Show 387, August 22, 2020: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

Chef Gino Choi’s OmG Omakase by Gino in Santa Ana is (pre-Covid 19) a multi-course, prix fixe menu dining experience. It’s all of 10 seats and Chef Gino sources a lot of his premium fish direct from Japan. He’s the solo star of the nightly show. When he can accommodate diners again it’s up to 18 courses and reservations are needed a couple of weeks in advance. His guests have been asking so Chef Gino has just launched a limited program of Omakase Chirashi Dinner Boxes for 2 guests for takeout. The pre-orders are taken on the Wednesday before the available nights of Saturday and Sunday. Chef Gino is limiting this to 20 orders for each night to maintain his high standards. We’ll meet the resourceful and ever adaptable Chef Gino Choi.

“Hatch Chile season is here, and Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria in Pico Rivera is ready with a pair of events where guests can safely enjoy the annual availability of the unique, flavorful and bright green pepper. Adapting to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Chef Marco Zapien and team created a way for the tenth straight year of Hatch Chile Festivities to take place. This year’s Hatch Chile cooking demonstration (August 26th from 6 to 7:00 p.m. via Zoom) will be in a virtual setting, and the Hatch Chile roast (Saturday, August 29th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) will allow guests to enter a drive-thru line for pick-up. Outdoor patio dining is permitted at The Salsa Grill and Chef Marco Zapien will be featuring Hatch Chile specials on the menu on the day of the roast.” Chef Marco joins us to turn up the heat on all the goodness of cooking with Hatch Chiles.

Originally from Tomball, Texas, Jason Paluska, the Executive Chef of The Lark in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, began his cooking career in San Francisco under chefs Mitch and Steve Rosenthal of Town Hall, Salt House and Anchor & Hope in 2006. Jason went on to became a sous chef at Michael Mina’s RN74 in San Francisco. In 2013 he left the Bay area and moved to Santa Barbara as the opening executive chef of The Lark restaurant part of the Acme Hospitality restaurant group. Most recently Jason and his team at The Lark received the Michelin Plate award in June of 2019.

Accomplished Brewmaster Victor Novak of Golden Road Brewing with production breweries in Los Angeles and Anaheim really needs no introduction to our listeners. He’s generously mentored many of the rising young stars of craft brewing in Orange County over the years.

His latest project is the crafting of a recently released line of hard seltzers based on Golden Road’s fruit cart flavors. The new Golden Road Fruit Cart Hard Seltzers include Cucumber Lime, Mango, Strawberry Pineapple and Watermelon. The hard seltzers are made with real fruit juice. Brewmaster Victor is with us to pull the tab on all things Hard Seltzer.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Chef Andrew is regularly updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Dine-in is slowly, with multiple hiccups, starting to come back but with a lot of new rules that restrict guest counts. Alternately take-out/delivery when you can surely helps… Chef Andrew has been on the road and his travels have taken him to Texas. Central Texas BBQ is very popular locally right now and Chef Andrew will have some meaty observations. We’re talking smoked brisket and sausages along the way with minimal sauce.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness (with proper Social Distancing) on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Play

Show 387, August 22, 2020: Executive Chef Jason Paluska, The Lark, Santa Barbara Part One

Jason Paluska of the Lark“Originally from Tomball, Texas, Jason Paluska, the Executive Chef of The Lark in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, began his cooking career in San Francisco under chefs Mitch and Steve Rosenthal of Town Hall, Salt House and Anchor & Hope in 2006. Jason went on to became a sous chef at Michael Mina’s RN74 in San Francisco. For four years he worked under renowned chef Jason Berthold, formerly of the French Laundry & Per Se.”

“In 2013 he left the Bay area and moved to Santa Barbara as the opening executive chef of The Lark restaurant for Acme Hospitality. Most recently Jason and his team at The Lark received the Michelin Plate award in June of 2019.”

“The Lark, named for the sleek overnight Pullman train of the Southern Pacific Railroad that serviced Santa Barbara from 1910 -1968, is situated in the heart of the Funk Zone, a vibrant arts and entertainment district near the Waterfront in downtown Santa Barbara. Our menus are locally sourced and responsibly grown, using the highest quality seasonal ingredients based on the abundant bounty of the Central Coast. Our food is served family style intended for sharing. Our space was designed with an urban style that integrates vintage and repurposed materials for a sophisticated yet casual sensibility with a nod to our neighborhood’s industrial past.”

“The Lark’s full bar features classic and modern craft cocktails using the finest in artisan spirits, mixers and seasonal fruits and vegetables. Our wine list highlights small Santa Barbara County producers as well as artisan winemakers from afar.”

The menu changes often. Seasonal specialties include Southern Fried Quail with Calabrian chili aioli, bread & butter pickles, smoked date caramel and scallions. Patio dining is available nightly from 5:00 p.m. as well as Takeaway orders. Closed on Monday and Tuesday.

Executive Chef Jason Paluska is our guest.

Play

Show 387, August 22, 2020: Executive Chef Jason Paluska, The Lark, Santa Barbara Part Two

Jason Paluska of the Lark“Originally from Tomball, Texas, Jason Paluska, the Executive Chef of The Lark in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, began his cooking career in San Francisco under chefs Mitch and Steve Rosenthal of Town Hall, Salt House and Anchor & Hope in 2006.”

“In 2013 he left the Bay area and moved to Santa Barbara as the opening executive chef of The Lark restaurant for Acme Hospitality. Most recently Jason and his team at The Lark received the Michelin Plate award in June of 2019.”

“The Lark, named for the sleek overnight Pullman train of the Southern Pacific Railroad that serviced Santa Barbara from 1910 -1968, is situated in the heart of the Funk Zone, a vibrant arts and entertainment district near the Waterfront in downtown Santa Barbara. Our menus are locally sourced and responsibly grown, using the highest quality seasonal ingredients based on the abundant bounty of the Central Coast. Our food is served family style intended for sharing. Our space was designed with an urban style that integrates vintage and repurposed materials for a sophisticated yet casual sensibility with a nod to our neighborhood’s industrial past.”

“The Lark’s full bar features classic and modern craft cocktails using the finest in artisan spirits, mixers and seasonal fruits and vegetables. Our wine list highlights small Santa Barbara County producers as well as artisan winemakers from afar.”

The menu changes often. Seasonal specialties include Southern Fried Quail with Calabrian chili aioli, bread & butter pickles, smoked date caramel and scallions. Patio dining is available nightly from 5:00 p.m. as well as Takeaway orders. Closed on Monday and Tuesday.

Executive Chef Jason Paluska takes a break from his busy kitchen and rejoins us.

 

Play

August 22: OmG Omakase by Gino, Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria. The Lark, Golden Road Hard Seltzer

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef Gino Choi, OmG Omakase by Gino, Santa Ana
Segment Three: Chef Marco Zapien of Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria, Pico Rivera
Segment Four: Executive Chef Jason Paluska, The Lark, Santa Barbara Part One
Segment Five: Executive Chef Jason Paluska, The Lark, Santa Barbara Part Two
Segment Six: Brewmaster Victor Novak of Golden Road Brewing on Hard Seltzers Part One
Segment Seven: Brewmaster Victor Novak of Golden Road Brewing on Hard Seltzers Part Two
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Chef Gino Choi’s OmG Omakase by Gino in Santa Ana is (pre-Covid 19) a multi-course, prix fixe menu dining experience. It’s all of 10 seats and Chef Gino sources a lot of his premium fish direct from Japan. He’s the solo star of the nightly show. When he can accommodate diners again it’s up to 18 courses and reservations are needed way in advance. His guests have been asking so Chef Gino has just launched a limited program of Omakase Chirashi Dinner Boxes for 2 guests for takeout. The pre-orders are taken on the Wednesday before the available nights of Saturday and Sunday. Chef Gino is limiting this to 20 orders for each night to maintain his high standards. We’ll meet the resourceful and ever adaptable Chef Gino Choi.

“Hatch Chile season is here, and Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria in Pico Rivera is ready with a pair of events where guests can safely enjoy the annual availability of the unique, flavorful and bright green pepper. Adapting to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Chef Marco Zapien and team created a way for the tenth straight year of Hatch Chile Festivities to take place. This year’s Hatch Chile cooking demonstration (August 26th from 6 to 7:00 p.m. via Zoom) will be in a virtual setting, and the Hatch Chile roast (Saturday, August 29th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) will allow guests to enter a drive-thru line for pick-up. Outdoor patio dining is permitted at The Salsa Grill and Chef Marco Zapien will be featuring Hatch Chile specials on the menu on the day of the roast.” Chef Marco joins us to turn up the heat on all the goodness of cooking with Hatch Chiles.

Originally from Tomball, Texas, Jason Paluska, the Executive Chef of The Lark in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, began his cooking career in San Francisco under chefs Mitch and Steve Rosenthal of Town Hall, Salt House and Anchor & Hope in 2006. Jason went on to became a sous chef at Michael Mina’s RN74 in San Francisco. In 2013 he left the Bay area and moved to Santa Barbara as the opening executive chef of The Lark restaurant part of the Acme Hospitality restaurant group. Most recently Jason and his team at The Lark received the Michelin Plate award in June of 2019.

Accomplished Brewmaster Victor Novak of Golden Road Brewing with production breweries in Los Angeles and Anaheim really needs no introduction to our listeners. He’s generously mentored many of the rising young stars of craft brewing in Orange County over the years.

His latest project is the crafting of a recently released line of hard seltzers based on Golden Road’s fruit cart flavors. The new Golden Road Fruit Cart Hard Seltzers include Cucumber Lime, Mango, Strawberry Pineapple and Watermelon. The hard seltzers are made with real fruit juice. Brewmaster Victor is with us to pull the tab on all things Hard Seltzer.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Chef Andrew is regularly updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Dine-in is slowly, with multiple hiccups, starting to come back but with a lot of new rules that restrict guest counts. Alternately take-out/delivery when you can surely helps… Chef Andrew has been on the road and his travels have taken him to Texas. Central Texas BBQ is very popular locally right now and Chef Andrew will have some meaty observations. We’re talking smoked brisket and sausages along the way.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness (with proper Social Distancing) on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Gino Choi of OmG Omakase by GinoChef Gino Choi’s OmG Omakase by Gino in Santa Ana is a multi-course, prix fixe menu dining experience. It’s all of 10 seats and Chef Gino sources a lot of his premium fish from Japan. He’s the star of the solo nightly show. When he can accommodate diners again it’s up to 18 courses and reservations are needed way in advance.

His guests have been asking so Chef Gino has just launched a limited program of Omakase Chirashi Dinner Boxes for 2 guests for takeout. The pre-orders are taken on the Wednesday (starting at Noon) before the available nights of Saturday and Sunday. Chef Gino is limiting this to 20 orders for each night to maintain his high standards. The boxes are $120 each (plus tax.)

We’ll meet the resourceful and ever adaptable Chef Gino Choi.

Marco Zapien of Zapiens Salsa Grill and Taqueria“Hatch Chile season is here, and Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria in Pico Rivera is ready with a pair of events where guests can safely enjoy the annual availability of this unique bright green and incredibly flavorful pepper.”

“Adapting to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Chef Marco Zapien and team created a way for the tenth straight year of Hatch Chile Festivities to take place. This year’s Hatch Chile cooking demonstration will be in a virtual setting, and the Hatch Chile roast will allow guests to enter a drive-thru line for pick-up.”

“The cooking demo will take place Wednesday, August 26 from 6 -7 p.m. via Zoom. Participants will be taken through a three-course Hatch Chile inspired menu and the format will still allow for the same interaction as in-restaurant demos in the past. Pre-registration is required and anyone who signs up for the premium package with all ingredients prepped and boxed, or the virtual log in access, will also receive a $25 Salsa Grill gift card.”

“This year’s Hatch Chile Roast is set for Saturday, August 29 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Patrons must pre-order their 25-pound cases of Melissa’s Hatch Chiles, and can select their preferred level of spice from mild to very hot. Patrons can arrive anytime between 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and enter the drive thru.”

“Every summer, New Mexico Hatch Chiles are ripe enough to enjoy for their short season and Chef Marco makes a late summer celebration of it. In the past, The Salsa Grill has served more Hatch Chile dishes than any other restaurant outside the Southwest region this time of year.”

“Outdoor patio dining is permitted at The Salsa Grill and Chef Marco will be featuring Hatch Chile specials on the menu on the day of the roast.”

Jason Paluska of the Lark“Originally from Tomball, Texas, Jason Paluska, the Executive Chef of The Lark in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, began his cooking career in San Francisco under chefs Mitch and Steve Rosenthal of Town Hall, Salt House and Anchor & Hope in 2006. Jason went on to became a sous chef at Michael Mina’s RN74 in San Francisco. For four years he worked under renowned chef Jason Berthold, formerly of the French Laundry & Per Se.”

“In 2013 he left the Bay area and moved to Santa Barbara as the opening executive chef of The Lark restaurant for Acme Hospitality. Most recently Jason and his team at The Lark received the Michelin Plate award in June of 2019.”

“The Lark, named for the sleek overnight Pullman train of the Southern Pacific Railroad that serviced Santa Barbara from 1910 -1968, is situated in the heart of the Funk Zone, a vibrant arts and entertainment district near the Waterfront in downtown Santa Barbara. Our menus are locally sourced and responsibly grown, using the highest quality seasonal ingredients based on the abundant bounty of the Central Coast.  Our food is served family style intended for sharing. Our space was designed with an urban style that integrates vintage and repurposed materials for a sophisticated yet casual sensibility with a nod to our neighborhood’s industrial past.”

“The Lark’s full bar features classic and modern craft cocktails using the finest in artisan spirits, mixers and seasonal fruits and vegetables. Our wine list highlights small Santa Barbara County producers as well as artisan winemakers from afar.”

The menu changes often. Seasonal specialties include Southern Fried Quail with Calabrian chili aioli, bread & butter pickles, smoked date caramel and scallions. Patio dining is available nightly from 5:00 p.m. as well as Takeaway orders. Closed on Monday and Tuesday.

Executive Chef Jason Paluska is our guest.

Victor Novak of Golden Road BrewingAccomplished Brewmaster Victor Novak of Golden Road Brewing with production breweries in Los Angeles and Anaheim really needs no introduction to our listeners. He’s generously mentored many of the rising young stars of craft brewing in Orange County over the years.

His latest project is the crafting of a recently released line of hard seltzers based on Golden Road’s fruit cart flavors. The new Golden Road Fruit Cart Hard Seltzers include Cucumber Lime, Mango, Strawberry Pineapple and Watermelon. The hard seltzers are made with real fruit juice.

“There are different ways of creating the seltzer base,” said Victor Novak, Brewmaster at Golden Road Brewing. “For us, we start off by actually brewing a light beer, then running it through a sophisticated cross flow filtration process to ensure that it’s a very neutral and clean tasting. We then blend in just the right amount of fruit juices and natural flavorings to create our light and refreshing seltzers that are bursting with flavor but not cloying. Getting that right is crucial”

Victor joins us to pull the tab on all that is hard seltzer.

Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant GroupOur own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Chef Andrew is regularly updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Dine-in is slowly, with multiple hiccups, starting to come back but with a lot of new rules that restrict guest counts. Alternately Take-Out / Delivery when you can surely helps…

Chef Andrew has been on the road and his travels have taken him to Texas. Central Texas BBQ is very popular locally right now and Chef Andrew will have some meaty observations. We’re talking smoked brisket and sausages along the way.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef Gino Choi, OmG Omakase by Gino, Santa Ana
Segment Three: Chef Marco Zapien of Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria, Pico Rivera
Segment Four: Executive Chef Jason Paluska, The Lark, Santa Barbara Part One
Segment Five: Executive Chef Jason Paluska, The Lark, Santa Barbara Part Two
Segment Six: Brewmaster Victor Novak of Golden Road Brewing on Hard Seltzers Part One
Segment Seven: Brewmaster Victor Novak of Golden Road Brewing on Hard Seltzers Part Two
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Show 364, March 14, 2020: Executive Chef Travis Watson, Hotel Californian, Santa Barbara

Travis Watson of the Hotel CalifornianThe new Executive Chef at Hotel Californian is Travis Watson. Chef Travis has refreshed and revamped Hotel Californian’s signature (dinner only) restaurant, Blackbird Restaurant and Bar. On the menu is Mediterranean-influenced, locally sourced, and hyper-seasonal cuisine.

Travis Watson brings 20 years of award-winning culinary experience to Hotel Californian. “Chef Watson’s career has led him all over the world, including France where he served as an apprentice to Chef Georges Paccard of Michelin-starred La Ciboulette. He most recently served as Executive Chef at Rancho Bernardo Inn & Spa in San Diego and is now thrilled to tap into the distinctive terroir of the Central Coast.”

He’s also the menu-maker for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner at the al-fresco Goat Tree, banquets and in-room dining at Hotel Californian. Unusually Chef Travis has an acclaimed, in-house pastry chef as part of his culinary team creating exceptional baked goods (think croissants) and confections from scratch.

Chef Travis takes a break from his busy kitchens to join us.

Play

Show 364, March 14, 2020: Executive Chef Jason Paluska, The Lark, Santa Barbara

Jason Paluska of the LarkOriginally from Tomball, Texas, Jason Paluska, the Executive Chef of The Lark in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone (an Acme Hospitality property,) began his cooking career in San Francisco under chefs Mitch and Steve Rosenthal of Town Hall, Salt House and Anchor & Hope in 2006. Jason went on to became a sous chef at Michael Mina’s RN74 in San Francisco. For four years he worked under renowned chef Jason Berthold, formerly of the French Laundry & Per Se.

In 2013 he left the Bay area and moved to Santa Barbara as the opening executive chef of The Lark restaurant for Acme Hospitality. Most recently Jason and his team at The Lark received the Michelin Plate award in June of 2019.

“The Lark, named for the sleek overnight Pullman train of the Southern Pacific Railroad that serviced Santa Barbara from 1910 -1968, is situated in the heart of the Funk Zone, a vibrant arts and entertainment district near the Waterfront in downtown Santa Barbara. Our menus are locally sourced and responsibly grown, using the highest quality seasonal ingredients based on the abundant bounty of the Central Coast. Our food is served family style intended for sharing. Our space was designed with an urban style that integrates vintage and repurposed materials for a sophisticated yet casual sensibility with a nod to our neighborhood’s industrial past.”

“The Lark’s full bar features classic and modern craft cocktails using the finest in artisan spirits, mixers and seasonal fruits and vegetables. Our wine list highlights small Santa Barbara County producers as well as artisan winemakers from afar.”

We entice Chef Jason out of the busy Lark kitchen for a chat.

Play

Show 184, August 13, 2016: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel

Andrew Gruel and his son WilliamExecutive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Brea, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, LAX, Irvine at UCI and, most recently, The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for Rams and USC Football, is back as today’s Co-Host. In May in Chicago during the National Restaurant Association’s annual conclave he received Nation’s Restaurant News’ Trendsetter MenuMaster Award for Slapfish.

Now a (hopefully) tantalizing preview of Saturday’s overloaded show and not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s actually a pretty good thing…

Rachel Klemek’s Blackmarket Bakery is a home-grown institution in The Camp in Costa Mesa and now in Santa Ana, too, in the Santora Building. Rachel also has a pop-up at The OC Fair in the OC Promenade. It’s time for our annual visit with baker, Rachel Klemek.

The Bellwether is the debut restaurant (launched in early August of 2015) and bar from Executive Chef/Owner Ted Hopson and Beverage Director/Owner Ann-Marie Verdi. The market-inspired menu aims to capitalize on the abundance of California produce in order to showcase one-of-a-kind food and drink menus that feature family style shareable dishes, unique infusion based cocktails, and a hand-selected list of beer and wine. Chef Ted and Ann-Marie are our guests.

Newly launched in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone is Acme Hospitality’s Helena Avenue Bakery. It’s primarily a small-production, wholesale bakery operation but the proudly, from-scratch operation features a small retail counter open to the public daily from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Acme Hospitality’s Sherry Villanueva joins us.

Ascension Cellars is a premium, boutique winery specializing in barrel-select, handcrafted Rhône and Bordeaux-style wines from the central coast of California. Ascension Cellars began when friends were enjoying a glass of wine together one summer day.  “You know, this is good,” they said, “but there is something missing.”  And so, the quest for something better began.  Winemaker & Proprietor Erick Allen is our guest.

It’s that most wonderful time of the year – Hatch Chile season! Grown only in the Mesilla Valley of New Mexico they are only available fresh for a few shorts weeks annually, now through mid-September. Joining us for an informative update with all the provocative Hatch Chile 411, including where to find sure-to-please recipes, is our resident Produce authority, Robert Schueller of Melissa’s World Variety Produce. Let the roasting begin.

Tilapia is particularly appreciated in the Asian and Hispanic communities but needs more love in the United States. It’s flavorful, easy-to-prepare and value priced. It’s been called the “aqua-chicken.” Our resident seafood authority and Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, provides the informed perspective with no fish tales.

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

Play

Show 184, August 13, 2016: Sherry Villanueva, Acme Hospitality, Helena Avenue Bakery, Santa Barbara

Sherry VillanuevaNewly launched in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone is Acme Hospitality’s (The Lark, Lucky Penny, Les Marchands and Santa Barbara Wine Collective) Helena Avenue Bakery. It’s primarily a small-production, wholesale bakery operation but the proudly, from-scratch operation features a small retail counter open to the public daily from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

“It’s exciting to see the growth in high quality businesses opening up in the Funk Zone. The need for a wholesome bakery that appeals to people of all ages became quite clear to us as the neighborhood continues to unfold,” states Sherry Villanueva. “Having a bakery was a logical progression for us. The key ingredient was putting together the right talent, and we have a passionate and talented team. We’ve been serving the donuts, bagels, scones, muffins and cookies at Lucky Penny for several months now and they’ve been a huge hit.”

The bakery allows visitors to observe the chefs at work as they hand-shape baguettes, breads and pastries behind over-sized glass walls. The bakers’ ovens and state-of-the art equipment are exposed to the public, integrating modern machinery into the original architecture of the notable warehouse.

The entrance to the bakery is accessed through a shared door of the Santa Barbara Wine Collective. As guests enter, they are greeted by the inviting Picnic Counter which serves as the local shop for artfully displayed breads, pastries, sandwiches and salads prepared fresh daily.

Acme Hospitality’s Sherry Villanueva joins us.

Play

August 13: Blackmarket Bakery, The Bellwether, Helena Avenue Bakery, Ascension Cellars, Melissa’s Hatch Chile Season

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: Rachel Klemek, Blackmarket Bakery, Costa Mesa and Santa Ana
Segment Three: Chef Ted Hopson & Beverage Director Ann-Marie Verdi, The Bellwether, Studio City
Segment Four: Sherry Villanueva, Acme Hospitality, Helena Avenue Bakery, Santa Barbara
Segment Five: Erick Allen, Winemaker and Proprietor, Ascension Cellars, Paso Robles
Segment Six: Robert Schueller, Melissa’s World Variety Produce, Hatch Chile Season Part One
Segment Seven: Robert Schueller, Melissa’s World Variety Produce, Hatch Chile Season Part Two
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish – In Defense of Tilapia

Andrew Gruel and his son WilliamExecutive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Brea, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, LAX, Irvine at UCI and, most recently, The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for Rams and USC Football, is back as today’s Co-Host. In May in Chicago during the National Restaurant Association’s annual conclave he received Nation’s Restaurant News’ Trendsetter MenuMaster Award for Slapfish.

Now a (hopefully) tantalizing preview of Saturday’s overloaded show and not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s actually a pretty good thing…

Rachel Klemek’s Blackmarket Bakery is a home-grown institution in The Camp in Costa Mesa and now in Santa Ana, too, in the Santora Building. Rachel also has a pop-up at The OC Fair in the OC Promenade. It’s time for our annual visit with baker, Rachel Klemek.

The Bellwether is the debut restaurant (launched in early August of 2015) and bar from Executive Chef/Owner Ted Hopson and Beverage Director/Owner Ann-Marie Verdi. The market-inspired menu aims to capitalize on the abundance of California produce in order to showcase one-of-a-kind food and drink menus that feature family style shareable dishes, unique infusion based cocktails, and a hand-selected list of beer and wine. Chef Ted and Ann-Marie are our guests.

Newly launched in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone is Acme Hospitality’s Helena Avenue Bakery. It’s primarily a small-production, wholesale bakery operation but the proudly, from-scratch operation features a small retail counter open to the public daily from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Acme Hospitality’s Sherry Villanueva joins us.

Ascension Cellars is a premium, boutique winery specializing in barrel-select, handcrafted Rhône and Bordeaux-style wines from the central coast of California. Ascension Cellars began when friends were enjoying a glass of wine together one summer day.  “You know, this is good,” they said, “but there is something missing.”  And so, the quest for something better began.  Winemaker & Proprietor Erick Allen is our guest.

It’s that most wonderful time of the year – Hatch Chile season! Grown only in the Mesilla Valley of New Mexico they are only available fresh for a few shorts weeks annually, now through mid-September. Joining us for an informative update with all the Hatch Chile 411, including where to find sure-to-please recipes, is our resident Produce authority, Robert Schueller of Melissa’s World Variety Produce. Let the roasting begin.

Tilapia is particularly appreciated in the Asian and Hispanic communities but needs more love in the United States. It’s flavorful, easy-to-prepare and value priced. It’s been called the “aqua-chicken.” Our resident seafood authority and Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, provides the informed perspective with no fish tales.

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

Rachel Klemek of Blackmarket Bakery and the CampRachel Klemek’s Blackmarket Bakery is a home-grown institution in The Camp in Costa Mesa and now in Santa Ana, too, in the Santora Building. Rachel also has a pop-up at The OC Fair in the OC Promenade through August 14th. It’s time for our annual visit with baker, Rachel Klemek.

Chef Rachel, grew up in the South, influenced by her two sugar-loving Grandmas. Baking and eating cookies, Bojangles (biscuits), breads and other delicacies were forms of communication, a way of showing — and sharing — family love.  After experimentation and hands on experience in the industry, she attended the Culinary Institute of America, Napa Valley, in Baking & Pastry, graduating at the top of her class.

In 2004, she struck out on her own, founding Blackmarket Bakery in an inauspicious industrial space in Irvine, CA. Since then, her product line, legend and lore have grown. Her incredible cakes, cookies, brownies made from wine flour and fresh breads are just a few items that showcase Chef Rachel’s culinary playfulness.

Furthering her goal of empowering the community with quality, Blackmarket Bakery offers a selection of fresh, whole-food based items that are pleasing to the body and the mind. By using fundamentals – butter, flour, sugar, eggs (all black market goods during WWII) – Chef Rachel focuses on delivering what the community is missing.

Ann Marie Verdi and Ted Hopson of the BellwetherThe Bellwether is the debut restaurant (launched in early August of 2015) and bar from Executive Chef/Owner Ted Hopson and Beverage Director/Owner Ann-Marie Verdi. The market-inspired menu aims to capitalize on the abundance of California produce in order to showcase one-of-a-kind food and drink menus that feature family style shareable dishes, unique infusion based cocktails, and a hand-selected list of beer and wine.

Equal attention is warranted for the thoughtful beverage program created by Ann-Marie Verdi (also formerly of Father’s Office) who has worked closely with Chef Hopson to create complementary cocktails infused with much of the same seasonal produce found in the menu.

“Our years of combined industry experience have impacted every decision we have made throughout this process and seeing our ideas turn into reality has been incredibly rewarding,” says Hopson. “We focused on creating the type of experience we would want as guests, and we couldn’t be more excited to be able to share that with everyone !”

Chef Ted and Ann-Marie are our guests.

Sherry VillanuevaNewly launched in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone is Acme Hospitality’s Helena Avenue Bakery. It’s primarily a small-production, wholesale bakery operation but the proudly, from-scratch operation features a small retail counter open to the public daily from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

“It’s exciting to see the growth in high quality businesses opening up in the Funk Zone.  The need for a wholesome bakery that appeals to people of all ages became quite clear to us as the neighborhood continues to unfold,” states Sherry Villanueva. “Having a bakery was a logical

progression for us. The key ingredient was putting together the right talent, and we have a passionate and talented team. We’ve been serving the donuts, bagels, scones, muffins and cookies at Lucky Penny for several months now and they’ve been a huge hit.”

The bakery allows visitors to observe the chefs at work as they hand-shape baguettes, breads and pastries behind over-sized glass walls. The bakers’ ovens and state-of-the art equipment are exposed to the public, integrating modern machinery into the original architecture of the notable warehouse.

The entrance to the bakery is accessed through a shared door of the Santa Barbara Wine Collective. As guests enter, they are greeted by the inviting Picnic Counter which serves as the local shop for artfully displayed breads, pastries, sandwiches and salads prepared fresh daily.

Acme Hospitality’s Sherry Villanueva joins us.

Erick AllenAscension Cellars is a premium, boutique winery specializing in barrel-select, handcrafted Rhône and Bordeaux-style wines from the central coast of California.

Ascension Cellars began when friends were enjoying a glass of wine together one summer day.  “You know, this is good,” they said, “but there is something missing.”  And so, the quest for something better began.  They wanted wines with elegance, body, and grace that stimulated the senses.  They wanted wines that they would be proud to offer to their family and friends.

What followed was good fortune by the barrel. Vast support and inspiration came not only from knowledgeable mentors in Lake Arrowhead, who have been making wine together for decades, but also from Paso Robles winemakers who gave so generously of their time and expertise.

“We source our grapes and make our wine at Cass Vineyard. We are inspired by their focus on low yield, premium quality fruit as well as the impeccable care of their vineyards. Together, we share a love of the environment and promote sustainability of nature’s resources.”

“Our love of French Rhône and Bordeaux wines influence every wine we craft. We believe in a limited, light-handed approach to winemaking, allowing the true typicity of each varietal and the terroir of the vineyard to shine through as the star of each vintage, preserving the wine’s link to its place of origin. This allows us to create wines that are distinctive and hypnotic with personality, charm, balance and grace.”

“We embrace the use of stainless steel, cold core fermentation for our white wines, showcasing the floral tropical notes, fruit flavors, bright minerality and acidity of each varietal. Once our white wines are blended, we preserve these qualities by aging the wines in neutral, French oak barrels with limited contact to oxygen prior to bottling.”

“We barrel age our red wines for two years in French and American Appalachian Oak barrels where the use of new oak is done sparingly. We blend our Rhône and Bordeaux varietals to produce wines that are more complex, better balanced, and richer than single, varietal wines.”

Winemaker & Proprietor Erick Allen is our guest.

Robert Schueller of Melissa's World Variety Produce in the AM830 KLAA StudioIt’s that most wonderful time of the year – Hatch Chile season! Grown only in the Mesilla Valley of New Mexico they are only available fresh for a few shorts weeks annually, now through mid-September.

Joining us for an informative update with all the Hatch Chile 411, including where to find sure-to-please recipes, is our resident Produce authority, Robert Schueller of Melissa’s World Variety Produce. Let the roasting begin.

Harvested from fertile soil along the Rio Grande, Hatch Chiles thrive in the river valley’s combination of nutrient-rich soil, intense sunlight, and cool desert nights. The peppers develop thick walls and meaty, flavorful flesh unlike any other chile.

Because their growing season is short, Hatch Chiles are typically bought in bulk, roasted immediately, and frozen for use throughout the year. Nutritionally speaking, a single fresh medium-size green chile has as much Vitamin C as six oranges. Hot chile peppers are believed to burn calories by triggering a thermodynamic response in the body that speeds metabolism.

Melissa's Hatch ChilesOnce roasted, Hatch Chiles are easy to peel and seed. Roasting heightens the robust earthy flavor of chiles and the texture of thick walls of the chile pod becomes lusciously rich. These unique qualities, and the peppers’ variable heat (unlike other chile peppers. Hatch Chiles come in varieties that cover the full spectrum of heat levels) have earned Hatch Chiles great popularity far beyond the local community of Hatch New Mexico.

Connoisseurs and chefs from all over the globe have adopted Hatch Chiles as a condiment of choice. Many a home cook and celebrity chef have gone further, incorporating Hatch Chiles into all kinds of superb dishes from burgers, pizzas, quiches, pancakes, milkshakes, pastries and even spiced ice cubes.

Mouth-watering Hatch Chile recipes are available on the Melissa’s Website. Perfected recipes for Hatch Chile Guacamole, Hatch Chile Chili and Hatch Chile Salsa are all right there at the ready.

Andrew Gruel at the AM830 KLAA StudiosTilapia is particularly appreciated in the Asian and Hispanic communities but needs more love in the United States. It’s flavorful, easy-to-prepare and value priced. It’s been called the “aqua-chicken.”

Our resident seafood authority and Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, provides the informed perspective with no fish tales.

According to Seafood Health Facts:

“Tilapia has progressively grown in popularity since 2002 when it first entered the top ten list of the most frequently consumed seafood products in the United States. It’s the third most popular aquaculture or farm raised seafood product behind shrimp and salmon. Since 2006, Americans have consumed over 1 pound of tilapia per person each year. Predictions suggest it will remain a popular selection due to its mild flavor and taste, versatility in preparation, and competitive prices.”

“Tilapia is a sustainable farm-raised product. Because tilapia are herbivorous fish that feed on algae, there is no need for feeds produced from wild caught fish. Raising tilapia in some ponds or other small water bodies can actually help improve the quality of waters compromised by excessive algae blooms. Some farming operations are using a technique called aquaponics to cultivate fish and vegetables or herbs together to produce two or more products in the same water based system.”

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: Rachel Klemek, Blackmarket Bakery, Costa Mesa and Santa Ana
Segment Three: Chef Ted Hopson & Beverage Director Ann-Marie Verdi, The Bellwether, Studio City
Segment Four: Sherry Villanueva, Acme Hospitality, Helena Avenue Bakery, Santa Barbara
Segment Five: Erick Allen, Winemaker and Proprietor, Ascension Cellars, Paso Robles
Segment Six: Robert Schueller, Melissa’s World Variety Produce, Hatch Chile Season Part One
Segment Seven: Robert Schueller, Melissa’s World Variety Produce, Hatch Chile Season Part Two
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish – In Defense of Tilapia

Show 173, May 28, 2016: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel

Happy Memorial Day Weekend to all. Enjoy, remember, and be safe.

Andrew Gruel at the AM830 KLAA StudiosExecutive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, LAX, Irvine at UCI and, most recently, Brea, is back as today’s special Guest Host. He’s just back from Chicago where he received Nation’s Restaurant News’ Trendsetter MenuMaster Award for Slapfish.

Now an enticing preview of Saturday’s calorie-laden and spirited show and not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re doing it right we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s actually a pretty good thing…

Paul Hobbs is a distinguished figure in California winemaking and beyond. We’ll find out why Forbes has described him as “the Steve Jobs of wine.” Joining us is Paul Hobbs Wines’ National Sales Director, Charlie Plummer, who is also a Certified Sommelier.

Bill Sysak, or as he’s more often referred to as, “Dr. Bill,” is the Craft Beer Ambassador for California’s Stone Brewing Co.. Dr. Bill is a Certified Cicerone, and has a demonstrated expertise in selecting, acquiring, and serving craft beers. He’s our guest.

The Funk Zone in Santa Barbara is the new night life spot in America’s Riviera. Among the other attractions there are premium wine tasting rooms (Urban Wine Trail) and a variety of destination restaurants for both locals and visitors alike. One of the biggest success stories in this vibrant district is The Lark owned by the growing Acme Hospitality group. Director of Operations Treg Finney joins us with all the needed 411.

The 8th Annual Pechanga Microbrew & Craft Beer Festival and Chili Cook-off returns to the Pechanga Grand Ballroom on Saturday, June 11th. One of the participating breweries is Los Angeles’ and Orange County’s Golden Road Brewing. Brewmaster Victor Novak taps the keg with a thirst-quenching preview.

France’s Alsace region produces 18 per cent of the total French production of still white AOC wines. Our resident wine authority Kyle Meyer of Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange is here to give us an overview of the prominent region. Kyle will also chat with us about how wine professionals navigate their way through large trade tastings.

For over 52 years Stan Berman has baked some of the world’s best donuts at Stan’s Corner Donut Shop in Westwood located across from UCLA. Now it had grown to the Midwest with the addition of 6 busy Stan’s Donuts & Coffee cafes in Chicago and nearby suburbs. Chicago restaurateur and baker Rich Labriola is the proud architect of the expansion. We’ll meet him and talk crullers.

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

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