Show 371, May 2, 2020: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

It’s a time of great concern for all of us and our “SoCal Restaurant Show” mission, until the Covid-19 crisis is fully abated, is to provide reliable and genuinely useful information on how the restaurant business is coping with the rapidly evolving events. With an emphasis on the health, safety and well-being of our listeners we’ll be detailing what the range of services restaurants can now provide to their guests. Creativity and adaptability are at the forefront. We’re doing our level best to keep it upbeat…

Chefs and restaurateurs are honestly the most generous people we know. In times of need they are always the very first in generously giving back and meaningfully supporting their communities. Truly remarkable…Right now restaurants urgently need our support to stay afloat. Kindly keep this in mind and please do what you possibly can (as you can afford) to support a community-focused, local restaurant….

As always, we greatly appreciate you being a part of our loyal listening audience. Truly couldn’t do it without the supportive encouragement of the foodie community.

Porto’s Bakery & Café started modestly in the greater L.A. area in the 1960s and has grown steadily since then becoming a popular, local and revered institution. Founder Rosa Porto’s life took an unexpected turn back at the beginning when she and her family made the difficult decision to leave their beloved Cuba and emigrate to the United States. Out of a job, Rosa relied on her love of baking and began selling cakes out of her house for her neighbors and friends to support her family. Porto’s has gradually grown into five high volume locations in Glendale, Burbank, Downey, Buena Park, and the newly opened West Covina. Porto’s is now open for contactless ordering, payment and curbside pick-up. Porto’s Bake-At-Home, too. Betty Porto, Vice President of Community and Guest Relations for Porto’s, is our guest.

Food journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s “Hungry Hound” in Chicago, is the recipient of an impressive 13 James Beard Foundation Awards for journalistic excellence. He’s also accomplished in reporting on food and travel in print, radio and podcasting. The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala was scheduled for Chicago at the Lyric Opera on Monday evening, May 4th. It’s now been rescheduled for a to-be-announced date for later in the year. Usually Steve would be sharing his insightful Beard Awards preview with us. Instead he talks about his informed thoughts on the dining scene in Chicagoland during the health crisis.

“Like all restaurants in LA County, Zapien’s Salsa Grill in Pico Rivera is limited to takeout and curbside pick-up options to share its regional Mexican Cuisine with the community. With dine-in service unavailable, Chef Marco Zapien and team are keeping it fun and giving back to the community, while offering some of their classic favorites available for takeout, curbside pick-up and delivery. For over 25 years, The Salsa Grill has been a favorite spot in the Pico Rivera community and beyond and wants to give back. “We want to give back to the community that’s been supporting us for almost 26 years,” said co-owner and Executive Chef, Zapien. We gently pull Chef Marco out of his busy kitchen to talk about all his specials for Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day.”

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 updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Take-out/delivery when you can surely helps…Of course, the safety of restaurant employees and guests comes first. What about “Code Dates” on fresh & packaged food products? What do they really mean? You certainly don’t want to potentially waste anything or take an unwise chance either. We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

The Blinking Owl Distillery in Santa Ana is the very first craft distillery in Orange County. They also are one of the first distilleries in the state of California to hold the Type 74 Craft Distillers License allowing them to operate their tasting room and sell a few bottles of spirits. Blinking Owl crafts Vodka, Gin, several types of Whiskey, and the Scandinavian spirit, Aquavit. “Stay Safely at Home” provisions have necessitated the temporary closing of The Tasting Room. Wanting to continue serving the community and keep their employees on the job Blinking Owl has thoughtfully shifted production to hand sanitizer under the label of Blinking Owl Dirty Bird Hand Sanitizer. So far a generous $50,000 in hand sanitizer has been donated to hospitals, First Responders and restaurants! Joining us from the packaging line for Dirty Bird Hand Sanitizer is Blinking Owl’s Co-founder and Chief Financial Owl, Robin Christenson.

Chef Michael Hung began his culinary career in New York City, where he dropped out of culinary school to do extended stages at acclaimed restaurants Daniel and Aquavit. Michael then followed his heart to San Francisco in 2005 and joined Traci Des Jardins’s James Beard Award-winning team at Jardiniere.  His career continued for nearly a decade in San Francisco, culminating with his appointment as Chef de Cuisine at Roland Passot’s Michelin-starred La Folie. In late-2013, Michael left San Francisco for Los Angeles to open Faith & Flower where he has returned as Executive Chef. Community service in times of need is part of Chef Michael’s makeup. His current ambitious feeding program for those in need is under the banner of Donate to Feed L.A.’s Homeless and Underserved. Chef Michael takes a break from preparing meals and joins us with the details.

This is the Weekend we were scheduled to again be broadcasting live from the 9th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort on Hawaii Island’s Kohala Coast. With the ongoing health crisis the Festival hopes to be rescheduled for August 14th & 15th if it’s safe to do so. Tom Cross is the welcoming Hotel Manager at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort and joins us with the good news that the property will again welcome guests at a “To Be Determined” date as the Hawaii Governor allows with all guest safety precautions in place.

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

Play

Show 371, May 2, 2020: Tom Cross, Hotel Manager, The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort

Tom Cross of the Westin Hapuna Beach ResortThis is the Weekend we were scheduled to again be broadcasting live from the 9th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort on Hawaii Island’s Kohala Coast. It’s a celebration with local farmers of the base of premium chocolate, cacao, being able to be grown on select Islands of Hawaii, including The Big Island itself. Cacao is an important new cash crop for the economy of Hawaii. With the current health crisis still ongoing the Festival hopes to be rescheduled for August 14th & 15th if it’s safe to do so.

Tom Cross is the welcoming Hotel Manager at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort and joins us with the good news that the property will again be welcoming guests as the Hawaii Governor allows with all safety precautions in place for the visitors.

The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort completed an ambitious $50 million renovation last year. It’s part of the renown Mauna Kea Resort on the Island of Hawaii.

Play

May 2: Porto’s Bakery & Cafe, Steve Dolinsky, Zapien’s Salsa Grill, Blinking Owl Distillery, Faith & Flower, Westin Hapuna Beach Resort

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Betty Porto, Vice President of Community and Guest Relations, Porto’s Bakery & Café
Segment Three: Food Journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s (Chicago) “Hungry Hound”
Segment Four: Executive Chef & Co-Proprietor Marco Zapien, Zapien’s Salsa Grill
Segment Five: Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”
Segment Six: Robin Christenson, Co-Founder, Blinking Owl Distillery, Santa Ana
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Michael Hung, Faith & Flower, Downtown Los Angeles
Segment Eight: Tom Cross, Hotel Manager, The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort

It’s a time of great concern for all of us and our “SoCal Restaurant Show” mission, until the Covid-19 crisis is fully abated, is to provide reliable and genuinely useful information on how the restaurant business is coping with the rapidly evolving events. With an emphasis on the health, safety and well-being of our listeners we’ll be detailing what the range of services restaurants can now provide to their guests. Creativity and adaptability are at the forefront. We’re doing our level best to keep it upbeat…

Chefs and restaurateurs are honestly the most generous people we know. In times of need they are always the very first in generously giving back and meaningfully supporting their communities. Truly remarkable…Right now restaurants urgently need our support to stay afloat. Kindly keep this in mind and please do what you possibly can (as you can afford) to support a community-focused, local restaurant….

As always, we greatly appreciate you being a part of our loyal listening audience. Truly couldn’t do it without the enthusiastic encouragement of the foodie community.

Porto’s Bakery & Café started modestly in the greater L.A. area in the 1960s and has grown steadily since then becoming a popular, local and revered institution. Founder Rosa Porto’s life took an unexpected turn back at the beginning when she and her family made the difficult decision to leave their beloved Cuba and emigrate to the United States. Out of a job, Rosa relied on her love of baking and began selling cakes out of her house for her neighbors and friends to support her family. Porto’s has gradually grown into five high volume locations in Glendale, Burbank, Downey, Buena Park, and the newly opened West Covina. Porto’s is now open for contactless ordering, payment and curbside pick-up. Betty Porto, Vice President of Community and Guest Relations for Porto’s, is our guest.

Food journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s “Hungry Hound” in Chicago, is the recipient of an impressive 13 James Beard Foundation Awards for journalistic excellence. He’s also accomplished in reporting on food and travel in print, radio and podcasting. The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala was scheduled for Chicago at the Lyric Opera on Monday evening, May 4th. It’s now been rescheduled for a to-be-announced date for later in the year. Usually Steve would be sharing his insightful Beard Awards preview with us. Instead he will talk about his informed thoughts on the dining scene in Chicagoland during the health crisis.

Like all restaurants in LA County, Zapien’s Salsa Grill in Pico Rivera is limited to takeout and curbside pick-up options to share its regional Mexican Cuisine with the community. With dine-in service unavailable, Chef Marco Zapien and team are keeping it fun and giving back to the community, while offering some of their classic favorites available for takeout, curbside pick-up and delivery. For over 25 years, The Salsa Grill has been a favorite spot in the Pico Rivera community and beyond and wants to give back. “We want to give back to the community that’s been supporting us for almost 26 years,” said co-owner and Executive Chef, Zapien. We gently pull Chef Marco out of his busy kitchen to talk about all his specials for Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day.

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 updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Take-out/delivery when you can surely helps…Of course, the safety of restaurant employees and guests comes first. What about “Code Dates” on fresh & packaged food products? What do they really mean. You certainly don’t want to potentially waste anything or take an unwise chance. We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

The Blinking Owl Distillery in Santa Anna is the very first craft distillery in Orange County. They also are one of the first distilleries in the state of California to hold the Type 74 Craft Distillers License allowing them to operate their tasting room and sell a few bottles of spirits. Blinking Owl crafts Vodka, Gin, several types of Whiskey, and the Scandinavian spirit, Aquavit. “Stay Safely at Home” provisions have necessitated the temporary closing of The Tasting Room. Wanting to continue serving the community and keep their employees on the job Blinking Owl has thoughtfully shifted production to hand sanitizer under the label of Blinking Owl Dirty Bird Hand Sanitizer. So far $25,000 in hand sanitizer has been donated! Joining us from the packaging line for Dirty Bird Hand Sanitizer is Blinking Owl’s Co-founder and Chief Financial Owl, Robin Christenson.

Chef Michael Hung began his culinary career in New York City, where he dropped out of culinary school to do extended stages at acclaimed restaurants Daniel and Aquavit. Michael then followed his heart to San Francisco in 2005 and joined Traci Des Jardins’s James Beard Award-winning team at Jardiniere.  His career continued for nearly a decade in San Francisco, culminating with his appointment as Chef de Cuisine at Roland Passot’s Michelin-starred La Folie. In late-2013, Michael left San Francisco for Los Angeles to open Faith & Flower where he has returned as Executive Chef. Community service in times of need is part of Chef Michael’s makeup. His current ambitious feeding program for those in need is under the banner of Donate to Feed L.A.’s Homeless and Underserved. Chef Michael takes a break from the kitchen and joins us with the details.

This is the Weekend we were scheduled to again be broadcasting live from the 9th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort on Hawaii Island’s Kohala Coast. With the ongoing health crisis the Festival hopes to be rescheduled for August 14th & 15th if it’s safe to do so. Tom Cross is the welcoming Hotel Manager at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort and joins us with the good news that the property will again welcome guests on June 1st

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

Betty Porto in front of the Porto's Bakery Bread RackPorto’s Bakery & Café started modestly in the greater L.A. area in the 1960s and has grown steadily since then becoming a popular, local and revered institution. Founder Rosa Porto’s life took an unexpected turn back at the beginning when she and her family made the difficult decision to leave their beloved Cuba and emigrate to the United States. Out of a job, Rosa relied on her love of baking and began selling cakes out of her house for her neighbors and friends to support her family. Porto’s has gradually grown into five high-volume locations in Glendale, Burbank, Downey, Buena Park, and the newly opened West Covina. Porto’s is now open for contactless ordering, payment and curbside pick-up. Betty Porto, Vice President of Community and Guest Relations for Porto’s, is our guest.

Steve Dolinsky and Andreew GruelAccomplished food journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s “Hungry Hound” in Chicago, is the recipient of an impressive 13 James Beard Foundation Awards for journalistic excellence. He’s also accomplished in reporting on food and travel in print, radio and podcasting. The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala was scheduled for Chicago at the Lyric Opera on Monday evening, May 4th. It’s now been rescheduled for an unannounced (as yet) date later in the year.

Usually Steve would be sharing his engaging Beard Awards preview with us. Instead he will talk about his informed thoughts on the dining scene in Chicagoland during the health crisis and what the future may hold.

Marco Zapien of Zapiens Salsa Grill and TaqueriaLike all restaurants in LA County, Zapien’s Salsa Grill in Pico Rivera is limited to takeout and curbside pick-up options to share its regional Mexican Cuisine with the community. With dine-in service unavailable, Chef Marco Zapien and team are keeping it fun and giving back to the community, while offering some of their classic favorites available for takeout, curbside pick-up and delivery.

The most popular special so far is a family meal pack that feeds 4-6 and includes a salad, choice of entrée (Chile Verde, Chile Colorado, Chicharron, Carnitas or Chicken Fajitas), rice, beans, chips, salsa, Tortillas and soft drinks. Plus, anyone who orders this takeout/pick-up special will get 2 pounds of uncooked rice and beans and two rolls of toilet paper, all for only $39.99.

Chef Zapien’s creative giving doesn’t stop there. He’s helping out families with kids with $3 individual kids’ pizzas with the purchase of any entrée. Even more, all entrees come with a free soft drink or coffee.

Recently, Chef Zapien introduced the Corona Survival Kit, including two frozen packs of menudo or pozole, a six pack of beer of choice, two mini (Agave Tequila) shot bottles, one 2-pound bag of uncooked beans, one 2-pound bag of uncooked rice and two rolls of toilet paper.

For over 25 years, The Salsa Grill has been a favorite spot in the Pico Rivera community and beyond and wants to give back. “We want to give back to the community that’s been supporting us for almost 26 years,” said co-owner and Executive Chef, Zapien.

We gently pull Chef Marco out of his busy kitchen to talk about all his specials for Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day.

Andy Harris and Andrew Gruel at Cabana 14 at the Cove at Pechanga Resort and CasinoOur 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 updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Take-out/delivery when you can surely helps…Of course, the safety of restaurant employees and guests comes first.

What about those confusing “Code Dates” or “Use By Dates” on fresh & packaged food products. What do they really mean? You certainly don’t want to potentially waste anything right now that’s safely edible. We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

Robin Christenson of Blinking Owl Distillery with her Hand SanitzerThe Blinking Owl Distillery in Santa Ana is the very first craft distillery in Orange County. They also are one of the first distilleries in the state of California to hold the Type 74 Craft Distillers License allowing them to operate their tasting room and sell a few bottles of spirits. Blinking Owl crafts Vodka, Gin, several types of Whiskey, and the Scandinavian spirit, Aquavit.

“Stay Safely at Home” provisions have necessitated the temporary closing of The Tasting Room. Wanting to continue serving the community and keep their employees on the job Blinking Owl has thoughtfully shifted production to hand sanitizer (licensed) under the label of Blinking Owl Dirty Bird Hand Sanitizer. So far $25,000 in hand sanitizer has been generously donated!

Spirits are still available by ordering online.

Joining us from the packaging line for Dirty Bird Hand Sanitizer is Blinking Owl’s Co-founder and Chief Financial Owl, Robin Christenson.

Michael Hung of Faith and FlowerChef Michael Hung began his culinary career in New York City, where he dropped out of culinary school to do extended stages at acclaimed restaurants Daniel and Aquavit. Michael then followed his heart to San Francisco in 2005 and joined Traci Des Jardins’s James Beard Award-winning team at Jardiniere.  His career continued for nearly a decade in San Francisco, culminating with his appointment as Chef de Cuisine at Roland Passot’s Michelin-starred La Folie. In late-2013, Michael left San Francisco for Los Angeles to open Faith & Flower where he has returned as Executive Chef.

Community service in times of need is part of Chef Michael’s makeup. His current ambitious feeding program for those in need is under the banner of Donate to Feed L.A.’s Homeless and Underserved. Chef Michael takes a break from the kitchen and joins us with the critical details.

Tom Cross of the Westin Hapuna Beach ResortThis is the Weekend we were scheduled to again be broadcasting live from the 9th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort on Hawaii Island’s Kohala Coast. With the current health crisis still ongoing the Festival hopes to be rescheduled for August 14th & 15th if it’s safe to do so. Tom Cross is the welcoming Hotel Manager at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort and joins us with the good news that the property will again be welcoming guests on June 1st.

The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort completed an ambitious $50 million renovation last year. It’s part of the renown Mauna Kea Resort on the Island of Hawaii.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Betty Porto, Vice President of Community and Guest Relations, Porto’s Bakery & Café
Segment Three: Food Journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s (Chicago) “Hungry Hound”
Segment Four: Executive Chef & Co-Proprietor Marco Zapien, Zapien’s Salsa Grill
Segment Five: Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”
Segment Six: Robin Christenson, Co-Founder, Blinking Owl Distillery, Santa Ana
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Michael Hung, Faith & Flower, Downtown Los Angeles
Segment Eight: Tom Cross, Hotel Manager, The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort

Show 321, April 27, 2019: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris

Now an appealing preview of Saturday’s Spirit of Aloha show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case, and upon careful reflection, that’s probably a pretty good thing… As always, we greatly appreciate you being a part of our loyal listening audience.

BIg Island Chocolate FestivalWe’re live from The 8th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort. It’s pure chocolate indulgence. Hawaii is the only State in the USA where premium cacao (the base of chocolate) can be grown commercially. It’s an increasingly important crop in The Islands with almost unlimited potential.
Chef Bryan Fujikawa is the proprietor of the locals’ favorite for fresh grilled, locally caught seafood, Kona Grill House in Kealakekua. It’s a beloved hole-in-the-wall spot. He’s been a part of The Big Island Chocolate Festival’s concluding Chocolate Decadence Gala for years. Chef Bryan is known for his amazing lobster crab cakes. We’ll reel him in.

Farsheed Bonakdar is the President of the Kona Cacao Association, the Producer of the 8th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival. The mission and goal of the Kona Cacao Association is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawaii by presenting the Big Island Chocolate Festival as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. The Festival benefits Island culinary arts and arts programs. We’re talking all things chocolate with Farsheed.

We first met Chef Christopher Galindo two years ago when he was overseeing Hau Tree on the beach next door at the Resort’s sister property, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Last year he switched beaches and moved over to The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort’s new Meridia as the menu-maker. It’s Mediterranean-inspired cuisine created with locally sourced ingredients and infused with Hawaii’s rich local bounty. Also know for creative, signature https://socalrestaurantshow.com/wp-admin/edit.phpcocktails and a primo view of the Pacific at Sunset. We entice Chef Chris out of his busy kitchen for a chat.

Chef Stéphane Tréand debuted, The Pastry School in 2012, in San Clemente. This year he moved his school to Tustin (“a piece of Paris in Tustin”) along with his new pâtisserie (pastry) shop, ST Pâtisserie Chocolat. He wanted people to come and buy pastries, chocolates, viennoiserie (baked goods such as croissants), and gelato/sorbet at his shop. But he also wanted to show others, “you can learn and create beautiful items such as these, right-next-door with me (Chef Stéphane Tréand) as your teacher!” At The Big Island Chocolate Festival Chef Stephane is performing the culinary demonstration, “Creating an Artistic Chocolate Sculpture.”

Tattoo Tequila CEO, Tequila John” Atanasio (a Maui resident) set out 8 years ago with the goal of crafting a “Super Premium Tequila” that would use the highest grade of organic Blue Weber Agave available in the World and to use the best ingredients available to develop “The Champagne of Tequilas.” Tattoo Tequila today has legitimate brand positioning as a leader in the Craft Spirits sector. We’ll meet Tequila John.=

Tom Bean is acclaimed Chef Peter Merriman’s General Manager at the iconic Merriman’s Restaurant Waimea. This was Chef Merriman’s first solo venture with modest expectations. Last year Merriman’s celebrated their 30th anniversary and is consistently the highest rated restaurant on The Big Island. Chef Merriman is one of the original pioneers of Hawaiian Regional Cuisine. We’ll talk story with Tom.

Tom Cross is the Hotel Manager for our host, The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort, which recently completed a $50 million dollar renovation. It’s part of the Mauna Kea Resort on the Island of Hawaii. The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort is also the host property for The Big Island Chocolate Festival.

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

Play

Show 321, April 27, 2019: Farsheed Bonakdar, President, Kona Cacao (KCA) and Proprietor of Cocoa Outlet

Farsheed Bonakdar of Cocoa Outlet and Andy HarrisFarsheed Bonakdar is the President of the Kona Cacao Association, the Producer of the 8th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival. The mission and goal of the Kona Cacao Association is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawaii by presenting the Big Island Chocolate Festival as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. The Festival benefits Island culinary arts and arts programs.

The 2019 Big Island Chocolate Festival proceeds will benefit the culinary programs at Hawaii Community College Palamanui, Kealakehe High School, Hawai‘i Island High Schools and Maui Community College, plus Hawaii Institute of Pacific Agriculture, Waimea Country School, Kona Pacific Public Charter School’s West Hawaii Summer Lunch Program and Kona Dance & Performing Arts.

“If you think you know everything about chocolate—think again! Find out tricks for using chocolate in the kitchen and to better grow cacao—the tree that produces the coveted cocoa bean. All the fun is part of the Big Island Chocolate Festival (BICF) April 26-27. With the exception of a guided cacao plantation tour, all activities are at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort.”

We’re talking all things delectably chocolate with Farsheed.

Play

Show 321, April 27, 2019: Christopher Galindo, Restaurant Chef, Meridia at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort

Chef Chris Galindo and Andy HarrisWe first met Chef Christopher Galindo two years ago when he was overseeing Hau Tree on the beach next door at the Resort’s sister property, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Last year he switched beaches and moved over to The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort’s new Meridia as the menu-maker.

It’s Mediterranean-inspired cuisine created with locally sourced ingredients and infused with Hawaii’s rich local bounty. Also know for creative, signature cocktails and a primo 180 degree view of the Pacific at Sunset.

“The fresh seasonal menu is complemented by expanded al fresco seating, a private dining room, a charcuterie and crudo bar, and a house- made artisanal bread nook.”

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

Play

Show 321, April 27, 2019: Tom Cross, Hotel Manager, The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort

Tom Cross of the Westin Hapuna Beach ResortTom Cross is the Hotel Manager for our host, The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort, which recently completed a $50 million dollar renovation. It’s part of the Mauna Kea Resort on the Island of Hawaii. The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort is also the host property for The Big Island Chocolate Festival.

“The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort stretches along its namesake white-sand beach on the Island of Hawaii. The Kohala Coast is known for its world-class shoreline, as well as for cultural and archaeological gems nestled between centuries-old lava fields. The resort’s contemporary style contrasts with lush, manicured gardens and the endless blues of the sky and the ocean. Four reimagined dining venues are inspired by the island’s bounty.”

“The award-winning 18-hole Hapuna Golf Course was designed by Arnold Palmer. Two swimming pools, a 6,800-square-foot freeform family pool and an adult-exclusive infinity pool, overlook Hapuna Beach. A WestinWorkout Center and Crossfit Studio are complemented by the Hapuna Spa for rejuvenation and relaxation. Choose from 249 oversized guest rooms, including 17 suites.”

Mahalo nui loa to The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort for graciously hosting the “SoCal Restaurant Show” for the third year at the Big Island Chocolate Festival

Play

April 27: Live from the Big Island Chocolate Festival

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Owner / Chef Bryan Fujikawa, Kona Grill House, Kealakekua, Hawaii
Segment Three: Farsheed Bonakdar, President, Kona Cacao (KCA) and Proprietor of Cocoa Outlet
Segment Four: Christopher Galindo, Restaurant Chef, Meridia at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort
Segment Five: Stephane Treand, MOF, The Pastry School, Tustin, CA
Segment Six: “Tequila John” Atanasio, Tattoo Tequila – Tequila & Chocolate Tasting
Segment Seven: Tom Bean, General Manager, Merriman’s Waimea – a Pioneer of Hawaii Regional Cuisine
Segment Eight: Tom Cross, Hotel Manager, The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort

Now an appealing preview of this Saturday’s Spirit of Aloha show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case, and upon careful reflection, that’s probably a pretty good thing… As always, we greatly appreciate you being a part of our loyal listening audience.

BIg Island Chocolate FestivalWe’re live from The 8th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort. It’s pure chocolate indulgence. Hawaii is the only State in the USA where premium cacao (the base of chocolate) can be grown commercially. It’s an increasingly important crop in The Islands with almost unlimited potential.

Chef Bryan Fujikawa is the proprietor of the locals’ favorite for fresh grilled, locally caught seafood, Kona Grill House in Kealakekua. It’s a beloved hole-in-the-wall spot. He’s been a part of The Big Island Chocolate Festival’s concluding Chocolate Decadence Gala for years. Chef Bryan is known for his amazing lobster crab cakes. We’ll reel him in.

Farsheed Bonakdar is the President of the Kona Cacao Association, the Producer of the 8th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival. The mission and goal of the Kona Cacao Association is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawaii by presenting the Big Island Chocolate Festival as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. The Festival benefits Island culinary arts and arts programs. We’re talking all things chocolate with Farsheed.

We first met Chef Christopher Galindo two years ago when he was overseeing Hau Tree on the beach next door at the Resort’s sister property, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Last year he switched beaches and moved over to The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort’s new Meridia as the menu-maker. It’s Mediterranean-inspired cuisine created with locally sourced ingredients and infused with Hawaii’s rich local bounty. Also know for creative, signature cocktails and a primo view of the Pacific at Sunset. We entice Chef Chris out of his busy kitchen for a chat.

Chef Stéphane Tréand debuted, The Pastry School in 2012, in San Clemente. This year he moved his school to Tustin (“a piece of Paris in Tustin”) along with his new pâtisserie (pastry) shop, ST Pâtisserie Chocolat. He wanted people to come and buy pastries, chocolates, viennoiserie (baked goods such as croissants), and gelato/sorbet at his shop. But he also wanted to show others, “you can learn and create beautiful items such as these, right-next-door with me (Chef Stéphane Tréand) as your teacher!” At The Big Island Chocolate Festival Chef Stephane is performing the culinary demonstration, “Creating an Artistic Chocolate Sculpture.”

Tattoo Tequila CEO, “Tequila John” Atanasio (a Maui resident) set out 8 years ago with the goal of crafting a “Super Premium Tequila” that would use the highest grade of organic Blue Weber Agave available in the World and to use the best ingredients available to develop “The Champagne of Tequilas.” Tattoo Tequila today has legitimate brand positioning as a leader in the Craft Spirits sector. We’ll meet Tequila John.=

Tom Bean is acclaimed Chef Peter Merriman’s General Manager at the iconic Merriman’s Restaurant Waimea. This was Chef Merriman’s first solo venture with modest expectations. Last year Merriman’s celebrated their 30th anniversary and is consistently the highest rated restaurant on The Big Island. Chef Merriman is one of the original pioneers of Hawaiian Regional Cuisine. We’ll talk story with Tom.

Tom Cross is the Hotel Manager for our host, The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort, which recently completed a $50 million dollar renovation. It’s part of the Mauna Kea Resort on the Island of Hawaii. The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort is also the host property for The Big Island Chocolate Festival.

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

Bryan Fujikawa of Kona Grill HouseChef Bryan Fujikawa is the proprietor of the locals’ favorite for fresh grilled, locally caught seafood, Kona Grill House in Kealakekua. It’s a beloved hole-in-the-wall spot. He’s been a popular part of The Big Island Chocolate Festival’s concluding Chocolate Decadence Gala for years. Chef Bryan is known for his amazing lobster crab cakes.

“For Kona Grill House it’s new year, a new name, and a whole new look. What started 19 years ago as a small family operation producing and selling dried fish under the name Sun Dried Specialties, has grown into a culinary destination for local cuisine that has people from not just Hawaii, but all over, returning time and time again.”

“It was a simple beginning back in 2000. The idea for Sun Dried Specialties was born in the early morning hours as Bryan sat on his boat rocking quietly with the gentle motion of the waves as he fished through the night. He realized the dried fish he’d grown up eating was disappearing. He, his wife Rebecca, and their two daughters began drying the fish that Bryan caught. They stayed true to the old way of drying. Using only fresh fish, Hawaiian salt, and beautiful Hawaiian sun. The Sun-Dried Specialties logo of a sunbathing Ahi quickly became recognizable for the best dried Ahi, Aku, and Opelu in the state and on to the Mainland.”

“Fast forward a dozen years to the birth of the Fishbowl. Bryan’s brainchild for his desire to serve great food in an atmosphere that would allow visitors and locals alike to meet and get to know one another. What started as a small poke shop had its first expansion after only three months and has continued to grow ever since. Though the original showcase still carries more than a dozen different kinds of poke made fresh each day, there’s now a second showcase for the desserts. Bryan has continued what his daughter Alexis started, baking desserts fresh every morning.”

“But it’s the food coming off the grill out back that you won’t be able to forget. Chef Bryan’s customers like to say it’s five-star food out of a cardboard box. The best fish burgers on the island and his lobster crab cakes are out of this world. Daily specials range from smoked prime rib to lobster mac and cheese. You never know what might be on the menu but you can count on never walking away hungry and having a food experience you’ll want to keep coming back for.”

We’ll meet Chef Bryan.

Farsheed BonakdarFarsheed Bonakdar is the President of the Kona Cacao Association, the Producer of the 8th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival. The mission and goal of the Kona Cacao Association is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawaii by presenting the Big Island Chocolate Festival as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. The Festival benefits Island culinary arts and arts programs.

The 2019 Big Island Chocolate Festival proceeds will benefit the culinary programs at Hawaii Community College Palamanui, Kealakehe High School, Hawai‘i Island High Schools and Maui Community College, plus Hawaii Institute of Pacific Agriculture, Waimea Country School, Kona Pacific Public Charter School’s West Hawaii Summer Lunch Program and Kona Dance & Performing Arts.

“If you think you know everything about chocolate—think again! Find out tricks for using chocolate in the kitchen and to better grow cacao—the tree that produces the coveted cocoa bean. All the fun is part of the Big Island Chocolate Festival (BICF) April 26-27. With the exception of a guided cacao plantation tour, all activities are at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort.”

We’re talking all things delectably chocolate with Farsheed.

Chris GalindoWe first met Chef Christopher Galindo two years ago when he was overseeing Hau Tree on the beach next door at the Resort’s sister property, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Last year he switched beaches and moved over to The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort’s new Meridia as the menu-maker.

It’s Mediterranean-inspired cuisine created with locally sourced ingredients and infused with Hawaii’s rich local bounty. Also know for creative, signature cocktails and a primo 180 degree view of the Pacific at Sunset.

“The fresh seasonal menu is complemented by expanded al fresco seating, a private dining room, a charcuterie and crudo bar, and a house- made artisanal bread nook.”

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

Stephane TreandChef Stéphane Tréand debuted, The Pastry School in 2012, in San Clemente. This year he moved his school to Tustin (“a piece of Paris in Tustin”) along with his new pâtisserie (pastry) shop, ST Pâtisserie Chocolat. He wanted people to come and buy pastries, chocolates, viennoiserie (baked goods such as croissants), and gelato/sorbet at his shop. But he also wanted to show others, “you can learn and create beautiful items such as these, right-next-door with me (Chef Stéphane Tréand) as your teacher!”

At The Big Island Chocolate Festival Chef Stephane is performing the culinary demonstration, “Creating an Artistic Chocolate Sculpture.”

Tequila John AtanasioTattoo Tequila CEO, Tequila John” Atanasio (a Maui resident) set out 8 years ago with the goal of crafting a “Super Premium Tequila” that would use the highest grade of organic Blue Weber Agave available in the World and to use the best ingredients available to develop “The Champagne of Tequilas.” Tattoo Tequila today has legitimate brand positioning as a leader in the Craft Spirits sector.

Tattoo Tequila has a portfolio of 100% organic Blue Agave based tequila with expressions that include Blanco & Reposado.

Tequila John is part of the Festival presenting the unexpected “Chocolate & Organic Tequila Pairings” seminar which he’s encoring from last year. He’ll demonstrate how different, organic tequilas and uniquely flavored chocolates can tastefully complement each other. The accompanying decadent chocolate bonbons are presented by Farsheed Bonakdar of the Cocoa Outlet. We’re all in…

We’ll meet Tequila John.

Tom Bean of Merriman'sTom Bean is acclaimed Chef Peter Merriman’s General Manager at the iconic Merriman’s Restaurant Waimea. This was Chef Merriman’s first solo venture with modest expectations.

Last year Merriman’s celebrated their 30th anniversary and is consistently the highest rated restaurant on The Big Island. Chef Merriman is one of the original pioneers of Hawaii Regional Cuisine.

“Merriman’s Waimea is the flagship establishment from award-winning Chef Peter Merriman who maintains a single vision “Do the right thing”—for local farmers, for the islands and for you—our guest.”

“Thirty years ago, no one dreamed of growing vine ripened tomatoes, fresh sweet corn or crisp baby lettuce in Hawaii. Sugar cane and pineapple plantations dominated the farming landscape, and most food was shipped to Hawaii from thousands of miles away.”

“Chef Peter Merriman had a vision for the growth of local agriculture and the potential of Hawaii’s rich volcanic soils. He along with twelve other prominent chefs encouraged farmers to grow local produce, raise meats locally, and start a healthier more sustainable Hawaii.”

“Peter Merriman has been as a culinary pioneer in Hawaii for over 30 years. Known as the original “locavore,” Peter is a vocal champion of Hawaii’s farmers, ranchers and fishermen. His restaurants showcase island grown and harvested foods through simple preparations that reflect the myriad flavors of Hawaii’s multiculturalism. Dubbed the “Pied Piper of Hawaii Regional Cuisine” by The Los Angeles Times, he is a continuing inspiration to Hawaii’s thriving culinary scene.”

We’ll talk story with Tom.

Tom Cross of the Westin Hapuna Beach ResortTom Cross is the Hotel Manager for our host, The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort, which recently completed a $50 million dollar renovation. It’s part of the Mauna Kea Resort on the Island of Hawaii. The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort is also the host property for The Big Island Chocolate Festival.

“The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort stretches along its namesake white-sand beach on the Island of Hawaii. The Kohala Coast is known for its world-class shoreline, as well as for cultural and archaeological gems nestled between centuries-old lava fields. The resort’s contemporary style contrasts with lush, manicured gardens and the endless blues of the sky and the ocean. Four reimagined dining venues are inspired by the island’s bounty.”

“The award-winning 18-hole Hapuna Golf Course was designed by Arnold Palmer. Two swimming pools, a 6,800-square-foot freeform family pool and an adult-exclusive infinity pool, overlook Hapuna Beach. A WestinWorkout Center and Crossfit Studio are complemented by the Hapuna Spa for rejuvenation and relaxation. Choose from 249 oversized guest rooms, including 17 suites.”

Mahalo nui loa to The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort for graciously hosting the “SoCal Restaurant Show” for the third year.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Owner / Chef Bryan Fujikawa, Kona Grill House, Kealakekua, Hawaii
Segment Three: Farsheed Bonakdar, President, Kona Cacao (KCA) and Proprietor of Cocoa Outlet
Segment Four: Christopher Galindo, Restaurant Chef, Meridia at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort
Segment Five: Stephane Treand, MOF, The Pastry School, Tustin, CA
Segment Six: “Tequila John” Atanasio, Tattoo Tequila – Tequila & Chocolate Tasting
Segment Seven: Tom Bean, General Manager, Merriman’s Waimea – a Pioneer of Hawaii Regional Cuisine
Segment Eight: Tom Cross, Hotel Manager, The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort

Show 320, April 20, 2019: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris

Now an enticing preview of Saturday’s delectable show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case, and upon careful reflection, that’s probably a pretty good thing… As always, we greatly appreciate you being a part of our loyal listening audience.

The Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) is presenting their 2nd Annual Full Circle Benefit Dinner at Neal Fraser’s Redbird in Downtown Los Angeles on Thursday evening, April 25th featuring a culinary brigade of celebrity guest chefs. C-CAP Council L.A.’s Chairperson, Barbara Fairchild (former Editor-in-Chief of Bon Appetit Magazine,) joins us with all the salivating details of the Cocktail Reception and seated Dinner & Live Auction.

Born and raised in Columbia, Winemaker Bibiana Gonzalez Rave had little exposure to wine culture but, by the age of 14, she knew she would become a winemaker. Bibiana joins us to share her incredible journey. In 2015 she was named “Winemaker of the Year” by the San Francisco Chronicle.

For most it wasn’t so much the actual cooking that was a problem: it was the hour plus of organization, prepping and cleaning up. So, a teacher at heart, Carla Snyder wrote One Pan Two Plates: More than 70 complete weeknight meals for two, a guide to a delicious, healthy, hot meal for two in under 45 minutes with easy prep and one pan cleanup. Carla’s most recent release is One Pan Whole Family: More than 70 complete weeknight mealsThis is a book for families who would like to embrace a diet of wholesome meats, poultry, fish, vegetables and grains. Carla escapes the kitchen and is our guest.

Robert Biebrich is the Executive Chef for Legends here at Angel Stadium. Chef Robert is with us in-studio to highlight what’s new in Angel Stadium food and beverage for the 2019 season. He’s particularly proud of the Big A Burger which is a luxe burger creation as well as a new food outlet. Did we hear “Secret Menu”? Joining Chef Robert is his Executive Sous Chef Omar Almaraz and Executive Pastry Chef Tracy Felipe.

Chef 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. We’ll meet Chef Thomas.

Easter and Passover good wishes to all.

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

Program Note: Next Saturday, April 20th, is our annual visit to The Big Island Chocolate Festival at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort. Pure local chocolate decadence. Please do join us.

 

Show 317, March 30, 2019: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris

Now an intriguing preview of this Saturday’s properly enticing show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case, and upon careful reflection, that’s probably a pretty good thing… As always, we greatly appreciate you being a part of our loyal listening audience.

The Urban Forager by Elisa Callow showcases one of California’s richest and most rapidly expanding culinary cultures : the Eastside of Los Angeles. Author, passionate cook and food explorer, Elisa Callow is our guide.

Ian Blackburn’s LearnAboutWine is doing it again. His first Chinese Food & Wine Challenge – Which Pairs Best? event sold out way ahead of the date so he’s encoring it on Sunday, April 14th at Alhambra’s Chengdu Impression. Wine Professional and Sommelier Ian Blackburn pulls the cork for us. (What wine pairs with a fortune cookie, anyway?)

Leah Spielberg Adler was a fixture of the Pico-Robertson neighborhood (The Borscht Belt) in Los Angeles since 1977 until her passing in early 2017 at 97. She was the proprietress and heart of the kosher dairy restaurant, The Milky Way. In a loving tribute to her memory The Spielberg Family (Steven, Nancy, Anne and Sue) has reimagined and reopened The Milky Way with a new look and an updated, appealing and streamlined kosher menu. Executive Chef & Restaurant Consultant Phil Kastel of PK&J Hospitality Group is the Creative Chef at The Milky Way and is out guest.

Celebrity Chef Susan Feniger (Border Grill & the upcoming Socalo) is also the co-chair of the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Simply diVine annual benefit on Saturday, April 27th at Hollywood Forever. It’s also the 50th Anniversary of The Center. Chef Susan has the rundown for us for this celebration of delicious food, wine, spirits, craft beers, and lots more !

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association, the 2019 Big Island Chocolate Festival (8th Annual) is an annual fundraiser that benefits five local non-profits and Hawaii cacao farmers. This fun, participatory and engaging two-day festival is set for April 26th & 27th at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort on Hawaii Island’s Kohala Coast. Tom Cross is the Hotel Manager for our accommodating host, The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort, which last year completed an ambitious $50 million renovation. It’s part of the renown Mauna Kea Resort on the Island of Hawaii. Tom previews The Festival indulgences for us.

Our own Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group, is again back with his always informative “Ask the Chef” commentary. He’s a real, working chef with great insight and experience. Chef Andrew is on the road this morning from parts unknown. We’ll find out…

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

Program Note: Next Saturday, April 6th, is part of Home Opening Weekend for our Halos. We’ll be broadcasting live from Golden Road Pub OC right across the street from Angel Stadium from 10:00 a.m. to 12 Noon. If you’re going to the game come by and say hello before the 1:05 p.m. start of Angels Baseball versus Texas

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