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What's Going On at Harvest Vine?

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I haven’t been to Harvest Vine in a long time, although, in the past, it has been the source of some of the best food I’ve had in Seattle. When I think of my list of favorite dishes in Seattle, that list includes many dishes from Harvest Vine – the grilled asparagus prepared simply with lemon, olive oil, and salt; the Galician-style octopus; the house-made blood sausage with Piquillo pepper salad; grilled fresh sardines (in season); the soft-scrambled egg with potato and truffle, and many more. Despite the good food, all too frequently my wife and I have experienced serious lapses in the service. We would complain about these lapses to the manager, Fernando Castillo, who would apologize and try to make amends. Some time ago, my wife and attended one of the special Txoko dinners at HV. After being seated, Chef Joseba Jimenez de Jimenez accepted a late addition of three people to the group, which meant waiting over an hour and half for the meal to start, and changing the menu because Chef Joseba did not have enough of certain items for the larger group. The entire meal took more than four agonizing hours, and demonstrated complete disrespect for the customers who had originally signed up for the dinner. Later, I attended a Saturday cooking class with Chef Joseba. Noticing that the air was crackling with tension between Joseba and his wife and pastry chef, Carolin Messier, I learned that the two of them were separating and had decided to divorce. After that, another cooking class with Chef Joseba was cancelled with almost no notice amidst great confusion and miscommunication. Later, I called the restaurant to make a reservation and asked to speak with the manager, Fernando. I was told he no longer worked there, and later learned that he left HV and took a job at Taberna del Alabardero on 1st Ave., where, by the way, I had an absolutely awful meal. Then, a recent Chowhound post made a general comment about “changes in the kitchen.”

I tried to Google Harvest Vine to find out more about what the heck is going on, but was not successful in locating any up-to-date information. Despite his lack of organization and his large ego, Chef Joseba is a talented chef and is capable of producing great food. It would be a shame if the present dark cloud that seems to be hovering over Harvest Vine doesn’t go away.

Can anyone shed some more light on the subject?

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  1. I dunno, but if they are going through a divorce I'd cut him some slack for being distracted. Sad for it to affect the business but with such a personal place and the wife as an employee/partner it must be extremely difficult.

    1. The scuttlebutt and I have no idea how much of this is true and how much is rumor is that yes in fact he and his wife are getting a rather messy divorce, and he is moving back to Basque country.

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      1. Rumor is that his wife is getting Harvest Vine.

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