Peninsular Thinking

A conversation about Bremerton, Port Orchard, Poulsbo, Silverdale, Bainbridge Island, Kingston, Manchester, Seabeck, Southworth, Suquamish, Belfair, Keyport, Olalla, Bangor, Hansville, Indianola, Port Gamble, Allyn, Port Ludlow, Gig Harbor and every once in a while something about the good folks who don't have the good fortune to live here.
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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Lighthouse restaurant closed, seeking new backer

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

The Robert Earl Lighthouse, open in late May, closed Monday, disabled by criminal charges against owner Eric A. Smith of Bothell. General manager Brookes Konig is looking for new financial backing, according to bar supervisor Linda Martens of Port Orchard, who came out of retirement to work with Konig.

Smith, a Seattle Police officer, was charged July 2 in Snohomish County with three counts of first degree child molestation. Business, dropped off after the charges came to light, said Martens, who was at the empty restaurant Wednesday, awaiting delivery of final paychecks for the remaining employees. Initially, after Smith’s legal troubles were reported, 20 of the roughly 55 Lighthouse employees were laid off. Smith struggled valiantly to keep the restaurant afloat, Martens said, and the hope is that a deal in the works might still be brokered.
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Martens had high praise for Konig, who has a long career in the food and beverage industry. “He’s such a wonderful man,” she said. “He cares about his employees like they’re his family.”

Konig preferred to be call “coach” by employees, Martens said. “He doesn’t want to be the boss, because he feels like his strength is coaching.” She added that Konig “moved heaven and earth” to make sure the final paychecks were cut.

Martens also praised the team Konig assembled to re-open the landmark restaurant, which had sat shuttered for a number of years. “I’ve never seen a group of people so dedicated to one person, and that was Brookes,” Martens said.

Smith, doing business as Robert Earl Enterprises LLC, had leased the Lighthouse from property owner Tim Tweten, whose parents opened the original Tweten’s Lighthouse in 1984. Tweten’s was a destination, special occasion kind of place. Konig wanted the new Lighthouse to be more of an every day, gathering place for the community, Martens said.

Martens hopes the Lighthouse, named for Smith’s father, can outshine the tarnish of the accusations against Smith, who was placed on administrative leave from Seattle PD. “It’s up to this town if it does come back to step up,” she said.


Where the sidewalk ends: the sequel

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Last week, I wrote about public works mowing mishaps that resulted in damage to private property. And our theme of the intersection of public and private land continues.

At its meeting Tuesday, the Port Orchard City Council discussed a disconnect between its own code, which calls on private property owners to maintain and repair sidewalks, and the city’s practice of making repairs on its own dime.

At the same meeting, the council considered the question of sidewalk bistro tables. Bay Street Bistro, earlier this year got permission from the city to place tables on the sidewalk, European cafe-style. The request was screened by the public property committee and later approved by the council.

In the past, the city has regulated things like sandwich boards, tables of merchandise and other temporary sidewalk accoutrements as an accessibility issue overseen by the code enforcement officer. ADA rules require at least four feet of passage on sidewalks. Bistro tables must adhere to that regulation, as well.

With the Bay Street Bistro’s request, and a later request from Cafe Gabrielle, the council discussed a more formal process of permitting and oversight.
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They initially suggested charging a fee of $10 per month for business owners whose applications for sidewalk tables or benches are approved. But Public Works Director Mark Dorsey reminded the council that the sidewalk right-of-way is actually under the state Department of Transportation, which owns Highway 166 (Bay Street).

Dorsey at an earlier meeting with the council opined that the city shouldn’t be the one charging a fee, since the ROW belongs to the state. The ROW runs from the center line of the road to the edge of the building.

Dorsey thought (mistakenly he later found) that the issue of jurisdictional authority could be resolved if the city simply didn’t charge a fee with its sidewalk table permit. He called the DOT and spoke to an official who said not only should the city not charge a fee, they had no authority to grant the sidewalk table permit in the first place. That ball is in the DOT’s court, Dorsey was told.

The state would charge about $90 a month for granting permission to place bistro tables in the right-of-way, he found.

“They take it very seriously that someone is using that right-of-way and making money off it,” Dorsey said.

The council stepped out as middleman Tuesday by approving a revised city permit (that would still give the city oversight over ADA issues) with a notice/disclaimer that the applicant also needs to apply to the state for use of the right-of-way.

“Whether they do or not is between them and WSDOT,” said City Attorney Greg Jacoby.

Voila, problem solved. The issue of whether business owners can afford the $90 fee becomes “an economic decison on the part of the vendor,” Jacoby said. “That’s really a private business decision.”


How much of Port Orchard does Samadpour own?

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

On Wednesday the languishing Myhre’s building was purchased by Abadan Holdings LLC of Lake Forest Park, the company owned by Mansour Samadpour.
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Over the past decade Samadpour, a real estate investor and world renowned microbiologist, has accumulated ownership in a significant percentage of Bay Street real estate. Here’s a summary of what he owns (the buildings, not the businesses that lease from him, all on Bay Street): Dance Gallery (702), Port Orchard Pavillion (701), Cafe Gabrielle (707), Port Orchard Public Market (715), Old Central Antique Mall (801), Coffee Oasis (807) and the space next to coffee oasis, vacant (809) and now Myhre’s (2 parcels 737 and 739).

Samdpour is notably media shy. I couldn’t get any comment from him on his plans for Myhre’s, but Bryan Petro of Windermere Real Estate, who negotiated the sale, said it’s likely it will be leased as some sort of restaurant or pub.

Seller Dick Rylander, whose family has had an interest in Myhre’s since 1930, said he felt a little “wistful” about the sale. My story includes a thumbnail history of the place from Rylander’s perspective.

People who complain about “all those vacancies” on Bay Street are running out of argumentative ammo, what with the reoccupation of the bakery and the opening of the public market. Myhre’s and the Los Cabos building are the most conspicuous vacant buildings on Bay Street. Farther west on Bay, Robert Earl Lighthouse opened this week in “the Lighthouse building.”

So hold your head up Port Orchard. And oh by the way, we have hanging flower baskets, too. Just like Bremerton.

What would you like to see at the Myhre’s building?


PO Farmer’s Market needs volunteers for canning demo

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

The Port Orchard Farmer’s Market is one of 50 farmer’s markets in the United States chosen to participate in canning and vaccum sealing demonstrations sponsored by Ball and FoodSaver through their Discover You Can: Learn, Make, Share program.

Canning demo days at the market are June 7, July 5 and Aug. 2. Market Manager DiAnna Lanskey, the vendor contact for the market, is looking for volunteers knowlegable about canning to help with the demo on June 7. Lanskey also is looking for people with vaccum sealing skills.

Ball and FoodSaver partnered with the national Farmers Market Coalition on the You Can program to spread awareness of the benefits of food preservation for healthy, sustainable living. The coalition recently announced the 50 markets (only 4 in Washington, including PO) that will participate. Markets get all the supplies they need from Ball and FoodSaver, and they can win cash prizes in different categories for each demo day.

Port Orchard Farmers Market also will participate in the first ever International Can-It-Forward Day, hosted by judge of Bravo’s Top Chef Hugh Achesonon Saturday, August 16. Markets in the United States, South Africa, Australia and Canada will participate.

The Port Orchard Farmers Market is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays on the waterfront. The season runs April 5 through October 11, 2014


What to do while we wait? Make chili!

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Ten days, 43 minutes and 2 seconds until our Seahawks meet the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. That is unless a snow storm “of massive proportions” plays havoc with the game.

In case you just arrived from another planet, kickoff is at 3:25 p.m. (PST) Sunday, February 2, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

I am the epitome of a fair weather fan. I’ve watched one football game start to finish … ever. And guess which it was? Lucky me.

Now, like everyone else, I’m counting down the days until the Superbowl. So I can relate totally to fans at the End Zone Sports Pub in Port Orchard, who have a strategy to make the waiting (and a weekend without pro football) less agonizing.

“What about the Pro Bowl?” I asked Janet Wilson, who owns the pub with husband Steve. “Doesn’t that count?”

OK well, you can see I’m a newbie. The feeling of the End Zone’s customers about the Pro Bowl is a unified, “Meh.”

So what are they going to do with all that down time? Make chili.

The End Zone plans a chili cook-off at 1 p.m. Saturday. It’s a tradition started six years ago by a handful of customers just trying to kill time’ til the Super Bowl. Last year, there were close to 25 entries. Most who enter are guys. There have been some husband versus wife match ups. Last year’s winner was Lisa Gilliand.

Variety (not necessarily heat) is the name of the game in this crowd, many who are hunters.

“We’ve had elk; we’ve had salmon; we’ve had chicken,” said Janet Wilson (no relation to Russell, unless I missed something). “We’ve had some horrible ones. A lot of them were men who didn’t know what they were doing.”

But they’ve come along, learned a lot over the years. “I think the guys generally want to be the best cook,” Wilson said.

There are no rules in this “customer driven” contest. The prizes are bragging rights, your name on a plaque and the chance to wear the Chili Crown for a day.

A panel of six judges makes the call on the best batch. There’s also a people’s choice award. Once the judging is over, they break out the cornbread and cheese and the feast is on.

Speaking of chili, I will now reprise a recipe for Uncle Dan’s Habañero Hellfire Chili given to me courtesy of Dan Saul. Saul, related to the owners of Hubert’s Christmas Tree Farm, was handing out samples when I did a story on the farm in December 2012. It was the perfect thing after stomping around in the cold and rain. Warmed you right up and then some.

Uncle Dan’s chili consists of little chunks of beef and pork swimming in a fragrant, spicy broth, with grace notes of chocolate and the kick of 15, count them, 15 habañero peppers (for a recipe that serves 20). Not so secret ingredients include bittersweet chocolate, strong coffee and a quart of dark beer. Is it hot? Heck, yeah!

Uncle Dan is a colorful character. You can read all about him in my original blog post about the chili.

Here’s the recipe for Uncle Dan’s Habañero Hellfire Chili. Don’t say you weren’t warned. (If you don’t need 20 servings, hopefully you can do the math to cut it down.)

Serves 20

Ingredients:

4 onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 pounds ground beef
2 pounds ground pork
15 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
15 habañero peppers, seeded and chopped
20 Anaheim peppers, seeded and chopped
1 quart dark beer
4 cups coffee (strong brewed)
2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes
5 (16-ounce) cans chili beans
1 (six-ounce) can tomato paste
1 cup chili powder
2-ounces bittersweet chocolate, shaved into fine pieces
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
3 tbsp. cumin
3 tbsp. smoked paprika

Directions
In a stock pot brown beef and pork over medium-high heat
Season with salt and pepper
While meat is browning, stir in all ingredients except beans
Reduce heat to simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally
Add beans and continue simmering for 45 minutes.

“Bon appetite,” says Dan.


How to speak the turkey’s language of love

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Some holiday traditions were made to be broken, but here’s one we can’t resist … pulling out this old chestnut from 2008.

Al Prante of South Kitsap is a champion turkey caller. In this video, he gives some tips on how to attract a female turkey by sounding like a proud and sexy male turkey. It’s really quite educational.

(P.S. Sorry I couldn’t get the links to our other turkey videos to work if you viewed an earlier version of this blog.)

Happy Thanksgiving to all … especially those who have to work on the holiday.


Bremerton High School students do some heavy lifting

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

On Friday, students from Bremerton High School lined up side by side along the roughly two-and-a-half blocks between the front entrance of the school and Bremerton Foodline’s warehouse. Police stopped traffic as the students executed their “food chain,” handing off boxes of canned goods, bags of potatoes and sacks of stuffing and other comestibles they had collected over the past few weeks.

The food drive is an annual service project for the school, spearheaded by its leadership class. This is the first year they undertook the special delivery. Patti Peterson, the food bank’s executive director, said the gift of food “meant so much more” given the very public display that accompanied it.

“Just look at this,” Peterson said. “This is the answer to sequestration, to budget cuts. It’s the community coming together. It starts with our kids in school and goes for every person, every neighbor, every person you see on the block.”

The students collected 4,392 pounds of food. That’s more than two tons. And given that each student handled each item, that means each one lifted more than two tons on behalf of the food bank. So, kids, how are your arms feeling today?

Here’s the video, in case you missed it. Happy Thanksgiving to all.


PO police pull crab pots

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Last week we heard from Jim Griffis who sent us this picture of Port Orchard Police Department’s patrol boat, with officers on deck pulling crab pots.
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Griffis said the officers appeared to be taking photographs of the crabs and gear. He found it “very unusual” since the state Department of Fish & Wildlife has jurisdiction over crabbing regulations.

True, but the police help out as they are needed, according to Chief Geoffrey Marti. The city of Port Orchard has binding agreements with a number of different agencies, including Fish & Wildlife to assist with enforcement. Part of the reason is that grant money used to purchase the boat requires inter-agency cooperation with other jurisdictions.

One such agreement ensures help on the water from Port Orchard to the city of Bremerton, which does not have its own patrol boat. Fish & Wildlife has boats, but wildlife officers can’t be everywhere. Neither can Port Orchard officers, but if they see something illegal, they’re not going to turn a blind eye, Cmdr. Dale Schuster said.

“We’re not going to walk away from a violation that’s right in front of us.” Schuster said.

Schuster said the crabbing enforcement documented by Griffis happened on July 16 (a Tuesday) in Yukon Harbor, according to POPD records. Crabbing in this area is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (as in all of area 10 covering the Seattle/Bremerton region). Other regulations apply. The catch is limited to male crabs of a minimum size (depending on the variety). Gear must meet DFW specifications, and the catch must be recorded.

According to Schuster three illegal pots were pulled; two belonged to the same person. The third belonged to another person.

So the next time you see a law enforcement marine patrol boat checking out crab pots, you can be assured they’re not after a seafood dinner.


The Bay Street Report: works in progress

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Old buildings, they’re like that box of chocolates in “Forrest Gump” — you never know what you’re going to get.

The old Slip 45 building, now being transformed into a public market, has hatched more than its share of surprises. The discovery of asbestos caused a delay last year. A new hitch has impeded progress on the market — billed as a Pike Place-style venue — but the project is still on track, says local businessman Don Ryan, who leases the building from Seattle-area property owner Mansour Samadpour.

Samadpour in 2012 agreed to invest in renovation of the building at 715 Bay Street. Ryan had hoped to open the market last summer, but he and Samadpour, whose investment has crept from $300,000 to nearly $600,000, used the delay to improve the design. Ryan now is shooting for this summer … sometime.

The latest hitch, which has slowed work to a crawl, was the discovery of two walls back to back where the facade of the building is to be built. The property, although listed by the assessor as a single structure, is made up of at least two, possibly three buildings, Ryan said. The assessor’s office says it dates to 1935.

The wall configuration means the façade must be re-engineered or redesigned to meet city standards for structural integrity. Once the city of Port Orchard, construction can resume at full speed ahead, possibly by next week, Ryan said. Vendors will then build their own kiosk-style spaces inside the market, which will offer fresh produce and flowers, cheese, seafood, beer, meat and more.

Ryan remains intentionally vague about pinpointing an opening date, because you never know ….

Down on the 600 block, another project under wraps is chugging along, according to the couple who plan an “Old World-style” pub on the corner of Bay and Harrison Street (the former Jordan’s Western Wear store).

Stacy Bronson and Dave Tagert, formerly of South Kitsap, opened the Devilfish Public House in Chehalis in 2007 and, emboldened by their success, are planning a second incarnation in Port Orchard.

“We’re not a bar or a saloon or a tavern,” Tagert said.
The Devilfish will be a quiet little gathering place that caters to an older crowd (35+), a place where you can engage in conversation without competition from the big screen or a loud band. The occasional acoustic group might be part of the mix. Microbrews from around the country and hearty pub fare (nothing fried) will be on the menu.

Tagert and Bronson are remodeling the interior themselves, and it will take as long as it takes, they say. Like Ryan, they are hoping to open this summer … sometime. Meantime, brown paper on the windows hides what’s going on inside the former deli.

Both veterans, Bronson and Tagert are looking to hire cooks and bartenders, with preference given to military spouses. The name Devilfish (for octopus) harkens to Tagart’s days as a commercial diver.

The building long owned by the Cohen family is now in the hands of Doug Zimmermann of Seattle.

The DeKalb Pier refurbishment, another Bay Street work in progress, should be complete by early July, said City Engineer Mark Dorsey. The city will replace the viewing platform and some of the crossbeams underneath, and make the platform handicapped accessible.


Amy’s on the Bay expected to reopen Friday after building issue

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Amy’s on the Bay in Port Orchard has been closed since Monday, due to an undisclosed problem underneath the building, owner Amy Igloi said Wednesday.

“It’s kind of a sensitive issue,” she said.

Beyond that, Amy was unwilling to comment except to say she is working with the Mentor Company, which owns the building, her insurance company and the Mentor’s insurance company on a resolution.

Jennifer Mills of the Mentor Company said it was a plumbing leak that has been fixed. The restaurant is expected to open soon, Mills said.

Amy is hopeful she’d be able to re-open Friday morning.

“My first and foremost goal is to open the doors and be in business,” she said. “But I have to ensure the safety of my customers and staff.”

Amy’s, a popular destination for both locals and visitors, will celebrate its seventh anniversary on April 28.


Super Bowl XLIX

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