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Pink Martini Concert and Picnic

31-Jul-2006
 
One of my favorite summertime rituals involves concerts at Ste. Michelle Winery and the picnics that go along with them.  I generally try to see two or three concerts at the winery each summer and over the years have established a pretty fun routine for how the whole event will work. 
 
In some ways the concerts have become more about all the surrounding activities than the concert itself.  But, of course, you want to make sure the concert is one you will enjoy!  Recently, Pink Martini was at the winery and they never fail to please.  It was my first event of the year.  My sister and her family were in town, so she and my brother-in-law were able to attend with me.  Additionally, I had several friends and friends of friends who were attending so this was a pretty big social event, too. 
 
I pretty much have the same schedule for every concert.  We arrive at the winery grounds 15 to 30 minutes before the gates open.  While waiting in line you chat with the folks around you and look for who else you might know – there’s always someone, whether you were aware they wold be there or not!
 
Once the gates open we make a beeline for our favorite area, sending a person or couple people ahead with the tarp to claim a spot.  Then those of use with the rest of the gear show up a couple minutes later, after we’ve made our way through the crowd.  I have a couple of wheeled coolers that I love for this type of event!  Not only do they carry all the chilled food, but I can stack the picnic basket, blankets, table and other assorted items on the cart and arrive without being worn out from being a pack mule. 
 
Over the tarp we spread some fluffy blankets, then the sand chairs; the cooler anchors one corner; the table gets set up and sometimes, like this week, we actually also put up an umbrella to give us a bit of a break from the intense sun. 
 
My new purchase for this year is a great portable table-in-a-bag.  It’s a bit on the heavy side but the carry bag has been designed so perfectly that it hangs easily over a shoulder, and doesn’t interfere with your walking stride at all!  In the past, I’ve used some little collapsible, canvas tables that were fine but it was really nice to have a solid surface for wine glasses and food. 
 
Once our area is arranged it’s off to the Tasting Room to pick out the wine.  Although they sell wine from a booth in the concert area, the varieties are more limited than what you can get inside.  Plus, we make a little trip to the inside restroom as this minimizes our porta-potty use, which is a good thing!
 
After picking out our wine we head back to our spot, settle into the chairs and open a bottle of wine.  We generally start with a few munchy items – maybe just some mixed nuts or snack mix of some sort – and take a little time to survey the crowd.  Then, after just a bit, I’ll start assembling the day’s picnic. 
 
 
 
 
Pink Martini Picnic
Salted Mixed Nuts
Pub Mix
 
Herb Roasted Chicken
Lobster Salad in Endive
Grilled Shrimp Salad in Endive
Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese, Onions & Capers
 
Orzo and Wild Rice Salad
Caprese Salad
Fresh Corn and Blueberry Salad
 
 
Just before the opening act starts, we pack up the leftovers and then settle into our seats with another glass of wine.  (At this time we also pull down the umbrella, as they are not allowed during the show.)
 
 
        
 
 
The opening act this night was Bird York, an interesting performer who was new to me.  I liked her a lot, although her opening song was a little too relaxed but the energy increased over time. 
 
In between acts we break out dessert.  This night dessert was a cheese plate with some great cheeses and Fran’s Gray and Salt Smoked Caramels. Those caramels are the perfect not-too-sweet ending to a lovely meal!
 
Because it was such a warm night we stayed mainly with white wines – Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc – but ended with a nice Syrah.    
 
Then we sit back with another glass of wine to listen to the headliner.  If you have not had the opportunity to see Pink Martini I highly recommend their shows!   Lots of energy and highly entertaining, they sing in several languages and just produce a quality show. 
 
After the show we pack up our gear and head to the car.  Another successful concert and picnic under our belts! 
 
 
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2 Comments
  1. Brian permalink
    01-Aug-2006 2:08 pm

    What a great set up!  That\’s one helluva picnic you had!  The wife and I are going to see David Sanborn and Earl Klugh this weekend at CSM.  I can\’t wait. 
    Cheers,
    BH

  2. Culinary permalink
    01-Aug-2006 3:59 pm

    Hi Bh!
    I must admit I\’ve pretty much perfected it over the years.  It\’s kind of fun to have people walking by comment.  Some think it\’s too much but I choose to believe that they are just jealous! :-) 
     
    The Jazz Fest this weekend should be great!  I used to always attend but have taken a couple years off to do the Seafair thing instead.  Those long days are really great for picnics – you can graze and sip and watch and nap all day long! :-)
     
    Have a great time out there – and remember to answer "no" when they ask if you have a camera!
    ~ B

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