There are some showstoppers at the new Collections Cafe, where Crush chef Jason Wilson collaborated on the menu with Space Needle executive chef Jeff Maxfield and resident chef Ivan Szilak. A tart salad tossed with watermelon rind pickles, the pressed pork sandwich wearing a crown of crunchy slaw and prawns bathed in salsa verde top the list.
But it was the vast collection of whimsical treasures collected by Seattle's most famous artist that took center stage at a media tasting event this week at the new cafe in the Chihuly Garden and Glass at the Seattle Center. Yes, of course, there was the usual snapping of food-porn-worthy shots of the bite-size dishes passed through the crowd. And yet, everybody I bumped into couldn't stop talking about all the STUFF, displayed under glass at each table, on shelves in the dining room and even overhead. Look up and gaze at a field of vintage accordions.
The mission's right there on the menu: "I love to find the beauty in everyday objects," Dale Chihuly.
It all started with beach glass, when he was 7 and he hasn't stopped since. Each table features a different collection, 28 in all.
There are adorable ceramic dogs, antique inkwells, pocket knives, vintage shaving brushes, transistor radios, tin toys and fishing decoys. Then, feast your eyes on the retro Christmas ornaments and cameras from the 1950s. And get a load of the intricate designs on those silver ashtrays from Mexico. My favorite blasts-from-the-past were the Chalkware figurines.
I sure don't envy the chef who must compete with all this eye candy. Then again, maybe the Brownie Bites with the Snicker Brittle will serve as the cherry on top of this novelty-filled venue.