Show 433, July 10, 2021: Restaurateur Mike Smith, Chicken Ranch, Palm Springs

Mike Smith of Chicken Ranch

For proprietor Mike Smith at Palm Springs’ Chicken Ranch (a locals’ favorite) preparing good food is simple. “It starts with great ingredients sourced from local farms who apply sustainable, eco-friendly standards to their craft. Chicken Ranch’s rotisserie chicken, crisp, delicious salads and savory, succulent sides are prepared carefully and artistically, with respect to seasonal ingredients, flavors and seasonings. Chicken Ranch is committed to keeping it fresh; bringing farm-fresh produce and free-range poultry from local farms to every guest’s plate.”

Chicken Ranch offers full-service with shaded patio seating with misters. Also a full bar with beer, wine, cocktails and spirits. It’s dog friendly.

The ruler of Chicken Ranch’s roost, Mike Smith, joins us.

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Show 425, May 15, 2021: Restaurateur Jerry Keller, Lulu California Bistro, Palm Springs Part One

Jerry Keller of Lulu California Bistro

Lulu California Bistro (founded in 2011) offers daily dining in the heavily foot-trafficed downtown Palm Springs area (on S. Palm Canyon Dr.) with a savory all day “favorites” menu, 3-course feast, Weekend Brunch and expanded patio seating.”

“There’s always a party at Lulu, and the party has returned with the official re-opening of restaurants in Palm Springs. Lulu offering daily dining from a delicious all day “favorites” menu on its expanded patio, in the bar area and in main dining rooms with socially-distanced tables.”

“Lulu California Bistro combines talent, expertise and a passion for great food to produce a captivating California Bistro dining experience. The menu options are many, varied and value-priced, and the quality is always high. The generous portions are prepared with the freshest ingredients available and a dash of innovation from their award-winning chefs.

“Lulu California Bistro first opened its doors on August 22, 2011 and has served their delicious California cuisine to over two and one-half million guests since the opening. Owner Jerry Keller (in concert with his wife, Barbara) have made very careful choices in creating “Palm Springs hippest restaurant”. From the design of the decor to the meticulous choice of incredible dishes on the menu, everything is designed to give Lulu’s guests the experience of gracious dining in the “hot spot” in the Coachella Valley.”

Proprietor/Founder Jerry Keller joins us with the details of what’s on the ample Lulu menu.

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Show 425, May 15, 2021: Restaurateur Jerry Keller, Lulu California Bistro, Palm Springs Part Two

Jerry Keller of Lulu California Bistro

Lulu California Bistro (founded in 2011) offers daily dining in the heavily foot-trafficed downtown Palm Springs area (on S. Palm Canyon Dr.) with a savory all day “favorites” menu, 3-course feast, Weekend Brunch and expanded patio seating.”

“There’s always a party at Lulu, and the party has returned with the official re-opening of restaurants in Palm Springs. Lulu offering daily dining from a delicious all day “favorites” menu on its expanded patio, in the bar area and in main dining rooms with socially-distanced tables.”

“Lulu California Bistro combines talent, expertise and a passion for great food to produce a captivating California Bistro dining experience. The menu options are many, varied and value-priced, and the quality is always high. The generous portions are prepared with the freshest ingredients available and a dash of innovation from their award-winning chefs.

“Lulu California Bistro first opened its doors on August 22, 2011 and has served their delicious California cuisine to over two and one-half million guests since the opening. Owner Jerry Keller (in concert with his wife, Barbara) have made very careful choices in creating “Palm Springs hippest restaurant”. From the design of the decor to the meticulous choice of incredible dishes on the menu, everything is designed to give Lulu’s guests the experience of gracious dining in the “hot spot” in the Coachella Valley.”

Proprietor Jerry Keller continues with us providing the details of what’s on the ample Lulu menu. It’s hard for Jerry to single out favorites on the expansive menu but he does particularly appreciate the slow-roasted Prime Rib (available as a “Weekend Special.”)

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Show 417, March 20, 2021: Food & Travel Journalist Barbara Fairchild (former Editor-in-Chief of Bon Appetit Magazine)

Journalist Barbara Fairchild

Barbara Fairchild, a past inductee in the James Beard Foundation’s “Who’s Who in American Food & Beverage,” is the former, long-time Editor-in-Chief of Bon Appetit Magazine. She currently serves at the Chair of the L.A. Council for C-CAP (Careers through Culinary Arts Program) and also is a member of the National Board of Directors for C-CAP.

In normal times Barbara dines out frequently at a wide variety of restaurants. For the past pandemic year Barbara has stayed safely at home with restaurant dining on the far back burner. Barbara recently broke the fast with a celebratory birthday meal on the original patio of Spago Beverly Hills (with proper social distancing of the tables.) Barbara shares the memorable experience with us.

She also provides us with an overview of C-CAP and the upcoming virtual culinary fundraising event (“A Taste of C-CAP – 2021 Virtual Annual Gala) they are presenting nationally on Thursday evening, April 29th with culinary celebrity Carla Hall as the honoree (and hosted by Marcus Samuelsson) and showcasing nationwide Celebrity Chefs. Giving options include a meal (delivered by Goldbelly) prepared by Chef Marcus Samuelsson or Chef Carla Hall to be finished in the home kitchen.

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Show 414, February 27, 2021: Loquita Santa Barbara with General Manager Stephanie Perkins

Stephanie Perkins of Loquita

Loquita in Santa Barbara showcases authentic Spanish food including hot and cold tapas, wood-fired grilled seafood and meats, and seasonal paella. The Mediterranean climate and terroir of Santa Barbara County mirror that of Spain, making the translation of locally sourced produce, meats and seafood an ideal match. The wine list is comprised almost entirely of Spanish wines with exceptional local wines that pair well with the cuisine. Loquita’s cocktail list showcases Spanish vermouths, farmers’ market Sangria, hand-crafted cocktails and a rotating selection of Spain’s king of cocktails, the Gin Tonic.” 

A favorite Tapa is the Almejas. It’s little neck clams with cantimpalo chorizo, salsa verde, can sumoi with grilled ciabatta.

Loquita has reopened for socially distanced patio and outdoor dining nightly at 5:00 p.m. and for takeaway. 

General Manager Stephanie Perkins is our amiable guide.

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Show 413, February 20, 2021: Restaurateur Bjoern Risse, Rasselbock Kitchen & Beer Garden, Long Beach & Mar Vista

Bjoern Risse of Rasslebock Kitchen and Beer Garden

Rasselbock Kitchen and Beer Garden with locations in Long Beach (2018) and the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles is a German restaurant and pub specializing in contemporary German fare with a modern twist. They also specialize in freshly tapped German and Belgian beers. Rasselbock features 35 German and Belgian beers, homemade sangrias and a selection of German and California wines.

The Rasselbock menu includes multiple versions of schnitzel, sausages, Bavarian pretzels and their signature apple strudel for dessert. The offerings also include multiple vegetarian and vegan options plus kid-friendly dishes.

Both Rasselbocks have reopened for outside, patio dining nightly with proper distancing between tables. On weekends the restaurants open at 12 Noon. Takeout is available, too.

Is Rasselbock on the menu? Proprietor Bjoern Risse joins us with the explanation.

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Show 391, September 19, 2020: Armen Karamardian, Zov’s Bistro, Tustin (and Irvine & Newport Coast)

Armen Karamardian of ZovsFounded in 1987 by Chef Zov Karamardian, legendary Zov’s Bistro and Bakery in Tustin, CA has become a culinary institution. Serving her unique cuisine that blends contemporary with Eastern Mediterranean influences, in an upscale chic environment. There are now also Zov’s restaurants in Newport Coast, Irvine and Anaheim (temporarily on hiatus.) The Tustin, Irvine and Newport Coast locations are currently serving Family Meals and Takeout Menu items curbside. Also serving guests again for dine-in at 25 per cent capacity.

Tailgating in Tustin (in the parking lot) with live music on the Café patio returns for Happy Hour and Dinner (twice a month) on Saturday, September 19th. Guests can also dine under the stars on the Café patio. Guests can order ahead from Zov’s take-out menu along with the wine and cocktail list. Because of space limitations and safety requirements reservations are required.

New from Zov’s Catering are value-priced, individual meals that are table-ready. Sealed utensils are included.

“Family support has constantly been Zov’s foundation and inspiration throughout her culinary career. Zov, in addition to her husband, Gary, her son Armen, and her daughter Taleene, have created a rare family business recipe that has taken comforting creations of the family kitchen blended with Chef Zov’s culinary artistry.”

2nd generation Karamardian Family member, Armen, joins us with the updates and looks to the future.

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Show 383, July 25, 2020: Executive Chef & Partner, Mark McDonald, Old Vine Kitchen & Bar, Costa Mesa

Mark McDonald of Old Vine Kitchen and Bar“The award-winning Old Vine Kitchen & Bar in Costa Mesa at THE CAMP has returned to the Orange County culinary scene by reopening on-premise dining with an emphasis on staff and guest safety and an expansion of its intimate dining experience. In addition to Old Vine’s popular backyard patio, guests can now spend evenings enjoying two newly-acquired outdoor dining spaces: The Roof and The Stairway Patio.”

“We’re excited to extend our signature Old Vine experience to two new beautiful outdoor spaces, The Roof and The Stairway Patio, which give our restaurant the space needed for social distancing and ensuring our guests’ safety,” said Old Vine Kitchen & Bar’s proprietor and Chef Mark McDonald. “We are proud to welcome our customers back, knowing that our restaurant has fully implemented all city, county, and state safety protocols, and trained our excellent staff accordingly. Guest and staff well-being is always our first priority.”

“Returning diners will be delighted to find brand new bar and dinner menus from Chef McDonald, who has helmed Old Vine’s kitchen for more than 13 years. From revamped old favorites, such as Old Vine’s Caprese of Burrata, to soon-to-be classics, such as a new, four course cocktail pairing tasting menu, guests are sure to savor his fresh takes on Old Vine’s signature regional cuisine, always crafted with top quality food products and now a totally scratch kitchen.”

“Our whole team took advantage of this quieter time, and we all found new inspiration, whether in the kitchen, with the wine list, or behind the bar,” co-owner Kate Perry said. “The result is updated bar and dinner menus, a range of new vegan and vegetarian options, and as always, a commitment to serving and building our Old Vine family.”

Chef Mark McDonald joins us.

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Show 380, July 4, 2020: Celebrity Chef Susan Feniger, Socalo Santa Monica and Border Grill DTLA & Las Vegas Part One

Susan Feniger wearing a mask at Socalo in Santa MonicaCelebrity chef and restaurateur Susan Feniger is best known for creating Border Grill (Los Angeles & Las Vegas) with her business partner Mary Sue Milliken. She was also one of the first stars on Food Network. The partners have made their return to Santa Monica with the launch of Socalo in the Gateway Hotel which has just reopened for expanded patio dining for lunch, dinner & Happy Hour on Tuesday through Saturday.

Curbside pickup is available, too. A range of Family Meals are available by Tock. Also Margarita Kits, Wines by the Bottle, and Craft Beers.

Complimentary on-site parking is available.

We corral Chef Susan for a chat on what’s currently available at Socalo Santa Monica.

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