Sept. 29 is National Coffee Day. Here’s a little Twin Peaks tribute:
WSU Kitsap Extension once again is offering a series of food preservation classes so you can take a taste of that very short summer into winter.
This time, all classes are from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays at the Silverdale YMCA, and you can register online. Cost is $95 for all four classes or $35 per class.
Classes start Oct. 9 with a look at Sassy Salsas. Guess what you’ll be making.
Next up, on Oct. 16 is “In a Pickle” in which they’ll discuss the process of fermentation and brining pickles. Participants will make and take home a quick-make pickle.
On Oct. 23, you can learn how to safely use a pressure cooker to can low acid foods like vegetables, seafood and meats. In class, participants will can low-acid vegetables.
Oct. 30 is a look at the variety of ways to preserve apples from canning it to making pie filling, dehydrating, and making sauces and ciders. Participants will take home a jar of apple sauce.
If you’ve ever seen those impressively pretty plates of Scandanavian cookies and wanted to learn to make your own, now’s your chance.Oslo Lodge, Sons of Norway in Bremerton will host three, free cookie baking workshops.I heard about it somewhat late (in today’s paper), so the first one, in which the group baked Spritz cookies beginning at 9 a.m. today will probably be tough to make in time (about 15 minutes as of this posting).
The next two, however, are coming Sept. 26 and Oct. 3, also starting at 9.
On Sept. 26, they’ll bake Sanbakkel (pictured), which is A tender almond cookie baked in tiny tins.
On Oct. 3, it’s Krumkake, airy cookies baked on a special hot iron with decorative etching and rolled into a cone.
Registration is required. Call 360-373-1503 or 360-377-7356.
The classes are at the lodge on Warren Avenue, at the north end of Olympic College’s parking lot near the bridge.
Brothers Scott and Steve Houmes, sons and grandsons of restaurateurs and former owners of Top Notch Burger restaurants in Bremerton and Silverdale, opened Silver City Restaurant and Brewery in 1996. Last year, Silver City opened its Bremerton brewery to expand its beer-production capacity and increase restaurant seating in the space formerly occupied by brewing operations.
As part of my work on Kitsap Sun’s upcoming restaurant guide (due out in October), I interviewed co-owner Scott Houmes. A portion of the Q&A will appear in the guide, but Food Life readers get the full, uncut version. Well, uncut except for the parts where I didn’t type nearly fast enough (or forgot to type as I listened) and consequently portions of the conversation were omitted.
How did you and your brother decide to start a
We decided it was a good fit for Kitsap County. It’s something that we had a passion for as far as the food industry and great craft beer. We thought at that time that Kitsap County was ready for it.
How did you meet brewmaster Don Spencer?
We went on a recruiting trip for a brewmaster. We knew that brewmasters were kind of a brotherhood, so we took a tour of Thomas Kemper [which formerly brewed in Poulsbo]. We wanted to meet a brewer and put the word out there. In 1996, they didn’t have Monster.com or any of those things, so we were doing it the old fashioned way. … We took a tour with Don Spencer and after the tour, we took him aside and said this is what we were doing and if you know anyone, spread the word. Luckily, Don didn’t tell anybody and we ended up hiring him shortly after that. Being a brewmaster is a pretty coveted position. He was able to come in and create his own recipes and styles and brew what he wanted to brew and brew what Kitsap County would like.
Good. We have a good following. We just finished an expansion that we’ve been working on for the past eight to 10 months. Our business grew and grew every year since we opened in ’96. In the past five years, we’d have a waiting a line at the door every week, and we knew we needed space for more guests and our beer was becoming more and more popular so we took the brewing operations from the site… We have a production brewing facility down in in Bremerton and we’re now distributing our beer throughout Western Washington. We were able to open 50 more seats for our guests and eliminate the wait for our tables.
After 15 years, you still have steady business and a
social media following most local businesses could envy. What do
you think has kept Silver City so popular?
I think being a brewpub or this style of restaurant and brewery lends itself to having more of a neighborhood feel, a place that the community can call their own. The beer is brewed in the area … a lot of people have learned about craft beer through Silver City. It’s not just part of another chain. It’s a locally owned place that they can feel good about, that’s the first thing. And No. 2, we have a great staff with a great level of service, second to none and we offer a great selection of food that you can come and eat in any attire … with flip-flops or a tie.
You moved brewing operations to Bremerton and expanded
the restaurant in the vacated vat space, how have the changes
It’s gone over great. It’s given the operation a lot more space for the guests. The wait time has been reduced and it’s expanded our brewing capacity. We’re able to produce more seasonal beers on a consistent basis, give more variety for our gusts and it gives a better flow for the restaurant. One of the main things our guests would always comment on was a long wait for a table and it was cramped quarters in there. …Having people hungry and standing in line for 45 minutes is not something anybody wants to do.
When are you going to open a tasting room at the
That’s a good question. With the growth of the distribution business, it’s kept me on my toes. We’ve darn near tripled our production from what we had four years ago, so we’ve been busy with that and busy with remodeling the restaurant… The type of business we can open up down here is limited because of lack of parking in our industrial area. You can’t open a 50- to 60-seat restaurant with 15 parking spaces, so it will be something more like a tap room with a lack of food. If we can’t get them someplace to park, they won’t come.
The biggest excuse is: it’s been a matter of time. We have had it open for keg sales and bottle sales out of the brewer since the first of January. We sell between 20 and 30 kegs a weekend.
People can go down there and pick it up?
They can call ahead and order and we make sure its ready nine times out of 10 for the weekend.
What beers do you have under development?
As in new? We have our year-round beers, our most popular being Ridgetop Red and the Fat Scotch Ale, our Indianola Pale Ale, the Panther Lake Porter and our Bavarian Hefeweizen and Whoop Pass IPA.
We also have beers that we like to have our seasonal beer rotation and right now, we have our Oktoberfest … We’re one of the few that brew a traditional Oktoberfest lager. Our next seasonal lager will be our winter bock, which we’re very excited about.
When will (the winter bock) be out?
That will be out the beginning of November.
Is this the first year for the winter bock?
We brewed it on an annual basis at the brewpub, but now as far as distribution, this will be our first year.
Our seasonal beer this summer was a Ziggy Zoggy and it was very successful. It’s a great summer, easy-drinking beer with some honey notes to it much like a summer pilsner but very sessionable. … I don’t know if you’ll find that in the dictionary. What we mean is that you can drink them in succession.
Tell me about menu changes over the years.
Basically the guests have helped determine our menu over the years. We re-order the fresh sheet on a rotating basis. We bring out new items on the fresh sheet, an appetizer, several entrees and a dessert. They coincide with the season. For the fall, we have bratwurst and schnitzel. In the wintertime, you’re going to have more of hearty dish and such. With those items, depending on how well they’re received and how well they sell determines what goes on the menu in the future.
We can’t just keep adding to the menu, though, to keep the flow of the kitchen and the restaurant. … Some restaurants just have a huge menu, and order to do what we do, we keep the food fresh. We just can’t offer a million different items. … Something like a schnitzel, where it would be very popular, it won’t go on the menu because its a fun thing to have every season. It’s nice to change to the menu, but it’s also hard because people get in the habit of having their favorite item. … You have to make those tough decisions.
How do you decide which new beers to
They’re all inspired by Don Spencer, our brewmaster. … Throughout the years, we’ve had up to 40 different styles. We have a small brewery here called our pilot brewery where we can brew two kegs of beer at a time, so it can start in that fashion, and we’ll put that beer on at the pub and see how it’s received. If the brew is successful, it would evolve into a pub series beer that’s mainly for the pub. We’ll brew 20 barrels, that’s 40 kegs, and that wil be on at the pub for four weeks or so. Based on the success of the beer, not only the sales but how it fits our lineup, will determine that.
Some beers will be seasonal, but like the restaurant menu, you can only have so many brews year-round. Our brewery is getting larger, but it’s not that large.
Do you home brew beer?
No, my brother and I are restaurateurs. Since we opened the new facility, I’m more of an overseer of the brewing operations and brewing distribution and he’s more of an overseer of the restaurant. We come from a family of restaurant owners. Both my grandfather and father were in the business. My grandfather started a chain called Kings Table and my father joined it in late ’60s, early ’70s. They were part of growing it all along the West Coast.
What’s your favorite beer and food pairing?
My favorite, let’s see here. I would have to say my favorite pairing is a Ridgetop Red with our firecracker wings because a red is nice and sweet with nice caramel notes, and not overpowering, and the firecracker wings have a spicy ginger and garlic to it. Most wings are just spicy, but with ginger and garlic to our wings, its very unique. The spiciness slows me down so i don’t eat too much.
Tell me about the best beer you’ve ever had and why it
was so memorable.
That’s a tough question … I’ve come to appreciate every beer for its own style. I used to be a real hop-head and say nothing was good unless it was an IPA or Double IPA, but the longer I’m in this business, the more I appreciate the number of styles there are and the number of flavors there are. My next favorite beer is the beer I haven’t had yet, and I’m going to ponder over.
What’s next for Silver City?
A lot of people have encouraged us to grow over the years. They say, ‘Open a restaurant in my town’ up and down the Kitsap Peninsula down to Gig Harbor and up to Port Townsend and Sequim. Growing up in this business. … What it takes is time away from our family and time away from a lot of our restaurants and it turns into a big battle. This business is hard enough as it is with one restaurant and one brewery. … We’re more content with ensuring our business in Bremerton and Silverdale do what we say we’re going to do as far as having great operations, great food and great beer rather than grow it and expand operations. We’re planning on making Silver City as good as it’s ever been if not better.
For this week’s food news roundup, I thought I’d serve up a few ideas for food-inspired day trips this weekend.
Lavender on the Tongue
As part of this year’s Sequim Lavender festivals, a new one called Lavender Farm Faire has been added, an it includes a culinary program with food, crafts and cooking demonstrations at Carrie Blake Park (click for a Google map). The festival started Friday, but goes through Sunday.
Five cooking demonstrations will happen Sunday, though Sunshine Lavender and Herb Farm will host several a day today and Saturday. Among what’s cooking will be a four-course meal made by Cedarbook Lavender and Herb Farm with a spring green and asparagus salad with cranberry lavender vinaigrette, roasted red potatoes with Herbs de Provence (with lavender, of course), grilled flank steak with lavender pepper marinade and sautéed pears with lavender honey.
Farms also will offer lavender-laced (and non-lavender) foods throughout the fair. The wine and beer garden also will offer a taste of Olympic Cellars’ lavender infused wine Mélange Nouveau. Purple Haze restaurant will have a variety of food and lavender cocktails (margaritas and cosmopolitans).
For more information, visit sequimlavenderfarms.org.
Bite of Seattle
Across the water on the other side of Kitsap this weekend is the annual Bite of Seattle at the Seattle Center.
For those who’ve in the past grown tired of going and getting filled up on only one giant plate of taste (or bursting at the seems when you try to top off two plates with a Shishkaberry), this year’s festival requires participating restaurants to have actual bite-sized portions for $3.75, the Seattle Weekly reports.
Over at the Fisher Building, local celebrity chefs will offer near-hourly demonstrations for The Bite Cooks portion of the festival. And in the Alki courtyard, for $10, you can get into The Alley, hosted by Tom Douglas for tastes from both established and new Seattle restaurants. Most proceeds from the Alley benefit Food Lifeline, so you can feed your soul a little as well.
Vashon Island is home to a festival more than a century old (though it apparently has had several names over the years). The Strawberry Festival has a variety of vendors, like those you’d see at a variety of small-town festivals, including booths with strawberry shortcakes, smoothies, and chocolate-dipped strawberries. The weekend festival also includes what I’ve decided should be a requisite at any festival, an early morning pancake breakfast (with strawberries!). A shuttle leaves every 30 minutes from the ferry terminal. It’s $1 each way.
Pike Place Chef Demos
On Sunday, Pike Place Market hosts another of its Sunday chef demonstrations with Burce Naftalay of Le Gourmand at noon and Seth Caswell of emmer & rye at 2 p.m. Next Sunday is the second annual “Master of the Market” cooking competition.
Note on next weekend
The brewer lineup for Bremerton’s Summer Brewfest on July 23 was announced this week. The event will include 24 breweries, including Kitsap’s half dozen commercial breweries.
The same day (or maybe before) also is supposed to mark the opening of Bremerton’s Toro Lounge on Pacific Avenue.
And lastly, as I just mentioned earlier this afternoon, Sunday will be the inaugural Sunday farmers market in Bremerton.
Just a note
I apparently missed this when it went online in late May, but Bremerton’s Blackberry fest apparently got a nod from New York Magazine, which compiled a list of 50 food destinations in 50 states. They recommended the blackberry slugs and had this to say in general, “devotees can head to a three-day orgy of blackberry consumption: the Bremerton Blackberry Festival, held along the boardwalk in downtown Bremerton — a smallish Navy town southwest of Bainbridge Island on Puget Sound.” I pity the poor New Yorkers who’ll take the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge and drive 50 minutes to Bremerton. Hopefully someone at the terminal will point them the right way.
Bremerton will have a Sunday farmers market on the boardwalk
ferry terminal starting July 24.
The Bremerton Farmers Market association announced the extra market Thursday.
Unlike the second market two years ago created after a market leadership disagreement, this new market is born of an attempt to liven up the city on Sundays and will be run by the same organization that runs the Thursday market at Evergreen Park.
Bremerton farmers market organizers were approached by city council members after Bremerton and Port Orchard agreed to run foot ferries on Sundays, said market manager Julia Zander.
Bremerton’s Thursday market has been growing with more vendors making more than last year and greater attendance (particularly on sunny days), Zander said.
Market leaders also have been working with the port and business associations. Bremerton councilman Roy Runyon offered to pay half the market’s insurance fee out of his own pocket, she said. The market association is working on securing funding for the second half.
“We think there’s a lot of momentum,” she said. “People are really excited about this.”
The market plans to run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and will be the only formal farmers market on Sundays in Kitsap County. The market’s last day will be Sept. 25.
It seems all manner of pretty produce and other things have begun to appear at farmers markets. I snapped a little cell phone shot after seeing such a pretty cake from Bon Bon Bakery at the Bremerton market on Thursday, and I realize that I can’t be the only one so visually stimulated by market scenes.
I’d love to see what others have seen at the markets or will see this weekend (hint, hint). I’ll put some of the best photos in an upcoming blog post to share with others and on the farmers market map. E-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- I learned from the Washington Beer Blog that on Saturday, Port Townsend will host a Summer Cider Day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Fort Worden.
- Seattle’s Chinatown/International District’s Dragon Fest this year will include a food walk with $2 tastes from restaurants like Sea Garden, Fuji Bakery, Fu-lin Ramen House and Dim Sum King. Try four tastes and get a card punched to be entered for a drawing.
For the local beer lovers out there: Valhöll Brewing in Poulsbo has two new brews, a Poulsbo Pale Ale and a Belgian ale infused with lavender. Sound Brewery announced that it’s Monk’s Indiscretion, a Belgian ale, won a gold medal at the U.S. Open Beer Championships. And Slippery Pig started work recently on a Nasturtium Saison with herbs.
A group of professional and amateur chefs in West Seattle takes their love of cooking social with a regular recipe-sharing potluck. Read more about it in the West Seattle Blog. I’ve heard of a similar group in Kitsap, and I’m told that members of the Kitsap Mycological Society regularly share ways to cook up those freshly hunted mushrooms. I’d love to hear of any other local examples.
According to a UW Tacoma study by biology students, that wild Pacific salmon you order in a restaurant may not be what it claims to be. According to a (Tacoma) News Tribune story, “More than 38 percent of restaurant samples tested by students in the UWT’s introductory biology classes were mislabeled.” Most of those restaurants were in Pierce County.
The Accidental Hedonist blogger offered a lovely little ode to the aroma of coffee that then forced me to go pour myself a cup.
The Washington State University Kitsap Extension’s Small Farms Team this week will kick off a series of classes dubbed “Hip Homesteading” to teach skills from jam and pickle making to home brewed beer. (Mmmm beer.)
All but the homebrewing class will be taught at Silverdale Community Center, 9729 Silverdale Way. Cost is $35 per class ($50 per family). 4H and FFA youth are free.
The first class starts Thursday from 10 a.m to 1 p.m. with a lesson in using some of the season’s fresh berries to make jam. Bring an apron and a sack lunch.
For more information on this and other classes, contact Shannon Harkness at 360-337-7026.
Here is a list of other classes coming this month:
Cheesemaking: Monday, July 11 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Homebrewing: Thursday, July 14 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Slippery Pig Brewery, 795 NW Finn Hill Road, Poulsbo
Hot Summer Nights Farmwalk: Monday, July 18 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Red Barn Farm/Wyckels Farm on Central Valley
Cheesemaking: Thursday, July 21 10 a.m. to1 p.m.
Jammin’: Monday, July 25 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
In a Pickle: Thursday, July 28 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Poulsbo market goers will be able to buy local goods through December.
The Poulsbo Farmers Market association announced last week that they would remain open through Dec. 17, and likely will open earlier next year, said market manager Brian Simmons.
The market this year already had opened earlier than in years past on April 9.
“We’ve been talking about it for quite a while now,” Simmons said.
They polled farmers and other vendors and have discussed a year-round farmers market with the Kitsap Community and Agriculture Alliance.
The market also has been in talks with the city and the Port of Poulsbo to gain support for a covered, permanent location for a year-round farmers market in Poulsbo.
Thus far, no decisions have been made on that front.
“We can’t pay retail rent … we need a special situation,” Simmons said.
Which can be a tough sell in this economy. But Simmons said some ideas being floated include a structure that could be used as shopper-friendly covered parking when the market isn’t open.
For now, the market is focused on being open for 10 months out of the year, Simmons said.
This autumn, the market will remain at the spot at Seventh Avenue and Iverson Street.
Market organizers are discussing ways to modify the site to make shopping easier on cold and rainy days, perhaps by clustering tents or offering a heated tent to offer shoppers relief.
The late market is likely to be smaller, Simmons said, and it may open later as daylight hours wane.
With an early heads-up, participating farmers may have time to sow cool-weather crops such as spinach, kales and chard, onions potatoes and winter squashes.
Since fall is slaughter season, the market also hopes to draw meat vendors.
And crafters and people who make preserved goods also will have a chance to sell wares as the holiday shopping season kicks into gear.