Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Saucy Mama’s Mustard Giveaway


I hope you enjoyed my Tarragon Lemon Mustard Glazed Salmon with Wild Rice Pilaf recipe from the previous post.  My family and I love this recipe and I definitely will make it again and again.   

The Saucy Mama’s Skinny Mama—Cooking with Mustard Recipe Contest is now open to public to vote.  Please take a minute and click here to give me a quick vote.  You can vote once a day, until March 7, 2012.  I really appreciate your help and supports, as I always do.

But before you go, please remember to leave a comment on this post for a chance to win your own Saucy Mama condiment kit, courtesy of Barhyte Special Foods

***This giveaway is now closed.  Winner will be announced shortly.  Stay tuned.***

Details of Giveaway:

One lucky U.S. reader will win a Saucy Mama condiment kit that contains one of each of the following:  Saucy Mama Tarragon Lemon Mustard, Saucy Mama Smoky Garlic Mustard and Saucy Mama Dijon.

(Product picture courtesy of Barhyte Special Foods.)

Leave a comment on this post by March 7 Mid-night PST for a chance to win, you can say anything you like.  Winner will be selected through and announce shortly after the giveaway is closed. 

For extra entries, do any or all of the following (leave a separate comment for each extra entry):

1)  Add me to your Google+ circle here
2) "Like"'s Facebook Page, click here.
3) Follow uTry_it on Twitter, click here.

4) “Like” Saucy Mama on Facebook.
5) Follow Saucy Mama on Twitter.

Disclaimer:  I was not compensated in any way by Barhyte Special Foods to write this post.  All opinions are 100% mine. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tarragon Lemon Mustard Glazed Salmon with Wild Rice Pilaf—A Healthy, High Fiber and Gluten-Free Recipe Featuring Saucy Mama Mustard


I have another scrumptious and easy recipe to share with you today.  Plus, it’s super healthy that I know you’re going to love it.  It’s high in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and gluten-free as well.  It’s so succulent that you wouldn’t think you’re eating healthy at all, but you are!  After all, I think healthy food should taste just as good as anything else, don’t you agree?


I was recently selected as one of the 50 food bloggers by Barhyte Special Foods to participate in their Saucy Mama's "Skinny Mama- Cooking with Mustard" Recipe Contest.  They sent me some of their high quality mustards for the purpose of this contest (as shown in the picture above).  I’ve tasted each of the mustard straight from the bottle and they were all very flavorful.  For instant, I can really taste the champagne and honey in the Champagne Honey Mustard.  The garlic was very pungent in the Smoky Garlic Mustard with a lovely smoky aroma.  That’s because Barhyte’s products are made with the finest ingredients with no fillers nor names you can’t pronounce. 


I’ve been cooking and testing different recipes using different Saucy Mama’s Mustards in combination of different ingredients. They were all delicious but this one recipe really stands out—The Tarragon Lemon Mustard Glazed Boiled Salmon Serve with Sugar Snap Peas and Red Bell Pepper Wild Rice.  So, I think we have a “winner” (no pun intended).  Smile with tongue out  


The tarragon in the Tarragon Lemon Mustard adds a nice subtle licorice flavor and the Meyer Lemon flavor is slightly tart, which brightens up the fish. The Tarragon Lemon Mustard glaze on the salmon helps keep the fish super moist, enhances the flavor of the fish without overpowering it. I also use the Tarragon Lemon Mustard in the dressing for the Sugar Snap Peas and Red Bell Pepper Wild Rice. The slightly tartness from the dressing balanced well with the sweetness from the sugar snap peas and red bell pepper.


The moist and succulent salmon fillet is to die for. The wild rice has a nice bite to it and the sugar snap peas and red bell pepper add a nice crunch to the rice. You can serve both of these recipes together or on its own as a lighter option.


Here’s a close up on the salmon fillet (see picture above) and wild rice (see picture below).  Both of them are so tasty and easy to prepare that I know I’ll be making them again and again.  Besides, I know I’m serving healthy and nutritious food to my family.  What’s not to love?  Winking smile


There will be a giveaway coming up on my blog in a few days.  I’ll share the details with you on the next post, so stay tuned.

Update:  The Saucy Mama’s Skinny Mama—Cooking with Mustard Recipe Contest is now open to public to vote.  Please take a minute and click here to give me a quick vote.  You can vote once a day, until March 7, 2012.  I really appreciate your help and supports, as I always do.

Disclaimer: I was provided with Saucy Mama’s Mustard Products as shown in the picture of this post for the purpose of the contest.  Here is the link to the contest’s rules that got me these products.  All opinions are 100% mine.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Spinach Pesto Spaghetti with Grilled Shrimps using Barilla Whole Grain Pasta and a $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway


A few years ago, I switched to serving brown rice to my family instead of white rice. The reason was simple: more fiber and better nutrition for my family. Whole grains are packed with nutrients including protein, fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, and trace minerals (iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium). Nothing is more important to me than keeping my family healthy by eating right. (Oh, maybe one thing, feeding them nutritious AND scrumptious food! Winking smile) Since I’m the “chef” of the house, it is my responsibility to feed my family well with a balanced diet and nutritious food. I’m sure this is the same for many of you out there.


My little boy loves noodles and pasta a lot more than rice. Therefore, I’ve been making more pasta dishes than ever. For the same reasons I switched to serving brown rice, I’ve switched to serving whole grain pasta as well. I love Barilla® Whole Grain pasta. It’s a great way to get whole grains into my family’s diet. I enjoy preparing pasta dishes more and more these days. They are quick and easy to prepare (which is perfect for our busy schedules), and my kids enjoy them so much. Nothing is more satisfying than seeing my kids enjoy the nutritious food that I prepared for them.


Barilla® Whole Grain is made with 51% whole wheat. It’s all-natural and is an excellent source of fiber, delivering three times the fiber of regular pasta. I love Barilla® Whole Grain pasta because the texture has more of a bite to it than regular pasta. Also, it has a hint of nutty flavor regular pasta don’t have. Best of all, there is a taste guarantee from Barilla® Whole Grain pasta. If you don’t love it, you get a free box of Barilla® blue box pasta. How cool is that? That’s how confidence they are with their whole grain products! But I can guaranteed that you’re going to love Barilla® Whole Grain pasta!


Check out Barilla’s website. There are many quick and easy recipes for you to try. With the help of the Whole Grain Dinner Kit, it’s easy to put healthy and extraordinary meals on your table. Check out all these fun shapes that are available from the Barilla® Whole Grain pasta here.


In this Spinach Pesto Spaghetti with Grilled Shrimp recipe, I’ve used Barilla Whole Grain Thin Spaghetti. They were al dente in just 6 minutes! You can totally get this dish on the table in less than 30 minutes, much faster than ordering take-out! I’m totally loving it. Plus, you know you’re serving your family something scrumptious, healthy and all-natural. Way better than take-out, in my opinion.


The spinach pesto is super quick to prepare as well. The nutty flavor from the whole grain pasta works perfectly with the pine nuts in the spinach pesto. With a hint of lemon juice and lemon zest to brighten up the flavor, it’s amazingly scrumptious. Give this recipe a try; I’m sure your family will love it as much as my family does.


With the help of Barilla® Whole Grain pasta, eating right and feeding my family with healthy and nutritious food has never been easier. I hope you’ll give Barilla® Whole Grain pasta a try too and let me know what you think.



To all my dear readers, here’s a wonderful giveaway for you. One lucky reader will win a $100 gift card, courtesy of BlogHer and Barilla®. Cool, right? Winking smile To enter, simply leave a comment on this post and tell me “What do you love about Barilla® Whole Grain?” As simple as that. Please read the giveaway rules below for an extra chance to win.

No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post.
b) Tweet about this promotion @BarillaUS with the following unique term in your message, #BarillaWG, and link to your Tweet in a comment on this post.
c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to your post in a comment on this post.
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.
Winners will be selected via a random drawing, and will be notified by e-mail.
You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 2/21/12-3/30/12.

Be sure to visit the Barilla® Whole Grain round-up page on where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

This Giveaway is now closed. Thank you for those who participated.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by BlogHer and Barilla®. All opinions are my own and always will be.

Health and General Disclaimers

Join GoodLife Eats for the Surprisingly Nutritious Spaghetti Link-Up sponsored by Barilla pasta.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Marx Foods Challenge—Hijiki & Star Fruit Salad; Mochi Rice & Adzuki Beans Sushi Balls


I love Marx Foods Challenge.  Why? It’s because I can guaranteed the results are always scrumptious, fun, and exotic.  Don’t we all love a little excitements in life?  The theme of the Marx Food Challenge this month was “East Meets Delicious”. 

What is it all about?  Marx Foods sent me (and a few other bloggers) some samples of (see descriptions and picture below):

1) Organic Millet—was first domesticated in China over 7000 year ago.  This ancient cereal is very nutritious and gluten free.
2) Dried Star Fruit—a.k.a. carambola or blimbi.  Fresh star fruit is tart, tangy and refreshing.  The dried version concentrate the sugar content and it’s a wonderful snack and/or trail mix ingredient.
3) Mochi Rice— also known as glutinous rice or mochigome.  It doesn’t contain any actual gluten and is perfectly safe for people on gluten-free diets.  Instead, it is extremely high in the starch amylopectin, which makes it exceptionally sticky when cooked.
4) Hijiki—a.k.a. Hiziki.  It’s a brown sea vegetable high in calcium. It has a crisp, mild and nutty flavor.
5) Dried Maitake Mushrooms—a.k.a. Hen of the Woods or Kumotake.  They have a rich, woodsy flavor and the firm base helps these mushrooms hold together during the cooking process.
6) Adzuki Beans—a.k.a. red oriental beans.  They are small reddish-brown beans with a single distinctive white stripe.

My task was to create an appetizer and an entrée using at least four of the ingredients mentioned above.  There will be two winners chosen for this contest, one through the public vote and the other through an internal poll of the Marx Foods staff and the participating bloggers.  The stakes are high for this challenge because each winner will receive their choice of either 4 Kobe Tomahawk Steaks or 5lbs of sushi grade Yellowfin Tuna.  (drooling…)  Click here for official rules.

Ingredient Samples

With these wonderful ingredients, I created the Hijiki and Star Fruit Salad as appetizer and Mochi Rice and Adzuki Beans Sushi Balls as entrée.  Boy, both were so simple to prepare and fun to eat.  I’m going to get down to the details with you in just a minute. 

Before we go into the recipe, here is a list of the additional main ingredients used in these two dishes besides those from Marx Foods’ (as shown in pictures below).

1) Powdered Sushi Flavoring—Simply mix it with steamed rice and you get sushi rice
2) Rice wine vinegar—I used it to flavor my salad.  Also, if you can’t find the powdered sushi flavoring, simply mix the rice vinegar, sugar and salt and you’ll get sushi rice as well.  Winking smile
3) Sake—I used it to rehydrate the dried star fruit in my salad.  Of course, I can’t help it but to pour myself a shot to enjoy along with my creations.
4) Rehydrated Hijiki—Simply beautiful!
5) Sesame Oil—It adds so much flavor to the salad
6) Dried Seaweed—Another ingredient I added into the salad
7) Nori—Seaweed in sheets form that I cut it into stripes to decorate the rice balls
8) A closer look on the dried seaweed used in the salad
9) Rehydrated Seaweed—crispy, mild in taste and perfectly matched with the Hijiki
10) Shiso leaves—a.k.a. Perilla.   I love the slightly minty flavor and aroma from this herb.  Goes perfectly with my sashimi squid balls.


First off, the Hijiki and Star Fruit Salad.  I finely diced the dried star fruit and rehydrated them in some sake.  The dried star fruit absorbed so much flavor from the sake.  Then, I rehydrated the Hijiki and seaweed in water, drained, toss them together with some rice wine vinegar, sugar, salt, red chili pepper and sesame oil along with the sake-rehydrated star fruit.  The natural sweetness from the star fruit was wonderful and balanced well with the tartness from the rice vinegar and spiciness from the chili.  The texture of the Hijiki was tender crisp and contrast well with the slightly chewy star fruit.  This Hijiki and Star Fruit Salad will definitely boost your appetite as it’s so light and refreshing.  Below is a close up of the salad.


Isn’t it a beautiful salad?  I love the color and flavor combination.  You’ve got to give this salad a try.  It’s light, yet flavorful.  Packed with tons nutrients as well.   

Next, the Mochi Rice & Adzuki Bean Sushi Balls.  Traditionally, sushi are made with sushi rice or short grain rice.  But the slightly chewiness and stickiness from the Mochi Rice gives these sushi rice balls it’s wonderful texture.  The adzuki beans adds a hint of sweetness to the rice.


To make these mochi rice and adzuki bean rice balls.  I soak the adzuki beans over night, cook them on the stove for about 45 minutes until they are tender, then drain.  I cook my Mochi Rice in the rice cooker with the sushi rice setting (assuming that you have such an option from your rice cooker).  Otherwise, cook them in regular white rice/short grain rice setting.  When they are done, remove them from the rice cooker to a large plate and mix with seasonings.  Let them cool to room temperature.  Then, gently fold in the adzuki beans.

How to Make Sushi Rice Balls

To form the sushi balls, refer to picture above: 1) Line a kitchen scale with a small piece to plastic wrap. Place 2 tablespoons of seasoned rice on top. Mine measured at 30 gram (1.1 ounce) each. 2) Wrap it tight and form a ball. 3) Place a piece of squid on the plastic wrap, top with half of a shiso leave and the rice ball and wrap again. 4) Or, place a piece of fish on the plastic wrap and a rice ball on top.  Wrap them up to form the shape. The fish is very delicate. So, I like to form the rice ball ahead of time before wrapping them together. That way, I don’t have to handle the fish as much.


Your choice of sushi topping is endless and only up to your imagination. I love Uni (sea urchin), salmon, tuna, salmon roe and squid and that’s what I used. You can make them vegetarian by topping them with a thin slice of cucumber, avocado, or blanched carrot slices, etc.


I love the vibrant colors from different seafood that make these rice balls so pretty.   They are perfect compliment to the white and red rice balls.  Simply serve these sushi rice ball with a little bit of wasabi and soy sauce and you’re all set.  Hope you like these recipes and will try them out in your own kitchen as well.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Mélisse -- A Zagat Rated, Michelin 2-Stars Restaurant Review


Hope you still remember this gingerbread house that my kids created for Christmas.  You might wonder what does it have to do with my restaurant review on Mélisse, right?  Well, EVERYTHING!  That's because I submitted this particular picture to the Zagat 12 Days of Foodie Cheer Photo Contest and won a $500 gift card.  What am I going to do with this gift card?  EAT, of course!  LOL....I used it to dine at Mélisse to celebrate my birthday.  


Mélisse is a Zagat Rated and 2 Michelin Stars Restaurant located in Santa Monica, California.  I've been wanted to try this restaurant for a while but was a bit hesitated to go on my birthday.  Why?  Because of an “unfair” negative comment about Mélisse on a very popular restaurant review site.  One particular customer "complained" she had a bad experience there because of the wait time for the 10-course meal and food wasn’t spectacular, etc.  What is a girl who loves gourmet food, such as yours truly, going to do?  Make a visit to find out the truth!  That’s the “” spirit!  Winking smile

When I called for reservation, the hostess asked if we were celebrating any special occasion. I advised her it’s for my birthday celebration, hence, the little “Happy Birthday” card sitting on the table (see picture below).  Other than that, they had no idea I was going to take pictures for each course, write a review of the restaurant and the whole nine yards (This is also true as any previous Hotel or Restaurant reviews that I’ve done).  That way, I know I can get a true, honest, and fair review of the place as a typical consumer and not receiving any special treatment. 

(Another note about the “unfair” comment I mentioned earlier.  What had helped me to determine that particular negative comment was “unfair” is because we were advised, as we were reviewing the menu, that the entire experience would be around 2.5 hours if we order “The 10” (the 10 course tasting menu).  This is without us even inquiring.  Could that previous customer who provided the 'unhappy' review online not getting informed of the duration?  Possible... but based on the services that was provided, it seemed unlikely.)

We ended up ordering “The 10”, and the Server was right on target on the timing as well.  There was a little wait time in between each course, as expected, but we didn’t feel it was a long wait at all.  So, how was the food? Sit tight and you’re going to find out next. 

Before we begin, I just wanted to let you know that there was a sign right at the entrance area that says no flash light is allowed.  I bet many people were taking pictures of the gorgeous food there and caused some disturbance to other customers, hence, the restriction on the flash light.  With the somewhat dimmed light inside the restaurant, I apologize for the lighting on these pictures in advance.  I promise, I’ll make that up to you at the end!  Winking smile So stay tuned.

First, we started with an amuse bouche (see picture below).  The one on the left was liquefied goat cheese in red grape juice “shell”.  When I bit into it, there was a burst of goat cheese aroma along with the slight sweetness from the grape “shell”.  A nice play on the molecular cuisine.  The 1/2 sphere on the right is Red Grape covered with goat cheese and crushed pistachios.  The combination is wonderful and it was such a refreshing way to start the meal.


Amuse Bouche

While we were waiting for the first course, we were offered different kinds of breads.  My favorite was the one on the left (see picture below), Basil Brioche!  So good!  I’m going to try to replicate it at home in the future!  Winking smile  The one on the right was a Focaccia.  The crust was wonderful and the bread packed with sun dried tomatoes and other herbs, yum.


The two below were Olive bread on the left, and regular brioche on the right.  These two were wonderful as well.  I have to warn you, you can easily get filled up by the bread as they were so tasty and the supply was pretty much “endless”.  We were offered more bread as soon as we finished the ones on our plates.  I realized I better say “no” (it’s so hard though) because there were 10 courses coming out soon! The Maître d' and servers were all very friendly.  Some came to compliment on the pictures that I’ve taken (by looking at the display screen on my camera).


Each course was presented by the server and explained to us briefly on the ingredients and how it was prepared.  The second amuse bouche was Oyster with Passion Fruit Jelly.  I love the sweetness and tartness from the Passion Fruit Jelly as it’s so refreshing.  The oyster was super fresh and I could taste the natural sweetness from it.  

Amuse Bouche

The next course is Egg Caviar.  This was one of my favorite courses of the evening.  The soft boiled egg was rich and creamy.  Balanced perfectly with the slightly tart Lemon Crème Fraiche along with the briny and salty caviar.  The buttery biscuit was perfect for dipping!  hm….so rich and so good that I even forgot to take a picture inside the egg (sorry!) as I was too busy enjoying and savoring each bite.  I would go back to Mélisse any time just to eat this!

Egg Caviar—Soft Poached Egg, Lemon Crème Fraiche, American Caviar

Up next was Wild Florida Yellow Tail Snapper.  The snapper was serve raw, very fresh and lovely. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy the Fried Silver Fish as much because it got a little too soggy in the Fennel Broth for my liking.  The flavoring is wonderful though, especially the charred Grapefruit.

Wild Florida Yellow Tail Snapper—Fried Silver Fish, Fennel, Pink Grapefruit, Roasted Fennel Broth

This Chestnut Veloute was amazing. My hubby doesn’t even eat chestnut, but he kept "woo-ing” and “ah—ing” as he was enjoying this soup.  The flavor was intense and the texture was smooth and silky.  I especially love the crunchy Chestnut, Mushroom Hash, and the crispy Truffle Cromesquis on top for some contrasts on the textures.  I can definitely drink a BIG bowl of this soup as a meal on it’s own!

Chestnut Veloute—Chestnut and Mushroom Hash, Truffle Cromesquis

Next was Seared Foie Gras.  It’s rich, creamy, succulent, and outrageously good!  Another of my favorite from this menu.  I especially love the crust from the searing.  My husband and I both think that it was a very generous portion of Foie Gras to serve on a 10 course meal.

Seared Foie Gras—Santa Barbara Pistachio, Zapote Blanco, Ginger Lime Reduction

Up next was the Scallop.  The Basil Infused Carrot Emulsion was poured into our plate right at the table.  The Roasted Carrot puree is heavenly!  The sweetness from the puree and scallop were both amazing and complement each other very well. 

Maryland Day Boat Scallop—Roasted Carrots, Cauliflower Mushrooms, Basil Infused Carrot Emulsion

This Black Bass was my hubby’s favorite.  The scales on top of the Black Bass were crispy and crunchy.  The "doneness" of the fish was perfect and the light seasoning let the natural sweetness of the fish shines through.   

Black Bass “En Ecailles”—Kabocha Squash Gnocchi, Braised Radicchio, Eringi Mushroom, Rich Broth

For the next course, there was an option to select Prime Rib Eye Confit in Herbs or Slow Roasted Sonoma Lamb.  Therefore, my husband and I ordered one of each so we can try both of the dishes. The flavor of the Prime Rib Eye was wonderful.  I especially love the Truffle and Potato Galette on the side.  However, the texture of the Prime Rib wasn’t as tender as I would expected it to be.  On the other hand, the Braised Beef Short Rib exhibited 'melt in my mouth' kind of texture.  Very succulent!

Prime Beef Rib Eye Confit in Herbs, Grilled Over Apple Wood—Braised Beef Short Rib, Truffle and Potato Galette, Mustard Greens, Red Wine Herb Jus

The Slow Roasted Sonoma Lamb was amazing.  The flavor was rich and complex.  I bet it’s been cooked for a long time to achieve that tenderness and developed that deep flavor.

Slow Roasted Sonoma Lamb—Romanesco Cauliflower, Nicoise Olive, Japanese Yam, Lamb Jus

Here comes the Fourme d’Ambert (one of France’s oldest Cheeses, it’s a type of cow’s milk blue cheese that’s usually pasteurized).  From left to right.  This little curl on the far left was made with apple, sweet and tart.  Then, came this amazing blue cheese in it’s natural form. This cheese itself was to die for.  The little cube in the middle was apple Jelly.  Same type of apple but in a different form.  The fourth item from the left was the Fourme d’Ambert mousse.  The texture was silky and creamy.  So good that I decided to hunt down this cheese from my local market!! The green thing on the right was rather mild in taste after the flavorful blue cheese.  The texture was like avocado but I had no idea what that was.  The crust on the bottom was crispy, buttery and flaky.  I love the combination of creamy cheese and flaky crust!   

Fourme d’Ambert—Quince, Sorrel, Marcona Almonds

To accompany the up coming assorted desserts, I ordered a cup of cappuccino and my husband ordered a coffee.  The cappuccino was good, but surprisingly the pot of French pressed coffee was wonderful!  Especially when we both love strong coffee.  It’s rich and bold without any bitterness.  It’s smooth and silky as well!  Although it was almost 9pm, we couldn’t help but to finished up the whole pot (around 3 of these cups total)!


Here’s comes the Chocolate Trio.  We should have started off with the peanut butter mousse cake on the left because that’s the mildest in chocolate flavor among the 3 desserts here.  Don’t let the deep brown chocolate layer fool you.  Smile Then, the chocolate caramel mousse in the glass.  It was smooth and silky and melt in my mouth kind of goodness.  The most intense in chocolate flavor was the chocolate sorbet.  Since we thought we should finish the sorbet before it got all melted, we did it in the “wrong” order!  hahaha…nevertheless, these chocolate trio were amazing.

Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Caramel—Valrhona Abiano Sorbet, Mochaccino

Last thing on the menu was Apple, Green Tea and Crème Fraiche.  This is a unique and refreshing course, acting as a palate cleanser to finish off the meal.  We enjoyed it so much and we love the refreshing and crisp apple aroma lingering on our palates.

Apple, Green Tea and Crème Fraiche

The next item wasn’t on the menu.  I guess it was compliment by the chef?  I didn’t ask because I didn’t paid close attention to the menu when I order.  So, we didn’t even know this was “extra” until we started counting meals later in the evening.   It was a simple Strawberry and raspberries with cream and raw sugar… simple and fun.  I know my kiddo would love to have their berries served this way at home too!  Smile with tongue out


Last but not least, assorted dessert minis.  The one on the left were pineapple macarons.  My husband doesn’t even eat pineapple, but he enjoyed it so much.  After tasting it, he said it felt like he’s in Hawaii!  (I wished that too!) And I totally agree with his comment!  The pineapple flavor was very intense yet refreshing.  The ones in the middle were canelé.  I’ve been wanted to make these but haven’t had the right tools yet.  Hm…these were wonderful pastry with a soft and tender custard center and a dark, thick caramelized crust.  Last but not least, mini chocolate chip cookies.  What a wonderful way to end a meal!


So, when it’s all time to check the damage (paid up), I took out my Zagat gift card for the bill.  That was when the Maître d', Matt, asked me how I got such a large amount of credit on a Zagat gift card.  So, I explained how I got it and he asked if I also write a food blog.  After chatting a bit about my blog, Matt asked if I would like to visit the kitchen.  Of course I said YES right the way!  I almost jumped out of my chair too! hahahaha…. I bet not many people got the opportunity to do that and I really appreciate Matt’s thoughtfulness.  It’s really the best Birthday gift for a foodie food blogger!  So, come inside to the Mélisse’s kitchen with me, would you?

It’s busy inside the kitchen, yet, very clean and organized.


The picture below are different dishes lining up to get finished off before heading out to the customers.


Another side of the kitchen.  I was standing at a corner very closed to the kitchen entrance as I didn’t want to get in the way.  It’s very fast pace and seems crowded in there.


Remember I mentioned at the beginning of the post about the lighting and that I’m going to make it up to you?  Here comes more pictures of different courses I took inside the kitchen right before they were carried out to the customers!  See the difference in the color of the picture with better lighting?  Each dish was a piece of art!


What a gorgeous salad!


There were courses that had fresh Perigord Black Truffle on top, with supplement (we didn’t select those options) and the server would do the shavings right at the table!  See the size of this black truffle? Amazing!


See the “traffic” inside the kitchen?  Smile


Another beautiful creation from the chef.  I’m glad that I had a full stomach when I walked into the kitchen!  Open-mouthed smile Otherwise, I’ll be drooling over the plates!  Maybe I still did.  Shhh…..


Each dish got clean off before heading out to the customer.  I love how they pay attention to the details.


All cleaned up and ready to go.


This is Chef Ken Takayama, Chef De Cuisine of Mélisse.  See how focus he was working on the dish?  Each dish had to go through Chef Takayama (to get his magic touches) before heading out to the customer.    


This was the beautiful Black Bass with the crispy and crunchy scales.  I say it looks more like a painting in an art gallery, don’t you agree?


A picture of me and Chef Takayama.  It was such an honor to be able to meet and take a picture with the Chef!  I had an amazing experience at Mélisse.  I definitely will be back for other celebrations.


Price: $150 per person for "The 10" Tasting Menu

Wine Pairing option: $95 per person.  We didn't try the wine paring as we had a long drive home afterwards.  

If you have a special celebration and enjoy fine dining, I highly recommend Mélisse.  It might seems pricey but with the quality of food and services, I would say is worth the money. 

Check out their Valentine's Day Menu here if you're interested to take your significant other there to celebrate.

I was NOT compensated by Mélisse in any way to write this review.  All opinions are 100% mine and always will be.

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