Tango Still Dancing Strong After 10 Years

March 29, 2010

Tango Interior

Tango, just up Pike Street from the Seattle Convention Center, has always been one of our favorite places for top-quality tapas and paella, its outstanding wine list, and romantic ambience.

So we were especially happy to learn that next month marks the Spanish sweetheart’s 10th year in operation.

Owner and affable general manager Travis Rosenthal sent me the link to all the planned festivities for the big birthday celebration and shared some reflections on being in business for 10 whole years.

“Ten years in restaurant years is a long time and definitely worth celebrating! This April we will celebrate this important milepost with free El Diablo [one of Seattle’s best-ever desserts], happy hours all night long, and live tango dancing.

“Back in 2000, many people had not tried, or even heard of mojitos, ceviches, sangría, and paella. Actually, I’m not sure people even understood the style of “tapas” and “small plates.” Sharing was something we taught our children but would never do on a first date.

“Times have definitely changed! Sometimes it’s better not to be the hot, new Seattle restaurant that everyone writes about for a year and then forgets. I think we are a very comfortable ‘sure thing’ for our regular, local diners. Our guests continue to come back even during hard economic times and, with continued support, Tango should keep dancing for many years to come.”

Legacy Awards Offer Internships to Women in Culinary, Wine, and Hospitality

March 25, 2010

Imagine the chance to work side by side for an entire week with award-winning masters in Washington State’s premier wine industry, Chicago’s exciting restaurant scene, or a small island resort in the British West Indies!

That dream could come true if you are the lucky winner of the 2010 Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI) Legacy Awards.

This year’s awards will be given in three categories:

Culinary: Hosted in Chicago by Dames Carrie Nahabedian, Chef/Owner of NAHA Restaurant, Deann Bayless, Owner of Frontera Grill, and JeanMarie Brownson, Culinary Director of Frontera Foods.

Wine: Hosted in Washington State by Dames Kay Simon, Winemaker/Owner of Chinook Winery, and Patricia Gelles, Managing Director/Owner of Klipsun Vineyards.

Hospitality: Hosted in Little Cayman Island by Dame Gladys Howard, Owner, Manager, and Executive Chef if Pirates Point Resort.

Established in 2009, each Legacy Award offers a one-week workplace experience to beginning or mid-career, non-Dame women in the U.S.A. and Canada. Candidates must have at least two years of experience and must be currently working in the food, beverage, or hospitality industries. Working beside Dames with award-winning credentials, the recipients will experience high energy, intense, career-expanding days and nights with extraordinary teams.

“The award fulfills the LDEI mission of education, advocacy, and philanthropy,” said Teresa Farney, president of LDEI. “By linking three deserving women with highly successful Dames in food, beverage, and hospitality, they will expand their education, and we will be advocating professional development in a philanthropic manner. It is hoped that they will, in turn, mentor other women in culinary careers perpetuating a lasting legacy.”

Travel and hotel accommodations for six nights will be reimbursed for each winner up to U.S. $2,000. Applications are now available and must be submitted by April 16, 2010. The second annual Les Dames d’Escoffier International Legacy Awards winners will be announced on May 15, 2010, and must be fulfilled by October 15, 2010.

Les Dames d’Escoffier International is an invitational organization of women leaders in food, beverage and hospitality whose mission is education, advocacy, and philanthropy. Presently, there are 27 chapters and 1500 members in the USA and Canada.

If you have any questions about the awards or entry process, please contact the Legacy Awards Chair, Lila Gault at (212) 242-5644 or email her at lila@gaultgreen.com.

Rosanna Bowles Brings It Home

March 23, 2010

On the first day of March, we trotted down to the ever-charming Boat Street Café for the official book launch of Seattle author and lifestyle maven Rosanna Bowles’s new book, “Coming Home: A Seasonal Guide to Creating Family Traditions with More Than 50 Recipes” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $27.50).

While the Marco de Carvalho trio played softly in one corner, natty men in striped shirts, bowties, khakis, and navy blazers mingled with well-coiffed women in flowered dresses and flats.

Candlelight bathed the cream-colored walls, while Asian parasols floated upside down from the rustic wooden rafters. Blackboards scrawled with the restaurant’s daily specials also featured a portrait of Boat Street owner Renée Erickson’s cute doggie-dog.

Once the crowd quieted down, Rosanna thanked her daughter, Howard Schultz (yes, THE Howard Schultz of Starbucks fame, a close friend), John Granen (the photographer who followed her all over the world taking pictures of her  for the book), Dr. Pepper Schwartz (well-known sociologist and Rosanna’s agent), but most of all her mother.

“My mother, who is no longer with us, was my muse and role model and the love of my life,” she said. “All I am doing is passing along her legacy to you.”

Rosanna read the introduction to her book, in which she urges us to “re-establish traditions, incorporate simple pleasures into our daily lives, and to celebrate life’s small moments.”

I smiled once I returned home, opened the lovely hardcover tome, and read the words she’d inscribed in flowing script: “Come Home! Rosanna.”

Here are some shots from Rosanna’s big book-launch party.

Rosanna\'s Reading

Rosanna reading from her new book to the rapt crowd.

Rosanna\'s Food Spread

A luxurious spread with recipes from the book.

Rosanna\'s Book Launch Crowd

Par-tay on!

Food as Art on April 10

March 20, 2010

Come and celebrate the outstanding talent and diversity of Seattle’s Black culinary community at CD Forum’s 2010 Food as Art at Bell Harbor on Saturday, April 10, with a VIP reception starting at 6:00 and dinner and the auction taking place from 6:30 to 11:00 p.m.

Presented by the Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas (CD Forum) as its primary fundraiser, 2010 Food as Art at Bell Harbor showcases 14 accomplished local Black Executive Chefs and Restaurateurs serving up an elegant evening of food, wine, auctions, and dancing at Seattle’s Bell Harbor International Promenade.

According to the press release, “Consistent with CD Forum’s mission to challenge the definition of what it means to be Black, the spectacular menu features not only the soul-warming Southern cooking historically associated with Black chefs, but a wide array of culinary perspectives, including Mediterranean, Caribbean, French, Vegan, African, Spanish, and Italian.”

“The CD Forum is at the forefront of engaging Blacks and Seattle at-large, through the humanities and performing arts,” said Kumani Gantt, CD Forum Executive Director, “and Food as Art is no exception. It’s a celebration of Seattle’s wonderful culinary talent and true to the CD Forum’s vision to challenge assumptions about Black culture, our chefs present a diverse array of culinary perspectives.”

Food as Art generates nearly $100,000 each year for the CD Forum, a hefty percentage of the organization’s modest operating budget. The proceeds from this event expand CD Forum’s ability to offer inspirational performing arts, readings, lectures, and discussions about the Black experience in America.

Curated by Andaluca’s renowned Executive Chef Wayne Johnson to ensure a wonderfully balanced culinary experience, the 2010 Food as Art lineup includes a pair of “Iron Chefs” as featured on the Food Network – Campagne Executive Chef Daisley Gordon and Osteria La Spiga Executive Chef Sabrina Tinsley.

In addition, featured dishes/cuisines include vegan by Makini Howell (Plum Bistro and Sage Café), Brazilian by Graça Ribeiro (Tempero do Brasil), Caribbean by Theo Martin (Island Soul), Pan-African by Mulugeta Abate (Pan Africa Market), along with several more outstanding chefs.

2010 Food as Art at Bell Harbor also features two guest chefs from the Culinary Wonders USA program, which cultivates minorities in the culinary arts fields. This year’s guest chefs are Erika Davis from The Ponte Vedra Inn & Club in Florida, and Shawn Lightfoot from Liquid Lounge and Restaurant in Washington, D.C.

During the opening VIP reception, Donna Moodie (marjorie) will provide appetizers and cocktails will be conjured up by mixologist David Nelson (Tavern Law). Later in the evening guests can look forward to a special dessert auction is being crafted by executive pastry chef Sachia Tinsley of Wild Ginger, tea samplings by Tea Maven Tracy Knight Shafer of T(ea) Gallery, and coffee generously provided by Coffee Rwanda.

Tickets cost $125 per person for general admission; $175 per person for VIP tickets, and must be purchased by April 2.  Tickets are available online at Brown Paper Tickets, or by calling 206.323.4032, ext. 116. Tickets will not be sold at the door.

Click on these links for a full list of participating chefs and a complete menu of the evening’s dishes, or for additional information about 2010 Food as Art at Bell Harbor.

popchips Pretty Yummy

March 17, 2010

Pop Chips

My friend and Seattle public-relations maven extraordinaire, Louie Richmond, founder of Richmond Public Relations, sent me a batch of a fun new snack–popchips–that I’d seen advertised on the sides of city buses and elsewhere the last month or so.

Culpa mea: I’m not much of a snack-y person. . .I much prefer a glass of wine and piece of cheese or a piece of best-quality dark chocolate to a bag of chips or a handful of pretzels.

But the all-natural (no preservatives, artificial flavors, or colors) crunchy-round beauties quickly captured my heart. Because they are somehow rather miraculously popped rather than baked or fried, their texture is more akin to a crispy rice cake than a more traditional chip.

They’re even healthy, as snacks go, with no cholesterol or saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, and just 100 calories for an entire 0.8-ounce bag, which contains a very satisfying 18 chips.

I liked the plain chips just fine, but the flavored varieties really captured my imagination. Flavors such as Cheddar, Sea Salt and Pepper, Sour Cream and Chives, and Barbecue.

Not only are they good to eat out of hand by themselves or with a dish of tomatillo salsa, but (once gently crushed under a rolling pin or in a Zip-loc bag) they make a nice crumble over vegetarian (or regular) chili or could even be used as a crust for chicken or fish.

Far-Out Farro

March 15, 2010

Yesterday my article on Emmer Farro, an ancient grain that’s winning new respect in modern kitchens, came out in The Seattle Times Pacific Northwest magazine. The article included a wonderful recipe for Butternut-Squash, Black-Currant and Blue-Cheese Farro Risotto created by executive chef Angie Roberts of BOKA Kitchen + Bar, located at the Hotel 1000 in downtown Seattle.

A Steal of a Deal at the Dahlia

March 14, 2010

Today, lamentably, marks just about the halfway point through the wonderful Dine Around Seattle promotion that takes place in Seattle every March and November. And, also lamentably, I’ve only had the opportunity to dine at one of the participating restos so far.

But that one experience was truly memorable.

On a Thursday morning at 11:30, I met two of my best girlfriends (we call each other “Sis,” even though we aren’t technically related) for lunch at Tom Douglas’s venerable Dahlia Lounge (which celebrated its 20th anniversary late last year).

My sises and I were so busy chatting, I didn’t snag a shot of Tom’s Tasty Tomato Soup with Brown-Butter Croutons or the Mixed Baby Lettuces with Lemon, Sea Salt, and Reggiano, although both tasted great.

But I did get a photo of the Pan-Seared Chilled Albacore Tuna with Buckwheat Soba, Pickled Beets and Daikon, and Green Garlic Aïoli, which all three of us ordered.

Dahlia Tuna

Rosy pink and perfectly seared, the generous portion of tuna rested on a bed of flavorful noodles. The beet salad provided a crunchy snap and the creamy green-garlic aïoli a bracing and pungent top note. Asian cuisine à la Northwest at its best.

Dahlia\'s Just Desserts

Here is the Chocolate-Vanilla Bean Custard Éclair (its creamy-sweet custard flecked with real vanilla beans!) and what turned out to be the surprising star among the dessert trio–Lychee-Ginger Sorbet, a sweet (but not too sweet) refresher studded with black sesame seeds. Delish.

Dahlia Coconut Pie

Of course, you can’t eat dessert at any of Tom Douglas’s restaurants without saving room for a piece of the Triple Coconut Cream Pie with White Chocolate and Toasted Coconut. One picture worth 1,000 words.

And all this goodness for just $15 per person, plus tax and gratuity, through end of the month.

More Meyers!

March 10, 2010

Meyer Lemons

In my posting of February 12, 2010, I mentioned that my recent story on Meyer lemons for The Seattle Times Pacific Northwest magazine elicited lots of interesting feedback in various online posts and e-mails. I’ve since been in contact with orchardess Karen Morss, who owns the Lemon Ladies Orchard, an organic Meyer-lemon orchard in California. The lemons are for sale online.

Karen was kind enough to send me a box of Meyers in late February, when they were at their peak of color, aroma, and flavor. Here are the blushing beauties pictured above, much more colorful, fragrant, and sweet than the ones I used for recipe testing late last year.

And for those of you who want Meyer flavor year-round, the fabulous ChefShop.com features Meyer-lemon oil in their e-newsletter this month.

Since my article came out, other writers have hopped on the winter-citrus bandwagon, such as New York Magazine with its lovely-sounding recipe for Date-and-Meyer-Lemon Marmalade. And, for a handful of recipes that could easily be adapted to use Meyer lemons, here is an article from the London Telegraph.

Free Food-and-Wine Phone App

March 7, 2010

My colleague Natalie MacLean, an independent and award-winning journalist who is author of the bestselling “Red, White, and Drunk All Over” and also edits one of the largest wine sites on the Web, has just launched a new mobile application for iPhone, iPod Touch, BlackBerry, Droid, and other smartphones. Developed by Cerado, this app builds on the success of her Drinks Matcher and includes all the pairings in the original app, plus thousands of wine reviews, recipes, articles, blog posts, glossary definitions, cellar journal, and winery directory.

And best news? This fabu new app is free!

According to Nat’s press release:

“With the Nat Decants Mobile App, you can find the right wines, whether you’re in a restaurant or at the liquor store restocking. It’s like having a sommelier in your pocket.”

Features of the new Nat Decants Free Mobile App include:

– Find 380,000 professionally tested food and wine pairings (not generated by computer algorithm)
– Access thousands of wine reviews by an independent journalist
– Search the reviews by winery, price, score, region, grape, vintage, food match
– Track your wines in your virtual cellar and add your own journal notes and scores
– Search a directory of 10,000+ wineries to buy wine or plan a visit
– Find thousands of tasty, tested recipes for every wine
– Get wine savvy with articles, glossary definitions, and blog posts
– Share on Twitter, Facebook, and e-mail with friends

To get the free Nat Decants Mobile App visit:


On the page above, click on the words iPod or iPhone under the iPhone image to go to the iTunes store for the app. The direct link is:


For BlackBerry, Droid, Nexus One, Nokia, Palm Pre and other smartphones, click on those words under the BlackBerry phone image. The direct link is:


Ode to Oregon

March 4, 2010

One of the best parts of going on vacation is taking lots of photos, so that when you get back home, and the pressures of daily life return all too quickly, you can go through your iPhoto collection and relive calmer, care-free times.

Here’s a scene from Cannon Beach on Christmas day, where a father throws practice pitches to his young son, dogs play worry-free in the surf, and the beach’s signature monoliths loom in the distance.

Cannon Beach Beach Scene

Here’s Haystack Rock up close and personal. At the bakery in town, we bought a loaf of Haystack Bread and enjoyed it with cheese during a Christmas-Day “picnic” on the patio off our room.

Haystack Rock

Even bunnies are happy here! Several pairs of “wild” rabbits make their home on the bucolic lawns that front the beach. These aren’t common Peter Rabbits, but gorgeous varieties with Siamese-cat markings, lop ears, and blue eyes!

Cannon Beach Bunnies

Sunsets don’t get much better than at Cannon Beach. . .

Cannon Beach Sunset

Now–enough with sightseeing. Let’s get on to the food.

The Warren House Pub Oyster Sandwich

Here is the humongous Fried Oyster Sandwich served at the Warren House Pub, across Highway 101 but with peek-a-boo views of the beach. Such a deal!

The Warren House Pub Ribs

And here are the Pub’s substantial rack of ribs, along with a pint o’ beer, it makes a classic example of pub grub.

The Wayfarer Restaurant & Lounge Fried Oysters

Although this is a dreadful photo, the fried oysters at The Wayfarer Restaurant & Lounge proved a substantial portion, perfectly fried. The sautéed green beans, carrots, and butternut squash made me feel a bit healthier and less guilty about loading up on fried foods more than normal.

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