Wining and Dining with Guests Through Seattle and Environs

April 15, 2013

The first week in April, from Thursday at 1:30 p.m. to Sunday at 11 a.m., we enjoyed showing my brother and sister-in-law around Seattle.

Welcome sign nan and brad

Here’s the cute “pig” blackboard sign in our condo that welcomed them to town.

Place pigalle oyster stew photo

We had our first lunch at Place Pigalle in the Pike Place Market (oyster stew, beet salad, duck confit, crab cakes). Here’s a gorgeous shot of Place Pigalle’s oyster stew, one of the best, if not THE best, version in town.

Wild Ginger Seven Elements Soup

At Wild Ginger Asian Restaurant & Satay Bar, in downtown Seattle, three of us ordered the justly famous Seven Element Soup, which is available only at lunchtime (pity!). We also managed to down platters of Seven-Spice Beef, Siam Lettuce Cups, Hanoi Tuna, and bok choy.

Restaurant Marché Vegetable Plate

My brother was here partly for business reasons, so on the day he crossed over the mountains to attend a meeting in Yakima, Spencer and I took sis-in-law on a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island for a nature walk, exploring downtown, and lunch at our friend, Greg Atkinson’s, lovely Restaurant Marché.

We loved the menu, and enjoyed wild salmon, the Market Vegetable Plate (a daily-changing entrée with “five veggies five ways,” such as braised greens, grilled asparagus, carrots, and pea flan the day we were there).

Restaurant Marché Salad Niçoise

Here is my gorgeous Salade Niçoise with a very generous portion of perfectly cooked albacore tuna riding atop. The recipe is on Greg’s website and would be a snap to whip up at home.

And although we really weren’t hungry, we had to try a scoop at Mora Iced Creamery shop just outside of Marché. Pistachio, Gianduja (Italian hazelnut chocolate), and Coconut were our delectable choices.

Debra prinzing bouquet book

It was thrilling to see my dear friend Debra Prinzing’s book, “The 50-Mile Bouquet,” prominently displayed in the front window at Intentional Table on Bainbridge, in the Madrone Lane area  just outside Marché.

Steelhead Diner Caviar Pie

Our three dinners began in grand style at Steelhead Diner in the Pike Place Market, just across the street from bro and sis-in-law’s hotel, the beautiful, boutique-y Inn at the Market. In a bit of New Orleans-style lagniappe, chef Anthony sent over one of our absolute favorite dishes in Seattle–Caviar Pie.

After devouring that, we ordered more: Dungeness Crab Cake, Kasu Cod, troll-caught salmon. . .

Steelhead Diner Whole Idaho Trout

and the gorgeous whole Idaho Trout swimming in a brown-butter bath and sprinkled with a plethora of plump pecans. Yum!

Terra Plata shisito peppers

Vowing never to eat (or drink) again, we somehow managed to rally the next evening at Terra Plata, where the truly addictive Shisito Peppers with Aïoli didn’t last long.

Terra Plata Scallop Crudo

Nor did the Roasted Olives, Medjool Dates, or Scallop Crudo (pictured above).

Terra Plata Scallop Crudo

Scallops with Melted Leeks and a fried quail egg was my entrée; the meat eaters enjoyed the Braised Short Ribs.

Terra plata pavlova dessert

Two desserts sated our sweet tooths (teeth?!?!). Here’s the Pavlova. . .

Terra plata apple tart

And the Apple Tart.

RN74 Tomato Soup Fondue

For our last supper (sounds rather dire!), we lived it up at the always ebullient RN74 in downtown Seattle. Sis-in-law loved the Tomato Soup Fondue, while bro ordered a gorgeous Green Pea Soup with Dungeness crab. Spencer opted for escargots (served in the shell!), and I got the Butter Lettuce Salad with Blue Cheese.

RN74 Black Cod

Here’s the generous portion of Black Cod with Bok Choy and Wild Mushrooms that I ordered. Beef Bourguignon, Duck Breast, and Beef Filet satisfied my dining companions.

RN74 Woodward Canyon Wine

From the Last Bottle list (an ever-changing board, much like a railroad-station board) we chose a 2005 Woodward Canyon Winery Red Blend (made up of Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc and Merlot) that was drinking absolutely perfectly (and a steal at $110, which is the reason we love the Last Bottle List so much!).

Etta's Seafood Salmon Cakes

Bro and sis-in-law wanted a really good Dungeness Crab Benedict for their final meal in Seattle. So bright and early (at least for Spencer and me) at 9:30 on Sunday morning, we trotted down the hill from their hotel for brunch at Etta’s, one of legendary Seattle chef Tom Douglas’s 10 restaurants.

By now, even intrepid eaters such as Spencer and me were in a food and wine coma. So I was very appreciate of the brunch special of the day since it was a bit on the lighter/healthier side: Salmon Cake and Grilled Asparagus and Arugula Salad (well, maybe the fried egg on top wasn’t so healthy!).

Etta's Seafood Dungeness Crab Benedict

The relatives raved about their Dungeness Crab Cakes Benedict, and Spencer chowed down on one of his long-time favorite dishes about town: Etta’s Breakfast (scrambled eggs, house-made chicken sausage, home fries, and sour-dough toast).

Etta's Seafood Family Group Shot

Here we are about to chow down at Etta’s, looking happy, and perhaps a few pounds heavier, after so much good food and drink in such a concentrated amount of time.

Of course, we did some sightseeing along the way (had to burn off some of those calories!) and enjoyed (and highly recommend) Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour. We had been last May with Spencer’s cousin and wife, so feared we might be bored going again so soon. But we had a great guide–Dietrich–who has been working for the company on and off since 1989. He looked at things from an architectural standpoint as well as historical, and we all agreed we learned a lot and had a lot of fun doing it.

SAM MIRROR art installation

We also spent a few hours at the Seattle Art Museum’s current exhibit: Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: The Treasure of Kenwood House, London. The paintings were truly inspiring, but perhaps most noteworthy (downright awesome) were the Rembrandt etchings.

Pike Place Market Scene

Bro and sis-in-law enjoyed discovering Pike Place Market, especially Le Panier for morning coffee, croissant, and banana bread.

Utilikilt Damaged Dummy Display

The weather was downright ugly (drizzle, heavy rain, a little sun, sunshine while it was raining!), and here is proof–a downed mannequin in front of the Utilikilts store in Pioneer Square.

Seattle Cityscape from Bainbridge Island Ferry

More proof of the inclement weather; brooding skies as shown from the ferry coming back from Bainbridge Island.

Seattle great wheel elliott bay waterfront july 4 photo

Bro and sis-in-law promised they would be back soon, so I’ve already started thinking about what we will do next time.

For starters? How about a ride on the Seattle Great Wheel?


Top-10 Drink Menu Trends for 2013

February 25, 2013

In our last blog post, we cited our 13 top culinary trends  for 2013.

Today we cover the top-10 drink menu trends for beverages, gathered from members of the United States Bartenders Guild.

United States Bartenders Guild Top-10 Drink Menu Trends for 2013

1. Onsite barrel-aged drinks.

2. Food-liquor/cocktail pairings.

3. Culinary cocktails using fresh, savory ingredients.

4. Micro-distilled/artisan liquor.

5. Locally produced spirits.

6. Locally sourced fruit, berries, and produce.

7. Beer sommeliers (cicerones).

8. Regional signature cocktails.

9. Beer-based cocktails.

10. Locally produced beer.

Source: National Restaurant Association

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.

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

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

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

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 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

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,

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

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

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

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,

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

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

• 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

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

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 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

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

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.

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

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

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

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 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 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.

Capital Grille Glorious Happy Hour

March 16, 2012

Now that we are living the low-carb/high-protein lifestyle, downtown Seattle’s Capital Grille has become one of our go-to places for a simply grilled piece of fish and a wedge salad.

The Grille is located in the venerable Cobb Building. It served as a medical/dental building for many years (our very own , now-retired dentist had an office there) before being converted into apartments. . .and home to The Capital Grille.

Here’s a gorgeous piece of ivory salmon I enjoyed a few weeks ago. Although a bit more cooked than I would have liked, the fish was flapping fresh and the simple tomato sauce and sautéed spinach didn’t overpower.

At a business appointment in the Grille’s bar earlier that afternoon, I enjoyed a glass of good-quality Sauvignon Blanc while Spencer had a California Pinot Noir. We didn’t have appetizers (knowing we were coming back for dinner in a few short hours) but watched in amazement as several of the tables around us partook of Miniature Lobster and Dungeness Crab Burgers, Pan-Fried Calamari, and Parmesan Truffle Fries.

Happy Hour is offered weekdays 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., with all selections just six bucks apiece. Signature cocktails including the Stoli Doli (Cap Grille’s Signature Martini, infused with fresh pineapple!), Hemingway Daiquiri, or Adults Only Arnold Palmer, along with select wines by the glass are also available.

I’ll be back for such low-carb options as the Prawn Cocktail, while Spencer can enjoy red-meat options including the Miniature Tenderloin Sandwich or Miniature Signature Cheeseburger. Just hold the bread, please!

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.

Seattle Wine and Food Experience: February 26

January 3, 2012

Mark your calendars now. . .

For the Seattle Wine and Food Experience, the premier showcase for wine and food in the Northwest.

The event will take place Sunday, February 26, 2012, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, 305 Harrison Street in Seattle.

Guests will experience a world tour of wine, beer, and all things culinary, according to a recent press release.

The event benefits The Giving Grapes Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that assists local charities who provide financial assistance to service industry professionals.

Event features include:

Wines from around the world

Featured Wine Region: Oregon

Beer and cider exhibit

Sip Northwest Distillery Row

20+ chefs preparing gourmet bites

Viking demo stage hosted the “Chef in the Hat” Thierry Rautureau

Fonté Coffee Lounge

Artisan Food “Shop”

Washington Beef Bistro

Live Music

Wineries from a variety of countries as well as Washington State, California, Oregon, and Idaho are participating in the event.

“Our wines have always enjoyed a strong following among Seattle wine lovers, and the Seattle Wine and Food Experience is a premier event,” said Steve Burns, Oregon Wine Board Interim Executive Director. “To be the lead regional sponsor is an exceptional opportunity for Oregon’s top wineries to build and strengthen their following in Washington.”

Tickets are $49.

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

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