Show 284, August 4, 2018: Pamela Waitt, Founder and Producer, 7th Annual Golden Foodie Awards

Golden Foodie AwardsVoting for the 7th Annual Golden Foodie Awards representing the best in dining in Orange County commences on August 3rd and runs in two waves of voting. The 2nd voting period extends from August 10th through 17th. It’s the people’s choice awards as Orange County foodies make the decisions.

“The Golden Foodie Awards has evolved into a celebration of Orange County’s rich culinary scene,” said Pamela Waitt, creator and producer of the Golden Foodie Awards, and president of the OC Restaurant Association. “Now in its 7th year, the Golden Foodie Awards have grown exponentially in reach and media attention. To enable us to continue to grow as an event, we have brought on the accounting firm of Moss Adams to audit votes and continue to attract sponsors who share a vision of highlighting those stand-out chefs and restaurants in Orange County.”

The Golden Foodie Awards is a people’s choice event that recognizes the best chefs, libations and cuisine at chef-driven and independent restaurants. With its focus on involving the Orange County community to serve as judges through their voting, the Golden Foodie Awards serve as a high honor and is an indication of local culinary trends and consumer preferences.

Connoisseurs of cuisine and lovers of libations will have a chance each week to vote for their favorites among 15 categories. The voting for August 3rd to 9thth includes Bartender of the Year, Best Cocktails in Orange County, Best Wine Program, Best Beer Program, Best Bar Program, Best New Restaurant and Best Lunch Spot in Orange County.

The 2nd voting period for August 10th through 17th includes Best Brunch in Orange County, Rising Star Chef of the Year, Favorite Food Influencer in Orange County, Outstanding Community Service, Restaurateur of the Year, Best Dessert Menu in Orange County, Best Entrée in Orange County and Best Service Award.

Pamela Waitt the Creator and Producer of the Golden Foodie Awards joins us with the details of how the voting works and what the categories are.



Show 204, December 31, 2016: Tristen Beamon, Proprietor, Wine Exchange & BW Direct, Santa Ana

Kyle Meyer and Tristen Beamon of Best Wines OnlineWe conclude the year with one of our resident wine experts, Tristen Beamon, of Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange. Wine Exchange is also in the import and distribution sector with BW Direct – Bordeaux and Beyond. They specialize in finding great values in Bordeaux wines from this legendary grape growing region in Southwestern France considered the pinnacle of global wine areas.

“Like Wine Exchange, BW Direct has the best prices, best selection, and best service. Our fantastic wines will wow your guests and increase your profits.”“Welcome to BW Direct, the wholesale arm of Wine Exchange.”

“Welcome to BW Direct, the wholesale arm of Wine Exchange.”

“We pride ourselves on the strong relationships Tristen, Kyle, Eddie and the entire team have formed over their collective 50+ years in the wine industry. These relationships have helped us secure some of the world’s best wines at the most competitive prices in the business. Our business model differs from other distributors:

  • We have a unique, and often exclusive, selection of wines at some of the lowest prices in the country.
  • We are proud to carry a wide selection of Chateau-direct Bordeaux inventory, as well as cutting edge selections from the Languedoc.
  • We don’t charge any broken case fees when orders are picked up from our Orange County showroom.
  • We encourage buyers to come shop our showroom, at their leisure, for a complete buying experience.
  • We have no “quota” obligations to our suppliers, allowing us to create a stress free and no pressure environment.
  • We love what we do and we’re here to help!”

Show 192, October 9, 2016: Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish Restaurant Group

Andrew Gruel and his son WilliamOur Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish Restaurant Group, is in the know. He shares a new list of personally researched and hand-selected “Finds” with us. This time it’s primo, family-friendly Orange County breakfast spots that are a bit hidden. These are typically clean, hole-in-the-wall spots with hearty fare priced at a value.

He suggests Bread Crumb Ohana Café (known for incredible Hawaiian-style French Toast) in Huntington Beach, Fiesta Grill (breakfast burritos) in Huntington Beach, XA Sweet & Savory Café (fresh & natural) in Huntington Beach, Country Family Café (Mom & Pop with American & Mexican breakfast specialties) in Anaheim and Westminster’s Ham ‘n Scram known for no frills and outrageous breakfast burritos.

Grab that 2nd cup of Joe and enjoy!


Show 183, August 6, 2016: Simon Majumdar, Voting for the Golden Foodie Awards

Simon MajumdarThe three waves of voting for The Golden Foodie Awards, the People’s Choice Food Awards in Orange County, is on now through August 21st. Voting for the 1st categories concludes on August 7th.

This first Week includes, Best American Cuisine, Best Mexican, Food, Best Vegetarian Food, Bartender of The Year, Best Pizza, Best Italian Food and Best French Cuisine.The Golden Foodie Award’s celebrates chef driven and/or independent restaurants and allows for food lovers to decide the winners. Voting takes place from August 1 – 21, with each week offering different categories. Nominees are announced at the end of each week. The Golden Foodie Awards are comprised of 24 categories.

The Golden Foodie Awards is a democracy and recognizes the best chefs, libations and cuisine. With its focus on involving the Orange County community to vote, the GFA’s serve as a great honor allowing the people to decide who is best. Winners will be announced on September 25th in Newport Beach at the red carpet gala event at the Fairmont Newport Beach.

Hosting the Awards is Food Network’s Simon Majumdar (permanent judge on “Cutthroat Kitchen.” with Alton Brown.) He’s our guest.


Show 159, February 13, 2016: Executive Chef Bill Bracken, Bracken’s Kitchen Continues…

Bill Bracken“In addition to expanding our team, we are building what we call our “Trio of Services”: our Food Truck Feeding Program (which we are currently executing), a Rescued Food Program and a Culinary Internship Program that will move us forward as an organization and business. With these two new platforms, we aim to affect change in a person’s life by offering job training and work opportunities in the culinary field which will be of huge support to our restaurant and hospitality partners.”

“2015 marked the end of our first year of feeding and we are incredibly grateful for not only all of the hard work, support and contributions that were made, but also for the learning lessons, challenges and obstacles that we had to overcome to achieve our goals.”

Some of our accomplishments:

  • Moved into our fully equipped prep kitchen to support our Food Truck Feeding Program
  • Over 5,000 hot and nutritious meals were served to those experiencing food insecurity in Orange County, CA in just nine months.
  • The average cost of our high quality, freshly prepared dinner is about $0.50 – almost matching average meal cost provided by food banks across America.
  • The Illumination Foundation and Bracken’s Kitchen secured Tuesday night feedings at the Ross Street House in Santa Ana, catering to children who attend their after school program and their families.
  • Served approximately 3000 meals to our homeless military veterans at Stand Down Orange County in October
  • Launched trial runs for our Chef’s To End Hunger rescued food program

Sign-up for the informative Bracken’s Kitchen’s Newsletter via the Website. It tells the story…


Show 155, January 16, 2016: Candy Krajangsri, Marketing Officer, Tourism Authority of Thailand

Candy Krajangsri from the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Andy HarrisYour travel dollars go far in Thailand and the gracious hospitality there always impresses. Candy Krajangsri, Marketing Officer, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Los Angeles Office, is our guest for a virtual visit to Thailand.

The TAT Los Angeles office is responsible for promoting travel from the United States and South America to Thailand through travel trade partnerships and consumer marketing.

Thailand’s tourism should generate 2.41 trillion Baht in revenue this year, revised upwards from an earlier projection of 2.3 trillion Baht. Of that total, 1.56 trillion Baht will come from international markets and 0.85 trillion Baht from domestic travel.

In 2015, Thailand tourism generated 2.23 trillion Baht of which 1.44 trillion Baht came from international markets and 0.79 trillion Baht from the domestic sector.

Candy also provides some helpful tips on her favorite Thai restaurants in both Los Angeles and Orange County. The better Thai restaurants are known for creating one or two memorable specialty dishes. If you’re in the know that’s what you order exclusively.



Show 150, December 12, 2015: Anita Lau, Mad Hungry Woman Blogger

Anita Lau of Mad Hungry WomanAnita Lau is better known to regular listeners of the “SoCal Restaurant Show” as the Mad Hungry Woman blogger. She was living in Hong Kong in the 90s before the turnover by the British to China. Anita was just back to Hong Kong for a 3-week visit. We’ll get a insider’s view of the dining scene there during the glory days of the British and now under Chinese authority.

Anita will fill us in on the impact of Michelin Stars in Hong Kong and also the best street food. Michelin in now even rating “Street Food” which seems a bit odd.

Anita notes that the big deal celebrity chefs are opening high-profile restaurants in Hong Kong. Gordon Ramsay is already there and Anita crossed paths with Chris Cosentino of “Top Chef Masters” fame there, too.

We’ll also get the morsel-by-morsel details of her favorite dining experience of the trip. It’s French and elegant…Go to her blog to read her full review of EPURE. Beautiful food photography of the meal, too.

Born in Hong Kong and now living in Orange County, California, Anita Lau is an international author and writer who has lived in Malaysia, Australia, Nebraska, Oregon, San Francisco and also, Hawaii. Her obsession with food began at an early age but it wasn’t until her early 20s when her experimentation with cooking led her to start a small catering business which she would run in her spare time while at college in Australia.



Show 135, August 22- 2015: Jeff Fliegler, Co-Founder, Grub Tribe

Jeff FlieglerGrubTribe is Southern California’s (mainly Orange County and Long Beach for now) new digital destination for behind –the-scenes gourmet video. They showcase local chefs and food providers, their businesses, their prep choices, their favorite ingredients, and more.

Short video interviews and preparation demonstrations feature local food businesses across Southern California while answering all kinds of questions formerly reserved for the chefs and food specialists working behind the scenes.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel has been video profiled on GrubTribe. He explains how the Dubai location came to be…

The Website also has a small virtual retail store with a growing inventory of carefully selected items of interest to foodies.

Co-founder, Jeff Fliegler, a working chef by background and training, is our guest.



Show 130, July 11, 2015: OC Fair’s 125th Anniversary

Orange County Fair 2015The OC Fair is hosting One Big Party from July 17th to August 16th in celebration of its 125th anniversary with culinary creations to suit all palates. Foodies can enjoy wild and new fare mixed in with the traditional fair food. Culinary enthusiasts can savor a variety of competitions and exhibits highlighting baking, preserving and cocktail-making.

125 Ways to Graze celebrates the OC Fair’s 125th anniversary with a variety of new options inspired by the number “125” including $1.25 combo add-ons or value-sized portions of menu items at reduced prices. Additionally, select vendors will offer a just-for-2015 luxury menu item for $125.00 including caviar-topped Deep Fried Twinkie and Chuckwagon BBQ Feast with enough barbecued fare to feed the whole family.

New Unique Food Items include Fireball Donut and Samosa Donut from Texas Donuts; Chocolate-Covered Pork Rinds and Wasabi Bacon Bombs from Bacon A-Fair; $125.00 Caviar Twinkie from Chicken Charlie’s; Cuban Fusion Burger from Grant’s Tasti Burgers; and Frosted Flake Chicken Fingers from Pickle O’Pete’s.

$2 Taste of Fair Food, held every Friday from Noon to 4:00 p.m., offers Fairgoers the chance to taste Fair food for $2.00 per item. Fun-sized samples include funnel cake, tri-tip, lemonade, cinnamon rolls, corn dogs, gelato, and more. (Fair admission required.)

The OC Fair’s Robin Wachner is here to provide the highlights.


Show 130, July 11, 2015: Dr. Bill Sysak, Beer Ambassador – Stone Brewing Co., Brew Hee Haw Craft Beer Roundup

Doctor Bill SysakBrew Ha Ha Productions, creator of award-winning craft beer festivals in Orange County, along with the OC Fair, are presenting the 2nd Annual Brew Hee Haw Craft Beer Roundup on July 18-19, opening weekend of the OC Fair. The Brew Hee Haw offers day and evening tasting sessions and includes free admission to the OC Fair, a commemorative festival glass and special presentations by “Dr.” Bill Sysak, Craft Beer Ambassador & Certified Cicerone, at the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in Escondido.

Additional new features at this 2nd Annual event are unlimited 2 oz. pours, more than 80 craft beer selections from some of the best breweries in the county, and no ticket fees when you buy the print at home tickets. Two VIP sessions are offered on Saturday, July 18th (12-4 p.m.) & (5-9 p.m.) and one on Sunday, July 19th (1-5 p.m.). Two GA sessions are offered on Saturday, July 18th (1-4 p.m.) & (6-9 p.m.) and one on Sunday, July 19th (2-5 p.m.), so check the OC Fair’s schedule for those days and plan to make a full day of it.

General Admission tickets are $50 and $60 the day of the event. VIP tickets are $65 and $75 the day of the event. A portion of the proceeds from Brew Hee Haw will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to For more information on the OC Fair, visit here.erage standard and ensuring the beverage philosophy is followed at all Stone Brewing Co. venues.