Show 561, January 20, 2024: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

“Long Beach residents and visitors alike are in for a treat as over two dozen Black-owned local restaurants and food businesses will offer special menu items and special pricing when the 3rd annual Long Beach Black Restaurant Week returns January 21-28, 2024. Organized by Axiom Kitchen and fiscally sponsored by 501(c)3 non-profit NoahS’s Arc, owner Qiana Mafnas felt that in addition to encouraging local “foodies” to enjoy what the expanding Long Beach Black culinary community has to offer, events like these support the local economy and put “butts in seats” of our valued restaurants and food retailers and home-based businesses.” Executive Chef Qiana Mafnas of Axiom Kitchen joins us with all the scrumptious details of the upcoming Long Beach Black Restaurant Week.

For the 3rd consecutive year Georgia’s Restaurant at Long Beach Exchange (where Southern hospitality meets culinary creativity) will again be part of Long Beach Black Restaurant Week. Think Gretchen’s Jambalaya and Grilled Creole Shrimp for openers. Proprietor Nika Shoemaker-Machado previews what will be on her comfort food menu.

Casaléna (Woodland Hills) is the premier new restaurant and events space in the West Valley. The menu boasts coastal Mediterranean flavors and emphasizes the use of seasonal, top-quality ingredients. At Casaléna, guests can be transported to their favorite European destinations, whether they choose to enjoy an intimate dinner in the outdoor sunken patio, or unwind with a late-night cocktail.” Casalena is attentively overseen by siblings Chloe, Brandon and Tyler Makhani. “Coastal Mediterranean is the menu direction at Casalena and suggests coastal cuisines ranging from Spain, Italy, France and Greece and those dishes immediately represented the brand and overall vision that the Makhani’s wanted to bring to life in the space. The ambiance exudes resort and carefree lifestyle and their intent is to transport guests to an atmosphere that provides an escape from ordinary life or the mundane day to day.” For starters think Squash Blossoms and Sweet Corn Agnolotti. Joining us to provide the intriguing story of the ambitious Casalena are Chloe, Brandon and Tyler Makhani.

Lil’ Luna’s So Easy & So Yummy – The Ultimate Resource for Feeding Your Friends and Family by Kristyn Merkley invites the reader to cook with joy and feed the ones you love with 200 plus recipes for all occasions from the creator of the wildly popular Lil’ Luna cooking blog. Need a hand in the kitchen? Lil’ Luna has you covered. From hearty breakfasts to festive apps to mouthwatering main courses, Lil’ Luna’s So Easy & So Yummy helps you navigate everything from meal prep and party planning to last-minute dinner solutions for your family. With more than 200 go-to, no-fail recipes—many ready in thirty minutes or less!—this innovative and approachable cookbook will revolutionize your mealtime routine.” Author Kristyn Merkley is our guest with a whisk at the ready. 

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of the fast-casual Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries. California meets Maine with a special Lobster Roll garnished with Avocado slices. Chef Andrew weighs in. Chef Andrew will also explore what’s of primary concern to area restaurateurs in 2024.

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

Show 561, January 20, 2024: Casalena Restaurant, Woodland Hills with The Makhani Siblings Part One

The Makhani Family of Casalena

Casaléna (Woodland Hills) is the premier new restaurant and events space in the West Valley. The menu boasts coastal Mediterranean flavors and emphasizes the use of seasonal, top-quality ingredients. At Casaléna, guests can be transported to their favorite European destinations, whether they choose to enjoy an intimate dinner in the outdoor sunken patio, or unwind with a late-night cocktail.” Casalena is attentively overseen by siblings Chloe, Brandon and Tyler Makhani.

“Coastal Mediterranean is the menu direction and suggests coastal cuisines ranging from Spain, Italy, France and Greece and those dishes immediately represented the brand and overall vision that the Makhani’s wanted to bring to life in the space. The ambiance exudes resort and carefree lifestyle and their intent is to transport guests to an atmosphere that provides an escape from ordinary life or the mundane day to day.”

For starters think Squash Blossoms and Sweet Corn Agnolotti.

“The Makhani’s were very specific in what they wanted to see on the menu and working with Chef Lobo Leon was fantastic because he was able to elevate and also eliminate what Casalena didn’t need. Chef Lobo also has an intuitive sense of what sells well. There are so many things that go into menu creation because of the high-volume Casalena turns out but at the same time they need to be able to have enough variety for each type of guest.”

Lunch is served Monday through Friday. Dinner is available nightly with Breakfast and Brunch on Weekends.

Joining us to provide the story of the ambitious Casalena are Chloe, Brandon and Tyler Makhani.

Show 561, January 20, 2024: Casalena Restaurant, Woodland Hills with The Makhani Siblings Part Two

The Makhani Family of Casalena

Casaléna (Woodland Hills) is the premier new restaurant and events space in the West Valley. The menu boasts coastal Mediterranean flavors and emphasizes the use of seasonal, top-quality ingredients. At Casaléna, guests can be transported to their favorite European destinations, whether they choose to enjoy an intimate dinner in the outdoor sunken patio, or unwind with a late-night cocktail.” Casalena is attentively overseen by siblings Chloe, Brandon and Tyler Makhani.

“Coastal Mediterranean is the menu direction and suggests coastal cuisines ranging from Spain, Italy, France and Greece and those dishes immediately represented the brand and overall vision that the Makhani’s wanted to bring to life in the space. The ambiance exudes resort and carefree lifestyle and their intent is to transport guests to an atmosphere that provides an escape from ordinary life or the mundane day to day.”

For starters think Squash Blossoms and Sweet Corn Agnolotti.

“The Makhani’s were very specific in what they wanted to see on the menu and working with Chef Lobo Leon was fantastic because he was able to elevate and also eliminate what Casalena didn’t need. Chef Lobo also has an intuitive sense of what sells well. There are so many things that go into menu creation because of the high-volume Casalena turns out but at the same time they need to be able to have enough variety for each type of guest.”

Lunch is served Monday through Friday. Dinner is available nightly with Breakfast and Brunch on Weekends. Late Night Menu at the Bar until Midnight is seven days.

Staying with us to continue telling the ambitious story of Casalena are Chloe, Brandon and Tyler Makhani.

January 20: Long Beach Black Restaurant Week with Axiom Kitchen and Georgia’s, Casalena, Kristyn Merkley

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Long Beach Black Restaurant Week with Organizer Chef Qiana Mafnas of Axiom Kitchen
Segment Three: Nika Shoemaker-Machado, Georgia’s Restaurant, Long Beach Exchange
Segment Four: Casalena Restaurant, Woodland Hills with The Makhani Siblings Part One
Segment Five: Casalena Restaurant, Woodland Hills with The Makhani Siblings Part Two
Segment Six: Lil’ Luna’s So Easy & So Yummy – The Ultimate Resource for Feeding Your Friends and Family with Author Kristyn Merkley Part One
Segment Seven: Lil’ Luna’s So Easy & So Yummy – The Ultimate Resource for Feeding Your Friends and Family with Author Kristyn Merkley Part Two
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel, Co-Host and Proprietor of Calico Fish House, with “Ask the Chef”

Andy Harris, Executive Producer and Co-host previews the show.

“Long Beach residents and visitors alike are in for a treat as over two dozen Black-owned local restaurants and food businesses will offer special menu items and special pricing when the 3rd annual Long Beach Black Restaurant Week returns January 21-28, 2024. Organized by Axiom Kitchen and fiscally sponsored by 501(c) non-profit NoahS’s Arc, owner Qiana Mafnas felt that in addition to encouraging local “foodies” to enjoy what the expanding Long Beach Black culinary community has to offer, events like these support the local economy and put “butts in seats” of our valued restaurants and food retailers and home-based businesses.” Executive Chef Qiana Mafnas of Axion Kitchen joins us with all the details of the upcoming Long Beach Black Restaurant Week.

For the 3rd consecutive year Georgia’s Restaurant at Long Beach Exchange (where Southern hospitality meets culinary creativity) will again be part of Long Beach Black Restaurant Week. Think Gretchen’s Jambalaya and Grilled Creole Shrimp for openers. Proprietor Nika Shoemaker-Machado previews what will be on her comfort food menu.

Casaléna (Woodland Hills) is the premier new restaurant and events space in the West Valley. The menu boasts coastal Mediterranean flavors and emphasizes the use of seasonal, top-quality ingredients. At Casaléna, guests can be transported to their favorite European destinations, whether they choose to enjoy an intimate dinner in the outdoor sunken patio, or unwind with a late-night cocktail.” Casalena is attentively overseen by siblings Chloe, Brandon and Tyler Makhani.

“Coastal Mediterranean is the menu direction at Casalena and suggests coastal cuisines ranging from Spain, Italy, France and Greece and those dishes immediately represented the brand and overall vision that the Makhani’s wanted to bring to life in the space. The ambiance exudes resort and carefree lifestyle and their intent is to transport guests to an atmosphere that provides an escape from ordinary life or the mundane day to day.” For starters think Squash Blossoms and Sweet Corn Agnolotti. Joining us to provide the intriguing story of the ambitious Casalena are Chloe, Brandon and Tyler Makhani.

“Lil’ Luna’s So Easy & So Yummy – The Ultimate Resource for Feeding Your Friends and Family by Kristyn Merkley invites the reader to cook with joy and feed the ones you love with 200 plus recipes for all occasions from the creator of the wildly popular Lil’ Luna cooking blog. Need a hand in the kitchen? Lil’ Luna has you covered. From hearty breakfasts to festive apps to mouthwatering main courses, Lil’ Luna’s So Easy & So Yummy helps you navigate everything from meal prep and party planning to last-minute dinner solutions for your family. With more than 200 go-to, no-fail recipes—many ready in thirty minutes or less!—this innovative and approachable cookbook will revolutionize your mealtime routine.” Author Kristyn Merkley is our guest with a whisk at the ready.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of the fast-casual Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries. California meets Maine with a Lobster Roll garnished with Avocado slices. Chef Andrew weighs in. Chef Andrew will also explore what’s of primary concern to area restaurateurs in 2024.

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

Qiana Mafras of Axiom Kitchen Smoked Meats & BBQ

“Long Beach residents and visitors alike are in for a treat as over two dozen Black-owned local restaurants and food businesses will offer special menu items and special pricing when the 3rd annual Long Beach Black Restaurant Week returns January 21-28, 2024.”

“Organized by Axiom Kitchen and fiscally sponsored by 501(c)3 non-profit NoahS’s Arc, owner Qiana Mafnas felt that in addition to encouraging local “foodies” to enjoy what the expanding Long Beach Black culinary community has to offer, events like these support the local economy and put “butts in seats” of our valued restaurants and food retailers and home-based businesses.”

Executive Chef Qiana Mafnas of Axiom Kitchen joins us with all the tasty details of the upcoming Long Beach Black Restaurant Week.

“There are no tickets or passes to purchase. Food lovers are invited to dine-in, take-out or have featured items delivered from their favorite restaurants, or order from the websites of various pop-ups or home cottage businesses for pick-up. Participating restaurants, food businesses and offers can be found on the website.”

“Owners Ian and Qiana Mafnas of Axiom Kitchen are a husband and wife pitmaster / executive chef team, that have over 20 years of restaurant experience between the two of them. Ian has been developing his love for smoking meats over a period of eight years, and Qiana has worked in some of the finest restaurants in California. They share their experience as well as their love for smoking meats and cooking with their community.”

Nika Shoemaker-Machado of Georgias Restaurants

For the 3rd consecutive year Georgia’s Restaurant (Long Beach Exchange) where Southern hospitality meets culinary creativity will again be part of Long Beach Black Restaurant Week. Proprietor Nika Shoemaker-Machado previews what will be on her appealing comfort food menu.

“We’re excited to participate in LBBRW for the third year,” notes Nika Shoemaker-Machado, proprietor of Georgia’s Restaurant located in the Long Beach Exchange. “Having participated in several restaurant weeks over the years, our business has never experienced the kind of guest and sales increases that the event did for us over the past two years.”

The Makhani Family of Casalena

Casaléna (Woodland Hills) is the premier new restaurant and events space in the West Valley. The menu boasts coastal Mediterranean flavors and emphasizes the use of seasonal, top-quality ingredients. At Casaléna, guests can be transported to their favorite European destinations, whether they choose to enjoy an intimate dinner in the outdoor sunken patio, or unwind with a late-night cocktail.” Casalena is attentively overseen by siblings Chloe, Brandon and Tyler Makhani.

“Coastal Mediterranean is the menu direction and suggests coastal cuisines ranging from Spain, Italy, France and Greece and those dishes immediately represented the brand and overall vision that the Makhani’s wanted to bring to life in the space. The ambiance exudes resort and carefree lifestyle and their intent is to transport guests to an atmosphere that provides an escape from ordinary life or the mundane day to day.”

For starters think Squash Blossoms and Sweet Corn Agnolotti.

“The Makhani’s were very specific in what they wanted to see on the menu and working with Chef Lobo Leon was fantastic because he was able to elevate and also eliminate what Casalena didn’t need. Chef Lobo also has an intuitive sense of what sells well. There are so many things that go into menu creation because of the high-volume Casalena turns out but at the same time they need to be able to have enough variety for each type of guest.”

Lunch is served Monday through Friday. Dinner is available nightly with Breakfast and Brunch on Weekends.

Joining us to provide the story of the ambitious Casalena are Chloe, Brandon and Tyler Makhani.

Kristyn Merkley of Lil Luna's

Lil’ Luna’s So Easy & So Yummy – The Ultimate Resource for Feeding Your Friends and Family by Kristyn Merkley invites the reader to cook with joy and feed the ones you love with 200 plus recipes for all occasions from the creator of the wildly popular Lil’ Luna cooking blog.”

“Need a hand in the kitchen? Lil’ Luna has you covered. From hearty breakfasts to festive apps to mouthwatering main courses, Lil’ Luna’s So Easy & So Yummy helps you navigate everything from meal prep and party planning to last-minute dinner solutions for your family. With more than 200 go-to, no-fail recipes—many ready in thirty minutes or less!—this innovative and approachable cookbook will revolutionize your mealtime routine.”

“With Lil’ Luna, you can whip up showstopping breakfast treats, bring the best game-day snacks with out of this world dips and bites, get cozy with warming soups and stews, fix tempting veggie sides and bright, flavorful salads, celebrate summer with barbecue and picnic classics and feel festive with irresistible holiday treats.”

“Creating this cookbook has been a labor of love,” said Merkley. “I wanted to share my passion for cooking and my belief in the power of food to bring people together. With ‘Lil’ Luna’s So Easy & So Yummy,’ I hope to inspire others to cook with joy and connect with their loved ones over delicious meals.”

“Featuring tips, tricks, bonus recipes, and even links to online video instructions, most of the recipes within are designed with a big family or a bunch of friends in mind. Cooking for a smaller crew? Hello leftovers! You’ll also find inspiration and support throughout with handy charts, checklists, and meal-planning guides. Whether you’re feeding your family or a whole crowd, this crave-worthy cookbook is the ultimate resource for nourishing, tried-and-true recipes that are, above all, so easy and so yummy.”

“Kristyn Merkley is married to her best friend Lo. They have six kids ages 6-16 who keep them busy, but they wouldn’t have it any other way. Coming from a long line of cooks and bakers, it was inevitable that Kristyn would fall in love with the same hobbies. The Lil’ Luna website was born right after her second child in early 2010. She started sharing all of her favorite Mexican recipes she got from her mom, aunts, and grandma as well as some of the traditional American recipes that came from her dad’s family.”

“It began to grow and grow until it became what it is today. Now Lil’ Luna has thousands of recipes on the website, and through Google, email and various social media platforms, millions of people visit and make recipes every month from the Lil’ Luna website. With a team of almost a dozen people working behind the scenes, they continue to create the easiest and yummiest recipes for all to try. Her readers and followers have given her the greatest gift ever—She gets to do what she loves, and make a living doing it! She could not have done it without them!”

Author Kristyn Merkley is our guest with a whisk at the ready.

Chef Andrew Gruel of Big Parm and the Calico Fish House

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of the fast-casual Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative Ask the Chef segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries.

California meets Maine culinarily with a classic Lobster Roll garnished with Avocado slices. Chef Andrew weighs in on the merits. He will also explore what’s of primary concern to area restaurateurs in 2024.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Long Beach Black Restaurant Week with Organizer Chef Qiana Mafnas of Axiom Kitchen
Segment Three: Nika Shoemaker-Machado, Georgia’s Restaurant, Long Beach Exchange
Segment Four: Casalena Restaurant, Woodland Hills with The Makhani Siblings Part One
Segment Five: Casalena Restaurant, Woodland Hills with The Makhani Siblings Part Two
Segment Six: Lil’ Luna’s So Easy & So Yummy – The Ultimate Resource for Feeding Your Friends and Family with Author Kristyn Merkley Part One
Segment Seven: Lil’ Luna’s So Easy & So Yummy – The Ultimate Resource for Feeding Your Friends and Family with Author Kristyn Merkley Part Two
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel, Co-Host and Proprietor of Calico Fish House, with “Ask the Chef”