Archive for July, 2008

June in Las Vegas – Part 2

Joining us on our trip to Las Vegas was Food Writer extraordinaire Cynthia Nims and her husband Bob. It was a whirlwind trip of shows, cocktialing and dining!

We did a few lunches and “late” night breakfasts at the Grand Lux Cafe which is always a reliable and tasty mainstay at now both the Venetian and the Palazzo hotels. And did a bit of a show marathon: seeing both Elton John and Bette Midler. And they were amazing – though I enjoyed Elton John the most … it brought back junior high memories  of listening to records in the basement …..yes, I still love that Yellow Brick Road album! (By the way fellow chef friend Bradly Ogden’s restaurant is a great pre or post show dinner or Lux bar snack option – located at Caesars across from the Colosseum)

But on to more dining. It was time to head to old downtown Vegas to go back in time and have a totally retro experience. We ventured to the 4 Queens Casino and checked out Hugo’s Celler – a total throw back in time!

Joining us was chef Charles Ramseyer (previously of Ray’s Restaurant in Seattle for years and now Western Regional Executive Chef for China Grill Management and living in Vegas) and his partner Lisa. Ok – Cynthia had been here before and I had been pre-warned of the super fun kitchyness of it all — but I was not prepared for the most retro bar snack I have ever seen – yes folks it was crocks of Chicken Liver Pate, Pimento Olive Cheese Spread, served with none other than Ritz Crackers and heart shaped water crackers. Might I say ….. a fetching partner for a perfectly chilled gin martini.

We moved to the dining room into our ultra plushy giant booth and started off with tableside salads: each garnished with what ever your hearts desire from the salad cart — anchovies, artichokes, nuts, croutons, palm hearts…. the list goes on. Our entrees included, of course, veal chops and fillet mignon with old-school bordelaise sauce….

And yes our charming waiter was a throw back in time too — he used to work at Fullers Restaurant in Seattle (the nationally acclaimed restaurant where I cut my teeth as a chef in the mid 80’s- now defunct). It was nice to experience formal old-style crisp service with attention to detail!

It was great catching up with friends, hearing from Charles and Lisa how life in Vegas is and just for a few hours pretending we were all living in 1958 – with no worries, a great cocktail and a great steak — and of course all crowned off with chocolate dipped strawberries and a rose for the ladies!

After a night of staying up way to late John and I trekked over to our ” healthy and needing something nutritious” mainstay– the Canyon Ranch Spa Cafe in the Venetian Hotel. We always eat there at least a couple of times whenever we visit Las Vegas. John loves their Thai French Toast with reduced tangerine juice and ginger syrup and house-made lean chicken sausage. I usually opt for their perfectly made egg white omelet with mushrooms, spinach, organic white cheddar and fresh herbs — yes it is good!

Vegas is a great place to visit – you can dine at nationally acclaimed restaurants, see shows, do a little gambling and have a LOT of fun all in just one little/big city. We can’t wait to go back.

 

 

Add comment July 7th, 2008

Berrylicious Shortcakes for the 4th!

Yummy berry shortcakes are perfect for a 4th of July weekend backyard party!
If you don’t want to make shortcakes from scratch pick up some Fisher Scone Mix and add-in a handful of chocolate chips for a quick knock-off of my scratch recipe. I also love to make shortcakes with other fruits such as juicy nectarines, peaches or pitted fresh cherries.

Berrylicious Chocolate Chip Shortcakes
Serves 6

4 cups fresh berries, such as strawberries, raspberries or blackberries
1/4 – 1/2 cup sugar, more or less to taste, depending on the tartness of the berries
2 tablespoons berry liqueur (optional)
2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup shortening or butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 cup milk, more or less as needed
————————————————————
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
Garnish: fresh mint sprigs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, lightly toss the berries, sugar and liqueur together. Refrigerate. Meanwhile, in a second large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together. Cut in shortening, then stir in chocolate chips. Lightly stir in enough milk to make a soft, moist dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.

Lightly pat dough to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 2 1/2-inch rounds with a biscuit cutter. Place on a baking sheet, sides touching. Bake approximately 18 to 20 minutes or until biscuits are lightly browned. Let cool.

Just before serving, whip cream with sour cream powdered sugar till softly peaked. Place split biscuits on plates, spoon on berries, and top with dollops of whipped cream. Place biscuit tops slightly askew. Garnish with fresh mint sprigs if you like.
Recipe copyright 2008by Kathy Casey.

1 comment July 3rd, 2008

Get out! Bastille Day at DeLille

I love De Lille wines, and so close to Seattle too! Their annual Bastille Day Celebration sounds like the perfect day trip!

The theme of this annual Bastille Day event is a steaming cook-off between the hottest chefs of Eastside restaurants and wine bars. Each chef will have their own station, where guests can sample their creations and then vote on their favorite. The various chefs will be preparing large appetizers and small-plate entrees to be enjoyed and paired with the 2007 DeLille Cellars Chaleur Estate Blanc. This fun-filled event will last from to 3 p.m and the cost is $65 per person. Tickets can be purchased at www.delillecellars.com or by calling (425) 489-0544. Super fun!

DeLille Cellars, 14208 Woodinville Redmond Rd., Redmond (425) 489-0544 www.delillecellars.com

Add comment July 2nd, 2008

Le Burrito!

Ok, so maybe you’ll never be Lance Armstrong, and maybe you’ll never make it to France to cheer on Tour de France cyclists, nonetheless be one yourself. But at least you can eat like one at Chipotle with their super yummy, limited time only, Le Burrito. This power packed wrap was specifically designed to meet the dietary needs of tour de France rides. As a sponsor of the Garmin-Chipotle, Le Burrito is filled with naturally raised chicken (from birds that are raised in a humane way, never given antibiotics or added hormones, and fed a pure vegetarian diet), black beans, cilantro lime rice, mild tomato salsa, and freshly made guacamole. This combination provides an energy-boosting ratio of about 60 percent carbohydrates, 25 percent fat, and 15 percent protein that allows cyclists to perform at their best while racing. The limited offer runs through the duration of the Tour de France, July 5-27th, go get yours and hit the Burke Giliman trail!

Add comment July 1st, 2008

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