Show 417, March 20, 2021: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

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

Casa Vega in Sherman Oaks under the watchful eye of 2nd generation restaurateur Christy Vega has reopened again for full-service dining. Celebrating its 65th Anniversary in 2021 there will be a year of festivities honoring the late founder, Ray Vega, who passed away earlier in the year. Also new is a changing series of $5.00 Margarita Mondays served from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. every Monday. Christy Vega is our guest with a Los Lucadores Foo in hand.
 
Barbara Fairchild, a past inductee in the James Beard Foundation’s “Who’s Who in American Food & Beverage,” is the former, long-time Editor-in-Chief of Bon Appetit Magazine. She currently serves at the Chair of the Los Angeles Council for C-CAP (Careers through Culinary Arts Program and also is a member of the National Board of Directors for C-CAP. In normal times Barbara dines out frequently at a wide variety of restaurants. For the past pandemic year Barbara has stayed safely at home with restaurant dining on the far back burner. Barbara recently broke the fast with a celebratory birthday meal on the original patio of Spago Beverly Hills (with proper social distancing of the tables.) Barbara shares the memorable experience with us.

Mayfield Restaurant & Market is an ambitious, glowingly reviewed, modern California restaurant and market located in Downtown San Juan Capistrano in an extensively refurbished historic building. It’s on two levels and includes a comfortable covered patio. The menu has a distinctive Mediterranean and Levant flair and there is also an extensive cocktail list along with an ample selection of craft beers and natural wines. The operating days, and hours, have just been extended. All seating on the 2nd level patio and in the main dining room is properly socially distanced. Proprietor George Barker and Executive Chef Jayro Martinez join us.

“The international dining scene is a vast, ever-shifting landscape, and Today’s Special – 20 Leading Chefs Choose 100 Emerging Chefs (Phaidon) is perfectly positioned to help readers navigate it. Twenty of the globe’s leading chef-curators — 10 men and 10 women — have each selected five emerging chefs from around the world, showcasing a variety of styles of food, restaurants, and personalities. Each of the 100 selected chefs is profiled, with recipes, photographs, and menus, plus original commissioned essays that shed light on what makes a standout star in today’s culinary realm.” An L.A. area featured “Emerging Chef” in Today’s Special is Dave Beran of Pasjoli in Santa Monica and the now departed, Dialogue (up to a 20-course nightly tasting Menu,) which was highly praised. He was nominated for Today’s Special by New York-based Chef Daniel Boulud (Daniel.) We’ll meet Chef Dave Beran.

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 regularly updating us on the 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 early stages of 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. We’ll “Ask the Chef.” As if restaurants didn’t have enough to contend with right now the insidious Dine & Dash” scheme to defraud restaurants is, unfortunately, a growing trend with a pair of awful variations. Chef Andrew explains…

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

Play

Show 417, March 20, 2021: Restaurateur Christy Vega, Casa Vega, Sherman Oaks Part One

Christy Vega of Casa Vega

Casa Vega in Sherman Oaks under the watchful eye of 2nd generation restaurateur Christy Vega has reopened again for full-service dining. Celebrating its 65th Anniversary in 2021 there will be a year of festivities honoring the late founder, Rafael “Ray” Vega, who passed away earlier in the year. Also new is a changing series of $5.00 Margarita Mondays served from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. every Monday.

“The Foo Fighters taco has returned to Casa Vega through the end of April. Originally launched in December 2020 as the second installment of the restaurant’s charity band tacos (following the initial launch with Fall Out Boy in October), the special collaboration was cut short when the restaurant temporarily closed that month in response to new COVID restrictions. Now that Casa Vega has reopened for dine-in and take-out, the taco has returned as a special combo plate (Foo Fighters Especial) created by Foo Fighters lead singer Dave Grohl—inspired by his passion for smoking meat—as well as a cocktail.” The libation is the Los Lucadores Foo with a shot of La Gritona resposado, fresh lime juice and Modelo Especial.

“The profits from each taco are donated to No Us Without You, a charity providing food security for undocumented back of house staff and their families created by Va’La Hospitality in the early weeks of the pandemic. As Casa Vega celebrates its 65th anniversary this year, expect more taco collabs and programming to be announced soon.”

Christy Vega is our guest with a Los Lucadores Foo in hand.

Play

Show 417, March 20, 2021: Restaurateur Christy Vega, Casa Vega, Sherman Oaks Part Two

Christy Vega of Casa Vega

Casa Vega in Sherman Oaks under the watchful eye of 2nd generation restaurateur Christy Vega has reopened again for full-service dining. Celebrating its 65th Anniversary in 2021 there will be a year of festivities honoring the late founder, Ray Vega, who passed away earlier in the year. Also new is a changing series of $5.00 Margarita Mondays served from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. every Monday.

“The Foo Fighters taco has returned to Casa Vega through the end of April. Originally launched in December 2020 as the second installment of the restaurant’s charity band tacos (following the initial launch with Fall Out Boy in October), the special collaboration was cut short when the restaurant temporarily closed that month in response to new COVID restrictions. Now that Casa Vega has reopened for dine-in and take-out, the taco has returned as a special combo plate (Foo Fighters Especial) created by Foo Fighters lead singer Dave Grohl—inspired by his passion for smoking meat—as well as a cocktail.” The libation is the Los Lucadores Foo with a shot of La Gritona resposado, fresh lime juice and Modelo Especial.

“The profits from each taco are donated to No Us Without You, a charity providing food security for undocumented back of house staff and their families created by Va’La Hospitality in the early weeks of the pandemic. As Casa Vega celebrates its 65th anniversary this year, expect more taco collabs and programming to be announced soon.”

Christy Vega continues the conversation now with “The Tarantino” Margarita in hand. (It’s a festive salute to the Oscar-winning, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”)

Play

March 20: Casa Vega, Barbara Fairchild, Mayfield Restaurant & Market, Dave Beran

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Restaurateur Christy Vega, Casa Vega, Sherman Oaks Part One
Segment Three: Restaurateur Christy Vega, Casa Vega, Sherman Oaks Part Two
Segment Four: Food & Travel Journalist Barbara Fairchild (former Editor-in-Chief of Bon Appetit Magazine)
Segment Five: Restaurateur George Barker an Executive Chef Jayro Martinez, Mayfield, San Juan Capistrano Part One
Segment Six: Restaurateur George Barker an Executive Chef Jayro Martinez, Mayfield, San Juan Capistrano Part Two
Segment Seven: Restaurateur & Chef Dave Beran, Pasjoli, Santa Monica
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.

Casa Vega in Sherman Oaks under the watchful eye of 2nd generation restaurateur Christy Vega has reopened again for full-service dining. Celebrating its 65th Anniversary in 2021 there will be a year of festivities honoring the late founder, Ray Vega, who passed away earlier in the year. Also new is a changing series of $5.00 Margarita Mondays served from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. every Monday. Christy Vega is our guest with a Los Lucadores Foo in hand.

Barbara Fairchild, a past inductee in the James Beard Foundation’s “Who’s Who in American Food & Beverage,” is the former, long-time Editor-in-Chief of Bon Appetit Magazine. She currently serves at the Chair of the L.A. Council for C-CAP (Careers through Culinary Arts Program) and also is a member of the National Board of Directors for C-CAP. In normal times Barbara dines out frequently at a wide variety of restaurants. For the past pandemic year Barbara has stayed safely at home with restaurant dining on the far back burner. Barbara recently broke the fast with a celebratory birthday meal on the original patio of Spago Beverly Hills (with proper social distancing of the tables.) Barbara shares the memorable experience with us.

Mayfield Restaurant & Market is an ambitious, glowingly reviewed, modern California restaurant and market located in Downtown San Juan Capistrano in an extensively refurbished historic building. It’s on two levels and includes a comfortable covered patio. The menu has a distinctive Mediterranean and Levant flair and there is also an extensive cocktail list along with an ample selection of craft beers and natural wines. The operating days, and hours, have just been extended. Proprietor George Barker and Executive Chef Jayro Martinez join us.

“The international dining scene is a vast, ever-shifting landscape, and Today’s Special – 20 Leading Chefs Choose 100 Emerging Chefs (Phaidon) is perfectly positioned to help readers navigate it. Twenty of the globe’s leading chef-curators — 10 men and 10 women — have each selected five emerging chefs from around the world, showcasing a variety of styles of food, restaurants, and personalities. Each of the 100 selected chefs is profiled, with recipes, photographs, and menus, plus original commissioned essays that shed light on what makes a standout star in today’s culinary realm.” An L.A. area featured “Emerging Chef” in Today’s Special is Dave Beran of Pasjoli in Santa Monica and the now departed, Dialogue (up to a 20-course nightly tasting Menu,) which was highly praised. He was nominated for Today’s Special by New York-based Chef Daniel Boulud (Daniel.) We’ll meet Chef Dave Beran.

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 regularly updating us on the 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 early stages of 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. We’ll “Ask the Chef.” As if restaurants didn’t have enough to contend with right now the insidious “Dine & Dash” scheme to defraud restaurants is, unfortunately, a growing trend with a pair of awful variations. Chef Andrew explains…

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

Christy Vega of Casa Vega

Casa Vega in Sherman Oaks under the watchful eye of 2nd generation restaurateur Christy Vega has reopened again for full-service dining. Celebrating its 65th Anniversary in 2021 there will be a year of festivities honoring the late founder, Ray Vega, who passed away earlier in the year. Also new is a changing series of $5.00 Margarita Mondays served from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. every Monday.

“The Foo Fighters taco has returned to Casa Vega through the end of April. Originally launched in December 2020 as the second installment of the restaurant’s charity band tacos (following the initial launch with Fall Out Boy in October), the special collaboration was cut short when the restaurant temporarily closed that month in response to new COVID restrictions. Now that Casa Vega has reopened for dine-in and take-out, the taco has returned as a special combo plate (Foo Fighters Especial) created by Foo Fighters lead singer Dave Grohl—inspired by his passion for smoking meat—as well as a cocktail.” The libation is the Los Lucadores Foo with a shot of La Gritona resposado, fresh lime juice and Modelo Especial.

“The profits from each taco are donated to No Us Without You, a charity providing food security for undocumented back of house staff and their families created by Va’La Hospitality in the early weeks of the pandemic. As Casa Vega celebrates its 65th anniversary this year, expect more taco collabs and programming to be announced soon.”

Christy Vega is our guest with a Los Lucadores Foo in hand.

Journalist Barbara Fairchild

Barbara Fairchild, a past inductee in the James Beard Foundation’s “Who’s Who in American Food & Beverage,” is the former, long-time Editor-in-Chief of Bon Appetit Magazine. She currently serves at the Chair of the L.A. Council for C-CAP (Careers through Culinary Arts Program) and also is a member of the National Board of Directors for C-CAP.

In normal times Barbara dines out frequently at a wide variety of restaurants. For the past pandemic year Barbara has stayed safely at home with restaurant dining on the far back burner. Barbara recently broke the fast with a celebratory birthday meal on the original patio of Spago Beverly Hills (with proper social distancing of the tables.) Barbara shares the memorable experience with us. She also provides us with an overview of C-CAP and the upcoming virtual culinary fundraising event they are presenting nationally on Thursday evening, April 29th with culinary celebrity Carla Hall as the honoree (and hosted by Marcus Samuelsson.)

George Barker of Mayfield Restaurant and Market

Mayfield Restaurant & Market is an ambitious, glowingly reviewed modern California restaurant and market located in Downtown San Juan Capistrano in an extensively refurbished historic building. It’s on two levels and includes a comfortable covered patio. The menu has a distinctive Mediterranean and Levant flair and there is also an extensive cocktail list along with an ample selection of craft beers and natural wines.

The operating days, and hours, have just been extended.

Friday through Saturday from 5:00 p.m. until late is their Supper Club menu. It’s served family-style. The menu categories (with choices in each area) include Rip and Dip, Small Plates, Large Plates and Desserts. Especially popular is the Za’atar Fried Chicken with hot honey, house ranch and house pickles.

An a la carte Dinner menu is offered Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 5:00 p.m. until late.

The daytime, a la carte menu is served Tuesday (newly added) to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. It offers menu categories of Dips, Breakfast Bits and Lunch Dishes. Dishes are designed to be shared.

The newly extended Happy Hour is Tuesdays (all day) and Wednesday & Thursday from 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The Mayfield Market is stocked with premium food products Chef Jayro makes in-house and items Mayfield uses and loves. They carry anything to do with eating and drinking well, including pantry items, natural wines, homeware, cookbooks and more.

Proprietor George Barker and Executive Chef Jayro Martinez join us.

Chef Dave Beran

“The international dining scene is a vast, ever-shifting landscape, and Today’s Special – 20 Leading Chefs Choose 100 Emerging Chefs (Phaidon) is perfectly positioned to help readers navigate it. Twenty of the globe’s leading chef-curators — 10 men and 10 women — have each selected five emerging chefs from around the world, showcasing a variety of styles of food, restaurants, and personalities. Each of the 100 selected chefs is profiled, with recipes, photographs, and menus, plus original commissioned essays that shed light on what makes a standout star in today’s culinary realm.” An L.A. area featured “Emerging Chef” in Today’s Special is Dave Beran of Pasjoli in Santa Monica and the now departed, Dialogue (up to a 20-course, seasonally changing nightly Tasting Menu) which was highly praised. He was nominated for Today’s Special by New York-based Chef Daniel Boulud (Daniel.)

“Pasjoli is an elevated French bistro from award-winning chef Dave Beran. The restaurant pays homage to French cuisine utilizing the bounty of produce available in Southern California. Rooted in classic French cuisine and inspired by Parisian markets, Pasjoli reflects Beran’s thoughtful cooking style, showcasing his creative touches on bistro fare.”

Prior to moving to California, Beran was the chef de cuisine at Alinea and executive chef at Next in Chicago where he received a James Beard Award for Best Chef Great Lakes and was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs in 2014.

We’ll meet Chef Dave Beran.

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. Chef Andrew is regularly updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants which is a genuine concern as recovery slowly starts to happen.

Restaurants in Southern California are finally again allowed to again operate for outside/patio dining and limited inside dining at reduced capacities with all the requisite COVID 19 safety precautions. We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

As if struggling restaurants didn’t have enough to contend with right now the regrettable Dine & Dash” scheme to defraud restaurants is, unfortunately, a growing trend with a pair of awful variations. Chef Andrew explains…

Chef Andrew also updates us on the inspiring progress for the grass-roots, 86 Restaurant Struggle campaign to benefit out-of-work and struggling restaurant workers. Chef Andrew and his wife, Lauren, have already distributed over $380,000 in small grants to deserving restaurant workers in serious need. All applications are carefully vetted by the Gruels. The substantial need, and fundraising, continues…

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Restaurateur Christy Vega, Casa Vega, Sherman Oaks Part One
Segment Three: Restaurateur Christy Vega, Casa Vega, Sherman Oaks Part Two
Segment Four: Food & Travel Journalist Barbara Fairchild (former Editor-in-Chief of Bon Appetit Magazine)
Segment Five: Restaurateur George Barker an Executive Chef Jayro Martinez, Mayfield, San Juan Capistrano Part One
Segment Six: Restaurateur George Barker an Executive Chef Jayro Martinez, Mayfield, San Juan Capistrano Part Two
Segment Seven: Restaurateur & Chef Dave Beran, Pasjoli, Santa Monica
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Show 410, January 30, 2021: Restaurateur Sylvie Gabriele, Love & Salt, Manhattan Beach

Sylvie Gabriele of Love and Salt

“Women restaurateurs from across Los Angeles have created a new charitable organization called RE:Her. Its debut initiative, a food festival called 10 Days RE:Her, featuring 10 days of unique collaborations, thematic menus, and one-on-one conversations between female industry leaders. 10 Days RE:Her kicked off on January 21, the anniversary of the groundbreaking Women’s March of 2017, and runs through Saturday, January 30. Over 100 restaurants and collaborators are involved. Observing local dining restrictions, aspects of the festival will take place virtually and remotely.”

Restaurateur Sylvie Gabriele (a 2nd generation Restaurateur) of Manhattan Beach’s Love & Salt is one of the organizers of the Festival as well as serves on the active RE:Her board. Sylvie takes a break from her restaurant to recap the variety of “10 Days RE:Her” events that she and her team were part of. 

A highlight if the ten days for Sylvie was her participation in the virtual conversation, “The Next Generation and Rewriting our Family Legacy.” “The prominent panelists were female restaurateurs who are now running their family restaurants and more. It featured Christy Vega (Casa Vega), Vanda Asapahu (Ayara Thai), Sylvie Gabriele (Love & Salt), Sara Gabriele (Gabi James) and was hosted by Bricia Lopez (Guelaguetza).”

Play

Show 373, May 16, 2020: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

It’s a time of great concern for all of us and our “SoCal Restaurant Show” mission, until the Covid-19 crisis is fully abated, is to provide reliable and genuinely useful information on how the restaurant business is coping with the rapidly evolving events. With an emphasis on the health, safety and well-being of our listeners we’ll be detailing what the ever-changing range of services restaurants can now provide to their guests. Creativity and adaptability are at the forefront. We’re doing our level best to keep it upbeat…

Chefs and restaurateurs are honestly the most generous people we know. In times of need they are always the very first in generously giving back and meaningfully supporting their communities. Truly remarkable…Right now restaurants urgently need our support to stay afloat. Kindly keep this in mind and please do what you possibly can (as you can afford) to support a community-focused, local restaurant….

As always, we greatly appreciate you being a part of our loyal listening audience. Truly couldn’t do it without the enthusiastic encouragement of the foodie community.

Founded in 1987 by Chef Zov Karamardian, legendary Zov’s Bistro and Bakery in Tustin, CA has become a culinary institution. Serving her unique cuisine that blends contemporary with Eastern Mediterranean influences, in an upscale chic environment. There are also Zov’s restaurants in Newport Coast, Irvine and Anaheim. The Tustin and Newport Coast locations are now serving Family Meals and Takeout Menu items curbside. 2nd generation Karamardian Family member, Armen, joins us with the details and looks to the future.

The enduring Casa Vega is a landmark Mexican restaurant that has been operating in the San Fernando Valley for almost 64 years. It’s located on the familiar Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks and is one of the longest running, continuously family-owned restaurants in greater Los Angeles. Rafael “Ray” Vega opened Casa Vega in 1956 after being inspired by the success of his parents’ earlier restaurant, Café Caliente, which was on Olvera St. and operated throughout the 1930’s. Casa Vega has recently reopened for take-out via advance order online or by telephone.

Proprietress Christy Vega (a 3rd generation restaurateur) pours the Classic Margaritas for us.

Led by chef, author and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson as national board co-chair, Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP,) celebrating its 30th Anniversary, transforms the lives of underserved high school students and young people locally by helping them pursue their culinary dreams. C-CAP prepares these talented young adults for college, and for careers in the restaurant and hospitality industry. This year Los Angeles awarded $430,131 in scholarships to 34 deserving high school students. Joining us are Food TV’s Chef Monti Carlo (a “Friend of C-CAP”,) college scholarship recipient Emerson Majano, a member of the Senior Class at Santee Education Complex and college scholarship recipient Morena Hernandez, a Senior at Los Angeles High School.

Newport Beach’s highly praised, Fable & Spirit, has reopened in the Via Lido Plaza for takeout service. The public, once again, is able to partake in Chef Executive Chef David Shofner’s imaginative, globally inspired dishes. In addition, Sommelier Ali Coyle presents a curated list of wines offered at exceptional prices, and Director of Spirits Drew Coyle offers a selection of signature cocktails to go. Sommelier & Coyle Family member, Ali, gently pulls the cork for us.

After honing his skills at some of the most influential restaurants in Southern California –including The Eveleigh, Father’s Office, and Umami Restaurant Group—Chef & Proprietor Ted Hopson now brings his diverse experience and curious palate to The Bellwether in Studio City, incorporating Italian, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern flavors for a culinary spread that proudly crashes borders and challenges convention. His Partner at The Bellwether is Beverage Director Ann-Marie Verdi. At The Bellwether (in normal times,) Verdi creates a beverage program that pleases all palates through both contemporary and classic selections. Chef Ted is our guest to discuss how The Bellwether is coping with the ban on dine-in.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative <strong>“Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Chef Andrew is updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Take-out/delivery when you can surely helps…Of course, the safety of restaurant employees and guests comes first. 3rd party delivery services seem convenient but they are costly to both consumers and restaurants. A lot more here to explain and better understand. We’ll again “Ask the Chef.”

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

Play

Show 373, May 16, 2020: Restaurateur Christy Vega, Casa Vega, Sherman Oaks

Christy Vega of Casa VegaThe enduring Casa Vega is a landmark Mexican restaurant that has been operating in the San Fernando Valley for almost 64 years. It’s located on the familiar Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks and is one of the longest running, continuously family-owned restaurants in greater Los Angeles. Rafael “Ray” Vega opened Casa Vega in 1956 after being inspired by the success of his parents’ earlier restaurant, Café Caliente, which was on Olvera St. and operated throughout the 1930’s. Casa Vega has recently reopened for take-out via advance order online or by telephone.

Casa Vega is now open from 12 Noon – 8 p.m. daily. Initially, guests can order directly by phone (818-788-4868) or online via the Casa Vega website. Guests can pick up from their cars – Casa Vega staff will place orders in the trunk or backseat as they wait in the restaurant’s driveway off Ventura Blvd.

Favorites on the take-out menu include Combination Plates and Street Tacos, both served with rice and beans, Taquitos de Juan (chicken flautas), Burritos, four different Family Trays, Chips, Guacamole, Salsa, Kids Meals, and more. In addition to beer and wine, Casa Vega offers its Classic Margarita in a single serving mason jar with ice, ready to drink for $7. Other margarita variations are available for $7-9. The Classic Margarita is also available in a half gallon size for $30.

“Over the years, Casa Vega has remained, at its core, much the same as my father’s original vision,” says Christy Vega. “The menu continues to reflect the offerings originally presented some 64 years ago with slight alterations that speak to today’s culinary tastes. From the menu, to the dim ambiance of the dining room, to the staff—many of which have been with our team for decades—Casa Vega is a testament to my father and the wonderful history he has created. I look forward to continuing to uphold his legacy of service, authentic traditions, and most of all, the love and adoration that emanates throughout every corner of the restaurant and inspires our clients to return time and time again.

Proprietress Christy Vega pours the Classic Margaritas for us.

Play

May 16: Zov’s Bistro and Bakery, Casa Vega, C-CAP with Monti Carlo, Fable & Spirit, Ted Hopson

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Restaurateur Armen Karamardian, Zov’s Bistro & Bakery
Segment Three: Restaurateur Christy Vega, Casa Vega, Sherman Oaks
Segment Four: Chef Monti Carlo with C-CAP Scholarship Recipient Emerson Majano
Segment Five: Chef Monti Carlo with C-CAP Scholarship Recipient Morena Hernandez
Segment Six: Sommelier Ali Coyle, Fable & Spirit, Newport Beach
Segment Seven: Chef & Partner Ted Hopson, The Bellwether, Studio City
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish with “Ask the Chef”

It’s a time of great concern for all of us and our “SoCal Restaurant Show” mission, until the Covid-19 crisis is fully abated, is to provide reliable and genuinely useful information on how the restaurant business is coping with the rapidly evolving events. With an emphasis on the health, safety and well-being of our listeners we’ll be detailing what the ever-changing range of services restaurants can now provide to their guests. Creativity and adaptability are at the forefront. We’re doing our level best to keep it upbeat…

Chefs and restaurateurs are honestly the most generous people we know. In times of need they are always the very first in generously giving back and meaningfully supporting their communities. Truly remarkable…Right now restaurants urgently need our support to stay afloat. Kindly keep this in mind and please do what you possibly can (as you can afford) to support a community-focused, local restaurant….

As always, we greatly appreciate you being a part of our loyal listening audience. Truly couldn’t do it without the enthusiastic encouragement of the foodie community.

Founded in 1987 by Chef Zov Karamardian, legendary Zov’s Bistro and Bakery in Tustin, CA has become a culinary institution. Serving her unique cuisine that blends contemporary with Eastern Mediterranean influences, in an upscale chic environment. There are now also Zov’s restaurants in Newport Coast, Irvine and Anaheim. The Tustin and Newport Coast locations are now serving Family Meals and Takeout Menu items curbside. 2nd generation Karamardian Family member, Armen, joins us with the details and looks to the future.

The enduring Casa Vega is a landmark Mexican restaurant that has been operating in the San Fernando Valley for almost 64 years. It’s located on the familiar Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks and is one of the longest running, continuously family-owned restaurants in greater Los Angeles. Rafael “Ray” Vega opened Casa Vega in 1956 after being inspired by the success of his parents’ earlier restaurant, Café Caliente, which was on Olvera St. and operated throughout the 1930’s. Casa Vega has recently reopened for take-out via advance order online or by telephone.

Proprietress Christy Vega pours the Classic Margaritas for us.

Led by chef, author and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson as national board co-chair, Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP,) celebrating its 30th Anniversary, transforms the lives of underserved high school students and young people locally by helping them pursue their culinary dreams. C-CAP prepares these talented young adults for college, and for careers in the restaurant and hospitality industry. This year Los Angeles awarded $430,131 in scholarships to 34 deserving high school students. Joining us are Food TV’s Chef Monti Carlo (a “Friend of C-CAP”,) college scholarship recipient Emerson Majano, a member of the Senior Class at Santee Education Complex and college scholarship recipient Morena Hernandez, a Senior at Los Angeles High School.

Newport Beach’s highly praised, Fable & Spirit, has reopened in the Via Lido Plaza for takeout service. The public, once again, is able to partake in Chef Executive Chef David Shofner’s imaginative, globally inspired dishes. In addition, Sommelier Ali Coyle presents a curated list of wines offered at exceptional prices, and Director of Spirits Drew Coyle offers a selection of signature cocktails to go. Sommelier & Coyle Family member, Ali, gently pulls the cork for us.

After honing his skills at some of the most influential restaurants in Southern California –including The Eveleigh, Father’s Office, and Umami Restaurant Group—Chef & Proprietor Ted Hopson now brings his diverse experience and curious palate to The Bellwether in Studio City, incorporating Italian, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern flavors for a culinary spread that proudly crashes borders and challenges convention. His Partner at The Bellwether is Beverage Director Ann-Marie Verdi. At The Bellwether (in normal times,) Verdi creates a beverage program that pleases all palates through both contemporary and classic selections. Chef Ted is our guest to discuss how The Bellwether is coping with the ban on dine-in.

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 updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Take-out/delivery when you can surely helps…Of course, the safety of restaurant employees and guests comes first. 3rd party delivery services seem convenient but they are costly to both consumers and restaurants. A lot more here to explain and better understand. We’ll again “Ask the Chef.”

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

Armen Karamardian of ZovsFounded in 1987 by Chef Zov Karamardian, legendary Zov’s Bistro and Bakery in Tustin, CA has become a culinary institution. Serving her unique cuisine that blends contemporary with Eastern Mediterranean influences, in an upscale, chic environment. There are now also Zov’s restaurants in Newport Coast, Irvine and Anaheim.

The Tustin and Newport Coast locations are serving Family Meals and Takeout Menu items curbside. Zov’s General Store at the Tustin location offers a selection of gourmet groceries for curbside pickup.

“Family support has constantly been Zov’s foundation and inspiration throughout her culinary career. Zov, in addition to her husband, Gary, her son Armen, and her daughter Taleene, have created a rare family business recipe that has taken comforting creations of the family kitchen blended with Chef Zov’s culinary artistry.”

“Over the years, the Bistro in Tustin has greatly expanded into 14,000 sq. ft., encompassing an award-winning bakery, acclaimed Bistro, a luxurious private dining room, specialty foods gourmet market, cooking classes and a busy catering division that brings Zov’s culinary style to homes and special events throughout Southern California.”

2nd Generation Karamardian Family member & restaurateur, Armen, joins us with the details and looks to the future.

Christy Vega of Casa VegaThe enduring Casa Vega is a landmark Mexican restaurant that has been operating in the San Fernando Valley for almost 64 years. It’s located on the familiar Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks and is one of the longest running, continuously family-owned restaurants in greater Los Angeles. Rafael “Ray” Vega opened Casa Vega in 1956 after being inspired by the success of his parents’ earlier restaurant, Café Caliente, which was on Olvera St. and operated throughout the 1930’s. Casa Vega has recently reopened for take-out via advance order online or by telephone.

Casa Vega is now open from 12 Noon – 8 p.m. daily. Initially, guests can order directly by phone (818-788-4868) or online via the Casa Vega website. Guests can pick up from their cars – Casa Vega staff will place orders in the trunk or backseat as they wait in the restaurant’s driveway off Ventura Blvd.

Favorites on the take-out menu include Combination Plates and Street Tacos, both served with rice and beans, Taquitos de Juan (chicken flautas), Burritos, four different Family Trays, Chips, Guacamole, Salsa, Kids Meals, and more. In addition to beer and wine, Casa Vega offers its Classic Margarita in a single serving mason jar with ice, ready to drink for $7. Other margarita variations are available for $7-9. The Classic Margarita is also available in a half gallon size for $30.

“Over the years, Casa Vega has remained, at its core, much the same as my father’s original vision,” says Christy Vega. “The menu continues to reflect the offerings originally presented some 64 years ago with slight alterations that speak to today’s culinary tastes. From the menu, to the dim ambiance of the dining room, to the staff—many of which have been with our team for decades—Casa Vega is a testament to my father and the wonderful history he has created. I look forward to continuing to uphold his legacy of service, authentic traditions, and most of all, the love and adoration that emanates throughout every corner of the restaurant and inspires our clients to return time and time again.

Proprietress Christy Vega pours the Classic Margaritas for us.

The Monti Carlo of Everyday FoodLed by chef, author and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson as national board co-chair, Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP,) celebrating its 30th Anniversary, transforms the lives of underserved high school students and young people locally by helping them pursue their culinary dreams. C-CAP prepares these talented young adults for college, and for careers in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

This year Los Angeles awarded $430,131 in scholarships to 34 deserving high school students. Joining us is Food TV’s Chef Monti Carlo (a “Friend of C-CAP”) and college scholarship recipients Emerson Majano, a member of the Senior Class at Santee Education Complex and Morena Hernandez, a distinguished Senior at Los Angeles High School.

Founded in 1990 by culinary educator and cookbook author Richard Grausman, C-CAP impacts over 17,500 students a year nationally. Countless C-CAP alumni work throughout the country and are guiding the future leaders of the culinary and hospitality industry.

Sommelier Ali CoyleNewport Beach’s highly praised, Fable & Spirit, has reopened in the Via Lido Plaza for takeout service. The public, once again, is able to partake in Chef Executive Chef David Shofner’s imaginative, globally inspired dishes. In addition, Sommelier Ali Coyle presents a curated list of wines offered at exceptional prices, and Director of Spirits Drew Coyle offers a selection of signature cocktails to go.

Guests will be able to order by phone or online Tuesday through Sunday. Menu, hours and online ordering will be updated on Fable & Spirit’s website. Orders may be placed between Noon and 6 p.m., for pick-up between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. The restaurant will be closed Monday. Contactless curbside pick-up can be requested when placing orders.

“Ours are neighborhood restaurants that have achieved success because of the communities that support them, and we are grateful to reopen to see the reassuring smiles of our friends during this time of uncertainty,” comments Darren Coyle, who owns Fable & Spirit, Dublin 4 Gastropub, and Wineworks for Everyone with his wife, Jean. “We look forward to when we can welcome guests into our dining room again for food, drink and good times, but for now, we will limit service to takeout and strive to share some of the spirit and magic of our family with yours.”

Sommelier & Coyle Family member, Ali, gently pulls the cork for us.

Ann Marie Verdi and Ted Hopson of the Bellwether“After honing his skills at some of the most influential restaurants in Southern California –including The Eveleigh, Father’s Office, and Umami Restaurant Group—Chef & Proprietor Ted Hopson now brings his diverse experience and curious palate to The Bellwether in Studio City, incorporating Italian, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern flavors for a culinary spread that proudly crashes borders and challenges convention.”

His Partner at The Bellwether is Beverage Director Ann-Marie Verdi. At The Bellwether (in normal times,) Verdi creates a beverage program that pleases all palates through both contemporary and classic selections.

The Bellwether reopened briefly for nighttime curbside pick-up but found it impractical to sustain. Their focus has shifted to preparing wholesome meals for frontline workers and charity groups.

Chef Ted brings us up-to-date.

Chef Andrew Gruel savoring a New Jersey style PizzaOur 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 updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Take-out / Delivery when you can surely helps…Of course, the safety of restaurant employees and guests comes first.

On the surface 3rd party delivery services (Uber Eats, Grubhub, DoorDash and Postmates) seem really convenient but they are costly to both consumers and restaurants. A lot more here to explain and better understand. We’ll again, “Ask the Chef.”

Slapfish is hosting Doctors, Nurses, Medical Personnel, Police, Firefighters & EMT’s to a complimentary meal To-Go. Need to be in uniform or have appropriate ID to qualify. The participating Slapfish locations are Huntington Beach, Brea, Irvine and Laguna Beach.

Kids eat free at Slapfish, too, when their parents order Takeout.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Restaurateur Armen Karamardian, Zov’s Bistro & Bakery
Segment Three: Restaurateur Christy Vega, Casa Vega, Sherman Oaks
Segment Four: Chef Monti Carlo with C-CAP Scholarship Recipient Emerson Majano
Segment Five: Chef Monti Carlo with C-CAP Scholarship Recipient Morena Hernandez
Segment Six: Sommelier Ali Coyle, Fable & Spirit, Newport Beach
Segment Seven: Chef & Partner Ted Hopson, The Bellwether, Studio City
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish with “Ask the Chef”

Show 180, July 16, 2016: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel

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, most recently, Brea, is back as today’s special Guest Host. Last month in Chicago he received Nation’s Restaurant News’ Trendsetter MenuMaster Award for Slapfish.

Now a (hopefully) tantalizing preview of Saturday’s overloaded show and not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s actually a pretty good thing…

The Ranch Restaurant in Anaheim has a tremendous commitment to using fresh fruit and vegetables in all their preparations. They incredibly have their own farm in Orange where they grow many of the fruits and vegetables used at the bar and on the dinner menu. Executive Chef Michael Rossi actually checks the farm daily to see what can be used fresh from the field on that day’s menu. Restaurant Manager & Mixologist Dan Minjares has recently introduced their new Summer Cocktails. Included is a selection of “Farm Inspired Summer Cocktails.” Dan is with us to explain all the refreshing specifics.

George Motz is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, founder of the Food Film Festival, and author of the well-received Hamburger America. He’s a well-traveled “accidental” burger authority with impeccable credentials. Motz’s newest offering is The Great American Burger Book – How to Make Authentic Regional Hamburgers at Home. George puts his well-used spatula down briefly to join us with the hot & juicy details.

The classic Casa Vega is a family-owned Mexican restaurant that has been a Sherman Oaks landmark for 60 years. They are celebrating their 60th Anniversary in style with cocktails and a special seven-course menu this Saturday night, July 16th. It’s a benefit for the L.A. Regional Food Bank. The celebrity guest chef is Baja’s Javier Plascencia. 2nd generation proprietress Christy Vega is our guest.

Chef Eric Samaniego (Bravo TV’s “Best New Restaurant“), formerly of Little Sparrow in Santa Ana, has joined Michael’s On Naples in Long Beach as the award-winning restaurant’s chef de cuisine. In addition to changes in the kitchen, Michael’s on Naples is experiencing an aesthetic transformation as well. The restaurant’s rooftop terrace has been under construction as it undergoes a major expansion and renovation. Chef Eric joins us.

Food waste is inexcusable in restaurants these days. It’s a matter of principle in addition to being part of the green movement. Our own Chef Andrew Gruel will highlight what he does to turn usable items that were formally tossed in the garbage into practical (and tasty) menu items.

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

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Show 180, July 16, 2016: Christy Vega, Proprietress Casa Vega, Sherman Oaks, CA

Christy VegaThe classic Casa Vega is a family-owned Mexican restaurant that has been a Sherman Oaks landmark for 60 years. They are celebrating their 60th Anniversary in style with cocktails and a special seven- course menu this Saturday night, July 16th. It’s a benefit for the L.A. Regional Food Bank.

The celebrity guest chef is Baja’s Javier Plascencia (Bracero and Mision 19) He will alternate courses with the Casa Vega culinary team. Think Evo Poached Baja Hiramassa with guacachile, yuzu, crunchy eggplant, and yellow tomato tartar.

Casa Vega is a family-owned Mexican restaurant that has been a Los Angeles landmark for 60 years. Opened in 1956 by Rafael “Ray” Vega, Casa Vega serves authentic Mexican food and drinks in a warm, festive atmosphere. You don’t survive in the highly competitive San Fernando Valley for 60 years unless you give your guests a compelling reason to return and bring their friends.

Today Ray’s daughter, Christina “Christy” Vega (as seen on Food Network’s “Guy’s Grocery Games,” NBC’s “TODAY” Show, CBS’s “This Morning,” ABC’s “The View,” and more) is at the helm of the time-honored restaurant. From crowd-pleasing dishes such as traditional chicken mole, burritos, enchiladas, and tostadas, to tasty house-made margaritas and mojitos (the margarita base is a treasured house-recipe) and mojitos, Casa Vega features an extensive and time-tested menu.

2nd generation proprietress Christy Vega is our guest.

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