Show 122, May 16, 2015: Executive Chef Deborah Schneider, SOL Mexican Cocina and solita Tacos & Margaritas

Deborah SchneiderExecutive Chef Deborah Schneider’s new cookbook is Salsas and Moles – Fresh and Authentic Recipes for Pico de Gallo, Mole Poblano, Chimichurri, Guacamole, and More. Dubbed “the reigning queen of San Diego chefs” by Bon Appetit, Chef Schneider brings three decades of professional cooking experience and deep knowledge of Mexican cuisine to Salsa and Moles.

“It can be argued that salsa has surpassed ketchup as America’s favorite condiment, and my latest book, Salsa and Moles, presents authentic salsa and mole recipes that showcase the unique flavors of Mexico and beyond,” says Chef Schneider, who is a James Beard Award-nominated cookbook author. “We make more than 20 salsas fresh daily in our kitchen.”

Chef Deborah is the executive chef/partner of SOL Cocina in Newport Beach and Scottsdale, Arizona (and soon to be in Playa Vista), and solita in Huntington Beach and Santa Clarita. Chef Deb is our guest talking about America’s new favorite condiment, salsa.

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Show 98, November 22, 2014: Executive Chef Deborah Schneider, solita Tacos & Margaritas

Deborah SchneiderWhen it comes to the flavors and preparations of the authentic foods of Baja California our local expert is Chef Deborah Schneider. To keep current she now orchestrates an annual cooking research trip to different interior States in Mexico. Back in 2006 Chef Deb wrote Baja! Cooking on the Edge which is still in print and greatly admired.

Her two successful restaurant concepts are SOL Mexican Cocina (Newport Beach and Scottsdale) and solita Tacos and Margaritas (Huntington Beach and Valencia.) The Valencia solita opened this week for dinner in the Westfield Valencia Town Center.

“Solita is a simple, sophisticated neighborhood Mexican restaurant built around a custom oak-fired Santa Maria-style grill, inspired by Chef Deb’s travels through Baja California and Mexico. Solita’s Mexico is fresh and delicious, simple and light. It’s made from scratch, often carrying a whiff of smoky flavor from the wood grill, full of flavor from fresh salsas, corn tortillas, dry and fresh chiles, crushed herbs, fruit and spices, mole sauces and cheeses…”

Chef Deb is our guest.

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Show 72, May 17, 2014: Executive Chef Deborah Schneider, Partner, SOL Cocina, solita and cookbook author

Deborah SchneiderChef Deborah Schneider brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role as Executive Chef and Partner of Mexican restaurants SOL Cocina (Newport Beach & Scottsdale, AZ) and solita (Huntington Beach, CA) Schneider draws upon her rich culinary background and more than 25 years of professional cooking experience to bring the superb tastes and relaxing beach vibe of the Baja Peninsula.

Schneider’s passion for Baja was stoked by countless surf trips down the Peninsula. There, at small street stands and on pristine beaches, she discovered flavorful, healthy cuisine, rich with fresh seafood and inventive preparations that are at the heart of her restaurants.

Chef Deb has just released a second edition of her critically acclaimed first cookbook, Baja! Cooking on the Edge. It features a mixture of authentic recipes and Chef Deb’s own Baja-inspired dishes.

Baja! features more than 150 easy-to-follow recipes, peppered with fantastic stories and images that are as vibrant in color as the dishes are in flavor. Chef Deb explores these different cultural influences of Baja street food – everything from the classic Fish Tacos and Seafood Cocktels, to a wide range of inspired meat-based tacos – chicken, pork, chorizo – and fresh salsas. The uniquely Baja recipes featured includes delights like Clams in Tequila Butter, One-Pan Paella, Garlic Cilantro Steak and Chocolate-Jalapeno Truffles.

Chef Deb shares the two essential hints for preparing authentic Baja Fish Tacos.

Sol is soon coming to Playa Vista and solita will launch later this year in Santa Clarita.

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May 17: Old Vine Café, Truck U Barbecue, Ruth Reichl, Sheerwater, Deborah Schneider, District Wine, Kedric Francis

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Owner / Chef Mark McDonald, Old Vine Café, The Camp in Costa Mesa
Segment Three: Chef Mike Minor of the Truck-U Barbeque rolling grill, Las Vegas
Segment Four: Ruth Reichl, New York Times bestselling author and long-time Editor of Gourmet Magazine
Segment Five: Charles “Chuck” Watson, Chef de Cuisine, Sheerwater, Hotel del Coronado, Coronado, CA
Segment Six: Executive Chef Deborah Schneider, Partner, SOL Cocina, solita and cookbook author
Segment Seven: Mark Dunton, Proprietor, District Wine, Long Beach
Segment Eight: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor, The Orange County Register Magazine, Coast Orange County Magazine

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

The Old Vine Café, now in its 6th year, is a real crowd-pleaser at The Camp in Costa Mesa. Owner/Chef Mark McDonald gives us the background.

When we last visited Las Vegas Chef Mike Minor (ex-Executive Chef at Border Grill) he was just about to launch his TruckU Barbeque there. Now that his rolling grill is on the road and serving guests we’ll get the saucy update…

After you’ve been the esteemed and high-profile editor of Gourmet Magazine and, prior to that, the powerful & influential restaurant critic of The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times what’s next? In the case of our guest, Ruth Reichl, you pen your first novel.

The Hotel Del Coronado is California’s premier, classic beachfront hotel dating back to 1888. It represents the pinnacle of luxury from another age. One of their casual restaurants, with an incredible ocean view, is Sheerwater. We’ll meet the chef.

Executive Chef Deborah Schneider of SOL Cocina and solita Tacos & Margaritas in Huntington Beach is a well-traveled authority on the foods of Baja. Her first cookbook Baja! Cooking on the Edge is now out in a 2nd edition.

What’s special about District Wine in Downtown Long Beach? Meet the personable proprietors Mark and Angela Dunton and you’ll know.

Our debonair, roving food and travel correspondent based in the OC, Kedric Francis, checks-in. He’s the Executive Editor of both The Orange County Register Magazine and Coast Orange County Magazine. He’s updating us on the new food market halls arriving in the OC.

All of this and lots more absolutely incredible deliciousness on Saturday’s show!

Mark McDonald of the Old Vine CafeSome six years ago owner/chef Mark McDonald opened the Old Vine Café hidden in The Camp in Costa Mesa. Unusually for a fine-dining establishment he serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Chef Mark also has a serious wine program with a fun, educational component.

It’s top quality cuisine and wine in a non-pretentious, casual atmosphere. Mark did a lot of cooking in Southern Italy and that’s reflected on the seasonally changing menu.

Chef Mark really wants his guests to enjoy, and sample, new wines. His “6 for $60” wine program encourages this.

He also leads annual escorted tours to Italy in association with The Italian Culinary Institute. His next “Splendors of South Italy” tour (Calabria and Sicily) is set for March 20 to 29, 2015.

Mike Minor of Truck U Barbecue in Las VegasWhen we last visited Las Vegas Chef Mike Minor (ex-Executive Chef at Border Grill) he was just about to launch his Truck-U Barbeque there. Now that the rolling grill is on the road and serving guests we’ll get the meaty update…

The truck itself was designed by HGTV star Luca Paganico.

Chef Mike calls it “meat candy on wheels.” It’s “urban hipster” barbecue. The food is Mexican with a Southern twist.

Look for the Short Rib Enchiladas and the Chipotle Fried Chicken. How about Maple Bacon Churros…???

Ruth ReichlAfter you’ve been the esteemed editor of Gourmet Magazine and, prior to that, the powerful & influential restaurant critic of The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times what’s next? In the case of our guest, Ruth Reichl, you pen your first novel. It’s Delicious! – A Novel.

“Ruth Reichl is a born storyteller. Through her restaurant reviews, where she celebrated the pleasures of a well-made meal, and her bestselling memoirs that address our universal feelings of love and loss, Reichl has achieved a special place in the hearts of hundreds of thousands of readers. Now, with this magical debut novel, she has created a sumptuous, wholly realized world that will enchant you.

Billie Breslin has traveled far from her home in California to take a job at Delicious!, New York’s most iconic food magazine. Away from her family, particularly her older sister, Genie, Billie feels like a fish out of water—until she is welcomed by the magazine’s colorful staff. She is also seduced by the vibrant downtown food scene, especially by Fontanari’s, the famous Italian food shop where she works on weekends. Then Delicious! is abruptly shut down, but Billie agrees to stay on in the empty office, maintaining the hotline for reader complaints in order to pay her bills.

To Billie’s surprise, the lonely job becomes the portal to a miraculous discovery. In a hidden room in the magazine’s library, Billie finds a cache of letters written during World War II by Lulu Swan, a plucky twelve-year-old, to the legendary chef James Beard. Lulu’s letters provide Billie with a richer understanding of history, and a feeling of deep connection to the young writer whose courage in the face of hardship inspires Billie to comes to terms with her fears, her big sister and her ability to open her heart to love.”

Sheerwater Restaurant at the Hotel Del CoronadoThe Hotel Del Coronado is California’s premier, classic beachfront hotel dating back to 1888. It represents the pinnacle of luxury from another age.

One of their casual restaurants, with an incredible ocean view, is Sheerwater. The Chef de Cuisine there is Charles “Chuck” Watson.

They pride themselves on using fresh, local, sustainable seafood where possible. Think Mexican prawns and Baja scallops for starters.

All of the fish trimmings at this high volume establishment contribute to the house-specialty cioppino.

Chef Chuck is the culinary liaison at the Del for the SEA + FOOD event on Saturday afternoon, June 7th on the Windsor Lawn. It’s a one-day Pacific coast food festival to remember with delicious local seafood, BBQ from the Lil’ Del BBQ, and libations including craft beers, wines and spirits. Live retro rhythm and blues music, too.

The Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation to benefit childhood cancer research is the charitable beneficiary.

$100 admission includes tax, gratuities and parking. Adults only, please.

Deborah SchneiderChef Deborah Schneider brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role as Executive Chef and Partner of Mexican restaurants SOL Cocina (Newport Beach & Scottsdale, AZ) and solita (Huntington Beach & soon Valencia) Schneider draws upon her rich culinary background and more than 25 years of professional cooking experience to bring the superb tastes and relaxing beach vibe of the Baja Peninsula.

Schneider’s passion for Baja was stoked by countless surf trips down the Peninsula. There, at small street stands and on pristine beaches, she discovered flavorful, healthy cuisine, rich with fresh seafood and inventive preparations that are at the heart of her restaurants.

Chef Deb has just released a second edition of her critically acclaimed first cookbook, Baja! Cooking on the Edge. It features a mixture of authentic recipes and Chef Deb’s own Baja-inspired dishes. This is the book that drew Chef Deb’s (now) restaurant partners to her for the SOL Cocina project.

Baja! features more than 150 easy-to-follow recipes, peppered with fantastic stories and images that are as vibrant in color as the dishes are in flavor. Chef Deb explores these different cultural influences of Baja street food – everything from the classic Fish Tacos and Seafood Cocktels, to a wide range of inspired meat-based tacos – chicken, pork, chorizo – and fresh salsas. The uniquely Baja recipes featured includes delights like Clams in Tequila Butter, One-Pan Paella, Garlic Cilantro Steak and Chocolate-Jalapeno Truffles.

Seasoned travel journalist and wine and food writer Linda Kissam knows what makes for a good wine bar…

Angela and Mark Dutton of District WineWhat makes a great wine bar? Before I put my dollars down, I like to look inside and make sure there are really plenty of interesting bottles of wine that appear to be available by the glass and small plates of food that complement the wine promising a special evening. A good wine bar isn’t just a bar with some wine. It specializes in wine. I like a place where the owner takes a real interest in making my wine time a memorable experience.”

District Wine in Downtown Long Beach is such an establishment. They just celebrated their 4th anniversary. Angela & Mark Dunton are the welcoming proprietors.

As Linda confidently observes, “These guys know their stuff.”

Kedric Francis of Coast Magazine and the Orange County Register MagazineOur always debonair, roving food and travel correspondent in the OC, Kedric Francis, checks-in. He’s the Executive Editor of both The Orange County Register Magazine and Coast Orange County Magazine. He’s updating us on the new food market halls arriving in the OC.

Kedric will update us on the progress of the soon-to-be 4th Street Market in Downtown Santa Ana and The Anaheim Packing District. (That includes The Packard Showroom, Farmers Park, and Packing House.)

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Owner / Chef Mark McDonald, Old Vine Café, The Camp in Costa Mesa
Segment Three: Chef Mike Minor of the Truck-U Barbeque rolling grill, Las Vegas
Segment Four: Ruth Reichl, New York Times bestselling author and long-time Editor of Gourmet Magazine
Segment Five: Charles “Chuck” Watson, Chef de Cuisine, Sheerwater, Hotel del Coronado, Coronado, CA
Segment Six: Executive Chef Deborah Schneider, Partner, SOL Cocina, solita and cookbook author
Segment Seven: Mark Dunton, Proprietor, District Wine, Long Beach
Segment Eight: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor, The Orange County Register Magazine, Coast Orange County Magazine

Show 54, December 28, 2013: Deborah Schneider, Executive Chef & Partner, solita tacos & margaritas

Deborah SchneiderExecutive Chef Deborah Schneider is the acclaimed author of five well-received cookbooks (a sixth is on the way) and a partner in the highly regarded SOL Mexican Cocina on the Bay in Newport Beach (and in Scottsdale.) Over the years she has become the go-to authority on the cuisine and libations of Baja California and, more recently, other culinary regions of Mexico. One of her specialties is the tasty street food of Baja. Do I hear Street Tacos?

Newly opened this week is Chef Deb’s latest venture, solita tacos & margaritas, facing a pocket park and fountain in Huntington Beach’s Bella Terra Center. It’s a neighborhood-casual Mexican spot with an authentic food experience representing the most appreciated culinary aspects from the coast of Baja and other culinary regions of Mexico Chef Deb has visited and researched extensively.

“What makes solita so unique is that we incorporated a wood grill like so many we have enjoyed in Mexico, and created a menu around it that offers fresh, simple preparations made with seasonal ingredients,” explains Chef Deb.

The bar takes an equally fresh approach to traditional Mexican libations. All margaritas are made with 100 per cent blue agave tequilas and the fruit used is all fresh. The only sweetener in the beverages is agave.

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December 28: Top Food Trends for 2014, Solita Tacos and Margaritas, Yamashiro, Brock Radke, The Winery

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Deborah Schneider, Executive Chef & Partner, solita tacos & margaritas
Segment Three: Brock Kleweno, General Manager & Executive Chef, Yamashiro Hollywood Part One
Segment Four: Brock Kleweno, General Manager & Executive Chef, Yamashiro Hollywood Part Two
Segment Five: Brock Radke, Food Editor, Las Vegas Weekly
Segment Six: Food Trends for 2014 Part One
Segment Seven: Food Trends for 2014 Part Two
Segment Eight: JC Clow, Managing Partner, The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar

Good news…No long lines and absolutely nothing to take back on this Saturday’s show. It’s just incredibly tasty entertainment for the ears with the usual assortment of great guests.

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show. This week we’re taking a look back and also looking forward to 2014. Hollywood, millions of redevelopment dollars later, is again a dining and entertainment hot spot and we’re chatting with the energetic Executive Chef of the historic Yamashiro about what’s new on the menu there. Our ultimate Las Vegas insider, Brock Radke, is with us talking about his favorite new restaurants of the year. What’s trending in food for 2014? Chef Jet and Producer Andy share their revealing thoughts.

Happy New Year to all and wishing our loyal listeners all the very best in dining adventures in 2014! Get out there…

Deborah SchneiderExecutive Chef Deborah Schneider is the acclaimed author of five well-received cookbooks (a sixth is on the way) and a partner in the highly regarded SOL Mexican Cocina on the Bay in Newport Beach (and in Scottsdale.) Over the years she has become the go-to authority on the cuisine and libations of Baja California and, more recently, other culinary regions of Mexico. One of her specialties is the tasty street food of Baja. Do I hear Street Tacos?

Newly opened this week is Chef Deb’s latest venture, solita tacos & margaritas, facing a pocket park and fountain in Huntington Beach’s Bella Terra Center. It’s a neighborhood-casual Mexican spot with an authentic food experience representing the most appreciated culinary aspects from the coast of Baja and other culinary regions of Mexico Chef Deb has visited and researched extensively.

“What makes solita so unique is that we incorporated a wood grill like so many we have enjoyed in Mexico, and created a menu around it that offers fresh, simple preparations made with seasonal ingredients,” explains Chef Deb.

The bar takes an equally fresh approach to traditional Mexican libations. All margaritas are made with 100 per cent blue agave tequilas and the fruit used is all fresh. The only sweetener in the beverages is agave.

A Hollywood landmark, Yamashiro, celebrates their 100th birthday in 2014. If you haven’t been there in awhile it’s time to perhaps take another look.

Brock Kleweno of YamashiroBrock Kleweno, the energetic Executive Chef and General Manager, joins us to talk about the rich history of the spot and the new commitment to fine dining in a relaxed atmosphere. There is lots more than fresh sushi to merit your attention here.

If you think Yamashiro Hollywood is the spot to just take out-of-town guests for a classic cocktail and the view you may just want to change your opinion after listening to Chef Brock.

Chef Brock personally does a lot of sourcing of his menu ingredients at the area Farmers Markets and actually operates a nighttime Farmers Market @ Yamashiro. May will mark their 5th year of hosting a Farmers Market there on Thursday evenings which has become quite a popular destination on its own drawing some 800 to 1,000 guests each Thursday night during the season.

One of Chef Brock’s signatures dishes is a Wagyu beef steak cooked at a very high temperature on a salt rock and presented with flair at the table. It finishes cooking at the table. Other standouts are the ceviche prepared with local sustainable fish and his take on Hawaiian poke.

They are also serious about the bar at Yamashiro. They prepare all the classic cocktails with style plus contemporary libations. They have some fun with the Manhattan as well as a fresh take on the Mai Tai (which was originally created in California.) They also do a standout version of the classic Moscow Mule served in the proper chilled copper mug which actually originated in Hollywood!

Brock Radke of Las Vegas WeeklyIf you’re looking for action New Year’s Eve then Las Vegas is always a festive party with real fireworks. Our insider in Las Vegas, Brock Radke, joins us to talk about the newly launched Container Park development in Downtown (with unusual shops and restaurants) along with a couple of suggestions for great New Year’s Eve dining. Brock is the Food Editor for Las Vegas Weekly.

Catch Brock’s special year-end column in Las Vegas Weekly on-line naming his 13 best new restaurants in Las Vegas for 2013. The intriguing selections are both on and off The Strip!

Chef Jet Tila host of the SoCal Restaurant ShowThinking about Food Trends for 2014 ? We have…Just for fun Chef Jet and Producer Andy have put together their lists of Top Trends in Food for the New Year.

Each developed their list without consulting the other. Also the items will not be discussed between Chef Jet and Producer Andy before air. That’s live radio…I’m sure there will be a few surprises.

 

 

 

JC Clow of the Winery Restaurant and BarJC Clow is the standout Managing Partner of The Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar in the District in Tustin. 2014 will mark their 7th year of operation.

The Orange County Concierge Association has just awarded them the distinction of “Restaurant of the Year.” The news is actually more significant than that. This is the 3rd time in six years that this prestigious award has been earned by them ! That’s a wow.

If you’re looking for a non-stuffy, sophisticated and elegant New Year’s Eve celebration The Winery has two seatings that are reasonably priced and designed for the comfort of the guests. The Winery’s goal on New Year’s eve is never to pack the house!

The second seating is a four course menu from Chef Yvon, live entertainment and party favors.

JC caps 2013 off by updating us on the new Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar coming to Newport Beach by Valentine’s Day in 2014. It’s right on the Bay.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Deborah Schneider, Executive Chef & Partner, solita tacos & margaritas
Segment Three: Brock Kleweno, General Manager & Executive Chef, Yamashiro Hollywood Part One
Segment Four: Brock Kleweno, General Manager & Executive Chef, Yamashiro Hollywood Part Two
Segment Five: Brock Radke, Food Editor, Las Vegas Weekly
Segment Six: Food Trends for 2014 Part One
Segment Seven: Food Trends for 2014 Part Two
Segment Eight: JC Clow, Managing Partner, The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar

Show 53, December 21, 2013: Executive Chef Brian Malarkey of Enlightened Hospitality Group, San Diego

Brian MalarkeyYou know Chef Brian Malarkey from “Top Chef: Season 3, Miami” on Bravo and Season 1 of ABC’s “The Taste.” In real life he’s also a highly successful restaurateur in San Diego (and Scottsdale and Austin) with major financial backing.

In a bold move he’s bringing an expanded Herringbone (La Jolla) to The Mondrian on the fabled Sunset Strip in January. After a major gut-rehab it’s replacing the pricey Asia de Cuba at this hip & happening boutique luxury hotel. The panoramic 180 degree view from the restaurant toward the coast, now improved, is pretty spectacular. He’s responsible for all foodservice at The Hotel including in-room dining and functions.

The food is Herringbone’s own “Fish Meats Field” cuisine. A favorite is Pork Belly with wood roasted sunchokes, manila clams, and calvados and green apple jus.

A signature wood-burning oven is being added to the totally revamped kitchen.

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December 21: Troy Johnson, Got Kosher, Aaron Fry, Susan Feniger, Brian Malarkey, Brian Malarkey,

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Troy Johnson, Editor-at-Large & Food Critic of San Diego Magazine Part One
Segment Three: Troy Johnson, Editor-at-Large & Food Critic of San Diego Magazine Part Two
Segment Four: Alain Cohen of Got Kosher Café & Bakery, Los Angeles
Segment Five: Aaron Fry, Honeymoon Dining in Maui
Segment Six: Celebrity Chef Susan Feniger of The Border Grills and Mud Hen Tavern
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Brian Malarkey of Enlightened Hospitality Group, San Diego Part One
Segment Eight: Executive Chef Brian Malarkey of Enlightened Hospitality Group, San Diego Part Two

Update on the benefit at The Church Key on Sunday, December 8th to aid the unfortunate victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. The evening raised $10,000 which will get into the proper hands to support the relief effort. This event came together very quickly so kudos to all involved!

What's Cooking with Jet Tila and Travis RodgersThanks for all the supportive words about “What’s Cooking with Travis and Chef Jet Tila” heard just after 7:50 a.m. on Friday morning on AM 830 KLAA as part of “The Travis Rodgers Show.” Travis is taking a well-earned Holiday break. The segment will return just after 7:50 a.m. on Friday, January 4th. The previous features are all available for your listening pleasure within the “Media” area of the “SoCal Restaurant Show” Website.

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show. This week we’re sending the well-deserved love to our listeners in San Diego. Troy Johnson, the Restaurant Editor of San Diego Magazine is with us to share what’s new in San Diego. We’ll also talk with “Top Chef” alum Brian Malarkey of Enlightened Hospitality. He’s bringing one of his successful San Diego restaurant concepts to the Sunset Strip.

Troy JohnsonTroy Johnson, the Food Editor of San Diego Magazine, represents the new breed of youthful restaurant journalists with a point-of-view. It’s, fortunately, not an elitist approach and Troy aims to make restaurant-going accessible for all.

You perhaps remember him on Food TV from his Cooking Channel series, “Crave.” He’s also one of the regular judges on Food Network’s new Sunday evening “Guy’s (Fieri) Grocery Games.”

There is a lot happening on the San Diego restaurant scene. The big noise is that chef and restaurateur Richard Blais is leaving his base in Atlanta to open Juniper & Ivy in the Little Italy area of San Diego. It will seat 200 when open so this is an ambitious project! Chef Blais is probably best known nationally for his multiple seasons on Bravo’s “Top Chef.”

Celebrity Chef Brian Malarkey (of Bravo’s “Top Chef” & ABC’s “The Taste”,) a multiple concept restaurant operator in San Diego, is bringing his Herringbone concept to The Mondrian Hotel on The Sunset Strip in West Hollywood in early 2014. Troy talks about Chef Brian’s history in San Diego and what his establishments are all about. The original Herringbone is in La Jolla.

The Headquarters, a new development in Downtown San Diego with destination restaurants is creating a lot of attention. Nancy Silverton’s Pizzeria Mozza from Hollywood is one on the anchor tenants there already attracting lots of buzz. It’s the former Police Department Headquarters and there is even an original cell preserved for visitors to see.

Avant Restaurant in San DiegoAfter a long run (opened in 1968) as a high-end destination restaurant of celebration El Bizcocho at the Rancho Bernardo Inn has been reborn as the more contemporary Avant. San Diego star chef Gavin Kaysen was an alum of El Bizcocho. He’s now overseeing all the Café Bouluds for Daniel Boulud in New York!

Troy notes that the Hatch Design Group worked on a $2.5 million budget to create the new space. “The mercy killing of El Bizcocho clears the way for a new era at Avant” is the title of Troy’s recent review in San Diego Magazine.

If you think Tunisian fare is the same as the foods of Morocco then you perhaps need a refresher course. No eating with the fingers or belly dancers here. It’s actually more Mediterranean and North African fare.

Alain Cohen of Got Kosher Cafe and BakeryAlain Cohen of Got Kosher Café & Bakery located in Los Angeles Borscht Belt on Pico Blvd. joins us to give a quick education. Don’t let the “Kosher” part or the name scare you. The Jews were in Tunisia before Muhammad or the rise of Islam.

The tasty Merguez sausage with harissa appetizer is house-made.

One of Got Kosher’s specialties is “Shwar-guez.” It’s their take on schwarma. It’s ground beef seasoned with their merguez sausage spices and grilled on a schwarma pit.

Tunisian Couscous is also a popular specialty. The versions are Couscous au Poulet, Couscous Masson (with braised beef and beef meatballs,) Couscous Royal ( with chicken, beef, lamb brochettes and merguez,) and Vegetarian Couscous.

They also house-bake some incredible varieties of challah

It’s Christmas / New Year’s Holiday vacation time and that means a lot of 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.

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 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.

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.

Susan Feniger of Mud Hen TavernChef Susan Feniger of Border Grill and Food Network’s “Too Hot Tamales” fame is back with us to talk about the revamping of Susan Feniger’s Street in Hollywood. It’s been refurbished as the Mud Hen Tavern. The concept is more of a comfortable neighborhood bar and restaurant where regulars can come and hang out more than one time per week.

As with Street the Executive Chef and Partner is Kajsa Alger. Some of Street’s classic favorites remain on the menu including Kaya Toast. A rotating collection of sixteen craft beers is available on tap.

Susan enthusiastically recommends the Hangover Burger with a fried egg and bacon and the decadent Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding for dessert. Also there are plenty of offerings for the vegetarian-inclined.

Brian MalarkeyYou know Chef Brian Malarkey from “Top Chef: Season 3, Miami” on Bravo and Season 1 of ABC’s “The Taste.” In real life he’s also a highly successful restaurateur in San Diego (and Scottsdale and Austin) with major financial backing.

In a bold move he’s bringing an expanded Herringbone (La Jolla) to The Mondrian on the fabled Sunset Strip in January. After a major gut-rehab it’s replacing the pricey Asia de Cuba at this hip & happening boutique luxury hotel. The panoramic 180 degree view from the restaurant toward the coast, now improved, is pretty spectacular. He’s responsible for all foodservice at The Hotel including in-room dining and functions.

The food is Herringbone’s own “Fish Meats Field” cuisine. A favorite is Pork Belly with wood roasted sunchokes, manila clams, and calvados and green apple jus.

Executive Chef Brian Mararkey of Enlightened Hospitality Group encores for a second segment. His growing collection of restaurants, with a San Diego base, includes Searsucker, Herringbone (La Jolla and January opening in West Hollywood,) Gabardine, and Green Acre.

Chef Brian has cooked in Los Angeles previously. Very early in his professional career he was in the kitchen at Michel Richard’s Citrus.

Chef Brian very honestly explains how he paid his dues during his 20s and 30s before becoming the executive chef at The Oceanaire Seafood Room in San Diego. That eventually led to his casting on Bravo’s “Top Chef.” He’s surprised that so many young people graduating from culinary schools think they can just walk into being celebrities on food TV without a proper foundation.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Troy Johnson, Editor-at-Large & Food Critic of San Diego Magazine Part One
Segment Three: Troy Johnson, Editor-at-Large & Food Critic of San Diego Magazine Part Two
Segment Four: Alain Cohen of Got Kosher Café & Bakery, Los Angeles
Segment Five: Aaron Fry, Honeymoon Dining in Maui
Segment Six: Celebrity Chef Susan Feniger of The Border Grills and Mud Hen Tavern
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Brian Malarkey of Enlightened Hospitality Group, San Diego Part One
Segment Eight: Executive Chef Brian Malarkey of Enlightened Hospitality Group, San Diego Part Two