Show 381, July 11, 2020: Chef & Proprietor John Park, Toast Kitchen + Bakery, Costa Mesa

John Park of Toast Kitchen and BakeryChef John Park’s Toast Kitchen + Bakery, now celebrating its 2nd Anniversary, is a welcome addition to the moderately priced dining scene in Costa Mesa. The actual anniversary date is July 24th but Toast will be celebrating with changing weekly specials for the entire month. From Tuesday, July 14th through Sunday, July 19th all the signature house-baked cookies are $2 each.

They serve Breakfast & Brunch daily (closed on Monday.) Early Dinner is Tuesday through Friday with Happy Hour (with food & libation specials) on Weekdays from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Some salivating new menu items have just been introduced including creative libations and both savory & sweet creations. Think Mapo Tofu Noodles with mapo tofu, noodles, zucchini, roasted sesame seeds and cilantro.

Chef John Park, the Chef of the Year at the 2019 Golden Foodie Awards, joins us.

Play

Show 378, June 20, 2020: Chef Nick Shipp of The Upper West, Santa Monica

Nick Shipp of the Upper WestLocally owned and operated, The Upper West opened its doors in 2010 and not long after its 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 dinner menu (currently served Tuesday through Sunday from 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.) 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 Harry’s 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.”

Dine-in has returned at The Upper West. As the kitchen regains its capacity a new dish is introduced to the menu each Tuesday. Think Ahi Tuna Tacos… Happy Hour is back, too, with beverages only served Tuesday through Sunday from 5 to 7:00 p.m.

Curbside To-Go continues to be available, too. Menu selections include Food for 2, Family-style Dinners, Large & Small Plates, sandwiches, desserts and libations.

We entice Chef Nick away from his newly reopened kitchen for a chat.

Play

Show 372, May 9, 2020: Tom Kelley, Certified Cicerone and VP of Sales & Hospitality, El Segundo Brewing Co.

Thomas Kelley of El Segundo Brewing and ESBC Slice and PintCertified Cicerone and raconteur Tom Kelley is the Vice President of Sales and Hospitality for the El Segundo Brewing Co. He misses being in the tasting room and at the nearby ESBC Slice & Pint restaurant engaging with guests and discussing the joys of craft beer. Tom has creatively initiated a fun, virtual Happy Hour on Wednesday nights under the banner of Lonely Hearts Pub with special guests. “Gratuities” are politely suggested for Restaurants Care, part of the CRA Foundation.

Greg Bechtel will be joining Tom for the next iteration of the Lonely Hearts Pub – Cicerone style on Wednesday evening, May 13th from 6 to 8:00 p.m.

“Greg was El Segundo’s first official sales rep that I hired, and for a time we were an all Cicerone Certified sales staff. We had the awesome experience of studying for our Advanced Cicerone exams together, and we hope to bring you some beer knowledge.”

“Greg will be selecting a few beers for me, and I for Greg. We will take turns doing a blind tasting of each trying to call out the style in under 3 minutes. Call out the brand and you get extra credit!”

“After that, who knows where the conversation and the drinks may lead us. Though I know Greg has been known to throw a cocktail or two together…”

“Looking forward to sharing some more beers with you all!” – Tom Kelley

Tom Kelley politely taps the keg for us on the details of Lonely Hearts Pub at El Segundo Brewing Co.

Play

Show 359, February 8, 2020: Napa Valley Grille in Westwood Village Part One

Brian Cousins of Napa Valley Grille“Combining local, seasonal ingredients, artisan products and an expansive selection of regional wine, Napa Valley Grille recreates the charm, bounty and palates distinctive of West Coast wine country in a sophisticated setting within Westwood Village.” Also available are several private dining rooms of varying sizes and attractive patio seating.

Napa Valley Grille serves lunch and dinner daily with Weekend Brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Also known for their Daily Happy Hour with Bar Bites like Lamb Lollipops and Buttermilk Fried Chicken sliders. Chef Ben Diaz’s revamped menu will be launched in the coming weeks.

Veteran General Manager and Wine Director, Brian Cousins, and newly arrived Executive Chef Ben Diaz are our guests.

Play

Show 357, January 25, 2020: Chef / Proprietor Arthur Gonzalez – Panxa Cocina, Long Beach – Part One

Arthur Gonzalez of Panxa CocinaLocated in Long Beach’s Belmont Heights, Panxa Cocina is a purveyor of modern Latin cuisine from the esteemed Chef / Proprietor Arthur Gonzalez. Panxa Cocina opened in December 2014 and is located on the corner of Broadway and Termino in the Belmont Heights neighborhood of Long Beach. Since opening, Chef Gonzalez has been serving both quality interpretations of classic dishes and daring new ventures into the uncharted territories of food.

Known for their Weekend Brunch featuring Blue Corn Pancakes. Brunch is now served seven days a week. Also popular for their Happy Hour.

We’re celebrating Panxa’s 5th Anniversary with Chef Art.

Play

Show 333, July 20, 2019: Proprietor Rob Arellano, Descanso – A Modern Taqueria, Costa Mesa Part One

Rob Arellano of Descanso RestaurantDescanso is a modern taqueria in that it celebrates authentic Mexican flavors and recipes executed on a traditional plancha and prepared a la minute in front of you, in a full-service setting. Concept creator and proprietor Rob Arellano pulled from his own Mexican heritage to create a never-before-seen restaurant experience rooted in nostalgia and comfort, that speaks to how we live and eat today, You, our guest, will come face to face with the chef as Mexican classics are made to order in a lively setting that brings in the smells, sounds and energy of a busy Mexican town.” Descanso was recognized as one of Orange Coast Magazine’s 2019 Best New Restaurants.

“With Chef Sergio Ortega at the helm in the Kitchen, Descanso presents Classic Central Mexico street-inspired cuisine, rife with bold flavors and the freshest, seasonal ingredients in dishes that are complex and layered with history and flavor.”

Open Daily @ 11:00 a.m. for Lunch and Dinner. Happy Hour is Monday through Friday from 3 to 5:00 p.m. Brunch (featuring Bottomless Mimosas and Brunch Cocktails) is Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Rob Arellano is our guest.

Play

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.

Play

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.

Play

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.

Play

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.

Play