Show 423, May 1, 2021: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

We’re previewing the show with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris.

In June of 2012 Copenhagen Pastry first brought the authentic taste of Denmark to Culver City under the direction of Proprietress Karen Hansen. For centuries, the Danes have made delicious pastries, and Copenhagen Pastry is proudly continuing that tradition in Southern California. Copenhagen Pastry differs from other bakeries through their emphasis on using authentic Danish recipes, traditional baking methods and the finest quality ingredients to create pastries that are flaky, light and delicately sweet without being sugary or heavy. Proprietress and Baker Karen Hansen prepares the signature Kringle for us.

Saracina Vineyards Mendocino is a Certified California Sustainable (CSWA) winery and vineyard located in Hopland, in the southern part of Mendocino County about 30 miles north of Healdsburg. This 250-acre ranch, which includes a winery and sustainably farmed vineyards, is also home to 140-year-old olive trees, vegetable gardens, beehives, and all manner of bird and wild animal life. The handcrafted, limited production Saracina wines reflect a conscious sense of this beautiful estate in Mendocino County. Originally founded by the husband and wife team of John Fetzer and Patty Rock in 2001, Saracina has always been defined by a strong sense of family. In 2018, Marc Taub took on stewardship of Saracina, upholding the spirit of family ownership that has defined this iconic Mendocino County winery since its inception.” Long-time winemaker Alex MacGregor joins us to pull the cork on Saracina Mendocino.

The family-owned and operated More Than Waffles located in the Encino Town Center launched in 1975. Since 1998 the welcoming establishment has been owned by the Taft Family. “They specialize in the authentic Belgian Waffle called, “Gaufre.” They are known for their thickness but have a light and airy texture which makes them lower in calories, only 140 calories per waffle. The waffles are made from the finest ingredients and served plain or with a variety of fresh toppings and are accompanied with house-made jam and melted butter. More than Waffles offers some 19 different waffles to choose from, and of course you can create your own. Beyond Breakfast, More Than Waffles offers a full lunch menu including Sandwiches, Salads, Pastas, Chicken Dishes, house-made Soups and juicy Hamburgers (including Vegi Burgers and Turkey Burgers.) More Than Waffles uses a variety of Organic products and offers many healthy and lower-calorie, lighter fare dishes.” Proprietress Ika Taft (who started there as a server in 1989) is our guest.

“Orange County notable Amar Santana, the well-known chef of Vaca and The Hall Global Eatery at South Coast Plaza, as well as Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach, has returned to Bravo’s Top Chef Season 18 with a twist. This current Season, Chef Amar traded his cheftestant toque for a seat at the prestigious Judge’s Table. He was selected to be part of an elite rotating judging and dining panel made up of Top Chef All Star winners and finalists.” We entice Chef Amar away from his busy kitchens for a long overdue chat.

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 continually updating us on the real impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants during the initial, highly fluid stages of the hoped-for recovery which remains a genuine concern. Restaurants in Southern California are finally again allowed to operate for outside/patio dining and inside dining at reduced capacities with all the requisite COVID 19 safety precautions. Shifting the conversation back to food we’ll also ask Chef Andrew about the new developments with the stinging 3rd party delivery fees charged to restaurants. DoorDash (the industry leader) has just revamped what percentages they charge to restaurants. It’s now 3 tiers. Chef Andrew has a dazzler of a premium sandwich collaboration going with the flagship Nathan’s Famous stand on Coney Island. It’s a premium rib eye steak sandwich with caramelized onions on artisan bread with one quarter pound of butter poached lobster (The Surf’N Turf.)

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

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Show 423, May 1, 2021: Ika Taft, Proprietress, More Than Waffles, Encino

The proudly family-owned More Than Waffles located in the Encino Town Center launched in 1975. Since 1998 the established has been owned and operated by the Taft Family. “They specialize in the authentic Belgian Waffle called, “Gaufre.” They are known for their thickness but have a light and airy texture which makes them lower in calories, only 140 calories per waffle. The waffles are made from the finest ingredients and served plain or with a variety of fresh toppings and are accompanied with house-made jam and melted butter. More than Waffles offers some 19 different waffles to choose from, and of course you can create your own.”

“More Than Waffles also offers a full breakfast menu that includes 21 omelets which are served with a Belgian Waffle or home fries, breakfast burritos, crepes, pancakes, various benedicts, hash and much more.”

“Besides breakfast, More Than Waffles offers a full lunch menu including Sandwiches, Salads, Pastas, Chicken Dishes, house-made Soups and juicy Hamburgers (including Vegi Burgers and Turkey Burgers.) More Than Waffles uses a variety of Organic products and offers many healthy and low-calorie dishes for a lighter touch.”

Love is in the air at More Than Waffles. Proprietress Ika Taft (who started there as a server) met her future husband, Greg, at the restaurant. As coincidence would have it Ika’s and Greg’s daughter, Henny, also was introduced to her future husband (Mike) at More Than Waffles. Henny is currently the General Manager of More Than Waffles representing the 2nd generation of caring, hands-on Taft Family stewardship.

Since they only have 17 tables available in their comfortable patio on the lower level of the Encino Town Center Ika suggests getting on their Yelp Waitlist during normal operating hours. If your party is on the list by the 2 p.m. daily close you’re guaranteed attentive & relaxed service even if you’re seated after 2:00 p.m. That’s real hospitality….

More Than Waffles was a beneficiary of Chef Andrew & Lauren Gruel’s “86 Restaurant Struggle” relief fund with support to both the Front and Back of The House Staff there.

Play

May 1: Copenhagen Pastry, Saracina Vineyards Mendocino, More Than Waffles, Amar Santana and Top Chef Season 18

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Karen Hansen, Proprietress and Baker, Copenhagen Pastry, Culver City Part One
Segment Three: Karen Hansen, Proprietress and Baker, Copenhagen Pastry, Culver City Part Two
Segment Four: Winemaker Alex MacGregor, Saracina Vineyards Mendocino Part One
Segment Five: Winemaker Alex MacGregor, Saracina Vineyards Mendocino Part Two
Segment Six: Ika Taft, Proprietress, More Than Waffles, Encino
Segment Seven: Restaurateur & Executive Chef Amar Santana, The Hall, Vaca and Broadway
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

We’re previewing the show with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris.

In June of 2012 Copenhagen Pastry first brought the authentic taste of Denmark to Culver City under the direction of Proprietress Karen Hansen. For centuries, the Danes have made delicious pastries, and Copenhagen Pastry is proudly continuing that tradition in Southern California. Copenhagen Pastry differs from other bakeries through their emphasis on using authentic Danish recipes, traditional baking methods and the finest quality ingredients to create pastries that are flaky, light and delicately sweet without being sugary or heavy. Proprietress and Baker Karen Hansen prepares the signature Kringle for us.

“Saracina Vineyards Mendocino is a Certified California Sustainable (CSWA) winery and vineyard located in Hopland, in the southern part of Mendocino County about 30 miles north of Healdsburg. This 250-acre ranch, which includes a winery and sustainably farmed vineyards, is also home to 140-year-old olive trees, vegetable gardens, beehives, and all manner of bird and wild animal life. The handcrafted, limited production Saracina wines reflect a conscious sense of this beautiful estate in Mendocino County. Originally founded by the husband and wife team of John Fetzer and Patty Rock in 2001, Saracina has always been defined by a strong sense of family. In 2018, Marc Taub took on stewardship of Saracina, upholding the spirit of family ownership that has defined this iconic Mendocino County winery since its inception.” Long-time winemaker Alex MacGregor joins us to pull the cork on Saracina Mendocino.

The family-owned and operated More Than Waffles located in the Encino Town Center launched in 1975. Since 1998 the welcoming establishment has been owned by the Taft Family. “They specialize in the authentic Belgian Waffle called, “Gaufre.” They are known for their thickness but have a light and airy texture which makes them lower in calories, only 140 calories per waffle. The waffles are made from the finest ingredients and served plain or with a variety of fresh toppings and are accompanied with house-made jam and melted butter. More than Waffles offers some 19 different waffles to choose from, and of course you can create your own. Beyond Breakfast, More Than Waffles offers a full lunch menu including Sandwiches, Salads, Pastas, Chicken Dishes, house-made Soups and juicy Hamburgers (including Vegi Burgers and Turkey Burgers.) More Than Waffles uses a variety of Organic products and offers many healthy and lower-calorie, lighter fare dishes.” Proprietress Ika Taft (who started there as a server in 1989) is our guest.

“Orange County notable Amar Santana, the well-known chef of Vaca and The Hall Global Eatery at South Coast Plaza, as well as Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach, has returned to Bravo’s Top Chef Season 18 with a twist. This current Season, Chef Amar traded his cheftestant toque for a seat at the prestigious Judge’s Table. He was selected to be part of an elite rotating judging and dining panel made up of Top Chef All Star winners and finalists.” We entice Chef Amar away from his busy kitchens for a long overdue chat.

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 continually updating us on the real impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants during the initial, highly fluid stages of the hoped-for recovery which remains a genuine concern. Restaurants in Southern California are finally again allowed to operate for outside/patio dining and inside dining at reduced capacities with all the requisite COVID 19 safety precautions. Shifting the conversation back to food we’ll also ask Chef Andrew about the new developments with the stinging 3rd party delivery fees charged to restaurants. DoorDash (the industry leader) has just revamped what percentages they charge to restaurants. It’s now 3 tiers.

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

“In June of 2012 Copenhagen Pastry brought the authentic taste of Denmark to Culver City under the direction of Proprietress Karen Hansen. For centuries, the Danes have made delicious pastries, and Copenhagen Pastry is proudly continuing that tradition in Southern California.”

“Copenhagen Pastry differs from other bakeries through their emphasis on using authentic Danish recipes, traditional baking methods and premium ingredients to create pastries that are flaky, light and delicately sweet without being sugary or heavy.”

“Copenhagen Pastry’s fillings are primarily almond paste and custard in various ratios along with cinnamon, almond flakes and traditional Danish fruit fillings (apple, raspberry, apricot and blueberry). At Copenhagen Pastry they bake pastries throughout the day as demand dictates. Customers always leave with freshly baked goods.”

“Among their signature offerings is a wholegrain rye bread containing the goodness of whole rye berries, black flax seeds, sunflower and sesame seeds. Their rye bread is a thoroughly healthy bread high in fiber, low in sodium and sugar free.”

“Traditional Danish pastry dough is yeast-leavened dough folded 27 times over with layers of margarine resulting in a so called laminated dough that yields the desired light and flaky pastry so prized around the world.”

“The basic pastry dough is used to make pastries in a variety of styles – round and circular (Spandauer and Chocolate), folded or rolled (Copenhagen or Cinnamon), cut, folded or shaped (Diamond or Crown) or the knotted pretzel shape of a Kringle, the trade sign for Danish bakeries.”

Proprietress & Baker Karen Hansen joins us with whisk in hand.

Saracina Vineyards Mendocino is a Certified California Sustainable (CSWA) winery and vineyard located in Hopland, in the southern part of Mendocino County about 30 miles north of Healdsburg. This 250-acre ranch, which includes a winery and sustainably farmed vineyards, is also home to 140-year-old olive trees, vegetable gardens, beehives, and all manner of bird and wild animal life. The handcrafted, limited production Saracina wines reflect a conscious sense of this beautiful estate in Mendocino County.”

“Originally founded by the husband and wife team of John Fetzer and Patty Rock in 2001, Saracina has always been defined by a strong sense of family. In 2018, Marc Taub took on stewardship of Saracina, upholding the spirit of family ownership that has defined this iconic Mendocino County winery since its inception.”

“Saracina cultivates 40 acres of vineyards on six different parcels. The soils vary greatly from rocky to black clay and gravelly loam, allowing for the cultivation of numerous varieties including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. This area has wet winters and dry summers with very warm days and cool nights providing for ripe, plush fruit to be balanced by firm acidity. Winemaking is led by Alex MacGregor.”

“At Saracina, the modern, eco-friendly tasting room and winery facility blend comfortably into the rural landscape. Saracina’s openness and unspoiled yet well-tended beauty is unique in the Mendocino County, as are the wine caves, the first of their kind in the county dug out of solid rock over a two-year period. By prior appointment throughout the year, the winery also offers Wine Cave Tours, Private Tastings with the Winemaker, and last but not least, Estate Tours in a motorized “Mule.””

Long-time winemaker Alex MacGregor joins us to gently pull the cork on Saracina Mendocino.

The proudly family-owned More Than Waffles located in the Encino Town Center launched in 1975. Since 1998 the established has been owned and operated by the Taft Family. “They specialize in the authentic Belgian Waffle called, “Gaufre.” They are known for their thickness but have a light and airy texture which makes them lower in calories, only 140 calories per waffle. The waffles are made from the finest ingredients and served plain or with a variety of fresh toppings and are accompanied with house-made jam and melted butter. More than Waffles offers some 19 different waffles to choose from, and of course you can create your own.”

“More Than Waffles also offers a full breakfast menu that includes 21 omelets which are served with a Belgian Waffle or home fries, breakfast burritos, crepes, pancakes, various benedicts, hash and much more.”

“Besides breakfast, More Than Waffles offers a full lunch menu including Sandwiches, Salads, Pastas, Chicken Dishes, house-made Soups and juicy Hamburgers (including Vegi Burgers and Turkey Burgers.) More Than Waffles uses a variety of Organic products and offers many healthy and low-calorie dishes for a lighter touch.”

Love is in the air at More Than Waffles. Proprietress Ika Taft (who started there as a server) met her future husband, Greg, at the restaurant. As coincidence would have it Ika’s and Greg’s daughter, Henny, also was introduced to her future husband (Mike) at More Than Waffles. Henny is currently the General Manager of More Than Waffles representing the 2nd generation of caring, hands-on Taft Family stewardship.

Amar Santana at the Finale of Top Chef

Orange County notable Amar Santana, the well-known chef of Vaca and The Hall Global Eatery at South Coast Plaza, as well as Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach, has returned to Bravo’s Top Chef Season 18 with a twist.

“This current Season, Chef Amar traded his cheftestant toque for a seat at the prestigious Judge’s Table. He was selected to be part of an elite rotating judging and dining panel made up of Top Chef All Star winners and finalists.”

“Santana, in a tight finale, ended Season 13 as the Top Chef runner-up. The ranking was made more impressive as he battled his way back to the win in “Last Chance Kitchen” where eliminated chefs compete for the wild card spot in the finale.”

“Portland, Oregon is the setting for the new season of Top Chef. Production took place last fall under rigid COVID-19 protocols and devastating wildfires. Santana was on hand for the first eight episodes including the popular “Restaurant Wars” competition.”

Top Chef Season 18 currently airs Thursday at 8 p.m. PDT. The long-running culinary reality show has garnered more than 32 Emmy nominations and two wins over 13 years.

“Santana’s long-standing relationship with South Coast Plaza began in 2008 when the graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (and a C-CAP alum and scholarship recipient from High School) was hand-picked by Chef Charlie Palmer to open his eponymous restaurant at Bloomingdale’s. It was there Santana first worked with restaurateur Ahmed Labbate, another veteran of Palmer’s restaurant empire. The two subsequently went on to partner in three thriving restaurants in the competitive Orange County dining scene.” (Locations in South Coast Plaza and Laguna Beach.)

Chef Andrew Gruel savoring a New Jersey style Pizza

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 continually updating us on the real impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants during the initial, highly fluid stages of the hoped-for recovery which remains a genuine concern. Restaurants in Southern California are finally again allowed to operate for outside/patio dining and inside dining at reduced capacities with all the requisite COVID 19 safety precautions.

Shifting the conversation back to food we’ll also ask Chef Andrew about the new developments with the stinging 3rd party delivery fees charged to restaurants. DoorDash (the industry leader) has just revamped what percentages they charge to restaurants. It’s now a complicated 3 tiers. The consumer also pays a delivery fee.

Remember the juicy and delicious Community Burger (more than a mouthful) is available at all Southern California locations of Slapfish. The worthy burger is free with any donation to 86 Restaurant Struggle.” 100 per cent of that money goes to benefit struggling restaurant workers.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Karen Hansen, Proprietress and Baker, Copenhagen Pastry, Culver City Part One
Segment Three: Karen Hansen, Proprietress and Baker, Copenhagen Pastry, Culver City Part Two
Segment Four: Winemaker Alex MacGregor, Saracina Vineyards Mendocino Part One
Segment Five: Winemaker Alex MacGregor, Saracina Vineyards Mendocino Part Two
Segment Six: Ika Taft, Proprietress, More Than Waffles, Encino
Segment Seven: Restaurateur & Executive Chef Amar Santana, The Hall, Vaca and Broadway
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”