Show 441, September 4, 2021: Winemaker and Chef Pietro Buttitta, Prima Materia, Lake County, CA Part Two

Pietro Buttitta of Prima Materia

Winemaker Pietro Buttitta of Prima Materia makes American-Italian wines from his 12-acre vineyard in Lake County, CA. His is a quest to not just get it right, but simply to get to making good, balanced wines. In his effort, he knows he’s up against perceptions borne 20 years ago about Italian varietals made in California. His is, fortunately, not those wines.”

“Prima Materia doesn’t use herbicides or pesticides, and they naturally craft unfined and unfiltered wines using traditional methods that produce ageable bottles that respect classical styles interpreted through their vineyard.”

“Prima Materia is the product of two decades spent working in vineyards, wineries, and cooking in restaurant kitchens that ranged from Michelin starred to hamburger (and fried chicken) consulting. This culinary background is part of the winemaking approach, and every bottle hopes to capture a distinctive, Old-World inflected voice in harmony with California’s vast and evolving wine history.”

“The wines are crafted in small batches of two to ten barrels each, producing 1,200 to 1,500 cases per year. The winemaking and grape-growing are intensively hands-on, using stems and time, gravity and buckets, rather than fancy, impersonal machinery or mechanized processes. Prima Materia’s wines are unsulfured for much of their lives, allowing them to evolve as living things and new oak is rarely used. The wines are unfined, unfiltered, hand harvested, and hand bottled, and they are clean, stable and ready for long aging.”

Prima Materia’s main tasting room is located at 49th & Telegraph Avenue in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland, Ca., and you can also try the wines at Riggers Loft in Richmond, California.

Pietro Buttitta pours a glass of his 2017 Estate Bottled Sangiovese (Kelsey Bench) and continues with us.


Show 389, September 5, 2020: Celebrity Chef Tanya Holland, Brown Sugar Kitchen, Oakland

Tanya Holland of Brown Sugar Kitchen“Known for her inventive take on modern soul food, as well as comfort classics, Tanya Holland is the executive chef/owner of Oakland’s Brown Sugar Kitchen. She is also the author of the Brown Sugar Kitchen Cookbook and New Soul Cooking; was the host and soul food expert on the television series Melting Pot; and competed on the fifteenth season of Top Chef. Holland holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, and a Grande Diplôme from La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine.”

“Her latest venture is the launch of Season 1 of Tanya’s Table, her debut podcast. Tanya’s Table spotlights Holland and her guests discussing food, culture, and diverse foodways as podcast listeners peer through the window to experience their candid, and often hilarious, conversations. While food is the center of attention, Holland explores other lifestyle topics such as travel, social awareness, self-help and work / life balance, challenges and triumphs, discovering off-the-radar gems, sustainability, the role of mentors, and more. Every episode further delves into each guest’s individual identity through their sense of taste (with food, design, style, etc.) and discovering foods of their heritage.”

Later in the year Chef Tanya will launch Town Fare at the Oakland Museum of California. It’s a “plant forward” menu and a complete departure (cuisine-wise) from Brown Sugar Kitchen.

Tanya is also a trustee of the prestigious, Manhattan-based James Beard Foundation. She was recently appointed to the James Beard Awards Committee, the governing body of the James Beard Awards.

We’ll meet the always on the go Chef Tanya Holland.


Show 330, June 29, 2019: Mani Niall – “Baker to the Stars” Part One

Baker to the Stars Mani Niall“Baker to the Stars” Mani Niall is fondly remembered for the groundbreaking Mani’s Bakery in Los Angeles launched in 1989. For the last 6 years he’s been the proprietor of Sweet Bar Bakery in Oakland which he sold last year.

Mani is also the creator of the intriguing fauxnut (an acclaimed, alternative donut that is not fried, low in fat and absolutely delicious.) It was developed for the actor Danny DeVito for the Oscar-nominated feature motion picture, Other People’s Money. (Mr. DeVito excludes refined sugar & junk food from his diet.)

Mani was back in Los Angeles in May working with the baking and pastry staff at Akasha in Culver City tweaking the menu and developing new creations. Mani’s award-winning fauxnuts are regularly available locally at the Café at Akasha in Culver City.

“We take the time and effort to bake first and foremost for great taste, and also for a variety of health concerns – focusing as much on ingredient standards as on taste.” – Mani Niall

We’ll find out what’s on the rise with Chef Mani.


Show 330, June 29, 2019: Mani Niall – “Baker to the Stars” Part Two

Baker to the Stars Mani Niall“Baker to the Stars” Mani Niall is fondly remembered for the groundbreaking Mani’s Bakery in Los Angeles launched in 1989. For the last 6 years he’s been the proprietor of Sweet Bar Bakery in Oakland which he sold last year.

For the last month he was the chef in residence at Playa Viva in Guerrero, Mexico. Playa Viva is an eco-luxury boutique hotel and treehouse resort with their own farm. They also source cacao from a neighboring farmer.

Mani provides some learned tips from Playa Viva on the prime havesting stage of coconuts for different purposes. Young coconuts are best for premium coconut water. On the other hand when you need to use the coconut for its meat an older coconut is in order.

We continue baking with Chef Mani of Mani’s Test Kitchen.



Show 258, January 27, 2018: Anita Lau, “Diary of a Mad Hungry Woman” Blogger

Anita Lau of Mad Hungry WomanOur favorite, and always opinionated, “diary of a Mad Hungry Woman” blogger, Anita Lau, has been dining in the Bay Area. One of her recent finds is Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland. Think Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Cornmeal Waffle. The owner/chef Tanya Holland is a Cheftestant on the current season of Bravo’s “Top Chef.” Anita has the bite-by-bite report for us.

“diary of a Mad Hungry Woman began in 2008 as a food journal and has slowly evolved into a restaurant critique site. It follows the food adventures of Anita Lau, a 25-year veteran in the food writing business. Originally focusing solely on the culinary, the last year has seen the site shifting towards other topics dear to her heart — the arts, music and anything food related. A Travel section has been added to feature food adventures and getaways the Mad Hungry Woman takes out-of-state and overseas.”


Lucky Rice Market 2013

We were out on July 27, 2013 at the 2nd annual LA edition of the LuckyRice Festival and Night Market featuring our own Jet Tila and host Sang Yoon of Lukshon, but also past guests like the team from Seoul Sausage Company and some of the best Asian inspired food and cocktails we’ve had all year! Some of the restaurants we tried include Spice Table, Night+Market, Starry Kitchen, BEP Vietnamese Kitchen, B Sweet Catering, Phorage, RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen, Komodo, Zengo, Ayara Thai Kitchen and a lot more. Not to mention the Katsuya VIP Dragon Lounge. Missed it? Check out our photo gallery to see all the fun we had. Balloon Animals? Oh, yes. That was a blast.