Show 421, April 17, 2021: Donald Contursi of Lip Smacking Foodie Tours and Finger Licking Foodie Tours, Las Vegas

Donald Contursi of Lipsmacking Foodie Tours

Donald Contursi is the founder of Lip Smacking Foodie Tours and Finger Licking Foodie Tours based in Las Vegas. In a few short years they have earned the reputation as the premier food walking tour operator in Las Vegas. They offer both fully escorted as well as self -guides foodie tours of the most significant dining areas in Las Vegas both on and off The Strip. Downtown and the neighboring Arts District are now a huge dining destination known for a variety of ethnic cuisines.

“Lady Luck may be a necessity at the gaming tables in Vegas, but not at the dining ones. Not with Lip Smacking Foodie Tours ensuring you the ultimate payoff with the best bites this exciting city has to offer. Our award-winning culinary walking tour company was founded by veteran restaurant industry professionals with years of experience and exclusive connections, who have made it their mission to introduce visitors and locals alike to the best signature dishes, unique preparations, and exciting tastes in Vegas, complete with superlative VIP service.”

The range of fully escorted VIP Lip Smacking Foodie Tours includes “Savors of The Strip,” “Savory Bites & Neon Lights,” “Downtown Lip Smacking Tour” and “Arts District Lip Smacking Tour.” Finger Licking Foodie Tours self-guided options are “Downtown,” “Arts District,” “Chinatown,” And ARIA Resort & Casino.”

Founder Donald Contursi hospitably leads us on the tour of Lip Smacking Foodie Tours and Finger Licking Foodie Tours.

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Show 414, February 27, 2021: Executive Chef Kris Tominaga, Manuela, Downtown Los Angeles

Kris ominaga of Manuela Restaurant

“Located in the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles, Manuela unites chef, farmer and artist to create an authentic and original dining experience. Under the direction of Executive Chef Kris Tominaga, the menu celebrates seasonal ingredients sourced from the best farmers and producers in Southern California.” They recently reopened for spacious patio dining in their inner courtyard. Also takeaway and delivery.

“Serving a wide range of vegetables, grains, fish and game, Manuela also features an exemplary bar program which offers classic cocktails using house-made bitters and tonics. Local beers are on tap, while the carefully selected wine list is designed to pair with the smoke and acid flavors at the heart of the Manuela menu.” 

“Designed by Los Angeles native Matt Winter and named for Manuela Wirth, the restaurant is illuminated and animated by specially commissioned works from artists Paul McCarthy, Mark Bradford and Raymond Pettibon.”

“An L.A. native, Chef Kris brings costal California inspired dishes to the Manuela menu. Highlights include his signature cream biscuits with Steen’s butter and Col. Newsom’s aged country ham, barbecued oysters with charred leek butter, breadcrumbs and parmesan, and Peads & Barnetts pork chop with yellow peach, turnips, mustard seed oil and honey vinegar. Inspiration comes from the abundance of California’s vibrant flavors and colors.” Chef Kris utilizes his own kitchen garden at Manuela growing herbs and vegetables in addition to supporting local farmers.

Manuela is part of dine L.A. Their special Lunch menu is available Tuesday, March 2nd through Friday, March 12th while the Dinner menu is available March 2nd through Sunday, March 14th. (Closed on Mondays.) This provides a great introduction to Manuela where the aim is to impress a new guest with a great value.

We entice Chef Kris out of his busy kitchen for a brief chat.

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Show 412, February 13, 2021: Factory Place Hospitality Group with Matteo Ferdinandi and Chef Angelo Auriana, Los Angeles

Matteo Ferdinandi and Angelo Auriana of the Factory Kitchen

Factory Place Hospitality Group, a restaurant group led by Restaurateur Matteo Ferdinandi, was founded in March of 2013. Executive Chef and Business Partner Angelo Auriana, joined Ferdinandi and his wife, Francine Diamond-Ferdinandi, in August 2013 shortly before the opening of The Factory Kitchen (Ligurian cuisine) in Downtown Los Angeles.

The L.A. collection of establishments also includes Brera Ristorante and sixth+mill pizzeria. The Factory Kitchen (serving dinner nightly from Tuesday through Saturday) and Brera Ristorante (serving Dinner nightly from Tuesday through Saturday) have reopened for patio dining. Brera reopens for lunch on February 16th. To-Go availability at both establishments continues.

Francine Diamond-Ferdinandi is the Beverage Director for both restaurants.

Matteo Ferdinandi is graciously at our service along with Chef Angelo.

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Show 409, January 23, 2021: Chef & Restaurateur James Trees of Al Solito Posto, Las Vegas

James Trees of Ada's and Esthers Kitchen in Las VegasWe know Chef James Trees from Esther’s Kitchen in the Arts District of Las Vegas adjacent to Downtown. It’s Chef James’ interpretation of elegant Italian comfort food. “While Chef Trees is descended from Jewish Austrian wine merchants, growing up he spent a lot of time at his best friend Alfio’s house. “I love Italian food because of Alfio and his family,” says Trees. “That’s the food I grew up eating. My mom was always working and didn’t have time to make dinner, so whenever we were hungry we went to Alfio’s house. They’d be making lasagna or braciola, and pasta – there was always pasta. That’s my comfort food.””

Trees’ latest creation is the newly opened Al Solito Posto in Trivoli Village. Al Solito Posto which translates to “At the Usual Place” is an Italian Restaurant with a focus on the classics. The dinner only menu features house-made pasta, fresh ingredients and quality seafood, steaks and chops. Think a chef-driven minestrone, chicken piccata and cioppino.

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Show 407, January 9, 2021: Cindi Thompson of Crafted Kitchen, Arts District of Los Angeles Part One

Cindi Thompson of Crafted KitchenCindi Thompson’s Crafted Kitchen established in 2017 is a collegial business incubator-style, shared use commercial kitchen located in the Arts District of Los Angeles. A state-of-the art facility, housed in a fully restored 100-year-old brick warehouse, Crafted Kitchen is designed to give small food businesses access to the space, resources, and business skills they need in order to make their culinary dreams a reality. With a variety of kitchen formats available, Crafted Kitchen provides Los Angeles-area food entrepreneurs with room to grow.”

Under the roof of Crafted Kitchen are private kitchens, semi private kitchens and a fully equipped test kitchen with soaring 20-foot high bow-truss ceilings (and an adjacent landscaped patio) that can be used for distinctive private dinners, events and cooking classes.

The shared use kitchen space (available by the day or hour) has all the cooking equipment and cookware a budding food entrepreneur needs. All they need to provide are the raw ingredients for their food or beverage creation and packaging supplies.

“The Crafted Kitchen story began with the desire to build more than just a state-of-the-art shared-use kitchen. It started with the belief that, through community, an individual “me” could become part of the greater “we”. With community as our catalyst, Crafted Kitchen defines success as more than just the bottom line. We believe it’s about growing, learning and thriving alongside other culinary creatives and innovators. By leveraging industry resources, regulatory & licensing experience, bulk purchasing power and culinary expertise, we provide tools and resources to help food entrepreneurs accelerate business growth.”

Late last year Crafted Kitchen was honored by the food critics at the Los Angeles Times for inclusion in the widely studied 2020 feature of “101 Restaurants, Dishes, People and Ideas That Define How We Eat.”

It’s the dream (and carefully planned) venture of encouraging and supportive culinary entrepreneur Cindi Thompson. We’ll meet her.

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Show 407, January 9, 2021: Cindi Thompson of Crafted Kitchen, Arts District of Los Angeles Part Two

Cindi Thompson of Crafted KitchenCindi Thompson’s Crafted Kitchen established in 2017 is a collegial business incubator-style, shared use commercial kitchen located in the Arts District of Los Angeles. A state-of-the art facility, housed in a fully restored 100-year-old brick warehouse, Crafted Kitchen is designed to give small food businesses access to the space, resources, and business skills they need in order to make their culinary dreams a reality. With a variety of kitchen formats available, Crafted Kitchen provides Los Angeles-area food entrepreneurs with room to grow.”

Under the roof of Crafted Kitchen are private kitchens, semi private kitchens and a fully equipped test kitchen with soaring 20-foot high bow-truss ceilings (and an adjacent landscaped patio) that can be used for distinctive private dinners, events and cooking classes.

The shared use kitchen space (available by the day or hour) has all the cooking equipment and cookware a neophyte food entrepreneur needs. All they need to provide are the raw ingredients for their food or beverage creation and packaging supplies.

“The Crafted Kitchen story began with the desire to build more than just a state-of-the-art shared-use kitchen. It started with the belief that, through community, an individual “me” could become part of the greater “we”. With community as our catalyst, Crafted Kitchen defines success as more than just the bottom line. We believe it’s about growing, learning and thriving alongside other culinary creatives and innovators. By leveraging industry resources, regulatory & licensing experience, bulk purchasing power and culinary expertise, we provide tools and resources to help food entrepreneurs accelerate business growth.”

Cindi shares the inspiring story of budding food product entrepreneur (and tenant) Ai Fujimoto of Omiso Miso Soup. She hand-crafts 5 flavors of premium miso soup balls. Just add hot water and stir for an incredible, instant bowl of flavorful Omiso miso soup.
“Cindi Thompson was inspired to create Crafted Kitchen when she hit a roadblock in growing her own small food business – a scarcity of quality, affordable commercial kitchens to support her work.  Determined to provide fellow culinary entrepreneurs access to the quality space and resources she needed in order to grow and thrive, she founded Crafted Kitchen, an incubator-style commercial kitchen.  Prior to pursuing her passion for the culinary arts, Cindi enjoyed a long career in the financial services industry. She is a lifelong resident of California.”

It’s the dream venture of encouraging and supportive culinary entrepreneur Cindi Thompson. We’re continuing the conversation about Crafted Kitchen with her.

 

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Show 400, November 21, 2020: Dina Samson of Rossoblu and Superfine Pizza Co. 2020 Fellow of Women’s Entrepreneurship Leadership Program

Dina Samson of Rossoblu and Superfine PizzaNow in its fourth year, The James Beard Foundation’s Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership program (WEL) is part of the Foundation’s broader Women’s Leadership Programs presented by Audi and aims to support woman-identifying hospitality industry entrepreneurs, restaurant owners, and chefs in order to grow their careers and scale their businesses.

“We are thrilled to be able to continue this program this year, with the opportunity to bring together an extraordinary group of industry professionals from across the country,” said Clare Reichenbach, CEO of the James Beard Foundation. “As the devastation caused by this pandemic continues, it is more important now than ever to support our community and do all that we can to help entrepreneurs continue to succeed and thrive. We are honored to provide them with resources and to help expand their networks.”

The only California fellow selected for 2020 is Dina Samson of Rossoblu and Superfine Pizza Co. in Downtown Los Angeles. We’ll meet her and also learn what creative meal services Rossoblu and Superfine Pizza are currently providing to their guests with the new restrictions.

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Show 396, October 24, 2020: Executive Chef Kris Tominaga, Manuela, Downtown Los Angeles

Kris ominaga of Manuela Restaurant“Located in the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles, Manuela unites chef, farmer and artist to create an authentic and original dining experience. Under the direction of Executive Chef Kris Tominaga, the menu celebrates seasonal ingredients sourced from the best farmers and producers in Southern California.” They reopened in July for spacious patio dining in their designed inner courtyard for Weekday Lunch, Dinner and Weekend Brunch. (Closed on Monday.) Pick-Up and Delivery are available, too.

“Serving a wide range of vegetables, grains, fish and game, Manuela also features an exemplary bar program which offers classic cocktails using house-made bitters and tonics. Local beers are on tap, while the carefully selected wine list is designed to pair with the smoke and acid flavors at the heart of the Manuela menu.”

“Designed by Los Angeles native Matt Winter and named for Manuela Wirth, the restaurant is illuminated and animated by specially commissioned works from artists Paul McCarthy, Mark Bradford and Raymond Pettibon.”

“An L.A. native, Chef Kris brings costal California inspired dishes to the Manuela menu. Highlights include his signature cream biscuits with Steen’s butter and Col. Newsom’s aged country ham, barbecued oysters with charred leek butter, breadcrumbs and parmesan, and Peads & Barnetts pork chop with yellow peach, turnips, mustard seed oil and honey vinegar. Inspiration comes from the abundance of California’s vibrant flavors and colors.” Chef Kris utilizes his own kitchen garden at Manuela growing herbs and vegetables.

Chef Kris utilizes his own kitchen garden at Manuela growing select herbs and vegetables for some of his dishes. Unusually a well-cared for brood of 12 hens provides some of the eggs for Manuela.

Manuela will be open for Thanksgiving.

We entice Chef Kris out of his busy kitchen during Brunch service for a brief chat.

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Show 376, June 6, 2020: “FEW for all” with Chefs Tyler Curtis, Mallory Cayon and Restaurateur Ramzi Budayr

Pick me Up Kit featuring granola, greek yogurt and cold brew coffeeWhat do a pair of entrepreneurial (and motivated) professional chefs and an accomplished, fine-dining restaurant General Manager do when they are suddenly furloughed from their DTLA hotel properties? They quickly start back to work generously feeding hungry people with fresh pasta through the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and generating income. The unlikely success story is FEW for All.”

We’ll meet the dynamic and enterprising team of Restaurant General Manager Ramzi Budayr (ex-NoMad DTLA,) Pastry Chef Mallory Cayon (The Hoxton DTLA,) and Tyler Curtis (Chef de Cuisine – Pilot at The Hoxton.)

“It all started as an idea. COVID-19 hit all of us in ways no one could have imagined. But through our community, the lovely hearts of Los Angelenos and the support of YOU, FEW for all was born. We appreciate YOU.”

“FEW For All (otherwise known as Flour + Eggs + Water For All) was founded by a team of recently unemployed food & beverage workers to provide nourishment for the Los Angeles community during this unprecedented public health crisis.”

“Using three basic but increasingly scarce ingredients – flour, eggs & water – we make and sell homemade, restaurant-quality pasta, bake-at-home desserts and pasta sauces via our Instagram page @fewforall – and with every item purchased, we pledge to donate one pound of pasta to the Los Angeles Food Bank. In light of the massive spike in unemployment in the hospitality community as a result of the Coronavirus, we also offer fellow food & beverage workers free quarts of pasta should they lack the means to make a financial contribution.”

“We currently sell three pastas on our permanent menu: rigatoni, lumache & gluten free for $12 per quart, with special pasta shapes being launched weekly. We also sell pints of spicy pomodoro & pesto cheese fonduta for $10. For dessert, we offer bake-at-home cinnamon rolls for $8 per tin, and rolls of homemade, frozen cookie dough for $10, available in chocolate chip and gluten free peanut butter.”

“We offer pickup in the Arts District (at 672 S Santa Fe Ave) from 1PM – 6PM, Wednesday – Sunday. Free, contactless delivery is also available. We accept payment via Venmo & Zelle to minimize in-person contact.”

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Show 338, August 24, 2019: Executive Chef / Partner Lincoln Carson, Bon Temps, Los Angeles

Lincoln Carson of Bon TempsLincoln Carson is the Chef/Partner of the ambitious Bon Temps Los Angeles restaurant located next to the Firehouse Hotel in the Arts District adjacent to Downtown Los Angeles.

“An all-day restaurant Bon Temps reimagines a modern French brasserie with industrial roots. From morning until late-night, the menu is refined with an attention to detail that nods to Chef Lincoln Carson’s lineage working in internationally-acclaimed restaurants. Bon Temps is for the neighborhood and a place for the downtown community to break bread in a space that pays homage to the old and new.”

“Chef Lincoln Carson is a veteran pastry chef whose career spans almost three decades and he is best known for his eight-year tenure as the corporate pastry chef for The Mina Group, while his culinary resume also includes stints at internationally-acclaimed restaurants such as Le Bernardin and La Cote Basque. Carson was responsible for all facets of The Mina Group’s pastry, dessert and bread programs in addition to opening 18 new restaurants during his time there.”

“Set within the former Heinz testing kitchen of downtown Los Angeles, Bon Temps sets out to break down the distinction between back and front of house all while showcasing the beautiful tension between warm and cold materials. The guest immediately feels part of something larger than simply a dining experience, rather the sounds of the open kitchen combined with a sense of functional utility set forth by the aluminum furniture all point towards the expression of a transparent and honest dining experience driven by Chef Lincoln Carson.”

We entice Chef Lincoln out of his busy kitchens for a chat.

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