The Food Life

Recipes, resources and food inspiration from people and places in Kitsap County. By Kitsap Sun Web Editor Angela Dice.
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Food news roundup: restaurant news, Fourth of July grilling

July 1st, 2011 by sitedude

Kitsap News

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!

 


Farm walk in Port Orchard tonight

June 27th, 2011 by sitedude

Something I apparently missed in last week’s food news roundup is the first of several educational farm walks hosted by WSU Kitsap Extension.

Here’s the press release:

Beginning June 27th at 6:00pm at School Bell Farm in Port Orchard, WSU Kitsap Small Farms Team hosts HOT SUMMER NIGHTS, a series of education farm walks to showcase the bounty of sustainable, small acreage farms.

Monday, June 27th – Small Acreage Livestock at School Bell Farm, 9795 SE Horizon Lane Port Orchard, WA 98367

All farm walks run from 6:00 – 8:00pm and are open to individuals and children over 12 years of age. The cost is $15 per family and pre-registration is requested. You can register online at kitsap.wsu.edu or at the gate! For more information on HOT SUMMER NIGHTS please contact Diane Fish at 360-337-7026 or by email at dfish@wsu.edu.


More on Kitsap Food Co-op’s location announcement

June 27th, 2011 by sitedude
Map of the Youth Wellness Campus

Design plan for the the Youth Wellness Campus in East Bremerton. Click to see the wellness campus master plan.

I wrote an article for Kitsap Sun Sunday on Kitsap Food Co-op’s announcement of it’s future location at the old East High School campus in Bremerton, and here I wanted to offer a few more details about the project and the post-announcement conversation I had with board president Laura Moynihan.

One of the most frequent questions board members have heard in the past couple years is where the co-op would be, a question that has been difficult to answer.

From my understanding of the co-op’s situation, it’s been a sort of chicken and egg dilemma for the co-op: they need enough members and capital (which comes, in part from membership fees) to secure a location, but some people are hesitant to put a $200 fee on the line before they knew where it would go and how viable this project would be.

Conceivably, the announcement of a location gives the group an additional selling point for membership.

“Were really lucky to name a location that doesn’t require an infusion of capital,” Moynihan said.

In addition, the group has drawn some influential backers, namely Mayor Patty Lent, local architect Steve Rice, who has helped the Co-op look at potential sites, and members of the Boys & Girls club (the club’s director of special projects Stacy Dore’ was at Sunday’s meeting).

The East Bremerton campus has been conceptualized as a center for youth wellness issues. The youth wellness center, which would offer classes on nutrition and cooking and exercise, was the brainchild of former Mayor Cary Bozeman (though originally slated for Bay Vista, formerly known as Westpark). A design created by world-renowned and Bremerton-raised architect Steven Holl has three wings, one for health-monitoring (which may now include a dental center), one for cooking and gardening, and one for  play.

There will be a lot of money to raise both for the Co-op and other players on the East Bremerton campus. The Co-op is expected to cost $3 million to open. The Boys and Girls Club estimates the cost of it’s facility at $4.3 million, and the wellness center is estimated at $14 million.

“This campus makes everybody more visible,” Rice said at the meeting.

“We’re all stronger as one thing together,” he added.

Though so much is tentative, Moynihan envisions partnering with the schools and/or Boys & Girls Club on a demonstration garden, which was part of the campus’ original concepts.

The plan also included a year-round farmers market (which still is in dream-phase in Kitsap), which Moynihan said could enhance the visibility of the Co-op, and could possibly mean another partnership with the Co-op, which other area co-ops have done, Moynihan said.

One other thing of note is that this would put the co-op nearly next door to an Albertson’s. That could be an awful lot of grocer competition in one place, but Moynihan said it also could be an asset, allowing people to hop over for items they can’t find at the co-op.

On the subject of partnerships, Moynihan also said that the Co-op, when opened, wants to talk with the school district or area restaurants about procuring food for them.

The Co-op store itself has originally been planned as a 10,000 square-foot facility, with a 1920s grange-style look. Included inside may be a cafe.

The guidelines for what products will be sold still has to be determined by members. The overall philosophy, though, will put priority on purchasing foods grown and made in Kitsap then working out from there.

As Co-op vice president Kristina Kruzan said at Sunday’s meeting, “First we have to have a co-op before we know what we’re going to have in it.”

As part of Sunday’s presentation, a prepared video with words of encouragement from Lent and Bremerton School District Superintendent Flip Herndon also included some snapshots of the building and early conceptual sketches for the store:


Food news roundup: Taste of Tacoma, Co-op announcement, recipes

June 24th, 2011 by sitedude

 

Events

The Taste of Tacoma runs Saturday and Sunday at Point Defiance Park. Admission is free, but the food is not. The TNT Diner blog has info on what restaurants are dishing up for the festival. More information on other entertainment is at tasteoftacoma.com

In the news of future events, Bremerton Summer Brewfest announced its lineup.

Kitsap Food News

The Kitsap Food Co-op, which has been gathering members and searching for a home has a “big announcement” coming on Sunday.

Poulsbo Farmers market announced that it would extend its season through Dec. 17. I’ll try to get more on that soon.

Kitsap Sun’s food critic Bernard Jacobson this week offered his review of Bay Street Bistro in Port Orchard. He gave it a 9/10 for both food and service.

Random

The Accidental Hedonist blog this week chimed in with some thoughts on locavorism, and why so much focus has been put on food. Also this week, the Kitsap Cuisine blogger also has a post on local food, imploring people to get more serious about food in Kitsap.

Recipes

On the Small Potatoes blog, Anne cooked up some savory veggie fritters/pancakes for what looks to be a simple weeknight meal.

At the Fat of the Land blog, Langdon Cook offers up a suggestion for preparing the influx of salmon at local markets as well as a use for morels in a recipe titled Salmon with Pinot Noir Sauce and Morels.

For a dish for larger gatherings, Orangette has a recipe for Deviled Eggs with Basil Ailoli and Capers.


Weeklong events celebrate Kitsap beer

June 20th, 2011 by sitedude

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.

Some highlights:

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.

 


Food news roundup: local strawberries, coffee festival and more

June 17th, 2011 by sitedude

 

Grocery Glee

This week, the big food news locally seems to be that some grocery store opened in Silverdale Friday. Trader something. It gave even Seattle-focused Bainbridge Islanders something to talk about regarding the main peninsula besides Costco.

To Market, To Market

Elsewhere in the local food world, Bainbridge farmers market heralded the arrival of the season’s first, fresh island strawberries! The market starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, and in years past, those berries cleared out fast.

At the Poulsbo market Saturday, “Bug Chef” (yep, it’s what you think it is) David George Gordon will be signing his new book “The Secret World of Slugs and Snails: Life in the Very Slow Lane” at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Brews

For those looking to venture outside Kitsap for Excitement this weekend (or looking for somewhere to take dad), Kenmore is hosting the Washington Brewers Festival, which features 60 brewers purring 200 beers Saturday and Sunday.

If beer isn’t your thing, Seattle Center hosts a celebration of a different brew: coffee. The Northwest Coffee Festival runs both Saturday and Sunday with taste tests, slow-pour coffee bars and other demonstrations.

Week’s Buzz

The big talk last week was the ode to Seattle food written by New York Times’ Frank Bruni.

Seattle’s Frantic Foodie Karen Brown has her own newly launched ode with a new book, “Food Lovers’ Guide to Seattle.”

Know other must-share blog posts and news? Please comment and link away!


The allure of Trader Joe’s aka what’s the big freakin’ deal?

June 16th, 2011 by sitedude

 

Trader Joe's in University Place

When Hawaiian shirt-clad Trader Joe’s employees open the new Silverdale store’s doors for the first time at 8 a.m., you can bet a bottle of “Three Buck Chuck” that a line of people will be waiting.

Kitsap residents eagerly awaited its opening, filling Facebook groups with love notes, chiding newspapers for not writing more about it and gratifying Kitsap Sun reporters and bloggers who did with thousands of page views.

Elsewhere, the chain has inspired fan blogs, cookbooks and discussion groups about “TJs”.

When faced with such rampant adult enthusiasm, it awakens a journalistic tendency to question nearly everything, a tendency that, if left unchecked, can turn to mockery.

So I asked, what’s the big deal?

I hit Google and a Trader Joe’s store to attempt an honest answer.

As one Facebook fan posted on the Bring Trader Joe’s to Silverdale WA page, “I think TJs is a love it or don’t get it place.”

Place

On entering the Trader Joe’s in University Place, you’re greeted by hand-drawn signs advertising specials and new deals under thatch umbrellas consistent with its South Pacific theme.

It’s more like Cost Plus World Market than Safeway.

Employees, called “crew members” are generally friendly. On the job applications, part-time crew members are instructed to “become smitten with your customers. … Make sure customers know they are welcome and cared for.”

All the stores are like that, intended to feel laid-back, neighborhood-like, much like the company’s first store, which opened in Pasedena, Calif. in 1967. This despite having been bought out by the Albrecht family of grocers in Germany, the opening of 365 stores nationwide with profits estimated at $8.5 billion, according to industry analysts Supermarket News.

Products

But walking down the aisles, I can see that the products themselves are what set it apart from other grocery stores.

The first aisle on the left filled with organic nuts and dried fruits, including (catch my breath) green mangoes. Where else do you see that at a store outside of Hawaii?

Oh, dark chocolate almonds tossed with salt? In the basket.

A $3 six-pack of lager … can it really be worse than PBR? In the basket.

Sunflower butter and f rozen, deep fried Mac and cheese? Hold on a minute, I’ve got a budget.

It’s the kind of thing the company touts on its website as “the thrill of discovery.”

The company has cultivated a product line that includes plenty of organics, exotic ingredients and pre-made sauces and frozen products.

As one Pepperdine University marketing analyst sums it up the difference is that, “(Trader Joe’s) culture, because it involves the customers in an ongoing sense of discovery and adventure, is both unique and difficult to copy. And because it is aligned to their specific target market rather than broad differentiation built around quality and service, it is more difficult to replicate by those companies that are serving a more expansive competitive space.”

And somewhere between products and culture is the sense that shopping at Trader Joe’s is more responsible. Branded products claim to be free of artificial colors and preservatives, MSG or added trans fats. The company highlights a fair trade culture and has been responsive to customers’ requests for non-GMO foods, and a move to phase out by the end of next year seafood that doesn’t come from sustainable sources.

But, as a private company likely trying to maintain control of its relationships, it’s tight-lipped about where its products come from, making it difficult for an outside organization to track just how sustainable its buying practices are, according to Sustainable Industries magazine.

Those who lean toward knowing the exactly where the food came from would be better off sticking to local farmers markets.

Prices

But often unlike organic, fair trade products elsewhere, Trader Joe’s offers them cheaply.

The company generally purchases items directly from manufacturers, buying in bulk and doing its own repackaging mostly — by one estimate, 80 percent —under the Trader Joe’s label.

Items that in style (if not always in exact makeup) are familiar and cheaper than the original products at regular grocery stores.

Take, for example, an 8 oz. bottle of Annie’s Naturals Goddess dressing, which runs $4 to $5 at local grocery stores.  The Trader Joe’s version cost $1.99, lists nearly all of the same ingredients in the same order with slight variations in wording, such as “sea salt” vs. “salt” and “parsley, chives” vs. “spices” on the Annie’s and Trader Joe’s versions respectively.

And sometimes, that includes the brand name, too. A block of Dubliner cheese which has been cut and repackaged in plastic wrap sells for $6.49 per pound. A brand-packaged block of the same cheese retails for $12.55 per pound at Safeway.

That’s not to say everything is cheaper at Trader Joe’s. A look at six-packs of Northwest microbrews or, for example a tube of Tom’s of Maine mint toothpaste or box of Puffins cereal, are no better or slightly more than at my local grocery store.

And it’s not a place a person is likely to find an entire grocery list’s worth of goods.

According to a Fortune magazine article, “With the greater turnover on a smaller number of items, Trader Joe’s can buy large quantities and secure deep discounts” and simplify stocking.

The products regularly change, as the company puts it, “If an item doesn’t pull its weight in our stores, it goes away to gangway for something else.” But that doesn’t work against them, says Fortune, because “customers accept that Trader Joe’s has only two kinds of pudding or one kind of polenta because they trust that those few items will be very good.”

The big deal, in short, is that the stores have a consistent store brand and an ever-changing product line targeted to a middle- to upper middle-income shoppers who are socially, health- and cost-conscious.

And because of that, shoppers will be waiting Friday, ready to do their darndest to clear the shelves and stock up on cheap wine and the hundreds of other goodies that they’ll have just realized they can’t live without.


Food fermentation class offered

June 10th, 2011 by sitedude

As part of it’s continuing series of food classes, Washington State University Kitsap Extension will host a class on fermenting. (Think sauerkraut.)

Here’s their press release on the class:

BREMERTON – Experienced and novice food preservationists will learn all aspects of fermenting foods at the Friendly Fermentation class to be held at the Silverdale Community Center on Saturday, June 18th, 2011.

WSU Kitsap Small Farms Team is pleased to host nutritionist and fermentation diva, Trish Carty for this afternoon workshop. Friendly Fermentation will de-mystify home fermentation, while simplifying the process and enforcing the health benefits of lacto-fermented foods. The class will cover a brief historical view on fermenting, detail the process involved, and discuss materials to get you started. We will have several hands-on demonstrations to show just how simple fermentation is!

In her book, Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon writes, “The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anti-carcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine.”

Friendly Fermentation will be held on Saturday, June 18th, 1:00pm – 4:00pm at the Silverdale Community Center, 9729 Silverdale Way NW, Silverdale, WA 98383. Cost for the class is $35/person or $50/ family. As always, 4-H and FFA youth are free. To register visit the WSU Kitsap

Extension website at http://kitsap.wsu.edu/. For more information about Friendly Fermentation contact Shannon Harkness at 360-337-7026 or shannon.harkness@wsu.edu.

About the WSU Kitsap Extension Small Farms Team:
The Small Farms Team provides educational programs and research-based information for Kitsap
farmers, consumers, decision-makers, and others involved in local food systems. Learn more at:
http://kitsap.wsu.edu/. WSU Extension programs and employment are available to all without
discrimination. Evidence of noncompliance may be reported to your local WSU Extension office.


Bremerton’s 15th Street Bakery has closed

June 3rd, 2011 by adice

Bremerton’s 15th Street Bakery next to the Hi-Lo’s 15th Street Cafe has closed. The owners of Hi-Lo had opened it as both a bakery and waiting area for the cafe after the death of the bakery’s previous owner Luigi Ferrari. But in recent months, hours had dwindled and this week, this sign was posted in the window:

The cafe still is open and regularly packed as usual. And if people in the neighborhood are looking for sweets and pastries, longtime Bremerton baker McGavin’s also is open about a half mile up Callow Ave. and still selling pink champagne cakes, too.


Geoduck ice cream in Allyn

June 2nd, 2011 by adice

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.
Times:


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About This Blog

The Food Life covers people, place and events involved in the food community on the Kitsap Peninsula and surrounding areas.
Written by Angela Dice. You can contact me at angela [at] angeladice.com.

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