Wednesday, September 26, 2007 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Food briefs

"Eavesdropping Waiter" shares some restaurant tips of her own

"Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter" could be to the food world what "The Devil Wears Prada" was to fashion.

The coming-of-age memoir by waitress/author Phoebe Damrosch is a behind-the-scenes look at Per Se, an exclusive New York City restaurant with views of Central Park, dinner for two starting at several hundred dollars and a wine list of more than 1,000 selections. It chronicles her rise from server to captain at the four-star destination, relaying juicy tidbits about her training (waiters, she says, learned to curtsy and dance the minuet to inspire grace), prominent restaurant reviewers and details galore from the kitchen to the floor.

Damrosch's book tour stops in Seattle Oct. 8 at Licorous (928 12th Ave., 206-325-6947) from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person at the door.

Among her tips from server to diner:

• Please do not steal our pens. Per Se required the use of Mont Blanc pens costing $100, and we had to provide our own.

• "Do you know who I am?" is a very unattractive question, and "Give me ... " an unattractive way to begin a sentence.

• You may have ordered your signature cocktail a million times, but we need time to write when you say "dirtybombaysapphiremartiniupextradryandverychillednoolives."

Mediterranean flavor on Capitol Hill

Artemis (757 Bellevue Ave. E., Seattle, 206-860-2752), the first restaurant backed by Microsoft buddies (no, not those two) Oscar Velasco and Boris Gorodnitsky, is in its third week of pleasing palates at dinnertime on Capitol Hill.

Named for the Greek goddess of the hunt, Artemis will hunt and gather eats from around the Mediterranean, with inspiration from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Southern Europe, serving them with a full bar and a late-night menu.

Chef Chris Hunter — formerly of Jazz Alley; his own restaurant, Supreme; and Etta's in downtown Seattle — dubbed the cuisine "Mediterranean Rim." The menu tops out at around $20 and includes pickled beets; garlic braised chard; house-ground meatballs; and an Italian-style fish soup with mussels, clams and fresh basil. He recommends chicken tagine with saffron, preserved lemon and olives and the house-made pita.

Hunter says he's glad to focus entirely on food again after hustling to prepare 275 dinners in 90 minutes at Jazz Alley (He plays guitar and thrilled at meeting childhood heroes at his last gig). He's pleased to already notice familiar faces in the dining room and hopes the restaurant's spot, smack dab in a section of the hill crammed with apartments and condos, will fill the restaurant's 50-plus chairs with built-in regulars.

Learn the basics of cheese

Learn the essentials of cheese from renowned cheese expert Laura Werlin Oct. 3 at Seattle's Beecher's Handmade Cheese in Pike Place Market (1600 Pike Place, 206-956-1964).

Her tasting class is scheduled 6:30-9 p.m. at Beecher's offices, 104 Pike St., and includes pairings with local wines. Werlin won a James Beard Award, a top honor in the food and wine industry, in 2004 for her work "The All American Cheese and Wine Book."

Canlis cited for FareStart support

Along with its food, wine and hospitality, Seattle restaurant Canlis (2576 Aurora Ave. N., 206-283-3313) is being lauded for its community service.

The National Restaurant Association gave Canlis its 2007 Restaurant Neighbor Award to recognize its support of Fare-Start, a program that operates a restaurant in downtown Seattle to help feed the needy and also train homeless men and women for jobs in the restaurant and hospitality industries.

Since 2001, Canlis has donated food, money and training to FareStart. The restaurant also helped raise money to fund FareStart's new office and kitchen at 700 Virginia St. (206-443-1233), which opened earlier this year. Canlis also hired a recent FareStart graduate to work in its kitchen.

The Washington Restaurant Association also announced three other state winners of the Restaurant Neighbor Award: Burgerville in Vancouver, Seattle's Thai Siam and Paul Mackay of Mackay Restaurants (the company behind El Gaucho, Troiani Ristorante Italiano and other eateries).

The award recognizes philanthropic efforts within the industry. Visit for details.

Karen Gaudette, Seattle Times staff reporter

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company


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