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Browne Family Vineyards 2014 Tribute

Sitting in a tasting room in downtown Seattle trying new wines while catching up with an old friend seemed quite civilized. Such was the case recently at the Browne Family Vineyards tasting room in Pioneer Square. We love our wine tastings in Napa or Sonoma or Walla Walla, so I was excited to learn about this lovely spot on First Avenue that just recently opened. Stylish as all get out, cozy and just a perfect spot to chat and laugh and drink some amazing wine. Which leads me to this bottle of Tribute. My friend Jackie & I were both quite taken with it, taking home bottles. We have since served it at several gatherings gaining much praise. TPS was back visiting his mom in Montclair and picked up a bottle there, so it is distributed widely, which is always nice as I sometimes write about wines that folks from afar have a tough time finding. 

From the makers site: Dark fruit, flint and tanned leather aromatics. Fruit bomb with Van Cherry, currant and all spice. Finishes with anise, toasty oak and lingering dark fruit flavors. Acid is bright and balances this full bodied and round tannin wine.

Varietal Blend: 39% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Malbec, 10% Petit Verdot, 6% Petite Sirah, 6% Carmenere 

{as a special added bonus to my readers–mention this post or my name in the Pioneer Square tasting room for a 10% discount}



Monday Night at Artusi

You all know I like sharing with you favorite places we enjoy dining. I love hearing shared stories from customers & readers who travel from far and wide who get to Seattle and try out one of our recommendations. I have written often of our major fondness of the Italian eatery, Spinasse. Artusi is the sibling, living right next door. They share the same kitchen, so you just know it is going to be sublime. Dining there anytime for dinner or for nibbles with drinks is grand, but Mondays they offer something quite special. I got to have a date night with my husband the other eve, enjoying their 2 pasta special + a bottle of wine for $35. Yes, you read that right, 35 bucks. I like a good deal as much as the next guy, but it has to be good. This is crazy good! I am still dreaming of the housemade, handmade pastas we enjoyed. If you are in Seattle on a Monday eve looking for a place to dine and be incredibly happy, Artusi is the ticket.



My Favorite Things Today

Retail, make that interesting retail, really is about the mix. I think of it like a puzzle. A colorful puzzle filled with all sorts of cool/high quality/beautiful & intriguing pieces creating one big sensory experience. These are the goods that caught my eye yesterday that are My Favorite Things Today.



A Rose Is A Rose Is A Rose 

Had a late lunch with my friend Jackie the other day at London Plane. While waiting for our table we had the pleasure of perusing the lovely blooms they had for sale. The roses were my favorite, by far. Their singular beauty always gets me. This fluttery loveliness our Flower Friday pick of the week.



Cassoulet To Go from Café Campagne

OK, you know you must really like something quite a bit when you write about it twice. Know I am smiling as I type this, but you must also know you have a 54 year old brain when you forget that you have written about it in the past… When Google searching with a question this early morning, my prior post from 2015 popped up. What a lovely post! Again, insert smile. Anywho, I love it so much it deserves a second showing. Café Campagne ‘Cassoulet To Go’ is one of my favorite take-away treats to serve at home on a chilly eve, and is our Wine & Dine Wednesday yummy post for the week. Chef Daisley Gordon has served the same cassoulet recipe for close to 25 years. Gordon’s variation uses two sizes of white beans to create an appealing texture, adding housemade morsels of sausage and duck confit. Add a salade verte, haricots verts, a baguette slathered in butter, your favorite red, and off you go. Perfect for two or order extra and host the easiest, yummiest small dinner party ever. That they are my neighbors at 86 Pine Street in the Market means you can pop in and say a quick ‘hi’ after you run in to pick up your order. Happy mid-week everyone! 



Mushroom Melange & Beecher’s Flagship Cheese Frittata 

A frittata is one of my favorite things to make and it is quite easy. You can fill it with just about any combo of things you like, and it works for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I almost always serve it with a salad, even for breakfast. We had our niece Aisling visiting from Troy, New York out to the island this week-end along with her sister Haley, who lives in Seattle. I whipped up this version for a late breakfast before we headed back into the city on Monday. You can make these big or small, depending on your skillet size and how many eggs you use.

I like to get all the ingredients ready as this comes together quickly so you want the mushrooms sautéed and the cheese cubed or shredded before you begin cooking the eggs. Aisling picked up a beautiful bag of mixed wild mushrooms at the West Seattle Farmers Market that I cooked in butter, after cutting off the better part of the stem. Beecher’s is our neighbor in the Market and I adore their Flagship cheese, so I just cubed up a chunk for this.

Non-stick pan is key. Add a good sized knob of butter to the skillet and melt on low. While that is doing that, crack 8 eggs into a bowl, add a splash of whole milk, salt & pepper and whisk away. Add eggs to the buttered pan and keep on fairly low. Cook a bit and then scatter the mushrooms about and then add the small cheese cubes around the mushrooms. While this is cooking away turn on your oven broiler. You only want the eggs to cook enough so the bottom has started to set. The middle will still be quite undone. Once you can lift up the sides of the frittata a bit, it is now ready for the broiler. Here is where you must be diligent. Place the pan under the broiler and do not walk away or do another task. I even leave the oven door open a bit so I can watch it. I turn the skillet every now and then to make sure it is cooking evenly. It will puff up and get gloriously brown and the cheese will melt and it will be so good and you will be so proud of yourself because you will feel a tad chef-y. Insert smile. With a potholder carefully pull out of the oven. The handle will also be hot. It will deflate a little, but that is just part of the charm. Slice up, serve with toast or baguette. Enjoy, enjoy.



Singing Tulips 

There they were, bucket after bucket of these extraordinary creamy tulips and the two kind women working the Alm Hill flower stand patiently went through each bucket for me picking the blooms that had the most bursts of red here & there. I told them what a difference it would make once they started to open up. When we woke up the other morning and went into the living room, they seemed to be singing to the opera that was wafting about the air. Happy Friday everyone!



Salmon Cakes

Wine & Dine Wednesday kicks off the New Year with salmon cakes. I think I mentioned earlier we hand carried a salmon on ice with us from Seattle on the plane to serve the next day at our Boxing Day supper. With Hawthorne being in the country doing a shopping run on December 26th would have been tough since we had guests arriving at 2, so we quite liked the idea of bringing a bit of Pacific Northwest to the Hudson Valley. When I headed out the door on Christmas Eve morning to get the salmon, before we opened the shops, I asked TPS how many pounds I should get for our party. We came up with 10 pounds. Keep that in mind. SO, off I went thinking a BIG fish and I usually find fresh salmon for around 20 bucks a pound. WELL, my chin about dropped when all I could find from the purveyors who were selling whole salmon to be packed up to travel was $50 a pound. I thought we could just serve caviar and it would be less expensive. After a quick chat with the fishmonger, he said we could easily get away with tons less as it was being served with other hearty things. So in went our beautiful salmon in its cute carry box to make its way East. The reason I tell the above story is there was no way possible we were going to let one flake of that gorgeous (expensive) salmon go to waste. Which brings us to salmon cakes!

Our sister-in-law Marian had offered to make/bring barley mushroom risotto for the Boxing Day supper, which was out of this world. The heartiness was one of the reasons the fishmonger thought we could get away with serving much less salmon. He was so right! We had leftovers of both so a few nights later I thought I would make salmon cakes and serve them atop the re-heated risotto. This recipe is for when you have leftover cooked salmon. The salmon needs to be cooked prior to making these cakes. Mister Sive had prepared the salmon for the Boxing Day meal gloriously, covered in fresh herbs, shallots & citrus zest. So I really did not need to add much to make these cakes sing. Here is what I did.

In a big bowl, break up the salmon into pieces. To that add a dusting of panko bread crumbs, a big dollop of Dijon mustard, a generous hand with the Worcestershire bottle with at least 5 or more big glugs, a squeeze of half a lemon, a good oversized spoonful of mayo, and a generous amount of salt & pepper. Lastly, a beaten egg to bind all that yumminess together. Now mix that all together. Then form into balls, squishing ever so lightly down on them to make round/cake shaped. On a plate add a quite good amount of panko bread crumbs. One at a time take each salmon cake and put it into the waiting pile of bread crumbs and coat fully. Then put the lot on a clean plate and put in the fridge for a bit to chill and set.

Then add a good amount of extra virgin olive oil to a frying pan and heat up on medium heat. Add the salmon cakes, cooking each side until golden brown. Serve.



Merry Christmas!



Last Minute Gifts & Stocking Stuffers

The Christmas shopping marathon finish line is in sight for all of us who partake–shoppers and shopkeepers alike. Both Watson Kennedy locations are open this morning at 10 where we will be wrapping away the day until 6. As always, our WK signature gift wrap is complimentary on purchases. Tomorrow, Sunday the 24th, both shops will be open from 10 to 5, for any last minute gift needs and stocking stuffers. Which leads me to the below. A melange of goods all ready to be wrapped up. Have a glorious week-end everyone, with whatever you are doing, wherever you are on the globe!