Show 425, May 15, 2021: Restaurateur Jerry Keller, Lulu California Bistro, Palm Springs Part One

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/Founder Jerry Keller joins us with the details of what’s on the ample Lulu menu.

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Show 416, March 13, 2021: Restaurateur Brad Johnson, “Corner Table Talk with Brad Johnson” Part One

Govind Armstrong and Brad Johnson

“Following a successful career as a hospitality entrepreneur owning and operating well known restaurants, bars and nightclubs in New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, Brad Johnson (most recently the founder of Post & Beam in Los Angeles) has launched his podcast, Corner Table Talk with Brad Johnson which debuted on February 25th.Through a behind-the-scenes lens intended to inform and entertain, Brad now delves into wide-ranging talks with his corner table guests about food, drink, and culture from the perspective of a person of color.”

“During his career Johnson established a reputation for cultivating a diverse multi-ethnic clientele and staff. “One of the best parts of having spent the better part of my life operating venues is the people I’ve been fortunate to meet,” Brad Johnson says.”

Johnson grew up in the restaurant business beginning in the mid ’70s. “My first job was working as a dishwasher in my dad’s popular restaurant on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, The Cellar, where I’d glance into the dining room and marvel at the ‘Black is Beautiful’ crowd of the period that packed The Cellar nightly,” said Brad Johnson. “I’ve bussed tables, pulled out chairs for countless guests over the years, shaken many hands, struggled through slow nights, and co-hosted Oscar parties.”

“Corner Table Talk guests share their unique experiences in careers that run the gamut, including restaurants, clubs, fashion, finance, publishing, sports, and entertainment, all highlighting their passion for business, social and cultural commentary.”

Brad Johnson joins us from the Corner Table.

Oxford American is a quarterly literary magazine showcasing Southern writing. The current issue (Spring 2021) is The Food Issue. One of the cover story, featured pieces is from Brad entitled, “Peasant Food – Notes from a life in restaurants.”

Post & Beam Hospitality (the co-producer of Corner Table Talk) is helmed by Brad Johnson, a 2nd generation restaurateur who has built a reputation owning and operating acclaimed restaurants, bars and clubs in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. In 2019, Johnson sold his latest restaurant, Post & Beam, in South Los Angeles after having operated it for almost a decade. Post & Beam was awarded the prestigious Los Angeles Times Gold Award in 2020. Post & Beam Hospitality offers a variety of services ranging from hospitality consulting and diversity strategy to media content creation.

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Show 375, May 30, 2020: Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels with Kimberli Munkres and Hotelier Karina Castenda Part One

Kimberli Munkres of Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels“Under the cooling umbrella of Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels Palm Springs is home to almost 80 extraordinary small boutique hotels of exceptional architectural & cultural diversity. “From quaint inns and quietly secluded bungalows to hip and modern poolside-hangouts, they cater to the spectrum of Palm Springs travelers’ tastes. Whether you want to disappear for a couple of days, or dive into the Palm Springs adventure of a lifetime, the visionary hoteliers make it their mission to get to know their guests and create a memorable stay in this distinctly fashionable desert oasis.”

“And as Palm Springs locals, they have dedicated themselves to creating a home away from home for each guest, infused with a sense of community.”

With the boutique hotels in Palm Springs poised to reopen and again welcome guests we’re joined by Kimberli Munkres (Director of Marketing) and hotelier and restaurateur Karina Castenda of Los Arboles Hotel and El Mirasol Mexican Restaurants.

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Show 375, May 30, 2020: Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels with Kimberli Munkres and Hotelier Karina Castenda Part Two

Karina Castenda of Los Arboles Hotel“Under the cooling umbrella of Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels Palm Springs is home to almost 80 extraordinary small boutique hotels of exceptional architectural & cultural diversity. “From quaint inns and quietly secluded bungalows to hip and modern poolside-hangouts, they cater to the spectrum of Palm Springs travelers’ tastes. Whether you want to disappear for a couple of days, or dive into the Palm Springs adventure of a lifetime, the visionary hoteliers make it their mission to get to know their guests and create a memorable stay in this distinctly fashionable desert oasis.”

“And as Palm Springs locals, they have dedicated themselves to creating a home away from home for each guest, infused with a sense of community.”

With the boutique hotels in Palm Springs poised to reopen and again welcome guests we continue with Kimberli Munkres and hotelier and restaurateur Karina Castenda.

Karina Castenda is part of the family (2nd generation) who owns Los Arboles Hotel (a Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotel) and the pair of El Mirasol Mexican restaurants. The original (and still operating) El Mirasol opened in 1985. The original (and still operating) El Mirasol opened in 1985. The 2nd El Mirasol is on the spacious grounds of Los Arboles Hotel.

“A charming, historic boutique Palm Springs resort and home to the iconic El Mirasol Mexican Restaurant and bar, Los Arboles Hotel features 21 well-appointed rooms, heated pool, Jacuzzi, room serviceand is located walking distance from downtown shopping, dining, and nightlife.”

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Show 370, April 25, 2020: Restaurateur Ron Salisbury – El Cholo Family of Restaurants

Ron SalisburyEl Cholo is L.A.’s very first surviving Mexican restaurant. Since first opening its doors in 1923, El Cholo has operated as a family-owned business and today, the restaurants are run by Ron Salisbury, grandson of the founders. The legacy at El Cholo lies in its commitment to quality ingredients, long family history, loyal employees (some with us nearly 40 years) and their devoted and loyal clientele. Through prohibition, the L.A. Riots, true Hollywood glamour and into the 2000’s, El Cholo continues to bring back memories for their guests and create new ones.”

Also part of the El Cholo Family of restaurants is The Cannery Seafood of the Pacific and Louie’s By The Bay both in Newport Beach.

Family patriarch Ron Salisbury (with 66 years of hands-on Hospitality Business experience) is our guest.

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Show 362, February 29, 2020: Chef Restaurateur Dean James Max, James Republic, Long Beach Part One

Dean James Max of James RepublicChef Restaurateur Dean James Max likes to characterize James Republic in downtown Long Beach as “a body of persons engaged in a savory pursuit to celebrate locality and sustainability, and cultivate community through the dining experience.”

“James Republic combines modern sensibilities with old-world principles to afford a genuine gathering place for the neighborhood and a distinctive dining destination in the heart of Long Beach.”

“Our style is what we like to call “modern California coastal” dining, highlighting the season’s vibrant, locally sourced bounty from both land and sea. Our kitchen is a chef-driven, farm-to-table workshop where we create ever-changing menus dictated by the season’s finest products of time and place.”

We reel in Chef Dean James Max for a preview of his upcoming quarterly Dinner Bell Series evening on March 15th. It’s a very special Sunday evening family style supper with ingredients hand-selected by Chef Dean & his team from the Long Beach Farmers Market that morning.

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Show 362, February 29, 2020: Chef Restaurateur Dean James Max, James Republic, Long Beach Part Two

Dean James Max of James RepublicChef Restaurateur Dean James Max likes to characterize James Republic in downtown Long Beach as “a body of persons engaged in a savory pursuit to celebrate locality and sustainability, and cultivate community through the dining experience.”

“Our menus are a labor of love – a love of the finest foods. We proudly serve a large array of local artisan products. Organic is important to us, but more importantly we believe in all- natural products without the use of steroids, growth hormones, and animals raised responsibly. As well as our preference for products and practices that are sustainable, we try to embrace the idea of localism to strengthen our community. Most of our items are priced under $20 which is incredible considering the high quality of products we serve. Our passion for the seasons and what it brings to us in food keeps us always searching for great new combinations. Come join us for a journey in cuisine.”

We continue with Chef Dean James Max previewing his upcoming quarterly Dinner Bell Series evening on Sunday, March 15th. It’s a very special Sunday evening family style supper with the freshest ingredients hand-selected by Chef Dean & his culinary team from the Long Beach Farmers Market that same morning.

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Show 354, January 4, 2020: Executive Chef Tony Esnault and Restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi, Knife Pleat at South Coast Plaza Part Two

Tony Esnault and Yassmin Sarmadi of Knife PleatKnife Pleat in South Coast Plaza’s Penthouse, Level 3, was one of the most eagerly anticipated restaurant launches of last year. It’s an elegant and approachable French restaurant with an unusual garden patio helmed by Michelin-starred chef Tony Esnault and restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi, who are well-known from the Los Angeles culinary scene with Church & State and Spring. The couple’s chic new restaurant showcases modern, seasonal interpretations of classic French techniques by Esnault, one of California’s best French chefs.

“For Knife Pleat, Esnault has created an elegant menu that features highlights such as Escargot Ravioli with a filling of wild burgundy snails in a mushroom broth with celery, garlic and watercress; chilled Langoustine with radish, green papaya, coconut espuma and lemongrass; Crescent Duck featuring breast and leg confit with Swiss chard, Tokyo turnip and pickled rhubarb. Esnault shows his appreciation for California’s incredible produce with a Vegetable Mosaic starter composed of tomato, zucchini, watermelon radish, kohlrabi and fresh chickpea.”

“Knife Pleat’s beverage program features craft cocktails that pay homage to designers who also call South Coast Plaza home. The Oscar de la Renta, for example, plays on the late fashion icon’s Dominican Republic roots with Brugal Añejo Rum, chinola, passion fruit and lemon.”

“The cuisine is set in a dramatic 5,000-square-foot space that has 80 seats and two dining areas – an airy dining room wrapped with floor-to-ceiling translucent windows and a plein air patio accented with greenery. A seven-seat bar provides views of the striking exhibition kitchen where Esnault and his team can be observed in action. The refined architecture and interiors by Johnson Fain – in collaboration with Sarmadi and Esnault – is decidedly understated, with a high fashion aesthetic and a soft palette.”

Knife Pleat serves lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. daily; dinner 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday; and Afternoon Tea from 3 to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays.

We continue our conversation with the dynamic husband & wife couple of both Chef Tony & Restaurateur Yassmin.

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Show 344, October 12, 2019: David Hanna, Proprietor, Hanna’s Restaurant & Bar Part One

GOlden Foodie Award Winner David HannaHanna’s Restaurant & Bar is one of South Orange County’s premiere dining establishments. Named one of the U.S. top 100 restaurants by Yelp, Hanna’s offers modern American Steakhouse cuisine prepared with a classic, traditional flair. “Our appetite for an exceptional dining experience is rooted deep in our passion for extraordinary culinary creations and exemplified in our award-wining service and ambiance.”

“Hanna’s is an American Steakhouse, sourcing USDA prime steak, along with American & Japanese Wagyu. We believe in celebrating classic cuisine with a modern twist. Market-driven farm-to-table creations.”

“It has often been said that a true fine dining experience represents a work of art; from the skill of creativity and execution of technique, to the quality of ingredients used and precision of presentation. At Hanna’s, we have made it our philosophy and passion to master the art of perfection in every single dish we create. Every day we seek to find the newest culinary innovations to continue to establish the highest standards in fine dining distinction.”

David Hanna has been the recipient of the Golden Foodie Award for Outstanding Community Service for both 2018 and 2019.

Hands-on proprietor David Hanna, a third-generation restaurateur, is our hospitable guest.

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Show 325, May 25, 2019: Chef Ricardo Zarate of Studio City’s Los Balcones

Restauteur Ricardo M ZarateAs part of the Los Angeles Times Food Bowl embrace Latin cuisine with Latin Roots: Food & Wine With Passion showcasing a four-course meal created by chef Ricardo Zarate and featuring wine pairings by Bibiana González Rave of Cattleya Winery. (This is the evening of May 26th at Los Balcones in Studio City.)

The theme of the meal is Latin Roots, and each course will be a blend of Peruvian and Colombian cuisine, with the spirit of Los Balcones Studio City’s “mestizo style” of cooking (a blend of Spanish and other European influences). All four courses will celebrate the flavors of Colombia, Peru, Europe and California.

“This project (Los Balcones Studio City) has been ten years in the making for both Jorge Rodriguez and Ricardo Zarate. Being long-time friends and committed restaurateurs in the Los Angeles restaurant scene, both have spoken about working together for quite awhile and now the birth of Los Balcones in Studio City is complete.”

“Jorge, owner of the iconic Peruvian restaurant, Los Balcones in Hollywood and Ricardo ‘the godfather of Peruvian cuisine’ both wanted to explore Mestizo cuisine and put a spotlight on Spanish and Peruvian flavors. Both being from Peru, Los Balcones in Studio City is extremely personal and highlights the several ingredients they both grew up surrounded by and enjoying every day.”

“With signature dishes such as their Seco de Pato, Quinotto and Costilla Short Ribs, Jorge and Ricardo want guests to explore the flavors of Mestizo cuisine together.”

Los Balcones serves Dinner Tuesday through Saturday and Brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Closed on Monday.

Chef Ricardo Zarate escapes his busy kitchens and is our guest.

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