|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 Showbox. Mary 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.