November 1, 2007


Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining Update

The official publication date for my seventh book, Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining, took place on October 29, but even before that I was off to Orlando to debut the book at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival. Much had changed and improved since my first appearance at Epcot in 2003: my two culinary demos were moved inside to a glitzy stage with impressive banks of lights, an excellent audio system and monitors, and a cadre of Viking appliances including an induction stovetop. Pam Smith, long-time festival host, and I cooked together and bantered like old friends. The oversold crowd enjoyed sampling Wild King Salmon with Macerated Cherries and Smoked Almond Beurre Noisette. The recipe, from Steelhead Diner in the Pike Place Market, paired perfectly with the bright cherry and berry flavors and balanced acidity of Willamette Valley Vineyards extraordinary 2006 Whole Cluster Fermented Pinot Noir. Some interesting characters showed up for the booksignings after the demos, as you can tell from the photo below.

Just two days back from Epcot, and it was time to celebrate the book’s launch in Seattle with a publication party at Steelhead Diner. Three-hundred-and-seventy invitations sent all over the country and into Canada yielded more than 100 attendees, who downed hundreds of appetizer-sized portions of four recipes from Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining and sampled 48 leading Northwest wines (many difficult-to-obtain outside their home regions). Former Seattle garden and design writer Debra Prinzing, since transplanted to Los Angeles, made a surprise and much appreciated appearance as “Ms. X,” while Dallasites Mary Pfanenstiel and daughter Mari Coppock took advantage of the book-launch invite to escape the 80-degree Texas heat. Ingo Grady, director of wine, and wife Patti drove their hybrid Honda from West Bank, British Columbia, in order to pour Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, and Riesling Icewine for the appreciative crowds. Long-time independent Seattle booksellers Michael Coy and Michael Brasky, of M.Coy Books & Espresso, donated partial proceeds from the night’s book sales to the Pike Market Medical Clinic.

And a good time was had by all. . .

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


Pike Place Market News

Last month, the Pike Place Market neighborhood was designated as one of 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2007 through the American Planning Association (APA) Great Places in America program. The Pike Place Market was selected for its functionality, memorable characteristics, and livability. “With a history as rich and colorful as the produce it sells, the community that is part of the Market is Seattle’s most compact, walkable, and diverse neighborhood,” according to APA’s press release. James Haydu, director of communications at the Market added, “We’re an intersection of commerce and humanity—a social experiment that has thrived for a century.” Having lived a tomato’s toss from the Market for the past 17 years, and now considered one of the original “urban pioneers,” I can heartily attest to the Market’s endearing charms.

In related news, the historic Alexis Hotel, at the corner of First Avenue and Madison Street several blocks south of the Market, held a glitzy coming-out party to celebrate its recent $10-million facelift. A Kimpton property that hadn’t been remodeled in 15 years, the hotel celebrates art in a big way, with a gallery-inspired look that boasts luxurious guest rooms complete with private dining rooms, media rooms with overstuffed sofas and libraries, and suites with wood-burning fireplaces and jetted tubs.

The newly renovated lobby of the Alexis Hotel shows off some of the motifs found throughout the $10 million remodel—airy chandeliers, sumptuous wallcoverings, and the color silver—all of which make the circa-1901 property seem much more “Kimpton-esque” than before.


Dine Around Seattle

Dine Around Seattle, formerly known as 25 for $25, has a new name and price point this November. Five new restaurants will be added to the fine-dining roster, bringing the total to 30 participating restaurants. Additionally, the three-course dinner price will rise to $30. During the month-long event, restaurants will be highlighting the wines of Walla Walla on their Dine Around Seattle menus by the glass, bottle, or tasting. Joining the November promotion are Barolo Ristorante, BOKA Kitchen + Bar, Mixtura Restaurant, 35th Street Bistro, and Veil.

Oregon 2008 Travel Guide

The Willamette Valley Wineries Association has released the new 2008 Guide to Willamette Valley Wineries, which is free of charge and comprised of 167 member wineries and tasting rooms. The guide is available at visitor associations, hotels, and travel centers throughout Oregon, or by ordering online. With a map and listings for wineries and tasting rooms located throughout the Willamette Valley’s seven American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), traveling the back roads of Oregon’s Willamette Valley wine region has never been easier! www.willamettewines.

Something’s Cookin’ in the Okanagan

Hainle Vineyard Restaurant, located at Hainle Winery in Peachland, British Columbia, has started offering Producers Cookery School. According to the press release, “Housed amid the stunning scapes of Deep Creek Wine Estate & Hainle Vineyards in the province’s sunny Okanagan wine region, inspiration proves bountiful for those seeking a culinary education—or at least a tipple of the winery’s noted vintages.” Classes include The Cook and the Winemaker, Autumn in Europe, and An Elegant Intimate Dinner Party.



Wining and Dining in Central Florida

During six days in Orlando, Florida, visiting my family and doing two culinary demos at Epcot, I took advantage of my time away from home to sample a plethora of good (and different!) local foods and wine. Among my favorite re-discoveries was stone crab, a hard-shelled creature with beautiful orange, cream, and black markings. I enjoyed five claws for the rather princely ransom of $42 at Houston’s, a high-quality chain restaurant in Winter Park, Florida. Perfectly cracked, sweet, and tender, the claws were sauced with a rich mayonnaise laced with toasted sesame oil, and paired perfectly with the citrus-y crispness of a high-quality New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

Jiko, the African-inspired restaurant at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, boasts the United States’ largest collection of South African wines, with intriguing, spicy-good cuisine to match. At Jiko, which translates as “The Cooking Place,” we ate our way through several appetizers—Taste of Africa (Kalamata-Olive Hummus, Malay Spinach-Lentil Dip, and Flaxseed Naan Bread, among other offerings); Roasted Golden Chanterelle Soup with White Truffle Whipped Cream; and my favorite: Maize and Sweet Potato “Tamales,” a tender-sweet herbed maize pudding and truffled sweet-potato mash stuffed with shredded goat cheese, all encased in a corn husk “boat!” Our entrée selection of Pan-Roasted Jumbo Scallops offered the intriguing textural contrast of Golden Brown Mealie “Pop” (African grits) and a gloriously spicy Tomato-Onion “Chakalaka.” An enticing bottle of Pinotage, often noted for its herbaceous and grassy notes, proved a delight. Aromatic as a very floral Pinot Noir, its color was similar to a Gamay, with low tannins and a perfectly integrated mouthfeel.



Experts Discuss Organics at Tilth Dinners

Chef Maria Hines, chef/owner of Tilth restaurant in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood, has long been a champion of eating locally and sustainably. So it’s no surprise that she wants to encourage a dialogue about organics. Beginning on November 5, she has created a series of dinners, each of which will feature a different panel of experts and advocates who will discuss the topic at hand. The cost is $80 plus tax and gratuity. Wines are
included. Topics include: Organics and Sustainability 101 (November 5, 6 p.m.); Organic and Sustainable Shopping Made Easy (December 10, 6 p.m.), and How Eating Organically Benefits You and the Earth (January 14, 6 p.m.). You’ll enjoy Chef Maria’s
recipe for Golden Beet Tartare in Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining.

Cascadia Monthly Dinner Update

Having celebrated a BIG birthday last fall in Burgundy, we were intrigued by Chef Kerry Sear’s Burgundy dinner, a five-course tasting menu that ran through the month of September at Cascadia in downtown Seattle. The dinner, sparked by Chef Kerry’s family trip to France, began with Charcuterie du Marché de Beaune that included both pork and duck prosciutto, fresh goat cheese, a tiny dice of cornichons, and a squiggle of an amazingly flavorful Verjus-Dijon Mustard Sauce. Corn-Fed Breast of Chicken with Black Truffle Shroud recalled many hearty main dishes we sampled during our time in Burgundy. Its rich brown sauce was awash in Chanterelles, lardoons, and Flageolet beans—the perfect way to welcome in autumn. Cassis Cake with Fromage Blanc and Cassis Sorbet set our minds wandering back to France, and determined to finally cull and catalogue all the photos from our trip. The Burgundy dinner was part of Cascadia’s All Month Long series, which is described on the Web site as: “Whether it’s champagne by-the-glass, our singular Valentine’s Bubble menu, participation in Seattle’s “Twenty-Five for $25” event, or something Kerry dreamed up and wants to share, every month at Cascadia brings something unique that lasts for not just an evening or a week, but All Month Long. Prices vary accordingly.”

The Pilgrimage to Edible British Columbia

Every since Eric Pateman opened Edible British Columbia in the spring of 2005, I’ve been intrigued by his monthly e-newsletters and alluring Web site that trumpet the Pacific Northwest’s specialty-food products, cooking classes, and local chefs. Finally, over the Labor Day weekend, I was able to experience his beautifully designed space in the Granville Public Market for myself. Surrounded by jars and bottles of Northwest-produced specialty foods, I couldn’t help but go home with a bottle of Sweet Tree Birch Syrup, a molasses-like liquid that the helpful clerk told me not only goes well over pancakes, but makes an intriguing addition to marinades. I’ve already experimented with the Lobster Mushroom Powder, lightly dusted on salmon fillets along with pink sea salt, Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese Seven-Spice Pepper), and lightly grilled. Perfect with a bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir, which really picks up the earthy, mushroom-y flavors! I also added to my cookbook collection, including a copy of The British Columbia Seasonal Cookbook (Long Pine Press, 2007), which Eric co-authored.

Bookin’ It at Barbara-Jo’s

Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks, right across the street from Edible British Columbia in Granville Island’s Net Loft, was another foodie mecca I’d been meaning to visit for years. Barbara-Jo’s boasts two locations, with the Net Loft being the smaller and more intimate, a bookstore only. Outside the Granville Island Public Market, and well within walking distance, is the larger location, which includes a demonstration kitchen and seating area and a wider selection of books. I’ll be doing a recipe sampling and wine pairing there on November 22 at 6:30. Cost is $60 and the event is open to 25 guests.



Marjorie restaurant Organic Chicken Tikka Masala with Yogurt Raita and Housemade Naan is served as an appetizer, but also serves as a light(er) meal when paired with the Wild Arugula Salad with Shaved Radicchio, Toasted Pinenuts, Parmesan, and Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette or another appetizer. Pair with an off-dry Riesling; the wine’s slight sweetness will mellow the spicy-hotness of the dish.



Joie to the World

Joie Wines 2006 A Noble Blend has been awarded a gold medal at the 2007 Canadian Wine Awards, automatically qualifying it as one of only six finalists for Canadian White Wine of the Year. The announcement for Canadian White Wine of the Year and other major awards will be made in the December 2007/January 2008 issue of Wine Access magazine. A Noble Blend was one of the wines we enjoyed several times during a Labor Day visit to Vancouver. Aromatic and appealing, the wine is made in the spirit of Edelzwicker or Gentil, the traditional Germanic-varietal blend of the Alsace region of France, according to Joie’s Web site, which goes on to state, “The 2006 Noble Blend is a blend of Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Kerner, Ehernfelser and Riesling.” We found the wine to be extremely food friendly, as well as offering a pleasing price point. You will enjoy cookbook author and co-owner of Joie, Heidi Noble’s, lovely recipe for Claybank Farm Lavender Biscuits in Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining.

Pinot in Portland

The Hotel Vintage Plaza, Portland’s only wine-themed hotel, offers visiting oenophiles the Oregon wine experience in the heart of downtown thanks to its dazzling new “Pinot in Portland” package. Among some of the amenities included are overnight accommodations for two in a room dedicated to a local winery, the opportunity to blend wine at locally based Urban Wineworks (read my impressions of this very enjoyable experience in Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining), a bottle of 2005 Chateau Bianca Pinot Noir, two Riedel Oregon Pinot Noir glasses, a wine journal, and a private session with Pazzo Ristorante’s wine director (based upon availability).

Pike Pub Reborn

Seattle-based Pike Pub & Brewery celebrated it’s 18th “re-birthday” on October 17, with a cast of hundreds, food for thousands, and beer for everyone in attendance. The pub, started by Rose Ann and Charles Finkel in 1989, was later sold to a large concern in 1997. In a surprise move, the Finkels bought back the pub in 2006 and spent the next year upgrading the menu with the introduction of new organic, regional, and seasonal options, along with a complete re-do of the wine selections. Son Andrew Finkel designed a new entryway, reception stand, Museum Bar on two levels for private dining, and expanded restaurant, kitchen, office, and restroom facilities so that the pub now boasts a stunning new interior and thrilling new menu.

Extraordinary Dining Society Announced

Noted Seattle Sommelier Jake Kosseff has launched the Extraordinary Dining Society, a series of dinners featuring rare vintage wines paired with cuisine from the most respected chefs in the region. The first-ever Extraordinary Dining Society dinner will take place at The Herbfarm in Woodinville, Wash., with newly appointed chef Keith Luce on Thursday, November 29, 2007. The theme of dinner will be Some Like it Haut: Great French Wines of the 1980’s. The nine-course dinner will feature world renowned wine such as 1989 Comte de Vogue Musigny Vieilles Vignes, 1988 Chateau d’Yquem and 1982 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild. And priced at $1,150 per person, and with very limited space available, Some Like it Haut may just be one of the most expensive, if not the most expensive, wine dinners ever offered in the Pacific Norhwest. Reservations for the inaugural dinner can be made through The Herbfarm by calling (425) 485-5300 between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. daily. The next dinner in the series will feature rare and exceptional wines from the Rhône Valley with Chef Jason Wilson of Crush in January 2008. Upcoming chefs in the series will include Jonathan Sundstrom of Lark and Thierry Rautureau of Rover’s.



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

Saturday, November 3, 2007:
March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction
Sheraton Seattle Hotel & Towers
Seatttle, WA

Thursday, November 8 through Saturday, November 12, 2007:
Cornucopia: Whistler’s Celebration of Food and Wine
House Party, ARTrageous Afterparty, Winemaker Dinners, Crush! Gala Grand Tasting, and Many Other Enticing Events
Various Whistler Resorts
Whistler, British Columbia

Saturday, November 10, 2007:
Lombardi’s Garlic Festival 20th Anniversary Gala
Lombardi’s Ballard Restaurant
Seattle, WA

Wednesday, November 14 through Friday, November 16
Braiden’s Portland Book Tour
Various Venues Throughout the City
Portland, OR
Braiden’s Appearances

Friday through Sunday, November 23-35, 2007:
Wine Country Thanksgiving
120 Willamette Valley Wineries
Willamette Valley, OR

Wednesday, November 21 Through Sunday, November 25
Braiden’s Vancouver Book Tour
Various Venues Throughout the City
Vancouver, BC
Braiden’s Appearances

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, December 15, 2007
Holiday Winemaker Dinner featuring Daedalus Cellars with Aaron Hess
The Cellar on 10th
Astoria, 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

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

Saturday, April 26, 2008
Winemaker Dinner featuring Cathedral Ridge Winery (2007 Oregon Winery of the Year from Wine Press Northwest magazine)
The Cellar on 10th
Astoria, OR