Southern Belles and Whistles

If the recent closures of restaurants like Burk's Cafe in Ballard and La Louisiana in the Central District have left a Southern food–shaped hole in your life, hang in there—it's almost Friday. Every weekend, chef Janice Vaughns of Kathy Casey's Dish D'Lish will be cooking up Southern and soul food for the company's Pike Place Market canteen. Dishes like pickled beets, grilled cheddar and green onion grits, hominy with jalapeños, and, of course, fried chicken and smothered pork chops are available by the pound or by the piece. While it feels a little funny to insist on a variety of Southern fare up here in the very northern Northwest, we're actually well within our bounds to expect it—at least from Vaughns. Influenced by her grandparents' southern roots, the local chef used to host Soul Food Sundays at the 5 Point Cafe and the Mecca back in the early '90s. Hungry travelers take note: The Dish D'Lish empire isn't just expanding its cuisine styles; it's expanding its territory as well. As of May 2, Casey and company's Sea-Tac Airport outpost are there for you.

Jake's back, Campagne's got him

One of the great pleasures of dining at Cascadia was consulting with sommelier Jake Kosseff about wines and cocktails. Kosseff stayed in town after leaving Cascadia, but he's been out of the public eye, so it's great he hear he's back and doing what he does better than most, shaping the wine program at Campagne. Shaping may not be a strong enough word for it; in the last two months, in consultation with chef Daisley Gordon, Kosseff has pretty thoroughly renovated the Campagne cellar, focusing about three-quarters on the wines of the southern and southwestern French regions that inspire the restaurant's cuisine, with the other quarter drawing mainly on Washington sources.

Good grills call a cab

Apparently the number of socially conscious bar owners in Seattle is on the rise, as Backwater Bar and Grill joins other Northwest hot spots with the implementation of Anna's Ride Home, a program that reduces drinking and driving among patrons leaving specific bars by offering paid taxi rides home for the excessively sloshed. It's an ingenious way of keeping drunken dumb-asses off the streets late at night, and a positive way of honoring the memory of namesake Anna White, who was run over by a drunk driver the night before her 22nd birthday in September of 2002. Other participating bars include RPlace on Capitol Hill, Lucky 7 Sports Bar in Kirkland, Fadó Irish Pub and Cowgirls Inc. in Pioneer Square, Element, and Rocksport Sports Bar. The service is paid for by the Anna Armstrong White Foundation and cooperating establishments, and the process of obtaining an "Anna's Ride Home" voucher is so simple that even the most faded patron will be able to handle it (simply ask your server for one). Backwater will kick off the program on May 6 with a benefit concert for the Anna White Foundation.

We Hardly Knew Ye

Spazzo Italian Grill, the Schwartz Bros. restaurant converted from pan-Mediterranean to Italian cuisine (and thus immeasurably improved) at the end of 2003, has lost its lease in Bellevue's Key Bank Building. According to Bill Schwartz, the building's new owners intend to turn the ninth floor, Spazzo's previous digs, into office space. An unknown number of the restaurant's former employees will be farmed out to other eateries in the Schwartz Bros. group, he announced in a press release yesterday.

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