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On the Line: Jim Walker and Louie Feinstein of The Bungalow, Part Two

Categories: On the Line

Bungalow2.jpg
Dustin Ames
Feinstein and Walker keeping it classy in CDM

Our second piece of good news also explains why Louie has been the primary responder to our line of questioning. At the time of this meeting, Jim Walker was a week away from tying the knot! As any reasonable reporter might do, we cut him a little slack and wished him congratulations. Now, where were we?

Read our interview with Jim and Louie, part one.
And now, on to part two . . .


How did the two of you meet?
Louie Feinstein:
Met through the industry [Editor's Note: Technically, they met playing golf many years ago at a charity event.]

Hardest lesson you've learned:
L.F.:
To be patient; good things come to people who are patient.

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On the Line: Jim Walker and Louie Feinstein of The Bungalow, Part One

Categories: On the Line

Bungalow1.jpg
Dustin Ames
Now offering lunch!

Two big things were brewing as we sat down to interview Jim and Louie. The second topic can wait until tomorrow, but we were there to celebrate the launch of lunch at The Bungalow. What I liked most about their new service was the option to order ahead. Get your hands on the menu, call when you're about to leave work, and by the time a beverage reaches your table-- lunch should be ready to plate. Convenience and service during the busiest part of your day. Not too shabby.

One food you can't live without:
Louie Feinstein: Turkey. As a kid, I just loved turkey . . .especially turkey legs. Thanksgiving was something always big at our house.
Jim Walker: I probably would say that I'd be disappointed if I didn't have bacon. It's a good vehicle to put on almost any food. I also like crunchy peanut butter.

How would you describe The Bungalow to a potential diner?
L.F.: A great classic steak house with a New American twist. Dishes that have taken on some great flavors and style.

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On the Line: Toby Keil of AoSA Coffee, Part Two

Categories: On the Line

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Dustin Ames
Hipster? No. Community-building? Yes.

For those of you just tuning in, I've changed the format this week. Toby Keil, AoSA's workaholic general manager and I roll with the punches, answering questions as we see fit. But first, an excerpt from their mission statement:

AoSA Coffee is a conscious coffee house that at its core, represents the fundamentals of what a home truly is: a sanctuary to family, a safe place to interact with your neighbors, and a creative environment to replenish and recharge with an assortment of healthy, tasty drinks and treats.

Read our disclaimer, plus part one of our interview with Toby here.
And now, we continue with part two . . .

Toby:
The AoSA embodies everything I hoped for in terms of what I set out to do in opening a cafe. This whole idea of a sustainable coffee shop would not have been possible, if not for the generosity and determination of Mike Hill and his family.


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On the Line: Toby Keil of AoSA Coffee, Part One

Categories: On the Line

Keil1.jpg
Dustin Ames
Coffee, tea and all sorts of awesomeness

Disclaimer:
This week's non-traditional interview took place in a non-traditional setting. I arrived at AoSA Coffee in Huntington Beach unprepared. Toby Keil and I were inundated with work this week, resulting in an off-the-cuff interview in a multi-functional space behind AoSA-- where imaging and design equipment co-mingled with a rock climbing wall, and artwork hung near an unfinished passage connecting workspace to coffee space.

As our impromptu talk show progressed, we covered not only the business, but the influences that brought Toby to this point. While I don't have all that great a memory, I'm sure as hell going to do my best to recollect most of our conversation. He also took the time to clarify statements I didn't want to muck up. Now that my disclaimer is out of the way, let's get this interview started.


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On the Line: Scott Raczek of Tavern + Bowl, Part Two

Categories: On the Line

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Dustin Ames
Does chef look like an actor? Comment and you might just win something.

On Wednesday, June 25, Tavern + Bowl teams up with Yelp to benefit Make-A-Wish Orange County and the Inland Empire. This 21 and over event is being held from 7-9 p.m. and includes a DJ, raffle, discounted bowling, select comped beverages and passed appetizers. 100% of the donations and raffle proceeds will benefit the non-profit, so head over to your local Yelp event page for more details.

Read the first part of our interview with Scott here.
Part two starts below.

Hardest lesson you've learned:
Life is short

What's your favorite childhood memory?
Having orange grove fights with my friends and being chased by the farmer. Also, we used to do a lot of beach camping in Mexico, riding motorcycles and horses. Open-flamed campfires are the best!


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On the Line: Scott Raczek of Tavern + Bowl, Part One

Categories: On the Line

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Dustin Ames
Optional cardio with your meal

To be familiar with Scott Raczek is an honor. For his past employment with Mr. Stox to Raczek's ongoing charitable contributions, this is someone with a genuine spirit. We begin our interview with a thorough response to a simple inquiry.

Most undervalued ingredient:
Red beets are becoming very popular in OC restaurants, but you do not see too many people cook with them at home. Maybe it is the cooking time or the messiness of them, or they are just not sure how to go about it.

At the Tavern, we have great success with them. We slow roast them with olive oil, garlic, onions and thyme. We use our stone deck bread oven and cook them low and slow for over five hours. We use them in our drunken goat cheese salad, and it is the featured veggie in our Tavern beet burger. I also love it on our flatbread with white horseradish cream, arugula, roasted beets and white anchovies. And for a late night snack after some serious libations, I always have a batch of spicy pickled eggs and beets in the kitchen for consumption. The whites of the eggs turn bright red with the yellow yolk interior. After all, we are in the bar business!

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On the Line: Rainer Schwarz Of Driftwood Kitchen, Part Two

Categories: On the Line

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Dustin Ames
When you work thisclose to the beach, your smile is this wide

My interview with Austrian-born chef Rainer Schwarz continues as he entertains our second round of questions. And did we mention that Driftwood is close to opening this month? Stay tuned . . .

Read our interview with Rainer Schwarz, part one.
And now, on to part two . . .

Tell us something most people don't know about you.
I used to be a professional chess player when I was younger.

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On the Line: Rainer Schwarz Of Driftwood Kitchen, Part One

Categories: On the Line

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Dustin Ames
Looking pretty calm for someone about to launch a new restaurant.

Timing is everything, so when the opportunity to share Driftwood's concept also meant that we were privy to learning it's less than a month out from opening its doors, I call it luck. I chat with Rainer about their new endeavor and his restaurant group, among other topics.


What can you tell us about Driftwood Kitchen?
It was a vision that our Director of Operations, John Nye, and I created. Colby Durnin, our new partner, literally had chills when we presented the name and concept, and it was what ultimately brought us together as a team. Driftwood Kitchen is not meant to be pretentious. It has simple, but great food, approachable service, and really embraces the Laguna Beach lifestyle.

One food you can't live without:
Is salt considered a food?


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On the Line: Frank DeLoach of Tavern On 2, Part Two

Categories: On the Line

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Dustin Ames
Frank DeLoach

Major holidays don't stop our On the Line interviews. We learn even more about Frank in our second part below.

Read our interview with Frank, part one.
And now . . .on to part two.

What inspired you to become a chef?
My family. I first thought about being a chef in high school. I just loved cooking with my mother and father. But when I got out, I first attempted a film career. I have a brother and cousin who work in the entertainment industry. I worked at restaurants during that time, and quickly realized that I didn't enjoy film at all. My mother suggested cooking school, so I thought, "Shit, time to drop into the deep end." At nineteen, I dropped out of film school, quit a weird part-time job, got into Orange Coast College and started working at Pinot Provence. Super full-time school and work. Became obsessed.


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On the Line: Frank DeLoach of Tavern On 2, Part One

Categories: On the Line

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Dustin Ames
Frank DeLoach

You may have heard of Frank DeLoach, as he's "been there, done that" at a number of Orange County spots in recent years. He crossed county borders into Long Beach, taking the helm at Belmont Shore's Tavern On 2. I continue my beach city tour into the LBC, checking in on his kitchen antics.

What is your favorite style of cooking?
I worked a lot of my professional career in regional Italian kitchens. I feel that is always going to be a major part of my cooking. Currently, I am completely obsessed with the Southeast Asian pantry. I am constantly finding inspiration in interesting vinegars, aromatics and strange condiments. The cuisines of Southeast Asia are bold and bright. Full of in-your-face flavor. In Orange County, we are fortunate to have large Vietnamese, Thai and Cambodian neighborhoods. I am always searching markets.

Most undervalued ingredient:
Citrus. It's complex and acidic. Brings any dish into a realm of freshness.

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