Friday, December 30, 2005
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Friday, December 16, 2005
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
More about Balboa later, but nothing more about Vicodin.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Monday, December 05, 2005
Friday, December 02, 2005
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Friday, November 18, 2005
Butterflied Alaska Salmon with Copper River Barbecue Sauce
A long simmer gives the sauce its flavor and smooth consistency, so start it about two hours before you are ready to grill.
1 1/2 cups onion, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons salt
Tabasco or other hot sauce to taste (optional)
Canola oil for grill
Yield: 8 servings
Thursday, November 17, 2005
It doesn't matter how full I am at the end of my entree, I am going to find a spot for dessert - - all made from scratch personally by Heather. From fruit pastries to chocolate tortes. Presentation always lovely.
I have had the wonderful fortune to dine at the Hiebert home a couple of times because of a good friend we have in common. Yes, the food was even more amazing and their beautiful gardens and home (behind the restaurant) is an extention of what the public sees while dining at their restaurant. After a couple of invites from the Hieberts to their home, of course I wanted to invite them to my home for dinner. However, I felt a bit intimidated. I mean, cook for these two people who have mastered the art of fine cuisine and entertaining? Especially Bruce who many people have acclaimed his skills in cooking meat and being one of the best in the NW. Let me just say that Bruce had several helpings of my Cuban ropa vieja and commented how good it was to have someone else cook for him. That's my claim to fame with my culinary skills.
Now that I have told you all about the wonderful merits of Patit Creek Restaurant. I send you best wishes in getting a reservations. Call ahead of time. Call (509) 382-2625. 725 E. Dayton Ave, in Dayton. Patit Creek is open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Friday, dinner only on Saturday. No last minute phone calls. Again - call ahead of time and it will be worth the wait.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Cabernet Franc wine, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon wine, is a bright and shiny red color. It brings strawberry and blackberry aromas, but compared to it's cousin, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc is the less herbaceous, less tannic, and more fruitier.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Visitors from Seattle Dining (and other Seattle visitors to the valley) thinks the best taco truck in the valley is La Monarca. It's on Rose street, between 11th and 12th. The old milk truck sits in a gravel parking lot. You will spot it by the Monarch butterflies painted on the truck. Some friends have mentioned that the one by Jefferson Park on Ninth Street is the best and former college student friends have mentioned that the truck parked by John's Wheatland Bakery on Isaacs street is the best. Which one to choose?
There was Dora's at the local worm ranch. Yes. Worm ranch. A place where you buy bait. Dora recently moved to a fancier spot - at the golf course. Now called "Casa Dora." Dora's will never be the same. Good food, but the bait ambiance lost and compromised.
Someday I am going to spend a couple of days checking out all the taco trucks and make my notes. Friend Jamie thinks it would be fun to visit many of the taco trucks and do some local Walla Walla wine pairings with some of the favorites. I am ready!
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Monday, October 31, 2005
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Here is what I listed:
Hell, maybe I would stand out in front of that wine shop and sing for an extra $10 bill. Then I would buy a second bottle of House Wine and pair it with a dessert of brownies topped off with Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream.
The first time I met Stan Clarke was in January of 2002 at the Institute of Enology and Viticulture in Walla Walla. We were the first group of students for the Institute and Stan was our new instructor. I suppose we were pioneers, really. We were using various empty classrooms at the Ag building, but there were hopes and dreams that we would soon have a beautiful new structure to hold our viticulture and enology classes, along with a working winery. Stan was driving a commute of about 90 minutes to make it to his new job and sometimes in the winter would stay over in a camper before he moved to Walla Walla county. Stan left a teaching job of pre-teen boys with behavior problems and learning disabilities to come to Walla Walla. I bet Stan thought it was a relief to leave behind that for a group of adults. Heh. I often wondered if there were days Stan thought some of us weren't too far behind the pre-teen boys.
A graduate of University of California-Davis and Bachelor of Science degree in viticulture and a Master’s degree in teaching from Washington State University. Stan is a highly respected viticulturist and served as a grower relation’s manager for Chateau Ste. Michelle, general manager of Covey Run Vintners, and a winemaker and general manager of Hyatt Vineyards. Stan has also authored weekly articles on grapes and wines, judged various wine competitions, and served in 1987 as the president of the Washington Wine Institute (the precursor to the Washington Wine Commission). Just about everybody in the State of Washington who is involved in grapes and wine knows Stan Clarke. I discovered that while attending the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers (WAWGG) with Stan and other students in the Viticulture Student Leadership class. Everybody was talking to Stan or calling out to him and greeting him like he was a celebrity. Perhaps he is a celebrity. I am convinced that Stan knows everything in the industry and I have often referred to him as my "Wine Guru." On the small chance he can't answer a question, he knows who can. Stan is a patient man, enthusiastic about the wine industry and enthusiastic about his students.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
How do I feel about Sauvignon Blanc? I l-o-v-e it! I enjoy that very grassy, lemony and aggressive wine. How do I feel about Fume' Blanc? Pfffffttttt! Do not over oak the Sauvignon Blanc Mr. Mondavi!
Don't settle for your basic "shake and bake" pork chop. Let your pork chops feel the love and definitely try this recipe.
1 red bell pepper
6-8 large flat mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
3 Tbsps olive oil
4 pork chops
1/2 cup plain flour
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1/2- 3/4 cup of your favorite Sauvignon Blanc
1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
Grill or bake the red bell pepper until the skin blackens. Place in a paper bag and when cool enough to handle, peel off the skin, remove the stem, seeds and interior ribs and cut into strips. Keep warm. Cut the stems from the mushrooms and wipe the caps clean. Slice. Finely chop the garlic. Heat olive oil in a heavy pan and add the mushrooms. Stir, then add the garlic. Cook on medium heat, stirring often, until the mushrooms soften and exude moisture. Stir in salt and pepper, then put on a plate and keep warm. Don't wash the pan unless food is burned on. Save all of the little drippings and brown bits. That equals flavor!
Remove excess fat from chops. Season the flour with salt and pepper and press the chops into it to coat. Heat a little more oil in the pan and lightly brown the chops on both sides. Add the chopped herbs, stir for a minute or so, then drizzle in the wine. Part-cover the pan, lower the heat and simmer 10-15 minutes, adding more wine if necessary (Of course! Adding more wine is always necessary!). Don't overcook; the meat is ready as soon as it releases clear juices. Remove the chops to warm plates and keep warm. Put mushrooms back in the pan and stir, check seasoning, then carefully fold in roasted red bell pepper. Spoon the sauce over the chops and top with lightly chopped Italian parsley. Serves four. Serve with the same Sauvignon Blanc.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Friday, October 14, 2005
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
It is really a beautiful time in the Valley. Downtown Walla Walla is looking its holiday best. Besides Holiday Barrel Tasting, there are other special events such as The Macy's Christmas Parade of Lights, Holiday Open House at the Kirkman House Museum, and musical performances at Whitman College's Cordiner Hall and Walla Walla College.
Friday, December 2 is the opening night winemaker reception at Cordiner Hall on the Whitman College Campus. This event is included in the purchase of a "Premier Pass" ($60.00). Premier passes entitles holders to waived tasting fees at select wineries or discounts on wine purchases at other participating wineries. Only 300 Premier Passes will be made available.
A "Backstage Pass" will also be offered for $35.00. This pass entitles holders waived tasting fees or special discounts to pass holders at participating wineries. Both passes can be purchased through the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance.
Monday, October 03, 2005
But if I want Zinfandel, I'm drinking the real thing. Give me a redundant red Zinfandel!
Sunday, September 25, 2005
The Zinfandel grapes come from the Alder Ridge Vineyard, which is one of the oldest established vineyards in Washington state. Alder Ridge Vineyard is a steep slope rising 1,000 feet from the bank of the Columbia River on the Washington side. It's proximity to the river also makes it one of the warmest vineyard sites, as well as providing air drainage and the cooling effects from the river.
Now, about that Forgeron Cellars Zinfandel - how does it taste? In one word - YUMMY! It is rich with a spicy aroma on the nose and the color of blackberry jam. Warming flavors of cherry cobbler, spices, and brown sugar on the palette and finishes with a bit of spice and caramel.
This is not your typical cherry pop, 15%+ alcohol Zinfandel from California, either. There is a richness and subtle spice to this Zinfandel that makes it such a food friendly wine. Therefore, it deserves to be paired with a spicy meal. Barbequed ribs and chicken (I would toss some of the Zinfandel in the marinade) will awake the tastebuds with this lovely wine. With the fall season here, I see in my future a pork roast with cranberries, sage and a side of yams and of course, enhanced with this elegant Zinfandel.
Only 320 cases produced - get it now. Consider this bit of knowledge one of my best kept secrets.
Friday, September 23, 2005
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Tonight's guest will be Caleb Foster of Buty Winery. So please tune in and discover what's happening with Caleb Foster and Nina Buty Foster at their winery. Remember, 2005 crush is underway here in the Walla Walla Valley and you can listen to KWCW 90.5FM online.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Walla Walla Merlot Wine Reduction Sauce
1 (750-milliliter) bottle Walla Walla Merlot wine
2-3 shallots, quartered (or 1 small onion, quartered)
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Thursday, September 08, 2005
If you are looking to make your own wines contact Grapeland Supply . They have available "U-Pick" wine grapes. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot available by the row or block.
Prefer to wear your grapes instead of drinking them? Relax with a facial from Face~a~Peel in the Walla Walla Valley. This organic spa treatment is made from grapes, including peels and seeds.
How about being a walking billboard for Walla Walla? Check out Gotta Go Embroidery located at their new spot on Main Street, Downtown Walla Walla. There are no sour grapes there.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Amavi's tasting room is a reconstruction of a 1890's log cabin that was relocated from Montana. The tasting room is very warm and friendly. I felt that the warmth and friendliness came from not just the structure, but from the staff as well.
Amavi is the sister winery to the very prestigious Pepper Bridge Winery which is also located in the Walla Walla Valley. Both wineries share the same winemaker, Jean-François Pellet, and estate vineyards, Seven Hills, Pepper Bridge and Les Collines. However, they utilize different vineyard blocks and winemaking styles. Having tasted the wines, there is quality in the bottle but at an affordable price.
Last night I was able to sit in on a wine tasting of the 2002 Amavi Cabernet Sauvignon. 2002 happened to be an exceptional year for the Walla Walla Valley. This 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 2% Syrah and 1% Malbec. An award winner with critical acclaim from a couple of food and wine magazines, this wine is very aromatic with flavors of dark fruit, a chocolate finish (a very creamy mouth feel) and spice. The spice we tasted is still under scrutiny, though. Was it spice or a teeny bit of brettanomyces? The taste of brett seemed to waft in and out through the wine, which made it very interesting. I think this is a wine that can lay down for a few years and yet very approachable now. A great buy at $25.00. Let's put it this way - no matter if it was spice or brett - I would never turn down a bottle.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Two weeks ago one of the local bowling alleys, Bowlaway Lanes, hosted their first annual "Wine Bowl." The deal was that all of the local wineries were invited to attend. The winning winery team would get a trophy and their poster hung in the alley for a year. My partners from Forgeron Cellars , Anne, Jamie and Sharyl, co-erced me there with promises of dinner before. I got my dinner but they still dragged me to the bowling alley while I protested and screamed all the way.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
The red table wine (RTW) came from the esteemed Woodward Canyon. I don't have the blend percentages that went into the wine, but it is definitely a Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend. While this wine was elegant, there was a real "meatiness" to it and a wine that you can give some age to. I happened to be noshing on pieces of Spanish Manchego and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses, along with some cashews and dried prunes. The strong pungent cheeses and the rich dark fruit paired very nicely with this full bodied wine. Woodward Canyon RTW sells for $17.00
I often tell people that Walla Walla Valley makes some of the best table wines and blends around. The table reds are always an excellent value for the quality.
Friday, August 26, 2005
Like The Walla Walla Institute for Enology and Viticulture, this is another progressive and important asset to our valley inspired by Dr. Myles Anderson, who is also Director of the Institute, as well as co-owner of Walla Walla Vintners.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Use the best leaves to be filled with the stuffing & the remaining can be used for lining the pan and between the layers. Drain leaves and rinse well with hot water. Cut off stems. Shiny side of leaf down, put about 1 tablespoon of stuffing on each leaf. Fold opposite ends towards the center, then roll up. Cover bottom of heavy deep skillet with leaves & arrange the rolls in it in layers, separating each layer with leaves. Add the mixture of broth, lemon juice, & tomato paste. Put a plate on top of the top layer to weight it down. Cover the pan. Cook over low heat 1-1/4 hours, or until tender.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Sunset Magazine has been very supportive of the Walla Walla Valley and has showed the abundance of the Valley to their readers. In their March 2002 issue, they named Walla Walla's Main street as being the best in the West and recently in the April 2005 issue, they celebrated us as the new food and wine destination featuring fresh menus with foods from the area.
Walla Walla was one of three finalists for the award and last week was named the winner of Wine Destination of the Year. Winners were nominated and chosen by a 17 member judges panel that were comprised of wine journalists, sommeliers and wine retailers.
Walla Walla’s wineries have already made a $100 million economic impact on the area. Although more than 60 wineries operate, there is much more to the Valley than wine. Visitors to the Walla Walla Valley will discover the historic downtown, a developed art community, sophisticated dining, and home town friendliness. Welcome to Walla Walla!
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
At this time, while many of the red varietals have taken on their purple hue, they have not technically finished the verasion process as the brix is not what it should be for harvest. Of course the Chardonnay will change from the color green to - um - well- the color green, but will eventually take on a softer and plumper feel to the touch and become an opaque green. The prediction for harvest is in about three weeks.
For the past 10 days, a huge fire has been keeping a community of firefighters busy in Pomeroy, an Eastern town about 67 miles from the Walla Walla Valley. Friday night I went outside after midnight to see if I could get a glimpse of the meteor showers. The sky was very hazy from the east making the natural light show difficult to see (saw about five shooters). The smell of smoke in the night air made me wonder how it would effect the grapes. Could it be that we may not have to use any heavy toasted oak barrels for the 2005 vintage?
The truth is that the winds have been shifting the smoke in another direction, so it appears our 2005 harvest will be safe.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Monday, August 01, 2005
Friday, July 29, 2005
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Monday, July 25, 2005
It took 41 days. Not a bad turn around on the big world wide wine web.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Spring Valley Vineyard labels are as distinctive as their wines. The labels are portraits of family members who farmed the same land. Label names like Uriah, Frederick, Muleskinner and Nina Lee tell the story of rich family history. My favorite label is the "Nina Lee." Not only is it a beautiful label, but the Nina Lee is a delicious 100% Syrah that has blackberry and licorice notes with a hint of spice showing through. Nina Lee, a tribute to the spirit of women, met Frederick in 1928 while performing Vaudeville at a local theatre. They married and sucessfully faced the great depression together. In 1957 Frederick died and Nina Lee decided not to depend on anyone else but herself, so she continued to operate the ranch on her own. Nina Lee died after 21 years of successful farming. The labels and wines will be added to the Ste. Michelle wine portfolio.
Ste. Michelle Wine Estates from Woodenville, WA will purchase the winery, brand names, and all wine in bottle and barrel. The company will lease the 40-acre vineyard on a long term basis and the vineyard will remain under the ownership of the Corkrum-Derby family.
Have you ever visited the Spring Valley Vineyard tasting room in downtown Walla Walla? If Gaynor Derby is pouring, you are in for a treat. Wearing his cowboy hat with a salty sense of humor, he typifies what good old hospitality is all about. Gaynor's pride in his grapes beams into every glass he pours. My hopes are Ste. Michelle will realize the value of hometown hospitality. Pride and hospitality are just as important to the Walla Walla wines as the grapes that go into them.