Food and Beverage News

Art Institute of Seattles new restaurant Where can you get high-quality French bistro fare at bargain-basement prices and eat it while enjoying a 280-degree view of Mount Rainer, Puget Sound, and the Olympics? Look no further than the Art Institute of Seattle Culinary Schools recently remodeled Portfolio Dining Room (2600 Alaskan Way, fifth floor, 206-239-2363). On Wednesday, Feb. 4, chef David Wynne and his army of student cooks will once again feed the hungry masses with modestly priced specialties such as coq au vin with wild onions and green string beans. The hope of the dining room is to bring attendance up to a level where the students are getting enough experience to be successful and vital in the culinary arena, says Wynne. The focus is on cooking and food presentation and, though the space lacks the ambiance of more expensive restaurants, one can leave lunch or dinner with a full belly, a pretty full wallet, and the very pleasant feeling that a night out also helped educate some future chefs. The dive is still alive Stuff magazines 20 Best Dives in America issue turned its booze-hazed attention this year to our own Comet Tavern (922 E. Pike St., 206-323-9853), where bar-dancing girls, bar-crawling drunks, and Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder supposedly rule the roost. Thanks to a brief chat with an actual barman at the Comet, Hot Dish recently uncovered the partial fallacy of Stuffs rave review. True, the process was legit; the magazines editors sent disposable cameras to the Comet staff so they could capture the essence of its diveness in their own photos (and words, in a blurb they wrote to accompany the pics). But Eddie Vedder? Not anymore, says the plainspoken mixologist we spoke to. Seattle Weekly leisure expert Andrew Bonazelli suggests that the Comets giant, filthy trough of a mens urinal thats practically visible from the billiards room might have something to do with the high dive quotient, but he also describes it as a fun, safe, familiar place to do karaoke, which doesnt sound particularly divey to us. Lack of grunge icons notwithstanding, the Comet remains a friendly joint that cuts through Cap Hill pretension like a parking ticket through a beer buzz. The 20 Best Dives issue of Stuff is on newsstands now. New eats Our sources tell us theres a new fusion eatery opening in Pike Place Market, and not of the ubiquitous Pan-Asian variety. Jasmine (Post Alley Market Building, 206-382-9899), a Thai-Moroccan bistropad Thai and couscous?is set to open this week. The Wellington (4869 Rainier Ave. S., 206-722-8571), a classic Southern kitchen, opened this month in Columbia City with a menu heavy in all things fried and/or sweet. BluWater Bistro will expand its empire of midscale neighborhood eateries east in March. Theyll serve their young-and-hip brand of Northwest cuisine in the remodeled waterfront site of the former Leschi Lake Caf頨102 Lakeside Ave. E., 206-328-2233). Bon Ap鴩t! Euphemism of the week From the state Department of Agriculture mad-cow update, Jan. 20: Selective depopulation of 129 animals from the index herd, which began on Saturday, January 10, is complete. Food and/or beverage news? E-mail Hot Dish at

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