Show 443, September 18, 2021: Chef Jenni Sklar, El Granjero Cantina, Original Farmers Market Part One

Jenni Sklar of El Granjero Cantina

El Granjero Cantina under the culinary direction of Chef Jenni Sklar, (ex-Lucques and Son of a Gun) celebrates Mexican cuisine at the historic Original Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax. El Granjero’s bright and festive cantina including a spacious outdoor patio is a true neighborhood locale, built for local neighbors and visitors alike.”

“El Granjero offers guests a wide selection of options to choose from, including rice bowls, tacos, tlayuda, tacos dorados for a wide range of meat eaters, vegetarians, and vegans. Their bar program is dedicated to honoring traditional agave based spirits of Mexico with frozen margaritas and cocktails on tap.”

El Granjero serves Lunch (weekdays) and Dinner nightly and a newly introduced Weekend Brunch. Also Happy Hour on Weekdays from 3 to 6:00 p.m. with food and libations priced at $9.00.

Chef Jenni Sklar is our guest with fresh guacamole in hand.

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Show 443, September 18, 2021: Chef Jenni Sklar, El Granjero Cantina, Original Farmers Market Part Two

Jenni Sklar of El Granjero Cantina

El Granjero Cantina under the culinary direction of Chef Jenni Sklar, celebrates Mexican cuisine at the historic Original Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax. El Granjero’s bright and festive cantina including a spacious outdoor patio is a true neighborhood locale, built for local neighbors and visitors alike.”

“El Granjero offers guests a wide selection of options to choose from, including rice bowls, tacos, tlayuda, tacos dorados for a wide range of meat eaters, vegetarians, and vegans. Their bar program is dedicated to honoring traditional agave based spirits of Mexico with frozen margaritas and cocktails on tap.”

El Granjero serves Lunch (weekdays) and Dinner nightly and a newly introduced Weekend Brunch. Also Happy Hour on Weekdays from 3 to 6:00 p.m. with food and libations priced at $9.00.

Chef Jenni Sklar continues with a Chili Braised Beef Dorado in hand.

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Show 435, July 24, 2021: Laura Slipak, General Manager, Azucar Restaurant and La Serena Villas, Palm Springs

Azucar, located in La Serena Villas in Palm Springs, is a hidden gem of a boutique dining experience. They serve modern contemporary cuisine (American, Mediterranean and Spanish flavors) to a sophisticated, adults-only crowd, focusing on flavor utilizing high quality and local ingredients. Azucar offers outdoor seating by the beautiful La Serena Villas pool and on their designed rooftop deck with a view. Reservations are politely recommended.

Sugar High Rooftop Lounge at La Serena Villas is a great mix of Boho chic meets cool Palm Springs. The little desert oasis sits atop the fresh and vibrant restaurant Azucar. It is the perfect slice of heaven to sip on amazing cocktails and nosh on appetizers. You can have all this while surrounded by the breathtaking San Jacinto mountains.”

“Originally built in 1933, La Serena Villas sits on over an acre of beautiful landscaped grounds in the heart of downtown Palm Springs, walking distance to the famous Palm Canyon Drive, where you will find the best restaurants, boutiques and galleries.”

“Redeveloped as a luxury hotel with 18 guest rooms in 2016 by award -winning architect, May Sung, with all the modern amenities of a 5-star hotel. Each piece of furniture, all materials and finishes have been carefully hand- picked by interior design group, Avenue Interior Design.”

“The stunning San Jacinto Mountains are the backdrop for this luxury boutique hotel. The secluded private villas each have a private patio, complete with a romantic claw foot tub, fire-pit, and built-in benches.”

Laura Slipak, the General Manager of both La Serena Villas and Azucar restaurant is our guest.

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Show 434, July 17, 2021: Diego Aguirre, Co-Proprietor, FINCA restaurant, Paso Robles

Diego Aguirre of Finca Paso Robles

FINCA Paso Robles is a casual restaurant which highlights Baja and Sonora style Mexican food with an emphasis on wood-grilled seafood and carne asada. Located in the historic farmhouse of the Old Hometown Nursery of Paso Robles adjacent to the Paso Market Walk comes the latest project from the owners of La Taquiza – a casual Napa based Mexican restaurant launched in 2006 that has been in the Michelin Guide over the years.”

“With over 20 years experience in the service industry, co-owner Patrick Aguirre has worked under the likes of Thomas Keller at Bouchon Bakery and Suzanne Goin of A.O.C. His business partner and wife Stephanie, has managed multiple businesses, from aiding in her family’s seafood distribution company to running restaurants in both Napa and Los Angeles.”

“Accompanying them in opening FINCA is son, Diego, and daughter-in-law, Cecilia, who both graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and have been in the area since 2013. With a combined 15 years experience in the wine and service industry between them, they are excited to bring their passion and love for their community to this home-grown venture.”

Everything on the menu that can be scratch-made, is. Also hand-selected wines and beers.

Diego Aguirre, a 3rd generation restaurateur, is our guest.

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Show 430, June 19, 2021: Restaurateur and Chef Geraldine Gilliland, Lula Cocina Mexicana, Santa Monica

Geraldine Gilliland

Chef Geraldine Gilliland, dog lover, animal activist, Chef, and owner of Lula Cocina Mexicana in Santa Monica is celebrating Lula’s 30th anniversary this year on the evening of July 2nd. Geraldine’s lifelong love affair with Mexican cuisine culminated in 2019 with the publication of “The Lula Cookbook”, a collection of her favorite recipes in traditional Mexican cuisine and modern interpretations of classics, and of course some original dishes as well. Witty and charming with a commonsense approach to cooking, Geraldine takes the reader through a few of her favorite recipes in each section of the book and explains tips, tricks, and short cuts the modern home Cook can employ in their own kitchen to execute some of these dishes as well as improvise and put a personal spin on the dishes.

“Being originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, and from a family of plain home cooking, it’s safe to say Geraldine entered a whole new world with Lula. It’s been a wonderful journey. Her love of Mexican cuisine started when one of the cooks at her original Gilliland’s Café would cook their own meals. That is what first attracted her to the flair and flavors of traditional Mexican cuisine.”

“One day, as Geraldine was casually flipping through the latest edition of Bon Appétit magazine, she stumbled upon an article that profiled the best female Mexican chefs of the time, including Lula Bertran. So, she called up the editor and asked her which of these chefs she would recommend to teach her true Mexican cooking. Without missing a beat, she told her to call Lula. The rest (as they say) is history!”

Friends of Lula’s are invited to the evening anniversary festivities on Friday, July 2nd. Reservations are limited to ensure the comfort of all guests. Please call Chuck at 310.392.5711 for availability info & reservations.

Geraldine joins us with a house Margarita in hand.

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Fish Tacos with Wahoo’s Oven-Roasted Salsa

by Wing Lam
Wahoo’s Fish Taco

Serves 4
Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1lb Mahi Mahi, Cut into 2 oz fillets
  • 16 Corn Tortillas
  • 1 Bag Shredded Mexican Cheese Blend
  • 2 Sliced Jalapeno Peppers
  • 2 Sliced Serrano Peppers
  • 4 Sliced Roma Tomatoes
  • 1 Chopped Red Onion
  • 5 Heads Garlic
  • 4 Cups Shredded White Cabbage
  • 5 Radish Heads, Sliced
  • 1 Cup Sliced Persian Cucumber
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Carrots
  • 1 Cup Chopped Cilantro
  • 2 Fresh Limes
  • 1/2 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup of Sliced Green Onions
  1. Make salsa. Preheat oven to 375°. Spray cooking sheet and vegetables (2 sliced Jalapeño peppers, 2 sliced Serrano peppers, 4 sliced Roma tomatoes, 1 chopped red onion, 5 heads garlic) with avocado oil. Remove seeds from peppers to make salsa milder. Spread ingredients evenly on sheet. Using middle shelf, cook for 30-40 minutes until cooked. Let veggies cool down and add to blender, with salt and pepper to taste. Pulse a few times to keep chunky. Salsa can be made day before and kept up to one week in refrigerator.
  2. Make dressing. Squeeze 2 fresh limes and add 1/2 cup of sliced green onions to a mason jar. Shake and let sit for 20 minutes before adding extra virgin olive oil.
  3. Make slaw. Combine slaw ingredients (4 cups shredded red cabbage, 4 cups shredded white cabbage, 5 sliced radish heads, 1 cup sliced Persian cucumber, 1/2 cup shredded carrots, and 1 cup chopped cilantro) and toss with dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste and let sit for 15 minutes before you start making tacos.
  4. Cook fish. Take 1 lb Mahi Mahi and cut into 2 oz fillets (other firm white fishes, like Sea Bass, also work). Coat with avocado oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Grill about 1-2 minutes per side and set all 8 pieces aside.
  5. Warm up tortillas. Spray frying pan with avocado oil and heat up corn tortillas individually. Cover with towel.
  6. Set up your buffet with plate of tortillas, cooked fish, slaw, shredded Mexican cheese blend, salsa, and lime wedges. Use 2 tortillas per taco, with two tacos per person. Add 1 piece of fish per taco, add slaw, add shredded cheese, top with salsa, and garnish with lime wedge.

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.

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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.

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Show 379, June 27, 2020: “Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy” with Producer & Director Elizabeth Carroll

Filmmaker Elizabeth CarrollDiana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy (documentary feature film) is an intimate, candid perspective into the curious world of cookbook author and British ex-pat Diana Kennedy – widely regarded as the world’s expert on Mexican cuisine. At five feet tall and 97 years old, Diana is larger than life: a foul-mouthed fireball far more feisty and energetic than her age and petite frame let on. Author of nine Mexican cookbooks, she has spent over 60 years researching and documenting the regional cuisines of Mexico.

“Kennedy has lived ‘off-the-grid’ on an eight-acre ranch outside Zitácuaro, Michoacán since the 1970’s: composting, growing her own crops, and using solar power to run her home. Aware of her own mortality, she is working tirelessly to solidify the legacy of her life’s efforts, with the hope of turning her home into a foundation for culinary education in Mexico.”

“A two-time James Beard Award winner, Diana was decorated with an Order of the Aztec Eagle from the Mexican government and became a Member of the Order of the British Empire from the UK in 2002. Despite her notable achievements, Diana is difficult to categorize. Often referred to as the “Julia Child of Mexico,” but Diana prefers a different title: “The Mick Jagger of Mexican Cuisine.”

“Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy explores Diana’s vibrant, unconventional life, blending vérité with archival footage, photographs and interviews. Viewers accompany her in intimate settings at home – cooking, gardening, and traveling to accept awards and speak to audiences. The film features interviews with notable chefs and friends including Alice Waters, José Andrés, Rick Bayless, and Gabriela Cámara, along with footage from Diana’s TLC cooking show, “The Art of Mexican Cooking.” Whether she is instructing chefs at her infamous “Boot Camp” cooking school, blazing her truck over the cobblestone roads of Zitácuaro or sunbathing with a scotch on her balcony, Diana is captivatingly bold, spirited, and unapologetically herself.”

“Diana Kennedy : Nothing Fancy” has just been released on various streaming platforms.

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Show 371, May 2, 2020: Executive Chef & Co-Proprietor Marco Zapien, Zapien’s Salsa Grill

Marco Zapien of Zapiens Salsa Grill and Taqueria“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.”

“The most popular special so far is a family meal pack that feeds 4-6 and includes a salad, choice of entrée (Chile Verde, Chile Colorado, Chicharron, Carnitas or Chicken Fajitas), rice, beans, chips, salsa, Tortillas and soft drinks. Plus, anyone who orders this takeout/pick-up special will get 2 pounds of uncooked rice and beans and two rolls of toilet paper, all for only $39.99.”

“Chef Zapien’s creative giving doesn’t stop there. He’s helping out families with kids with $3 individual kids’ pizzas with the purchase of any entrée. Even more, all entrees come with a free soft drink or coffee.”

“Recently, Chef Zapien introduced the Corona Survival Kit, including two frozen packs of menudo or pozole, a six pack of beer of choice, two mini (Agave Tequila) shot bottles, one 2-pound bag of uncooked beans, one 2-pound bag of uncooked rice and two rolls of toilet paper.”

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 (Family Meal Packs) and Mother’s Day (including a Mother’s Day Brunch feast for 4 to 6 people).

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