It is Halibut season and WA Wine month. Tonight at home (aka “Café LeBrendt”) Kevin cooked up fresh blackened Halibut resting in a bed of spicy fruit salsa puree and topped with a mango papaya salsa. The fish was so fresh, the spices of the blackened seasoning (from World Spice Market in Seattle) went really great with the fruits and paired well with a beautiful Washington Rosé.

Spring is upon us, and there is no better way to start off spring than with a vertical of Long Shadows Julia’s Dazzle Rosé of Pinot Gris, and a great reason to open up two bottles.


At first glance you notice the color between the two wines, the 2013 has a light copper color compared to the 2014 with a light rose petal hue. Tasting both vintages, the 2013, I get notes of raspberries, strawberries and a hint of sweetness in the finish. The 2014, I get vibrant kiwi and melon notes and it finishes with a slight effervescent. They were both a great accompaniment to the halibut, cooling the palate from the heat of the spiciness of the dish.

Spring has sprung, which means more Rosé releases, and Julia and I heading out to cover ground here in Woodinville, visiting many wineries to collect all of the Rosé wines for our 3rd Annual Rosé party here at our home this summer. We are excited about this year’s party, as we will have music by Larry Murante. Along with the wines, of course, I cook up spectacular bites, including a salmon and chicken taco bar.

Need suggestions for a great Rosé? Afraid of pink wine? Here are some great ones to try: A Maurice Cellars, Longshadows Vintners, Gramercy Cellars, Charles Smith (Walla Walla wineries). Woodinville: Patterson Cellars, Gorman Winery, Page Cellars, Woodinville Cellars, and Lauren Ashton Cellars Rosé release event is Saturday the 4th of April. I am lucky to have had an early preview of LA Rosé recently and I must say, it’s fantastic once again this year. So, go out and get your Rosé on!

and as Charles Smith says “Yes, you can drink pink wine and be a badass!”


– Kevin



Dinner Party with Lauren Ashton Wines

This weekend, after dropping off our kids at the YMCA kids’ night, Kevin cooked up a fantastic four course dinner at home with friends. Kevin spent Thursday night preparing his menu for the Saturday night dinner, Sea Bass as the main course, and two appetizer courses and a dessert. Kevin carefully chose his wines to pair with each course; all of our wines on this night were Lauren Ashton Cellars. Usually winter is for mostly red wine in our house, but on this night, we went for a crisp clean white and rose’ approach.

LA winesOur first course, a blackened seared sea scallop resting on a bed of lime zest roasted cauliflower puree with a dollop of cilantro aioli, was paired with a 2013 Riesling. The Riesling is a youthful wine that denotes those pear and peach flavors that offset the spiciness of the blackened spiced scallop and brightens the zest of the cauliflower puree.

ScallopOur second course, we enjoyed a classic roasted beet and goat cheese salad with balsamic dressing. The beets were tossed with black pepper and truffle oil. Kevin paired this fresh, light salad with a 2013 Rose’. Kevin’s pairing of the Rose’ with the salad enhanced the hints of strawberry and spicy pepper of this beautiful blend of Grenache and Mourvedre. Sadly, this was our last bottle of LA 2013 Rose’. We are definitely looking forward to the 2014 release.

Beet SaladKevin presented us with the main course of seared Sea Bass resting on a Yukon gold and leek potato cake, dressed with a lemon caper sauce. Kevin paired the 2012 Roussanne with the Sea Bass because it is a very elegant wine that has great full viscosity and a hint of mineral that paired really well with the lemon and capers.

Sea BassTopping off the night, Kevin prepared a dessert that was a simple angel food cake sliced thin, drizzled with crème de coco and layered with sliced strawberries with house made amaretto infused vanilla ice-cream capped with a second piece of thinly sliced angel food cake with crème de cocoa with fresh whipped cream and crumbled amaretto cookie over the top.


We all enjoyed a night of great food, wine and a lot of laughs and the kids enjoyed their time having fun at the kids’ night out.


A Perfect Day in Woodinville Wine Country

There are many things to do on a visit to Woodinville Wine Country in any season. A perfect day begins with Kevin checking the site to see what new release and live music events are happening. Finding a new release event is like finding a treasure that has yet to be discovered, I always find a new favorite wine to bring home. New release events are usually accompanied by small bites, which are paired with the wines. Last weekend, at Woodinville Wine Cellars release party their wines were paired with stuffed mushrooms, beef, cheeses and chocolates. We picked up a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.


Off to The Warehouse Wineries and Patterson Cellars, where wine maker, John, greets us with a big smile. Tasting through his menu, we always take a moment to wander back to where all the magic happens. Towering silver tanks holding precious grapes, fermenting away for a future release. The aroma of the grapes, his wines and welcoming atmosphere are reasons we return to Patterson. Today, we pick up a bottle of his Bordeaux blend and Melange Blanc, a white blend of Chardonnay/Viognier.

Patterson Release                              DSCN0017

Next stop, The Junction, home of a brewery, a winery, and Eastern WA tasting rooms. At Armstrong Family Winery, where Jen and Tim are working away producing fabulous wines in Woodinville, we pick up a bottle of Viognier and enjoy a glass with something tasty from the food truck. Then, we drop in at Dirty Bucket Brewery, chat with Steve, share a pint of his porter, and get an update on his expansion plans.


Next stop, Tourist District/Hollywood Schoolhouse area, tasting at Lauren Ashton, where Kit makes some fantastic Reds and his Roussanne is one of my favorites. Next door, Bottom of the Barrel (at the pink tractor); Jack and his son make furniture out of wine barrels. His workshop is open to peruse and we admire the wine bar he created out of two wine barrels.


The sun is going down, and we wind down at Gorman/Patterson for a glass of wine and some live music on their covered patio. Hungry, we end our evening at Village Wines, enjoying a flatbread and sweet potato fries. Kevin picks out a Dunham Cellars Red out of the shop, in honor of the late Eric Dunham, and with no corkage fee, because we are wine club members, it turns into an affordable date night.



This is How We Wind Down Summer In Woodinville

Kevin and I are enjoying the last bits of Summer. Summer is slipping away, what a fantastic Summer we have had here in the NW!

Recently, we had an opportunity to spend kid free time at home, where Kevin always cooks up amazing dishes. Kevin made sure it was a special table for two in our own living room by the window, nice touch!

tablefor2                               oyster

Earlier in the day, we shopped together at Central Market and picked up some fresh seafood. We tried three different kinds of Oysters on the half shell with a garlic, rice vinegar Mignonette with a Sparkman Cellars Birdie Riesling. Next course, a Arugula Beet Salad served with Gard Rose‘. Main Course, Blackened Sea Bass with Gorman Winery Big Sissy Chardonnay. Sea Bass is one of the most buttery fish I’ve ever had, I loved the texture. There’s something about watching Kevin enjoying cooking up such fantastic dishes, and he knows I appreciate and enjoy every one of them. As usual, Kevin rarely uses any butter in his cooking, everything prepared was healthy.

beetsalad    seabass

…..with the exception of the Tiramisu dessert we picked up at the store and the Acid Blondie Cigar we shared on the deck after dinner with a Patterson Tempranillo. Hey, out with a bang! Summer 2014!


Friday night, the 19th, we enjoyed ourselves at the Hollywood Hill Block Party. This years party was a huge turnout and Woodinville Wine Country had more people than expected! The weather was nice, the people were in a great mood, and we met some nice people. Tasting tickets and visits to multiple tasting rooms around the Hollywood Schoolhouse. We enjoy all of the Woodinville Wine Country events!

HHBP King            Mark R Bike         HHBP Julia

(King and Queen of the Block Party & Kevin oohing and awwing at an antique motorbike at Mark Ryan Cellars)

HH Block party night, we enjoyed dinner at Sora Sushi in Woodinville, it was really good! Spicy roll, tempura calamari, yum! We will definitely be back to eat here! sushi

I loved surprising Kevin with a red vertical of Shoup from Longshadows, Packaged in a beautifully etched wooden box, this vertical includes one 750ml bottle of each of the 2007, 2008 and 2009 vintages. Allen Shoup is a legandary WA wine maker, recently inducted into the Legends of Washington Wine Hall of Fame. Kevin will drive himself nuts trying to find the perfect time and excuse to drink each of these over the next few years! Cheers!

kevin shoup

Sundays at The Junction: Food Truck Sundays at The Dirty Bucket Brewery, great food, beer and a great Viognier at The Armstrong Family Winery, The Seahawks game was on that day, so there were not too many people out, we got to enjoy a front row patio seat to listen to the band!

kevinandjulia                                bandatjunction

Get out there Woodinville and enjoy all that this city has to offer!

– Kevin and Julia Brendt @tastiBalloonngfoodwine

Get your crush on in Woodinville Wine Country!

Now’s the time to watch or give a helping hand during one of the most exciting times in here in Woodinville, WA.

Fruit is arriving daily; I wish we could take a two month sabbatical just to volunteer at the wineries! It is so fascinating, the entire process from bud breaks to harvest.  Part of crush time is bottling the wines if they are ready to make way for the fresh grapes and a new vintage. A couple of weeks ago, we helped bottle 120 cases of Syrah for Patterson Cellars.

pattersonbottler           pattersonfoils      pattersonfoiler    pattersonlabel

(Bottling Syrah with John Patterson)        (Kevin putting Foils on bottles)     (Foiling “machine” one bottle at a time)          (Papa Patterson labeling)

Last weekend, we wandered the warehouse district to see the crush action, Patterson just got some brand new tanks and if you are a wine geek this is super cool to watch them try to get these mammoth tanks in place.

        Johns New Tanks


The action in the tasting room at Patterson was bustling; Patterson just released their 2012 Tempranillo, which is one of my favorites. Their Forbidden White is just fantastic as an everyday white, maybe that’s why they named it “forbidden”. After Patterson Cellars,



                (Kevin and Julia and the new tanks)  

We crossed the lot to see Sparkman Cellars; I was on the lookout for Thanksgiving wines and picked up a Pinot Noir and Birdie Riesling. The Pinot Noir by Sparkman Cellars is a must this year.

Patterson Release

While sipping on glass of the new Sparkman Darkman Syrah, we snuck out back to see Jerry and crew from Guardian Cellars working crush out back, destemming the grapes. These three guys made it look like child’s play! After watching the crush action, a quick sneak into the tasting room at Guardian to grab a bottle of Angel to have with dinner, one of the best Sauvignon Blanc’s out there.


GC1                GC5

(This process takes a human touch)                                    (up they go to get destemmed)          

DSCN0023                     DSCN0018                         DSCN0020

(Jerry, Guardians wine maker in crush action)                                                                                                                                

As we headed out to Redmond to pick up some fresh caught Salmon at a friend’s home, we had to land a quick stop at the Funai Farm, which has been serving the valley since the 1930’s. We picked up vegetables for dinner; kale, chard, carrots, beets and plums. Harvey took us down to the field and pulled a couple of ears of corn that we chomped right into, they were so sweet, like fruit.

Funai    Funai (2)    Funai (1)

Stop by the Funai Farm when you see that ladder out with the “white corn” sign on it, they are located at 14209 Woodinville – Redmond Rd NE, right next to Woodinville Lavender. Stop in at Woodinville Lavender for their fantastic lavender products and even lavender ice cream!

If you love wine and food, you must make a stop in Woodinville! We are so blessed to live here and make sure you sign up for volunteering at one of your favorite wineries!

LogoColorNoText           – Cheers! Kevin Brendt @tastingfoodwine

Mondays are for wine tasting in Woodinville

Enjoy wine tasting but don’t like the weekend crowds? Monday is your day. In the summer months, most rooms are open and they are not crowded. Kevin and I took today, a Monday off to enjoy this great weather we are having. After having a great lunch at Chandlers Crab House on Lake Union, we ventured back to our Woodinville neighborhood for some tasting.

Our first stop was Brian Carter Cellars, we tasted through their wines and chose two bottles to take home, the first, a bottle of their Oriana, a white blend, from two grapes originally from the Rhone Valley of France, mostly Viognier and some Riesling adding a sweet touch of pears and apple blossoms. An excellent, light summer wine. Also, the Rose’ was a must to take home, the Abracadabra Rose’ is a blend that uses the same Brian Carters red varietals, it is not overly sweet, its just right with nice notes of raspberry and strawberry and I even tasted licorice on the finish.



Next Stop, DeLille Cellars Carriage House Tasting Room: Picked up a bottle of Rose’ 2013, The Rose’ is great, crisp and Rhone Style with hints of strawberry and watermelon with a low acidity finish. For summer wines, I also recommend the Doyenne 2012 100% Roussanne,100% Red Mountain AVA and 100% Ciel du Cheval. On this beautiful day, you can see the mountain off of their patio seating, the staff was great, not too busy, like the weekends.


We wandered over to Sparkman Cellars to get a This Old Porch Rose’. Every year, Sparkman is my favorite for Sav Blanc and Rose’. This years: 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Malbec, 13% Syrah, 5% Merlot, 7% Grenache, it is a Dry Rose’, I like the floral smell on the nose, and the tastes of strawberries, nectarines and melon. I also enjoyed the Reisling, it was crisp and not too sweet, maybe I’ll be back for that bottle for our Fall Reisling party. Today,  I couldn’t leave without a bottle of the 2012 Apparition White Rhône. Sparkman has two tasting rooms in Woodinville, the Hollywood Dist and also at the Wine Warehouse. Hollywood dist: Open Thursday through Monday, from 1-6. Warehouse: Open Saturdays and Sundays from 1-5.

Ending the evening on our deck with Kevin, a margarita and an amazing grilled Salmon dinner!


Brian Carter Cellars: The tasting room is in Woodinville, open from 12:00-5:00 pm 7 days a week. Summer hours: June – August on Fridays and Saturdays the tasting room will stay open until 7pm.

DeLille Cellars Carriage House Tasting Room: Woodinville, WA

Tasting Room Hours:
Sunday-Thursday 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Sparkman Cellars: Hollywood dist: Open Thursday through Monday, from 1-6. Warehouse: Open Saturdays and Sundays from 1-5.




Beautiful Walla Walla Wine Country

Beautiful Walla Walla Wine Country

Great day today for pictures!


Blues Guitar sounds of Walla Walla: Sapolil Cellars Guitar Jam Night


Kevin and I arrived in Walla Walla on Thursday afternoon. We were excited to check out the local nightlife. We decided to start our night out at Sapolil Cellars, we didn’t realize that we would also end our night of fun there too! It was open guitar jam night and the place was filling up as we enjoyed a great salad, pizza and a bottle of wine. Every Thursday at Sapolil Cellars is Jam Night. Robin Barrett (of the Coyote Kings) hosts the Jam. We enjoyed meeting new friends, experienced great Blues guitar music and the people of Walla Walla who support the arts and music culture here. Everyone enjoyed themselves and the night was full of great music. What a great way to start out our stay here!

check out the video, our bartender got up there and joined in on this video clip with the band.

A Toast to Woodinville Women and Wine! Tonight!! 7pm

A great event tonight at Russells in Bothell, WA at 7pm. I think tickets are still available. I am looking forward to meeting all of the great women who support Woodinville Wine Country!

* From WWC website, here are the details:

On the eve of International Women’s Day, we’re throwing a reunion party for Woodinville’s Wine Divas*. It’s a chance to catch up with friends, meet new ones and learn more about wine and the local wine community. This will be a new beginning for what we hope will be a regular get-together for women who love wine. The evening includes some of Woodinville’s finest wineries: Gorman Winery, Patterson Cellars, Lauren Ashton Cellars, Smasne Cellars, Flying Dreams Winery, Davenport Cellars, Pondera Winery and Auclair Winery.

NEW: Our special guests:

Madeline Puckette, co-founder of Wine Folly ( Madeline was awarded the 2013-14 Wine Blogger of the Year. In her words: I started Wine Folly on December 25, 2011 with my two best friends. The inspiration for Wine Folly was based on an observation I’d made while serving. Basically, people want to know more about wine but they don’t know where to start. The goal of Wine Folly is to share wine knowledge in a way to encourage and inspire new drinkers. Her infographic posters guide us through tasting and pairing. She will give a brief presentation on tasting wine!

The Woodinville Wine Divas are coming together again for an evening fun, amazing food, and a chance to learn about wine and the local wine community while making new friends with people who love wine.

The evening includes some of Woodinville’s finest wineries: Gorman Winery, Patterson Cellars, Lauren Ashton Cellars, Smasne Cellars, Flying Dreams Winery, Davenport Cellars, Pondera Winery and Auclair Winery.  Renowned Russell’s Restaurant will provide the catering along with live music.

David LeClaire, top Seattle sommelier by Court of Master Sommeliers and founder of Seattle UnCorked. David will walk us through a vertical tasting through time. Learn and taste the aging of one of Woodinville Wine Country’s red wines through the last decade.

Jamie Peha of Table Talk will be video interviewing guests about their Woodinville Wine experiences and offering a drawing for tickets to a summer event called Wine Rocks. Plus a basket of wine goodies for anyone that signs up for their newsletter!

Looking for lodging suggestions? Explore Bothell has a list of Bothell hotels offering special weekend rates with shuttle service for guests attending the Woodinville Women and Wine event – Click here for details!

An evening with winemakers, 8 Woodinville wineries, catering by the renowned Russell’s Restaurant, live music and informative and entertaining learning with wine experts.

Tickets: $60 – BUY NOW at Brown Paper Tickets
Date: Friday, March  7, 2014
Time: 7:00PM
Place: The Loft at Russell’s Restaurant 3305 Monte Villa Pkwy Bothell, WA 98021


  • Sliced Beef Tenderloin on Brioche with Chipotle Sauce
  • Pork Tenderloin on Toast Point with Stonefruit Chutney
  • Seasonal Grilled Vegetable & Chevre Strudel
  • Domestic Cheese Board with Crackers & Seasonal Fresh Fruit Accompaniment.
  • And for dessert – Eclat Chocolates and Assorted Petit Fours.
*Woodinville Women and Wine offers educational events to women in the areas of wine and culinary education while promoting Washington wines and branding Woodinville Wine Country. The organization is an ambassador for local merchants while encouraging networking and fun!


Reserve Tasting Event in Woodinville @Willows Lodge 4/25/14

I just got our tickets for this event. This event is at Willows Lodge, where Kevin and I reunited after 20 yrs apart and where we married in July of 2012. Get a room at the lodge or have a designated driver, this will be a fun event!

From Woodinville Wine Countrys Website:

As Good As It Gets – Woodinville Reserve Night at Willow’s Lodge

What better way to welcome in spring than by opening our reserve cellars? Reserve Night offers up what is arguably the richest feast of wine in the state. This is the best of the best: Woodinville’s highest-rated wines complemented by a toast to fine art. It’s an evening of nothing but award-winning, 90+ rated vintages.

For Northwest wine enthusiasts, it doesn’t get any better: the return of warmer weather, artworks to delight and challenge the eye, and Washington’s foremost offerings from the vineyard.  You’ve been waiting all winter for this!

Participating wineries coming soon!

Date & Time:
Friday, April 25th
7:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Reserve Night – $90.00

To purchase tickets, click here: Brown Paper Tickets


Date & Time:To experience even more rarified air, there’s an option for our exclusive North of 95 tasting, where only the peak vintages of 95+ rated wines will be poured…more information to come.

Friday, April 25th
6:30 PM – 7:30 PM

North of 95 VIP Night – $160

To purchase tickets, click here: Brown Paper Tickets