04/14/13 - Even More Walla Walla

Before dinner, we explored downtown Walla Walla a bit. Most of the downtown area seems to have been built in the early 20th century, so there are lots of nice old buildings to look at. We made a quick stop at El Corazon Winery which is right in town and looks as much like a hip bar as a winery. Then we wandered around a bit and dropped into Salumiere Cesario which sells charcuterie, salumi, cheese and other gourmet items. It looked like a great place to pack a picnic lunch.

Then we went to dinner at Saffron, a mediterranean restaurant which made the most amazing turkish lamb flatbread sandwich called a gozleme. It tastes like they put grape leaves and zaatar in it. We ordered one to go for breakfast. We also tried the lamb fatee, a stew with lamb and celeriac. Our appetizers were the grilled quail and grilled octopus, two separate dishes. Everything was wonderfully prepared and wonderfully spiced. The serving staff was great, especially given that it was Cayuse weekend, and the house was packed.


El Corazon Winery in Walla Walla proper

Walla Walla is full of early 20th century architecture.

Another Walla Walla street scene

Chandelier at Salumiere Cesario

The salumis at Salumiere Cesario

A whimsical sculpture

Another bit of whimsy

More great old buildings

Another downtown view

The river runs through it.

Saffron, our new favorite restaurant

Keywords: wine, restaurants, walla walla, washington state


04/13/13 - Walla Walla Continued

We wandered a bit more and dropped by Reynvaan Winery which made wines in what they called a French style, but they were too high alcohol for us.

We did get to learn more about the area. The Walla Walla valley is a broad, flat expanse, but bounded by gently rolling hills. The wineries occupy much of the flat land, but they also follow the land as it rises. The wine makers try to take advantage of the varying temperatures and exposures, as well as the type of land itself. Some vineyards have river stones arrayed between the rows of vines to hold the heat better. Others simply rely on the weather and land.

Wine making is an interesting business. Even we can understand its appeal. Back at our hotel, there was a winery for sale right outside our window. It looked like a bit of a fixer upper, in need of a lot of work and some replanting. Presumably this was reflected in the price what with it being "for sale by owner" rather than through a realtor. We were truly tempted, but we had other fish to fry this trip.


Walla Walla, hills and valleys

Dramatic sky

Reynvaan Winery

More rolling ground

We were so taken with the wine business, we almost bought a winery of our own.

Keywords: walla walla, wine, washington state


04/12/13 - Walla Walla Wine Country

We were recently out in Walla Walla with some friends of ours. They were there for one of the big local events, the Cayuse Winery annual release weekend. Cayuse is a bit of a cult winery with a serious fan base and limited production. Their wine is carefully rationed, with each buyer getting a certain number of bottles of each type of wine based on their previous purchases and seniority. This means their release is a big event with people driving in from a fair catchment to grab their allocation of yellow boxes. There is also a nice reception with all sorts of hors d'ouevres like smoked salmon, curried goat and pork loin sandwiches. (We washed a lot of them down with their Chamberlin Syrah.)

After Cayuse, we headed south into Oregon and dropped by Petits Noir, a confectioner selling ganache centered chocolate bonbons, a broad variety of nougat candies, and little chocolate buttons. Our favorites might have been the little chocolate buttons with pink peppercorns in them. This being wine country, there was also the Ellanelle Winery offering samples of their wares, and this being Cayuse weekend, also a selection of excellent charcuterie. We rather liked their wines and bought a few bottles, but they need a few years before drinking.

Then it was on to Watermill Winery which is in a lovely old building, some kind of agricultural office with a grand old safe and hard wood floors. They also make apple ciders, some flavored, but we most enjoyed their simplest with a good tart apple flavor.

Then it was back to Washington for Rulo Winery. They were caught up in the spirit of the weekend, so we wound up tasting most of their wines and really enjoying their grenache blanc. It actually tasted more like a rich French white than more traditional white varietals from the area. We also bought a few of their reds which were quite good, but also quite young. We are going to have to do some serious sampling over the next few years.


Wine country, flat country

The great Cayuse wine distribution - a surprisingly exclusive club

The Cayuse mascot

Wine country grapes

Ellanelle Winery had a table at Petits Noir chocolates in

Petits Noir has chocolate and nougat confections

Watermill Winery also makes apple cider

We could smell the foul burger grease across the street at Watermill.

Rulo WInery

One nice thing about winery is that you can drive your forklift right up to the wine and cheese table.

Rulo Winery and their child friendly policy

Keywords: walla walla, wine, washington state



View from the Queen Anne Hill

07/25/07 - Exploring Seattle and The Local Vine

We we in Seattle for a quick overnight trip, and this time, we explored a new neighborhood, at least for us, Queen Anne Hill. Seattle Center was our usual turning point on our urban wanderings, but this time we wandered past the stadium and up the hill. It was a climb worthy of San Francisco as we passed a series of increasingly upmarket apartment buildings and condos. As we approached the oversized antenna on the top, we found a charming little staircase through an Northwestern garden that lead to another level, a huge parking lot, an apartment building, and yet another huge radio tower.

The walk down was spectacular, with Seattle's version of the painted ladies, perhaps a quarter of them being remodeled, and some spectacular views of the city and the sound.

We made our way down to the city below, following the back streets and taking little staircases when we could. We staggered into Belltown, and collapsed at a recently opened wine bar, The Local Vine. It was a pretty place, with big glass windows, high ceilings and a fantastic wine collection as you can see in the photo to the right.

It is often tricky to get a good glass of champagne in Seattle. The Hyatt hotel doesn't serve beverages in their lovely lobby, and most restaurants don't serve more than one or two types by the glass. Our best bets have been Cafe Campagne and the Sorrento Hotel. The local vine had seven or eight types of champagne (and sparkling wine) available. We tried two:

  • Gossert Brut Excellence - a wonderful, rich champagne with an extra bite and a magnificent nose
  • Gonet-Medeville Extra Brut Rose - an unusual pink champagne with a fascinating kumquat note
We were quite impressed with the champagnes. The rest of the extensive wine list looked fascinating, and the food menu, mostly small plates, looked promising. Even better, they serve all afternoon. This might be a great place for a pick me up.

The wine selection at The Local Vine

Keywords: seattle, restaurants, wine


The Crush at Harbinger Winery

11/25/06 - Harbinger Winery: The Crush Is On

Things are bustling at Harbinger Winery. We dropped by and the grapes were in and the press was running. We tasted a number of their new wines, and really liked their Dynamo White made with riesling and cabernet sauvignon grapes. It may be autumn, but it looks like the white wine season may be extended a bit here at the Kalebergs.

More of the crush
Harbinger Winery for Luck

Keywords: wine, harbinger winery, autumn, kale


04/28/06 - Harbinger Winery Is Open for Business

This is actually a busy week out in Clallam County. First, we learn that Dungeness Valley Creamery is selling raw milk in the Dungeness Valley, and now we find that Harbinger Winery is selling their own wines in Port Angeles. We've been following this for a while, since Sara Gagnon had been making wine for Olympic Cellars for some time, and rumor had it she was striking out on her own. Well, we dropped by her winery, and the wines, all reds, are quite good, and we are looking forward to some good drinking. The winery itself might be in an industrial area, but it is warm, cozy and charming inside. We wanted to settle down on the couch, sip some wine and pass the time o day. You'll get the feeling too. Drop by 2358 Highway 101, Wednesday to Saturday 11AM-5:30PM, or call (360) 452 4262.

P.S. The official Harbinger Winery Opening Bash will be on Saturday, June 17th, running from 7PM-10PM.

Keywords: wine, dungeness, harbinger winery, milk, port angeles


04/26/06 - Dungeness Valley Creamery Is Open for Business

We just got word from Dungeness Valley Creamery (see their email below). They are open for business and selling raw milk. Apparently, they have taken the big jump and left the milk marketing co-op and are going it on their own. If you have never tasted raw, milk, drop by and try it. It is clearly the inspiration for ice cream, and it will make just about any other milk you have tasted seem washed out and watery.

 

Dear raw milk supporters,

Thank you so much for your patience! We know how
excited many of you are about finally getting access
to wholesome raw milk. We can now say we will open on
Wednesday, April 26th! Our hours are 7:30 am - 1:00
pm Monday through Saturday.

Dungeness Valley Creamery is now certified raw by the
state and the building has been checked off by the
county! This is a big step of faith for our family
and we invite you to be a part of it! Please come and
see our beautiful new Creamery and enjoy the view of
the Olympic Mountains from the front porch. Oh yeah,
and don't forget the fresh raw jersey milk on your way
out! We are offering quarts, half gallons, and
gallons ($2.25, $3.75, $6.75 respectively). Cash and
checks only. Other local products soon to come.

Look for our products soon in the Port Townsend Food
CO-OP, Sunny Farms, Good to Go, Country Aire, and
Marlenes in Tacoma and Federal Way. We have purchased
a refrigerated truck and are able to deliver.

Also, our milk is going to Mt. Townsend Creamery to be
made into wonderful cheese (which we have tasted and
love)! This too, will soon be availabe in our on farm
store.

Thanks again for all of your support!
Sarah Brown

Dungeness Valley Creamery
1915 Towne Rd.
Sequim, WA 98382
(360) 683-0716

 

For our earlier notes on Dungeness Valley Creamery,
click here.

For more farms and wineries in Clallam County,
click here.

Keywords: milk, dungeness, farms, food, port townsend, wine, maps, tacoma, good to go, kale


01/07/06 - Reviews of Lampreia and Joy's Wine Bistro

Here are two new Kaleberg reviews. Lampreia is an elegant restaurant in Seattle's Belltown, and quite a dining experience. Joy's Wine Bistro is a less formal newcomer in Port Angeles, and shows a lot of promise these early days.

Lampreia

Lampreia is an elegant restaurant in Belltown. It is a foodies paradise. We dined on truffles, white and black, foie gras and langouste. We also checked out the wonders of cooking sous vide, a recently popular slow cooking method for concentrating flavors and optimizing textures. Our Review

Joy's Wine Bistro

Joy's Wine Bistro is an informal newcomer on glamorous Front Street. It is a beautiful place with an excellent wine list, and a number of great dishes. Not everything was perfect, but the spirit is right. We'll be back to try more of the menu, and to see how they develop. Our Review

Keywords: seattle, restaurants, port angeles, wine, kale


Check out our Clallam County Agritourism Google Map

10/11/05 - Google Maps Come to Clallam County

We've been playing around with Google Maps. This is a rather neat interactive mapping system developed by Google. It uses a road database like Mapquest and a false color satellite database so you can see not only the streets and roads, but also get a sense of the land usage and urban density. The interface is neat too. It's the old electronic light table idea. You just put down your mouse and drag, and your web browser loads in the image tiles as you go.

Our map of Clallam County shows farms, lavender growers and wineries. If you click on one, it will tell you a bit more about the destination. It also shows the growing suburban sprawl in the Sequim area. If you look carefully, you see housing developments and golf courses. For some contrast, drag the mouse upwards, and you'll see the Olympic National Park and National Forest boundaries. Those park and forest boundaries are more than just lines on the map.

Keywords: science, farms, wine, maps


07/10/05 - Lamb On A Spit: The Motion Picture

We recently cooked up some lamb on a spit and have posted the video. We are only sorry that we do not have a scent track, but this doesn't seem to be one of the new Tiger Mac OS X features. (Maybe, they'll introduce it when Apple moves to Intel hardware).

We bought a lovely leg of lamb at Sunny Farms in Sequim and butterflied it, and then marinated it in cheap white wine, garlic, salt, pepper, and a whole bunch of herbs we have growing out back like parsley, sage, rosemary and oregano. Then we tied the whole roast up and stuck it on a spit. Check out the rotary action.

After an hour and a half it tasted as good as it looks.

Keywords: movies, food, farms, wine, kale


Walla Walla Vintners

03/23/05 - Walla Walla Wineries

We've been slow to update, but we have finally posted our notes on the most recent wine dinner at Bella Italia. Gordon Venneri from Walla Walla Vintners came by with some of his new 2003 (and 2002) wines, and Dave Senters cooked up a storm in the kitchens. For more, see our notes.

If you are curious, we also have our notes on the Buty and Five Star wine dinners online as well.

Keywords: wine


Stewing Hen Page

03/01/05 - Stewing Hen

We've mentioned Dry Creek Farms and there wonderful eggs on our website before. And, we've mentioned our recent acquisition of three of their hens in our column on Too Much Poultry.

You can think of this column as a follow up to our Too Much Poultry column. We were talking with Harley at the Port Angeles Farmers' Market the other day, and he mentioned that he had sold a good number of his hens. We were telling him how delicious they were, and he recounted that one of his customers had found the bird to be too tough.

"How did they cook it?", we asked.

"They roasted it.", he replied.

"Well that explains it. Old hens are stewing hens. You have to braise or stew them for hours to get them tender. We cooked one of ours in red wine and it was stupendous."

We promised to provide him with a recipe or two, and we've posted our favorite online. Check out our Stewing Hen page for a great coq au vin recipe, perfect for the chicken of a certain age.

Keywords: food, farms, birds, port angeles, wine, farmers' market, recipe


Five Star Cellars

02/08/05 - Five Star Cellars

- Just a quick note on the Five Star Cellars dinner at Bella Italia. Dave Senters outdid himself with that bollito misto. That's a lovely country dish of beef short ribs braised in red wine with cippolini onions, and it tasted even better than that sounds. As for Five Star Cellars, they are up and coming with that big Walla Walla bramble.

Keywords: restaurants, wine


01/18/05 - Buty Winery

Bella Italia held its first wine dinner of the year last night, and we were there. Wow, Dave Senters was at the top of his form, and we were pretty impressed with Buty Winery. Interested, read on...

Buty Winery

Keywords: restaurants, wine


11/05/04 - New York City Update

We have just returned from a visit to New York City, and we must admit that things are bustling there. The tourist trade seems to have recovered. Thanks to the weak dollar Europeans seem to be shopping again. We did some shopping ourselves. We loaded up on chili and curry powders at Aphrodisia in the Village, we bought some books at the Lenox Hill Bookstore, we found a new annular hat at Boyd's, and we got our building supplies at Home Front, a 7/24 hardware store and lumber yard not far from the Empire State Building.

First, we'll talk about the bookstore. There used to be a really nice little bookstore on Madison Avenue. Not the one owned by the IBM heiress by the Whitney, but the other one. It always had an interesting collection of literature and art books. Even when we didn't buy anything, the place always got us thinking. When it closed, we stuck with the Borders on 57th and the Barnes and Noble on Union Square.

Madison Avenue has been changing. It has always been upmarket, but it is going international. This means it is getting more and more mall like over the years as upmarket global vendors leave Fifth Avenue and move north and east. So, we've been spending more and more time over on Lexington Avenue, and the Lenox Hill Bookstore is our latest find. It's a homey little place crammed full of books, including a lot of good reading. They tend to stock fewer authors, but more titles from those that they do. The art book collection was full of interesting stuff, not just coffee table gifts. This is a sign that they know their customers. We bought a few things for the flight home and some Christmas presents.

As for HomeFront, the hardware store and lumber yard, we stayed for part of a trip at a relative's apartment, and there were a few deferred maintenance items, as they say in commercial aviation. We needed to buy a light switch, a door knob and mechanism, tapes, glues, a screwdriver and some other goodies. We have heard that there is a new Home Depot on 14th Street, but our favorite hardware store is on 29th Street off Third Avenue. They are open seven days a week, twenty four hours a day, and they stock a broad supply of electrical, mechanical and plumbing items. They also sell glass, lumber, steel plates, cleaning supplies and the like. It's a big place for Manhattan, with three floors and a basement, and the staff knows its stuff.

We had a less satisfactory experience at Magnolia Bakery. They still have the buzz, and the lines run around the corner, but the quality of the cakes has been slipping over the past year or two. Has this trend reversed? We couldn't find out. We ordered German chocolate cake, but our box contained spice cake. We wound up doing a forced march to Buttercup Bake Shop where the German chocolate cake is still excellent.

Since we are on the subject of cakes and confections, we should note that La Maison du Chocolat is in excellent form, and that our current favorite hot chocolate is Caracas.

We visited a number of our favorite restaurants including some old favorites like the Union Square Cafe, the Pearl Oyster Bar, Wallse and the Tabla Bread Bar. All were at the top of their form. The knockerle dessert at Wallse has really grown, and there is a rumor that the chef at Tabla may be producing a cookbook some time in late 2005. We can hardly wait.

On a side note, we often go over upcoming Claypool comics while having dinner with one of our Claypool friends. Comic book original artwork is oversized, so it is hard to be discreet.  One of the folks working at the Tabla Bread Bar noticed that one of us was in the business and dropped by to say hello. It turns out he was Daniel Miller whose Creased original graphic novel is soon coming out from Image comics. We haven't a clue about the book, but it shows that the comic book business isn't quite dead yet.

We liked Savoy so much on our last trip to New York that we went back twice on this trip. The big hit was the roasted cauliflower with hen of the woods mushrooms seasoned with a bit of five spice powder. We also loved the fava bean fritters. That, and everything else.

October, as it turned out, was New York State Wine Month, so we had a number of good glasses of New York State wine at our first meal. New York State wines are quite good, and a lot of them haven't bought in to the Robert Parker fruit bomb 20% alcohol thing, so you can still drink them with a meal. At our second meal, all the New York State wines were gone, even though it was still New York State Wine Month. The reason: lack of demand, and a variety of issues revolving around restaurant stocking mechanisms.

We tried two new restaurants. Spice Market, Jean Georges Vongerichten's new place in the trendy meat packing district, and Tia Pol, a little tapas bar in trendy Chelsea. Spice Market was a bust with bad service and mediocre Thai food. We were distinctly unimpressed. Tia Pol, in contrast, with its imaginative little Spanish dishes and well chosen wine list, excelled. It might be a hole in the wall, but the food was excellent, and they had a great neighborhood attitude.

The Lower East Side has been getting trendy, like so many other New York City neighborhoods, so we decided to check it out. We remember Katz's "Send a Salami to Your Boy in the Army" promotion from the 1960s, but there have been a lot of changes since then. Katz's is still there, and you can now send a salami to Iraq. Walking around, we could not help but notice that the entire neighborhood, once the epitome of an overcrowded slum, has been moving upmarket.

This is happening one store front at a time.

In some neighborhoods gentrification comes in like a juggernaut. Entire blocks are rebuilt, store fronts are remodeled, traffic is rerouted, and if you didn't have a GPS you'd swear that you were somewhere else. On the Lower East Side the overall fabric seems intact, but here and there you will notice a boarded up store front or an empty shop with a building permit posted. That ratty looking place across the street is now selling designer clothing, and the designer is working at the shop. The menus in the window now feature foie gras.

It seems that the Lower East Side was always about retail, despite the "I can get it for you wholesale" bravado. It was a neighborhood of small shop keepers and pushcarts. We didn't see any pushcarts, but the small shop keepers were there in force. Still, we couldn't help thinking about a 1939 article in Fortune magazine about the New York City pushcarts. Apparently shop keepers used to fight to get the pushcarts on THEIR side of the street since they encouraged foot traffic and often meant 50% more business. Now, we gather, that shop keepers want the pushcarts elsewhere.

We'll keep checking out the Lower East Side and see what develops.

Towards the end of our trip, we checked out the new Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. The subway station and new escalators are great, but inside, it's a mall. That's right, it's just a big shopping mall. There was really not much reason to look around, since we knew what we would find, so we left. We really have nothing against malls, except that they lack serendipity. Maybe we should be thinking of it as the Suburban Embassy to New York City.

So, that was our trip to New York. We'd like to thank San Juan Airlines for making this all much more convenient with their $49 (each way) air taxi from Port Angeles to Boeing Field. At $98 a pop for the two of us it was only a little bit more expensive than the cab from Newark.

Keywords: food, restaurants, shopping, new york city, art, christmas, port angeles, wine


06/23/04 - Camaraderie Wineries

We were just opening a few bottles of red and realized that we are running low on Camaraderie Cellars' cabernet franc, so we need to drop by the Corsons and pick up a case.  The work never ends.

Keywords: wine