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"Pool Side" at the Hotel Palomar's BLVD 16 Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Blvd 16As we near Labor Day weekend, it seems appropriate to post a recipe for a refreshing cocktail that showcases some of the late-summer produce -- in this case, lemons, cucumbers, grapes and mint. The "Pool Side" was created by Reuben Games, the resident bartender at BLVD 16 (right), the restaurant and lounge at the Hotel Palomar Los Angeles-Westwood. The restaurant was named after Los Angeles' famed Wilshire Blvd. (the location of the hotel, with the 16 representing the length of the street, which runs from the beach to downtown) and features a menu that's updated frequently based on what's in season by Executive Chef Richard Hodge, who suggests pairing the cocktail with their quinoa salad, which also includes cucumber, oven-roasted tomato, feta cheese, olives and mint pesto. Yum to both. Enjoy!

Pool Side
2 oz. Hendrick's Gin
2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1 oz. Organic Blue Agave Light
3 ea. Red Grapes
3 ea. Mint Leaves
2 ea. Cucumber Wedges

Directions: Muddle cucumber, grapes and mint with agave. Combine all ingredients in shaker and shake. Strain into a high-ball glass with fresh ice. Garnish with fresh mint sprig.

 
Connecting Gardens to Tables at the Hermosa Inn Print E-mail
Written by Executive Chef Jeremy Pacheco   

Garden to table is more than a trend; it's something that we do on a daily basis here at LON's at the Hermosa. While we do purchase from local farmers (and, for many restaurants, that's all they need to say they are "farm to table"), we also have a one-acre on-site garden behind the kitchen and durum wheat from my own family's farm here in Arizona is used to make our house-made gnocchi and other pastas. So, while it may be a passing phase for others, it's something we take great pride in here at LON's.

We grow more than 20 ingredients in the garden -- from lettuce, arugula, English lavender and Bloomsdale spinach to onions, strawberries, heirloom tomatoes and various types of squash. Lemon, orange and grapefruit trees are also scattered throughout the grounds and used in many of the dishes at LON's, along with our signature cocktails at Last Drop at the Hermosa.

While it's a labor of love and takes hard work, it's also great training ground for my culinary team and instills a deeper connection and a sense of pride in the food we serve when we have to personally plant, water, weed and harvest. It's how I was raised and something I like to share with others. It's what brought me to this business and continues to drive me and our team, and is what inspires our recipes.

One such recipe is our Local Gem Lettuce Wedge with goat cheese vinaigrette -- all made from locally sourced ingredients. (Click "read more" for recipe.)

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New for Spring: The Grand Del Mar's Apricot Jul-Up Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

The Grand Del Mar Mint Jul-up CocktailIt's at about this point in the spring season that it feels appropriate to start thinking about creating a great spring cocktail using seasonal produce that we can break out at parties celebrating grads or dads or whatever else you'd like to celebrate. To that end, I bring you -- courtesy of The Grand Del Mar in Del Mar, California -- the Apricot Jul-up, using fresh mint, apricot-honey syrup and apricot-infused bourbon, in honor of another great spring celebration: the Kentucky Derby. Enjoy!

Apricot Jul-up

Ingredients
3 oz. apricot-infused Bulleit Bourbon
1 1/2 ounces apricot-honey syrup (recipe below)
8 leaves of fresh mint
Fresh mint for garnish

Method
Muddle mint in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and remaining ingredients. Shake well and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with mint.

Apricot-honey syrup
1 cup dried apricot
2 cups water
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup lemon juice

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir constantly for approximately three to five minutes. Before using or storing, strain out apricot pulp and let the syrup cool to room temperature.

 
Coconut Fish Stew at Lumeria Maui's Harvest Cafe Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Lumeria dining areaIn my travel post on Lumeria Maui, I mentioned that one of the benefits of its location was the proximity to both the ocean and the Upcountry farms. It's perhaps not surprising then, that the focus at their Harvest Cafe is on locally grown, organic and free-range foods. The cafe's Chef Indica Chaves said that she "seeks to share the joy of supporting local organic farmers and enjoying a farm-to-table experience." To that end, Chef Chaves was kind enough to share the recipe (below) for a dish that reflects both those local farms and the bounty of the nearby ocean: coconut fish stew. Enjoy!

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Fresco's Bruschetta Flavored by Hawaiian Farms Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Fresco BruschettaAs some of you no doubt already know, the word "bruschetta" really just means grilled bread rubbed with garlic and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. What you put on top of that is really up to you -- even though many people (especially in the U.S.) associate bruschetta with chopped tomatoes, garlic, onion and basil. At Fresco, the new Italian restaurant in the Rainbow Bazaar at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki, Executive Chef Rodhel Ibay -- inspired by the name of the restaurant ("fresco" means "fresh" in Italian) -- decided to take the flavors of local farms to create his version of the dish.

"Going out to the farms brought to light how much the flavors of one simple fresh vegetable or spice can transform into a single dish," said Ibay. "When I first tried the tomato straight off the vine at Waimanalo Farm, that first bite is what motivated me to create my bruschetta."

In addition to the "traditional" tomato bruschetta, Ibay highlights other local produce with a macadamia-crusted avocado bruschetta and a roasted Big Island mushroom bruschetta -- and was kind enough to share his recipe here with us (below). Enjoy!

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