Taste Washington seminars

Don’t Miss Taste Washington March 29 and 30

Taste Washington 2014

Here in Vancouver, BC we typically think about wines from BC, but just a short drive south to Washington state, you can also find wonderful wines.  A great way to get an introduction to Washington State wines is to attend Taste Washington, a yearly event held in Seattle.  The 17th annual Taste Washington event is scheduled for Saturday, March 29 and Sunday, March 30, 2014, at CenturyLink Field Event Center.

Cairdeas Winery Nellie Mae Viognier Roussanne 2011

Cairdeas Winery Nellie Mae Viognier Roussanne 2011

I have been attending Taste Washington for a few years, and learn alot about the wines.  Instead of driving across Washington state to try different wines, or visiting clusters of tasting rooms in Woodinville, the wineries come to you at Taste Washington.  If you are a lover of Syrah for example, you could sample and compare the wide range at this event, and finding out which wineries match to your palate.  All in one day.  On your own, it may take a whole summer of driving around Washington state to taste the same number of Syrah.  Also you can also go back to a winery table and re-taste a wine to compare with another wine.  A real fun, learning experience.

Seared tuna salad at Taste Washington

Seared tuna salad at Taste Washington

There are two components to this event.  The first, and largest, component is the food & wine tasting room, where you can try wine from over 180 different wineries!  I really like the tasting room as there are food stations hosted by various Washington state restaurants where you can try food and wine together.  The other component are the seminars. There are 4 seminars each day covering different topics related to Washington wine.  The seminars are very interesting. A few topics are:

  • learning about blending wines (a hands-on experience),
  • food & wine pairing, wines from old vines,
  • Rhone grape varieties, and
  • Washington vs the world.

Here are a few posts and youtube videos that I have done from past Taste Washington events:

I encourage you to buy your tickets for this event before it sells out.  See you there!

Party with a Purpose in January in Seattle with NOLA Style

If you have been reading my past articles you will know about Chef John Howie and how he contributes back to Society.  Here is his latest event in Seattle, Washington.  It sounds fun.  I love New Orleans food and spirit.  Here is the announcement of the event.  If you are in Vancouver, BC like me, this is an easy trip down. Enjoy!



John Howie and Craig Terrill

John Howie and Craig Terrill

Seattle, Washington — Chef John Howie and singing Seahawk alumni Craig Terrill are bringing a taste of New Orleans, the official host city of Super Bowl XLVII, to SPORT Restaurant & Bar on Thursday, January 10th, 2013. The duo, the Seahawks’ chef and alumni representatives for football’s biggest faceoff, have organized “The Big Easy” inspired event as part of the “Kick Hunger Challenge” sponsored by Taste of the NFL.   That evening, 150 guests will enjoy an evening of fun, food and foot-stomping music with 100% of the proceeds going to Food Lifeline and fighting hunger in Western Washington. For every dollar raised, the organization will be able to provide a full day of nutritious meals for a hungry individual.

The “Party with a Purpose” is priced at $35 per person and kicks off at 7:00 pm with a hearty dinner of distinctive Creole and Cajun influenced dishes including Gumbo, Spicy Creole Chicken, Cajun Style Crawfish Boil with Corn & Red Potatoes, Jambalaya made with Andouille Sausage & Tasso Ham, and Maker’s Mark Bourbon Bread Pudding.  Craig Terrill and his band, comprised of some of Seattle’s best musicians, will play original American Rock songs as well as classics.  Guests will also have a chance during a special silent auction to bid on an amazing array of specialty items from Seahawk memorabilia to food and drink certificates at venues throughout the city. Throughout the evening, there will be special drink pricing on featured cocktails such as the Hurricane and local brews.

SPORT will be closed for this blockbuster fundraiser to walk-in dining the night of the event.  Tickets are available for purchase on Brown Paper Tickets at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/306667 .

Fonte’s 4th Annual Holiday Coffee For a Cause

Fonte Coffee Roaster and Pike Market Child CareIf you are in the Seattle area and you like good coffee, you may want to buy coffee from Fonté Coffee Roaster, who will donate net proceeds of their Limited Edition Holiday blend to a charity. Read the details below.


Seattle WA — Beginning November 20 through the end of December 2012, Seattle’s Fonté Coffee Roaster will donate all net proceeds from sales of its “Limited Edition Holiday Blend” to The Pike Market Child Care and Preschool. Fonté has set a fundraising goal of $25,000 to underwrite the Preschool’s 2013 meal program, which will serve 25,000 meals and nutritional snacks for the entire year. It will also help the school reach its goal to make high quality child care and preschool programs available to children in need.  This year’s Holiday Blend will be available for $18 per pound at Fonté Café and Wine Bar, located in downtown Seattle across from the Seattle Art Museum or online at www.fontecoffee.com.

Celebrating it’s 30th year, the nationally accredited Pike Market Child Care and Preschool continues to foster a passion for learning by ensuring families access to quality early education in a diverse urban environment. Since 1982, the Preschool has provided tuition assistance for 70% of families, with most living at or below the poverty level. Children in the program are afforded excellent care, healthy meals, and social and learning skills necessary to succeed in Kindergarten and beyond. For more information about the school, visit www.pikemarketkids.org.

“Each November at Fonté, we look forward to kicking off the holiday season with the release of our special limited Holiday Blend,” said owner Paul Odom. “As a father of two, I am really drawn to supporting children’s charities, especially the Pike Market Child Care and Preschool. Education and child development is important to me — this particular program helps so many.  This will be our fourth year to share the net proceeds, an annual tradition that has become very dear to us; it is our way of giving back and investing in the community.”

Fonté’s Master Roaster Steve Smith created this year’s Holiday Blend with some of their favorite coffees from the world’s 2012 crop. The creamy sweet Brazils next to rare cedar toned monsooned Indian coffees form a foundation supporting the lively interplay between a stunningly bright Kenya and the clean fruitiness of the natural Ethiopia Sidamo. The resulting cup is complex, but straightforward, featuring a smooth aged aroma that blossoms at first sip, dissolving into bright citrus notes and then reappearing in a wonderfully balanced aftertaste with distinctive cedar and sweet fruit aromas.

2012 Holiday Blend Coffees
Estate Brazil, Monsooned Malabar, Auction Lot Kenya and Ethiopia Sidamo

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About Fonté Coffee Roaster – Celebrating 20 Years
Fonté Coffee Roaster, one of Seattle’s premium independent roasters provides single origin and specialty coffees and tea for cafes, retailers, restaurants and hotels.  The company was founded in 1992 by Seattle native Paul Odom to create coffees that would please the most discriminating enthusiast.  Fonté’s Master Roaster Steve Smith (during his 12 year tenure at Starbucks, he was the first and only roaster to earn the title of Master Roaster) is committed to exceptional cup quality. He sources the best handpicked beans, blends compatible aromas and flavors with artisan quality, and roasts by hand with masterful expertise. Smith manages a rigorous roast to order production process that involves shipping on the same day of roasting, ensuring to-the-minute freshness. For more information about Fonté’s finely crafted coffees, please visit www.fontecoffee.com

A Wine Made Specially for John Howie Steak in Washington

John Howie Columbia Valley Merlot

John Howie Columbia Valley Merlot

It is fun for me to find out about restaurants around Vancouver and visiting them. Trying their latest creations and wine pairings.  But also of interest, is our neighbours, in this case Seattle. There are a lot of great restaurants that we may not have heard of up here in Vancouver, but think about spending a weekend in Seattle and trying out the culinary and wine scene.  With that in mind, I received this latest announcement from the John Howie restaurant group about a wine made specially for them.  John Howie has 3 restaurants where you can try their new wine.  Read about it here.


Bellevue, Washington — Erik Liedholm, Company Wine Director for John Howie Restaurant Group and Seattle Magazine’s 2012 “Sommelier of the Year”, estimates that he has tasted thousands of wines during his 20-year career, created pairings for at least a couple of hundred dinners and has lost count of the numerous classes he has taught.  What could be a more natural next-step than blending wine?  The result is a stellar new bottling:  John Howie Columbia Valley Merlot, making its debut October 17th.

Liedholm and Chef Howie had recently finished collaborating on John’s cookbook, Passion & Palate: Recipes for a Generous Table (in which Erik provided recipe wine pairings), whenthe two business partners and close friends came up with the idea to produce house wine for the five venue restaurant group.   Rather than ask a specific winery to just custom label one of their own products, Erik and John wanted to craft a high quality wine that had a distinctive flavor profile.

Liedholm approached owner/executive winemaker Mark Ryan McNeilly of Mark Ryan Winery, who he had known for several years. After much discussion, Mark and Erik began blending wines from numerous grape varietals and vineyards,  finally arriving at a beautifully structured gem of a Merlot, created from 88% Merlot and 12% Cabernet Sauvignon.  “The goal was to have a luxuriously textured plumy wine, but still offer a nice balance of acidity, so it would pair with a wide variety of dishes from all the restaurants in the John Howie Restaurant portfolio,” says Liedholm.

John Howie Columbia Valley Merlot will join the wine list next Wednesday at both Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar locations (Bellevue and Seattle) as well as at John Howie Steak.  It will soon follow at SPORT Restaurant & Bar and Tacoma’s Adriatic Grill.   Priced at $56 a bottle, $18 for an 8-ounce glass and $9 for a 4-ounce glass, availability will be limited to only John Howie affiliated restaurants.   Those wishing to purchase a bottle to enjoy at home can do so at list price, less a 20% “to go” discount.

A private John Howie label cuvee of Champagne from Duval-Leroy will follow by December.

Fish Tales and Pike Ales Educational Dinner in Seattle

Les Dames d’Escoffier

This announcement came through my email a few days ago.  If you would like to learn about the virtues of wild seafood, and enjoy some delicious seafood dishes, paired with Pike Brewing Company microbrewery beer, then you should attend this educational dinner, presented by the Les Dames d’Escoffier in Seattle.  Here is their announcement.  If you are in Vancouver, BC, it is an easy 2.5 hr drive to Seattle. Enjoy!


Save the date for Fish Tales & Pike Ales, a progressive educational dinner presented by Les Dames d’Escoffier, Seattle Chapter (LDES) on Thursday, September 27, 2012, from 5:30 to 8:30 at the Pike Pub, 1415 First Avenue, in downtown Seattle.

Fish Tales & Pike Ales is designed to “school” both food-professional and consumer “a-fish-ionados” on the virtues of wild seafood, with an emphasis on the attributes and advantages of using frozen products. The event’s major donor, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI), will supply a majority of the evening’s seafood including Alaskan-caught sockeye salmon, Pacific cod, and crab. 

Dishes prepared by LDES members—seafood chowder, seafood-salad wraps, and the Pub’s signature Spicy Wild Salmon (salmon stuffed with a Dungeness crab cake)—will be paired with appropriate Pike Brewing Company microbrews and wines from Washington State. Event attendees will be divided into three groups “schooled” by professional fishers, cookbook authors, and other seafood-savvy experts.

Where to Buy Tickets

Tickets cost $75 per person and will be available through PayPal on the LDES website. A $500 raffle basket containing a Kindle Fire, a gift card for e-books, and other Dames-donated items will be another exciting part of Fish Tales & Pike Ales fundraiser.

About Les Dames d’Escoffier, Seattle Chapter: Les Dames d’Escoffier, Seattle Chapter, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit charitable organization, is an invitational society of professional women of high achievement in the fields of food, beverage, and hospitality. Its mission is education, advocacy, and philanthropy, and it provides and supports opportunities in these areas.

During its 23-year history, the organization has disbursed in excess of $475,000 for scholarships and grants. The chapter’s 67 members include such food- and wine-industry trailblazers as Kathy Casey (Kathy Casey Food Studios—Liquid Kitchen), Holly Smith (Cafe Juanita), Fran Bigelow (Fran’s Chocolates), Kay Simon (Chinook Wines), and Rose Ann Finkel (Pike Brewing Company). www.lesdamesseattle.com

About ASMI: ASMI is a partnership of the State of Alaska and the Alaska seafood industry that promotes the 
benefits of wild and sustainable Alaska seafood. For more than 50 years, Alaska has been dedicated to sustainable seafood. As a result, Alaskans understand the need to protect the fisheries and surrounding habitats for future generations. www.alaskaseafood.org

About Pike Brewing Company: Pike Brewing Company was founded in 1989 by Charles and Rose Ann Finkel. Located in downtown Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market, Pike Brewing Company crafts 14 world-class beers; serves local, sustainable food; and is family and environmentally friendly. The Museum Room is dedicated to the history of beer from its earliest beginnings in Egypt to current day, and functions as an event venue for private parties and gatherings. www.pikebrewing.com

Seattle Restauranteur John Howie Goes to NFL Super Bowl XLVI

Taste of the NFL

Are you an NFL football fan and a foodie? Well you can have the best of both worlds if you go to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis. Here is a press release about a local Seattle restauranteur bringing Pacific Northwest cuisine to the NFL.


Proprietor and author Chef John Howie, is off to Super Bowl XLVI (46) in Indianapolis in 10 days.  Although Howie is as renowned for his love of sports as he is as a restaurateur (Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar in Bellevue & Seattle, John Howie Steak – Bellevue and SPORT Restaurant – Seattle), he will not be down on the playing field or sitting in the stands watching the Patriots and Giants face off.  Rather, in a combo of his passions, he will be representing the Northwest and the Seattle Seahawks on the eve of the big game at the “Taste of the NFL”, a strolling food and wine event.  More than 35 food stations, each from an NFL city, will provide food and wine samples for guests to savor.  Each chef is paired with an NFL player at their station, either past or current, and Howie will again be joined by Seahawks defensive lineman Craig Terrill.  The evening includes a silent auction with hundreds of one-of-a-kind sports and entertainment items as well as incredible getaways.  This year it will conclude with a live concert performance by multi-platinum and award-winning country singer and songwriter Sara Evans.  Titled the Party with a Purpose, the proceeds from the event will benefit food banks in each of the NFL cities (in Seattle Food Lifeline), with an emphasis on the Super Bowl host city’s food bank.

Howie has appeared at the “Taste of the NFL” every year since 2004.  This year he will be preparing Ancho Chili Applewood Scented King Salmon on Southwestern Roasted Corn Mashed Potatoes with Sweet Chili Hollandaise and Lime Cream from his new cookbook Passion & Palate: Recipes for a Generous Table.  Since 1992, Taste has distributed more than $11 million to hunger relief organizations nationwide.

Ticket prices are $600 and the event is attended by approximately 5,000 guests.  To attend, purchase tickets online at www.TasteoftheNFL.com or by phone at 888-695-0888 (extra fees do apply).