Saturday, October 23, 2010

Upcoming Event: The Taste of Tulalip - Tulalip Resort - Tulalip, WA

A few weeks ago I had the extreme pleasure of attending the Taste of Tulalip preview event, held at the Tulalip Resort. The event was held to provide a sneak peak to the main event, The Taste of Tulalip, which will be held November 12th and 13th, 2010. This annual event, a celebration of “wine food tradition”, combines delectable food from chefs of the resort’s many restaurants and wines from 60 Washington wineries and 20+ Napa Valley wineries. Friday the 12th, the event kicks off with a champagne reception, the Taste of Tulalip Celebration Dinner, and a VIP after party. Saturday the 13th is a full day of events, including several wine seminars and the Grand Taste, held in the 15,000 sq ft Orca Ballroom. The Grand Taste also includes several live quick-fire challenges and chef demonstrations, put on by the chefs of the Tulalip Resort. Also on site will be Marc Mondavi, who will be presenting one of the seminars, as well as signing bottles during the Grand Taste.

Our experience at just the preview event was incredible. From the moment we arrived at the resort we were treated like VIP guests, starting with complimentary valet parking at the entrance. After being greeted warmly by resort staff and the preview event organizers and being handed a glass of sparkling wine, we walked into a beautiful ballroom that had been set up specifically for us for this preview event. The table settings were incredible, with wine glasses lined up at the ready for tastings and only four settings at each table, so each attendee had ample room to tweet or take notes on the courses we tasted throughout the evening (check out #TasteTulalip on twitter for our tweets from the evening). There were also photo slideshows on large screens on the walls, showing views of the Tulalip Resort’s rooms, restaurants, and entertainment offered on-site. We had a brief talk from Tony Hatch, Youth Advocate of the Tulalip Tribes, where we learned that Tulalip customs state that “one of the most intimate things you can do is sit down and share a meal with someone.” The resort strives for this, and works to think about old traditions and customs in the way that they treat their guests; with the respect that they deserve. According to the resort’s Executive Chef Perry Mascitti, the “chefs can show their passion with everything that they put out”. This sense of tradition and respect has shaped this event into what it is today. Our preview tasting started with samples from the Celebration Dinner, which will be held on Friday the 12th. This dinner contains five courses, with an intermezzo course between courses three and four. While the wines were not necessarily “paired” with the courses, they accompanied wonderfully. As each course was served, the chef who prepared it came out and gave a short intro to what we were about to taste and how the dish came to be. Also, Tulalip Resort’s Sommelier Tom Thompson would stop at our table to tell us about each wine as it was poured. It was so great hearing his stories of these wines and seeing the passion he has for what he does at the resort. Listed below are the courses of the Celebration Dinner, with photos and notes on a few of my favorites:

First Course, prepared by Gerry Shultz, Banquet Chef and John Jadamex, Eagle’s Buffet Chef: Dungeness and Alaskan Crab Sushi with Wild Rice, Sesame Lavash, Avacado Wasabi Foam
Accompanying Wine: Chateau Ste. Michelle Eroica Riesling
Notes: For someone who doesn’t normally like sushi, I was extremely pleased with this dish. The Ste. Michelle dry Riesling paired well with the spiciness of the wasabi used in the sushi.

Second Course, prepared by Gerry Shultz, Banquet Chef and John Ponticelli, Chef Garde Manager: Chenterelle, Smoked Boar Bacon and Aged Cheddar Soup and Quail Salad, Blackberry Vinaigrette, Micro Greens, Mache, Teardrop Tomatoes
Accompanying Wines: Betz Winery 2007 Besoleil Red and Tranche Cellars 2007 Roussane & Viognier
Notes: The cheese soup in this course was absolutely incredible. I was sad we only had such a small portion to try, I wanted an entire bowl of this stuff! The wines were also very nice, with the Betz having a strong bouquet and a complex finish.

Third Course, prepared by Brent Clarkson, Cedars Café Chef and David Buchanan, BlackFish Chef: White and Red Miso Salmon, Miso Rice, Lemon Butter Tamari Mushroom Medley, Inari-Nori slaw
Accompanying Wine: 2010 Taste of Tulalip Bookwalter Red (2008 vintage)
Notes: This wine will be the house wine for the resort in 2011, sold by the glass or by the bottle. The bottle was designed specifically for them by local artist Scott Schoenen from Fresh Northwest Design. In working with John Bookwalter on creating this wine, they wanted something that could sit down and age for awhile, or be enjoyed right now. This Bordeaux style blend contains Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc. Because Tulalip has a retail license, guests at the resort will be able to purchase a bottle to take with them if they enjoy it while on-site.

Intermezzo Course, prepared by Kurt Hitchman, TRC Chef de Cuisine: Pomegranate Aspic, Orange

Fourth Course, prepared by Dean Shinagawa, Tulalip Bay Chef: Waygu Beef Short Ribs and Certified Angus Beef Tenderloin, Bleu Cheese Potato, Shiitaki, Sundried Cherries, Cabernet Demi Glace
Accompanying Wines: Charles Krug 2006 Cabernet and Charles Smith Wines 2007 “Skull” Syrah.
Notes: This beef dish was fantastic! The meat was so perfectly tender and the demi glace added amazing flavors. While I had started to limit how many bites I was taking of each course (with 12 courses you really have to do that…), I most definitely ate every last bite of this delicious dish. The wines were very different and gave two very different contrasting flavors for this course.

Fifth Course, prepared by Nikol Nakamura, Pastry Chef: “A Study in Chocolate” – White Chocolate Cream, Milk Chocolate Cremosa, 55% Chocolate Ganache filled Raspberries, 72% Dark Chocolate Baby Fondant Cake
Accompanying Wine: Graham’s 6 Grapes Port
Notes: After so much food it was hard to dig into this dessert, but I was glad I did. The filled raspberries were delicious and the port had very bold flavors that accompanied all the chocolate aspects of this dessert quite well.

After the Celebration Dinner courses (but wait, there’s more?!), we moved onto a preview of some of the dishes offered at the Grand Taste, which will be held Saturday the 13th. These courses were brought out together in some cases, and the wine was all poured for us up front, so I will just list out each item and also list out the wines we enjoyed along with these tastes.

John Ponticelli, Chef Garde Manager: Spicy Wonton Cup with Seared Spiced Ahi, Wasabi, Soy, Mirin, Seasame Aioli

Gerry Shultz, Banquet Chef: Smoked Duck, Chanterelle, Olive Romano Lasagna Roll, Port and Roasted Tomato Coulis, Pesto Oregon Bleu
Notes: This was a favorite of the first three items brought out (they were brought out all at the same time). This was a great twist on a pasta dish!

John Jadamec, Eagle’s Buffet Chef: Pulled Duck Slider with Pear Glaze, Asian Slaw, Brioche Roll

David Buchamam, Blackfish Chef: Apple Lacquered Pacific Halibut over Savory Fennel-Butternut Squash Bread Pudding
Notes: I really enjoyed this dish. Being from Alaska, I can be rather picky with my seafood (I mean c’mon, I’m used to eating fish I hauled out of the ocean/river/lake myself), but this halibut was prepared perfectly. It was tender and cooked well, and the accompanying butternut squash bread pudding was an amazing pair to the fish.

Dean Shinagawa, Tulalip Bay Chef: Butter Poached Sea Scallops with Toasted Pinenuts
Notes: This was one big buttery scallop! Like the halibut, the scallop was prepared perfectly and quite delicious.

Nikol Nakamura, Pastry Chef: “A Sweet Ending” display – Passion Fruit Macaroons, Chocolate Nougat, Pistachio Bon Bons, Financier, Mouse Au Chcolat, Beignets
Notes: More dessert! At this point I was so full I couldn’t see straight, but the bites I did have off this platter were quite lovely. Loved the beignets!

Chef Kurt Hitchman, TRC Chef de Cuisine: Local and International Cheese Plate
Notes: Who doesn’t love cheese to finish a meal? We had a few bites from this plate as an excellent finish to this extraordinary tasting event.

Wines Poured for Grand Taste Preview:

ZD Wines 2008 Founder's Reserve Pinot Noir

Lachini Vineyards 2008 Pinot Gris (the only OR winery featured at The Taste of Tulalip)

Reynvaan Family Vineyards 2007 Syrah

Mi Sueño Winery’s Herrera label 2006 Cabernet (This 100% Cabernet is VERY limited, with only 100 cases produced. Tulalip Resort is the only location in Washington that carries this wine. This is a big bold cab with great flavors!)

As the preview event concluded and we tried to determine how we were going to roll ourselves out of the ballroom, the amazing organizers of the event had one more surprise for us. In Tulalip custom visitors never leave empty-handed, so we were all provided a wrapped gift of beautiful glass flutes with the Tulalip symbol on each of them. I was so thankful to receive such a beautiful gift after dining on such amazing food and wine.

Don’t miss out on The Taste of Tulalip 2010. As you can see, the food and wines offered at this impressive event (awarded the Washington Wine Commission's "Best Wine Event" featuring Washington Wines in 2009), are second to none. This year’s event will no doubt sell out, so visit Ticketmaster ASAP to get your tickets to any or all of the events that make up The Taste of Tulalip. Also, when booking overnight packages for the event, present your Ticketmaster event code for a special room rate at the resort. Guests will receive a Deluxe King for $150 plus tax per night or a Double Queen for $180 plus tax per night.

I’ll be at the Grand Taste on Saturday November 13th, so I’ll see you there!

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