Show 332, July 13, 2019: Little Tokyo Chef & Restaurateur Don Tahara, Sake Dojo! & Far Bar

Dont Tahara of Sake DojoGo Little Tokyo’s 4th Annual Delicious Little Tokyo returns to the heart of Downtown Los Angeles for two days on Friday, July 19th and Saturday, July 20th and features over 20 exclusive events including all-new interactive workshops, tastings, and demonstrations curated for first-time foodies and culinary enthusiasts alike.

Chef & Restaurateur Don Tahara is a Co-Owner of both Sake Dojo! and Far Bar in Little Tokyo. He is hosting two different tasting demos on Saturday afternoon, July 20th.

Sake & Food Pairing with Sake Dojo, 12:00 – 1:00 PM — Learn the history, cultural significance and brewing process of various types of sake offered at Little Tokyo’s newest Japanese-style restaurant with a modern culinary twist, Sake Dojo! Join Sake Dojo Co-Owner, Don Tahara, for a lesson on pairing sake with cheese and desserts. $20 admission, must be 21 years or older to attend.

Craft Beer & Chicken Wing Pairing with Far Bar, 2:00 – 3:00 PM — Far Bar Little Tokyo continues to host some of the world’s newest and best craft beers, introducing Los Angeles to brewers like Mumford Brewing, El Segundo Brewing, and Bottle Logic Brewing that regularly rotate on their taps. Curated by co-owner, Don Tahara, pair some of their unique selection of brews with different chicken wings including their famous Ming’s Wings. $20 admission, must be 21 years or older to attend.


Show 276, June 2, 2018: Yuta Tsunoda, Chaya Modern Izakaya, Venice

Yudo Tsunoda of Chaya BrasserieAfter four centuries in Japan and almost four decades in the United States, CHAYA continues to transcend convention between Japanese and American dining, inviting guests to discover innovative Japanese-Californian cuisine along with an unprecedented new beverage program as the CHAYA Restaurant Group has now officially transitioned the 28-year-old Chaya Venice into CHAYA Modern Izakaya.

Comparable to the Western gastropub, a Japanese izakaya is traditionally a drinking establishment which serves small tapas-style plates intended to be shared amongst friends. CHAYA Modern Izakaya elevates the izakaya experience by introducing a present-day dining and drinking destination that invites guests to come discover a new Japanese-Californian cuisine with a modern izakaya approach, including handcrafted cocktails, premium spirits, Japanese Whisky selection, eclectic sake and wine collection, Japanese and local craft beers.

With roots deeply planted in over 400 years of Japanese history, CHAYA originally evolved from a beloved teahouse in Japan in the 17th century, then to an imperial summer villa in Japan in the 19th century. In the early 20th century CHAYA Japan became a landmark dining destination known for providing exquisite service and catering to the royal court and Japanese government officials, to then landing in Los Angeles in the 1980s, ultimately becoming a pioneer of fusion cuisine by introducing the revolutionary combination of French and Japanese ingredients and culinary techniques, while catering to many loyal guests for almost 40 years, including artists, actors, titans of industry, and foodists alike.

“CHAYA has existed in some incarnation or another for the last four-hundred plus years, as long as the earliest izakaya. Part of the essential CHAYA DNA is adaptability and fusion, and CHAYA Modern Izakaya bridges the past with the present, while allowing CHAYA to move forward into the future pioneering a marriage between Japanese and Western traditions, fresh ingredients, and contemporary culinary techniques,” says Owner and President Yuta Tsunoda.

Owner & President Yuta Tsunoda has all the intriguing details.


Show 138, September 12, 2015: The Joy of Sake Festival – Las Vegas

Chris PearceThe Joy of Sake Festival, now in its 15th year, comes to Las Vegas for the first time on Saturday, September 19th from 7 to 10:00 p.m. at Caesars Palace. It celebrates the world’s finest sakes.

The Joy of Sake is the public tasting that follows the U.S. National Sake Appraisal, which is held in Honolulu every July. Brewers from every region in Japan enter their best junmai, ginjo and daiginjo labels, which are blind-tasted by judges from Japan and the U.S. The most exceptional win gold and silver awards. Festival-goers sample these outstanding entries, including over 200 labels which are not even available in the U.S.

For sake fans, there is no better scenario : over four hundred premium labels in peak condition, along with sake-themed appetizers from 12 top restaurants in Las Vegas including the renown Raku in Las Vegas’ Chinatown.

Tokyo follows on November 5th.

Organizer Chris Pearce gives us all the 411.


Show 39, September 7, 2013: Vernon Cardenas, Executive Chef of State Social House on the Sunset Strip

Vernon Cardenas of State Social HouseChef Vernon of the new State Social House is also a certified expert in Sake and presented an informative tutorial. Sake is actually easiest to characterize as a brewed rice beer made from a specially grown short grain rice.

Enjoying cold sake allows you to better appreciate the quality of the beverage.

Beware…Hot sake masks the flavor of a poor quality sake.

There are six main styles of sake. Most popular in the United States are ginjo, dai ginjo, and junmai daigingo. How much of the rice grain is milled away affects the sake’s flavor.


September 7: Sake, Soy Sauce, Sriracha, Du-Par’s, Hawaiian Eats, Ray’s & Stark,118 Degrees


Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Randy Clemens, food journalist
Segment Three: Vernon Cardenas, Executive Chef of State Social House on the Sunset Strip
Segment Four: Biff Naylor, proprietor of Du-par’s Restaurants & Bakeries
Segment Five: Chef Jet’s “Cooking with Soy Sauce” Tutorial
Segment Six: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine
Segment Seven: Martin Riese, General Manager of Ray’s & Stark Bar at LACMA
Segment Eight: Jenny Ross, Executive Chef & Proprietress, 118 Degrees Community Cafes

Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris preview the show.

Also an intriguing dash of restaurant and food chat.

Thai 2013 Food FestivalMark Sunday afternoon, September 29th on your calendar. Our very own Jet Tila is hosting the Thai 2013 Food Festival at Paramount Pictures Studios in the heart of Hollywood. It starts at 3:00 p.m.

Celebrity chefs and outstanding local Thai chefs will be there presenting their signature dishes for the guests to sample and enjoy. Entertainment will include music, Thai dancers, and fruit carving.

Randy ClemensRandy Clemens, noted food journalist and author of the best-selling Sriracha Cookbook and The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook, both from Ten Speed Press.

Randy was just in Thailand in Sri Racha in the Chonburi Province researching the unusual origins of Sriracha and shares this rich history with us.

Vernon Cardenas of State Social HouseExecutive Chef Vernon Cardenas oversees the kitchen at the just-opened State Social House on the fabled Sunset Strip. He has extensive experience cooking locally including his tenure as opening chef at Katana, also on the Sunset Strip.

Chef Vernon is an expert on all things Sake. He presents a overview course in Sake Appreciation 411.

Biff Naylor of Dupar'sBiff Naylor is a veteran restaurateur on the SoCal restaurant scene. He previously owned Tiny Naylor’s and Biff’s.

In 2004 Naylor came out of a brief retirement to purchase and revive the surviving Du-par’s Restaurants & Bakeries. The first location at The Original Farmers Market (opened in 1938) remains after a massive renovation and needed refurbishment. They are particularly well-known for incredible pancakes and house-baked fruit pies.

The Naylor Family represents three generations of career hospitality folks. Daughter, Jennifer, was the executive chef for many years at Wolfgang Puck’s Granita in Malibu. One of Jennifer’s key chefs is now the corporate executive chef for Du-Par’s. Most everything is made from scratch using premium ingredients.

If you sit at the counter at a Du-par’s you’ll see servers squeezing the fresh orange juice to order.

There is even a very busy Du-par’s in Downtown Las Vegas in the Golden Gate Casino & Hotel. They are famous for their ever popular “to-go” chilled shrimp cocktail which is actually a clever loss-leader designed to attract guests to the casino.

Soy SaucesJet Tila provides a useful tutorial on the types of soy sauce and their uses. There are differences in flavor and texture between Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Thai soy sauces.

Light soy sauce, for example, does not have reduced salt. It’s actually saltier than the darker version.

Kedric Francis of Coast Magazine and the Orange County Register MagazineKedric Francis the Executive Editor of both Coast Magazine and The Orange County Register Magazine is back with us with his regular travel segment.

Kedric is talking about a September craft beer cruise to Hawaii (Ensenada to Hawaii) as well as other upcoming craft beer cruises.

He also previews a new luxury Montage Hotel in Maui arriving in 2014.

From there it’s some standout travel options in Southern California.

Martin Riese of Rays and Stark BarMartin Riese, the General Manager of Ray’s & Stark Bar at The Los Angeles County Museum of Art on the Miracle Mile, joins us.

Martin is Los Angeles only certified Water Sommelier. During his time managing fine-dining restaurants in Germany (before returning to Los Angeles) he researched and wrote the definitive guidebook to mineral waters around the world.

At Ray’s he has just launched their first Water Menu with some twenty selections from around the world. It’s a great alternative for guests who want a festive beverage to pair with their meal but perhaps need to stay away from alcohol.

Jenny RossJenny Ross is the executive chef and proprietress of the 118 Degrees Community Cafes in Costa Mesa, Anaheim, and Laguna Niguel. The original location at The Camp in Costa Mesa recently celebrated its 7-Year Anniversary.

Chef Jenny characterizes her food as fresh, organic living cuisine.

The line of Jenny Ross Living Foods can be found pre-packaged in the grocery section of select Whole Foods Markets.

Her soon to be published 3rd cookbook is Healing with Raw Living Food.


Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Randy Clemens, food journalist
Segment Three: Vernon Cardenas, Executive Chef of State Social House on the Sunset Strip
Segment Four: Biff Naylor, proprietor of Du-par’s Restaurants & Bakeries
Segment Five: Chef Jet’s “Cooking with Soy Sauce” Tutorial
Segment Six: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine
Segment Seven: Martin Riese, General Manager of Ray’s & Stark Bar at LACMA
Segment Eight: Jenny Ross, Executive Chef & Proprietress, 118 Degrees Community Cafes

Show 35, July 13, 2013: Chef Jet Tila with “Sushi 411.”

SushiJet has extensive experience in teaching the sushi basics to professionals so we asked him to share the fundamentals of sushi etiquette so guests will have the ability to eat better at their favorite sushi spot. With that said Jet also respectfully suggests that you follow the course in a sushi restaurant that provides you with the most pleasure.

Sushi was originally created in China as a way to preserve fish before refrigeration. It was layered, and heavily salted and vinegared.

The three basic types of sushi are sashimi, maki, and hand rolls. It takes years of rigorous training to become a master sushi chef.

One big faux pas in a sushi bar is to mix the soy sauce and wasabi together into a pool. The shaved ginger is actually a palate cleanser and not a side salad. Jet explained where each should be properly used.

If you sit at the sushi bar the chef is stealthily watching how you eat. At a sushi bar there are the seafood equivalents of filet mignon, rib eye, and chuck. All are edible of course. If the chef sees that you aren’t discriminating then the sushi you get will be the equivalent of “chuck.”

The chef knows what’s the best because he’s been prepping it all day. Omakase (literally) “trust the chef” is the way to go for a special experience. It’s a personalized tasting menu left in the hands of the chef. The sushi chef will present you one item at a time (from lighter to heavier) to savor.

If you really want to an impression with the sushi chef send over a beer or sake for them during the meal with your compliments. You’ll likely see some incredible fish as a result…


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!