NORTHWEST NOTES September 2007

September 1, 2007

Newsy Notes

Pike Place Market 100th Birthday Recap!

Friday, August 17, the Pike Place Market’s 100th birthday, started off right on schedule at 8 a.m., as volunteers from Friends of the Market handed out hundreds of Le Panier onion tarts and cups of Starbucks coffee under the Market clock. Shortly before 10 a.m., horse-drawn wagons driven by actors in period costume and brimming with fresh produce turned the corner from First Avenue onto Pike Place, just as they had done 100 years before.

Market Buskers held court on the Centennial Days Stage until the Lunchtime Program began, when local politicos and members of the Market’s founding families—the Revelles, Desimones, and Goodwins—were introduced. An aerial photograph commemorated the momentous occasion, a pretty pink-and-white birthday cake celebrated 100 years, and the afternoon wound down with a Centennial Championship Salmon Toss, chef demos, and the Zucchini 500 race.

That evening, the much-publicized Market Party in Steinbrueck Park attracted a sizeable crowd that swayed to the sounds of Seattle-based vocalists and musicians such as Ernestine Anderson, Chris Ballew, and Mike McCready. All in all, the city’s most celebrated centenarian couldn’t have asked for a more lively and festive birthday party.

Earlier in the week, to help celebrate the Market’s 100th, Lynne Rossetto Kaspar, host of National Public Radio’s “The Splendid Table,” featured the recipe for Halibut with Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade from my Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook in her weekly e-newsletter. As a result, that book hit #1 on the Amazon Northwest bestsellers list for several days running. Thanks, Lynne!

Horsedrawn carriages along Pike Place recall the Market’s opening day on August 17, 1907.

Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining Update

Even though it won’t hit bookstores until next month, Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining has been featured on Amazon’s Northwest bestseller list the past several weeks. Don’t forget to lock in the very reasonable pre-publication price for the book by ordering your copy (or copies!) on NOW.

On Thursday, September 20, I will attend the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association (PNBA) annual fall tradeshow at Meydenbauer Hall in downtown Bellevue, Washington, to help introduce Pacific Northwest Wining & Diningto the retail booksellers represented there. During the fourth annual Author Feast, 20 authors (including yours truly) will move from table to table at 20-minute intervals throughout the evening discussing our new books and answering booksellers’ questions. Each author will visit a total of six tables, while the booksellers enjoy their meals. Talk about a true case of “as the tables turn!”

Nutshell Cracks Open in Portland

In early August, Nutshell opened its doors in Portland, offering diners “a vegan menu focusing on creative, equatorial dishes, without the standard use of tofu, tempeh, and substitution soy-based ‘meat,’” according to the press release. Chef Sean Coryell focuses on dishes from around the Equator, such as Jamaican Choco Escovitch (a salad of merlatan squash over greens with angostura-cream dressing and fried cucumbers), Nutshell Cassoulet (with roasted mirepoix, corona beans, red wine, crisp shallots, spinach, fleur du sel, and smoked paprika), and Chocolate Black Boss Porter Torte. Prior to opening Nutshell, Chef Coryell worked at Tabla Mediterranean Bistro and Zefiro in Portland, Rubicon in San Francisco, and the Coyote Café in Santa Fe.

“Lunch and Learn” at Mission Hill Family Estate

Through October 7, visitors to Mission Hill Family Estate, the monumental Tuscan-style winery in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, can experience the winery’s “Cuisine du Terroir” philosophy—a desire to utilize only the freshest local and seasonal ingredients—at the stunning Terrace Restaurant overlooking Lake Okanagan. Prepared by long-time winery chef Michael Allemeier, popular pairings include winery-made wild boar sausages and Puy lentil cassoulet with boar belly complemented by a glass of Mission Hill’s Reserve Shiraz. After lunch, take your “yearn to learn” one step further by exploring the on-site vineyards or the dramatic underground cellars. Private sessions for Sommelier Selected Tastings or the Chef’s Table are also available for those in search of even higher education.

James Beard Foundation Celebrates 20 Years

In celebration of its 20th anniversary, the James Beard Foundation is hosting Taste America™, a national food festival. Events will take place simultaneously in 20 American cities over the weekend of September 28 and 29.

The Seattle Gala Dinner, to be held at Russell’s heritage loft barn in Bothell, Washington, on Friday, September 28, highlights James Beard Best Chef Northwest winners Tamara Murphy of Brasa (1995 winner), Thierry Rautureau of Rover’s (1998), Eric Tanaka of Tom Douglas Restaurants (2004), and John Sundstrom of Lark and Licorous (2007), plus guest chefs Kathy Casey of Dish d’Lish, Russell Lowell of Russell’s, and Charles Ramseyer of Wild Salmon in New York City. Two hundred guests will enjoy seasonal fare prepared using produce donated by Full Circle Farm, Willie Greens Organic Farm, and Ninety Farms (among others); wines donated by 10 Washington-state wineries; and a signature James Beard cocktail created by Kathy Casey. Tickets cost $150 per person.

The Portland event, a benefit celebration for the proposed Public Market at Union Station, will also take place on Friday, September 28, at Union Station. The walk-around tasting will be prepared by James Beard award-winning chefs including Philippe Boulot (The Heathman Restaurant), Greg Higgins (Higgins Restaurant and Bar), Stephanie Kimmel (Marché Restaurant), Vitaly Paley (Paley’s Place), Caprial and John Pence (Caprial’s Bistro), and Cathy Whims (Nostrana). Tickets are $50.

Wild Coho Salmon Dinners Continue at the Oceanaire Seafood Room

They say the proof is in the eating, and in late July I experienced a media dinner at The Oceanaire Seafood Room that forever changed my mind about wild coho salmon. Long considered the poor stepchild when compared to its better-known cousins king (Chinook) and sockeye, coho was the star of the show as Executive Chef Eric Donnelly dressed the fish up in nine different iterations (!). Among the best were the simple preparations of the smaller, less fatty fish, in dishes such as Columbia River Coho Crudo with Yuzu Vinaigrette and Shaved Pacific Farms Wasabi (think ruby red salmon sashimi with perky punches of fresh wasabi and ginger). This dish paired perfectly with San Juan Island Vineyards 2004 Gewürztraminer. Grilled and Chilled Columbia River Coho with Heirloom Tomato Salad and Fresh Basil Vinaigrette made a good pairing with Carabella Vineyard 2006 Pinot Gris from the Chehalem Valley, while Harissa-Glazed Columbia River Coho Salmon with Cauliflower Couscous and Cured Lemon Butter formed a nice foil with Brandborg Vineyard & Winery 2005 “Ferris Wheel” Estate Pinot Noir from southern Oregon’s Umpqua Valley. The special coho menu items continue at Oceanaire through September 16, so don’t swim upstream; hoof it to Oceanaire.

Columbia River Coho Crudo with Yuzu Vinaigrette and Shaved Pacific Farms Wasabi was the star of the show at the Oceanaire Seafood Room’s wild coho salmon media dinner.


Resto Reviews

Prowlin’ Portland

In early August, my participation in the first annual Careers in Wine Symposium in Portland prompted me to tack on a few extra days to do some research (a.k.a. wine and dine) in the Rose City and along the Oregon coast.

On our first evening, Spencer and I met Martha Holmberg (food editor at The Oregonian), her hubby, and charming 11-year-old daughter for wine and apps at Park Kitchen in Portland’s posh Pearl District. We especially enjoyed Chef Scott Dolich’s Salt Cod Fritters with Malt Vinegar (two orders of these were quickly consumed!) and his Duck Confit Crepes with Corn Smut and Crayfish Butter (definitely tastes better than it sounds!) from the “Small Hot Plates” portion of the menu and the Poached Albacore Tuna with Green Beans and Sea Beans from the “Large Plates” section. Egged on by Chef Scott, Martha was even brave enough to try a small plate of the Hand-Rolled Pici, Tomatoes, Shell Beans, and Tripe. Pastry Chef Heidi Weiser dazzled with a decadent Devil’s Food Cake with Dulce de Leche (two slices, please!). The place was packed on a sunny-cool summer evening and personified Portland’s dining scene with its serious, fresh-from-the-source food, yet laidback ambience.

Brunch at the venerable Heathman Restaurant is always a “must-do” whenever we visit Portland. I’ve always loved the way the 100-seat restaurant is situated, with big picture windows embracing the streetscape, a busy bar at one end, and the restaurant and demonstration kitchen forming the bulk of the narrow space that is painted a sunny yellow to counteract often-overcast Oregon skies. On this visit I enjoyed Chef Philippe Boulot’s Petrale Sole Parmesan, a generous fillet of sole breaded in the doré style with the addition of Parmesan cheese and draped over a salad comprised of the summer’s best garden tomatoes, green beans, and fresh basil. Spencer opted for a hearty rendition of Hangar Steak & Eggs served with Hollandaise, broccolini, and roasted red potatoes. You’ll find Chef Philippe’s recipe for the classic Oysters Gratinée in my upcoming book, Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining.

Our final evening in Portland, after the symposium was over and I could finally relax, we enjoyed outside dining at Meriwether’s Restaurant, located in an atmospheric vintage house a short cab ride outside of downtown. West Coast Oysters with Champagne & Pink Peppercorn Mignonette cured my protein cravings, while Spencer enjoyed his Wild Gulf Shrimp with an impressive pool of stone-ground grits studded with housemade tasso ham. Half an order of Goat Cheese Ravioli with Sungold Tomatoes, Garlic, & Basil for me; a thick Grilled Carlton Farms Pork Chop with Roasted Peaches for Spencer; and views of the gazebo and garden left us both feeling satiated and satisfied.

Other restos that came highly recommended by Portland’s professional foodies, but that we simply didn’t have time to try during our all-too-brief August visit, included Clyde Commons, Toro Bravo, Ten 01, Terroir Restaurant & Wine Bar, and Castagna Café.

On a sunny-cool summer evening, nothing beats dining al fresco at Park Kitchen, overlooking the North Park Blocks in downtown Portland’s posh Pearl District.

Cruisin’ Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach is the perfect “easy” getaway for Seattleites and Portlanders alike, and whenever we are in the area, we stay at the Stephanie Inn for its cozy rooms (teddy bears propped on the pillows play “You Are My Sunshine” when you squeeze their tummies), picture-postcard views of Haystack Rock, and outstanding four-course, prix-fixe dinners offered in the Stephanie Inn Dining Room during seatings at 6 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. each evening. This year we weren’t disappointed; in fact, we ate dinner at the Stephanie both nights at the beach. Among the highlights of Executive Chef Crystal Corbin’s August 5 and 6 menus were the Marinated Lamb Rack with Spinach, Mushrooms, and Dijon Sauce; Seared Halibut Fillet with Rice Beans, Fennel, and Brown Butter; Corn Velvet Soup with Fresh Crab & Chili Oil; and Chocolate Mousse Cake with Chambord Berry Sauce, Pistachios, & Tuile Cookie. Those who can’t make it to Cannon Beach can pick up a copy of the informative, easy-to-use, and beautifully photographed The Stephanie Inn Cookbook to recreate some of the Inn’s most requested recipes at home.

We also enjoyed a visit to EVOO Cooking School in downtown Cannon Beach, owned and operated by former Fullers at the Sheraton Hotel & Towers Chef Bob Neroni and his wife Lenore. Bob and Lenore’s “cooking school” is much more than that; it also offers catering; a thoughtful selection of specialty foods, wines, and kitchen tools; and has earned the reputation as one of the best places to dine (when you sign up for cooking class) in the entire region.

A last-minute stop at The Cellar on 10th in downtown Astoria allowed us to stock up on difficult-to-find Oregon Pinots and avoid Washington-State sales tax before we headed back over the Columbia River Bridge. After trundling down the spiral staircase, we were impressed with the shop’s selection of Northwest wines, as well as its ambitious roster of upcoming events and winemaker dinners. Since returning, the store’s e-newsletter has kept us informed and up to date.

The Marinated Lamb Rack with Spinach, Mushrooms, and Dijon Sauce stands at attention in a classic preparation at the Stephanie Inn Dining Room in Cannon Beach, Oregon.


Short Takes

In the July edition of Northwest Notes, we featured a restaurant review of our very positive experiences at Boka Kitchen+Bar. Now we’re happy to report that, effective September 4, the restaurant has named Angie Roberts as executive chef. Roberts had served as chef at Flying Fish since 2005 and worked six years at the W Hotel in Seattle. During her time at the W, she served as sous chef at Earth & Ocean under Johnathan Sundstrom (Lark and Licorous) and Maria Hines (Tilth). She brings her affinity for local, seasonal, and sustainable ingredients and her history of working with a strong network of Pacific Northwest producers to BOKA’s “Urban American” menu.

You can view the July edition of Northwest Notes here.

On Saturday, September 22, from 10 a.m until 4:30 p.m., farms in South and East King County (Seattle) will open to the public during the ninth annual Harvest Celebration Farm Tour. The event, sponsored by Washington State University King County Extension, encourages attendees to meet local farmers, taste local food, walk the fields of local farms, pick their own vegetables, take a hay ride, churn butter, or even press apples for fresh cider.

Pork bellies, pancetta, speck, and many other forms of pork are appearing on the Pacific Northwest’s best menus. But not until a press release from Whole Foods Market landed among my incoming e-mails did I learn that there’s now a premium chocolate bar made with. . .you guessed it. . .bacon! According to the press release: “First in the market is Vosge Haut Chocolat’s new “Mo’s Bacon Bar” made with applewood-smoked bacon, alderwood-smoked salt, and deep milk chocolate (41% cacao). Smoky, chocolaty, and surprisingly good, this bacon bar is already winning rave reviews. Try it for only $5.99.” Oink.


Dish of the Month

Whole Idaho Trout with Lemon and Olive Oil, hot off the applewood-stoked grill, is one of the outstanding entrées offered on the Palace Kitchen’s dinner menu in Seattle.


Super Sips

On August 11, Kurrent Restaurant and Ice Bar opened in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Located in the former Green Papaya Vietnamese Restaurant space in the Pike/Pine corridor, the contemporary space at Kurrent is divided between an intimate dining room and “The Ice Box,” a lounge that features a 50-foot-long ice strip in the middle of the bar where imbibers can place their beer or cocktail glasses to keep them cool between sips. Lime green accent walls, dark wood, and stark white furnishings add to the pseudo-Asian feel of the place. Chef Matt Baer offers “appeteasers” such as Tofu Fries with Garlic-Lime Aïoli and Chicken Pops with Ginger Candy Crust and “’Ahhh’ntrees” such as Rice-Noodle-Crusted Salmon and Kurrent Fried Crab or Lobster. The star of this show, however, may ultimately be Lead Bartender James MacWilliams’s creative cocktails, which he crafts from a wide array of housemade tonic waters, simple syrups, bitters, and infusions. Among his signature creations? Basil Martini with Seasonal Fruits, Tarragon Swizzle, and Blueberry Mojito.

There’s a “dream flight” departing daily at the Twisted Cork Wine Bar in the Hyatt Regency Bellevue in Bellevue, Washington. For just $80 per “dream flight” of wine, you can sip aboard an exclusive group of premium Champagnes that include 1998 Dom Perignon Brut, 1996 Veuve Clicquot “La Grande Dame,” and 1995 Krug Vintage Brut. Twisted Cork co-owner and chef Dan Thiessen, who also oversees the magnificent 0/8 Seafood Grill, reports that he is selling about 10 flights a week, which just goes to show that some people can still afford to fly first class. Budget-minded travelers may prefer the “Disgorge at George” flight, which costs just $10 and includes Washington-State and Oregon sparklers such as 2005 Chateau Ste. Michelle Moscato, Mountain Dome Non-Vintage Brut, and 1998 Argyle Blanc de Blancs.

The Viognier produced by Alexandria Nicole Cellars is one of my favorite bottlings of one of my favorite varietals, but, until now, you had to drive to Prosser, Washington, to take advantage of Alexandria Nicole’s tasting room/wine bar and tapas café. Late last month, the winery announced the opening of a second tasting room on the western side of the state. You’ll find the new Alexandria Nicole Tasting Room in the Woodinville Park North warehouse district, with wine tasting open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., or by appointment.

Every now and then, when I’m on certain medications or just want to let my liver rest for a few days, I find myself casting about for a suitable substitution for my beverage of choice, wine. In August, Whole Foods Market trumpeted a national roll-out campaign for First Blush, 100% all-natural, premium varietal grape juice that comes in four flavors: Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Rosé. The juices contain no added sugars, preservatives, alcohol, or caffeine, and contain high levels of heart-healthy and anti-aging antioxidants, so drink up.

And finally, our buddy Bob Betz, M.W., co-owner and winemaker of Betz Family Winery, was named “Winemaker of the Year” in the September issue of Sunset Magazine. This talented winemaker snatched the title from thousands of winemakers throughout the western states, including heavy hitters from California. Bob, a 35-year-veteran of the wine industry (with a 28-year stint at Ste. Michelle Wine Estates), makes the wine at his small family winery in Woodinville, Washington, while wife Cathy and daughter Carmen oversee marketing and sales. Look for a profile on Bob and Cathy, along with Bob’s recipe for Pizza Rustica with Tomato, Goat Cheese, and Black Olives, in my upcoming book, Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining.

Teri Citterman, my fellow columnist at Wine Press Northwest magazine, was recently awarded the prestigious “Editor’s Award” by the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers at Meadowood Napa Valley. Coincidentally, in 1998, I received a similar merit-based scholarship to attend the Symposium for Professional Food Writers at the Greenbrier. Here we toast the good news at TASTE Restaurant at the Seattle Art Museum.



Interesting upcoming events in the Pacific Northwest and beyond include the following:

Tuesday, October 2, 2007:

24th Annual Feast at the Market, benefiting the Pike Market Medical Clinic
Pike Place Market
Seattle, WA

Saturday and Sunday, October 13 and 14, 2007:

6th Annual Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival (“Crabfest”)
Port Angeles, WA

Sunday, October 14, 2007:

7th Annual Wild About Game Event
Resort at the Mountain
Welches, OR

Monday, October 15, 2007:

Northwest Wine Academy 2nd Annual Wine Release Party
South Seattle Community College, Wine Building
Seattle, WA

Monday, October 29, 2007:

Official Publication Date for Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining
Bookstores across the country.,,

Saturday, November 10, 2007:

Lombardi’s Garlic Festival 20th Anniversary Gala
Lombardi’s Ballard Restaurant
Seattle, WA

November 23-35, 2007:

Wine Country Thanksgiving
120 Willamette Valley Wineries
Willamette Valley, OR

Saturday, January 19, 2008:

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry “Science in the Kitchen: An Evening with the Nation’s Top Culinary Alchemists”
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
Portland, OR

Steamed Salmon Cantonese Style

September 1, 2007

Steamed Salmon Cantonese Style
Varietal: Pinot Gris

Serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as an entrée

This recipe is a customer favorite at Wild Ginger Asian Restaurant and Satay Bar, a perennially popular fixture across the street from Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle. Owners Rick and Ann Yoder started the place just down the street in 1989; since then it has served authentic dishes from all over Asia—China, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. When salmon is steamed with fresh ginger, fish sauce, and premium rice wine, it takes on a creamy texture that cannot be duplicated with any other cooking method. As a final step, hot, garlic-infused oil is poured over the salmon to flavor the fish and sear in the juices (see Cook’s Hint, below). Pair the steamed salmon with a crisp white wine, such as Pinot Gris. Light straw in color (sometimes with a hint of a copper hue), Pinot Gris is full of apple, pear, and citrus fruits, often with a whiff of honeysuckle and vanilla. Its lively, mouth-coating texture cuts through the oily texture of the salmon and complements its spicy topping.

3 cups water
Two 4-ounce salmon fillets, pin bones removed, rinsed, drained, and patted dry
1/2-inch length fresh ginger, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons Shao Hsing rice wine or mirin (see Cook’s Hint, below)
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
2 to 3 tablespoons peanut oil
1 clove garlic
2 green onions, root and top 2 inches removed, remaining portion very thinly sliced (julienned)
2 sprigs cilantro, for garnish

1. Prepare a steamer basket or, to steam in a wok, cross two chopsticks in an X, then cut a groove in the lower chopstick so that the top one fits snugly. Set the chopsticks in the wok and add water to 1 inch below the level of the chopsticks. Place the lid on the wok and turn heat to high.
2. Place the salmon, skin side down, on a glass pie plate or rimmed glass plate slightly smaller than the diameter of the wok. Cover with ginger slices. Pour the rice wine and fish sauce over the fish.
3. When the water is boiling, remove the lid from the wok and position the plate containing the salmon and seasonings on top of the chopsticks. Replace the lid and cook 7 to 8 minutes, or until the salmon just turns opaque and begins to flake.
4. Two to three minutes before the salmon is done steaming, heat the peanut oil in a small skillet over high heat. When the oil is very hot, add the garlic and cook until browned. Discard the garlic, but do not turn off the heat until you use the oil; it must be very hot to sear the fish properly.
5. When the salmon is cooked, transfer it to a warm plate. Place the green onion strips on top of the fish and immediately pour hot oil over the fish and onions. Garnish with cilantro sprigs and serve immediately.

Cook’s Hint: The technique of using hot, seasoned oil over steamed or baked fish is known as flavor smoothing and helps force the flavors of the seasoning into the fish. You can vary the flavor of the seasoned oil by substituting minced garlic, chopped fresh basil leaves, or chopped cilantro. Mirin is a staple in the Japanese kitchen, a sweet, low-alcohol, golden wine made from glutinous rice. It is available in Japanese markets and the Asian section of most supermarkets.

Recipe courtesy of Rick and Ann Yoder, as printed in the Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook, Gift Edition (Ten Speed Press, 2005)