One of the hallmark traits of a French girl is her love of cooking with the seasons. In Winter, she will savor her potatoes and parsnips in casseroles; Spring, she prepares lovely soups with peas or asparagus; the Summer, she may focus on tomatoes, peppers, and juicy fruits; and in the Fall, she livens her dishes with plump squash, sweet apples, crunchy carrots, and earthy mushrooms. No matter the season, she knows that cooking with the seasons instead of against them can lead to great rewards.
The French are not the only ones who see the value in seasonal cooking. Any great chef, no matter the country or city, knows that using fresh, seasonal ingredients is key for the most delicious dishes that keep patrons returning week after week, month after month, and season after season.
Some restaurants, like Seasons 52, build their entire menu based on a season. For them, changing their menu 4 times a year (in addition to weekly items), helps to guarantee that guests will be served quality fresh food, prepared without compromising great taste for a rich and complete dining experience. And, based on the restaurant location, the chef may incorporate local and regional produce, such as meyer lemons for their California restaurant. To sweeten the deal, nothing on the menu is more than 475 calories, from the signature flatbreads and appetizers, to all entrees and the popular Mini Indulgence desserts. Really, what’s not to love?
I recently had the opportunity to taste test Seasons 52 new Autumn menu, complete with wine pairings that were as interesting and flavorful as the courses. Our tasting menu included 7 courses:
Edamame and red-roasted chili hummus
Cider-Glazed Grilled Chicken Skewers Fuji apple slaw, sun-dried cranberries, toasted pumpkin seeds
Maple Leaf Farms Sesame Duck Salad
Piedmontese Steak with asparagus and fingerling potatoes
Quail with truffle risotto
And last, but absolutely not least, the mini indulgences…..
Not only was the food fresh, fun, and flavorful, the wine pairings were spot on. I loved that they paired the lighter wines — the Vista Hills Pinot Grigio, Farrier Andiron Semillon (my favorite!), and the Avanthia Godello — with the earlier courses and saved the heartier, fuller wines – Mendoza and Glenelly Cabernet — for the heavier dishes. What made the dinner even more enjoyable was the accommodating staff who were also very knowledgeable about the menu and wines.
I also have to mention the staff’s savviness with social media, displaying a live Twitter feed during the tasting event which allowed writers to engage with other tasters in different Seasons 52 restaurants around the US. Furthermore, they not only served individual and beautifully prepared dishes to each guest, but also brought out larger, more photogenic displays of food – I don’t think I need to explain why this is important in the social media world!
From the ambience, to the wine selection, to their commitment to seasonal cooking, Seasons 52 has done it right. And you don’t need to be French to see why.