Show 541, September 2, 2023: Restaurateur Qiana Mafnas, Axiom Kitchen Smoked Meats & BBQ, Long Beach Part One

Qiana Mafras of Axiom Kitchen Smoked Meats & BBQ

Black Restaurant Week is presenting its sixth annual campaign in the Los Angeles Region. It’s on until September 3rd.

Discover black-owned restaurants, food trucks, sweets, and more across Los Angeles and additional surrounding metro areas.”

“Founded in 2016 by Warren Luckett, Falayn Ferrell, and Derek Robinson, Black Restaurant Week® is dedicated to celebrating the flavors of African-American, African, and Caribbean cuisine nationwide. Through a series of events and promotional campaigns, Black Restaurant Week’s culinary initiatives nationwide help introduce culinary businesses and culinary professionals to the community.”

“Black Restaurant Week celebrates the flavors of African American, African and Caribbean cuisine with a series of regional cultural events and aims to support Black-owned culinary businesses with substantial programming outside of their multi-city tour across the United States.”

One of the participating restaurants in Los Angeles Black Restaurant Week is Long Beach’s Axiom Kitchen Smoked Meats & BBQ. Ian and Qiana Mafnas of Axiom Kitchen Smoked Meats & BBQ are a husband and wife pitmaster / executive chef team, that have over 20 years of restaurant experience between the two of them. Ian has been developing his love for smoking meats over a period of eight years, and Qiana has worked in some of the finest restaurants in California. They have finally decided to share their experience as well as the love for smoking meats and cooking with their community and the “Axiom Fam”.

“Axiom Kitchen is managed and run by the Mafnas family, including their son and daughter-in-law, Chef Tai and Chef Dominique, and front-of-house managers Elleana and Robbie. Add their amazing expediters Kevell, Christopher, Callista, Ian Jr., and Amara and you have magic!”

Follow their Instagram feed to know where Axiom Kitchen will be popping up next.

Qiana Mafnas is our guest with a brisket plate in hand.

Show 541, September 2, 2023: Restaurateur Qiana Mafnas, Axiom Kitchen Smoked Meats & BBQ, Long Beach Part Two

Qiana Mafras of Axiom Kitchen Smoked Meats & BBQ

Black Restaurant Week is presenting its sixth annual campaign in the Los Angeles Region. It’s on until September 3rd.

Discover black-owned restaurants, food trucks, sweets, and more across Los Angeles and additional surrounding metro areas.”

“Founded in 2016 by Warren Luckett, Falayn Ferrell, and Derek Robinson, Black Restaurant Week® is dedicated to celebrating the flavors of African-American, African, and Caribbean cuisine nationwide. Through a series of events and promotional campaigns, Black Restaurant Week’s culinary initiatives nationwide help introduce culinary businesses and culinary professionals to the community.”

“Black Restaurant Week celebrates the flavors of African American, African and Caribbean cuisine with a series of regional cultural events and aims to support Black-owned culinary businesses with substantial programming outside of their multi-city tour across the United States.”

One of the participating restaurants in Los Angeles Black Restaurant Week is Long Beach’s Axiom Kitchen Smoked Meats & BBQ. Ian and Qiana Mafnas of Axiom Kitchen Smoked Meats & BBQ are a husband and wife pitmaster / executive chef team, that have over 20 years of restaurant experience between the two of them. Ian has been developing his love for smoking meats over a period of eight years, and Qiana has worked in some of the finest restaurants in California. They have finally decided to share their experience as well as the love for smoking meats and cooking with their community and the “Axiom Fam”.

“Axiom Kitchen is managed and run by the Mafnas family, including their son and daughter-in-law, Chef Tai and Chef Dominique, and front-of-house managers Elleana and Robbie. Add their amazing expediters Kevell, Christopher, Callista, Ian Jr., and Amara and you have magic!”

Follow their Instagram feed to know where Axiom Kitchen will be popping up next.

Qiana Mafnas continues with an overstuffed, pulled pork sandwich plate in hand.

Show 529, June 10, 2023: Hitching Post Wines, Buellton, with Gray Hartley

Gray Hartley of Hitching Post 2

It’s hard to believe but before late 2018 the well-respected Hitching Post Wines (made famous in the Oscar-winning 2004 feature motion picture, “Sideways,”) never had a tasting room. That all changed for the better in 2018 when acclaimed winemakers Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini debuted a mid-century farmhouse, destination Tasting Room (with lunch service delivered from Hitching Post 2) adjacent to Chef Ostini’s Hitching Post 2 restaurant in Buellton.

Leading the Hitching Post Wines team are the creators and two long-time friends, Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini, who have been making wines in Santa Barbara County, California since 1979. Long before Hollywood discovered the winemaking landmark and its excellent wines, Gray Hartley, a former Alaskan salmon fisherman and Frank Ostini, chef and owner of the famed Hitching Post 2 Restaurant in Buellton, were brought together by their love of wine and winemaking. Over the years their backyard hobby has turned into a highly acclaimed winemaking enterprise.

Lunch on the back Patio of The Hitching Post Wines Tasting Room is now accommodated with full service. Think Grilled Artichoke with Smoked Tomato Mayo and a Pulled Pork Sandwich on a Brioche Bun, South Carolina-style.

Most of the Hitching Post Wines are available by the glass in the alfresco Patio Dining area. The various Tasting Flights (Traditional and Reserve Tasting) are available inside the front HPW Tasting Room.

Gray Hartley joins us popping the cork on a bottle of their signature Highliner for us.

Show 486, August 6, 2022: Chef Marco Zapien, Hatch Pepper Tailgate Celebration at Zapien’s Salsa Grill

Marco Zapien of Zapiens Salsa Grill and Taqueria

Every year Chef Marco Zapien of Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria in Pico Rivera goes all out to celebrate the short Hatch Pepper season. First up for the festivities is Chef Marco’s Hatch Pepper Tailgate Celebration on the evening of Wednesday, August 17th. It’s an entertaining and interactive cooking demo and Dinner featuring the dishes prepared in the cooking demonstration. The recipes are from the new Melissa’s Hatch Pepper Cookbook. Chef Marco is our guest serving all the spicy specifics.

The Drink of the Day is a Hatch Pepper and Pink Pineapple Agua FrescaRITA. The Dinner Menu includes Hatch Barbecue Pulled Pork Sliders, Hatch Pozole Tostada, Hatch Tacos de Papas, Hatch Pepper Big Game Chili, Hatch Coctel de Camaron, Melissa’s Costa Azul Glazed Chicken Wings and, for Dessert, Hatch Pepper and Cream Cheese Crepes with Rum Caramel Sauce.

The evening is $80 per guest and reservations are needed.

Show 335, August 3, 2019: Executive Chef / Partner Yvon Goetz, The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar

Yvon Goetz of the Winery Restaurant and BarIt’s the start of the short, but eagerly anticipated, Hatch Chile season. To celebrate Executive Chef/Partner Yvon Goetz of The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar in Tustin is hosting a Roasting & Toasting on the Vineyard Hatch Chile afternoon celebration at the original The Winery.

On the menu are beer, Tequila and live music along with a Hatch Chile roasting. Chef Yvon is preparing an incredible assortment of Hatch Chile hors d’oeuvres including Hatch Chile Braised Pulled Pork Tacos and Hatch Chile and Butternut Squash Tamales.

Every guest departs with a copy of the Melissa’s Hatch Chile Cookbook by Sharon Hernandez (Melissa’s Co-Founder) and Melissa’s Corporate Chef Ida Rodriguez and a tote of fresh Hatch Peppers.

Chef Yvon turns up the flavorful heat for us.

Show 284, August 4, 2018: Executive Chef Mike Minor, Border Grill Las Vegas, BBQ Mexicana

Mike Minor of Truck U Barbecue in Las VegasWhen we last spoke with Chef Mike Minor last December, the Executive Chef for Mary Sue Milliken’s and Susan Feniger’s Border Grill in Las Vegas, he teased us with news that a BBQ concept was in the works. That has now launched as BBQ Mexicana, a quick service eatery located across the corridor from Border Grill at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. The menu was created by Mary Sue and Susan in collaboration with Chef Mike, a passionate BBQ master.

Inspired by Mary Sue and Susan’s travels to Mexico, where they fell in love with delicious barbacoa and smoked meats, the menu at BBQ Mexicana offers a variety of burritos, bowls, and salads filled with mesquite smoked chicken, pulled pork, slow smoked Texas-style brisket, and smoked tofu in addition to aguas frescas, beers and margaritas to go. BBQ Mexicana is ideal for convention attendees and those seeking a good meal on the go before continuing on to the casino, pool, convention center, or exploring Las Vegas.

Not to be missed is the Slow Smoked Brisket Burnt Ends Burrito with chipotle coleslaw, crispy potatoes, Manchego cheese and BBQ mole sauce.

Current hours are Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with select mornings and weekends.

We pull Chef Mike away from the smoker for a meaty chat.

 

Show 56, January 11, 2013: Jimmy Shaw, Founder and Executive Chef, Loteria! Grill Continues…

Two Loteria! Grills will be coming soon to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX.)

Torta CompanyChef Jimmy provides us with the rich history of the Mexican sandwich and what is correct as far as bread is concerned. The bread needs to be crunchy on the outside and pillowy soft inside.

Torta Company will offer both traditional and contemporary sandwich variations. There will definitely be appealing vegetarian options, too, including a wild mushroom tinga.

Look for pulled pork, batter-fried snapper in a Veracruz tomato sauce, and turkey in mole. Also on the menu will be Chef Jimmy’s clever spin on a tuna torta.

January 11: Jimmy Shaw, Paul Bartolotta, Kedric Francis, Jessica Gelt, Walter Manzke

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Jimmy Shaw, Founder and Executive Chef, Loteria! Grill Part One
Segment Three: Jimmy Shaw, Founder and Executive Chef, Loteria! Grill Part Two
Segment Four: Executive Chef Paul Bartolotta, Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, Las Vegas Part One
Segment Five: Executive Chef Paul Bartolotta, Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, Las Vegas Part Two
Segment Six: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor, Orange County Register Magazine, Coast Magazine
Segment Seven: Jessica Gelt, Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times
Segment Eight: Walter Manzke, Executive Chef & Proprietor, Rebublique

What's Cooking with Travis Rodgers and Jet TIla on AM830When you put our delightfully food obsessed morning show host, Travis Rodgers, together with Chef Jet Tila you know you’re going away entertained but really hungry. Be sure to catch their weekly feature, “What’s Cooking with Travis and Chef Jet Tila,” at 7:50 a.m. every Friday morning on AM 830 KLAA. It’s a feast for the ears…

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

If you crave authentic regional Mexican cuisine then you’ll want to hear Jimmy Shaw, the founder of Loteria! Grill. How about an award-winning celebrity chef from Chicago who was enticed by Steve Wynn to pull up stakes and move his family to Las Vegas so he could helm Mr. Wynn’s signature Italian seafood restaurant? That’s a story…You’ll also meet the executive chef and owner behind the hottest restaurant opening in Hollywood last year. It’s even located in a totally renovated historical building built by Charlie Chaplin.

All of that and lots more deliciousness on the “SoCal Restaurant Show.”

Jimmy Shaw of Loteria Grill and Torta CompanyWhen it comes to authentic regional Mexican cuisine few are as knowledgeable as Jimmy Shaw, the founder and executive chef of the popular Loteria! Grill Restaurants. He was born and raised in Mexico City

He started modestly with a graphically-interesting stand in a great location at The Original Farmers Market at Third & Fairfax. The locals were wowed. Since then full-service restaurants in Hollywood, Studio City, Santa Monica and Westlake Village have been added. Any moment now Downtown Los Angeles will launch at FIGat7th.

Next to Loteria! Downtown will be a new gourmet sandwich shop Jimmy is doing with his brother, Andrew. It’s the Torta Company.

Two Loteria! Grills will be coming soon to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX.)
Chef Jimmy provides us with the rich history of the Mexican sandwich and what is correct as far as bread is concerned. The bread needs to be crunchy on the outside and pillowy soft inside.

Torta Company will offer both traditional and contemporary sandwich variations. There will definitely be appealing vegetarian options, too, including a wild mushroom tinga.

Look for pulled pork, batter-fried snapper in a Veracruz tomato sauce, and turkey in mole. Also on the menu will be Chef Jimmy’s clever spin on a tuna torta.

Paul BartolottaPaul Bartolotta is one of the rarified, distinguished James Beard Award winning chefs who has an incredible destination restaurant at Wynn Las Vegas.

His Bartollota Ristorante di Mare opened with the hotel back in 2005 and is one of the most successful fine dining restaurants at the property.

It just underwent a multimillion dollar renovation because Steve Wynn thought it was time…Chef Paul observed that the facelift alone cost more than the opening cost of many restaurants!

Paul was one of the most acclaimed chefs in Chicago (Spiaggia) when Mr. Wynn came calling. With his Bartolotta Restaurants firm he operates a number of busy restaurants in Milwaukee. Paul recounts the humorous story of Mr. Wynn’s charming pursuit of Paul to head the restaurant at Wynn Las Vegas. Understand at the time (2004) Paul was based in Chicago with his Family. One of Mr. Wynn’s requirements was that each of his celebrity chefs at Wynn Las Vegas actually reside in Las Vegas.

There is lots more to this fascinating story so Chef Paul Bartolotta of Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare at Wynn Las Vegas continues with us.

The concept of the elegant restaurant is serving the very best of Mediterranean seafood flown in fresh daily from Italy and simply prepared. There is also a live program. Spiny lobsters from Sicily, in season, are in live tanks in the kitchen!

The servers expertly debone the fish at tableside. It’s not unusual to see Paul on the floor touching tables and explaining his dishes.

This is what veteran Las Vegas restaurant journalist Max Jacobson has said about Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare : “The chef is both a fanatic and masterful technician, so expect perfection.”

Kedric Francis of Coast Magazine and the Orange County Register MagazineOur favorite debonair man about Orange County, Kedric Francis, is back with us for a dining report from his recent stay in Cancun. Kedric is the well-traveled Executive Editor of both Coast Magazine and The Orange County Register Magazine.

Kedric stayed at the 274 room, all-suite, Nizuc Resort & Spa in Cancun secluded a bit away from the tourist zone on a cove. It’s on the grounds of the former presidential retreat. Lots of water…

There are six tempting dining options there so Kedric opted to never leave the property during his visit.

Ni is the Peruvian restaurant. Kedric particularly enjoyed their ceviches.

Indochine is an Asian-fusion spot. Recommended is the sushi and deep-fried Grouper.

Of course they need to have a wonderful Mexican restaurant. That’s Ramona overlooking the beach. It’s modern versions of regional recipes using local produce and spices.

Los Angeles Times Travel ShowThe 16th Annual Los Angeles Times Travel show returns to the West Hall of the L.A. Convention Center on January 18 & 19. Los Angeles Times Staff Writer, Jessica Gelt, is with us to preview her activities at the show.

Gelt has written extensively about food, nightlife, entertainment and travel for The Times. She sometimes combines a few different beats within one entertaining story.

She is moderating two sessions of the same panel, “On the Road : Traveling for Music & Festivals” both days at Noon on the LA Times Stage.

Jessica also shared some insider tips about finding the best food at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. It helps to have VIP access…

Walter ManzkeOne of the most eagerly awaited restaurant openings of 2013 was Republique in Hollywood located on the site of the former trendsetting Campanile which opened in 1989. The architecturally significant building goes back to 1929 when it was constructed as Charlie Chaplin’s offices.

The project is owned by the husband and wife chef team of Walter Manzke and Margarita Manzke along with restaurant impresario Bill Chait. Chef Walter is well-know to L.A. foodies from his time at Patina, Bastide and Church and State. Chef Walter joins us to talk about the first month of operation.

The cuisine is contemporary French with an oyster bar up front. Chef Walter’s particular pride is what comes out of the wood burning oven and rotisserie.

Recently opened is the bakery café for breakfast, brunch and lunch on the go.

The restaurant is still not fully open. It’s expanding service in stages.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Jimmy Shaw, Founder and Executive Chef, Loteria! Grill Part One
Segment Three: Jimmy Shaw, Founder and Executive Chef, Loteria! Grill Part Two
Segment Four: Executive Chef Paul Bartolotta, Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, Las Vegas Part One
Segment Five: Executive Chef Paul Bartolotta, Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, Las Vegas Part Two
Segment Six: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor, Orange County Register Magazine, Coast Magazine
Segment Seven: Jessica Gelt, Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times
Segment Eight: Walter Manzke, Executive Chef & Proprietor, Rebublique