Champagne and Sweet Wines Take Flight at the Heathman

November 30, 2008

Wine flights are offered at The Heathman.
The Heathman Restaurant and Bar in downtown Portland has always been one of the best places in the Northwest to raise a glass of bubbly thanks to its vast Champagne and sparkling-wine cellar. Now, sommelier Jeff Groh has reached deep into that cellar to create a very special Champagne flight, along with several other aptly named Flights of Fancy, just in time for holiday imbibing. The fancy flights include:
  • Celebrated Champagnes: Henriot Blanc Souverain NV, Perrier Jouet Fleur de Champagne 1996, and Dom Perignon 2000. $32
  • Spirit of Espana: Malaga, from the south of Spain, produces one of the world’s great forgotten sweet wines. Three pours of Jorge Ordonez’s Malagas – Old Vines, Seleccion Especial, and Victoria. $17.50
  • Oporto Perspective: This flight features three decades of Port: the 1966 Colheita from Porto Rocha, the 1985 Vintage port from Warre’s, and the Taylor Fladgate 10 year tawny. $29.25
  • Mad about Madeira: This flight celebrates the history of Madeira with Cossart-Gordon 10 year Bual, Rare Wine Company Boston Bual Special Reserve, and Barbeito Malvasia 1954. $17.75
  • A Fine and Noble Rot: Three expressions of Botrytis Cinerea a.k.a. Noble Rot: 2001 Disnoko Tokaji Aszu 4 Puttonyos, 1997 Chateau Rieussec Sauternes and 1999 Chateau Loupiac Gaudiet. $16.25

Holiday Plans for the New Kid on the Block

November 29, 2008

In my Pacific Northwest Taste Column on November 23, 2008, I extolled the virtues of our downtown Seattle neighborhood thanks to the recent influx of new buildings, the Seattle Art Museum expansion, and much-improved dining options. 

Smoked salmon cakes and salmon gravlax make tasty appetizers at ART in the new Four Seasons Hotel and Residences.

Perhaps the crown jewel in the ‘hood’s renaissance has been the opening of the Four Seasons Hotel and Residences at 99 Union Street. It’s a sleek, luxurious, and contemporary space with big plans for the holiday season. The photo above shows two appetizers we enjoyed at ART Restaurant and Lounge, which is under the steady hand of long-time Seattle chef Kerry Sear.

So if you haven’t been downtown lately, here’s an excuse to check out the new kid on our block.

A Chocolate Holiday

On Dec. 4, 11 and 18, Four Seasons Hotel Seattle will commemorate the season with A Chocolate Holiday, a celebration for serious chocolate lovers.The buffet’s 11 temptations include Chocolate Fondue, Dipped Strawberries, White Chocolate Peppermint Mousse Cake and a Chocolate Smores Tart. If that’s not enough chocolate for you, how about Chocolate Chili Pasta with Basil and Cocoa Nibs?The most committed cacao-philes can begin their chocolate-themed adventure at the dinner table on those three Thursdays only. The fixed-price menu infuses chocolate into each savory dish.

Shopper’s Holiday Package

Ringing in the festive season, the Shopper’s Holiday Package pairs luxurious accommodations at Four Seasons Hotel with another Seattle service icon – Nordstrom. Offered from Nov. 12, 2008, through March 31, 2008, this package kicks off guests’ shopping excursions with a $200 Nordstrom gift card to use at the flagship store just a few blocks from the hotel. Return victorious and unwind with a holiday beverage in ART Lounge while you relish your purchases.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

ART Restaurant will host two different multi-course, holiday-themed dinner menus on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.In addition to traditional dishes such as Slow-Braised Goose and Dry Aged Roast Beef, the menus feature salmon, Truffled Beef Tartare and vegetarian options.ART’s Counter will serve as a dessert centrepiece with made-to-order desserts, fruits and seasonal items, including mincemeat pies, plum pudding and other twists on perennial favourites.

New Year’s Eve

On New Year’s Eve, guests can ring in the New Year in style by indulging in ART’s seven-course dinner.The culinary journey incorporates the best seasonal ingredients available in the Northwest and beyond.Coupled with musical entertainment and sweeping views of Elliott Bay, it will be a night to remember. 

A Holiday Gift from Steelhead Diner

November 27, 2008

Pike Place Ale-Battered Halibut & Chips makes for a tasty lunch or dinner at Steelhead Diner seven days a week.
Last month, the energetic owners of Steelhead Diner announced that, due to popular demand, the restaurant will now be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m.! You know I’ve written about Chef Kevin’s fabulous food a lot within this blog. This is one of the best Christmas gifts the Davises could have given the hungry hordes! 
“After continually turning away disappointed diners on Sunday and Monday nights we decided to make it easier on all of us,” said owners Kevin and Terresa Davis. “Using fresh, seasonal ingredients from the Pike Place Market, our menu changes incrementally each day. With fun specialty cocktails (alcoholic or non-), a great Northwest wine list, and miles of dreamy comfort food selections, we endeavour to make everybody in your party happy. So no more wondering, just come on down.”

Tom Douglas Tempts with Thanksgiving Blend

November 26, 2008

Starbucks has released its first-ever Thanksgiving Blend, created under the steady hand of Seattle’s chef-with-the-Midas-touch, Tom Douglas. Starbucks collaborated with Douglas to create a coffee that would go with the biggest dinner of the year–Thanksgiving.

According to the press release, “The herbal notes of the coffee are very much enhanced when enjoyed with an herb-rubbed turkey and it goes incredibly well, as you might imagine, with pumpkin pie and the cornucopia of flavors on one’s Thanksgiving table.”

Here’s a photo:

Uber chef Tom Douglas tastes his newest creation--Starbucks Thanksgiving Blend.

Chef and Restaurateur Tom Douglas (left) worked closely with Starbucks and Anthony Carroll, Starbucks manager of Green Coffee Quality, to create Starbucks first-ever Thanksgiving Blend coffee. It will be served at Douglas’s restaurants and brewed at Starbucks throughout November. The coffee is also available in one-pound bags of whole beans for $10.95.


Happy Sixth Anniversary to The Tasting Room!

November 25, 2008

The Tasting Room: Wines of Washington’s ebullient manager, Jen Doak, sent out the following news of the homey wine bar’s sixth anniversary:

Wine flights are a tempting choice at The Tasting Room: Wines of Washington

“Raise a glass and toast six wonderful years in the Market at The Tasting Room’s 6th Anniversary Party on Tuesday, December 2, 2008! The festivities begin at 5 p.m., with all of our winemakers in attendance showcasing their favorite wines. Savor artisan cheeses and other hors d’oeuvres while sampling fine vintages and enjoying big savings — 10% off single bottles, 15% off half cases, and 20% off full cases. As always, Wine Club members save 20% off any bottle. It’s a great way to get your holiday shopping done — and our winemakers will personally autograph the bottles for you! 

“Tickets are just $15 per person, with a $10 credit applied toward any wine purchases. Can’t join us that evening? We’ll gladly honor the discount on any call-in orders and have our winemakers autograph your selections. (Call-in orders must by placed no later than 3 p.m. on Tuesday, December 2, to have them autographed by the selected vintner.) 

“Reservations are highly recommended, as spots are extremely limited. To RSVP for this exciting event, email Jen or call 206-770-9463 today!” 

Flying Pigs Welcome in the Holiday Season!

November 23, 2008

We all know the Pike Place Market is a magical place any time of year, but during the holiday season, when hundreds of lighted Christmas trees (not to mention flying pigs) twinkle atop its venerable rooftops, it is especially so.

Pigs will fly over the Market during the holiday season.

Join Market vendors, West Edge dwellers, savvy locals, and curious tourists from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 29, for the annual tree-lighting ceremony near Seattle’s own porker with a purpose, the iconic Rachel the Pig.

According to a press release, “Pike Place Market becomes even brighter than its famous red neon clock when thousands of lights are turned on all at once at 5:00 p.m. The lights are along buildings and rooftops that line Pike Place. There’s even a towering 25-foot tree and reindeer pigs! (Or are they pigdeers…or reinpigs?) Look for the lighted carrot, pear, and strawberry, too.

“Leading up to the excitement of the lighting will be the festive holiday sounds of the Seattle Brass Quintet at 4:00 p.m. Sit and enjoy the rousing sounds of trumpets, French horn, tuba and trombone.

“Throughout the afternoon Market-goers of all ages can enjoy a number of holiday activities, such as these:

–The harmonies of the Dickens Carolers as they tunefully stroll from noon to 4:00 p.m. through the Market.

–Make a holiday decoration at the Kids’ Crafts tent near Rachel the pig, noon to 4:00 p.m.

–Donate cans of food for the Downtown Food Bank. Bring five cans and get a free eco-friendly, reusable shopping bag while supplies last, noon to 4:00 p.m.

–Santa hands out candy canes and poses for photos, noon to 5:00 p.m. Check out the Market’s vintage truck, too.

–The third level DownUnder celebrates with “Deck the DownUnder” with decorated store fronts and other activities.”

Lake Chelan in the News

November 21, 2008

A scene from the patio at the beautiful Tsillan Cellars overlooking Lake Chelan.

My November 2 Taste column for The Seattle Times Pacific Northwest magazine described the exciting Lake Chelan wine region, which is up for American Viticultural Area (AVA) designation in early 2009. When this occurs, Lake Chelan will become Washington state’s 10th AVA. In the article, I cover the young region’s 14 wineries, and a bit about the people behind them.

Here’s a view off the patio at the beautiful Tsillan Cellars, the region’s largest (7,000 cases per year) winery. (Spencer Johnson Photo) Review

November 19, 2008 posted a lovely review of Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining on November 11. It was interesting to me that this Web site offers new cookbooks it receives for readers to review. My book’s reviewer, Contra Costa Times correspondent Laura Graham, enjoyed the recipes and wine pairings. She chose to reprint the recipes for Butternut Squash Bisque, Sticky Chicky, and Black Forest Pork Tenderloin. 

Pacific Northwest Magazine Cover Story

November 18, 2008

Merlot grapes at Mission Hill Family Estate in the Okanagan

I had the pleasure and honor of writing the cover story for the 2008 Wine & Spirits issue of The Sunday Times Pacific Northwest magazine. The magazine’s editors, a wonderful young staff photographer, and I chose Six Young Wineries to Watch. In the same issue, I also wrote my usual Taste column, which featured the Women of Walla Walla–women winemakers and winery owners. Finally, I penned the Portrait column about A.J. Rathbun, who toils as senior editor at’s Kitchen Store by day, but mixes a mean cocktail (and writes authoritative and fun books on the subject) for The Harvard Common Press.  


Wine Tasting Benefits Aids Alliance

November 17, 2008

A press release from one of our favorite downtown hotels–Seattle’s only Washington wine-themed hotel, the Hotel Vintage Park–shared news of the their annual Red Ribbon event to benefit the Lifelong AIDS Alliance. With passport in hand, guests will embark on a virtual tour of Washington wine country throughout the boutique hotel, mingling with representatives from 15 premier Washington wineries in their dedicated guest rooms. Wines will be perfectly paired with a special selection of tasty bites, carefully prepared by Tulio Ristorante Chef Walter Pisano.

The party continues at Tulio with a special three-course pre-fixe dinner prepared by Chef Pisano, paired with wines from Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. Participating wineries include Badger Mountain Vineyard/Powers Winery, Bonair Winery, Boudreaux Cellars, Chateau Faire Le Pont Winery, Chateau Ste. Michelle, DiStefano Winery, Hinzerling Winery, Lone Canary, Nota Bene Cellars, Saint Laurent Winery, Seia Wine Cellars, SYZYGY, Walter Dacon Wines and Whitman Cellars.

The event takes place at the Hotel Vintage Park 1100 Fifth Ave in Seattle on Thursday, November 20, with the wine tasting from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m and the dinner immediately following. Advance reservations are required.

Wine tasting – $20 (includes complimentary valet parking). RSVP to brandyn.hull@kimptonhotels.comor 206-340-6678.

Wine Dinner at Tulio – $60. Call 206.624.5500

Kimpton Hotels are passionate in the fight against AIDS/HIV and understand that the AIDS crisis is not over. HIV services and organizations across the United States are under tremendous pressure to serve an increasing number of people. Last year, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants across the nation raised nearly $100,000 to help fight this terrible disease. 

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