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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


Spook-tacular Halloween in the OC

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in News

Spook-tacular Halloween in the OC
How lucky are we that Halloween falls on a FRIDAY this year?! Stay up to the Hallo-“wee”-n hours. Sleep in on Saturday. Perhaps even keep the Halloween-weekend going with a party on Saturday like my crazy, fun neighbors do. Dressing up and going out? Hire a car to drive you around to these not-to-miss events in the OC – Orange County, that is:

Yelloween

If “Yelloween” makes no sense to you at this moment, trust me when I say when my day is done, I want to go out sipping the deliciously decadent “yellow label” Veuve Cliquot through a straw in a marble bathtub. But, you don’t have to wait until that scary day to sip this anything-but-scary champagne, Veuve Cliquot, on a Halloween sort of day. Head to Fig and Olive Newport Beach for their “Yelloween” Spook-tacular night.

In the spirit of Halloween, FIG & OLIVE Newport Beach is partnering with Veuve Clicquot on Friday, October 31 from 9:30pm – 1:00am to host an enchanted “Yelloween” party. Orange County residents are invited to Fashion Island to celebrate the spooky holiday in style with Halloween cocktails, Veuve Clicquot Champagne, special décor, and a Yelloween photo booth. The bewitching bash will be amplified with soulful house and new Downtempo music by St. Tropez‘s celebrity DJ Julien Nolan.

Guests can sit in the lounge—complete with Veuve Clicquot Champagne and a complimentary dessert plate (limited seating available)—or reserve a table in the dining room to enjoy a prix-fixe menu ($45) or à la carte options. Walk-ins are welcome to enjoy the spirited festivities, though reservations are strongly encouraged. Lounge reservations can be made by emailing: yelloween@figandolive.com. Dining reservations can be made by calling 949.877.3005;  Or, experience the…

**Costume Contest…

If Newport Beach is not your spook-tacular locale of the night OR, if you are ready for a “two-party” Halloween evening, head just a few miles south to the newly opened Tortilla Republic Laguna Beach where Executive Chef Chris Tzorin and his team are hosting the first-ever “Boo Ball” complete with spooky-yet-tasty fare:

Tortilla Republic Halloween

With ocean views and breezes from nearly every seat in the house, Tortilla Republic Laguna Beach hosts its Inaugural Boo Ball. Offering a costume contest at midnight and an “Adult trick or treat” and photo booth all night long beginning at the eerily hour of 8pm.

From 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., Tortilla Republic will provide a Boo Bites menu, which includes Seared Albacore Tuna Bites with ancho Chile crusted, mango & radish slaw, avocado, and salted chili lime; Huarache de Hongos Bites with crispy corn flatbread, cremini & oyster mushrooms, roasted shallots, baby arugula, and Monterey Jack & Manchego cheese; TR Boo Sliders with three mini hamburgers featuring premium American Wagyu beef, roasted poblano, caramelized onion, chipotle aioli, watercress, and sweet potato fries with cilantro & lime zest; and Prime Tenderloin Steak Taco with fajita rub, salsa de mesa, and tequila slaw.

Whether a one-party, two-party, or group night out event, please don’t drink and drive. Call Uber, have a friend drive, hire a limo for the night, dress up and let someone else do the driving. Spooky-fun is fantastic. Anything else… not worth it. Safety first, fun second!

Fig and Olive Newport Beach
151 Newport Center Drive
Fashion Island
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 877-3005

Tortilla Republic Laguna Beach
480 S. Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 393-4888


The Palm West Hollywood Closes Its Doors…

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Food

The Palm West Hollywood Closes Its Doors… but don’t fear, it will re-open soon in Beverly Hills. Here’s my story. Bar beginnings at The Palm West Hollywood

The time is New York City, 1926. Two Italians from Parma, Pio Bozzi and John Ganzi, opened their first restaurant at 837 Second Avenue in Manhattan. Immediately, The Palm restaurant was a hit with the New York elite attracting journalists and cartoonists from the New York Daily Mirror, Hearst and King Features, among others. It was the cartoonists who set the stage for the caricatures on the walls as Bozzi and Ganzi had no money to decorate their new restaurant. In exchange for meals, cartoonists would draw cartoons and caricatures of the restaurant regulars and successful cartoons such as Popeye, Batman, and Beetle-Bailey. It wasn’t long before the caricatures became tradition at every Palm restaurant to follow.

Caricatures at The Palm West Hollywood

The original menu featured crowd-pleasing Italian meals and fine cocktails, yet staying true to their philosophy – treat guests like family, serve great food, and always exceed expectations – just as family would do. Bozzi and Ganzi added steak and in later years, lobster, to the menu by request. The restaurant was such a huge success the duo decided to expand. First to D.C. and then to the west – West Hollywood that is. Opening October 1975, Hollywood stars and studio execs embraced the beloved dining establishment. The walls began to fill up with caracitures of celebrities, studio executives, and loyal patrons alike, which has served as a tribute to stories of Hollywood past and present.

Everybody is welcome at The Palm

It was these esteemed Hollywood drawings that first intrigued me upon my inaugural visit in the mid-90’s. As a new arrival to Los Angeles, I had never heard of The Palm restaurant nor sunk my teeth into the now famous three-pound lobster, my favorite dish, of course. Dimly lit with a modest and welcoming bar, I felt like I had stepped into someone’s home drawing room or library. Dining with friends had never been more spectacular. The food was some of the finest I had ever eaten. I sat in a booth absorbing the ambiance like a neophyte Angeleno. It was exciting and comfortable, all at the same time. That’s the way The Palm in West Hollywood will always be remembered, even as the restaurant served its final meals on Tuesday, September 30th.

The Palm Established 1926

I recently stopped in to enjoy my final meal at what will go down in my personal culinary history as one of my favorite restaurants of all time. It’s not just that my friend, the former good-looking leading guest-star actor of the 70’s, Dennis Cole, and I shared chardonnays and filet mignon there together and that his caricature is right in the front of the restaurant next to his former wife and Charlie’s Angel, Jacquelyn Smith. Nor is it the memories of eating 4 of the three-pound lobsters and enjoying 2 bottles of champagne with my second husband (and luckily neither having to drive). Nor the dinners with clients and friends and nightcaps after a local play. It’s more than just those memories. It’s the hospitality, the inviting personalities that greet you when you walk in the door no matter if you are an A-list celebrity or the guy or gal who loves LA and chooses to live there. It’s the servers that have been a part of The Palm family some for 10, 20 or 30 years. It’s the way they aim to please and welcome special requests like extra char on a filet, and asking the chef just how does he get those lobsters grilled to perfection yet not overdone? What a thrill to be invited into the kitchen — pre-professional-culinary-expert-days — to view his technique firsthand. It’s not just those memories; it’s the feeling of being in a place where you belong with perhaps a hundred other diners you don’t know. Those are the memories I will treasure.

I miss my friend, Dennis Cole

On my last visit, I sat down, in true Palm fashion, with my friend, Genevieve Morrill of the West Hollywood (WeHo) Chamber of Commerce and asked her to share what The Palm in West Hollywood has meant to her and to the City of WeHo. Right out of the gate she blared, “they are making a huge mistake, huge!” which I immediately flashed on another icon, Julia Roberts, in the film “Pretty Woman”. You know the scene. “The Palm is such an institution,” shares Genevieve. “All this nostalgia is going away.” I agree. Even though generations will be able to enjoy the new Palm in Beverly Hills, there is no re-creating the nostalgia experienced in West Hollywood. “This is the Melrose Triangle”, states Genevieve. The Melrose Triangle, she explains, is one of the most significant gateway developments between Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, both signature cities within the Los Angeles community, and both well loved by celebrities, visitors from around the world, and locals alike. “The Palm West Hollywood has been a relevant part of that era,” states Genevieve. “It will surely be missed.”
Crabcakes at The Palm

“But I don’t expect West Hollywood to crumble when The Palm closes,” Genevieve continued. “There is a big demand for locations here. West Hollywood is exploding with notable stars like Oprah, Drew Barrymore, and Will Ferrell establishing offices and more.” Add to the celebrity factor, high pedestrian traffic, spurring economic growth, and more parking development makes WeHo a community to contend with. West Hollywood is not just holding its own among dining and retail establishments but making its mark as a true destination for everything hip, tasty, and fun.”

The Three Pound Lobster at The Palm

While we will miss The Palm in West Hollywood, we will look forward to crossing through the Melrose Gateway into Beverly Hills to make new nostalgic moments at their new location. But, for Genevieve and others like me, we will hold dear to our hearts our memories of the first “west” palm location – The Palm West Hollywood. When I asked Genevieve what her favorite meal was at The Palm WeHo, a broad smile came across her adorable face as she replied, “lobster, of course! And the waiters – their professional career is to be your server! Where can you get service like that?!” And so, The Palm has closed and yet, lives on.

Bar beginnings at The Palm West Hollywood

Visit the new The Palm restaurant in Beverly Hills opening November 2014. >> ThePalm.com


Promo 4 Bikini Lifestyles “Wine, Dine, and Workout”

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Bikini Lifestyles Videos

Gourmet recipes, fun workouts, a splash of fashion… enjoy it all on Bikini Lifestyles with The Bikini Chef Susan Irby and co-hosts Denice Fladeboe and Steve Valentine.