Inspiring Photos from the 2014 Northwest Flower & Garden Show

February 17, 2014

Garden show 2014 purple shed northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

Any of you who read my Northwest Notes blog with any regularity know how much I enjoy using the Hipstamatic app with my iPhone4.

Every year I look forward to the Northwest Flower & Garden Show with the proverbial bated breath, as much for a much-needed reminder of spring and the rebirth it promises, as the opportunity to experiment with my Hipstamatic app.

Above is a photo of a well-tricked-out greenhouse photographed using one (random) Hipstamatic lens combination. . below the very same shot with another randomly chosen option!

Garden show 2014 purple shed northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

Held at the Washington State Convention Center, this year’s show featured 23 display gardens, more than 120 seminars by gardening luminaries, and a Marketplace with more than 350 exhibitors. After several very pleasurable hours of walking around all the display gardens and shops, we were both starved and pooped!Garden show 2014 red asian bridge northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

The theme of this year’s Flower & Garden Show was “Art in Bloom,” and the large and impressive garden displays never failed to deliver.

Asian was a big theme throughout, as evidenced by the vibrant red Asian bridge above. . .and gorgeous Asian entry gate below.

Garden show 2014 asian door northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

Garden show 2014 massive asian display northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

Another Asian-inspired garden display replete with oodles of glass art. The scale was massive!

Garden show 2014 zombies northwest wining and dining downtowns seattle website link

A bit of humor with an “In Case of Zombies” display.

Garden show 2014 green white art glass northwest wining and dining downtowns seattle website link

Stunning art glass designed for the garden by Jesse Kelly, glass artist and designer.

Garden show 2014 green round art glass northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

Another vibrant display from Jesse Kelly.

Garden show 2014 glass gecko two northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

More glass art, but a bit less apparent. Can you spot the gecko amidst the rocks in the stream?

Garden show 2014 temple bell northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

One of the display gardens that particularly caught my eye, an “Asian contemporary meditation garden” used “flowing space, natural elements, and sculptural structures to create an environmental-art experience,” according to the F&G Show program. It was designed by Mian Iftikhar Ahmed of Treeline Designz and featured an array of prayer wheels created by Chris Moench of Axis of Hope. . .

Garden show 2014 buddha statute northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

centered by a giant buddha handcrafted from a single stone! This garden really was “an oasis of solitude allowing you to focus on the journey, not the destination.”

Garden show 2014 you & i sign northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

And while the grammar might be wrong (it should read “You & Me,” not “You & I”), the sentiment could not be lost just a week before Valentine’s Day.

Garden show 2014 asparagus northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

There were playful asparagus spears peering above the soil. . .

Garden show 2014 yellow flowers northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

More beautiful flowers of every possible type than you could believe. . .

Garden show 2014 Phalaenopsis orchids northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

Including lascivious live orchids in the “50 Shades of Orchids” display. . .

Garden show 2014 glass art spheres northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

And glass globes in a gurgling basin.

Garden show 2014 exotic bird northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

An exotic bird guarded a geometric pile of eggs (note the bird feeder on the pole in the background!). . .

Garden show 2014 giant metal chickens northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

While a flock of metal chickens clamored for a new home.

Garden show 2014 seahawks diorama northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

Even our very own Seattle Seahawks were represented in an adorable living miniature garden by Two Green Thumbs.

Garden show 2014 pussy willows northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

I loved the interplay of textures and colors captured in this shot of some of the live flowers that were for sale. . .

Garden show 2014 sunflowers in round basin northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

And the country-French feel of seven simple sunflowers in a terra-cotta basin.

Garden show 2014 cabinets northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

A cabinet full of gardening books and supplies. . .

Garden show 2014 art supplies northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

A table top designed for nature enthusiasts and sketch artists. . .

Garden show 2014 art supplies two northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

And finally full circle with inspiration from the “Art in Bloom” theme just waiting to be captured.

Seattle Wine and Food Experience February 23

February 10, 2014

Wine Glasses

Buy your tickets today for  the city’s premier food and wine event, the Seattle Wine and Food Experience (SWFE)!

SWFE is back for its sixth year on Sunday, February 23, 2014. VIP tickets are sold out; general admission tickets cost $55 per person and allow entry from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.

Throughout this unique gastronomical event guests will learn about and taste a wide offering of quality products through “experiences” and event features.

According to my friend and fellow Seattle Dame Jamie Peha, president of Peha Promotions, TableTalk Northwest, and producer of SWFE, “What makes Seattle Wine and Food Experience unique in the marketplace are the ‘experiences’ that guests encounter. Guests have the opportunity to educate themselves about beverage and culinary products from the Northwest and beyond, talk to producers, and taste samples from a variety regions and growing industries.”

Another feature that makes the sixth SWFE unique is that the event’s charity beneficiary is Les Dames d’Escoffier, Seattle Chapter. According to a press release:

This year’s beneficiary, Les Dames d’Escoffier Seattle, brings together it’s talented membership for a special experience at SWFE. Get a taste of the beverages, food, and specialty products from talented members of Les Dames d’Escoffier Seattle including Thoa Nguyen/Chinoise Sushi Bar & Asian Grill, Maria Coassin/Gelatiamo, Lisa Nakamura/Gnocchi Bar, Nancy Donier/Kaspar’s Special Events & Catering, Leslie Mackie/Macrina Bakery, Susan Neel/McCrea Cellars, and Susan Kaufman/Serafina Osteria & Enoteca.

Les Dames d’Escoffier Seattle raises funds for scholarships for women in the culinary, beverage, and hospitality industries, and also supports community-outreach programs and sustainable-agriculture projects based in Washington state.

Other Dames participating in SWFE include Rose Ann Finkel/Pike Brewing Co. and Holly Smith/Cafe Juanita.

Other featured “Experiences” to date at the 2014 event include:

*Featured Wine Region: Woodinville Wine Country – Taste wine from Washington’s up-and-coming destination wine region with more than 30 of Woodinville’s wineries (and all of Washington’s AVAs) including Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Winery, Lauren Ashton Cellars, Patterson Cellars, and many more.

*The QFC Advantage Lounge – In this lounge environment complete with leather sofas, guests will enjoy bites from Murray’s Cheese, Boar’s Head Meats, and Simple Truth Crackers and sips of luxury wine brands including Chateau Ste. Michelle Single Vineyard Designates, Spring Valley Vineyard, Col Solare, and Northstar Winery. You know it’s going to be good!

*Northwest, California, and International Wines – Get tastes of wine regions from the Northwest and beyond with sips from Washington, Idaho, Oregon, California, and international wineries (including Italy, France, Argentina, Spain, and Portugal). With more than 800 wines available to try from the world’s top producers, your palate is in for quite a tour.

*SIP Northwest Distillery Row – Take a run at Sip Northwest Distillery Row featuring many of the region’s hottest craft spirits makers as well as global brands. Sip through their latest creations and learn how grains and botanicals become whiskey, vodka, and gin.

*Tim’s Cascade Snacks Beer and Cider Exhibit – Local favorite Tim’s Cascade Snacks will be serving up its famous salty chips and popcorn that pair great with regional ciders and brews. Discover the new developments in the world of these craft beverages.

*Les Dames d’Escoffier Alley –See above.

*Washington Beef Butcher Block – Washington Beef presents a unique opportunity to “Crave, Cut, & Create” your way to a perfect beef meal. Experience and savor beef’s flavor when prepared with care and paired with complimentary flavor profiles in dishes from Andaluca, bin on the lake, BOKA Restaurant + Bar, and The Georgian.

*Top Pot Doughnut and Coffee Bar – Grab a sweet treat at the event and revive your palate, with a stop at the Top Pot Doughnut and Coffee Bar. Try a hand-forged doughnut and cup of Top Pot Coffee. For an added bonus, grab a sample cocktail from Sun Liquor Distillery.

*Chef Prepared Gourmet Bites – Guests can savor the incredible creations from more 25 of Seattle’s most accomplished chefs representing a global range of cuisines. Featured restaurants include Andaluca, Anthony’s Pier 66 & Bell Street Diner, bin on the lake, BOKA Restaurant + Bar, The Capital Grille, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Chinoise Sushi Bar & Asian Grill, Dirty Oscar’s Annex, Far-Eats, The Georgian, Gnocchi Bar, Gracie’s/Hotel Deluxe, The Hollywood Tavern, The Hunt Club, Kaspar’s Special Events & Catering, La Bodega, Macrina Bakery, Miyabi 45th, Purple Café & Wine Bar, Racha Thai, Ray’s Boathouse, Serafina Osteria & Enoteca, Tai Foong USA, Tilikum Place Café, Trellis Restaurant, and Volterra.

*Chef in the Vineyard with Ste. Michelle Wine Estates – Meet Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Culinary Director John Sarich, sample creative bites and taste through a wonderful selection of Washington’s best wines from 14 Hands, Anew, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Crest, Michelle, and O Wines. Seek out their displays in local QFCs for a special ticket discount.

*Event Feature: Stella Artois – With more than 600 years of Belgium brewing experience, Stella Artois is best known for its detailed method for pulling a pint and their “special” Stella Artois chalice. Enjoy a sip of Stella Artois and its other world-class brands including Cidre, Hoegaarden, Stella Artois, Leffe Brun, and Leffe Blond.

*Northwest Travel Magazine – Test your palate with a blind comparative tasting of the same varietal from different AVAs. Northwest Travel contributor Cole Danehower will be hosting this fun and interactive experience.

Tickets for this year’s event are on sale here. General Admission tickets are $55. New this year is an optional VIP ticket is available to guests for $65 and includes one hour early entry, custom event tote bag, wine glass and tasting plate, plus an opportunity to win a variety of prizes including a wine trip weekend for two to Woodinville Wine Country, tickets to July’s Wine Rocks event, and more. Ticket prices include access to all areas of the event. No one under 21 will be admitted and ID is required.

So please plan to attend the sixth-annual Seattle Wine and Food Experience. . .good not only for you but for the good of Les Dames d’Escoffier, Seattle Chapter.

 

Magical Bed-and-Breakfast Inns in Victoria, BC

February 3, 2014

Beaconsfield Inn Victoria BC northwest wining and dining website link

Visitors looking for a unique romantic getaway in Victoria, B.C., will be delighted by the number of individual bed and breakfasts tucked away in the historic neighborhoods surrounding downtown.

Seven owners of heritage-designated properties have formed the “Victoria’s Historic Inns” group, offering guests a variety of packages that they can experience at each property.

With the most romantic day of the year fast approaching, their “Dip Me Inn Chocolate” package is a tempting treat couples can enjoy together. Guests select which inn they would like to stay in, and upon arrival will be treated with a bottle of sparkling wine and two-dozen truffles handmade by David Booth, owner of the Victoria Historic Inn Humboldt House.

A bouquet of long-stem roses will be waiting in the room, along with a $100 gift certificate for a local fine-dining restaurant including The Blue Crab, Camille’s, Pescatores, Café Brio or Restaurant Matisse.

Guests can relax in the comfort of their room, or head outside to explore the local neighborhood hotspots and the downtown core.

Later, guests can enjoy a romantic 30-minute horse-drawn carriage tour of the city while sipping a glass of bubbly together. This package can be added on to any two-night stay for an extra cost of $279 CND.

Recipe of the Month: Crab Veneto

January 31, 2014

Elliott's oyster house spicy-crab nwwd northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

Crab Veneto

Wine Varietal: Lemberger, Gamay, Beaujolais

Serves 2 as an appetizer; 1 as an entrée

On Pier 56 on the Seattle Waterfront, Elliott’s Oyster House offers what many consider the definitive Dungeness crab service in town. Elliott’s starts by cooking the live crabs immediately in small batches to preserve the quality of the meat. Once cooked, the crabs are quickly chilled. Each crab is then cleaned and cracked to order for easy eating. Then you can choose to eat your crab in three different ways—steamed, chilled, or marinated. An extra-large crab bib, cocktail fork, shell bowl, a hot towel and plenty of paper towels, a finger bowl brimming with a mixture of hot tea and lemon water, and a crushed cracker hand wash make cleaning up after the messy job of eating Dungeness crab much more enjoyable. If you can’t make it to Elliott’s, try the recipe below, which was given to me years ago by (then) Elliott’s executive chef Andrew Juhl. It is easy, tasty, and would make the perfect appetizer to share with your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day. . .or any time of the year.

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 drops Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon minced parsley

1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, pure olive oil

1 precooked, chilled, Dungeness crab, cracked into pieces suitable for picking (see Cook’s Hint, below)

1. In a large, deep bowl mix together the garlic, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, and olive oil.

2. Add the crab pieces and toss gently. Let stand 3 minutes before serving.

Cook’s Hint: To prepare a whole, cooked Dungeness crab for picking, hold the crab with one hand from underneath and, with the other hand, pry off the large top shell. Scoop out and save the cream-colored “crab butter,” if desired. Run your thumb along the sides of the body cavity to scrape away the feathery gills. Rinse under cold water to remove any remaining viscera.

Grasp the crab in both hands and break the body in half lengthwise, forming two sections with the legs attached. Remove the legs by breaking off at the joints closest to the body. Separate the claw portion from the leg at the first joint. Bend back and remove the smaller claw pincer, along with the attached claw cartilage. Crack the claw with an aluminum crab cracker, the back of a heavy kitchen knife, or a mallet, being careful not to crush the meat. Repeat with the second claw.

With kitchen shears, cut along each side of the leg shells, or simply crack carefully to open. With the palm of your hand, press the top of the crab body until you feel the interior shells give slightly. Do not press so hard that you smash the top and bottom shells together. Alternatively, ask your favorite fishmonger to prepare your crab for picking, as described above.

You are now ready to eat your crab. Remove the meat from the legs, claws, and body of the crab using your fingers, a crab pick, a seafood fork, or a crab “toe” (the tip of a crab claw)—anything is legal when eating Dungeness crab.

Photo Courtesy of Elliott’s Oyster House. 
Recipe reprinted from the “Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook,” gift edition and e-edition, by Braiden Rex-Johnson, copyright 2005 and 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

 

Culinary Tie-Ins to the Seahawks’ Superbowl Game

January 30, 2014

Although I know almost nothing about football, as a 23-year-long resident of Seattle, it has been impossible to resist catching the spirit of the Seattle Seahawks upcoming appearance in Super Bowl XLVIII.

If you are in a similar predicament, not knowing a lot about football or the Seahawks, The Seattle Times has thoughtfully prepared a cover story in today’s paper that will help fill in the blanks.

PS Cam seahawks colors superbowl tie-in 2 northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

Downtown has enjoyed a lovely display of brilliant green and blue colors on the Seattle Great Wheel (as seen above on the Puget Sound Cam; The Westin Hotel sports Seahawk colors atop its two columnar buildings; the Space Needle shines proudly in shades of blue and green with a 12th-man flag waving atop; numerous local businesses proudly display Seahawks emblems.

The chance to support, and perhaps even cash in a bit on Seahawks mania, has not been lost on Seattle’s hospitality industry. A press release issued by VisitSeattle.org listed the following Seahawks-themed offers and specials for dining, entertainment, and lodging. Here are some of the more interesting items, plus some other items that came into my inbox from various public-relations companies about town and even farther afield.

ART RESTAURANT & LOUNGE

For the Thirsty and Hungry 12s

Start hydrating for the big game at the Art Restaurant and Lounge. Beginning January 10, Art Restaurant will show their Blue Pride with two unique cocktails. First up is the brightly blue colored “Super Bowl Sling,” which offers warship rum infused with blue skittles, Benedictine, orange bitters, and more. Next we have the “12th Man,” a bright-action green-colored cocktail that features celestial reposado infused with green skittles, Cointreau, house sour mix and a mini 12th man flag garnish to top it off. Both cocktails will be served through Super Bowl Sunday.

For 12s looking to grab some grub, Art Restaurant and Lounge will provide a special game day menu on Super Bowl Sunday. This Seahawks inspired spread sports the likes of “Seagal’s” crudité, “1984” warm pretzels, “Legion of Boom” wings, “Clink” cheese sauce nachos, “Touchback” Seattle dogs, “Feed the Beast” pizza, and “137.6 decibel” fried chicken and fries. The menu is offered from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

BOKA RESTAURANT + BAR

Get Your Beast Brunch On

BOKA restaurant + bar at Hotel 1000 is doing a special “Beast Brunch” in its Studio 1000 space on Super Bowl Sunday from 12-2:30 p.m. The $25 buffet includes the Beast Brunch and game day bites, plus one Bloody Mary, Mimosa, or juice. Additional Bloody Marys are priced at $6 and additional Mimosas are $5. The Beast Brunch wouldn’t be complete without the room being outfitted with a 70’ flat screen TV. For those wanting to take advantage of BOKA’s usual “Seahawk Brunch” located in its regular restaurant space, prices are $25 per person. Reservations can be made at 206-357-9000.

HOTEL MONACO SEATTLE

A Super Bowl Super Stay

Hotel Monaco is offering the ultimate Super Bowl party with its “Super Bowl Super Stay” package. The package includes an overnight stay in Hotel Monaco’s Ambassador Suite, the entire top floor of the hotel rented out for your guests, multiple TVs in the suite to catch all the action, a custom tailgate menu tailored to your tastes from Chef Jason McClure of Sazerac Restaurant, and a staffed bar. Even more, if the Seahawks win the Super Bowl, the individual who booked this package wins a free night in the Ambassador Suite once a year for LIFE. The Super Bowl Super Stay package is priced at $25,000. To book, call VIP reservations at 206-516-5097.

OLIVER’S (MAYFLOWER PARK HOTEL)

Raise your Glass in the name of the Seahawks

For Super Bowl XLVIII, Oliver’s gives fellow 12s a chance to toast to the Seahawks. For their “Boom Town” special, Oliver’s will be offering select Washington wines priced at $7.50 a glass. For 12s wanting something different, Oliver’s will be offering a Glacier Blue cocktail with Bols Blue Curacao liqueur, gin, vodka and a garnish of lime. The Glacier Blue is priced at $8.

For hungry 12s, Oliver’s will also offer “Golden Tate r’ Tots” with garlic, white cheddar and bacon priced at $6. For something a bit meatier, 12s can take refuge with the “Roast Beast Mode” sandwich. This New York deli-style sandwich comes complete with salad, soup, or fries and is priced at $12 a sandwich. All specials will be served Feb. 1-2 from 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

BRAVE HORSE TAVERN

Stellar 12th Man Specials

For the big game February 2, Brave Horse Tavern will be offering game day nachos, blue and green jello shots, and happy hour all day. Doors open at 10 a.m. Go Hawks!

THE GERALD

One Hauschka Sour, Please

A drink that personifies the Seahawks star kicker, Steven Hauschka, the “Hauschka Sour” is made of gin, lime, sage, apple liqueurs, and an egg white for a foamy texture.

This gem is crafted in the sophisticated bar called The Gerald, located in downtown Ballard, and will be served through Super Bowl Sunday.

GORDON BIERSCH AT PACIFIC PLACE

Happy Hour for Happy 12s

Gordon Biersch at Pacific Place will be sounding off in the 12th man spirit by providing all-day happy hour specials during Super Bowl Sunday.

HENRY’S TAVERN

Quench your Thirst

For Super Bowl XLVIII, Henry’s Tavern will help quench the mighty 12th man thirst. Doors will open at 9 a.m., a second satellite bar will be available, and of course Beast Mode jello shots and touchdown shots will be offered.

IVAR’S

A Seahawk Super Bowl

For Super Bowl XLVIII, Ivar’s is planning to meet all your chowder needs. Priced at $24, Ivar’s is offering a gallon of your favorite red or white clam chowder that serves over 20 six-ounce servings. Pick up your chowder package at any local Ivar’s Seafood Bar for the big game on February 2 and ensure your Super Bowl party truly represents the Pacific Northwest.

KICKIN’ BOOT WHISKEY KITCHEN

For the Finger Lickin’ 12s

For Super Bowl Sunday, Kickin’ Boot Whiskey Kitchen in Ballard will be running beer, whiskey and cocktail specials, along with their lip-smacking barbeque all day long on February 2.

LUNCHBOX LABORATORY

Lab Specials for 12s

Lunchbox Laboratory will give 12s a chance to watch the big game. All three Lunchbox Laboratory locations will screen the Super Bowl on multiple TVs and will offer game-day food and drink specials in bar seating areas.

SUITE 410 BAR

Get in the Sprit with a Beastronessey

What do you get when you mix Marshawn Lynch’s two favorite spirits with his on-field presence? Beastronessey. To create this unique cocktail, Suite 410 combines Lynch’s two favorite spirits, Hennessey and Patron, with yellow chartreuse, apple juice, maple syrup and a Granny Smith apple garnish. The “Beastronessey” will be served through Super Bowl Sunday.

SUN LIQUOR BAR

The Maple Caper shows off a “Showtime Tate”

The Sun Liquor bar embodies Golden Tate with its “Maple Caper.” This cocktail is fashioned together with Sun Liquor barrel aged rum, bourbon, Grade-A maple syrup, heavy cream, and a whole egg. Enjoy this cocktail all the way up to a Seahawk Super Bowl.

VOLUNTEER PARK CAFÉ

Grub 12s can take Home

Volunteer Park Café wants to make sure 12s can sit back, relax, and cheer their heads off without worrying about what to cook. For Super Bowl Sunday, the cafe will be offering Moroccan-spiced organic chicken wings priced at $24 for 12 wings or $48 for 24 wings. The cafe will also offer a three-layer dip for $40 (serves 8-10) and 12th Man cupcakes for $3.50 each or $36 per dozen. Make sure you pre-order by 3 p.m. Thursday, January 30.

VON TRAPP’S

Tailgate party menu for the 12th man

Von Trapp’s bier hall will run special Super Bowl menu items from 12 p.m. throughout the end of the game on Sunday, February 2. Chef Pete Fjosne will serve football pretzels, chili cheese dogs and a variety of hot wings. A selection of happy hour menu items will be available and half liters of Bayern VT Lager will be $4. Fourteen TV screens will be showing the game and bocce ball courts are open for playing.

WORLD SPORTS GRILLE

Specials for the 12th Man

World Sports Grille will be opening its doors for Super Bowl Sunday, February 2, at 11 a.m. to welcome hungry and thirsty 12s. World Sports Grille will be offering beer and drinks specials that include $20 beer buckets, a $15 “12th Man” PBR bucket, and $4 draft beer. World Sports Grille will also be offering a game-day food menu with appetizer specials.

WINE OPPORTUNITIES

12th man wine northwest cellars northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

Of course, some of us are more into wine than beer or cocktails, and the good people of Northwest Cellars have something special to suit our tastes: 12th Man Wine. The special-label wine is available at Northwest Cellars’ Kirkland tasting room, Nectar in Spokane, and a long list of stores and restaurants in western Washington. Wines include Adagio, Viognier, Merlot, Madrigal, Intrigue, Petite Sirah, and Malbec. You can also order online (with a minimum order of four bottles) and they will ship to you. Stock up for the big game !!

POPCORN

SAY IT LOUD WITH BEAST CORN

Kukuruza beast blue green popcorn northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

KuKuRuZa Gourmet Popcorn has created a special flavor just for the big day – Beast Corn popcorn, a colored Kettle Corn! It’s snacking delicious and will be available in-store and online now until game day, Sunday, February 2. Beast Corn popcorn is available in 1 Gallon Bags for $13 each.

SPECIALTY COCKTAILS

Sullivan's steakhouse seahawks cocktail northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

Sullivan’s best-seller and signature cocktail, “The Knockout,” has been reworked to show its Seahawks support. Renamed “The HAWKout,” the drink boasts a festive blue hue with the addition of a splash of Curaçoa. Still strong as ever, The HAWKout’s base is a simple combination of Svedka Clementine Vodka and Hawaiian Gold Pineapple. Sullivan’s will be shaking and serving it up for $11 over the next two weeks, through Super Bowl Sunday.

12 DAYS OF SUPER SEAHAWKS

In honor of the Seattle Seahawks’ 12th Man, The Edgewater Hotel — Seattle’s only waterfront hotel — is celebrating the Seahawks return to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2005 with “12 Days of Super Seahawks.” Each day, for the ’12 Days of Super Seahawks,’ Six Seven and The Edgewater will have special offers to get fans in the Seattle Seahawks spirit. The campaign launched on Wednesday, January 22, and here are the remaining specials:

Golden Tini — Six Seven signature pineapple martini – offered on Jan. 30

Hawk-fries — crispy French fries with garlic, parmesan and chive — offered on Jan. 31

Hilliard’s “The 12th Can” a hometown favorite — $3 in celebration to #3 — offered on Feb. 1

Seahawk salumi plate — assorted cured meats, cheeses and grilled bread – offered on Feb. 2

*All items are $12 unless noted.

Taco time blue green chips seahawks superbowl special tie-in northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

TACO TIME NORTHWEST

“Champion Chips” & Salsa: Blue and green tortilla chips to support our home team! Available Friday, January 31, to Sunday, February 2, at participating Taco Time NW restaurants. On Friday and Saturday, $1.12 buys a regular order of “Champion Chips” & Salsa and $4.12 will net you a jumbo order of “Champion Chips” & Salsa (includes 100 chips and 2 large cups of fresh salsa). Guests can choose from Taco Time’s Pico de Gallo, Black Bean & Corn Salsa, Medium Salsa, or Mild Salsa. Made with local tortillas from La Mexicana, the chips are handmade daily in the restaurants and are seasoned with a special spice mixture to give them an extra hit of flavor.

And, on Sunday, dine-in guests will receive a FREE order of “Champion Chips” & Salsa.

WAFFLES

Beast Mode Waffle Barking Frog woodinville washington northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

And Barking Frog restaurant in Woodinville has devised a Sunday brunch item–the Beast Mode Waffle–to celebrate the big game. The Beast includes Skittles in the waffle and blue and green whipped butter and sells for $12.

Seahawks banner for superbowl sunday northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

GO HAWKS!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Valentine’s Day Dining Options

January 27, 2014

Heart cookie photo

A few weeks ago, a friend and consultant of mine told me he was going out on a first date and asked me to recommend a few restaurants with the following parameters:

I am seeking a a restaurant in downtown Seattle. . .perhaps somewhere in or around the Market. Here is what I am kinda of shooting for in terms of requirements:

• good place to meet for drinks

• good wine selection

• maybe dinner or good Happy Hour menu

• not too $$$

• good first-date place

• view of Waterfront

• small/intimate. . . .yes, perhaps even romantic

• not noisy and crowded

And, after a bit of thinking, I answered:

Man, you don’t have too many parameters here. Ha! Hard to find one bar/resto that meets everything you desire, but here are some suggestions:

Il Bistro in the Market (dark, romantic, nice bar area, inexpensive and good-value Happy Hour [HH]). However, no water view.

Steelhead Diner in the Market (more casual than Il Bistro and probably more noisy, but wouldn’t seem like such a commitment. Also less price-y.) Peek-a-boo water views depending on where you sit. Not sure about HH menu or pricing. . .

The Pink Door in the Market is fun and funky but you’d need a reservation for dinner for sure. . .bar is fun but crowded and possibly noisy. Good price points, wine list, food, etc. Water views in summer on the deck but not in winter (but there is a trapeze artist on certain nights!).

Andaluca in the Mayflower Park Hotel has no water view but think romantic, tapas, and good wine list. . .perhaps better for a second or third date.

If you want a real “bar” bar, then Oliver’s in the Mayflower is a really well-established bar, noted for its martinis. They have a HH and also free appetizers.

If you want a real water view, there is also 67 at the Edgewater. . .we haven’t been there lately and never for HH but you might consider it.

So cheers to everyone near and dear in our lives as we approach Valentine’s Day 2014. . .

Welcome to the ‘Hood: Aragona Restaurant

January 20, 2014

Aragona rendering northwest wining and dining website link

Last summer, we got wind that Thoa’s Restaurant & Lounge would be pulling up stakes. One of several restaurants owned and operated by my friend and fellow Seattle Dame Thoa Nguyen, the restaurant was located in the base of our condominium building at First and Union for an impressive period–10 years.

We wondered who might take over the large space with a bar at the front, kitchen behind glass, and peekaboo views of Elliott Bay.

Soon, word leaked out that über-successful Seattle chef Jason Stratton, the genius behind northern Italian-leaning Cascina Spinasse and Artusi in Capitol Hill, was interested.

We saw the architect’s rendering (above) and learned the concept of the new space, named “Aragona,” would be regional Spanish food. Having studied in Madrid for four months while I was in college, and falling in love with both the people of that Iberian country and its cuisine, I was psyched!

Aragona jason stratton tour northwest wining and dining website link

We watched the construction, heard the whine of the saws and banging of the hammers, and even sniffed the glue and shellac when the workers laid the floors, so felt very invested in the latest iteration at First and Union.

A few weeks before opening, we enjoyed a hard-hat tour, with Chef Stratton pointing out artistic details and the many new facets to the restaurant. . .

Aragona female chef northwest wining and dining website link

And chatting up Aragona’s Chef de Cuisine, Carrie Mashaney, who previously served as chef de cuisine at Spinasse and gained wide acclaim last fall after appearing on Bravo’s “Top Chef.”

Aragona wine guy chris northwest wining and dining website link

Behind the wine table (pouring a dry Fino Sherry and Spanish wines from small producers), we recognized a former buddy from RN74–Master Sommelier Chris Tanghe.

Aragona jason kitchen northwest wining and dining website link

Stratton took us behind the scenes in the gorgeous new kitchen, completely outfitted with new equipment including a plancha (a flat-top grill widely used in Spain and Latin America to cook fish and shellfish).

Aragona column northwest wining and dining website link

This stunning column really spoke to me. . .a modern update of the many beautiful columns and pillars one sees everywhere in southern Spain. In a press release, it’s described as “the visual showpiece of the dining room. . .created by internationally recognized Seattle mosaic artist Kate Jessup.”

The column is surrounded by a central service table that will be used for decanting wine, carving ham, and dishing out paella-like rice dishes.

Aragona food northwest wining and dining website link

We enjoyed a variety of nibbles that afternoon including savory cookies and olives. . .

Aragona food northwest wining and dining website link

flatbread and nut-covered cheese balls.

Aragona group shot northwest wining and dining website link

Here’s an overview of the main dining room taken from the private dining room at the back and looking toward the bar (with the kitchen on the left).

Aragona logo northwest wining and dining website link

And here is the lovely logo that evokes the proud traditions of España.

Just a few weeks later, after many hours of overtime work by the construction workers and staff, the restaurant opened for business on December 9.

Aragona restaurant main dining room interior northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

We were lucky enough to be included in the Family and Friends dinner the evening before, and were blown away by the glamorous transformation of the interior, which manages to be contemporary, warm, and elegant while still nodding to restaurants in Spain. Here (above) is the main dining room.

Aragona bar area northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

The bar offers a separate, more small-plate menu and multiple wine-by-the glass options, which will be perfect for theater-goers and music lovers for pre-Benaroya-hall events.

Aragona restaurant jason stratton owner chef and carrey sous chef northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

Here are Jason and Carrie looking relieved that their latest “baby” is finally open for business.

Aragona restaurant octopus cauliflower puree northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

We fought over the Grilled Octopus and Cauliflower Purée with its lovely charry notes and buttery richness.

Aragona restaurant dessert northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

Although we didn’t have room for dessert, here’s a photo of one of several tempting options.

Rave reviews are already starting to stream in for Aragona. Please have a look at our friend and colleague Bethany Jean Clement’s complete, and very positive review from The Stranger’s January 15 issue.

Nicole Sprinkle, in The Seattle Weekly, also weighed in with a review in the January 21 issue, while Zach Geballe praised the impressive and inventive wine and Sherry offerings.

Architectural rendering and logo courtesy of Aragona.
Top eight photos by Braiden Rex-Johnson. Remaining photos courtesy of Aragona. 

Food and Beverage Trends for 2014

January 13, 2014

The Spontaneatini is a hot new cocktail at BOKA in downtown Seattle northwest wining and dining website link

Would you pay $55 for a cocktail that boasted five different flavors of infused ice cubes?

According to JWT, the world’s best-known marketing communications brand, infused ice cubes will become one of 2014′s top trends.

The company has just released its ninth annual forecast of key category trends that will drive or significantly impact consumer mindset and behavior in 2014.

Some topics of interest include:

Beer in Church: With church membership declining across the U.S., some churches are using beer as a focal point for gatherings, making the leap from communion wine to kegs. Some brew their own, while others hold services in pubs to attract curious bargoers. In addition to attracting newcomers, bringing beer to the church or the church to the bar can also build stronger relationships between congregants, improving retention. Examples include Beer & Hymns in Portland, Ore., The Pub Church in Boston, and Church-in-a-Pub in Fort Worth, Texas.

Cocktails on Tap: We’ve seen wine moving into taps, and now cocktails are being mixed and stored in kegs. It saves bartenders time and can lower the price tag for imbibers, who get the added bonus of being able to ask for sample tastes. With many cocktails, premixing doesn’t compromise quality—and may enhance it by enabling ingredients to mesh over time—though it only works well for some concoctions.

Orange Wine:  The result of using red-wine techniques with white-wine grapes, an ancient technique from the Caucasus region, orange wine offers the best of both worlds, according to its proponents. (The color isn’t exactly orange; it’s more in the range of light gold to amber.) While this wine will likely remain a niche product, we’ll be seeing it more often thanks to the efforts of vintners in Italy, France, California, and beyond.

Infused Ice Cubes: Taking cocktail culture to yet the next level, mixologists are starting to push the flavors of their concoctions with infused ice: cubes of different shapes and sizes that are made with juices, fruits, syrups, and herbs. They enhance the look of the beverage, and as they melt, rather than dilute the cocktail, the cubes add complementary flavors. They also up the cost. At Chicago’s Trump Hotel, for instance, the signature Opulence 5 includes five differently flavored ice cubes and can be had for $55; reportedly the taste changes completely by the last drop.

 

Good News for British Columbia Wine Lovers!

January 6, 2014

Gorgeous british columbia grapes northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

Great news, United States wine lovers!

The wines of British Columbia (BC) are now more accessible than ever to customers in the United States thanks to a partnership between the British Columbia Wine Institute (BCWI) and Good Company Wines.

The United States has always been one of BC’s top tourism drivers, and guests who visit the province’s wine regions continually question where they can find their favorite wines when they return home.

The US is the most important market for wine today and will continue to have enormous influence on the global wine industry in years to come.

After passing the French and Italians for largest total wine consumption in 2011 (according to Impact Databank), Americans consumed 324 million cases of wine in 2012, which is a 7.7 percent increase over five years ago. Those numbers are only expected to grow in the next five years.

“With the expansion of BC grape acreage and getting our harvest back on track from previous years, we now have supply to allocate to consumers long denied BC VQA wine,” said Miles Prodan, President of the BC Wine Institute. “US consumers will now have access to premium BC VQA wines–as will influential US wine and travel writers who, until now, have been reluctant to showcase wines unavailable to their readers.”

“What better postcard from BC Wine Country than a bottle of BC VQA wine?” asks Prodan. Currently, four of BC’s premium producers are listed on BCWI’s website: Black Hills Estate Winery, Laughing Stock Vineyards, Meyer Family Vineyards and Painted Rock Estate Winery.

“We are very excited to work with the Wines of British Columbia as they are in line with all of the things our company does in terms of bringing exciting wines to consumers,” said Tony Westfall, CEO of Good Company Wines. “BC VQA wines are fantastic and I was truly impressed by the quality across the board.”

Tavolàta Sunday Feast: Wagyu Beef

January 1, 2014

Volunteer Park Cafe Beef Stew northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

Want to start the New Year off with a unique dinner treat?

Then how about signing up for Tavolàta’s first Sunday Feast of 2014?

Chef Brian Clevenger has planned a robust meal of Wagyu beef for the first Sunday Feast of 2014 on January 5.

The meal begins with Beef Tartare and moves through three more preparations of the sumptuous beef.

Dinner is $90 per person and, as the Sunday Feasts often sell out, reservations are highly recommended.

So here’s the beef. . .it’s what’s for dinner!

First:

Beef  Tartare with white anchovy, radish, and champagne vinegar

Veal Consommé with baby turnips, carrots, and celeriac

Mixed Greens with chioggia beets, hazelnuts, and ricotta salata

Second:

Strozzapreti with beef cheeks, red wine, and oregano

Third:

Roasted Kobe Coullote Steak with wild mushroom, Brussels sprouts, and croutons

Fourth:

Bay Leaf Panna Cotta with winter fruit compote and orange tuile

I’ve written about Sunday Suppers for The Seattle Times Pacific Northwest magazine in an article entitled, “Family-Style Supper’s on at Seattle Restaurants.”

At Tavolàta’s Sunday Supper in January, dinner will be served family style at the communal table (tavolàta) where seating is limited to just 26 guests.

Dinner begins at 6:00 p.m., and the cost is $90 per person.

Reservations are required. Please call 206.838.8008 to reserve your spot.

And if (like me) beef isn’t our thing, here are other options for Sunday Feasts in 2014.

2014 Sunday Feasts – SAVE THE DATE!!!

February 9 – Roasted Duck

March 9 –Strictly Seafood

April 6 – Cuisine of the Mediterranean

May 4 – Suckling Pig

June 1 – Wild Mushrooms & Garden Vegetables (Vegetarian)

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