Saturday, February 26, 2011

Very Savory Braised Lamb Shank for those cold winter days

The Cuisineist kitchens were hard a work and created a 10 hour Braised Lamb Shank that is easy and makes most cooks look like a Chef .This is dish is best when cooked at low temps for an extended period of time.

The Cuisineist Kitchens   

Ingredients for 4 to 6 Servings:

3 Lamb Shanks


Freshly ground black pepper

All-purpose flour

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

To Flavor the Braise:

1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped

1 medium leek, trimmed, quartered and washed, coarsely chopped

2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped

1 large celery stalk, coarsely chopped

1 extra large shallot, peeled

4 large cloves garlic--unpeeled, crushed

Unsalted butter

6 ripe plum tomatoes,
 2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

5 cups chicken stock

1 cup veal stock

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

Sprigs of fresh parsley leaves

Equipment Suggested:

Heavy 8-quart covered casserole with cover



2 1/2-quart saucepan

Browning the Lamb:

Salt and pepper lamb shanks, dredge in flour, and pat off excess. Set casserole dish  over moderately high heat; when hot, swirl in just enough butter to film bottom of pan. As butter foam subsides, lay in lamb shanks and sauté, turning often with tongs until all pieces are browned on all sides. Remove casserole from heat; set shanks a side .

Remove excess fat from  but leave a film of fat to cook vegetables. Return to burner over low heat. Stir onion, leek, carrots, celery, shallot, and garlic into casserole, if necessary add  more butter to coat. Sauté, stirring frequently, for several minutes until lightly browned; stir in tomatoes, add  thyme and bay leaf and cook 4 minutes more, stirring frequently until vegetables are softened and tomatoes render juices. Return shanks to casserole. Pour on stock and wine, if needed  add more liquid to cover ingredients. Bring to a simmer on top of stove, then cover and set in preheated 350 F oven. Lower oven to 300F . Check. periodically . The  Shanks are done when meat is tender  and can be pulled cleanly away from bone.


When done take out Shanks , place them on a cutting board.  Using a ladle , make a bed of vegetables from the casserole on each plate.  Pull the lamb from the bone, place on top of the vegetable and enjoy !

d.vino Italian Food & Wine Bar Is a pleasant surprise of Classic Italian Cuisine and wine.

It is no secret that Las Vegas is home to some of the world best dining venues with several Michelin award winning restaurants located on the famed Las Vegas Strip. In addition to those high profile, renown dining palaces, Las Vegas is also home to some lovely restaurants that fly “under the radar” and provide mouthwatering delicious cuisine. One of these nice finds is d.vino Italian Food and Wine located in the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino.

Walking into d.vino you are first struck by a Vespa and Enomatic machines that start your wine journey off on the right foot. The bar area is casual and bright giving the feel of an Italian diner with the Enomtaics offering a touch of sophistication. A quick look at menu showed a nice selection of meat , fish , vegetables , pasta and breads. There is even an authentic formaggio and salami bar and a wood-fired Pizza oven where you can enjoy a custom Pizza. Executive Chef Jose M. Navarro turns seasonal and classic Italian dishes into palate pleasing delights. Chef Navarro wants his guests to be as involved in the creation of the meal or one can just sit back and let his attentive staff take care of the details. And that is exactly what we did as we headed off to the fine dining area in the quite rear of the restaurant.

After being greeted by Chef Navarro we were introduced to General Manager Iginio Pignatelli, our host for the evening. Iginio is a true Italian, and his knowledge of the country and it’s rich culinary background would bring us many insights for the evening. Sipping on a nice Procecco , Chef Navarro and Iginio explained the composition of each course.

Golden and Chioggia Beet salad with Frisee,
Golden and Chioggia Beet Salad

Candied pecans and gorgonzola with a tangy sherry vinergarette. This salad was sweet and savory with the assertive gorgonzola mixed with the crunchy bites of beets, and candied pecans, all nicely topped with the delicately dressed Frisee.


Roasted Diver Scallops

Soft Polenta , Braised Mushrooms. The perfectly cook Scallops melted in our mouths combining with lovely , earthy flavors of the Braised Mushrooms. This dish was paired with a DE FORVILLE CHARDONNAY PIEMONTE that was well balanced and brought out the layers of flavor components of the Beet Salad and Diver Scallops.

Pasta Trio Tasting

The gnocchi Pomodoroi

The pasta trio tasting was an excellent way to sample their signature pasta dishes without having to indulge in one big bowl of pasta. The gnocchi Pomodoroi was baked with a ratio of 50% pasta to potato filling. It was plump, soft and yet, had a semi firm texture layered with a tomato sauce. The Ravioli was our favorite filled with mushrooms and topped with a lovely bolognaise sauce. The rigatoni with sausage was also tasty, with roasted green pepper to help enhance the flavor


Grilled Branzino

Grilled Lemon  Branzino on a bed of Sautéed Spinach . This was our Favorite dish of the night. This was a work of art with layers of contrasting flavors and sautéed spinach bringing heartiness to the delicate fish that helped this dish to stand up to the bold flavors of the PARCELL 41 MERLOT NAPA VALLEY 2007. This was the best wine pairing of the night and left us impressed and earning for more.

Lemon, polenta cake.

A rustic type of lemony corn cake. This was a nice simple, and satisfying way to end our dining experience. This cake was rich, but not overly sweet after such a wonderful meal. Igino was not done yet with his wine pairing and brought a luscious BEN RYE PASSITO DI PANTELLERIA DONNA FUGATA 2007 for the grand finish of this very nicely paired dining experience.

Cuisineist Editor-In-Chief Elaine Harris

Dining at d.vino was much more than we expected and we were pleasantly surprised with all aspects of the restaurant from the time we entered until we departed hours later very satisfied. We will be back to d.vino to experience more of what this very special venue has to offer and know we will not be disappointed.

For more information about upcoming events, menus and hours please visit

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Palazzo Resort adds another hit to their impressive line up of dinning venues. I LOVE BURGERS is now open and well worth a stop.

We have visited   i♥burgers literally from the first day they pulled pack to curtains for their soft opening.. They offer a unique a take on the classic American burger joint.

i♥burgers sets itself apart from the typical burger experience by providing premium gourmet burgers with creative toppings and sides. You  can choose from one of the many signature burgers ( we have had almost all of them ) featuring a variety of toppings, including farm-fresh vegetables, smoked meats and an array of cheeses. It also features the largest fry menu in Las Vegas, with options including truffle-butter tossed fried Yukon Gold potatoes, New York-style chips and baked potato fries.

Chef / GM Errol LeBlanc
Executive Chef/GM Errol LeBlanc, formerly of R.E. Tapas Kitchen and Aureole, explains, “At i♥burgers, I’ve had the opportunity to re-engineer the quintessential American dish. I made 16 different proprietary bun recipes before I got it right, I’m grinding our meats in-house because no one had the flavor and texture that I wanted, and I’ve experimented with more than 50 different fry variations to compose the best fry menu. Ever. Getting on this menu is harder than getting on the Olympic curling team: there’s no room for weak sauce.”

i♥burgers offers tasty food and great value in a fun and casual atmosphere. Every burger is a half-pound experience in taste, ranging from angus, sirloin and kobe to ahi tuna, turkey and buffalo. The family-friendly location is perfect for a quick lunch meeting or to enjoy a night with friends. i♥burgers also features a full-service ♥togo counter, allowing guests to take their deliciousness with them.

Our overall mouth watering favorite  is the i♥bacon burger, a half-pound burger made from our blend of sirloin and applewood-smoked bacon.  This very juicy , addicting burger topped with smoked gouda, crispy onion straws, applewood-smoked bacon and our house-made bacon aioli served on a buttery brioche bun, baked each morning exclusively for i♥burgers.

The restaurant also  offers one of the largest selections of domestic, imported and artisan beers on the Strip, including more than 15 varieties on draft. Head Mixologist Myke Ramos has created a drink menu featuring frosty homemade ice cream shakes, specialty cocktails and a variety of frozen beverages. One of the signature cocktails is the very spicy i♥ bloody mary, which boasts pork cracklins and apple-wood smoked bacon salt circling the rim. If you prefer sweet over savory, the Blueberry Panshake is breakfast in a glass  complete with  blueberry, maple syrup and freshly-made pancakes blended with homemade ice cream.

Chef/GM Errol LeBlanc  Mixologist Myke Ramos

Myke Ramos, Head Mixologist stated “Unlike most cocktails on the Strip, my drinks don’t get their flavors from premade syrups and pre-infused liquors. We're focused on fresh ingredients and creating complex tastes organically,” We're carbonating exotic fruits, popping corn and flipping pancakes in the search of the perfect drink.”

Myke has put together a very impressive line up of Orangic Vodkas , Rums and liqueurs  that gives him the tools need to create cocktails that are truly "one of a kind " , limited only by his imagination.

The Palazzo Resort has so many great dining venues to choose from. But , If you are in the mood to experience a Burger or Fresh salad   along with an interesting drink , i♥burgers is the place for you.  They  are open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week .  See you there !

Chef Philippe Ruiz at Palme D’ Or in the Coral Gables Historic Biltmore Hotel creates French Cuisine that is Miami’s Best

The historic Biltmore Hotel is home to the exclusive Biltmore Spa, the Biltmore Golf Course and the award-winning Palme d'Or restaurant . This legendary Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables has been a favorite of world leaders, celebrities, and sports stars since its opening in the 1920s. Offering much more than exceptional accommodations, the Biltmore Hotel showcases championship golf, cosmopolitan dining and a luxury spa. This very Grand Lady has remained Miami’s only four-star, four-diamond hotel for six consecutive years.

It was designed by Schultze and Weaver and was built in 1926 by John McEntee Bowman and George Merrick as part of the Biltmore hotel chain and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1996. The Biltmore as served as a hospital during World War II and as a VA Hospital and campus of the University of Miami medical school until 1968.

When completed, it was the tallest building in Florida, surpassing the Freedom Tower in Downtown Miami. It was surpassed in 1928 by the Dade County Courthouse, also in Downtown Miami. At one time the pool was the largest pool in the world and among the many attractions was swimming instructor (and later Tarzan actor) Johnny Weissmuller.The hotel has been used as a setting for the movie Bad Boys and television programs like CSI: Miami and Miami Vice.

Dr  Nancy Dale , Journalist Scott Harris

It was a real pleasure to experience this lovely hotel and dine with Florida Historian and Author Dr. Nancy Dale who took a break from book signings of her most recent publication: The FLORIDA PIONEER “Cow Hunters and Huntresses” – In their own words, to discuss with us the art of wine/food pairing as we sampled Chef Philippe Ruiz’s special dishes prepared for our table.

The Biltmore's signature restaurant, Palme d’Or, brings an authentic taste of France to Coral Gables. Since taking the helm at Palme d’Or, Chef Philippe Ruiz has won accolades for his interpretation of French Nouvelle Cuisine. His award-winning cuisine has “raised the standard” on the South Florida culinary scene, according to the Miami Herald, which has twice ranked the restaurant as “exceptional.” Rated the top restaurant by the 2010 South Florida Zagat Guide, the Biltmore’s stunning signature restaurant presents an unparalleled dining experience. Both Chef Ruiz and his Palme D’ Or were semi-finalists for the coveted James Beard Awardas well in 2009 .

Chef Philippe Ruiz explained that Patrons who dine at Palm D’ Or have the option custom-design their own dining experience around the 20-plus offered tasting dishes and an award-winning wine list.

Philippe Ruiz, joined the Biltmore in July 1999 as Chef de Cuisine of its signature restaurant Palme d'Or, where he has received the highest accolades for his ingenious interpretation of French nouvelle cuisine.

Ruiz’s position at the helm of Palme d'Or has elevated the restaurant’s ratings to the highest echelon of South Florida’s dining scene. The Zagat guide says, “Life never felt so good at this elegant venue with superb new French fare.” Florida Trend Magazine crowned Palme d’Or as "Best French restaurant in the state of Florida.”

We were fortunate to be in attendance In 2006, when the government of France honored Philippe Ruiz with the title of Chevalier de l’Ordre Du Mérite Agricole. The award, first established in 1883, recognizes the “continued and significant contribution to the quality, advancement and success of the agricultural and food sectors.”

Executive Chef Philippe Ruiz

This very talented Chef began his culinary training at the age of 14 at the Hotel School in Bonneville, France. There, Ruiz earned such triumphant certificates of accomplishment as the Yves Thuries Trophée and La Poularde d'Or from the illustrious Master Chef Georges Blanc, who recognized Ruiz as one of France's foremost young culinary prodigies.

Ruiz went on to build his professional repertoire with stints at Two-Michelin-Star Château de Divonne in Divonne-les-Bains, France; at Two-Michelin-Star Le Chat Botté at the Hôtel Beau Rivage in Geneva, Switzerland; and at Le Vieux Moulin, a Two-Michelin-Star property, also in Geneva. Ruiz’s talent took him overseas to the Caribbean, where he was Chef de Cuisine in St. Martin’s renowned La Samanna resort prior to joining the Biltmore in 1999.

Entering Palm D’Or reminded us of the “grand old days “ of fine dining that now, in many cases is a distant memory. You can almost hear the orchestra playing and muddled voices of the guests at the Bilmore’s grand opening gala in 1926. An upscale piano bar and lounge is located just off the main entrance to this very classic French dining venue.

Walls of awards, Marble Floors, fine linen table cloths and chandlers adorn the dining areas. The service is some of the best that we have experienced, complete with a very attentive server that was at the tables beckon call with the wave of a hand. Chef Ruiz greeted us table side as we sipped our Champagne and sampled a lovely Amuse Bouche.

Duck Foie Gras Terrine with Black Truffle , Dry Orchard Fruit Chutney and Sauternes Reduction

Our first course of Foie Gras was has classic as its gets and prepared to perfection. The Sauternes reduction was a very nice touch of sweetness that balanced the dish perfectly.

Braised Mediterranean John Dory with Sevruga Caviar, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Potatoe Boulangere and Baby Leaks

John Dory and Caviar all in one dish was a work of art with as our palates began to water when this pretty and mothering dish was placed in front of us. The Leeks and Potatoe Boulangere provide an exceptional base to the dish.

Grilled Maine Scallop with Spanish Chorizo, Fresh Artichoke Barigoule

Scallops and Chorizo with Artichoke Barigoule provided us a nice take on a French dish with a Miami twist.

Roasted Grass Fed Beef Tenderloin Rossini with Wild Mushroom and Black Truffle Sauce

Chef Ruiz holds true to creating dishes that are high quality and in many cases sustainable. His Roasted Grass Fed Beef Tenderloin and very rich Black Truffle Sauce provided us with a perfectly cooked earthy dish that melted in our mouths

Buche de Noel “Black Forest” Chocolate , Vanilla and American Cherries

Of course we had to sample Palme D’Or’s Buche de Noel to literally put “ the cherry” on top of our gastronomic evening at this exquisite restaurant.

Cuisineist Editor-In-Chief Elaine Harris

After spending an evening at Palme D’Or we saw how close you can get to perfection from the time we walked in the door, the service and the culinary artistry of Chef Philippe Ruiz . Palme D’Or with its old world elegance with a breath of fresh air and a must visit on any visit to Miami.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Daniel Boulud’s db BISTRO MODERNE Is Taking Downtown Miami Dining to a Whole New Level

Chef Daniel Boulud

Daniel Boulud was raised on his family’s farm near Lyon, France where he grew up surrounded by the rhythms of the seasons, produce fresh from the fields, and of course, his grandmother’s home cooking.

After being nominated as a candidate for best cooking apprentice in France, Daniel went on to train under renowned chefs including Roger Vergé, Georges Blanc and Michel Guérard. Following two years in Copenhagen where Daniel worked as a chef in some of the city’s finest kitchens, he made his way to the United States. His first position was as chef to The European Commission in Washington, DC.

He then opened the Polo Lounge at The Westbury Hotel and later Le Régence at the Hotel Plaza Athenée in New York City and served as Executive Chef at New York’s Le Cirque. During his tenure there, the restaurant was regularly chosen as one of the most highly rated in the country.

In 1993, Daniel Boulud opened his own namesake restaurant DANIEL on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. In just a year after opening, the restaurant was rated “one of the ten best restaurants in the world” by the International Herald Tribune.

This amazing Chef was just getting started and opened Café Boulud, named for the gathering place his great grandparents tended on their farm outside Lyon at the turn of the century. The contemporary Café Boulud is a French restaurant with an international accent welcoming guests to a spot with the cosmopolitan chic of a Parisian rendez-vous . Not to let grass grown under his feet, In June 2001 the Chef opened DB Bistro Moderne in the City Club Hotel on West 44th Street. "DB" is a casual and contemporary restaurant in the heart of midtown, just steps from the theater district. In this venue his latest menu offers updated bistro cooking rooted in French tradition.

We traveled to the vibrant city of Miami , Florida to the opening of db Bistro Moderne which is a sister property to the db Bistro Moderne in New York. Located in downtown’s new Metropolitan Miami development, the JW Marriott Marquis Miami provides db Bistro Moderne with a busy , urban setting, where guests can enjoy great cooking in a relaxed , distinctive environment.

The restaurant’s interiors by renowned designers, Yabu Pushelberg, feature a dining area with contemporary accents and 18-foot ceilings, a stylish bar and lounge and even street-level terrace overlooking the Miami river.

DB Bistro is located just off the breathtaking lobby with its marble floors , chandlers and sleek modern décor. From the time we walked into Daniel Boulud’s newest creation we could feel an urban vibe starting with the hip lounge across from the hostess table.  Entering the main dining area Yabu Pushellberg’s interior jumped out at us with its comfortable , modern and elegant soft earth tones. After being seated we were greeted by the very impressive and immaculately attired Sommelier John Mayfield who guided us to a nice Albarino to get our experience started.

Having dined at a Daniel Boulud restaurant in the past we knew we would be in for a great adventure. We were anxious to see what twists ( if any ) we would see on his Miami menu. Starting off with Fomages like Brie de Meaux from France , the list also featured a nice Blue “Roraing 40’s from Australia and a Chevre Humbolt Fog from the United States.




White Burgandy Snails , Garlic , Parsley, Potato Croquettes




Roasted Loin , Merquez, Sweet and Sour Eggplant , Couscous Croguette , Sheeps Milk Yogert and Lamb Jus




Sirloin Burger filled with Braised Short Ribs , Foie Gras and Black Truffle, Served on a Parmesan Bun, Pommes Frites



Puff Pastry , Tomato Confit , Goat Cheese , Frisee , Basil Pesto Sause

We could have closed our eyes and picked anything off of the menu and it would have been a classic Boulud work of art. Every item on the menu such as DANIEL BOULUD’S SMOKED SALMON with capers on pumpernickel toast , the very classic BOEUF BOURGUIGNON prepared with Duo of Celery and Black Truffle Vinaigrette and of course CRISPY DUCK CONFIT, a lovely dish with Sautéed Spinach , Pommes Lyonnaise and Sauce Forestiere you could not go wrong.

Of course no evening at any Daniel Boulud venu would not be complete without Dessert. Chef Patisser Jerome Maure and General Manager German Alvarado send out a nice sampling of luscious decadent creations. A nice local touch to the desert choices is the COUPE L’IMPERATRICE, Coconut Tapioca Pudding and Key Lime Selee, Champagne Mango-Pandan Ice Cream.

Daniel Boulud’s db Bistro Moderne is a treat for Boulud veterans and first timers alike. The veterans can appreciate classic French cuisine that keeps them coming back to Boulud venues all over the world and first timers can “ fall head over heels” with a dining experience to be remembered for a lifetime . The impeccable service and classic French cuisine with a Miami twist is what db Bistro Moderne is all about and should be a destination restaurant on any visit to Miami.