Show 557, December 23, 2023: Chef Raphael Lunettea, Proprietor, Lunetta, Santa Monica

Raphael Lunetta of Lunetta All Day

Chef Raphael Lunetta is presenting an enchanting Christmas Eve Feast at Lunetta in Santa Monica served family-style. Every table is served all items on the menu including the range of sides. The repast begins with a Charcuterie and Fromage Board. The Starters include a Warm Wild Mushroom Salad and Shrimp Cocktail with marinated cucumbers, yuzu kosho tomatillo and classic tomato cocktail sauce.

The Mains are Maine Lobster Rigatoni. Almond Crusted John Dory and Tarragon Lemon Pepper Prime Rib. The range of Sides are aged gouda parmesan mashed potatoes, poached asparagus sherry mustard vinaigrette, herb potato gnocchi and farmers market roasted vegetables. Dessert is a festive Buche de Noel. The feast is priced at $125 per guest.

Chef Raphael Lunetta joins us with his Christmas Eve menu preview plus New Year’s Eve menu options (Foraged Mushroom Pappardelle) and the ongoing 3-course, Weekday Power Lunch menu.

Show 455, December 11, 2021: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel with “Ask the Chef”

Andy Harris and Andrew Gruel at Cabana 14 at the Cove at Pechanga Resort and Casino

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. This week’s (Holiday Cooking) question is from Marcella of Santa Monica. She is the lucky winner of the prize package of premium USDA Prime Steaks from West Coast Prime Meats. Be listening in January for another opportunity to be awarded a package of six USDA Prime Streaks from West Coast Prime Meats.

The Winning (multi-part) Holiday Cooking Question:

“I’m going to make a prime rib for Christmas dinner and I’m undecided on how to cook it. Looking into different cooking methods, rubs, etc. I came across this one – Reverse Sear.”

“What is a reverse sear? Don’t know much about it. When is it appropriate to use a reverse sear and would it apply to steaks, roasts, pork, chicken? Or ?”

“Would I want to reverse sear my prime rib? What’s the best way to cook a prime rib roast? We like it rare with lots of au jus and all the sides!”

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.”)

Show 350, December 7, 2019: The Meatheads from West Coast Prime Meats with Holiday Cooking Advice

Jay Henderson one of the Meatheads from West Coast Prime MeatsBetween the two of them our resident Meatheads from West Coast Prime Meats, Terry Hanks and Jay Henderson, have decades of practical experience with center plate proteins. They are both avid home cooks, too. Terry and Jay join us with some genuinely useful Holiday cooking tips.

Terry Hanks tells about the joy of putting goose on the Holiday Table. Preparing it with a delicious outcome is easier than you think.

Jay Henderson advises about Prime Rib and roasting brisket as a versatile and more economical Holiday main dish that garners raves.

Show 321, April 27, 2019: Owner / Chef Bryan Fujikawa, Kona Grill House, Kealakekua, Hawaii

Bryan Fujikawa of Kona Grill House and Andy HarrisChef Bryan Fujikawa is the proprietor of the locals’ favorite for fresh grilled, locally caught seafood, Kona Grill House in Kealakekua. It’s a beloved hole-in-the-wall spot. He’s been a popular part of The Big Island Chocolate Festival’s concluding Chocolate Decadence Gala for years. Chef Bryan is known for his amazing lobster crab cakes.

“For Kona Grill House it’s new year, a new name, and a whole new look. What started 19 years ago as a small family operation producing and selling dried fish under the name Sun Dried Specialties, has grown into a culinary destination for local cuisine that has people from not just Hawaii, but all over, returning time and time again.”

“It was a simple beginning back in 2000. The idea for Sun Dried Specialties was born in the early morning hours as Bryan sat on his boat rocking quietly with the gentle motion of the waves as he fished through the night. He realized the dried fish he’d grown up eating was disappearing. He, his wife Rebecca, and their two daughters began drying the fish that Bryan caught. They stayed true to the old way of drying. Using only fresh fish, Hawaiian salt, and beautiful Hawaiian sun. The Sun-Dried Specialties logo of a sunbathing Ahi quickly became recognizable for the best dried Ahi, Aku, and Opelu in the state and on to the Mainland.”

“Fast forward a dozen years to the birth of the Fishbowl. Bryan’s brainchild for his desire to serve great food in an atmosphere that would allow visitors and locals alike to meet and get to know one another. What started as a small poke shop had its first expansion after only three months and has continued to grow ever since. Though the original showcase still carries more than a dozen different kinds of poke made fresh each day, there’s now a second showcase for the desserts. Bryan has continued what his daughter Alexis started, baking desserts fresh every morning.”

“But it’s the food coming off the grill out back that you won’t be able to forget. Chef Bryan’s customers like to say it’s five-star food out of a cardboard box. The best fish burgers on the island and his lobster crab cakes are out of this world. Daily specials range from smoked prime rib to lobster mac and cheese. You never know what might be on the menu but you can count on never walking away hungry and having a food experience you’ll want to keep coming back for.”

We’ll meet Chef Bryan.

Show 227, June 10, 2017: Chef Ronnel Capacia, Journey’s End at Pechanga

Ronnel Capacia at the Chili CookoffRegular listeners of the “SoCal Restaurant Show” know Chef Ronnel Capacia as the master of the grill, smoker and pizza oven at Kelsey’s – Great Food & Drinks.

He’s just been promoted to Chef at Journey’s End at Pechanga, the stylish restaurant with incredible views located in the handsome clubhouse of the Journey golf course.

Special Father’s Day Brunch there on June 18th at $39 for Adults and $21 for Children. Everything from a Live Egg & Omelet Station to a Seafood Bar and Carved Roasted Prime Rib station. Also. a Louisiana-Style Seafood Boil.

Chef Ronnel is always a serious competitor (and one to watch) in the annual Pechanga Chili Cook-off.

We’ll get Chef Ronnel off the links for a chat.



Show 62, February 22, 2013: Jim Colombo, General Manager, Five Crowns and SideDoor, Corona del Mar

Orange County Restaurant WeekThe OC’s most anticipated, and delicious, dining event, Orange County Restaurant Week, returns from February 23rd to March 1st. Diners will have the opportunity to enjoy the wide spectrum of dining options in the County at special prices for prix-fixe menus for both lunch and dinner. Over 100 restaurants are part of Orange County Restaurant Week.

The iconic Five Crowns, a Corona del Mar landmark, is one of the participating restaurants. General Manager Jim Colombo (also a chef by background and training) joins us to preview his special menu. The prime rib is still incredible but there are a lot more worthy choices, too.

Also on their OC Restaurant Week menu are pan-roasted barramundi and house-made pappardelle.

Show 9, December 15, 2012: Jet Tila, William Lewis and Chef Elizabeth Whitt Part Three

The historic Tam O’Shanter Inn celebrated it’s 90th birthday in 2012. It is actually the first establishment in what is now Lawry’s Restaurants, Inc.  Walt Disney frequented the atmospheric spot.

Prime Rib is the entrée for Jet’s Holiday Menu. The Tam has been expertly cooking roasted Prime Rib for 90 years so who better than the Tam’s new chef, Mark Kalenderian, to join the panel as the beef expert. They cook some 400 pounds of prime rib each day!

Show 9, December 15, 2012: Jet Tila, William Lewis and Chef Elizabeth Whitt Part Four

Jet resumed the discussion of prime rib by asking each panelist what their holiday tradition of preparing and cooking prime rib was.

William suggested a quality Pinot Noir as the ideal pairing for prime rib.

Next it was on to dessert. Chef Elizabeth offered Apple Cranberry Crumble Tart, Sour Cream Pumpkin Pie, and Pecan Pie.

We didn’t give dessert it due so we’ll pick that up with Chef Elizabeth and William during the first segment on Saturday, Dec. 22nd at 10:30 a.m.

The Angels had a major media event during the regular, last half-hour of the show to introduce slugger Josh Hamilton (the Halos newest player) to the media and we gladly stepped aside for that.

Show 8: December 1, 2012: Executive Chef Greg Harrison and General Manager Jim Colombo of the iconic Five Crowns & SideDoor in Corona del Mar Part One

How do you reposition a 47 year-old landmark known for special occasions and incredible prime rib? Chef Greg and Jim share the process of how they have reinvigorated The Five Crowns so it’s not just your Grandparents restaurant anymore.

As part of the process the former bar area has been remodeled into a popular British-style gastropub with an inspired small plates menu which changes all the time based on what’s fresh in the marketplace. It’s a casual atmosphere and no reservations are required.