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4th Avenue Repaving Project

4th Avenue South is undergoing a major repaving project for the next few months.   This means the loss of our Street parking on fourth but, there still is 2 hr parking on lander.

During Construction the city is maintaining access to our Parking lot.

For easiest access to our parking lot we suggest heading North on 4th

  • If taking the freeway we suggest getting off  I-5 at Spokane and turning north on 4th avenue.
  • If heading south come down 1st avenue and take a left at   S. Horton and a left onto 4th avenue.  This makes for an easy entrance into the lot which is just to the south of our building.
  • Note: there is generally less traffic and construction on the weekends!
For more information on this project, please visit: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/pave_4s.html

Grilled Pork Chops with Grilled Peaches and Balsamic

It’s time to grab that few weeks of summer. This time of year I am grilling almost every night! There are lots of ways to grill that are quick, easy and delicious.

Perfect dish for a casual dinner on a warm summer night. Pork chops love the sweet and tangy of the Peaches and Balsamic and the touch basil adds just a bit of herbal freshness. Paired with a chilled bottle of Chardonnay or Rose and you have a quick yet elegant dish for a Tuesday night for two or for company on the weekend. I love this with a full bodied Rose like Seth’s Upside Down Nebbiolo Rosé -whole cluster pressed and aged on the lees for 3 months. Picked at 22 brix, this wine is beautifully distinct with bright fruit and a subtle minerality.

“The one thing we might love more than a chilled glass of rose on a hot summer day, would be rescue animals! If you follow us on Instagram then you know we love our rescue pup Turk. The only thing that makes rosé taste better, is knowing you’re helping save animals while drinking it! ” #AdoptDontShop

20% of the proceeds go to support various rescue organizations. #RESCUErosé

 

Grilled Pork Chops with Grilled Peaches and Balsamic Vinegar
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For the pork chops:
2 (1-inch-thick) bone-in pork rib chops
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil

For the Peaches
2 peaches, sliced in half
1 tablespoon Olive oil
2 teaspoons Honey
Salt and pepper

Fresh basil
2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1. Season pork chops and let come to room temperature while grill heats up to medium high.
2. In a bowl, combine the peaches, honey and olive oil. Season with pepper and toss to coat evenly.
3. Place chops on the hottest part of grill for 2 – 3 minutes until you have a nice scoring. Turn and move to a cooler part of grill cook for another 3 – 4 minutes depending on thickness of chop, until cooked through but not dry.
4. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill, or preheat a cast-iron grill pan on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Remove and let rest for 5 minutes.
5. Place the peaches over direct heat and sear, until you have a nice color. Chop the peaches into smaller pieces.
6. Transfer the chops to a platter and top with peaches and basil drizzle with balsamic and serve.

 

Asparagus Tamales and Ross Andrew Celilo Pinot Gris

“Last chance on local Asparagus” the sign and the fruit stand read. so just grabbed a bunch, I can always use a bunch of asparagus – as a side, in a salad, as an appetizer with coddled eggs and prosciutto. It’s asparagus. But just having returned from Yakima I decided to try my hand at a local favorite – Asparagus Tamales.


Asparagus tamales have been made famous by Los Hernandez tamale shop in Union Gap, Yakima County. Owner Felipe Hernandez has become a local legend and international celebrity for his family’s tamales. He has been running the modest little shop for over 25 years and started making the Asparagus Tamales on a whim one night with some leftover masa. The secret ingredient he says is Pepper jack cheese. So below I have my own take on asparagus Tamales. I add some fresh chile verde to give it a little kick.


Any wine professional will tell you that pairing to a asparagus is tricky, but the secret is to have a wine with enough acidity to handle the chemical mercaptan that give asparagus it’s unique flavor (and experience). Then there is the chile verde you have be wary of even a little spice so a little hint of sweetness is a great help. Pinot Gris to the rescue!

2016 Ross Andrew Celilo Vineyard Pinot Gris $15.99
Made from a Pinot Gris block planted in 1975 in Celilo Vineyard, a prized high-elevation site in Columbia Gorge near the town of Underwood, WA. It is arguably one of the greatest white grape sites in Washington with its cool climate, wonderfully mineral rich soil and high winds that move the 50″ of annual rainfall off the canopy.

The aromatics and palate of this wine really showcase what vine age can do to a wine. Asian pear, white flowers and nectarine. The palate is vibrant and crisp with a touch of minerals on the finish. A perfect food wine. especially tricky foods.

Ross got his start as a Sommelier at Canlis under MS Rob Bigelow and learned winemaking at the right hand of the Master, of Wine Bob Betz. Ross’s style is reminiscent of Betz, being both polished and complex. He went on to make the highest scoring Cabernet ever from Wine Spectator. Saturday August 12 we will be tasting his latest releases including his Celilo Pinot Gris, Boushey Syrah and his award winning Red Mountain Cabernet.

Cheers!
Lenny

Asparagus Tamales
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18-ounce package dried corn husks

1 1/2 cups lard (or vegetable shortening), slightly softened
1 ½ Teaspoons Salt
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon chile powder
3 1/2 cups dried masa harina
2 1/4 cups hot water
1 to 1 1/2cups chicken broth

1 bunch Asparagus, blanched
8 ounces pepper jack cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil
½ large yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup chicken stock or water
3 each poblano Chile peppers, seeded and chopped
1 each jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1 pound Tomatillos, husks removed
1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped

1. Separate husks and submerge in hot water place a plate on top to keep submerged. Bring to simmer and let stand for at least an hour.
2. Grill or roast peppers and tomatillos until blistered and a little charred. Place into plastic bag and let cool. In a large sauté pan heat olive oil and Sauté onions and garlic until soft add salt and cumin. Add chicken stock and reduce to simmer, set aside. Peel cooled peppers and tomatillos and place in bowl of food processor or blender. Add cooled onion mixture and cilantro then puree until well combined.
3. For Masa: In a large bowl combine salt, baking powder, chile powder, Harina flour and hot water. Adding chicken stock a little a time work dough until light and fluffy. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Cover and let rest.
4. Set up steamer: in a large stock pot place a collapsible steamer basket, add an inch or so of water.
5. To make tamales: separate out the largest and most pliable husks, at least 6 inches across on the wider end and 6 inches long. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of masa onto a husk, spread with a spatula out to the edges of each side save for the narrow top. Spoon a teaspoon of verde sauce onto center of masa add a couple of blanched asparagus, top with pepper jack cheese. Roll up the tamale and fold the bottom up. Place in steamer folded side down. Layer the finished tamales in the same fashion open end up. Watch carefully that all the water doesn’t boil away and, to keep the steam steady, pour boiling water into the pot when more is necessary. Tamales are done when the husk peels away from the masa easily. Let tamales stand in the steamer off the heat for a few minutes to firm up.

 

Pasta alla Norma and Tasca D’Almerita Nero D’Avola

Viticulture has existed on Sicily since The Greeks first introduced Vitis Vinifera some three thousand years ago. Sicily was the granary for the Greek Empire supplying the archipelago with grain, olives, and of course grapes and wine. So important was the island that at one point Syracuse was considered the largest city in all of Greece.

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean. So large and varied is the geography that really it could be considered a mini continent. The southern parts are south of Tunisia and the highest peaks have snow and ice year round. Between the northern mountains and the southern coast lies a large vast fruitful plain that has been fought over and conquered by everyone from the Greeks, to the Phoenicians, the Goths, the Romans and the Moors.

Sicily is famous for grain, but also oranges, lemons, olives, almonds, artichokes and later tomatoes. And Grapes. Sicily is the third largest wine producing region in Italy. For years Sicily was famous for its fortified wine Marsala, created by an Englishman when England was having trouble getting wine from France. A long and complicated history has created one of the greatest cuisines on the planet, but alas that history has made it difficult the Sicilian wine industry to come into its own.

The 20th century was difficult for Italy and Sicily, a couple of world wars, a trouble government and hard economic times were only made worse by the influence of the mafia. When Italy entered into the European Union direct foreign investment elevated the economy. From the 1980’s to the early 2000’s unemployment went from over 25% to a low of 10%. During most of the 20th century the wine industry was controlled by large government owned Cooperatives. Bulk wine was the name of the game. Most of it sold up the peninsula and into France to strengthen weaker northern wines.

During the latter part of the 20th Century many grape growers stopped selling to the Co-ops and started making their own wines. One of the first was Tasca d’Alerita estate in Valleunga. Regaleali was one of the first premium wines from Sicily, starting small back in the 50’s selling to local restaurants and neighbors. Lead by the count Guiseppe Tasca d’Almerita over the last 50 years the wines of Tasca d’Almerita have come to be celebrated worldwide. Count Giuseppe’s son, Count Lucio, is president of the family-run winery, and his two sons, Giuseppe and Alberto, serve as vice president and managing director, respectively.

In addition to the wines, the estate is virtually self-contained, producing most of the vegetables, fruits, wheat, olives, cheeses and meats they need. This inspired Marchesa Anna Tasca Lanza, Count Lucio’s sister, to establish a culinary school, considered one of the best in Italy today. The school has inspired culinary professionals from around the world, including Julia Child and Alice Waters.

Food and wine have always been central to Sicilian culture. Italian food, in general, is always about simplicity. In Sicily this is almost more religion than principle. “Giusto”, just right in Italian, or better said, just enough. The Occam’s Razor of cooking, the simplest preparation is often the best preparation.
With that in mind, I would like to present my take on a classic Sicilian pasta dish – Pasta alla Norma. A tasty and colorful recipe from the Sicilian gastronomic tradition, the Pasta alla Norma is a triumph of Mediterranean flavors and was so called in honor of Vincenzo Bellini’s opera “Norma”. The story says that in 19th century, Nino Martoglio, a Sicilian writer, poet and theater director, was so impressed when he first tasted this dish that he compared it to “Norma”, Bellini’s masterpiece.
And the name lasted ever since.
To pair with this light yet robust dish a Nero D’Avola is perfect.


Tasca D’almerita Lamuri Nero d’Avola Sicilia DOC 2014 $14.99
“The Tasca family hits a home run with this fabulous value wine. The 2014 Sicilia Nero d’Avola Lamùri Tenuta Regaleali is a terrific rendition of this important Sicilian grape. It opens to dark, spicy and savory notes that contrast the wine’s fruity core. This was a very successful vintage for island winemakers and the ripeness of the fruit is spot-on. The mouthfeel offers elegant fruit flavors and a velvety texture.” 92 pts Wine Advocate – Monica Larner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pasta alla Norma
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1 ½ pounds eggplant, cut into thick sticks
Olive oil as needed (at least 1/2 cup)
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 to 2 teaspoons dried chili flakes
1 ½ pounds tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon good dried oregano, or 1 tablespoon fresh
1 pound Rigatoni
½ cup chopped basil
½ cup grated ricotta salata (or in a pinch, pecorino Romano)

1. Cut eggplant into large dice and toss with salt to purge.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil
3. Rinse eggplant to remove salt and let dry
4. Heat a large cast iron pan and add olive oil
5. Add eggplant and brown, turning occasionally
6. Add garlic, chili flakes, tomatoes, and oregano bring to simmer
7. Add rigatoni and cook for 8 minutes. Drain.
8. Toss rigatoni with eggplant and fresh basil
9. Top with shaved cheese and serve

 

Red, White and Blueberry Trifle and Treveri Demi-Sec Sparkling Gewurztraminer

Happy Fourth of July!
When planning a party of picnic for the 4th there are many options for dessert – Apple Pie comes to mind. But how about the bounty of summer berries – Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and even more. This to me is what summer is all about. The recipe below is one of the easiest and most delicious I have in my repertoire. A summer berry trifle with a lemon cream Bavarian, I call it Red, White and Blueberry Trifle. Pound cake drizzled with sweet sparkling wine and layered with Cream and berries, it is surprisingly light and served well chilled, it is a refreshing dessert on a summer day.
Paired with an off dry Sparkler and you have perfect 4th of July dessert!
Moscato di asti is a natural but if like to keep it local Treveri makes a beautiful Demi Sec Sparkling Gewurztraminer.

TREVERI GEWURZTRAMINER DEMI-SEC NV 

Off dry gewürztraminer makes for truly spectacular Saprkling wine that plays perfectly with the berries in this dish. The wine is perfumed with notes of lychee, combined with rich tropical fruit, all-spice, nutmeg, and clove are balanced with an underlying acidity for a true expression of the varietal. 100% Gewurztraminer
Treveri Cellars is a family-owned and operated sparkling wine house that produces some of the finest handcrafted sparkling wines in the United States. A relative newcomer to the Washington wine scene, (2010) Treveri has already made its mark on the world stage being served at White House State Department receptions and the James Beard Foundation in New York. Quickly they rose to the attention of sommeliers, aficionados and the press being voted one of the nation’s Top Ten Hottest Brands of 2014 by Wine Business Monthly.


Red, White and Blueberry Trifle

8 oz loaf Pound cake
1 pint blueberries
1 pint straw berries
1 cup Lemon Curd

*** Pastry Cream,
3 cups milk
1 vanilla bean, split
8 yolks
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 Cups Cream, whipped
1 Cup Moscato di Asti or other demi- sec sparkling like Treveri Demi-Sec Gequrtztraminer

1. Heat milk with Vanilla bean. Beat egg yolks, with sugar and cornstarch until light and creamy. When milk comes to boil add egg sugar mixture. Whisk until combined. Custard will come together quickly. Remove from heat and cool.
2. Stir lemon curd into pastry cream. Let cool.
3. Fold into whipped Cream.
4. To assemble the trifle, spoon a layer of the lemon cream into a large glass bowl.
5. Add a layer of pound cake, breaking the slices into pieces that fit. Then soak the cake with Moscato. Add berries.
6. Keep going to make 3 or 4 more layers, depending on the size of the bowl, finishing with a layer of lemon cream. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with fresh berries when ready to serve.

Lemon Curd
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 lemons, zested and juiced
2 tbl butter

1. In a double boiler combine sugar lemon and egg yolks. Cook over low heat until thickened add butter and cool.

Pound cake
4 oz Sugar
2 eggs
½ Cup Sugar
1 cup Cake Flour
1 tsp Baking soda
½ tsp salt

1. Cream butter and sugar to gather. Add eggs mix until incorporated. Sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Add to creamed mixture mix until well comined about 2 minutes.
2. Pour into loaf pan and bake at 350 for 30 – 45 minutes

California Style Gazpacho and Rose By Lenny

Few dishes can evoke sun and summertime like fresh Gazpacho can. It is a dish that traces its roots to Andalusia in southern Iberian Peninsula. The proto gazpacho was most likely of Roman origin and was made using stale bread, garlic, olive oil, salt, and vinegar. The bright red Gazpacho that most people know wouldn’t come around until long after Columbus returned with those deadly nightshades from the “new world.” It wouldn’t be until the 19th century, the red gazpacho became popular when tomatoes were added to mix.
I like to make mine partly pureed with a nice garnish of cucumbers, fresh tomatoes and avocado. Top with sour cream and some fresh cilantro and you have a lovely summer soup for your next patio party. I like to serve it out of a pitcher with some crushed ice blended in. Serve with some fresh sliced bread and if you like some Manchego Cheese and Jamon de Serano and you have a lovely light lunch.
The perfect pairing for the fresh taste of Gazpacho is Rose! A Spanish Garnacha rose, beautiful Provence Rose or how about a nice California Rose?
Smoke Tree Rose California 2016 $19.99
Fresh, finessed and elegant, Smoke Tree Rosé offers aromas of white cherry, white peach and yellow nectarine. The palate is vibrant with flavors of crabapple, quince and crisp nectarine. The finish is dry and refreshing.
Made by longtime Domaine Chandon Winemaker Joel Burt this wine is a base of Grenache, like many Spanish and French Rose, and makes this wine very food friendly.

California Style Gazpacho
________________________________________

***** Base
2 each Tomatoes Concasse, peeled and seeded
½ ea red onion, finely diced
1 each jalapeño chili pepper, minced
1 ea Lime, Juice
½ cup Cilantro, chopped
½ tsp Cumin
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Basil
1 tablespoon Smoked Paprika
1 slice bread
1 cup ice

64 oz Tomato Juice
4 each Tomatoes, diced
1 each Pasilla Pepper, finely diced
1 each cucumber seeded and diced
1 each Avocado diced
1 bunch green onions
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup sour cream, for garnish

1. Combine ingredients for base in blender and puree until well combined
2. In large container combine base with tomato juice and remaining ingredients
3. Garnish with sour cream and fresh cilantro

Tennessee Mule’s and Bourbon Glazed Tri Tip

Here are two of my favorite things – whiskey and Barbecue!

Below I give you my Bourbon Glazed Tri Tip Recipe – you can prepare it either  on a BBQ or just as easily in the oven. Now you could serve a big Zin or WA Syrah with this but I like to make pitchers of Whiskey Gingers AKA Tennessee Mules.

Tennessee Mule

3 parts Ginger Ale

1 part Jack Daniels No 7

Squeeze of lime juice plus more slices for garnish

Plenty of ice

Refreshing and a great pairing for my Tri Tip recipe

Maple Bourbon Glazed Tri Tip Steak
________________________________________

2-3 lb. Beef Tri-tip

Marinade:
1 tsp. course ground black pepper
1 tsp. chopped garlic
¼ tsp. ground thyme
¼ cup bourbon
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Glaze:
¼ cup Bourbon
2 Tablespoons Grain Mustard
2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
1 Tablespoons Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Siracha

Roasting:
Olive oil
Sea salt
Black pepper

1. Day 1: Trim Beef of any excess silver or fat. Combine ingredients for marinade. Place Tri Tip in a Ziploc bag with marinade at let rest overnight in refrigerator.
2. The next day remove tri tip from marinade and let come to room temperature.
3. Preheat oven to 250 degrees
4. Combine ingredients for glaze and set aside
5. Rub Roast with oil and season liberally with salt and pepper.
6. Prepare a roasting pan with a wire rack.
7. Heat a large cast iron pan on stove top. Sear each side of tri tip to brown 3-4 min each side.
8. Place roast on wire rack and place in oven.
9. Roast for about half an hour and brush roast with glaze.
10. After 20 minutes turn roast and brush with glaze again, repeating every 10 – 15 minutes until center of roast reaches 130 degrees.
11. Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

 

Weekend Wine Pairing – Cuban Style Pulled Pork and Scarpetta Barbera

It’s Barbecue time! Now if you are like me, you’ll grill just about anything – salmon, steaks, burgers, pizza. I even know a guy who likes grill marks on his pancakes. There is one thing that just belongs on the grill, smoker or bbq and that is pork. Whether you are grilling up pork chops on a Wednesday or doing a whole pig roast (like we are doing Saturday) one wine I think works just as well with pulled pork sandwiches or Ribs is Barbera.
Barbera comes from the north of Italy, near the German border. High up in the foothills of the Alps they eat a lot of pork, sausages and Prosciutto. Barbera is generally lower in alcohol and distinguished by soft tannin, a bright sweet tart cherry character and certain roundness. These qualities make Barbera an easy wine to pair with many different dishes from Thanksgiving turkey to Pizza to Cuban style pulled pork sandwiches.
One of our favorites is the Barbera from Scarpetta. Scarpetta is owned by a Sommelier and a Chef so these wines are naturally made to go with food.
Scarpetta 2014 Barbera del Monferrato DOC $14.99
Made in collaboration with Fabrizio Iuli in Monferrato, Piemonte this Barbera is medium bodied with low tannins but bright acidity, giving it wonderful balance. Monferrato is the birthplace for Barbera, and historically unlike the rest of Piedmonte, its top cuvees are frequently Barbera. Hence, for good reason, Barbera from Monferrato is celebrated for its balance of fruit, terroir and acidity. The high acidity and low tannins let this wine work with everything from a pizza or homemade pasta to a piece of beef or pork.
Here is a version you can make at home no matter what the weather.

 

Cuban Roast Pork Sandwich

 

Rolls – hoagie, ciabatta, slider buns

Butter for rolls

Cilantro Garlic mayo (Recipe Follows)

Roast pork (see below)

Mustard

Coleslaw (recipe follows)

2 onions

 

*****Roast Pork

2 cups orange juice

2 tablespoons garlic, minced

1 tsp oregano, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 oz. rum

3 lb. pork shoulder

 

*****Cilantro Garlic mayo

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup cilantro

1 cup mayonnaise

1 Lemon, juice

Salt and pepper as needed

 

*****Coleslaw

1 cup mayonnaise

1½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

¾ teaspoon celery seeds

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ medium green cabbage, very thinly sliced (about 4 cups)

½ medium red cabbage, very thinly sliced (about 4 cups)

2 medium carrots, peeled; julienned or grated

 

  1. In Ziploc bag large enough for pork combine orange juice pork, orange juice, garlic and spices and let marinated overnight.
  2. In a large roasting pan place pork and marinade cover and roast for 3 – 4 hours until meat falls apart. Remove from oven. With two forks shred pork,
  3. To make mayonnaise: in bowl of food processor combine cilantro, garlic, lemon juice and mayo season if necessary.
  4. In a large cast iron pan melt butter and add onions. Season with salt and pepper. Cook stirring occasionally until soft and caramelized about 15 minutes. Set aside.
  5. For coleslaw: whisk mayonnaise, vinegar, honey, celery seeds, salt, and pepper in a large bowl to combine. Add green and red cabbage and carrots to dressing and toss to coat. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
  6. To assemble sandwich: brush hoagies with butter and toast or grill.
  7. Spread hoagies with cilantro Mayo then pork, mustard, onions and pickles. Top with coleslaw.

 

 

 

Scarpetta Wine Pig Roast Event, Saturday, June 3rd!

Many of you have been asking about the La Caja China roaster, stacked with an assortment of Friulian delights, on our entry way carpet. We’ve brought in a pig roasting box emblazoned with Scarpetta Wines  and we can’t wait to share the excitement with you!

Scarpetta Wines was started by Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Patterson. Bobby is a Master Sommelier and James Beard Award Winner. Lachlan is an award winning chef. Together, they own Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Co. which was nominated this year for Outstanding Restaurant in America. Accolades aside, these guys know what they are doing and they’re doing it right. They bring the countryside of Friuli to every glass and plate they present.

With an obsession with Friuli, Bobby and Lachlan have been blazing their way through the states. And, we have some of their Scarpetta Wines in our store to celebrate!

Join as we serve Porchetta Panini along with Scarpetta Wines at our Scarpetta Pig Roast event on Saturday, June 3rd, 2-PM. We hope to see you there!

Grazie!

Weekend Wine Pairing ~ Martini Party!

Almost everyone loves a cocktail party! I love them because they are relatively easy and surprisingly inexpensive ways of having people over. Cocktail Parties give people an excuse to dress up. There is a simple touch of glamour to people chit-chatting over cocktails and caviar. Some good shopping, a little bit of preparation, plenty of ice, and you have a party!

Less is more.

Pick one or two cocktails to feature. Just tell everyone you invite, “We are having a Martini party this Saturday! Would you like to come?” Yes, you want to have back-ups, say some beer, some chilled Champagne and wine, even a bottle or two of other basics (Bourbon, Vodka). But, letting people know what they are getting into sets their expectations and anticipation.

Let’s say you want to throw a Martini Party. First, plan on tending bar for the evening, so have your food already plated and ready to go. For the food, I like to set platters and trays around the party to create an inviting atmosphere. Many classic hors d’oeuvre are perfect pairings for Martini’s – Caviar, Smoked Salmon and Lox, Crab Cakes, Deviled Eggs, Shrimp Cocktail, even Oysters on the half shell.  Also, have back up snacks: nuts, chips, crackers, cheese, in case more people show up or they show up hungry.

First things first.

A Martini is a cocktail made with gin and vermouth, and garnished with an olive or a lemon twist. Classic is a ratio 2:1 gin to vermouth, International Bartenders Association dictates a ratio of 6:1 (which could end up being quite a party), but I like to use better vermouth and get the ratio closer to 1:1. I also recommend using smaller martini glasses 3 – 4 ounce to help restrain consumption a little.

Lenny’s Martini (serves 4)

8 oz. The Botanist Gin

6 oz. Dolin Dry Vermouth

Squeeze lemon wedge

4 shakes orange bitters

8 olives on picks

Lemon twist for rim

Prepare chilled martini glass running lemon twist around edge of rim. Discard. Combine ingredients in shaker with ice. Stir until all ingredients thoroughly. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with cocktail olives.

The Botanist Islay Dry Gin $42.99

(Taste Botanist Gin Saturday April 22, 2pm – 5 pm)

The Botanist Gin is truly one of kind. Made by one of my favorite scotch producers Bruichladdich, it is the Gin produced on Islay. While most gins are made using a column or continuous still, Botanist is made in an old Lomond pot whiskey still, nicknamed Ugly Betty. That means that the base distillate is made with same care and attention as a fine scotch. Second, while all gins have Juniper along with a usual cohort of six or seven botanicals, Botanist contains 31, of which 22 are native to the Southern Hebridean Island itself. It should be noted that most of the native botanicals sound like they came straight out of a Harry Potter novel; rest assured the final product is delicate and not surprisingly floral.

A great Gin and good quality Vermouth some good olives and plenty of ice …

The botanical quality of a Martini lends itself very well to seafood of all sorts. How about an update to classic Shrimp Cocktail? My Kick Butt Shrimp Cocktail will change the way you think about the cocktail sauce.

Kick Butt Shrimp Cocktail  Ingredients + Recipe

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