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Tag Archives: The Good Things

It’s been a few years since my last post on my favorite cookbooks so I thought I would create a list of some new ones that have come into my life that I’m really enjoying at the moment.  Coincidentally a lot of them are local chefs here in Seattle and the greater PNW.  Whether it’s you that’s looking for something new or you need a gift for someone…I think these are a great group to choose from:

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A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus – Renee Erickson of Boat Street Cafe (recently closed), The Whale Wins and The Walrus and the Carpenter happens to be a friend of ours who continues to wow everyone with her beautiful food that’s never overdone or fussy.  It’s the kind of food that makes you feel like love was put into it and now it’s yours to make at home with this gorgeous new cookbook.  The zucchini bread recipe alone makes this book worth the purchase.

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The Sobo Cookbook – A friend gifted me this cookbook and I’ve been in love with it ever since.  I immediately started tagging recipes to make: Surfer Noodle Soup (originally a food truck, they served this soup to surfers in Tofino as they waited to take the chill off of them), Strawberry Lemon Scones (need I say more?), Roasted Squash Salad, Hippy Chicken (think healthier fried chicken – breading made of almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds and sesame seeds), Salmon with Sorrel Sauce and Layered Potatoes (I made this and it was delicious).

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Feeding the Fire – I gave this to my husband for Father’s Day this year and it was an instant hit!  This book covers it all from the different types of wood to use, keeping it simple with your sides, grilling red meat/chicken/seafood, and even the wine that will compliment your food.  Great book for anyone that likes to take their cooking outside.  The grilled artichoke hearts with garlic aioli are unreal!

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LARK – Cooking Against the Grain – If you’ve had the pleasure of dining at Lark, then you know what a special place it is.  This cookbook is stunning as well.  It’s available on your kindle thru Amazon or hardcover in the restaurant.  There are certain classics that I’m so excited to have my hands on now.  The Chocolate Madeleines are at the top of the list as well as the Lark Crackers that they serve with their wagyu sirloin tartare.  Rossi potatoes with clabber cream and Paddlefish caviar or the Farro with red wine braised salsify and wild mushrooms…you pick but this book won’t disappoint.

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Dahlia Bakery Cookbook – If you live in Seattle then this most likely already sits on the shelf amongst your other cookbooks and if it doesn’t, it should!  James Beard Award winner for Best Northwest Chef and Best Restaurateur, Tom Douglas is a man that has accomplished so much already and just keeps on going.  A Seattle staple, the Dahlia Bakery has some of the best treats both savory and sweet in town.  Love the Dahlia Triple Coconut Cream Pie?  Now you can make it for yourself at home – trouble!  Can’t get enough of the buttery and flakey Serious Biscuits?  You too can have the recipe to wow people in your own home.

Napa Valley Wine Tasting

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My husband and I love everything about Napa, especially the wine, and try to get down there a couple of times each year.  I constantly get emails from family, friends and friends of friends asking where to go wine tasting so I thought a post about some especially good – not to miss spots – would be great!

There are wineries that take reservations and others that don’t.  Personally I prefer the ones that are reservation only simply because it means there will be no tour buses, less people, and more one on one time most likely with the owner or wine maker.  What’s not to love about that?!  One of the downsides to reservation only wineries is that sometimes that means there’s an expensive tasting fee.  At the end of the day I think you need to figure out what your goal is.  Are you looking to just have the experience of wine tasting without buying?  Are you wanting the convenience of just popping into a place off of Highway 29?  Are you interested in buying hard to find wine not accessible to the general public?  Whatever your answer is, I’ve got plenty of places for everyone.  Below I have them categorized to help you narrow down your selection.

*I highly encourage anyone and everyone to hire a car service for their day of wine tasting.  It might make your day a little more expensive but it’s a lot less cheaper than a DUI and will make the day safer and more relaxing I promise.  Just remember, “You booze, you cruise, you lose!”

Napa Valley Tours & Transportation

Appointment only:

Fleury – $35 tasting fee.  This is hands down one of our favorite wineries!  The winery itself isn’t anything to write home about.  It’s a warehouse with tasting tents set up inside however the wine is the true star here.  Go here if you’re looking for some great wine to purchase.  Our favorites are the Passionne, The “F” in Red, Le Fleur 29 and Rocket Juice.  Yum…makes me want some now!

Schramsberg $45 tasting fee.  If bubbles are your weakness, then this is your place!  I typically recommend people start their day here since drinking champagne is a little easier to do earlier in the day in comparison to red wine:)  You’ll definitely get your $45 worth of champagne, they serve generous pours and you’ll learn a lot about the history of champagne as well as the winery itself.

Quintessa $65 tasting fee.  One of the most expensive tasting fee I’ve ever paid at a winery but the architecture and winery itself are stunning.  By visiting this winery you’ll get a full tour of how the grapes are grown, harvested, sorted and processed into wine.  It’s a beautiful set up and the wine is really delicious.  Just a heads up if you do end up buying – we suggest cellaring their wine for a good 5 years.  It tends to taste a bit young before letting it age a little longer.

HALL Rutherford  – My husband and I had our rehearsal dinner in the gorgeous wine cave here.  Situated up in the hills, HALL Rutherford has stunning views and is overall a lovely wine tasting experience.  From whites to reds, their wines are delicious.  The “Bergfeld St. Helena” is a favorite in our house.

CADE $35-$60 tasting fee.  Located atop Howell Mountain with breath-taking panoramic views of Napa Valley, this winery is a bit of a trek but worth it!  I happen to love their Sauvignon Blanc but I also never say no to a Cabernet Sauvignon:)

Gabrielle – This is such a special winery and not one to be rushed.  I believe I spent about an hour and a half here and probably could have been there all day had it not been for my other appointments.  Gabrielle takes you on a walking tour of her beautiful property and then brings you to a charming table set by the pond and under the trees for some wine tasting, as well as her salts, herbs, honey, etc if you’re interested.  The Silver Stallion is incredible as well as the Cask 321.

Caldwell Limited appointments each month.  Another winery set high in the mountains, this too is a very special place with the most charming owner (John).  This is probably one of the most exclusive wineries I’ve ever visited and they don’t offer many tastings a month so call ahead if you want to go.  All of John’s wines are stunning but something that also stood out was the wine his workers sell as their own.  John has been nice enough to gift them land on his property to make their own wine which is a pretty incredible opportunity for anyone let alone a very generous and thoughtful gift if you ask me.

Pride Mountain $20-$75 tasting fee.  Set up one of their tastings or tours for you and up to six to twelve other guests and enjoy the view and stunning wines.  I personally love their Merlots.  2010 was a phenomenal year for them which is unfortunately sold out at this point but I’m enjoying their current release now and it’s delicious!

Merus – Since visiting Merus, I now see on their website that it says, “Because our production is so restricted, the winery and its tasting salon are closed to the general public and may only be visited by invitation”.  I would check with your hotel concierge to see if they can get you in because it’s well worth it.  Their wine is outstanding!

Open to the public:

Robert Sinskey

Duckhorn

Freemark Abbey

Sequoia Grove

Frank Family

Silver Oak

Castello di Amorosa

I recently did a fabulous caviar tasting at Seattle Caviar Company and now I’m hooked!  I knew I liked caviar before but I didn’t know how many different types of caviar there are and what the differences were.  Owner Betsy Sherrow and her friendly staff are so helpful and make the tasting so much fun!  They do a caviar tasting with champagne every Thursday so sign up and go…you’ll be happy you did:)

This post is very overdue but I just wanted to say congrats to local chef Tom Douglas for his much deserved win for Outstanding Restauranteur from the James Beard Foundation.  I may be biased because I’m from Seattle but Tom is outstanding in all that he does.  From the restaurants that he has opened and runs to the cookbooks and spices and to the events and philanthropic work he does…he’s amazing!  Short and sweet…congrats Tom…you earned this!!!

Quoin offers a variety of drink concoctions that change regularly and will have you wanting to try every one on the menu.  There’s a throw back to old cocktails but with Quoin unique twist on them.  On a recent beautiful Saturday night, I chose the Mighty Seventy Four (or Five…I can’t remember) but holy moly it was tasty!  Gin, Earl Grey syrup, soda and Prosecco.  Need I say more?!

Quoin serves the whole Revel menu in the bar and on the deck so in case you get there and your wait is just too long, remember that you have options!  On the weekends try a Kimchi Bloody Mary with your breakfast!

I have honestly never tasted a better orange than the Sumo variety.  If you haven’t had one I highly recommend you drive to your nearest Whole Foods as soon as possible to get one or a dozen before they’re gone.  My regular grocery store already ran out of them so you can only imagine how excited I was to find them this week at Whole Foods.  I stocked up!

They’re easy to peel (which I love), SUPER sweet and juicy…overall everything you could ever ask a perfect orange to be:)  Not to mention they’re packed full of Vitamin C and flavonoids and contain a good amount of dietary fiber.  YUM!

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