Perhaps you set your sights on finally taking that European vacation next year; or perhaps you are looking to revisit old haunts from a fresh perspective. Whether you are a chef in your own right or a devoted gourmand, a seasoned tourist or a first-time traveler, Café Merlot invites you to jet away next fall for a French river cruise with culinary flair – and a vacation unlike any you have ever experienced.
Today’s celebrity-driven culture often reinforces the image of a single chef behind the success of every great restaurant or hit cooking show. But in fact, the union of two chefs working together – one to take the administrative lead, the other to lend creative inspiration – is not only common practice but also the key to many signature dishes and renowned kitchens. At Café Merlot, our two chefs work together to showcase locally grown food in San Diego. By blending technical expertise and innovative panache, this “chef marriage” creates a perfect equilibrium in the kitchen – and some of the best California cuisine in the city.
How does a chef begin the task of inventing a new dish? How does a cook learn the intuitive sensory art of combining flavors and textures? Here in San Diego, food and wine experts at local restaurants often have prestigious credentials from renowned culinary schools around the globe. But cooking isn’t purely a teachable craft: great cooks must also posses the ability to go beyond the basics, create new tastes and pioneer fresh food ideas – both in the kitchen, on the plate and in the dining room.
Every year, children of all ages look for perfect restaurants and recipes that promise to provide the best Mother’s Day meals. We’ve all seen the ads. Restaurants offer special menus and even discounts to honor the holiday, while all it takes is a quick online search to reveal countless recipes for festive dinner, lunch and brunch ideas made especially for moms. But the truth is, Mother’s Day is not just a one-day event: it is a lifelong celebration of connection and family, and one that we can enjoy on any occasion by recalling and practicing traditions and styles of cooking passed down from grandmothers to mothers to sons and daughters.
Spring is a time for renewal and celebration – and as such, it is also a busy time for entertaining. From weddings and graduations to cotillions and family reunions, the coming months are sure to be full of memorable events that see us reveling in the bounties of the season. Choosing a caterer for such gatherings, be they formal or casual, can be the key to successfully hosting. However, it is important to make the right selection to ensure that your caterer can work with your vision, personality and budget to create a memorable event from start to finish.
Women’s health has been a hot topic in the news lately; but in the midst of a political melee, even the most ardent defenders of the female body are apt to lose touch with their own physical well-being from time to time. A return to authentic wellness can help women rejuvenate from the inside out: and one of the best ways to get in touch with your inner rhythm is to reconnect with the earth and seek out the best food for your body in the form of natural, nourishing, seasonal and delectable cuisine.
At many of the nation’s most exclusive restaurants, snagging a table and sampling the culinary delights on offer is as much about exclusivity as it is about eating. But now, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, there’s a new restaurant trend towards community dining popping up in well-known eateries from New York to San Francisco. Unlike the industry standard – hard-to-get reservations and private dining rooms — these come-one-come-all seating arrangements are bringing busy people together to emulate the cozy sensation of a family meal; and in the process, some argue, they are also helping to re-connect individuals and communities in an increasingly internet-based digital age.
Whether you’re a local foodie or an uninitiated visitor to San Diego’s restaurant scene, the New Year is the perfect time to experience the county’s best restaurants and wineries on a dime. Throughout the month of January, local wineries and restaurants are hosting a bevy of events in celebration of California Restaurant Month: and from special pairings to prix fixe menus, diners can sample the region’s culinary delights while supporting local businesses and taking time to reconnect with family, friends and the joys of farm, sea and vineyard-fresh dining.
As the holiday season swings into full gear, it can be easy to get caught up in the rush – and to shop, plan, prepare and travel our way through the month without ever once sitting down to truly enjoy the warmth and delight that defines this magical time of year. Hurrying from the office to the mall to the food court, we lose touch with togetherness…and forget to stop and give thanks for our everyday bounty. This year, consider carving out some time in your frantic schedule to create an oasis from the speed of everyday life; and resolve to ring in the New Year with a commitment to reconnect with family, friends and the food that nourishes us all over thoughtfully prepared, locally grown meals.
With a new year already mere months away and a chilly, pre-winter crispness in the air, mid-autumn can feel at once refreshing and fleeting, like an all too brief calm before the holiday season storm. But if we take time out to rejuvenate this month – to enjoy the new fall TV lineup, perhaps, or tuck into a good book — we may also find ourselves noticing the subtler markers of this time of year, and reveling in shorter days, cooler temperatures and an undeniable urge to settle in, snuggle up and enjoy the cozy delights of a season focused on warmth, leisure and togetherness.