Cranberry Pistacchio Semifreddo
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Cranberry Pistacchio Semifreddo
Friday, October 30, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Since I met Chef Crenn, who has been competing on this season of Iron Chef, I have wanted to get up to the hotel to try her menu, and I had the chance to do so this past weekend.
I'll spare you the details (though you can see photos below) of a meal that included exotic items like roasted bone marrow, kampachi tartare and squab with brioche veloute here, but to read about everything we enjoyed during our meal at the restaurant, take a look at my HotelChatter review here: http://www.hotelchatter.com/story/2009/10/28/115118/15/hotels/What_The_Michelin_Starred_Grub_is_Like_at_The_Intercontinental_San_Fran
Squab with vanilla brioche veloute
Papardelle with short ribs and wild mushrooms
You've already read about my stay at the Breuer Schloss with its glockenspiel, but now it's time to learn more about the town, the wines, and all the fun things to do there: http://www.jaunted.com/story/2009/10/29/15758/807/travel/World-Class+Wine-Tasting+An+Hour+From+Frankfurt+in+Ruedesheim
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Little did I know how much there was to report on each piece of news, though, so you'll see my post today was a little longer than usual. However, I got some good stuff in, like the new chefs and menus at the Avalon Beverly Hills' new restaurant, oliverio, the new chef at the Viceroy's Whist, a Hewitson Mad Hatter Shiraz wine dinner at BLVD 16 at the Palomar Westwood, and a Joseph Phelps Vineyards dinner at the Peninsula Beverly Hills.
Monday, October 26, 2009
To read more about the special weekend, and Casa Elar, take a look at my story here: http://www.hotelchatter.com/story/2009/10/25/12418/316/hotels/Golf_and_Gorge_at_Ojai_Valley_Inn_and_Spa_s_Celebrity_Chef_Classic
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
In any case, I am sure to be a frequent visitor to the restaurant seeing as the food was delicious, the prices were pretty low, and it's nice to feel like you've just had a healthy meal without sacrificing taste.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I'd highly recommend it as a destination for folks looking to get up to NorCal wine country, but who want to stay away from the busier areas of Napa and southern Sonoma And if you like Zinfandels and Rhone varietals, you'll be in heaven.
Last Friday, I checked out a new eastside bar/lounge that everyone has been talking about recently called Rockwell, VT. It is located behind Vermont Restaurant on...you guessed it, Vermont Avenue in Los Feliz. It also turns out that Norman Rockwell, the artist, was from Vermont, so there's a nice little coincidence for you.
Rockwell the lounge, is yet another example of your typical gastropub kind of cuisine, but the lounge vibe is completely different from most places you'll find on the eastside. That's partly due to the fact that it (and Vermont Restaurant) are now owned by the guys behind the late Mark's Restaurant in West Hollywood, so they've been attracting a gay crowd, but also because it is almost completely outdoors with a ground-floor patio canopied by a sprawling coral tree, and an upstairs section with booths overlooking the LA skyline. The food is pretty simple, though fresh, and there are plenty of specialty cocktails, beers and wines by the glass to please everyone. I think this new hangout is going to be here for a while.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I was invited to a media dinner last week at this newly renovated caviar boutique (and now cafe and restaurant) on the tony strip of Robertson where you will find all manner of upscale restaurants and shops. Apart from the lively dinner conversation that revolved around the primetime lineup on Bravo, we had come to learn about the unrivaled selection of caviar (at least in Los Angeles) they offer, and to sample the cuisine of the new chef, 27-year-old Benjamin Bailly (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Viktor Krum). Bailly has worked with Ducasse and Robuchon, among others, and seems keen to whip up some magic. Some of his dishes, like the bright pink borscht, were phenomenal, whereas others, like the foie gras creme brulee, could have used a lighter touch. Ah well, I was paying more attention to the caviar anyway.
Though I went home full, it was not until the following night, when I ran into another writer who had been at the dinner, that I realized just what an array of gourmandises we had gone through: champagne, caviar, blini, steak tartare, foie grass, short ribs, chocolate...and those were just the things I remembered off the top of my head!
I think that as Bailly finds his footing, the restaurant should solidify its concept, but in the meantime, there are worse things than a cup of champagne and a scoop of caviar (on a mother-of-pearl spoon, no less!) to enjoy at the end of the day.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
On Thursday evening, I was treated to a winemaker dinner at Belvedere at the Peninsula Beverly Hills courtesy of Revana Family Vineyard, a boutique winery with vineyards in Oregon and Napa. The dinner was to celebrate the release of their 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon and to introduce it to some food and lifestyle writers in Los Angeles.
We started with an amuse bouche of duck confit risotto with butternut squash along with a splash of the crisp 2007 Alexana Pinot Gris from Revana Vineyard in the Dundee Hills of Oregon's Willamette Valley. We stayed with that wine for the first course of Dungeness crab chowder with carrots, basil pesto oil and a crab souffle puff garnished with tiny microgreens.
Dr. Revana explained his fascinating background: how he was originally from India and grew up on a farm there, made his way to the U.S., became a cardiologist (he still practices in Houston), and had an epiphany while visiting friends in Italy that he wanted to own a winery. He bought his first land in Oregon, then found another plot near St. Helena in Napa in 1997, where he enlists the help of vineyard manager Jim Barbour and renowned winemaker Heidi Peterson Barrett. He also told us about his newest project, a vineyard in Argentina's Uco Valley near Mendoza, that sits at about 3000 feet elevation, and where he plans to make a Bordeaux-style blend, but with Malbec as the primary varietal.
Next up was a dish I ordinarily would not order, though it did resemble much of the cuisine I ate during my recent trip to Austria. Overbaugh's specialty with gamey organ meats meant a course of pan-roasted veal sweetbreads with chestnuts, pungent changerelles, tiny fluffy spaetzle and a spiced elderberry-pear chutney. It was like autumn in the mouth. To accompany this flavorful yet still delicate dish, we were served Revana's 2006 Alexana Pinot Noir, of chich only 600 cases are made. It has rested for 21 months in the bottle, though, you could tell that with just a few more years it could reach its truly superb potential. Right now, the alcohol and leftover notes of wood from the barrel aging sort of overwhelm those more subtle earthy flavors, and you can't really get past that fresh burst of cherry that is the first thing to hit the palate, but I'd like to see how some of the vanilla and tea-like, herbaceous qualities come out over time. The other interesting fact about this wine is that the harvest took place extremely late, practically in mid-November, so this wine is idiosyncratic, to say the least.
The main course was a classic lamb two-ways: braised shoulder and roasted loin. The shoulder was gelatinously soft from slow-roasting, and was almost chocolatey smooth. The lamb loin, which I preferred, was beautifully prepared medium-rare, and sliced extra thin with just the right amount of pink juiciness. Served with it were slices of yellow cauliflower and green onions with a very light curry emulsion (read: foam), and some highly seasoned red quinoa. Chef James Overbaugh explained that he'd normally serve a Pinot Noir with the lamb, but that he thought it would stand up to the 2005 Revana Estate Cabernet Sauvignon from their property in Napa (2000 cases), and he was right. The Left Bank Bordeaux-style blend (mostly Cab, but also touches of Cab Franc and Petit Verdot) was purply-red, with those classic cassis and cocoa powder notes, finely laced tannins keeping a nice, firm texture, and just a hint of minerally stone to it. Again, I'd like to try this wine in a few years, but it was a great climax to the tasting, and it had a very nice balance of acidity and fruitiness, so it didn't overwhelm the food.
Finally, there was a little palate cleanser of coconut ice cream over tiny pieces of plum, before a dessert of dense pistachio pastry, chocolate paste-like ganache, and fresh strawberries garnished with just a touch of basil to provide an herb counterpoint to the sweetness.
After all that food and wine, I figured I'd be rolling out of there, but I was simply satisfied and not feeling too heavy because of the nice portion sizes, the food-friendliness of the wine, and perhaps the fact that the conversation was spirited enough to keep all of us energized all evening.
In any case, I will definitely be looking forward to future releases from Revana, and future meals at the Belvedere!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Though Embassy Suites are part of the Hilton family, you don't often associate them with luxury or gourmet destinations. In Napa, however, even the budget places apparently have to up their game in order to attract food-savvy travelers, and that is why the property has brought on a whole new team to revamp its Food and Beverage offerings, and changed the restaurant to an upscale eatery called Grille 29.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Fried Pig's Ears with Bearnaise
Dessert Plate inlcuding Pot de Creme and Fruit Tarts