Hot Dish

Gourmet getaway Feeling a lack of serious schmoozing about food in his part-time home in the Pacific Northwest, Michael Gallelli organized a one-day Whidbey Island get-together of the best and brightest in Northwest kitchens and invited amateur foodies to come enjoy the fun. The first Cascadia Culinary Conference was such a smash that Gallelli's expanded the affair to three days for 2004, with activities ranging from a seminar on food in film to dinners where enthusiastic amateurs get a chance to whip up their own banquet in a private home under the supervision of a certified master chef. This year's bash run May 21–23 and costs a modest $195 for the full spread. Check out the details on www.cascadeculinaryarts.com Was St. Patrick on Atkins? Oliver's Lounge at the Mayflower Park Hotel (405 Olive Way, 206-623-8700) offers its original "Lean Green Martini" made with low-carb blue Magellan gin and Chartreuse for the Atkins observer or anyone who enjoys a stiff drink, for that matter. Manager Steve Burney explains, "What I ended up making is a very strong, faintly herbal cocktail that is a soft green in color, made primarily with gin, which has zero carbs. It is not a sweet drink like a cosmo. It is definitely like a strong martini." This drink makes its debut on March 17 and will continue to be on the menu afterward. Oliver's holds the title of Seattle's Best Classic, as well as having won the titles for Best Specialty Martini and Best International Classic Martini, and you can look forward to future "specialtinis," such as the Ten Fortyini coming in April. Blast from the past For 17 years, Saleh Joudeh's Saleh al Lago set the standard for fine bistro cooking in Seattle, so a lot of hearts were broken when Saleh hung up his toque and turned his beloved Green Lake space over to Philip Mihalski for Nell's (6804 E. Green Lake Way N., 206-524-4044) in the fall of 2000. But Saleh's fans have a treat in store: On April 20 and 21 Nell's turns its kitchen back over to the master to rustle upa menu of his greatest hits: warm spinach salad with prosciutto, veal scallopine, and of course, his signature upside-down chicken. Reserve soon; Nell's isn't that large, and nostalgia's quite a seasoning. Everybody's doing it Why should you participate in the Great American Meatout this month? Because a whole busload of B-list celebrities say to. Casey Kasem, Columbo, Elvira, and Beverly Hills 90210's Jennie Garth are going veggie for the month of March in the name of health. Therefore you should, too. It's the least you could do for the stars who've done so much for you. A few good wines That's what organizers of the Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition are looking for; but to find those few that match perfectly with the finicky raw bivalve, they need to taste their way through hundreds. April 5 is the deadline for winemakers in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, and British Columbia to submit their candidates. For all the facts, visit competition sponsor Taylor Shellfish Farms' Web site at www.oysterwine.com food@seattleweekly.com

 
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