{Wine Wednesday} Fancy dinner at the London Plane

WineWednesday

A warm welcome from Matt Dillon

A warm welcome from Matt Dillon

Yes, you read that right: dinner. If you’re not totally hooked up, like I am, then you’ve likely never indulged in dinner at the London Plane. Don’t feel bad, not many have. This event was the first time ever that the London Plane hads served dinner! Thankfully, I’m one of the lucky few, so I’ll share my fun adventure with you. Do you remember our fancy chef dinner at the Whale Wins last year? This was another awesome chef meet-greet-and-dine through the Alaska Airline Signature Visa cardholder program. We attended both dinners with some good friends of ours and we’ve decided to make it an annual tradition. Why? Because these dinners are good. And fun. A lot of fun.

Dutcher Crossing wines

Dutcher Crossing wines

The London Plane is one of Matt Dillon’s new restaurants in the Pioneer Square neighborhood of Seattle. It’s a shop, cafe, bakery, wine shop, bar, and events space that offers breakfast and lunch and all sorts of goodies in between. This event featured Dutcher Crossing Winery, out of Sonoma. Both the winemaker and the winery owner were at the event, schmoozing and telling us about the wines we were enjoying. Our first chance to enjoy was right when we entered the event – we were instantly handed a glass of the Dutcher Crossing 2013 Sauvignon Blanc and several passed appetizers:

  • Spiced nuts and puglian olives
  • Ham-wrapped dates stuffed with romanesco
  • Rye crackers with tuna pate and radish
  • Deep fried leeks with tahini sauce
  • Smoked trout and cucumber with creme fraiche

The wine was exceptional — it was an un-Seattle-like hot spring day and the London Plane didn’t have AC — and the Sauvignon Blanc really hit the spot. It was very crisp and refreshing, with hints of pear. All of the appetizers were also good and my favorite by far was the deep fried leek with tahini sauce. It was a grown-up, fancy cousin of an onion ring. At a small, bite-sized portion, I could have eaten an entire meal of deep-fried leeks. Thankfully, the waitstaff didn’t bring them around all that often. Once we drank all of the Sauvignon Blanc and made a dent in the appetizers, we took our seats. Brandon and I sat upstairs, with our friends and several others, at a long table overlooking all of the action.

The menu at the London Plane

The menu at the London Plane

The second wine pairing was poured a few minutes before the second course was served. Thankfully they were very generous with their pours and I was able to enjoy the wine both alone and paired with the course, as was the case with each course. We enjoyed the 2012 Chardonnay Stuhlmuler Vineyard with an asparagus, spring onion and pea tendril salad with bacon and tarragon. While I’m not really into Chardonnay, this one wasn’t that bad. (We much preferred the Sauv Blanc to it, however.) The salad was great. The flavors were so fresh and bacon makes everything better.

Course two: a delicious salad

Course two: a delicious salad

The third course, one half of a roasted quail, beets and rhubarb with crispy emmer, pistachios and mint was paired with the 2012 Zinfandel Maple Vineyard. The Zin was good, but it wasn’t my favorite. Brandon, however, really enjoyed it.

Course three: Quail

Course three: Quail

The fourth course, anchovy and oregano rubbed leg of lamb with potatoes, braised turnips and walnut sauce, was my favorite course of the night. (Beyond those fried leeks!) This course was paired with the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Taylor Reserve, also my favorite of the night.

Course four: lamb

Course four: lamb

The fifth course  (finally!) was a chocolate caramel tart with soft cream and a glass (well, two…) of the 2008 Port Dry Creek Valley.  A great port and chocolate dessert are definitely the way to get Brandon’s seal of approval.

Course five: dessert

Course five: dessert

All in all, it was another amazing feast brought together by Alaska Airlines and Visa Signature. We’ll definitely be back to the London Plane and to another one of these fun dinners!

A few of our empties

A few of our empties

Happy wine Wednesday!

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Dinner updates

The Chef and his feast

The Chef and his feast

One of this year’s resolutions was to incorporate “theme eating” into our weekly meal planning.

I’ve been pretty bad at posting updates, but rest assured we’ve been eating as themes, I just haven’t really been trying new dishes or taking photos of my meals. Some of the themes included “Market ingredients,” “Brandon’s favorites” (over his birthday), and “Quick and easy,” since I started a new job that added quite a few hours to my work week.

We really got back on track with “Mexican week” around Cinco de Mayo. I started off the week with the Huevos Gringos from the Burgundian. It was FABULOUS! I love cheese curds and having them like this for brunch was so tasty. Just looking back at that photo and thinking about the dish makes me want to go back to the Burgundian and have those… tomorrow. Yum.

 

Burgundian breakfast: Best ever

Burgundian breakfast: Best ever

For Cinco de Mayo itself, we went all out. We made tortillas from scratch, chipotle tofu tacos with a mango-strawberry-avocado salsa, cilantro-lime quinoa with kale, guacamole and strawberry margaritas.

Crispy chipotle tofu triangles

Crispy chipotle tofu triangles

The full meal deal: Cinco de Mayor feast

The full meal deal: Cinco de Mayor feast

I was too tired from making all of that to make a simple syrup for the margaritas, so the margaritas were a bit tart, but still refreshing and good. You really can’t go wrong with tequila and triple sec.

Margarita time! Cheers!

Margarita time! Cheers!

A thank you to the Lunch Box Bunch for the inspiration behind this feast! Read the original recipe here.

We also enjoyed tacos, taco salads, and nachos throughout the week. It was a great week, but we were ready for some non-Mexican food by Friday.

 

 

Spring to-do list

The combination of multiple 70+ degree days and record-breaking rain has done a very positive number on our garden. We’ve been maintaining everything pretty well and over the weekend I spent some time cleaning up and taking inventory of what’s next on the to do list. In honor of my favorite Young House Love bloggers, my very own Listy McListerson…

Needed: More moss ground cover

Needed: More moss ground cover

Front yard

  • Clean, stain and seal our bench in the front courtyard
  • Clean and stain fence
  • Drill drainage holes in the front retaining wall
  • Exchange busted walkway lighting for ones that work (Thanks, Lowe’s. Not.)
  • Get a new hose (Maybe one of those shrink-until-they’re-full-of-water fabric hoses?)
  • Import more moss for ground cover
  • Even out the concrete slabs
  • Think about replanting the plants along the walkway
  • Fix light above garage
  • New front door mat (Our Pinterest project gone wrong isn’t cutting it anymore…)

Side yard

  • Remove grass and weeds
  • Build and plant raised beds (It’s time to grow our own kale… and tomatoes, squash, and raspberries, among others…)
  • Drill drainage holes in the wine barrel planters (side and back yards)
Side yard: before

Side yard: before

Back yard

We're so close to finishing our pizza oven!

We’re so close to finishing our pizza oven!

  • Pizza oven! Pizza oven! Pizza oven! We’re so close to getting it done and will this spring!
  • Make a wine barrel cocktail table (on wheels, with a plexiglass tabletop) for the deck
  • Build lower deck bench seat (Ideas here)
  • Have landscaper out to trim the hedges, get rid of the blackberry on the tree

Just a small little list, right? I’m not promising that this is all going to get done this year, but now that I have a list I’ll have more direction for how to proceed. We have a three-day weekend coming up soon. Maybe we’ll tackle this list then.

Happy {belated} Mother’s Day!

My babies: Maddie & Jack

My babies: Maddie & Jack

Happy {belated} Mother’s Day to all you moms out there! I’m the proud mom of two wonderful cats who even gave me a present for being such a great mom. (A special thanks to Brandon who helped the cats with their purchase…)

In addition to spending quality time with Brandon and the cats,my parents and sister and brother-in-law came over to Megan’s Island for a special brunch! We had quite the spread. It was similar to last year’s, but switched it up a bit.

This year’s menu:

  • Waffle bar with berries, syrup and whipped cream
  • Asparagus, ham and brie frittata
  • Chicken sausage
  • Homefries
  • Fruit salad
Mother's Day brunch on Megan's Island

Mother’s Day brunch on Megan’s Island

And… Mimosas!

Mother's day mimosas

Mother’s day mimosas

I hope you all had a really great Mother’s day! And a very special happy Mother’s day to my Mom. Mom: You’re the best and I love you! Thank you for being such a great supporter of mine!!

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

For more photos of me and my Mom, visit last year’s post here!

 

{Wine Wednesday} Vine Trainings

WineWednesday

It’s small business week on Megan’s Island Blog. On Sunday I told you about Little Britches Bakery and today I’m here to share Vine Trainings with you.

Our Vine Trainings set up

Our Vine Trainings set up

 

Me & Zach of Vine Trainings at my sister's wedding a few years ago

Me & Zach of Vine Trainings at my sister’s wedding a few years ago

Vine Trainings is run by Zach Geballe, a certified sommelier, columnist for Seattle Weekly, and long-time friend of mine. I do have an especially embarrassing photo of him as a baby that I won’t share here… at least not yet.

Last summer Brandon and I had the pleasure of hosting several of our friends and Zach, for a Vine Trainings class.

Hosting was easy: Zach brought the wine, glassware and educational materials and we supplied the location, some snacks (palette cleansers, if you will), the atmosphere, and the audience.

The class includes a minimum of seven wines (we had Zach pick them out) and we walked through each  of the bottles, as a blind taste test type of situation. The training lasted several hours, with Zach guiding and educating us through each sip with hands-on instruction and a whole lot of fun.

Zach of Vine Trainings in action

Zach of Vine Trainings in action

Interested in having Zach give your group a vine training?

Prices start at $35 per person, and the specific wines are customizable and negotiable. Zach also offers wines at a discounted price if you like what you taste.

As the Vine Trainings website says, it truly is “perfect for birthdays, anniversaries, bachelor or bachelorette parties, or any time you want to gather your friends together for an unforgettable evening!”

Check out Vine Trainings online, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Cheers!

 

Vine Trainings set up

Vine Trainings set up

 

 

The perfect gift for Mother’s Day

Little Britches Bakery

Little Britches Bakery

Consider this a shameless plug for an excellent gift for a new Mom or Mom-to-be on the market today: Little Britches Bakery. In addition to being a government communicator and a super blogger, I have a small business where I make gifts for new parents and parents-to-be.

Little Britches Bakery isn’t a real bakery. Instead, we (the royal “we”) make inedible gifts that look like baked goods. They’re too sweet to eat though. (Great slogan, right?) I have a “menu” of standard and custom diaper cakes and onesie cupcakes. I’ve even been written up in the Mercer Island Reporter after Price George was born.

Here's my Little Britches Bakery show set up

Here’s my Little Britches Bakery show set up

My diaper cakes are made of size three Huggies diapers. I have some generic-themed designs (floral, sports, rubber duck, etc) and can customize cakes completely. They make great centerpieces at baby showers!  Here are some good examples of the variety of cakes that I can and have made.

Little Britches Bakery Diaper Cakes... made by me!

Little Britches Bakery Diaper Cakes… made by me!

My onesie cupcakes are made out of 3-6 month sized baby onesies and washcloths. I make them to order and can make them gender-specific or gender-neutral and have split packs for twins!

Little Britches Bakery onesie cupcakes... Made on Megan's Island

Little Britches Bakery onesie cupcakes… Made on Megan’s Island

Visit my Etsy shop to order a gift for the new mom (or dad!) in your life. There is still time to order and receive your product by Mother’s Day! And if you’re not currently shopping for a new parent, please follow Little Britches Bakery on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest! (Also? I have 15 pregnant friends right now! You’ve got to be shopping for someone…)

I bring my Little Britches cupcakes with me everywhere… like to the Martha Stewart Show in NYC!

A visit to Martha!

A visit to Martha!

And to meet the Young House Love bloggers. (One of my most favorite blogs!)

Little Britches Bakery meets Young House Love

Little Britches Bakery meets Young House Love