SideDish

Seat of the Soul

Down Mexico way Christine Keff says she had no intention of opening a second restaurant when she took a break from her hit Belltown place Flying Fish back in 1999. But a couple of months eating and cooking her way through Oaxaca and Veracruz under the tutelage of Mexican food guru Marilyn Tausend sent her back to Seattle inspired. The inspiration took shape as FANDANGO, which has proved as big a hit as Flying Fish. And to make sure the inspiration doesn't fade, this winter Keff sent Fandango chef Shawn Applin and sous-chef Stephanie Meyers on pilgrimages with Tausend. Results are already turning up on Fandango's menu, in such forms as grilled Gulf shrimp with chipotle sauce and grilled pineapple salsa ($16.95) and a seafood cocktail in the lightest of tomato-lime sauces aptly named vuelve a la vida (return to life, $10.95). A pretty expensive way to get some new dishes on the menu. Can it be worth it? "Absolutely," says Keff. "I could show Shawn and Stephanie what I learned in Mexico, but you don't really understand food until you see it made where it belongs, in its culture." Blu-blu-blu-banquet All right, so it's a little ghoulish: Doesn't the idea still kind of turn you on? For just $35 to $55, you too can dine on the delicacies served in the first-class dining saloon of the R.M.S. Titanic, just hours before most of the passengers took their dinners to the bottom on that night to remember. In honor of the show of Titanic memorabilia showing at the Pacific Science Center, the culinary staff of Kaspar's has put together a somewhat scaled-down re-creation of the 12-course banquet served the night of April 14, 1912. Available in three-course and six-course versions, the menu features such Gilded-Age dainties as consomm頏lga with sea scallops, filet mignons Lili, a bizarre sorbet of rum and wine called Punch Romaine, and, among the four dessert choices, peaches in chartreuse jelly. Among wines, the 1898 Perrier Jouet and 1900 Veuve Cliquot would be a bit over the hill by now, but younger scions of the same distinguished vines from the same makers will be available (ࠬa carte) to toast your luck with. The staff promises that ice water will not be served at the conclusion of the meal. (Menu available nightly until September; call 443-2001 for reservations.) Sorry, Martha John Sarich hasn't been a TV chef for long, but he's already got one credit to be proud of: His weekly Saturday afternoon half-hour on KONG 6/16 consistently trounces Martha Stewart in the same time block. If you're not a TV type, you can still cook along with Chateau Ste. Michelle's culinary director: This month Sarich publishes his third cookbook, titled, like the TV show, Best of Taste (Sea-Hill Press, $22.95 hardcover) including most of the dishes he's prepared in the show's 26 episodes so far, plus a lot more. Like chef Sarich's two previous cookbooks, this one emphasizes simple preparation of fresh local ingredients, and includes recommended wines to accompany each menu, as well. Pass along tasty morsels of information to sidedish@seattleweekly.com.

 
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