Iron Chef #3

Guess which course.

1. Bobby Flay. Check. (Mesa Grill, New York City, August 2010)
2. Michael Symon. Check. (Roast, Detroit, July 2010)
3. Marc Forgione. Check. (Today, 8pm, summer evening, patio seating)

Begin with a sip…

2008 J Palacios “Petalos” Mencia, Bierzo, Spain

To Start….

Arugula and radicchio, red radish, snow peas, parmesan vinaigrette. I was wowed by the combination of greens.

To follow…

Lamb chops on a bed of orzo in a tomato broth

To finish…

Tattoos & Strawberries, Lady Ashton’s  signature dish, a quintet of little ice cream cones filled with (eaten in this order)

  • Peanut butter and cookie dough
  • Triamasu
  • Chocolate covered potato chip
  • S’mores – topped with a chocolate covered marshmallow
  • and my favorite, chocolate cake

Oh, the lingering questions…which Iron Chef will I get to visit next?

The location:

Restaurant Marc Forgione | 134 Reade St | New York City | 212-941-9401 |

Gramercy Tavern

Beautiful colors of beets

Upon recommendation from the same man who recommended L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, I took a cab down to Gramercy Park. The cab driver wasn’t exactly sure where to go. This surpised me as as everyone that asked where I planned to eat while in NYC confirmed the recommendation was a excellent one.

I took a seat at the bar, ready to enjoy a F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S meal after a long day of traveling and hanging out in airports.

Starting with my favorite…Baby Beets Orange and Spiced Nuts. The color of the beets was almost a beautiful as a glass of my favorite red wine. It was even tastier. Next, I choose Sea Bass on a bed of asparagus, garlic scapes and Hen of the Woods mushrooms for my second course. The Hen of the Woods mushrooms was delightful; I made sure to include some in each bite. I finished an excellent meal with a Ricotta Cheesecake square perched upon a Fudge Brownie with a scope of Cassis Sorbet. What a wonderful meal to start out my business trip to NYC!

The location:

Gramercy Tavern | 42 East 20th Street | New York, NY| 212.477.0777 |

Basel Cellars 2007 Estate Cabernet

Can’t wait to taste there on my upcoming Walla Walla adventure as this is one of my favorite “just need a glass of wine” bottles. A friend of mine introduced me to this bottle after the holidays – and this is the final bottle in my collection.

Pheasant Run Vineyards was established in the deep, sandy loam soils for which Walla Walla is famous. This Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of four separate blocks, each vinified separately and carefully combined to create a complex wine. With light fruit aromas and dark raspberry flavors this wine is a chocolate killer. Cheers!
— Justin Basel, Winemaker



No One Hears “HALF”

Ever ran a half marathon? People don’t hear you qualify the race with the word “half”. They are just amazed that you ran a marathon.

I just completed my second half marathon. Every time I talk to someone about it, I have to correct them that the adjective HALF is very important. A half is a mountain I can climb! A full marathon? Absolutely no interest in accomplishing that.

This half marathon adventure was a lot of fun. Not as crowded as my first. And this time I ran with more friends, including childhood girlfriend Jen. We kept at close to the same pace, so we caught up on our lives, shared the aches and pains as the occured and ran across the finish line in victory together.

Then we had breakfast afterwards at Tommy O’s. FABULOUS!


Stag’s Leap Artemis

After a long day of being great parents, it was time to take care of our own needs.  Sea salt dark chocolate caramels with a 2007 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon. As we enjoyed our first glass, we did a little research. We saw that this bottle achieved a 94 pt. rating, we knew that we were right to think it was FABULOUS. (Jen felt it was the best glass since the Abacus for her).

The winemaker’s notes:

Imagine taking an aerial tour of Napa Valley, flying over the patchwork of vineyards that have made the valley and its wines famous. The grapes for ARTEMIS are sourced from a handful of these sites, located between Carneros and Calistoga, including our estate Fay Vineyard in the Stags Leap District. We purchase grapes only from independent growers whose vineyards are farmed to our rigorous standards; each site lends its personality to the aroma, flavor, structure and mouth-feel of the finished wine. Small amounts of Merlot and Petit Verdot were blended with the Cabernet Sauvignon for another layer of complexity. The 2007 ARTEMIS was aged for 18 months in French oak barrels (34% new) and six months in bottle, prior to its release.

Birthday Girl’s Dinner

Birthday’s are still a very big deal when you are turning 11. And my double digit girl is all about celebrating this one for many days! The dinner out night, the swim meet on the weekend of the big day and a sleepover with friends later. 

This year, she wants to go somewhere she has never gone before for a delicious meal. So we find a few ideas for her and she chooses the Copperleaf Restaurant after perusing the starter, dinner and dessert menu.  Their website claims “Copperleaf Restaurant is the ideal venue to relish fresh farm-to-table local and regional bounty for lunch and dinner”.

I enjoyed (along with my glass of red wine) my starter salad of yakima valley asparagus with grilled spring onion, Mt. Townsend goat cheese beignet and drizzled with gribiche. Then for the entree course I choose lamb from the Anderson Valley, served on a bed of the smallest gnocchi I have ever eaten (parisian gnocchi), baby carrots, green garlic and artichokes berigoule.

Bailie (and Peyton) started with a selection of northwest farmstead cheeses with homemade granola, spiced jams and toasted country bread. Then they followed with the Stiebrs Farm organic grass-finished filet mignon, Mount Vernon yukon gold potate puree, young carrots, asparagus and morel mushrooms. Neither girl was really 100% sold on the mushrooms. 

We ordered a selection of desserts to share…

  • Bailie: Theo’s Hot Chocolate Pot for Two with homemade cinnamon doughnuts. Our server made is work for all of us to try and planted a birthday candle in one doughnut.
  • Jamey: Pound cake with rhubarb and a scoop of salted caramel ice cream (delicious!)
  • Emma: A dome of delightful layers of chocolate (we learned the chef makes the layers over the course of three days)

Yep, I do believe she picked the place because of the donuts. 

The location:

18525 36th Avenue South | Seattle, WA 98188 | 206.901.9268 | Website

2007 Portteus Zinfandel

June 2, 2011

Eleven years ago this evening I was at the hospital for what seemed like might be the final time. I thought I might actually come home with a baby this time…instead I came home with orders to take a prescription sleeping pill and drink either a half glass of wine or beer (those days I chose beer), get a good night’s sleep (who does that when they are nine months pregnant and having contractions every few minutes) and come back in the morning to have my water broke and “get this birthing show on the road”.

Tonight we celebrate the eleventh birthday of Bailie since she has dance and swimming commitments on her real birthday (tomorrow). And she selected a location to celebrate in style. And the adults at the table chose a bottle to commemorate the occasion.

From Rattlesnake Hills (I have determined this is the only time something associated with a snake is okay), there hasn’t been much said by the winemaker. They do claim to be Washington’s first Zinfandel producer, vines were first planted in 1984.  This bottle shows flavors of candied blackberry and raspberry with a silky smooth finish.