Show 85, August 23, 2014: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor, Orange County Register Magazine

Din Tai Fung Dumpling HouseKedric Francis of the Orange County Register Magazine and Coast Orange County Magazine has been out and about in the OC. He was at the pre-opening preview lunch for the eagerly anticipated Din Tai Fung Dumpling House in South Coast Plaza (August 18th was Opening Day) and will share some of his observations.

Din Tai Fung is most famous for XiaoLongBao, the Shanghai-style soup dumplings which became a signature dish at the original site in Taipei.

Din Tai Fung at South Coast Plaza is over 8,000 square feet, making it one of the largest in over 100 locations worldwide.

Play

August 23: Live from Valley View Casino with Kedric Francis, Travis Rodgers, Russ Parsons, Michael Cimarusti, Michael Rossi, Freddy Vargas, Brad A. Johnson

Podcasts

Segment One: Guest Host Kedric Francis and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris preview the show
Segment Two: Preview of Los Angeles Times The Taste
Segment Three: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor, Orange County Register Magazine
Segment Four: Michael Rossi, Executive Chef, The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon
Segment Five: Freddy Vargas, Executive Chef, Scarpetta, Montage Beverly Hills
Segment Six: Brad A. Johnson, Restaurant Critic, The Orange County Register & The Los Angeles Register
Segment Seven: Chef Michael Knowles, Black & Blue Steakhouse, Valley View Casino
Segment Eight: Travis Rodgers, “The Travis Rodgers Show” on AM 830 KLAA

Kedric Francis and Andy HarrisGuest Host Kedric Francis of The Orange County Register Magazine & Coast Orange County Magazine and Producer Andy Harris preview the show.

The always debonair Kedric Francis, our dashing man about Orange County, is the Executive Editor of both publications.

Also joining us at 11:00 a.m. is Travis Rodgers of the “Travis Rogers Show” heard weekday mornings on AM 830 KLAA from 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. Travis’ loyal fans know his second most favorite subject is food! He’s serious about eats. “The Travis Rodgers Show” is SoCal’s only live and local sports morning show.

Arriving on August 29th and continuing through August 31st is The Los Angeles Times The Taste at Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood. Los Angeles Times Food Editor Russ Parsons and Chef Michael Cimarusti of Providence and Connie & Ted’s are participants and our very special guests.

Kedric Francis of the Orange County Register Magazine and Coast Orange County Magazine has been out and about exploring the latest finds in the OC. He was at the very exclusive pre-opening preview lunch for the eagerly anticipated Din Tai Fung Dumpling House in South Coast Plaza on August 15th and will share some of his observations.

Executive Chef Michael Rossi (ex-Napa Rose) has been at the helm of The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon since it’s opening day in early 2012. He was actually on the ambitious project over a year testing recipes before the first guests were greeted. The Ranch (unusually) has its own farm located on the Edwards Ranch Estates in Orange which provides a lot of the fresh fruits and vegetables used at the highly regarded and much acclaimed restaurant. It’s a chef’s dream to have these resources…

Freddy Vargas is the forward-thinking executive chef of the high profile Scarpetta located in the Montage Beverly Hills across a pocket park from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Beverly Hills. This is one of Celebrity Chef Scott Conants’s restaurant properties. At lunch on Weekdays he’s operating a to-go Paninoteca. Think gourmet Italian sandwiches like a Porchetta. It’s spiced pork belly, broccoli rabe pesto and a fried hen egg on house-baked bread.

Brad A. Johnson is the James Beard award-winning restaurant critic for both the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Register. Where does a restaurant critic eat when he’s not reviewing ? Those are the spots we all want to go…Brad shares with us some of his favorites in both Orange County and Los Angeles. The origin of this discussion was a recent article Brad wrote for the Orange County Register Magazine.

The show is live on Saturday morning from The Valley View Casino. The fine dining restaurant there is Black & Blue – The Place For Steak. We’ll meet Chef de Cuisine Michael Knowles .He started cooking at age 14! He has elevated Black & Blue to an award-winning California steakhouse that’s true destination dining for San Diego residents.

Travis Rodgers is the easy-going Iron Man of personalities on AM 830 KLAA. Every weekday morning he’s on AM 830 KLAA talking sports for four hours beginning at 6:00 a.m. After he’s finished at 10:00 a.m. on AM 830 he continues his national show for Yahoo Sports Radio for another hour until 11:00 a.m. That’s five hours on Weekdays as the solo host.

Travis’ second favorite subject is good food. Did we say Mexican ? We’ll talk assorted cravable eats with Travis

Russ Parsons of the Los Angeles TimesArriving on August 29th and continuing through August 31st is the Los Angeles Times The Taste at Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood. Los Angeles Times Food Editor Russ Parsons and Chef Michael Cimarusti of Providence and Connie & Ted’s are participants and our very special guests.

On Saturday morning, August 30th at 11:00 a.m. Russ Parsons and Nancy Silverton (Mozza) will be hosting “Field to Fork.” “The city’s best eats are in season.”

On Sunday, August 31st at 7:30 p.m. Chef Michael Cimarusti and Jonathan Gold will be hosting “Flavors of L.A.” “Find great eating around every corner.”

Din Tai Fung Dumpling HouseKedric Francis of the Orange County Register Magazine and Coast Orange County Magazine has been out and about in the OC. He was at the pre-opening preview lunch for the eagerly anticipated Din Tai Fung Dumpling House in South Coast Plaza (August 18th was Opening Day) and will share some of his observations.

Din Tai Fung is most famous for XiaoLongBao, the Shanghai-style soup dumplings which became a signature dish at the original site in Taipei.

Din Tai Fung at South Coast Plaza is over 8,000 square feet, making it one of the largest in over 100 locations worldwide.

Michael Rossi of the Ranch Restaurant and SaloonExecutive Chef Michael Rossi (ex-Napa Rose) has been at the helm of The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon since it’s opening day in early 2012. He was actually on the ambitious project for over a year testing recipes before the first guests were greeted.

The Ranch (unusually) has its own 2-acre farm located on the Edwards Ranch Estates in Orange which provides a lot of the fresh produce used at the highly regarded restaurant. Think of over 600 heirloom tomato vines featuring 90 different varieties. Original (and fully mature) orange and fig trees are also part of the property.

Future expansion plans for the Edwards Ranch Estates include avocado trees, olive trees, and grape vines.

It’s a chef’s fondest dream to have these incredible resources…

One of Chef Michael’s signature menu items is the much talked-about 58 oz. bone-in Cowboy Ribeye chop.

Freddy VargasFreddy Vargas is the forward-thinking executive chef of the high profile Scarpetta located in the Montage Beverly Hills across a lush pocket park from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Beverly Hills. This is one of Celebrity Chef Scott Conants’s restaurant properties.

At lunch on Weekdays he’s operating a to-go Paninoteca. Think gourmet Italian sandwiches like a Porchetta. It’s spiced pork belly, broccoli rabe pesto and a fried hen egg on house-baked bread.

Photography by Brad A JohnsonBrad A. Johnson is the James Beard award-winning restaurant critic for both the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Register. He’s also an accomplished photographer.

Where does a restaurant critic eat when he’s not reviewing? Those are the spots we all want to find…Brad shares with us some of his favorites in both Orange County and Los Angeles. The origins of this was discussion a recent article Brad wrote for the Orange County Register Magazine.

Michael Knowles of Black and Blue SteakhouseThe show is live on Saturday morning from The Valley View Casino. The fine dining restaurant there is Black & Blue – The Place For Steak.

We’ll meet Chef de Cuisine Michael Knowles.He started cooking at age 14! Chef Michael cooked at Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio in San Francisco in the 90s. He has elevated Black & Blue to an award-winning California steakhouse that’s true destination dining for discerning San Diego residents.

All of his pastas are made in-house along with some of the cheese.

His “Signature Indulgence” on the Black & Blue menu is “The Ultimate Surf & Turf” for $75.00. It’s also part of a betting challenge. How about Lobster Creamed Spinach as a premium side?

Travis RodgersTravis Rodgers is the easy-going Iron Man of personalities on AM 830 KLAA. Every weekday morning he’s on AM 830 KLAA talking sports for four hours beginning at 6:00 a.m. After he’s finished at 10:00 a.m. on AM 830 he continues his national show for Yahoo Sports Radio for another hour until 11:00 a.m. That’s five hours on Weekdays as the solo host.

He’s also the master of engaging with his listeners via Twitter.

Travis’ second favorite subject is good food. Did we say Mexican? We’ll talk assorted cravable eats with Travis!

Podcasts

Segment One: Guest Host Kedric Francis and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris preview the show
Segment Two: Preview of Los Angeles Times The Taste
Segment Three: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor, Orange County Register Magazine
Segment Four: Michael Rossi, Executive Chef, The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon
Segment Five: Freddy Vargas, Executive Chef, Scarpetta, Montage Beverly Hills
Segment Six: Brad A. Johnson, Restaurant Critic, The Orange County Register & The Los Angeles Register
Segment Seven: Chef Michael Knowles, Black & Blue Steakhouse, Valley View Casino
Segment Eight: Travis Rodgers, “The Travis Rodgers Show” on AM 830 KLAA

Show 48, November 16, 2013: Linda Burum, food journalist & contributor to Los Angeles Magazine and L.A. Weekly

Linda BurumThe current issue (November) of Los Angeles Magazine is a special issue highlighting foods from around the world that are available in Los Angeles. Linda three articles are “Dumplings around the world,” Fried chicken around the world,” and “Skewers around the world.”
Linda is just back from a trip to Taipei, Taiwan where she conducted some intensive restaurant research.

Linda reports on her dining adventures there and mentions where you can get some of these same signature dishes locally.

Correction: “Lou rou fan” is braised pork over rice. In Linda’s commentary she mistakenly defined them as “Slack Season noodles.”

Din Tai Fung, known for outrageous Shanghai soup dumplings, is very popular in Taiwan. They have a well-established branch in Arcadia. They just opened at The Americana at Brand in Glendale and a restaurant in South Coast Plaza will debut in the near future.

Linda’s Notes :

“While every tourist to Taipei will hear about all the wonderful night markets (especially the unusual offerings such as blood cake, braised pig intestines and stinky tofu) so popular with T.V. hosts for their play value, I have decided to expand the idea of great food locations in Taipei. Some visitors want to sit down to eat, have a drink and relax.)

Many of the countries iconic dishes like danzai noodles, lou rou fan, braised pork over rice and three cup chicken can be found in dedicated specialty restaurants.

Just a brief mention of why Taipei has such a diverse supply of regional Chinese restaurants that have influenced the Island’s cuisine.

Early on, waves of Mainland Chinese immigrants settled there especially Funnanese and Hakka’s from southern China. But one of the biggest influences came after WWII when over a million mainlanders from all over fled during the post war revolution

Throughout the war many leaders hid out in remote spots like the Sichuan and Hunan mountains. They brought their chefs with them when they escaped to Taiwan. All this left its mark on the food and restaurants you find today and why Taiwan is known for its diversity of regional Chinese restaurants.

1) I stopped by two places that serve perhaps the most beloved dish in Taiwan: braised pork over rice (lurou fan) the first and most famous Jin Feng lu rou fan always has a line so my friends sometimes go to Ji Shan restaurant which is only 4 minute walk for Youngchun station near the famed 101 Building (more about that later) which they say is equally good. (So I talk about why dish is fabulous, what’s in it etc.)

2) Tu Hsiao Yueh restaurant: Danzai (or Tan Tsai) noodles (slack season noodles) and other southern Taiwanese specialties. Some think the noodle dish is so great that criminals on the lam would sneak into town at the risk of getting caught just to get a bowl. The restaurant is now run by 4th generation; more facts about dish and family

3) Tripod King hot pot restaurants
For years Taipei residents had to travel to the city of Taichung to taste the Dongbei (northeastern China) flavor of Tripod King’s hotpot. Now there are several branches in Taipei. The broth is so good people bring jars of it home (and take leftover broth from their dinner) to make more hot pot.

4) Northsea Fishing Village Seafood
Specializes in fish and seafood from around the Penghu archipelago which lies between Taiwan and mainland China. Very fresh fish, sea urchin, rock lobster from that region.—English menu.

5) Hakka-style Chinese restaurant called Chiachia. What is Hakka food like?—this place has color photos on the walls and outside to show you—yet extremely casual and inexpensive.

6) Next I’ll discuss three classic Taiwanese restaurants of different price levels and what comprises Taiwanese cuisine.

  • Sit-fun: neighborhood style
  • Shen Yeh Chain of semi-formal
  • Shen Yeh Ambiences –which as sort of semi molecular gastronomy style Taiwanese

7) Then: Badasan Aboriginal Restaurant. These people preceded the Chinese. They serve things like wild boar and pigeon and food cooked wrapped in leaves, etc.

8) If you had only one day in Taipei where would you go? (I’ll tell why the 101 Building is a foodie must). Among other things it has a Din Tai Fung which is now so famous here . (I ate the truffle dumplings there and black pork dumplings which are not served here on the regular menu.)

And of course we know they have opened in Glendale and pretty soon in South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa.

Here in L.A. we have lots of Taiwanese spots.

The newest homestyle place is BEBE Fusion in Alhambra.”

Play

November 16: Seoul Sausage, Taps Fish House, Linda Burum, The Lobster, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, A Restaurant, Front Porch Pops

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef Chris Oh and Ted Kim of Seoul Sausage Co. in West Los Angeles
Segment Three: Joe Manzella, proprietor of TAPS Fish House & Brewery in Brea and Corona, and The Catch in Anaheim
Segment Four: Linda Burum, food journalist & contributor to Los Angeles Magazine and L.A. Weekly
Segment Five: Collin Crannell, Executive Chef of The Lobster
Segment Six: Jay Isais, Senior Director of Coffee, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
Segment Seven: Jon Blackford, Executive Chef of A Restaurant, Newport Beach
Segment Eight: Erin Whitcomb, POPrietor of Front Porch Pops

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

CBTL by the Coffee Bean and Tea LeafIt’s National Espresso Day on Saturday, November 23rd. To celebrate our friends at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf will be featuring a Black Friday promotion.

The CBTL, the single serve beverage system from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, will be part of a special promotion from November 29 through December 1, 2013. Enthusiasts can purchase one CBTL Single Serve Machine and get a second CBTL Single Serve Machine (of equal or lesser value) free!

Seoul SausageA little over a year ago those three wild & crazy, youthful Korean-Americans (Ted and Yong Kim and Chef Chris Oh) opened the Seoul Sausage Co. in Little Osaka, West Los Angeles. They are known for melding distinctive Korean flavors into American sausages. Their other signature item is the “flaming balls.” Korean Fried Chicken (KFC) with corn bread is another specialty.

Seoul Sausage Co. opened right after the three partners won Season 3 of Food Network’s “Great Food Truck Race. First prize was a cool $50,000 and the new food truck they took across the country on the series. It’s affectionately known as “Big Mama.” The “Flaming Balls” was a dish created by necessity in an intense competition on “Great Food Truck Race.”

The (always entertaining) Seoul Sausage Co. guys are with us to talk about the sweet ride that has been the last year. The lines are still out the door.

There’s more…Young, Ted, and Chef Chris also have some exciting news to share with the listening audience. It’s an exclusive…

Joe Manzella of Taps Fish House and Brewery and the CatchRestaurateur Joe Manzella is the proprietor of TAPS Fish House & Brewery in Brea and Corona, and The Catch in Anaheim on Katella near Angel Stadium.

Joe is also a lifelong sandwich fan and a history buff. He’s traveled the country researching regional favorites. Working with his executive chef he’s launched the “Famous 50” sandwich program. Each week a different regional favorite is showcased at both TAPS in Brea and The Catch in Anaheim. Thus far the Famous 50 has included favorites including lobster roll, Mama Manzella’s meatball sub, muffuletta, Chicago Italian Beef, and the Cubano.

According to Manzella to reach true sandwich nirvana five critical points must be met. He shares them with us on the show. One clue…All his bread comes from star baker Dean Kim at the OC Baking Co. in Orange.

Linda BurumLinda Burum is a well-known food journalist who currently contributes to Los Angeles Magazine and LA Weekly.

Linda is just back from a trip to Taipei, Taiwan where she did a bit of restaurant research.

Linda reports on her dining adventures there and mentions where you can get some of these same signature dishes locally.

Executive Chef Colin Crannell of the Lobster in Santa MonicaThe guests still think of Executive Chef Collin Crannell of The Lobster in Santa Monica as the “new” chef even though he’s been there four years. He has serious fine dining background going back to Joachim Splichal’s Patina and luxury hotels.

Of course he’s a lobster specialist. There is even a lobster ravioli on the menu with Santa Monica farmer’s market vegetables. He also does some pretty wonderful thinks with steak.

Chef Crannell impresses with soup, too.

The Lobster is located at the top of the entrance to the historic Santa Monica Pier. It’s an incredible ocean view. The restaurant proudly defies the notion that if you offer a great view you can probably get away with serving mediocre food.

It’s National Espresso Day on Saturday, November 23rd.

Jay Isais of the Coffee Bean and Tea LeafJay Isais, Senior Director of Coffee for The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf joins us to chat about creating the perfect cup of espresso. There is a lot more to this than you may imagine.

To get you into the Holiday Spirit our friends at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf will be featuring a Black Friday promotion.

The CBTL, the single serve beverage system from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, will be part of a special promotion from November 29 through December 1, 2013. Enthusiasts can purchase one CBTL Single Serve Machine and get a second CBTL Single Serve Machine (of equal or lesser value) free!

Jon Blackford of A RestaurantWhat is now the popular A Restaurant on Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach is a classic dining spot dating back to 1926. A few years ago new, local ownership completely restored the place to its current ageless steakhouse atmosphere. It’s handsome with a very popular bar.

Jon Blackford is the executive chef. His charge is to continue to serve great steaks but also elevate the rest of the menu. Believe it or not he loves market fresh vegetables and amazes with beets.

He impresses with creative charcuterie and cheese plates and house-made grilled sausages.

Erin Whitcomb of Front Porch PopsErin Whitcomb’s Front Porch Pops were the hit of the Orange International Street Fair in Old Town Orange over Labor Day Weekend. They were being enjoyed everywhere on the Festival site. The pops are handmade in small batches.

Tangy Lemon Cream was the first frozen novelty sold back in 2010.

Erin’s Pop Philosophy:

  • We use real fruit and fresh dairy to make our pops.
  • Our pops are handcrafted by our staff using our own recipes.
  • You’ll never find artificial colors, flavors, or high–fructose corn syrup in our pops. Ever.
  • We use locally grown, organic produce whenever we can. We sell our pops at farmer’s markets and take great pride in saying, “The plums from that farmer over there are in this popsicle right here!”

New to the line (and just in time for the Holidays) are small batch pies. The crust is hand-rolled.

A colleague described him as “passionate, dedicated, creative, stubborn, tough, great vision, and healthy.”

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef Chris Oh and Ted Kim of Seoul Sausage Co. in West Los Angeles
Segment Three: Joe Manzella, proprietor of TAPS Fish House & Brewery in Brea and Corona, and The Catch in Anaheim
Segment Four: Linda Burum, food journalist & contributor to Los Angeles Magazine and L.A. Weekly
Segment Five: Collin Crannell, Executive Chef of The Lobster
Segment Six: Jay Isais, Senior Director of Coffee, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
Segment Seven: Jon Blackford, Executive Chef of A Restaurant, Newport Beach
Segment Eight: Erin Whitcomb, POPrietor of Front Porch Pops