Recuerdos del Tour De France

Last Thursday night L'Escargot Bistrot in Tijuana filled their seats with diners in anticipation of taking a bit of a step back in time. Guest Chef Martin San Roman developed a dinner menu in honor of his former restaurant Tour De France. The restaurant itself was actually located a ways down from where L'Escargot Bistrot is now. Chef Martin Roman originally brought his Franco-Mexicano cuisine to Tijuana in the late eighties, and has won the hearts of many over since then. As I stated before, Tour de France is no longer in Tijuana, but you can find Chef Martin at his current restaurant Candelas in downtown San Diego.

Chef Ryan Steyn and Sommelier Jorge Gomez joined forces with Chef Martin on this very evening, to create an authentic French cuisine experience. Beginning with the first bite of the Pate Maison, I already felt my mind leave my body to sit at a cafe setting in Paris. I am sure that if you have read any of my posts regarding French cuisine, you might say that I have a bit of an obsession. This night most definitely left a long lasting impression on both my husband and I. We were so honored to be a part of it.

The entire evening almost felt like a scene straight out of a movie. The lights and their glow set a beautiful ambiance, not to mention even the addition of the lovely wine bottle Christmas tree. Every little detail counts, and I remember them more and more as I look back on the event.

I mentioned before that the first bite was into a crostini spread with liverwurst pate. The flavors of the pate combined with a bite of the briny gherkins in between, was just delightful. I may have mentioned to my husband that we need to have a pate party, of course with some bubbly involved. The sparkling Cecilia Rose wine went seemingly with this little dish. The following dishes were all paired with the 2012 Georges Duboeuf Beaugolais Nouveau. Sommelier Jorge Gomez presented the wine to us, and told us about its young history. When he told us that you could smell red fruits, I totally agreed, and then he said banana. I had my nose in the that glass faster than I can blink. It absolutely had aromas of banana, this may have been the first time that I have smelled notes of banana in a wine. The wine was light, and a wonderful compliment to the whole evening.

The Carpaccio de La Tour, was up next. Thinly shaved beef carpaccio is and will always be one of my all time favorites. I have had it more times that I can count, of course with a different variety of toppings. This version was nothing short of amazing, and I had to make sure that each bite had every ingredient incorporated with it. I used every last drop of fresh lemon juice from the thin slices lining the plate. Let's just say my plate was left spotless after this dish.

I could smell the butter in the hot pans as the Salmon Buerre Blanc was being prepared. Images of Julia Child automatically flashed into my head. The salmon was cooked so perfectly, that the added butter sauce was like a getting a reward. Hello, butter I do adore you.

As soon as I saw the name Ensalada Coco Chanel on the menu, I had to know what that was all about. We asked Chef Martin, and he said that his inspiration came from the bottle of perfume. The spinach salad was presented beautifully in a puff pastry bowl, drizzled with a pink vinaigrette, then garnished with a slice of brie, and a fresh raspberry. It was truly beautiful, I almost felt bad each time my fork destroyed part of the bowl.

The last of the savory side of things, was Le Pave de Bouef a L'Escargot, The filet of beef was seared on the outside, which created a nice crust to the tender meat on the inside. I loved the cube of potato, and the rich mushroom sauce that shared the plate.

Raise your hand if you have had pastel de crepas before. Those with your hands up, have you had the original from Tour de France? Though there are quite a few versions roaming around, Chef Martin San Roman was the first to develop this cake in Tijuana. Oh my, what a divine dessert! Nearly paper thin crepes stacked on top of each other, covered in White chocolate mousse, and then drizzled with dark chocolate. It may or may not be very early in the morning, but I would more than accept that as my breakfast with a shot of espresso along side.

A special thanks to Chef Ryan Steyn, his wife Susan Monsalve, and Chef Martin San Roman. This was a night to remember, and we were so excited to be able to join you at this event.