Joyeux Anniversaire Julia Child! It has been an honor, a passion, and a tradition to celebrate the Chef’s birthday on Taste With The Eyes for several years now.
This year I imagine her dear, long-time friend, Jacques Pépin, inviting her over for an intimate luncheon that begins with her favorite upside-down martini. The first course includes his famous chicken liver pâté with toasted baguette, radishes from the garden with Maldon sea salt and European-style butter, cornichons and cocktail onions.
🌺 Cod, Caviar, Champagne Sauce 🌺
à la L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
Sooner or later the question was bound to be asked, “What is your favorite restaurant in Las Vegas?” So many great chefs, so many fabulous restaurants… But after much consideration, I chose L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon at the MGM Grand for several reasons. With 31 stars, he is The Most Awarded Michelin-Star Chef in the World.
But surprisingly far from being stuffy, L’Atelier is fun! As one would expect, the French-inspired dishes are second to none. Each one prepared with the exactness the Chef became known for, his relentless perfectionism; he famously said there is no such thing as the perfect meal – one can always do better.
With that black & red decor, intentionally designed to be the opposite of old-style French white & gold, the atmosphere is striking and modern. The service is simultaneously easy-going and top-notch. Wines are meticulously paired to elevate the entire dining experience. A seat at the counter often results in a genial and lively evening. Strangers become friends, there is a gregariousness in shared appreciation of the late Chef’s vision of stellar dishes, prepared in view of the guests, offered in a spirit of conviviality.
In 2003, the first L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon opened its doors in Paris, in the 7th arrondissement, and simultaneously in Tokyo. The success of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Paris encouraged Joël Robuchon to develop its concept all over the world. The Las Vegas restaurant opened in 2005, followed by New York, London and Hong Kong, Taipei and many more.
Here, I re-create an exquisite dish and table setting from our most recent meal at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon – Cod with Caviar and Champagne Sauce.
🐖 Grilled Pork Chop 🐖
🍒 Luxardo Maraschino Cherry Demi-Glace 🍒
🥬 Baby Bok Choy 🥬
The inspiration for this dish came from a new restaurant in my old stompin’ grounds. If I were still living in LA, I would definitely be dining down at the Port of Los Angeles regularly as Chef Dustin Trani’s food is fabulous!
Trani’s Dockside Station posted a mouthwatering image of their “Tomahawk Pork Chop with a Cherry Demi-Glaze” on Instagram. Having pork chops in the refrigerator, it took but a second to decide to make my own version here in Las Vegas. I also had a jar of Luxardo Maraschino Cherries and bottle of Luxardo Liqueur in my bar, and veal demi-glace in the pantry.
Luxardo Maraschino is a liqueur distilled in Italy from the leaves, pits, stems and skins of sour marasca cherries. It is not overly sweet and has an almond-like, subtly bitter complex cherry flavor. Luxardo Cherries are candied cherries soaked in Luxardo marasca cherry syrup, and they are sweet. I add a small amount of all three of these components to veal demi-glace just before serving to make an intriguing sauce for the smoky tender pork chops. And the no-brainer pairing for this dish was a merlot, seductive & velvety, iconic Duckhorn Merlot.
The meal was delightful. Thanks for the inspiration, Chef! Best wishes for super success with your new place!
(Read more about the Chef and my interpretation of another of his wonderful dishes exactly a decade ago, “Truffle Scented Tortellini, Veal Reduction” here).
Re-Creating Picasso Restaurant At The Bellagio, Las Vegas
If you’ve been following Taste With The Eyes for a while, you know that I love to re-create dishes. Not just the food but the entire experience, including the ambience right down to the china, glass, and silver.
One of my most cherished creative outlets is to re-create historical events through food. The most popular by far is the re-enactment of Julia Child’s first meal in France in 1948 including her recipe for Sole Meunière.
Another favorite is the reimagining Julia’s kitchen in Cambridge, Massachusetts where we sneak a peek at her kitchen table with husband Paul as they enjoy a light supper that begins with Vichyssoise on a hot August night.
Our evening at Picasso Restaurant by Chef Julian Serrano in Las Vegas was worthy of re-creating. We had a fantastic meal where we enjoyed several fabulous courses, were awed by the ambiance and artwork, and thoroughly impressed by the service.
The Chef’s menu is drawn from his own background in the regional cuisines of Spain and France, and in honor of Pablo Picasso’s Spanish heritage and years the master artist spent living in France.
The Day Boat Scallop, Potato Mousseline, Jus de Veau course was especially captivating for its diminutive yet powerful presentation, combination of flavors and textures, and quality. If a restaurant is serving only one scallop, it had better be perfect!
With the addition of one single component, Japanese Matcha Green Tea Powder, the now-famous cheesecake has morphed into something completely different. Here, the cake has a gorgeous striking green color, and the flavor has also changed dramatically. The recipe brings together ingredients from Basque and Japanese cultures for a novel fusion dessert.
We’ve made Basque BURNT Cheesecake several times, and it is always a big hit. With no fruit topping, no crust and five simple ingredients – cream cheese, sugar, salt, eggs, and cream – it is astonishing how absolutely fabulous the original cheesecake actually is…it is baked in a very hot oven so the top and bottom caramelize where the insides remain soft and luxurious.
The cheesecake recipe was originally developed by Santiago Rivera, Chef of La Viña in San Sebastian, Spain. The Chef says, “Its popularity amongst our clients have become La Viña Restaurant’s Cheese Cream Cake a great classic of the San Sebastian cuisine.”
Matcha Green Tea has an intense and complex flavor profile with vegetal grassy flavors, a unique sweet nuttiness, and savory umami notes.
The vibrant green hue is due to the high concentration of chlorophyll in the leaves, a result of the bushes being covered up in shade for about 3 weeks before harvesting. The whole leaves are steamed, dried, and then finally stone ground to a fine powder.