Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Seattle Coffee Works' Different Buzz

IN THE NEWS: From the PI's Leslie Kelly, "After hearing the noble mission of the soon-to-debut Seattle Coffee Works (set to open May 28), you might wonder why nobody has ever tried something like this before. Its brilliant conceit: to bring together the area's most respected local roasters under one roof. Kind of like a wine bar, or a brewpub, but with a different kind of buzz. Beans from Lighthouse, Mukilteo, Caffe Umbria, Vashon Coffee Co., Borogrove, Brown's and Caffe D'Arte, among others, will be on the menu at this "microroast cafe," just east of Pike Place Market. The focus is on small-batch roasters, some working with as little as 5 to 7 pounds at a time. (That's Seven Roasters from Phinney Ridge.)" ... The PI's Kristin Dizon gives one and a half stars in her review of Bennett's Pure Food Bistro (7650 S.E. 27th St., Mercer Island) and visits Souped Up (7900 Green Lake Drive N.), while Leslie Kelly drops by Lakeview Deli (1505 Westlake Ave. N.). seattlepi.nwsource.com ... From the Seattle Times' Diane Brooks, "Good thing the immediate future of the Spirit of Washington Dinner Train doesn't hinge upon King County politics or the Eastside's rails-versus-trails debates. The popular train's 15-year run between Renton and Woodinville's Columbia Winery must end July 31. A widening of Interstate 405 through Bellevue will sever the tracks — permanently — by wiping out the Wilburton Tunnel, which carries southbound freeway traffic beneath the railway. Insiders are optimistic that ongoing talks between the Dinner Train operator and BNSF Railway will yield a new route between Woodinville and Snohomish. If all goes well, the train — and its 100,000 yearly riders — could be heading into the historic riverside city by fall. Meanwhile, King County, the Port of Seattle and BNSF continue to hash out a complex, three-way deal involving Boeing Field, $169 million from Port coffers and 42 miles of track between Snohomish and Renton. That stretch of rail includes both the existing and hoped-for Dinner Train routes.... Dana Blozis reviews Mama Passarelli's Dinner House (24306 Roberts Drive, Black Diamond) for the Times, while Providence Cicero gives two and a half stars in her review of Il Capretto d'Or (14471 Woodinville-Redmond Road, Woodinville) and also visits Stell's Burgers & More (3310 Third Ave. W., Seattle). ... The Times also reports, "Tutta Bella is bringing its Neapolitan-style pizzeria to the ever-growing South Lake Union area. The restaurant will open this fall at 2200 Westlake, the Denny Way and Westlake Avenue building that's home to Whole Foods Market, Marazul restaurant, Koots Green Tea and the Pan Pacific Hotel." seattletimes.com ... Seattle Weekly's Jonathan Kauffman reports the closing of Union Bay Cafe in Sand Point. " After 21 years, owner Mark Manley has decided that it is time to move on. His last day of service will be June 2. Taking over the space: David Hahne, who moved here from Minneapolis. The new restaurant is to be called Enotria, and will be rustic Italian, with a special focus on ... wait for it ... Italian wine." ... Kauffman reviews Marazul (2200 Westlake Ave.), while Mike Seely visits Flynn's Cafe (3923 Airport Way S.). seattleweekly.com

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Monday, May 21, 2007

Purple Cafe, Coupage, BOKA in the news

IN THE NEWS: The Seattle Times' Providence Cicero awards three stars in her review of Purple Café and Wine Bar (1225 Fourth Ave., Seattle), while Leigh Haddix reviews Mike's Noodle House (418 Maynard Ave. S., Seattle). In dining notes, "Owner Tom Hurley is taking over the kitchen at Seattle's Coupage (1404 34th Ave.) after the departure of his recently married chef and sous chef duo Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi. ... BOKA Kitchen + Bar (1010 First Ave.) executive chef Seis Kamimura is leaving to take on the executive chef/assistant general manager post of Wolfgang Puck's catering operations at the Seattle Design Center and Benaroya Hall. ... A new wine bar is headed Belltown's way in early July. The Local Vine (2520 Second Ave.), a joint venture of Harvard Business School grads Sarah Munson and Allison Nelson, will feature a menu of small plates developed by chef Jason Wilson of Crush, free Wi-Fi, more than 80 wines by the glass and wine events each week. The duo plans to open additional wine bars throughout the region within the next five years." seattletimes.com ... The P.I.'s Kristen Millares Bolt reviews Mi Chalateca (9710 Aurora Ave N., Seattle), while energetic Leslie Kelly checks out the time-honored happy hour at O'Asian Kitchen and Lounge (800 Fifth Ave., Seattle), notes Pac Island Grill (2012 S. 320th St., Seattle) and the openings of Opal and Betty, and reviews Marazul (2200 Westlake Ave., Seattle). seattlepi.nwsource.com ... Seattle Weekly's Jonathan Kauffman reviews Sunlight Cafe (6403 Roosevelt Way N.E., Seattle). seattleweekly.com ... The Stranger's Bethany Jean Clement writes a worthy tribute to longtime restaurant and lounge piano man Howard Bulson, who died May. 7. The Triple Door was to host a tribute to Bulson on May 23. thestranger.com

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Monday, May 14, 2007

America's Best Restaurant Cities

"Today ... most major cities in the U.S. have the kind of gastronomic diversity and regionality that is rich in every department, and even if you’ve visited recently, you can be sure that next time you go, there’ll be more new and enticing restaurants than you could possibly visit," writes Donald Burnam in a recent ForbesTraveler.com piece, "America's Best Restaurant Cities." "It’s getting hard not to have a great meal anywhere in the U.S.." Burnam continues.

Forbes' Top 10 Restaurant Cities:
1. New York City
2. Chicago
3. San Francisco
4. Los Angeles
5. New Orleans
6. Houston
7. Washington, D.C.
8. Atlanta
9. Boston
10. Las Vegas

Rankings were based on: Overall number of restaurants above the fast food level; Number of fine dining restaurants with national and international standing; Solid representation of regional American food; A wide segment of second-tier restaurants that would include seafood, steakhouses, and independently chef-owned restaurants; Breadth and depth of ethnic restaurants, especially if the city has neighborhood such as a Chinatown; A significant number of neigborhood restaurants where the locals tend to eat out regularly; A well-traveled clientele that regards eating out in that city one of the real pleasures of going there.

IN THE NEWS: The PI's Leslie Kelly reports that Jerry Traunfeld, executive chef at The Herbfarm, will open his own restaurant in Seattle in 2008. He's to stay on through the end of the year, however ... Kelly reviews Place Pigalle (81 Pike St.) and Pike Place Chowder (1530 Post Alley), and Jack's Fish Spot (1514 Pike Place), and also pays a visit to the original Starbucks (1912 Pike Place). seattlepi.nwsource.com ... Zephyr Grill & Bar (240 W. Kent Station St., Kent) gets two stars from the Times' Providence Cicero, while Trotter's Restaurant (825 Harvey Road, Auburn), and Rowdy Cowgirl BBQ (3620 Stone Way N., Seattle) also are reviewed. seattletimes.com ... Seattle Weekly's Jonathan Kauffman reviews Steelhead Diner (5 Pine St.), while the Search & Distill column looks at Calamity Jane's (5701 Airport Way S.) and Georgetown Liquor Company (5501 Airport Way S). seattleweekly.com ... Paul Constant of The Stranger also weighs in on Steelhead Diner. thestranger.com

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

P.I. Critic Wins Beard Award

Seattle P-I restaurant critic Rebekah Denn has won a 2007 James Beard Foundation award. Denn, a P-I critic for the past 18 months, won the award for "Newspaper or Magazine Restaurant Review or Critique." "I'm so honored I just can't believe it," Denn said. The award ceremony was at the Hudson Theatre May 6 in New York City. The James Beard Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to celebrating America's culinary heritage. This is the 20th anniversary of the James Beard Foundation awards. Before becoming the P-I's restaurant critic Denn, was an award-winning Metro desk reporter, most recently having worked as the newspaper's education writer.

Chicago's Frontera Grill won Outstanding Restaurant of the Year and Michel Richard of Michel Richard Citronelle in Washington, D.C. was named Outstanding Chef at the 2007 James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony. Hosted by CBS Early Show anchor Hannah Storm, the Beard Awards were held May 7 at Avery Fisher Hall in New York's Lincoln Center. More than 60 awards were presented by the country's pre-eminent nonprofit culinary organization, in its 20th anniversary celebration, and more than 1,600 industry leaders attended the ceremony. Other top awards went to: New York's L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, named Best New Restaurant; Thomas Keller (The French Laundry, Yountville, Ca.) received the award for Outstanding Restaurateur; and David Chang (Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York) received the Rising Star Chef of the Year award. Celebrity and culinary superstar attendees included Stephanie March, Ted Allen, Katie Lee Joel, Martha Stewart, Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Thomas Keller, Jose Andres, Tom Colicchio, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Padma Lakshmi, and Marcus Samuelsson. The Foundation's Media Awards took place at a separate event at the Hudson Theatre at Millennium Broadway Hotel on May 6. All Award winners received a bronze medallion etched with the image of the late James Beard, the esteemed chef, cookbook author, and food journalist. There are no cash awards. Established in 1990, the James Beard Foundation Awards recognizes outstanding achievement within the fine food and beverage industry in North America. For full awards results, please visit http://www.jamesbeard.org.

Beard Award highlights are:

AMERICA'S CLASSICS: Primanti Brothers, Demetrios Patrinos, Pittsburgh, Pa.; The Pickwick, Christopher Wisocki, Duluth, Minn.; Doe's Eat Place, The Signa Family, Greenville, Miss.; Aunt Carrie's, Elsie Foy, Narragansett, R.I.; I

Brookville Hotel, Mark and Connie Martin, Abilene, Kan.; Weaver D's, Dexter Weaver, Athens, Ga.

BEST CHEF, GREAT LAKES: Grant Achatz, Alinea, Chicago

BEST CHEF, MID-ATLANTIC: R.J. Cooper, III, Vidalia, Washington, DC

BEST CHEF, MIDWEST: Celina Tio, The American Restaurant, Kansas City, Mo.

BEST CHEF, NEW YORK CITY: David Waltuck, Chanterelle, New York, NY

BEST CHEF, NORTHEAST: Frank McClelland, L'Espalier, Boston

BEST CHEF, NORTHWEST: John Sundstrom, Lark, Seattle

BEST CHEF, PACIFIC: Traci Des Jardins, Jardinière, San Francisco

BEST CHEF, SOUTH: Donald Link, Herbsaint, New Orleans

BEST CHEF, SOUTHEAST: Scott Peacock, Watershed, Decatur, Ga.

BEST CHEF, SOUTHWEST: Nobuo Fukuda, Sea Saw, Scottsdale, Ariz.

BEST NEW RESTAURANT: L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Chef-Owner: Joël Robuchon, New York, NY

OUTSTANDING CHEF: Michel Richard, Michel Richard Citronelle, Washington, DC

OUTSTANDING PASTRY CHEF: Michael Laskonis, Le Bernardin, New York, NY

OUTSTANDING RESTAURANT: Frontera Grill, chef-owner: Rick and Deann Bayless, Chicago

OUTSTANDING RESTAURATEUR: Thomas Keller, The French Laundry, Yountville, Calif.

OUTSTANDING SERVICE: Rick Tramonto, Gale Gand, and Richard Melman, Tru, Chicago

OUTSTANDING WINE AND SPIRITS PROFESSIONAL: Paul Draper, Ridge Vineyards, Cupertino, Calif.

OUTSTANDING WINE SERVICE: Mark Slater, Michel Richard Citronelle, Washington, DC

RISING STAR CHEF OF THE YEAR: David Chang, Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York, NY

IN THE NEWS: Ever-active P-I critic Leslie Kelly awards four stars to chef Scott Carsberg's Lampreia, 2400 First Ave. Kelly also blurbs Capitol Hill's Dinette, 1514 E. Olive and the Seattle Art Museum's SAM Taste Restaurant, and (whew!) blogs La Medusa and reports that Scott Staples, Restaurant Zoe's chef/owner, and wife Heather plan to open a gastropub this fall on Capitol Hill, on the corner of 10th Avenue and East Pike Street. ... The P-I's Claudia Rowe reviews La Casa Del Mojito, 7545 Lake City Way N.E. ... The Seattle Times reviews: Tavolata, 2323 Second Ave. in Seattle; Ristorante Isabella, 27116 167th Place S.E. in Covington, and Szechuan 99, 6124 200th St. S.W. in Lynnwood. From The Times dining notes: "It's a homecoming at The Pink Door for chef Steve Smrstik. He's returned to head the kitchen at the restaurant in Pike Place Market after 20 years away working at a variety of eateries, including Manhattan's La Colombe d'Or and Café des Bruxelles." ... Seattle Weekly's Jonathan Kauffman reviews Can-Am Pizza and Inchin's Bamboo Garden, while Scott Seely looks at By's Drive-In and Stan's Drive-In, and Jess Thomson reviews the Hyatt's wine bar Twisted Cork. ... The Stranger provides a guide to eating outdoors, with area rooftop options, while also blurbing Lottie's Lounge (4900 Rainier Ave. S.) and noting the May 1 demise after 20 years in business of Rainbow Natural Grocery on Capitol Hill's 15th Avenue East.

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com