Show 149, December 5, 2015: West Coast Prime Meats Cooks – Professional Recipes For The Home Kitchen Continues…

Amy and Craig Nickoloff of West Coast Prime MeatsAuthors Craig and Amy Nickoloff continue...

You might say it was primed to happen …! Our friends at West Coast Prime Meats have published the perfect cookbook for the Holidays: West Coast Prime Meats Cooks – Professional Recipes for the Home Kitchen. In the spirit of the Holidays the proceeds benefit two important Veteran’s charities, The Wounded Warrior Project and The Gary Sinise Foundation. $5.00 from the sale of each book goes to the benefiting charities. Given what’s going on in the World these days It’s an appropriate time to remember our veterans.

Some of the top toques from prominent restaurants in Southern California, Las Vegas and Hawaii have graciously contributed the tested recipes including ARC, Bourbon Steak, Connie & Ted’s, il Pastaio, The Musso & Frank Grill, N9NE Steak House, Loteria! Grill, Providence, Temecula Creek Inn, Valentino and Water Grill.

The book includes chef-created recipes for Beef, Burgers, Lamb, Goat, Poultry, Veal and Seafood. There are dozens of genuinely useful tips including instructions on how to debone a Leg of Lamb. The principals of West Coast Prime Meats know meat from years of practical experience and graciously share a lot of handy secrets with the reader.

From the Prologue

“For those nights when you’d rather let someone else do the cooking and clean-up, consider this your guide to some of the best restaurants in Southern California, Nevada, and Hawaii. We are honored to serve them and proud to support them.”

“There is one other group we stand behind : our men and women in the Armed Services. To help them, we will donate 100 percent of the profits from book sales [a guaranteed $5.00 per book] to assist our wounded veterans, through the Wounded Warrior Project and through the Gary Sinise Foundation. We encourage everyone to learn about these two worthy charities.”

West Coast Prime Meats Cooks is available through their website and Amazon.com.

 

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Show 126, June 13, 2015: Show Preview with Chef Andrew Gruel and Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

Andrew GruelExecutive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, and, now, Newport Beach is back as today’s special Guest Host.

Now a delectable preview of Saturday’s fully-leaded show.

Greenbar Craft Distillery located in Downtown Los Angeles represents the world’s largest portfolio of organic, handcrafted spirits, including BAR KEEP organic bitters, CRUSOE organic rums, FRUITLAB organic liquers, IXA organic tequila, SLOW HAND organic whiskey, TRU organic gin and TRU organic vodkas. It’s the first new distillery located in Los Angeles since the repeal of Prohibition. Co-Founder Litty Mathew joins us with the spirited background.

Catch & Release, newly opened in Marina del Rey in the previous Paiche space, is an ode to New England seafood with California inspiration from Chef/Partner Jason Neroni (exSuperba Snack Bar in Venice.) It’s a partnership with restaurateur Bill Chait’s Sprout L.A. Chef Neroni’s memories of Maine summers and precious time bonding over food with family led to the conception of Catch & Release. He’s our guest.

Beverly Hills is one of the toughest, and most unforgiving, markets for sophisticated dining in Los Angeles County. It’s hard to imagine thinking about quality Italian cuisine in Beverly Hills without mentioning il Pastaio, the celebrated Italian restaurant in the city’s center. For 21 years now, il Pastaio has served as an important gathering spot for locals as well as a place for celebrities to be seen. And for all of these years, one man has run the kitchen with an extraordinary eye for detail : Owner/Chef Giacomino Drago.

The soon-to-be-discovered Lodi Wine Country is one of California’s major winegrowing regions. It’s located 100 miles east of San Francisco near the San Joaquin/Sacramento River Delta, south of Sacramento and west of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Lodi is characterized by rural atmosphere where wineries and farms run by 4th and 5th generation families operate in tandem with a new group of vintners who have brought creative winemaking and cutting–edge technology to the region.

Camron King, the Executive Director of the Lodi Winegrape Commission, joins us with all the exciting 411.

Chef Akasha Richmond is one of the pioneers in destination dining in Culver City with Akasha which she debuted in 2008. Now she has launched her second restaurant in Culver City, Sambar, which is located steps away from Akasha. It’s inspired by her travels throughout India as well as her affinity for the rich culture and traditions of the country. Sambar showcases the diversity of Indian cuisine with an invigorating array of clean, bright flavors and choices – all inflected with familiar ingredients as interpreted through a California lens. Chef Akasha Richmond is our guest.

Don’t miss Guest Host Chef Andrew Gruel’s new restaurant makeover series, “Say It To My Face” on FYI. An original episode is aired every Thursday evening with an encore episode thereafter. Check your local listings. On-line food reviewers confront restaurateurs with the shortcomings of their establishments. It’s then up to Chef Andrew and his colleague, Chef Anthony Dispensa, to coach the chef and restaurateur to achieve a much higher level of guest satisfaction when the on-line reviews return for another look! Sometimes it’s tough-love…

All of this and lots more absolutely incredible deliciousness on Saturday’s show!

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Show 126, June 13, 2015: Executive Chef and Restaurateur Giacomino Drago

Giacomino DragoBeverly Hills is one of the toughest, and most unforgiving, markets for sophisticated dining in Los Angeles County. It’s hard to imagine thinking about quality Italian cuisine in Beverly Hills without mentioning il Pastaio, the celebrated Italian restaurant in the city’s center. For 21 years now, il Pastaio has served as an important gathering spot for locals as well as a place for celebrities to be seen. And for all of these years, one man has run the kitchen with an extraordinary eye for detail : Owner/Chef Giacomino Drago.

In Beverly Hills with its fickle clientele, it’s never easy to keep patrons happy. That Giacomino has consistently pleased his demanding customers for over two decades is a feat to be lauded. It’s clear something special is happening in the kitchen. Daily fresh-made pastas, traditional risottos, salads with Italian staples like artichokes, lentils and aged Parmesean, and entrees, including whole Branzino prepared simply with lemon, butter and capers. These are just a few of the fresh flavors that emerge from Giacomino’s kitchen.

Building upon the immediate success of il Pastaio, Giacomino opened the charming boutique trattoria Piccolo Paradiso in Beverly Hills. He also founded Panzanella in Sherman Oaks, il Segreto in the Bel Air hills, Via Alloro and il Buco, both in Beverly Hills, and Celestinio in Pasadena. In addition, Giacomino owns two fine dining sushi restaurants, SHU Sushi House Unico just a few doors away from his il Segreto in Bel Air, and Yojisan, a unique concept marrying Japanese and Italian cuisines into one. Here, albacore sashimi meets olive oil and persimmon for flavors never before considered. Taste the food you’ll agree it’s delicious.

Chef Giacomino is our guest.

Play

June 13: Greenbar Craft Distillery, Jason Neroni, Giacomino Drago, Lodi Wines, Akasha Richmond

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Chef Andrew Gruel and Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Litty Mathew, Co-Owner, Greenbar Craft Distillery
Segment Three: Executive Chef & Partner Jason Neroni, Catch & Release
Segment Four: Executive Chef and Restaurateur Giacomino Drago
Segment Five: Camron King, Executive Director, Lodi Wine Commission Part One
Segment Six: Camron King, Executive Director, Lodi Wine Commission Part Two
Segment Seven: Chef Akasha Richmond, Sambar, Culver City Part One
Segment Eight: Chef Akasha Richmond, Sambar, Culver City Part Two

Andrew GruelExecutive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, and, now, Newport Beach is back as today’s special Guest Host.

Now an enticing preview of Saturday’s fully-loaded show. Our goal is to leave you hungry and thirsty. In our case, that’s a good thing…

Greenbar Craft Distillery located in Downtown Los Angeles represents the world’s largest portfolio of organic, handcrafted spirits, including BAR KEEP organic bitters, CRUSOE organic rums, FRUITLAB organic liquers, IXA organic tequila, SLOW HAND organic whiskey, TRU organic gin and TRU organic vodkas. It’s the first new distillery located in Los Angeles since the repeal of Prohibition. Co-Founder Litty Mathew joins us with the spirited background.

Catch & Release, newly opened in Marina del Rey in the previous Paiche space, is an ode to New England seafood with California inspiration from Chef/Partner Jason Neroni (ex-Superba Snack Bar in Venice.) It’s a partnership with restaurateur Bill Chait’s Sprout L.A. Chef Neroni’s memories of Maine summers and precious time bonding over food with family led to the conception of Catch & Release. He’s our guest.

Beverly Hills is one of the toughest, and most unforgiving, markets for sophisticated dining in Los Angeles County. It’s hard to imagine thinking about quality Italian cuisine in Beverly Hills without mentioning il Pastaio, the celebrated Italian restaurant in the city’s center. For 21 years now, il Pastaio has served as an important gathering spot for locals as well as a place for celebrities to be seen. And for all of these years, one man has run the kitchen with an extraordinary eye for detail : Owner/Chef Giacomino Drago.

The soon-to-be-discovered “Lodi Wine Country” is one of California’s major winegrowing regions. It’s located 100 miles east of San Francisco near the San Joaquin/Sacramento River Delta, south of Sacramento and west of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Lodi is characterized by rural atmosphere where wineries and farms run by 4th and 5th generation families operate in tandem with a new group of vintners who have brought creative winemaking and cutting–edge technology to the region.

Camron King, the Executive Director of the Lodi Winegrape Commission joins us with all the exciting 411.

Chef Akasha Richmond is one of the pioneers in destination dining in Culver City with Akasha which she debuted in 2008 in the historic building which was originally the City’s first hospital. Now she has launched her second restaurant in Culver City, Sambar, which is located steps away from Akasha. It’s inspired by her travels throughout India as well as her affinity for the rich culture and traditions of the country. Sambar showcases the diversity of Indian cuisine with an invigorating array of clean, bright flavors and choices – all inflected with familiar ingredients as interpreted through a California lens. Chef Akasha Richmond is our guest.

All of this and lots more absolutely incredible deliciousness on Saturday’s show!

Litty MathewGreenbar Craft Distillery located in Downtown Los Angeles represents the world’s largest portfolio of organic, handcrafted spirits, including BAR KEEP organic bitters, CRUSOE organic rums, FRUITLAB organic liquers, IXA organic tequila, SLOW HAND organic whiskey, TRU organic gin and TRU organic vodkas. It’s the first new distillery located in Los Angeles since the repeal of Prohibition.

When husband-and-wife team Melkon Khosrovian and Litty Mathew started Greenbar in 2004, they made conventional spirits with local, hand-processed produce. As their farmers switched to organics the Greenbar spirits started tasting different – better ! Greenbar Distillery switched, too.

Soon, their unique spirits won many awards. Melkon and Litty graciously couldn’t take all the credit. They learned their successes also hinged on some silent partners – the farmers who grew their ingredients. Several had moved to organic farming, resulting in more aromatic, flavorful produce. That, in turn, led to more flavorful, aromatic spirits.

“Today, Greenbar Craft Distillery produces and distributes the world’s biggest portfolio of organic spirits – all made by hand with real ingredients. The environment also benefits because the company uses lightweight bottles, 100 % recycled labels and plants a tree for every bottle sold.”

Co-Founder Litty Mathew joins us with the spirited background.

jason-neroniCatch & Release, newly opened in Marina del Rey in the previous Paiche space, is an ode to New England seafood with California inspiration from Chef/Partner Jason Neroni (exSuperba Snack Bar in Venice.) It’s a partnership with restaurateur Bill Chait’s Sprout L.A.

Chef Neroni’s memories of Maine summers and precious time bonding over food with family led to the conception of Catch & Release. Neroni has honed his culinary craft in kitchens all over the world, and these experiences are evidenced by the international influences on the menu. The range is from French bouillabaisse to Spanish paella. Catch & Release, while finding its providence in Maine, will retain the California sensibility for which Neroni has become known, serving seasonal seafood and vegetables, whenever possible, from local and sustainable sources.

As a 16-year-old kid from Orange County, Neroni got a job working in Disneyland’s Club 33. There he discovered a love of, and aptitude for, the kitchen that would set him apart. His newfound interest and abilities took him north to Chez Panisse, where he worked the line for a year and began his career-long reverence for responsibly sourced ingredients.

Giacomino DragoBeverly Hills is one of the toughest, and most unforgiving, markets for sophisticated dining in Los Angeles County. It’s hard to imagine thinking about quality Italian cuisine in Beverly Hills without mentioning il Pastaio, the celebrated Italian restaurant in the city’s center. For 21 years now, il Pastaio has served as an important gathering spot for locals as well as a place for celebrities to be seen. And for all of these years, one man has run the kitchen with an extraordinary eye for detail : Owner/Chef Giacomino Drago.

In Beverly Hills with its fickle clientele, it’s never easy to keep patrons happy. That Giacomino has consistently pleased his demanding customers for over two decades is a feat to be lauded. It’s clear something special is happening in the kitchen. Daily fresh-made pastas, traditional risottos, salads with Italian staples like artichokes, lentils and aged Parmesean, and entrees, including whole Branzino prepared simply with lemon, butter and capers. These are just a few of the fresh flavors that emerge from Giacomino’s kitchen.

Building upon the immediate success of il Pastaio, Giacomino opened the charming boutique trattoria Piccolo Paradiso in Beverly Hills. He also founded Panzanella in Sherman Oaks, il Segreto in the Bel Air hills, Via Alloro and il Buco, both in Beverly Hills, and Celestinio in Pasadena. In addition, Giacomino owns two fine dining sushi restaurants, SHU Sushi House Unico just a few doors away from his il Segreto in Bel Air, and Yojisan, a unique concept marrying Japanese and Italian cuisines into one. Here, albacore sashimi meets olive oil and persimmon for flavors never before considered. Taste the food you’ll agree it’s delicious.

Chef Giacomino is our guest.

Camron King of the Lodi Winegrape AssociationThe about-to-be-discovered “Lodi Wine Country” is one of California’s major winegrowing regions. It’s located 100 miles east of San Francisco near the San Joaquin/Sacramento River Delta, south of Sacramento and west of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Lodi is characterized by rural atmosphere where wineries and farms run by 4th and 5th generation families operate in tandem with a new group of vintners who have brought creative winemaking and cutting–edge technology to the region.

In Lodi, grape growing is inextricably woven into the culture : the city of Lodi’s police department prominently features a grape cluster in its logo, and high school teams are named after grape varieties.

Lodi has been a major winegrape growing region for over 150 years. Unlike many U.S. wine regions, Lodi actually prospered during Prohibition and as such has been a continuous source of wine grapes since the 1850s. In fact, when early trappers wandered into what is now Lodi, they called one stream they discovered “Wine Creek” because of the proliferation of wild vines found there. As more and more Italian and German immigrants made their homes in Lodi, vinifera varieties such as Zinfandel, Tokay, and Alicante appeared by the 1880s.

Camron King, the Executive Director of the Lodi Winegrape Commission joins us with all the exciting 411.

The about-to-be-discovered “Lodi Wine Country” is one of California’s major winegrowing regions but maintains a low profile. Lodi is characterized by rural atmosphere where wineries and farms run by 4th and 5th generation families operate in tandem with a new group of vintners who have brought creative winemaking and cutting–edge technology to the region.

The Lodi American Viticultural Area (AVA) was recognized by the federal government in 1986, and seven smaller AVAs within the Lodi area were added in 2005.

Lodi leads the state in its commitment to sustainable agriculture and has demonstrated this by establishing Lodi Rules™ in 2005, California’s first third-party sustainable winegrowing program. As the first in California, Lodi Rules™ serves as a model for many wine regions that are now adopting sustainable winegrowing programs.

The Lodi AVA has about 100,000 acres of winegrapes, farmed by more than 750 growers, many of whose families have grown grapes for a century or more. The region’s annual yield of nearly 750,000 tons of grapes in 2012 was valued at $500 million and comprised 19 % of California’s total wine grape production.

He’s our guest.

Akasha RichmondChef Akasha Richmond is one of the pioneers in destination dining in Downtown Culver City with Akasha which she debuted in 2008. Now she has launched her second restaurant in Culver City, Sambar, which is located steps away from Akasha.

It’s inspired by her travels throughout India as well as her affinity for the rich culture and traditions of the country. Sambar showcases the diversity of Indian cuisine with an invigorating array of clean, bright flavors and choices – all inflected with familiar ingredients as interpreted through a California lens.

The concept takes its name from a traditional Indian based vegetable stew that is a staple in most South Indian homes. It was the first Indian dish that Richmond had ever tried many years ago. “I’m enamored by the balance of the very complex yet comforting approach to Indian cooking,” says Richmond.

The menu at Sāmbār will change with the season as the kitchen turns out a selection of spice-driven dishes that focus on local California ingredients including small plates, snacks, and street foods. While the foods of India can be as diverse as the varying states, from the heartier and richer curries of the North, to the rice-based and more tropical fare found in the south, there is a common thread which Richmond has effortlessly captured with the Sāmbār menu emphasizing a balance of sweet, spicy, hot, and salty, dishes such as Sevpuri Chaat, Gunpowder Smashed Potatoes, Truck Stop Goat Curry, Mississippi Masala Wings, Cheese Thali, or Black Quinoa Uttapam–a small fermented pancake.

Chef Akasha Richmond is our guest.

Sambar is open for dinner to start with an announcement of lunch to follow. Richmond’s penchant for the lighter foods of the Southern region, as well as nourishing and curative ingredients will stand out at Sāmbār, such as the Pigeon Pea Fritters, Goan Chicken Xacuti, or Lemon Rice, as well as Curries and Vegetables including a Backwater Shrimp Stir-Fry and Punjabi Mama Greens, to name a few.

Exploring new techniques, the ever-evolving menu will showcase Richmond’s culinary prowess and ambition to try inventive dishes while striking a balance with approachable and crowd-pleasing items. “While there will be vegetarian options and we won’t have beef on the menu, we will have goat, lamb, and pork dishes, there will be something for everyone,” says Richmond. Additional entrées will include Tandoori-Style dishes such as a British Raj Chicken, Pistachio Lamp Chops, and Pork Shoulder roasted with vindaloo masala served with naan focaccia.

Think Indian food only pairs with beer ? Nonsense! Sāmbār’s resident mixology team will be led by Clare Ward who, together with Richmond’s influence, inspired the cocktail program at Sāmbār. Ward also serves as the lead mixologist at AKASHA, Richmond’s landmark Culver City neighborhood eatery. Spice driven cocktails, housemade bitters, and rare and interesting spirits will be found on the drinks menu including “Last Train to Goa” ̶ a punch made with Arrack and rose syrup, or East Indian Pimms made with fresh curry leaves.

The beverage program will also incorporate housemade chai and organic Indian teas. Guests can enjoy cocktails at the bar or take a front-row seat just steps from the kitchen and share Head on Prawns with Mango Powder Marinade and Turmeric Naan, or the Sāmbār Snack Mix and a drink.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Chef Andrew Gruel and Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Litty Mathew, Co-Owner, Greenbar Craft Distillery
Segment Three: Executive Chef & Partner Jason Neroni, Catch & Release
Segment Four: Executive Chef and Restaurateur Giacomino Drago
Segment Five: Camron King, Executive Director, Lodi Wine Commission Part One
Segment Six: Camron King, Executive Director, Lodi Wine Commission Part Two
Segment Seven: Chef Akasha Richmond, Sambar, Culver City Part One
Segment Eight: Chef Akasha Richmond, Sambar, Culver City Part Two