Show 412, February 13, 2021: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

Happy Valentine’s Day Weekend! A word to the wise…Do plan ahead…

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

General Manager Sara O’Shea was part of the opening team for the Golden Road Pub – Anaheim (also a production brewery.) A highlight of the operation is their large outdoor Biergarden which is again welcoming guests. The food is creatively elevated from the typical brew pub fare (there is a real chef (Henry) in the kitchen) and there is always an intriguing variety of craft beers to sample. Also on the beer menu are limited production craft styles brewed right there that are exclusive to the Anaheim location. Well-behaved canine friends are again welcome outside at the Biergarden.

Mezcal has come a long way since the days of the worm in the bottle and can be savored (and appreciated) as it’s cousin, a fine premium tequila, can be enjoyed. It’s a clear liquor and originally came from Oaxaca. Mezcal can be produced from several species of the agave plant. Mezcaliera and Mezcal Sommelier Noah Arenstein is our informed guide. Noah relocated to Las Vegas from Brooklyn last year to be part of the opening team of Chef Enrique Olvera’s (Pujol in Mexico City) highly anticipated Encore at Wynn Las Vegas.

Factory Place Hospitality Group, a restaurant group led by Restaurateur Matteo Ferdinandi, was founded in March of 2013. Executive Chef and Business Partner Angelo Auriana, joined Ferdinandi and his wife, Francine Diamond-Ferdinandi, in August 2013 shortly before the opening of The Factory Kitchen in Downtown Los Angeles. The L.A. collection of establishments also includes Brera Ristorante and sixth+mill pizzeria. The Factory Kitchen (serving dinner nightly from Tuesday through Saturday) and Brera Ristorante (serving Dinner nightly from Tuesday through Saturday) have reopened for patio dining. Both Factory Kitchen and Brera reopen for lunch on February 16th. To-Go availability at both establishments continues. Matteo Ferdinandi is graciously at our service along with Chef Angelo Auriana.

Chef Marco Zapien’s Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria in Pico Rivera has reopened for sidewalk dining Tuesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Family meals are still available To-Go. For Sunday (Valentine’s Day) from 4 to 8:00 p.m. Chef Marco has created a fine-dining, 3- course menu with options for each course either for al fresco dining or curbside pickup. Think Rosemary Roasted Prime Rib of Beef.

After chefing in the sports and entertainment industry for years, Chef Marco Zapien decided in 2003 that it was time to build a reputation in the private sector by partnering with his Father, Jess, in a family operated restaurant. Zapien’s Salsa Grill & Taqueria has been the culinary heart of the Pico Rivera community for 18 years now and has developed into a community favorite for preparing authentic regional Mexican fare. We pull Chef Marco out of his busy kitchen to chat about chiles rellenos and other Zapien’s specialties.

As Philip Brandes, the founder of Bravus Brewing Co. will gladly explain, “Not all non-alcoholic beer is created equal” and he has earned the meaningful accolades to back that statement up. When beverage enthusiasts want to pass on an alcoholic beer they certainly do not want to give up the taste of a high quality craft beer and they don’t have to! Bravus’ proprietary brewing process allows them to produce craft beer styles that taste exactly like their alcohol counterparts. Founded in 2015, Bravus Brewery is the first North American brewery dedicated to non-alcoholic craft beer with their carefully guarded, proprietary brewing process that has the industry wondering how they produce such award -winning beer! Founder Philip Brandes joins us to tap the keg on Bravus Brewing Co.

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 regularly updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants which is a genuine (and increasingly growing) concern. Restaurants in Southern California are finally again allowed to operate for outside/patio dining at reduced capacities with all the requisite COVID 19 safety precautions. How is it going thus far? We’ll “Ask the Chef.” Sous Vide cooking is a very popular technique used in fine dining kitchens. It’s available as a useful tool for serious home cooks, too. Chef Andrew provides the basics.

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

Play

Show 412, February 13, 2021: Chef & Proprietor Marco Zapien, Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria, Pico Rivera Part One

Marco Zapien of Zapiens Salsa Grill and Taqueria

Chef Marco Zapien’s Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria in Pico Rivera has reopened for sidewalk dining Tuesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Family meals are still available To-Go. For Sunday (Valentine’s Day) from 4 to 8:00 p.m. Chef Marco has created a 3- course menu with options for each course either for al fresco dining or curbside pickup. Think Rosemary Roasted Prime Rib of Beef.

Chef Marco also has a special Lent menu with traditional Lenten dishes as well as his own original, Lent creations. It’s available starting on Ash Wednesday, February 17th. Think Mojarra Frita with pan-fried whole tilapia topped with roasted garlic butter and served with rice and frijoles de la olla.

After chefing in the sports and entertainment industry for years, Chef Marco Zapien decided in 2003 that it was time to build a reputation in the private sector by partnering with his Father, Jess, in a family operated restaurant. Zapien’s Salsa Grill & Taqueria has been the culinary heart of the Pico Rivera community for 18 years now and has developed into a community favorite for preparing authentic regional Mexican fare. They even make the effort to prepare their own tortillas fresh daily.

Marco has developed a signature style of cooking that incorporates two generations of his Mother’s and Father’s family recipes with a dash of his own passionate creativity.

We entice Chef Marco out of his busy kitchen for a chat.

Play

Show 412, February 13, 2021: Chef & Proprietor Marco Zapien, Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria, Pico Rivera Part Two

Marco Zapien of Zapiens Salsa Grill and Taqueria

Chef Marco Zapien’s Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria in Pico Rivera has reopened for sidewalk dining Tuesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Family meals are still available To-Go. For Sunday (Valentine’s Day) from 4 to 8:00 p.m. Chef Marco has created a 3- course menu with options for each course either for al fresco dining or curbside pickup. Think Rosemary Roasted Prime Rib of Beef.

Chef Marco also has a special Lent menu with traditional Lenten dishes as well as his own Lent creations. It’s available starting on Ash Wednesday, February 17th. Think Mojarra Frita with pan-fried whole tilapia topped with roasted garlic butter and served with rice and frijoles de la olla.

After chefing in the sports and entertainment industry for years, Chef Marco Zapien decided in 2003 that it was time to build a reputation in the private sector by partnering with his Father, Jess, in a family operated restaurant. Zapien’s Salsa Grill & Taqueria has been the culinary heart of the Pico Rivera community for 18 years now and has developed into a community favorite for preparing authentic regional Mexican fare.

They even make their own tortillas fresh daily.

Marco has developed a signature style of cooking that incorporates two generations of his Mother’s and Father’s family recipes with a dash of his own passionate creativity.

Now that we have Chef Marco taking a break from his busy kitchen he stays with us for more inspired food conversation.

Play

February 13: Golden Road Pub Anaheim, Mezcal Sommelier Noah Arenstein, Factory Place Hospitality Group, Zapien’s Salsa Grill, Bravus Brewing Co.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Sara O’Shea, General Manager at Golden Road Pub – Anaheim
Segment Three: Mezcal & Agave Spirits Sommelier Noah Arenstein, Las Vegas
Segment Four: Factory Place Hospitality Group with Matteo Ferdinandi and Chef Angelo Auriana, Los Angeles
Segment Five: Chef & Proprietor Marco Zapien, Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria, Pico Rivera Part One
Segment Six: Chef & Proprietor Marco Zapien, Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria, Pico Rivera Part Two
Segment Seven: Philip Brandes, Founder, Bravus Brewing Co., Anaheim
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Happy Valentine’s Day Weekend! Do plan ahead…

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

General Manager Sara O’Shea was part of the opening team for the Golden Road Pub – Anaheim (also a production brewery.) A highlight of the operation is their large outdoor Biergarden which is again welcoming guests. The food is creatively elevated from the typical brew pub fare (there is a real chef in the kitchen) and there is always an intriguing variety of craft beers to sample. Also on the beer menu are limited production craft styles brewed right there that are exclusive to the Anaheim location.

Mezcal has come a long way since the days of the worm in the bottle and can be savored (and appreciated) as it’s cousin, a fine premium tequila, can be enjoyed. It’s a clear liquor and originally came from Oaxaca. Mezcal can be produced from several species of the agave plant. Mezcaliera and Mezcal Sommelier Noah Arenstein is our informed guide. Noah relocated to Las Vegas from Brooklyn last year to be part of the opening team of Chef Enrique Olvera’s (Pujol in Mexico City) highly anticipated Elio at Encore at Wynn Las Vegas.

Factory Place Hospitality Group, a restaurant group led by Restaurateur Matteo Ferdinandi, was founded in March of 2013. Executive Chef and Business Partner Angelo Auriana, joined Ferdinandi and his wife, Francine Diamond-Ferdinandi, in August 2013 shortly before the opening of The Factory Kitchen in Downtown Los Angeles. The L.A. collection of establishments also includes Brera Ristorante and sixth+mill pizzeria. The Factory Kitchen (serving dinner nightly from Tuesday through Saturday) and Brera Ristorante (serving Dinner nightly from Tuesday through Saturday) have reopened for patio dining. Brera reopens for lunch on February 16th. To-Go availability at both establishments continues. Matteo Ferdinandi is graciously at our service along with Chef Angelo Auriana.

Chef Marco Zapien’s Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria in Pico Rivera has reopened for sidewalk dining Tuesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Family meals are still available To-Go. For Sunday (Valentine’s Day) from 4 to 8:00 p.m. Chef Marco has created a 3- course menu with options for each course either for al fresco dining or curbside pickup. Think Rosemary Roasted Prime Rib of Beef.

After chefing in the sports and entertainment industry for years, Chef Marco Zapien decided in 2003 that it was time to build a reputation in the private sector by partnering with his Father, Jess, in a family operated restaurant. Zapien’s Salsa Grill & Taqueria has been the culinary heart of the Pico Rivera community for 18 years now and has developed into a community favorite for preparing authentic regional Mexican fare. We pull Chef Marco out of his busy kitchen to chat about chiles rellenos and other Zapien’s specialties.

As Philip Brandes, the founder of Bravus Brewing Co. will gladly explain, “Not all non-alcoholic beer is created equal” and he has earned the meaningful accolades to back that statement up. When beverage enthusiasts want to pass on an alcoholic beer they certainly do not want to give up the taste of a high quality craft beer and they don’t have to! Bravus’ proprietary brewing process allows them to produce craft beer styles that taste exactly like their alcohol counterparts. Founded in 2015, Bravus Brewery is the first North American brewery dedicated to non-alcoholic craft beer with their carefully guarded, proprietary brewing process that has the industry wondering how they produce such award -winning beer! Founder Philip Brandes joins us to tap the keg on Bravus Brewing Co.

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 regularly updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants which is a genuine (and increasingly growing) concern. Restaurants in Southern California are finally again allowed to operate for outside/patio dining at reduced capacities with all the requisite COVID 19 safety precautions. How is it going thus far? We’ll “Ask the Chef.” Sous vide cooking is a very popular technique used in fine dining kitchens. It’s available as a useful tool for serious home cooks, too. Chef Andrew provides the basics.

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

Sara O'Shea of Golden Road Pub OC in Anaheim

General Manager Sara O’Shea was part of the opening team for the Golden Road Pub Anaheim (also a production brewery) located across the street from the southern entrance to Angel Stadium. A highlight of the operation is their large outdoor Biergarden (with shade) which is again welcoming guests. The food is creatively elevated from the typical brew pub fare (there is a real chef cooking in the kitchen) and there is always an intriguing variety of craft beers to sample. Think Korean Chicken Salad for openers. Also on the beer menu are limited production craft styles brewed right there that are exclusive to the Anaheim location.

We’ll explore the menu with Sara and also find out how their “Big Game” viewing celebration went last Sunday afternoon.

Noah Arenstein

Mezcal has come a long way since the days of the worm in the bottle and can be savored (and truly appreciated) as it’s cousin, a fine premium tequila, can be enjoyed. It’s a clear liquor and originally came from Oaxaca. Mezcal can be produced from several species of the agave plant. Mezcaliera and Mezcal Sommelier Noah Arenstein is our guide. Noah relocated to Las Vegas from Brooklyn last year to be part of the opening team of Chef Enrique Olvera’s (Pujol in Mexico City) highly anticipated Elio at Encore at Wynn Las Vegas. Unfortunately Elio’s only had a short run before being permanently closed as a result of the pandemic. Currently Noah is an agave spirits consultant who also conducts VIP private tastings.

Matteo Ferdinandi and Angelo Auriana of the Factory Kitchen

Factory Place Hospitality Group, a restaurant group led by Restaurateur Matteo Ferdinandi, was founded in March of 2013. Executive Chef and Business Partner Angelo Auriana, joined Ferdinandi and his wife, Francine Diamond-Ferdinandi, in August 2013 shortly before the opening of The Factory Kitchen in Downtown Los Angeles.

The L.A. collection of establishments also includes Brera Ristorante and sixth+mill pizzeria. The Factory Kitchen (serving dinner nightly from Tuesday through Saturday) and Brera Ristorante (serving Dinner nightly from Tuesday through Saturday) have reopened for patio dining. Brera reopens for lunch on February 16th. To-Go availability at both establishments continues.

Matteo Ferdinandi is graciously at our service along with Chef Angelo.

Marco Zapien of Zapiens Salsa Grill and Taqueria

Chef Marco Zapien’s Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria in Pico Rivera has reopened for sidewalk dining Tuesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Family meals are still available To-Go. For Sunday (Valentine’s Day) from 4 to 8:00 p.m. Chef Marco has created a 3- course menu with options for each course either for al fresco dining or curbside pickup. Think Rosemary Roasted Prime Rib of Beef.

After chefing in the sports and entertainment industry for years, Chef Marco Zapien decided in 2003 that it was time to build a reputation in the private sector by partnering with his Father, Jess, in a family operated restaurant. Zapien’s Salsa Grill & Taqueria has been the culinary heart of the Pico Rivera community for 18 years now and has developed into a community favorite for preparing authentic regional Mexican fare. Marco has developed a signature style of cooking that incorporates two generations of his Mother’s and Father’s family recipes with a dash of his own passionate creativity.

We entice Chef Marco out of his busy kitchen for a chat.

Philip Brandes of Bravus Brewing Company

As Philip Brandes the founder of Bravus Brewing Co. will gladly explain, “Not all non-alcoholic beer is created equal” and he has earned the meaningful accolades to back that statement up.

When beverage enthusiasts want to pass on an alcoholic beer they certainly do not want to give up the taste of a high quality craft beer and they don’t have to. Bravus’ proprietary brewing process allows them to produce craft beer styles that taste exactly like their alcohol counterparts. Founded in 2015, Bravus Brewery is the first North American brewery dedicated to non-alcoholic craft beer with their carefully guarded, proprietary brewing process that has the industry wondering how they produce such award -winning beer! (The alcohol is not filtered out as is the standard from other brewers.) Crafted in Anaheim, Bravus was founded as a healthier alternative offering a wide variety of flavors and bold tastes to satisfy just about every beer lover. 

Bravus is currently available in Amber Ale, India Pale Ale (“IPA”), Award Winning Oatmeal Stout, Raspberry Gose, and Blonde Ale. The seasonal style is Peanut Butter Stout.

Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group

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 regularly updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants which is a genuine (and increasingly growing) concern. Restaurants in Southern California are finally again allowed to operate for outside/patio dining at greatly reduced capacities with all the requisite COVID 19 safety precautions. How is it going thus far? We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

Sous Vide cooking is a very popular technique used in fine dining kitchens. It’s available as a useful tool for serious home cooks, too. Chef Andrew provides the basics.

Chef Andrew also updates us on the inspiring progress for the grass-roots, “86 Restaurant Struggle” campaign to benefit out-of-work and struggling restaurant workers. Chef Andrew and his wife, Lauren, have already distributed over $320,000 in small grants to deserving restaurant workers in need. All applications are carefully vetted by the Gruels. The need, and fundraising, continues…

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Sara O’Shea, General Manager at Golden Road Pub – Anaheim
Segment Three: Mezcal & Agave Spirits Sommelier Noah Arenstein, Las Vegas
Segment Four: Factory Place Hospitality Group with Matteo Ferdinandi and Chef Angelo Auriana, Los Angeles
Segment Five: Chef & Proprietor Marco Zapien, Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria, Pico Rivera Part One
Segment Six: Chef & Proprietor Marco Zapien, Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria, Pico Rivera Part Two
Segment Seven: Philip Brandes, Founder, Bravus Brewing Co., Anaheim
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Show 387, August 22, 2020: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

Chef Gino Choi’s OmG Omakase by Gino in Santa Ana is (pre-Covid 19) a multi-course, prix fixe menu dining experience. It’s all of 10 seats and Chef Gino sources a lot of his premium fish direct from Japan. He’s the solo star of the nightly show. When he can accommodate diners again it’s up to 18 courses and reservations are needed a couple of weeks in advance. His guests have been asking so Chef Gino has just launched a limited program of Omakase Chirashi Dinner Boxes for 2 guests for takeout. The pre-orders are taken on the Wednesday before the available nights of Saturday and Sunday. Chef Gino is limiting this to 20 orders for each night to maintain his high standards. We’ll meet the resourceful and ever adaptable Chef Gino Choi.

“Hatch Chile season is here, and Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria in Pico Rivera is ready with a pair of events where guests can safely enjoy the annual availability of the unique, flavorful and bright green pepper. Adapting to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Chef Marco Zapien and team created a way for the tenth straight year of Hatch Chile Festivities to take place. This year’s Hatch Chile cooking demonstration (August 26th from 6 to 7:00 p.m. via Zoom) will be in a virtual setting, and the Hatch Chile roast (Saturday, August 29th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) will allow guests to enter a drive-thru line for pick-up. Outdoor patio dining is permitted at The Salsa Grill and Chef Marco Zapien will be featuring Hatch Chile specials on the menu on the day of the roast.” Chef Marco joins us to turn up the heat on all the goodness of cooking with Hatch Chiles.

Originally from Tomball, Texas, Jason Paluska, the Executive Chef of The Lark in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, began his cooking career in San Francisco under chefs Mitch and Steve Rosenthal of Town Hall, Salt House and Anchor & Hope in 2006. Jason went on to became a sous chef at Michael Mina’s RN74 in San Francisco. In 2013 he left the Bay area and moved to Santa Barbara as the opening executive chef of The Lark restaurant part of the Acme Hospitality restaurant group. Most recently Jason and his team at The Lark received the Michelin Plate award in June of 2019.

Accomplished Brewmaster Victor Novak of Golden Road Brewing with production breweries in Los Angeles and Anaheim really needs no introduction to our listeners. He’s generously mentored many of the rising young stars of craft brewing in Orange County over the years.

His latest project is the crafting of a recently released line of hard seltzers based on Golden Road’s fruit cart flavors. The new Golden Road Fruit Cart Hard Seltzers include Cucumber Lime, Mango, Strawberry Pineapple and Watermelon. The hard seltzers are made with real fruit juice. Brewmaster Victor is with us to pull the tab on all things Hard Seltzer.

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 regularly updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Dine-in is slowly, with multiple hiccups, starting to come back but with a lot of new rules that restrict guest counts. Alternately take-out/delivery when you can surely helps… Chef Andrew has been on the road and his travels have taken him to Texas. Central Texas BBQ is very popular locally right now and Chef Andrew will have some meaty observations. We’re talking smoked brisket and sausages along the way with minimal sauce.

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

Play

Show 387, August 22, 2020: Chef Marco Zapien of Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria, Pico Rivera

Marco Zapien of Zapiens Salsa Grill and Taqueria“Hatch Chile season is here, and Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria in Pico Rivera is ready with a pair of events where guests can safely enjoy the annual availability of this unique bright green and incredibly flavorful pepper.”

“Adapting to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Chef Marco Zapien and team created a way for the tenth straight year of Hatch Chile Festivities to take place. This year’s Hatch Chile cooking demonstration will be in a virtual setting, and the Hatch Chile roast will allow guests to enter a drive-thru line for pick-up.”

“The cooking demo will take place Wednesday, August 26 from 6 -7 p.m. via Zoom. Participants will be taken through a three-course Hatch Chile inspired menu and the format will still allow for the same interaction as in-restaurant demos in the past. Pre-registration is required and anyone who signs up for the premium package with all ingredients prepped and boxed, or the virtual log in access, will also receive a $25 Salsa Grill gift card.”

“This year’s Hatch Chile Roast is set for Saturday, August 29 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Patrons must pre-order their 25-pound cases of Melissa’s Hatch Chiles, and can select their preferred level of spice from mild to very hot. Patrons can arrive anytime between 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and enter the drive thru.”

“Every summer, New Mexico Hatch Chiles are ripe enough to enjoy for their short season and Chef Marco makes a late summer celebration of it. In the past, The Salsa Grill has served more Hatch Chile dishes than any other restaurant outside the Southwest region this time of year.”

“Outdoor patio dining is permitted at The Salsa Grill and Chef Marco will be featuring Hatch Chile specials on the menu on the day of the roast.”

Play

August 22: OmG Omakase by Gino, Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria. The Lark, Golden Road Hard Seltzer

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef Gino Choi, OmG Omakase by Gino, Santa Ana
Segment Three: Chef Marco Zapien of Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria, Pico Rivera
Segment Four: Executive Chef Jason Paluska, The Lark, Santa Barbara Part One
Segment Five: Executive Chef Jason Paluska, The Lark, Santa Barbara Part Two
Segment Six: Brewmaster Victor Novak of Golden Road Brewing on Hard Seltzers Part One
Segment Seven: Brewmaster Victor Novak of Golden Road Brewing on Hard Seltzers Part Two
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Chef Gino Choi’s OmG Omakase by Gino in Santa Ana is (pre-Covid 19) a multi-course, prix fixe menu dining experience. It’s all of 10 seats and Chef Gino sources a lot of his premium fish direct from Japan. He’s the solo star of the nightly show. When he can accommodate diners again it’s up to 18 courses and reservations are needed way in advance. His guests have been asking so Chef Gino has just launched a limited program of Omakase Chirashi Dinner Boxes for 2 guests for takeout. The pre-orders are taken on the Wednesday before the available nights of Saturday and Sunday. Chef Gino is limiting this to 20 orders for each night to maintain his high standards. We’ll meet the resourceful and ever adaptable Chef Gino Choi.

“Hatch Chile season is here, and Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria in Pico Rivera is ready with a pair of events where guests can safely enjoy the annual availability of the unique, flavorful and bright green pepper. Adapting to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Chef Marco Zapien and team created a way for the tenth straight year of Hatch Chile Festivities to take place. This year’s Hatch Chile cooking demonstration (August 26th from 6 to 7:00 p.m. via Zoom) will be in a virtual setting, and the Hatch Chile roast (Saturday, August 29th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) will allow guests to enter a drive-thru line for pick-up. Outdoor patio dining is permitted at The Salsa Grill and Chef Marco Zapien will be featuring Hatch Chile specials on the menu on the day of the roast.” Chef Marco joins us to turn up the heat on all the goodness of cooking with Hatch Chiles.

Originally from Tomball, Texas, Jason Paluska, the Executive Chef of The Lark in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, began his cooking career in San Francisco under chefs Mitch and Steve Rosenthal of Town Hall, Salt House and Anchor & Hope in 2006. Jason went on to became a sous chef at Michael Mina’s RN74 in San Francisco. In 2013 he left the Bay area and moved to Santa Barbara as the opening executive chef of The Lark restaurant part of the Acme Hospitality restaurant group. Most recently Jason and his team at The Lark received the Michelin Plate award in June of 2019.

Accomplished Brewmaster Victor Novak of Golden Road Brewing with production breweries in Los Angeles and Anaheim really needs no introduction to our listeners. He’s generously mentored many of the rising young stars of craft brewing in Orange County over the years.

His latest project is the crafting of a recently released line of hard seltzers based on Golden Road’s fruit cart flavors. The new Golden Road Fruit Cart Hard Seltzers include Cucumber Lime, Mango, Strawberry Pineapple and Watermelon. The hard seltzers are made with real fruit juice. Brewmaster Victor is with us to pull the tab on all things Hard Seltzer.

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 regularly updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Dine-in is slowly, with multiple hiccups, starting to come back but with a lot of new rules that restrict guest counts. Alternately take-out/delivery when you can surely helps… Chef Andrew has been on the road and his travels have taken him to Texas. Central Texas BBQ is very popular locally right now and Chef Andrew will have some meaty observations. We’re talking smoked brisket and sausages along the way.

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

Gino Choi of OmG Omakase by GinoChef Gino Choi’s OmG Omakase by Gino in Santa Ana is a multi-course, prix fixe menu dining experience. It’s all of 10 seats and Chef Gino sources a lot of his premium fish from Japan. He’s the star of the solo nightly show. When he can accommodate diners again it’s up to 18 courses and reservations are needed way in advance.

His guests have been asking so Chef Gino has just launched a limited program of Omakase Chirashi Dinner Boxes for 2 guests for takeout. The pre-orders are taken on the Wednesday (starting at Noon) before the available nights of Saturday and Sunday. Chef Gino is limiting this to 20 orders for each night to maintain his high standards. The boxes are $120 each (plus tax.)

We’ll meet the resourceful and ever adaptable Chef Gino Choi.

Marco Zapien of Zapiens Salsa Grill and Taqueria“Hatch Chile season is here, and Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria in Pico Rivera is ready with a pair of events where guests can safely enjoy the annual availability of this unique bright green and incredibly flavorful pepper.”

“Adapting to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Chef Marco Zapien and team created a way for the tenth straight year of Hatch Chile Festivities to take place. This year’s Hatch Chile cooking demonstration will be in a virtual setting, and the Hatch Chile roast will allow guests to enter a drive-thru line for pick-up.”

“The cooking demo will take place Wednesday, August 26 from 6 -7 p.m. via Zoom. Participants will be taken through a three-course Hatch Chile inspired menu and the format will still allow for the same interaction as in-restaurant demos in the past. Pre-registration is required and anyone who signs up for the premium package with all ingredients prepped and boxed, or the virtual log in access, will also receive a $25 Salsa Grill gift card.”

“This year’s Hatch Chile Roast is set for Saturday, August 29 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Patrons must pre-order their 25-pound cases of Melissa’s Hatch Chiles, and can select their preferred level of spice from mild to very hot. Patrons can arrive anytime between 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and enter the drive thru.”

“Every summer, New Mexico Hatch Chiles are ripe enough to enjoy for their short season and Chef Marco makes a late summer celebration of it. In the past, The Salsa Grill has served more Hatch Chile dishes than any other restaurant outside the Southwest region this time of year.”

“Outdoor patio dining is permitted at The Salsa Grill and Chef Marco will be featuring Hatch Chile specials on the menu on the day of the roast.”

Jason Paluska of the Lark“Originally from Tomball, Texas, Jason Paluska, the Executive Chef of The Lark in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, began his cooking career in San Francisco under chefs Mitch and Steve Rosenthal of Town Hall, Salt House and Anchor & Hope in 2006. Jason went on to became a sous chef at Michael Mina’s RN74 in San Francisco. For four years he worked under renowned chef Jason Berthold, formerly of the French Laundry & Per Se.”

“In 2013 he left the Bay area and moved to Santa Barbara as the opening executive chef of The Lark restaurant for Acme Hospitality. Most recently Jason and his team at The Lark received the Michelin Plate award in June of 2019.”

“The Lark, named for the sleek overnight Pullman train of the Southern Pacific Railroad that serviced Santa Barbara from 1910 -1968, is situated in the heart of the Funk Zone, a vibrant arts and entertainment district near the Waterfront in downtown Santa Barbara. Our menus are locally sourced and responsibly grown, using the highest quality seasonal ingredients based on the abundant bounty of the Central Coast.  Our food is served family style intended for sharing. Our space was designed with an urban style that integrates vintage and repurposed materials for a sophisticated yet casual sensibility with a nod to our neighborhood’s industrial past.”

“The Lark’s full bar features classic and modern craft cocktails using the finest in artisan spirits, mixers and seasonal fruits and vegetables. Our wine list highlights small Santa Barbara County producers as well as artisan winemakers from afar.”

The menu changes often. Seasonal specialties include Southern Fried Quail with Calabrian chili aioli, bread & butter pickles, smoked date caramel and scallions. Patio dining is available nightly from 5:00 p.m. as well as Takeaway orders. Closed on Monday and Tuesday.

Executive Chef Jason Paluska is our guest.

Victor Novak of Golden Road BrewingAccomplished Brewmaster Victor Novak of Golden Road Brewing with production breweries in Los Angeles and Anaheim really needs no introduction to our listeners. He’s generously mentored many of the rising young stars of craft brewing in Orange County over the years.

His latest project is the crafting of a recently released line of hard seltzers based on Golden Road’s fruit cart flavors. The new Golden Road Fruit Cart Hard Seltzers include Cucumber Lime, Mango, Strawberry Pineapple and Watermelon. The hard seltzers are made with real fruit juice.

“There are different ways of creating the seltzer base,” said Victor Novak, Brewmaster at Golden Road Brewing. “For us, we start off by actually brewing a light beer, then running it through a sophisticated cross flow filtration process to ensure that it’s a very neutral and clean tasting. We then blend in just the right amount of fruit juices and natural flavorings to create our light and refreshing seltzers that are bursting with flavor but not cloying. Getting that right is crucial”

Victor joins us to pull the tab on all that is hard seltzer.

Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant GroupOur 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 regularly updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Dine-in is slowly, with multiple hiccups, starting to come back but with a lot of new rules that restrict guest counts. Alternately Take-Out / Delivery when you can surely helps…

Chef Andrew has been on the road and his travels have taken him to Texas. Central Texas BBQ is very popular locally right now and Chef Andrew will have some meaty observations. We’re talking smoked brisket and sausages along the way.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef Gino Choi, OmG Omakase by Gino, Santa Ana
Segment Three: Chef Marco Zapien of Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria, Pico Rivera
Segment Four: Executive Chef Jason Paluska, The Lark, Santa Barbara Part One
Segment Five: Executive Chef Jason Paluska, The Lark, Santa Barbara Part Two
Segment Six: Brewmaster Victor Novak of Golden Road Brewing on Hard Seltzers Part One
Segment Seven: Brewmaster Victor Novak of Golden Road Brewing on Hard Seltzers Part Two
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Show 378, June 20, 2020: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful Dads out there.

Marco Zapien of Zapiens Salsa Grill and TaqueriaCorporate Chef Marco Zapien of Melissa’s is conducting an exciting Virtual Cooking Class on Friday evening, June 26th @ 5:00 p.m. with all the proceeds going to the Illumination Foundation. He’s demonstrating the preparation of Melissa’s Baby Dutch Yellow Potato & Shrimp Paquet. We’re in the Melissa’s kitchen with Chef Marco.

Anne Marie Panoringan is Voice of OC’s well-informed food columnist. She reports industry news, current events and trends. Panoringan’s prior efforts includes writing about food for 8 years at the OC Weekly in which she interviewed more than 330 chefs, restauranteurs and industry professionals for her weekly “On the Line” column. Anne Marie’s work has been recognized by the Orange County Press Club. Since dine-in is now back in Orange County Anne Marie has been making the rounds to observe the “new normal” in dining. She joins us to share how OC restaurants are adapting while creatively surmounting numerous obstacles.

For 15 years, Providence in Hollywood has elevated the standard of modern American seafood restaurants with exemplary service. Newly reopened for dine-in guests can again experience Chef Michael Cimarusti’s award-winning cuisine in the heart of Los Angeles, welcomed by one of L.A.’s legendary hosts, co-owner Donato Poto. Restaurateur Donato Poto is with us to reminisce, celebrate the 15th Anniversary and look to the future.

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 updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Dine-in is slowly starting to come back but with a lot of new rules. Alternately Take-Out / Delivery when you can surely helps… It’s Father’s Day so as a proud Dad, Chef Andrew has some thoughts on taking care of Dad on his special day. Bet there are some handy Father’s Day cooking tips along the way, too. Also an update on the favorable pricing of fresh lobster right now. We’ll, of course, “Ask the Chef.”

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

Palm Springs resident Tara Lazar is the Founder of Foundation 10 Creative, a prominent, and growing, hospitality group in Palm Springs. Over the past decade, Tara has created a small empire of iconic restaurants in the ever-growing travel destination of Palm Springs. Under the F10 family is the prominent brunch hotspot Cheeky’s, the handsomely appointed modern steakhouse Mr. Lyons and their classic cocktail hideaway Seymour’s, a lively and al fresco Italian eatery Birba, and the sleek and serene 34-room boutique hotel, Alcazar. Tarajoins us to talk about the reopening of all the distinctive properties.

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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June 20: Marco Zapien, Anne Marie Panoringan, Donato Poto, Upper West, Foundation 10 Creative

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Anne Marie Panoringan, Voice of OC’s Food Columnist Part One
Segment Three: Anne Marie Panoringan, Voice of OC’s Food Columnist Part Two
Segment Four: Donato Poto, Co-Proprietor, Providence Restaurant, Hollywood
Segment Five: Chef Andrew Gruel, Co-Host & Slapfish Restaurant Group
Segment Six: Chef Nick Shipp of The Upper West, Santa Monica
Segment Seven: Tara Lazar, Founder, Foundation 10 Creative, Palm Springs Part One
Segment Eight: Tara Lazar, Founder, Foundation 10 Creative, Palm Springs Part Two

Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful Dads out there.

Marco Zapien of Zapiens Salsa Grill and TaqueriaCorporate Chef Marco Zapien of Melissa’s is conducting an exciting Virtual Cooking Class on Friday evening, June 26th @ 5:00 p.m. with all the proceeds going to the Illumination Foundation. He’s demonstrating the preparation of Melissa’s Baby Dutch Yellow Potato & Shrimp Paquet. We’re in the Melissa’s kitchen with Chef Marco.

Anne Marie Panoringan is Voice of OC’s well-informed food columnist. She reports industry news, current events and trends. Panoringan’s prior efforts includes writing about food for 8 years at the OC Weekly in which she interviewed more than 330 chefs, restauranteurs and industry professionals for her weekly “On the Line” column. Anne Marie’s work has been recognized by the Orange County Press Club. Since dine-in is now back in Orange County Anne Marie has been making the rounds to observe the “new normal” in dining. She joins us to share how OC restaurants are adapting while creatively surmounting numerous obstacles.

For 15 years, Providence in Hollywood has elevated the standard of modern American seafood restaurants with exemplary service. Newly reopened for dine-in guests can again experience Chef Michael Cimarusti’s award-winning cuisine in the heart of Los Angeles, welcomed by one of L.A.’s legendary hosts, co-owner Donato Poto. Restaurateur Donato Poto is with us to reminisce, celebrate the 15th Anniversary and look to the future.

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 updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Dine-in is slowly starting to come back but with a lot of new rules. Alternately take-out/delivery when you can surely helps… It’s Father’s Day so as a proud Dad, Chef Andrew has some thoughts on taking care of Dad on his special day. Bet there are some handy Father’s Day cooking tips along the way, too. We’ll, of course, “Ask the Chef.”

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

Palm Springs resident Tara Lazar is the Founder of Foundation 10 Creative, a prominent, and growing, hospitality group in Palm Springs. Over the past decade, Tara has created a small empire of iconic restaurants in the ever-growing travel destination of Palm Springs. Under the F10 family is the prominent brunch hotspot Cheeky’s, the handsomely appointed modern steakhouse Mr. Lyons and their classic cocktail hideaway Seymour’s, a lively and al fresco Italian eatery Birba, and the sleek and serene 34-room boutique hotel, Alcazar. Tara joins us to talk about the reopening of all the distinctive properties.

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

Food Journalist Anne Marie PanoringanAnne Marie Panoringan is Voice of OC’s well-informed food columnist She adroitly reports industry news, current events and trends. Panoringan’s prior work includes writing about food for 8 years at the OC Weekly in which she interviewed more than 330 chefs, restauranteurs and industry professionals for her weekly “On the Line column.” She has been recognized by the Orange County Press Club.”

Since dine-in is back in Orange County Anne Marie has been making the rounds to observe the “new normal” in dining. She joins us to share how OC restaurants are adapting including Bosscat Kitchen & Libations in Newport Beach.

Donato Poto of Providence plus Connie and Ted'sFor 15 years, Providence in Hollywood has elevated the standard of modern American seafood restaurants with exemplary service. Newly reopened for dine-in you can again experience Chef Michael Cimarusti’s award-winning cuisine in the heart of Los Angeles, welcomed by one of L.A.’s legendary hosts, co-owner Donato Poto.

“Chef Cimarusti is completely dedicated to procuring the finest sustainable seafood—from regional coasts and international waters—and treats those ingredients with uncompromising respect and sophisticated technique. “First and foremost, what guides us here is sustainability,” Cimarusti says. “We use only wild-caught, sustainable products, mostly from American waters, and look to highlight their finest qualities.””

Restaurateur Donato Poto is with us to reminisce, celebrate the 15th Anniversary and look to the future.

Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant GroupOur 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 updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Dine-in is slowly starting to come back but with a lot of new rules. Alternately Take-Out / Delivery when you can surely helps…

It’s Father’s Day so as a proud Dad, Chef Andrew has some thoughts on taking care of Dad on his special day. Bet there are some inspiring Father’s Day cooking tips along the way, too. We’ll, of course, “Ask the Chef.”

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. 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.

Tara Lazar of Founders 10 CreativePalm Springs resident Tara Lazar is the Founder of Foundation 10 Creative, a prominent, and growing, hospitality group in Palm Springs.

Over the past decade, Tara has created a small empire of iconic restaurants in the ever-growing travel destination of Palm Springs.

Under the F10 family is the locals’ favorite breakfast, lunch and brunch hotspot Cheeky’s, the handsomely appointed modern steakhouse Mr. Lyons and their classic cocktail hideaway Seymour’s, a lively and al fresco Italian eatery Birba and the sleek and serene 34-room boutique hotel, Alcazar.

Initially started as a personal project to entertain and serve friends, F10 Creative has grown into a tight-knit network of some of the best food and beverage offerings in town, and continues to opportunistically expand.

Tara is a Palm Springs native, and after spending time traveling, sampling flavors around the world, she returned home to build Cheeky’s as the first establishment in the F10 line. Tara has been hands-on in every step of the way for each property, from creating the menu and cooking on the line, to designing the atmosphere and touching tables nightly. She now employs almost 200 residents of Palm Springs, and has been an influential voice across staffing, sourcing and serving in the hospitality industry.

Tara joins us to talk about the reopening of all her Palm Springs properties.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Anne Marie Panoringan, Voice of OC’s Food Columnist Part One
Segment Three: Anne Marie Panoringan, Voice of OC’s Food Columnist Part Two
Segment Four: Donato Poto, Co-Proprietor, Providence Restaurant, Hollywood
Segment Five: Chef Andrew Gruel, Co-Host & Slapfish Restaurant Group
Segment Six: Chef Nick Shipp of The Upper West, Santa Monica
Segment Seven: Tara Lazar, Founder, Foundation 10 Creative, Palm Springs Part One
Segment Eight: Tara Lazar, Founder, Foundation 10 Creative, Palm Springs Part Two

Show 371, May 2, 2020: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

It’s a time of great concern for all of us and our “SoCal Restaurant Show” mission, until the Covid-19 crisis is fully abated, is to provide reliable and genuinely useful information on how the restaurant business is coping with the rapidly evolving events. With an emphasis on the health, safety and well-being of our listeners we’ll be detailing what the range of services restaurants can now provide to their guests. Creativity and adaptability are at the forefront. We’re doing our level best to keep it upbeat…

Chefs and restaurateurs are honestly the most generous people we know. In times of need they are always the very first in generously giving back and meaningfully supporting their communities. Truly remarkable…Right now restaurants urgently need our support to stay afloat. Kindly keep this in mind and please do what you possibly can (as you can afford) to support a community-focused, local restaurant….

As always, we greatly appreciate you being a part of our loyal listening audience. Truly couldn’t do it without the supportive encouragement of the foodie community.

Porto’s Bakery & Café started modestly in the greater L.A. area in the 1960s and has grown steadily since then becoming a popular, local and revered institution. Founder Rosa Porto’s life took an unexpected turn back at the beginning when she and her family made the difficult decision to leave their beloved Cuba and emigrate to the United States. Out of a job, Rosa relied on her love of baking and began selling cakes out of her house for her neighbors and friends to support her family. Porto’s has gradually grown into five high volume locations in Glendale, Burbank, Downey, Buena Park, and the newly opened West Covina. Porto’s is now open for contactless ordering, payment and curbside pick-up. Porto’s Bake-At-Home, too. Betty Porto, Vice President of Community and Guest Relations for Porto’s, is our guest.

Food journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s “Hungry Hound” in Chicago, is the recipient of an impressive 13 James Beard Foundation Awards for journalistic excellence. He’s also accomplished in reporting on food and travel in print, radio and podcasting. The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala was scheduled for Chicago at the Lyric Opera on Monday evening, May 4th. It’s now been rescheduled for a to-be-announced date for later in the year. Usually Steve would be sharing his insightful Beard Awards preview with us. Instead he talks about his informed thoughts on the dining scene in Chicagoland during the health crisis.

“Like all restaurants in LA County, Zapien’s Salsa Grill in Pico Rivera is limited to takeout and curbside pick-up options to share its regional Mexican Cuisine with the community. With dine-in service unavailable, Chef Marco Zapien and team are keeping it fun and giving back to the community, while offering some of their classic favorites available for takeout, curbside pick-up and delivery. For over 25 years, The Salsa Grill has been a favorite spot in the Pico Rivera community and beyond and wants to give back. “We want to give back to the community that’s been supporting us for almost 26 years,” said co-owner and Executive Chef, Zapien. We gently pull Chef Marco out of his busy kitchen to talk about all his specials for Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day.”

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 updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Take-out/delivery when you can surely helps…Of course, the safety of restaurant employees and guests comes first. What about “Code Dates” on fresh & packaged food products? What do they really mean? You certainly don’t want to potentially waste anything or take an unwise chance either. We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

The Blinking Owl Distillery in Santa Ana is the very first craft distillery in Orange County. They also are one of the first distilleries in the state of California to hold the Type 74 Craft Distillers License allowing them to operate their tasting room and sell a few bottles of spirits. Blinking Owl crafts Vodka, Gin, several types of Whiskey, and the Scandinavian spirit, Aquavit. “Stay Safely at Home” provisions have necessitated the temporary closing of The Tasting Room. Wanting to continue serving the community and keep their employees on the job Blinking Owl has thoughtfully shifted production to hand sanitizer under the label of Blinking Owl Dirty Bird Hand Sanitizer. So far a generous $50,000 in hand sanitizer has been donated to hospitals, First Responders and restaurants! Joining us from the packaging line for Dirty Bird Hand Sanitizer is Blinking Owl’s Co-founder and Chief Financial Owl, Robin Christenson.

Chef Michael Hung began his culinary career in New York City, where he dropped out of culinary school to do extended stages at acclaimed restaurants Daniel and Aquavit. Michael then followed his heart to San Francisco in 2005 and joined Traci Des Jardins’s James Beard Award-winning team at Jardiniere.  His career continued for nearly a decade in San Francisco, culminating with his appointment as Chef de Cuisine at Roland Passot’s Michelin-starred La Folie. In late-2013, Michael left San Francisco for Los Angeles to open Faith & Flower where he has returned as Executive Chef. Community service in times of need is part of Chef Michael’s makeup. His current ambitious feeding program for those in need is under the banner of Donate to Feed L.A.’s Homeless and Underserved. Chef Michael takes a break from preparing meals and joins us with the details.

This is the Weekend we were scheduled to again be broadcasting live from the 9th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort on Hawaii Island’s Kohala Coast. With the ongoing health crisis the Festival hopes to be rescheduled for August 14th & 15th if it’s safe to do so. Tom Cross is the welcoming Hotel Manager at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort and joins us with the good news that the property will again welcome guests at a “To Be Determined” date as the Hawaii Governor allows with all guest safety precautions in place.

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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