Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Day's Mix of Joy and Pain in Seattle's Culinary World


This morning I was greeted with a reminder on my calendar that Outstanding in the Field tickets were on sale today. I was blessed with the opportunity to attend the dinner last year featuring the culinary exptertise of Matt Dillon, then recently rated by Food & Wine Magazine as one of the Top 10 New Chefs.

When I saw the schedule last week, the only info was one date and TBDs for the location and the guest chef. I have to admit that this morning I didn't even look, I just bought tickets for the first Seattle location I saw. I decided to contact this great couple I met at last year's event to see if they were going and they asked which one I was going to. Which one? And I looked at the site a little closer and was amazed to find that there were actually THREE dinners scheduled.

I looked at the one I had purchased and I was so happy to find that the guest chef was Seth Caswell, formerly of Stumbling Goat Bistro. I'd been a long-time fan of his food and even had an opportunity to dine with him a few months ago (see Last Dance Gypsy Dinner post from November). Now that I recall, I did mention last year's Outstanding in the Field dinner at the table and his ears had perked up because he had done one years prior when he was living in the East Coast. He didn't know that it came here to Seattle, too. Dare I wonder if I could be indirectly responsible for his participation at this dinner? Hmmmm . . . Regardless, I have to find this set of coincidences a bit remarkable and I'm really looking forward to this dinner, even though it's not until July.


I received an email later today that Culinary Communion has closed. I've had some amazing meals there, as part of a dining club I belonged to. It was possibly the closest thing to fulfilling my fantasy of being a judge on Iron Chef. It's not that I like to be judgmental about the food, but I loved watching chefs experiment with great food and having the opportunity to taste their incredible creations. This was the kind of venue where I got to try Josh Henderson's (Skillet) ranch ice cream and his version of bacon & eggs with maple-braised pork belly, a poached egg and coffee syrup -- breakfast for dinner never tasted so good. Another evening, Brian O'Connor (then from Laurel in San Diego and now The Cliff House in San Francisco) made a delicious salmon topped with crispy salmon bits. A great way to try the versatility of salmon two ways in the same bite.

I'll really miss CC, but the location still hosts The Lunch Counter and I hope soon, The Swinery.

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