Monday, August 8, 2016

Woodinville Wine Country Dining: Two Recommendations

Barking Frog restaurant excels with seafood.

Here are a pair of Woodinville wine country restaurants you should be sure to visit during your next trip to Washington State.

Man Does Not Live On Wine Alone

During our visit to Woodinville, Washington, we had the chance to visit some outstanding wineries and tasting rooms. Tasting some of this country’s best fruit of the vine only stokes the hunger for delicious cuisine.

Our base of operations was the Country Inn Suites in Bothell, a small community about 10 minutes and three miles away from Woodinville. Woodinville was where we spent most of our time, enjoying the abundance of choosing between 108 different wineries and tasting rooms. But you need fuel for such a marathon.

Preservation Kitchen, Bothell

Preservation Kitchen in Bothell is in a 1916 building

The first day of our wine exploration, I decided we needed a substantial lunch. When you plan to visit four or five tasting rooms, cheese and crackers just don’t cut it.

Preservation Kitchen was a convenient and fortuitous stop on our way to Woodinville. Preservation Kitchen is in a 1916 building that was originally home to the mayor of Bothell. The back dining room was once the garage for the estate. In the 1970’s the building was Paris Chef Gerald Parrat’s Releais de Lyon restaurant. Many elements of his 2,000-foot French kitchen still remain.

More importantly for today’s diners, Preservation Kitchen preserves the traditions of regional cuisine and drink. Their seasonal menu supports local producers, and uses sustainable, organic ingredients when possible.

Mouthwatering AleHouse meatloaf sandwich from Preservation KitchenThe original woodwork and floors, a fireplace and huge windows make this a relaxing, inviting space. Indie alternative tunes wafted through the air as Green Dragon and I selected lunch.

I opted for the AleHouse Meat Loaf Sandwich, which is meatloaf topped with sweet chili ketchup, lettuce & ale “mustayo” on toasted Como bread. Green Dragon makes incredible meatloaf, but I told her this was the first meatloaf to rival hers. Savory with just the right consistency, the zip from the chili ketchup made for a delightful treat. For $13, I felt I was dining like royalty.

Preservation Kitchen has an extensive vegetarian menu featuring Fall Papardelle as well as a Spinach and Berries dish with Praline pecans, chèvre, and pear basil vinaigrette. The AleHouse is a more casual pub and features everything from chicken wings to Wild Boar Ragu. The House Roasted Hazelnuts sounds appetizing.

Of note to wine lovers is the extensive list of Washington wines. Included in the stellar lineup are: Baer, Barrage, DeLille, Elevation Cellars and Force Major, to name just a few. Cocktails are prepared with goods from in-state artisan distilleries such as Softail Vodka, Halcyon Organic Gin and Woodinville Whiskey. An ample supply of the region’s microbrews are on hand as well.

The Barking Frog and Willows Lodge, Woodinville

1,500 year old Cedar Snag on the grounds of Willows Lodge

The Barking Frog and The Willows is not the name of a classic children’s book. Willows Lodge is the top luxury accommodation in Woodinville and the the Barking Frog is its restaurant – a food lover’s dream.

We paid two visits to Willows. The first was for Experience Woodinville – a charity food and wine event. This was a mostly outdoor event with food and wine stations on the lovely grounds and a competition between local chefs assisted by area winemakers.

Willows Lodge is located on five acres bordering the Sammamish River. It’s Pacific Northwest style and luxurious accommodations have earned it a place on the Conde Nast Traveler’s Gold List.  We enjoyed the harmonious blending of nature and architecture plus the picturesque gardens and grounds.

Experience Woodinville is an annual food an wine charity eventThe lodge delivers on its aim of capturing the heritage and informality of the NW while providing the highest level of refinement in food, comfort, aesthetics and service. It uses Douglas fir timbers throughout the rustic lodge which also features a beautiful stone fireplace.

The Barking Frog is the ideal location to recharge the batteries during your wine country visit. Native Americans use the frog as a symbol of wealth or abundance, and the Barking Frog was had a bounty of exceptional food.

Willows Lodge and Barking Frog

We had lunch on the Barking Frog patio, first passing an inspiring collection of large format bottles. The sun and temperature were perfect as was the gurgling fountain nearby.

For my lunch I opted for the Angus Flat Iron Steak with Béarnaise and house-cut fries while the Green Dragon selected the salmon special. The artful presentation of each dish had our mouths watering. My pairing was the Savage Grace 2015 Cabernet Franc while the Two Vintners 2014 Grenache Blanc accompanied the fish. This was a sensory-filled lunch we didn’t want to end.

The Barking Frog focuses on fresh local ingredients. Dinner entrees include Butter Poached Halibut with leeks, chanterelles, beluga lentils, artichoke puree and apple-celery vinaigrette. You can also order Iberico Lomo, a pork dish from southwestern Spain.

Barking Frog is an outstanding meal choice whether it be for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. Lunch prices run from $10 to $24 and dinner entrees run from $36 to $60. The wine list cannot be surpassed in the depth of fine Washington State wines, which represent great value and quality.

So there you have it. Two reasons why no one should go hungry in Woodinville wine country!

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