Show 412, February 13, 2021: Chef & Proprietor Marco Zapien, Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria, Pico Rivera Part One

Marco Zapien of Zapiens Salsa Grill and Taqueria

Chef Marco Zapien’s Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria in Pico Rivera has reopened for sidewalk dining Tuesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Family meals are still available To-Go. For Sunday (Valentine’s Day) from 4 to 8:00 p.m. Chef Marco has created a 3- course menu with options for each course either for al fresco dining or curbside pickup. Think Rosemary Roasted Prime Rib of Beef.

Chef Marco also has a special Lent menu with traditional Lenten dishes as well as his own original, Lent creations. It’s available starting on Ash Wednesday, February 17th. Think Mojarra Frita with pan-fried whole tilapia topped with roasted garlic butter and served with rice and frijoles de la olla.

After chefing in the sports and entertainment industry for years, Chef Marco Zapien decided in 2003 that it was time to build a reputation in the private sector by partnering with his Father, Jess, in a family operated restaurant. Zapien’s Salsa Grill & Taqueria has been the culinary heart of the Pico Rivera community for 18 years now and has developed into a community favorite for preparing authentic regional Mexican fare. They even make the effort to prepare their own tortillas fresh daily.

Marco has developed a signature style of cooking that incorporates two generations of his Mother’s and Father’s family recipes with a dash of his own passionate creativity.

We entice Chef Marco out of his busy kitchen for a chat.

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Show 412, February 13, 2021: Chef & Proprietor Marco Zapien, Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria, Pico Rivera Part Two

Marco Zapien of Zapiens Salsa Grill and Taqueria

Chef Marco Zapien’s Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria in Pico Rivera has reopened for sidewalk dining Tuesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Family meals are still available To-Go. For Sunday (Valentine’s Day) from 4 to 8:00 p.m. Chef Marco has created a 3- course menu with options for each course either for al fresco dining or curbside pickup. Think Rosemary Roasted Prime Rib of Beef.

Chef Marco also has a special Lent menu with traditional Lenten dishes as well as his own Lent creations. It’s available starting on Ash Wednesday, February 17th. Think Mojarra Frita with pan-fried whole tilapia topped with roasted garlic butter and served with rice and frijoles de la olla.

After chefing in the sports and entertainment industry for years, Chef Marco Zapien decided in 2003 that it was time to build a reputation in the private sector by partnering with his Father, Jess, in a family operated restaurant. Zapien’s Salsa Grill & Taqueria has been the culinary heart of the Pico Rivera community for 18 years now and has developed into a community favorite for preparing authentic regional Mexican fare.

They even make their own tortillas fresh daily.

Marco has developed a signature style of cooking that incorporates two generations of his Mother’s and Father’s family recipes with a dash of his own passionate creativity.

Now that we have Chef Marco taking a break from his busy kitchen he stays with us for more inspired food conversation.

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Show 411, February 6, 2021: Restaurateur Donato Poto, Co-Owner of Providence and Connie & Ted’s Part One

Donato Poto of Providence plus Connie and Ted's

For 16 years, Providence in Hollywood has elevated the standard of modern American seafood restaurants along with exemplary service. For Valentine’s Day Weekend (Friday, Saturday & Sunday) guests can experience Chef Michael Cimarusti’s award-winning cuisine for curbside takeaway. The extravagant Valentine’s feast (for 2) starts with Morro Bay Gold Oyster and Kaluga Caviar with Crème Fraiche and concludes with a Tarte au Chocolat with Pudwill Farms raspberries. For the decadent Valentine’s Day feast Chef Cimarusti has also created an entertaining, easy-to-follow video where he energetically walks the guest through the assembling and plating of the meal course-by-course.

“Chef Cimarusti is completely dedicated to procuring the finest sustainable seafood—from regional coasts and international waters—and treats those ingredients with uncompromising respect and sophisticated technique. “First and foremost, what guides us here is sustainability,” Cimarusti says. “We use only wild-caught, sustainable products, mostly from American waters, and look to highlight their finest qualities.””

Restaurateur, Co-Proprietor of Providence and graciously welcoming host Donato Poto is with us to talk about Valentine’s Day and look to the future when dine-in (inside) can return.

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Show 411, February 6, 2021: Restaurateur Donato Poto, Co-Owner of Providence and Connie & Ted’s Part Two

Donato Poto of Providence plus Connie and Ted's

For 16 years, Providence in Hollywood has elevated the standard of modern American seafood restaurants along with exemplary service. For Valentine’s Day Weekend (Friday, Saturday & Sunday) guests can experience Chef Michael Cimarusti’s award-winning cuisine for curbside takeaway. The extravagant Valentine’s feast (for 2) starts with Morro Bay Gold Oyster and Kaluga Caviar with Crème Fraiche and concludes with a Tarte au Chocolat with Pudwill Farms raspberries. For the decadent Valentine’s Day feast Chef Cimarusti has also created an entertaining, easy-to-follow video where he energetically walks the guest through the assembling and plating of the meal course-by-course.

Also on offer is the Valentine’s Day Edition of The Providence Pantry. If you already have your meal planned tantalizing gourmet enhancements are available. Think local, house-smoked black cod, black truffle brie, black truffle pasta kits, signature cocktails, and a special wine pairing chosen especially for the Valentine’s menu.

“Chef Cimarusti is completely dedicated to procuring the finest sustainable seafood—from regional coasts and international waters—and treats those ingredients with uncompromising respect and sophisticated technique. “First and foremost, what guides us here is sustainability,” Cimarusti says. “We use only wild-caught, sustainable products, mostly from American waters, and look to highlight their finest qualities.””

Connie & Ted’s in West Hollywood Chef Michael’s and Donato’s (along with Craig Nickoloff’s) more casual, full-service Dinner House has reopened for outside patio dining. They are serving Dinner nightly Wednesday through Sunday.

Restaurateur, Co-Proprietor of Providence and graciously welcoming host Donato Poto continues with us to talk about Valentine’s Day at Providence, patio dining at sister restaurant Connie & Ted’s and look to the future when dine-in (inside) can return.

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Show 404, December 19, 2020: Pastry Chef Zac Young of PieCaken by Chef Zac Young

Pastry Chef Zac Young“New York City. November 2015. Pastry Chef Zac Young (Final Four of Bravo’s “Top Chef: Desserts,” inaugural season) is brainstorming Thanksgiving specials for his restaurant in midtown. The Executive Chef of the restaurant was super stoked about the Turducken special he was serving like it’s all he could talk about. Zac knew he had the last course, and the last word, he set out to make the Turducken of dessert. PieCaken. If for no other reason, to compete with and possibly make fun of the kitchen’s savory side.”

“Zac posted an in-progress shot on his Instagram, and the comments ranged from a lot of “OMG” to “my daughter just tried to lick this picture.” To “can I buy one?”. “Buy one? Buy a whole one?,” Zac thought “that’s silly, it’s just going to be served by the slice, as a Thanksgiving special.” Then his phone started ringing with friends calling in favors to get one, including Kelly Ripa breaking the news on her show the next morning. “Fine. Let’s sell it.””

The new Christmas PieCaken and the original OG PieCaken are available for nationwide shipping via Goldbelly. In 2021 look for a changing array of festive PieCakens available to coincide with major Holidays. Think Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day for starters.

“The spectacular Christmas PieCaken features four of the best-selling holiday products all in one – pecan pie, eggnog cheesecake and red velvet cake. It’s topped with sweet and tart cherry pie filling, all layered together with amaretto buttercream.”

Chef Zac joins us with whisk in hand.

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Show 360, February 15, 2020: The Challenges of Valentine’s Day Dining for Restaurants

Andy Harris at the KLAA StudiosValentine’s Day is a particularly difficult Holiday for restaurants to manage. Expectations are high on the part of couples and it’s all tables of two who want to linger. What are the operational and food preparation challenges of Valentine’s Day from the restaurant’s perspective?

Executive Producer Andy Harris (who has a background in restaurant operations) explores this with the show’s Producer/Engineer/Board Operator Aaron Fry, who moonlights as a proficient bartender and server with years of experience. Valentine’s Day extends into the Weekend this year so it’s possibly 3-nights of elevated, high-pressure Valentine’s Day dining.

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Show 312, February 23, 2019: Kim Jensen, Ingeborg’s Danish Chocolates, Solvang

Kim JensenLocated in Solvang, California, the Danish capital of America, Ingeborg’s Danish Chocolate Factory was first opened in 1961. The traditional chocolate recipes were first brought to Solvang by Ingeborg Larsen, a chocolate dipper in one of Denmark’s largest chocolate factories. Ingeborg’s is now safely in the hands of caretakers Kim and Carol Jensen (only the 3rd owners) who have preserved the tradition of Danish artisan chocolate making with some contemporary touches.

“A perfect accent for fine wines, champagnes, and coffees, Ingeborg’s chocolates are made with absolutely the finest, fresh ingredients and no preservatives or additives. As the seasons change, the boxes and wrappings may vary, but never their commitment to quality.”

“No matter what the season, or the occasion, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Christmas, or any day, Ingeborg’s specialty Danish chocolates are sure to delight the palate of the most discriminating chocolate lover. Their light and dark chocolate Cornucopias make stunning centerpiece displays, elegant for any time of year, and are filled with their handmade luscious soft centered Truffles and now our new award-winning “Sea Salt and Butterscotch Sea Salt Caramel Chocolates.””

“Ingeborg’s also features a wide variety of unique molded chocolate items as well as our Orange and Peppermint chocolate sticks. All items are individually boxed and beautifully wrapped. Please note that we now also feature an expanded array of sugar-free chocolates, sweets, and assorted candies.”

Kim joins us in sweet conversation.

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Show 209, February 4, 2017: Betsy Thagard, Founder, B. toffee, Newport Beach

Betsy ThagardAn award-winning, handcrafted toffee, B. toffee’s “crunchy perfection of sweetness” offers the ultimate indulgence. (Think Valentine’s Day…) Combining only the finest, freshest, and most natural ingredients, Newport Beach local Betsy Thagard spent years of passionate experimenting to create the perfect toffee. At first she only shared it with friends as an anxiously anticipated Holiday Gift. Now it’s thoughtfully available to us all.

Today, B. toffee is growing nationwide with premiere placement at the country’s most noted gourmet markets and specialty stores. B. toffee is recognized as a superior quality product with its sophisticated, sleek packaging being described as a “crunchy perfection of sweetness” and has also taken a bite out of the corporate, and party favor market

Most recently B. toffee received top GOLD honors for “Top Toffee” and “Best Packaging” by the Taste Awards in San Francisco, CA. Also awarded the “Official Toffee” at The Golden Foodie Awards-the most prominent culinary fandom awards in Orange County, CA.

Demand has increased to the point where B. toffee has recently relocated to a much larger production and packaging facility. The product is still attentively made and packaged by hand in small batches.

“Sharing my B. toffee product with the world has been a dream come true, and I am so proud and honored by the partnerships developed over the past year,” said Thagard. “The move to the new facility will allow B. toffee to continue to grow, and, in turn, dedicate more resources to a project close to my heart, the B. Giving Initiative, which, in conjunction with local charities, allows for B. toffee to impact the community in a positive way.”

Betsy is our guest.

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Show 159, February 13, 2016: Chef Andrew Gruel, Founder, Slapfish Restaurant Group

Andrew Gruel and his son WilliamFinally a chance to catch-up with our esteemed Co-host Chef Andrew Gruel. Chef Andrew is always the source of quality information with keen insight. How do you survive dining out on Valentine’s Day and have a successful experience? It’s stressful…

Not easy for the restaurant, either. We’ll get Chef Andrew’s thoughts.

Remember with the long Weekend Brunch is a good option, too. Just have reasonable expectations, don’t stress and be patient.

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Show 108, January 31, 2015: Amy Jo Pedone, Valenza Chocolatier Continues…

Valenza ChocolatierWhat’s Valentine’s Day without some premium chocolates? Certified Master Chocolatier Amy Jo (Valenza) Pedone of Valenza Chocolatier is with us for a second segment to satisfy our chocolate craving.

It’s no surprise that Valenza Chocolatier has created an exclusive Valentine’s Day Collection with many appealing options.

“I love deeply, I cherish all the little things, and I adore many people – these are just a few of the ways I express some of my greatest passions. My Valentine’s Day Collection is an expression of how beloved my passions are, and it’s only fitting that the meaning of my name (Amy) also means beloved,” confides Amy Jo.

Valenza Chocolatier’s The Valentine’s Day Collection (including full descriptions and pricing) is available online through ValenzaChocolatier.com.

Two Valenza Chocolatier Valentine’s Day Pop-Up Shops will be available. The first will be at The Hood MRK on Wednesday, February 11th from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. and the second at Local Fare (within the OC Mix in Costa Mesa) on Thursday, February 12th from 3 to 6:00 p.m. Guests can meet Amy Jo, indulge in some sampling, purchase the Valentine’s Day Collection in person, plus enter a drawing to win a 5-piece Tartaruga custom gift box.

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