Richard’s Copper River Salmon Croquettes

May 31, 2012


Richard’s Copper River Salmon Croquettes

Wine Varietal: Pinot Noir

Serves 4

During the glorious summer months, when the Copper River salmon are running, my favorite fishmonger at Pure Food Fish in the Pike Place Market, Richard Hoage, saves some of the meaty bones as a special treat. I take them home and scrape away the succulent nubbins of flesh, then use Richard’s recipe to make salmon croquettes. Sometimes I add my own flourishes, such as diced red or green peppers or fresh corn kernels, depending on what’s handy in the vegetable compartment and what strikes my fancy. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche, best-quality mayonnaise, or your favorite barbecue sauce or salsa verde.

1 large egg

Pinch of salt

Pinch of freshly ground black or white pepper

1/2 white or yellow medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley, or 1 tablespoon minced cilantro, plus additional sprigs for garnish

1 pound scraped Copper River salmon meat or 1 pound wild Alaskan salmon fillet, skin and bones removed, minced by hand or food processor

1 to 1 1/2 cups unseasoned soft bread crumbs (See Cook’s Hint, below)

1 tablespoon olive oil or 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil and 1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter

Lemon wedges, for garnish

1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the egg, salt, pepper, onion, garlic, and the minced parsley. Add the salmon and gently stir until the egg mixture is well incorporated. Add 1 cup of the bread crumbs and stir again. If the salmon mixture is too sticky to handle, add the remaining bread crumbs and stir again. Divide the salmon into 4 portions and form into patties. Do not handle or pat the salmon any more than is absolutely necessary.

2. Over medium heat, place a nonstick skillet large enough to hold the patties without crowding. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the patties and cook 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Turn and cook 3 to 5 minutes more, or until the patties just turn opaque in the middle. Alternately, the patties can be baked on a lightly greased baking sheet in a 400°F oven for 6 to 8 minutes on each side. or until the patties are lightly browned. Or broil the patties 4 to 6 inches from the heat source for 4 to 5 minutes on each side.

3. Transfer the croquettes to individual plates, garnish with the parsley sprigs and lemon wedges, and serve.

Cook’s Hint: To make unseasoned soft (fresh) bread crumbs, tear slices of white or whole-wheat bread into chunks and place them in a food processor. Process until crumbs of the desired size form. Fresh bread crumbs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week; in the freezer, tightly wrapped, they keep for about six months.

Recipe reprinted from the “Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook, Gift Edition and e-Edition,” copyright 2005 and 2012, by Braiden Rex-Johnson.
Photograph Courtesy of Spencer Johnson.  

Another Thing to Worry About When Pairing Food

May 29, 2012

We all know that pairing our food with the most suitable wine varietal, microbrew, tea, or coffee has become somewhat of an obsession among foodies during the past many years.

In fact, I’ve based a lot of my career around figuring out what pairs best with what, as highlighted in my Wine Press Northwest columns over the years, and my books including “Pacific Northwest Wining and Dining” and the “Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook.”

But who knew that the type of cutlery we use may also affect how we perceive the flavors in our foods?

A fascinating article in the Financial Times brought forth these conclusions:

Copper and zinc were bold and assertive, with bitter, metallic tastes.

Silver tasted dull in comparison.

Stainless steel had a faintly metallic flavor.

Do you consider the type of cutlery you use when you eat popular “chef-y” foods such as mangoes, tamarind, black cod, or grapefruit? Should you?


We “Traveled” to Puglia at Il Fornaio

May 25, 2012

Every month, the Italian restaurant chain Il Fornaio presents a regional menu called Festa Regionale in addition to its regular one.

It’s a fun way to “travel” around Italy, learning about the special foodstuffs and wines from each area.

This month we were off to Puglia, which is known for its bread, olives, and vino. In fact, according to Il Fornaio’s Festa Regionale Puglia menu, these ingredients are “the three pillars of the Apulian diet.”

Puglia cuisine is characterized by “pleasant spirit, subtle seasonings, and traditional dishes inspired by an ancient civilization. You’ll find those subtle seasonings mark the dishes, accented with potatoes, asparagus, beans, and tomatoes.”

I really enjoyed this Grigliata di Pesce Misto, a mixed-seafood grill that included salmon, petrale sole, a big shrimp, a scallop, and calamari, all cooked in a light lemon-flavored olive oil.

I asked for double veggies instead of the Yukon gold potatoes, and was pleased with an ample portion of sautéed baby carrots and broccolini.

We celebrated this dish and the Roasted Chicken (Spencer’s favorite item from Il Fornaio’s regular menu) with a bottle of 2001 Amarone, which had aged perfectly.

Il Fornaio’s selections of wine from Puglia included a 100% Chardonnay and a 100% Fiano (a medium-bodied white variety with crisp aromatics), a Primitivo, and interesting-sounding red blends made from varietals such as Negroamaro, Primitivo, Malvasia, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Sorry to say that the Puglia menu ended on May 20; stay tuned for the next Festa Regionale menu that will feature Veneto from June 4 to 17.

Springing into the Season at The Pink Door

May 22, 2012

We always enjoy eating at The Pink Door, the fun and funky restaurant with seriously good food located in the Pike Place Market along upper Post Alley.

But there’s no better time than spring.

The restaurant recently announced its new seasonal food-and-drink offerings, and they sound delish.

The Pink Door’s Duo of Spring Crostini

On the food side, we’re anxious to sample the Duo of Spring Crostini (fava-pea purée, radish, and sea salt. as well as shrimp, limoncello, and lemon-zest gremolata).

Spaghetti with Artichokes (spaghetti, fresh artichokes, parsley, garlic and artisanal olive oil) and the Bucket-O-Peas also sound so fresh and seasonal.

The Pink Door’s Fernet Mint Julep

New cocktails that signal spring include La Porta (Gin, Dimmi, Luxardo, and fresh grapefruit juice) and the Fernet Mint Julep (Bourbon, Fernet-Branca, and muddled mint, topped with soda). The latter sounds especially bracing and refreshing.

I’ve really been getting into the whole bitters thing (such as Campari and Cocchi Americano) lately. Both marry well with diet or regular tonic water as a mixer.

The Pink Door’s Everything Green Salad

Of course, nothing compares to the Pink Door’s Everything Green Salad with fresh fava beans, asparagus, English peas, and pistachios, all set atop lacy butter lettuce leaves and sauced with Green Goddess (creamy tarragon-tinged) dressing.

I’ve written about it many times in Northwest Notes, and love to add a mound of sweet, succulent Dungeness crab to turn it into a main-dish salad.

I also included the Everything Green Salad among my Favorite Dishes from 2011.

Crostini and Mint Julep photos courtesy of The Pink Door; Everything Green Salad photo by Braiden Rex-Johnson. 


Winners of 2012 Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition Announced

May 18, 2012

Anybody who reads the Northwest Notes blog with any regularity knows that I love raw oysters on the half shell. And one of the most fun things in life, in addition to slurping these gorgeous Northwest beauties, is figuring out what wine to drink with them.

I’ve written about the subject for The Seattle Times Pacific Northwest magazine and, more recently, my Wine Press Northwest column called Northwest Edge.

Thanks to our buddy Jon Rowley, founder of the Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition (which he famously calls “the annual dating service for West Coast wines and oysters”), every year around this time he and a panel of expert food and wine professionals choose the 10 best oyster wines.

In this unique wine competition, judges taste each wine with at least one oyster and then rate the “bliss factor.”

This year, the finals for the 18th annual contest took place April 24 in Los Angeles at the WaterGrill, April 25 at Kuletos in San Francisco, and April 26 at Anthony’s Homeport at Shilshole Bay in Seattle.

Four Washington, three California and three Oregon white wines, including six bright, refreshing Pinot Gris, two crisp Sauvignon Blancs, a dry Chenin Blanc, and an elegant Pinot Blanc prevailed over 101 entries.

Taylor Shellfish Farms of Shelton, Washington, sponsor of the Competition, is pleased to congratulate the 2012 “Oyster Award” winners:

Brandborg 2010 Pinot Gris (OR)

**Cedergreen Cellars 2010 Sauvignon Blanc (WA)

**Dry Creek Vineyard 2011 Dry Chenin Blanc (CA)

**Foris Vineyard Winery 2010 Pinot Blanc (OR)

**Hogue Cellars 2010 Pinot Grigio (WA)

Kenwood Vineyards 2011 Pinot Gris, Russian River (CA)

**Kenwood Vineyards 2011 Sauvignon Blanc (CA)

Milbrandt Vineyards 2010 Traditions Pinot Gris (WA)

Sockeye 2010 Pinot Gris (WA)

**Van Duzer Vineyards 2011 Pinot Gris (OR)

Oregon Olive Mill Debuts 2012 Extra Virgin Oils

May 15, 2012

Our friends at Oregon Olive Mill at Red Ridge Farms, who were featured in our book, “Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining: The People, Places, Food, and Drink of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia,” have released their 2012 extra virgin olive oils in three distinct flavors.

Arbequina, Tuscan, and Koroneiki are now available for purchase at Red Ridge Farms and direct-to-consumer shipping through the Red Ridge Farms website.

The locally produced olive-oil varietals are not only popular among home cooks looking for local products to add distinct flavors to their dishes, but  among high-profile chefs including Vitaly Paley at Paley’s Place and Philippe Boulot at the Heathman Restaurant.

And, they’d be perfect to sample in Penny Durant’s recipe for Garden-Fresh Gazpacho with Garlic Croutons, which comes from “Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining.” 

“2011 was our largest milling run to date, with 6,000 liters of olive oil produced from Arbequina, Koroneiki, and Tuscan fruit. It was also our largest harvest of fruit from our estate-grown olives as well,” says owner and miller Paul Durant. “Each year produces its own unique characteristics and we are quite pleased with the results of our milling. I am striving to produce oils that are rich in flavor, with initial fruit notes followed by strong pungency and bitterness that reflects the nature of the fruit.”

According to the company’s press release:

The Oregon Olive Mill at Red Ridge Farms is the first olive processing plant in Yamhill County and largest commercial mill in the Northwest. The facility features a state-of-the-art Italian olive mill, which they use to process their olives into oil using olive varietals grown on site including Arbequina, Koroneiki, and a blend of Italian varietals known as Tuscan. The Oregon Olive Mill supplements their locally grown fruit with fruit sourced from outstanding family farmers in Northern California. The oils were tested by an independent lab and certified as meeting IOOC standards for Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

The Perfect “FLASQ” for Summer Wine Drinking

May 11, 2012

We always love going to the Northwest Foodservice Show because it’s like old-home day; we get to see people we don’t see the rest of the year, and make new friends along the way, as well.

Held in Seattle a few weeks ago, at this year’s show we ran into our old buddy Keith Johnsen, whose represents Georgian (as in the former Soviet Union) wines. We met Keith back in 2009, tasted the wines, and wrote about them for’s Al Dente blog. We even included a recipe for Georgian Walnut Sauce (Baje).

Now, in addition to representing Georgian wines, Keith is West Coast sales rep for FLASQ wines. These California-grown wines come in three varieties–2009 Chardonnay, 2009 Merlot, and 2009 Cuvée Blanc (an off-dry, slightly spritzy white blend that may just be the perfect hot-tub or brunch wine).

What sets these wines apart–and makes them worth crowing about–is their packaging, in stylish brushed-aluminum, bullet-shaped bottles that contain two glasses of wine (just the right amount!) with a reclosable twist top.

Other desirable features, according to the website, “They are 100% American-made and bottled in eco-friendly, easy-to-handle, easy-to-chill aluminum bottles.”

Keith reports the wines are selling very well, especially at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where savvy wine lovers stock up on a bottle for in-air consumption. At $5 per bottle, FLASQ wines are higher quality and less expensive than the tronk that the airlines sell.

Keith sent good news shortly after the show–that FLASQ Wines had made the cover of Wines & Vines magazine, featured in a cover story on, Novel Materials in Packaging, along with an accompanying article.

Continued success to Keith as he promotes FLASQ Wines for the product’s second spring and summer season (and well beyond).


Summer Fun in Eastern Washington

May 8, 2012

Foodies and wine lovers will love the latest list of activities planned in the Wenatchee Valley and the Tri-Cities now through August. Thanks to the Wenatchee Valley Visitors Bureau and The Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau for these great ideas.

Wenatchee Valley Upcoming Events:

Mother’s Day Tea at Ohme Gardens, Sunday, May 13, 2012

Bring mom to an afternoon in the garden and enjoy a tea party on her special day. Mother’s Day Tea in the garden will feature fresh baked scones, muffins, chocolate dipped strawberries and bite sized desserts by Chef Richard Kitos of The IvyWild Inn Catering. Refreshments will include coffee, tea, iced tea and strawberry lemonade. Tea time is 12 p.m.- 4 p.m. Mothers will receive a complimentary plant courtesy of Ohme Gardens and additional plants will be on display for sale. Family Photo by Michael’s Photography will be provided between 10 a.m.-3 p.m. no appointment necessary. Prices, which include tea, photos and entrance to the gardens, are as follows: $35 per couple; $40 per family of up to five. Additional family members will be charged $2 per child and $4 per adult.

Cooking Class at IvyWild Inn with Chef Richard Kitos “Homemade Pizza Night” – Tuesday May 15, 2012

Richard Kitos, co-owner of The Ivy Wild Inn will show guests how to toss up a homemade pizza. Attendees will craft a Classic Caesar salad, pizza dough, pesto-chicken-red bell pepper, beet-toasted walnuts-goat cheese, plum tomatoes-kalamata olive-feta cheese- fresh basil, prosciutto-pineapple-red onion, and Richards “it’s too easy” tiramisu. Classes take place at The Ivy Wild Inn and cost $40 per person or $105 for a series of three classes. The two-hour class starts at 5:30 p.m. Guests are invited to bring a bottle of wine to enjoy with the items created in class following the meal. To enroll call Ashley Kitos at (509) 293-5517. For more information, visit

Spring Barrel Tasting, Friday, May 18 – Sunday, May 20, 2012

Join the wineries of Wenatchee Wine Country for a day of barrel tasting, food and live music.  Participating wineries, including Saint Laurent, Martin-Scott, Stemilt Creek and many others will be open from 12:00 – 5:00 p.m. Taste samples of future releases straight from the barrel and be the first to enjoy the wines of a new vintage. For more information, visit

Coca Cola Junior River Relay Race, Saturday, May 19, 2012

Athletes ages five to 16 may participate in the five-leg race solo, tandem or as part of a team. Events include running, biking, paddling, obstacle course and a team sprint to the finish line.  To sign up or for more information, visit

Wenatchee Valley Farmers Markets, begins Saturday, May 19, 2012 (offered three days a week)

Stock up on the freshest fruits and vegetables at one of three daily farmers markets throughout the valley. All fruit and vegetables sold at the farmers markets are guaranteed to have been grown in the three county areas of Grant, Chelan and Douglas. For more information, visit Farmers Markets are offered three days a week, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in various locations throughout the valley:

·         Begins Wednesday, June 27, 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Columbia St. in Wenatchee

·         Brings Thursday, July 12, 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at Methow Park in Wenatchee

·         Begins Saturday, may 19, 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at Columbia St. in Wenatchee

Cooking Class at IvyWild Inn with Chef Richard Kitos “Soups, Salad, Sandwich” – Tuesday May 29, 2012

Richard Kitos, co-owner of The Ivy Wild Inn will demonstrate to guests how to create the best soup, salad and sandwich participants will have ever built. Guests will prepare a creamy tomato-basil soup, spicy Thai coconut chicken soup, sautéed chicken with warm bacon vinaigrette salad, fennel and spinach salad with shrimp and balsamic vinaigrette, open faced chicken club sandwich, sugar cookie and ganache sandwich wafers. Classes take place at The Ivy Wild Inn and cost $40 per person or $105 for a series of three classes. The two-hour class starts at 5:30 p.m. Guests are invited to bring a bottle of wine to enjoy with the items created in class following the meal. To enroll call Ashley Kitos at (509) 293-5517. For more information, visit

Wenatchee Sunrise Rotary Apple Century Bike Ride, Saturday, June 2, 2012

Presented by the Wenatchee Sunrise Rotary, this bike ride begins at Walla Walla Point Park, where riders have the option of a new 25-mile ride with a turnaround at Cashmere, a 50-mile ride with a turnaround at Cascade High School in Leavenworth or the 100-mile ride with turnaround at Nason Creek Campground at Lake Wenatchee.  Begin at the meeting point at Walla Walla Park located at 1351 Walla Walla Ave. Cost per person is $60 until May 28 and increases to $70 per person after this date. Online registration closes at midnight on June 2.  To register or request more information, call 509-663-5348 or visit,

Wenatchee Valley Street Rods-Apple Run Car Show, Friday, June 8 – Sunday, June 10, 2012

This annual event has moved to East Wenatchee, 460 9th Street, NE, and will display more than 300 pre-1975 vehicles.  A variety of makes and models will be available for viewing; everything from hot rods to classics. Great food options, craft vendors and live music will accompany the car show. For more information, call 509-884-7053 or visit

Cooking Class at IvyWild Inn with Chef Richard Kitos “Cooking From Your Garden of the Farms Market” – Tuesday June 12, 2012

Richard Kitos, co-owner of The Ivy Wild Inn will teach guests to create a meal with produce from your backyard.  Attendees will craft an Arugula and shaved parmesan salad with sweet balsamic dressing, classic basil pesto with thin spaghetti, creamy Swiss chard and artichoke dip with whole grain crostini, beet, onion and goat cheese towers with crumbled sweet pistachios, duck eggs en cocotte with mushrooms and leek, and for dessert, melon and apple granite. Classes take place at The Ivy Wild Inn and cost $40 per person or $105 for a series of three classes. The two-hour class starts at 5:30 p.m. Guests are invited to bring a bottle of wine to enjoy with the items created in class following the meal. To enroll call Ashley Kitos at (509) 293-5517. For more information, visit

Wenatchee River Bluegrass Festival, Friday, June 15 – Sunday, June 17, 2012

A weekend of bluegrass music transforms the fairgrounds at the Chelan County Expo Center in Cashmere into a world-class concert venue drawing talent from around the nation.  With overnight camping available, events will include instrument workshops, a band scramble, contra dance, slow jam, and food vendors.  Headline bands to perform include: Alecia Nugent, Ned Crisp and Bottomline, Prairie Flyer, Brokentop Band, and Bluegrass Regulators. Children under 10 are free. The address to this location is 5700 Wescott Drive. For more information, call 509-782-1230 or visit

Andrew York Lineman’s Rodeo, Saturday, June 16, 2012

This eighth annual competition brings together electrical linemen from around the Northwest, as they test their skills at the Andrew York Memorial Lineman Rodeo held at Walla Walla Point Park. The event is held in memory of York, a Chelan County PUD lineman who was killed by a drunk driver while on the job.  This event is dedicated to raising public education and awareness about the tragedies caused by impaired drivers.  Contests will be provided for both team and apprentice linemen as well as several other activities to involve the whole family. The welcoming ceremony will start at 8:00 a.m. with the competition beginning at 8:30 a.m. For more information call, 509-663-8121 or visit,

Golfing in the Gardens at Ohme Gardens, Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bring the whole family to Ohme Gardens on Father’s Day between 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and play putt-putt golf on a nine-hole mini-golf course plus a bonus hole. Drawings will be held for spectacular golf prizes. Golf clubs and entrance to the course is complimentary with paid entrance to the gardens. Rates vary and are listed at

Subaru Summer Music Series at Ohme Gardens, Thursdays, July 5 – Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ohme Gardens will feature live music Thursday nights throughout July and August from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Wine and dine with Tastebuds catering, tour the gardens, and enjoy live music! Concert prices are $10 Adults $5 youth or $40 for entire series (Concert Series Passes are non-transferable). For more information, visit

• Thursdays: July 5 – July 19, 2012 & August 2 -9, 2012

• Friday: July 27, 2012

Ohme Gardens Wine & Food Gala, Saturday, July 14, 2012

It’s the Garden Party of the summer! Enjoy award-winning wines from North Central Washington’s premium estate-grown vintners, complemented by gourmet food, held at Ohme Gardens, one of the most picturesque locations in Washington. Come celebrate with music, wine and food that will be an evening to remember. Tickets will be available for sale online closer to the event at

Shakespeare’s As You Like It at Ohme Gardens, Tuesday, July 24- Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Wells House Players present, As You Like It at Ohme Gardens. Guests will enjoy one of Shakespeare’s most loved comedies, which considers the age old question of whether there is more good in city life or country life, from 7 – 8:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $3 for all ages 6 and up. For more information, visit

Apple Capital Duathlon and Triathlon, Saturday, August 18, 2012 and Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Wenatchee Triathlon Association features this popular Northwest event as athletes can choose between a triathlon or duathlon. Experience the beauty of the course and competitive field with sprint events on Saturday, including the Triathlon (450-yard swim, 20k bike, 5k run) or the Duathlon (5k run, 20k bike, 5k run). The grueling challenge of Olympic distances on Sunday features the Triathlon (1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run) or Duathlon (10k run, 40k bike, 10k run).  Racing begins at 8 a.m. each day.  The events are located at Daroga State Park, just 15 miles from Wenatchee. For more information, visit or call 509-293-5614.

Tri-Cities Upcoming Events:

Terra Blanca Estate Vineyard Tour & Hike, Fridays and Saturdays , Now – October 29, 2012

Start the 2012 vintage in its infancy and follow it to harvest with guided walks through Terra Blanca’s estate vineyards. The guided walk will show how grape goes from vine to bottle. Tour content changes with the seasons. Guests are encouraged to wear suitable footwear and sunscreen. Groups are limited to 16 people per tour.  Tours will be held on Fridays at 3 p.m. and on Saturdays at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. To make reservations call 509-588-6082 or email

Classy Chassy Car Show Saturday, May 11 and May 12, 2012

The annual classic car show will display classic cars, super modified hot rods, compact tuners, bikes and trucks in historic downtown Kennewick. Enjoy live music and a family-friendly atmosphere. For more information call 509-582-7221 or visit

16th Annual UnTapped Blues Festival, May 11 and May 12, 2012

The 2012 UnTapped Festival will host an exciting line-up of talented local, regional, and national blues bands. Indulge in a local microbrew (or two) while taking in the sounds of top blues talent from the West Coast.  Up to 30 local and regional breweries will provide a variety of drafts. Food vendors and wineries will also be on hand.

Revelry, May 26, 2012

Over Memorial Day Weekend, guests will join 20 notable winemakers for a beautiful evening on Red Mountain. On the terrace at Col Solare, guests will mingle with the winemakers and taste gourmet fare, all while enjoying the panoramic views of Red Mountain, the Horse Heaven Hills and Yakima Valley. Guests also have the chance to bid on exciting items offered in the silent auction. Tickets are $95 per

Sacajawea Bluegrass Festival and Dutch Oven Rendezvous, June 8-10, 2012

Enjoy a weekend of Bluegrass music and Dutch oven cooking at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia rivers at Sacajawea State Park. Regional musical talent, including Prairie Flyer, and the Northern Departure, will be featured as well as an acoustic heritage band competition. A Dutch oven cook shelter located in the park will host cook-offs, demonstrations and a potluck. For camping and ticket information

Annual Chalk Art Festival, June 9, 2012

All ages are encouraged to join the fun and help decorate the sidewalks of the Uptown Shopping Center. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and creating will continue until prizes are announced at 3 p.m. Form for registering are available in various stores throughout the Uptown Shopping Center. Children nine and younger cost $5, young adults ages 17 to nine cost $7 and anyone 18 or older must pay a $12 entry fee. Call (509)943-6542 for more information.

Hogs and Dogs, June 21, 2012

As one of Eastern Washington’s largest motorcycle events, Hogs and Dogs features approximately 4,000 motorcycles. A combo meal of a hot dog, chips and a drink will be available for $5.00, along with a beer garden, live music, and motorcycle related vendors. This event will be held at the Bombing Range Sports Complex on Bombing Range Road in West Richland beginning at 4 p.m. The event is free to the public.

18th Annual Cool Desert Nights, June 21, – June 23, 2012

This three-day classic car and street rod event takes place in Richland and is open to all vehicle makes and models. This event features car cruises, street dances, a Show ‘n Shine, games, activities, pancake breakfast, judging, awards and much more. For more information or to register your vehicle, please visit

Tri-Cities 2012 Geocoin Challenge: Trekking the Trails, June 22 – 24, 2012

This event will be the third geocoin challenge for the City of Richland, but the FIRST for all three of the Tri-Cities collectively! 10 new geocaches will be placed throughout Richland, Kennewick and Pasco.  Find all 30 geocaches and receive a geocoin puzzle piece from each city. There will be a total of 900 trackable geocoins distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis.  A catered kick-off dinner will take place on Friday, June 22 at 6 p.m. at Columbia Point Marina Park with kid-friendly activities.  The event will wrap up with a WSGA sponsored Pancake Breakfast at 9 a.m. at Columbia Pont Marina Park.  Visit for more information.

Grand Old Fourth Celebration, July 4, 2012

A celebration of independence with plenty of entertainment for the entire family. Activities include a parade, fireworks, car shows, movies, pancake breakfast, and other fun family entertainment! All activities will take place at Gesa Stadium, 6200 Burden Blvd., Pasco, WA, 99301.

Lamb Weston Columbia Cup Hydroplane Races & HAPO Over-The-River Air Show, July 27- July 29, 2012

The Tri-City Water Follies Association is celebrating the 47th year production of the Columbia Cup. Hosting hydroplane races, an air show and many food vendors, the event is sure to be entertaining for all ages. The all day event takes place at Columbia Park in Kennewick. For more information, visit Ticket prices are as follows:

·         Weekender Two-Day Admission Ticket: Adult $25; Children 6 – 12, $10; Children 5 and under, Free

·         Saturday General Admission Ticket: Adult $15; Children 6-12 $5; Children 5 and under Free

·         Sunday General Admission Ticket: Adult $25; Children 6-12 $5; Children 5 and under Free

·         One Day Pit Access(does not include Park admission): Friday $10; Saturday $10; Sunday $10

·         Three Day Pit Pass (includes park admission): $45

2nd Annual Art in the Park, July 27 –July 28, 2012

Enjoy a walk through the Howard Amon Park as you take in the art, entertainment, and food. Art in the Park supports Allied Arts Association’s Gallery at the entrance to Howard Amon Park. This two-day event will feature both local and national artists. Dates and times include Friday, July 29 from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Saturday, July 30, from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Feeling Cheesy

May 4, 2012

Have you ever had one of those meals where the entrée was good, but the dessert (in this case, a cheese plate) was stellar?

We had that sort of experience last week at Prelude restaurant in Seattle’s McCaw Hall. Prelude is where opera, theater, and ballet-goers often dine pre-performance since the service is expert and fast, and the food is reliable and often-times, even surprisingly good considering the large crowds and fast turn-around.

Here is the Ahi Tuna Niçoise Salad we enjoyed, with extra flavorful elements that lifted it apart from the norm: roasted tomatoes, kalamata olives, baby potato circles, and a hearty Mustard Vinaigrette.

But as good as that salad was, the Artisan Cheese Plate (which served as “dessert” since we are still on our low-carb/high-protein diet and wanted a little bit more to eat) with house-made preserves and red grapes was even more satisfying.

After we ordered the cheese plate, our knowledgable server raved about one selection in particular–Barely Buzzed cheese–made by Beehive Cheese Co., from Utah.

According to the company’s website, “The full-bodied cheese, with a nutty flavor and smooth texture, is hand rubbed with a Turkish grind of Colorado Legacy Coffee Company’s (the Cheesemaker’s brother) ‘Beehive Blend.’ The blend consists of a mix of South American, Central American, and Indonesian beans roasted to different styles. French Superior Lavender buds are ground with the coffee and the mixture is diluted with oil to suspend the dry ingredients in the rub. The rub imparts notes of butterscotch and caramel which are prevalent near the rind, but find their way to the center of the cheese. The cheese is aged on Utah Blue Spruce aging racks inhumidity-controlled caves, and moved to different temperature during the aging process to develop texture and flavor. The name ‘Barely Buzzed’ comes from Andrea at Deluxe Foods in California. She was the winner of the name-this-cheese contest.”

Barely Buzzed has won awards including First Place, American Cheese Society Annual Competition 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011.

Our server told us it is available at Whole Foods Markets, and is well worth searching out.

The wine (and Ahi) paired nicely with a bottle of àMaurice 2008 Gamache Vineyard Malbec, made by our buddy Anna Schafer, the winery’s founder and winemaker.


Save the Date: Pike Place Market Flower Festival May 12-13

May 1, 2012

You know Spring has sprung when it’s time for the Pike Place Market Flower Festival AND Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 13).

This year marks the fourth annual flower fest, which begins on Saturday, May 12, as the Market’s 40 flower farmers pull out all the stops, selling outside on Pike Place as well as inside the arcades.

Very simply, with the extra elbow room to bloom, the Market becomes Seattle’s largest flower marketplace.

Get bouquets of beautiful flowers in time for every special mom in your life. After all, May 13 is Mother’s Day!

Plus, watching the farmers engage in the art form that is bouquet making is fun in itself.

In addition to buying flowers, the public is invited to create free Mother’s Day cards in the Card Making Booth.

Make it a special day and shop from Market craftspeople for flower-themed handcrafted gift items, too.

Cap the day with a delicious meal from any of the Market’s restaurants. There are dozens of dining options, such as some of our favorites including Steelhead Diner, Cafe Campagne, and Place Pigalle.