Monthly Archives: March 2011

Long Shadow’s Wine Dinner at Waterfront Seafood Grill

Ken, Diane, Cathi, Paul

Last night Ken and I attended the Long Shadow’s Wine Dinner at Waterfront Seafood Grill with Diane and Paul Birkeland.  Long-time friend and Long Shadow’s Owner, Allen Shoup, was there along with Long Shadow’s Winemaker, Gilles Nicault.  It is always fun to sit with Paul during a wine dinner because he is so knowledgeable about wine and had collected and/or tasted all of the wines that were poured.

Ken and Gilles

The Waterfront Seafood Grill team presented a fantastic dining experience led by General Manager Siv Mennen, Sommelier Kristin Young and Chef Peter LevineKristin had just found out yesterday that she has been selected as Sommelier of the Year in our area which is quite an honor in the wine world!

Lolita, Big Red, and Julie

We dined with Jim and Karen and met new friend Julie Ralph who warned us about her friends attending, “Big Red” and Lolita,” also known as Gregg Cliggott and Amy StevensJulie was afraid they would be disruptive during the dinner, but I enjoyed meeting them and they were truly the models of decorum!

Gilles and Allen were very complimentary of the great job that Chef Peter had done in pairing food courses with their featured wines.  My favorite course was the handmade pappardelle with braised ostail ragu and red cow parmesan which was paired with Saggi 2007.  My favorite wines of the evening were the Pirouette 2006, Feather Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 and the Poet’s Leap Riesling Batrytis 2008 dessert wine.  The menu included the following pairings:

Duck Foie Gras Au Torchon
toasted brioche, kumquat jam, very old balsamic vinegar
Poet’s Leap Riesling 2009
Preserved Black Mission Figs
tamarind broth, black pepper, butter
Chester Kidder 2005
Il Mio Pappardelle Fatte a Mano
ragu di coda di bue brasato, con parmigiano reggiano delle vacche rosse
Saggi 2007
Roasted Tenderloin of Certified Angus Beef
porcini and bone marrow crust, parsley mashed potatoes, three day demi glace
Pirouette 2006
Feather Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
Panna Cotta de Formaggio
roasted pineapple, honey and thyme compote, marcona almond tuille
Poet’s Leap Riesling Batrytis 2008
Chef Peter Levine
Sommelier of the Year, Kristin Young
and General Manager Siv Mennen

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Chillin’ Out in the Sun

Ken, Toni, Trudi enjoying margaritas!

Last week, Ken and I were guests of friends Toni & Rod Hoffman, at their beautiful luxury condominium in Puerto Vallarta.  Our mutual friends, Trudi & Dave Syferd, were also guests of the Hoffmans while we were there.
The view from the condominium is spectacular and we were entertained with frequent whale and dolphin sightings, magical sunsets and boat and people watching. I was the designated margarita bartender and I became quite proficient at getting just the right amount of Cointreau, tequila and mixer in the blender.

View of pools from deck

Toni, Dave & Trudi chillin’
This is the most relaxing and low-key vacation that I can ever remember.  We did eat out a couple of times and went to the grocery store, but other than one walk on the beach, we spent our time sitting either in the Hoffman living room operating our respective electronic gadgets playing individual games or by the pool where we read.  When I filled out my customs declaration form upon our return, I had to enter a big ZERO for the goods we had purchased and were bringing back from our trip.

Dave and I were addicted to Words with Friends which we actually played against one another, while Toni and Trudi each played their own individual Freecell Solitaire and Russian Roulette solitaire-style electronic games.  Rod attended to homeowner business on his computer and Ken was glued to CNN watching news updates on Libya.

Ken, Toni, Rod at No Way Jose!
Trudi, Dave, Cathi at No Way Jose!
On our final evening, we went to a Mexican cuisine restaurant primarily frequented by locals called “No Way, Jose!” where we finished the evening with Bananas Foster prepared tableside and were entertained by the restaurant owner who got up on stage with the featured 5 piece mariachi band and serenaded the guests.
Trudi & Dave
Toni enjoying the sunshine

Can’t wait for another opportunity to visit Toni & Rod in Puerto Vallarta again!!!  (Hint!  Hint!)

Seattle Dances 2011!

Ken Hatch & Elisabeth Bodal

What a difference a year makes!  Last night Ken and I attended the Second Annual Plymouth Housing Group fundraiser, Seattle Dances.  It was a first-class, well-managed fundraiser that raised over $410,000 which included sponsorships, ticket sales, an auction, cyber votes for dancers, a raise the paddle segment and peoples’ choice votes for dancers.  Last year at this time, I was concerned about all of these details since I was one of the featured dancers (see last year’s blog post HERE), but this year it was so stress-free to attend and just enjoy the party and admire the great job done by all the featured dancers! 

Ken Hatch & Gerg Lill

Patti Payne once again did a masterful job as the emcee.  Hallie Kuperman and The Century Ballroom once again partnered on the production of this extraordinary event.  Last year’s Cyber-Choice winner Michelle Barnett and I, as the Peoples’ Choice winner, were invited back to announce the winners this year.  Colette Courtion, last year’s Artistic Choice winner, was back to announce the new Artistic Choice winner and to reprise her role as Lady GaGa.

Carol & Buster Brown

The dancers were all truly amazing and I was so impressed with their level of competence and performance skills! I personally thought Stacy Lill and Marcelo Garces were incredible with all their featured lifts, flips and drops.  My other favorites included Dean Jones, Chad McKay and Leigh Canlis, who all danced with skill and “attitude”.  But honestly, every single dancer was a standout and can be very proud of the performance he or she brought to the audience! 
Each dancer had a cheering squad of friends and family complete with props such as feather boas, lighted wands, oversize posters, pom poms, cow bells, etc.  Greg Lill supplied copious amounts of DeLille Cellars wine for our table which was appreciated by all attending. 
Jay & Sharon Ballantine

Following the competition, Michelle announced the Cyber-Choice winner was Doug Ito who danced with Lera Thompson, I announced the Peoples’ Choice winner was Stacy Lill who danced with Marcelo Garces and Colette announced the Artistic Choice winner was Susan Slater Cotter.

Vladlina Fulton & Cathi Hatch

 It was such a high-energy, fun event that I thoroughly enjoyed attending as a spectator this year!  Congratulations to all the participants and all the winners!

Ken Hatch & Sheila Otter
The 2011 Seattle Dancer Dancers

Featured Wine Professional Member: Mike Conway of Latah Creek Wine Cellars

The Conway Family:  Ellena, Natalie and Mike

At our ZINO Life Investment Forum last week at the beautiful Pan Pacific Hotel, during the Awards Reception, we featured ZINO Society Wine Professional Member, Latah Creek Wine Cellars pouring a selection of their current releases. I particularly liked the Monarch Red Blend.  I asked Mike Conway, the Winemaker/Owner to answer a few questions about Latah Creek Wine Cellars that I would like to share with you here:

  • How long has your winery been in business?  First production was in 1982 – opened our tasting room in 1983
  • How many total wine cases did you produce last year? 16,000 cases
  • What style(s) of wine do you produce?  70% off our production is light and fruity whites: Riesling, Muscat and Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. The balance is reds primarily Sangiovese and Merlot with a new Monarch Red blend and a few, small lot Monarch Series Reserve Reds.
  • What made you decide to get into the wine business?  My first experience in wine dates back to 1972. After departing the Air Force, I restarted my college studies in central California, this time majoring in Microbiology. At the same time I was able to get a night shift job at the Gallo Winery in their Microbiology lab. My job there was to monitor the bottling lines and finished products for sterility. At this time in the wine industry there was a change going on; pasteurization and preservatives were being replaced by the brand new technology of sterile microfiltration. Three years later, with degree in hand, I accepted a position at the neighboring Franzia Bros. Winery and eventually became their head Microbiologist. The experience gained over the past five years gave me the confidence and opportunity to move northward to the Parducci Winery in Mendocino County where I oversaw the installation and use of their first sterile filtration system. It was during my three years at Parducci that I actually got involved in winemaking and where I realized a future in wine was possible. In 1980 my wife and I decided to make a bold move; go even further north to an almost unknown wine region – Washington State. At that time this fledgling wine industry had only 18 wineries. The rest is history.
  • Share a funny, real life experience you have faced in the wine business.  I have this happen all the time, the last time just a few nights ago. We were at a nice restaurant in town and ordered an unknown-to-us bottle of wine from their “specials” list. The waitress brought the wine, unscrewed the top, and served me an “approval” sample. It was quite nice but I made the mistake of making a “screw top” comment. She went on for about five minutes elaborating on the benefits of screw tops: the wines age better, they are easier to open, etc., etc., etc. Not wanting to embarrass her, nothing was said about our being in the wine business. Unfortunately there was a friend of ours at the same restaurant who told her who we were. She came back to us with her shoulders shrugged, apologizing profusely for her misinformation. We have decided we should now have a “winemaker dining here” disclaimer when we first sit down at a restaurant.
  • What ratings have any of your wines received? And from which experts?  Latah Creek’s wines have received numerous awards and accolades over the years, the most prestigious being three different Latah Creek wines selected in The Wine Spectator Magazine’s TOP 100 Wines of the Year in a three year period. We have also been given recognition as producing one of the Best Rieslings in the state year after year.

The Buzz from the ZINO Life Sciences Forum

Sarah Nowakowski

(The following blog post was reposted from an Xconomy Seattle blog post yesterday morning written by Sarah Nowakowski, who is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington and works for ZINO Society part-time as an intern.)

There was a great buzz yesterday at ZINO Life: Life Sciences Investment Forum where 14 biotech and life sciences companies pitched to a room full of eager investors. Many exciting technologies were on display, including Empowering Engineering Technologies‘ ExoWalk—the 2010 ZINO Life fund recipient—as well as Cerevast Therapeutics’ ClotBust-ER. All presenters delivered energetic and compelling presentations that demonstrated the persistent enthusiasm and innovation that continues to propel the vibrant life sciences sector of Seattle.

Chris Rivera of the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association reminded the attendees that the No. 1 challenge facing entrepreneurs today is access to capital. The event was a great example of how angel investment groups, such as ZINO Society, are diligently working to bring entrepreneurs and investors together. Following dealflow presentations this afternoon, Cathi Hatch, the CEO of the ZINO Society, announced four finalists were selected by investors:

1. David Hatton of Aseptica—Aseptica’s technology prevents catheter related infections.

2. Michael Hite of Impel NeuroPharma—Impel is developing a novel drug delivery device to enable central nervous system drugs to bypass the blood-brain barrier,

3. Steve Baird of S-Ray Incorporated—S-Ray owns a unique way of using ultrasound to detect cracks and cavities in teeth, without radiation.

4. Paul Hagen of VacuPractor—VacuPractor is a revolutionary device for lower back pain.

Following due diligence, one of these companies will be awarded a $25,000 investment from the combined ZINO 2011 Annual Angel Fund.

Paul Hagen (VacuPractor) was selected by the audience for Best Presentation and he and Steve Baird (S-Ray) tied for Best Investment Opportunity.

Optimism filled the conference room at the Pan Pacific Hotel as Rivera reflected on the trends in the Seattle life sciences industry, one of the top five job sectors that have demonstrated continued growth, even in the face of the recent economic climate. Alan Smith of Fenwick & West delved further into the current financial climate for biotech in Seattle by probing the panel of prominent faces in Seattle’s life sciences sector. The group included Rivera; John Bowers, senior vice president of SonoSite; Tom Clement, the chairman & founder of Pathway Medical Technologies; and David Schubert, president and chief business officer, Accelerator Corporation.

The dynamic discussion reflected on the difficulty to get funded and the need to ‘de-risk’ investment opportunities by demonstrating more than proof of concept to investors, in addition to the importance of maintaining realistic expectations for the timeline for return on investment following investment in life sciences companies. This pragmatic advice was, however, secondary to the panels’ confidence in the community. They reiterated that Seattle is a hotbed for innovation, cool technologies, and fantastic ideas. In reference to comparing Seattle’s innovative life sciences sector to the nation and worldwide communities, Schubert emphatically stated that, “Seattle is at the top of ANY pyramid you want to put it on.”

Sarah Nowakowski is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington.

Featured Wine Professional Member: Jay DeWitt of Dumas Stations Winery

At our recent ZINO Society February Roundtable Investment Meeting, our featured winery was ZINO Society Wine Professional Member, Dumas Station Winery. Co-Owner, Jay DeWitt, was on hand to pour a selection of his current releases. I asked him a few questions about Dumas Station Winery that I would like to share with you here: What is your position… Continue Reading

A Toast to Robin!

Kristie Lanum, Sarah Nowakowski, Cathi Hatch, Robin Moore, Mary Holmes As the ZINO Team all scurries around handling the last minute details for ZINO Life Investment Forum tomorrow afternoon, we took a few moments to toast our outgoing Marketing and Events Director, Robin Moore and thank her for her positive attitude, team spirit and just down-to-earth, get-it-done mentality.  Robin… Continue Reading

Dragon’s Breath Noodles

Chef Tony Wu and Guest Chef Brendan O’Farrell Last night, Ken and I were invited to join Brendan O’Farrell and his wife, Ani, at O’Asian Restaurant in Seattle for a special dinner featuring five of Iron Chef Tony Wu’s Signature Dishes and Brendan’s Cuisine Chinois, French Indochinese Fusion Specialties.The colaborating chefs cooked up a storm!  The small… Continue Reading

MIT Forum – Meet the Angels!

Villette Nolon, Cathi Hatch, Greg Huey Last night I was one of the panelists representing ZINO Society as one of the seven local angel groups showcased at MIT Enterprise Forum Northwest also including Greg Huey of Alliance of Angels, Nathan McDonald of Keiretsu Forum, Byron McCann of NW Energy Angels, Stephen Handley of Puget Sound Venture… Continue Reading