October 1, 2007

Newsy Notes

Pigs Parade One Last Time!

On Thursday, October 12, the 100 delightfully decorated swine that have graced Seattle sidewalks throughout the summer will make their final march to market to be auctioned off at the Westin Hotel as part of the Pigs on Parade 2007 Auction. Auctioneer John Curley of KING-TV’s “Evening Magazine” will award these “porkers with a purpose” to the highest bidders. The evening includes a cocktail reception, Pig Preview, sit-down dinner (or, there’s a dessert-only option), and live auction.

Other Market events of note this month include the 24th Annual Feast at the Market (October 2) and the Friends of the Market Annual Meeting (October 30).

“When Pigs Fly” is one of 100 pretty porkers that will be auctioned off during the Pigs on Parade 2007 Auction.

Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining Update

On Tuesday, September 4, at 9:48 a.m., I received an advance copy of Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining and literally wept with joy as I held it in my hands for the very first time. Like a newborn, it was bright, shining, and perfect. Even the ink smelled good!

To help build favorable “buzz” for the book, my publisher, John Wiley & Sons, played a very active role in the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Fall Tradeshow held at Meydenbauer Hall in Bellevue, Washington, in September. Along with the former actress Meg Tilly, fiction writer Sue Miller, Seattle Congressman Jay Inslee, and six other authors, I was invited to participate in the fourth annual Author Feast. During the feast, each author moved from table to table at 20-minute intervals chatting up his or her book and answering booksellers’ questions. Many likened it to speed dating (!), and it was an alternately exhilarating and exhausting experience.

This month, I’ll head to the Epcot Food & Wine Festival in Orlando. It’s my second time at Epcot, where I’ll prepare Wild King Salmon with Macerated Cherries and Smoked Almond Beurre Noisette, a recipe from Steelhead Diner (see Resto Review, below) and pair it with Willamette Valley Vineyards 2006 Whole Cluster Fermented Pinot Noir during two culinary demonstrations on October 26 and 27.

And articles and reviews of Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining are starting to roll in. Seattle Magazine, which featured a review in its October “Scoop” section, said, “All in all, Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining sheds much-needed light on the wonderful culinary movement that’s sprung up in tandem with the Northwest’s ever-expanding wine industry.”

To purchase a copy of Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining, please go to your local bookseller or visit Amazon’s Web site,

Braiden “speed dates” her way through the Author Feast at the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Fall Tradeshow.

C Celebrates X

Over Labor Day weekend, Spencer and I journeyed up to one of our favorite cities in the world, Vancouver, British Columbia. We’d already made reservations at one of our favorite restaurants in the world, C restaurant, when we learned it was (coincidentally) throwing a big birthday bash in honor of its 10th anniversary that very weekend! With perfect sunny/cool weather, under the shadow of the Granville Island Bridge, owner Harry Kambolis and Executive Chef Rob Clark reflected on the reasons for C’s longevity, while the glittery crowd (women in strappy summer dresses and fanciful wide-brimmed hats) sipped British Columbia bubbly while sampling delectable seafood nibbles.

Vancouver’s foodie press corps, as well as family and friends of owner Harry Kambolis, made the scene under the Granville Island Bridge as C turned X.

The Herbfarm Names New Exec Chef

On August 29, the venerable Herbfarm announced that Keith M. Luce, executive chef of Consentino Winery in Yountville, California, would succeed long-time Herbfarm fixture (17 years) Jerry Traunfeld as executive chef as of October 1, 2007. Luce boasts an impressive pedigree, having cooked his way around the world including New York City (The Rainbow Room, Le Cirque, La Côte Basque), Europe, The Greenbrier, The White House (yes, that White House!), Chicago (Spruce), Aspen (Little Nell), and California (PlumpJack and his own restaurant, Merenda, in San Francisco). Luce is only the fourth chef in the Herbfarm’s history.

Meanwhile, Chef Jerry plans to open an Indian-themed restaurant in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle in early 2008. Jerry’s recipe for Sea Scallops with Spiced Carrot-Dill Sauce, a lengthy headnote, and five photos appear in the Woodinville section of Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining.

Oregon Bounty Tickles Tastebuds

From October 1 through November 30, the fourth annual Oregon Bounty celebration allows both locals and visitors alike to experience Oregon during its most flavorful time of the year. “The Oregon Bounty celebration features the opportunity to sample the latest vintages at more than 10 local wineries; take part in harvest festivals; experience artisan products; enjoy one-of-a-kind overnight stays at nearly 100 inns and hotels; and meet the growers, chefs, winemakers, and brewmasters who make it all happen,” according to a press release.



Steelhead Diner

Since it opened in February 2007, Steelhead Diner in the Pike Place Market has garnered rave reviews and crushing crowds who clamor for Chef/Owner Kevin Davis’s Northwest-meets-New-Orleans cuisine. On numerous visits, I’ve sampled through many items on the menu, and not one has left me disappointed. Among my favorites: Jumbo Lump Dungeness Crab Cake with Crispy Parsley & Sauce Louis. It’s a golden puff of crab, not much (if any) filler, and a kicky Louis dressing. Chicken & Andouille Sausage Gumbo features Uli’s Sausage (one of the many products Chef Kevin sources from nearby Pike Place Market vendors) and large chunks of white-meat chicken in a smooth, medium-spicy gumbo base that is complex and belly warming. Full Circle Farms Organic Lettuces, perfectly clean and dried, are tossed with blueberries, goat cheese, spiced walnuts, and white-balsamic vinaigrette. While not a personal favorite, Poutine, a New Orleans snack food that features Beecher’s fresh cheese curds melted over French fries with a side of gravy for dunking would be the perfect anti-hangover food. This dish also displays the chef’s New Orleans’ roots, where he served a stint as executive chef at the venerable Arnaud’s, and later held the same position at Seattle’s Sazerac.

Among the mains, the Kasu-Marinated Black Cod with Asian sidekicks—baby bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, and ginger salad—shows Chef Kevin’s finesse with seafood (he was former exec chef at The Oceanaire Seafood Room). This item, along with the Kurobata Pork Tenderloin, Eastern Washington Lamb Top Round, Dry-Aged Washington Beef N.Y. Strip Steak, and Wild King Salmon, is available in half or whole portions. Sandwiches, impressively architectural stacks of protein (or vegetables) and bread, include Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Wagyu Beef Burger, and Heirloom Tomato. Don’t miss Chef Kevin’s house-made, hand-stretched mozzarella. I enjoyed it wrapped around cherry tomatoes, drizzled with EVOO and balsamic vinegar, and sprinkled with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and delicately fried fresh parsley.

Steelhead Diner’s wine list, composed entirely of Northwest wines, was cited as an Outstanding Washington Wine List in the fall issue of Wine Press Northwest magazine. On it you’ll discover unusual yet food-friendly varieties (Pinot Auxerrois, Malbec, Arneis) from boutique and up-and-coming wineries (Willis Hall, Abacela, Brandborg) with limited production and/or that are difficult to source (including options from British Columbia and Idaho). Creative cocktails include the Grand Coulee Martini, named in honor of Washington State’s famous Grand Coulee Dam. It’s made of white-truffle-infused vodka and garnished with Copper River salmon-stuffed olives. Don’t miss dessert, where Theo’s Chocolate Pecan Pie, Lavender Crème Brulée, and Ligurian Lemon Cake are sure to please any sweet tooth.

Steelhead describes itself as “Diner, Evolved.” And whether you sit at the counter seats that face the kitchen or one of the low-cut booths in the sunny-bright space that boasts Market and Elliott Bay views, you’ll agree this smart-casual diner does food up right.

Heirloom Beet Tartare with Rolling Stone Lavender-Anise Goat Cheese and Crispy Yucca and Taro Chips is one of the alluring appetizers at Steelhead Diner.



Nothing Poke-y About It

Dan Thiessen, Chef/Owner of the spectacular 0/8 Seafood Grill and Twisted Cork Wine Bar in Bellevue, Washington, will defend his title as Northwest Regional Poke Competition champion in Oahu during Sam Choy’s National Poke Contest. The contest will be held at the Turtle Bay Hilton Resort on October 14. We’ll let you know if he retains his title, or if other local chefs such as John Howie (Seastar) or Steve Cain (Waterfront Seafood Grill) reign supreme.

Flying Fish Flying High

On a recent Sunday evening visit to Flying Fish, we were delighted to see our buddy Chris Keff strolling among the tables, when she wasn’t hovering over the stove, since the recent departure of former executive chef Angie Roberts (see the September issue of Northwest Notes for further details). That memorable evening, we had some of the freshest, most flavorful seafood in recent memory. We started with Penn Cove Mussel and Tomato Chowder with potatoes, leeks, and croutons, a heaping bowl of tomato-based soup chock-full of veggies and seafood. A mound of mouth-watering Mother-in-Law Mussels was served with a bracing Chili-Lime Dipping Sauce. Either dish could have been a meal in itself, especially when paired with any one of the seasonal salads. Meanwhile, the Whole Fried Rockfish with Lemongrass Marinade (served with rice paper and fresh herbs for wrapping) was its usual messy, yummy self. A bottle of Bergevin Lane 2006 Calico White from Washington’s Columbia Valley went well with all the seafood dishes we sampled.

Quinn’s Gastropub to Open on Halloween

In one of the spookiest restaurant-opening dates in recent memory, Quinn’s Gastropub, the younger sibling to the long-running (seven years) Restaurant Zoë, plans to open on Halloween Day. Restaurant Zoë was named for Chef/Owner Scott Staples daughter; not to be outdone, Quinn’s is named after his son. Wife and interior designer Heather Staples is putting the final touches on the pub, located in a vintage building in Capitol Hill at 1001 East Pike Street. At Quinn’s, Chef Scott will focus on whole lamb and beef to create dishes using all parts of the animal paired with a wide selection of microbrews and wines by the glass and half bottle, with an emphasis on Italy and Spain.

East Coast Sea Scallops with Corn, Smoked Bacon, Lobster Mushrooms, and Black Lentils assured us all was ship-shape in the kitchen at Restaurant Zoë as Chef Scott Staples prepares to open Quinn’s Gastropub.



Barolo Restaurant’s Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes and Dungeness Crab serves as a lovely transitional dish from lighter summer foods to heartier autumn fare. Pair with a bottle of Lemberger. Its peppery notes and light to medium body work well with delicate-in-texture, tomato-based pasta dishes.



Wine Advocate Praises Washington Wines

The Washington Wine Commission reports that Robert M. Parker’s venerable Wine Advocate has listed a record-breaking number of 90+ scores for Washington State wines. In an August 28th review, Dr. Jay Miller rated 164 Washington wines 90 points (“outstanding”) or higher, almost twice as many as the previous review in April 2006. Three wines scored 99 points. According to Dr. Miller, “[t]oday Washington is one of the leaders in the production of world-class Syrah, much of it coming out of Walla Walla AVA (American Viticultural Area). . .the weather is ideal for grape growing. . .Washington State is now one of the world’s most exciting viticultural regions.”

Art + Wine = A Perfect Pairing

Over 35 wineries will provide gallery space for a month-long celebration of wine-making and artistry during Savor the Art 2007. The celebration kicks off with a gala and auction at the picturesque Terra Blanca Winery in Benton City, Washington, on October 6. Chef Frank Magana will prepare gourmet appetizers from local foods, while guests enjoy both silent and live auctions of wine-country experiences and art.

It’s a Weinfest!

Steppe Cellars, a small, two-year-old winery in Washington’s Rattlesnake Hills American Viticultural Area (AVA), will hold a Federweisser and Zwielbelkuchen Celebration on Saturday, October 13. Guests can sample federweisser (new wine) along with zwiebelkuchen (onion cake) and wurst (sausage). Steppe Cellars German-trained winemaker specializes in dry Riesling, off-dry Gewürztraminer, Semillon, Late-Harvest Riesling, Syrah, and Merlot.

Tacos and Tequila at Sazerac

On October 4, Sazerac restaurant in downtown Seattle will shift its focus from New Orleans to Mexico, with a Tacos and Tequila Dinner. Several different tacos, such as Cedar-Roasted Mahi-Mahi Tacos with Citrus and Cilantro and Potato and Organic Chile Tacos, will be paired with five different tequilas, including El Jimador Reposado, Herradura Añejo, and Herradura Silver.



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

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

Tuesday, October 23, 2007:

Puget Soundkeeper Alliance “Salute to the Sound”
The Seattle Aquarium, Pier 59 at the Waterfront
Seattle, WA

Monday, October 29, 2007:

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

Saturday, November 3, 2007:

March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction
Sheraton Seattle Hotel & Towers
Seatttle, WA

Saturday, November 10, 2007:

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

Friday through Sunday, November 23-35, 2007:

Wine Country Thanksgiving
120 Willamette Valley Wineries
Willamette Valley, OR

Saturday and Sunday, November 23-24, 2007:

Thanksgiving in Wine Country
Yakima Valley Wineries
Yakima Valley, WA

Thursday, November 29, 2007:

Walla Walla Winemakers’ Fête
Hosted by Walla Walla Valley Winemakers
Walla Walla Valley, WA

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

Saturday, January 26, 2008:

A Celebration of Washington Wines Black-Tie Reception, Dinner, and Auction
Chateau Ste. Michelle
Woodinville, WA

Saturday, March 1, 2008:

Classic Wines Auction
Oregon Convention Center
Portland, OR