Show 389, September 5, 2020: Chef / Proprietor Jason Quinn, Playground DTSA, Santa Ana

Jason QuinnFor the last nine years Playground DTLA has been the very personal expression of Proprietor and Chef Jason Quinn. Sadly COVID 19 has decimated their business. Chef Jason has announced that the entire Playground complex will conclude at the end of their lease on December 31st, 2021.

The better news is that for the next 16 months Chef Jason and team will continue to enthusiastically operate their nighttime Playground 1.9 dining experiences. These are ticketed, fine-dining evenings with patio, al fresco seating. The price is inclusive of food, beverage pairings, tax and gratuity. Perfect for a special celebratory evening. Typically hosted on Thursday, Friday & Saturday evenings.

Chef Jason’s favorite foods will continue to be showcased during the day (closed on Monday & Tuesday) at the fast-casual Dough Exchange located in Downtown Santa Ana, right next to Playground and Playground 1.9. The offerings at Dough Exchange are always evolving, but focuses around their freshly made bagels, rotisserie shawarma offerings, and super silky hummus with the freshest pita. “Dough Exchange truly embodies the spirit of Playground: a bunch of talented chefs and bakers making the things that they are excited about.” Also the home of Kakigori, an Instagramable fluffy shaved ice dessert from Japan. “Grab some delicious food and maybe a canned craft cocktail to enjoy on our patio.”

Playground’s Director of Libations, Jarred Dooley, is joining forces with Joe Valdovinos (both former OC Bartenders of the year) for an “Illegal Mezcal Virtual Cocktail Party on September 11th or 12th. On the menu are three original cocktails.

Chef Jason is our guest.

Play

September 5, Memphis City Tasting Tours, Jason Quinn, Post & Beam, Tanya Holland

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Memphis Food Entrepreneur Christina McCarter – City Tasting Tours & City Tasting Boxes Part One
Segment Three: Memphis Food Entrepreneur Christina McCarter – City Tasting Tours & City Tasting Boxes Part Two
Segment Four: Chef / Proprietor Jason Quinn, Playground DTSA, Santa Ana
Segment Five: Chef John & Roni Cleveland, Proprietors, Post & Beam, Los Angeles Part One
Segment Six: Chef John & Roni Cleveland, Proprietors, Post & Beam, Los Angeles Part Two
Segment Seven: Celebrity Chef Tanya Holland, Brown Sugar Kitchen, Oakland
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Resourceful food entrepreneur Christina McCarter operates City Tasting Tours and the newly launched City Tasting Boxes in Memphis, TN. In normal times City Tasting Tour shares the stories of the people, places and food that make Memphis such a wonderful place to visit and live with savvy locals and visitors. The Downtown walking tours sample locally made dishes and interact with chefs, restaurant owners and food artisans. Between bites, guests walk through a historic Memphis neighborhood filled with unexpected landmarks that even locals may overlook. Her latest venture is the launch of City Tasting Boxes which are a collection of the specialty food products of amazing local food artisans in Memphis. 3 options are available ranging from the “Official Memphis Travel Box” to the luxe “Ultimate Support Local Box.”

For the last nine years Playground DTLA in Santa Ana has been the very personal expression of Proprietor and Chef Jason Quinn. Sadly COVID 19 has decimated their business. For the last 6 months they have pulled out all the stops to serve their loyal guests within in the confines of needed public safety for customers as well as employees. It’s not a business model that is viable. Chef Jason has announced that the entire Playground complex will conclude at the end of their lease on December 31st, 2021. For the next 16 months Chef Jason and his team will continue to enthusiastically present the evening, ticketed, fine-dining dinner series, Playground 1.9, as well as operate the daytime, fast-casual Dough Exchange featuring bagels, rotisserie shawarma items, fresh pita, hummus and Kakigori. Chef Jason is our guest with all the specifics.

Establishing itself as a vital South L.A. cultural institution, Brad and Linda Johnson opened up the fine dining restaurant, Post & Beam in 2011 – its location adjacent to the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza Mall. Govind Armstrong served as head chef and partner, mentoring and eventually passing the culinary baton to John Cleveland. Last year, John & Roni Cleveland took over ownership of Post & Beam, keeping it a black-owned business. “With the changing of the guards, John will benefit from business consulting and access to senior leadership as well as mentorship in the kitchen from Govind, while Linda and I will focus on extending the brand through Post & Beam Hospitality LLC,” said Brad Johnson. Restaurateurs Chef John and Roni Cleveland join us.

Known for her inventive take on modern soul food, as well as comfort classics, Tanya Holland is the executive chef/owner of Oakland’s Brown Sugar Kitchen. She is also the author of the Brown Sugar Kitchen Cookbook and New Soul Cooking; was the host and soul food expert on the television series Melting Pot; and competed on the fifteenth season of Top Chef. Holland holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, and a Grande Diplôme from La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine. Her latest venture is the launch of Season 1 of Tanya’s Table, her debut podcast. We’ll meet the always on the go Chef Tanya Holland.

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… When the spread of COVID 19 has greatly slowed fine dining, as it can more fully resume, will be a bit of a different experience. What will fine dining possibly look like in the future ? We’ll, of course, “Ask the Chef.”

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness (with proper Social Distancing) on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Christina McCarter of Memphis City Tasting ToursResourceful food entrepreneur Christina McCarter operates City Tasting Tours and the newly launched City Tasting Boxes in Memphis, TN. In normal times City Tasting Tour shares the stories of the people, places and food that make Memphis such a wonderful place to visit and live with appreciative locals and visitors. The Downtown walking tours sample locally made dishes and interact with chefs, restaurant owners and food artisans. Between bites, guests walk through a historic Memphis neighborhood filled with unexpected landmarks that even locals may overlook.

Her latest venture is the launch of City Tasting Boxes which are a collection of the distinctive food products of amazing local food artisans in Memphis. 3 options are presently available ranging from the “Official Memphis Travel Box” to the luxe “Ultimate Support Local Box.”

Christina is also working to perfect her Virtual Memphis Tasting Tour which has already been beta tested.

Christina McCarter joins us.

Jason QuinnFor the last nine years Playground DTLA has been the very personal expression of Proprietor and Chef Jason Quinn. Sadly COVID 19 has decimated their business. Chef Jason has announced that the entire Playground complex will conclude at the end of their lease on December 31st, 2021.

The better news is that for the next 16 months Chef Jason and team will continue to enthusiastically operate their nighttime Playground 1.9 dining experiences. These are ticketed, fine-dining evenings with patio, al fresco seating. The price is inclusive of food, beverage pairings, tax and gratuity. Perfect for a special celebratory evening. Typically hosted on Thursday, Friday & Saturday evenings.

Chef Jason’s favorite foods will continue to be showcased during the day (closed on Monday & Tuesday) at the fast-casual Dough Exchange located in Downtown Santa Ana, right next to Playground and Playground 1.9. The offerings at Dough Exchange are always evolving, but focuses around their freshly made bagels, rotisserie shawarma offerings, and super silky hummus with the freshest pita. “Dough Exchange truly embodies the spirit of Playground: a bunch of talented chefs and bakers making the things that they are excited about.” Also the home of Kakigori, an Instagramable fluffy shaved ice dessert from Japan. “Grab some delicious food and maybe a canned craft cocktail to enjoy on our patio.”

Playground’s Director of Libations, Jarred Dooley, is joining forces with Joe Valdovinos (both former OC Bartenders of the year) for an “Illegal Mezcal Virtual Cocktail Party on September 11th or 12th. On the menu are three original cocktails.

Chef Jason is our guest.

John Cleveland of Post and BeamEstablishing itself as a South L.A. cultural institution, Brad and Linda Johnson opened up the fine dining restaurant, Post & Beam in 2011 — its location adjacent to the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza MallGovind Armstrong served as head chef and partner, mentoring and eventually passing the culinary baton to John Cleveland. Last year, John & Roni Cleveland took over ownership of Post & Beam, keeping it a black-owned business. “With the changing of the guards, John will benefit from business consulting and access to senior leadership as well as mentorship in the kitchen from Govind, while Linda and I will focus on extending the brand through Post & Beam Hospitality LLC,” said Brad Johnson.

This year the team behind Post & Bream received the Los Angeles Times Gold Award, named for the late Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold. “The Los Angeles Times Gold Award is given annually “with the idea of honoring culinary excellence and expanding the notion of what Southern California cooking might be. The award celebrates intelligence and innovation, brilliance and sensitivity to aesthetics, culture and the environment,” described Gold in 2017, prior to his death.”

“I consider myself a ‘working chef,’ and I love creating California comfort food. Comfort food is simple; yet it requires perfect execution, said John Cleveland. “The secret ingredients to good cooking are love and patience. You can taste it in every bite!”

Roni Cleveland of Post and Beam“Post & Beam focuses on “California comfort food.” The restaurant offers a variety of hand-stretched pizzas and traditional southern comfort food, using local ingredients. Born in Oakland, California and raised in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Cleveland draws his influences from southern soul food, Carolina BBQ, coastal seafood as well as Neapolitan cuisine, culminating into what he’s coined as “California comfort food.””

“Favorite menu items include the hand-stretched pizzas with such toppings as pepperoni, turkey meatballs, shrimp and wild mushrooms; smoked BBQ baby back ribs and red cabbage slaw; fried jerked catfish; buttermilk fried chicken; shrimp ‘n’ grits; slow-cooked collard greens with smoked turkey and classic pound cake – just to name a few. In addition, dishes are seasoned with fresh herbs and seasonal fruits, grown from Post & Beam’s garden, such as basil, rosemary, sorrel, and lemon verbena along with panache figs, cara cara oranges and Meyer lemons.””

Post & Beam is again open for limited dining on their garden patio and for To-Go and delivery.

Chef John and Roni Cleveland are our guests. They will chat about becoming the 2nd proprietors of the well-established Post & Beam and the responsibility to the community that entails.

Tanya Holland of Brown Sugar KitchenKnown for her inventive take on modern soul food, as well as comfort classics, Tanya Holland is the executive chef/owner of Oakland’s Brown Sugar Kitchen. She is also the author of the Brown Sugar Kitchen Cookbook and New Soul Cooking; was the host and soul food expert on the television series Melting Pot; and competed on the fifteenth season of Top Chef. Holland holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, and a Grande Diplôme from La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine.

Her latest venture is the launch of Season 1 of Tanya’s Table, her debut podcast. Tanya’s Table spotlights Holland and her guests discussing food, culture, and diverse foodways as podcast listeners peer through the window to experience their candid, and often hilarious, conversations. While food is the center of attention, Holland explores other lifestyle topics such as travel, social awareness, self-help and work / life balance, challenges and triumphs, discovering off-the-radar gems, sustainability, the role of mentors, and more. Every episode further delves into each guest’s individual identity through their sense of taste (with food, design, style, etc.) and discovering foods of their heritage.”

Tanya is also a trustee of the prestigious, Manhattan-based James Beard Foundation. She was recently appointed to the James Beard Awards Committee, the governing body of the James Beard Awards.

We’ll meet the always on the go Chef Tanya Holland.

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…

When the spread of COVID 19 has, at long last, greatly slowed, fine dining, as it can more fully resume, will be a bit of a different experience. What will fine dining possibly look like in the future? We’ll, of course, “Ask the Chef.”

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Memphis Food Entrepreneur Christina McCarter – City Tasting Tours & City Tasting Boxes Part One
Segment Three: Memphis Food Entrepreneur Christina McCarter – City Tasting Tours & City Tasting Boxes Part Two
Segment Four: Chef / Proprietor Jason Quinn, Playground DTSA, Santa Ana
Segment Five: Chef John & Roni Cleveland, Proprietors, Post & Beam, Los Angeles Part One
Segment Six: Chef John & Roni Cleveland, Proprietors, Post & Beam, Los Angeles Part Two
Segment Seven: Celebrity Chef Tanya Holland, Brown Sugar Kitchen, Oakland
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Show 144, October 31, 2015: Executive Chef Jeffrey Boullt, SOCIAL Costa Mesa

Jeffrrey BoulltSOCIAL Costa Mesa just celebrated their Year Anniversary and a lot of credit for their success can be attributed to their personable Executive Chef Jeffrey Boullt. He’s out there cooking memorable tastes at a lot of high profile special events.

At the recent inaugural OozeFest in Santa Ana his dish was an incredibly tasty Confit Duck Hot Pocket! Chef Jeffrey always shows his imagination with a side of fun.

SOCIAL is a new-American restaurant offering chef and ingredient-focused dinner, brunch, late night bites and craft cocktails.

For 2015 SOCIAL Costa Mesa is the recipient of The Golden Foodie Awards for Best New Restaurant and Best California Cuisine.

Chef Jeffrey has had quite a culinary career for someone who is all of 35. He’s a native of the OC. After working in New Orleans (Commander’s Palace) and throughout Southern California (Playground,) he is merging the two regional cuisine styles and bringing them to life through his playful and thoughtful menu at SOCIAL Costa Mesa.

On YouTube you can find Cathy Thomas’ (Cathy Thomas Cooks!) instructional video of Chef Jeffrey preparing Vibrant Roasted Vegetables with French Goat Cheese and Italian-style Salsa Verde.

We’ll meet Chef Jeffrey and perhaps pick up a few tips for success.

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Show 20, March 9, 2013: Jason Quinn, Executive Chef and Owner of Playground & Playground 2.0 in Santa Ana Part One

Jason Quinn of the Lime Truck and Playground DTSAChef Jason first came to national attention as the chef/partner of OC’s The Lime Truck, winner of Season 2 of Food Network’s “Great Food Truck Race.”

In November of 2011 he launched Playground in the redevelopment area of downtown Santa Ana. It’s a casual place with serious food and a great selection of craft beers on tap.

The menu changes daily based on what fresh ingredients Jason and his culinary team can source. The staff is young and highly enthusiastic about being a part of Playground.

It’s dinner only with brunch on Sunday. Closed on Monday.

Play

Show 20, March 9, 2013: Jason Quinn, Executive Chef and Owner of Playground & Playground 2.0 in Santa Ana Part Two

Playground DTSA in Santa AnaJason’s newest project is Playground 2.0 located on the walking street side of Playground. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights Jason is offering IO (invitation only.)

You need to be invited by a Playground server to be able to dine at the 17-seat IO.

It’s an incredible, multi-course extravaganza of rare and unusual ingredients. Jason, and his chefs cook everything right in front of you as well as provide entertaining commentary.

His sommelier Rhett Butler pairs every bite with a special libation. These intriguing pairings include spirits, beer, sake and wine.

Kevin Eats” is a well-known food blogger who Jet Tila respects for his honesty. He pays for every meal he writes about. Producer Andy dined at IO at Playground 2.0 on March 7th. “Kevin Eats” was also a guest that night.

His superb, course-by-course posting of the meal with photos is available here. By all means give it a read!

Play

March 9: Anne Burrell, Barbara Hansen, Jason Quinn

Podcasts

Segment One: Chef Anne Burrell, Star of Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America” and “Chef Wanted”
Segment Two: Barbara Hansen, veteran food & travel journalist Part One
Segment Three: Barbara Hansen, veteran food & travel journalist Part Two
Segment Four: Jet Tila
Segment Five: Jason Quinn, Executive Chef and Owner of Playground & Playground 2.0 in Santa Ana Part One
Segment Six: Jason Quinn, Executive Chef and Owner of Playground & Playground 2.0 in Santa Ana Part Two

This week it’s a showcase of extraordinary culinary talent. Food Network’s biggest female star is with us along with a preview of a just-published Korean Restaurant Guide for Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Then it’s on to a groundbreaking young Orange County chef who started as a partner on a winning food truck and now has two unconventional (and very much in-demand) restaurants.

Anne Burrell of Food NetworkIt’s hard to miss celebrity Chef Anne Burrell on Food Network these days which is currently airing two popular Anne Burrell shows. “Worst Cooks in America” is in it’s fourth season and “Chef Wanted” is in it’s second season. Anne was also Mario Batali’s ace sous chef during his long tenure on “Iron Chef America.”

 

 

Barbara Hansen of EatMX and LA Weekly Squid InkBarbara Hansen is a greatly respected, veteran food journalist on the Los Angeles scene. She is best known for her many years as a staff writer for The Los Angeles TimesFood Section. Now Barbara is a regular contributor to the “Squid Ink” food blog at the LA Weekly. She also writes and edits, “The Table Conversation” blog on food, wine, travel, and recipes as well as EatMx.com, a Mexican food blog.

Barbara just finished a fascinating project for the Korean Food Foundation. It’s the newly published Korean Restaurant Guide – Los Angeles which includes Orange County. To complete the book on a tight deadline Barbara dined in 40 area Korean restaurants with a Korean-American translator as her guide.

Jet was in Tampa, Florida during the last week and squeezed in a dine-around. He’ll share his take on the quintessential family-owned steakhouse there (55 years and still aging) and some local bakeries of distinction.

The chef/partner of then OC based The Lime Truck, winners of Season 3 of Food Network’s “Great Food Truck Race,” is the outgoing Jason Quinn.

Jason Quinn of the Lime Truck and Playground DTSAShortly after Season 3 concluded he opened the bricks-and-mortar Playground in November of 2011in the downtown Santa Ana redevelopment area. It’s a bit unconventional in concept and Chef Jason takes pride in doing things his way. It’s high energy all the time…

The menu changes daily and there is serious attention to pairing draft beer with the food. Produce is also used creatively on the menu.

Jason’s latest ambitious effort is the next door, IO, a culinary theater.

Podcasts

Segment One: Chef Anne Burrell, Star of Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America” and “Chef Wanted”
Segment Two: Barbara Hansen, veteran food & travel journalist Part One
Segment Three: Barbara Hansen, veteran food & travel journalist Part Two
Segment Four: Jet Tila
Segment Five: Jason Quinn, Executive Chef and Owner of Playground & Playground 2.0 in Santa Ana Part One
Segment Six: Jason Quinn, Executive Chef and Owner of Playground & Playground 2.0 in Santa Ana Part Two