Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Previewing the Nantucket Wine Festival

It's almost time for the ultimate New England island-style food and wine celebration. It's almost time for Nantucket Wine Festival. I recently got to preview some of the food and wines that will be at the 5-day celebration up at State Room, with a view of the Boston Harbor (you'll be getting a different harbor view on Nantucket!)

Nantucket Wine Fest Preview
The Nantucket Wine Festival will take place on May 18-22, 2016 and will feature over 50 events including various tasting seminars, breakfast on the harbor, and grand tastings in which over 600 wines will be poured.
Nantucket Wine Fest Preview

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Modern Mexican Finally Hits Long Beach with Playa Amor

The newest hot spot for Mexican food in the LA area is in Long Beach, but Playa Amor doesn't just serve great, traditional Mexican dishes. What sets it apart for me is Chef Thomas Ortega's own modern take on it, like what you will find with his Mole tot poutine (tater tots, mole negro, queso, cress, cilantro, onion, $8.50)

Playa Amor

I've actually had a slightly different version of this a couple of years ago at Thomas Ortega's other restaurant, Amor Y Tacos in Cerritos. I feel that he's improved the dish even more since I like it even better now.

You may find the ubiquitous Charred brussel sprouts with a touch of Mexican flair with some cotija, lime juice, red wine vinegar, smoked jalapeno remoulade ($8.75)
Playa Amor

On the other hand, you'll also fine very well executed versions of more typical dishes like the Shrimp ceviche (Mexican shrimp, pico de gallo, citrus juice, jalapeno, garlic aioli, cabbage, cotija, corn tostada, $12).
Playa Amor


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Marrying Elegance and First Nations Culture at Wendake and Restaurant La Traite (Quebec, Canada)

Wendake in Quebec is a special place. Wendake is the reservation of the Hurons-Wendat people, who have built a hotel, museum, and restaurant of the First Nations people (Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations). While the Native Americans in the USA tend to have casinos as their means of income, Wendake is very different. It's an elegant hotel that I feel really embodies the values and traditions of the first nations people, while incorporating modern comforts and amenities.

Wendake
The primary draw for me, of course, is the restaurant La Traite, which serves a modern take on first nations cuisine. We first made our way to the lounge for a tasting of their signature cocktails, which are named after the biggest clans of the Huron-Wendat. Some of these contain traditional ingredients like wild blueberries or labrador tea, and one is made with Ungava gin, a Canadian gin made with many unusual, traditional herbs!
La Traite
Since it's too difficult the type out the names with the proper accents, here's a photo of the cocktail menu:

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