Show 320, April 20, 2019: Chef Thomas Ortega of Amorcito Urban Taqueria, Long Beach Exchange in the Hangar Part Two

Chef Thomas OrtegaChef Thomas Ortega (Playa Amor Mexican Cocina and Amor Y Tacos Mexican Kitchen & Cantina) recently launched his fourth restaurant in SoCal, and this time it’s his first fast-casual concept: AMORCITO Urban Taqueria. Credited as one of the innovators of the Modern Mexican and pocho cuisine food movements, Ortega’s goal is to bring more quality Modern Mexican/ pocho cuisine to the Southland at an affordable price point with his new interpretation of the urban taqueria in Long Beach at Hangar at Long Beach Exchange.

“For starters, Ortega has hired a designated tortilla-maker to make fresh corn and flour tortillas daily – something you don’t usually see at any fast-casual restaurant. As customers wait, they can even watch the tortillas being made through a window that overlooks the tortilla-making station. “I’m looking to bring quality Modern Mexican flavors to a larger audience without the intimidating price points and without compromising the use of quality ingredients at my first ever fast–casual space,” states Ortega. “Ideally, we’d love to bring our revered approach to pocho cuisine to more of LA and OC by opening several more Amorcitos down the line.””

Chef Thomas shared that a major expansion of his Amor Y Tacos Mexican Kitchen and Cantina in Cerritos is near completion. It will include an exclusive Chef’s Table.

We continue with Chef Thomas Ortega.

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July 6: Sherry Yard, Sriracha Movie, Gustavo Arrelamo, Evan Funke, Valerie Confections

Podcasts

Segment One: On the Town with Chef Jet, Sherry Yard, and Producer Andy
Segment Two: Food Journalist Randy Clemens and “Sriracha” filmmaker Griffin Hammond Part One
Segment Three: Food Journalist Randy Clemens and “Sriracha” filmmaker Griffin Hammond Part Two
Segment Four: Gustavo Arellano, Editor of OC Weekly and author of Taco USA: How Mexican Foods Conquered America
Segment Five: Chef Evan Funke, executive chef & proprietor, Bucato Restaurant
Segment Six: Valerie Gordon, Valerie Confections

Time to talk of recent dining adventures …

Sherry YardPastry princess, Sherry Yard, the recipient of two James Beard Awards, joins us in-studio. She was celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck’s high-profile dessert guru for 20 years and is now out on her own with an ambitious project at The Helms Bakery complex in Los Angeles (on the border with Culver City.)

We’ll also answer some e-mail inquiries.

Sriracha MovieIt’s the Sriracha wars and the heat is on !

If you think Sriracha is simply the locally produced, fiery sauce with the red rooster on the label you need to know the real story. It’s actually Thai hot sauce named after the seaside town of Si Racha. It’s as popular as ketchup on the Southeast Asian table.

Documentary filmmaker Griffin Hammond will join us to talk about the Sriracha documentary he’s working on. It’s partially funded by an ongoing KickStarter campaign that’s already oversubscribed! He’ll be joined by local food writer Randy Clemens who is the author of two cookbooks on Sriracha. Newly released is The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook from Ten Speed Press.

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

Today we’re talking 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? We’re confused…

I need a cerveza…

Evan Funke of Bucato Restaurant Chef Evan Funke generated a lot of interest at Rustic Canyon as the opening chef when it opened a few years back in Santa Monica. Now Evan is about to debut Bucato Restaurant on Washington Blvd. in Culver City in the former iconic Beacon Laundry Building which is part of the larger Helms Bakery complex. With Bucato he is Executive Chef and Proprietor.

During construction Chef Evan has been operating a food truck. The rave item is his porchetta sandwich. Bucato will be modern Italian.

Valerie Gordon of Valerie ConfectionsValerie Gordon of Valerie Confections burst on the local foodie scene with her cravable line of chocolate-dipped toffees in 2004. The response has been terrific and the line has greatly expanded over the years. Her quality products now include chocolates, a line of petis fours, handmade preserves, cakes, pastries, and even a catering division.

Valerie has developed a sub-specialty of recreating the classic desserts of fondly remembered, but long-ago departed, iconic local restaurants. The original Brown Derby’s grapefruit cake is just one memorable example.

Valerie Confections latest project is their new Coffee Shop & Bakery located at the historic Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles.

Podcasts

Segment One: On the Town with Chef Jet, Sherry Yard, and Producer Andy
Segment Two: Food Journalist Randy Clemens and “Sriracha” filmmaker Griffin Hammond Part One
Segment Three: Food Journalist Randy Clemens and “Sriracha” filmmaker Griffin Hammond Part Two
Segment Four: Gustavo Arellano, Editor of OC Weekly and author of Taco USA: How Mexican Foods Conquered America
Segment Five: Chef Evan Funke, executive chef & proprietor, Bucato Restaurant
Segment Six: Valerie Gordon, Valerie Confections