Mayor Nickels Kicks Off Support Our Market Campaign

September 10, 2008

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels whips up supporters of a November referendum to raise $75 million for improvements to the aging Market infrastructure.

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels rallied the troops at the Top of the Market meeting space on August 20. The Mayor and supporters are waging a campaign to urge voters to pass a six-year levy promising $73 million for much-needed and long-overdue improvements to the Market’s crumbling infrastructure, heating and cooling systems, and additional public restrooms.  

In his short speech, Nickels emphasized that the November referendum is equally as important as the “Save the Market” campaign waged by Friends of the Market in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

“Back in 1971, Seattle voters brought the Market back from the brink of destruction,” Nickels said. “We saved it from the wrecking ball. Now we need to save it from the ravages of time so it can be around for another 100 years.”

The levy proposal includes:

$68.6 million for major repair, structural, and infrastructure and accessibility upgrades to all Public Development Authority (PDA)-owned Market buildings, as well as associated tenant space alteration costs.

$4.4 million in estimated financing costs. 

For more information, or to volunteer or make a donation, please visit Citizens for Pike Place Market

Sunset Supper Redux

September 8, 2008

The Market\'s annual Sunset Supper brought out crowds of 1,400 people on a beautiful summer night.

Cold soups were the dish du jour at the 13th annual Sunset Supper at the Market, held on Friday, August 15, from Serafina’s Chilled Cauliflower and Leek Soup with Salsa Verde to Le Pichet’s Chilled Summer Melon Soup (garnished with a yummy smoked prawn and chive crème fraîche) to Andaluca’s Gazpacho with Dungeness Crab.

Cocktails in many forms were also popular items, the most innovative being Volterra’s Bellini Gelée (upscale Jell-O shots, anyone?!?!).  Sangria BalMar, from the popular Ballard cocktail bar (BalMar), paired well with the Gazpacho. 

Other popular dishes included the Paella Mixta from Tango Restaurant & Lounge, which chef Mike Bruno serves up from his huge paellera (paella pan) each year; Cafe Campagne’s Petite Lamb Burgers; and the Sorrento Hotel’s Anderson Ranch Lamb Chops with Northwest Bing Cherry Glaze. 

My favorites included Kaspar Donier’s Northwest Red Snapper Tacos with Corn Salsa and, for dessert, Rose’s Chocolate Treasures Sunset Rose–a dark-chocolate, gold-dusted rose filled with creamy caramel. 

Les Dames New Cookbook

September 6, 2008

The new Dames-branded cookbook, Cooking with Les Dames d\'Escoffier, goes on sale in September.

Since March 2004 I have been honored to belong to a group called Les Dames d’Escoffier International, an invitational organization of women leaders in food, beverage, and hospitality whose mission is education, advocacy, and philanthropy. Over the past 15 years, our Seattle chapter has disbursed more than $240,000 for educational programs, community projects, and culinary scholarships for women in Washington state. 

Every year we host a fund-raising benefit. Kathy Casey Food Studios has been chosen as the site for this year’s event, which will be held on Thursday, October 16, at 6 p.m. It will celebrate the Seattle debut of the brand-new, Dames-branded cookbook entitled, Cooking with Les Dames d’Escoffier: At Home with the Women Who Shape the Way We Eat and Drink (Sasquatch Books, September 2008).

The fundraiser will be a walk-around reception featuring dishes created by the Seattle Dames whose recipes were chosen for inclusion in the new cookbook. Seattle Dames with recipes in the comprehensive new book, edited by Seattle Dame Marcella Rosene with Pat Mozersky, include Fran Bigelow (Fran’s Original Cheesecake), Braiden Rex-Johnson (Salmon Fillets Baked in Grape-Leaf Wraps), Gina Batali (Batali Family Stuffed Artichokes), and Lisa Dupar (Walnut Fennel Tarts). The book also includes recipes, beverage-pairing tips, and kitchen wisdom from leading Dames and culinary authorities from around the United States and Canada, including Lidia Bastianich, Nathalie Dupree, and Gale Gand. 

Attendance is limited for this exclusive gathering, and tickets cost $110 per person, which includes one copy of the cookbook. Additional copies of Cooking with Les Dames d’Escoffier will be available for sale that evening, with fifty percent of the proceeds going towards the Seattle Dames fundraising efforts. 

I encourage you to purchase a ticket, or tickets, on our Web site, as they are sure to go fast!


Marjorie’s Last Hurrah

September 4, 2008

One of our favorite restaurants in Seattle, Marjorie, will offer its last two dinners at 5:30 and 8:00 on Saturday, September 6. Donna Moodie, our friend and owner of the restaurant, has been forced out of her beautiful space (former Café Septième and Lush Life) by cancellation of her lease, and is in search of a new venue. She will most likely relocate on Capitol Hill. 

During our last supper at Marjorie, I enjoyed the Albacore Tuna with Soba Noodles and Summer Vegetables

Here’s the lovely Market Select Fish I enjoyed just a couple of weeks before the scheduled closing–Albacore Tuna with Soba Noodles, Snap Peas, and Avocado Cream. Spencer devoured his Grilled Kurobuta Pork Chop with Bacon Corn Cake (yum!), Braised Chard, and Roasted Tomatillo Salsa. 

A bottle of Dobbes Estate 2006 Assemblage Pinot Noir paired well with both our selections. 

Fare thee well, Donna, and hope to see you back in business soon! 


What Becomes an icon Most?

September 2, 2008

Chef Nick Musser lights the candles at icon Grill\'s 10-year-birthday celebration in August 2008.

We were honored to be included among the guests to celebrate icon Grill’s 10th anniversary along with founding chef Nick Musser, local media, family, friends, and present and past crew members. The appetizer spread included some of Chef Nick’s all-time best bites, including mini crabcakes, meatballs with Northwest cherry sauce, and spicy barbecued shrimp.

A marzipan birthday cake and a stack of chocolate cupcakes brought the celebration to an appropriately festive, and sweet ending. The consummate host, Chef Nick sent his guests home with a package of Barilla pasta and his recipe for the Ultimate Mac & Cheese. 

icon Grill is known for its pretty pink interior, afloat in lacy glass art and tchtchkes, as well as the witty sayings on its ever-changing marquee. Most popular posting occurred after the 1999 Seattle World Trade Organization (WTO) summit.

“Thanks, WTO. It’s been a riot.” appeared in newspapers as far away as Pakistan. 

Riesling Rendezvous Redux

September 1, 2008

In late July, I was honored to be invited to attend the second annual Riesling Rendezvous conference at Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville, Washington. It was truly a life-changing experience as 200 producers, media members, and distributors gathered at the venerable chateau, spending two-and-one-half days tasting through hundreds of Rieslings from Germany, Austria, Australia, Michigan, the Finger Lakes, and even Tasmania!

Wines ready for the tasting at the Riesling Rendezvous conference in late July 2008.

Twice a day we did comparative tastings of up to 30 Riesling samples at a time, and I’m happy to say that Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia definitely held their own. Perhaps I’m prejudiced, but our wines offered a fruity freshness and refreshing vitality missing in some of the petrol-heavy, knifely acidic, Old World wines.

I’m scheduled to write an article on my experiences for Pacific Northwest, The Seattle Times Sunday magazine, in 2009, so please stay tuned. 

Dungeness Crab Flan

September 1, 2008

Dungeness Crab is an iconic Northwest ingredient.

Dungeness Crab Flan

Varietal: Chardonnay or Pinot Blanc

Serves 4 as an appetizer

Dulces Latin Bistro is a neighborhood bistro located in the Madrona neighborhood of Seattle, a quiet residential area centrally located between downtown and Lake Washington. The husband-and-wife team of Carlos Sainz (host and sommelier) and Julie Guerrero (chef) owns the Mediterranean/Mexican-leaning space which features 1,000 labels on its wine list and has won the “Best of Award of Excellence” award from Wine Enthusiast magazine numerous times. Carlos specifically recommends two wines with Julie’s crab flan, a luscious garlic-y custard topped with the Northwest’s own fresh crab: Forgeron Cellars Chardonnay from Washington’s Columbia Valley or (crossing the ocean) Bruno Hunold Pinot Blanc from Alsace, France. One of my favorite Northwest-produced Pinot Blancs is made by Adelsheim Vineyard in the Willamette Valley.

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup heavy whipping cream

4 egg yolks

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Dash of freshly ground black pepper

4 ounces Dungeness crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage

1 Roma tomato, cored, seeds removed, and diced

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly butter four small ramekins or custard cups.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the garlic, cream, egg yolks, salt, and pepper. Divide the custard mixture among the ramekins. Arrange the ramekins without crowding in a water bath, cover with foil, and bake 40 minutes, or until the custards are set in the middle and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

3. While the custards are baking, gently toss the crabmeat with the tomato and cilantro, cover, and reserve.

4. Allow the custards to cool slightly, then unmold onto four small plates. Divide the crab mixture over the custards and serve immediately. The custards can also be prepared ahead, allowed to cool, covered, and refrigerated until serving, then served chilled.

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