Show 159, Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel, Founder, Slapfish Restaurant Group

Andrew Gruel at the AM830 KLAA StudiosExecutive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, LAX, Irvine at UCI and, now, Brea, is back as today’s special Guest Host.

Guys, don’t forget Valentine’s Day. Sunday brunch is always a great possible option for the celebration and can be a bit less crazed. Remember Valentine’s Day is a tough occasion for restaurants. It’s a lot of tables for two and tension can be in the air along with romance.

On to a tempting preview of Saturday’s delectable and always healthy show and not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re doing it right we will always leave you hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s absolutely a good thing…

Chef Neal Fraser is well-known to Angelenos for BLD, Fritzi Dog at the Original Farmers Market and Redbird at Vibiana Events Center in Downtown Los Angeles. Chef Neal and the Vibiana Events Center were even part of the recent Beefsteak episode of Season 13 of Bravo’s “Top Chef.” Fritzi is now Downtown, too, sharing space in The Arts District with the Arts District Brewing Co. It’s lunch and dinner for elevated pub-grub.

Hundreds of premium wine varieties, sweet and savory chocolate confections, gourmet food samples from acclaimed Pechanga Resort & Casino restaurants, live music, a silent auction and helping out a good cause are all on the agenda for February 26 and 27 at Pechanga Resort & Casino. Tickets for the 8th annual Chocolate Decadence and Pechanga Wine Festival are on sale now. Proceeds from both events benefit Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley. Pechanga Resort & Casino’s Executive Chef, Duane Owen, joins us with all the sweet and savory details.

The proudly Family-owned Terlato Wine Group is a holding company for several independent businesses specializing in the marketing and production of exceptional wines. They are probably best known for pioneering the popularity of Pinot Grigio in the United States. Representing the 2nd generation of Family ownership is John Terlato, our guest. John will soon be in Southern California for the Santa Barbara Wine Auction.

Bill Bracken is a well-known executive chef who traded in luxury hotels (The Peninsula Beverly Hills and Island Hotel, Newport Beach) for Betsy, a well-worn food truck with a lot of miles. He’s now feeding people in need in Orange County. Chef Bill shares his new mission with us.

Our resident wine authority, Kyle Meyer of The Wine Exchange in Santa Ana, is curating The Wine Village (along with partner Tristen Beamon) for LA Weekly’s The Essentials food and wine extravaganza on February 20th at The California Mart Center. Kyle uncorks his wine pairings. Also a few practical tips on storing wine once the bottle is uncorked.

Finally, we’ll get some practical thoughts about surviving Valentine’s Day dining out from our Co-host, Chef Andrew Gruel. He’s been there…

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

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Show 159, February 13, 2016: Executive Chef / Proprietor Neal Fraser, Fritzi at Arts District Brewing Co.

Neal FraserChef Neal Fraser is well-known to Angelenos for BLD, Fritzi Dog at the Original Farmers Market and Redbird at Vibiana Events Center in Downtown Los Angeles. Chef Neal and the Vibiana Events Center were even part of the recent Beefsteak episode of Season 13 of Bravo’s “Top Chef.”

Fritzi is now Downtown, too, sharing space in The Arts District with the Arts District Brewing Co. It’s lunch and dinner for elevated pub-grub. It’s early in the going but the wood- fired rotisserie chicken and the potato waffle are already signature menu items. Nothing on the menu is over $19.

“The industrial chic restaurant serves lunch and dinner, and handcrafted cocktails from its full bar, which is stocked with bubbles, wines, brews from the Arts District Brewing Co., and Ketel One pours. With an occupancy of 60 diners, Fritzi is a seamless addition to L.A.’s historic arts district with its modern wood and metal elements and intimate atmosphere.”

“Fritzi’s menu features handcrafted epic dishes and small plates such as Charred Brussels Sprout, Forbidden Rice & Quinoa Salad, Spit Roasted Cauliflower, Crispy Shrimp Balls, Fritzi Burger, Wood Fried Rotisserie Half Chicken, Steak Frites, Santa Barbara White Fish, and more, with Fries, Tots, and Potato Waffle to accompany.”

Chef Neal Fraser joins us with the 411 on Fritzi.

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Show 105, January 10, 2015: Amy Knoll Fraser, Redbird at Vibiana

Neal and Amy Knoll FraserChef Neal Fraser (bld and Fritzi Dog at the Original Farmers Market) and his wife and business partner, Amy Knoll Fraser, have had their eye on Downtown Los Angeles since before they closed Grace in the Fairfax District in 2010. Their first move was to become one of the official caterers for Vibiana, the home of L.A.’s former historic Catholic Cathedral (Cathedral of Saint Vibiana) dating back to 1876 and now a busy special events and performing arts space.

Eventually they moved their catering kitchen to the site and became the official solo caterers for the facility. Redbird (a partnership with restaurateur Bill Chait) is their new, eagerly anticipated “New American” fine-dining space located on one floor of the former Rectory building (built in the early 1940’s.) The space has been artfully restored and renovated keeping as many of the distinctive historical elements intact as possible.

The main dining room is actually a cleverly designed atrium space that has been weatherized for all-season indoor dining. The appealing long bar is actually two-sided. One side faces the dining area and the other side (with a marble bar) fronts the entrance reception area and lounge. It’s dinner only for the moment with lunch and brunch to follow soon.

A standout entrée is the Aged Le Belle Farms Duck Breast with Hopping John.

The restaurant entrance (and valet) is located on the Second St. side of the building. It’s the only door/entrance on the South side of the street in the block.

The event space itself is in the former cathedral.

Amy Knoll Fraser is our guest.

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September 21: Thai Food Fest preview with Susan Feniger, Kajsa Alger, David LeFevre

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Paul Greive, Farmer & Founder, Primal Pastures, Temecula Part One
Segment Three: Paul Greive, Farmer & Founder, Primal Pastures, Temecula Part Two
Segment Four: Executive Chef David LeFevre of Fishing with Dynamite
Segment Five: Celebrity Chef Susan Feniger, Proprietress of Susan Feniger’s Street
Segment Six: Kajsa (Sasha) Alger, Executive Chef and Partner, Susan Feniger’s Street
Segment Seven: Steve Samson and Zach Pollack, Co-Executive Chefs / Partners, Sotto Restaurant
Segment Eight: Neal Fraser, Executive Chef / Owner of bld

Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris preview the show.

Thai 2013 Food FestivalMark Sunday afternoon, September 29th on your calendar. Our very own Jet Tila is hosting the Thai 2013 Food Festival at Paramount Pictures Studios in the heart of Hollywood. It starts at 3:00 p.m.

Celebrity chefs from around the country and outstanding local Thai chefs will be there presenting their signature dishes for the guests to sample and enjoy. Entertainment will include music, Thai dancers and fruit carving.

VIP and Regular Tickets are now on sale!

Primal Pastures“Farmer Paul” Greive, the co-founder with his in-laws, of Primal Pastures in Temecula is with us. Primal Pastures is a pastured, “beyond organic and sustainable” livestock farm.

They just funded an amazing Kickstarter campaign to bankroll their expansion. The goal was to raise $40,000. Instead they realized $57,810.

They have recently leased over 200 acres of pastureland to expand.

“Our vision is to establish a “permaculture” – a system that effectively models the natural ecosystem with many varieties of plants and animals acting in synergy with one another on one farm. There are beautiful things that happen when cattle and sheep are incorporated with chickens, turkeys, and ducks.”

Chef David LeFevre of M.B. Post in Manhattan BeachExecutive Chef David LeFevre (ex-Water Grill) of the acclaimed Manhattan Beach Post and Fishing with Dynamite joins us.

Fishing with Dynamite in Manhattan Beach is his latest venture. It’s only 40 seats. The oyster bar is already enormously popular. They will serve some 300 to 700 oysters on a given day.

Chef LeFevre will be participating in the upcoming Thai Food Festival. He previews his dish for September 29th.

Susan Feniger of Border Grill and Susan Feniger's StreetSusan Feniger of Susan Feniger’s Street and Border Grill fame needs no introduction to listeners of the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” She was also one of the early super stars of Food Network with her business partner Mary Sue Milliken in the long running “Too Hot Tamales” series.

Susan Feniger’s Street will be a featured restaurant in the upcoming Thai Food Festival.

There are lots of Thai items on the regular Street menu.

The dish they are showcasing at the festival is Khao Gee, a Northeastern Thai snack.

Kajsa Alger of Susan Feniger's StreetKajsa Alger is the executive chef and partner for Susan Feniger’s Street.

As a teenager she snuck into the kitchen at CITY restaurant to begin an informal apprenticeship. That was the start of her long association with Susan and Mary Sue. She eventually rose to the post of Corporate Chef for all of Mary Sue and Susan’s restaurants.

She was on the Street project since the inception. There was months of intense recipe testing before the opening in 2009.

Kajsa is particularly proud of the Saturday and Sunday brunch menu they are offering until the end of the month. It’s an “All You Can Eat” small plate brunch with breakfast items as well as sandwiches and salads. It’s a modest $25 per guest and for an additional $15 you can partake of bottomless sparkling cocktails.

Steve Samson and Zach Pollack of SottoSteve Samson and Zach Pollack are the Executive Chefs and co-owners of Sotto near Century City in Los Angeles. They have an incredible wood-burning pizza oven that is from Sicily that was installed by Italian craftsmen. Orange County foodies remember them as the opening culinary team for highly-regarded Pizzeria Ortica.

In-mid-August they were the only Los Angeles chefs to be invited by Chef Javier Plascencia (the Wolfgang Puck of Northern Baja) to join with acclaimed San Diego chefs to prepare a seven-course, wine-paired meal at Chef Javier’s ranch, Finca Altozano, located in the Guadalupe Valley, Mexico’s premier wine region. Each course was matched with an appropriate Baja wine from the local region. This was one event as part of a bigger annual vintners’ festival.

Steve’s and Zach’s dish was a beautiful spit-roasted lamb loin.

Restaurateur Javier Plascencia has Romesco in Bonita in the United States and multiple restaurants in Tijuana including Mision 19 and Caesar’s Restaurante Bar (where the original Caesar Salad was created.)

Neal Fraser of bld and RedbirdExecutive Chef Neal Fraser of bld joins us.

Chef Fraser is a contestant on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” this season. He comments on the ups and downs he experienced as a competitor. He observed that it’s a lot harder than he anticipated. That’s significant given that he previously bested an Iron Chef on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America”.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Paul Greive, Farmer & Founder, Primal Pastures, Temecula Part One
Segment Three: Paul Greive, Farmer & Founder, Primal Pastures, Temecula Part Two
Segment Four: Executive Chef David LeFevre of Fishing with Dynamite
Segment Five: Celebrity Chef Susan Feniger, Proprietress of Susan Feniger’s Street
Segment Six: Kajsa (Sasha) Alger, Executive Chef and Partner, Susan Feniger’s Street
Segment Seven: Steve Samson and Zach Pollack, Co-Executive Chefs / Partners, Sotto Restaurant
Segment Eight: Neal Fraser, Executive Chef / Owner of bld

On the horizon for Chef Neal is a bld at LAX in the United Terminal and a casual ice cream, donuts, and coffee café.

Show 5: November 3, 2012: Pastry Chef Mariah Swan of bld

Wednesday night is fresh donut night at Neal Fraser’s bld on Beverly Blvd. in Los Angeles near the Original Farmers Market. Pastry Chef Mariah Swan creates a changing selection of five donuts each week. All are fried to order.

She’s also famous for a decadent line of specialty milk shakes with a punch. All the ice creams in the shakes are house-prepared.

Mariah and bld will be one of the 35 outstanding restaurants and bakeries participating in the

“Getting Our Just Desserts” Benefit at The Art Institute of California – Los Angeles’ Santa Monica campus on Saturday afternoon, November 17th to benefit Careers through Culinary Arts Program.

Eat Sweet and Do Good !

Eat Sweet and Do Good !

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November 3rd: Daniel Nelson, Tamarind of London, OneHope Wine, BLD

Podcasts

Segment One: Daniel K. Nelson – Master Mixologist
Segment Two: Executive Chef Alfred Prasad of Tamarind of London in Newport Coast Part One
Segment Three: Executive Chef Alfred Prasad of Tamarind of London in Newport Coast Part Two
Segment Four: Tom Leahy, President of ONEHOPE Wines. Part One
Segment Five: Tom Leahy, President of ONEHOPE Wines Part Two.
Segment Six: Pastry Chef Mariah Swan of bld

The show goes global this week so be sure to give us a listen.

When a hot new restaurant opens what goes into creating the specialty cocktails that help create the buzz ? Our resident master barman, Daniel K. Nelson (Hollywood’s The Writer’s Room,) joins us to discuss his recent spirited concoctions at Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing in the former Lilly’s French Café space on Abbott Kinney Blvd. in Venice. Ask for the “Car Car.” It’s a beach casual vibe with non-traditional California market fresh fare with some Southern accents.

Outside of India the best Indian cuisine is available in London. Alfred Prasad is the executive chef of the highly-regarded Tamarind of London restaurants there. Chef Alfred Prasad of Tamarind of London in Newport BeachAt age 29 he was the youngest Indian chef (outside of India) to be awarded a prestigious Michelin Star! Chef Alfred now also oversees the elegant Tamarind of London located in the Crystal Cove Promenade in Newport Beach.

Since 2007 ONEHOPE Wine has taken cause marketing to a new plateau. ONEHOPE Wine donates an incredible 50 per cent of its profits to partner charities benefiting a variety of worthy causes. President Tom Leahy will be joining Jet to recount their incredible story! They now sell some 44,000 cases annually in 47 states!

On Saturday, Nov. 17th we’ll be broadcasting live from the “Getting Our Just Desserts” Benefit at The Art Institute of California – Los Angeles campus in Santa Monica. You “Eat Sweet and Do Good” with your ticket purchase benefiting the Careers through Culinary Arts Program reaching high school students.

Executive Pastry Chef Mariah Swan of bld on Beverly Blvd. in Los Angeles and Chef Neal Fraser’s culinary enterprises will be a participant in “GOJD” with her incredible house-prepared donuts. Wednesday night at bld is donut night showcasing a rotating selection of five of Mariah’s incredible creations. They are fried to order!

Podcasts

Segment One: Daniel K. Nelson – Master Mixologist
Segment Two: Executive Chef Alfred Prasad of Tamarind of London in Newport Coast Part One
Segment Three: Executive Chef Alfred Prasad of Tamarind of London in Newport Coast Part Two
Segment Four: Tom Leahy, President of ONEHOPE Wines. Part One
Segment Five: Tom Leahy, President of ONEHOPE Wines Part Two.
Segment Six: Pastry Chef Mariah Swan of bld