Tulalip – By Niki Cleary
If you’ve been to the Tulalip Resort Casino and wandered through the hotel, you know the beauty of the place. In front of the Orca Ballroom stylized salmon swim through imaginary water overhead and local Native American artwork adorns the walls. On November 14th, the hall was also filled music, laughter and camaraderie.
In an era where cell phones dominate most dinner parties, the 6th Annual Taste of Tulalip was a reminder that connecting to the people and experiences in front of us is far more satisfying that connecting to the Wi-Fi.
Before dinner, guests wandered into the hall. Chatting with each other, listening to the live string music being played in front of the Oasis pool, and sampling the wines and delicious appetizers offered by solicitous resort staff.
Then, it got better. The ballroom doors opened, guests wandered into a room engulfed in music. The theme of this year’s Taste revolved around music, because, as the Resort’s Chef Perry Mascitti said, “How can you cook without music?”
Even the menus were in keeping with the theme. The menu was camouflaged as an old fashioned vinyl record bedecked with this year’s artwork created by Tulalip artist Joe Gobin, and tucked inside a sleeve the way an actual LP would be.
While guests trickled in, hostess Kaci Aitchison of Q13 Fox, began ‘dancing’ them to their tables to Megan Trainor’s, All About that Bass. “What’s the best part of tonight?” she asked the crowd. “Everything!”
Dinner included 6 courses inspired by the Chefs’ favorite music.
“I have to say,” said Chef Perry, as he’s affectionately known, “every year, I love this weekend!”
The event, he explained, featured the work of 120 winemakers, 24 beer makers and the creativity of the Tulalip Resort’s eight chefs.
Director of Food and Beverage Lisa Severn followed up by saying the evening was in keeping with the traditions of Tulalip.
“It’s all about celebration, about sitting down, breaking bread and enjoying who you are with.”
She also pointed out that while diners were relishing a delicious night of entertainment, food and spirits, they could also smile, knowing that a portion of their ticket price was supporting a local charity, the Tulalip Foundation http://www.tulalipfoundation.org.
Each table was served by a team of wait staff, who placed the dish upon the table with a choreographed flourish. As the courses arrived, they were accompanied by exclamations of delight, and discussion about the taste and texture of the food, the wine pairing and, at least at my table, each diner’s history and experience with food. Stories emerged about trips to Alaska, the culinary traditions of each person’s home and how the Taste of Tulalip compared to other, similar events.
“This is by far the best,” said Ginger Caldwell a food and wine marketing expert and blogger. She explained that the selection of spirits alone was phenomenal. However it’s the entire package that makes the event, she pointed out the décor and entertainment.
Each of the courses was accompanied by live music. Throughout the dinner, the music transition from rock, to classic instrumental, to pop cover, and even a dash of opera. Chef Perry boldly took a turn on stage, treating diners to a cover of an ACDC song.
When the evening wound to a close with dessert, and tables slowly emptied, I headed to my car thinking, “I am definitely coming back next year!”