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A Boat, A Whale & A Walrus

20140927-054610.jpg It seems like new books are arriving almost daily at the shops. Cookbooks especially catch my eye at this time of year when chilly nights and candlelit tables become the norm. The much anticipated above book, as I shy away from just calling this a cookbook, made me do a little happy dance as Heather unpacked them yesterday. ‘A Boat, A Whale & A Walrus’ is written by local chef Renee Erickson, along with writer Jess Thomson. We have long been a fan of Renee, both her eateries and of her Boat Street Pickles which we sell at the Home store. She has been a Watson Kennedy customer over the years, as has Jim Henkens, who so beautifully shot the images for the book. I love when our creative customers hit a home run. And they did! This is of course first and foremost a cookbook, but it also filled with stories of what makes up the life of owning a restaurant–staff, vendors, menus, recipes. It feels quite personal. Like you are sitting down with Renee having a glass of rosé and chatting about her life. I love that about this book. An homage to her restaurants, it is jam packed with winning recipe after recipe. As well as full menus so you could plan a dinner party from start to finish within a chapter. A lovely gift, but also a keeper.

Happy Saturday all!
From my favorite chair. Just about to head out and hit a few tennis balls.



Domaine La Bastide Blanche Bandol

20131204-063806.jpg Our meal last week at The Whale Wins was a winner, as was the wine. As promised, I wanted to share with you this tasty red. The fun thing for me about these wine posts is I get to dig up a bit of information on these wines and vintners I would not usually know. This one in particular is quite interesting, as it is produced by brothers. In the early ’70s Michel and Louis Bronzo acquired the property of the Bastide Blanche, with an eye to producing from appellation Bandol wines the equal of more famous appellations like Chateauneuf. Their efforts were rewarded in 1993 when vintage conditions created the benchmark year to put the Bandol region and Bastide Blanche, in particular, on the map of top producers in France. They have various cuvees, depending on the vintage, but always about 75% Mourvedre at a minimum. The wine was perfect and paired nicely with all the robust flavors the meal offered. From my web research, I am finding the bottles running around the $25 mark, which for a wine from Bandol, is one heck of a value. This is definitely one of those wines that will be on my mental list to buy when I see it, either on the wine shop/grocery shelves or on the menu.



The Whale Wins

20131127-075908.jpg Not really a Wine Wednesday entry, so I am coming up with a new concept for a post, Wine & Dine Wednesday. I love writing about swell meals we have had. They actually are one of the more discussed posts I get asked about from readers who are traveling and visiting Seattle. Which leads me to, please know, I only share places I really enjoy. I made up my mind very early on when beginning this blog that I wanted it to be positive, happy & upbeat. The world has so much negative/unhappy/sad stuff swirling about, why on earth would anyone want to write about, contribute or read more of the bad stuff. We have eaten at plenty of places that are good but not great, and even some not good at all. Those are the places I don’t share or write about. I hope that all makes sense. Just know if I write about it, we really liked it quite a bit.

Which leads me to, The Whale Wins. This has been on the top of our list since it opened, but for whatever reason, we had yet to try. TPS was given a birthday present of a meal there way back in May. Since we had birthday on the brain, we thought we would give it a go on Monday eve. Chef Renee Erickson, from Boat Street Cafe & The Walrus and the Carpenter fame, has once again put together a winner. Small and shared plates is the concept, so go ready to try lots of spectacular flavor combinations. The space is cool and inviting. The wine list, incredibly approachable.

We have carried her pickled products at the First Avenue shop since she began selling them. Renee is also a Watson Kennedy customer. It has been so much fun watching all of her successes over the years.

We went knowing it was going to be good. But it was really, really great. Ordering the Columbia City bread platter with a huge dollop of amazing butter is a must, for starters. The bread being the perfect tool for mopping up all those delicious sauces along the way. Here is what we had. Roasted delicata squash with beans, almonds, ricotta salata, mint and green tomato currant chutney. As well as roasted cauliflower, toasted coconut, mustard seeds, pickled cucumber with coconut vinaigrette. All amazing. Then Hama Hama roasted clams with romanesco, celery, fingerling potatoes and marjoram. Painted Hills marrow bones, Jacobsen sea salt, with a pickled shallot relish with capers and golden raisins. As well as Carlton Farms roasted pork shoulder with eggplant, chickpeas, rosemary & tarragon. All with a super tasty Bandol red I will write about in the coming weeks. It was all heaven. My only suggestion is to request things in the order you would like them. We ending up being brought the clams last, which seemed odd to us, but we should have specified we wanted them before the meat course. They were still awesome, even after that incredible pork shoulder and marrow. We ended sharing a brownie that is from her mother’s recipe, which rocked. Run, don’t walk, to The Whale Wins. Yum!