Show 185, August 20, 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, Brea, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, LAX, Irvine at UCI and, most recently, The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for Rams and USC Football, is back as today’s Co-Host. In May in Chicago during the National Restaurant Association’s annual conclave he received Nation’s Restaurant News’ Trendsetter MenuMaster Award for Slapfish.

Now a provocatively tempting preview of Saturday’s abundant 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…

Journalist Brock Radke is our well-connected Las Vegas insider. He’s the Managing Editor of Las Vegas Weekly and has been reporting on the dynamic Las Vegas scene for 15 years. He’s back with his regular dining update.

Warren Schwartz is a prominent fine-dining chef. Foodies probably know him best for his long tenure as the Executive Chef of the landmark Saddle Peak Lodge in Malibu Canyon. His new venture is Magpies Softserve in Silverlake in partnership with his wife, Rose, an accomplished pastry chef.

Hamburgers are always a juicy topic of interest on the show. Joining us to chat about the ultimate burger and its creation are the “Meatheads” from West Coast Prime Meats, Jay Henderson and Terry Hanks. They have over 50-years of combined hands-on experience in the business! I’ll have mine medium rare, please…

If you think churrascaria fare (Brazilian BBQ) is all there is to the food of Brazil kindly think again. With the Rio Olympics in their last week it’s time for an education on Brazilian fare. Joining us is the founder of Pampas Grill (Original Farmers Market and Culver City,) Francisco Carvalho.

In the late 80s one of the most prominent chef pioneers in Los Angeles was Michel Richard of Citrus. He was an amiable, larger-than-life culinary personality. Sadly he left us on August 13th. Russ Parsons (the former, long-time Food Editor at The Los Angeles Times) knew him well. Russ joins us for a remembrance.

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

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Show 185, August 20, 2016: Remembering Chef Michel Richard with Food Journalist & Author, Russ Parsons

Michel RichardIn the late 80s one of the most prominent chef – pioneers in Los Angeles was Michel Richard of Citrus. He was an amiable, larger-than-life culinary personality. Sadly he left us on August 13th.

Chef Michel opened a branch of Citronelle in Georgetown in 1993 and became a prominent figure on the Washington, D.C. culinary scene. It was his later home base.

Russ Parsons (the former, long-time Food Editor at The Los Angeles Times) knew him well. Russ joins us for a remembrance.

Russ Parsons and Michel RichardFrom Russ Parsons in the Los Angeles Times, November 1, 2006 :

“Every cook has his chef — someone they look up to above all others — and for almost 20 years (and even beyond, it turns out), Michel has been mine. I am not alone in this. He is regarded by his peers as a chef’s chef–an endless and generous source of new ideas and techniques. When Thomas Keller wrote his foreword to Michel’s new book, Happy in the Kitchen,” he titled it “Why Didn’t I Think of That?””

“It has been my terrific fortune to know a lot of really talented chefs over the years. Some have a wonderful innate sense of flavor. Some have a jeweler’s eye when it comes to presentation. Some can play technical tricks that make you gasp. Michel combines all three along with wit and intelligence.”

“I used to tease Michel that if someone told him he was the best chef in Los Angeles, he’d ask, “What about California?” If they said California, he’d ask, “What about the United States?” And so on. Even if someone told him he was the best chef in the world, he’d ask, “What if there are restaurants on other planets?””

In closing Russ observes that Chef Michel’s Happy in the Kitchen stands the test of time. It’s a beautiful book with gorgeous photos. He enthusiastically recommends it for every home cook’s library.

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August 20: Brock Radke, Warren Schwartz, West Coast Prime Meats, Pampas Grill, Memories of Michel Richard

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: Brock Radke, Managing Editor, Las Vegas Weekly Part One
Segment Three: Brock Radke, Managing Editor, Las Vegas Weekly Part Two
Segment Four: Chef Warren Schwartz, Magpies Softserve, Silver Lake
Segment Five: Jay Henderson and Terry Hanks, West Coast Prime Meats’ “Meatheads” Part One
Segment Six: Jay Henderson and Terry Hanks, West Coast Prime Meats’ “Meatheads” Part Two
Segment Seven: Francisco Carvalho, Pampas Grill Churrascaria, Original Farmers Market and Culver City
Segment Eight: Remembering Chef Michel Richard with Food Journalist & Author, Russ Parsons

Andrew Gruel at the AM830 KLAA StudiosExecutive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Brea, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, LAX, Irvine at UCI and, most recently, The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for Rams and USC Football, is back as today’s Co-Host. In May in Chicago during the National Restaurant Association’s annual conclave he received Nation’s Restaurant News’ Trendsetter MenuMaster Award for Slapfish.

Now a provocatively tempting preview of Saturday’s abundant 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…

Journalist Brock Radke is our well-connected Las Vegas insider. He’s the Managing Editor of Las Vegas Weekly and has been reporting on the dynamic Las Vegas scene for 15 years. He’s back with his regular dining update.

Warren Schwartz is a prominent fine-dining chef. Foodies probably know him best for his long tenure as the Executive Chef of the landmark Saddle Peak Lodge in Malibu Canyon. His new venture is Magpies Softserve in Silverlake in partnership with his wife, Rose, an accomplished pastry chef.

Hamburgers are always a juicy topic of interest on the show. Joining us to chat about the ultimate burger and its creation are the “Meatheads” from West Coast Prime Meats, Jay Henderson and Terry Hanks. I’ll have mine medium rare, please…

If you think churrascaria fare (Brazilian BBQ) is all there is to the food of Brazil kindly think again. With the Rio Olympics in their last week it’s time for an education on Brazilian fare. Joining us is the founder of Pampas Grill (Original Farmers Market and Culver City,) Francisco Carvalho.

In the late 80s one of the most prominent chef pioneers in Los Angeles was Michel Richard of Citrus. He was an amiable, larger-than-life culinary personality. Sadly he left us on August 13th. Russ Parsons (the former, long-time Food Editor at The Los Angeles Times) knew him well. Russ joins us for a remembrance.

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

Brock Radke of Las Vegas WeeklyJournalist Brock Radke is our well-connected Las Vegas insider. He’s the Managing Editor of Las Vegas Weekly and has been reporting on the dynamic Las Vegas scene for 15 years. He’s back with his regular dining update.

We’ll get updated on Downtown Las Vegas restaurant happenings, celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Caesars Palace, and talk about a pioneering chef’s sad restaurant closing.

Warren ScwartzWarren Schwartz is a prominent fine-dining chef. Foodies probably know him best for his long tenure as the Executive Chef of the landmark Saddle Peak Lodge in Malibu Canyon. His new venture is Magpies Softserve in Silverlake in partnership with his wife, Rose, an accomplished pastry chef.

“Magpies Softserve is a scratch recipe soft serve dessert shop. We make our soft serve mix and all toppings in house. We wanted to expand the flavors of typical soft serve ice cream from the traditional vanilla and chocolate by creating flavors of soft serve that bring us back to our childhood, flavors that inspired us to become chefs.”

“We love ice cream. Opening a dessert shop has always been a dream of ours. This idea came to us while we were on a family vacation in Palm Desert, when for nostalgia sake, we decided to go into a Dairy Queen. As we were licking our cone, we came up with the idea at the same time. “Let’s do a chef-y Dairy Queen” and the idea was born. We would have all-scratch soft serve recipes with life inspired flavors and we would make all toppings in-house. We would create flavors that we grew up with and represent us.”

Rose is Korean American, born and raised in South Florida, and Warren is a true Valley Californian. Between the two of us, we came up with flavors that can really tell a story. From a Horchata (non dairy), to a Cortadito, a sweetened Cuban espresso to Yuzu Honey, a traditional Korean tea that is unique to the American palate. We had a lot of fun creating flavors that are authentic to us.”

Bacon Blue Burger at Simmzy'sHamburgers are always a juicy topic of interest on the show. Joining us to chat about the ultimate burger and its creation are the “Meatheads” from West Coast Prime Meats, Jay Henderson and Terry Hanks. I’ll have mine medium rare with dill pickles, please…

The Meatheads will give us the informed 411 on how to create that better burger at home with a side order of all the insider’s tips. What are the best cuts of beef for the ultimate burger blend? How do you grind your hamburger meat at home without it being a major effort?

What’s the best cooking method for the burger; fried or grilled? How about seasoning? How do you avoid that turkey burger from being dried-out?

Francisco Carvalho of Pampas GrillIf you think churrascaria fare (Brazilian BBQ) is all there is to the food of Brazil kindly think again. With the Rio Olympics in their last week it’s time for a broader education on Brazilian fare. Joining us is the founder of Pampas Grill (Original Farmers Market and Culver City,) Francisco Carvalho.

Think caipirinhas, Feijoada, Farofa, and cheese bread besides the familiar Picanha cut…

Michel RichardIn the late 80s one of the most prominent chef pioneers in Los Angeles was Michel Richard of Citrus. He was an amiable, larger-than-life culinary personality. Sadly he left us on August 13th.

Chef Michel opened Citronelle in Georgetown in 1993 and became a prominent figure on the Washington, D.C. culinary scene. It was his later home base.

Russ Parsons (the former, long-time Food Editor at The Los Angeles Times) knew him well. Russ joins us for a remembrance.

Russ Parsons and Michel RichardFrom Russ Parsons in the Los Angeles Times, November 1, 2006 :

“Every cook has his chef — someone they look up to above all others — and for almost 20 years (and even beyond, it turns out), Michel has been mine. I am not alone in this. He is regarded by his peers as a chef’s chef–an endless and generous source of new ideas and techniques. When Thomas Keller wrote his foreword to Michel’s new book, Happy in the Kitchen,” he titled it “Why Didn’t I Think of That?””

“It has been my terrific fortune to know a lot of really talented chefs over the years. Some have a wonderful innate sense of flavor. Some have a jeweler’s eye when it comes to presentation. Some can play technical tricks that make you gasp. Michel combines all three along with wit and intelligence.”

“I used to tease Michel that if someone told him he was the best chef in Los Angeles, he’d ask, “What about California?” If they said California, he’d ask, “What about the United States?” And so on. Even if someone told him he was the best chef in the world, he’d ask, “What if there are restaurants on other planets?””

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: Brock Radke, Managing Editor, Las Vegas Weekly Part One
Segment Three: Brock Radke, Managing Editor, Las Vegas Weekly Part Two
Segment Four: Chef Warren Schwartz, Magpies Softserve, Silver Lake
Segment Five: Jay Henderson and Terry Hanks, West Coast Prime Meats’ “Meatheads” Part One
Segment Six: Jay Henderson and Terry Hanks, West Coast Prime Meats’ “Meatheads” Part Two
Segment Seven: Francisco Carvalho, Pampas Grill Churrascaria, Original Farmers Market and Culver City
Segment Eight: Remembering Chef Michel Richard with Food Journalist & Author, Russ Parsons

Show 106, January 17, 2015: Chef / Proprietor Alain Giraud, Maison Giraud

Alain GiraudMaison Giraud in Pacific Palisades opened its doors in 2011. The unpretentious restaurant and bakery reflect the life and experiences of master French Chef Alain Giraud (ex-Michel Richard’s Citrus.) Chef Giraud welcomes his guests to dine on fine French food in a friendly, family setting.

You can see him every Wednesday morning shopping at The Santa Monica Farmers Market where he is a long-time and familiar fixture. Giraud arrived in Los Angeles in 1988 and joined Michel Richard at Citrus as Chef de Cuisine. Together they elevated Citrus to the ranks of the country’s most celebrated restaurants.

Since then Alain has been the executive chef at Lavande, a fondly remembered French Provencal restaurant at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. He was the opening executive chef in 2002 at the high profile and much written-about Bastide on Melrose Place in West Hollywood. Before opening Maison Giraud, Alain was the opening executive chef at Anisette, an ambitious French brasserie located in the landmark Clocktower Building in Santa Monica.

Maison Giraud hosts a gourmet oyster bar on the first Thursday of each month conducted by Master Ecailler Christophe Happillion. On the fourth Thursday of each month is the Four Star Dinner (7-courses) showcasing the talents of a prominent Guest Chef.

Foie gras is back on the menu at Maison Giraud.

Chef Alain Giraud is our guest.

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Show 99, November 29, 2014: Produce Guru Robert Schueller, Melissa’s / World Variety Produce

Robert Schueller of Melissa's World Variety ProduceRobert Schueller, the prince of produce at Melissa’s, joins us for a look at what’s fresh in the marketplace for the Holidays. We’ll talk Sweet Limes and other citrus, Christmas Crunch Grapes, Korean Pears, and Cinnamon Persimmon.

Sweet Limes are thought to be a cross between Mexican limes and sweet lemons. Melissa’s Sweet Limes are extremely sweet when ripe and without the citric acid. These sweet and delicious limes are very aromatic and juicy.

Robert also talks about preparing Hibiscus Tea. It has a pleasantly flowery aroma with a fruity-tart flavor, reminiscent of cranberry. Very refreshing…

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Show 68, April 5, 2014: Lesley Jacobs Solmonson, author of Gin: A Global History

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.

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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 53, December 21, 2013: Executive Chef Brian Malarkey of Enlightened Hospitality Group, San Diego Continues…

Herringbone in La Jolla and West HollywoodExecutive Chef Brian Mararkey of Enlightened Hospitality Group encores for a second segment. His growing collection of restaurants, with a San Diego base, includes Searsucker, Herringbone (La Jolla and January opening in West Hollywood,) Gabardine, and Green Acre.

Chef Brian has cooked in Los Angeles previously. Very early in his professional career he was in the kitchen at Michel Richard’s Citrus.

Chef Brian very honestly explains how he paid his dues during his 20s and 30s before becoming the executive chef at The Oceanaire Seafood Room in San Diego. That eventually led to his casting on Bravo’s “Top Chef.” After his success on “Top Chef” he stayed at Oceanaire for another 18 months before going out on his own.

He’s surprised that so many young people graduating from culinary schools today think they can just walk into being celebrities on food TV without a proper culinary foundation and a lot of luck.

He also talks about the practical value of public relations as it applies to building a chef’s brand.

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December 21: Troy Johnson, Got Kosher, Aaron Fry, Susan Feniger, Brian Malarkey, Brian Malarkey,

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Troy Johnson, Editor-at-Large & Food Critic of San Diego Magazine Part One
Segment Three: Troy Johnson, Editor-at-Large & Food Critic of San Diego Magazine Part Two
Segment Four: Alain Cohen of Got Kosher Café & Bakery, Los Angeles
Segment Five: Aaron Fry, Honeymoon Dining in Maui
Segment Six: Celebrity Chef Susan Feniger of The Border Grills and Mud Hen Tavern
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Brian Malarkey of Enlightened Hospitality Group, San Diego Part One
Segment Eight: Executive Chef Brian Malarkey of Enlightened Hospitality Group, San Diego Part Two

Update on the benefit at The Church Key on Sunday, December 8th to aid the unfortunate victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. The evening raised $10,000 which will get into the proper hands to support the relief effort. This event came together very quickly so kudos to all involved!

What's Cooking with Jet Tila and Travis RodgersThanks for all the supportive words about “What’s Cooking with Travis and Chef Jet Tila” heard just after 7:50 a.m. on Friday morning on AM 830 KLAA as part of “The Travis Rodgers Show.” Travis is taking a well-earned Holiday break. The segment will return just after 7:50 a.m. on Friday, January 4th. The previous features are all available for your listening pleasure within the “Media” area of the “SoCal Restaurant Show” Website.

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show. This week we’re sending the well-deserved love to our listeners in San Diego. Troy Johnson, the Restaurant Editor of San Diego Magazine is with us to share what’s new in San Diego. We’ll also talk with “Top Chef” alum Brian Malarkey of Enlightened Hospitality. He’s bringing one of his successful San Diego restaurant concepts to the Sunset Strip.

Troy JohnsonTroy Johnson, the Food Editor of San Diego Magazine, represents the new breed of youthful restaurant journalists with a point-of-view. It’s, fortunately, not an elitist approach and Troy aims to make restaurant-going accessible for all.

You perhaps remember him on Food TV from his Cooking Channel series, “Crave.” He’s also one of the regular judges on Food Network’s new Sunday evening “Guy’s (Fieri) Grocery Games.”

There is a lot happening on the San Diego restaurant scene. The big noise is that chef and restaurateur Richard Blais is leaving his base in Atlanta to open Juniper & Ivy in the Little Italy area of San Diego. It will seat 200 when open so this is an ambitious project! Chef Blais is probably best known nationally for his multiple seasons on Bravo’s “Top Chef.”

Celebrity Chef Brian Malarkey (of Bravo’s “Top Chef” & ABC’s “The Taste”,) a multiple concept restaurant operator in San Diego, is bringing his Herringbone concept to The Mondrian Hotel on The Sunset Strip in West Hollywood in early 2014. Troy talks about Chef Brian’s history in San Diego and what his establishments are all about. The original Herringbone is in La Jolla.

The Headquarters, a new development in Downtown San Diego with destination restaurants is creating a lot of attention. Nancy Silverton’s Pizzeria Mozza from Hollywood is one on the anchor tenants there already attracting lots of buzz. It’s the former Police Department Headquarters and there is even an original cell preserved for visitors to see.

Avant Restaurant in San DiegoAfter a long run (opened in 1968) as a high-end destination restaurant of celebration El Bizcocho at the Rancho Bernardo Inn has been reborn as the more contemporary Avant. San Diego star chef Gavin Kaysen was an alum of El Bizcocho. He’s now overseeing all the Café Bouluds for Daniel Boulud in New York!

Troy notes that the Hatch Design Group worked on a $2.5 million budget to create the new space. “The mercy killing of El Bizcocho clears the way for a new era at Avant” is the title of Troy’s recent review in San Diego Magazine.

If you think Tunisian fare is the same as the foods of Morocco then you perhaps need a refresher course. No eating with the fingers or belly dancers here. It’s actually more Mediterranean and North African fare.

Alain Cohen of Got Kosher Cafe and BakeryAlain Cohen of Got Kosher Café & Bakery located in Los Angeles Borscht Belt on Pico Blvd. joins us to give a quick education. Don’t let the “Kosher” part or the name scare you. The Jews were in Tunisia before Muhammad or the rise of Islam.

The tasty Merguez sausage with harissa appetizer is house-made.

One of Got Kosher’s specialties is “Shwar-guez.” It’s their take on schwarma. It’s ground beef seasoned with their merguez sausage spices and grilled on a schwarma pit.

Tunisian Couscous is also a popular specialty. The versions are Couscous au Poulet, Couscous Masson (with braised beef and beef meatballs,) Couscous Royal ( with chicken, beef, lamb brochettes and merguez,) and Vegetarian Couscous.

They also house-bake some incredible varieties of challah

It’s Christmas / New Year’s Holiday vacation time and that means a lot of getaways to Maui. We have a mouth-watering Lahaina dining report from an informed, recent visitor.

Aaron Fry just returned from his glorious honeymoon in Maui. Aaron is a master bartender as well as a senior Board Operator right here at AM 830 KLAA. We’re turning the microphone around on him this morning.

Fleetwoods on Front StreetAaron and his new bride enjoyed a couple of visits to Fleetwood’s on Front Street in the heart of Old Lahaina. The second level of the 10,000 square foot establishment affords an incredible ocean view and there is live music nightly. The principal is Mick Fleetwood, the well-know rock drummer. When he’s not touring he spends most of his time on Maui.

Although it’s a casual setting they are equally serious about their food. The chef advisor is Scott Leibfried (who you’ll remember as one of the two sous chefs for Gordon Ramsay on Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen.”) Chef Scott continues with the project.

Look for “Today’s Local Fish” and the 10 oz. Grilled Filet with Big Island Hamakua Mushrooms as standout dishes.

Maui Brewing Company CoCoNut PorTeRAaron is a craft beer aficionado so also on his Maui menu was a stop at the celebrated brewpub of the Maui Brewing Co. This is the most successful craft brewery in The Islands and quite a story. Their only “problem” is that they can’t keep up with demand on The Mainland. They can their most popular styles and they are available in California. One of their signature brews is their award-winning CoCoNut PorTeR. The brewpub features some seasonal styles only available on Maui.

The food is seriously good, too, and a big attraction for locals. They even make their own salad dressings. You can’t go wrong with their pizzas or the Kalua Pork Sliders.

Susan Feniger of Mud Hen TavernChef Susan Feniger of Border Grill and Food Network’s “Too Hot Tamales” fame is back with us to talk about the revamping of Susan Feniger’s Street in Hollywood. It’s been refurbished as the Mud Hen Tavern. The concept is more of a comfortable neighborhood bar and restaurant where regulars can come and hang out more than one time per week.

As with Street the Executive Chef and Partner is Kajsa Alger. Some of Street’s classic favorites remain on the menu including Kaya Toast. A rotating collection of sixteen craft beers is available on tap.

Susan enthusiastically recommends the Hangover Burger with a fried egg and bacon and the decadent Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding for dessert. Also there are plenty of offerings for the vegetarian-inclined.

Brian MalarkeyYou know Chef Brian Malarkey from “Top Chef: Season 3, Miami” on Bravo and Season 1 of ABC’s “The Taste.” In real life he’s also a highly successful restaurateur in San Diego (and Scottsdale and Austin) with major financial backing.

In a bold move he’s bringing an expanded Herringbone (La Jolla) to The Mondrian on the fabled Sunset Strip in January. After a major gut-rehab it’s replacing the pricey Asia de Cuba at this hip & happening boutique luxury hotel. The panoramic 180 degree view from the restaurant toward the coast, now improved, is pretty spectacular. He’s responsible for all foodservice at The Hotel including in-room dining and functions.

The food is Herringbone’s own “Fish Meats Field” cuisine. A favorite is Pork Belly with wood roasted sunchokes, manila clams, and calvados and green apple jus.

Executive Chef Brian Mararkey of Enlightened Hospitality Group encores for a second segment. His growing collection of restaurants, with a San Diego base, includes Searsucker, Herringbone (La Jolla and January opening in West Hollywood,) Gabardine, and Green Acre.

Chef Brian has cooked in Los Angeles previously. Very early in his professional career he was in the kitchen at Michel Richard’s Citrus.

Chef Brian very honestly explains how he paid his dues during his 20s and 30s before becoming the executive chef at The Oceanaire Seafood Room in San Diego. That eventually led to his casting on Bravo’s “Top Chef.” He’s surprised that so many young people graduating from culinary schools think they can just walk into being celebrities on food TV without a proper foundation.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Troy Johnson, Editor-at-Large & Food Critic of San Diego Magazine Part One
Segment Three: Troy Johnson, Editor-at-Large & Food Critic of San Diego Magazine Part Two
Segment Four: Alain Cohen of Got Kosher Café & Bakery, Los Angeles
Segment Five: Aaron Fry, Honeymoon Dining in Maui
Segment Six: Celebrity Chef Susan Feniger of The Border Grills and Mud Hen Tavern
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Brian Malarkey of Enlightened Hospitality Group, San Diego Part One
Segment Eight: Executive Chef Brian Malarkey of Enlightened Hospitality Group, San Diego Part Two