Show 277, June 16, 2018: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris

Andrew and William GruelHappy Father’s Day to all our Dads out there (including our Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel who is expecting another Family member to arrive later in the year.)

Now an attention-grabbing preview of this Saturday’s abundant 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, upon careful reflection, that’s probably a pretty good thing…

The iconic Test Kitchen located at the historic Los Angeles Times building in Downtown Los Angeles is truly a wonder. It was built, state-of-the-art, in 2000 when that floor was extensively remodeled after the paper’s printing presses were moved to a new production facility on Olympic Blvd. It’s an expansive space steeped in local history. With the consolidation in the media over the years very few newspapers or magazines maintain Test Kitchens. They are costly to operate. Fortunately, the Times’ Test Kitchen endures. The Test Kitchen Director, Noelle Carter, is our enthusiastic guide.

Shrub cocktails (both with alcohol and virgin) are now on the menu at better bars everywhere. Enter Solvang’s CT and Jody Williams who have long been in the beverage industry, both working in the wine industry for the last 15 years and owning their own wine bar (Wandering Dog Wine Bar) for the last eleven of those. After enjoying some shrub cocktails at a local restaurant they started thinking about how fun it would be to start making their own for home consumption. It grew dramatically from there and Broken Clock Vinegar Works Founder CT Williams has all the quaffable 411 for us.

At NZ Wine Navigator (virtual store,) you’ll find the finest selection of artisanal New Zealand wines available in the US delivered right to your door.  Personally selected by Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas (the first MS in New Zealand and the official global ambassador of New Zealand wines), these wines prove that New Zealand is much more than Sauvignon Blanc. Westwood’s Napa Valley Grille is hosting a special NZ Wine Navigator Dinner there on Thursday evening, June 28th. Napa Valley Grille’s General Manager, Brian Cousins, and Executive Chef Kenny Spost pull the cork for us with the tempting specifics.

Nicolas-Jay is a pinot noir venture located in the heart of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Celebrated Burgundian winemaker, Jean-Nicolas Meo of Domaine Meo-Camuzet, and music and media entrepreneur, Jay Boberg, lend their individual talents and shared dedication to the winery, where traditional French winemaking meets quintessential Oregon terroir. Jay Boberg is our guest.

Los Olivos’ The Bear and Star under the culinary direction of Executive Chef John Cox, serves “Refined Ranch Cuisine” with flair inspired by the Parker family at the eponymous Fess Parker Wine Country Inn. The restaurant utilizes proteins and vegetables sourced from the nearby Parker Ranch, an incredible resource. The Bear and Star serves Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner and is both a destination and a favorite of the locals. Chef John (The Cowboy Chef) is our guest.

Chef Andrew Gruel, the founder of The Slapfish Restaurant Group, joins us with another installment of “Ask the Chef.” Swordfish is on a lot of restaurant menus. It’s a big one…When harvested it typically weighs some 200 to 600 pounds but can grow much larger. It’s mild flavor and firm texture makes it a very popular fish. Chef Andrew provides more insight.

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


Show 227, June 10, 2017: Chef Ronnel Capacia, Journey’s End at Pechanga

Ronnel Capacia at the Chili CookoffRegular listeners of the “SoCal Restaurant Show” know Chef Ronnel Capacia as the master of the grill, smoker and pizza oven at Kelsey’s – Great Food & Drinks.

He’s just been promoted to Chef at Journey’s End at Pechanga, the stylish restaurant with incredible views located in the handsome clubhouse of the Journey golf course.

Special Father’s Day Brunch there on June 18th at $39 for Adults and $21 for Children. Everything from a Live Egg & Omelet Station to a Seafood Bar and Carved Roasted Prime Rib station. Also. a Louisiana-Style Seafood Boil.

Chef Ronnel is always a serious competitor (and one to watch) in the annual Pechanga Chili Cook-off.

We’ll get Chef Ronnel off the links for a chat.




Show 170, May 7, 2016: Oak Grill’s Executive Chef, Marc Johnson, Island Hotel, Newport Beach

Marc JohnsonExecutive Chef Marc Johnson at Oak Grill at The Island Hotel in Newport Beach just launched Slow Smoked Sundaze. It’s a relaxed, family-style, smoked BBQ Sunday. Chef Marc is here with all the succulent details.

Chef Marc isn’t just playing around with grilling and barbecue here. He has three years of serious regional cooking experience in Huntsville, Alabama. That’s real barbecue country! His creations at Slow Smoke Sundaze play homage to the various styles of American regional barbecue.

“All summer long you’ll find us smoking up Southern goodness at Oak Grill. Join us for Slow Smoked Sundaze and devour authentic BBQ smoked on property with a mixture of cherry and oak wood.”

“Choose from baby back ribs, brisket, cedar-plank salmon, fried chicken and whole roasted catch of the day. The mains are accompanied by deliciously authentic sides and down-home desserts.”

“Wash it down with our backyard lemonade, spiked with Tito’s Vodka if that’s your thing.”

Slow Smoked Sundaze is an inspired idea for Dad on Father’s Day on June 19th. It’s a reasonable $34 for adults with generous portions. You’ll probably have food to take home.



Show 33, June 29, 2013: On the Road with Chef Jet and Producer Andy

Jet talked about his standout Father’s Day meal at Providence. It’s really a one-of-a-kind Los Angeles experience.

Providence RestaurantIn the opinion of the “SoCal Restaurant Show” this is L.A.’s finest seafood restaurant owned by Executive Chef Michael Cimarusti and business partner Donato Poto. Poto oversees the smooth-running front-of-the house there and also is the ultimate curator of the superb wine list. They previously worked together to great acclaim at Water Grill in Downtown Los Angeles before going out on their own and establishing Providence in the original home of Joachim Splichal’s Patina.


June 29: Kedric Francis, Tony Abou-Ganim, Thornton Winery


Segment One: On the Road with Chef Jet and Producer Andy
Segment Two: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine Part One
Segment Three: Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist Part One
Segment Four: Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist Part Two
Segment Five: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine Part Two
Segment Six: David Vergari, Winemaker at Thornton Winery in Temecula

Time to talk dining…

Providence RestaurantChef Jet celebrated Father’s Day at Providence in Los Angeles. This is celebrity chef Michael Cimarusti’s (ex-Water Grill) much-praised, fine-dining seafood restaurant. In addition to the expected great seafood non-stuffy, attentive service is part of the experience. There is also a very deep wine list and an outstanding bar. Jet talks about his meal there and why this is such a popular special occasion establishment.

We’ll also answer some e-mail inquiries.

Kedric Francis of Coast Magazine and the Orange County Register MagazineMr. Suave himself, Kedric Francis, is back with us. He’s the Executive Editor of Coast Magazine and co-founding editor of the revamped OC Register Magazine.

Kedric is in-studio talking about local travel opportunities for Summer. He’s got some inspired ideas for traveling on the rails and previews the new attractions at The Disneyland Resort. It’s all child-friendly, too.

The Modern Mixologist Tony Abou-GanimWe’re delighted to welcome The Modern Mixologist, Tony Abou-Ganim, to the show. He’s a master barman and part magician. Tony is based in Las Vegas. He created the entire bar program (nothing short of spectacular) for the opening of Steve Wynn’s  original Bellagio, the trend-setting casino resort of it’s time.

Tony will share his inspirations for Summer cocktails and the importance of quality ice. It really makes the difference in a properly-prepared cocktail!

The Modern Mixologist also previews his new line of custom-designed bar tools.

Man about Orange County, Kedric Francis encores for another segment. This time he’s  chatting about the just-released June Restaurant Issue of Coast.

One feature profiles up and coming areas where there are pockets of distinctive dining places. Downtown Santa Ana is one of these spotlighted dining neighborhoods.

The most interesting piece, we think, is on the best restaurants in Orange County located in the worst spots. What a fun idea…

A truly underappreciated local wine country destination is the Temecula Valley. It’s 90 minutes, or less, from most areas of Orange County. It’s probably best known as the location of the Pechanga Casino Resort (largest Indian casino & hotel property in the West) but there is lots more out there.

Thornton Winery in TemeculaWhen you cross Butterfield Stage Road going East on Rancho California Road you hit the picturesque, and delightfully rural,  wine country. The first winery property you pass is the eye-catching Thornton Winery celebrating their 25th anniversary of proud family ownership in 2013. They are especially known for their premium California sparkling wines but also produce a  distinctive line of still wines under the stewardship of winemaker David Vergari.

Since the beginning Thornton has staged a highly regarded summer Champagne Jazz Series at the winery showcasing renowned contemporary jazz artists. Dave Koz performed two concerts there last weekend. It’s a superb environment to enjoy a concert in. You can also sip wine and enjoy a three-course seated dinner in the concert area.


Segment One: On the Road with Chef Jet and Producer Andy
Segment Two: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine Part One
Segment Three: Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist Part One
Segment Four: Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist Part Two
Segment Five: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine Part Two
Segment Six: David Vergari, Winemaker at Thornton Winery in Temecula

Show 32, June 22, 2013: On the Road with Chef Jet and Producer Andy

Chef Jet has really rolled up the airline miles this works. Looks like 3,000 plus.

Chef jet Tila and Alton BrownHe was a key part of the annual college and university dining conference at UMass in Amherst, Massachusetts this week. This brings together the management teams and chefs from prominent universities across the country to discuss trends. Harvard and Cornell University were there for starters. Jet has been a conference participant for a long time.

University students are the restaurant diners of tomorrow and are increasing in sophistication about food and cooking. Colleges and Universities serve from 1,000 to 20,000 or more meals a day when school is in session. Pizza and burgers on the menu don’t cut it anymore!

Jet brought Food Network’s Chef Robert Irvine to the gathering. He was part of a “Chopped”-style competition there that Jet was the host for. It was 16 prominent chefs in four rounds of competition.

When Jet got back to Los Angeles he was a solo celebrity chef judge for an episode of a smart, new Food Network competition series hosted by Alton Brown that is currently in production. More to come on this…

A Taste of Greece in IrvineProducer Andy reported on “A Taste of Greece” which is this weekend. It’s the 35th Annual Greek Festival produced by St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church on Alton Parkway in Irvine. It’s Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday. Over 11,000 guests are expected this year. Info phone is : 949.733.3102

Chef Cathy Palvos of the popular Lucca (Italian-fare) in Irvine is very involved in the Festival.

It’s three days of delicious Greek food, Greek wine and beer, cooking demonstrations, Greek folk dancing lesions, games, and carnival rides. You’ll have a hard time finding a better variety of exquisite Greek pastries baked by the church’s capable philanthropic group. Adult admission is a modest $3.


Show 31, June 15, 2013: David Walker, co-founder of Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

David Walker of Firestone Walker Brewing CompanyBack in 1996 David and Adam Firestone had this crazy idea to ferment ale in 60 gallon oak barrels reviving a style of brewing ales in England from some 150 years ago. Their first effort was the now popular Double Barrel Ale, the signature of the brewery. The brewery is now located in Paso Robles.

In making the reference to wine David suggests Ales compare to the red varietals. They are bolder in character and full bodied. Lagers are lighter in character and compare to the while varietals.

On Father’s Day, Firestone-Walker Brewing in concert with Food GPS is hosting a Father’s Day Collabrewtive Brunch at Lot 613 in Downtown Los Angeles from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. In addition to the craft beer sampling six food stations will be there featuring the creations of top local chefs including Daniel Mattern and Roxanna Jullapat of Cooks County.

Coffee-infused beers will be on the menu, too, specially created for the event by the brewmasters working with master coffee roasters. Firestone-Walker is matched with Intelligentsia Coffee.


Show 31, June 15, 2013: Pastry Chef Roxana Jullapat, Co-Owner of Cooks County in Los Angeles

Roxanne Jullapat of Cooks County RestaurantThe low-key husband and wife team of Roxanne and Daniel Mattern are the proprietors and culinary team behind the well-received Cooks County.

With their extensive fine-dining backgrounds the goal is to take the freshest of local ingredients and prepare them so they taste delicious without over thinking the process. They source their produce at three area farmers markets each week.

Their thought is the age of overindulgence is behind us and this is the way younger folks want to cook and eat. You can also frequent a restaurant of this style more often.

Roxana’s favorite desserts use fresh fruit of the season. For Father’s Day she is bringing back her signature Chocolate Stout Cake with house-made Stout ice cream!