Show 297, November 10, 2018: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris

Now a decadent preview of this Saturday’s tantalizing show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case, and upon careful reflection, that’s probably a pretty good thing…

It’s time for an encore visit with the husband-and-wife proprietors of Blinking Owl Distillery in Santa Ana, Orange County’s first craft distillery. Blinking Owl Cocktails are now available at LA Rams home games at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum.

San Clemente resident Jim Kempton has spent his life traveling and surfing the world. Along the way he learned to cook some of the globe’s best beach-loving dishes. This is all captured in Jim’s first cookbook, First We Surf Then We Eat – Recipes from a Lifetime of Surf Travel. We’ll ride the wave with Jim.

In early October Chef Craig Strong (ex-Studio at Montage Laguna Beach) debuted Ocean at Main, fulfilling a long-time career dream to open his own restaurant. The location is exceptional – 222 Ocean Avenue near Main Beach in Laguna Beach, steps from the oceanfront. The 126-seat, 4,500-square-foot establishment with a spectacular shaded patio, is open daily for lunch and dinner. Chef Craig escapes his busy kitchen for a chat.

Located in the heart of the Willamette Valley, the Carlton Winemakers Studio is a cooperative winery where numerous winemakers (currently 15) craft premium Oregon wines in one shared space. Guests can visit their state-of-the-art tasting room where you can taste (and buy) a representative sampling of the Carlton Winemakers Studio wines and learn about the unique and charming stories behind each label. Winemaker Anthony King (Ratio:Wines) is also the General Manager for Carlton. He pulls the cork for us.

The Holidays are fast approaching and it’s time for the return of our Meatheads (Terry and Jay) from West Coast Prime Meats with more practical advice on stress-free Holiday entertaining. The Meatheads are both serious home cooks so they really know the territory.

Last month Portland-based boutique ice cream maker Salt & Straw opened their first Orange County location in Downtown Disney in Anaheim. In May 2001 Kim Malek and her cousin and head ice cream maker Tyler Malek started their own small business, Salt & Straw Ice Cream serving eight flavors from a humble cart in NE Portland. Today the company is the largest small batch ice cream company in the world numbering scoop shops in Portland, greater Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and San Diego. Co-Founder Kim Malek is our guest.

Aboard a luxury cruise ship dining is a paramount guest experience. The person responsible for overseeing the guest dining experience in the front-of-the house is the Maitre d’Hotel. On Princess Cruises’ Ruby Princess that is the charming Giorgio Pisano, a 42-year veteran of Princess. It’s a tough assignment with 3,000 guests to pamper in all the dining areas for every voyage. There are many very special occasions to oversee. Giorgio takes a break from turnaround on the Ruby Princess at the Port of Los Angeles to join us.

Program Note:
For next Saturday only, November 17th, were graciously moving aside in our usual morning slot for Notre Dame Football. No cause for alarm…We’re still with you that Saturday afternoon with a full show at the special time of 4 to 6:00 p.m. Please join us!

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

Play

Show 297, November 10, 2018: Chef / Proprietor Craig Strong, Ocean at Main, Laguna Beach

Craig StrongIn early October Chef Craig Strong (ex-Studio at Montage Laguna Beach) debuted Ocean at Main, fulfilling a long-time career dream to open his own restaurant. The location in a classic 40s Spanish revival building is exceptional – 222 Ocean Avenue near Main Beach in Laguna Beach, steps from the oceanfront. The 126-seat, 4,500-square-foot eatery with a spectacular shaded patio, is open daily for lunch and dinner.

After nearly 25 years of working at luxury hotels and resorts around the globe, Strong has come full circle to his native Southern California roots with the opening of Ocean at Main. From growing up in San Diego and cooking with produce from the family garden, this chef/owner is now sharing his Coastal California cuisine with the Laguna Beach community he has embraced for the last 10 years.

“Everything from its name, Ocean at Main, to the last drop of a favorite California wine is designed to provide guests with the quintessential Southern California dining experience. Here, Chef Craig Strong continues his devotion to sourcing the finest products available from local purveyors and suppliers as he creates approachable contemporary Coastal California cuisine and a convivial ambiance to please the nearby community and beyond.”

“I want to cook for our guests the way I cook for my family and friends at home. At Ocean at Main, I will celebrate the diversity, freshness and healthy lifestyle of Southern California. We will procure our ingredients from the local farmers and meat, seafood and specialty vendors whom I have been working and collaborating with for years. Coaxing the true flavors from exceptional products is always my goal.” Chef Craig Strong

Chef Craig escapes his busy kitchen for a chat.

Play

November 10: Blinking Owl Distillery, Jim Kempton, Ocean at Main, Anthony King, West Coast Prime Meats, Salt & Straw, Ruby Princess

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Robin & Brian Christenson, Proprietors, Blinking Owl Distillery, Santa Ana
Segment Three: Surfing Authority, Chef & World Traveler Jim Kempton, First We Surf Then We Eat
Segment Four:Chef / Proprietor Craig Strong, Ocean at Main, Laguna Beach
Segment Five: Winemaker Anthony King, General Manager, The Carlton Winemakers Studio, Willamette Valley
Segment Six: The Meatheads from West Coast Prime Meats, Terry Hanks & Jay Henderson
Segment Seven: Kim Malek, Co-Founder, Salt & Straw Ice Cream
Segment Eight: Giorgio Pisano, Maitre d’Hotel, Princess Cruises’ Ruby Princess

Now a decadent preview of this Saturday’s tantalizing show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case, and upon careful reflection, that’s probably a pretty good thing…

It’s time for an encore visit with the husband-and-wife proprietors of Blinking Owl Distillery in Santa Ana, Orange County’s first craft distillery. Blinking Owl Cocktails are now available at LA Rams home games at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum.

San Clemente resident Jim Kempton has spent his life traveling and surfing the world. Along the way he learned to cook the globe’s best beach-loving dishes. This is all captured in Jim’s first cookbook, First We Surf Then We Eat – Recipes from a Lifetime of Surf Travel. We’ll ride the wave with Jim.

In early October Chef Craig Strong (ex-Studio at Montage Laguna Beach) debuted Ocean at Main, fulfilling a long-time career dream to open his own restaurant. The location is exceptional – 222 Ocean Avenue near Main Beach in Laguna Beach, steps from the oceanfront. The 126-seat, 4,500-square-foot establishment with a spectacular shaded patio, is open daily for lunch and dinner. Chef Craig escapes his busy kitchen for a chat.

Located in the heart of the Willamette Valley, the Carlton Winemakers Studio is a cooperative winery where numerous winemakers (currently 15) craft premium Oregon wines in one shared space. Guests can visit their state-of-the-art tasting room where you can taste (and buy) a representative sampling of the Carlton Winemakers Studio wines and learn about the unique and charming stories behind each label. Winemaker Anthony King (Ratio:Wines) is also the General Manager for Carlton. He pulls the cork for us.

The Holidays are fast approaching and it’s time for the return of our Meatheads (Terry and Jay) from West Coast Prime Meats with more practical advice on stress-free Holiday entertaining. The Meatheads are

Both serious home cooks so they really know the territory.

Last month Portland-based boutique ice cream maker Salt & Straw opened their first location in Downtown Disney in Anaheim. In May 2001 Kim Malek and her cousin and head ice cream maker Tyler Malek started their own small business, Salt & Straw Ice Cream serving eight flavors from a humble cart in NE Portland. Today the company is the largest small batch ice cream company in the world numbering scoop shops in Portland, greater Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and San Diego. Co-Founder Kim Malek is our guest.

Aboard a luxury cruise ship dining is a paramount guest experience. The person responsible for overseeing the guest dining experience in the front-of-the house is the Maitre d’Hotel. On Princess Cruises’ Ruby Princess that is the charming Giorgio Pisano, a 42-year veteran of Princess. It’s a tough assignment with 3,000 guests to pamper in all the dining areas for every voyage. There are many very special occasions to oversee. Giorgio takes a break from turnaround on the Ruby Princess at the Port of Los Angeles to join us.

Program Note:
For next Saturday only, November 17th, were graciously moving aside in our usual morning slot for Notre Dame Football. No cause for alarm…We’re still with you that Saturday afternoon with a full show at the special time of 4 to 6:00 p.m. Please join us!

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

It’s time for an encore visit with the husband-and-wife proprietors of Blinking Owl Distillery in Santa Ana, Orange County’s first craft distillery. Blinking Owl Craft Cocktails are now available at LA Rams home games served at a dedicated bar at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum.

Selections include OC Orange Mule, Tailgate Tonics, The Cocktail Kicker and Tropical Touchdown (Blinking Owl Vodka, Lime Juice, Passion Fruit Liqueur and Soda.)

Brian’s Single Barrel, First Batch Birthday Bourbon has just been released in a 150 bottle batch. We’ll find out about it. It’s been aging in barrel for 2 years!

A straight Rye Whiskey is also currently aging. It could be released anytime between now and the end of 2019. We’ll get a progress report.

Also a kitchen is soon on the menu at Blinking Owl. Art long last – food and libations. We’ll get the tempting food report from Robin.

Jim KemptonSan Clemente resident Jim Kempton has spent his life traveling and surfing the world. Along the way he learned to cook the globe’s best beach-loving dishes. This is all captured in Jim’s first cookbook, First We Surf Then We Eat – Recipes from a Lifetime of Surf Travel.

Now Jim is sharing his vibrantly colorful, flavorful, and healthful collection of recipes, along with stories of the best waves, markets, restaurants, adventures, and misadventures that he’s experienced – from Tahiti to Hawaii, the Basque Country to Indonesia, California to Mexico, Peru to Morocco, and beyond.

Jim Kempton is a lifelong surfer, cook, and writer. He has been the editor and publisher of Surfer magazine; the director of Quiksilver’s Crossing Project, a boat that searched the world for the best surf breaks; the director of media for Billabong; and the owner of the former Margarita’s Village, an award-winning regional Mexican restaurant in San Clemente, California. The San Clemente resident is currently president of the California Surf Museum, as well as a surf-industry consultant.

We’ll ride the wave with Jim.

Craig StrongIn early October Chef Craig Strong (ex-Studio at Montage Laguna Beach) debuted Ocean at Main, fulfilling a long-time career dream to open his own restaurant. The location in a classic 40s Spanish revival building is exceptional – 222 Ocean Avenue near Main Beach in Laguna Beach, steps from the oceanfront. The 126-seat, 4,500-square-foot eatery with a spectacular shaded patio, is open daily for lunch and dinner.

After nearly 25 years of working at luxury hotels and resorts around the globe, Strong has come full circle to his native Southern California roots with the opening of Ocean at Main. From growing up in San Diego and cooking with produce from the family garden, this chef/owner is now sharing his Coastal California cuisine with the Laguna Beach community he has embraced for the last 10 years.

“Everything from its name, Ocean at Main, to the last drop of a favorite California wine is designed to provide guests with the quintessential Southern California dining experience. Here, Chef Craig Strong continues his devotion to sourcing the finest products available from local purveyors and suppliers as he creates approachable contemporary Coastal California cuisine and a convivial ambiance to please the nearby community and beyond.”

“I want to cook for our guests the way I cook for my family and friends at home. At Ocean at Main, I will celebrate the diversity, freshness and healthy lifestyle of Southern California. We will procure our ingredients from the local farmers and meat, seafood and specialty vendors whom I have been working and collaborating with for years. Coaxing the true flavors from exceptional products is always my goal.” Chef Craig Strong

Chef Craig escapes his busy kitchen for a chat.

Anthony KingLocated in the heart of the Willamette Valley in the charming wine-village of Carlton, the Carlton Winemakers Studio is a cooperative winery where numerous winemakers (currently 15) craft premium Oregon wines in one shared space. Guests can visit their state-of-the-art tasting room where you can taste (and buy) a representative sampling of the Carlton Winemakers Studio wines and learn about the unique and charming stories behind each label.

GM Anthony King came to the Carlton Winemakers Studio in 2015, after eight years as winemaker at Lemelson Vineyards, with the express intent to continue to learn his craft. “The Studio offers a rare opportunity to continue to challenge your own assumptions, see fruit from across the Valley and beyond, and work alongside some of the best winemakers in the world.” he explains.

“Ratio is not intended for growth. It is small and will continue to remain so. It is a conduit for King’s ongoing attempt to understand and hone his ability to express the place and make wines that are both individual and worthy of praise within the context of wines from anywhere in the world.”

Winemaker Anthony King (Ratio:Wines) is also the General Manager for Carlton. He pulls the cork for us.

Diestel Turkey Ranch from West Coast Prime MeatsThe Holidays are fast approaching and it’s time for the return of our Meatheads (Terry and Jay) from West Coast Prime Meats with more practical advice on stress-free Holiday entertaining. The Meatheads are both serious home cooks so they really know the territory.

Terry Hanks and Jay Henderson (The Meatheads) join us.

Kim MalekLast month Portland-based boutique ice cream maker Salt & Straw opened their first location in Downtown Disney in Anaheim. In May 2001 Kim Malek and her cousin and head ice cream maker Tyler Malek started their own small business, Salt & Straw Ice Cream serving eight flavors from a humble cart in NE Portland. Today the company is the largest small batch ice cream company in the world numbering scoop shops in Portland, greater Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and San Diego.

“Our story is part luck, part strategy and part love (for ice cream, family, local foods, and other stuff we can’t mention here). I (Kim) have been wanting to open an ice cream scoop shop since 1996. I thought it would be nice to have a local spot where you could run into your neighbors, celebrate with your family, reward yourself…whatever! And I love exploring fun, interesting new flavors. After toiling away in safe mode working for several amazing Fortune 500 businesses, I moved back to Portland for love and found the window of opportunity and support that I’d been lacking to jump start my idea.”

“In the meantime, my cousin Tyler had been studying in China and traveling in Asia. He completed his business degree and had just announced to the family that he was going to enroll in Culinary School. I actually saw a posting on Facebook that he was considering moving to Portland and phoned him up…not even knowing about his plans! We traded stories and updated each other – coming to realize we are on similar paths by coincidence. Next thing I knew, I was getting reports from Tyler regarding ice cream tests he was running with his friends and family as tasters. He had a million ideas and wanted to join me in this crazy idea. How could I resist? He literally dropped what he was doing, loaded up his car and drove to Portland from Seattle to start work as our head ice cream maker the very next day. I would probably be somewhere rocking back and forth in a corner without him. He’s amazingly talented, super smart, hard-working, and quite possibly the nicest person ever.”

“We’re hoping to create the kind of company that’s fun to support, work for, and partner with. We’re about building strong local community – both in the neighborhoods where we do business and by purchasing as many local products as possible (to keep our money in Oregon and help create stronger local economies).”

Co-Founder Kim Malek is our guest.

Giorgio PisanoAboard a luxury cruise ship dining is a paramount part of the guest experience. The person responsible for overseeing the guest dining experience in all the dining rooms aboard ship is the Maitre d’Hotel.

On Princess CruisesRuby Princess that individual is the charming Giorgio Pisano, a 42-year veteran of Princess. It’s a tough assignment with 3,000 guests to pamper in all the dining areas for every voyage.

Giorgio was born in a beautiful, small village in the South of Italy, Pizzo Calabro. His first posting with Princess was on the Island Princess (original) in 1976 as a Buffet Steward. He spent his vacations working in hotels in and around Italy. His eagerness for learning and achievement helped him move very quickly through the ranks until he was appointed to the position of Maitre d’Hotel in 1992.

Giorgio was elected to launch the largest ship in the world in 1995, the Sun Princess, making him the youngest Maitre d’Hotel on the biggest ship in the world at the time.

Giorgio takes a break from turnaround on the Ruby Princess at the Port of Los Angeles to join us.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Robin & Brian Christenson, Proprietors, Blinking Owl Distillery, Santa Ana
Segment Three: Surfing Authority, Chef & World Traveler Jim Kempton, First We Surf Then We Eat
Segment Four:Chef / Proprietor Craig Strong, Ocean at Main, Laguna Beach
Segment Five: Winemaker Anthony King, General Manager, The Carlton Winemakers Studio, Willamette Valley
Segment Six: The Meatheads from West Coast Prime Meats, Terry Hanks & Jay Henderson
Segment Seven: Kim Malek, Co-Founder, Salt & Straw Ice Cream
Segment Eight: Giorgio Pisano, Maitre d’Hotel, Princess Cruises’ Ruby Princess

Show 215, March 18, 2017: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris

Now a scrumptious preview of this Saturday’s over-stuffed show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a pretty good thing…

When it comes to personable characters on the Long Beach dining scene Rick Reich of Brix at The Shore in Belmont Shore wears the befitting crown. It’s a taste of the Big Apple with its iconic, piled-high pastrami sandwiches, intimate wine bar ambiance and a standout rotating selection of craft beer. And then, there is Rick…

The expansive Thursday evening Sunset Market in Downtown Oceanside is the weekly gathering spot for up to 8,000 locals. Top quality food stands with appealing cuisine from around the globe are one of the primary attractions. Kim Heim from Main Street Oceanside is our informed tour guide.

Known for presenting extraordinary seasonal tasting menus, Executive Chef Craig Strong has introduced a new Vegetarian Tasting Menu at Studio at Montage Laguna Beach. The new tasting menu, now offered at the Laguna Beach free-standing, ocean-view restaurant, highlights the restaurant’s 1,000-square-foot raised bed garden with dishes that play on classic French specialties made deliciously vegetarian. We pull Chef Strong out of his amazingly-equipped kitchen for a brief chat.

When it comes to star chefs and high-profile Food TV personalities in Canada the top of the class is surely Vancouver’s Chef Vikram Vij. He has introduced the joy of Indian flavors to tens of thousands of fortunate Canadians since he debuted the original (no-reservations) Vij’s in 1994. We’ll meet the incredible Chef Vikram.

Passover and Easter are on the immediate horizon. For serious home cooks that means a family table of ham and/or lamb for Easter, and lamb for Passover. Our resident meats experts (The heralded “Meatheads” from West Coast Prime Meats, Terry & Jay) have some practical advice and cooking tips for us.

Belmont Shore, Long Beach restaurant Roe Seafood (Owner / Chef Art Gonzalez) will host an “Electric Fundraiser” to benefit Farm Lot 59 on Wednesday, March 22nd from 4 – 7p.m. The food and cocktail-centric event is open to the public and proceeds will fund the non-profit Farm Lot 59’s efforts to bring much needed electricity to the property. Chef Art and Farmer Sasha Kanno of Long Beach’s Farm Lot 59 join us.

All of this deliciousness and heaping cups of much more incredible food talk on today’s show!

Chef Andrew Gruel has just debuted a new Slapfish in Silicon Flats, Utah and will be back with us very soon.

Play

Show 215, March 18, 2017: Executive Chef Craig Strong, Studio, Montage Laguna Beach

Craig StrongKnown for presenting extraordinary seasonal tasting menus, Executive Chef Craig Strong has introduced a new Vegetarian Tasting Menu at Studio at Montage Laguna Beach. The new tasting menu, now offered at the Laguna Beach free-standing, ocean-view restaurant, highlights the restaurant’s 1,000-square-foot raised bed garden with dishes that play on classic French specialties made deliciously vegetarian. We pull Chef Strong out of his amazing kitchen for a brief chat.

“This new tasting menu highlights vegetables at the center of the plate with twists on classics, like Pot‘ato’-au-Feu, a take on the traditional Pot-au-Feu beef stew, and Crimson Beet Tartare, my take on a traditional steak tartare, with a golden beet ‘yolk’ in place of the expected raw egg yolk,” explains Chef Strong, who is known for his modern French cuisine with California influences. “I believe that we ‘eat’ with our eyes and noses long before we taste anything, and this menu allows my guests to do just that with nature’s bounty.”

“This is a great menu for vegetarians and non-vegetarians, alike,” commented Chef Strong, whose family garden of zucchini and tomatoes first inspired him to experiment in the kitchen as a child. “Diners who are looking to explore the best seasonal and local produce will find adventure in this menu.”

Studio has been recognized with Five Stars from Forbes Travel Guide, Three Stars from Los Angeles Times, Robb Report as one of “America’s Finest Dining Restaurants,” and Food & Wine Magazine’s “Top 50 Hotel Restaurants.” Studio has also earned the “Best of Award of Excellence” from Wine Spectator and is rated one of Zagat’s “America’s Top Restaurants.”

Studio serves dinner nightly from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Dark on Monday evening.

Congrats to Chef Strong. This June marks his 8th Anniversary at the helm of Studio!

Play

March 11: Brix at the Shore, Oceanside Sunset Market, Studio at Montage Laguna Beach, Vikram Vij, West Coast Prime Meats, Farm Lot 59

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Rick Reich, Proprietor, W.I.N.O, Brix at The Shore, Long Beach
Segment Three: Kim Heim, Main Street Oceanside, Sunset Market
Segment Four: Executive Chef Craig Strong, Studio, Montage Laguna Beach
Segment Five: Celebrity Chef Vikram Vij, Vij’s, Vancouver, B.C. Part One
Segment Six: Celebrity Chef Vikram Vij, Vij’s, Vancouver, B.C. Part Two
Segment Seven: “The Meatheads” (Terry and Jay) From West Coast Prime Meats
Segment Eight: Farm Lot 59 Benefit at Roe Seafood, Long Beach

Now a scrumptious preview of this Saturday’s over-stuffed show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a pretty good thing…

When it comes to personable characters on the Long Beach dining scene Rick Reich of Brix at The Shore in Belmont Shore wears the befitting crown. It’s a taste of the Big Apple with its iconic, piled-high pastrami sandwiches, intimate wine bar ambiance and a standout rotating selection of craft beer. And then, there is Rick…

The expansive Thursday evening Sunset Market in Downtown Oceanside is the weekly gathering spot for up to 8,000 locals. Top quality food stands with appealing cuisine from around the globe are one of the primary attractions. Kim Heim from Main Street Oceanside is our informed tour guide.

Known for presenting extraordinary seasonal tasting menus, Executive Chef Craig Strong has introduced a new vegetarian Tasting Menu at Studio at Montage Laguna Beach. The new tasting menu, now offered at the Laguna Beach free-standing, ocean-view restaurant, highlights the restaurant’s 1,000-square-foot raised bed garden with dishes that play on classic French specialties made deliciously vegetarian. We pull Chef Strong out of his amazingly-equipped kitchen for a brief chat.

When it comes to star chefs and high-profile Food TV personalities in Canada the top of the class is surely Vancouver’s Chef Vikram Vij. He has introduced the joy of Indian flavors to tens of thousands of fortunate Canadians since he debuted the original (no-reservations) Vij’s in 1994. We’ll meet the incredible Chef Vikram.

Passover and Easter are on the immediate horizon. For serious home cooks that means a family table of ham and/or lamb for Easter, and lamb for Passover. Our resident meats experts (The heralded “Meatheads” from West Coast Prime Meats, Terry & Jay) have some practical advice and cooking tips for us.

Belmont Shore, Long Beach restaurant Roe Seafood (Owner / Chef Art Gonzalez) will host an “Electric Fundraiser” to benefit Farm Lot 59 on Wednesday, March 22nd from 4 – 7p.m. The food and cocktail-centric event is open to the public and proceeds will fund Farm Lot 59’s efforts to bring much needed electricity to the property.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s show!

Rick ReichWhen it comes to personable characters with their own sense of style on the Long Beach dining scene, Rick Reich of Brix at The Shore in Belmont Shore wears the befitting crown. It’s a taste of the Big Apple with its iconic, piled-high pastrami sandwiches, intimate wine bar ambiance and a standout rotating selection of craft beer. It’s all of 65-seats.

Brix at The Shore offers something the area is lacking: a place that caters to Generation X and Baby Boomers where these forty to sixtysomethings can make their own hangout with music from their era, everything from ‘80s alternative to Sinatra; a rotating wine list with an impressive and thoughtful selection of vintages; a collection of taps that pour craft beer; and an intimate environment that provokes casual conversation among its guests.

“I call Brix at The Shore an adult amusement park,” says owner Rick Reich, who also doubles as the restaurant’s sommelier. “Belmont Shore has plenty of places that appeal to college kids, but what the area was lacking was a hangout for a more established crowd who needed a place to unwind after work, enjoy a good glass of wine or beer, grab a bite to eat, and occasionally break out into song – trust me, it’s happens. We’ve had the entire restaurant singing to Dean Martin on a Saturday night. And that’s what makes Brix so appealing.”

The menu features an array of shareable plates, flatbread sandwiches, salads, deli sandwiches, artisan pizza, burgers and entrees.

We pull W.I.N.O Rick out of the kitchen to tell us all about it.

Kim HeimThe expansive Thursday evening Sunset Market in Downtown Oceanside is the weekly gathering spot for up to 8,000 locals. Eighty-eight top quality food stands featuring appealing ethnic cuisine from around the globe are one of the primary attractions. (There is little duplication of menu items between food stands.)

Think of an intriguing mix of everything from Chicago Polish pierogis to wild caught salmon that is eye-catchingly fire-roasted in front of you on oak planks.

Southern California has attracted people from all over the world and is renowned for its diversity which is reflected in the distinctive international food offerings of the Sunset Market.

Kim Heim from Main Street Oceanside is our informed tour guide.

Craig StrongKnown for presenting extraordinary seasonal tasting menus, Executive Chef Craig Strong has introduced a new Vegetarian Tasting Menu at Studio at Montage Laguna Beach. The new tasting menu, now offered at the Laguna Beach free-standing, ocean-view restaurant, highlights the restaurant’s 1,000-square-foot raised bed garden with dishes that play on classic French specialties made deliciously vegetarian. We pull Chef Strong out of his amazing kitchen for a brief chat.

“This new tasting menu highlights vegetables at the center of the plate with twists on classics, like Pot‘ato’-au-Feu, a take on the traditional Pot-au-Feu beef stew, and Crimson Beet Tartare, my take on a traditional steak tartare, with a golden beet ‘yolk’ in place of the expected raw egg yolk,” explains Chef Strong, who is known for his modern French cuisine with California influences. “I believe that we ‘eat’ with our eyes and noses long before we taste anything, and this menu allows my guests to do just that with nature’s bounty.”

“This is a great menu for vegetarians and non-vegetarians, alike,” commented Chef Strong, whose family garden of zucchini and tomatoes first inspired him to experiment in the kitchen as a child. “Diners who are looking to explore the best seasonal and local produce will find adventure in this menu.”

Studio has been recognized with Five Stars from Forbes Travel Guide, Three Stars from Los Angeles TimesRobb Report as one of “America’s Finest Dining Restaurants,” and Food & Wine Magazine’s “Top 50 Hotel Restaurants.” Studio has also earned the “Best of Award of Excellence” from Wine Spectator and is rated one of Zagat’s “America’s Top Restaurants.”

VIkram VijWhen it comes to star chefs and high-profile Food TV personalities in Canada the top of the class is surely Vancouver’s Chef Vikram Vij. He has introduced the joy of Indian flavors to tens of thousands of fortunate Canadians since he debuted the original (no-reservations) 14-seat Vij’s in 1994. The incredibly popular restaurant has since relocated and expanded to 85-seats plus a bar / lounge area.

In December 1994 Vikram married Meeru, who then joined him at the restaurant. “Our cuisine has stood out from others in that we do not serve what is typically expected from an India restaurant. We prefer to stay away from the tandoor oven since it’s already being used in so many other restaurants. Our philosophy behind the food has always been to keep our spices and cooking techniques Indian – from all regions of India – while using meats, seafood and produce that are locally available. To this effect, we change our menu seasonally.”

We’ll meet the incredible Chef Vikram.

Vikram was born in 1964 in India and grew up in Amritsar and Bombay. His most vivid childhood memories revolve around food and family. He pursued this further by studying Hotel Management in Salzburg, Austria. After his studies, Vikram continued working at various fine dining restaurants in Austria and, in 1989, moved to Canada to work at the Banff Springs Hotel.

Meeru was born in India but moved to Washington, D.C. at a very young age with her parents. Prior to marrying Vikram and moving to Canada, she worked with various organizations in human rights and international development projects.

“Along with the kitchen staff’s dedication and our love of experimenting, Vij’s blossomed quickly and won its first award from Vancouver Magazine for Best Asian restaurant in March 1995. In September 1996, we moved to a larger location and Meeru took over the kitchen and the recipes for the most part. Vikram focused his efforts on the overall running of the restaurant, the presentation of the food and the wine list. In October 2001, Vikram became a certified Sommelier.”

Vikram’s biography, Vij’s: A Chef’s One-Way Ticket to Canada with Indian Spices in His Suitcase publishes on March 21st.

Premium Lamb from West Coast Prime MeatsPassover and Easter are on the immediate horizon. For serious home cooks that means a family table of ham and/or lamb for Easter, and lamb for Passover. Our resident meats experts (The heralded Meatheads from West Coast Prime Meats, Terry & Jay) have some practical advice and cooking tips for us.

What’s all the fuss about lamb from Colorado and New Zealand? We’ll find out.

Sasha KannoBelmont Shore, Long Beach restaurant Roe Seafood (Owner / Chef Art Gonzalez) will host an “Electric Fundraiser” to benefit Farm Lot 59 on Wednesday, March 22nd from 4 – 7p.m. The food and cocktail-centric event is open to the public and proceeds will fund Farm Lot 59’s efforts to bring much needed electricity to the property.

“With recent vandalism and safety and security concerns, our need for electricity is greater than ever,” Farm Lot 59 founder and farmer Sasha Kanno said. “We’re excited to partner with Roe to help raise the funds needed to install power to the property so the farm can continue its mission to service the community and provide our youth with an ‘edible education’.”

“Considering Farm Lot 59 supplies produce to Roe and other restaurants in Long Beach, as well as offers an educational Living Classroom experience on the property for our city’s children, we feel it is important to do our part to help fund its efforts to bring electricity to the farm”, said Chef Art Gonzalez, chef and owner of both Roe Seafood and Panxa Cocina. “We’d love to see all of Long Beach support this one-of-a-kind agricultural treasure nestled in the middle of our bustling city.”

100% of proceeds from Farm Lot 59 signature cocktails and appetizers will go to the farm, as well as 10% of the proceeds from Roe Seafood’s regular menu that evening. Guests are encouraged to call the restaurant in advance at (562) 546-7110 to reserve a table for dinner service.

Founded by Sasha Kanno in 2010, Farm Lot 59/Long Beach Local is an agriculture-based official 501(c)(3) non-profit, organic and biodynamic farm that promotes the direct connection between farmer and consumer and serves as an educational resource for children through its Living Classroom program.

Farm Lot 59 grows vegetables, fruit and flowers without pesticides, herbicides or chemicals. Farm Lot 59 also creates local green jobs and grows healthy fresh food on a historically significant site, with an overall goal to make a difference in the local and global community by combining resources with the city, local partners, and friends.

Farmer Sasha is our guest.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Rick Reich, Proprietor, W.I.N.O, Brix at The Shore, Long Beach
Segment Three: Kim Heim, Main Street Oceanside, Sunset Market
Segment Four: Executive Chef Craig Strong, Studio, Montage Laguna Beach
Segment Five: Celebrity Chef Vikram Vij, Vij’s, Vancouver, B.C. Part One
Segment Six: Celebrity Chef Vikram Vij, Vij’s, Vancouver, B.C. Part Two
Segment Seven: “The Meatheads” (Terry and Jay) From West Coast Prime Meats
Segment Eight: Farm Lot 59 Benefit at Roe Seafood, Long Beach

Show 29, May 18, 2013: Craig Strong, executive chef of Studio at Montage Laguna Beach

Chef Craig StrongFor the 3rd year Chef Craig, Studio, and Montage Laguna Beach are hosting the Orange County “Taste of the Nation” benefit for Share Our Strength. Share Our Strength’s national mission is hunger relief.

One hundred percent of the ticket revenue from June 2nd goes to local Orange County hunger relief organizations for programs. All expenses are covered by donations and sponsors. That’s highly unusual!

The event itself is an elaborate, walk-around tasting on the oceanfront bluff (with views of the Pacific) of Studio with food tasting stations from Studio and celebrity chefs from around the country. There are also premium wines served. Guests have the chance to really interact with the chefs and winemakers in a relaxed environment.

The impressive chef line-up includes Alan Wong from Alan Wong’s in Honolulu, Josiah Citrin of Melisse in Santa Monica, and Brooke Williamson of Hudson House in Redondo Beach, the 1st runner up on this season’s “Top Chef” series on Bravo.

Tickets in advance are $150, and the VIP Meet the Chef experience is $250.

Play

May 18: Sherry Yard, Craig Strong, Bill Esparza, Martin Blin, Marcus Samuelsson

Podcasts

Segment One: Pastry Chef Sherry Yard
Segment Two: Craig Strong, executive chef of Studio at Montage Laguna Beach
Segment Three: Bill Esparza, the “Mexican Food Maestro” and authority on the food of Baja California
Segment Four: Marius Blin, executive chef of Sofitel Los Angeles and president of Club Culinaire of Southern California
Segment Five: Pastry Chef Sherry Yard, Celebrity Chef discusses the new Helms Bakery
Segment Six: Marcus Samuelsson, chef / proprietor of Red Rooster and Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem

Sherry YardSpecial treat for this Saturday’s show. Pastry princess Sherry Yard is guest hosting the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” She was Wolfgang Puck’s long-time pastry chef until departing after the Oscars this year to embark on a restaurant project of her own.

Sherry Yard is a multiple James Beard Award-winner for both the pastry arts as well as writing. These coveted medallions are the Oscars of the food world! Sherry was just in New York for the annual Beard Awards presented at Lincoln Center. Sherry will tell us what it’s like to be backstage and onstage in Manhattan during the Beard Awards.

Chef Craig StrongCraig Strong is the executive chef of Studio at Montage Laguna Beach. This is one of Orange County’s elite fine-dining destinations. It’s housed in its own architecturally distinctive building on the luscious grounds of Montage and the added bonus is the view of The Pacific.

On Sunday, June 3rd Chef Strong and his team are again hosting the annual Share Our Strength – Taste of the Nation benefit in Studio and the adjacent grounds. It’s a refined walk-around wine and food tasting afternoon with incredible tastes from some of the most high profile chefs in the country. Alan Wong from Alan Wong’s in Honolulu is one of the distinguished visiting chefs. Chef Alan cooks for the President at Alan Wong’s when he visits Honolulu. Also Chef Brooke Williamson of Hudson House in Redondo Beach. She was the runner- up in this season’s “Top Chef” series on Bravo!

Bill EsperanzaSaxophonist Bill Esparza has been dubbed the “Mexican Food Maestro.” As a hobby he’s developed an expertise (now a bustling 2nd career) in the foods of Baja California and the other culinary regions of Mexico. He leads escorted food tours there for journalists and food fans alike. He’s even given advice to Travel Channel’s Andrew Zimmern.

On Sunday, June 23rd he’s hosting LA Weekly’s Tacolandia Tacofest from Noon to 5:00 p.m. on the parking lot of the Hollywood Palladium.

33rd Annual Picnic de ChefsWhen a group of accomplished French chefs get together to cook guaranteed fun is always on the menu. The 33rd Annual Picnic des Chefs will be held on Sunday, June 2, 2013 at Vasa Park in Agoura Hills. This picnic is organized annually by the Club Culinaire of Southern California to benefit area charities.

On hand will be food tasting stations from 20 area restaurants complimented by premium wines from 20 wineries.

Chef Martin Blin the executive chef of Sofitel Los Angeles (across from the Beverly Center) and the President of the group joins us with all the appetizing details.

Back to our conversation with Sherry Yard.

Her new venture is the reimagined Helms Bakery (under construction) in partnership with Sang Yoon of Father’s Office and Lukshon. This will be on the site of the original Helms Bakery, an iconic food landmark and brand established in 1931 (with home delivery) which sadly closed in 1969.

Marcus Samuelsson and Andy Harris at a Taste of Harlem in Baldwin HillsMarcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster and Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem really needs no introduction. Among his many achievements he orchestrated the menu for President Obama’s first State Dinner at the White House during his initial term.

His excellent memoirs, Yes, Chef, is now in paperback. It just earned a James Beard Award. It’s a must read for any young person contemplating a career in the culinary arts. Chef Marcus is brutally honest in recounting his achievements and failures on the lengthy path to the major success he now is.

Podcasts

Segment One: Pastry Chef Sherry Yard
Segment Two: Craig Strong, executive chef of Studio at Montage Laguna Beach
Segment Three: Bill Esparza, the “Mexican Food Maestro” and authority on the food of Baja California
Segment Four: Marius Blin, executive chef of Sofitel Los Angeles and president of Club Culinaire of Southern California
Segment Five: Pastry Chef Sherry Yard, Celebrity Chef discusses the new Helms Bakery
Segment Six: Marcus Samuelsson, chef / proprietor of Red Rooster and Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem