My summer’s regular running from Boston to Seattle and back offers its rewards. I find myself working closer with pros in the media and luxury home design business of significant intellect and modest disposition. In addition, the burgeoned Washington State wine industry combines with a serious food scene that either dwarfs Boston’s or just seems that way from insufficient exploration. My friend Chip Ragen, a mild mannered and masterful creator of extraordinary Seattle gardens, struck those chords again for me when he suggested that Suzie Osterloh, Seattle Homes & Lifestyle’s Publishing Director, and I meet him at Jerry Traunfeld’s post-Herbgarden era restaurant, Poppy which I am strongly recommending.
It’s architecture and design could pass for a youthful Copenhagen hot spot, but a cocktail with founder and architect assured me its vibe and bones are Seattle at heart. The food concept is based around Traunfeld’s (James Beard winner and author of The Herbfarm Cookbook and The Herbal Kitchen) mastery of herbs, spices, and fresh ingredients served “thali” style, or varieties of small dishes (smallies) and a main or two (tallies) served all at once on a round tray to each person. I found it refreshing to the usual passing around of small dishes, letting me set my pace and order with each meal component. The range of flavors and textures were purposeful and hedonistic, the service attentive and professional, all supported with a thoughtful wine list to link up with the spectrum of tastes. The evening’s wine notes:
Paul Ginglinger Riesling Alsace Grand Cru Pfersigberg 2005:This wine comes from Eguisheim, a small village in Alsace. There are over 30 growers here and along with Pfersigberg it is home to Eichberg, another grand cru. Ginglinger was established in 1636. This particular wine had aromas of mineral, stone, and petrol. Its soft acids created excellent balance alongside flavors of apple, lychee, and fennel. It is strongly recommended.
Mark Ryan Winery Long Haul Ciel du Cheval Vineyard 2006: From the Woodinville area in Washington State, a remarkable wine of intense power and depth. Long Haul is akin to a St. Emilion in composition, a cuvee of 48% Merlot, 46% Cabernet Franc, and 6% Petit Verdot. The nose shows mocha, black licorice, smoke, cedar wood, and violet with strong fruit in the middle reminiscent of chocolate covered blueberries. The wine is a blockbuster with smooth tannins that make it enjoyable enough now, but it will most definitely benefit from short to extended term cellaring.
Poppy is a refreshing and serious place to eat, and a wonderful showcase of a full range wine list that would keep the serious and adventuresome connoisseur happy over multiple visits.