If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may remember a rave or two I’ve had about Seasons 52 (here and here and here)…
Last night was a special treat. If you’re not familiar with Seasons 52′s concept: their menu changes for spring, summer, fall, and winter to reflect what is fresh and in season at the time. And…in conjunction with using fresh ingredients, all of the dishes are waistline friendly – every dish on the menu is 475 calories or less! Talk about guilt-free eating. The lovely folks at Seasons 52 were kind enough to invite me (and Justin) to a special tasting event of their new spring menu last night, and it was a fantastic experience!
We were greeted by the staff and management with friendly smiles and a glass of Zardetto Prosecco:
Delicious. They also offered a Strawberry Kir Royale, which included the same prosecco, agave nectar, and strawberry-infused organic vodka: they looked beautiful!
As we sipped our prosecco, a sampling of appetizers were passed. First was the plum tomato flatbread with fresh basil, garlic, and melted parmesan cheese. The flavors are classic (can you go wrong with this combo? I think not), and the thin crust of the flatbread adds a lovely crunch.
They also passed an artichoke and goat cheese flatbread with leaf spinach, balsamic onion, and roasted peppers. Goat cheese is pretty much my favorite cheese at the moment, so you know I was loving this combination. The tangy goat cheese really pairs well with the vegetables, and as a relatively new fan of artichokes (I only realized I adore them a few years ago) I love seeing them on a flatbread. Yum!
The third passed appetizer was the artichoke stuffed artichoke leaves. Oh. My. Gosh. I love them. When you order them at Seasons 52, they are served with organic arugula, parmesan cheese, and a balsamic glaze. They are such a wonderful finger food – the artichoke leaves are the perfect “cup” to hold the stuffing.
I’d definitely recommend ordering a round of the stuffed artichokes to share around your table! I mean, just look at them!
After the appetizer round, it was time to take a seat for the main event! We started with a salad that made me have a “moment,” if you will. I’ll start with a photo:
Excuse me as I drool for a second. The tomato and Haas avocado salad at Seasons 52 is officially one of my favorite spring items.
It features organic arugula, balsamic glaze, and grilled bruschetta. Oh. My. Gosh. It is springtime in a bowl: the Haas avocado is creamy, the balsamic glaze is slightly sweet, the peppery arugula adds contrast and a bite, and the chunky tomatos are nice and fresh. It is a fabulous combination. Oh, and the grilled bread adds such a wonderful crunch to the dish. If I could order an entree sized portion of this salad, I definitely would. Order it. Thank me later.
The salad was paired with the Aveleda Vinho Verde. I’m actually a big fan – it is a light, slightly sweet wine…and it has a bit of effervescence! The little bubbles lingering in the glass really made me happy, and the wine was the perfect accompaniment with the salad.
On to the entrees! Seasons 52 served them as a sharing platter presentation, which was fun! If you’re hosting an event, you can order sharing platters for the group. I know my wedding is 2 years past (almost), but I was thinking how perfect the back room (where the event was hosted) would be for a rehearsal dinner. The sharing platters would be a great way to serve dinner to the guests as well. First up was the Columbia River Steelhead Trout. It was served with snap peas, edamame, mushrooms, basmati rice, and a lemongrass broth.
To say that this dish was a crowdpleaser would be an understatement: everyone around the tasting table was raving about this dish! The vegetables had a nice fresh snap to them, which was a great contrast to the delicate trout. It was actually my very first time tasting trout, and I have to say I felt slight trepidation at first. However, I’m a convert: Seasons 52′s steelhead trout is amazing! The flavor is light and the fish is delicate. Justin and I both agreed that we wouldn’t hesitate to order it again when we returned to the restaurant. The fish was paired with another light and fresh wine: the Botani Moscatel. Another winner in my book; the flavors were light enough to not overpower the spring vegetables and fish. I could definitely see myself sitting outside and enjoying a summer evening with this particular wine…
The next entree we sampled were the lamb t-bone chops.
These beauties were served alongside asparagus, truffle mashed potatoes, and a red wine glaze. The lamb was seasoned wonderfully and is a good option for someone who wants a heartier meat dish without ordering a steak. And can I talk about the mashed potatoes for a minute? They are slightly chunky…and there is NO butter in them! This dish was paired with Allegrini Palazzo della Torre Corvina Veronese – a beautiful red wine. The ruby color is so pleasant to look at, and the flavor is fruity and not too heavy (hey, it’s spring: you can’t be weighed down by some of those heavier reds nowadays, right?).
We were also served up a side dish of spicy snow peas and shiitake mushrooms with roasted almonds.
Again, the dish was fresh for spring. I absolutely fell in love with the sauce that Seasons 52 drizzles over the peas: they use a combination of ginger and sriracha…sweet yet spicy! And absolutely delicious. They paired this side dish with Lioco Indica Rose. I have to admit, rose wine scares me sometimes, but the Lioco won me over. It had just the right amount of fruity sweetness to counteract the spice in the snow peas.
Now, we can’t forget about dessert, can we?
Seasons 52 offers an assortment of Mini Indulgence Desserts in individual servings. Picking one is almost impossible. We were offered the following flavors: Red Velvet, Mocha Macchiato, Key Lime, Strawberry Shortcake, Market Fresh Fruit, Belgian Chocolate Rocky Road, Mango Cheesecake, Pecan Pie with Vanilla Mousse, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse. I don’t think you could go wrong with any of these options, but I’ll tell you about the two I sampled…
I enjoyed the Red Velvet (far left) and the Belgian Chocolate Rocky Road (4th from the right). The Red Velvet features a sweet cream frosting, which gives a similar tangy zip as a cream cheese frosting: yum! If you’re looking for a rich and indulgent chocolate dessert, I would suggest the Belgian Chocolate Rocky Road. It is so rich and decadant…it is perfect for the chocoholic at heart! Justin enjoyed the Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse (always a favorite with him), the Mango Cheesecake (the mango flavor is light and not overpowering), and the Market Fresh Fruit (a layered combo of mango, pineapple, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries). Like I said, you really can’t go wrong with any of the choices! They paired dessert with the Selbach-Oster Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling. I think it would pair well with the non-chocolate dessert options; the riesling is definitely sweet!
All of the wines we tasted a part of Seasons 52′s “Drink Them Before They’re Famous” list. The Master Sommelier, George Miliotes, creates the list as a way for guests to enjoy new wines at reasonable price points, which I really love! Clearly, he did a fantastic job at this particular selection; each wine was a hit around the table, and the pairings were spot-on with the food!
So, are you ready to head out to Seasons 52 for the spring menu yet? I suggest you make a reservation ASAP! I want to thank Seasons 52 for extending an invitation for Justin and me to attend the event, and to the team at Seasons 52 in Tampa for such wonderful hospitality. We had a fantastic evening, and I know that they’ll treat you with the exact same care if you dine at their establishment!
Have you dined at a Seasons 52 before? Tell me about it (or how much you want to go now that you’ve seen all this delicious food…)!