Show 477, June 4, 2022: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

“Farmer and chef Nathan Peitso of Los Angeles-originated restaurant brand, Farmhouse (formerly located at the Beverly Center,) is now owner/executive chef at Solvang’s Sear Steakhouse. The Santa Barbara County wine country steakhouse, which initially opened in March 2021 under previous ownership, is located in the heart of the Danish-settled village (adjacent to the Landsby Inn) along California’s Central Coast.

Peitso’s plans for the restaurant include a rebrand and name change in the coming months to “Crawford’s Steakhouse,” in honor of his family name, and a variety of menu and service additions and expansions. Sear will also see an elevated Santa Barbara seafood presence on its dinner menu and an increase in vegetable-based dishes, in addition to multiple steak cuts and other proteins. As a second-generation, Californian farmer – and now, a Santa Ynez Valley resident – Peitso intends to keep menu pricing accessible, relying on his close network of fellow farmers, fisherman, and ranchers.” Chef / Proprietor Nathan Peitso is our guest.

Casa Vega is an iconic Mexican restaurant that has been operating in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles for over 65 years. Casa Vega is located on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks and is one of the longest continuously family-owned restaurants in all of greater Los Angeles. Casa Vega’s roots go back to famous Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles. Rafael “Ray” Vega opened Casa Vega in 1956 after being inspired by the success of his parents’ earlier restaurant, Café Caliente, which operated on Olvera Street throughout the 1930s. Casa Vega serves authentic, delicious food and drinks in a warm and festive atmosphere.

Founder Ray passed away in January of 2021. Today the Vega Family keeps the family legacy alive with Christina (Christy) Vega at the helm. Christina worked side-by-side with her father for over 15 years. Nothing made Ray prouder than knowing his family legacy would continue.” Christy Vega is our guest with a signature Casa Vega Margarita in hand.

Amy Dixon’s The Baker’s Table in Santa Ynez is an artisan bakery (serving Breakfast and Lunch) feeding the body and soul through the time-honored craft of baking. They hold quality ingredients to heart and incorporate them into the way we live. The Baker’s Table is dedicated to combining organic, local and fair-trade ingredients to honor the earth and the hands that cultivate it. Thoughtfully choosing fair-trade, local and organic ingredients when possible, Amy Dixon tends to each recipe with the passion of an artist, persistence of a chemist, and patience of a mother.” Baker Amy Dixon joins us with rolling pin in hand.

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. It’s National Cheese Day. Chef Andrew explains that seafood and cheese can be friends. We’re all looking to save some money on our food purchases. Chef Andrew shares his wisdom on lesser known varieties of fish that represent good value and are also delicious.

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

Play

Show 477, June 4, 2022: Restaurateur Christy Vega, Casa Vega, Sherman Oaks Part One

Christy Vega of Casa Vega

Casa Vega is an iconic Mexican restaurant that has been operating in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles for over 65 years. Casa Vega is located on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks and is one of the longest continuously family-owned restaurants in all of greater Los Angeles. Casa Vega’s roots go back to famous Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles. Rafael “Ray” Vega opened Casa Vega in 1956 after being inspired by the success of his parents’ earlier restaurant, Café Caliente, which operated on Olvera Street throughout the 1930s. Casa Vega serves authentic, delicious food and drinks in a warm and festive atmosphere.

Founder Ray passed away in January 2021.”

“Today the Vega Family keeps the family legacy alive with Christina (Christy) Vega at the helm. Christina worked side-by-side with her father for over 15 years. Nothing made Ray prouder than knowing his family legacy would continue.”

This year The James Beard Foundation bestowed to Casa Vega, The America’s Classics Award. Each year since 1998 the James Beard Foundation Awards Committee has recognized our nation’s beloved regional restaurants as America’s Classics. Distinguished by their timeless appeal, they serve quality food that reflects the character of their communities. Casa Vega now joins the exclusive collection of L.A. area America’s Classics including Guelaguetza, Langer’s Delicatessen and Philippe the Original. Christy will be in Chicago on the evening of Monday, June 13th to accept the America’s Classics honors for Casa Vega at the 2022 James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards ceremony.

Play

Show 477, June 4, 2022: Restaurateur Christy Vega, Casa Vega, Sherman Oaks Part Two

Christy Vega of Casa Vega

Casa Vega is an iconic Mexican restaurant that has been operating in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles for over 65 years. Casa Vega is located on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks and is one of the longest continuously family-owned restaurants in all of greater Los Angeles. Casa Vega’s roots go back to famous Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles. Rafael “Ray” Vega opened Casa Vega in 1956 after being inspired by the success of his parents’ earlier restaurant, Café Caliente, which operated on Olvera Street throughout the 1930s. Casa Vega serves authentic, delicious food and drinks in a warm and festive atmosphere. Founder Ray passed away in January 2021.”

“Today the Vega Family keeps the family legacy alive with Christina (Christy) Vega at the helm. Christina worked side-by-side with her father for over 15 years. Nothing made Ray prouder than knowing his family legacy would continue.”

This year The James Beard Foundation bestowed to Casa Vega, The America’s Classics Award. Each year since 1998 the James Beard Foundation Awards Committee has recognized our nation’s beloved regional restaurants as America’s Classics. Distinguished by their timeless appeal, they serve quality food that reflects the character of their communities. Casa Vega now joins the exclusive collection of L.A. area America’s Classics including Guelaguetza, Langer’s Delicatessen and Philippe the Original. Christy will be in Chicago on the evening of Monday, June 13th to accept the America’s Classics honors for Casa Vega at the 2022 James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards ceremony

Christy Vega continues as our guest with Table-Side Guacamole at the ready.

Play

June 4: Sear Steakhouse, “America’s Classic” Casa Vega, The Baker’s Table

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Proprietor & Executive Chef Nathan Peitso, Sear Steakhouse, Solvang, CA Part One
Segment Three: Proprietor & Executive Chef Nathan Peitso, Sear Steakhouse, Solvang, CA Part Two
Segment Four: Restaurateur Christy Vega, Casa Vega, Sherman Oaks Part One
Segment Five: Restaurateur Christy Vega, Casa Vega, Sherman Oaks Part Two
Segment Six: Baker Amy Dixon, Proprietress. The Baker’s Table, Santa Ynez, CA Part One
Segment Seven: Baker Amy Dixon, Proprietress. The Baker’s Table, Santa Ynez, CA Part Two
Segment Eight: “Ask the Chef” with Co-host Chef Andrew Gruel

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

“Farmer and chef Nathan Peitso of Los Angeles-originated restaurant brand, Farmhouse (formerly located at The Beverly Center,) is now owner/executive chef at Solvang’s Sear Steakhouse. The Santa Barbara County wine country steakhouse, which initially opened in March 2021 under previous ownership, is located in the heart of the Danish-settled village (adjacent to the Landsby Inn) along California’s Central Coast.

Peitso’s plans for the restaurant include a rebrand and name change in the coming months to “Crawford’s Steakhouse,” in honor of his family name, and a variety of menu and service additions and expansions. Sear will also see an elevated Santa Barbara seafood presence on its dinner menu and an increase in vegetable-based dishes, in addition to multiple steak cuts and other proteins. As a second-generation, Californian farmer – and now, a Santa Ynez Valley resident – Peitso intends to keep menu pricing accessible, relying on his close network of fellow farmers, fisherman, and ranchers.” Chef/Proprietor Nathan Peitso is our guest.

“Casa Vega is a Mexican restaurant that has been operating in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles for over 65 years. Casa Vega is located on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks and is one of the longest continuously family-owned restaurants in all of greater Los Angeles. Casa Vega’s roots go back to famous Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles. Rafael “Ray” Vega opened Casa Vega in 1956 after being inspired by the success of his parents’ earlier restaurant, Café Caliente, which operated on Olvera Street throughout the 1930s. Casa Vega serves authentic, delicious food and drinks in a warm and festive atmosphere.

Founder Ray passed away in January of 2021. Today the Vega Family keeps the family legacy alive with Christina (Christy) Vega at the helm. Christina worked side-by-side with her father for over 15 years. Nothing made Ray prouder than knowing his family legacy would continue.” Christy Vega is our guest with a signature Casa Vega Margarita in hand.

Amy Dixon’s The Baker’s Table in Santa Ynez is an artisan bakery feeding the body and soul through the time-honored craft of baking. They hold quality ingredients to heart and incorporate them into the way we live. The Baker’s Table is dedicated to combining organic, local and fair-trade ingredients to honor the earth and the hands that cultivate it.

Thoughtfully choosing fair-trade, local and organic ingredients when possible, Amy Dixon tends to each recipe with the passion of an artist, persistence of a chemist, and patience of a mother.” Baker Amy Dixon joins us with rolling pin in hand.

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. We’re all looking to save some money on our food purchases. Chef Andrew shares his wisdom on lesser known varieties of fish that represent good value and are also delicious. He also provides tips on buying fresh fish and seafood.

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

Nathan Peitso of Sear Steakhouse

“Farmer and chef Nathan Peitso of Los Angeles-originated restaurant brand, Farmhouse (formerly located at the Beverly Center,) is now owner/executive chef at Solvang’s Sear Steakhouse. The Santa Barbara County wine country steakhouse, which initially opened in March 2021 under previous ownership, is located in the heart of the Danish-settled village (adjacent to the Landsby Inn) along California’s Central Coast.”

“Peitso’s plans for the restaurant include a rebrand and name change in the coming months to “Crawford’s Steakhouse,” in honor of his family name, and a variety of menu and service additions and expansions. Sear’s local farm relationships will continue to play a major role in the kitchen, as Peitso sources from Santa Ynez Valley farms in addition to his family’s Southern California-based Kenter Canyon Farms. Roan Mills, to which Peitso also has family ties, will supply all bread products bound for the steakhouse, which will also see an elevated Santa Barbara seafood presence on its dinner menu and an increase in vegetable-based dishes, in addition to multiple steak cuts and other proteins.”

“As a second-generation, Californian farmer – and now, a Santa Ynez Valley resident – Peitso intends to keep menu pricing accessible, relying on his close network of fellow farmers, fisherman, and ranchers.” Serving Dinner nightly except on Monday.

Chef / Proprietor Nathan Peitso is our guest.

Christy Vega of Casa Vega

Casa Vega is an iconic Mexican restaurant that has been operating in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles for over 65 years. Casa Vega is located on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks and is one of the longest continuously family-owned restaurants in all of greater Los Angeles. Casa Vega’s roots go back to famous Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles. Rafael “Ray” Vega opened Casa Vega in 1956 after being inspired by the success of his parents’ earlier restaurant, Café Caliente, which operated on Olvera Street throughout the 1930s. Casa Vega serves authentic, delicious food and drinks in a warm and festive atmosphere.

Founder Ray passed away in January 2021.”

“Today the Vega Family keeps the family legacy alive with Christina (Christy) Vega at the helm. Christina worked side-by-side with her father for over 15 years. Nothing made Ray prouder than knowing his family legacy would continue.”

This year The James Beard Foundation bestowed to Casa Vega, The America’s Classics Award. Each year since 1998 the James Beard Foundation Awards Committee has recognized our nation’s beloved regional restaurants as America’s Classics. Distinguished by their timeless appeal, they serve quality food that reflects the character of their communities. Casa Vega now joins the exclusive collection of L.A. area America’s Classics including Guelaguetza, Langer’s Delicatessen and Philippe the Original.

Christy Vega is our guest with a Casa Vega Margarita in hand.

Amy Dixon of The Baker's Table

Amy Dixon’s The Baker’s Table in Santa Ynez is an artisan bakery feeding the body and soul through the time-honored craft of baking. They hold quality ingredients to heart and incorporate them into the way we live. The Baker’s Table is dedicated to combining organic, local and fair-trade ingredients to honor the earth and the hands that cultivate it.”

“Thoughtfully choosing fair-trade, local and organic ingredients when possible, Amy Dixon tends to each recipe with the passion of an artist, persistence of a chemist, and patience of a mother. At home in the Santa Ynez Valley since 1998, Amy keeps answering her driving call to pursue excellence through baking. Through kneading bread or crafting desserts for local restaurants, she continues to find joy in a flaky, buttery apple galette or in the delightful textures of a French macaron.”

“If you’re searching for a full, hand-crafted breakfast or a steaming cup of coffee and a luscious pastry, The Baker’s Table can satisfy your craving. Delectable offerings include everything from savory quiches to scones jam-packed with berries galore. If it’s lunch you prefer, their menu features salads with pristine ingredients fresh from the farm, as well as delicious sandwiches on their famous variety of hearth-baked breads.”

“Bread is the backbone of The Baker’s Table. They use artisan flour, all baked on a radiant, stone hearth. The Baker’s Table lovingly creates each and every loaf by hand, and carefully tend to them from mixing to slicing. You will see, smell and taste the stellar quality of their mouth-watering breads.”

Baker Amy Dixon joins us with rolling pin in hand.

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.

With inflation on the rise all around us we’re looking to save some money on our food purchases. Chef Andrew shares his wisdom on lesser known varieties of fish that represent good value and are also delicious. He also provides tips on buying fresh fish and seafood.

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

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!

Play