Show 563, February 3, 2024: Chef Andrew Gruel, Co-Host and Proprietor of Calico Fish House, with “Ask the Chef”

Chef Andrew Gruel savoring a New Jersey style Pizza

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of the fast-casual Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative Ask the Chef segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries.

“The Big Game” with the 49ers and the Chiefs is coming up on Sunday, February 11th. Chef Andrew will share his salivating ideas for the tastiest in worthy “Big Game Edibles.” Think enhanced Chicken Wings and a purist’s guacamole.

Look for Chef Andrew’s new cooking video with Cathy Thomas on Orange Coast Magazine. He prepares One-Pan Seared Salmon with Sweet Potatoes (from Melissa’s), mushrooms, and garbanzo beans.

Check out Chef Andrew’s handy and practical cooking tips on Substack at “American Gravy.” There is an accessible free level as well as a premium option with a modest cost.

Show 547, October 14, 2023: Airliner Bar, Lincoln Heights with Chef Vinh Nguyen

Vinh Nguyen of the Airliner

The Airliner is a historic, 100-year old, Lincoln Heights (Los Angeles) neighborhood bar that exudes warmth, character and hospitality. Whether you’re into beer and shots, sultry natural wines, or classic to modern cocktails, there’s something for everyone – with an intriguing Pan-Asian Izakaya comfort food menu created by fine-dining chef Vinh Nguyen (ex-Grumpy Pig in Shanghai) and nostalgic soundtracks.”

A design highlight is the impressive, restored and distinctive curved wooden bar running the length of the space. The interior is reminiscent of an art deco cruise ship

Menu highlights include Chong Qing Chicken Wings with whole crisp fried wings, chili oil and crispy bits, and Beef Rendang on a Roll with Indonesian stewed beef, cabbage and pickled red onions.

Chef Vinh Nguyen joins us with a plate of Hunan BBQ Pork Ribs.

Show 516, March 11, 2023: Long Beach Cambodian Restaurant Week Preview with Hawk Tea of Shlap Muan Part One

Hawk Tea of Shlap Muan

The inaugural Long Beach Cambodian Restaurant Week launches March 19-26, 2023. “Long Beach Cambodian Restaurant Week will be a occasion to bring everyone to the table, from all walks of life, to showcase the city’s delicious Cambodian food scene.”

“Organized by United Cambodian Community of Long Beach (UCC) a California registered 501(c)3 non-profit, along with Chef “T” Visoth Ouk, a renowned Khmer chef and pillar of the local Cambodian community, Long Beach Cambodian Restaurant Week will be an eight day event devoted to celebrating Cambodian and Southeast Asian fare in and around Long Beach. The event also seeks to highlight Cambodian-owned food businesses as well as Cambodian chefs and bartenders.”

“Long Beach is home to the largest community of Cambodians outside of the country itself, many refugees settling in Long Beach after escaping the Khmer Rouge regime genocide of the late 1970s. The city’s own ‘Cambodia Town’ is a bustling collection of eateries, shops and retailers.”

Shlap Muan (Khmer for chicken wings,) one of the participating restaurants is the ambivalent creation of Hawk and Sophia Tea. It started out as a modest sandwich shop in San Francisco as a way for the young couple to escape the corporate grind.

“Hawk grew up working in his parent’s restaurant in Long Beach. Like most immigrant families looking to make a future for their children, his parents worked 7 days a week in a small Chinese-Cambodian restaurant. This meant all their children had to help out. Hawk remembers the long grinding hours and literal back breaking work. He promised himself well into his 20’s that he would never again work in a restaurant.”

Never “say never…” “Fast forward to 2018 and Hawk and Sophia both quit their jobs and opened a restaurant. The early going was rough. The Teas had a good sandwich, but not great. They had to do something that would separate them from all the other food establishments in San Francisco’s Financial District. Sophia suggested chicken wings.”

“Right away, it reminded Hawk of his dad’s chicken wings. Crispy, crunchy, juicy wings that were never oily. Hawk’s father’s wings had this wonderful sweet and spicy flavor that just brought him so many good memories. The flavors at Shlap Muan are all original to Hawk. His fondest childhood memories all revolved around cooking and eating Cambodian and Chinese foods. As Shlap Muan evolves, it always humbles and reminds Hawk of the happiness food brings to people.”

Hawk Tea joins us to preview Long Beach Cambodian Restaurant Week with a plate of signature wings seasoned with Spicy Cambodian Dirt at the ready.

Show 516, March 11, 2023: Long Beach Cambodian Restaurant Week Preview with Hawk Tea of Shlap Muan Part Two

Hawk Tea of Shlap Muan

The inaugural Long Beach Cambodian Restaurant Week launches March 19-26, 2023. “Long Beach Cambodian Restaurant Week will be a occasion to bring everyone to the table, from all walks of life, to showcase the city’s delicious Cambodian food scene.”

“Organized by United Cambodian Community of Long Beach (UCC) a California registered 501(c)3 non-profit, along with Chef “T” Visoth Ouk, a renowned Khmer chef and pillar of the local Cambodian community, Long Beach Cambodian Restaurant Week will be an eight day event devoted to celebrating Cambodian and Southeast Asian fare in and around Long Beach. The event also seeks to highlight Cambodian-owned food businesses as well as Cambodian chefs and bartenders.”

Shlap Muan (Khmer for chicken wings,) one of the participating restaurants is the ambivalent creation of Hawk and Sophia Tea. It started out as a modest sandwich shop in San Francisco as a way for the young couple to escape the corporate grind.

“Hawk grew up working in his parent’s restaurant in Long Beach. Like most immigrant families looking to make a future for their children, his parents worked 7 days a week in a small Chinese-Cambodian restaurant. This meant all their children had to help out. Hawk remembers the long grinding hours and literal back breaking work. He promised himself well into his 20’s that he would never again work in a restaurant.”

Never “say never…” “Fast forward to 2018 and Hawk and Sophia both quit their jobs and opened a restaurant. The early going was rough. The Teas had a good sandwich, but not great. They had to do something that would separate them from all the other food establishments in San Francisco’s Financial District. Sophia suggested chicken wings.”

“Right away, it reminded Hawk of his dad’s chicken wings. Crispy, crunchy, juicy wings that were never oily. Hawk’s father’s wings had this wonderful sweet and spicy flavor that just brought him so many good memories. The flavors at Shlap Muan are all original to Hawk. His fondest childhood memories all revolved around cooking and eating Cambodian and Chinese foods. As Shlap Muan evolves, it always humbles and reminds Hawk of the happiness food brings to people.”

Hawk Tea continues with us to preview Long Beach Cambodian Restaurant Week with a plate of signature wings seasoned with Spicy Cambodian Dirt at the ready.

Show 504, December 17, 2022: Chef Andrew Gruel, Co-Host, with “Ask the Chef”

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel the Founder of Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza), Two Birds and the soon to launch, full-service Calico Fish House (in Huntington Beach) provides another timely and informative Ask the Chef segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries.

This is a bit curious…The price of proteins has been on the rise yet the price of chicken breasts and wings has actually declined since the Summer. Definitely value to be found with cluck. Chef Andrew adds his informed perspective.

As an added bonus Chef Andrew shares his perfected recipe for the Ultimate Sandwich Sauce which is the perfect combination of fats, acid, salt and umami to make any dish taste better.

Chef Andrew and Lauren Gruel have a new fast casual concept, Burger 101, coming soon to the 2-level, Kitchen United complex on the 3rd St. Promenade in Santa Monica. It’s Chef Andrew’s version of a value-priced, honest burger (and loaded fries) using quality ingredients including a premium burger patty sourced from West Coast Prime Meats. He’ll also launch a casual Mexican concept there, Lolo’s Tacos, specializing in clean and simple tacos, burritos and standout specialty sauces.

Show 361, February 22, 2020: ESBC – The Slice & Pint, El Segundo Part One

Rob Croxall of El Segundo Brewing CompanyEl Segundo Brewing Company’s The Slice & Pint is the restaurant spinoff of the successful El Segundo Brewing Company, one of the first craft brewers in the South Bay. They just celebrated their year anniversary. On the menu are a variety of appealing pizzas created from a dough that ferments and proofs for multiple days, and salads and sandwiches. In addition to whole pizza options there is a daily changing selection of 5 varieties by-the-slice. There is even a 12” pizza option that has a gluten-free cauliflower crust.

A house specialty is chicken wings with a flair. The wings are fried and tossed with a choice of buffalo sauce, pesto, CA Rancher Hog Wild BBQ Sauce or Santa Maria Dry Rub. The wings are served with the expected (housemade) blue cheese or ranch dressing.

Chef Matt Ranney was previously at Village Idiot.

Proprietor Rob Croxall and Chef Matt Ranney join us to celebrate the year anniversary.

Show 335, August 3, 2019: Georgia’s Restaurant, Long Beach, with Founders “Nana” Shoemaker and Nika Shoemaker-Machado Part Two

Nika Shoemaker-Machado of Georgias RestaurantsWord-of-Mouth favorite Georgia’s Restaurant has been serving up Southern “soul-delicious” cuisine for the past five years in Anaheim at The Anaheim Packing House, while reimagining and redefining the public’s perception of Southern Soul Food. Now, Georgia’s Restaurant is extending their family and celebrating their fifth anniversary with the Grand Opening last month of their second location at the new Long Beach Exchange (LBX) .

“The Georgia’s Restaurant Menu is undoubtedly a family affair with recipes originating from generations past, adapted, and updated by the present. Guests can start their fabulous feast with an array of Small Bites such as the Piggy Cheese Fries, comprised of crispy fries loaded with slow roasted BBQ pork; Nana Gretchen’s Fried Green Tomatoes made of crispy coated fresh green tomatoes with a lemon aioli, or the finger-licking Chicken Wings, served with a choice of lemon pepper, spicy, mild, crispy, or Georgia’s Restaurant’s signature BBQ seasoning.”

“ For those that love their greens, there is a selection of four bountiful and beautiful Salads starting with the vegetarian friendly Georgia’s House served with spring mix, red onions, tomatoes, and candied pecans; Seafood lovers can rejoice with the Shrimp Salad served with spring mix, roasted corn, red peppers, red onions, tomatoes and a mango sauce; the Tri-Tip Salad bridges the best an omnivore can eat, made with grilled-to-order 1855 Premium Black Angus Choice tri-tip, spring mix, blue cheese, red onions, tomatoes, red peppers and Mandarin oranges, or stay healthy without sacrificing any flavor with the Georgia’s Blue featuring grilled blackened chicken, blue cheese crumbles, romaine lettuce and tomatoes.”

“Fans of Georgia’s Restaurant and newcomers alike can also order up and enjoy one of Georgia’s Specialties such as Gretchen’s Jambalaya cooked to order with shrimp, andouille sausage and chicken, served over pasta or rice, or the Louisiana Tilapia & Shrimp made of spicy grilled tilapia and shrimp, with tomato Creole sauce served over rice. For the best of both worlds, the Chicken & Waffle is sweet and savory, featuring Georgia’s Restaurant signature Fried Chicken on a Belgian Waffle, served with maple syrup and creamy honey butter.”

Founders “Nana” Gretchen Shoemaker and Nika Shoemaker-Machado (Gretchen’s daughter) continue the conversation.

Show 71, May 3, 2014: Executive Chef Jesse Barber of Barnyard Venice

Jesse Barber of Barnyard VeniceBarnyard Venice (opened in 2012) is a bit of a find housed in an old cottage on Pacific Avenue. It’s rustic and comfortable.

Chef Jesse Barber, an alum of the kitchen at Tasting Kitchen, is the menu-maker. Earlier in his career he worked with Thomas Keller at both The French Laundry and Bouchon. He’s put together an ever changing menu with an emphasis on local ingredients. He’s a regular at the Santa Monica Farmers Markets and that’s the basis for his menu which changes almost daily.

His grilled octopus is a standout. Four-hour prep time! It’s steamed and marinated.

Ramen Tuesday is at the bar and on the patio.

Chef Jesse does significant outreach to the community so his guests better understand where the ingredients at Barnyard come from. On Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m. he’ll usually do a butchering demo of a whole animal. The last Sunday of each month it is a cooking demo. It might be baking a fruit pie or even perhaps preparing extraordinary chicken wings.

Show 44, October 19, 2013: Andy Ricker, chef and restaurateur, Pok Pok, Portland, Oregon and Brooklyn, New York Part Two

Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand by Andy Ricker“Pok Pok” is a Thai reference to the sound heard from a mortar and pestle when you are grinding food in it.

On to the recipes…

Chef Ricker shares his signature recipe for chicken wings which is more Vietnamese than Thai. He also talks about the famed papaya salad and provides tips on how to properly prepare it. In Thailand there are some hundred variations of this popular dish.