Show 157, January 30, 2016: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

Next a tempting preview of Saturday’s delectable and always healful 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 absolutely a good thing…

The fondly remembered Naugles fast food restaurant chain was founded by Dick Naugle (one of the founders of Del Taco) in 1970 in Southern California with 225 locations prior to merging with Del Taco in 1988. Sadly, Naugles lasted as an independent entity only 7 years after that. It featured an American and a Mexican kitchen. A new business group formed in the last few years has been patiently working on bringing the chain back. This grass roots revival is an incredible comeback story and we’ll meet the architect of it all, Christian Ziebarth.

Since partners Chef Michael Cimarusti, Donato Poto, and Craig Nickoloff opened Connie and Ted’s in West Hollywood in 2013 they have redefined the concept of a casual seafood dinner house serving premium seafood. New at Connie and Ted’s is a Weekend New England-style Seafood Brunch with freshly baked in-house breakfast breads and pastries. Opening General Manager Matthew De Marte provides the tasty details.

After launching its first two West Coast locations to huge crowds and an almost never-ending line, The Halal Guys are entering new territory with its upcoming grand opening in Koreatown, Los Angeles. The fast-casual New York concept opened its first West Coast location in Costa Mesa last October, its second location in Long Beach this past January and have plans to bring 50 units throughout Southern California.

Halal Guys local franchisee, Thomas Pham, is our guest. He’ll also talk about his new, soon to launch ice cream concept, Churned. Our regular guest Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel joins us for this interview.

Our favorite purveyor of genuinely useful wine knowledge, Kyle Meyer, the Co-Proprietor of The Wine Exchange, joins us for his monthly tutorial. Kyle will provide a preview of coming attractions in wine for the New Year along with comparative discussions about Bordeaux reds and California Cabernet. He’ll also have some practical tips on properly storing wine after you’ve opened the bottle.

Chef Amar Santana’s Vaca in Costa Mesa has been one of the toughest reservations in town since its opening. It’s a busy spot. The ambitious bar program there also merits a lot of attention. Vaca has created an enticing by-the-glass program for Sherry. Jerez (Sherry) actually pairs very well with food as the Spanish already know. Vaca’s incredibly knowledgeable Bar Manager, Michael Rooney, joins us for a short course on the joy of appreciating Sherry.

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

Play

Show 157, January 30, 2016: Matthew De Marte, General Manager, Connie and Ted’s, West Hollywood

Matthew de MarteSince partners Chef Michael Cimarusti, Donato Poto, and Craig Nickoloff opened Connie and Ted’s in West Hollywood in 2013 they have redefined the concept of a casual seafood dinner house serving premium seafood. The impressive guest counts this popular restaurant continues to do two and one-half years later are the envy of the industry

New at Connie and Ted’s from Executive Chef Sam Baxter is a Weekend New England-style Seafood Brunch with freshly baked in-house breakfast breads and pastries. It’s served Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Pastry Chef Melissa McFail creates all the breakfast baked goods in-house. Highlights are Biscuit & Butter, Grilled Pullman Bread and Cinnamon Roll with nutmeg, orange zest and cream cheese icing.

A brunch highlight is the Nor’Easter Breakfast Sandwich. It’s Nueske’s bacon, egg, clam strips, Hook’s cheddar, tartar sauce, housemade English muffin and served with home fried potatoes.

Opening General Manager Matthew De Marte (a 3rd generation restaurant professional who hails from Chicago) provides all the tasty details.

Play

January 30: Naugles Tacos, Connie & Ted’s, The Halal Guys, Wine Exchange, Jason Neroni, Vaca

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Christian Ziebarth and Chef John Smittle, the new Naugles
Segment Three: Matthew De Marte, General Manager, Connie and Ted’s, West Hollywood
Segment Four: Thomas Pham, The Halal Guys (for SoCal) and Churned
Segment Five: Kyle Meyer, Co-Proprietor, The Wine Exchange, Tustin
Segment Six: Michael Rooney, Bar Manager, Amar Santana’s Vaca, Costa Mesa Part One
Segment Seven: Michael Rooney, Bar Manager, Amar Santana’s Vaca, Costa Mesa Part Two

Andrew Gruel at the AM830 KLAA StudiosExecutive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, LAX, Irvine at UCI and, now, Brea, is back as today’s regular Guest Host.

Next a tempting preview of Saturday’s delectable and always healful 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 absolutely a good thing…

The fondly remembered Naugles fast food restaurant chain was founded by Dick Naugle in 1970 in Southern California with 225 locations prior to merging with Del Taco in 1988. Sadly, Naugles lasted only 7 years after that and was absorbed into Del Taco. It featured an American and a Mexican kitchen. A new business group formed in the last few years has been patiently working on bringing the chain back. This grass roots revival is an incredible comeback story and we’ll meet the architect of it all, Christian Ziebarth.

Since partners Chef Michael Cimarusti, Donato Poto, and Craig Nickoloff opened Connie and Ted’s in West Hollywood in 2013 they have redefined the concept of a casual seafood dinner house serving premium seafood. New at Connie and Ted’s is a Weekend New England-style Seafood Brunch with freshly baked in-house breakfast breads and pastries. Opening General Manager Matthew De Marte provides the tasty details.

After launching its first two West Coast locations to huge crowds and an almost never-ending line, The Halal Guys are entering new territory with its upcoming grand opening in Koreatown, Los Angeles. The fast-casual New York concept opened its first West Coast location in Costa Mesa last October, its second location in Long Beach this past January and have plans to bring 50 units throughout Southern California.

Halal Guys local franchisee, Thomas Pham, is our guest. He’ll also talk about his new, soon to launch ice cream concept, Churned.

Our favorite purveyor of genuinely useful wine knowledge, Kyle Meyer, the Co-Proprietor of The Wine Exchange, joins us for his monthly tutorial. Kyle will provide a preview of coming attractions in wine for the New Year along with comparative discussions about Bordeaux reds and California Cabernet. He’ll also have some practical tips on properly storing wine after you’ve uncorked the bottle.

For the first time in its 36- year history the newly renovated Rose Café – Restaurant in Venice is now serving dinner under the direction of Chef Jason Neroni and Sprout LA. Chef Jason Neroni is our guest.

Chef Amar Santana’s Vaca in Costa Mesa has been one of the toughest reservations in town since its opening. It’s a busy spot. The ambitious bar program there also merits a lot of attention. Vaca has created an enticing by-the-glass program for Sherry. Jerez (Sherry) actually pairs very well with food as the Spanish already know. Vaca’s incredibly knowledgeable Bar Manager, Michael Rooney, joins us for a short course on the pure joy of appreciating Sherry.

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

Hombre Nachos at NuaglesThe fondly remembered Naugles fast food restaurant chain was founded by Dick Naugle in 1970 in Southern California with 225 locations prior to merging with Del Taco in 1988. Sadly, Naugles lasted only 7 years on its own after that. It featured an American and a Mexican kitchen. Popular items included the cheese burrito, the bun taco, the combo cup with tortilla chips, the Naugleburger, the Ortega burger and more.

A new business group formed in the last few years has been patiently working on bringing the chain back. The group recently opened a corporate kitchen with plans to expand to more locations. It’s open for service on Weekends.

This effort is not affiliated with Del Taco nor with any other prior owner of the brand. The mission is reviving the original concept with a new company.

In 2014 Gustavo Arellano, the editor of OC Weekly and the author of a highly regarded book on the history of Mexican food in America, recognized the new Naugles as one of his “5 Favorite Restaurants of 2014.”

“So Naugles isn’t technically a restaurant again yet, but the effort by a Naugles fan to bring back the legendary Mexican fast-food chain from the archives of Del Taco is not only a great story, but a delicious one. Are the meals Taco Maria-worthy ? Absolutely not. But they did teach me why people get so crazy over the popups. Go to the next one. Get a simple bean-and-cheese, and you’ll tell me what’s up.” Gustavo Arellano.

This unusual grass roots revival is an incredible comeback story and we’ll meet the architect of it all, Christian Ziebarth.

Matthew de MarteSince partners Chef Michael Cimarusti, Donato Poto, and Craig Nickoloff opened Connie and Ted’s in West Hollywood in 2013 they have redefined the concept of a casual seafood dinner house serving premium seafood. New at Connie and Ted’s from Executive Chef Sam Baxter is a Weekend New England-style Seafood Brunch with freshly baked in-house breakfast breads and pastries. It’s served Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Pastry Chef Melissa McFail creates all the breakfast baked goods in-house. Highlights are Biscuit & Butter, Grilled Pullman Bread and Cinnamon Roll with nutmeg, orange zest and cream cheese icing.

A brunch highlight is the Nor’Easter Breakfast Sandwich. It’s Nueske’s bacon, egg, clam strips, Hook’s cheddar, tartar sauce on a housemade English muffin and served with home fried potatoes.

Opening General Manager Matthew De Marte (a 3rd generation restaurant professional) provides all the tasty details.

Halal GuysAfter opening its first two West Coast locations to huge crowds and an almost never-ending line, The Halal Guys are entering new territory with its upcoming grand opening in Koreatown, Los Angeles.

The fast-casual New York concept opened its first West Coast location in Costa Mesa last October, its second location in Long Beach this past January and have plans to bring 50 units throughout Southern California.

Known for its famous white sauce, gyro sandwiches and chicken-and-rice platters, The Halal Guys menu offers a mix of different Middle Eastern dishes. The Halal Guys aim to be different and encourage patrons across America to ditch burgers for something unique.

They pride themselves on only using high-quality products like their chicken. It has never been frozen and is marinated and seasoned overnight, then cooked and chopped on the grill and served directly to the plate to ensure a crave -worthy meal that’s piping hot. The Halal Guys’ mission is to ensure that every customer leaves happy, with a smile on their face and a satisfaction that brings them back again.

Halal Guys local franchisee, Thomas Pham, is our guest.

He’ll also talk about his new, soon to launch ice cream concept, Churned.

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeOur favorite purveyor of genuinely useful wine knowledge, Kyle Meyer, the Co-Proprietor of The Wine Exchange, joins us for his eagerly anticipated monthly tutorial. We’re thirsty…

Kyle will provide a preview of coming attractions in wine for the New Year (think 2014 Pinot Noirs from Oregon) along with the chatter involving comparative discussions about Bordeaux reds and California Cabernet. He’ll also have some practical tips on properly storing wine after you’ve opened the bottle.

“For as long as we have been doing this, there have been comparative discussions about Bordeaux reds and California Cabernet.  A lot of that discourse centers on the fact that they are both essentially made from the same group of varietals.  Inevitably the bantering arrives at which is better, and that becomes a much more parochial argument with those in whichever camp arguing their side.  There is no middle ground.  Folks who like big bold Cabernets and other weighty renditions of Bordeaux varietals as they are made in California will point to Bordeaux and say they are thin.  Those in the Bordeaux camp will point to the ageability and complexity that Bordeaux has historically demonstrated, and call the Cali versions plodding and one dimensional.”

Jason NeroniFor the first time in its 36- year history the newly renovated Rose Café – Restaurant in Venice is now serving dinner under the direction of Chef Jason Neroni and Sprout LA. Chef Jason Neroni is our guest.

Rose Cafe – Restaurant, the long-awaited project from Chef Jason Neroni and Sprout LA, finally reopened its Venice doors this past November after a major overhaul and renovation. The Rose now serves breakfast, lunch, brunch, quick service, and most recently, a nighttime HEARTH menu, with a selection of options available at the bar only.

While still looking to keep the roots of the Rose, the expansion of dinner gives the community an opportunity to experience Neroni’s cuisines, in an even bigger way. The beautiful 120 seat main dining room is set off from bustling market and open kitchens.

All the breads are baked in-house.

Bread Plate from Rose Cafe in VeniceChef Jason Neroni’s Rose Café menu focuses on local Southern California cuisine with an international influence from his world travels. The bakery, helmed by Jacob Fraijo and Christina Hanks (Quince/Cotogna, SF) under the mentorship of Alen Ramos and Carolyn Nugent, celebrates American classics, as well as brings back some of the original Rose bakery classics re-conceptualized with their innovative techniques.

The bar program, from Julian Cox and Nick Meyer is an extension of not only Chef Neroni’s menu, but also of the Venice community. Taking the same approach of the kitchen by utilizing the freshest and most compelling ingredients to feature in the drinks, Meyer and team are also playing with curious ingredients like macadamia nuts, acid phosphate, licorice root, artichoke, and rhubarb. Favorites from the lunch and brunch menus will live on through the dinner menu and you’ll even find some fun dessert cocktails popping up.

As carefully as the culinary team has procured and selected produce and meat purveyors, Wine Director Nathaniel Muñoz has chosen a spectrum of wines from classic regions around the world that express their unique terroir and tradition. Whether you are ready for a classic rosé from Provence or venture into a bottle of Turkish Öküzgözü, the wine should be a delicious part of the culinary journey at The Rose.

Michael RooneyChef Amar Santana’s Vaca in Costa Mesa has been one of the toughest reservations in town since its opening. It’s a busy spot.

The ambitious bar program there also merits a lot of serious attention. They even create their own vermouth.

Vaca has developed an enticing by-the-glass program for Sherry. Jerez (Sherry) actually pairs very well with food as the Spanish already know. 17 distinctive Jerezes are available by-the-glass at Vaca. The Bar Manager was previously turned on to Sherry as a result of a transformative, 6-course Sherry paired dinner he enjoyed in Spain.

“The wines of the D.O. Jerez (Sherry) are beautiful, expressive wines ranging from bracingly dry, to complex umami, to fruity sweet.”

“They’re touted by Sommeliers around the World as ideal food-pairing wines for their strong acidity, complex palate, and ability to stand up to bold, flavorful dishes.”

Sherry can only come from a specific DO, a designated area in Southern Spain’s Andalucia region.

Vaca’s incredibly knowledgeable Bar Manager, Michael Rooney, joins us for a short course on the joy of appreciating Sherry.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Christian Ziebarth and Chef John Smittle, the new Naugles
Segment Three: Matthew De Marte, General Manager, Connie and Ted’s, West Hollywood
Segment Four: Thomas Pham, The Halal Guys (for SoCal) and Churned
Segment Five: Kyle Meyer, Co-Proprietor, The Wine Exchange, Tustin
Segment Six: Michael Rooney, Bar Manager, Amar Santana’s Vaca, Costa Mesa Part One
Segment Seven: Michael Rooney, Bar Manager, Amar Santana’s Vaca, Costa Mesa Part Two

Show 132, July 25, 2015: Show Preview with Guest Host Chef Andrew Gruel & Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

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

Next a provocative preview of Saturday’s ample show. With any luck we will always leave you hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a good thing…

Just as wine is to the French or beer is to the Germans, whiskey – especially bourbon and rye – is an integral part of the history and culture of the United States. The Art of American Whiskey traces the arc of this beloved, renowned spirit – from its earliest days in the Colonial era, through the Civil War, Prohibition, the Great Depression, and up to the current craft-distilling boon. Author and whiskey expert Noah Rothbaum is our guest.

Vina De Liceaga is one of the very limited production, distinguished boutique wineries in the Guadalupe Valley located in Northern Baja California. It was founded in its current location in 1993 by the late Eduardo Liceaga and the tradition continues under the watchful eye of his widow, Myrna. Wine journalist Tom Plant (the founder of WINEormous.com) who has lived in Northern Baja joins us with a profile of Vina De Liceaga.

The casual, seafood centric Connie & Ted’s in West Hollywood has been a crowd-pleasing phenonomin since it opened its door two years ago. Co-owner Chef Michael Cimarusti (Providence) is one of the most respected seafood chefs in the country. Partner Donato Poto (Providence) has a long reputation as the L.A. consummate host. Partner Craig Nickoloff is a veteran restaurateur best known for founding the the hugely successful Claim Jumper restaurants. Craig knows how to feed a crowd and give them every reason to return. Connie & Ted’s opening General Manager, Matthew De Marte is our guest to share a few secrets of their incredible success.

The Big Bite Bacon Fest at The Queen Mary is back for its second year on August 1st & 2nd. Showcasing bacon and craft beer it’s the West Coast’s Largest Bacon Fest! Chef Isaiah Rosario (he’s 16) of the Fry Fry Truck, one of the participating Bacon Fest chefs, joins us to preview some of the outrageous bacon dishes that will be available.

The esteemed Price of Produce, Robert Schueller of Melissa’s, is back with us to update us on the fresh and juiciest grapes of Summer. New this year are Jelly Drops Grapes. Returning are the coveted Cotton Candy grapes.

Our regular guest hot, Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish, is a big fan of craveable sandwiches. He’ll give us the profile of the regional favorite, the New Jersey Sloppy Joe and other sandwich intell. Yum…

Chef Andrew Gruel knows a thing or two about fresh fish. One of the goals of the growing sustainability movement in seafood is to encourage fish lovers to try some of the lesser-known selections that are out there for the taking. They are just as tasty and actually typically priced at a better value. Unfortunately they are known as “trash fish.” Don’t let that name fool you. Smelt, sardines, and mackerel can be delicious.

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

Play

Show 132, July 25, 2015: Matthew De Marte, General Manager, Connie and Ted’s

Matthew de MarteThe casual, seafood centric Connie & Ted’s in West Hollywood has been a crowd-pleasing phenomenon since it opened its door two years ago.

Co-owner Chef Michael Cimarusti (Providence) is one of the most respected seafood chefs in the country. Partner Donato Poto (Providence) has a long reputation as one of L.A.’s consummate hosts. He speaks three languages.

Partner Craig Nickoloff is a veteran restaurateur best known for founding the hugely successful Claim Jumper restaurants (which he sold at their peak of popularity.) Craig knows how to feed a crowd and give them every reason to return.

Executive Chef Sam Baxter began his career with Chef Michael Cimarusti at Water Grill. Chef Baxter looks to demonstrate that the freshest seafood needs only a light touch and the simplest of preparations to make outstanding food.

At any given time the busy oyster bar showcases some 16 to 24 varieties of fresh oysters.

Connie & Ted’s opening General Manager, Matthew De Marte is our guest to share a few secrets of their incredible success. He’s a veteran of Providence.

Play

July 25: Andrew Gruel, Noah Rothbaum, Vina De Liceaga, Connie & Ted’s, Fry Fry Truck, Melissa’s Produce

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Guest Host Chef Andrew Gruel & Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: The Art of American Whiskey by Noah Rothbaum
Segment Three: Wine Journalist Tom Plant and Vina De Liceaga
Segment Four: Matthew De Marte, General Manager, Connie and Ted’s
Segment Five: Big Bite Bacon Fest Preview with Chef Isaiah Rosario
Segment Six: Robert Schueller of Melissa’s World Variety Produce
Segment Seven: Chef Andrew Gruel on Sandwiches
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel on “Trash Fish”

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

Next a provocative preview of Saturday’s ample show. With any luck we will always leave you hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a good thing…

Just as wine is to the French or beer is to the Germans, whiskey – especially bourbon and rye – is an integral part of the history and culture of the United States. The Art of American Whiskey traces the arc of this beloved, renowned spirit – from its earliest days in the Colonial era, through the Civil War, Prohibition, the Great Depression, and up to the current craft-distilling boon. Author and whiskey expert Noah Rothbaum is our guest.

Vina De Liceaga is one of the very limited production, distinguished boutique wineries in the Guadalupe Valley located in Northern Baja California. It was founded in its current location in 1993 by the late Eduardo Liceaga and the tradition continues under the watchful eye of his widow, Myrna. Wine journalist Tom Plant (the founder of WINEormous.com) who has lived in Northern Baja joins us with a profile of visiting Vina De Liceaga.

The casual, seafood centric Connie & Ted’s in West Hollywood has been a crowd-pleasing phenomenon since it opened its doors two years ago. Co-owner Chef Michael Cimarusti (Providence) is one of the most respected seafood chefs in the country. Partner Donato Poto (Providence) has a long reputation as one of the L.A.’s consummate hosts. Partner Craig Nickoloff is an accomplished and veteran restaurateur best known for founding (since sold) the mega successful Claim Jumper restaurants. Craig knows how to feed a crowd and give them every reason to return. Connie & Ted’s opening General Manager, Matthew De Marte is our guest to share a few secrets of their incredible success.

The Big Bite Bacon Fest at The Queen Mary is back for its second year on August 1st & 2nd. Showcasing bacon and craft beer it’s the West Coast’s Largest Bacon Fest! Chef Isaiah Rosario (he’s 16) of the Fry Fry Truck, one of the participating Bacon Fest chefs, joins us to preview some of the outrageous bacon dishes that will be available.

The esteemed Prince of Produce, Robert Schueller of Melissa’s, is back to update us on the fresh and juiciest grapes of Summer. New this year are Jelly Drops Grapes. Returning, and still buzz-worthy, are the coveted Cotton Candy grapes.

Our regular guest host, Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish fame, is a big fan of cravable sandwiches. He’ll give us the profile of the regional favorite, the New Jersey Sloppy Joe and other sandwich intell. Yum…

Chef Andrew Gruel knows a thing or two about fresh fish. One of the goals of the growing sustainability movement in seafood is to encourage fish lovers to try some of the lesser-known selections that are out there for the taking. They are just as tasty and actually typically priced at a better value. Unfortunately they are known as “trash fish.” Don’t let that name fool you. Smelt, sardines, and mackerel can be delicious.

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

Noah RothbaumJust as wine is to the French or beer is to the Germans, whiskey – especially bourbon and rye – is an integral part of the history and culture of the United States. The Art of American Whiskey (A visual history of American whiskey, as told through hundreds of whiskey bottle labels, from early, pre-Prohibition-era days to the present) traces the arc of this beloved, renowned spirit – from its earliest days in the Colonial era, through the Civil War, Prohibition, the Great Depression, and up to the current craft-distilling boon.

Illustrated with 100 full-color modern and historic labels from the most iconic bottles ever made, The Art of American Whiskey is an instant collectible and a worthy gift for any whiskey enthusiast or design lover. Captions, sidebars, profiles and short histories tell the story of the pioneers and places behind the labels. Each chapter features era-appropriate recipes from all-star bartenders and cocktail experts that will tickle any tippler’s fancy.

Author and whiskey expert Noah Rothbaum is our guest. He is the CEO and chief analyst of trend forecasting and spirits consultancy, Liquor Intelligence.

Tom PlantVina De Liceaga is one of the very limited production, distinguished boutique wineries in the Guadalupe Valley located in Northern Baja California. It was founded in its current location in 1993 by the late Eduardo Liceaga and the tradition continues under the watchful eye of his widow, Myrna.

Case production is under 1,000 cases a year. Their premium reserve wine is Etiqueta L which is 80 per cent Syrah and 20 per cent Merlot. It honors the memory of founder Eduardo Liceaga. It’s elegant and structured and pairs well with red meats such as wild boar, rabbit, sirloin, rib eye and venison.

Liceaga also produces award-winning Aqua de Vid (known as Grappa in Italy.)

Wine journalist and photographer Tom Plant (the founder of WINEormous.com) who has lived in Northern Baja joins us with a profile of visiting Vina De Liceaga.

Matthew de MarteThe casual, seafood centric Connie & Ted’s in West Hollywood has been a crowd-pleasing phenomenon since it opened its door two years ago.

Co-owner Chef Michael Cimarusti (Providence) is one of the most respected seafood chefs in the country. Partner Donato Poto (Providence) has a long reputation as one of L.A.’s consummate hosts. He speaks three languages. Partner Craig Nickoloff is a veteran restaurateur best known for founding the hugely successful Claim Jumper restaurants (which he sold at their peak of popularity.) Craig knows how to feed a crowd and give them every reason to return.

Executive Chef Sam Baxter began his career with Chef Michael Cimarusti at Water Grill. Chef Baxter looks to demonstrate that the freshest seafood needs only a light touch and the simplest of preparations to make outstanding food.

Connie & Ted’s opening General Manager, Matthew De Marte is our guest to share a few secrets of their incredible success. He’s also a veteran of Providence.

Big Bite Bacon FestThe Big Bite Bacon Fest at The Queen Mary is back for its second year on August 1st & 2nd. Showcasing bacon and craft beer it’s the West Coast’s Largest Bacon Fest!

Dozens of local restaurants and chefs will offer culinary samples of their own unique spin on the star ingredient – bacon. More than 15 local breweries will be sampling a variety of craft beers to help wash down all the salty bacon-goodness for two pork-filled days of fun.

Guests can indulge in bacon heaven with dishes almost beyond your wildest dreams….bacon filled Twinkies, candied bacon cotton candy, bacon ice pops, bacon waffles, bacon churros, bacon hog pockets and bacon burgers.

The charitable beneficiary of Big Bite is Team Red, White and Blue. Their mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by reintegrating them back into their communities.

Chef Isaiah Rosario (he’s all of 16) of the Fry Fry Truck, one of the participating Bacon Fest chefs, joins us to preview some of the outrageous bacon dishes that will be available.

Robert Schueller of Melissa's World Variety ProduceThe esteemed Price of Produce, Robert Schueller of Melissa’s, is back to update us on the fresh and juiciest grapes of Summer. New this year are Jelly Drops Grapes. Returning are the coveted Cotton Candy grapes.

Jelly Drops Grapes are a hybrid of the popular Thompson Seedless grape and the rich, meaty Concord grape. The result is a plump, juicy, dark purple seedless table grape with a thin skin. Their aromatic, earthy flavor is similar to that of a Concord, but mellowed by the mild sweetness of the Thompson. This variety is a perfect out of hand summer snack fruit or delicious when used as a sweet sauce ingredient for almost any kind of meat or poultry dish.

Cotton Candy Grapes™ are an unusual new hybrid variety developed over eight years by breeding wild grape species in California. As its name implies this grape has a distinctive flavor that does, remarkably, taste very much like the spun sugar confection. This is not a genetically engineered product; but rather a tedious hand-pollination process was employed that resulted over many seasons.

The fruit has an initial burst of Cotton Candy flavor that recedes into a mild, juicy sweetness. Actually, these green to light yellow seedless grapes are low in acid and pleasantly sweet without being overly sugary. A great new healthy snack food for kids or the child in all of us!

Andrew GruelOur regular guest host, Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish fame, is a big fan of truly cravable sandwiches. He’s also a self-described sandwich junkie…Chef Andrew is personally responsible for creating some of his own winners. Think smoked salmon bagel for openers…

Chef Andrew will give us the profile of the regional favorite, the New Jersey Sloppy Joe and other tantalizing sandwich intell.

Yum…

Chef Andrew Gruel knows a thing or two about fresh fish. One of the goals of the growing sustainability movement in seafood is to encourage fish lovers to try some of the lesser-known selections that are out there for the taking.

Earlier in his West Coast career Chef Gruel’s love of the ocean drove him to direct a non-profit project at The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA called Seafood for the Future”. Here he worked with hundreds of chefs, fisherman and like-minded organizations establishing a national culinary awareness for the sustainable seafood movement.

Lesser-known fish species are just as tasty as the seafood stars and typically priced at a better value. Unfortunately they are known as “trash fish.” Don’t let that regrettable name fool you. Smelt, sardines, and mackerel can be delicious.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Guest Host Chef Andrew Gruel & Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: The Art of American Whiskey by Noah Rothbaum
Segment Three: Wine Journalist Tom Plant and Vina De Liceaga
Segment Four: Matthew De Marte, General Manager, Connie and Ted’s
Segment Five: Big Bite Bacon Fest Preview with Chef Isaiah Rosario
Segment Six: Robert Schueller of Melissa’s World Variety Produce
Segment Seven: Chef Andrew Gruel on Sandwiches
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel on “Trash Fish”