Show 215, March 18, 2017: Kim Heim, Main Street Oceanside, Sunset Market

Kim HeimThe expansive Thursday evening Sunset Market in Downtown Oceanside is the weekly gathering spot for up to 8,000 locals. Eighty-eight top quality food stands featuring appealing ethnic cuisine from around the globe are one of the primary attractions. (There is little duplication of menu items between food stands.)

Think of an intriguing mix of everything from Chicago Polish pierogis to wild caught salmon that is eye-catchingly fire-roasted in front of you on oak planks. Then, for dessert, there are the incredible Atsuko’s Japanese Cakes, an unusual taste experience with exotic natural flavors.

Southern California has attracted people from all over the world and is renowned for its diversity which is reflected in the distinctive international food offerings of the Sunset Market.

Kim Heim from Main Street Oceanside is our informed tour guide.

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Show 181, July 23, 2016: Chef Alex Chen, Boulevard Kitchen, Vancouver, B.C.

Alex Chen of Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster BarRichmond, British Columbia is an incorporated city of 210,000 residents just South of Vancouver. 65 per cent of the residents are Asian and half of that group is of Chinese ancestry. It’s known for having some of the most authentic regional Chinese cuisine outside of China.

It’s home to Vancouver International Airport and the iconic Richmond Olympic Oval. It’s nestled where the Pacific Ocean and the mighty Fraser River meet. Richmond is a thriving multicultural destination city offering a growing range of cultural, heritage, culinary and leisure experiences.

The “SoCal Restaurant Show” was recently on assignment in Richmond B.C. Joining us to further delve into the vibrant Richmond food scene is Vancouver’s acclaimed Chef Alex Chen (ex-Beverly Hills Hotel.) Chef Chen is an enthusiastic resident of Richmond. He is currently the respected chef at Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar in Vancouver.

Where does Chef Chen eat on his time away from Boulevard Kitchen? He particularly enjoys the Chinese street food in Richmond. Cantonese specialties are at the top of the list but he savors food discoveries from all eight principal culinary regions of China. They are all represented in Richmond.

We talk about some of his favorites including HK BBQ Master. Pass the tea, please…

 

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Show 150, December 12, 2015: Anita Lau, Mad Hungry Woman Blogger

Anita Lau of Mad Hungry WomanAnita Lau is better known to regular listeners of the “SoCal Restaurant Show” as the Mad Hungry Woman blogger. She was living in Hong Kong in the 90s before the turnover by the British to China. Anita was just back to Hong Kong for a 3-week visit. We’ll get a insider’s view of the dining scene there during the glory days of the British and now under Chinese authority.

Anita will fill us in on the impact of Michelin Stars in Hong Kong and also the best street food. Michelin in now even rating “Street Food” which seems a bit odd.

Anita notes that the big deal celebrity chefs are opening high-profile restaurants in Hong Kong. Gordon Ramsay is already there and Anita crossed paths with Chris Cosentino of “Top Chef Masters” fame there, too.

We’ll also get the morsel-by-morsel details of her favorite dining experience of the trip. It’s French and elegant…Go to her blog to read her full review of EPURE. Beautiful food photography of the meal, too.

Born in Hong Kong and now living in Orange County, California, Anita Lau is an international author and writer who has lived in Malaysia, Australia, Nebraska, Oregon, San Francisco and also, Hawaii. Her obsession with food began at an early age but it wasn’t until her early 20s when her experimentation with cooking led her to start a small catering business which she would run in her spare time while at college in Australia.

 

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Show 140, October 3, 2015: ADYA – Fresh Indian Flavors and Executive Chef Shachi Mehra

Shachi MehraExecutive Chef Shachi Mehra is the co-proprietor of ADYA – Fresh Indian Flavors in the Packing House in Anaheim. At the recent Golden Foodie Awards ADYA was one of three distinguished nominees for Best Indian Cuisine. We’ll find out from Chef Shachi herself what restaurant was awarded the coveted honor.

“At ADYA, we showcase the flavorful street food of India. Our inspiration comes from the multitude of bright flavors and textures representing the diversity of India itself. Working with our local farmers, growers and purveyors, we strive to use local, organic, biodynamic ingredients whenever possible. Combining these with modern creative and classic Indian styles of cooking, we present food that balances the bounty of California with the bold flavors and spices of India. The carefully curated wine list and rotating craft beer list complement our vibrant flavors and casual style. Our team’s passion for hospitality comes through with each bite, every sip and with every smiling interaction.”

Shachi grew up surrounded by good food and learned early the importance of eating seasonally during her annual summer trips to her native India. Her mother was an exceptional cook, and as a young girl, Shachi spent many a moment sitting on the counter, as the ‘official taste tester’ of the house. Growing up in New Jersey, Shachi had her share of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as well as traditional Indian foods; this crossing of two cultures from her youth carries in to her work now and allows her the ability to see things from different perspectives and bridge the gap between perception and reality of Indian food.

As a chef, Mehra believes in creating innovative and thoughtful menus that tastefully balance a variety of flavors and makes cuisines appealing to a range of tastes. She is also an ardent supporter of local farmers and sustainable practices.

A second ADYA is in the works. Location and timeframe are under securely wraps at the moment. We’ll keep after Chef Shachi for the future details…

Look for her interactive “Learn To Create” monthly cooking classes at ADYA. It’s the home cooks’ guide to quick, easy Indian dishes. The next class is Saturday, November 7th. It’s Indian Thanksgiving dishes for the American table. Do I hear tandoori turkey?

 

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Show 137, September 5, 2015: The Halal Guys, Thomas Pham, SoCal Franchisee

Halal GuysAfter 25 years in business, The Halal Guys are expanding from New York’s City’s most popular food cart to its first West Coast brick-and-mortar fast casual location in Costa Mesa (opening soon). They expect to launch 5 SoCal locations by the end of the year. That’s ambitious…

In New York the cart is famous for “The Never-Ending Line.” Well-known for its gyro sandwiches, chicken-and-rice platters and mystery white sauce, The Halal Guys menu offers a mix of various Middle Eastern dishes.

The Halal Guys grew from its humble beginnings as a food cart on the streets of New York City to a global icon known as the largest American halal street food concept in the world. This Manhattan-based landmark was created by three like-minded men from Egypt who came to America in search of a lucrative life.

When Mohamed Abouelenein, Ahmed Elsaka and Abdelbaset Elsayed noticed many Muslim cab drivers in New York were looking for a place to buy meals in Manhattan, they created their first food cart and quickly grew into a leading tourist and native New Yorker destination for American Halal fare.

In 2013, The Halal Guys were ranked the most popular food truck reviewed on FourSquare and the third most Yelped restaurant in the United States in 2014.

The area franchisee for SoCal, Thomas Pham, joins us.

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Show 136, August 29, 2015: Sameer Suri, Los Angeles Correspondent, InsideHook

Sameer SuriThe well-traveled Sameer Suri, raised in Los Angeles, is emblematic of the new breed of young writers covering lifestyle. He’s one of the Los Angeles correspondents for InsideHook, a daily, editorial e-mail newsletter to “inspire driven men.” It covers culture, food & drink and travel.

In true Hollywood style Sameer is also a stand-up comedian. He’s performed at a variety of clubs around town, including the Laugh Factory and Flappers Burbank.

As a student in the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, Sameer had the unusual opportunity to spend a semester in London.

We’ll chat about the newly vibrant London food scene. Surprisingly Sameer suggests that the best street food Fish & Chips these days is in Dublin. Now trending on London’s street food scene is Doner Kebabs.

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Show 136, August 29, 2015: Tom Gordon, The Pepper Project

The Pepper ProjectTom Gordon’s and Cris Petersen’s The Pepper Project promotes U.S. importation of fine Kampot pepper as a way to support Cambodians and the country’s economy. It’s a great pepper that was used in the finest French restaurants during the colonial era.

They have partnered with Expedia to organize and host The Pepper Project’s Insider’s Tour of Cambodia in late February of 2016. It is 13 days of high adventure from insiders who really know the relatively unexplored territory.

Highlights include a chef’s dinner at Charcoal restaurant in Siem Reap where the cocktails are mixed tableside as well as many of the specialty dishes prepared & served at the table. Also included is a carefully curated tasting tour of the best of local street food transported in tuk tucks.

We’ll get the inside information from Tom Gordon.

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August 9: Jimmy Shaw, FoodGPS, Richard Foss, AlXimia Vino Elemental Winery, CremaCafe, David and Lesley Jacobs Solmonson, Golden Foodies

Podcasts

Segment One: Guest Host Chef Jimmy Shaw and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris preview the show
Segment Two: Chef Jimmy Shaw of Loteria! Grill and The Torta Co.
Segment Three: Food GPS Fried Chicken Festival, Chinatown
Segment Four: Food Historian & Author Richard Foss
Segment Five: Manuel Alvarez of AlXimia Vino Elemental Winery
Segment Six: Tarit Tanjasiri of CremaCafe & Bakery
Segment Seven: The 12 Bottle Bar
Segment Eight: The Golden Foodies

Guest Host Chef Jimmy Shaw of Loteria! Grill restaurants and Producer Andy preview the show.

Chef Jimmy Shaw of Loteria! Grill is with us. He brought the rich Mexican Street Food of his native Mexico City to Los Angeles. Keep in mind that Los Angeles is the 2nd largest Mexican City in the World. It all started in 2002 with a modest stand in the Original Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax in Los Angeles.

Chef Jimmy Shaw educates us on the ample Mexican sandwich, The Torta. He also talks about stocking Mexican ingredients in your home pantry.

Josh Lurie of Food GPS is at it again with delectable food and beverage events. The 3rd Annual Food GPS Fried Chicken Festival is set for Sunday afternoon, August 17th in Chinatown’s historic Central Plaza.

The Museum of the American Cocktail (based in New Orleans at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum) is presenting an evening of cocktails, food, and entertainment featuring (the always entertaining) culinary historian and author Richard Foss on August 18th at 6:30 p.m. at Roxanne’s Lounge in Long Beach. The presentation is : “Dry With a Twist: A Liquid Lesson in How Prohibition Changed America.”

One of the most important wine regions in Mexico is the Valle de Guadalupe located about an hour and one-half South of Tijuana. The best of these wines are slowly finding their way North to Southern California. Manuel Alvarez of AlXimia Vino Elemental winery joins us from the Valle de Guadalupe with his Family’s story.

Tarit Tanjasiri is the baker/proprietor of the revered CremaCafe in Seal Beach. It started as a small breakfast and lunch spot. Tarit couldn’t source a bread for his sandwiches that satisfied him so he added an adjacent production bakery. We’ll meet him.

“A new kind of cocktail book, The 12 Bottle Bar, distills the craft cocktail movement for the home bar. Irresistibly uncomplicated, just 12 bottles create over 200 distinct and seasonal cocktails, including beer and wine cocktails.” The husband-and-wife authors are with us.

Orange County’s answer to the prestigious, red carpet awards shows is The Golden Foodies. Voting has started for this year in the first group of categories and the public is invited to vote for their favorite restaurants and related categories. Good luck to all…

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

Jimmy Shaw of Loteria Grill and Torta CompanyChef Jimmy Shaw of Loteria! Grill is with us. He brought the rich Mexican Street Food of his native Mexico City to Los Angeles. Keep in mind that Los Angeles is the 2nd largest Mexican City in the World. It all started in 2002 with a modest stand in the Original Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax in Los Angeles.

There are now Loteria! Grill restaurants in Hollywood, Studio, City, Westlake Village, Santa Monica and Downtown at Fig at 7th.

“Lotería! Grill has grown from the open-air stall at the Farmers Market to become a nationally renowned group of restaurants that offer a casually elegant, fun and relaxed atmosphere in which to enjoy everything from a refreshing agua fresca or margarita to award-winning, delicious regional specialties and slowly cooked guisos served with handmade corn tortillas.  Favorites like the Chicharrón de Queso, and the Probaditas, a mini-taco sampler of our signature guisos, have their guests coming back frequently for more.”

Chef Jimmy Shaw educates us on the ample Mexican sandwich, the Torta. He also talks about stocking Mexican ingredients as part of your regular home pantry.

Joshua Lurie of Food GPSJosh Lurie of Food GPS is at it again with delectable food and beverage events. The 3rd Annual Food GPS Fried Chicken Festival Presented by Bolthouse Farms is set for Sunday afternoon, August 17th in Chinatown’s historic Central Plaza. Hours are 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

This all-inclusive, chef-focused event includes some of L.A.’s best chefs preparing unique fried chicken dishes and complimentary sides. Additionally, there are an array of delicious desserts (Valerie Confections) and beverages.

Participating chef Jesse Furman (Free Range LA) and Josh Lurie of Food GPS preview the Festival.

Dry with a Twist: A Liquid Lesson in How Prohibition Changed AmericaThe Exhibition Room at Roxanne’s Cocktail Lounge & Latin Grill, Long Beach’s “hidden speakeasy,” hosts the next edition of Touring the Cocktail: MOTAC Los Angeles, a liquid lesson in how Prohibition changed America. Come out for an evening of culture and cocktails, costumes and music! Dress as a flapper, bootlegger, moonshiner, or temperance crusader (no hatchets please, ladies). There will be prizes for the best costume, giveaways, and more!

Whether you were a regular tippler or never let a drop of alcohol past your lips, Prohibition affected every American’s life. Dining options, dating habits, vacation choices, and perhaps most infamously, the attitude of citizens toward law enforcement, were forever altered by the temperance movement’s short-lived crowning achievement. Even so, most Americans don’t really understand who we were before that great experiment, how Prohibition came to pass, and the ways in which the period reverberates to this day.

Historian Richard Foss, author of “Rum: A Global History,” transports participants to a world of temperance terrorists and flappers, moonshiners and smugglers, and ordinary citizens who just wanted a drink and would get it by any means necessary. Drinkmaster David Valiante executes a menu of five period cocktails, illustrating the ways in which America’s palate for drinks has changed.  (Don’t worry, bathtub gin will not appear on the menu, but some delightful and largely forgotten beverages will make a glorious reappearance.) A light dinner of savory specialties from Roxanne’s Latin Grill is included in the price of admission.

Tickets are $40 in advance, $35 for members of SoFAB/MOTAC and the USBG. Tickets at the door are $50 (subject to availability.)

Manuel Alvarez of AlXimia Vino ElementalOne of the most important (and historic) wine regions in Mexico is the Valle de Guadalupe located about an hour and one-half South of Tijuana. The best of these wines are slowly finding their way North to Southern California. Manuel Alvarez of AlXimia Vino Elemental winery joins us from the Valle de Guadalupe with his Family’s story.

Wine tasting and tours are available to visitors at this architecturally significant winery.

“AlXimia is a wine-making project born from the meeting of the senses and the world, with special attention to the earth, the plant, the fruit and its benefits. We are trying to understand, use and preserve nature.

Baja California is wine country, and wines are, in our view, the product of the transmutation of the four natural elements:

  • the earth that nourishes and gives rise to the vineyards
  • the scarce water that is vital in the Valle de Guadalupe
  • the fresh air that comes from the sea and
  • the fire in the form of the heat from the sun, providing the freshness and warmth needed to ripen the grapes and give them the adequate acidity, while at the same time generating the energy needed for the process
  • When you assemble these 4 elements, the space (or ether) becomes the fifth element that makes possible their existence.

AlXimia is a family business focused on the work of the sensible. It is a group born at home, amidst the respect for the environment, in the tradition of teaching and knowledge transfer. AlXimia travels through the wine trail manifested in a free and existential thinking against the structured and accurate scientific thought process, daring to innovate.  Started by a mathematician turned winemaker, this amazing winery was built by an innovative architect, the mathematician-winemaker and his astronomer father.”

Tarit TanjasiriTarit Tanjasiri is the consumed baker/proprietor of the revered CremaCafe & Artisan Bakery in Seal Beach. It started eight years ago as a small breakfast and lunch spot. Tarit couldn’t source a bread for his sandwiches that satisfied him so two years ago he added an adjacent production bakery. It’s the café on one side and the bakery on the other. We’ll meet him.

Tarit’s Kouign Amann was one of the OC Weekly’s “100 Favorite Dishes of 2014.”

According to Anne Marie Panoringan of the OC Weekly : “Per Tarit, a Kouign Amann is a pastry from the Brittany region of France. It’s often considered more of a cake than a pastry, although Crema utilizes croissant dough for their version. Layers of butter, dough, sugar and a bit of sea salt are formed. Shaped to resemble a blooming rose, it is then placed in the deck oven to bake. Sweetness and density are much higher in France, and they come in many more sizes, shapes and filling flavors.”

David and Lesley Jacobs Solmonson“A new kind of cocktail book, The 12 Bottle Bar, distills the craft cocktail movement for the home bar. Irresistibly uncomplicated, just 12 bottles create over 200 distinct and seasonal cocktails, including beer and wine cocktails.”

David Solmonson and Lesley Jacobs Solmonson, the husband-and-wife authors (and noted cocktail enthusiasts) are with us.

“We’re living in the midst of a cocktail renaissance – artisanal cocktails. Celebrity mixologists, drink menus that outshine wine lists and feature ingredients as fresh and complex as the most sought after meals. Just as home cooks have looked to popular restaurants and chefs for new recipes, imbibers want to bring the magic of a local speakeasy straight to the living room.”

Golden Foodie AwardsOrange County’s answer to the prestigious, red carpet awards shows is The Golden Foodies. Voting has started for this year in the first group of categories and the public is invited to vote for their favorite restaurants and related categories. There are two more weeks of voting cycles…

Winners are chosen by the people. It’s a People’s Choice Food Awards. The Golden Foodie Awards Gala at The Fairmont in Newport Beach is Saturday evening, September 28th. Good luck to all…

Voting concludes on August 9th for the categories of : Mexican, Vegetarian, Pizza, Beer, American Cuisine, Burger, Cocktail, and Best Food Talk Radio Show.

The Founder of The Golden Foodies, Pamela Waitt, and J.C. Clow of The Winery Newport Beach join us. It’s been announced that J.C.’s The Winery Newport Beach has been nominated (one of three nominees in the category) for Best New Restaurant.

Podcasts

Segment One: Guest Host Chef Jimmy Shaw and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris preview the show
Segment Two: Chef Jimmy Shaw of Loteria! Grill and The Torta Co.
Segment Three: Food GPS Fried Chicken Festival, Chinatown
Segment Four: Food Historian & Author Richard Foss
Segment Five: Manuel Alvarez of AlXimia Vino Elemental Winery
Segment Six: Tarit Tanjasiri of CremaCafe & Bakery
Segment Seven: The 12 Bottle Bar
Segment Eight: The Golden Foodies

Show 80, July 19, 2014: Chef Shachi Mehra, ADYA – Fresh Indian Flavors, Anaheim

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.”

Indian kebabs differ from Middle Eastern ones. They are cooked in the tandoor and also have different spicing.

ADYA has two tandoor ovens. One is for the breads (lower temperature) and the other is for the meats.

Chef Shachi is delighted that her Pani Puri with spicy tamarind water, potatoes, and mint has proven so popular. That’s the real article when you are talking about authentic Indian Street Food.

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Show 78, July 5, 2014: Miguel Rodriguez, General Manager and Executive Chef Marc Johnson, Oak Grill and Aqua Lounge, The Island Hotel, Newport Beach Part Two

At Oak Grill there are over fifty wines available by the glass. Hundreds more by the bottle. Oak Grill boasts one of the most extensive wine lists in the area, all curated by Miguel.

They offer a robust program of craft beers on tap. Most are local.

Aqua Lounge Newport BeachAqua Lounge
“Afternoon cocktails. After work drinks. An evening out, or a late night rendezvous. DJ’s and pop-up performances. A casual menu of gourmet shareable bites and late night delectables and trendy street foods. That’s what we are. What we do is bring a whole new take on nightlife to Newport Beach.”

“Tableside mixology reinvents traditional bottle service and is one feature of a truly imaginative and engaging approach to craft cocktails, guided by renowned mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim. Assemble your own mule, or sit back and enjoy a delicious summer punch bowl.”

On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights Chef Marc offers a special late night street food menu in Aqua Lounge. It’s satisfying comfort foods ranging from street tacos to poutine. It even includes his signature Moki Breakfast Burrito. It starts at 11:00 p.m. and goes until 1:30 a.m.

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