Will you be visiting Lake Charles for the holidays? If so, we have several excellent restaurants open and available for your holiday meals and celebrations.

Ember Grille and Wine Bar offers all their guests’ favorite menu items, in addition to several new seasonal items developed by Chef de Cuisine Brock Granger. Chef Brock creates festive dishes by using seasonal ingredients and incorporating them into classic dishes – for example root vegetables with Brasato (braised beef), made with stone ground grits and braising jus, squash with pan roasted fish, parsnips and mushrooms with grilled wild salmon. On the appetizer menu, you’ll find duck tacos and arugula salad with figs and pears.

To accompany these special meals, don’t forget the vino! Nicholas Sensat, sommelier and general manager at Ember Grille can suggest wines to complement all your holiday festivities.

Sensat said pinot noir and chardonnay are popular and pair nicely with traditional Thanksgiving fare. “If you want to impress your dinner guests, choose a pinot noir from Oregon -- Willamette Valley is my favorite. It’s a happy medium between sweet and earthy. Chardonnays that have less oak in them are also really popular with those who don't generally drink wine and also make for a nice pairing with turkey. Request a chardonnay that says "unoaked" on the label, and you're golden.”

 

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Nothing says holiday celebration quite like a bottle of bubbly. Champagnes and Sparkling Wines are delicious, and they are also versatile for cocktail options. Simply add fruit juice or other beverages to a champagne, for example mimosas with orange juice, poinsettias with cranberry juice, and Kir Royale with a splash of Chambord. “Ember has several appetizers that pair well with champagne, such as our seafood tower or baked oysters,” said Sensat.

 

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Don't forget about dessert! Sensat says dessert wines are often overlooked but can make the end of a meal so much more enjoyable. “Ice wine is my favorite wine for dessert; Inniskillin ‘Vidal’ in particular,” he says. “This winery out of the Niagra region makes several different amazing ice wines with different grape varietals. Look for "Vin Glacé" on the label. If you want to go red for dessert, Port is a delicious classic option. If you like semi-sweet, make sure the label just says "Port" on it. If you really want sweet to satisfy your family's sweet tooth, look for the word "Tawny" on the label. Sensat enjoys pairing ice wine with Ember’s crème brûlée or a nice tawny port with their chocolate soufflé. “It’s a taste of heaven.”

If you and your family prefer something stronger than a traditional wine to top off the meal, Grappa is where it's at. Though not technically a wine, it is a highly potent spirit made from the leaves and stalks of wine grapes. “It's definitely not for everyone but it is delicious and will definitely induce that post-Thanksgiving nap everyone looks forward to”, Sensat said.

Treat yourself to a worry-free Thanksgiving meal at these Southwest Louisiana restaurants.

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