Star Studded BBQ With Winemaker Eric Dunham & Celeb Kyle MacLachlan at Tulalip Casino

Eric Dunham and Kyle MacLachlan courtesy of Vogue

The Tulalip Resort Casino in WA State has put on some very classy wine and food events in the past, with the most recent that I attended was the “Taste of Tulalip” in November.  I just received this press release of their upcoming summer wine makers’ dinner series, and they make me want to drive down to each one!  I no doubt these will be spectacular events based on the past events.  Enjoy!


Tulalip, Washington — Eric Dunham, enological legend and Walla Walla wine world luminary will share his award-winning, single vineyard “Artist Series Wines” at Tulalip Resort Casino on Saturday, June 23rd.  In partnership with screen star and Washington native Kyle MacLachlan (check Kyle’s bio here), the duo has created Pursued by Bear, Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Baby Bear Syrah. Both join culinarian extraordinaire Chef Perry Mascitti and his team for an evening of great sips, quips and exceptional food pairings under the direction of Tulalip Sommelier Tom Thompson. Guests will be served under the stars or by the fire on the Mpulse patio.

This rare and not to be missed summer star-studded evening, will feature five dynamic food stations. Each showcases the diversity of Tulalip’s culinary depth.  The meat and fish grilling station offers guests a selection of six basting sauces, seasoning salt and assorted relishes.  Among the plethora of vegetable station choices is a cedar grilled garden bundle and attendees are invited to slide into the slider station to try the mini-halibut burger, Italian sausage focaccia and venison sliders.  As diners toss their way over to the salad section, they can nibble on everything seasonal.  Chef Nikol will work her usual kitchen magic (done with sweetness) on a trio of sinful desserts including fried fruit pies and fudgesicles.

The winemaker dinner series continues on July 7 when 2012 Taste of Tulalip Honorary Winemaker Chris Sparkman of Sparkman Cellars shares his powerhouse pours and shows how well suited they are to enjoy with great food.  This is a winemaker who knows his stuff having spent a couple of decades as a sommelier and wine buyer for some of the U.S.’s best restaurants.

On August 4th, guests will dine al fresco with the wine pioneering Mondavi’s as Marc and his family bring their legendary Napa bottling selection to Tulalip.  Chef Perry will prepare a mid-summer evening “Krug family picnic on the lawn” at the resort’s Amphitheatre, while the Mondavi generations speak about their family’s amazing history.

The Dunham / MacLachlan Winemaker Dinner Details

The Dunham/MacLachlan Winemaker Dinner begins at 5:00 pm and is priced at $115 pp all-inclusive as is the evening with Sparkman Cellars.  The Mondavi Generations Picnic is priced at $145 pp all-inclusive.  Guests can save by purchasing the entire series of three events for $340 pp all-inclusive.   For ticket purchase go to

About Tulalip Resort Casino
Tulalip Resort Casino is the largest and most distinctive gaming, meeting, dining, entertainment and shopping destination in Washington State. The AAA Four Diamond resort’s world-class amenities have earned the property Condé Nast Traveler Gold List status as well as the “Best Resort” award from NW Meetings & Events magazine.  With six dining venues, headlined by the exceptional Tulalip Bay (TB) restaurant and Blackfish Wild Salmon Grill and Bar (BF), the restaurants have been individually honored with accolades from Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of Excellence” (TB), the Washington Wine Commission “Award of Distinction” (BF) and “Grand Award” (TB), the Seattle Magazine award for restaurant leadership in the business community (TB), to Wine Press Northwest’s “Herbies” for an “Outstanding Washington Wine List” (TB).  The Taste of Tulalip, the resort’s annual signature food, wine and tradition event has also been recognized as the “Best Wine Event Featuring Washington Wine”.  Tulalip is conveniently located between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., just  off Interstate-5 at exit 200 and is an enterprise of the Tulalip Tribes.  For reservations please call (866) 716-7162 or visit .


SEASTAR May Wine Class Focuses on Boushey and Billo

This came through my email today.  It sounds very interesting.  If you live in WA state, or in BC and can drive across the border, consider signing up for this wine class.


Sip and Study as the Scandinavian Wine Hacks Share Stories of Washington Wine Icons 

 Billo Naravane

Billo Naravane

Dick Boushey

Dick Boushey

Bellevue, Washington — The “Scandinavian Wine Hacks” continue their spring 2012 wine class curriculum at Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar in Bellevue on Monday, May 14th with “Washington Renaissance:  Boushey and Billo”.  This is the 9th consecutive year that oenophiles Erik Liedholm and Lars Ryssdal  have offered wine education at John Howie’s eastside dining hotspot, located at 205 – 108th NE in Bellevue’s Civica Building.  The New York Times has remarked that the pair “…pours only the Gold Standard” in their seminars.

Boushey and Billo are two of the dynamic duo’s favorite Washington wine icons. One is relatively new on the scene but has quickly made a name for himself as one of the best winemakers in the state. The other has been the most respected grape grower in the Washington for over three decades. The evening’s class will explore the correlation between vine and wine with Rasa Vineyards winemaker/co-owner Billo Naravane and Boushey Vineyards owner Dick Boushey.  During the class, students will experience a tasting of the Rasa Vineyards portfolio and an exploration into Boushey.  The course begins at 6:30pm, runs for approximately two hours and is priced at $60, exclusive of tax.  There is a 48-hour cancellation policy.  Reservations may be made by calling Erik Liedholm at (425) 456-0010 x46.

The final spring offering will be a Seastar Wine School first:  a road trip to Napa.  With the “wine hacks” as their guide, participants will have an exclusive tour and tasting of California’s Napa Valley wine region.  Airfare, airport transfers, ultra-deluxe lodgings, superior winery tastings and incredible meals are included.  For dates and pricing, contact Erik Liedholm at (425) 456-0010 x46 or .  Space is limited.

What a Celebration Dinner at Taste of Tulalip!

I really had a great time over the 2 days at the 3rd Annual Taste of Tulalip on Nov 11 and 12 at the Tulalip Resort Casino in WA State with “Top Chef” alum, Carla Hall, wine celeb,”Thirsty Girl” Leslie Sbrocco and more. The Friday evening Celebration Dinner featured award winning Sommelier Tommy Thompson’s selection of wines and a spectacular seven course meal from Tulalip’s culinary team, lead by Chef Perry Mascitti. The Celebration Dinner was the kick-off for the Taste of Tulalip on Nov. 11.  It was an evening of superb food, wine, and some surprises, like singing waiters, and a donation to a worthy cause.  More about these surprises later.

Our Food and Wine Pairings

Pork Belly, Thai Curry Bisque, and Southwest Duck Breast

Smoked Kurobuta Pork Belly, Maple Vanilla Gastrique
Parsnip Puree, Fois Gras, Bacon Jam
Halloumi Cheese Wrapped In Jamon Iberico Prosciutto
Paired with Long Shadow’s “Poets Leap” Riesling, Columbia Valley, WA 2010

Thai Curry Kabocha Squash Bisque
Tempura Vegetables With Five Spiced Cherry Reduction
Paired with Va Piano Vineyards “Bruno’s White II” Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley, WA

Southwest Duck Breast With Hydro Bibb
Baby Heirloom Tomatoes, Gruyere, Pine Nuts, Pecorino Crisp
Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
Paired with Reynvaan Vineyards “The Contender” Syrah, Walla Walla, WA, 2008

Grilled Wild King Salmon Over Savory Apple, Pear And Chevre Tart
Cinnamon And Autumn-Spiced Lamb Chop With Huckleberry Demi
Paired with Sparkman Cellars “L’Autre” Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills, OR, 2009
and Corliss Estates “Cabernet Sauvignon”, Columbia Valley, WA, 2006

Ruby Pink Grapefruit Segments, Sprig Of Thyme
And Blood Orange Reduction Pipette

A Study In Beef
Kobe New York Strip Loin In Chanterelle Cream Sauce
Kobe Prime Rib In Baby Boy Blue Sauce
Kobe Tenderloin In Huckleberry Demi Glace
Smoked Yukon Mash With Sage, Seasonal Ratatouille
Paired with 21 Gram’s “Red Blend”, Columbia Valley, WA, 2007

Sweet Ending
Warm Chocolate And Peanut Butter Pudding Cake
Peanut Tuile, Frozen Banana Nougat, Butterscotch Sauce
Paired with Charles Krug Lot XIV Zinfandel Port, Napa, CA

King Salmon and Autumn Spiced Lamb Chops, Refreshing Grapefruit, A Study in Beef, and Sweet Ending

Pork belly, parsnip puree, fois gras, Halloumi cheese in prosciutto

I particularly enjoyed the first course of the Pork Belly, parsnip puree and Halloumi cheese wrapped in Jamon Iberico Prosciutto. I previously tasted the Long Shadow’s “Poets Leap” Riesling back in Vancouver.  My tasting notes from that time were ” …pale lemon coloured in the glass.  Nice nose.  Very fragrant with flowers, citrus, orange and honeysuckle. Medium body, round, off-dry.  Flowers and citrus flavours with sweet spices showing up mid-palate. Long length…”  The smoked Kurobuta Pork Belly melted in your mouth and paired very well with the acidity in this wine.  The parsnip puree was a flavour treat. It was delicately spiced with coriander and again worked very nicely with this Riesling.

Grilled wild King Salmon, pear and chevre tart, and autumn spiced lamb chop

Another pairing I really liked was the Grilled Wild King Salmon Over Savory Apple, Pear And Chevre Tart Cinnamon and the Autumn-Spiced Lamb Chop With Huckleberry Demi. These two were paired with Sparkman Cellars “L’Autre” Pinot Noir and with the Corliss Estates “Cabernet Sauvignon”.  To me the Pinot Noir was the star of this course.  The wine had a wonderful violet aroma and flavour, with low tannins and high acidity.  The violets with the acidity in the wine to me worked well with both dishes.  Salmon and pinot noir is a classic pairing. Red wines with low tannins work well with seafood.  The sweet autumn spices, e.g. cinnamon and nutmeg, formed a crust on the lamb chops. These sweet spices meshed nicely with the violets in the pinot noir, and the acidity in the wine helped cut through the fat in lamb chops.

I also have a soft spot for duck breast, and enjoyed the Southwest Duck Breast With Hydro Bibb, Baby Heirloom Tomatoes, Gruyere, Pine Nuts, Pecorino Crisp with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette. I was worried that a Syrah could overpower this dish, but the duck breast with southwest spices plus the pine nuts and pecorino crisp, held their own.  Very satisfying.

A Sweet Ending.

If you have a sweet tooth, you would have probably really liked the Sweet Ending consisting of Warm Chocolate And Peanut Butter Pudding Cake, Peanut Tuile, Frozen Banana Nougat, and Butterscotch Sauce paired with the Charles Krug Lot XIV Zinfandel Port. The pudding cake was very delicate, the tuile crunchy and the banana nougat refreshing and fruity.  The Zinfandel port was full-bodied with ripe berries, toffee, and spicy oak flavours.  It’s hard not to like this pairing.


Donation to Make A Wish Foundation

Donation to Make A Wish Foundation. Image courtesy of Alan Alabastro/Alabastro Photography

I always like when events like these donate part of their proceeds to supporting a local cause.  In this case it was the local chapter of the Make A Wish Foundation. Al Tschider from the Foundation graciously accepted a cheque for $5000.  He told us that the $5000 is enough to grant a wish for one child.  He is not a professional speaker but endeared himself to the audience telling us about how one young girl was able to get a chance to go to New York City and get a chance to help backstage at not just one (her original request), but two Broadway plays.  It so happened that when they were travelling to NYC to help with one play, I believe it was the Lion King, a Broadway producer was sitting next to them, and invited the girl to also attend his play as well.  It is nice to hear stories like this of people helping people.

Singing Waiters

The Singing Waiters performance. Image courtesy of Alan Alabastro/Alabastro Photography

Part way through our meal, what appeared to be a head waiter came on stage to make a small announcement.  He had an Italian accent and as after he made the announcement, he offered to sing a bit of an aria from an Italian opera.  It was nice.  Later in the evening he sang a bit more, and then a French sounding waiter came to the stage to show him how to sing opera with passion, which lead to dueling opera singers wandering through the audience.  To add to the mix another waiter, a good ol’ boy from the USA, told them that Europeans cannot sing well, so he launched into operatic singing.  So we had a triumvirate singing together.  Of course,they knew each other,and they went on stage together to sing for us.  We were told at the end that they are part of the world-wide company called the “Singing Waiters“.  If you ever get to hear them, take the chance. You will have lots of fun.

This is only the 3rd time for the Taste of Tulalip, and it was done so professionally and with so much great food and wine, I’m not sure how they will top it for the 4th celebration next year. Enjoy!

Taste of Tulalip: What to Expect at the Magnum Party

Below is a sampling of the wines that will be poured on Saturday, Nov. 12 at the Taste of Tulalip. During the Magnum Party you can nibble on some of Kathy Casey‘s dishes from her latest book Sips and Apps. From what I’ve seen, these wines, amongst others, will be poured.  Many iconic wines in this list.  It could be a chance of a lifetime to try these wines together in one place! Champagne, an Australian icon, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Napa, Italy; they are all here.  I am really excited about this lineup and can’t wait to taste them myself.

Wines at the Magnum Party

  • Opus One 1998 – Magnum
  • Penfolds Grange 2004 – Magnum
  • Shafer ‘Hillside Select’ Cabernet 3 liter
  • Domaine Leflaive Batard Montrachet 2003 & 2008
  • ZD Abacus XII
  • Chateau Mouton Rothschild, 2005
  • Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon – Magnum
  • Betz Family La Serenne Syrah,
  • Pere de Famille Cabernet – Magnum
  • Molly Dooker ‘Velvet Glove’ Shiraz
  • Gaja Barbaresco ‘Sori Tilden’
  • Louis Roederer Cristal- Magnum
  • Levy & Mcclellan Cabernet

Who is Kathy Casey?

Kathy Casey

I mentioned that Kathy Casey will be serving food to accompany these wines.  In case you don’t know, Kathy Casey is a celebrity chef, mixologist and pioneer in the bar-chef movement.

She played a key role in bringing Northwest cuisine and women chefs to national prominence and, as one of the first female executive chefs in the United States, she was named one of Food & Wine’s “hot new American chefs.” She has also been touted as being the original Bar Chef.

Take the short drive to Tulalip in WA state and have a fun time trying wine and tasting food for a weekend. To buy tickets to a Taste of Tulalip, follow this link.

A Visit to Two Small WA Wineries

In an earlier post, I wrote about my experience at Chateau Ste Michelle and Airfield Estates wineries. On that same trip, but different day, I visited 2 small wineries south of Seattle: E.B. Foote and Castle Bridge wineries. Both are owned by a couple.

E.B. Foote contracts with vineyard operators in Eastern Washington for their grapes. They produce mostly red wines and primarily single varietals. I was amazed to hear that 90-95% of their sales are right from their cellar door. The winery started in 1978 by a previous owner and was bought by the current couple in 1991. This couple is now ready for retirement, so the winery is up FOR SALE! If you have US$500,000 you can buy the winery. You get their equipment, their current inventory of wine, and the use of their brand. I figure from the $500,000, that selling the inventory should bring down that cost for you, but will take a bit of time.

What about their wines? The wines are all reasonably priced at $14 a bottle. My favorite was their Cabernet Franc 2008. Medium garnet in colour. Vanilla, cedar and dark cherry aromas. It was medium plus in body. Sweet black cherries, very juicy, with cinnamon / cloves and vanilla flavours. I also enjoyed their Zinfandel 2009. This wine had the characteristic jammy fruit nose, along with some vanilla. More vanilla on the palate, along with cinnamon and raspberry flavours. It had a dry cherry finish. Medium tannins so you can drink it now. They also have two nice blends. Their Mirage 2009 from Syrah and Merlot, and their Rainy Day VI blend from Syrah and Cabernet.

The other winery that day was Castle Bridge. They have only been open for 4 years. They contract with vineyards in WA and CA. The vineyards provide them with the juice for their wines. They produce an off-dry Chenin Blanc. Their Chenin Blanc 2009 is medium lemon in colour. Wax, lemon and vanilla on the nose. Medium body with pears and citrust and oak. A hint of some spice. Medium bodied. Something easy to drink. The other wine that was quite interesting was their Barbera 2007 from the Columbia Valley. Barbera is an Italian grape, and is the third most popular red grape planted in Italy. I don’t think I’ve come across any other Barbera in WA. Deep purple in colour. Lots of aromas. Vanilla and various purple fruits. Full body with soft tannins. Juicy purple fruit and vanilla. A bit of sweetness on the palate. If you’ve come across any other wineries in WA that produce a Barbera, please let me know, as I would like to try them too.