Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Celebrating Life with a Flute of Nicolas Feuillate Champagne


Bubbles, bubbles, everywhere and many a drop to drink!   Edible Skinny was lucky enough to have been invited to a private event at Spaghettini in Beverly Hills for the #1 Champagne brand in France: Nicolas Feuillatte (and #3 in the world after Moët & Chandon Champagne and Veuve Clicquot).  This event was a unique opportunity to taste through their back library while learning a little more about the unique world of these special tiny bubbles. 

The brand Nicolas Feuillatte was started in 1976 when French businessman Nicolas Feuillatte, who had built his fortune in New York as the largest U.S. importer of African coffee, decided to set his sites on a new project: Champagne.  Feuillatte acquired 12 hectares (about 30 acres) of vines in Bouleuse in the Champagne region of Ardre Valley (near Reims) and Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte was founded.  It was immediately seen being sipped by the jet-set society crowd, amongst whom the lucky Monsieur Nicolas Feuillatte enjoyed friendships, including Jackie Kennedy and Lauren Bacall.

In the almost forty years since Feuillatte began his great experiment the house has grown to a sales number of 10 million bottles per year.  It is available in more than 76 countries worldwide and is part of the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates here in the United States.  

California is the biggest American market for Champagne; Nicolas Feuillatte does more business in our state than all the other 49 combined.  For our day at Spaghettini we sampled a myriad of bottles from their unique library (all tastings but one came from Magnum bottles as Magnum Champagne bottles are known to be more flavorful and nuanced than the same exact Champagne in your classic 750mLs).  

 

I was a big fan of their 2005 Blanc de Blancs ($50), which according to their winemaker Guillaume Roffiaen was the best vintage for Chardonnay of the last ten years.  The palate was bubbly swirls of honey, Brioche, and caramel.  Yummm!

Edible Skinny was also lucky enough to get to experience 3 selections from Nicolas Feuillatte’s Palmes D’Or list.   The brand’s Palmes d’Or tradition began in the 1950s when Monsieur Feuillatte was living in New York.  While there he fell madly in love with a young opera singer with a promising career.  From Paris to Milan, from London to New York, he attended all of the young woman’s concerts, courting her every chance he gets but the romance never met completion.  It would be more than thirty years before Nicolas Feuillatte could find a way to express his homage to an unrequited love: through the creation of the Palmes d’Or Champagne line.  Only exceptional harvest years are considered worthy of Palmes d’Or Champagne; they are then aged for a minimum of nine years.  
 
Feuillatte created an exceptional cuvée in the image of his Diva: extravagant, fantastical, sublime, and unforgettable.  Just as his Diva was inspired by black pearls, Feuillatte was inspired by this rare Diva and her precious jewels to create a bottle unlike any other.  Bedecked in black and gold, the bottle’s surface is engraved with a thousand delicate yet dramatic dimples, reflecting the shape and glow of the black pearl.

During our time at Spaghettini we were able to experience not 1, or 2, but 3 Palmes d’Or vintages (2002, 1999, and 1990).  The 2002 ($153) was a delicate taste of white flowers and honey laced with a murmur of fine and delicate bubbles.  Champagne gets more nuanced as it ages so by the time we got to the 1990 vintage I could experience an opera of explosions of toast and vanilla in every sip. 

So whether big or small all of life’s moments should be celebrated with a flute of champagne and some great music!



















Monday, April 27, 2015

#Elevateyourjourney with Hotel Palomar San Diego


Henry Miller once said, “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar San Diego intends to do just that: change how guests see things, by elevating their journey. Edible Skinny headed to San Diego in the beginning of April to experience Palomar’s concept of individualized luxury at where we were wowed by this hotel’s commitment to both style and service. Combining their prime location in the heart of San Diego’s Gaslamp, with their lavish accommodations, Hotel Palomar has thought of everything, down to the tiniest detail, with each amenity ensuring every guest is comfortable and cared for.  

Before we even arrived, Edible Skinny was elated at Hotel Palomar’s convenient location: a world of play within walking distance. Surrounded by some of the top craft breweries such as Stone, Karl Strauss, Half Door Brewing Company and Ballast Point, this location is a beer lover’s dream, easy to walk to without the stress of getting behind the wheel. It is also a few blocks to Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres, Gaslamp’s exciting nights life, and the delicious Italian fare of Little Italy. Palomar has found the sweet spot, nestled inside the action, great for those who looking for adventure, but once inside the hotel transports guest to a calming oasis. 

Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar has the perfect balance of style that combines accents of urban with a subdue seaside touch. Palomar tastefully encompasses a causal elegance that feels like a relaxing day at the beach, even though it rests in the city’s center. And while Palomar have perfected their sensational style, sans pretension, that is only part of the hotel’s mission. This boutique urban retreat stands out for their exceptional service. “What’s primarily different with Palomar is the people and the level of service.  We want service to be genuine and come from heart,” said Drew Parker, Director of Sales and Marketing for Hotel Palomar San Diego. “When you walk through the door, you’re it to us. We are small enough we can create that.” And while many hotels tote a similar claim, the proof is in the details. 
Hotel Palomar has thought of everything to ensure every need is met running the gamut from delicious to decadent. Guest can enjoy the California Coastal cuisine of the hotel’s restaurant, Saltbox, while sipping one of their carefully crafted cocktails. Palomar also hosts a daily social hour that provides guests with complimentary wine from 5pm-6pm. For those wanting to get a little more physical, Palomar has a complementary fitness center, as well as a yoga mat in every hotel room and free on demand fitness TV. If relaxation is what you’re looking for, guests can head to Nature's Spa by Jurlique, for a hot stone massage or relaxing couples soak. Palomar’s pool deck is the perfect place to soak in the sun, or have a drink at their Summer Salt pool bar. The hotel also welcomes pets free of charge, as well as provides complimentary food bowls and beds during the stay. Forgot your phone charger? Toothbrush? Anything else you can think of? The front desk of Palomar is stocked with all those little left behinds to take the stress out of travel.
But what really set our stay apart was the staff. From doorman to front desk, everyone was excited, engaged and eager to enhance our stay. Hotel Palomar friendly and flexible staff went the extra mile, recommending local breweries and offering insider tips from locals, and always asking, “What else can we do?” 

“We pride ourselves on not being scripted,” added Parker. “Hiring decisions are based on the connection we feel with a person and how well they will connect with guests. It’s self-empowerment, giving employees the power to make decisions that will make guests happy.” And the staff at Palomar calculates every consideration. 

They even got wind that Edible Skinny was celebrating a birthday, so after a day of visiting San Diego’s breweries and restaurants, we returned to a delicious bottle of wine and four different decadent desserts. One thing’s for sure; Palomar has mastered the art of personalized pampering.   

And yet with such a high quality of service, Palomar still asks how they can do better, to bring the standard of service higher. The hotel is currently in the process of a renovation and redo where they are constructing floors 16-20 into a new 50-room collection of Skyline Guestrooms, Suites and Penthouses, set to launch May 2015. “We saw the opportunity to reconfigure and create exclusive collection of guestrooms and suites,” added Parker. “They are named Skyline because the views are truly exceptional, you can see past Coronado and even Mexico.”  Parker describes the renovation as “ . . . an opportunity not to just launch new room, but really elevate the guest experience, with new rooms, new pool deck and a new spa line.” 
 
When Hotel Palomar talks of elevating the guest experience, their aim is a mix of luxury and lifestyle. This new campaign will launch in the beginning in May. “We wanted to find a clever way to engage with out guests and people who love Kimpton, … to elevate their journeys. We are rolling out new programming, where every day of the week there will be something different.” The upcoming programming is meant to be “fun, relaxed and easy going,” said Parker, describing some of the things guests can look forward to this May. 

With the weather getting warmer and summer fast approaching many of the new activities will be centered around Kimpton’s beautiful pool deck. Among them will be Game Day, a day of poolside play, fun in the sun with lift-sized Jenga, corn hole and beer pong. Palomar will also offer a spa day, which focuses on pampering and relaxation. And on the weekends, they will be one of the only San Diego hotels to offer poolside brunch, along with Beauty Beats acid jazz or live blue grass performers.

And Palomar doesn’t stop there. Along with everything they do, they want to involve their guests, to get feedback and interact with other personal journeys through their social media campaign. So to kick off the redo, they are hosting the #elevateyourjounrey contest from Feb. 19 through May 31, encouraging guests to share ways they elevate their journeys. 

To enter the contest follow @palomarsandiego and upload an Instagram posts that shows how you elevate your journey through food, art, activities or self-expression. Those posts are then transferred to the contest web page, where everyone can view these breathtaking photos. The prize for the winning image, valued at $5,000, includes a two-night stay in the Skyline Penthouse, $200 credit to Nature’s Spa by Jurlique, dinner for two at Saltbox, and two passes for skydiving with Skydive San Diego or stand-up paddle boarding on Mission Bay. Additional information on the contest can be found here: http://www.hotelpalomar-sandiego.com/renovation.htmlhttp://www.hotelpalomar-sandiego.com/renovation.html

So for those looking for a getaway that has the perfect balance of city and seaside, look no further than the conveniently located Hotel Palomar San Diego. Individual luxury and personal pampering to #elevateyourjourney.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Foodie Christmas Ornaments at Michigan's Bronners Christmas Wonderland


Edible Skinny was in Michigan last week to perform at the Saginaw Veterans Hospital and a fundraiser for Waterfowlers for Warriors for the awesome non-profit Pin-Ups for Vets!  But before I hopped on a plane back for the West Coast Pinup Julia and I checked out Bronners Christmas Wonderland, the World's largest Christmas Store.    

While there we saw Foodie Christmas ornaments galore!  From an entire section devoted to S'Mores ornaments to a delicate glass Seared Tuna coated with Seasame Seeds there was something for everyone's tree!  

So with 249 days till Christmas perhaps it's time to get inspired for the Holiday season, or maybe just lunch!



Sunday, April 12, 2015

Trends of Natural Products Expo West 2015

 
It’s been a little over a month since the Natural Products Expo West occurred at the Anaheim Convention Center, but if you’ve read any of Edible Skinny’s past coverage of the world's largest natural, organic and healthy products event you’ll know that it takes that long for us to recover and start reporting on the event! 

And if you look at the numbers of the 35th you can see why: this year the event grew to over 71,000 industry members attending, 2,7000 exhibiting companies, and 634 first-time exhibitors.  Really, it’s like a tidal wave hit Whole Foods and brought it to Anaheim!

The Expo can be many different things to many different people, but for me it’s about seeing where the world of innovative natural eating is flowing.   What’s going to end up in everyday vernacular and where will people be spending their money (because if someone told us we’d be spending $11 on a single serving of juice 10 years ago we’d have thought they were more than a little cray cray…)

Overall trends that Kelly and I noticed during our time at Expo West were that:

  • Gluten free has evolved to specifics.

  • Chia is everywhere!  Everywhere!  And in everything!

  • Non-dairy is finding its personality. 

As we did last year we’ll be submitting our Best of the Fest list throughout the next few weeks (and remember this is out of 2,700 choices!)?   So keep your eye out for that tidal wave of Whole Foods items!  

Hope life is delicious!




Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Wallace: Where Main Street USA Meets the Exoticness of a Casablanca Night




Edible Skinny was lucky enough to check out the newish Downtown Culver City hotspot The Wallace a few weeks ago. 

Although it’s been open for just over a year The Wallace has already established itself as one of the most innovative restaurants on Main Street.   Serving locavore, sustainable fare inspired by the seasons, The Wallace has an underlying philosophy that food should be thoughtfully executed, from start to finish. 

The drinks, bestowed the adorable nickname of “Tipples” on their menu, are separated into three defining categories: Citrusy, Effervescent, and Cocktails (though technically the other two categories are also cocktails…). 

The first drink we sampled was the Rebel with a Cause comprised of the intriguing Selvarey Blanco, Fresh Pineapple, Lime, Chamomile, Three Weav3ers IPA and topped with a Buzz Button.  If you’ve never had a Buzz Button you’re in for an experience!  It’s a flower bud that has a grassy taste to the tongue followed by a tingling numbing sensation, excessive salivation, and a cooling sensation in the back of the throat.  It also opens up your taste buds as wide as a set of eyes in a Margaret Keane portrait so whatever enters your mouth is a symphony of flavors...  Definitely not to be missed!

The second round of drinks included the Oaxaca Fresca composed of White Rum, El Silencio Mezcal, Sherry, Lime, Hibiscus Orange Blossom, Sage.   And the Poison Ivy at featuring The Botanist, Dollin Dry, Pomegranate Syrup, Lemon, Tarragon, Mizuna Oil.  Both pink in color, both deadly in alcohol content.  

With the new addition of Executive Chef Joel Miller The Wallace’s retooled small plates menu hints at the aromas and spiciness of a Lebanese beach.  We started with the Lollypop Kale with carrot salsa, pickled red onion, ricotta, currants, apple ($13).  Fried crispy, yet with its healthiness still preserved it was delightful.  This was followed by Pee-Wee Potatoes featuring Purple Potato Espuma, Mahammara, Cilantro, and Dehydrated Garlic ($12).  Espuma, for those not up to speed on their foodie lingo, is also known as a thermo whip is usually used to make these foams through the making of a stock, creating a gel, and extruding through the N2O canister.  You haven’t lived till you’ve had purple potatoes this way!  

Our next food round include some Roasted Sunchokes with Red Bell Pepper Vinaigrette, Labneh, Turmeric Oil, Sumac ($12), that I didn’t participate in because I’m a Veg (but looked super lovely).  I did although meditate on the Mushroom Ragout with Crispy Polenta Shaved Parmesan and Madeira ($15) who’s density definitely rivaled its richness.

We finished the meal with a Blood Orange Parfait which is composed of Whipped Buttermilk, Glaze, and Blood Orange Sugar ($9); it tasted like a grown up version of a push up pop: all the fun of summers of yesteryear, yet with the complexity of adulthood.  Yummm!

So if you’re looking for the casualness of Main Street USA crossed with the exoticness of a Casablanca night, The Wallace is the place to go!


Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Plight of the Ice Cream

video


Edible Skinny was in Solvang last weekend and we created this little video starring Kelly Grace Thomas

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Easter Brunch: Savor in Springtime





Easter Brunch: Savor in Springtime
By Kelly Grace Thomas 

While Easter can have many different meanings for many different people, for Edible Skinny it has always comes down to two things: pretty dresses and fabulous brunches!

Each year we lick our lips in anticipation as we look for the perfect restaurant, that offers the perfect menu, for the perfect brunch. We seek out the perfect sundress, to wear on the perfect patio to enjoy in the perfect springtime weather. To us Easter is perfect; it is about relaxation, it is about luxury. It is a time to acknowledge a change of the seasons and a lightening of the load of life.  Easter is the perfect time to foster your inner foodie, sit back and enjoy; and what better place to do exactly that than the Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. This Easter Sofitel’s restaurant, Esterel, will be serving a mouthwatering prix fixe brunch, offering a blend of traditional and creative choices accompanied by a soft jazz music, to set the perfect scene.
        
Esterel's popular Easter Jazz Brunch prix fixe menu offers more than just a brunch, it is a dining experience. Patrons will be greeted by the music of the Miles Davis Jazz Quartet, as they sip bottomless mimosa, and sink into the exhale of relaxation. Because one thing is sure, Esterel knows how to pamper its patrons. But not everything at brunch will be as breezy; this Easter Brunch will require some difficult, but delicious decisions. Each of Esterel’s four menu options are equally scrumptious, elegantly delectable and health and flavor-focused. All of the dishes are created with organic ingredients, cage-free eggs and consciously raised meats. Diners will begin their brunch with an Amuse Bouche to open up the palate; this course offers a traditional Deviled Egg served with local caviar. Next appetizers will range from an offering of Wheat Berry Salad, with pickled strawberries and pistachio; Wild Caught Salmon and Crips served with goat cheese and tomato jam or Spring Vegetable Succotash with Anson Mills grits and Point Reyes Toma. And that’s just the beginning.

Esterel’s main courses are an exploration of culinary creativity and complexity. These dishes offer a rare, rich and robust statement that showcases the talent of Esterel’s new Executive Chef, Victor Boroda. For their main course, diners will need to choose between the following: Grass Fed Short Rib and Hash, made with Weiser Farm potatoes and fried eggs; Maine Lobster Benedict which includes Maine Lobster, sautéed spinach, béarnaise, and poached eggs; Mushroom Benedict served with braised market greens, Weiser Farms Hash, mornay and poached eggs; Grass Fed Steak and Eggs made with grass fed New York steak, truffled potato puree, fried farm egg and bordelaise. And for those tables who love savory, but also want to tickle their sweet tooth, patrons can add on an order of fluffy Buttermilk Spelt Pancakes, served with Harry’s Berries, honeycomb whipped butter, pecans vadouvan and maple syrup. And no ending is complete without a little something sweet, as a finishing note Esterel will offer selections from their table pastry cart. Esterel’s brunch is priced at $75, tax and tip not included.  See menu attached. For reservations call (310) 358-3979 or visit http://www.esterelrestaurant.com/.

While Esterel and their delightful dishes is Edible Skinny’s local Los Angeles pick for Easter Brunch, we know many of our readers are jet setting during this very popular travel time. For those visiting the East Coast, Edible Skinny also recommends the Mandarin Boston and Atlanta. In Boston, Bar Boulud the hotel’s French style Bistro will offer some of Chef de Cuisine Aaron Chamber’s best. Their three-course prix-fixe will feature Soupe de Carottes, Dégustation de Charcuterie chef’s selection of pâtés and terrines, and Pain Perdu brioche French toast served, Coconut Torte served with toasted coconut, ricotta mousse and a pineapple sorbet. 

Easter Brunch will be available from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for $55 for adults and $25 for children. For Reservations call Bar Boulud at (617) 535 8800 or visit www.barboulud.com/boston.

For those in the Atlanta area, be sure to visit the Mandarin Oriental Atlanta’s grand Easter celebration, which will include a decadent offering as well as outdoor activities and family fun. This years menu incudes locally grown selected Georgia products such as Berkshire Pork with garlic stud, Muddy Pond sorghum bourbon glaze and Sautéed North Georgia Mountain Blue Trout with handpicked green beans, slivered almonds and herb brown butter, as well as freshly baked cinnamon rolls, banana bread and croissants. Sounds like some divine Southern Cooking.

And for those little ones, in Atlanta, the hotel will be hosting a petting zoo, which will feature some hoppy and hairy friends, an Easter Bunny appearance and an elaborate egg hunt through the hotel’s beautiful gardens. This celebration also includes some grand prizes for adults to enjoy. Winners could receive a one night’s stay at Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta with dinner for two, a luxurious spa treatment, and Sunday Brunch in the Café & Bar. Easter Brunch is from 11:30am to 3:00pm. The cost is $80 per person including one Mimosa and $40 for children ages 6 to 12. Children under 6 years old are complimentary. For reservations, call (404) 995 7545 or email http://www.mandarinoriental.com/atlanta.

Edible Skinny is wishing all our readers a safe and savory holiday, with delectable dining and elegant options. As always, hope life is delicious.




Simple Pleasures By The Sea in The Argonaut Newspaper

Edible Skinny editor Kat Thomas is now writing for the The Argonaut Newspaper.  Check out her article on



BacariPdR founder Robert Kronfli, 27, believes restaurants should be friendly and fun

Robert Kronfli’s culinary career began with a series of college apartment dinner parties that he and a roommate started hosting during their sophomore year at USC.  About a moth into that adventure, the two decided to monetize the operation as an underground supper club.  By senior year they were serving dinner to 60-plus people as many as four times a week. 

By The time he received his diploma in music, Kronfli knew his path would be food.  He partnered with his brother to open a small-plates wine bar just north of campus that they called Baracro (the nickname for a wine bar in Venice, Italy).  Soon they opened Nature’s Brew, an Italian-style coffee shop two door down.  


To see the whole article go to:
http://issuu.com/argonautnews/docs/diningguide2015