Making Herstory: Pacific Northwest Culinary Stars to Watch

The Pacific Northwest produces some of the finest local ingredients for cooking and drinking. It also has some of the finest chefs and mixologists in restaurant kitchens and bars doing magical things with those products. Here are a few of our favorite Pacific Northwest culinary stars to watch. Book a table to taste excellence this summer.

Hailey Pasemko, Bar Manager, Wolf in the Fog, Tofino, British Columbia
Hailey Pasemko is making a splash at the bar — by running it. For her, that means choosing wines and creating cocktails that complement what’s coming out of the kitchen and also pioneering new ways of spotlighting the unique local ingredients that can be found on Vancouver Island’s rugged and stormy west coast. Pasemko’s method: start with a classic cocktail that’s already stood the test of time and then experiment with different flavors, such as including local salal berries (an earthier blueberry) in a Sloe Gin. “That’s where the magic happens,” Pasemko says. Pasemko also tips her hat to the seasons by offering spirit-based drinks in the winter, and long, refreshing versions in the summer. So, as we head into the warmer months, expect some interesting light florals—Pasemko’s feminine touch—like nasturtium to make an appearance in the Wolf in the Fog’s aperitifs. “Sometimes I feel the pressure to be more conventional,” admits Pasemko, “but when I tone it down, things are never actualized the way I intend them to be.” Make a reservation at Wolf in the Fog.

Bar Manager Hailey Pasemko

The crew at Salty’s Waterfront Seafood Grill, Des Moines, Washington
The Salty’s kitchen in South Seattle’s Redondo Beach is literally teeming with talent. The salads and sushi stations, the buffet, dessert preparation — all are being handled by what Executive Chef Josh Green calls “the right people,” who just happen to be women. Detailed-oriented Alissa Bilderback creates dishes that look “perfect on the plate, but not forced.” Janice Rabiteau uses her sautée pan to bring out the color and flavor of Salty’s fresh, local seafood. Adela Gomez is responsible for Salty’s chowder (which is a Big Deal since a seafood restaurant is its chowder.) And Leanna Spillner, who started at Salty’s three years ago, when she was just 15, preps sushi, salads, and desserts. Explains Spillner, “It’s a great time for women to be in the kitchen because women bring an indescribable small difference to cooking — and that goes a long way.” Make a reservation at Salty’s.

Salty's Chefs

Melissa Mayer + Maylin Chavez, owners/chefs, Olympia Oyster Bar, Portland, Oregon
Melissa Mayer and Maylin Chavez are well aware that lots of folks either have no experience with oysters — or have had a negative one. They also know the way to develop a taste for the bivalves is through curation and comparison. That’s why they launched an oyster bar with a selection of oysters from various regions and with different flavor profiles instead of opening a restaurant that simply had one oyster dish available on a larger menu. “Once people try them in our kind of setting, most of them feel changed forever,” jokes Chavez. Also on the menu (which is currently being broadened): housemade linguine with clams and Chilpa Chole, a mussels dish prepared in a shrimp consommé base that also includes cinnamon, fresh herbs, and chunks of radishes and avocado. At some promotional events, their male friends have mistakenly been presumed to be the restaurant’s owners. ‘This is a boy’s industry,” says Mayer, but she doesn’t let that cloud her vision or goals for Olympia Oyster Bar. “It’s always a good time for women to be doing this and to be leaders,” she concludes. Make a reservation at Olympia Oyster Bar.

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Restaurants and Bees: Where to Get Buzzed on Dishes + Drinks with Local Honey

Blog header Trace copyBe aware: Bees are getting a lotta love these days — in restaurants! Here are some sweet spots where you can get buzzed on cocktails as well as enjoy entrees and dishes—made with honey from on-site hives. The apiary trend is nationwide, but you’ll note that in Boston, restaurants and bees are, well, a thing.

City Table, Boston, Massachusetts
The bees that buzz on the rooftop at the Lenox Hotel forage at a distance of up to three miles for flower and plant nectar, returning for turndown service each night. They get the royal treatment: Beekeeper Dean Stiglitz travels to the hotel every Monday morning in season to tend to the bees. The hotel’s City Table restaurant features several honey-inspired dishes including Avocado Toast (fried egg, sticky honey, diced avocado, and red chili flake glaze). And the hotel’s City Bar serves cocktails that use the honey — sip The Queen Bee (gin, green tea, honey and prosecco) or Colonel’s Choice (Calvados, Maker’s Mark, Combier, honey and garnished with an orange slice). Make a reservation at City Table.

Restaurants and Bees

OAK Long Bar + Kitchen, Boston, Massachusetts
OAK is housed in the Fairmont Copley Plaza, which also houses three beehives located next to the rooftop herb garden. Best Bees Co. tends to the bees, which produce 30 to 40 gallons of the sweet nectar annually. The honey is used to make the Rooftop Honey Butter, which is served with the Hearth Baked Bread and the Buttermilk Panna Cotta, among other dishes. And, wait, there’s more buzz. Wild mason bees are some of the most effective pollinators on Earth, and the hotel just debuted its new Bee Hotel, located in the hotel’s herb garden next to the honey bee apiary. OAK will offer a selection of pollinator menu items like the Avocado & Peekytoe Crab Toast (the avocado is pollinated by the bees). Make a reservation at OAK Long Bar + Kitchen.

Restaurants and Bees

Fearrington House, Pittsboro, North Carolina
This restaurant located just outside of Chapel Hill has a beehive on property that’s overseen by one of the restaurant’s sous chefs and a local beekeeper who assists in the harvesting of the honey. Dishes in which the honey plays a cameo role include the Sweet & Sour Tuna with Fresh Chickpeas, Yuzu, Cucumber, Salsify, Avocado, and Fearrington’s honey. Make a reservation at Fearrington House.

Restaurants and Bees

Japengo at Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa Hotel, Honolulu, Hawaii
“The global decline in honeybee population has also seriously affected the Hawaiian honeybee population, resulting in legislation at the state level to encourage honey production and sales throughout the islands,” says a hotel spokesperson. And so, the hotel created its own honeybee colony and a honey program called Hula Meli, meaning “Dancing Honey.” The honey that’s harvested from the apiary is used in a signature cocktail served in all of the hotel’s dining outlets, including Japengo; the Bee’s Knees cocktail combines Hendricks Gin, triple sec, and fresh lemon juice with the honey. The cocktail is shaken with crushed ice and served in a tumbler with a garnish of fresh honeycomb from the hotel’s hive. Make a reservation at Japengo.

Restaurants and Bees

Randolfi’s, University City, Missouri
James Beard semifinalist and chef-owner Mike Randolph features classic Italian here — with a twist. A unique ingredient you might not find on your nonna’s menu is chef de cuisine Tommy Andrew’s honey. The chef moonlights as a beekeeper — he has two hives in his backyard, as well as others at a separate location. The menu features the honey in several dishes including the oven-glazed vegetables, the cheese plate, and honey ice cream, as well as some of the cocktails. Make a reservation at Randolfi’s.

Restaurants and Bees

Trace, San Francisco, California
Trace is the W hotel’s signature restaurant, and the hotel has been harvesting wild honey bees for four years and is now home to 40,000 bees and 10 hives located on the hotel’s rooftop on the 32nd floor; 40 pounds of honey per hive are produced per year. The natural honeycomb is used in the restaurant’s menus, including the Roasted Beet Salad with burrata, pistachio, baby greens, and honey, and its Ginger Pork Skewers with rooftop honey and sesame seed. Make a reservation at Trace.

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Get in the Gold Medal Spirit: 7 Top Brazilian Restaurants

You can’t go anywhere lately without hearing the trill of vuvuzelas or the roar of the crowd. The games are underway in Rio, where records are shattered, dreams are made, and heroes are born. Can’t afford the plane fare and the cost of the tickets? Don’t worry, you can still get a taste of the host country here in the States. Here are top Brazilian restaurants to fuel your dreams.

The Grill from Ipanema, Washington, D.C.
The Brazilian outpost in the nation’s capitol thrives in the buzzy Adams Morgan neighborhood. Chef Alcy De Souza offers an epic menu, which encompasses the width and breadth of his home country’s cuisine. He makes a mean feijoada, Brazil’s national dish. The thick black bean stew is fortified with plenty of protein, including beef, pork sausage, and smoked meats, ensuring it will stick to your stomach for hours after you dine. It’s the perfect preemptive order if you plan on enjoying the tropicalia-styled cocktail menu, which features caipirinha (of course!), maracujinha (cachaça-amped passion fruit juice), and batida de côco (a creamy coconut sipper spiked with cachaça and vodka). Make a reservation at the Grill from Ipanema.

Top Brazilian Restaurants

Tradicao Brazilian Steakhouse, Webster, Texas
Being your meal at this churrascaria with a trip to the outsized salad bar, which features more than 30 options. Make sure you don’t overload your plate though because this is only the beginning. Back at your table, you’ll be given a coaster with a red side and a green side. Leave the green side up and servers will continue to bring you an onslaught of meats, including beef, lamb, chicken, and fish, as well as sides, such as mashed potatoes, garlicky rice, and caramelized bananas. When you feel like you’ve had enough – or you just want to take a break, so you can rest up for the next round – flip your coaster over to the red side to stop the edible assault. Make a reservation at Tradicao Brazilian Steakhouse.

Top Brazilian Restaurants

Ipanema, New York, New York
Perched in the heart of Manhattan’s Little Brazil, this storied eatery has been giving diners a taste of their unique Brazilian-Portuguese (sometimes referred to as luso-Brazilian) cuisine for more than three decades. Expect the classics, including crème de camarão (shrimp bisque), vatapá (grilled monkfish and shrimp stew made with dende oil and crisped up hazelnuts), picanha, and feijoada. Wash it all down with a few caipirinha, which are available in the classic style or accented with your choice of coconut cream or passion fruit juice. Just don’t drink too many or you might wake up in Rio. Trust us, vuvuzelas sound even worse when you’re hungover. Make a reservation at Ipanema.

Top Brazilian Restaurants

Espetus Churrascaria, San Francisco, California
You could call this a fire-to-fork concept. The rodizio style restaurant brings diners a seemingly endless parade of skewered offerings, all cooked over mesquite by the gaucho chefs. Options include bacon-wrapped filet mignon, pork loin, chicken hearts, shrimp, lamb, and pineapple, whose juiciness and caramelized sweetness offers a nice counterpoint to the proteins. Complement this fare with sides from the salad bar, such as moqueca de peixe (fish stew) and the requisite feijoada. If there’s still room for something sweet after overindulging on savory items, try the pudim (caramel topped milk and egg custard) or crème de papaya (a blend of ice cream and papaya) lavished with crème de cassis and accompanied by a scoop of cassis sorbet. Make a reservation at Espetus Churrascaria.

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Boston Chefs Pick Their Dine Out Boston Summer 2016 Faves

Want to check out a new restaurant or squeeze in some al fresco dining in the waning days of summer? Dine Out Boston Summer 2016 — August 14-19 and 21-26 — is the perfect opportunity to keep you and your wallet full with two-course lunches for $20 and three-course dinners starting at just $28. Here are some menu highlights courtesy of some of the city’s top chefs.

Bastille Kitchen
Though the Innovation District may be called such because it’s the epicenter for many of the city’s tech companies, the neighborhood also is home to some of Boston’s most creative restaurants — including Bastille Kitchen. Chef Adam Kube gives diners something to cool off with this August with seasonally appropriate avocado gazpacho and also serves up some special Dine Out fare, such as oat and quinoa-crusted chicken breast with a refreshing asparagus and grapefruit salad. “I wanted to offer guests dishes that are delicious and satisfying, but also bring a sense of lightness and freshness and aren’t too heavy,” Kube said. “I also wanted to offer guests the opportunity to try a few signature dishes that have been top sellers since day one, including our tea-smoked mussels marinière — our homage to the Boston Tea Party — and prime skirt steak frites, our interpretation of this classic French dish, which flies out of the kitchen every night.” Top it off with such Dine Out desserts as black forest torte with port wine and cherry reduction and vanilla crème brûlée with a pistachio butter cookie. Make a Dine Out Boston Summer 2016 reservation at Bastille Kitchen.

Dine Out Boston Summer 2016

STRIP by Strega
With a new multimillion-dollar facelift that’s transformed an aging grande dame into one of the city’s coolest hotels, it’s only appropriate that the Park Plaza’s restaurants would serve as the historic property’s sexy accessories. STRIP by Strega offers up a modern feel with dark colors and sensual artistic touches, along with full steakhouse fare and a new jamming DJ brunch on Sundays. Executive chef Farouk Bazoune offers up both lunch and dinner options, focusing on sourcing seasonally and locally. “Due to the availability of so many fresh, local ingredients, summer is the perfect time to dine at local restaurants. Dine Out Boston is just one more reason to give a new restaurant a try,” he says. Look for the perfect combination of savory and sweet on the dinner menu with a melon and prosciutto appetizer. “It hits all the taste buds with light, crisp flavors coming from the lime, mint and melon that are balanced by creamy notes from the brie cheese, and sweet and savory notes from the aged balsamic and prosciutto. And personally, I love our chilled corn and crab soup, which is perfect for a hot summer day.” Meat lovers can enjoy a juicy strip twin filet with a light green bean salad and salsa verde on the dinner menu. Make a Dine Out Boston Summer 2016 reservation at STRIP by Strega.

Dine Out Boston Summer 2016

Serafina
Serafina may be known for its thin-crust pizzas, but executive chef Brendan Burke sees Dine Out as an opportunity to welcome fans of myriad main dishes into the fold. “We actually offer an extensive menu packed with plenty of salads, meat, seafood and homemade pastas, so I wanted to use Dine Out to highlight a few signature dishes and seasonal items are perfect for enjoying during warm weather,” he explained. “Guests can expect plenty of summery ingredients like watermelon, Maine lobster, and grilled organic chicken and grilled salmon. Seasonality is something we take seriously and we’re always finding new, fresh ingredients to incorporate into the menu.” Watermelon makes its way into tomato gazpacho with red pepper flakes on the Dine Out menu and there’s a “lobster salad salad” with burrata cheese, avocado, fried green tomato, and pesto aioli. For some of that homemade pasta, check out cavatelli with duck confit, too. Make a Dine Out Boston Summer 2016 reservation at Serafina.

Dine Out Boston Summer 2016

Besito-Chestnut Hill
Just right for a hot day given its origins closer to the Equator, Mexican food is prime for summer diners — especially when they’re given choices says Besito Chestnut Hill chef Sebastian Navarrete. For just $28 (at both that location and the other in Boston’s suburban Burlington neighborhood), the Dine Out offerings includes three courses from the full menu. “The culinary team stays true to [the restaurant’s] Mexican roots and incorporates only the finest, authentic chili peppers and spices to complement its carefully sourced selection of ocean-fresh seafood, marinated prime meats, and garden-fresh veggies.” Think chicken tacos with fresh-made salsas, roasted salmon Manchamanteles with mole sauce, a crispy banana slide, and pineapple salsa, or indulgent queso fundido. All lunch and dinner Dine Out specials come with tres leches cake. Enjoy a slice while relaxing on Chestnut Hill’s redesigned outdoor patio with wrought-iron lanterns and a brick fireplace. Make a reservation at Dine Out Boston Summer 2016 reservation at Besito-Chestnut Hill.

Dine Out Boston Summer 2016

Legal Oysteria
New to the Dine Out scene, chef Ryan Landry wanted to offer some of the restaurant’s signature dishes for guests in the historic Boston neighborhood of Charlestown. “Charlestown is beautiful in the summer … There’s no better time to visit,” he said of the space overlooking City Square Park on the Freedom Trail. Among the hits on the lunch and dinner menus are a white-clam pizza, Ligurian fish stew with monkfish, shrimp, squid and clams, and brick-oven braised cod. Seafood always pairs well with lemon, so expect a ricotta pie with candied lemon for dessert at dinner, and on the lunch menu, ricotta also makes an appearance in fritter form, served with spicy honey. Make a Dine Out Boston Summer 2016 reservation at Legal Oysteria.

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