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Taste Washington event


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Is anyone going to this year's Taste Washington event at the Exhibition Center? (did anyone go last year?)

I was just on Ticketmaster and saw this event.

I read a little more about it here.

I'm wondering if it's worth just going for the food as I'm not a serious wine drinker at all.

Do any members have input?

"If we don't find anything pleasant at least we shall find something new." Voltaire

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I've gone to this several times in the past, in fact, I think last year was the first year I didn't go. the first year I went to this it was $25 to get in, and now its $85, and I see if you want in an hour and a half before the masses you can pay $125 for that privilege!

the first few years I went it was GREAT fun. Lots o' wine, lots o' food, what's not to like?! When I went with my girlfriend we ended up with guys following us out wanting to take us out for more drinks afterward :blink: like we needed more to drink after that. :raz:

The last year I went it was fun, but WAY packed, like sardine type packed. So, I still say its fun, but now its $170 for two and that would buy a really nice dinner somewhere...

Born Free, Now Expensive

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Has anyone been to the Taste Washington event? It's coming up.

http://www.washingtonwine.org/wwc/default....ction=tastewash

"Save Donald Duck and Fuck Wolfgang Puck."

-- State Senator John Burton, joking about

how the bill to ban production of foie gras in

California was summarized for signing by

Gov. Schwarzenegger.

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Hey MsRamsey, I'm going! I'm meeting friends, but maybe we should have an official "meeting" place for eGullet posters. It'd be nice to link some of your faces with your posts. I have such a hard time making it to egullet gatherings thanks to my rugrat and work schedule. I'll be technically "working" at the Taste event, but I should find plenty of time to socialize in there. It'd be very cool to meet some of you there.

And speaking of "Tastes" .. is anyone going to the other Taste. The Taste of the Nation event on April 1 at the Sheraton? (it's a fundraiser dinner for Share Our Strength).

Clicky here: Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation

A palate, like a mind, works better with exposure and education and is a product of its environment.

-- Frank Bruni

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girlchow, if you had to choose one event, which one would it be?

My gut reaction says Taste of the Nation on April 1, since it's a charity event. The photos of past Taste of Washington makes it look overcrowded, and the April 1 event is being held at a more pleasant venue.

I hope the folks in charge of the Seattle Taste of the Nation event will put in some more work on their website. It's very difficult to tell what exactly is happening at the event, and most of the site, if you can get to it, is in LATIN. Weird.

"Save Donald Duck and Fuck Wolfgang Puck."

-- State Senator John Burton, joking about

how the bill to ban production of foie gras in

California was summarized for signing by

Gov. Schwarzenegger.

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I've merged the two, but I'm leaving your post up so people will understand why the thread seems to start twice!

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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girlchow, if you had to choose one event, which one would it be?

My gut reaction says Taste of the Nation on April 1, since it's a charity event.  The photos of past Taste of Washington makes it look overcrowded, and the April 1 event is being held at a more pleasant venue.

I hope the folks in charge of the Seattle Taste of the Nation event will put in some more work on their website.  It's very difficult to tell what exactly is happening at the event, and most of the site, if you can get to it, is in LATIN.  Weird.

MsRamsey, excellent question. I'm afraid I'm not sure which one will be better! Both actually are charity benefits. Taste Washington benefits FareStart and a Washington Wine Commission scholarship program while Taste of the Nation benefits the Share Our Strength hunger fighting program. All are great causes! How to decide between them seems an impossible task.

The Taste of Washington participant list I've got appears to be almost twice as long as the Taste of the Nation list, although that could be deceptive because the lists could be incomplete.... anyone else who knows, feel free to weigh in here.

Man, that Web site really does suck, doesn't it? They need to do something about that.

A palate, like a mind, works better with exposure and education and is a product of its environment.

-- Frank Bruni

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It's been a few years since I've been to either, but my recollection is that TOTN is much more food focused and the wine is secondary. On the other hand wine producers are a big part of TOW. My opinion is that the food was better at TOTN. As far as the crowds go, both events are kind of a zoo.

Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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  • 1 month later...

Just thought I'd do another check and see if anyone is going to Taste Washington. Sorry, don't have a free ticket for this one! If anyone else is going, I'd be interested in meeting for a glass of wine or a nibble at one of the booths or another mutually agreeable spot :biggrin:

A palate, like a mind, works better with exposure and education and is a product of its environment.

-- Frank Bruni

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  • 3 weeks later...

I can barely sit down and type this, I am still full and somewhat dizzy from last night's Taste Washington, held at the Seahawks Stadium Expo Center.

It was an overwhelming experience and one that requires some careful nosh planning. I've only just begun to organize my thoughts on this event.... but I plan on giving a full report here later this week for those who have always wondered about this event.

A palate, like a mind, works better with exposure and education and is a product of its environment.

-- Frank Bruni

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  • 10 months later...

What was the consensus on last year's event for those who attended... was it worthwhile? $85 seems a bit nuts if the place is a mob scene, but I'm really interested in learning more about Washington wine.

This year's version is April 18.

Anita Crotty travel writer & mexican-food addictwww.marriedwithdinner.com

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Thanks for bringing this topic up, if only to highlight that girlchow never posted her report last year! :raz:

"Save Donald Duck and Fuck Wolfgang Puck."

-- State Senator John Burton, joking about

how the bill to ban production of foie gras in

California was summarized for signing by

Gov. Schwarzenegger.

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Hahaha, thanks MsRamsey for bringing that up! I'm getting ready to go to this year's event and it's good to look back at last year's event to plan better this year.

Ok, here's my report. I got to go free last year, so the whole event, of course, was worth the price :raz: But would I pay $85 (or whatever it costs this year) for the event? Most likely.

This year, I think I want to hire a town car to drive me around before and after because this is an event where one can get hella drunk really easily.

You also have to be a careful eater. There are dozens and dozens of restaurants and wineries, with each one offering a cornucopia of beautiful food. It definitely is worth the price to pay the surcharge to get the VIP entry an hour (or two?) before the event. I got to go in early and I'm glad I did because I was pretty much done when the rest of the crowd started coming in and it was getting really really packed!

Surprisingly, I saved a draft of the report I was supposed to provide last year, but never posted (bad me). I'll try to provide some notes/thoughts here about the kind of food and wines that were served to give you an idea of what the food was like.

It was interesting how the WWC arranged the booths last year (I heard they haven't done this in the past). The booths were arranged alphabetically by restaurant (not by winery). Wineries that were paired with restaurants were located right next to the matching restaurant booth. This makes it easier for foodies to navigate. Just look for your favorite restaurants and go to those booths first (that's what I did).

My hands-down favorite:

Cafe Juanita: A chilled octopus salad with a chickpea puree and a parsley shallot sauce with capers and olive oil. MAN, this was really really good. Somehow, the texture of the octopus was remarkable, really rich and creamy, like I've never had octopus before (I should have asked how she did it). The chickpea puree was very hummous like. The wine was a Cavatappi (Peter Dow's winery, the one that is/was? located at Cafe Juanita) and it was a table wine, a mix of Sangiovese and Cab? I can't read my notes (I had already started drinking).

And now for some of my other faves:

Cascadia: Morel mushroom flan with black cherries and a veal demi glace. Can't recall the wine (I had probably stopped drinking at that point).

Herbfarm: herb-smoked duck breast with a tart cherry strudel paired with a Columbia Winery syrah. Yum. The cherries and duck were sublime together.

Golf Club at Newcastle/Culcutta Grill: A mini kobe beef burger with crispy sweet onion strings and a spicy aioli (cute little golf tee holding sandwich together) paired with a Desert Wind Vineyard merlot. Very tasty little burgers. I wanted to eat 10. I think I ate 3. They didn't even give me a dirty look.

Matts' Rotisserie and Oyster Bar (the Redmond restaurant): Penn Cove oysters with a mignonette and paired with an EB Foote (Burien winery) merlot. Very, very, very good oysters. I slurped away. Wine didn't really go with it well. It's possible I grabbed the wrong wine, they might have been paired with the restaurant on the other side, or they could have poured me the wrong glass for what I was eating (that happened a few times). This is something to pay attention to.

Oceanaire: An octopus ceviche with crispy sweet potatoes and a blue fin tuna poke that was hot as all of hell paired with an Eroica riesling. This was the most dramatic pairing for me, but only because Kevin Davis burst out laughing when he saw my expression after I popped the *whole* spicy poke into my mouth. Ouch. I drank two glasses of riesling down fast, which was not a smart move considering how drunkish I was getting. I think I stopped drinking at that point.

Waterfront: smoked sturgeon with caraway cognac. Yum, yum, yum. I can't remember the wine that went with this one and didn't write it down. But I really remember the sturgeon it was luscious and goooooooooood.

Harvest Vine: They served Basque style salted and cured ham on toothpicks. I really liked the simplicity of what they offered. It was just simply a piece of meat on a toothpick. And it was funny to see the simple preparation juxtaposed with a hugely elaborate version of a similar concept a few booths down at the Earth and Ocean. E & O served this "meat on a stick" contraption that was duck prosciutto wrapped around old chatham ewe's blue wrapped around a medjool date wrapped around and fixed atop a really long breadstick. It was clumsy to eat and everyone who was carrying them looked really silly. I ditched mine in the garbage. It would have been better as a small bite with just the meat, cheese and date skewered with a toothpick.

And speaking of Earth and Ocean, the desserts that Sue McCown, who actually was the one who was serving the desserts to the passers by, were so damn good. She made her cherry crackle pop tart and it was reaaaaaly sweet, but I really like sweet sometimes, so it worked. She also had a lemon citrus cake and a "Mr. Fig Newton to You" fig dessert that was just a yummy blend of figs, cinnamon and cloves. Her desserts were paired with a Bainbridge Island winery Siegerrebe and it was really a nice little apertif, very sweet and (I think) they said it was a late harvest wine.

Other dishes I liked:

Brasa: Chorizo with a nice creamy cheese with marinated red onions. Nice and simple.

Szmania's: Duck with polenta. Nice and simple.

Third Floor Fish Cafe: Seared sea scallops with a ginger cream sauce. With a viognier from Zefina Winery that was the bomb.

Salish Lodge: Sesame cornets with beef carpaccio and a cabarnet marmalade; also grappa cured salmon with a really unusual cucumber relish sorbet.

Andaluca: Green gazpacho. Simple and really refreshing compared to some of the heavier dishes.

Assagio: Spinach salad with prosciuotto, pears and walnuts.

Axis: Tenderloin in puff pastry.

Dahlia Lounge: Lamb sirloin with merlot onion jam. YUMMY! This was outstanding.

Uli's: Three kinds of sausage. Yum. He gave you like 10 pieces. He was hilarious.

Going again this year! Maybe I'll get a free ticket to bring a pal (I hope so).

edit: to add stuff/horrifying typos

Edited by girl chow (log)

A palate, like a mind, works better with exposure and education and is a product of its environment.

-- Frank Bruni

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Your report really inspires me to go this year! Who's your pal, girlchow?? :wink::raz:

"Save Donald Duck and Fuck Wolfgang Puck."

-- State Senator John Burton, joking about

how the bill to ban production of foie gras in

California was summarized for signing by

Gov. Schwarzenegger.

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  • 1 month later...

Just checking in... is anyone here going this year? I am, and if others here will be attending, I'd love to organize a meeting place for eGulleters to connect before/during/after or whatever. PM or post here if you're going and want to meet up!

A palate, like a mind, works better with exposure and education and is a product of its environment.

-- Frank Bruni

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I did not get to go last year but have a coule of questions about this event. :wacko:

I don't drink wine - is it worth it for a non drinking foodie?

Does the ticket price cover all 3 days or just one?

Which day is the best day to go?

Are there only samples of food or are the portions good?

Are the lines for food long and is it just a big crowded mess?

"If we don't find anything pleasant at least we shall find something new." Voltaire

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I did not get to go last year but have a coule of questions about this event. :wacko:

I don't drink wine - is it worth it for a non drinking foodie?

Does the ticket price cover all 3 days or just one?

Which day is the best day to go?

Are there only samples of food or are the portions good?

Are the lines for food long and is it just a big crowded mess?

Here! Let me try to help. Others might also have insight.

1. I don't drink wine - is it worth it for a non drinking foodie?

I think so! There are more than 70 restaurants -- all of the city's good ones included -- offering nibbles. I think this is worth it just for the introduction to the restaurants... another cool thing, most of the servers at the restaurant booths are the actual chefs. Kerry Sear, Holly Smith, Jerry Traunfeld, Kevin Davis, Sue McCowan et al were all there last year. It's worth it to just go and grill the chefs.

2. Does the ticket price cover all 3 days or just one?

Tickets are separate for each event, which makes it less of a good value.

3. Which day is the best day to go?

I can only speak from my experience, but I would choose Sunday, that's the restaurant/winery showcase day.

4. Are there only samples of food or are the portions good?

The portions widely vary. Some places served small nibbles. Harvest Vine served small pieces of meat with shaved parmesan. Cafe Juanita served substantial plates of octopus salad. Even if everyone serves tiny bites this year, there still is an overwhelming amount of food. More than 70 restaurants participate/offer food.

5. Are the lines for food long and is it just a big crowded mess?

Yes and yes. Lines after 5 (general entry) can get very long and crowded. I went during VIP entrance last year and didn't have to fight much with crowds until after general entry started. VIP entry begins at 3:30 p.m.

A palate, like a mind, works better with exposure and education and is a product of its environment.

-- Frank Bruni

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