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Recipes, resources and food inspiration from people and places in Kitsap County. By Kitsap Sun Web Editor Angela Dice.
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Posts Tagged ‘silverdale’

Restaurant Q&A: Silver City Restaurant and Brewery

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Megan Moran pours two beers for a Tuesday night crowd at Silver City Restaurant and Brewery.

 

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 brewery?
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.

About 50 additional seats have been placed in the area formerly occupied by the brewing operation.

How’s business?
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 gone?
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 brewery?
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 introduce?
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.


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

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

 

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

Friday, June 10th, 2011

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.


Food News Roundup: Trader Joe’s, another Bremerton restaurant, 2 Blackbirds

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

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 more soon.

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.


Artisanal Meat Preservation Class on Monday

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at canning meat, making jerky or sausage, you could have a chance Monday.

That’s when instructors Diane Fish and Shannon Harkness with the Small Farms Team with Washington State University’s Kitsap County Extension will lead a class in meat preserving with a hands-on sausage making demonstration. Aprons suggested.

Cost is $35 per person or $60 per household. The class is from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, Nov. 15 at the President’s Hall Kitchen. Pre-registration is suggested and payment can be made on-site.  For more information and to register,  contact Harkness at (360) 337-7157 or shannon.harkness@wsu.edu.

Meat preserving is the latest upcoming food preservation class offered by WSU Kitsap Extension.

On Dec. 6, there’ll be a Boutique Jams and Marmalades class at Monica’s Waterfront Bakery & Cafe.


Finally Confirmed: Trader Joe’s Coming to Silverdale

Monday, November 8th, 2010

We’ve been hearing rumors about Trader Joe’s coming to Silverdale for more than a year. People in Kitsap have heard it from employees at other area Trader Joe’s. They’ve called us, and though we really, really wanted to tell people that they were right, no one from the company or the owners of the old Circuit City would confirm it as 100% fact.

We had to wait on the story, say that for now, it’s a rumor, we had no confirmation. In the meantime, fans who craved a store in Kitsap regularly commented. At least three separate Facebook groups were started: Kitsap Would Really Like a Trader Joe’s (1,397 members), Citizens of Kitsap County, WA Beg for a Trader Joe’s (874 members), Bring Trader Joe’s to Silverdale, WA (2,341 members)

Our newsroom ran into a similar issue when there were rumors that a new Town and Country or Uwajimaya would go into the old JC Penny’s building in downtown Bremerton. Those were just rumors too as far as we know.

That’s the tough thing about the newspaper business. We hear rumors then we have to wait, and wait, and wait. It can be frustrating to say the least.

Well, today we wait no longer, on the Trader Joe’s front at least. According to business reporter Rachel Pritchett Trader Joe lovers go ahead and rejoice. It’s been confirmed. They’ve even filed permits with the county.

Now on to the next local food rumor. What have you heard? And while we’re at it, what is it about Trader Joe’s that’s inspired such fandom? It can’t just be the two-buck (now three-buck) Chuck.


Food, Wine and Beer Events Happening Soon

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Ideally, I’d write a blog post and expand upon each of these, but with time ticking away, I feel I should at least make sure I let everyone know about these upcoming food-related events. If you go, take a few photos and send them to me (adice@kitsapsun.com), and I’ll post them. I promise to do the same with the events I go to. If you know of more events, I’ll add ‘em:

Saturday, September 18: Taste of Lynwood
The Taste of Lynwood celebrates the Bainbridge Island neighborhood. From noon to 8 p.m., the neighborhood will host food, live music and family activities.

Sunday, Sept. 19: KCCA Harvest Meal/Local Food chef Showoff
Foods from Kitsap farms are prepared by local chef and served buffet style. The event runs from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Bremer Student Center at Olympic College If you’re going, you should probably get tickets now. The Buy Local Food in Kitsap blog has more on the event at buylocalfoodinkitsap.org.

(more…)


Food News for Port Orchard, Silverdale and Bainbridge Island

Monday, January 11th, 2010

A lot of local food news has come out lately. In our little publication, Chris Henry wrote about the rebirth of the old Tweten’s/former Gino’s restaurant as Lighthouse Restaurant and Lounge. It’s being run by an experienced restaurateur, Josh Wood, who previously worked for and managed restaurants in Gig Harbor and Westport.

Also in Port Orchard restaurant news is that the barbecue spot on Highway 166 closed in mid-December, making it the second one to close in that building.

Bainbridge Island’s Four Swallows made this year’s Saveur’s 100 list for its blackberry slump . The gourmet food, wine and travel magazine annually puts together a list of 100 of the magazine’s favorite food, drinks, people and places.

In Silverdale, Aloha Kitchen has been serving up Hawaiian cuisine for the past couple months. I haven’t had a chance for lunch there yet, but have tried their guava and passionfruit cakes, which were sweet and delicious. The fruit comes with the filling and on top of the frosting. I recommend it.

Looks like the local eating out must-trys has gotten just a little bit longer.


New Japanese Restaurant on the Menu for Silverdale

Friday, December 18th, 2009

It looks like there’s a new Japanese restaurant in Silverdale. No, it’s not another sushi place (Hakata’s has that pretty well covered in Silverdale). It’s a teppanyaki style restaurant, where meats and vegetables are cooked over a hot, flat grill while you watch. It’s called Fujiyama Japanese Steak House & Bar has in the Town Centre plaza

According to local blogger and real estate agent Rich Jacobson, who was invited to a preview taste at the restaurant (and wrote about it. He says:

“… Fujiyami serves up a wide array of elements as standard with their dinner entrees. You get a bowl of onion soup, a tangy tossed salad, choice of white sticky rice or fried rice, teppan-grilled vegetables with shrimp, and your selected entree. Prices for the dinner faire were fairly moderate, especially given the entertaining aspect of meal preparation.”

If they serve my favorite Japanese grill dish, okonomiyaki, and if they do it well, I may just be in heaven. I’ll be trying it out myself sometime after the holidays. If any of you go, please tell me how it is.


Big Local Beer News for Silverdale (and the Rest of Kitsap)

Monday, December 14th, 2009

Rumors have been floating around town that after months of searching, Hales would put its new Kitsap location in Silverdale. Turns out rumors were true, as business reporter Rachel Pritchett confirmed today. Hales signed a 10-year-lease with the Kitsap Mall. It will move into the spot formerly occupied by Champ’s next to Kohl’s, which happens to be across the parking lot from Silver City brewery.

Silver City owners said they welcome the company and, in fact, have big news of their own. Anyone who’s been to the brewpub during dinnertime in the past year has probably run into a wait for a table. Just try going on a Friday night, and you’ll likely find yourself able to finish your Christmas shopping before you eat. Well, they’ve noticed, too.

Silver City is in the preliminary stages of moving its brewing operations elsewhere so they can both make more beer and expand the restaurant, as also reported by Rachel Pritchett.


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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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