I was recently lucky enough to spend a few days at the gorgeous Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows and get to know Santa Monica, CA, a place I’d been many times before—but this time it was different. This time after only a few days I was completely recharged, refreshed, and enchanted by my whole experience.
What’s fascinating to me is the rich history of the hotel’s property. “Miramar” (Spanish for “view of the sea”) was originally built in 1889 as the home of John P. Jones, who made his fortune mining silver and became the founder of Santa Monica. In 1921 the mansion was sold and began it’s affluent tenure as the Miramar Hotel.
Located high on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows has been a hideaway, home-away-from-home, and luxurious playground for Hollywood’s elite, as well as politicians and other discerning guests. Greta Garbo, Eleanor Roosevelt, Presidents John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton, and Charles Lindbergh have all been guests at the Miramar.
And to this day it remains a favorite of Gwyneth Paltrow, Calista Flockhart and Harrison Ford, Ron Howard as well as Shaquile O’Neal and Venus and Serena Williams, to name just a few of its many illustrious guests. (To read the full article, and see all the amazing photos, CLICK HERE!).
June 11, 2012 No Comments
Chef Ray Garcia’s FIG Restaurant, located at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows and named after the Moreton Bay Fig tree, one of Santa Monica’s oldest landmarks, is a seasonal bistro sourcing ingredients from the local Santa Monica Farmer’s Market and southern California farmers.
Chef Garcia has been kind enough to share these three delicious recipes ~ Red Beet Risotto, Warm Quinoa Salad with Orange Blossom Vinaigrette, and Strawberry Crumble. Just click on the (printer friendly) recipe images to enlarge. Bon Appetit!!
Chef Garcia is a firm believer in using the freshest local, seasonal ingredients and letting them shine with a minimum of fuss in the preparation. He works with local growers and producers and shops the world renowned local farmers’ markets to seek out the best. As a result, the food at FIG is a perfect complement to the understated elegance of the Miramar Hotel itself.
Be forewarned, with the wildly popular “FIG at Five”, this place is quite busy most nights. And for those with adventurous palates, there is a “FEED ME” option on the menu. It beckons you to let “Chef Ray prepare a dinner for your table with a combination of current FIG favorites and off-menu surprises.”
For more information about Chef Garcia and his famous FIG Restaurant, click here to read my article “A Santa Monica Getaway.”
May 9, 2012 No Comments
First, a little background about this spectacular location. The Republic of the Seychelles is made up of a group of 115 islands situated in the western Indian Ocean off the coast of Africa. Within this magnificent archipelago there are 41 mid-ocean inner granite islands and 74 low-lying reef islands and coral atolls.
The main island of Mahé, home to the international airport and the capital city of Victoria, is the main tourism center and boasts some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Originally settled by the French, the islands were ceded to the British in 1814, after Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo, and continued under British rule until 1976 when they achieved independence and became a republic. The rich and diverse culture of the Seychelles reflects the diversity of the people—Africans, Europeans, and Asians—who have settled there over the islands’ history.
One of the most charming and interesting spots I discovered was La Plaine St. André. Located in a 200-year-old, beautifully restored plantation house, there is a rum distillery, gallery, and newly opened bar and restaurant. There are guided tours of the Takamaka rum distillery and of the grounds, where a variety of herbs and medicinal plants are grown and you can see the ruins of the original plantation’s kitchen and boathouse. Then, when you’re done, relax and enjoy a lovely meal.
The owners of La Plaine St. André have been gracious enough to share two of their special recipes with me —one for a fabulous Bourgois Fillet (red snapper fillet) with passion-fruit sauce, accompanied by steamed vegetables, and an herb-butter rice. And the other for their special Creole Cervesa Mojito made with (the passion fruit is listed, but optional), mint leaves, lime juice, their Takmaka rum, and—yes—topped off with beer. (For more information about the Seychelles and stunning photos read my extended article here: The Seychelles, A True Island Paradise)
Bourgois is a large, local red snapper and is considered a special delicacy of the Seychelles archipelago. A wonderful way to enjoy this fresh and delicious meal, you can serve the red snapper drizzled in passion-fruit sauce with steamed, seasonal vegetables and herb-butter rice.
Ingredients You Need… [Read more →]
February 29, 2012 No Comments
As all the globe-trotting foodies know, the world famous The French Laundry had a pop-up restaurant at Harrods in London from October 1st-10th this month. This video gives you a sneak peak into the production, as the acclaimed head chef Thomas Keller speaks passionately about this “brilliant” and exciting challenge. Although I did not dine there (this time), I was lucky enough to get this menu (so I could share with you) and enjoy a glass of Moet’s Rose Champagne in their lovely French Laundry “terrace” while perusing all the fantastic cookbooks and specialty items.
October 13, 2011 2 Comments
This July Chef Andy Gold, Director of Student Affairs at The Institute of Culinary Education, will be leading a group of culinary adventurers on the trip of a lifetime to Vietnam.
For twelve days the group will travel from Ho Chi Min City (aka Saigon) to the Mekong Delta, the historic city of HoiAn and the former Vietnamese capital Hue, concluding their trip in Hanoi. They will participate in hands-on cooking classes, shop at local markets for Vietnamese ingredients, and enjoy meals prepared by outstanding Vietnamese chefs.
In addition to these culinary treats, the group will also visit historic sites throughout the country, take a Delta river cruise, spend the night at a Vietnamese family farmhouse, and even wet their feet in the South China Sea—and these are just some of the highlights. All accommodations are deluxe, with a driver and guides provided throughout the trip.
Chef Andy was my chef instructor for 3 levels when I attended the professional culinary arts program at ICE, I know that he will make this extraordinary trip a true journey to remember.
For more information about this incredible trip, call Maya Narula-Liao at 212-847-0736 or email Maya at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 5, 2011 No Comments
It’s been a long, hard winter and I can think of no better way to move into spring or summer than spending a week at Chef Gerri Sarnataro’s Cucina della Terra cooking school in the heart of Umbria thats near (the more well known) Tuscany.
Stay at a traditional country inn while you take hands-on cooking classes with a masterful chef and teacher and feast on fabulous meals featuring the freshest of local ingredients. Gerri was my own chef instructor at the The Institute of Culinary Education here in New York City, so I know first-hand what a truly great chef and teacher she is.
There are a few programs offered, throughout the spring, summer, and fall. The 8-day cooking and touring package* also includes a wine-tasting trip to Montepulciano, truffle-hunting in Umbria, visits to Orvieto and Assisi, and more. Or, if you prefer, you can customize your experience with a package that provides cooking classes in the mornings and leaves your afternoons free to sight see or relax in whatever way you choose.
All the classes are designed so that everyone from a novice to the most experienced cook will feel comfortable, be able to participate, and benefit from all that Chef Gerri has to teach.
*As an added bonus, Chef Gerri is offering a limited time promotion of $150.00 off the culinary program of your choice. Call (646) 761.8037 for more information or register online at www.CucinadellaTerra.com
April 7, 2011 No Comments