Show 354, January 4, 2020: Executive Chef Tony Esnault and Restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi, Knife Pleat at South Coast Plaza Part One

Tony Esnault and Yassmin Sarmadi of Knife PleatKnife Pleat in South Coast Plaza’s Penthouse, Level 3, was one of the most eagerly anticipated restaurant launches of last year. It’s an elegant and approachable French restaurant with an appealing (and unusual) garden patio helmed by Michelin-starred chef Tony Esnault and restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi, who are well-known from the Los Angeles culinary scene with Church & State and Spring. The couple’s chic new restaurant at lunch and dinner showcases modern, seasonal interpretations of classic French techniques by Esnault, one of California’s best French chefs.

“The husband-and-wife team is regarded as a powerful force in Southern California’s culinary scene, having partnered on their previous Los Angeles-based French restaurants, Spring and Church & State. Spring mesmerized critics by using fresh, local and seasonal ingredients to create a cultured tasting tour of the south of France. Church & State, under Sarmadi’s ownership, was named as one of the inaugural Michelin Guide California’s 2019 Bib Gourmand establishments.”

We’ll meet the dynamic husband-and-wife couple of both Chef Tony & Restaurateur Yassmin.

Play

Show 354, January 4, 2020: Executive Chef Tony Esnault and Restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi, Knife Pleat at South Coast Plaza Part Two

Tony Esnault and Yassmin Sarmadi of Knife PleatKnife Pleat in South Coast Plaza’s Penthouse, Level 3, was one of the most eagerly anticipated restaurant launches of last year. It’s an elegant and approachable French restaurant with an unusual garden patio helmed by Michelin-starred chef Tony Esnault and restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi, who are well-known from the Los Angeles culinary scene with Church & State and Spring. The couple’s chic new restaurant showcases modern, seasonal interpretations of classic French techniques by Esnault, one of California’s best French chefs.

“For Knife Pleat, Esnault has created an elegant menu that features highlights such as Escargot Ravioli with a filling of wild burgundy snails in a mushroom broth with celery, garlic and watercress; chilled Langoustine with radish, green papaya, coconut espuma and lemongrass; Crescent Duck featuring breast and leg confit with Swiss chard, Tokyo turnip and pickled rhubarb. Esnault shows his appreciation for California’s incredible produce with a Vegetable Mosaic starter composed of tomato, zucchini, watermelon radish, kohlrabi and fresh chickpea.”

“Knife Pleat’s beverage program features craft cocktails that pay homage to designers who also call South Coast Plaza home. The Oscar de la Renta, for example, plays on the late fashion icon’s Dominican Republic roots with Brugal Añejo Rum, chinola, passion fruit and lemon.”

“The cuisine is set in a dramatic 5,000-square-foot space that has 80 seats and two dining areas – an airy dining room wrapped with floor-to-ceiling translucent windows and a plein air patio accented with greenery. A seven-seat bar provides views of the striking exhibition kitchen where Esnault and his team can be observed in action. The refined architecture and interiors by Johnson Fain – in collaboration with Sarmadi and Esnault – is decidedly understated, with a high fashion aesthetic and a soft palette.”

Knife Pleat serves lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. daily; dinner 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday; and Afternoon Tea from 3 to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays.

We continue our conversation with the dynamic husband & wife couple of both Chef Tony & Restaurateur Yassmin.

Play

January 4, Knife Pleat, Selanne Steak Tavern, Buono’s Pizzeria Cucina Italiana

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host & Executive Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Executive Chef Tony Esnault and Restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi, Knife Pleat at South Coast Plaza Part One
Segment Three: Executive Chef Tony Esnault and Restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi, Knife Pleat at South Coast Plaza Part Two
Segment Four: Executive Chef Vince Terusa, Selanne Steak Tavern, Laguna Beach Part One
Segment Five: Executive Chef Vince Terusa, Selanne Steak Tavern, Laguna Beach Part Two
Segment Six: Frank Buono, Buono’s Pizzeria Cucina Italiana, San Pedro & Long Beach Part One
Segment Seven: Frank Buono, Buono’s Pizzeria Cucina Italiana, San Pedro & Long Beach Part Two

Happy New Year!

Now a provocative preview of this Saturday’s mouthwatering show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will hopefully leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a pretty good thing… As always, we greatly appreciate you being a part of our loyal listening audience. Truly couldn’t do it without you.

Knife Pleat in South Coast Plaza’s Penthouse, Level 3, was one of the most eagerly anticipated restaurant launches of last year. It’s an elegant and approachable French restaurant helmed by Michelin-starred chef Tony Esnault and restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi, who are well-known from the Los Angeles culinary scene with Church & State and Spring. The couple’s chic new restaurant showcases modern, seasonal interpretations of classic French techniques by Esnault, one of California’s best French chefs. We’ll meet the dynamic couple of both Chef Tony & Restaurateur Yassmin.

Selanne Steak Tavern, an upscale tavern and steak house, is located in a historic 1934 converted residence on Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach serving modern American fare, a stellar wine collection, artisan cocktails and a range of beers in a light and airy ambiance. The various dining rooms include a warm tavern-style bar, a bistro-style wine room, a more formal upstairs and beautiful outdoor dining. The ownership team includes NHL Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne – also known as The Finnish Flash – a 2007 Stanley Cup winner, former star player for the Anaheim Ducks, and six-time Olympian. Executive Chef Vince Terusa, who has been there since the beginning, is our guest.

Buono’s Pizzeria Cucina Italiana is a proudly family owned Italian pizzeria and restaurant with three locations in the San Pedro and Long Beach areas. Buono’s prides itself on offering authentic Italian fare like hand-kneaded pizza dough made fresh daily to homemade sausages and sauces, all served up with warm hospitality and great service. Open for lunch and dinner, craft beer and wine complement the menu.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Tony Esnault and Yassmin Sarmadi of Knife PleatKnife Pleat in South Coast Plaza’s Penthouse, Level 3, was one of the most eagerly anticipated restaurant launches of last year. It’s an elegant and approachable French restaurant helmed by Michelin-starred chef Tony Esnault and restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi, who are well-known from the Los Angeles culinary scene with Church & State and Spring.

The couple’s chic new restaurant at lunch and dinner showcases modern, seasonal interpretations of classic French techniques by Esnault, one of California’s best French chefs.

“The husband-and-wife team is regarded as a powerful force in Southern California’s culinary scene, having partnered on their previous Los Angeles-based French restaurants, Spring and Church & State. Spring mesmerized critics by using fresh, local and seasonal ingredients to create a cultured tasting tour of the south of France. Church & State, under Sarmadi’s ownership, was named as one of the inaugural Michelin Guide California’s 2019 Bib Gourmand establishments.”

“For Knife Pleat, Esnault has created an elegant menu that features highlights such as Escargot Ravioli with a filling of wild burgundy snails in a mushroom broth with celery, garlic and watercress; chilled Langoustine with radish, green papaya, coconut espuma and lemongrass; Crescent Duck featuring breast and leg confit with Swiss chard, Tokyo turnip and pickled rhubarb. Esnault shows his appreciation for California’s incredible produce with a Vegetable Mosaic starter composed of tomato, zucchini, watermelon radish, kohlrabi and fresh chickpea.”

“Knife Pleat’s beverage program features craft cocktails that pay homage to designers who also call South Coast Plaza home. The Oscar de la Renta, for example, plays on the late fashion icon’s Dominican Republic roots with Brugal Añejo Rum, chinola, passion fruit and lemon.”

“The cuisine is set in a dramatic 5,000-square-foot space that has 80 seats and two dining areas – an airy dining room wrapped with floor-to-ceiling translucent windows and a plein air patio accented with greenery. A seven-seat bar provides views of the striking exhibition kitchen where Esnault and his team can be observed in action. The refined architecture and interiors by Johnson Fain – in collaboration with Sarmadi and Esnault – is decidedly understated, with a high fashion aesthetic and a soft palette.”

Knife Pleat serves lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. daily; dinner 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday; and Afternoon Tea from 3 to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays.

We’ll meet the dynamic husband-and-wife couple of both Chef Tony & Restaurateur Yassmin.

Vince Terusa of Selanne Steak TavernSelanne Steak Tavern, an upscale tavern and steak house, is located in a historic 1934 converted residence on Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach serving modern American fare, a stellar wine collection, artisan cocktails and a range of beers in a light and airy ambiance. The various dining rooms include a warm tavern-style bar, a bistro-style wine room, a more formal upstairs and beautiful outdoor dining. The ownership team includes NHL Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne – also known as The Finnish Flash – a 2007 Stanley Cup winner, former star player for the Anaheim Ducks, and six-time Olympian.

“Selanne Steak Tavern supports local farms and fisheries that practice sustainability, humane, steroid-free raising techniques and pesticide-free growing environments. Choices of First Courses include Farmers Market Soup, Beet “Ravioli” with artisanal goat cheese and hazelnut, Wagyu Beef Tartare with chips, and Pacific Diver Scallops. There’s a selection of tempting Greens and Sides like Selanne’s Mac and Cheese – a five cheese fondue with a brioche crumb topping that pleases carnivores and vegetarians alike.”

“At dinner nightly, entrees feature succulent Steaks and Chops: Angus Filet Mignon 8 or 12 ounces, Flat Iron 8-ounce Wagyu, Rib Eye 14-ounce Prime, the signature Lord Stanley Cut 38-ounce Wagyu and more – all served with seasonal marrow butter, as well as a variety of sauces on the side. Poultry, Game and Fish tempt with dishes such as Jidori Chicken with truffle jus poulet and trumpets, and Skuna Bay Salmon with farro and celery root. Executive Chef Vince Terusa makes use of the restaurant’s well-stocked herb garden, which includes parsley, thyme, lavender, rosemary, chives and more.”

“Selanne Steak Tavern, located at 1464 South Coast Highway in Laguna Beach, opened in November 2013 and is owned by Hockey Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne and local Orange County businessman Kevin Pratt.”

“The discerning wine list is primarily focused on Napa cult wines as well as wines from other California vineyards, including chardonnays, cabernets, cabernet blends and pinot noirs. The list is also recognized for its collection of wines from Burgundy, France. Many of the list’s wines are highly allocated, low production, big-scoring selections. The list has wines by the glass, half bottles and large format selections for special celebratory meals. In addition, the champagne and sparkling list offers distinctive choices, many at guest-friendly prices.”

Selanne Steak Tavern was awarded the Golden Foodie Award for Best Wine Program 2019 for the second consecutive year at Orange County’s Golden Foodie Awards gala held September 29, 2019 at the Newport Beach Marriott.

“Offering a fresh interpretation of classic design, the restaurant is residential in style – infused with an element of whimsy. Materials throughout are influenced by the history and the beachfront appeal of Laguna Beach, with highlights such as slightly distressed wide planked oak wood floors, a color palette of muted grays, whites and cognacs and a rich mix of textures and materials to blend the old and new.”

Executive Chef Vince Terusa, who has been there since the beginning, is our guest.

Frank Buono of Buono''s P{izzeria in Long BeachBuono’s Pizzeria Cucina Italiana is a proudly family owned Italian pizzeria with three locations in the San Pedro and Long Beach areas. Buono’s prides itself on offering authentic Italian fare like hand-kneaded pizza dough made fresh daily to homemade sausages and sauces, all served up with warm hospitality and great service. Open for lunch and dinner, craft beer and wine complement the menu.

After 54 years the original San Pedro Bruno’s Market & Deli (the predecessor to Buono’s Pizzeria) relocated late last year to a new, modern expanded space in San Pedro’s Little Italy at 222 W. 6th Street.

“While the paint may be fresh and the décor contemporary, Buono’s Pizzeria in San Pedro’s Little Italy will remain true to its origins.  The scratch kitchen will continue to prepare authentic Italian pizza coupled with fresh pasta and zesty sauces.  What will be new is the addition of wine and beer, an amenity not available at the original Buono’s Pizzeria.”

“The Little Italy location spans nearly 3,000 square-feet and boasts alfresco dining available with an expansive wraparound patio. The exhibition kitchen reveals a display of culinary excellence with a gas-fired brick oven as well as an 800-degree oven where Neapolitan-style pizzas bake for a quick 90 seconds.”

The flagship Buono’s Pizzeria in San Pedro just relocated to San Pedro’s Little Italy (222 W. 6th Street) in an expanded, and modern, restaurant space with patio seating and a craft beer & wine bar.

“We (Buono Family) consider our family history an essential ingredient in our tasty menu at all three of our restaurants. Those who have already dined ay any of them know how vital that legacy is to the Buono Family.”

“In 1965 Francesco and Teresa Buono opened Buono’s Market & Deli in San Pedro which became famous for their Torpedo Sandwiches, House-Made Italian Sausage, and Nonna Teresa’s Meat Sauce. In 1967 their son, Nicolaniello came from Italy and joined them here carrying a small suitcase also filled with huge hopes and dreams. And he, too, made those dreams come true when in 1973 he transformed the market and deli into the original Buono’s Pizzeria.”

Today his wife Antonia and their four children, Frank, George, Oreste and Teresa, continue to share their love of Italy and its cuisine by offering a menu that beautifully reflects the Buono Family roots. Those who are discovering this treasure for the first time are in for a wonderous experience, highlighted by Buono Family memories dating back more than half a century. Those who have joined us before eagerly anticipate what they know is a delicious meal to come!”

The Buono Family’s managing partner, Frank Buono, simmers the meat sauce for us.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host & Executive Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Executive Chef Tony Esnault and Restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi, Knife Pleat at South Coast Plaza Part One
Segment Three: Executive Chef Tony Esnault and Restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi, Knife Pleat at South Coast Plaza Part Two
Segment Four: Executive Chef Vince Terusa, Selanne Steak Tavern, Laguna Beach Part One
Segment Five: Executive Chef Vince Terusa, Selanne Steak Tavern, Laguna Beach Part Two
Segment Six: Frank Buono, Buono’s Pizzeria Cucina Italiana, San Pedro & Long Beach Part One
Segment Seven: Frank Buono, Buono’s Pizzeria Cucina Italiana, San Pedro & Long Beach Part Two

Show 298, November 17, 2018: Chef / Proprietor Ross Pangilinan, TERRACE by Mix Mix (South Coast Plaza) and Mix Mix Kitchen Bar

Ross PangilinanChef / Proprietor Ross Pangilinan (Mix Mix Kitchen Bar, Santa Ana) launched Terrace by Mix Mix in South Coast Plaza in late September. Located on level 3 of the Crate and Barrel / Macy’s Home Store Wing, TERRACE by Mix Mix concentrates on well-priced, market-driven small plates.

The cuisine showcases Pangilinan’s eclectic style, which is influenced by French, Italian, and modern Filipino flavors, as well as his refined technique. An approachable wine list offers varietals by the glass and bottle as well as rotating craft beers.

True to its name, the restaurant features full-service evening dining (and Weekend Brunch) in a beautifully designed covered terrace off the west end of Bridge of Gardens. A small wine bar, additional seating, an open kitchen and a counter offering a weekday lunch quick-service menu is inside.

Pangilinan opened his first restaurant, Mix Mix Kitchen Bar, in downtown Santa Ana in 2016. The name “Mix Mix” is inspired by the English translation of the Filipino dessert Halo-Halo and is also a play on Pangilinan’s culinary style and Filipino-American identity. The restaurant has been an unqualified success since opening, garnering accolades as best new restaurant from Orange Coast Magazine and earning the chef critical praise. Chef Ross was honored as “Rising Star Chef of The Year” at the 2018 Golden Foodie Awards.

Pangilinan’s culinary journey began upon graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena. He traveled to France to work in the Michelin-starred Les Trois Marches in Versailles. Back in the U.S., he was hired as sous chef to open the critically acclaimed, fine dining Sinatra restaurant at Wynn Las Vegas. Returning to Southern California, Pangilinan worked as sous chef at the Patina flagship and became a protégé of founder chef Joachim Splichal. The Patina Group recognized his talent and named him executive chef at Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge, which is part of South Coast Plaza’s fine dining collection.

Chef Ross pops out of the kitchen for a chat.

Play

Show 255, January 6, 2018: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel

Happy New Year.

Now an abundant preview of Saturday’s salivating show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case, upon careful reflection, that’s probably a pretty good thing… Keep in mind we’re here with you live every Saturday morning throughout the new year.

No leftovers here.

It’s the beginning of another year of enticing food & beverage festivals in sunny Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. Upcoming is the 5th edition of the popular Ceviche and Aguachile Festival on Sunday afternoon, January 28th. Festival Producer Edgar Cisneros has the tempting preview.

Restaurateur Ray Lasher surprised the Long Beach dining community when he closed the original Lasher’s in 2012 after a 15-year run. He’s now back in Belmont Shore on E. 2nd Street with a revised concept, Lasher’s Kitchen. Executive Chef & Partner Raquel Jubran has returned to create the refreshed menu. She joins us.

We 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 Roast has moved there too, from Noon to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Just before year’s end Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula opened their doors to guests for the first phase of their ambitious $285 million expansion, including 568 new hotel rooms & suites. In the new atrium is The Lobby Bar restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also launched on Thursday nights is the all-you-can enjoy Lobster & Seafood Extravaganza at the Pechanga Buffet. We entice Pechanga’s Executive Chef Duane Owen out of his busy kitchens for the details.

Chef Amar Santana and his business partner, Ahmed Labatte (Broadway by Amar Santana and Vaca in Costa Mesa) had an incredible 2017. Among other notable achievements they hosted one of the premier events celebrating the 50th Anniversary of South Coast Plaza at Vaca. It was a lavish, multi-course dinner matched with outstanding wines to benefit The James Beard Foundation. For late 2018 their new project will be The Hall Global Eatery in South Coast Plaza. Ahmed joins us with a tantalizing sneak preview.

Our always dynamic Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, is back in-studio from his adventures in Park City, Utah where he has just debuted the third Slapfish in Utah. Chef Andrew will share (and explain) some important hospitality business trends he sees for 2018. Where is fine-dining headed? This is Part 3 of his conversation continued from the previous two weeks.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s show!

Play

Show 255, January 6, 2018: Ahmed Labatte, Partner, Vaca Restaurant Group

Ahmed LabatteChef Amar Santana and his business partner, Ahmed Labatte (Broadway by Amar Santana and Vaca in Costa Mesa) had an incredible 2017. Among other notable achievements they hosted one of the premier events celebrating the 50th Anniversary of South Coast Plaza at Vaca. It was a lavish, multi-course dinner matched with outstanding wines to benefit The James Beard Foundation.

For late 2018 their ambitious new project will be The Hall Global Eatery in South Coast Plaza. Early advance info is that it will be a Global Marketplace with multiple food counters and an exhibition kitchen.

There will be a grab-and-go market area with freshly prepared salads and sandwiches. Everything else will be prepared to order. Expect Mediterranean kebabs and Shawarma.  The location is the expansive former Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill space.

Ahmed joins us with a tantalizing sneak preview.

Play

January 6: Ceviche and Aguachile Festival, Lasher’s Kitchen, Brendan Collins, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Ahmed Labatte

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: 5th Ceviche and Aguachile Festival, Producer Edgar Cisneros, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
Segment Three: Chef-Partner Raquel Jubran, Lasher’s Kitchen, Long Beach
Segment Four: Executive Chef Brendan Collins, The Wilshire, Santa Monica
Segment Five: Executive Chef Duane Owen, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula Part One
Segment Six: Executive Chef Duane Owen, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula Part Two
Segment Seven: Ahmed Labatte, Partner, Vaca Restaurant Group
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish Restaurant Group

Happy New Year.

Now an abundant preview of this Saturday’s salivating show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case, upon careful reflection, that’s probably a pretty good thing… Keep in mind we’re here with you live every Saturday morning throughout the new year.

No leftovers here.

It’s the beginning of another year of enticing food & beverage festivals in sunny Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. Upcoming is the 5th edition of the popular Ceviche and Aguachile Festival on Sunday afternoon, January 28th. Festival Producer Edgar Cisneros has the tempting preview.

Restaurateur Ray Lasher surprised the Long Beach dining community when he closed the original Lasher’s in 2012 after a 15-year run. He’s now back in Belmont Shore on E. 2nd Street with a revised concept, Lasher’s Kitchen. Executive Chef & Partner Raquel Jubran has returned to create the refreshed menu. She joins us.

We 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 Roast has moved there too, from Noon to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Just before year’s end Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula opened their doors to guests for the first phase of their ambitious $285 million expansion, including 568 new hotel rooms & suites. In the new atrium is The Lobby Bar restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also launched on Thursday nights is the all-you-can enjoy Lobster & Seafood Extravaganza at the Pechanga Buffet. We entice Pechanga’s Executive Chef Duane Owen out of his busy kitchens for the details.

Chef Amar Santana and his business partner, Ahmed Labatte (Broadway by Amar Santana and Vaca in Costa Mesa) had an incredible 2017. Among other notable achievements they hosted one of the premier events celebrating the 50th Anniversary of South Coast Plaza at Vaca. It was a lavish, multi-course dinner matched with outstanding wines to benefit The James Beard Foundation. For late 2018 their new project will be The Hall Global Eatery in South Coast Plaza. Ahmed joins us with a tantalizing sneak preview.

Our always dynamic Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, is back in-studio from his adventures in Park City, Utah where he has just debuted the third Slapfish in Utah. Chef Andrew will share (and explain) some important hospitality business trends he sees for 2018. Where is fine-dining headed? This is Part 3 of his conversation continued from the previous two weeks.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s show!

Edgar CisnerosIt’s the beginning of another year of appealing food & beverage festivals in sunny Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. Upcoming is the 5th edition of the ever-popular Ceviche and Aguachile Festival on Sunday afternoon, January 28th.

Puerto Vallarta remains a gastronomic destination with an intriguing variety of high-quality food and libation events held every year that delight both visitors and locals. 2018 starts with the flavors of the sea with the 5th edition of the Festival of Ceviche and Aguachile. Guests can sample more than 30 varieties of exquisite ceviches and aguachiles. Expect a boatload of fresh seafood including marlin, shrimp, tuna, octopus and stingray. Also cocktails and local craft beers will be available to purchase.

The date is Sunday, January 28th from 12 Noon to 7:00 p.m. in Puerto Vallarta’s Lazaro Cardenas Park. Tastes range from a reasonable 15 to 40 pesos per item.

Festival Producer Edgar Cisneros has the tempting preview.

Raquel JubranRestaurateur Ray Lasher surprised the Long Beach dining community when he closed the original Lasher’s in 2012 after a 15-year run. He’s now back in Belmont Shore on E. 2nd Street with a refreshed concept, Lasher’s Kitchen.

“It feels good to be in front-of-the-house again,” said Lasher.  “The original restaurant was open for 15 years, and I enjoyed every minute of it.   I continued working in the restaurant industry as a consultant.  Then this location came along and it was a game changer.”

Lasher’s Kitchen, which opened last April, is a more casual concept than the original Lasher’s.  The 45-seat restaurant offers a contemporary design with a color palette of warm hues and wood accents, original artwork, and an intimate wine bar.  The restaurant also features a pet-friendly sidewalk patio and a communal table positioned front and center.

The menu has a few dishes, such as the clam chowder, fried green tomatoes, and meatloaf, from the original restaurant, but Chef-Partner Raquel Jubran, better known as Chef Roq, is constantly creating new dishes often dictated by season.   The menu is divided into four categories:

  • Shareables
  • Journeys
  • Sidetracks
  • Sweet Destinations

Chef Roq’s signature dishes include Crispy Yuca Fries with banana ketchup and Aji Amarillo salsa, the pastry-filled Savory French Cigar with chicken and bacon ragout, Fleet Street Meat Pie made with braised short rib and root vegetables with a pastry crust, Braised Pork Belly with Cherry Cola Demi-Glace served on a crispy potato cake with tobacco onions, and Asiago and Cheddar Grilled Cheese.

Lasher’s Kitchen opens at 9:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday for weekend brunch, which features an array of morning and mid-day favorites.  Social Hour, which takes place weekdays from 2-6pm, features a menu of shareable plates and $5 pours of selected red and white wines.  Every Wednesday Lasher’s Kitchen caters to oenophiles with its “no corkage fee” followed by Prime Rib Thursday for carnivores.  Fresh fish also plays a prominent role on the menu.

“It feels great to be back doing what I love,” said Lasher.  “And with the people I love – my wife, who is also a partner – as well as our daughters who help out at the restaurant after school and on weekends.  Having our former guests experience our new concept feels great, and we’re happy to be part of the Long Beach restaurant community once again.”

Executive Chef & Partner Raquel Jubran has returned to create the refreshed menu. She joins us.

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 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.

Duane Owen of Pechanga Casino and ResortJust before year’s end Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula opened their doors to guests for the first phase of their ambitious $285 million expansion, including 568 new rooms & suites. In the new atrium is The Lobby Bar restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also launched on Thursday nights is the all-you-can enjoy Lobster & Seafood Extravaganza at The Pechanga Buffet.

The Lobby Bar restaurant located in the atrium is an inviting, open California bistro and bar serving breakfast, lunch and dinner bringing forth fresh, locally harvested ingredients to create seasonally changing specialties.

Chef Jose Mendoza (who returns to Pechanga from Las Vegas) melds unexpected flavors and Temecula-area components in a menu that pleases and excites. With many vegetarian dishes available, and cocktails hand crafted using local fruits and herbs, the Lobby Bar stands out among Pechanga’s 13 dining options.

We entice Pechanga’s Executive Chef Duane Owen out of his busy kitchens for the details.

Launching on Thursday nights is the all-you-can enjoy Lobster & Seafood Extravaganza.

Pechanga Buffet guests can now enjoy their fill of all you can enjoy, one-and-one-quarter pound whole Maine lobster done in an East Coast lobster bake style with roasted potatoes and corn on the cob. From 4PM to close at 10PM on Thursdays, diners receive a piping hot lobster bake bag containing the just-cooked lobster (flown in from Maine the night before) and fixings. The price is $44.99 per guest.

Guests can also fill their plates with enhanced buffet seafood selections from the upgraded sushi station, a whole-salmon carving station, fresh and baked oyster station, snow crab, fish tacos, ceviche, calamari, Dungeness crab, clam chowder, steamed shrimp and much more.

The Pechanga Buffet offers the hungry a wide-ranging and mouthwatering menu featuring over 250 fresh items and interactive action stations for custom-ordered pastas, sushi, seafood, BBQ and grilled meats, pizza and flatbreads, as well Asian food, Mexican and Latin specialties, and Italian and Mediterranean options.

Pechanga sources the lobsters from ecologically responsible purveyors in Maine. Their products are fully inspected and certified. Fisheries they work with use sustainable methods and practices. The lobsters coming to Pechanga are caught one day, refrigerated, packaged, and shipped live across the country where they land at LAX overnight. They are immediately put onto a delivery truck and brought to Pechanga in Temecula. Pechanga’s buffet chefs cook small batches at a time and remaining lobsters are put into tanks.

Ahmed LabatteChef Amar Santana and his business partner, Ahmed Labatte (Broadway by Amar Santana and Vaca in Costa Mesa) had an incredible 2017. Among other notable achievements they hosted one of the premier events celebrating the 50th Anniversary of South Coast Plaza at Vaca. It was a lavish, multi-course dinner matched with outstanding wines to benefit The James Beard Foundation.

For late 2018 their ambitious new project will be The Hall Global Eatery in South Coast Plaza. Early advance info is that it will be a Global Marketplace with multiple food counters. The location is the expansive former Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill space.

Ahmed joins us with a tantalizing sneak preview.

Andrew and William GruelOur always dynamic Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, is back in-studio from his adventures in Park City, Utah where he has just debuted the third Slapfish in Utah. Chef Andrew will share (and explain) some important hospitality business trends he sees for 2018. Where is fine-dining headed?

This is Part 3 of his spirited conversation continued from the previous two weeks.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: 5th Ceviche and Aguachile Festival, Producer Edgar Cisneros, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
Segment Three: Chef-Partner Raquel Jubran, Lasher’s Kitchen, Long Beach
Segment Four: Executive Chef Brendan Collins, The Wilshire, Santa Monica
Segment Five: Executive Chef Duane Owen, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula Part One
Segment Six: Executive Chef Duane Owen, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula Part Two
Segment Seven: Ahmed Labatte, Partner, Vaca Restaurant Group
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish Restaurant Group

Show 243, October 7, 2017: Joshua Turner, Chef & General Manager, Wolfgang Puck Kitchen, South Coast Plaza

Joshua TurnerLocated in Macy’s South Coast Plaza shopping center in Costa Mesa, California, the new Wolfgang Puck Kitchen specializes in Wolfgang’s interpretation of global comfort fare. The menu features a variety of signature recipes made with the best available, locally-sourced ingredients.

Highlights include the signature Chinois Chicken Salad, Crab Cakes with marinated tomatoes and basil aioli, and Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf with Yukon gold potato puree, crispy onion strings and with a port wine sauce. Wolfgang Puck was one of the pioneers of California-style pizza at the original Spago located high above the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. The Smoked Salmon Pizza with dill cream, capers and chives is now an off-menu item at Spago but part of the regular menu at Wolfgang Puck Kitchen.

As one of the newest casual concepts in the Wolfgang Puck dining collection, Wolfgang Puck Kitchen promises a welcoming and relaxed dining environment, appropriate for a business meeting, leisurely lunch, family dinner or meal on the go. A peaceful, shaded patio (where you can have a real conversation) is part of the design.

General Manager and Executive Chef Joshua Turner joins us.

 

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Show 235, August 5, 2017: House of An Executive Chef Tony Nguyen, Pop-up Crustacean Menu at AnQi, Costa Mesa

Tony NguyenAs Beverly Hills Vietnamese fusion institution Crustacean undergoes a major five-month redesign this summer, Orange County diners will be treated to signature dishes prepared by Crustacean master chef Helene “Mama” An at AnQi, a sister restaurant at South Coast Plaza. Beginning August 1 and through September 30, diners at the upscale gourmet bistro AnQi will be able to savor a sampling of signature dishes from An’s famous Secret Kitchen that previously were not available at the Costa Mesa restaurant.

The pop-up version of Crustacean’s highly acclaimed menu will be available at dinner only Monday through Friday in the Q Lounge at AnQi, which like its Beverly Hills counterpart has won acclaim for its signature style of Euro-Vietnamese cuisine and An’s creative use of Asian herbs and spices in her cooking.

Reservations are required and are limited to 60 guests a night and should be made by phone: 714.557.5679. AnQi is located at South Coast Plaza, 333 Bristol St. Costa Mesa

The pop-up Crustacean menu at AnQi will include 10 appetizers, four main courses and two desserts.

The tantalizing appetizer options include Turmeric Grilled Calamari ($15), with saffron, orange zest and peanut mustard sauce; Sweet and Spicy Chicken Meatballs ($15), made with basil, tofu, tempura flakes and Gochujang sauce; and the addictive XO Noodles ($18) with scallops, shrimp, chicken, bird’s eye chili, shallots and Hennessy cognac.

Among the choices for the main courses are Rack of Lamb ($46), made with chardonnay flambé, Steamed Seabass ($49); and An’s Famous Roasted Crab ($65), featuring An’s garlic sauce and secret spices and available in or out of the shell.

A mouthwatering dessert option is Grandma Diana’s Famous Banana Fritters ($12).

Joining us to explain all the delicious specifics is House of AN’s Executive Chef, Tony Nguyen.

 

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Show 234, July 29, 2017: Executive Chef / Proprietor Amar Santana’s Vaca Friends of James Beard Benefit Dinner

Amar Santana at the Top Chef FinaleOn Thursday evening, August 10th Chef Amar Santana’s Vaca in Costa Mesa is hosting a sumptuous, 7-course wine-paired dinner with an abundance of passed hors d’oeuvre as a festive Friends of James Beard Foundation Benefit to celebrate South Coast Plaza’s 50th Anniversary.

Chef Amar is also well-known locally for Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach and as the runner-up from lucky Season 13 of Bravo’s “Top Chef” in what the judges noted was the tightest final competition of the series’ long history!

Santana and partner Ahmed Labbate, whose roots together at South Coast Plaza go back to 2008 when they opened Charlie Palmer, will welcome 100 discriminating guests with a love of food and wine to the Beard dinner. Santana is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America.

The festivities on August 10 will include a small silent auction during an al fresco reception. While enjoying the signature Vaca Tonic and hors d’oeuvres, guests may peruse deluxe offerings, which will include a LVMH Luxury Champagne experience for 16 guests; packages from South Coast Plaza, the Montage Laguna Beach and Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, unique dining experiences, luxury travel destinations, and high-end wines.

Seats are $350 and $300 for members of the James Beard Foundation, all inclusive. For reservations to the Friends of James Beard Dinner at Vaca, please register online her For more information, please contact VACA GM Ghali Benhima at 714.463.6060. A credit card will be requested to secure the reservation.

VACA Group Partner & Executive Chef Amar Santana (well-traveled) provides the tempting preview.

The Orange County Register’s long-time Food Business Staff Writer, Nancy Luna, had a great explanatory piece with Chef Amar on Vaca’s upcoming Friends of James Beard Benefit Dinner that ran in the print edition on July 27th.

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