Girl Tested, MasterChef Approved

Sheetal Bhagat- MasterChef

Sheetal Bhagat MasterChef Finalist

My dear friend Sheetal is not only a talented singer, amazing person and absolutely beautiful….she is also an awesome cook (yes, some people really do have it all). She was a finalist on the first season of Fox’s reality cooking competition MasterChef, featuring world renown chefs Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot. I always knew Sheetal was a great cook, but after making it so far into a competition that thousands from around the US auditioned for, she was now totally legit!

We met back in 2007 through her brother-in-law Matt (my co-worker at the time) and quickly became good friends. Our friendship was completely solidified and strengthened when we realized we both have a mutual love (some may call it obsession) of one particular fruit; the pear. If pear is in it, we love it…everything from salads to pizzas, pear flavored vodka to pear pie, etc. You get the drift. Seriously, if pear is involved, sign us up!

After realizing our pear passion, Sheetal had concocted a recipe for a pear martini. This pear martini was seriously unbelievable and something that became a staple of our get togethers. The recipe included Grey Goose L’Poire (pear flavored vodka), pear puree (we like the brand Looza in particular), simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water boiled to a syrup), fresh squeezed lemon and a few drops of the key ingredient, cinnamon bitters (vodka and cinnamon and other spices boiled down into a liquid concentrate). The only way to describe this drink is pure happiness in a martini glass! And sheer happiness after a few 🙂

I have tried other pear martinis at restaurants and bars, but they have never quite attained the same level of Sheetal’s infamous martini.  The other martinis are too sweet or the pear flavor is masked by other alcohols or mixers or they just flat-out are not good…

…that is until I came across one; the Spiced Golden Pear Martini at Fleur (Mandalay Bay) in Las Vegas.

The funny part of this story is that I happened to find this martini by accident.  I was heading to Fleur because I was excited to try out Chef Hubert Keller’s restaurant after watching him on TopChef. My friend Rachel had invited me to dinner one night while we were in Las Vegas for work and I did not hesitate one second to take her up on the offer. I was floored when I checked out the menu and saw that Chef Keller had a separate vegetarian section. Major score! French restaurants tend not to be very vegetarian friendly, so this was beyond exciting for me. Trying out a TopChef restaurant AND having multiple vegetarian items to choose from!! I was definitely hitting the jackpot in Vegas.

Fleur Pear Martini1

The Spiced Golden Pear Martini, as Chef Keller has prepared, is made with Grey Goose L’Poire, DiSarrano Amaretto, pear puree and a cinnamon sugar rim. Let’s just say it is like an autumnal piece of pear pie, but in the form of an alcoholic drink. It was almost a little buttery from the amaretto but still maintaining the delicious pear flavor from the vodka and pear puree. The cinnamon sugar rim could not have been more perfect of a finish for what amounted to the BEST alcoholic drink I have ever had (sorry Sheetal….your drink still is one of my favorites of all time though).

So yes, that picture of the martini is blurry. Ironic don’t ya think??? I guess that’s what happens after you have *a few*. No judging please!

Recently, Sheetal and I met up and she mentioned she was going on a trip to Las Vegas. I told her that she had to make a trip to Fleur for the pear martini and gave her a few other great food and restaurant recommendations. She went to every single place I suggested, including Fleur. I don’t think she was quite as over-the-top obsessed with the martini as I was, but she definitely gave her stamp of approval.  Sweet! I’m running with that….

3 thoughts on “Girl Tested, MasterChef Approved

  1. Vinod

    I once had a salad with pears, dried cranberries, cucumber, tomato, blanched red onion, mozzarella, pecans, arugula and spinach tossed in balsamic vinegar and a delicious olive oil and it was heavenly! Pears rock!

    1. vegetariantourist Post author

      Vinod! That salad sounds awesome:) And I totally agree….pears do rock! Thanks for sharing your story.

  2. Pingback: Thank You Vegetarian Food Gods! | The Vegetarian Tourist

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