Foods

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


ChaCha’s Latin Kitchen… Where It’s National Tequila Day Everyday

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Food

ChaCha’s Latin Kitchen… Where It’s National Tequila Day Everyday
Don Myers
National Tequila Day is July 24 but you don’t have to wait until then to celebrate… just head to Brea, California where ChaCha’s Latin Kitchen is tops in tequila and cuisine. Created by culinary mastermind, Don Myers, ChaCha’s takes “Mexican food” to a whole ‘nother level. You see, Don has been in the culinary world for decades. Not to make him seem old, Don is far from old, but he’s been honing his culinary chops since 1972! As Don says, “that’s BC!” and I am sure that he means that is bc – before I moved to California. With one successful restaurant after another, Don knows his way around a kitchen and a restaurant. And, a bar.

ChaChasMiracleMargarita ChaChasMiracleMargarita

Speaking of bar, let’s start there. ChaCha’s features nearly 50 different tequilas ranked by drinkability which translates to “your favorite”. Signature seasonal cocktails: Watermelon Margarita, Miracle Margarita, and the ChaCha’s award-winning Sangria Tradicional. Naturally, ChaCha’s has beer, wine, and can make virtually any cocktail you can dream of but these signature classics are a great place to start.

Sangria Tradicional Sangria Tradicional

With Happy Hour everyday and happenings every week such as Monday Night Date Night, Tacos and Tequila Tuesdays, Enchilada and Wine Wednesday, Locals Night Thursdays, and Sunday Brunch, there’s a tasty reason to go to ChaCha’s every day of the week.

Aguachile Aguachile

With foods like Shrimp cured in cucumber, lemon and orange juice, red onion, Serrano chilies, cilantro and mint – otherwise referred to on the menu as “Aguachile” – you will WANT to dine here every day. Other menu highlights: Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon Salad, Camarones Adobados which is Large Grilled Shrimp marinated in lime and cilantro and served with summer squash, roasted corn, jicama, and adobo sauce, Open-Faced Short Rib Enchiladas consisting of corn tortillas with Guajillo braised short ribs, pasilla chile, achiote onions, and Guajillo sauce.

Open Faced Enchiladas Open Faced Enchiladas

And, make sure to share the fresh Guacamole, a delicious combination of Haas avocado, Serrano chile, fresh lime juice, and tomatillo salsa – the final ingredient for guac perfection. To finish, Homemade Churros – chile spiced chocolate sauce, fresh seasonal berries and cream top the cinnamon sugar crusted fried sensation. ChaCha’s Latin Kitchen is worth the drive any day, even National Tequila Day next July.

Homemade Churros Homemade Churros

ChaCha’s Latin Kitchen in Brea, California
110 West Birch Street
Brea, CA 92821
714.255.1040
for more information, visit: ChaCha’s Latin Kitchen


Bikini Lifestyles “Wine, Dine, and Workout” Promo 3

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Bikini Lifestyles Videos

Internationally acclaimed cookbook author and an award nominated radio host, Susan Irby The Bikini Chef is joined by co-hosts, Denice Fladeboe and Steve Valentine during the 6-episode, half-hour television series Bikini Lifestyles “Wine, Dine, and Workout” launching on National Public Television and independent cable networks April 2012.

In its first season, Bikini Lifestyles heads into the kitchens of celebrity chefs to cook healthy, delicious “bikini cuisine”~ foods that make you look and feel confident. When these entertaining and energetic hosts have wined and dined, they head to the gym, Pilates, and the outdoors for workouts with top fitness experts. Susan, Denice and Steve share fashions from internationally acclaimed designers to finish off the show with a champagne toast sending “gourmet wishes and flattering waistlines.”

Bikini Lifestyles season one features: 2011 CNN Hero Chef Bruno Serato, Anaheim White House, Iron Chef contestant Victor Casanova, Culina Modern Italian at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills, Food Network champion Chef Richard Ruskell, Montage Beverly Hills, James Beard nominated Chef Brendan Collins, Waterloo and City, and Award-winning Chef Celestino Drago, Drago Centro. Top fitness experts include: author Dr. Levi Harrison, celebrity trainer Marco Reed, Skinnylates creator Amy Cady, internationally acclaimed fitness expert JJ Virgin, tennis pro Randy Myers, and celebrity trainer Paul Jurevich. Bikini Lifestyles is underwritten by Fortun Finishing Touch Sauces, visit: http://www.fortunfoods.com


Bikini Lifestyles “Wine, Dine, and Workout” Promo 1

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Bikini Lifestyles Videos

Bikini Lifestyles “Wine, Dine, and Workout” Promo 1

Internationally acclaimed cookbook author and an award nominated radio host, Susan Irby The Bikini Chef is joined by co-hosts, Denice Fladeboe and Steve Valentine during the 6-episode, half-hour television series Bikini Lifestyles “Wine, Dine, and Workout” launching on National Public Television and independent cable networks April 2012.

In its first season, Bikini Lifestyles heads into the kitchens of celebrity chefs to cook healthy, delicious “bikini cuisine”~ foods that make you look and feel confident. When these entertaining and energetic hosts have wined and dined, they head to the gym, Pilates, and the outdoors for workouts with top fitness experts. Susan, Denice and Steve share fashions from internationally acclaimed designers to finish off the show with a champagne toast sending “gourmet wishes and flattering waistlines.”

Bikini Lifestyles season one features: 2011 CNN Hero Chef Bruno Serato, Anaheim White House, Iron Chef contestant Victor Casanova, Culina Modern Italian at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills, Food Network champion Chef Richard Ruskell, Montage Beverly Hills, James Beard nominated Chef Brendan Collins, Waterloo and City, and Award-winning Chef Celestino Drago, Drago Centro. Top fitness experts include: author Dr. Levi Harrison, celebrity trainer Marco Reed, Skinnylates creator Amy Cady, internationally acclaimed fitness expert JJ Virgin, tennis pro Randy Myers, and celebrity trainer Paul Jurevich. Bikini Lifestyles is underwritten by Fortun Finishing Touch Sauces, visit: http://www.fortunfoods.com


Bikini Lifestyles “Wine, Dine, and Workout” Promo 2

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Bikini Lifestyles Videos

Internationally acclaimed cookbook author and an award nominated radio host, Susan Irby The Bikini Chef is joined by co-hosts, Denice Fladeboe and Steve Valentine during the 6-episode, half-hour television series Bikini Lifestyles “Wine, Dine, and Workout” launching on National Public Television and independent cable networks April 2012.

In its first season, Bikini Lifestyles heads into the kitchens of celebrity chefs to cook healthy, delicious “bikini cuisine”~ foods that make you look and feel confident. When these entertaining and energetic hosts have wined and dined, they head to the gym, Pilates, and the outdoors for workouts with top fitness experts. Susan, Denice and Steve share fashions from internationally acclaimed designers to finish off the show with a champagne toast sending “gourmet wishes and flattering waistlines.”

Bikini Lifestyles season one features: 2011 CNN Hero Chef Bruno Serato, Anaheim White House, Iron Chef contestant Victor Casanova, Culina Modern Italian at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills, Food Network champion Chef Richard Ruskell, Montage Beverly Hills, James Beard nominated Chef Brendan Collins, Waterloo and City, and Award-winning Chef Celestino Drago, Drago Centro. Top fitness experts include: author Dr. Levi Harrison, celebrity trainer Marco Reed, Skinnylates creator Amy Cady, internationally acclaimed fitness expert JJ Virgin, tennis pro Randy Myers, and celebrity trainer Paul Jurevich. Bikini Lifestyles is underwritten by Fortun Finishing Touch Sauces, visit: http://www.fortunfoods.com


BIKINI LIFESTYLES to Debut on PBS – LAdineNclub.com

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Press

We all love to wine and dine, and with that pleasure is the need to workout and make sure we don’t fall into a dangerous gluttony cycle. That’s where Bikini Lifestyles: Wine, Dine and Workout comes in handy. Debuting April 15 on PBS, the show will focus on eating healthy, feeling better and working out.

Bikini Lifestyles

Internationally acclaimed cookbook author Susan Irby, known around the world as The Bikini Chef, will team up with personalities Denice Fladeboe and Steve Valentine as hosts of the program. The six-episode, half-hour series heads into the kitchens of celebrity chefs to cook healthy, delicious “bikini cuisine”, i.e., foods that make you look and feel confident. When the wining and dining is over, the show’s entertaining and energetic hosts then workout with top fitness experts, whether that means heading to the gym, doing Pilates, or simply getting fit outdoors.

Susan, Denice and Steve will share fashions from internationally acclaimed designers to finish off the show with a champagne toast sending “gourmet wishes and flattering waistlines.” This is the show to watch for gourmet bikini recipes, kitchen and fitness tips…all the tools you need to live your very own Bikini Lifestyle.

Bikini Lifestylesseason one features 2011 CNN Hero Chef Bruno Serato, Anaheim White House; Iron Chef contestant Victor Casanova, Culina Modern Italian at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills; Food Network champion Chef Richard Ruskell, Montage Beverly Hills; James Beard nominated Chef Brendan Collins, Waterloo and City; and award-winning Chef Celestino Drago, Drago Centro.
Bikini Lifestyles
Top fitness experts include author Dr. Levi Harrison; celebrity trainer Marco Reed; Skinnylates creator Amy Cady; internationally acclaimed fitness expert JJ Virgin; tennis pro Randy Myers; and celebrity trainer Paul Jurevich.

Chef Susan Irby, The Bikini Chef, is an eight-time cookbook author helping people obtain their healthy “bikini” goals by focusing on a lifestyle change rather than a short-term diet. She is also the host of the well-loved Bikini Lifestylesprogram on 790 KABC radio Los Angeles with listeners spanning the globe from Italy to Australia, Canada and beyond. Denice Fladeboe is president of Fladeboe Automotive Group of Irvine, one of Southern California’s largest dealerships. Celebrity public relations expert Steve Valentine is founder of Valentine Group L.A., which handles high profile clientele, such as Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Los Angeles Magazine, and Sofitel Beverly Hills. Valentine has been an integral part of the Bikini Lifestyles team for two years.

Listen to The Bikini Lifestyle with Susan Irby every Saturday on Talk Radio 790 KABC at 7 p.m.

Bikini Lifestyles