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Great Community Experience & Seattle Food and Wine Experience

We had such a fun food week this last week! On Sunday, October 19th we had the honor of being invited to the Olympic View Community Club Harvest Dinner. Paul Gregory, our farmer, lives in the neighborhood and has been inviting us to the event every year. We finally got a chance to go and it was the most fun we have had in a very long time. Thank you, Paul!

The weather was gorgeous and autumnal, with the sun-dappled trees and crisp air; it was a perfect day. The community center was set up with tables and chairs put together for communal dining and there were a couple of side tables with food already on them. There were kids on the porch churning fresh butter and drawing pictures. One group was standing around the electric apple grinder dropping apples in and making sure the bucket below got all the appley goodness that came out. Once the bucket was full they dumped it into the apple press and another group was twisting the press down and catching the nectar in a cheesecloth-covered bucket. We were invited to dip our cup directly into the flowing juice. I love unfiltered apple juice and I had no idea until that day!

Another group was tending a fire with a huge grill around it, in anticipation of the many sides of salmon that were to go on for dinner. Under the trees a bit further out there were a few folks tending a turkey fryer and they eventually cooked 2 big turkeys in the hot oil. It was my firt time to try deep fried turkey and it is GOOD!

There was a talented woman painting the faces of the children (no mere flowers here, these faces were works of beautiful art!) and a little vignette was set up with hay bales, flowers, apples and squash for anyone who wanted a pretty backdrop for taking portraits.

The crowd was varied in age from infant to 80’s, as far as I could tell, and everyone who did not bring the apples, salmon or turkey brought side dishes and desserts. We added our cookies to the dessert table and hung out around the apple press so I could dip my cup in at will. Everyone was happy, we met new friends and saw a few old friends as well. We all hungrily awaited the call for dinner and slowly we made our way into the community center to stake our claim on a chair at the tables. Finally they said it was dinnertime! We all lined up and visited while we made our way to the tables. All the hands there lovingly prepared every ounce of food and it was all fabulous!

It reminded me of gatherings at the church from my childhood. There was music by a lovely lady playing an accordion, laughter and hugs and food and we even noticed a bit of wine flowing, though I think that was a byob sorta deal. It was simple and good and community at it’s finest and I hope that we are invited to more things like that because we just loved it!

Last weekend we celebrated Mark’s birthday by meeting his parents at Qwest Field for the first annual Seattle Food and Wine Experience. Proceeds were to benefit Heroes for the Homeless and we are always willing to eat and drink for a good cause! We picked up our wine glasses, wine passports and food tickets, as well as a schedule for the KitchenAid Cooking School, and were on our way. We watched Barking Frog Chef Bobby Moore at the cooking school and got to meet Rover’s Chef Thierry Ratureau face to face. He even signed a coobook for me so I was so happy!

There were over 1000 wines from regions all over the world and for each taste of wine they would stamp your ‘passport’. Based on price value some wines got 1 stamp, others got up to 5. My favorite wine was from Maryhill and it was a 5-stamp wine, but I went back for one more taste at the end because I liked it so much. There was beer as well, and coffee, and sparkling water. Only the wine cost ‘stamps’ though.

There were many food purveyors and some of them were premium and that is where you used the ‘golden ticket’. We could have tasted food from Rover’s, Barking Frog, Serafina, Cafe Juanita, Cremant, Crush, Campagne, Etta’s Seafood, Herb Farm, Inn at Port Ludlow, Ruth’s Chris, Salish Lodge, Sip, Volterra, 35th Street Bistro, Alaska Silk Pie, and Melting Pot. We didn’t get to all of them but we did a good share of them and my favorite taste was from Volterra-a wild boar ragu on Orriechette and it was SO GOOD! On top of all those amazing restaurants there were many other food booths with free samples and even some things you could purchase.

We spent 5 hours there with Mark’s parents and we all left very full and very happy! Mark and I headed over to the Brooklyn to meet our lovely friends Kelly and Roy and while we did not need dinner we did have some fresh oysters and other nibblies. It was Mark’s birthday after all, and how often do we get to a place as great as the Brooklyn?

Let me tell you, if you missed this first even you should start looking for it now for next year. It is worth the price of the ticket and makes for an absolutely gluttonously wonderful day. Meet friends there and make a party out of it!

The other thing that happened this week that makes me oh so happy is that my favorite Food Network show is on again. ‘Secrets of a Restaurant Chef’ with Chef Ann Burrell was off the air for a bit and now she is back. I adore Chef Ann, she cooks like I do (only much better!) and we share similar philosophies, techniques, and values. I think we would be great friends but of course if I ever met her I would be struck dumb because, as we know, I get star struck and I cannot think or speak. Watching her gives me gumption to try things and share my knowledge and just be a better cook in general. Check her out if you haven’t seen her!

What food shows do you like? Do you admire any chefs, either on tv or not? Tell me about them!