Show 419, April 3, 2021: Chef & Restaurateur Michael Mina, The Bungalow Kitchen

Chef Michael Mina

The Bungalow Kitchen is James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Mina’s and hospitality veteran Brent Bolthouse’s freshly debuted joint partnership in Southern and Northern California. The Bungalow Kitchen is a new social dining experience and community clubhouse with two waterfront locations, one in Long Beach, California at Belmont Shore (2nd & PCH) with its second location in Tiburon (5 Main Street), California. The Bungalow Kitchen brings a chic and bohemian atmosphere, and features creative California Cuisine heavily inspired by local, seasonal ingredients with a robust wine list and custom cocktails.”

“Menu highlights at The Bungalow Kitchen include pristine shellfish served either ice-cold or hot charcoal-grilled; garden “punch” bowl, featuring crunchy, ice-cold garden vegetables served with Gazpacho shooters and three dipping sauces: Green Goddess, romesco and lemon-poppyseed; a comforting Short Rib ‘Pop-Tart’ topped with crispy shallots and drizzled with sauce bordelaise; signature house-made pizzas such as the Carbonara Pizza white pie with Crispy Guanciale, Yukon Gold potatoes, Pecorino Romano and drizzled with a poached farm egg; and Chef Michael Mina’s signature decadent Lobster Pot Pie featuring a whole Maine lobster, truffle-lobster bisque and root vegetables.”

A personal favorite menu item for Chef Mina is the King Crab and Endive Caesar. It’s drizzled with caper dressing and generously covered in parmesan cheese and garlic streusel.

It’s Dinner nightly with Weekend Brunch and a Late Night Menu offered after 10:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

MINA, led by James Beard Award-Winning Chef Michael Mina, is a San Francisco-based restaurant management company specializing in creating and operating innovative full-service and virtual concepts. Operating for nearly two decades, MINA currently manages over 40 virtual brands and brick and mortar outlets.” Chef Mina is also represented in Southern California with the Bourbon Steak restaurants in Glendale and at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point.

Chef Michael Mina joins us with kitchen tongs in hand.

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Show 419, April 3, 2021: Winemaker Dave Reilly, Duchman Family Winery, Driftwood, Texas Part One

Dave Reilly of Duchman Family Winery

“The Duchman Family Winery (duke-man) was founded in 2004 by Drs. Lisa and Stan Duchman in a quest to bring world-class winemaking to Central Texas and the Texas Hill Country. Their love of the unique Italian grape varieties as well as similar weather patterns to Texas inspired them to work with viticultural consultants and growers in the Texas High Plains AVA to produce grapes that would allow their winemakers, Dave Reilly (current head winemaker) and Mark Penna (founding winemaker), to experiment with making wines like Vermentino, Sangiovese, and Dolcetto.” Penna mentored Reilly who was passed the wine thief at Duchman in 2008.

Duchman (under the direction of Dave Reilly) is particularly known for Aglianico, Montepulciano, Trebbiano and Vermentino.

“The winery continues to source the majority of its fruit from the Texas High Plains AVA, where cooler temperatures and a more “continental” climate are ideal for the production of fine wine made from Italian grape varieties. As the winery grows, the Duchmans remain committed to their goal to produce food-friendly fine wine in Central Texas using Texas-grown fruit exclusively. With an eye on the future, Duchman Family Winery continues to develop innovative winemaking and grape growing techniques in order to provide wine that truly reflects a taste of Texas for years to come.”

“Duchman Family Winery remains one of the top wine destinations in Texas. The facility was recognized by HGTV as one of the 20 most picturesque wineries in the country. All of the winery’s current releases can be sampled and purchased at the winery’s Driftwood tasting room and the estate’s beautiful grounds are open to visitors. Visitors are invited to pick a spot at one of the oak shaded picnic tables, or grab a seat in the winery hallway with views of the production facilities and wine barrels.”

Dave Reilly joins us to effortlessly pull the cork on Duchman Family Winery.

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Show 419, April 3, 2021: Winemaker Dave Reilly, Duchman Family Winery, Driftwood, Texas Part Two

Dave Reilly of Duchman Family Winery

“The Duchman Family Winery (duke-man) was founded in 2004 by Drs. Lisa and Stan Duchman in a quest to bring world-class winemaking to Central Texas and the Texas Hill Country. Their love of the unique Italian grape varieties as well as similar weather patterns to Texas inspired them to work with viticultural consultants and growers in the Texas High Plains AVA to produce grapes that would allow their winemakers, Dave Reilly (current head winemaker) and Mark Penna (founding winemaker), to experiment with making wines like Vermentino, Sangiovese, and Dolcetto.” Penna mentored Reilly who was passed the wine thief at Duchman in 2008.

“The winery continues to source the majority of its fruit from the Texas High Plains AVA, where cooler temperatures and a more “continental” climate are ideal for the production of fine wine made from Italian grape varieties. As the winery grows, the Duchmans remain committed to their goal to produce food-friendly fine wine in Central Texas using Texas-grown fruit exclusively. With an eye on the future, Duchman Family Winery continues to develop innovative winemaking and grape growing techniques in order to provide wine that truly reflects a taste of Texas for years to come.”

“A native Texan, Dave Reilly’s career in wine started in 2000 when his overwhelming lack of sense lead him to plant a vineyard in the Texas Hill Country. With no formal education in viticulture, Reilly credits his success to hard work, a library of books and the guidance from Texas viticulture experts Jim Kamas and Penny Adams.”

“Completely consumed with the love of growing grapes and an intense desire to make wine, Dave was taken under the wing of veteran Texas winemaker Mark Penna in 2006. Dave worked as Cellar Rat, Lab Tech, Mechanic and Head Janitor to gain the necessary experience required to become a winemaker.”

“In 2008, Dave took the helm of the 15,000 cases a year Duchman Family Winery. His wines have competed and won medals in some of the most prestigious (and not so prestigious) wine competitions in the United States. The 2019 Trebbiano was awarded Double Gold at the 2020 San Francisco International Wine Competition. Reilly’s winemaking philosophy is succinct, “I strive to make wines that are true to their varietal character using the highest quality grapes grown only in Texas””.

Dave Reilly joins us to effortlessly pull the cork on Duchman Family Winery.

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Show 419, April 3, 2021: “The Street Gourmet’s” Bill Esparza Part One

Street Gourmet Bill Esparza

The Street Gourmet, Bill Esparza, (a James Beard Award-winner for excellence in journalism,) revived the grand taco fest in Los Angeles in June of 2019 with Bill Esparza’s Taqueando, an all-you-could-eat taco lifestyle event, celebrating the best traditional and contemporary taqueros at Skylight ROW DTLA. Bill was previously the curator of LA Weekly’s Tacolandia from 2013-2017. The inaugural Taqueando was a spirited gathering of the best taquerias in Los Angeles, Mexico, the state of California, and in the USA for a grand tasting of America’s favorite snack; the taco.

Awaiting the ability to safely bring back Taqueando as an outdoor food festival, Bill has created a series of pop-up food events at the location of the former Church & State in Downtown Los Angeles under the name of Taqueando & Friends by Bill Esparza.” The residencies benefit struggling independent restaurateurs, chefs and their employees.

Next up is the unusual return of John Rivera Sedler’s (Eloisa in Santa Fe) lauded Rivera. It’s 6 nights only over 2 weeks on April 15th to 17th and then April 22nd to 24th.

Bill is also a valued contributor to Eater LA. Last week he published an update to his Best Oaxacan Food in L.A.” guide. We’ll ask him about the list.

Senor Esparza is our well-traveled guide.

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Show 419, April 3, 2021: “The Street Gourmet’s” Bill Esparza Part Two

Street Gourmet Bill Esparza

The Street Gourmet, Bill Esparza, (a James Beard Award-winner for excellence in journalism,) revived the grand taco fest in Los Angeles in June of 2019 with Bill Esparza’s Taqueando, an all-you-could-eat taco lifestyle event, celebrating the best traditional and contemporary taqueros at Skylight ROW DTLA. Bill was previously the curator of LA Weekly’s Tacolandia from 2013-2017. The inaugural Taqueando was a spirited gathering of the best taquerias in Los Angeles, Mexico, the state of California, and in the USA for a grand tasting of America’s favorite snack; the taco.

Awaiting the ability to safely bring back Taqueando as an outdoor food festival, Bill has created a series of pop-up food events at the location of the former Church & State in Downtown Los Angeles under the name of Taqueando & Friends by Bill Esparza.” The residencies benefit struggling independent restaurateurs, chefs and their employees.

Next up is the return of John Rivera Sedler’s (Eloisa in Santa Fe) lauded Rivera. It’s 6 nights only on April 15th to 17th and April 22nd to 24th.

Bill is also a valued contributor to Eater LA. Last week he published an update to his Best Oaxacan Food in L.A.” guide. We’ll ask him about the list.

Senor Esparza is our well-traveled guide.

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Show 419, April 3, 2021: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Chef Andrew is regularly updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants which is a genuine concern as recovery slowly starts to happen.

Restaurants in Southern California are finally again allowed to again operate for outside/patio dining and limited inside dining at reduced capacities with all the requisite COVID 19 safety precautions. We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

Shifting the conversation back to food we ask Chef Andrew about the changing diet (for the better) of the farmed fish we’re enjoying both at The Family Table and in restaurants. The majority of the fresh seafood we consume in the United States is actually farm raised. That’s a good thing if it’s done sustainably with proper supervision under the guidelines of safe aquaculture practices.

Chef Andrew also updates us on the inspiring progress for the grass-roots, 86 Restaurant Struggle campaign to benefit out-of-work and struggling restaurant workers. Chef Andrew and his wife, Lauren, have already distributed over $380,000 in small grants to deserving restaurant workers in serious need. All applications are carefully vetted by the Gruels. The substantial need, and fundraising, continues…

Remember the juicy and delicious Community Burger (more than a mouthful) is available at all Southern California locations of Slapfish. The worthy burger is free with any donation to “86 Restaurant Struggle.” 100 per cent of that money goes to benefit struggling restaurant workers.

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Show 418, March 27, 2021: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

We’re previewing the show with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris.

The Ranch Restaurant in Anaheim is, again, available for full service dine-in for lunch and dinner on an open-air patio and with inside dining (as allowable) with proper social distancing between tables. To-Go meals are also on the menu. “The Ranch Restaurant, under the culinary direction of Chef Michael Rossi, features true American regional cuisine. It’s cooking from scratch with the finest ingredients possible to capture the rustic style of wine country and the freshest flavors of the farm. The Ranch honors California’s great ranches, farms and dairies, the artisan bread bakers and cheese and wine makers. Their seasonally driven menu showcases the freshest produce in season – as nature intended. The emphasis is on farm to table, fresh organically grown fruits and vegetables from local farms and from The Ranch’s own ranch in the Santa Ana Mountains.” Executive Chef Michael Rossi joins us from The Ranch.

We met restaurateur Bjoern Risse previously with his Rasselbock Kitchen and Beer Garden in Mar Vista and Long Beach. His latest venture is Long Beach’s Wood & Salt Tavern. At Wood & Salt Tavern the focus is on pasta, made in house, by hand, everyday and fish, seafood & fine meats from their wood fired grill. Think Charred Corn Croquetas with pickled fresno chile, garlic aioli and ricotta salata, and Tagliatelle with beef, pork and veal ragu sprinkled with parmigiano. It’s a local, neighborhood restaurant with elevated fare located in Bixby Knolls (Long Beach.) At present it’s dinner-only, 7 days. Restaurateur Bjoern Risse is our guest.

“For years, vintners have coveted a stretch of land in the western end of Santa Barbara’s Santa Rita Hills AVA known to have the perfect microclimate, soils, and exposure to grow world-class Pinot Noir. In 1999, fulfilling a long-held dream of owner Bob Davids, this sought-after stretch of land became Sea Smoke Vineyard.” “At Sea Smoke, our objective is to produce the best Pinot Noir possible from our unique vineyard site. Located on south-facing hillside bluffs, our estate vineyard benefits from excellent sun exposure – producing grapes with optimum flavor, color and tannin development.” Victor Gallegos, Sea Smoke’s Vice President and General Manager gently pulls the cork on all things Sea Smoke for us.

“For over forty years, Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio (Valentino and Valentino Restaurant Group) and Restaurateur/Chef Celestino Drago of the famed Drago Brothers have been close friends, colleagues, and competitors in the thriving Los Angeles dining scene. Now, their longstanding relationship has transcended to a proprietary level as Chef Celestino Drago officially welcomed Piero Selvaggio to Drago Centro in Downtown Los Angeles last year as new Managing Partner!” Now that Drago Centro has reopened again for pampered, evening patio and inside dining Piero Selvaggio returns with the timely update.

“Winemakers and restaurateurs agree. There’s an art to preserving wine. While you may have heard it’s important to let wine “breathe,” this causes oxygen to degrade the bottle the longer it’s been opened. Oxidation can spoil opened bottles of wine as quickly as 24 hours after opening.” “Argon gas is the preferred method by winemakers to prevent oxidation that spoils wine. ArT Wine Preserver® is an affordable, recyclable wine saver (packaged in a convenient can) that uses pure argon gas to displace oxygen.” ArT Wine Preserver® Founder Ryan Frederickson joins us.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Chef Andrew is regularly updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants during the early stages of recovery which remains a genuine concern. Restaurants in Southern California are finally again allowed to operate for outside/patio dining and inside dining at reduced capacities with all the requisite COVID 19 safety precautions. We’ll “Ask the Chef.” The recently passed American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 importantly includes a $28.6 billion dollar relief fund designated to assist independent local restaurants, bars, food trucks and street vendors. What impact will it have? Chef Andrew thoughtfully weighs in.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness (with proper Social Distancing) on this week’s not-to-miss show!

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Show 418, March 27, 2021: Executive Chef Michael Rossi, The Ranch Restaurant, Anaheim

Michael Rossi of the Ranch Restaurant and Saloon

The Ranch Restaurant in Anaheim is, again, available for full service dine-in for lunch and dinner on an open-air patio and with inside dining (at a reduced capacity) with proper social distancing between tables. To-Go meals are also on the menu.

The Ranch Restaurant features true American regional cuisine. It’s cooking from scratch with the finest ingredients possible to capture the rustic style of wine country and the freshest flavors of the farm. The Ranch honors California’s great ranches, farms and dairies, the artisan bread bakers and cheese and wine makers. Their seasonally driven menu showcases the freshest produce in season – as nature intended. The emphasis is on farm to table, fresh organically grown fruits and vegetables from local farms and from The Ranch’s own ranch in the Santa Ana Mountains.”

“In the kitchen, brothers Michael Rossi (Executive Chef) and Dave Rossi (Pastry Chef) create menus that journey between classic dishes and elevated interpretations of global fare.”

Executive Chef Michael Rossi joins us from The Ranch.

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Show 418, March 27, 2021: Restaurateur Bjoern Risse, Wood & Salt, Long Beach

Bjoern Risse of Rasslebock Kitchen and Beer Garden

We met restaurateur Bjoern Risse previously with his Rasselbock Kitchen and Beer Garden in Mar Vista and Long Beach. His latest venture is Long Beach’s Wood & Salt Tavern.

At Wood & Salt Tavern, under the culinary direction of Chef Brian Lavin, the focus is on pasta, made in house, by hand, everyday and fish, seafood & fine meats from their wood fired grill. Think Charred Corn Croquetas with pickled fresno chile, garlic aioli and ricotta salata, and Tagliatelle with beef, pork and veal ragu sprinkled with parmigiano.

“Things just fell into place, here…Chef Brian’s restaurant experience in Baltimore is an ideal fit for the menu concept we wanted to create for Wood & Salt Tavern. We’re happy to welcome him to the German Gastro Management family of restaurants,” said Bjoern Risse, co-owner of Wood & Salt Tavern, Wirtshaus, and the two Rasselbock locations.

“Wood & Salt Tavern’s beverage menus are more wine-centric than the restaurant’s beer-focused German siblings, with a world wine list to complement the food menus. Wines are offered by the glass and by the bottle, in three different price tiers. All craft, draft and bottled beers represent staff picks from both international and craft brewers, and all are similarly aligned with the food menus and restaurant concept.” A full liquor license is pending.

It’s a local neighborhood restaurant with elevated cuisine located in Bixby Knolls (Long Beach.) At present it’s dinner-only, 7 days.

Restaurateur Bjoern Risse joins us.

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Show 418, March 27, 2021: Victor Gallegos, Vice President & General Manager, Sea Smoke Estate Vineyard Part One

Victor Gallegos of Sea Smoke

“For years, vintners have coveted a stretch of land in the western end of Santa Barbara’s Santa Rita Hills AVA known to have the perfect microclimate, soils, and exposure to grow world-class Pinot Noir. In 1999, fulfilling a long-held dream of owner Bob Davids, this sought-after stretch of land became Sea Smoke Vineyard.”

“At Sea Smoke, our objective is to produce the best Pinot Noir possible from our unique vineyard site. Located on south-facing hillside bluffs, our estate vineyard benefits from excellent sun exposure – producing grapes with optimum flavor, color and tannin development. The heat generated during the day is moderated each evening by a marine fog layer (sea “smoke”), which travels up the Santa Ynez River canyon, cooling the vines and resulting in a longer ripening period. This extended ‘hangtime’ allows the grape tannins to fully ripen prior to harvest, creating wines that are rich and supple.”

“Our pursuit of great Pinot Noir can also be seen in the meticulous management of our estate vineyard. We strive for low crop yields and small grape clusters of intense flavor. To this end, our rich clay soils are planted with ten, top-quality Pinot Noir clones on vigor reducing rootstocks. While we employ the latest technology in the vineyard to help us achieve vine balance and vigor reduction, we also recognize that technology is no replacement for skilled people.”

“Every one of our vines receives personal handling from our vineyard crew seven to eight times each year – every vine. As stewards of this remarkable piece of land, we are also dedicated to its long-term wellbeing. In this spirit, we have been farming Sea Smoke sustainably since 2003, and now farm 80 acres biodynamically, including the blocks destined for our Sea Smoke Chardonnay and Sea Spray Blanc de Noirs.”

When you log on to the Sea Smoke website the first introductory image is a short video featuring a sweeping aerial panorama of this magnificent vineyard estate.

Victor Gallegos, Sea Smoke’s long-time Vice President and General Manager gently pulls the cork on Sea Smoke for us.

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