Sept. 29 is National Coffee Day. Here’s a little Twin Peaks tribute:
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.
- 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 restaurant action, it seems, is on Bainbridge Island. Recently chef and food writer Greg Atkinson announced that he would open a restaurant on the island. Kitsap Sun’s reporter Rachel Pritchett talked with him about it for a story on Monday. By Wednesday, news had surfaced that Hitchcock, whose locally focused fine dining fare has been lauded by area food critics, may expand into the space next door, according to Bainbridge Conversation’s Tristan Baurick.
At Poulsbo’s farmers market on Saturday, Chef Tomas Nevarez, owner of the in-home chef instruction company Simmer Down will demonstrate creating a meal with locally harvested foods.
At Bainbridge Farmers Market, fstopcafé will offer a coffee roasting demonstration and tea tastings and a talk on tea.
Other Northwest News
Seattle Beerfest started Friday. The annual, often crowded, convention for beer geeks at Seattle Center promises 130 brews on tap. It opens at noon Saturday and Sunday. Cost is $25
I missed this last week, but apparently of note is that Seattle’s food scene is better than Portland’s, according to Sunset Magazine, which pitted top cities against each other. Hmmm, I envision a Portlandia episode in the making.
And now, I’m cutting this short so I can get to …
Fourth of July
Northwest weather guru Cliff Mass predicts that the holiday will get off to a cloudy start, but will sun up by the afternoon with temperatures in the mid-70s. That means, of course, prime grilling weather. Every food magazine out there has grilling guides and suggestions.
Personally, I’m not a fan of making all the food red, white and blue (that’s what decorations are for), but there are some more subtle colored-food touches such as red, white and blue potatoes as suggested by Bainbridge Farmers Market, or maybe a little blueberry, raspberry cobbler.
Coincidentally, as the Sea Life blog’s Jeff Adams reminded readers, this weekend also is open to crabbing season and “crabs are as Northwest’erican as espresso and apple pie,” he said. You can grill crab, though some suggest that (after cleaning it, of course) that you lightly wrap it in foil. Crab can be easy to overcook, so be gentle.
From the Food Life recipe archives (which I realize is a bit anemic), I can suggest Peruvian kebabs with roasted yellow pepper sauce, perhaps accompanied by grilled corn on the cob and for dessert, grilled nectarines with berry sauce, though blueberries may make a more seasonally friendly accompaniment than blackberries.
Also of note from the fine food publications out there, Saveur magazine this year offered a grilling guide that included a half dozen barbecue sauce recipes from Dr. Pepper sauce to Carolina gold, briskets and hush puppy or pickled sides (holy wow, why aren’t I eating right now?!). Southern Living boasts the “ultimate” grilling guide. And for those who want fewer calories, Cooking Light also has a Fourth of July recipe compilation.
As always, fell free to share any other suggestions you have for celebratory eating on the Fourth! Hope you all eat (and/or drink) well and stay safe!
It was a fortuitous coincidence that sent us to tasting rooms at some of Poulsbo’s newest breweries. Not only did I learn that Slippery Pig now has a tasting area open (and also apparently a fine Dandelion Bitter and Rhubarb Pale Ale), but also that last weekend kicked off the weeklong Kitsap Hopstock.
Sadly, I missed a chance to tell you about Der Blokken’s dinner (that I missed too) last Saturday, but there will be plenty of other events going on this week. Various bars will have specials and add local brews to their lineups.
From 5 to 7 tonight, Tizley’s Europub in downtown Poulsbo hosts a meet-and-greet with local brewers, after which they all head down to Marina Market for a “Throwdown!” to pit local beers against international bestsellers.
On Wednesday, Poulsbo Pub crawl with 4-ounce tasters of local beers at a dozen spots around town.
On Saturday, Stone Crow in Bremerton (on Sylvan Way at Wheaton) will have a pig roast, classic cars and specials on local beers.
On Sunday, Slippery Pig will host what seems to be a big backyard barbecue including a $5 badminton tournament with prizes. The tasting area will be open and a grill will be on for anyone who wants to bring and grill their own meat.
A list of all events are available at kitsaphopstock.com.
This was just too interesting not to share:
Hannah Raskin over at the Seattle Weekly writes that at this weekend’s Allyn Geoduck Festival, two versions of geoduck-flavored ice cream will make their “international debut.” Both have citrus bases, she says.
I’ve eaten raw geoduck before at a sushi bar in Bellingham, and from what I remember it was crispy and briny. There is no getting the sea out of that creature. While I get the possibilities of salty-sweet combinations, I’m a little wary of shellfish with ice cream.
But, I guess the “wha?” factor is part of the point. The festival’s organizer says they wanted to get people to go, and with at least several Seattle food bloggers playing up the novelty factor, they just may get their wish.
If you’re also intrigued, here’s more info on the festival:
Allyn Geoduck Festival
When: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 4
Where: Allyn waterfront
Highlights: Geoduck digging derby (10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.); live music starting at noon; Oyster shucking contest (11:30 a.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. with finals at 4:30 p.m.
From 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. today, Baskin-Robbins — on Sixth Street in Bremerton and in the Kitsap Mall — brings back its now-annual “31 cent Scoop Night.” You get a 2.5-oz scoop, up to three scoops, for 31 cents plus tax.
As part of the national promotion, some stores will host firefighters, who will scoop ice cream and ask for donations
This weekend, foodies can choose from wine tastings and tours to the expanding openings of farmers markets.
Beer: Tonight (OK, technically not the weekend), Poulsbo will welcome it’s newest brewery, Sound Brewery. There will be a ribbon cutting at 5 p.m. and the taps will pour until 9 p.m. I, unfortunately, will miss the grand opening, so I expect reports, people! After the grand opening, it will be open from 2 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday (when I hope to check it out, making it a weekend event for me). They’ll have six beers on tap at $4 a glass.
Farmers Markets: On Friday (again, not the weekend, but close enough) Olalla Valley Farmers Market makes its debut at 1 p.m. It joins Poulsbo and Bainbridge markets, both on Saturday, on the “open” list.
Wine and Cheese: From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Olympic Peninsula wineries will host their third annual Northwest wine and cheese tour. Area wines and ciders are paired with cheeses from Northwest creameries, which include Port Townsend’s Mt. Townsend Creamery. The tour is self-guided among the associations eight wineries. Tickets are $25 if purchased in advance online or you can pay a $5 tasting fee at each winery.
Bainbridge wine weekend: Bainbridge Island’s seven wineries will open their doors again from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for their monthly tasting event. Tasting fees run from free to several dollars. Information on the wineries is available at bainbridgewineries.com. You can expect to see representatives from both The Food Life and Cheers to You blogs there.
Today, April 12, is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day. Yes, there’s a day to celebrate practically any kind of food, but today’s — actually a book with 50 grilled cheese recipes and a food truck in Portland dedicated to it. Beacher’s in Pike Place Market hosted the author of aforementioned book Monday afternoon
On Thursday, Poulsbo’s Central Market will host a cooking demonstration titled, “Grilled Cheese á la Pain du George (bread)”
Need I make any further case for waxing on about grilled cheese?
Admittedly, one of the additional reasons this food holiday piqued my interest enough to write about it is my recent pining for some downtown Bremerton grilled cheese offerings. Two Blocks Up on Pacific Avenue in Bremerton has an “ultimate grilled cheese” sandwich, with cream cheese, cheddar, well-buttered bread and more is a regular Monday special, and tomato soup always is on the menu then. The Coffee Club Diner on Park Avenue also serves up a “Grown-up” version with three cheeses and onions. They haven’t stopped serving it, I’ve just stopped working downtown, and making it from my home office just isn’t the same.
This all brings me, though, to the questions (this is the interactive part of the blog, folks):
What are your criteria for a good grilled cheese sandwich? Should it purely be cheese or contain extras? And where is your favorite place to have one and what makes it so good?
I’ll try to kick off a discussion by answering the first two: It has to have a lot of cheese all gooey and melting out the sides between two thick slices of white bread buttered and crisped to a light brown, not too hard toast. I’m a big fan of ones containing cream cheese and cheddar, but once you put anything non-cheese on it, it ceases to be a grilled cheese sandwich. It’s just a grilled sandwich; the world must have rules. Except if it has bacon, because everything is better with bacon.
As for the last, my grilled cheese ordering experience has been pretty limited to Bremerton. I’ve heard tale of offerings elsewhere, such as a grilled cheese and panini sandwich with Fontina at MorMor in Poulsbo.
Weekend after next, Kitsap County will welcome back farmers markets in Poulsbo and Bainbridge Island. (Yipee!)
But if you can’t contain your need for fresh spring greens and vegetable starts that long, you can make the drive out to either Port Townsend or Gig Harbor starting this Saturday. Port Townsend’s opening celebration includes a goat parade. You read that right, a goat parade to celebrate the return of three goat dairies to the market. A note for those, who like me, are suckers for baby animals: this parade includes baby goats. With bells.
Either way, I’ve compiled a map with opening dates of markets from Port Townsend to Belfair, which also is included on the local foods map, which also includes area farms, etc., in the food resources section of this blog. Click on the name or a point on the map for more information on the market.