Casual, Yet Elegant Dining at Nougatine

Trump International Hotel / 1 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

Feast with your eyes.   Here’s a photo recap of my dinner from Winter Restaurant Week in January 2013, and it was phenomenal.  Find this hidden Michelin-recommended digs inside the Trump International Hotel right in Columbus Circle and enjoy a JGV experience in a more relaxed setting.

Fine French Mustard "On-Tap"

Fine French mustard “on tap” in NYC

Dijon’s premiere mustard brand, Maille, will be at the “Taste of France” this weekend in Bryant Park for two days on Saturday and Sunday the 28th and 29th of September. This is the only time you’ll be able to purchase the famous Chablis delicacy “on tap” at this event in the US. I’m looking forward to enjoying more French goods in the US with the arrival of Maille and more. Come to booth #14-5 time and sample some mustard with me!

The “Taste of France” event at Bryant Park is open to the public Saturday 9/29 from 11AM to 11PM and Sunday 9/30 from 11AM to 7PM with tickets on sale for special events. See you there!

For more information, visit the site at

"In a World of Cheese, All is Right"

I was invited to attend the “Summer Fancy Food Show” presented by Cheeses of France on June 30th with my sister near the Jacob Javits Center at the 404 event space. Since we were eager to learn more about the exotic French cheeses we love to eat, our encounter with various selections of familiar and unknown cheeses impressed us!  

During the event, we had the opportunity to try several delicious French wines from Crozes-Hermitage, Cotes du Rhone and Languedoc-Roussillon regions and more.  There were also French fruit beverages available to pair with the several cheese selections.   I came across a smoky cheese, St. Agur and a very unique & savory Cranberry Roule.  These two were the most memorable!

The most interesting part of the event that evening were the recipes to upgrade American comfort foods like sliders, grilled cheese sandwiches including your standard mac and cheese. Instead of your regular American cheese, you can switch it up with gruyere when making a grilled cheese sandwich. Even Comte cheese makes plain mac & cheese all the more exciting and tasty!   

After savoring and indulging in many rounds of cheese, fruit, wine, French cheese improved comfort foods, and more cheese + wine, we reached our limit for the night and sadly, had to call it quits.  I wish we stayed till the very end, but our stomachs weren’t as large as our ambitious appetites!  We definitely learned a great deal about cheese and their appropriate pairing that we previously had known. I am proud to say that I’ll be able to identify my favorite types of cheese when I’m and about.  The language of cheese…I’ve finally come to understand you better now. Merci beaucoup and bon appétit!

To learn more, please visit “Cheeses of France” at

For the full set of the “Summer Fancy Food Show” event, please visit my Flickr here:

Pleasant French-Basque Dining for All

Cocotte / 110 Thompson St., New York, NY 10012 / (212) 965-9100  

A couple of weekends back, I came across this pleasant little restaurant on Thompson Street and was curious about it. It serves French and Basque food, French wine (mostly), and lovely desserts in a relaxing atmosphere, so one afternoon, I had to try it out.  I fell in love with everything and asked my friend Amy to dinner the following week.  I was hoping she’d fall in love with the place as I had, and I’m glad she did enjoy it as much as I did!  How could you not? 

Cocotte serves meat and fish dishes in tiny casserole pots also called cocottes as well as soups, salads, appetizers, main dishes and desserts. Raphael runs the service there and is one amazing guy!  He’s helpful, friendly, knowledgable about wine and recommends the perfect dishes for you to try.  The portions are just right for one person and will leave you extremely satisfied, not overstuffed.  The wine list sources great selections from France (Bordeaux, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire Valley) and also from Spain and Italy.  

Featured above is my part of dinner enjoyed with my friend on a very, cold evening last week.  To start, my apéritif was a sparkling wine from the Loire Valley (should have noted the name), followed by a delicious butternut squash soup, and then a special tender pork cocotte with thinly sliced potatoes beneath.  I forgot to include the Bordeaux wine I enjoyed with the cocotte that was recommended to me by Raphael.  It was a refreshing choice that went well with my meal.  To end our meal, Amy and I had espressos for an evening booster.  Cocotte serves brunch on the weekends, and I’m looking forward to visiting then too. 

The atmosphere of the restaurant is intimate with calming yet energetic music and can be boisterous later in the evenings. The overall experience is EXCELLENT.  You’ll enjoy everything about Cocotte - from the food, wine, environment, and wonderful staff!  


Food as an Art: Elegance and Sophistication at L'Atelier du Joël Robuchon 

An unforgettable and a most remarkable dining experience at Chef Robuchon’s NYC L’Atelier!  I had dinner here in August 2011.  From the food, presentation, ambiance and service…everything was top-notch.  The partnership with the Four Seasons had to end, sadly at the end of June 2012, and this restaurant closed too soon for it to become one of my regular favorites, however it remains as one of the best dinners in my lifetime so far!  

Dinner as I can remember —

  • An Amuse Bouche 

  • Crab with Seafood Broth & Avocado (appetizer)

  • Sea Urchin Gelee (appetizer)

  • Quail & Foie Gras 

  • Roasted Veal Cheeks

  • Wagyu Beef Rib-Eye

  • Peach Champagne Mousse (dessert)

  • Chocolate Mousse with Gold Leaf (dessert)

  • Joël Robuchon candy (complimentary)

Thank you, Chef. I’m awaiting your return to NYC.

L’Atelier De Joël Robuchon
(formerly at The Four Seasons Hotel)
57 E 57th St.
New York, NY 10022

[My review on Yelp]