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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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).
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
Vashon Island is home to a festival more than a century old
(though it apparently has had several names over the years). The
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
Note on next weekend
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
near the fairy
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
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
“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.
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
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
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
“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
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,
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
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:
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.
As I was walking around downtown Bremerton late last week, I
caught this site of Toro, the tapas (small plate) and martini
slated to open this summer. The restaurant is the work of
Bremerton businessman Carlos Jara.
By the looks of it, Jara isn’t just cleaning and moving into the
former Badda Boom Badda Bing/Fillipi’s space on Pacific Avenue.
He’s gutted the space for what looks like a full remodel,
uncovering a tongue-and-groove ceiling, and based on a few photos
from the lounge’s Facebook
page, the color scheme will include some sexy reds, blacks and
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
Downtown Bremerton’s new restaurant,
Bremerton Bar and Grill, apparently is pushing back its opening
date. Instead of opening Monday, it will open Tuesday, April
Owner Neighborhood Grills has, though, started filling up the
(I’ll mostly ignore for now that any restaurant website anymore
thinks its a good idea to make readers download pdf menus) and set
The important part, though, is that it will it open at 5 p.m.,
the tail end of happy hour (as advertised by Neighborhood Grills ,
it goes from 3 to 6 and 9 to close every day). The beers and drinks
may be $4 and $5, but the happy hour food plates range from $3 to
This week offered a fair amount of food news for Kitsap.
On top of news that already this year,
two new Bremerton restaurants have or will soon open, we learn
that there will be yet another. Early this week, Carlos Jara solved
for the Bremerton Downtown Association the mystery of what’s behind
the visqueened windows in the old Filippis-then-Badda Bing
spot on Pacific Avenue. He has taken over the spot and plans to
open a tapas and martini bar. He told reporter Steven Gardner that
he couldn’t offer details this week, but that he’ll talk about it
On Bainbridge Island, owners of the popular Blackbird Bakery
announced that they will open a restaurant, according to the
Bainbridge Conversation blog.
Also on Bainbridge, Northwest foraging guru Langdon Cook visited
to teach a class on foraging for and cooking up stinging nettles.
It’s part of a new series of classes, which opened this week,
introducing people to the “Bounty
of the Land.” Tristan Baurick had
a story on nettles for Sunday’s paper.
Trader Joe lovers are eagerly awaiting the new store planned for
Silverdale, and this week, Brynn Grimley
learned that it may open as soon as this summer.
Brynn, who also teams up with local wine afficionado Mary Earl
on the Cheers to You wine blog,
also reports that several Manette restaurants will host a wine
walk on Thursday.