Sunday, July 31, 2011

Here Comes the Bride!

Proud father John Rindlaub with Bride Susan
Yesterday afternoon, Ken and I attended the wedding of Susan Rindlaub and Alex McKay at the Seattle Art Museum Sculpture Park

We arrived with Jimmy and Patty Barrier and it was fun to see many friends and acquaintances at the wedding.

Susan and Alex exchange vows
It was a beautiful day and bright sunshine shone on the bride and groom (maybe a bit too sunny for a few who were sitting in the sun during the service).  Jimmy Barrier and Ken proceeded down to the seating area a bit early in order to scope out a few seats in the shade, so I'm not sure whether we actually sat on the "Bride's side" or the "Groom's side" of the aisle, but decided that we will be friends of both in the future anyway so that it really didn't matter.

It was a lovely ceremony, very personal and full of warmth. The officiant was Phillip Manginelli, Pastor, Mill Creek Foursquare Church and he had a wonderful way of making everyone comfortable and at ease throughout the ceremony.  One of my favorite parts is when the father of the bride walks her down the aisle to join her groom at the altar.  John Rindlaub and his beautiful daughter, Susan, made a touching picture as they walked down the long staircase towards the rest of the wedding party at the bottom of the amphitheatre.

Mr. & Mrs. Alex McKay
Some of the challenges of the ceremony were a little wind that threatened to blow over the screen behind the wedding party, the noise of screaming sirens as ambulances sped by and the roar of the helicopters hovering overhead waiting for the start of the Seafair Torchlight Run and the Seafair Torchlight Parade which was scheduled the same day .  At one point when the KOMO helicopter was hovering overhead biding time, Colleen Brown, the CEO of Fisher Communications, whom we were sitting next to along with her husband, Guy, texted her office to ask that the helicopter move away from the wedding.  Later I heard that Patti Payne had also called her contacts at all three of the main news stations to request their help in moving the copters away if possible.  Whether it was Colleen's and/or Patti's urging or just luck, the helicopters finally did move and hovered a distance away.

Beautiful Bride, Susan
John and Sarah Rindlaub's other two daughters, Alison Rindlaub Chester, Matron of Honor and Julia Rindlaub,  Maid of Honor both participated in lightly roasting their sister during the toasts after the ceremony.  Alex' brother, Cory Cote, went straight for the jugular, and had everyone laughing out loud as he recalled in excruciating detail some of his little brother's childhood and teenage antics.

We had to leave before the dancing got into full swing, but it looked as if the party was going to continue for some time!  Best wishes Susan & Alex!
Ken and Father of the Bride, John

Virtual Vino LIVE! Kicks Off

Detlef with ZiZi, Cathi, Roger, Brian
This week, we finally got enough of the moving pieces together to produce our first three Virtual Vino LIVE! wine tasting shows.  Blaine Millet and I have been working on this on and off for many months.  Our celebrity tasters were Detlef Schrempf, former Seattle Supersonic, and Roger Reynolds, Co-Founder of Coldstream.

Providing the "glue" for the interview format was radio host, Brian Calvert, who did a great job of keeping us on task as we tasted three different wine flights for the three different shows.  First we blind tasted three Merlots, second we tasted four Cabernet Sauvignons and last we tasted four Roses.

Brian Calvert overseeing the blind tasting.
Our responses to the wine were intended to be "uncorked and unscripted" which seemed to be easy since none of the wines were bad wines and all were very drinkable.  Part of the program called upon us to guess the retail price of the wines we were tasting without seeing what they were.  We each had our turn guessing the retail price and holding up our guess for the "audience" to see.  Detlef, who is very funny and kept me laughing throughout, was right 90% of the time and couldn't resist pointing it out to everyone by saying 'Winning!" in his German accent as a good imitation of Charlie Sheen each time his white board was the closest to the price.  Plus, though both Roger and I would post an even price such as $25 as our guesses, Detlef would write an odd price such as $14.85 and he would be right!

Detlef, Cathi, Roger giving our tasting opinions
ZiZi, our little Yorkshire Terrier seemed to be quite taken with Det and spent her time trying to get him to pick her up and hold her.  The juxtaposition of his towering heighth and her miniscule frame was amusing to see together.

The charities that we were supporting with our participation on Virtual Vino LIVE! were the Detlef Schrempf Foundation, Pacific Northwest Ballet, the YMCA of Greater Seattle, Todd Stabelfeldt Foundation, Seattle Symphony Orchestra and Outdoors for All Foundation.

Blaine and I look forward to getting this set up so we can produce several shows each month and support the wineries in generating more revenue which will in turn supprt the selected charities.  Thank you Roger and Detlef for agreeing to be the guinea pigs!!  Cheers!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

From Ping Pong to Passwords

Cathi Hatch and Mary Holmes strike a pose
Last night Mary Holmes and I attended the TechFlash Annual Ping Pong Tournament and Summer BBQ event hosted by Puget Sound Business Journal at SoDo ShowboxMary and I enjoyed connecting with new and old friends at the event.  We also had fun trying out event sponsor, Microsoft Bing's photography booth.  See the photo we took there complete with feather boa props. 

Funny aside . . . We had just met Gordon Prouty, new, dynamic PSBJ publisher earlier in the day when we went to his office for a business meeting with Colleen Allison to discuss our upcoming September 13th ZINO Zillionaire Investment Forum plans.  Shortly after I drove away following the meeting, my cell phone rang and I answered (hands free of course!) and Gordy was on the other end of the line saying he had retrieved my pearl earring that had fallen off my ear while in his office and that he would bring it with him to the TechFlash event which he knew we were attending.  I felt a little bit like Cinderella who had left her shoe at the ball!  When I arrived at the event, everyone that greeted us was worried about connecting me with Gordy so I could get my earring back, which of course happened the moment that we finally saw one another.  Thank you Gordy!

Now back to the TechFlash event.  There were serious ping pong contenders including friends Patti Payne and Angie Lepley though mostly there were just men playing.  Angie made it through four rounds before elimination.  I'm not sure how many rounds Patti lasted but I could see that she was a contender, when she had a very determined set of her chin and a flash in her eyes when she picked up a paddle and challenged me to a game. We also ran into past publisher of PSBJ, Emory Thomas and his wife, Laura, and ZINO Society member, Gary Ritner of Puget Sound Venture Club.   I had to leave before the final rounds were played, but could see the level of competition was definitely heating up. 

Terrence Owen, Bartender Extraordinaire
My next stop was Tavern Law on Capital Hill.  I ran into Ken right outside the door and we walked in together to what appeared to be a pretty normal busy bar.  But what was especially fun, is that we then entered the "secret" area of the bar through a large black vault door and climbed up a dark and winding set of stairs once we whispered the correct password in the phone receiver next to the door.

We met Mike Kunath, who had arranged the evening's agenda and was sitting at the bar with Debbie Peppa. Once we sat down to join them, Terrence Jackson, our "Bartender Extraordinaire", asked what kind of drinks we usually liked and then he took complete license to make what he wanted to make but what he thought we would like.  I told him that I like Mai Tais so my drink came served in a hollowed out fresh coconut and contained Jamaiican rum, brandy, almond syrup, spicy habenera essence and I am not sure what else.  He had made a happy face with droplets of Angostura Bitters and orange peel ears. Once I had sipped the drink a couple of times, Terrence returned with a lime wheel that he had drenched in 151 proof Cruzan rum to float in my drink which he then set alight.  Spectacular!  The drink was actually delicious and the secret bar would be a fun place to bring a group of girlfriends too.

From there we jetted to Madison Park to try the new restaurant, Madison Park Conservatory, which is in the same location of the old Sostanza Restaurant.  When we arrived, we said hello to friends Susan & Phil Lindsay who were outside on the terrace enjoying the warm evening and ran into other friends inside including Dave Whitlock and Sean Leukel.  The Chef/Owner is Cormac Mahoney, who came out and introduced himself to us. 

The menu, which changes every day was chock-a-block full of unusual menu items including grilled beef tongue, squid stuffed with Oregon lamb, sweetbread summer succotash, octopus bolognese, and braised pork cheeks.  None of us were brave enough to order any of those items, but settled instead for Alaskan long line halibut, Oregon natural strip loin and pan-fried Idaho trout after nibbling on Dungeness Crab deviled eggs and Dabob Bay oysters with mignonette sauce. We were all impressed with the strong flavor profiles of the food.

Something that each member of our party commented on was the notice at the bottom of the menu informing diners that the bread is complimentary but there is a $3 charge for extra virgin olive oil or butter.  Olive oil was automatically brought to our table and I forgot to look at the guest check at the end of the evening to see if we were really charged for it or not.  I have seen this practice of charging for bread and butter in Europe, but this is the first time I have run into it here in Bellevue or Seattle.

The wine list was also very unusual.  In looking at their red wine on the list, I estimate there were around 30 different choices, most of which were French or Italian wines that I had not heard of before and only one of which was actually a Washington Cabernet Sauvignon which we promptly ordered.  I did ask their sommelier about that and she responded that she doesn't like Washington wines because they are too fruit forward with too high of an alcohol content to pair with the food.  Of course, not ALL Washington wines are like this.  Though I have to admit that I do like to drink some of those very fruit forward wines, there are many wines in our state that have been made more in the Old World tradition with balanced fruit and tannins that are also delightful to drink.

We arrived home at around 11:00 pm just in time for me to hunker down at my computer in order to follow up and set appointments with several of our job finalists who are interested in filling our open Operations and Dealflow Manager position at ZINO Society.  And then finally, when I couldn't keep my eyes propped open a moment longer, I finally ended the evening at around 1:30 am and went to bed to dream about ping pong balls and passwords.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Kjell and Keely!

Jimmy, Cathi, Ken, Joe, Tim, Kjell, Patty, Keely
Last night, we were the guests of Patty & Jimmy Barrier at Bis on Main in Bellevue to celebrate the birthdays of our dear friends, Kjell Schei and Keely Jared who are engaged to be married in January, 2012.  Patty brought great wine to share including a 1998 Lafite Rothschild Bordeaux and a 1999 Col Solare, plus guest gifts and for their birthdays, relationship advice books (?!) for Kjell and Keely.

The food was fantastic!  I had a delicious troll-caught salmon with a buerre blanc sauce while Ken had a great New York steak with garlic mashed potatoes.  Kjell ordered one of my all-time favorite menu items which is the garlic chicken.  Jimmy struck the jackpot by asking for extra vegetables with his salmon and was rewarded with a heaping plate of the fattest whole sweet peas in pods that I have ever seen.  Jimmy shared and they were unbelievably good!

Joe Vilardi with new Bis on Main Cookbook
 Bis on Main owner, Joe Vilardi, was leaving the parking lot when Jimmy and Patty pulled in just in time to see him driving away in a big BMW.  Barrier Motors represents many dealerships (Mercedes, Porsche, Audi and Volvo), but BMW is not one of them.  When Joe arrived back at the restaurant at the end of our dinner, we included a picture of him with our group along with Tim Shea, Restaurant Manager.  Joe looks a bit sheepish after all the kidding he received about his choice of wheels.

Joe also showed us his new Bis on Main cookbook which has recently been published.  I haven't had a chance to look through it yet, but am looking forward to it.

Another great evening with friends!  Thank you Patty & Jimmy!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Welcome to the World, Andrew Hatch!

Proud Grandpa Ken holds Andrew
Last night, we visited Ken's new grandson at the hospital as we were on our way to Festival of the Fountains.  His name is Andrew Hatch and he is a big boy at 8 pounds, 14 ounces.

He was born yesterday morning, just a few hours after his parents, Alicia & Michael Hatch and brothers, Jackson and Spencer, along with Ken and I had joined friends, Norma & Fred Crosetto for an authentic Mexican dinner at their lovely new home in Renton.  Bob & Pam Crosetto were also on hand for the dinner. 

Norma was born in Mexico and knows how to cook "real" Mexican food.  Since I grew up in the Southwest, I was in heaven eating her homemade salsa, slow cooked pork in spicy chipotle sauce, chicken enchiladas, refried beans and Mexican rice.  I am a real Mexican rice aficianado and Norma's was the best I have ever tasted!  But, I diverge from my primary story . . .

Norma warned Alicia, who was several days past her due date not to eat the spicy chipotle sauce, but Alicia, who was very tired of being pregnant did so anyway.  I think it worked!  As they left the dinner party, Alicia began hard labor and Michael drove directly to the hospital where little (big?) Andrew was born within just a few hours.

Cathi cuddles Andrew
Ken and I are so excited to welcome him into the family.  Both Michael and Alicia  looked tired, but very happy.  We are thankful that Andrew appears to be in perfect health and is another beautiful boy to add to the Hatch clan.

Congratulations Michael and Alicia!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Festival of the Fountains #45

Posing with a "Nitini"
Last evening Ken and I attended the 45th annual Festival of the Fountains fundraiser for the Pacific Science Center.  As we arrived and walked the red carpet up the walkway to the event, there were young, enthusiastic science docents showcasing science exhibits every few feet to the check in desk.

Upon arrival, we also ran into Duell Fisher of Team Photogenic and Connie Blumenthal of Spotlight Seattle who were greeting the guests and having photos taken of each couple as they arrived.

Cathi with Dan Madsen
The event was chaired this year by our friends, Jane & Dan McConnell and even Ken, the Curmudgeon, thoroughly enjoyed himself at the party.  People were encouraged to come in 60's attire, so there were many beehive hairdos evident.  Dan Madsen completely looked the part when we ran into him and his fiancee, beautiful Shelley, during the cocktail reception. The reception featured delicious hors d'oeuvres courtesy of several restaurants including Ethan Stowell Restaurants, Kaspar's, Morton's The Steakhouse and Il Forniao and "nitinis" which were smoking liquid nitrogen served in a martini glass.  They were not really for consuming but it was fun to pose with one.

We were greeted by our host Phil Condit, who is the current Chairman of the Board of the Pacific Science Center, his wife, Geda and Bruce Seidel, the CEO.  We ran into many old and new friends at the party including Peggy & Michael Swistak, Colleen Brown, Penny & Mick Thackery, Nancy & Gerhard Schmoll, Patti Payne, Marti & Michael Young, Kathy Friess, Claire Grinstein, and Lyn & Jerry Grinstein.

Dr. Michael Swistak with Ken
At the tables there were many toys from the 60's including Slinkys, miniature Etch-A-Sketches, and rocket ship pens.  Many of us tried to figure out who was pictured in the Science Whiz Quiz card from 1962 when the Pacific Science Center was founded.  We recognized Dixie Lee RaySenator Warren Magnuson, Senator Scoop Jackson and Eddie Carlson, but couldn't recognize the fifth person pictured who was actually signing the document.  Ken thinks it could be Michael Barry but isn't totally sure.  Does anyone know who it is?

Cathi, Patti Payne, Phil Condit

Catching up with Old Friends

Susan Neumann, John & Susan Von Hagen,
Gary Neumann, Cathi & Ken Hatch
This week, it was so much fun to connect with old friends.  We had dinner at the fantastic Book Bindery restaurant owned by friend, Michael Almquist.  The food was spectacular and Luciano was our server for the second time in three visits and did a fantastic job once again.

We had dinner with Susan and Gary Neumann, whom we do get to see frequently since they live in Bellevue and Susan and I go to Pilates class together once a week, and Susan and John Von Hagen, whom we haven't seen in  three years, since they now live in Maryland and Florida.

Both couples I have known for around 30 years and it was such a treat to reminisce and laugh about all of shared memories together from planning fundraisers, boating, Christmas Eves, birthdays, and weddings.  The Von Hagen's daughter, Jenna, now lives in Seattle with her husband and three children so I hope we will have the opportunity to see John & Susan more frequently when they come to see their grandchildren.  We are encouraging them to get a condo in the area so they don't have any excuse not to visit.  And Ken and I hope to plan a trip to see them on the East Coast next June.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

ZINO Society Job Opening-Operations & Dealflow Manager

The best team members come by way of referral, so I hope you can help.ZINO Society is currently looking for employee candidates who are qualified to fulfill the job position listed below.  Please pass this request along to anyone that you think might meet the following criteria. 

This person needs to be sophisticated and able to work closely with a high level of membership clientele as well as new and serial entrepreneurs.   Three years of strong experience as an Operations Manager or Project/Program Manager is preferred. Candidates should not call for an appointment but instead send an electronic resume and cover email to Cathi Hatch at  Thank you!

JOB DESCRIPTIONOperations & Dealflow Manager
The ideal candidate will have past experience as an Operations or Program (Project) Manager and be experienced in handling a wide range of organizational and executive support related tasks and will be able to work independently with little or no supervision. This person must be exceedingly well organized, sophisticated, flexible and enjoy the administrative challenges of supporting a small office of diverse people and programs with the ability to recruit entrepreneurs and manage entrepreneurial dealflow while overseeing and supervising the work of one or two interns.  This person will be able to effectively plan programs and projects in advance, prioritize, complete and assign tasks, and monitor follow up.  

The ability to interact with staff (at all levels) in a fast paced environment, sometimes under pressure, remaining flexible, proactive, resourceful and efficient, with a high level of professionalism and confidentiality is crucial to this role. Expert level written and verbal communication skills, strong decision making ability and attention to detail are equally important.

• 3+ years experience as an Operations Manager or Program/Project Manager
• Excellent people skills
• Excellent calendar management skills
• Excellent verbal and written communication skills
• Experience in the creation of PowerPoint presentations
• Knowledge of Quickbooks
• Strong knowledge of MS Office, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook
• Strong knowledge of database management; preferably previous use of ACT or other CRM

• Business experience in working with entrepreneurs
• Sales background a plus
• Experience in a membership and / or events organization environment
• Knowledge of QuickBooks and past bookkeeping experience
• Experience with systems management of computers, servers, telephone networks, etc.

Duration: Full-time
Location: Seattle
The Operations & Dealflow Manager will: 
• Represent ZINO Society in a professional manner to members, prospects and community at large
• Attend “entrepreneurial” events to connect with entrepreneurs and angel investors locally
• Provide dealflow leadership and oversee entrepreneur interaction with screeners, coaches and members
• Work with entrepreneurs on the application, screening, coaching, and presentations processes including follow up and a continuing membership relationship with ZINO Society.
• Directly support the work of the Founder & CEO and maintain complete confidentiality
• Manage and provide oversight of office organization, equipment, systems for the team
• Create weekly financial reports
• Perform designated weekly bookkeeping activities and provide oversight to contract bookkeeper
• Communicate and handle incoming and outgoing electronic communications on behalf of the team
• Assist team with preparation of presentation materials
• Review and summarize miscellaneous reports and documents; prepare background documents and outgoing mail as necessary
• Prioritize and manage multiple projects simultaneously, and follow through on issues in a timely manner
• Work closely with the team to coordinate and launch hard copy or email campaigns to entrepreneurs, members and potential members

Salary- DOE ($40,000 to start depending on past experience)

The Last Harvest, Your Exit Strategy

Michael Brustkern, Bob Betz, Mark Freund, Jesse Lyon
On Monday, ZINO Society hosted the ZINO Vino Liquid Assets Forum at Urban Enoteca in Seattle.  The room was filled with people who are already involved or interested in being in the wine business.  There were five expert panels featured as well as around 20 wineries who poured their wines during the day or during the Northwest Emerging Wine Awards tasting at the end of the day.

One of the favorite panels was the one titled "The Last Harvest, Your Exit Strategy" which featured revered winemaker, Bob Betz, who recently sold Betz Family Winery.  He was featured along with Michael Brustkern of Exvere who represented Bob in the sale as the M&A specialist, Mark Freund, of Silicon Valley Bank who worked with the buyer and Jesse Lyon, partner at Davis Wright Tremaine who also represented the buyer and facilitated the panel.  It was fascinating to hear Bob's advice to other winery owners how to get ready for their own sale someday and what was most important to keep in mind.  What made this panel especially interesting is that Steve Griessel, the buyer, was in attendance as well and he ultimately came to the podium to answer some questions from the audience.
Steve Griessel
Bob's short list of exit strategy advice about how to package a wine business for sale included:
  • Get your personal objectives figured out first.
  • Focus on wine quality most critical.
  • Decide whether your business includes a winery and/or vineyards.  (Bob decided to build a bricks and mortar winery and to buy his grapes from quality growers instead of investing in vineyards.)
  • Make sure your financials are in order.
  • Line up an M&A professional.
  • Maintain absolute confidentiality.  (He only discussed with his wife and not the rest of the family.)
  • Make sure there is a good fit with the buyer so each is getting a deal with which they can be satisfied. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Take Me Out to the Ballgame . . .

Fans Ken Hatch & Gary Glant
Last night Ken and I, along with around 25 other guests who had purchased this "opportunity" at the recent ARCS Auction met the group at MOHAI and then boarded a private coach to be driven to Cheney Stadium in Tacoma for the Rainiers' baseball game.  Mikal Thomsen, husband of ARCS member, Lynn Thomsen, is a major investor in the team and serves as the CEO.

Kaycee Krysty and guest along with  Nancy Mee
Mikal brought some great wines from his private cellar to share with us on the way to the game and at the game including my personal favorite, a Walla Walla Cayuse 2005 SyrahARCS member, Nancy Mee, who co-chaired the auction this year, prepared lovely hors d'oeuvres including homemade cheese biscuits filled with honey mustard and Black Forest ham to stave off our hunger pangs on the bus on the way to the game until we could get to the hot dogs.  And of course, with the juxtaposition of wearing her foam reindeer antlers, Nancy passed out antique china plates rimmed with gold and antique linen napkins for us to use along with large wine glasses.  Tres chic!

Gary Glant, Shaun Corry, Vicki Glant 
Once we arrived, we were shown into the Franchise Suite where there was a baseball hat for each of us.  We did our best to get everyone to remove the price tag and sticker on their hats though a few fans continued throughout the game with the "fashion faux pas" apparent.

It was fun to sit next to "sports babe" and ARCS member, Sally Behnke and her friend, Bliss during the game.  They both were completely on top of what was going on in the game and what actually qualified as an error.  I hope to be just like them when I grow up (not yet though).  Some of the other guests enjoying the game were Dennis Evans, Bob & Micki Flowers, Michael & Kaycee Krysty, Shaun & Reed Corry, and Vicki & Gary Glant.

Sally Behnke and her guest, Bliss
Cheney Stadium is a little jewel that seats around 7,500 people, though Mikal thought there were probably only around 3,500 in attendance, and felt like going back to a more innocent time in our lives.  The Tacoma Rainiers actually won the game beating the Salt Lake City Bees 4-1.  My favorite part other than the 7th inning stretch and the rousing rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" was at the end of the game when families and children were invited out onto the field to run the bases.  This is apparently something that they do every Sunday night following the game.  It was so much fun to see toddlers to teens to inbetweens joyfully running the bases together.  Play ball!
Young fan running the bases.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

"Carnivale di Venezia" with Judith Kindler

Broadmoor Invitational Co-Chairs, Judith Kindler & Chloe Mueller
My friend, Judith Kindler, is an amazing woman!  Not only is she a nationally recognized artist, but she also takes time to plan spectacular parties, where she is currently the Entertainment Chairman at Broadmoor Country Club.

Stuart Silk, Lance Mueller, Kyle Johnson

Judith Kindler with Dan Hill and Golf Professionals
I was lucky enough to be her guest at her most recent extravaganza, which was the incredible "Carnivale di Venezia" Broadmoor Women's Invitational Golf Tournament which she co-chaired with friend, Chloe Mueller.  The tournament kicked-off with a beautiful cocktail party at the Broadmoor home of Mary & Stuart Silk where every guest was given an exquisite white and gold or white and silver traditional Venetian mask on a stick which Judith had sourced when she and her husband, Kyle, were in Venice following our cruise together last fall.  Judith had even convinced the husbands (Kyle, Lance and Stuart) to serve as bartenders at the event wearing masks and a big gold organza sash around their waists.

Chloe Mueller & Cathi Hatch
Chloe Mueller & Debra Platt

On the first day of the tournament, we were paired with Co-chair, Chloe Mueller, and her guest Debra Platt.  When I arrived, Judith had been busy decorating the golf carts with giant gold organza bows, Venetian masks and golden birds and had inveigled the Broadmoor Golf Pro, Dan Hill, and his staff to dress as Venetian gondoliers with shirts and hats she purchased in Venice.  Before heading out to the links, we were treated to a brunch in the ballroom where Judith's influence was evident with big rolled Venetian poster centerpieces on every table which she had produced herself in her studio from photos that she had taken in Venice.  Everyone was in a festive, party mood as the round of golf began.

Judith, Women's Captain, Cory Kirkpatrick, Chloe in
Men's Grill
Neither Judith or I performed well at golf that day and actually came in dead last in a field of around 80 golfers.  Though I really did post the biggest score I have seen in years, we managed to have a great time in spite of our golf challenges and laughed throughout our day together!  We, along with many of the women, especially appreciated the end of the day when following the Italian cocktail buffet, due to rain sprinkles, we were able to move into the "verboten" area of the Men's Grill.

The following day we both played somewhat better, though not enough to bring our average for the two days up to place.   The tournament format was "Best Ball Eclectic.  However, Judith hit her longest drive for the second day on the hole that had been designated for the "Longest Drive & Accuracy" and did win that prize, so we weren't actually skunked.

Decorations for Venetian Luncheon
Golf was followed by the Venetian Awards Luncheon in the ballroom where Judith's magic was once again evident.  Every table was dressed in black linens with a gold and black mesh table topper with a tall gold and black be-ribboned post with an umbrella featuring the landscape of Venice atop (another of Judith's finds when she was in Venice).  Golden birds dangled and Venetian masks were clustered at the bottom of the centerpiece along with individual Murano glass handbag holder gifts encased in gold organiza bags tied along with golden leaves for each member and guest.

The Broadmoor Chef outdid himself with an amazing luncheon that after a delicious arugula salad served with balsamic viniagrette and fresh shaved Parmesan Reggiano included what appeared to be three individual handmade tortellini encasing crab in one, veal ragout in another, and artichoke hearts and capers in the the third all napped with a velvety, flavorful white sauce served with stalks of brocollini that were cooked perfectly and actually served hot.  Yum!

Thank you, Judith!  What an amazing and memorable tournament!  Next year, it is the Women's Invitational Golf Tournament at Overlake Golf & Country Club and you will have to be MY guest!


Adam Jacobs as Aladdin
Last night, Ken and I attended the Fifth Avenue Theatre subscriber opening night of Aladdin; the new play that is no doubt slated to go on to Broadway.  What high energy and just outright pure fun! 

The sets and costumes really work.  The curtain which appeared to be multiple "magic carpets' pulled up into a balloon shades effect instead of opening as traditional stage curtains normally do.  One of the most impressive exhibits of costuming was during the Second Act, when the same performers paraded across the stage singing and dancing every two minutes or so wearing different costumes that they had quickly changed into.

Adam Jacobs, the actor who played the role of Aladdin was fantastic with a beautiful voice, but the person that stole the show was James Monroe Iglehart who played the role of the Genie.  For a big man, he was lighter than air and his dancing and singing were both extraordinary!

I would encourage everyone who can use some positive energy in their lives to see this entertaining and feel-good play before it closes at the end of the month.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

PEARL hosts "Libations on Location" to rave reviews.

PEARL Proprietors Mikel Rogers & Bradley Dickinson
Last night PEARL Bar & Dining owners, Bradley Dickinson and Mikel Rogers, hosted a great ZINO Society Libations on Location (LOL!) happy hour event at their upscale restaurant located in Lincoln Square in the heart of Bellevue.  ZINO Society members and guests were entertained with delicious hors d'oeuvres from PEARL's kitchen while ZINO Society Wine Professional member, winemaker Kara Castillo of Castillo de Feliciana Vineyard & Winery poured a selection of their excellent high-quality wines.
Michelle Kaufmann, Robin Carmichael
and Alex Camara
Everyone enjoyed connecting with one another in the high-energy cocktail area of PEARL.  Some of the ZINO Society members and guests attending included Patty & Jimmy Barrier, Carol Wright, Ken Hatch, Alex Camara, Heather Sullivan, Bob Wallace, Gary Ritner, Robin Carmichael, Kjell Schei, Dianna & Bill Fieldstead, Bernie & Denny Dochnahl, Ed Brennan, Pamela Rolfe, Michelle Kaufman, plus dozens of others. 

Mikel Rogers with server,
Bethany Stratton
The flavors of the hors d'oeuvres were fantastic.  I was having a hard time deciding which were my favorites, but the ones I woke up this morning still thinking about were the deep fried okra with a harissa-aioli sauce and a corn relish atop melt-in-your-mouth toasted brioche triangles. 
Bradley and Mikel are great examples of the classic story of local boys do well.  Their restaurant is located right across the driveway from the entrance to the Bellevue Westin Hotel and is one of the few non-national chain restaurants in the entertainment area of Bellevue.  Bradley and I have known each other for many years since our previous shared experience in Schwartz Brothers Restaurants in an earlier life. 

Patty Barrier, Pamela Rolfe, Carol Wright
Both Bradley and Mikel are looking forward to their new PEARL menu beginning this week which will include some delicious sounding new additions to their menu.  I look forward to going back and trying a few of the new menu items (if I can get past the yummy appetizers!).  See a sneak preview below:
Wild Arugula
Peaches, dates, champagne vinaigrette, parmesan
The ripe peaches balance well with the dates and dressing. Yum!

Five Onion Cream Bisque
Cheesy croutons
This is really caramelized Walla Walla’s with other goodies. A play on French Onion.

Dungeness Crab cake (appetizer)
Roasted corn-pepper relish, sweet corn sauce
Great sweet corn with a touch of truffle oil to bring up the sophistication just a notch

Hudson Valley Foie Gras
Brioche French toast, maple glaze, peach compote, herb salad
Here are those peaches again!

Salt Cod Fritters
Yukon gold potatoes, garlic, harissa aioli
Classic brandade, and the sauce is pretty good too!

Broiled Duck Breast
Chili spice rub, Bing cherry jus, wild rice pancakes
Washington Cherries, need I say more?

Alaskan King Salmon Filet
Cedar-planked, jasmine rice, Javanese sauce
The rice is embellished with Shiitake, Craisins, red peppers, ginger, garlic and more.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Wild Ginger & Isenhower Cellars Dinner to Benefit Camp Korey

Cathi Hatch, Rick Yoder, Robin Du Brinm Douglas Howe
Last night Ken and I attended a wine dinner sponsored by the Washington Wines Festival at the home of ZINO Society members, Douglas Howe and Robin DuBrin.  They live in a beautiful condominium with an unbelievably spectacular view of downtown Seattle and the waterfront and Elliot Bay.  They have customized their condo with warm and vibrant color and wood finishes with lots of glass art throughout.  They have gorgeous glass art pieces and installations by Dale Chihuly, Anna Skibska, and a plethora of other glass artists.

On the center tasting table in Douglas'  "Sky Cellar" wine cellar which has a window overlooking the bay and a large bronze Xian terra cotta soldier replica, guest winemaker Brett Isenhower had arranged all the wines he had selected for the dinner from his Walla Walla winery, Isenhower Cellars.

Ken Hatch and Sam Baker
As we arrived, we were greeted with a lovely 2010 Yakima Valley Pink Paintbrush Rosé
from Isenhower Cellars.  As Brett said, "It's pinkalicious!"  Rick Yoder's talented Wild Ginger culinary and service team including Head Sommelier and Operations Manager, Jake Kossef, passed Imperial Tuna and Shrimp Dumplings to pair with the salmon color Rose.

The served multiple-course dinner was delicious featuring spot prawn sashimi, Otak Otak, Five Spice Chicken, Tan Tan Noodle, Grilled Wagyu Steak, Sea Bass with Black Bean Sauce, Sugar Snap Peas with Ginger and Garlic and finally some amazing tiny Mini Coconut Banana Cream Tartlets.

Douglas Howe, Robin DuBrin, Paul & Diane Birkeland
There were around 20 guests attending including ZINO Society members Sam Baker, Sarah & John Rindlaub, Michael Brustkern, and Diane & Paul Birkeland.  Also attending were Janet Le Duc, Anna Skibska and Rick Yoder.

In addtion to the Pink Paintbrush, the Isenhower Cellars wines poured included:
2010 Yakima Valley White Paintbrush
2008 Yakima Valley Rara Avis Grenache
2008 Horse Heaven Hills River Beauty Syrah
2004 Horse Heaven Hills River Beauty Syrah   
2008 Horse Heaven Hills El Conquistador
2008 Columbia Valley Batchelor's Button Cabernet Sauvignon

What a beautiful evening and we were all happy to be supporting the amazing work that Camp Korey does with our donations!

Overcoming "Barriers" In Search of a Great Rosé

Patty & Jimmy Barrier celebrating their birthdays
with Chris, our John Howie Steak server
Last night Ken and I hosted our friends, Patty & Jimmy Barrier at John Howie Steak as a belated celebration of their birthdays.  It was a beautiful evening and we were seated at a table next to the window overlooking the Barrier kingdom of Mercedes, Porsche, Volvo and Audi dealerships that are just across I-405.

Uwajimaya, recently moved to the old Larry's Market location, is visible from John Howie Steak due to a very large blue sign on the side of the building which Jimmy was enviously coveting for his dealership locations.  I think a call to the City of Bellevue is in order.

As we arrived, Ken asked Wine Director & Sommelier, Lisa Rongren, to please choose a good Rosé wine for us.  I am a Cabernet and Syrah fan, but not much of a white wine fan.  However, we have been finding Rosés over the past couple of years that I really do enjoy sipping on a hot and sunny day.  Rosés that we have recently tried and liked are Long Shadows new Juliette Dazzle, Isenhower Cellars 2010 Yakima Valley Pink Painbrush Rosé and the one that Lisa shared was a Novelty Hill Januik Stillwater Creek Vineyard Spring Run Rosé.  It was great!  Crisp and a beautiful pink hue.  Thank you, Lisa!

Chris, our server at John Howie Steak, did an outstanding job, making a delicious Caesar salad tableside and even promising to bring two sombreros and a gaggle of service staff to sing "Happy Birthday" in Spanish to Patty and Jimmy at the end of the dinner.  (Maybe he worked at Azteca in a previous life?)  Luckily, for all of us, he was only kidding and their desserts were presented with artfully, crooked candles but no singing!

A funny ending to the evening occurred when we went to retrieve our car at the valet stand.  First the back story.  Barrier Motors has an arrangement with The Bravern that any cars with a Barrier Motors license frame can be parked at no charge with the valet.  I was the designated driver and was driving my car, which is of course a Barrier Motors vehicle.

When we arrived, Jimmy instructed the valet to leave the car right in the turnaround and said he would handle the valet tip when we left.  The valets were very impressed that it was the "real Jimmy Barrier" and had the car parked in a conspicuous location waiting for us right at the foot of the escalator.

When we returned and were ready to leave, the valet handed Jimmy my keys.  The automatic opener would NOT open the car after numerous attempts by both Jimmy and the valet.  Jimmy kept asking me if they were really my keys (which they were).  Finally, we were able to open my trunk and then after that the automatic key worked again.  We weren't sure what caused the problem, but just when we were considering calling a taxi, it finally worked.  Jimmy was embarrassed and made me promise to write a letter to the manufacturer complaining about the key problem . . . which I will . . . eventually.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Small Lot - Size Does Matter!

David Riley, Jamee Nunnelee, Heather Sullivan, Rich Stillman
At the end of last week, ZINO Society and Bellevue Club collaborated on a wine tasting event featuring Small Lot.  It was a lovely party planned by Kaarin Keil of Bellevue Club and Mary Holmes of ZINO Society to introduce ZINO Society and the Bellevue Club to each others' constituents; some of whom already belong to both organizations.

Small Lot is a Co-Op designed with one thing in mind: to support the some of the best small producing and local wineries within Washington State. These wineries are uniform not only in their quality, but also in their passion for sharing the fruit that is of our terroir.

Alex Camara, Cathi Hatch, Ron Morford

Ann Morford, Melanie Corey-Ferrini, Debora Centioli

Rick Fisher, Nancy Harnasch, Greg Porter
ZINO Society members and guests and Bellevue Club members and guests joined us for an evening of tasting with five of the Small Lot wineries led by ZINO Society Wine Professional Member, Jeff BoyerJeff is one of over 50 ZINO Society Wine Professional Members who provide wine education and tasting opportunities to our members.

The wines we tasted included Challenger Ridge, Kana Winery, Lodmell Cellars, Castillo de Feliciana, and Stina's Cellars served along with delectable appetizers prepared by the Bellevue Club.  Though small productions, these wines are of extraordinary proportions.

Let Us Entertain You . . .

Keynote Tom Skerritt with Cathi Hatch
Yesterday was ZINO Society's inaugural ZINO Entertainment Investment Forum where we focused expert panels and featured entrepreneurs in the three business sectors of Gaming, Mobile and Film. Though we have seen some dealflow in each of these three sectors over the past six years, we had never before focused one of our larger targeted investment forums on businesses that come only from these genres.

The event was held at the Seattle Harbor Club, where there was plenty of room to spread out for the over 150 guests who were there to meet the entrepreneurs and panelists.  We heard many positive comments from both our regular ZINO Society members and featured ZINOpreneur members as well as friends and guests.  The agenda included three separate dealflow flights interspersed with expert panels from each of the three business sectors.

Our first expert panel focused on Gaming was moderated by Kristina Hudson, Founder of the Washington Interactive Network and included Jeff Pobst, CEO of Hidden Path Entertainment, Joseph Tung, Executive Producer of Bungie and Chris Erhardt, President of Academy of Interactive Entertainment followed by mobile and gaming dealflow presentations from Mobile On Services, Choopy Games, Arc Computer Co., and BeDynamic facilitated by ZINO Society Elite Roundtable Member, Charles Finkelstein.

Mobile Expert Panel: James Sun, Colleen Brown,
Bala Subramanian, Kraig Marini Baker, Rob Strickland
The Mobile Expert Panel came next which included Colleen Brown, President & CEO of Fisher Communications, Rob Strickland of Strickland Consulting, Bala Subramanian, VP of Enterprise Architecture for T-Mobile, and James Sun, CEO of Pirq  all facilitated by ZINO Society major event sponsor, Kraig Marini Baker of Davis Wright TremaineBrad Harlow, ZINO Society Elite Roundtable Member, facilitated the second flight of gaming and mobile dealflow presentations which included Novel, Splat Interactive, CrowdCompass,, and Open Mobile Solutions.
ZINO Society CMO Mary Holmes, facilitated the "Back-of'the-Napkin Pitch" dealflow flight which included two-minute pitches with only one powerpoint slide for each of the four presenters.  The Mobile Expert Panel was then asked to choose just one company of the four that they would "invest" in knowing only the small amount of information that they had gleaned from the brief pitches.  It was interesting to note that three out of the four companies making the brief presentations were selected by one or more of the panelists as what they deemed to be the "best investment opportunity".

Film Expert Panel:  Scilla Andreen,
Steve Edmiston, Matt Hooper,
Amy Lillard, Carl Spence
Following a cookie and coffee brief networking break, ZINO Society Chief Dealflow Officer (and avowed film buff), Kristie Lanum, moderated the Film Expert Panel which included Scilla Andreen, CEO & Co-Founder of IndieFlix, Steve Edmiston, an independent filmmaker and attorney with Invicta Law Group, Matt Hooper, an attorney with Foster Pepper who focuses on film production, Amy Lillard, Executive Director of Washington Filmworks and Carl Spence, Artistic Director of Seattle International Film Festival.

The final dealflow flight facilitated by major sponsor, Kraig Marini Baker of Davis Wright Tremaine, featured film projects from Low Fidelity Films LLC, Sit Forward Entertainment, Footprint Features, Truth Cabin Productions, and Tender Brisket, LLC.
Eliza Flug-Coburn & Cathi Hatch

We completed the business session with ZINO Entertainment Investment Forum major event sponsor and Elite Roundtable Member, Eliza Flug-Coburn, Founder of Gaia Indie Films, introducing our keynote speaker, Emmy Award winning Actor/Director, Tom Skerritt.  The audience hung on his every word as he shared his perspective on what really makes a successful film project.  He thinks it is all really about the "story" more so than the actors, special effects, etc.

Following his remarks, Tom remained at the podium with me to present the ZINO Zenith awards (as selected by all the attendees) to Sue Cocoran of Tender Brisket for Best Investment Opportunity and to Matthew Donegan-Ryan of CrowdCompass for Best Presentation.

Best Presenter: Matthew Donegan-Ryan
Best Investment Opportunity: Sue Corcoran
From there, we all proceeded to the entrepreneur displays and exhibition space for the networking and wine reception featuring Italian sausages courtesy of Frank Isernio of Isernio's Sausage, wine poured by ZINO Society Wine Professional Members, Jess Zander of Fidelitas, Brad Sherman of Michael Florentino Cellars, Jon Staenberg of Hand of God Wines, and Beer Professional Members, Charles and Rose Ann Finkel of Pike Brewing Company.