On the Line: Brandon Stein of The Cellar, Part Two

Are you looking for Oktoberfest ideas? Date night Halloween haunts? This underground lair has you covered. Below is the menu being served this month at The Cellar for our favorite time of the beer year. At the end of Part Two, you'll find more intel on their spooky happenings.

Oktoberfest menu: $29.99 (tax N gratuity not included) — add beer pairing to each course for an additional $14. Served all month long.

Rye bread crostini with smoked salmon and dill cream cheese, topped with red onion and capers

German lentil soup topped with crispy bacon

Breaded pork tenderloin medallion with red wine-braised cabbage and apples over housemade spatzle, topped with a mushroom cognac sauce

Read our interview with Brandon Stein of The Cellar, Part One.
And now, on to Part Two . . .


What would you be doing if you weren't in this business?
After high school, I took some time off and wanted to be a mechanic. I worked on my cars and decided I enjoyed it as a hobby more than as a career. After that, I started spending more time in the kitchen, and it was obvious that cooking was the path I wanted to pursue.

Where did you grow up? If you're not from the area, what brought you here?
I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I came out to Orange County with my family, and was inspired by the vastly different cultures of food.

What's your favorite childhood memory?
My favorite childhood memories would include cooking with my family– from baking with my grandma, to cooking dinner with my parents. These always seem to be the warmest memories.

Hardest lesson you've learned?
Hardest lesson I've learned is to balance personal life and work. Being a chef doesn't end once you leave the kitchen.

When you're not cooking in the kitchen, what are you doing?
When I'm not in the kitchen, I like to explore Southern California– hiking, kayaking, driving down the coast, etc.

Did you go to culinary school? If so, what did you take away from it?
I am a graduate of Orange Coast College. While in culinary school, I took away a thorough understanding of how to run a restaurant. Creativity isn't what keeps a restaurant running. You need to have a business-minded outlook to running a well-organized establishment.

Last book you read; how was it?
Last book I read was The Flavor Bible. It's an indispensable resource to the pairing of distinctive food combinations.

When you use the internet, what's on your homepage?
My homepage is always changing to the various food blogs I am following.

Last thing you looked up online:
I have found myself very interested in mushrooms lately, and have been researching the many varieties quite a bit. They are very complex, and I find them to be very intriguing.

Halloween menu — $59.99 (tax N gratuity not included). Served on October 30 and 31 only.

1st course – Lamb belly over apple, bacon and fennel chutney, topped with a pomegranate gastrique

2nd course – Roasted pumpkin and ginger soup, garnished with a honey goat cheese crostini

3rd course – Bone-in porter braised short ribs with Peruvian purple potato puree, topped with a dark cherry demi-glace

4th course – Chocolate coffee ice cream in an almond tuile cup, topped with a caramel bourbon sauce

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