August 19: The Cooking Ladies, Wine Exchange, Melissa’s Hatch Chiles, Blinking Owl Distillery

Now a tantalizing preview of this Saturday’s bubbling over show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case, upon careful reflection, that’s probably a pretty good thing…

Travel journalists and chefs Phyllis Hinz and Lamont Mackay have taken on a new life chapter as the well-traveled, “The Cooking Ladies.”

The pair of RV-travel companions have decades of culinary wisdom behind them and thousands of miles of blacktop in the rear-view mirror. Their entertaining new cookbook and travel journal is On The Road With The Cooking Ladies – Let’s Get Grilling. We’ll meet them.

Time to pull the cork on another installment of accessible wine wisdom from our resident (and down-to-earth) wine authority Kyle Meyer, the Managing Partner of Wine Exchange. What wines pair best with SoCal’s engagingly eclectic varieties of cuisine including Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese and Mexican? Think lightly fruity wines. Also, the new Spanish and Italian whites matched with seafood. A myriad of appealing possibilities…

Hatch Chile season is upon us! Fresh Hatch Chiles, grown only in the Mesilla Valley of New Mexico, are available for just a few short weeks each year in August and September. Many connoisseurs consider them the world’s tastiest chiles. Melissa’s World Variety Produce has led the charge in popularizing the coveted Hatch Chiles and developing many great recipes using them. Their Corporate Chef, Ida Rodriguez, joins us to discuss the joys of Hatch Chile season. Chef Ida grew up with Hatch Chiles.

Santa 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.

Our always on-the-go show Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, has been on the road extensively since he was last in-studio. The ambitious itinerary was production for Food Network, New Jersey, New York, London, Orlando, Washington, D.C. and now a new Slapfish opening in Sandy, Utah. We’ll reel him in from the kitchen for a visit.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s show!

Phyllis Hinz and Lamont Mackay are the Cooking LadiesAccomplished travel journalists and chefs, Phyllis Hinz and Lamont Mackay. have taken on a new life chapter as the well-traveled “The Cooking Ladies.”

The pair of RV-travel companions have decades of culinary wisdom behind them and thousands of miles of blacktop in the rear-view mirror. Their entertaining new cookbook and travel journal is On The Road With The Cooking Ladies – Let’s Get Grilling. We’ll meet them.

In Let’s Get Grilling, The Cooking Ladies set their GPS coordinates to North America’s greatest grilling destinations, with over a hundred ready-to-grill recipes inspired by their travels. The Cooking Ladies highlight North American grilling cuisine at its finest. It’s a testament to the people and places that make this food all that it can be.

Interspersed with freewheeling tales of life on the road, Let’s Get Grilling maps out easy-to-follow directions for preparing the best smoked meats, grilled veggies, cookout staples, and much more.

The book chronicles their latest adventure, collecting tales of culinary and cultural encounters from roadhouses to back country smoke pits, with recipes that pay tribute to the do-it-yourself spirit of the classic North American cookout.

Having surveyed a whole continent of grilling ideas, The Cooking Ladies encourage readers to expand their own horizons with regional specialties like Hot Brown and Brined Turkey Breast or Loco Moco, alongside dozens of unbeatable recipes for ribs, roasts, chicken wings, pork loin, grilled veggies, and much, much more.

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeTime to pull the cork on another installment of accessible wine wisdom from our resident (and down-to-earth) wine authority Kyle Meyer, the Managing Partner of Wine Exchange. What wines pair best with SoCal’s engagingly eclectic varieties of cuisine including Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese and Mexican? Think lightly fruity wines.

Also, the new Spanish and Italian whites matched with seafood. A myriad of appealing possibilities…

Chef Ida Rodriquez of Melissas World Variety ProduceHatch Chile season is upon us! Fresh Hatch Chiles, grown only in the Mesilla Valley of New Mexico, are available for just a few short weeks each year in August and September. Many connoisseurs consider them the world’s tastiest chiles.

Once roasted, Hatch Chiles are easy to peel and seed. Roasting heightens the robust earthy flavor of the chiles and the texture of the thick walls of the chile pod becomes lusciously rich. These unique qualities, and the pepper’s variable heat (unlike other chile peppers, Hatch Chiles come in varieties that cover the full spectrum of heat levels) have earned Hatch Chiles great popularity far beyond the local community of Hatch, New Mexico.

Melissa’s World Variety Produce has led the charge in popularizing the coveted Hatch Chiles and developing many great recipes using them. From now through mid-September Melissa’s will be sponsoring weekend Hatch Chile Roasting parties at area supermarkets including at select Gelson’s and Bristol Farms. Check the Melissa’s website for locations, dates and times.

Melissa’s Corporate Chef, Ida Rodriguez, joins us to discuss the joys of Hatch Chile season.

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.

BLINKING OWL VODKA
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.”

BLINKING OWL
OC ORANGE
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.”

BLINKING OWL AQUAVIT
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 mid 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).”

Andrew and William GruelOur always on-the-go show Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, has been on the road extensively since he was last in-studio. The ambitious itinerary was production for Food Network, New Jersey, New York, London, Orlando, Washington, D.C. and now a new Slapfish opening in Sandy, Utah.

We’ll reel him in from the Slapfish kitchen in Sandy, Utah for a visit. (This is actually the 2nd Slapfish in Utah.)

Show 230, July 1, 2017: Chef Andrew Gruel

Andrew and William GruelOur own Chef Andrew Gruel is on the road again but in the holiday spirit we have him for a few moments by phone. No doubt he’ll have helpful some 4th of July cooking tips for us as well as an insider’s report from the Slapfish booth at last Weekend’s inaugural Arroyo Seco Weekend festival in Pasadena adjacent to the, and in, Rose Bowl. There was some great food and beverages available out there!

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Show 226, June 3, 2017: 5th Annual Tacolandia Preview with “Tacorazza” Bill Esparza (The Street Gourmet)

Bill EsparzaThe madness that is LA Weekly’s 5th Annual Tacolandia presented by Tabasco returns on Saturday, June 17th at El Pueblo de Los Angeles with over 120 taco vendors from California, Mexico and beyond. The best-of-the-best tacos represented are personally selected by Street Gourmet’s Bill Esparza, known as the Tacorazza.

Visitors get to enjoy unlimited tastes of these signature tacos. Some are from prized family recipes that have been around for generations. The taco fiesta is paired with some thirst-quenching, ice-cold beer and margaritas.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel will be there with Slapfish. Thinking a lobster taco.

It’s Los Angeles’ largest ticketed taco festival and it continues to grow each year.

VIP is, unfortunately, already sold-out!

We’ll talk taco with Senor Bill.

Bill Esparza is back on the show on June 24th talking about his new book, L.A. Mexicano with a foreward by OC Weekly’s Editor, Gustavo Arellano.

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Show 217, April 1, 2017: Executive Chef Andrew Gruel

Andrew and William GruelTime to catch-up with our always on the run Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish. He’s been in “Silicon Flats”, Utah opening the first Slapfish located outside of California. Do the locals appreciate fresh seafood in Lehi, Utah? You bet…

Also, a spirited discussion of a controversial topic…the basic Tuna Melt. Seems to be no middle ground in the appreciation (or lack thereof) of this staple item…Thoughts on what appropriately goes into the tuna salad (along with the tuna) and then what’s the perfect bread. You’ll be surprised ?

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Show 215, March 18, 2017: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris

Now a scrumptious preview of this Saturday’s over-stuffed show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a pretty good thing…

When it comes to personable characters on the Long Beach dining scene Rick Reich of Brix at The Shore in Belmont Shore wears the befitting crown. It’s a taste of the Big Apple with its iconic, piled-high pastrami sandwiches, intimate wine bar ambiance and a standout rotating selection of craft beer. And then, there is Rick…

The expansive Thursday evening Sunset Market in Downtown Oceanside is the weekly gathering spot for up to 8,000 locals. Top quality food stands with appealing cuisine from around the globe are one of the primary attractions. Kim Heim from Main Street Oceanside is our informed tour guide.

Known for presenting extraordinary seasonal tasting menus, Executive Chef Craig Strong has introduced a new Vegetarian Tasting Menu at Studio at Montage Laguna Beach. The new tasting menu, now offered at the Laguna Beach free-standing, ocean-view restaurant, highlights the restaurant’s 1,000-square-foot raised bed garden with dishes that play on classic French specialties made deliciously vegetarian. We pull Chef Strong out of his amazingly-equipped kitchen for a brief chat.

When it comes to star chefs and high-profile Food TV personalities in Canada the top of the class is surely Vancouver’s Chef Vikram Vij. He has introduced the joy of Indian flavors to tens of thousands of fortunate Canadians since he debuted the original (no-reservations) Vij’s in 1994. We’ll meet the incredible Chef Vikram.

Passover and Easter are on the immediate horizon. For serious home cooks that means a family table of ham and/or lamb for Easter, and lamb for Passover. Our resident meats experts (The heralded “Meatheads” from West Coast Prime Meats, Terry & Jay) have some practical advice and cooking tips for us.

Belmont Shore, Long Beach restaurant Roe Seafood (Owner / Chef Art Gonzalez) will host an “Electric Fundraiser” to benefit Farm Lot 59 on Wednesday, March 22nd from 4 – 7p.m. The food and cocktail-centric event is open to the public and proceeds will fund the non-profit Farm Lot 59’s efforts to bring much needed electricity to the property. Chef Art and Farmer Sasha Kanno of Long Beach’s Farm Lot 59 join us.

All of this deliciousness and heaping cups of much more incredible food talk on today’s show!

Chef Andrew Gruel has just debuted a new Slapfish in Silicon Flats, Utah and will be back with us very soon.

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Show 214, March 11, 2017: Robert Schueller, Prince of Produce, Melissa’s World Variety Produce Part One

Robert Schueller of Melissa's World Variety Produce in the AM830 KLAA StudioOur resident Produce Guru, Robert Schueller of Melissa’s, joins us with his first, of two, segments today. He’s now telling us about the recently concluded International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) annual conference in Louisville and then providing an overview of the 2017 Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival which is on now through April 16th in Anaheim.

Robert and Melissa’s Executive Chef Ida Rodriguez will be conducting two Cooking Lessons as part of Disney’s California Adventure’s Food & Wine Festival. On Friday afternoon, March 24th at 2:00 p.m., Robert & Chef Ida are cooking up “Amazing Potatoes with Melissa’s Produce.” Then on Saturday, March 25th at 4:00 p.m. they are encoring the “Amazing Potatoes with Melissa’s” presentation.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel is also performing three Culinary Demonstrations at the Food & Wine Festival. The first, representing Slapfish is Friday, March 17th @ 2:00 p.m. Next Chef Andrew is hosting a Butterleaf (Trade in Irvine) demo at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, March 31st. Lastly, it’s a demo spotlighting Two Birds (Trade in Irvine) at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday April 15th.

Our good friend Chef Jet Tila (Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen with Alton Brown) conducts an entertaining Celebrity Chef Cooking Demo on Saturday, April 15th from 6 to 7:00 p.m. in the Festival Showplace, Stage 17 in Hollywood Land (with an added $99 per person admission fee.)

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Show 205, January 7, 2017: Executive Chef & Founder Andrew Gruel, Slapfish Restaurant Group

Andrew Gruel at the AM830 KLAA StudiosChef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group is our resident hospitality industry expert. He’s a real working chef. We’re continuing his report on possible significant Restaurant Industry Trends for 2017.

We’ll add to the ongoing conversation about “Hospitality Included.” At Slapfish the back of the house staff justifiably shares in the gratuity pool.

Also, what’s hot (or cold) in beverages?

This morning Chef Andrew is at his newest Slapfish in the Outlets at San Clemente. It’s the Official Opening Day!

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Show 205, January 7, 2017: Executive Chef & Founder Andrew Gruel, Slapfish Restaurant Group Continues…

Andrew and William GruelChef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group is our resident hospitality industry expert. He’s a real working chef. We’re continuing his report on possible significant Restaurant Industry Trends for 2017. We’ll add to the continuing conversation about “Hospitality Included.”

Also, what’s hot (or cold) in beverages? What’s the next “cold-brewed coffee”? Chef Andrew prognosticates that it may be tea.

Stay tuned…

This morning Chef Andrew is at his newest Slapfish in the Outlets at San Clemente. It’s the Official Opening Day!

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Show 199, November 26, 2016: Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish Restaurant Group – Holiday Entertaining

Andrew and William GruelChef Andrew Gruel thankfully rescued us from potential Thanksgiving kitchen disasters with reliable information from a real, working chef.

Now it’s on to December Holiday entertaining and the stakes are equally high. Is the Boss and spouse perhaps coming over for a Holiday Party?

Chef Andrew has more practical and inspired Holiday cooking tips aplenty to share…

A great suggestion is to serve your Holiday meal courses Family-style instead of individually plating every course. It’s more interactive for the guests and saves time and space. Keep your guests involved.

For inspiration please take a look at Chef Andrew’s Facebook Live presentation on preparing stuffing. As you might guess there could be a seafood ingredient in the stuffing. It’s “Talking Thanksgiving Stuffing.”

The video also highlights his December Slapfish program of “giving back” benefiting the grass-roots Bracken’s Kitchen. Nothing more worthy at Holiday time than getting local people in need (children, too) fed nourishing food.

 

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Show 198, November 19, 2016: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish Restaurant Group

Andrew and William GruelExecutive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Brea, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, LAX, Irvine at UCI and, most recently, The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for Rams and USC Football, is back as today’s Guest Host. San Clemente is launching next. In May in Chicago during the National Restaurant Association’s annual conclave he received Nation’s Restaurant News’ Trendsetter MenuMaster Award for Slapfish.

Now an enticing preview of Saturday’s full-measure show and not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s actually a pretty good thing…

Rachel Hollis, popular blogger and founder of The Chic Site has a new swoon-worthy cookbook out, Upscale DownHome: Family Recipes all Gussied Up. It’s the best in Guy Comfort Food that’s sure to impress at both family suppers and the fanciest dinner parties. Rachel joins us with a tasty preview.

Thanksgiving dinner is upon us. If you’re cooking the Thanksgiving feast at home it can be a stressful time. To the rescue comes our own Chef Andrew Gruel, a real working chef. He has some useful tips for preparing the Thanksgiving meal with a minimum of aggravation.

Over the course of her incredible baking career, Dorie Greenspan (a 3-time James Beard Award-winner) has created more than 300 cookie recipes. Yet she has never written a book about them—until now. To merit her “three purple stars of approval,” every cookie had to be so special that it begged to be made again and again. Just in time for the Holidays is Dorie’s Cookies. It’s perhaps the next best thing to enjoying a warm from the oven decadent chocolate chip cookie!

Grass-fed beef is of the moment right now. Is it really better than the traditional corn-fed beef? What is the difference in flavor once the beef is cooked? The Meatheads from West Cost Prime Meats (Jay Henderson and Terry Hanks) are back to enlighten us.

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

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