Show 391, September 19, 2020: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

Angelenos know the name of Chef & Restaurateur Luciano Pellegrini (Italian-born) from his days in Los Angeles with Piero Selvaggio as executive chef of Primi in West Los Angeles and Posto in Sherman Oaks. In 1999 Luciano relocated to Las Vegas to open the well-received Valentino Las Vegas in the Venetian Resort as Executive Chef and Partner with Piero Selvaggio. In 2004 the James Beard Foundation awarded Pellegrini a prestigious James Beard Award as Best Chef Southwest. Very few Las Vegas-based chefs have achieved this high honor. Chef Luciano’s recent venture is the launching of Heavenly Pies with his cousin David Ryan Brister. Chef Luciano joins us with pizza peel securely in hand.

Food journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s “Hungry Hound” in Chicago, is the recipient of an impressive 13 James Beard Foundation Awards for journalistic excellence. The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala is in Chicago on Friday evening, September 25th in an unexpected virtual format to be broadcast live via Twitter. Steve previews the dramatically reformatted (and virtual) 2020 James Beard Foundation Awards Gala. Steve Dolinsky joins us to better explain the unprecedented specifics.

Founded in 1987 by Chef Zov Karamardian, the iconic Zov’s Bistro and Bakery in Tustin, CA has become a culinary institution. Serving her unique cuisine that blends contemporary with Eastern Mediterranean influences, in an upscale, chic environment. There are now also Zov’s restaurants in Newport Coast, Irvine and Anaheim (temporarily on hiatus.) The Tustin, Irvine and Newport Coast locations are also serving Family Meals and Takeout Menu items curbside. Tailgating in Tustin (twice a month) with live music returns for Happy Hour and Dinner on Saturday, September 19th. New from Zov’s Catering are value-priced, individual meals that are table-ready. 2nd generation Karamardian Family member, Armen, joins us with the updates and looks to the future.

Orange County Restaurant Week Uncorked is on now through Saturday, September 26th. Orange County restaurants are participating with value priced menus available for lunch and/or dinner. Some have specialty cocktails as part of their offerings. The restaurants encourage you to savor the full guest experience with the return of limited dine-in with proper social distancing but most menus are also available To-Go.

Restaurateur Russ Bendel and Executive Chef Jared Cook join us to tempt with their prix fixe dinner menus at Sapphire, Cellar. Craft. Cook in Laguna Beach, Ironwood in Laguna Hills, Olea in Newport Beach, and Vine Restaurant & Bar in San Clemente.

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. Dine-in is slowly, with multiple hiccups, starting to come back but with a lot of new rules that greatly restrict guest counts. Alternately Take-Out / Delivery when you can surely helps… The consensus is that fine dining will look a bit different once the Covid 19 crisis finally subsides and there is a safe & proven vaccine readily available to all Americans. We all anticipate other changes in eating out at all levels of price and service. We’ll get Chef Andrew’s informed and insightful thoughts on the future.

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

Play

Show 391, September 19, 2020: Food Journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s (Chicago) “Hungry Hound” Part One

Steve Dolinsky and Andreew GruelFood journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s “Hungry Hound” in Chicago, is the recipient of an impressive 13 James Beard Foundation Awards for journalistic excellence.

In addition to his considerable journalistic talents Steve in an accomplished podcaster and pizza afficionado. “Every other Friday, Steve talks to some of the world’s greatest pizzaiolos, bakers and artisans about their craft (in the Pizza City, USA podcast.) Hear their backstories, discover their secrets, techniques and inspirations, while listening to their meticulous process as they describe how they make their truly sublime pizzas.”

The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala is in Chicago on Friday evening, September 25th in virtual format to be broadcast via Twitter. Steve previews the dramatically reformatted (and virtual) 2020 James Beard Foundation Awards Gala.

Restaurant and Chef awards in 23 categories have been nominated. None of these awards will be announced. Instead, the previously announced winners will be honored in the categories of America’s Classics, Lifetime Achievement, Humanitarian of the Year, Design Icon and Leadership Awards. All the previously announced Nominees (in twenty-three categories) will also be honored as a group according to the James Beard Foundation.

Steve Dolinsky joins us to untangle the convoluted specifics.

Play

Show 391, September 19, 2020: Food Journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s (Chicago) “Hungry Hound” Part Two

Steve Dolinsky and Andreew GruelFood journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s “Hungry Hound” in Chicago, is the recipient of an impressive 13 James Beard Foundation Awards for journalistic excellence.

In addition to his considerable journalistic talents Steve in an accomplished podcaster and pizza afficionado. “Every other Friday, Steve talks to some of the world’s greatest pizzaiolos, bakers and artisans about their craft (in the Pizza City, USA podcast.) Hear their backstories, discover their secrets, techniques and inspirations, while listening to their meticulous process as they describe how they make their truly sublime pizzas.”

The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala is in Chicago on Friday evening, September 25th in virtual format to be broadcast via Twitter. Steve previews the dramatically reformatted (and virtual) 2020 James Beard Foundation Awards Gala and what the future holds.

Restaurant and Chef awards in 23 categories have been nominated. None of these awards will be announced. Instead, the previously announced winners will be honored in the categories of America’s Classics, Lifetime Achievement, Humanitarian of the Year, Design Icon and Leadership Awards. All the previously announced Nominees (in twenty-three categories) will also be honored as a group according to the James Beard Foundation.

Steve Dolinsky continues with us to untangle the convoluted specifics.

Play

September 19: Luciano Pellegrini, Steve Dolinsky, Zov’s BIstro and Bakery, OC Restaurant Week Uncorked with Sapphire

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef & Restaurateur Luciano Pellegrini of Heavenly Pies and Dolce Vita Gelato, Las Vegas Part One
Segment Three: Chef & Restaurateur Luciano Pellegrini of Heavenly Pies and Dolce Vita Gelato, Las Vegas Part Two
Segment Four: Food Journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s (Chicago) “Hungry Hound” Part One
Segment Five: Food Journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s (Chicago) “Hungry Hound” Part Two
Segment Six: Armen Karamardian, Zov’s Bistro, Tustin (and Irvine & Newport Coast)
Segment Seven: Restaurateur Russ Bendel and Executive Chef Jared Cook of Sapphire, Cellar. Craft. Cook, Laguna Beach
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Angelenos know the name of Chef & Restaurateur Luciano Pellegrini (Italian-born) from his days in Los Angeles with Piero Selvaggio as executive chef of Primi in West Los Angeles and Posto in Sherman Oaks. In 1999 Luciano relocated to Las Vegas to open the well-received Valentino Las Vegas in the Venetian Resort as Executive Chef and Partner with Piero Selvaggio. In 2004 the James Beard Foundation awarded Pellegrini a prestigious James Beard Award as Best Chef Southwest. Very few Las Vegas-based chefs have achieved this honor. Chef Luciano’s recent venture is the launching of Heavenly Pies with his cousin David Ryan Brister. Chef Luciano joins us with pizza peel in hand.

Food journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s “Hungry Hound” in Chicago, is the recipient of an impressive 13 James Beard Foundation Awards for journalistic excellence. The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala is in Chicago on Friday evening, September 25th in an unexpected virtual format to be broadcast live via Twitter. Steve previews the dramatically reformatted (and virtual) 2020 James Beard Foundation Awards Gala. Steve Dolinsky joins us to explain the unprecedented specifics.

Founded in 1987 by Chef Zov Karamardian, the iconic Zov’s Bistro and Bakery in Tustin, CA has become a culinary institution. Serving her unique cuisine that blends contemporary with Eastern Mediterranean influences, in an upscale, chic environment. There are now also Zov’s restaurants in Newport Coast, Irvine and Anaheim (temporarily on hiatus.) The Tustin, Irvine and Newport Coast locations are now serving Family Meals and Takeout Menu items curbside. Tailgating in Tustin (twice a month) with live music returns for Happy Hour and Dinner on Saturday, September 19th. New from Zov’s Catering are value-priced, individual meals that are table-ready. 2nd generation Karamardian Family member, Armen, joins us with the updates and looks to the future.

Orange County Restaurant Week Uncorked is on now through Saturday, September 26th. Orange County restaurants are participating with value priced menus available for lunch and/or dinner. Some have specialty cocktails as part of their offerings. The restaurants encourage you to savor the full guest experience with the return of limited dine-in with proper social distancing but most menus are also available To-Go.

Restaurateur Russ Bendel and Executive Chef Jared Cook join us to tempt with their prix fixe dinner menus at Sapphire, Cellar. Craft. Cook in Laguna Beach, Ironwood in Laguna Hills, Olea in Newport Beach, and Vine Restaurant & Bar in San Clemente.

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. Dine-in is slowly, with multiple hiccups, starting to come back but with a lot of new rules that greatly restrict guest counts. Alternately take-out/delivery when you can surely helps… The consensus is that fine dining will look a bit different once the Covid 19 crisis finally subsides and there is a safe & proven vaccine readily available to all Americans. We all anticipate other changes in eating out at all levels. We get Chef Andrew’s informed and insightful thoughts on the future.

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

Luciano Pellegrini of Heavenly Pies in Las VegasAngelenos know the name of Chef & Restaurateur Luciano Pellegrini (Italian-born) from his days in Los Angeles with Piero Selvaggio as executive chef of Primi in West Los Angeles (the unofficial commissary of Twentieth Century-Fox Studios at the time) and Posto in Sherman Oaks. In 1999 Luciano relocated to Las Vegas to open the well-received Valentino Las Vegas in the Venetian Resort as Executive Chef and Partner with Piero Selvaggio. In 2004 the James Beard Foundation awarded Pellegrini a prestigious James Beard Award as Best Chef Southwest. Very few Las Vegas-based chefs have achieved this honor.

After Valentino Las Vegas closed Pellegrini remained in Las Vegas and went on to debut Dolce Vita Gelato, an artisan gelato producer (wholesale) serving the hospitality business. He also consults for other restaurants in Las Vegas and California.

Chef Luciano’s latest venture is the launching of Heavenly Pies in the Southern Highlands neighborhood of Las Vegas with his cousin David Ryan Brister. The style of pizza is a mash up of Roman and Neapolitan varieties with premium ingredients. The signature Heavenly Pizza features black truffle tomato, brie cheese, porcini mushrooms, roasted garlic, speck and escarole.

The Trattoria Menu is Chef Luciano’s take on classic Italian dishes with a few surprises. Think Zeppole (fried dumplings) with anchovies, mozzarella and basil served with marinara or Philly cheese steak eggrolls.

Also on the menu are an assortment of six Takeout Meal packages. Each is designed to serve four guests and are packaged ready to eat or reheat.

Chef Luciano joins us with pizza peel in hand.

Steve Dolinsky and Andreew GruelFood journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s “Hungry Hound” in Chicago, is the recipient of an impressive 13 James Beard Foundation Awards for journalistic excellence.

In addition to his considerable journalistic talents Steve in an accomplished podcaster and pizza afficionado. “Every other Friday, Steve talks to some of the world’s greatest pizzaiolos, bakers and artisans about their craft. Hear their backstories, discover their secrets, techniques and inspirations, while listening to their meticulous process as they describe how they make their truly sublime pizzas.”

The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala is in Chicago on Friday evening, September 25th in virtual format to be broadcast via Twitter. Steve previews the dramatically reformatted (and virtual) 2020 James Beard Foundation Awards Gala.

Restaurant and Chef awards in 23 categories have been nominated. None of these awards will be announced. Instead, the previously announced winners will be honored in the categories of America’s Classics, Lifetime Achievement, Humanitarian of the Year, Design Icon and Leadership Awards. All the previously announced Nominees (in twenty-three categories) will also be honored.

Steve Dolinsky joins us to untangle the specifics.

Armen Karamardian of ZovsFounded in 1987 by Chef Zov Karamardian, legendary Zov’s Bistro and Bakery in Tustin, CA has become a culinary institution. Serving her unique cuisine that blends contemporary with Eastern Mediterranean influences, in an upscale chic environment. There are now also Zov’s restaurants in Newport Coast, Irvine and Anaheim (temporarily on hiatus.) The Tustin, Irvine and Newport Coast locations are currently serving Family Meals and Takeout Menu items curbside. Also serving guests again for dine-in at 25 per cent capacity.

Tailgating in Tustin (in the parking lot) with live music on the Café patio returns for Happy Hour and Dinner (twice a month) on Saturday, September 19th. Guests can also dine under the stars on the Café patio. Guests can order ahead from Zov’s take-out menu along with the wine and cocktail list. Because of space limitations and safety requirements reservations are required.

New from Zov’s Catering are value-priced, individual meals that are table-ready. Sealed utensils are included.

“Family support has constantly been Zov’s foundation and inspiration throughout her culinary career. Zov, in addition to her husband, Gary, her son Armen, and her daughter Taleene, have created a rare family business recipe that has taken comforting creations of the family kitchen blended with Chef Zov’s culinary artistry.”

2nd generation Karamardian Family member, Armen, joins us with the updates and looks to the future.

Chef Jared CookOrange County Restaurant Week Uncorked is on now through Saturday, September 26th. Orange County restaurants are participating with value priced menus available for lunch and/or dinner. Some have specialty cocktails as part of their offerings. The restaurants encourage you to get the full guest experience with the return of dine-in with proper social distancing but most menus are also available To-Go.

Restaurateur Russ Bendel and Executive Chef Jared Cook join us to tempt with their prix fixe dinner menus at Sapphire, Cellar. Craft. Cook in Laguna Beach, Ironwood in Laguna Hills, Olea in Newport Beach, and Vine Restaurant & Bar in San Clemente.

Their special cocktail for OC Restaurant Week Uncorked is The Woodpecker. It’s Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Aperol, Crème de Peach, Fresh Peaches and Ginger.

The prix fixe dinner menu is three courses with choices in each category and priced at $50.00. Entree possibilities are Zinfandel Braised Napa Lamb Shank, Certified Double R Ranch Bone-In Ribeye Steak and Wild Caught Alaskan Halibut.

Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant GroupOur 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. Dine-in is slowly, with multiple hiccups, starting to come back but with a lot of new rules that restrict guest counts. Alternately Take-Out / Delivery when you can surely helps…

The consensus is that fine dining will look a bit different once the Covid 19 crisis finally subsides and there is a safe & proven vaccine readily available to all Americans. We all anticipate other significant changes in eating out at all levels. We get Chef Andrew’s informed and insightful thoughts on the future.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef & Restaurateur Luciano Pellegrini of Heavenly Pies and Dolce Vita Gelato, Las Vegas Part One
Segment Three: Chef & Restaurateur Luciano Pellegrini of Heavenly Pies and Dolce Vita Gelato, Las Vegas Part Two
Segment Four: Food Journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s (Chicago) “Hungry Hound” Part One
Segment Five: Food Journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s (Chicago) “Hungry Hound” Part Two
Segment Six: Armen Karamardian, Zov’s Bistro, Tustin (and Irvine & Newport Coast)
Segment Seven: Restaurateur Russ Bendel and Executive Chef Jared Cook of Sapphire, Cellar. Craft. Cook, Laguna Beach
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Show 371, May 2, 2020: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

It’s a time of great concern for all of us and our “SoCal Restaurant Show” mission, until the Covid-19 crisis is fully abated, is to provide reliable and genuinely useful information on how the restaurant business is coping with the rapidly evolving events. With an emphasis on the health, safety and well-being of our listeners we’ll be detailing what the range of services restaurants can now provide to their guests. Creativity and adaptability are at the forefront. We’re doing our level best to keep it upbeat…

Chefs and restaurateurs are honestly the most generous people we know. In times of need they are always the very first in generously giving back and meaningfully supporting their communities. Truly remarkable…Right now restaurants urgently need our support to stay afloat. Kindly keep this in mind and please do what you possibly can (as you can afford) to support a community-focused, local restaurant….

As always, we greatly appreciate you being a part of our loyal listening audience. Truly couldn’t do it without the supportive encouragement of the foodie community.

Porto’s Bakery & Café started modestly in the greater L.A. area in the 1960s and has grown steadily since then becoming a popular, local and revered institution. Founder Rosa Porto’s life took an unexpected turn back at the beginning when she and her family made the difficult decision to leave their beloved Cuba and emigrate to the United States. Out of a job, Rosa relied on her love of baking and began selling cakes out of her house for her neighbors and friends to support her family. Porto’s has gradually grown into five high volume locations in Glendale, Burbank, Downey, Buena Park, and the newly opened West Covina. Porto’s is now open for contactless ordering, payment and curbside pick-up. Porto’s Bake-At-Home, too. Betty Porto, Vice President of Community and Guest Relations for Porto’s, is our guest.

Food journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s “Hungry Hound” in Chicago, is the recipient of an impressive 13 James Beard Foundation Awards for journalistic excellence. He’s also accomplished in reporting on food and travel in print, radio and podcasting. The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala was scheduled for Chicago at the Lyric Opera on Monday evening, May 4th. It’s now been rescheduled for a to-be-announced date for later in the year. Usually Steve would be sharing his insightful Beard Awards preview with us. Instead he talks about his informed thoughts on the dining scene in Chicagoland during the health crisis.

“Like all restaurants in LA County, Zapien’s Salsa Grill in Pico Rivera is limited to takeout and curbside pick-up options to share its regional Mexican Cuisine with the community. With dine-in service unavailable, Chef Marco Zapien and team are keeping it fun and giving back to the community, while offering some of their classic favorites available for takeout, curbside pick-up and delivery. For over 25 years, The Salsa Grill has been a favorite spot in the Pico Rivera community and beyond and wants to give back. “We want to give back to the community that’s been supporting us for almost 26 years,” said co-owner and Executive Chef, Zapien. We gently pull Chef Marco out of his busy kitchen to talk about all his specials for Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day.”

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 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. Take-out/delivery when you can surely helps…Of course, the safety of restaurant employees and guests comes first. What about “Code Dates” on fresh & packaged food products? What do they really mean? You certainly don’t want to potentially waste anything or take an unwise chance either. We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

The Blinking Owl Distillery in Santa Ana is the very first craft distillery in Orange County. They also are one of the first distilleries in the state of California to hold the Type 74 Craft Distillers License allowing them to operate their tasting room and sell a few bottles of spirits. Blinking Owl crafts Vodka, Gin, several types of Whiskey, and the Scandinavian spirit, Aquavit. “Stay Safely at Home” provisions have necessitated the temporary closing of The Tasting Room. Wanting to continue serving the community and keep their employees on the job Blinking Owl has thoughtfully shifted production to hand sanitizer under the label of Blinking Owl Dirty Bird Hand Sanitizer. So far a generous $50,000 in hand sanitizer has been donated to hospitals, First Responders and restaurants! Joining us from the packaging line for Dirty Bird Hand Sanitizer is Blinking Owl’s Co-founder and Chief Financial Owl, Robin Christenson.

Chef Michael Hung began his culinary career in New York City, where he dropped out of culinary school to do extended stages at acclaimed restaurants Daniel and Aquavit. Michael then followed his heart to San Francisco in 2005 and joined Traci Des Jardins’s James Beard Award-winning team at Jardiniere.  His career continued for nearly a decade in San Francisco, culminating with his appointment as Chef de Cuisine at Roland Passot’s Michelin-starred La Folie. In late-2013, Michael left San Francisco for Los Angeles to open Faith & Flower where he has returned as Executive Chef. Community service in times of need is part of Chef Michael’s makeup. His current ambitious feeding program for those in need is under the banner of Donate to Feed L.A.’s Homeless and Underserved. Chef Michael takes a break from preparing meals and joins us with the details.

This is the Weekend we were scheduled to again be broadcasting live from the 9th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort on Hawaii Island’s Kohala Coast. With the ongoing health crisis the Festival hopes to be rescheduled for August 14th & 15th if it’s safe to do so. Tom Cross is the welcoming Hotel Manager at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort and joins us with the good news that the property will again welcome guests at a “To Be Determined” date as the Hawaii Governor allows with all guest safety precautions in place.

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

Play

May 2: Porto’s Bakery & Cafe, Steve Dolinsky, Zapien’s Salsa Grill, Blinking Owl Distillery, Faith & Flower, Westin Hapuna Beach Resort

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Betty Porto, Vice President of Community and Guest Relations, Porto’s Bakery & Café
Segment Three: Food Journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s (Chicago) “Hungry Hound”
Segment Four: Executive Chef & Co-Proprietor Marco Zapien, Zapien’s Salsa Grill
Segment Five: Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”
Segment Six: Robin Christenson, Co-Founder, Blinking Owl Distillery, Santa Ana
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Michael Hung, Faith & Flower, Downtown Los Angeles
Segment Eight: Tom Cross, Hotel Manager, The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort

It’s a time of great concern for all of us and our “SoCal Restaurant Show” mission, until the Covid-19 crisis is fully abated, is to provide reliable and genuinely useful information on how the restaurant business is coping with the rapidly evolving events. With an emphasis on the health, safety and well-being of our listeners we’ll be detailing what the range of services restaurants can now provide to their guests. Creativity and adaptability are at the forefront. We’re doing our level best to keep it upbeat…

Chefs and restaurateurs are honestly the most generous people we know. In times of need they are always the very first in generously giving back and meaningfully supporting their communities. Truly remarkable…Right now restaurants urgently need our support to stay afloat. Kindly keep this in mind and please do what you possibly can (as you can afford) to support a community-focused, local restaurant….

As always, we greatly appreciate you being a part of our loyal listening audience. Truly couldn’t do it without the enthusiastic encouragement of the foodie community.

Porto’s Bakery & Café started modestly in the greater L.A. area in the 1960s and has grown steadily since then becoming a popular, local and revered institution. Founder Rosa Porto’s life took an unexpected turn back at the beginning when she and her family made the difficult decision to leave their beloved Cuba and emigrate to the United States. Out of a job, Rosa relied on her love of baking and began selling cakes out of her house for her neighbors and friends to support her family. Porto’s has gradually grown into five high volume locations in Glendale, Burbank, Downey, Buena Park, and the newly opened West Covina. Porto’s is now open for contactless ordering, payment and curbside pick-up. Betty Porto, Vice President of Community and Guest Relations for Porto’s, is our guest.

Food journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s “Hungry Hound” in Chicago, is the recipient of an impressive 13 James Beard Foundation Awards for journalistic excellence. He’s also accomplished in reporting on food and travel in print, radio and podcasting. The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala was scheduled for Chicago at the Lyric Opera on Monday evening, May 4th. It’s now been rescheduled for a to-be-announced date for later in the year. Usually Steve would be sharing his insightful Beard Awards preview with us. Instead he will talk about his informed thoughts on the dining scene in Chicagoland during the health crisis.

Like all restaurants in LA County, Zapien’s Salsa Grill in Pico Rivera is limited to takeout and curbside pick-up options to share its regional Mexican Cuisine with the community. With dine-in service unavailable, Chef Marco Zapien and team are keeping it fun and giving back to the community, while offering some of their classic favorites available for takeout, curbside pick-up and delivery. For over 25 years, The Salsa Grill has been a favorite spot in the Pico Rivera community and beyond and wants to give back. “We want to give back to the community that’s been supporting us for almost 26 years,” said co-owner and Executive Chef, Zapien. We gently pull Chef Marco out of his busy kitchen to talk about all his specials for Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day.

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 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. Take-out/delivery when you can surely helps…Of course, the safety of restaurant employees and guests comes first. What about “Code Dates” on fresh & packaged food products? What do they really mean. You certainly don’t want to potentially waste anything or take an unwise chance. We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

The Blinking Owl Distillery in Santa Anna is the very first craft distillery in Orange County. They also are one of the first distilleries in the state of California to hold the Type 74 Craft Distillers License allowing them to operate their tasting room and sell a few bottles of spirits. Blinking Owl crafts Vodka, Gin, several types of Whiskey, and the Scandinavian spirit, Aquavit. “Stay Safely at Home” provisions have necessitated the temporary closing of The Tasting Room. Wanting to continue serving the community and keep their employees on the job Blinking Owl has thoughtfully shifted production to hand sanitizer under the label of Blinking Owl Dirty Bird Hand Sanitizer. So far $25,000 in hand sanitizer has been donated! Joining us from the packaging line for Dirty Bird Hand Sanitizer is Blinking Owl’s Co-founder and Chief Financial Owl, Robin Christenson.

Chef Michael Hung began his culinary career in New York City, where he dropped out of culinary school to do extended stages at acclaimed restaurants Daniel and Aquavit. Michael then followed his heart to San Francisco in 2005 and joined Traci Des Jardins’s James Beard Award-winning team at Jardiniere.  His career continued for nearly a decade in San Francisco, culminating with his appointment as Chef de Cuisine at Roland Passot’s Michelin-starred La Folie. In late-2013, Michael left San Francisco for Los Angeles to open Faith & Flower where he has returned as Executive Chef. Community service in times of need is part of Chef Michael’s makeup. His current ambitious feeding program for those in need is under the banner of Donate to Feed L.A.’s Homeless and Underserved. Chef Michael takes a break from the kitchen and joins us with the details.

This is the Weekend we were scheduled to again be broadcasting live from the 9th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort on Hawaii Island’s Kohala Coast. With the ongoing health crisis the Festival hopes to be rescheduled for August 14th & 15th if it’s safe to do so. Tom Cross is the welcoming Hotel Manager at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort and joins us with the good news that the property will again welcome guests on June 1st

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

Betty Porto in front of the Porto's Bakery Bread RackPorto’s Bakery & Café started modestly in the greater L.A. area in the 1960s and has grown steadily since then becoming a popular, local and revered institution. Founder Rosa Porto’s life took an unexpected turn back at the beginning when she and her family made the difficult decision to leave their beloved Cuba and emigrate to the United States. Out of a job, Rosa relied on her love of baking and began selling cakes out of her house for her neighbors and friends to support her family. Porto’s has gradually grown into five high-volume locations in Glendale, Burbank, Downey, Buena Park, and the newly opened West Covina. Porto’s is now open for contactless ordering, payment and curbside pick-up. Betty Porto, Vice President of Community and Guest Relations for Porto’s, is our guest.

Steve Dolinsky and Andreew GruelAccomplished food journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s “Hungry Hound” in Chicago, is the recipient of an impressive 13 James Beard Foundation Awards for journalistic excellence. He’s also accomplished in reporting on food and travel in print, radio and podcasting. The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala was scheduled for Chicago at the Lyric Opera on Monday evening, May 4th. It’s now been rescheduled for an unannounced (as yet) date later in the year.

Usually Steve would be sharing his engaging Beard Awards preview with us. Instead he will talk about his informed thoughts on the dining scene in Chicagoland during the health crisis and what the future may hold.

Marco Zapien of Zapiens Salsa Grill and TaqueriaLike all restaurants in LA County, Zapien’s Salsa Grill in Pico Rivera is limited to takeout and curbside pick-up options to share its regional Mexican Cuisine with the community. With dine-in service unavailable, Chef Marco Zapien and team are keeping it fun and giving back to the community, while offering some of their classic favorites available for takeout, curbside pick-up and delivery.

The most popular special so far is a family meal pack that feeds 4-6 and includes a salad, choice of entrée (Chile Verde, Chile Colorado, Chicharron, Carnitas or Chicken Fajitas), rice, beans, chips, salsa, Tortillas and soft drinks. Plus, anyone who orders this takeout/pick-up special will get 2 pounds of uncooked rice and beans and two rolls of toilet paper, all for only $39.99.

Chef Zapien’s creative giving doesn’t stop there. He’s helping out families with kids with $3 individual kids’ pizzas with the purchase of any entrée. Even more, all entrees come with a free soft drink or coffee.

Recently, Chef Zapien introduced the Corona Survival Kit, including two frozen packs of menudo or pozole, a six pack of beer of choice, two mini (Agave Tequila) shot bottles, one 2-pound bag of uncooked beans, one 2-pound bag of uncooked rice and two rolls of toilet paper.

For over 25 years, The Salsa Grill has been a favorite spot in the Pico Rivera community and beyond and wants to give back. “We want to give back to the community that’s been supporting us for almost 26 years,” said co-owner and Executive Chef, Zapien.

We gently pull Chef Marco out of his busy kitchen to talk about all his specials for Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day.

Andy Harris and Andrew Gruel at Cabana 14 at the Cove at Pechanga Resort and CasinoOur 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 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. Take-out/delivery when you can surely helps…Of course, the safety of restaurant employees and guests comes first.

What about those confusing “Code Dates” or “Use By Dates” on fresh & packaged food products. What do they really mean? You certainly don’t want to potentially waste anything right now that’s safely edible. We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

Robin Christenson of Blinking Owl Distillery with her Hand SanitzerThe Blinking Owl Distillery in Santa Ana is the very first craft distillery in Orange County. They also are one of the first distilleries in the state of California to hold the Type 74 Craft Distillers License allowing them to operate their tasting room and sell a few bottles of spirits. Blinking Owl crafts Vodka, Gin, several types of Whiskey, and the Scandinavian spirit, Aquavit.

“Stay Safely at Home” provisions have necessitated the temporary closing of The Tasting Room. Wanting to continue serving the community and keep their employees on the job Blinking Owl has thoughtfully shifted production to hand sanitizer (licensed) under the label of Blinking Owl Dirty Bird Hand Sanitizer. So far $25,000 in hand sanitizer has been generously donated!

Spirits are still available by ordering online.

Joining us from the packaging line for Dirty Bird Hand Sanitizer is Blinking Owl’s Co-founder and Chief Financial Owl, Robin Christenson.

Michael Hung of Faith and FlowerChef Michael Hung began his culinary career in New York City, where he dropped out of culinary school to do extended stages at acclaimed restaurants Daniel and Aquavit. Michael then followed his heart to San Francisco in 2005 and joined Traci Des Jardins’s James Beard Award-winning team at Jardiniere.  His career continued for nearly a decade in San Francisco, culminating with his appointment as Chef de Cuisine at Roland Passot’s Michelin-starred La Folie. In late-2013, Michael left San Francisco for Los Angeles to open Faith & Flower where he has returned as Executive Chef.

Community service in times of need is part of Chef Michael’s makeup. His current ambitious feeding program for those in need is under the banner of Donate to Feed L.A.’s Homeless and Underserved. Chef Michael takes a break from the kitchen and joins us with the critical details.

Tom Cross of the Westin Hapuna Beach ResortThis is the Weekend we were scheduled to again be broadcasting live from the 9th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort on Hawaii Island’s Kohala Coast. With the current health crisis still ongoing the Festival hopes to be rescheduled for August 14th & 15th if it’s safe to do so. Tom Cross is the welcoming Hotel Manager at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort and joins us with the good news that the property will again be welcoming guests on June 1st.

The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort completed an ambitious $50 million renovation last year. It’s part of the renown Mauna Kea Resort on the Island of Hawaii.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Betty Porto, Vice President of Community and Guest Relations, Porto’s Bakery & Café
Segment Three: Food Journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s (Chicago) “Hungry Hound”
Segment Four: Executive Chef & Co-Proprietor Marco Zapien, Zapien’s Salsa Grill
Segment Five: Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”
Segment Six: Robin Christenson, Co-Founder, Blinking Owl Distillery, Santa Ana
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Michael Hung, Faith & Flower, Downtown Los Angeles
Segment Eight: Tom Cross, Hotel Manager, The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort

Show 322, May 4, 2019: Chicago Food Journalist Steve Dolinsky (ABC 7’s “Hungry Hound”)

Steve Dolinsky and Andreew GruelFood journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s “Hungry Hound” in Chicago, is the recipient of an impressive 13 James Beard Foundation Awards for journalistic excellence. The Feed,” the weekly podcast that Steve does with Chef Rick Bayless, was again nominated this year for a Beard Award in the Podcast category. The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala is in Chicago at the Lyric Opera on Monday evening, May 6th.

Steve will preview the 2019 James Beard Foundation Awards Gala and what it means to Chicago to again host such a prestigious event.

“In 2014, Chicago chef/restaurateur Rick Bayless and I launched The Feed Podcast, covering the world of food from our professional perspectives. Every show is full of different segments, some from Chicago and others from far-flung places around the world we both travel to. In its first year, the show won a Beard Award for Best Podcast. More recently, I’ve begun curating and leading highly specialized culinary experiences, including international tours. In 2018, I wrote my first book, “Pizza City USA: 101 Reasons Why Chicago is America’s Greatest Pizza Town,” which led to the launch of Pizza City USA Tours and a companion podcast, “Pizza City,” where I talk to some of the greatest pizza makers in the world.”

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Show 272, May 5, 2018: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris

Now a tantalizing preview of Saturday’s appropriately satiating 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 that’s probably a pretty good thing…

It’s Cinco de Mayo (our favorite created holiday to, of course, encourage responsible imbibing) so our thoughts are certainly on festively appropriate food and craft beer. Just across the street from us at Angel Stadium is the new Golden Road Pub OC. We’ll see what tasty morsels Executive Chef Henry Tran (ex-TAPS) has on the menu. We guarantee you won’t go thirsty there either!

We’re going to start referring to Celebrity Chef Susan Feniger as “The Festival Queen.” She is back with us this morning previewing her events for the ongoing Los Angeles Times Food Bowl including “Plant Power – The No Beast Feast – An All-Star Chef Celebration of Vegetable Cuisine” on Saturday, May 19th at Coral Tree Plaza at Border Grill Downtown LA.

Crustacean Beverly Hills, the 20-year old, award-winning restaurant from House of AN hospitality group, reopened in March following an eight-month-long, $10 million dollar ambitious redesign and reconcepting. It now houses two high-end restaurants. House of An’s Elizabeth An joins us with the stylish details.

A new quality burger concept (originating in New York in 2015) Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer is on its way to an eagerly anticipated West Coast launch at Downtown Disney. Meanwhile you can experience Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer at The Venetian in Las Vegas. Think perfectly outrageous shakes, too. They are also part of Vegas Uncork’d festivities on Saturday evening, May 12th. We’ll meet Founder Joe Isidori, a 3rd generation chef.

The respected food journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s “Hungry Hound” in Chicago, is the recipient of an impressive 13 James Beard Foundation Awards for journalistic excellence. For this year’s James Beard Foundation Media Awards in New York (held on April 27th) he was again nominated for outstanding “TV Segment.” The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala is in Chicago at the Lyric Opera on Monday evening, May 7th. Steve will report on the outcome of the Media Awards and preview the 2018 James Beard Foundation Awards Gala.

Our culinary Team USA 2019 was in Mexico City on April 12th & 13th competing in The Bocuse d’Or America’s selection semi-finals leading up to the Bocuse d’Or International Culinary Competition in Lyon in January of 2019. Five of the 11 countries represented won the right to compete in the Lyon finals. Head Coach for Team USA 2019 Chef Robert Sulatycky and Culinary Council member Chef Paul Bartolotta join us with the outcome. Time to proudly wave the flag…

“Ask the Chef” with our own Chef Andrew Gruel is back.

Barramundi is appearing on high-end restaurant menus and available at better seafood retailers. For the uninitiated it’s both delicious, eco-friendly and well-managed. It’s a member of the sea bass family. Chef Andrew will give us all the needed 411.

All of this and much more deliciousness on today’s overflowing show!

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Show 272, May 5, 2018: Food TV’s Steve Dolinsky, “The Hungry Hound”, ABC 7 TV, Chicago

Steve Dolinsky and Andreew GruelRespected food journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s “Hungry Hound” in Chicago, is the recipient of an impressive 13 James Beard Foundation Awards for journalistic excellence. For this year’s James Beard Foundation Media Awards in New York (held on April 27th) he was again nominated for outstanding “TV Segment.”

The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala is in Chicago at the Lyric Opera on Monday evening, May 7th. Steve will report on the outcome of the Media Awards and preview the 2018 James Beard Foundation Awards Gala.

The James Beard Award-winning The Feed Podcast is a collaboration between Chicago Chef / Restaurateur Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, Xoco, Leña Brava) and 13-time James Beard Award winning food journalist Steve Dolinsky.

“They’ve known each other for 20 years, and have always craved a food program on the radio that included great sound. Sadly, there was none, so in January, 2014, they launched The Feed Podcast. The show jumps all over the globe – wherever their jobs take them – since Rick also hosts the Public Television series “Mexico: One Plate at a Time,” and Steve also writes for the Travel sections of the Chicago Tribune and The Globe and Mail in Canada.”

“Each show tackles a different subject: wine, spirits, food trends or audio postcards from foreign cities, but some also tackle issues like seafood sustainability and the ability of some diners to “buy” reservations at restaurants. The more evocative side of their reporting comes through in on-the-road shows where either Steve or Rick describe how a particular dish is made (Korean fried chicken, ramen, croissants) then devour it with pleasure as they describe what they’re tasting.”

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Show 221, April 29, 2017: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris

Big Island Chocolate FestivalIt’s a very special day of indulgence and celebration on the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” We’re live from the 6th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival at The Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. We’re broadcasting from the Reef Lounge with an incredible ocean view.

Hawaii is the only state in the USA where cacao, the primary base of chocolate, can be successfully grown commercially.

Now a properly decadent preview of this Saturday’s full 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 that’s probably a pretty good thing…

When it comes to insider’s knowledge of the vibrant Chicago food scene one of the best sources is Chicago ABC 7 Eyewitness News Food Reporter, Steve Dolinsky, “The Hungry Hound.” Steve was recently nominated for his potential 14th James Beard Foundation Award for journalistic excellence in reporting. The James Beard Awards Gala is May 1st at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. As a veteran of The James Beard Awards in both New York and Chicago, Steve joins us with a preview of what’s in store and a report on the Media Awards.

Farsheed Bonakdar is the President of the Kona Cacao Association, the Producer of the 6th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival. The mission and goal of the Kona Cacao Association is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawaii by presenting the Big Island Chocolate Festival as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. We’re talking all things chocolate with Farsheed.

Hawaii Island native Peter Abarcar, Jr. was promoted in 2015 from executive chef of Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel to director of culinary and beverage operations. Chef Abarcar now oversees all culinary, food and beverage operations at the 350-room oceanfront resort including the resort’s signature restaurant, Coast Grille. He also supervises operations for extensive catering and banquets, the Ocean Terrace Restaurant and The Beach Bar. We pull him out of the busy kitchens and “Talk Story.”

Alicia Boada is an acclaimed pastry chef and instructor with 20 plus years of experience in the culinary industry. She is the West Coast Technical Advisor for Barry Callebaut Chocolate (The Barry Callebaut Group) whose brands include Cacao Barry, Callebaut and Mona Lisa, among more. As a Corporate Pastry Chef & Chocolatier, Chef Alicia’s role often calls on her to perform demonstrations and training worldwide keeping her on the edge of what’s happening in the contemporary pastry and chocolate world. Chef Alicia will be performing a chocolate demonstration as part of the Festival in addition to judging the Gala’s delicious offerings.

Maui Chef Elizabeth (Betty) McDonald of B3 A Beach Bunny Bakery is a judge for the Gala as well as the College Competition. She is a veteran of The Big Island Chocolate Festival. Chef Betty has been in the culinary field since 2003, developing a love for baking at a young age from her mother and grandmothers. She has been fortunate enough to travel with her husband living and working in the four corners of the country.

Guittard’s Chocolate Company’s Executive Chef and Chocolatier, Donald Wressell, really needs no long introduction to listeners. Prior to his joining Guittard Chocolate as the in-house pastry chef, Donald Wressell spent 19 years at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills where he was named the 2005 Pastry Chef of the Year, won Silver and Gold medals in the Grand Salon Culinaire and placed second at the Les Masters du Chocolat competition. Chef Donald also represented the USA four times in Le Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie and captained the winning team at the 2011 National Pastry Team Championship.

Chef instructor Teresa “Cheech” Shurilla of University of Hawaii – Maui College oversees the college competition at The Big Island Chocolate Festival and has done it for several years. The Festival has had student participants from UH-Maui College, UH-Hilo and UH-Palamanui in Kona. It is Friday, April 28th and winners are announced at the Festival Gala. Chef Shurilla has been working and teaching in the culinary field for over thirty-four years. Prepare to be judged…

Andrew and William GruelChef Andrew Gruel is at Trade in Irvine this Saturday (busily training & cooking) in the soft opening phase of Two Birds and Butterleaf. He’ll happily fly the coop and be back with us next week.

Mahalo nui loa to The Big Island Chocolate Festival, Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel and Prince Resorts Hawaii, our gracious hosts in Hawaii.

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

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