Show 311, February 16, 2019: Executive Chef Nick Shipp, The Upper West, Santa Monica, CA

Nick ShippLocally owned and operated, The Upper West opened its doors in 2010 and not long after it’s arrival on Pico Boulevard in Santa Monica has emerged as a consistent local favorite. Upper West’s ever-changing menu draws inspiration from around the world while maintaining eclectic flavors of Chef Nick Shipp’s very own.

“Our bar offers a nightly happy hour from 5-7 p.m. as well an all -night happy hour every Monday that serves refreshing craft cocktails, handcrafted beer, and a unique array of small bites that can only be enjoyed during this time frame. Some of the local favorites happy small bites are braised pork belly lettuce wraps, sausage and goat cheese quesadilla and lamb nachitos.”

“Our lunch and dinner menu is always evolving and includes ingredients sourced locally from the Santa Monica Farmers Market as well as local farmers such as Weiser Farms, Niman Ranch, Jimenez Family Farm and Harries Berries. Our chef, Nick Shipp, has been described by food critics as a “mad scientist, where no two dining experiences are ever alike.”

Our wall decor changes regularly, as we host one local artist for each season of the year. Make sure you come and celebrate them at our quarterly art openings.”

“Every month, Chef Nick gets to show off his culinary talents with a special pairing dinner co-hosted by select liquor brands who will walk you through each of the individual tasting notes in accompaniment with each course. We offer whiskey, gin, and wine dinners, with a small intimate group, and we always have a great time!”

Their 6th Annual Oscar Fundraiser is Sunday evening, February 24th.

We pull Chef Nick away from his busy kitchen for a chat.

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Show 309, February 2, 2019: Preux & Proper’s Joshua Kopel and Chef Sammy Monsour, Downtown Los Angeles

Sammy MonsourBring on the Southern hospitality this “Big Game” Sunday at Preux & Proper in Downtown Los Angeles. Keeping the Southern theme, as Super Bowl LIII takes place in Atlanta, Georgia, there is perhaps no better place or a more Southern home on the West Coast to gather for this all-American tradition.

Featuring 4 TV’s, there is room for everyone to find a good seat and cheer on the two championing teams. We’re, of course, partial to our own L.A. Rams who played for 15 years at Angel Stadium before moving to Saint Louis.

Kickoff this Sunday Funday with Sunday Brunch served from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. and stay for the epic game. Begin with a Wakey Wakey Bloody Mary prepared with bacon-infused vodka, Smog City Little Bo’ Pils, Blackstrap Worcestershire, hickory smoked black salt, sharp cheddar, pepperoni, cherry tomato and house-pickled okra.

Contemplate Executive Chef Sammy Monsour’s sweet and savory Fried Chicken & Waffles brunch special made with Mary’s Free-Range Chicken breast, buttermilk cornbread waffle, honey, pecans, and butter of course, lots of butter.

Preux & Proper wants the fun to continue “all day long” so they will be offering Happy Hour from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the Barroom and the upstairs Proper Dining Hall while also shucking and serving $1 Oysters, $1 Wings and Handcrafted Pitchers of Cocktails inspired by the two competing Big Game teams ($45 each) which serve up to four guests.

If guests are still hungry for more, they can indulge in Preux & Proper’s tantalizing Southern Barroom Eats such as the Dungeness Crab Hushpuppies served with house bourbon barrel-aged green hot sauce, boil spice and charred poblano butter, or make the entire team happy with a Deep Dish Biscuit Dough Pizza like the Paulie’s Pomegranate-Habanero B.B.Q. Pork with smoked red onions and Tillamook cheddar.

Preux & Proper will be open for The Big Game on Sunday, February 3rd, 2019 for Sunday Brunch from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m., Happy Hour from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Sunday Supper from 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm; 840 South Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015; 213.896.0090.

Proprietor Joshua Kopel and Executive Chef Sammy Monsour kick off The Big Game festivities for us.

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Show 302, December 15, 2018: Anne Marie Panoringan, Freelance, Food, Libation & Travel Journalist

Anne Marie PanoringanFreelance food, libation and travel writer, Anne Marie Panoringan, is on the go, again, and with us in-studio. This time she is reporting for Coast Magazine (Orange County Register) and her travel destination is Healdsburg in picturesque Sonoma County wine country. Anne Marie will graciously share some worthy restaurant, winery, and lodging tips.

A highlight was her stay at River Belle Inn located at the Russian River. On the guest services menu there are Beer and Wine Happy Hour and daily, from-scratch breakfast pastries.

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Show 302, December 15, 2018: Restaurateur Ed Lee and Chef / Partner John Park, Toast Kitchen + Bakery, Costa Mesa

John ParkThe new Toast Kitchen + Bakery in Costa Mesa (on the site of the revered Golden Truffle) is the creation of Chef / Partner John Park and restaurateur Ed Lee (Wahoo’s Fish Taco.) There is some incredible food, baked goods & desserts coming out of this kitchen. Closed on Monday and Sunday is Brunch service only.

Think Hot Chicken and Hawaiian Malasadas for Brunch.

Two other attractions are Happy Hour (specialty cocktails, beer and wine) with menu attractions including Thai Chili Chilaquiles and Taco Tuesday (Pumpkin Chorizo Taco & Street Tacos.)

Chef John modestly doesn’t make a big deal about it but a per cent of the restaurant’s profits go to local charities.

Next door to Toast Kitchen is Fill Bakery & Creamery, home of authentic Hawaiian malasadas and tantalizing craft ice cream flavors. Everything is made fresh, in-house. We’ll be talking about Fill on Saturday morning, December 29th. with Co-Proprietor James Mullis.

We’ll meet the creative team from Toast.

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Show 285, August 11, 2018: Chef Tia Baker, The Federal Bar, Long Beach

Tia BakerEat your heart out Long Beach! DINE LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week is on through August 12, 2018. Experience cuisine that delights the palate and defines the art of dining in Long Beach. Held annually, Dine LBC features value-oriented two or three course menus from dozens of Long Beach’s best restaurants in twelve unique neighborhoods throughout the city.

The Federal Bar on Pine Avenue in Downtown Long Beach is one of the participating restaurants in DINE LBC. We’ll meet new Chef Tia Baker (ex-Sol Cocina) and talk about the elevated fare at The Federal Bar. New Happy Hour menu, too.

“Passing through the double doors into the main hall of this 1920’s Beaux-arts style building is just the beginning of the Federal experience. Your gaze will draw up into our three-story restaurant that doubles as an event space that can accommodate up 600 patrons, featuring two full-service bars, hand-painted beamed ceilings, towering columns, high windows that provide grand natural lighting, and an attached outside patio.”

There is a new Happy Hour Menu (every day) in place at The Federal. You can get Bottomless Sangria plus one food item (like Mexican Street Corn Flat Bread) for $20.

The DINE LBC menu for $35 per person is three courses with choices for each course. Selections for the Mains include Pine Street Bouillabaisse, Meatloaf Sundae, Investors Pasta and Chefs Fish of the Day.

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Show 267, March 31, 2018: Brendon Salisbury, 4th Generation Restaurateur, Coast Fish Co., Irvine

Brendon SalisburyCoast Fish Company is the relatively new brand and concept from the same family of restaurants (family owned and operated for 94 years) as El Cholo and The Cannery in Newport Beach. The fast-casual Coast located in the Los Olivos Marketplace in the Irvine Spectrum brings the best premium seafood from both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts to Orange County. The Salisburys’ prefer to brand it “fine casual.”

What’s a bit unusual is that the taco or entrée choices comes with the guest’s selection of fish. Seasonal options include Ahi Tuna, Barramundi, Catfish, Halibut, Mahi Mahi, Salmon, Swordfish, and Tilapia.

Sides include the expected chips & salsa and avocado but also feature mushroom risotto.

Happy Hour is new on the menu with $1.50 beers and half-price appetizers.

4th Generation restaurateur Brendon Salisbury is our guest.

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Show 260, February 10, 2018: Restaurateur Michael McCarty, Michael’s Santa Monica & NYC

Michael McCartyRestaurateur Michael McCarty of Michael’s Santa Monica fame has been a larger-than-life fixture on the local dining scene (Manhattan, too) since 1979. He is a legendary discoverer of youthful culinary talent. In the summer of 2016 Michael reinvented Michael’s Santa Monica once again with the arrival of a hot young chef, Miles Thompson.

When Chef & Restaurateur Michael McCarty opened the landmark Michael’s in Santa Monica back in 1979 I’m not sure he even suspected that he would become one of the pioneers of what is known as California cuisine along with Alice Waters and Wolfgang Puck. He pioneered having museum quality art on the restaurant’s wall with not a hint of pretention. A Michael’s in New York came on the scene about a decade later serving breakfast, lunch & dinner to the media elite.

Michael is also known for mentoring rising, young culinary talent. This distinguished alumni club includes Jonathan Waxman, Nancy Silverton, Mark Peel, Ken Frank, and Sang Yoon.

McCarty still can be seen at The Santa Monica Farmers Market on Wednesday mornings with his culinary team. When he’s home in Santa Monica he’s at the restaurant nightly still touching tables and welcoming guests.

We’ll chat with Michael about the diminishing influence of high-profile restaurant critics over the years as well as Chef Miles’ new Winter Happy Hour menu. (Think pork ribs with Calabrian chili red hot and a daily cocktail special for $1.79.) How valuable is restaurant criticism to an established restaurant?

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Show 255, January 6, 2018: Executive Chef Brendan Collins, The Wilshire, Santa Monica

Brendan CollinsWe last spoke with Chef Brendan Collins when he was running the underappreciated Birch located on a side street just off Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood. He is now back on the Westside creating the rejuvenated menu at The Wilshire Restaurant in Santa Monica. Guests have already noticed the new energy there along with the refreshed commitment to service.

The transition is complete. The entire menu for lunch and dinner now represents Chef Brendan’s creations. The Roast has moved there too, from Noon to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.

“At Wilshire our menu has been developed by acclaimed Chef Brendan Collins around local, organic and seasonal ingredients taking advantage of our uniquely rich and diverse farmers’ markets. Dishes originate from a fusion of American and International influences presented in a simple and accessible style. We call this “New Urban Cuisine”, reflecting the modern sensibilities of supporting sustainable farming, enjoying sophisticated and excellent food, and gathering in a beautiful but casual atmosphere.”

“Wilshire is a neighborhood restaurant. We pride ourselves on friendly and attentive service, and look forward to welcoming you for lunch, dinner, or a cocktail sometime soon.”

Wilshire Happy Hour is in full swing from 3pm-7pm M-F and 5-8pm Saturdays. To cap off those long work weeks, the restaurant is serving $4-5 beers, $7-8 cocktails, $5-6 wine and a delicious array of bar bites starting at $6.

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Show 208, January 28, 2017: Executive Chef Danilo Ibarra of the Marriott Vancouver Airport Hotel

Danilo IbarraExecutive Chef Danilo Ibarra of the Marriott Vancouver Airport Hotel in Richmond. B.C. oversees The American Grille, The Lotus Land Lounge (very popular Happy Hour program) and all other food and beverage provided on-property. We’ll meet him.

The American Grille is part of the Dine Out Vancouver Festival on now through February 5th.

“Let our friendly servers make you feel at home, while our open kitchen concept gives you a behind the scenes look as food is being prepared. With every dish, we use fresh, locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible, giving you a taste of all the flavors the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Our central location on one of Richmond, BC’s busiest intersections makes the Grille a social hub for the community, so don’t be surprised if you run into a friend (or make some new ones). Parking is on us!”

Chef Danilo brought in some menu items to talk about and sample. He had a tasty and well-presented salmon cake and their standout Lobster Mac & Cheese served in a small, cast iron skillet.

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Show 134, August 8, 2015: Executive Chef Brendan Collins, Birch and The Corner Door Continued…

Brendan CollinsFor the past three years, The Corner Door has been known as one of the best spots for cocktails in all of Southern California, filling both the bar and dining room with guests imbibing on their always seasonal and innovative beverage program. And now, with Executive Chef Brendan Collins at the helm of the kitchen, The Corner Door has introduced a completely new Dinner Menu with eats to match.

Collins, formerly the chef at such notable spots as Melisse, Anisette and Palihouse, opened his own acclaimed restaurant Waterloo & City just next to The Corner Door until he decided to close (and sell) it late last year. Though he was also working on his newly opened Hollywood restaurant, Birch, at the same time, Collins was deeply invested in Culver City. “It is a close-knit community, and all the restaurants are friends with each other,” he says. “I lived and worked in Culver City for seven years, and wanted to keep a connection with the neighborhood.“

As Executive Chef, Collins will be cooking at The Corner Door at least one day a week, but his longtime lieutenant and Chef de Cuisine Ali Haji has taken charge of day-to-day operations. Haji has worked with Collins continually for the last eight years, beginning at Mesa, in Costa Mesa. “I am closer to Ali than anyone, maybe even my own wife,” Collins says. “He knows what I like and the standards I like to keep; he is ready to step up and run his own kitchen.”

The Corner Door has a popular, and agreeably affordable, Happy Hour program every day. The signature Avocado Toast with burrata, radish, arugula, olive oil and sea salt is a modest $6.00.

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