Show 389, September 5, 2020: Chef / Proprietor Jason Quinn, Playground DTSA, Santa Ana

Jason QuinnFor the last nine years Playground DTLA has been the very personal expression of Proprietor and Chef Jason Quinn. Sadly COVID 19 has decimated their business. Chef Jason has announced that the entire Playground complex will conclude at the end of their lease on December 31st, 2021.

The better news is that for the next 16 months Chef Jason and team will continue to enthusiastically operate their nighttime Playground 1.9 dining experiences. These are ticketed, fine-dining evenings with patio, al fresco seating. The price is inclusive of food, beverage pairings, tax and gratuity. Perfect for a special celebratory evening. Typically hosted on Thursday, Friday & Saturday evenings.

Chef Jason’s favorite foods will continue to be showcased during the day (closed on Monday & Tuesday) at the fast-casual Dough Exchange located in Downtown Santa Ana, right next to Playground and Playground 1.9. The offerings at Dough Exchange are always evolving, but focuses around their freshly made bagels, rotisserie shawarma offerings, and super silky hummus with the freshest pita. “Dough Exchange truly embodies the spirit of Playground: a bunch of talented chefs and bakers making the things that they are excited about.” Also the home of Kakigori, an Instagramable fluffy shaved ice dessert from Japan. “Grab some delicious food and maybe a canned craft cocktail to enjoy on our patio.”

Playground’s Director of Libations, Jarred Dooley, is joining forces with Joe Valdovinos (both former OC Bartenders of the year) for an “Illegal Mezcal Virtual Cocktail Party on September 11th or 12th. On the menu are three original cocktails.

Chef Jason is our guest.


Show 387, August 22, 2020: Chef Gino Choi, OmG Omakase by Gino, Santa Ana

Gino Choi of OmG Omakase by GinoChef Gino Choi’s OmG Omakase by Gino in Santa Ana is a multi-course, prix fixe menu dining experience. It’s all of 10 seats and Chef Gino sources a lot of his premium fish from Japan. He’s the star of the solo nightly show. When he can accommodate diners again it’s up to 18 courses and reservations are needed way in advance.

His guests have been asking so Chef Gino has just launched a limited program of Omakase Chirashi Dinner Boxes for 2 guests for takeout. The pre-orders are taken on the Wednesday (starting at Noon) before the available nights of Saturday and Sunday. Chef Gino is limiting this to 20 orders for each night to maintain his high standards. The boxes are $120 each (plus tax.)

We’ll meet the resourceful and ever adaptable Chef Gino Choi.


Show 371, May 2, 2020: Robin Christenson, Co-Founder, Blinking Owl Distillery, Santa Ana

Robin Christenson of Blinking Owl Distillery with her Hand SanitzerThe Blinking Owl Distillery in Santa Ana is the very first craft distillery in Orange County. They also are one of the first distilleries in the state of California to hold the Type 74 Craft Distillers License allowing them to operate their tasting room and sell a few bottles of spirits. Blinking Owl crafts Vodka, Gin, several types of Whiskey, and the Scandinavian spirit, Aquavit.

“Stay Safely at Home” provisions have necessitated the temporary closing of The Tasting Room. Wanting to continue serving the community and keep their employees on the job Blinking Owl has thoughtfully shifted production to hand sanitizer (licensed) under the label of Blinking Owl Dirty Bird Hand Sanitizer. So far $50,000 in hand sanitizer has been generously donated to hospitals, First Responders and restaurants in addition to bulk sales to commercial accounts!

Spirits are still available by ordering online.

Joining us from the packaging line for Dirty Bird Hand Sanitizer is Blinking Owl’s Co-founder and Chief Financial Owl, Robin Christenson.


Show 366, March 28, 2020: Kyle Meyer, Managing Partner, Wine Exchange in Santa Ana

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeIn times of crisis it’s always best to call on the calming expertise of those truly knowledgeable in their specific areas. Such is the case with our always engaging resident wine authority Kyle Meyer, the Managing Partner of Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange.

Tragically Italy and Spain have been particularly hard-hit by the Covid-19 crisis. Listeners have been asking what impact the fast-evolving health crisis will have on the current and future wine business in both Italy and Spain. How will future deliveries to the United States continue? Will global sales of these popular wines be altered? We’ll gain the accurate perspective from Kyle.


Show 358, February 2, 2020: Kyle Meyer, Wine Exchange, Santa Ana – Bordeaux, Tasting the 2017 Vintage

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeWhy is Bordeaux region of Southwest France considered one of the most prestigious wine regions in the world? Our resident wine expert, Kyle Meyer of Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange, artfully pulls the cork for us on this. Last week in Los Angeles was the eagerly anticipated annual tasting of the soon-to-be-released 2017 vintage organized by the Union Des Grands Crus de Bordeaux.

The Union is an affiliation of the best Bordeaux producers from all of the major Bordeaux winegrowing regions including Margaux, St Julien, Pauillac, St Estèphe, Listrac, Moulis, Haut-Médoc, Graves, Pessac-Léognan, Saint-Emilion, Pomerol, Sauternes and Barsac! More than 60 châteaux attended and winemakers and owners poured over 100 wines from the exciting, soon-to-be-released 2017 vintage.


Show 350, December 7, 2019: Wine Authority Kyle Meyer, Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange, with Champagne Buying Advice

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeThinking about buying a bottle of French Champagne as a gift or for the festive Holiday Table? Our resident wine authority, Kyle Meyer of Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange, joins us with selection tips from an expert that, happily, won’t break the bank.

When you look a little deeper than the mega-brands with huge marketing budgets and lots of splash there are values to be had among the small producers.

Orange Wine is a new topic of conversation among wine aficionados. Kyle provides the needed overview. Actually Orange Wines (skin-macerated white wine) dates back thousands of years to Eastern Europe. What’s tricky about producing them is achieving proper balance.

Kyle particularly suggests Orange Wines from Italy made with Pinot Grigio grapes. Look for “Ramato” on the label.


Show 344, October 12, 2019: Powell & Son, Barossa, South Australia with Kyle Meyer of Wine Exchange

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeKyle Meyer, Managing Partner of Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange, our resident wine authority, joins us for another informative wine commentary responding to listeners’ questions. One of the most acclaimed winemakers in Australia is David Powell of Powell & Son in the Barossa in South Australia.

The remarkable vineyards they source fruit from contain probably the highest quality old vine Shiraz and Grenache in Australia. Very special…

Kyle has been there, sampled the available vintages and now gives us a genuine insider’s overview.


Show 340, September 7, 2019: Executive Chef Jason “Chicken Wang” Montelibano of Chapter One: the modern local

Jason Montelibano of Chapter One: The Modern Local“Our eclectic food and spirits at Chapter One: the modern local fuse the exotic with the traditional, always created with our own playful twist. Our kitchen, led by executive chef Jason “Chicken Wang” Montelibano, features local, sustainable, seasonal and all-natural ingredients. The atmosphere blends the pleasures of elegant dining with the relaxed conviviality of a local pub.”

“Our cocktail list, highlighted by our award-winning, fresh ginger Moscow Mules, also features over 200 whiskeys from around the world.”

Chef Jason was the winning chef from the original Bracken’s Kitchen’s Hunger Games in 2018.

Executive Chef Jason “Chicken Wang” Montelibano is our guest.


Show 339, August 31, 2019: Kyle Meyer, Co-Founder, Wine Exchange – The Mysteries of Oak in Wine

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeKyle Meyer, Managing Partner of Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange, our resident wine authority, joins us for another informative wine commentary responding to listeners’ questions. Kyle delves into the mysteries of oak in wine. How does it add to the flavor profile? What’s the how and why of American Oak versus French Oak in barrel aging? What’s toasting?


Show 331, July 6, 2019: Kyle Meyer, Managing Partner, Wine Exchange, on Worthwhile Wine Publications and the return of the Michelin Guide

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeKyle Meyer, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange, our resident wine authority (sans attitude,) joins us for another informative wine commentary responding to listeners’ thoughtful questions.

What credible wine publications are worth reading & subscribing to when the casual wine connoisseur wants to increase their wine IQ? Just looking for honest, journalistic reporting without pretension and possible advertorial coverage.

The Michelin Guide is back covering Southern California after a long absence. (They dismissively dropped the Los Angeles Guide after 2009.) Chefs and restaurateurs are talking about who was included along with the conspicuous omissions. Kyle knows fine-dining. His thoughts on the significance…?