Show 304, December 29, 2018: Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish Restaurant Group & Co-Host, with “Ask the Chef” – Part One

Andy Harris and Andrew Gruel at Cabana 14 at the Cove at Pechanga Resort and CasinoOur own Chef Andrew Gruel joins us with another informative “Ask the Chef” segment. With the Holidays in progress it’s great to have a real working chef in our corner always providing handy and practical advice!

It’s time to chew on a few more significant food and restaurant trends from 2018 and what might be ahead for 2019. Recruiting qualified cooks for the kitchen is a problem of epic proportions.

Congrats to Chef Andrew for Raw by Slapfish (Huntington Beach) being included in OC Weekly’s Restaurant Critic Edwin Goei’s “Top Drinks and Restaurants of 2018” piece. He’s a fan of Chef Andrew’s afternoon “Beat the Clock” special on shucked chilled oysters which continues to evolve.

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Show 239, September 2, 2017: Chef Andrew Gruel, Founder of Slapfish, Two Birds & Butterleaf

Andrew and William GruelWe’re delighted to welcome our Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, back to the show (in-studio) after his recent global travels. Chef Andrew is discussing the benefit he’s hosting at the original Huntington Beach Slapfish location on Beach Blvd. for all of September in support of Bracken’s Kitchen.

Two ways to contribute to raising money for Chef Bill Bracken to buy his vitally needed 2nd food truck. For the month of September Slapfish Huntington Beach will donate 50 per cent of the sales of their “Sweet Pow Shrimp & Lobster Bowl” to Bracken’s Kitchen. Second option is to donate $10 to Bracken’s Kitchen and be rewarded with a free lobster roll (a $22 value menu item.)

Also on the menu is a discussion of shrimp. When you’re buying shrimp as “fresh” is that really the case? Is there anything wrong with enjoying shrimp that has been previously frozen and then properly thawed for sale in the fish case? (Typically domestic shrimp is IQF frozen on the fishing boat or dock to preserve freshness.)

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Show 213, March 4, 2017: Executive Chef / Restaurateur Dino Ferraro, Capone’s Cucina, Huntington Beach

Dino FerraroChef Dino Ferraro is affectionately known to his many regulars as the “Godfather of Italian Cuisine” in Huntington Beach with three popular Italian/Mediterranean Restaurants located in this prominent beach community. Chef Dino’s flagship is Capone’s Cucina and his other establishments are Black Trumpet Bistro and Mona Lisa Cucina.

Capone’s Pasta and Pizza opened in Westminster in 1997. It was at this location that Dino expanded his repertoire and added specials to the standard menu. Customers were hooked on Dino’s ability to transform everyday ingredients into culinary works of art and became regulars.

He sold Capone’s Pasta and Pizza in 2000 and moved to Huntington Beach where he opened Capone’s Cucina with a goal of creating a more gourmet dining experience. In 2002, Dino hired friend and fellow chef, Francois Lieutaud to create a unique paring of French and Italian cuisine. The combination made for an old world European feel and customers loved the larger selection of dishes. Capone’s remodeled and expanded into the space next door late last year.

Dino and Francois rejoined again and started Mona Lisa Cucina with a large variety of gourmet pasta’s and pizza’s to serve the Huntington Beach community. From their early experiments with simple, basic foods grew an appreciation for the sensuality of texture, presentation and fragrance.

The newest addition to Chef Dino’s family of restaurants is The Black Trumpet. This establishment specializes in Mediterranean tapas, small plates that bring the guest the flavors of Italy, France, Greece and Morocco.

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Show 183, August 6, 2016: Restaurateur Alicia Whitney’s Sea Salt Wood Fired Grill, Huntington Beach

Alicia WhitneyHuntington Beach restaurateur Alicia Whitney is seemingly taking over the City one block at a time. Her newest full-service restaurant is SeaSalt Woodfire Grill featuring Santa Maria-style barbecue. Her pitmasters are actually from one of the well-known Santa Maria barbecue spots in the hamlet of Santa Maria! Santa Maria wines are highlighted on the list.

The smoked Tri-Tip plate with Linguica is spot on. Obviously Alicia took her Santa Maria research seriously.

She is also now on the sand at Bolsa Chica State Beach with two renovated, open beach food stands and a third set to open in the near future. The fourth is on the way. We’ll detour Alica for a quick respite and get all the tasty details.

Right now Alicia is bookending Bolsa Chica State Beach with the already operating SeaLegs at the Beach and Pacific Kitchen. Opening soon is SeaSalt Burger.

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Show 162, March 5, 2016: Alicia Whitney, Proprietress, SeaLegs Wine Bar, Huntington Beach

Alicia WhitneyOrange County Restaurant Week, organized by the OC Restaurant Association, will celebrate its eighth year as the region’s highest profile culinary event, with the 2016 Orange County Restaurant Week to be held from Sunday, March 6th through Saturday, March 12th. This year, 140 restaurants in 21 Orange County cities will offer a wide variety of options, from casual and family-friendly establishments, to upscale and fine dining.

During the weeklong event, the participating restaurants will offer special three-course menus, many with a cocktail or signature item included at no additional charge. Each restaurant will have the freedom and flexibility to showcase its best offerings by talented chefs who will, no doubt, personalize each menu to reflect their individual culinary style. Participating restaurants will offer prix-fixe menus within the following price categories: lunch for $10, $15 or $20, and dinner for $20, $30, $40, $50 or $80.

Restaurateur Alicia Whitney of SeaLegs Wine Bar in Huntington Beach (a participating OC Restaurant Week restaurant and Golden Foodie Award-recipient) joins us.

For OC Restaurant Week SeaLegs is offering a 3-course dinner for a modest $30. The guest has a choice of Appetizer, Entrée and Dessert. The entree possibilities are Ancho Chile Braised Short Rib, Arty’s Links and Chitarra Pasta, and Grilled Scottish Salmon.

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Show 158, February 6, 2016: Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish Restaurant Group

Andrew Gruel and his son WilliamSlapfish started life as a popular food truck with a very loyal following developed via clever use of Social Media. As soon as Chef Andrew had a firm base with the truck he was on the hunt for an affordable brick-and-mortar location which resulted in the original Huntington Beach location.

The food truck business in Los Angeles and Orange County is not as lucrative as it once was. Competition is intense and there is a lot of duplication of successful concepts. Competition is fierce for the best stops at lunch on weekdays.

Chef Andrew suggests it’s a good way to test a food concept without breaking the bank. Understand it’s really hard work with very long hours. It’s not glamorous…

Taco Maria at SoCo, the darling of food critics, started as a food truck.

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Show 135, August 22, 2015: Max Schlutz, Culinary Director, Sessions West Coast Deli

We love a well-constructed sandwich on the “SoCal Restaurant Show.”

Max SchultzAfter a promising Orange County debut in Newport Beach in 2014, Sessions West Coast Deli has opened its second location on the waterfront in Huntington Beach (414 Pacific Coast Highway). Designed as a neighborhood-casual concept, this new restaurant serves its immediate community with a menu of gourmet, culinary-focused sandwiches in a relaxed, beach-inspired environment.

The Huntington Beach restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner with a menu mirroring that of its Newport Beach counterpart. Guests are presented with nearly two dozen hot and cold sandwiches, a selection of salads, and gourmet sides on Sessions’ lunch and dinner menu, as well as ten signature sandwiches on its breakfast menu.

Sessions features a scratch kitchen with housemade sauces, sides, salads, and soups prepared in-house daily. All sandwiches are made to order with fresh, locally grown produce, humanely and naturally raised meats, and locally baked breads delivered daily from local artisan, OC Baking Company. In addition, the restaurant proudly serves a selection of locally roasted coffee beverages from Kean Coffee.

With the opening of the Huntington Beach location, Sessions sees the addition of nine new sandwiches to its already celebrated menu. Guests will still be able to enjoy their favorites, including the Summer Zephyr, with marinated vine-ripened tomato, wild baby arugula, fresh mozzarella, basil aioli, pickled red onion, and a balsamic reduction on french roll; and the Sloppy Barney, featuring spicy bbq pulled pork, jalapeño jack, house pickle, shaved red onion, and purple SoCal slaw on ciabatta.

All new sandwiches are featured at both locations, including the Geno, inspired by local surfer Gene “Sliding Machine” Petersen, who was voted on by the public to be honored in conjunction with the opening of the new Huntington Beach location.

 

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Show 135, August 22, 2015: Max Schlutz, Culinary Director, Sessions West Coast Deli Continues…

Max SchultzIn Spring 2014, when Sessions West Coast Deli opened its first location in Newport Beach, its owners had one mission: to serve the best sandwiches to ever hit the lip. As a neighborhood-casual concept designed to serve its immediate community, Sessions embraces the area’s surf culture as it presents a menu of gourmet, culinary-focused sandwiches in a relaxed environment. The term “West Coast Deli” perfectly describes the marriage of a high-quality deli menu with a chill vibe that appeals to area locals and tourists, alike.

In Summer 2015, Sessions opened its second Orange County location on the waterfront in Huntington Beach. The opening of this location reinforced Sessions’ dedication and commitment to its community by becoming a local hub for surfers, skaters and area beachgoers looking for great sandwiches.

Unlike most sandwich shops in the region, Sessions proudly boasts a scratch kitchen with housemade sauces, sides, salads, and soups prepared daily. All sandwiches are made to order with fresh, locally grown produce; humanely and naturally raised meats; and locally baked bread delivered daily from local artisan, OC Baking Company. In addition, the restaurant proudly serves a selection of locally roasted coffee beverages from Kean Coffee.

Max shares that the most popular sandwich is a vegetarian offering, Summer Zephyr, thoughtfully named after the spouse of one of the partners. It’s marinated vine-ripened tomato, wild baby arugula, fresh mozzarella, basil aioli, pickled red onion and balsamic reduction served on a fresh baked French roll.

 

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Show 131, July 18, 2015: Chef Chris Aure of Zarlitos Family Restaurant, National City

Chris Aure of Zarlitos in National CityThe 4th Annual “I Love Poke Festival” was held last month at The Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort in Huntington Beach. The sold-out event brought poke connoisseurs and newcomers together to celebrate the Hawaiian delicacy, lifestyle and culture as 11 highly competitive chefs went head-to-head for the title of Best Poke. Included in the “I Love Poke” competition in Huntington Beach were the champs from both 2014 and 2013.

In the end, Chefs Chris Aure and “Big Mike” of Zarlitos Family Restaurant in National City staged a big upset over the OC chefs and came out on top with their spicy poke rendition prepared with Yellowfin tuna, sesame oil, soy sauce, minced garlic, chili flakes, roasted black sesame seeds, green onion and chili oil. Earlier in the year they were the winners in the “I Love Poke Festival” in San Diego. They are now the SoCal champs.

Zatlitos serves Filipino home cooking with dishes like Pork Adobo. On the weekends it’s Mexican-inspired dishes (Z-MEX DELIGHTS) based on Filipino favorites.

The victorious (and modest) Chef Mike is our guest.

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Show 128, June 27, 2015: Nino “Neens” Camilo, Producer, I Love Poke Festival, Orange County

Nino Neems CamiloThe 4th Annual I Love Poke Festival tasting event and competition returned to Orange County on Sunday June 28th at The Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort in Huntington Beach. The foodie festival and chef competition invites poke connoisseurs and newcomers to celebrate the Hawaiian delicacy, lifestyle and culture as chefs compete for the title of “Best Poke.”

“It’s going to be another delicious Orange County event,” says Nino “Neens” Camilo, producer of I Love Poke and founder of ONO YUM. “Most of the chefs competing this year are first place winners from past festivals, so they’re accustomed to winning. This will be the most competitive festival so far.”

The I Love Poke Festival will feature 10-12 Orange County chefs competing for the title with their unique versions of the popular fish dish. Notable participants include James Harris of 370 Common, Shawn Gole of North Shore Poke Co., Ben LeFleche of Shades Restaurant & Bar, and Julio Hawkins of Fly-n-Fish Oyster Bar. The champs of the 2015 San Diego “I Love Poke Festival” (Zarlitos) will also be in the OC competition.

“Poh-kay” means to cut or slice and is traditionally prepared as a raw salad of fish, sea salt and any number of preferential ingredients. Festival-goers will get to sample the poke as a panel of judges evaluate each dish based on presentation, quality of ingredients and flavor, to crown the winner.

Producer Nino “Neens” Camilo joins us with all the 411.

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