Show 454, December 4, 2021: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

The most unusual, and personal, restaurant at the moment in Long Beach is arguably the Dinner, Lunch and Weekend Brunch residency that Chef Melissa Ortiz is orchestrating at the Pine Avenue location of Long Beach’s popular Rose Park Roasters. At present it’s an intriguing seafood and vegetable focused menu available (without reservations) on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings with Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Lunch has just been added from Tuesday thru Friday. A monthly guest chef dinner series will start later in December. Chef Melissa is a well-traveled military veteran who served a couple of tours on active duty and then a period thereafter in the reserves. She attended culinary school locally at The Art Institute of California Orange County (which has since closed.) Chef Melissa loves to travel to distant and exotic locations exploring food and most recently was the chef at the United States Embassy in Kabul. Fortunately she returned stateside earlier in the year. Chef Melissa takes a break from Brunch service and joins us.

Orange County’s resident celebrity chef is Amar Santana of Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach, Vaca in Costa Mesa, and The Hall Global Eatery at South Coast Plaza. Chef Amar is probably best known nationally as the runner-up in a very close competition in Bravo’s “Top Chef” Season 13 and then returning as an elite judge for Season 18 in Portland. In Orange County he was the opening executive chef of the highly praised Charlie Palmer’s at Bloomingdale’s at South Coast Plaza working with GM (and now partner) Ahmed Labbate. His first solo restaurant with business partner and restaurateur Ahmed Labbate was Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach. Just in time for the Holidays Broadway has undergone a refurbishment and kitchen redo. “Inspired by the theaters in New York City, award-winning Chef Amar Santana alongside restauranteur Ahmed Labbate create an atmosphere at Broadway where the food becomes the main show. The restaurant’s menu is inspired by the creativity of Chef Amar Santana and his version of Modern Cuisine of The Americas. It features top quality ingredients, with a focus on local farms who can provide the menu’s seasonal requirements.” Chef Amar Santana joins us.

Ahmed Labbate, Partner and Director of Operations for Broadway by Amar Santana, Vaca, and The Hall Global Eatery at South Coast Plaza, has a passion for fine food and hospitality, with a degree in hotel and restaurant management, he worked at some of Morocco’s most well- known hospitality corporations — Hyatt Regency, Sheraton, Safir and Sofitel — covering all the bases: concierge, front desk, dining room manager. “Labbate later joined the Charlie Palmer Group as a captain at Aureole, NY and Aureole, Las Vegas, then as General Manager at Charlie Palmer Steak at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas. Prior to joining Broadway, Ahmed was the General Manager at the well-received Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale’s in South Coast Plaza with Chef Amar Santana. He dreamt of eventually opening his own restaurant and is excited to now be collaborating with Chef Amar on Broadway by Amar Santana, Vaca and The Hall Global Eatery.”

Ahmed is our guest to provide an overview of Holiday celebration options at Broadway, Vaca and The Hall Global Eatery and the just completed refreshing (which he oversaw) of Broadway by Amar Santana.

Long Beach Living’s inaugural Long Beach International Tamales Festival 2021, is upon us. This all-day holiday inspired fair features a diverse selection of Latin American cuisine, from regional tamales, Latin inspired dishes, drinks, tequila tastings, a best homemade tamales contest, and a full line-up of entertainment, activities, and vendors of all kinds! The event takes place at the Scottish Rite Events Centre on Sunday, December 5th, 2021 from 12:00 p.m.– 8:00 p.m. The Homemade Tamale Contest will be judged by Long Beach City College’s Culinary Arts program’s Executive Chef Haley Nguyen and Hotel Maya’s and Fuego’s executive chef, Victor Juarez. LBCC Culinary Arts Department students will also be selling their special tamale creations including a Peruvian tamale and a Kosher vegetarian tamale (made with oil versus lard) prepared by a Jewish culinary arts student born in Mexico City. Chef Haley takes a break from supervising the tamale making and is our guest.

Adam Bell, the founder of dataTV established in 1996, is the “SoCal Restaurant Show’s” accomplished, long-time web designer, webmaster and all-around social media guru. He relocated to Los Angeles from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. NOLA icon, Café du Monde, remains a client., remains a client. Adam was just on a cross-country business trip to Miami via airplane. This was a first for him since the start of the pandemic. We’ll get his informed insider’s perspective on the status of air travel, ethnic dining in Miami and staying at a landmark luxury hotel property which, unfortunately, delivered substandard service and accommodations.

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 (joining us from the grand opening of Raw by Slapfish in downtown Indianapolis) reveals the details of how attentive listeners can enter the contest to be awarded an incredible package of prime steaks from West Coast Prime Meats by submitting a worthy Holiday Cooking Question for “Ask the Chef” that is used on-air.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Play

Show 454, December 4, 2021: Adam Bell, Founder, dataTV with a Travel Commentary Part One

Adam Bell of dataTV

Adam Bell, the founder of dataTV established in 1996, is the “SoCal Restaurant Show’s” accomplished, long-time web designer, webmaster and all-around social media guru. He relocated to Los Angeles from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. NOLA icon, Café du Monde, remains a client. Adam is well-traveled…

Adam was just on a cross-country business trip to Miami via airplane. This was a first for him since the start of the pandemic. We’ll garner his informed insider’s perspective on the status of air travel, dining in Miami and staying at a landmark luxury hotel property which, unfortunately, delivered substandard service and accommodations.

Play

December 4: Rose Park Roasters, Amar Santana & Ahmed Labatte, Long Beach International Tamales Festival, dataTV

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef Melissa Ortiz, Rose Park Roasters, Pine Ave., Long Beach Part One
Segment Three: Chef Melissa Ortiz, Rose Park Roasters, Pine Ave., Long Beach Part Two
Segment Four: Chef and Partner Amar Santana, Broadway by Amar Santana, Vaca and the Hall Global Eatery
Segment Five: Ahmed Labbate, Partner and Director of Operations, Broadway by Amar Santana, Vaca and The Hall Global Eatery
Segment Six: Executive Chef Haley Nguyen, Culinary Arts Dept., Long Beach City College
Segment Seven: Adam Bell, Founder, dataTV with a Travel Commentary Part One
Segment Eight: Adam Bell, Founder, dataTV with a Travel Commentary Part Two

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

The most unusual, and personal, restaurant at the moment in Long Beach is arguably the Dinner and Brunch pop-up that Chef Melissa Ortiz is orchestrating at the Pine Avenue location of Long Beach’s popular Rose Park Roasters. At present it’s an intriguing seafood and vegetable focused menu available (without reservations) on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings with Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. A monthly guest chef dinner series will start later in December. Chef Melissa is a well-traveled military veteran who served a couple of tours on active duty and then a period thereafter in the reserves. She attended culinary school locally at The Art Institute of California Orange County (which has since closed.) Chef Melissa loves to travel to distant and exotic locations exploring food and most recently was the chef at the United States Embassy in Kabul. Fortunately she returned stateside earlier in the year. Chef Melissa takes a break from Brunch service and joins us.

Orange County’s resident celebrity chef is Amar Santana of Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach, Vaca in Costa Mesa, and The Hall Global Eatery at South Coast Plaza. Chef Amar is probably best known nationally as the runner-up in a very close competition in Bravo’s “Top Chef” Season 13 and then returning as an elite judge for Season 18 in Portland. In Orange County he was the opening executive chef of the highly praised Charlie Palmer’s at Bloomingdale’s at South Coast Plaza working with GM (and now partner) Ahmed Labbate. His first solo restaurant with business partner and restaurateur Ahmed Labbate was Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach. Just in time for the Holidays Broadway has undergone a refurbishment and kitchen redo. “Inspired by the theaters in New York City, award-winning Chef Amar Santana alongside restauranteur Ahmed Labbate create an atmosphere at Broadway where the food becomes the main show. The restaurant’s menu is inspired by the creativity of Chef Amar Santana and his version of Modern Cuisine of The Americas. It features top quality ingredients, with a focus on local farms who can provide the menu’s seasonal requirements.” Chef Amar Santana joins us.

“Ahmed Labbate, Partner and Director of Operations for Broadway by Amar Santana, Vaca, and The Hall Global Eatery at South Coast Plaza, has a passion for fine food and hospitality, with a degree in hotel and restaurant management, he worked at some of Morocco’s most well- known hospitality corporations — Hyatt Regency, Sheraton, Safir and Sofitel — covering all the bases: concierge, front desk, dining room manager. “Labbate later joined the Charlie Palmer Group as a captain at Aureole, NY and Aureole, Las Vegas, then as General Manager at Charlie Palmer Steak at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas. Prior to joining Broadway, Ahmed was the General Manager at the well-received Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale’s in South Coast Plaza with Chef Amar Santana. He dreamt of eventually opening his own restaurant and is excited to now be collaborating with Chef Amar on Broadway by Amar Santana, Vaca and The Hall Global Eatery.”

Ahmed is our guest to provide an overview of Holiday celebration options at Broadway, Vaca and The Hall Global Eatery and the just completed refreshing of Broadway by Amar Santana.

Long Beach Living’s inaugural Long Beach International Tamales Festival 2021, is upon us. This all-day holiday inspired fair features a diverse selection of Latin American cuisine, from regional tamales, Latin inspired dishes, drinks, tequila tastings, a best homemade tamales contest, and a full line-up of entertainment, activities, and vendors of all kinds! The event takes place at the Scottish Rite Events Centre on Sunday, December 5th, 2021 from 12:00 p.m.– 8:00 p.m. The Homemade Tamale Contest will be judged by Long Beach City College’s Culinary Arts program’s Executive Chef Haley Nguyen and Hotel Maya’s and Fuego’s executive chef, Victor Juarez. LBCC Culinary Arts Department students will also be selling their special tamale creations including a Peruvian tamale and a Kosher vegetarian tamale (made with oil versus lard) prepared by a Jewish culinary arts student born in Mexico City. Chef Haley takes a break from supervising the tamale making and is our guest.

Adam Bell, the founder of dataTV established in 1996, is the “SoCal Restaurant Show’s” accomplished, long -time web designer, webmaster and all-around social media guru. He relocated to Los Angeles from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. NOLA icon, Café du Monde, remains a client. Adam was just on a cross-country business trip to Miami via airplane. This was a first for him since the start of the pandemic. We’ll get his informed insider’s perspective on the status of air travel, ethnic dining in Miami and staying at a landmark luxury hotel property which, unfortunately, delivered substandard service and accommodations.

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. The Holidays are upon us. Chef Andrew has some practical tips for stress-free Holiday cooking. Also, the details of how attentive listeners’ can enter a contest to be awarded an incredible package of prime steaks from West Coast Prime Meats by submitting a question for “Ask the Chef” that is used on-air. Be listening…

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Melissa Ortiz of Rose Park Roasters

The most unusual restaurant at the moment in Long Beach is arguably the Dinner and Brunch pop-up that Chef Melissa Ortiz is orchestrating at the Pine Avenue location of Long Beach’s popular Rose Park Roasters. At present it’s an intriguing seafood and vegetable focused menu available (without reservations) on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings with Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.

Melissa is a well-traveled military veteran who served a couple of tours on active duty and then a period thereafter in the reserves. She attended culinary school locally at The Art Institute of California Orange County (which has since closed.) Melissa loves to travel to distant and exotic locations exploring food and most recently was the chef at the United States Embassy in Kabul. Fortunately she returned earlier in the year.

Thanks to Anne Marie Panoringan, the inquisitive Food Columnist for Voice of OC, for tipping us off about Chef Melissa Ortiz after experiencing a memorable Brunch there.

The menu is constantly evolving but some standout items for Dinner include House Sea-Cuterie with seasonal fish nduja, shellfish terrine, marinated clams, spicy pickle relish, yuzu cream fraiche and Gusto flatbread (Long Beach –based boutique bakery,) and Shrimp Meatballs with wild shrimp, San Marzano tomatoes, pecorino toscano and Gusto dorado. Accompanying the creative food menu is a hand-selected variety of organic, biodynamic and natural wines available by the glass or bottle.

On Monday evening, Dec. 20th Chef Melissa is launching the monthly Rose Park Family Meal guest chef dinner series. These collaborative dinners with local chefs are designed to highlight Long Beach’s creativity, innovation and hospitality. “Dinners are chef curated, three courses and with no modifications. Per Chef Melissa’s ethos, there are no land proteins on the menu, solely seafood and vegetables.” The first guest chef is Alex Ruperto of Sakura Chocolates.

Chef Melissa takes a break from Brunch service to join us.

Amar Santana

Orange County’s resident celebrity chef is Amar Santana of Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach, Vaca in Costa Mesa, and The Hall Global Eatery at South Coast Plaza. Chef Amar is best known nationally as the runner-up in a very close competition in Bravo’s “Top Chef” Season 13 and then returning as an elite judge for Season 18 in Portland. In Orange County he was the opening executive chef of the highly praised Charlie Palmer’s at Bloomingdale’s at South Coast Plaza working with GM (and now partner) Ahmed Labbate.

His first solo restaurant with business partner and restaurateur Ahmed Labbate was Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach. Just in time for the Holidays Broadway has undergone a refurbishment and kitchen redo. “Inspired by the theaters in New York City, award-winning Chef Amar Santana alongside restauranteur Ahmed Labbate create an atmosphere at Broadway where the food becomes the main show. The restaurant’s menu is inspired by the creativity of Chef Amar Santana and his version of Modern Cuisine of The Americas. It features top quality ingredients, with a focus on local farms who can provide the menu’s seasonal requirements.”

Chef Amar joins us to provide all the details and what’s in store for the Holidays at his restaurants.

Ahmed Labatte of thev Vaca Group

“Ahmed Labbate, Partner and Director of Operations for Broadway by Amar Santana, Vaca, and The Hall Global Eatery at South Coast Plaza, has a passion for fine food and hospitality, with a degree in hotel and restaurant management, he worked at some of Morocco’s most well- known hospitality corporations — Hyatt Regency, Sheraton, Safir and Sofitel — covering all the bases: concierge, front desk, dining room manager. A bit later America (and the mouse) came knocking, and Labbate seized the opportunity to utilize his background and European-style skills in an entirely unexpected way. He journeyed to Orlando, Florida, where he underwent intensive, elaborate training in “Morocco” — or at least in the Moroccan restaurant at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center.”

“Labbate later joined the Charlie Palmer Group as a captain at Aureole, NY and Aureole, Las Vegas, then as General Manager at Charlie Palmer Steak at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas. Prior to joining Broadway, Ahmed was the General Manager at Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale’s in South Coast Plaza with Chef Amar Santana. He dreamt of eventually opening his own restaurant and is excited to now be collaborating with Chef Amar on Broadway by Amar Santana, Vaca and The Hall Global Eatery.”

Ahmed is our guest to provide an overview of Holiday celebration options at Broadway, Vaca and The Hall Global Eatery and the just completed refreshing of Broadway by Amar Santana.

Haley Nguyen Instructor at Long Beach City College

Long Beach Living’s inaugural Long Beach International Tamales Festival 2021, is upon us. This all-day holiday inspired fair features a diverse selection of Latin American cuisine, from regional tamales, Latin inspired dishes, drinks, tequila tastings, a best homemade tamales contest, and a full line-up of entertainment, activities, and vendors of all kinds! The event will take place at the Scottish Rite Events Centre on Sunday, December 5th, 2021 from 12:00 p.m.– 8:00 p.m. Join in celebrating this new holiday tradition. Buy tickets for the Tamale Festival here.

The Homemade Tamale Contest will be judged by Long Beach City College’s Culinary Arts program’s Executive Chef Haley Nguyen and Hotel Maya’s and Fuego’s executive chef, Victor Juarez. LBCC Culinary Arts Department students will also be selling their special tamale creations including a Peruvian tamale and a Kosher vegetarian tamale (made with oil versus lard) prepared by a Jewish culinary arts student born in Mexico City.

Chef Haley Nguyen takes a break from supervising the tamale making and is our guest.

Adam Bell of dataTV

Adam Bell, the founder of dataTV established in 1996, is the “SoCal Restaurant Show’s” accomplished, long -time web designer, webmaster and all-around social media guru. He relocated to Los Angeles from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. NOLA icon, Café du Monde, remains a client.

Adam was just on a cross-country business trip to Miami via airplane. This was a first for him since the start of the pandemic. We’ll garner his informed insider’s perspective on the status of air travel, dining in Miami and staying at a landmark luxury hotel property which, unfortunately, delivered substandard service and accommodations.

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.

The Holidays are upon us. Chef Andrew has some practical tips for stress-free Holiday cooking. Also the details of how attentive listeners’ can enter a contest to be awarded an incredible package of prime steaks from West Coast Prime Meats by submitting a question for “Ask the Chef” that is used on-air. Be listening…

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef Melissa Ortiz, Rose Park Roasters, Pine Ave., Long Beach Part One
Segment Three: Chef Melissa Ortiz, Rose Park Roasters, Pine Ave., Long Beach Part Two
Segment Four: Chef and Partner Amar Santana, Broadway by Amar Santana, Vaca and the Hall Global Eatery
Segment Five: Ahmed Labbate, Partner and Director of Operations, Broadway by Amar Santana, Vaca and The Hall Global Eatery
Segment Six: Executive Chef Haley Nguyen, Culinary Arts Dept., Long Beach City College
Segment Seven: Adam Bell, Founder, dataTV with a Travel Commentary Part One
Segment Eight: Adam Bell, Founder, dataTV with a Travel Commentary Part Two

Show 273, May 12, 2018: Miami’s Lorena Garcia, Executive Chef, Chica at The Venetian Resort

Lorena GarciaJohn Kunkel, owner and founder of 50 Eggs Inc.’s newest concept Chica Las Vegas at The Venetian delivers the robust and vibrant flavors of Latin cuisine combined with a dynamic wine and mixology program.

Crafted by celebrity Latina chef Lorena Garcia, the diverse menu draws inspiration from classic renditions and provides guests the opportunity to explore the flavors of Latin American cuisine as one culture, with influences from Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina, among many more.

Boasting the first Latina chef on the Las Vegas Strip, Chica promises to delight its diners with an astounding array of amazing dishes. Each and every bit of culturally unique food finds its pedigree equally in the homes of Peru or El Salvador as it does in the top restaurants of Mexico or Argentina.

The home cooking that is enjoyed by the people of Central and South America finds a home here in Chef Garcia’s kitchen, enhanced and made even more vibrant for Chica. Latin Fusion cuisine is Chef Garcia’s forte, and it shows: appetizers, main courses, desserts, and even the libations are specially crafted for their heritage and made to fit the modern, dynamic venue of Chica.

There is a high profile “Culinary Luminaries” Wall of Fame clearly visible on the massive exterior of The Venetian & Palazzo Resorts. Chef Lorena is the most recent addition.

Chef Lorena pops out of the busy Chica kitchen to chat.

Play

Show 209, February 4, 2017: John Kunkel, 50 Eggs, Inc & Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, The Venetian, Las Vegas

John KunkelJohn Kunkel’s (50 Eggs, Inc.) lauded Yardbird Southern Table & Bar initially roosted at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas in January of 2015. The original is in Miami. The motto is “Southern from Scratch,” a modern take on Southern fare.

John revealed to us exclusively that Yardbird Southern Table & Bar will launch a new location in Beverly Hills before year’s end.

Founded by John Kunkel, 50 Eggs, Inc. is a multi-faceted, full-service culinary and hospitality firm focused on developing cutting-edge brands with unparalleled dining experiences. Named Restaurant Hospitality Magazine’s “Coolest Multi-Concept Companies in the Land”, 50 Eggs, Inc. owns and operates the James Beard-nominated and award winning Yardbird Southern Table & Bar in Miami and Las Vegas, Swine Southern Table & Bar in Miami, and Spring Chicken in South Beach, Coral Gables, Fort Lauderdale, and the Miami International Airport.

50 Eggs, Inc. will open its first international location in 2017, Yardbird Southern Table & Bar at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands. The brand’s first Latin concept, CHICA, will debut at the Venetian Las Vegas in 2017 (in the former db Brasserie space). The menu is from acclaimed chef, Lorena Garcia.

John is here with all the details.

Play

Show 53, December 21, 2013: Executive Chef Brian Malarkey of Enlightened Hospitality Group, San Diego

Brian MalarkeyYou know Chef Brian Malarkey from “Top Chef: Season 3, Miami” on Bravo and Season 1 of ABC’s “The Taste.” In real life he’s also a highly successful restaurateur in San Diego (and Scottsdale and Austin) with major financial backing.

In a bold move he’s bringing an expanded Herringbone (La Jolla) to The Mondrian on the fabled Sunset Strip in January. After a major gut-rehab it’s replacing the pricey Asia de Cuba at this hip & happening boutique luxury hotel. The panoramic 180 degree view from the restaurant toward the coast, now improved, is pretty spectacular. He’s responsible for all foodservice at The Hotel including in-room dining and functions.

The food is Herringbone’s own “Fish Meats Field” cuisine. A favorite is Pork Belly with wood roasted sunchokes, manila clams, and calvados and green apple jus.

A signature wood-burning oven is being added to the totally revamped kitchen.

Play

December 21: Troy Johnson, Got Kosher, Aaron Fry, Susan Feniger, Brian Malarkey, Brian Malarkey,

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Troy Johnson, Editor-at-Large & Food Critic of San Diego Magazine Part One
Segment Three: Troy Johnson, Editor-at-Large & Food Critic of San Diego Magazine Part Two
Segment Four: Alain Cohen of Got Kosher Café & Bakery, Los Angeles
Segment Five: Aaron Fry, Honeymoon Dining in Maui
Segment Six: Celebrity Chef Susan Feniger of The Border Grills and Mud Hen Tavern
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Brian Malarkey of Enlightened Hospitality Group, San Diego Part One
Segment Eight: Executive Chef Brian Malarkey of Enlightened Hospitality Group, San Diego Part Two

Update on the benefit at The Church Key on Sunday, December 8th to aid the unfortunate victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. The evening raised $10,000 which will get into the proper hands to support the relief effort. This event came together very quickly so kudos to all involved!

What's Cooking with Jet Tila and Travis RodgersThanks for all the supportive words about “What’s Cooking with Travis and Chef Jet Tila” heard just after 7:50 a.m. on Friday morning on AM 830 KLAA as part of “The Travis Rodgers Show.” Travis is taking a well-earned Holiday break. The segment will return just after 7:50 a.m. on Friday, January 4th. The previous features are all available for your listening pleasure within the “Media” area of the “SoCal Restaurant Show” Website.

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show. This week we’re sending the well-deserved love to our listeners in San Diego. Troy Johnson, the Restaurant Editor of San Diego Magazine is with us to share what’s new in San Diego. We’ll also talk with “Top Chef” alum Brian Malarkey of Enlightened Hospitality. He’s bringing one of his successful San Diego restaurant concepts to the Sunset Strip.

Troy JohnsonTroy Johnson, the Food Editor of San Diego Magazine, represents the new breed of youthful restaurant journalists with a point-of-view. It’s, fortunately, not an elitist approach and Troy aims to make restaurant-going accessible for all.

You perhaps remember him on Food TV from his Cooking Channel series, “Crave.” He’s also one of the regular judges on Food Network’s new Sunday evening “Guy’s (Fieri) Grocery Games.”

There is a lot happening on the San Diego restaurant scene. The big noise is that chef and restaurateur Richard Blais is leaving his base in Atlanta to open Juniper & Ivy in the Little Italy area of San Diego. It will seat 200 when open so this is an ambitious project! Chef Blais is probably best known nationally for his multiple seasons on Bravo’s “Top Chef.”

Celebrity Chef Brian Malarkey (of Bravo’s “Top Chef” & ABC’s “The Taste”,) a multiple concept restaurant operator in San Diego, is bringing his Herringbone concept to The Mondrian Hotel on The Sunset Strip in West Hollywood in early 2014. Troy talks about Chef Brian’s history in San Diego and what his establishments are all about. The original Herringbone is in La Jolla.

The Headquarters, a new development in Downtown San Diego with destination restaurants is creating a lot of attention. Nancy Silverton’s Pizzeria Mozza from Hollywood is one on the anchor tenants there already attracting lots of buzz. It’s the former Police Department Headquarters and there is even an original cell preserved for visitors to see.

Avant Restaurant in San DiegoAfter a long run (opened in 1968) as a high-end destination restaurant of celebration El Bizcocho at the Rancho Bernardo Inn has been reborn as the more contemporary Avant. San Diego star chef Gavin Kaysen was an alum of El Bizcocho. He’s now overseeing all the Café Bouluds for Daniel Boulud in New York!

Troy notes that the Hatch Design Group worked on a $2.5 million budget to create the new space. “The mercy killing of El Bizcocho clears the way for a new era at Avant” is the title of Troy’s recent review in San Diego Magazine.

If you think Tunisian fare is the same as the foods of Morocco then you perhaps need a refresher course. No eating with the fingers or belly dancers here. It’s actually more Mediterranean and North African fare.

Alain Cohen of Got Kosher Cafe and BakeryAlain Cohen of Got Kosher Café & Bakery located in Los Angeles Borscht Belt on Pico Blvd. joins us to give a quick education. Don’t let the “Kosher” part or the name scare you. The Jews were in Tunisia before Muhammad or the rise of Islam.

The tasty Merguez sausage with harissa appetizer is house-made.

One of Got Kosher’s specialties is “Shwar-guez.” It’s their take on schwarma. It’s ground beef seasoned with their merguez sausage spices and grilled on a schwarma pit.

Tunisian Couscous is also a popular specialty. The versions are Couscous au Poulet, Couscous Masson (with braised beef and beef meatballs,) Couscous Royal ( with chicken, beef, lamb brochettes and merguez,) and Vegetarian Couscous.

They also house-bake some incredible varieties of challah

It’s Christmas / New Year’s Holiday vacation time and that means a lot of getaways to Maui. We have a mouth-watering Lahaina dining report from an informed, recent visitor.

Aaron Fry just returned from his glorious honeymoon in Maui. Aaron is a master bartender as well as a senior Board Operator right here at AM 830 KLAA. We’re turning the microphone around on him this morning.

Fleetwoods on Front StreetAaron and his new bride enjoyed a couple of visits to Fleetwood’s on Front Street in the heart of Old Lahaina. The second level of the 10,000 square foot establishment affords an incredible ocean view and there is live music nightly. The principal is Mick Fleetwood, the well-know rock drummer. When he’s not touring he spends most of his time on Maui.

Although it’s a casual setting they are equally serious about their food. The chef advisor is Scott Leibfried (who you’ll remember as one of the two sous chefs for Gordon Ramsay on Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen.”) Chef Scott continues with the project.

Look for “Today’s Local Fish” and the 10 oz. Grilled Filet with Big Island Hamakua Mushrooms as standout dishes.

Maui Brewing Company CoCoNut PorTeRAaron is a craft beer aficionado so also on his Maui menu was a stop at the celebrated brewpub of the Maui Brewing Co. This is the most successful craft brewery in The Islands and quite a story. Their only “problem” is that they can’t keep up with demand on The Mainland. They can their most popular styles and they are available in California. One of their signature brews is their award-winning CoCoNut PorTeR. The brewpub features some seasonal styles only available on Maui.

The food is seriously good, too, and a big attraction for locals. They even make their own salad dressings. You can’t go wrong with their pizzas or the Kalua Pork Sliders.

Susan Feniger of Mud Hen TavernChef Susan Feniger of Border Grill and Food Network’s “Too Hot Tamales” fame is back with us to talk about the revamping of Susan Feniger’s Street in Hollywood. It’s been refurbished as the Mud Hen Tavern. The concept is more of a comfortable neighborhood bar and restaurant where regulars can come and hang out more than one time per week.

As with Street the Executive Chef and Partner is Kajsa Alger. Some of Street’s classic favorites remain on the menu including Kaya Toast. A rotating collection of sixteen craft beers is available on tap.

Susan enthusiastically recommends the Hangover Burger with a fried egg and bacon and the decadent Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding for dessert. Also there are plenty of offerings for the vegetarian-inclined.

Brian MalarkeyYou know Chef Brian Malarkey from “Top Chef: Season 3, Miami” on Bravo and Season 1 of ABC’s “The Taste.” In real life he’s also a highly successful restaurateur in San Diego (and Scottsdale and Austin) with major financial backing.

In a bold move he’s bringing an expanded Herringbone (La Jolla) to The Mondrian on the fabled Sunset Strip in January. After a major gut-rehab it’s replacing the pricey Asia de Cuba at this hip & happening boutique luxury hotel. The panoramic 180 degree view from the restaurant toward the coast, now improved, is pretty spectacular. He’s responsible for all foodservice at The Hotel including in-room dining and functions.

The food is Herringbone’s own “Fish Meats Field” cuisine. A favorite is Pork Belly with wood roasted sunchokes, manila clams, and calvados and green apple jus.

Executive Chef Brian Mararkey of Enlightened Hospitality Group encores for a second segment. His growing collection of restaurants, with a San Diego base, includes Searsucker, Herringbone (La Jolla and January opening in West Hollywood,) Gabardine, and Green Acre.

Chef Brian has cooked in Los Angeles previously. Very early in his professional career he was in the kitchen at Michel Richard’s Citrus.

Chef Brian very honestly explains how he paid his dues during his 20s and 30s before becoming the executive chef at The Oceanaire Seafood Room in San Diego. That eventually led to his casting on Bravo’s “Top Chef.” He’s surprised that so many young people graduating from culinary schools think they can just walk into being celebrities on food TV without a proper foundation.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Troy Johnson, Editor-at-Large & Food Critic of San Diego Magazine Part One
Segment Three: Troy Johnson, Editor-at-Large & Food Critic of San Diego Magazine Part Two
Segment Four: Alain Cohen of Got Kosher Café & Bakery, Los Angeles
Segment Five: Aaron Fry, Honeymoon Dining in Maui
Segment Six: Celebrity Chef Susan Feniger of The Border Grills and Mud Hen Tavern
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Brian Malarkey of Enlightened Hospitality Group, San Diego Part One
Segment Eight: Executive Chef Brian Malarkey of Enlightened Hospitality Group, San Diego Part Two

Show 23, March 30, 2013: Chef Brooke Williamson of The Tripel in Playa del Rey and Hudson House in Redondo Beach

Brooke Williamson of Hudson House and TripelChef Brooke made all of SoCal proud on February 28th as she competed in the intense finale of “Top Chef-Seattle,” which was Season 10 for the popular series. This was a 2-part conclusion done before a live audience at Head Judge Tom Colicchio’s Craft in Century City.

When the smoke had cleared on her 5-course cookoff  Brooke came up as the runner-up which is still an incredible achievement! Every year the level of competition on “Top Chef” gets tougher and tougher.

Some of her “Top Chef” dishes will become new specials at Hudson House. The Tripel is a casual, neighborhood gastropub (30 seats) with 14 craft beer selections available on tap at any time and simpler, satisfying fare.

One of her earned perks is that Chef Brooke has just been added to “Top Chef: The Cruise” on the Celebrity Constellation sailing from Miami from April 11th to 15th with stops in Key West and Cozumel.

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March 30: Scott Slater, Graham Elliot, Brooke Williamson, Barbara Fairchild

Podcasts

Segment One: Chef Jet Tila
Segment Two: Executive Chef Brad Lyons and Erika DiProfio of Slater’s 50/50
Segment Three: Celebrity Chef Graham Elliot
Segment Four: Chef Brooke Williamson of The Tripel in Playa del Rey and Hudson House in Redondo Beach
Segment Five: Barbara Fairchild, former long-time editor of Bon Appetit magazine. Educator, speaker and hospitality industry consultant Part One
Segment Six: Barbara Fairchild, former long-time editor of Bon Appetit magazine. Educator, speaker and hospitality industry consultant Part Two

Easter and Passover greetings to all.

It’s a tasty buffet this week. We’re going from big juicy burgers and craft beer to dining with one of Chicago’s best celebrity chefs…From there it’s a conversation with our own, delightful, local “Top Chef” cheftestant. Finally it’s a trip to Venice and Rome for a sampling of their culinary delights!

Jet has been in Dallas all week so he’ll graciously share some of his dining adventures. Also, a bit of area restaurant news to report.

Scott Slater of Slater's 50/50We’re all on the quest for a great burger. So was Scott Slater when he teamed up with college buddy and chef Brad Lyons to launch the first Slater’s 50/50 in Anaheim Hills in 2009. Bacon is the key…

An impressive selection of craft beer (always changing) on tap is also a popular attraction. Since the success of Anaheim Hills busy locations have been added in Huntington Beach, San Diego, Pasadena and, most recently, Lake Forest.

On April 6th in Lake Forest Slater’s 50/50 will present the 1st Backyard Brewfest. It’s an outdoor tasting event with 15 different breweries and a sampling of Slater’s 50/50 most popular menu items. It’s a benefit for the Pediatric Children’s Research Foundation.

Graham ElliotCelebrity Chef Graham Elliot hails from Chicagoland where he has graham elliott, a well-known, Two-Star Michelin ranked restaurant. He’s perhaps more familiar to Angelenos as the sympathetic judge on Fox TV’s “MasterChef” series now in production on their 4th season.

On April 8th and 9th Chef Graham will be at W. Third Street’s Son of a Gun in Los Angeles cooking a 5-course tasting menu paired with regional wines selected by graham elliott sommelier, Jamie Kluz. Joining Chef Elliott in the kitchen will be Sous Chef John Slack and Director of Operations/Corporate Chef Merlin Verrier.

Brooke Williamson of Hudson House and TripelBrooke Williamson, the youthful co-owner of Hudson House in Redondo Beach and The Tripel in Playa del Rey represented Southern California masterfully in the just-concluded Season 10 of Bravo’s “Top Chef”. Brooke will talk to us about the two-part Season Finale which was shot in front of a live audience!

Chef Brooke has just been added to “Top Chef: The Cruise” aboard the Celebrity Constellation sailing from Miami with stops in Key West and Cozumel before returning to Miami. Those dates are April 11th to 15th.

Barbara FairchildOur International Travel Correspondent, Barbara Fairchild (former editor of Bon Appetit magazine and current hospitality consultant, teacher, speaker, and journalist), has just returned from Venice and Rome.

Barbara is going to reveal the dining highlights of her culinary journey in Rome and Venice. It’s perhaps the next best thing to actually having been there…

Barbara is on Facebook and Twitter.

Podcasts

Segment One: Chef Jet Tila
Segment Two: Executive Chef Brad Lyons and Erika DiProfio of Slater’s 50/50
Segment Three: Celebrity Chef Graham Elliot
Segment Four: Chef Brooke Williamson of The Tripel in Playa del Rey and Hudson House in Redondo Beach
Segment Five: Barbara Fairchild, former long-time editor of Bon Appetit magazine. Educator, speaker and hospitality industry consultant Part One
Segment Six: Barbara Fairchild, former long-time editor of Bon Appetit magazine. Educator, speaker and hospitality industry consultant Part Two

Show 8: December 8, 2012: Chef Scott Conant

Scott Conant of Scarpetta and Food NetworkChef Scott owns the highly acclaimed Scarpetta in New York and the Scarpettas in Miami Beach, Toronto, Las Vegas, and in Beverly Hills at The Montage. You also know him from Food Network’s “Chopped” where he presides as one of the regular celebrity judges.

Scott joined the show to talk about the wonderful Italian-American tradition for Christmas Eve of “The Feast of the Seven Fishes” which is a personal favorite of his. Traditionally most of the dishes are fried but he likes to get a little grilled octopus on the menu, too.

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