Show 428, June 5, 2021: Stuart Smith, Founder, Smith-Madrone Vineyards & Winery, Spring Mountain, Napa Valley

Stuart Smith of Smith Madrone Winery

Brothers Stuart and Charles Smith are the vineyard managers and winemakers of Smith-Madrone Winery located on Spring Mountain in the Napa Valley. Smith-Madrone celebrated their 50th Anniversary on May 14th. The name for the winery came as a tribute to the Smith brothers who pursued their dream and to the Madrone trees which distinguish the property.”

“In May 1971, with a partnership of family and friends, Stuart Smith bought the ‘terroir’ which today is Smith-Madrone Vineyards & Winery. He was 22 years old and had just received his B.A. in Economics from UC Berkeley and was taking classes towards his Master’s in Viticulture at UC Davis. In trying to find land to plant vineyard in the Napa Valley, through a family friend he explored a forest on the remotest and highest part of Spring Mountain and discovered that the land had been a vineyard in the 1880s and in fact had been part of the wagon trail route between Napa and Santa Rosa.”

Charles Smith (Stuart’s brother) joined the Winery in 1972 as Winemaker. Stuart’s son, Sam, became part of the leadership team in 2010 as Assistant Winemaker.

“Smith-Madrone’s current releases are the 2017 Chardonnay, 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2017 Riesling, 2016 Cook’s Flat Reserve and in very limited availability, magnums of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cook’s Flat Reserve.”

“As part of Smith-Madrone’s anniversary festivities they are inaugurating on Saturday, June 19th a regular series of informative and entertaining Zoom tastings and discussions with the winemakers. Stuart, his brother, Winemaker Charles Smith, and Stuart’s son, Sam, the Assistant Winemaker, will open older vintages and taste and discuss them with the Zoom attendees.” Sign-up via the Smith-Madrone website.

Founder Stuart Smith is our guest to gently pull the cork on Smith-Madrone for us.

Show 366, March 28, 2020: Bracken’s Kitchen with Founder, Chef Bill Bracken

Bill Bracken of Brackens KitchenChef Bill Bracken, the Founder of Bracken’s Kitchen, is no stranger to the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” “In response to even more economic and social restrictions due to the coronavirus, Bracken’s Kitchen, a growing non-profit that creatively recovers food and feeds those in need is stepping up its meal production to a goal of at least 25,000 meals a week. That’s nearly four times their average! They cannot do this alone. They are seeking donations to keep moving forward. They’ve changed their meal production at Bracken’s Kitchen to meet the increasing need in our community.”

“My heart and prayers goes out to each and every person whose life is being completely turned upside down by this invisible virus,” said Bill Bracken, Founder of Bracken’s Kitchen.

“But in spite of all of this please remember my friends. THIS TOO WILL PASS and life will go on. Now more than ever we will work to “Delivering Hope, One Tasty Meal At A Time.”

Bracken’s Kitchen is seeking donations to support their Covid-19 Response goals and can be made here.

Chef Bill Bracken is our guest explaining the community need.

Show 337, August 17, 2019: Tara Lazar, Founder, Foundation 10 Creative, Palm Springs Part Two

Tara Lazar of Founders 10 CreativePalm Springs resident Tara Lazar is the Founder of Foundation 10 Creative, a prominent, and growing, hospitality group in Palm Springs. Tara has created a small empire of iconic restaurants in the ever-growing travel destination of Palm Springs

“Initially started as a personal project to entertain and serve friends, F10 Creative has grown into a tight-knit network of some of the best food and beverage offerings in town, and continues to expand.”

“Tara is a Palm Springs native, and after spending time traveling, sampling flavors around the world, she returned home to build Cheeky’s as the first establishment in the F10 line. Tara has been hands-on in every step of the way for each property, from creating the menu and cooking on the line, to designing the atmosphere and touching tables nightly. She now employs almost 200 residents of Palm Springs, and has been an influential voice across staffing, sourcing and serving in the hospitality industry.”

Tara Lazar continues the conversation with us.

Show 334, July 27, 2019: Terri Henry, Founder, DINE LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week

Terri Henry of Dine LBC and Terri Henry MarketingTerri Henry is the Founder and Organizer of DINE LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week which debuted in 2014. Participating restaurants offer value-oriented dining menus during the nine days of the event from Saturday, August 3rd through Sunday, August 11th.

“Experience the diverse cuisine that delights the palate and defines the art of dining in Long Beach. Held annually, DINE LBC features value-oriented two or three course menus from dozens of Long Beach’s best restaurants located in twelve unique neighborhoods throughout the City.”

Each participating restaurant offers a three-course menu priced at $15, $25, $35, $45, $55 or $65 per guest with wine pairing options at select fine dining locations OR dinner for two priced at $25, $35, $45, $55 or $65, where diners share an appetizer, each enjoy their own entree, then share a dessert at more casual establishments.”

“The only meal planning you’ll need to worry about during Dine LBC week is which restaurant to try every night of the week.”

There is also a “Dine. Snap. Share” Instagram contest afoot for DINE LBC restaurant guests. One lucky diner will receive a two-nights Staycation at The Westin Long Beach along with dinner at the newly launched Navy Proof Food & Spirits. Contest rules on the Dine LBC Website. Good luck.


We’ll meet Terri Henry.

Show 334, July 27, 2019: Beach City Food Tour’s (Long Beach) Founder, Layla Ali-Ahmad

Layla Ali Ahmad of Beach City Food ToursA great way to be introduced to the foods of a new area is to partake of the highest rated food walking tour of that neighborhood. Beach City Food Tours has been doing that very successfully in Long Beach for the last couple of years with their flagship tour, Downtown Long BeachWalking Tour. Last year they added the irresistible East Village Craft Cocktail Tour.

Proprietress Layla Ali-Ahmad joins us with all the details of what’s on the menu.

Show 323, May 11, 2019: Donald Contursi, Founder & President, Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, Las Vegas

Donald Contursi of Lipsmacking Foodie Tours“In Vegas, you may need Lady Luck at the gambling tables, but not at the dining ones. Not when you rely on Lip Smacking Foodie Tours’ award-winning culinary walking tours that ensure a delicious payoff in the best bites this exciting city offers.”

“Our mission at LIPSMACKING foodie tours is to introduce visitors and locals alike to the best signature dishes, unique preparations and exciting tastes in Las Vegas. The mouths behind Lip Smacking Foodie Tours love food, eating, dining and experiencing. This quartet of passions originally inspired us to pursue careers in the food, beverage and hospitality industries. And ultimately, after years in the game, we created Las Vegas’ premier walking tour company exclusively geared toward those craving the ultimate taste of Las Vegas.”

“Book a tour today and you will be privy to a day or night adventure at up to four top restaurants, on the Strip or downtown, hosted by the citys culinary insiders who will entertain you with fascinating stories about Vegas. At each restaurant, you’re a VIP, whisked to the best table to enjoy 3 to 4 signature dishes at each stop. We take the gamble out of finding the most Lip Smacking tastes among the more than 330 restaurants on the Strip.”

President & Founder Donald Contursi is our guide.

Show 256, January 13, 2018: Conner Watts, Founder, Los Muertos Brewery, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Conner WattsSurprisingly craft beer is still a bit of a novelty in Mexico due to some odd distribution regulations. Fortunately (due to very hard work among dedicated & patient beer aficionados) these archaic regulations have been relaxed in the last few years and local craft beers can now reach restaurants and bars. In Sunny Puerto Vallarta the first craft brewery and brewpub to gain traction is the growing Los Muertos Brewery.

“For years during the proliferation of tourism in Mexican beach destinations like Puerto Vallarta the beer scene was completely dominated by smooth drinking Mexican lagers. As demonstrated by every Corona commercial ever this is great for sitting on a beach. To this day many tourists think of a “local” Mexican beers as Corona, Pacifico, or Dos Equis XX. But as a growing number of beer drinkers are pushing craft tastes into the mainstream these standard macro beers definitely leave many connoisseurs wanting more. Upon relocating full time to Puerto Vallarta, the founders of Los Muertos could not have agreed more. Driven by the thirst for flavorful varieties of beer, bringing Vallarta its first craft brewery became their dream.”

Los Muertos Brewery has become a popular destination for locals, visitors from other parts of Mexico, South America and the US, as well as American ex-pats now living in Vallarta.

Expansion is on the way. A new building a few doors away from the existing brewery restaurant has been secured. It will be expanded brewing capacity alongside a different food concept. Stay tuned…

We’ll enjoy a cold one with founder & restaurateur Conner Watts.

Show 156, January 23, 2016: Steve Dickler, Founder & Co-Owner, Chefs’ Toys

Steve Dickler of Chefs ToysWe love entrepreneurial success stories on the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” You’ve probably seen Chefs’ Toys fleet of distinctive trucks navigating the freeways in Southern California. It all started in 1985 as a modest, mobile knife-sharpening business.

Today, Chefs’ Toys with 6 massive, fully-stocked warehouse stores in Southern California, is the largest full-line supplier of foodservice equipment and smallwares in the West. At any given moment millions of dollars in equipment and supplies are in stock locally and ready for delivery.

Founder Steve Dickler, a working chef by background, is our guest.

Show 156, January 23, 2016: Steve Dickler, Founder & Co-Owner, Chefs’ Toys Continues…

Steve Dickler of Chefs ToysChefs’ Toys, the leading restaurant equipment and supplies company in Southern California, has recently acquired Michael Blackman & Associates. MBA, as the company is often referred to in the foodservice space, has been operating for over 30 years and is known as one of the top restaurant kitchen designers in southern California and nationally as well. With an impressive roster of customers, MBA has received numerous awards and accolades since its founding.

“Chefs’ Toys has provided commercial kitchen design services for many years. Michael Blackman & Associates has developed an exceptional reputation in the industry”, says Steve Dickler, President of Chefs’ Toys. “With their deep expertise in kitchen and bar design, restaurant interior design, tremendous knowledge and resources for restaurant fixtures, architecture, planning and construction, the MBA team will help take Chefs’ Toys to a whole new level”.

With its acquisition of Michael Blackman and Associates, Chefs’ Toys offers full professional services including design, planning, consulting, and project management services for restaurants, bars, and commercial kitchens.

Show 98, November 22, 2014: Stagecoach Co. Wine Tours / Wine Tours Santa Ynez Valley

Eric John ReynoldsThe primo attraction in California’s charmingly rural Santa Ynez Valley is the diversity of noteworthy wineries. The wine trail there includes Los Alamos, Buellton, Solvang, Ballard, Los Olivos and Santa Ynez. How do you navigate the Valley? The “SoCal Restaurant Show” recently left that in the expert hands of Stagecoach Co. Wine Tours, based right there.

All of their accommodating hosts have Level One sommelier training and are treated as VIPs at the carefully selected wineries included on the tour. As a Stagecoach Co. Wine Tours guest you are guaranteed a warm welcome at each of the four carefully selected winery stops. A picnic lunch is part of excursion and you get picked up at your hotel. Some of their personable hosts have actually managed winery tasting rooms.

“Just sit back, relax and enjoy the beauty and wonderful boutique wineries that Santa Barbara wine country has to offer.”

We’ll meet the proprietor and founder, Eric John Reynolds.