Cheers: To Proper Etiquette… Or Not!
These days, we have etiquette for everything. There are unspoken rules to follow regarding social media, “likes” on Instagram, returning a text message, wedding invites rules, etc. What ever happened to the way it was growing up, when the word “etiquette” was synonymous to table manners? I remember attending a class called “Feminique” (I think that stands for “feminine etiquette?”) where we were taught the ins and outs of proper table manners, like how to hold glasses, silverware, and when to use the proper utensils. Yet, somehow all I can remember as an adult was that I was always starving. Why the heck wouldn’t they teach us how to cut a steak using real meat?
I’ll never forget the day I was standing in the elevator with my fiancé and we ran into a father and his 3 yr. old daughter who occasionally eats at my fiancé’s restaurant. After admiring how cute she was, he looked at me and said, “She holds her fork and knife the same exact ways as you do.” At first I thought it was his of saying the little girl was exceptional, but later found out otherwise. Then, it occurred to me, maybe this was my way of rebelling against Feminique? Shock and embarrassment set in.
For this week’s #foodiechats #perfectpairings we chose a 2008 Cardinale Cabernet Sauvignon (95 WS), from Napa Valley. This is a Proprietary Red which consist of 91% Cabernet and 9% Merlot with only 1,000 cases made. So, if you ever spot Cardinale on a wine list, order it! This beautifully aged, full-bodied wine hits the palate with booming properties of rich toasty characteristics and well-integrated tannins. Surprisingly, there was no mark up price on the wine either, which allowed us to reap the benefits of a “BYOB” policy without having to actually pay an additional corkage fee or pretend to know proper BYOB etiquette. Phew, I clearly wouldn’t remember anything in that department!
We know the key to learning about wine is drinking it, which should mean that the key to learning about good table manners is by eating properly. Tonight, we discovered that Hillstone Restaurant Group’s Palm Beach Grill is reason alone to do so. The Palm Beach Grill highlights the various arenas of proper etiquette that far exceed table manners. Here is where I give credit to a fiancé who finds humor in pointing out all the things that failed to register from my early days of Feminique. Thankfully, I was not squirming in this formal setting. Instead of looking down and wondering why there were so many forks, I stared at a range of cutlery, knowing exactly where to begin. Feeling proud (and a sense of relief), I excused myself to the restroom and returned to find a newly starched napkin folded at the table and a martini being transferred over into a freshly frosted glass. Talk about a way to add a striking visual and tactile element!
The menu extends far beyond the freshest of ingredients, so fresh that the only freezer in house is used to store ice cream. Picture super-flakey Fried Pacific Oysters with olive, caper, and onion relish and Prime Steak Tartar with a wine that’s so delicately elegant that we passed off our pre-wine martinis early. And if that’s not enough to justify the greatness of this fine red wine, we too tried to find some ingredient that would unevenly balance the flavors of a perfect food and wine pairing. The best test for whether or not versatility holds true for a wine is to put it up against potent, bold flavors like blue cheese. The Walt’s Heirloom Tomatoes with blue cheese, basil and Champagne vinaigrette, placed on a temperature appropriate plate next to the concentrated tannins of the Cardinale was simply perfection!
Our main courses for the evening were Prime Center Cut Filet, and Salmon grilled in Hickory wood and marinated in olive oil, garlic, turbinado sugar and soy. Both dishes paired with the wine yielded excellent, super distinctive results, however the grilled preparation of the Salmon against the elegant hints of tobacco and noticeable floral components made this more of an intense and wildly unique pairing. Due to the Cardinale being a selection of some of the best lots of grapes from six separate Napa Valley regions, versatility and ripe fruit concentration was on our side.
Cardinale’s Proprietary Red may not land on the tableside often, but when it does, you can be sure it will be elegant, exceptional, and delicious. After all, Chris Carpenter, a Chicago native himself, has been making wines for leading Napa Wineries for years. We cannot wait to meet him in person next month!
Thanks to great food, elegant flavors, knowledgeable staff, and our top-notch server Emily, the Palm Beach Grill is an inspiration to chefs everywhere. Having been utterly impressed by The Grill, we have officially decided that “Proper Etiquette Day” deserves to be it’s own national holiday and should be respectively celebrated every year on Palm Sunday at The Grill… when it’s snowing just about everywhere else.
Photo Credit: Jackelyn & Taki
If there’s one thing that the #Foodiechats community loves to discuss, it’s holiday meals! With Easter just around the corner, we loved discussing “Breaking away from Easter Classics” with our wonderful sponsor @IncredibleEggs!
We started the night with such a fun question! It was “You’re loading up your grocery shopping cart for Easter, what’s in it?” Let’s just say I wish I could be at @ApreaDanielle or @ant_kneee's on Easter!
How perfect is it that National Egg Salad Week is the week after Easter?! One of my favorite questions of the night was, “The week after Easter is National Egg Salad Week. What do you add to egg salad?” @diningonstyle and @JulieAnnPoll had some pretty delicious go-to ingredients!
@IncredibleEggs ended the night on a seriously drool-worthy note with their question, “#putaneggonit: What are your favorite foods to top with an egg?” @CherylStyle and @hungrytommy both speak my foodie language…that’s for sure!
A big thank you to @IncredibleEggs! We loved having you as a sponsor! Be sure to visit their website and try out all the recipes they share. If you need recipe suggestions for Easter brunch, there is no better site to visit!
I am STILL craving eggs after last night’s #Foodiechats. Tweet me at @RoryRoselyn and tell me your favorite way to prepare your eggs!
Cheers: To The Power Of One Liquid
What’s the key to learning about friends? You guessed right, wine. One way or another, it always starts with a group of friends and a sip of wine. That first sip triggers something deep and meaningful going on in someone’s life and before you know it, the entire group feels forever compelled to one another. Based off my experience, the abiding secret is that something really good can be learned from any wine you decide to drink, good or bad.
A group of my closest friends first met over for an impromptu sitting of signature cocktails and wine at one of our favorite restaurants in Chicago, Jelly Fish. Now, we are on the midst of a well-documented food revolution. Thanks to Jelly Fish, the basics of our friendship have been met and we’ve indulged in the ultimate of wine experiences, browsing and befriending our way across Chicago. This week we were led to Paris Club Bar & Bistro, a personal Lettuce Entertain You favorite, which naturally involved the opportunity to sample a wine that we all learned about and critiqued.
For this week’s #foodiechats #perfectpairings we chose a 2011 Chateau Thivin Cote de Brouilly from Beaujolais, France. Beaujolais is an important wine region in eastern France, famous for its vibrant, fruity red wines. Very concentrated and elegant, with deep layers of floral characteristics, this wine should be reserved for an equally enjoyable setting. Touched by spices and solid tannins that grip the finish, we were excited to start placing flavors on center stage items that Paris Club Bistro had to offer. After all, they have an entire section of the menu that has been dedicated to shellfish, showcasing freshly shucked oysters, stone crab claws and an array of seafood dishes.
On the contrary, one of the dishes presented a tough challenge as to whether the wine paired perfectly with seafood or red meat. Someone at the table ordered a burger and quite honestly it was a hit. Paris Club, thank you for this intellectual challenge and sensational pleasure. Clearly, there was no argument about the Hand-Cut Steak Tartare either, however one cannot leave without Foie Gras Terrine, with quince marmalade and quatre spices, especially when paired with the Cote de Brouilly. Even though this wine was bold enough to distinguish itself amongst other ripe and palate expressive reds, it’s charm stood out amongst the more acidic seafood dishes.
Our favorites included the Steamed Mussels with shallots, vermouth and parsley, Salmon with lentils, and Trout Amandine with toasted almonds and tomatoes.
We finished off our delicious and elegant candlelit dinner with the most mouth-watering dessert trio, the highlight of which was the Salted Caramel Profiteroles. For the record, salt makes red wine tannins come forward! Your palate will salivate at the genius combination of sweet and salty flavors even though this trend has been hitting the desert industry by storm recently. Not the newest of ideas and yet, still this one never popped up until now. Oh, and there’s no reason to try and lick the warm chocolate remnants off your fingers right away either. Your reflexes will be working in high gear and it’s impossible to stop!
When passion and dedication come together, great things are possible. The dining experience at Paris Club Bistro embodies just that sensation. From the beautiful classically inspired French flare, to the naturally pleasant staff, every detail was delightful and relaxing. This gave us the perfect setting to share personal stories and fun details!
Some friend’s take part in boutique browsing, in which case they talk about staple piece’s of clothing and new pieces of jewelry. We on the other hand still shop, but we also have the bragging rights of being able to offer a complete selection of food and wine samples to pair with almost any deep and meaningful conversation piece.
Friends, when we’re old and gray and still dining around Chicago, at least we’ll have an unrestrained quest of wine knowledge and memories to look back on.
Not many liquids have that kind of power!
We can all agree that a cookie is one of the best treats around! With that being said, we also love crunchy chips. This week, we featured @EatCookieChips and they give us the best of both worlds!
@EatCookieChips offer the perfect combination of sweetness and crunch! We love the fact that we can get our cookie fix in delicious chip form! Flavors include Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Cinnamon Sugar, Original, Chocolate Chip and Sea Salted Peanut Butter. These things are addicting, and it is not uncommon to finish a bag in one sitting!
If you love chips and cookies, then there is no better treat for you than @EatCookieChips
We loved seeing the reactions of our #Foodiechats friends as we introduced them to @EatCookieChips. We have a feeling a LOT of people will be having cookies for lunch today!
They are all delicious, but we recommend starting with Sea Salted Peanut Butter. Consider yourselves warned that you won’t be able to stop eating them!
Last night’s #Foodiechats was certainly one to remember! Our sponsor was the wonderful @LundbergFarms and they came up with a great theme, Family Feasts!
The #Foodiechats community is filled with @LundbergFarms lovers and we loved seeing all the excitement that followed when we announced our theme and sponsor!
@LundbergFarms came up with great questions for the night. One of my favorites was Question 6, which was “There are 120,000 varieties of rice worldwide! Which is your favorite?” Can you believe there are that many?! @healingtomato and @connitalupita had great answers!
We loved all the reactions of our #Foodiechats friends tonight! We loved hearing from @dominickcosta, @lisaburbach, @ItsToni and @the_potlicker! The #Foodiechats community is certainly the best community around!
Thank you so much to our friends at @LundbergFarms for sponsoring such a great chat. It was an absolute blast! I can’t wait for my next trip to the grocery store to stock up on Lundberg products!
Is there anybody out there that doesn’t like pizza? Here at #Foodiechats, we certainly don’t think so, so we loved getting to feature @HomeRunInn and their delicious frozen pizzas as well as their restaurants!
If you live in Chicago, then you know that @HomeRunInn makes the best frozen pizza around! This deliciousness is available in 30 states and they have so many options for Classic, to Ultra Thin, to Ultra Thick.
@HomeRunInn is a family owned and operated establishment. Along with their frozen pizza, they have 9 restaurants. We love family owned companies and the face that @HomeRunInn still makes their pizza according to the original family recipe.
Ingredients are key to a good pizza, and @HomeRunInn always gets it right! Their dough is buttery and flaky, their sauce is made from the ripest tomatoes in Modesto, Californina and their mozzarella cheese is shredded daily to maximize freshness.
One of our favorite parts of doing Features is hearing back from our community. We loved seeing who was a current @HomeRunInn fan and who was planning on trying it for the first time!
It has been a pleasure featuring @HomeRunInn! All this pizza talk has sure made us hungry!
If you’re a foodie like us, then you know that you can never have enough kitchen gadgets! This week we featured a new vegetable Spiral Slicer by @Brieftons and we loved getting to introduce our community to it.
Brieftons is a fruit and vegetable spiralizer that works like a pencil sharpener. It’s designed to make raw veggie “pastas” with ease! Zucchini noodles are all the rage for healthy eaters and people who follow a Paleo, gluten-free or low carb diet, and Brieftons’ Spiral Slicer has 2 different Julienne sizes to make delicious meals!
Sometimes, meals are all about presentation. With this Spiral Slicer, you can make stunning salads, sushi decorations and much more. The possibilities are endless!
It’s so fun introducing new brands and products to all our #Foodiechats friends, and we loved seeing some of their reactions.
We had a great time working with @Brieftons and introducing their Spiral Slicer to the #Foodiechats community!
For a limited time, you can purchase the Brieftons Spiral Slicer for 50% on Amazon! If you purchase it, be sure to share pictures with us!
Cheers: To A Timeless Treasure!
Wine is ingrained in the French culture at almost every level of society. It is the preferred drink of both the elite and common people and a key symbol for life, love and adventure. My friend Lillian has a passion for life that has been heavenly influenced by a lifetime of travel. Once known as the ‘Hostess with the Mostess’ at Club Méditerranée, she draws people in with her charming smile and electric personality. For her 50th birthday, she wanted to take advantage of every opportunity to bring together six of her closest friends, representing various big cities from around the world. It was obvious that one day we would be celebrating a birthday with her in a Club Med Resort so after she twisted our arms, off we went to Turks and Caicos.
For the seventeen years we have known her, we’ve had to listen to her boast about how there is no other place in the world like Club Med. In fact, she went on to tell us that when people leave Club Med, they cry! Personally, I think she has come up with quite the creative campaign theme, but then again her experiences and memories are enough. Her smile is broad and instantaneous, together with an unmistakable glint in her eyes whenever you bring up these resorts.
For this week’s #foodiechats #perfectpairings the Village Chief Michael Clarke of the Club Méditerranée in Turks and Caicos surprised us with a bottle of Duc de Paris Vin Mousseux, produced in France. When I think of a celebration, one thing always comes to mind, Champagne! Moet & Chandon, Dom Perignon and Krug are amongst the biggest Champagne Houses in the industry and are always associated with luxury and special occasions. Not considered Champagne because it is not made in the Champagne region of France, this white sparkling wine was still delicious! The temptation to compare the two is inevitable, however, this elegant and aromatic white sparkling wine was rich in fruit flavors and made it a compelling enough moment to want to stop and make a toast.
Our private dining experience at Lucayan was nestled at the end of the beach and offered an intimate setting. With a romantic view of the ocean, it naturally exudes a charming atmosphere. Ambience aside, Chef Frederick Marie and his team feature an extraordinary and impressive menu, beginning with Conch Chowder (Turkoise Style), Conch Ceviche with Onion Cilantro and Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice.
The freshest, local ingredients of the main courses included Beef Tenderloin, Lamb Shank, Pan Seared Duck Breast and Red Snapper Fillet. The distinctive preparation of the Duck and the Snapper were my two personal favorites with the white sparkling wine. The onion compote and honey garlic sauce in the Duck and the sweet pepper julienne and pineapple chutney finishes seemed amplified with the bubbles.
In France, unfortunately they usually just drink Champagne or sparkling white wine with dessert so we weren’t entirely doing it the ‘French way.’ On this French managed vacation resort, we made our own rules and drank it as an aperitif. This week, though not always the case, I went with the sparking wine that was gifted to us and selected a gentle dish that I though would make a perfect companion. To my surprise, salt and acid were useful ingredients to a perfect pair. This sparkling white wine offered rich complexity on the palate, leaving us feeling bubbly and excited for another fifty years ahead!
Where as most people second-guess there choices for what materialistic items to gift someone for their birthday, we bought a life adventure that made us so happy ‘we shed tears’ and provided better value than any materialistic item ever could. Champagnes and sparkling wines achieve their complexity through blending anything from twenty to sixty separate still wines and although our entourage only consisted of six, Club Méditerranée married us in such a way that no one got cancelled out. We were instantaneously united into a compelling group and if you go ahead and ask sparkling wine makers, it’s a difficult skill and could take years to master!
Not only do tropical vacations make people happy, revisiting the memory of these experiences keeps that happiness alive. This year’s celebration was just proof that the Prom Queen of Turk’s continues to live her extraordinary and adventurous life, even at fifty!
Note: Always check if the “Champagne” printed in the bottle is spelled with a capital C. Champagne manufacturers in France are very protective of their product and are the only ones authorized to use the term “Champagne.”
Tweet: @Jackelyngauci and @dukeofyolk about your timeless treasure and #perfectpairing!
Spring is here, so last night was the perfect opportunity to celebrate the season #Foodiechats style. We loved having the wonderful @SharisBerries as our sponsor. Their chocolate covered strawberries are out of this world!
This was one of my favorite chats, and I’d say all the chocolate related questions were a huge factor to this! I seriously had the toughest time answering Question 8, which was “Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate or White Chocolate, what’s your favorite?”
One of my favorite questions of the night was Question 3, which was “Pack your picnic basket for the park on a Spring day, what’s in it?” I hope @Ate08Steph invites me to her next picnic!
Thank you to the fabulous @SharisBerries for such a fun #Foodiechats. I had such a great time last night! So many fun questions!
I love hearing from all our #Foodiechats friends, so I’d love for you to Tweet me at @RoryRoselyn and tell me your favorite food for a celebration!