Monday, October 6, 2014

Girard's Culinary Collective dines at Seattle's Miller's Guild with Chef Jason Wilson

Miller's Guild Seattle Washington

Do you remember the No Cook Summer Heirloom Tomato Sauce with Fresh Herbs we made a few weeks back?  Well... not only did that recipe become one of our favorite go-to summer dishes using one of our favorite bottled dressings (Girard's Old Venice Italian), but it won me a unprecedented trip to Seattle, Washington to participate in the Girard's Culinary Collective.

Beginning with a personal limo pick-up at the airport (see my first Seattle Post here) and ending days later with fresh Pike Market Salmon on my doorstep, Girard's spoiled our group of six bloggers to no end as they took us on a weekend foodie adventure we won't soon forget.

Beginning our adventure with introductions and cocktails at Miller's Guild, located in the Historic Hotel Max, the six of us from across the USA, moved from strangers to foodie friends in minutes.  Let me introduce you to these wonderful ladies:

Girard's Culinary Collective
Ruthie of Cooking with Ruthie, Kim (me - Liv Life), Amy of Our Everyday Diners, Danelle of Let's Dish, Becky of Vintage Mixer and Julie of A Little Bite of Life

Little did we know the treat we were in for!  For weeks James Beard Award-Winning Chef and owner of Miller's Guild, Jason Wilson, had been working with Girard's to put together a menu featuring Girard's Dressings just for our event.  With the restaurant closed for our affair, Chef Jason led us on a journey featuring a specially made cocktail, an array of tempting appetizers and a six course epicurean meal perfectly paired with wine at every turn.

Beginning the evening with a Signature Cocktail - Dressing Me Up - I accepted the drink, but simply carried it for a few moments before taking a hesitant sip (I'm not usually much of fan of gin).  People must have laughed as my eyes grew wide and beamed love from the very first taste.  Sweet, yet tart with lime, I'm now left wishing I had asked for more explicit directions for this drink as I'd be a happy girl with one of these in my hands nightly.  Perhaps I am a gin girl after all.

Passed appetizers included Hearth Roasted Scallops with a Green Strawberry and Girard's Spinach Salad Dressing Compote, Kusshi Oysters bathed in a Girard's Light Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette Tomato Jam, Crispy Beef Mini Sandwiches with a Girard's Champagne Dressing Slaw, and a Pork Rillette with figs and pumpkin dressed with Girard's new Barista Balsamic.

Having stuck to a mostly plant based diet for the last few years I at first waved off most of the appetizers with the exception of the tender scallops.  A second Dressing Me Up, however, weakened my reserve and I tentatively reached for a Crispy Beef Mini Sandwich and again... love beamed from my head to my toes.

Perfect in every way, the slightly crispy beef combined with the Champagne Dressing Slaw was my first taste of beef in years jumped in status to one of the most memorable appetizers I've ever had.

Moving to seating in front of the restaurant feature, a nine-foot custom-made wood-fired grill, I admit my grill-envy kicked into high gear.  Stoking the coals, Chef Wilson described our next dish and actually put us to work.

Described as a Waygu Beef Tartar with Girards Greek Feta Vinaigrette, the chef passed ingredients including an heirloom tomato salsa-like sauce, crumbled hard boiled eggs and smoked salt before we added the beef and a squeeze of Truffle Foam.

Miller's Guild Seattle Washington

I'll admit to being slightly hesitant again with the beef, however the Chef surprised me with fresh wild salmon for my portion and I think I may have made everyone a tad envious as I mixed it with the Truffle Foam and again, felt the pure love with my Tartar over the grilled crostini.

From the incredible texture to the once again perfect combo of flavors (the truffle and smoked salt... oh my heavens!), truly a course I'll never forget.  Might I mention the 2013 Hogwash Grenache Rose made a lovely complement.

Chef Jason Wilson | Miller's Guild
Chef Jason Wilson | Miller's Guild
Taking our places at a beautifully dressed table we took the opportunity to chat more with our new found blogger friends as well as the Corporate staff of Girard's and Marzetti, Chef Wilson served the salad course - a ChefWedgie Cobb Salad using my favorite Girard's Dressing, the Old Venice Italian.

I think I'd have to say the next course tied as my favorite for the evening (with the Salmon Tartar), described as "Geoduck Linguine with Girard's Roasted Garlic Hummus Vinaigrette & Mache Purée Parsley, Olives and Browned Butter", I looked forward to the "pasta" course.

Are you familiar with Geoduck Clams?  The world's largest burrowing clam, the geoduck reaches an average size of 2.07 lbs (including the shell) in the subtidal waters of Puget Sound.  According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, geoducks grow rapidly, generally reaching a pound and a half in three to five years.  They attain their max size by about year 15, but amazingly can live at least as long as 168 years.  Take at peek at the Department of Fish and Wildlife's site for a visual on these babies, and you'll see how Chef Wilson was able to cut a clam into "Linguine".

Geoduck Clam Linguine, Miller's Guild, Seattle
Geoduck Clam Linguine
Arriving twirled in our bowls just like real pasta, none of us really knew what to expect with our first bite, but the slightly firm texture combined with the lovely browned butter and mache/parsley puree was simply fabulous and will remain a course I will never forget.  On a side note, the wine paired here, the Washington Alexandria Nicole Viognier brought another lovely complement.

Moving on to the fish course, Chef Wilson incorporated  Girard's Chinese Chicken Salad Dressing in a marinade for a Roasted Black Cod with Maitake Mushrooms.  Again with that wonderful smoked salt, the cod melted in your mouth and this wine, the Sonoma Lioco, Kush, Cinsault proved to be my favorite pairing as well as my favorite wine of the evening.

While the rest of the table enjoyed perfectly cooked, tender Grilled Lamb with Girard's Sundried Tomato and Artichoke Dressing with the main course, the Chef once again surprised me with a seafood offering... more luscious scallops with a side of local roasted cherry tomatoes.  Simply amazing.

Follow #Girardscc for more Instagram posts of our weeekend!
And lastly, we arrived at the sorbet offering and on to the seasonal Peach Melba dessert.  No one would have guessed a Raspberry Dressing flavored the Plum and Sake Sorbet which served beautifully to segue us to the delectable Peach Melba incorporating Girard's White Balsamic Vinaigrette and topped with a dollop of Rosemary Marscarpone with Vanilla.  Wish you could make that Melba yourslef??  See Danelle's blog, Let's Dish, for her perfect recreation of the recipe!

What a journey we had.  Food always serves to bring people together, and where our group of bloggers and Griard's representatives arrived at the table as acquaintances, we left with memories and newly formed friendships eager to continue the next phase of our adventure.

I can't begin to express my thanks both Girard's and Chef Wilson for such a memorable evening.  Ranking up there as one of my top meals ever, Miller's Guild will be top of my list on my return visits to Seattle.

Girard's Culinary Collective
 To be continued... next up Girard's puts us to work at Pike Place Fish Market!


  1. What an amazing meal you had Kim! Sounds fantastic from start to finish - and everything in between!

    1. Oh, Chris... it really was!! Truly a night to remember.

  2. I really enjoying reading about our time in Seattle through the eyes of the other bloggers. Fabulous post! The geoduck was my favorite dish of the evening (besides dessert!).

    1. I've enjoyed all the posts too! Each time I read one I remember another tidbit from the night... thanks Danelle! I can't tell you how wonderful it was to spend it with you!

  3. How fun!!! What an inspiring and delectable event. :-)

  4. Wow, this looks like a wonderful trip. The food looks so tasty, as does the chef!

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