Show 450, November 6, 2021: Chef Stephanie Izard, Girl & The Goat Los Angeles Part One

Stephanie Izard of the Boka Restaurant Group

“Back in July nationally acclaimed and James Beard award-winning Chef Stephanie Izard and James Beard award-winning Restaurateurs Rob Katz and Kevin Boehm of BoKa Restaurant Group, debuted the long-awaited West Coast version of the popular Chicago restaurant, Girl & the Goat, to Downtown Los Angeles. Since the restaurant’s expansion announcement in 2018, Angelenos and Izard fans have been anticipating the Arts District opening and with the recent resurgence and lifted restrictions within the city, Girl & the Goat has now enthusiastically joined the Los Angeles restaurant community. True to the restaurant’s midwestern roots and Izard’s signature, globally-inspired culinary style, Girl & the Goat’s West Coast menu is a combination of both signature dishes from the Chicago location and new, seasonal dishes that heavily rely on California’s bountiful produce and local ingredients.”

“Located within the new Mateo complex in the Arts District, Girl & the Goat is the first restaurant outside of Chicago for both Izard and BoKa Restaurant Group. As Executive Chef and Owner, Izard leads the restaurant’s menu development and creation, while overseeing front and back of house operations. For this expansion, the opening team includes a mix of both veteran BoKa team members and local hospitality professionals. Jason Beliveau, a longstanding BoKa team member, serves as Chef de Cuisine. Behind the bar, Mike Zell, who worked at a handful of Izard’s concepts in Chicago, is charged with creating and executing the seasonal cocktails, while Wine Director Ken Fredrickson leads the wine list development.”

“Served family-style, Girl & the Goat’s Los Angeles menu is a combination of dishes that have become staples at the Chicago restaurant as well as new, undeniably-California dishes. Fans of Izard will recognize signature Girl & the Goat dishes, such as Wood Grilled Broccoli, Sautéed Green Beans, Goat Empanadas, and Chickpea Fritters. Along with the classics, new dishes exclusive to the West Coast include Pork Belly Salad, Roasted Beet Salad, Goat Curry, and Pan Seared Opah. For dessert, Izard’s playful and nostalgic dishes include Choco Choco Choco Taco, “Garretts” Popcorn, and Tres Leches. For weekend brunch, standout dishes include Potato “Banh Xeo,” Everything Crumpets, Parathas, and PB & J Pancakes.”

“Izard plans to regularly update the menu and showcase the abundance of seasonal produce through new relationships with local vendors and purveyors. The focus on seasonality extends to the cocktail list, where fresh interpretations of popular cocktails, such as a bee’s knees and spicy margarita, make an appearance. With a focus on sustainable and organically made wines, the 80-label list includes a mix of wines from around the world including selections from California, Oregon, and France. An approachable 24-label by-the-glass list encourages guests to have fun and experiment with different, and perhaps new to them, selections on the wine list.”

Next up for Chef Stephanie is the launch of Cabra Los Angeles located on the spacious rooftop of the Hoxton Hotel (with panoramic views of Downtown Los Angeles) in the former home of Pilot. It’s Izard’s play on the cuisine of Peru with Japanese and Latin influences.

We spirit Chef Stephanie out from her busy kitchens for a chat.

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Show 450, November 6, 2021: Chef Stephanie Izard, Girl & The Goat Los Angeles Part Two

Stephanie Izard of the Boka Restaurant Group

“Back in July nationally acclaimed and James Beard award-winning Chef Stephanie Izard and James Beard award-winning Restaurateurs Rob Katz and Kevin Boehm of BoKa Restaurant Group, debuted the long-awaited West Coast version of the popular Chicago restaurant, Girl & the Goat, to Downtown Los Angeles. Since the restaurant’s expansion announcement in 2018, Angelenos and Izard fans have been anticipating the Arts District opening and with the recent resurgence and lifted restrictions within the city, Girl & the Goat has now enthusiastically joined the Los Angeles restaurant community. True to the restaurant’s midwestern roots and Izard’s signature, globally-inspired culinary style, Girl & the Goat’s West Coast menu is a combination of both signature dishes from the Chicago location and new, seasonal dishes that heavily rely on California’s bountiful produce and local ingredients.”

“Located within the new Mateo complex in the Arts District, Girl & the Goat is the first restaurant outside of Chicago for both Izard and BoKa Restaurant Group. As Executive Chef and Owner, Izard leads the restaurant’s menu development and creation, while overseeing front and back of house operations. For this expansion, the opening team includes a mix of both veteran BoKa team members and local hospitality professionals. Jason Beliveau, a longstanding BoKa team member, serves as Chef de Cuisine. Behind the bar, Mike Zell, who worked at a handful of Izard’s concepts in Chicago, is charged with creating and executing the seasonal cocktails, while Wine Director Ken Fredrickson leads the wine list development.”

“Served family-style, Girl & the Goat’s Los Angeles menu is a combination of dishes that have become staples at the Chicago restaurant as well as new, undeniably-California dishes. Fans of Izard will recognize signature Girl & the Goat dishes, such as Wood Grilled Broccoli, Sautéed Green Beans, Goat Empanadas, and Chickpea Fritters. Along with the classics, new dishes exclusive to the West Coast include Pork Belly Salad, Roasted Beet Salad, Goat Curry, and Pan Seared Opah. For dessert, Izard’s playful and nostalgic dishes include Choco Choco Choco Taco, “Garretts” Popcorn, and Tres Leches. For weekend brunch, standout dishes include Potato “Banh Xeo,” Everything Crumpets, Parathas, and PB & J Pancakes.”

“Izard plans to regularly update the menu and showcase the abundance of seasonal produce through new relationships with local vendors and purveyors. The focus on seasonality extends to the cocktail list, where fresh interpretations of popular cocktails, such as a bee’s knees and spicy margarita, make an appearance. With a focus on sustainable and organically made wines, the 80-label list includes a mix of wines from around the world including selections from California, Oregon, and France. An approachable 24-label by-the-glass list encourages guests to have fun and experiment with different, and perhaps new to them, selections on the wine list.”

Next up for Chef Stephanie is the launch of Cabra Los Angeles located on the spacious rooftop of the Hoxton Hotel (with panoramic views of Downtown Los Angeles) in the former home of Pilot. It’s Izard’s play on the cuisine of Peru with Japanese and Latin influences.

Chef Stephanie again takes a break from her busy kitchens and rejoins us.

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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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