Show 345, October 19, 2019: Executive Chef / Proprietor John Park, Toast Kitchen + Bakery, Costa Mesa

John Park of Toast Kitchen and BakeryChef John Park’s Toast Kitchen + Bakery is a welcome addition to the moderately priced dining scene in Costa Mesa. They serve Breakfast & Brunch daily (closed on Monday.) Breakfast is available all day on Saturday. Dinner is Tuesday through Saturday and Happy Hour is on Weekdays. A popular attraction is Taco Tuesday with its own menu.

Some salivating new menu items have just been introduced including creative libations and both savory & sweet creations. Think pork belly bao with grilled pluots and thai chile lime vinaigrette. For a sweet ending look for the chocolate funnel cake with (house-made) cocoa nib ice cream.

Chef John is also very active in giving back to the community as a matter of course. This is recognized by his nomination this year for Outstanding Community Service by the Golden Foodie Awards along with Chef Ivan Calderon and Restaurateur David Hanna.

Chef John Park, the Chef of the Year at the 2019 Golden Foodie Awards, joins us in-studio.

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Show 343, October 5, 2019: Centennial Farm at OC Fair & Event Center, Costa Mesa

Michele Richards of the OC FairCentennial Farm at the OC Fair & Event Center is a three-acre agriculture education center featuring California crops and more than 100 animal educators who help thousands of visitors each year learn about food, nutrition, horticulture and animal husbandry.

They are celebrating the Farm’s 30th Birthday with a BBQ birthday bash the afternoon of Saturday, Oct. 5th. The birthday bash is from 2 to 6 p.m. at OC Fair & Event Center’s year-round working farm.

A BBQ featuring chicken and tri-tip with all the fixings, tractor rides, line dancing, family-friendly lawn games, farm tours and entertainment are in store for attendees. There will be a special cake served at 4 p.m.

Tickets for the BBQ lunch are $30 today (plus Ticketmaster fees.) Tickets are on sale (subject to availability) at the door. All the other celebration activities are free.

Learn more about Centennial Farm and OC Fair & Event Center’s agriculture programs and garden classes.

Michele Richards, Vice President of Business Development at the OC Fair & Event Center put the candles on the cake for us.

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Show 340, September 7, 2019: Chef Bill Bracken of Bracken’s Kitchen and Brian Huskey of Tackle Box

Bill Bracken of Brackens KitchenBracken’s Kitchen, a nonprofit dedicated to combating food insecurity in Southern California is committed to recovery, repurposing and restoring both food and lives through food rescue, culinary training, and community feeding program, will host its 2nd annual fundraiser to support healthy meals served to the impoverished in Orange County.

The Hungry Games 2.0” culinary competition will bring top local chefs together for an evening of food and wine in a live kitchen setting.” Guests will be able to taste small bites and cast their votes, with the Hungry Games winner announced over dessert. There will be a small silent auction.

Brian Huskey of Tackle BoxFounder Chef Bill Bracken of Bracken’s Kitchen joined by first time participant Chef Brian Huskey of Tackle Box – Local Grub Shack in Costa Mesa and Corona del Mar stirs the pot for us with all the enticing details.

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Show 333, July 20, 2019: Proprietor Rob Arellano, Descanso – A Modern Taqueria, Costa Mesa Part One

Rob Arellano of Descanso RestaurantDescanso is a modern taqueria in that it celebrates authentic Mexican flavors and recipes executed on a traditional plancha and prepared a la minute in front of you, in a full-service setting. Concept creator and proprietor Rob Arellano pulled from his own Mexican heritage to create a never-before-seen restaurant experience rooted in nostalgia and comfort, that speaks to how we live and eat today, You, our guest, will come face to face with the chef as Mexican classics are made to order in a lively setting that brings in the smells, sounds and energy of a busy Mexican town.” Descanso was recognized as one of Orange Coast Magazine’s 2019 Best New Restaurants.

“With Chef Sergio Ortega at the helm in the Kitchen, Descanso presents Classic Central Mexico street-inspired cuisine, rife with bold flavors and the freshest, seasonal ingredients in dishes that are complex and layered with history and flavor.”

Open Daily @ 11:00 a.m. for Lunch and Dinner. Happy Hour is Monday through Friday from 3 to 5:00 p.m. Brunch (featuring Bottomless Mimosas and Brunch Cocktails) is Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Rob Arellano is our guest.

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Show 333, July 20, 2019: Proprietor Rob Arellano, Descanso – A Modern Taqueria, Costa Mesa Part Two

Rob Arellano of Descanso RestaurantDescanso is a modern taqueria in that it celebrates authentic Mexican flavors and recipes executed on a traditional plancha and prepared a la minute in front of you, in a full-service setting. Concept creator and proprietor Rob Arellano pulled from his own Mexican heritage to create a never-before-seen restaurant experience rooted in nostalgia and comfort, that speaks to how we live and eat today, You, our guest, will come face to face with the chef as Mexican classics are made to order in a lively setting that brings in the smells, sounds and energy of a busy Mexican town.”

Descanso was recognized as one of Orange Coast Magazine’s 2019 Best New Restaurants.

“The menu at Descanso features artful dishes that successfully marry tradition with modernity. The cuisine is inspired by the Taquerias of Chef Ortega’s childhood. As someone who grew up from humble origins with access to limited ingredients, Chef Ortega is dedicated to cooking with seasonal ingredients, sustainable seafood and humanely raised meats. Salsas are made fresh daily. Meats and vegetables are cooked in front of guests on a traditional plancha. Guests can enjoy tacos, quesadillas, and alambres; made with options ranging from Angus steak, carnitas, pollo and al pastor, to mahi mahi, shrimp and relleno chile.”

Proprietor Rob Arellano continues.

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Show 304, December 29, 2018: James Mullins, Proprietor, Fill Bakehouse & Creamery, Costa Mesa

Fill Bakeshop and CreameryHow sweet it is with an authentic “Taste of Hawaii” now located next door to Toast Kitchen + Bakery in Costa Mesa. Fill, a bakehouse and creamery serving made-to-order malasadas and small-batch ice cream, launched in late July. With Fill, founder & Hawaii-native James Mullis, serves up a sweet side of the Islands with true “aloha spirit.”

“Malasadas were popularized in Hawaii during the 19th century when Portuguese immigrants arrived in Hawaii to support the islands’ growing sugar cane business. Today, these delicate, sugar-dusted confections are an island icon; and to Mullis, they’re reminiscent of the welcoming, diverse culture of Hawaii.” Making the dough for a malasada is actually an intensive, two-day process.

“After years of research, Mullis put together a duo of illustrious chefs to bring his vision to life: Lincoln Carson (ex-Michael Mina Restaurant Group) and John Park. Today, Mullis proudly presents Fill, his ode to Hawaii and the embracing culture that shaped his childhood.”

“The islands are melting pot of culture, pulling culinary influence from the Philippines, Japan, and Portugal,” comments Mullis, who grew up in the small town of Kaneohe, Hawaii. “We represent the best of Hawaii’s embracing culinary culture at Fill with made-to-order malasadas, artisan fillings, and house-made, small-batch ice cream.”

Organic and GMO-free, Fill’s malasadas are a delicate-yet-doughy Portuguese pastry with a crisp, sugar-dusted exterior (choose from cane, cinnamon, or coconut sugar) which can be served with a variety of fillings including haupia (coconut custard), strawberry jam, Mandarin orange pastry cream, or malted chocolate.

In addition to Fill’s fresh-baked malasadas is a selection of small-batch ice creams with unique flavors that evoke a taste of the islands including a vegan Brown Butter Roasted Pineapple, Royal Kona Coffee, Roasted Black Sesame, and POG (passion fruit, orange, guava). The ice creams are made right there in-house in a dedicated, state-of-the-art health department certified frozen dessert production space.

Closed on Monday.

James joins us from Hawaii where he is celebrating the Holidays.

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Show 302, December 15, 2018: Restaurateur Ed Lee and Chef / Partner John Park, Toast Kitchen + Bakery, Costa Mesa

John ParkThe new Toast Kitchen + Bakery in Costa Mesa (on the site of the revered Golden Truffle) is the creation of Chef / Partner John Park and restaurateur Ed Lee (Wahoo’s Fish Taco.) There is some incredible food, baked goods & desserts coming out of this kitchen. Closed on Monday and Sunday is Brunch service only.

Think Hot Chicken and Hawaiian Malasadas for Brunch.

Two other attractions are Happy Hour (specialty cocktails, beer and wine) with menu attractions including Thai Chili Chilaquiles and Taco Tuesday (Pumpkin Chorizo Taco & Street Tacos.)

Chef John modestly doesn’t make a big deal about it but a per cent of the restaurant’s profits go to local charities.

Next door to Toast Kitchen is Fill Bakery & Creamery, home of authentic Hawaiian malasadas and tantalizing craft ice cream flavors. Everything is made fresh, in-house. We’ll be talking about Fill on Saturday morning, December 29th. with Co-Proprietor James Mullis.

We’ll meet the creative team from Toast.

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Show 298, November 17, 2018: Chef / Proprietor Ross Pangilinan, TERRACE by Mix Mix (South Coast Plaza) and Mix Mix Kitchen Bar

Ross PangilinanChef / Proprietor Ross Pangilinan (Mix Mix Kitchen Bar, Santa Ana) launched Terrace by Mix Mix in South Coast Plaza in late September. Located on level 3 of the Crate and Barrel / Macy’s Home Store Wing, TERRACE by Mix Mix concentrates on well-priced, market-driven small plates.

The cuisine showcases Pangilinan’s eclectic style, which is influenced by French, Italian, and modern Filipino flavors, as well as his refined technique. An approachable wine list offers varietals by the glass and bottle as well as rotating craft beers.

True to its name, the restaurant features full-service evening dining (and Weekend Brunch) in a beautifully designed covered terrace off the west end of Bridge of Gardens. A small wine bar, additional seating, an open kitchen and a counter offering a weekday lunch quick-service menu is inside.

Pangilinan opened his first restaurant, Mix Mix Kitchen Bar, in downtown Santa Ana in 2016. The name “Mix Mix” is inspired by the English translation of the Filipino dessert Halo-Halo and is also a play on Pangilinan’s culinary style and Filipino-American identity. The restaurant has been an unqualified success since opening, garnering accolades as best new restaurant from Orange Coast Magazine and earning the chef critical praise. Chef Ross was honored as “Rising Star Chef of The Year” at the 2018 Golden Foodie Awards.

Pangilinan’s culinary journey began upon graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena. He traveled to France to work in the Michelin-starred Les Trois Marches in Versailles. Back in the U.S., he was hired as sous chef to open the critically acclaimed, fine dining Sinatra restaurant at Wynn Las Vegas. Returning to Southern California, Pangilinan worked as sous chef at the Patina flagship and became a protégé of founder chef Joachim Splichal. The Patina Group recognized his talent and named him executive chef at Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge, which is part of South Coast Plaza’s fine dining collection.

Chef Ross pops out of the kitchen for a chat.

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Show 287, August 25, 2018: “Tastemakers of Orange County” Benefiting OCAPICA

Tarit Tanjasiri of Crema CafeOn the heels of its 20th anniversary, the Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA) will host the 3rd Annual “Tastemakers of Orange County” culinary event on Wednesday, September 5th in the Julianne and George Argyros Plaza at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. This culinary event celebrates the Asian and Pacific Islander community, culture, and heritage by giving guests the opportunity to taste and indulge in Asian and Pacific Island-inspired cuisines and beverages from distinguished chefs throughout Orange County.

Proceeds from tickets sold for this event benefit OCAPICA to support mental health, health, workforce, youth in education, and civic engagement opportunities for low income families throughout Orange County.

The celebration at Argyros Plaza will include food tastings, fun entertainment, and silent and live auctions for guests to enjoy. Tickets are available to the public for $125 for VIP, which allows early entry at 6 p.m., and $85 for General Admission, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. More information and tickets can be found here.

Participants Tarit and Dr. Sora Park Tanjasiri of The Crema Café and Crema Artisan Bakers provide all the tempting details. (Dr. Sora is a Board Chair of OCAPICA)

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Show 282, July 21, 2018: Chef Dominic Palmieri, The Midway Gourmet, OC Fair

Dominic Palmieri of Midway GourmetThe OC Fair (Free Your Inner Farmer) is in full swing now through August 12th (Wednesday through Sunday) in Costa Mesa. It’s a once-a-year thing, something that can only happen at the Fair – a food frenzy beyond compare.

Time to talk about what’s new in Fair Food with The Midway Gourmet himself, Chef Dominic Palmieri.

Think Caramel Crack Fries and on the savory side, Cholula Spicy Turkey Leg.…

New from The Midway Gourmet’s friendly competitor, Chicken Charlie, is Deep-Fried Filet Mignon on a Stick.

“You know you want it if it’s fried, wrapped in bacon or sprinkled with sugar !”

Last year 51 per cent of attendees surveyed said the only-at-the-Fair food was their favorite part of their visit. You just know the chefs have been laboring to move the needle even higher for 2018.

$3.00 Taste of Fair Food. It’s a grazer’s paradise! Get a sampling of food and treats for only $3.00 each Thursday from Noon to 4:00 p.m. Fun-sized samples include funnel cake, tri-tip. Lemonade, cinnamon rolls, tacos, gelato, cotton candy and more.

Is the OC Fair food crazier and more inventive this year? You be the judge.

 

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