Show 340, September 7, 2019: Taco Rosa’s Ivan Calderon Previewing the 7th Annual “Battle of the Tequileros”

Ivan Calderon of Taco RosaTaco Rosa, Chef Ivan Calderon’s upscale Mexican restaurant in Newport Beach, will host its 7th Annual Battle of the Tequileros on Sunday, September 22nd from 4-8 p.m. Bringing together 34 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 live music performed by The Agave Bros. of Laguna Beach. Guests will embark on a tasting journey through which they will determine winners in four categories: Best Tequila, Best Mezcal, Best Cocktail, and Best Booth Presentation.”

“Over the past seven years, we have seen tremendous growth of Battle of the Tequileros, with more attendees and tequila houses. We’re thrilled to provide tequila enthusiasts with an exciting and educational event which also allow us to support local organizations with a global impact,” comments Chef Ivan Calderon of Taco Rosa. “We are proud to once again 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.”

Tickets for the 21-and-over event are priced at $100 and offer guests all-inclusive access to tequila and mezcal cocktails and samples, live music, and tapas. Tickets can be purchased by calling 949.720.0980.

Chef Ivan graciously uncorks the premium tequila for us.


Show 332, July 13, 2019: Fable & Spirit, Newport Beach with Proprietors Darren and Jean Coyle

Darren and Jean Coyle of Fable and Spirit“Adding to the growing culinary scene that can be found in and around Newport Beach’s Lido Marina, Fable & Spirit launched in June on the Newport Peninsula. The restaurant is the 3rd in the region for husband-and-wife team Darren and Jean Coyle, who previously brought Dublin 4 Gastropub and Wineworks for Everyone to Orange County. Their newest establishment celebrates the Spirit and heritage of the Irish people, and the setting will share the many Fairytales (Fables) of Mythological Ireland, complete with heroes, queens and goddesses.”

“With a menu curated by Executive Chef David Shofner, this sophisticated and captivating neighborhood restaurant presents a high energy, yet refined dining experience and setting that plays into Irish fairytale whimsy.”

“My dream is for Fable & Spirit to become that favorite neighborhood restaurant known for its imaginative, progressive and delicious from-scratch signature food and drink creations. I want our guests to thoroughly enjoy the best that life has to offer with their friends and family,” comments Darren Coyle, who draws from his own upbringing in County Mayo and Dublin 4, Ireland. “When our guests pass through the Georgian gold-colored Dublin Door, they will be warmly welcomed and introduced to some of the best of food, drink and good times that Orange County has to offer. While our kitchen and bar take a serious approach to all things culinary and craft, we want to share the spirit and magic of our rich Irish heritage.”

Darren and Jean Coyle are our guests.


Show 332, July 13, 2019: Fable & Spirit, Newport Beach with Sommelier Ali Coyle

Sommelier Ali CoyleAdding to the growing culinary scene that can be found in and around Newport Beach’s Lido Marina, Fable & Spirit launched in June on the Newport Peninsula. The restaurant is the 3rd in the region for husband-and-wife team Darren and Jean Coyle, who previously brought Dublin 4 Gastropub and Wineworks for Everyone to Orange County. Their newest establishment celebrates the Spirit and heritage of the Irish people, and the setting will share the many Fairytales (Fables) of Mythological Ireland, complete with heroes, queens and goddesses.

Fable & Spirit is a true Coyle Family affair. Daughter, Ali, is the Sommelier and son, Drew, is the Director of Spirits.

“The wine program is of note, with a forward- thinking ideology that presents a list with more than just popular wineries, but also lesser-known quality wines. Ali first became intrigued by the world of wine at the age of 17, when her parents opened Wineworks for Everyone.”

“Drew’s rich bar program focuses on an extensive selection of whiskeys, gins and spirits, and liqueurs to present serious cocktails. These complement the bar’s more colorful creations, including the pretty-in-pink ‘Friends In High Places’ with Ford’s Gin, Pomp & Whimsy, raspberry syrup, lemon, lavender water and egg white; the Celtic green ‘Morrigan’s Dream’ with Hendrick’s Gin, pressed celery, pineapple, and chartreuse; and a carrot-orange libation, playfully named ‘Hares Looking at You’, with Wheatley Vodka, Canton Ginger, pressed carrot, lemon and basil.”

“As important as locally sourced, fresh ingredients are to our kitchen, they are equally important to a perfectly designed cocktail,” emphasizes Drew. “Everything but the spirit is hand squeezed, pressed, or infused in-house daily.”

Ali Coyle join the conversation about Fable & Spirit touching on both the bar program as well as the carefully selected wine options.


Show 306, January 12, 2019: William Lewis, Founding Partner, The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar, Newport Beach

Sir William Lewis of the Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar in TustinThe upcoming Newport Beach Restaurant Week is a 14-day dining event that takes place January 14 -27, 2019. The event showcases Newport Beach as one of Orange County’s premier dining destinations offering diners a wide variety of culinary experiences. Participating restaurants offer special prix-fixe menus with lunches available for just $10, $15, $20, or $25, and dinners for $20, $30, $40 or $50.

Founding Partner William Lewis (also the resident wine guru) of The Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar (a participating restaurant in Newport Beach Restaurant Week) joins us with a preview.

As William points out there are few restaurants in Newport Beach who can rival their Newport Bay view! Their elaborate, 4-course dinner menu priced at $50 is a great value. The guest has choices within every course. Think Zinfandel Braised Angus Beef Short Rib as the Main…


Show 302, December 15, 2018: Valentino Ristorante, Santa Monica

Valentino Santa MonicaAfter an incredible 46-year run Piero Selvaggio’s trendsetting Valentino Ristorante will serve its last dinner on New Year’s Eve.

Valentino is one of the pioneers of modern Italian food in Los Angeles. Valentino also is properly credited with introducing premium Italian wines as part of a deep cellar along with polished, unfussy wine service.

Many talented chefs with very successful restaurants of their own polished their skills earlier in their careers in the Valentino kitchen. This includes James Beard Award-winning Chef Luciano Pellegrini, Angelo Auriana (Factory Kitchen) and Steve Samson (Rossoblu and Sotto.)

Piero launches a new restaurant on the Bay (Mariner’s Mile) in Newport Beach (Louie’s) early in the New Year with El Cholo Proprietor Ron Salisbury. We’ll report on it.

Our own West Coast Prime Meats Meathead, Terry Hanks, along with Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio share some engaging memories.


Show 300, December 1, 2018: Flemings Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, 20th Anniversary, Stephen Blevins, Director of Wines

Steven BlevinsTwenty years ago Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar launched at Fashion Island in Newport Beach. It’s been a huge success. As they have branched over the years to include 70 domestic restaurants a signature for them has become their carefully curated wine program. Each Fleming’s has a part of their wine list with the hand-picked selections of that location’s Operating Partner.

Two highly experienced restaurateurs had a vision of designing a steakhouse that would deliver a stylish and contemporary dining experience. Fleming’s was created from this vision by Paul Fleming, founder of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, and Bill Allen III, a leading restaurant and hospitality executive.

Our guest with the well-traveled corkscrew is Stephen Blevins, Fleming’s Director of Wines who was previously the Operating Partner at the Flagship Newport Beach Fleming’s.

Stephen’s passion project has been securing for Fleming’s celebrated winemaker Dave Phinney’s new release, 8 Years in the Desert by Orin Swift. It’s a California Red Bland of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah and small percentages of other red varietals. Of course there is a story.


Show 296, November 3, 2018: 15th Annual Hot Stove Dinner Series at Cannery Seafood of the Pacific, Newport Beach

Colby ReedyAs we bid farewell to the 2018 MLB season diehard baseball fan and Cannery Seafood of the Pacific and El Cholo restaurants owner Ron Salisbury is in the on-deck circle, preparing for his series of dinners with baseball greats that takes the field on November 6th.

The 15th annual Hot Stove League Dinner Series, named for the long winter months of the offseason when baseball fans gather around hot stoves to discuss their favorite teams and players, is being co-sponsored by Cannery Seafood of the Pacific and Angels Chairman Dennis Kuhl. The unique four-part dinner series, which runs through February 2019, allows fans to get their baseball fix during the offseason. Each dinner includes a cocktail meet-and-greet with a special guest speaker, an intimate three-course dinner with wine pairings, followed by the guest speaker sharing his or her favorite baseball stories and life experiences. Angels Chairman Dennis Kuhl is the MC.

Leading off this year’s series will be sportswriter Jane Leavy on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Chicago Cubs Manager Joe Maddon will bat second on Thursday, Dec. 6, followed by former Manager Dusty Baker on Tuesday, Jan. 8th. Batting cleanup and closing the season will be former player and broadcaster Ron Fairly on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019.

Ron Salisbury estimates that the Hot Stove dinners have raised more than $180,000 to benefit the Angels Baseball Foundation’s youth programs.

Colby Reedy, the Associate General Manager at The Cannery, joins us with all the details.

For Tickets & more info please contact GM Alyssa McDiarmid @ The Cannery – 949.566.0060.


Show 293, October 6, 2018: Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio of Santa Monica’s Valentino, Planeta wines of Sicily

Piero Salvaggio of Valentino Santa MonicaPiero Selvaggio of Valentino, Santa Monica fame is one of the pioneers of Italian fine-dining in Los Angeles. He also has been one of the visionaries introducing the premium wines of Sicily to the United States. Piero joins us to talk about the noble Nero d’Avola grape grown in Sicily and Sicily’s Planeta wines.

“We travelled through Sicily as on a great wine continent, establishing our estates in five different areas from west to east, seeking our interpretation of them through research into indigenous varieties, including those by now forgotten, and into the suitability of the different terroirs to welcome international varieties as well. We planned to eventually build around each territory a comprehensive system of experience composed of hospitality, cooking, nature and culture. On these elements the history of our company has always been based. This instinct for the future, together with our curiosity to see the world and compare ourselves with it, has guided our choices.”

After an incredible run of 46 years Piero will be closing Valentino this year after celebrating New Year’s Eve. In early 2019 he will be launching Louie’s on the waterfront in Newport Beach. It’s an upscale Italian steakhouse in tribute to Olympian Louis Zamperini. We’ll keep you posted…


Show 278, June 23, 2018: Brett Karas, Operating Partner / General Manager, Lido Bottle Works, Newport Beach

Breet KarasLido Bottle Works is a craft beer, wine, bottle shop and public house owned by Newport Beach natives located at Newport Beach’s Lido Marina Village. Enjoy a wide array of carefully collected and selected small batch beers, wines by the bottle and glass, and a tapas style menu of small bites, tasty offerings and delicious California coastal cuisine from Chef Amy Lebrun.

Lido Bottle Works is focused on offering locally sourced and sustainable ingredients in a stylish yet casual environment for locals and visitors alike. On the menu are winemaker and brewer events, an art gallery, live music, and more.

Lido also serves a Saturday and Sunday Brunch. A house specialty is Chorizo Hash with fingerling potato, a poached egg and Poblano Hollandaise. Indoor and covered patio seating with a bay view available.

“Join us for a revelatory culinary experience of cooking, eating, and adventure. At Lido Bottle Works we believe people, food, and drink should be ‘Genuinely Good Together.’ Our unique dishes are prepared for our friends and family using local and sustainable ingredients perfectly paired with specialty craft beer, wine, and cocktails.”

Brett Karas, Operating Partner/General Manager is our guest.


Show 264, March 10, 2018: JC Clow, Founding Managing Partner, The Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar

Andy Harris, Andrew Gruel and JC Clow of the Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar at the SoCal Restaurant Show 5th AnniversaryThe Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar has opened its third Southern California location at San Diego’s Westfield UTC in La Jolla. The Winery Restaurant La Jolla provides guests with the same rich experience as its Orange County locations at The District in Tustin and overlooking the marina in Newport Beach.

In the coming weeks, The Winery will also open a separate 1,300-square-foot wine bar within Westfield UTC, called The Wine Bar by The Winery, meant to provide a rich experience at a casual pace, perfect for enjoying a glass of wine or tasting flight and small bite.

“At The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar, we pride ourselves on really focusing on our guest experience. Our third location now open in La Jolla provides the same level of service, with highly skilled Chefs orchestrating a warm and passionate menu created by our award-winning Chef Yvon Goetz, and a team of Certified Sommeliers to oversee an incredible wine program,” explained JC Clow, Founding Partner of The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar. “It’s exciting to join a group of retailers that are among the best in their respective fields. We anticipate endless possibilities, with something to suit every palate.”

Managing Partner JC Clow is our hospitable guide.