Food, Wine, Travel Magazine—October 2020

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October 2020

meet the chefs issue 1



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letter from the editor I fell in love with the idea of travel before I traveled anywhere. As a child growing up in boring (to my eyes) northeast Ohio, I rarely had the chance to go anywhere other than a zoo or lake about an hour from home. A visit to my aunt in Buffalo, New York, was as exotic as it got, especially if we stopped for dinner at a little Italian restaurant in the hills around Oil City, Pennsylvania. Never could I have imagined that one day I would ride a bike through a Caribbean rainforest, stand in Winston Churchill’s war room, or walked the streets of the Italian village where my grandparents played as children. If you talk to most travel writers, you will probably hear a similar story. They would also tell you that they have learned there is magic everywhere, even in those towns they once saw as boring. Henry Miller once said, “One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.” I think we’d all agree with that, too. In this issue of Food, Wine, Travel Magazine, we present you with new looks at a variety of destinations around the world. Join us as we travel from Carmel, Indiana, to Bangkok, Thailand and Hollókő, Hungary to San Miguel Allende, Mexico. Let us introduce you to Halkidiki in Greece, Lake Eyre in Australia, and Wilmington in North Carolina. Stay with us in the small hotels of Palm Springs, and eat with us in Shanghai and Abruzzo and Pittsburgh. Discover why we love the Willamette Valley and Japan and Fredricksburg, Texas. Our hope is that our words and photos open the door to new worlds for you. As a side note, I want to let you know that our writers live and work all over the world. You may notice, therefore, that some of the spellings or word uses are a little different as the writers use their authentic voices. It’s all part of the adventure, after all. We hope you enjoy the journey.

Christine Cutler | Executive Editor Amy Piper | Managing Editor Debbra Dunning Brouilette | AssociateEditor Noreen Kompanik | Associate Editor Irene Levine | Assistant Editor Jan Smith | Assistant Editor, Columns Robyn Nowell | Marketing Manager Paula Shuck | Marketing

Magazine Layout & Design Christine Cutler

Editorial Board

Debbra Dunning Brouilette David Drotar MaryFarah Jan Smith

David Nershi Robyn Nowell Amy Piper Irene Levine

Contributing Writers/Photographers L.M. Archer Debbra Dunning Brouillette Robin Dohrn-Simpson Noreen Kompanik Kathy Merchant Susan Montgomery Nancy Mueller

Christine Cutler MaryRose Denton Mary Farah Sharon Kurtz Linda Milks Lisa Morales Amy Piper

All articles & photographs are copyright of writer unless otherwise noted. No part of this publication may be reproduced without express written permission. Christine Cutler Executive Editor


Editor: IFWTWA: Marketing: Visit our website:

On the cover: Brownie Decadence Photo ©Laura Frank Hale


Food, Wine, Travel Magazine is an official publication of the International Food, Wine, Travel Writers Association.

Table of Contents 3 From the Editor 6 Spanish Cuisine Flourishes in Southern California 12 Q&A with The Kilted Chef, Alain BosSE 16 Catching Up with Chef Geoff Gunn of Oregon’s Bridgewater Bistro 19 Meet Chef Holly Smith of Cafe Juanita 22 Q & A with Karuna Long at Seattle’s Oliver's Twist 25 TJ’s Seafood Market and Grill, A Family-Owned Fixture in Dallas 29 Artfully Executed Italian Food in Miami Satisfies Travelust Urges 32 Noah Cooks...And More! 36 Farm to Table at the Farmstead:Chef Lauren Reed Takes Farm-to-Table Dining to a Whole New Level


42 Serẽa Coastal Cuisine: Exquisite Sea-to-Table Coronado Dining 44 Chef Cedric Fichepain of Le Voltaire Restaurant in Omaha 46 Luxurious Coastal Getaway: At the Helm

Hotel & Pub 48 Poisson Cru at Faré Hoa Beach Bar & Grill, Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora 51 Garden Kitchen Restaurant and Patio: Supporting a Small, Local, and Farm-to- Table San Diego Eatery 54 3 Omaha Restaurant Chefs Share Their Secrets for a Great Steak 58 Changing the World for the Better, One Meal at a Time 61 Chef Cristina Martinez on Being a Big Fish in a Small Pond at Taos’ Di La Tierra 64. Let’s Talk Italian Wine


6 Seafood Paella ©EuropaVillage

Spanish Cuisine Flourishes in Southern California By Susan Montgomery



hile our traveling options are limited right now, you can still experience the vibrant tastes and traditions of Spain at Bolero Restaurante, which recently opened to rave reviews (including my own) in the Temecula Valley Wine Country about an hour northeast of San Diego. The restaurant is located in Bolero Cellars, developed by the Europa Village resort group as part of a multi-winery resort complex. I recently had the good fortune to enjoy a breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Bolero and each meal was exceptional. David Townsend, Bolero’s Food and Beverage Director, emphasizes the uniqueness of Bolero’s menu in Southern California and praises the talents of Executive Chef, Hany Ali, and Executive Chef de Cuisine, Luis Sandoval, for their development and execution of Bolero’s enticing and authentic dishes. A superb culinary team Bolero has a superb culinar y team. David Townsend ha s mana ged such prestigious restaurants as those at The Rancho Bernardo Inn and at the La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla. Executive Chef Hany Ali, who is a native of Egypt, has worked at celebrated hotels and restaurants all over this country. He has always prioritized farm-fresh vegetables and exhibits this passion in the dishes he prepares at Bolero.


Much of the produce and herbs used in Bolero dishes has been harvested the same day from Bolero’s own gardens. Executive Chef de Cuisine Luis Sandoval brings more than 20 years of culinary experience to his role at Bolero, where he created the overall menu concept. Prior to coming to Bolero, Chef Sandoval held culinary positions at Marriott International hotels, the Royal Caribbean, Disney, and Princess Cr uise Lines. David Townsend points out that Chef Sandoval looked for dishes that represented both humble foods from r ural regions of Spain to artistic representations of more modern gastronomy. A lovely lunch at Bolero This culinary team’s efforts have resulted in some special dishes. During lunch on a lovely summer day, we sat on Bolero’s spacious patio as we sipped a nicely chilled Spanish white wine. We were impressed to learn that while Bolero serves the winery’s own estate-produced wines, it also offers a variety of wines imported directly from Spain. With our wine, we relished a variety of tapas, including a well-known Spanish treat called Smoked Salmon with Crispy Cone—salmon served in a cone topped with Manchego cream and chives. Other dishes we enjoyed included a unique Leeks and Asparagus Salad with a tomato vinaigrette; a luscious Jumbo Crab Salad served

with baby green beans and a raspberr y vinaigrette; a decadent Chilled Lobster Salad with perfectly tender, fresh lobster; Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops in a savory Romesco Sauce; and a juicy El Matador Burger made with beef and chorizo, topped with crispy shallots and parsley aioli. Paella highlights our dinner Our next visit to Bolero included a luxurious overnight stay in a private casita, but first we savored a delicious dinner. We had a group of five who were all salivating for Bolero’s famous paella, but we started with a variety of drinks, including icy, dry martinis and a traditional Spanish sangria. We enjoyed our drinks with an array of tapas. The Ceviche was beautifully prepared with shrimp, whitefish, calamari, and citrus. The tender Octopus Salad was enhanced with onions, tomatoes, and avocado. We loved the Catalanstyle Pan de Cristal—toasted bread with garlic and tomato—and found the Watermelon Salad with pine nuts and goat cheese to be a refreshing palate cleanser before our entrees. Everyone at our table ordered Mixed Seafood and Spanish Chorizo Paella, made with shrimp, scallops, mussels, and whitefish, all mixed with Saffron-infused Bomba rice, Piquilla peppers, and sweet peas. We loved the tableside preparation of


this much celebrated, traditional Spanish dish. I have made my own paella and have also enjoyed it at a variety of restaurants, but this was among the very best paellas I have ever tasted with its combination of unique flavors that melded together so well. (Now you can make this wonderful dish too. See Bolero’s Seafood Paella recipe at the end of this article.) We enjoyed our dinner with a wonderful bottle of a bold, tangy 2015 Bolero Tempranillo, which complemented our paella so nicely. There are many other appealing dishes on the Bolero menu, including Roasted Chicken with Grilled Sweet Corn and Mustard Greens, Roasted Whole Red Snapper, Flat Iron Steak with Crispy Shallot Onion Rings, and the tempting, three-pound Tomahawk Steak. Food a n d B e v e r a g e D i r e c to r D a v i d To w n s e n d emphasizes that all the ingredients in Bolero’s dishes are of the highest quality. For instance, their beef comes from a rare breed of cattle called Piedmontese, which is originally from Italy but is now also being bred on a small farm in Nebraska. This wonderful beef is flown directly to Bolero’s kitchen. Townsend says, “There is no substitute for the tender and distinctive beef flavor these steaks offer.” Photos (left-to-right: Leeks and Asparagus Salad ©tvm2020; Smoked Salmon with Crispy Cone ©tvm2020; Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops ©tvm2020; Executive Chef Hany Ali ©Europa Village; Preparing Paella Tableside ©tvm2020;

A luxurious casita experience and then breakfast After dinner, we strolled to our nearby casita. We loved warming up at the flickering firepit in the courtyard, while roasting s’mores over the fire. Later we slept so peacefully in our cozy beds with silky smooth imported linens. Our casita had every amenity we desired, including a coffee maker, large flat-screened TV, luxurious bath products, and a huge, modern walk-in shower. Bolero has 12 stylishly furnished casitas that offer guests ambiance and comfort. After our serene night of peaceful sleep, it was a glorious morning to bask in the sun on Bolero’s patio. I was so glad they could make me a spicy Bloody Mary to enjoy with our imaginative breakfast appetizer—Beggar’s Purse Crepe, an adorable little crepe gathered together (like a purse) so it could hold housemade Nutella and fromage blanc (white cheese), surrounded by berries. Next I savored the Serrano Jamon omelet made with flavorful, drycured Spanish ham and a creamy cheese, but there were several other enticing omelet options.

The Europa Village concept Europa Village has exciting plans for the future of its multi-resort concept. You can already visit the Prelude to C’est La Vie and Vienza tasting room, which was the first phase of the resort’s European Village concept and where we have enjoyed many wonderful wine tastings over the years. Bolero is the second phase and Europa is now starting to build its next wine village, Vienza Winery Resort and Spa, focusing on Italy. Eventually Europa will create a third winery resort, C’est La Vie, with a French c o u n t r y s i d e t h e m e . D a v i d To w n s e n d emphasizes, “The concept of walking among our ultimate presentation of three wineries and countries will be unlike anything in the world.” Bolero Restaurante is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Reservations are strongl y encoura ged, especial l y on weekends. The Catina at Bolero is also a pleasant place to dine for a more rustic, casual dining experience. Wherever you go at Bolero Cellars you will feel that you have experienced a bit of authentic Spanish culture. You can make reservations online or by calling 951-414-3802.

Photos (left-to-right): Luxurious Casita Bed ©tvm2020; Serrano Jamon Omelet;


Recipe Bolero’s Seafood Paella Ingredients: •

2 cups Bomba rice

pinch of saffron threads

3 oz Spanish chorizo

4 oz Spanish white onion

1 red bell pepper

2 oz extra virgin olive oil

2 oz fresh minced garlic

6 oz scallops

6 pieces of mussels

6 oz shrimp

1 qt. shrimp broth

2 oz green peas

2 oz sliced red peppers

fresh flat parsley for garnish



In a paella pan with olive oil, sauté the minced onions until brown. Add minced garlic, bell pepper, and tomato. Let them cook until they are incorporated.

Add Spanish chorizo; stir until the fat is rendered.

Put the rice and saffron in Mixed Seafood and Spanish Chorizo Paella ©tvm2020 a bowl and add a pinch of salt. Mix well and incorporate it to the paella pan, stirring so the fat from the chorizo and other flavors will coat the rice.

After a couple of minutes, start to pour a third of the hot shrimp broth around the edges of the pan and mix gently. Let the broth cover the rice and let it cook until evaporated.

Once the liquid is evaporated, repeat the process until the rice is almost cooked and finally add the shrimp, mussels, seared scallops, sliced red bell peppers, and green peas. Let the seafood cook.

After the rice is cooked, cover with foil and let it rest for approximately 8 minutes. Then sprinkle some chopped flat parsley and extra virgin olive oil.

Q&A with The Kilted Chef, Alain BosSE By Amy Piper


lain Bossé, the Kilted Chef, and I met at the Nova Scotia South Shore Lobster Crawl in January, where I was privileged to be of the judges in a Lobster Roll Challenge, and he was the emcee. I caught up with Chef Bossé to find out how he was doing since the pandemic hit, and share his story with you. Your heritage is French. How did you become the Kilted Chef? I’m New Brunswick French; however, I’ve spent most of my career in Nova Scotia. The small town that I reside in, called Pictou, is the b i r t h p l a c e o f Ne w Scotland. In 1773, the first wave of Scottish immigrants settled this area. When my daughter was in her early teens, she was part of an all-girls pipe and drum band. At that time, I was managing a local resort and restaurant. They approached me about doing a fundraising auction. The girls thought it would be fun if I wore a kilt along with my chef tunic. Oh, and they would pipe me into the dining room. That is how The Kilted Chef came to be. It would still be several years before it became a company and a registered trademark. You have a custom tartan. What do the colors represent, and how does your custom tartan represent you? Originally, when I started working as Atlantic Canada’s culinary ambassador, I’d have to wear a different kilt when representing each region, so the idea to have a tartan that I could wear


everywhere was born. Going into it, we did not realize just how intensive the process is. Each color in the tartan must have a meaning. Once we established that, the idea went before a Scottish Board, and they decided whether the tartan could be approved and registered. In our case, the colors have a lot of meaning for me. The red represents the lobster, a commodity that I work with a lot, and the black represents mussels. The white represents the chef ’s tunic. The green has two meanings. It represents agriculture and the land, but it also represents the New Brunswick forest, the place where my father made his livelihood. The blue represents the ocean and its bounty. Finally, the yellow represents the star on the Acadian flag, an important part of my heritage. When one thinks of a chef, a restaurant chef or a personal chef comes to mind. One of your roles is Atlantic Canada’s Culinary Ambassador. What does that entail? As Atlantic Canada’s culinary ambassador, I have the privilege of representing local producers, processors, and food artisans from a region at various platforms around the world. If a company from Nova Scotia is presenting their product to the Chinese market, they may feel that it’s beneficial to bring a chef along so that prospective clients can see how to use the product and how versatile it can be. Being Atlantic Canada’s culinary ambassador is also my mantra. For me, it means that no matter

Photos (left-to-right): Fishing Village, Nova Scotia; Chef Alain Bosse; Fresh lobster

and then expanding outward. Find the location that is closest to you and make that your local.

where I travel, I will always use local ingredients whenever possible. I understand you love to use local ingredients. If one lives in a warm-weather climate, it’s easy to understand. But how do those of us in cold weather climates manage to use local ingredients in the winter? I think it’s become extremely trendy to eat local. People love the idea of going to the Farmers Market and filling hemp bags with fresh produce and taking it home. Don’t get me wrong, I support this movement wholeheartedly, and I’m incredibly grateful that it has gained the popularity that has. But if you live in rural Nova Scotia and it’s February, and there’s four feet of snow on the ground, there’s not much for sale at your farmers market, and one can get quickly get tired of carrots and turnips. At this point, you need to expand your idea of local. Perhaps you don’t have lettuce in your “backyard,” but maybe there’s a farmer at the other end of the province with a greenhouse. He’s now your local. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is; no one in my hometown is ever going to grow lemons successfully. But I can get lemons that come from the other side of the countr y in Vancouver. So compared to California, Vancouver is my local. I hope people embrace the idea of starting in your backyard


What new ingredient are you using? The province recently approached me to begin an experimental project that would find a way to market green crab. Green crab is not indigenous to Nova Scotia, but the population is growing at an alarming rate. Extremely prolific, it destroys vulnerable ocean habitats. Green crab eats the plankton and seaweed that’s home too many smaller creatures. Traveling on the hulls of ships coming into our waters, it found its way to the shores of Nova Scotia. The green crab can’t be allowed to multiply however, if we’re going to ask people to go out and harvest it. There needs to be an end goal, and an incentive to do so. If we could develop a market for the green crab, it could be part of our fisheries program.

Describe two or three of the exciting food trends. I think one of the biggest food trends that we’re seeing right now is a return to comfort food. People are seeking simplicity; I believe that over-handled dishes are slowly phasing out. As I mentioned, eating local is also trendy. However, I see this moving from the trend category into “the way of life” category, which is exciting. How are you incorporating these trends into your cooking? When COVID hit, we suddenl y found ourselves with an awful lot of time on our hands. Most of our business involves large numbers of people gathering in one spot, and that quickly phased out. To keep ourselves occupied, we decided to do a 3 p.m. live Facebook show called The COVID Kitchen. Part of our mandate was to teach people to cook with what they had in the fridge or the pantry, without running to the grocery store for specific ingredients. That was a significant part of the pandemic management in Nova Scotia. We were encouraged to make one trip a week to the grocers.


RECIPES Nova Scotia Naked Lobster with Potato Salad Chef Bossé created the dish that follows to enjoy a typical Maritime lobster dinner in a single bite or two. In Nova Scotia, lobster is almost always boiled, but steamed lobster is becoming more popular. He prefers it boiled in heavily salted water to give it that fresh-from- the-water flavor. Once cooked, serve the lobster chilled with hot butter, quite often, but not necessarily clarified.

Many people are in the habit of stopping at the market on the way home from work and picking up ingredients for that night’s supper. It was important for us to present recipes that offered multiple substitutions so you could still make the dish if you didn’t have the exact ingredient. We started with basic recipes where chances were good that people had that ingredient in their pantry.

Typical accompaniments are potato salad and homemade rolls. It may all sound a bit old fashioned, but some things are not to be toyed with! This culinary delight is often served outside on a patio or picnic table because no selfrespecting maritimer serves their lobster preshucked. Kids learn how to get into a lobster at a young age. The tools provided are a lobster cracker for breaking the claws and a lobster pick for getting the meat out of those hard to reach places.

We thought the show might be entertaining to family and friends, but we were shocked to see the audience grow exponentially in a short time. We noticed early that keeping recipes quite simple and basic, choosing foods that comforted people during a difficult time, our audience base stayed high. When we tried to veer away from that, into what some would consider higher-end recipes, that audience base lessened—a good indicator that people are looking for simplicity.

One of Chef Bossé’s favorite things to do is to travel all around the world, promoting Nova Scotia’s amazing seafood, and he wanted to give people a chance to experience what he described above, and this recipe does exactly that. The lobster is butter-poached, so it’s moist and succulent, and the potato salad includes a bit more of the meat, so you get to taste the decadence. It’s been an extremely popular dish at the cooking adventures he holds six times yearly on his farm in rural Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Naked Lobster Traditionally, in Nova Scotia, lobster is served cold, dipped in hot butter outside on a picnic table, and the potato salad is one of the most popular accompaniments. This is the best of both worlds. Fresh Nova Scotia Lobster 1 lb Fresh Lobster Claws or Tail ¼ lb Melted Butter Candied Bacon ½ lb Diced double-smoke Bacon 3 tbsp Maple Syrup Sauté in a pan until nice and brown. Place the bacon bits on a paper towel and dispose of the bacon fat. Add bacon back to the frying pan for a few seconds and incorporate 3 tbsp maple syrup. Bring to a boil then remove from heat. Potato Salad 4 Boiled Potatoes, drained, smashed ½ lb Chopped Lobster Meat 3 Kosher Dills, finely chopped 2 tbsp Dill Pickle Juice 1 Celery Stalk, finely diced 1 Shallot, finely diced ½ cup Red Peppers, finely diced ½ cup Yellow Peppers, finely diced ½ cup Mayonnaise 2 tbsp Chopped flat-leaf Parsley ¼ tsp Smoked Paprika


Salt and Pepper to taste In a large bowl, toss all ingredients and let cool for about 1 hour. To assemble, place lobster potato salad on the base, then sprinkle with a few pieces of maple bacon and finish with a bit of cold lobster dipped in hot butter, garnish with microgreens. Old-Fashioned Grilled Lobster Roll 6 Hot Dog buns 3 oz soft Butter 1 pound (500 g) Lobster Meat- chopped 2 tbsp Mayonnaise ¼ cup Diced Celery Pinch of Salt Pinch of Pepper 3 oz Spinach Butter hot dog bun on both sides, then grill on both sides. In a bowl, mix the lobster meat, mayonnaise, celery, and salt pepper to taste. Open your grilled bun and place ½ oz spinach per bun. Spoon the lobster mixture onto the center of the hot dog bun and serve— traditionally with potato chips.

Photos (left-to-right): Whole lobster; Cooked lobster; Cooked mussels

Catching Up with Chef Geoff Gunn of Oregon’s Bridgewater Bistro By Mary Farah


ecause I’m gluten-free, road trips can be tricky. While I’ve certainly had some misses, I’ve had many more hits. A highlight will always be my trek through the Oregon coast into Washington. Oregon is an eclectic, hip state with several menus listing where your dish was actually sourced. A perfect example of a restaurant dedicated to meeting your needs is Astoria’s Bridgewater Bistro. I arrived in Astoria eager to find the filming locations of Kindergarten Cop, one of my favorite movies from the 1990’s. Little did I know I’d leave with a new favorite place to dine. Overlooking the water and stunning AstoriaMegler Bridge, Bridgewater Bistro was born over 15 years ago. At that time, the quaint port town was a bit down on its luck. Fishing had gone to Alaska, and there was not much livelihood left in Astoria. That is, until the bi-centennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition. The excursion that had found the explorers heading from St. Louis to the center of the Columbia River, which just happens to surround Astoria. Bistro owners, Tony and Ann Kischner, knew an opportunity had knocked. With nearly a million visitors expected to hit town from 2004 to 2007, the culinary husband and wife duo knew those coming to town would want more than just a fast food burger. Thus, Bridgewater Bistro was born. ,Ann an accomplished pastry chef, was shocked to discover that ongoing digestive issues were being caused by gluten. Instead of hanging up her


apron, she got to work creating a remarkable menu of gluten-free dishes at the bistro. While many restaurants offer gluten-friendly options, common “off limit” items like clam chowder and decadent desserts are solely available gluten-free. Bridgewater Bistro’s chef, Geoff Gunn, works closely with Ann to deliver the dynamic dishes the bistro is famous for. I was thrilled to catch up with Chef Geoff and learn more about him and his path that led him to Astoria.

passion are lost.
 What brought you to Astoria and Bridgewater Bistro? Starting at Bridgewater was amazing. I could finally express myself openly. It was a perfect canvas for my exploration of food. We really pushed the envelope of dining in this area. It was something you could relate to but haven't seen in most places around here. Local and tropical, locally harvested and foraged mushrooms, berries and herbs paired with fish from our own waters as well as beautiful fish flown in overnight from Hawaii. No limits!

When and where did your culinary career begin? 
 It started in 1993 when I worked as a bus person at Duke's Waikiki. I saw the kitchen and all the commotion and crazy talk. I said,"This is for me!” I stayed mostly in front of the house for quite a fe w years. After a while I got a chance to work with a few master chefs and realized that's my calling.
 What was a turning point in your chef's journey? I can't say there was one decisive "calling.” Working with some amazing chefs and tasting their food made me think, “Maybe I can do this.” I've learned from master chefs of many culinary disciplines and backgrounds to help me grow . I am so thankful for all the knowledge they have gracefully given to me. It truly is our job to teach the younger generation. If not, the skills and


What’s your kitchen pet peeve? My biggest pet peeve is short cuts. Don't rush it. It needs to do its thing. It needs time. Let it mature at it's own pace. Food needs to find it's full potential without you forcing it. Be patient. 
 After a long day in the kitchen, describe your perfect meal and drink? My favorite meal after shift is pollo pibil with mustard greens and polenta, a nice shot of tequila and a beer. It's on our menu, by the way. What is your advice to aspiring chefs out there? It's a very hard time we are going through right now. Embrace the struggle your entire staff is d e a l i n g w i t h . Tr y to u n d e r s t a n d a n d b e compassionate of their needs and the needs of your guests. Look for people who can really be accommodating.

Photos (left-to-right): Chef Geoff; The bar; Deck dining

RECIPE Bridgewater Bistro Clam and Mussel Chowder This delicious chowder was a favorite at the Kischner’s Shoalwater Restaurant in Seaview, Washington, for 27 years, and has quickly made addicts of guests at The Bridgewater as well. Serve with a good bread (Ann’s birdseed bread is a good option), a crisp salad, and a bottle of Mt. Baker Viognier for a meal you won’t soon forget. Ingredients 2.5 pounds manila clams 2.5 pounds mussels Steam together in 1 cup of water just until the shells pop open. Shuck, reserving the cooking liquid and meat. 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced into 1" cubes, parboiled to half done 1 large yellow onion, diced 1 stalk celery, diced 2 Tb. butter 1 28 ounce can of organic tomato sauce 2 cups heavy cream

1 ½ tsp. dried basil 2 tsp. curry powder salt and pepper, to taste Directions Saute the onions and celery in the butter until the onions turn translucent. Add the cooked potatoes and toss to coat with the butter. Over medium heat, add the tomato sauce, cream and reserved mussel and clam liquid, stirring well. Add basil, curry, salt and pepper. Simmer for 35 minutes, stirring frequently from the bottom to prevent scorching. Add the mussels and clams. Heat through and serve. Bon Appetit!

Photos: Bar looking upriver; The chef no the deck


Meet Chef Holly Smith of Cafe Juanita
 By LM Archer


ward-winning Chef Holly Smith opened Cafe Juanita in Kirkland, Washington, in 2 0 0 0. A Ja m e s B e a r d B e s t C h e f Northwest 2008 winner, the Maryland native attended Baltimore International Culinar y College before moving to Seattle in 1993 to work for Tom Douglas at the Dahlia Lounge. Founding Cafe Juanita provided Holly the freedom to combine her love of Northern Italian food with her commitment to local, organic, and sustainable Pacific Northwest products. Chef Smith recently spoke to me for Food, Wine, Travel readers. What was the impetus for starting your own restaurant back in 2000? I wanted to create a restaurant I wanted to go to something personal. I wanted the chance to create and have creative control over the whole experience. Why the focus on Northern Italian cuisine? I wanted to focus on a cuisine, and had always felt an affinity and respect for Northern Italy. I began researching when I first started a business plan about two years before Cafe Juanita opened, and that research got me hooked.

How do you go about choosing your food and b e v e r a g e purveyors? Which comes first, the products, or the menu? My gut is to say that the ingredient comes first always. Usually, I am dreaming about an ingredient I expect to see in the next month or so, and then it goes from there. We are fortunate to be in an area where we have so many farmers, and great native products. I also think everything from our eggs, great pastured lamb, and organic wheat for our bread - all make the Pacific Northwest a stellar place in which to cook, and to eat. We try to work with people with the same motivation, to find and share the best products possible, and support artisans. I am always interested in getting as close to the source as possible, and we buy many things directly from the producers whenever we can— making for a fresher product straight to our door, versus stopping at a broker in between. How did winning the James Beard ‘Best Chef Northwest’ award in 2008 impact your culinary career? I have been very lucky. Since that win, I’ve been fortunate to cook with the Beard Foundation at charity events around the country, as well as the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit, and other events. So, exposure is one benefit.

Photos: Cafe Juanita © Lara Swimmer; Chef Holly ©Robin Marie


We have since been nominated many times for ‘Outstanding Restaurant in the US,’ ’Outstanding Service in the US,’ and ‘Outstanding Chef US.’

Each of these nominations always creates a buzz, which I assume correlates to some increase in business, although I couldn’t say how much. Cafe Juanita excels at the art of being ‘at table.’ What sort of choreography goes into running a James Beard award-winning restaurant? We try to think of every detail, and discuss it from all angles. In normal times, 28 people work in our modestly-sized home. From the moment you make a reservation, to the door closing as we say good night, we care about every bit of your experience. Our team works together to question everything w e a r e d o i n g e v e r y d a y, striving to improve the tiniest processes for refining, improving, and making the experience great for our guests. We continue to build in redundancies to catch mistakes, and triple-check ourselves. We touch the guest so many times from the reservation, confirmation, and our daily fresh talk where we go over every reservations notes with staff, to the hand-off from host to server, and then ser ver to kitchen - each of these comm u ni c a t i o ns ha ve been tweake d a nd discussed for the WHY, so we are all on the same page, and working towards the same goal. For me, it is also important that my team all know that they are empowered and trusted to take care of a guest - always. How has COVID-19 impacted your restaurant? We closed on March 13—four days before the state mandate to close. Over that weekend, I created an online store for the pickup concept At Home with Cafe Juanita that I had been planning to open in the event of a closure.


We had begun to stockpile filled ravioli, gelato and sorbetto, so I took what we had in food inventory and wrote a menu. We had our first

pickups at 2:30 PST in the afternoon on the first day of state-wide closure on March 17t. I had to lay off 21 staff—but kept them on insurance— ultimately applying for and receiving a PPP (Paycheck Protection Program loan) in the first round. We’ve had to lay most of them back off but we do have nine people employed now. I decided about two months ago that I would not reopen for in-house service until we are postvaccine. This has been graciously supported by the whole team - during PPP we paid them to stay home, and had them take online classes with our wine director. My goal in the beginning—and even now—is to o f f e r a C a f e Ju a n i t a experience at home. So, you are not taking a dressed salad or a hot dish home, but we have made it so an 18-ounce veal chop with patate al forno ripiene, chanterelles and local French beans is ready to enjoy in about 15 minutes at home, heating instructions included. Guests have been celebrating special occasions, and even baking bread!” Anything else that you think is important for readers to know about Cafe Juanita? I hope that people see that what we offer is tied to our experience. I have always been committed to learning - from people, and from events. I have no doubt that we will be a better restaurant because of this pandemic. I know I have learned so much through this already. It is a horrible thing, but we will grow. When we return, it is even more important that we are very clear that the health and safety of the team must come first. I have always strived for this, but we can always be better. We are expensive, but not only do we buy the best products, we are generous with them - and my staff have full medical and dental and supplemental insurance, 401k and paid vacations. This needs to be the norm, not the exception. There are different ways to impact this outcome that don’t shortchange employees or the business.

RECIPE Cafe Juanita Belgian Endive Salad Serves 4 4-6 heads Belgian endive (dependent on size and appetite) 1 cup walnuts - lightly toasted and cool. 1/4-1/2 cup anchovies, best quality, drained of oil. 3 lemons (washed,1-ounce juice, zest of most all) Optional - avocado. Extra virgin olive oil Walnut Anchovy Salsa Pulse walnuts in food processor quickly to break up into even small pieces. Rough chop anchovies on cutting board, then add to processor. Pulse quickly until walnuts and anchovies are same size. Note: Do not turn into a paste. Add 2 ounces olive oil and pulse to combine. Taste and add chopped anchovies if necessary, for seasoning. Remove into a bowl and add olive oil as necessary to be able to drizzle salsa. Add generous amounts of. micro-planed lemon zest. Taste and add salt if desired. Note this salsa varies with different anchovies, quantities are variable accordingly. This can stay refrigerated two-three days. Add additional zest as needed.

Herb Citronette 1-ounce lemon juice (use lemons from above ingredient list and make walnut salsa first, so you harvest zest before making citronette) 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard. ½ cup packed mixed herbs (whatever you have and love: flat leaf parsley, basil, chervil, tarragon, mint, and chives.) Approximately 3 ounces extra virgin olive oil. Kosher salt to taste. Make a loosely emulsified vinaigrette. Adjust to your taste. This will provide balance to the dish, so adjust acidity as necessary. For the dish Remove approximately 3/4 of an inch from the root end of 3/4 of the endive and begin to separate each leaf. Hold in mixing/salad bowl. Keeping root end intact, cut remixing endives in half lengthwise. Heat a sauce pan over medium high heat. Add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add endives cut side down. Turn them over and season in pan with kosher salt. Turn them back cut side down. Season the backside. Cook until deeply caramelized. Remove from a pan onto a lined sheet tray or plate caramelized side up and cool. Remove root and separate leaves. Combine fresh and roasted Belgian endive and dress with herb citronette. If desired, add avocado pieces now and then arrange on a plate. Finish with a generous drizzle of the walnut anchovy salsa.

Photos (left-to-right): At Home with Cafe Juanita; Cafe Juanita dessert ©Junko Mine; Cafe Juanita Orecchiette ©AntoinetteBruno


Q & A with Karuna Long at Seattle’s Oliver's Twist by Nancy Mueller


very neighborhood needs its own version of “Cheers,” a local bar and eatery where ever yone knows your name. Happily, tucked into a cozy section of Seattle’s Phinney Ridge neighborhood, lies mine, Oliver’s Twist. Without doubt, the global pandemic has been devastating for those in the bar and restaurant industry, including Oliver’s proprietor, Karuna Long. Ye t w i t h g r i t a n d d e te r m i n a t i o n a n d t h e loving support of family and friends - “Thanks, Mom!” here’s the tale of how this speciality craft cocktail bar is transforming its brand through the food and flavors of Long’s cultural heritage.

small shared snacks. We are primarily a cocktail bar and a large percentage of our revenue is just that. However, I put together a think tank with my four employees along with a few regularsturned-close friends and we brainstormed the evening after covid-related closures were mandated by Governor Inslee.

Long story short, we all agreed that pivoting to a Cambodian take-out program was worth a shot as we’ve held previous Easter “popup” dinners featuring the food of my family’s heritage and they have been wildly successful and well-received. After that meeting, I took a couple of weeks off and spent time with Karuna, what’s your title my brothers, Routhana a n d r o l e a t O l i v e r ’s and Ritche (our prepTwist? I am the owner-operating cook) and we hovered m a n a g e r. I a m a c r a f t all over our mom at her Chef Karuna Long @KarunaLongPhoto cocktail bartender by trade, home as we took in but since the pandemic every morsel that she began, I’ve been thrust into the role of chef and c o u l d t e a c h u s . We s p e n t a l o t o f t i m e cooking with my brother, Routhana Long, who is documenting every recipe she was able to show us m y S o u s C h e f. My p a r e n t s a r e f r o m t h e as she didn’t have any finalized recipes for her Battambang province of Cambodia and escaped dishes. We had to portion them out to scale since the heartaches and destruction caused by the she cooks by taste, as most traditional Cambodian Khmer Rouge in the beginning of the 1980s. parents do. Since the pandemic, my love for my mom’s (Sophon “Kimberly” Long) cherished dishes have come forth into a new light. How has Oliver’s Twist adapted to the changes brought on by the pandemic? At first, our future looked bleak considering the My brothers and I never got to meet our state cocktail laws had not yet been eased and our grandfather’s (both sides of the family) as they original food program was minimal with a lot of were executed back during the Khmer Rouge


regime. Growing up, all of our relatives and cousins on both sides of the family have always revered our mom as the best cook amongst all the adults across both families, so gaining inspiration from her seemed so natural, and she often credits how amazing her father was when it came t o c o o k i n g . My brothers and I hope that we can continue to carry my parents’ legacy in the kitchen. It’s the closest we could ever get to f e e l i n g l i ke w e Chicken Curry knew our grandfather whom we never met. Tell us about the new menu. Our menu features the staple ingredient K r o e u n g (pronounced krooh-ung) which consists of lemongrass, galangal, garlic, kaffir lime leaves, lime peels, palm s u g a r, salt, turmeric, raw honey, olive oil and soaked dried mild red chile. Kroeung is often found in a lot of dishes and the word literally Coconut Milk Pork Bowl translates to “ingredient.” How kroeung is used in various dishes will differ and often requires additional spices/herbs/etc to the kroeung, but the result and profile is astounding.


Our menu also features a lot of gateway items that showcase Khmer cuisine and are still friendly to new-comers such as the Bobun (vermicelli dish traditionally served cold) or the Ka-ree (curry) and the Kha Sach Chrouk (braised pork belly). Our goal was to not just thrust the very traditional dishes that showcase the vibrant aromatics and pungent flavors immediately as we wanted to gauge our community’s interest as well as slowly guide them into our culture. As the Fall & Winter seasons loom, we are excited to bring on the more rustic, classic flavors of the staple dishes, soups and stews that have warmed the homes of so many Khmer homes. What do you hope customers will take away from their experience with the new menu? My hope is that not only would there be an appreciation for Cambodian food, but that folks would be interested in learning about the cuisine and its culture dating back to the Khmer Empire. A lot of folks love Thai and Vietnamese cuisine but have never had Khmer cuisine. I think that if folks came to learn that the Khmer Empire predates the aforementioned cultures, Khmer

(Cambodian) people, their cuisine and culture wouldn’t be so vastly underrepresented outside of the heavilypopulated Khmer communities. I’m hoping to be able to carry the torch to represent the Khmer culture through our food using a community fi x t u r e s u c h a s Oliver’s Twist as the very vessel to do so. What’s your most indispensable kitchen tool? A good stone mortar and pestle. If you are ever in a Cambodian household and they don’t have one, I might have to take away their “Khmer card”. = What’s your idea of the perfect meal? As my partner, Audrey would say, likely anything our mom cooks. In all honesty, a perfect meal that’s very well prepared as an easy answer but to me, any meal shared with those you love and enjoy your time with and allows for shared stories is perfect. Especially a meal that you and those that are about to enjoy it share cooking duties together. It’s something that I’ve always cherished growing up. You could never go a Khmer family gathering without seeing a kitchen with so many involved hands, from kids to adults. What are your plans given all the uncertainty related to the pandemic? I’m still taking it day-to-day, week-to-week. In a perfect world, I’d be open for operation and dinein so that folks can have a place to come back to and enjoy their staple cocktails and imbibe with their loved ones. However, I feel a large sense of

responsibility to my staff, friends, family and the community by continuing to operate as best without putting anyone at risk of getting coronavirus. Before the pandemic, the plan was to open up a Cambodian restaurant next door to Oliver’s Twist sometime in 2021, but at the moment, it’s on hold. With my new blog, I am just excited to use this newfound attention that Oliver’s Twist has helped grow with our Cambodian food by creating a space that folks can come to to not only learn about out culture, history and cuisine, but to also al low folks to connect with my personal experiences growing up Khmer in America and how it may or may not parallel my parents and their lives back in Cambodia. I used to play jazz piano & trumpet as well as teach kids piano. The dream when I was younger was to teach elementary school level music. I sang in a lot of gospel choirs and the artistic side of me was heavily influenced by our dad being a fixture in the Khmer music community and our mother being a traditional Khmer dancer. I still hold onto a dream to put together a jazz/orchestra bandstand and curate all the classic songs from my parents’ youth back in Cambodia and put together a whole arrangement and concert event. I’m also aspiring to put together Southeast Asian Street Fe s t i v a l w i t h t h e h e l p o f t h e P h i n n e y Neighborhood Association sometime in the future to bridge the cultural gap between north and south Seattle. Fo r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n ,

Photos: Oliver’s Twist; The Alaska; The Last Word




TJ’s Seafood Market and Grill, A FamilyOwned Fixture in Dallas By Sharon Kurtz

25Seafood Tower

@TJ's Seafood


J's Seafood Market & Grill is a staple of the Dallas dining scene. This iconic neighborhood restaurant ha s been serving seafood enthusiasts for 30 years. A family-owned business; John Alexis bought the restaurant from his parents who’d purchased the neighborhood fish market from the original owners, Tom and Jim (hence the name), in 1999. With multiple daily deliveries of pristine seafood from all over the world, TJ’s serves some of the city's best fresh catches. In addition to a broad selection of fish and shellfish, they offer a tempting range of prepared items at the seafood market counter for take-home meals. I love to stop by and ogle the counter cases with their tantalizing cuts of fish, scallops, crab, lobster, and more. Often enticed to choose something to take home for dinner, I especially love the printed recipes and cooking tips that are available to grab at the counter. The Coronavirus Challenge After celebrating 30 years in February, Jon could not have imagined then that the restaurant would face the challenge of surviving the coronavirus shutdown just one month later. TJ’s pivoted from dine-in service and provided curbside take away during the stay-at-home measures, and is now

open for limited dining service with additional safety measures per city ordinances. Great seafood in land-locked Dallas When asked how the Dallas seafood scene changed over the years, Jon says it's all about the diner. "People finally believe. Everyone used to say you can't get fresh seafood in Dallas. Being equidistant to both coasts gives more varied access to seafood than most coastal cities. With DFW Airport right here, all you have to do is grab it off the plane." An Apostle of Seafood Jon is a self-proclaimed "fish nerd" and loves teaching about seafood and omega 3's. "Seafood is the most nutritionally dense food," says Jon. "It has the best protein to fat ratio, the most vitamins, and Omega 3 cleanses out your arteries. It's a true superfood." I chatted with Jon on a variety of topics about what's important to him as a restaurateur. TJ's is known as one of the top seafood restaurants in Dallas. To what do you attribute its success? We are as picky about our team members as our seafood. You can't have great seafood if you don't have great fishmongers carefully examining the product. You can't have a great bar without great

Photos: Cone Shrimp @TJ's Seafood ; Curry Mussels @TJ's Seafood


bartenders. You don't have great hot lobster rolls without talented sauté cooks.

intellectually and creatively...but I lack any of the physical dexterity or coordination to cook.

How has coronavirus pandemic affected your day-to-day business, and what are your plans? The pandemic caused us to change our entire business model overnight. Literally, and having just gotten home from vacation, I had to do so from my couch. We expanded take out options, added beef and poultry to our fish markets, created "heat at home" meals, did holiday boxes for everything from Passover to Mother's Day. We used social media to directly ask our guests what they wanted from us and then promoted those products to our audience.

What is the biggest challenge in running and owning a restaurant? Besides the fact that we don't even know if people will be allowed to dine, let alone have the means to do so in a recession, and when they are permitted, we are at high risk for spreading infectious disease? Ha!

What did you want to be when you grew up —and did your parents influence your career choice? I have worked in many fields: armed service, politics, retail, ad agency, restaurant, health care, and more. I guess I've never grown up - I keep trying new careers. My parents owned TJ's before me, so they directly influenced my career choice! Are you self-taught in the kitchen, or did you go to culinary school? I am not a chef nor a cook. I can say with confidence that I understand food/fla vor

Photos: Glazed Salmon @TJ's Seafood; Oysters on the half shell @TJ's Seafood


Where does your seafood come from, and how important is the sustainability of the seafood supply chain? Sustainability isn't just a buzzword - who stands to lose more from overfishing than a guy who makes his living selling fish? TJ's supports sustainable wild seafood, but we also support gold standard conscious aquafarming. There is aquafarming as high quality as what we consider the best organic free-range poultry. We will deplete the oceans of wild fish if we don't supplement with good, clean aquafarm seafood it's math. What is the most popular dish on the menu at TJ's? And what is your favorite? Our most popular is our fish tacos. We offer grilled or coconut fried fish or shrimp and choice of flour, corn, or lettuce wrap. We serve my grandma's crab cake recipe, which has always been my favorite.

In your opinion, what makes a great restaurant experience? After closing for the pandemic, our litmus test for when we were ready to open was, "can we deliver a great experience?" To make that decision, we had to think hard and define, "what makes a great restaurant experience?" We wouldn't open until the experience was gracious, comfortable, precise, and satiating. Those four words capture what I want from a restaurant. TJ’s Seafood Market & Restaurant 6025 Royal Lane #110, Dallas, Texas 75230 (214) 691-2369 Named "Dallas' Best Seafood Restaurant,” they feature seasonal seafood for everything from a quick lunch to a special occasion

Recipe Since Jon said that his favorite dish served at TJ's is his grandma's crab cakes, well, of course, I had to ask for the recipe to share with our readers! TJ's Maryland Style Crab Cakes Makes around 6 large crab cakes 1 cup mayonnaise 1 egg 1/2 yellow onion, fine dice 1 tsp salt 1 tsp pepper 1 tsp dry mustard 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs 1# regular crab meat, picked from shells 1# jumbo crab meat, picked from shells


1. Mix together the mayo, egg, onion, salt & pepper, mustard, Worcestershire. 2. Add the regular crab meat and fold together gently. 3. Add the panko breadcrumbs and fold together gently (add a bit more if mixture is too soft). 4. Add the jumbo lump crab meat and fold together a few times just until the lumps are evenly distributed, being careful not to break the lumps. 5. Allow to rest for 1 hour to overnight in the fridge. 6. Portion into 4-5 oz balls. 7. Pan sear in olive oil or clarified butter, 3-5 minutes per side.

Photos (clockwise): Lobster Night at TJ's @TJ's Seafood; King Crab @ TJ's Seafood; Maryland Crab Cakes @TJ's Seafood

Artfully Executed Italian Food in Miami Satisfies Travelust Urges By Lisa Morales

Zucca Miami © Zucca Miami


ecause I live in South Florida, currently a COVID-19 epicenter, I find myself nourishing any travel-lust urges with food and wine. Cooking and baking on the weekend transport me back to the countries that I’ve visited. I research and recreate dishes from places that I’ve been and bury my cerebrum in wine books and bottles. However, when I want a “trip” to Italy, I dream about past lunch hours at Zucca Miami.


This upscale restaurant is on the ground floor of the Hotel Saint Michel located in the heart of stately and historic Coral Gables. The interior design is refined and the ambiance and menu exude Italian charm and sophistication. Like many restaurants, it’s been a tumultuous summer for Zucca Miami. To begin, when Miami’s mandatory shutdown ended late April, Zucca Miami posted a video on social media

announcing its plan to protect both their staff and patrons. G u e s t s retur ned and all seemed good until the M i a m i ’ s COVID-19 cases spiked. As a result, the county Mayor announced that dining indoors was prohibited and Zucca Miami (that does not ha ve a patio) had to close a gain. It wa s heartbreaking.

Head Chef at Zucca Miami, he worked for twelve years at Casa Tua in Miami Beach.

Zucca Miami’s Head Chef, Manual Garcia was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. He began his culinary studies with well-known Chef Marc Provost at the Le Petit Bistrot de Jacques in Venezuela. He would later continue his training in France and worked at the Two-Star Michelin restaurant, L'Espérance under the guidance of Chef Marc Meneau. Chef Garcia continued his career at Mostassa in Le Meridien Barcelona before settling in Miami. Prior to becoming

If you’re in Miami, be sure to go!

Chef Manuel Garcia re-creates iconic Italian dishes with mastery. In fact, Zucca Miami’s catchphrase says it all: “Authentic regional Italian. Artfully executed.” From the delicately fried, zucchini blossoms that burst with a warm filling of mozzarella (Fiori di Zucca) to the houseprepared ravioli sauteed with butter and sage, and Bistecca alla Fiorentina, your tastebuds will teleport you to Italy. Be sure to save room for a shot of limoncello, espresso and dessert too! Mangia bene e andra tutto bene! Eat well and everything will be fine, Zucca Miami – your patrons stand by you and can’t wait for your full return.

Zucca Miami 162 Alcazar Avenue Coral Gables, FL 33134 (786) 580-3731 @ZuccaMiami

Photos (from top): Chef Manual; Fiori di Zucca; Panna Cotta di Zafferano; Natural Zucchini Flowers All photos ©Zucca Miami


Panna Cotta with Passion Fruit Sauce, Licensed stock photo

Recipe Chef Garcia has shared his Panna Cotta with Saffron and Passion Fruit Sauce recipe:

Soak the gelatin sheets in water for a few minutes and then add to the mix, simmering until its melted. Mix everything together and set aside.

Panna Cotta (5 portions) 1 Lt of Heavy cream (40% milk fat) 9 grs. Gelatin sheets 90 grs. Sugar 1 tablespoon Vanilla extract 0.5 grs. Saron Passion Fruit Sauce 200 grs. Fresh passion fruit pulp 100 grs Sugar Preparation Put the heavy cream in a saucepan. Add the rest of the ingredients except the gelatin. Mix together.


Pour into individual cups. Let it cool and then refrigerate. Fresh Passion Fruit Sauce Pour the passion fruit puree with the sugar in a saucepan at medium temperature. Cook until the seeds separate from the pulp and you have a puree consistency. Set aside. Leave the Panna Cotta at least 6 hours in the refrigerator before you turn each cup upside down onto a plate. Pour with the puree on the side and garnish with mint leave on top

Noah Cooks...And More! By Christine Cutler


e loves to cook lasagna. He enjoys cleaning and gutting fish. He uses a potato peeler and kitchen knives. He sometimes invents his own recipes. He’s cooked with famous chefs all over the world. He’s Noah Bastiani, and he’s five-years old. I met Noah’s parents, Federico Bastiani and Laurell Boyers-Bastiani, while I was living in Bologna shortly after Noah’s birth in October 2015. Since then, I’ve been to their home many times and shared meals with Fede, Laurell, Noah, and Matteo, Noah’s eight-year-old brother. During one of my visits, I noticed that while Matteo played with his toys, Noah played with pots and pans. At the time, I thought of how I used to bang pots and pans when I was a child. Fede told me, though, that even though Noah was not quite two-and-a-half, he was ver y interested in cooking with them.

Noah Cooks “Noah started showing interest in cooking when he wasn't even two-and-a-half years old,” Fede said. “Laurell and I cook a lot, and he always watched us cook, took his little chair and stood next to us and watched us for a long time.” They bought No a h a t o y kitchen with toy pots, pans, and utensils, and for a t i m e , No a h Chef Noah cooking at home (left); and Noah with his father, Federico Bastiani (right)


played with them. “But,” Fede continued, “he always went back to the kitchen and wanted to watch us cook. At that point, we thought we'd start involving him. He was almost three-years old by then.” Because he was so young, Noah started by cleaning the lettuce and tomatoes. Those tasks didn’t hold his attention long, and soon Noah wanted to do more. One of the first things his father let Noah cook by himself was Cod alla Livor nese, an easy fish dish that includes tomatoes, olives, and capers. Because the fish was already cleaned, all Noah had to do was put the spices on the fish and cook it. Noah’s curiosity continued to grow, and soon he was wanting to do more. He had to learn how to use a knife. Fede told me that this was a very interesting experience. “When Noah started cooking, we didn't set limits on him,” Fede explained. “We wanted to see how far a four-year old could go. When he cut the first potato, we gave him a plastic knife. Noah quickly realized how difficult it was to cut things with a plastic knife. At that point, alone and independently, he took the real knife. When he did it, I was scared, and my first impulse was to stop him. I held back.

I saw that he was very determined and confident. I let him go, and he cut his first potato with a real knife.” Noah cut himself once, but he learned how to hold the knife correctly, so accidents are rare now.

Noah Learns & Explores Noah and Matteo attend a Montessori school where the educational philosophy focuses on manual skills and independence. As Fede told me, “In the Montessori kindergarten, they use glass , not plastic, jugs and glasses because children must learn to handle delicate things. In addition, they keep spaces in order, play, and put things back in place. In the same way, it is important to keep the kitchen in order to find things and clean up everything when you finish.” When COVID prevented the children from going to school, the kitchen became more important in Noah’s educational experience. "Cooking was a way to learn math. He learns subtraction (when you throw the pasta and you have to count the minutes left) and learns the decimals (learning to use the scale). Certain movements of his hand help improve manual skills which is then useful for writing.


“Furthermore, cooking is also important for developing language, expanding one's vocabulary —knowing the varieties of vegetables, meat, dairy products. Above all, it is important to make him understand how long it takes to prepare food, and that teaches the concept of time. He learns logic because in the kitchen, you have to remember the sequences of the ingredients to compose the recipe. Order is important.” But, Noah’s education didn’t stop there. Fede and Laurell used cooking to teach Noah about history. “We started the Noah The Food Explorer series where Noah explores histor y through the kitchen. A professor from Penn University taught Noah what they ate in England in the 17th century. Noah went to the Egyptian museum to find out what the Egyptians ate. A history professor taught him some recipes that the Romans prepared.” A n d , n o t l o n g a g o , No a h a n d Ma t t e o accompanied their parents to Dozza, a hilltop village in their region of Emilia-Romagna. While they were there, the grandmas of the village taught them to make tagliatelle and tortellini in

Photos (Clockwise from upper left): Matteo & Noah learn pizza-making skills at Rossopomodoro; Noah cleans shrimp; Noah at the Egyptian museum; Noah learns about cleaning fish at Pescheria La Cravette in Bologna; the nonne of Dozza teach Noah & Matteo to make pasta.

the Romagna tradition. It was not only a lesson in cooking but also a lesson in tradition and culture.

Noah Asks the Chef During a visit to South Africa where Laurell grew up, the family visited Chef David Higgs, one of the country’s best-known and successful chefs. The huge kitchen fascinated Noah. Back home after the visit, the pandemic made it difficult to go shopping. The family decided that Noah would video-chat a famous chef, open the refrigerator, and decide what they could make with the ingredients that were in there. A number of inter national chefs —including Hig gs, Dominique Crenn (owner of San Francisco’s three-Michelin-starred Atelier Crenn), Vicky Ratnani (Best Indian Chef 2015), Cosme Aguillar (owner of Michelin-starred "Casa Enrique” in New York City), Michele Massari (owner of the La Lucciola in New York), and Chef Jerrelle Guy (author of Black Girl Baking from Florida)— participated.


Noah Teaches Next fall, the Noah Cooks project will become an educational book for both children and parents. Fede explained that they wanted to show that the kitchen can be a learning tool for the growth of children. “Noah is the testimony because we see him grow day after day. The kitchen has given him a lot of confidence; if he makes a mistake, it happens. He just has to do it all over again. At first, he is a bit frustrated, but then he understands. For this, we intervene as little as possible because we want it to be a self-learning process.” The learning, Fede told me, was not limited to Noah. “I would like to say that it was a tool to grow for me, and Laurell and Matteo, too. because Noah Cooks is turning into an adventure in the world of food, of history, of traditions, of relationships.”

Photos (Clockwise from top left): Noah and Chef David Higgs, Chef Luca Giovanni Pappalardo, Chef Wandile Mabaso, Chef Masen, Chef Shiva, and Chef Emma Sintes.

Recipe Chef Noah shares one of the first recipes he cooked by himself. Baked Sea Bass Sea bass Garlic Coarse salt Pepper Parsley Cherry tomatoes Lemon Preparation Clean the fish. Chop the tomatoes and parsley. Mix them with garlic (whole or chopped), pepper, and salt. Stu the fish with the mixture and a slice of lemon. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Photos (From top): Noah cleans the fish; Noah about to learn how to filet tuna at Pescheria Tinarelli Andrea; Noah learning to plate at Pescheria Nogara; Noah cleaning shrimp for dinner; Fede, Laurell, Matteo, & Noah making pasta

Connect with Noah: Noah Cooks 2015 Facebook Noah Cooks Website Noah Cooks YouTube Noah Cooks Instagram


All photos courtesy of Federico Bastiani and Laurell Boyers-Bastiani

The Farm at Prophetstown ©Laura Frank Hale

Farm to Table at the Farmstead: Chef Lauren Reed Takes Farm-toTable Dining to a Whole New Level By Kathy Merchant


hef Lauren Reed is one-of-a-kind. She is the Education and Events Coordinator/ Fa r m C h e f f o r T h e Fa r m a t Prophetstown, a historic farmstead property situated in a state park in West Lafayette, Indiana. I can hear you thinking—wait a minute!! This can’t be the only place in our country with a Farm Chef. Farm-to-table dining is NOT a new trend. Well, hear me out. Chef Lauren is a oner. Source Matters: The Farm at Prophetstown The 100-acre Farm at Prophetstown (“The Farm”) includes a replica of a 1920 Sears and Roebuck catalogue farmhouse. Surrounding land


is dedicated to livestock breeds common to that era, including turkeys, pasture raised Hereford beef, and Berkshire hogs. Livestock munch outdoors on alfalfa and corn grown on the property. Bees make honey that helps local neighbors (within a 50-mile radius) fend off seasonal allergies. Heirloom vegetables, fruits, and herbs complete the farm-fresh food offerings for sale on-premise. Two large gardens produce heirloom vegetables such as kohlrabi and onions. “They are special heirloom vegetables, which means that they must be eaten fresh within two days” says Chef Lauren. A colorful array of heirloom herbs includes lemon

balm, purple basil, lavender, and the song-worthy foursome of parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. The Farm offers classes and training in the areas of sustainable a griculture, homesteading, gardening, canning, farm-to-table cooking, sewing, and quilting. Volunteers supplement staff resources with skills ranging from beekeepers, to master gardeners, to home economics experts. “The Farm is a special place with access to ‘cool things’ you won’t find in a grocer y store,” according to Chef Lauren. “We grow gooseberries, red currents, rhubarb, hazelnuts, asparagus, raspberries, and elderberries. We also use wild black raspberries from the state park—they freeze really well.” Perhaps best known for pasture-raised Hereford beef and Berkshire hogs, and for eg gs —a seemingly endless supply of eggs from a brood of more than 100 chickens—The Farm is a preferred destination for locals and tourists. A smaller number of ducks and turkeys produce prized eggs in the spring. Like a proud parent, Chef Lauren says that “our animals are raised outside where they get lots of sunlight, grass, and attention from staff and the public.” Feeding an Entrepreneurial Spirit After a career working as a chef in restaurants and for large events, Lauren Reed landed a job as Education and Events Coordinator at The Farm. Her focus was planning tours, classes, and events. But it didn’t take long for her to size up the potential of The Farm’s pristine environment and quality food to scheme a new idea that would tie all of her loves into a perfect package.


Four years ago, Chef Lauren convinced The Farm’s executive director and board of directors to experiment with an innovative dinner series. Starting in April and running through October of 2017, a monthly dinner series of sophisticated fivecourse meals was born, priced (then and now) at $50. All ingredients came from The Farm, or from nearby farms if Chef Lauren needed to supplement items for her recipes. It was slow-going that first year until the idea caught on, mostly by word of mouth, a cadre of regulars, and a bit of publicity. But by the second year, all of the dinners began to sell quickly, and in 2020, they sold out in two days! Success! As a result, the nonprofit organization’s board of directors added “Farm Chef ” to Lauren’s title and expanded The Farm’s mission to this: “A 1920s Farmstead Highlighting Sustainable Agriculture, Homesteading, Heirloom Gardening, and Farm-to-Table Cooking.” “Working for The Farm has totally changed my life,” says Chef Lauren. “I truly love what we bring to our community and visitors. The dinners are a way to showcase the products we grow and produce on The Farm while giving guests a 1920’s dining experience. I am proud to say that The Farm is thriving, with a growing guest interest in history, food and eating local.”

Photos from left: Farm chores with Chef Lauren Reed; Sunset on the Farm; Farm-fresh Eggs. All photos © Laura Frank Hale

Photos (from left): Farm Chef Lauren Reed © Laura Frank Hale; 1920 Sears Home © Laura Frank Hale; Wildflowers on The Farm at Prophetstown © Frank Oliver; Summer vegetables © Lauren Reed


Best in Class? Or Just Plain Class(y)? Not satisfied with just my gut feeling that Chef Lauren has created something very special, I researched similar farms and farmsteads across the country. Aided by a list of the 100+ members of the Association of Living History, Farm, and Agricultural Museums (ALHFAM) sprinkled across 35 states, I reviewed the websites of all members that offer food. I discovered many roadtrip-worthy farms and farmsteads, mostly along the East Coast and in the Midwest. But none offer the type of sustained dining program designed and executed by a Farm Chef employee.

communities. These are all super interesting and fun but can’t hold a candle to the dinner series at The Farm at Prophetstown!

From a tourism standpoint, some farmsteads have kitchens, and even small restaurants, to feed hungry visitors. But the food is not typically a farm-to-table offering. (Think hot dogs and lemonade for hungry kids.) Some have created dining partnerships with area restaurants whose chefs cook a special meal on location at a farm (but may or may not use ingredients from the host). Most farms sell produce to restaurants, directly to individual customers, and/or set up in w e e ke n d f a r m e r ’s m a r ke t s i n t h e i r l o c a l

The 1920’s Sears house is transformed for dinners with tables beautifully set with a funky mishmash of period china and silverware. Wildflowers grace each table, and as the sun begins to set behind an adjacent forest, a gentle glow graces the four rooms full of happy diners. The Farm’s staff and volunteers transform to well-trained servers, offering a seamless experience throughout the five-course meal. They also get plenty of exercise —the kitchen is in the basement of the house!

Farm-to-Table Dinners at the Farm Lucky me. I have insider information about the dinner schedule because Chef Lauren’s mom is one of my dearest friends. I haven’t missed a season yet, even though it’s a long three-hour drive from my home in Cincinnati.

Tomato Soup with Croutons © Laura Frank Hale

Recipes Creamy Tomato Basil Soup with Gruyere Croutons 2 Tbsp olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped 1 large carrot, chopped 4 Tbsp garlic, minced 3 14-oz cans of San Marzano tomatoes, not drained 1 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock 2/3 cup heavy cream 1 Tbsp sugar 1 tsp fresh oregano 2 tsp fresh basil 2 Tbsp fresh orange juice Salt and Pepper to taste 1.In a large saucepan, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil. Add sliced onion and garlic. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. 2.Add tomatoes and their juice, water, heavy cream, sugar, oregano, basil, and fresh orange juice. Season with salt and pepper. 3.Bring the soup to a boil over high heat, breaking up the tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer for 10 minutes.


4.After the soup has cooled, working in batches, transfer the tomato soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Push soup through a sieve to remove seeds. Discard seeds. 5.Return the soup to a clean pot and rewarm the soup if necessary. Season with salt a n d p e p p e r. S e r v e w i t h G r u y e r e Croutons. Gruyere Croutons ½ loaf crusty French bread 2 Tbsp olive oil 1 tsp seasoned salt ½ tsp black pepper 4 oz shaved Gruyere cheese 1.Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper. 2.Cut bread into small cubes and place in bowl. 3.Toss bread with olive oil, salt, and pepper. 4.Lay bread in even layer on baking sheet. 5.Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 8-10 minutes or until crispy. 6.Serve on top of soup.

Visit The Farm at Prophetstown 3534 Prophetstown Road Battle Ground, IN 47920 Phone: (765) 567-4700 Admission is free with park entry. The Farm is open seven days a week from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Winter hours are November 1 – March 31, weekends only (Fri/Sat/Sun) from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Bolognese Eggplant Stack © Laura Frank Hale

Bolognese Eggplant Stack Bolognese Sauce 3 Tbsp butter 2 Tbsp onion, minced 2 Tbsp carrots, minced 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 lb. ground beef, local 1 cup half and half 1 cup dry white wine 28 oz whole tomatoes (San Marzano or frozen heirloom tomatoes) seeded and skins removed 4 basil leaves (chiffonade) 1 tsp fresh oregano Salt to taste Eggplant Stacks 2 medium sized local eggplants 3 Tbsp olive oil 1 tsp garlic powder Coarse salt and fresh pepper, to taste

8 oz Burrata cheese Fresh basil to garnish 1.In a heavy bottom pan (Dutch oven), melt the butter. Add onion, carrot, and garlic. Sauté until soft, but not browned. Add the beef and break apart to cook. 2.Add half and half and simmer 15 minutes or until milk evaporates. Add wine and simmer 15 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, and oregano. Simmer on low for 3 hours. Salt to taste. 3.Turn grill on medium heat. 4.Wash the eggplant. Dry and slice into disks, about ½ inch. Brush with olive oil and season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. 5.Grill both sides until grill-marks are achieved and the eggplant is tender. 6.Make stacks layering Bolognese, one piece of eggplant, burrata, Bolognese and another slice of eggplant. Top with basil to serve.

Berry Pound Cake © Laura Frank Hale; Brownie decadence © Laura Frank Hale; Pickled Veggies © Lauren Reed



Serẽa Coastal Cuisine: Exquisite Sea-toTable Coronado Dining By Noreen Kompanik Located just steps from the beach at the legendary 1888 Hotel del Coronado resort, Serẽa is a diamond in Coronado’s crown jewel of the San Diego waterfront. Making quite a splash on the foodie scene in the summer of 2019, the restaurant has been a welcome addition to the resort after a $200 million redevelopment. With renowned San Diego chef Jojo Ruiz at the helm, this dining establishment with distinctive Baja and Mediterranean influences is a culinary treasure. Ru i z ’s u n r i v a l e d dedication to craft cuisine has earned him two James Beard Fo u n d a t i o n S m a r t Catch awards, one at Serẽa and the other at San Diego Gaslamp’s renowned Lionfish. This p r e s t i g i o u s recognition honors chefs who promote sustainability within the seafood supply chain. Dinner is served nightly along with a weekend brunch. Reservations are highly recommended as this restaurant is always busy, and for good reason. The setting is spectacular, with stunning ocean views, yet there’s an air of casual sophistication. With San Diego’s almost picture-perfect weather, it’s no surprise that 60 percent of its seating is outdoors on its spacious terraced patio. A sleek outdoor bar area serves as an attractive focal


point of the restaurant. For those who dine inside, the open-air setting still provides stunning views. You won’t find a bad table at Serẽa, and my husband and I were pleased with our seaside fabric-covered booth with decorative pillows near the outdoor fireplace. Surrounded by swaying palms, strings of romantic lights, and the sun setting into the Pacific, we reveled to each other “This is a perfect date night.” A wide selection of wines and bubbles by the glass or bottle, beer, sake, cocktails, and liquors are included in the extensive beverage menu. We decided on a bottle o f Me r S o l e i l Chardonnay from California’s Santa Lucia Highlands region of Monterey. Intense, complex, and golden-hued with fresh bright aromas and lush flavors of fully ripened fruit, it was a perfect selection to pair with our meal. Aromas from foods prepared from a wood-fired grill wafted through the air as we perused our dinner menus. Cuisine here is sourced locally and responsibly from area farms, markets, and California and Baja waters, then impeccably prepared. As a result, selecting a menu item can be challenging to diners.

Having a server familiar enough with the entrees to make recommendations is always appreciated, and we were fortunate. Though Seréa’s menu isn’t extensive, it is impressive with a selection of salads, appetizers, oysters, sashimi, wood-grilled and flash-fried fresh local fish, and other delights from the land and sea. That being said, we decided to go with what we called our “sampler platter,” choosing several very appealing appetizers in order to get a taste of what makes Seréa so popular. Local Halibut Ceviche prepared with cucumber, avocado, lemon, coconut, agave pickled serrano, and spring onion was an explosion to the palate. Served with housemade chips, it was a winner. Another great choice was the addictive Charcoal Grilled Octopus served with marble potato, red onion, sumac, olive, and red chimichurri. This was one of the best grilled octopus dishes we’ve ever had as the melding of flavors and textures was beyond perfect. Tuna Tartare was another favorite with citrus, cucumber, avocado, pine nut, mint, cilantro and pita chips. Of no surprise, the ahi is top-grade and the whole combination of ingredients works incredibly well together. Finally, perhaps our best-loved selection of the evening was the Patatas Bravas. It’s simply impossible to find a more tantalizing potato dish anywhere. The chili garlic aioli and chive accompaniments lift this amazing dish to an even higher plateau. Those ordering it for sharing will wish they hadn’t. It’s that good. We were too full for dessert, however, it’s great to note that even the dessert menu changes to reflect


local availability of ingredients. Loyal diners rave about the Greek y o g u r t cheesecake, wrapped in crispy Phyllo dough. This is exactly the reason we’ll have to return again. Well, that, and to also try some of Seréa’s other highly touted creative entrees. British celebrity and Michelin-award-winning chef Marc Blumenthal once said “To me, food is as much about the moment, the occasion, the location, and the company as it is about the taste.” This couldn’t be truer than our spectacular dining experience at Coronado Island’s Serẽa for it exceeded the mark in every one of these elements. It’s definitely the place you’ll want to go with the one you love! Of note: Common to the travel industry, this dining experience was hosted by the restaurant. However, this does not influence the review from this writer.

Photo opposite page: Hotel del Coronado; Photos this page (from left): Patatas Bravas; Charcoal-grilled octopus; Tuna tartare; Chef Jojo Ruiz ©Hotel del Coronado

Chef Cedric Fichepain of Le Voltaire Restaurant in Omaha By Linda Milks

he was very open to moving to America and opening a restaurant. However, at some point, the couple want to return to France for retirement.

Chef Cedric Fichepain


little bit of France awaits you at Le Voltaire’s intimate restaurant in Omaha. On several trips to Omaha, I’ve had the pleasure of dining at this restaurant reminiscent of Southern France, accompanied by my sister and brother-in-law. They first introduced me to this elegant establishment and to the warm and gracious Certified Executive Chef and owner, Cedric Fichepain. Currently, the menu consists of many classic French dishes, from Escargot to Bouillabaisse and Coq au Vin, as well as that delectable Chocolate Mousse. Of course, no French restaurant would be complete without a great wine list. Le Voltaire’s is constantly updated with a wide variety of French wines. This attention to detail is noted by the restaurant winning numerous Wine Spectator Awards. In addition to having an extraordinary restaurant, there are some unique bits of information about Chef Cedric that readers need to know.


While Chef Cedric is originally from France, his wife is a native Nebraskan. When asked how he ended up in the United States, he explained that he was attending school here, which is where he met his wife. He so enjoyed his time so here that

When asked about his favorite dish is to prepare, he responded “I love to make many dishes, and experiment with new flavors. But my favorite is a good charcuterie plate with some stinky cheese, crusty baguette and a good Chateauneuf du Pape for wine, even though Rosé tastes really good right now with the hot weather.” According to Chef Cedric, his inspiration to become a chef came from his mother and grandmothers who were his mentors. Though it may seem cliché, it is thanks to them that he started to make meals for his friends and family at a young age. Some of the recipes he currently prepares are those from his mother and grandmother. Being a chef isn’t always an easy profession. Chef Cedric starts his day very early. Though Le Voltaire has been open for about 20 years, it was about seven years ago he couldn’t find good French bread in town. So, he opened Le Petit Paris Bakery next door to Le Voltaire. However, he didn’t realize that these two places would have completely opposite schedules. Now he starts every day at 5:00 am, but praises the fantastic team at his restaurant, especially when he needs to be at the bakery. These team leaders include Nic, his General Manager, and Wilson, the Executive Chef. Not only is Chef Cedric an amazing cook and civic servant, but he’s also a book author. He’s

published one murder mystery with a setting taking place in the world of food. The story begins in Omaha then moves across the U.S. before finishing in France. It took him three years to complete the book from start to finish, but he is very proud of it. Fowl to the Bone can purchased at the restaurant or on Amazon. An added benefit for the staff working at Le Voltaire is that Chef Cedric takes them to France every other year. He says he loves to share his homeland with employees and increase their knowledge. For 20 years, he’s traveled to France with the exception of one trip to Napa. Next year, if possible, he and the team will be traveling to Brittany.

Le Voltaire

Recipe Chef Cedric is sharing his recipe for Coq au Vin here. Chef Cedric of Le Voltaire Restaurant’s Coq Au Vin Recipe 4 chicken quarters (thighs and legs) 4 cloves of garlic 1 giant yellow jumbo onion 2 large carrots 1 cup chicken stock Fresh thyme 2 bay leaves Salt and pepper 4 cups of red wine (cooking wine like pinot noir) Oil 1. Brown the chicken on all sides in a big pan with oil. Set aside. 2. Dice the onion and the carrots. Then, add to the cooking pan with the garlic cloves, the thyme, and bay leaves. Add salt and pepper and deglaze the pan with the wine. Add the chicken stock, and bring to a boil. 3. Place the chicken in an oven proof dish, and top with the vegetables and broth. 4. Cover the dish with aluminum foil. 5. Cook at 300F for 3 hours. 6. Adjust salt and pepper if needed. (The Coq au Vin will taste even better when reheated the next day.)


Coq au Vin

Luxurious Coastal Getaway: At the Helm Hotel & Pub by Nancy Mueller


t the Helm Hotel & Pub sets just the right tone for guests seeking an easy coastal getaway to the Washington Coast. Overlooking the Port of Ilwaco marina, the colorful boutique luxury property opened in 2019 as the brainchild of owner-operator Marcene Miller, a whirlwind of creative energy. Not only did Miller envision the popular upscale retreat in the former ShoreBank Pacific building, but she did much of the sweat labor herself to manifest her vision of “a relaxed atmosphere where guests can just kick back, relax, and enjoy.” Easy Living The laid-back vibe begins the moments guests arrive with the offer of a glass of their favorite beverage “on the house" after check-in. Favorite Northwest selections include draft beers like Ledbetter Red Scottish Ale and Optimist IPA, together with Finnriver Cider and Anthem Pear Cider, as well as red and white wines from Apolloni Vineyard and Phelps Creek. In keeping with the relaxing hotel ambiance, guests can take in views of the working waterfront while enjoying their drinks and meals in the privacy of their rooms, on the outside patio (weather-permitting), or inside the Waterline Pub. Simple breakfast fare such as a croissant with Brie and fresh fruit, bagel & salmon spread, or plain Greek yogurt served with granola and raw honey drizzle, is also


served in the pub, on the patio, or via room service. Fishing Heritage Considering the Miller family’s deep roots in the commercial fishing industry, it’s no surprise to find a seafaring theme wo ven seamlessl y throughout the eco-friendly hotel. From the beautifully-designed guest rooms named after boats once owned by Miller and her husband Rod, a commercial fisherman, to the eye-catching fish art installation under the staircase, to the bounty of fresh seafood choices among the small bites and main menu items at Waterline Pub, At the Helm celebrates its fishing heritage by placing it front and center. Casual Dining As if owning and operating At the Helm weren’t enough to fill her time, (Miller also owns the popular Subway Restaurant in nearby Long Beach), on any given morning guests at the intimate hotel can expect to find Miller prep

Photos (from left): The Helm Hotel & Pub; Totchos dish at Waterline Pub @MarceneMillerPhoto; Pork Verde Stew; Breakfast At the Helm; Port of Ilwaco Marina

cooking for the day’s dishes in the kitchen. A self-described, selftaught “good cook, definitely not a chef,” Miller says, “I have always loved cooking for my family and friends.” While guests can expect to find such locally-sourced seafood fare as calamari, prawns, and Willapa Bay oysters on the menu, each dish reflects Miller’s personal touch. “I have always loved putting things together and presentation,” says Miller, who uses her own recipes for the Verde, Mac Sauce, Seafood Chowder, and Beer-braised Pork. “I am always trying to think of something maybe just a little different to offer.” One of Miller’s most popular culinary creations has been her idea of a Seafood Nosh Board featuring assorted olives, Brie, and grilled bread alongside fresh seafood. “It’s been a great hit!” she says. Yet despite the pub’s noteworthy selection of seafood, still “A great burger is my go-to comfort food,” she adds, which for Miller’s Helm Burger means a juicy “1/2 pound handformed NW beef patty, Swiss, lettuce, tomato,


pickle, onion and Helm sauce on a parmesan black pepper bun.” While Miller’s dishes reflect her family recipes and personal touches, as chief cook she’s also quick to give credit to her crew for the hotel’s success. “My cook Lau runs the kitchen. I love my crew here at the hotel and pub. They’re a great group of hard-working, caring people. They strive for great service for our guests.” With so much to explore in the surrounding area —Cape Disappointment Lighthouse and Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, Discovery Trail, and the Long Beach Boardwalk—At the Helm Hotel & Pub offers the perfect place to retreat while planning your next day’s Washington Coast adventure. Fo r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n , v i s i t h t t p s : / /

Poisson Cru at Faré Hoa Beach Bar & Grill, Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora Aerial View Of Four Seasons Bora Bora ©Four Seasons Resorts


aturally-distanced is the way the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora describes itself, located on a private islet, offering plenty of space and privacy for its guests. Everyone who has experienced this dreamy destination in French Polynesia knows that they can access the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, with its 108 overwater bungalow suites and seven beachf ront vil la estates, onl y by boat or helicopter. My husband and I stayed in a pleasant overwater bungalow for one night only, whisked there by private launch from the main island. Our 10-day Tahiti-Tuamotus cruise aboard Windstar’s Wind Spirit had a planned overnight stay in Bora Bora, which gave us the opportunity to bask in its beauty.

Views Of Fare Hoa Beach Bar & Grill ©Four Seasons Resorts


By Debbra Dunning Brouillette We chose to dine at the toes-in-the-sand Faré Hoa Beach Bar & Grill for our evening meal. The Seafood Selection For Two, featuring Marquesas Islands Spiny Lobster, Moorea Shrimp, Yellow Fin Tu n a , a n d Ma h i - m a h i , w a s t r u l y a f e a s t , impeccably prepared and presented. Faré Hoa Beach Bar & Grill is open for lunch, too. After a morning swim in the lagoon, we returned for a midday meal before returning to the main island to reboard the Windstar ship for the remainder of our cruise. I already knew what I wanted to order— poisson cru—which I had first tasted on my first trip to French Polynesia seven years earlier. If you speak French, you may already know that poisson cru translates as “raw fish.” Poisson cru, considered to be the national dish of Tahiti and all

of French Polynesia, is oh, so much more than these two words reveal. Chunks of fresh raw tuna are combined with freshly squeezed lime juice, raw vegetables (cucumber, carrot, tomato and onion, sliced into bite-sized pieces), then soaked in coconut milk. It sounds so simple, and it is, but it is also so delicious! Not only is it tasty, but it rocks with culinary presentation, too, as it is often served in half a coconut shell.

Meet the Executive Chef Eric Desbordes, who joined Four Seasons Bora Bora as executive chef in April 2019, is a native of France who spent several years at the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris, learning from master chefs there before going on to hold chef positions at other highly-respected hotels in Paris. Then, in 2014, he was introduced to island life in the Caribbean, ser ving as executive chef for Eden Rock Hotel in St. Barths. He later became a private chef for luxur y villas there before returning to France to serve as executive chef of La Bastide de Gordes in Provence, his last position before Bora Bora beckoned. Chef Desbordes, you were in Bora Bora for about a year before the COVID-19 pandemic changed travel worldwide. What has been the biggest challenge for you and the staff during this time? Chefs are all part artist, and that creative element in us needs to be challenged constantly. When the


destination closed down, we obviously lost a big part of w h a t ke e p s u s b u s y a n d creative. Of course, we shifted to taking care of our families and each other, which was the priority at that point anyway. Did the resort stay open to local travelers during this time? The government here mandated that hotels close, as the airlift was also stopped. We, like many others, shifted to a virtual workplace, and continued to grow, train, and learn from home. How have you acclimated to living in French Polynesia? I absolutely love it here. Sure, it’s no big city with every amenity, but waking up here every day is truly magical. Lovely, talented people, and the most amazing setting I can imagine. How did you and your staff prepare for the reopening on July 15, 2020? Four Seasons introduced the Lead With Care program, which is really guiding our company in the new reality. It’s a comprehensive program led by the world’s top experts, ensuring the safest and most enjoyable experience for our guests and staff.

Photos (from top): Seafood Feast At Fare Hoa; Executive Chef Eric Desbordes ©Four Seasons Resorts; Poisson Cru

Were you familiar with poisson cru before you came to Bora Bora? To me, poisson cru is the perfect, light lunch. I can’t imagine improving on a good thing. I was, and absolutely loved it. It’s French Polynesia’s answer to ceviche, poke, etc. And to me, it’s the cleanest, freshest raw fish dish out there. If not this, have you put your own touches on other items on the menu? I have absolutely worked with my team to refine and create menus across the Resort. My experiences and influences in life guide much of what I love to cook, and I want that of my cooks to also be incorporated into our menus, as well. What do you hope diners take away from their dining experiences while a guest at Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, both at Faré Hoa and the resorts other restaurants? I want our guests to enjoy each minute of their meal – including the drinks, food, atmosphere, and service. If they walk away at the end of the meal with smiles, holding hands, kissing, then we have done something right. We want every meal here to be a memory they will savor long beyond their last bite.

Poisson Cru recipe from Executive Chef Eric Desbordes Ingredients 1.75 pounds red tuna ½ cucumber 1 carrot 1 tomato 1 red onion 4 limes 1 cup coconut milk Salt & black pepper to taste Preparation
 1. Dice the fish into ½-inch cubes and place it in a large bowl. Refrigerate. 2. Squeeze the limes into a glass. Set aside. 3. Cut the vegetables into thin slices. For the cucumber, remove seeds but keep the skin for color. 4. In the bowl, add all vegetables to the tuna and mix. Add some lime juice with salt & pepper to taste. Mix again. 5. Five minutes before serving, add coconut milk. 6. Present on a bed of lettuce, on individual plates, or best in a half coconut shell. Serve chilled with half a lime on top.

Photos (from left): Serving Poisson Cru; Poisson Cru


Garden Kitchen Restaurant and Patio: ˝ Supporting a Small, Local, and Farm-toTable San Diego Eatery By Robin Dohrn-Simpson


y neighborhood in central San Diego is a prime area of the city located 15 minutes from anything— the beaches, the football stadium, and the mountains. That is everything except good restaurants. “Why don’t we have any nice restaurants?” we would constantly ask our neighbors. No one had an answer. After years of traveling to different areas of town, Coral Fodor Strong thankfully saw this area as a food desert and decided to take a chance. Was it the Jamaican flag flying at the rundown building she was looking at? Was it a sign from her favorite singer Bob Marley to put down restaurant roots? She thought it was and so she did—put down roots in the San Diego neighborhood of Rolando. At that point, Coral was only a home cook, but she was keen to owning her own business. Having no previous experience was not a problem for her. “I had a vision” she says, “and failure wasn’t an option.” She rented a fixer upper building and began to pour love—and elbow grease—into her project. Her largest initial challenge was how to get business in the door.

“I wanted the business to grow organically, slowly and methodically so I could learn and grow along the way. I chose to never advertise, so there were nights when only one table would come in. Word of mouth was important to me, because I never wanted to be a trendy restaurant, I wanted customers who understood what I was doing with the food movement—customers who would seek out true farm-to-table cuisine, who wanted to eat cleaner food, and who would respect and be interested in food sourcing. I opened the restaurant in May 2015 and by September, I was feeling confident. By January 2016, I knew I’d made it.” Chef Coral never meant to be the chef, rather the owner and manager, but life had other plans. Her first chef quit after a month, so she had to get in the kitchen and start cooking. On a self-funded budget, she quickly realized she couldn't find affordable talent. “So, I kept on cooking. Once I started cooking, I realized it was a passion that I couldn’t let go. While I thought I was just a house cook, people kept coming back for more, so I knew I had created a special type of cuisine in my self-taught kitchen,” she says. Having a unique daily menu is a challenge. “Focusing on being a true farm-to-table restaurant, and only working with the

Photos: Garden Kitchen sign & GK patio


produce from 10 San Diego farms, I knew I could only design a menu that was constantly changing, reflecting exactly what was growing in our San Diego soil. Feeding my customers what is growing within 25 miles feels amazing. The relationship from farmer to chef is special; two people doing what they love, growing and cooking food. It was important for my menu to reflect EXACTLY what was being harvested that day or week. The idea that I’m directly dealing with the farm, and possibly helping them grow by financially aiding their dream is extremely fulfilling.” Is it exhausting? “ Ye s , ” s h e says. Coral has written a n d p r i n te d new menus every business day for 5½ years and can at times feel challenged with a lack of menu creation. She describes it as trying to find a new outfit to wear every single day. “I make an amazing dish that only produces a small amount, and it sells out. But the challenges are equal to the benefits.” Philosophically there are two types of restaurant owners, those that do it for money, and those that do it for passion—Coral’s being the latter. “The restaurant business is one of the hardest businesses you can be in” she says. “I've enjoyed cooking, feeding and entertaining my whole life. To me, there was no other option than to open a restaurant and teach my customers my philosophy — on why I chose a true farm-to-table ethos, with an ever-changing menu.” We were meant to eat this way. Eating what is growing exclusively around us. It's the hardest


work I've ever done, but it's also the most satisfying,” she says. “Partnering with my husband in a restaurant was the worst/best decision I ever made— in that order. Initially, when only one partner has the vision (me), and the other partner is there to just help and support you (my husband), it can be difficult. He had a full-time job and no idea how a restaurant works. Eventually, he had his own great ideas. With his guidance, love, support, and ideas he helped shape Garden Kitchen in what it is t o d a y. We have truly b u i l t something very difficult, yet ver y s p e c i a l together.” “ It ’s h a r d e r work than y o u 'd e v e r imagine,” Garden Kitchen patio Coral says. “Customers generally have no idea of all the logistics and planning it takes to execute one perfect meal; employees don't always listen, product doesn't get delivered, and customers can misbehave. There are so many factors in a day that can make or break your business. I'd like to see more compassion with the average diner. Try wrangling 10-40 kittens, every single day, asking them to walk in a straight line to one spot. That’s what it's like running a restaurant.” I must say that she runs a great one! Chef Coral‘s philosophy is to “Do what you love, and the rest will follow.” Her success in an extremely tough business and market are certainly motivation to follow your dream. We just hope that some “big guy” business doesn’t come and grab her up and take away our little neighborhood secret- that‘s not so secret anymore.


for frying (medium heat, or about 350°)

Coral says, “I grew up on fish tacos because my father was a commercial fisherman. When I was growing up, my dad was able to bring home a small allotment. Now I recommend Catalina Offshore Products in San Diego.”

Directions: Assemble cabbage & pico de gallo ingredients in a bowl, toss gently and season to taste. Whisk chipotle de adobo and mayonnaise in another bowl, add lemon or lime juice to get an almost runny consistency.

Fodor Family Fish Tacos Ingredients (for tacos for two) 1 lb. white fish (4 x 4 oz. pieces, make sure to rinse and pat dry before use) I recommend fresh catch fish, preferably rock cod, halibut or gold spot bass. 4 corn tortillas Cabbage & Pico de Gallo 1/2 cup shredded red or green cabbage 1 tomato, small chopped 1/2 cucumber, small diced 1/4 red white onion, small diced 2 Tbsp lime or lemon juice 2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped

Whisk tempura batter until smooth. Consistency should be somewhat thick enough to coat the fish, but easily run off. Season fish fillet with salt and pepper on both sides. Drop into tempura batter to coat well. Fry in oil for about 4 minutes, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels to remove excess oil. Salt the fried fish. Assemble on grilled or heated corn tortilla- chipotle sauce, fried fish, cabbage, pico de gallo. Enjoy!

Chipotle Sauce 6 oz. can chipotle de adobo 2 cups mayonnaise lime juice to taste Tempura batter 1 cup flour (gluten free works great) 1 tsp cornstarch 1 tsp salt Bubble water (Pellegrino works great) For Frying Cast iron skillet or small stock pot 4 cups canola or vegetable oil Fish tacos, Courtesy Pexels




Omaha Restaurant Chefs Share Their Secrets for a Great Steak


maha has a thriving food scene where they take their food seriously. Ruben sandwiches, Runzas, butter brickle ice cream, and cheeseburger pizza are foods that Omaha made famous. But perhaps most legendary is the steak, an ingredient in Omaha’s DNA. History of Omaha Steaks Omaha, often thought of as the steak capital of the world, is often the focus of restaurant meals; however, steak is a quick and easy meal for the home cook, as translated through Omaha Steaks.


By Amy Piper In 1884, cattlemen established Omaha’s Union Stockyard when 531 long-horn cattle were the first shipment to stop on their way from Wyoming to Chicago. The purpose was feeding and watering cattle going to the east coast market. In 1917, J.J. and B.A. Simon opened a small butcher shop, Table Supply Meat Company, that became today’s Omaha Steaks, a fifth-generation family business. Let’s look at how three different restaurant chefs tackle the Omaha Steak. Chef Jake Newton, from V. Mertz, runs a fine-dining style restaurant. Chef

Nick Strawhecker of Dante Pizzeria Napoletana has an Italian-style restaurant, while Chef Colin Duggan owns Kitchen Table, a seasonal, homestyle kitchen. Chef Jake N e w t o n — V. Mertz V-Mertz, located in Omaha’s Old Market, is more of a fine-dining restaurant style than a typical O m a h a steakhouse. The c o m p o s e d presentation of each dish at the Chef Jake restaurant, where you might find the perfect plate arranged by tweezers. Chef Jake Newton from V. Mertz chose to prepare a boneless ribeye. In our cooking class, Chef Jake strived to make his food more approachable for the home cooks that we are. Chef Jake provided this method to prepare a delicious steak. 1.Start with a very dry steak to help with the caramelization process. Pat it dry to remove all the moisture. 2.Season with a liberal amount of salt and cracked black pepper. Season from above to season the entire surface. Chef Jake was liberal with the pepper to achieve an Au Poivre quality to his steak. 3.Use canola oil to sear the steak on the hottest surface possible to create that crust and caramelization on the steak, approximately three and a half minutes per side. Don’t be afraid to get the pan hot as that’s what creates the crust. 4.Once steak has the nice exterior crust, let it rest for five to seven minutes, the goal is to


cool the external temperature to be less than what you desire the internal temperature. 5.Finish steak in a hot oven (450 degrees) for about five minutes (depending on your oven) until you reach the desired internal temperature. 6.The final resting period is around 15 minutes. The bigger the steak, the more rest time required. Chef Jake’s Pro Tips: •Use canola oil in a pan; it heats nice and hot. •Move the cast iron pan to another hot spot to keep the temperature of the pan high without touching the steak. Once you’ve finished cooking and resting the steak, slice it. Use the entire length of the blade for a slice, start at the heal of the blade, and cut through the whole length of the blade to create beautiful slices of ribeye. Only put pressure on the forward stroke, and on the backward, you are just resetting the edge. Fan out the pieces on top of a green salad, or a plate with some potato salad. In either case, pickled vegetables served alongside makes a great addition, as the acid in the pickled veggies cut the fat of the steak. Chef Nick Strawhecker — D a n t e Pizzeria Napoletana T h e s e co n d chef to share his secrets to cooking a great steak is C h e f Ni c k Strawhecker of Dante Pizzeria. Chef Nick ser ves certified Chef Nick Ne a p o l i t a n pizza in his 100 percent scratch kitchen. He prepared a 20ounce, bone-in ribeye and transformed it into a

Meatloaf Sandwich Courtesy Kitchen Table

steak sandwich. The benefit of turning it into a sandwich is it allows you to serve a crowd something luxurious, without breaking the budget. Chef Nick followed these steps to prepare his steak sandwich. 1.Temper steak for about two hours at room temperature. 2.Season with fresh cracked black pepper and diamond crystal salt. 3.Prepare in a hot cast iron pan with olive oil. 4.Place the steak in a wood-fired oven. 5.The internal temperature of steak should read 115 degrees to 120 degrees (rare to mediumrare.) 6.Let the steak rest for up to an hour and then cut across the grain. If it rests an hour, it won’t be hot, but it will still be delicious.

Chef Nick’s Pro Tip: At home, the key is a good cast iron skillet that you preheat on a stove, oven, or grill. What if you don’t have a wood-fired oven at home? Get a grill extremely hot or a cast-iron pan in your oven. Cook the steak to an internal temperature of 120 degrees, which is rare. Chef Colin Duggan—Kitchen Table Our third chef, Chef Colin Duggan and his wife Jessica from Kitchen Table, make everything in house at their restaurant, including bread and jam. The restaurant builds around the fact that

Chef Nick serves his steak sandwiches with a variety of toppings, like fresh mushrooms, pickled vegetables, and various sauces. Horseradish from your garden would be fantastic on this steak. Making the steak into a sandwich is a great tip from Chef Nick to stretch the steak to feed more people. Jessica & Chef Colin


the essential things in life happen around the kitchen table. Kitchen Table has a core menu of sandwiches, meatloaf, and the whole bird. A house-specialty is the popcorn served in a large cast-iron skillet as an interactive experience. At Kitchen Table, they use local ingredients to create a versatile menu. Chef Colin provided a new perspective on steak. When I think of steak, I think of dinner, and Chef Colin helped me expand my thinking. Steak is a protein that works wonderfully for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. He chose the Teres Major cut, which is versatile and large enough to provide several servings. Chef Colin took these steps to prepare his steak. 1.Trim the silver skin of the steak but leave some of the fat. 2.Prepare pan with a lump of butter, tarragon, and kosher salt. 3.Season steak with in-house seasonings 4.Use a very hot cast iron pan to create sear and crust on the steak.

Fertile Ground Mural Courtesy Omaha CVB


Chef Colin’s Tip: Season steak up to 12 hours before cooking to infuse maximum flavor. Start the day your day with a ton of flavor at breakfast where Chef Colin made steak and eggs with grilled asparagus seasoned with dill. Add the oil at the end to absorb the flavor and serve the steak and asparagus with over-easy eggs. For lunch, Chef Colin served steak salad with a house-made Greek Goddess dressing seasoned with the house Kitchen Table seasoning, which has fennel, coriander, salt, and pepper. Save cut up onion and pickle it and save it to use throughout the year. Finally, for dinner, he oered a jerked spiced Tera Major steak with marinated hothouse tomatoes. This steak is versatile and eaten in sandwiches or alone. Use reductions to accompany the steak. Please Note: Visit Omaha provided the author with a complimentary steak to facilitate this article.

Changing the World for the Better, One Meal at a Time By MaryRose Denton


recent Sunday evening, I find myself sitting next to my favorite guy, outside a local downtown Bellingham, Washington, brewery. We are sipping our cool ales and enjoying the last rays of a waning sun. A feeling of peace and normalcy flutters around on the light breeze. What could make this delightful scene even better? Dinner, from my favorite food truck! Outside the brewery, the familiar green food truck with the fist logo is parked off to one side. This is Sage Against the Machine. Owners Tara and Nate Johnson have been inside all afternoon cooking and serving up their version of down-home vegan fare, with a flair! Come early, is the best advice, for even though their open hours list until 7:00 pm, they typically sell out each evening. How it all Began Tara’s quest began seven years ago. She desired a healthier lifestyle, experimenting with various vegan recipes to find the ones her family would enjoy. Her love for cooking quickly turned into a passion. What she did not expect was to find love, community, and a sustainable small business. She took all her favorite recipes and turned them vegan. Now they are what’s for dinner on the menu. She has been an off-and-on vegan for most of her life. As someone who loves to throw big dinner parties and feed people, opening a food truck seemed like a natural extension for her tasty talents.


It was her read of the book, Forks Over Knives by Gene Stone which changed her view on food.

“I woke up to what is in our food and what is being done to it,” Tara said. For this reason, she chose the name Sage Against the Machine, inspired by the 90s alternative rock band, Rage Against the Machine, whose music a n d l y r i c s s p o ke to action and revolutionary change. Tara and Nate hold the same intention, hoping to inspire positive change in the food industry. “Changing the world for the better, one meal at a time.” Tara grew up in Oregon, moving around some before finding her way to Bellingham. Once she did, she knew this was her community. She was home. Finding love, community, and a new adventure It also led her to love. She met her husband Nate not long after moving to the Northwest. Having only a few social contacts, Tara took a chance at online dating. Her chance paid off. Tara and Nate married two years ago, the same year they jumped into purchasing a food truck and began their next adventure. Nate grew up in Montana, home of the meat and potato dinners. After meeting Tara and enjoying her cooking, he went vegan. “I don’t really miss a thing,” he says. Both Tara and Nate worked in the restaurant business, bringing years of knowledge to the table before stepping out on their own with the food truck. Now, they are

Photos (clockwise from opposite page): Fiesta Bowl & beer; Southwester Veggie Wrap & beer; Line forming for service; Nate at work; Tara at work; Delivery of Fiesta Bowl; Three dinner entrees.

inseparable, literally. They work together, go home together, and play together. The green food truck with the fist logo on the front has become a welcome icon around Bellingham, at such venues as Kulshan’s Brewery, Menace Brewing, and Stones Throw Brewery. Every Thursday, the truck can be found at the Whatcom Humane Society, with Tara and Nate giving back to the community with their time as well as 10 percent of the profits from the day. All to benefit animals. With Tara’s desire to feed the world in a healthy, sustainable and cruelty free way combined with Nate’s infectious positivity, they have transformed themselves into a dynamic duo, serving good and nutritious food. What is on the menu. Tara, as master chef, creates the menu for Sage Against the Machine, taking familiar, comfort food recipes and adjusting them, vegan style! From stand-by appetizers like chips and queso (a


carrot-based queso that will have you forgetting about the cheese) to classic vegan wraps to my favorite, the Fiesta Bowl. It is a combination of local and seasonal greens, kidney beans, rice, corn chips, shredded cabbage, and the pièce de résistance; their cilantro, lime, chile sauce! It truly is all about the sauce. And there are several in the Sage Against the Machine arsenal, and all delicious. Most of the menu boasts a Southwestern flair but Ta r a a n d Na t e n e v e r b a c k d o w n f r o m experimenting with ideas or flavors. One latest creation stems from Nate’s love of a Reuben sandwich, only this time all the flavors of sauerkraut, dressing, and barbecue jack fruit are generously portioned over a bed of corn chips! The Reuben Nachos is born. Enjoy any or many of their vegan delights while washing it down with a local ale. Tara and Nate Johnson are two people who love what they do, the people they serve, making a

difference to the world at large, but mostly each other.

Think pizza. And why not? As Nate says, “We are just two people living the dream.”

Their next adventure? They are looking into a brick and mortar version of Sage Against the Machine, where they can expand their vegan menu and throw a much larger dinner party.

Find Sage Against the Machine on FB. To contact Tara or Nate, email them at

RECIPE Quinoa Salad Ready in 45 minutes Makes 2 meal-size salads Author: Tara Johnson Ingredients Salad 
 ½ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed 2 cups packed baby spinach, roughly chopped 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes ⅓ cup thinly sliced red onion 1 medium carrot, peeled ¼ cup of craisins 1 avocado, cubed (optional) Vinaigrette 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 2 tablespoons lime juice 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro 2 tablespoons agave nectar ½ to 1 tsp Dijon mustard, to taste ¼ teaspoon salt Freshly ground black pepper, to taste Preparation 1. To cook the quinoa: First, rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh colander under running water for a minute or two. In a medium-sized pot, combine the rinsed quinoa and 1 cup water. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, then cover the pot, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the quinoa from heat and let it rest, still covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover the pot, drain off any excess water and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Set it aside to cool.


2. To prepare the vinaigrette: Whisk together all of the ingredients until emulsified. 3. To prepare the carrot: First of all, feel free to just chop it as finely as possible using a sharp chef ’s knife Or grate the carrot on a box grater. 4. To assemble the salad: In a large serving bowl, combine the craisins, tomatoes, red onions, carrots, roughly chopped spinach, and cooked quinoa. 5. Finally, drizzle dressing over the mixture (you might not need all of it) and gently toss to combine. Season to taste with salt (up to an additional ¼ teaspoon) and black pepper. Ser ve. Garnish with the optional cubed avocado. Tip: If you plan on having leftovers, prepare each salad separately and toss just before serving.

Chef Cristina Martinez on Being a Big Fish in a Small Pond at Taos’ Di La Tierra By Mary Farah


ome resorts are hard to forget. I’ve been fortunate to stay at several yet none have left the impact that New Mexico’s El Monte Sagrado has. Located in the beautiful artistic ski town of Taos, El Monte Sagrado is the state’s most elaborate resort built to date. From the moment you step onto the grounds, built on sacred land, you know it’s something special. From their various rooms and casitas to cocoon away to and spa treatments and meditation hours, a highlight for me was without a doubt, the fine dining. El Monte Sagrado’s Di La Tierra offers an exquisite menu of classic New Mexican fare that will leave you drooling. Curated by state native, Chef Cristina Martinez, I was thrilled to catch up with her to learn more about the passion that drives her to create works of art on plates. You’re a New Mexico native, studied at Le Cordon Bleu in California, then returned home. What drew you back to your roots? 
 I was very homesick in Los Angeles. There was always something missing food- wise, family, peace. It was not a place for me to grow, for me, it was just a place to learn and get out. An instructor told me when I was thinking of moving back that sometimes it’s better to be a big fish in a small pond. That stuck with me and gave me that little push. New Mexico is known for food you can’t find anywhere else. Does this make your job more exciting than when you’ve worked in other states?
 To me it means home, recipes and flavors passed down and cherished. What sums up our cuisine here is tradition and its simplicity that comes from all around us with the cultures and the terroir. It’s most certainly a comfortable place


Chef Cristina. ©Merriam018

cooking it now; it’s just second nature, that I’m constantly trying to perfect. Did you know from a young age that the culinary arts were your calling? 
 Oh yes, very much so. I would help my mom cook for large groups at home, and people took notice that I was good at cooking. I fell in love with that feeling of pleasing people with food. That is still my number one drive with cooking. Was there a “turning point” in your career? 
 There have been many. I’ve had extremely terrible, hard times, and some really good ones in this industry. What keeps me from burning out is

Breakfast. Courtesy Di la Tierra

I try to learn and grow as much as I can. I don’t think I’ve found my peak yet -- that would be to open my own restaurant.

serving something questionable. You need to question why you are doing this if you do any of that.

How do you cope with the strenuous hours being a chef requires? 
 It’s a constant battle, so you try to heal your wounds as best you can. The pandemic has forever changed how I deal with exhaustion and stress. I feel now I am a lot more introverted than I have ever been, so being at home with my husband and dogs is my sanctuary.

Do you have any advice for aspiring chefs out there? I would never tell a young person they should do this; I would only tell them the truth, and the truth is it’s a total nightmare at times.

Working in the kitchen is known to have its “moments.”


Anaconda Steak. Courtesy Di la Tierra

What do you do to stay in the zone when those crazy times arise? 
 That is my zen zone, I thrive the most there, especially in controlled chaos. I tend to deal better with craziness, finding solutions, and making it happen when it seems like the world is collapsing. What’s your kitchen pet peeve? 
 Any lack of care, whether it be seasoning or

The best advice I can give is to travel and learn; find someone you can trust who will invest in you as a chef when you are full of knowledge. Find ways to improve this industry rather than doing the same old stuff. You absolutely need to love cooking and all the endless hardships that come with this very unforgiving industry. It can be rewarding when you find your niche, and that takes tons of hard work and dedication. Just like anything it takes a bit of luck, whom you k n o w, h a r d wo r k , a n d t a l e n t to b e co m e successful.

Recipe Blackened Tuna Tostada Ingredients: Salsa Verde (recipe below) Avocados 1 can of black beans Blue corn tortillas Olive oil Salt Tomatoes Chili powder Garlic powder High quality Ahi tuna

Fresh tuna, Courtesy

Salsa Verde Ingredients: 3 Tomatoes 4 Tomatillos 1 lb onions 2 jalapeños 2 oz cilantro 1 oz garlic Salt, to taste 2 limes, juiced 1 tsp cumin 1/8 cup water

Directions: Char tomatoes, jalapeño, tomatillos, and onion in cast iron or grill. Place in a blender, and add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Drain can of black beans; season with salt, chili powder, garlic powder to taste; and blend until smooth. Set aside. Heat butter in a pan until it reaches 350 degrees


Place one corn tortilla at a time flipping once until oil slows down. Pat dry oil off of tortillas and season good quality salt. Use blackened seasoning and season Ahi tuna heavily. Be sure that the tuna is nice and dry from any moisture. Heat sauté pan to medium-high heat. Add a tiny bit of oil to prevent tuna from sticking. Add tuna to pan to sear and make sure to prevent overcrowding the pan so that it does not cool too quickly. Sear about 10 seconds per side, you should have good color on the outside and just white around the edges of tuna, tuna should be rare. Slice half an avocado per tostada. Slice tuna when cooled into 5 thin pieces per tostada. Spread bean puree thinly on the tostada and a little under the tortilla itself to prevent from sliding around on the plate. Place avocado on tostada. Add tuna and drizzle salsa. Garnish with cilantro, fresh tomato, olive oil and fresh lime wedges.

A passion forItalian wine a conversation about wines

By Christine Cutler

Vineyards of Chianti

When he became an adult, he became more interested in the world of wine and decided to take a sommelier course of the AIS (Associazione It a l i a n a S o m m e l i e r / It a l i a n S o m m e l i e r Association). For three years, Giovanni studied viticulture, winemaking techniques (Italian and foreign types), theory, and tasting (how to judge the quality of a wine), and in the end, he earned his certificate.

Do you have a favorite wine? Without a doubt, Pinot Noir. In 1998, I happened to open a bottle left in the cellar by my father. It was a 1993 Blauburgunder Vig na Sant’Urbano di Hofstatter in Termeno. It is perhaps the Italian Pinot Noir that is closest to those of Burgundy, which is the area of origin and choice of Pinot Noir. It is a difficult vine that grows only in a few areas of the world, but in the most suitable areas, it gives extraordinary wines. It is a light and transparent wine that rests entirely on perfumes. It is almost a shame to drink it, sometimes I just need to smell it. In Italy, it is produced almost only in South Tyrol and in particular in the area between Termeno and Montagna, two small villages south of Bolzano.

I asked him if he would share his thoughts on wine with our readers. Giovanni agreed but told me that even though he is a sommelier, he is not an expert. “The more I learn of it, the more doubts take the place of certainties. It is a very vast world that is always changing. Compared to 20 years ago, when I started studying it seriously, a lot has changed.”

In the last few years, I have greatly appreciated another grape variety that is produced only on the slopes of Etna in Sicily. The vine is Nerello Mascalese, and the DOP is called Etna Rosso. This, too, is a light wine that focuses entirely on perfumes. Unfortunately, the area is small and there are few companies that produce it. Consequently, the prices are high because it is


iovanni Grillenzoni has had a passion for wine since he was a child. At that time, his family had a vineyard near Modena where they grew the typical grapes of the area— Lambr usco, Barbera and Trebbiano—and produced wine for their own enjoyment.


becoming famous, and Etna is now called the "Burgundy of Italy.� Italy and France are leading the world in wine production. What is the main difference between the wines of the two countries? As you might ha ve understood, I real l y appreciate the French winemaking technique, and I have great admiration and respect for the work they have been doing for more than 200 years to achieve ever higher quality. Italian quality wine was born about 50 years ago. Before that, the production, albeit large, was of mediocre quality (with fe w exceptions). Experience is very important, and wine can only be made once a year. This is why the French have an experience gap compared to Italy. Having said that, I must add that in the last 20 years, Italy has made great strides to fill this gap, and many wine areas are comparable to France. This is a consideration of the advantage the French have. The main dierence, however, is that in France a few dozen vines are grown that have been selected over the years, and each area has specialized in the production of a few vines: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Burgundy; Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and

Photos (left-to-right): Pietrantonj Wines of the Abruzzo region; Cerasuolo wine; the Pietrantonj wine cellar


Merlot in Bordeaux; Grenache in the Rhone valley. These are the main ones. In Italy, on the other hand, there were hundreds of dierent vines that have been gradually recovered, and many production areas have dedicated themselves to these. Then the international vines are also cultivated which are then the French first brought to Italy by Napoleon. Cabernet Sauvignon is produced from Trentino to Sicily. Only in some areas are high quality results obtained, and perhaps it was better to make a more targeted selection, which is now being done. In Italy, there are two very famous grape varieties that make high quality wines. They are the Nebbiolo in Piedmont that gives Barolo, Barbaresco, Sassella in Valtellina. Nebbiolo is the best Italian grape and cannot be grown in other areas with good results. The other great grape is Sangiovese which is grown throughout central Italy and is the basis of Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino (Sangiovese Grosso). In the south, the most famous grape is Aglianico, in the province of Avellino and in Basilicata. Then, as I said, there are hundreds of native vines that have been rediscovered. Some deserve attention, others maybe less. Hence a great doubt that often comes to me. Is the grape

variety (excluding the particular ones I mentioned earlier) really that important? Or is it the cultivation and vinification techniques that create the quality of a wine? What are some of the best Italian wines? As I have already mentioned, the best Italian grape varieties are Nebbiolo in all its varieties ( B a r o l o , B a r b a r e s co , S a s s e l l a , Ga t t i n a r a , Ghemme), Sangiovese (Chianti, Brunello di Montalico, Nobile di Montepulciano), and Nerello Mascalese from Etna. The best wine region is undoubtedly Piedmont, without taking anything away from other regions. Tell me what you think is important to know about Italian wines. The answer to that question is very complex. I can say that Italy, due to its morphology and the geological stratification of its territory, has some areas that are very suitable for the production of wine. The same vines planted elsewhere would give completely dierent results. In general, the best wines come from arid and stony soils where no other cultivation would be possible. In this, Italy is certainly favored because it has very few fertile plains and many hill or mountain soils where wine gives better results. I know excellent wines grown up to 1000 meters above sea level, where almost nothing else grows.

As I wrote at the beginning, the world of wine is changing and now there is a new generation of winemakers who are focusing on organic and natural wines. I, too, have oriented myself a lot on the latter because they represent something new against the now standardized flavors of large production. What do DOC and DOCG mean in Italian wine production? DOC and DOCG are two quality certifications of the legislative classification. The DOC and DOP mean Protected Designation of Origin; they mean that there are standardized regulations for wine production. It must be produced in a specific geographical area and must ha ve cer tain organoleptic characteristics, minimum alcohol content, and aging. DOCG is the same thing but the regulations are more specific and tighter. To get a DOCG, a wine must pass an in-depth technical analysis and tasting. I believe the Italian DOCGs are less than 75 and represent the wines of the most suitable areas.

Photos (left-to-right): Casa Emma Chianti Classico; three Tuscan wines; Pignoletto (L) and Lambrusco (R)

















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