Rubbing elbows over rustic Italian food

Lisa and I went to an event last night at the Dahlia Lounge in celebration of Micol Negrin’s new cookbook, Rustico Cooking. The seating was billed as “festival,” which usually means you get seated with either an alarming assortment of loners or a party intent on making a good time by ignoring you. Not last night: our table-mates included the proprietor of a lavender farm in eastern Washington, the wife of a wine maker from Chateau Ste Michelle and her charming mother, and a salesman and collector of cookbooks (“I’m up to over a thousand now. I need to buy some more bookshelves. But on the plus side, I don’t have to buy other new furniture, I just sit on the books”). A fabulous night, and a fabulous meal composed of recipes from the book.

Appetizers: Sicilian olives marinated in olive oil, lemon, parsley, and garlic; fresh fried sardines with slow cooked onions and sultana raisins; a seafood salad with scallops, scampi, potato, cauliflower, and egg covered in a salsa verde. First course: three-meat agnolotti (rabbit, lamb, and veal). Second course: rabbit with pancetta stuffed fennel over kale. Sweets: chestnut fritters with honey and mascarpone. Cheeses: taleggio, a truffle cheese, and gorgonzola. Each course had Italian wines selected by the proprietor of the Pike and Western Wine Shop (whose mailing list alerted us to the event).

Perks: getting to meet Tom Douglas. Getting reintroduced to Micol, whom we had met previously at a similar event in Washington DC sponsored by La Cucina Italiana, her previous employer. Meeting our tablemates. Tasting the Col Solare that one of our table mates brought from her husband. Convincing Micol that, despite her not having had any food, she had to try a glass with some of the taleggio. A good night all in all.