Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Honey, Bees, and Outdoor Dinner at Fairmont Newport

It's a little known fact that some of the Fairmont hotels have started honey bee hives on their rooftops, wherever it was possible. This has included the Fairmont in Newport Beach, Seattle, and San Francisco (where you can also try the honey beers made by a local brewery with their honey). I was invited to a dinner at Fairmont Newport a few months ago and got to check out the rooftop bees with a view of the sunset! The hives at Fairmont Newport and maintained and harvested with the help of Backyard Bees.

Rooftop bee hives
We had a honey tasting in the small room on the rooftop. Little did I know just how different honey can taste, until you compare two side by side. The black pan was harvested from these hives in June. This early summer honey is more floral than the August harvest. Both of them were excellent, by the way, and I'm glad they gave us a little jar to take home.
After some cocktails and arancini, we had an al fresco dinner in their beautiful garden, a picture perfect spot for a small wedding with the white gazebo in the back.

Fairmont Newport

We sat down to a family style feast prepared by Executive Chef Chad Blunston. Prior to this visit I wasn't even aware that there is a Fairmont hotel in Newport Beach, much less paid attention to the dining options here, but I had a great meal and am now looking forward to more. Some of my favorite dishes were the Pacific Crab Salad,

Temecula Olive Oil Poached Wild Salmon with Fava Beans, Blistered Baby Tomatoes, Cauliflower Puree, and Aged Sherry Glaze
The texture of the poached salmon was perfect.

Sonoma Natural Lamb Loin with Heirloom Carrots and Asparagus, Bulgur Wheat, and Chipotle Apricot Glaze
For dessert we headed to the gazebo for a DIY brownie sundae! Between the brownie/cake and the multitude of toppings, I had a hard time choosing ..
Finally had to settle on the brownie, blueberries, nuts, ice cream ...
Chef Blunston also partners with Drake Family Farms, who makes some of the most amazing goat cheese. He gets milk and goat cheese from six goats there and he was giving out some flavored goat cheese for us. I took home the Apricot and Honey, and it was like dessert in a tub. Apricot goat cheesecake in a tub!

The Fairmont Hotels have done a lot of things to be sustainable and local, from the beehives to composting their own waste on-site, and partnering with local farms. To top it off, at Fairmont Newport, if you have a hybrid car you can get FREE VALET!


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