Show 416, March 13, 2021: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Chef Andrew Gruel savoring a New Jersey style Pizza

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Chef Andrew is regularly updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants which is a genuine concern. Restaurants in Southern California are finally again allowed to operate for outside/patio dining at reduced capacities with all the requisite COVID 19 safety precautions. Some form of inside dining at a greatly reduced capacity (perhaps at 25 percent) is on the immediate horizon for “Southern California. We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

Sunday (March 14th) is National Pi Day so we’ll get Chef Andrew’s informed thoughts on pizza which is an area of expertise for him. As Chef Andrew artfully stretches the dough we’ll find out how Jersey-style pizza differs from New York pizza. Think pH of the water used in the dough as well as using uncooked tomato sauce.

Chef Andrew also updates us on the inspiring progress for the grass-roots, 86 Restaurant Struggle campaign to benefit out-of-work and struggling restaurant workers. Chef Andrew and his wife, Lauren, have already distributed over $380,000 in small grants to deserving restaurant workers in serious need. All applications are carefully vetted by the Gruels. The substantial need, and fundraising, continues…

Guests can also contribute to the cause via the juicy, premium Community Burger (made with fresh ground beef generously donated by West Coast Prime Meats) available at all Slapfish locations in Southern California. The mouthwatering burger is gratis with a contribution to 86 Restaurant Struggle and, unusually, 100 percent of that donation goes to worthy restaurant workers in need.

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Show 409, January 23, 2021: Restaurateur & Chef Sandra Cordero, Gasolina Café in Woodland Hills

Sandra Cordero“Women restaurateurs from across Los Angeles have created a new charitable organization called RE:Her. Its debut initiative, a food festival called 10 Days RE:Her, will feature 10 days of unique collaborations, thematic menus, and one-on-one conversations between female industry leaders. 10 Days RE:Her kicks off on January 21, the anniversary of the groundbreaking Women’s March of 2017, and runs through January 30. Over 100 restaurants and collaborators are involved. Observing local dining restrictions, aspects of the festival will take place virtually and remotely.”

Chef Sandra Cordero of Gasolina Café in Woodland Hills is one of the organizers of the Festival as well as serves on the active RE:Her board. Sandra takes a break from her busy kitchen to preview the variety of “10 Days RE:Her” events that she is part of.

A highlight is “The Girls Got Taste,” a 3-course menu available to go (in Santa Monica and Woodland Hills) created by Socalo, Gasolina Café and Valerie Confections. Chef Sandra provides a Salad of Mussels in Escabeche with blood orange, fennel, celeriac, bocarones and olives.

Chef Sandra is hosting a 3-course, wine-paired menu (to-go) with Chef Sherry Yard and Sommelier Coly Den Haan on Friday, January 29th and Saturday, January 30th entitled “The Farm, The Fin & The Grape.” Paella de Mariscos and Paella de Inverno are on the menu.

Chef Sandra also has developed a Spanish-themed, bake-at-home pizza kit as part of Around The World with Superfine Pizza.” The 12-inch pizza creation is LA-ES-PAN-OLA by GASOLINA Café with chorizo soria, manchego cheese, mushroom crema, cherry tomato, caramelized onion and topped with a sunny side up egg. Additionally the ES-CA-ROLE by Superfine Pizza is on the menu at Gasolina Café. The acclaimed Superfine Pizza dough is the base or both items. Both are available by pre-order from January 21st to 30th.

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Show 401, November 28, 2020: Rob Croxall, Brewmaster & Proprietor, El Segundo Brewing Co., El Segundo

Rob Croxall of El Segundo Brewing CompanyEl Segundo Brewing Company’s The Slice & Pint is the restaurant spinoff of the successful El Segundo Brewing Company, one of the first craft brewers in the South Bay. Earlier in the year before the initial “Stay at Home” they celebrated their Year Anniversary.

Under the new L.A. County guidelines they are closed (again) for dine-in but are open with vigorous sanitary protections for takeout and packaged beer sales seven days a week. On the menu are a variety of original pizzas created from a dough that ferments and proofs for multiple days, and salads and sandwiches. Also on the menu are Family Meals.

The Taproom at the Brewery is closed (under current regulations) but the ESBC’s styles are available To-Go for pick-up from 12 Noon to 8:00 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.

Proprietor Rob Croxall joins us to update beer to-go at the El Segundo Brewing Co. and food specials to-go at The Slice & Pint. He’ll also preview the pending release of On The Horizon (A West Coast IPA.)

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Show 400, November 21, 2020: Chef Mario Christerna, Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co. and The Paramount, Boyle Heights, Los Angeles Part One

Mario Christerna of Brooklyn Avenue Pizza Company“Next week a new edible attraction takes center stage at The Paramount (the legendary eastside Los Angeles cultural institution & history-making music venue) as Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co. opens its doors along Cesar E Chavez Avenue (historically known as Brooklyn Avenue in the early 1900s). Melding past, present, and future––both through the décor and menu––Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co. aims to be a neighborhood spot for locals serving pizza, wings, loaded fries, beer, wine, and cocktails at the casual and colorful all-day restaurant. The concept is the brainchild of Chef–Owner Mario Christerna, a proud Boyle Heights native, community leader, and former “MasterChef Latino” judge, alongside the team behind The Paramount.”

Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co. serves up to 30 seats al fresco, and 75 seats indoors (once again permitted) with all Covid 19 protocols in place including physically distanced tables, heightened sanitation protocols, single-use items, contactless ordering and payments, and an enforced mask policy.”

“It’s been my life’s journey to get to this moment of opening my very own restaurant in Boyle Heights –– the place that birthed and raised me,” says Christerna. “Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co.’s vision is to provide a slice of home for neighbors and visitors. The flavors, sounds, sights that guests will enjoy at the pizzeria are meant to stir up emotions of both happiness and nostalgia; from authentic Mexican inspirations to our favorite corner store snacks (Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, anyone?), all the ingredients speak to familiarity and character. During a time when we are experiencing so much distance, we hope people can come together here and continue to uplift each other –– as they always have in Boyle Heights.”

Chef Mario Christerna joins us pizza peel in hand.

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Show 400, November 21, 2020: Chef Mario Christerna, Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co. and The Paramount, Boyle Heights, Los Angeles Part Two

Mario Christerna of Brooklyn Avenue Pizza Company“Next week a new edible attraction takes center stage at The Paramount (the legendary eastside Los Angeles cultural institution & history-making music venue) as Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co. opens its doors along Cesar E Chavez Avenue (historically known as Brooklyn Avenue in the early 1900s). Melding past, present, and future––both through the décor and menu––Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co. aims to be a neighborhood spot for locals serving pizza, wings, loaded fries, beer, wine, and cocktails at the casual and colorful all-day restaurant. The concept is the brainchild of Chef–Owner Mario Christerna, a proud Boyle Heights native, community leader, and former “MasterChef Latino” judge, alongside the team behind The Paramount.”

“It’s been my life’s journey to get to this moment of opening my very own restaurant in Boyle Heights –– the place that birthed and raised me,” says Christerna. “Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co.’s vision is to provide a slice of home for neighbors and visitors. The flavors, sounds, sights that guests will enjoy at the pizzeria are meant to stir up emotions of both happiness and nostalgia; from authentic Mexican inspirations to our favorite corner store snacks (Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, anyone?), all the ingredients speak to familiarity and character. During a time when we are experiencing so much distance, we hope people can come together here and continue to uplift each other –– as they always have in Boyle Heights.”

“At Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co., Christerna, one of the city’s rising chefs, with recognition for the ‘Best Dish’ at L.A.’s Latin Food Fest and the #3 taco on Bill Esparza’s ‘Best L.A. Tacos’ list, is focusing on pizza & wings with his signature Boyle Heights twist. Inspired by his beloved Chicano heritage and love for melding cultures (Christerna opened and helmed the kitchen at The Briks in South Park, a concept that reflected his early culinary influences––from North African and Spanish to French and Mexican), the menu marries familiar and vibrant sabores (flavors), while remaining approachable for all to enjoy.”

Think the Mole Pizza with Queso Oaxaca, Curtido and Crema, and Flaming Hot Cheetos Wings with Nacho Cheese, Parmesan and Crema.

“Built within the space originally established as the Jewish Bakers Union of Los Angeles Local 453 Headquarters during the early twentieth century, the restaurant’s name (Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co.) is inspired by its location in Boyle Heights along Cesar E Chavez Avenue –formerly known as Brooklyn Avenue as a way to attract East Coasters moving out West. The Jewish Bakers Union was deeply ingrained in their community, helping to feed people in need through the early twentieth century and into the Great Depression. Christerna and his team of locals are inspired by this history and are dedicated to continuing the space’s legacy as a community meeting point and culinary oasis.”

Chef Mario Christerna continues with us pizza peel securely in hand.

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Show 390, September 12, 2020: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Chef Andrew Gruel savoring a New Jersey style PizzaOur own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Chef Andrew is regularly updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Dine-in is slowly, with multiple hiccups, starting to come back but with a lot of new rules that restrict guest counts. Alternately Take-Out / Delivery when you can surely helps…

What’s an appropriate topping for quality pizza that compliments the pie versus clashes with it? Chef Andrew opened the can on the subject of the Hawaiian Pizza (didn’t actually originate in Hawaii) and pineapple on it last week. We’ll continue that spirited conversation along with discussing what savory toppings really belong on a pizza from a culinary POV. You may be surprised…We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

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Show 389, September 5, 2020: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Chef Andrew Gruel savoring a New Jersey style PizzaOur own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Chef Andrew is regularly updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Dine-in is slowly, with multiple hiccups, starting to come back but with a lot of new rules that restrict guest counts. Alternately Take-Out / Delivery when you can surely helps…

There is a spirited debate out there among pizza purists and foodies about whether pineapple even belongs on a pizza. There are real world culinary aspects to this discussion, too. It’s in the food news this week (and all over Social Media) with Papa John’s Super Hawaiian Pizza debuting with the pineapple sourced from Dole Packaged Foods. Chef Andrew really knows pizza. We’ll, of course, “Ask the Chef.”

Chef Andrew also gives us the history of Hawaiian Pizza. Turns out it didn’t even originate in Hawaii !

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Show 385, August 8, 2020: Chef Michael Hung, DTLA Pizza, Los Angeles

Michael Hung of Faith and FlowerDTLA Pizza is a new Takeout and Delivery concept from Chef Michael Hung of Faith & Flower. The goal for Chef Michael’s new DTLA Pizza establishment is to serve meat lovers and vegans alike, quality and comfort food driven dishes prepared with house-made sourdough crusts, toppings such as Impossible beef, locally grown produce, along with Burgers that are made with American Kobe beef and burst with flavor.”

“Los Angeles meets the Oranges, as in the same area of northern New Jersey as the Sopranos, at DTLA Pizza. This area is also Chef Michael Hung’s inspiration as he drew from his New Jersey roots to create DTLA Pizza’s menu of true pizzeria classics. “As the world is today, I find myself craving comfort foods. The menu for DTLA Pizza reflects my time growing up in New Jersey eating at such institutions such as Star Tavern in Orange, NJ. These dishes and flavors remind me of home and the joyful times I spent with my friends and family as a kid.””

“DTLA Pizza features two different styles of Pizza – expertly crafted Neapolitan-Style Pies from the wood oven and Sicilian-Style Pan Pizzas with thick focaccia crusts. In addition to the classic 4-Cheese Pizza, DTLA Pizza offers two other Signature Pizzas: The Street Meat Magic Pizza loaded with pepperoni, mortadella, Italian sausage, and prosciutto, and It’s Literally Possible Pizza which is a fully plant-based pizza prepared with Impossible sausage, marinated peppers and onions, and vegan mozzarella. In addition to the Signature Pizzas, guests can also Build Your Own Pizza with a selection of over a dozen toppings, and all of the Pizzas at DTLA Pizza can be made either Neapolitan Style or Sicilian Style.”

DTLA Pizza is open for TakeoutDelivery, and Curbside Pickup (only) every Wednesday through Sunday from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm. To order, please call 213.465.9400 and guests can Curbside pickup at 709 West 9th Street in South Park district of downtown Los Angeles by calling DTLA Pizza upon arrival, or choose Delivery through CaviarDoorDashGrubhubTock, or UberEats.

Chef Michael joins us to artfully toss and stretch the from-scratch dough.

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Show 385, August 8, 2020: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Chef Andrew Gruel savoring a New Jersey style Pizza“Our own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Chef Andrew is regularly updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Dine-in is slowly, with multiple hiccups, starting to come back but with a lot of new rules that restrict guest counts. Alternately Take-Out / Delivery when you can surely helps…

National Oyster Day was August 5th. We started the conversation last week about fully appreciating oysters. Chef Andrew is our resident authority on these bivalve mollusks enjoyed since ancient times. We’ll resume with tips about cooking with oysters. They are great cooked on the grill with no shucking involved. (They open on their own as cooked.) Oyster stew anyone? How about an oyster pizza? Why should clams get all the glory?

We’ll, of course “Ask the Chef.”

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Show 372, May 9, 2020: Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish with “Ask the Chef”

Chef Andrew Gruel savoring a New Jersey style PizzaOur own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries.

Pizza is always a popular snack and now that we’re cooking more at home it’s time to elevate your pizza game. Growing up in New Jersey Chef Andrew has a special affinity for the pie with all the variations. It all starts with the dough. We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

Simple Pizza Recipe

4 cups All Purpose Flour
2 ½ teaspoon instant yeast
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup warm water
¾ cup room temp water

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl

Mix yeast with the warm water. Allow to bloom for 1-2 minutes, then mix in remaining water.

Combine “yeast water” with the dry ingredients and mix with a whisk or wooden spoon until combined.

Knead the dough on a floured surface and then place into an olive oil lined bowl and allow to rise for 1 hour at room temp.

Once dough has risen, press it down to remove the air, then stretch it on a cutting board or counter lined with flour.

Toss or roll the dough out. Smother a baking pan with olive oil and place dough on the baking sheet. Top with desired ingredients and bake in a 450F oven until golden!

Slapfish is hosting Doctors, Nurses, Medical Personnel, Police, Firefighters & EMT’s to a complimentary meal To-Go. Need to be in uniform or have appropriate ID to qualify. The participating Slapfish locations are Huntington Beach, Brea, Irvine and Laguna Beach.

Kids eat free at Slapfish, too, when their parents order Takeout.

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