Shock and Awe

If you’re hankering for a good wine movie that would be the Chardonnay to Sideways‘ Pinot, there is a great one on the horizon called Bottle Shock.

Bottle Shock is about the famed Judgment of Paris Tasting of 1976, where Napa Valley wines beat French wines. The results of this tasting shook the wine world. It validated the U.S. as a producer of quality wines and it put the wineries of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and Chateau Montelena on the map.

Going into the movie we knew more about the Stag’s Leap side of things. After getting a private tour of Stag’s Leap through a friend, we learned about its history and how their Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon was the wine of distinction at the Paris tasting. So knowing more about the red side, we were looking forward to learning about the white wine side of things and Chateau Montelena’s Chardonnay.

In June, we went to the Seattle International Film Festival‘s closing gala for Bottle Shock. It was a grand affair with the red carpet and appearances by Freddy Rodriguez and Bill Pullman. The whole event was great and justly so, the movie was excellent. It was a great story and the characters were wonderful. I highly suggest watching it when it comes around to your local theater.

The movie did a great job with telling the story of Chateau Montelena. Of course there was a bit of Hollywood twists and turns mixed in, but the execution was excellent. And it had Alan Rickman. Always awesome. The movie did a great job of romanticizing California Wine Country and the experience of this tasting. Just a really enjoyable movie.

It comes out August 6 to wide release and will slowly trickle in following weeks. Go see it, you’ll have a great time.

C is for Cookie

Much like the Cookie Monster, I too, have an insatiable appetite for cookies. And the recent chocolate chip cookie article that my friend Ana posted from the New York Times made me revisit some old recipes and think of cookies in a new light.

The article mentioned all sorts of great tips on how to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie. From size, to resting the dough, to sprinkling sea salt, and what type of chocolate, I knew I had to make some with these things in mind.

There are tons of great recipes out there and our friends at Accidental Hedonist have one that is super easy which I’ll use on occasion. I’ve also grown to really like this one from Paula Deen. I figure if anyone knows how to make a truly decadent and tasty cookie it would be Paula. And she delivers.

If you don’t have time to bake your own, luckily in Seattle we have two places that make some awesome chocolate chip cookies. Cow Chip and Il Fornaio. But why stop at just Seattle? Il Fornaio’s are everywhere and Cow Chip will ship!

In the immortal words of the Cookie Monster; “Me want cookie!”

Chocolate Chip Cookies on Foodista

Can’t beat the real thing!

Earlier in the year, a friend tipped me off that Costco was selling Mexican Coke. This I had to try. Because Coke is so intrinsic to Mexican culture the bottlers used cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup, the flavor should be better. I knew I had to try it.

And now I’m a convert. It’s so much better and it’s now my mission to inform anyone I know the gift of Mexican Coca-Cola. Think of it like this; imagine growing up and only knowing frozen yogurt. It’s good, you like it, but you don’t know there is something different out there and it’s better. Ice cream. That is the jump I notice with Mexican coke to the stuff we normally get.

The flavor is so much deeper. Softer and not as harsh on the palate. The carbonation is restrained and you won’t feel like burping instantly. Another cool thing is that it actually has a smell! And it’s rad! It reminds me of fresh cinnamon rolls, very pleasing and smooth. It’s just a better product!

I highly suggest you make your way to Costco or your local Latino grocery store and pick it up in the delightfuly retro glass bottle. You can even grab it from Amazon. You’ll love it and you’ll never go back to cans or plastic bottles.

Life tastes Good. With Mexican Coca-Cola.


Bite of Seattle

Along with the Northwest Folklife Festival in May and Bumbershoot in September, the Bite of Seattle is part of the triumvirate of community events at Seattle Center. The Bite hits the good folks of Seattle in July and it’s the city’s crowning achievement of food, gluttony, excess, and awesomeness. The Bite has always been one of my favorite events, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve grown to appreciate it even more.

The beauty of nostalgia has deepened the colors for me when it comes to the Bite. When I was younger my family would always go and I loved it! In my mind, Seattle Center was this huge massive grounds, there were food vendors everywhere, it wasn’t anywhere near as crowded as it is now, and we would be there until the sun would set. It’s a little different now, mostly in that it’s super crowded and there are really only about four dozen food vendors there

The vibe at the Bite has definitely changed in recent years. Is that bad? No, if anything it’s different, and the glow of my memory only enhances my appreciation of the event. It’s a chance for many to wear their ‘Bite outfit’ they’ve been saving all summer. It’s a chance to walk around with friends and feel important. And you can eat till your more full than you could imagine.

My favorite thing to eat when I was younger were the Filet Mignon sandwiches from Metropolitan Grill. I loved those things. These were one of the things I most looked forward to as I got out of school. Sadly, The Met no longer participates in the Bite, but scores of other great places offer new discoveries.

What are some of your favorite foods at the Bite of Seattle? Is it the roasted corn? Funnel Cakes? Shiskaberries? No matter what, all of these are the right choice!

Setting the bar

“Good things happen when you sit at the bar.”

So she says during our recent dinner at Steelhead Diner. And it’s factually correct, sitting at the bar of an open kitchen is truly awesome. You’re in the midst of all the action, you’re able to talk with the line, chat with the chef, and who knows? You might be surprised what you can learn about your experience.

When you have the chance to sit at the bar take it! For instance, this weekend at Steelhead Diner, we eagerly walked up to the counter outside of Chef Kevin Davis’ open kitchen. We’ve always wanted to do this, especially there, but never have, so seeing a bunch of open seats we had to seize the opportunity.

But it’s not just a Steelhead Diner thing; people all across town are noticing that sitting at the counter in an open kitchen is the ‘cool’ thing to do. You’ll have a great time with your fellow patrons, the other people sitting at the counter will often be regulars; they’ll tell you ins and outs of what to order, trivia, and even gossip!

As mentioned on Nancy Leson’s All You Can Eat blog, there a ton of places all across Seattle where you’ll happily sit on rotating chairs.

It’s a great experience and one you should take at any restaurant or bar. Again, you’ll have to trust me on this one. You’ll love the experience. You’ll even start to wonder what the big deal is about sitting in a booth.


Cooking Tip #1

In my relentless quest to hold in as much information as possible and share it with the world comes this great tip for grilling. I learned it from Cook’s Illustrated. The tip is this; buy an aluminum foil roasting pan to superheat your grill.

When grilling, you want to get those brilliant grill marks on what you’re cooking. Either having those diamond marks or parallel lines, the key is having the grates loaded with enough heat they cause a tight sear on what you’re cooking. This tip helps that process.

Use an aluminum foil pan you’d get at the market to cover the burners where you plan on cooking. This creates a cover over the burners and the grates, where the heat goes back into the grates. This superheating creates an instant sear onto whatever you’re cooking. It’s super helpful and I’ve used it all the time while I’ve grilled. Try it with pineapple or steaks. Or anything.

After about 5-10 minutes of preheating it should be ready. Because the grill is so hot it’ll sear instantly and release easily, so you don’t need to oil the grill.

Enjoy this tip and happy grilling!


Celebrity Roast

I love roast chicken. Love it. What’s not to love; rich flavor, moist meat, basically everything you love about chicken is amplified. Great in its simplicity, but like most things that are simple can be incredibly challenging. Cook too long, you get cardboard. Cook too short, hello food poisoning. But that middle point of perfection is one of the best things you’ll ever eat. Roast chicken is the star of the show at any dinner.

Some interesting notes on roast chicken:

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