September 25, 2004

Over there, over here

Only a cynic would claim that Starbucks exemplifies un-American values. But frothing up frappuccinos for the French? Mais oui, mon ami, one can now savor a bit of Seattle at four Starbucks stores in the heart of Paris.

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Immensely popular, especially with foreign students, the French Starbucks cafés thrive despite a ban on smoking ...

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But turnabout's fair play. Coming to Seattle shortly: an outpost of the Così chain, which grew out of a charming, hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop in Paris where you could get a sort of do-it-yourself pannini while listening to opera music. It's going in at the 3rd & Pine Bon Marché--not to be confused with the original Bon Marché in Paris. Seattle's Bon, sadly, will shortly be known as Mousy Macy's.

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Posted by Ronald Holden at 11:54 AM

September 22, 2004

Just Desserts

And I thought Seattle was a meat-and-potatoes town. Hah! Belltown next-door-neighbors Scott Carsberg at Lampreia and Kerry Sear at Cascadia have both garnered national press for dessert creations.

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Lampreia's Balzano apple cake is in today's New York Times; Cascadia's gelato profiteroles are in the current Bon Appétit. Yum!

Posted by Ronald Holden at 7:54 AM

September 19, 2004

In Vino Veritas

His name is Dieter Schafer and he's as close as you can find, out here in Seattle, to a wine guru. Best part: he's not the least bit pretentious. Not even a business card.

Oh, sure, he wore his Ordre Mondial regalia to the Seattle Beaujolais Nouveau Festival a couple of years ago, but only because he was named the event's Vigneron d'Honneur. He's in shirtsleeves at the Pike Place Market's Tasting Room, guiding visitors through flights of seven new Washington wines every Monday afternoon.

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And that's not all. He teaches a series of wine appreciation classes at South Seattle Community College and another at the Seattle Art Institute. He visits his old pal HansPeter Aebersold regularly to put on fine-dining and etiquette seminars at Geneva Restaurant. It takes a web site just to keep up with him!

Amazingly, Dieter claims to be retired. At least, that's what he told me when we first crossed paths some years ago. Retired from a career in hotel dining rooms around the world, retired from a stint as maitre d' at The Rainier Club and just helping out as sommelier at Mistral. Retired? Nope! Like a fine wine, he's just coming into his prime.

And hey -- if you ask him nicely -- he might even come to your house and pour wine for your guests. So ask him, already!

Posted by Ronald Holden at 11:40 AM

September 17, 2004

Benvenuto in Belltown!

Newcomers to Belltown, Seattle natives Sean and Kathy Langan have opened Cafe Amore in the space alongside Seattle Glassblowing Studio on Fifth Avenue.

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Dinners will start in October, once they get their wine license. Meantime, there's a frittata at breakfast, and a selection of salads, sandwiches, pastas and pizzas at lunchtime, served inside and at the sidewalk tables.

Sean knows the ropes; he had a hand in starting the place that's now called La Fontana Siciliana before spending 20 years in corprate kitchens. A sample of his fettucine alfredo with chicken convinced me he'll be an asset to Belltown. Delicioso!

Posted by Ronald Holden at 12:50 PM

September 4, 2004


Notes from a faithful 8-year-old correspondent, code-named Keegan:

I'm not in Issaquah anymore, that's for sure. Bumbershoot has lots of music, promos for radio stations and booths for cellphone companies. Lots of people, too, walking around and eating food from places near and far: Mediterranean countries like Lebanon, Turkey, Greece ... Asian countries like Vietnam, Thailand, India ... European countries like Germany ... American regions like Pennsylvania Dutch and Philadelphia.

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Was accompanied by Ronald, who went sniffing after spicy stuff like lamb kebabs with mint sauce, phad thai with sriracha. Me, I picked a really interesting grilled meat dish made from ground-up, leather-covered animals called beef, accompanied by root vegetables crinkle-cut into finger-size pieces and deep-fried. Tasted great when doused with a sweet red sauce made from squishy red fruit. Ronald says the natives call it "burger and fries." Funny people, grown-ups.

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Posted by Ronald Holden at 10:03 PM | Comments (74)