Garagiste’s Lair

Photo by Garagiste

Want to get a special bottle of wine for a gift for this weekend’s dinner party? How about wanting to try a new wine from a region you’ve been curious about? How about a bottle of utterly unique wine from one of the very best wine purveyors in the nation? At killer prices? Look no further, Garagiste has opened up a pop-up shop for the holidays.

If you’re not familiar with Garagiste and you love wine, you really should. Started by Jon Rimmerman and based in a nondescript warehouse in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood, Garagiste is sort of a like a flash sale site but more carefully curated and under the watchful palate of Mr. Rimmerman. Jon writes this lush and rich descriptions of each wine in an email newsletter that goes out a few times a week and you’ll want to order almost every wine. His taste is renowned and his business model is very unique, so much so that The New York Times took notice. You should really sign up for the email list. Some of the wines are out of reach or a bit esoteric, but they are all very interesting and you’ll learn something in each email.

Here is where it gets better; this holiday season, Garagiste has opened a pop-up shop in their warehouse called the ‘Garagiste Lair’. I went on opening day and had to be sensible and not go overboard with buying as much as possible. The wines are segmented in pricing tiers; $5, $10, $15, $20, $25, and so on. At each level there are sure to be interesting wines. I partook in some Morgon for $5 and some Prosecco for $20. Was also able to scoop up some Quilceda Creek for $40. Yup, forty bucks. Some Touraine. A bottle from Mencia. But I look forward to going back to see what else is new. The inventory will be rotated and that is part of the fun about this pop-up; finding treasures amongst the stacks and bottles of wine.

If you’re in the Seattle area, love wine, or know someone that does, a visit to Garagiste’s Lair is in order. Their hours are Tuesday-Friday 11am-6pm and Saturday from 10am-5pm at the Garagiste Wine warehouse at 707 S. Lander St, Seattle 98134. But hurry up and head there soon, the pop-up is only open through the holidays.


Oysters as far as the eye can see

Over the course of the next two weekends, folks in Seattle will have at their disposal two events catering to oyster addicts. If you love the briny bite of the bi-valve, these two events will be up your alley. This Saturday will be South Lake Union’s Oyster Frenzy, while next weekend’s will be Elliott’s Oyster House’s Oyster New Year Bash.

I’m an unabashed oyster fiend. Love them. On the half-shell, in a stew, barbecued, roasted, whatever, I’m in for them. So events like these are totally up my alley. In fact, I went to Flying Fish’s Oyster Frenzy many years ago and was able to be a part of the gleeful carnage of shell and slurp. And it was awesome.

But truth be told, this oyster appreciation has only kicked in during the latter third of my life. Growing up, my parents would eat oysters (roasted, never raw), but they never held an appeal for me. Clams and mussels I was fine with, but oysters, no way. As one does when they get older, I experimented. I’m glad I finally did and now I’m making up for lost time. Which is why events like Oyster Frenzy or Ocean New Year are up my alley. I get to binge.

On deck is this Saturday’s Oyster Frenzy at Flying Fish. The one I went to was a blast. It was in Flying Fish’s Belltown location, and if anyone has been there, you know that the space can feel tight in a hurry. The newer Flying Fish in South Lake Union feels larger and will probably have a nice feel and flow. For $35 you get all you can eat oysters; raw, fried or in a stew. Along with tastes of beer and wine that aim to pair nicely. The event runs from 1-4pm, and it’s a crazy popular event, so call Flying Fish stat for last minute availability. Flying Fish 300 Westlake Ave N, Seattle 206.728.8595

I’m really looking forward to next week’s Ocean New Year at Elliott’s Oyster House. I was invited to a ‘slurp-up’ a few weeks ago as a teaser to the event. Local oyster growers told us of the history of the bi-valve in our area. We tried out some of the wines that Jon Rowley noted as being ideal oyster wines. And we were able to indulge in fresh oysters and other seafood bites.

All of this made me anticipate Elliott’s Oyster New Year bash (as part of their Ocean Harvest Festival) even more. On Saturday night from 5-9pm, Elliott’s will host a big bash with live music, a 90-ft bar, seafood buffet, wines from dozens of producers and more. An added bonus to the festivities is that all proceeds will benefit the Puget Sound Restoration Fund; a group with a mission to protect our waterways and the species calling it home.

For more information on the event, visit the Oyster New Year site; where you can see what’s on tap for the seafood buffet, the roster of wineries, and how to buy tickets. For $95, you can be part of quite the ocean party. Added bonus; Elliott’s is aiming to make this event as sustainable as possible. From compostables to recyclables, most everything will be handled as green as possible. I’m sure my SO’s dad would want the empty shells; he’s had a grand goal of lining his driveway with oyster shells. I’m sure an event with several hundred people consuming thousands of oysters will help this endeavor. Because otherwise, I think the turn of the century is the feasible goal.  Elliott’s Oyster House 1201 Alaskan Way, Pier 56, Seattle 206.623.4340

Look forward to seeing you around town; knee deep in oyster shells with the look of delirium that all oyster lovers have. See you around the shucking table.

Photo courtesy of Serious Eats.

Cooking Tip: Parsley

The second in a cooking tip series that I started a few years ago (ed. note: Yes, I do need to add a few more). These are some household tips that should come in handy when cooking at home. The goal: to make things easy, cheap, and useful. Today’s installment: getting more mileage out of herbs, specifically parsley.

I love adding parsley to dishes. Its herbal freshness provides a nice clean flavor pop, it’s healthy, and the color adds a vibrant hit to any dishes you sprinkle it on. I hadn’t thought about parsley as a vehicle until this article about Daniel Boulud a few years ago where he talks about parsley’s ability to balance garlic and other strong flavors. I used to always think of it as a boring garnish. After reading the article I went parsley crazy.

So you’ve bought your bushel of parsley from the market and leave in its bag. If you do this, you’ll maybe get your parsley to last a couple of days tops. Anything more and you’ll get herbal sludge. Here is how you can prolong your herb’s lifespan (note that this also works for cilantro):

  • Get a tall jar or container.
  • Place parsley, stem end, into the jar/container
  • Pour water into jar/container device to cover stems
  • Cover loosely with plastic bag
  • Enjoy your parsley for much longer than you thought

There you have it! Quick, easy and free. Plus, you won’t have to pay for a crappy kitchen gadget like this one. And what to do with your bounty of parsley? A couple of recipes are below, but really, you can add it to most anything. Be sure to save the stems to use in stock; waste not, want not.

  • Chimichurri (an Argentinean sauce that goes great with grilled steaks and vegetables)
  • Pesto (for a variation on the traditional basil, try it with parsley)
Photo courtesy of chez loulou

Joule’s 3rd Annual Urban BBQ

Joule is at it again. Seif Chirchi and Rachel Yang have kicked off the 3rd edition of their Urban BBQ at their Wallingford restaurant. And eaters of Seattle can now rejoice because on every Sunday from 3-9pm, Joule will be opening their doors for some enticing dinners.

For the past few summers Joule has treated us to their Urban BBQ; a special Sunday dinner series with themed menus different from their usual fare. Last summer, Korean streetfood, JFC (Joule Fried Chicken), and Food on a Stick were a few of the dinners. We went to a bunch and are already looking forward to attending a more this summer.

After this past Sunday they’ve gotten rolling on the 2010 iteration of their Urban BBQ. This year, they are bouncing around across the globe for inspiration. Yesterday’s interpretation was of Seattle and from the looks of their Facebook page, the dishes sounded excellent. Take a look at the list below to see where they’ll be hitting the world next. I’m keen on the Rio de Janeiro, Havana, and Halong Bay days.

What I really like about Joule is that they continue to create new and unique dining experiences at their restaurant, which all showcase Rachel and Seif’s depth of talent in the kitchen. Joule is one of our favorite places to eat in Seattle and with fun and creative events like their Winter Supper series and this summer’s Urban BBQ we’ll continue to go back again and again for a uniquely delectable experience. See you around the table at Joule sometime this summer.

  • June 6 – Seattle, WA
  • June 13 – Austin, TX
  • June 20 – Oaxaca, Mexico
  • June 27 – Havana, Cuba
  • July 11 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • July 18 – Marrakech, Morocco
  • July 25 – Marseille, France
  • August 1 – Sicily, Italy
  • August 8 – Phuket, Thailand
  • August 15 – Halong Bay, Vietnam
  • August 22 – Busan, Korea

Tako Truk + Two Beers event on 3/6 to support Haiti

Early this year, word off the street (well, Twitter) was that the good folks at Tako Truk were planning an event for Saturday 3/6. Details were vague at the time, but the murmur was growing for the event. More info has come out and the purpose of the event is noble indeed. On Saturday March 6th from 1-6pm, Tako Truk is teaming up with SoDo’s Two Beers Brewing Co. to raise support for Haiti.

How will they do this? They’ll accept donations which will go towards purchasing ShelterBoxes. ShelterBox USA is a really great organization that provides kits with relief supplies. They provide these amazing boxes to those in need, so your donation will go towards getting a ShelterBox. Your minimum donation of $20 will get you four tickets towards beer and tacos. Here is how the tickets work; for one ticket, you’ll either get a beer or two tacos or some tosses in the Bad Beer Toss. So for that $20, you could get two beers and four tacos, which is pretty awesome. Plus, you’ll get good karma for helping out. The people of Haiti need it, and this event is another way to help those in need.

Some other details on the event – this should be obvious as it’s at a brewery, but it’s 21 and over. DJs will be spinning. Be sure to RSVP by emailing Tako Truk. The RSVP is to let the Tako Truk crew know how much food to prep. They’re hoping for a big crowd to increase the amount of donations, so be sure to get on the list. The MO for most of Tako Truk menus is to have three different types of tacos; one veggie, a meat of sorts (usually pork, sometimes beef, sometimes chicken), and the eponymous tako (octopus) taco. And the last detail; keep an eye on Tako Truk’s twitter feed, they’ll post updates on the fly.

When Tako Truk went into hibernation last fall, many people asked me for details on their next venture (full disclosure – Bryan of Tako Truk is a friend from high school). Well, they’ve been plotting their next steps and their event with Two Beers to support ShelterBox is one of the things they’ve got up their sleeves. Again, be sure to email the Tako Truk guys to RSVP for 3/6 and I’ll be sure to see you that afternoon for some beer and tacos.

One more thing, if you haven’t read the Adriana Grant’s Seattle Weekly’s feature on Tako Truk’s Cormac Mahoney, but sure to read them here and here. There is even a recipe on the famed coco piggy. And if you want to read what Bryan of Tako Truk is up to here is some of his stuff. Enjoy!

The evolution of Spring Hill

My first stab at writing a restaurant ‘review’ was about West Seattle’s Spring Hill. Looking back on that post, it wasn’t one of my stronger posts and it didn’t do too well at talking about Spring Hill. Since then my voice and style has changed, so I’m going to take another stab about the place. This is because, over the course of the last year, Spring Hill has evolved and become an unbelievable restaurant that should be propped up with the other greats in Seattle. In short, they have become one of the best restaurants in town.

And it’s not just Spring Hill’s food. Which is unique, delicious, and a reflection of chef Mark Fuller’s vision and talent. If you’ve been paying attention (or are an obsessive food nerd like me) you’ll notice all of the cool stuff they’ve been up to. Which is why their status has vaulted in my mind. From trying out new things with their menus, to hosting great events, and surrounding themselves with unbelievable talent, Spring Hill has elevated their game and should be recognized for being aggressive with their business.

Here are three cool things about Spring Hill:

Going for Seconds Gift Guide 2009

Tis the season for holiday shopping. Throughout the year, I’ve shared what I think has been interesting in the world of food. As the year closes and gift-giving is at the top of mind for most people, trying to find that perfect something for those near and dear to us can be challenging. Here are my suggestions on fun gifts for the food and wine aficionado on your list. Now let’s do our part to spur the economy!

First off, I want to list the items that I want someone to give to me. If anyone feels generous…

  • Kitchen-Aid 90th Anniversary Stand Mixer

I think this thing is awesome. And only because of the candy apple red and glass bowl. As I’ve been delving into more and more baking (and wanting to make my own pasta), I’ve been yearning after a Kitchen-Aid for awhile. You will be mine, oh yes, you will be.

  • Bob Kramer’s Meiji Knife by Shun

Having a great chef’s knife is key to working in a kitchen. Bob Kramer is one of the very best knifemakers in the world. He’s partnered with Shun to make knives and I’m taken with the beauty of their cutlery. This one in particular fits the bill for what I want out of a knife. Another wishlist item that I’d be thrilled to slice and dice with.

Now for a few more achievable gift items for those close to you; here are a few items worth looking into.

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Seattle City Stimulus: Version 2.0

This Sunday July 12, the excellent local event known as City Stimulus starts back up. The first go around was back in December, and the crew behind City Stimulus has bigger and better things in store for this summer’s local business party. I’m excited about it and from the roster of local businesses participating, I hope you will be too.

Seattle City Stimulus descended upon us as a means to support the local businesses around town that are vital to their neighborhoods. These shops, restaurants, cafes, and general Seattle tastemakers are some of the coolest and most vibrant spots in town. That’s why an event like City Stimulus is so great. It makes an event out of shopping, eating, and drinking that is even greater than those activities; it’s a part of the community.

Here is how to participate; go to their website and fill out the form to get your membership card. This is the golden ticket that gets you the deals around town. And there is quite a bounty. More than 70 shops are participating with plenty of discounts and promotions to take in; such a cool event. Plus, some of my favorite shops are participating, here is a quick roll call:

  • Anchovies & Olives
  • Goods
  • Homegrown
  • How to Cook a Wolf
  • Kuhlman
  • Licorous
  • Volunteer Park Cafe
  • ‘zaw
  • and many more

Go support these places! And then I’ll see you at the closing party at Havana on Saturday night. City Stimulus rolls from this Sunday July 12 through Saturday July 18. This summer’s version is a few days longer than the winter one, so get out, grab a drink from your neighborhood bar, and feel the karma flow by supporting the little guy.

Cheap eats at Lynnwood’s San Fernando


Roast chicken is one of those foods that resonates with me. I love that it’s simple enough for home chefs, elevated by restaurants, perfect with most types of wines; it’s one of my most favorite foods. That’s why I really loved this article that the Seattle Weekly‘s Jon Kauffman wrote about roasted chicken in the spring. He visited a few places, but the one that really caught his eye was this place in Lynnwood. I’m from Lynnwood and love it when the spotlight shines on us. The place is called San Fernando and he thought their chicken was the most delicious. This I had to see for myself.

The first thing that I think is great about San Fernando is that it’s in Lynnwood. As someone who grew up there, I really enjoy the fact that the culinary rep of Lynnwood is slowly growing. Although major chains dominate the local landscape, places like San Fernando’s helps the diners of Snohomish County. I’ve already written about the good Chinese food at Szechuan 99, and it is places like that and San Fernando’s that make a trek up north for food worth it.

For Seattle to continue growing as a top-notch food town, it only helps when the greater region elevates the food reputation. There are all sorts of cool and unique food stops at all points north, south, east and west. That’s why it’s great that this little Peruvian restaurant is around. Basically, look past the shroud of urban sprawl and find little neighborhood gems to visit.

Here are the three cool things about San Fernando:

Joule’s 2nd Annual Urban BBQ

Last summer, Seif Chirchi and Rachel Yang opened Joule on Sundays to host this really cool series of dinners called the Urban BBQ. Each Sunday throughout the summer Joule had all sorts of different themes that were distinctive and fun, and allowed the team to try new culinary adventures. I’m excited to announce that the 2nd iteration of the Urban BBQ has started.

Joule has climbed the charts on my list of favorite restaurants around Seattle. I feel this way for a bunch of reasons; their creative and delicious dishes, the friendly and welcoming vibe from Seif, Rachel and the team, and the total feel of the restaurant. Taking all of these things into account it’s easy for me to say that Joule is quite awesome.

That’s why I’m pumped up to visit some of their Sunday BBQ dinners. All look interesting with a chance to get some good food. All dishes will be around $10 and the days events roll from 12-8pm. An added bonus is that live music will go from 2-4pm. This past Sunday May 31st, was the first for this summer, and the last will be on August 30th. They’ll also have stuff for kids to do too. It’s pretty cool and fun for the whole family. I would love to hit up all of them, but I’ve got my eyes set on 6/21, 7/5, 7/12, 7/26, 8/16, and 8/23. Hope to see you at some of these dinners.

Here are the food themes for the Sunday Urban BBQ dinners:

  • 5/31 – Seoul Melange: Korean Streetfood
  • 6/7 – Game’s on: Got Goat?
  • 6/14 – Night of the Iguana: Mexican Riviera
  • 6/21 – New England Clam Boil
  • 6/28 – Night in Tunisia: Seif!
  • 7/5 – Southern Affair
  • 7/12 – Bangkok Express
  • 7/19 – Salmon Run
  • 7/26 – Spanish Fever
  • 8/2 – Food on a Stick
  • 8/9 – Mambo Italiano
  • 8/16 – JFC: Joule Fried Chicken
  • 8/23 – Cochon Joule: Pig Out
  • 8/30 – Joule Country Fair

Photo from