Will Blog for Food: I Tasted Washington. Now, I Have Herpes.

Peter Sessum
A thirsty crowd
Okay, not really, but certain members of this year's Taste Washington crowd certainly looked like potential carriers.

Let's get one thing straight: Taste Washington is a marathon, not a sprint. You come wearing comfy shoes and stretchy pants (your best stretchy pants). Ladies, you do not arrive wearing five-inch hooker heels, a mini-skirt and a spray-on tan. Gentlemen, leave your popped collars and gold jewelry at home. Unless the cast of Jersey Shore recently founded a winery, there is absolutely no excuse I can think of to come dressed like that to Taste WA.

Peter Sessum
Nobody knows how to shuck like Elliott's
The 13th annual event came to Qwest Field Event Center on Sunday. Thousands of lushes (me), fatties (me), and freeloaders (me again) came to sample more than 60 restaurants and more than 200 wineries. The grand tasting, which the general public was invited to, started at 4 p.m. and ended at (around) 7 p.m.. The Washington Wine Commission tells me they had everyone out of the building by 7:45 p.m., which I'm sure is a record for this event. I attended the media tasting which started at 1 p.m., so I had the chance of getting first dibs on food and wine before anyone else. Sadly, I didn't arrive until close to 2 p.m., just as the V.I.P. tasting started for those who paid extra bucks to beat the crowds.

Peter Sessum
Yellow Leaf cupcakes
Some of my favorite dishes of the night included the grilled octopus skewer with chimichurri aioli from Matt's in the Market; the smoked Alaskan black cod with Spanish chorizo on crostini from Steelhead Diner; a salad of baby mizuna, radish, and cukes with a peanut truffle vinaigrette and duck confit from Fresh Bistro; and the pancakes and bacon cupcake from Yellow Leaf that actually tasted just like pancakes with maple syrup when you ate the frosting and cake together.

Peter Sessum
Ring around the rosy cheeks
My favorite part of Taste WA every year is not the food or the wine. Oh, no. It's the ring toss. For five bucks, you get three rings which you toss into a forest of wine bottles with the goal of landing one of those rings around one of the bottles. If you succeed, you win the bottle. Cool idea, huh? This is a super fun game which gives you the chance to win a pretty nice bottle for a five spot. Some people, however, take this game too seriously, camping out at the booth as if it was a nickel slot machine that dispensed pork-laced crystal meth and handjobs . I am not lying when I say the dude next to me on Sunday had about a dozen bottles next to him and was yelling at his wife who was nervously tossing rings hoping to win her husband another reason to live. I don't want to brag, but I spent $10 and won two bottles of Hoodsport Pinot Gris. Say what you will about Hoodsport, but I drank both bottles that night in the basement of a friend's house watching reruns of Celebrity Apprentice on Hulu. Who's the loser now?
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