We Want to Make Dining With Us An Incredible Experience

You’re sitting in front of a beautiful plate of food, prepared to perfection with the highest quality ingredients. In your glass, awaits the perfect complement… perfectly balanced, and a star in its own right. There’s no substitute for an incredible entrée, paired with the perfect glass of wine. But live entertainment can be the proverbial pièce de résistance, and transform your dining experience from satisfying to spectacular.

We offer an elegant and versatile restaurant with live music to further enhance your Alpine Experience. Thursday through Sunday we infuse our dining room with music ranging from classical to contemporary cover tunes and several sounds in between. Stand Up Bass, Pianists and Jazz Guitar can alter the ambiance (often in the course of one evening) from soothing and relaxing to dynamic and interactive.

So enjoy your dining experience even more, by taking in the sounds our dedicated musicians and artists play for our guests.

For more information about our wide range of musical offerings and weekly schedule, visit our Entertainment page.

Choux Pastry with Strawberries

The Nuances and Versatility of the Choux Pastry Dough

Choux Pastry being made

The Choux (pronounced Shoo) Pastry Dough is one of the very few dough’s that is cooked in a pot or kettle, before being formed and baked. The Choux Dough has a rich and lengthy history with name changes to match the diverse applications. However, as of the eighteenth century, it’s been officially known as pâte à choux, as the buns resemble cabbages—choux in French.

Unlike most dough’s, the Choux Dough doesn’t use a leavening agent like baking soda or yeast, but instead relies on steam created in the baking process to expand the dough. The dough is first baked at a high temperature to generate steam, and then is finished off at a lower temperature to set the pastry and brown the outside. The result is a hollow structure created inside the pastry that serves as a perfect cavity for cream or filling.

Fillings include pastry cream, whipped cream or fruits like strawberries as in the case of Alpine’s own Paris Brest. Choux Dough is also used to make popular favorites like cream puffs, profiteroles and eclairs.

According to experts, the secret to mastering choux is to pay close attention to the consistency and texture of the dough as you’re making it, and make adjustments (adding more or less eggs) to achieve the perfect texture and consistency. Ideally, the dough should slowly hang and stretch in thick ribbons.

  • Feeling ambitious and want to tackle the dough at home? Below are some tips and secrets straight from our bakery.
  • Use bread flour, not all-purpose flour or cake flour, so that the choux will have good structure.
  • Measure the ingredients carefully.
  • Don’t open the oven until it’s cooked or your pastry may run out of puff and not deflate.
  • Use a pastry bag with the ½-inch plain tip to pipe the choux dough onto your baking sheet. You could just spoon it out into little mounds, or for éclairs, shape the dough into little cylinders with your hands. But a pastry bag will definitely give you a nicer result.

With literally dozens of uses, choux is one of the most versatile recipes of the pastry chef and something that we use every day in our repertoire here at Alpine.

Planning a Wedding? Let Them Eat Cake… Or Cookies, Truffles, Cupcakes, or Cheesecake.

Most couples still prefer the traditional wedding cake as their dessert of choice. The wedding cake, and the ritualistic feeding of the first bite (with bride feeding groom, and groom reciprocating) has been a fixture at receptions for decades.

The Cakes themselves have evolved… becoming increasingly taller, grander, and MORE remarkable works of creativity. While cake flavors, and fillings become more inventive and imaginative… textures, floral, and lace are but a few of the design and decorating choices that help make Wedding Cakes true “Show Stoppers.”

More and more these days, however, the traditional wedding cake is not alone in stealing the show at receptions. Some couples are breaking away from that which is traditional, and serving things that better reflect their personalities… and that are proving to be unique and memorable for their guests. You’re safe with anything you choose. After all, it is your wedding. The most important advice is to insist on an experienced bakery that uses real ingredients like real butter, cream and whipped cream… with such a foundation, it’s hard to go wrong.

Here is what is trending now…the latest unique desserts that are showing up at wedding receptions.

Truffles

Truffles are a rich, shaped by hand chocolate coated with sinfully decadent toppings. A perfect bite that frees up wedding guests to move around, and socialize with other guests without being tied to a table.

Cookies

The Cookie Table has a long and vibrant past. In some areas of the country, like the city of Pittsburg, The Cookie Table takes center stage at most every reception. The varieties are endless and the display can be visually stunning.

Cupcakes

Their size makes them easy to handle, and the flavor combinations are seemingly endless. Again… color choices are endless making color matching to dresses or flowers a cinch.

Cheesecake

Available in multiple varieties to please any taste. Or, you can also serve an assortment… a variety for wedding guests to choose from. There’s also the option of serving plain cheesecake then adding sauces. Think praline, chocolate, and raspberry.

In short, what really matters is what matters to you. Anything is acceptable to serve at your reception these days… even root beer floats and ice cream buffet bars. So, remember you’ll never go wrong with tradition, but it is your wedding.

Wine with Food: The Perfect Pairing

When it comes to the decision of which wine with which food, there’s considerably more involved than the old standard of “white with fish and red with beef.”

First, let’s begin with approach…some prefer to decide on the food and then match the food with the wine. While others, who are excited about the virtues of a wine, choose to match the wine with food.

The bottom line is that it doesn’t need to be intimidating or overly complicated. With our extensive wine list representing regions all over the world, the pairings are virtually endless. So go ahead, we urge you to experiment. You won’t be disappointed.

Some suggestions to get you started on pairing food and wine.

Think about the dish. What are its dominant characteristics?

Is it mild or flavorful? Fatty or lean? Rich or acidic?

Keep flavors in balance.

Match mild foods with mild wines. Match big, flavorful foods with big, flavorful wines.

Cleanse the palate with tannins or acids.

If you’re eating a relatively rich, ‘fatty’ dish and thinking about drinking a red wine you probably want a wine with some good tannins in it to help cleanse the palate.

If you’re eating a very rich, ‘fatty’ dish and thinking about drinking a white wine you probably want to contrast the meal with a refreshingly crisp acidic wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc.

Match Acids with Acids

If you’re eating a dish with a strong acidic content (such as Shrimp with Lemon or Pasta with Tomato Sauce) pair it with an acidic wine that can keep up with the acids in the food.

Acidic Wines and Cream Don’t Mix

Rich cream sauces will usually clash with an acidic wine like a Sauvignon Blanc. Lemon juice and milk together, not so much.

When In Doubt..

Remember that foods generally go best with the wines they grew up with.

So if you’re eating Italian food, think about having an Italian wine.

This isn’t a requirement, but often helps simplify the decision.

Finally, and most importantly, drink what you like.

What you like to drink always takes precedence over any recommendation.

Coconut Cake

Cream & Butter… There are no substitutes.

When you want that real homemade flavor, from-scratch taste in cakes, pies, truffles and cookies, taste is essential and substitutes are out of the question. That’s why we use real butter and real cream.

At first, let’s go through a little primer on cream and butter. Double, Crème fraîche, table, half-and-half, sour cream, and clotted cream are but a few types of cream. Not to be outdone, butter is available whipped, clarified, unsalted and salted butter. All of these variations in cream and butter types have their role in culinary arts, and exist because of the difference in each type’s fat content.

While both get their start as dairy products, what happens afterwards, changes everything. Modern commercial skimming produce creams, while churning cream ends up as butter. Hence their differences in form… creams are typically more fluid-like in consistency than butter, while butter is a semi-solid type of cream. This is because it is composed of more milk fat molecules originally present in the cream.

Because of the difference in consistency, both dairy products have different culinary uses. Cream is incorporated in many soup or sauce preparations to make it richer and to add some flavor to the already flavorful food preparations. Cream carries only a mild bit of flavor that’s why it is an ideal add-on to the sweetest kinds of dishes, or topping desserts. In terms of butterfat content, cream also has a greater percentage of butterfat overall. But when talking about fat (milk fat), cream is undeniably lesser in fat than butter. Most kinds of butter have about 4/5 fat content (80 %) as opposed to the 30-35% fat content in cream (just barely half or 50% more or less).

So why do we insist on real butter and cream in our bakery and trattoria? Because there is nothing like the taste and mouthfeel of butter and cream to make foods that are already great, better.

The Beauty of Pasta

Besides the fun that comes with pronouncing all its names, and its ability to transform into a multitude of shapes…over 350 to date,  pasta is the perfect foundation for a nutritious, enjoyable and thoroughly satiating meal.

When mixed with heart healthy proteins like fish, fiber rich vegetables, or antioxidant laden tomato sauce, pasta acts as a “delivery system” and really packs a punch. Providing slow burning fuel for your body and nutrition for your muscles and brain, it’s a fabulous combination.

Now that you know what goes on nutritionally, we urge you not to be afraid, but to be bold and experiment.  We do, every night. Some creative combination that tastes amazing. And with over 350 types of pasta, we aren’t about to stop any time soon.

Currently…. Linguini with Clams, Baked Ziti, Crab Carbonara, Baked four Cheese ravioli, Orecchiette Pasta with Rapini and Italian Sausage.

Real Bread: Artisan Bread…Made by Artisans

Dense and Light.  Soft and Firm.  Sweet and Sour. Textured and Smooth.  Sounds like a series of contradictions doesn’t it?

Freshly baked bread in and of itself is a bit of contradiction. While possessing characteristics that are complex; the ingredients are often simple.

Artisan Bread is thought of as a high quality, hand-crafted bread containing no artificial ingredients or preservatives. It’s also the term used to describe the baker that makes it. An artist – or Artisan is a word that is used to describe a craftsperson. An artisan is a skilled worker.

There are some differences of opinion on the word artisan and should it describe bread, or the person who bakes the bread. Adjective?  Or noun?

While the parts of speech debate continues, almost everyone agrees that “artisan bread” is a distinction that means the bread is baked with thought and care, carefully selected ingredients, and choice techniques.

Everyone also seems to agree that bread, baked bakes in such a way is far superior and preferable to the stuff we buy on the grocery store shelves.