As Valentine’s Day approaches, I get excited to dine out with my husband. He ruined me with his passion for fine-dining and knowledge of the truly top chefs of the world. I have tasted some of the best food, walked through many kitchens and returned home with amazing memories. For me, it’s all about the entire experience.
One of the best and most recent was at Canlis in Seattle, Washington. We wanted to eat there before Chef Jason Franey left for new adventures in California. Since the beginning, Canlis focuses on its patrons, whether you’re a regular or a first time visitor. Each person receives a touch of personal attention from etched glassware for the regulars to available proper attire for those arriving underdressed.
The restaurant is warm and inviting with large windows that look out over the water. I’ve grown accustomed to ordering fixed menus when going out with my husband. I enjoy not having to make a decision, knowing it will highlight the chef’s favorite dishes. The evening began with some palate teasers and continued with four courses and desserts. I decided to do the wine pairing with my meal, which I don’t usually do because I tend to be a lightweight. I am so glad I did because our sommelier, Elton Nichols, told so many great stories about the wines in addition to their flavor profiles. I knew I met a kindred spirit by the amount of sherry listed on the wine menu!
Our first course was a delicious pork trotter dish that paired really well with the Valdespino Manzanilla Deliciosa en Rama. The spice in the dish brought out a sweetness in the manzanilla I’ve never noticed before. I was very impressed by Elton’s sherry knowledge. Unfortunately, most in the Pacific Northwest can’t say they know for sure what is sherry.
Our server Damon Yeutter, former barista now sherry aficionado, agreed the Chablis paired with our third course would be a great transition for others to drinking Fino. It has the same almond notes on the nose, but a slight buttery finish. It was deliciously paired with the fragrant tarragon shrimp bisque and calamari. I honestly wanted a second glass on its own!
By the end of the evening, I my stomach was satisfied, and I was full of new stories I’ll never forget. Elton and Damon surprised me with an added thank you glass of my favorite Palo Cortado Viejo C.P. from Valdespino along with some French cheese and rosemary crackers.
Afterwards, Damon took my husband and I on an extensive tour of the entire restaurant full of its stories and family history. We even got to take a peek into the private cellar. My night was complete! This overall experience was by far one of my top favorites!