Show 82, August 2, 2014: Executive Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish, Huntington Beach and Laguna

Andrew GruelFood trucks have proven to be a worthwhile testing ground for innovative food concepts. A great example is the fast growing Slapfish with a limited service, fast-casual restaurant in Huntington Beach located in a strip center. A new Laguna Beach location (across Pacific Coast Highway from the beach) launched earlier in the Summer.

The partners started with one modest food truck serving the OC in 2009. By 2011 they had four trucks serving both Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

Executive Chef (and co-founder) Andrew Gruel is with us to fill us in on the Slapfish tale. New locations both in the United States (airports, too) and the Middle East are on the way.

They like to characterize Slapfish as a modern seafood shack. It’s a real American seafood experience that revolves around fresh, sustainable fish, prepared simply, but delivering big flavors.

They are so fanatical about quality control that they have established their own seafood distribution company to service their restaurants.

Play

August 2: Rich Perelman, SYNEK, Slapfish Seafood, James Republic, Fiestas del la Vendimina, OC Fair, Olympic Cuisine

Podcasts

Segment One: Guest Host Richard (Rich) B. Perelman and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris preview the show
Segment Two: Steve Young, Founder, SYNEK
Segment Three: Executive Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish, Huntington Beach and Laguna
Segment Four: Restaurant Chef David MacLennan, James Republic, Long Beach
Segment Five: Javier Plascencia’s “From Farm and Vineyard to Your Table” Dinner
Segment Six: Rich Perelman on The Los Angeles Olympics, 1984
Segment Seven: Bakelogy and The OC Promenade at The OC Fair
Segment Eight: Food Service for the Spectators at The Games of the Twenty-Third Olympiad, Los Angeles

Guest Host Richard (Rich) B. Perelman and Producer Andy preview the show.

It’s our salute to the 30th Anniversary of the Games of the Twenty-Third Olympiad, Los Angeles, 1984. Guest Host Rich Perelman was the youngest Vice President of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee responsible for Press Operations and the Editor-in-Chief of the Official Report after the Games. Rich explains the continuing financial legacy to youth sports in Southern California as a direct result of the incredible success of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

SYNEK (a recent Kickstarter success story) is a nifty countertop draft system that serves any beer, fresh from the tap, anywhere you want it. Steve Young, based in St. Louis, MO is the Founder. His modest objective is to do for quality beer what Keurig did for single-brewed cups of coffee. With the phenomenal success of his cleverly orchestrated Kickstarter campaign he’s now well on his way…

Chef Andrew Gruel’s (of Slapfish) mission is to make quality seafood popular with everyday folks. He started with one modest food truck in 2010. It quickly expanded into four food trucks. The first Slapfish brick and mortar restaurant opened in Huntington Beach a year later. Laguna Beach recently launched and more restaurants are in the works.

James Republic in Long Beach orchestrates one of the very best, honest Farm-to-Fork dinner series around. It happens monthly on a Sunday under the name of the Dinner Bell Supper Series. The restaurant’s chef, David MacLennan, joins us with the specifics.

Every year in Northern Baja is the Fiestas del la Vendimina celebrating the bounty of wine and food in the region over a two-week period. One of the best single events is Chef Javier Plascencia’s (Tijuana’s Mision 16) “From Farm and Vineyard to Your Table” dinner at his ranch, Finca Altozano, in Valle de Guadalupe. It’s a 6-course, wine paired feast.

Time to hit the OC Fair in its final week. We’ll hear about Bakeology and all the tasty culinary events in the OC Promenade Building. Also the winning Fair Food item!

As part of our tribute to the Los Angeles Olympics we’ll also be looking back at the food served to the spectators. Surprisingly there was lots more variety to the offerings than plain boiled hot dogs and bagged chips. Innovations in food for 1984 are now part of guest expectations in 2014!

All of this and lots more absolutely incredible deliciousness on Saturday’s show!

Synek SystemSYNEK (a recent Kickstarter success story) is a nifty countertop draft system that serves any beer, fresh from the tap, anywhere you want it. Steve Young, based in St. Louis, MO is the Founder. His modest objective is to do for quality beer what Keurig did for single-brewed cups of coffee. As a result of the inspired, oversubscribed Kickstarter campaign he’s well on his way…

“In 2013, Steve Young started to take notice of the craft beer industry as a stock market analyst. He wanted to know how the craft beer industry was making these great strides and what risk factors could cause it to become a “bubble” like the industry saw in the 1990s.”

He knew the industry was growing with thousands of amazing brands created every week. However, to his surprise, every brewer he spoke with complained about the exact same issue : “We make amazing beer, but we can’t get it into our customers’ homes and make money at the same time. If there was a way to create a growler that maintained our beer’s quality longer than two days, it would change everything.”

“Steve was so moved by the brewers’ intense frustration that he quit his job to assemble the best beer engineering team in the world and implement a solution to this beer packaging epidemic.”

Andrew GruelFood trucks have proven to be a worthwhile testing ground for innovative food concepts. A great example is the fast growing Slapfish with a limited service, fast-casual restaurant in Huntington Beach located in a strip center. A new Laguna Beach location (across Pacific Coast Highway from the beach) launched earlier in the Summer.

The partners started with one modest food truck serving the OC in 2009. By 2011 they had four trucks serving both Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

Executive Chef (and co-founder) Andrew Gruel is with us to fill us in on the Slapfish tale. New locations both in the United States (airports, too) and the Middle East are on the way.

They like to characterize Slapfish as a modern seafood shack. It’s a real American seafood experience that revolves around fresh, sustainable fish, prepared simply, but delivering big flavors.

Dave MaclennanJames Republic, located in Downtown Long Beach, organizes one of the very best Farm-to-Fork dinner series around. It happens monthly on a Sunday under the name of the Dinner Bell Supper Series. The proprietor of James Republic, Chef Dean James Max, developed the original concept. The restaurant’s chef, David MacLennan, joins us with the specifics.

On the Sunday morning of The Dinner Bell Supper the culinary team gathers at the Long Beach Farmers Market to search for the ideal ingredients to serve as the basis for that evenings’ family-style supper. For the guests the evening begins with market inspired cocktails and passed canapes at 4:30 p.m. At 5:00 p.m., the dinner bell rings and the guests gather at a long, communal table to enjoy California wines and a bountiful three-course menu prepared by Chefs James Dean Max, Chef David MacLennan and their team. Area guest farmers take part in the engaging dinner conversation. The idea is for former strangers to become friends over a superb meal (with a side of good conversation) without this being forced.

The August 24th dinner is sold out. Future dates are September 14th, October 26th, and November 23rd.

Every year in Northern Baja is the Fiestas de la Vendimina (The Harvest Festival) celebrating the bounty of wine and food in the region over a two-week period. The Festival gives thanks and celebrates the beginning of a (hoped for) bountiful grape harvest.

Javier PlascenciaOne of the best single events is Chef Javier Plascencia’s (Tijuana’s Mision 19) “From Farm and Vineyard to Your Table” dinner at his ranch, Finca Altozano, in Valle de Guadalupe. It’s a 6-course, wine paired feast.

Prominent guest chefs from Southern California and Mexico are part of the culinary team. This year Ori Menashe from Bestia and Timothy Hollingsworth (The Restaurant at The Broad & ex-French Laundry chef de cuisine ) will be part of Chef Javier’s high-profile guest chefs’ team.

Chef Plascencia has been featured on Food TV with both Anthony Bourdain and “Bizarre Foods’” Andrew Zimmern.

For info please contact Chef Javier’s assistant, Diana Jimenez.

Rich PerelmanIt’s our salute to the 30th Anniversary of the Games of the Twenty-Third Olympiad, Los Angeles,1984. Our Guest Host, Rich Perelman, was the youngest Vice President of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee responsible for Press Operations and the Editor-in-Chief of the Official Report after the Games. Rich explains the continuing financial legacy to youth sports in Southern California as a direct result of the incredible success of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

Every Olympic Organizing Committee is mandated by the International Olympic Committee to document their Games in the Official report. It’s two volumes. One volume is a comprehensive recipe on how the Games were produced with some analysis. The other volume is the complete results and photos.

Rich Perelman was the Editor-in-Chief of the Official Report for the Los Angeles Games. The finished, two-volume report is 1,552 pages and weighs in at 38 lbs ! A full-time staff of 25 was responsible for the effort on a budget of some $4.33 million.

Rachel Klemek of Blackmarket Bakery and the CampTime to hit the OC Fair in Costa Mesa in its final week. Food is always front row center!

We’ll hear about Bakeology and all the other tasty culinary events in the OC Promenade Building.

Rachel Klemek of the award-winning Blackmarket Bakery in Costa Mesa is programming Bakeology at the Fair. Rachel and her staff are mixing, kneading, whipping and blending at the Bakeology exhibit in the Culinary Arts Building (The OC Promenade) at the Fair.

Also with us is the Fair’s Communications Director ,Robin Wachner. Robin will fill us in on all the Culinary activities in the OC Promenade Building.

We’ll also talk about the top vendor food item at this year’s Fair. 70 entrants competed and there was one big winner! Unbelievably it’s not even deep-fried!

Vegetarian PitaWe’re back to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and now talking about the food for the spectators.

Peter Ueberroth, the architect of The Games, wanted there to be more variety and freshness in the food available for purchase by the spectators at the Los Angeles Olympics than typically found in sports facilities of the day.

While common today 30 years ago it was unusual to see some of these items. Fresh fruit cups were on the menu as well as yogurt. Among the fresh sandwiches on the menu was the choice of a Vegetarian Pita. In addition to the usual ice cream novelties there was a place for natural Frozen Fruit Bars.

Food and beverage sales for the 16 days totaled over $11 million dollars. 5.8 million guests were served!

Podcasts

Segment One: Guest Host Richard (Rich) B. Perelman and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris preview the show
Segment Two: Steve Young, Founder, SYNEK
Segment Three: Executive Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish, Huntington Beach and Laguna
Segment Four: Restaurant Chef David MacLennan, James Republic, Long Beach
Segment Five: Javier Plascencia’s “From Farm and Vineyard to Your Table” Dinner
Segment Six: Rich Perelman on The Los Angeles Olympics, 1984
Segment Seven: Bakelogy and The OC Promenade at The OC Fair
Segment Eight: Food Service for the Spectators at The Games of the Twenty-Third Olympiad, Los Angeles

Show 60, February 8, 2013: Andrew Gruel, Executive Chef & Partner, Slapfish

Andrew GruelFood trucks have proven to be a worthwhile testing ground for innovative food concepts. A great example is Slapfish with a limited service, fast-casual restaurant in Huntington Beach located in a strip center. A new Laguna Beach location will launch later this year.

The partners started with one food truck serving the OC in 2009. By 2011 they had three trucks serving both Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

Executive Chef Andrew Gruel is with us to fill us in on the Slapfish tale. They have recently signed a lucrative franchise agreement to open 75 full service restaurants in the Middle East over the next 5 to 7 years.

Laguna Beach is next in SoCal.

They like to characterize Slapfish as a modern seafood shack. It’s a real American seafood experience that revolves around fresh, sustainable fish, prepared simply, but delivering big flavors.

Play

February 8: Caroline Styne, San Antonio Winery, Andrew Gruel, Brad A. Johnson, Paul Gstrein, Linda Kissam

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Caroline Styne, Wine Director and Partner, Lucques, A.O.C., The Tavern, and The Larder
Segment Three: Allan Stark, San Antonio Winery, Los Angeles
Segment Four: Andrew Gruel, Executive Chef & Partner, Slapfish
Segment Five: Brad A. Johnson, Restaurant Critic, Orange County Register
Segment Six: Paul Gstrein, Executive Chef, Bayside Restaurant
Segment Seven: Linda Kissam, Food, Wine & Travel Journalist, 1st Vice President, IFWTWA
Segment Eight: Jet Tila on Manhattan Dining

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Valentine’s Day is next week so get moving and don’t panic. It falls on a Friday this year. Friday is an especially tough day for restaurants due to Valentine’s Day anxiety so if you want to be a bit more relaxed make your plans for Saturday or Sunday instead. Still the Valentine’s Day orbit but a bit less crazed for the restaurant. You’ll definitely have better service…

Chef jet Tila and Alton BrownFood Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” with host Alton Brown is back on Sunday nights for Season 2. Our own Chef Jet Tila is the most frequently appearing solo judge on this tough competition show that requires strategy as well as cooking chops. Look for Jet’s new episodes starting in February.

It’s the Winter Olympics in Sochi and a classic Newport Beach restaurant is serving a special Olympics-themed menu for the duration. We’ll go inside the menu with the creative executive chef. Caroline Styne is the partner and Wine Director (with Chef Suzanne Goin) in Lucques, A.O.C. and Tavern in West Hollywood and Los Angeles. We’ll talk with her and get insight on how you keep a firmly established and growing restaurant group fresh for the dining public. We’ll also hear the story of Slapfish which started as a modest food truck and now is a growing international empire. Did you know there is an emerging wine region in Northern Baja? You’ll learn about a promising winery in the Guadalupe Valley founded by Italians. Brad A. Johnson, the restaurant critic for The Orange County Register, joins us to talk about letter grades for restaurants. We’ll also have a visit with travel journalist Linda Kissam, who was recently in Spain touring the wineries representing the 50 best Cavas produced there.

All of that and lots more incredible deliciousness on the “SoCal Restaurant Show.”

Caroline StyneCaroline Styne had an extensive background in specialty food products, catering, and restaurant management before partnering with Chef Suzanne Goin to open Lucques in 1988. In December of 2002, Goin & Styne opened their second restaurant, A.O.C., where the concept of small plates and fifty wines by the glass was born out of their shared passion for going out and sampling a variety of appetizers and intriguing wines. A.O.C. relocated to the face-lifted former Orso space about a mile West on 3rd Street in late 2012. Styne is the Wine Director for all the restaurants.

Tavern, in Brentwood, followed in May of 2009. It offers fine dining all day along with The Larder which has gourmet prepared foods and packaged goods. There is a new Larder at Burton Way in the luxury 8500 Burton Way Apartments on the border of L.A. and Beverly Hills as well as at LAX.

Styne contributed the helpful wine notes to Suzanne’s The A.O.C. Cookbook.

“And because wine and cheese are at the heart of A.O.C. there are two exciting additions. Caroline Styne presents a specific wine pairing for each dish. Styne explains why each varietal works well with the ingredients and which flavors she’s trying to highlight, and she gives you room to experiment as well – showing how to shape the wine to your own palate. Whether you’re just grabbing a glass to go with dinner or planning an entire menu, her expert notes are a real education in wine.”

LA Cetto WinesDid you know there is a burgeoning wine industry in Mexico? Finally some of these affordable wines are finding their way into the United States. Shouldn’t a fine Mexican restaurant also offer premium Mexican wines?

One of the premier grape growing areas of Mexico is in the Guadalupe Valley (and adjacent valleys) located in Northern Baja California. It has the rural feel of the flat areas of Sonoma County from 40 years ago.

The predecessor wine interests of L.A. Cetto were established in Baja by Italians in the late 1920s. In 1960 L.A. Cetto acquired their first vineyards in the Guadalupe Valley. Today they have some 2,500 acres in the Valley under the stewardship of the 3rd generation of the Baja-based Cetto Family. They are the largest producer of table wines in Mexico.

L.A’s own San Antonio Winery (dating to 1917) is the distributor of L.A. Cetto wines in Southern California. Allan Stark, a 25-year veteran of San Antonio Winery joins us to tell the L.A. Cetto story and discuss some of their premium reserve wines including Nebbiolo, Chardonnay, and a Brut Sparkling wine.

Andrew GruelFood trucks have proven to be a worthwhile testing ground for innovative food concepts. A great example is Slapfish with a limited service, fast-casual restaurant in Huntington Beach located in a strip center. A new Laguna Beach location will launch later this year.

The partners started with one food truck serving the OC in 2009. By 2011 they had three trucks serving both Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

Executive Chef Andrew Gruel is with us to fill us in on the Slapfish tale. They have just signed a franchise agreement to open 75 full service restaurants in the Middle East over the next 5 to 7 years.

They like to characterize Slapfish as a modern seafood shack. It’s a real American seafood experience that revolves around fresh, sustainable fish, prepared simply, but delivering big flavors.

Letter Grades at RestaurantsLast month The Orange County Register’s James Beard Award-winning restaurant critic, Brad A. Johnson, was looking to review a Newport Beach restaurant. Instead all of the members of his dining group came down with severe cases of food poisoning. When Brad checked the Health Department records of this restaurant he was surprised to learn that they had received a serious violation on each of their previous inspections since they opened two years ago.

Brad is with us to discuss his campaign for Orange County restaurants to receive Letter Grades as a result of their Health Department inspections as is practice in Los Angeles County and other areas of California.

The Winter Olympics in Sochi is underway. Russia is on peoples’ minds.

Paul Gstrein of Bayside RestaurantPaul Gstrein, the long-time (Austria-born) executive chef at Bayside Restaurant in Newport Beach has been inspired by Russia, too. For the duration of the Games Paul will be featuring Russian dishes as appetizers, entrees, and even desserts. How about Beef Short Rib Borscht and Berkshire Pork Tenderloin Stroganoff?

Please note that not every appetizer or entrée on the special Russian menu will be available each night.

Linda KissamThe very well-traveled Linda Kissam is a respected food, wine, and travel writer who is on the go most of the time. She serves as the 1st Vice President of the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association. She is also an author and the Global Wine & Travel Editor-at-Large for Luxe Beat Magazine.

Late last year Linda was invited to Spain to tour the Penedes wine region, the heart of cava sparkling wine production. Her mission was to taste and evaluate 50 fine cavas over an intensive five day period. Linda shares the highlights of this very special experience with us.

Le BernardinChef Jet has been in New York twice over the last two weeks and has enjoyed some standout dining adventures along the way. Jet shares the details of his truly exquisite meal at the classic Le Bernardin. It’s expertly prepared French seafood from Chef Eric Ripert at a very high level.

Jet also visited Ippudo, a well-known Japanese ramen shop.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Caroline Styne, Wine Director and Partner, Lucques, A.O.C., The Tavern, and The Larder
Segment Three: Allan Stark, San Antonio Winery, Los Angeles
Segment Four: Andrew Gruel, Executive Chef & Partner, Slapfish
Segment Five: Brad A. Johnson, Restaurant Critic, Orange County Register
Segment Six: Paul Gstrein, Executive Chef, Bayside Restaurant
Segment Seven: Linda Kissam, Food, Wine & Travel Journalist, 1st Vice President, IFWTWA
Segment Eight: Jet Tila on Manhattan Dining