Iron Beer, Slovakia, and the Dining Hierarchy

Iron Beer Ankle deep in bronze, silver, and gold medals for its beers, Rogue Brewing of Newport, Ore., has never been afraid of innovation (this is the firm that came up with chipotle-flavored beer, after all), but its latest initiative is a reach, to say the least. Collaborating with Iron Chef maverick Masaharu Morimoto (the man who gave the world caviar-topped potato chips and gorgonzola sushi rolls), Rogue brewmaster John Meier has come up with two new beers bearing the Morimoto face and signature: one with natural Oregon hazelnut flavoring, the other incorporating that perennial Japanese grain favorite, buckwheat. Not inclined to rush right out to buy either? Rogue won't mind. The company apparently prefers to sell to the few, the proud, and the deep of pocket: It recently raised prices on its already pricey brews by 25 percent or more, and at around $4.50 per 22-oz. bottle, the new items are not exactly priced to move, either. Discover What Slovakia Has To Offer In Bottled Form . . . Dwelling in the most notoriously rain-drenched city in America, Seattleites might get a little tired hearing about water. But for the "water connoisseurs" there's a spanking-new Web site that caters to all things H2O. At, created to exist as the "definitive voice for water connoisseurs and their accompanying lifestyle," you'll find ratings on waters of different countries. Compare Romania's (high carbon content) and Egypt's (from the Siwa oasis) to Slovakia's (for catchphrase, see above), if you wish. Find the perfect stemware in which to decant your precious Swedish Ramlosa sparkling liquid, and read articles on the supposed benefits of bottled water. Creator Dr. Michael Mascha encourages others to join him in a quest for quality H2O: "It sounds a bit odd at first, but there is a true richness to fine water, because of its inherent subtlety. And as a $6 billion a year industry in the United States, it deserves an authoritative source." And since a heart condition forced Mascha to give up alcohol, premium water's his new way of "drinking well." Excuse our plebian naﶥt頩f we buy a Brita. Dining Hierarchy The 2003 edition of Zagat for Seattle has arrived. As usual, the skinny red book abundantly "quotes" its amateur but authoritative voters in hundreds of ratings for the local dining scene. The winners are all the usual suspects: Wild Ginger (Most Popular), Mistral (Best Food), Dahlia Lounge (Best Contemporary), Rover's (Best French), Caf頊uanita (Best Italian), Nishino (Best Japanese), Espresso Vivace (Best Coffeehouse), and Red Mill (Best Burgers), with more winners abounding in lists and rating systems galore. Concerning the listings themselves, most locals will be familiar with most of the spots named, though it may be "helpful" for "out- of-towners" or those "unfamiliar with the dining options." Some of its "phrasing" may become "annoying," but it works as a good "reference guide" nonetheless. Food and/or beverage news? E-mail Hot Dish at food@

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