Show 297, November 10, 2018: Robin & Brian Christenson, Proprietors, Blinking Owl Distillery, Santa Ana

It’s time for an encore visit with the husband-and-wife proprietors of Blinking Owl Distillery in Santa Ana, Orange County’s first craft distillery. Blinking Owl Craft Cocktails are now available at LA Rams home games served at a dedicated bar at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. Selections include OC Orange Mule, Tailgate Tonics, The Cocktail Kicker and Tropical Touchdown (Blinking Owl Vodka, Lime Juice, Passion Fruit Liqueur and Soda.)

Brian’s Single Barrel, First Batch Birthday Bourbon has just been released in a 290 bottle batch. We’ll find out about it. It’s been aging in barrel for 2 years!

A straight Rye Whiskey is also currently aging. It could be released anytime between now and the end of 2019. We’ll get a progress report.

Also a kitchen is soon on the menu at Blinking Owl. At long last – food and libations. We’ll get the tempting food report from Robin.

Tasting and Distillery Tours are available. The Tasting Room is open Thursday through Sunday. Tours by appointment.

 

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Show 296, November 3, 2018: Kyle Meyer, Proprietor, Wine Exchange, Santa Ana

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeFor the end of the year there is always the dilemma of what wines to pair with the culinary delights of the various Holiday tables. We’re also looking for quality wines as gifts yet we don’t want to break the bank.

To the rescue comes our resident wine authority, Kyle Meyer of Wine Exchange. The thoughtful buying philosophy of Wine Exchange is to purchase “little wines” from great producers. That’s where the great value comes in.

Kyle has the first installment of his best picks for quality and value for the Holidays. We’ll start with an outstanding Grower Champagne (Sanger Brut Grand Cru NV Blanc de Blanc Terroir Natal) that pairs well with most everything and comes with a heck of a good story.

“It’s not often you get to tell a story like this one and it’s also important to understand that this probably couldn’t happen here. True we don’t have Champagne vineyards close by like the high school that is the center of this story does. But, honestly, high school students being allowed to get involved with the production of alcoholic beverages simply wouldn’t play in America, period. This unique co-operative source all came about by a series of events.”

“In 1919, the war and phylloxera had pretty much trashed many wine producing areas in France. The Puisards, a successful merchant couple with no heirs, decided to donate their lands to the government on the condition that there would be a winemaking school created in Avize. That school, Avize Viti Campus, was officially founded in 1927 and, in 1952, the students and teachers along with local cellarmasters and winemakers, collaborated to produce a Champagne at the school.”

“Champagne Sanger is that Champagne, and it is a nod to the success of the school and the collaborative process, as well as the passing of practical knowledge from one class to another. Sanger is 100% Chardonnay, coming exclusively from the Grand Cru vineyards belonging to the school, from areas of Cramant, Oger and Avize, some owned by the school and some from local growers who are alumni. It sees 60 months en tirage (the minimum is only 15 months for the appellation) and is finished to a dosage of 6g/l.”

“It is extra brut without being overly aggressive, comes off as bone dry yet shows plenty of fruit (so many low dosage efforts are painfully dry) and plays sensationally with both food and by itself. This is truly Champagne made by Champenois and we recommend it highly for its price performance (all Grand Cru fruit for under $45!) and distinctive styling.  It also has some unique character points as, along with the typical brioche, citrus and apple elements one typically finds from the area, there is also and engaging spice nuance and notes that remind one of red berries. Very cool bubbles from a very unique source, and very little of it crosses the ‘Pond’.”

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Show 286, August 18, 2018: Kyle Meyer, Wine Exchange, Santa Ana

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeWe’re uncorking it again with our distinguished wine expert, Kyle Meyer of Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange.

Is there a relationship between quality and price when it comes to California’s cult wines? What is the pricing model? Where is the value to be found if it can perhaps be found at all?

Most of the cult wines of California are coming from the elite Napa Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon is King! In the rarified growing areas of Napa there is very little room to expand vineyards.

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Show 279, June 30, 2018: The Wine Exchange’s Tristen Beamon, Bordeaux Barrel Tastings for the 2017 Vintage

Tristan BeamonYou don’t have to be a wine connoisseur to appreciate the high-quality of wine from Bordeaux, France. It’s one of the great wine grape growing regions of the world.

Our resident wine authority, Tristen Beamon from The Wine Exchange, was recently in Bordeaux tasting wines in the barrel (two trips) from the 2017 vintage. Tristen suggests that the 2015 and 2016 vintages are great. 2017 is the years of “haves” and “have nots.”

We’ll get his insider’s report on what to expect. Who says Bordeaux needs to be expensive?

“So as we like to say here at Wine Exchange…Let the games begin!”

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Show 269, April 14, 2018: Kyle Meyer, Co-Founder, Wine Exchange, Santa Ana

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeWhen it comes to wine jargon you sometimes hear the term “field blend.” What is it exactly? Our resident, and always intelligible, wine authority, Kyle Meyer of Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange, explains all.

Also Alsace’s Marcel Deiss winery (Father & Son duo) is an example of a star producer exemplifying the spirit of a field blend. It’s about the terroir.

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Show 266, March 24, 2018: Heath Bumgardner, Vice President of Operations, King’s Seafood Co. (King’s Fish House)

Heath BumgardnerThe 20-year-old King’s Fish House (part of King’s Seafood Co.,) located at the Laguna Hills Mall, underwent a 7-week, $2 million dollar modernization of the entire space and reopened in early December of last year. The new design is inspired by the look and feel of a contemporary seafood warehouse with nautical touchpoints throughout and custom art.

The update of the 7,500 square-foot restaurant includes rustic wood flooring, leather banquets, floor-to-ceiling garage doors allowing for an indoor-outdoor dining experience, and a warm color palette of dark browns, creams and deep blues. A wraparound, 30-seat rectangular bar anchors the space, while an additional lounge area was added to the patio, both ideal for enjoying afternoon happy hour and the extensive raw bar offerings.

In addition to the reimagined space, this location of King’s Fish House now offers a more elevated selection of seafood, by way of the company’s own distribution operation based in Santa Ana, such as a whole fish preparation and the Southern California delicacy, local spiny lobster (in-season.)  The cocktail program also received an overhaul, now boasting 16 tap beers, more than 60 wines, and a selection of inspired specialty cocktails.

King’s Heath Bumgardner, Vice President of Operations, joins us.

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Show 258, January 27, 2018: Chef Derrick Foster, Ember BBQ, Santa Ana

Derrick FosterReal-deal Kansas City-style barbecue has arrived in Orange County with the launch of Ember BBQ in Santa Ana under the watchful direction of Chefs Derrick Foster and Kylie Gordon. Chef Derrick was born and raised in Kansas City.

Ember BBQ is located within Native Son Alehouse. Ember BBQ serves a limited “Snack Menu” on Tuesday and Wednesday, and a full “Smokehouse Menu” Thursday through Sunday for lunch and dinner.

With an on-site smoker, Chef Derrick stays true to Kansas City-style barbecue tradition and history by featuring a variety of meats rubbed with a blend of spices and slow-smoked over hickory wood. His “Smokehouse Menu” features sliced-to-order 1855 Certified Angus Beef Brisket from Colorado, St. Louis Ribs, Smoked Chicken, and Pulled Pork.

He showcases creativity in dishes such as Hogchos, his take on traditional nachos, using chicharron in place of tortilla chips, topped with pulled pork, smoked cheese sauce, pork jerky, pickled onion, sour cream, jalapenos and his housemade BBQ sauce.

Traditional sides are prepared with the utmost attention, including his Rancho Gordo BBQ Beans, which are peppered with brisket burnt ends; Cheesy Corn, which features a Mornay sauce and fresh-off-the-cobb corn; and made-from-scratch traditional banana pudding.

“Kansas City has more than 100 barbecue joints and many have national recognition – I’m trying to bring some of that excitement to Orange County,” explains Chef Derrick, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park who has worked in the kitchens of Corton, The Musket Room, The Rieger and Le Bernardin. “This is definitely food that requires patience and passion, and I’m excited to share my love for it with local diners.”

Kansas City-style barbecue refers to the specific regional style of slowly smoked meats that originated in the early 1900s in Kansas City, Missouri. Chef Derrick’s menu showcases a wide variety of meats, from pork and sausage, to chicken and beef, including Burnt Ends, which are distinctive to Kansas City.

We’re getting fired up with Chef Derrick.

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Show 258, January 27, 2018: Kyle Meyer, Managing Partner, Wine Exchange, Santa Ana

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeThe current thinking is that a lot of fine wines are perhaps released for sale way too early. It’s a numbers game. What wines have aging potential and for how long? How do you really know? What are the suggested storing conditions?

A good tip is that some German Rieslings have excellent aging potential.

Our resident wine authority, Kyle Meyer of Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange, provides the need insight.

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Show 256, January 13, 2018: Elie Ayrouth, Founder of Foodbeast, Noods Noods Noods

Elie AyrouthJanuary 27th marks the return of Orange County’s all-noodle-everything food festival, NOODS NOODS NOODS, presented by Foodbeast. This wild and unrestrained food festival will feature some of the craziest, most delicious, and inspired noodle creations.

Event Date: January 27th, 2018
Event Location: Downtown Santa Ana, outside of Esports Arena at 120 W 5th st, Santa Ana CA 92701

Standard Ticket Price: $10 Marketplace | $60 VIP

Tickets for NOODS NOODS NOODS can be purchased right here.

Listen to the podcast to obtain a special discount offer for VIP admission exclusively for our listeners. It does sell out!

Foodbeast Founder Elie Ayrouth joins us with the slurp-worthy details.

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Show 256, January 13, 2018: Jon Sanchez, Proprietor, Native Son Alehouse, Santa Ana

Jon SanchezAll sports fans eagerly anticipate putting their brackets together for the college basketball championships also known as March Madness. Why not a craft beer bracket competition with great prizes and samples of unique craft beers from 14 small producers?

For the 3rd year the ever- creative Jon Sanchez, the proprietor of the popular Native Son Alehouse in Downtown Santa Ana, has done just that. Every Thursday night, with the finals on March 29th, craft brewers are competing head-to-head in pairs. All participants were invited by the staff at Native Son Alehouse.

Already decided are the matchups between Artifex and Cellador Ales, and Mikkeller and Homage Brewing.

At any given time Native Son rotates a carefully hand-picked selection of 27 craft beer styles for their discriminating guests to enjoy. A new addition is the Ember BBQ kitchen serving Kansas City-style barbecue. We’ll be visiting with the dedicated culinary team of Embers BBQ on January 27th.

Jon taps the keg on the spirited competition just for us.

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