Sunday, April 25, 2010

Thomas Hill Organics in Paso Robles provides a wonderful, fresh organic experince that is memorable

In these days and times it is important that we respect the Earth and our own bodys. On on a visit to the Central Coast of California to celebrate Earth Day Food and Wine we could not help but stop in for lunch at a highly recommended restaurant.

Thomas Hill Organics located in downtown Paso Robles is a market-bistro and wine bar dedicated to serving organic produce from their farm and highlighting unique wines from the Central Coast.

The menu changes weekly depending on the season and the availability of ingredients . The owners and the chef work with local providers for most of their needs. The fish dishes are fresh from local fisheries and their bread is made exclusively by in-town bakers who are celebrated artisans of their trade.

Three years ago owners Joe and Debbie Thomas moved to Paso Robles to start an organic farm. They started CSA (Community Supported Agriculture ) and has spread by word of mouth. Their amazing farm is located on the east hills of Paso Robles amongst the vineyards. The Farm is true to its name and is family owned and operated. The farm's 10 acres of organically grown fruit , vegetables and nuts provide the restaurant with fresh organic produce who's flavors explode in every bite of their dishes.

We found young , talented Chef Julie Simon busy in the kitchen creating wonderful fresh dishes. Chef Julie was born in Paris, France. At the age of twelve, her family moved to the southwest of France where they opened a bar and restaurant. Food brought her family together to cook, eat, laugh and share stories. After embarking on a path to study Law, Julie realized that her true passion was for cooking . She was inspired by her experiences growing-up around the family kitchen and table, she arrived in California to begin her culinary career. She has worked at Windows on the Water in Morro Bay with Pandee Pearson as well as The Park Restaurant in San Luis Obispo with Meagan Loring. Tasting her dishes was an experience that we will soon not forget.

As the sun came streaming through the awnings of Thomas Hill Organics, a gentle breeze was blowing as we sat down at this sunny, welcoming restaurant . With an emphasis on organic only produce from the proprietor, Debbie Thomas, we were anticipating some mouth watering and flavorful dishes prepared from upcoming chef, Julie Simon.

We were greeted warmly, and started our newest culinary journey with a California Sparkling, Latetitia. These bubbles were refreshing and helped to enhance the flavors of the dishes

Grilled Kali short rib, Tangerine , Mango , Avocado , greens, coconut - keffir reduction and nuts

Our first plate being the Grilled Kali short rib was tender yet salty and sweet at the same time. The combination of flavors from the reduction all melded together for a delightful, colorful and healthy salad. Using only fresh organic produce, Chef Julie, reminded us that using the best and freshest ingredients does make for an extraordinary burst of flavors in all the dishes that were yet to come.

Seared Ahi Tuna Salad ,Persian Cucumbers & Seaweed , Market Citrus , sunflower sprouts and sesame.

This salad was indeed our favorite. The colors and delicate preparation and arrangement of the salad had us salivating. The Ahi melted in our mouth being perfectly prepared. The bright citrus notes from market citrus complemented the cool tender Persian cucumbers and sunflower sprouts. We were left begging for more. More was yet to come with a eye-popping stunning
spring green pea salad.

Early Spring Pea salad with mint salsa verde , and house made saffron Ricotta

Being a huge fan of fresh organic produce, what could be better than early spring peas. The verdant green almost bounded off the plate. The light yellow saffron in the fresh homemade ricotta made the dish look like an artist palette. Our palates refreshed and tantalized with each
tiny fresh green pea and creamy saffron ricotta.

Vietnamese PorkBelly, pickled purple haze carrots , Jalapeno and red onions, Cilantro , Avocado , and Aioli field green salad

This sandwich was noted as one of their signature lunch dishes. Utilizing the fresh seasonal produce, Chef Julie delighted us again. The richness of the pork belly,was savory and well balanced with the spicy ingredients.

Robiola with truffled poach pear , 5 year aged Gouda with sliced apple and candied pecans , roaring 20's blue cheese and vincotto Cheese plate

To end this most wonderful lunch we were again treated with one of the best cheese plates that we have come across. Accenting The cheeses were the truffled poached pear, red peppers with candied apple and candied pecans with a drizzling of balsamic reduction and fried sage leaves.It was no surprise that it was difficult to stop with just one taste of each perfectly paired cheese and condiment. We may have to leave this gem of a restaurant in the heart of downtown Paso Robles, but a bit of our culinary hearts will linger there until our next visit.

Thomas Hill Organics offers its guests a very special opportunity . Their T-Hill BASKET Offers a chance to be apart of a small family farm. You can enjoy produce harvested at peak ripeness ensuring maximum flavor and nutritional value. Each week they put together a basket of fruit, vegetables and nuts grown exclusively on their family farm. The contents of each basket vary according to the season and recipes and varietal descriptions accompany the weekly harvest.

Owner Debbie Thomas and Chef Julie Simon provided a lunch that was probably one of the most fresh and creative we have seen in quite sometime. Chef Julie Simon is a young , talented Chef that has a long acclaimed career in front for here. For more information on Thomas Hill Organics please visit

Join Elaine from The Cuisineist as she speaks to Debbie Thomas and Chef Julie Simon about this very unique and special restaurant in California's famous Central Coast.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Paul Bartolotta, chef of Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare at Wynn Las Vegas provides the Cuisineist with classic Italian delights from the sea

Paul Bartolotta, chef of Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare at Wynn Las Vegas, is a two time James Beard Foundation Award winner . Most recently in 2009 for Best Chef Southwest . Bartolotta previously won the 1994 Best Chef, Midwest James Beard Award when he helmed the kitchen of Chicago’s Spiaggia, which received four-star ratings from both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago magazine.

Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, which received a 2006 James Beard nomination for Best New Restaurant, offers a simple, yet refined Italian menu that redefines traditional American notions of Italian dining. The restaurant provides exquisitely prepared regional specialties emphasizing the freshest seafood and homemade pastas in a bright and vibrant setting that evokes life by the sea. Each week, the restaurant imports 1.5 tons of seafood from cities that lie along the Mediterranean coast.

In 2007 and 2008, BARTOLOTTA Ristorante di Mare received the AAA Four Diamond Award. The restaurant was also named one of the Best New Restaurants in America by Esquire magazine in 2005, and received Restaurant and Institutions’ Ivy Award in 2008, which was Chef Bartolotta’s second Ivy Award.

May we suggest :

ANTI PASTI DI MARE ~ sea food appetizers

cappesante dorate con porcini
seared sea scallops with porcini mushrooms

PRIMI DI MARE ~ seafood appetizer pasta

lasagnette con ragu di crostacei
“rags” of pasta, lobster, shrimp, crab, white wine, tomato

spaghet t i all’ ast ice
spaghetti with rock lobster, spicy tomato sauce, white wine


Orata…gilthead sea bream
Branzino… sea bass
San Pietro…john dory
Dentice Imperiale… imperial snapper
Rombo… turbot
Sogliola… northern Adriatic sole
Pagello… pink snapper
Occhiona… big-eyed red sea bream
Pagaro… snapper

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Chef François Payard of Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro gives a pre-view of Vegas Uncork'd Grand Tasting venue "Garden of the Gods" at Caesars Palace

Renown French Pastry Chef Francois Payard gave a pre-view of the Vegas Uncork'd Grand Tasting Venue , Garden of the Gods Oasis at Caesars Palace . The newly opened pool is the most breathtaking swimming pool experience in Las Vegas and located exclusively at the most legendary casino resort of them all. Caesars Palace

Spacious, luxurious and stately, this collection of exclusive watering holes, decadent cabanas and palatial sunbathing spots is the ultimate warm-weather destination, no matter whether you bow before the gods of the sun or the water. What a better place to show off the Grand Tasting but at this Oasis on the Las Vegas Strip.

François Payard is a third generation French Pastry Chef born in Nice , France . François cultivated his passion for the art of Pastry as a child in his grandfather’s acclaimed shop, Au Nid des Friandises on the Riviera. He grew up surrounded by the delicious classic French pastry in the tradition carried on by his parents and grandparents for over fifty years.

His dedication and passion earned him positions in several of France’s finest kitchens. In 1988, Payard held his first position as Pastry Chef in Paris at La Tour d’Argent (***Michelin). The following year he went on to become Pastry Chef in the kitchen of Alain Senderens at Lucas Carton (***Michelin). In these renowned restaurants he met the challenge of creating dessert menus worthy of a three star Michelin rating.

In 1993, François Payard joined Chef Daniel Boulud for the opening of Restaurant Daniel (****NY Times) where he delighted guests with his chocolate and seasonal fruit menus. In 1995, The James Beard Foundation named François “Pastry Chef of the Year” in recognition of his accent on flavor combined with a unique sense of pastry design.

Chef and owner François Payard will be at the Grand Tasting but will also welcome guests for an intimate afternoon tea and dessert demonstration. This special Mother’s Day weekend event is a unique glimpse into the technique of this celebrated chef and his classic Parisian pastry shop. Hosted by Bon Appétit Editor-In-Chief Barbara Fairchild. This Vegas Uncork'd experience also includes a signed copy of François Payard's book, "Chocolate Epiphany."

This speciall event is currently sold out. Please check back later as tickets may become available or call 877.884.8993 to be placed on the wait list.

The Grand Tasting features an impressive 60 chefs, more than 50 of the city's most celebrated restaurants, and over 30 wines and spirits from around the world, plus hosted lounges, demonstrations, and so much more. This event is a foodies version of heaven it self.

Many names that guests are sure to recognize will be pool side with many delicious dishes. The Chefs expected to share their artistry are , Zach Allen, Kim Canteenwalla, Alain Ducasse, Susan Feniger, Bobby Flay, Osamu "Fuji" Fujita, Carlos Guía, Martin Heierling, Masa Ishizawa, Jean Joho, Hubert Keller, René Lenger, Shawn McClain, Mary Sue Milliken, Rick Moonen, Bradley Ogden, Charlie Palmer, François Payard, Luciano Pellegrini , Carla Pellegrino, Megan Romano, Richard Sandoval, Guy Savoy, John Schenk, Matthew Silverman, Kerry Simon, Joung Sohn, David Spero, Masa Takayama, Jet Tila, Laurent Tourondel, Joel Versola.

This lists of Chefs should impress anyone who enjoys the best culinary experience that Las Vegas and the World can offer all at one beautifull venue. Join us !

The Grand Tasting

  • Time: May 7, 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM
  • Resort: Caesars Palace
  • Venue: Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis
$175 Advance, $195 Door

Monday, April 5, 2010

EMERIL LAGASSE’S SIGNATURE BAM’WICH adds to the best Sports Book food in Las Vegas at Lagasse's Stadium in the Palazzo Resort

The very dynamic Chef Emeril Lagasse has done it again and added the BAM WICH to his culinary arsenal at Lagasse's Stadium in the Palazzo Resort.

The Cuisineist stopped in had a real treat as we enjoyed a few of Emerils lunch time delights. His newest signature dish the " BAM WICH " was mouthwatering. This Prime Steak Sandwich is complete with 8 Oz of Grilled Prime Sirlon on a homemade Herd Focaccia . Blue Cheese Slaw, Balsamic Braised Red Onions along with Emeril’s Steak Sauce completed this work of art and even comes served with Truffle Parmesan Potato Wedges to finish it off.

“Since day one, the concept of Lagasse’s Stadium has been to serve food that the average sports bar would carry, but to present it to our guests in an extraordinary way,” said Vincent Chiyuto, Chef de Cuisine at Lagasse’s Stadium. “Emeril’s Steak BAM’wich is a great example of how we took an average steak sandwich and kicked-it-up-a-notch, Lagasse-style.”

Even though the BAM WICH was the "star" of the show on this visit , we explored other delights on Emerils lunch menu as well.
The Open-Faced Ahi Tuna Melt with Coriander-spiced and rare-seared tuna sliced on griddled rye bread with Fontina cheese and Creole tomato glaze was tuna melt like none other we have had. The Ahi Tuna alone would rival any seared Ahi we have sampled in many " Fine Dining" venues around the country.

We started off our stadium side lunch with delicious Cheesy Beer & Warm Soft Pretzels. The dip with three cheeses, tomatoes and roasted jalapeños melted in our mouth with the salty pretzels making a very nice combination and a great way to start.

In addition to Emerils newest creation , we enjoyed the Chicken and Avocado Wrap,with
Diced chicken, avocado, tomato, lettuce, cheddar cheese, bacon and ancho chili mayonnaise for a little lighter experience.

Deserts like Funnel Cake Fried to order and served with powdered sugar and a choice of cinnamon apples or strawberries , Sinfully Southern Pie, a Pecan and walnut pie in oatmeal shortbread crust served with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce and of course Emeril's New York Style Cheesecake, with Graham cracker crust, sour cream topping and fresh berries will only give us even more of a reason to enjoy many other dishes sitting in the dining room , outside on the patio or in the Stadium on a plush couch watching a sporting event.