Free, Interactive eCookbook Available from Visit Seattle

November 4, 2013

Fresh from seattle ecookbook cover northwest wining and dining

Visit Seattle has launched a free interactive eCookbook that highlights a range of talented chefs and signature Pacific Northwest cuisine. “Fresh From Seattle” features 26 recipes from 12 noteworthy contributing local chefs, including award winners such as Tom Douglas, Maria Hines, and Thierry Rautureau.

The 92-page eCookbook is a rich compilation of recipes, cooking and storage tips, color photos, food history, chef bios, and more.

Fresh from seattle salmon northwest wining and dining

Seattle chefs contributed original recipes, as well as personal restaurant favorites, that are designed to pique the culinary curiosity of the inspired home chef. In addition to Seattle celebrity chefs, the cookbook also features acclaimed hotel chefs.

Fresh From Seattle is available here, where it is downloadable as a PDF or you can link to Apple iTunes App Store for download. Both options are free of charge.

“Between Seattle’s creative chefs and welcoming hospitality community, we formed the perfect marriage for this project,” said Ali Daniels, Vice President, Marketing, Visit Seattle. “We are a city of gourmands, constantly exploring and finding new ways to share the inspired culinary offerings of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle’s vibrant food culture just has to be shared, and ‘Fresh From Seattle’ does just that.”

Fresh from seattle ecookbook crab cakes northwest wining and dining

“Fresh From Seattle” eCookbook contributing chefs and recipes:

Thierry Rautureau – Luc and Loulay

Northwest Wild Mushroom Salad, Toasted Hazelnut, Aged Balsamic Vinegar

Neah Bay Wild Coho Salmon with Moroccan Olive Tapenade

Skagit Valley Savory Strawberry & Red Wine Soup

Tom Douglas – Tom Douglas Restaurant Group

Tom’s Tasty Sashimi Tuna Salad with Green Onion Pancakes

Peak of the Season Crisp with Brown Sugar Oats

Etta’s Rub with Love Salmon with Grilled Shiitake Relish

Dungeness Crab Cakes

Maria Hines – Tilth, Agrodolce, Golden Beetle

Skagit River Ranch Wagyu Beef Tartare with Dijon and Grilled Romaine

Loki Fishing Vessel Seared Sockeye Salmon with Sweet Corn Salsa

Oxbow Farm Mixed Summer Squash Salad with Parmesan, Hazelnuts and Truffle Vinaigrette

Daisley Gordon – Marche, Café Campagne

Warm Potato & Salmon Roe Salad

Marché Mackerel

Pernod Mussels

Salad Marché

Sarah Lorenzen – Andaluca

Chorizo and Clam Fettuccini

Pavlova with Lemon Cream and Fresh Berries

Gavin Stephenson – The Georgian

Rooftop Honey-Smoked Salmon

The Georgian Black and White Chocolate Soufflé

Kerry Sear – ART Restaurant

Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad

Grass-Baked Chicken

Sean Pals – Brella’s Restaurant & Lounge

Grilled Peach Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

Thomas Horner – Hook & Plow

Razor Clam, Local Sausage, White Bean & Kale Stew

Peter Birk – BOKA restaurant + bar

Roasted Quail with Bluebird Grain Farms Farro

Preston Hagan – Jimmy’s on First

Jimmy’s Bloody Bakon Martini

Chris Lobkovich – Bookstore Bar & Café

Fiddlehead Fern Salad

Dynamic Dishes That Made My Day

September 9, 2013

In the movie “Dirty Harry,” beloved actor Clint Eastwood said, “Go ahead, make my day.”

Here are half a dozen dishes I’ve sampled in Seattle; on a car trip to Bow, Washington; and even as far afield as Winter Park, Florida, that have all “made my day.” Enjoy!

Andaluca eggplant appetizer


Beginning with appetizers, here is a beauty we enjoyed at Andaluca in the Mayflower Park Hotel in downtown Seattle: Grilled Petite Eggplant. Brushed with a light balsamic vinaigrette, grilled, and topped with alder-smoked tomatoes and fresh house-made ricotta, it was a soulful and hearty bite!

It paired perfectly with one of Andaluca’s by-the-glass pours–Fontaynes Argentinian Malbec Rosé.

Palace kitchen whole baked idaho trout

The Roasted Whole Idaho Trout at Palace Kitchen is always a winner, but tasted especially clean and fresh–perfectly cooked–on a recent visit. House pours of one of our favorite white blends from Washington State–Southard White–paired nicely with both the trout and the Fire-Roasted Mussels I enjoyed as my entrée.

Place pigalle oysters on the half shell

I downed my first-of-the-season raw oysters on the half shell at Place Pigalle in the heart of the Pike Place Market. They were Stellar Bay beauties from British Columbia waters, grown in the same bay as another one of my favorite oyster varieties–Kusshi. Our pairing that evening was a bottle of DeLille Cellars Chaleur Estate Blanc, as good (and consistent) as ever. Thanks to our friend and winemaker Chris Upchurch!

Rhodendron cafe fried oyster caesar salad

The next day, still jones-ing for oysters, we drove to Bow, Washington and the venerable Rhododendron Cafe for a Fried Oyster Caesar Salad. It was a dish I’d enjoyed there several years ago and never forgotten. And even though it was no longer on the menu, Fried Oysters still were, so the chef was kind enough to accommodate my special request.

It was a fortuitous trip (very impromptu!) as the Rhododendron will close end of the month as the owners retire after 30 years!!! A few down days, then the young owners of the Farm to Market Bakery in Edison, Washington, will take over and make the Rhody Too Gallery (right next door) into a bakery and reopen the restaurant. So stay tuned!

And, as you can see, at lunch we stick to Iced Tea for our beverage pairing.  🙂

Cask & Larder ribeye hotdog

Late last month, we were in Winter Park, Florida, to help my father celebrate his 91st birthday. Although Dad doesn’t get out much any more, my brother, sister-in-law, Spencer, and I made our way to Cask & Larder: Southern Public House, a recently opened, very-popular gastropub and craft brewery in Winter Park, the sister restaurant to award-winning The Ravenous Pig, where we’ve enjoyed many a meal over the years.

Here is the Ribeye Hotdog with sweet Vidalia onion relish, Cask & Larder ketchup, and beer mustard on a celery-seed bun my brother enjoyed along with a house-made Whiskey Stout (which was cask-conditioned in a Jack Daniel’s barrel, aged for five months, and tasted of coffee and chocolate!).

Cask & Larder fried chicken bibb lettuce salad

Spencer enjoyed the Bibb Lettuce Salad with Pickled Watermelon Radish, Candied Squash, Spiced Pecans, and Buttermilk Dressing with an extra side of Southern Fried Chicken (spicy and good). The ladies had the same salad, but with an extraordinary side of smoked chicken. It was so good, the next day for lunch at Dad’s condo, we ordered in the very same salads!

Northwest Wining and Dining’s Dishes of the Day

July 22, 2013

Palomino Seattle Scallops with Pernod Beurre Blanc

Hard to believe it’s been three months since we chose a proper Dish of the Day (last one was The Capital Grille’s stupendous Seafood Tower), so today I’ve chosen not one, but three for your viewing pleasure.

Above behold the glorious Asiago-Almond Crusted Scallops with Pernod Butter Sauce and first-of-the-season grilled asparagus,  which we enjoyed a few weeks ago at the Palomino Restaurant & Bar location in downtown Seattle (truth be known, it is in the CityCentre Building, where Spencer used to go to work at Callison Architecture every day!).

How the chef got the perfect crispy crust and still managed to leave the scallops rare in the middle is beyond me. I tried to figure out how to replicate the dish at home, but just figured I’d eat it at Palomino as often as possible.

Just last weekend, when the temperatures were high (close to 90!) in Seattle, we were lucky to score an outside seat at Le Pichet, right on First Avenue in the Pike Place Market.

Le Pichet Pike Place Market Salmon

The Seared Salmon with baby garlic tops, flageolet beans, carrots, and asparagus was like summer on a plate, the salmon perfectly cooked to rare and the garlic tops more green than garlicky. A very light white broth brought the dish together so perfectly that I lapped up every last drop with the soup spoon thoughtfully provided!

Gordon Biersch Blackened Tuna Salad

Not so politically correct, but still very well executed, is the (blackened) Ahi and Greens salad at Gordon Biersch. I feel a deep twinge every time I order Ahi, since it  (in fact, most species of tuna, except for albacore) is on the endangered list, but every so often it serves as a special treat. This one was served with a well-made miso dressing and wasn’t overly charred or spicy. A Cajun remoulade sauce was also offered, and went surprisingly well with the fish and greens.


My Summer Vacation, Part II: Favorite Market Shots

July 1, 2013

One of the joys of my life is visiting and taking food shots at farmers markets when we are traveling.

Below are the best of the best from our recent Seabourn cruise from Lisbon, Portugal, to London.

Look at the shots and read the captions and relive some of my favorite moments vicariously!

Fresh seafood display in Rouen, France

Fresh seafood display in Rouen, France


Pheasant salami and other charcuterie at Bordeaux, France farmers market

Pheasant salami and other charcuterie at Bordeaux, France farmers market

Tomatoes at farmers market in Bordeaux, France

Tomatoes at farmers market in Bordeaux, France

Giant artichokes at farmers market in Bordeaux, France

Giant artichokes at farmers market in Bordeaux, France

Fresh seafood display in Rouen, France

Fresh seafood display in Rouen, France

Fresh seafood display in Rouen, france

Fresh seafood display in Rouen, france

White asparagus at the farmers market in Bordeaux, France

White asparagus at the farmers market in Bordeaux, France

My Summer Vacation: Best Dishes Lisbon to London

June 24, 2013


Shrimp cocktail on the seabourn quest

In May, we enjoyed 18 days out of the office taking a Lisbon to London cruise aboard the Seabourn Sojourn. Here are a few of my favorite dishes we discovered along the way, beginning with this Shrimp Cocktail from the Sojourn’s Restaurant 1 (main) dining room. Gorgeous presentation on Rosenthal china.

Fried soft-shelled crabs on the seabourn quest

Also aboard the Sojourn, Soft-shelled Crab, better than my mother used to make (sorry, Mom!).

Tofu chow mein on the seabourn quest

A vegetarian entrée aboard the Sojourn–Tofu with Chow Mein–light and full of interesting Asian spices.

Asturian bean and meat stew

During our first port call, in Gijon, Spain, we tried the traditional Asturian bean and meat stew offered to us for lunch at a traditional Sidre (hard- cider) factory.

Raw oysters on the half shell in bordeaux

Fresh oysters at Le Noailles, a restaurant we chose for our one dinner in Bordeaux (a beautiful city where we enjoyed an overnight port call).

Sole meuniere in bordeaux

Sole Meuniére at Le Noailles, our dinner restaurant in Bordeaux. One of the best (if not THE BEST) version of this dish we’ve ever had.

Steamed artichoke in bordeaux

The giant “artichoke salad” I ordered at Le Noailles in Bordeaux. Big as your head! Served with traditional aïoli sauce.

Bouillabaisse aboard seabourn quest ship

Back aboard the Sojourn, I dove into this beautiful Bouillabaisse, made from the local fish we bought during our Market Tour with Seabourn chef Martin.

Three-minute boiled egg aboard seabourn quest ship

A gorgeous three-minute egg I enjoyed aboard the Sojourn during a sunny morning in Bordeaux. Look at that gorgeous saffron-colored yolk!

Fruit plate aboard seabourn quest ship

My fruit salad made a colorful photographic study when taken with my favorite Hipstamatic iPhone4 app.

Giant meringues in St. Malo


Giant meringues in a bakery window in St. Malo, France–the “Buccaneer City!”

Fresh seafood display in St. Malo

Gorgeous seafood displays at a restaurant in St. Malo.

Fresh lobster in Guernsey

Grilled lobster and boiled potatoes (local specialties) in Guernsey, England.

Macaron ice-cream sandwiches in Rouen, France

Macaron “ice-cream sandwiches” in Rouen, France.

French fries in Bruges, Belgium

Frites with mayonnaise, our well-deserved lunch after a busy day of sightseeing in Bruges, Belgium.

Steamed mussels in London, England

Back on shore during our three days in London post-cruise, we enjoyed steamed mussels at Wright Brothers, a well-known seafood restaurant in London.

Spinach soufflé at Langans Brasserie, London, England

The beautiful Spinach Soufflé I enjoyed during our last dinner of the 18-day trip. . .at Langan’s Brasserie, partly owned by actor Michael Caine, in the Mayfair section of London.


Northwest Wining and Dining Drinks Seattle!

June 3, 2013

A.J. Rathbun Drink Seattle iphone app

A.J. Rathbun, our good buddy and prolific author, whom we’ve written about not one time, but twice for The Seattle Times Pacific Northwest magazine, has done it again.

But this time instead of another book (among which he has written “Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz,” the award-winning “Good Spirits,” and a host of others), this time A.J. has come up with his own app: Drink Seattle: A Spirited Journey Through Seattle Bars and Cocktails with A.J. Rathbun.

The Drink Seattle app costs just $1.99 in the iPhone App Store, with an Android version coming soon.

In the app, A.J. Rathbun, awarding-winning author of a host of cocktail and home-entertaining books, recommends over 50 of the best bars, cocktails, distilleries, and cocktail supply shops in and around Seattle.

And whether you’re visiting Seattle or already live here, if you like a good drink, you need this app. With the ever-jovial and witty A.J. as your guide, you won’t miss a lounge, bar, distillery, or dive that’s worth sitting down and sipping within.

This bubbly whirl gives you a great drink in nearly every neighborhood, specific cocktail picks for each place and a host of insights on individual bar personalities.

Each recommended establishment features a detailed review, notes on what to order, and great photos and tips for having the best experience you can.

As you’d expect, the app has a lot of bells and whistles–GPS, one-touch dialing, and turn-by-turn directions – and vital info like business hours, websites, etc. And, awesomely, the app is updated frequently so you stay abreast of all the latest changes in the Seattle cocktail scene.

A.J. knows from whence he writes, since he pens the monthly Bar Hop column for Seattle Magazine and a weekly blog for them on spirits, cocktails, and bars, as well as authoring his own tipsy blog Spiked Punch. He’s a frequent guest on the Everyday Food program (Martha Stewart Living/Sirius satellite radio), and a contributor to culinary and entertainment magazines such as Every Day with Rachael Ray, The Food Network Magazine, Real Simple, Wine Enthusiast, and many others.

For even more from A.J., you can follow him on Twitter.


Recipe of the Month: Grilled Asparagus Salad with Prosciutto, Parmigiano-Reggianno, and Balsamic Vinaigrette

May 30, 2013

Grilled Asparagus Salad with Prosciutto, Parmigiano-Reggianno, and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Varietal: Pinot Gris

Serves 4

This boldly flavored, texture-packed salad, which comes from Vancouver, British Columbia-based chef Rob Feenie’s third cookbook (“Feenie’s: Brunch—Lunch—Dinner,” Douglas & McIntyre, 2006)  is a cinch to make, yet beautiful to behold and a delight to eat. The caramelized asparagus, salty prosciutto, and sweet-tart balsamic vinaigrette work well with the lively texture and honeysuckle/pear/vanilla flavors typical of Pinot Gris.

1 to 2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus extra salt for seasoning

2 pounds green asparagus, woody stems snapped or cut off and discarded

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Freshly ground white pepper

Balsamic Vinaigrette (Recipe follows)

8 slices prosciutto

4 cups mesclun or other salad greens

Parmigiano-Reggiano or good-quality Parmesan cheese, for garnish

1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add enough of the salt so that it tastes like sea water. Prepare an ice bath. (See Cook’s Hint, below.)

2. Add the asparagus to the water and cook for 1 minute, or until the asparagus turns bright green. Immediately transfer the blanched asparagus to the ice bath to stop the cooking process and to preserve the color. When the asparagus has cooled in the water, transfer to several thicknesses of paper towels or a clean kitchen towel to drain. Pat dry.

3. In a nonreactive bowl, toss the blanched asparagus with the olive oil to coat (to prevent the asparagus from sticking to the grill). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Grill 2 to 3 minutes, turning on all sides.

4. To serve, divide the asparagus among four warmed plates. Spoon the vinaigrette over and around the asparagus. Place 2 slices of prosciutto on top of each serving. Top with mesclun and drizzle with a little more vinaigrette. Use a vegetable peeler or sharp knife to thinly slice Parmigiano-Reggiano into curls and place a few on top of each serving.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Makes 2/3 cup

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons minced shallot

1 teaspoon honey

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground white pepper

1. In a nonreactive bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, shallot, and honey. Whisking continuously, slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream until it forms a smooth, thick sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Cook’s Hint: Ice Bath: Ice baths are called for when blanching vegetables or fruits; the cold water immediately stops the cooking process so the produce doesn’t become overcooked. To make an ice bath, simply fill a large mixing bowl with ice cubes and add cold water to cover the cubes.

Recipe reprinted from “Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining: The People, Places, Food, and Drink of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia” (Wiley, 2007, $34.95) by Braiden Rex-Johnson.


Don’t Miss the First-Ever Victoria, BC, Spot Prawn Festival

April 29, 2013

Spot Prawns

Hungry foodies will want to plan trips to Victoria, British Columbia, in May and July to coincide with two upcoming food festivals: the inaugural Victoria Spot Prawn Festival and Taste: Victoria’s Festival of Food & Wine.

According to a recent press release, the Victoria Spot Prawn Festival runs from May 25 to 26, 2013, and kicks off with a long-table dinner and film presented by the Island Chefs Collaborative. Tickets are $150 CDN and limited to 250 people.

On May 26, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., visitors are invited to take in crafts, music, guest speakers, and chef demos by local favorites such as Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub and Vancouver Island Salt Company. Fresh seafood will be available on site along with plenty of other food vendors.

This family-friendly party by the sea is free to attend and not-to-be-missed!

From July 25 to July 28, 2013, experience Victoria’s fifth-annual festival of food and wine with Taste held at the Crystal Garden. Showcasing more than 100 British Columbia wines, guests will experience local fare prepared by top Vancouver Island chefs from some of the city’s finest restaurants such as The Marina Restaurant and AURA Waterfront Restaurant + Patio at the Inn at Laurel Point.

Tickets for the main event are $79 CDN, with more intimate events with themes such as Swine on the Vine and Sips &  Seafood filling the remainder of the festival schedule.

For more information, visit

Twitter Handles: @IslandChefs and @TravelWithTaste


Dish of the Day: Capital Grille’s Shellfish Tower

April 8, 2013

Capital Grille Shellfish Platter photo

One of my favorite meals is a good shellfish platter. I still miss the ones at The Oceanaire Seafood Room, which came with lots of pomp and circumstance as the server placed metal stand underneath the metal tray mounded with shaved ice and studded with all sorts of fresh and cooked shellfish–steamed mussels and clams, oysters on the half shell, steamed lobster, and three kinds of delectable sauces.

Luckily, downtown Seattle’s Capital Grille serves up a shellfish platter almost as grand. Although this photo doesn’t do it justice, it contains steamed baby lobster, cooked shrimp, and half a dozen raw oysters, plus two sauces (classic Mignonette and cocktail sauce). Be sure to ask for the rich mustard-mayonnaise, which goes perfectly with the shrimp and lobster.


Northwest Wining and Dining 2013 Top Culinary Trends

February 11, 2013

While I’m working out on the elliptical trainer at the gym, I like to read food- and beverage-related articles I’ve clipped from magazines or printed from the Internet.

Of special interest is anything having to do with culinary trends. These articles tend to come out at year-end or early in the New Year. So this year I began saving them early on and then read them en masse.

Below you’ll find my compilation of a baker’s dozen of the top trends that I see on the horizon for the coming year.

My trends are taken from a variety of sources including Nation’s Restaurant News, Restaurant Hospitality,, Associated Press, the National Restaurant Association, Sterling-Rice Group, Technomic, The Chicago Tribune, and the Food & Beverage Specialty Team of MSLGROUP North America.

Will any or all of these trends move into the mainstream in 2013? Stay tuned!

Northwest Wining and Dining 2013 Top Culinary Trends  

1. Locally Sourced and Grown Meats, Seafood, and Produce: Locavore Movement still white-hot. Hyper-local (restaurant gardens and rooftop beehives) even better. Wild crafting (rescuing heirlooms from obscurity or extinction) becoming important to some chefs. Environmentally sustainable as a culinary theme.

2. Healthy Restaurant Items: Gluten-free menus; chefs add brown rice, high-fiber grains, and vitamin-rich vegetable broths; chefs are more willing to accommodate special dietary requests from diners.

3. Vegetarian Dishes: Meatless meals, flexitarians, vegans, innovative salads, steamed and roasted vegetable dishes. Use of “new” and gluten-free grains including quinoa, amaranth, and millet. Kohlrabi Bourguignon an entrée at AQ restaurant in San Francisco. Vegetables serve as main dishes, not just supporting players. Millet may be the next quinoa.

4. Casualization of Dining: Food trucks, pop-up restaurants, “The Food Truck Handbook.”

5. Food in Small Packages: Cake pops, chicken bites, mini cinnamon buns, mini milkshakes, mini corn dogs, cheesecake bites, sliders. Small plates meant for sharing are being replaced by small plates designed for one person only, which leads to a truly customized dining experience.

6. Snacks as Meals: Snacks are now accounting for one in five “meal occasions,” bar food and happy hour remain wildly popular, along with tapas, mezze, upscale bar bites.

7. Asian Food Popular: Noodle dishes, pho, ramen, layered noodle bowls, fragrant soups, mixed-texture salads, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, Sriracha sauce.

8. Bold Flavors: Spicy food, real ethnic food, South American (Brazil, Argentina, Peru) foods including South American-style grilled meats and ceviche, and drinks such as the Caipirinha and Pisco Sour.

9. New Cuts of Meat: Cuts from seldom-used pieces, e.g., Denver steak, pork flat iron, teres major. Sustainable use of the “whole animal.”

10. Cocktail Craze: Bars dictate future flavors, craft cocktails, barrel-aged cocktails, micro distilleries, “girly” liquors (cake-flavored Vodka, Skinny Girl products).

11. Bitter and Sour Flavors: Fermented cherry juice, varietal vinegars, homemade bitters, sour beer, kefir (naturally fermented milk).

12. Trendy Preservation: Cured, brined, pickled, dried, dehydrated, salted, and fermented foods, kimchi (Korean pickled vegetable).

13. “Hot” Ingredients and Flavors: Hibiscus, pomegranate, anything coconut (coconut water, coconut nectar as a sweetener, even coconut oil which was once demonized as a “bad fat), stevia, Greek-style yogurt. Leafy greens including kale and chard, plus beet, turnip, and mustard greens. Arugula a main salad component.

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