On a cold, blustery winter day in search of some comfort food in a warm setting, we trekked out to a French-American restaurant called Chez Colette. Actually, anything would have been warmer than outside at that time, but this place was especially inviting.
Conveniently located inside the Sofitel Hotel in Rosemont, IL near Chicago’s O’Hare airport and the Rosemont Convention Center, we found Chez Colette, to be a cozy surprise as our waiter seated us at a fireside table for two- the perfect setting for a special Sofitel Sunday Brunch.
A Lavazza (Italian brand of coffee) café au lait was the perfect warm up to study the menu that would leave me undecided for some time. The taste brought me back to any café in Europe where they would serve up the exact same flavor. I was quietly happy at the decision to brunch at Chez Colette.
There were many items we could have ordered on the menu, so many in fact, that it was hard to decide. Would it be the Brioche French Toast, Lemon Crepes with Strawberry-Vanilla Cream and Citrus Syrup, or something savory like the Open-Face Avocado Omelet with Tomato and Cream Cheese?
We had to slow down and decide on a couple of things for the moment, with hopes of coming back later to try more from this elegant menu.
For brunch we decided on the Scrambled Eggs with Atlantic Smoked Salmon and Red Pepper Coulis (sauce). It was perfectly cooked, with quality smoked salmon and just enough punch of flavor coming from the red pepper- a delightful combination.
I couldn’t believe we actually gave in to dessert after such a plentiful brunch, leaving my palette satisfied and clean. Did I really want to add more intense flavors to such a pleasant dining experience?
Absolutely- when you can have Chocolate Mousse without any alcohol added? Alhamdullilah.
It was silky, smooth, rich and luxurious, a little too much as one order was more than enough for two of us. But, chocolate is healthy, non?
Chez Colette (French-American)
5550 North River Road
· French restaurants, very similarly to Italian ones, often cook their meats and fish in wine. At Colette, we were fortunate in that many of their seafood dishes did not have a wine base used in the cooking, particularly as this was a brunch menu. If it had been a dinner menu, I venture to say the meals would be a bit more extravagant, hence the use of wine or alcohol a noticeable ingredient on the dinner menu.
· French pastries often use wine or other types of alcohol such as vermouth or calvados (apple liquor), to flavor anything from ice creams and sorbets to mousse, creams and tarts. Again, we were fortunate that Colette did not add these or any types of alcohol to any of the dessert items on our brunch menu.
· One note worthy of mention here is that “chocolate liquor” is not alcohol, it’s simply a combination of cocoa solids and cocoa butter.
· French words to know in order to avoid the non-halal meat, pork and alcohol are as follows:
- Bifteck– beefsteak
- Boeuf– beef
- Charcuterie– literally means “cooked meat” and could refer to any type of beef, lamb, pork, in general
- Porc– pork
- Bière– beer
- Calvados– apple brandy
- Vin– wine
Breakfast Eggs with Smoked Salmon
I didn’t ask the chef at Colette for the recipe, but instead I tried to re-create the dish myself at home by guessing at the ingredients that were most likely in our brunch. It tasted so good, I think I may have nailed down a recipe we’ll be having for our own brunch at home.
1 tablespoon butter
½ tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons whole milk
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
½ tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon butter
½ tablespoon olive oil
1 package smoked salmon, sliced into 1-inch squares
a few sprigs of dill (optional)
crème frâiche (optional)- fresh heavy cream that can be found at places like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods stores
1. In a mixing bowl, add the eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and parsley. Whisk thoroughly.
2. In a sauté pan over medium heat, add butter. When it is done frothing, add the olive oil.
3. Add the egg mixture to the pan. Once the eggs begin to set, use a wooden spoon to turn the eggs. Wait a few seconds and turn them again. Do this repeatedly for about a minute.
4. Add the cut salmon and incorporate into the egg mixture.
5. Eggs are done when they are no longer runny. Keep a close eye so they do not dry up, either.
6. Serve with a sprig of dill on top of each serving and a dollop of crème frâiche on the side. Buon Appetit!
Copyright© 2009 My Halal Kitchen- All rights reserved. This recipe may not be copied or reused without written permission from the Editor of My Halal Kitchen.
Disclaimer: I do not receive complimentary food nor am I paid or persuaded in any format to review the restaurant or location in this review in a positive or negative way; the purpose of the review is to inform readers and potential restaurant goers of the types of food they could potentially order with accordance to a halal diet. If you would like me to taste a menu at your restaurant, please contact me.