A Lovely Online Food and Wine Guide

October 26, 2012

I just found out about a food and wine guide that will be useful to anyone contemplating a trip around the Pacific Northwest, or even just for vicarious “travel” for armchair travelers.

The Northwest Food and Wine Guide features page after page of restaurant descriptions and menus for Portland, Seattle, Vancouver (British Columbia), and northern California.

Following the restaurant descriptors comes touring information for wineries, distilleries, and breweries in the same areas.

I loved “leafing” through the magazine’s pretty pages while viewing them on my new computer’s crisp and vibrant retina display.

The magazine’s editors are based in Portland, so the magazine skews heavily toward that town. I’m sure as they sign up more advertisers, and people find out about the Guide, that Seattle, Vancouver, and Northwest wine regions will get more play in the merry mix.



Summer Fun in Eastern Washington

May 8, 2012

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

Wenatchee Valley Upcoming Events:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Athletes ages five to 16 may participate in the five-leg race solo, tandem or as part of a team. Events include running, biking, paddling, obstacle course and a team sprint to the finish line.  To sign up or for more information, visit www.r2r.org.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Friday: July 27, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tri-Cities Upcoming Events:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Revelry, May 26, 2012

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

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

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

Annual Chalk Art Festival, June 9, 2012

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

Hogs and Dogs, June 21, 2012

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

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

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

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

This event will be the third geocoin challenge for the City of Richland, but the FIRST for all three of the Tri-Cities collectively! 10 new geocaches will be placed throughout Richland, Kennewick and Pasco.  Find all 30 geocaches and receive a geocoin puzzle piece from each city. There will be a total of 900 trackable geocoins distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis.  A catered kick-off dinner will take place on Friday, June 22 at 6 p.m. at Columbia Point Marina Park with kid-friendly activities.  The event will wrap up with a WSGA sponsored Pancake Breakfast at 9 a.m. at Columbia Pont Marina Park.  Visit http://bit.ly/GXC2bW for more information.

Grand Old Fourth Celebration, July 4, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time to Dine Around Seattle!

March 6, 2012

The amazing mussels appetizer from Steelhead Diner, one of the participants in Dine Around Seattle® 

March may bring the dreaded Ides, but also ushers in the ever-popular Dine Around Seattle®, Seattle’s original dining deal.

Now in its 11th year, Dine Around Seattle® will satisfy the fine food cravings of diners throughout the region with three-course, prix-fixe dinners for $30 and lunches for $15 at some of Seattle’s most delicious establishments.

New participants include Betty, Volterra, Local 360, Bako, The Scotch and Vine, Carmelita Vegetarian Restaurant & Bar, Assaggio, and BOKA Kitchen + Bar. (Prices do not include beverage, tax, or gratuity.)

Each restaurant will offer its Dine Around Seattle® menu Sunday through Thursday, from now until through March 29. Diners interested in making reservations can do so via the OpenTable reservations widget on the website and at the Dine Around Facebook page.

Dine Around’s blog features a lively play-by-play from participating restaurants. Diners are encouraged to check in during their dining experiences via Facebook, Twitter (@dinearoundsea), FourSquare, and Instagram.

The complete list of participating restaurants includes:

35th Street Bistro, Andaluca, ART Restaurant & Lounge, Assaggio Ristorante, Bako, Barking Frog, Barolo Ristorante, Barrio Mexican Kitchen and Bar, Betty Restaurant, Bin on the Lake, Blueacre Seafood, BOKA Kitchen + Bar, Carmelita Vegetarian Restaurant & Bar, Chandlers Crabhouse, Chez Shea, Chiso Sushi, Eva Restaurant, Fresh Bistro, Hunt Club, Le Grand Bistro Americain, Lecosho, Local 360, Lot No. 3, Mamma Melina Ristorante & Pizzeria, Monsoon East, Monsoon Seattle, Nishino, Palomino- Bellevue, Palomino-Seattle, Palisade Waterfront Restaurant, Peso’s Kitchen and Lounge, Ponti Seafood Grill, Preservation Kitchen, Purple Café and Wine Bar – Bellevue, Purple Café and Wine Bar – Kirkland, Purple Café and Wine Bar – Woodinville, Ray’s Boathouse, Shuckers, Spazzo Italian Grill & Wine Bar, Steelhead Diner, SZMANIA’S Steakhouse, Tango Restaurant, The Scotch and Vine, Toulouse Petit Kitchen & Lounge, Urbane, and Volterra.

Dine Out Vancouver: January 20 to February 5

January 17, 2012

Our friends at Tourism Vancouver sent word that the 10th annual Dine Out Vancouver, the largest restaurant festival in Canada, will run this year from January 20 to February 5, and will feature new events, special hotel offers, and the highest number of participating restaurants to date–a whopping 225!

They report that three-course, prix-fixe menus will be priced at $18, $28, and $38, with suggested BC VQA wine and beer pairings courtesy of Wines of British Columbia and Kronenbourg 1664, available at an additional cost.

Participating hotels will offer rooms priced at $78, $108, and $138 per night, and some are featuring special Dine Out packages, too.

In celebration of Dine Out Vancouver’s 10th birthday, the list of daily dining experiences has expanded to more than 70 events. Samples from this year’s tantalizing schedule include Plated & Paired at the Public Market, featuring fresh eats and wines from 10 top B.C. wineries; Kronenbourg 1664’s popular Brasserie Mystère; the brand-new Street Food Cart City; and “Salt & Pepper” events featuring salsa dancing, an exclusive chef’s table experience and more. Tickets for paid events range from $25 to $150.

Soft Tail Spirits Announces Second Location

May 31, 2011

Soft Tail Spirits, which I wrote about for The Seattle Times Pacific Northwest magazine, has some exciting news: the opening of its second location.

Within the Woodinville Tourist District, Soft Tail is located on the south roundabout, across from the popular Brian Carter Cellars tasting room.

Visitors to Woodinville are invited to come by and sample award-winning spirits, as well as their new creations, while checking out Soft Tail’s Tasting Room and Distillery.

Reportedly, the second location boasts a little more room than the first location, with two decks, tables and chairs, and a fire pit for when it gets chilly.

Both locations will be open normal hours 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, with plans to have later hours in the summer months.

Celebrate Saint Pat with a Bacon Whiskey Maple Cupcake

March 17, 2011

On March 1, the good folks at Cupcake Royale, whom I profiled in a Seattle Times Pacific Northwest article last year, rolled out their latest monthly cupcake in honor of St. Patrick’s Day: Bacon Whiskey Maple Cupcakes!

This delicious twist on Irish whiskey features moist vanilla butter cake made from local ingredients like milk, eggs, and butter from Medowsweet Dairy, and specially milled Shepherd’s Grain cake flour from Shepard’s Grain farmers in Eastern Washington.

The cake is hand-frosted with Irish Whiskey Maple Buttercream. Made with Jameson Irish Whiskey and real maple syrup, this malted maple swirl truly takes the edge of. . .a sweet tooth, that is.

Meat eaters will enjoy the real bacon bits from Zoe’s Meats that perch atop the icing; vegetarians can opt for a dusting of organic maple sugar and shamrocks.

Irish eyes will be smiling through the end of March, when Bacon Whisky Maple Cupcakes exit the cupcake case.

So visit any of the five Cupcake Royale locations in the Puget Sound area, including Bellevue, Capitol Hill, Ballard, Madrona and West Seattle for a taste. Or order up a batch for delivery today–St. Patrick’s Day–or any day until month’s end by calling 206.883.7656. You can also order online at cupcakeroyale.com.

A Duo of Bartending Books

November 8, 2010

Ever wonder how to muddle a margarita? Stock your home bar? Shake up the perfect martini?

My latest article for Amazon’s Al Dente blog, entitled, A Bevy of Bartending Books, features mini book reviews on two valuable tomes: “Bartending for Dummies” and “The Bartender’s Best Friend.”

Either or both should be on every cocktail-lover’s bookshelf!

Tulio’s Tantalizing Sorbets

August 12, 2010

Now that summer has finally arrived in Seattle, it’s time to try Tulio Ristorante chef Walter Pisano’s summer-dessert menu for grownups: housemade gelato and sorbetto imbued with Italian spirits such as Prosecco, Sambuca, and Limoncello (my fave).

The special dessert treats are available through Labor Day, so don’t delay!

To whet your appetite, here are some details of what chef Walter is dishing up:

Prosecco float: honey gelato, Italian honey cream, prosecco

Sambuca sundae: vanilla gelato, sambuca, toasted fennel praline

Lemon on lemon: limoncello over lemon sorbet, fresh mint

Amaretto split: vanilla gelato, amaretto, spiced candied marcona

Espresso grappa: espresso-infused grappa over triple chocolate gelato, chocolate covered espresso bean

Tar-Flavored Vodka and Other Scandinavian Specialties

July 20, 2010

During our recent summer vacation to Scandinavia and Russia, we enjoyed a four-hour tour of Helsinki, Finland, that culminated in a Finnish food workshop.

We were offered Finnish beer or vodka to accompany the tastes of reindeer salami, smoked salmon, heavy butter with fish roe, and wonderful fermented dark bread.

Because I’m not much of a beer drinker, I opted for the tar-flavored vodka, which smelled so strongly of tar I could hardly get it past my nose. Once I took a small sip out of the little bucket (pictured above), the tar flavor continued along with a very sweet aftertaste. Hmmm. . .maybe this is an acquired taste.

Dessert brought some relief thanks to the cloudberry cake and cranberry-studded dark chocolate (Finns supposedly love their chocolate). But the salted licorice may be another acquired taste, not unlike the tar-flavored vodka.

Once Stateside again, a ProChef SmartBrief article showed me that perhaps the Finns were simply ahead of their time, since an Alaskan distillery is making smoked salmon-flavored and one in Seattle touts bacon-flavored vodka, both reportedly very popular for use in Bloody Mary drinks.

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