My Dinner With Catie
Thank you so much for a wonderful dinner at Brasserie Four. It was so good to see you. As usual, the conversation was great, the food was delish, and the wine interesting. Better to be at a simple bistro, than a pretentious wannabe like 26 Brix. You seemed to love your Croque Madame and although I craved the Duck pizza, it was not to be. The salad Nicoise was excellent although with my carb fears, there were too many potatoes. The Spanish Barbadillo was such an excellent dry white, and so inexpensive. At first I thought I was hallucinating, back at the old Nick's in McMinnville where wines were marked up only $8. Imagine - an $8 corkage fee. Well, Bistro Four actually seems to have reasonable prices and if you purchase to take home, you get ten per cent off, so , in effect, a ten percent corkage or markup in the restaurant - very reasonable! The service by Nathaniel was great, and while the menu is somewhat limited, this is a great place to eat at reasonable prices, don't you think? Christophe tells me that the owner is a single mom. She bought the place from the owner of Grapefields which was the previous incarnation of this venue where she had been chef. Great to see such entrepreneurship and guts, yes?
So, despite the good wine and food, the most interesting thing was our discussion of the next venue for the third annual Wine Bloggers Conference. This year is a repeat of Sonoma. Much as I would like to see my wine blogger friends, a return to the same old venue seems boring and why would I want to leave Seattle at the end of July which is the perfect time to be here. So you told me that there seems to be some sort of contest between Walla Walla and Woodinville for next years conference. I have to say, that, while there are excellent wineries in Woodinville , this would be a very limited sampling of Washington State wines and I don't actually know of a venue that can support a conference of 200 some odd participants in Woodinville, other than the Willows Lodge, but I don't believe they have the accommodations for 200 participants. Limiting the tastings to Woodinville would be a shame since that would exclude Quilceda, the South Seattle Artisan group, Yakima, Red Mountain and Walla Walla to say nothing of Snipes, Horse Heaven Hills, the Gorge, and Lake Chelan.
My first intro to Walla Walla was a Society of Wine Educators conference held at the Hilton in Bellevue, but there was a pre-conference trip to Tri-Cities and Walla Walla that was great. I think the best plan would be similar. A Bellevue or Seattle conference venue, but with extensive pre-conference side trips to SSAW, Yakima, Red Mountain, and Walla Walla. The Marcus Whitman in Walla Walla would be a great venue for a conference and there are more than enough motels for overflow. Maybe Christophe would volunteer to knock their socks off! There are so many great Walla Walla wineries, and besides, no one would get to see our fabulous Eastern Washington vineyards. After all, while there are close to a hundred excellent wineries in the Puget Sound area, all the the grapes come from eastern Washington. Holding the event in Woodinville would be like holding an event in Paris or a Bordeaux suburb without visiting the Medoc, St. Emilion, or Pomerol, for example. I look forward to a Wine Bloggers conference in Washington, but I do hope it won't be limited to one narrow corner of the state. Have fun at the second annual Wine Bloggers Conference in Sonoma and say hi to Joel for me.