Show 83, August 9, 2014: Guest Host Chef Jimmy Shaw and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris preview the show

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!

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Show 83, August 9, 2014: Manuel Alvarez of AlXimia Vino Elemental winery

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. His brother is the winemaker.

Wine tasting and tours are available to visitors at this architecturally significant winery. It looks like a sleek flying saucer has landed.

“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.”

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Show 60, February 8, 2013: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Valentine’s Day is next week so get moving and don’t panic. It falls on a Friday this year. Friday is an especially tough day for restaurants due to Valentine’s Day anxiety so if you want to be a bit more relaxed make your plans for Saturday or Sunday instead. Still the Valentine’s Day orbit but a bit less crazed for the restaurant. You’ll definitely have better service…

Chef jet Tila and Alton BrownFood Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” with host Alton Brown is back on Sunday nights for Season 2. Our own Chef Jet Tila is the most frequently appearing solo judge on this tough competition show that requires strategy as well as cooking chops. Look for Jet’s new episodes starting in February.

It’s the Winter Olympics in Sochi and a classic Newport Beach restaurant is serving a special Olympics-themed menu for the duration. We’ll go inside the menu with the creative executive chef. Caroline Styne is the partner and Wine Director (with Chef Suzanne Goin) in Lucques, A.O.C. and Tavern in West Hollywood and Los Angeles. We’ll talk with her and get insight on how you keep a firmly established and growing restaurant group fresh for the dining public. We’ll also hear the story of Slapfish which started as a modest food truck and now is a growing international empire. Did you know there is an emerging wine region in Northern Baja? You’ll learn about a promising winery in the Guadalupe Valley founded by Italians. Brad A. Johnson, the restaurant critic for The Orange County Register, joins us to talk about letter grades for restaurants. We’ll also have a visit with travel journalist Linda Kissam, who was recently in Spain touring the wineries representing the 50 best Cavas produced there.

All of that and lots more incredible deliciousness on the “SoCal Restaurant Show.”

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February 8: Caroline Styne, San Antonio Winery, Andrew Gruel, Brad A. Johnson, Paul Gstrein, Linda Kissam

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Caroline Styne, Wine Director and Partner, Lucques, A.O.C., The Tavern, and The Larder
Segment Three: Allan Stark, San Antonio Winery, Los Angeles
Segment Four: Andrew Gruel, Executive Chef & Partner, Slapfish
Segment Five: Brad A. Johnson, Restaurant Critic, Orange County Register
Segment Six: Paul Gstrein, Executive Chef, Bayside Restaurant
Segment Seven: Linda Kissam, Food, Wine & Travel Journalist, 1st Vice President, IFWTWA
Segment Eight: Jet Tila on Manhattan Dining

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Valentine’s Day is next week so get moving and don’t panic. It falls on a Friday this year. Friday is an especially tough day for restaurants due to Valentine’s Day anxiety so if you want to be a bit more relaxed make your plans for Saturday or Sunday instead. Still the Valentine’s Day orbit but a bit less crazed for the restaurant. You’ll definitely have better service…

Chef jet Tila and Alton BrownFood Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” with host Alton Brown is back on Sunday nights for Season 2. Our own Chef Jet Tila is the most frequently appearing solo judge on this tough competition show that requires strategy as well as cooking chops. Look for Jet’s new episodes starting in February.

It’s the Winter Olympics in Sochi and a classic Newport Beach restaurant is serving a special Olympics-themed menu for the duration. We’ll go inside the menu with the creative executive chef. Caroline Styne is the partner and Wine Director (with Chef Suzanne Goin) in Lucques, A.O.C. and Tavern in West Hollywood and Los Angeles. We’ll talk with her and get insight on how you keep a firmly established and growing restaurant group fresh for the dining public. We’ll also hear the story of Slapfish which started as a modest food truck and now is a growing international empire. Did you know there is an emerging wine region in Northern Baja? You’ll learn about a promising winery in the Guadalupe Valley founded by Italians. Brad A. Johnson, the restaurant critic for The Orange County Register, joins us to talk about letter grades for restaurants. We’ll also have a visit with travel journalist Linda Kissam, who was recently in Spain touring the wineries representing the 50 best Cavas produced there.

All of that and lots more incredible deliciousness on the “SoCal Restaurant Show.”

Caroline StyneCaroline Styne had an extensive background in specialty food products, catering, and restaurant management before partnering with Chef Suzanne Goin to open Lucques in 1988. In December of 2002, Goin & Styne opened their second restaurant, A.O.C., where the concept of small plates and fifty wines by the glass was born out of their shared passion for going out and sampling a variety of appetizers and intriguing wines. A.O.C. relocated to the face-lifted former Orso space about a mile West on 3rd Street in late 2012. Styne is the Wine Director for all the restaurants.

Tavern, in Brentwood, followed in May of 2009. It offers fine dining all day along with The Larder which has gourmet prepared foods and packaged goods. There is a new Larder at Burton Way in the luxury 8500 Burton Way Apartments on the border of L.A. and Beverly Hills as well as at LAX.

Styne contributed the helpful wine notes to Suzanne’s The A.O.C. Cookbook.

“And because wine and cheese are at the heart of A.O.C. there are two exciting additions. Caroline Styne presents a specific wine pairing for each dish. Styne explains why each varietal works well with the ingredients and which flavors she’s trying to highlight, and she gives you room to experiment as well – showing how to shape the wine to your own palate. Whether you’re just grabbing a glass to go with dinner or planning an entire menu, her expert notes are a real education in wine.”

LA Cetto WinesDid you know there is a burgeoning wine industry in Mexico? Finally some of these affordable wines are finding their way into the United States. Shouldn’t a fine Mexican restaurant also offer premium Mexican wines?

One of the premier grape growing areas of Mexico is in the Guadalupe Valley (and adjacent valleys) located in Northern Baja California. It has the rural feel of the flat areas of Sonoma County from 40 years ago.

The predecessor wine interests of L.A. Cetto were established in Baja by Italians in the late 1920s. In 1960 L.A. Cetto acquired their first vineyards in the Guadalupe Valley. Today they have some 2,500 acres in the Valley under the stewardship of the 3rd generation of the Baja-based Cetto Family. They are the largest producer of table wines in Mexico.

L.A’s own San Antonio Winery (dating to 1917) is the distributor of L.A. Cetto wines in Southern California. Allan Stark, a 25-year veteran of San Antonio Winery joins us to tell the L.A. Cetto story and discuss some of their premium reserve wines including Nebbiolo, Chardonnay, and a Brut Sparkling wine.

Andrew GruelFood trucks have proven to be a worthwhile testing ground for innovative food concepts. A great example is Slapfish with a limited service, fast-casual restaurant in Huntington Beach located in a strip center. A new Laguna Beach location will launch later this year.

The partners started with one food truck serving the OC in 2009. By 2011 they had three trucks serving both Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

Executive Chef Andrew Gruel is with us to fill us in on the Slapfish tale. They have just signed a franchise agreement to open 75 full service restaurants in the Middle East over the next 5 to 7 years.

They like to characterize Slapfish as a modern seafood shack. It’s a real American seafood experience that revolves around fresh, sustainable fish, prepared simply, but delivering big flavors.

Letter Grades at RestaurantsLast month The Orange County Register’s James Beard Award-winning restaurant critic, Brad A. Johnson, was looking to review a Newport Beach restaurant. Instead all of the members of his dining group came down with severe cases of food poisoning. When Brad checked the Health Department records of this restaurant he was surprised to learn that they had received a serious violation on each of their previous inspections since they opened two years ago.

Brad is with us to discuss his campaign for Orange County restaurants to receive Letter Grades as a result of their Health Department inspections as is practice in Los Angeles County and other areas of California.

The Winter Olympics in Sochi is underway. Russia is on peoples’ minds.

Paul Gstrein of Bayside RestaurantPaul Gstrein, the long-time (Austria-born) executive chef at Bayside Restaurant in Newport Beach has been inspired by Russia, too. For the duration of the Games Paul will be featuring Russian dishes as appetizers, entrees, and even desserts. How about Beef Short Rib Borscht and Berkshire Pork Tenderloin Stroganoff?

Please note that not every appetizer or entrée on the special Russian menu will be available each night.

Linda KissamThe very well-traveled Linda Kissam is a respected food, wine, and travel writer who is on the go most of the time. She serves as the 1st Vice President of the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association. She is also an author and the Global Wine & Travel Editor-at-Large for Luxe Beat Magazine.

Late last year Linda was invited to Spain to tour the Penedes wine region, the heart of cava sparkling wine production. Her mission was to taste and evaluate 50 fine cavas over an intensive five day period. Linda shares the highlights of this very special experience with us.

Le BernardinChef Jet has been in New York twice over the last two weeks and has enjoyed some standout dining adventures along the way. Jet shares the details of his truly exquisite meal at the classic Le Bernardin. It’s expertly prepared French seafood from Chef Eric Ripert at a very high level.

Jet also visited Ippudo, a well-known Japanese ramen shop.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Caroline Styne, Wine Director and Partner, Lucques, A.O.C., The Tavern, and The Larder
Segment Three: Allan Stark, San Antonio Winery, Los Angeles
Segment Four: Andrew Gruel, Executive Chef & Partner, Slapfish
Segment Five: Brad A. Johnson, Restaurant Critic, Orange County Register
Segment Six: Paul Gstrein, Executive Chef, Bayside Restaurant
Segment Seven: Linda Kissam, Food, Wine & Travel Journalist, 1st Vice President, IFWTWA
Segment Eight: Jet Tila on Manhattan Dining

Show 41, September 21, 2013: Steve Samson and Zach Pollack, Co-Executive Chefs / Partners, Sotto Restaurant

Steve Samson and Zach Pollack of SottoSteve Samson and Zach Pollack are the Executive Chefs and co-owners of Sotto near Century City in Los Angeles. They have an incredible wood-burning pizza oven that is from Sicily that was installed by Italian craftsmen. Orange County foodies remember them as the well-received opening culinary team for highly-regarded Pizzeria Ortica.

In-mid-August they were the only Los Angeles chefs to be invited by Chef Javier Plascencia (the Wolfgang Puck of Northern Baja) to join with acclaimed San Diego chefs to prepare a seven-course, wine-paired meal at Chef Javier’s ranch, Finca Altozano, located in the Guadalupe Valley, Mexico’s premier wine region. Each course was matched with an appropriate Baja wine from the local region. This was one event as part of a bigger annual, week-long vintners’ festival.

Steve’s and Zach’s dish was a beautiful, rustic spit-roasted lamb loin with Summer vegetables from the legendary Chino Farms in Rancho Santa Fe.

Restaurateur Javier Plascencia has Romesco in Bonita (right near the border) in the United States, and multiple restaurants in Tijuana including Mision 19 and Caesar’s Restaurante Bar (where the original Caesar Salad was created.)

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September 21: Thai Food Fest preview with Susan Feniger, Kajsa Alger, David LeFevre

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Paul Greive, Farmer & Founder, Primal Pastures, Temecula Part One
Segment Three: Paul Greive, Farmer & Founder, Primal Pastures, Temecula Part Two
Segment Four: Executive Chef David LeFevre of Fishing with Dynamite
Segment Five: Celebrity Chef Susan Feniger, Proprietress of Susan Feniger’s Street
Segment Six: Kajsa (Sasha) Alger, Executive Chef and Partner, Susan Feniger’s Street
Segment Seven: Steve Samson and Zach Pollack, Co-Executive Chefs / Partners, Sotto Restaurant
Segment Eight: Neal Fraser, Executive Chef / Owner of bld

Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris preview the show.

Thai 2013 Food FestivalMark Sunday afternoon, September 29th on your calendar. Our very own Jet Tila is hosting the Thai 2013 Food Festival at Paramount Pictures Studios in the heart of Hollywood. It starts at 3:00 p.m.

Celebrity chefs from around the country and outstanding local Thai chefs will be there presenting their signature dishes for the guests to sample and enjoy. Entertainment will include music, Thai dancers and fruit carving.

VIP and Regular Tickets are now on sale!

Primal Pastures“Farmer Paul” Greive, the co-founder with his in-laws, of Primal Pastures in Temecula is with us. Primal Pastures is a pastured, “beyond organic and sustainable” livestock farm.

They just funded an amazing Kickstarter campaign to bankroll their expansion. The goal was to raise $40,000. Instead they realized $57,810.

They have recently leased over 200 acres of pastureland to expand.

“Our vision is to establish a “permaculture” – a system that effectively models the natural ecosystem with many varieties of plants and animals acting in synergy with one another on one farm. There are beautiful things that happen when cattle and sheep are incorporated with chickens, turkeys, and ducks.”

Chef David LeFevre of M.B. Post in Manhattan BeachExecutive Chef David LeFevre (ex-Water Grill) of the acclaimed Manhattan Beach Post and Fishing with Dynamite joins us.

Fishing with Dynamite in Manhattan Beach is his latest venture. It’s only 40 seats. The oyster bar is already enormously popular. They will serve some 300 to 700 oysters on a given day.

Chef LeFevre will be participating in the upcoming Thai Food Festival. He previews his dish for September 29th.

Susan Feniger of Border Grill and Susan Feniger's StreetSusan Feniger of Susan Feniger’s Street and Border Grill fame needs no introduction to listeners of the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” She was also one of the early super stars of Food Network with her business partner Mary Sue Milliken in the long running “Too Hot Tamales” series.

Susan Feniger’s Street will be a featured restaurant in the upcoming Thai Food Festival.

There are lots of Thai items on the regular Street menu.

The dish they are showcasing at the festival is Khao Gee, a Northeastern Thai snack.

Kajsa Alger of Susan Feniger's StreetKajsa Alger is the executive chef and partner for Susan Feniger’s Street.

As a teenager she snuck into the kitchen at CITY restaurant to begin an informal apprenticeship. That was the start of her long association with Susan and Mary Sue. She eventually rose to the post of Corporate Chef for all of Mary Sue and Susan’s restaurants.

She was on the Street project since the inception. There was months of intense recipe testing before the opening in 2009.

Kajsa is particularly proud of the Saturday and Sunday brunch menu they are offering until the end of the month. It’s an “All You Can Eat” small plate brunch with breakfast items as well as sandwiches and salads. It’s a modest $25 per guest and for an additional $15 you can partake of bottomless sparkling cocktails.

Steve Samson and Zach Pollack of SottoSteve Samson and Zach Pollack are the Executive Chefs and co-owners of Sotto near Century City in Los Angeles. They have an incredible wood-burning pizza oven that is from Sicily that was installed by Italian craftsmen. Orange County foodies remember them as the opening culinary team for highly-regarded Pizzeria Ortica.

In-mid-August they were the only Los Angeles chefs to be invited by Chef Javier Plascencia (the Wolfgang Puck of Northern Baja) to join with acclaimed San Diego chefs to prepare a seven-course, wine-paired meal at Chef Javier’s ranch, Finca Altozano, located in the Guadalupe Valley, Mexico’s premier wine region. Each course was matched with an appropriate Baja wine from the local region. This was one event as part of a bigger annual vintners’ festival.

Steve’s and Zach’s dish was a beautiful spit-roasted lamb loin.

Restaurateur Javier Plascencia has Romesco in Bonita in the United States and multiple restaurants in Tijuana including Mision 19 and Caesar’s Restaurante Bar (where the original Caesar Salad was created.)

Neal Fraser of bld and RedbirdExecutive Chef Neal Fraser of bld joins us.

Chef Fraser is a contestant on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” this season. He comments on the ups and downs he experienced as a competitor. He observed that it’s a lot harder than he anticipated. That’s significant given that he previously bested an Iron Chef on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America”.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Paul Greive, Farmer & Founder, Primal Pastures, Temecula Part One
Segment Three: Paul Greive, Farmer & Founder, Primal Pastures, Temecula Part Two
Segment Four: Executive Chef David LeFevre of Fishing with Dynamite
Segment Five: Celebrity Chef Susan Feniger, Proprietress of Susan Feniger’s Street
Segment Six: Kajsa (Sasha) Alger, Executive Chef and Partner, Susan Feniger’s Street
Segment Seven: Steve Samson and Zach Pollack, Co-Executive Chefs / Partners, Sotto Restaurant
Segment Eight: Neal Fraser, Executive Chef / Owner of bld

On the horizon for Chef Neal is a bld at LAX in the United Terminal and a casual ice cream, donuts, and coffee café.