Show 255, January 6, 2018: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel

Happy New Year.

Now an abundant preview of Saturday’s salivating 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… Keep in mind we’re here with you live every Saturday morning throughout the new year.

No leftovers here.

It’s the beginning of another year of enticing food & beverage festivals in sunny Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. Upcoming is the 5th edition of the popular Ceviche and Aguachile Festival on Sunday afternoon, January 28th. Festival Producer Edgar Cisneros has the tempting preview.

Restaurateur Ray Lasher surprised the Long Beach dining community when he closed the original Lasher’s in 2012 after a 15-year run. He’s now back in Belmont Shore on E. 2nd Street with a revised concept, Lasher’s Kitchen. Executive Chef & Partner Raquel Jubran has returned to create the refreshed menu. She joins us.

We last spoke with Chef Brendan Collins when he was running the underappreciated Birch located on a side street just off Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood. He is now back on the Westside creating the rejuvenated menu at The Wilshire Restaurant in Santa Monica. Guests have already noticed the new energy there along with the refreshed commitment to service. The Roast has moved there too, from Noon to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Just before year’s end Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula opened their doors to guests for the first phase of their ambitious $285 million expansion, including 568 new hotel rooms & suites. In the new atrium is The Lobby Bar restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also launched on Thursday nights is the all-you-can enjoy Lobster & Seafood Extravaganza at the Pechanga Buffet. We entice Pechanga’s Executive Chef Duane Owen out of his busy kitchens for the details.

Chef Amar Santana and his business partner, Ahmed Labatte (Broadway by Amar Santana and Vaca in Costa Mesa) had an incredible 2017. Among other notable achievements they hosted one of the premier events celebrating the 50th Anniversary of South Coast Plaza at Vaca. It was a lavish, multi-course dinner matched with outstanding wines to benefit The James Beard Foundation. For late 2018 their new project will be The Hall Global Eatery in South Coast Plaza. Ahmed joins us with a tantalizing sneak preview.

Our always dynamic Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, is back in-studio from his adventures in Park City, Utah where he has just debuted the third Slapfish in Utah. Chef Andrew will share (and explain) some important hospitality business trends he sees for 2018. Where is fine-dining headed? This is Part 3 of his conversation continued from the previous two weeks.

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

Play

January 6: Ceviche and Aguachile Festival, Lasher’s Kitchen, Brendan Collins, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Ahmed Labatte

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: 5th Ceviche and Aguachile Festival, Producer Edgar Cisneros, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
Segment Three: Chef-Partner Raquel Jubran, Lasher’s Kitchen, Long Beach
Segment Four: Executive Chef Brendan Collins, The Wilshire, Santa Monica
Segment Five: Executive Chef Duane Owen, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula Part One
Segment Six: Executive Chef Duane Owen, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula Part Two
Segment Seven: Ahmed Labatte, Partner, Vaca Restaurant Group
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish Restaurant Group

Happy New Year.

Now an abundant preview of this Saturday’s salivating 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… Keep in mind we’re here with you live every Saturday morning throughout the new year.

No leftovers here.

It’s the beginning of another year of enticing food & beverage festivals in sunny Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. Upcoming is the 5th edition of the popular Ceviche and Aguachile Festival on Sunday afternoon, January 28th. Festival Producer Edgar Cisneros has the tempting preview.

Restaurateur Ray Lasher surprised the Long Beach dining community when he closed the original Lasher’s in 2012 after a 15-year run. He’s now back in Belmont Shore on E. 2nd Street with a revised concept, Lasher’s Kitchen. Executive Chef & Partner Raquel Jubran has returned to create the refreshed menu. She joins us.

We last spoke with Chef Brendan Collins when he was running the underappreciated Birch located on a side street just off Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood. He is now back on the Westside creating the rejuvenated menu at The Wilshire Restaurant in Santa Monica. Guests have already noticed the new energy there along with the refreshed commitment to service. The Roast has moved there too, from Noon to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Just before year’s end Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula opened their doors to guests for the first phase of their ambitious $285 million expansion, including 568 new hotel rooms & suites. In the new atrium is The Lobby Bar restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also launched on Thursday nights is the all-you-can enjoy Lobster & Seafood Extravaganza at the Pechanga Buffet. We entice Pechanga’s Executive Chef Duane Owen out of his busy kitchens for the details.

Chef Amar Santana and his business partner, Ahmed Labatte (Broadway by Amar Santana and Vaca in Costa Mesa) had an incredible 2017. Among other notable achievements they hosted one of the premier events celebrating the 50th Anniversary of South Coast Plaza at Vaca. It was a lavish, multi-course dinner matched with outstanding wines to benefit The James Beard Foundation. For late 2018 their new project will be The Hall Global Eatery in South Coast Plaza. Ahmed joins us with a tantalizing sneak preview.

Our always dynamic Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, is back in-studio from his adventures in Park City, Utah where he has just debuted the third Slapfish in Utah. Chef Andrew will share (and explain) some important hospitality business trends he sees for 2018. Where is fine-dining headed? This is Part 3 of his conversation continued from the previous two weeks.

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

Edgar CisnerosIt’s the beginning of another year of appealing food & beverage festivals in sunny Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. Upcoming is the 5th edition of the ever-popular Ceviche and Aguachile Festival on Sunday afternoon, January 28th.

Puerto Vallarta remains a gastronomic destination with an intriguing variety of high-quality food and libation events held every year that delight both visitors and locals. 2018 starts with the flavors of the sea with the 5th edition of the Festival of Ceviche and Aguachile. Guests can sample more than 30 varieties of exquisite ceviches and aguachiles. Expect a boatload of fresh seafood including marlin, shrimp, tuna, octopus and stingray. Also cocktails and local craft beers will be available to purchase.

The date is Sunday, January 28th from 12 Noon to 7:00 p.m. in Puerto Vallarta’s Lazaro Cardenas Park. Tastes range from a reasonable 15 to 40 pesos per item.

Festival Producer Edgar Cisneros has the tempting preview.

Raquel JubranRestaurateur Ray Lasher surprised the Long Beach dining community when he closed the original Lasher’s in 2012 after a 15-year run. He’s now back in Belmont Shore on E. 2nd Street with a refreshed concept, Lasher’s Kitchen.

“It feels good to be in front-of-the-house again,” said Lasher.  “The original restaurant was open for 15 years, and I enjoyed every minute of it.   I continued working in the restaurant industry as a consultant.  Then this location came along and it was a game changer.”

Lasher’s Kitchen, which opened last April, is a more casual concept than the original Lasher’s.  The 45-seat restaurant offers a contemporary design with a color palette of warm hues and wood accents, original artwork, and an intimate wine bar.  The restaurant also features a pet-friendly sidewalk patio and a communal table positioned front and center.

The menu has a few dishes, such as the clam chowder, fried green tomatoes, and meatloaf, from the original restaurant, but Chef-Partner Raquel Jubran, better known as Chef Roq, is constantly creating new dishes often dictated by season.   The menu is divided into four categories:

  • Shareables
  • Journeys
  • Sidetracks
  • Sweet Destinations

Chef Roq’s signature dishes include Crispy Yuca Fries with banana ketchup and Aji Amarillo salsa, the pastry-filled Savory French Cigar with chicken and bacon ragout, Fleet Street Meat Pie made with braised short rib and root vegetables with a pastry crust, Braised Pork Belly with Cherry Cola Demi-Glace served on a crispy potato cake with tobacco onions, and Asiago and Cheddar Grilled Cheese.

Lasher’s Kitchen opens at 9:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday for weekend brunch, which features an array of morning and mid-day favorites.  Social Hour, which takes place weekdays from 2-6pm, features a menu of shareable plates and $5 pours of selected red and white wines.  Every Wednesday Lasher’s Kitchen caters to oenophiles with its “no corkage fee” followed by Prime Rib Thursday for carnivores.  Fresh fish also plays a prominent role on the menu.

“It feels great to be back doing what I love,” said Lasher.  “And with the people I love – my wife, who is also a partner – as well as our daughters who help out at the restaurant after school and on weekends.  Having our former guests experience our new concept feels great, and we’re happy to be part of the Long Beach restaurant community once again.”

Executive Chef & Partner Raquel Jubran has returned to create the refreshed menu. She joins us.

Brendan CollinsWe last spoke with Chef Brendan Collins when he was running the underappreciated Birch located on a side street just off Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood. He is now back on the Westside creating the rejuvenated menu at The Wilshire Restaurant in Santa Monica. Guests have already noticed the new energy there along with the refreshed commitment to service. The Roast has moved there too, from Noon to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.

“At Wilshire our menu has been developed by acclaimed Chef Brendan Collins around local, organic and seasonal ingredients taking advantage of our uniquely rich and diverse farmers’ markets. Dishes originate from a fusion of American and International influences presented in a simple and accessible style. We call this “New Urban Cuisine”, reflecting the modern sensibilities of supporting sustainable farming, enjoying sophisticated and excellent food, and gathering in a beautiful but casual atmosphere.”

“Wilshire is a neighborhood restaurant. We pride ourselves on friendly and attentive service, and look forward to welcoming you for lunch, dinner, or a cocktail sometime soon.”

Wilshire Happy Hour is in full swing from 3pm-7pm M-F and 5-8pm Saturdays. To cap off those long work weeks, the restaurant is serving $4-5 beers, $7-8 cocktails, $5-6 wine and a delicious array of bar bites starting at $6.

Duane Owen of Pechanga Casino and ResortJust before year’s end Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula opened their doors to guests for the first phase of their ambitious $285 million expansion, including 568 new rooms & suites. In the new atrium is The Lobby Bar restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also launched on Thursday nights is the all-you-can enjoy Lobster & Seafood Extravaganza at The Pechanga Buffet.

The Lobby Bar restaurant located in the atrium is an inviting, open California bistro and bar serving breakfast, lunch and dinner bringing forth fresh, locally harvested ingredients to create seasonally changing specialties.

Chef Jose Mendoza (who returns to Pechanga from Las Vegas) melds unexpected flavors and Temecula-area components in a menu that pleases and excites. With many vegetarian dishes available, and cocktails hand crafted using local fruits and herbs, the Lobby Bar stands out among Pechanga’s 13 dining options.

We entice Pechanga’s Executive Chef Duane Owen out of his busy kitchens for the details.

Launching on Thursday nights is the all-you-can enjoy Lobster & Seafood Extravaganza.

Pechanga Buffet guests can now enjoy their fill of all you can enjoy, one-and-one-quarter pound whole Maine lobster done in an East Coast lobster bake style with roasted potatoes and corn on the cob. From 4PM to close at 10PM on Thursdays, diners receive a piping hot lobster bake bag containing the just-cooked lobster (flown in from Maine the night before) and fixings. The price is $44.99 per guest.

Guests can also fill their plates with enhanced buffet seafood selections from the upgraded sushi station, a whole-salmon carving station, fresh and baked oyster station, snow crab, fish tacos, ceviche, calamari, Dungeness crab, clam chowder, steamed shrimp and much more.

The Pechanga Buffet offers the hungry a wide-ranging and mouthwatering menu featuring over 250 fresh items and interactive action stations for custom-ordered pastas, sushi, seafood, BBQ and grilled meats, pizza and flatbreads, as well Asian food, Mexican and Latin specialties, and Italian and Mediterranean options.

Pechanga sources the lobsters from ecologically responsible purveyors in Maine. Their products are fully inspected and certified. Fisheries they work with use sustainable methods and practices. The lobsters coming to Pechanga are caught one day, refrigerated, packaged, and shipped live across the country where they land at LAX overnight. They are immediately put onto a delivery truck and brought to Pechanga in Temecula. Pechanga’s buffet chefs cook small batches at a time and remaining lobsters are put into tanks.

Ahmed LabatteChef Amar Santana and his business partner, Ahmed Labatte (Broadway by Amar Santana and Vaca in Costa Mesa) had an incredible 2017. Among other notable achievements they hosted one of the premier events celebrating the 50th Anniversary of South Coast Plaza at Vaca. It was a lavish, multi-course dinner matched with outstanding wines to benefit The James Beard Foundation.

For late 2018 their ambitious new project will be The Hall Global Eatery in South Coast Plaza. Early advance info is that it will be a Global Marketplace with multiple food counters. The location is the expansive former Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill space.

Ahmed joins us with a tantalizing sneak preview.

Andrew and William GruelOur always dynamic Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, is back in-studio from his adventures in Park City, Utah where he has just debuted the third Slapfish in Utah. Chef Andrew will share (and explain) some important hospitality business trends he sees for 2018. Where is fine-dining headed?

This is Part 3 of his spirited conversation continued from the previous two weeks.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: 5th Ceviche and Aguachile Festival, Producer Edgar Cisneros, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
Segment Three: Chef-Partner Raquel Jubran, Lasher’s Kitchen, Long Beach
Segment Four: Executive Chef Brendan Collins, The Wilshire, Santa Monica
Segment Five: Executive Chef Duane Owen, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula Part One
Segment Six: Executive Chef Duane Owen, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula Part Two
Segment Seven: Ahmed Labatte, Partner, Vaca Restaurant Group
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish Restaurant Group

Show 17, February 16, 2013: Nyesha Arrrington the Executive Chef of The Wilshire in Santa Monica

Nyesha Arrington of WilshireThe Wilshire is Chef Nyesha’s first post as executive chef which she won in a competition in 2011 on Food Network’s “Chef Hunter.” She followed a popular chef at The Wilshire who went off on his own to open a competing restaurant. Talk about pressure…

She credits the great front-of-the-house staff at The Wilshire for easing her transition and the training she had from multiple projects with Chef Josiah Citrin (Melisse).

The Wilshire also has one of the most attractive garden patios in town. It’s like an oasis back there and you don’t see any of the surrounding buildings while you’re dining there.

Nyesha has a special supply of truffles in-house right now so it’s surely a good time to dine there!

Play

February 16: Marcus Samuelsson, Dean McDermott, Chick Marshall, Nyesha Arrington, Greg Daniels, Brian Howard

Podcasts

Segment One: Dean McDermott, Actor, “The Gourmet Dad, and contestant on Season 2 of Food Network’s “Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-off”
Segment Two: Chick Marshall of Mr. Stox Restaurant, Anaheim
Segment Three: Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster and Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem. Author of Yes, Chef, his biography
Segment Four: Nyesha Arrrington the Executive Chef of The Wilshire in Santa Monica
Segment Five: Greg Daniels – Executive Chef & Partner of Haven Gastropub in Orange and Old Pasadena
Segment Six: Brian Howard, Executive Chef of Comme Ca by David Myers in the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

We’re honored to have one of the food world’s most prominent celebrity chefs with us to talk about an upcoming visit to Los Angeles. We’ll also be catching up with the results of a Food Network competition series and talking with an important Orange County chef as well as a Los Angeles celebrity chef with new ventures. Another feature is saying good-bye to an OC fine dining institution.

Dean McDermottWhen we left him six weeks ago, actor, reality TV star, and “Gourmet Dad,” Dean McDermott, was competing for “Team Guy” on Food Network’s “Rachael vs. Guy (Fieri) – Celebrity Cook-Off.”

The finale of “Rachael vs. Guy” on February 10th pitted singer and TV host Carnie Wilson of Team Rachael against Dean McDermott of Team Guy. The winner is to be awarded $50,000 for their charity of choice.

Dean joins us to share the results of the finale and what’s next for him.

Chick Marshall of Mr. Stox in AnaheimChick Marshall is one of the long-time, co-owners of the highly regarded OC fine dining institution, Mr. Stox, located near Angel Stadium. His partners are his brother, Ron, and Ron’s wife, Debbie. One of their trademarks is an extensive wine cellar of some 15,000 bottles, one of the largest in Orange County.

Mr. Stox launched in 1968 and the Marshall’s acquired the restaurant in 1977. Many of their loyal employees have been with them more than 20 years.

The Marshalls have decided to retire and March 15, 2013 will be the last dinner service for Mr. Stox. It’s a bittersweet transition for the regulars. Fortunately the Marshalls own their land which has been sold for residential and commercial development (combined with adjacent parcels.)

Marcus SamuelssonMarcus Samuelsson has cooked around the world but has settled into Harlem, New York as his home base. He owns the hugely successful Red Rooster and Ginny’s Supper Club there. Marcus has prepared State Dinners for President Obama as well as is the recipient of many prestigious culinary awards. Last year his very revealing autobiography, Yes, Chef, was published which should be required reading for every aspiring culinarian.

Marcus proudly serves on the National Board of the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) which provides foodservice training and career opportunities for underserved youth. Every year hundreds of thousands of dollars in culinary scholarships are awarded to deserving high school graduates in key cities across the USA to pursue careers in the culinary arts.

On Tuesday evening, February 26th Marcus Samuelsson will be joining forces with Chef Govind Armstrong to present “A Taste of Harlem” at Govind’s restaurant, Post & Beam, located in Baldwin Hills. The menu is reimagined soul classics. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to C-CAP Los Angeles.

Tickets are $140 per guest and the evening is very close to capacity.

For reservations : atasteofharlem.brownpapertickets.com

Nyesha Arrington of WilshireIn 2011 Nyesha Arrington (mentored by Melisse’s Josiah Citrin) became the executive chef of the (already established) The Wilshire in Santa Monica. Unusually, she won the coveted position in an intense cook-off on the first season of Food Network’s “Chef Hunter”.

She was also a popular cheftestant on Bravo’sTop Chef: Texas.”

The food has never been better at The Wilshire and Chef Arrington is a big supporter of the nearby Santa Monica Farmers Market.

Greg Daniels of Haven GastropubGreg Daniels is the well respected executive chef for the busy Haven Gastropubs in Orange and Old Pasadena. It’s innovative pub-grub fare that’s elevated. They feature a great beer list and now brew their own proprietary line of seasonal craft beers.

An Orange County craft brewer of note established & operated a well-stocked gourmet specialty food shop directly across the street from the original Haven Gastropub in Orange. They recently decided they just didn’t have the time available to properly maintain (the brewery is expanding) it so it was going to close. Haven Gastropub came to the rescue and their revamped food emporium, Provisions, will now be supervised by Chef Daniels. Happy ending for all…

Comme Ca is well-known, highly successful French bistro in West Hollywood so it was no surprise when owner/chef David Myers opened a branch in the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.

What is very surprising is that instead of bringing in a chef de cuisine to simply execute David’s established recipes he recruited a young executive chef with imagination who has expanded the concept with his own creations for Las Vegas. He has an unusual amount of creative freedom in the kitchen.

Brian Howard of Comme Ca in Las VegasExecutive Chef Brian Howard will join us to talk about the freedom he has been given and why this has made the spot the most highly regarded French bistro in Las Vegas.

Great specialty cocktails, too.

Podcasts

Segment One: Dean McDermott, Actor, “The Gourmet Dad, and contestant on Season 2 of Food Network’s “Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-off”
Segment Two: Chick Marshall of Mr. Stox Restaurant, Anaheim
Segment Three: Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster and Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem. Author of Yes, Chef, his biography
Segment Four: Nyesha Arrrington the Executive Chef of The Wilshire in Santa Monica
Segment Five: Greg Daniels – Executive Chef & Partner of Haven Gastropub in Orange and Old Pasadena
Segment Six: Brian Howard, Executive Chef of Comme Ca by David Myers in the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas