As we toast a remarkable year of fine dining, OpenTable (NASDAQ: OPEN), the world’s leading provider of online restaurant reservations, is pleased to celebrate the 2013 Diners’ Choice Award winners for the Top 100 Best Restaurants in America and highlight the Top 10 honorees. These awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for approximately 19,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
It’s been a wonderful year, and Mille Fleurs is happy to announce that we have been selected by OpenTable diners as one of 2013’s Top 100 Restaurants in the United States! Thank you to all of our guests who reviewed Mille Fleurs throughout this year, and we look forward to providing you with our top quality service and cuisine in 2014. Read U-T San Diego’s interview with restaurateur Bertrand Hug about this exciting award here.
You were born and raised in Southern Germany, what cooking inpirations from your childhood are likely to be reflected in this year’s upcoming Oktoberfest? Can you give us a preview of what we should expect?
Having been born and raised on a dairy farm in Southern Germany, right at the Bavarian border, I’m often inspired to cook the traditional food from that region. So much of the cuisine is at its best at this time of year, with fall and winter just around the corner and many people beginning to crave warm and savory comfort food. People also naturally tend to eat these heartier types of foods – and more of them – toward the end of the year in order to, as I say, survive the cold winter (although this is only true back in Germany)!
It is around this time that I begin to look forward to bringing Germany’s Oktoberfest to Mille Fleurs’ menus. I’m always excited to create traditional dishes like Bavarian cheese on a Limburger with raw onions, radishes, vinegar and oil, black pepper and chives; home-smoked trout; fresh mushrooms with bread dumplings; headcheese; spätzle in various preparations; braised pork shanks in sauerkraut; crispy suckling pig with red cabbage; authentic pretzels; apple strudel; and wiener schnitzel – to name a few.
I love recreating the cuisine of my childhood for Mille Fleurs’ guests, and hope that you’ll visit the restaurant between September 24 and October 31, so that I can share my favorite Oktoberfest dishes with you.
I am so confused!
It seems that only yesterday they were 30 or 40 wineries in Napa Valley, a dozen in Sonoma, a few in Alexander and Russian River Valley and I had only barely heard of Santa Barbara or Paso Robles wineries.
The wine books pages of California labels were all familiar names, once in a while a new comer would show up, but it was all the same routine: BV, Chateau Montelena, Beringer, Silver Oak, etc… Now, new wine brokers are popping up daily and the same for wineries some with names a little strange: Holus Bolus, Black Sheep Finds, Ground Effect Wines, Folk Machine, Scholium Project, Wind Gap, Dirty Pure, etc…
I am so confused! What about you the consumer?
Nowadays, everybody wants to make wine: farmers that use to sell their grapes to major wineries, dot com billionaires, super rich lawyers and doctors, Chinese magnates, famous restaurants sommeliers, winemakers going on their own and an assortment of partnerships that co op a winery. Winemakers are moving around like carousels, established wineries start secondary labels, help!
Wine shops and restaurants need a new wine road map! Over 500 wineries in Napa Valley alone, over 400 in Sonoma, 400 in the Santa Barbara region, wow!!! That is when I come in, tada! Your dedicated beverage counselor!
I have my marching orders: get the tasting glasses ready, twirl the tongue around, make a few inward whistles, lubricate the elbow and start pouring, I have to brief my staff and enlighten my customers, my guess is that if I sample 30 wines per day, I should have tasted it all by 2050…
It is a vicious job but somebody has to do it, cheers!
Beginning Tuesday, September 24, Chef Martin will take our guests to his homeland of Germany with Mille Fleurs’ annual Oktoberfest celebration. Between mid-September and throughout October, Mille Fleurs will offer traditional German cuisine.
Join us for a selection of hand-crafted dishes only available during this highly anticipated time of year. Specials will include sauerkraut, speckknodel, herring, black forest ham, headcheese, smoked trout, warm potato salad, suckling pig, crackling pig skin, pork chop, blaukraut, authentic pretzels, venison bratwurst, apple strudel, pumpkin tart and many more traditional German dishes. Whether enjoying an appetizer of Red Cabbage-Apple Slaw or a main course of Beef Rib Stew in a smoked paprika sauce, Mille Fleurs will enter this fall catering to your German palate in upscale style.
Born and raised in southern Germany, Mille Fleurs’ highly regarded Chef Martin Woesle’s first cooking memories are of spending time with his mother in their German family kitchen. He brings these early experiences to Mille Fleurs for the restaurant’s Oktoberfest celebration, and in addition to Chef Martin’s special German fare a regular menu will be offered which guests know to change daily.
Mille Fleurs will also offer German wine pairings and unique beers to further enhance the experience.
While there is no question that Pinot Chardonnay is king, as it pairs well with rich seafood and many fowl dishes and has become America’s favorite wine for any time sipping; during the warm days of late spring and summer, many other varietals are better suited for casual enjoyment.
I always prefer a crisper, more refreshing, less tropical and cleaner white wine: so Sauvignon Blanc is well suited and is getting increasingly more popular (as reflected by sales in my restaurants) but one should look to the light Rhone varietals like Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier or Grenache Blanc either from France or California, an AustrianGrunerVeltliner,the Verdicchios and Vermentinos of Italy, not to discount a well-made Pinot Griggio, or sip on the low alcohol Rieslings of Germany.
They are too many of these varietals to name them all here but the idea is to broaden your wine horizons by trying different “cepages”, making your wine drinking a more interesting experience, introducing your friend to your latest find! Most of them will also be far less expensive than a well-regarded Chardonnay.
A knowledgeable wine consultant in your favorite wine shop will certainly be willing to help you in that quest. Now, “Cheers”!
I am now into my chef’s territory but I have to tell you, Spring has sprung and with it all these delicious spring vegetables, among these, fresh peas and I have to confess: I am a fresh pea addict but just not any peas: Chino’s farm peas.
The season is just now starting according to the foremost authority: Tom Chino!
I love them every way: sautéed, steamed, raw in salads or just picked on the farm!
My all-time favorite is the way grandma Gabrielle prepared them: just lightly sautéed in duck fat with escarole, baby carrots and pearl onions, Oh My!!
Peas will be omnipresent on our spring menus here at Mille Fleurs , we have even created a sweet pea martini, served straight up! Pity the season will only last a couple of month!
Night + Day
Mille Fleurs in Rancho Santa Fe will serve both an a la carte brunch and a dinner on Easter Sunday.
Whether from California, Oregon, Burgundy or other wine growing regions of the world, there is no question that nowadays, Pinot Noir rules!
Merlot gave way in the turn (the Sideways movie pushed it in the grave), Cabernet is galloping, Sauvignon Blanc is gaining ground, Chardonnay is puttering down the stretch but Pinot Noir is winning by several lengths!
Why the craze?
Pinot Noir is reputed to be the most romantic of wines but also the most temperamental of grape. Andre Tchelistcheff declared that “God made Cabernet but the devil made Pinot Noir!”
The wine tends to have a light garnet color with aromas of black or red cherry, cassis and raspberry. Whereas Pinot Noir wines from Burgundy will break the bank, we are able to find very affordable and delicious labels from California and Oregon, trust your favorite wine store! At Mille Fleurs we like to pair Pinot Noir with our Duck Confit, chef martin incomparable Wiener-Schnitzel, all veal dishes and our Wild Salmon recipes.
Yes, as of July 1 2012 a ban on production and sale of “Foie Gras” will take effect. The law, written by democrat John Burton was passed in 2004, supported by then governor Schwartzenegger, under the pretense of cruelty to animals. Just another pathetic attempt by government to, little by little, take more and more control of our daily lives.
I wish to explain why I am so upset and angered by the ban: as some of you may know, I was born in rural Southwest France, in a remote and not easily accessible corner of the Lot department, on a small farm which produce and livestock provided our family all the meals plus income via the sale of our farm products on the market place every other Saturday in Figeac, a small town 10 kilometers away.
Besides a vegetable garden by the river, alfalfa and corn fields, we raised cows and goats for milking and cheese making (we sold 90% of these), then pigs, pigeons, chickens, a couple of geese and ducks both for consuming and selling.
So, back to our ducks, which were our biggest source of income: we fed 60 ducks every year, 20 roaming freely, fed on corn and other grain and 40 that were kept for force feeding (gavage), ALL these birds eventually ended up on a butcher block at the hand of my dad by the end of the year and which do you think had the better lives?
From mid October to mid February, typically, my grandmother and my dad at 4 a.m. and 4 p.m. every day would force feed our 40 ducks (hard work!) to fattened both the bird and its liver, a practice that goes back to antiquity (the Egyptians depicted the practice on several bas-relief, as did the Romans).
The minute the door of the pen opened there would be a battle to be first duck in line!
Their excitement was amazing, the birds couldn’t wait to get fed!
The process for each animal is grabbing the duck, inserting a funnel in its throat (the bird can ingest its food like say, a whole fish via its special esophagus) and in a 2 to 3 minutes procedure push down corn (grass sometimes) in an amount that increases every month until the fattening process is completed.
The ducks are kept in the dark and the reason they loved to be fed in that way was that it kept them in a state of inebriation thru the whole process, just happy, happy fellows til the day of their demise…
Much better than those other 20 ducks that were out all day in the cold or rain, one of them would be butchered twice a month for our Sunday’s roast duckling…
All the fattened birds would be butchered at once, the livers sold to market for big money and the rest of the duck would be “confit”, kept in the cellar and eaten once a week every Thursdays, voila!
The whole process -a far cry from the depictions of the sick and tortured animals presented to the legislation, which by the way, never bothered to visit any of the farms where these birds are force fed- was just an age old custom that provide both income and nourishment for families thru French history.
Now, as of July 1, the farms in California will be forced to close, more employees will go on the unemployment line and these small businesses will shutter.
A sad story indeed… but for now we will celebrate that amazing product and both Mille Fleurs and Mister A’s will offer special “foie gras” menus featuring the different preparations of this incredible delicacy…
Come join us, savor, enjoy and then mourn with us the passing of “foie gras” in California!