The Stephanie Inn Featured at JB House

January 3, 2008

On Wednesday, January 28, Crystal Corbin, executive chef of The Stephanie Inn in Cannon Beach, Oregon, will present The Bounty of Oregon dinner at the venerable James Beard House in New York City. Dinner is $125 for JB members; $165 for the general public.


January 1, 2008


Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining Update

Holiday sales for Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining were strong, fueled in part by a plethora of appearances in the Seattle area, at venues such as the third annual Tom Douglas Cookbook Social, Queen Anne Books, Third Place Books, The Tasting Room: Wines of Washington, and the venerable Elliott Bay Book Co., where I ended my Seattle book tour on December 16. The photo below shows my booksigning station at the Cookbook Social.

A week after the Cookbook Social, we enjoyed a half-hour chat in studio with Tom Douglas and Thierry Rautureau on their KIRO-AM radio show, “Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen.” Here I am chatting up the book with hosts Tom and Thierry.

Spencer and I took off for eight days (and 18 meals!) in New York City over the holidays. There, I met up with my Web site designer, Chris Prouty, and wife Amy for some strategic planning of this Web site in 2008.

The next day, I enjoyed lunching with Justin Schwartz, the editor of Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining, and Wiley publicist David Greenberg at Craftbar, a Manhattan hotspot in the Flat-Iron District. Having lunch with my editor in NYC was a long-held dream that capped three years of writing and production of my seventh book. Justin even blogged about our lunch. Here’s a shot of my Calamari with Piquillo Pepper, Niçoise Olive, and Leek.

The day we left NYC for our flight out of Newark Airport, we made a slight detour through Hoboken and snapped a few photos at Wiley’s home office there.

January appearances include a booksigning and discussion at Eagle Harbor Book Co. on Bainbridge Island (a short ferry ride from downtown Seattle), and an appearance on National Public Radio Sunday Edition (broadcast date still TBD, so please stay tuned!).

And articles and reviews of Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining continued to roll in during December. A lovely article by Seattle Post-Intelligencer food writer Rebekah Denn appeared on December 5. Seattle Post-Intelligencer article link.

And CeCe Sullivan chose Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining as one of her Top-10 holiday cookbooks. Seattle Times article link.

As did Angela Murrills, in British Columbia. Vancouver Strait article link.

And Kate Heyhoe reviewed Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining on the Web. article link.

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

January and February are historically quiet months in the Market, when farmers take well-deserved holidays, and farmland lies fallow until spring. During these quiet months on the farm tables, make time to revisit the highstalls (the Market’s seven permanent fruit and vegetable stands), fishmongers, and specialty-food shops (such as DeLaurenti Specialty Food & Wine, The Souk, and Oriental Mart). Get to know the owners, ask questions, and discover some new, exciting ingredients to brighten your winter menus. Or pick up a copy of the Pike Place Market Cookbook or the Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook for fresh recipe ideas from the Market’s leading farmers, fishmongers, restaurateurs, and chefs.



Northwest Wining and Dining Does New York City!
Over the holidays, we clocked 18 restaurants during eight days in the Big Apple, revisiting old favorites and discovering intriguing new places to swirl and sup. We were thrilled to find Washington wines by the glass at wd-50 and Church & Dey restaurants; less happy to discover “organic salmon” on several menus, which was described to us as “farm-raised Scottish salmon.” Hmmm. . .seems like the antithesis of “organic” to me!

At most restaurants, white wines were served way too cold (sometimes even offered in ice buckets), and wines were often opened away from the table, a practice that seemed really strange. Table service was, for the most part, however, impeccable. It’s really a joy to see professional servers who enjoy what they are doing and don’t share their names with you at the beginning of every meal. We also appreciated tasting menus offered at both lunch and dinner, men and women dressing up to dine, the city’s strict nonsmoking bans in restaurants and bars, reliable coat checks, and a New York Times article touting Oregon Pinot Gris. Another New York Times food-page column noted that many fine-dining chefs are opening smaller places with riskier menus, as opposed to food palaces, a trend I think we are beginning to see more and more in Seattle (e.g., Quinn’s gastropub, Txori, How to Cook a Wolf).

Here’s a brief rundown of our experiences and epiphanies along the very pleasurable way.

Best Meal: Aquavit
Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s shrine to Scandinavian cooking was our first, and proved to be our best, meal in New York City. From expert, unhurried service to a perfectly paced seven-course tasting menu to a thoughtful wine list, this meal won our hearts. We even enjoyed being “serenaded” by a table full of native Swedes singing their country’s national anthem after far too many shots of Aquavit, glasses of red wine, and snifters of Cognac! The photo below shows a luscious shot of Octopus with Smoked Avocado and Persimmon, the consummate blending of sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami. And yes, we did try an Aquavit flight with traditional (caraway), vegetable (cucumber), and fruit flavors (raspberry, which gave the Vodka-like drink a lovely rosy color). Bottoms up!

Fresh From the Farm: Blue Hill
We thank Kim Ricketts, owner/founder of Kim Ricketts Book Events in Seattle and San Francisco, for recommending this intimate resto just off Washington Square. The subterranean space, formerly a speakeasy (!), is reputedly a favorite of Microsoft employees when they visit NYC. We can see why—of all the places we tried during our visit, this rang the closest to Northwest cuisine thanks to its emphasis on farm-raised produce sourced from the Chef Dan Barber’s two farms, and other purveyors in the Hudson Valley. The Farmer’s Feast, at $72 per person, was a veritable bargain for food this well crafted and executed. We enjoyed Monkfish with Spicy Vegetables, Dried Fruit, and Pinenuts, as well as This Morning’s Farm Egg with Chicken Wings, Foraged Mushrooms, and Arugula. (The eggs, gathered every morning, are a signature dish on the menu, with fillings and toppings that change daily!) Below you will see the Grilled Hamachi with Baby Fennel, Basil and Preserved Lemon, surrounded by Warm Golden Raisin and Almond Vinaigrette.

In a Class By Itself: Le Bernardin
A three-star Michelin restaurant should be special, and Le Bernardin lived up to its ranking, although at prices of $190 per person at lunch (!) for the Christmas Eve Tasting Menu ($340 per person with wine pairing), each dish should have been gold-plated. The menu was divided into Simply Raw, Lightly Cooked, and Main Course, and we chose an appetizer, main, and dessert for a much more reasonable $64 per person. My Warm Peekytoe-Maryland Lump “Crab Cake” with Shaved Cauliflower and Dijon Mustard Emulsion was like a baby’s fist of the softest, most buttery crabmeat with tiny, almost shaved slices of cauliflower, and a gentle mustard-y emulsion. Escolar (a hearty white fish with an oily texture) held up nicely when poached in extra virgin olive oil and served in a Light Red Wine Béarnaise. My main of Wild Striped Bass with Langoustine was served in a complex bouillabaisse consommé spiked with a spicy curry emulsion. Grouper was a simpler dish—served with Shiso-Matsutake Salad in a Lemon-Miso Broth. A surprise course of Organically Grown Farm-Raised Osetra Caviar on a Nest of Tagliolini, with a Quail Egg and Bacon Carbonara Sauce was one of our favorites. It’s shown (quivering yoke and all!) below.

Best Deal: The Tasting Menu at VONG
Open since 1992, VONG often gets a bad rap when compared to Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s newer, perhaps flashier (or more expensive) restos. It’s not even that difficult to obtain (or necessary) to make a reservation for dinner here. Still, after the stratospheric prices of some of the other tasting menus we’d had about town, to dine here for $70 per person ($40 per person extra with a flight of five wines, and well worth it) was a surprise. This was a value from the get-go, when they brought each of us the very generous appetizer plate and dipping sauces pictured below. A filling and relatively complex version of the classic Chicken and Coconut Milk Soup was next, served with a ball of jasmine rice on an pristine white Asian soup spoon (our server advised us to swirl the rice into the soup). An entrée-sized portion of Slow-Baked Salmon (I wonder if it was “organic?”) swam in a sweet-and-sour broth (which didn’t exhibit much of the flavor of either, unfortunately), and was overpowered by autumn veggies and dried-fruit chutney. Main courses of Soy-Glazed Venison and Crispy Tofu with Lily Bulb, Radish Salad, White Sesame, and Lavender were fine, but the signature dessert of Passion-Fruit Soufflé with Mango Ice Cream (which took the place of the more traditional Crème Anglaise) was sublime.

Didn’t Hold Up to Memory: Café des Artistes
The wood nymphs still cavort in darkly suggestive murals on the walls, while elderly men in ties and jackets and women in fashionable suits chat in hushed tones, but both the menu and the wine list are seriously in need of an overhaul at the Café, which has always (at least until this trip) been one of our favorite go-to places in NYC. Salmon Four Ways (poached, smoked, rilletes, tartare) lived up to memory, the asparagus salad had an oddly thick and tasteless vinaigrette (should have opted for the Hollandaise), and the Dover sole was okay, but pretty uninspired. For dessert, even though it was a gut-buster, we managed to nibble on the berries and sop up every last drop of the rich chocolate sauce on the Hot Fudge Napoleon.

Most Over-rated (Tie): Carnegie Deli and The Russian Tea Room
Like thousands of other holiday tourists (and probably even a few native New Yorkers) we waited “on line” in sub-freezing temperatures for lunch at the world-famous Carnegie Deli (a sign in the window boasted that the deli has been listed in the book, One Thousand Places to See Before You Die). Our “reward?” Cramped quarters, well-worn grade-school-like tables and chairs, and 80-year-old servers with an attitude (which I realize is part of the schtick, but still). If your idea of a world-class sandwich is a pile of meat served on fluffy Wonder-like rye bread in a boring plate presentation, then you can have my place “on line.” Even the pickles were bland, limp, and inedible!

We were thrilled to see the Russian Tea Room (RTR) restored to its original location, graciousness, and glory; less thrilled at the hefty prices and small portions. Below you will see my $15 bowl o’ borscht. Made with a broth infused with braised short ribs (whose flavor was totally masked by the bright beet flavor), this was a mighty good bowl of soup, but still. Chicken Kiev, lamentably, didn’t squirt butter in a dramatic stream when the Cossack-costumed server cut into it with the tip of his sharp knife. Even the tea service, in all its silver-plated splendor and at $10 per person, disappointed, with the “Russian Country” tea in cheap tea bags instead of properly infused in a tea ball or paper sachet.

Play With Your Food: wd-50
Chef Wylie Dufresne (the “wd” in the restaurant’s name, which is located at 50 Clinton Street—get it?) enjoys playing with his food, turning “normal” ingredients into creative building blocks in dishes such as Popcorn Soup with Shrimp, Jicama, and Tamarind (better than it sounds!) or Smoked Eel with Salsify, Guava, and Puffed Yuzu. Of course, going off the tried-and-true path sometimes leads to stumbles, as in the dish below: Scallops with Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Cranberry Leather (!), Pecan, and Spice-Bread Consomme. Too many flavors and textures simply overwhelmed the poor scallops, who seemed to want to swim out of their star-anise-powered broth. Luckily, Toasted Coconut Cake with Carob, Smoked Hazelnut, and Brown Butter Sorbet finished this playful meal on a sweet note. The wine list is outstanding and innovative (with bottles from boutique wineries across the globe), and as long as your arm.

Best See and Be Seen (Tie): Craftbar and Bouley
As my editor explained when we were trying to choose a place for lunch in Manhattan, “Craftbar is the (only slightly) less expensive sister restaurant to Chef/Owner Tom Colicchio’s Craft,” which is located around the corner and which has also spawned several locations of ‘wichcraft,” a casual sandwich bar, in tony NYC neighborhoods. “Snacks” on Craftbar’s menu included LEGO-like stacks of Chickpea Fries with Black Olive Aïoli and Pecorino-Stuffed Risotto Balls in Marinara Sauce. Sandwiches, such as the Chicken with Apple, Brie, and Cucumber, are massive wedges, properly grilled panini-style. My appetizer of Calamari with Piquillo Pepper, Niçoise Olive, and Leek was pretty, if not terribly infused with flavor from the smoky piquillos. One of the best desserts I tried in New York City came out of pastry chef Karen DeMasco’s oven: her Brown Sugar Cake with Roasted Pear and Eggnog Ice Cream was both soothing and homey, and very fitting for the holiday season.

Things got off to a bad start for us at Bouley, the Tribeca flagship resto of much-touted Chef David Bouley, after our request for seating side by side was overlooked and we were moved from the main “red” dining room to the “white” room. People-watching was still good, but no doubt would have been even better in the main room. Servers seemed somehow haughty yet intimidated by the moneyed crowd, there really wasn’t any dish that stands out in memory here, and everything had a pretty steep price tag for portion size and execution (apps $16-29 and mains $38-44).

Best French Bistro (Tie): Brasserie Les Halles Park Avenue and Pastis
We had a wonderful meal at Pastis, an authentic French bistro that reminded us so much of lively meals we’ve enjoyed in Paris at Le Dome and La Coupole. I had a Staub cast-iron pot full of big, plump mussels steamed in Pernod, and Spencer had a grilled whole Branzino that was perfectly cooked and deboned. A bottle of reasonably priced Gigondas and a slice of Bûche de Noël ended the night on a sweet note, and the place was absolutely packed (and not just with tourists). We walked over and back from our Soho hotel, and enjoyed seeing a bit of the trendy Meat-Packing District en route.

Brasserie Les Halles, which still lists Travel Channel superstar Tony Bourdain as “chef-at-large” on its Web site, was a bit more of a walk from our hotel in Soho, but no less inviting, with great people-watching at the bar, closely packed tables (lots of food comparing among neighboring tables and photographing by the young Japanese women to our left), and perfectly prepared French bistro-style food. We shared escargots in garlic butter to begin, roasted chicken with endive salad (instead of thin frites) formed my dinner, while Spencer went for a pepper steak with frites. Chocolate Mousse was dense and rich—we almost licked the bowl clean.

Best Breakfast: Balthazar
For our final meal in New York City, an expertly rolled Omelette Avec Fines Herbes, Eggs Benedict, and strong coffee at this 200-seat, perfectly aged and choreographed French-style bistro were enough to hold us for eight hours before our plane ride back to the Emerald City.

Best Farmers’ Market: Union Square Greenmarket
I felt in my element at this world-famous farmers’ market, which is open four days a week and attracts upwards of 250,000 customers each week during the growing season. We particularly enjoyed the Pennsylvania Dutch pretzels, freshly pressed pear cider, and the elderly gentlemen selling “the world’s sharpest vegetable peelers” on the corner, two for $10. An added bonus from Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve is the Union Square Holiday Market, which features arts and crafts from 100 vendors.

Fun for the Young and the Young at Heart: Max Brenner
Max Brenner, a.k.a. the Bald Man of Chocolate, is creating a “chocolate culture” just off Union Square (with a second location in NYC, and numerous locations in Australia and in southeast Asia). Among the huge vats of warm, swirling chocolate, Max’s Chocolate Shop, Chocolate Bakery, and Dining Room create a Willy Wonka ambience with savory food and a completely chocolate-centric menu (s’mores, fondue, chocolate decadence, chocolate drinks, etc.). We discovered what may be the world’s best hot chocolate (choose from milk, dark, or white) served in a specially designed “hug mug,” which supposedly enhances the sensory experience of hot chocolate, including hand-warming, sniffing, and spooning thanks to its unique egg-shaped bowl and saucer.

Just for Fun: The M&M Store on Times Square
Skip the entire Disney-esque first floor of branded M&M products downstairs and head up the escalator for your choice of every color of everybody’s favorite “melt-in-your-mouth, not-in-your-hand” candy. Mix up a bag of your favorites (make mine light purple, dark chocolate, and almond), or you can even have them personalized with your own special message!



West Chef Opens New Restaurant in 2009
In early December, David Hawksworth, award-winning chef at West restaurant in Vancouver, British Columbia, announced plans to open his first restaurant at the revitalized Hotel Georgia, a landmark property in the heart of downtown Vancouver at the corner of West Georgia and Howe Streets.

The heritage hotel first opened its doors in 1927. During its heyday in the 1950s and 60s, the hotel’s Cavalier Grill, under chef Xavier Hetzman, was known as the restaurant in town. It was a social hub hosting Howe Street brokers, lawyers and judges from the nearby law courts, along with Hollywood legends and visiting royalty. Some 50 years later, Chef Hawksworth plans to restore the restaurant to its former glory and recapture some of the era’s glamour.

You’ll find David’s recipe for Smoked Sablefish with Spiced Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette in Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining (page 202).

Kaspar’s Champagne Dinner
Local foodies were heartbroken several years ago, when Kaspar’s restaurant morphed into Kaspar’s Special Events & Catering, and closed the wine bar and dinner service. Since then, the elegant restaurant has been open for holiday dining and winemaker dinners. Last month, we enjoyed the annual Champagne and Northwest Sparkling Wine dinner, which featured both one Northwest, two French, and one New Mexico (!) sparkler.

Strolling the glittery dining room between courses, Chef Kaspar seemed in his element among his long-time customers, as Champagne corks popped merrily in the background. The Butternut Squash, Dungeness Crab, and Sherry Chowder was superior (I heard a doctor at the next table say it was the best soup he ever had, and I’d be quick to agree), a trio of hummus dips were intriguing (my fave was the celery root/lemon, especially with the lemon-y notes of the Domaine Ste. Michelle’s top-line Luxe!), and Kaspar’s Kasu Black Cod (marinated in sake lees) has always been one of the best around town, especially when paired with Veuve Clicquot.

Because I don’t eat beef, Kaspar prepared a hearty tuna fillet for me, along with a complex and earthy Jerusalem artichoke (a.k.a sunchoke) and mushroom hash. The beef-lover in the family enjoyed his Roast Beef Shoulder with Port Wine Peppercorn Sauce. Dessert was an old-fashioned delight, from the Chestnut/Hazelnut/Bitter Chocolate Cake (great combo!) to the banana-rum ice cream. The next special events offered by Kaspar include a Steppe Cellars/Chinook Wines Winemaker Dinner on January 26, a Valentine’s Day cooking class on February 2, and Valentine’s Day dinner on January 14. Kaspar’s recipe for Butternut Squash and Oregon Blue Cheese Lasagne, which appears on page 58 of the Pike Place Market Cookbook, Second Edition, “is an intriguing mix of meltingly tender winter squash, lush blue-cheese cream sauce, blanched spinach, and earthy hazelnuts.” Mmmmm. . .

New Culinary Tours Showcase Seattle’s Top Restaurants
From June through September 2008, visitors to Seattle can experience the diversity of the region’s local cuisine on a culinary tour with a premier chef from a top Seattle restaurant. Gray Line of Seattle has organized eight different culinary tours, including popular restaurants such as Crush, Palisades, and El Gaucho.

“People are looking for personal, interactive experiences during their vacations,” said Judy Sprute, Gray Line of Seattle’s director of sales. “We expect these tours to sell out quickly because they offer a very intimate experience with chefs at well-known Seattle restaurants. It’s a unique way to experience the city.”

The Chef will greet participants at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel and accompany them on a deluxe touring coach to their chosen market, be it Pike Place Market, a neighborhood farmer’s market, or local grocery. After shopping for the day’s ingredients, it’s off to the restaurant for a lively cooking demonstration and recipe sampling. Tours begin at 1:00 p.m., last about four hours, and cost $99.95 per person.



A luncheon combo offered at Shuckers, the seafood-centric restaurant in the Fairmont Olympic in downtown Seattle, definitely caught our eye and sated our appetites. For $10 for a Duo (two items) and $15 for a Trio (three items), you can choose among eight popular items on Shuckers lunch menu to create your own tasting plate. We had to have Shuckers Seafood Chowder (a rich tomato-based seafood stew), the Dungeness Crab Melt, and the Lusciously Loaded Louie (seafood salad) paired with a glass of Cloudline Pinot Gris from the Willamette Valley.



DeLille Cellars Honored on Three Top-100 End-of-Year Lists
As 2007 drew to a close, Woodinville, Washington-based DeLille Cellars pulled off an oenological hat trick, being distinguished on the Top-100 lists of Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, and the Robb Report. It is an honor that no other winery in the world claimed in 2007. DeLille was one of only four Washington State wineries named to the Robb Report list of Top 100 Wineries of the World in 2007. “While DeLille makes several Rhône-style whites, its big, lusciously layered Bordeaux reds steal the show. The Harrison Hill (2004) is especially gratifying, with voluminous tannins, round black cherry, and smoky depth.”

DeLille’s 2004 D2 (Columbia Valley) was recognized in Wine Spectator’s list of the 100 most exciting wines of 2007. Throughout the year, Wine Spectator editors assessed in excess of 15,000 wines in blind tastings and narrowed down their favorites to this diverse list of 100, hailing from 13 countries. Only four were from Washington wineries.

Lest DeLille’s whites feel slighted, the editors of Wine Enthusiast selected the 2005 Chaleur Estate Blanc as one of their Top 100 Wines of 2007, noting, “The 100 wines…are of such outstanding quality and craftsmanship that cellaring them for a few years is an option, but all are ready to be enjoyed now.”

“It would have been great to be included on just one of these Top 100 lists, but to make three simultaneously is a terrific honor,” says Greg Lill. “It’s fair to say we’re pretty excited; we’re honored to be the only winery in the world to have achieved this.” You’ll find DeLille winemaker/partner Chris Upchurch’s recipe for Butternut Squash Bisque on page 45 of Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining.

Below is a photo of DeLille winemaker/partner Chris Upchurch and me signing books at the winery’s Fall Open House last November.

Cyril Frechier Named Campagne and Café Campagne Sommelier
In December, long-time Seattle sommelier and wine educator Cyril Frechier joined the team at Campagne restaurant and Café Campagne in the Pike Place Market.

Most recently, Frechier had been the Northwest Sales Manager for Robert Kacher Selections, responsible for French boutique wine sales in the Pacific Northwest. From 1990 to 2007, he was the wine director and general manager of Seattle’s acclaimed Rover’s restaurant. Frechier was also an instructor at South Seattle Community College between the years of 2004 and 2006.

“Cyril brings tremendous experience and presence to Campagne that beautifully complements both the style of dishes from Chef Daisley Gordon and the quality dining experience on which we have built our reputation,” says General Manager Gordon Kushnick. “Cyril will obviously focus on the wines of France, but will also enhance our domestic wine list, as well as wines from the Pacific Northwest.” You’ll find Chef Daisley Gordon’s recipe for Lamb Burgers with Balsamic Onions, Roasted Peppers, and Aïoli on page 98 of the Pike Place Market Cookbook, Second Edition.

Wine Spectator Chooses Abacela Among Top Wines
The December 31, 2007, issue of the Wine Spectator chose a handful of wines from France, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States for inclusion in its “best-of” list.
Of the Abacela Tempranillo Southern Oregon “Estate” 2004, contributing editor Matt Kramer said, “The wine of the year from Oregon is not Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley but Tempranillo, of all grapes, from Abacela Vineyards and Winery in southern Oregon (really, the Umpqua Valley). Never heard of it? You should and, over time, you will. The reason is simple: This is stunning Tempranillo. Mind you, I’m not talking about how it’s a good-for-an-American Tempranillo—this is Tempranillo that can take on all the high-ranking Spanish Tempranillos. Who knew that southern Oregon had a vocation for this variety? Nobody did until Earl and Hilda Jones rolled in from Pensacola, Fla., in the mid-1990s with a passion for Spanish grape varieties and a conviction that southern Oregon was the place to grow them. They were right. And this dense, luscious, refined red wine—redolent of plums, blackberries and spices—proves it. (Abacela’s Viognier, Albarino, and Malbec are top notch as well.)” You’ll find Abacela co-owner Hilda Anderson’s recipe for Dungeness Crab with Ginger-Cilantro Mayonnaise on page 164 of Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining.

“Breathable Glass” Proves Convincing
In November, German glassmaker Eisch Glaskultur hosted a special event with Master Sommelier and Master of Wine Ronn Wiegand and renowned wine writer Dan Berger at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in the Napa Valley. Napa wine-industry professionals were invited to sample Eisch’s newest product, the “Breathable Glass” fine-wine glass.

“We held this event to provide industry professionals the opportunity to experience for themselves how a wine poured into one of our ‘Breathable Glass’ wine glasses will within two to four minutes show signs of aeration equivalent to a wine that has been decanted and aerated for one to two hours,” explained Alan Zalayet, Partner and President of Export for Eisch Glaskultur.

“I was, of course, skeptical at first of the claims that [Eisch Breathable glasses] softened wine and enhanced their characteristics within just a few minutes,” said Wiegand. “But I found that they actually do. This is a real contribution to the enjoyment of wine.”

Eisch Glaskultur “Breathable Glass” wine glasses (SRP $19 – $26) are currently available at retail at Bed, Bath & Beyond ( and at Macy’s headquarter stores nationwide.



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

Thursday, January 10, 7:30 p.m.:
Booksigning and Discussion of Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining
Eagle Harbor Book Co.
Bainbridge Island, WA

Saturday, January 19:
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

Monday, January 21:
Spanish Wine Dinner
Madison Park Café
Seattle, WA

Saturday, January 26:
A Celebration of Washington Wines Black-Tie Reception, Dinner, and Auction
Chateau Ste. Michelle
Woodinville, WA

Saturday, January 26:
The Oregon Truffle Festival Grand Truffle Dinner
Valley River Inn
Eugene, OR

Saturday, January 26:
Fifth Annual Winter Wine Gala
Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center
Wenatchee, WA

Sunday, January 27:
The Extraordinary Dining Society, “Power and Personality: The Singular Wines of the Rhône Valley” Wine Dinner
Seattle, WA

Wednesday, January 30:
Yappy Hour! Paws for Love (Wine Tasting with Dogs)
Urban Wineworks
Portland, OR

Friday, February 1:
Fifth Annual Platinum Wine Dinner, Celebrating Wine Press Northwest’s 2007 Platinum-Award-Winning Wines, Plus a Booksigning and Discussion of Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining
Columbia Tower Club
Seattle, Washington
$137 inclusive per person

Saturday, February 9, 11:30 a.m.
Booksigning and Discussion of Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining
Woodinville, WA

Friday, February 15 through Monday, February 18, 2008
Red Wine & Chocolate
Multiple Locations
Yakima Valley, Washington

Tuesday, February 26 through Saturday, March 1:
Classic Wines Winemaker Dinners and Annual Auction
Various Portland Restaurants (Winemaker Dinners) and the Oregon Convention Center (Auction)
Portland, OR

Friday, February 29:
20something: the new vintage (Washington Wine Commission event)
W Hotel Seattle
Seattle, WA

Friday, February 29:
First Annual Vegetarian Winemaker Dinner
Urban Wineworks
Portland, OR

Monday, March 10:
The Extraordinary Dining Society Wine Dinner
Seattle, WA

Thursday, April 3:
The Extraordinary Dining Society Dessert Wine Dinner
The Herbfarm
Woodinville, WA

Saturday and Sunday, April 5 and 6:
Taste Washington
Bell Harbor International Conference Center 
and Qwest Events Center
Seattle, WA

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

Sunday, May 18:
The Extraordinary Dining Society Perfectly Aged Wines Wine Dinner
Seattle, WA

Smoked Salmon Tartare

January 1, 2008

Smoked Salmon Tartare
Varietal: Rosé or Sparkling Wine

Serves 4 as an appetizer.

This recipe, from DeLaurenti Specialty Food & Wine in the Pike Place Market, makes an easy appetizer any time of year because it contains just a handful of ingredients and requires no cooking. In the summertime, serve it with a slightly chilled dry Rosé; over the winter holidays or for that special someone on Valentine’s Day, pair it with a sparkling wine from the Pacific Northwest. Leading producers include Domaine Ste. Michelle and Mountain Dome (Washington), Argyle Cellars and Domaine Meriwether (Oregon), Ste. Chapelle (Idaho), and Summerhill and Sumac Ridge (British Columbia).
1/2 pound thinly sliced cold-smoked salmon (Gerard & Dominique brand preferred)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon capers, well drained

1 to 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tablespoons minced fresh chives

1 tablespoon minced fresh lemon thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled, plus

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Crostini (recipe follows) or mild-flavored crackers

1. On a cutting board, stack the salmon slices several slices high and cut into 1/4-inch cubes. Using a rocking motion, slice across the cubes until they are slightly smaller, but not puréed, forming 1/8-inch cubes; the salmon should still have some texture. In a medium nonreactive mixing bowl, gently stir together the salmon, olive oil, capers, and 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice. Taste and add more lemon juice if needed.

2. Add half the chives and half the lemon thyme and season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Divide the tartare among 4 small ramekins or ring molds with bottoms. Place a salad plate over the ramekin or ring mold, then invert and turn the tartare out onto the plate. If using ring molds without bottoms, place the mold on the plate, spoon in the tartare, and remove the mold. Sprinkle the remaining chives and lemon thyme over the tartare, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld and the tartare to chill.

4. Serve with the Crostini.


1 narrow loaf French or Italian bread, sliced 1/4-inch thick

1. Preheat the broiler. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet and place 3 to 4 inches from the heat source. Broil 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe reprinted from Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining: The People, Places, Food, and Drink of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia (Wiley, $34.95) by Braiden Rex-Johnson.

The Icewine Cometh

January 1, 2008

Tourism BC sent out the following notice that will appeal to all lovers of ice wine: To take the chill off the winter months, Sun Peaks Resort celebrates the season by blending wine, seasonal menus and plenty of outdoor play during one unforgettable week: the annual Sun Peaks Icewine Festival.  Set for sipping January 12 – 17, this picturesque alpine village pops the corks on a fleet of Icewine and late harvest wines during a mix of casual and intimate events sure to tantalize.  Indeed, this gathering of grape expectations will feature Winemasters’ Dinners at various Sun Peaks restaurants as well as the Sun Peaks Progressive Tasting, a flagship event which offers cool wines and crisp mountain air as guests wander the village during an evening of tasting and touring.  All You Need is Cheese…for Dessert will pair some of the best aged cheeses with Okanagan dessert wines, while Sinful Chocolate & Heavenly Wine poses the question of light versus dark as the perfect complement for vintage offerings.  If it’s all about the main attraction, Icewines & Nothing More promises pure liquid gold with a seminar set to sample the best the Okanagan Valley has to offer.  Coffee and wine?  It’s the perfect way to end the meal, and Taste the Aromas of Coffee & Wine with Starbucks will couple six roasts with an equal number of wines to show you how it’s done.  As a perfect finish, package it all together with a combination of sleeping, skiing and sipping with an array of Sun Peaks stays.  Just don’t forget to take in the Icewine Brunch on the week’s final morning – and savour those last few golden sips.