Show 229, June 24, 2017: The Street Gourmet’s Bill Esparza

Bill EsparzaThe Street Gourmet, Senor Bill Esparza, is back with us with his first cookbook. Richly photographed and authentically local, L.A. Mexicano showcases L.A.’s sophisticated and diverse Mexican-food culture, from Oaxacan tlayudas to Nayarit ceviches, Alta California gastronomy to Boyle Heights burritos.

It’s got it all: recipes, insightful and inspirational profiles of chefs, bakers, restaurateurs, and vendors, and neighborhood guides that point readers to the best markets, taco trucks, restaurants, bars, and more. Part cookbook, part food journalism, and part love song to Los Angeles, it’s a definitive resource for home cooks, Mexican food lovers, and hungry Angelenos and visitors.

With a foreword by Taco USA‘s Gustavo Arellano, L.A. Mexicano shines a long-overdue light on the people behind one of the world’s most complex and delicious cuisines, in one of the world’s most exciting food cities.

Bill Esparza is winner of a James Beard award (with Lesley Bargar Suter) for his coverage of the LA taco scene in Los Angeles Magazine. Considered one of the country’s leading experts on Mexican food, the LA native curates the annual Tacolandia festival in Los Angeles and writes about Mexican food for Los Angeles Magazine and other notable publications.

Catch Bill in-person at Friends & Family on Hollywood Blvd. (5150) in Thai Town on Saturday, July 8th from Noon to 3:00 p.m. He’ll be there meeting the guests & signing copies of L.A. Mexicano. There is a strong rumor that Bill’s Grandmother’s recipe for Huevos Rancheros will be on the menu as a special that day!

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Show 226, June 3, 2017: 5th Annual Tacolandia Preview with “Tacorazza” Bill Esparza (The Street Gourmet)

Bill EsparzaThe madness that is LA Weekly’s 5th Annual Tacolandia presented by Tabasco returns on Saturday, June 17th at El Pueblo de Los Angeles with over 120 taco vendors from California, Mexico and beyond. The best-of-the-best tacos represented are personally selected by Street Gourmet’s Bill Esparza, known as the Tacorazza.

Visitors get to enjoy unlimited tastes of these signature tacos. Some are from prized family recipes that have been around for generations. The taco fiesta is paired with some thirst-quenching, ice-cold beer and margaritas.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel will be there with Slapfish. Thinking a lobster taco.

It’s Los Angeles’ largest ticketed taco festival and it continues to grow each year.

VIP is, unfortunately, already sold-out!

We’ll talk taco with Senor Bill.

Bill Esparza is back on the show on June 24th talking about his new book, L.A. Mexicano with a foreward by OC Weekly’s Editor, Gustavo Arellano.

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Show 34, July 6, 2013: Gustavo Arellano, Editor of OC Weekly and author of Taco USA: How Mexican Foods Conquered America

Gustavo Arellano of Ask a MexicanOur favorite all-star, “Ask a Mexican,” Gustavo Arellano, returned to give us more practical insight on Mexican ingredients and their history. He’s also the editor of OC Weekly.

Today we talked tortillas. Why is a burrito made with flour tortillas?  On the other hand why are enchiladas prepared with corn tortillas. What is right for a hard or soft-shelled taco?

Gustavo explained that flour tortillas are popular in the Northern states of Mexico. They arrived from Spain in the 1500s.

Gustavo also shared the history of tortilla chips which traces its origin to San Antonio in 1912.

It’s summer so it’s time to quench your thirst. Gustavo suggests a flavorful agua fresca. This translates as “fresh water.” The base for this refreshing Mexican beverage is water and sugar. Cucumber and Tamarind are particularly refreshing versions.

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July 6: Sherry Yard, Sriracha Movie, Gustavo Arrelamo, Evan Funke, Valerie Confections

Podcasts

Segment One: On the Town with Chef Jet, Sherry Yard, and Producer Andy
Segment Two: Food Journalist Randy Clemens and “Sriracha” filmmaker Griffin Hammond Part One
Segment Three: Food Journalist Randy Clemens and “Sriracha” filmmaker Griffin Hammond Part Two
Segment Four: Gustavo Arellano, Editor of OC Weekly and author of Taco USA: How Mexican Foods Conquered America
Segment Five: Chef Evan Funke, executive chef & proprietor, Bucato Restaurant
Segment Six: Valerie Gordon, Valerie Confections

Time to talk of recent dining adventures …

Sherry YardPastry princess, Sherry Yard, the recipient of two James Beard Awards, joins us in-studio. She was celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck’s high-profile dessert guru for 20 years and is now out on her own with an ambitious project at The Helms Bakery complex in Los Angeles (on the border with Culver City.)

We’ll also answer some e-mail inquiries.

Sriracha MovieIt’s the Sriracha wars and the heat is on !

If you think Sriracha is simply the locally produced, fiery sauce with the red rooster on the label you need to know the real story. It’s actually Thai hot sauce named after the seaside town of Si Racha. It’s as popular as ketchup on the Southeast Asian table.

Documentary filmmaker Griffin Hammond will join us to talk about the Sriracha documentary he’s working on. It’s partially funded by an ongoing KickStarter campaign that’s already oversubscribed! He’ll be joined by local food writer Randy Clemens who is the author of two cookbooks on Sriracha. Newly released is The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook from Ten Speed Press.

Gustavo Arellano of Ask a MexicanOur favorite all-star, “Ask a Mexican,” Gustavo Arellano, returns to give us more practical insight on Mexican ingredients and their history. He’s also the editor of OC Weekly.

Today we’re talking tortillas. Why is a burrito made with flour tortillas? On the other hand why are enchiladas prepared with corn tortillas. What is right for a hard or soft-shelled taco? We’re confused…

I need a cerveza…

Evan Funke of Bucato Restaurant Chef Evan Funke generated a lot of interest at Rustic Canyon as the opening chef when it opened a few years back in Santa Monica. Now Evan is about to debut Bucato Restaurant on Washington Blvd. in Culver City in the former iconic Beacon Laundry Building which is part of the larger Helms Bakery complex. With Bucato he is Executive Chef and Proprietor.

During construction Chef Evan has been operating a food truck. The rave item is his porchetta sandwich. Bucato will be modern Italian.

Valerie Gordon of Valerie ConfectionsValerie Gordon of Valerie Confections burst on the local foodie scene with her cravable line of chocolate-dipped toffees in 2004. The response has been terrific and the line has greatly expanded over the years. Her quality products now include chocolates, a line of petis fours, handmade preserves, cakes, pastries, and even a catering division.

Valerie has developed a sub-specialty of recreating the classic desserts of fondly remembered, but long-ago departed, iconic local restaurants. The original Brown Derby’s grapefruit cake is just one memorable example.

Valerie Confections latest project is their new Coffee Shop & Bakery located at the historic Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles.

Podcasts

Segment One: On the Town with Chef Jet, Sherry Yard, and Producer Andy
Segment Two: Food Journalist Randy Clemens and “Sriracha” filmmaker Griffin Hammond Part One
Segment Three: Food Journalist Randy Clemens and “Sriracha” filmmaker Griffin Hammond Part Two
Segment Four: Gustavo Arellano, Editor of OC Weekly and author of Taco USA: How Mexican Foods Conquered America
Segment Five: Chef Evan Funke, executive chef & proprietor, Bucato Restaurant
Segment Six: Valerie Gordon, Valerie Confections

Show 27, May 4, 2013: Gustavo Arellano, Editor of OC Weekly and creator of the syndicated and wildly popular, “Ask a Mexican” column

Gustavo Arellano of Ask a MexicanGustavo’s latest book, Taco USA – How Mexican Food Conquered America is now in paperback.

First Gustavo discussed the history of Cinco de Mayo and the fact that it’s a pretty minor holiday in Mexico. The large beer distribution entities in the United States have created (with great marketing) a festive holiday around the day in the States. It’s all a great excuse to increase beer sales!

Then it was on to the history of the taco. In Mexico references to “tacos” date to the 1880s. In the US the name first appeared about 1915.

In Mexico the hard shell taco originated in Central Mexico. The soft shell variation wasn’t popularized in homes until the 1960s.

Whether the shell was made of flour or corn depended on the region. In Northern Mexico, for instance, it was typically made with a flour tortilla.

Burritos were always made with flour tortillas.

The breakfast taco first became popular in Texas.

Gustavo is not a fan of the tacos served at Taco Bell but thinks the breakfast tacos at Del Taco are “not bad.”

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Show 24, April 6, 2013: Gustavo Arellano, Editor of The OC Weekly & author of Taco USA – How Mexican Food Conquered America

Gustavo Arellano of Ask a MexicanTaco USA is Gustavo’s third book and he gave us the background of how the project originated. This is a thoughtful, well-researched history of Mexican food in the United States.

The book is overflowing with great stories. One of the best is how Glen Bell developed the taco for the original Taco Bell. It actually wasn’t his creation but he learned from a master in San Bernardino…

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Show 24, April 6, 2013: Gustavo Arellano, Editor of The OC Weekly & author of Taco USA – How Mexican Food Conquered America (Continued…)

Tacos USA by Gustavo_ArellanoGustavo spoke about the “authenticity” of a hard shell taco versus a soft taco. He also observed that Mexican fare in the U.S. varies by geography. What you get in a region is greatly influenced by the state in Mexico where the immigrants from that region landed in the U.S.

Gustavo concluded by mentioning a personal favorite Mexican Restaurant in both Orange County and Los Angeles. He recommends El Borrego Sagrado on S. Main St. in Santa Ana for barbecued lamb and the original Guelaguetza on W. Olympic in Koreatown in Los Angeles for incredible mole.

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April 6: Gustavo Arellano, Musso and Frank Grill, Scott Leibfried

Podcasts

Segment One: Chef Jet Tila
Segment Two: Gustavo Arellano, Editor of The OC Weekly & author of Taco USA – How Mexican Food Conquered America Part One
Segment Three: Gustavo Arellano, Editor of The OC Weekly & author of Taco USA – How Mexican Food Conquered America Part Two
Segment Four: Mark Echeverria, the General Manager & Proprietor of the Musso & Frank Grill in Hollywood
Segment Five: Chef Scott Leibfried, Gordon Ramsay’s sous chef on Fox TV’s “Hell’s Kitchen” for the past 10 years. Executive Chef of Arch Rock Fish is Santa Barbara Part One
Segment Six: Chef Scott Leibfried, Gordon Ramsay’s sous chef on Fox TV’s “Hell’s Kitchen” for the past 10 years. Executive Chef of Arch Rock Fish is Santa Barbara Part Two

Lots of tasty delights to share this week. We have an unusual take on Mexican food that will leave you thinking. From there it’s a bit of celebrity dining history in old Hollywood. We wrap it up with a prominent chef who is an accomplished expert in seafood preparation.

First it’s the “best bite of the week” with Chef Jet and Producer Andy. Thereafter it’s the cream of significant restaurant news of the week.

Gustavo Arellano of Ask a MexicanIf you think you know everything there is to know about the rich history of Mexican food in America think again. Gustavo Arellano joins us to talk about his latest book, Taco USA – How Mexican Food Conquered America. Gustavo is the accomplished and well-known editor of OC Weekly as well as one of their restaurant reviewers. He also pens the provocative, nationally syndicated column, “Ask a Mexican!

Since 1919 the venerable Musso and Frank Grill on Hollywood Blvd. has ably stood the test of time and endured. More than a handful of the career waiters there have been serving guests for 30 years or more. Every one of them is a character! There are more stories there than there is time to do them justice in the telling! That also applies to the proficient bar staff. They perfected the classic craft cocktails way before they became trendy again!

Talk about consistency. They have had three executive chefs in their entire history.

Mark Echeverria, the managing partner, and a direct descendent of one of the two founding families joins us with a salute to the ultimate in Hollywood dining history that is far from being a museum piece.

Scott Leibfried of Hells Kitchen and Arch Rock GrillYou know Chef Scott Leibfried as Gordon Ramsay’s sous chef on Fox TV’s popular “Hell’s Kitchen” series for the past 10 seasons. He’s also the Lead Chef Advisor for Fox TV’s “Kitchen Nightmares” series also starring Chef Ramsay.

He’s a real working chef. Chef Scott is Executive Chef and part owner of Arch Rock Fish in Santa Barbara.

Podcasts

Segment One: Chef Jet Tila
Segment Two: Gustavo Arellano, Editor of The OC Weekly & author of Taco USA – How Mexican Food Conquered America Part One
Segment Three: Gustavo Arellano, Editor of The OC Weekly & author of Taco USA – How Mexican Food Conquered America Part Two
Segment Four: Mark Echeverria, the General Manager & Proprietor of the Musso & Frank Grill in Hollywood
Segment Five: Chef Scott Leibfried, Gordon Ramsay’s sous chef on Fox TV’s “Hell’s Kitchen” for the past 10 years. Executive Chef of Arch Rock Fish is Santa Barbara Part One
Segment Six: Chef Scott Leibfried, Gordon Ramsay’s sous chef on Fox TV’s “Hell’s Kitchen” for the past 10 years. Executive Chef of Arch Rock Fish is Santa Barbara Part Two