Book Review: Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining by Braiden Rex-Johnson

By John ~ March 5th, 2010.

Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining is billed as a cookbook, but it’s much more than that. It’s also a story about the uniqueness of the Pacific Northwest, its people, its places, its chefs, and its winemakers. Braiden Rex-Johnson (that’s a name you can’t forget) takes you on quite a tour through Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia.

I first came across the writings of Rex-Johnson in Wine Press Northwest, where she writes a food and wine pairing column. I’ve passed on several of her columns to LaGayle, our Wine Peeps food and cooking expert, and she has been impressed as well. I’ve also read about a Texas connection, I believe it was her father-in-law, and that always wins points with me.

While I was familiar with most of the wineries she mentions in the book, I really liked the way she organized them geographically and found many winemakers who are also great cooks or who have a related restaurant on their property with a great chef. Rex-Johnson and her husband, Spencer, did over two years of research seeking out the best winemaker-cooks, chefs and restaurants, bed and breakfast inns and other neat places in the Pacific Northwest that combine good food and good wine.

The photos by Jackie Johnston really bring the stories to life and make it a great coffee table book for anyone interested in the Northwest lifestyle. I really like this book, and I believe that you will, too. My mouth begins to water when I think about some of my favorites from the book, such as Canlis classic prawns with off-dry Riesling, flank steak roulade with Syrah, pesto-glazed halibut with Sauvignon Blanc, buckwheat-honey pancakes and ice wine peaches, and the list goes on and on.

If this isn’t enough, there are also some great personal stories about Northwest winemakers. My favorite was about how Bob Betz went from managing a Spaghetti Factory restaurant (I guess that’s why he’s such a good home cook) to becoming a Master of Wine and owning his own Betz Family Winery. I could tell you more, but just go out and buy the book for yourself.

Have you already read Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining? If so, please leave a comment and let us know what you thought of it.

Filed under: American Wine, Canadian Wine, Food & Wine, Idaho Wine, Oregon Wine, Washington State Wine, Wine Books

Reader's Comments

  1. Kim at Rustic Garden Bistro | August 15th, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    I first became acquainted with this book by checking it out from the local library. Three renewals later, I’m still not ready to give it back, so I’m going to buy my own copy. :-)Reminds me of my days living in the Pacific Northwest.

    Great review, I agree completely.


  2. John | August 15th, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    Thanks for your confirming comment.