Monday, March 1, 2010

Picnic, Seattle

CQ is on the road again... This time I have traveled to Seattle for a few days and have already had so many blog-worthy adventures.  I am having so much fun that I have had a hard time sitting down to blog.  With a little free time this afternoon, I wanted to tell you about a great wine and food shop I discovered amongst yesterday's goings-on.  It's called Picnic.   You can find it in Seattle's Phinney Ridge neighborhood.  My friend Andr√© and I had a wonderful experience shopping there and chatting with owners of the place, Jenny and Anson Klock.

The concept of Picnic is that you can eat it there, or you can take it out with equal ease and satisfaction.  They offer a selection of soups, sandwiches, salads, charcuterie, and cheese on their menu, and they also host regular themed wine tastings for $8.  It's a fantastic concept that was modeled on some of the retail outlets in my neck of the woods, Boston.  It turns out that Anson has a brother who lives in the South End near some of my favorite places: The Butcher Shop and Formaggio Kitchen.  Having visited these Boston hot-spots, they were inspired to open a similarly styled place in Seattle.

I was impressed with their selection of wine.  They had maybe 100 to 150 different bottles, and it was obvious that each one had been carefully chosen by the owners.  Maybe a third of the selections were local from either Oregon or Washington.  I picked up four bottles from vineyards that I have not seen represented in Boston.  We drank and enjoyed three of the them at our dinner party last night and have one left for later in the week.  The wines were Efeste "Evergreen" Riesling, McKinley Cellars Chenin Blanc, Yellow Hawk Sangiovese, and Syncline "Subduction Red."  We will be having the Yellow Hawk Sangiovese with pizza from flying squirrel at a chamber music reading party tonight, and I'm looking forward to enjoying another of Washington's amazing wine offerings.

Jenny and Anson also sent us home with some cheese, pate, and bread.  They were gracious enough to let us sample quite a few things from their case, and we couldn't resist purchasing more food, even though we had already made quite a haul from the Ballard Market earlier in the afternoon.  Anson's country style pate was entirely made from ground pork and was studded with delicious herbs and he gave us pickled shallots, cornichons, and mustard to eat it with.  We relished its delicious flavor and wonderful even texture while we cooked up a storm for our celebratory dinner party that evening.  The baguette from Columbia City Bakery and Dinah's Cheese from Kurtwood Farms that they turned us on to were also a real treat.  Dinah's Cheese is a delicious gooey camembert style cheese that we admired for it's buttery unctuousness and creamy smooth spreadable paste.

I could have stayed and talked with Jenny and Anson for hours, but we had to pick up our friends after a rehearsal.  I don't think I could imagine a more warm and engaging couple of proprietors, and it turned out that we had quite a bit in common.  They are just the sort of people that you hope will open a business in your own neighborhood.  I was very happy to have found Picnic and I'll be telling everyone I know about it in Boston.  Maybe someday I'll be lucky enough to own a little shop just like it.  Until then, I'll be wishing I lived in Seattle so that I could go there for cheese, bread, wine, and pate once a week.  I wish them continued success and happiness in their wonderful shop, Picnic!

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