Basilico Ristorante Dabbles in Cocktails

Basilico Ristorante, known for hand-made pastas and traditional Italian fine dining, has recently added aperitifs, digestives, liqueurs, and a couple of cocktails to its menu. Until now, the restaurant has had an extensive wine list to pair with your Pappardelle in Wild Boar Sauce, but has not been able to serve a Martini or glass of Limoncello to cap off your meal.
Owner Giampaolo Falchetti, who purchased the restaurant from friends in 2015, had gone back and forth about whether to add liquor, but he finally decided to take the leap “when I was back in Italy this year and visited Venice.” It brought him back to his days in college in Venice, walking around the city, grabbing a traditional Venetian Spritz before dinner.
“The Spritz is just fun,” Falchetti says. “You don’t see it often around here. It’s a nice balance of aperitif: a little liquor, a little sweet, and it doesn’t numb your palate.” A Spritz is a fizzy, bittersweet beverage made with Aperol or Campari, some Prosecco, and a splash of sparkling water. It is traditionally garnished with olives.
As Falchetti was thinking about how to implement this, he focused specifically on what you might find at a restaurant in Italy, with a couple of nods to the United States. There are 8 cocktails available, and they are all prepared with Italian or Washington local ingredients. Included are some classics like a Martini, a Bellini, and a Lemon Drop with an Italian twist (it’s made with limoncello). You won’t find, however, Cosmopolitans, Manhattans, or a Chocolatini. “This is an Italian restaurant,” Falchetti demurs, “I want to give people the Italian experience, and I don’t want the drink to clash with the food we are serving.”
On the list of liqueurs and digestives, you will also find a varied selection of grappa, a liquor made from the left-over grape skins and seeds from crushing wine, traditionally taken as a shot after a filling Italian meal. “We selected several high end grappas that have been aged and mellowed a long time, so you can tell they are strong, but they won’t burn as much going down as some of the more common grappas,” Falchetti says.
For people who are feeling adventurous, the serving staff is always ready to give advice on whether to try an Amaro Cynar, or a Nocino liquor. And, Falchetti is enjoying the adventure of incorporating this new service into his restaurant.

For more information, visit

The Star of the Neighborhood: Cooks Tavern

Named by readers as a new favorite in the ShowCase Magazine 2017 readership poll, Cooks Tavern has quickly risen to stardom with its cozy neighborhood atmosphere and mouthwatering menu. Located near the Proctor neighborhood in North Tacoma, Cooks Tavern will easily become your go-to spot any day of the week for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Cooks Tavern offers patrons a solid assortment of dishes that celebrate the food of the Americas, with a healthy shot of comfort foods. From Montreal to Memphis to Machu Picchu, a new menu is debuted every four months celebrating the food, beverages and cultures of a different region of North, Central or South America. Its summer of 2017 offering of Cuban-inspired entrees took your taste buds to the Caribbean with flavorful bites such as shredded pork, grilled Bistec de Palomilla, spiced and grilled gulf shrimp, plantain chips, and grilled pineapple.

If your tastes prefer to stay closer to home, the dinner menu includes a choice of small and large plates that will elevate any day. You’ll always find a fine roast chicken, a cast iron griddled steak and a simply grilled local fish. The perfect pairing for any of these meals can be found in a Northwest beer on tap or bottle of wine. For the more adventurous, a selection of cocktails inspired by the region of the rotating menu may be a better fit.

Breakfast fanatics can satisfy their appetite at any time of day. “One of our foundations as a neighborhood restaurant is to always have breakfast on the menu,” says owner Peter Levy. The morning menu rolls out at 8 a.m. featuring “not so early bird” specials, fresh-cracked egg omelets and Belgian waffles, a few of which transition to dinner offerings as well.

“We’ve been very happy to become part of this community,” says Levy. “Everyone has been so genuine and appreciative.” And that’s a two-way street for Cooks Tavern. The restaurant has hosted four fundraisers since opening in June 2016 to support two local elementary schools, the Children’s Museum of Tacoma and a school in Tacoma’s sister city of Cienfuegos, Cuba.


Cooks Tavern
3201 North 26th St, Tacoma

Ten Favorite Washington Wines For The Holidays

The best wine is one you love to drink and share! Although Washington wine country has been producing premium wines for only a scant 50 years, each year these winemakers deliver an ever more impressive portfolio of world-class wines. With the holidays just around the corner, which wine will you be serving?

Abeja, pronounced “ah-BAY-ha”
Chardonnay, Walla Walla Valley, 2014
Elegance and richness balance with a pleasing acidity. Aromas of ripe stone fruits and crème brûlée tantalize the taste buds with nicely flowing flavors, lending a long and crisp finish.

DeLille Cellars
Cabernet Sauvignon, Shaw Red Mountain Vineyard, 2014
Spicy notes of blackberry, plum, incense and black cherry tease the palate. After an hour in the decanter, rich flavors and firm tannins broaden and deepen magnificently.

Otis Kenyon Wine
Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, 2013
Earthy white pepper battles with rhubarb and ancho chili to come out on top, only to hit your taste buds with candied ginger and cranberry sauce.

Cadence Winery
Camerata Red Mountain Cara Mia Vineyard, 2011
A cabernet-dominant blend yields dark, deep black licorice aromas. Rich, vibrant cherries and blackberry flavors are framed by perfectly integrated tannins and a long, savory finish. This wine will unfold gracefully for years to come.

Betz Family Winery
La Côte Rousse, Red Mountain Syrah, 2015
Combining grapes from four unique vineyards, this wine features delicate notes of lavender and iron with fruits leaning toward blackberry and raspberry, boysenberry and pomegranate. Tannin and acid are abundant, balanced with a smoky meatiness.

Matthews Winery
Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley, 2016
Pleasantly exuberant, this sauv-blanc delivers big, ripe flavors heavy on tropical fruits—pineapple, guava, mango, grapefruit—layered with spicy, green aromatics and an abundance of food-loving acidity.

Two Vintners
Syrah, Some Days Are Stones, 2013
Elegant and expressive, its layers of plum, rose petal, orange peel and bacon flavors meld harmoniously and extend into a long, polished finish.

Lauren Ashton Cellars
Cuvée Arlette, Columbia Valley, 2011
A luxurious Bordeaux-style blend, its depth and complexity echo aromatics of raspberry, black currants, cocoa and caramel with hints of spiciness and minerality. The tannin structure is focused and elegant.

Gamache Vineyard
Malbec, Columbia Valley, 2012
Up front, aromas of ripe plum, barrel spice and herb are followed by sweet black fruit flavors. Medium acidity balances the density of the wine. A long finish persists with plum and clove.

Chateau Ste. Michelle
Riesling, Columbia Valley, 2014
Dry, crisp apple aromas and beautiful fruit flavors with subtle mineral notes lead to a crisp acidity and an elegant finish.


Rein Haus German Food in Tacoma

As you enter what was once the Titus Will auto dealership, you notice a complete transformation. The space is huge (approximately 14,000 square feet), but it has been redesigned to be cozy and warm. A massive fireplace fills the center of the room with wraparound seating. Accents include Belgian wood doors, crystal chandeliers, reclaimed SeaTac streetlights, four post lights from actor Michael Douglas’ former home, and green enamel sconces from an old Tacoma factory.

Within this space is housed an on-site bakery that produces all of the restaurant’s breads, including pretzels, rye bread and desserts such as Berliners and strudel. An in-house charcuterie program produces at least a half-dozen daily sausage choices from a kitchen outfitted with a smokehouse.

A good place to start your dining experience at Rhein Haus is with the Oktober sampler: a large variety of in-house smoked and cured meats, cheeses and rye bread. Other savory menu items include sausages and schnitzel. A ShowCase favorite is the pork schnitzel accompanied by apple slaw. The cutlet’s delightful crunchiness comes from a light pretzel breading, and then it’s served with a rich butter sauce complemented with lemon, capers, parsley and shallots.

For dessert the restaurant creates fresh-made sweets daily. German chocolate cake tops our favorites list. Another decadent option is Banana Bavaroise, a flan-inspired dessert with peanuts, malted meringue and chocolate ganache.

The on-site executive chef, Kelly Wilson, says of the restaurant’s quality German food: “We are consistently delivering good food and reaching new limits of what is possible. I’m really proud of what our team is accomplishing in such a small time. The owners are really great people who promise to focus on the people as we strive to make the experience excellent.”

We think they are hitting the mark on that note!


For additional Information:
Rhein Haus Tacoma
649 Division Ave, Tacoma

consistent and delicious: crockett’s

“Puyallup’s favorite gastro pub––you might come for the drinks, but you’ll stay for the food!”
That’s the big claim that Crockett’s Public House makes on its website. But with chili-braised chicken tacos, fire-roasted lamb chops, and lobster macaroni and cheese, the claim is easy to believe.

Initially a pub focused on serving exceptional drinks, Crockett’s quickly began creating exceptional food as well. Everything is prepared in-house and cooked to order from its original recipes. “Everything” includes the french fries, which are hand-cut, and the sauces and dips, which are made from scratch.

“Mile-wide menu choices offer pub favorites with a backbone of comfort eating: steaks, fish and chips, burgers, melts, sandwiches, pasta, and home-style eats like slow-cooked short ribs and house-made meatballs,” wrote restaurant reviewer Sue Kidd in The News Tribune. “It’s a great place to dine with kids and friends. Bring Grandma too.”
Crockett’s also serves some of the heartiest breakfast dishes, such as huevos rancheros, ham steak and eggs, breakfast tacos, and a variety of biscuit sandwiches.

Since the pub started with drinks, surely one can’t go wrong with the jalapeño cilantro margarita, combined with agave and uno mas tequila. Wathen’s berry lemonade is made with Wathen’s bourbon and homemade blackberry puree. The Ginger Fizz may be the most intriguing drink, with ginger gin and beer, egg whites, and peach liqueur.
“Crockett’s gets a lot of things right,” says a review on the restaurant’s Facebook page. “A plentiful and unique menu with a lot of great twists on classic pub fare, a great choice for beverages, a fresh atmosphere and a prompt waitstaff.”

Beyond its exceptional pub-style foods and drinks, Crockett’s Public House is consistent in atmosphere and customer service. No matter the day, no matter what you’re craving, Crockett’s Public House is always there to satisfy.

Crockett’s Public House
118 Stewart Ave, Puyallup

red wind’s seafood restaurant: destination dining with a local address

At Nisqually Red Wind Casino’s Seafood Restaurant, guests enjoy the freshest catch in the Pacific Northwest, says Executive Chef Roberto Los Banos.

With an established reputation in the area, the restaurant is popular among sushi lovers, as well as fans of well-presented, traditional seafood fare. The sushi and noodle bar, featured on the menu Tuesday through Saturday, attracts a number of regular guests, according to Los Banos.

“The response has been very gratifying. Frequent travelers have told us that—from New York to LA—this is the best sushi they’ve ever eaten. They see how much love—how much “aloha”—goes into every meal,” says Los Banos, a native Hawaiian.

“Aloha,” he explains, translates into carefully selecting food sources, applying expert cooking techniques and creating a first-class dining experience in a comfortable setting. Indeed, part of the restaurant’s appeal is the option to choose a quiet, cozy table or a seat at the seafood bar, where you can watch your food being prepared.

“Guests at the seafood bar can ‘feel the heat,’” says Los Banos. “We keep them entertained and offer a unique opportunity to interact with our chefs. We field questions about our seasonings and recipes throughout the experience. You can watch how your plate is being built and the process of how it gets from the kitchen to the table.”

Another menu option that has grown in popularity is “Eventide.” This three-course meal is offered every Tuesday through Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. Eventide includes the choice of a starter, entrée and dessert. According to Los Banos, this weekday special gives his team the opportunity to treat guests to a highquality meal at a very reasonable price.

While menu options and presentations evolve over time, guests at the seafood restaurant can be sure one thing will never change, says Bob Darling, restaurant manager. “No matter what our chefs prepare, it’s never far from harvest to plate.”

He adds that Northwest tribal fishermen provide the restaurant with the very best salmon and halibut. Produce is local and seasonal. Oysters and clams come from local shellfish farms, and foods not raised locally are carefully sourced from tribes throughout the United States.

Nisqually Red Wind Casino’s Seafood Restaurant is a fresh option with beautiful presentations and sushi that serve up the love in an unexpected package.

Seafood Restaurant at Red Wind Casino
12819 Yelm Hwy SE, Olympia

Local Artisans Share Handmade Sweets

Deb Smith and Cindy Uhrich began exploring the idea of opening a small business long before retiring from South Puget Sound Community College, where the two friends worked for over 20 years. They wanted to remain active in the Olympia community while putting to use their unique, but complementary, backgrounds: Smith, as a talented instructor of Baking and Pastry Arts with a love for making chocolates; and Uhrich in events management.

“So we set off to explore the world of chocolate in our area,” says Uhrich. “Two years later, after a dozen or so trips to chocolate shops in cities up and down I-5, researching the style of chocolates and chocolate shop, we thought we would be successful in Olympia. We went for it.”

The two draw on their experiences, childhood memories and favorite foods for inspiration. Uhrich recounts that when they first sat down to create their flavor profiles, they categorized them—Downtown After Dark Collection, Coffee & Tea Collection, Garden & Spice Collection and their Nostalgia Collection; plus Lemon Tart, Peanut Butter, Donut, Coconut Rum, Malted Milk and Mint. “Favorites from our childhoods,” she says.

Inspiration also comes from fellow chocolatiers. “The creativity that exists in the industry is inspiring. Seeing what other chocolatiers are doing gives incentive to create and push ourselves.”

The daily selection includes an array of 24 standard chocolates and seasonal offerings. Sugar-free and dairy-free options are currently in the works. Everything is made on-site using direct-trade chocolate from Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.

Since opening in September 2016, the duo has watched business grow beyond their expectations. Plans to expand are already in the works and include a caramel collection

and tastings that pair beer and wine with chocolates. Unable to make it to Olympia? Keep an eye out for online sales coming this fall.

For tasting or more information about the latest offerings, visit Bittersweet Chocolates at its location in downtown Olympia at 513 Washington St. SE or online at


Amazing Smells at 222 Market

Opened last November, 222 Market features local and regional artisans in a European market-style setting. Husbandand-wife owners Gray and Joy Graham say they opened the business to add vitality to downtown Olympia with a fun and inviting marketplace of local and sustainable foods.

As you walk into the quaint but bustling building, you immediately smell fresh bread in the air. The longstanding Bread Peddler bakeshop and café is a great meeting spot and a place to enjoy breakfast and lunch.

Next door, fresh coffee is brewing and pleasantly paired with crepes. The Creperie offers buckwheat crepes made in the tradition of Brittany, France, and from locally sourced ingredients. The refined yet down-to-earth setting makes The Creperie a favorite on our list.

If you smell something sweet, it may be coming from Sofie’s Scoops, where owners Sofie and Chris set out to make gelato the best way they could, from fresh and local ingredients. Gelato in a waffle cone is our favorite.

Meat lovers will appreciate the smell of bone broth upon arrival at the Broth Bar by Salt Fire and Time. For those in need of “healing nutritional support,” says its website, this is a place for “a positive and delicious experience of daily wellness in the form of traditional foods….” With housemade floral kombucha on tap, this is a one-stop shop for wellness on the go.

Pantry at the Market is the place to stop in for a snack or grab items for home. All foods sold in the Pantry are sourced for their locality and their sustainable practices—and of course their flavors!

Stop and smell the flowers, literally, at Fleurae, where owners Carissa and Iana have established a floral design and gift shop. Their beautiful space is packed with fresh flowers, bouquets to go, handmade wreaths, candles, antique pillows and local artisan gifts.

At Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar, the bounty of the local tides is celebrated and sold. Says owner Austin Navarre: “We are providing food that is fresh, local and sustainable” with a menu that changes daily.

Blind Pig Spirits craft distillery offers in-house distilled alcohols from Washington-grown products. Local owners Lesa, Ray and Fred set out to make a splash in the distillery community by offering small-batch spirits, with quality ingredients. They know that fermentation doesn’t have the best scent, but don’t worry, they say—it’s all part of the process. The in-house distillery features a tasting room, production and bottling facility, and retail sales of its products and branded merchandise.


For additional Information:
222 Market
222 Capitol Way North, Olympia

The Mantel, Culinary Ascent

Are you ready to take your love of food to new heights? The Mantel is a sophisticated neighborhood restaurant that delivers traditional meals with a unique flair. Located at Trilogy at Tehaleh, the resort-like community in Bonney Lake, The Mantel will have you feeling right at home in its lodge-inspired atmosphere.

The attractive décor is rustic and earthy, with high ceilings, exposed beams and handcrafted glass light fixtures. You can enjoy an intimate night out at a cozy table for two or choose a seat at the spacious bar rail. Regardless, the menu is what sets The Mantel apart.

Each menu item is handcrafted with only the freshest ingredients that are locally sourced. Among the wide selection of starters is the house favorite, Crispy Brussel Sprouts. Perfectly crunchy on the outside, tossed in a balsamic glaze and mixed with heirloom tomatoes, this light appetizer is so well made it will change the mind of any vegetable hater!

Entrée options include signature dishes like the Pasta Bolognese, an Italian sausage and beef Bolognese with thick pappardelle pasta, which was inspired by executive chef Nathaniel Cooper’s time spent living in Italy. Various sandwich options include the popular Millionaire Burger, a classic compilation of Meyer ground beef, bacon, cheddar club sauce, lettuce, tomato and onion on a butter brioche bun. A selection of artisan pizzas range from spicy Italian to organic mushroom.

If you’re a meat connoisseur, try something from the grill. Current options include cedar-plank Pacific salmon, grilled pork chop and a marvelous grilled ribeye. The steak is cooked to perfection with porcini compound butter, paired with bleu cheese mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach.

“I like to develop my culinary style, which I describe as modern comfort food,” says Cooper. “I believe that with the proper and freshest ingredients, you don’t need a lot of spices to confuse the palate. He adds that one of his favorite recipes to make at the restaurant is a deconstructed pot pie.

The Mantel opened in January 2016 and is currently open to the public. In the near future, however, it will expand its business and go private. If you haven’t had the chance to take your taste buds to elevated places, make sure you stop by soon and experience The Mantel and the Trilogy community.


For additional Information:
19001 Trilogy Parkway E, Bonney Lake

St. Martin’s Brings Celebrity Chef Ming Tsai to the Northwest

Ming Tsai’s passion for cooking was forged in his formative years. Tsai was raised in Dayton, Ohio, where he spent hours cooking alongside his mother and father at Mandarin Kitchen, their family-owned restaurant.

Ming Tsai is the James Beard Award-winning chef/owner of Blue Ginger and Blue Dragon. Both are located in Massachusetts and feature Tsai’s signature East-West cuisine. An Emmy Award winner, Tsai is also the host and executive producer of PBS-TV’s Simply Ming, now in its 13th season, shown locally on KCTS 9. Simply Ming brings a variety of both studio and location cooking to drive inspiration and demonstrate today’s techniques. Tsai is the author of five cookbooks including the interactive Simply Ming in Your Kitchen.

In 2012, Tsai was invited by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to represent the U.S. with the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership Initiative/American Chef Corps. The Chef Corps is a network of American chefs that participate with official government programs that use food as a foundation for international diplomacy efforts.

The renowned chef will make a guest appearance in the Northwest at the popular St. Martin’s Gala on Nov. 4 at St. Martin’s University’s Lacey campus. The St. Martin’s Gala: China is a black-tie evening affair featuring an exquisitely prepared five-course dinner, cooking demonstrations by the celebrity chef, and a live auction benefiting St. Martin’s student scholarships. This year’s theme also highlights St. Martin’s many relationships and programs in China.

In the Chinese culture, guanxi (pronounced gwan-shee) means to establish human relations to open the door for opportunities. Though the direct translation of guanxi is “relationships,” the concept is much richer and more encompassing. Guanxi not only expresses the relationship of one person to another, it also expresses an obligation of one person to another, built over time through reciprocating acts to show loyalty and trust.

In some definitions, guanxi means “connections.” This closely mirrors the original guiding values of the St. Martin’s Gala: community, hospitality and stewardship.

The sponsors for St. Martin’s Gala: China include presenting sponsor Bon Appétit Management Co., reception sponsor Washington State Employees Credit Union, broadcast media sponsor KCTS 9, wine sponsor Maryhill Winery, print sponsor Capitol City Press, and celebrity photo sponsor Anchor Bank.

For more information about celebrity chef Ming Tsai, visit To learn more about the St. Martin’s Gala and to purchase tickets to this year’s event, visit