Over two dozen Washington wineries turned out at Salty's on Alki for this year's Sexy Syrah tasting produced by wine entrepreneur David LeClaire. Sexiest label: Wilridge Winery's 2001 Syrah from Elephant Mountain vineyard in the Yakima Valley. Tasted ripe and rich.
Wilridge winemaker Paul Beveridge shared a table with John Bell, who started Willis Hall Winery after he retired from Boeing; he makes a tasty drop, too. Paul and John have something else in common: both make wine in their garage, just like the French garagistes!
"Open Mic" night at Nana's Soup House in Ravenna last night. Tasty soup duo: a creamy baked potato and a mild chicken fiesta. MC was Jed Myers, psychiatrist by day, poet and folk singer by night. Best act: gang of 8th graders, including Jed's son Jonas, most of them members of the award-winning Washington Middle School jazz band.
The players, from left: Jonas Myers, Andrew Morale (who's actually in the Eckstein Middle School Jazz Band), Sam Koelle, Carl Majeau, Jed, Eli Rumpf (hidden behind Jed), Gabe Martin (orange jacket).
Lunch a couple of days ago at Canlis. Straightforward menu: a salad, a small steak, "apple pie." The genius was in the execution: the salad was garnished with toast points spread with tapenade and white anchovies. The steak was an unbelievably flavorful filet from Misty Isle Farms on Vashion Island [Black Angus, aged 21 days]. And the dessert was a clever tarte tatin paired with vanilla ice cream.
You know the date. Go back a year, I was complaining about green beer. This year, I know what to do: Happy Hour at Whisky Bar. The martini may not be green, but the olives are. And, hey, it's three only bucks!
Taking over the space of the unlamented, truly dreary Second Avenue Pizza is Nexxus, a café with a dozen networked Sony Playstations in the infamous back room; in place of giant speakers for tuneless punk-rock bands, there's a bank of 27-inch plasma screens.
Out front, to attract opening-day customers, Breanne Montoya and Gina Weishaar carried free coffee around Belltown's sidewalks. Hey, give these girls some logo t-shirts!
After a nine-month gestation, the much-awaited In Touch Travel has come into the world. Developed by my former colleague Andrea Nims, it's a program designed for experienced travelers who want to meet "real people" on their vacations.
Cultural tourism isn't a new phenomenon, though it gets much less attention than it deserves from local tourist boards [funded by suppliers of commercial services]. Non-profit organizations like People-to-People and Servas International have been around for decades, but In Touch may be the first to offer an upscale version of "cultural immersion" to the general public.
Andrea is starting with a roster of about 30 hosts, most in France, many of them experts in gastronomy, wine, art or history. You can book a day of a host's "in depth" expertise, or spend a couple of days "up close," just hanging out with your host. Either way, you'll get to know a real person living a real life in another culture ... someone who doesn't carry your bags or have his hand out ... and that's priceless.
Kind of far-fetched, but, hey. Last year, I congratulated Michel Trama on his third Michelin star. This year, it's Régis Marcon. The Seattle connection is culinary consultant and Seattle Times food writer Greg Atkinson, who spent a summer at Marcon's remote country inn, l'Auberge et Clos des Cîmes, and wrote about the experience in Pacific Magazine last year.
Shayn Bjornholm, the senior sommelier at Canlis, topped the list of candidates for the exclusive Master Sommelier competition in San Francisco last week. Shayn passed all three portions of the Masters Exam on his first attempt -- tasting, theory, service -- and was awarded the prestigious Krug Cup.
With last week's induction, there are now 73 Master Sommeliers in the United States. More on the competition and on the reaction at the restaurant.
March 16th UPDATE: Nice piece by Hsiao-Ching Chou in this morning's Post-Intelligencer.
We called it a wine-sharing party, everyone bringing something interesting from their cellar, because, after all, that's what wine is for: to share with friends in congenial surroundings. In this case, Carnegie's, an elegant mansion in Ballard.
The party was sponsored by the Seattle branch of the International Wine & Food Society. Our thanks to Chef Jerry Brame, who set out a lavish buffet, and to Dean Stephens, whose 1990 Château l'Evangile from Pomerol was voted the favorite wine of the evening. More photos follow.
Many of these posts also appear on Seattlest.com, part of another network of city blogs.
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