Show 237, August 19, 2017: Robin & Brian Christenson, Founders, Blinking Owl Distillery, Santa Ana

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.

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Show 214, March 11, 2017: Grant Tondro, Co-Founder, Urge Gastropub & Whiskey Bar, Oceanside

Grant TondroThe “SoCal Restaurant Show” was recently in Oceanside, CA on a focused 24-hour marathon food & libation discovery tour coordinated by Visit Oceanside. Our overall observation is that a lot of energetic young chefs are now on the scene there doing very creative things. Access to local farms is an incredible resource and inspiration. In the coming weeks we’ll be highlighting some of our best discoveries.

Urge Gastropub and Whiskey Bank (including a production microbrewery and hidden Prohibition-era Speakeasy) is new on the scene in Oceanside.

Founded in 2015 Urge Gastropub and Whiskey Bank is one of Oceanside’s creative takes on the Modern American locals’ hangout. Satisfying comfort foods, wines and an extensive beer list (including house-brewed styles) are accompanied with an enormous and eclectic selection of the world’s finest Whisk(e)ys. Urge Oceanside is also the home of Mason Ale Works, a production craft brewery.

We’ll savor one of the 250 whiskey options available with Co-Owner Grant Tondro of 3LocalBrothers.

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Show 206, January 14, 2017: Food & Libation journalist, Anne Marie Panoringan, Contributor to OC Weekly

Anne Marie PanoringanThe always “in-the-know” Anne Marie Panoringan is a contributing writer for OC Weekly. She is also a widely-followed, authority on cocktails from the consumer point-of-view. Anne Marie joins us with a recap of her recent OC Weekly piece, Top 5 Orange County Cocktails of 2016, Anne Marie Edition!”

“Another year, another round of drinks. It’s a great time to love me some cocktails, because more places than ever have been pouring some of the best I’ve seen and tasted. We turn back the clock 300-ish days to recap on some of my favorites for the year. Any hey – they don’t all contain whiskey.”

One hint: “Pineapple Under the Sea at TAPS Fish House & Brewery ranks Number 5.

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Show 191, October 1, 2016: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

In August the James Beard Foundation announced the ten inaugural recipients of the JBF National Scholars Program. We’ll meet the West recipient of the National Scholars Program, Holland Dougherty, who is at University of California, Davis.

We’re hearing a lot from high-end steakhouses talking about premium aged beef. There is even a butcher shop/restaurant locally highlighting a burger with a 100-day dry-aged beef patty. What should we know about aging beef ? Joining us to chat about aging beef are the “Meatheads” from West Coast Prime Meats, Jay Henderson and Terry Hanks. They have over 50-years of combined, hands-on experience in the business! 

The Mad Hungry Woman blogger, Anita Lau, joins us with a gem of a San Diego County dining discovery in Del Mar. Earlier in his career the chef there was part of the opening team at Marche Moderne in South Coast Plaza as well as Charlie Palmer’s at Bloomingdales in South Coast Plaza.

Our friend and colleague, Anne Marie Panoringan (OC Weekly’s blog), was the first journalist to break the story (August 30th) that Executive Chef Jason Montelibano was departing EATS Kitchen at Hotel Irvine to return to Chapter One: The Modern Local in Santa Ana. Time to catch-up with Chef Jason (a.k.a. Chef Chicken Wing.)

Our colleagues at Pacific Food & Beverage Museum are at it again. There’s a lot of interest in fine whiskey here IN California, but do you know about the fine whiskeys FROM California? And you probably haven’t had the chance to experience the range for yourself, but with the latest edition of “The Thoughtful Feast: A California Whiskey Dinner,” all that’s changed. PacFAB’s Richard Foss and Master Distiller Steve Gertman of Ascendant Spirits uncork the flask for us on this one.

Organizers of Dine LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week just announced the upcoming sale of the Dine LBC Long Beach Kitchen Ink 2017 Calendar featuring stunning photos of 13 Long Beach chefs and one local urban farm owner for each of twelve months plus front and back covers. Calendar sales benefit Dine LBC Originals Marketing Fund that provides marketing and public relations support to participating independently owned restaurants year-round. Dine LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week founder, Terri Henry, is our guest.

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

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October 1: Holland Dougherty, West Coast Prime Meats, Mad Hungry Woman, Jason Montelibano, Richard Foss, Terri Henry

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: James Beard Foundation National Scholars Program recipient, Holland Dougherty
Segment Three: The “Meatheads” from West Coast Prime Meats – Aging Beef
Segment Four: Anita Lau, Mad Hungry Woman blogger
Segment Five: Executive Chef Jason Montelibano, Chapter One – The Modern Local
Segment Six: Pacific Food & Beverage Museum’s “The Thoughtful Feast: A California Whiskey Dinner”
Segment Seven: Terri Henry, Founder, Dine LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week

Please join us at the special time of 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. only for this Saturday, October 1st. We’re back to our usual broadcast time of 10:00 a.m. to 12 Noon on October 8th.

In August the James Beard Foundation announced the ten inaugural recipients of the JBF National Scholars Program. We’ll meet the West recipient of the National Scholars Program, Holland Dougherty, who is at University of California, Davis.

We’re hearing a lot from high-end steakhouses talking about premium aged beef. There is even a butcher shop/restaurant locally highlighting a burger with a 100-day dry-aged beef patty. What should we know about aging beef ? Joining us to chat about aging beef are the “Meatheads” from West Coast Prime Meats, Jay Henderson and Terry Hanks. They have over 50-years of combined, hands-on experience in the business! 

The Mad Hungry Woman blogger, Anita Lau, joins us with a gem of a San Diego County dining discovery in Del Mar. Earlier in his career the chef was part of the opening team at Marche Moderne in South Coast Plaza as well as Charlie Palmer’s at Bloomingdales in South Coast Plaza.

Our friend and colleague, Anne Marie Panoringan (OC Weekly’s blog), was the first journalist to break the story (August 30th) that Executive Chef Jason Montelibano was departing EATS Kitchen at Hotel Irvine to return to Chapter One: The Modern Local in Santa Ana. Time to catch-up with Chef Jason (a.k.a. Chef Chicken Wing.)

Our colleagues at Pacific Food & Beverage Museum and The Museum of the American Cocktail (MOTAC) are at it again. There’s a lot of interest in fine whiskey here IN California, but do you know about the fine whiskeys FROM California? And you probably haven’t had the chance to experience the range for yourself, but with the latest edition of “The Thoughtful Feast : A California Whiskey Dinner,” all that’s changed. PacFAB’s Philip Dobard uncorks the flask for us on this one.

Organizers of Dine LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week recently announced the upcoming sale of the Dine LBC “Long Beach Kitchen Ink” 2017 Calendar featuring stunning photos of 13 Long Beach chefs and one local urban farm owner for each of twelve months plus front and back covers. Calendar sales benefit Dine LBC Originals Marketing Fund that provides marketing and public relations support to participating independently owned restaurants year-round. Dine LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week founder, Terri Henry, is our guest.

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

Holland DoughertyIn August the James Beard Foundation announced the ten inaugural recipients of the JBF National Scholars Program. We’ll meet the West recipient of the National Scholars Program, Holland Dougherty, who is at University of California, Davis. She is a PhD Candidate in the Sustainable Agricultural Modeling Lab.

“We are proud that our Foundation’s newest scholarship program is committed to awarding $20,000 in financial aid to ten extraordinary scholars each year. A desire to pursue a career in the culinary arts is no longer limited to cooking in the kitchen,” said Kris Moon, vice president of the James Beard Foundation. “Just as the types of careers available in the culinary arts have evolved, so too is the Foundation’s scholarship program. The National Scholars Program supports a diverse group of students exploring virtually every educational discipline, whether that be history, anthropology, economics, management, or the sciences—as viewed through the lens of food.”

This year, and in each subsequent year, up to ten annual scholarships in the amount of $20,000 each will be granted. To ensure regional diversity, one awardee is selected from each of the ten geographic regions defined by the James Beard Foundation Awards.

The JBF National Scholars Program is a part of the larger James Beard Foundation Scholarship Program, which is awarding more than $750,000 in financial aid available in 2016, the largest annual total in the Foundation’s history.

Established in 1991, the scholarship program assists aspiring and established culinary professionals who plan to further their education at a licensed or accredited culinary school or hospitality institution, college, or university. In the past 25 years, the program has not only grown in visibility and financial scope, but in the breadth of subjects its recipients have embraced. As of 2016, the Foundation will have awarded over $6.5 million in financial aid to more than 1,800 recipients.

Belcampo 100 Day Dry Aged BurgerWe’re hearing a lot from high-end steakhouses talking about premium, aged beef. There is even a butcher shop/restaurant locally highlighting a burger with a 100-day dry-aged beef patty. What should we know about aging beef?

How does aging improve the flavor or texture of beef? There is wet aging and dry aging. Is a prime streak aged 35-days really better than a cut which was only aged 7-days ? Is long aging really better? Our meat experts will explain all…

Joining us to chat about aging beef are the Meatheads from West Coast Prime Meats, Jay Henderson and Terry Hanks. They have over 50-years of combined, hands-on experience in the business!

Anita Lau of Mad Hungry WomanThe Mad Hungry Woman blogger, Anita Lau, joins us with a gem of a San Diego County dining discovery in Del Mar. Earlier in his career the chef there was part of the opening team at both Marche Moderne in South Coast Plaza as well as Charlie Palmer’s at Bloomingdales in South Coast Plaza.

Anita will also share her first impressions of the long-in-the-works El Mercado Modern Cuisine in Santa Ana. This is a new concept from the chef/proprietor of the highly regarded Anepalco.

Jason MontelibanoOur friend and colleague, Anne Marie Panoringan (OC Weekly’s blog), was the first journalist to break the story (August 30th) that Executive Chef Jason Montelibano was departing EATS Kitchen at Hotel Irvine to return to Chapter One: The Modern Local in Santa Ana. Time to catch-up with Chef Jason (a.k.a. Chef Chicken Wing.)

From Anne Marie’s OC Weekly “Stick a Fork in It” blog post:

“I have had such a positive experience with EATS, Hotel Irvine and the Irvine Company over the last two years. And while I’ve learned so much and grown in this time, I’m very excited to return to Chapter One: the modern local, in Santa Ana to continue my career in an environment of creativity and collaboration. As always, I’m eternally grateful to those who’ve supported me every step of the way, and I look forward to what the future brings.” – Chef Jason Montelibano

Richard FossOur colleagues at The Museum of the American Cocktail (MOTAC) are at it again. There’s a lot of interest in fine whiskey here IN California, but do you know about the fine whiskeys FROM California? Though the state’s been producing whiskey since at least the 1860s, there’s never been such a selection of styles at such high quality as there is now. And you probably haven’t had the chance to experience the range for yourself, but with the latest edition of “The Thoughtful Feast: A California Whiskey Dinner,” all that’s changed.

On October 11, the Pacific Food & Beverage Museum (PacFAB), in collaboration with Women Who Whiskey – Los Angeles, will host a dinner featuring five highly distinctive styles of California whiskey, each paired with a sumptuous dish from the kitchen of 1212 Santa Monica, the newest culinary star on Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade. Diners will enjoy the five whiskeys listed below, both neat and cocktailed, and a diverse five-course menu featuring lamb, pork belly, roasted root vegetables, and much more.

A portion of all proceeds support the National Food & Beverage Foundation (NatFAB), home of PacFAB, The Museum of the American Cocktail, and the Southern Food & Beverage Museum.

Dinner is $85 for all NatFAB, Women Who Whiskey, and Culinary Historians of Southern California members, or $95 for non-members, and includes tax and gratuity. NatFAB membership is available to all right here. Space is limited to 50 diners and reservations are required. Visit their website for more information and to purchase tickets now.

1212 Santa Monica is located at 1212 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica, CA 90401.

Featured Whiskeys

Long Beach Kitchen Ink CalendarOrganizers of Dine LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week recently announced the upcoming sale of the Dine LBC Long Beach Kitchen Ink 2017 Calendar featuring stunning photos of 13 Long Beach chefs and one local urban farm owner for each of twelve months plus front and back covers. Calendar sales benefit Dine LBC Originals Marketing Fund that provides marketing and public relations support to participating independently owned restaurants year-round.

Dine LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week founder Terri Henry conceived the idea after seeing “Kitchen Ink” editorial feature in an Orange County publication several years ago. She was looking to bring the concept to Long Beach but wanted to put a unique spin on it, hence the calendar idea was born.

“We wanted to produce a unique promotional piece that showcases the individual personalities of the culinary talent here, which in so many cases include body ink,” said Henry. “The calendar is our way of paying homage to those behind the scenes of our delicious dining experiences in Long Beach.”

More than just a one-time editorial feature, the calendar is a high quality promotional piece and expected to warrant a keepsake status beyond its 12 months. Based on the enthusiasm from the featured chefs, Henry expects it become an annual project.

Dine LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week founder, Terri Henry, is our guest.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: James Beard Foundation National Scholars Program recipient, Holland Dougherty
Segment Three: The “Meatheads” from West Coast Prime Meats – Aging Beef
Segment Four: Anita Lau, Mad Hungry Woman blogger
Segment Five: Executive Chef Jason Montelibano, Chapter One – The Modern Local
Segment Six: Pacific Food & Beverage Museum’s “The Thoughtful Feast: A California Whiskey Dinner”
Segment Seven: Terri Henry, Founder, Dine LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week

Show 124, May 30, 2015: Museum of the American Cocktail’s Philip Dobard

Philip DobardThe always eloquent Philip Dobard is a Board member of The Museum of the American Cocktail which is part of the SoFAB Institute based in New Orleans. Dobard is also the Vice President of SoFAB Institute. He is based in Los Angeles and produces their local programming.

This time we’re talking about MOTAC’s Tuesday Tastings (complimentary) at The Three Clubs in Hollywood and MOTAC’s first permanent Los Angeles exhibit, curated by Bar Keeper’s Joe Keeper, at Seven Grand Whiskey Bar. a Cedd Moses property.

The MOTAC Tuesday evening Tastings at The Three Clubs in Hollywood also feature a custom “MOTAC Cocktail” creation of the night. Sales of these special libations benefit The Museum of the American Cocktail.

The MOTAC Whisk(e)y Gallery will debut on June 22nd. The gallery will feature rare and funky whiskey artifacts, a range of “lost spirits” and “noble experiments,” a selection of rare books and menus, and a few surprises.

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