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Forks on the Left

Hollywood stories. Food stories. Drink stories. Wine, beer and cocktail tastings, chefs' secrets, recipes and cooking demos. Conversations with chefs, writers, winemakers, bartenders, actors, bakers, producers, directors, butchers, musicians… Grab a fork and a glass, and join ‘Friends' Writer/Producer/Cook/Wine-Guy, Jeff Strauss and co-host Writer/Comedian/Eater/Beer-Guy, Jeff Phelps as they bring together experts and friends from the worlds of food, wine, spirits, beer, TV, movies, theater and music to talk about…all that stuff. Listen to your stomach. Feed your ears. Fresh episodes weekly. Please rate/review to tell us what you're liking so you can have more of it. Also, please help us spread the word by sharing with your friends on social media. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @forks_ontheleft and Facebook @forksontheleft.
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Forks on the Left
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Jun 17, 2017

Father's Day. And that means it's time for Phelps and Strauss to raise a glass (or two) to fathers and fatherhood and the eating and drinking lessons their own dads taught.  Strauss shares the origins of the Jefftovers idea and turns a corned beef sandwich into one of his father's favorite brunch (or anytime) dishes. Phelps introduces us to a simple-yet-insane and amazing combo for baked potatoes. The Jeffs discuss memorable movie and TV dads. And Mary Catherine Finney joins us to battle out the latest round of “Play With Your Food.”

The Game: Play With Your Food (Wait -- Dad's in the Kitchen?)

For pictures and more from this episode, visit forksontheleft.com

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Jun 14, 2017

In honor of box-office smash, “Wonder Woman,” we pay tribute to the Wonder Women of Forks on the Left. Our favorite LA bartender, Andi Rene Christenson, joins us to discuss Patty Jenkins' blockbuster (did we cry??), mix up a couple Wonder Woman-inspired cocktails, and take a look  back at few of the Wonder Women who have graced our show in its first six months.  We've got highlights from actress/zombie-kicking badass Kim Dickens, the brave and brilliant Chef Neela Paniz, food-truck hero and Coolhaus co-founder Natasha Case, and The Washington Post’s comfort food aficionado, Karen Attiah.  Then the Battle of the Sexes continues as Forks’ producer Mary Catherine Finney faces off with Phelps for our latest game, a Wonder Woman edition of “Play With Your Food.”

For pictures and more from this episode, visit forksontheleft.com

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Jun 3, 2017

The only thing better than quizzing people who don’t really cook about cooking tools they’ve never really seen...is quizzing them after they’ve already had seven shots of seven different bourbons. Inspired by the fun we had playing "Name That Fruit" with Superfruit, Jeff Strauss is back with a new cooking-inspired guessing game called, "What Kind Of Tool Am I?" where we guess the purpose of a particular culinary instrument based solely on the name. Kitchen tool connoisseur Jeff Strauss hosts the game recorded at the end of last week's episode, and our bourbon-soaked competitors include co-host Jeff Phelps and Endless Noise millennials, Mary Catherine Finney and Grant Cornish. So have a listen and see if these tools can describe these other tools.

Guests: Mary Catherine Finney & Grant Cornish of Endless Noise

For pictures and more from this episode, visit forksontheleft.com

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May 27, 2017

What could be better than hanging out behind the scenes at Endless Noise studios and getting insider info from the audio engineer and producers who have worked with Superfruit and Pentatonix for the last 5 years? All of that plus a 5 bottle “blind” Bourbon tasting!  (And that’s exactly what we do with Mary Catherine Finney and Grant Cornish who have known the PTX crew longer than almost anybody in showbiz.  Join us!)

Guests: Grant Cornish & Mary Catherine Finney

For pictures and more from this episode, visit forksontheleft.com

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May 19, 2017

What do you get when you mix singing superstars Mitch Grassi and Scott Hoying (of Superfruit & Pentatonix) with 4 incredible fruit-based cocktails? Add a dash of Gaga, your first alcoholic beverage, a game of "Name That Fruit" and the weirdest thing you've ever eaten and shake with a couple of Jeffs...pour over ice and enjoy!

Ever dream of sitting down for cocktails and conversation with two of your favorite pop stars?  It might sound something like this.

Guests: Superfruit (@ScottHoying & @MitchGrassi)

Cocktails:Serrano Pineapple Margarita, Grapefruit Elderflower Mimosa,Kiwi Mojito, Watermelon Basil Vodka Soda (Recipes)

Game: Name That Fruit! (Play Along)

For pictures and more from this episode, visit forksontheleft.com

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May 13, 2017
Did you ever dream of starting your own restaurant?  This is one of those stories that dreams and movies are made of — the story of Los Angeles’ own Craig Batiste. Starting with less than $400 and a headful of recipe ideas for “loaded” french fries, Craig and his fiancé Dorothy Morales set out on an adventure that has grown from selling home-cooked fries out of a donut shop parking lot to a thriving young business that is taking Los Angeles and Instagram by storm.  
 
Guest: Mr. Fries Man (@mr_fries_man)
 
The Fries:
Buffalo Chicken (sautéed) with Ranch
Garlic Parmesan Shrimp with Bacon
Barbecue Chicken Cheese and Bacon
Chorizo and Egg Fries
 
Day Drinking: Allagash White Belgian-Style Wheat Beer -  Allagash Brewing Company, Portland Maine; Pabst Blue Ribbon, Lager, Tall Boy Can, Pabst Brewing Co, San Antonio, TX
 

For pictures and more from this episode, visit forksontheleft.com

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May 7, 2017

It’s Phelps’ birthday and we celebrate with a festival of 40s - 40 ouncers, 40% alcohol vodka and tequila shots, 40 years worth of celebration and stories. How has Phelps changed in the 40 years since his birth in Kansas City? Has the decade in La La Land ruined him, improved him, or left him essentially the same “recovering frat-guy” he was when he left KU (Go Jayhawks!)? We dig into the food and drink evolution of our beloved co-host and we get to know some of the secrets of his past thanks to drinking buddy, Doug Harper, who has known the guy since the “day-drink” of choice was icy-cold milk.

Day Drinking: Budweiser 40oz, Bud Light 40oz, Tequila Ocho Single Estate Tequila Plata 2016 Puerta del Aire, Loft & Bear Vodka

For pictures and more from this episode, visit forksontheleft.com

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Apr 25, 2017

Bay Area big-gun chef, Scott Warner is not only a highly sought-after maestro of the modern restaurant kitchen (The Black Cat, Rose Pistola, Bistro Don Giovanni, Kokkari), he’s also a fantastic musician who graduated with a degree in Guitar from USC’s Music School.  Scott sits in with us to share stories of kitchens and creativity, how he went from dreams of a life in music to fulfilling his creative passions through food and drink — and the role that improvisation plays in both his loves.

For pictures and more from this episode, visit forksontheleft.com

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Apr 10, 2017
Mix 1 part vodka, 1 part Kahlua, 1 part soda, and 10 parts Bob Kushell — writer-producer of 3rd Rock from the Sun, Anger Management, Samantha Who?, The Muppets, American Dad, Malcolm in the Middle — and you get a slightly-drunk, very funny episode covering topics from writers’ room food and self-loathing to writing under the influence.  Also, very special weight-loss secret revealed: “The Show-Runner’s Recovery Diet"
 
Day Drinking: Absolut Vodka & Kahlua “Mind Erasers”  and Redemption Rye Barrel Proof 6-year old Straight Rye  http://www.redemptionwhiskey.com
 
Guest: @BobKushell
 

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Mar 31, 2017

We've had two fascinating and funny servings of Ahmet Zappa — Healthy and Unhealthy.  Here’s a little more A to the Z kind of love… including what may be the darkest — most “burnt" answer to any burning question ever… you be the judge.

Guest: @AhmetZappa

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Mar 25, 2017

Burning Questions with Chef Neela Paniz — Return with Strauss & Phelps to the home kitchen of Chef Neela Paniz, “Chopped” Champion and a pioneer of both Modern Indian Cuisine and as a woman chef/restaurateur.  Not only do we find out what she thinks they’re serving in hell, but we also learn just how “liberated” you needed to be to break down stereotypes and barriers in the world of restaurants in the 1980s.

Check out our full episode with Neela in her home kitchen here.

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Mar 18, 2017

One of the best possible things that we could imagine:  Strauss, Phelps and the insanely funny Tom Lennon run through our Forks on the Left “Burning Questions”, still just a little bit drunk and full of cheese with the answers taking us from the delicious to the down-right horrifying.

Guest: Tom Lennon (@thomaslennon)

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Mar 10, 2017

Another installment of Burning Questions, and we promise three things: Prince, pudding, and taint. One is a much missed pop icon, one is a dessert in a dream, and the last is just a verb—we promise.  Thankfully, all three come with 10 “comforting” answers from Melissa Peterman. Give it a listen and find out what a sweet, funny gal from the Midwest thinks they’re serving for dinner in hell.

Guest: Melissa Peterman

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Mar 4, 2017

Strauss and Phelps are joined by TV Comedy writer/producer Nastaran Dibai who was born in Iran and immigrated to the US and then to Canada before coming back to the US to write comedy (psst - she’s the Muslim). She shares funny stories of her family and career as well as a few amazing, home-made Persian dishes (yeah, she cooks too).  Phelps is reunited with his beloved “Decapitator” by Corksicle and Strauss reveals the simple-yet-impossible secrets to the Iranian rice dish he’s been struggling to perfect/unable to stop thinking about since Nastaran taught him to make it 6 years ago… the glorious “Tahdig” the golden and crispy marvel from the bottom of the pot.

Day Drinking: Angel City Lager, Rye Rosewater Manhattan by Strauss
 
Recipe: Nastaran's Persian Potato Salad (Salad Olivieh)
 

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Feb 25, 2017

"If heaven were a restaurant they'd be serving...?" Harold Perrineau answers this and 9 other hot questions in Forks on the Left's version of the Inside the Actors Studio/Pivot questionnaire.

Guest: @HaroldPerrineau

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Feb 18, 2017

When times get tough, when weather is cold, when stuff gets uncertain…we all want comfort, or more exactly Comfort Food. The incredibly funny and always-comforting Melissa Peterman, star of shows like “Reba” and “Baby Daddy”, joins us to talk Tater-Tot hot-dish, throwing herself at Bono while on a trip to Ireland, and Phelps’ deep need for gas-station pastry when he’s feeling low. We explore the personal and political implications of comfort food with Karen Attiah of the Washington Post and Strauss breaks out his ultimate pick-me-up porcini mushroom matzoh-ball soup.  Pull up a glass and a Brandy Old Fashioned and some melty Mac-and-Cheese or ramen or gumbo, saag-dal, shepherds pie, cheesecake, peas and rice or poutine — it’s time to get comfortable.


Guests: Melissa Peterman (@FollowTheBlonde), Karen Attiah (@KarenAttiah)

Day Drinking: Brandy Old Fashioned

Eats: Wisconsin Cheeses 

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Feb 14, 2017

A romantic dinner for two Jeffs at Sotto, one of LA’s favorite romantic spots known for its intimate setting, fantastic bar and amazing Southern-Italian food. After the guys try and choose the perfect cocktails for each other, the conversation flirts with the connections between food and love. Strauss offers advice for a diving-grab/CVS Pharmacy Valentines' Day chocolate plan that could rescue a last-minute disaster. He also shares a few tips to raise your jar-and-box pasta game to “sexy dinner” levels and tells the story of how spicy soup and strep-throat led to the kiss that changed his life. Come on…hug this one out with us.

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Feb 4, 2017

Our Super-sized Super Bowl episode.  Super Bowl = Wings, right? Strauss and Phelps set off on the first FOTL road trip as they climb aboard a luxury “sprinter van" to tour the best that “Wing City” Los Angeles has to offer, joined by guest “wingman” Harold Perrineau (of LOST, The Best Man, The Matrix movies, and Romeo & Juliet) and the Forks on the Left road crew. The quest: find wing satisfaction and football-party-snack inspiration among nearly a dozen of LA’s best and most famous wing spots. Deep wingman truths get uncovered along the way… things like, what does it mean to be a married-guy wingman? What’s it like to have dinner at Questlove’s place? How do Strauss’s mom’s homemade wings stack up against the best that LA has to offer?  Oh, and what do you do when a wingman road trip goes unexpectedly off the road…?? 

The contenders include: Buffalo Wild Wings, KT Thai, Hyperion Public, Night + Market Song, Howlin’ Ray’s, Beer Belly, Kyochon, Lukshon… all chosen from the best of the best on Yelp, Eater, Thrillist, Zagat, The LA Times and Food & Wine magazine.

For the full list of restaurants, beers we tried, and road trip photos, visit forksontheleft.com

Guest: @HaroldPerrineau

Jan 28, 2017

Part 2 of our conversation with the Actor/Musician/Writer/Producer/New-Wine-Nerd. We talk "Growing Up Zappa," Gail Zappa’s Beef Stroganoff, Ahmet’s biggies fear, and… the source of his "mayo problem." We test Ahmet’s claim of being able to tell the price of any wine just by tasting. And Ahmet shares his story of what may be the most embarrassing Hollywood dinner party experience ever at the home of Monty Python Legend, Eric Idle...

Special Guest: Jeff Elmassian

Wines Enjoyed: Thomas-Hsi THV Red 2012

Ahmet Zappa

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Jan 22, 2017

Strauss and Phelps welcome Ahmet Zappa and Musician/Composer/Producer Jeff Elmassian to talk about Ahmet’s journey from child actor, musician, performer, to movie writer and producer to new-found wine-nerddom…Strauss challenges Ahmet’s claim that he can “taste the price of any wine” within five dollars. Track through some of Ahmet’s favorite wines, growing up “food, wine and Zappa" as well as one of his latest gigs as CEO of Zappa Records and Co-Trustee of the Zappa Family Trust where he’s managing, curating and promoting the rich legacy of his brilliant and prolific father, Frank, whose work in so many ways both defied and defined the idea of the "independent" recording artist…guitar-god, iconoclast, composer, and...chef???

Special Guest: Jeff Elmassian 
 
Wines Enjoyed: Paratus Cabernet 2010 (Mt. Veeder/Napa) 
 
Wines Mentioned: Stags Leap "Artemis", Orin Swift "The Prisoner"
 
Zappa Tunes: Dirty Love, Yellow Snow
 

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Jan 13, 2017

What’s life like for an actor who loves great food and drink? From "starving-actor" to “starring-actor,"  Strauss and Phelps sit down with television’s Christopher Rich, star of Murphy Brown, Boston Legal, Another World, Reba and more to talk TV Comedy, the “ins and outs” of eating both on camera and off, cooking dinner for the cast of “Reba," Chris’s perfect omelet and "quaff-able wine."

Recipe - The “Perfect” Thin-style French Omelet

Day Drinking: Squall Red Blend (discussed but not consumed) and Forks on the Left 2013 “Mixed Blacks” from Longtable Wines.

Chris Rich Twitter, Instagram

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Jan 7, 2017

Chef Neela Paniz’s food journey spans a lifetime and tens of thousands of miles. After growing up in India in the years following the fall of the British Raj, she landed in the US in her twenties having never cooked anything and by the time Strauss and Phelps sit down at her kitchen table, she’s a veteran chef who’s launched three restaurants including Bombay Cafe, LA’s pillar of modern-Indian street food; she’s a “Chopped” champion, a cookbook author and one of the most articulate and knowledgeable voices in cuisine.

Neela welcomes us into her home kitchen and not only cooks for us, but also gives us a cooking lesson with a great recipe for the killer-ketchup replacement - her incredible and not-hard-to-make Sweet Tomato Chutney. Strauss reveals that it is this chutney and Neela who cost him a hilarious trip to the ER and a small part of himself. Neela talks about learning to cook watching Julia Child and their eventual meeting. She takes us on an intercontinental adventure of her life from being a schoolgirl in India to owning and running restaurants in Napa and Hollywood. We learn secrets of “blooming” spices to maximize their flavor and impact. And of course, there's a little Indian-food-friendly Day Drinking with Taj Mahal Lager and Meyer-Nakel Rose of Pinot Noir.

Recipe - Neela’s Sweet Tomato Chutney

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Dec 30, 2016

Hangover Cures! In honor of New Years and "The Great Morning After” we dig deep into the downsides of alcohol consumption and tips on prevention as well as a wide-ranging exploration of remedies from the mythical to the medical.  Hair of the Dog? Hydration? Does mixing beverages matter? What about clear vs colored booze? Is there anything you can eat or drink the next day that makes a difference? Is there something that medical science can do for you? In true Forks on the Left style, Phelps throws himself all the way into his hangover research — both on an evening spent “getting in” and to the final “stab” he subjects himself to in his search for answers. We search for expert help from Bar Manager/Mixologist Sean Griffin as well as actual medical insights from our friendly, anonymous neurologist friend, Dr. ?????? and traveling nurse, Kendra Butler from The I.V. Doc (theIVdoc.com).  And whether you’re suffering or just want a great brunch the next day, Strauss breaks out a pair of amazing egg recipes that are sure to perk you up on New Years or any morning (“after" or not).

Bar Manager/Mixologist: Sean Griffin

The I.V. Doc
Promo Code: FORKSLEFT

Dec 23, 2016

Happy Holidays! Here's a musical gift of laughter from all of us at Forks on the Left brought to you by the brilliance of Jeff Elmassian, Andy Rehfeldt, Grant Cornish and Mary Catherine Finney. Cheers!

Subscribe! Follow us on Twitter (@forks_ontheleft), Instagram (forks_ontheleft) and Facebook. Please rate us and leave us a review on iTunes!

For more visit forksontheleft.com

Dec 21, 2016

Cookbook Gift Ideas from one of the world's most knowledgeable cooks and cookbook authors: Susie Heller, co-author of all 5 of Thomas Keller’s cookbooks including “The French Laundry," “The Pizza Bible” with Tony Gemignani, and “Happy in the Kitchen” with Michel Richard. There's something here for every cook and foodie on your list!

Check out our website for links to each of the books Susie recommends.

Susie Heller: @susiefeast

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