The Ultimate Dining Experience~ Jean-Georges Vongerichten

Kauai Grill, St. Regis Princeville, Kauai

Kauai Grill, St. Regis Princeville, Kauai

Kauai Grill, Steam Onaga

Kauai Grill, Steam Onaga

Dining at a Jean-Georges restaurant is an experience which is practically indescribable. It’s

Kauai Grill, Seared Wagyu Strip Loin

Kauai Grill, Seared Wagyu Strip Loin

not the obvious…. that he is one of the world’s most famous chefs, his impressive Michelin background, his restaurants are all 3 and 4 star ratings or the fact that they are world wide. It’s something more and once you have experienced it, you will know. We were left wanting to seek out additional Jean-Georges restaurants as we were in awe of………beautifully displayed food, fresh concepts, unique menu, exotic flavors of the East and impeccable service.

A little about Jean-Georges Vongerichten ~ a French chef born in Alsace, France, March 16, 1957. Currently, he resides in New York City where he has ten restaurants. Vongerichten opens restaurants in most of the culinary capitals such as Las Vegas, London, Paris and Shanghai, as well as New York. He is author of five cookbooks, two with Mark Bittman. When Jean-Georges was 16, his parents brought him to the 3-star Michelin-rated Auberge de l’ill for a birthday dinner and that is where his love for food began.

Kauai Grill, Sichuan Peppercorn Crusted Bigeye Ahi Tuna

Kauai Grill, Sichuan Peppercorn Crusted Bigeye Ahi Tuna

What make Jean-Georges unique? His signature cuisine eliminates the traditional use of meat stocks and creams.

Kauai Grill, Spiced Chicken Samosas

Kauai Grill, Spiced Chicken Samosas

Instead, he features the intense flavors and textures from vegetable juices, fruit essences, light broths, and herbal vinaigrettes.  Jean-Georges’ culinary concept has redefined industry standards and radically changed the way we eat.

New York Magazine wrote that in the past two decades, no single chef has had more influence on the way New Yorkers dine out or on the way other chefs cook and other restaurants look. “He invented America’s answer to nouvelle cuisine,” says Mario Batali. “When I first came to New York, his book Simple Cuisine was the holy grail for young chefs, and JoJo was the hottest ticket in town.”

Kauai Grill, Salted Caramel Ice Cream Sundae

Kauai Grill, Salted Caramel Ice Cream Sundae

Kauai Grill, Salmon Sashimi

Kauai Grill, Salmon Sashimi

Jean-Georges and Starwood Hotels: Vongerichten and partner Phil Suarez have formed a new company with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. and Catterton Partners, a consumer-focused private-equity firm which owns, operates, manages and license restaurants in Starwood properties. This new venture includes seven Spice Markets and other concepts world wide. The total number of eating destinations may possibly total 56 with this contract. The first to open were two Spice Markets at the W Hotel in both Atlanta and Istanbul.

Accolades: Jean Georges has received the James Beard award for Best Chef and Best New Restaurant. Esquire Magazine voted Chef Vongerichten the Chef of the Year in 1997. Jean Georges restaurant holds 3 Michelin stars. In 2008 it received a 18/20 “Excellent” rating. In 2009 it won the James Beard Foundation Award for outstanding restaurant. In 2007, Lia Bardeen, Jean Georges executive sous chef, was featured as a contestant on season 3 of Top Chef. In 2010, Jean Georges won the James Beard Award for “Outstanding Wine Service”. In 2013, Zagat’s gave it a food rating of 28, the second-highest in the West 60s, and rated it the 6th-best restaurant in New York City.

Sunset at Kauai Grill

Sunset at Kauai Grill

Kauai Grill, St Regis Princeville Resort

Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Kauai Grill opened in 2009 which is located in Kauai at the St. Regis Princeville.

Home Cooking with Jean-Georges

Home Cooking with Jean-Georges

Throughout the restaurant there are large windows displaying breathtaking views of Bali Hai  and Hanalei Bay.  A hand crafted fiber optic and ruby glass hibiscus chandelier hangs from the center of the ceiling and zebra woods are throughout.

Our experience at Kauai Grill was quite interactive, rather than everything happening all around us, we

Kauai Grill

Kauai Grill

felt engaged in the process. The waiter recommended several appetizers, wine, entrees and dessert. We were pleased that our favorite appetizer, the Grilled Black Pepper Octopus, remained on the menu. The waiter recommended the Salmon Sashimi with Warm Crispy Rice which melted in our mouths.

Our son ordered a house made soda which was comprised of passion fruit juice, thai chili and club soda. When our son was less than thrilled with the soda (too spicy for his taste), our

waiter was at our table instantly with alternate recommendations. The waiter checked in with us each time food was brought to the table. When our son expressed his love for cooking and the waiter brought two Jean-Georges cookbooks table side for him to look through while he was awaiting the entrée.

Kauai Grill, Mashed Potatoes

Kauai Grill, Mashed Potatoes

For the highlight of the evening, the chef took him on a tour of the kitchen!! The overall experience could not have been any more magnificent. We ended the evening with the waiter’s recommendation for dessert….. Salted Caramel Ice Cream Sundae. The ice cream is made daily at Kauai Grill!

Kauai Grill, Roasted Ali'i Mushrooms

Kauai Grill, Roasted Ali’i Mushrooms

Jean-Georges restaurants offer kids menus. Many of the entrées on the kids menu were the same as the adult menu, offering smaller portions. The kids menu even had a burger and fries option.

St. Regis Deer Valley, UT

St. Regis Deer Valley, UT

J&G Grill, St Regis Deer Valley, Utah

J&G Grill, Truffle Pizza

Black Truffle Pizza with Fontina

J&G Grill is the Jean-Georges restaurant located within the St. Regis Deer Valley Resort in Utah. The restaurant is decorated with dark woods, stone and fireplaces throughout.

J&G Grill, Mussels

J&G Grill, Mussels

The resort has a high-end lodge ambiance throughout with floor to ceiling glass windows where you can watch the snow fall. After a long, cold day or skiing or just simply playing in the snow, it is wonderful to sit down to a nice, hot meal at J&G Grill. To start off, we have to describe the Black Truffle Pizza with Fontina Cheese. This pizza is possibly the best we have ever had. The kids asked what was on the pizza and we said we didn’t know (thinking they wouldn’t eat it if they knew it were truffles) and it was gone. It was outstanding so we ordered a second pizza. Next, we ordered the Maine Mussels Mariniere with Grilled Garlic Toast. The picture tells it all. Again, Jean-Georges offered a kids menu and our daughter chose a simple burger after skiing all day. It is refreshing to find a fine dining restaurant which not only offers a kids menu, but one which includes a burger option on the menu.

J&G Grill, Kids meal

J&G Grill, Kids meal

J&G Grill offers simply grilled preparations of the highest-quality meats and freshest local fish, accompanied by bold condiments.

You must try the 7452 Mary, which was chosen due to the altitude of the bar which is 7452 feet above

sea level. It is an enticing blend of the St. Regis famous Bloody Mary mix and fine oat-distilled Vodka 7000 from local High West Distillery-served with a touch of salt on the rim and finished with a
Wasabi-Celery foam.

Le Meridien Barcelona

Le Meridien Barcelona

In 2009, Le Meridien Barcelona began offering new elements created by chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

Breakfast with Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Buckwheat Spinach Calzone

Breakfast with Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Buckwheat Spinach Calzone

The breakfast has 5 new elements:

  1. Jean Georges Elements.  The breakfast innovator has created 7 “Eye Openers”, juice tasting and 6 dishes, some of which can be found in the buffet and some on the menu.
  2. Dishes invented internally. Le Méridien organised the competition “Sabor a Descubrimiento” (Discovering Flavours) which challenged the chefs from all the chain’s hotels to send original recipes that gave new perspectives on pastries, sweets and sandwiches for breakfast. The prize for the winners was recognition for their recipes by including them in the Le Méridien Breakfast.
  3. International Menus.  There is a selection of menus fromChina,Japan,India and theMiddle East.
  4. IllyCaffé.  The intense experience of sampling one of the world’s best coffees, both in the lobby and at breakfast.
  5. Uniforms. The chefs  wear a uniform according to the Breakfast.
Breakfast with Jean-Georges Vongerichten

Breakfast with Jean-Georges Vongerichten

While spending time in Spain, you must indulge in Jamón (ham). Early in the morning, we would went

down to the lobby at the Le Meridien Barcelona and smelled the wonderful meats and cheeses. After grabbing our cappuccino, we headed straight for the Breakfast with Jean-Georges. Our daughter loved the cured meats with eggs and toast while we opted for the buckwheat spinach calzone with sea salt. Jean-Georges breakfast offers an array of fresh squeezed juices in a rainbow of colors.

“My goal for Le Meridien was to create a breakfast experience that not only delivers the basics at a high quality level, but also provides a level of ‘discovery’ for guests by blending exotic flavors with everyday ingredients.  The dishes deliver a unique blend of flavors that invigorate and awaken the palate,” added Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

Le Meridien Barcelona

Le Meridien Barcelona

Jean-Georges Restaurants

United States

New York

Jean‑Georges

Nougatine at Jean‑Georges

Terrace at Jean‑Georges

JoJo

The Mercer Kitchen

Perry St

ABC Kitchen

ABC Cocina

The Mark

Simply Chicken

Chicago

Pump Room

Las Vegas

Prime Steakhouse

Jean‑Georges Steakhouse

Bahamas

Paradise Island

Dune

Cafe Martinique

China

Shanghai

Jean‑Georges

Mercato

France

Paris

Market

French West Indies

St Barths

Sand Bar

On the Rocks

Mexico

Los Cabos

In Collaboration with Culinary-Concepts

United States

New York

Spice Market

Atlanta

Spice Market

Bal Harbour

J&G Grill

Boston

Market

Kauai

Kauai Grill

Park City

J&G Grill

San Juan

Fern

Scottsdale

J&G Steakhouse

Washington DC

J&G Steakhouse

Canada

Vancouver

Market by Jean‑Georges

England

London

Spice Market

French Polynesia

Bora Bora

Lagoon

Mexico

Mexico City

J&G Grill

Qatar

Doha

Market by Jean‑Georges

Spice Market

Cookbooks

Home Cooking with Jean-Georges (co-authored with Genevieve Ko) (November 2011)

Asian Flavorings of Jean-Georges (October 2007)

Simple to Spectacular (co-authored with Mark Bittman) (October 2000)

Jean-Georges: Cooking At Home with a Four-Star Chef (co-authored with Mark Bittman) (September 1998)

Simple Cuisine: The Easy, New Approach to Four-Star Cooking (1991)

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Paella, Paella, Paella

Pealla on the Wharf in Barcelona

Pealla on the Wharf in Barcelona

Europe - 41.5

Le Meridien Barcelona CentOnze Restaurant

Our son fell in love with Paella while in Barcelona!!!! He loves seafood and rice- so this was a dish come true for him. What exactly is Paella?

Paella is a Valencian rice dish which came about in the mid-19th century near lake Albufera, a lagoon in Valencia, on the east coast of Spain. Many non-Spaniards view paella as Spain’s national dish.  Most Spaniards consider it to be a regional Valencian dish. Valencians, in turn, regard paella as one of their identifying symbols. So it is a dish shared amongst many regions and many people but commonly served in Spain.

This dish is named after the two-handled pan it’s cooked in. The 15-inch paella pan has a wide surface area which ensures that the rice cooks in a thin, even layer.There are three common types of paella: Valencian paella, seafood paella and mixed paella, but there are many others as well. The key to this dish is the crusty caramelized layer of rice, called socarrat, that forms on the bottom of the pan. Valencian paella consists of white rice, green vegetables, meat  such as: rabbit, chicken, duck, land snails- beans and seasoning.

CentOnze, Le Meridien Barcelona

CentOnze, Le Meridien Barcelona

Seafood paella includes seafood and usually doesn’t have beans and green vegetables.

Mixed paella is a free-style combination of land animals, seafood, vegetables, and sometimes beans. The key ingredients include saffron and olive oil.

Le Meridien Barcelona CentOnze Restaurant

Le Meridien Barcelona CentOnze Restaurant

Our son was on a mission to try Paella all over Barcelona. Each version greatly differed. The first place that he ordered Paella was at the Le Meridien Barcelona Hotel on La Rambla. While this is a Jean Georges restaurant which is usually 5 Star and quite pricey, their portions were large and not too expensive considering we sat in the window on La Rambla. We love to sit and watch all of the passerby’s at night. Of course in Spain, dinner doesn’t really start until 9ish and goes until very late!!! The Paella at CentOnze was € 22.50 for a large, adult sized portion. Pretty reasonable for the amount of seafood in the dish including a giant crustacean on the top. We highly recommend this restaurant for price, ambiance and food quality.

About Jean Georges Vongerichen: He was born in the Alsace and studied in France. He started his career in le Méridien Singapore and very soon after, he open 10 restaurants in the same area. In 1985, he decided to go to New York and he won 4 stars of The New York Times when he was only 29 years old.

He opened restaurants in Boston, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Chicago, London, Paris, Bahamas and Shanghai. Currently he possesses 12 stars in The New York Times thanks to his 4 restaurants in New York (Jojo, Vong, Jean Georges and The Mercer Kitchen).

Fast Food Paella

Fast Food Paella

The Fast Food of Paella- GROSS!!!

Don’t make the same mistake we did. Our son wanted Paella one last time prior to leaving Barcelona, so we went looking for it. As we walked down a street in Barcelona that the bus dropped us off at, we came across a sign with a picture of Paella. After walking quite a ways and so hungry, we just stopped off at a pizza place which also served Paella. That was probably our sign- pizza and Paella? When it came out, it looked like sticky yellow rice with a bag of frozen peas and a disgusting chicken drumstick. We were actually afraid to let him eat it but he was so hungry. The restaurant was clean, very metro and the rest of us had great food. The Paella was comparable to fast food. Paella in Spain is much like “wood burning stove pizza in Rome” every restaurant swears by it. We paid about € 12.00 for it and it wasn’t worth € 2.00. It actually made us sick looking at it. Most Paella has mussels, shrimp, clams and other seafood such as fish, calamari or crustaceans. As you can see from the picture – this Paella had none of those- just a chicken bone.

Tapas Sign

Tapas Sign

“Mejillones” (mussels) in Barcelona are everywhere!!! After having his fill of Paella, he moved on to mussels.

How to eat mussels

How to eat mussels

Spain has tapas everywhere -so we took full advantage of sampling tapas around town. As you can see in the picture of the Tapas sign- mussels were only € 3.30. That’s so cheap!!! Many of the restaurants in Spain have menus posted on the sidewalk and many of them offer outside seating.

In Spain, mussels are consumed mostly steam cooked, boiled in white wine, onion and herbs, and served with the remaining water and some lemon. Mussels are commonly served as “tigres” in Spain, a croquette using the mussel meat, shrimps and other pieces of fish in a thick bechamel then breaded and fried in the clean mussel shell.

Mussels are also used in other varieties such as rices or soups or commonly eaten canned in a pickling brine made of oil, vinegar, peppercorns, bay leaves and paprika.

Done!

Done!

Patatas Bravas: also called patatas a la brava or papas bravas, is a dish native to Spain and often served as a tapa in bars. It is made up of white potatoes that have been cut into about 2 centimeter irregular shapes and then fried in oil and served warm with a sauce such as a spicy tomato sauce or a mayonnaise. In the picture you will see that they were served with a white cream dollop which was similiar to a crème fraîche (lighter, less sour than our sour cream in the US). This dish is commonly served in restaurants and bars throughout Spain, where it is traditionally paired with a shot of orujo or a glass of wine. It is one of the most spicy dishes served in Spain. Yummy is all I can say!!!

Patatas Bravas

Patatas Bravas

$$ saving tips: Tapas can be extremely pricey!!! The first place that we sat down to for tapas in Barcelona handed us a bill for € 150.00 (times that by .30 for US dollars). What not to do when ordering tapas- if the waiter ask or tells you “I will bring a sampler of tapas” say no! Be sure to look at the menu prior to entering a tapas restaurant. We were drawn in because it looked like a happening place, dishes clanking, lots of people inside, wine glasses and smelled great. We didn’t look at the menu first and accepted the tapas sampler. We had just gotten off of a plane, tired after traveling 22 hours. Won’t make that mistake again. The menu in the picture indicates that there are affordable places which have a vast variety of tapas. Tapas are great because they are small and not really filling so we can restaurant hop along the side walk cafes and try all kinds of food. Tapas are also cheaper during the day!

Paella goes well with Sangria!!! Be sure to check out the Sangria page of the blog by choosing the link in the right hand column called “Sangria”. When ordering Paella, look at the quality as well as the price. We happened to find great Paella in a high end restaurant affordably prices and equally as good Paella on the waterfront in Barcelona. In our experience, if there is a picture of the item on the menu – it is probably more a fast food type of Paella. Try Paella in Spain and then make it yourself at home!!

Easy Chicken Paella Recipe

Original recipe makes 8 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon paprika, 2 teaspoons dried oregano, salt and black pepper to taste, 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2 inch pieces, 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided, 3 cloves garlic, crushed, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 2 cups uncooked short-grain white rice, 1 pinch saffron threads, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped, 1 quart  chicken stock, 2 lemons, zested, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 Spanish onion, chopped, 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped, 1 pound chorizo sausage, casings removed and crumbled, 1 pound  shrimp, peeled and deveined

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons olive oil, paprika, oregano, and salt and pepper. Stir in chicken pieces to coat. Cover, and refrigerate.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet or paella pan over medium heat. Stir in garlic, red pepper flakes, and rice. Cook, stirring, to coat rice with oil, about 3 minutes. Stir in saffron threads, bay leaf, parsley, chicken stock, and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer 20 minutes.

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/easy-paella/