World’s Best 50 Restaurants Named

May 12, 2014

The willows inn on lummi island soup northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

Late last month, Restaurant Magazine released its list of the world’s 50 best restaurants during a ceremony in London.

Copenhagen’s Noma, a four-time winner, reclaimed the title from El Celler de Can Roca, located in Girona, Spain, which came in at number two, after having knocked out Noma last year.

It is fun to look at the world’s 50 best and see how many you have eaten at (or, in many cases, even heard of)!

Seven U.S. restaurants made the cut this year, including Eleven Madison Park, Le Bernardin, Per Se, and Daniel (all in New York City); Alinea in Chicago; Coi in San Francisco; and the French Laundry in Yountville, Calif.

Here’s the complete list. I like to print it out every year and save it on my computer in case we travel to any of the world’s best 5o spots.

The willows inn smoked salmon appetizer northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

The world’s top-50 restaurants are as follows:

1. Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark
2. El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain
3. Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy
4. Eleven Madison Park, New York
5. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London
6. Mugaritz, San Sebastian, Spain
7. D.O.M., Sao Paulo, Brazil
8. Arzak, San Sebastian, Spain
9. Alinea, Chicago
10. The Ledbury, London
11. Mirazur, Menton, France
12. Vendôme, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany
13. Nahm, Bangkok, Thailand
14. Narisawa, Tokyo, Japan
15. Central, Lima, Peru
16. Steirereck, Vienna, Austria
17. Gaggan, Bangkok, Thailand
18. Astrid Y Gastón, Lima, Peru
19. Fäviken, Järpen, Sweden
20. Pujol, Mexico City, Mexico
21. Le Bernardin, New York
22. Vila Joya, Albufeira, Portugal
23. Restaurant Frantzén, Stockholm, Sweden
24. Amber, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
25. Arpège, Paris, France
26. Azurmendi, Larrabetzu, Spain
27. Le Chateaubriand, Paris, France
28. Aqua, Wolfsburg, Germany
29. De Librije, Zwolle, Netherlands
30. Per Se, New York
31. L’Atelier de J?el Robuchon Saint-Germain, Paris, France
32. Attica, Melbourne, Australia
33. Nihonryori RyuGin, Tokyo, Japan
34. Asador Etxebarri, Atxondo, Spain
35. Martín Berasategui, Lasarte-Oria, Spain
36. Mani, Sao Paulo, Brazil
37. Restaurant André, Singapore
38. L’Astrance, Paris, France
39. Piazza Duomo, Alba, Italy
40. Daniel, New York
41. Quique Dacosta, Denia, Spain
42. Geranium, Copenhagen, Denmark
43. Schloss Schauenstein, Fürstenau, Switzerland
44. The French Laundry, Yountville
45. Hof Van Cleve, Kruishoutem, Belgium
46. Le Calandre, Rubano, Italy
47. The Fat Duck, Bray, UK
48. The Test Kitchen, Cape Town, South Africa
49. Coi, San Francisco
50. Waku Ghin, Singapore

Photos by Braiden Rex-Johnson, taken at The Willows Inn on Lummi Island (Washington State), during dinner at the restaurant there, manned by former Noma employee and James Beard award-winning chef this year, Blaine Wetzel. You can read my Seattle Times review of our experience here. 

Oregon Wines Fly High!

May 5, 2014

North Willamette Wine Trail

Planning a winery tour to Oregon this year? Flying on Alaska Airlines?

If so, then, you’re in luck. Because when you fly on Alaska Airlines, that case of Oregon vino you pick up flies home for free!

Beginning on May 1, in honor of Oregon Wine Month, the Oregon Wine Board, Travel Oregon, and Alaska Airlines partnered to bring back the Oregon Wines Fly Free program. The program enables visitors traveling from Oregon on an Alaska Airlines flight to check a case of Oregon wine for free.

Oregon is the first state to partner with the airline on a statewide-wines fly-free program. More than 250 Oregon wineries joined the program in 2013!

Oregon Wines Fly Free began as a two-month test last fall. The pilot program was so popular that Alaska Airlines has renewed the program for a year.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members may check one case of wine free on their return flight out of four Oregon airports. In addition, passengers showing their Alaska boarding passes within a week of their arrival in Oregon will receive complimentary tastings at any of more than 300 participating Oregon wineries. Customers may join the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan for free.

Alaska Airlines offers nonstop service to Oregon’s most popular wine regions, including the Willamette Valley via Portland and Eugene, Ore.; the Rogue Valley via Medford, Ore.; Central Oregon wineries via Redmond, Ore.; and Eastern Oregon wineries via Walla Walla, Wash. Alaska Airlines is also an official partner of Feast Portland, the flagship food and drink festival in the Pacific Northwest that runs from Sept. 18 to 21, 2014.

“Oregon Wine’s partnership with Travel Oregon and Alaska Airlines was a tremendous success in 2013 and we’re expecting the new program will be even more successful,” said Tom Danowski, executive director of OWB. “We had more than 250 wineries participating in the program in 2013 and with the interest it generated then, our goal is to have more than 300 wineries participate in the yearlong program.”

 

 

Recipe of the Month: Wild King Salmon with Macerated Cherries and Smoked Almond Beurre Noisette

April 30, 2014

Alaskan Wild Salmon northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

Wild King Salmon with Macerated Cherries and Smoked Almond Beurre Noisette

Varietal: Pinot Noir

Serves 4

This recipe from “Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining” was created by Kevin Davis, chef/owner of Steelhead Diner in Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market and Blueacre Seafood in downtown Seattle. It showcases two of the Northwest’s iconic ingredients: fresh, wild salmon and dried cherries and would be perfect to try with Copper River salmon, which begins its annual run in May. Pair it with another Northwest icon—Oregon Pinot Noir—which mirrors the lush berry, earthy, and smoky flavors in the dish. Some of my favorite Oregon Pinot Noir producers include reasonably priced versions such as Willamette Valley Vineyard’s amazing Whole Cluster Fermented Pinot Noir (which winery founder Jim Bernau characterizes as “Pinot Noir candy”) or luxury-priced Pinots from Domaine Serene and Archery Summit.

Macerated Cherries

1 cup dried cherries (Chukar brand preferred)

1 cup port or Madeira

Four 8-ounce Copper River King salmon or other wild salmon fillets (center cuts preferred)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled

Freshly grated zest of 1 orange

1 cup smoked almonds, lightly crushed (Blue Diamond brand preferred)

1. To prepare the Macerated Cherries, place the dried cherries in a heatproof nonreactive bowl. Bring the port to a boil and pour over the cherries. Cover with plastic wrap and steep for 30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate if not using immediately.

2. Prepare a medium-low fire in a gas or charcoal grill. Brush the salmon with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the fillets on the grill skin side down away from direct heat. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, turn the fish, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes more (for medium rare) or to the desired doneness.

3. While the fish is grilling, melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until the butter turns brown and gives off a nutty aroma. This is called beurre noisette in French, and translates as “brown butter.”

4. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the chopped rosemary, orange zest, almonds, and Macerated Cherries (drained and patted dry) in that order, pausing between each addition and stirring gently to allow each ingredient to render it essence into the butter. Be careful when adding the first two ingredients, as the butter may sizzle and pop. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Place the salmon fillets on 4 dinner plates, top with the brown butter, and serve immediately.

Cook’s Hint: Wild king or Chinook salmon has a very high fat content and will tend to flame up if cooked too fast. It’s always a good idea to have a water bottle handy, just in case. Don’t leave the grill unattended at any time throughout the cooking process. Also, Chef Kevin has an easy way to prevent overcooking your fish. Simply turn the grill off when the fish is slightly underdone; this allows the carryover heat to finish cooking the fish.

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

Friends of the Market Celebrates 50 Years

April 28, 2014

 

pike place market spring northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

Have you heard of Friends of the Market (FoM)? It’s the advocacy group, led by Seattle architect and civic leader, Victor Steinbrueck, who saved the Pike Place Market from the wrecking ball in the 1960s.

The group has become much more active and visible in recent years, hosting weekly Market tours on Saturdays during the summer months, helping revamp historic artwork through the Market, and taking an active role in the planning of the Waterfront entrance to the Market.

The group also celebrates its 50th birthday this year, and plans to launch a new website this month.

According to the March 2014 FoM newsletter, “Ritama Design is in the final stages of producing Friends’ new website. It will include concise histories of the Market and FoM, plus a complete pictorial review of the public art in the Market. . .Additionally, the site will keep the archived videos, newsletters, and interactive contact and enrollment features.”

So if you haven’t already checked out the group’s new online presence, please click here to learn more.

And, next time you are in the Market, be sure to pick up a copy of the Market News (a free newspaper available at the Information Booth at the corner of First Avenue and Pike Place). It contains Paul Dunn’s “Post Alley Passages” column, always a voice of authority about what’s happening in the Market (politics, people, even the occasional celebrity link).

Paul is FoM’s vice president, former executive director of the Pike Place Market Merchants Association, and long-time Market dweller. And a good personal buddy, to boot!

Photo courtesy of the Pike Place Market Preservation & Development Authority.

 

Finding Your “Soil Mate”

April 21, 2014

Victoria, BC, farmers market photo northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

For the past 35 years, my colleague and friend, Vance Corum, has been committed to helping farmers market their products. He’s also the co-author of “The New Farmers’ Market.”

In a recent email, he said that a few weeks ago, while working in British Columbia, he heard about a new website that comes online for consumers next month.

“It’s called SOIL MATE,” Vance says, “like finding your soul mate in the person of a local farmer, anywhere in North America.”

His note went on to say that SOIL MATE’s goal is to connect people to their local food sources within 100 miles. Vance decided to help spread the word because the website seems straight-forward and easy to use. Every farmer, farmers’ market, and winery can list itself for FREE, so it’s a win/win/win for your farm, your markets, and consumers.

You can check out the short YouTube video on Soil Mate.

Farmers, farmers’ markets, and wineries can list their products, selling locations, and hours. They are invited to post photos, videos, a blog, and/or a website. The companies can can also sell products directly online.

Customers can filter by product category, specific items, growing practices, and services (U-Pick, CSA, and online sales).

SOIL MATE’s founder, Matt Gomez, has a passion for local food and a great background in marketing and social media, having helped Fortune-500 and Mom-and-Pop companies alike.

Just go to the SOIL MATE website and list yourself. You can put as much or as little in your profile as you want. It’s faster than applying to a farmers’ market. As a farmer, you’ll be linked to the farmers’ markets where you sell, and vice-versa.

As a CSA farm, you can list your pick-up locations. As a winery, you can list stores and restaurants that carry your product.

It’s even a FREE service, and you can help by getting the word out on social media or by direct (email) outreach.

To good marketing!

Urbanspoon Names Top U.S. Fine-Dining Dining Spots

April 14, 2014

Blueacre seafood bristol bay salmon dinner salmon gravlax photo northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

As thoughts of summer vacation start to creep into our consciousness, thoughts of where to dine while traveling the country also come to mind.

And good news! Late last month, Urbanspoon, a leading restaurant-discovery website and app that aggregates reviews from professional food critics, bloggers, and diners, released its list of the most popular fine-dining restaurants across major metropolitan cities, places where you can enjoy the finest in food, service, and atmosphere.

From perennial favorites like New Orleans institution Commander’s Palace to new hot spots like L.A.’s Hinoki and the Bird, the list was compiled based on factors including price, diner activity, and critic reviews.

How did our fair city “fare,” so to speak? Here are Seattle’s top tables, according to Urbanspoon:

Seattle

— Ray’s Boathouse

— Matt’s in the Market

— Lark

— Canlis

— Book Bindery

And here’s the entire Urbanspoon listing of top-rated restaurants:

Atlanta

— Bone’s Restaurant

— St. Cecilia

— Chops Lobster Bar

— Bacchanalia

— Aria

— Tomo

Boston

— Neptune Oyster

— Hamersley’s Bistro

— L’Espalier

— O Ya

— Menton

— Rialto

Chicago

— Alinea

— Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse

— Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab

— Topolobampo

— Blackbird

— Spiaggia

— Hamada of Japan

Dallas

— French Room

— Abacus

— Hibiscus

— Fearing’s

— Eddie V’s

Denver

— Sushi Den

— Zengo

— Sushi Sasa

— Frasca Food & Wine

Houston

— Brennan’s of Houston

— Cafe Rabelais

— Rainbow Lodge

— Da Marco Cucina E Vino

Las Vegas

— Bouchon Bistro

— Mesa Grill

— Joel Robuchon

— Restaurant Guy Savoy

— Aureole

Los Angeles

— Hinoki & the Bird

— Osteria Mozza

— Ink

— Providence

— Spago

— Matsuhisa

— Nobu Malibu

Miami

— Zuma

— Il Gabbiano

— Chima Brazilian Steakhouse

— Joe’s Stone Crab

— Prime One Twelve

— Barton G. The Restaurant

— Casa Tua

Minneapolis-St. Paul

— The Oceanaire Seafood Room

— Manny’s Steakhouse

— Meritage

New Orleans

— Commander’s Palace

— Mr. B’s Bistro

— Herbsaint Bar & Restaurant

New York

— Eleven Madison Park

— Le Bernardin

— Gramercy Tavern

— Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse

— Nobu

— Minetta Tavern

— Per Se

— Peter Luger Steak House

Philadelphia

— Alma de Cuba

— Morimoto

— Fork

— Vetri

— Little Fish

— Tashan Modern Indian

Portland

— Veritable Quandary Restaurant & Bar

— Andina

— Higgins

— Beast

— Paley’s Place

San Diego

— The Prado at Balboa Park

— Jake’s Del Mar

— George’s At The Cove

San Francisco/ Bay Area/ Wine Country

— Gary Danko

— Farallon

— SPQR

— Quince

— Sons & Daughters

— One Market

— Chez Panisse

— The French Laundry

Washington D.C.

— Jaleo

— 1789

— Restaurant Nora

— The Oceanaire Seafood Room

— L’Auberge Chez Francois

Photo by Braiden Rex-Johnson, taken at Blueacre Seafood in downtown Seattle. 

 

Take Me Out to the Ball Park

April 7, 2014

Although I’m not much of a baseball fan (Confession: I have never even been to Safeco Field to watch the Mariners), I am interested in what they’ll be serving up during the 2014 season.

Cracker jack bag northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

A recent press release quelled my curiosity, and proved that Mariners fans can opt for more than just peanuts, popcorn, and Cracker Jack.

For once again Seattle’s very own Ethan Stowell (Tavolàta, How to Cook a Wolf, Anchovies & Olives, Staple & Fancy Mercantile, Ballard Pizza Company, Rione Xlll, Bar Cotto, Mkt., and Red Cow) is working with the Seattle Mariners, and Centerplate (a global leader in live-event hospitality), a successful collaboration that has won Safeco Field a reputation for serving locally inspired ,restaurant-quality food in a ballpark setting.

Wondering what’s on the menu?

Swingin’ Wings

Located in the popular area known as The ‘Pen, Swingin’ Wings offers three takes on America’s favorite finger food, smothered in sauces that get their kick from Bonache Sauce of Ballard.

—  Classic Wings–Tossed with housemade “classic” wing sauce spiced with Bonache’s Socorro hot sauce.

—  Honey Serrano Wings–Tossed with housemade honey-serrano sauce spiced with Bonache’s Hatch hot sauce.

—  Barbecue Wings–Tossed with housemade whiskey-cola barbecue sauce.

Don’t forget about our local seafood:

A wealth of fresh, local seafood is readily available at the Sound Seafood stand, located in the Third Base Terrace Club.

—  Fish & Chips–Single plank of fresh Pacific cod, hand-dredged in Manny’s Pale Ale batter, served with thick-cut sidewinder chips and housemade remoulade sauce.

—  Oysters & Chips–Taylor Shellfish freshly shucked oysters, hand-dredged in cornmeal flour, served with thick-cut sidewinder chips and housemade remoulade sauce.

—  Salmon Sandwich–Fresh local salmon served on a brioche bun with pickled red onion, arugula, and housemade remoulade.

—  Crab Roll–Local Dungeness crab served on a soft roll with shredded lettuce, tomato, and housemade remoulade.

—  Oyster Po’ Boy–Taylor Shellfish freshly shucked oysters, hand-dredged in cornmeal flour, served on a soft roll with shredded lettuce, tomato, and housemade remoulade.

—  Applewood Smoked-Salmon Chowder–House-smoked local, wild-caught salmon in a creamy chowder.

—  Clam Chowder–Housemade classic, creamy, New England-style chowder.

Pick up some scandalous snacks:

—  Dirty Tots–Crispy Northwest tater tots topped with Beecher’s Flagship Cheddar, Carlton Farms pork belly, and Bay Valley pickled peppers.

—  Fried Cheese Curds–Deep-fried Beecher’s Flagship Cheddar cheese curds (in a light cornmeal breading) drizzled with Ballard Bee Co. honey and topped with Bay Valley pickled peppers.

—  Deep-Fried Pickles–Crispy dill pickle spears dredged in a light batter.
Sound Seafood

Don’t forget the alcoholic offerings:

Cask Ale

Wash down  the new menu offerings with cask-conditioned ale from local brewers. For those who (like me) were unsure about exactly what “cask ale” is, the press release said it is “unfiltered, unpasteurized beer that completes its secondary fermentation in the container from which it’s served. Known by some as ‘real ale,’ cask ale is gaining devotees among those in-the-know in the beer community.”

Cask-conditioned ales from brewers from around the Pacific Northwest will be served in two locations on the Main Concourse: at the Power Alley bar in the Mariners Hall of Fame and museum, which features Northwest craft beers on tap; and at a station located near Section 129, just behind home plate.

Cask ale joins an already outstanding lineup of more than 50 beers available at Safeco Field, including craft beers from area breweries such as Georgetown Brewing Company and FremontBrewing of Seattle, Diamond Knot Craft Brewing of Mukilteo, Skagit River Brewery of Mt. Vernon, No-Li Brewhouse of Spokane, and GoodLife Brewing Company of Bend, Oregon, among others.

Local Spirits

Seattle’s burgeoning craft distillery community is represented at Safeco Field with a line of hand-crafted cocktails created by Rob Roy’s Anu Apte. The cocktails, which are available at the Sound Bar, located near Sound Seafood, feature local, small-batch premium spirits from Woodinville Whiskey Company, Oola Distillery, Rogue Spirits, and Fremont Mischief Distillery.

And even:

Hot Cakes Desserts

The gooey, molten chocolate cakes, cookies, s’mores, and other desserts from Hot Cakes in Ballard, which has won rave reviews and a devoted following, are coming to the Safeco Field private-suites menu. Chocolatier/Founder Autumn Martin has created an array of cakes, tarts, cookies, and other treats for guests in the ballpark’s premium suites.

Trending across the nation:

In his Sideline Chatter column in the Sunday, March 30, edition of The Seattle Times, Dwight Perry calls out these dishes from various baseball parks around the country:

12-Scoop Sundae ($17, White Sox)–four scoops each of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream plus two bananas, all topped with caramel, strawberry sauce, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and cherries, served in a full-sized batting helmet.

Bacon on a Stick ($7, Rangers)–A 3/4-inch piece of Hungarian-smoked bacon dipped in maple syrup.

D-Bat Dog ($25, Diamondbacks)–An 18-inch corndog stuffed with cheddar cheese, jalapeños, bacon, served with a side of fries.

To read more about baseball food in Seattle, check out Rebekah Denn’s recent blog post from The Seattle Times.

Willows Inn Dining Room Reopens

March 31, 2014

The willows inn on lummi island dining room northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

The Dining Room at The Willows Inn on Lummi Island reopened on Thursday, March 13, after a two-month recess.

The willows inn smoked salmon appetizer northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

You may remember I gave the property and restaurant a rave review in The Seattle Times Pacific Northwest magazine back in 2011.

The willows inn oysters appetizer northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

During his two-month break, Head Chef Blaine Wetzel was named a semifinalist for the fourth straight year for the James Beard Rising Star Award (chefs under age 30). The nomination is well deserved for the beautiful and delicious dishes he prepares day in and day out. (Photos throughout this blog post were taken during our 2011 visit.)

The willows inn on lummi island soup northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

Blaine also made a visit to Europe that included stops in Copenhagen and participation in a major food event in Italy. You can read more on the chef’s blog.

The willows inn mushrooms  northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

The Willows Inn is also offering a 2-for-1 Spring Special on select dates now through the end of April.  When you reserve an on-site room during March or April you can add a second night for FREE. During your stay you can indulge in spa-therapy treatments, walk and rock-hunt along Sunset Beach, take a bicycle ride, hike the island’s wilderness preserves, or simply relax with a good book (in the hot tub, perhaps). The offer is valid until April 31, 2014, and cannot include a Saturday night.

There is even a two-day Author Series Getaway with Nancy Pearl scheduled from Wednesday, March 19 to Friday, March 21, when you are encouraged to immerse yourself in two books recommended by Nancy. Enjoy book discussions in the cozy atmosphere of Loganita, a specially-prepared dinner with Nancy by the Willows Inn sous chef at the Beach Store Cafe, and a hearty breakfast followed by a second book-club session in the Willows Inn main dining room.

Nancy is the author of the bestselling “Book Lust” and, in 2004, earned the Women’s National Book Association Award for her extraordinary contribution to the world of books. She has become a rock star among readers—the tastemaker who people turn to when deciding what to read next.

The Author Series Getaways continues in April with New York Times bestselling author Jamie Ford appearing on Wednesday, April 23. Guests will enjoy a book discussion with Jamie over his new book, “Songs of Willow Frost,” followed by a private dinner.

To register for either of the Author Series Getaway events, call the inn at 360.758.2620.

Photos by Braiden Rex-Johnson

Poached Halibut with Spicy Mashed Potatoes

March 30, 2014

Fisherman's Terminal boat

Poached Halibut with Spicy Mashed Potatoes

Wine Varietal: Pinot Blanc

Serves 4

Mashed potatoes are the quintessential simple, rustic food. I like to add Asian elements to my mashers, then top a heaping mound of spicy potatoes with a tender poached halibut fillet.

1 pound baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half, plus 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 teaspoon toaste d sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon Thai red curry paste

1/2 cup fat-free, 1/3-less-sodium chicken stock (See Cook’s Hint, below)

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 cup water

1 cup white wine

1 1/2 pounds halibut fillets, skin and bones removed, rinsed, drained, patted dry, and cut into 4 (6-ounce) pieces

Steamed brussels sprouts, broccoli florets, or 1/4-inch-thick carrot rounds, optional

1. To make mashed potatoes, place the potatoes and the 2 cloves peeled and halved garlic in a saucepan and cover with several inches of cold water. Bring to a boil and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Drain well, then put the potatoes and garlic through a ricer, or mash with a fork.

2. In a small bowl mix the toasted sesame oil, red curry paste, chicken stock, and soy sauce until smooth. Add the liquid to the potatoes, mix well, cover, and keep warm.

3. To poach the fish, bring the water, wine, and crushed garlic to a boil in a skillet large enough to hold the fillets without crowding them. Remove the pan from the heat, add the halibut fillets, return the pan to the heat, reduce heat to low, partially cover (set the lid slightly askew so that steam can escape), and simmer 5 to 10 minutes, or until the fish just turns opaque. Do not allow the water to boil. Remove the fish fillets and place on several layers of paper towels to drain well.

4. To serve, scoop a mound of mashed potatoes in the center of individual plates and place a halibut fillet over the potatoes. If desired, arrange steamed vegetables in a circle around the mashed potatoes.

Cook’s Hint: If fat-free, 1/3-less-sodium chicken stock is unavailable, substitute defatted chicken stock and leave out the 2 teaspoons soy sauce.

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.

 

Top Beverage Trends for 2014

March 24, 2014

The Pink Door Mint Julep cocktail northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

Following a blog post earlier this month about possible food-and-wine trends for 2014, here are the top beverage trends we may see this year.

The first six come from the latest annual trend-prediction webinar given by Andrew Freeman, chief executive of San Francisco-based hospitality consulting firm Andrew Freeman & Co. Theme of the webinar was, “Blurred Lines.”

• Infused ice: Last year, bars and restaurants were making distinctive cubes or shaving their own ice. Now they’re infusing cubes with herbs and other ingredients to enhance flavors, Freeman said.

• Wine by the ounce: “People don’t like commitment,” Freeman said, noting that they also like to try different things, which is why more restaurants are offering wine by the ounce, as well as recommending wine flights.

• Artisanal spirits: Local craft beer is well established, but local spirits are trending, too. “Local spirits are infusing cocktails like I have never seen,” Freeman said.

• “Tippler nibblers:” Expect more food-drink combinations such as potent snow cones and graham cracker squares in root beer floats.

• Local and Iberian wines: Every state in the union now makes wine, and they’re becoming more popular — and so are wines from Spain and Portugal, Freeman said.

• Tea cocktails: “Tea is going crazy right now,” Freeman said, noting that it’s in food and desserts, but also in cocktails.

BOKA tea-infused martini northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

Here are other possible beverage trends, as predicted by Washington Restaurant Magazine, a publication of the Washington Restaurant Association.

• Non-Alcoholic Beverages: In this category, look for housemade soft drinks and gourmet lemonade (freshly muddled), specialty iced tea (such as flavored or Thai-style), dairy-free milk (soy, rice, almond), and the ubiquitous coconut water.

•Cocktails and Cocktail Ingredients: Cocktails aged in barrels onsite and culinary cocktails (made with fresh, savory ingredients) will continue trending, augmented by regional signature cocktails, edible cocktails, and food-and-liquor/cocktail pairings.

•Alcoholic Beverages: Locally produced beer/wine/spirits and micro distilled/artisan spirits will continue strong; “new-make” whiskey, gluten-free beer, and food-and-beer pairings will pick up steam.

Wine glass photo northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

The beverage trend below was taken from a report by the Food & Beverage team of MSLGROUP, which operates in offices throughout North America, representing leading food and beverage brands, and manages a state-of-the-art Culinary & Nutrition Center in Seattle.

• “Wine-y” Millennials? Consumers ages 21-34 drink more wine than any other demographic. They’ll make up 40 percent of the population over the next few years, so the popularity of wine is expected to rise for years to come. Cheers to that!

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