Summer fun keeps going—travel, travel, travel and lots of tasty projects!
It’s been a whirlwind of a summer, with tons of travel … and a lot of fun, too. First off this month, I headed to Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans for the biggest cocktail-and-spirit event of the year. Attending were world-famous experts, mixologists, liquor companies, writers, bloggers, filmers and cocktail geeks. The week-long event featured lots of exciting seminars—from trends and innovation to the art of shaking and a multitude of spirit tastings—all day long. There were even “carnivorous” cocktails—these are meat-inspired, such as fat-washed liquors: bacon bourbon and Serrano ham bone infused reposado tequila (for an excellent account of this, check out “Waiter? There’s a Pig in My Cocktail!”) In between and after all the learning was lots more drinking and dining … laissez les bon temps rouler!
Eating highlights included a “spirited dinner” at GW Fins, where industry tiki gods Jeff “Beachbum” Berry and Martin Cate paired fantastic “Miehana” and “Pupule” cocktails with a very tasty menu. See my whole account of the dinner on my Amazon blog. We just felt sorry for whoever had to core out all those pineapples!
Other dining highlights included muffulettas and Pimm’s Cups at the Plymouth House and then dinner at Cochon, one of my favorite restaurants in New Orleans. Chef Link and partners, by the way, have now opened Cochon Butcher, which my Seattle compatriots stopped by for giant tasty sandwiches on the way to catch their flights … Darn! I missed that one! But before Cameo, my “partner in crime” and chef at the Food Studios, and I headed out for our flight, we joined friends at Stanley’s by Jackson Square for super-yummy Eggs Benedict. I had the Eggs Stanley with fried oysters; others had theirs with soft-shelled crabs and boudin sausage—all topped off with Cajun hollandaise. D’lish!
Saturated and satiated, I headed back home—just to turn around 4 days later and head back to NOLA to judge the Great American Seafood Cook-off! Another day of flying, running to my room at the Royal Sonesta (which by the way is a fantastic hotel located on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter—check out the concierge level for the ultimate royal treatment), then jumping in a cab to go dine some more! The dine-around that the Cook-off organizers planned started with a parade (or “second line” as they call it in the Crescent City) down the street with a dancing chef on stilts, horns playing good old New Orleans jazz and glittery gals dressed up in crawfish and crab suits. First, we marched to Cochon, where we snacked on boudin balls and fried oysters that were superb! Then we hopped a bus to our remaining destinations; chefs, judges and sponsors were all aboard, including celebrity judge Sig Hansen from the Deadliest Catch. Our bus MC was Ewell Smith, who entertained us and started the “state singing competition”—he challenged each participating state to sing, karaoke-style. Oddly enough there was no entrant from Washington State; California, Oregon and Alaska represented the West Coast. (Entrants were sent by governors—so what’s up with this, Christine Gregoire??? Kind of embarrassing that we had no Washington State chef in the competition!) And by the way, the entire dine-around trip was escorted by New Orleans’ finest police bike brigade! Hey, where else will the cops let you pose on their bikes with them??? Then back on the bus, where I was bullied and peer-pressured to sing for Washington State. So out popped the song that longtime associate Ann Manly and I wrote years ago for an “oyster fashion show,” “In Your Oyster Bonnet”; it’s even been published! Okay, I sang on the microphone and, I am sure, made a total fool of myself—but it’s the Big Easy, right?
Our police escort and I … watch out, New Orleans!
The big Cook-off finals were the next day, with glitterati judges such as chef Michel Richard and Chicago Tribune food editor Carol Haddix. Thirteen chefs from 13 different states were setting up; the tension was mounting as they competed for the bragging rights to be Great American Seafood Cook-off winner. For the next few hours, we tasted and nibbled a new dish every 10 minutes!! I tried to just take tiny bites of each—but it was hard to do! New Orleans PBS was there filming our every move, bite and comment … so look for the special on your local PBS station over the next few months.
So, after hours of eating, the scores were tallied and the big moment had arrived! 1st place went to Louisiana—Tory McPhail from Commander’s Palace was crowned King of American Seafood. (He grew up in Washington State, so we have a little NW connection to the winner!) 2nd place went to New Jersey—Peter Fischbach, from New Jersey Institute of Technology; and 3rd place to Alaska—Patrick Hoogerhyde from WildFin Seagrill. Congrats to all!
But enough with the touring—I’m a bit traveled out. On to the home front …
My book Sips & Apps is doing really well, so, thank you, everyone, for your support! It has been getting super-great coverage on blogs and websites galore. One of my favorite interviews was actually for a piece on lemon meringue pies—my favorite! How does this tie into the cocktail book? For Sips & Apps I created a dessert cocktail called the Lemon Meringue Puff, which truly does taste like a real lemon meringue pie. So now you can have your pie and drink it, too! Check out the fun article on Love To Know.com. Also the sassy Strawberry Shag seems to have struck a chord out there somewhere because even one of my friend’s mothers called me to say she saw it featured in their local newspaper. It just goes to show you America loves its strawberries! The recipe features sliced fresh strawberries lightly macerated in a touch of powdered sugar and then shaken with fresh basil, vodka and fresh lemon juice with a splash of soda for a refreshing fizz. Check out the recipe on my Amazon “Al Dente” blog while local strawberries are still in the summer markets.
If you would like receive an autographed copy of Sips & Apps for yourself or for a gift, just order it from our website and let us know who you want it made out to. You can also call us at the Studios to arrange to come by and pick up a copy.
Also, it’s never to early to start thinking about fall and holiday parties. We have a couple of fun events you can book for company team building—or just for fun—centered around Sips & Apps—because that’s really the way we all like to eat and drink these days, right?
Our Sips & Apps event packages are:
- A cocktail-and-appetizer party for from 25–125 guests, featuring the tastiest sips matched with the perfect apps. Themed for a fall or a holiday event, this package includes a copy of Sip & Apps, signed by Kathy, for each guest; you can use the books as an invitation or give them as a party favor.
- An interactive cocktail class for up to 30 guests, where Kathy will demonstrate the how-to’s of the perfect cocktail party and get you shaking like a pro!
For more information or to schedule your next event, contact Jill Benson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (206) 784-7840.
What’s happening at Dish D’Lish? I’ve been stopping by my SeaTac airport shops a lot lately what with all this crazy travel! Here’s one of my favorites that will make your in-flight neighbor passengers totally jealous. I call it the “D’Lish Happy Hour Snack Combo”: pick up … a fresh pear (be sure to get a plastic knife to cut it up), hummus, goat cheese and chive spread, sexy olives, and a package of sidekick crackers—a tasty snack with a glass of on-board red wine.
At our Ballard Dish D’Lish, we’ve been stirring up lots of tasty summer jams, including Strawberry Lavender and Strawberry Hibiscus (made with chef pal Brian Scheehser’s organic strawberries). Last but not least, our newest concoction is a preserve made with local dark and tart cherries, fresh ginger, lemon peel and yuzu—super-yummy over ice cream, on toast or with local cheeses! These confections will be available at the Dish D’Lish Ballard Café along with some other creative preserves to come as the season inspires us! And be sure to check out sous chef Travis Childers’ seasonal salads—featuring organic fruits from our urban garden in the back. And if you’re looking for a relaxing spot for lunch, our back garden patio is the perfect place to have a bite, sip a housemade soda and just chill.
Don’t forget our party t’go-go offerings either! We can whip them up for your next party—Mom’s Potato Salad, Ballard Baked Beans and Summer Greek Salad!
Also this summer, as the spokesperson for Columbia Winery and Covey Run wines, I’m continuing to cook up wonderful recipes to pair with their award winning Washington wines. Be sure to check out my recipes on Columbia Winery and Covey Run sites! On August 22nd I’ll be at Columbia Winery serving up some great appetizers that I have paired with my favorite wines and signing copies of my book! And be sure to check out more info on how to win a private cooking class with me! (Hear more about this on the radio air waves!)
Social media are alive and booming … yes, I have a Blackberry now!
If you’re a tweeter on Twitter, you can now follow me at kathycaseychef for all the latest foodie news and cocktail buzz. If you have sworn off tweeting, you can always check out my Sips & Apps Facebook fan page.
And for more recipes check out my companion blog to my KOMO radio spot, Dishing with Kathy Casey. Catch me every Thursday on Seattle’s KOMO Radio AM 1000 or 97.7 FM—or hear it streaming live—at 4:15 and 6:15 PM Pacific Time.
I’ve been hearing from a lot of you, too, that you miss my Seattle Times “Dishing” column. Well, get on over to the Dishing blog—my fun stories and recipes are just a click away 😉
And last but not least I want to welcome Keith Waldbauer, our new associate mixologist at the Liquid Kitchen, the beverage arm of my business. Keith is a talented barman and we’re thrilled to have him working with us as a consultant. He is also vice president of the Washington Bartenders Guild. You can find him stirring it up at Seattle’s Vessel bar on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights—unless he is with me shaking up drinks for clients in other parts of the world. (In September, we’re off to Dubai and Abu Dhabi!)
Wishing you a d’lish summer – Kathy
©2009 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®