Show 451, November 13, 2021: Descanso – A Modern Taqueria’s 3rd Anniversary

Fonzy de Zuniga of Descanso Restaurant

Descanso Restaurant, a modern taqueria located in Costa Mesa, will celebrate its third anniversary on Thursday, November 18 with a day of specials and live music from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. To commemorate the anniversary, Executive Chef Fonzy de Zuniga has cooked up new menu items influenced by Central Mexican street-inspired cuisine that combines a love for flavor with quality ingredients.”

“We continue to receive so much support from our community and are very excited to celebrate three years of business,” said Descanso Owner Rob Arellano. “We aim to create flavorful dishes for our guests, inspired by our passion for authentic Mexican recipes and look forward to continuing to share the memorable Descanso experience in the years to come.”

“Descanso Restaurant is known for the Plancha and Taco Bars, where friends and family can gather to watch the food be prepared in front of them. The restaurant also hosts weekly happenings including Sunday Brunch with bottomless mimosas, weekday Happy Hour, a midweek Lunch Special, and Wine Wednesdays featuring live music on the patio.”

Rob Arellano of Descanso Restaurant

“The new dinner and brunch dishes created by Descanso’s Executive Chef, Fonzy de Zuniga, are available now and put a spin on traditional recipes by incorporating fresh seafood, like shrimp, red snapper and salmon. The new brunch entrée, Eggs Benito, is Zuniga’s take on a “Mexican-style” eggs benedict with achiote marinated chicken, two poached eggs, agave morita glaze, hollandaise, avocado, bell peppers, grilled corn and onions on two tostadas. Along with new menu items, Descanso has crafted new cocktails, such as the Desperado and Mango Margarita that incorporate tropical flavors to pair with the new savory and spicy entrées.”

Owner Rob Arellano and Executive Chef Fonzy de Zuniga take a break from the anniversary festivities preparations and are our guests.

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Show 429, June 12, 2021: Restaurateur and Hotelier Karina Castaneda, Los Arboles Hotel & El Mirasol Restaurants Part One

Karina Castenda of Los Arboles Hotel

Hotelier and restaurateur Karina Castenda represents the 2nd generation of the founding family who owns Los Arboles Hotel (a Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotel) and the pair of El Mirasol Mexican restaurants. The original (and still operating) El Mirasol (South, located on E. Palm Canyon Dr.) opened in 1985. The 2nd El Mirasol restaurant (North) with a spacious patio and pool-side dining is located adjacent to Los Arboles Hotel.

El Mirasol makes their corn tortillas on-site and is known for their wide variety of potent Margaritas. The signature Guacamole is prepared from chunks of fresh Haas avocado hand-blended with chopped tomatoes, scallions and cilantro. The El Mirasol restaurants are closed on Monday & Tuesday. Mirasol North hosts Breakfast, Lunch and then, Dinner, from 9:00 a.m. on Weekends. (Otherwise opening at 11:00 a.m.) The E. Palm Canyon Dr. location (South) serves from 11:00 a.m. Wednesday thru Sunday.

“A charming, historic boutique Palm Springs resort and home to the iconic El Mirasol Mexican Restaurant and bar, Los Arboles Hotel features 21 well-appointed rooms, heated pool, Jacuzzi, room service and is located walking distance from downtown shopping, dining, and nightlife.”

Karina Castenada joins us with a classic De La Casa Margarita in hand.

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Show 429, June 12, 2021: Restaurateur and Hotelier Karina Castaneda, Los Arboles Hotel & El Mirasol Restaurants Part Two

Karina Castenda of Los Arboles Hotel

Hotelier and restaurateur Karina Castaneda represents the 2nd generation of the founding family who owns Los Arboles Hotel (a Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotel) and the pair of El Mirasol Mexican restaurants. The original (and still operating) El Mirasol (South) opened in 1985. The 2nd El Mirasol restaurant (North) with a spacious patio is located adjacent to Los Arboles Hotel.

El Mirasol makes their corn tortillas on-site and is known for their wide variety of potent Margaritas. The signature Guacamole is prepared from chunks of fresh Haas avocado hand-blended with chopped tomatoes, scallions and cilantro. The El Mirasol restaurants are closed on Monday & Tuesday. Mirasol North hosts Breakfast, Lunch and the, Dinner, from 9:00 a.m. on Weekends. (Otherwise opening at 11:00 a.m.) The E. Palm Canyon Dr. location (South) serves from 11:00 a.m. Wednesday thru Sunday.

“A charming, historic boutique Palm Springs resort and home to the iconic El Mirasol Mexican Restaurant and bar, Los Arboles Hotel features 21 well-appointed rooms, heated pool, Jacuzzi, room service and is located walking distance from downtown shopping, dining, and nightlife.” The look is mission / hacienda style architecture.

Karina Castaneda continues with us piping hot corn tortillas in-hand.

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Show 376, June 6, 2020: Santa Fe’s La Fonda On the Plaza with Ed Pulsifer and Chef de Cuisine Randy Tapia Part One

Ed Pulsifer of La Fonda on the PlazaSince 2012 Edward (Ed) T. Pulsifer has been Santa Fe’s La Fonda On the Plaza’s high-profile Director of Sales. He also enthusiastically functions as the unofficial resident historian of the storied Hotel established in 1922. It’s one of the key leadership positions for the property. In 2016 the New Mexico Hospitality Association recognized Ed as the Hospitality Professional of the Year. Pulsifer joined La Fonda from Heritage Hotels and Resorts, where he oversaw sales and marketing for seven boutique hotels in the Southwest. La Fonda continued to safely welcome guests during the COVID 19 crisis and all their popular restaurants have now reopened for dine-in.

La Plazuela is La Fonda’s signature restaurant serving Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner with a New Mexico flair. New is The Terrace Rooftop Garden Patio serving daily from 3 to 9:00 p.m. (weather permitting.) The Bell Tower Bar (seasonal) has reopened known for their signature Bell Ringer Margaritas and unrivaled Sunset views.

We’ll revisit 35-year Hospitality veteran, Ed Pulsifer and meet new Chef de Cuisine Randy Tapia.

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Show 376, June 6, 2020: Santa Fe’s La Fonda On the Plaza with Ed Pulsifer and Chef de Cuisine Randy Tapia Part Two

Chef Randy TapiaSince 2012 Edward (Ed) T. Pulsifer has been Santa Fe’s La Fonda On the Plaza’s high-profile Director of Sales. He also enthusiastically functions as the unofficial resident historian of the storied Hotel established in 1922. It’s one of the key leadership positions for the property. In 2016 the New Mexico Hospitality Association recognized Ed as the Hospitality Professional of the Year.

La Fonda continued to safely welcome guests during the COVID 19 crisis and all their popular restaurants under the direction of long-time Executive Chef Lane Warner Chef de Cuisine Randy Tapia have now reopened for dine-in. Newly added is The Terrace Rooftop Garden Patio serving late afternoons and evenings with specialties including Red Snapper Mini Tacos and the Mana Margarita.

“Step into the past and experience the splendor of the American Southwest at La Fonda on the PlazaTM, the only hotel situated on the historic Santa Fe Plaza. Start your vacation in Santa Fe and experience the allure of old -world charm at one of the best Santa Fe hotels, where tasteful, modern conveniences blend with the warmth of authentic New Mexican style.”

We resume the conversation with La Fonda’s Ed Pulsifer and Chef de Cuisine Randy Tapia.

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Show 373, May 16, 2020: Restaurateur Christy Vega, Casa Vega, Sherman Oaks

Christy Vega of Casa VegaThe enduring Casa Vega is a landmark Mexican restaurant that has been operating in the San Fernando Valley for almost 64 years. It’s located on the familiar Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks and is one of the longest running, continuously family-owned restaurants in greater Los Angeles. Rafael “Ray” Vega opened Casa Vega in 1956 after being inspired by the success of his parents’ earlier restaurant, Café Caliente, which was on Olvera St. and operated throughout the 1930’s. Casa Vega has recently reopened for take-out via advance order online or by telephone.

Casa Vega is now open from 12 Noon – 8 p.m. daily. Initially, guests can order directly by phone (818-788-4868) or online via the Casa Vega website. Guests can pick up from their cars – Casa Vega staff will place orders in the trunk or backseat as they wait in the restaurant’s driveway off Ventura Blvd.

Favorites on the take-out menu include Combination Plates and Street Tacos, both served with rice and beans, Taquitos de Juan (chicken flautas), Burritos, four different Family Trays, Chips, Guacamole, Salsa, Kids Meals, and more. In addition to beer and wine, Casa Vega offers its Classic Margarita in a single serving mason jar with ice, ready to drink for $7. Other margarita variations are available for $7-9. The Classic Margarita is also available in a half gallon size for $30.

“Over the years, Casa Vega has remained, at its core, much the same as my father’s original vision,” says Christy Vega. “The menu continues to reflect the offerings originally presented some 64 years ago with slight alterations that speak to today’s culinary tastes. From the menu, to the dim ambiance of the dining room, to the staff—many of which have been with our team for decades—Casa Vega is a testament to my father and the wonderful history he has created. I look forward to continuing to uphold his legacy of service, authentic traditions, and most of all, the love and adoration that emanates throughout every corner of the restaurant and inspires our clients to return time and time again.

Proprietress Christy Vega pours the Classic Margaritas for us.

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Show 290, September 15, 2018: Chef Ivan Calderon, Taco Rosa, 6th Annual Battle of the Tequileros

Ivan CalderonTaco Rosa, Chef Ivan Calderon’s upscale Mexican restaurant in Newport Beach, will host its 6th Annual “Battle of the Tequileros” on Sunday, September 23rd from 4-8 p.m. Bringing together 26+ different tequila and mezcal brands, the celebratory event will benefit Operation of Hope Worldwide, a local non-profit providing free, life-changing surgeries and health care for children and adults in under-served areas of the world, while creating a self-sustaining program of hope through education.

As the most diverse tequila tasting in Southern California, the event gives guests an unparalleled opportunity to experience the unique nuances between a variety of tequilas and mezcals. Guests can also enjoy tray-passed tapas-style bites from the Taco Rosa kitchen, exciting giveaways, and a silent auction. A panel of esteemed judges will determine winners in three categories: Best Añejo and Best Reposado; while guests will have the opportunity to cast votes for Best Margarita and Best Booth Presentation.

“Over the past six years, we have seen tremendous growth with Battle of the Tequileros and this year, we are proud to partner with Operation of Hope Worldwide an organization whose global reach has impacted, and even saved the lives of thousands of people throughout the developing world,” comments Chef Ivan Calderon of Taco Rosa.

Tickets for the 21-and-over event are priced at $75 and offer guests all-inclusive access to tequila and mezcal cocktails and samples. Tickets can be purchased by calling 949.720.0980 or online here.

Please imbibe responsibly.

Chef Ivan pulls the cork on the designer Tequila bottle with all the tempting details for us.

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Show 169, April 30, 2016: El Chavo’s (Silver Lake) Cinco De Mayo Celebration

Matt LandesCinco de Mayo is pretty much a non-event in Mexico but it’s now a huge celebration in the United States. Might possibly have something to do with all the Mexican beer and tequila sold for the festivities.

One of the bigger Cinco de Mayo fiestas in Los Angeles will be staged at Silver Lake’s El Chavo on May 5th from 4:00 p.m. to close.

Lots of satisfying food and drink including Mezcal and Mexican cerveza. Look for the street tacos and corn.

Matt Landes from Cocktail Academy (one of the event organizers) is with us to provide all the festive details.

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Show 143, October 24, 2015: Latin Twist – Traditional and Modern Cocktails

Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack and Vianney RodriguezThe award-winning food bloggers from MuyBuenoCookbook.com (Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack) and SweetLifeBake.com (Vianney Rodriguez) have teamed up to create Latin Twist – Traditional & Modern Cocktails, an all-new collection of Latin-American cocktails.

Yvette and Vianney are known for Mexican and Latin–fusion recipes made with easy-to-find ingredients. Their cocktails – featuring fresh-squeezed juices and homemade mixers – have been so popular that the authors decided to devote a whole book to them.

Latin Twist! is the first book to celebrate the signature cocktails of 18 Latin American countries and Spain in one volume. It delves into the history of each country’s special ingredients, wines and liquors, and includes traditional drinks as well as the authors’ original recipes.

There are also helpful chapters on “Setting the Bar” and using and creating the Mixers.

Whether you are hosting a backyard fiesta or just entertaining a few friends, there is a drink in this book for every occasion. Try a luscious Passion Fruit Caipirinha from Brazil, Chile’s fruity Borgona, or Argentina’s national drink, the deceptively simple Fernet con Cola.

There is a creative section on Mexico. Vianney and Yvette explain many other hidden creations using Tequila other than in a Margarita. Have you considered Serrano-Infused Tequila?

Yvette and Vianney are our guests.

 

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Show 83, August 9, 2014: Chef Jimmy Shaw of Loteria! Grill and The Torta Co.

Jimmy Shaw of Loteria Grill and Torta CompanyChef Jimmy Shaw of Loteria! Grill and the Torta Co. is with us. He brought the rich Mexican Street Food of his native Mexico City to Los Angeles. Keep in mind that Los Angeles is the 2nd largest Mexican City in the World. It all started in 2002 with a modest stand in the Original Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax in Los Angeles.

There are now Loteria! Grill restaurants in Hollywood, Studio, City, Westlake Village, Santa Monica and Downtown at Fig at 7th.

“Lotería! Grill has grown from the open-air stall at the Farmers Market to become a nationally renowned group of restaurants that offer a casually elegant, fun and relaxed atmosphere in which to enjoy everything from a refreshing agua fresca or margarita to award-winning, delicious regional specialties and slowly cooked guisos served with handmade corn tortillas. Favorites like the Chicharrón de Queso, and the Probaditas, a mini-taco sampler of our signature guisos, have their guests coming back frequently for more.”

Chef Jimmy Shaw educates us on the ample Mexican sandwich, the Torta. The bread is the key. It needs to be crispy on the outside and pillowy soft on the interior. He also talks about the rising popularity of stocking Mexican ingredients as regular part of your home pantry.

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