Elegant Summer Picnic Party

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Picnic Basket Floral ArrangementA few weeks ago we held our annual member meeting at work and kicked off the summer season in style with an elegant picnic themed party.

I work as an event planner for a local park foundation – a non-profit that raises money and awareness to support the park. Typically, for our annual meeting, we do a nice reception on the garden patio with wine and finger food. And it is lovely.

Summer Picnic PartyBut this year I wanted to do something different. Something that would really wow our guests, but still have a touch of casual and comfortable.

Something that would make them think of summer in the park.

Summer Picnic Party Carefree, sunny summer days are the perfect time for lazing around outside with friends while enjoying a glass of wine and lingering over a tasty picnic.

Use any of these party ideas to create an elegant picnic at your local park or even in your own backyard.

I started with the idea for the food and came up with a “pack your own picnic” theme. For the decor I used traditional red and white gingham accents.

Red & White Gingham NapkinsYou don’t always have to use cloth to impress your guests. These paper napkins are just fine for an outdoor picnic theme and can create visual interest when presented in fun containers like these small galvanized buckets.

We set up several banquet tables under a large white canopy to define the dining space and provide shade from the sun (it is also appropriate if you have a bit of summer drizzle.)

Summer Picnic PartyI chose black linens for the service tables (food buffets and bar) and brilliant holiday-red table clothes with burlap runners for the dining tables (see my post for making these easy no-sew burlap runners here.)

Everything was just stunning against the red table covers! This look certainly contributed to my “wow!” factor!

For the table decor, I was inspired by this pin on Pinterest from Catch My Party. But instead of using mason jars as vases, I re-purposed some Starbucks Frappuccino bottles that were leftover from a meeting. My co-worker was going to recycle them.

Elegant Summer Picnic PartyI think she thought I was crazy when I dug them out of the recycle bin. But I knew I would use them for something. Someday.

Well, their time had come! These are so easy to put together. I pulled all the labels off by hand and then used a scrubber sponge (and some serious elbow grease!) to get the sticky residue off. I then wrapped a bit of burlap (taping the ends to the bottle with clear tape) and simply tied a strip of gingham fabric on top to cover the tape.

Red and white flowers with greens (I chose sweet-peas and stalks of mini euphorbia) completed the look.

Gingham Party PennantWe added touches of the red and white checked gingham in other places throughout the party.

My co-worker made this sign for over the bar by cutting triangle pennants from the fabric, laying hand-cut black construction paper letters on top and then laminating each triangle. They were attached to a black bamboo rod with clear tape and then hung with twine from the rafters.

Speaking of the bar – setting up a refreshing lemonade station, complete with sparkling water and fresh cut lemons, is a perfect addition, or great alternative (especially if you want to hold your party in a local park where alcohol may be prohibited) to your more spirited beverages.

Summer Picnic Party Drink StationSince the food is truly the centerpiece of any picnic, I called upon one of my go-to caterers in Seattle, Cameron Catering (but this meal could easily be re-created in your home or from your local supermarket deli.)

Justine at Cameron Catering was happy to help me out. Their box lunches are always fantastic, so I knew they were just the right team to make my deconstructed box lunch idea a reality.

Cameron Catering They are so wonderful to work with. I told Justine what I wanted to do and she was excited and very collaborative.

I am addicted to collecting picnic baskets and have several that I have picked up over the years at thrift stores and garage sales for a song.

Picnic Basket Flower ArrangementI told her that I had plans to use a few of the baskets for decor on the food tables and she was the one who suggested putting flowers in them.

In addition to my Starbucks bottles, I was going to make some larger flower arrangements for the tables anyway, so this a great solution!

Cameron CateringChef Suzanne Cameron is remarkably talented at building the most beautiful displays of fresh, local, innovative and delicious food. I cannot tell you how many people asked about the catering – I lost count!

On the menu were sandwiches in brown paper wrapping and a nice variety of salads.

Cameron CateringEverything was packed individually in either compost-able or recyclable containers.

The packaging was simple and these clear salad containers allowed the vibrancy of the food to really shine.

Cameron CateringService was non-fussy as guests were invited to pack their own picnic dinners in the provided brown paper bags with handles.

The decision for this menu was an attempt to stay on top of my budget – lunch is usually a more affordable option for catering than dinner.

Cameron CateringAnd for dessert? Stay tuned! I’ll soon be sharing a perfect pairing to this summer picnic supper :-)

 

Sunset Supper 2014

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Sunset SupperMy birthday is coming up in a few weeks, and that can mean only one thing!

The Sunset Supper event at the Pike Place Market is just around the corner!

The Pike Place Market and I share a birthday. And each year to celebrate theirs, the Pike Place Market Foundation holds this annual benefit event. Sunset SupperThis year’s event will be held on Friday, August 15th and you won’t want to miss it!

Where else can you taste the fine cuisines of local renowned chefs, mingle with culturally-savvy Seattleites, take a whirl at a Chef’s Dinner raffle wheel, dance along the Pike Place cobblestones, and support a great cause all in the same night?

Sunset SupperEvery year the Market Foundation invites more than 70 local restaurants, wineries, breweries and distilleries to serve the 1,200 ticketed guests at Sunset Supper. Now in its 19th year, Sunset Supper at the Market is one of the most anticipated and unique events of Seattle’s summer season.

To view a complete list of participating restaurants and beverage companies please visit the website.

Sunset SupperAll 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.

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. Ticket sales end August 2.

Sunset Supper

I hope to see you there!

Sunset Supper

About Pike Place Market Foundation:

The Pike Place Market Foundation is the heart of the Market. By helping low-income neighbors who work, learn and live in and around the Market, the Foundation helps the Market remain a thriving, caring community. Established in 1982, The Market Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports housing and services for low-income neighbors by fundraising, advocacy and community building. Over the past 31 years, The Market Foundation has contributed to a neighborhood model that allows a diverse community to live and thrive at Pike Place Market.

Learn more: www.pikeplacemarketfoundation.org

Happy Birthday Prince George! Say Cheese!

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Westminster Royal Addition One-Year-Old CheddarHappy 1st birthday Prince George!

Did you know that as the world celebrated the birth of Prince George on July 22, 2013 (one year ago today), a cheese was made that day to commemorate the occasion?

This summer, you can enjoy the one-year-old cheese honoring the young British royal third in line for the throne with the Westminster Royal Addition One-Year-Old Cheddar, available exclusively at Whole Foods Market.

Westminster Royal Addition One-Year-Old CheddarPersonally, I would rather have a slice of cheese over a slice of cake any day. So, what better way to celebrate a birthday?

I stopped by Whole Foods yesterday to pick up some of this very special variety. Of course, a few other items were needed to round out my cheese plate.

Westminster Royal Addition One-Year-Old CheddarI paired it with salami, marcona almonds, fancy crackers and some tiny champagne grapes. And with cheese, one always needs a nice glass of wine.

I asked the Whole Foods sommelier for some help in pairing a wine to my luscious cheese, and he recommended this lovely Chenin Blanc.

Westminster Royal Addition One-Year-Old CheddarWhat a wonderful little summer evening feast, fit for royalty. Simple and delicious! A great way to celebrate any day of the year.

Westminster Royal Addition One-Year-Old CheddarThis cheddar has a creamy yet savory flavor. It is made on a farm in Somerset, England by the Barber family – one of the oldest cheddar makers in the world — and is aged for 12 months.

Westminster Royal Addition One-Year-Old CheddarThe cheese is available through July at $9.99 per pound in all Whole Foods Market locations, but it will only be around for a limited time – so hurry to your closest Whole Foods and stock up!

Sparks are Flying at Teatro ZinZanni

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Teatro ZinZanni

Photo Credit: Mike Hipple

I recently went to see the newest show at Teatro ZinZanni, and the best way I can think of to describe the production: Pure magic!

When Sparks Fly marks the return of Maestro Voronin to the spiegltent. If you have seen the Maestro in action, then you know you must see this show! If you haven’t had the opportunity, then…you should see this show!

Voronin doesn’t speak a single word the entire evening. Yet through his inexplicably alluring display of smoke and mirrors and his arsenal of expressive facial and body movements, you will never want to take your eyes off him. Ukrainian-born illusionist Maestro Voronin brings to Teatro ZinZanni an entirely fresh display of magic and magnetism. Maestro Voronin is not only a world-class magician, he is an original Teatro ZinZanni cast member returning to Seattle for his 23rd Teatro ZinZanni performance.

Voronin is joined in the tent by a lively cast of talented characters competing for the attention of your senses in this a one of a kind evening – complete with the bawdy humor, captivating aerial choreography and table-side antics that TZ audiences know and love.

Teatro ZinZanni

Photo Credit: Mike Hipple

Oh – and the food! Chef EriK Carlson has outdone himself this time! This is hands down one of the best menus I have tasted at Teatro. From the meatball (one of my favorite food groups) appetizer, the refreshing chilled avocado soup, and the delicious osso buco that is fall off the bone tender, to the oh-so tasty dessert – key lime Confectional cheesecake and Ghirardelli dark chocolate! Divine! Pair your meal with the wine flight. You won’t be sorry!

DINNER MENU

Appetizer – Beef and pork meatball duo seasoned with toasted caraway and basil, served with a warm blackberry-tarragon reduction

Soup – Chilled avocado topped with an heirloom tomato and sweet onion concasse

Salad – Golden and red beets, artichoke hearts, Granny Smith apples, squash, arugula, and fennel greens tossed with a champagne vinaigrette

Entrees: (your choice of)

Pork Osso Bucco: Duroc Pork Osso Bucco with a raspberry – Pinot Noir reduction served with roasted new red and gold rosemary potatoes, and a Cremini mushroom and fiddlehead fern garlic saute

Wild Alaskan Halibut: White miso glazed Alaskan Halibut topped with a ginger-sesame cream served with black rice and a fresh blackberry-jicama salad dressed in yuzu

Vegetable Napoleon: Layers of phyllo pastry, roasted sweet corn-edamame relish, and roasted garlic, Yukon and purple potato mash on a sun dried tomato cream

Dessert – The Confectional’s Key lime cheesecake drizzled with Ghirardelli dark chocolate sauce

Teatro ZinZanni

Photo Credit: Mike Hipple

WHERE: Teatro ZinZanni, 222 Mercer Street, Seattle

WHEN: Through September 21. Thursday-Saturday, 6:30 p.m. Sunday, 5:30 p.m., select Sunday matinees, 11:00 a.m., select Wednesdays, 6:30 p.m.

TICKETS: Starting at $99. Box Office: (206) 802-0015 http://zinzanni.com/seattle

Kitchenbug – My Seattle Recipe Box

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IMG_1883In honor of the upcoming Foodportunity event that I mentioned to you last week, sponsors of the event, Kitchenbug, invited some local food bloggers to create a recipe box and share our favorite Seattle-inspired foods.

Kitchenbug is an online platform for sharing and collecting recipes from any website. With Kitchenbug’s simple point and click process you can organize all your recipes into boxes, follow other users’ recipes, adjust recipes from U.S to Metric and search your recipes with search terms like low fat, low cholesterol and heart healthy.

KitchenbugHaving guests visit us this week from out of town was a wonderful reminder of just how fortunate I am to live here in Seattle.

Now don’t get me wrong, I grew up here, I love my city and constantly wax poetic about Seattle to anyone who will listen! But sometimes I forget just how special it is until I see it through another set of eyes.

Farmers MarketWe are so fortunate to have the access that we do to such great food. A veritable wealth of restaurants, food trucks and local food purveyors.

We have the bounty that is the Pike Place Market right smack dab in the center of the city, not to mention several local neighborhood farmers markets that fill almost every day of the week.

Heidelberg HausThere’s an abundance of fresh seafood (salmon is king here!) and ethnic food from every corner of the world. There’s a proliferation of Asian influence, and on any given day I can choose to enjoy food from my German and Scandinavian roots or branch out further to French, Persian, Greek, Salvadorian (papusas!), Ethiopian, Hawaiian, Filipino (ah lumpia!) – the list goes on.

Seattle FoodOur nearby Canadian neighbors also let us borrow their culinary delicacies – like Poutine! Small food producers abound, from cupcakes and salted caramels (and salted caramel cupcakes!) to a plethora of locally produced charcuterie, cheeses and wines.

Cupcake RoyaleCheck out some of my favorite flavors of Seattle at Kitchenbug and be sure to sign up and build your own recipe boxes!

What do you like best about Seattle’s food scene? You too can share your favorite Seattle inspired food! Just leave me a note in the comments below!

A Visit to Swiftwater Cellars

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Swiftwater CellarsSometimes, with everything going on in life, one needs a break from the harried day-to-day. A little get-away can be just the ticket to feeling refreshed.

Swiftwater CellarsA few weeks ago my cousin and I took a drive and headed east from Seattle to Swiftwater Cellars, a destination winery near Cle Elem. We discovered a treat just far enough from the city to help us feel like we were getting away, but close enough to make for a day trip.

Swiftwater Cellars has everything one needs for a relaxing respite from the city. Wine tasting, delicious food, entertainment (check their concert lineup here), golf and year-round outdoor activities all within one venue. And, had we decided on an overnight trip, Swiftwater Cellars is conveniently located right next door to the elegant and luxurious Suncadia resort.

Swiftwater CellarsI gave a nod to Swiftwater Cellars on the blog earlier this spring when I visited Seattle’s premier food and wine event, Taste Washington. I was so excited when I got an invitation to come and learn more about the facility.

Swiftwater CellarsAs inexperienced wine drinkers who want to know more about wine, my cousin and I were both a bit nervous about our level of knowledge and ability to speak the “language”.

But Linda Trotta, Swiftwater’s resident winemaker who has been making wine for 25 years, put us right at ease. Linda’s philosophy when it comes to wine is that is should be approachable and accessible. “You can enjoy wine at whatever level you are at”, she told us.

Swiftwter Cellars After giving us a tour of the wine-making facilities, we sat down with Linda to do some wine tasting 101 – a lesson that was way more fun than any school I have ever attended!  Swiftwater CellarsBringing out flights of wine (which she pointed out are less intimidating than ordering a glass) and encouraging us to trust our taste buds, she held our hand all along the way and gave us tips on how to explore the essence of the wine by swirling, sniffing, tasting and note taking (so we know what we like for the future!)

Swiftwater CellarsShe talked with us about how there are many conditions that can change the way the grape reacts and thus how the wine tastes.

There are subtle nuances of the grapes – where they are grown, the sunlight, the soil, when they were picked – and all of this can effect the flavor profile and how wine behaves.

Swiftwater CellarsOf course, how can one taste a bunch of wine without something in the belly?

This winery is unique with a restaurant, The Hoist House, attached – so that all the food can be perfectly matched with the wine through collaborative efforts of the winemaker and chef.

Swiftwater CellarsIt is quite an experience to have the winemaker dine with you at a restaurant and help you to perfectly pair the wine with the food.

I have always been fascinated by the notion of pairings. It is interesting to me how food can change the flavor of the wine and wine can help enhance the taste of the food.

Swiftwater CellarsWe were hooked from the starter with this light and tasty flatbread topped with brie cheese and pear slices.

Swiftwater CellarsAnd this most delicious, melt in your mouth, pork shank is one of the best things I have ever eaten!

Swiftwater Cellars You don’t have to worry about getting enough to eat here. Portions at The Hoist House are generous.

Owner Don Watts has achieved his vision of creating an at-home environment where the food and wine is plentiful so that guests never have to wonder where the wine is in the glass, or where the food is on the plate.

Swiftwater CellarsHe has also succeeded at creating a space where people will want to celebrate life’s special moments.

Swiftwater CellarsWe had the pleasure of touring the beautiful facility with Don, and were impressed with the versatile event space that it is.

Swiftwater CellarsWhat a fantastic place this would be to hold an event!

Swiftwater CellarsInside and out, there are several stunning spaces available to fit one’s needs.

Swiftwater CellarsAnything is possible, from small corporate meetings to large outdoor weddings, intimate dinners in the romantic barrel rooms, or wine tasting with friends on a private balcony.

Swiftwater CellarsWhat I didn’t expect from my visit to Swiftwater Cellars, and what truly makes this place exceptional is heart. It originates from the owners, Don and Lori Watts.

Swiftwater CellarsEvery part of this family run business is infused with little touches of them and their dedication to making the guest feel welcome and at home – away from home.

Swiftwater CellarsFrom the moment Don greeted us a handshake and his infectious smile, to the great big bear hug he gave us as we left, we felt such great warmth. Just like part of the family.

Swiftwater CellarsIt all made me want to linger just a bit longer…

Swiftwater CellarsWith a setting like this, wouldn’t you?

My Foodportunity

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FoodportunityOne of my favorite Seattle food events will be here again soon!

The Seattle food community’s repeatedly sold out premier networking event, with tastes from Tom Douglas Restaurants and many more restaurants and companies, Foodportunity, created by Seattle event planner and food blogger Keren Brown, is open to food journalists, bloggers, public relations professionals, restaurateurs, farmers, companies and all food-passionate people.

FoodportunityI have written here before about my foodportunity, and how this blog was born. But the why is something that means even more to me.

This blog, and my foodportunity, is about being able to learn and share. To be able to connect. Over food.

Food connects us to our history and to others. For me, food is something that seems to have a recurring appearance in my own personal narrative.

Sometimes when I eat a really sweet, cold grape, it takes me back to one particularly enjoyable hot day at the park when my kids were younger. One of those carefree summer days with sun, friends and a thrown together picnic. How many times have you tasted something where the sensation of the flavor hitting your tongue takes you back to a memory of a time spent with people dear to you?

FoodportunityThe mere mention of pickles can at times, for a second, make me feel that I am in my grandmother’s apartment again for one of our weekly lunches (when I worked close by) listening to a lifetime of stories over bread & butter pickles and liverwurst sandwiches – before she got sick with Alzheimer’s and didn’t remember that I was even coming for lunch.

It’s also in the reading of the recipes in the old tattered church cookbook that were written by another generation of ladies and imagining my great-grandmother in her kitchen making the cookies contributed by her and appearing on page 23.

And it was when a recent family member passed. I mused on the times we visited her beach-side home and the meals we shared – how she loved her crab cakes and was always on the lookout for the best crab-to-breading ratio.

Food just tastes better when it is shared. And shared food makes memories. The lovely thing about my foodportunity is the opportunity to make many more of them.

FoodportunityThe Foodportunity event will take place on Monday, July 28 from 6-9 p.m. with tantalizing bites from many of Seattle’s top restaurants. Northwest restaurateur and entrepreneur Tom Douglas will provide his Palace Ballroom facilities to host the event and serve tastes from his newest venture, Hot Stove Society (a cooking school offering the ultimate connection between food lovers and the best food instructors). The lineup also includes tastes from Loulay Kitchen and Bar, Luc, Lark, Old Sage, Von Trapp’s, Poquitos, Six Seven and many more.

FoodportunityThis year’s networking event has a splash of tech added to it. It is being sponsored by Kitchenbug.com, an online recipe box, that offers nutritional and calorie information for any recipe on the web, in real time and allows you to share your collection of recipes with others in the Kitchenbug community.

FoodportunityThis year is also filled with a star-studded line-up of food entrepreneurs and leaders, who will present their new innovations to the Seattle scene. Representatives from Kitchenbug.com, Beechers’ Handmade Cheese, Farmstr and more will be available to answer questions, talk about their journey and offer food related business tips from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Advanced pricing is $25 per person and will change to $32 per person at a future date. Tickets can be purchased through Brown Paper Tickets at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/680259. Get your tickets today as space is extremely limited!

FoodportunityI’m curious, what’s your Foodportunity?

Maybe it’s the dream job you have that involves food, perhaps it’s an old family recipe that connects you to your ancestors each time you make it, or it’s the lengths you will go to make sure that your family sits at the dinner table each night together?

I want to hear. Tell me in the comments below – I’d love to connect!

What’s on Your Grill for Father’s Day? A Whole Foods Market Summer Grilling Giveaway!

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Grilled SalmonFather’s Day is this Sunday, and last night my husband and I were discussing what he would like for his special meal. His choice this year? Salmon cooked on the grill.

While we grill year-round (weather-permitting), summer time is prime grilling season for the hubby – and there is almost nothing he likes better than spending a sunny evening outside cooking up something on the BBQ!

Whether you are relaxing at home with a dinner for two or entertaining friends and family at a backyard barbeque, make it a Father’s Day (and heck, summer!) to remember without breaking too much of a sweat over the grill. During this sizzlin’ season, Whole Foods Market is a great resource for every type of grilling occasion.

Whole Foods Market SaleThis Father’s Day weekend, local Whole Foods Markets are having a Father’s Day sale featuring 30% off all beef and seafood steaks (*offer excludes everyday value frozen steaks) so BBQ-lovin Dads can grill out for less! Shoppers can also save on other weekend specials, including strawberry tarts, soap and lotion for men, Union Jack IPA, and gouda cheese! 

Whole Foods Market is about more than just providing essentials for your fridge or pantry. Cooking tips and recipes provided by their team also help you get the most enjoyment from your food dollars.

Here are few grilling recipes and tips to inspire your summer outdoor entertaining (including some grill-ready products that are easy to grab and go to get you grilling in no time!):
Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken

365 Everyday Value Organic Chicken—Best cluck for your buck! All of WFM 365 Everyday Value chicken is Step-3 or higher and great on the grill.

• Grilled Spatchcooked Chicken – This rub just looks divine! Have you ever heard of Spatchcooked? I never have until I saw this recipe – remove all the bones from a whole chicken and lay it flat on the grill to get more even cooking. (I am going to have to try this!)

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken and Romaine Salad

• Grilled Teriyaki Chicken and Romaine Salad - Grilled salad? Why not!

Seafood: Halibut—Mild, sweet and flaky— Whole Foods halibut is selected by port buyers in Alaska and is excellent for grilling, baking or broiling.
 Grilled Salmon with Cherry Couscous I’ve promised the hubby grilled salmon for Father’s Day this year, but I never thought of this side dish. So timely with cherries just coming into season!

Grilled Burgers

Made in House Burgers— expert butchers can custom-season burgers for free. Choose from chicken, bison, beef and lamb. Just call a few days ahead to place a special order.

Here is a selection of wonderful burger recipes to expand your repertoire!

Dry-Aged Steaks—When it comes to flavor and tenderness, dry-aged steaks are king. Whole Foods butchers take the most prized cuts of beef off the rib and loin and age them in-house until they reach prime flavor.

Try this Dry-Aged New York Strip with Grilled Salsa recipe - You can never go wrong with a New York on the grill!

Dry-Aged Steaks with Grilled Salsa

Click here for more Whole Foods Market experts’ favorite tips for grilling this season including: the grill master’s ultimate guide, the yin & yang of grilling: his and her cooking, ways to lighten up your grilling for more healthful cooking outside and friends of the grill—a supporting cast to make summer festivities a success.

In celebration of Father’s Day and summer grilling season, Whole Foods Market is offering a $50 gift card for one of my lucky readers to stock up on summer essentials!

To enter the giveaway simply leave a comment here on the blog telling me your favorite food to grill.
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, June 19. 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.

This giveaway is open to local readers in the Pacific Northwest only.

Good luck!

Photos used with permission of, and provided by, Whole Foods Market.

 

Ahoy Mateys! Pirate’s Treasure at KuKuRuZa

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Pirates TreasureThere is no doubt that summer is the best time of year here in Seattle. And it wouldn’t be summer in Seattle without Seafair.

Growing up near the south end of Lake Washington, I have such fond memories of this special time of year – the not too distant rumbling of the hydroplanes warming up for the big Seafair Sunday races and the booming roars of the Blue Angels practicing overhead (so close you felt you could almost reach out and touch them!) were the sounds that signaled the height of summer in the city for us kids.

And the parades! Meeting up with friends at the Torchlight Parade as a youth and teen was always a highlight of the festival. Then, as I grew older with kids of my own, taking them to the smaller neighborhood parades around town was a must  – how wonderful it was to feel their excitement and see the delighted (and sometimes terrified!) reactions to the clowns and pirates as they threw out candy to the kids along the parade route.

Each year Seafair is involved in over 75 events that combined touch nearly two million people. Over an eight-week period, Seattle residents and visitors alike enjoy a whirlwind of family activities, cultural festivals, neighborhood parades and sporting events. Seafair culminates with a nighttime run and parade, a fleet of Navy and Coast Guard ships, the thunder of the world’s fastest raceboats skimming across Lake Washington, the top wakeboard athletes in the country showing off their tricks in an exhibition and the U.S. Navy Blue Angels soaring overhead.

SeaFairSynonymous with the annual festival are the famous Seafair Pirates who are an integral part of this celebration. And with Seafair turning 65 this year, the pirates and KuKuRuZa Gourmet Popcorn are helping to celebrate this milestone anniversary with a very special gift for you!

On Saturday, June 7, 2014, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at KuKuRuZa Gourmet Popcorn’s downtown store (215 Pike Street), the Seafair Pirates will be making a personal appearance to introduce KuKuRuZa’s newest flavor, aptly named Pirate’s Treasure. The Pina Colada popcorn was created in honor of Seafair’s 65th anniversary, and is made with Cream of Coconut and chunks of pineapple – a true pirate’s treasure!

At the June 7th event, the first 300 guests will be given a free Flight Bag of Pina Colada: Pirate’s Treasure, have the opportunity to try all of KuKuRuZa’s delicious flavors, and meet the Seafair Pirates in person!

Pirate’s Treasure will be available in all KuKuRuZa shops and online for the length of Seafair, June 1 through August 31, for $16 a gallon.

Be sure to stop in for some pirate fun on June 7, grownups and kids alike. Sample Pirate’s Treasure and join the Seafair celebration. Every day with popcorn and pirates is a fun day!

FareStart Guest Chef Spectacular

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GCS_postcardfrontFareStart, founded in 1992, is a local non-profit organization that transforms the lives of homeless and disadvantaged individuals by helping them achieve self-sufficiency through life skills, job training and employment in the food service industry.

Students enrolled in FareStart’s Adult Culinary program receive not only hands-on culinary training in FareStart’s kitchens, but life-skills classes, counseling, and assistance with housing, food, clothing and other support services to assist them as they change their lives.

FarestartI recently had lunch at The FareStart Restaurant, located at 7th & Virginia in downtown Seattle, which is open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and learned more about the many great things that this organization does.

In addition to the weekday lunch, they also host a weekly Guest Chef Night dinner on Thursdays from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Since its inception, FareStart has become a beloved Seattle institution with talented chefs from the area’s best restaurants donating their precious time, expertise, and ingredients to help train FareStart students. Each week, FareStart’s Guest Chef Night highlights this important partnership as a generous local chef donates their time to work alongside FareStart students to prepare a delicious three-course pre-fixe dinner for the public at the FareStart Restaurant in downtown Seattle.

Since 1994, Guest Chef Night has helped raise more than $5 million—all of which has directly supported FareStart’s training programs.

FarestartNext month FareStart is hosting a premier tasting event to celebrate the talented chefs, restaurants and other food industry partners that support FareStart’s training programs throughout the year.

FareStart’s Guest Chef Spectacular will take place Thursday, Jun 5, 2014 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Showbox SoDo (1700 1st Avenue S., Seattle) and will collectively include tastes from more than 60 of the area’s top restaurants, wineries, breweries and distilleries.

Proceeds from the event will benefit FareStart’s programs.

FarestartClick here to see the expansive list of visiting chefs, eateries and beverage providers that will be in attendance.

Tickets: Tickets for general admission are $80 per person.

VIP tickets are also available for $130 per person and include access to a VIP Lounge at 5:30 p.m. for special pre-reception featuring exclusive tastes, premium wines, early admittance to the main tasting event, and a special gift bag filled with goodies.

This is a 21-and-over event. Tickets will not be available at the door so get them now before they sell out!

FarestartHope to see you there!

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