Show 453, November 27, 2021: Farley Elliott, Senior Editor, Eater LA Part One

Farley Elliott at the KLAA Studios

Farley Elliott is the always well-informed Senior Editor of Eater LA, covering the daily restaurant news beat in greater Los Angeles and, more recently, in Orange County. He’s also the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. His work appears nationally in the online, print, and digital video space. He’s also the guy from that Tiny Hamsters Eating Tiny Burritos video.

Farley joins us to discuss how restaurants are regrouping as the COVID -19 crisis mitigates and restaurants reopen with new challenges. Eater LA has also made a conscious decision to increase their coverage of the vibrant Orange County dining scene. Where is the evolving SoCal restaurant business headed? We’ll ask Farley.

Farley also provides some standout dining recommendations in the Santa Ynez Valley and discusses the revamping of the former 101 Coffee Shop in Hollywood as the Clark Street Diner and the launch of the first branch of the iconic Eastside Italian Deli in Los Feliz.

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Show 453, November 27, 2021: Farley Elliott, Senior Editor, Eater LA Part Two

Farley Elliott at the KLAA Studios

Farley Elliott is the always well-informed Senior Editor of Eater LA, covering the daily restaurant news beat in greater Los Angeles and, more recently, in Orange County. He’s also the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. His work appears nationally in the online, print, and digital video space. He’s also the guy from that Tiny Hamsters Eating Tiny Burritos video.

Farley joins us to discuss how restaurants are regrouping as the COVID -19 crisis mitigates and restaurants reopen with new challenges. Eater LA has also made a conscious decision to increase their coverage of the vibrant Orange County dining scene. Where is the evolving SoCal restaurant business headed? Farley provides his insight.

Farley also provides some standout dining recommendations in the Santa Ynez Valley and discusses the revamping of the former 101 Coffee Shop in Hollywood as the Clark Street Diner and the launch of the first branch of the iconic Eastside Italian Deli in Los Feliz.

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Show 439, August 21, 2021: Gretchen Voelcker, Winemaker, Piazza Family Wines and Winemaker / Owner Luna Hart Wines Part One

Gretchen Voelcker of Piazza Family Wines

“After falling in love with the Santa Ynez Valley, Ron and Nancy Piazza looked for a place to retreat from the city and call home for almost 30 years. They longed to have a ranch to share their love of the land with their family and friends.”

“When they found what is now called Bella Vista Vineyard in Ballard Canyon they immediately knew it was home. Living among the vines and with sweeping views of Ballard Canyon, Ron and Nancy decided to begin Piazza Family Wines in 2018. With the production facility just a short walk down a well-trodden dirt path they hand crafted the first vintage from their estate.”

Winemaker, Gretchen Voelcker (also Winemaker for her own label, Luna Hart Wines,) knows the importance of the vines and spends the entirety of the year working with esteemed Vineyard Manager, Ruben Solerzano to grow grapes that allow for natural wines to be made using minimal intervention.

“The Piazza’s officially launched the brand in November of 2020 with a range of six wines from their Bella Vista estate vineyard in Ballard Canyon and their sister vineyard Mount Carmel in Sta. Rita Hills. They are focused on honest organic farming, natural winemaking and highlighting the land through their wines.”

“The Bella Vista Vineyard is producing Grenache, Syrah, Graciano, Cabernet Sauvignon, Montepulciano and Sangiovese; while the sister vineyard, Mt. Carmel, is producing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. These wines are stunning and elegant yet racy with true varietal definition.”

“As winemaker at Piazza Family Wines, Gretchen is responsible for the entire process, from the vineyard to the barrel to the bottle. With a focus on organic fruit and ingredients, she spends more time in the vineyard than most winemakers. Her vision is to produce minimal interference wines from her favorite grapes, showcasing the fruit purely and precisely. Inspired by gifted winemakers and driven by her own independent spirit, Gretchen pays strict attention to every detail and focuses on the craft of making wine the natural way.”

Winemaker Gretchen Voelcker pulls the cork on Piazza Family Wines and Luna Hart Wines for us.r us.

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Show 439, August 21, 2021: Gretchen Voelcker, Winemaker, Piazza Family Wines and Winemaker / Owner Luna Hart Wines Part Two

Gretchen Voelcker of Piazza Family Wines

“After falling in love with the Santa Ynez Valley, Ron and Nancy Piazza looked for a place to retreat from the city and call home for almost 30 years. They longed to have a ranch to share their love of the land with their family and friends.”

“When they found what is now called Bella Vista Vineyard in Ballard Canyon they immediately knew it was home. Living among the vines and with sweeping views of Ballard Canyon, Ron and Nancy decided to begin Piazza Family Wines in 2018. With the production facility just a short walk down a well-trodden dirt path they hand crafted the first vintage from their estate.”

“The Piazza’s officially launched the brand in November of 2020 with a range of six wines from their Bella Vista estate vineyard in Ballard Canyon and their sister vineyard Mount Carmel in Sta. Rita Hills. They are focused on honest organic farming, natural winemaking and highlighting the land through their wines.”

“The Bella Vista Vineyard is producing Grenache, Syrah, Graciano, Cabernet Sauvignon, Montepulciano and Sangiovese; while the sister vineyard, Mt. Carmel, is producing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. These wines are stunning and elegant yet racy with true varietal definition.”

“As winemaker at Piazza Family Wines, Gretchen is responsible for the entire process, from the vineyard to the barrel to the bottle. With a focus on organic fruit and ingredients, she spends more time in the vineyard than most winemakers. Her vision is to produce minimal interference wines from her favorite grapes, showcasing the fruit purely and precisely. Inspired by gifted winemakers and driven by her own independent spirit, Gretchen pays strict attention to every detail and focuses on the craft of making wine the natural way.”

“Gretchen also has her own label, Luna Hart Wines, with grapes sourced from her favorite, hand-picked vineyards. It’s a boutique wine company specializing in small batch, handcrafted wines also in the Santa Ynez Valley. Gretchen crafts select wines in which she explores the techniques and nuances that continue to stoke her passion for wine.”

Winemaker Gretchen Voelcker continues with us pulling the corks on both Piazza Family Wines and Luna Hart Wines for us.

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Show 437, August 7, 2021: Thomas Birkholm, Baker, Birkholm’s Bakery & Cafe, Solvang Part One

Thomas Birkholm of Birkholm's Bakery and Cafe

Birkholm’s Bakery & Café in Solvang was founded by Carl “Cookie” Sr. and Charlotte Birkholm in 1951. 2021 celebrates the 70th Anniversary of this local institution. The Birkholms have been baking as a family and passed the recipes and techniques from generation to generation. In 1980, Carl Jr. and Elizabeth Birkholm stepped in to carry on the tradition of baking in Solvang. Carl continues to use the original Danish recipes that “Cookie” brought over from Denmark.

In 2012, son Carl “Thomas” returned to Birkholm’s and the Santa Ynez Valley with the desire to learn and continue the business like his Grandfather “FarFar” and Father had done before him. Thomas is the 3rd generation of Birkholm bakers in Solvang and with the Family he is carrying forward the proud baking tradition.

All of Birkholm’s baked goods are made from-scratch using the original recipes. They are known for their Danish All of Birkholm’s baked goods are made from-scratch using the original recipes. They are known for their Danish Butter Cookie Tubs containing nine varieties of cookies. On average they sell some 600 tubs per week. The Café serves an appealing variety of fresh salads and made-to-order sandwiches on house-baked breads. (Think Black Forest Ham with Swiss.)

Birkholm’s Bakery & Cafe on Alisal Road remains family-owned and operated in picturesque Solvang promising to provide the personal touch “old-school.” “Committed to helping our customers achieve their sweet dreams with only the best to eat.”

3rd generation baker Thomas Birkholm joins us rolling pin in hand.

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Show 437, August 7, 2021: Thomas Birkholm, Baker, Birkholm’s Bakery & Cafe, Solvang Part Two

Thomas Birkholm of Birkholm's Bakery and Cafe

Birkholm’s Bakery & Café in Solvang was founded by Carl “Cookie” Sr. and Charlotte Birkholm in 1951. 2021 celebrates the 70th Anniversary of this local institution. The Birkholms have been baking as a family and passed from generation to generation. In 1980, Carl Jr. and Elizabeth Birkholm stepped in to carry on the tradition of baking in Solvang. Carl continues to use the original Danish recipes that “Cookie” brought over from Denmark.

In 2012, son Carl “Thomas” returned to Birkholm’s and the Santa Ynez Valley with the desire to learn and continue the business like his Grandfather “FarFar” and Father had done before him. Thomas is the 3rd generation of Birkholm bakers in Solvang and with the Family he is carrying forward the proud baking tradition.

All of Birkholm’s baked goods are made from-scratch using the original recipes. They are known for their Danish All of Birkholm’s baked goods are made from-scratch using the original recipes. They are known for their Danish Butter Cookie Tubs containing nine varieties of cookies. On average they sell some 600 tubs per week. The Café serves an appealing variety of fresh salads and made-to-order sandwiches on house-baked breads. (Think Black Forest Ham with Swiss.)

Birkholm’s Bakery & Cafe on Alisal Road remains family-owned and operated in picturesque Solvang promising to provide the personal touch “old-school.” “Committed to helping our customers achieve their sweet dreams with only the best to eat.”

3rd generation baker Thomas Birkholm continues with us whisk in hand.

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Show 405, December 26, 2020: Chef Lincoln Carson of Merite Bake Shop and Coast Range Restaurant, Solvang Part One

Lincoln Carson of Bon TempsWhen we last spoke with Chef Lincoln Carson he had just launched (as Chef & Partner) the ambitious Bon Temps Los Angeles restaurant located next to the Firehouse Hotel in the Arts District adjacent to Downtown Los Angeles. Unfortunately the critically acclaimed Bon Temps was an early victim of COVID 19’s devastating impact on the dining scene in Los Angeles.

Fortunately it’s been a busy year for Chef Lincoln nonetheless. In November Lincoln launched the Merite Bake Shop in Boise, Idaho. It’s a virtual kitchen bakery located at Crave Collective under the umbrella of Crave Delivery. It’s delivery and takeout with premium breakfast pastries and decadent desserts.

Chef Lincoln, a resident of the Santa Ynez Valley, is back in California to launch the Coast Range Restaurant in Solvang. It’s a premier California costal seafood and steakhouse with a spacious patio and the Vaquero Bar (with a separate menu.) Lincoln’s partners are Chef Anthony Carron (800 Degrees and Top Round) and Chef Steven Fretz (Top Round and Church Key.) It’s a labor of love for each of the culinary participants. All are alums of the San Francisco-based Michael Mina Restaurant Group.

At Coast Range Restaurant Chef Lincoln will focus on the menu for the Lunch Café and daytime pastry program.

Chef Lincoln joins us with whisk securely in hand.

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Show 405, December 26, 2020: Chef Lincoln Carson of Merite Bake Shop and Coast Range Restaurant, Solvang Part Two

Lincoln Carson of Bon TempsWhen we last spoke with Chef Lincoln Carson he had just launched (as Chef & Partner) the ambitious Bon Temps Los Angeles restaurant located next to the Firehouse Hotel in the Arts District adjacent to Downtown Los Angeles. Unfortunately the critically acclaimed Bon Temps was an early victim of COVID 19’s devastating impact on the dining scene in Los Angeles.

Fortunately it’s been a busy year for Chef Lincoln nonetheless. In November Lincoln launched the Merite Bake Shop in Boise, Idaho. It’s a virtual kitchen bakery located at Crave Collective under the umbrella of Crave Delivery. It’s delivery and takeout with premium breakfast pastries and decadent desserts.

Chef Lincoln, a resident of the Santa Ynez Valley, is back in California to launch the Coast Range Restaurant in Solvang. It’s a premier California costal seafood and steakhouse with a spacious patio and the Vaquero Bar (with a separate menu.) Lincoln’s partners are Chef Anthony Carron (800 Degrees and Top Round) and Chef Steven Fretz (Top Round and Church Key.) It’s a labor of love for each of the culinary participants. All are alums of the San Francisco-based Michael Mina Restaurant Group.

At Coast Range Restaurant Chef Lincoln will focus on the menu for the Lunch Café and daytime pastry program.

Chef Lincoln continues with us rolling pin in hand.

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Show 363, March 7, 2020: Folded Hills, Winery, Farmstead and Ranch in Santa Ynez Valley Part One

Kim Busch of Folded Hills“In 2017, Andy and Kim Busch started a business in their 50’s which they knew nothing about. Andy, coming from a long line of beer barons, had worked not in the beverage business but rather at Grant’s Farm, the original prototype for the Busch Gardens parks started by his father, Gussie. Folded Hills Winery, Farmstead, Ranch focuses on top notch wine making rather than beer.”

“The Busch’s own Folded Hills, a working ranch, an integrated sustainable farm is located just outside of Santa Barbara in the Santa Ynez Valley. When they purchased a contiguous piece of farming property they learned that the original farmsteader had planted a pre-prohibition vineyard and made wine in the basement of his farmhouse.”

“The Busches had purchased the property to keep the land agricultural in general and organic in particular and in 2014 decided to start farming organic grapes alongside the 18 acres of organic row crops, stone fruits, and animals.”

“As they were deciding what grape varietals to plant everyone told them to “plant what they love to drink”. Andy loves beer – that was no help- although they do have a small patch of hops growing. Kim loved Pinot Noir but the terroir would not grow a quality Pinot. They settled on the Rhône varietals which they knew absolutely nothing about. Now the hillsides are rolling with grape vines of syrah, grenache, Clairette blanc, grenache blanc and marsanne.”

Tasting Rooms are located at the vineyard estate in Gaviota and on Old Coast Highway in Montecito.

Proprietress Kim Busch and General Manger Tymari Lore are our guests and gently pull the cork on the unusual story of Folded Hills Winery for us.

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Show 363, March 7, 2020: Folded Hills, Winery, Farmstead and Ranch in Santa Ynez Valley Part Two

Tymar Llore of Folded Hills“In 2017, Andy and Kim Busch started a business in their 50’s which they knew nothing about. Andy, coming from a long line of beer barons, had worked not in the beverage business but rather at Grant’s Farm, the original prototype for the Busch Gardens parks started by his father, Gussie. Folded Hills Winery, Farmstead, Ranch focuses on top notch wine making rather than beer.”

“The Busch’s own Folded Hills, a working ranch, an integrated sustainable farm is located just outside of Santa Barbara in the Santa Ynez Valley. When they purchased a contiguous piece of farming property they learned that the original farmsteader had planted a pre-prohibition vineyard and made wine in the basement of his farmhouse.”

“This is a heart project for the Busches and they wanted to bring some of their mid-West roots and family heritage to the project. Many of the wines have names that harken back to their iconic St. Louis history.”

“Their award- winning Lilly Rosé is named for six generations of Lilly’s.” From Lilly Anheuser who married Adolphus Busch in 1861, to their 3 -year old grand-daughter, Lilly. The Grant Grenache is named for the family seat in St. Louis, Grant’s Farm, which was named for Ulysses S. Grant, the original farmsteader of the that land. The August Red and August White are named for Andy’s grandfather and father, August Busch Sr. And Jr. His father, August, Jr., or Gussie, was the one who gave his father the first Clydesdale hitch to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition in 1934.

“The Busches still ponder why they decided to launch a business that they knew so little about, so late in life, after their children had left home. But it is working. Folded Hills has won many awards for the wines which are grown organically, following the biodynamic calendar. The wines are hand-crafted in small batches with minimal intervention.”

“They have no commercial additives, minimal sulfur, no residual sugar and less than 1 gram of carbs. Just as Andy’s ancestors insisted before him, quality is the Folded Hills standard. The Busches create raves for guests to their two tasting rooms (at the vineyard estate and in Montecito), and have adopted Andy’s father, Gussie’s, motto,” making friends is our business”.”

Proprietress Kim Busch and General Manger Tymari Lore continue with us expanding on the unusual story of Folded Hills Winery.

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