Show 471, April 23, 2022: Patricia Toth, Winemaker, Planeta, Sicily, Italy Part One

Patricia Toth of Planeta

Planeta’s (Sicily, Italy) journey began at Sambuca di Sicilia, on the estate owned by the family since the 1600s. Here, three enthusiastic young Sicilians, Alessio, Francesca and Santi Planeta, under the guidance of Diego Planeta, began their winemaking venture in the mid-1980s. Subsequent years were spent matching the extraordinarily diverse Sicilian soils with both indigenous and international varieties. Planeta today encompasses six distinct wine estates in five regions across Sicily; Ulmo at Sambuca di Sicilia, Dispensa at Menfi, Dorilli at Vittoria, Buonivini at Noto, Sciara Nuova on Etna at Castiglione di Sicilia, and the newest addition, La Baronia at Capo Milazzo. Each vineyard site is carefully cultivated with grapes that best compliment the local terroir.”

“Planeta as a family and an organization is at the forefront of sustainability initiatives within Sicily.”

“Born in Hungary, Planeta Winemaker Patricia Toth grew up in the countryside. In 2004, she graduated from the University of Corvinus in Budapest with a degree in Food Science specializing in wine, beer and spirits.”

“Patricia first collaborated with Planeta during the 2005 harvest and in 2008, she officially joined the winemaking team in a full-time role as Winemaker. Today, she is responsible for the Buonivini and Dorilli Cellars, and has successfully coordinated startup for the estates on Mount Etna and Capo Milazzo. Patricia is an active a member of Planeta’s Business Intelligence Team and is also responsible for Planeta’s SOStain program, which supports regional sustainable agriculture.”

Patricia joins us from Sicily to pull the cork on all that is Planeta.

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Show 471, April 23, 2022: Patricia Toth, Winemaker, Planeta, Sicily, Italy Part Two

Patricia Toth of Planeta

Planeta’s (Sicily, Italy) journey began at Sambuca di Sicilia, on the estate owned by the family since the 1600s. Here, three enthusiastic young Sicilians, Alessio, Francesca and Santi Planeta, under the guidance of Diego Planeta, began their winemaking venture in the mid-1980s. Subsequent years were spent matching the extraordinarily diverse Sicilian soils with both indigenous and international varieties. Planeta today encompasses six distinct wine estates in five regions across Sicily; Ulmo at Sambuca di Sicilia, Dispensa at Menfi, Dorilli at Vittoria, Buonivini at Noto, Sciara Nuova on Etna at Castiglione di Sicilia, and the newest addition, La Baronia at Capo Milazzo. Each vineyard site is carefully cultivated with grapes that best compliment the local terroir.”

“Planeta as a family and an organization is at the forefront of sustainability initiatives within Sicily.”

“Born in Hungary, Planeta Winemaker Patricia Toth grew up in the countryside. In 2004, she graduated from the University of Corvinus in Budapest with a degree in Food Science specializing in wine, beer and spirits.”

“Patricia first collaborated with Planeta during the 2005 harvest and in 2008, she officially joined the winemaking team in a full-time role as Winemaker. Today, she is responsible for the Buonivini and Dorilli Cellars, and has successfully coordinated startup for the estates on Mount Etna and Capo Milazzo. Patricia is an active a member of Planeta’s Business Intelligence Team and is also responsible for Planeta’s SOStain program, which supports regional sustainable agriculture.”

A few weeks ago Patricia was on a visit to Los Angeles to present a selection of the current Planeta releases to food and wine journalists at a special lunch at Drago Centro in Downtown Los Angeles with the cuisine prepared by Chef Celestino Drago himself and with service supervised by Managing Partner (and acclaimed restaurateur) Piero Selvaggio. The Short Rib with Mushrooms and Barley course was tastefully paired with Planeta Eruzione 1614 Nerello Mascalese Sicilia 2018. This 100 per cent Nerello Mascalese is a person favorite Planeta selection of Piero himself.

Patricia continues with us long-distance from Sicily to pull the cork on all that is Planeta.

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Show 467, March 26, 2022: Mongibello Blood Orange Juice from Sicily

Mark Taylor of Mongibello 100 percent Blood Orange Juice

A discovery at the recent Natural Products Expo West at the Anaheim Convention Center is Mongibello 100 percent Blood Orange Juice fresh squeezed and packed in Italy. The Blood Oranges are from the Tarocco, Moro and Sanguinello varieties grown at the foot of the Mt. Etna volcano in the rich volcanic soil of Sicily.

It’s rich in antioxidants with only 80 calories per 8oz.

Mark Taylor, the US Import Agent for Mongibello, joins us with all the squeeze on Mongibello 100 percent Blood Orange Juice from Sicily.

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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 227, June 10, 2017: Sciabica’s California Olive Oil, Modesto

Sciabica's California Olive OilSciabica’s California Olive Oil has been cold pressed in California since 1936. The olive oil is used in the kitchens at Pechanga and Sciabica’s, now in its 4th generation of Family ownership, is part of the Microbrew Festival.

“The Sciabica family’s long tradition of olive oil production began in Sicily, in the olive oil mills of Castelvetrano in the province of Trapani – a region famous for olives and olive oil. In 1887 Nicola (Nick) Sciabica was born in Marsala, Sicily and as a young man, he learned the ancient art of producing olive oil in Trapani.”

“In 1911 Nicola immigrated to the United States, settled and started a family in Waterbury Connecticut, but longed for the warm Mediterranean climate. After many years of searching, he eventually found Modesto, California. He fell in love with Modesto. Nicola said, “This is like home.” and in 1925, with his wife and their 3 sons, he purchased a small ranch in Modesto.”

“11 years later, in 1936, with the knowledge that Nicola brought from olive oil making in Sicily, the Sciabicas began cold-pressing Marsala® Brand Olive Oil (named after his birthplace). Marsala is now the undisputed oldest continuously produced California Olive Oil. Today, the Sciabicas still reside, farm and cold-press olive oil on the same property.”

“In the late 80’s the family pioneered “single varietal” olive oils, keeping individual olive types separate (just like wine). For over 30 years we have been offering our single varietal olive oils under the Sciabica’s® label, ranging from Buttery-Sweet to Peppery & Robust, depending on the olive varietal and season of pressing. In the 90’s the family again blazed a new path with ‘Fresh Flavored’ olive oil, uniquely made fresh in the press by sending fresh fruit, herbs or peppers (such as Lemons, Basil and Jalapeños) with the olives through the presses. 2 ingredients, no artificials or heat infusion, resulting in a remarkable fresh flavor and health experience.”

Jim Livesay is our guest representing Sciabica’s California Olive Oil.

 

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Show 223, May 13, 2017: Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio, Valentino Santa Monica continues…

Piero Salvaggio of Valentino Santa MonicaValentino, the renowned Santa Monica restaurant by noted Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio that has defined Italian fine dining since its opening in 1972, is hosting a Wine Spectacular Series in May with four dinners (2 remaining on May 19th and 26th) curated by Selvaggio and James Beard Foundation award-winning chef Luciano Pellegrini, who recently returned as the restaurant’s Executive Consulting Chef.

The upcoming wine dinner for Sicily is priced at $99 per guest, $55 for wine pairings. The Cal-Italian finale can be reserved with a ten-guest minimum and is priced at $499 per guest, all-inclusive of menus, wines, taxes and gratuity.

Reservations are required and can be made by calling Valentino at 310.849.4313 or email Giuseppe Mollica at giuseppe@valentinosantamonica.com.

Piero also graciously suggests that you can e-mail him directly @ welovewines@aol.com for reservations or more information.

Complete menus can be viewed here –>

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Show 167, April 9, 2016: Chef Michael Puglisi, Electric City Butcher, 4th Street Market, Santa Ana

Michael PuglisiChef Michael Puglisi (ex-Bouchon Beverly Hills) is the Electric City Butcher at the 4th Street Market in Santa Ana. He was greatly influenced by a cousin in Sicily who has a popular, neighborhood butcher shop there. Chef Michael is a custom, whole animal, artisan butcher. We’ll meet him.

From Michael Puglisi:
“Electric City Butcher is built upon relationships – our relationship to you, our relationship to sustainable farmers and humanely raised animals, and your relationship to the food that you serve to your friends and family. ECB is modeled after our family’s shop in Sicily, where guests arrive with an idea of what they’d like, have a conversation with the butcher and leave with freshly prepared cuts. We take the time to offer personalized service and the highest quality products, because we believe that it matters what we serve to our family and we believe that you will taste the difference.”

In the neatly ordered shop just about everything is house-made except the prosciutto de Parma which is imported from Italy. In-house they prepare and cure salumi, sausages and create wonderful charcuterie platters. It’s all about the throwback, personal service and butchers who come from a serious culinary background.

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Show 134, August 8, 2015: Sal Maniaci, Proprietor, Pizzeria Sapori, Newport Beach

Sal ManiaciThe very hands-on Sal Maniaci has presided over Sapori Ristorante in Newport Beach for over 25 years. There is a lot to be said for longevity in a very tough market.

He had a good pizza on the menu but wasn’t quite satisfied with it. Using his Italian roots (he’s from Sicily) for inspiration he researched wood-fired Neapolitan pizza and the result is Pizzeria Sapori adjacent to Sapori Ristorante. It features, of course, traditional Italian Neapolitan-style pizza baked in a wood-fired oven imported from Naples.

What truly sets Pizzeria Sapori apart from others is the science behind the pizza dough. Sal and his team use a “mother” dough from a strain of yeast that is 80 years old. It is incorporated into each and every batch of dough, which they allow to mature for 72 hours. The result is a far superior crust – one that is soft yet crispy, thin but slightly chewy.

You’ll hear from Sal himself what an incredible process making the dough is!

 

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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 65, March 15, 2014: Chef Michael Puglisi, Proprietor, Electric City Butcher Shop

Michael PuglisiMembers of Chef Michael Puglisi’s immediate family in Sicily are well-known Old World artisan butchers. Starting this summer Chef Puglisi will be using those skills at his own Electric City Butcher Shop which is a major component of Santa Ana’s much –anticipated (and talked about) 4th Street Market Food & Culinary emporium. Puglisi was previously the sous chef of Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Beverly Hills.

While the build-out of 4th Street Market is going on Chef Puglisi will be honing his hand-made sausage making skills at the just opened Picnik in Old Town Pasadena in partnership with Chef Eduardo Ruiz of Corazon y Miel in Bell. Old World sausage-making traditions will be used. Every gourmet sausage served will be twisted and cased by hand.

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