Show 571, March 30, 2024: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

The 2nd year anniversary of notable Las Vegas-based food and entertainment journalist Al Mancini’s ambitious Neon Feast dining app happened last month. Lots of new features have now been added to the updated App. “Available now on app stores for both Apple and Android (as well as neonfeast.com), Neon Feast solves the “where to eat” dilemma for both visitors and locals with listings curated by dozens of local and nationally prominent food & beverage experts, searchable through a unique combination of filters and capabilities.” To celebrate there is an exciting photo sweepstakes contest on right now with the lucky grand prize winner being hosted to an evening for two at Joel Robuchon at the MGM Grand. Monthly there is a $300 Lip Smacking Foodie Tours gift certificate awarded. Al Mancini is our always in-the-know guest with highlights of what’s new on the Vegas dining scene. Al also has just launched with Gemini Stevens (his co-host on the Food & Loathing podcast) the NeonNews Website with current news (and breaking headline news) on the vibrant Vegas dining scene and lots more reported from his most reliable local sources.

Three Sticks Wines is a boutique, family-owned winery recognized for its unique super premium collection of Sonoma vineyards, award-winning pinot noir, and chardonnay. Proprietor William “Bill” S. Price III (nicknamed Billy Three Sticks) set about building a collection of six Grand Cru level Estate vineyards in Sonoma County starting with Durell in 1997. By way of acquiring or newly planting, he has built a reputation for owning and farming some of the finest pinot and chardonnay acreages in California. Since 2002 Three Sticks Co-founder and General Manager Prema Kerollis set about designing and building the experiences, culture, and voice of Three Sticks while Bill focused on the vineyards with Rob Harris, head of all vineyard activities and winegrowing for the Price Family Vineyards and Estates portfolio. After years spent focusing on vineyards and hospitality, Three Sticks was ripe for some serious winemaking talent. Director of Winemaking Ryan Prichard joined Three Sticks in 2015 to craft wines from Bill’s sought-after Heritage vineyards, notably Durell, Gap’s Crown, and Walala, only to discover the majesty of his small, organically farmed, hand-planted properties, known internally as Monopoles: One Sky, Alana, and William James.” Winemaker Ryan Prichard is our guest to pull the cork on all that is Three Sticks Wine.

Three generations of the Gonzalez Family have been in the grocery business in Southern California with the very popular Northgate Gonzalez Markets. Now they are pioneering a new, first of its kind in the United States shopping experience, with the arrival of the long-in-the-works Mercado Gonzalez in Costa Mesa. It’s a 70,000 square foot culinary wonder of truly mouth-watering authentic foods representing many regions of Mexico with some 20 Puestos (Food Stands) “teeming with vibrant colors, enticing aromas, and an array of flavorful delights. Explore a variety of flavors at Mercado González’s Puestos / Food Stands, where each stand offers a unique culinary adventure. Mercado has something to please every palate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.” Representing the 3rd generation of proud Gonzalez Family ownership is Joshua Gonzalez who is also the project Manager for Mercado Gonzalez. Joshua is our informed guide to all the enticing wonders of Mercado Gonzalez.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of the fast-casual Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries. French Fries…! There is nothing better than fresh-cut perfectly crisp fries. Chef Andrew shares his proven technique. (Rescheduled from last week.)

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

Show 571, March 30, 2024: Chef Andrew Gruel, Co-Host and Proprietor of Calico Fish House, with “Ask the Chef”

Chef Andrew Gruel of Big Parm and the Calico Fish House

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of the fast-casual Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative Ask the Chef segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries.

French Fries…! There is nothing better than fresh-cut, perfectly crisp fries. Something that seems so simple, however, is rarely done right. Chef Andrew shares his perfected technique. (Rescheduled from last week.)

Look for Chef Andrew’s new cooking video with Cathy Thomas on Orange Coast Magazine. He prepares One-Pan Seared Salmon with Sweet Potatoes (from Melissa’s), mushrooms, and garbanzo beans.

Check out Chef Andrew’s handy and practical cooking tips on Substack at “American Gravy.” There is an accessible free level as well as a premium option with a modest cost.

March 30: Al Mancini, Three Sticks Wines, Northgate Gonzalez Markets and Mercado Gonzalez

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Food Journalist Al Mancini, Las Vegas & Creator of the Neon Feast App for Las Vegas Dining Part One
Segment Three: Food Journalist Al Mancini, Las Vegas & Creator of the Neon Feast App for Las Vegas Dining Part Two
Segment Four: Three Sticks Wines, Sonoma County, with Director of Winemaking Ryan Prichard Part One
Segment Five: Three Sticks Wines, Sonoma County, with Director of Winemaking Ryan Prichard Part Two
Segment Six: Mercado Gonzalez, Costa Mesa, with Project Manager Joshua Gonzalez Part One
Segment Seven: Mercado Gonzalez, Costa Mesa, with Project Manager Joshua Gonzalez Part Two
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel, Co-Host and Proprietor of Calico Fish House, with “Ask the Chef”

Andy Harris, Executive Producer and Co-host previews the show.

The 2nd year anniversary of notable Las Vegas-based food and entertainment journalist Al Mancini’s ambitious Neon Feast dining app has happened. Lots of new features have now been added to the updated App. “Available now on app stores for both Apple and Android (as well as out their website), Neon Feast solves the “where to eat” dilemma for both visitors and locals with listings curated by dozens of local and nationally prominent food & beverage experts, searchable through a unique combination of filters and capabilities.” To celebrate there is an exciting photo sweepstakes contest on right now with the lucky winner being hosted to an evening for two at Joel Robuchon at the MGM Grand or a $300 Lip Smacking Foodie Tours gift certificate. Al Mancini is our always in-the-know guest with highlights of what’s new on the Vegas dining scene. Al also has just launched the NeonNews Website with current news (and breaking headline news) on the vibrant Vegas dining scene and lots more reported from his most reliable local sources.

Three Sticks Wines is a boutique, family-owned winery recognized for its unique super premium collection of Sonoma vineyards, award-winning pinot noir, and chardonnay. Proprietor William “Bill” S. Price III (nicknamed Billy Three Sticks) set about building a collection of six Grand Cru level Estate vineyards in Sonoma County starting with Durell in 1997. By way of acquiring or newly planting, he has built a reputation for owning and farming some of the finest pinot and chardonnay acreages in California. Since 2002 Three Sticks Co-founder and General Manager Prema Kerollis set about designing and building the experiences, culture, and voice of Three Sticks while Bill focused on the vineyards with Rob Harris, head of all vineyard activities and winegrowing for the Price Family Vineyards and Estates portfolio. After years spent focusing on vineyards and hospitality, Three Sticks was ripe for some serious winemaking talent. Director of Winemaking Ryan Prichard joined Three Sticks in 2015 to craft wines from Bill’s sought-after Heritage vineyards, notably Durell, Gap’s Crown, and Walala, only to discover the majesty of his small, organically farmed, hand-planted properties, known internally as Monopoles: One Sky, Alana, and William James.” Winemaker Ryan Prichard is our guest to pull the cork on all that is Three Sticks Wine.

Three generations of the Gonzalez Family have been in the grocery business in Southern California with the very popular Northgate Gonzalez Markets. Now they are pioneering a new, first of its kind in the United States shopping experience, with the arrival of the long-in-the-works Mercado Gonzalez in Costa Mesa. It’s a 70,000 square foot culinary wonder of truly mouth-watering authentic foods representing many regions of Mexico with some 20 Puestos (Food Stands) “teeming with vibrant colors, enticing aromas, and an array of flavorful delights. Explore a variety of flavors at Mercado González’s Puestos / Food Stands, where each stand offers a unique culinary adventure. Mercado has something to please every palate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.” Representing the 3rd generation of proud Gonzalez Family ownership is Joshua Gonzalez who is also the project Manager for Mercado Gonzalez. Joshua is our informed guide to all the enticing wonders of Mercado Gonzalez.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of the fast-casual Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries. French Fries…! There is nothing better than fresh-cut perfectly crisp fries. Chef Andrew shares his proven technique. (Rescheduled from last week.)

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

Al Mancini of Neon Feast

The 2nd year anniversary of notable Las Vegas-based food and entertainment journalist Al Mancini’s ambitious Neon Feast dining app has happened. Lots of new features have now been added to the updated App. “Available now on app stores for both Apple and Android (as well as on their website), Neon Feast solves the “where to eat” dilemma for both visitors and locals with listings curated by dozens of local and nationally prominent food & beverage experts, searchable through a unique combination of filters and capabilities.” To celebrate there is an exciting photo sweepstakes contest on right now with the lucky winner being hosted to an evening for two at Joel Robuchon at the MGM Grand or a $300 Lip Smacking Foodie Tours gift certificate.

Al Mancini is our always in-the-know guest with highlights of what’s new on the Vegas dining scene and looking ahead to what’s notable on the horizon for the rest of 2024. Some of the current talk of the town on dining is about the high-end restaurants at the newly opened (and long-delayed) Fontainebleau on The Strip, the reopening of the new Esther’s Kitchen in the Arts District with Executive Chef James Trees and the recently concluded International Pizza Expo.

Al also has just launched the NeonNews Website with current news (and breaking headline news) on the vibrant Vegas dining scene and lots more reported from his most reliable local sources.

Al takes a break from the Las Vegas dining action to join us.

Ryan Prichard of Three Sticks Winery

Three Sticks Wines is a boutique, family-owned winery recognized for its unique super premium collection of Sonoma vineyards, award-winning pinot noir, and chardonnay. Proprietor William “Bill” S. Price III (nicknamed Billy Three Sticks) set about building a collection of six Grand Cru level Estate vineyards in Sonoma County starting with Durell in 1997. By way of acquiring or newly planting, he has built a reputation for owning and farming some of the finest pinot and chardonnay acreages in California.”

“Since 2002 Three Sticks Co-founder and General Manager Prema Kerollis set about designing and building the experiences, culture, and voice of Three Sticks while Bill focused on the vineyards with Rob Harris, head of all vineyard activities and winegrowing for the Price Family Vineyards and Estates portfolio. After years spent focusing on vineyards and hospitality, Three Sticks was ripe for some serious winemaking talent. Director of Winemaking Ryan Prichard joined Three Sticks in 2015 to craft wines from Bill’s sought-after Heritage vineyards, notably Durell, Gap’s Crown, and Walala, only to discover the majesty of his small, organically farmed, hand-planted properties, known internally as Monopoles: One Sky, Alana, and William James.”

“The intimate relationship between the winemaker, grower, and each of the six unique properties shines through in each of the wines. Ryan understands how working with great vineyards and a meticulous winemaking style can produce inspiring results. He originally joined Three Sticks with famed pinot noir winemaker Bob Cabral in 2015 and took over winemaking entirely from Cabral in 2021. Three Sticks has a down-to-earth, highly focused, quality-obsessed approach to growing and winemaking.”

The Sonoma home for hospitality at Three Sticks is the historic restored 1842 Vallejo-Castenada Adobe. It’s situated just steps off Sonoma’s town square.

Winemaker Ryan Prichard is our guest to pull the cork on all that is Three Sticks Wine.

Joshua Gonzalez of Northgate Markets

Three generations of the Gonzalez Family have been in the grocery business in Southern California with the very popular Northgate Gonzalez Markets. Now they are pioneering a new, first of its kind in the United States shopping experience with the arrival of the long-in-the-works Mercado Gonzalez in Costa Mesa.

It’s a 70,000 square foot culinary wonder of truly mouth-watering authentic foods representing many regions of Mexico with some 20 Puestos (Food Stands) “teeming with vibrant colors, enticing aromas, and an array of flavorful delights. Explore a variety of flavors at Mercado González’s Puestos / Food Stands, where each stand offers a unique culinary adventure. Customers are able to savor sweet churros and sip seven types of hot chocolate from the famous Mexico City Churreria El Moro (a Mexico City landmark since 1935), indulge in crispy and succulent carnitas at Carnitas Don Miguel, relish a Chiva Torta by Familia Albarran, and enjoy Tacos Los Guichos from Familia Zenteno. Mercado has something to please every palate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”

All of the corn tortillas are made fresh throughout the day in the exhibition Tortilleria La Gonzalez located just as you enter the Mercado.

The Mercado even offers destination fine dining with Maizano. “Jorge Salim and Javier Hernandez Pons, the dynamic duo from the team behind beloved Los Angeles restaurants LA Cha Cha Chá in Arts District and Loreto in Elysian Valley, operate a new restaurant in Mercado called Maizano, a concept that is a homage to revered Mexican culinary and social traditions, and, as the name suggests, Mexican heirloom corn. Specifically, dishes such as mole, sopa de Lima, and a variety of memelas and tetelas are standouts.”

“One of the most exciting features of Mercado González is the showcase of breathtaking murals created by renowned Mexican artists from Guadalajara including Claudio Limón. His artistry captures the essence of Mexican culture, infusing each mural with the vivid colors and infectious joy that are hallmarks of Mexico. As customers explore the store, they will experience all the hand-painted signage on the Puestos and about eight murals.”

The attention to details is impressive. The carefully curated music in the seven zones of the Mercado changes throughout the day including in the (soon to be expanded) Dining Patio.

Representing the 3rd generation of proud Gonzalez Family ownership is Joshua Gonzalez who is also the project Manager for Mercado Gonzalez. Joshua is our guide to all the enticing wonders of Mercado Gonzalez.

Chef Andrew Gruel of Big Parm and the Calico Fish House

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of the fast-casual Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative Ask the Chef segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries.

French Fries…! There is nothing better than fresh-cut, perfectly crisp fries. Something that seems so simple, however, is rarely done right. Chef Andrew shares his perfected technique. (Rescheduled from last week.)

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Food Journalist Al Mancini, Las Vegas & Creator of the Neon Feast App for Las Vegas Dining Part One
Segment Three: Food Journalist Al Mancini, Las Vegas & Creator of the Neon Feast App for Las Vegas Dining Part Two
Segment Four: Three Sticks Wines, Sonoma County, with Director of Winemaking Ryan Prichard Part One
Segment Five: Three Sticks Wines, Sonoma County, with Director of Winemaking Ryan Prichard Part Two
Segment Six: Mercado Gonzalez, Costa Mesa, with Project Manager Joshua Gonzalez Part One
Segment Seven: Mercado Gonzalez, Costa Mesa, with Project Manager Joshua Gonzalez Part Two
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel, Co-Host and Proprietor of Calico Fish House, with “Ask the Chef”

Show 570, March 23, 2024: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

“The story of Copia Vineyards begins with the passion of Anita and Varinder Sahi, their shared love of wine and the beauty of its source. The Sahis each had different paths to this world. He has an engineering and business background, and she is a restaurant and marketing veteran. He globetrotted for work and his love for wine grew. She worked side-by-side with some of the finest restaurateurs and Michelin-starred chefs, cultivating her zeal for fine food and wine. Their shared interests, entrepreneurship and life’s ever-winding path sparked a trip to Paso Robles Wine Country in 2015. Essentially, they never left. In 2017, the Sahis’ search to find a special site to produce world-class Rhône and Bordeaux varietals was successful. They became the proud stewards of 50 acres of paradise-on-earth in the Willow Creek District of Paso Robles. It is now a veritable winemaker’s dream with nearly 40,000 vines planted in 24 distinct blocks. In 2022, their estate grew to include 26 acres of dramatic landscape in the Adelaida District. The vines on the Copia Estate are now producing some of the most opulent, concentrated fruit with densely rich varietal characteristics.” Anita and Varinder Sahi join us to gently pull the cork on all that is Copia Vineyards and Winery.

“In 2017, VOX Kitchen opened in the heart of Little Saigon, bringing the ‘Chifa’ culinary movement —a fusion of Chinese and Peruvian cuisines—to Orange County. The award-winning restaurant entered into 2024 with an expanded kitchen and dining room, new menu offerings, and a second location set to open in late 2024 at South Coast Plaza. The expansion allows Founder and Executive Chef Viet Ngyuen to dig deeper into the culinary ethos of VOX Kitchen and explore Chifa cuisine through the lens of seafood, a staple in Peru. VOX Kitchen is one of nearly a dozen pan-Asian fusion restaurants under the KEI Concepts umbrella, a trailblazing culinary group helmed by Nguyen. As the group’s founder, CEO, and executive chef, Nguyen is passionate about connecting diverse communities through the universal language of food – an ethos evident across all his concepts. Nguyen sees each restaurant as a canvas for this mission, where the culinary creations are not just dishes but cultural ambassadors.” Founder and Executive Chef Viet Nguyen is our guest.

“Indulge in a decadent world of sweetness at the 11th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival (BICF) in Hawaii presented by the Kona Cacao Association, taking place on April 26-27, 2024, at the beautiful beach-front Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa on the Big Island of Hawaii. The BICF promises an unforgettable experience filled with chocolate cooking demonstrations, cacao growing presentations, and the most festive walk-around gala of all galas! This year the theme as ‘Mystical Chocolate Masquerade’ and guests are encouraged to dress up, wear masks and get creative to win tickets to the 2025 event. Picture a venue adorned with rich colors, luxurious velvet, and opulent gold accents, creating the perfect backdrop for an evening of sweet enchantment.” Farsheed Bonakdar, President of the organizing Kona Cacao Association joins us with a ripe cacao pod in hand along with a bar of pure Hawaiian chocolate.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of the fast-casual Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries. Restaurants in California are still struggling to fully recover from the pandemic and now there are more storm clouds on the horizon. Insurance underwriters in California are frequently now not renewing restaurants’ policies. Chef Andrew provides the concerning overview.

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

March 23: Copia Vineyards and Winery, VOX Kitchen, Big Island Chocolate Festival

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Copia Vineyards & Winery, Paso Robles, with Anita and Varinder Sahi Part One
Segment Three: Copia Vineyards & Winery, Paso Robles, with Anita and Varinder Sahi Part Two
Segment Four: VOX Kitchen, Fountain Valley, with Founder & Executive Chef Viet Nguyen Part One
Segment Five: VOX Kitchen, Fountain Valley, with Founder & Executive Chef Viet Nguyen Part Two
Segment Six: Big Island Chocolate Festival, Hawaii with Farsheed Bonakdar Part One
Segment Seven: Big Island Chocolate Festival, Hawaii with Farsheed Bonakdar Part Two
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel, Co-Host and Proprietor of Calico Fish House, with “Ask the Chef”

Andy Harris, Executive Producer and Co-host previews the show.

“The story of Copia Vineyards begins with the passion of Anita and Varinder Sahi, their shared love of wine and the beauty of its source. The Sahis each had different paths to this world. He has an engineering and business background, and she is a restaurant and marketing veteran. He globetrotted for work and his love for wine grew. She worked side-by-side with some of the finest restaurateurs and Michelin-starred chefs, cultivating her zeal for fine food and wine. Their shared interests, entrepreneurship and life’s ever-winding path sparked a trip to Paso Robles Wine Country in 2015. Essentially, they never left. In 2017, the Sahis’ search to find a special site to produce world-class Rhône and Bordeaux varietals was successful. They became the proud stewards of 50 acres of paradise-on-earth in the Willow Creek District of Paso Robles. It is now a veritable winemaker’s dream with nearly 40,000 vines planted in 24 distinct blocks. In 2022, their estate grew to include 26 acres of dramatic landscape in the Adelaida District. The vines on the Copia Estate are now producing some of the most opulent, concentrated fruit with densely rich varietal characteristics.” Anita and Varinder Sahi join us to gently pull the cork on all that is Copia Vineyards and Winery.

“In 2017, VOX Kitchen opened in the heart of Little Saigon, bringing the ‘Chifa’ culinary movement —a fusion of Chinese and Peruvian cuisines—to Orange County. The award-winning restaurant entered into 2024 with an expanded kitchen and dining room, new menu offerings, and a second location set to open in late 2024 at South Coast Plaza. The expansion allows Founder and Executive Chef Viet Ngyuento dig deeper into the culinary ethos of VOX Kitchen and explore Chifa cuisine through the lens of seafood, a staple in Peru. VOX Kitchen is one of nearly a dozen pan-Asian fusion restaurants under the KEI Concepts umbrella, a trailblazing culinary group helmed by Nguyen. As the group’s founder, CEO, and executive chef, Nguyen is passionate about connecting diverse communities through the universal language of food – an ethos evident across all his concepts. Nguyen sees each restaurant as a canvas for this mission, where the culinary creations are not just dishes but cultural ambassadors.” Founder and Executive Chef Viet Nguyen is our guest.

“Indulge in a decadent world of sweetness at the 11th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival (BICF) in Hawaii presented by the Kona Cacao Association, taking place on April 26-27, 2024, at the beautiful beach-front Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa on the Big Island of Hawaii. The BICF promises an unforgettable experience filled with chocolate cooking demonstrations, cacao growing presentations, and the most festive walk-around gala of all galas! This year the theme as ‘Mystical Chocolate Masquerade’ and guests are encouraged to dress up, wear masks and get creative to win tickets to 2025 event. Picture a venue adorned with rich colors, luxurious velvet, and opulent gold accents, creating the perfect backdrop for an evening of sweet enchantment. Farsheed Bonakdar, President of the organizing Kona Cacao Association joins us with a ripe cacao pod in hand along with a bar of pure Hawaiian chocolate.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of the fast-casual Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries. French Fries…! There is nothing better than fresh-cut perfectly crisp fries. Chef Andrew shares his proven technique.

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

Anita and Varinder Sahi of Copia Vineyards and Winery

“The abridged story of Copia Vineyards and Winery in Paso Robles: Passionate curiosity, tireless effort and a sense of gratitude.”

“The word Copia is a Latin root word that means abundance or plenty. It’s an apt name for a winery that is created by two people who have always chased the glass half full.”

“The story of Copia Vineyards begins with the passion of Anita and Varinder Sahi, their shared love of wine and the beauty of its source. The Sahis each had different paths to this world. He has an engineering and business background, and she is a restaurant and marketing veteran. He globetrotted for work and his love for wine grew. She worked side-by-side with some of the finest restaurateurs and Michelin-starred chefs, cultivating her zeal for fine food and wine. Their shared interests, entrepreneurship and life’s ever-winding path sparked a trip to Paso Robles Wine Country in 2015. Essentially, they never left.”

“In 2017, the Sahis’ search to find a special site to produce world-class Rhône and Bordeaux varietals was successful. They became the proud stewards of 50 acres of paradise-on-earth in the Willow Creek District of Paso Robles. It is now a veritable winemaker’s dream with nearly 40,000 vines planted in 24 distinct blocks. In 2022, their estate grew to include 26 acres of dramatic landscape in the Adelaida District. Both vineyard sites have breathtakingly beautiful slopes, calcareous soils and strong marine influence. Simply put, the Sahis believe that these vineyards are legendary. The vines on the Copia Estate are now producing some of the most opulent, concentrated fruit with densely rich varietal characteristics.”

“Guests are invited to experience Anita and Varinder Sahi’s tireless passion for premium winemaking, cutting edge viticulture and warm hospitality in equal measure. Copia’s Adelaida Vineyard Estate offers a lux oasis for guests to enjoy a signature wine flight of premium wines with a curated culinary pairing. The 60 to 90 minute in-depth experience takes place in their modern Tasting Room and cozy outdoor patio areas (weather permitting).” Appointments are recommended.

Anita and Varinder Sahi join us to gently pull the cork on all that is Copia Vineyards and Winery.

Viet Nugyen of VOX Kitchen

“In 2017, VOX Kitchen opened in the heart of Little Saigon, bringing the ‘Chifa’ culinary movement —a fusion of Chinese and Peruvian cuisines—to Orange County. The award-winning restaurant entered into 2024 with an expanded kitchen and dining room, new menu offerings, and a second location set to open in late 2024 at South Coast Plaza. The expansion allows Founder and Executive Chef Viet Ngyuen to dig deeper into the culinary ethos of VOX Kitchen and explore Chifa cuisine through the lens of seafood, a staple in Peru.”

“VOX Kitchen is one of nearly a dozen pan-Asian fusion restaurants under the KEI Concepts umbrella, a trailblazing culinary group helmed by Nguyen. As the group’s founder, CEO, and executive chef, Nguyen is passionate about connecting diverse communities through the universal language of food – an ethos evident across all his concepts. Nguyen sees each restaurant as a canvas for this mission, where the culinary creations are not just dishes but cultural ambassadors.”

“In January Nguyen unveiled an enhanced VOX Kitchen—a testament to his unwavering commitment to the brand’s innovative ethos. The enlarged dining room, boasting an additional 60 seats, elevates the restaurant’s capacity to 120, creating a more immersive dining experience. This expanded space serves as a canvas for Nguyen to not only diversify his menu offerings but also to introduce an open-concept kitchen.”

“Culinary creativity is a borderless concept,” comments Nguyen. “Culture and cuisine are powerful connectors, giving people a sense of pride and identity. With all our restaurants, our mission is to celebrate culture while bridging diverse communities through the universal language of food.”

“Nguyen opened his first restaurant, Súp Noodle Bar, in 2014 and since has grown the KEI Concepts roster to include, VOX Kitchen, Gem Dining, Nep Café, ROL Hand Roll Bar, Kin Izakaya, and INI Ristorante, all of which offer distinct interpretations of pan-Asian dining experiences pulling global influence from Italian, French, and Japanese cuisines.”

Farsheed Bonakdar of the Kona Cacao Association

“Indulge in a world of tempting sweetness at the 11th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival (BICF) in Hawaii presented by the Kona Cacao Association, taking place on April 26-27, 2024, at the beautiful beach-front Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa on the Big Island of Hawaii.”

“The BICF promises unforgettable experience filled with chocolate cooking demonstrations, cacao growing presentations, and the most festive gala of all galas! This year the theme is ‘Mystical Chocolate Masquerade’ and guests are encouraged to dress up, wear masks and get creative to win tickets to 2025 event. Picture a venue adorned with rich colors, luxurious velvet, and opulent gold accents, creating the perfect backdrop for an evening of sweet enchantment.”

The Festival encores their beloved gala setup with even more tantalizing food booths outside and inside this stunning venue. The 2024 Gala evening event, on Saturday, April 27, 2024, promises unlimited tastings at 15 to 18 chef created food stations featuring delectable sweet and savory offerings, along with unlimited beer and wine pours from the Festival’s generous sponsors. Awards are given to the participating chefs as judged in various categories so this is a friendly, but highly competitive, competition!

“Enjoy the rhythmic beats of a lively DJ or live music, explore a fabulous silent auction, and immerse yourself in all-around extravagant chocolate-themed fun. Don’t miss the chance to make your life even decadently sweeter by joining The 11th Big Island Chocolate Festival at the most savored Hawaii-based event of the year!”

“The mission at the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. (the Presenters of The Big Island Chocolate Festival) is to cultivate the Big Island’s cacao industry, making the festival an educational beacon for cacao farmers, the hospitality sector, and chocolate enthusiasts alike.”

Farsheed Bonakdar, President of the organizing Kona Cacao Association joins us with a ripe cacao pod in hand.

Chef Andrew Gruel of Big Parm and the Calico Fish House

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of the fast-casual Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative Ask the Chef segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries.

French Fries…! There is nothing better than fresh-cut, perfectly crisp fries. Something that seems so simple, however, is rarely done right. Chef Andrew shares his perfected technique.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Copia Vineyards & Winery, Paso Robles, with Anita and Varinder Sahi Part One
Segment Three: Copia Vineyards & Winery, Paso Robles, with Anita and Varinder Sahi Part Two
Segment Four: VOX Kitchen, Fountain Valley, with Founder & Executive Chef Viet Nguyen Part One
Segment Five: VOX Kitchen, Fountain Valley, with Founder & Executive Chef Viet Nguyen Part Two
Segment Six: Big Island Chocolate Festival, Hawaii with Farsheed Bonakdar Part One
Segment Seven: Big Island Chocolate Festival, Hawaii with Farsheed Bonakdar Part Two
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel, Co-Host and Proprietor of Calico Fish House, with “Ask the Chef”

Show 485, July 30, 2022: Restaurateur Stephen Le, The Kroft, Long Beach. Preview of Long Beach Burger Week

Stephen Le

“Long Beach residents and visitors alike are in for a treat once again as dozens of local restaurants and burger-centric businesses will offer unique over-the-top Burgers and value-priced Burger Offers when the 2nd annual Long Beach Burger Week returns August 7-14, 2022. Featured Burgers are value-priced at $5, $10, $15 and $20, plus Burger/Cocktail combos at $25.”

“Long Beach Burger Week is even taking “dog friendly” one step further by encouraging restaurants with patios to offer a special Burger Week Menu just for dogs for $5 each.”

“Organized by local 501(c)3 non-profit Long Beach Food & Beverage, executive director Terri Henry, who has been organizing culinary events Long Beach for almost a decade, felt that in addition to encouraging local and surrounding “foodies” to enjoy what the expanding Long Beach culinary community has to offer, events like Burger Week support the local economy and put “butts in seats” of our valued restaurants. “We may be past the pandemic stage of COVID, but restaurants are still struggling and the 2nd annual city-wide Long Beach Burger Week will help increase guest counts and sales in August,” stated Henry. “And hey, it’s summertime and who doesn’t love a good burger?”.”

“There are no tickets or passes required. Burger lovers are invited to dine-in, take-out or have featured delivered from their favorite restaurants, or order from the websites of various pop-ups food truck to visit. Participating restaurants, food businesses and offers can be found at the Long Beach Burger Week site.

The Kroft in The Hangar LBX is a participating restaurant in Long Beach Burger Week. Their special is an ample Chili Cheeseburger for $15. It’s a double Chili Cheeseburger with grilled onions and secret sauce on a brioche bun with fries and a soft drink. Co-Founder Stephen Le joins us with all the juicy details.

Show 293, October 6, 2018: 2nd Annual “Battle of the Burgers,” Annette Brown, Director of Public Relations, Visit Temecula Valley

Battle of the BurgersVisit Temecula Valley will hold its 2nd Annual Battle of the Burgers on Saturday, October 20, 2018 in conjunction with Pechanga Resort Casino and Temecula Valley Unified School District. Some 20 restaurants are expected to compete for the championship title at Pechanga Resort Casino. New to the event, is a “Loaded Fries” competition that will include thirteen Pechanga Resort Casino executive chefs partnering with third year Career Technical Education (CTE) students at Temecula Valley High School. The students will team up with the chefs to create their Loaded Fries recipes and will be the executive chefs for the day, while Pechanga chefs will be their sous chefs.

Temecula Valley Unified School District CTE students will volunteer for the event, with the third-year students competing in the cooking challenge. The school is selling tickets to the event for $10 each as a fundraiser. All the proceeds will go directly to purchase food handler cards for their culinary students.

Attendees will be able to try several burgers from participating restaurants, as well as loaded fries from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The winners will be announced after 3:00 p.m. at the event, and posted online right here.

Visit Temecula Valley’s Director of Public Relations, Annette Brown, serves up all the juicy details.

Show 288, September 1, 2018: Chef Frank Ostini, Hitching Post 2 and Hitching Post Wines, Buellton

Frank OstiniChef Frank Ostini’s Hitching Post 2 restaurant in Buellton is a beloved local institution known for incredible Santa Maria – style BBQ. Chef Frank and Gray Hartley are the creators and winemakers of Hitching Post Wines (Highliner Pinot Noir) made famous around the world in the Academy Award-winning feature motion picture, Sideways, released in 2004.

Surprisingly there has never been a Hitching Post Wines Tasting Room until just recently. Chef Frank Ostini takes us on a tour of the Hitching Post Wines Tasting Room conveniently located next door to the Restaurant on E. Highway 246 in Buellton.

Lunch (11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily) for the Tasting Room (and wine pairings) will initially come (via a custom delivery tricycle) from the kitchen at the adjacent Hitching Post 2 restaurant known for Santa Maria-style BBQ. Look for HP Burgers, Triple-Fried French Fries, Santa Maria BBQ Artichokes and Grilled Corn Quesadillas. In the next phase a restored and converted Airstream kitchen trailer along with HP Santa Maria grills will be onsite and offering a broader menu.

There is quite a fascinating history to the picturesque, expanded property.

Show 283, July 28, 2018: Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish Restaurant Group, “Ask the Chef”

Andy Harris and Andrew Gruel at Cabana 14 at the Cove at Pechanga Resort and CasinoChef Andrew Gruel, the founder of The Slapfish Restaurant Group, joins us with another installment of Ask the Chef.”

What’s the secret of preparing proper Fish and Chips? How important are the Chips? What’s the best fish to use? How do you avoid the wet sock effect with the coating on the fried fish? How crisp should the chips be?

Show 240, September 9, 2017: Chef Andrew Gruel’s “Ask the Chef”

Andrew and William GruelChef Andrew Gruel is poised to take Slapfish’s signature fish and chips to London before year’s end. Since this is a traditional British dish that’s a bit unusual. Classic fish and chips are deep-fried fish fillets and French fries typically served with malt vinegar. Chef Andrew will present us with the Fish and Chips 101 tutorial.

Crispy and delicious, of course, when properly prepared…