Monday, October 27, 2008
Doesn't that title set a festive mood? That's exactly how I felt as I excitedly anticipated this event today. A gorgeous Sunday afternoon in Seattle, a babysitter watching the kiddos, and a food and wine experience. Not only did FoodBuzz secure a free ticket for me as one of their featured publishers, but I got a whole package of interesting goodies including an important-looking Press pass!
I didn't really know what to expect heading through the doors, only that I was to take photographs, make notes, and try lots of delectable treats from some amazing Seattle restaurants and wash them down with little tastes of oh so many wines from the Napa Valley wine region. Sounds like a good day, doesn't it?
Press passes are cool, let me tell you. I should have known from the gate security's comment that, "Oh, you're press, you don't even need a ticket, do you?" But as soon as I walked through the door I was introduced to a couple of different event coordinators and handed several VIP food tasting cards to be used at various restaurant booths including Rovers, Salish Lodge, Cafe Juanita, Campagne, Etta's, and Crush. Plus a large wine card to be checked off as I tasted different wines--as it turned out, only a couple of booths actually checked anything off (lucky for them I'm not a complete lush!).
But, first, let's talk about the food.
Right off the bat, we wasted a couple of our VIP food passes on some ultra heavy braises at the Rovers stand. I believe it was an elk braise with farro and a rabbit braise with white beans--think cassoulet. It was difficult to negotiate the fork and tiny plate while also holding my wine glass. Plus, the spices just weren't my favorite. And honestly the rabbit could have been chicken.
Actually, braises seemed to be a popular theme among the food booths. Campagne also served a braise--beef stew a la frenchie--which normally I love, but not really at a food and wine event!
The best braise of the day was from Crush--a three year old restaurant in Madison. Get ready for this...pork belly braised in bourbon and cider served over smoked apples, garnished with bacon powder (yes, the white fluff really is bacon powder!). Fabulous. Visit them at Crush.
Some other absolutely delicious highlights include a foie gras stuffed duck meatball with huckleberry sauce from a newer Italian inspired restaurant in the U-District called Enotria.
And thank you to the chef from Salish Lodge for giving us some truly perfect food bites. This one which one of the chefs set out especially for this shot started with a tiny bagelish round of bread topped with huckleberry preserves and a swirl of delicious foie gras, garnished with a bit of rosemary.
The best sweets table goes to the ladies at Alaska Silk Pie who served up a couple of martini glasses full of either double chocolate silk or a strawberry-key lime-white chocolate silk. Very New Year's Eve.
Thank goodness this was located next to Tony's Coffee the maker of my all-time favorite coffee: Cafe Caramelita which I have bought at PCC for several years now.
A couple of other wonderful tastes came from products on the Stonewall Kitchen table--amazing lemon curd, strawberry champagne dessert sauce, and chardonnay caramel sauce.
Loved the fig almond fruit paste from Valley Produce Company, an Australian company. The proprietor had the sense to give me a free sample (after all, I was Press). Apparently, a whole pound of fruit goes into a 2.6 oz. block of fruit paste. Serve it up with some blue cheese.
And for a healthful alternative to the standard peanut butter, try cinnamon walnut pecan butter from Marilyn's Nut Butters .
Now onto some delectable libations...
Lots of bubbly out there...I got schmoozed by the beach bum at Barefoot Bubbly, but oddly felt that I was interrupting something between him and a blonde SoCal desperate housewife wannabe.
We especially enjoyed Brazin--a label on the Gnarly Head table (I've always loved their Old Vine Zin that my friend Gretchen introduced me to a couple of years back).
A special shout out to the self-described "unpretentious wine club",
Seattle Uncorked. This wine club is FREE to join, protective of your info, offering a discount on admission to local wine events and in several wine stores. Sommelier David LeClaire heads up this club, so for questions you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Obviously, I could go on and on...I didn't even mention the squid chorizo salad from Tom Douglas's Etta's or the Grand Marnier Prawns from The Barking Frog (tasty but mushy, tempura batter needed). Or hundreds of other wines I didn't get to.
Thanks for a spectacular day, FoodBuzz! I'm in for next year.