Resplendent Baby Golden Beet Salad

golden baby beet salad
Roasted Baby Golden Beet, Gala Apple, Kumquat
Raw Sheep’s Milk French Roquefort, Pistachio
Dandelion, Butterhead, Roasted Poblano Vinaigrette
Tricolor Viola & Wild Mustard Flower Garnish

Roasted tarragon-scented sweet soft baby golden beets are paired with tart-crisp apple, bitter-spiky dandelion, creamy-smooth butter lettuce, zingy kumquat, tangy Roquefort, rich pistachios and a playfully-spicy poblano chile vinaigrette. It’s a very refreshing, harmonious, and somewhat surprising salad – which I submit to this month’s 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group Challenge featuring BEETS.

The 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group hosted by Natasha the 5 Star Foodie & Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! is an outstanding monthly event for sharing ideas and creating gourmet makeovers of selected classic dishes or flavor combinations. It continues to be a great source of inspiration and my absolute pleasure to be on the team. Please visit their blogs this coming Friday to enjoy the round-up of super-creative beets recipes from this talented cooking group.

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A Special Dinner Honoring President Lincoln

abraham lincoln honorary dinner, tribute to lincoln dinner

A Toast to Abraham Lincoln

Excerpts from the Address of Hon. Robert G. Cousins
On the Twelfth of February, Nineteen Hundred

In every part and in almost every city in America, on this last anniversary
in the century which produced him, a grateful people meet to pay their homage to
the memory of Abraham Lincoln.

Not that it is possible for human speech to add to his renown,
but rather that we may dedicate ourselves and the Nation which he loved

to a better understanding of his character and the principles for which he lived and died.

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One of Chicago’s Most Elegant: RIA

What are your three favorite dining towns?

Topping my list are…

  • Chicago
  • Las Vegas
  • Paris

…in order of where I happen to be visiting at the time, and were the next reservation will take us. I recently returned home from Chicago, experiencing nothing short of culinary nirvana.

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A Trip to Little Saigon & The NYE Repas du Soir

southeast asian table setting
A Trip to Little Saigon
The New Year’s Eve Repas du Soir
New Year’s Day Fabulous Leftovers Brunch

Best friends, great memories, stellar food – that’s how we celebrate the New Year! The old gang is together again, this time we take A Trip To Little Saigon & cook a NYE Repas du Soir together! My old dear friends, dating back to our restaurant days in the 80’s, are visiting for the holidays.

It was Tori’s idea to spend the day in Little Saigon. Eating lunch, laughing, taking photos, getting massages, and shopping. It was her idea that led to the inspiration to cook French/Vietnamese for dinner. We picked up authentic ingredients for our repas du soir and returned to my home in LA in the late afternoon to drink Champagne and create a six-course meal together.

southeast asian table setting

The dinner table was pre-set in a casually elegant Southeast Asian style with orchids, bamboo, and the color red to symbolize wealth and prosperity. We cranked up the holiday music and started cooking; everyone participated in the creation, photography, prep, and execution of the menu. We had a blast!

I had no intention of submitting this outing for the Foodbuzz 24X24 event until I read that the folks over at Foodbuzz were interested to see how Featured Publishers would be spending the last day of 2011. We had terrific culinary/cultural plans that turned out to be a fantastic way to ring in the New Year.

Extending a very special thank you to my friends FA, Al, Kirk, Tori, and Tom for your love & friendship and sense of humor & adventure! Thank you to Foodbuzz for choosing A Trip to Little Saigon & The NYE Repas du Soir as a participant in December’s 24×24 event. Foodbuzz 24×24 showcases posts from 24 Foodbuzz Featured Publisher bloggers, highlighting unique meals occurring around the globe during a 24-hour period.

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Hatfield’s. Los Angeles.

Hatfield's Croque Madame

“Croque Madame”

What is it that makes one restaurant stand out from the rest?

Food:  Where every dish hits the mark. Imaginative, original. Expertly crafted. Executed with finesse. Harmony of color, texture, and taste.

Wine:  An interesting wine list that synergizes with the menu. The wine selection accentuates the food. The food selection accentuates the wine. Fairly priced. We adore a sommelier who listens to us describe what we are looking for in a wine, then nails it. “We’re in the mood for a pinot noir that is fruit forward, bright and juicy, complex. We would also love to try something new. In a white. No oak. No grapefruit flavors. Something rich.” (See below for the superb wine picks).

Service:  Professional service that is polished, warm and engaging without being overly chummy. Anticipatory with flawless timing. Ultimately knowledgeable.

Hospitality:  Gracious hosts. When learning of our crazed appreciation for food (maybe the camera gives it away?) we were invited for a peek behind the glass-walled kitchen at the end of the night.

Ambiance: An intersection of architecture, decor, tableware, lighting, and music. A room where we as guests feel comfortable, glamorous, appreciated.

We found a stand-out restaurant recently, in Hatfield’s.

What makes a restaurant stand out for you?

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Hitting The Las Vegas Culinary Jackpot

tagliatelle con il primo tartufo bianco
tagliatelle con il primo tartufo bianco @ sirio
tagliatelle pasta with fresh shaved first of the season white truffles

We’ve been hitting The Las Vegas Culinary Jackpot, big time! A week ago I shared what is now our absolute favorite spot for Brunch in Vegas – Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill @ Caesar’s. Among many other items, the Yucatan Style Grouper with Blue Crab Succotash Sauce is brilliant. Our epicurean bonanza did not stop at Mesa Grill, though.

Thanks to my brother’s edict that we try new restaurants, on this trip we hit the mother lode. To our immense delight, we re-discovered Las Vegas’ first celebrity chef, the charming André Rochat. It was with fond memories of escargots and duck à l’orange enjoyed at André’s in Downtown Vegas decades ago that we made our dinner reservations.

“In the 1980s, it was a whole different city. We were the only freestanding gourmet restaurant in town. We were very busy, very busy, sometimes with a line at the door,” said Rochat, who was raised in a small town outside Lyon, France. (Read more about our favorite Las Vegas legend here).

André’s @ Monte Carlo reflects the original old-world Downtown Vegas charm and combines it with new-world breathtaking aqua décor and warm, personalized service plus the Chef’s years of talent and hospitality. We were so blown-away by our experience we are certain that foodies coming to Vegas to meet the hottest new Chefs will be even more impressed to meet the town’s hottest old Chef!

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