03.21Mixologists

Browse one of the best food and travel blogs on the web. Check out The Gourmet Review for my favorite bartender and mixologist “inside stories” listed below.

01.28Four Seasons Inspired – Blackberry & Basil Fizz Cocktail Recipe

 Blackberry and Basil Fizz Cocktail

Have you heard the buzz about the Four Seasons newest popular cocktail? We’ll let you in on a secret. It’s the  Blackberry & Basil Fizz cocktail created last week by Doug Shulman, the head bartender at the hotel’s fabulous U’LU Restaurant in Hawaii. You’ll find Doug tending this elegant bar at Hawaii’s five star Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.

Why not try this popular cocktail while watching the sunset? U’LU Restaurant is Doug’s domain and he reigns supreme. He is a busy man greeting guests, mixing drinks and most importantly, making every guest feel like family. Doug, the consummate mixologist, will even create a signature drink just for YOU.

I’m downright envious of Doug’s office. There are no windows as the bar overlooks  the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean. Thanks, Doug, for sharing your new creation. It’s such an easy recipe, we can try it at home!

INGREDIENTS

SERVES 1

1.5 oz Grey Goose Vodka
0.5  oz Creme de Mure (Blackberry Liqueur)
3-4 whole  blackberries
4-5 leaves of Thai basil
1 oz fresh lime sour
3 oz Perrier

PREPARATION

In a mixing glass, muddle basil, blackberries and Creme de Mure.

Add vodka and sour mix.

Fill with ice and shake thoroughly.

Strain into iced Collins glass.

Add Perrier water.

Garnish with a basil leaf between 2 blackberries on a pick.

NOTE:

Another one of Doug’s creations is the Chartreuse Swizzle. Check it out. It’s not just another tropical drink.

02.11Four Seasons Bora Bora Hotel | A Magical Paradise

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Courtesy Four Seasons Bora Bora

Pinch me. This isn’t real, is it? Located in French Polynesia, the Four Seasons Bora Bora hotel is a paradise beyond description. My husband and I are  just arriving and exploring what could be one of the most beautiful places on earth. This is the view from our plane before landing!

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Courtesy The Gourmet Review

First, we arrive on the beautiful island of Bora Bora from Tahiti. We’re escorted to our thatched roof room, located over the most beautiful turquoise water I’ve ever seen. Hmmm. There’s the box on the deck with the snorkeling equipment and, of course, there’s a ladder to climb into the water for a quick swim.

Fresh fruit greets us. The champagne? Well, that’s earmarked for the end our first evening.

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Courtesy The Gourmet Review

Next order of business is getting settled by the pool and having a bite to eat. Or, should we just settle into a chaise lounge on the powder white sandy beach and recharge from our trip.

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Four Seasons hotels are known for their culinary genius. With a focus on ” farm to table” ingredients, creative foods focusing on fresh and healthy local products rule the day.

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Then before we know it, it’s time to go back to the room to change for sunset. Even the wooden walkway to our room feels like part of a movie set.

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The Sunset Bar’s Bartender, Heiarii, welcomes us with a specially cocktail. My favorite was the muddled fresh pineapple margarita. Hard to have just one!

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Courtesy The Gourmet Review

Tonight happens to feature a Polynesian buffet. It’s the perfect way to get into the friendly Polynesian spirit.

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Whether it’s the drop dead romantic surroundings, the cuisine, the laid back, friendly atmosphere or the extraordinary service of the staff, the Four Seasons Bora Bora is the perfect dream destination. It was on my bucket list. Now, it’s time to put it on yours!

NOTE

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Courtesy The Gourmet Review

A special thanks (in photo from left to right) to Director of Food and Beverage, Franck Chantoiseau, General Manager Rajiv Malhotra, Executive Chef Nicolals Boutin and Resort Manager Christophe Chabaud. Stay tuned for more on this dreamy hotel and some secret recipes!

– The Gourmet Review

12.17Wynn Resort Las Vegas | A Magical Holiday Get Away

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Feel like having a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of the holidays? Admit it. Wouldn’t a few days at “Wynn’s Tis the Season”  be a great way to pamper yourself and be slightly indulgent?

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Of course, Wynn Resort Las Vegas is famous for being over the top. There’s a reason the hotel keeps earning top honors from the 2011 Forbes Travel Guide Star awards (formerly Mobil Travel Guide Star awards).

Feeling like a great dinner? Perhaps you’re you in the mood for truffles? Chef Theo Schoenegger, the executive chef at Sinatra restaurant features his truffle indulgence menu this December. It’s a three course meal showcasing decadent imported white truffles from Italy.

Why not try these delicacies in an array of distinctive dishes, including homemade pastas and slow cooked risottos, or perhaps truffles with creamy soft polentas? General Manager, Johnathan Husby, will make sure you have an exquisite evening.

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Courtesy Wynn Las Vegas

Bartolotta’s restaurant presents the traditional Christmas Eve Feast of Seven Fishes. Chef Paul Bartolotta, for whom the restaurant is named, is a two time James Beard Award winner.

So, if it’s Italian food you love, try The Feast, featuring Ligurian octopus salad, baked sea scallops with aromatic herb crust, warm seafood salad, spaghetti with clams and broccoli rapine, along with a whole fish baked in salt crust with Sicilian citrus sauce.

Chef Paul flies his seafood in fresh from the Mediterranean. This is truly  a culinary delight.

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Or, if you want entertainment overlooking Wynn’s Lake of Dreams to accompany your dining experience, don’t miss Chef David Walzog’s Tasting Menu at Lakeside.

Enjoy a traditional four course tasting menu, featuring foie gras terrine with arugula with pear and white truffle vinaigrette. Don’t miss the oven roasted whole black bass with braised fennel, leeks and chestnut Armagnac cream.

For dessert, perhaps the warm pumpkin spice bread pudding with glazed pecans and maple ice cream.

Have your attention yet? This menu will be available through December 24th. General Manager, Bradley Brown, will make sure you have the perfect table.

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Courtesy Wynn Las Vegas

Yet another great dining option is Botero’s Restaurant, featuring a 3rd Street Farmer’s Market Tasting menu. With a focus on farm to holiday table, Chef Mark LoRusso has created a five course tasting menu inspired by the seasonal produce and ingredients found at the 3rd Street Farmer’s Market.

Chef Mark’s inspired menu includes bay scallops with kabocha squash risotto and Meyer lemon, as well as slow roasted prime rib with rosemary popovers and creamed spinach.

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Courtesy Wynn Las Vegas

So now let’s take a look at some of the special events featured at the hotel through Christmas. My favorite will be the dessert and pastry demonstration led by  cake artist extraordinaire Flora Aghababyan and gifted  Executive Pastry Chef Pierrre Gatel.

Learn cake and candy making techniques sure to  inspire your own holiday dessert creations. (Pssst. Don’t you love the gingerbread recreations of the Wynn and Encore?)

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Love wine? Don’t forget the exclusive wine tasting at Tableau with Wynn’s wine buyer, Mark Thomas, who will teach you to pair wines of the world with classic holiday dishes. Of course, there will be some small bites to accompany your wine.

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Finally, depending on the length of your stay,  try Master Mixologist Patricia Richard’s presentation of original holiday cocktails. These will be featured for each of the 12 days of Christmas from December 10 – 22nd. Here is the Cranberry Mojito cocktail.  Recipes will be available for  specialty cocktails served nightly.

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Courtesy Wynn Las Vegas

Remember that all the holiday menus and events will be featured through December 24th, so hurry before it’s too late!. It would be a shame to miss Wynn Las Vegas during this magical time of year!

– The Gourmet Review

12.13Cranberry Mojito Cocktail Recipe | Holidays at Wynn Las Vegas

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Courtesy Wynn Las Vegas

Love this Cranberry Mojito cocktail recipe. Holidays at Wynn Resort Las Vegas are celebrated with shimmering displays of lights and holiday themed cuisine, as well as festive inspired libations from the Wynn’s master mixologist, Patricia Richards. The green mint and red cranberries are a color themed bonus for those who love their mojitos.

Pick your night. Whether you prefer exclusive wines, such as  Dom Perignon and Lafite Rothschild by the ounce, or want to sample new cocktail concoctions every evening during the hotel’s Twelve Cocktails of Christmas, there will be something for everyone.

Guests and visitors can take home the original recipes for every specialty cocktail served during this exciting Twelve Cocktails of Christmas celebration between December 10 and 22. Enjoy!

SERVES: 1

INGREDIENTS

10 – 12 spearmint leaves

1 1/2 ounces frozen and thawed cranberries

1 1/4  ounces fresh lime juice

2 ounces Finlandea Cranberry Vodka

1 1/2 ounce Rock Candy syrup or Simple Syrup (1:1 sugar : water)

1 ounce white Cranberry juice

Splash Club Soda

DIRECTIONS

In a bar mixing glass, muddle mint with lime juice.

Add remaining ingredients, except club soda.

Shake with ice.

Pour into a Collins glass.

Top with soda. Gently stir.

Garnish with mint spring.

Now it’s time to enjoy the holidays!

NOTE

Even if you don’t travel to Wynn over the holidays, why not try this cocktail for your next holiday or family celebration this month.

– The Gourmet Review

10.26Four Season”s Foodie Fun + Hawaiian Sun

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Courtesy Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

Ready for some sunshine and extraordinary cuisine? Don’t think twice. Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Kaupulehu, the first and only Forbes Five-Star resort on Hawaii Island, announces RSA – Regional, Seasonal, Artisanal, an epicurean celebration of sustainable cuisine and the grand opening of the Resort’s new oceanfront fish and seafood restaurant ‘ULU Ocean Grill + Sushi Lounge.

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Courtesy The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

The series of culinary events, to be held at the Resort November 14-17, 2012, includes a variety of cooking classes, culinary experiences and spectacular dinners hosted by Executive Chef James Babian. ‘ULU presents a dining experience that is a direct reflection of Chef Babian’s credo of “regional, seasonal, artisanal.” Resort-wide, 75 percent of the food served is from Hawaii Island, made possible by the strong relationships and cooperation Chef has with more than 160 farmers and fishermen on the Island.

“As one of our three annual signature epicurean events, RSA gives our guests the opportunity to experience exciting culinary events with great food and wine, but also the opportunity to interact with our chefs, great winemakers and special friends,” says Robert Whitfield, regional vice president and general manager of Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. “RSA is particularly special this year as it marks the grand opening of ‘ULU Ocean Grill + Sushi Lounge.”

The line-up of events (schedule subject to change) is as follows:

Wednesday, November 14

  • 3rd Annual Farmers Symposium & Lunch – Executive Chef James Babian hosts local farmers and fishermen from Hawaii Island to discuss, share and network about ideas, challenges, advancements and opportunities in continuing efforts to make Hawaii Island cuisine more sustainable.
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Along with Executive Chef James Babian, you’ll also meet Director of Food and Beverage Sebastian Hinsch, Executive Sous Chef Nick Mastracusa, Beach Tree Sous Chef Angela Kenyon and Manager of Beach Tree Restaurant, Chuck Wilson. These are an accomplished and passionate group of culinary enthusiasts!

Thursday, November 15

  • NELHA Tour & Beachside Picnic – Executive Chef James Babian and Executive Sous Chef Nick Mastrascusa host a trip to NELHA seafood farms. Guests will enjoy a private tour of the various seafood farms and enjoy a beachside picnic lunch.
  • Farm to Table Reception & Dinner – Guests will be treated to a spectacular evening of dining on 100 percent sustainable Hawaii Island-raised seafood from NELHA, along with wine pairings. The evening begins with hors d’oeuvres and wine alongside the beach, before the seating on the oceanfront lanai of ‘ULU. Chef James Babian presents his entirely locally-sourced four-course menu alongside local farmers and fishermen.

Friday, November 16

  • Wine Tasting & Craft Cocktail Making – Guests will join Master Sommelier Chuck Furuya and Master Mixologist Chandra Lucariello of Southern Wine & Spirits for an interactive tasting of some of ‘ULU’s boutique wines, and making of ‘ULU’s signature craft cocktails.

     

  • Winemaker Dinner – Guests will be treated to a spectacular evening of dining and wine pairings from Weingut Selbach Oster and Talley Vineyards at ‘ULU. The evening begins with hors d’ouevres and wine alongside the beach, before the seating on the oceanfront lanai. Winemakers Johannes Selbach and Brian Talley co- host the evening, which features five wines alongside Chef James Babian’s locally-sourced five-course menu.

Saturday, November 17

  • Cooking Class – Guests will join ‘ULU’s Chef de Cuisine for a cooking class, recreating one of ‘ULU’s signature dishes.
  • ‘ULU Grand Opening Party – Guests will explore the tastes and flavours of ‘ULU at this grand opening party, in which multiple action stations showcase signature dishes, while craft cocktails are shaken or stirred and boutique wines are poured. Guests will select from the a la carte menu while enjoying complimentary tastings through the evening.

NOTE

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Courtesy Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

There’s nothing quite like the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai if you like being pampered. Whether it’s lounging by the many pools or the extraordinary service extended to guests by everyone at the hotel from arrival to departure, this is a place to capture a piece of paradise.
Come join me. I know I’ll be there!
– The Gourmet Review

06.27Four Seasons Signature Cocktail | George V | Paris

Four Seasons Paris | Cocktail Recipes

Leave it to The Four Seasons in romantic Paris to create a signature cocktail guaranteed to be the talk of your next party. The Georges V was kind enough to share their signature cocktail recipe for the “George Fizz,” created by Antoine Corneille,  Food and Beverage Assistant Manager.

This is a beautiful  drink – colorful, fresh and festive served in a champagne glass. We had raves after serving at a recent dinner part and this was from a guest list of wine drinkers!

GEORGE FIZZ COCKTAIL (the original recipe)

SERVES:    1

INGREDIENTS

Fresh strawberries and raspberries

1 1/2    Cups George Mix * (See recipe below)

2 1/2   Cups Champagne Brut

DIRECTIONS

Place fresh raspberries and strawberries into a fluted champagne glass. Mix with 10 teaspoons of George mix and add Champagne to fill glass.

George Mix:

Fresh strawberries and raspberries

5 oz of guave nectar

5 oz of fresh orange juice

2 oz of grenadine syrup

PRESENTATION

Serve in a champagne or fluted glass.

NOTE

I made my husband in charge of preparing this wonderful cocktail one night with friends. We did not have fresh guava nectar, but substituted canned guava juice. The “George Fizz” received fantastic reviews from every guest.

This would make a great holiday cocktail or a perfect way to enjoy fresh strawberries and raspberries during the summer.

– The Gourmet Review

12.13Four Season’s Challenge: Sweet and Savory + 1 2 3 Organic Tequila

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The Four Seasons is known for its five star accommodations, fabulous food and exceptional service. Read on for an example of the  Four Seasons Resort Hualalai going the “extra mile.”

I threw out a culinary challenge to Food and Beverage Director, Sebastian Hinsch, and Executive Sous Chef Nick Mastrascusa. How would you pair food with the only certified organic tequila on the market, Uno Dos Tres tequila, to create some culinary “buzz”?

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Let me introduce you to our “team,” consisting of Sebastian,  Chef Nick and Sous Chef Angela Kenyon. Now, this is a fun group of people, who all LOVE food and a good challenge. I can tell you that in true Four Season’s style, Chef Nick and rising star, Chef Angela, created a major “buzz” at the hotel with their sweet and savory food pairings.

I wasn’t the only one impressed with the results. Guests walked by our photo shoot, stopped and  asked to try both the fabulous food pairings and David Ravandi’s equally fabulous 1 2 3 Organic Tequila (Uno Dos Tres).

First, we did a tequila tasting for 1 2 3 Organic Tequila (Uno Dos Tres). No food. Just tasting the three popular tequilas. Then Executive Chef Nick and Chef Angela decided to do both a sweet and savory pairing.

Ultimately, Chef Nick created a “truffle bar” concept. Imagine infusing chocolate truffles with  a variety of fresh and  local ingredients, depending on the geography of the venue. For Hawaii, this meant flavors of coconut, macadamia nuts and Hawaiian chilis. All the ingredients were native to Hawaii and most were grown in the hotel’s herb garden.

Chef Angela presented three savory dishes, with a focus on fresh avocado, ahi and ceviche. Each pairing was accompanied by a shot of 1 2 3 Certified Tequila Uno Dos Tres). The fun began as we tried to take pictures for Chef Angela’s savory pairings on the beach.

The photo shoot was late in the afternoon. Guests kept stopping by, asking questions. Sebastien tried to keep the photography going at a good pace, while being polite to the guests. One of the guests wanted Chef Angelea’s soup and ahi poppers for a catered event the next week. Yes, the guest’s favorites were the soup and the ahi poppers, but that was only because he didn’t see the ceviche!

Then it was time for Chef Nick’s creation. Fully assembled, I  raced to stay balanced while taking shots of Nick’s “truffle bar.” The sun was setting. The waves were crashing and a slight wind was blowing. Chefs Nick and Angela were balancing the truffle presentation on uneven volcanic rocks and my husband was trying to balance me, so the camera wouldn’t shake.

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Courtesy David Ravandi & l 2 3 Certified Tequila

Sebastian quickly styled the 1 2 3 (Uno Dos Tres)  bottles, along with small tasting glasses of tequila, amongst the rocks. Photos finished, we hurried back to the bar to get our final shots on more firm footing. Everyone at the bar wanted to taste both the truffles and the tequila! The sun had finally set. By now the bar was hopping and the Beach Tree bar was full!. A fun time was had by all and the party was just starting!

Check out the tasting notes for Uno Dos Tres and stay tuned for the results of the sweet and savory food pairings. They were scrumptious!

– The Gourmet Review

08.30Uno Dos Tres Rave Reviews | The Library Bar | Hollywood

Fresh ingredients are one thing. Having a private hive of bees to ensure your honey is fresh is quite another.

Mixologist Matt Biancaniello sets the bar high using nothing but the freshest ingredients in his cocktails, including David Ravandi’s Uno Dos Tres award winning certified organic tequila. Check out the rave reviews just out from the industry publication, “Tasting Panel” magazine.

 – The Gourmet Review

07.23About

Welcome! The Gourmet Review is a montage of our favorite food and travel experiences. Let your senses feast on mouth watering, easy to prepare recipes and our favorite dream destinations around the world. Whether you have champagne or simple tastes, The Gourmet Review will give you something to whet your appetite.

Join us as we tour kitchens at great restaurants and interview award winning chefs, sommeliers, pastry chefs, cake makers and even floral designers.

Hopefully, our favorite destinations around the world will inspire your next trip. If you can’t stay at the hotels, go to the restaurants. If you can’t go to the restaurants, pony on up to the bar for a cocktail.

At the very least, try your hand we hope you’ll enjoy savoring the ambience and nuances of food and travel as much as we do.

Warmest Regards,

The Fearless Foodie and my favorite  Blue Baker

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 We also feature celebrity chef recipes, chef interviews and VIP access inside some of the country’s most famous kitchens.

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The Gourmet Review also features the best restaurant recipes from around the country, quickly earning its title as one of the best restaurant blogs for gourmet diners.

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Some think of us as a healthy recipes blog featuring, you guessed it, gourmet food recipes. Using whole, fresh foods, we will  show you how to create easy gourmet recipes to WOW! your friends and family.

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The Gourmet Review takes unique and popular cocktail recipes and turns them into the top cocktail recipes available on the web. Find out how the best mixologists create their signature cocktails.

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We take pride in giving you VIP Access to the inside stories of the people who make great dining and travel experiences come alive, from inside the kitchen interviews with great chefs to sommeliers, mixologists and even African safari photographers. We hope to be your favorite luxury travel blog.

Hurry and check out our best celebrity recipes, secret restaurant recipes, top cocktail recipes, luxury travel hotels and the inside story behind the people who make dinning and travel  extraordinary.

 

-The Gourmet Review

 

Photos in slideshow are appearing courtesy of Wolfgang Puck, Thomas Keller, the Four Seasons George V, Four Seasons Hualalai, Singita Ebony Lodge, and Wynn Resort Las Vegas. Can you match up the these names and the photos? Read more about all of these great chefs and dream destinations in my blog.

  
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The Gourmet Review is a gourmet food blog featuring celebrity chef recipes, secret restaurant recipes, family favorite recipes and easy gourmet recipes, quickly becoming the best recipe blog for gourmet eating. TheGourmetReview.com also features the best luxury travel experiences, taking you "inside the kitchen" and "behind the scenes" through VIP Access at some of the top luxury travel hotels, be it the Wynn Resort Las Vegas, the Four Seasons hotels and Four Seasons Resorts or Singita's Private Game reserve in South Africa. If you are interested in a Wolfgang Puck chef interview, popular cocktail recipes with a gourmet twist, or a healthy recipes blog, we look forward to sharing a culinary journey with you from around the world.