Show 109, February 7, 2015: Executive Chef Eric Samaniego, Little Sparrow Café

Eric SamaniegoEric Samaniego (ex- Comme Ca in West Hollywood) is the acclaimed Executive Chef of Little Sparrow in Santa Ana. The Orange County Register’s Restaurant Critic, Brad A. Johnson, awarded Little Sparrow recognition as “Best New Restaurant” in 2013. Samaniego’s Pastry Chef, Nasera Munshi, was Johnson’s choice as “Pastry Chef of the Year” in 2014. It’s only 42 seats.

If all of that wasn’t enough recognition Little Sparrow was selected by the producers (including Tom Colicchio) of Bravo’s “Best New Restaurant” competition series as one of 16 USA restaurants from four cities to vie for the title of Best New Restaurant and a cool $100,000 cash prize. Chef Eric credits Brad Johnson’s coverage of Little Sparrow in the “Orange County Register” in attracting the initial attention of the producers of “Best New Restaurant.”

Despite not having any formal restaurant background, married owners of Little Sparrow, Bruce Marsh and Naseem Aflakian, opened the restaurant with financial help from Kickstarter.

They are proud of their guest-friendly boutique wine program where serious effort is given to matching appropriate wines with Chef Eric’s cuisine. On Wednesday nights all full bottles of wine are priced at half-off, and there is no corkage on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights.

With eager anticipation we’ll see how Little Sparrow does in their initial episode airing on Wednesday evening. Feb. 25th. In this first round they compete against Chef Gabe Thompson and L’Apicio, located in Manhattan’s East Village.

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Show 66, March 22, 2014: Elizabeth Borsting and Terri Henry, Co-Producers, EAT LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week

Eat LBC Long Beach Restaurant Week52 Long Beach restaurants are participating in EAT LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week, the city’s first-ever Restaurant Week. The dates are March 30th through April 5th.

Several prominent Long Beach neighborhoods are represented including Downtown, East Village, Downtown Waterfront, Belmont Shore, Belmont Heights, the PCH Corridor and East Anaheim/Zafaria District. In addition to their regular menu, each restaurant will offer a special three-course menu during Restaurant Week which includes an appetizer, entrée and dessert for $26 at casual eateries, and $38 at fine dining establishments. Tax and gratuity are additional.

Restaurants participate in restaurant weeks to persuade first-time guests to return. You see restaurants at their very best and the menus are value priced.

Co-producers Elizabeth Borsting and Terri Henry join us to preview Restaurant Week.

Time to make your reservations…

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March 22: Brooke Williamson, Selanne Steak Tavern, Grand Central Market, Eat LBC, Food Network 20th Anniversary, Blue Bottle Coffee

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Executive Chef Brooke Williamson, Hudson House, The Tripel and soon, Playa Provisions
Segment Three: Executive Chef Josh Severson, Selanne Steak Tavern
Segment Four: Kevin West, journalist, cookbook author, home preserving expert
Segment Five: Elizabeth Borsting and Terri Henry, Co-Producers, EAT LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week
Segment Six: Eric Boardman, Food & Travel TV Producer, On-Camera Host & Personality, and Writer
Segment Seven: David Wicker, Managing Partner and Vice President of Sales & Marketing, West Coast Prime Meats
Segment Eight: James Freeman, Founder & CEO, Blue Bottle Coffee

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Chef Brooke Williamson of Hudson House and The Tripel is back with us. Her latest venture, Playa Provisions, is about to debut. In Laguna Beach we’re checking in with Executive Chef Josh Severson at the booming Selanne Steak Tavern.

The Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles is the grandfather of food halls in the area. Exciting things are going on there with the arrival of distinctive new food businesses. We’re continuing with our preview of EAT LBC, Long Beach’s first ever restaurant week set for March 30th through April 5th.

The Food Network celebrated its 20th Anniversary last year. That’s a lot of history. We’ll be talking about the early days of FN with one of their original show hosts.

Also on the menu is another information segment with our resident meat expert. We’ll discuss wet and dry aging and other meaty matters.

The hit of the just concluded Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim was a new cold-brewed coffee from Blue Bottle Coffee. The founder of Blue Bottle Coffee is with us to explain.

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

Brooke Williamson of Hudson House and TripelChef Brooke Williamson’s entire life has always been about food. With chef-husband Nick Roberts she now owns Hudson House in Redondo Beach and The Tripel in Playa Del Rey. Both are popular neighborhood spots. Soon to launch is their latest venture, Playa Provisions.

Chef Brooke has earned a Level 1 accreditation from The Court of Master Sommeliers.

Chef Brooke gained a national following on Bravo’s “Top Chef – Season 10” were she finished as a runner up. There is a strong rumor she will be part of Celebrity Cruises’ “Top Chef at Sea,” 7-day voyage to Alaska on August 15th out of Seattle.

Josh SeversonWe’re revisiting the new Selanne Steak Tavern in Laguna Beach. It’s less than a half-year old but is already attracting loyal repeat diners from the highly discriminating neighborhood. Our guest is Executive Chef Joshua Severson.

Chef Josh previously spent time with celebrity chef Tom Colicchio at CraftSteak in Las Vegas at The MGM Grand.

There is a lot more than juicy steaks on the Selanne Steak Tavern menu.

Kevin WestKevin West is a respected writer, cookbook author and hobbyist-turned professional-canner. His first cookbook (published last year) was, Saving the Season: a cook’s guide to home canning, pickling, and preserving.

He’s also part of the team suggesting the appealing new food enterprises at the historic Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles, opened in 1917. Already there (and making an impression) are Valerie Confections, Horse Thief BBQ, G&B Coffee, Eggslut, DTLA Cheese, and Sticky Rice.

On the way are Wexler’s Deli, The Oyster Gourmet, Olio Pizzeria, and Berlin Currywurst. Also opening soon is Belcampo Meat Co., a full-service butcher shop featuring organic, grass-fed meats.

Eat LBC Long Beach Restaurant WeekOver 50 Long Beach restaurants are participating in EAT LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week, the city’s first-ever Restaurant Week. The dates are March 30th through April 5th.

Several prominent Long Beach neighborhoods are represented including Downtown, East Village, Downtown Waterfront, Belmont Shore, Belmont Heights, the PCH Corridor and East Anaheim/Zafaria District. In addition to their regular menu, each restaurant will offer a special three-course menu during Restaurant Week which includes an appetizer, entrée and dessert for $26 at casual eateries, and $38 at fine dining establishments. Tax and gratuity are additional.

Restaurants participate in restaurant weeks to persuade first-time guests to return. You see restaurants at their very best and the menus are value priced.

Co-producers Elizabeth Borsting and Terri Henry join us to preview Restaurant Week.

Clearly The Food Network which celebrated it’s 20th Anniversary last year has had a major influence on American popular opinion. They had to create a 2nd channel, “The Cooking Channel,” to accommodate all the potential sponsors who wanted to be represented. It’s now actually cool to talk about food and cook. Dudes share recipes…Chefs have become huge celebrities. Wolfgang Puck is better known World Wide than a lot of film and TV celebrities.

Eric BoardmanFood Network started modestly and with tight budgets. Our guest, Eric Boardman, was there in the early days. In 1999 he was the host of the popular series “Calling All Cooks.” The concept was the host going into the guest’s home kitchen where they make (with the series host) a recipe they are famous for in their immediate social circles, family or community. A lot were shot in Southern California but some exotic locations were used, too. The guests were talented home cooks.

West Coast Prime MeatsWest Coast Prime Meats really knows the meat business as only an insider can. Most of their seasoned, senior executives have an extensive background in the restaurant business or are master butchers. If fact West Coast’s key master butcher has more than 30 years experience in the field.

Dave Wicker, WCPM’s Vice President of Sales & Marketing and Managing Partner, is back with us to talk beef. We’ll talk about wet and dry aging and the cuts of steak. We’ll also weigh-in on whether having the bone-in on a steak adds moré flavor once it’s cooked.

James Freeman of Blue Bottle CoffeeBlue Bottle Coffee is a sensation for coffee lovers in San Francisco and New York. They are soon to arrive locally in Venice on Abbot Kinney Blvd. and in Culver City.

Blue Bottle Coffee was a big hit at the recently concluded Natural Products Expo West @ the Anaheim Convention Center. They were there to introduce their newest product, Cold Brewed New Orleans Iced Coffee packaged in a mini milk carton. It was one of the biggest hits at the show and the talk of the floor!

Founder and CEO James Freeman is with us to provide the background. He was actually at the show pouring samples!

Blue Bottle Coffee – New Orleans Iced Coffee. Blended with chicory, cane sugar & Clover Organic Milk.

“Near the beginning of the 19th Century, the French brought chicory-infused coffee to New Orleans. Two hundred years later we crafted our own organic, cold—brewed version for our farmers market stand, adding cane sugar and whole milk. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.”

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Executive Chef Brooke Williamson, Hudson House, The Tripel and soon, Playa Provisions
Segment Three: Executive Chef Josh Severson, Selanne Steak Tavern
Segment Four: Kevin West, journalist, cookbook author, home preserving expert
Segment Five: Elizabeth Borsting and Terri Henry, Co-Producers, EAT LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week
Segment Six: Eric Boardman, Food & Travel TV Producer, On-Camera Host & Personality, and Writer
Segment Seven: David Wicker, Managing Partner and Vice President of Sales & Marketing, West Coast Prime Meats
Segment Eight: James Freeman, Founder & CEO, Blue Bottle Coffee