Fish

Five Crowns Has A New Look!

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Food

FIVE CROWNS HAS A NEW LOOK! 

Five Crowns

Five Crowns bold new look

An Orange County landmark for over 50 years, Five Crowns restaurant and bar recently unveiled bold, new interior and exterior renovations.
 Five Crowns is pleased to unveil the completion of the interior, exterior renovations and new Cooper’s Bar.  The renovations began in 2015 as part of the landmark restaurant’s yearlong 50th anniversary celebration.  The major revitalization, which includes the addition of the new Cooper’s Bar, honors the Five Crowns legacy while opening a new door to a bright future.
Coopers Bar at Five Crowns

Cooper’s Bar at Five Crowns

“We’ve invigorated the Five Crowns experience,” said Ryan O’Melveny Wilson, Executive Chef and Vice President. “From our updated sign out front, to refreshed dining rooms, the new bar and a menu that honors our classics and highlights seasonality, we’re setting the table for the next 50 years.”

Five Crowns collaborated on the renovation plans with Hatch Design Group, YYES Design Studio, Robertson Hill Architecture and Roger’s Gardens.

The first phase of changes focused on a new landscape design, re-imagined branding and the traditional façade. A second renovation phase included dramatic changes to the interior.

Five Crowns new dining room

Five Crowns new dining room

Lush landscaping by Roger’s Gardens highlights the historic building’s English theme. Topiaries and boxwood hedges surround the property. A large, raised vegetable bed and aromatics including lavender, rosemary and sage embellish the front. Citrus trees enhance the back garden for outdoor dining and special events.

The eye-catching sign on Pacific Coast Highway features a bold new Five Crowns logo. While the iconic red telephone booth remains, the building’s exterior now showcases a multicolor palette, including a distinctive red stripe with metallic gold lettering painted above the windows and doorway.

The relocated entrance, with a larger front door, opens to a redecorated reception area that offers a direct sightline to the restaurant’s most striking addition: its vibrant new showpiece, Cooper’s Bar in the Greenhouse. Named for Chris Cooper, much loved co-worker and Lead Service Bartender for 42 years, this handsome, inviting bar features a stunning copper beer tower with rotating taps. Lively plaid barstools provide comfortable seating around a grand communal table whose surface is covered with thousands of authentic English shillings.

Custom designed, oversized glossy red benches add a touch of whimsy to the Greenhouse dining space enhanced with new chandeliers and side chairs. The sky lit room’s once green metal framework has been painted a deep, rich gray.

Five Crowns new greenhouse

Five Crowns’ Greenhouse

Vivid paint colors, eclectic wallpapers and fabrics as well as new flooring refresh the Main, Nelson and Crown dining rooms. Notably, custom hardwood tabletops replace the traditional white tablecloths. Cozy fireside nooks and antique British artifacts continue to be central to Five Crowns’ unique atmosphere.

Complementing the renovation, Five Crowns’ forward-looking menu balances innovative seasonality with the classic dishes that have made the restaurant a landmark. Guests can now enjoy greater flexibility by pairing seasonal small plates with a shared main dish or a heritage entrée from the Crown Classics section.

“The new menu offers favorites from our 50-year menu archives in addition to a daily selection of fresh fish, hand cut pasta and interesting wines,” commented Wilson. “There is something for every discerning palate, long-time guest or first time Five Crowns diner.”

Five Crowns' duo of salmon

Duo Of Salmon

Since opening more than a half century ago, Five Crowns has welcomed its guests to a world apart, a place of warm hospitality, the finest food and drink, a truly one-of-a-kind Southern California dining experience. Today’s changes — inside and out — signal an exciting future.

About Five Crowns

Five Crowns was established in 1965 and is a member of the Lawry’s family of fine-dining restaurants, which includes Lawry’s The Prime Rib with locations in Beverly Hills, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, Tokyo, Singapore, Taipei, Hong Kong, Osaka and Seoul and the Tam O’Shanter in Los Angeles. Lawry’s Carvery, with locations in South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa, and at L.A. LIVE, Los Angeles, represents the company’s unique quick-service concept. SideDoor gastropub, recipient of Orange Coast Magazine’s “2010 Restaurant of the Year” Award, is also housed within the historic Five Crowns building; its primary entrance is on Poppy Street.

Five Crowns and SideDoor
3801 East Coast Highway
Corona del Mar, CA, 92625
Open daily 5pm – 9pm, Fridays and Saturdays until 10pm
Valet parking is available
For reservations or more information, visit http://lawrysonline.com/five-crowns


Sushi Roku Fashion Island Now Open!

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Food

Sushi Roku Fashion Island Now Open!
Sushi Roku NB entrance

Innovative Dining Group (IDG) brings its iconic sushi restaurant to Newport Beach Fashion Island. Now open, Sushi Roku is pleasing palates with one-of-a-kind dishes including fish, chicken, pork, beef, and vegetarian options. The well-rounded menu unites traditional Japanese cuisine with southern California seasonal ingredients prepared in a deliciously fashionable way.

Sushi Roku NB front dining area

Says Lee Maen, Partner at Innovative Dining Group, “We’ve been looking forward to making our debut in Orange County’s vibrant dining scene for quite some time.” Adding that “we are excited to share our modern approach to Japanese cuisine as well as Roku’s outstanding level of hospitality at this stunning location in Fashion Island.”

Sushi Roku NB sushi bar and seating

Stunning it is! The restaurant features a spacious and comfortable front patio that is perfect for people watching and the spaciousness spills into the interior of the restaurant with seating for 129 in the front dining room, a 16-seat sushi bar, and a 15-seat bar which features flat screen televisions to catch the latest news or sports events.

Sushi Roku NB sushi case

Helmed by Executive Sushi Chef Hiroshi Shima, Chef Shima has designated Head Chef Shin Toyoda to oversee the kitchen at Sushi Roku Fashion Island. Chef Toyoda is a native of Tokyo and has trained under Master Chefs at Kanda Muromachi, Tokyo.
Sushi Roku NB bar

On the cocktail side, Executive General Manager and Sake Sommelier Eiji Mori curates a selective sake menu that embodies the complex flavors and aromas of craft sake. The bar menu at Sushi Roku Fashion Island also extends to a full bar with Sushi Roku’s famous specialty cocktails (see more below), and signature wine list offering crisp white wines, champagne and full-bodied red wines each pairing well with Japanese cuisine.

Golden Boy cocktail from Sushi Roku

Golden Boy cocktail from Sushi Roku

A few menu highlights:
Golden Boy cocktail
Cazadores blanco, citrus juices, cucumber, mint, club soda and sherry float
(pictured above)

Ginger Lychee Mojito
Bacardi rum, ginger, lychee fruit, mint, vanilla, lime juice
Ginger Lychee Mojito from Sushi Roku

Tuna Tartare with Yuzu Guacamole and Tamari Soy Truffle
Tuna Tartare with Yuzu Guacamole and Tamari Soy Truffle

Yellowtail Diced Chilies with Olive Oil and Garlic Ponzu
Yellowtail Diced Chilies with Olive Oil Garlic Ponzu

Roku Sashimi (more selections available)
RokuSashimi

Signature Sushi Roku Rolls
Making sushi rolls at Sushi Roku NB

Tuna and Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Yuzu Miso
Tuna and Beet Carpacio with Goat Cheese and Yuzu Miso

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp
Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

Baked Lobster Roll with Creamy Miso Sauce
Baked Lobster Roll with Creamy Miso Sauce

Chilean Sea Bass, Chicken and Beef Skewers at Sushi Roku NB
Chilean Sea Bass, Chicken and Beef Skewers at Sushi Roku NB

Deconstructed s’mores from Sushi Roku
Deconstructed s'mores from Sushi Roku

Sushi Roku Fashion Island
327 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(adjacent to Macy’s across from True Food Kitchen)
Lunch:
Sunday – Thursday: 11:00am – 3:00pm
Friday: 11:00am – 3:00pm
Saturday: 11:00am – 3:00pm

Dinner:
Sunday – Thursday: 3:00pm – 10:00pm
Friday: 3:00pm – 12:00am
Saturday: 3:00pm – 12:00am

Happy Hour menu:
$3 to $6 bites, including edamame with truffle butter, seared Albacore sashimi with crispy onions, and pork kakuni sliders
$3 beers and $4 to $7 cocktails and wines


Bravo TV Best New Restaurant List – Little Sparrow

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Food

Bravo TV Best New Restaurant List – Little Sparrow brings Spring flavors to Downtown Santa Ana
Little Sparrow

The French-New American Bistro boasts seasonal fare as Little Sparrow Executive Chef Eric Samaniego creates an eclectic menu inspired by both iconic and non-traditional, seasonal ingredients using French and Californian cooking styles, complemented with influences of Japan, Mexico and the Mediterranean.
Little Sparrow Pacific Cod

“When I think of cooking in the spring I envision bright colors and freshness, but still having some rich and bold flavors that are carried over from the winter months. For example one of my new seafood dishes uses cod, which is dense and flakey but served with a fragrant saffron broth to balance the dish,” explains Chef Samaniego.

Spring dinner menu highlights include:
Grilled Prawns at Little Sparrow

Grilled Prawns: Cilantro, carrots, and salsa verde

Farro Salad: 5:10 egg and mushrooms

X.O. Mussels: Mussels, ginger, shallots, and xo sauce

Pici with Braised Lamb Neck: Handmade pici, braised lamb neck, black kale, and Calabrian chili

Roasted Pacific Cod: Tomato jam, mustard greens, and saffron broth

Little Sparrow XO Mussels

Spring brunch menu highlights include:

Kimchee Fried Rice: Gochujang grilled pork belly, Napa cabbage, carrots, haricot vert, and eggs

Banana Foster Pancakes: Served with fresh whipped cream and maple syrup

Avocado Toast: Grilled bread, chicken liver, yuzu kosho, and white soy

Bananas Foster Pancakes

Bananas Foster Pancakes

Little Sparrow, which has already received numerous awards and accolades in Southern California, recently earned the recognition of being featured on Bravo TV Network’s culinary competition series, “Best New Restaurant,” hosted by acclaimed Chef Tom Colicchio and executive produced by restaurateur and TV personality, Gordon Ramsay.

Chef Eric with Tom Colicchio

Chef Eric with Tom Colicchio

One of sixteen award-winning restaurants chosen across the country, the French-New American bistro stands tall as the only Orange County based competitor. With fellow judges, BlackboardEats.com CEO Maggie Nemser and Witchcraft restaurant co-founder Jeffrey Zurofsky by his side, Tom Colicchio evaluated each restaurant on the dishes that were served and also on the decor, hospitality and overall concept during the course of food competitions, obstacles and of course, hidden cameras.

Little Sparrow
300 North Main Street
Santa Ana, CA
(714) 265-7640
LittleSparrowCafe.com

ABOUT LITTLE SPARROW:

Nightly dinner and Sunday brunch are served in a lively neighborhood setting, comprised of high ceilings, exposed ducts, bistro chairs, inviting banquettes and touches of artwork and colorful accents throughout. Little Sparrow offers late-night happy hour after 10 p.m. and half-off all bottles of wine every Wednesday.

Among being chosen to be on of the sixteen restaurants to compete for BravoTV’s “Best New Restaurant,” Little Sparrow has won “Restaurant Of The Year” and “Pastry Chef Of The Year” from Brad Johnson of the OC Register and “Restaurant Of The Year” from Orange Coast Magazine.

Little Sparrow owners and Culinary Team

Little Sparrow owners and Culinary Team


Baja Mexico-inspired Menus at Solita Huntington Beach

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Food

Solita Huntington BeachBaja Mexico-inspired menus at Solita Huntington Beach

Executive Chef Deborah Schneider introduces solita Tacos and Margaritas for her new weekend brunch menus. The popular Huntington Beach restaurant adds delicious brunch items with a Baja-style twist.

On the menu, Brunch Potato “Nachos,” Machaca & Eggs, and a Mad Scramble. Offered Saturdays and Sundays, 11am to 3pm, Chef Deborah shares, “The success of our weekend brunches here at solita has inspired us to dig deeper into Baja cuisine.” Having recently published her sixth cookbook, Salsas and Moles, Chef adds, “We’re excited to introduce Machaca to our brunch menu – our unique dish that is oak-smoked, cooked in a rich sauce, and then shredded.”

Among other new menu items:

solita Mad Scramble – grilled chicken or chorizo, scrambled with eggs, spinach, onions & cheese, topped with crema & salsa fresca, served with one side & warm tortillas (optional: sub carne or machaca)

brunch potato ‘nachos’ – platter of fried breakfast potatoes, onions & ranchera salsa topped with melted cheeses, chopped bacon or chorizo, scrambled eggs, crema & salsa

machaca & eggs – slow-cooked & smoked shredded beef sautéed with onions, fresh tomatoes & scrambled eggs, topped with melted mexican cheeses, cilantro & avocado, served with one side & warm corn & flour tortillas

kids breakfast burrito – kid-sized flour tortilla stuffed with melted cheese & scrambled eggs, served with ketchup

The new additions will be offered alongside solita’s regular brunch menu which includes favorites like the Breakfast Burrito and Berry Cinnamon Bread Pudding. Those looking to liven up their brunch experience will enjoy Mixologist Colin Pflugradt’s lineup of specialty brunch cocktails including Fresh Fruit Mimosas, Frozen Sangrias and Bucket Service on beverages including Rainbow Fruit or Regular Mimosas, Ice-Cold Beer, and Micheladas, allowing guests to customize their brunch beverage experience.

solita Huntington Beach
in Huntington Beach’s Bella Terra Center
7631 Edinger Avenue, Suite 1508
Huntington Beach, CA
www.solitatacos.com
Brunch: 11am to 3pm, Saturday and Sunday
Open: Sunday through Thursday, 11am to 10pm; Friday and Saturday, 11am to 11pm
Happy Hour: Monday through Friday, 3pm to 6pm

ABOUT SOLITA
With solita, Partners Matt Baumayr, Rich Howland and Executive Chef Deborah Schneider, the restaurateurs behind the SOL Cocina brand, have created yet another unique interpretation of contemporary Mexican food, with its own personality, look and distinctive menu. Similar to SOL, solita builds on an appreciation for fresh ingredients, big flavors, and seasonally changing menus. They deliver a Mexican food experience in a way that represents the soul of coastal Baja California.

At the heart of the restaurant and the menu is a wood-fired open grill and oak smoker, the inspiration for Executive Chef Deborah Schneider’s unique takes on familiar Mexican favorites such as tacos, carne asada, skirt steak asada, ancho chile chicken, oak–roasted chipotle chicken, house carnitas, red chile borracho beef and wood-grilled wild fish – all created with premium fresh ingredients and served with delicious hand-made salsas.

The bar menu at solita takes an equally fresh approach to traditional Mexican cocktails, featuring fresh fruit-based and agave-sweetened margaritas made with 100% blue agave tequilas. Margaritas focus on vibrant and immediate flavors, and all recipes are made in-house with fresh citrus juices and sugar, and contain no HFCS, preservatives or coloring. solita offers an extensive selection of artisan, premium and ultra premium tequilas.

In addition to highlighting the true flavors of Baja, the setting of solita Tacos & Margaritas invites diners to experience the simplicity, ruggedness, timelessness and warmth of the region. Much of the interior detail and furnishings were hand-made by Mexican artisans and craftsmen, and the space reflects the charm, sophistication and hospitality of modern Mexico, but also to represent some of the overlooked sophistication that is evident in the country. The airy 150-seat space offers 80 seats indoors and 70 seats in a covered, all-weather patio, with 20 of those seats shared in a unique indoor/outdoor bar.


Spring at Provenance

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Food

Spring at Provenance Restaurant in Newport Beach
Provenance
If Spring is your favorite time of year, be sure to dine at Provenance, the garden-to-table restaurant from one of Orange County’s most loved chefs, Cathy Pavlos.

Tucked away in Newport Beach’s Eastbluff Village Center, Provenance is still easy to get to and celebrates fresh, flavorful ingredients from their own organic raised-bed garden. Fresh doesn’t get any fresher than that! Cathy has been a strong contender in the OC restaurant scene for nearly a decade after having trained in Napa Valley’s famed CIA which she and hubby, Elliot, opted for after her success as a professor at the University of Texas. Her eclectic background demonstrates her passion for life which she wholeheartedly pours into her food time and again.
Provenance Super Grains
With the arrival of Spring, Chef Cathy presents her most seasonal menu which is now available at Provenance. On the diversely, innovative, delicious menu, you’ll find these dishes and more:
Salads such as the Provenance Ancient Grains Super Chop – 12 Super Veggies and Herbs, Quinoa, Farro, Assorted Seeds, Ricotta Salata Cheese, Sherry Vinaigrette and your choice of either an All Natural Grilled Chicken Breast or Half of a California Avocado. All hail the Kale Caesar – Kale, Little Gem Lettuce, Snow Peas, Radishes, Cilantro, Torn Brioche Croutons, Parmesan Cheese, Spanish White Anchovies, Fried Capers, Sweetie Peri Peri Peppers tossed with a delighful Lime Caesar Dressing. The Ahi Californian celebrates one of the most well-loved fish of the sea and distinct flavors of blood orange, fennel, Black Moroccan olives tossed with Frissee Lettuce, Asparagus, Arugula, Green Beans, Green Onion, Pickled Mustard Seeds and a Basil Pesto Vinaigrette.

Feel like savoring winter a little longer? Enjoy these dishes aptly named, Winter Harvest. Charred Asparagus – Deviled Cage Free Eggs, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Frissee, Ribbons of Prosciutto, Capers, Tarragon, Ricotta Salata Cheese, Warm Bacon and Pancetta Vinaigrette. Pan Roasted Cauliflower Kung Pao – Apples, Black Vinegar, Cashews, Cilantro, Ginger, Green Onions, Chilis de Arbol. Ginger and Curry Roasted Carnival Baby Carrots – Avocado, Cilantro, Crispy Artichoke Hearts, Sriracha Yogurt, Cilantro-Macadamia Nut Pesto, Dukkah. And, Not your Mom’s Greens Platter – Broccoli, Rappini, Haricot Vert, Edamame, di Stefano Burrata Cheese, Organic White Miso, Ginger, Globs of Black Sesame-Peanut Butter Jam, Torn Herbs, and Roasted Rice Sea Salt, YUM!
Provenance Ahi
FEATURED EXTRAS

Fish and Puppies – Pan Seared Wild Pacific Sandabs (love!), Herbed Hush Puppies, Cabbage and Kale Slaw, and Chipotle Tartar Sauce
Pot Pie of the Day – accompanied by a small Garden Green Salad, Basket of Scratch Biscuits with Honey Butter
FORK & KNIFE SANDWICHES of Grilled All Natural Chicken Breast “Tuscan Style” – Fresh Burrata Cheese, Roasted Tomatoes, Roasted Peppers, Heirloom Spinach, Basil Pesto Aioli on Ciabatta Bread
Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast Rueben – Swiss Cheese, Green and Red Slaw, Pickles, Bloody Mary Dressing, Deli Rye
All Natural Boneless Beef Shortribs + Grilled Cheese – Havarti Cheese, Sweet and Sour Onions, Pickles, Dijon on Parmesan Cheese Brioche Toast
Rack of Snake River Farms Pork Belly Buns – All Natural Pork Belly, 5 step cooking process, Made-In-House Steamed Buns, House Pickled Veggies, Leeks, Cilantro, Green Onions, Pickled Mustard Seeds, Asian Style Mustard and Sriracha Aioli
Provenance Duck Breast
For dinner, Provenance wows your tastebuds with these delicious offerings among the menu:
STARTERS & LOCAL FAVORITES:
Black and Blue Ahi “Ceviche Style” – Tiradito Marinade, Mango, Radishes, Micro Garden Greens   Snake River Farms’ Heritage Pork Belly on Brioche Toast: Deviled Eggs and Wicked Avocado Mash, Dukkah

THE MAIN COURSE:
Pan Seared Wild California Snapper + Clams – Heirloom Spinach, Snow Peas, Corn, Salsa Verde Pan Roasted All Natural Half Chicken – Asparagus, Pan Potatoes, Edamame Beans, Roasted Tomatoes, Carrots, Garlic-Chive-Citrus Butter, au Jus
Paprika and Black Pepper Rubbed Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast –  Quinoa and Farro with Kumquats and Jalapenos, Mustard-Sherry Sauce, Cilantro, Miso-Almond Butter
Meaty All Natural Beef Boneless Shortribs –  Chili, Bitter Chocolate and Sherry Braise, Puree of Roasted Cauliflower and Celery Root, Crispy Brussels Leaves, Baby Carrots
All Natural Prime Flat Iron Cowboy Steak (8oz) –  Buttermilk Onion Rings, Borracho Beans, Corn Bread, California Ketchup, Deconstructed Chimi Pico de Gallo, Torched Jalapeno and Green Onion

“Our menu’s transition into spring is the boldest yet! We’re beefing up classic dishes with exciting twists of our own,” commented Chef Cathy who oversees the innovative kitchens at both Provenance in Newport Beach and sister-concept Lucca Cafe in Irvine. “The new dishes presented on our spring menus satisfy the diner with feelings of both comfort and curiosity.”

More information is available by calling 949-718-0477 or visiting http://www.ProvenanceOC.com.
ABOUT PROVENANCE Newport Beach is now home to a new dining concept that delivers elements of California’s wine country to Eastbluff Village Center. This is an exciting new restaurant concept that focuses on bringing seasonal, local and responsible fare to the community.
If you’re looking for a menu of fresh, flavorful ingredients that change by season, look no further. Many of the fruits, vegetables and herbs available are grown in the restaurant’s own 1,300-square-foot organic raised-bed garden, which is open to guests to explore during their meal.
Chef Pavlos, who describes her menu of contemporary California cuisine as Napa-esque, focuses on seasonal garden offerings, with signature sandwiches and lighter fare at lunch, and the addition of larger plates at dinner, along with daily specials. The menu will change based on the garden’s offerings. Chef Pavlos’ culinary team makes all sauces, dressings and other items in-house with a focus on canning, preserving, curing, pickling and smoking. The menu features only humanely raised meats, such as certified Angus beef, locally raised free-range and hormone-free Shelton turkey, and Jidori chicken, as well as wild seafoods.
We are ingredient driven, and use only fresh, seasonal and local ingredients of the highest possible quality, and those not from our garden are sourced from a network of small-scale producers. We believe that sharing emotions with the customer is what cooking is all about. Our kitchen at Provenance unites tradition and modernity; we have a deep respect for our product. We are going back in time with our own garden, and the experience is just about as local and as natural as you can get. ~ Chef Cathy Pavlos
Contact Information & Hours Provenance is located in the Eastbluff Village Center (2531 Eastbluff Drive).  The restaurant is open seven days a week with hours as follows: Monday – Friday 11 a.m.  –  2 p.m. lunch 5 p.m.  – 9 p.m. dinner (Bar open until 10:30 p.m.)
Saturday 5 p.m.  – 9 p.m. dinner (Bar open until 10:30 p.m.)
Sunday 10 a.m.  – 2 p.m. brunch 5 p.m.  – 9 p.m. dinner (Bar open until 10:30 p.m.)
More information is available by calling 949-718-0477 or visiting http://ProvenanceOC.com


Zimzala Restaurant and Bar – Deliciously Free-Spirited

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Food

Zimzala  entrance

Zimzala Restaurant and Bar – Deliciously Free-Spirited

Huntington Beach is home to the swanky boutique hotel, The Shorebreak Hotel. A delightful place to relax and revive for stay-cay locals and worldwide travelers alike, The Shorebreak Hotel is just steps from the beach.
Chef  Brian Drosenos

On a recent visit, I had the pleasure of dining at the hotel’s signature restaurant, Zimzala Restaurant and Bar, which represents everything free-spirited and that “sand between the toes” feeling which I will call “whimsical”. Helmed by Executive Chef Brian Drosenos, Zimzala offers much more than just “comfortable California cuisine”. Chef Drosenos brings a rich and flavorful culinary history to Zimzala having earned his chops at restaurants such as LA Live’s JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton, Noble House and The Ventana Inn and Spa. When I asked Chef what Zimzala-like element he brought to the menu, he replied, “I enjoy a free-spirited presentation of the foods.” Yet, I found the dishes themselves to be of equally delicious, creative whimsy.
Zimzala tasting  menu
For starters, a soup of roasted cauliflower with crispy Brussels, finely chopped Marcona almonds, golden raisins, and focaccia croutons was presented in an artful white bowl. And, when served, a whimsical swirl of lemon oil graced the top to add that perk of tartness that pleases the palate. Make this delicious soup at home, view my version of the recipe here: Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Roasted Cauliflower Soup with  Lemon Oil drizzle
Quite possibly my favorite dish of the day was the Marinated Pepper Salad which was a finely chopped array of yumminess of marinated baby bell peppers, kale tossed with roasted pistachios, roasted garlic, feta cheese and a sherry vinaigrette. Refreshing and light, I could eat this salad everyday as it is not only delicious, it is filled with food healing ingredients – bell peppers, kale, garlic, and pistachios.
Marinated  Pepper Salad
Have you ever had charred octopus? Neither had I. Giving way to that Zimzala “sand between the toes” whimsical experience, the whimsy here was not only enjoyed in Chef’s presentation but in the food, too! Chef Drosenos explained the baby octopus is braised first and then charred with paprika giving it a tenderness that is not often found when eating octopus. The char totally works in this earthy dish that gets another flavor boost from espilite chili peppers from Spain, smoked potatoes, kalamata olives, lightly fried capers, and a housemade romesco sauce that has nuts, olive oil and sherry vinegar. Smokey is the flavor here as the peppers from Spain are naturally smokey and the potatoes are smoked. I give this dish a smoking hot two bikinis up for the whimsy alone… the flavor, a bonus.
Paprika Charred  Octopus
You would think I would be full by now and on most days I would but today’s tasting menu had me curious so I continued with the Porcini Mushroom Spaghetti. House made spaghetti noodles get their porcini-ness from porcini powder. I must get some. Then, the noodles are cooked al dente and tossed with an incredible medley of mushrooms that include brown beech and pink trumpet – I love everything pink. Also in the mix, a medley of herbs among them chervil, chives, tarragon, and dill. Finish with fresh lemon, grana padano, and a cured egg yolk, Chef fully got his whimsy on here.

Porcini Mushroom  Pasta
Being a ocean view restaurant, fish is an integral part of the menu. I was delighted when salmon arrived. Pan Roasted Salmon with eggplant purée, bloomsdale spinach, roasted fennel, roasted tomato, and black olive caramel made with burnt sugar. Wow! That pretty much sums it up.
Pan Roasted  Salmon
Now, normally I would skip dessert but the Chef insisted by surprising me – and the other guests – with a Persimmon Panna Cotta. The highlighted ingredient, persimmon, was served with an abundance of flavors and textures. Date and walnut bread whipped cream. Toasted pepitas and pecans. A hint of micro basil completed the dish and what a whimsically divine dining experience.
Persimmon  Panna Cotta
To say Chef Drosenos’ cuisine and Zimzala was a surprisingly palate pleasing experience is an understatement. Although I have been a fan of The Shorebreak Hotel since it opened, I had never had the pleasure of dining at their premiere restaurant. I half anticipated just another beachy restaurant experience which is not all bad but not whimsically amazing. To my surprise, Zimzala, under the direction of Chef Drosenos, is far better and beyond being a beachy restaurant. Producing high quality, delicious food that is artfully presented in a free-spirited style, Chef Drosenos brings a bit of gourmand and then some.
kitchen at Zimzala
In Huntington Beach and SO Cal, make Zimzala a “must dine” location. Visiting? Worth the stop!
the outdoor patio  at Zimzala

Bottom line for your bikini: 2 bikinis up!
Zimzala  decor

Zimzala Restaurant and Bar
The Shorebreak Hotel – a Joie de Vivre Hotel
500 Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
(714) 960-5050

RestaurantZimzala.com


Sofitel and Trimbach Wines – The Perfect Pairing

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Food

Trimbach Winemaker dinner

Sofitel and Trimbach Wines : The Perfect Pairing

Sofitel Wine Days

As Sofitel closed out another successful celebration of wine and food during Sofitel Wine Days, I had the pleasure of meeting one of the premiere featured winemakers at the Trimbach Winemaker dinner. Trimbach wines are harvested and bottled in the Alsace region of France, which is located along the fartherest eastern border of France. Situated along the Wine Route, the Ribeauville village is sheltered between the Vosges Mountains and the vineyards and has been home to the Trimbach family wines and neighboring vineyards since 1626.
Trimbach wines

Now, that’s what you call vintage wines! Twelve generations of winemakers have put their passion into producing these highly acclaimed wines just as their family founder, Frederic Emile Trimbach, received the highest distinction at the International Wine Fair in Brussels in 1898.  And on this night in 2014, these highly acclaimed wines were to be selectively paired with the cuisine of Chef Marius Blini of Softel.

Champagne beginnings

I was invited to dine by Nilou Rahmani, the Esterel Restaurant Manager and a woman very engaged in working with the culinary and wine team to bring the freshest foods prepared in the highest quality and pairing with fine wines. To my delight and in true French fashion, I began my evening with a social chat with friends over a glass of champagne in the Sofitel lounge preparing my tastebuds for the delectable dinner ahead. With Executive Chef Marius Blin and Trimbach wines at the helm for the evening, I knew I was in good hands.
Chef Marius Blin

Upon entering the elegant Esterel restaurant, I was greeted by another Frederic ~ Frederic Zemmour, the Sofitel Los Angeles’ Food and Beverage Manager who seated me and my guest in a luxurious booth with a Chef’s table-like view of the kitchen. Perfectly poised to see the Chef at work. Frederic shared that the Trimbach wine Ambassador, Anne Trimbach, would be arriving shortly and I gleened in anticipation. And thus, dinner began.

Chanterelle Mushrooms stuffed bone marrow
The first course was a Roasted Marrow Bone “stuffed” with chanterelle mushrooms and garlic puree served with persillade toast and paired with Trimbach Pinot Noir. Persillade is a seasoned mixture of fresh parsley, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and customarily some seasonings all finely chopped together to create a delicious paste of sorts which, in this case, has been paired with chanterelle mushrooms. YUM! The Trimbach Pinot Noir features red fruit and blackberry aromas and comes from the best terroirs and is only produced “in the very best years”.

Anne Trimbach and Chef Marius Blin

About this time, I had the pleasure of meeting Anne Trimbach. As mentioned above, Anne is the Trimbach family wine ambassador and the grand niece to family founder, Frederic. “Does the Trimbach family use steel casks to age the wines?” I ask. “Never, never,” replies Anne. “We use nearly ancient oak barrels – some dating back to 1717 – that are so old they have neutral flavors.” Anne went on to explain that she grew up at the winery, what fun that must have been, and that they keep a close track on the measure of sugar in the grapes to determine when to harvest. Curious, I inquire, “When harvesting, do you use machines to pick the grapes or hand harvest?” Anne proudly exclaims, “Trimbach grapes are hand-picked, hand-harvested lending to the quality of the harvesting process.” Oooooh, I’m intrigued. Next course, please.

Chef Blin preparing the branzino

Chef Marius Blin chose Seared Branzino for the entree. Branzino, if you are not aware, is a white fish that is usually grilled or pan seared whole or fileted with the skin on. Chef Marius opted for pan seared white fish filets served with braised leek and fennel, California sunchoke puree, and yet Chef took the dish to a whole new dimension by adding a poached oyster and local caviar polished with his classic beurre blanc sauce.
Plating the branzino and Esterel

Wow, talk about a dance party in your mouth. The piece de resistance? A wine pairing of Trimbach Riesling. Well balanced subtle flavors and fruit, this elegant wine was perfectly paired with Chef Marius’ Branzino and Anne also recommends pairing with other fish such as smoked, grilled, or fried fish and white meats such as pork.

Branzino with oysters, caviar and tomatoes

The Cheese course arrived with a delicious pairing of Trimbach Pinot Gris. Let’s start with the wine first… one of the most remarkable Alsace grape varieties, the pinot gris combines full-bodied, dry fruitiness with a hint of smokiness that appropriately pairs with foods that possess depth of flavor. You can’t get anymore depth of flavor than an array of flavor-forward cheeses. When it came to cheese, Chef chose the Schloss Marin Farm cow’s milk cheese, Bay Blue Pointe Reyes Farmstead (cow), San Andreas Bellwether Farm sheep’s milk cheese accompanied by roasted red grapes, chocolate macadamia tuiles, and fresh honeycomb. Ummmmm, we could stop here and my tastebuds would be thriving in happiness. But, there was one more course to come. Dessert.

The Cheese plate

Strawberry Basil Sorbet highlighted the end of a savory evening and was accentuated by almond meringue, hibiscus flower, micro mint, a macaron shell and one of the most revered Trimbach wines – the Trimbach Gewurztraminer “Reserve”. Pair with spicy dishes, Asian-inspired cuisines, strong cheeses and featured here, fruit-based desserts.
Sorbet

If “the accidity of a reisling keeps you alive”, as Anne Trimbach states. Then, we shall all be alive indeed. Cheers!

For reservations at Esterel restaurant at Sofitel LA, visit SofitelLA

For more information about Trimbach wines, visit Trimbach.com


Laguna Beach Oceanfront Dining at Driftwood Kitchen

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Food

Laguna Beach Oceanfront Dining at Driftwood Kitchen
Driftwood Kitchen
Summer may have ended but the ocean views and summer weather sparkle nearly year round at the recently opened Driftwood Kichen, the newest oceanfront dining experience in Laguna Beach from well known Sentinel Restaurant and Hospitality Group. Sentinel is the team behind The Deck on Laguna Beach and Fireside Tavern in Costa Mesa so it is no wonder the group chose Driftwood Kitchen to cozy up next door to The Deck.
The Deck at Driftwood Kitchen
Leading the team at Driftwood are restauranteur, John Nye, and Excutive Chef Rainer Schwarz who are also founders and partners, along with Colby Durnin, of Sentinel Restaurant & Hospitality Group. As you can see, before you even enter the rustic beachy oceanfront restaurant, you are in good hands. Chef Schwarz brings an extensive, acclaimed culinary experience to life at Driftwood. Having begun cooking at age 15 in an old Austrian castle, Chef Schwarz has cooked around the world in five-star hotels and restaurants in Switzerland, Germany and France. Interestingly, I discovered that Chef Schwarz’s culinary travels led him to work with the esteemed Chef Joachim Splichal at the Von Pfyffer in Switzerland and before long, Chef Schwarz waved goodbye to Europe and traveled to Carmel and then Los Angeles working with Chef Splichal at what has become Patina Restaurant Group. But Chef Schwarz achievements don’t stop there. He had much success in Vail, Colorado before returning to Los Angeles and launching Public Kitchen and Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. Now, Laguna Beach is thrilled to have his talent behind the fresh, delicious, inspiring coastal cuisine at Driftwood Kitchen.

Seared Ahi at Driftwood Kitchen Seared Ahi at Driftwood Kitchen

When I asked Chef Schwarz what influence his culinary journey brings to Driftwood Kitchen, he explained, “I draw inspiration from many places for this menu. Here, the menu features diversity and freshness the ocean provides.” Sounds good to me and I couldn’t wait to dive right in to sample some seafood and steak selections. To my delight, fish is prevalent on the menu which includes Whole Fried Branzino, Soft Shell Crab, Surf and Turf with Maine Lobster Tail and Petit Tenderloin that features a Bearnaise sauce, Zuckerman Farms jumbo asparagus, and Yukan Gold mashed potatoes, and a mouth-watering New York Steak with Peppercorn Sauce and homemade French Fries.

Seabass with Tomato Halibut with Roasted Tomato

But this coastal cuisine inspired menu with a touch of “turf” is not all that will inspire you, the craft cocktails are bottoms-up some of the best I’ve tasted.

Tenderloin with Pepper Tenderloin with Peppercorn Sauce

Shares Director of Operations, John Nye, “Our Cocktail Program at Driftwood Kitchen pays homage to the location’s rich history. The Stateroom Bar presents a cocktail menu featuring classic libations reminiscent of the historic tenants.” And who were those tenants? One unforgettable Hollywood actor, Slim Summerville had his home library there and he may have enjoyed a fine whiskey or bourbon, too.

Cynar Town cocktail at Driftwood Kitchen Cynar Town cocktail at Driftwood Kitchen

Among the classic cocktails are selections such as “Cynar Town”, gin with sweet vermouth, cynar artichoke liqueur and orange bitters, “Salad Bar”, sage liquor, kale, sweet red pepper, and lemon sour – almost sounds like one of my cleanse drinks minus the liquor, of course, and “Rock My World”, your own customized Manhattan with a lunardo cherry that is worth the bite and the drink and they pair perfectly with culinary sensations such as Oysters on the Half Shell with Uni (shown below).
Uni Oysters at Driftwood Kitchen

Whether you opt for the mesmorizing oceanfront deck views or the cozy al fresco patio with oversized couches and firepits, Driftwood Kitchen is a Laguna dining experience unmatched by any other.
Deck view from Driftwood Kitchen
Driftwood Kitchen front patio
Driftwood Kitchen
619 Sleepy Hollow Lane
Laguna Beach, CA
Open daily: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
visit: driftwoodkitchen.com
(949) 715-7700

Mac 'n  Cheese at Driftwood Kitchen

SMores deconstructed at Driftwood Kitchen SMores deconstructed at Driftwood Kitchen