Category Archives: Restaurants

Abri Tonkatsu Sandwich- Paris

Abri’s Tonkatsu sandwich is a satisfying, comforting weekend lunch option for those seeking a Japanese style, Tonkatsu (Pork Cutlet) sandwich with a slight French touch. For only 13 Euros, Abri serves this sandwich exclusively and this sandwich only on Saturdays during lunchtime with a choice of beverage and their complimentary petite dessert at the end. They have a nice selection of organic beverages including a sparkling lemonade which I ordered and very much enjoyed. The vibe is casual, friendly and comfortable for English speakers and Abri is also conveniently located extremely close to the Poisonnière Metro station. Just take exit 1, turn right up the stairs, walk up the street and it’s a minute away on the right side. When you see the blue framed glass entrance, you’ll know you’ve arrived.

Abri’s exterior with its bright blue framed entrance

I’m about to devour this sandwich. And although I’m in France, still not going to use a knife and fork for this one since it’s way more satisfying to taste all the flavors merged together in one big bite.

Perfectly toasted white bread sans crust filled with a meaty portion of pork katsu with cheese, kewpie mayo, mustard, omelette egg and cabbage.

Don’t you just love the way the sauce drips down the sandwich…

A light and spongy piece of Madeleine is served after the sandwich 

Abri’s Interior Space

Poissonière Metro station is only a minute walk away

ABRI 

92 Rue du Faubourg Poissonnière
75010 Paris, France
+33 1 83 97 00 00

*SANDWICH SERVED ONLY ON SATURDAYS FROM 12:00P.M.- 15:00 P.M.

 

Maguro Brothers Hawaii – Poke and Sashimi in Honolulu’s Chinatown

honolulu chinatown maguro brothers food fashionista

The first time I spotted a photo from Maguro Brothers on my Instagram scroll, I knew I had to visit. So fast forward a month later when I was on Oahu visiting family, I quickly put the address in Google maps and headed there for a late lunch. They close at 3:00 p.m. and it was already 2:15 p.m. by the time I was heading over, so was already off to a bit of a late start. As the GPS boldly announced that I arrived at my destination, I parked the car in Honolulu’s Chinatown, stepped out of the car, and then looked all around. I couldn’t find it. Where was it? It was now approaching 2:40 p.m. and I started to slightly panic. I set my mind and appetite on that unfiltered tempting poke visual for lunch and now there was a chance I was not even going to find this place. Ugh, a literal hidden gem, I thought.

mika-takeuchi-food-fashionista-maguro-brothers

Finally after pulling up a set of detailed directions on the web, I found myself in front of the Kekaulike Marketplace – Maguro Brother’s stand is located inside towards the center, back.

maguro brothers - food fashionista travel blog

As I entered, I let out a huge sigh of relief as I saw a clear ocean blue Maguro Brothers sign and approached a counter with giant slabs of fresh ahi tuna and hamachi (yellowtail) in a refrigerated glass case. There were also several made-to-order types of poke varieties listed on the menu to choose from. Now my only problem was going to be deciding what to order. It all looked and sounded inviting. I wanted to order everything.

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Mauro Brothers Junichiro and Ryojiro Tsuchiya

Brothers Junichiro and Ryojiro Tsuchiya originally from Kawasaki, Japan were both behind the counter running their team operation with one taking customer’s orders while the other was preparing the plates. In the tight, adjoining space were several small wooden tables for guests to sit down and enjoy their lunch. And although a modest environment, what came out of the kitchen is far from ordinary. Vibrant sashimi and poke on beds of rice, and cooked items such as grilled ahi belly and togarashi peppered ahi steak graced the tables. Customers looked happy and were digging gleefully into their lunches.

maguro brothers hawaii fresh poke sashimi oahu food fashionista

If you want to truly taste the beauty of what comes out of the local Hawaiian waters, first go for the raw and if you have more room, order the hot dishes. Just don’t take the chance like I did and go near closing time. It’s a hidden gem you surely won’t want to miss and as Honolulu’s Chinatown becomes more and more popular and gentrified, parking is a bit tougher and you want to arrive there early to grab some of the daily specials. On a recent follow-up visit, I added the fresh-caught uni (sea urchin) to my plate and natto (fermented soy beans) as well. The prices at Maguro Brothers are extremely affordable with the high-quality poke, donburi, and cooked items all priced below $11 before add ons. See chalkboard menu below and enjoy! Oh, and please say Aloha to a glorious Hawaiian sunset for me.

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This article, Maguro Brothers – Poke and Sashimi Lunch in Honolulu, Hawaii, originally appeared on Chowhound.

Maguro Brothers Hawaii

Address: 1039 Kekaulike Street at Kekaulike Market (stall #113) Chinatown, Honolulu, Hawaii

Phone: 808-259-6901

Hours: 

Monday – Saturday 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Sunday 8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Sanukiya – Japanese Food Cravings Fulfilled in Paris, France

Sanukiya, Paris France

All of us have our certain go-to comfort foods, so it’s no surprise that being originally from Tokyo, whenever I’m on the road or in a different country, I found myself craving Japanese food. I grew up in California so I also often find myself longing for those generously-sized Mexican burritos, but that’s yet to be found here…Thankfully in the world-class city of Paris, there are a multitude of international options if you find yourself in the mood for something other than “typical” French cuisine. One of my favorite Japanese spots for a quick and tasty casual bite is Sanukiya. There are often long queues, so it’s a fantastic spot for travelers who are dining solo, since just like many of the other Japanese restaurants in Paris’ nearby Little Tokyo, there is counter seating and a lone diner can often beat the lines and quickly slip right on in for their meal. Another bonus about Sanukiya, is that they are open straight through lunch and dinner so if you have jet lag or just feel like dining at 15:30 or 3:30 p.m. non-military time, they will be open.

Sanukiya, Paris France

Started off with some Agedashi Tofu

Sanukiya Paris France

After being in France for a while, I can’t even tell you how happy I was to reunite with my beloved katsudon (deep fried pork cutlet with egg over a bowl of steamed rice)

Sanukiya Paris France Food Blog

Japanese Omelette

Udon in Paris France at Sanukiya

Udon noodles are one of their specialities

Sanukiya Restaurant Paris France

View of the Open Kitchen

Tempura Donburi in Paris France Sanukiya

Bowl of Tendon (Tempura over rice)

Sanukiya Japanese Food Paris France

This article, Sanukiya – Japanese Cuisine in Paris, originally appeared on Chowhound.

Sanukiya

Address: Rue d’Argenteuil, 75001 Paris, France

Hours: · 11:30AM–10PM

Phone: +33 1 42 60 52 61

Nobu- Malibu, California

Nobu Malibu - Food Fashionista

Nobu Malibu is located on the picturesque Pacific Coast Highway and offers panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. On a warm Southern California day (which is quite often), it’s ideal for a relaxing day of lounging on the patio with a table spread of chef Nobu’s signature drinks and dishes. They also offer breakfast on Friday through Sunday.

Nobu Malibu - Food Fashionista

Glasses of Louis Roederer, Brut Champagne

Nobu Malibu - Food Fashionista new style sashimi

Nobu’s famous New Style Sashimi. See the recipe and make at home here: http://bit.ly/1O3Ojo9

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Lobster Shiitake Salad with Spicy Lemon Dressing – a must-order dish.

Nobu Malibu - Food Fashionista Mika Takeuchi

Being fed lobster isn’t a bad way to spend an afternoon. Just remember to bring sun glasses and wear sunblock if you plan on sitting on the patio. Although breezy, it can get toasty out there.

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Ocean view from the patio

 

Nobu Malibu

Address: 22706 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265
Phone: (310) 317-9140

Little Gem – San Francisco, California

Little Gem Salad

Little Gem in Hayes Valley is a big, bright neighborhood gem. They’ve only been open since December 2015, but it’s one of those places that makes me wish I lived even closer. I’d be there all the time – breakfast, lunch, dinner. It’s just the kind of vibe that makes you feel welcomed at “home”.

During the day, the contemporary space’s expansive windows shine a glowing natural light upon the entire restaurant interior. You order at the counter and are given a number on a pastel ombré piece of reclaimed wood before choosing a seat at a barstool or table.

The menu is gluten, dairy and sugar free. I tend to mostly cook this way at home, so even before my visit, many friends and colleagues asked me if I had tried Little Gem yet. They knew it was a place that mixed in well with my daily at-home lifestyle and I was pleased when I finally visited. The people and space had a sincere, warm energy and the menu ingredients are all mindfully sourced from local farmers and artisans. It’s always refreshing to have a place that shows healthy, high quality dining options can also be affordable and satisfying.

Founders Eric Lilavois, John DiFazio and Chef Dave Cruz were all physically and presently working at the restaurant behind the counter and in the kitchen during my lunch visit. Lilavois was most recently the Chief Operating Officer for the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group so it’s no surprise that Little Gem, although approachable and casual, had a clear and polished professionalism about it.

Little Gem Hayes Valley - Food Fashionista

Napa Valley Honey Lemonade prepared with local Marshall’s Farm Honey

Little Gem San Francisco Chef Dave Cruz

Window view of Chef Dave Cruz in the Little Gem kitchen. Before this new endeavor, Chef Cruz worked at several restaurants in New York and California including serving as the opening chef for Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc in Yountville.

Little Gem San Francisco - Food FashionistaGrilled Trumpet Mushrooms on Beans & Rice w Rancho Gordo beans, Tuscan kale,  tomato-bacon stew.

Little Gem Flat Bread - Food Fashionista

Mixed Vegetable Flatbread with caramelized carrots, cauliflower, broccolini, kale, almond-onion puree

Little Gem Salad

Asparagus & Radish Salad with pea shoots, soft boiled egg, romaine lettuce, celery, green goddess dressing and addition of King Salmon

Little Gem Hayes Valley

Little Gem

Address: 400 Grove Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone:    (415) 914-0501

Gyoza Bar – Paris, France

Gyoza Bar, Paris France - Food Fashionista

They focus on one thing and they do it well. Gyoza.

At Gyoza Bar, you’ll find the style of gyoza called yaki gyoza which are pan fried Japanese dumplings filled with ground meat and vegetables. Gyoza Bar gets its ground pork from star butcher Hugo Desnoyer. The exterior bottoms are slightly crispy and chewy while the interior is very hot and juicy, so be careful when taking your first bite. You may want to initially chew off a small bit at the edge and let some of the heat out so you don’t burn your tongue.

Gyoza Bar Paris, France - Food Fashionista

Gyoza Bar’s menu offers a choice of either eight or twelve pieces of Gyoza with a few additional menu items including rice, edamame, nitamago (flavored boiled egg) and soy. They also had two desserts which at the time I visited were from Passage 53 and Patisserie Ciel.

Gyoza Bar Paris France

And speaking of Passage 53, Gyoza Bar was opened by Guillaume Guedj and Chef Shinichi Sato of the Two Michelin-starred restaurant which also happens to just be a few steps down the passage.

Passage des Panoramas - Food Fashionista

Gyoza Bar 

Address: 56 Passage des Panoramas, 75002 Paris, France

Phone: +33 1 44 82 00 62

Website: GyozaBar.com

Alléno Paris by Yannick Alléno, Le Pavillon Ledoyen – Paris, France

Ledoyen Paviilion, Alléno Paris Champagne

Starting off lunch at Alléno Paris with Moët & Chandon, Grand Vintage Collection Rosé 1996 and a Yann Alexandre, Sous les Roses, Blanc de Noirs from  the wonderful Champagne cart. I would’ve been perfectly comfortable if it sat beside our table the entire meal.

Alléno Paris

Amuse Bouche from left to right:

Brioche Beetroot Bahn Bao  with wild black rice, seaweed jam, ponzu

Hibiscus Tuile with sweet onion cream and wild sorrel leaves

Yellow beet ravioli stuffed with mashed carrots and cumin seeds

Alléno Paris, Ledoyen Bread ServiceBread service at Alléno Paris…

Butter at Yannick Alléno Parisand the butter with choice of salted and unsalted.

Alléno Paris Iberico Ham

Iberico ham, iberico jelly, fermented rye bread mousse, kalamata olives

Yannick Alléno Ledoyen Paris Food Fashionista

This next course came in two components – “Unusual fine fish soup w marinated sardines” with a Dulce seaweed mayonnaise, red mullet on crushed ice with lemon zest and olive oil and…

Yannick Alléno Paris Ledoyen Fish Soup

Cappetlletti ravioli with butter and sole milk with dry sole skin salt

Ledoyen, Paris - Langoustine

Plain poached langoustine with bitter almond mousse in a tomato and parsley oil broth

Langoustine Paul Feybesse Ledoyen Alléno Paris

Yannick Alléno Cookbook Paris France

Chef Yannick Alléno’s massive cookbook with 500 recipes, 1,500 photographs, and over 1,200 pages greets you at the Ledoyen entrance

Alleno Paris Pike Mousse Food Fashionista

Pike fine mousse in Vienna bread with celery extract

Ledoyen, Paris - Dining Room View

The view from the main Allenó Paris dining room

Ledoyen, Paris - Lobster

Roasted blue lobster on a peppered olive oil with stewed green cabbage and slightly tangy turnip jelly

Food Fashionista Mika Takeuchi Chef Yannick Alléno Ledoyen

Chef Yannick Alléno during service at Three Michelin Star Alléno Paris at Le Pavillon Ledoyen

Ledoyen, Paris - Duck

Duckling cooked with malt presented tableside before being served in two various preparations…

Yannick Alléno Paris

Alléno Paris Relais Chateaux Michelin Guide

Paris mushrooms and liver tart with an eggplant beer

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The duck concludes the last of the savory courses and now on to dessert…

Ledoyen Paviilion, Alléno Paris

Map of Paris adorns the walls in one of the private Pavillon Ledoyen rooms

Chef Paul Feybesse - Alléno Paris

Sous Chef Paul Feybesse was the French regional finalist for S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015.

Alléno Paris Desserts

Aloe soaked with dates and vanilla, yuzu & jelly, Candied Mango with hay, arabica tuile and Milk Mousse with piemont hazelnut, saffron orange

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Black sesame meringue with strawberries and shiso chlorophyll

Ledoyen, Paris - Coconut Dessert

Surprise coconut in a meringue with strawberries . One of my favorite desserts from 2015. The “shell” was edible and made with chocolate.

Alléno Paris, Ledoyen Mignardises

Coffee, tea and mignardises conclude our meal at the Relais & Châteaux Alléno Paris

Alléno Paris Ledoyen Kitchen Food Fashionista

In the kitchen at Alléno Paris at Le Pavillon Ledoyen

Ledoyen Paris France

All photos from summer 2015

Alléno Paris – Pavillon Ledoyen 

Address: 1 Avenue Dutuit, 75008 Paris, France

Phone: +33 1 53 05 10 00

Website: yannick-alleno.com

 

Celebrate Grower Champagne Every Monday at 1760 – San Francisco

1760 Inside-3

1760 Restaurant Wine Director Gianpaolo Paterlini and I share something special in common. We both have an intense passion for bubbles. So fortunately for myself, and everyone else who loves drinking the sparkly stuff, Gianpaolo and the restaurant host Grower Champagne Monday every week in San Francisco,– when all bottles of Champagne are 20% off.

For those of you curious what Grower Champagnes are, they are sparkling wines made in the Champagne region of France. They are produced by the same estate that owns the vineyards from which the grape comes, in contrast to using grapes sourced and blended from a variety of vineyards. Think of Grower Champagnes as the farm-to-table of sparkling wines – rich in terroir, unique and complex.

The evening I was at 1760, the neighborhood Polk Street restaurant’s bar and tables were full of locals and industry folks enjoying dinner with their bottles of bubbly.

Order some bites from Chef Carl Foronda’s menu, and relish in 1760’s eclectic and extensive Champagne list and you’re all set. Mondays in San Francisco just got a whole lot better. Cheers and à votre santé!

Here are a few of the bites and bottles we enjoyed on our 1760 Grower Champagne Monday visit…

imageCôte de Blancs – Veuve Fourny & Fils, Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut 2008

imageMushroom Tempura. celery root. meyer lemon oil. dill

imageVallée de la Marne – Moussé Fils, Champagne Blanc de Noirs Brut ‘Special Club’ 2009

imageRoasted Baby Carrots. tamarind-lime. crispy mung beans

imageMontagne de Reims – Jean Lallement, Champagne Brut ‘Tradition’ NV

imageCavatelli. mushroom-fennel. charred broccolini

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Vallée de la Marne – Laherte Frères, Champagne Rosé de Saignee Extra Brut Les Beaudiers NV

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“If I could only drink one type of wine for the rest of my life, it would definitely be Champagne. I love Nebbiolo and Riesling and the incredible complexity and diversity they both offer, but for me, Champagne trumps them both. Especially Grower Champagne…” – Gianpaolo Paterlini, 1760 Wine Director

 

For more info, visit Growers Champagne Mondays 

See 1760 Restaurant’s Champagne list HERE

 

(first and last photo credit: Wes Rowe)

Farmers Market Luncheon at Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest

Manresa Cooking Demo GourmetFest

Even after the last course was served, guests couldn’t stop talking about the Farmers Market Lunch at Relais & Châteaux’ GourmetFest in Carmel-by-the-Sea. With a four-course menu from a quartet of well-accomplished chefs from California, Vermont (United States) and Sapporo (Japan) it was a highly motivating reason to wake up that breezy, beachside morn

David Kinch Cooking Demo Relais Chateaux GourmetFestPrior to the luncheon, Chef David Kinch (Manresa) presented a cooking demo and book signing at La Playa Hotel’s well-manicured courtyard where he walked guests through the components and preparation of his signature “Into the Garden” course in the outdoor Gaggenau kitchen. During the session, he shared insightful thoughts on current matters in the restaurant industry including the growing concern of American diners requesting to make menu modifications, that are non-health related, but strictly out of personal tastes. He said that on a nightly basis, they’ll often have to create seven different menus in addition to the one he has in place for his restaurant because of these adjustments. For a chef of a restaurant with a staff/guest ratio of 35 to 50 mentioning that this is an apparent issue, it must indeed be a concern that many restaurants and chefs are now facing. In fact, later at the GourmetFest luncheon I witnessed a guest who had requested vegetarian for their courses, but then was eating the beef from the person’s plate next to them. Considering how much extra work, time and cost goes into making these changes in the kitchen, it’s an interesting subject that I’m sure will soon have to be confronted.

Chef David Kinch Relais Châteaux

During the demo Q&A, an audience member asked Chef Kinch how he felt about having recently attained three stars in the Michelin Guide. He emphasized the great honor, responsibility and importance of being in the guide and mentioned that the star recognition has led to an increase in nightly guests from Europe and Asia to his South Bay restaurant. He said that back in the day he was curious about having his restaurant in San Francisco, but now truly believes that there is nowhere else he’d rather be than in Los Gatos. And along with the thrill and excitement of having been awarded three stars, he shared how terrifying it can be since from here you either stay at three or go down. He shared a past conversation in which Chef Joel Robuchon told him, “Michelin has given us stars for the moment – they are on loan. We do not have them.”  That sentiment has resonated with him until this day and reminds and inspires him daily to know that just because you attain the Michelin stars, you must continually work hard and evolve with your team to maintain them and not ever take them for granted.

Manresa David Kinch Into the Garden Relais Châteaux GourmetFest

First Course: Chef David Kinch (Manresa)’s “Spring Vegetable ‘Royale,’ Into the Garden”

During the demo, we witnessed Chef Kinch misting nasturtium powder on the cool, warm, raw, vibrant, “green and bitter” dish that is served as the second course on Manresa’s tasting menu. At the restaurant, this dish is specifically paired alongside a beer within the optional beverage pairing.

Crocker & Starr Sauvignon Blanc, St. Helena 2014

At GourmetFest, the “Into the Garden” dish was paired with Crocker & Starr Sauvignon Blanc, St. Helena 2014

David Fink Relais Châteaux Gourmet Fest Carmel

Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest Founder David Fink at the Farmers Market Luncheon

Nathan Rich Twin Farms Relais Châteaux GourmetFest

Second Course: Chef Nathan Rich (Twin Farms)’ Hambsch Farm Head Cheese with Beetroot, Vermont Cheddar, Apple, Mustard Seed and Twin Farms Maple Syrup – I never thought I’d enjoy head cheese this much, but one can never say never.

Charles and Rose Ann Finkel, Franz and Angela Inselkammer

Charles and Rose Ann Finkel (The Pike Brewing Company, Seattle) and Franz and Angela Inselkammer (Brauereigasthof Hotel Aying & Ayinger Brewery, Bavaria )

Ayinger Celebrator Brewery

Chef Rich’s exqusitie Head Cheese course was paired with both the Ayinger Celebrator and the Pike Post Alley Porter beers. I appreciated that the festival showcased the featuring of high-quality beer pairings as a match with fine cuisine.

GourmetFest Carmel

Chefs from Aubergine (Carmel) and Molière (Sapporo) collaborating In the kitchen above. During the entire GourmetFest, all the local and visiting Relais & Châteaux chefs worked together to prepared and plate the courses out as a team. The family spirit was very high and present in the kitchen.

Restaurant Molière Wagyu Beef GourmetFest

Hokkaido Wagyu on a bed of pine presented and served tableside for the third course from the Restaurant Molière team from Sapporo, Japan. Chef Hiroshi Nakamichi’s son Hirokazu has been working at Noma for the last year and a half and mentioned to me that he was inspired to present the Wagyu with the pine due to his time spent at Noma.

Restaurant Molière Sapporo Wagyu Relais Châteaux GourmetFest

Chef Hiroshi Nakamichi (Restaurant Molière)’s Hokkaido Wagyu Fliet with Charred turnip, and Wasabi paired with the local Bay Area Mount Eden, Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains 2006.

Relais Châteaux GourmetFestThe desserts are coming…

Stephy Prida Dessert ManresaChef Stephanie Prida (Manresa)’s Satsuma Creamsicle with Fennel Fronds and Graham Cracker
Williams Selyem, Gewurztraminer GourmetFestDessert was paired with Williams Selyem, Late Harvest Gewürztraminer, “Vista Verde” Tres Pinos 2014 

Stephy Prida and Nathan Rich Relais Châteaux GourmetFest Carmel

Chef Stephy Prida (Manresa) and Nathan Rich (Twin Farms)

Angela Inselkammer Mika Takeuchi Food Fashionista GourmetFest Carmel

Clean plates and huge smiles are a true indicator of a successfully executed meal. A glass in each hand is also a good sign that you are thoroughly enjoying the beverage pairings. Earlier in the day at the demo, Chef David Kinch talked about how “dishes that are well balanced linger in people’s minds.” All four courses of the Farmers Market lunch delivered that goal with chefs exceeding expectations with each of their presented dishes and the winemakers and breweries harmonizing a well-matched pairing for each.

 

For more information, visit GourmetFest Carmel and Relais & Châteaux

 

Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest at Carmel-by-the-Sea

Chef Michel Bras Olivier Roellinger Relais Châteaux GourmetFest

The third annual Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest returns to postcard-perfect Carmel-by-the-Sea on the weekend of February 25-28. And as in previous years, you will find the most illustrious names in food and wine descending upon California’s Monterey Peninsula. This year’s culinary celebration will feature 17 Relais & Châteaux chefs from around the world participating in a total of 18 unique events spread throughout the weekend. In addition to the showcased gastronomy, carmaker BMW will have some of their newest cars on display during the occasion; and several renowned wineries will be pouring rare vintages.

Relais Chateaux GourmeFest

Pastry Chef Liz Miller Blackberry Farm Ron Mendoza Aubergine

Pastry Chefs Liz Miller (Blackberry Farm) and Ron Mendoza (Aubergine) during the plating of Milller’s dessert course of Strawberries, Coconut Meringue, Crème fraiche Ice Cream and Candied Pecans at the GourmetFest 2015 Grand Women Chefs & Winemakers Luncheon 

Relais Chateaux GourmetFest Blackberry Farm

Festival founder and L’Auberge Carmel Proprietor David Fink will be hosting along with the stellar local team at Aubergine, the restaurant at L’Auberge Carmel led by Executive Chef Justin Cogley and Pastry Chef Ron Mendoza. Keeping with tradition, Relais & Châteaux’s GourmetFest will be headlined by several three star Michelin chefs with a 2016 lineup including David Kinch (Manresa, Los Gatos), Joshua Skenes (Saison, San Francisco), Michel Troisgros (La Maison Troisgros, Roanne, France) and Hiroshi Nakamichi (Restaurant Molière, Sapporo, Japan). There aren’t many places where you’ll be able to experience the cuisine of these international culinary masters up close and personal and all in the same location, but once again, you will have that special opportunity soon in Carmel at GourmetFest.

Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest

With an abundance of food and wine festivals these days, Relais & Châteaux has done an exceptional job of curating a  standout event that delivers only the best of the best in food, wine and luxury brands for a festive, high-quality wining and dining weekend. There is also an online auction where you can bid on several of Relais & Châteaux’s most extraordinary properties. The auction will benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Carmel Chamber of Commerce and the CSU Monterey Bay hospitality program.

For a sampling of what you can expect at this year’s GourmetFest, here are some more photo-worthy highlights I captured at last year’s R&C GourmetFest weekend:

La Playa Carmel Relais Chateaux GourmetFest

La Playa Carmel was the setting for the Opening Party

Chef Tetsuya Wakada Relais Chateaux

Chef Tetsuya Wakada & team plating their Salad of Aburi Alaskan Salmon w Daikon & Myoga 

Tetsuya Wakada

Chefs Olivier and Hugo Roellinger Relais Chateaux GourmetFest

Chefs Olivier & Hugo Roellinger served Oysters with Cured Lemon and Morita Oil sharing the spirit and spices of their seafront Brittany property, Les Maison de Bricourt with its vicinity near the bay of Cancale and its oyster farms. They will be returning to the 2016 GourmetFest cooking together at the Father & Son’s luncheon. 

Chef Olivier Roellinger Oysters Relais Chateaux GourmetFest

Carmel by the Sea SunsetCarmel-by-the-Sea and the Monterey Peninsula not only offer incredibly beautiful nature views year round, but a variety of the freshest, locally-sourced seafood which you’ll be able to enjoy while in the area.  

Ernst Loosen - Dr Loosen Wines

German Winemaker Ernst Loosen (Dr Loosen)  is all smiles in Carmel 

Chef Justin Cogley Aubergine Carmel Relais ChateauxChef Justin Cogley (Aubergine) serving Rainbow Trout with Seven Herbs and Smoked Trout Roe (below) at the Opening Night Welcome Party. 

Chef Justin Cogley Aubergine Rainbow Trout

relais chateaux gourmet fest

Chef Francis Wolf (Le Hatley Restaurant at Manoir Hovey)’s Panna Cotta of Cultured Goats Milk, Sweet Clover, Arctic Rose Flat Oatcake, Green Alder Candied Beet and Birch Syrup paired with a 1990 Philippi Barrel Aged Auslese at the Cuisine and Wines of the World Dinner at Seventh & Dolores.

Chefs Michel Bras Olivier Roellinger Relais Chateaux GourmetFest

Legendary Chefs Michel Bras (Bras) and Olivier Roellinger (Les Maisons De Bricourt) discussing their game plan for the dishes at the much-anticipated and sold out Taste of France luncheon.

Michel Bras Relais Chateaux GourmetFest Carmel

Chef Michel Bras’ L’endive Farcie, parfum de truffes paired with a 2008 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the Rhône Valley

Olivier Roellinger GourmetFest Carmel

Chef Olivier Roellinger’s St. Pierre “Retour de Indes” – Hommage to the 18th Century French Mariners paired with a 2011 Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair Moulin-A-Vent, Beaujolais 

relais chateaux gourmetfest women and wine lunch

The All-Star Team at the Grand Women Chefs & Winemaker’s Luncheon

Gaja Wines GourmetFest Carmel

2005 Gaja Gaia & Rey Chardonnay Langhe from Piedmont, Italy was paired with Chef Annie Féolde (Enoteca Pinchiorri)’s Risotto with Prawns, Licorice Powder and Asparagus Marinated in Red Wine (below).

Chef Annie Feolde Risotto

Relais Chateaux GourmetFest Carmel

Pre-lunch cooking demo at the Gaggenau Demo Kitchen at La Playa Hotel’s courtyard featuring 3 Star Michelin Italian Chef Annie Féolde and team from Enoteca Pinchiorri.  

Chef Lanshu Chef (Le Mout Restaurant) Relais Chateaux

Chef Lanshu Chen (Le Moût Restaurant) plating her Pigeon with Yilan Style Pork Liver, Chantrelles & Lapsang Souchong Tea paired with a 2012 Wayfarer Vineyard Pinot Noir from Fort Ross-Seaview, Sonoma County, California and a 2012 Chappellet Pritchard Hill Cabernet Franc from Napa Valley, California. 

Lanshu Chen Pigeon Relais Chateaux GourmetFest

Relais Châteaux Taste of The World

View the entire Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest schedule here, which includes these standout events for 2016:

Welcome Party (Thursday, February 25): The must-attend event of the weekend. This strolling dinner shines a spotlight on world-class Relais & Châteaux chefs – including all four Relais & Châteaux three star Michelin chefs – at stations paired with famed wine estates and beer & spirits producers and luxury vendors.

• Rarities Dinner (Friday, February 26): An extremely limited, 10-course dinner meal-of-a-lifetime prepared by three Relais & Châteaux three star Michelin chefs: David Kinch of Manresa, Joshua Skenes of Saison, and Michel Troisgros of Troisgros. This spectacular dinner is parked with rare wines directly from the Chateau, Domaines and Estate cellars.

• Wild Mushroom Hunt & Lunch with Ranger Chuck Bancroft (Saturday, February 27): Retired Point Lobos Ranger Chuck Bancroft and his team of mycologists lead guests on a wild mushroom hunt through the pristine 20,000-acre Santa Lucia Preserve in upper Carmel Valley. Following the hunt will be a sumptuous wild mushroom lunch prepared by the Preserve’s Host Chef Jerry Regester and Relais & Châteaux Chef Matt Zubrod of The Little Nell with accompanying wineries pouring rare vintages from Galante Vineyards and Dawn’s Dream.

• Father & Sons Lunch & Michel Troisgros Cooking Demo (Saturday, February 27): Delight in a lunch prepared by two iconic French father and son chefs, Olivier and Hugo Roellinger of Les Maison de Bricourt and Michel and César Troisgros of Troisgros. The lunch, paired with some of the most highly sought after wines made in France including Chateau Grillet and Domaine d’Eugenie and finished with the wines of Napa Valley superstar Araujo, is preceded by a cooking demo in the Gaggenau Demo Kitchen and Champagne Taittinger reception.

• Taste of the World (Sunday, February 28): Experience a “strolling Route du Bonheur” in which wines, many from local Monterey County wine estates, are paired with bites from Relais & Châteaux properties from all over the world.

For more information and to purchase tickets to the 2016 GourmetFest, visit:

Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest

carmel by the sea sunset

…and while in Carmel-by-the-Sea, make sure to take in the magnificent sunset. This photo was captured a few minutes before last year’s GourmetFest began. Absolutely magical start to an unforgettable weekend.