Juniper & Ivy Brings “Left Coast Edge” to San Diego

Written by Ashley Almodovar
June 9th, 2014

As one of the most anticipated restaurant openings in 2014, this new west coast restaurant is heightening the energy in beautiful Little Italy of San Diego. Helmed by Executive Chef and Top Chef All-Star Winner Richard Blais, Juniper & Ivy, a partnership with Juniper Hospitality and Concentrics Restaurants, offers an attractive menu of ever-changing comfort plates with a twist of Chef Blais’ creativity. Indulge in an assortment of mouthwatering American dishes with a left coast edge from snacks such as BBQ Abalone, Chocolate Clams to entrees featuring local Halibut and Berkshire New York Pork. Each plate is served on rustic elements of stone, wood and steel to create a unique and modern presentation that guests are sure to enjoy.


Are you a sweets lover?  Then the Yodel dessert is for you. It’s a devil’s cake with white chocolate, hazelnut brittle and hot chocolate and is oh so delicious!


Make it a date night and relish in the culinary creations that Chef Richard Blais and Juniper & Ivy have to offer.

06-09-14 Blog - Benefits from Eco-Friendly Containers

Benefit from Eco-Friendly Take-Out Containers – Here’s How

Written by Lauren Zeleniak
June 9th, 2014

There are various options for a business to improve their carbon footprint and reduce waste by using disposable or recyclable take-out containers. Adding an eco-friendly touch to your take-out containers has never been easier and will help lower everyday costs.         


Many popular to-go container options are made of styrofoam. Not only does styrofoam consist of many harmful chemicals, which are typically released when heated in a microwave, it also fails to bio-degrade. A better choice are containers composed of recyclable materials such as paper, wood and polypropylene; a plastic type material.


If you prefer a disposable option, PackNWood offers a wide variety of recyclable take-out containers in all shapes, sizes and varieties. Whether you need boxes that transport food, disposable dinnerware or even compostable straws, PackNWood has a product to fit your needs.


An alternative to disposable take-out containers can be found with G.E.T Enterprises and their Eco-Takeouts ™ product line. The molded polypropylene is known for its high durability, is commercial dishwasher safe, and reusable. You can choose from many sizes including a half size, two or three compartments for your eco-takeout container, and even  soup and stir-fry containers.


Eco- Friendly takeout containers are not only better for the environment, they are beneficial for business. By offering a product customers can return or reuse, your establishment will begin to see a reduction in overall take-out costs. With these types of products, a restaurant can also start an incentive program for customers who bring their own take-out containers with them for leftovers.


Be ahead of the game and take an innovative approach with your take-out containers while benefiting customers and our beautiful Earth!

Customer Profile – Summit House

Written by Ashley Almodovar
June 9th, 2014


On a hilltop filled with breathtaking views of Orange County sits the gorgeous Summit House. Located in Fullerton, CA, this pleasant restaurant welcomes guests with a warm and comforting home away from home atmosphere. Visitors experience and adore the charm of a classic English Inn while indulging in an array of delightful menu creations by Chef Timothy Plumb. Not only is Summit House known for its great service and sweet appeal, but also hosts numerous memorable events from weddings to family gatherings to business functions. With incredible views and intimate surroundings, Summit House is an ideal place for every special occasion.


To get a deeper look into Summit House, we had the privilege of speaking with Co-Owner and General Manager, Mark Elliott.


R.W. Smith: Please tell readers the inspiration for you and Gary Parkinson to open the Summit House Restaurant.


Mark Elliott: In 1989, we climbed to the top of the grass covered hill that previously had only been inhabited by coyotes and rabbits and was untouched by suburban developers.  The view was magnificent and we knew that we wanted to make this restaurant a special event gathering place for people from all over Southern California.  That vision became a reality in September 1991 when we opened the Summit House Restaurant, which was designed as a replica of a classic English Inn.


RWS: What has been your greatest professional success and biggest challenge?


ME: It gives me great pleasure to know that we have created a place where our guests have continued to come and share their special occasions. Families and friends have made Summit House their home away from home which gives me great satisfaction. It continues on today where families pass down the traditions of coming together to share those special moments at the Summit House.


The challenge is to always keep it fresh and new while not giving up our solid core foundations.  We have been very fortunate to have a great staff, which has become our own Summit House family making it easier to accomplish.


RWS: From Prime Ribs of Beef to Pork Chops, Summit House Restaurant has a variety of delicious and mouthwatering courses featured on the dinner menu. What specialty dishes would you recommend to guests who are dining at the restaurant for the first time?


ME: We serve Prime Rib to about 35% of our clientele. That has always been our specialty here at the Summit House, so I would definitely start you there.  Our Macadamia nut crusted Halibut is out of this world though, as are our Prime Steaks.


RWS: Newly engaged couples planning their wedding have several venues to choose from especially around Orange County and the Los Angeles area. What qualities does the Summit House have that make it a unique wedding location?


ME: Let’s start with the view which is spectacular; throw in excellent service from a stellar banquet staff, fantastic food and hundreds of great testimonials from past brides.


RWS: Congratulations on receiving the Wedding Wire 2013 Bride’s Choice Award and Open Table’s 2014 Diners’ Choice! Can you describe how you feel about the awards and the recognition?


ME: We have been very fortunate to be recognized by many as a place to go for special occasions.  The feeling we get about the awards could be best described as thankful not just for me, but for our entire staff.  We all take pride in what we do.


RWS: Throughout your career, what was the greatest advice that you’ve ever received?


ME: That is a hard question to answer as I have been in this business for 35 years, but I suppose one of the best pieces of advice I received was not to try and do it all by yourself.  Get others involved to take on tasks with you.

Think Hotel Group Brings New to Miami

Written by Ashley Almodovar
May 22nd, 2014

Charles Street Becomes Orange Blossom


Charles Street may be gone, but in comes a new “market-to-table” eatery that’s sure to have visitor’s taste buds dancing. Orange Blossom, conceptualized by nightlife guru Tatanka Guerrero, “marries traditional Old Florida influences with the melting pot of Miami’s current day International nuances.” Ingredients are fresh and locally sourced from South Florida farmers and fish vendors, creating delightful signature dishes. Chef Nelson Maldonado’s menu brings a mix of meats and seafood plates that are carefully crafted and detailed to perfection.


Orange Blossom’s warm and inviting atmosphere makes this place a neighborhood gathering spot for visitors and locals to enjoy.  It’s time to grab your friends, go to Orange Blossom and enjoy some superb New American cuisines with highlighted specialty crafted cocktails.


Orange Blossom Restaurant South Beach Miami


The New South Beach Hotel Opens in Miami


Around the corner from Orange Blossom comes a newly renovated hotel to Miami. South Beach, known as one of the most glamorous and exciting resort towns, debuts a luxurious boutique hotel in the vibrant Collins Park neighborhood. Just steps away from the beach, Think Hotel Group’s South Beach Hotel brings its original Art Deco grandeur back with a more sophisticated and chic style. Guests can relax in one of South Beach Hotel’s spacious guest rooms, take a dip in the pool, walk to the beach or enjoy a day with family and friends. If you’re more of the adventurous type, explore the streets of Ocean Drive and Washington Avenue to get a taste of the electric nightlife and incredible authentic restaurants that surround the hotel.  It’s no wonder South Beach is one the most ideal places to visit!


Next time you are planning a trip to Miami, come and experience this exceptional hotel in a neighborhood that has everything you need within walking distance.

 South Beach Hotel Miami


05-15-14 Customer Profile - Lippi Restaurant

Customer Profile – Lippi Restaurant

Written by Ashley Almodovar
May 15th, 2014

In September, the long-anticipated restaurant, Lippi, opened its doors to the public in beautiful Miami. Inspired by the New American dining experience, Lippi’s menu offers an array of carefully crafted dishes using organic and high quality ingredients. From grilled lobster tail to lentil salad, each plate is unique in presentation and delicious with every bite. Besides the gorgeous dining setting, Lippi has a stunning stylish bar where guests can grab a specialty cocktail or enjoy old and new world wines. The restaurant has a wine program that includes a comprehensive list of 420 wines from all over the world. They even have one of the most complete Single Malt listings in South Florida, ranging from rare to vintage collections.


We had the privilege of interviewing Chef Philippe Ruiz to learn more about his achievements and inspirations, Lippi and what advice he would give to aspiring chefs.


R.W. Smith: Please tell us about your journey to becoming an executive chef.


Philippe Ruiz: I started as a line cook and grew from there. After years of experience, hard work and dedication, I became an executive chef. I’ve figured out that these are the ingredients to achieving your goals and realizing your dreams.



RWS: Lippi Restaurant offers an array of elegant Mediterranean and New American appetizers and entrees. Among them, what are the most popular dishes?


PR: In the last few months, the Marinated Roe Fish (crudos) has become very popular among customers. However, the Cured Hamachi, the Octopus Carpaccio, and the Grilled Duck Breast on natural charcoal have always been our guest favorites.



RWS: Lippi’s wine program includes a list of 420 wines from old and new world regions. Please share with readers insights to selecting the best wine for each of your culinary creations.


PR: There are so many choices that I can’t provide all the wine pairings, but for our popular Grilled Duck Breast, I would recommend Pinot Noir Evesham Wood “Cuvee J” 2010. As for our Roe Fish, try the Saumur-Champigny Clos Rougeard “Les Poyeux” 2009.



RWS: In 2006, you received the title of Chevalier of the Order of Agricultural Merit by the government of France. What has this award meant to you?


PR: This award made me feel amazing! It’s me being recognized for spreading the French culinary culture to the rest of the world. It isn’t an award given out to just anyone so I felt honored to have received it.



RWS: Over the course of your career, what foods or dishes have inspired you the most?


PR: Being a fisherman I have always enjoyed working and cooking with seafood.



RWS: What advice would you give to aspiring chefs looking to creatively set themselves apart from the competition?


PR: Practice your skills to make sure you know the basics, read books, look at food reviews and try to gather as many ideas as you like to build your own persona in the kitchen. Remember to think about taste and combinations of different products to make sure they taste well together. Try not to overdo it though!



R.W. Smith & Co would also like to say congratulations to Lippi for making the cover and a spread in the spring edition of Miami’s Dining Out Magazine!

05-15-14 Happenings-Buns and Buns

Now Open: Buns & Buns

Written by Whitney Humphrey
May 15th, 2014

Calling all carb lovers! Get your buns over to Buns & Buns, one of the newest Zagat-approved restaurants in South Miami. Their globally dynamic menu is inspired by world travels, offering ingredient-driven, fine dining cuisine that is made-to-order at an affordable price. Customers have the option of choosing from seven different buns baked fresh daily, which include: herb, brioche, pretzel, ciabatta, a steamed bun, a cheese naan, and a bunless bun a.k.a. lettuce wrap. Corporate Chef Reuven Sugarman complements the carbs nicely by using exotic blends of handcrafted sauces and spices with premium selections of meat, vegetable and seafood dishes.


Sports lovers can get their grub on buns while watching their favorite teams play on a giant projector screen. If you’re not a sports fan, get your drink on during the Bun Master’s Happy Hour Social held Monday through Friday from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m.


This video offers more on how these incredible buns are served and made fresh every day.

05-09-14 Graton Casino

Project Showcase – Graton Resort & Casino

Written by Ashley Almodovar
May 9th, 2014

Project: Graton Resort & Casino – Federate Indians of Graton Rancheria


Opened: November 2013


About Company: Owned and operated by the Federate Indians of Graton Rancheria, Graton Resort & Casino is the region’s newest gaming resort. Located in Sonoma County, Graton Resort & Casino is the ultimate entertainment experience, featuring an array of slot machines and table games, upscale and casual dining, and events. Guests can enjoy a drink at their signature lounges and bars, attend a live concert or dine at one of four award-winning restaurants – Tony’s of North Beach, 630 Park Steakhouse, M.Y. China or Daily Grill.


Length of project: 8 Months


RWS Contribution: From the beginning, R.W. Smith was highly involved in the decision-making process for all tabletop and smallwares. Our Sales Consultant worked closely with the Corporate Chef proposing and sourcing several products for the steakhouse, dining room, food court and bars. RWS was able to develop an ideal package that fit perfectly with Graton’s vision. With over 120 pallets delivered, RWS provided an array of foodservice supplies including Villeroy & Boch china dinnerware, Cardinal glassware, Steelite flatware, smallwares and equipment.


Partnership: RWS and Graton Resort & Casino formed a very strong relationship throughout the project. Our sales consultant has built a trusting and long-lasting relationship with the on-site personnel, executive chef, food & beverage team, restaurant managers and the purchasing department in Las Vegas. After this successful collaboration, RWS continues to work hard to remain one of Graton’s preferred vendors for all their foodservice needs.


R.W. Smith & Co. Honored to Support the Bottega Gran Fondo

Written by Ashley Almodovar
April 30th, 2014

On April 12th & 13th, the Bottega Gran Fondo kicked off its first annual 2-day event in the breathtaking Napa Valley area. Started by its owner, Chef Michael Chiarello, the Bottega Gran Fondo is a first of its kind destination cycling event that combines delicious food, wine and cycling into one weekend. Guests enjoyed great cooking demos, spectacular dinners and excellent wine on Saturday to help get ready for their Sunday ride. About 24 teams led by cycling pros and chefs participated in the 40-mile or 75-mile course. Each began in the streets of Yountville and continued through gorgeous Napa Valley. Riders had two rest stops along the way, Frog’s Leap Winery and Chiarello Family Vineyards, where they could refuel and prepare for the challenges ahead.


The Bottega Gran Fondo event supported three important programs that impact the Napa Valley community: Clinic Ole Community Health, Napa Bike and the Vine Trail. With the help of our vendors – Steelite, Villeroy & Boch and Oneida, R.W. Smith was honored to contribute to the event and support these valuable programs.


Congratulations to Chef Chiarello for such a successful event! We look forward to many more to come.


Photo Credit: Tubay Yabut


Serving Up Ideas to Create a Trendy Buffet Display

Written by Ashley Almodovar
April 30th, 2014

Buffet and catering displays have evolved dramatically from the traditional straight line service to food stations and trendy stainless steel displays. With the rise in popularity of distinctive buffet trends and presentations, many restaurants are looking to interpret their creations in a more unique yet modern way. Whether you want to change the entire display or just add a unique flair, there are many techniques to design an impressive presentation.


Here are ideas to consider when creating a trendy buffet display:


1. Modernize. Though chafing dishes have always been the generic way to serving the masses, more and more companies are choosing to modernize their buffet displays. Using multiple tiers and levels can create an alluring showcase of your dishes. Some great cutting edge display options include Rosseto’s chic stainless steel risers, TableCraft’s displays, and cooling plates that help to maintain food temperatures.


2. Mix & Match. Don’t be a plain Jane when it comes to featuring your appetizers or desserts. Mix it up by using different shapes, sizes and textures at different elevations to add more dimensions and appeal to your buffet presentation. Bring together round, square and oval platters to complement your menu while creating a more eye-catching set up.


3. Themed Food Stations. Enhance the level of creativity of your buffet display by adding a theme for each course. Coordinate each station using different colors, cultural foods or specific course such as starter plates or entrees. Dividing the menu into food stations will spread out the presentation and create the illusion that there are several options to choose from. This can generate guest excitement and create a more festive display than just a traditional straight line buffet.


4. Re-purpose Glassware. Every restaurant stocks a variety of glassware from beer mugs to wine glasses to snifters. Be innovative by re-purposing pilsner or martini glasses to display your desserts or appetizers in a more unique way. Pouring soup into shot glasses, ice cream into mini martini glasses or stack vegetables into pilsner glasses are a few great examples. This will easily add depth and interest to any buffet display.


No matter what the occasion may be, a very stylish and distinctive buffet display will have a lasting effect on your guests. Take a moment to consider how you can incorporate these design ideas to make for a more exciting and memorable atmosphere.


The Cooperage American Grille Opens in Lafayette

Written by Ashley Almodovar
April 9th, 2014

Early last month, the long awaited and locally owned restaurant, The Cooperage, opened its doors in Lafayette, CA. This beautiful family-friendly restaurant has a stylish and comfortable atmosphere that is a home away from home. Customers will enjoy a delicious menu of American favorites such as a New York Steak or the restaurant’s signature burger – made with house ground Angus and all the fixin’s. For a healthier option, guests can choose from a great selection of salads made with fresh, locally grown and organic ingredients. If you’d rather have a quenching drink, make your way to the bar to indulge in fantastic vintage cocktails, diverse wines or beers on tap while watching your favorite sports team.


Why not take a night out with friends and enjoy some great American Grille at this amazing restaurant.


Menu: http://www.thecooperagelafayette.com/menus.html