Social Media Promotion:
Blogger Dinner at Ella's in Westerly Rhode Island.
In mid-October we received an invite to visit one of our favorite Rhode Island restaurants just over the Connecticut border, to Ella's Fine Food and Drink, in Westerly Rhode Island.
It was such a perfect fall day for a drive and the 'leaf peeping" foliage along I-95 was breathtaking. We couldn't have planned a better day to travel up the Connecticut coastline and have a leisurely drive on some of Rhode Island's side roads in search of some great food.
|Fall Foliage in Connecticut|
We were also looking forward to meeting up with some other Connecticut bloggers at Ella's!
Joining us for dinner were food and travel blogger Ron from Ron's Food Trips and Wendy and Greg from Connecticut Lifestyles. In addition to the Connecticut contingency was RI based recipe blogger Jennifer from Savor The Thyme.
|The Connecticut Contingency in Rhode Island!|
Needless to say, when bloggers get together at a great restaurant there is much fine food and drink to be had - and lots of pictures to be taken! But before we start our food picture show, let me tell you a bit about Ella's Fine Food and Drink and owners Chefs James and Jeanie Roland.
Chef Jeanie Roland is a seven-time James Beard nominated Chef, who owns and operates both Ella's Fine Food and Drink in Westerly, Rhode Island and The Perfect Caper in Punta Gorda, Florida together with her husband and business manager, James Roland. The Roland's Westerly venue features French-Asian inspired fare where everything is made from scratch, and local food is showcased.
Each month they feature a Saturday cooking demonstration highlighting their love of everything local and fresh. I attended their August "Lobster Life" cooking class (recap HERE) and let's just say that I've worked in enough kitchens in my life to attest that Chef Jeanie Roland is the REAL DEAL!! It's no surprise that she is one of the few to beat the legendary Bobby Flay on the Food Network's hit show "Beat Bobby Flay" with her winning dish of Moules-Frites and its amazing Red Thai Curry Broth and array of dipping sauces.
And, let's just say Taylor Swift and Lorde agree with me and the 'Beat Bobby Flay' judges - as they are also big fans of Chef Jeanie and the Westerly Rhode Island Restaurant, having taken a cooking class themselves with Chef Jeanie at Ella's!
|Photo Source: Ella's Fine Food & Drink|
Enough with the fan gushing! Let's move on to Chef Jeanie's amazing menu! Here's a bit of what we sampled on this trip to visit Ella's Fine Food & Drink:
Cocktails at Ella's Fine Food & Drink:Cocktails at Ella's Fine Food and Drink are bold and flavorful -- think Mad Men-esque with a creative spin. Some of the cocktails available are the PAPER PLANE, made with Woodford Reserve, Aperol, Amaro, and lemon juice; the CAPERNOITED with Fernet Branca, Luxardo maraschino liqueur (YUM!) Buddha spiced simple, cardamon; the FROTHY SWINE made with Dave's Blind Pig espresso, Van Gogh Espresso Vodka, and Kahlua.
What? You want to hear about more?? How about the DIRTY LAUNDRY with Dorothy Parker Gin, olives, serrano chili, caper berry, and dirty juice (this was so dirty good!); the SHINSEN made with Tito's handmade, muddled cucumbers, ginger infused simple syrup, shaken and served up (what would 007 say?); the FRENCH CONNECTION made with Grey Goose Vodka, elderflower liqueur, fresh and grapefruit juice; and finally, the LONDON TYPHOON with Bombay Sapphire, sake, muddled ginger, yuzu juice, and ginger syrup.
I loved my cocktail, the "Capernoited" (the dark elixar pictured in the champagne glass) and the Luxardo maraschino liqueur it was mixed with was amazing!
Appetizers at Ella's Fine Food and DrinkAppetizers run the gamut from a seasonal charcuterie to pate to the Flay-beating moules frites! My personal favorite was my own dish of the the Sweet and Spicy Calamari, which lived up to its name with a tasty sweet start and end note of savory heat.
Appetizers we sampled!
warm crostini with ricotta-parm-pec cheeses, sautéed wild mushrooms,
saba & fleur de sel drizzle, white truffle oil, topped with arugula.
flash fried squid, tossed with cilantro-green onion, crushed peanuts.
cool miso soup, avo, cucumber pickle, local pea tendrils.
pan seared foie gras on house made brioche,
applewood smoked bacon, tomato-apple jam, Meyer lemon-citrus aioli.
marinated tenderloin, watercress, lime, cilantro, red onion.
And, of course, the perfect palate cleansing salad, topped with shaved cheese was delightful!
Entrées at Ella's Fine Food and DrinkElla's entrée menu features pasta dishes, as well as a "by land or by sea" - and of course, with Chef Jeanie's classic training, one of her specialties is duck. A tour of her kitchen uncovered a huge chafing pan of duck fat, that I may or may not have considered putting in the car to take home with me.
Of course, I went with the duck. Perfectly prepared the way I love it, a bit on the medium to well side, with that amazing blackened skin. Heaven. On. Earth.
|DUCK RISOTTO |
pan seared duck on wild mushroom risotto with frisee & parmesan.
Others went with the seafoods and traditional pasta, and the men went with the lamb (Greg) and the NY Strip (the cowboy). There were happy faces all around!
jumbo lump crab topped grilled scallops, coconut-cilantro infused forbidden black rice,
Shanghai bok choy, mirin-yuzu apricot beurre blanc.
|STEAK FRITES |
classic with 14 oz. new york strip & truffled frites.
pan seared miso-infused salmon, toasted coconut dusted forbidden black rice,
chili bok choy, ginger sesame butter
|PAN SCALLOP - |
summer corn risotto, corn-basil sauce, heirloom tomato confit, watercress greens.
|MOROCCAN SPICED LAMB |
seared, spiced half rack of domestic of lamb, oil cured olives,
fingerling potatoes, sautéed kale and honey drizzle
And yes...after all this delicious food we somehow saved room for dessert!
Dessert at Ella's Fine Food and DrinkElla's doesn't disappoint when it comes to desserts, and Chef Jeanie herself said it's one of her favorite things to develop and create, stemming from her experiences at the Culinary Institute of America, in the days when women were often relegated to the pastry duties, because, well, that was a secondary skill that the women should do. (That's funny!!!).
We're thankful to all the male chefs attending CIA at that time, because Chef Jeanie certainly showed them, didn't she ... and she created a heck of a dessert menu!
We sampled some amazing cakes, tarts, and custards, but the winning moment goes to the cowboy when his eyes glazed over and he may have shed a tear at the sight and sound of a gingerbread ice cream sandwich - and was wowed by the spun sugar crown upon it!
|Gingerbread Ice Cream Sandwich|
Spicy Gingerbread with Dulce de Leche ice cream
|Just Chocolate Cake|
Layers of Chocolate Torte, Chocolate Ganache and
White Chocolate Cheesecake
Drizzled with Chocolate Sauce
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Toasted Gingersnap Crumble
and Whip Cream
And my lemon tart did not disappoint either! The silky sweet lemon curd was garnished with a tart raspberry sauce - giving it the perfect balance of flavors!
|Lemon Tart |
Creamy Lemon Curd Tart with Fresh Raspberry Sauce
Without any hesitation I would recommend Ella's Fine Food and Drink for any occasion! A date night with a loved one, a special celebration, or a gathering of bestie friends (and bestie bloggers!) - Ella's is the place to go to enjoy great food and drink!
Thanks to Chef Jeanie and Chef James for being the consummate hosts and to the fabulous culinary crew in the front and the back of the house for a wonderful time!
Ella's Fine Food and Drink2 Tower Street
Westerly, RI 02891
About Ella’s Fine Food & Drink
Ella’s Fine Food & Drink, located at 2 Tower Street in Westerly, RI, opened in 2011 by Chef Jeanie Roland, a seven-time James Beard nominated Chef, and her husband and business manager, James Roland. A premier dining destination for coastal, southern New England, Ella’s features French-Asian inspired fare imbued with Chef Roland’s passion for cooking with the freshest seasonal ingredients. In her pursuit of perfection, everything is made from scratch, from breads to desserts and everything in between, and menus change frequently in an effort to highlight the best available ingredients and to challenge Chef Roland and her culinary team. She has been quoted as saying that perhaps, "she has yet to create her best dish!"
Disclaimer: I was invited to this event by members of Ella's management and marketing team, however all opinions expressed are entirely my own.
© Home Place 2016