Show 311, February 16, 2019: Executive Chef Nick Shipp, The Upper West, Santa Monica, CA

Nick ShippLocally owned and operated, The Upper West opened its doors in 2010 and not long after it’s arrival on Pico Boulevard in Santa Monica has emerged as a consistent local favorite. Upper West’s ever-changing menu draws inspiration from around the world while maintaining eclectic flavors of Chef Nick Shipp’s very own.

“Our bar offers a nightly happy hour from 5-7 p.m. as well an all -night happy hour every Monday that serves refreshing craft cocktails, handcrafted beer, and a unique array of small bites that can only be enjoyed during this time frame. Some of the local favorites happy small bites are braised pork belly lettuce wraps, sausage and goat cheese quesadilla and lamb nachitos.”

“Our lunch and dinner menu is always evolving and includes ingredients sourced locally from the Santa Monica Farmers Market as well as local farmers such as Weiser Farms, Niman Ranch, Jimenez Family Farm and Harries Berries. Our chef, Nick Shipp, has been described by food critics as a “mad scientist, where no two dining experiences are ever alike.”

Our wall decor changes regularly, as we host one local artist for each season of the year. Make sure you come and celebrate them at our quarterly art openings.”

“Every month, Chef Nick gets to show off his culinary talents with a special pairing dinner co-hosted by select liquor brands who will walk you through each of the individual tasting notes in accompaniment with each course. We offer whiskey, gin, and wine dinners, with a small intimate group, and we always have a great time!”

Their 6th Annual Oscar Fundraiser is Sunday evening, February 24th.

We pull Chef Nick away from his busy kitchen for a chat.

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Show 308, January 26, 2019: Chef Geraldine Gilliland, The Lula Cocina Cookbook & Lula Cocina Mexicana, Santa Monica

Geraldine Gilliland at Melissa's ProduceGeraldine Gilliland is a well-known and long-time restaurateur in Santa Monica. Her popular establishment on Main Street is the long-running Lula Cocina Mexicana launched in 1991. It’s a living tribute to her (Mexico City-based) Mexican cooking teacher, Lula Bertran. Geraldine is also a long-time resident of Malibu and dedicated to animal rescue with Chiquita’s Friends.

There is a new printing of Geraldine’s The Lula Cocina Cookbook – My favorite Recipes, from Mexico to Malibu. All of the proceeds from book sales generously benefit Chiquita’s Friends.

“Learn not only her best recipes, but how to put your own spin on them to create your own signature dishes…all while helping a great cause.

“Chiquita’s Friends,” is a 501 © 3 I founded that is dedicated to helping abused, neglected and abandoned dogs in and around Southern California. We have rescued and successfully placed over 1,000 dogs in loving homes with the help of this network of allies in the fight against animal negligence and abuse.”

Geraldine spoke to us from the LXV Wine Tasting Room in Paso Robles where she is on a research trip. She recommends their wines.

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Show 298, November 17, 2018: Chef & Restaurateur Geraldine Gilliland, Lula Cocina Mexicana, Finn McCool’s Irish Pub, Chiquita’s Friends Animal Rescue

Geraldine GillilandGeraldine Gilliland is a well-known and long-time restaurateur and philanthropist in Santa Monica. Her proprieties on Main Street are Lula Cocina Mexicana and Finn McCool’s Irish Pub. She has a long tradition of generously giving back to the community.

She is also a long-time resident of Malibu and dedicated to animal rescue with Chiquita’s Friends. All of the proceeds from the Lula Cocina Cookbook benefit Chiquita’s Friends.

The tragic Woolsey fire necessitated her hurried evacuation from her new Cornell Sanctuary in Agoura on Thursday night, November 8th with 26 of her rescue dogs. Just imagine the task of getting all these senior and challenged animals with special needs gently coaxed into travel kennels and loading them onto a van and truck in the dark for transport.

As of the broadcast Geraldine still had not been able to get back home to either her Malibu ranch or the Cornell Sanctuary. Sadly the recently restored caretaker’s cottage at the Sanctuary was completely destroyed including all the caretaker’s belongings.

Gerri will bring us up-to-date on a very difficult week and how we can help. A contribution of any amount to Chiquita’s Friends at this challenging time would be greatly appreciated.

 

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Show 293, October 6, 2018: Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio of Santa Monica’s Valentino, Planeta wines of Sicily

Piero Salvaggio of Valentino Santa MonicaPiero Selvaggio of Valentino, Santa Monica fame is one of the pioneers of Italian fine-dining in Los Angeles. He also has been one of the visionaries introducing the premium wines of Sicily to the United States. Piero joins us to talk about the noble Nero d’Avola grape grown in Sicily and Sicily’s Planeta wines.

“We travelled through Sicily as on a great wine continent, establishing our estates in five different areas from west to east, seeking our interpretation of them through research into indigenous varieties, including those by now forgotten, and into the suitability of the different terroirs to welcome international varieties as well. We planned to eventually build around each territory a comprehensive system of experience composed of hospitality, cooking, nature and culture. On these elements the history of our company has always been based. This instinct for the future, together with our curiosity to see the world and compare ourselves with it, has guided our choices.”

After an incredible run of 46 years Piero will be closing Valentino this year after celebrating New Year’s Eve. In early 2019 he will be launching Louie’s on the waterfront in Newport Beach. It’s an upscale Italian steakhouse in tribute to Olympian Louis Zamperini. We’ll keep you posted…

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Show 263, March 3, 2018: Chef Kausar Ahmed, The Karachi Kitchen, Karachi Pakistan

Kausar AhmedFrom the Arabian Sea to the peaks of the Himalayas, cuisine in Karachi is as diverse as its inhabitants and draws influences from across South, Central, and West Asia. Acclaimed Pakistani chef, culinary educator, and food and prop stylist, Kausar Ahmed, has curated and created mouth-watering recipes in her first cookbook, The Karachi Kitchen – Classic and Contemporary Flavors of Pakistan.

Chef Kausar is best known Internationally for her work through “Kitchen Craft by Kausar,” an organization she founded in 2009 that offers free nutrition and cooking workshops to women and youth in high-risk communities around Karachi. The goal is to promote healthy eating and hygiene in the most impoverished families. Hands-on workshops teach students about cooking, nutrition, kitchen safety, personal hygiene, gardening and more.

Join the Careers through Culinary Arts Program Los Angeles (C-CAP) for an intimate and exclusive event featuring acclaimed chef, author and culinary humanitarian Kausar Ahmed. The evening at a private home in Santa Monica will kick off with a Champagne and hors d’oeuvres reception, followed by a special cooking demonstration by Kausar.

Guests will enjoy a sumptuous four-course The Karachi Kitchen dinner prepared by Kausar and C-CAP students and alumni that will feature both classic and contemporary flavors of her native Pakistan, paired with premium wine and craft beers to complement the courses. Each guest will receive a signed copy of her new book The Karachi Kitchen to take home as a memento of the special evening.

100 per cent of the $175 ticket price goes to C-CAP to support their programming. Limited to 18 guests.

Chef Kausar is our guest.

 

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Show 255, January 6, 2018: Executive Chef Brendan Collins, The Wilshire, Santa Monica

Brendan CollinsWe last spoke with Chef Brendan Collins when he was running the underappreciated Birch located on a side street just off Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood. He is now back on the Westside creating the rejuvenated menu at The Wilshire Restaurant in Santa Monica. Guests have already noticed the new energy there along with the refreshed commitment to service.

The transition is complete. The entire menu for lunch and dinner now represents Chef Brendan’s creations. The Roast has moved there too, from Noon to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.

“At Wilshire our menu has been developed by acclaimed Chef Brendan Collins around local, organic and seasonal ingredients taking advantage of our uniquely rich and diverse farmers’ markets. Dishes originate from a fusion of American and International influences presented in a simple and accessible style. We call this “New Urban Cuisine”, reflecting the modern sensibilities of supporting sustainable farming, enjoying sophisticated and excellent food, and gathering in a beautiful but casual atmosphere.”

“Wilshire is a neighborhood restaurant. We pride ourselves on friendly and attentive service, and look forward to welcoming you for lunch, dinner, or a cocktail sometime soon.”

Wilshire Happy Hour is in full swing from 3pm-7pm M-F and 5-8pm Saturdays. To cap off those long work weeks, the restaurant is serving $4-5 beers, $7-8 cocktails, $5-6 wine and a delicious array of bar bites starting at $6.

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Show 231, July 8, 2017: The 4th Annual Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure, Santa Monica

Garagiste FestivalThe 4th Annual Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure returns to a new location in Santa Monica on Saturday, July 15th. The venue is a couple of doors up from a big City of Santa Monica parking structure and a short walk from the Expo Line. Festival is known for shining a light on hard-to-find, high quality, micro-production commercial winemakers.

Celebrating its fourth anniversary in Los Angeles, the festival features 50 micro-production, craft wineries from across California – including Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez and SLO counties; Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Livermore, and Paso Robles, of course – and is the only wine event on the Los Angeles calendar to exclusively feature high quality, hand-crafted wines from commercial California ‘garagiste’ winemakers.

“The great thing about our Urban Exposure festival is that Angelenos can discover these hard-to-find wineries, taste hundreds of their wines, and meet the winemakers all under one roof — for less than the cost of gas for a trip to wine country,” said Doug Minnick, Co-Founder of The Garagiste Festival. “Besides, the majority of these under-the-radar wineries do not have tasting rooms, are not on “wine country” maps, and are very difficult to find. But we bring them all together for our guests to discover at the Garagiste Festival. There’s nothing else like it.”

Garagiste co-founder, Doug Minnick, is with us to pull the cork on this year’s festivities.

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Show 226, June 3, 2017: Bella Lantsman, General Manager & Partner, Chinois on Main, Santa Monica

Belle LantsmanLongevity for a restaurant in the highly competitive Los Angeles restaurant arena isn’t an easy thing. Celebrity Chef Wolfgang Pucks 2nd fine-dining restaurant in the Los Angeles area after Spago was Chinois on Main in Santa Monica. It launched in 1983 and is still a landmark dining destination in Santa Monica that consistently delivers with memorable food and polished service. Many of the professional servers have, unusually, been there for years.

Chinois on Main boldly combines Chinese tradition and fresh California ingredients with contemporary French techniques. The restaurant pioneered Asian fusion cuisine in the United States. Today, Chinois remains a culinary icon with its timeless interior design by (Partner) Barbara Lazaroff, an open kitchen, full-service bar, and extensive (and expertly crafted) wine list.

The Executive Chef is Rene Mata. He started at Chinois on Main as a line cook in 1987.

GM & Partner Bella Lantsman has, extraordinarily, been there since almost the beginning. We’ll meet her.

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Show 226, June 3, 2017: Bella Lantsman, General Manager & Partner, Chinois on Main, Santa Monica Continues…

Belle LantsmanLongevity for a restaurant in the highly competitive Los Angeles restaurant arena isn’t an easy thing. Celebrity Chef Wolfgang Pucks 2nd fine-dining restaurant in the Los Angeles area after Spago was Chinois on Main in Santa Monica. It launched in 1983 and is still a landmark dining destination in Santa Monica that consistently delivers with memorable food and polished service. Many of the professional servers have, unusually, been there for years.

There is a hidden (and very exclusive) private dining room with all the amenities at Chinois accommodating up to 40 seated guests. It even has its own kitchen.

 

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Show 225, May 27, 2017: Chef & Restaurateur, Geraldine Gilliland, Santa Monica

Geraldine GilliliandLong-time Santa Monica restaurateur Chef Geraldine Gilliland is represented there on Main Street with Lula Cocina and Finn McCool’s. The Lula Cocina Cookbook has just been released in paperback. Proceeds benefit Gerri’s 501 (c) 3 animal rescue agency. We’ll meet her.

With The Lula Cocina Cookbook – My favorite Recipes, from Mexico to Malibu, chef, author and accomplished restaurateur Geraldine Gilliland takes you on a fun, easy to read tour of her favorite recipes from Mexico, all the way to her hilltop Ranch in Malibu

Learn not only her best recipes, but how to put your own spin on them to create your own signature dishes…all while helping a great cause.

Gerri doesn’t neglect her signature potent libations in the Lula book. The first chapter is “Beverages & Cocktails.” Look for the coveted recipes for The Signature “Lula” Margarita and the “Americana” variation.

“All proceeds from this book will go to benefit the non-profit, Chiquita’s Friends,” I founded that is dedicated to helping abused, neglected and abandoned dogs in and around the Southern California area. We have rescued and successfully placed over 1,000 dogs in loving homes with the help of this network of allies in the fight against animal negligence and abuse.” Geraldine Gilliland

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