Show 428, June 5, 2021: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

We’re previewing the show with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris.

Last week we spoke with Executive Chef Kenneth Williams who oversees the diverse dining options at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage. We’re now picking up the appetizing conversation with Chef Ken’s Executive Sous Chef, Patrick Contreras. We’re concentrating on the casual, full-service Waters Café serving Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Happy Hour, and The District (fast casual service,) offering an array of tasty regional cuisines from Mexican (La Olla Mexican Cuisine) to a selection of Asian (Jade Asian Cuisine) and delicatessen foods (ACE Deli.)

Brothers Stuart and Charles Smith are the vineyard managers and winemakers of Smith-Madrone Winery located on Spring Mountain in the Napa Valley. Smith-Madrone celebrated their 50th Anniversary on May 14th. They are known for outstanding Riesling, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. The name for the winery came as a tribute to the Smith brothers who pursued their dream and to the Madrone trees which distinguish the property.” Founder Stuart Smith joins us with a glass of Smith-Madrone 2017 Riesling in hand.

FARM is a traditional Provencial-style restaurant in downtown Palm Springs in the historic La Plaza, tucked away from traffic. The culinary team has taken care to create a menu comprised of traditional European dishes, brimming with locally sourced produce and artisanal meats. In true Provencial-style, the bi-weekly changing prix fixe dinner menu (available Friday through Tuesday) is served at a relaxed pace so you may enjoy your evening at Farm. It’s three courses (with selections in each course) plus an Amuse Bouche and a refreshing Palate Cleanser presented before the Entree. Reservations are needed for Dinner. Breakfast and Lunch with an a la carte menu is walk-in. Proprietress Liz Ostoich is our guest.

Puesto Mexican Artisan Kitchen & Bar launched its third Orange County location in late April at Huntington Beach’s Bella Terra Center. As the largest of the O.C. locations at 7,600 square feet, Puesto Bella Terra reflects the coastal community that it has joined by adopting elements of Huntington Beach culture in its design, with organic forms, raw materials, and earth tones of the Puesto color wheel.” “Puesto is known for its tacos made from handmade, non-GMO, organic blue corn stone-ground tortillas, organic jidori chicken, sustainable meats, Baja and local line caught seafood, local produce and scratch salsas. Guests are encouraged to mix and match from an array of tacos.”

Co-Founder Alex Adler joins us.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Chef Andrew is continually updating us on the real impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants during the initial, highly fluid stages of the hoped-for recovery which remains a genuine concern. Chef Andrew is on his way home from Texas from his annual Texas BBQ tasting road tour. What distinguishes BBQ in the Lone Star State? It’s all about the dry rubs. Chef Andrew points us in the right direction.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness (with proper Social Distancing) on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Play

Show 428, June 5, 2021: Executive Sous Chef Patrick Contreras, Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage

Patrick Contreras at 360 Sports inside of Agua Caliente Rancho Mirage

Last week we spoke with Executive Chef Kenneth Williams who oversees the diverse dining options at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage. We’re picking up the conversation with Chef Ken’s Executive Sous Chef, Patrick Contreras.

Now we’re concentrating on the casual, full-service Waters Café serving Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Happy Hour, and The District (fast casual service,) offering an array of regional cuisines from Mexican (La Olla Mexican Cuisine) to a selection of Asian (Jade Asian Cuisine) and delicatessen foods (ACE Deli.) ACE Deli is open 23 hours per day. Waters Café also handles Room Service for the 340-room Resort Hotel.

Executive Sous Chef Patrick Contreras joins us with tongs securely in hand.

Play

June 5: Aqua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage, Smith-Madrone Winery, Farm Palm Springs, Puesto Mexican Artisan Kitchen & Bar

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Executive Sous Chef Patrick Contreras, Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage
Segment Three: Stuart Smith, Founder, Smith-Madrone Vineyards & Winery, Spring Mountain, Napa Valley
Segment Four: Liz Ostoich, Owner, Farm, La Plaza, Palm Springs Part One
Segment Five: Liz Ostoich, Owner, Farm, La Plaza, Palm Springs Part Two
Segment Six: Alex Adler, Co-Founder, Puesto Mexican Artisan Kitchen & Bar Part One
Segment Seven: Alex Adler, Co-Founder, Puesto Mexican Artisan Kitchen & Bar Part Two
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

We’re previewing the show with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris.

Last week we spoke with Executive Chef Kenneth Williams who oversees the diverse dining options at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage. We’re now picking up the appetizing conversation with Chef Ken’s Executive Sous Chef, Patrick Contreras. We’re concentrating on the casual, full-service Waters Café serving Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Happy Hour, and The District (fast casual service,) offering an array of tasty regional cuisines from Mexican (La Olla Mexican Cuisine) to a selection of Asian (Jade Asian Cuisine) and delicatessen foods (ACE Deli.)

Brothers Stuart and Charles Smith are the vineyard managers and winemakers of Smith-Madrone Winery located on Spring Mountain in the Napa Valley. Smith-Madrone celebrated their 50th Anniversary on May 14th. They are known for outstanding Riesling, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. The name for the winery came as a tribute to the Smith brothers who pursued their dream and to the Madrone trees which distinguish the property.” Founder Stuart Smith joins us with a glass of Smith-Madrone 2017 Riesling in hand.

FARM is a traditional Provencial-style restaurant in downtown Palm Springs in the historic Plaza, tucked away from traffic. The culinary team has taken care to create a menu comprised of traditional European dishes, brimming with locally sourced produce and artisanal meats. In true Provencial-style, the weekly changing prix fixe dinner menu (available Friday through Tuesday) is served at a relaxed pace so you may enjoy your evening at Farm. It’s three courses (with selections in each course) plus an Amuse Bouche and a refreshing Palate Cleanser presented before the Entree. Reservations are needed for Dinner. Breakfast and Lunch with an a la carte menu is walk-in. Proprietress Liz Ostoich is our guest.

“Puesto Mexican Artisan Kitchen & Bar launched its third Orange County location in late April at Huntington Beach’s Bella Terra Center. As the largest of the O.C. locations at 7,600 square feet, Puesto Bella Terra reflects the coastal community that it has joined by adopting elements of Huntington Beach culture in its design, with organic forms, raw materials, and earth tones of the Puesto color wheel.”

“Puesto is known for its tacos made from handmade, non-GMO, organic blue corn stone-ground tortillas, organic jidori chicken, sustainable meats, Baja and local line caught seafood, local produce and scratch salsas. Guests are encouraged to mix and match from an array of tacos.”

Co-Founder Alex Adler join us.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Chef Andrew is continually updating us on the real impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants during the initial, highly fluid stages of the hoped-for recovery which remains a genuine concern. Chef Andrew just returned from Texas on his annual Texas BBQ tasting road tour. What distinguishes BBQ in the Lone Star State? Chef Andrew points us in the right direction.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness (with proper Social Distancing) on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Patrick Contreras at 360 Sports inside of Agua Caliente Rancho Mirage

Last week we spoke with Executive Chef Kenneth Williams who oversees the diverse dining options at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage. We’re picking up the conversation with Chef Ken’s Executive Sous Chef, Patrick Contreras. Now we’re concentrating on the casual, full-service Waters Café serving Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Happy Hour, and The District (fast casual service,) offering an array of regional cuisines from Mexican (La Olla Mexican Cuisine) to a selection of Asian (Jade Asian Cuisine) and delicatessen foods (ACE Deli.)

Stuart Smith of Smith Madrone Winery

Brothers Stuart and Charles Smith are the vineyard managers and winemakers of Smith-Madrone Winery located on Spring Mountain in the Napa Valley. Smith-Madrone celebrated their 50th Anniversary on May 14th. The name for the winery came as a tribute to the Smith brothers who pursued their dream and to the Madrone trees which distinguish the property.”

“In May 1971, with a partnership of family and friends, Stuart Smith bought the ‘terroir’ which today is Smith-Madrone Vineyards & Winery. He was 22 years old and had just received his B.A. in Economics from UC Berkeley and was taking classes towards his Master’s in Viticulture at UC Davis. In trying to find land to plant vineyard in the Napa Valley, through a family friend he explored a forest on the remotest and highest part of Spring Mountain and discovered that the land had been a vineyard in the 1880s and in fact had been part of the wagon trail route between Napa and Santa Rosa.”

“Smith-Madrone’s current releases are the 2017 Chardonnay, 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2017 Riesling, 2016 Cook’s Flat Reserve and in very limited availability, magnums of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cook’s Flat Reserve.”

Founder Stuart Smith is our guest to gently pull the cork on Smith-Madrone for us.

Liz Ostoich of Farm and Tac/Quila in Palm Springs

FARM (reconceived in 2016 under new ownership) is a traditional Provencial-style restaurant in downtown Palm Springs in the historic Plaza, tucked away from traffic. The culinary team has taken care to create a menu comprised of traditional European dishes, brimming with locally sourced produce and artisanal meats. In true Provencial-style, the weekly changing prix fixe dinner menu (available Friday through Tuesday) is served at a relaxed pace so you may enjoy your evening at Farm.” It’s three courses (with selections in each course) plus an Amuse Bouche and a refreshing Palate Cleanser presented before the Entree. Reservations are needed for Dinner.

Breakfast and Lunch with an a la care menu are offered daily on a walk-in basis. Think an extensive selection of Sweet & Savory Crepes, Omelettes, Brioche French Toast, Greenery and Sandwiches.

“The experience at Farm is like being transported to the South of France. When you come and dine with us, you can expect an extraordinary sensory experience; from our garden-like patio seating, our beautiful bouquet of floral landscaping, to our incredible authentic menu comprised of the freshest ingredients, you will be wowed at every turn.”

“Enjoy a meal on our patio and take in the ambiance of being out of the city. We prepare all our items as you order. No freezers, no microwave, and our kitchen staff works hard to prepare each dish with the utmost care!”

Owner Liz Ostoich joins us.

Alex Adler of Puesto

Puesto Mexican Artisan Kitchen & Bar launched its third Orange County location in late April at Huntington Beach’s Bella Terra Center. As the largest of the O.C. locations at 7,600 square feet, Puesto Bella Terra reflects the coastal community that it has joined by adopting elements of Huntington Beach culture in its design, with organic forms, raw materials, and earth tones of the Puesto color wheel.”

“Despite being a very challenging year for restaurants, in general, we’ve been overwhelmed by the support that the Orange County community has shown Puesto – so much so, that is has only gotten us more energized and excited to bring the community this beautiful location in the Bella Terra Center,” says Eric Adler, Tacoteur and Co-Founder of Puesto. “This will be our largest location, with extensive indoor and open-air seating and many unique features that provide a one of a kind experience for guests to enjoy.”

“Puesto is known for its tacos made from handmade, non-GMO, organic blue corn stone-ground tortillas, organic jidori chicken, sustainable meats, Baja and local line caught seafood, local produce and scratch salsas. Guests are encouraged to mix and match from an array of tacos, including Filet Mignon (crispy melted cheese, avocado, spicy pistachio serrano salsa), Chicken al Pastor (crispy melted cheese, braised Jidori chicken, hibiscus & chipotle tinga, avocado, piña habanero pico), vegetarian options such as Verduras (crispy melted cheese, rajas, tatume squash, papas, corn& tomato, nopales, avocado, jalapeño, zucchini blossom) and Mushroom (crispy melted cheese, garlic braised seasonal mushrooms, pickled onions, stone fruit serrano salsa, hearts on fire). In addition to tacos, fresh ceviches and enchiladas highlight the menu.”

“Puesto is family-owned and operated by brothers Eric, Alan and Alex Adler, their cousins Isidoro and Moy Lombrozo alongside Executive Chef Luisteen Gonzalez, a Mexico City native who accredits his passion for food to his grandmother and his fisherman father. The owners, first generation Mexican Americans, have been immersed in authentic, Mexican cooking since birth. While traveling around the United States, they became captivated by the local cuisine in each city, and how it reflected its people and culture. The family was inspired to bring their Mexican roots to the SoCal area, thus Puesto is a combination of authentic Mexican flavors and Southern California’s fresh, local ingredients.”

Tacos (blue corn tortilla shells) in hand we’re joined by Puesto’s Alex Adler.

Andy Harris and Andrew Gruel at Cabana 14 at the Cove at Pechanga Resort and Casino

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Chef Andrew is continually updating us on the real impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants during the initial, highly fluid stages of the hoped-for recovery.

Chef Andrew just returned from Texas on his annual Texas BBQ tasting road tour. What distinguishes BBQ in the Lone Star State? Chef Andrew points us in the right direction. We’re picking this up from last week when we, unfortunately, lost Chef Andrew on his cell phone.

Keep in mind the juicy and delicious Community Burger (more than a mouthful) is available at all Southern California locations of Slapfish. The worthy burger is free with any donation to 86 Restaurant Struggle.” 100 per cent of that money goes to benefit struggling restaurant workers.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Executive Sous Chef Patrick Contreras, Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage
Segment Three: Stuart Smith, Founder, Smith-Madrone Vineyards & Winery, Spring Mountain, Napa Valley
Segment Four: Liz Ostoich, Owner, Farm, La Plaza, Palm Springs Part One
Segment Five: Liz Ostoich, Owner, Farm, La Plaza, Palm Springs Part Two
Segment Six: Alex Adler, Co-Founder, Puesto Mexican Artisan Kitchen & Bar Part One
Segment Seven: Alex Adler, Co-Founder, Puesto Mexican Artisan Kitchen & Bar Part Two
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Show 427, May 29, 2021: Executive Chef Kenneth Williams, Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage Part One

Kenneth Williams of Aqua Caliente Resort Casino Spa

Executive Chef Kenneth Williams is an American Culinary Federation Certified Executive Chef and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York, Chef Ken brings a wealth of professional expertise to overseeing Agua Caliente Resort Rancho Mirage’s diverse dining options. Early in his career, Chef Ken worked at the prestigious Four Seasons hotel luxury properties in Newport Beach and Beverly Hills, where he learned the essentials of five-star and five-diamond food service. He then was associated with Wolfgang Puck Catering, assisting in ultra-high-end catering events that included the Academy Awards Governor’s Ball.”

“Chef Ken has served as a progressive professional chef for corporate gaming, food management companies, and tribal gaming from Las Vegas to the mid-south and throughout California. In Las Vegas he worked in culinary operations on a large scale at Mirage Resorts and was involved in the opening of the Bellagio, a Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond property. Prior to joining Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage in February of 2019, Chef Ken was Executive Chef of theme park operations at Universal Studios Hollywood.”

“Chef Ken believes in utilizing the best, highest quality products, and he considers it a part of his job to inspire and educate his culinary staff to produce delicious dining experiences on a consistent basis. His arrival at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage (in early 2019) coincided with the opening of 360 Sports, with its full-service dining and bar menu options, and the property’s new dining marketplace, The District, offering an array of regional cuisines from Mexican to a selection of Asian and delicatessen foods. These new eateries joined the existing, casual Waters Café, and the fine-dining flagship, The Steakhouse (Dinner & Sunday Brunch.)”

Chef Ken joins us tongs securely in hand.

Play

Show 427, May 29, 2021: Executive Chef Kenneth Williams, Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage Part Two

Kenneth Williams of Aqua Caliente Resort Casino Spa

“Executive Chef Kenneth Williams is an American Culinary Federation Certified Executive Chef and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York, Chef Ken brings a wealth of professional expertise to overseeing Agua Caliente Resort Rancho Mirage’s diverse dining options. Early in his career, Chef Ken worked at the prestigious Four Seasons hotel luxury properties in Newport Beach and Beverly Hills, where he learned the essentials of five-star and five-diamond food service. He then was associated with Wolfgang Puck Catering, assisting in ultra-high-end catering events that included the Academy Awards Governor’s Ball.”

“Chef Ken has served as a progressive professional chef for corporate gaming, food management companies, and tribal gaming from Las Vegas to the mid-south and throughout California. In Las Vegas he worked in culinary operations on a large scale at Mirage Resorts and was involved in the opening of the Bellagio, a Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond property. Prior to joining Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage in February of 2019, Chef Ken was Executive Chef of theme park operations at Universal Studios Hollywood.”

“Chef Ken believes in utilizing the best, highest quality products, and he considers it a part of his job to inspire and educate his culinary staff to produce delicious dining experiences on a consistent basis. His arrival at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage (in early 2019) coincided with the opening of 360 Sports, with its full-service dining and bar menu options, and the property’s new dining marketplace, The District, offering an array of regional cuisines from Mexican to a selection of Asian and delicatessen foods. These new eateries joined the existing, casual Waters Café, and the fine-dining flagship, The Steakhouse (Dinner & Sunday Brunch.)”

Chef Ken continues with us tongs securely in hand.

Play

May 29: Agua Caliente Resort Rancho Mirage, Summit Lake Vineyards & Winery, Gasolina Cafe

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Executive Chef Kenneth Williams, Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage Part One
Segment Three: Executive Chef Kenneth Williams, Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage Part Two
Segment Four: Summit Lake Vineyards & Winery, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, 50th Anniversary Part One
Segment Five: Summit Lake Vineyards & Winery, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, 50th Anniversary Part Two
Segment Six: Chef /Proprietor Sandra Cordero, Gasolina Café, Woodland Hills Part One
Segment Seven: Chef /Proprietor Sandra Cordero, Gasolina Café, Woodland Hills Part Two
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Happy Memorial Day Weekend. We’re previewing the show with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris.

“Executive Chef Kenneth Williams is an American Culinary Federation Certified Executive Chef and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York, Chef Ken brings a wealth of professional expertise to overseeing Agua Caliente Resort Rancho Mirage’s diverse dining options.” “Chef Ken believes in utilizing the best, highest quality products, and he considers it a part of his job to inspire and educate his culinary staff to produce delicious dining experiences on a consistent basis. His arrival at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage (in early 2019) coincided with the opening of 360 Sports, with its full-service dining and bar menu options, and the property’s new dining marketplace, The District, offering an array of regional cuisines from Mexican to a selection of Asian and delicatessen foods. These new eateries joined the existing, casual Waters Café, and the fine-dining flagship, The Steakhouse.” Chef Ken is our guest.

“2021 marks Summit Lake Vineyards & Winery’s 50th year (located on Howell Mountain in Napa Valley) and it is still family owned and operated. Founders Bob and Sue Brakesman’s three children, Heather, Brian, and Danny were all raised at Summit Lake and have worked hard to continue their parent’s legacy. Sue passed away in 2003 but you can still find Bob working hard repairing equipment and tending the vineyards. Brian has taken over the winemaking, Heather is the general manager and Danny caretakes the property. In addition to Zinfandel, Summit Lake Vineyards produces estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel Port, Petite Sirah, a red blend and rosé. All are named for Bob and Sue’s granddaughters; Emily Kestrel, Clair Riley, Sophia Lynn, and Blythe Susan and grandsons Ben and Shane.” Heather Griffin and Brian Brakesman join us to gently pull the cork on Summit Lake Vineyards & Winery.

Gasolina Café launched in 2015 on Ventura Blvd. in Woodland Hills under the direction of Chef/Proprietor Sandra Cordero. It’s Spanish influenced food with a fresh approach. The menu is seasonally driven and foodstuffs are sustainably raised and grown, and locally sourced. Gasolina Cafe always takes pride in honoring Chef Sandra’s Spanish heritage.” Newly opened for Dinner on Thursday through Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.” Open for Breakfast and Lunch on Wednesday through Sunday. Chef Sandra Cordero joins us paella pan in hand.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Chef Andrew is continually updating us on the real impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants during the initial, highly fluid stages of the hoped-for recovery which remains a genuine concern. Chef Andrew is in Texas on his annual Texas BBQ tasting road tour. What distinguishes BBQ in the Lone Star State ? Chef Andrew will point us in the right direction.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness (with proper Social Distancing) on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Kenneth Williams of Aqua Caliente Resort Casino Spa

“Executive Chef Kenneth Williams is an American Culinary Federation Certified Executive Chef and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York, Chef Ken brings a wealth of professional expertise to overseeing Agua Caliente Resort Rancho Mirage’s diverse dining options. Early in his career, Chef Ken worked at the prestigious Four Seasons hotel luxury properties in Newport Beach and Beverly Hills, where he learned the essentials of five-star and five-diamond food service. He then was associated with Wolfgang Puck Catering, assisting in ultra-high-end catering events that included the Academy Awards Governor’s Ball.”

“Chef Ken has served as a progressive professional chef for corporate gaming, food management companies, and tribal gaming from Las Vegas to the mid-south and throughout California. In Las Vegas he worked in culinary operations on a large scale at Mirage Resorts and was involved in the opening of the Bellagio, a Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond property. Prior to joining Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage in February of 2019, Chef Ken was Executive Chef of theme park operations at Universal Studios Hollywood.”

“Chef Ken believes in utilizing the best, highest quality products, and he considers it a part of his job to inspire and educate his culinary staff to produce delicious dining experiences on a consistent basis. His arrival at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage (in early 2019) coincided with the opening of 360 Sports, with its full-service dining and bar menu options, and the property’s new dining marketplace, The District, offering an array of regional cuisines from Mexican to a selection of Asian and delicatessen foods. These new eateries joined the existing, casual Waters Café, and the fine-dining flagship, The Steakhouse.”

Chef Ken joins us tongs securely in hand.

Heather Griffin and Brian Brakesman of Summit Lake Vineyards

“2021 marks Summit Lake Vineyards & Winery’s 50th year (located on Howell Mountain in Napa Valley) and it is still family owned and operated. Founders Bob and Sue Brakesman’s three children, Heather, Brian, and Danny were all raised at Summit Lake and have worked hard to continue their parent’s legacy. Sue passed away in 2003 but you can still find Bob working hard repairing equipment and tending the vineyards. Brian has taken over the winemaking, Heather is the general manager and Danny caretakes the property.”

“In addition to Zinfandel, Summit Lake Vineyards produces estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel Port, Petite Sirah, a red blend and rosé. All are named for Bob and Sue’s granddaughters; Emily Kestrel, Clair Riley, Sophia Lynn, and Blythe Susan and grandsons Ben and Shane.”

“The story of Summit Lake Vineyards & Winery began some 50 years ago when Bob and Sue Brakesman, the original owners and operators, met at Jordan Junior High in Palo Alto, CA. In college Bob began brewing his own beer when a neighbor suggested he try “brewing” wine. After liberating some grapes from the surrounding areas and crushing fruit in open-top fermenters (new plastic garbage cans), their winemaking days had begun.”

“Post college Bob began to question if he wanted to be an engineer or to explore his growing passion for wine and winemaking. On Nov. 12, 1971 Bob put a deed to a property in Sue’s birthday card. It described 28 acres of land, eight planted in pre-Prohibition Zinfandel (their favorite varietal), fruit trees in the orchard, a chicken house, garage, redwood barn, and a house built in the 1880’s. Sue thought she was getting paradise!”

“On Christmas Eve, Bob and Sue packed up their lives and travelled to the new ranch. As they entered the gate and drove down the driveway, her heart sank. The deed had failed to mention the property had been abandoned for over 30 years, was completely overgrown and in disrepair. The next morning, they awoke to a fresh coat of snow which had transformed the place into a beautiful wonderland. They rolled up their sleeves and went to work on top of Howell Mountain in Napa Valley.”

“The gradual transformation and revitalization of Summit Lake couldn’t have taken place without the help of family, friends, and neighbors who rallied to help with planting, harvest, bottling and finally coming together to build a new winery in 1985.”

“In 1978 Summit Lake Vineyard’s first commercial release won the coveted double gold medal at the California State Fair. It sold out in just eight days. Summit Lake has 18 acres planted from which it now produces about 2,000 cases a year.”

Heather Griffin and Brian Brakesman join us to pull the cork on Summit Lake Vineyards & Winery.

Sandra Cordero

Gasolina Café launched in 2015 on Ventura Blvd. in Woodland Hills under the direction of Chef/Proprietor Sandra Cordero. It’s Spanish influenced food with a fresh approach. The menu is seasonally driven and ingredients are sustainably raised and grown, and locally sourced. Gasolina Cafe always takes pride in honoring Chef Sandra’s Spanish heritage.” Newly opened for Dinner on Thursday through Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.” Open for Breakfast and Lunch on Wednesday through Sunday.

“Gasolina Café is more than a physical space where you can get your belly fed, or your thirst quenched…For us, it’s an extension of a lifestyle as much as anything. In other words, we’re simply looking to be the best at what we do, have a damn good time doing it, and grow our merry band of friends along the way.”

Chef Sandra Cordero joins us paella pan in hand.

Chef Andrew Gruel savoring a New Jersey style Pizza

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Chef Andrew is continually updating us on the real impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants during the initial, highly fluid stages of the hoped-for recovery.

Chef Andrew is in Texas on his annual Texas BBQ tasting road tour. What distinguishes BBQ in the Lone Star State? Chef Andrew will point us in the right direction.

Keep in mind the juicy and delicious Community Burger (more than a mouthful) is available at all Southern California locations of Slapfish. The worthy burger is free with any donation to 86 Restaurant Struggle.” 100 per cent of that money goes to benefit struggling restaurant workers.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Executive Chef Kenneth Williams, Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage Part One
Segment Three: Executive Chef Kenneth Williams, Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage Part Two
Segment Four: Summit Lake Vineyards & Winery, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, 50th Anniversary Part One
Segment Five: Summit Lake Vineyards & Winery, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, 50th Anniversary Part Two
Segment Six: Chef /Proprietor Sandra Cordero, Gasolina Café, Woodland Hills Part One
Segment Seven: Chef /Proprietor Sandra Cordero, Gasolina Café, Woodland Hills Part Two
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”