Show 561, January 20, 2024: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

“Long Beach residents and visitors alike are in for a treat as over two dozen Black-owned local restaurants and food businesses will offer special menu items and special pricing when the 3rd annual Long Beach Black Restaurant Week returns January 21-28, 2024. Organized by Axiom Kitchen and fiscally sponsored by 501(c)3 non-profit NoahS’s Arc, owner Qiana Mafnas felt that in addition to encouraging local “foodies” to enjoy what the expanding Long Beach Black culinary community has to offer, events like these support the local economy and put “butts in seats” of our valued restaurants and food retailers and home-based businesses.” Executive Chef Qiana Mafnas of Axiom Kitchen joins us with all the scrumptious details of the upcoming Long Beach Black Restaurant Week.

For the 3rd consecutive year Georgia’s Restaurant at Long Beach Exchange (where Southern hospitality meets culinary creativity) will again be part of Long Beach Black Restaurant Week. Think Gretchen’s Jambalaya and Grilled Creole Shrimp for openers. Proprietor Nika Shoemaker-Machado previews what will be on her comfort food menu.

Casaléna (Woodland Hills) is the premier new restaurant and events space in the West Valley. The menu boasts coastal Mediterranean flavors and emphasizes the use of seasonal, top-quality ingredients. At Casaléna, guests can be transported to their favorite European destinations, whether they choose to enjoy an intimate dinner in the outdoor sunken patio, or unwind with a late-night cocktail.” Casalena is attentively overseen by siblings Chloe, Brandon and Tyler Makhani. “Coastal Mediterranean is the menu direction at Casalena and suggests coastal cuisines ranging from Spain, Italy, France and Greece and those dishes immediately represented the brand and overall vision that the Makhani’s wanted to bring to life in the space. The ambiance exudes resort and carefree lifestyle and their intent is to transport guests to an atmosphere that provides an escape from ordinary life or the mundane day to day.” For starters think Squash Blossoms and Sweet Corn Agnolotti. Joining us to provide the intriguing story of the ambitious Casalena are Chloe, Brandon and Tyler Makhani.

Lil’ Luna’s So Easy & So Yummy – The Ultimate Resource for Feeding Your Friends and Family by Kristyn Merkley invites the reader to cook with joy and feed the ones you love with 200 plus recipes for all occasions from the creator of the wildly popular Lil’ Luna cooking blog. Need a hand in the kitchen? Lil’ Luna has you covered. From hearty breakfasts to festive apps to mouthwatering main courses, Lil’ Luna’s So Easy & So Yummy helps you navigate everything from meal prep and party planning to last-minute dinner solutions for your family. With more than 200 go-to, no-fail recipes—many ready in thirty minutes or less!—this innovative and approachable cookbook will revolutionize your mealtime routine.” Author Kristyn Merkley is our guest with a whisk at the ready. 

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of the fast-casual Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries. California meets Maine with a special Lobster Roll garnished with Avocado slices. Chef Andrew weighs in. Chef Andrew will also explore what’s of primary concern to area restaurateurs in 2024.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Show 561, January 20, 2024: Long Beach Black Restaurant Week with Organizer Chef Qiana Mafnas of Axiom Kitchen

Qiana Mafras of Axiom Kitchen Smoked Meats & BBQ

“Long Beach residents and visitors alike are in for a treat as over two dozen Black-owned local restaurants and food businesses will offer special menu items and special pricing when the 3rd annual Long Beach Black Restaurant Week returns January 21-28, 2024.”

“Organized by Axiom Kitchen and fiscally sponsored by 501(c)3 non-profit NoahS’s Arc, owner Qiana Mafnas felt that in addition to encouraging local “foodies” to enjoy what the expanding Long Beach Black culinary community has to offer, events like these support the local economy and put “butts in seats” of our valued restaurants and food retailers and home-based businesses.”

Executive Chef Qiana Mafnas of Axiom Kitchen joins us with all the tasty details of the upcoming Long Beach Black Restaurant Week.

“There are no tickets or passes to purchase. Food lovers are invited to dine-in, take-out or have featured items delivered from their favorite restaurants, or order from the websites of various pop-ups or home cottage businesses for pick-up. Participating restaurants, food businesses and offers can be found on the website.”

“Owners Ian and Qiana Mafnas of Axiom Kitchen 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 share their experience as well as their love for smoking meats and cooking with their community.”

Show 561, January 20, 2024: Nika Shoemaker-Machado, Georgia’s Restaurant, Long Beach Exchange

Nika Shoemaker-Machado of Georgias Restaurants

“Long Beach residents and visitors alike are in for a treat as over two dozen Black-owned local restaurants and food businesses will offer special menu items and special pricing when the 3rd annual Long Beach Black Restaurant Week returns January 21-28, 2024.”

“Organized by Axiom Kitchen and fiscally sponsored by 501(c)3 non-profit NoahS’s Arc, owner Qiana Mafnas felt that in addition to encouraging local “foodies” to enjoy what the expanding Long Beach Black culinary community has to offer, events like these support the local economy and put “butts in seats” of our valued restaurants and food retailers and home-based businesses.”.

For the 3rd consecutive year Georgia’s Restaurant (Long Beach Exchange) where Southern hospitality meets culinary creativity will again be part of Long Beach Black Restaurant Week. Proprietor Nika Shoemaker-Machado previews what will be on her appealing comfort food menu. Specials include Creole Shrimp Skewer and Fried Green Tomatoes. Georgia’s is now serving Brunch daily.

“We’re excited to participate in LBBRW for the third year,” notes Nika Shoemaker-Machado, proprietor of Georgia’s Restaurant located in the Long Beach Exchange. “Having participated in several restaurant weeks over the years, our business has never experienced the kind of guest and sales increases that the event did for us over the past two years.”

January 20: Long Beach Black Restaurant Week with Axiom Kitchen and Georgia’s, Casalena, Kristyn Merkley

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Long Beach Black Restaurant Week with Organizer Chef Qiana Mafnas of Axiom Kitchen
Segment Three: Nika Shoemaker-Machado, Georgia’s Restaurant, Long Beach Exchange
Segment Four: Casalena Restaurant, Woodland Hills with The Makhani Siblings Part One
Segment Five: Casalena Restaurant, Woodland Hills with The Makhani Siblings Part Two
Segment Six: Lil’ Luna’s So Easy & So Yummy – The Ultimate Resource for Feeding Your Friends and Family with Author Kristyn Merkley Part One
Segment Seven: Lil’ Luna’s So Easy & So Yummy – The Ultimate Resource for Feeding Your Friends and Family with Author Kristyn Merkley Part Two
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel, Co-Host and Proprietor of Calico Fish House, with “Ask the Chef”

Andy Harris, Executive Producer and Co-host previews the show.

“Long Beach residents and visitors alike are in for a treat as over two dozen Black-owned local restaurants and food businesses will offer special menu items and special pricing when the 3rd annual Long Beach Black Restaurant Week returns January 21-28, 2024. Organized by Axiom Kitchen and fiscally sponsored by 501(c) non-profit NoahS’s Arc, owner Qiana Mafnas felt that in addition to encouraging local “foodies” to enjoy what the expanding Long Beach Black culinary community has to offer, events like these support the local economy and put “butts in seats” of our valued restaurants and food retailers and home-based businesses.” Executive Chef Qiana Mafnas of Axion Kitchen joins us with all the details of the upcoming Long Beach Black Restaurant Week.

For the 3rd consecutive year Georgia’s Restaurant at Long Beach Exchange (where Southern hospitality meets culinary creativity) will again be part of Long Beach Black Restaurant Week. Think Gretchen’s Jambalaya and Grilled Creole Shrimp for openers. Proprietor Nika Shoemaker-Machado previews what will be on her comfort food menu.

Casaléna (Woodland Hills) is the premier new restaurant and events space in the West Valley. The menu boasts coastal Mediterranean flavors and emphasizes the use of seasonal, top-quality ingredients. At Casaléna, guests can be transported to their favorite European destinations, whether they choose to enjoy an intimate dinner in the outdoor sunken patio, or unwind with a late-night cocktail.” Casalena is attentively overseen by siblings Chloe, Brandon and Tyler Makhani.

“Coastal Mediterranean is the menu direction at Casalena and suggests coastal cuisines ranging from Spain, Italy, France and Greece and those dishes immediately represented the brand and overall vision that the Makhani’s wanted to bring to life in the space. The ambiance exudes resort and carefree lifestyle and their intent is to transport guests to an atmosphere that provides an escape from ordinary life or the mundane day to day.” For starters think Squash Blossoms and Sweet Corn Agnolotti. Joining us to provide the intriguing story of the ambitious Casalena are Chloe, Brandon and Tyler Makhani.

“Lil’ Luna’s So Easy & So Yummy – The Ultimate Resource for Feeding Your Friends and Family by Kristyn Merkley invites the reader to cook with joy and feed the ones you love with 200 plus recipes for all occasions from the creator of the wildly popular Lil’ Luna cooking blog. Need a hand in the kitchen? Lil’ Luna has you covered. From hearty breakfasts to festive apps to mouthwatering main courses, Lil’ Luna’s So Easy & So Yummy helps you navigate everything from meal prep and party planning to last-minute dinner solutions for your family. With more than 200 go-to, no-fail recipes—many ready in thirty minutes or less!—this innovative and approachable cookbook will revolutionize your mealtime routine.” Author Kristyn Merkley is our guest with a whisk at the ready.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of the fast-casual Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries. California meets Maine with a Lobster Roll garnished with Avocado slices. Chef Andrew weighs in. Chef Andrew will also explore what’s of primary concern to area restaurateurs in 2024.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Qiana Mafras of Axiom Kitchen Smoked Meats & BBQ

“Long Beach residents and visitors alike are in for a treat as over two dozen Black-owned local restaurants and food businesses will offer special menu items and special pricing when the 3rd annual Long Beach Black Restaurant Week returns January 21-28, 2024.”

“Organized by Axiom Kitchen and fiscally sponsored by 501(c)3 non-profit NoahS’s Arc, owner Qiana Mafnas felt that in addition to encouraging local “foodies” to enjoy what the expanding Long Beach Black culinary community has to offer, events like these support the local economy and put “butts in seats” of our valued restaurants and food retailers and home-based businesses.”

Executive Chef Qiana Mafnas of Axiom Kitchen joins us with all the tasty details of the upcoming Long Beach Black Restaurant Week.

“There are no tickets or passes to purchase. Food lovers are invited to dine-in, take-out or have featured items delivered from their favorite restaurants, or order from the websites of various pop-ups or home cottage businesses for pick-up. Participating restaurants, food businesses and offers can be found on the website.”

“Owners Ian and Qiana Mafnas of Axiom Kitchen 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 share their experience as well as their love for smoking meats and cooking with their community.”

Nika Shoemaker-Machado of Georgias Restaurants

For the 3rd consecutive year Georgia’s Restaurant (Long Beach Exchange) where Southern hospitality meets culinary creativity will again be part of Long Beach Black Restaurant Week. Proprietor Nika Shoemaker-Machado previews what will be on her appealing comfort food menu.

“We’re excited to participate in LBBRW for the third year,” notes Nika Shoemaker-Machado, proprietor of Georgia’s Restaurant located in the Long Beach Exchange. “Having participated in several restaurant weeks over the years, our business has never experienced the kind of guest and sales increases that the event did for us over the past two years.”

The Makhani Family of Casalena

Casaléna (Woodland Hills) is the premier new restaurant and events space in the West Valley. The menu boasts coastal Mediterranean flavors and emphasizes the use of seasonal, top-quality ingredients. At Casaléna, guests can be transported to their favorite European destinations, whether they choose to enjoy an intimate dinner in the outdoor sunken patio, or unwind with a late-night cocktail.” Casalena is attentively overseen by siblings Chloe, Brandon and Tyler Makhani.

“Coastal Mediterranean is the menu direction and suggests coastal cuisines ranging from Spain, Italy, France and Greece and those dishes immediately represented the brand and overall vision that the Makhani’s wanted to bring to life in the space. The ambiance exudes resort and carefree lifestyle and their intent is to transport guests to an atmosphere that provides an escape from ordinary life or the mundane day to day.”

For starters think Squash Blossoms and Sweet Corn Agnolotti.

“The Makhani’s were very specific in what they wanted to see on the menu and working with Chef Lobo Leon was fantastic because he was able to elevate and also eliminate what Casalena didn’t need. Chef Lobo also has an intuitive sense of what sells well. There are so many things that go into menu creation because of the high-volume Casalena turns out but at the same time they need to be able to have enough variety for each type of guest.”

Lunch is served Monday through Friday. Dinner is available nightly with Breakfast and Brunch on Weekends.

Joining us to provide the story of the ambitious Casalena are Chloe, Brandon and Tyler Makhani.

Kristyn Merkley of Lil Luna's

Lil’ Luna’s So Easy & So Yummy – The Ultimate Resource for Feeding Your Friends and Family by Kristyn Merkley invites the reader to cook with joy and feed the ones you love with 200 plus recipes for all occasions from the creator of the wildly popular Lil’ Luna cooking blog.”

“Need a hand in the kitchen? Lil’ Luna has you covered. From hearty breakfasts to festive apps to mouthwatering main courses, Lil’ Luna’s So Easy & So Yummy helps you navigate everything from meal prep and party planning to last-minute dinner solutions for your family. With more than 200 go-to, no-fail recipes—many ready in thirty minutes or less!—this innovative and approachable cookbook will revolutionize your mealtime routine.”

“With Lil’ Luna, you can whip up showstopping breakfast treats, bring the best game-day snacks with out of this world dips and bites, get cozy with warming soups and stews, fix tempting veggie sides and bright, flavorful salads, celebrate summer with barbecue and picnic classics and feel festive with irresistible holiday treats.”

“Creating this cookbook has been a labor of love,” said Merkley. “I wanted to share my passion for cooking and my belief in the power of food to bring people together. With ‘Lil’ Luna’s So Easy & So Yummy,’ I hope to inspire others to cook with joy and connect with their loved ones over delicious meals.”

“Featuring tips, tricks, bonus recipes, and even links to online video instructions, most of the recipes within are designed with a big family or a bunch of friends in mind. Cooking for a smaller crew? Hello leftovers! You’ll also find inspiration and support throughout with handy charts, checklists, and meal-planning guides. Whether you’re feeding your family or a whole crowd, this crave-worthy cookbook is the ultimate resource for nourishing, tried-and-true recipes that are, above all, so easy and so yummy.”

“Kristyn Merkley is married to her best friend Lo. They have six kids ages 6-16 who keep them busy, but they wouldn’t have it any other way. Coming from a long line of cooks and bakers, it was inevitable that Kristyn would fall in love with the same hobbies. The Lil’ Luna website was born right after her second child in early 2010. She started sharing all of her favorite Mexican recipes she got from her mom, aunts, and grandma as well as some of the traditional American recipes that came from her dad’s family.”

“It began to grow and grow until it became what it is today. Now Lil’ Luna has thousands of recipes on the website, and through Google, email and various social media platforms, millions of people visit and make recipes every month from the Lil’ Luna website. With a team of almost a dozen people working behind the scenes, they continue to create the easiest and yummiest recipes for all to try. Her readers and followers have given her the greatest gift ever—She gets to do what she loves, and make a living doing it! She could not have done it without them!”

Author Kristyn Merkley is our guest with a whisk at the ready.

Chef Andrew Gruel of Big Parm and the Calico Fish House

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of the fast-casual Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative Ask the Chef segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries.

California meets Maine culinarily with a classic Lobster Roll garnished with Avocado slices. Chef Andrew weighs in on the merits. He will also explore what’s of primary concern to area restaurateurs in 2024.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Long Beach Black Restaurant Week with Organizer Chef Qiana Mafnas of Axiom Kitchen
Segment Three: Nika Shoemaker-Machado, Georgia’s Restaurant, Long Beach Exchange
Segment Four: Casalena Restaurant, Woodland Hills with The Makhani Siblings Part One
Segment Five: Casalena Restaurant, Woodland Hills with The Makhani Siblings Part Two
Segment Six: Lil’ Luna’s So Easy & So Yummy – The Ultimate Resource for Feeding Your Friends and Family with Author Kristyn Merkley Part One
Segment Seven: Lil’ Luna’s So Easy & So Yummy – The Ultimate Resource for Feeding Your Friends and Family with Author Kristyn Merkley Part Two
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel, Co-Host and Proprietor of Calico Fish House, with “Ask the Chef”

Show 541, September 2, 2023: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

Happy Labor Day Weekend. Grill and chill…

Andrew Fujii of El Segundo Brewing Company The Slice and Pint

The El Segundo Little League has done the near impossible. With 27,000 sanctioned Little League baseball teams in the USA the El Segundo Little Leaguers are the 2023 World Champs. What does it mean to the little community of El Segundo (also known affectionately as “Mayberry by the Sea.”)? The Head Chef of El Segundo Brewing Company’s popular The Slice + Pint restaurant was a little leaguer as a youngster in Gundo and played Baseball at El Segundo High School. Chef Andrew Fujii joins us to explain why El Segundo remains absolutely baseball crazy!

Mija Handcraft Kitchen in Culver City is now open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner (on select evenings.) Pop champagne with friends, enjoy a refreshing cocktail or celebrate with a special bottle of wine to compliment their modern delicious California Mexican dishes made from local ingredients. Chef and owner, Katherine Gonzalez, was raised in Southern Arizona. Her mother’s family migrated from Chihuahua, Mexico, and her father’s family from Spain. Growing up, there was always a pot of beans cooking, freshly made flour tortillas, salsa, and sopas fideo. Every celebration featured warm and delicious comfort food including her mother’s famous tamales, chips, and fresh salsas.” Chef Katherine takes a break from her busy kitchen to join us with a plate of the signature Mom’s Chilaquiles in hand.

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.” 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, who 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.” Qiana Mafnas joins us with a tempting, juicy brisket plate in hand.

“Once a year Zapien’s Salsa Grill in Pico Rivera hosts a series of Hatch Pepper-themed events to celebrate the New Mexican spicy, yet savory pepper from Hatch, NM, including a Saturday Hatch Pepper Roast. Join the Salsa Grill for a special Hatch Pepper Brunch on Saturday, September 9th from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. with over 10 Hatch Pepper inspired dishes. Enjoy all-you-can eat specialties, handmade Tortillas, Sparkling Wine and Mimosas. The Hatch Chile Brunch Menu also includes some classic favorites like Menudo and Pozole. Think Hatch Chile Verde and lots more. Zapien’s will also be turning on the roasters that same day, so take home a case (ordered in advance) of Roasted Hatch Peppers. For Zapien’s Salsa Grill’s grand Hatch Pepper Finale for 2023 join Chef Marco Zapien at the award-winning Zapien’s Salsa Grill & Taqueria on Wednesday evening, September 13th from 6 to 8:00 p.m. for one of his lively and entertaining cooking demonstrations and dinner, combined with his creativity and the seasonal Mexican Hatch Pepper.”

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries. It’s Labor Day Weekend, the official last stand of the Summer grilling season. Chef Andrew has some useful hints including thoughts on grilling whole fish.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s not-to-miss show!

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.

September 2: Mija Handcraft Kitchen, Axiom Kitchen Smoked Meats & BBQ, Zapien’s Salsa Grill

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Restaurateur & Chef Katherine Gonzalez, Mija Handcraft Kitchen, Culver City Part One
Segment Three: Restaurateur & Chef Katherine Gonzalez, Mija Handcraft Kitchen, Culver City Part Two
Segment Four: Restaurateur Qiana Mafnas, Axiom Kitchen Smoked Meats & BBQ, Long Beach Part One
Segment Five: Restaurateur Qiana Mafnas, Axiom Kitchen Smoked Meats & BBQ, Long Beach Part Two
Segment Six: Chef Marco Zapien, Zapien’s Salsa Grill, Pico Rivera Part One
Segment Seven: Chef Marco Zapien, Zapien’s Salsa Grill, Pico Rivera Part Two
Segment Eight: Co-Host and Chef Andrew Gruel with “Ask the Chef”

Happy Labor Day Weekend.

Andy Harris, Executive Producer and Co-host previews the show.

Mija Handcraft Kitchen in Culver City is now open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Pop champagne with friends, enjoy a refreshing cocktail or celebrate with a special bottle of wine to compliment their modern delicious California Mexican dishes made from local ingredients. Chef and owner, Katherine Gonzalez, was raised in Southern Arizona. Her mother’s family migrated from Chihuahua, Mexico, and her father’s family from Spain. Growing up, there was always a pot of beans cooking, freshly made flour tortillas, salsa, and sopas fideo. Every celebration featured warm and delicious comfort food including her mother’s famous tamales, chips, and fresh salsas.” Chef Katherine takes a break from her busy kitchen to join us with a plate of the signature Mom’s Chilaquile in hand.

“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.” 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, who 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.” Qiana Mafnas joins us with a tempting brisket plate in hand.

“Once a year Zapien’s Salsa Grill in Pico Rivera hosts a series of Hatch Pepper-themed events to celebrate the New Mexican spicy, yet savory pepper from Hatch, NM, including a Saturday Hatch Pepper Roast. Join the Salsa Grill for a special Hatch Pepper Brunch on Saturday, September. 9 from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. with over 10 Hatch Pepper inspired dishes. Enjoy all-you-can eat specialties, handmade Tortillas, Sparkling Wine and Mimosas. The Hatch Chile Brunch Menu also includes some classic favorites like Menudo and Pozole. Think Hatch Chile Verde and lots more. Zapien’s will also be turning on the roasters that same day, so take home a case (ordered in advance) of Roasted Hatch Peppers. For Zapien’s Salsa Grill’s grand Hatch Pepper Finale for 2023 join Chef Marco Zapien at the award-winning Zapien’s Salsa Grill & Taqueria on Wednesday evening, September 13th from 6 to 8:00 p.m. for one of his lively and entertaining cooking demonstrations and dinner, combined with his creativity and the seasonal Mexican Hatch Pepper.”

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries. It’s Labor Day Weekend, the official last stand of the Summer grilling season. Chef Andrew has some useful hints including thoughts on grilling fish.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Katherine Gonzalez of Mija Handcraft Kitchen by Chula

Mija Handcraft Kitchen in Culver City is an artisan eatery featuring a variety of modern Mexican fare inspired by the Californian lifestyle. Made with locally-sourced ingredients, all of their made-from-scratch recipes are vibrant, unique, delicious, and oh so bueno!”

“Mija Handcraft Kitchen is now open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Pop champagne with friends, enjoy a refreshing cocktail or celebrate with a special bottle of wine to compliment their modern delicious California Mexican dishes made from local ingredients.

“Chef and owner, Katherine Gonzalez, was raised in Southern Arizona. Her mother’s family migrated from Chihuahua, Mexico, and her father’s family from Spain. Growing up, there was always a pot of beans cooking, freshly made flour tortillas, salsa, and sopas fideo. Every celebration featured warm and delicious comfort food including her mother’s famous tamales, chips, and fresh salsas.”

“Katherine’s love for heritage-inspired dishes began at a young age while cooking with her mama. After years of watching her mother in the kitchen, Katherine began learning how to make her signature tamales, chips, and salsa. Over time, Katherine began to experiment with her family’s recipes to create different flavor profiles. She spent many hours learning the secrets to vibrant and tasty dishes which she is proud to share through Chúla Artisan Eatery in La Quinta and, now, Mija Handcraft Kitchen!”

Chef Katherine takes a break from her busy kitchen to join us with a plate of the signature Mom’s Chilaquiles in hand.

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!”

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

Marco Zapien of Zapiens Salsa Grill and Taqueria

“Once a year Zapien’s Salsa Grill in Pico Rivera hosts a series of Hatch Pepper-themed events to celebrate the New Mexican spicy, yet savory pepper from Hatch, NM, including a Saturday Hatch Pepper Roast.”

“Join the Salsa Grill for a special Hatch Pepper Brunch on Saturday, September. 9 from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. with over 10 Hatch Pepper inspired dishes. Enjoy all-you-can eat specialties, handmade Tortillas, Sparkling Wine and Mimosas. The Hatch Chile Brunch Menu also includes some classic favorites like Menudo and Pozole. Think Hatch Chile Verde and lots more. Zapien’s will also be turning on the roasters that same day, so take home a case (ordered in advance) of Roasted Hatch Peppers.”

“This year’s Hatch Pepper Roast will again allow patrons to pick-up roasted Melissa’s Hatch Peppers by the case and by the preferred level of spice, from mild to hot. Come by and enjoy the festivities as Chef Marco Zapien turns on the roasters for a fun day of celebrating on Saturday, September 9, 2023 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.”

“For Zapien’s Salsa Grill’s 2023 Hatch Pepper Finale join Chef Marco Zapien at the award-winning Zapien’s Salsa Grill & Taqueria on Wednesday evening September 13th from 6 to 8:00 p.m. for one of his lively and entertaining cooking demonstrations, combined with his creativity and the seasonal Mexican Hatch Pepper. Chef MZ shares his passion for classic and contemporary Mexican cuisine by teaching his expert cooking techniques and tricks of the trade. This unique demonstration will include various dishes with Hatch Pepper in the recipe. This one-of-a-kind pepper is available only once a year for a short season after they are grown and distributed from the Hatch Valley in New Mexico. Zapien’s partners annually with Melissa’s World Variety Produce to stage these fun and interactive Hatch Chile-centric events.”

Chef Marco joins us with a Hatch Pepper Coctel de Camaron at the ready.

Chef Andrew Gruel of Big Parm and the Calico Fish House

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of the fast-casual Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative Ask the Chef segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries.

It’s Labor Day Weekend, the official last stand of the Summer grilling season. Chef Andrew has some practical hints including thoughts on grilling fish with no hassles.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Restaurateur & Chef Katherine Gonzalez, Mija Handcraft Kitchen, Culver City Part One
Segment Three: Restaurateur & Chef Katherine Gonzalez, Mija Handcraft Kitchen, Culver City Part Two
Segment Four: Restaurateur Qiana Mafnas, Axiom Kitchen Smoked Meats & BBQ, Long Beach Part One
Segment Five: Restaurateur Qiana Mafnas, Axiom Kitchen Smoked Meats & BBQ, Long Beach Part Two
Segment Six: Chef Marco Zapien, Zapien’s Salsa Grill, Pico Rivera Part One
Segment Seven: Chef Marco Zapien, Zapien’s Salsa Grill, Pico Rivera Part Two
Segment Eight: Co-Host and Chef Andrew Gruel with “Ask the Chef”

Long Beach Black Restaurant Week

Long Beach Black Restaurant Week

The city-wide 2nd annual Long Beach Black Restaurant Week will take place January 22-29, 2023, organizers announced today. Long Beach Black Restaurant Week will be a medium to bring everyone to the table, from all walks of life, to showcase the city’s diverse Black food scene.
Organized by Long Beach Food & Beverage, a California registered 501(c)3 non-profit, Long Black Restaurant Week is an eight day, city-wide event devoted to celebrating African, African American, and Caribbean fare in and around Long Beach. The event also seeks to highlight Black-owned food businesses as well as Black chefs and bartenders.

“We’re excited to participate in Long Beach Black Restaurant Week for the second year,” said Nika Shoemaker-Machado, proprietor of Georgia’s Restaurant located at the Long Beach Exchange. “Having participated in several restaurant weeks over the years, our business has never experienced the kind of guest and sales increases that the inaugural Long Beach event did for us this past January.”

“Having just recently launched our pop-up kitchen, we felt that participating in Long Beach Black Restaurant Week was a no-brainer for us,” added Qiana Mafnas, Executive Chef of Axiom Kitchen Smoked Meats & BBQ. “It will be a great way to get our name out there and share our famous smoked brisket with BBQ lovers in Long Beach and beyond.”

“Long Beach Black Restaurant Week is more than an eight-day event featuring dozens of restaurants and food businesses,” stated Terri Henry, co-organizer of the event and Executive Director of Long Beach Food & Beverage.  “Since launching the non-profit in 2019, we’ve been committed to supporting all of Long Beach’s valued restaurants and will support the event once again with a comprehensive advertising, marketing and PR campaign designed to put ‘butts in seats’ during Long Beach Black Restaurant Week.”

Black-owned Restaurants, Food Trucks, Caterers, Bakeries, Pop-ups, Cottage Businesses and Retail Food Businesses are invited to participate. Registration fee is $100. There will be two pop-up events featuring many of the cottage businesses that will be announced soon.

Currently registered to participate include: