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The Sage Green Apron

Those lovely folks over at The Heathman Hotel in Kirkland invited me over to watch Chef Brian, of famed restuarant Trellis, do magic tricks in his kitchen.  It took me about 23 seconds to accept the invitation.  And that included the 22 seconds it took me to open up a new email, type a reply & push send.  I never find it difficult to accept invitations to eat fantastic food.  Chef has been re-working the menu & thought that a fun way to introduce it would be to gather some friends into the kitchen, show off a few nifty tricks & then feed us.  I whole-heartedly agree, Chef.  It was a very fun way.

I was late.  I hate that.  But some days, escaping the clutches of my office is a little trickier than others.  It was just a tricky day.  There were 8 beautiful women & a token guy there waiting for me in the bar when I raced in the door.  Oh, on the “token guy” thing – it’s OK, I can say that – he and I used to work together on the same team and he loves a bit of banter.  He also loves to be the token guy in a roomful of gorgeous ladies.

We chatted for just a few minutes before we were whisked off to Chef Brian’s kitchen, tucked underneath the Trellis dining room.  Chef was there, along with his Pastry Chef & a gift for each of us – fabulous aprons from Sur La Table.  What a great gift!  I haven’t had a new apron in 25 years.  They then proceeded to show us just how to whip up a magnificent meal in an amazingly short time.  Simple, fresher-than-fresh ingredients, a mandoline & a couple of smokin’ hot saute pans was {just about} all it took.  They added a few drizzles of apple cider reduction, a sprig of sage & a large scoopful of humor.  It was fascinating & inspiring.  Very inspiring.  So inspiring we all cheered when Chef made sure to tell us that the cream he was using was full fat.  Hurrah!

After the show, we adjourned to a most beautifully decorated private dining room to enjoy Chef’s magic, in-the-flesh, so to speak.

Isn’t this simply the jolliest butter you’ve ever seen?

 Added to hunks of fresh sourdough baguette it’s also insanely tasty. 

 Created using produce from his own farm, this salad was so fresh I swear I could actually taste the vitamins bursting forth.

 And this, dear readers, is the single most moist & delicious piece of seared salmon I have ever eaten.  That Chef Brian, he seriously knows how to cook salmon.  If there is anyone on this earth that can do it better, I want to marry meet them.

 The sauteed apples were crisp, with a hint of sharpness & had the most magnificent flavor.  As apple-y as you can imagine.  And then some.

 And here’s the full-fat cream Chef alluded to earlier.  Lemon Sage Flan.  Oh my.  This was the dessert that I had at Trellis the first time that I ate there, some 3 or so years ago.  It had me at the first spoonful.  They talk about the face that launched a thousand ships.  This particular Trellis dessert launched innumerable dinners & events in my little world.

Did you know that Trellis even make their own peanut butter for the Peanut Butter Cookies?  They do.  It really wouldn’t surprise me if Chef Brian had a peanut farm somewhere lying around.  I mean, the man has even started growing his own honey.  We wondered, while we were eating the salmon, if he has a Salmon Hatchery up his sleeve too.

We were polite and made sure that every last cookie & every last drop of chocolate sauce was eaten.  It would have been rude not to.

That tuile in the background – with fresh sage leaves & fresh lavender – rolled by hand while still warm.  Crisp, delicately flavored, buttery.  The garnish – sugared sage leaves & lemon zest.  And the bit that you can’t really see – sage infused syrup – surrounding the flan.  I. Love. This. Dessert.  And now I have a sage green apron to remind me of it every time I am pottering in the kitchen.  Thanks Chef!

The banter at our end of the table was on sparkling form.  It included such topics as how my idea of camping is the 4th floor of the Heathman Hotel & heart-warming stories about how my brother’s flock of lambs came to be.  Our token guy & his beautiful girlfriend shared hysterical yarns about dogs, cooking at home & why token guy would make the world’s worst spy.  I also had a chance to meet the lovely Terry, a recent transplant from Montana who is enjoying our Spring weather enormously, since however bad we locals think Seattle’s has been lately, it sure is a whole lot warmer than where she’d come from.

Of course, as with all {really good} things, the whole affair was over far too quickly.  It was such a fun evening.  The only low point, for me, was that I barely even got to meet the 5 ladies at the other end of the table.  Trellis, when can we do this again?  You ROCK.

PS.  No – neither Trellis, the Heathman Hotel nor Chef Brian paid me to write this.  They didn’t ask me to write it either.  In fact, they didn’t even know I was going to write it.  I just went ahead and did it.  I’m like that.  Eating great food, making images & then writing about it is just something that I love to do.


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