Show 301, December 8, 2018: Chef Brian Huskey, Tackle Box, SoCo, Costa Mesa

Brian Huskey

Chef Brian Huskey’s modest Tackle Box (Local Grub Shack,) located on the beach in Corona del Mar, is known for serving fine-dining cuisine out of a beach shack. Chef Brian has recently gone up-market with a more ambitious Tackle Box located at SoCo in Costa Mesa. It’s Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Weekend Brunch.

“Tackle Box is the epicenter of fresh honest food. As a local grub shack, we provide our community with quick, simple, and unique flavors that appeal to the masses. We are inspired by local and sustainable purveyors in delivering the best quality product. Tackle Box is an interpretation of community through food, and we are here to share our everyday catch with you.”

“Huskey is a native of Pasadena, California. After attending and studying Economics at UCLA, where he had his first job as a short order cook at The Grove, Brian moved to San Francisco to get his formal culinary education at California Culinary Academy (CCA).”

“After CCA, Brian went on a culinary journey, traveling to places as far as the Caribbean – but eventually landing back in Los Angeles.” He spent a number of years with Chef Ricardo Zarate (Rosaline.)

“Brian has been able to travel and cultivate his culinary voice by learning how to incorporate Asian, French, Peruvian and Californian influences into his food.”

Brian previously competed on BRAVO’s nationally acclaimed and Emmy-winning TV show, Top Chef Season 11: New Orleans, where he had a national audience of foodies each week to showcase his culinary talent. He cooked his way through the difficult Season to finish as the Number 5 Cheftestant.

We’ll reel Chef Brian in for an update.


Show 254, December 30, 2017: Chef Noah & Marin von Blöm, ARC Pizza House, South Coast Collection

Marin Howarth and Executive Chef Noah BlomHusband-and-wife team, Chef Noah and Marín von Blöm, have introduced ARC PIZZA HOUSE, featuring a menu of unique wood-fired pizzas, at Costa Mesa’s South Coast Collection (3321 Hyland Avenue, Suite G).

This new concept is an extension of acclaimed restaurant, ARC, and is located in the space formerly occupied by Restaurant Marin, which will be relocating to a new home on the Newport Beach Peninsula in early 2018, when the von Blöms’ DirtySexyHappiness Hospitality Group will debut a new culinary concept including a bakery and butcher shop.

Chef Noah Blöm brings his signature style to create 8 unique pizzas. Offerings range from The House Pizza Pie with housemade sausage, pepper and mushroom, and The Cheeeeseee Pizza with queso fresco, mozzarella, parmesan and goat cheeses, to the more adventurous Roasted Duck Pizza with romesco, olives and goat cheese, and the Shortrib Pizza with bleu cheese, fresno chiles, basil and parmesan.

The menu, offered from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, also features three salad offerings with a Chopped Salad with roasted chicken, Chef’s Salad with smoked salmon, and refreshing Strawberry Salad. Diners also have access to ARC’s lunch and dinner dishes.

Chef Noah and Marin are our guests.


Show 239, September 2, 2017: TasteMakers of Orange County 2.0 Benefit

Tastemakers of Orange County 2.0OCAPICA (Orange County Asian Pacific Island Community Alliance) is celebrating 20 years of community service at Tastemakers of Orange County 2.0” on the evening of September 20th at SoCo and The OC Mix in Costa Mesa.

Tastemakers of Orange County 2.0″ is a culinary event celebrating the Asian and Pacific Islander community, education, and heritage. The 2nd annual celebration includes ample food tastings, fun entertainment, and a silent auction. Their goal this year is 800 guests and 20 high profile Orange County chefs. (The prominent chefs are already in place.)

Proceeds from this event benefit the non-profit organization, OCAPICA, and will support mental health, health, workforce, youth in education, and civic engagement opportunities for low income families.

If you buy your tickets now there is a $15-off discount per ticket for VIP and $10-off for General Admission. Use the Offer Code available on the Website. Discount Offer expires soon…

OCAPICA Executive Director and Founder Mary Anne Foo and participating Restaurateur Ed Lee of Wahoo’s Fish Taco join us with all the delectable details.


Show 229, June 24, 2017: Jeff & Christa Duggan, Portola Coffee Roasters

Jeff and Christa DugganIn conjunction with its 6-year anniversary, Portola Coffee Roasters has redesigned its flagship location inside The OC Mix at South Coast Collection in Costa Mesa. The new design, intended to improve the customer experience, takes advantage of the latest in brewing technologies to achieve a higher level of service, product quality, and consistency not possible before.

“The original idea behind the oval shaped bar was to create a visual theater for our customers curious about the brewing science we employ – it is both interesting and educational to be able to see firsthand how things are done at Portola,” explained Jeff Duggan, who, with his wife Christa, opened the flagship Portola Coffee Roasters location in Costa Mesa in 2011 to bring a 100% single-cup craft brew coffeehouse to Orange County.

“With the new design, this goal is better achieved. It will be much different than the ‘order here, pick up over there’ model. We will service customers in line so once they order, their drinks will be made while they watch, and they pay at the end when their drink has been served.”

Joining us with all the artfully brewed details are proprietors Jeff & Christa Duggan.


Show 187, September 3, 2016: Chefs Amar Santana and Greg Daniels – “Tastemakers of Orange County”

Amar SantanaChefs supporting a worthy cause yet again…The 1st Annual “Tastemakers of Orange County” at SOCO on September 8th benefits The Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA.) The lineup of culinary talents is impressive.

This culinary event celebrates the Asian and Pacific Islander community, culture, and heritage and gives guests the opportunity to taste and indulge in Asian and Pacific Island-inspired cuisines and beverages from distinguished chefs throughout Orange County.

Greg Daniels of Haven GastropubThe Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA) was established in 1997 with the vision to build healthier, happier, and stronger communities and strives to transform Orange County through innovative programs and strategies that can be a model for other individuals, groups, and organizations to follow in efforts to change.

Featured benefit Chefs Amar Santana (Vaca & Broadway by Amar Santana) and Greg Daniels (Haven Gastropub) join us with the needed 411. Also Mary Anne Foo, the Executive Director of OCAPICA.


Show 165, March 26, 2016: 2nd Annual SOCO Uncorked

SOCO Uncorked 2015The 2nd Annual SOCO Uncorked in Costa Mesa returns on Thursday, March 31st at South Coast Collection and The OC Mix. Event organizer Nancy Milby of LCA Wine and participating Chef & Restaurateur Noah Blom of ARC (and the soon to be Restaurant Marin and The Guild Club) join us with a tasty preview.

SOCO Uncorked is unlike any other wine and food festival – it is truly a collaboration between all the tenants at South Coast Collection (SOCO) and The OC Mix. Bites are provided by the culinary offerings at the food hall, including award-winning restaurants like Taco Maria, Pueblo, ARC, and more. To create the dishes, they use tenant offerings like Savory Spice Shop for all their rubs and spices. Nancy Milby and Master Sommelier Peter Neptune work with the restaurants individually to pair a wine varietal based on the dish they serve.

The charitable beneficiary is the Project Hope Alliance.

SOCO’s own Chef Noah Blom, owner and chef of the award winning ARC restaurant at SOCO, will demonstrate (as part of SOCO Uncorked) how to deconstruct a duck, and discuss how all of the various and sundry parts are used. Small bites will be offered of the delicious morsels, featuring duck of course, and will represent all three of Chef Noah’s SOCO restaurants, including the highly anticipated Restaurant Marin and The Guild, both coming soon to SOCO. Wines will be provided be Gerard Bertrand of the southwest of France.


Show 158, February 6, 2016: Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish Restaurant Group

Andrew Gruel and his son WilliamSlapfish started life as a popular food truck with a very loyal following developed via clever use of Social Media. As soon as Chef Andrew had a firm base with the truck he was on the hunt for an affordable brick-and-mortar location which resulted in the original Huntington Beach location.

The food truck business in Los Angeles and Orange County is not as lucrative as it once was. Competition is intense and there is a lot of duplication of successful concepts. Competition is fierce for the best stops at lunch on weekdays.

Chef Andrew suggests it’s a good way to test a food concept without breaking the bank. Understand it’s really hard work with very long hours. It’s not glamorous…

Taco Maria at SoCo, the darling of food critics, started as a food truck.


Show 128, June 27, 2015: Chef Laurent Brazier, Bistro Papillote, SOCO

Laurent BrazierThe newly launched Bistro Papillote at The OC Mix at SOCO is the first authentic French restaurant concept from Chef Laurent Brazier, Executive Chef Instructor of La Cuisine Culinary Arts located inside Macy’s Home Store in South Coast Plaza. On the menu is simple French Bistro cuisine.

Bistro Papillote provides full service breakfast and lunch, including Chef Laurent’s interpretation of quiches, crepes, Croque-Monsieur, and grab-and-go sandwiches and salads. There is even a formidable New Orleans-style Muffaletta Baguette (sandwich) with salami, mortadella, ham, swiss and tapenade. At the open-air crepe bar, guests are able to watch as delicious, fresh crepes are prepared right in front of them.

Bistro Papillote by La Cuisine is available for private events catered by Chef Laurent’s catering company, La Cuisine. The French wines served there are hand-selected by Chef Laurent who holds his Advanced Certificate of Wine & Spirit from the London WSET, as well as the Level One Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Somehow Chef Laurent also makes the time to teach a popular beginning wine appreciation class at LCA Wine at SOCO. He keeps it fun…

Chef Laurent is our guest.


Show 120, May 2, 2015: Chef Eric Samaniego and “Little Maria” Evening

Eric SamaniegoWhen two highly regarded young chefs get together for a collaborative dinner that’s a recipe for true dining excitement! On Tuesday, May 12th, Chef Eric Samaniego of Little Sparrow in Santa Ana and Chef Carlos Salgado of Taco Maria at SoCo in Costa Mesa will partner up for a special chef collaboration event, Little Maria. The five-course dinner will be hosted at Little Sparrow, featuring dishes that motivate both chefs to break out of their comfort zones.

“Guests can expect the unexpected” Samaniego said. “This has been in the works for a long time and Carlos and I are excited it’s finally happening.”

The Little Maria dinner features two seatings, at 6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., priced at $85 per person with an optional $30 wine pairing. Tickets must be purchased in advance. To maintain the element of suspense the menu will not be revealed until a few days before the dinner.

Later this Summer there will be an encore “Little Maria” evening at Taco Mario with a completely different menu.

Both Chef Samaniego and Salgado have made a huge impact on the Orange County culinary scene in the past year. Little Sparrow recently had their debut on Season One of Bravo’s “Best New Restaurant” series hosted by Chef Tom Colicchio while Chef Salgado was recognized by Food & Wine magazine as one of the “Best New Chefs of 2015.”

Little Sparrow’s Chef Eric Samaniego is our guest with all the tantalizing 411.


Show 116, April 4, 2015: Show Preview with Guest Host Chef Andrew Gruel and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

Executive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, and, now, Newport Beach is today’s special Guest Host.

Now a preview of today’s delightfully “bursting-at-the-seams,” content-rich show

James Beard Award-winner Mary Sue Milliken is well-know to the audience of the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” She is a pioneer in Food TV and also the co-founder and co-executive chef of the hugely successful Border Grill restaurants (and truck) in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Santa Monica. She is also an active volunteer for The James Beard Foundation in her prominent position on the Board of Trustees as a Board Member. Mary Sue joins us to talk about The James Beard Foundation’s 2015 Culinary Scholarship opportunities. A record $700,000 (plus) in Educational Scholarships and Professional Grants are available.

The inaugural SOCO Uncorked 2015 is a delightfully indulgent food and wine pairing experience set for Thursday, April 16th from 6 to 8:00 p.m. on the grounds at SOCO in Costa Mesa. The charitable beneficiary is the Project Hope Alliance. The premium wine pairings representing over 30 producers are curated by LCA Wine’s own sommelier, Nancy Milby who is our guest.

Chef Shelly Register is the highly accomplished Market Chef for A Market located in a highly visible historic building on West Coast Highway in Newport Beach next to A Restaurant (the former Arches location.) It’s a dazzling gourmet convenience store with freshly-prepared gourmet sandwiches, incredible baked goods and desserts, cheeses, coffee, craft beer and premium wine. No product is carried in the store that hasn’t received Chef Sherry’s personal seal of approval. We’ll chat with Shelly Register who is also a noted pastry chef and bread baker.

Nutrition bars are all the rage these days but there surely isn’t a product out there that has the back story which compares to the origins of the Perfect Bar “handmade in sunny San Diego” by the 2nd generation of the Keith Family. 8 Keith siblings now run the fast-growing company which was a big hit at the recent Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim. “Everyone has a story. Ours is a little nuttier than most.” PJ Roustan of Perfect Bar will explain…

Hidden away in Oxnard’s Heritage Square in a restored three-story 1901 pre-Craftsman-style mansion is La Dolce Vita Ristorante featuring Italian and Mediterranean fusion cuisine. Family recipes and contemporary creations abound. The owner and executive chef is Michelle Kenney, a second generation restaurateur. She also is known locally for her wide variety of popular cooking classes. We’ll meet her.

The Third Annual Tacolandia presented by LA Weekly is set for El Pueblo de Los Angeles in Downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, June 6th.

The featured attraction is 80 top taco vendors curated by the World’s First Tacorazzo, Bill Esparza. All restaurants have tasty samples of their signature gourmet tacos for attendees to enjoy. Bill Esparza joins us with the details.

Finally a chance to chat with Guest Host Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish. At long last he can tell us about his exciting new restaurant makeover series on FYI which debuts Saturday evening, May 9th. He’ll also share some useful tips about selecting and preparing lobster.

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