Show 161, February 27, 2016: Craig Larson, Winemaker, Callaway Vineyard & Winery

Andrew Gruel of Slapfish and Graig Larson of Callaway Vineyard and Winery at the Pechanga Wine FestivalTemecula’s historic Callaway Vineyards & Winery has come a long way since it returned to local ownership in 2005. Callaway is recognized as the first winery in the Temecula Valley. Case production on the planted 70-acre vineyard estate is now a more modest 13,000 cases a year. It’s all sold from the renovated winery tasting room (with magnificent vineyard views), online, and via their loyal wine club.

Callaway Vineyard & Winery currently grows seven different varietals. The winery property now has 20 acres of Estate vineyards planted with Viognier, Syrah, Dolcetto, Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Grenache, Roussanne, Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. The Lin family owns an additional 200 acres of property at the corner of De Portola Road and Monte de Oro, of which approximately 50 acres are currently planted with Chardonnay, Cinsault, Mourvedre, Muscat Canelli and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

Craig Larson has been the distinguished Winemaker there for the last eight years. We’ll meet him.

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Show 161, February 27, 2016: Executive Chef Jason Rivas, South Coast Winery Resort & Carter Estate Winery, Temecula

Jason RivasExecutive Chef Jason Rivas is newly arrived at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa and the adjacent Carter Estate Winery and Resort. It’s actually an encore for him as he was on the property previously from 2009 to 2014. He’s also a Certified Sommelier. We’ll meet him.

The Carter Estate Winery has been built exclusively for the production of world class sparkling wines using the traditional Methode Champenoise process developed in the Champagne region of France. The current release is their 2012 Blanc de Blanc.

Chef Jason oversees the Vineyard Rose Restaurant at South Coast as well as the new Vineyard Grill Poolside Dining at Carter Estate. Both serve Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. He’s also responsible for the busy banquet operations at both properties.

“Today, South Coast Winery Resort & Spa and Carter Estates is the “Diamond of the Temecula Valley.” Touting over 600 distinguished awards for the wines they’ve produced in just four years, South Coast surprised the Wine Industry further in July of 2008 when it took the coveted “Golden Bear” award from its Northern California counterparts, naming it “California Winery of the Year” from the California State Fair Wine Competition”

“It’s an honor to have South Coast Winery recognized as an outstanding wine producer among its peers of California Wineries. I’m on top of the world right now, but I didn’t do it alone. I simply set the goal to create the finest wines in all of California; then provided our incredibly talented winemakers with the tools they needed to accomplish our joint mission.

The three of us – Jon McPherson, Javier Flores, and myself — did it really. By combining their skills, with my quality vineyards, adding in some hard work, and a lot of heart, we have created the best wines in the Golden State of California.” says a smiling Jim Carter, owner/vintner. “This marks the beginning for our winery.”

South Coast Winery produces a broad portfolio of premium wines that are 10 per cent grown and produced with care under his tutelage in Southern California’s up and coming Temecula Valley Wine Country. In fact, it’s targeting to produce over 65,000 cases of award-winning wine next year under four very distinct labels: Elevation; South Coast Winery; Wild Horse Peak Mountain Vineyard; and Carter Estates.

 

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Show 158, February 6, 2016: Jean-Jacques Granet, Executive Pastry Chef, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula, CA

Jean Jacques GranetHundreds of premium wine varieties, sweet and savory chocolate confections, gourmet food samples from acclaimed Pechanga Resort & Casino restaurants, live music, a silent auction and helping out a good cause are all on the agenda for February 26 and 27 at Pechanga Resort & Casino. Tickets for the 8th annual Chocolate Decadence and Pechanga Wine Festival are on sale now. Proceeds from both events benefit Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley.

Chocolate Decadence on Friday, February 26 features more than 30 premium wine varietals that have been shown to masterfully partner with chocolate and other sweet desserts. The event runs from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and is $55 per person. Tickets include a souvenir wine glass, unlimited two ounce samples of wine and spirits, chocolate and confection tasting, live music and silent auction. VIP tickets are $75 and include early entry at 5:30 p.m., upgraded souvenir wine glass, fruit and cheese plates, passed hors d’oeurves, as well as all inclusions of general admission tickets.

Wine enthusiasts can sip and explore new selections at the 8th annual Pechanga Wine Festival from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 27. Tickets for this unforgettable event are $65 and include a souvenir wine glass, unlimited two ounce samples of wine and spirits, gourmet food and dessert samples from Pechanga’s acclaimed chefs, as well as others in the Temecula Valley, live music and silent auction. VIP tickets are $85 and include early entry at 12:00 p.m., upgraded souvenir wine glass, as well as all inclusions of the general admission tickets.

Pechanga Resort & Casino’s Executive Pastry Chef, Jean-Jacques Granet joins us with all the sweetly decadent details.

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Show 33, June 29, 2013: David Vergari, Winemaker at Thornton Winery in Temecula

Thornton Winery in TemeculaYou really know David is a regular guy when he shares with you the winemakers’ tip that after a long day of tasting and blending a winemakers’ remedy for refreshing the fatigued taste buds is to enjoy a cold beer.

Vergari is only the 3rd winemaker in the rich, 25 year history of the proudly Family-owner Thornton Winery, and he has been in residence there for three years. They are known for consistently excellent California sparkling wines but in recent years they have developed a reputation for producing significant still wines, too. He has a current release of a Nebbiolo and Vermentino (both Italian grape varietals) that he’s very pleased with.

2013 is also the 25th Anniversary of Thornton’s Champagne Jazz Series. The concerts are performed outdoors in their acoustically superior Mediterranean fountain terrace and continue through October. The intimate space overlooks the scenic Temecula Valley wine country.

Huge acts who you would normally only see in large concert halls perform in this special venue because it’s a quality space. Headliner Dave Koz performed last weekend and tonight is Spyro Gyra and Acoustic Alchemy,

Thornton Winery’s long-time executive chef Steve Pickell of Café Champagne prepares a seated picnic menu (enjoyed under a shaded canopy) for every concert. It’s really an unfussy fine-dining experience with three courses. Both Thornton and other carefully selected premium wines are suggested as appropriate pairings for each course.

The appetizer course is field-to-table as all the fresh fruits and vegetables are sourced from local family farmers. Besides the wine grapes the unincorporated Riverside County portion of Temecula is an abundant agricultural area.

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June 29: Kedric Francis, Tony Abou-Ganim, Thornton Winery

Podcasts

Segment One: On the Road with Chef Jet and Producer Andy
Segment Two: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine Part One
Segment Three: Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist Part One
Segment Four: Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist Part Two
Segment Five: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine Part Two
Segment Six: David Vergari, Winemaker at Thornton Winery in Temecula

Time to talk dining…

Providence RestaurantChef Jet celebrated Father’s Day at Providence in Los Angeles. This is celebrity chef Michael Cimarusti’s (ex-Water Grill) much-praised, fine-dining seafood restaurant. In addition to the expected great seafood non-stuffy, attentive service is part of the experience. There is also a very deep wine list and an outstanding bar. Jet talks about his meal there and why this is such a popular special occasion establishment.

We’ll also answer some e-mail inquiries.

Kedric Francis of Coast Magazine and the Orange County Register MagazineMr. Suave himself, Kedric Francis, is back with us. He’s the Executive Editor of Coast Magazine and co-founding editor of the revamped OC Register Magazine.

Kedric is in-studio talking about local travel opportunities for Summer. He’s got some inspired ideas for traveling on the rails and previews the new attractions at The Disneyland Resort. It’s all child-friendly, too.

The Modern Mixologist Tony Abou-GanimWe’re delighted to welcome The Modern Mixologist, Tony Abou-Ganim, to the show. He’s a master barman and part magician. Tony is based in Las Vegas. He created the entire bar program (nothing short of spectacular) for the opening of Steve Wynn’s  original Bellagio, the trend-setting casino resort of it’s time.

Tony will share his inspirations for Summer cocktails and the importance of quality ice. It really makes the difference in a properly-prepared cocktail!

The Modern Mixologist also previews his new line of custom-designed bar tools.

Man about Orange County, Kedric Francis encores for another segment. This time he’s  chatting about the just-released June Restaurant Issue of Coast.

One feature profiles up and coming areas where there are pockets of distinctive dining places. Downtown Santa Ana is one of these spotlighted dining neighborhoods.

The most interesting piece, we think, is on the best restaurants in Orange County located in the worst spots. What a fun idea…

A truly underappreciated local wine country destination is the Temecula Valley. It’s 90 minutes, or less, from most areas of Orange County. It’s probably best known as the location of the Pechanga Casino Resort (largest Indian casino & hotel property in the West) but there is lots more out there.

Thornton Winery in TemeculaWhen you cross Butterfield Stage Road going East on Rancho California Road you hit the picturesque, and delightfully rural,  wine country. The first winery property you pass is the eye-catching Thornton Winery celebrating their 25th anniversary of proud family ownership in 2013. They are especially known for their premium California sparkling wines but also produce a  distinctive line of still wines under the stewardship of winemaker David Vergari.

Since the beginning Thornton has staged a highly regarded summer Champagne Jazz Series at the winery showcasing renowned contemporary jazz artists. Dave Koz performed two concerts there last weekend. It’s a superb environment to enjoy a concert in. You can also sip wine and enjoy a three-course seated dinner in the concert area.

Podcasts

Segment One: On the Road with Chef Jet and Producer Andy
Segment Two: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine Part One
Segment Three: Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist Part One
Segment Four: Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist Part Two
Segment Five: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine Part Two
Segment Six: David Vergari, Winemaker at Thornton Winery in Temecula

Show 15, February 2, 2013: Leah DiBernardo, Executive Chef & Co-Owner of E.A.T. (Extraordinary Artisan Table) in Temecula and head (as a volunteer) of the Slow Food Temecula Valley convivium.

Restaurateur & Chef Leah DiBernardo of E.A.T. (Extraordinary Artisan Table)The storefront E.A.T. café and marketplace in Temecula is celebrating it’s year anniversary although Leah has been doing acclaimed catering in the Temecula Valley for a number of years. You can dine leisurely at one of the family style tables in the cafe or the locally sourced cuisine can be packed up to be re-heated at home.

Food philosophy at E.A.T. is simple – embrace & glorify seasonal produce, locally procured meats & wines that are made in the Temecula Valley, whenever possible. We produce our cuisine with the best to ensure that the flavors and quality of our ingredients make your taste buds pop.”

Leah also donates her time to head the Slow Food Chapter in the Temecula Valley. As a non-profit they raise money to create produce gardens in the local schools and better educate the students on health and sound nutrition.

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November 24: Ricardo Zarate, Inn at Europa Village, Deep End Dining, Marche Moderne

Podcasts

Segment One: Chef Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef Dean A. Thomas, Innkeeper (with his wife, Nicole) of The Inn At Europa Village and Executive Chef de Cuisine at Europa Village Winery and Tasting Room
Segment Three: Eddie Lin of the blog “Deep End Dining” and the new Web series for YouTube, “Kamikaze Kitchen.”
Segment Four: Eddie Lin Part Two
Segment Five: Chef Ricardo Zarate and Business Partner & Restaurateur Stephane Bombet of Picca in West Los Angeles and Mo-Chica in Downtown Los Angeles
Segment Six: Ricardo Zarate and Stephane Bombet Part Two
Segment Seven: Amelia Marneau of Marche Moderne in The Penthouse (Level 3) at South Coast Plaza
Segment Eight: Food TV Producer and Culinary Personality Eric Boardman

The Holidays are upon us and the “SoCal Restaurant Show” is getting into the spirit of the season. It’s a stuffed grab bag of entertaining info this week.

Ever wonder what a busy chef (and new father) does for his own Family on Thanksgiving? Chef Jet gives us the behind-the-scenes on his Thanksgiving 2012.

The picturesque Temecula Valley Wine Country is only 90-minutes from most of Los Angeles and is a great local getaway with numerous inviting attractions including a winery for every palate and budget.

In the last year The Inn at Europa Village (located on a hilltop with an unrivaled view of the Valley) has been remodeled and enhanced, and now defines the standard of truly memorable bed and breakfast establishments in the Temecula Valley.

The personable Innkeepers are the dynamic duo of Executive Chef Dean Thomas and his wife, Nicole. Chef Dean also oversees the culinary operations at the neighboring Europa Village Tasting Room & Vineyards.

We’ll talk with Dean about his unusual hands-on approach to managing a bed and breakfast and the show-stopping breakfasts he creates with premium local ingredients for his appreciative guests every morning!

Eddie Lin of Deep End DiningJoining Jet in studio will be Asian food blogger extraordinaire and culinary personality Eddie Lin. You may know him from “Deep-End Dining.” He also has a new Web series, “Kamikaze Kitchen.”

Eddie’s most recent assignment is as a contributor to Los Angeles Magazine’sDigest” blog.

Peruvian cuisine has captured the attention of SoCal foodies. At the forefront is Chef Ricardo Zarate who achieved fame in L.A. with his hole-in-the wall spot, Mo-Chica, originally located in the Mercado La Paloma just East of the USC campus. This was later relocated to a more ambitious and expanded space Downtown at 514 W. Seventh St.

Ricardo Zarate of Mo-Chica and PiccaBefore that Ricardo and his business partner Stephane Bombet launched the upscale Picca (Peruvian/Japanese small plates) on W. Pico Blvd. just East of Century City.

A new spot in Marina del Rey is on the horizon.

Jet will chat with both Chef Ricardo and Stephane Bombet about their expanding restaurant empire which started quite modestly.

Our vote for nicest couple in the hospitality business in Orange County has to be Florent and Amelia Marneau who are the greatly respected proprietors of the acclaimed Marche Moderne located in The Penthouse (Level 3) at South Coast Plaza.

Since they opened in 2007 the restaurant has earned the reputation as the premier French restaurant in Orange County and beyond. Florent is behind the stoves and Amelia creates the incredible desserts and also graciously runs the front-of-the-house.

Throughout the year they do noteworthy special events to keep their establishment fresh. This morning Amelia joins the show to preview Marche Moderne’s “40 Days of Champagne and Caviar” Holiday Celebration. Nightly until December 30th Marche is showcasing a nightly special menu of six top caviar selections and bubbly from four renowned Champagne houses along with the traditional accoutrements and caviar-friendly cocktails. If you don’t think that says “Holidays” with a flourish then forget about it…

Finally Careers through Culinary Arts Program Los Angeles Advisory Board Member (and food TV producer) Eric Boardman is with us to discuss the spirited C-CAP alum competition in the style of Food Network’s “Chopped” that was part of last Saturday’s “Getting Our Just Desserts” Benefit at The Art Institute of California-Los Angeles’ campus in Santa Monica. Eric was the Master of Ceremonies for the competition and shares the results.

Podcasts

Segment One: Chef Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef Dean A. Thomas, Innkeeper (with his wife, Nicole) of The Inn At Europa Village and Executive Chef de Cuisine at Europa Village Winery and Tasting Room
Segment Three: Eddie Lin of the blog “Deep End Dining” and the new Web series for YouTube, “Kamikaze Kitchen.”
Segment Four: Eddie Lin Part Two
Segment Five: Chef Ricardo Zarate and Business Partner & Restaurateur Stephane Bombet of Picca in West Los Angeles and Mo-Chica in Downtown Los Angeles
Segment Six: Ricardo Zarate and Stephane Bombet Part Two
Segment Seven: Amelia Marneau of Marche Moderne in The Penthouse (Level 3) at South Coast Plaza
Segment Eight: Food TV Producer and Culinary Personality Eric Boardman