The Hot Sheet

What's in, what's fresh, what's cooking.

NEW IN TOWN Blue Willow Tea House The latest enterprise of Seattle tea mavens and magnates Frank Miller and Christine Higashi aims to provide a haven of tranquility and contemplation in upper Pike/Pine (heretofore the new home of only harder-drinking establishments). Modeled on the vibrant contemporary Asian teahouses of Taiwan, Blue Willow offers a full Asian-accented menu, as well as the gear and supplies you need to brew your cup of peace at home. 1024 E. Pike (corner of 11th), 325-5140. IN THE GLASS New blondes on the block Hale's Drawbridge Blonde, named after the neon beauty who adorns the control tower of Seattle's Fremont Bridge, has some competition this season. Henry Weinhard's Tumwater brewery is issuing Northwest Trail Blonde Lager. Henry calls his blonde "crisp and refreshing," as befits an outdoorsy gal; Hale's emphasizes the assertiveness and complexity of its lady. You be the judge; both available in six-packs for around $7. AT THE MARKET The chilly weather has postponed the start of local produce season, but fiddlehead ferns are poking up their curly locks at Sosio's Produce in the main arcade at Pike Place. They're great steamed like asparagus or soaked and stir-fried. Keep an eye out for Columbia River steelhead, king, and sturgeon, all currently abundant. And it's the time of year when egg ranchers are slaughtering last year's laying hens: Ask your butcher if he can lay hands on one of these tough but supremely flavorful birds for slow all-day poaching in oven or crock-pot to produce a fabulous chicken broth and lots of firm meat for fricassee, chicken and dumplings, coq au vin, chicken salad. . . . THIS WEEK April 17 This month's dinner to benefit Pioneer Square's restaurant for the homeless and indigent the Boomtown Caf鼯B> features a three-course meal devised by Flying Fish chef Christine Keff: a salad of beets and Roquefort in red-wine vinaigrette, a stew of beef with mushrooms and tomatoes over ricotta-laced polenta, and a chocolate-macadamia tart—all for your $20 (or up) donation. Seatings 5:30-7:30 p.m. 513 Third, 625-2989. April 17 The wines of Walla Walla's l'Ecole no. 41 are featured in a sumptuous spring banquet for flesh-eaters featuring canap鳠of lox and steak tartare, pan-seared fresh halibut, pan-roasted duck breast, and beef tenderloin. $100. 6:30 p.m. at Ruth's Chris Steak House, 800 Fifth, 624-8524. COMING UP April 18 New releases from Northwest wine giant Stimson-Lane will be featured in a special tasting, including the much-praised new edition of Eroica, S-L's Mosel-style riesling created in collaboration with Dr. Ernst Loosen. The tasting is free. 5-6:30 p.m. at Esquin Wine Merchants, 2700 Fourth S., 682-7374. Food and/or beverage news? E-mail the Hot Sheet at

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