Wednesday, December 22, 2010

‘Lobster-Maine-ia’ Boils Over on Pier 70 for the Month of January, 2011

Formerly Known as Lobsterpalooza, Waterfront Seafood Grill’s Sixth Annual Lobsterfest Pays Homage to the World’s Favorite ‘Homard’


SEATTLE, Wash.—(December 22, 2010)—It’s the time of year everyone’s been salivating for—Waterfront Seafood Grill’s ( annual month-long celebration of the undisputed King of Crustaceans, the lobster kicking off January 6, 2011*.

But not just any lobster: This year, the supremely popular Maine Lobster (Homarus americanus) is featured in nine out of ten special dishes created by Executive Chef Peter Levine.

“In preparation for this event, we have the luxury of sampling lobsters from all over the world, but this year the Maine was really blowing all the other kinds right out of the water,” said Chef Levine.

Lobster-Maine-ia menu includes:

Lobster Napoleon— crisp wontons, Asian slaw, miso orange dressing ($14)

Lobster Bisque, classic style with makers mark butter ($12)

Lobster Slider— tarragon mayonnaise, celery, chunk Maine lobster ($6 each)

Maine Lobster Risotto—with asparagus and black truffle ($34)

Lobster Salad— fresh mango, fennel, mache, passion fruit vinaigrette ($16)

Steamed Live Maine Lobster— coconut jasmine rice, lemongrass red thai curry broth ($44)

Grilled Live Maine Lobster— thin spaghetti, marinara sauce, penn cove mussels ($45)

Roasted Maine Lobster Tails— water chestnuts, miso, orange, scallions ($46)

One-Pound Grilled New Zealand Lobster Tail— cognac, demi glace, green peppercorns, cream   ($69)

Although the prized species can be found from the Canadian Maritime provinces to North Carolina, about half the annual catch of cold-water lobster in North America comes from Maine.  Because harvesters know that protecting the resource now will help to guarantee their livelihood in the future, diners can be assured that Maine lobsters are a well-managed, sustainable marine resource. 

However, crabby at being slighted, several passed-over lobster species have complained that a powerhouse ‘lob’bying effort on the part of the Maine lobsters themselves was responsible for the menu’s focus and the iconic event’s unexpected name change: Rock lobsters appealed to The B-52s for support, to no avail; a coalition of Spiny lobsters, a clawless species, lost all credibility when they threatened, ‘Oooh, I’ll give you such a pinch! ‘; and a handful of mildly outraged European lobsters shrugged, turned tail and headed to the nearest sand bar for a carafe of Chablis.

Continues Chef Levine, “This is such incredible lobster that I want it to take center stage in almost all of the dishes. Each preparation is simple and flavorful, but also lovely to look at—just as any star performer should be!”

One hundred and twelve years ago, ‘Remember the Maine!’ was a slogan that served as a rallying cry leading up to the Spanish-American War, but during January, it’s a reminder to visit Waterfront Seafood Grill and sidle up to a lobster menu so dreamy you’ll have to pinch yourself.

*Waterfront Seafood Grill will temporarily close January 1 reopening January 6 for a dining room refresh.

Open since 2000, the Waterfront Seafood Grill, located on Pier 70 in Seattle, features outstanding fresh seafood accompanied by sweeping views of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains. Winner of the Washington Wine Commission’s Restaurant of the Year, the restaurant is open seven days a week at 4 p.m., with dinner service starting at 5 p.m. For reservations and more information call (206) 956-9171 or visit

Follow Waterfront Seafood Grill Online


Twitter: @Waterfront70

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Media Contact: Andrea Courtney
Randall PR / (206) 551-1651

El Gaucho Portland Introduces Willamette Valley Vintners Bio-Cask System

Sophisticated Technology Keeps Premium Wines Perfect from the First Glass to the Last Drop



Willamette Valley Vineyards Founder Jim Bernau Showcases the Bio-Casks

PORTLAND, Ore.— El Gaucho is raising a glass to an exciting development that is poised to revolutionize the wine industry.

Willamette Valley Vineyards has launched “Bio-Cask,” and El Gaucho Portland is the first restaurant anywhere to feature the winery’s new wine-casking technology. A stainless steel cask that contains the equivalent of 26 (750 ml.) bottles, the wine-preserving Bio-Cask is designed to connect with a restaurant’s tap system to provide high-quality wines by the glass to the customer at an approachable price. The technology keeps each successive glass as fresh as the first.

Bio-Cask benefits the guest, the restaurant, the winery and the planet:

  • Increases quality and consistency of the wine
  • Is a simple system that utilizes existing tap technology and widely available gasses
  • Is waste-free
  • Is ecologically friendly

Says Chad Mackay, president and CEO of Mackay Restaurants, “This is an exciting development because it drives down the cost of wine for everybody involved by eliminating the extra materials. We’re introducing Bio-Cask in El Gaucho Portland, but we have plans to expand the technology into our other locations.”

Oregon is a famously “green” state, and Willamette Valley Vineyards is a participant in the Oregon winery Carbon Neutral Challenge. President Jim Bernau came up with the concept of the Bio-Cask during the winery’s early efforts to achieve carbon neutrality in 2009.

Over its estimated 10-year lifespan, each slim, sleek Bio-Cask will replace 327 cases of traditionally packaged wine, thereby eliminating the need for: 3,924 glass bottles, corks and metal cork caps; 7,848 labels and adhesive; cardboard boxes; wooden pallets; and the plastic wrap to secure packed boxes for transport. Not only does the Bio-Cask virtually eliminate materials that would otherwise end up in landfills or require recycling, but the reduced per-unit weight translates to a markedly smaller carbon transportation footprint, the single most significant impact on the environment for the wine industry as a whole.

The selections currently being served at El Gaucho Portland from the Bio Cask tap system include:

Willamette Valley Vineyards, Pinot Noir 2008 (Willamette Valley), $14 per glass


Troon Vineyard, Trifecta Red 2008 (Oregon), $10 per glass

“These highly food-friendly wines are on the menu right now and are pouring beautifully. Our guests know we’d only offer them the best, and they’ve embraced both the wines and the concept. Perceptions are changing rapidly about wine packaged in non-traditional ways. What’s so terrific about Bio Cask is that it offers significant ecological benefits without sacrificing a fraction of an ounce of quality,” says El Gaucho Portland Wine and Cigar Captain Leann Loveland, “and who can’t drink to that?”

Open since 2000, El Gaucho® is the Northwest's steakhouse legacy focused on elegant, old-school, tableside service for people celebrating their lives. The menu highlights 28-Day Dry-Aged Certified Angus Beef® Prime steaks, cutting edge fresh seafood selections from sustainable sources, and extensive wine and malt scotch lists. El Gaucho’s swanky bar was recently featured in Continental Airlines magazine and given the “Gold Standard” by Portland Monthly magazine. Located at 319 S.W. Broadway, El Gaucho is open Monday through Thursday 5 p.m. to midnight; Friday and Saturday 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Sunday from 5 to 11 p.m. Happy hour is available 5 to 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. to close Monday through Friday and all day Sunday. For more information, visit or call (503) 227-8794.

Follow El Gaucho Online


Twitter: @ElGauchoPDX

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cafe Flora Rings in 2011 with Luck-Themed New Year’s Offerings

Special Dishes on December 31 and January 1 Designed to Bring Good Fortune

SEATTLE, Wash.—(December 21, 2010)— To ring in 2011 on a prosperous and healthful note, Cafe Flora is doubling diners’ chances for good fortune. For the first time, in addition to offering their popular New Year’s Day brunch, Seattle’s favorite vegetarian restaurant will also feature a special New Year’s prix fixe dinner.

Certain foods are thought to bring good luck when eaten at the New Year. Cooked greens and cabbage look like folded currency, and thus are symbolic of economic fortune. Anything flat and round brings to mind coins, or money; round cakes, pastries, and other foods in the shape of a ring symbolize “coming full circle”. In China, the kumquat is considered a particularly lucky plant, bringing happiness and wealth; and long noodles represent longevity and prosperity.

Offered alongside the regular menu on both December 31 and January 1, the three-course, prix fixe Lucky Dinner Menu includes: 

Lucky Dinner Menu

1st course

Winter Rolls—with water chestnuts, ginger, seitan, cabbage and carrot, stuffed into a crispy roll served with orange-kumquat dipping sauce and grilled jicama pomegranate salad.

2nd course

Fresh-Made Linguini—tossed with sun-dried tomato olive tapenade, and topped with a sauté of winter greens, fennel, pine nuts and goat Gouda cheese.

3rd course

Triple Chocolate Fortune—a white chocolate disc, flourless chocolate cake, chocolate ganache, lemon truffle center, yuzu foam and a crescent cookie. (Gluten-free)

$45 per person. Reservations available for parties of eight or more. Includes a complimentary glass of Champagne. All bottles of bubbly offered at half-off listed price.

Available only on New Year’s Day, the special Brunch Buffet will feature:

Brunch Buffet

Fruit and Pastries

A variety of fresh fruit and fresh baked pastries, including:

· Blueberry tea bread

· Vegan orange-glazed mini cinnamon roll bites


Freshly made salads, featuring a variety of organic wild greens, house-made dressings and local produce, including:

  • Vegan Caesar with crisp romaine and fried capers
  • Organic spinach and endive with green apple and crumbled Roquefort
  • Winter greens with quinoa, dried cherries and toasted almonds
  • Marinated grilled-vegetables with a balsamic reduction


Signature breakfast scrambles and more, including:

· Fall Forager Scramble—locally-foraged golden chanterelle and crimini mushrooms with roasted butternut squash and fresh sage.

· Flora Morning Scramble—fresh spinach, caramelized onions, and chopped Roma tomatoes with fresh herbs.

· Crème Brulée French Toast—handcrafted Columbia City Bakery brioche baked in a rich cinnamon-orange custard with glistening caramel, and topped with fresh tropical fruit.

· Potato Latkes—traditional potato pancakes served with warm house-made applesauce and chive crème fraîche.

Buffet will also feature a variety of traditional breakfast accompaniments.

$20 per person/$12 per child 12-years and under. Saturday, January 1, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Reservations available for parties of eight or more.

Cafe Flora focuses on utilizing predominantly local, organic and sustainable produce and herbs, and remains dedicated to nurturing strong and direct relationships with Washington’s farmers and foragers. The culinary team draws inspiration from international traditions along with abundant, locally grown ingredients to create imaginative and dynamic vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free cuisine. Regularly featured on Seattle’s numerous “Best Of” lists for vegetarian and vegan dining, Café Flora has also been named the Best Vegetarian Restaurant in the Pacific Northwest by Vegetarian Times magazine. 

“Since we’ve added dinner to our New Year’s dining options, we’ll be providing all the luck our guests need to get 2011 off to a terrific start, so we’re requesting they leave the lucky rabbit’s foot at home,” adds owner Nat Stratton-Clarke.

Cafe Flora’s award-winning menu features modern and sophisticated vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free cuisine inspired by international culinary traditions and created with local, organic and sustainable ingredients. Voted one of Seattle Weekly’s “Favorite Restaurants 2006,” Cafe Flora was also awarded “Best Vegetarian Restaurant” by Seattle Magazine eight years running. In 2005 The Cafe Flora Cookbook was published with more than 250 house recipes. Located at 2901 East Madison, Cafe Flora serves dinner Sunday through Thursday 5 to 9 p.m. and Friday through Saturday 5 to 10 p.m. Breakfast and lunch are served weekdays 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (206) 325-9100

Monday, December 20, 2010

Get Fit and Healthy in 2011 with Energy Fitness and Wellness on Lake Union

Owner Jason Whitney Offers Health Tips and Timely December Promotions to Jumpstart a Resolution


SEATTLE, Wash.—(December 20, 2010)—Each year, “lose weight” or “get fit” are the most commonly made New Year’s resolutions. But according to a study conducted in 2008 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 34 percent of adults 20 years and older are obese, a rise from the 23 percent found obese in 1994. Energy Fitness and Wellness ( owner Jason Whitney has some simple reminders to help people finish 2010 with a healthy advantage heading into the new year:

Tips to Help Deflect Holiday Weight Gain

1. Drink Water:  Each 4 oz. glass of wine has about 120 calories, so try drinking two 8 oz. glasses of water for every glass of wine. This will help fill you up, and slow down consumption of both wine and rich holiday foods.

2. Choose Food Wisely:  Try to limit intake of high-fat foods, including cream-based soups, cheesy casseroles, processed meats, fried foods, pastries and mashed potatoes.

3. Get More Fiber: Eat more fiber throughout the day to keep you feeling full. Sneak in extra fiber by adding beans to broth soup, or making pumpkin soup or pumpkin pancakes.

4. Take a Walk:  If you’re busy or traveling and can’t fit in a visit to the gym, make time for a brisk walk with family members. In addition to burning calories and revving up your metabolism, it helps reduce stress—another contributor to weight gain—and provides a great opportunity to catch up with loved ones.

“The holidays are my favorite time of year, but I know all too well how the season can undermine overall health. These are some tools to help avoid overindulging and make achieving a ’get fit‘ resolution a reality. I challenge everybody who has fitness on their 2011 to-do list to get ahead of the game and start getting healthy now,” says Jason.

To jumpstart New Year’s resolutions, Energy Fitness and Wellness is offering a pair of promotions intended to support the commitment to get healthy in 2011. New clients may choose from the following two specials, available through December 31, 2010:

$50 one-time membership fee waived throughout December


$100 for 5 one-on-one sessions with a Personal Fitness Trainer

To take advantage of the New Year promotion or for information on membership pricing, trainer bios, class schedules contact (206) 283-0526 or

Energy Fitness and Wellness provides hands-on solutions to meet all levels of fitness goals. With an inspiring view of Seattle’s Lake Union, the studio environment is small enough to keep everyone personally engaged in their workout, and large enough to accommodate extremely effective group programs. Yoga, massage therapy, and nutrition plans designed by a resident homeopathic doctor make Energy Fitness and Wellness a complete resource for holistic health. Located at 2040 Westlake Ave. N., the gym is open Monday thru Thursday 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Wine Storage Bellevue Named 2010 ‘Specialty Storage Facility of the Year’ by Mini-Storage Messenger

Celebrates Award with Free Wine Storage Promotion


BELLEVUE, Wash.—(December 16, 2010) —Family enterprise Wine Storage Bellevue, ( has been distinguished as ‘Specialty Storage Facility of the Year’, by Mini-Storage Messenger, a monthly publication that delivers the self-storage industry’s most important news and information.

Wine Storage Bellevue is celebrating this honor by offering two months free storage with purchase of a custom wine racking system, including free shipping and installation, or one month free wine storage and free use of its move-in truck. Both offers expire January 30th; for more information click here.

In the Annual Facility of the Year awards Mini-Storage Messenger named one winner each in five categories: For Wine Storage Bellevue, the award was given to the most outstanding self-storage facility dedicated to specialty use, a category that includes wine storage, RV and boat storage, and more.

“After putting in the time and effort to create this unique space, and with the wonderful response we have had from our customers and the local wine community, it’s great to have the national recognition from our peers in the self-storage industry,” says co-owner Dick Gilroy, who founded Wine Storage Bellevue with son Patrick and wife Loraine after 40 years in residential and commercial development.

Criteria for distinction include: Site selection; unique design, features and amenities as related to the specialty use; challenges overcome during development; marketing; security; customer service; and occupancy.

Wine Storage Bellevue is located within the Gilroy’s 120,000 square foot Stor-House Self Storage facility ( located at 1614 118th Ave SE (Bellevue, WA), which was also recognized in the Facility of the Year category.

Wine Storage Bellevue offers wine storage with optimum humidity and temperature control, and access via a dedicated elevator. Each all-steel locker is equipped with a steel latch and bezel, and secured with a cylinder lock; access is offered from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m., seven days a week, 365 days a year.

As an elegant counterpart to the modern design of the wine lockers, Wine Storage Bellevue features a Tuscan-inspired, 1,000 square foot Wine Resource Center and Tasting Room available exclusively to its customers.

“We didn’t set out to win national recognition; we set out to draw on our combined construction, design and wine expertise to build the best off-site wine storage possible—something worthy of our greater Eastside and Seattle wine storage clientele.  This award shows that it definitely benefitted us to put our efforts into building a state-of-the-art facility while remaining focused on the customers and their needs, ensuring that they’re not only thrilled with the service and amenities, but increase the likelihood they’ll introduce Wine Storage Bellevue to their friends,” says Patrick Gilroy.

Wine Storage Bellevue offers secure, climate-controlled, state-of-the-art, all-steel storage lockers for valued wine collections of all sizes. Prices begin at $24 per month. Rental includes use of the generously appointed 1,000-square-foot Wine Resource Center and Tasting Room, equipped with a computer and internet access. Wine Storage Bellevue is situated inside Stor-House Self Storage, located at 1614 118th Avenue SE, Bellevue, Washington. Access is available daily from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m.; Wine Resource Center open 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., or by special appointment. For more information call (425) 453-2242 visit

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Jamie Brown, Winemaker for Waters Winery, Substance and 21 Grams, Creates Sensation in Wine Industry

Distinctive, Old-World Style Earns Recognition and Praise for Three Washington State Labels

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Walla Walla, Wash.— Waters Winery and winemaker Jamie Brown have cause for celebration. In a state that boasts more than 650 wineries, they have together compiled an impressive list of accolades and scores that serve as a testament both to Waters’ position as one of Washington’s top wineries, and Jamie Brown as a distinguished winemaker.

Brown is not only respected by consumers of the wines he crafts for Waters, Wines of Substance and 21 Grams, but is consistently praised by reviewers and peers alike for his dedication to the true expression of the fruit and terroir of the vineyards. The proof, as they say, is in the glass.

Jamie Brown and Waters Winery

Waters 2007 Forgotten Hills Syrah was dubbed the fourth best Washington wine by Seattle Metropolitan magazine (September 2010), with a score of 94 points. Author of “100 Best Washington Wines” Sean P. Sullivan writes, “Wines from Water’s winemaker Jamie Brown stand out for their lower alcohol and higher acidity, and he focuses largely on single-vineyard syrah. (Forgotten Hills) has perfectly balanced fruit, acid, and tannins on an elegantly textured palate.”

Long regarded one of Washington’s most elite wineries, Leonetti Cellars sources their estate vineyard (Loess) fruit only to Waters Winery. Says Chris Figgins, Leonetti owner and winemaker, “(Jamie’s) wines are truly distinctive, and (he) has managed to set himself apart in striving for a signature that is all his own, while being true to the Walla Walla Valley. The wines are all impeccably clean, devoid of flaws, loaded with gorgeous aromatics and show a deft hand at the judicious selection of oak.”

Jamie Brown and 21 Grams

With the 21 Grams label, in collaboration with artist Makoto Fujimura, Brown and Gramercy Cellars set out to explore the correlation between fine wine and fine art. Fujimura creates a new label for each year’s vintage, and portions of the proceeds are donated to the non-profit International Arts Movement.

Called out in the Seattle magazine article “The Next Cult Wines” by Jake Kosseff (Best Young Sommelier in America, 2006), 21 Grams consists of an exclusive 100-case bottling, blended from the finest lots of Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon available in the cellars of Waters and Gramercy, resulting in exquisitely balanced, intense, complex and layered wines with a long finish.

The first three vintages of 21 Grams received a 93, and five scores of 94 from Robert Parker and Wine Spectator.

Jamie Brown and Substance

Brown is also winemaker at the award-winning Wines of Substance. His philosophy translates seamlessly to the mission of Substance, which is to educate and introduce emerging wine drinkers to modestly priced, single-fruit wines of every varietal grown in Washington State, so they can appreciate the true expression of each grape.

This novel approach led to Substance being singled out by Wine Business Monthly as number two on the publication’s “Hot Small Brands” list in 2009. According to editor Cyril Penn, “We gravitate toward wineries and brands that represent market trends or innovation, that take a leadership position in their regions, or that make unusual varietals or unexpected wines…and wines that pass the taste test.”

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With these three distinct ventures, Brown explores the strengths of his winemaking as well as the unique character of varietal and vineyard: With Waters, he is true to terroir, finessing Syrahs that draw comparison to “the Northern Rhone’s great wines” (Efrain Madrigal, Wine Director, Sam’s Wines and Spirits); with 21 Grams he fuses art and wine to create Cabernets that have achieved cult-like status; and with the egalitarian Substance, he makes the grapes of Washington available to all, creating an educational springboard for future connoisseurs to experience the breadth the state has to offer.

A Walla Walla native, Jamie moved to Seattle to pursue a music career, then returned after discovering and honing his talent and passion for the art of making wine. Explains Jamie, “When playing music and in songwriting, I rely heavily on intuition in anticipating the shape of a phrase or a melody, and the same holds true in winemaking. Through recognizing the strengths of a particular grape, vintage or vineyard, I can combine experience with intuition to guide how I shape that wine.”

And who can’t drink to that?

Waters Winery was founded in 2005. In November 2007 Waters opened a 5,000 sq. ft. sustainable winery designed by renowned Boxwood Architects. Waters owns several estate vineyards throughout the Walla Walla Valley AVA and produces just under 4,000 cases per year. Current releases include small lots of Cabernet Sauvignon, single vineyard Syrah, a Bordeaux-style blend “Interlude,” and Rosé.

Located at 1825 JB George Road, Walla Walla, Washington, Waters’ tasting room is open to the public Thursday through Monday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment. For more information, call (509) 525-1590, or visit

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Celebrate 1/1/11 in Seattle!


SEATTLE, Wash. – (December 14, 2010) – 1/1/11 only comes around once every hundred years, so make sure this New Year’s celebration is one to remember in Seattle with the help from these local restaurants and businesses.

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Annual New Year’s Eve Bash at Waterfront Seafood Grill | @waterfront70 | Facebook

Pier 70 is the place to say farewell to 2010 and raise a glass to the new year. With exceptional fresh seafood, amazing views and live music, Waterfront Seafood Grill’s annual New Year’s Eve bash will rock the dock. Executive Chef Peter Levine has created special dinner items that will be offered along with the regular menu:

Caviar ($90)

Sustainable osetra, 1oz., toasted brioche, crème fraiche, mother-of-pearl spoon

Sautéed Foie Gras ($25)

Caramelized onions and apples, 50 year-old balsamic vinegar, big croutons

Grilled Filet ‘Rossini Style’ with Certified Angus Beef® ($72)

Seared duck foie gras, fresh winter black truffles, fancy Madeira sauce

Roast Maine Lobster Tails ($50)

Water chestnut and scallion relish; miso, lemon and ginger butter sauce

Dinner reservation are available from 5 to 11 p.m. Afterwards, guests are invited to stay and dance the night away to the lively sounds of pianist Benet Fleck and the Elliott Bay-O-Nettes with sultry vocalist Melanie Winslow. For reservations, call (206) 956-9171.

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Ring in 2011 at El Gaucho Seattle and The Inn at El Gaucho in Belltown

Make a night of the festivities with a swanky dinner at El Gaucho Seattle and an overnight stay at the Inn at El Gaucho. From 9 p.m. to midnight, pianist Primo Kim will be playing his spirited jazz music throughout the Pampas Room. Celebrate the big night with festive décor and a toast to 2011, and then retire to a haven of plush featherbeds and Egyptian cotton sheets for some much-needed rest. The Inn at El Gaucho in Belltown is offering up this special package:

New Year’s Eve Package ($325)

Best available junior suite

In-room celebratory party favors

Complimentary bottle of sparkling wine

Priority reservation at El Gaucho Seattle*

*Time and party size subject to availability.

Must be 21-years-old or over. Prices do not include sales tax or dinner at El Gaucho Seattle (if applicable). Valet parking is optional for the package at $25 plus tax, subject to availability. Valid on December 31, 2010 only. For reservations, call El Gaucho Seattle at (206) 728-1337 or the Inn at El Gaucho at (866) 354-2824.

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Cafe Flora Offers New and Old Traditions: New Year’s Eve Dinner or Annual Brunch | @CafeFloraVeg | Facebook

Seattle’s favorite vegetarian restaurant, Cafe Flora, is ringing in the New Year with new and old traditions. Along with their annual morning brunch on January 1, they will now be offering a luck-themed dinner celebration during their regular hours on December 31:

New Year’s Eve Prix-Fixe Dinner – December 31

Reservations from 5 to 10 p.m.; Prix-fixe cost $45

Enjoy a three-course meal and complimentary glass of Champagne.

All bottles of Champagne will be ½ off.

Third Annual New Year’s Brunch – January 1

Reservations from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Buffet cost $20 for adults, $12 for kids

Fruit and pastries; salads; signature scrambles; crème brulée French toast; potato latkes; and accompaniments such as roasted Yukon gold potatoes, cheesy grits, braised collard greens, Hoppin’ John fritters and black-eyed peas.

Large party reservations for 8 or more on both days are highly recommended. For reservations or additional information, call (206) 325-9100.

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Don’t Drop the Ball: Stick to a Resolution with Energy Fitness and Wellness | @EnergyFitnWell | Facebook

Kick 2011 into high gear and jump-start an initiative to get healthy with Energy Fitness and Wellness. Located in Lake Union, the fitness center is offering holiday specials so that the Times Square ball is the only one being dropped on New Year’s this year:

$50 Membership Fee Waived Throughout December

– or –

$100 for 5 One-on-One Sessions with a Personal Fitness Guru

These limited-time offers are only available until December 31 by calling Energy Fitness and Wellness directly at (206) 283-0526. For information on membership pricing, trainer bios and class schedules, visit

 Special New Year’s Eve Hours

Cafe Flora

December 31: Open regular hours, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

January 1: Third Annual New Year’s Day Brunch, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; dinner 5 to 10 p.m.

El Gaucho Bellevue

December 31: Open regular hours, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.

January 1: Closed all day

El Gaucho Tacoma

December 31: Open regular hours, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.

January 1: Closed all day

El Gaucho Portland

December 31: Seating 4:30 to 5 p.m., 7 to 7:30 p.m., 10 to 10:30 p.m.

January 1: Closed all day

El Gaucho Seattle

December 31: Open regular hours, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.

January 1: Closed all day

Waterfront Seafood Grill

December 31: Dinner, 5 to 11 p.m.

January 1: Closed all day

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For Auld Lang Syne!

Media Contact: Ashley McLean

Randall PR / (503) 490-9886

Value, Versatility Make 2007 Vine & Sun Red a Must-Have Holiday Table Addition

Released for the First Time, Bordeaux-Style Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot Crafted by Esteemed Washington Winemaker Matthew Loso


WOODINVILLE, Wash.—(December 14, 2010)—Matt Loso has done it again, and the timing couldn’t be better for holiday tables:

2007 Vine & Sun Red Wine, $17 per 750 ml bottle

Fruit, Appellation and Vineyard: 65% Cabernet Sauvignon (Red Mountain – Hedges Bel’ Villa); 21% Cabernet Franc (Columbia Valley – Wallula); 14% Merlot (Columbia Valley – Conner Lee)

Aged: 21 months in American oak – 50% New / 50% neutral

Total Production: 375 cases

Formed in 2001 by five business partners passionate about fine wine, Vine & Sun LLC ( features two labels under the company name—Vine & Sun and Barons V. While vintages are normally available only to a select mailing list of customers, wine shops and fine restaurants, the 2007 release marks the first time since the company’s inception that the public will be offered this wine directly*. Only 375 cases were produced, so at the incredibly approachable price of $17, this food-friendly Bordeaux-style blend won’t last.

Matthew Loso, Vine & Sun’s winemaker, boasts extensive experience in the Washington wine industry and has a legendary talent and palate. Formerly the award-winning owner and winemaker of Matthews Estate in Woodinville (WA), Loso’s ongoing mission is to fully express the vineyard while making world-class, Old World-inspired fine wines of intense character and great ageing potential. In addition to being the winemaker for Vine & Sun LLC, he is also a consulting winemaker for several other respected Washington state wineries.

“The timing couldn’t be better for us to introduce the Vine & Sun wine directly to the public. Not only is it offered at a terrific price, but it’s an incredibly versatile wine, making it the perfect complement to a complex holiday meal with a broad spectrum of competing flavors and tastes,” notes Loso.

The wine is available at the Vine & Sun tasting room in Woodinville (18504 142nd Ave NE), open every Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. To join the mailing list or purchase remotely, call (425) 398-7147 or email

*Self distributed; direct shipment options are available in the following states: Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Wyoming, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Texas, Arkansas, Washington D.C., Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Arizona, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Wisconsin.

Vine & Sun LLC is owned by five partners and produces Barons V and Vine & Sun fine wines under winemaker, Matthew Loso. Both the wines are blended using grapes from top vineyards in Washington’s Columbia Valley, and are aged in 100% new American oak barrels for 25 months before being bottled and aged for another year. Located at 18506 142nd Ave NE, Woodinville, the winery is open every Saturday for tastings from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, call (425) 398-7147 or visit

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Full Circle Fitness and Wellness in Lake Union Changes Name to Energy Fitness and Wellness

Offers Specialized Membership Plans Focusing on Fitness, Nutrition and Results


SEATTLE, Wash.—(December 9, 2010)—Energy Fitness and Wellness ( is not a typical gym. Formerly Full Circle Fitness and Wellness, the recent name change reflects an emphasis on the energetic and holistic approach to health.

With hardwood floors, warm lighting, a rewarding view of Lake Union and new equipment, Energy Fitness and Wellness offers a uniquely inviting atmosphere to encourage fitness. What’s more, the team is efficient, personal and dedicated to measurable results.

Jason Whitney, the engine at the heart of Energy Fitness and Wellness in Seattle, is an expert at inspiring his clients to feel good about feeling good. Whitney explains that fitness is not just about the energy expended when working out, but includes energy gained from better nutrition and regular exercise. “Lifestyles are unique. When designing programs, we consider surroundings, nutritional habits, daily routines, and challenges. We can help incorporate an energetic fitness routine into your busy life.”

The philosophy that drives the expert staff  is rooted in the idea of whole-body fitness. As part of their commitment to total health, Energy staffs several highly trained Certified Personal Trainers, a yoga instructor with experience teaching yoga in India, and a naturopathic doctor.

This small, enthusiastic team of fitness experts focuses like a laser on the client’s individual goals, incorporating nutrition, movement and resistance training. The staff recognizes that taking control of one’s health requires a lifestyle change and tailored programs that keep training on target.

Memberships range from monthly to long-term and offer options to motivate everyone, regardless of skill, age or degree of fitness. Programs can be tailored to enhance training for high-level competitors like triathletes and those involved in performance sports, while bodybuilders and pageant competitors will also find the programs challenging and rewarding.

Month-to-Month Membership ($69)

2 initial semi-private fitness sessions; 2 initial group training coaching sessions

Energy Group Coaching Membership ($125 x 12 months)

Unlimited access to high-energy group fitness training sessions; a scientifically designed group fitness program designed to boost metabolism, decrease injuries and increase strength; four open swim sessions

Energy All Access Membership ($250 x 12 months)

Group Coaching benefits plus a fitness coaching session once a week; individualized program design; 10 open swim sessions

Energy All Access Elite ($450 x 12 months)

All Access benefits plus a second fitness coaching session per week (eight a month); 20 open swim sessions

3 Month Group Coaching Membership ($175 x 3 months)

Group Coaching benefits with only a 3-month commitment

3 Months-To-Fit Membership ($300 x 3 months)

All Access benefits with only a 3-month commitment

3 Months-To-Fit Elite Membership ($550 x 3 months)

All Access Elite benefits with only a 3-month commitment

All memberships include unlimited use of gym during business hours and have an additional $50 one-time membership fee. All swim sessions must be between the hours of 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday thru Friday.

Personal Training Packages - 5 sessions ($350); 10 sessions ($650); 20 sessions ($1,200)

Open Swim Packages - $10 per session

Small Group Training Classes - $15 per class

Energy Fitness and Wellness provides hands-on solutions to meet all levels of fitness goals. With an inspiring view of Seattle’s Lake Union, the studio environment is small enough to keep everyone personally engaged in their workout, and large enough to accommodate extremely effective group programs. Yoga, massage therapy, and nutrition plans designed by a resident homeopathic doctor make Energy Fitness and Wellness a complete resource for holistic health. Located at 2040 Westlake Ave N., the gym is open Monday thru Thursday 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Follow Energy Fitness and Wellness Online




Monday, December 6, 2010

Avalon to Open in West Seattle

Renowned Chef Deb Breuler Keeps it Local, Transforming Former Café Revo Into New Rustic Restaurant and Lounge


Seattle, Wash.—(December 6, 2010)—West Seattle native Chef Deborah Breuler’s restaurant experience has taken her all over the map—Alaska, San Francisco, Chicago, Hollywood—but now she has found a new culinary home right in her own back yard.

Slated to open in December, Avalon (; 2940 S.W. Avalon Way) will occupy the Luna Park site formerly known as Café Revò in West Seattle.  Chef Breuler’s menu will focus on local Pacific Northwest fare with a touch of rustic Mediterranean flavor; prices range from $7 to $12 for starters and $15 to $22 for entrées.

“West Seattle is home and most of my own family lives over here, so it’s exciting for me to be able to open my first solo venture in the neighborhood I love,” says Chef Breuler.

Designed to be unfussy and approachable, Chef Breuler’s menu will mix core favorites with seasonally rotating items and daily specials that capitalize on ingredients provided predominantly by small local vendors. 

The menu will include such offerings as:

Small Plates

Artichoke Fritter

with zesty tomato spread  ($7)

Bruschetta of Crab

with mascarpone, arugula and lemon vinaigrette  ($11)

Grilled Curly Endive

with honey crisp apples, Seastar goat cheese and candied walnuts ($7)


Grilled Marinated Pork Loin

with fig mostarda, braised Brussels sprouts with pancetta, and smashed potatoes  ($17)

Forty Clove Garlic Chicken

with preserved lemon, green olives, almonds, Bluebird Farms grains and sautéed kale  ($17)

Thundering Hooves Farm Short Ribs

Syrah-braised and served with potato dumplings and roasted roots  ($19)

Cedar Planked Wild Salmon

balsamic-glazed, with roasted cauliflower and fingerling potatoes ($20)

The space will be renovated to become a brighter, airier, warmer version of its former self, while leaving the beautiful reclaimed-wood bar intact. 

Offering a full bar, Avalon’s lounge will highlight local distilleries and wineries, with particular attention given to small-batch wine selections as well as Washington, Oregon and value wines from around the globe.

Seating 100 in the main dining room and lounge combined, Avalon will be open seven days a week, with dinner service daily (eat in or take out) from 5 to 10 p.m. and happy hour in the lounge from 3 to 6 p.m. Brunch is slated to premier two weeks after the opening, and will be offered on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Happy hour will include both food specials and select half-priced wines; on Tuesdays, tapas will be offered at $2 per plate.

About Breuler:

The restaurant business is in Breuler’s blood: she spent much of her childhood at her grandmother’s “Club 25,” a legendary supper club in downtown Anchorage (AK).  In 1993, she left Seattle to attend the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, after which she worked at L’Avenue with mentor Nancy Oakes, joined Rick Bayless’s Zinfandel Restaurant in Chicago, and rubbed elbows with the Hollywood glitterati in motion picture catering, including sets for The Sixth Sense and Payback.

Breuler also served as personal chef to the late Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Jones.  When Maggiano’s Little Italy was invited to cater an event for Ellen DeGeneres’ popular television show, Breuler was selected as head chef.

Breuler joined Maggiano’s in 2000 and quickly rose to become executive chef at the Woodland Hills (CA) outpost. She returned to her home state to open Bellevue’s Lincoln Square location in 2005, and was managing chef and partner there until striking out on her own.

Located in the historic Luna Park neighborhood, West Seattle’s Avalon offers an approachable, regionally inspired, locally sourced menu as well as a full bar and wine list focusing on Washington, Oregon. Dishes are available for dine in or take out. The warm and welcoming ambiance makes an equally comfortable backdrop for casual meals and special occasions alike. Located at 2940 S.W. Avalon Way, Avalon serves dinner daily from 5 to 10 p.m.; brunch is served Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and happy hour is offered daily in the lounge from 3 to 6 p.m. (206) 922-3606.

Follow Avalon Online:

Monday, November 29, 2010



clip_image001    clip_image001[4] Offers Holiday Rewards to Wine Lovers with an Artistic Streak

GIG HARBOR, Wash.—(November 29, 2010) — Nothing spurs creativity like a glass (or two) of wine., a company specializing in the individual production of custom, hand-painted, hand-etched wine bottles, is inviting wine lovers to submit their most creative, original holiday-themed bottle design template. Designs will be judged and two winners will be chosen to each receive a free bottle with his or her design etched into it.

The first-place winner will receive a magnum-sized bottle (1.5 L) featuring their custom design, while the runner-up will receive a standard bottle (750 ml) etched with their submission. Each winner will choose one of 12 wine selections with which to fill their bottle. This includes non-alcoholic selections.


WHAT:          Design the best original, holiday-themed wine bottle

· First prize: 1.5 L magnum featuring winner’s design/artwork

· Second prize: 750 ml bottle featuring winner’s design/artwork

WHERE:        Submit:;

Subject head: Original Holiday Artwork submission

WHEN:          Nov. 29-Dec. 15. Winners will be notified via email.

HOW:             Submissions should be made in EPS format (Adobe Illustrator file) with fully outlined fonts; 2 standard colors only. This is for 3-dimensional etching, as winning designs must be sandblasted into a bottle.

Completed designs can be up to, but not exceed, 6" in height and 4.25" in width maximally.

Include full name, email address, mailing address, contact phone number.

All designs submitted become the property of; originator forgoes all future rights to all submitted artwork. is a Washington State-based, privately held company that custom produces single quantity wine bottles by hand—creating a treasured gift friends, co-workers and family won’t forget. Bottles start at $75. To order a custom designed bottle of wine, go to

For questions, visit the contact page on the website. Responses will be made as soon as possible during business hours (excluding holidays), Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m. PST. For weddings, parties, holidays or gifts, makes any occasion extra special.

Follow Personalized Wine Bottles Online:


Twitter: @mywinebottles



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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hassle-Free Holidays: Gift Ideas From Around the Northwest

SEATTLE, Wash.—(November 24, 2010)—Do you hear what I hear? No, not jingle bells: Car horns a-honking, pushy shoppers yelling and continuous ding of the dreaded check-out line out the door. Wouldn’t it be nice to avoid it all, and find the perfect gift for everyone hassle-free? The following Northwest businesses have unwrapped presents and events so you can relax during the most hectic time of the year:


Festive Presents for Both Naughty and Nice at Custom, Personalized Wine Bottles For $82 | @mywinebottles | Facebook | Flickr

Santa’s making a list, but this year he won’t have to check it twice: he’s ordering his presents from Whether the gift is for Hanukkah, Christmas or any holiday, offers individually customized, hand-painted, hand-etched wine bottles making personalized gift-giving easy.

Customers select a design category like, “Seasons Greetings,” “Happy Chanukah,” “Happy New Year,” and “Merry Christmas.” Bottles can be further customized with up to two lines of text for a personalized message. Customers can select from 11 wines for their custom design. Designs and personal messaging is $75, plus the cost of wine, ranging from $7 to $37.50. Gift bags can be purchased for an additional $2.50.

To purchase a customized bottle of wine visit


Deck the Halls with Bottles of Wine from Tsillan Cellars: Six Mix-and-Match Bottles for Just $99 | @Tsillan_Cellars | Facebook

Tis’ the season to be jolly with the holiday special Tsillan Cellars is offering. Whether giving as a gift or stocking up for a winter party, Tsillan Cellars is offering six mix-and-match bottles for just $99. Choose from the 2007 Piccolo Rosso, 2007 Estate Barrel Select Syrah and 2007 Estate Chardonnay, which received 90 points in the June 2009 issue of Wine Spectator, and won double gold at the 2009 San Francisco Wine Competition. Purchase online or in the tasting room.

Additionally, those looking for a romantic holiday getaway can travel to Tsillan Cellars throughout the winter season. Start by sampling wines in the gorgeous, Tuscan-inspired tasting room. Then sit down for an unforgettable dinner at Sorrento’s Ristorante, Tsillan Cellars’ wildly popular restaurant. For reservations and more information, call (509) 682-5409.


Stuff a Stocking, Not a Turkey, with a Cafe Flora Gift Set: $80 for Cookbook, T-Shirt and $50 Gift Card | @cafefloraveg | Facebook

Seattle’s beloved vegetarian restaurant is celebrating the most wonderful time of year with a present that even a Grinch will love: a holiday gift set complete with a Cafe Flora cookbook, $50 gift card and a Cafe Flora t-shirt for only $80; a $95 value.

The cookbook features over 250 vegetarian and vegan recipes even meat eaters will adore. Plus, Cafe Flora’s t-shirts come from Ashbury Images, who puts 100 percent of the proceeds towards Ashbury Images’ mission of employing and supporting at-risk youth. This gift set is available from now until the end of December, and can be purchased at the restaurant.


Jumpstart a Resolution: $100 for 5 Sessions at Energy Fitness and Wellness | @EnergyFitnWell | Facebook

Fruitcake is so 2009. This year, give the gift of fitness and nutrition with an Energy Fitness and Wellness gift card. For only $100, the holiday package includes five sessions with a personal fitness guru. This limited-time holiday offer is available by calling Energy Fitness and Wellness directly at (206) 283-0526.

Located on gorgeous Lake Union, Energy Fitness and Wellness focuses on holistic health, balanced nutrition and tailored workouts. Services include personal training, customized nutrition planning and group fitness classes. For more info, visit


Waterfront Seafood Grill Makes Spirits Bright at Annual Winemaker Dinner with Mark Ryan Winery, Sleight of Hand and Sparkman Cellars on December 21 | @waterfront70 | Facebook

Wine and dine that special someone during a Pier 70 holiday tradition: Waterfront Seafood Grill’s 7th Annual Winemaker Dinner on December 21 with Mark McNeilly of Mark Ryan Winery, Trey Busch of Sleight of Hand Cellars and Chris Sparkman of Sparkman Cellars.

The dinner will be held in the Eastbay room at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $125 per person plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are required, and can be made by calling (206) 624-4060.

Executive Chef Peter Levine has created a five course dinner with wines specially paired:

Seared Weathervane scallop – 2009 Mark Ryan Viognier & 2009 Sparkman Lumière Chardonnay

Smoked duck breast salad – 2009 Sleight of Hand Magician’s Assistant Rosé & 2007 Sparkman Ruby Leigh

Roasted Yellow fin tuna – 2008 Mark Ryan Crazy Mary Mourvedre & 2008 Sleight of Hand Levitation Syrah

Fire-roasted leg of lamb – 2008 Mark Ryan Dead Horse, 2008 Sleight of Hand Spellbinder & 2007 Sparkman Kingpin Cabernet Sauvignon

Banana coconut cream pie – paired wines to be decided


All I Want For Christmas is Gift Cards, Caramels and More From Heavy Restaurant Locations: Barrio, Purple Café & Wine Bar, and LOT No. 3 | |

This year, Purple Café & Wine Bar, Barrio Restaurant and LOT No. 3 are the places to mark off everything on Santa’s list. House made caramels, sold at every location, come in a special holiday package three for $5 or a dozen for $18, and make sweet stocking stuffers. Gift cards suit everyone’s liking, and are redeemable at any Heavy Restaurant location. Gift cards can be bought online or at the restaurant. For a little more Christmas cheer, Purple is selling most bottles and cases from their wine list at 40 percent off the retail price.

All three restaurants also offer catering and private dining for the holidays. Be a secret Santa and select from a variety of box lunches for coworkers or skip the holiday meal planning and order a la carte platters from the restaurants. To plan a family or business gathering, contact or call (206) 838-3853.

Special Holiday Hours

Barrio Bellevue

10650 NE 4th St., Bellevue (425) 502-5021

December 24 – Seating until 2 p.m.

December 25 – Closed, all day

Barrio Capitol Hill

1420 12th Ave., Seattle (206) 588-8105

December 24 – Seating until 2 p.m.

December 25 – Closed, all day

Cafe Flora

2901 E. Madison St., Seattle (206) 325-9100

December 24 – Closed, all day

December 25 – Closed, all day

El Gaucho Tacoma

2119 Pacific Ave., Tacoma (253) 272-1510

December 24 – Dinner, seating 4 p.m. until 8 p.m.

December 25 – Closed, all day

El Gaucho Portland

319 SW Broadway, Portland (503) 227-8794

December 24 – Dinner, seating 4:30 p.m. until 9 p.m.

December 25 – Closed, all day

El Gaucho Seattle

2505 First Ave., Seattle (206) 728-1337

December 24 – Dinner, seating 5 p.m. until 9 p.m.

December 25– Closed, all day

El Gaucho Bellevue

10903 NE 6th St., Bellevue (425) 455-2742

December 24 – Happy hour at 4 p.m., dinner seating 5 p.m. until 9 p.m.

December 25 – Closed, all day

LOT No. 3

460 106th Ave. NE, Bellevue (425) 440-0025

December 24 – Seating until 2 p.m.

December 25 – Closed, all day

Purple Café & Wine Bar Bellevue

430 106th Ave. NE, Bellevue (425) 502-6292

December 24 – Seating until 2 p.m.

December 25 – Closed, all day

Purple Café & Wine Bar Kirkland

323 Park Place Center, Kirkland (425) 828-3772

December 24 – Seating until 2 p.m.

December 25 – Closed, all day

Purple Café & Wine Bar Seattle

1225 4th Ave., Seattle (206) 829-2280

December 24 – Seating until 2 p.m.

December 25 – Closed, all day

Purple Café & Wine Bar Woodinville

14459 Woodinville-Redmond Rd. NE, Woodinville (425) 483-7129

December 24 – Seating until 2 p.m.

December 25 – Closed, all day

Waterfront Seafood Grill

2801 Alaskan Way, Pier 70, Seattle (206) 956-9171

December 24 – Open 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.

December 25 – Closed, all day

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Happy Holidays!

Media Contact: Ashley McLean

Randall PR / (206) 624-5757

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Down Under Answers’ Jason Mesnick Shares Video About

The Bachelor meets the Tasmanian Devil

Tasmania and Tasmanian Devil

Top Reasons to Visit Tasmania, According to “Tassie”: ‘Freshest Air in the World, Beautiful Scenery…and Me.’

BELLEVUE, Wash.—(November 17, 2010)—Award-winning travel wholesaler Down Under Answers (, widely known for their Australia vacation packages, is spotlighting Tasmania vacations with the help of Jason Mesnick, their intrepid travel ambassador.

As star of The Bachelor, Jason knows about traveling to exotic locations and being in front of the cameras: Although well-versed in Australia, he, like most, knew very little about Tasmania until recently. Accompanied by a videographer and—who else?—“Tassie,” Jason hit the streets to share the news about Australia’s smallest state. To see his hilarious video, click here.

“I was most surprised to learn that real Tasmanian Devils are called ‘devils’ for a reason; they’re unpredictable and can fly into a rage in an instant. Watch the deleted scenes in the video—I get attacked!” says Jason.

An iconic symbol of the island, the Tasmanian Devil is an elusive, carnivorous marsupial native only to Tasmania. The Devils, an endangered species, are a major draw for tourists, so DUA is doing its part to broaden interest by offering a range of unforgettable Tasmania vacation packages.

Now’s the perfect time to visit one of the best-kept secrets on earth. Thanks to ‘Roaring Forty’ winds, Tasmania has measurably the cleanest air on earth. Furthermore, with more than 40% of the island protected as a World Heritage Area or National Reserve, Tasmania is dedicated to preserving its natural beauty for generations to come.

Visitors can experience Tasmania in a variety of ways, from walking tours to vacation packages that combine visits to both Australia and Tasmania:

  • Eco-conscious travelers will love the nature-based 3 Day West Coast Adventure (2-night land only, from $530 per person/double occupancy.)
  • Adventure to Sydney, Hobart & Cairns (12-night air and land, from $2,499 per person/double occupancy. Includes round-trip airfare from Los Angeles to Sydney, Hobart and Cairns).

For a complete, detailed list of all packages, visit (

Founded in 1992, Seattle-based Down Under Answers is the industry leader in travel to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, the Cook Islands, Vanuatu and Dubai. Voted Best Travel Wholesaler by Tourism New Zealand and Tourism Australia specialists, the company employs seasoned staff members to customize tours—ranging from unique, hands-on holidays to more traditional itineraries—for groups of any size. For further information email or call (800) 889-1464.

Follow Down Under Answers online:

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Monday, November 15, 2010

A Vegan Family Thanksgiving Dinner


While many of us savor the smells of roasting turkey and baking pies on Thanksgiving Day, others look for creative ways to have a festive meal while adhering to vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free diets.  Seattle choices are made easy with a hearty, locally-sourced Thanksgiving dinner at Cafe Flora.


cafe flora

The talented culinary team at Cafe Flora has combined organic, sustainable, and regional ingredients in a dynamic 4-course, prix-fixe, vegetarian holiday dinner with options available for a vegan or gluten-free meal.  A full bar is offered offering choices within the same dietary guidelines.

Here’s what’s on the Thanksgiving menu:

  • First Course:  Foraged Mushroom Soup, garnished with a dollop of horseradish mascarpone and served with walnut crostini (available vegan and gluten-free).
  • Second Course:  Autumn Cornbread Pudding, hazelnut-sage pesto, rich cornbread, butternut squash, and Honeycrisp apple in a creamy corn custard, served with Brussels sprouts, roasted parsnips, wild mushroom gravy and apple-cranberry chutney (vegan and gluten-free) –OR- Delicata Squash Medallions, filled with Bluebird Grain Farms farro and chestnut stuffing, and topped with calvados cream sauce, roasted pears and sautéed chanterelle mushrooms.
  • Third Course:  Green Bean & Fennel Salad, with Marcona almonds, pomegranate seeds and herbed mustard-maple vinaigrette (vegan and gluten-free).
  • Fourth Course:  Pumpkin Tart, pecan pâte sucrée crust, roasted pumpkin and sweet potato filling, topped with cranberry caramel sauce and spiced maple pecans (vegan and gluten-free) –OR- Chocolate Roulade, with clove pastry cream, poached black plums and cacao nib brittle –OR- “Candied Apple,” warm apple cake, cinnamon ice cream, cranberry-caramel sauce and maple candy (vegan).

The kids’ menu, also 4-courses, is equally festive:

  • First Course:  Carrot-Tomato Soup, served with cheesy toasts (available vegan and gluten-free).
  • Second Course:  Cornbread Pudding, with fluffy mashed potatoes, green beans, gravy and apple-cranberry chutney (vegan and gluten-free).
  • Third Course:  Caesar Salad with Romaine lettuce, Caesar dressing, olives, cherry tomatoes and kidney beans (vegan, available gluten-free).
  • Fourth Course:  “Candied Apple,” warm apple cake, cinnamon ice cream, cranberry-caramel sauce and maple candy (vegan).

Make your reservations right away – this dinner always books up!

Location: 2901 E. Madison Street (map)

Date & Time: Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 25th, 2010.  Dinner seating begins at 1:30 pm with the last seating at 6:45 pm.

Price: $50 adults, $20 children (12 and under).  Price does not include beverages, tax, or gratuity.

Reservations: Required.  Reservation information available online.

Photo credit:  personal collection

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cafe Flora Reveals Thanksgiving Menus for the Whole Family

cafe flora

Four-Course, Prix-Fixe Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free Feast for Grown-ups and Kids

SEATTLE, Wash.—(November 11, 2010)— On Thanksgiving Day the President will be pardoning one very lucky turkey, but  Cafe Flora’s holiday menu is designed to save countless more Broad-Breasted Whites from the chopping block.

Every year, vegetarians, vegans and omnivores alike flock to Seattle’s favorite vegetarian restaurant, carving out time to gobble up a hearty, locally-sourced Thanksgiving dinner so delectable that no one ever asks, “Where’s the bird?”

The talented team at Cafe Flora draws inspiration from a combination of international culinary traditions and an abundance of organic, sustainable and regional ingredients. The result is inventive, dynamic vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free cuisine that not only tastes good, but is good for everybody. Relationships with Washington farms expand and grow stronger as the accolades accumulate: Last year, Vegetarian Times magazine recognized Cafe Flora as “Best Vegetarian Restaurant” in the Pacific Northwest.

Cafe Flora’s Thanksgiving dinner, prepared with an emphasis on local, seasonal ingredients, is $50 per adult and $20 per child 12 and under. Price excludes beverages, tax and gratuity.

The grown-ups’ menu includes:

First Course

Foraged Mushroom Soup

garnished with a dollop of horseradish mascarpone, served with Colombia City Bakery walnut crostini

(available vegan and gluten-free)

Second Course

Autumn Cornbread Pudding

hazelnut-sage pesto, rich cornbread, butternut squash, and Honeycrisp apple in a creamy corn custard, served with Brussels sprouts, roasted parsnips, wild mushroom gravy and apple-cranberry chutney

(vegan and gluten-free)

~ or ~

Delicata Squash Medallions

filled with Bluebird Grain Farms farro and chestnut stuffing, and topped with calvados cream sauce, roasted pears and sautéed chanterelle mushrooms

Third Course

Green Bean & Fennel Salad

with Marcona almonds, pomegranate seeds and herbed mustard-maple vinaigrette

(vegan and gluten-free)

Fourth Course

Pumpkin Tart

pecan pâte sucrée crust, roasted pumpkin and sweet potato filling,

topped with cranberry caramel sauce and spiced maple pecans

(vegan and gluten-free)

~ or ~

Chocolate Roulade

with clove pastry cream, poached black plums and cacao nib brittle

~ or ~

“Candied Apple”

warm apple cake, cinnamon ice cream, cranberry-caramel sauce and maple candy


The kids’ menu includes:

First Course

Carrot-Tomato Soup

served with cheesy toasts

(available vegan and gluten-free)

Second Course

Cornbread Pudding

with fluffy mashed potatoes, green beans, gravy and apple-cranberry chutney

(vegan and gluten-free)

Third Course

Caesar Salad

with Romaine lettuce, Caesar dressing, olives, cherry tomatoes and kidney beans

(vegan, available gluten-free)

Fourth Course

“Candied Apple”

warm apple cake, cinnamon ice cream, cranberry-caramel sauce and maple candy


Seating is available by reservation only on Thursday, November 25, beginning at 1:30 p.m. with a last seating time of 6:45 p.m.  A wait list will be made available as required.

For reservations or additional information, call (206) 325-9100. Book early to insure that the whole family may enjoy dinner with a clean conscience and go home, fully stuffed, to a clean kitchen.

Cafe Flora’s award-winning menu features modern and sophisticated vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free cuisine inspired by international culinary traditions and created with local, organic and sustainable ingredients. Voted one of Seattle Weekly’s “Favorite Restaurants 2006,” Cafe Flora has also been awarded “Best Vegetarian Restaurant” by Seattle Magazine for eight years running. In 2005 The Cafe Flora Cookbook was published with more than 250 house recipes. Located at 2901 East Madison, Cafe Flora serves dinner Sunday through Thursday 5 to 9 p.m. and Friday through Saturday 5 to 10 p.m. Lunch and afternoon menus are served weekdays 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 2:30 to 5 p.m. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (206) 325-9100,

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Down Under Answers Launches Africa Answers

Africa Answers Pictures

Award-Winning Travel Experts Introduces New Division With Africa Vacation Packages Starting At Under $2,300

BELLEVUE, Wash.—(November 10, 2010)— Down Under Answers, one of the most respected specialists in travel to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, has launched a new division: Africa Answers (

Specializing in vacations to South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Mauritius, Seychelles, Egypt and Dubai, Africa Answers will offer unprecedented savings and the same level of expertise and customized vacation packages that Down Under Answers is famous for.

To launch the new division, Africa Answers is offering the trip of a lifetime, a not-to-be-missed deal to Africa that includes three free bonus nights’ accommodation!

  • Explore the wonders of South Africa in Style (7-night land only*, from $3,575 per person/double occupancy).

Home base for the first four days is Cape Town’s plush Cape Cadogan boutique hotel; highlights include private tours of: the Cape of Good Hope National Park and the southwesternmost point of the continent; panoramic views of Cape Peninsula; the food and wine offerings of the Winelands; and Hermanus, for land-based whale watching from June through November. Move on to three all-inclusive nights at Lion Sands River Lodge in the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve, and enjoy safari game drives to see the Big Five, hippo tours, wildlife lectures, bush walks and more.

Kirk Demeter founded DUA in 1992 and grew it steadily from boutique adventure operator to one of the leading multiple award-winning travel wholesalers in North America.

“Africa is a place people dream of visiting but postpone because they’re overwhelmed by its legendary exoticness and sheer vastness. We’ve built our business and reputation on making faraway destinations approachable for North American travelers,” says Demeter.

Helming Africa Answers is travel expert and General Manager Natasha Smith. Along with the company’s dedicated team of travel professionals, she will showcase Africa Answers to travel agent partners. Born in South Africa, Smith boasts more than 12 years’ experience selling deluxe, complex Africa vacations to North Americans, and prior to that she worked for many years in South Africa for one of the country’s largest inbound tour operators. Smith is intimately acquainted with not only the regions and people of these destinations, but also the high service expectations of travelers.

“Natasha’s many years of experience ensure that the best hotels, lodges and tours are selected for travelers,” comments Demeter.

Other extraordinary Africa adventure itineraries and Safari vacations to Africa designed by Africa Answers:

  • For an unforgettable vacation in Africa, book Great Zimbabwe (11-day, 10-night land only*, from $2,680 per person/double occupancy).

Visit: Masvingo, ‘The Ancient City’; the country’s second-largest city, Bulawayo; the Matopo Hills, for cave paintings and breathtaking vistas at ‘View of the World’; and Hwange National Park, one of Africa’s finest wildlife havens, including herds of protected ‘presidential elephants.’ Also offering sumptuous meals and lodge accommodations, the tour culminates at Victoria Falls, one of the world’s greatest natural wonders.

  • Take a walk on the wild side with the Simba Safari (7-day, 6-night land only*, from $2,260 per person/double occupancy).

Rich in multicultural heritage and home to the famous Maasai people, Tanzania also houses some of Africa’s most impressive national parks and game reserves. Highlights include: Serengeti National Park; ‘The Cradle of Mankind,’ Olduvai Gorge; and the awe-inspiring Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera. Travelers will view wildlife daily and relax in comfortable lodge accommodations in four spectacular locations.

These and many more vacations to Africa are fully detailed at the Africa Answers website. For a complete list of all deals to Africa, plus terms and conditions, go to or

To reserve a brochure, visit

*Airfare to and from Africa is not included in quoted tour prices; however, Africa Answers is able to supply the best available rate for a traveler’s dates and departure locations upon request.

Africa Answers employs seasoned travel experts that customize tours for independent travelersranging from unique, hands-on holidays to more traditional itinerariesand for groups of virtually any size alike. For further information, email or call (866) 427-2540.

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Jason Mesnick’s Blog:

#          #          # Asks Seattle – What Do You Want to Do?


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SEATTLE, Social Shopping, Search and Networking Site is Live and Offers the Answer to the Entertainment Rut Wash.—(November 10, 2010) —Ready to be Wrazzed, Seattle? is the first social networking site that connects businesses and users in a single location while offering killer daily deals for a fantastic day or night on the town.

Pronounced “razz,” the site is a one-stop social media hub that helps users find businesses and connect with friends across multiple social media sites. Wrazz is simple, efficient and easy to navigate through key factors such as:

Daily Deals – Killer local deals of up to 80 percent are displayed every day from a variety of different businesses such as restaurants, bars and salons. These promotions developed with 15,000 local businesses, are available for one to three days.

Smart Search Tools Users are alerted to new discounts in neighborhoods they frequent. Users can also find a restaurant or business in their neighborhood by searching within the site. Simply type in what you are looking for, such as “spa in Queen Anne” or “Italian in Downtown,” and the site displays a list of businesses that fit this category.

Location-Based Functionality – Share a current location with friends via Wrazz. Users can also find a business’ location directly from the site.

Create a “Game Plan” – Organize a whole day of activities and then post it or invite friends to join in. Businesses are divided into “eat, play, shop, relax” categories so making a “game plan” for the night or day is simple.

Social Media Hub – Update a location, status or “game plan” directly from Wrazz and choose whether it’s posted to other social media sites. Users can also read reviews from their own friends, fans and other influencers about what is being said about a particular business on sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Yelp through the Wrazz platform.

Looking to organize a day and night out on the town with friends and family? The group wants to eat, play, shop, and relax so Wrazz organizes search results into these categories. Type “Ballard” into the smart search field; read the reviews and find daily deals of up to 80 percent off on shopping, spas, restaurants and clubs.

Now, upload the day’s events to the Wrazz “game plan” feature. Members of the party, and those that need to know, get the “game plan,” so any changes to the schedule are automatically disseminated to the party.

The idea behind Wrazz grew organically from Bret Eickhoff and Ian Porter’s social habits. These are the guys a city like Seattle loves: Tech savvy and plugged-in to a community of people who love hanging out downtown. Frustrated that no individual site delivered efficient local business directories and social commerce deals, they cooked-up Wrazz to be the tool to use when enjoying the city.

Wrazz will first be rolled out in the Seattle area but plans to expand into other major metropolitan markets nationwide are coming soon.

To create a “game plan” today, visit connects consumers and their social networks with enticing local deals in the hippest North American markets. Launched by Bret Eickhoff and Ian Porter to facilitate a night on the town, promises to integrate social commerce with a dynamic user experience. For a good time, visit

Follow Wrazz Online


Twitter: @WrazzSeattle

Facebook: Wrazz

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Eat. Play. Shop. Relax.