Show 454, December 4, 2021: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

The most unusual, and personal, restaurant at the moment in Long Beach is arguably the Dinner, Lunch and Weekend Brunch residency that Chef Melissa Ortiz is orchestrating at the Pine Avenue location of Long Beach’s popular Rose Park Roasters. At present it’s an intriguing seafood and vegetable focused menu available (without reservations) on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings with Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Lunch has just been added from Tuesday thru Friday. A monthly guest chef dinner series will start later in December. Chef Melissa is a well-traveled military veteran who served a couple of tours on active duty and then a period thereafter in the reserves. She attended culinary school locally at The Art Institute of California Orange County (which has since closed.) Chef Melissa loves to travel to distant and exotic locations exploring food and most recently was the chef at the United States Embassy in Kabul. Fortunately she returned stateside earlier in the year. Chef Melissa takes a break from Brunch service and joins us.

Orange County’s resident celebrity chef is Amar Santana of Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach, Vaca in Costa Mesa, and The Hall Global Eatery at South Coast Plaza. Chef Amar is probably best known nationally as the runner-up in a very close competition in Bravo’s “Top Chef” Season 13 and then returning as an elite judge for Season 18 in Portland. In Orange County he was the opening executive chef of the highly praised Charlie Palmer’s at Bloomingdale’s at South Coast Plaza working with GM (and now partner) Ahmed Labbate. His first solo restaurant with business partner and restaurateur Ahmed Labbate was Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach. Just in time for the Holidays Broadway has undergone a refurbishment and kitchen redo. “Inspired by the theaters in New York City, award-winning Chef Amar Santana alongside restauranteur Ahmed Labbate create an atmosphere at Broadway where the food becomes the main show. The restaurant’s menu is inspired by the creativity of Chef Amar Santana and his version of Modern Cuisine of The Americas. It features top quality ingredients, with a focus on local farms who can provide the menu’s seasonal requirements.” Chef Amar Santana joins us.

Ahmed Labbate, Partner and Director of Operations for Broadway by Amar Santana, Vaca, and The Hall Global Eatery at South Coast Plaza, has a passion for fine food and hospitality, with a degree in hotel and restaurant management, he worked at some of Morocco’s most well- known hospitality corporations — Hyatt Regency, Sheraton, Safir and Sofitel — covering all the bases: concierge, front desk, dining room manager. “Labbate later joined the Charlie Palmer Group as a captain at Aureole, NY and Aureole, Las Vegas, then as General Manager at Charlie Palmer Steak at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas. Prior to joining Broadway, Ahmed was the General Manager at the well-received Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale’s in South Coast Plaza with Chef Amar Santana. He dreamt of eventually opening his own restaurant and is excited to now be collaborating with Chef Amar on Broadway by Amar Santana, Vaca and The Hall Global Eatery.”

Ahmed is our guest to provide an overview of Holiday celebration options at Broadway, Vaca and The Hall Global Eatery and the just completed refreshing (which he oversaw) of Broadway by Amar Santana.

Long Beach Living’s inaugural Long Beach International Tamales Festival 2021, is upon us. This all-day holiday inspired fair features a diverse selection of Latin American cuisine, from regional tamales, Latin inspired dishes, drinks, tequila tastings, a best homemade tamales contest, and a full line-up of entertainment, activities, and vendors of all kinds! The event takes place at the Scottish Rite Events Centre on Sunday, December 5th, 2021 from 12:00 p.m.– 8:00 p.m. The Homemade Tamale Contest will be judged by Long Beach City College’s Culinary Arts program’s Executive Chef Haley Nguyen and Hotel Maya’s and Fuego’s executive chef, Victor Juarez. LBCC Culinary Arts Department students will also be selling their special tamale creations including a Peruvian tamale and a Kosher vegetarian tamale (made with oil versus lard) prepared by a Jewish culinary arts student born in Mexico City. Chef Haley takes a break from supervising the tamale making and is our guest.

Adam Bell, the founder of dataTV established in 1996, is the “SoCal Restaurant Show’s” accomplished, long-time web designer, webmaster and all-around social media guru. He relocated to Los Angeles from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. NOLA icon, Café du Monde, remains a client., remains a client. Adam was just on a cross-country business trip to Miami via airplane. This was a first for him since the start of the pandemic. We’ll get his informed insider’s perspective on the status of air travel, ethnic dining in Miami and staying at a landmark luxury hotel property which, unfortunately, delivered substandard service and accommodations.

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 (joining us from the grand opening of Raw by Slapfish in downtown Indianapolis) reveals the details of how attentive listeners can enter the contest to be awarded an incredible package of prime steaks from West Coast Prime Meats by submitting a worthy Holiday Cooking Question for “Ask the Chef” that is used on-air.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Play

Show 454, December 4, 2021: Chef and Partner Amar Santana, Broadway by Amar Santana, Vaca and the Hall Global Eatery

Amar Santana

Orange County’s resident celebrity chef is Amar Santana of Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach, Vaca in Costa Mesa, and The Hall Global Eatery at South Coast Plaza. Chef Amar is best known nationally as the runner-up in a very close competition in Bravo’s “Top Chef” Season 13 and then returning as an elite judge for Season 18 in Portland. In Orange County he was the opening executive chef of the highly praised Charlie Palmer’s at Bloomingdale’s at South Coast Plaza working with GM (and now partner) Ahmed Labbate.

His first solo restaurant with business partner and restaurateur Ahmed Labbate was Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach. Just in time for the Holidays, Broadway has undergone a refurbishment and kitchen redo. “Inspired by the theaters in New York City, award-winning Chef Amar Santana alongside restauranteur Ahmed Labbate create an atmosphere at Broadway where the food becomes the main show. The restaurant’s menu is inspired by the creativity of Chef Amar Santana and his version of Modern Cuisine of The Americas. It features top quality ingredients, with a focus on local farms who can provide the menu’s seasonal requirements.” Think Grilled Smoked Pork Chop with braised collard greens, ham hock, apple butter and sauce charcuterie.

Chef Amar joins us to provide all the details on Broadway’s refurbishment and what’s in store for the Holidays at his restaurants.

Play

Show 454, December 4, 2021: Ahmed Labbate, Partner and Director of Operations, Broadway by Amar Santana, Vaca and The Hall Global Eatery

Ahmed Labatte of thev Vaca Group

Ahmed Labbate, Partner and Director of Operations for Broadway by Amar Santana, Vaca, and The Hall Global Eatery at South Coast Plaza, has a passion for fine food and hospitality, with a degree in hotel and restaurant management, he worked at some of Morocco’s most well- known hospitality corporations — Hyatt Regency, Sheraton, Safir and Sofitel — covering all the bases: concierge, front desk, dining room manager. A bit later America (and the mouse) came knocking, and Labbate seized the opportunity to utilize his background and European-style skills in an entirely unexpected way. He journeyed to Orlando, Florida, where he underwent intensive, elaborate training in “Morocco” — or at least in the Moroccan restaurant at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center.”

“Labbate later joined the Charlie Palmer Group as a captain at Aureole, NY and Aureole, Las Vegas, then as General Manager at Charlie Palmer Steak at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas. Prior to joining Broadway, Ahmed was the General Manager at Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale’s in South Coast Plaza with Chef Amar Santana. He dreamt of eventually opening his own restaurant and is excited to now be collaborating with Chef Amar on Broadway by Amar Santana, Vaca and The Hall Global Eatery.”

Ahmed is our guest to provide an overview of Holiday celebration options at Broadway, Vaca and The Hall Global Eatery and the just completed refreshing of Broadway by Amar Santana.

Play

December 4: Rose Park Roasters, Amar Santana & Ahmed Labatte, Long Beach International Tamales Festival, dataTV

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef Melissa Ortiz, Rose Park Roasters, Pine Ave., Long Beach Part One
Segment Three: Chef Melissa Ortiz, Rose Park Roasters, Pine Ave., Long Beach Part Two
Segment Four: Chef and Partner Amar Santana, Broadway by Amar Santana, Vaca and the Hall Global Eatery
Segment Five: Ahmed Labbate, Partner and Director of Operations, Broadway by Amar Santana, Vaca and The Hall Global Eatery
Segment Six: Executive Chef Haley Nguyen, Culinary Arts Dept., Long Beach City College
Segment Seven: Adam Bell, Founder, dataTV with a Travel Commentary Part One
Segment Eight: Adam Bell, Founder, dataTV with a Travel Commentary Part Two

We’re previewing the show with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris.

The most unusual, and personal, restaurant at the moment in Long Beach is arguably the Dinner and Brunch pop-up that Chef Melissa Ortiz is orchestrating at the Pine Avenue location of Long Beach’s popular Rose Park Roasters. At present it’s an intriguing seafood and vegetable focused menu available (without reservations) on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings with Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. A monthly guest chef dinner series will start later in December. Chef Melissa is a well-traveled military veteran who served a couple of tours on active duty and then a period thereafter in the reserves. She attended culinary school locally at The Art Institute of California Orange County (which has since closed.) Chef Melissa loves to travel to distant and exotic locations exploring food and most recently was the chef at the United States Embassy in Kabul. Fortunately she returned stateside earlier in the year. Chef Melissa takes a break from Brunch service and joins us.

Orange County’s resident celebrity chef is Amar Santana of Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach, Vaca in Costa Mesa, and The Hall Global Eatery at South Coast Plaza. Chef Amar is probably best known nationally as the runner-up in a very close competition in Bravo’s “Top Chef” Season 13 and then returning as an elite judge for Season 18 in Portland. In Orange County he was the opening executive chef of the highly praised Charlie Palmer’s at Bloomingdale’s at South Coast Plaza working with GM (and now partner) Ahmed Labbate. His first solo restaurant with business partner and restaurateur Ahmed Labbate was Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach. Just in time for the Holidays Broadway has undergone a refurbishment and kitchen redo. “Inspired by the theaters in New York City, award-winning Chef Amar Santana alongside restauranteur Ahmed Labbate create an atmosphere at Broadway where the food becomes the main show. The restaurant’s menu is inspired by the creativity of Chef Amar Santana and his version of Modern Cuisine of The Americas. It features top quality ingredients, with a focus on local farms who can provide the menu’s seasonal requirements.” Chef Amar Santana joins us.

“Ahmed Labbate, Partner and Director of Operations for Broadway by Amar Santana, Vaca, and The Hall Global Eatery at South Coast Plaza, has a passion for fine food and hospitality, with a degree in hotel and restaurant management, he worked at some of Morocco’s most well- known hospitality corporations — Hyatt Regency, Sheraton, Safir and Sofitel — covering all the bases: concierge, front desk, dining room manager. “Labbate later joined the Charlie Palmer Group as a captain at Aureole, NY and Aureole, Las Vegas, then as General Manager at Charlie Palmer Steak at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas. Prior to joining Broadway, Ahmed was the General Manager at the well-received Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale’s in South Coast Plaza with Chef Amar Santana. He dreamt of eventually opening his own restaurant and is excited to now be collaborating with Chef Amar on Broadway by Amar Santana, Vaca and The Hall Global Eatery.”

Ahmed is our guest to provide an overview of Holiday celebration options at Broadway, Vaca and The Hall Global Eatery and the just completed refreshing of Broadway by Amar Santana.

Long Beach Living’s inaugural Long Beach International Tamales Festival 2021, is upon us. This all-day holiday inspired fair features a diverse selection of Latin American cuisine, from regional tamales, Latin inspired dishes, drinks, tequila tastings, a best homemade tamales contest, and a full line-up of entertainment, activities, and vendors of all kinds! The event takes place at the Scottish Rite Events Centre on Sunday, December 5th, 2021 from 12:00 p.m.– 8:00 p.m. The Homemade Tamale Contest will be judged by Long Beach City College’s Culinary Arts program’s Executive Chef Haley Nguyen and Hotel Maya’s and Fuego’s executive chef, Victor Juarez. LBCC Culinary Arts Department students will also be selling their special tamale creations including a Peruvian tamale and a Kosher vegetarian tamale (made with oil versus lard) prepared by a Jewish culinary arts student born in Mexico City. Chef Haley takes a break from supervising the tamale making and is our guest.

Adam Bell, the founder of dataTV established in 1996, is the “SoCal Restaurant Show’s” accomplished, long -time web designer, webmaster and all-around social media guru. He relocated to Los Angeles from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. NOLA icon, Café du Monde, remains a client. Adam was just on a cross-country business trip to Miami via airplane. This was a first for him since the start of the pandemic. We’ll get his informed insider’s perspective on the status of air travel, ethnic dining in Miami and staying at a landmark luxury hotel property which, unfortunately, delivered substandard service and accommodations.

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. The Holidays are upon us. Chef Andrew has some practical tips for stress-free Holiday cooking. Also, the details of how attentive listeners’ can enter a contest to be awarded an incredible package of prime steaks from West Coast Prime Meats by submitting a question for “Ask the Chef” that is used on-air. Be listening…

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Melissa Ortiz of Rose Park Roasters

The most unusual restaurant at the moment in Long Beach is arguably the Dinner and Brunch pop-up that Chef Melissa Ortiz is orchestrating at the Pine Avenue location of Long Beach’s popular Rose Park Roasters. At present it’s an intriguing seafood and vegetable focused menu available (without reservations) on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings with Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.

Melissa is a well-traveled military veteran who served a couple of tours on active duty and then a period thereafter in the reserves. She attended culinary school locally at The Art Institute of California Orange County (which has since closed.) Melissa loves to travel to distant and exotic locations exploring food and most recently was the chef at the United States Embassy in Kabul. Fortunately she returned earlier in the year.

Thanks to Anne Marie Panoringan, the inquisitive Food Columnist for Voice of OC, for tipping us off about Chef Melissa Ortiz after experiencing a memorable Brunch there.

The menu is constantly evolving but some standout items for Dinner include House Sea-Cuterie with seasonal fish nduja, shellfish terrine, marinated clams, spicy pickle relish, yuzu cream fraiche and Gusto flatbread (Long Beach –based boutique bakery,) and Shrimp Meatballs with wild shrimp, San Marzano tomatoes, pecorino toscano and Gusto dorado. Accompanying the creative food menu is a hand-selected variety of organic, biodynamic and natural wines available by the glass or bottle.

On Monday evening, Dec. 20th Chef Melissa is launching the monthly Rose Park Family Meal guest chef dinner series. These collaborative dinners with local chefs are designed to highlight Long Beach’s creativity, innovation and hospitality. “Dinners are chef curated, three courses and with no modifications. Per Chef Melissa’s ethos, there are no land proteins on the menu, solely seafood and vegetables.” The first guest chef is Alex Ruperto of Sakura Chocolates.

Chef Melissa takes a break from Brunch service to join us.

Amar Santana

Orange County’s resident celebrity chef is Amar Santana of Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach, Vaca in Costa Mesa, and The Hall Global Eatery at South Coast Plaza. Chef Amar is best known nationally as the runner-up in a very close competition in Bravo’s “Top Chef” Season 13 and then returning as an elite judge for Season 18 in Portland. In Orange County he was the opening executive chef of the highly praised Charlie Palmer’s at Bloomingdale’s at South Coast Plaza working with GM (and now partner) Ahmed Labbate.

His first solo restaurant with business partner and restaurateur Ahmed Labbate was Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach. Just in time for the Holidays Broadway has undergone a refurbishment and kitchen redo. “Inspired by the theaters in New York City, award-winning Chef Amar Santana alongside restauranteur Ahmed Labbate create an atmosphere at Broadway where the food becomes the main show. The restaurant’s menu is inspired by the creativity of Chef Amar Santana and his version of Modern Cuisine of The Americas. It features top quality ingredients, with a focus on local farms who can provide the menu’s seasonal requirements.”

Chef Amar joins us to provide all the details and what’s in store for the Holidays at his restaurants.

Ahmed Labatte of thev Vaca Group

“Ahmed Labbate, Partner and Director of Operations for Broadway by Amar Santana, Vaca, and The Hall Global Eatery at South Coast Plaza, has a passion for fine food and hospitality, with a degree in hotel and restaurant management, he worked at some of Morocco’s most well- known hospitality corporations — Hyatt Regency, Sheraton, Safir and Sofitel — covering all the bases: concierge, front desk, dining room manager. A bit later America (and the mouse) came knocking, and Labbate seized the opportunity to utilize his background and European-style skills in an entirely unexpected way. He journeyed to Orlando, Florida, where he underwent intensive, elaborate training in “Morocco” — or at least in the Moroccan restaurant at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center.”

“Labbate later joined the Charlie Palmer Group as a captain at Aureole, NY and Aureole, Las Vegas, then as General Manager at Charlie Palmer Steak at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas. Prior to joining Broadway, Ahmed was the General Manager at Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale’s in South Coast Plaza with Chef Amar Santana. He dreamt of eventually opening his own restaurant and is excited to now be collaborating with Chef Amar on Broadway by Amar Santana, Vaca and The Hall Global Eatery.”

Ahmed is our guest to provide an overview of Holiday celebration options at Broadway, Vaca and The Hall Global Eatery and the just completed refreshing of Broadway by Amar Santana.

Haley Nguyen Instructor at Long Beach City College

Long Beach Living’s inaugural Long Beach International Tamales Festival 2021, is upon us. This all-day holiday inspired fair features a diverse selection of Latin American cuisine, from regional tamales, Latin inspired dishes, drinks, tequila tastings, a best homemade tamales contest, and a full line-up of entertainment, activities, and vendors of all kinds! The event will take place at the Scottish Rite Events Centre on Sunday, December 5th, 2021 from 12:00 p.m.– 8:00 p.m. Join in celebrating this new holiday tradition. Buy tickets for the Tamale Festival here.

The Homemade Tamale Contest will be judged by Long Beach City College’s Culinary Arts program’s Executive Chef Haley Nguyen and Hotel Maya’s and Fuego’s executive chef, Victor Juarez. LBCC Culinary Arts Department students will also be selling their special tamale creations including a Peruvian tamale and a Kosher vegetarian tamale (made with oil versus lard) prepared by a Jewish culinary arts student born in Mexico City.

Chef Haley Nguyen takes a break from supervising the tamale making and is our guest.

Adam Bell of dataTV

Adam Bell, the founder of dataTV established in 1996, is the “SoCal Restaurant Show’s” accomplished, long -time web designer, webmaster and all-around social media guru. He relocated to Los Angeles from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. NOLA icon, Café du Monde, remains a client.

Adam was just on a cross-country business trip to Miami via airplane. This was a first for him since the start of the pandemic. We’ll garner his informed insider’s perspective on the status of air travel, dining in Miami and staying at a landmark luxury hotel property which, unfortunately, delivered substandard service and accommodations.

Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group

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.

The Holidays are upon us. Chef Andrew has some practical tips for stress-free Holiday cooking. Also the details of how attentive listeners’ can enter a contest to be awarded an incredible package of prime steaks from West Coast Prime Meats by submitting a question for “Ask the Chef” that is used on-air. Be listening…

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef Melissa Ortiz, Rose Park Roasters, Pine Ave., Long Beach Part One
Segment Three: Chef Melissa Ortiz, Rose Park Roasters, Pine Ave., Long Beach Part Two
Segment Four: Chef and Partner Amar Santana, Broadway by Amar Santana, Vaca and the Hall Global Eatery
Segment Five: Ahmed Labbate, Partner and Director of Operations, Broadway by Amar Santana, Vaca and The Hall Global Eatery
Segment Six: Executive Chef Haley Nguyen, Culinary Arts Dept., Long Beach City College
Segment Seven: Adam Bell, Founder, dataTV with a Travel Commentary Part One
Segment Eight: Adam Bell, Founder, dataTV with a Travel Commentary Part Two

Show 423, May 1, 2021: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

We’re previewing the show with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris.

In June of 2012 Copenhagen Pastry first brought the authentic taste of Denmark to Culver City under the direction of Proprietress Karen Hansen. For centuries, the Danes have made delicious pastries, and Copenhagen Pastry is proudly continuing that tradition in Southern California. Copenhagen Pastry differs from other bakeries through their emphasis on using authentic Danish recipes, traditional baking methods and the finest quality ingredients to create pastries that are flaky, light and delicately sweet without being sugary or heavy. Proprietress and Baker Karen Hansen prepares the signature Kringle for us.

Saracina Vineyards Mendocino is a Certified California Sustainable (CSWA) winery and vineyard located in Hopland, in the southern part of Mendocino County about 30 miles north of Healdsburg. This 250-acre ranch, which includes a winery and sustainably farmed vineyards, is also home to 140-year-old olive trees, vegetable gardens, beehives, and all manner of bird and wild animal life. The handcrafted, limited production Saracina wines reflect a conscious sense of this beautiful estate in Mendocino County. Originally founded by the husband and wife team of John Fetzer and Patty Rock in 2001, Saracina has always been defined by a strong sense of family. In 2018, Marc Taub took on stewardship of Saracina, upholding the spirit of family ownership that has defined this iconic Mendocino County winery since its inception.” Long-time winemaker Alex MacGregor joins us to pull the cork on Saracina Mendocino.

The family-owned and operated More Than Waffles located in the Encino Town Center launched in 1975. Since 1998 the welcoming establishment has been owned by the Taft Family. “They specialize in the authentic Belgian Waffle called, “Gaufre.” They are known for their thickness but have a light and airy texture which makes them lower in calories, only 140 calories per waffle. The waffles are made from the finest ingredients and served plain or with a variety of fresh toppings and are accompanied with house-made jam and melted butter. More than Waffles offers some 19 different waffles to choose from, and of course you can create your own. Beyond Breakfast, More Than Waffles offers a full lunch menu including Sandwiches, Salads, Pastas, Chicken Dishes, house-made Soups and juicy Hamburgers (including Vegi Burgers and Turkey Burgers.) More Than Waffles uses a variety of Organic products and offers many healthy and lower-calorie, lighter fare dishes.” Proprietress Ika Taft (who started there as a server in 1989) is our guest.

“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.” We entice Chef Amar away from his busy kitchens for a long overdue chat.

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 continually updating us on the real impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants during the initial, highly fluid stages of the hoped-for recovery which remains a genuine concern. Restaurants in Southern California are finally again allowed to operate for outside/patio dining and inside dining at reduced capacities with all the requisite COVID 19 safety precautions. Shifting the conversation back to food we’ll also ask Chef Andrew about the new developments with the stinging 3rd party delivery fees charged to restaurants. DoorDash (the industry leader) has just revamped what percentages they charge to restaurants. It’s now 3 tiers. Chef Andrew has a dazzler of a premium sandwich collaboration going with the flagship Nathan’s Famous stand on Coney Island. It’s a premium rib eye steak sandwich with caramelized onions on artisan bread with one quarter pound of butter poached lobster (The Surf’N Turf.)

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

Play

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.)

Play

May 1: Copenhagen Pastry, Saracina Vineyards Mendocino, More Than Waffles, Amar Santana and Top Chef Season 18

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Karen Hansen, Proprietress and Baker, Copenhagen Pastry, Culver City Part One
Segment Three: Karen Hansen, Proprietress and Baker, Copenhagen Pastry, Culver City Part Two
Segment Four: Winemaker Alex MacGregor, Saracina Vineyards Mendocino Part One
Segment Five: Winemaker Alex MacGregor, Saracina Vineyards Mendocino Part Two
Segment Six: Ika Taft, Proprietress, More Than Waffles, Encino
Segment Seven: Restaurateur & Executive Chef Amar Santana, The Hall, Vaca and Broadway
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

We’re previewing the show with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris.

In June of 2012 Copenhagen Pastry first brought the authentic taste of Denmark to Culver City under the direction of Proprietress Karen Hansen. For centuries, the Danes have made delicious pastries, and Copenhagen Pastry is proudly continuing that tradition in Southern California. Copenhagen Pastry differs from other bakeries through their emphasis on using authentic Danish recipes, traditional baking methods and the finest quality ingredients to create pastries that are flaky, light and delicately sweet without being sugary or heavy. Proprietress and Baker Karen Hansen prepares the signature Kringle for us.

“Saracina Vineyards Mendocino is a Certified California Sustainable (CSWA) winery and vineyard located in Hopland, in the southern part of Mendocino County about 30 miles north of Healdsburg. This 250-acre ranch, which includes a winery and sustainably farmed vineyards, is also home to 140-year-old olive trees, vegetable gardens, beehives, and all manner of bird and wild animal life. The handcrafted, limited production Saracina wines reflect a conscious sense of this beautiful estate in Mendocino County. Originally founded by the husband and wife team of John Fetzer and Patty Rock in 2001, Saracina has always been defined by a strong sense of family. In 2018, Marc Taub took on stewardship of Saracina, upholding the spirit of family ownership that has defined this iconic Mendocino County winery since its inception.” Long-time winemaker Alex MacGregor joins us to pull the cork on Saracina Mendocino.

The family-owned and operated More Than Waffles located in the Encino Town Center launched in 1975. Since 1998 the welcoming establishment has been owned by the Taft Family. “They specialize in the authentic Belgian Waffle called, “Gaufre.” They are known for their thickness but have a light and airy texture which makes them lower in calories, only 140 calories per waffle. The waffles are made from the finest ingredients and served plain or with a variety of fresh toppings and are accompanied with house-made jam and melted butter. More than Waffles offers some 19 different waffles to choose from, and of course you can create your own. Beyond Breakfast, More Than Waffles offers a full lunch menu including Sandwiches, Salads, Pastas, Chicken Dishes, house-made Soups and juicy Hamburgers (including Vegi Burgers and Turkey Burgers.) More Than Waffles uses a variety of Organic products and offers many healthy and lower-calorie, lighter fare dishes.” Proprietress Ika Taft (who started there as a server in 1989) is our guest.

“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.” We entice Chef Amar away from his busy kitchens for a long overdue chat.

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 continually updating us on the real impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants during the initial, highly fluid stages of the hoped-for recovery which remains a genuine concern. Restaurants in Southern California are finally again allowed to operate for outside/patio dining and inside dining at reduced capacities with all the requisite COVID 19 safety precautions. Shifting the conversation back to food we’ll also ask Chef Andrew about the new developments with the stinging 3rd party delivery fees charged to restaurants. DoorDash (the industry leader) has just revamped what percentages they charge to restaurants. It’s now 3 tiers.

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

“In June of 2012 Copenhagen Pastry brought the authentic taste of Denmark to Culver City under the direction of Proprietress Karen Hansen. For centuries, the Danes have made delicious pastries, and Copenhagen Pastry is proudly continuing that tradition in Southern California.”

“Copenhagen Pastry differs from other bakeries through their emphasis on using authentic Danish recipes, traditional baking methods and premium ingredients to create pastries that are flaky, light and delicately sweet without being sugary or heavy.”

“Copenhagen Pastry’s fillings are primarily almond paste and custard in various ratios along with cinnamon, almond flakes and traditional Danish fruit fillings (apple, raspberry, apricot and blueberry). At Copenhagen Pastry they bake pastries throughout the day as demand dictates. Customers always leave with freshly baked goods.”

“Among their signature offerings is a wholegrain rye bread containing the goodness of whole rye berries, black flax seeds, sunflower and sesame seeds. Their rye bread is a thoroughly healthy bread high in fiber, low in sodium and sugar free.”

“Traditional Danish pastry dough is yeast-leavened dough folded 27 times over with layers of margarine resulting in a so called laminated dough that yields the desired light and flaky pastry so prized around the world.”

“The basic pastry dough is used to make pastries in a variety of styles – round and circular (Spandauer and Chocolate), folded or rolled (Copenhagen or Cinnamon), cut, folded or shaped (Diamond or Crown) or the knotted pretzel shape of a Kringle, the trade sign for Danish bakeries.”

Proprietress & Baker Karen Hansen joins us with whisk in hand.

Saracina Vineyards Mendocino is a Certified California Sustainable (CSWA) winery and vineyard located in Hopland, in the southern part of Mendocino County about 30 miles north of Healdsburg. This 250-acre ranch, which includes a winery and sustainably farmed vineyards, is also home to 140-year-old olive trees, vegetable gardens, beehives, and all manner of bird and wild animal life. The handcrafted, limited production Saracina wines reflect a conscious sense of this beautiful estate in Mendocino County.”

“Originally founded by the husband and wife team of John Fetzer and Patty Rock in 2001, Saracina has always been defined by a strong sense of family. In 2018, Marc Taub took on stewardship of Saracina, upholding the spirit of family ownership that has defined this iconic Mendocino County winery since its inception.”

“Saracina cultivates 40 acres of vineyards on six different parcels. The soils vary greatly from rocky to black clay and gravelly loam, allowing for the cultivation of numerous varieties including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. This area has wet winters and dry summers with very warm days and cool nights providing for ripe, plush fruit to be balanced by firm acidity. Winemaking is led by Alex MacGregor.”

“At Saracina, the modern, eco-friendly tasting room and winery facility blend comfortably into the rural landscape. Saracina’s openness and unspoiled yet well-tended beauty is unique in the Mendocino County, as are the wine caves, the first of their kind in the county dug out of solid rock over a two-year period. By prior appointment throughout the year, the winery also offers Wine Cave Tours, Private Tastings with the Winemaker, and last but not least, Estate Tours in a motorized “Mule.””

Long-time winemaker Alex MacGregor joins us to gently pull the cork on Saracina Mendocino.

The proudly family-owned More Than Waffles located in the Encino Town Center launched in 1975. Since 1998 the established has been owned and operated by the Taft Family. “They specialize in the authentic Belgian Waffle called, “Gaufre.” They are known for their thickness but have a light and airy texture which makes them lower in calories, only 140 calories per waffle. The waffles are made from the finest ingredients and served plain or with a variety of fresh toppings and are accompanied with house-made jam and melted butter. More than Waffles offers some 19 different waffles to choose from, and of course you can create your own.”

“More Than Waffles also offers a full breakfast menu that includes 21 omelets which are served with a Belgian Waffle or home fries, breakfast burritos, crepes, pancakes, various benedicts, hash and much more.”

“Besides breakfast, More Than Waffles offers a full lunch menu including Sandwiches, Salads, Pastas, Chicken Dishes, house-made Soups and juicy Hamburgers (including Vegi Burgers and Turkey Burgers.) More Than Waffles uses a variety of Organic products and offers many healthy and low-calorie dishes for a lighter touch.”

Love is in the air at More Than Waffles. Proprietress Ika Taft (who started there as a server) met her future husband, Greg, at the restaurant. As coincidence would have it Ika’s and Greg’s daughter, Henny, also was introduced to her future husband (Mike) at More Than Waffles. Henny is currently the General Manager of More Than Waffles representing the 2nd generation of caring, hands-on Taft Family stewardship.

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.”

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.)

Chef Andrew Gruel savoring a New Jersey style Pizza

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 continually updating us on the real impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants during the initial, highly fluid stages of the hoped-for recovery which remains a genuine concern. Restaurants in Southern California are finally again allowed to operate for outside/patio dining and inside dining at reduced capacities with all the requisite COVID 19 safety precautions.

Shifting the conversation back to food we’ll also ask Chef Andrew about the new developments with the stinging 3rd party delivery fees charged to restaurants. DoorDash (the industry leader) has just revamped what percentages they charge to restaurants. It’s now a complicated 3 tiers. The consumer also pays a delivery fee.

Remember the juicy and delicious Community Burger (more than a mouthful) is available at all Southern California locations of Slapfish. The worthy burger is free with any donation to 86 Restaurant Struggle.” 100 per cent of that money goes to benefit struggling restaurant workers.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Karen Hansen, Proprietress and Baker, Copenhagen Pastry, Culver City Part One
Segment Three: Karen Hansen, Proprietress and Baker, Copenhagen Pastry, Culver City Part Two
Segment Four: Winemaker Alex MacGregor, Saracina Vineyards Mendocino Part One
Segment Five: Winemaker Alex MacGregor, Saracina Vineyards Mendocino Part Two
Segment Six: Ika Taft, Proprietress, More Than Waffles, Encino
Segment Seven: Restaurateur & Executive Chef Amar Santana, The Hall, Vaca and Broadway
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

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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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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Show 253, December 23, 2017: Show Preview with Co-Hosts Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel

Now a joyful preview of Saturday’s festive 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 Holidays.

Greatly respected restaurateur Donato Poto, in partnership with Chef Michael Cimarusti, is responsible for the L.A. fine dining treasure, Providence, as well as the more casual Connie & Ted’s (with restaurateur Craig Nickoloff) in West Hollywood. It’s been a busy few weeks for them as they have launched il Pesce Cucina in Eataly in Westfield Century City as well as Best Girl, a 3-meal-a-day restaurant in The Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. We’ll get the full briefing from Donato.

Our Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, joins us from 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.

We know restaurateur Russ Bendel from his successful wine country-themed establishments in Orange County, Vine in San Clemente and Ironwood in Laguna Hills. Now it’s a threesome with the launch of the handsome Olea, already making waves in Newport Beach. Russ Bendel explains what’s on the menu.

Lawry’s Beef Bowl is college football’s most celebrated bowl game tradition. Each year since its inception prior to the 1957 Rose Bowl Game, Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Beverly Hills has honored the players and coaches of each Rose Bowl‐bound team for their gridiron achievements. This is the 62nd year of Lawry’s proud association with The Granddaddy of Them All.® Lawry’s Beef Bowl historian Todd Erickson is our guest. He actually authored the coffee table book on the official history of Lawry’s Beef Bowl.

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

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