Pardon the interruption from the shameless self-promotion department. About a year ago, thanks entirely to the benevolent intervention of my dear friend Nicola, I was asked to be a contributing writer for a forthcoming publication, 1001 Restaurants to Experience Before You Die. It was an interesting project: given the inherently ephemeral, trend-driven nature of restaurants, was it possible to compile a book of restaurants that would still feel current in five years’ time? Ten? The editors were looking for places that were iconic. My task was to write a one-page blurb about the restaurants in a way that would evoke the dining experience and personalize it for readers. The book was intended to be not just a coffee table browse (although it certainly was that) but a bona fide guide to dining all over the world. I would be the only Seattle contributor.
Through Nicola I met the chief editor (and London contributor), Jenny. We liked each immediately. I was impressed by the careful and considered research she and others had done into the Seattle dining scene. The restaurants she suggested were not staid, dated has-beens, but dynamic and exciting places helmed by visionary chefs. I was also impressed by her receptiveness to my suggestions—for example, I recommended the inclusion of a few favorite budget destinations as well as places that were not on her preliminary list, and she gave me the green light—and after I had completed a couple of write-ups, she commissioned me to do several more, including a number of restaurants in Portland. The only limitations were that the restaurants needed to have been open for long enough to assure they had staying power, and we needed to be able to predict with some certainty that five years hence, they would still be in business, and still serving terrific food. Thanks to that project, last fall and early winter were hectic months of gustatory excess. My blog suffered (and still has not fully recovered, although it is on the mend) and so did my figure, but I had so much fun.
The gag order has now been lifted, and I humbly present for your consideration my several pages of write-ups. The book looks beautiful, as far as I can tell, and, more than than that – it makes me hungry.