¡Destinación Chile! At The Omni in Dallas

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This year chefs from the Omni traveled to Chile to learn about the food, the wine, and the cooking techniques.
This year chefs from the Omni traveled to Chile to learn about the food, the wine, and the cooking techniques.

Photo Credit: Omni Hotels

Every year the Omni chooses a different cuisine for their Flavors of the World program. This year it’s ¡Destinación Chile!, produced by a partnership between the Omni and Wines of Chile. The promotion is available at properties across the Unites States through the end of December and Haute Living was thrilled to be invited to Omni Fort Worth to experience it for ourselves.

Late last spring Omni chefs traveled to the San Antonio campus of the Culinary Institute of American for three days of immersive training in both Chilean cuisine and cooking techniques with Chef Rocio Alvarado Diaz. They then traveled to Chile for a week in September to taste wines in multiple regions and talk to the various winemakers. By the time they came back they were well versed in all things Chile.

Traditional Chilean foods are prepared with careful attention to detail.
Traditional Chilean foods are prepared with careful attention to detail.

Photo Credit: Omni Hotels

Appetizers of Course

The restaurant was quiet and comfortable the night we went — just right for a romantic dinner in Chile! We were seated in Cast Iron and given a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon Rose.  It was uniquely refreshing with flavors of sparkling grapefruit and herb. Shortly after we were brought several traditional Chilean appetizers to try. We started by nibbling on the Empanada con Pebre. The flaky, crumbly pastries were fried to perfection, creating a downpour of pastry crumbles with each succulent bite, just the way we like it. The first, Pino, was filled with beef, onions, hard cooked eggs, and green olives. The second, Camarón Queso, was stuffed with prawns, spring onion, and cheese that oozed with every greedy bite we took. The final empanada was our favorite, a traditional country empanada simply filled with buttery caramelized onion.

Next we took on the huge bowl of Choritos con Pebre — mussels in shell with tomato, onion, bell pepper, and cilantro. The mussels were fresh and buttery and we went through nearly all of them before we realized that we still had a main course to eat.

The sea bass is served on a bed of braised tomatoes, corn, and cilantro.
The sea bass is served on a bed of braised tomatoes, corn, and cilantro.

Photo Credit: Omni Hotel

Traditional Chilean Entrees

Our server brought us a different wine to complement the main course, Apaltagua Pinot Noir from the Central Valley. It had a bright ruby color in the glass and had a lush aroma of cherries and raspberries with notes of spicy cinnamon. It went well with both entrees at our table.

The first, Bacalao con Tomatican, was a seared sea bass on a bed of braised tomato, yellow corn, and cilantro. The sauce was incredible — rich and toasty with complex flavors that reminded us of a wonderful Mexican red sauce. We have to say reminded because it was much deeper and more flavorful. Next we tucked into the Costilla con Pure Picante, pork ribs slowly cooked in beer and palm honey served with a potato puree. The pork literally melted off of the bones — it was another delicious dish. So much so that we were determined to finish every morsel on the plate.

Finally we relaxed over pressed coffee and a Tres Leches cake served with strawberries. The Tres Leches cake had a wonderful flavor but was, perhaps, a bit too soggy for our tastes.

Recap

If a vacation in Chile is not in your near future we heartily recommend heading to the Omni Fort Worth (or Dallas) and enjoying ¡Destinación Chile!. Don’t be afraid to ask questions — our server was very knowledgable in the wines and flavors being presented. This is an opportunity to taste traditional Chilean food right here in North Texas. We can’t wait to see what’s on the menu next year!

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