Show 577, May 11, 2024: Portuguese Wine Week with Organizer Sandra Gomes Rocha of Diniz Cellars

Sandra Gomes Rocha of Diniz Cellars

“Get ready to savor the flavors of Portugal as Portuguese Wine Week descends upon Los Angeles from June 2 through 9. Hosted by Diniz Cellars, importer of fine Portuguese wines, this week-long celebration promises to captivate wine enthusiasts with a series of enticing events, including wine tastings, dinners, and other immersive experiences.”

“Renowned for its diverse terroirs and unique grape varietals, Portugal has emerged as a rising star in the global wine scene. Portuguese Wine Week offers an unparalleled opportunity for wine lovers to explore the depth and complexity of Portuguese wines right here in Los Angeles.”

“We’re thrilled to highlight the vibrant flavors of Portugal to Los Angeles,” said organizer Sandra Gomes Rocha. “This event is a celebration of Portugal’s winemaking heritage, our culture, and a testament to the growing popularity of Portuguese wines in the United States.”

Sandra Gomes Rocha of Diniz Cellars is our guest to uncork all that is Portuguese Wine Week.

More information and purchase tickets

Show 576, May 4, 2024: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

Bar Becky at the Long Beach Exchange is Chef Jonathan Benvenuti’s tribute to his mom, Becky, who was the inspiration behind him becoming a chef.” Partner Jason Scarborough is the accomplished Beverage Director. It’s also a partnership with Chef Ross Pangilinan of Mix Mix Hospitality. Chef Benvenuti was previously the runner-up on Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen.” “It’s an Italian-American kitchen featuring scratch-made focaccia, house-crafted pasta and an ever-evolving menu of comfort classics and chef-driven creations.” Chef Jonathan Benvenuti takes a break from his busy kitchen to join us.

Fun Fact… Spain is the Number One producer of olive oil and olives in the world. “For over 150 years Garcia del la Cruz has been a respected grower and producer of premium, organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO.) Over it’s early history three generations of women have managed the enterprise. At Garcia de la Cruz, they are dedicated to preserving Spain’s culinary legacy and the planet for generations to come. Through sustainable practices, they produce pure, organic olive oils and exquisite Spanish products. Their ambitious goal is to ensure that the magic of their land endures.” Michael McCowan, Garcia de la Cruz’s (Portland-based) Sales Director for the USA joins us to discover the rich history and products of Garcia de la Cruz.

Maizano, the cornerstone destination eatery of Costa Mesa’s Mercado Gonzalez Northgate Market, has expanded its hours to include lunch. When the restaurant debuted in November, it opened with a dinner-only menu. As the restaurant enters spring, Executive Chef Alan Sanz has debuted a curated menu of lunch dishes. Available Wednesday to Sunday (closed on Monday & Tuesday) from 11 a.m. – to 5 p.m., the masa-focused menu pays homage to the diverse culinary landscape of Mexico through vibrant and modern interpretations of its regional cuisine. Maizano is the newest venture from Gruppo Apapacho visionaries Jorge Salim and Javier Hernandez Pons, known for their successes with restaurants across Los Angeles and Mexico City, including LA Cha Cha Chá, Loreto, and Mariscos Za Za Zá. With Maizano, they’ve opened a portal to the culinary epicenter of Mexico City. Its revolving glass doors whisk diners into its modern minimalist dining room, which features leather-bound chairs, crimson marble countertops, and warm earthen-toned walls adorned with Mexican curios and indigenous cookware.”

Restaurateur Jorge Salim of Gruppo Apapacho joins us in-studio.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of the fast-casual Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries. Virtual and Ghost Kitchens were going to be the next big thing in takeout and delivery for restaurants. Millions of dollars in venture capital flowed into this space. Now highly touted Virtual Kitchens in the area are closing. Chef Andrew shares his own rocky road with us.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Show 576, May 4, 2024: Restaurateur and Chef Jonathan Benvenuti – Bar Becky at Long Beach Exchange, Long Beach

Jonathan Benvenuti of Bar Becky

Bar Becky at the Long Beach Exchange is Chef Jonathan Benvenuti’s tribute to his mom, Becky, who was the inspiration behind him becoming a chef.” Partner Jason Scarborough is the accomplished Beverage Director. It’s also a partnership with Chef Ross Pangilinan of Mix Mix Hospitality.

“Chef Benvenuti was previously the runner-up on Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen.” Chef Jonathan chats a bit about that experience along the way. It’s an Italian-American kitchen featuring scratch-made focaccia, house-crafted pasta and an ever-evolving menu of comfort classics and chef-driven creations.”

Current menu standouts are Grandma’s Focaccia (with anchovy dip), Mom’s Carrots (with maple syrup, burrata and almonds), Pappardelle (with beef cheek, chanterelle mushrooms, and “sour cream”), and Chicken & Dumplings (with pearl onion, potato dumplings and roasted chicken jus.)

At present it’s Wednesday thru Sunday for Dinner. Brunch is on the horizon.

Chef Jonathan Benvenuti takes a break from his busy kitchen to join us.

Show 576, May 4, 2024: Garcia de la Cruz Olive Oil from Spain

Michael McCowan of Garcia de la Cruz Olive Oils

Fun Fact… Spain is the Number One producer of olive oil and olives in the world. For over 150 years Spain’s Garcia del la Cruz has been a respected grower and producer of premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO.) Over it’s history three generations of women have managed the enterprise.

“At Garcia de la Cruz, they are dedicated to preserving Spain’s culinary legacy and the planet for generations to come. Through sustainable practices, they produce pure, organic olive oils and exquisite Spanish products. Their ambitious goal is to ensure that the magic of their land endures.”

The Family-owned Montes de Toledo orchards yield top-quality olives (Cornicabra, Picual, Arbequina, Hojiblanca), all organic.

“Picture a world where Spain’s exquisite flavors grace tables worldwide. We, a cherished family-owned brand, aspire to deliver Spain’s finest sustainably. We’re not just creating great food; we’re nurturing the Earth’s beauty for our children and yours. Join us at Garcia de la Cruz, where Spain meets the world.”

Garcia de la Cruz olive oil products are available locally at Whole Foods Markets and via the Garcia de la Cruz Website.

Michael McCowan, Garcia de la Cruz’s (Portland-based) Sales Director for the USA joins us to discover the rich history and products of Garcia de la Cruz.

Show 576, May 4, 2024: Maizano Cocina at Mercado Gonzalez, Costs Mesa, with Restaurateur Jorge Salim

Jorge Salim Vilches of Apapacho Group

Maizano, the cornerstone destination eatery of Costa Mesa’s Mercado Gonzalez Northgate Market, has expanded its hours to include lunch. When the restaurant debuted in November, it opened with a dinner-only menu. As the restaurant enters spring, Executive Chef Alan Sanz has debuted a curated menu of lunch dishes. Available Wednesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. – to 5 p.m., the masa-focused menu pays homage to the diverse culinary landscape of Mexico through vibrant and modern interpretations of its regional cuisine.” (Maizano is closed on Monday and Tuesday.)

“As we expand our offerings to include lunch service at Maizano, I’m thrilled to showcase the diverse flavors and traditions of regional Mexican cuisine,” comments Executive Chef Alan Sanz, who has cooked in renowned kitchens around the world. “Our dishes tell the stories of the culinary landscapes of Yucatán, Puebla, and Oaxaca and serve as a tribute to the rich tapestry of Mexican gastronomy.”

“Sanz’s lunch offerings epitomize Mexican haute cuisine with a contemporary twist. The entire antojito section of the lunch menu features smaller masa-based dishes, using fresh masa from the Mercado’s Tortilleria La Gonzalez. These starters include Gordita de Pulpo featuring octopus in adobo, fresh green salsa, and a chicharron crumble; a playful Chapulín Taco featuring grilled Oaxacan cheese, smashed avocado, and fried grasshoppers; and a vegan Tlacoyo topped with green fava beans and a nopales salad.” 

“Maizano is the newest venture from Gruppo Apapacho visionaries Jorge Salim and Javier Hernandez Pons, known for their successes with restaurants across Los Angeles and Mexico City, including Cha Cha Chá, Loreto, and Mariscos Za Za Zá. With Maizano, they’ve opened a portal to the culinary epicenter of Mexico City. Its revolving glass doors whisk diners into its modern minimalist dining room, which features leather-bound chairs, crimson marble countertops, and warm earthen-toned walls adorned with Mexican curios and indigenous cookware.”

An elevated Chef’s Table Experience at Chef Alan’s Chef’s Counter looking in to the kitchen at Maizano is on the horizon for June. Jorge stylistically refers to it as a “Mexican Omakase.”

Restaurateur Jorge Salim of Gruppo Apapacho join us in-studio.

Show 576, May 4, 2024: “Ask the Chef” with Chef Andrew Gruel of Calico Fish House in Huntington Beach and Show Co-Host

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of the fast-casual Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries.

Virtual and Ghost Kitchens were going to be the groundbreaking next big thing in takeout and delivery as a powerful growth vehicle for restaurants. Millions of dollars in venture capital flowed into this space. It started as a welcome incubator for small operators to test a restaurant or food concept on a budget. It morphed into something else. Now highly touted Virtual Kitchens in the area are closing. Chef Andrew shares his own rocky roads with us.

Show 575, April 27, 2024: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

Anne Marie Panoringan is Culture OC’s well-informed food columnist. She reports industry news, current events and trends. Anne Marie also contributes regularly to Eater Los Angeles, LAist, TASTE and a host of other well-respected publications. Anne Marie joins us in-studio to discuss her new outlet as Food Columnist for Culture OC and discuss her current columns. Along the way Anne Marie will highlight a fast-growing female-owned artisan bread bakery started in a garage in Laguna Beach, the new Bar Becky in Long Beach and the 10th Anniversary of Watertable at Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach under the culinary direction of Executive Chef Manfred Lassahn.

Amar Santana, a Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) alum, serves as the Executive Chef and owner at Broadway By Amar Santana in Laguna Beach, and Vaca in Costa Mesa, California adjacent to South Coast Plaza. Born in the Dominican Republic, he immigrated to the US at 13 and began his culinary career at 16. He has been mentored by some of the world’s most renowned chefs, including Charlie Palmer, who helped him develop his skills of expressing his passion through food. By combining flavors and culinary traditions from all over the world, Amar provides a truly unforgettable gastronomical experience. Chef Amar was the runner-up on Bravo’s “Top Chef” Season 13 in California and has also competed internationally for the Korean culinary series “Korean Food Battle,” finishing as a finalist.” Amar has also appeared as a judge on more recent seasons of “Top Chef.” For “Top Chef” Season 21 in Wisconsin Amar cameos in one of episode and also appears in “Top Chef: The Dish with Kish” a new behind-the-scenes weekly Bravo commentary series recapping each episode with new host Kristen Kish. Chef Amar Santana is our guest.

It’s that time of the year where we eagerly break bread with Legends Executive Chef Dennis Radcliffe to chat about what’s new in salivating food and beverage options at Angel Stadium. This year there are new Casa Modelo stands serving Birria and Veggie Quesadillas. The always popular Brewery X has a host of new menu items. A fresh dessert item that’s already attracting a lot of attention is the crave-worthy Walk Off Waffles (Section 232) featuring decadent Strawberries & Cream Waffles and S’mores Waffles. Chef Dennis Radcliffe takes a break from his busy kitchens to join us along with Pastry Chef L.A. Tracy.

“Las Vegas’ The Feast of Friends is encoring the wildly popular Vegas Unstripped food festival this spring, with a notable new home. This year, the event takes place from 7-10:00 p.m. on Saturday May 18 at the Palms Casino Resort on the Resort Pool Deck conveniently located just off The Strip. Thirty of the city’s most acclaimed and creative chefs will be brought together to present one-night-only original dishes, accompanied by cocktails from many of the city’s best bars, live local entertainers, art activations and more. Tickets are available via TicketSpice. Price has remained at $150 plus fees (and the fees have gone down!). Attendees must be 21+.” Founder and Event Producer Eric Gladstone joins us with all the enticing details. Producer Eric has a very special discount offer for our listeners.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Show 575, April 27, 2024: Anne Marie Panoringan, Food Writer, CultureOC.org

Food Journalist Anne Marie Panoringan

Anne Marie Panoringan is Culture OC’s well-informed food columnist. She reports industry news, current events and trends. Anne Marie also contributes regularly to Eater Los Angeles, LAist, TASTE and a host of other well-respected publications. Anne Marie joins us in-studio to discuss her new outlet as Food Columnist for Culture OC and discuss her current columns.

Along the way Anne Marie will highlight a fast-growing female-owned artisan bread bakery started in a garage in Laguna Beach, the new Bar Becky in Long Beach and the 10th Anniversary of Watertable at Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach under the culinary direction of long-time Executive Chef Manfred Lassahn.

Then as we resume the conversation with Anne Marie she will now chat about her recommended dining options around Angel Stadium and Honda Center. (This is the subject of her current column for CultureOC.org.)

Show 575, April 27, 2024: Amar Santana, Executive Chef and Proprietor, Vaca at Soth Coast Plaza and Broadway by Amar Santana, Laguna Beach

Amar Santana at the Finale of Top Chef

Amar Santana, a Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) alum, serves as the Executive Chef and owner at Broadway By Amar Santana in Laguna Beach, and Vaca in Costa Mesa, California adjacent to South Coast Plaza. Born in the Dominican Republic, he immigrated to the US at 13 and began his culinary career at 16. He has been mentored by some of the world’s most renowned chefs, including Charlie Palmer, who helped him develop his skills of expressing his passion through food. By combining flavors and culinary traditions from all over the world, Amar provides a truly unforgettable gastronomical experience.”

“Chef Amar was the runner-up on Bravo’s “Top Chef” Season 13 in California and has also competed internationally for the Korean culinary series “Korean Food Battle,” finishing as a finalist.” Amar has also appeared as a judge on more recent seasons of “Top Chef.” For “Top Chef” Season 21 in Wisconsin Amar cameos in a pair of episodes and also in “Top Chef: The Dish with Kish” a new weekly Bravo commentary series recapping each episode with host Kristen Kish.

Next Wednesday’s “Top Chef” Season 21, Episode 7 features Chef Amar and Chef Michael Voltaggio as guest celebrity judges. Amar hints it’s something about a concession food favorite at the Milwaukee Brewers home stadium. Do tune-in…

Chef Amar is our guest.

Show 575, April 27, 2024: Dennis Radcliffe, Executive Chef at Angel Stadium for Legends Hospitality

Dennis Radcliffe of Legends Hospitality

It’s that time of the year where we eagerly break bread with Legends Executive Chef Dennis Radcliffe to chat about what’s new in salivating food and beverage options at Angel Stadium.

This year there are newly created Casa Modelo stands serving Birria and Veggie Quesadillas. Ther always popular Brewery X has a host of new menu items. A new dessert item that’s already attracting a lot of deserved attention is Walk Off Waffles (Section 232) featuring decadent Strawberries & Cream Waffles and S’mores Waffles.

Pastry Chef L.A. Tracy teases us with the descriptions of a pair of newly available beer floats she created for Brewery X. It’s Mango Baja Boi Float and Dublin My Vision Float. Dublin My Vision also is available in a non-alcoholic variation. Cheers!

Chef Dennis Radcliffe takes a break from his busy kitchens to join us along with Pastry Chef Tracy.