Show 358, February 2, 2020: Melting Pot Food Tours Part Two

Scalia Sisters of Melting Pot Food ToursOne of the best ways to come to know a city is through its food. When we go to a new city we’ve found our best insiders introduction is by partaking of a highly regarded, local food walking tour. One of the premier food walking tour operators locally is the long-established Melting Pot Food Tours. The principals are Lisa and Diane Scalia (sisters.) The Scalias hospitably continue the background tour for us.

One of Melting Pot’s proprietary tours is the La Espanola Meats VIP Tour and Paella Lunch. This tour, dining and shopping experience is produced by Melting Pot Food Tours in cooperation with the Dona Juana family of La Espanola Meats in Harbor City, CA. “Our two-generation family of hosts are the premier purveyors of fine, authentic Spanish charcuterie, cheeses, wines, and a myriad of imported specialties.”

“The experience begins with an exclusive tour of La Espanola’s manufacturing facilities, where premium sausages and cured meats are crafted with recipes procured from Spain’s finest master artisans. Following the tour, a specially-prepared patio lunch of tapas and paella is served with wine, plus homemade churros with dark chocolate dipping sauce.”

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Show 355, January 11, 2020: Executive Chef Alejandra Padilla, Five Crowns & SideDoor Part Two

Alejandra Padilla of Five Crowns and SidedoorThe iconic Five Crowns in Corona del Mar was established in 1965 and is a member of the Lawry’s family of fine-dining restaurants, which includes Lawry’s The Prime Rib with domestic locations in Beverly Hills, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas and the historic Tam O’Shanter in Los Angeles.

SideDoor gastropub, recipient of Orange Coast Magazine’s “2010 Restaurant of the Year” Award and Corona del Mar’s first and only English gastropub, is also housed within the historic Five Crowns building; its primary entrance is on Poppy Street. They will be celebrating their 10th Anniversary in March.

Five Crowns has a new seasonal Winter menu courtesy of Executive Chef Alejandra Padilla. Guests will experience the vibrant flavors of the season’s most inspiring ingredients to complement Five Crowns’ cherished classic dishes.

“SideDoor is soon presenting the next eagerly anticipated Ultimate Cheese & Charcuterie Party, culminating from another successful creamery takeover series, on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 from 6 to 9 p.m. with a special Cheese Education Class from 5:30-6 p.m. led by SideDoor’s own certified cheesemonger, sommelier and cicerone, Tracy Nelsen.”

“Known for its award-winning cheese and charcuterie offerings, SideDoor started the monthly series to highlight unique creameries, dedicating one evening a month to small batch cheesemakers and specialty cheeses. Twice a year the series reaches its pinnacle with the ultimate celebration of fromage. The indulgent evening will showcase the previous five months of creameries in the series including Haystack Creamery from Colorado (August), Boutique creameries from Sonoma County (September), Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese from Kentucky (October), River’s Edge Chevrè from Oregon (November), and Cowgirl Creamery from California (December).”

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Show 321, April 27, 2019: Christopher Galindo, Restaurant Chef, Meridia at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort

Chef Chris Galindo and Andy HarrisWe first met Chef Christopher Galindo two years ago when he was overseeing Hau Tree on the beach next door at the Resort’s sister property, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Last year he switched beaches and moved over to The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort’s new Meridia as the menu-maker.

It’s Mediterranean-inspired cuisine created with locally sourced ingredients and infused with Hawaii’s rich local bounty. Also know for creative, signature cocktails and a primo 180 degree view of the Pacific at Sunset.

“The fresh seasonal menu is complemented by expanded al fresco seating, a private dining room, a charcuterie and crudo bar, and a house- made artisanal bread nook.”

We entice Chef Chris out of his busy kitchen for a chat.

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Show 299, November 24, 2018: Restaurateurs Chef Ori Menashe and Pastry Chef Genevieve Gergis, Bestia – Italian Recipes Created in the Heart of L.A.

Executive Chef Ori Menashe and Pastry Chef Genevieve Gergis of BestiaThe Proprietors of the phenomenally popular Bestia and the newly opened Bavel, Chef Ori Menashe and Pastry Chef Genevieve Gergis, are no strangers to the show. Just in time for the Holidays their debut cookbook, Bestia – Italian Recipes Created in the Heart of L.A., is now available.

This debut cookbook from L.A.’s phenomenally popular Bestia restaurant features rustic Italian food that is driven by intense flavors, including house-made charcuterie, pizza and pasta from scratch, and innovative desserts inspired by home-baked classics.

Since opening in downtown Los Angeles in 2012, Bestia has captivated diners with its bold, satisfying, and flavor-forward food served in a festive, communal atmosphere. Now, in this accessible and immersive debut cookbook, all of the incredible dishes that have made Bestia one of the most talked-about restaurants in the country are on full display.

Irresistible desserts such as apple cider donuts and a chocolate budino tart, from Co-owner and pastry chef Genevieve Gergis, end the concert of flavors on a high note.

Ori and Genevieve also share the uphill story of the saga of realizing Bestia. If you think it’s easy to open a restaurant in an unfashionable neighborhood (at the time) you might want to reconsider. Also profiled are the key team members that keep Bestia at the top of its game.

Bestia – Italian Recipes Created in the Heart of L.A. delivers a distinctively innovative approach to Italian-inspired cooking.

Proprietors Ori and Genevieve join us.

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Show 283, July 28, 2018: Alain Cohen, Chef / Proprietor Harissa & Got Kosher Bakery and Deli, Los Angeles

Alain Cohen of Harissa RestaurantHarissa in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood of Los Angeles is the transformation of the long-running Got Kosher restaurant going back to 2005. It’s Tunisian fare (Kosher) with French accents and, now, a carefully selected beer and wine list, too.

Harissa, the restaurant, pays homage to Chef Alain Cohen’s Tunisian origins, his family’s Paris restaurant, and his American culinary experiences. Harissa, the name, celebrates the beloved spicy sauce that symbolizes Chef Cohen’s vibrant cuisine. In fact, harissa is so valued in Tunisia that an old wives’ tale suggests a husband can judge his wife’s affections by the number of hot peppers she uses when preparing his food.

Indeed, Chef Cohen’s harissa sauce stays true to the family recipe, that dates back generations to Tunisia—and while Harissa’s harissa has heat, the emphasis is on balance, not just spiciness

“Tunisian cuisine is more savory than its Moroccan neighbor, which leads into the sweet side. Central to Tunisian cuisine is couscous, and you will find the dish well represented in our menu. As well, sample Chef Cohen’s signature Tunisian specialties–including house-made merguez sausage, traditional break pastry, fricassee, and pates a la but argue. Chef Cohen’s sausage making skills are also on display with our house-made charcuterie. And that’s just the beginning…”

“Chef Cohen has created a menu with something for every taste. Start with our diverse appetizer menu–if your taste runs to small plates and a glass of wine or beer. For a simpler lunch, enjoy our salads and sandwiches. And, if you want to immerse your palate in French Tunisian cooking, well, there is a full page devoted to these satisfyingly classic dishes.”

We’ll catch up with Chef / Proprietor Alain Cohen.

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Show 228, June 17, 2017: Cheese Monger Tracy Nelsen, SideDoor, Corona del Mar

Tracy NelsenSideDoor in Corona del Mar is known for its award-winning cheese and charcuterie offerings, and now dedicates one evening a month to boutique creameries and specialty cheeses. Monthly SideDoor will embrace a full “cheese takeover” showcasing a select portfolio of artisanal cheeses. On Wednesday, June 21 SideDoor welcomes Cypress Grove Creamery.

SideDoor’s own certified expert and cheese monger, Tracy Nelsen, will be on hand at each takeover to educate diners on the various cheeses presented and recommend the perfect pairings. The featured cheeses will also find their way into select SideDoor menu items for that evening only. A different creamery will be featured monthly culminating with the ultimate complete cheese takeover celebration showcasing the four creameries of the series in August.

SideDoor’s own resident certified expert and cheese monger, Tracy Nelsen, is our guest. She has just returned from a cheese & wine research trip to France.

 

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Show 216, March 25, 2017: Chef Staci Miller’s The Miller’s Table, Oceanside, CA

Staci MillerOne of the most distinctive and personal restaurants in the new wave of Oceanside’s chef-driven establishments is Chef Staci Miller’s The Miller’s Table. Her beverage goal is to compliment the vibrant Oceanside craft beer scene with her extensive knowledge of fine wine. It’s very hands-on and intimate with all of 24 seats. Most of the seats are at one, large Family Table.

The Miller’s Table is an intimate community experience, with simple, fresh fare, unique wines, craft beers and beverages all brought to a centerpiece of a family table. With all of the fresh produce available in North County, a large portion of Staci Miller’s menu is dedicated to Inspired Vegetables, balanced with Cheese & Charcuterie, and a creative cadre of Sandwiches, all fresh and made in house.

“Of note; our albacore confit tuna and house-made potato chips. With 24 seats, the service is very personal, with no waiters, but rather a culinary team that delivers the food they just prepared. Wine is presented as flights for exploration, with a wine list that changes weekly.”

We’ll meet the passionate Chef Staci.

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Show 167, April 9, 2016: Chef Michael Puglisi, Electric City Butcher, 4th Street Market, Santa Ana

Michael PuglisiChef Michael Puglisi (ex-Bouchon Beverly Hills) is the Electric City Butcher at the 4th Street Market in Santa Ana. He was greatly influenced by a cousin in Sicily who has a popular, neighborhood butcher shop there. Chef Michael is a custom, whole animal, artisan butcher. We’ll meet him.

From Michael Puglisi:
“Electric City Butcher is built upon relationships – our relationship to you, our relationship to sustainable farmers and humanely raised animals, and your relationship to the food that you serve to your friends and family. ECB is modeled after our family’s shop in Sicily, where guests arrive with an idea of what they’d like, have a conversation with the butcher and leave with freshly prepared cuts. We take the time to offer personalized service and the highest quality products, because we believe that it matters what we serve to our family and we believe that you will taste the difference.”

In the neatly ordered shop just about everything is house-made except the prosciutto de Parma which is imported from Italy. In-house they prepare and cure salumi, sausages and create wonderful charcuterie platters. It’s all about the throwback, personal service and butchers who come from a serious culinary background.

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Show 80, July 19, 2014: Chefs Ori Menashe and Chef Genevieve Gergis of Bestia, Los Angeles

Executive Chef Ori Menashe and Pastry Chef Genevieve Gergis of BestiaBestia, which launched in late 2012 in a secluded location in the former warehouse district of Downtown Los Angeles (now known as the Arts District,) has been a high-profile foodie destination since the very beginning. Meet the husband and wife team of Executive Chef Ori Menashe and Pastry Chef Genevieve Gergis and you’ll better understand why.

Restaurant impresario Bill Chait is a partner.

The food is multi-regional Italian. Everything that can be created from scratch is. Chef Ori cures his own meats for the charcuterie plates. They bake all the breads in the wood-fired oven in the early a.m. Chef Genevieve even prepares the glazes for her tarts!

“The overall industrial feel of Bestia, couplled with the passion, hard work and talent of Chef Ori and Chef Genevieve make Bestia an honest Mom and Pop restaurant (with character) built to last.”

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Show 80, July 19, 2014: Chefs Ori Menashe and Chef Genevieve Gergis of Bestia, Los Angeles Continues…

Charcuterie and Cured Meats at Bestia“Chef Ori maintains an aggressive house-cured meats program with over 60 different forms of charcuterie for Bestia. Bestia means “Beast” in Italian. He is also responsible for raising his own yeast culture which he uses to bake Bestia’s sourdough Pain au Levain, used as toast ubiquitously on the menu, as well as for the pizza dough, which rises and falls over a 24-hour cycle prior to being composed as a Napolitana pizza. It’s then baked in the Acunto (wood burning) oven at 900 degrees.”

Chef Ori observes that his wood-burning oven is the most unforgiving oven he’s ever worked with. He loves the results but you can easily scorch things if you’re not constantly monitoring the oven.

‘On the dolci side of the menu, Chef Genevieve is preparing a plethora of desserts from scratch using the finest raw ingredients such as acquarello rice for her al dente rice pudding served with perfectly ripened in-season fruit or her earthy, nutty, chestnut flour zeppole served with house-made coffee gelato and cream. In addition Chef Genevieve was partially responsible for the design of Bestia. She re-furbished oil drum spouts converting them into lighting fixtures.”

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