Hot Dish

Easy go, easy come In a rare case of culinary karma evening itself out, Flying Fish chef-owner Christine Keff has announced that on June 21, the eclectic Belltown seafood restaurant will begin serving lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. every weekday. Keff, who also owned the late, great Fandango (eulogized in these pages a few weeks back), reports that her remaining eatery is expanding its hours to meet "ongoing demands." The lunch menu itself considers the demands of a downtown businessperson rushing from the office to the swank refuge of Belltown, then back to the office. A two-course prix-fixe arrangement called "Fish on the Fly" guarantees a 30-minute lunch experience; whether dining that quickly on food this good is wise—or even healthy— remains up for debate. But what isn't debatable is the ambition of Keff's lunchtime bill of fare, which supplements a standard array of starters (seared ahi, shrimp cocktail, etc.) with adventurous choices like crispy catfish salad with banana blossoms, sister-in-law mussels with chili-lime dipping sauce, and Vietnamese pork sandwiches. Though the prospect of a midday meal at Flying Fish doesn't make us miss Fandango any less, it's good to know, to paraphrase Beckett, that the menus of the world are a constant quantity. Basque in the glory Undeterred by the Spanish region's history of terrorism, many diners are eating their way toward Basque cuisine, and this week The Food Network is catching the culinary zeitgeist by spotlighting Madison Valley's Harvest Vine restaurant. At 10:30 p.m. on June 14, fans of the Vine are advised to turn on the tube and check out "What's Hot! What's Cool!" Monday's installment of the show finds chef Joseph Jiménez de Jiménez and pastry chef Carolin Messier de Jiménez exploring new trends in Basque food, trumpeting the virtues of organic products, and whipping up signature dishes like pulpo de feira (Galician-style octopus) and grilled Biscay Bay sardines. And who knows? The Vine's TV debut might even lead to a Spanish-language version of NBC's popular restaurant-based reality show. Just call it El Restaurante. Tomes, homes, and gastronomes Here's a recipe for success: Take a corny B movie, two attractive hosts, and a splashy set got up like a kitchen. Add a chef, a menu based on food served in the movie, and lots of punny banter. Divide into 20-minute segments and serve lukewarm. That formula has given rise to countless cinematic cooking shows both national (Dinner and a Movie on TBS) and local (Movies That Bite on Seattle's UPN 11), but the food-from-fiction synergy never seemed to take hold in literary circles. Recently, however, the publication of Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp's Book Club Cookbook and the increasing popularity of Wuthering Bites (—like Oprah's Book Club, but for foodies—have revealed a rising army of reading groups hungry for more than just solid character development and a graceful denouement. Examples of literary-culinary pairing listed on the Bites site range from the obvious ("mint juleps with The Great Gatsby") to the touchingly mundane ("Britta's crab casserole with The Hours"). If you're curious about mixing gastronomy and book talk, take heart: The Seattle area has its very own chapter of Wuthering Bites. For info on joining—or just to find out what wine goes best with The Da Vinci Code—call 425-788-0395. Food and/or beverage news? E-mail Hot Dish at

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