How to Enjoy Your Own Dinner Party – Part II

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Don’t be intimidated by entertaining – today, in Part II of her guest post, blogger Rachel Myerson from Kitchenbug shows you more of how a little bit of planning can help you relish a lovely evening with friends in your own home.

Planning a dinner party is never an easy task but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Read on for more tips about how to enjoy your own party (for Part 1 click here).

Step 3: Prepare

Preparation is inextricably linked with planning, but let’s break it down a little.

1. The week of the party:

  •  Consult your Kitchenbug box containing all your pre-planned dishes and prepare as much as you can in advance of the big night. The freezer is your friend so research which elements of your menu can be frozen. Soup is my savior – you can make it months in advance, stick it in the freezer, defrost it the night before your party and heat it up 15 minutes before you intend to serve it.

Dinner Party

  • Shop for your food 2 – 3 days in advance. This will ensure that everything stays fresh for your dinner party, but also allows you to see if you forgot to buy something, and fix it without a last-minute panic.
  • Don’t rely on your guests bringing things (wine, flowers etc.), it’s best to have bought them yourself so you can cross things off your to-do list, and avoid any panics if the guests forget.

2. The day of the party:

  • Busy yourself in the morning with final food prep, set the table and cross as many things as you can off your list (see my check-list below for inspiration).
  • If you discover you’ve bought the wrong ingredients, or a recipe flops, search Kitchenbug by ingredient or recipe to view other options or adjustments.
  • Write a Timings List, particularly for the few hours before and during the dinner party to allow yourself time to be with your guests, as opposed to running to and from the kitchen. e.g.: 6:30 pm put chicken in the oven, 7:00 pm chop salad etc…

A final word of advice: The point of a dinner party is to spend time with your friends, not to prove yourself as the next Martha Stewart. Do not apologize or point out flaws in your food, they won’t notice. If all else fails: alcohol and laughter are your friends. Bon Appetit!

Dinner Party

Dinner Party Checklist:

• How many guests are attending?
• Menu (consult Kitchenbug.com for inspiration!)
• Decor
• Playlist
• Drinks (for before and during dinner)
• Canapes (if applicable)
• Starter
• Entrée
• Dessert
• House Cleaned
• Table set (correct amount of cutlery, crockery, place mats, chairs, serving spoons, seating cards)
• Place to hang coats
• Dishwasher empty
• Decor assembled (flowers in water, candles lit etc.)
• You are showered, dressed, wined!

How to Enjoy Your Own Dinner Party – Part I

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Many people I talk to say that they avoid entertaining because they never feel relaxed enough to enjoy their own parties. Today, in Part I of her guest post, blogger Rachel Myerson from Kitchenbug shows you how a little bit of planning can help you relish a lovely evening with friends in your own home.

Dinner parties can be the cause of grey hairs and lost sleep, but guess what? This doesn’t have to happen.

With planning, realistic expectations and asking the right questions, you can enjoy your own dinner party as much as your guests.

Pre-Party Planning

• Step 1: Ask Questions

First, ask yourself:

  1. What is my budget?
  2. Do I want my dinner party to be formal or informal?
  3. Who do I want to invite?

Once you know who is attending, ask your guests:

  1. Do you have any allergies, dietary requirements, or foods you dislike?

Yes, that is the only question they need to answer. Your job as host/ess is to spoil them, not annoy them with questions.

• Step 2: Plan

The most important step to enjoying your own dinner party. Done well, you can minimize surprises that may occur during cooking or at the party, and feel calmer on the night of.

1. Plan your menu.

  • Pick a theme: Spanish, Italian etc, to help shape your menu.
  • I found the perfect planning tool to help me shape my ideas: Kitchenbug, an online recipe platform which can instantly analyze the nutritional information of any recipe on the web.

Kitchenbug allows you to organize your collected recipes in boxes according to theme, course, food type – anything that helps to organize your ideas. For instance, I created an “Indian Vegetarian Feast” box to plan an informal Indian themed dinner party, and a “Brunch!” box to inspire me when I need to feed people on a lazy Sunday morning. Kitchenbug can help you find the right recipes for your guests specific health needs such as gluten free, dairy free etc..

KitchenbugMake your life easy!

2. Plan the ambiance.

  • Continue your food theme with decor. A Moroccan theme could involve draping scarves over your ceiling to create a tent effect, and sitting on the floor on colorful cushions.
  • Or, keep it classy with flowers (nothing too high, or it could stunt the conversation around the table), candles or a pretty table runner etc.

Dinner Party

  • You can plan a playlist weeks in advance and cross something of your list. I prefer jazz, something upbeat but that fades into the background.
  • A seating plan is only necessary if you are throwing a large party, or the guests don’t know each other.

Stay tuned for Part II – advice on preparation, and how to conduct yourself on the big day.

 

Toasting to Fall with a TRIbella Giveaway!

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TribellaThe weather here in Seattle this fall has been just gorgeous.

Aside from the sun setting earlier, sunny days and temperatures in the 70’s tricked my brain into thinking that it was still summer.

Then the rain came and I snapped out of it.

Though I am still having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that Halloween is next week (followed closely on its heels by Thanksgiving and the holidays!), for me the loss of summer has led to a preoccupation with one thing – holiday entertaining will soon be upon us!

And with that, red wine drinking season will also be in full swing – As the colder weather settles in many shed their Roses and Chardonnays for the warmth and more full-bodied flavor of various red options.

TRIbellaWhether you are entertaining this holiday season and want to delight your guests with the perfect pour, or you are attending a soiree and need an elegant gift for the wine lover in your life, the TRIbella™ wine aerator will put the festive in your festivities. Presented with a bottle of red, this would make for a much appreciated hostess gift. Alone, it is a terrific stocking stuffer.

TRIbella™ is wine aeration made beautiful. This patented, trademarked, and innovative aerator, launched in 2014 and designed and engineered in Portland, Oregon is a simple, yet fine-tuned device, created for everyday use. The TRIbella™ allows wine to be poured in three elegant and drip-free streams and to naturally breathe while it falls gracefully into your glass.

TRIbellaTRIbella™ exposes wine to air to open up and enhance the flavor of the wine creating a more pleasant experience with beauty and elegance.

TRIbella™ allows wine lovers to enjoy their wine with a blend of art and science and is now available on Amazon and through select wine sellers. It even comes in its own protective carrying case so you can take the perfect pour anywhere.

In celebration of the fall season and the upcoming holidays, TRIbella™ is offering a free TRIbella™ Wine Aerator to one of my lucky readers!

TRIbellaTo enter the giveaway simply leave a comment here on the blog telling me – what are you pouring this Thanksgiving or fall?

For extra entries (you must leave a comment here on the blog for each of these you do):

This giveaway will end Midnight Pacific Time, Thursday, October 30. I will choose one winner from the comments on my blog Friday morning and will email the winner. Winner will have 24 hours to respond before I choose an alternate winner.

Good luck!

Photos taken by, and used with permission of, Richard Brown Photography.

Prost! – Oktoberfest Northwest 2014

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Oktoberfest NorthwestI just love this time of year! With our German heritage, my family and I enjoy celebrating Oktoberfest each and every fall.

Some years that means hosting a gathering at our house (here are some ideas for hosting your own!), some years we just make a special intimate dinner with a smaller crowd (serving this authentic rouladen recipe!) and some years we make the trek to Leavenworth for their big multi-weekend event.

Oktoberfest NorthwestBut last year we decided to try something different.

Longing to enjoy a big to-do, but not really wanting to expense a whole weekend east of the mountains (it gets pricey with a two-night minimum stay on festival weekends), we checked out the festivities at Oktoberfest Northwest held at the Washington State Fair & Event Center in Puyallup, WA.

And we were not disappointed!

Oktoberfest NorthwestThis weekend marks the 10th anniversary of this fun indoor event and I hope you will join me in the revelry!

Event Dates:
October 3-5, 2014
Event Hours:
Friday- Noon – midnight
Saturday – 11a – midnight
Sunday – 11a – 6pm

Oktoberfest NorthwestLocation:
Washington State Fair and Events Center in Puyallup

Admission:
FREE on Friday from noon-3pm
Regular Price after 3pm on Friday and all day Saturday ($10)
Sunday HALF PRICE all day ($5) courtesy of Alaska Airlines and The News Tribune
Children 12 and under FREE ALL WEEKEND

Oktoberfest NorthwestThe biergarten certainly is impressive, but to keep us all safe please be smart about your transportation plan –  there are free soft drinks or drip coffee for those who sign up as a designated driver.

Families are welcome in the Festhalle Biergarten until 7 p.m. each evening (Sunday, families are welcome all day!); for the remainder of the evening, guests must be 21 years of age or older.

Oktoberfest NorthwestAnd there are plenty of activities for the whole family!

The German School of Tacoma will be on site with special arts and crafts projects.

Oktoberfest NorthwestKids won’t want to miss the opportunity to take part in an authentic May Pole dance with members of the Enzian Schuhplattler Dancers, pumpkin decorating and games like Corn Hole Toss and more.

Oktoberfest NorthwestOn Saturday and Sunday only there will also be free face painting and an ALL-NEW Scavenger Hunt with a fun prize for every child who participates while supplies last.

Kids can pick up their Scavenger Hunt instructions at the Root Bier Garden between noon and 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Oktoberfest NorthwestThe game, Hammerschlagen, is a popular activity at Oktoberfest. The goal is to drive a nail into a cross-section of wood faster than your opponent.

Each year the Best of the Best compete for a space in the Hammerschlagen Tournament of Champions Wall of Champions.

Oktoberfest NorthwestWho will be champion in 2014? Could it be you? Sign up on site at the event for your chance at bragging rights, glory, and a whole mess of great prizes.

2014 Prizes:
1st place: $150 and commemorative Seahawks Super Bowl Champion  stein
2nd place: $50 and event stein
3rd place: event stein

Oktoberfest NorthwestChildren are encouraged to not play Hammerschlagen in the adult area for safety reasons.

There is a Kids Hammerschlagen with kid-sized hammers and easy to hit nails (children need to be supervised by an adult to play)!

Oktoberfest NorthwestFind that perfect gift for someone (or yourself!) while wandering among all of the great souvenirs at the German Corner.

The German Corner features everything from steins to cookbooks to authentic German clothing. Browse their selection ahead of time at www.germanplaza.com

Oktoberfest NorthwestI plan on buying one of these cute little purses this year! I do hope they have them again!


Oktoberfest NorthwestEntertainment at Oktoberfest Northwest keeps the party going all day long and late into the night!

Oktoberfest NorthwestWhether you’re looking to sway to the sounds of Edelweiss, get plucky with the Chicken Dance or hit the dance floor to the late hours of the night, Oktoberfest Northwest has it all!

Oktoberfest NorthwestOn Friday, October 3, at 6:15pm join in the fun as they tap the Oktoberfest Firkin to officially open Oktoberfest Northwest!

And don’t miss  the swing girl! Manuela Horn & her Oktoburlesques! At nearly seven feet tall, this Austrian Amazon will perform yodelicious interpretations of new & classic Top 40 hits.

Oktoberfest NorthwestManuela is the Queen of Oktoberfest.  With the motto “It’s always Oktoberfest somewhere,” Manuela emcees and headlines the biggest Oktoberfests across America.

Oktoberfest NorthwestOh! And the FOOD! My goodness!

Oktoberfest NorthwestYou want brats and beer? You’ve got it.

Plus pretzels, schnitzel, strudel, and a whole list of other authentic German treats! Like the tasty Cabbage Rous (Kraut Roulden) in tomato sauce, and the Kartoffelpuffer (potato pancake) served with apple sauce and sour cream!

German food heaven!

Oktoberfest NorthwestAlso back by popular demand this year is the Oktoberfest Northwest Running of the Wieners!

Multiple races, costume contests, great fun for the whole family in a stadium atmosphere right inside the heart of the event.

Oktoberfest NorthwestThis is a Sunday-only attraction. Go here for more details or to register your wiener. Click here for a schedule of events!

Oktoberfest NorthwestDon’t forget – admission if free on Friday (today!) until 3 pm – so hurry down (and maybe we can do the chicken dance together!) See you there!

 

IFBC and a Noosa Yoghurt Giveaway!

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IFBC 2014This weekend I will be surrounded by hundreds of other people who love talking about food just as much as I do – I am so excited to attend the International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC) again this year, being held right here in my lovely hometown of Seattle!

While I prepare myself to answer the one question I always get when I tell people the name of my blog – “So, you write about potpies?” – I am at the same time scouring the IFBC website and planning how to get the most out of the conference.

Last year was my first time at a blogger conference and I have to say that I was a bit overwhelmed just taking it all in. The speakers, the sessions, the food, the networking! Not to mention the SWAG!

But this year, with last year’s experience under my belt, it is much easier to make a plan and set some goals. One of which is to get out there and make more connections – connections with more bloggers I don’t know, and connections with the companies sponsoring the event.

IFBC has some pretty impressive sponsors. As an event planner myself I am acutely aware of just how important sponsors are to an event and I want to make sure that they know how appreciated they are by us bloggers.

In a strange course of the stars being aligned, I was recently contacted by a food company that wanted to do a giveaway on my blog. They had no idea that I was a registered attendee for an upcoming conference they are sponsoring…

Noosa Finest Yoghurt

And I did a double-take while perusing the IFBC website and realized (after I had already happily agreed to do the giveaway!) that Noosa Yoghurt is a sponsor for this weekend’s IFBC. What a happy coincidence!

I enjoy yoghurt as part of my breakfast almost every morning (and frequently for a dessert in the evening!), so I was thrilled when Noosa sent me some samples to try out the new tropical flavors (pineapple and coconut) of their Aussie style yoghurt.

Pineapple NoosaWith a recipe that originates from Noosa, Australia and produced in Colorado, this rich and creamy yoghurt, similar to Greek yogurt, is made in small batches and infused with honey to give it a delicious sweet-tart tang, and smooth, velvety texture that sets it apart.

They add just the right amount of fruit purees, made from the best the seasonal market has to offer, and pack it in clear tubs so you can see for yourself the lusciousness of what you’re about to enjoy.

Coconut NoosaNoosa Finest Yoghurt is free of artificial ingredients of any kind and made using Morning Fresh milk which is free of artificial growth hormones (rBGH) and artificial preservatives.

Family-owned and operated since 1894, Morning Fresh is renowned for the sweet, rich, all natural milk their happy cows produce. Why are their cows so happy? All of them graze on open pasture at least 90 days per year, and the rest of the time, dine on home-grown grain, silage and alfalfa to ensure the highest quality feed without the use of harmful pesticides.

Pumpkin NoosaNoosa is the host for our Saturday morning breakfast. Koel Thomae, Noosa’s founder, will share with us bloggers about her start in the U.S. and how she makes her fantastic tasting yoghurt  – including the new pumpkin flavor debuting just in time for fall and being officially rolled out at this weekend’s conference.

Since I can’t take you with me to the conference (and I am all about sharing!) I am partnering with Noosa to give away a Noosa Finest Yoghurt 10 pack (ten – 8 oz containers) to one lucky reader so you can try it out for yourself!

Noosa YoghurtTo enter the giveaway simply leave a comment here on the blog telling me your favorite yoghurt flavor (or the Noosa flavor you are just dying to try!)

For extra entries (you must leave a comment here on the blog for each of these you do):

This giveaway will end Midnight Pacific Time, Wednesday, September 24. I will choose one winner from the comments on my blog Thursday morning and will email the winner. Winner will have 24 hours to respond before I choose an alternate winner.

Good luck!

Photos used with permission of, and provided by, Noosa Finest Yoghurt.

 

 

Amazing Grazing at the Sunset Supper

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Sunset SupperThere are some days when nothing tastes good. Like when you are sick – as I have been this last couple of weeks.

Then, there are days when everything you eat just tastes amazing! That’s what happened when I attended this summer’s Sunset Supper at the the Pike Place Market last month.

I know it’s been a few weeks, but I would be remiss if I didn’t share with you my favorites bites (and sips) that I enjoyed at this wonderful event.

I happened to be hanging out with a pescatarian that evening, and joyfully for her there was plenty in the way of seafood.

Sunset SupperOne of my favorite tastes of the night was this house smoked salmon with buttermilk, chives, jalapeno and steelhead row on a bagel chip from Manhattan restaurant.

Sunset SupperChef Thierry Rautureau was there representing his downtown Seattle Loulay Kitchen and Bar.

Sunset SupperThe Chef in Hat served up some lovely smoked salmon with fingerling potato, citrus creme fraiche, cherry tomato and basil.

Sunset SupperAt the City Catering Company booth there was a savory hamachi crudo with sea beans, french breakfast radish, togarashi powder and yuzu oil. What a gorgeous dish!

Sunset SupperAnd Flying Fish featured shrimp ceviche with pineapple, jicama, mango, avocado and cilantro.

After several seafood tastes, this meat eater was in the mood for something more to sink my teeth into and this event did not disappoint!

Sunset SupperThese grilled beef short ribs from Chan Seattle called to me and momentarily satisfied my craving for (RED) meat!

Sunset SupperThen it was on to this Asian duck confit on a homemade brioche roll with spicy aioli, homemade kimchi and micro greens from Thomas Cuisine Management.

Sunset SupperKaspars Special Events & Catering was grilling up some enticing looking coiled sausages. I am not one to pass up sausage of any type!

Sunset SupperI was delighted with this grilled lamb and potato sausage with curry cabbage slaw.

Sunset SupperJust a few booths down was more sausage at Local 360…

Sunset SupperThe rabbit bratwurst with stone fruit mustard and house kraut was tasty indeed.

I do love dessert, but my preference tends towards the savory side. I was thrilled with the nice selection of not-too-sweet-desserts.

Sunset SupperSuch as this breakfast complete in a mini cupcake from Yellow Leaf Cupcakes. Pancake cupcake with maple frosting topped with crumbled bacon.

Sunset SupperAnd this olive oil ice cream from Aragona. Very interesting – I loved it!

Sunset SupperThe prettiest dessert of the night and the favorite among my friends, who like their sweets sweet, was this strawberry shortcake from Macrina bakery.

Sunset SupperBut my favorite is always chocolate, and City Catering Company had done it up right with this peanut butter daquoise with devils food cake, peanut feuillantine and dulce de leche.

Drinks were aplenty at Sunset Supper as well.

Sunset SupperWe tried this lovely Verna Mae Viognier from Sonoris Wines.

Sunset SupperAnd some rose from Alexandria Nicole winery – they also make one of my favorite Washington reds – the Jet Black!

Sunset Supper3 Howls Distillery was also on hand trying out samples of their fantastic spirits – I’m not a big shot person but just loved the blood orange vodka!

Sunset SupperRachel was all decked out for her big night, and she had every reason to the celebrate! Through Sunset Supper, the Pike Place Market Foundation raised $286,565 for community services in Pike Place Market!

Speaking of raising funds for this worthy non-profit, on Sunday, September 28 from 5:00-9:00 PM, Pike Brewing Company will host PIKETOBERFEST— a Fall Harvest Festival featuring beer, wine, spirits, cider, local artisan foods, sausage, and charcuterie.

PIKETOBERFEST is a harvest festival featuring local and imported German-style food and drink. It is an opportunity to compare local craft beers spirits, liqueurs, wines and spirits with their German counterparts.
There will be an abundance of extraordinary foods to sample and Pike Brewing Company is teaming up with The Pike Place Market Foundation to make Piketoberfest a benefit to support efforts in providing medical services, low-income housing, child care, and other social services to people in need.

2ND ANNUAL PIKETOBERFEST FALL HARVEST FESTIVAL
Featuring Beer, Wine, Spirits, Cider, Local Artisan Food, Sausage, and Charcuterie
Benefit for PIKE PLACE MARKET FOUNDATION

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2014
5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

PIKE BREWING COMPANY
1415 1st Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101

Cost: $40.00
Admission includes: all food, authentic Piketoberfest beer mug, 10 drink tickets, music, and up to $4 of validated parking at Russell Investment Garage.

Purchase tickets HERE.

 

The Big Melt – Seattle’s Grilled Cheese Festival

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The Big Melt

I just go crazy for grilled cheese sandwiches.

To me, two slices of buttered bread are a blank canvas to which one can add a variety of cheeses, vegetables, other proteins and even fruit!  Though I am adventurous when it comes to adding toppings (stuffings?) – my go-to recipe includes a light spreading of mayo, a couple of different kinds of shredded cheese (sharp cheddar, jack and Havarti being one of my favorite combos) and slices of fresh heirloom tomato.

What’s on your favorite grilled cheese sandwich?

Are you a traditionalist? Or perhaps more of an adventurer? Regardless, you’ll want to be at Seattle’s only grilled cheese festival, The Big Melt, to debut this Sunday, September 7.

The ooey-gooey goodness of melted cheese combined with the crisp crunch of hearty grilled bread are the essential elements of one of the most simple, yet classic, comfort food creations. Participants in The Big Melt will be adding their own twists to the classic as they try to stand out from the crowd.

Festival-goers will reap the rewards as they wander around the festival-like atmosphere, sampling creations from Beecher’s Seattle, Metropolitan Market, The Ultimate Melt and others, while also enjoying award-winning craft beer from Stoup Brewing, local wines and other local specialty beverages, snacks and desserts.

The Big Melt will support Northwest Harvest as attendees will be asked to contribute to the “mac and cheese tower” by donating boxes upon arrival.

Event: The Big Melt

Date: Sunday, Sept. 7

Time: 11am-4pm

Place: Hangar 30 at Magnuson Park (7400 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115)

Visit www.getfork.com/thebigmelt for more information, to purchase tickets or to enter the competition.

BONUS: The fine folks over at the Big Melt are giving my readers a discount code for $5 off tickets to the event. Enter code TBM5 when purchasing tickets.

The Big Melt is brought to you by Fork, an iPhone app and community of food, photos and friends. Attendees and participants will be using the Fork app to compete against one another to see who can take the best grilled-cheese photo during the event.

Locally Brewed Cupcakes at Cupcake Royale

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Cupcake Royale Locally Brewed CupcakesI know it still feels like summer today, but fall really is just around the corner. Labor Day is coming up this weekend and the kids are getting ready to return to school – mine go next week. Are yours already in school? Frankly I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that both of mine are in high school this year. How did that happen?!

I love the sunshine and carefree days of summer, but this time of year is truly my favorite. The rich flavors of the season take me back to so many happy times in my life:

Growing up, the German Chocolate Cake my mother would lovingly make each year for my birthday in late August.

How I met and fell in love with my husband in the fall and we (both of German decent) celebrate Oktoberfest with our children each year – complete with my great grandmother’s German apple cake.

And pumpkin reminds me of the days when the kids were little and we would go out to the pumpkin patch at a local farm and pick our own pumpkin – happily munching on lovely Washington apples and pears and bringing home some fresh-pressed cider for later.

Cupcake Royale Locally Brewed CupcakesSo when I recently received a visit from the “cupcake fairy” at work it had me really looking forward to autumn. My friends over at Cupcake Royale generously sent me a sneak taste of their delicious fall offerings and there is a bonus – these cupcakes come locally brewed! With these cupcakes you can have your booze and eat it too!

Celebrate the Fall Harvest and Seattle’s best craft breweries with Cupcake Royale’s Locally Brewed Cupcakes! They baked up a whole new line of cupcakes, just in time for Oktoberfest! Their master bakers brought in the master brewers from Elysian, Hilliard’s, 2 Beers, Seattle Cider Co., and Finnriver Cider to create four new cupcakes; Caramel Brandied Pear, Pumpkin Ale, Tipsy Apple, and German Chocolate Stout.

Cupcake Royale Locally Brewed CupcakesCaramel Brandied PearA vanilla cupcake filled with a ginger and pear compote, topped with Finnriver’s Pear Brandy buttercream and pear caramel drizzle. Cupcake Royale uses Finnriver’s Pear Brandy to really amplify the pear flavor. It’s sweet, thick and SUPER aromatic, as well as flavorful.  They’ve always been fond of Simple and Crisp pear chips and wanted to incorporate them into something really special, so to top this off, they have a pear chip streusel that they feel does the locally made product justice!

Pumpkin AleA Pacific Northwest pumpkin spice cupcake, topped with an Elysian’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale buttercream and candied spiced pumpkin seeds. Made with fresh pumpkin puree that is special ordered months in advance from Stahlbush Island Farms in Oregon. A favorite pumpkin beer amongst the baking staff is Elysian’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale because it is not overly sweet or spicy. After testing many an ale, they knew Elysian was the winner! We all love something crunchy to snack on while drinking our brew, so they got busy in the bakeshop and candied some pumpkin seeds with salt and spices – Happy Hour cupcakes anyone?

Tipsy AppleAn apple cupcake topped with Finnriver’s Apple Cider buttercream and apple cider caramel drizzle. Made with apples that are picked right here in Washington! The apples are shredded seconds before they are added to the batter, maintaining the crunch and texture. The effervescent Finnriver apple cider is reduced down to a syrup then added to Cupcake Royale’s legendary buttercream. For even more apple booziness, it is drizzled with a cider caramel! How about them apples?

German Chocolate StoutA moist chocolate stoutcake made with 2 Beers’ Jive Oatmeal Espresso Milk Stout and filled with the traditional German Chocolate Cake’s coconut frosting topped with chocolate buttercream, toasted coconut chips, and chocolate curls. Cupcake Royale knows their chocolate cake is already Seattle’s best, so the only ingredient that could make it better is STOUT BEER!  Beer makes the cake super moist and hoppy, almost tangy! A sweet, creamy brown sugar, coconut and walnut filling might sound over-the-top, but they’ve added some sea salt to curb the sweetness and balance the flavors. This is a more sophisticated German Chocolate Cake – Royale Style! Bottoms Up!

Cupcake Royale Locally Brewed CupcakesLocally Brewed Cupcakes will be available in all Cupcake Royale cafes September 10 through October 31.

Party with a Purpose

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Party with a PurposeWho doesn’t love doughnuts?!

And for those of you who you haven’t had them, let me tell you – FROST doughnuts in Mill Creek are just some of the best around!

I am so excited to share with you a very special event that pairs these wonderful doughnuts with one of my favorite bloggers, for a cause that is dear to my heart.

Party With A Purpose is a charitable event benefitting Pediatric Cancer Research at Seattle Children’s Hospital. FROST, in collaboration with local lifestyle blogger Dawn Smith, of Not Just A Mommy, will be accepting donations to Seattle Children’s upon entry to FROST on Friday, August 22nd from 5PM to 8PM.

For each $5 donation, guests will receive a ticket for a glass of sparkling wine provided by Treveri Cellars; for each $10 donation, guests will receive a wine ticket as well as a swag bag which will be filled with various gifts provided by our many sponsors. Be sure and stop by early, there is a limited number of swag bags.

Enjoy wine and dessert pairings provided by FROST while children decorate their own doughnuts, all while effortlessly giving back to our local community.

Hope to see you there!

Happy Hour at Urbane Seattle

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Urbane SeattleI just love a good happy hour. Unfortunately many are held, or begin, in the later part of the afternoon when I am still hard at work in the office.

But last weekend, while I was looking for a place nearby the Paramount Theatre for a bit of pre-show noshing, I came upon this fantastic happy hour at Urbane.

Urbane serves Northwest cuisine in a relaxed and comfortable neighborhood- style setting and utilizes resources and regional farmers across Washington that are dedicated to sustainable growing techniques. This ensures the use of only the freshest, seasonal ingredients at their peak of quality.

Urbane Seattle Happy HourUrbane’s happy hour is held Monday thru Saturday from 4pm to 7pm, and also from 10 to close. But the best thing is that they have a happy hour every Sunday that runs from 2:30pm – close!

The regular bar menu, already low priced, is paired with a happy hour menu that features two dollars off a selection of appetizers, and specials on wine, beer, well drinks and martinis all priced ranging from $4 – $7.

My favorite thing to do at happy hour is order several small plates and share.

Urbane Seattle Happy HourSo we decided to try the refreshing Oregon Bay Shrimp and Crab Ice Box Salad made up of fresh snap peas, purple potatoes, dill and bacon, served with lightly salted crackers.

Urbane Seattle Happy HourAnd the chilled Marinated Corn on the Cob topped with black sheep tomme. This was delightfully different and the perfect summer time snack!

Urbane Seattle Happy HourThen we indulged in the Mac n’ Cheese (of course we had it with the added dungeness crab for $4.) SO decadent with house made, velvety Beecher’s cheddar cheese sauce, cavatappi pasta and breadcrumbs.

Urbane Seattle Happy HourBut the Poutine, made with hand cut fries smothered in chicken gravy and topped with melted cheese curds, put me over the moon!

Oh my! I am already dreaming about going back to Urbane just to have this dish again. (And AGAIN!)

Urbane Seattle Happy HourYou can try out Urbane for yourself this upcoming week at one of the hottest parties of the summer – they will be one of the featured vendors highlighted at the Pike Place Market’s Sunset Supper next Friday. I cannot wait to see what they have in store for us!

I do hope you will join me for this fun and festive event, but hurry! Tickets are going fast!

EVENT: Pike Place Market Sunset Supper

WHEN: Friday, August 15, 7:30 – 11 pm

WHERE: Pike Place Market on the cobblestones and inside the Market’s Arcade

TICKETS:

General Admission: $125 – All the food & fun, seating not included. Ticket sales end at noon on August 13.

Patron Tickets: Individuals, $250 (Table of 10, $2,500) – 7 pm early admission, canopied seating, exclusive wine service, free parking, and more.

All proceeds from the event benefit the Foundation’s mission to feed the hungry, care for the sick, educate kids, and find homes for those without at Pike Place Market.

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