Show 424, May 8, 2021: Brandon Weimer, Founder, Brandini Toffee, Palm Springs Part One

Brandon Weimer of Brandini Toffee

“In 2006, a young toffee-maker (based in the greater Palm Springs area,) Brandon Weimer, and family friend were presented an opportunity to go on a class trip to Italy during their sophomore year of high school. Challenged by their parents to earn half the cost of their trip, they accepted, and Brandini Toffee was born.”

“With unwavering optimism, they sold their toffee to family, friends and the community. Within a few months the two surpassed their funding goals and enjoyed a well-earned trip to Europe. Since then, the company has grown into a business committed to quality and community.”

“Founded in the Palm Springs area, Brandini Toffee is enjoyed by chocolate-lovers and toffee aficionados around the world, and is the first toffee company to receive the coveted gold sofi Award from the Specialty Food Association. The family owned business has become a featured favorite on Oprah Winfrey’s O List, The Martha Stewart Show, The Food Network and Brandini Toffee has even been served to a President of the United States.”

“The company is dedicated to handcrafted toffee created with premium, preservatives-free and GMO-free ingredients.” Brandini Toffee also crafts Toffee Popcorn and Cashew Almond Toffee Popcorn. Ice cream treats include a Toffee Milkshake and a Dark Chocolate, Hand-Dipped Toffee Ice Cream Bar (with vanilla or chocolate ice cream.) There is also an exclusive Toffee Brownie.

“This is the recipe that has led to four Brandini store locations, a fast-growing wholesale segment, and shipments world-wide.” The newest store location (and the first outside of the greater Palm Springs area) is in Westfield Century City.

Founder Brandon Weimer joins us.

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Show 424, May 8, 2021: Brandon Weimer, Founder, Brandini Toffee, Palm Springs Part Two

Brandon Weimer of Brandini Toffee

“In 2006, a young toffee-maker (based in the greater Palm Springs area,) Brandon Weimer, and family friend were presented an opportunity to go on a class trip to Italy during their sophomore year of high school. Challenged by their parents to earn half the cost of their trip, they accepted, and Brandini Toffee was born.”

“With unwavering optimism, they sold their toffee to family, friends and the community. Within a few months the two surpassed their funding goals and enjoyed a well-earned trip to Europe. Since then, the company has grown into a business committed to quality and community.”

“Founded in the Palm Springs area, Brandini Toffee is enjoyed by chocolate-lovers and toffee aficionados around the world, and is the first toffee company to receive the coveted gold sofi Award from the Specialty Food Association. The family owned business has become a featured favorite on Oprah Winfrey’s O List, The Martha Stewart Show, The Food Network and Brandini Toffee has even been served to a President of the United States.”

“The company is dedicated to handcrafted toffee created with premium, preservatives-free and GMO-free ingredients.” Brandini Toffee also crafts Toffee Popcorn and Cashew Almond Toffee Popcorn. Ice cream treats include a Toffee Milkshake and a Dark Chocolate, Hand-Dipped Toffee Ice Cream Bar (with vanilla or chocolate ice cream.) There is also an exclusive Toffee Brownie.

“This is the recipe that has led to four Brandini store locations, a fast-growing wholesale segment, and shipments world-wide.” The newest store location (and the first outside of the greater Palm Springs area) is in Westfield Century City.

Founder Brandon Weimer joins us.

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Show 302, December 15, 2018: Chef / Restaurateur Steve Samson, Rossoblu

Steve Samson of Sotto and RossobluChef Steve Samson’s Rossoblu has been a big success since its opening Downtown mid-last year in the Fashion District. in a historic former produce warehouse. On Sept. 13th during service a small kitchen fire temporarily closed the establishment. The better news is that Rossoblu just reopened last week.

Don’t forget their comfortable outside patio for that special Holiday party.

Steve is a veteran of the kitchen at Valentino, Santa Monica which will close at year’s end. Proprietor Piero Selvaggio is a mentor. Steve shares a few memories of a staff reunion dinner there earlier in the month organized by Providence’s and Connie & Ted’s Donato Poto.

Congrats, also, to Chef Steve and Dina Samson for having both Rossoblu and Sotto Sotto (his other Century City adjacent restaurant) included in the closely watched Los Angeles Times’101 Restaurants We Love” list. Chef Steve is our guest.

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Show 242, September 30, 2017: Betty Porto, Porto’s Bakery

Betty Porto in front of the Porto's Bakery Bread RackPorto’s Bakery on the Westside? For the very first time Porto’s is temporarily making a limited engagement appearance (through March 4th of 2018) at the Annenberg Space for Photography (Century City) in the Dona Dulce Café in connection with the Cuba Is photography exhibit. The coffee is from F. Gavina & Sons.

Open 11am-5pm, Wednesday through Sunday, Doña Dulce immerses guests in a Havana-inspired space that temporarily transports visitors to the Caribbean island nation with a taste of authentic Cuban delights.

Sweets
Milk ‘n Berries
Cappuccino Mousse
Mango Mousse
Taste of Cuba (1 guava cheese roll, 2 cheese rolls)
Havana Kiss (1 chocolate besito, 1 hazelnut besito, 1 raspberry besito and coconut glaze)

Beverages
Café Cubano
Cortadito
Café con Leche
Brewed Coffee – House Blend

Betty Porto joins us with the sweet details.

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Show 205, January 7, 2017: Raimondo Boggia, CEO & Sommelier, Obica Group

Raimondo BoggiaObica, the world’s first mozzarella bar, was founded in Rome in 2004. There are now more than 16 contemporary Italian restaurants worldwide including two in Los Angeles (Sunset Strip and Century City) and one in Santa Monica.

Obicà is the only restaurant in Los Angeles to directly import Mozzarella di Bufala DOP (Denomination of Protected Origin) twice a week from cheese makers in Campania, southern Italy, ensuring the utmost freshness and quality. Obicà offers four kinds of mozzarella: a traditional Bufala ClassicaBufala Affumicata, which is smoked on iron nets over a hay fire, Burrata, which is sweet and creamy, and Burrata al Tartufo with black truffle.

Obicà also serves its signature pizza, prepared with a blend of stone-ground white flour and whole wheat organic flour, cooked in the restaurant’s stone pizza oven. Obicà’s pizza dough is left to rise for a minimum of 48 hours, with no chemical yeasts, resulting in an airy and lighter texture.

All the fresh pasta is homemade and the ingredients are organic. The wine list includes an extensive array of Italian indigenous grown grapes. The design is casual with a contemporary and elegant touch. Founded in 2004 by Silvio Ursini, all of Obicà’s locations and concepts follow a straightforward philosophy of serving food that is good, clean and fair.

There is also a stylish Obica cookbook available. It’s Obica – Mozzarella Bar – Pizza E Cucina – A contemporary attitude to authentic Italian food.

Sommelier and CEO of Obica group, Raimondo Boggia, joins us for a spirited discussion of Italian cuisine.

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Show 119, April 25, 2015: Chef Eric Greenspan

Eric GreenspanYou probably recognize celebrity chef Eric Greenspan from his National Geographic Channel series, Eric Greenspan is Hungry.” Chef Eric is also the proprietor of Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese and The Roof on Wilshire, both in Los Angeles.

Chef Eric is back on Food Network with the “Chopped All-Stars Tournament: Part 1.” It premiers on Tuesday, April 28th. Each celebrity chef is playing for the $75,000 grand prize for their favorite charity. In Heat 1 Chef Eric is pitted against Madison Cowan, Brian Malarkey and Art Smith.

In the first round, a slimy ingredient provokes some disgusted reactions from the competitors and judges. In the entrée round, the beautiful fish in the basket leads the chefs to make some surprising mistakes. And when the two finalists go in totally different directions with their desserts, it’s up in the air which approach will be more pleasing to the judges. Judges for this episode are Maneet Chauhan, Scott Conant and Amanda Freitag.

Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese just finished a very well-received three-month pop-up at Westfield Century City. A sandwich created for Century City has proved so popular that it is now on the menu on Melrose. Look for expanded hours soon.

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Show 76, June 14, 2014: Guest Host Kedric Francis and Producer Andy preview the show

Guest Host Kedric Francis and Producer Andy preview the show.

Barbara Fairchild, the well-traveled Restaurant & Travel Editor for grapecollective.com, is back with us to share some inspired and practical travel tips. Also a profile of a big deal celebrity chef flagship restaurant in London.

It’s the 9th Anniversary of Chef Michael Cimarusti’s and Donato Poto’s Providence in Hollywood. The Los Angeles Times’ restaurant critic, Jonathan Gold, recently named them the Number 1 establishment in his annual listing of the “101 Best Restaurants – 2014.”

One of the foremost goat cheeses available in the United States, Belle Chevre, is made in a tiny town located in northern Alabama. It’s quite a success story!

You’ve seen Chef Ben Ford on Andrew Zimmern’s “Bizarre Foods America” on Travel Channel and are probably familiar with his landmark Culver City Gastropub, Ford’s Filling Station. His new book is Taming The Feast: Ben Ford’s Field Guide To Adventurous Cooking.

Hinoki & The Bird, hidden in a luxury high rise condo tower in Century City, features Pan-Asian cooking. We’ll meet executive chef Kuniko Yagi.

Guest Host Kedric Francis has been doing some traveling up the Central Coast. Some inspired dining and lodging tips are on the way.

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

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Show 68, April 5, 2014: Show 68, April 5, 2014: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

The Inaugural Grilled Cheese Festival & Competition featuring the best of the OC’s chefs is coming. We’ll have the details on how you can attend.

Would you believe a stone flour mill in Pasadena? It’s a passion project for the two partners who are selling flour from grain sourced from local growers. That’s a great example of the locavore movement!

We last visited with Chef Duskie Estes of Zazu Kitchen + Farm & Black Pig Meat Co. right before they opened their spacious new restaurant at The Barlow in Sebastopol (Sonoma County) last year. We have an update…

You can’t have a classic bar without gin. We have a fascinating tutorial from the local expert affiliated with the Museum of the American Cocktail.

The gateway to the Sonoma County Wine Country for foodies is Relish Culinary Tours located right off the town square in Healdsburg. They offer cooking classes, private parties, culinary tours and creative catering. We’ll hear about what’s on their menu for Spring & Summer.

A Los Angeles fine dining chef who has cooked at Tom Colicchio’s Craft in Century City is a deliman at heart. He’s about to open a Jewish deli in Downtown Los Angeles featuring his premium, house cured meats.

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

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April 5: OC Baking Co., Grist & Toll, Duskie Estes, Lesley Jacobs Solmonson, Relish Culinary Adventures, Micah Wexler

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Master Baker Dean Kim, OC Baking Co
Segment Three: Nan Kohler, Managing Partner, Grist & Toll – An Urban Flour Mill
Segment Four: Duskie Estes, Executive Chef and Co-Owner, Zazu Kitchen + Farm, The Barlow
Segment Five: Lesley Jacobs Solmonson, author of Gin: A Global History
Segment Six: Donna del Rey, Relish Culinary Adventurers, Healdsburg, CA
Segment Seven: Chef Micah Wexler, Wexler’s Deli, Grand Central Market, Part One
Segment Eight: Chef Micah Wexler, Wexler’s Deli, Grand Central Market, Part Two

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

The Inaugural Grilled Cheese Festival & Competition featuring the best of the OC’s chefs is coming. We’ll have the details on how you can attend.

Would you believe a stone flour mill in Pasadena? It’s a passion project for the two partners who are selling flour from grain sourced from local growers. That’s a great example of the locavore movement!

We last visited with Chef Duskie Estes of Zazu Kitchen + Farm & Black Pig Meat Co. right before they opened their spacious new restaurant at The Barlow in Sebastopol (Sonoma County) last year. We have an update…

You can’t have a classic bar without gin. We have a fascinating tutorial from the local expert affiliated with the Museum of the American Cocktail.

The gateway to the Sonoma County Wine Country for foodies is Relish Culinary Tours located right off the town square in Healdsburg. They offer cooking classes, private parties, culinary tours and creative catering. We’ll hear about what’s on their menu for Spring & Summer.

A Los Angeles fine dining chef who has cooked at Tom Colicchio’s Craft in Century City is a deliman at heart. He’s about to open a Jewish deli in Downtown Los Angeles featuring his premium, house cured meats.

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

The Big Cheese Grilled Cheese CompetitionIn celebration of National Grilled Cheese Month in April, OC Baking Co. and Provisions Market in Orange will join forces to host The Big Cheese, Orange County’s first grilled cheese festival and competition. OC Baking Co. Master Baker Dean Kim will supply locally produced freshly baked bread to top OC chefs competing for the title of “The Big Cheese” on Monday, April 14th from 6 to 8:00 p.m. at Provisions Market in Orange.

“The Chef community in Orange County is a tight knit one with many talented individuals I’m proud to call my friends,” commented Chef Greg Daniels, who oversees the kitchens at Haven Gastropub in Orange and Pasadena, as well as taco asylum in Costa Mesa. “Grilled Cheese is something we can all relate to and, thanks to OC Baking Co.’s support, this event is a way for us to get together for a lighthearted competition.”

Nan KohlerSerious home baker Nan Kohler and her business partner (Marti Noxon) have recently opened (December) Grist & Toll, an Urban flour mill in Pasadena. They are selling flour milled on the site from grain sourced from local growers.

The attractive blond wood stone mill from Austria is visible through a window and is the real star of the show.

They sell flour to home bakers as well as select restaurants including Union Restaurant in Pasadena.

Baking classes are on the way.

Chef Duskie Estes and Salumist John Stewart of Zazu Kitchen and FarmWhen we first met Sonoma County-based Chef Duskie Estes last Spring when she was about to move Zazu Kitchen + Farm from Santa Rosa into an incredible space at The Barlow in Sebastopol. It’s now located on the grounds of a long-closed Gravenstein apple processing facility. Some of the tin clad warehouse buildings remain and have been artfully repurposed. The rest of the complex duplicates that rustic look.

Duskie and her husband, John Stewart, are the King & Queen of Porc from the Grand Cochon competition in 2011. They also operate the Black Pig Meat Co.

Most of the mains change nightly at Zazu. A signature starter is the “I (heart) Pigstrami. John cures the pork for this little sandwich served on artisan rye with sauerkraut and house-made Guinness mustard.

Saturday and Sunday brunch is a major attraction here. At brunch the “can’t miss” item is the “As seen on TV” maple glazed donut with bacon jimmies. Outrageous…

Also popular is the king + queen of pork bacon-in-the-batter waffle with bacon toffee and house-made espresso gelato.

Lesley Jacobs SolmonsonThe Museum of the American Cocktail (based in New Orleans) is kicking off their “Touring the Cocktail Series” in Los Angeles with Lesley Jacobs Solmonson, the author of Gin: A Global History. She also is the food and cocktail columnist at LA Weekly. The provocative program is “A History of Gin in Five Cocktails.”

Gin is the undisputed king of cocktail spirits. Built upon a neutral spirit base, great gin is a symphony of juniper, spices, botanicals, and citrus.

Five signature gin cocktails will be available for sampling that evening. It’s set for Monday, April 7th at Dominick’s Restaurant in West Hollywood.

Donna del Rey of Relish Culinary AdventuresWhen it comes to providing the welcoming gateway for discriminating foodies to the Sonoma County Wine Country no one does it better than the hard-working Donna del Rey of Relish Culinary Adventures in Healdsburg. Relish offers cooking classes, private parties, distinctive culinary tours, and creative catering.

Recently Donna and her crew provided support for the Artisan Cheese Festival.

For the ultimate experience they offer “Relish Sonoma County,” a 3-Day Culinary Adventure of Sonoma County.

Coming up on June 21st is a hands-on Culinary Birds cooking class with Chef John Ash.

Micah WexlerChef Micah Wexler was born and raised in Los Angeles and always had aspirations to be a chef. At age 15, Wexler’s first job was working with legendary Italian Chef, Gino Angelini, at Vincenti in Brentwood.

In 2011 Wexler opened Mezze Restaurant as Chef/Co-owner. Mezze was named one of the Top New Restaurants that year by Los Angeles Magazine and was one of Jonathan Gold’s Essential 99 restaurants.

Next month Wexler will open his newest concept, Wexler’s Deli, in Downtown Los Angeles’ iconic Grand Central Market. Wexler’s Deli aims to take the traditional deli back to its roots and provide a place of community, pride, familiarity, and quality.

The menu will feature traditional favorites of corned beef, pastrami, salmon, and sturgeon, all cured and smoked in-house. All condiments will be house-made.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Master Baker Dean Kim, OC Baking Co
Segment Three: Nan Kohler, Managing Partner, Grist & Toll – An Urban Flour Mill
Segment Four: Duskie Estes, Executive Chef and Co-Owner, Zazu Kitchen + Farm, The Barlow
Segment Five: Lesley Jacobs Solmonson, author of Gin: A Global History
Segment Six: Donna del Rey, Relish Culinary Adventurers, Healdsburg, CA
Segment Seven: Chef Micah Wexler, Wexler’s Deli, Grand Central Market, Part One
Segment Eight: Chef Micah Wexler, Wexler’s Deli, Grand Central Market, Part Two

Show 41, September 21, 2013: Steve Samson and Zach Pollack, Co-Executive Chefs / Partners, Sotto Restaurant

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

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

Steve’s and Zach’s dish was a beautiful, rustic spit-roasted lamb loin with Summer vegetables from the legendary Chino Farms in Rancho Santa Fe.

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

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