We’ve had so many fascinating food experts on the California Now Podcast that we decided to assemble a greatest hits album of sorts—a collection of tip-filled snippets with some true insiders. The episode starts off with host Soterios Johnson’s conversation with Jeff Gordinier, Food and Drinks Editor for Esquire magazine. Gordinier tasted his way through some of the top restaurants in San Francisco and discovered that there was much to love at the high end of the culinary scene, including three-star spots like Saison, Atelier Crenn, and Benu.

Speaking of albums, Gordinier offers up a musical theory about some of the expansive tasting menus he encounters in his line of work.

"I've come to think that tasting menus, which can stretch on for 15 courses, 25, or in some cases even 50 courses, are a little like [double and triple] albums," Gordinier notes. "I will go there with Prince, I will go there with the Magnetic Fields, I will go there with the Rolling Stones at their peak. I don't necessarily want to go there with the Gin Blossoms, if you know what I'm saying."

In Gordinier's estimation, the top tier of San Francisco's top chefs are worthy of an extended play.  

And the other three guests on this special edition offer plenty of insights too. Johnson discusses the incredible bounty of California’s Central Coast with acclaimed chef and TV personality Curtis Stone, owner of two Los Angeles County restaurants. Our host also chats about hidden gems and Los Angeles street food with Eater LA Senior Editor Farley Elliott and explores the local food scene with Sacramento Bee dining critic Kate Washington.

Pull up a chair and dig into this tasty treat of an episode.