Show 576, May 4, 2024: Maizano Cocina at Mercado Gonzalez, Costs Mesa, with Restaurateur Jorge Salim

Jorge Salim Vilches of Apapacho Group

Maizano, the cornerstone destination eatery of Costa Mesa’s Mercado Gonzalez Northgate Market, has expanded its hours to include lunch. When the restaurant debuted in November, it opened with a dinner-only menu. As the restaurant enters spring, Executive Chef Alan Sanz has debuted a curated menu of lunch dishes. Available Wednesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. – to 5 p.m., the masa-focused menu pays homage to the diverse culinary landscape of Mexico through vibrant and modern interpretations of its regional cuisine.” (Maizano is closed on Monday and Tuesday.)

“As we expand our offerings to include lunch service at Maizano, I’m thrilled to showcase the diverse flavors and traditions of regional Mexican cuisine,” comments Executive Chef Alan Sanz, who has cooked in renowned kitchens around the world. “Our dishes tell the stories of the culinary landscapes of Yucatán, Puebla, and Oaxaca and serve as a tribute to the rich tapestry of Mexican gastronomy.”

“Sanz’s lunch offerings epitomize Mexican haute cuisine with a contemporary twist. The entire antojito section of the lunch menu features smaller masa-based dishes, using fresh masa from the Mercado’s Tortilleria La Gonzalez. These starters include Gordita de Pulpo featuring octopus in adobo, fresh green salsa, and a chicharron crumble; a playful Chapulín Taco featuring grilled Oaxacan cheese, smashed avocado, and fried grasshoppers; and a vegan Tlacoyo topped with green fava beans and a nopales salad.” 

“Maizano is the newest venture from Gruppo Apapacho visionaries Jorge Salim and Javier Hernandez Pons, known for their successes with restaurants across Los Angeles and Mexico City, including Cha Cha Chá, Loreto, and Mariscos Za Za Zá. With Maizano, they’ve opened a portal to the culinary epicenter of Mexico City. Its revolving glass doors whisk diners into its modern minimalist dining room, which features leather-bound chairs, crimson marble countertops, and warm earthen-toned walls adorned with Mexican curios and indigenous cookware.”

An elevated Chef’s Table Experience at Chef Alan’s Chef’s Counter looking in to the kitchen at Maizano is on the horizon for June. Jorge stylistically refers to it as a “Mexican Omakase.”

Restaurateur Jorge Salim of Gruppo Apapacho join us in-studio.

Show 571, March 30, 2024: Mercado Gonzalez, Costa Mesa, with Project Manager Joshua Gonzalez Part One

Joshua Gonzalez of Northgate Markets

Three generations of the Gonzalez Family have been in the grocery business in Southern California with the very popular Northgate Gonzalez Markets. Now they are pioneering a new, first of its kind in the United States shopping experience with the arrival of the long-in-the-works Mercado Gonzalez in Costa Mesa.

It’s a 70,000 square foot culinary wonder of truly mouth-watering authentic foods representing many regions of Mexico with some 20 Puestos (Food Stands) “teeming with vibrant colors, enticing aromas, and an array of flavorful delights. Explore a variety of flavors at Mercado González’s Puestos / Food Stands, where each stand offers a unique culinary adventure. Customers are able to savor sweet churros and sip seven types of hot chocolate from the famous Mexico City Churreria El Moro (a Mexico City landmark since 1935), indulge in crispy and succulent carnitas at Carnitas Don Miguel, relish a Chiva Torta by Familia Albarran, and enjoy Tacos Los Guichos from Familia Zenteno. Mercado has something to please every palate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”

All of the corn tortillas are made fresh throughout the day in the exhibition Tortilleria La Gonzalez located just as you enter the Mercado.

The Mercado even offers destination fine dining with Maizano. “Jorge Salim and Javier Hernandez Pons, the dynamic duo from the team behind beloved Los Angeles restaurants LA Cha Cha Chá in Arts District and Loreto in Elysian Valley, operate a new restaurant in Mercado called Maizano, a concept that is a homage to revered Mexican culinary and social traditions, and, as the name suggests, Mexican heirloom corn. Specifically, dishes such as mole, sopa de Lima, and a variety of memelas and tetelas are standouts.”

“One of the most exciting features of Mercado González is the showcase of breathtaking murals created by renowned Mexican artists from Guadalajara including Claudio Limón. His artistry captures the essence of Mexican culture, infusing each mural with the vivid colors and infectious joy that are hallmarks of Mexico. As customers explore the store, they will experience all the hand-painted signage on the Puestos and about eight murals.”

The attention to details is impressive. The carefully curated music in the seven zones of the Mercado changes throughout the day including in the (soon to be expanded) Dining Patio.

Representing the 3rd generation of proud Gonzalez Family ownership is Joshua Gonzalez who is also the project Manager for Mercado Gonzalez. Joshua is our guide to all the enticing wonders of Mercado Gonzalez.

Show 571, March 30, 2024: Mercado Gonzalez, Costa Mesa, with Project Manager Joshua Gonzalez Part Two

Joshua Gonzalez of Northgate Markets

Three generations of the Gonzalez Family have been in the grocery business in Southern California with the very popular Northgate Gonzalez Markets. Now they are pioneering a new, first of its kind in the United States shopping experience with the arrival of the long-in-the-works Mercado Gonzalez in Costa Mesa.

It’s a 70,000 square foot culinary wonder of truly mouth-watering authentic foods representing many regions of Mexico with some 20 Puestos (Food Stands) “teeming with vibrant colors, enticing aromas, and an array of flavorful delights. Explore a variety of flavors at Mercado González’s Puestos / Food Stands, where each stand offers a unique culinary adventure. Customers are able to savor sweet churros and sip seven types of hot chocolate from the famous Mexico City Churreria El Moro (a Mexico City landmark since 1935), indulge in crispy and succulent carnitas at Carnitas Don Miguel, relish a Chiva Torta by Familia Albarran, and enjoy Tacos Los Guichos from Familia Zenteno. Mercado has something to please every palate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”

All of the corn tortillas are made fresh throughout the day in the exhibition Tortilleria La Gonzalez located just as you enter the Mercado.

The Mercado even offers destination fine dining with Maizano. “Jorge Salim and Javier Hernandez Pons, the dynamic duo from the team behind beloved Los Angeles restaurants LA Cha Cha Chá in Arts District and Loreto in Elysian Valley, operate a new restaurant in Mercado called Maizano, a concept that is a homage to revered Mexican culinary and social traditions, and, as the name suggests, Mexican heirloom corn. Specifically, dishes such as mole, sopa de Lima, and a variety of memelas and tetelas are standouts.”

“One of the most exciting features of Mercado González is the showcase of breathtaking murals created by renowned Mexican artists from Guadalajara including Claudio Limón. His artistry captures the essence of Mexican culture, infusing each mural with the vivid colors and infectious joy that are hallmarks of Mexico. As customers explore the store, they will experience all the hand-painted signage on the Puestos and about eight murals.”

The attention to details is impressive. The carefully curated music in the seven zones of the Mercado changes throughout the day including in the (soon to be expanded) Dining Patio.

Representing the 3rd generation of proud Gonzalez Family ownership is Joshua Gonzalez who is also the project Manager for Mercado Gonzalez. Joshua continues as our guide to all the enticing wonders of Mercado Gonzalez.

Show 566, February 24, 2024: Anne Marie Panoringan, Culture OC’s Food Columnist Part One

Food Journalist Anne Marie Panoringan

Anne Marie Panoringan is now Culture OC’s well-informed food columnist. She reports industry news, current events and trends. Anne Marie also contributes regularly to Eater Los Angeles, LAist and a host of other well-respected publications. Anne Marie joins us in-studio to further discuss her new outlet as Food Columnist for Culture OC and chat about recent and future columns.

Along the way Anne Marie will highlight her past (and future) coverage of Strong Water in Anaheim, the only Orange County nominee as a semi-finalist for a James Beard Award. Also, more salivating specifics on the range of South of the Border edible delights available at Mercado Gonzalez in Costa Mesa.

Show 557, December 23, 2023: Al Mancini, creator of “Neon Feast” dining App for Las Vegas and “Food and Loathing” Podcast Part Two

Al Mancini of Neon Feast

The 2nd year anniversary of notable Las Vegas-based food and entertainment journalist Al Mancini’s ambitious Neon Feast dining app is on the horizon. Lots of new features have now been added to the updated App. “Available now on app stores for both Apple and Android (as well as on Neon Feast), Neon Feast solves the “where to eat” dilemma for both visitors and locals with listings curated by dozens of local and nationally prominent food & beverage experts, searchable through a unique combination of filters and capabilities.”

“The weekly “Food and Loathing” podcast created by Al Mancini is a savage journey into the stomach of the Las Vegas restaurant and bar scene – with occasional detours to explore some of the valley’s other decadent offerings (edible and otherwise).” Each week, veteran food writer Al Mancini offers the lowdown on what’s new, what’s hot and what’s delicious in America’s most glamorous culinary city. Al invites you into his insider conversations with the chefs, bartenders, journalists, and other experts who know where to go – and what to order when you get there.”

Al Mancini continues as our in-the-know guest with further highlights of what’s new on the Vegas dining scene. Some of the current talk of the town on dining is about the high-end restaurants at the newly opened (and long-delayed) Fontainebleau on The Strip, and Zippy’s a beloved fast-casual import from Hawaii known for their Chicken Katsu. Also the debut of the Durango Casino and Resort and Chef Gene Villiatora’s Ai Pono Café (from Costa Mesa) there saluting Hawaii Street Food.

Show 555, December 9, 2023: Descanso Restaurant, Costa Mesa, with Rob Arellano and Chef Jose Angulo Part One

Rob Arellano of Descanso Restaurant

Descanso Restaurant, a modern taqueria located in Costa Mesa, celebrated its five year Anniversary in November. The first concept of its kind, Descanso’s unique and award-winning Plancha dining experience catapulted the Mexican eatery to the top of Orange County’s dining scene shortly after opening in the fall of 2018.”

“Five years ago we started Descanso with the idea of bringing people together to commune over great food and a memorable experience,” said Rob Arellano, Owner of Descanso, Southern California’s only full-service Mexican restaurant known for preparing authentic cuisine a la minute in front of the guest on a traditional Plancha. “We’re thrilled to celebrate this 5th Anniversary milestone with our community, and we look forward to our most exciting year yet as we prepare to expand to Los Angeles in 2024.” The new Los Angeles flagship will be located near Museum Square on the Miracle Mile.

“Descanso Restaurant delivers a festive Mexican dining experience as a modern taqueria that celebrates authentic Mexican flavors and recipes executed on a traditional Plancha and prepared a la minute in front of the guest. With Executive Chef Jose Angulo at the helm, the full-service restaurant is committed to providing only fresh, high-quality ingredients sourced from local farms and does not believe in cooking with lard or using can openers. Drawing guests into the cooking experience as classic Central Mexican street-inspired cuisine is made to order, the restaurant’s lively setting celebrates tradition while bringing in the music, smells, and energy of a busy Mexican town.”

Proprietor Rob Arellano and Executive Chef Jose Angulo are our guests with a plate of Lobster Tacos at the ready.

Show 555, December 9, 2023: Descanso Restaurant, Costa Mesa, with Rob Arellano and Chef Jose Angulo Part Two

Jose Angula of Descanso Restaurant

Descanso Restaurant, a modern taqueria located in Costa Mesa, celebrated its five year Anniversary in November. The first concept of its kind, Descanso’s unique and award-winning Plancha dining experience catapulted the Mexican eatery to the top of Orange County’s dining scene shortly after opening in the fall of 2018.”

“Five years ago we started Descanso with the idea of bringing people together to commune over great food and a memorable experience,” said Rob Arellano, Owner of Descanso, Southern California’s only full-service Mexican restaurant known for preparing authentic cuisine a la minute in front of the guest on a traditional Plancha. “We’re thrilled to celebrate this 5th Anniversary milestone with our community, and we look forward to our most exciting year yet as we prepare to expand to Los Angeles in 2024.”The new Los Angeles flagship will be located near Museum Square on the Miracle Mile.

“Descanso Restaurant delivers a festive Mexican dining experience as a modern taqueria that celebrates authentic Mexican flavors and recipes executed on a traditional Plancha and prepared a la minute in front of the guest. With Executive Chef Jose Angulo at the helm, the full-service restaurant is committed to providing only fresh, high-quality ingredients sourced from local farms and does not believe in cooking with lard or using can openers. Drawing guests into the cooking experience as classic Central Mexican street-inspired cuisine is made to order, the restaurant’s lively setting celebrates tradition while bringing in the music, smells, and energy of a busy Mexican town.”

Proprietor Rob Arellano and Executive Chef Jose Angulo are our guests with a plate of Lobster Tacos at the ready.

Show 542, September 9, 2023: Tastemakers of Orange County Benefiting OCAPICA With Baker Tarit Tanjasiri and Chef Kristen Nguyen

Kristen Nguyen of Garlic and Chives

“The Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA) brings back its Tastemakers of Orange County fundraising event on Wednesday, September 13 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Julianne and George Argyros Plaza at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. More than two dozen local chefs will celebrate the Asian and Pacific Islander community, culture, and heritage by giving guests the opportunity to indulge in one-of-a-kind Asian and Pacific Island-inspired dishes. Proceeds from tickets sold for this event benefit OCAPICA’s numerous programs and services in mental health and health, youth development, housing assistance, policy education and combating anti-Asian racism throughout Orange County.”

“In addition to the food tastings, guests will have the opportunity to enjoy beverages by Brewery X and Bondle Wines. The celebration at Argyros Plaza will also include entertainment, a silent auction and opportunity drawing for guests to enjoy. Tickets are available to the public for $250 for VIP, which allows early entry at 6 p.m.; and $195 for General Admission from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. More information and tickets can be found here.

Baker Tarit Tanjasiri of Crema Café and Chef Kristen Nguyen of Garlic & Chives join us with all the tasty details.

Show 533, July 8, 2023: Chef Nick Weber of Populaire at South Coast Plaza. Tribute Menu for “TINA -The Tina Turner Musical.”

Nick Weber of Populaire Modern Bistro

Chef Nick Weber of Populaire at South Coast Plaza has created a three-course prix-fixe gastronomic tribute to the life and music of iconic performer, Tina Turner, available nightly during the July 11-23, two-week run of the Tony Award-winning musical, TINA – The Tina Turner Musical, at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.”

“Weber, a music fan, has crafted a culinary journey naming dishes for Turner’s hit songs such as Be Tender with Me Baby (heirloom tomato, ricotta maison, jambon de Bayonne crumble), Nutbush City Limits (select either Duroc pork belly or swordfish, Nardello peppers, hazelnuts, charred soubise, black garlic) and Proud Mary Reprise (Paris Brest – white chocolate crémeux, peaches, pistachio). The menu is served starting at 4 p.m. and is $55 with optional wine pairings $25, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Reservations encouraged.”

Chef Nick Weber is our guest.

Show 521, April 15, 2023: Anne Marie Panoringan, The Voice of OC’s Food Columnist Part One

Food Journalist Anne Marie Panoringan

Anne Marie Panoringan is Voice of OC’s well-informed food columnist. She reports industry news, current events and trends. The column publishes every other Saturday. Anne Marie also contributes regularly to Eater Los Angeles and other well-respected publications.

Anne Marie joins us in-studio for her regular bi-monthly visit to discuss specialty food products that caught her attention at the recent Natural Products Expo West at the Anaheim Convention Center. Also Anne Marie shares a gem of a Greek restaurant hidden in plain sight in Costa Mesa that she profiled for Eater Los Angeles.

Anne Marie brought in fresh scones that she baked this week at a hands-on cooking class at Classics Flowers and Confections in Cypress.