This was my first time attending Seattle Weekly’s annual “Voracious Tasting & Awards,” and I now clearly understand why people clamor to get tickets each year. Not only are there dozens and dozens of the best restaurants, bars and food trucks serving up bites and booze, but it’s in the gorgeous Paramount Theater. As I said when I presented the awards that night: “lucky us!” for getting to eat and drink delicious stuff in such a spectacular setting. Read on for the deets and check out the slideshow.
As the Food + Drink Editor of Seattle Weekly, I was on a mission to try as many things as I could – but even still, I missed some (like Il Corvo’s Roman-style pizza and Radiator Whiskey’s beef belly pastrami, damn!). I also never made it outside to where the Food Trucks were, but on my way out, I saw lots of folks hanging out there. A few things that really blew my mind though, or at least made me go “hmm, interesting”:
• Jason Wilson’s (Crush/Miller’s Guild) smoked macarons with chevre, curry and beets. The tiny macaron exterior belied one of the most complex and bold bites of the night—the blast of smokiness hitting the taste buds first and then giving way to the sweet/creamy/savory ingredients.
• The Harvest Vine’s skewer of a vinegar cured anchovy with piparras & olive. They weren’t messing around. You either love a big ‘ol anchovy or you don’t! Very authentically Spanish.
• Miyabi 45th’s “Foie Tofu.” I’d assumed it would be tofu masquerading as foie, for vegetarians. But it was the reverse. It was a creamy, earthy foie gras mousse pretending to be cubes of tofu—served with freshly grated wasabi and pickled grape. For people who want to not think they’re eating Foie Gras?! What?!
• Café Munir’s delicate Lebneh pastries were not only pretty but delicate and delicious.
• Collections Café’s “Almond Joy Panna Cotta.” I wasn’t sure about the candy bar twist, but the perfectly cooked panna cotta had just the right amount of a tasty almond freeze-dried topping.
• Westward’s chilled pea soup with mint was “spring in a cup,” according to our Art Director, Karen Steichen. Indeed.
The drinks were plentiful too, with Stella Artois on tap, glasses of wine, a VIP Scotch tasting and cocktails like “The Voracious Bastard” with house-made Ginger beer, gin and bitters from Bar Code, Bathtub Gin & Co’s “Tomahawk” with Whiskey, smoked paprika, agave and cinnamon and Barrio’s “Puebla Punch” with Milagro tequila, Ancho Reyes Chili Liquer, Pineapple Syrup, lemon and oleo saccharum. This was not a night for sticking with one type of liquor. I’m guessing that hangovers were had by many on Friday morning.
Besides eating and drinking, I presented two awards this year: “The Zeitgeist Award” went to Westward (in the restaurant category) and the Most Innovative Local Producer to Epic Ales (in the drink category). Here’s why.
Once I got that over with, I made the rounds to chat with as many folks as I could, including Chef Shane Ryan at Matt’s at the Market, Meeru Dhalwala from Shanik, Tiffany Ran, a cook at The Walrus and The Carpenter but helping out Miyabi 45th that night and Charles Walpole at Blind Pig Bistro, among others. I even bumped into Langdon Cook, local author of The Mushroom Hunters, and started making plans for our spring morel trip…Our drink columnist, Zach Geballe, was working the room too – and I’m pretty sure the last place I saw him was hanging out in the VIP room talking Scotch with the Glenlivet rep. Surprise surprise.
Oh, I almost forgot: the band! This year, Seattle’s Tangerine played. Here’s what MTV Buzzworthy says about them: “The Seattle four-piece plays giddy indie-pop…there’s a definite Pacific Northwest edge to the band’s plucky rhythm section, which thumps and fidgets with kick drums and a beard-scratchy baseline. Frontwoman Marika Justad sings with just a sprinkle of sass as she teases her way through romantic lines like “say anything/it’s you and me”…If you like indie-pop at all, you will eat this up.”
If you were at the event, please tell us what your favorite bite or drink was! If you weren’t, I hope I’ve convinced you why you need to come next year. (Did I mention that VIP ticket holders walk away with swag bags full of dining coupons, SIFF tickets and more?) Alas, hopefully this slideshow says it all!