Chef Ylfa and Chef Brock
This year, Dahlia Lounge hosted the third incarnation of “Taste of Iceland”, teaming up with Chef Ylfa Helgadóttir for a four course menu, showcasing ingredients, techniques and recipes from the country of our sister city of Reykjavik. We were shipped 120 kilos of lamb loins, 80 kilos of langoustine, 70 kilos of cod and 40 kilos of skyr yogurt, along with four pages of recipes to be translated into roughly 2000 plates of food over the course of four days. Other supplemental ingredients included: 50# of button mushrooms, 90# butter, 80# of rainbow carrots, 80# potatoes, 10 gallons of different aiolis, 5# of honey, 20# foraged oyster mushrooms, 50# arborio rice, 7# of salmon roe, 15 gallons of langoustine stock, 30# of seaweed salad, 20# baby squash and 10# of dill, to name a few.
There are a certain set of challenges that come with an operation of this scale.
First and foremost: working with a Chef that you’ve never met, whose food you’ve never seen or tasted and translating recipes that were drafted from their mind into metric weights (or no weights at all) with little recipe scaling information, was the first hurdle. Asking the right questions was imperative to executing our guest Chef’s vision as accurately as possible, and we were graciously given the answer to every question asked, despite Ylfa being in the midst of traveling around the world, executing the same menus in different cities (prior to Seattle, Ylfa was in Denver).
Second: with any large event like this (or with anything regarding the restaurant business), Murphy’s Law is BOUND to show up sometime. This time around: shipping. Our 120 kilos of lamb arrived, frozen, several days before prep work was to commence, giving us time to thaw and process the protein. Awesome. What wasn’t so awesome was that our 70 kilos of cod and 80 kilos of shell-on langoustine got bumped from their scheduled flight from Iceland to Seattle, and then had to clear customs. What was set to arrive late Monday night, showed up Wednesday morning, still frozen and in need of fabrication. Cod needed to be thawed, cleaned, cured for three hours, soaked in water for three hours and delicately poached. Langoustines- which look like mini lobster tails- need to be carefully removed from their hellaciously spiny little shells, cleaned of their digestive tract like a shrimp (affectionately referred to as the “poop”) and packed between linens to keep them pristine until the time they are to be cooked.
Third: Dahlia was in the midst of a wicked bout of the flu, with most of the kitchen staff needing to stay home and mend, including Chef Brock. Luckily, people were getting ill and recovering at different rates, and we have some of the most badass cooks around that will do whatever it takes to make sure that things like the Taste of Iceland are a success. So, we were able to cover necessary shifts, as well as get the necessary prep done in the nick of time, solely due to the tenacity and hard work of some of the best cooks in the city. I love and admire the team here more than words can adequately convey, and we could not operate as a successful, iconic Seattle restaurant without their hard work and dedication to their craft. Thank you SO much!
Despite all of the hurdles that we were presented with, team Dahlia and Chef Helgadóttir were able to bring smiles to the faces of our friends and guests, as well as ourselves. The taste of Iceland has been a blast for us to host for the last three years, and I look forward to seeing what types of challenges and opportunities the next three years have in store!
Cantina Leña Chef Brian Walczyk cooked a glorious dinner with Black Sheep Creamery at Newaukum Valley Farm last weekend. Also working on this dinner: “bartender-chef hybrid” Brian Madayag.
Here’s the menus that the lucky guests at this very special farm to table event enjoyed:
cultured pumpkin butter, ancho chile, apple
dahlia bakery ficelle
gravenstein apple whiskey press
lamb loin carpaccio
pickled peppers, heirloom tomato, mint
grilled merguez sausage
coal roasted newaukum vegetables, harissa
fremont brewing summer ale
slow roasted lamb leg
masienda landrace corn tamale
braised greens, shaved radish
h.i.p. cabernet sauvignon, benton city
newaukum valley beet ice cream, pistachio cake, fresh sheep cheese, apple caramel
If you missed out on this dinner, keep your eye on the events page, or check out the deliciousness Chef Brian is cooking up at Cantina Leña anytime!
Our most recent Prosser Farm Dinner, one of the last few of the season, was an outstanding success! This dinner was a collaboration between Prosser Farm Chef Dev, Prosser Farmer-in-Chief Jackie, and Tom Douglas Restaurants Corporate Chef Adrienne.
The dinner also turned into a family event for Adrienne. Her mom, along with 3 girlfriends, attended as guests. In addition, Adrienne cooked the dinner with her husband Zack (who has also worked as a professional chef), and, surprisingly, this is the first time they have ever cooked a plated meal together even though they met in culinary school and have been a couple for many years!
Of course, Dev also worked hard on this dinner, and he created the recipes for the amuse and the snacks. Adrienne created the rest of the recipes. Dev claims he was yelled at by Adrienne for not plating correctly. (Adrienne did not dispute this). Jackie, as always, was amazing throughout the event, and housekeeper Carmen kept everything sparkling!
Here’s the menu:
snacks and champagne
a tasting of our farm eggs, snacking peppers, jacobsen sea salt
heirloom tomatoes, creme fraiche, caviar
chilled eggplant gazpacho, grapes almonds
neah bay salmon, rattlesnake beans, herb fume, edible flowers
confit blue foot chicken, yukina savoy, cipollini vinaigrette, melon
“ratatouille,” marjoram scented pasta, fairytale eggplant
blueberry sage ice
gateau mille crepe, estate pear butter, pastry cream, hazelnuts
This elaborate, multi-course, farm-fresh dinner was served with Roederer Brut Champagne, Orr Old Vine Chenin Blanc, Columbia Valley 2014, Amavi Semillon, Walla Walla 2014, and Cadence Coda, Red Mountain 2013.
Adrienne says, putting on an elaborate plated meal like this is a lot of f***ing work! But worth it!
Her favorite dish was the salmon, partly because she loves making fish fumet which is almost a lost art in modern restaurants. When the meal was over and the guests were gone, the working staff enjoyed all the rest of the paddlefish caviar on blini and Jackie opened a magnum of Roederer!
Just picked these baby Fairy Tale eggplants! NEW for us this season, although a well known variety for the past few years.
Our Dahlia Lounge Croquet Tournament & Lawn Party is sneaking right up- just 3 weeks away now. Gary Howse and his team at Gary Manuel Salon started this event 30 years ago, and I was thinking of him recently as we all begin to polish up our mallets and tune up our stopwatches.
My good friend Charlie Billow and I are chairing the capital campaign for the new Food Lifeline warehouse, the beneficiary of the Lawn Party. We have a 34 million dollar goal and are 51% funded. We absolutely need your help to get to the finish line through participation in this event, or maybe even in a more grand way later this year.
I was having dinner with my mother back in Newark, Delaware recently. Over the years and over frequent visits, Grandma Mary, as my daughter knows her, has always greeted me at the red door of her home with a splendid smile, a small smooch on the cheek, and a knowing, sideways smirk absolutely meant to suggest I need a haircut.
We were out to dinner with the whole family at a sweet little restaurant called William and Merry just outside of Newark. I’m just minding my own business, but being my usual charming self, when I happened to mention that – yes, for real, I did need a haircut. A great man, the founder of the Croquet Tournament, my friend and hairstylist Gary tragically passed away last year. We had been trading haircuts for dinners for the better part of 35 years. The word ‘hairstylist’ caught my mother’s ears, and she whipped her head towards me and said…”Did you say ‘hairstylist’?” Well, yes I did, Mom.
Read the rest of Tom’s letter here.
WHAT TO DRINK WHILE BEATING THE HEAT!
The Brave Horse Tavern team has some thoughts on the matter.
We asked some trusted beer drinking servers, bartenders and managers what their favorite summer brewskies were and we’ve got the list for you:
10 BARREL BREWING
“Refreshing, slightly sour with a nice fresh cucumber flavor. Cools you off on a hot day, low ABV so it is sessionable too!”- Jennifer Krantz, Server
“Nice and light, a low ABV, balanced malt and hop characters. Perfect for the hot weather Seattle is experiencing!”- Chris Field, Sous Chef
Double Dry-Hopped Imperial IPA
“Hop forward with a nice balance of bitterness and grapefruit aromas. This rich IPA is big, bold and isn’t sessionable. Enjoy this beer from one of the oldest independent craft breweries on the west coast.” – Dave Hurley, Bartender
SEATTLE DRY CIDER CO. & ACE CIDER
½ Dry Cider & ½ Ace Pineapple Cider
“ Firstly, it’s gluten-free! When you mix the dry with the pineapple, the sweetness of the pineapple balances out the dryness of the Dry Cider. The Ace Pineapple Cider also makes a great champagne cocktail.” – Anja Weddig, Bartender
Urtica Wild Nettle Ale
“Only available at Farmer’s Markets and a few bottle shops, they use brettanomyces and finish their beers with fresh herbs which gives the beer a sour flavor, clean finish and a unique complexity from the herbs.”- Jessica Polin, Server
BLACK MARKET BREWING
“Bright, sour, vibrant, pronounced cherry aroma that finishes dry as a bone. This is my favorite summer beer right now!” – Joe Labatt, Chef
Like I said in Part One, this city loves its suds! Here are a few more of my favorite styles of beer:
Kölsch – This beer originates from Cologne, Germany. Kölschs are very light and refreshing. They tend to be bready, lemony, and accented with a slightly bitter floral hop bite. Kölsch is similar to Champagne in the way that it is only a Kölsch if it is from Cologne just like a real Champagne can only come from Champagne. However there are a lot of American breweries who make Kölsch-style beers but will still call them Kölsch. This is an awesome beer after a long hike.
Here are some of my favorite local versions:
Chuckanut Kölsch – This beer has won several awards. In my opinion, these guys make some of the best European style beers in the States. (Bellingham, WA)
Drubru Kölsch – Newer brewery up in Snoqualmie that is making some delicious beer. (Snoqualmie Pass, WA)
Smoke beers – Smoke beers, also known as Rauchbiers in Bavaria, are beers brewed with malts that have been dried out over the top of a fire. They really pick up the distinct smoky qualities of the burning wood. Smoked beers can be an acquired taste as they are very intense. These beers compliment barbecued meats and veggies like no other.
Here are some of my favorite smoke beers:
Upright Brewing’s Smoked Marzen – A smoked version of the Bavarian celebratory spring beer (Portland, OR)
Aect Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock – This beer is very, very intense. Malty backbone with a crazy strong smoky finish. (Bamberg, Germany)
Radlers/Shandy – Beer with fruit juice or soda! Lighter beers such as Pilsners and Heffeweizens combined with everything from grapefruit juice to lemon soda. You can buy Radlers or make your own. I enjoy a good Pilsner combined with Rachel’s Ginger Beer for my homemade Radler. At Serious Pie Westlake, we are currently running a Shandy featuring Reverend Nat’s Tepache (pineapple cider) with Holy Mountain’s Belgian Wit. It’s funky and barnyardy on the nose but super clean, spicy, and delicious on the palate.
Here are some of my favorite Raddlers:
Schofferhofer Grapefruit Weizen – Perfect with brunch! (Frankfurt, Germany) (in photo)
Boulevard Ginger Lemon Radler – All sorts of refreshing zing going on here. (Kansas City, MO)
So whether you are out camping, kayaking, swimming, working on your garden, grilling or just soaking up some much needed vitamin D on a patio, I hope that you drink some delicious suds this summer! Life (and summer) is too short to drink bad beer!
Beer! This city loves its suds. And with all of the great breweries around Seattle, it is hard to walk into any bar or restaurant and not see a variety of different styles. Summer is in full swing and after a long hot day in the Pacific Northwest sunshine, there is nothing that I want more than a nice cold beer. I want something light, fruity, and floral. Or something bright and tart. Or something clean and refreshing. Or something smoky to go with my barbecue. Here are some of my favorite styles of beer to drink right now!
Berliner Weisse – This style originated in, you guessed it, Berlin. It was dubbed the champagne of the north by Napoleon. This beer is light, tart, funky, and lemony. They are lower alcohol, usually between 3-4%. I find that the traditional Berliner Weisse from Germany tend to be more funky, and less tart. Americanized versions tend to be over the top lemony and sour. Whichever one you prefer, this is the perfect beer to drink while dipping your toes in the sound and basking in the northwest sunshine.
Here are two of my favorites:
German Style – Professor Fritz 1809 Berliner Weisse- this beer is mild, funky, and just a tad tart (Freising, Germany)
American Style – Destihl Counter Clockweisse this beer will smack you in the face with sour! Reminds me of sour lemon warhead candies (Bloomington, IL) (in the photo)
ISA’s – India Session Ale! The IPA’s little brother. All of the hops without the kick. Session beers have been gaining in popularity over the last couple of years. We are moving away from drinking high octane 9% beers and moving back towards drinking lower alcohol brews. They call them session beers because we can drink a lot of them over a long session of time. This is an “inner tubing beer” if I have ever had one. I love a good Rainier on the river, but these ISA’s are where it’s at.
Here are some of my favorites:
Stoup ISA – My favorite ISA of all time (Ballard, WA)
Even Keel – Great can option from Ballast Point (San Diego, CA)
Day Hike – Another good session IPA from Two Beers (Sodo Seattle, WA)
Single Mosaic hopped anything – Mosaic hops are one of my favorite hops in existence. They tend to bring a ton of passion fruit, stone fruit, tropical fruits, floral notes and earthiness. They are incredibly refreshing and are an amazing featured hop. This is a perfect patio beer! Feel free to add a mini umbrella as you see fit.
Here are a couple of my favorite Mosaic hopped beers:
Holy Mountain’s Mosaic Pale – Holy smokes! This beer is incredible. (Interbay, WA)
Georgetown Eddie’s IPL – An India pale lager packed full of Mosaic hops. This is one of my favorites of all time. There are also Columbus, Simcoe, and Amarillo hops but the Mosaic hop is what inspired this beer! (Georgetown, WA)
Editor’s note: Look for Part Two of Mike’s beer post to learn about Kölsch, Smoke Beers, Radlers, and Shandy!
I have a hard time not relating important dates to important foods. For some people it’s music and for others the blossoms of Easter or poinsettias of the holiday season. The beginning of May is boating season for many in Seattle, but for me it’s the beginning of wild salmon season and Washington asparagus.
Our friends Kay and Clay, of Chinook Winery, would always have an open house Father’s Day weekend to celebrate the arrival of ripe cherries and the release of their latest vintage of Merlot. After climbing the dozen or so trees in their orchard, picking handfuls of dark red cherries, we would separate the mushed ones and use them for marinating lamb chops. The rest were eaten whole or canned in Merlot and brandy syrup or cut for my basil, black pepper, and bing cherry relish to finish off the lamb plate.
Read the whole newsletter here.
Our clothing swap was an incredible success this year due to the hard work of so many dedicated volunteers. A big shout out for the extra efforts of Carol Baush, Erica Minshull, Robyn Teppler, Serenity Contreras, Andrea Rapp, Liese Freund, Jessica Moore, Joni Weiss, Sarah Schaaf, Erin Fitzpatrick, Team Catering, Team Home Remedy… the list goes on!
We had such an overwhelming donation of clothing that we ended up calling both the Noel House and the YWCA to have them send their friends to shop alongside us so that we could move it as quickly as possible to reduce the amount of clothing we would have to transport following the swap. It turned out to be a great idea, and it was enjoyable to shop with and for lots of new people we met who needed assistance.
All of the nicest remaining clothes were bundled up by Erica, Andrea, and Carol this morning for donation to the Jubilee Women’s Center, a great nonprofit helping women achieve success! The staff at Jubilee were blown away by the big donation. The donation will make a huge impact on the ladies who rely on clothing donations to help them prepare for new opportunities.
Thank you all who participated, supported, marketed, and donated!!