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Posts from the ‘You Are What You Eat’ Category

Doyenne AIX 2009 ~ DeLille Cellars

The past month has been nothing but a celebration for us.  Living Aware’s grassroots growth has been swift and amazing.  We have had two birthdays in our group, mine included.  As with any great celebrations in life, you make a toast to all the wonderful things that have happened and to the inspiring and fulfilling course that lay ahead.

So, you may ask, “what are you toasting over there at the Living Aware headquarters?”  We have been blessed, and I do mean blessed, to live in a beautiful part of the world that produces amazing wines and makes sustainability a priority.  DeLille Cellars, is one of the best vineyards in the Pacific Northwest and they are creating some of the best wines I have had recently.

We opened a bottle of their Doyenne AIX 2009 to enjoy while at sitting fireside at Alderbrook Resort & Spa.  This wine is a deep and rich in taste as it is in color. The powerful bouquet of spice and fruit are perfectly paired together for a big body wine. The winemaker mastered the blend of Cabernet, Syrah, and a bit Mourvedre in making a wine that is delicious and with a superb finish.

What is equally important as the wine itself  is their policy towards sustainability and their comprehensive plan to achieve it at the highest levels.  Something we learned from their site is that Washington wines have the upper hand for organic farming because of their environment of our area, please read the excerpt below.

It is important to note that Washington State due to its own nature is one of the most environmentally friendly wine growing regions in the world. In large part because of the lack of moisture in Eastern Washington, mold and mildew pressure is much lower than most vineyard regions. This means that we can cut down on the use of sulfur and copper as compared to other areas. Our sandy soils stop pests like phylloxera, so we can plant vines with natural rootstocks. Our colder winters also prohibit other pests like sharpshooters from spreading, so we can control them without harsh chemicals. Stating this, Washington State is not without any pests and disease issues that may threaten our crops and need environmentally sound solutions.

We are positive that DeLille Cellars and their vineyard partners will be successful in their L.I.V.E. and Salmon Safe Certifications and their complete full integration of sustainable farming very soon.  We will cheers to that!

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Bastille ~ Seattle, WA

Ballard’s Bastille Cafe & Bar, is as close as you can get to the reverent bistros and cafes that adorn Paris’s sidewalks.  The large, but cozy space is located on the ever popular Ballard Ave and oozes with French details. The Owners of this sustainable restaurant reused pieces from another time and place to recreate the beautiful, warm energy the rooms behold.

If that isn’t enough to start making your way their now, their happy hour will.  Their extensive happy hour menu offers French cuisine using local, eco-friendly ingredients from reputable purveyors.  Some of the components are so local, they come just steps to the kitchen from the rooftop garden.

If we pop into Bastille’s early happy hour offering, we usually sit by the front fireplace to enjoy its warmth and beauty.  If we make it in later in the evening, we often opt for the always hopping back bar with the gigantic glowing chandelier.  One thing is for certain, choosing where to sit always ends up being easier than deciding what to devour from the lengthy list of amazing choices.

Of course you have to order a carafe of the white, rose, or red wine they are offering.  For the price ($15) the 500ml carafe is worth every cent.  The Petite Moules Frities, which translates to Mussels steamed in a savory bouillon with french fries is an absolute every visit.  Also a must is one of my most favorite cheese on the planet, the famous, Dinah’s Cheese, from Kurtwood Farms on Vashon Island.  Dinah’s Cheese is a fresh, bloomy rind, cow’s milk cheese that melts in your mouth like butter – its heaven.  Some of the toss ups that are always delicious, but we don’t always have room for are the scrumptious Beef Cheeks Gougeres.  These two pieces of tender, braised beef with a bit of cheese and pickled shallots are served on a slice of their unbelievable bread. Probably the main reason we can’t fit another thing into our stomach is because of their peasant bread, it is a must, no exceptions – it is my favorite bread in town.  The Bastille Burger is absolutely fabulous and we almost always split that as part of our meal.  It is consistently cooked perfectly and is a steal at $10 with cheese (without cheese, $8 – but why would you?).  Another favorite is the charcuterie plate with a selection of meats and pickled veggies, yummy and simple.

We could go on and on, but it is so much better if you see and taste for yourself- you won’t be disappointed.

Oysters ~ Hood Canal, WA

20120527-171024.jpg We don’t think there is anything more delicious than the seafood we sustainably harvest at our beach house. Hood Canal’s waters are rich in oysters, clams, shrimp, gooey duck, salmon, Dungeness crabs as well as many more delectable nourishing foods. At the height of low tide we walk down to a shoreline littered in beautiful shells and pick perfectly sized full oysters for dinner. We shuck these salty delicious treats and eat them raw on the beach and/or grill them in their shell over the fire pit.

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This is one of the many reasons we choose to protect our earth. Without a clean ocean and environment overall, meals like this would not be possible.

Lucy at the Bardessono Hotel ~ Yountville, CA

The setting for a late afternoon bite at Lucy Restaurant & Bar  yesterday could not have been better.  The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and the Bardessono Hotel’s gorgeously landscaped grounds and their masterful sustainable architecture set the mood for a delicious, innovative meal.   

Because of the odd hour we weren’t able to from their main lunch or dinner menu, but were given a great array of options from the lounge menu.  We started our meal with an appetizer salad of mixed greens.  The leaves that were used literally traveled a couple dozen steps from the onsite garden to our table, it couldn’t have been any fresher.  The salad was light, airy, and lightly coated in a lemon and honey vinaigrette and had thinly sliced pear for a bit of crunch.  Also to start we ordered the Georgia Turtle-Free Shrimp cocktail that was perfectly cooked, absolutely spot on, and the cocktail sauce was tangy with a touch of spice and had a great thickness.  “Turtle-Free” means that our five large shrimp were sustainably harvested without harming our shelled reptile friends.  

 My partner had the Masami Ranch burger made from insanely good, Kobe beef, that was presented with pickled vegetables, on a house-made bun.  The burger itself was flavorful, juicy, and also cooked to perfection.  As with most great burgers, it was accompanied with hot, seasoned fries that were crisp and salted just right.   I opted for the Alaskan Halibut Sliders in a curry spice with potato chips as my entree.  The small sliders were served with arugula from the garden, carmelized onion and a mint and lemon aioli.  The only tiny complaint would be if the buns used in our entrees could have been a little less thick and a little more moist to soak up all of the fabulous flavors in these unique, and tasty dishes. 

Watching the chefs walk to and from the garden pulling ingredients as they prepped for the dinner service made us grin ear-to-ear.  If only all restaurants (and homes) could operate this way, making sustainable and organic meals like the fabulous one we devoured at Lucy the world would be a better and healthier place.  It was the perfect way to celebrate the end of our stay at Napa Valley’s most luxurious and LEED-Platinum Bardessono Hotel.

The French Laundry Garden ~ Yountville, CA

Napa Valley attracts visitors year round for the spectacular vineyards and wine tastings. A must-see that may not be on everyone’s radar, but should be, is the very large and impressive garden for the world-renowned French Laundry restaurant. The garden is directly across from Thomas Keller’s establishment and is open to the public. The farm has everything from herbs to strawberries to chickens and brings ‘farm to table’ to a level above the rest. The garden is gorgeous and will inspire the most novice to start growing their own edibles.

Oyster Rama ~ Hama Hama Oysters

After an amazing stay in Portland we headed to Liliwaup, WA on the Washington Peninsula for the 2nd Annual OYSTER RAMA! Festivities started at 11 AM at their company store and the party went into the early evening.  The event not only has the delicious Hama Hama Oysters, beer, Whidbey Island Winery, and fun, but lots of great information about the tidelands!

If you didn’t already know, Puget Sound is one of the last great oyster producing regions in the world.  Ocean acidification, toxic storm water runoff, accumulation of heavy metals (PCB’s and PAH’s, by-products of burning fossil fuels) are a few of the many threats facing shellfish and the shellfish industry, and it requires a significant amount of social awareness to address.  The tideflats that the oysters are produced from are an economic, cultural, and ecologic resource that need to be protected.

 Hama Hama Oysters, used the Oyster Rama Event to educate and engage people with shellfish in a really fun, dynamic way to generate support to keep the Puget Sound healthy.  The fabulous event also taught participants how to harvest their own oysters and clams, skills they’ll be able to use on many public beaches throughout the State.   Ecologists from Washington Sea Grant were on hand on the flats to interpret the sea life, a sea-creature “I-Spy” competition to get people to investigate the flats, and oyster farmers who will talk about how we use the flats to produce food and livelihoods. Upstream, there were environmental groups (everybody from salmon restoration members to Shellfish Ecologists to the Surfrider Foundation) setting up booths and talking with event attendees, putting on dynamic seminars on how we farm oysters, and of course oyster tastings.

The tideflat celebration had tons of delicious shellfish to eat, as well as an oyster sports competition that highlights the work that happens on an oyster farm (single picking, shucking, clam digging, etc).  Hama Hama Oysters hosted some great live music in front of a mountain of oyster shells, art vendors, and other delicious treats like crab cakes that and oyster ice cream.

 Beyond the enlightening environmental aspect of this amazing event also encompassed significant social responsibility to fund arts and cultural programs at the local school (where approximately 80% of the kids are on free or reduced lunch).  If you didn’t make it this year, I highly recommend you join us and celebrate local, Olympic Peninsula food and wine and the local artists and artisans displaying their wares at the 3rd Annual Oyster Rama in 2013!

Little Bird ~ Portland, OR

We stopped into this fabulous cozy French restaurant called, Little Bird, past bedtime after our first night on the town in Portland, OR.   This sustainable purveyor of local ingredients serves an amazing small selection of dishes seven nights a week late into the evening.  We ordered burgers based on the waiter’s recommendation and we were not disappointed.  We all got the delicious butter lettuce salad and an order of fries for the table.  This scrumptious bistro is a must try, early or late.

Laurelhurst Market ~ Portland, OR

Tummies were grumbling as we cruised into Portland yesterday afternoon.  We knew we had to finally try the Butcher Shop at Laurelhurst Market.   This restaurant came highly recommended for providing the highest quality ingredients in town.   During the day the butcher shop offers sandwiches and soup to patrons and at night opens the restaurant up for dining.

Lucky for use, our timing was perfect to snag one of their mouth-watering concoctions before dinner service started and we showed up on right day for their famous Tuesday Special.  Tuesday offers a fabulous fried chicken sandwich with lettuce, Frank’s Hot Sauce, all on an amazing roll, which I obviously devoured.  We also ordered their #6, a delicious hot steak sandwich complete with provolone and peppers and onions that was equally as delicious.  Laurelhurst Market responsibly features all natural, hormone free, antibiotic free meats from local farmers.  Our amazing lunch with drinks and a bag of chips was an affordable $20 even.

The menu for the restaurant looks splendid as well and is on our immediate list to try.

Living Future Conference 2012 ~ Portland, OR

I am so exciting to be driving down to Portland for another important conference on sustainability.  Not only is this sold-out event dedicated to, Women Reshaping the World, but it is being held in such a vibrant city that embraces a green lifestyle.   The conference is being hosted by the International Living Future Institute allowing  for brilliant minds in the green building movement that are creating and seeking solutions to the most daunting global issues to come together.  This incredible forum for learning and networking formats will  provide visionary design methods, innovative technical information, and the motivation needed to achieve meaningful progress toward living aware.

Many of you may remember that we went down last autumn for the amazing EcoDistrict Summit which is one of the world’s premier annual conference dedicated to urban sustainability.  During that awesome event we were not only able to listen to inspiring speakers like Denis Hayes, CEO of the Bullitt Foundation, but we were also able to network with city officials, designers, innovators and an array of other like-minded people who are pushing boundaries for greener cities. In turn all of those amazing individuals and no doubt, the attendees of the Living Future Conference, are creating a greener way of life for  communities spread around the world and link us together. 

During our last visit we stayed at The Nines Hotel, a lovely and luxurious LEED Silver Certified property in the heart of Portland.  We dined at their amazing organic/local/sustainable restaurants Departure and Urban Farmer, as well some others around town like Pok Pok and Bamboo Sushi which are some of my favorite restaurants to-date.  On this trip we are resting at Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco, just a block or so from, The Nines.  While the property is not LEED Certified, its service is spectacular and it offers a plethora of luxurious green amenities.  For shopping, the Pearl district was full of amazing boutiques like Woonwinkel that we will be sure to stop in on during this trip, as well as search out new shops on the scene. 

Stay tuned, we will have a lot more coming on the Living Future Conference and being green throughout Portland.

Poppy ~ Seattle, WA

Last week, a good friend and I dined at another cute establishment in the Capital Hill neighborhood during Seattle’s Restaurant Week, called Poppy. We walked into a busy restaurant at 6:30 (always a good sign) and  sipped on a glass of Delille Cellar’s Syrah/Cabernet blend called Doyenne AIX (2008) from Washington’s famous Columbia Valley while we waited for our table at the bar.  First, DeLille may be my new favorite wine, it’s local, they have a ecofabulous sustainability policy for producing their wines (more to come on this winery).  Anyhow, back to Poppy. 

We sat at a two top table by the window and our meal was quickly underway with some fabulous appetizers.   The appetizers were probably one of my favorite parts of the entire meal.  We split between the two of us a salmon, avocado, heart of palm, and chevril salad – perfect, fresh, light, delicious.  The other one we chose from the other four options was the white sausage with prunes, shallot, and arugula that was also amazing.  The white sausage was far from typical tough to chew sausage, it was also light and seemed to melt in your mouth.

For dinner we ordered the sea scallops with a carrot vinaigrette, that came with a plethora of sides; naan, cauliflower, saffron, and rosemary soup, radish and grilled spring onion salad, asparagus with sage and lemon, gingered burdock ribbons.  The other dish was the herbed ricotta dumplings with nettles that was accompanied by the same provisions as the other dish.    The main dishes and the naan were splendid, not large at all, but very well done.  My only complaint was that the several small sides seemed to be pickled in some way or another and that was a tad too much on your palate. 

The thing I do love and loath about restaurant week is that all the meals come with a dessert.  I never order dessert when I am dining out and these 3 course dinners twist your arm into trying some amazing dishes.  Both sweets at Poppy included some amazing ice cream.  We couldn’t decide which one was better, the rhubarb and cookie or the hot date cake with brown butter ice cream, butterscotch and pecans.  

Another thing I do adore about this restaurant is their on site garden.  Herbs and other greens are plucked steps from the kitchen.  It cannot get anymore fresh or local than that.