Thursday, April 06, 2006

Seattle Sun - Not Impossible

I was in Seattle for 5 days at the very end of March and into the beginning of April. I started out teaching at my friend Carol Dearth's Rain City Cooking School . The class was small but attentive and the meal they produced was as good as what you would find in any upscale vegetarian restaurant. The menu included Potato & Watercress Soup with Sorrel Cream, Roasted Asparagus and Beet Salad with Herbed Citrus Dressing, Caramelized Onions, Leeks and Vegetables Wrapped in Phyllo Pastry, Braised Baby Artichokes with Dried Tomatoes, White Wine, Shallots and Garlic and for dessert -- Marinated Spring Strawberries . The rainy weather here in California made baby artichokes unavailable so I substituted water packed canned hearts and the dish was wonderful. The strawberries needed a bit of sugar but all was delicious. The class had the most fun with the phyllo dough which is one of my favorite ingredients to use in teaching since so many people are intimidated by the thought of using it, and then find it it's really not very difficult to use.

I went to Seattle to attend a conference of The International Associaton of Culinary Professionals. Many high profile chefs were in attendance including Jacques Pepin, Rick Bayless, Charlie Trotter, Roland Messier and more. I go for the education. Mostly what I learned is that I know a bit more than I sometimes think that I do. Charlie Trotter commented that seaweed is going to become more common place. You heard it here first.

As I got up from a talk at breakfast to use the rest room I ran into my friend Ken from Lotus Foods who carries the Bhutanese red rice. He was going to be doing a presentation that day. It was great to chat with him.

As I skipped out of another session with a well known Indian chef, I ran into a friend who works for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. She followed me out of the room so that we could set up a dinner meeting. And we did.

Since the weather was almost balmy we walked to the Elysian Brewery to possibly have dinner but the atmosphere didn't seem right. So we got directions to Lark, a 50 seat restaurant just 2 blocks away where they don't take reservations for small parties.
Laura and I didn't have to wait long for a table. The stafff made us feel very welcome and cared for. It was like eating in someone's home but they really knew how to cook. There wer no incredibly memorable small plates but the pasta with nettles was yummy. We were treated to a wonderful frozen Meyer lemon mousse, which was an extremely tasting end to the meal. Kelly, the hostess, called a cab for us and we left for our respective hotels.

The conference was interesting while somewhat exhausting. I was happy to arrive home except that I left the Seattle sun for the Sonoma County rain. Funny, isn't it?

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