Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Thomas Gals Gives Thanks @ Estérel

 The Thomas Gals were enveloped in Mediterranean luxury and lifestyle this Thanksgiving; talk about a reason to be grateful!

Pecan Crusted Scallops
On that special third Thursday in November, Kelly and I dined at Estérel, a contemporary French restaurant at Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills.   Named after the mountains in southeast France that overlook the sea, Estérel entices with an innovative menu that captures the unique flavors of the region.

Fennel Goat Cheese Salad
We chose the classic French way to celebrate all our blessings: with a glass of wine.  And our vino of choice: Burgundy.  The Seeker is a classic Burgundy, aka Pinot Noir, full of smooth earthiness with hints of black cherry.  

Carving Tableside
And then it was onto the feast!  Kelly started with Pecan Crusted Seared Scallops with sage brown butter, sun choke puree, chestnuts, and brussel sprouts.   She noted the sizable scallops were firm yet delicate with just an essence of sesame.  The brussel sprouts supported this fragileness with a grassy contrast while the chestnuts rounded the dish out.

I, on the other hand, went with the Fennel Goat Cheese Salad comprised of Laura Chenel fennel fresh goat cheese, cranberry hazelnut crips, squash emulsion, and petite frisee.  Simple, sweet (the squash emulsion), and crisp.  The perfect jumping off point for a decadent Holiday meal!

For the entrees Kelly went traditional, noting that her Free Range Roasted Turkey entrée had “all the roundness of a Thanksgiving feast, without the grease.”  The white meat, carved tableside, was so moist she could cut it with a fork.  The accouterments of cranberry relish, brioche sage stuffing, buttermilk red bliss mashed potato, haricot verts persillade (aka a sauce of parsley) were “simple but pronounced.  They didn’t argue for attention.  Each taste complimented the others so well you really only needed a few bites of each.”

Porcini Agnolotti
Those partaking of the traditional Thanksgiving fowl had a choice of multiple emulsions.  Kelly doubled up with a red wine reduction with kidney and giblets and mushrooms gravy with neck parts.  The later was deemed a delight.  “I feel the French taught me to respect mushrooms,” noted the younger Thomas Gal.

Eating out for two is the perfect choice when one’s a Veggie (that’s me!).  The Porcini Agnolotti was the perfect cross section of earthy tastes and textures.  The carrot harissa puree was a fluffy contrast to the spiciness of the welted wild arugula and black garlic while the local black beans gave this fresh autumnal bite some overall structure.  Très Yumm!!!
Chai Cheesecake Brulee

We each finished the meal with edible gifts of sweetness.   I chose the Valrhona Chocolate Cremeux with maple syrup ice cream, candied pecans and orange.  Kelly indulged in the Pumpkin Chai Cheesecake Brulee with a brown butter cookie and winter spicy red wine reduction.   Both were a sugarplum’s delight!
Valrhona Chocolate Cremeux

And speaking of sugary delights!  The Sofitel LA will be showcasing a one of a kind elegant Buche de Noel (a Yule log shaped traditional dessert that is served near Christmas in France, Quebec, and other French speaking countries) in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Sofitel worldwide.

So if you’re looking for the perfect place to celebrate your next Holiday meal French style, Estérel might be the spot!

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