Show 354, January 4, 2020: Executive Chef Tony Esnault and Restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi, Knife Pleat at South Coast Plaza Part Two

Tony Esnault and Yassmin Sarmadi of Knife PleatKnife Pleat in South Coast Plaza’s Penthouse, Level 3, was one of the most eagerly anticipated restaurant launches of last year. It’s an elegant and approachable French restaurant with an unusual garden patio helmed by Michelin-starred chef Tony Esnault and restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi, who are well-known from the Los Angeles culinary scene with Church & State and Spring. The couple’s chic new restaurant showcases modern, seasonal interpretations of classic French techniques by Esnault, one of California’s best French chefs.

“For Knife Pleat, Esnault has created an elegant menu that features highlights such as Escargot Ravioli with a filling of wild burgundy snails in a mushroom broth with celery, garlic and watercress; chilled Langoustine with radish, green papaya, coconut espuma and lemongrass; Crescent Duck featuring breast and leg confit with Swiss chard, Tokyo turnip and pickled rhubarb. Esnault shows his appreciation for California’s incredible produce with a Vegetable Mosaic starter composed of tomato, zucchini, watermelon radish, kohlrabi and fresh chickpea.”

“Knife Pleat’s beverage program features craft cocktails that pay homage to designers who also call South Coast Plaza home. The Oscar de la Renta, for example, plays on the late fashion icon’s Dominican Republic roots with Brugal Añejo Rum, chinola, passion fruit and lemon.”

“The cuisine is set in a dramatic 5,000-square-foot space that has 80 seats and two dining areas – an airy dining room wrapped with floor-to-ceiling translucent windows and a plein air patio accented with greenery. A seven-seat bar provides views of the striking exhibition kitchen where Esnault and his team can be observed in action. The refined architecture and interiors by Johnson Fain – in collaboration with Sarmadi and Esnault – is decidedly understated, with a high fashion aesthetic and a soft palette.”

Knife Pleat serves lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. daily; dinner 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday; and Afternoon Tea from 3 to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays.

We continue our conversation with the dynamic husband & wife couple of both Chef Tony & Restaurateur Yassmin.

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Show 354, January 4, 2020: Executive Chef Vince Terusa, Selanne Steak Tavern, Laguna Beach Part One

Vince Terusa of Selanne Steak TavernSelanne Steak Tavern, an upscale tavern and steak house, is located in a historic 1934 converted residence on Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach serving modern American fare, a stellar wine collection, artisan cocktails and a range of beers in a light and airy ambiance. The various dining rooms include a warm tavern-style bar, a bistro-style wine room, a more formal upstairs and beautiful outdoor dining. The ownership team includes NHL Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne – also known as The Finnish Flash – a 2007 Stanley Cup winner, former star player for the Anaheim Ducks, and six-time Olympian.

“Selanne Steak Tavern supports local farms and fisheries that practice sustainability, humane, steroid-free raising techniques and pesticide-free growing environments. Choices of First Courses include Farmers Market Soup, Beet “Ravioli” with artisanal goat cheese and hazelnut, Wagyu Beef Tartare with chips, and Pacific Diver Scallops. There’s a selection of tempting Greens and Sides like Selanne’s Mac and Cheese – a five cheese fondue with a brioche crumb topping that pleases carnivores and vegetarians alike.”

“At dinner nightly, entrees feature succulent Steaks and Chops: Angus Filet Mignon 8 or 12 ounces, Flat Iron 8-ounce Wagyu, Rib Eye 14-ounce Prime, the signature Lord Stanley Cut 38-ounce Wagyu and more – all served with seasonal marrow butter, as well as a variety of sauces on the side. Poultry, Game and Fish tempt with dishes such as Jidori Chicken with truffle jus poulet and trumpets, and Skuna Bay Salmon with farro and celery root. Executive Chef Vince Terusa makes use of the restaurant’s well-stocked herb garden, which includes parsley, thyme, lavender, rosemary, chives and more.”

Executive Chef Vince Terusa, who has been there since the beginning, is our guest.

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Show 354, January 4, 2020: Executive Chef Vince Terusa, Selanne Steak Tavern, Laguna Beach Part Two

Vince Terusa of Selanne Steak TavernSelanne Steak Tavern, an upscale tavern and steak house, is located in a historic 1934 converted residence on Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach serving modern American fare, a stellar wine collection, artisan cocktails and a range of beers in a light and airy ambiance. The various dining rooms include a warm tavern-style bar, a bistro-style wine room, a more formal upstairs and beautiful outdoor dining.”

“Selanne Steak Tavern, located at 1464 South Coast Highway in Laguna Beach, opened in November 2013 and is owned by Hockey Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne and local Orange County businessman Kevin Pratt.”

“The discerning wine list is primarily focused on Napa cult wines as well as wines from other California vineyards, including chardonnays, cabernets, cabernet blends and pinot noirs. The list is also recognized for its collection of wines from Burgundy, France. Many of the list’s wines are highly allocated, low production, big-scoring selections. The list has wines by the glass, half bottles and large format selections for special celebratory meals. In addition, the champagne and sparkling list offers distinctive choices, many at guest-friendly prices.”

Selanne Steak Tavern was awarded the Golden Foodie Award for Best Wine Program 2019 for the second consecutive year at Orange County’s Golden Foodie Awards gala held September 29, 2019 at the Newport Beach Marriott.

“Offering a fresh interpretation of classic design, the restaurant is residential in style – infused with an element of whimsy. Materials throughout are influenced by the history and the beachfront appeal of Laguna Beach, with highlights such as slightly distressed wide planked oak wood floors, a color palette of muted grays, whites and cognacs and a rich mix of textures and materials to blend the old and new.”

Executive Chef Vince Terusa, who has been in the busy kitchen since the beginning, continues the sizzling conversation.

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Show 354, January 4, 2020: Frank Buono, Buono’s Pizzeria Cucina Italiana, San Pedro & Long Beach Part One

Frank Buono of Buono''s P{izzeria in Long BeachBuono’s Pizzeria Cucina Italiana is a proudly family owned Italian pizzeria with three locations in the San Pedro and Long Beach areas. Buono’s prides itself on offering authentic Italian fare like hand-kneaded pizza dough made fresh daily to homemade sausages and sauces, all served up with warm hospitality and great service. Open for lunch and dinner, craft beer and wine complement the menu.

After 54 years the original San Pedro Bruno’s Market & Deli (the predecessor to Buono’s Pizzeria) relocated late last year to a new, modern expanded space in San Pedro’s Little Italy at 222 W. 6th Street.

“While the paint may be fresh and the décor contemporary, Buono’s Pizzeria in San Pedro’s Little Italy will remain true to its origins. The scratch kitchen will continue to prepare authentic Italian pizza coupled with fresh pasta and zesty sauces. What will be new is the addition of wine and beer, an amenity not available at the original Buono’s Pizzeria.”

“The Little Italy location spans nearly 3,000 square-feet and boasts alfresco dining available with an expansive wraparound patio. The exhibition kitchen reveals a display of culinary excellence with a gas-fired brick oven as well as an 800-degree oven where Neapolitan-style pizzas bake for a quick 90 seconds.”

Their value-packed Lunch Special on Weekdays is an incredible deal. It’s “A Trip to Italy Lunch Buffet” including an ample salad bar, four gourmet pasta selections, Buono Family recipe minestrone soup and an assortment of by-the-slice pizzas (and more) for $9.99. The bonus is it’s all you can enjoy.

The Buono Family’s managing partner, Frank Buono, simmers the meat sauce for us. Frank is a 3rd generation restaurateur.

 

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Show 354, January 4, 2020: Frank Buono, Buono’s Pizzeria Cucina Italiana, San Pedro & Long Beach Part Two

Frank Buono of Buono''s P{izzeria in Long BeachBuono’s Pizzeria Cucina Italiana is a proudly family owned Italian pizzeria with three locations in the San Pedro and Long Beach areas. Buono’s prides itself on offering authentic Italian fare like hand-kneaded pizza dough made fresh daily to homemade sausages and sauces, all served up with warm hospitality and great service. Open for lunch and dinner, craft beer and wine complement the menu.

The flagship Buono’s Pizzeria in San Pedro just relocated to San Pedro’s Little Italy (222 W. 6th Street) in an expanded, and modern, restaurant space on a visible corner with patio seating and a craft beer & wine bar.

“We (Buono Family) consider our family history an essential ingredient in our tasty menu at all three of our restaurants. Those who have already dined at any of them know how vital that legacy is to the Buono Family.”

“In 1965 Francesco and Teresa Buono opened Buono’s Market & Deli in San Pedro which became famous for their Torpedo Sandwiches, House-Made Italian Sausage, and Nonna Teresa’s Meat Sauce. In 1967 their son, Nicolaniello came from Italy and joined them here carrying a small suitcase also filled with huge hopes and dreams. And he, too, made those dreams come true when in 1973 he transformed the market and deli into the original Buono’s Pizzeria.”

Today his wife Antonia and their four children, Frank, George, Oreste and Teresa, continue to share their love of Italy and its cuisine by offering a menu that beautifully reflects the Buono Family roots. Those who are discovering this treasure for the first time are in for a wonderous experience, highlighted by Buono Family memories dating back more than half a century. Those who have joined us before eagerly anticipate what they know is a delicious meal to come!”

We continue to hand-knead the fresh pizza dough and simmer Grandma Teresa’s meat sauce with principal Frank Buono.

 

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Show 353, December 28, 2019: Show Preview with Co-Host & Executive Producer Andy Harris

Now a bountiful preview of this Saturday’s tantalizing show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will hopefully leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a pretty good thing… As always, we greatly appreciate you being a part of our loyal listening audience. Truly couldn’t do it without you.

Micro-boutique, un-domaine and always open to guests by appointment, Bells Up Winery in Newberg, Oregon composes fewer than 500 cases annually of hand crafted, classically styled Oregon Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Rose of Pinot Noir and Syrah. It’s a 2nd career, passion project of Winemaker Dave Specter and his wife, Sara, The Chief Marketing Officer. Dave joins us to pull the cork on Bells Up Winery.

Chef Yianni Koufodontis of the Olive Pit Mediterranean Grill (Brea & Huntington Beach) prepares his flavorful dishes with a careful eye on healthy, low fat, low cholesterol and always-natural ingredients. For Chef Yianni, cooking is more than an art form; it is a way of life. Eating is the focal point of all Greek family gatherings, and Yianni grew up cooking daily with his mother and grandmother. His talents in the kitchen were unmistakable, even as a young man. We spirit Chef Yianni out of his busy kitchens for a chat.

Katharine Kagel is the Founder/Owner and Executive Chef of the acclaimed Café Pasqual’s in Santa Fe, New Mexico which is celebrating its fortieth year of success. Café Pasqual’s serves organic foods and wines. The emphatically flavored cuisine is inspired by the culinary traditions of New Mexico, Old Mexico, the Mediterranean and Asia. Chef Kagel also curates the adjacent Café Pasqual’s Gallery. Katharine joins us.

It’s year’s end so definitely time for another effervescent installment of “Ask the Brewers” where we answer listeners’ intriguing questions about craft beer. Joining us is Golden Road’s uber-accomplished Brewmaster, Victor Novak, and Anaheim Head Brewer Steven Torres.

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

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Show 353, December 28, 2019: Bells Up Winery with Proprietor & Winemaker Dave Specter Part One

Dave Spector of Bells Up WineryMicro-boutique, un-domaine and always open by appointment, Bells Up Winery in Newberg, Oregon composes fewer than 500 cases of hand crafted, classically styled Oregon Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Rose of Pinot Noir and Syrah. It’s a 2nd career, passion project of Winemaker Dave Specter and his wife, Sara. The Chief Marketing Officer.

“After more than a decade of success as a corporate tax attorney in Cincinnati, Ohio, Dave Specter was emotionally and physically spent. His wife Sara convinced him to leave the profession and they turned the hobby that brought him joy—winemaking—into his new career. The pair had fallen in love with Newberg and the Willamette Valley while on vacation in 2008, subsequently moving here in 2012 and establishing Bells Up in 2013. The first wines were released Memorial Day 2015, coinciding with the opening of the estate winery/tasting room.”

“Every Bells Up wine is named for a piece of classical music that perfectly epitomizes the wine and/or prominently features the French horn, the instrument owner and winemaker Dave Specter played for more than 20 years.”

Winemaker Dave joins us to pull the cork on Bells Up Winery.

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Show 353, December 28, 2019: Bells Up Winery with Proprietor & Winemaker Dave Specter Part Two

Dave Spector of Bells Up WineryMicro-boutique, un-domaine and always open by appointment, Bells Up Winery in Newberg, Oregon composes fewer than 500 cases of hand crafted, classically styled Oregon Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Rose of Pinot Noir and Syrah. It’s a 2nd career, passion project of Winemaker Dave Specter and his wife, Sara. The Chief Marketing Officer.

“Winemaker and owner Dave Specter and his wife Sara began making kit wine in their basement in 2006 on their five-year wedding anniversary. Dave, a corporate tax attorney, fell in love with winemaking. He left his legal career in 2009 to work as an unpaid cellar rat to award-winning winemaker Joe Henke of Henke Winery in Cincinnati. Joe mentored Dave for three years, during which time Dave enrolled in the Washington State University online enology course, earning a certificate.”

“In 2011, Dave won two amateur national winemaking competitions with two different wines in two months; a year later the Specters relocated to Newberg. Dave worked fall 2012 harvest under Bryan Weil, winemaker at Alexana in Dundee, and studied viticulture in 2013 in the Chemeketa Community College program. He also served as a member of the board of the Chehalem Mountains Winegrowers Association.”

Dave continues the conversation on Bells Up Winery.

Our wine journalist colleague, Cori Solomon, the creator of the LA Wine Writers, was responsible for organizing this trip to the Mt. Hood Territory and Willamette Valley in Oregon. Read her article and tasting notes on visiting Bells Up Winery from her blog, The Written Palette.

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Show 353, December 28, 2019: Olive Pit Mediterranean Grill with Chef Yianni Koufodontis

Yianni Koufodontis of the Olive Pit Fresh Mediterranean GrillChef Yianni Koufodontis of the Olive Pit Mediterranean Grill (Brea & Huntington Beach) prepares his dishes with a careful eye on healthy, low fat, low cholesterol and always-natural ingredients.

“For Chef Yianni, cooking is more than an art form; it is a way of life. Eating is the focal point of all Greek family gatherings, and Yianni grew up cooking daily with his mother and grandmother. His talents in the kitchen were unmistakable, even as a young man.”

“Yianni obtained his formal culinary training at the prestigious California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. After graduation he worked under his first culinary mentor, Chef Daniel Boulud, a James Beard Award-winning chef, cookbook author and restaurateur at Restaurant Daniel Manhattan.”

“Just two years later, Yianni was asked to join Chef Wolfgang Puck’s team at Spago in Beverly Hills, where he worked closely with world cuisine chef Lee Hefter, and Wolfgang Puck.”

“In 2005, Yianni was brought in to open Petros Greek Cuisine, where he served as Executive Chef. With much press and praise for Petro’s Greek, and his knowledge and passion for Mediterranean foods rekindled, Yianni decided it was time to open a restaurant of his own.”

“In 2008, together with his partner George Makridis, Yianni opened the first Olive Pit Grill in Brea, California. The restaurant’s success was immediate, and in order to keep up with demand, they opened their second location in Huntington Beach, California two years later.” This year the Brea restaurant moved to a new, expanded space in Downtown Brea on S. Brea Blvd.

“For many generations our family has been dedicated to serving the best Mediterranean cuisine. We serve Greek and Italian classic dishes prepared old-world style… but toss in Chef Yanni’s inspired personal touches, and what you end up with is uniquely Olive Pit Fresh Mediterranean Grill.”

We spirit Chef Yianni out of his busy kitchens for a chat.

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Show 353, December 28, 2019: Executive Chef / Proprietress Café Pasqual’s, Santa Fe, NM Part One

Katharine Kagel of Cafe PasqualsKatharine Kagel is the Founder/Owner and Executive Chef of the acclaimed Café Pasqual’s in Santa Fe, New Mexico which is celebrating its fortieth year of success. Café Pasqual’s serves organic foods and wines. The emphatically flavored cuisine is inspired by the culinary traditions of New Mexico, Old Mexico, the Mediterranean and Asia.

Chef Kagel also curates the adjacent Café Pasqual’s Gallery.

Chef Kagel’s passion for feeding those in need continues; she is a guiding founder of Santa Fe’s response to food insecurity – with first vision for the Food Depot, Santa Fe’s food bank and she is also co-chair of Kitchen Angels capital campaign, the group that provides free hot meals delivered to Santa Fe’s homebound.

Katharine has authored two well-received cookbooks; Cooking with Café Pasqual’s, Ten Speed Press and Spirited Recipes from Café Pasqual’s, Chronicle Books. Both are still in print.

Café Pasqual’s received the prestigious James Beard Foundation award as an America’s Classics (1999). The same year she was nominated by the James Beard Foundation as Best Chef: Southwest.

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