Show 346, October 26, 2019: Chefs Pascal Olhats & Jessica Roy, Café Jardin at Sherman Gardens, Corona del Mar Part Two

Jessica Roy and Pascal Olhats of Cafe Jardin in Corona del MarPascal Olhats is the well-respected Dean of French chefs in Orange County. Earlier in the year he made the decision to focus his efforts on Café Jardin at Sherman Gardens in Corona del Mar. He has a new restaurant chef there, Jessica Roy (ex-Current at Renaissance Newport Beach hotel.) New menu items are being added.

Café Jardin serves Lunch Monday through Friday. Sunday Brunch is available seasonally in the Spring and Summer. Sundays offer the Rose Dinner at the Garden in three or four courses

The Tea Garden Creperie is available on Saturdays & Sundays. Afternoon Tea is on the menu twice a month on the second and last Wednesday of each month.

Parking at the non-profit Sherman Gardens is free and there is a modest $5 donation to gain access to the expansive Gardens.

Chefs Pascal and Jessica Roy join us in-studio.


Show 334, July 27, 2019: Executive Chef Eric Samaniego, Michael’s on Naples, Long Beach

Eric Samaniego of Michael's on NaplesExecutive Chef Eric Samaniego and Michael’s on Naples on Naples Island are part of DINE LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week. Chef Eric celebrated his 3rd Anniversary of success with Michael’s a few months back.

“Our highest priority is providing you with an unforgettable dining experience. We partner with local farms to source fresh, seasonal produce. We believe in making everything from scratch—pasta to sauces, mozzarella to gelato.”

“We know where everything on your plate came from, and we believe it’s your right to know as well. Quality is our highest priority; we don’t cut corners, and it shows. We invite you to dine with us so you can see—and taste—for yourself.”

At Michael’s Chef Samaniego offers guests the options of a Chef’s Tasting menu, a Pasta Tasting menu and an a la carte option. Brunch is available on Sunday.

We’ll get updated on Michael’s on Naples with Chef Eric and preview their DINE LBC menu.



Show 315, March 16, 2019: Chef / Proprietor Pascal Olhats, Café Jardin @ The Sherman Gardens and Library, Corona del Mar

Pascal OlhatsThe “coastal garden” cuisine at Chef Pascal OlhatsCafé Jardin at Corona del Mar’s Sherman Gardens & Library marries vibrantly fresh California produce with a French pedigree. The restaurant is located in full view of the central flower gardens. Dining takes place outdoors for the most part, moving indoors in case of inclement weather – a rarity in Orange County.

Sunday Brunch at Café Jardin has just resumed. Think housemade Pate’ and Indian-Spiced Braised Lamb Osso Bucco.

Chef Pascal also is the resident chef at Manassero Farms in Irvine and hosts The French Chef and The Farmer’s Wife series there.

We entice Chef Pascal out of harvesting in his herb garden for an update.


Show 312, February 23, 2019: Executive Chef Beto Huizar, Mad & Vin at The Landsby, Solvang

Beto HuizarThe Landsby’s signature restaurant is Mad & Vin showcasing wine-country inspired cuisine. The executive chef is Beto Huizar. It’s honestly “farm-to-kitchen” fresh ingredients as Chef Beto shops the weekly Wednesday afternoon Solvang Farmers Market.

Each dish is prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients from California’s Central Coast. Seating for breakfast, lunch or dinner is in the welcoming dining room or dine alfresco on the outdoor patio overlooking the striking interior courtyard. Sunday Brunch is on the horizon.

A Dinner specialty is the Roasted Chicken Skillet. It’s herb-marinated free-range chicken with chorizo whipped potatoes, sautéed spinach and preserved lemon.

Happy Hour at the popular Lobby Bar (soon to expand) is seven days a week. It’s a favorite with the locals for quick, chef-driven bites and quality libations.



Show 309, February 2, 2019: Preux & Proper’s Joshua Kopel and Chef Sammy Monsour, Downtown Los Angeles

Sammy MonsourBring on the Southern hospitality this “Big Game” Sunday at Preux & Proper in Downtown Los Angeles. Keeping the Southern theme, as Super Bowl LIII takes place in Atlanta, Georgia, there is perhaps no better place or a more Southern home on the West Coast to gather for this all-American tradition.

Featuring 4 TV’s, there is room for everyone to find a good seat and cheer on the two championing teams. We’re, of course, partial to our own L.A. Rams who played for 15 years at Angel Stadium before moving to Saint Louis.

Kickoff this Sunday Funday with Sunday Brunch served from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. and stay for the epic game. Begin with a Wakey Wakey Bloody Mary prepared with bacon-infused vodka, Smog City Little Bo’ Pils, Blackstrap Worcestershire, hickory smoked black salt, sharp cheddar, pepperoni, cherry tomato and house-pickled okra.

Contemplate Executive Chef Sammy Monsour’s sweet and savory Fried Chicken & Waffles brunch special made with Mary’s Free-Range Chicken breast, buttermilk cornbread waffle, honey, pecans, and butter of course, lots of butter.

Preux & Proper wants the fun to continue “all day long” so they will be offering Happy Hour from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the Barroom and the upstairs Proper Dining Hall while also shucking and serving $1 Oysters, $1 Wings and Handcrafted Pitchers of Cocktails inspired by the two competing Big Game teams ($45 each) which serve up to four guests.

If guests are still hungry for more, they can indulge in Preux & Proper’s tantalizing Southern Barroom Eats such as the Dungeness Crab Hushpuppies served with house bourbon barrel-aged green hot sauce, boil spice and charred poblano butter, or make the entire team happy with a Deep Dish Biscuit Dough Pizza like the Paulie’s Pomegranate-Habanero B.B.Q. Pork with smoked red onions and Tillamook cheddar.

Preux & Proper will be open for The Big Game on Sunday, February 3rd, 2019 for Sunday Brunch from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m., Happy Hour from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Sunday Supper from 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm; 840 South Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015; 213.896.0090.

Proprietor Joshua Kopel and Executive Chef Sammy Monsour kick off The Big Game festivities for us.


Show 259, February 3, 2018: Executive Chef Dustin Trani, J. Trani’s, San Pedro Part One

Dustin TraniExecutive Chef Dustin Trani of the iconic J. Trani’s restaurant in San Pedro represents the 4th generation of Italian cuisine in the Trani Family. J. Trani’s opened in San Pedro in 1925.

He’s a big fan of pristine seafood from Alaska. Chef Justin is featured in a new video from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) educating C-CAP students (Careers through Culinary Arts Program) on how to prepare blast flash frozen, fresh, sustainable Alaska seafood. Chef Dustin is a loyal C-CAP alum himself.

In this video the C-CAP students had the opportunity to learn about two species of Alaskan seafood, how to best care and prepare frozen fresh seafood, along with tips about dish development, plating, and dish presentation.

In addition to nightly Dinner, J. Trani’s serves lunch on Thursday & Friday, and Sunday Brunch.

We’re chilling with Chef Dustin.


Show 252, December 16, 2017: Cary Hardwick, Co-Founder, Spaghettini Seal Beach

Cary Hardwick of SpaghettiniNext year Spaghettini in Seal Beach celebrates its 30th anniversary of success. It’s a big establishment. Unusually it’s part fine-dining and also a popular entertainment venue. It’s famous for its long-running, 5-hour Smooth Jazz Sunday Brunch.

Since 1988, this visionary partnership has created a unique blend of taste and entertainment in Southern California. Leading Southern California restaurateurs Laurie Sisneros and Cary Hardwick have realized a meeting place for L..A and Orange counties in their award-winning restaurant – Spaghettini Fine Dining and Entertainment.

Located just off the 405 Freeway at Seal Beach Blvd., Spaghettini features exceptional Northern Italian cuisine and top name entertainment.

Serving up the tasty history along with a Spaghettini Sparkling Wine toast is Co-Founder & Managing Partner Cary Hardwick.


Show 252, December 16, 2017: Cary Hardwick, Co-Founder, Spaghettini Seal Beach Continues…

Cary Hardwick of SpaghettiniThe Spaghettini vision has fueled decades of continuous growth. As a result, this has created a staff of long term, dedicated professionals. Employees have extensive food and wine training, including hosted trips to Italy and the California wine country. Spaghettini is open for lunch and dinner, and is also the home of the Legendary Sunday Brunch. In addition to outstanding food and service, Spaghettini is committed to excellence on the entertainment side of the business.

Just out for the Holidays is Spaghettini’s 2nd cookbook, From Our House To Yours by Executive Chef Victor Avila. It’s a handsome, coffee table volume with the hit parade of Spaghettini’s menu favorites over the years. And, yes, the signature recipe for their ever-popular Pommery Shrimp appetizer is included.

…“Twenty-seven years later I’m the Executive Chef at Spaghettini and I absolutely love my job. Spaghettini is more than just a place to work, it is a family that includes not only the employees, but also our customers. For this reason our new cookbook has been a true labor of love for me. I was excited to put together recipes from many of our most popular dishes, while keeping in mind that these recipes need to feed four, not 400! They have all been thought out with the home cook in mind and I love that you will be able to enjoy a taste of Spaghettini in your own home. Enjoy!”

~ Chef Victor Avila


Show 236, August 12, 2017: Chef D. Brandon Walker, The Mar Vista, Los Angeles

Derek Brandon WalkerThe new The Mar Vista restaurant in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles is a chef-driven, food-first experience with locally sourced farm-to-table ingredients, unusual & rare-label wines and an eclectic lineup of live music. The culinary personalities behind it are Executive Chefs D. Brandon Walker and Jill Davie. It’s dinner nightly and Sunday Brunch.

The Mar Vista’s menu, affectionately dubbed progressive Los Angeles cuisine, features renditions of local favorites enhanced by wide-ranging flavors from L.A.’s diverse communities. Walker, Davie, and Chef de Cuisine Jorge Rivas infuse dishes with flavors from North Africa, Central America, Asia, and the Mediterranean to represent the varied diaspora. Daily specials, a Brazilian churrasco, and Davie’s signature Cranked, a tableside device that uses vintage grinders to make “ugly” fruit into granita, complete the offerings.

Further enriching the community-driven concept, The Mar Vista presents live music performances on Friday and Saturday evenings with a late-night menu accompanying the mellow sounds from a bluegrass or jazz band, among others.

We’ll meet the always energetic “Chef D.”



Show 218, April 8, 2017: Gretchen Kurz, Dining Writer, Critic, Orange Coast Magazine

Orange Coast Best Restaurants 2017Ever wonder how Orange Coast magazine’s annual April Restaurant issue comes together? Orange Coast’s long-time Dining Critic Gretchen Kurz shares an exclusive behind-the-scenes peek into this year’s 30-plus favorite restaurants and the bizarrely inexplicable “Orange Coast Curse.” Do restaurant critics have “Pet Peeves?” You bet, and we’ll discover some of Gretchen’s most bothersome…

“Where should we eat? Some foodies never ask this, as they always have a hot place in mind. Other friends are open to anything, any time. When I have to decide where to go, it’s usually about the atmosphere as much as the food. A rainy day lunch with girlfriends calls for a different venue than a special-occasion date night. And what better way to please out‑of‑town guests than Sunday brunch on a waterfront patio?”

“Whatever your appetite, we’re sure to have something that suits you in our Best Restaurants feature (Page 116) as we’ve tripled the size of our list this year and broken it into categories. So you won’t just find the best new restaurants, but also the classics, most-improved spots, and delightful one-of-a-kind places, among other groupings. This issue is a fascinating chance to get into the head of our dining critic, Gretchen Kurz. She comes in for a planning meeting, we talk trends, what she likes (and doesn’t), and we leave those meetings excited and hungry—no more food meetings before lunch! One pattern we’re noticing is fewer lunch options. About half of the 30-plus restaurants we feature in this issue don’t offer weekday lunch and have added weekend brunch instead. Other places have decided to focus only on daytime dining. The scene in Orange County is shifting, and sometimes it moves fast—we had to swap or remove at least three dining listings in our last issue just before we went to print. Keeping up is a challenge we relish, most of the time. Be sure to check out Gretchen’s essay about the downsides of her job (Page 125). It will make you grateful to be able to choose where you eat after she does the preliminary work.”

Alan Gibbons, Editor-In-Chief, Orange Coast