Show 388, August 29, 2020: Executive Chef Jonathan Blackford of Fork & Knife, Costa Mesa

Jonathan Blackford of A Restaurant and CDM RestaurantSince Executive Chef Jonathan Blackford departed A Restaurant (Newport Beach) and CdM Restaurant (Corona del Mar) to develop a food venture of his own he’s given a lot of thought to what the dining community really needs right now. The result is Fork & Knife scheduled to launch in Costa Mesa in October.

“Fork & Knife is actually three concepts in one and I believe that it speaks to current dining habits and what the public wants right now,” commented Chef Blackford, who has received much attention for the globally inspired, progressive menus he created as Executive Chef for River Jetty Restaurant Group over the past decade. “It has always been my goal to open a restaurant of my own, but the timing isn’t right for a full-service dining experience. What people want right now is a neighborhood place that offers fully prepared dinners, quick meals to carryout and quality products that you would find at a gourmet market – that’s what Fork & Knife aims to deliver.”

“Fork & Knife will offer inspired, seasonal, from-scratch fully prepared dishes, as well as retail-focused items such as fresh-made pastas, jams, sauces, dressings and more. The market will also feature many of Chef Blackford’s favorite artisan products, from a selection of olive oils, to vinegars and grains. The kitchen will offer freshly made grab-and-go items daily, ranging from sandwiches, prepared pastas, and easy-to-eat-on-the-go dishes.”

“I want to serve as an extension to the home kitchen by providing the freshest and most flavorful meals and dishes,” explained Chef Blackford. “There is nothing more comforting than a home-cooked meal enjoyed with family and friends, but with time being the biggest challenge in our lives, we’re handling the heavy lifting so those in our community don’t have to sacrifice quality.”

Chef Jonathan Blackford is our guest.

Play

Show 384, August 1, 2020: Restaurateur Ahmed Labbate and Partner / Executive Chef Amar Santana of The Hall Global Eatery

Ahmed Labatte and Amar Santana of Vaca Restaurant GroupExecutive Chef & Restaurateur Amar Santana and Restaurateur Ahmed Labbate have reopened The Hall Global Eatery at South Coast Plaza for dine-in on their comfortable, shaded front patio or for curbside pickup. The extensive fast-casual menu is available at the Mediterranean Grill including hand-carved Shawarma, Babaganoush and Hummus. A selection of cocktails from master barman Michael Rooney, beer and wine are available to enjoy on the patio or To-Go. The grab and go Patisserie features a wide variety of baked goods, salads, sandwiches, coffee and juices.

The former full-service Crudo and Charcuterie Bar has been reimagined with the addition of a selection of made-to-order (and customizable) Poke. Guests, to start, have their choice of two proteins including Ahi Tuna, Salmon, Albacore, Octopus, Spicy Tuna, Scallop, King Crab or Tofu. From there a diner has a choice of five toppings from an available selection of 13 options.

Chef Amar’s and Ahmed’s other pair of popular restaurants, Vaca adjacent to South Coast Plaza and Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach, are again accommodating guests with full-service patio dining and curbside pickup and delivery.

Chef Amar Santana and Ahmed Labbate are with us providing all the enticing details.

Play

Show 383, July 25, 2020: Executive Chef & Partner, Mark McDonald, Old Vine Kitchen & Bar, Costa Mesa

Mark McDonald of Old Vine Kitchen and Bar“The award-winning Old Vine Kitchen & Bar in Costa Mesa at THE CAMP has returned to the Orange County culinary scene by reopening on-premise dining with an emphasis on staff and guest safety and an expansion of its intimate dining experience. In addition to Old Vine’s popular backyard patio, guests can now spend evenings enjoying two newly-acquired outdoor dining spaces: The Roof and The Stairway Patio.”

“We’re excited to extend our signature Old Vine experience to two new beautiful outdoor spaces, The Roof and The Stairway Patio, which give our restaurant the space needed for social distancing and ensuring our guests’ safety,” said Old Vine Kitchen & Bar’s proprietor and Chef Mark McDonald. “We are proud to welcome our customers back, knowing that our restaurant has fully implemented all city, county, and state safety protocols, and trained our excellent staff accordingly. Guest and staff well-being is always our first priority.”

“Returning diners will be delighted to find brand new bar and dinner menus from Chef McDonald, who has helmed Old Vine’s kitchen for more than 13 years. From revamped old favorites, such as Old Vine’s Caprese of Burrata, to soon-to-be classics, such as a new, four course cocktail pairing tasting menu, guests are sure to savor his fresh takes on Old Vine’s signature regional cuisine, always crafted with top quality food products and now a totally scratch kitchen.”

“Our whole team took advantage of this quieter time, and we all found new inspiration, whether in the kitchen, with the wine list, or behind the bar,” co-owner Kate Perry said. “The result is updated bar and dinner menus, a range of new vegan and vegetarian options, and as always, a commitment to serving and building our Old Vine family.”

Chef Mark McDonald joins us.

Play

Show 381, July 11, 2020: Chef & Proprietor John Park, Toast Kitchen + Bakery, Costa Mesa

John Park of Toast Kitchen and BakeryChef John Park’s Toast Kitchen + Bakery, now celebrating its 2nd Anniversary, is a welcome addition to the moderately priced dining scene in Costa Mesa. The actual anniversary date is July 24th but Toast will be celebrating with changing weekly specials for the entire month. From Tuesday, July 14th through Sunday, July 19th all the signature house-baked cookies are $2 each.

They serve Breakfast & Brunch daily (closed on Monday.) Early Dinner is Tuesday through Friday with Happy Hour (with food & libation specials) on Weekdays from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Some salivating new menu items have just been introduced including creative libations and both savory & sweet creations. Think Mapo Tofu Noodles with mapo tofu, noodles, zucchini, roasted sesame seeds and cilantro.

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

Play

Show 363, March 7, 2020: Descanso’s Proprietor Rob Arellano and Executive Chef Sergio Ortega Previewing OC Restaurant Week

Sergio Ortega of Descanso Modern TaqueriaOrange County Restaurant Week, possibly the region’s most eagerly anticipated Restaurant Week for more than a decade, returns Sunday, March 8th through Saturday, March 14th. This year, nearly 150 restaurants will participant in OC Restaurant Week, offering diners a wide variety of options, from casual and family friendly establishments, to upscale and fine dining, which will once again allow for a “luxe experience” with a select group of menus priced at a $80 price point! For 2020 the Cocktails of Restaurant Week will be highlighted to complete dining experiences and many participating restaurants will offer a Spicy Food Lover option for the many flavor cravers out there!”

Executive Chef Sergio Ortega of Costa Mesa’s Descanso – A Modern Taqueria (along with Proprietor Rob Arellano) are participating in OC Restaurant Week. Descanso is featuring both a $15 Lunch menu as well as a $30 Dinner menu. Think special OC Restaurant Week cocktails, too. Chef Sergio also is highlighting a spicy food menu item, a pair of carnitas tacos with Habanero salsa.

Chef Ortega and Rob Arellano join us with a salivating menu preview.

Play

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.

Play

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.

Play

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.

Play

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.

Play

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.

Play