Oct 2013
The Season of Hops

    Hops. Where would beer be without them? They add not only that distinctive floral-citrus-resiny flavor to the hop-heavy ales many of us in the Northwest love, but as a backbone of the beer-making process they contribute to the characteristic aroma of beer and act as a sort of preservative to help stabilize it against bacteria. (That hopped-up India Pale Ale style of beer is so named because extra hops were ...

Oct 2012
Coffee: A Taste of Place

The sense of place is an ever-increasing subtext when we consider our cooking and dining experiences these days. Shopping farmers markets and choosing to dine at restaurants that source locally as much as possible (if not growing much of the food they serve themselves) are de rigeur for many of us. It’s a habit that I’m all for – there is no better way to appreciate that it’s July not January, or...

Aug 2010
Just Wild About Harry’s

I have got to make a point of getting to Vessel sometime in the next week or so. Just got an email reminder that they're celebrating one of the most venerable drinking establishment in the world--Harry's Bar--with signature items from their menu (beef carpaccio was created there, so the legend goes) and the quintessential Harry's libation: the Bellini. A trip my husband and I took to Italy in 2007 included two major pilgrimages for me. ...

Jun 2010

I recorded a radio interview earlier this week, chatting about great foods and beverages to enjoy during the summer. When it comes to "summer" and "drinks" I get fixated on one thing: rosé sangria. I'll admit to not usually being a sangria fan. Random fruit and sweetened red wine, just not my cup of tea. Which I'm sure is doing a disservice to great traditional sangria, but that's been my general impression most times I've ordered it. Maybe I'll have to ...

Oct 2009

Ok, so where was I? Ah yes, lounging in my Victoria hotel room on a lazy Saturday. This was the view at one point in the morning, typically Victoria: incoming float plane and a Black Ball ferry heading in from Port Angeles. Outgoing whale-watching trip (that bright orange boat center)  and a tugboat on some mission or another. It was late morning by the time I was done with ...

Oct 2009

Welcome back, Mr. Smith! I was wondering what had come of you..... About this time last year I was working on a feature article for Horizon Airlines Magazine recounting the lives and times of Northwest tea companies. It's a story impossible to tell without the name of Steven Smith coming up. The one-time manager of the first natural foods store in Portland went on to co-found two powerhouse tea companies: Stash (1972) and Tazo (1994).  He'd moved on from both ...

Jul 2009

While driving through McMinnville, Oregon earlier this week, a sweltering 100+ temp day, my friend pulled into a local drive-in to get a milkshake. He opted for fresh peach, his son picked raspberry, while I tried to be good and forgo the indulgence. Even when the cheery guy on the other side of the drive-in window asked if we wanted a "courtesy cone" to nibble on while we waited for the shakes to be made. Inside, I was leaping up ...

Mar 2009

Wow. Ten years already. I was at, if not the first, definitely the second Cask Ale Festival put on by the Washington Brewer's Guild. In fact, I think this festival was among the earlier ventures the Guild took on after forming in the late 1990s. The first cask festival had a couple dozen breweries participating and they quenched the thirst of about 400 beer lovers. The first year I went with a pal who'd done some homebrewing in the past (which ...

Mar 2009

A Reverie of Kir

Last weekend, in the midst of our mingling and visiting before sitting down to dinner here, a friend pointed out my bottle of cassis from Clear Creek Distillery in Portland, Oregon, noting what an extraordinary example of the traditional black current liqueur it is. Yes, I agreed wholeheartedly. And despite the fact that it was Open That Bottle Night (technically exactly the time to open and serve precious bottles), I wanted to cry out "don't you be ...

Mar 2009

Yes, we are going to "spring forward" tomorrow. And the vernal equinox is just two weeks away. But the little crocuses blooming in my planter boxes can not drive away the winter chill. Earlier today at my house in West Seattle (very near the highest point in the city) it snowed for a few hours, though thankfully now all evidence is already gone.  So regardless of what the calendar may say, it's definitely been more like hot chocolate season than the cusp of springtime ...