Show 314, March 9, 2019: Enrique Valero, General Manager, Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine, Winery & Boutique Luxury Hotel, Spain

Enrique ValeroThe internationally recognized wines of Spain’s Abadía Retuerta have enjoyed three consecutive years in the top 100 wines of the world, according to the preeminent authority, Wine Spectator. While wines were produced on the estate centuries ago, the current winery is only two-and-a-half decades old and is known for its award-winning single terroir wines.

“There are 54 vine plots each with very distinct characteristics, each analysed, controlled, worked, vinified and tasted separately. Each terroir is planted with a single varietal or grape variety. The planting is 70% Tempranillo grapes, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah, with the remaining 10% divided between Merlot and Petit Verdot (an innovation used to make a single-varietal wine).”

“The winery’s gold-standard wine is the Selección Especial, which reflects the essence of the estate – 75% Tempranillo, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot. Proof of its superb quality, the 2001 Selección Especial was awarded “Best Red Wine in the World – Red Wine Trophy” in 2005 by London’s prestigious International Wine Challenge competition. In addition, Selección Especial is the first Spanish wine to be included for three consecutive years on the list of the 100 Best Wines in the World, which has been published annually since 1988 by Wine Spectator magazine.”

The estate also includes Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine, possibly Spain’s most extraordinary luxury hotel located in a restored historic abbey on the magnificent 1,730-acre estate.

Under a vaulted ceiling of pure Gothic style at LeDomaine, framed by thick stone walls and anchored by a 17th-century fresco of The Last Supper, the Refectorio is a sanctuary of haute cuisine with one Michelin Star, maintained since 2014. Executive Chef Marc Segarra prepares innovative and seasonal gastronomic fare in the contemporary kitchen, using the freshest local ingredients procured from specialty local suppliers as well as LeDomaine’s own fields.

In addition to the Refectorio, located in the abbey’s former refectory, guests dine on specialty dishes, tapas and small plates in the Vinoteca restaurant with a wine-cellar atmosphere, and al fresco on seasonal dishes in spring and summer in the Jardin del Cloustro and at the Pool Bar. Abadía Retuerta LeDomaine uses the resources from the estate to produce specially Crafted Spanish Foods: wine salt, pine nuts and honey.

Enrique Valero, both the winery’s and hotel’s accomplished General Manager joins us on the long-distance line from Spain.

 

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Show 125, June 6, 2015: Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio, Valentino, Santa Monica

Piero Salvaggio of Valentino Santa Monica“The restaurant world is a blend of business and poetry” states renowned restaurateur Piero Selvaggio, who, after over 40 years in the business, has mastered the perfect balance of both. He is one of the true pioneers in bringing the foods of Italy, with style and authenticity, to Los Angeles. Piero has skillfully stewarded successful restaurants in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Las Vegas, Houston and aboard luxury cruise ships.

Piero just returned from Expo Milano in Italy and will share his experience there. He has high praise for the Pavilions of Italy and Spain. The dazzling USA Pavilion, with its emphasis on food, is a star attraction.

“Our theme for the USA Pavilion is American Food 2.0: United to Feed the Planet. Expo Milano 2015 will enable the USA Pavilion to showcase the United States as an innovator not only in the food sector, but also in many aspects of culture, science and business. Feeding ourselves engages a massive infrastructure, advanced technologies, and dynamic systems that touch on just about every aspect of the world we live in. Each step from farm to table reflects a set of values and connections that impact our identities and shape our future.”

“The USA Pavilion is a one-of-a-kind building designed by architect James Biber of Biber Architects in New York. It is a 35,000 square foot space within Expo Milano’s 3.6 million square foot sustainable “smart city.” The building is a multi-level experience that flows with activity from top to bottom, side to side. It includes a massive vertical farm that will be harvested daily. “I’ve drawn inspiration from the straightforward, ‘honest’ agricultural buildings that are part of our nation’s history,” said Biber in a recent interview about the process of creating the USA Pavilion. “It is a very simple building, and when people look at it, they’ll instantly understand exactly how it was made.”

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Show 119, April 25, 2015: Wine Exchange’s Rioja Gran Reserva Dinner

Michael DoctuleroA really unusual Rioja Gran Reserva Dinner featuring a series of incredible vintage years from Spain’s Bodegas Faustino is coming up at Scott’s Restaurant in Costa Mesa on Thursday evening May 7th. This is part of the ongoing Wine Exchange’s Wine + Food series. Scott’s Executive Chef Michael Doctulero has created a dazzling, all-original four-course menu for the evening.

The 2001 Gran Reserva was selected by Decanter magazine as their “Wine of the Year” in 2013. (This coveted wine will be poured at the dinner.) The Bodegas Faustino wines show the love for the land and the expertise of a family of winemakers with a tradition of winemaking for over 150 years.

Being poured at the Scott’s evening are the 1964, ’71, ’85, ’87, ’90, ’91 and 2001 Gran Reserva vintages, as well as a preview of the heralded 2004 Gran Reserva. Keep in mind the Gran Reserva wines are only produced in vintage years so these selections truly represent the “Best of the Best.”

Tickets are $179 per guest, all inclusive. The evening will sell-out.

Chef Doctulero and Wine Exchange’s Kyle Meyer (President and Director of Purchasing) join us with all the salivating details.

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Show 65, March 15, 2014: Krys and Mike Cook, Co-Presidents, Cook Pigs Ranch, Julian Continues…

At Cook Pigs Ranch they experience all four seasons. The ranch is situated at approximately 4,200 feet in elevation. The combination of the local environment and Cook’s feed program produces a high quality product very similar to the renown Iberian Pork from Spain & Portugal.

Cook Pigs RanchAt the recent Cochon 555 stop in Los Angeles defending champion Chef Ray Garcia of FIG Restaurant at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica successfully defended his title once again. He prepared & cooked a Large Black from Cooks Pig Ranch.

The Pop-Up Butcher Shop (Lindy & Grundy) @ Cochon 555 used a Berkshire from Cook Pigs Ranch.

Cook Pigs Ranch will soon have a retail facility in San Diego (Kearny Mesa) to serve the public.

The Farm Shop at Primal Pastures in Temecula all sells Cook Pigs Ranch meats.

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March 15: Ivan Flowers, Bruxie Bold Blend Coffee, Michael Puglisi, All Star Chef Classic, Cook Pigs Ranch

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Executive Chef Ivan Flowers, Top of the Market, San Diego
Segment Three: Chef Kelly Mullarney, Co-Owner, Bruxie
Segment Four: Chef Michael Puglisi, Proprietor, Electric City Butcher Shop
Segment Five: Lucy Lean, Co-Producer / Executive Director, All-Star Chef Classic at L.A. Live
Segment Six: Krys and Mike Cook, Co-Presidents, Cook Pigs Ranch, Julian Part One
Segment Seven: Krys and Mike Cook, Co-Presidents, Cook Pigs Ranch, Julian Part Two
Segment Eight: Jet Tila and Andy Harris on “The 14 Most Expensive Tasting Menus in America”

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Heritage breed pigs are the talk of in-the-know chefs these days. We’ll meet the enterprising husband & wife couple behind Cook Pigs Ranch, a noted local producer of “farm to table heritage pigs.” You’ll also learn the intriguing story of a former Bouchon Beverly Hills chef who is soon to open an ambitious artisan butcher shop utilizing Old-World techniques in Santa Ana.

We’re journeying to San Diego where an energetic new executive chef is taking a San Diego seafood classic to a higher level with nightly changing tasting menus that are paired with boutique premium wines. The meals are, surprisingly, served with an incredible view of the bay.

We’re nuts about coffee on the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” So are our friends at the chef-driven Bruxie, the Belgian waffle sandwich guys. After a lot of research they have recently introduced their own “Bold Blend” custom crafted coffee. It’s a proprietary four-bean blend.

Los Angeles has a new food event with celebrity master chefs. It’s the All-Star Chef Classic at L.A. Live. We’ll have a preview.

High-end Tasting Menus at rarified fine-dining establishments are getting a lot of attention. Chef Jet and Producer Andy will be talking about Eater’s “14 Most Expensive Tasting Menus in America.”

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

Ivan Flowers of Top of the MarketTop of the Market, harbor-side in Downtown San Diego, is one of those classic destination restaurants where the food is actually on par with the magnificent bay view. Quite a feat…

Executive Chef Ivan Flowers in newly arrived and his worthy mission is to add to the achievements of this popular restaurant. His concept is “boat-to-table.” New to the dinner menu options is a very special seven-course tasting menu. Chef Ivan then works with their inspired and talented Sommelier, Anne Estrada, to offer carefully selected boutique wines to compliment each dish. No mass market wines in this cellar…As a package it’s an evening of memorable dining. We’ll be visiting with Chef Flowers to get all the specifics.

Bruxie Bold Blend CoffeeWe’re fans of Bruxie. These are the premium sandwich folks who use a creative version of an authentic Belgian Waffle (they developed the proprietary recipe) as the bread. The waffle is light, airy, crispy and not sweet. Since they opened their first location in a classic former burger stand in Old Towne Orange within walking distance of Chapman University they have quickly grown to a total of six company-owned restaurants! No short cuts with quality ingredients here.

Bruxie partner and noted chef, Kelly Mullarney, is truly coffee obsessed. As a side project he set out to create a chef-driven coffee experience that would be bold and complex enough to stand up to, and complement, the flavors on the Bruxie menu.

The result is The Bold Blend, a proprietary, four-bean blend of 100 percent fair trade imported coffee beans. It’s now the house blend served at all Bruxies.

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.

All Star Chef ClassicThe Inaugural All-Star Chef Classic at L.A. LIVE, a never-before-seen modern food event bringing together over 25 highly acclaimed chefs from around the country for unique and interactive dining experiences, is set to launch March 21st to 23rd at L.A. Live’s Event Deck. The event is organized by culinary industry veterans and founders of Alice in Events, LLC., Lucy Lean and Krissy Lefebvre. They have partnered with AEG, owners and operators of the downtown Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment District.

The three-day event will feature master chefs cooking and collaborating in venues designed to provide guests with up-close, unique and interactive culinary experiences.

The grand finale on Sunday, March 23rd from Noon to 2:30 p.m. is “Savor the Season Presented by Melissa’s Produce.” This event will wrap up the enticing weekend with a Farmer’s Market celebration of what LA has in abundance – seasonal , fresh, local ingredients cooked up and elevated to great heights by All-Star Chefs including Wylie Dufresne, Graham Elliot, Nancy Silverton, David Myers, Vinny Dotolo, David LeFevre, Josiah Citrin, and Waylynn Lucas. The chefs will create seasonal dishes using produce from a local purveyor/farmer providing the 600 guests with a variety of tastes as well as recipe cards to prepare each dish at home.

Co-Producer/Executive Director Lucy Lean is our guest.

Cook Pigs Ranch is a proudly family-owned, farm-to-table operation with a focus on Heritage pigs. The varieties include Red Wattles, GOS, Large Blacks, Berkshires, Durocs, Tamworth, Mulefoot, and crosses of these magnificent breeds. Cooks also raises KuneKune pigs. The ranch is located in Julian, CA, in the Cleveland National Forest, about one hour East of San Diego.

Cook Pigs Ranch is not a large commercial farming / ranching business. Instead their goal is to maintain a small and boutique ranching operation which allows their pigs to free-range and grow slowly in a humane and stress-free environment.

Kryz and Mike Cook of Cook Pigs RanchKrys and Mike Cook are the co-Presidents of Cook Pigs, and they run the day-to-day operations of the ranch.

At Cook Pigs Ranch they experience all four seasons. The ranch is situated at approximately 4,200 feet in elevation. The combination of the local environment and Cook’s feed program produces a high quality product very similar to the renown Iberian Pork from Spain & Portugal.

Cook Pigs RanchAt the recent Cochon 555 stop in Los Angeles defending champion Chef Ray Garcia of FIG Restaurant at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica successfully defended his title once again. He prepared & cooked a Large Black from Cooks Pig Ranch.

The Pop-Up Butcher Shop (Lindy & Grundy) @ Cochon 555 used a Berkshire from Cook Pigs Ranch.

Cook Pigs Ranch will soon have a retail facility in San Diego ( Kearny Mesa) to serve the public.

The Farm Shop at Primal Pastures in Temecula all sells Cook Pigs Ranch meats.

The Fourteen Most Expensive Tasting Menus in America by Eater NationalEater National posted an intriguing piece entitled “The 14 Most Expensive Tasting Menus In America” back on January 28th. The feature was authored by Gabe Ulla.

Number 14 is Daniel in New York with a price tag of $567 for two guests. It gets progressively more expensive on the way up to Number 1 which carries a lofty $1,160 tab for two. Ouch…

Chef Jet and Producer Andy have been fortunate enough to experience a handful of these incredible dining spectaculars. We’ll paint the rarified picture…It’s not for everyone. Forgive us.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Executive Chef Ivan Flowers, Top of the Market, San Diego
Segment Three: Chef Kelly Mullarney, Co-Owner, Bruxie
Segment Four: Chef Michael Puglisi, Proprietor, Electric City Butcher Shop
Segment Five: Lucy Lean, Co-Producer / Executive Director, All-Star Chef Classic at L.A. Live
Segment Six: Krys and Mike Cook, Co-Presidents, Cook Pigs Ranch, Julian Part One
Segment Seven: Krys and Mike Cook, Co-Presidents, Cook Pigs Ranch, Julian Part Two
Segment Eight: Jet Tila and Andy Harris on “The 14 Most Expensive Tasting Menus in America”

Show 60, February 8, 2013: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Valentine’s Day is next week so get moving and don’t panic. It falls on a Friday this year. Friday is an especially tough day for restaurants due to Valentine’s Day anxiety so if you want to be a bit more relaxed make your plans for Saturday or Sunday instead. Still the Valentine’s Day orbit but a bit less crazed for the restaurant. You’ll definitely have better service…

Chef jet Tila and Alton BrownFood Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” with host Alton Brown is back on Sunday nights for Season 2. Our own Chef Jet Tila is the most frequently appearing solo judge on this tough competition show that requires strategy as well as cooking chops. Look for Jet’s new episodes starting in February.

It’s the Winter Olympics in Sochi and a classic Newport Beach restaurant is serving a special Olympics-themed menu for the duration. We’ll go inside the menu with the creative executive chef. Caroline Styne is the partner and Wine Director (with Chef Suzanne Goin) in Lucques, A.O.C. and Tavern in West Hollywood and Los Angeles. We’ll talk with her and get insight on how you keep a firmly established and growing restaurant group fresh for the dining public. We’ll also hear the story of Slapfish which started as a modest food truck and now is a growing international empire. Did you know there is an emerging wine region in Northern Baja? You’ll learn about a promising winery in the Guadalupe Valley founded by Italians. Brad A. Johnson, the restaurant critic for The Orange County Register, joins us to talk about letter grades for restaurants. We’ll also have a visit with travel journalist Linda Kissam, who was recently in Spain touring the wineries representing the 50 best Cavas produced there.

All of that and lots more incredible deliciousness on the “SoCal Restaurant Show.”

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Show 34, July 6, 2013: Gustavo Arellano, Editor of OC Weekly and author of Taco USA: How Mexican Foods Conquered America

Gustavo Arellano of Ask a MexicanOur favorite all-star, “Ask a Mexican,” Gustavo Arellano, returned to give us more practical insight on Mexican ingredients and their history. He’s also the editor of OC Weekly.

Today we talked tortillas. Why is a burrito made with flour tortillas?  On the other hand why are enchiladas prepared with corn tortillas. What is right for a hard or soft-shelled taco?

Gustavo explained that flour tortillas are popular in the Northern states of Mexico. They arrived from Spain in the 1500s.

Gustavo also shared the history of tortilla chips which traces its origin to San Antonio in 1912.

It’s summer so it’s time to quench your thirst. Gustavo suggests a flavorful agua fresca. This translates as “fresh water.” The base for this refreshing Mexican beverage is water and sugar. Cucumber and Tamarind are particularly refreshing versions.

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