In a city of great restaurants, Coquette Bistro Wine Bar, located in the historic Garden District of New Orleans, Louisiana, owned by Chef Michael Stoltzfus and Lillian Hubbard, is a hidden gem. Although it has a French-sounding name, Chef Michael Stoltzfus focuses on American-style cuisine that is ever evolving. Housed in a late 1880s two-story building, the restaurant is gorgeous with its historic bar, high ceilings, wood floors, exposed brick walls and extensive art collection; it is a restaurant that once you find it, you want to keep returning.
Each year as part of the annual Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Dinner® Series, 25 New Orleans restaurants matched their Chef with Guest Bar Chefs to prepare a one-night only cocktail pairing dinner. Edward F. Nesta and I were the Guest Bar Chefs at Coquette Bistro Wine Bar on July 21, 2011 where we had the opportunity to work with Chef/Owner Michael Stoltzfus, who opened the charming restaurant located on the corner of Magazine Street and Washington Avenue in the Garden District in 2008.
For this special dinner, Chef Michael Stoltzfus created a six-course menu and Edward and I created the cocktail menu. The theme for the dinner was "The Language of Flowers and Herbs and their Meanings in Life, Cocktails, and Cuisine©." using floral and herbal elements in each of the courses and the cocktails to tell a "tale" over the course of the evening.
Coquette Bistro Wine Bar Private Dining Room
Working with Chef Michael Stoltzfus, we had the opportunity to watch him in action preparing for the dinner, as well as watching his team preparing dishes for the lunch clientele. My mouth watered just watching as the sheets of housemade pasta came off the pasta machine waiting to be filled for ravioli, watching the Louisiana sweet corn being shucked, and the fresh fish being prepared. The menu changes daily, but the one constancy is fresh, seasonal ingredients, and well-made dishes artistically presented.
Chef Michael Stoltzfus
The Spirited Dinner® began with a cocktail called, Good Times to Come, which began the "tale" of "The Language of Flowers and Herbs and their Meanings in Life, Cocktails, and Cuisine© by welcoming the guests, and letting them know to be patient as there were good times to come. The cocktail incorporated Champagne, G'Vine Floraison Gin, pineapple juice (the pineapple is the universal symbol of hospitality), chamomile tea and thyme simple syrup (chamomile represents patience, thyme represents happiness), and had a thyme garnish.
The Coquette Bistro Wine Bar Team mixing
Good Times to Come Cocktail
For the first course there was a lovely Lamb Loin with Honey Lavender Vinaigrette (lavender represents loyalty and devotion), Pickled Ramps, and Local Greens was a lovely introduction to Chef Michael Stoltzfus' style. Tender slices of lamb topped with frisee and pickled ramps, which are small, wild leeks enticed the palate. The pairing cocktail, Getting to Know You, incorporated rosemary to express remembering the evening and the conversations, and lavender to express devotion and loyalty, and featured Leblon Cachaça, Sherry, rosemary vinegar, Fee Brothers Lavender Water, honey water, and had a fresh lavender flower garnish.
Lamb with Frisee and Picked Ramps
The next course was Oyster Stew with a Squash Blossom, Artichokes, and Fresh Chorizo, seasoned with fennel and black pepper, which was perfection. The pairing cocktail, Flattery Will Get You Everywhere, represented the "courtship" stage, flattering to entice and engage, and incorporated fennel to express flattery. The cocktail was made with Mount Gay Rum infused with fennel, and Galliano, clam juice, and light cream, and had a fennel frond garnish.
Flattery Will Get You Everywhere Cocktail
For the third course there was Watermelon and Mint prepared various ways which was the essence of summer, which included a watermelon soup, cubed watermelon and cubed pork belly on a wooden skewer, and a watermelon salad with shaved Parmesan. The pairing cocktail, Flirtatious, continued the relationship using basil for good wishes, love, and wealth, mint for wisdom and virtue, and hibiscus to express rare beauty, and incorporated Vermont Spirits Gold Vodka, watermelon juice, basil and mint simple syrup, Fee Brothers Rhubarb Bitters, Fee Brothers Hibiscus Water, and had a hibiscus sugar rim and a mint garnish.
Watermellon and Mint
The fourth course was a lovely Local Fish with a crispy skin on a bed of Sweet Corn "Risotto", with Celeriac, and Tarragon Froth. By the fifth cocktail, we had welcomed the guests, flattered and flirted with them, and now we were "Smitten". This cocktail incorporated Scorpion Mezcal, sweet corn, lime juice, agave nectar, Grand Marnier, fresh tarragon to express lasting interest, and had a half tarragon sea salt rim.
Local Fish and Sweet Corn "Risotto"
Two housemade sorbets, Beauty and Elegance, arrived on a ceramic spoon, to refresh the palate between courses. Beauty was made with Karlsson's Gold Vodka, hibiscus flower, which represents rare beauty, simple syrup, black pepper, and Fee Brothers Hibiscus Water; and Elegance was made with Esprit de June Liqueur, jasmine tea (jasmine represents elegance), simple syrup, and Fee Brothers Jasmine Water.
Beauty and Elegance Palate Cleansers
The fifth course was another winner Wagyu Beef Short Rib with Louisiana Heirloom Tomatoes and Chimichurri. The pairing cocktail, Joyful, sent the message of our strong bond using parsley for joy and useful knowledge, cilantro for sincerity, and garlic for strength. The cocktail incorporated Milagro Tequila Reposado, grilled Louisiana tomatoes, cilantro, parsley, garlic, lime juice, tomato juice, and had a candied sun dried tomato and cilantro garnish.
Wagyu Beef Short Rib
Eleanor Jardine with Joyful Cocktail
For the last course of the dinner, there was a luscious Peach and Buttermilk Tart with Thyme Ice Cream, and Blis Maple Syrup that heralded the summer peach season with its rich ripeness in a flaky tart shell and ice cream that had a hint of thyme. The pairing cocktail, Happily Ever After, culminated the evening tale and told of the relationship using orange rose petals to express passion, thyme for happiness, and orange blossoms to express marriage, and incorporated Citadelle Gin, peach nectar, thyme infused light cream, maple syrup, Fee Brothers Orange Blossom Water, and had an orange rose petal garnish.
Peach and Buttermilk Tart
Happily Ever After
Over the course of the evening, guests had the opportunity to learn more about the spirits from the brand ambassadors and the master distillers in attendance that included Audrey Fort of G'Vine Gin and Esprit de June Liqueur, Alexandre Gabriel of Citadelle Gin, Harry Gorman of Vermont Spirits Gold Vodka, and Jaime Salas of Milagro Tequila.
Audrey Fort Harry Gorman
G'Vine Gin Vermont Gold Vodka
Esprit de June Liqueur
Jaime Salas Alexandre Gabriel
Milagro Tequilla Citadelle Gin
To commemorate The Language of Flowers and Herbs and their Meanings in Life, Cocktails, and Cuisine© Spirited Dinner® each guest received a booklet that included the menu and "told the tale" of the evening with the meanings of the herbs and flowers used, Chef Michael Stoltzfus' recipe for the lamb, the cocktail and sorbet recipes, and product information. In addition, each guest received a bookmark with an herbal or floral poem that was created especially for the dinner.
Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Dinner®
Coquette Bistro Wine Bar
New Orleans, Louisiana
Bar Chefs Edward and Debra
Thursday, 21st of July, 2011
The Language of Flowers and Herbs and their Meanings in Life, Cocktails, and Cuisine©
Featuring Culinary Creations by Chef/Owner Michael Stoltzfus
Pairing Cocktails by Guest Bar Chefs Edward F. Nesta and Debra C. Argen
Welcome Cocktail - Good Times to Come
Champagne, G'Vine Floraison Gin, Pineapple Juice, Chamomile Tea
and Thyme Simple Syrup, and garnished with a sprig of Thyme
Lamb Loin with Honey Lavender Vinaigrette, Pickled Ramps, and Local Greens
Pairing Cocktail - Getting to Know You
Leblon Cachaça, Rosemary Vinegar, Fee Brothers Lavender Water,
Honey Water, and garnished with Lavender
Oyster Stew with Squash Blossom, Artichokes, Fresh Chorizo, Seasoned with Fennel,
and Black Pepper
Pairing Cocktail - Flattery Will Get You Everywhere
Mount Gay Rum infused with Fennel, Galliano, Clam Juice, Light Cream,
and garnished with a Fennel Frond
Watermelon & Mint - Various Preparations
Pairing Cocktail - Flirtatious
Vermont Spirits White Vodka, Watermelon Juice, Lime Juice, Mint Basil Simple Syrup,
Fee Brothers Rhubarb Bitters, and Fee Brothers Hibiscus Water,
with a Hibiscus Sugar Rim and a Mint Garnish
Local Fish with Sweet Corn "Risotto", Celeriac, Tarragon Froth
Pairing Cocktail - Smitten
Scorpion Mezcal, Sweet Corn, Agave Nectar, Lime Juice, Grand Marnier,
and garnished with Tarragon
Wagyu Beef Short Rib with Heirloom Tomatoes and Chimichurri
Pairing Cocktail - Joyful
Milagro Tequila Reposado, Grilled Tomatoes, Cilantro, Parsley, Garlic,
and Lime Juice, and garnished with a Candied Sun Dried Tomato and Cilantro
Beauty and Elegance
Beauty - Karlsson's Gold Vodka, Hibiscus Flower, Simple Syrup,
Black Pepper, and Fee Brothers Hibiscus Water
Elegance - Esprit de June Liqueur, Jasmine Tea, Simple Syrup,
and Fee Brothers Jasmine Water
Peach and Buttermilk Tart with Thyme Ice Cream, Blis Maple Syrup
Pairing Cocktail - Happily Ever After
Citadelle Gin, Peach Nectar, Thyme Infused Light Cream, Maple Syrup,
Fee Brothers Orange Blossom Water, and garnished with an Orange Rose Petal
Debra and Chef Michael
Coquette Bistro Wine Bar is open for Dinner everyday from 5:30 pm until 10:00 pm, for Lunch from Wednesday thorough Saturday from 11:30 am until 3:00 pm. Check their website www.Coquette-NOLA.com for menu samples, as Chef Michael Stoltzfus changes the menu daily.
Coquette Bistro Wine Bar
Read about Coquette Bistro Wine Bar and the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Dinner® in the Chefs' Recipes section where Chef Michael Stoltzfus graciously shares his delectable recipe for Lamb Loin with Honey Lavender Vinaigrette, Pickled Ramps, and Local Greens, and in the Liquor Cabinet section.
Coquette Bistro Wine Bar
2800 Magazine Street
New Orleans, LA 70115
Read other articles on the Tales of the Cocktail and New Orleans in the Destinations, Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, Chefs' Recipes, and Liquor Cabinet sections.
For information on Tales of the Cocktail, please visit: www.TalesoftheCocktail.com
For information on New Orleans, please visit: www.NewOrleansCVB.com
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