Show 353, December 28, 2019: Bells Up Winery with Proprietor & Winemaker Dave Specter Part Two

Dave Spector of Bells Up WineryMicro-boutique, un-domaine and always open by appointment, Bells Up Winery in Newberg, Oregon composes fewer than 500 cases of hand crafted, classically styled Oregon Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Rose of Pinot Noir and Syrah. It’s a 2nd career, passion project of Winemaker Dave Specter and his wife, Sara. The Chief Marketing Officer.

“Winemaker and owner Dave Specter and his wife Sara began making kit wine in their basement in 2006 on their five-year wedding anniversary. Dave, a corporate tax attorney, fell in love with winemaking. He left his legal career in 2009 to work as an unpaid cellar rat to award-winning winemaker Joe Henke of Henke Winery in Cincinnati. Joe mentored Dave for three years, during which time Dave enrolled in the Washington State University online enology course, earning a certificate.”

“In 2011, Dave won two amateur national winemaking competitions with two different wines in two months; a year later the Specters relocated to Newberg. Dave worked fall 2012 harvest under Bryan Weil, winemaker at Alexana in Dundee, and studied viticulture in 2013 in the Chemeketa Community College program. He also served as a member of the board of the Chehalem Mountains Winegrowers Association.”

Dave continues the conversation on Bells Up Winery.

Our wine journalist colleague, Cori Solomon, the creator of the LA Wine Writers, was responsible for organizing this trip to the Mt. Hood Territory and Willamette Valley in Oregon. Read her article and tasting notes on visiting Bells Up Winery from her blog, The Written Palette.

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Show 178, July 2, 2016: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel

Andrew Gruel at the AM830 KLAA StudiosHappy 4th of July Weekend to all of our loyal listeners. Wishing you the very best in culinary fireworks over the long weekend. Eat well and be safe…

Executive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, LAX, Irvine at UCI and, most recently, Brea, is back as today’s special Guest Host. Last month in Chicago he received Nation’s Restaurant News’ Trendsetter MenuMaster Award for Slapfish.

Now an enticing preview of Saturday’s lush, patriotic and abundant show and not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re doing it right we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s actually a pretty good thing…

Upscale senior living facilities offering incredible amenities and delicious, healthy, chef-prepared food of restaurant quality represent a huge growth industry nationally. One of the industry leaders is Morrison Community Living. We’ll meet their Senior Corporate Chef, John Rifkin.

The Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure returns to The Wiltern theater on July 9th.  Over 60+ artisan ‘garagiste’ winemakers from across California, including Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez and SLO counties; Napa and Sonoma counties, and Paso Robles will pour over 200 wines. Over 30% of the wineries are participating in the Los Angeles festival for the first time. Co-founder Doug Minnick pulls the cork on the festivities for us.

“The Art of Baja Wine & Beer Dinner” takes place at the newly renovated The Grill at the Lodge at Torrey Pines on Friday evening, July 15th. Baja’s Chef Drew Deckman has put together a four-course family style dinner highlighting traditional dishes and ingredients from this unique region, which will be prepared on the outdoor rotisserie of The Grill. The dinner will feature wine connoisseur and Michelin-starred Chef Drew Deckman (Deckman’s en el Mogor) as well as Hugo D’Acosta, the premier winemaker of Valle De Guadalupe. Executive Chef Jeff Jackson of The Lodge at Torrey Pines joins us.

Food, wine and travel writer Cori Solomon (a member of the prestigious International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association and Founder of L.A. Wine Writers) recently returned from a 10-night cruise of Italy and the Greek Isles aboard the Celebrity Reflection, the pride of Celebrity’s fleet. Her accommodation was a spacious, Deluxe Ocean View Veranda Stateroom. This is a Solstice class ship, the crown of Celebrity’s fleet. Modern cruising offers a memorable vacation experience for all ages with considerable value. Cori is with us to share her smooth-sailing, cruise highlights.

Many passionate Italian chefs will tell you cheese (even the incredible Parmigiano-Reggiano) should NEVER be added to a seafood dish (particularly a seafood pasta creation.) Yet you’re now seeing lobster macaroni and cheese prepared by fine-dining chefs and raved about by guests. Our own Chef Andrew Gruel has successfully used cheese with lobster and crab at Slapfish. Confused….? We’ll ask Chef Andrew to explain.

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

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Show 178, July 2, 2016: Food, Wine & Travel Journalist, Cori Solomon. 10-Night Cruise on Celebrity’s Reflection Part One

Cori SolomonFood, wine and travel writer Cori Solomon (a member of the prestigious International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association & Founder of L.A. Wine Writers) recently returned from a 10-day cruise of Italy and the Greek Isles aboard the Celebrity Reflection, the pride of Celebrity’s fleet. Her accommodation was a spacious, Deluxe Ocean View Veranda Stateroom.

This is a Solstice-class ship. Modern cruising offers a memorable vacation experience for all ages and interests with considerable value. Cori is with us to share her smooth-sailing, cruise highlights.

“Celebrity Reflection® is our newest marvel. She boasts an expanded deck, 72 additional staterooms overall, more seating in the main and specialty restaurants, more sun lounges on the pool deck, and more seats in the theatre.”

“Celebrate the flavorful joys of outdoor grilling in the new Lawn Club Grill. Enjoy more than 20 delicious options in the Main Restaurant. Unwind in your own cabana-style haven, The Alcoves, on the Lawn Club. And check out all the new spa innovations in the enhanced Canyon Ranch SpaClub®.”

“Your vacation time is precious. Time aboard Celebrity Reflection will make the most of it.”

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Show 178, July 2, 2016: Food, Wine & Travel Journalist, Cori Solomon. 10-Night Cruise on Celebrity’s Reflection Part Two

Cori SolomonFood, wine and travel writer Cori Solomon (a member of the prestigious International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association & Founder of L.A. Wine Writers) recently returned from a 10-day cruise of Italy and the Greek Isles aboard the Celebrity Reflection, the pride of Celebrity’s fleet. She continues…

The Reflection can accommodate 3,046 guests served by a crew of 1,255.

There is an ambitious wine program aboard the Celebrity Reflection. The ship’s Cellar Master is actually the senior sommelier for Celebrity’s entire fleet. He trains all the other Cellar Masters.

Each Cellar Master adjusts his or her cellar selections to the demographics of the passengers and the countries the ship visits on that particular cruise. If you enjoy wine with meals the best value is one of the beverage packages. There is a tasting seminar offered on the options before you make a commitment. The Cellar Master also hosts a number of fun, interactive wine education events on each cruise.

From Cruise Critic:

With the impressive overall quality of food on board Celebrity Reflection there is little need to spend extra on specialty dining unless you feel like a treat. Even Oceanview, the cheerful buffet venue on Level 14, takes things to a new level with tasty International dishes that belie the restaurant’s casual surroundings.

Celebrity didn’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to dining on Reflection, sticking instead with familiar options. In the main dining room passengers can choose from traditional dining (6:15 p.m. for the early seating and 8:45 p.m. for the late) or the more flexible Celebrity Select Dining, which allows them to eat in the main dining room any time between 6 and 10 p.m. Bookings for Select Dining can be made online up to four days before the ship sails or once onboard. Or, like us, you can simply walk-in whenever it suits you. We never had to wait longer than five minutes for a table for two although we did notice a queue on one formal night.

The main dining area, Opus, occupies space on Reflection’s third and fourth decks. It’s an elegant venue, decorated in deep browns and silvers, with bright white tablecloths and crystal as far as the eye can see. The vast space — which accommodates 40 more seats than its counterpart on Celebrity Silhouette — is stunningly designed, though tables are a bit too close together making private conversation difficult (although this can be a good way to meet fellow passengers if you are so inclined).

Menus in Opus offer appetizers, soups and salads, entrees and desserts, and they’re flexible enough to accommodate specific dietary needs. You’ll choose from a variety of options, including favorites like shrimp cocktail, escargot, prime rib, rack of lamb and crème brulee. Food is generally good, with appropriate portion sizes and some surprises on the menu, like the beef Carpaccio or frog legs. Do ask your waiter what they recommend as suggestions are usually spot-on.

Vegetarian and healthier options are identified on the menu, but if you have specific dietary needs (vegan or gluten-free), discuss them with the maitre d’ before your first meal, and ask specific questions about the menu items you select.

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July 2: Morrison Community Living, Garagiste Festival, Jeff Jackson, Cori Solomon

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: John Rifkin, CEC, Senior Corporate Executive Chef, Morrison Community Living
Segment Three: Doug Minnick, Co-Founder, The Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure
Segment Four: Jeff Jackson, Executive Chef, Lodge at Torrey Pines. Art of Baja Dinner
Segment Five: Food, Wine & Travel Journalist, Cori Solomon. 10-Night Cruise on Celebrity’s Reflection Part One
Segment Six: Food, Wine & Travel Journalist, Cori Solomon. 10-Night Cruise on Celebrity’s Reflection Part Two
Segment Seven: Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish Restaurant Group, Huntington Beach

Andrew Gruel at the AM830 KLAA StudiosHappy 4th of July Weekend to all of our loyal listeners. Wishing you the very best in culinary fireworks over the long weekend.

Executive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, LAX, Irvine at UCI and, most recently, Brea, is back as today’s special Guest Host. Last month in Chicago he received Nation’s Restaurant News’ Trendsetter MenuMaster Award for Slapfish.

Now an enticing preview of Saturday’s lush and abundant show and not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re doing it right we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s actually a pretty good thing…

Upscale senior living facilities offering incredible amenities and delicious, healthy, chef-prepared food of restaurant quality represent a huge growth industry nationally. One of the industry leaders is Morrison Community Living. We’ll meet their Senior Corporate Chef, John Rifkin.

The Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure returns to The Wiltern theater on July 9th.  Over 60+ artisan ‘garagiste’ winemakers from across California, including Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez and SLO counties; Napa and Sonoma counties, and Paso Robles will pour over 200 wines. Over 30% of the wineries are participating in the Los Angeles festival for the first time.  Co-founder Doug Minnick pulls the cork on the festivities for us.

“The Art of Baja Wine & Beer Dinner” takers place at the newly renovated The Grill at the Lodge at Torrey Pines on Friday evening, July 15th. Executive Chef Jeff Jackson has put together a four-course family style dinner highlighting traditional dishes and ingredients from this unique region, which will be prepared on the outdoor rotisserie of The Grill. The dinner will feature wine connoisseur and Michelin-starred Chef Drew Deckman (Deckman’s en el Mogor) as well as Hugo D’Acosta, the premier winemaker of Valle De Guadalupe. Chefs Drew and Jeff join us.

Food, wine and travel writer Cori Solomon (a member of the prestigious International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association and Founder of L.A. Wine Writers) recently returned from a 10-day cruise of Italy and the Greek Isles aboard the Celebrity Reflection, the pride of Celebrity’s fleet. Her accommodation was a spacious, Deluxe Ocean View Veranda Stateroom. This is a Solstice class ship. Modern cruising offers a memorable vacation experience for all ages with considerable value. Cori is with us to share her smooth-sailing, cruise highlights.

Huntington 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. She is also now on the sand at Bolsa Chica State Beach with two open beach food stands and a third set to open this weekend. We’ll detour Alica for a quick respite and get all the tasty details.

Many passionate Italian chefs will tell you cheese (even the incredible Parmigiano-Reggiano) should NEVER be added to a seafood dish (particularly a seafood pasta creation.) Yet you’re now seeing lobster macaroni and cheese prepared by fine-dining chefs and raved about by guests. Our own Chef Andrew Gruel has successfully used cheese with lobster at Slapfish. Confused….? We’ll ask Chef Andrew to explain.

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

John RifkinUpscale senior living facilities offering incredible amenities and delicious, healthy, chef-prepared food of restaurant quality represent a huge growth industry nationally. One of the industry leaders is Morrison Community Living. We’ll meet their Senior Corporate Chef, John Rifkin.

Chef Rifkin joined Morrison Community Living in 2004 as corporate chef. In this role Rifkin was able to support the many Morrison Senior Living communities throughout the country and help to show the value of both Morrison and Compass Groups’ robust sustainable seafood program nationally.

In 2010 Chef Rifkin was promoted to Senior Corporate Chef. Under his leadership he has been able to drive Morrison Community Livings’ sustainable results even further, and along with his team of 10 Corporate Chefs, 24 Regional Chefs, and the over 400 plus chefs across the country to create very delicious sustainable seafood recipes.

Chef Rifkin knows that the generations entering Morrison Community Living communities have a very high expectation that they understand where their seafood and food comes from, but also that it is harvested responsibly as well. Chef Rifkin collaborates with many food service organizations to support him to bring the very best ingredients to the seniors that Morrison Senior Living prepares for. These guests have traveled the world, run Fortune 500 companies, and are master home chefs in their own right, cooking many meals for their family and loved ones throughout the years.

Garagiste FestivalThe Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure returns to The Wiltern theater on July 9th.  Over 60+ artisan ‘garagiste’ winemakers from across California, including Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez and SLO counties; Napa and Sonoma counties, and Paso Robles will pour over 200 wines. Over 30% of the wineries are participating in the Los Angeles festival for the first time.  Co-founder Doug Minnick uncorks the festivities for us.

Urban Exposure also presents the LA premiere of one of its signature comparison tasting seminars, “Tasting the Winemaker’s Spice Rack,”  on the stage of The Wiltern. Rendarrio Vineyards owner and winemaker Ryan Render and Michael Larner, winemaker and owner of the renowned Larner Vineyard, will use side-by-side comparisons to help wine consumers understand, through their taste buds, how different oak treatments – from type to region to toast – can affect the finished product and change the profile of a single wine.

Renowned for their ‘crazy thrill of discovery,’ one-on-one interactions with winemakers, and fun ‘no-snobs-allowed’ atmosphere, Garagiste Festivals offer wine lovers their only opportunity to taste so many small-production, hard-to-find wines, from so many regions, all in one place – over 60% of Urban Exposure winemakers are without a tasting room.

Drew Deckman“The Art of Baja Wine & Beer Dinner” takers place at the newly renovated The Grill at the Lodge at Torrey Pines on Friday evening, July 15th. Executive Chef Jeff Jackson has put together a four-course family style dinner highlighting traditional dishes and ingredients from this unique region, which will be prepared on the outdoor rotisserie of The Grill (which just completed a spectacular $2.5 million renovation.)

The dinner will feature wine connoisseur and Michelin-starred Chef Drew Deckman ( Deckman’s en el Mogor) as well as Hugo D’Acosta, the premier winemaker of Valle De Guadalupe who will showcase rare wines normally unavailable in California.

For those who prefer hops to grapes, Eugenio Wendtlandt of Wendlandt Brewery, voted best Mexican Brewery 2015, will also be in attendance in addition to other craft beer selections from the Agua Mala region.

Baja’s Chef Drew Deckman is also coming to San Diego. He has a restaurant project on Bankers Hill set to debut in early 2017.

Chefs Drew Deckman and Jeff Jackson join us.

Cori SolomonFood, wine and travel writer Cori Solomon (a member of the prestigious International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association & Founder of L.A. Wine Writers) recently returned from a 10-day cruise of Italy and the Greek Isles aboard the Celebrity Reflection, the pride of Celebrity’s fleet. Her accommodation was a spacious, Deluxe Ocean View Veranda Stateroom.

This is a Solstice-class ship. Modern cruising offers a memorable vacation experience for all ages and interests with considerable value. Cori is with us to share her smooth-sailing, cruise highlights.

“Celebrity Reflection® is our newest marvel. She boasts an expanded deck, 72 additional staterooms overall, more seating in the main and specialty restaurants, more sun lounges on the pool deck, and more seats in the theatre.”

“Celebrate the flavorful joys of outdoor grilling in the new Lawn Club Grill. Enjoy more than 20 delicious options in the Main Restaurant. Unwind in your own cabana-style haven, The Alcoves, on the Lawn Club. And check out all the new spa innovations in the enhanced Canyon Ranch SpaClub®.”

“Your vacation time is precious. Time aboard Celebrity Reflection will make the most of it.”

The Reflection can accommodate 3,046 guests served by a crew of 1,255.

From Cruise Critic:

With the impressive overall quality of food on board Celebrity Reflection there is little need to spend extra on specialty dining unless you feel like a treat. Even Oceanview, the cheerful buffet venue on Level 14, takes things to a new level with tasty International dishes that belie the restaurant’s casual surroundings.

Celebrity didn’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to dining on Reflection, sticking instead with familiar options. In the main dining room passengers can choose from traditional dining (6:15 p.m. for the early seating and 8:45 p.m. for the late) or the more flexible Celebrity Select Dining, which allows them to eat in the main dining room any time between 6 and 10 p.m. Bookings for Select Dining can be made online up to four days before the ship sails or once onboard. Or, like us, you can simply walk-in whenever it suits you. We never had to wait longer than five minutes for a table for two although we did notice a queue on one formal night.

The main dining area, Opus, occupies space on Reflection’s third and fourth decks. It’s an elegant venue, decorated in deep browns and silvers, with bright white tablecloths and crystal as far as the eye can see. The vast space — which accommodates 40 more seats than its counterpart on Celebrity Silhouette — is stunningly designed, though tables are a bit too close together making private conversation difficult (although this can be a good way to meet fellow passengers if you are so inclined).

Menus in Opus offer appetizers, soups and salads, entrees and desserts, and they’re flexible enough to accommodate specific dietary needs. You’ll choose from a variety of options, including favorites like shrimp cocktail, escargot, prime rib, rack of lamb and crème brulee. Food is generally good, with appropriate portion sizes and some surprises on the menu, like the beef Carpaccio or frog legs. Do ask your waiter what they recommend as suggestions are usually spot-on.

Vegetarian and healthier options are identified on the menu, but if you have specific dietary needs (vegan or gluten-free), discuss them with the maitre d’ before your first meal, and ask specific questions about the menu items you select.

Andrew Gruel and his son WilliamMany passionate Italian chefs will tell you cheese (even the incredible Parmigiano-Reggiano) should NEVER be added to a seafood dish. Yet you’re now seeing lobster macaroni and cheese prepared by fine-dining chefs and raved about by guests.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel has successfully used cheese with lobster at Slapfish. It’s popular with the guests. Confused….? We’ll ask Chef Andrew to explain.

Save

Show 111, February 21, 2015: Artisan Uprising winery, Paso Robles

David and William Vondrasek Specializing in very limited production, ultra premium wines grown in Paso Robles, California, Artisan Uprising was created by brothers David and William Vondrasek after years of making wines solely for their family.

“Originally inspired to try out what we had learned from our grandfather and our (Italian) heritage of making wine each year, we found ourselves making more than the family could drink. Now that we make enough to share, we have held true to our process and mindset of how our wine should be made.”

“This is handcrafted wine two people can make. Unfiltered and un-stripped, our wines present some sediment in the bottle that we believe enhances the overall texture and ability for the wines to develop and age for years to come. Our wines are unique, they are what we like, and while quality of this scale has a broad appeal, it cannot be mass-produced, It is a true Artisan product.”

Current releases (very limited) are a Rose of Merlot, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Sirah. The wines are on the list at the glowingly-reviewed Cliff’s Edge in Silver Lake.

Artisan Uprising wines (current releases) were sampled recently at a special luncheon event of the L.A. Wine Writers at Hotel Angeleno in Brentwood. Their hands-on, executive chef, Laura Scollan (West) created the inspired food pairings. For example the 2014 Rose of Merlot was matched with a Cider-Glazed Scallop with rainbow cauliflower and truffled parsnip puree.

Current releases (very limited) are a Rose of Merlot, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Sirah.

We are joined by the Vondrasek Brothers.

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