It will likely come as no surprise to anyone that I like to eat. Strike that. I LOVE to eat. Now I’m no food snob, (I’ve been known to eat at the local Chili’s, and to even leave happy with that decision) but I especially love to eat food that is prepared from quality ingredients, by someone who knows their craft. Add in a little wine to my dining experience, and I’m pretty much in heaven. So, I guess you could say that the Vintage Spokane preview tweet-up last night at Masselow’s Restaurant was a little taste of the hereafter, if you wanted to get all hyperbolic like that.
I’m not going to bury the lead here. If last night’s preview was any indication, Vintage Spokane will be worth every penny of the price of admission.
Chef Bob Rogers is a man who obviously takes pride in his work. One look at his kitchen makes this abundantly clear. I have been in a fair number of kitchens over the years, and I can honestly say that the kitchen at Masselow’s is the cleanest that I have ever seen. Although they have been open for around 3 years, a quick scan gives the impression that the kitchen has never been used to prepare food. Not only has the kitchen been used, it’s been used to prepare every possible element of the fine dining restaurant’s menu.
Chef Rogers is a big believer in handmade food. Everything from aeoli, to pasta, to caramel candy, and even down to the crackers that they serve is handmade. “Why would I serve something out of a box, when I can make it from scratch, and make it better?” he told the group of Spokane Twitterati, as he was giving us the tour of the kitchen. The kitchen is where the food action happens for the restaurant, as well as for room service, and for a variety of the Northern Quest Resort and Casino culinary needs. Oh, did I fail to mention that this gastronomical delight is in the local casino?
Our tour of the kitchen included a lot of show and tell from Chef Rogers. It is clear when you talk with him that this is a man who loves what he does, and is conscientious in his craft. When I asked him if he considered himself to be an artist, he paused for a moment to consider the question before answering. “I would say, ‘yes’…” he hesitated. “I think that there are definitely elements of art in what I do, but I’m also a craftsman, and when we are busy on a Saturday night, I’m even a journeyman.” He laughed. Truth be told, something along these lines was what I had expected when I asked the question. Everything that he had told us about his approach to food, and even about the cleanliness of the kitchen, had painted a picture in my mind of an artisan or craftsman who worked hard to craft food that was of the highest quality possible, so his answer seemed to perfectly fit my impression.
Now, I need to touch on the all-important topic of the food, itself. Although he tries to use local ingredients as often as possibly, Chef Rogers said that his primary concern is with getting the best possible ingredients. He will look to local sources first, but if he can find better scallops from Maine than from the Pacific Northwest, he’s bringing in some Maine scallops. The focus is on creating an exceptional dining experience, and one that cannot be found elsewhere.
For our tweet-up, we were served a variety of dishes that will give a picture of the kind of food that Masselow’s will be serving at the Vintage Spokane event on August 4th. All of the food was delicious, with my favorites being the bacon wrapped scallops, a simply prepared lobster tail in a butter sauce, and the kobe tenderloin. The tenderloin was an amazing pairing with the Tempranillo from Patit Creek, who recently opened a tasting room in downtown Spokane.
You always like a preview event to serve to whet the appetite for the main event, and the evening at Masselow’s certainly did that. Just the sheer number of wineries that will be in attendance make Vintage Spokane a great event, but when you add delicious food from one of Spokane’s premier fine dining restaurants to the mix, it makes this event a can’t miss. If you would like to purchase tickets to the event, you can either visit Nectar Tasting Room in downtown Spokane (where I will be), or you can visit the Vintage Spokane website.