Let's Call It...Progress

My schedule's been crazy busy lately...but the end is in sight, I hope! In the meantime, people are coming over tomorrow and I really should be cleaning my house, but I thought I'd write a post instead. (Productive stalling...don't 'cha know!)

Where to begin?

In the Press
Tavolàta is featured in this month's Bon Appétit! If you get a chance to see the June issue, check out the Seattle spotlight.

Over the past few months, the boys at Tavolàta have seen press regularly passing through. The restaurant was named Seattle's "Most Anticipated Restaurant of 2006" and the delayed opening (Jan. '07) only seems to have increased the momentum.

If you haven't had a chance to stop by, I snapped this picture--killing time during a recent photo shoot. (Notice the photographer by the window?) Before hours, the restaurant looks really peaceful, doesn't it? When they're open, it's not uncommon to wait over an hour.

Adieu, Chef
So now that the new restaurant is up and running and Union is back on track, I've decided to move on to other projects. Working with the Chef has been amazing...and I couldn't be more grateful. A big, heartfelt thank you goes out to Ethan Stowell. Who knew he could be so patient???? Thanks, Ethan. You'll always be one of my heroes.

A Nod from the James Beard Foundation
A big whopping congrats goes out to local food writer, Rebekah Denn. I noticed her name on the James Beard Award Nominee list...and sent her kudos. Turns out, I broke the news that she was even nominated (oops!). I love Rebekah's writing and she is destined for great things. The James Beard folks agree. Rebekah WON the award for "Newspaper or Magazine Restaurant Review or Critique." Kudos, woman! It's well deserved.

Party Recap
Last week I catered a party for 50...and now I know why I don't do THAT very often! Whoa, I was so tired! The party went off without a hitch--proving I've obviously learned a thing or two about timing and preparation. (I'm definitely a candidate for "most improved!") From the kitchen, I could keep an eye on the buffet table and heard a few comments..."This is amazing!" or "These are the best carrots I've ever had." One woman approached me and said, "I make moussaka all the time, and it's never this good." Since I don't cook on a regular basis, I'm glad to hear I can still crank out something people enjoy.

Here's what the final menu looked like:

* Sevillian Marinated Carrots
* Black Olive Paste
* Assorted Olives, cheese, and fruit
* Orzo Salad with Cucumber, Basil, Tomato & Feta
* Chickpea & Green Bean Salad
* Meatballs with Bulgur in Onion & Tomato Sauce
* Moussaka
* Chocolate Stout Cake
* A Cote Brownies
* Strawberries with Ganache for Dipping

Note: If anyone wants recipes, leave a comment. I'll be happy to share.

Blogger Bonding
Monday night, Shauna (Gluten-Free Girl) hosted a dinner for Clotilde of Chocolate and Zucchini fame. Clotilde was in the US on her book tour and naturally, Shauna worked a little magic while she was in town. Our local paper was even in on the action...and if you want to read the article, check it out here. (It's staggering to see...Clotilde's blog gets 4.9 million hits a month!)

While I had other commitments that evening, I did drop by after hours. Shauna & her chef, Clotilde, and I hung out while the crew got the restaurant back to normal. Clotilde was smart, engaging and very interesting. I loved the insiders chat about issues both Shauna and Clotilde experience now that their blogs have become so large. I read an article somewhere... mentioning that bloggers are the new celebrities. Indeed.

On the Horizon....Orcas Island
Next week I'm heading up to Orcas Island for a little reconnaissance. I've booked a couple chefs for an event up there later in June. My plan is to check out the venue and get a feel for their cooking space. (It's so hard cooking in a kitchen you don't know...especially when 50 people pay to see you strut your stuff...) With any luck, I can smooth out any hurdles beforehand.

Incoming Dragon!
Crescent Dragonwagon is coming in town...and I couldn't be more excited. We met at a dinner last year, and quickly became soul sisters. She'll be in Seattle later this year (on tour for her latest book) but this trip, she's doing a cooking demonstration at the Orcas event. Crescent's accolades run a mile long but I find this particularly amusing: She ran a legendary B&B and restaurant back in the Ozarks. Apparently Bill and Hillary Clinton were regulars...and when he won the Presidential election, Crescent cooked one of the inagural dinners! How cool is that? Over this past year, Crescent has become a close friend and mentor who inspires me in so many ways. I can't wait!

Fellow Travelers Arrive
Okay, it's no secret that summer in Seattle is this side of paradise--which explains the wave of friends coming to visit. I just got word that this amazing couple I met in Thailand will be arriving soon. Since we first met, I get periodic e-mails from Spain, Morocco, China, etc. Yes, when I came home in September....they kept traveling! Maggie and Jean Pierre are the sweetest couple and keep me positively entranced with their globe-trotting stories....

Waffles, Anyone?
Last but not least...I just got word from the Waffle Man. If all goes according to plan, he's going to be spending the month of July here in Seattle.

Whew! Okay, there's what's happening in my world. I can't wait to carve out a chunk of time and share a bunch of stories with you. Stay tuned...