Our Foodportunity ticket giveaway is over, and our lucky winner of two tickets to the Nov. 2 event is entry #26, Natalie. Her choice for who she most wanted to meet in Seattle’s food scene was Tom Douglas, who proved a popular pick — he tied for first place, along with Maria Hines of Tilth. Douglas actually was at the last Foodportunity, serving up bites from an enormous roast pig, as was Thierry Rautureau, another top vote-getter. For those who chose Tamara Murphy or Ethan Stowell, you’re in luck — both will be at the event, speaking on the 6 p.m. panel discussion along with Kurt Dammeier.
Thank you, everyone, for playing, and thanks to food-loving event founder Keren Brown for donating the tickets. If you didn’t win but still want to attend, some are still available at Brown Paper Tickets here.
A few years ago, I profiled a prizewinning pie-baker as she sought her 25th contest ribbon at the Puyallup Fair. Carol Lagasca was entering the contest with her sister, Barbara Dodenhoeft, and I tagged along for the excitement. I thought my heart would stop a couple times on the way:
“As the sisters approached Puyallup, a blinking road sign warned of “fair congestion.” The parking spot Dodenhoeft found just minutes from the entry line was declared off-limits by a guard. The flaggers in the $5 parking lot the next block down tried to wave her toward the far end precious minutes away.
“Can’t we park here? We have pies to enter!” Dodenhoeft exclaimed.
They made it to the entry line with seven minutes to spare.”
I returned to the fair’s Home Arts Pavilion this year, but, this time, as one of the judges. And the stress I felt was just the same, when I hit traffic and panicked that I might miss the deadline. I think I took the job doubly seriously, remembering how it felt to be in the audience, watching and waiting as the hours — yes, hours — ticked by, trying to pick up hints from the judges faces and the disappearing bites of pie. I wrote about the judging debate and the winning recipe here, on Amazon.com’s Al Dente, where I’ve been a reader for some time and will now be a regular contributor. (It feels like a P-I reunion on that food page, meeting up again with former collegues Leslie Kelly and Tracy Schneider.) And, having now seen two sides of the contest, I think I need to practice my Art of the Pie skills and see if I can ever dream of being a competitor.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Enter these contests! You, too, could win cash prizes, kitchen gear, fame and (at least some) fortune. I can say this with particular certainty after interviewing winners like Ellie Mathews, 1998 winner of the Pillsbury Bake-Off, who treated the contest like a $1 million code, which she proceeded to break. I’ve seen enough recipes from readers to know plenty of you are good enough to beat the odds, so consider putting your culinary creativity toward:
Chipotle Mexican Grill: Create a new burrito, make a video or record a song or otherwise sing its praises, and win $10,000 through the “My Chipotle” campaign. Winners will be picked based on how well the submissions “discuss Chipotle menu items while remaining consistent with the company’s values and image.” (Talking points hints: Sustainable. Organic. Big chain does not have to mean bad guy.) Besides the dough, the first place winner also gets the burrito added to the Chipotle menu. Second prize in the contest is $5,000 plus a Chipotle party for 50. Third prize is a free burrito a week for a year. Submit entries by Aug. 14, full details at mychipotle.com.
Pietopia: Could a pie describe the way you are feeling right now? Act fast, and you can make today’s deadline for Pietopia, a Portland-based contest where I’m interested in reading every entry. The rules: “(P)lease submit your pie recipe and written explanation, including why you chose the recipe and how the taste of it relates to the current state of your life in under 300 words by July 15th, 2009. The project will culminate with an exhibition of the winners at the Portland Farmer’s Market Eastbank between 20th and Salmon on Thursday August 20, 2009. Each winning pie will receive a limited edition screen print reflecting the ideas in the written statement. Pies will be judged upon the creativity and innovativeness in ideas reflecting the ingredients used in the recipe.” Send statements and recipes to: email@example.com. Check out the blog for full details and some of last year’s winners, including the bittersweet “Chemo Savvy Apple Pie” and the “Homesick for Miami Pie”. (more…)
Julie Reinhardt’s bio says she’s “ready to talk pork butt with the most macho grillmaster.”
Really, though, she’s here to talk with the least macho audience, the women who have historically been the weaker half of the backyard family barbecue and grill. Here Reinhardt is with She-Smoke: A Backyard Barbecue Book
a thoroughly practical, well-researched new guide that manages to be fun but not patronizing.
It is, as advertised, a casually-styled, from-the-ground-up primer for those who don’t know their low from their slow. It explains how to turn on a gas grill (the book covers grilling as well as barbecuing), reviews the different regional styles of barbecue, and diagrams how to break down a chicken (the latter Reinhardt admits only learning at age 30, “out of sheer embarassment that I couldn’t do it.”) But Reinhardt’s expertise and enthusiasm comes through clearly enough to also satisfy ‘cuers who lick their chops at chapter headings like “Texas Beef Brisket: An In-Depth Study,” and would consider digging a pit for the salmon bake recipe she includes in honor of family summers on the Washington coast.
“I love the idea that barbecue brings people together,” said Reinhardt, a Seattle native with Alabama roots. We tend to think of “barbecue” as a noun, as a piece of smoked pork, say, but she loves the broader term that includes the event as well as the food. For her, it’s about the “down-home togetherness” of the cuisine and its history and roots.
Here are a few highlights from our talk and from the book. (more…)
This contest giveaway thing is catching on. Next up is Boom Noodle/Blue C Sushi, offering $200 in gift cards to the winner of a contest to name the bar connecting its Bellevue Square restaurants. The 1,600-square-foot mezzanine lounge “is suspended above the Blue C and Boom Noodle spaces, and offers a birds-eye view of both,” if you haven’t been and you’re looking for inspiration. Besides food and drink, it’s got four Xbox gaming pods.
1. East meets Eastside? No.
2. Sky Slurp? No, no, no.
3. Drink+Ponder What Other Restaurants Are Loved By Both Marcella Hazan and Iris Amster-Burton? C’mon, everyone reading this has at least ten better ideas. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org until May 29. Winners will be announced June 1.
The winner has been announced in the Seattle Cheese Festival’s grilled cheese recipe contest, and it’s the “Grilled Suds ‘n Cheese” sandwich created by Cristal Ortiz. Ortiz will demo the sandwich during the festival, at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, and it will be on the menu at the cafe at DeLaurenti.
I’m in a hotel room right now and can’t test the recipe for you, but I’m willing to bet it’s good. Why? Because it calls for a half-stick of butter. Not good enough? It also calls for a pint of good German beer. Resistance is futile:
My sister’s birthday is today, and I’m trying to convince her a trip from Delaware to Seattle would make a great gift for herself. She got more of our mom’s cooking genes than I did — she’s the one who worked the counter at Cocolat and forever ruined my grading curve for chocolate cake — and the rare times we see each other, we create good memories around food. One year we ate a perfect dinner at Restaurant Zoe. One visit she made spaghetti sauce in our kitchen, even though she was the guest, just because that’s her way. And one of the most delightful days in Seattle I can remember was a clam chowder festival we attended, maybe 15 years ago. I love food contests. Dishes that all riff on the same theme are more interesting, somehow, than a collection of random bites.
You can see for yourself this Saturday, when the 13th annual Seattle Waterfront Chowder Cookoff takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., as part of the Seattle Maritime Festival. I don’t think it can be connected to the one I attended, which was in Gasworks, but the setup is the same. (more…)
I’ve been meaning for days to point you to this account of a most excellent blind taste test to determine the city’s best croissant. After hearing that our friends Kye and Eric had held their own croissant-off and declared a winning tie between Cafe Besalu and Honore, we decided a more elaborate rematch was in order. Eight of us gathered earlier this month with samples from seven different bakeries, and nibbled our way through each lettered entry.
I was surprised, in the end, by two things: (1) How many variations there can be in a “good” croissant, in flakiness, sweetness, richness, and crunch, and (2) How similar our opinions still were on which ones were best and worst. (more…)