On the Line: Visoth Tarak Ouk "T" Of The Federal Bar, Part Two

Categories: On the Line

Photo by LP Hastings
Lights! Camera! Cook!

I could try to come up with something witty to introduce the second half of my interview with T, but he doesn't require an introduction.

Chef T kicked things off in yesterday's interview, which you'll find over here.
Ready to learn more? You don't have to look far.

Do you have any skills that are not food-related?
While going to school, I developed an eye for film. I can see a whole script: plot, camera angles, action sequence and actors within the first minute of the thought.

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On the Line: Visoth Tarak Ouk "T" Of The Federal Bar, Part One

Categories: On the Line

Photo by LP Hastings

Every restaurant needs a voice. It could be the owner, general manager, or (in the case of The Federal Bar) one of the chefs in your kitchen. We had the pleasure of meeting Chef T when a good friend invited us to dinner. A down-to-Earth kind of guy, we knew T would represent Long Beach well.

Please explain the concept and cuisine of The Federal Bar.
It's all about good food. We take traditional pub food, but rather than settle, we use fresh ingredients and quality to create amazing food with a great atmosphere-- while still enjoying a nice, cold beer.

Best culinary tip for the home cook:
Have fun, experiment and keep cooking. Remember, food should be appreciated.

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On the Line: Chad Aldrich and Makara Ung Of The Coconut Truck, Part Two

Categories: On the Line

Photo by LP Hastings
Couple time

They've got humor, honesty and pretty darn good cuisine. All that makes for excellent interviewing. Learn about their meet-cute story and a few other details in today's segment.

Have you read part one yet? Have you?! We didn't think so, so we're placing it right over here.
Now hurry up so you can follow along below.

Hardest lesson you've learned:
Makara Ung:
That the people you think shouldn't let you down do.
Chad Aldrich: Counting calories is hard.

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On the Line: Chad Aldrich and Makara Ung Of The Coconut Truck, Part One

Categories: On the Line

Photo by LP Hastings
It takes two to make a thing go right

Co-workers. Luxe lonchera co-owners. Parents. Chad and Makara are a duo with shared responsibilities, accomplishing tasks as a unified team. Always on the go, we were lucky enough to capture a few moments of their time to work on our questions.

Why Cambodian food?
Makara Ung:
There's an abundance of Thai and Vietnamese food in OC. Cambodian is a cuisine that represents a balanced mix of all Southeast Asia, from stir-fries to curries to herbaceous salads.
Chad Aldrich: If anyone has tried Thai or Vietnamese, the flavors will be familiar, yet Cambodian food has its own unique flavors and techniques. As far as the food truck, after searching for a place to lease and failed attempts to buy an existing location for two years, we decided to bring these flavors to the streets.

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On the Line: George Mendoza & Gabriel Ruiz Of Wursthaus, Part Two

Categories: On the Line

Photo by LP Hastings
Coincidence that yesterday was also Best Friend Day? We think not.

We become friends with someone because of similarities. Yet we also respect the differences. Our time with George and Gabriel is running out, but there's still time for some more comparing and contrasting.

Our dynamic duo kick things off in yesterday's blog.
Start there for the complete story. Then keep on reading below.

What's your favorite childhood memory?
Gabriel Ruiz:
Camping and fishing with my family.
George Mendoza: Skateboarding with my best friends.

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On the Line: George Mendoza & Gabriel Ruiz Of Wursthaus, Part One

Categories: On the Line

Photo by LP Hastings
George and Gabriel be stylin' for the camera

It's been a while since I featured a duo in the interviews. Friends George Mendoza and Gabriel Ruiz co-own Wursthaus (along with Gabriel's wife, Georgiana). A simple, yet effective concept, sausages and German beer have found their home in downtown Santa Ana. They opted to respond to every question, giving us some typing practice.

How do you describe your place to someone unfamiliar?
George Mendoza: Sausages, beer and a fun, upbeat atmosphere.
Gabriel Ruiz: With a modern, industrial decor.

Most frequently asked question:
GR: "Is there somewhere to eat our food?" Yes. We have a restaurant and bar in the back.
GM: (response to same question) Behind the counter and kitchen.

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On the Line: Jeffrey Boullt Of SOCIAL, Part Two

Categories: On the Line

Photo by LP Hastings
You talkin' to me?

Restaurants pay a chef to cook, not answer a series of questions. So when an individual takes the time to put some thought into their responses, I am thankful. This was the case with SOCIAL's self-proclaimed "blue collar chef" Jeffrey Boullt. A follow-up question got Boullt to elaborate on how be wishes more local chefs would support and respect each other-- a recurring sentiment that surfaces every so often in these interviews.

My dialogue with Chef Boullt (pronounced Bolt) began yesterday.
But I'll forgive you if you start with part two. . .

Last cookbook you read; and what did you learn from it, if anything?
Root to Leaf - A Southern Chef Cooks Through The Seasons By Steven Satterfield. I mean, in terms of learning, this could be (in my opinion) the best cookbook dedicated to vegetables since Alice Waters wrote Chez Panisse Vegetables. Pure, clean, amazing and educational. It takes an approach that I wish more cooks and chefs took towards vegetables.

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On the Line: Jeffrey Boullt Of SOCIAL, Part One

Categories: On the Line

Photo by LP Hastings
Don't ask him to smile

There was a sincere nature that came across in Chef Jeffrey Boullt's responses. Of course, there was also a hint of humor that kept things light in our discussion. But chef's devotion to his craft was apparent throughout, " I wish I could cook with my brain more, but I wear my heart on my sleeve, so I cook that way."

Favorite meal growing up:
Refried beans that my grandmother Hortensia would make. She would finish them with a ton of cheese, and I would eat them with fresh tortillas, still steamy and warm. As simple as it was, this changed my perspective on food at a very young age. I try to channel her in what I do in the kitchen at SOCIAL.

With a name like SOCIAL, how do you promote/encourage that type of environment?
The concept was based more on a small/shared plate format with a Bay Area feel. With that being said, I knew I would have to be fast and efficient. From the back of the house standpoint, we encourage our cooks to care about the little things, and quality on the plate that translates better to the guest. Everything out of our kitchen is "Order/Fire". I don't have a heat lamp-- which I feel encourages social interaction at the table because you have to share the dish while it's hot before the next one comes out.

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On the Line: Manfred Lassahn Of Watertable, Part Two

Categories: On the Line

Photo by LP Hastings

Despite all the cool things I learned about Chef Lassahn, I admit that my favorite fact was learning we actually grew up less than 15 miles from each other. In our final segment, we also learn that his love of all things culinary began at an early age-- but you don't have to take our word for it.

Hardest lesson you've learned:
The hardest thing that I have had to learn is to do what you can in the time that you have. That is both personally and professionally.

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On the Line: Manfred Lassahn Of Watertable, Part One

Categories: On the Line

Photo by LP Hastings
Keeping his cool

For this holiday edition, I dove up the coast for our interview. Located inside Huntington Beach's Hyatt Regency, Watertable offers a thoughtful, seasonal, even customizable menu to its patrons. Chef Lassahn runs an efficient kitchen, as I meet him on a day where he's balancing three major events throughout the property.

Most undervalued ingredient:
I would say it's not the ingredient, it's the condition of the ingredient. Anything fresh off the vine is precious, and its quality of flavor/nutrient density is commonly overlooked.

What would be your last meal on earth?
An Animal Style, In-n-Out Burger.

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