Trend-setting restaurants, Northwest cookbooks, local food news and the people who make them happen.
December 11, 2013 at 11:35 PM
The people have spoken—that is, the roughly five million people who make reservations and write reviews on OpenTable, the online restaurant reservation system. Hats off to chef Holly Smith and her team at Café Juanita, the only Washington state restaurant to make OpenTable’s 2013 roster of the 100 Best Restaurants in America.
The list was culled from a field of roughly 19,000 restaurants nationwide. The top 100 were selected based on reviews from verified OpenTable diners between November 14, 2012, and November 15, 2013
“It feels great to be on a list that is guest generated,” says Smith. “These reviews come only after a guest has dined with a restaurant and therefore it reflects happy guests.
It’s well-deserved recognition for the 13-year-old Kirkland restaurant, a favorite with critics from the start. In a 3.5 star review in the The Seattle Times in July 2002, Nancy Leson wrote, ” Innovation, artistry, and superior ingredients are key to the kitchen’s success.” (more…)
September 18, 2013 at 2:56 PM
There’s nothing I like better than combining a good deed with a good meal. Two Seattle restaurants—BOKA Restaurant + Bar in the Hotel 1000 downtown, and Tilth Restaurant in Wallingford—are giving diners the chance to do just that by participating in the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America® Local Dish Challenge.
Joining more than 160 restaurants across the country, BOKA and Tilth have each created a dish showcasing the best of our local bounty—and it may surprise no one to learn that both chose salmon.
At BOKA, chefs Peter Birk and Azad Rawat are serving Alaskan King Salmon with cannellini beans, braised pork belly and chanterelles, finished with salt-and-vinegar Brussels sprout chips.
At Tilth, chef Maria Hines designated her smoked sockeye salmon with celery, hazelnuts, grapes, apple, and creme fraiche as the “Local Dish” contender.
One dollar from each of those salmon dishes sold through October 31, 2013 will go to the JBF Taste America® Education Drive, which supports the Foundation’s many educational programs on topics surrounding our country’s food system. In addition, Taste America® presenting sponsor Chase Sapphire Preferred will match those dollars (up to $100,000 nationwide).
But wait, there’s more! I never thought I’d encourage the practice but, to all of you who love taking pictures of your food, whip out those smartphones and snap away because the contest has a social media twist that could benefit a local organization too.
Take a photo of the dish, and post it to Instagram with #JBFTasteamerica and the hashtag of your city. For example: Just had this salmon #jbftasteamerica dish from @BOKArestaurant (or @Tilth) in #Seattle.)
When the promotion ends, the city with the most Instagram photo uploads will be declared the winner and a local charity (selected by the participating restaurants) will receive a donation from JBF in the amount of $10,000 or 10% of the proceeds raised nationally, whichever is higher. Seattle’s beneficiary is PCC Farmland Trust.
Remember to post the photo to Instagram and use the specified hashtags for it to count toward the competition among the participating cities.
September 4, 2013 at 9:22 PM
If you are out and about on Capitol Hill this Thursday or Friday looking for a libation, head to Canon and ask Sean Michael Johnson– a.k.a. Seattle’s “Most Imaginative Bartender”– to make you a Julius Henry. He can use the practice.
It’s the cocktail that made him a finalist in “Bombay Sapphire’s Search for the Most Imaginative Bartender.” This Sunday he’s competing in the national contest at the U.S. Bartender’s Guild Summit in Las Vegas, where he will share the stage with 51 of the country’s top mixologists. The winner heads to the 3rd annual global finals.
His strategy for the timed competition in Vegas is to make the drink as much as possible beforehand, “so it becomes muscle memory,” that way he can concentrate on charming the judges. (more…)
August 15, 2013 at 2:58 PM
In March broVo’s rose geranium liqueur earned a bronze medal in the San Francisco Spirits Competition. At last month’s Beverly Hills World Spirits Competition broVo’s Douglas Fir liqueur snagged gold for “extraordinary taste.”
But broVo’s new line of seven amaros (or amari, to give it the proper Italian plural), have been wowing judges too. Each was crafted from a recipe contributed by a Seattle bartender. Amaro No. 4 (by Patrick Haight) won a silver medal at the San Francisco competition. In Beverly Hills, gold medals for “extraordinary taste” went to Amaro No.1 (by John Ueding) and Amaro No. 5 (by Sara Fisher), while Amaro No. 3 (by Sarah Wyan) took the bronze. The entire broVo Amaro line was awarded a bronze medal for packaging and design.
Amaro, in case you are wondering, is a bittersweet, aromatically complex Italian liqueur. In Italy people drink it straight, as a tonic or digestivo. In this country it is beloved by craft bartenders who mix them into cocktails. There are hundreds of amaros, which traditionally are made by injecting grape brandy with various flavorings, but broVo’s line started with rhubarb liqueur gone wrong. (more…)
August 8, 2013 at 6:00 AM
My barhopping excursions took me to a secret scotch society tasting, a marathon sampling of Singapore Slings off Bourbon Street and ended, as it does every week, at Zig Zag Café. As noted earlier with the revamped AYCE blog, I’ll use this forum to post tidbits and random thoughts about new bars, cocktails and other happenings in our drinking scene.
We’ll start with the acclaimed Zig Zag Café, which launched a new cocktail menu for the first time in 18 months. (more…)
July 21, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Scoring a seat at Canon just got harder.
The popular Capitol Hill bar’s latest bragging rights: “World’s Best Drink Selection.” Canon got that honor at the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards Dinner in New Orleans Saturday night, one of the highest honors in the industry. (more…)
November 8, 2011 at 9:20 AM
It’s Election Day. No sooner do you get one ballot in the mail, here’s another vying for your attention. It’s time to heed the call — for entries — and promote your picks for the 2012 James Beard Restaurant & Chef Awards.
The Beard Foundation is once again calling all comers to submit the names of their favorite chefs and restaurants as contenders for a 2012 award. You have till December 31 to make your voice heard, but why procrastinate? Here’s the link, do it now. Finalists will be announced March 19. Winners will be revealed in NYC at a gala event May 7.
New this year is a category for Outstanding Bar Program, with the award going to a restaurant or bar that demonstrates excellence in cocktails, spirits and/or beer service. National in scope, it’s given to the establishment, not an individual. While we’re on the subject, anyone care to comment on which local bar program deserves to be a contender on the national stage?
April 5, 2011 at 2:25 PM
Food & Wine magazine today announced their 2011 “Best New Chefs” , recognizing up-and-coming chefs nationwide. Seattle has scored again with one of its own: Jason Franey, executive chef at Canlis. While the win is news to us, it’s old news to Franey, who got the word a month ago.
“It feels good to be able to finally talk about it,” said the 33-year-old chef, chatting by phone from New York City where he and his fellow newbies are busy painting the town. “My mom didn’t even know. She’s the kind of person who’d post it on Facebook!”
Jason Franey, in the kitchen at Canlis.
Franey was also a regional winner of Food & Wine’s new “People’s Choice Award” offered for the first time this year and announced last month. He beat out a tough and talented field of contenders before he was crowned Best New Chef Northwest. Of course, he had help with that one.
March 20, 2011 at 3:11 PM
The James Beard Foundation today announced nominees for the 2011 James Beard Awards at a luncheon in the Oregon Culinary Institute in Portland, the birthplace of James Beard. Winners will be feted May 9 in NYC, at the annual awards ceremony and gala at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. The full list of nominees in all award categories, as well as those who will be honored for special achievement, is available via the James Beard website. FYI: that site gets so slammed on days like today you might want to follow the chatter via their Twitter feed or Facebook page.
And a drum-roll please! Representing Seattle at the Beard Awards are . . .
February 17, 2011 at 6:22 AM
The James Beard Foundation today announced a long list of semifinalists for the 2011 James Beard Awards in 19 restaurant and chef categories. This represents the first cut before the final five nominees get the nod March 21 — when the foundation will also announce nominations for restaurant design and graphics, books, journalism, broadcast media and special achievement. Winners will be feted May 9 at the annual awards ceremony and gala reception at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in NYC.
Among the nation’s Outstanding Chef semifinalists: Holly Smith of Cafe Juanita (which is also up for Outstanding Restaurant) and Jerry Traunfeld of Poppy. [Seattle Times photos by Tom Reese (Smith) and Mike Siegel (Traunfeld)].
Congrats to Holly (times two!), Jerry and our other home-team semifinalists, a list that includes:
Trending with readers