The late Dr. Robert Atkins, author of Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution
Richard Sandoval Spreads The Gospel of Modern Mexican Cuisine
by Carey Seet
New York Corner: Millesime
by John Mariani
Man About Town: Boca Raton Resort
by Christopher Mariani
GOOD NEWS! Esquire.com now has a new food section called "Eat Like a Man," which will be featuring restaurant articles by John Mariani and others from around the USA.
THE BEST RESTAURANTS FOR A BUSINESS MEAL
SPREADING THE GOSPEL
OF MODERN MEXICAN CUISINE
Ambitious, or spread too thin? Richard Sandoval builds his empire
by Carey Sweet
second. “Qatar,” he said. “Snowmass Village, Colorado.”
Gone are nearly all suggestions of the former Restaurant 162’, which opened in 2005. Sandoval’s crew wisely stripped the heavy drapes blocking the breathtaking views over Monarch Bay and replaced one partition with a dramatic, floor-to-ceiling kelp forest sculpture. Tablecloths have disappeared for an décor of hardwood flooring and patterned carpets reminiscent of reflections on water, accented by sleek furniture, a color palette of amethyst, platinum and celadon, and plenty of leather and velvet. It feels good, elegant, but not stuffy.
Coastal, emphasizing sustainable seafood and fresh, local produce,
some fruits, vegetables and herbs plucked from the resort’s new garden
next to the property’s tennis courts. Bringing
Sandoval’s vision to the plate is chef de cuisine Greg Howe (below), a Ritz-Carlton
Sarasota alum, and it's not unusual for him to visit tables,
the food and demonstrating the colorful parade of small
bites that march
along slender rectangular plates. The menu
gives you a true sense of place, eating Pacific seafood while
gazing at the sunset over the
Howe have some attention-getting plates like Pacific sea
paved with slabs of unctuous pork belly and the unexpected tart crunch
of nopalitos, amid the more
expected dishes like rack of lamb jazzed with a bit of
Mexican Kitchen &
Santa Monica Place
Domingo. Yet the two have worked together for seven years now, and this
approachable modern Mexican café marks the fourth location of
the La Sandia
margarita is gutsy but not too spicy, like a
splash of really fresh cucumber and lime ignited in the underburn of
and chile pequin salt. The
tequila sommelier also tempted me with some
pours, and I couldn’t say no to a rosado,
floral notes. She
also talked me into a sotol
with the idea being to sip it slowly like Cognac,
savoring the honey notes, then to cap it with a bit of orange slice
terra cotta-colored worm salt (yes, salt mixed with dried
Latin American specialty).
The original Zengo opened in Denver in 2004, garnering attention for its inventive Latin-Asian fusion approach to eating and drinking. Today, the concept still feels fresh enough, thanks to fun dishes such as Peking duck daikon tacos, where slices of Asian radish serve as “tortillas,” or chicken tandoori garnished with cilantro and mango salsas as a Latin substitute for coriander and mango chutneys.
Yet it likely
surprise anyone that Zengo is a mini-chain, with three other locations.
for 225 sprawls across a busy, nightclub-style landscape of teal
glazed red and lava tile, brown leathers and black concrete tile
with a curated wall of Asian tea tins, ceramic opium pillows, and
dishes, some of
satisfying creations are actually the most straightforward. I couldn’t
eating the excellent pork-mushroom gyoza
dunked in black vinegar-soy, while the tofu was positively
exquisite, deep fried to crisp exterior and a creamy
interior, bedded on Napa cabbage and kissed in lemon aioli and sesame
NEW YORK CORNER
For dessert consider the moist brioche with plum ice cream and Armagnac, the espresso pot de creme, or the apple crumple with lime crème fraîche. The profiteroles with hazelnut ice cream need some work and better chocolate sauce.
The wine list is sensibly assembled and priced, this, after all, being a brasserie, not a trophy-heavy haute cuisine establishment. Yet in the cooking of Manrique and executive chef Alan Ashkinaze you begin to realize that elaboration does not make a great cuisine. Tradition bolstered by modern interpretation does, and Millesime is a gorgeous testament to that.
Millesime is is open daily for lunch and dinner. Appetizers at dinner run $7-$15, main courses $17-$36.
BOCA RATON RESORT
501 East Camino Real
Boca Raton, FL
In way too many
cases, large resort hotels are known for
offering one premier restaurant, and a handful of mediocre eateries and
poolside snack bars, not exactly appealing to guests who may be staying
property for more than a few days. Such is
definitely not the case at the Boca Raton Resort
and Club, where
one can dine well at any of the hotel’s five new restaurants.
some sun, I dined at the resort’s
seafood-inspired Seagrille, located in the newly renovated
Beach Club property. The restaurant is
of a modern design with high ceilings, a spacious feel, green and white
chairs, hanging lanterns, and a spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean.
kitchen is run by executive chef Donna Wynter, who came from Kingston,
to start her training in NYC at the French Culinary Institute, then
to expand her food knowledge in Bangkok and Beijing, finally heading
the States to cook for Bill Clinton and many other famous faces before
down in Florida at the Boca Raton Resort, working under executive chef
Andrew Roenbeck. Wynter has put
together a menu that offers the freshest fish possible, grilled,
baked or cooked, however you like.
On my second night at the resort, I headed over to the Japanese-inspired Morimoto sushi bar, one of Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s signature restaurants, here run by executive chef Takao Soejima, who worked under Morimoto for two years at his original Philadelphia location.
I began my evening with a morimotini specialty cocktail, made with Belvedere vodka, jumai sake, and a refreshing slice of cucumber. I sat at the restaurant’s white marble sushi bar, lined with marine blue bar stools (with backs, thank God!), as I watched my sushi being prepared in front of a line of eight flat screen TV’s that displayed the image of an aquarium, actually deceiving one of my guests, who for at least five minutes was convinced that the digital fish were real.
The restaurant is small with only a handful of tables, and may require reservations during peak season, so do plan accordingly. The menu is filled primarily with selections of negiri and sashimi, all made with the freshest cuts of fish, including fatty tuna, salmon, eel, yellowtail, and Japanese striped jack. If I hadn’t eaten so much of chef Soejima’s delicious rock shrimp tempura served with a spicy kochujan aïoli, I would have attempted to try every roll on the menu. I did get a chance to taste the deep-fried soft shell crab maki, filled with asparagus, avocado, tobiko, and a spicy sauce, along with the barbecued eel and avocado roll; both had terrific textures and flavors.
was dining off property, a pleasant change of pace.
Appetizers $8-$28, Rolls $6-$15, and Sushi/Sashimi $3-$9.
$12-$19, Pasta $21-$30, and Entrees $26-$46.
Arriving at the resort’s Serendipity, which mirrors the NYC original on East 60 Street, I walked into what appeared to be the Willy Wonka factory: endless rows of cupcakes, ice cream, pastries, chocolate, sprinkles, éclairs, and the famous frozen hot chocolate, all displayed on massive ice sculptures and ice tables. I didn’t know where to begin nor where to end. As I filled my plate with chunks of fudge and miniature cupcakes I was being asked what type of ice cream sundae I would like to try. All the desserts were as good as they looked, and I walked back to my room that evening with a big smile on my face.
Throughout the meal, sommelier Roberto Colombi stopped by the table to help pair wines from his expansive and well-balanced wine list.
501 East—This is the sixth restaurant in the Boca Raton Resort, which I wrote about last October: www.johnmariani.com/archive/2010/101024/index
To contact Christopher Mariani send an email to email@example.com
✉ Guidelines for submissions: QUICK BYTES publishes only events, special dinners, etc, open to the public, not restaurant openings or personnel changes. When submitting please send the most pertinent info, incl. tel # and site, in one short paragraph as simple e-mail text, WITH DATE LISTED FIRST, as below. Thanks. John Mariani
January, Carnivale in Chicago will host
events to celebrate one million customers. Mojito
Mondays, Temperature Tuesdays, $15 gift certificates for diners more
culminate with a Las Vegas vacation giveaway. Call 312-850-5005
or visit carnivalechicago.com.
* On Jan. 17
in Philadelphia, R2L launches
lunch service, Monday-Friday. Chef
brings back the 3-martini lunch, and plates snacks and seafood, soups
salads, sandwiches and burgers, and signature mains in creative
Call 215-564-5337 or visit r2lrestaurant.com.
* From Jan 17
– Feb 15, Red Light in Chicago will preview new
Executive Chef Ryan Fowler’s menu with vegan and non-vegan $20.11 prix
menus. Call 312-733-8880 or visit red-light.chicago.com.
* On Jan. 20 in Chicago, Cityscape Bar, located at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza, will host their first "Vino with a View" wine sampling of the New Year. Hosted by Palm Bay International, guests will enjoy several varietals of wine along with an assortment of small bites. Complimentary. Call 312-836.-000 or visit cityscapebar.com.
Jan. 20 in Malibu Canyon
(Los Angeles) Saddle Peak Lodge
will host its first
food and wine dinner of the year featuring winemaker Stolpman
Vineyards of California’s Santa Ynez Valley. Chef Adam Horton
present a five-course dinner and exceptional wine pairings. $95
pp . Call
818-222-3888 or www.saddlepeaklodge.com.
* On Jan 21-22, Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows in Hawaii is partnering with the James Beard Foundation to present a culinary weekend featuring celebrity chefs Michael Symon and Jonathan Waxman and award-winning cocktail mixologist, Manny Hinojosa. VIP welcome reception on Friday evening and six course dinner on Saturday. $300 pp both events, $250 pp Saturday dinner. 720-201-1853 or visit www.celebritycheftour.com
* From Jan. 21-30 in Charlotte, NC, the Winter 2011 "Queen's Feast" Charlotte Restaurant Week will feature 83 participating restaurants offering 3 courses (or more) at dinner for $30pp. For menus and reservations, visit CharlotteRestaurantWeek.com.
Chicago, Terzo Piano’s Chef
Meg Colleran Sahs and Beverage Mgr. Ryan Paykert invite guests to
join them for a winter soup cooking demo. The class will teach guests
savory and wholesome soup recipes using fresh, local and seasonal
and drinks will be paired and served with each course. $65 pp. Call
* From Jan. 24 - Feb. 4, The Source by Wolfgang Puck in Washington, DC, will celebrate the Chinese New Year with a special 5-course tasting menu by Executive Chef Scott Drewno. The Source will offer a sneak peek on Jan. 19 with Chef Wolfgang Puck. $95 pp. 202-637-6100 or visit www.wolfgangpuck.com .
at Del Posto
in NYC, Mario Batali will
host a special dinner prepared by Dario Cecchini,
world famous butcher and chef (often referred to as the “Michelangelo
of Meat”), with Del
Posto Executive Chef Mark Ladner’s selection of hors d’oeuvres,
bellinis and Fontodi Chianti. The 5-course menu will be paired
from Fontodi. $200 pp. Call 212-497-8090.
* On Jan. 26th, Grand Central Oyster Bar in NYC, will host a 6-course Oyster & Wine pairing dinner led by Oyster expert Rowan Jacobson and winemakers from Andre Lurton, Barone Fini, and The Crossings. $60 pp. Call 212-490-6650.
* On Jan. 27,
The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards
in Livermore Valley, CA,
will host the
decadent Livermore Valley Winemaker’s Dinner featuring six wines from
area. Providing an exclusive experience and open forum
winemaker will be present to pair their wine with a six course menu
Executive Chef Eric Berg. $120pp. Call 925-546-2450 or visit wentevineyards.com.
*On Jan. 28, NYC's James Beard Foundation hosts a Grand Italian Winter Feast by LI, NY's Bohlsen Restaurant Group Corporate Chef Cornelius Gallagher and Wine Director Paulo Villela for Verace Restaurant. The 6-course wine dinner plus stuzzichini is $170 pp; $130 JBF members. Call 212-627-2308 or visit jamesbeard.org/?q=node/2553.
28,The Oregon Truffle
Festival and The Jordan
Schnitzer Museum of Art in Eugene,
host the film "SLOW:The Taste of Authenticity" by photographer Douglas
Gayeton as the inaugural event, with agronomist and international wine
judge Alessandro Mondello
guest chef Stephanie Pearl Kimmel; a
two-day truffle dog training seminar, truffle cooking, cultivating, and
wine-pairing lessons from acclaimed instructors and chefs, a
multi-course Grand Truffle Dinner prepared by celebrity chefs, and a
market place where local wineries/vineyards and truffle product vendors
display their bounty. Prices vary. 503-296-5929 or visit www.oregontrufflefestival.com.
Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in Chicago,
hosts a 5-course Revana Vineyard Wine Dinner with special guest and
Madaiah Revana. $125pp. 312-329-9463. FlemingsSteakhouse.com.
* On Jan. 30, in NY, NY, Chilifest 2011 will take over Chelsea Market as 25 chefs from around the city serve their chili creations and strive for the $2,000 grand prize. Chelsea Market, Dickson’s Farmstand Meats, and the Cleaver Company are the presenters of the event which benefits Food Systems NYC. Brooklyn Brewery will be providing all the beer for the beer hall. $30-40pp in advance or $35-45pp at the door. Visit http://chilifest2011.com.
* Jan. 30th, in Washington D.C., Eola Chef/ Owner Daniel Singhofen has teamed up with Ansonia Wines to co-host "Burgundy & The Beast", a four-course dinner featuring rustic preparations of wild game paired with beautiful, hearty burgundies from small production vineyards in France, hand selected by Tom and Mark Wilcox of Ansonia Wines. $85pp. Call 202-466-4441 or visit EolaDC.com .
* From Jan. 31- Feb. 4, Fedora Lounge in Chicago, IL, will hold “Tot Week” in honor of National Tater Tot Day. Each day of the week will feature a different dish starring tater tots incl. “Tachos” (nachos with tots instead of chips), “Buffa-Tots” (tots tossed in spicy buffalo sauce with shredded chicken and blue cheese crumbles) and “Tot-za” (pizza with tots as the crust). All dishes $7. Call 312-624-9008 or visit fedoraloungechicago.com.
Everett Potter's Travel Report:
I consider this the best and savviest blog of its kind on the web. Potter is a columnist for USA Weekend, Diversion, Laptop and Luxury Spa Finder, a contributing editor for Ski and a frequent contributor to National Geographic Traveler, ForbesTraveler.com and Elle Decor. "I’ve designed this site is for people who take their travel seriously," says Potter. "For travelers who want to learn about special places but don’t necessarily want to pay through the nose for the privilege of staying there. Because at the end of the day, it’s not so much about five-star places as five-star experiences." THIS WEEK: NASHVILLE; ST. PETERSBURG, FL.
Eating Las Vegas is the new on-line site for Virtual Gourmet contributor John A. Curtas., who since 1995 has been commenting on the Las Vegas food scene and reviewing restaurants for Nevada Public Radio. He is also the restaurant critic for KLAS TV, Channel 8 in Las Vegas, and his past reviews can be accessed at KNPR.org. Click on the logo below to go directly to his site.
Tennis Resorts Online: A Critical Guide to the World's Best Tennis Resorts and Tennis Camps, published by ROGER COX, who has spent more than two decades writing about tennis travel, including a 17-year stretch for Tennis magazine. He has also written for Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel, New York Magazine, Travel & Leisure, Esquire, Money, USTA Magazine, Men's Journal, and The Robb Report. He has authored two books-The World's Best Tennis Vacations (Stephen Greene Press/Viking Penguin, 1990) and The Best Places to Stay in the Rockies (Houghton Mifflin, 1992 & 1994), and the Melbourne (Australia) chapter to the Wall Street Journal Business Guide to Cities of the Pacific Rim (Fodor's Travel Guides, 1991).
The Family Travel Forum - A community for those who "Have Kids, Still Travel" and want to make family vacations more fun, less work and better value. FTF's travel and parenting features, including reviews of tropical and ski resorts, reunion destinations, attractions, holiday weekends, family festivals, cruises, and all kinds of vacation ideas should be the first port of call for family vacation planners. http://www.familytravelforum.com/index.html
ALL YOU NEED BEFORE YOU GO
nickonwine: An engaging, interactive wine column by Nick Passmore, Artisanal Editor, Four Seasons Magazine; Wine Columnist, BusinessWeek.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.nickonwine.com.
MARIANI'S VIRTUAL GOURMET NEWSLETTER is published weekly. Editor/Publisher: John Mariani. Contributing Writers: Christopher Mariani, Robert Mariani, John A. Curtas, Edward Brivio, Mort Hochstein, Suzanne Wright, and Brian Freedman. Contributing Photographers: Galina Stepanoff-Dargery, Bobby Pirillo. Technical Advisor: Gerry McLoughlin.
Any of John Mariani's books below
may be ordered from amazon.com by clicking on the cover image.
© copyright John Mariani 2011