Show 568, March 9, 2024: Chef Andrew Gruel, Co-Host and Proprietor of Calico Fish House, with “Ask the Chef”

Chef Andrew Gruel savoring a New Jersey style Pizza

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of the fast-casual Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative Ask the Chef segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries.

Surge or Demand pricing is already out there with air fares, hotel rates, and event ticket pricing. It’s now perhaps creeping into the restaurant sphere. Oops…Chef Andrew shares his always informed thoughts about what this might mean at fast food establishments.

Look for Chef Andrew’s new cooking video with Cathy Thomas on Orange Coast Magazine. He prepares One-Pan Seared Salmon with Sweet Potatoes (from Melissa’s), mushrooms, and garbanzo beans.

Check out Chef Andrew’s handy and practical cooking tips on Substack at “American Gravy.” There is an accessible free level as well as a premium option with a modest cost.

Show 567, March 2, 2024: Chef Andrew Gruel, Co-Host and Proprietor of Calico Fish House, with “Ask the Chef”

Chef Andrew Gruel of Big Parm and the Calico Fish House

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of the fast-casual Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative Ask the Chef segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries.

It’s not all potent libations for the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day coming up on Sunday, March 17th. Chef Andrew has some suggestions on worthy and satisfying nibbles to take you well beyond green beer. Think Irish Soda Bread (corned beef sandwich) and Dutch Yellow Potatoes with bacon.

Look for Chef Andrew’s new cooking video with Cathy Thomas on Orange Coast Magazine. He prepares One-Pan Seared Salmon with Sweet Potatoes (from Melissa’s), mushrooms, and garbanzo beans.

Check out Chef Andrew’s handy and practical cooking tips on Substack at “American Gravy.” There is an accessible free level as well as a premium option with a modest cost.

Show 565, February 17, 2024: Chef Andrew Gruel, Co-Host and Proprietor of Calico Fish House, with “Ask the Chef”

Chef Andrew Gruel of Big Parm and the Calico Fish House

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of the fast-casual Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative Ask the Chef segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries.

In case you missed the ongoing festivities It’s “National Potato Lovers” Month! Chef Andrew shares his quick and simple classic recipe for “Instant” Golden Potatoes using Melissa’s Dutch Yellow Potatoes grown in Idaho.

Look for Chef Andrew’s new cooking video with Cathy Thomas on Orange Coast Magazine. He prepares One-Pan Seared Salmon with Sweet Potatoes (from Melissa’s), mushrooms, and garbanzo beans.

Check out Chef Andrew’s handy and practical cooking tips on Substack at “American Gravy.” There is an accessible free level as well as a premium option with a modest cost.

Show 562, January 27, 2024: Chef Andrew Gruel, Co-Host and Proprietor of Calico Fish House, with “Ask the Chef”

Chef Andrew Gruel of Big Parm and the Calico Fish House

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of the fast-casual Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative Ask the Chef segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries.

What’s the best cooking oil to use in various applications? Can you cook with Extra Virgin Olive Oil? Chef Andrew provides a measure of helpful guidance. We’ve been asked to talk about the specific impact of the increase in minimum wage in California on restaurants and its effect on staffing levels. Hidden costs there, too…Chef Andrew weighs in on this.

Look for Chef Andrew’s new cooking video with Cathy Thomas on Orange Coast Magazine. He prepares One-Pan Seared Salmon with Sweet Potatoes (from Melissa’s), mushrooms, and garbanzo beans.

Check out Chef Andrew’s handy and practical cooking tips on Substack at “American Gravy.” There is an accessible free level as well as a premium option with a modest cost.

Show 560, January 13, 2024: Chef Andrew Gruel, Co-Host and Proprietor of Calico Fish House, with “Ask the Chef”

Andy Harris and Andrew Gruel at Cabana 14 at the Cove at Pechanga Resort and Casino

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of the fast-casual Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative Ask the Chef segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries.

We’re continuing the spirited conversation about mandatory Service Charges of 18 to 20 per cent now being added onto restaurant checks (this is not a Tip) along with a possible 3 to 5 per cent contribution to employee health care. Adding a “Tip” above and beyond this is typically not discouraged. To make matters worse the “Service Charge” is taxable (and also subject to payroll tax.) Chef Andrew will weigh in on this highly controversial and befuddling development.

Look for Chef Andrew’s new cooking video with Cathy Thomas on Orange Coast Magazine. He prepares One-Pan Seared Salmon with Sweet Potatoes (from Melissa’s), mushrooms, and garbanzo beans.

Check out Chef Andrew’s handy and practical cooking tips on Substack at “American Gravy.” There is an accessible free level as well as a premium option with a modest cost.

Show 324, May 18, 2019: Orange Coast Magazine’s Dining Critic Gretchen Kurz on 2019’s Best New Restaurants Issue

Orange Coast Best RestaurantsThe April issue of Orange Coast Magazine is Orange County’s Best New Restaurants of 2019. Restaurant of the Year is Chef Zachary Geerson’s Journeyman’s Food & Drink in Fullerton.

‘Eat, write, repeat’ summarizes the notable career of Gretchen Kurz, who is Contributing Editor at Orange Coast Magazine and its Dining Critic since 2004. She was also the Zagat Local Editor for Orange County for 13 years. A native of southern California, she first fell under the spell of restaurant writing as a journalism student and freelancer for San Jose Magazine. Her very first writing gig: sewing names on mouse ear hats at Disneyland.

Orange Coast’s long-time Restaurant Critic and Contributing Editor, Gretchen Kurz, is our appropriately opinionated guide.

Show 259, February 3, 2018: Show Preview with Co-Hosts Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel

Thanks to Orange Coast Magazine’s Food and Drink Booze Blog O.C.” for the wonderful piece on the informative wine coverage presented on “The SoCal Restaurant Show.” We invite you to read the posting entitled, “Wine’s Rise in the Orange County Dining Scene” by Valory Reed. We greatly appreciate the kind words. We’re blushing…

Now a captivating preview of this Saturday’s delectable show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case, upon careful reflection, that’s probably a pretty good thing… Keep in mind we’re always here with you live every Saturday with a fresh show.

Eclipsing painters and musicians, chefs have emerged as the world’s leading creative professionals—so there’s no better place to turn for insight into the “Big Game Sunday” creative process than the pages of the new book by two-time James Beard Award winners author Karen Page and photographer Andrew Dornenburg, creators of the beloved 400,000-copy bestseller The Flavor Biblenamed one of the ten best cookbooks of the past century by Forbes. Karen is our encore guest.

Our resident produce guru, Robert Schueller of Melissa’s World Variety Produce, is back with us to complete his 2018 “Trends in Produce” insights. This time his observant eye is on specialty vegetables. He’s profiling his Top Ten (based on sales) including everything from organic ginger to watermelon radishes.

Executive Chef Dustin Trani of the iconic J. Trani’s restaurant in San Pedro (established in 1925) represents the 4th generation of Italian cuisine in the Trani Family. He’s a big fan of pristine seafood from Alaska. Chef Justin is featured in a new video from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute educating C-CAP students (Careers through Culinary Arts Program) on how to prepare flash frozen, fresh, sustainable Alaska seafood. We’re chilling with Chef Dustin.

Chefs and food stylists Denise Vivaldo and Cindie Flannigan have recently published the 2nd edition of their ground-breaking book The Food Stylist’s Handbook, originally published in 2010. There have been great changes in the industry since the first edition, including the explosion in popularity of food blogging and social media, food videos, and recipe creators working as their own photographers. We’re styling with Chef Denise.

Our always informed Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, encores with his “Ask the Chef” series. Don’t be scared about the possibilities of cooking a whole fish. It’s all about the flavor. Chef Andrew shares the secrets of creating the magic.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s show!

Show 244, October 14, 2017: Food Journalist & Author Cathy Thomas

Andy Harris, Andrew Gruel and Cathy Thomas at the SoCal Restaurant Show 5th AnniversaryFood Journalist Cathy Thomas has been the highly-regarded food columnist for the Orange County Register for over 26 years. Most of that time was as the greatly-admired  Food Editor. In addition to that she is the online columnist for Orange Coast Magazine where you can view many of her entertaining and informative cooking videos featuring area and celebrity chefs.

“My first book was published in 2006, “Melissa’s Great Book of Produce” (Wiley, $29.95, 2006 written for Melissa’s World Variety Produce, the LA-Based company that is the nation’s largest distributor of specialty and organic produce). My second book is “Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce” (Wiley, $29.95). The book has received fantastic reviews. Emeril plugged the book on Good Morning America, naming it as one of the top ten cookbooks for the season. My third book, “50 Best Plants on the Planet (Chronicle, $29.95) explores the fifty most nutrient dense fruits and vegetables that grow on earth. The recipes are easy and delicious.”

Represented on the buffet today in the Melissa’s Test Kitchen is Cathy’s recipe for Hearts of Romaine Salad with Beets, Apples and Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing. It features Melissa’s Steamed Beets and Green Dragon Apples. The recipe is from Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce.

“Because I’ve studied with chefs across America, Europe and Asia, I have a passion for ethnic cuisines. I love to embrace new flavors, new aromas and new techniques. When it comes to cooking and eating, there is always something new to experience.”

We’ll pull Cathy away from the cutting board for a chat.

Show 218, April 8, 2017: Gretchen Kurz, Dining Writer, Critic, Orange Coast Magazine

Orange Coast Best Restaurants 2017Ever wonder how Orange Coast magazine’s annual April Restaurant issue comes together? Orange Coast’s long-time Dining Critic Gretchen Kurz shares an exclusive behind-the-scenes peek into this year’s 30-plus favorite restaurants and the bizarrely inexplicable “Orange Coast Curse.” Do restaurant critics have “Pet Peeves?” You bet, and we’ll discover some of Gretchen’s most bothersome…

“Where should we eat? Some foodies never ask this, as they always have a hot place in mind. Other friends are open to anything, any time. When I have to decide where to go, it’s usually about the atmosphere as much as the food. A rainy day lunch with girlfriends calls for a different venue than a special-occasion date night. And what better way to please out‑of‑town guests than Sunday brunch on a waterfront patio?”

“Whatever your appetite, we’re sure to have something that suits you in our Best Restaurants feature (Page 116) as we’ve tripled the size of our list this year and broken it into categories. So you won’t just find the best new restaurants, but also the classics, most-improved spots, and delightful one-of-a-kind places, among other groupings. This issue is a fascinating chance to get into the head of our dining critic, Gretchen Kurz. She comes in for a planning meeting, we talk trends, what she likes (and doesn’t), and we leave those meetings excited and hungry—no more food meetings before lunch! One pattern we’re noticing is fewer lunch options. About half of the 30-plus restaurants we feature in this issue don’t offer weekday lunch and have added weekend brunch instead. Other places have decided to focus only on daytime dining. The scene in Orange County is shifting, and sometimes it moves fast—we had to swap or remove at least three dining listings in our last issue just before we went to print. Keeping up is a challenge we relish, most of the time. Be sure to check out Gretchen’s essay about the downsides of her job (Page 125). It will make you grateful to be able to choose where you eat after she does the preliminary work.”

Alan Gibbons, Editor-In-Chief, Orange Coast

Show 218, April 8, 2017: Gretchen Kurz, Dining Writer, Critic, Orange Coast Magazine Continues…

Orange Coast Best Restaurants 2017Ever wonder how Orange Coast magazine’s annual April Restaurant issue comes together? Orange Coast’s long-time Dining Critic Gretchen Kurz shares an exclusive behind-the-scenes peek into this year’s 30-plus favorite restaurants and the bizarrely inexplicable “Orange Coast Curse.” Do restaurant critics have “Pet Peeves?” You bet, and we’ll discover some of Gretchen’s most bothersome…

Best Restaurants is the April 2017 issue of Orange Coast – The Magazine of Orange County. “For the first time, we (Orange Coast) give you an expanded list of O.C.’s standout restaurants—everything from new to classic, cozy favorites to attention-getters.”