, January 11, 2013: Executive Chef Paul Bartolotta, Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, Las Vegas. Continues…

Bartollota Ristorante di MareThere is lots more to this fascinating story so Chef Paul Bartolotta of Bartollota Ristorante di Mare at Wynn Las Vegas continues with us.

The concept of the elegant restaurant on two levels with outdoor poolside cabanas is serving the very best of Mediterranean seafood flown in fresh daily from Italy and simply prepared. Through a network of skilled buyers overseas Chef Paul imports a ton and one-half of fresh seafood each week. There is also a live program. Spiny lobsters from Sicily, in season, are in live tanks in the kitchen!

The servers expertly debone the fish at tableside. It’s not unusual to see Paul on the floor touching tables and explaining his dishes.

This is what veteran Las Vegas restaurant journalist Max Jacobson has said about Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare : “The chef is both a fanatic and masterful technician, so expect perfection.”

Play

January 11: Jimmy Shaw, Paul Bartolotta, Kedric Francis, Jessica Gelt, Walter Manzke

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Jimmy Shaw, Founder and Executive Chef, Loteria! Grill Part One
Segment Three: Jimmy Shaw, Founder and Executive Chef, Loteria! Grill Part Two
Segment Four: Executive Chef Paul Bartolotta, Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, Las Vegas Part One
Segment Five: Executive Chef Paul Bartolotta, Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, Las Vegas Part Two
Segment Six: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor, Orange County Register Magazine, Coast Magazine
Segment Seven: Jessica Gelt, Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times
Segment Eight: Walter Manzke, Executive Chef & Proprietor, Rebublique

What's Cooking with Travis Rodgers and Jet TIla on AM830When you put our delightfully food obsessed morning show host, Travis Rodgers, together with Chef Jet Tila you know you’re going away entertained but really hungry. Be sure to catch their weekly feature, “What’s Cooking with Travis and Chef Jet Tila,” at 7:50 a.m. every Friday morning on AM 830 KLAA. It’s a feast for the ears…

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

If you crave authentic regional Mexican cuisine then you’ll want to hear Jimmy Shaw, the founder of Loteria! Grill. How about an award-winning celebrity chef from Chicago who was enticed by Steve Wynn to pull up stakes and move his family to Las Vegas so he could helm Mr. Wynn’s signature Italian seafood restaurant? That’s a story…You’ll also meet the executive chef and owner behind the hottest restaurant opening in Hollywood last year. It’s even located in a totally renovated historical building built by Charlie Chaplin.

All of that and lots more deliciousness on the “SoCal Restaurant Show.”

Jimmy Shaw of Loteria Grill and Torta CompanyWhen it comes to authentic regional Mexican cuisine few are as knowledgeable as Jimmy Shaw, the founder and executive chef of the popular Loteria! Grill Restaurants. He was born and raised in Mexico City

He started modestly with a graphically-interesting stand in a great location at The Original Farmers Market at Third & Fairfax. The locals were wowed. Since then full-service restaurants in Hollywood, Studio City, Santa Monica and Westlake Village have been added. Any moment now Downtown Los Angeles will launch at FIGat7th.

Next to Loteria! Downtown will be a new gourmet sandwich shop Jimmy is doing with his brother, Andrew. It’s the Torta Company.

Two Loteria! Grills will be coming soon to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX.)
Chef Jimmy provides us with the rich history of the Mexican sandwich and what is correct as far as bread is concerned. The bread needs to be crunchy on the outside and pillowy soft inside.

Torta Company will offer both traditional and contemporary sandwich variations. There will definitely be appealing vegetarian options, too, including a wild mushroom tinga.

Look for pulled pork, batter-fried snapper in a Veracruz tomato sauce, and turkey in mole. Also on the menu will be Chef Jimmy’s clever spin on a tuna torta.

Paul BartolottaPaul Bartolotta is one of the rarified, distinguished James Beard Award winning chefs who has an incredible destination restaurant at Wynn Las Vegas.

His Bartollota Ristorante di Mare opened with the hotel back in 2005 and is one of the most successful fine dining restaurants at the property.

It just underwent a multimillion dollar renovation because Steve Wynn thought it was time…Chef Paul observed that the facelift alone cost more than the opening cost of many restaurants!

Paul was one of the most acclaimed chefs in Chicago (Spiaggia) when Mr. Wynn came calling. With his Bartolotta Restaurants firm he operates a number of busy restaurants in Milwaukee. Paul recounts the humorous story of Mr. Wynn’s charming pursuit of Paul to head the restaurant at Wynn Las Vegas. Understand at the time (2004) Paul was based in Chicago with his Family. One of Mr. Wynn’s requirements was that each of his celebrity chefs at Wynn Las Vegas actually reside in Las Vegas.

There is lots more to this fascinating story so Chef Paul Bartolotta of Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare at Wynn Las Vegas continues with us.

The concept of the elegant restaurant is serving the very best of Mediterranean seafood flown in fresh daily from Italy and simply prepared. There is also a live program. Spiny lobsters from Sicily, in season, are in live tanks in the kitchen!

The servers expertly debone the fish at tableside. It’s not unusual to see Paul on the floor touching tables and explaining his dishes.

This is what veteran Las Vegas restaurant journalist Max Jacobson has said about Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare : “The chef is both a fanatic and masterful technician, so expect perfection.”

Kedric Francis of Coast Magazine and the Orange County Register MagazineOur favorite debonair man about Orange County, Kedric Francis, is back with us for a dining report from his recent stay in Cancun. Kedric is the well-traveled Executive Editor of both Coast Magazine and The Orange County Register Magazine.

Kedric stayed at the 274 room, all-suite, Nizuc Resort & Spa in Cancun secluded a bit away from the tourist zone on a cove. It’s on the grounds of the former presidential retreat. Lots of water…

There are six tempting dining options there so Kedric opted to never leave the property during his visit.

Ni is the Peruvian restaurant. Kedric particularly enjoyed their ceviches.

Indochine is an Asian-fusion spot. Recommended is the sushi and deep-fried Grouper.

Of course they need to have a wonderful Mexican restaurant. That’s Ramona overlooking the beach. It’s modern versions of regional recipes using local produce and spices.

Los Angeles Times Travel ShowThe 16th Annual Los Angeles Times Travel show returns to the West Hall of the L.A. Convention Center on January 18 & 19. Los Angeles Times Staff Writer, Jessica Gelt, is with us to preview her activities at the show.

Gelt has written extensively about food, nightlife, entertainment and travel for The Times. She sometimes combines a few different beats within one entertaining story.

She is moderating two sessions of the same panel, “On the Road : Traveling for Music & Festivals” both days at Noon on the LA Times Stage.

Jessica also shared some insider tips about finding the best food at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. It helps to have VIP access…

Walter ManzkeOne of the most eagerly awaited restaurant openings of 2013 was Republique in Hollywood located on the site of the former trendsetting Campanile which opened in 1989. The architecturally significant building goes back to 1929 when it was constructed as Charlie Chaplin’s offices.

The project is owned by the husband and wife chef team of Walter Manzke and Margarita Manzke along with restaurant impresario Bill Chait. Chef Walter is well-know to L.A. foodies from his time at Patina, Bastide and Church and State. Chef Walter joins us to talk about the first month of operation.

The cuisine is contemporary French with an oyster bar up front. Chef Walter’s particular pride is what comes out of the wood burning oven and rotisserie.

Recently opened is the bakery café for breakfast, brunch and lunch on the go.

The restaurant is still not fully open. It’s expanding service in stages.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Jimmy Shaw, Founder and Executive Chef, Loteria! Grill Part One
Segment Three: Jimmy Shaw, Founder and Executive Chef, Loteria! Grill Part Two
Segment Four: Executive Chef Paul Bartolotta, Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, Las Vegas Part One
Segment Five: Executive Chef Paul Bartolotta, Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, Las Vegas Part Two
Segment Six: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor, Orange County Register Magazine, Coast Magazine
Segment Seven: Jessica Gelt, Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times
Segment Eight: Walter Manzke, Executive Chef & Proprietor, Rebublique

September 21: Thai Food Fest preview with Susan Feniger, Kajsa Alger, David LeFevre

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Paul Greive, Farmer & Founder, Primal Pastures, Temecula Part One
Segment Three: Paul Greive, Farmer & Founder, Primal Pastures, Temecula Part Two
Segment Four: Executive Chef David LeFevre of Fishing with Dynamite
Segment Five: Celebrity Chef Susan Feniger, Proprietress of Susan Feniger’s Street
Segment Six: Kajsa (Sasha) Alger, Executive Chef and Partner, Susan Feniger’s Street
Segment Seven: Steve Samson and Zach Pollack, Co-Executive Chefs / Partners, Sotto Restaurant
Segment Eight: Neal Fraser, Executive Chef / Owner of bld

Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris preview the show.

Thai 2013 Food FestivalMark Sunday afternoon, September 29th on your calendar. Our very own Jet Tila is hosting the Thai 2013 Food Festival at Paramount Pictures Studios in the heart of Hollywood. It starts at 3:00 p.m.

Celebrity chefs from around the country and outstanding local Thai chefs will be there presenting their signature dishes for the guests to sample and enjoy. Entertainment will include music, Thai dancers and fruit carving.

VIP and Regular Tickets are now on sale!

Primal Pastures“Farmer Paul” Greive, the co-founder with his in-laws, of Primal Pastures in Temecula is with us. Primal Pastures is a pastured, “beyond organic and sustainable” livestock farm.

They just funded an amazing Kickstarter campaign to bankroll their expansion. The goal was to raise $40,000. Instead they realized $57,810.

They have recently leased over 200 acres of pastureland to expand.

“Our vision is to establish a “permaculture” – a system that effectively models the natural ecosystem with many varieties of plants and animals acting in synergy with one another on one farm. There are beautiful things that happen when cattle and sheep are incorporated with chickens, turkeys, and ducks.”

Chef David LeFevre of M.B. Post in Manhattan BeachExecutive Chef David LeFevre (ex-Water Grill) of the acclaimed Manhattan Beach Post and Fishing with Dynamite joins us.

Fishing with Dynamite in Manhattan Beach is his latest venture. It’s only 40 seats. The oyster bar is already enormously popular. They will serve some 300 to 700 oysters on a given day.

Chef LeFevre will be participating in the upcoming Thai Food Festival. He previews his dish for September 29th.

Susan Feniger of Border Grill and Susan Feniger's StreetSusan Feniger of Susan Feniger’s Street and Border Grill fame needs no introduction to listeners of the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” She was also one of the early super stars of Food Network with her business partner Mary Sue Milliken in the long running “Too Hot Tamales” series.

Susan Feniger’s Street will be a featured restaurant in the upcoming Thai Food Festival.

There are lots of Thai items on the regular Street menu.

The dish they are showcasing at the festival is Khao Gee, a Northeastern Thai snack.

Kajsa Alger of Susan Feniger's StreetKajsa Alger is the executive chef and partner for Susan Feniger’s Street.

As a teenager she snuck into the kitchen at CITY restaurant to begin an informal apprenticeship. That was the start of her long association with Susan and Mary Sue. She eventually rose to the post of Corporate Chef for all of Mary Sue and Susan’s restaurants.

She was on the Street project since the inception. There was months of intense recipe testing before the opening in 2009.

Kajsa is particularly proud of the Saturday and Sunday brunch menu they are offering until the end of the month. It’s an “All You Can Eat” small plate brunch with breakfast items as well as sandwiches and salads. It’s a modest $25 per guest and for an additional $15 you can partake of bottomless sparkling cocktails.

Steve Samson and Zach Pollack of SottoSteve Samson and Zach Pollack are the Executive Chefs and co-owners of Sotto near Century City in Los Angeles. They have an incredible wood-burning pizza oven that is from Sicily that was installed by Italian craftsmen. Orange County foodies remember them as the opening culinary team for highly-regarded Pizzeria Ortica.

In-mid-August they were the only Los Angeles chefs to be invited by Chef Javier Plascencia (the Wolfgang Puck of Northern Baja) to join with acclaimed San Diego chefs to prepare a seven-course, wine-paired meal at Chef Javier’s ranch, Finca Altozano, located in the Guadalupe Valley, Mexico’s premier wine region. Each course was matched with an appropriate Baja wine from the local region. This was one event as part of a bigger annual vintners’ festival.

Steve’s and Zach’s dish was a beautiful spit-roasted lamb loin.

Restaurateur Javier Plascencia has Romesco in Bonita in the United States and multiple restaurants in Tijuana including Mision 19 and Caesar’s Restaurante Bar (where the original Caesar Salad was created.)

Neal Fraser of bld and RedbirdExecutive Chef Neal Fraser of bld joins us.

Chef Fraser is a contestant on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” this season. He comments on the ups and downs he experienced as a competitor. He observed that it’s a lot harder than he anticipated. That’s significant given that he previously bested an Iron Chef on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America”.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Paul Greive, Farmer & Founder, Primal Pastures, Temecula Part One
Segment Three: Paul Greive, Farmer & Founder, Primal Pastures, Temecula Part Two
Segment Four: Executive Chef David LeFevre of Fishing with Dynamite
Segment Five: Celebrity Chef Susan Feniger, Proprietress of Susan Feniger’s Street
Segment Six: Kajsa (Sasha) Alger, Executive Chef and Partner, Susan Feniger’s Street
Segment Seven: Steve Samson and Zach Pollack, Co-Executive Chefs / Partners, Sotto Restaurant
Segment Eight: Neal Fraser, Executive Chef / Owner of bld

On the horizon for Chef Neal is a bld at LAX in the United Terminal and a casual ice cream, donuts, and coffee café.

Show 5: November 10, 2012: Piero Selvaggio of Valentino Restaurtant

Piero Salvaggio of Valentino Restaurant in Santa Monica, Houston and Las VegasVery few fine dining restaurants in Los Angeles survive for 5 years so an establishment which is celebrating 40 years of success under the same ownership is real news! Such is the case with Valentino in Santa Monica under the watchful eye of L.A.’s consummate and most gracious host, Piero Selvaggio.

Unbelievably after 40 years Piero still can’t wait for the doors to open nightly at Valentino so he can greet and seat his loyal guests. That’s the art of hospitality.

Valentino’s remarkable wine cellar is known and respected internationally. It’s one of the most comprehensive in the United States with some 1,200 selections and 70,000 bottles!
November 14th is the “Forty Years, Forty Dishes and Forty Wines at Valentino” Anniversary Dinner. Executive Chef Nico Chessa and Pastry Chef Allessandro Stroppa will collaborate with guest chefs Celestino Drago and Steve Samson. The menu of 40 courses and 40 wines (small bites and 2 oz. wine pours) will be inspired by the cuisine of Sicily’s most revered chef, Ciccio Sultano, to commemorate the 40 years of Valentino and the dishes of Sardinia and Sicily, Piero’s birthplace.

December 4th is the “Valentino 40th Anniversary While Truffle Dinner and Celebration.” The evening features Walter Ferretto of the multi-starred Cascinale Nuovo in Asti, Piedmonte along with Valentino alumni chefs Luciano Pellegrini, Angolo Auriana, Davide Giova and Valentino Executive Chef Nico Chessa and Pastry Chef Alessandro Stroppa. This ultimate white truffle dinner with 10 courses includes a course with white truffles freshly harvested the night before and hand carried by Ferretto from Asti. The menu will feature signature dishes from the history of Valentino created by the alumni chefs.

Play