Show 423, May 1, 2021: Restaurateur & Executive Chef Amar Santana, The Hall, Vaca and Broadway

Amar Santana at the Finale of Top Chef

Orange County notable Amar Santana, the well-known chef of Vaca and The Hall Global Eatery at South Coast Plaza, as well as Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach, has returned to Bravo’s Top Chef Season 18 with a twist.

“This current Season, Chef Amar traded his cheftestant toque for a seat at the prestigious Judge’s Table. He was selected to be part of an elite rotating judging and dining panel made up of Top Chef All Star winners and finalists.”

“Santana, in a tight finale, ended Season 13 as the Top Chef runner-up. The ranking was made more impressive as he battled his way back to the win in “Last Chance Kitchen” where eliminated chefs compete for the wild card spot in the finale.”

“Portland, Oregon is the setting for the new season of Top Chef. Production took place last fall under rigid COVID-19 protocols and devastating wildfires. Santana was on hand for the first eight episodes including the popular “Restaurant Wars” competition.” We chat with Chef Amar about his perspective of the behind-the-scenes of the production. There was an ethnic chicken and rice dish sourced from a nearby stationary food truck that was especially popular for delivery.

Top Chef Season 18 currently airs Thursday at 8 p.m. PDT. The long-running culinary reality show has garnered more than 32 Emmy nominations and two wins over 13 years.

“Santana’s long-standing relationship with South Coast Plaza began in 2008 when the graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (and a C-CAP alum and scholarship recipient from High School) was hand-picked by Chef Charlie Palmer to open his eponymous restaurant at Bloomingdale’s. It was there Santana first worked with restaurateur Ahmed Labbate, another veteran of Palmer’s restaurant empire. The two subsequently went on to partner in three thriving restaurants in the competitive Orange County dining scene.” (Locations in South Coast Plaza and Laguna Beach.)

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Show 384, August 1, 2020: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

Local chefs Scott Chaconand Tad Weyland (celebrity Chef Jet Tila’s Chef de Cuisine) have joined culinary forces to create a prix fixe, 5-course dinner meal delivery service, Farm Direct LA. Delivery is on Tuesdays. The weekly changing menu is currently priced at $95 and serves two guests. In addition to the fixed price meal there are a la carte “Provisions” on the menu including Smoked Paprika Weiser Potato Chips with Charred Scallion Dip. Delivery is complimentary within 10-miles of DTLA and there is also a pickup option. We’ll meet enterprising Chefs Scott Chacon and Tad Weyland.

At Sea Level Restaurant & Lounge at the Shade Hotel Redondo Beach Executive Chef Craig Hopson offers premium California coastal cuisine that’s appealing for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a weekend brunch. Through it all, guests enjoy spectacular views from Palos Verdes to Malibu on plush outdoor seating, all complete with fire pits and heaters in a comfortable, inviting, and modern space that blends a beach feel with a luxury approach to indoor and outdoor dining. Newly launched is Chef Craig’s Friday and Saturday night Rooftop Izakaya with Sushi, Sashimi and Izakaya specialties along with a menu of Hand-Crafted Cocktails. Think Japanese Curry with a beef short rib, onion, carrots and served over rice with pickles or Sea Level Roll with crab, avocado, aioli, masago and tempura crunchies. We reel in Executive Chef Craig Hopson for a chat.

Laura Theodore’s Vegan for Everyone; 160 Family Friendly Recipes with a Delicious, Modern Twist is the ideal book for anyone looking to add easy-to-prepare and delicious, plant-based food into their weekly menu plan. This innovative cookbook features more than 160 family friendly recipes (135 are gluten-free friendly) and over 200 beautiful, full-color photos, including 100+ new recipes, along with updated versions of 60 fan-favorites – all created by award-winning vegan chef Laura Theodore (Public Television’s Jazzy Vegetarian). Plus, this book includes an entire chapter of up-to-date nutritional information contributed by Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT (The Plant-Based Dietitian), making it a complete and fun way to make family meals kinder, healthier and—most of all—tastier.” “Vegan for Everyone includes delightfully delicious, classic recipes to impress everyone you are cooking for—omnivores and vegans alike!”

“Always up for an adventure and full of entrepreneurial spirit, Joe Moxley and Mike Herrera entered into the wine world with the hopes of blazing a new trail, of merging their two business worlds in a way that hadn’t been done before. Their first partnership focused on the rock & roll world and lifestyle, bringing a signature clothing brand to fans of music. Now they’ve broadened their horizons and brought their love of wine to the forefront. The adventure began when the two went wine tasting together in Southern Oregon where they were introduced to acclaimed winemaker, Matthew Cates. It didn’t take long for the trio to form a bond leading to the creation of a new, limited production, boutique winery they created together named Anchor Valley, based in the Rogue Valley. Partner Ashley Cates pulls the cork on Anchor Valley for us.”

Executive Chef & Restaurateur Amar Santana and Restaurateur Ahmed Labbate have reopened The Hall Global Eatery at South Coast Plaza for dine-in on their comfortable, shaded patio or for curbside pickup. The extensive fast-casual menu is available at the Mediterranean Grill including hand-carved Shawarma, Babaganoush and Hummus. Cocktails, beer and wine are available to enjoy on the patio or To-Go. The grab and go Patisserie features a wide variety of baked goods, salads, sandwiches, coffee and juices. The full-service Crudo and Charcuterie Bar has been reimagined with the addition of a customizable selection of Poke. Chef Amar Santana and Ahmed Labbate are with us providing all the enticing details.

“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 restrict guest counts. Alternately take-out/delivery when you can surely helps… Time for celebration. August 5th is National Oyster Day. There are more inspired ways to enjoy & appreciate oysters besides simply being served raw, freshly shucked on the half-shell. Chef Andrew is our resident authority on these bivalve mollusks enjoyed since ancient times. We’ll, of course, “Ask the Chef.”

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 384, August 1, 2020: Restaurateur Ahmed Labbate and Partner / Executive Chef Amar Santana of The Hall Global Eatery

Ahmed Labatte and Amar Santana of Vaca Restaurant GroupExecutive Chef & Restaurateur Amar Santana and Restaurateur Ahmed Labbate have reopened The Hall Global Eatery at South Coast Plaza for dine-in on their comfortable, shaded front patio or for curbside pickup. The extensive fast-casual menu is available at the Mediterranean Grill including hand-carved Shawarma, Babaganoush and Hummus. A selection of cocktails from master barman Michael Rooney, beer and wine are available to enjoy on the patio or To-Go. The grab and go Patisserie features a wide variety of baked goods, salads, sandwiches, coffee and juices.

The former full-service Crudo and Charcuterie Bar has been reimagined with the addition of a selection of made-to-order (and customizable) Poke. Guests, to start, have their choice of two proteins including Ahi Tuna, Salmon, Albacore, Octopus, Spicy Tuna, Scallop, King Crab or Tofu. From there a diner has a choice of five toppings from an available selection of 13 options.

Chef Amar’s and Ahmed’s other pair of popular restaurants, Vaca adjacent to South Coast Plaza and Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach, are again accommodating guests with full-service patio dining and curbside pickup and delivery.

Chef Amar Santana and Ahmed Labbate are with us providing all the enticing details.

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August 1: Farm Direct LA, Sea Level Restaurant & Lounge, Laura Theodore, Anchor Valley, The Hall Global Eatery

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Farm Direct LA with Chef / Founders Scott Chacon and Tad Weyland
Segment Three: Executive Chef Craig Hopson, Sea Level Restaurant & Lounge, Shade Hotel Redondo Beach
Segment Four: Chef Laura Theodore, “The Jazzy Vegetarian,” with Vegan for Everyone Part One
Segment Five: Chef Laura Theodore, “The Jazzy Vegetarian,” with Vegan for Everyone Part Two
Segment Six: Anchor Valley Wine, Rogue Valley with Partner Ashley Cates
Segment Seven: Restaurateur Ahmed Labbate and Partner / Executive Chef Amar Santana of The Hall Global Eatery
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Local chefs Scott Chacon and Tad Weyland (celebrity Chef Jet Tila’s Chef de Cuisine) have joined culinary forces to create a prix fixe, 5-course dinner meal delivery service, Farm Direct LA. Delivery is on Tuesdays. The weekly changing menu is priced at $95 and serves two guests. In addition to the fixed price meal there are a la carte “Provisions” on the menu including Smoked Paprika Weiser Potato Chips with Charred Scallion Dip. We’ll meet enterprising Chefs Scott Chacon and Tad Weyland.

At Sea Level Restaurant & Lounge at the Shade Hotel Redondo Beach Executive Chef Craig Hopson offers premium California coastal cuisine that’s appealing for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a weekend brunch. Through it all, guests enjoy spectacular views from Palos Verdes to Malibu on plush outdoor seating, all complete with fire pits and heaters in a comfortable, inviting, and modern space that blends a beach feel with a luxury approach to indoor and outdoor dining. Newly launched is Chef Craig’s Friday and Saturday night Rooftop Izakaya with Sushi, Sashimi and Izakaya specialties along with a menu of Hand-Crafted Cocktails. Think Japanese Curry with a beef short rib, onion, carrots and served over rice with pickles. We reel in Executive Chef Craig Hopson for a chat.

“Laura Theodore’s Vegan for Everyone; 160 Family Friendly Recipes with a Delicious, Modern Twist is the ideal book for anyone looking to add easy-to-prepare and delicious, plant-based food into their weekly menu plan. This innovative cookbook features more than 160 family friendly recipes (135 are gluten-free friendly) and over 200 beautiful, full-color photos, including 100+ new recipes, along with updated versions of 60 fan-favorites – all created by award-winning vegan chef Laura Theodore (Public Television’s Jazzy Vegetarian). Plus, this book includes an entire chapter of up-to-date nutritional information contributed by Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT (The Plant-Based Dietitian), making it a complete and fun way to make family meals kinder, healthier and—most of all—tastier.” “Vegan for Everyone includes delightfully delicious, classic recipes to impress everyone you are cooking for—omnivores and vegans alike!”

Always up for an adventure and full of entrepreneurial spirit, Joe Moxley and Mike Herrera entered into the wine world with the hopes of blazing a new trail, of merging their two business worlds in a way that hadn’t been done before. Their first partnership focused on the rock & roll world and lifestyle, bringing a signature clothing brand to fans of music. Now they’ve broadened their horizons and brought their love of wine to the forefront. The adventure began when the two went wine tasting together in Southern Oregon where they were introduced to acclaimed winemaker, Matthew Cates. It didn’t take long for the trio to form a bond leading to the creation of a new, limited production, boutique winery they created together named Anchor Valley, based in the Rogue Valley. Partner Ashley Cates pulls the cork on Anchor Valley for us.

Executive Chef & Restaurateur Amar Santana and Restaurateur Ahmed Labbate have reopened The Hall Global Eatery at South Coast Plaza for dine-in on their comfortable, shaded patio or for curbside pickup. The extensive fast-casual menu is available at the Mediterranean Grill including hand-carved Shawarma, Babaganoush and Hummus. Cocktails, beer and wine are available to enjoy on the patio or To-Go. The grab and go Patisserie features a wide variety of baked goods, salads, sandwiches, coffee and juices. The full-service Ceviche and Charcuterie Bar is being reimagined with the addition (coming soon) of a selection of Poke. Chef Amar Santana and Ahmed Labbate are with us providing all the enticing details.

“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 restrict guest counts. Alternately Take-Out / Delivery when you can surely helps… Time for celebration. August 5th is National Oyster Day. There are more inspired ways to enjoy & appreciate oysters besides simply being served raw, freshly shucked on the half-shell. Chef Andrew is our resident authority on these bivalve mollusks enjoyed since ancient times. We’ll, of course, “Ask the Chef.”

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

Tad Weyland and Scott Chacon of Farm Direct LALocal chefs Scott Chacon and Tad Weyland (celebrity Chef Jet Tila’s Chef de Cuisine) have joined culinary forces to create a prix fixe, 5-course, fine-dining dinner meal delivery service, Farm Direct LA. Delivery on Tuesdays. The weekly changing menu is priced at $95 and serves two guests.

Last week’s 5-course menu included Wild Line Caught Grilled Halibut with Heirloom Tomato Jam, Patty Pan Squash, and Crispy Weiser Potatoes ; Creamed Sweet Corn with Tarragon, Leek and Shallot Confit ; Market Lettuces and Grilled Artichoke with Garlic Aioli, Mint Pistou and Croutons ; Charred Cabbage with Seasonal Pepper Relish and Sherry-Juniper Gastrique ; and Weiser Melon Sorbet & Early Season Grapes.

In addition to the weekly fixed price meal there are a la carte “Provisions” on the extras menu including Smoked Paprika Weiser Potato Chips with Charred Scallion Dip.

We’ll meet enterprising Chefs Scott Chacon and Tad Wetland.

Craig Hopson of SeaLevel Restaurant and LoungeAt Sea Level Restaurant & Lounge at the Shade Hotel Redondo Beach Executive Chef Craig Hopson offers premium California coastal cuisine that’s perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a weekend brunch. Start with a hand-crafted cocktail and fresh oysters from the raw bar, then move onto one of Chef Craig’s coastal inspired main dishes (Roasted Salmon Fillet with squash, radish, cucumber, quinoa and miso dressing) with a glass of wine or one of the on-tap craft beers from their extensive selection.

“Through it all, you’ll enjoy spectacular views from Palos Verdes to Malibu on plush outdoor seating, all complete with fire pits and heaters in a comfortable, inviting, and modern space that blends a beach feel with a luxury approach to indoor and outdoor dining. Enjoy Chef Craig Hopson’s gourmet culinary talent and experience all that California’s uniquely modern cuisine has to offer: visit for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner.”

Newly launched is Chef Craig’s Friday and Saturday night Rooftop Izakaya with Sushi, Sashimi and Izakaya specialties along with a menu of Hand-Crafted Cocktails. Think Japanese Curry with a beef short rib, onion, carrots and served over rice with pickles.

We reel in Executive Chef Craig Hopson for a chat.

Cookbook Author Laura TheodoreLaura Theodore’s Vegan for Everyone is the ideal book for anyone looking to add easy-to-prepare and delicious, plant-based food into their weekly menu plan. This innovative cookbook features more than 160 family friendly recipes (135 are gluten-free friendly) and over 200 beautiful, full-color photos, including 100+ new recipes, along with updated versions of 60 fan-favorites – all created by award-winning vegan chef Laura Theodore (Public Television’s Jazzy Vegetarian).”

“Plus, this book includes an entire chapter of up-to-date nutritional information contributed by Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT (The Plant-Based Dietitian), making it a complete and fun way to make family meals kinder, healthier and—most of all—tastier.” “Vegan for Everyone includes delightfully delicious, classic recipes to impress everyone you are cooking for—omnivores and vegans alike!”

“Laura Theodore is a recognized public television personality, vegan PBS celebrity chef, nationally renowned jazz singer and award-winning cookbook author. She is co-creator of the highly successful “Jazzy Vegetarian” vegan cooking series on national public television. Ms. Theodore is author of five cookbooks, including Jazzy Vegetarian’s Deliciously Vegan, which won silver medals at the 2018 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards, Midwest Book Awards and the 2019 Living Now Book Awards. Her highly- anticipated new cookbook Vegan for Everyone; 160 Family Friendly Recipes with a Delicious Modern Twist is Laura’s newest book, released by Scribe Publishing Company. (All Jazzy Vegetarian recipes are vegan.)”

“Vegan for Everyone includes classic recipes like No-Egg Tofu-Veggie Scramble, Crazy, Easy BBQ Portobello Burgers, “Hungry Guy” Burgers and Cauliflower Steaks with Sweet Pepper Sauce; kid-friendly recipes like Yummy Banana-Oat Pancakes, Rockin’ Peanut Butter-Banana Toast and Date n’ Rice Cereal Treats; and plant-based, gluten-free recipes like Peachy Date-Nut Oat Bars, Zucchini Fettuccine Alfredo and Mad Mocha Marbled Mousse Pie. You’ll be able to satisfy your entire family and all of your guests with easy-to-prepare, four-star meals that are satisfying, nutritious and delicious!”

Vegan for Everyone includes:

  • Over 160 delectable vegan recipes, each with easy-to-follow instructions
  • Full color photo with almost every recipe (over 200 photos in all)
  • Recipe ingredients that can be found at most local supermarkets
  • Handy icons to quickly identify over 135 gluten-free friendly recipes
  • Detailed lists of vegan essentials, including how to stock your plant-powered pantry and organize your spice rack and table of equivalent measures
  • Many quick and easy three-ingredient recipes
  • Festive recipes to serve for holidays, birthdays and any special occasion
  • Comprehensive plant-based nutrition chapter, contributed by Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT

“Vegan for Everyone includes delightfully delicious, classic recipes to impress everyone you are cooking for—omnivores and vegans alike!”

Ashley Cates of Anchor ValleyAlways up for an adventure and full of entrepreneurial spirit, Joe Moxley and Mike Herrera entered into the wine world with the hopes of blazing a new trail, of merging their two business worlds in a way that hadn’t been done before. Their first partnership focused on the rock & roll world and lifestyle, bringing a signature clothing brand to fans of music.

Now, after eleven years partnering together, they’ve broadened their horizons and brought their love of wine to the forefront. The adventure began when the two went wine tasting together in Southern Oregon where they were introduced to acclaimed winemaker, Matthew Cates. It didn’t take long for the trio to form a bond which resulted in the launch of a new limited production, boutique winery they created together named Anchor Valley, based in the Rogue Valley.

Anchor Valley selections include Pinot Rose, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Sirah.

Partner Ashley Cates pulls the cork on Anchor Valley for us.

Ahmed Labatte and Amar Santana of Vaca Restaurant GroupExecutive Chef & Restaurateur Amar Santana and Restaurateur Ahmed Labbate have reopened The Hall Global Eatery at South Coast Plaza for dine-in on their comfortable, shaded front patio or for curbside pickup. The extensive fast-casual menu is available at the Mediterranean Grill including hand-carved Shawarma, Babaganoush and Hummus. A selection of cocktails from master barman Michael Rooney, beer and wine are available to enjoy on the patio or To-Go. The grab and go Patisserie features a wide variety of baked goods, salads, sandwiches, coffee and juices. The former full-service Ceviche and Charcuterie Bar is being reimagined with the addition (coming soon) of a selection of made-to-order (and customizable) Poke.

Chef Amar’s and Ahmed’s other pair of popular restaurants, Vaca adjacent to South Coast Plaza and Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach, are again accommodating guests with full-service patio dining and curbside pickup and delivery.

Chef Amar Santana and Ahmed Labbate are with us providing all the enticing details.

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…

Time for celebration. August 5th is National Oyster Day. … There are more ways to enjoy & appreciate oysters besides being served raw, freshly shucked on the half-shell. Chef Andrew is our resident authority on these bivalve mollusks enjoyed since ancient times. We’ll, of course “Ask the Chef.”

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Farm Direct LA with Chef / Founders Scott Chacon and Tad Weyland
Segment Three: Executive Chef Craig Hopson, Sea Level Restaurant & Lounge, Shade Hotel Redondo Beach
Segment Four: Chef Laura Theodore, “The Jazzy Vegetarian,” with Vegan for Everyone Part One
Segment Five: Chef Laura Theodore, “The Jazzy Vegetarian,” with Vegan for Everyone Part Two
Segment Six: Anchor Valley Wine, Rogue Valley with Partner Ashley Cates
Segment Seven: Restaurateur Ahmed Labbate and Partner / Executive Chef Amar Santana of The Hall Global Eatery
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Show 372, May 9, 2020: South Coast Plaza’s Dining Options with Lee Healy

Lee Healy representing South Coast PlazaWhen it comes to fashionable restaurant take-out in Orange County don’t forget the numerous appealing and varied restaurant options available at South Coast Plaza. “During these trying times and shelter-at-home, South Coast Plaza restaurants have adapted to take-out and curbside pick-up with success. Thirteen restaurants offer abbreviated and family-style menus ranging from Japanese cuisine (who isn’t craving sushi), prime steaks, contemporary cuisine and more.”

Chef Amar Santana‘s take-out at VACA has been lauded by restaurant critics Bill Addison with the Los Angeles Times and Brad Johnson of the Orange County Register. Their recommendations: Paella Valenciana family-menu with Vaca Tonics to go! Water Grill has a dazzling pop-up market three days a week (premium seafood and live lobster to prepare at home). Din Tai Fung has been busy and check out Royal Khyber‘s special three-course curbside menu for two for $30. Award-winning chef Ross Pangilinan has just begun take-out at TERRACE by Mix Mix.”

South Coast Plaza’s long-time restaurant marketing consultant, Lee Healy, joins us with the specifics.

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Show 362, February 29, 2020: Travel Journalist Darley Newman of PBS’s “Travels with Darley” Part Two

Darley Newman of Travels with DarleyWe’ve previously introduced you to Darley Newman of PBS’s Travels with Darley.” Now experience Los Angeles and environs from a local’s perspective in the newest season of “Travels with Darley.”

“Emmy Award-nominated TV host and expert traveler Darley Newman showcases the diversity of the greater Los Angeles area, visiting West Hollywood, Pasadena, Costa Mesa and the Angeles National Forest. Mixing mountain biking and trail stewardship in the Angeles National Forest with the culinary scene in Pasadena, skateboarding in Costa Mesa and rock and roll history in West Hollywood, viewers are invited to see Los Angeles in a whole new way.”

“In Costa Mesa, Darley meets with a variety of visionaries and local entrepreneurs to understand this city of arts and culture in the heart of Southern California. She takes a skateboard lesson with Joey Lopez of Shreducate Academy, meets the legendary co-owner of Wahoo’s Fish Taco, Wing Lam, and tastes craft beer at Gunwhale Ales with Justin Miller. At The Camp, she continues an eco-friendly theme with entrepreneur Shaheen Sadeghi, before experiencing Costa Mesa culinary delights with Chef Amar Santana, who competed into the Finals (and finished a close 2nd) on Season 13 of Bravo TV‘s Top Chef series, at Vaca Restaurant and Patrick Nguyen at The Straw.”

Continuing our chat with the well-traveled Darley Newman.

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Show 359, February 8, 2020: Food & Beverage Journalist Anne Marie Panoringan

Journaist Anne Marie PanoringanDiscriminating Orange County foodies know Anne Marie Panoringan as one of the insightful food and beverage contributors to the, now, sadly departed OC Weekly. She always has her ear to the ground for breaking news on the OC dining and libation scene. Anne Marie is now the bi-monthly food columnist for Arts & Culture at Voice of OC.

We’ll chat with her about her new post, Voice of OC, and her first two features. First up are bars as gathering spots) where the creative cocktails are alcohol free. Could it be a significant trend? Then it’s a look at the more creative of the OC’s fast multiplying Food Halls starting with Chef Amar Santana’s and Ahmed Labatte’s The Hall Global Eatery at South Coast Plaza.

For the February issue of Kudos Newport Beach it’s a profile of Chef Amy Lebrun at Lido Bottle Works.

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Show 345, October 19, 2019: Travel Journalist Darley Newman, “Travels with Darley” on KCET Part One

Darley Newman“Travels with Darley” takes viewers around the world with Emmy-nominated host Darley Newman and locals as the guides to experience culture, cuisine, history and outdoor adventure.

The broadcast version debuted locally on Public Television’s KCET in September, taking viewers through Europe, Asia, the Caribbean and the USA. For Southern California viewers “Travels with Darley” airs Monday through Friday at 6:30 p.m. The new season marks the 41st half hour of the series aired over 7 seasons.

Season 8 of “Travels with Darley” is in production right now. The Greater L.A. and Orange County show includes visits in Costa Mesa to Wahoo’s Fish Taco, Vaca Restaurant (with Chef Amar Santana) and Blackmarket Bakery.

“Darley Newman is a travel expert, media entrepreneur, and author who channeled her passion for travel and storytelling into a dream career. Through her production company, DCN Creative, she is the creator, producer and host of internationally broadcast travel shows, “Travels with Darley” and Emmy Award-winning, “Equitrekking.” She also popularized the niche genre of equestrian tourism and often appears as a travel expert on leading media, including USA Today, The Washington Post and Forbes.”

The globe-trotting Darley Newman is our guest.

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Show 255, January 6, 2018: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel

Happy New Year.

Now an abundant preview of Saturday’s salivating 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, upon careful reflection, that’s probably a pretty good thing… Keep in mind we’re here with you live every Saturday morning throughout the new year.

No leftovers here.

It’s the beginning of another year of enticing food & beverage festivals in sunny Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. Upcoming is the 5th edition of the popular Ceviche and Aguachile Festival on Sunday afternoon, January 28th. Festival Producer Edgar Cisneros has the tempting preview.

Restaurateur Ray Lasher surprised the Long Beach dining community when he closed the original Lasher’s in 2012 after a 15-year run. He’s now back in Belmont Shore on E. 2nd Street with a revised concept, Lasher’s Kitchen. Executive Chef & Partner Raquel Jubran has returned to create the refreshed menu. She joins us.

We last spoke with Chef Brendan Collins when he was running the underappreciated Birch located on a side street just off Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood. He is now back on the Westside creating the rejuvenated menu at The Wilshire Restaurant in Santa Monica. Guests have already noticed the new energy there along with the refreshed commitment to service. The Roast has moved there too, from Noon to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Just before year’s end Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula opened their doors to guests for the first phase of their ambitious $285 million expansion, including 568 new hotel rooms & suites. In the new atrium is The Lobby Bar restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also launched on Thursday nights is the all-you-can enjoy Lobster & Seafood Extravaganza at the Pechanga Buffet. We entice Pechanga’s Executive Chef Duane Owen out of his busy kitchens for the details.

Chef Amar Santana and his business partner, Ahmed Labatte (Broadway by Amar Santana and Vaca in Costa Mesa) had an incredible 2017. Among other notable achievements they hosted one of the premier events celebrating the 50th Anniversary of South Coast Plaza at Vaca. It was a lavish, multi-course dinner matched with outstanding wines to benefit The James Beard Foundation. For late 2018 their new project will be The Hall Global Eatery in South Coast Plaza. Ahmed joins us with a tantalizing sneak preview.

Our always dynamic Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, is back in-studio from his adventures in Park City, Utah where he has just debuted the third Slapfish in Utah. Chef Andrew will share (and explain) some important hospitality business trends he sees for 2018. Where is fine-dining headed? This is Part 3 of his conversation continued from the previous two weeks.

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

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Show 255, January 6, 2018: Ahmed Labatte, Partner, Vaca Restaurant Group

Ahmed LabatteChef Amar Santana and his business partner, Ahmed Labatte (Broadway by Amar Santana and Vaca in Costa Mesa) had an incredible 2017. Among other notable achievements they hosted one of the premier events celebrating the 50th Anniversary of South Coast Plaza at Vaca. It was a lavish, multi-course dinner matched with outstanding wines to benefit The James Beard Foundation.

For late 2018 their ambitious new project will be The Hall Global Eatery in South Coast Plaza. Early advance info is that it will be a Global Marketplace with multiple food counters and an exhibition kitchen.

There will be a grab-and-go market area with freshly prepared salads and sandwiches. Everything else will be prepared to order. Expect Mediterranean kebabs and Shawarma.  The location is the expansive former Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill space.

Ahmed joins us with a tantalizing sneak preview.

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