Monday, May 18, 2009

Olivar Hosts Ruth Reichl

That's right, the queen herself was in town. On a nationwide tour promoting her new book, "Not Becoming My Mother," Ruth Reichl made time in her busy schedule to chat with a small food blogging network this past Friday. The event took place at Olivar, a quaint Spanish-themed restaurant in Capitol Hill's beautiful Loveless building.

Drinks were furnished by Michaela's Vineyard, located at Vin du Lac Winery in Chelan, Washington. The bubbly rosé and full-bodied Cab were juicy and delicious, but my favorite was the Dry Riesling. Served in a martini glass with skewered grapes. The tart white was a refreshing reprieve from the hot afternoon sun.

After reading many favorable reviews, Chef Thomelin's Spanish creations did not disappoint. There
were meatballs with tomato confit, Tortilla Español with caramelized onions, crab salad-filled cucumber boats and fried sardine canapés. The dessert tray offered two alluring options. The crème brûleé with cherries was divine but I wish I'd made room for a taste of the chocolate mousse with caramelized chorizo and hazelnuts.

The restaurant was cozy and quaint. Olivar's walls glow with murals depicting Pushkin's 19th-century tale of feuding sisters, giving the space a sort of storybook feel. Quite fitting, really, since we were there to hear about Ruth's newest book about her mother's life. Wonderful wine, tasty food, an enchanting atmosphere and an inspirational speaker - it was a perfect Friday afternoon.

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