Show 78, July 5, 2014: Tal Ronnen, founder and executive chef of Crossroads restaurant, Los Angeles Part Two

Jet Tila Sunday Supper at Crossroads KitchenOn June 29th Jet cooked a sold-out Sunday Supper at Crossroads.

Jet adapted his signature Drunken Noodles (Giada De Laurentis’ favorite) for the evening substituting tofu for pork. The dish earned high praise from the guests.

The Featured Cocktail was Mekhong Smoke. It’s Mekhong rum, mescal, thai basil, tamari salt and blistered shishito pepper.

Tal revealed some of the secrets of his wildly popular Caesar salad dressing which replaces the anchovies and egg with plant based ingredients. Think miso (bean paste) and capers…

The new Summer menu has just arrived at Crossroads. Look for melon, okra, and corn.

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Show 53, December 21, 2013: Aaron Fry, Honeymoon Dining in Maui

It’s Christmas / New Year’s Holiday vacation time and that means a lot of relaxing getaways to Maui. We have a mouth-watering Lahaina dining report from an informed, recent visitor.

Aaron Fry just returned from his glorious honeymoon in Maui. Aaron is a master bartender as well as a senior Board Operator right here at AM 830 KLAA. We’re turning the microphone around on him this morning.

One of the standouts in all his dining in Lahaina is the use of a lot of local ingredients in the dishes where possible. This is a welcome return to the old ways in The Islands when Hawaiians were totally self-sufficient in feeding themselves.

Fleetwoods on Front StreetAaron and his new bride enjoyed a couple of visits to Fleetwood’s on Front Street in the heart of Old Lahaina. The second level of the 10,000 square foot establishment affords an incredible ocean view and there is quality live music nightly. The principal is Mick Fleetwood, the well-know rock drummer. When he’s not touring he spends most of his time on Maui.

Although it’s a casual setting they are equally serious about their food. The chef advisor is Scott Leibfried (who you’ll remember as one of the two sous chefs for Gordon Ramsay on Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen.”) Chef Scott continues with the project.

Aaron recommends the Lemon Shrimp with a cream cheese polenta cake, wild arugula and cherry tomato salad, lemon-thyme vinaigrette and roasted tomato sauce. Look for “Today’s Local Fish” and the 10 oz. Grilled Filet with Big Island Hamakua Mushrooms as standout dishes.

Maui Brewing Company CoCoNut PorTeRAaron is a craft beer aficionado so also on his Maui menu was a stop at the celebrated brewpub of the Maui Brewing Co. This is the most successful craft brewery in The Islands and quite a story. Their only “problem” is that they can’t keep up with demand on The Mainland. They can their most popular styles and they are available in California. One of their signature brews is their award-winning CoCoNut PorTeR. The brewpub features some seasonal styles only available on Maui.

The food is seriously good, too, and a big attraction for locals. They even make their own salad dressings. You can’t go wrong with their pizzas or the Kalua Pork Sliders.

A local Island favorite is The Plate Lunch which Aaron sampled at all levels of dining establishments during his visit. It’s a lot of filling food designed for the hungry working guy. The best of the lot was the Pub Plate at Maui Brewing. It’s Kalua pork, white rice, mac salad, and CoCoNut PorTeR BBQ sauce.

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Show 48, November 16, 2013: Jon Blackford, Executive Chef of A Restaurant, Newport Beach

Jon Blackford of A RestaurantWhat is now the popular A Restaurant on Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach is a reborn successor to a classic dining spot dating back to 1926. It’s the oldest operating restaurant in storied Newport Beach.

A few years ago new, enthusiastic, local ownership completely restored the place to its current ageless steakhouse atmosphere. The rumor is that this group of locals spent some three and one-half million dollars on the project! It’s handsome, in the tradition of grand steakhouses, with a very popular bar.

Jon Blackford is the executive chef. His charge is to continue to serve great steaks but also elevate the rest of the menu. Believe it or not he loves market fresh vegetables and amazes with something as “ordinary” as beets.

He impresses with creative charcuterie and cheese plates and house-made grilled sausages. All the sauces and salad dressings are prepared right there.

A colleague described him as “passionate, dedicated, creative, stubborn, tough, great vision, and healthy.”

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