Show 232, July 15, 2017: Froze at SOL Mexican Cocina, Colin Pflugradt, Director of Beverage

Colin PflugradtFroze is all the rage this Summer on better bar menus all over town. SOL Mexican Cocina (Newport Beach & Playa Vista) along with sister restaurants solita Tacos & Margaritas was one of the area pioneers of popularizing this now trendy libation. Their version uses a frozen Margarita as a base which is then infused with frozen sparkling rose and a dash of guava nectar.

For SOL it all started as a creation to support Pink Drink Month benefiting City of Hope last year. The Froze creation proved so popular that it found its way on to the permanent bar menu.

We’ll get the full (and colorful) story from SOL Mexican Cocina’s Director of Beverage, Colin Pflugradt.


Show 197, November 12, 2016: Restaurateur, Chef and “Top Chef” Alum Brooke Williamson, Da Kikokiko, Hudson House, The Tripel and Playa Provisions

Brooke Williamson of Hudson House and TripelBravo’s “Top Chef” Season 10 alum, Brooke Williamson and her husband/co-chef Nick Roberts have just debuted their 4th restaurant in Playa Vista on the Runway. It’s the fast-casual, Hawaiian-themed, street-food oriented Da Kikokiko. It’s Family-friendly, too.

“When brainstorming ideas a few years ago for our next restaurant, we knew we wanted to open a Hawaiian spot, since we love Asian flavors and felt there was a need for good, authentic Hawaiian cuisine in Los Angeles that went beyond poké,” says Brooke and Nick. “It’s why Da Kikokiko also offers musubi and shave ice, since it gives guests variety and lets us have a bit more fun in the kitchen. There’s also a casualness, yet approachability to Hawaiian food, which we strive for at all of our restaurants, and the cuisine has loads of flavor but is still fresh.”

Created by Brooke and Nick, the menu lends itself to authentic island flavors with Asian influences, and makes for an ideal lunch, dinner, or beach trip snack. Celebrating one of Hawaii’s most popular street foods, Da Kikokiko offers musubi made traditionally with grilled SPAM on top of a block of rice, and wrapped with dried nori seaweed, plus innovative twists with contemporary protein and vegetable options like teriyaki chicken, yuzu kosho salmon, and sesame miso zucchini.

Customizable poké bowls are available with a variety of base mixes, proteins, sauces, and toppings to select from.

To cap off the Hawaiian experience, guests can enjoy refreshing shave ice with housemade organic syrups like hibiscus-currant, mango-jasmine, yuzu, matcha, Kona coffee, and pineapple, along with toppings such as li hing mui (salty dried plum) powder and condensed milk. Making it extra indulgent, guests can also add a scoop of housemade vanilla and coconut ice cream, or lilikoi sorbet, from Brooke and Nick’s artisanal ice cream shop Small Batch, located inside nearby Playa Provisions.

For “Top Chef” fans please know Chef Brooke returns as an encore “Cheftestant” for Season 14 starting in early December.

Chef Brooke joins us to share the aloha spirit.


Show 122, May 16, 2015: Executive Chef Deborah Schneider, SOL Mexican Cocina and solita Tacos & Margaritas

Deborah SchneiderExecutive Chef Deborah Schneider’s new cookbook is Salsas and Moles – Fresh and Authentic Recipes for Pico de Gallo, Mole Poblano, Chimichurri, Guacamole, and More. Dubbed “the reigning queen of San Diego chefs” by Bon Appetit, Chef Schneider brings three decades of professional cooking experience and deep knowledge of Mexican cuisine to Salsa and Moles.

“It can be argued that salsa has surpassed ketchup as America’s favorite condiment, and my latest book, Salsa and Moles, presents authentic salsa and mole recipes that showcase the unique flavors of Mexico and beyond,” says Chef Schneider, who is a James Beard Award-nominated cookbook author. “We make more than 20 salsas fresh daily in our kitchen.”

Chef Deborah is the executive chef/partner of SOL Cocina in Newport Beach and Scottsdale, Arizona (and soon to be in Playa Vista), and solita in Huntington Beach and Santa Clarita. Chef Deb is our guest talking about America’s new favorite condiment, salsa.


Show 72, May 17, 2014: Executive Chef Deborah Schneider, Partner, SOL Cocina, solita and cookbook author

Deborah SchneiderChef Deborah Schneider brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role as Executive Chef and Partner of Mexican restaurants SOL Cocina (Newport Beach & Scottsdale, AZ) and solita (Huntington Beach, CA) Schneider draws upon her rich culinary background and more than 25 years of professional cooking experience to bring the superb tastes and relaxing beach vibe of the Baja Peninsula.

Schneider’s passion for Baja was stoked by countless surf trips down the Peninsula. There, at small street stands and on pristine beaches, she discovered flavorful, healthy cuisine, rich with fresh seafood and inventive preparations that are at the heart of her restaurants.

Chef Deb has just released a second edition of her critically acclaimed first cookbook, Baja! Cooking on the Edge. It features a mixture of authentic recipes and Chef Deb’s own Baja-inspired dishes.

Baja! features more than 150 easy-to-follow recipes, peppered with fantastic stories and images that are as vibrant in color as the dishes are in flavor. Chef Deb explores these different cultural influences of Baja street food – everything from the classic Fish Tacos and Seafood Cocktels, to a wide range of inspired meat-based tacos – chicken, pork, chorizo – and fresh salsas. The uniquely Baja recipes featured includes delights like Clams in Tequila Butter, One-Pan Paella, Garlic Cilantro Steak and Chocolate-Jalapeno Truffles.

Chef Deb shares the two essential hints for preparing authentic Baja Fish Tacos.

Sol is soon coming to Playa Vista and solita will launch later this year in Santa Clarita.