Hot Dish

Burns out Steve Burns, who as director of the Washington Wine Commission has presided over and contributed significantly to the phenomenal growth of the Washington wine industry over the last eight years, is leaving the post to return to his native California Burns will remain at least through June while the Commission board conducts a national search for someone to fill his very large shoes, then will head for Sonoma County, where he and his partner, Josh Heiser, own a home. Burns hopes to continue his evangelism for Washington wine as a contract consultant. Footnotes to your food Ever get impatient with those menu descriptions that go on and on and on about the ingredients and techniques of the dish you're considering? Bandol chef Tim Dunning has found a way to annotate his cuisine without drowning his menu in details. He posts information about each dish in the monthly lunch and dinner lineups on Bandol's Web site (www.bandolbistro.com), where you'll learn, for example, that the baked eggs are served atop brandade de morue, and that brandade de morue is made of equal parts salt cod and potato seasoned with rosemary, lemon, and olive oil. (Which doesn't sound half as tasty as it, in fact, is.) Or that the cardamom foam served with the braised eel is "a tribute to the revolutionary cooking that is now occurring along the borders of France and Spain." From quinoa to calf's liver, it's all there: You can even learn how to roll a true French omelette or make your own duck confit. Nacho Nemeses Who knew that what began as a stopgap measure to placate military wives would go on to become the most brilliant snack ever invented? OK, that last bit is subjective, but we defy anyone to challenge the 60-year reign of nachos as the world's best nosh. Apocryphally the creation of Ignacio Ahava (get it? Nacho?), a chef who cooked for the wives of American soldiers stationed in Mexico during World War II, the nonpareil formula of tortilla chips, cheese, jalapeños, and assorted window dressing wended its way through Texas in the late '40s and '50s, then made a big splash at the 1964 State Fair of Texas in Dallas . . . and the rest is culinary history. The Washington Restaurant Association and the Dairy Products Commission are co-sponsoring the fourth statewide Ultimate Nacho Recipe Contest, wherein restaurants in five regions—King County, Greater Puget Sound, and Southwestern, Central, and Eastern Washington—may compete to prove their superlative nacho know-how. Regional champs get $100 certificates for artisan cheese; the state winner receives a whopping $500 in cheese money. According to our source at the Dairy Commission, oddball recipes in past years have included apple slices in lieu of tortilla chips, ground squirrel or chorizo rather than beef, and fondue-cooked chili con queso as a heartier-than-average topping. The competition runs through April 18; interested chefs can visit www.wrahome.com for more information. This just in . . .  The Tom Douglas restaurant empire is expanding, with Douglas taking over the space adjacent to his Palace Kitchen at Fifth Avenue and Lenora Street downtown as a banquet and party facility, to be known henceforward as the Palace Ballroom. Food and/or beverage news? E-mail Hot Dish at food@seattleweekly.com.

 
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