Perfection Trifecta

bignight-web-header

Sometimes the stars align and shine their radiant light down on the world for all to bask in their celestial light.
Friends, one of these glorious moments is in fact upon us. For one delightfully elegant evening we will have six of the most celebrated chefs in the Pacific Northwest under one tent. Culinary icons Tom Douglas, Holly Smith, Ethan Stowell, John Sundstrom, and Sabrina Tinsley join our very own circus chef, Erik Carlson to present a sumptuous fall menu. Each of these masterfully crafted courses are to be expertly paired with delicious wine selections.

And it doesn’t stop there!

Special performances are to be peppered throughout the evening from:
Ann Wilson
Ariana Lallone
Frank Ferrante
Les Petits Freres
Martha Davis
Norman Durkee
Rachel DeShon
and the Circus Stars of Tomorrow (now featured in our family production Tambourine Submarine)
All emceed by Kevin Joyce!

Get Your Tickets Now!

Hail Caesar! Forbidden Oasis Packs Heat

Photo Credit: Alan Alabastro

The press is head-over-heels for Hail Caesar! Forbidden Oasis. This Saharan-style adventure’s reviews are no mirage! The performance packs heat to keep all of us warm over the long, grey winter. Get your swim trunks on and let’s see what the press have to say:

“A gleefully gaudy banquet of aerial acts and acrobatics, tap dancing and clowning…The talent sizzles” -The Seattle Times

“You’re not just buying dinner and a show, but a lavish evening-length party.” -Seattle Weekly

“Burlesque- era comedy, lots of audience participation, brassy vocals, and circus-style spectacle” -Talkin’ Broadway

“Frank Ferrante  our hilarious host, is such a doll. He is the kind of relative you wish you had at holiday gatherings because he makes every scene a riot.” Examiner.com

“Weber’s ease and obvious joy in the air is moving, glorious and inspiring.” -Edge Seattle

“Wayne Doba and Andrea Conway-Doba bring humor and old vaudeville charm with their dancing, singing and skits. ”  -Bellevue Reporter

“A delicious dinner that is as unique and pretty as the show.” -Christian Pop Culture at Examiner.com

Here’s what our Facebook fans are saying:

“this is a show EVERYONE MUST SEE! Great value, dinner, Vegas quality or Cirque du Soleil quality talent. So special. My mouth is sore from smiling, laughing and in ‘Awww’ from tonight with the talent, strength, muscle…what else do I say of this show? Spectacular…go see when in Seattle.”

“Best night ever, thank you so much for and awesome show!”

“We had such a great time… glad we were able to get some love spice!”

See what all the buzz is about, get your tickets now!

Circus Chef Mentors

Executive Chef Erik Carlson sat us down to answer a few questions about his new protege he has been mentoring:  Samantha Hoehne, Senior at Monroe High School and a culinary student at Sno-Isle Tech. Here’s the scoop (or spatula):

1) What do you enjoy most about being an executive chef?

I love the food service industry. I love the duality, that it can be a mainstream art form AND our jobs to feed others. I love the intimacy of feeding people (which is such a personal thing). That being said, my all-time favorite reason  for being a chef is creating new and exciting menu items with such great local resources. We (chefs) are the new rock stars!!

2) What are some key steps to make a menu?

The first step is to know your guests. Second, here at ZinZanni, I do a lot of research. I investigate the era or the main characteristics of the upcoming show and develop the menu to run parallel. Next I  brainstorm, writing what sounds great with no rules. Then I develop the recipes for my menu. This leads up to the big one: tastings and re-writes. Finally, complete the recipes, price them out, and train the staff.

3) What were the steps you had to take to become an executive chef?

In the beginning it was just lots of hard work. After that I chose to go to culinary school. Right out of school I found a chef I really wanted to apprentice with and bugged him until he took me. After five years of working under him and learning tons, I went out and started working with other chefs and developed my style through observation.

4) What do you feel is the most important part of your job?

Each job is so different for each chef. Here at ZinZanni I believe the most important role I play is to design and deliver a menu worthy of a world-class theatre/circus show. On a personal note, I aim to create a unique kitchen experience that is very positive and fosters a high level of creativity and energy for all my team members.

5) What kind of education did you go through?

A lot of my training was from my grandmother actually. She taught me what it meant to really love feeding people. After that I worked through all the positions I could then went to culinary school. Upon graduation I apprenticed under Chef Brian Poor for five years. However, I firmly believe that in our industry a chef’s real education comes from trial and error.

6) What is some advice you would give to younger people who want to become an executive chef?

Understand the service industry first. We work when others play. Being a chef requires a lot of sacrifice and a mountain of hard work. Don’t be afraid of hard work. Pay attention to everyone cooking around as almost every one of them will have some knowledge you do not. Embrace your failures and learn from them. Develop a ‘taste library’. This is the area in a chef’s brain where through time spent they can ‘taste’ a menu by just reading it

7) What do you feel are some of your greatest accomplishments in the culinary world?

Well, I am very proud of what we put out nightly. I think we truly have forged new ground in ‘dinner theatre’. I am extremely proud of my FareStart Dinner, it was a culinary dream of mine to do an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ dinner, and it was amazing! I have had several recipes published that I am proud of too.

8) How does Teatro ZinZanni differ from other restaurants you have worked in?

Well, it is actually closer to a banquet kitchen than a restaurant. Our shows and menus are themed  and have unique design challenges:  a 12-foot slide we send our desserts down or we have to make sure is or plates are ‘danceable’ (each course has a choreographed dance routine with full plates in the server’s hands). We have a 4-month menu rotation that requires a complete re-write with supportive recipe pieces each time.

9) What is the most difficult part of your job?

I am lucky in that I really love what I do. So, I guess the difficult parts are the same as always, lots of personal time sacrificed. I work some very long weeks when the shows ‘changeover’.

10) How do you feel becoming a mentor?

At first, I was very nervous, as this was my real teaching chance. I have always been nervous about being a mentor.  I’ve always felt like the guy who’s cooking. What do I have to impart on others? Upon reflection I realize the 25+ years of experiences have given me some insights, things that are second nature to me, things I thought everyone knew. After meeting Sam,  I felt more at ease. Her disposition seemed great for my first shot at mentoring and I get to help her design menu items, my real joy. Now, I can’t wait to get started because  this will be fun and beneficial to us both.

A Feast Fit for Cleo

The Hail Caesar! Forbidden Oasis menu is  FINALLY here!

Appetizer:

Photo Credit: Matthew Worden

Caramelized sweet onions, spinach, feta cheese and roasted peppers wrapped in a flaky dough pyramid with a 3 olive tapenade and served with a rich basil cream

Soup:

Photo Credit: Matthew Worden

Photo Credit: Matthew Worden

Egyptian yellow lentil soup with caraway cream and pita strips

Salad:

Photo Credit: Matthew Worden

Photo Credit: Matthew Worden

Arugula and fresh green leaf lettuce with English cucumber, Roma tomato, shaved sweet onion, Kalamata olives, brioche croutons and lemon-tarragon vinaigrette

Entrees:

Photo Credit: Matthew Worden

Photo Credit: Matthew Worden

Kurobuta Pork Chop with our own ‘Love Spice’ topped with baked apple-mint sauce and served with roasted garlic –Parmesan mash and local seasonal mini vegetables

Photo Credit: Matthew Worden

Photo Credit: Matthew Worden

Halibut with basil and fresh fig chutney, fin herbe couscous and local seasonal mini vegetables

Photo Credit: Matthew Worden

Photo Credit: Matthew Worden

Roasted tomato and fennel quinoa stuffed pepper with a fresh cucumber raita, basil-fig tartlet and citrus dressed kale & pepper salad

Dessert:

Photo Credit: Matthew Worden

Photo Credit: Matthew Worden

Peach, ricotta and pecan Baklava

Who’s hungry?

Attention All Mortals – the Nordic Gods are Upon Us!

Dinner at Wotan’s opens tonight!   We have been squee-ing all day  long in between feverish preparation for the grand opening.  This show is co-directed by our fearless founder Norm Langill and Swedish triplePhoto credit: Korum BischoffDinner at Wotan's threat  Tobias Larsson (actor, director, choreographer), who will also choreograph and star in this production. Get ready for an electric mix of fresh performances from the likes of Swedish superstar Anki Albertsson, sprinkled with impeccable returning acts such as  Vertical Tango (back by popular demand).

We’re also delighted to welcome back the incredible Los Excéntricos, a troupe who performed in our opening show waaaay back in 1998.  It has been far too long!

An ode to the Northwest’s Nordic community, Dinner At Wotan’s will musically rock the tent, presenting a hybrid of the classical sounds of Wagner’s The Ring and big, epic rock sounds, like Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.  “A lot of rock tunes live very close to classical pieces, so we’re trying to mix that classical world with the rock, and course, with our own Durkee-ZinZanni style,” co-director Tobias Larsson commented. The music from Dinner at Wotan’s will be composed by harmonious superman Norman Durkee with lyrics by Martha Davis, long-time front-woman for the new wave band The Motels, best known for such hits as “Only the Lonely” and “Suddenly Last Summer”.

And we are oh-so ecstatic to announce that Christopher Phi will be returning to the tent as one of Wotan’s progeny.  In fact the whole cast just gives us jitters!

Let’s list them out again:

Geoff Hoyle/Jarion Monroe (Wotan, Ruler of Asgard)
Anki Albertsson (Frigg, Madame of Valhalla, wife of Wotan)
Tobias Larsson (Thor, Son of Wotan and Frigg, Heir apparent to Asgard)
Terry Crane
(Loki, Son of Wotan & Frigg)
Sam Payne of Vertical Tango
(Balder, Son of Wotan & Frigg)
Sandra Feusiof Vertical Tango
(Helga, Valkyrie, Guardian of the Underworld)
Kristin Clayton
(Brunhilde, Warrior)
Ariana Lallone
(Freya, Valkyrie, Goddess of Love)
Marceline, Sylvestre and Zaza of Los Excéntricos
(Kimir, Hardon, and Snotra, The Troubadour Dwarves)
Christopher Phi (Jorgemon, Son of Wotan)

Chef Erik Carlson has pulled out all the stops.  But what will we dine upon?

Appetizer: Hard Cider Slow Braised Duroc Pork Belly (there’s a herbivore-friendly variation of this dish upon request)
Soup: Smoked Gouda and White Cheddar
Salad: Shaved Fennel, Watercress, Dried Cherries 
Your Choice of Entree:
Hales Red Menace Ale Braised Beef Short Rib
Crab-Stuffed Wild Salmon Roulade
Puff Pastry Cornucopia
Dessert: Golden Apple Tart

See the full menu here.

Get Your Tickets!

Cook Like A Chef: Root Vegetable Smash

Have you ever cooked a meal for 285 of your closest friends?  285 of your closest enemies (mmm spite)?  285 people, period?

This is a feat our Executive Chef, Erik Carlson, and his crew of crackerjack culinary wizards achieve every evening (and sometimes during the afternoon for matinees) we have a show in the spiegeltent.  He also hand-picks which tasty morsels star on each of our menus.  Chef Erik took some time out of his impossible schedule to make an at home version (meaning portioned for not 285 people) of the Root Vegetable Smash, a Return to Paradise guest favorite.

Enjoy!

Root Vegetable Smash

by Chef Eric Carlson
Yield approx. 3 lb

3 gallons water
2 lb Yukon Potatoes, washed and diced 1”x1”x1”
1/3 lb peeled and diced parsnip and diced ¼”x ¼ “ x ¼”
1/3 lb peeled and diced rutabaga and diced ¼”x ¼”x ¼”

4 oz butter, unsalted
1 ¼ cup heavy cream (whipping cream)
4 teas Garlic puree (roasted garlic cloves in oil, golden brown, then puree up just
the garlic, saving the oil for some other yummy usage)
2 teas sea salt or kosher salt

Directions:

Bring water to a boil and add in the potatoes, parsnips, and rutabaga. Boil until all
pieces are fully softened. Pour through a colander and strain thoroughly. Meanwhile,
in a small saucepan melt butter in the cream and whisk in the garlic puree. Once
the butter has melted and the cream mixture is hot (do not boil, it will scald your
milk) mash together with the root vegetables using a mixer or hand masher. Add in
salt and adjust to taste. Enjoy this on a cool fall night or surprise your guests with
something a bit more interesting than your usual mashed potatoes!

Eat Well.

One of the Best Ways to Celebrate

Seattle TravelGram took some phenomenal photos from their Return to Paradise visit!  Oh, and they also wrote a smashing review that is both quick and glorious (delightful).

Here’s a snippet:

Teatro ZinZanni, Seattle’s beloved dinner theater / comedic cabaret / vaudeville revue in an historic circus tent, has cooked up one of the best ways to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle.  The atmosphere is jovial, while the tent is intimate and the show up close and personal.  You share a table or booth with others and are served a four-course meal by smiling, dancing servers, who are also actually skilled, knowledgeable servers.  The steak made my table ecstatic, the soup was divine and the wine flight was varied and delicious.

The cast, however, is what makes this show.  Hostess Gracie Hansen, played by Christine Deaver, is a star of many a show at Teatro, who never disappoints. Her wit and comedic timing, paired with her singing voice and larger than life presence, makes her a star among us. ”

See the full article and some stunning photos here!