Derby: Inspired Comfort Food, Unique Setting

Located inside a Sodo club for car lovers, the restaurant Derby offers a great bar scene and excellent food. 

The food isn’t served on the hood of a Ferrari, but you’d be excused for remembering it that way. The Shop, a club for gearheads, houses the upscale comfort food restaurant Derby. The spacious, sleek dining area has broad windows opening onto rows and rows of exquisite vehicles gleaming in the clean, well-lit garage. While that’s unique, it’s hardly the best reason to visit Derby. Come for the food (and leave with Lamborghini dreams).

Executive Chef Nick Taseris serves the kind of food your mother might have made if she was a professionally-trained chef that sourced high-quality meats and produce from the Pacific Northwest. Take, for example, their Bad-Ass BLT. It’s served on lightly toasted Macrina sourdough, with thick slices of good tomato, just-ripe avocado, lettuce—and the namesake Bad-Ass Bacon. Not only is this probably not how your mother referred to her bacon, but it’s also nothing like the bacon most of us grew up eating. Derby gets the meat cut in quarter-pound strips from a ranch in Pendleton, Oregon. Nick and his crew coat it in a house-made cayenne-maple glaze, slow-roast it, drizzle it with maple syrup and sprinkle it with Maldon salt. It’s thick, rich, and bursting with salty-sweet flavor. And, yes, you can order a side of the bacon all day off the happy hour menu.

Raised in Texas, Nick brings some of that Lone Star smokehouse know-how to the cuisine. The beef brisket, pastrami, and corned beef are smoked in-house, low and slow, and the tender meat is served in generous portions. You won’t go wrong with the Pastrami Reuben on Macrina’s rye bread, or the Brisket Sandwich served with bbq sauce.

And as with any pub-style fare worth racing for, the burger better be good enough to land pole position. Derby’s is a winner. A Macrina Brioche Bun, topped with sesame seeds, is slathered in Derby sauce (horseradish-infused aioli) and holds a hefty patty topped with American cheese, red onion marmalade, house-made pickles and a thick slice of good tomato. The medium-cut fries are crisp with a light, fluffy interior. You won’t leave hungry.

For those inclined to lighter fare, the Cobb, Chicken Caeser, and Steak salads do not disappoint. The dinner menu builds on the lunch menu to offer a few hearty entrees, including a pasta, crab cakes, and a smoked meatloaf. For those with a Maserati metabolism, Derby’s poutine has a Texas inflection with their house-smoked brisket and red-eye gravy. Order one to share. Or if you’re in that YOLO state of mind—indulge. You can always retire to the heavy leather sofas and chairs in Derby’s lounge for an after-dinner bourbon and another lingering gaze at the two and four-wheeled beauties preening in the garage.

Lunch Mon–Fri 11 a.m.–3 p.m.

Dinner Wed–Sat 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. | Sun–Tues 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Brunch Sat, Sun 10 a.m.–3 p.m.

Happy Hour Menu Daily 3 p.m.– 6 p.m.

 

North Bend’s Huxdotter Coffee: Worth a Detour

The long-time local favorite now has spacious indoor seating and an expanded menu. 

In episode one of the original Twin Peaks, filmed in North Bend, FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper tastes a cup of the fictitious town’s brew—he liked it black as midnight on a moonless night—and declares it, “damn fine.” That was the same year that Huxdotter Coffee opened. Located less than two minutes from I-90, just past the Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum, the first drive-through in North Bend quickly became the busiest spot in the area to grab a coffee.

Photo CreditAaron Locke/BCRA

Now that drive-through with “damn fine” coffee has grown up. Huxdotter Coffee’s new home is a surprisingly modern building of wood, glass and steel that opened for business last August. Not only does the new building have an improved drive-through, but it also has a roomy interior with soaring ceilings. An array of tables and counter seats provide a welcome space for those wishing to leisurely enjoy espresso drinks and pastries, made-to-order lunch sandwiches and hot breakfast sandwiches. Others use the free wifi to get some work done while they sip their coffee.

The inspired new digs are the brainchild of Jeremy Westlake, whose local roots run back several generations. Jeremy bought Huxdotter in 2016 with the dream of adding indoor seating and expanding the menu. After two years of planning, construction started. Closing down the busiest drive through in the area for ten months was painful, but the results have proved worth it. The café is full of locals and travelers on their way to Snoqualmie Pass, Mt. Si, or Snoqualmie Falls. And the drive-through is faster than ever before, with more room for cars to line up, a better workspace, and even a barista with an iPad who speeds up the wait by walking the line and taking orders when it’s busy.

While contractors worked on the building, Jeremy worked to upgrade Huxdotter’s menu. He visited many bakeries throughout the area, favoring Macrina Bakery. Unfortunately, North Bend was then outside of Macrina’s delivery area. He offered up some estimates of the quantity of bread and pastries he thought he’d need, and an agreement was made to deliver to a restaurant in Issaquah, where Huxdotter could pick the order up. For the first month, Jeremy’s parents drove the 30 minutes to Issaquah and back at 4:30 in the morning so that Huxdotter’s customers would be able to get their Macrina fix when the café opened. It quickly became apparent that Jeremy’s estimates were solid—the café was indeed busy enough to justify expanding a route just for him. Nearly half a year later, the buzz has spread and Huxdotter continues to grow.

One thing about Huxdotter that especially stands out is its friendly, helpful baristas. Even after shutting down ten months for construction, nearly the entire staff returned. Watching the way they hustle to keep the drive-through line moving and the banter at the counter upbeat is invigorating.

When the sun shines on a warm day, the wide garage door that separates the large outdoor patio from the indoor seats opens to merge the two spaces. On a summer afternoon, tired hikers and those returning from work fill the chairs refreshing themselves with coffee, sweet treats or one of the PNW craft beers that rotate through the six taps on hand. Huxdotter also carries quite a variety of canned beers and a small selection of Washington wine.

One wall is decorated with large framed black and white photos of Jeremy’s ancestors who settled in the Snoqualmie Valley generations ago, and on another you’ll find an oversized topographical map of the area—perfect for planning your next hike or visit to the many nearby attractions.

Huxdotter Coffee is open weekdays from 5 A.M. to 7 P.M. and from 6 A.M. to 7 P.M. on weekends 

 

 

January Recipe of the Month: Almond Raspberry Cornetto

The quintessential Italian breakfast pastry is the cornetto (singular form of the plural cornetti), a pastry similar to its French cousin the croissant. A bit more rustic than a croissant, they are light and airy and a little sweet with a hint of salt. This simple recipe elevates the cornetti for a lovely brunch treat. You can buy the cornetti the day before—traditionally bakeries use their day-old croissants for these—and you can prepare the almond cream and quick raspberry jam before your guests arrive. Then all you need to do before serving is to assemble and pop them in the oven! These twice baked treats are beautiful, especially dusted with powdered sugar and garnished with a few fresh raspberries. This recipe calls for plain cornetti, but chocolate cornetti also work and add another dimension of flavor.

INGREDIENTS:

Serves 4

1/2 cup whole raw almonds

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided

1 egg

3/4 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour

3/4 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon cornstarch

4 Macrina Cornetti

1/2 cup sliced almonds

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roast the whole almonds on the baking sheet for 12 to 15 minutes until they are golden brown and fragrant. Let cool.

In a food processor, blend the whole almonds, butter, 1/4 cup sugar, egg, vanilla and all-purpose our until smooth. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, add the raspberries and 1/4 cup sugar. Bring mixture to a boil, dissolving the sugar and releasing the juices from the berries. Combine the water and cornstarch and add the mix to the berries. Once it has thickened, remove from the heat and pour into a small bowl to cool.

Cut each cornetto horizontally, leaving a hinge. On the lined baking sheet, place the 4 open-faced cornetti. Spread half the almond mixture on the bottom half of each cornetto. Save the remainder of the mix for later.

Place in the oven for 3 to 4 minutes to melt the almond mixture. Add 1 tablespoon of the raspberry jam onto the almond mixture and ip the top of each cornetto closed. Spread the remaining almond mixture over the tops of the cornetti and sprinkle with the sliced almonds (the almonds should stick to the almond mixture). Return the baking sheet pan to the oven for 3 more minutes to toast the almonds and warm the cornetti.

Serve them for brunch, or simply with a hot cup of coffee, tea or a frothy cappuccino. Enjoy!

Printable PDF

Winter Pear Crown

Looking for something with delicious flavor to add to your holiday table? Or a showy appetizer? Our Winter Pear Crown will make a gorgeous addition to any meal. Or serve it as an appetizer with Cambozola or your favorite blue cheese.

Made with ripe Washington State pears and spiked with a dash of black pepper, the bread has a natural sweetness and the moist texture of a classic French loaf.

Leslie began making this beautiful hand-formed crown during the holiday season in Macrina’s early days, and it has earned a devoted following. Utilizing the excellent late-season pears—Washington State is the top grower of pears in the country—we dice the plumpest, tender Bartlett pears available and gently mix them into the dough with just enough black pepper to casually announce itself. Phuong Bui, our head baker, and his team then hand-shape each loaf into a crown.

Any leftovers make a luxurious breakfast treat. Warm it and serve slices with butter, or up your game and present it with a ramekin of olive tapenade. The bread is versatile, makes a stunning table centerpiece, and goes with almost anything. Get one while you can. We only make them during the holiday season.

Baking Holiday Cookies with Friends

At Macrina, we love baking and we love community. The annual holiday cookie exchange is a great example of this—each cookie a story, each an act of love. It’s a time to visit your neighbors and share good tidings. Not much tops baking family recipes with friends, but when you don’t have the time, Macrina has you covered. Our collection of 20 holiday cookies, sold in a reusable Panibois wooden baking box, will bring joy to your friends and neighbors. Each of the six delicious types of cookie has a story and a distinct flavor.

Read our blog to hear how one of Macrina’s partners, Michelle Galvin, has rekindled and nurtured dear friendships through an annual holiday cookie baking gathering and to learn more about our Holiday Cookie Box.

A few years after college, newly married and busy establishing a career, finding time to visit with dear friends was a challenge. In high school, Trina, Kerri and I would spend whole days together, talking every day. But now, despite the desire, we barely saw each other.

With Christmas approaching, we made a promise we’d start a new tradition: a holiday cookie party. We all loved baking and revered the neighborly tradition of the cookie exchange. What better way to reconnect than spending an afternoon sharing and baking family recipes together?

At the first gathering, Trina brought a vintage pizzelle maker. The family heirloom looked, uh, well-loved. It was easy to imagine the hundreds or thousands of thin wafer-like cookies it had produced over the years. Making 200 pizzelles alone would be a monotonous task, but the repetitive task of spooning dollop after dollop of dough into the rustic pizzelle iron with friends made it fun.  We laughed a lot and had plenty of time to catch up.

Next, Trina taught us her Nonna’s biscotti recipe, the best in all of Montecatini she’d claimed. Her “trick” was to toast the almonds before adding them to the dough. Nothing satisfies the need for crunch like biscotti do, and I loved hearing the stories of Trina’s grandmother.

Since only two baking sheets could fit in the oven at a time, we spent an entire Saturday baking. It was like old times, talking of matters big and small, remembering old stories and sharing new ones. And at the end of it, we each had a large box of cookies to share with our friends, neighbors and family.

We promised we’d do it again the next year. And we did. And the year after that, too. Sometime in the early aughts, one of us showed up with a special holiday cookie edition of Martha Stewart’s Living magazine. We tried making her Chocolate Crackle Cookies. Soon our hands were sticky with chocolate dough. But they were so delicious straight from the oven—chocolate crack-le!—I worried we wouldn’t have enough to give away. Of course, they got added to the yearly event. Even after all these years, Kerri and Trina still debate whether they should be crisp or chewy and how long to bake them. I love them both ways—and both of them—so I sit back and enjoy the playful debate.

 

As we added cookies, we also added kids. Gingerbread cookies with bright white royal frosting and decorated sugar cookies made their way onto our cookie trays. With the many small helping hands, the mess grew exponentially. The number of hands helping clean up did not! But the kids were thrilled to help. Though some of them struggled just a little to part with the cookies, they were all proud to present their teachers with plates of cookies they’d helped make.

Not only did I catch up with my friends, but now we also traded parenting secrets and potty training strategies. Later those stories included the challenges of starting new schools, puberty and middle school, sharing the car keys with new drivers, and college tours.

Not that it was all free of tragedy. At one gathering, midway through the pizzelle making, Trina dropped the heirloom iron and it broke. (Thank goodness, it was her—not me!) We raced out to a fancy kitchen store for a replacement. It sufficed but didn’t make cookies anywhere nearly as good, or as beautiful. So, we took to eBay for a replacement, carefully inspecting images and bidding patiently. Three years later, we had not one but two vintage pizzelle makers—exact replicas—safe cover if the dropsies came over us again.

With more kids and more plates of cookies to assemble, the single oven was a bottleneck. So, we ventured down to the Macrina test kitchen in Kent. The kitchen had so much space and fancy ovens galore. We were like pros in there. In just three hours, we had plates and plates of cookies, and we’d barely broken a sweat! We realized that the point of the gathering wasn’t about speed and efficiency (although the convection oven with rotating racks that baked all our cookies evenly was amazing), but nurturing friendships of more than 40 years. We’re back to the two cookie sheets oven.

Fortunately, it is the exception when time and circumstance doesn’t allow for our annual event. The few times it has happened, all three of us were very grateful that we could count on the fabulous bakers at Macrina. Sure, we missed the time together. But we were still able to bring our friends, family and neighbors lovely gift boxes of homemade holiday cookies we could be proud of.

Macrina Holiday Cookie box is an assortment of 20 cookies bundled in a reusable Panibois wooden baking box. It contains:

2 Gingerbread

3 Chocolate Crinkle

3 Mexican Wedding Balls

4 Cranberry Orange Almond Biscotti

4 Pecan Rosemary Shortbread

4 Rugelach

December Recipe of the Month: Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

This lighter variation of our pumpkin pie practically floats. The fluffy texture comes from separating the eggs and folding the stiff whites into the batter. A topping of whipped cream adds to the feeling that you’re lifting an airy pumpkin dream to your mouth. At Macrina, butternut squash is the not-so-secret ingredient in our pumpkin pies. Simply put, we think pumpkin pies taste better with a dollop of roasted butternut squash. In this recipe however, butternut squash can replace the pumpkin altogether. We hope the cloud-like combination of sweetened squash, crystalized ginger and buttery graham cracker crust becomes an annual holiday tradition.

INGREDIENTS

Serves 8-10

6 ounces graham crackers (2 cups), crushed in food processor

1/2 cup coconut our

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

3 cups roasted butternut squash, puréed (or substitute a 15-ounce can of pumpkin purée)

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon + 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 eggs

1 cup whole milk

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons crystalized ginger, medium dice

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 packet powdered gelatin (1/4 ounce)

1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided

1-1/2 cups heavy cream

Garnish

1 tablespoon crystalized ginger, thinly sliced

Sugared cranberries or pomegranate seeds

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F and center the oven rack.

In a medium bowl, add the crushed graham crackers, coconut flour and melted butter. Mix well with a spoon. Press the mixture into a 9″ pie pan so that the edges and base have a uniform thickness. Bake for 5-10 minutes until edges are golden brown. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the puréed butternut squash (or pumpkin), maple syrup and vanilla extract. Set aside.

Separate the eggs, placing the yolks in a medium bowl and the whites in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Place a medium bowl over a saucepan filled with 2″ of water (or use a double boiler). Add the milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, crystalized ginger, nutmeg and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Add the powdered gelatin and whisk to combine.

Add 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture to the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Continue adding the milk mixture in 1/4 cup increments until it’s all added. Return the incorporated mixture to the double boiler over medium heat and whisk for 3 minutes to thicken the custard. Stir in the squash purée and cook for another 3 minutes to evaporate any excess water from the squash.

Transfer the pie filling to a clean bowl and refrigerate for 20 minutes, giving it an occasional stir.

Whip the egg whites in a stand mixer until they look foamy. Gradually add 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar and whip until the whites are gently firm.

Fold the egg white mixture into the cooled pie filling. Ensure that it’s uniformly combined before pouring the mixture into the prepared graham cracker shell. Refrigerate for 4 hours.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the heavy cream. As the mixture starts to firm up, add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar.

Top the pie with the sweetened heavy cream. It is best if you chill the pie for another 2 hours before serving to let the whipped cream set up. For a festive presentation, garnish with crystalized ginger and sugared cranberries or pomegranate seeds. Enjoy!

 

Macrina Bakery’s New Cookbook: Seasons

With two beloved cookbooks covering many of our most popular breads and pastries, why did we produce a third? Well, after 25 years of creating impassioned dishes—savory and sweet—for customers at our five Seattle area cafés, we kept hearing, Can I get the recipe for that?

This compilation of customers’ favorite new dishes and desserts from the Macrina kitchen is organized around the many seasonal delicacies of the Puget Sound. The easy-to-follow recipes feature big flavors and beautiful food. Local photographer Jim Henkens spent many days at Leslie Mackie’s farm on Vashon Island capturing the spirit and flair of these well-tested recipes and the rural beauty that serves as Leslie’s inspiration.

Leslie Mackie opened Macrina Bakery in 1993 to share her joy of artisan baking. Her passion shined through the hand-formed breads and pastries, and when she opened the cafe shortly after that, it shined in the soups, sandwiches and other savories.

A decade later, when she moved to a rustic farm on Vashon Island, a short ferry ride away from Seattle, her connection to sustainable farming and seasonal produce deepened. Vashon is a lightly populated island of hills, twisty backwoods roads, forests and sprawling meadows. Free-range eggs, berries and freshly picked produce beckon passersby from roadside self-serve farm stands. Payment is frequently on the honor system. During the growing season, a bustling farmers market in the small town overflows with some of the best food grown in the Pacific Northwest.

Leslie enthusiastically gathers friends around great food. Most of the cookbook recipes first debuted at meals with the farmers, chefs, bakers, teachers and food lovers who make up Leslie’s community. When one of the new dishes hit a particularly high note, Leslie added the recipe to her notebook. After they were refined and tested, they were shared through Macrina’s recipe-of-the-month newsletter.

Macrina Bakery’s Seasons is a compilation of the best. Each recipe is rooted in the distinctive foods of spring, summer, fall and winter in the Pacific Northwest. Leslie designed the recipes for the home cook. Most use easy-to-find ingredients, and for rarer items, she has provided suggestions for substitutions. Except for a few, you should be able to prepare the recipes in less than an hour so that you can spend time with your guests enjoying a taste of the good life.

November Recipe of the Month: Autumn Breakfast Stew

Vegetable stew for breakfast? This flavorful dish will help power you through the day. Chickpeas and lentils meld with fall vegetables in a garlicky za’atar-flavored tomato sauce. A healthy dash of olive oil, fresh avocado and eggs add protein and nourishment. Mama Lil’s peppers add some zip. No wonder this is such a popular brunch item at our cafés. You can adjust the legumes and vegetables as the seasons change. Serve it with a piece of crusty bread and enjoy a healthy start to your day.

INGREDIENTS

Serves 4

½ medium-sized Delicata squash

1 medium zucchini squash

2 red bell peppers

½ cup olive oil, divided

4 tsp za’atar spice, divided

1 tsp kosher salt, divided

1 large leek, thinly sliced

2 tsp garlic, finely chopped

2 medium tomatoes, medium dice

1 cup dried lentils

2½ cups water

1 cup chickpeas, canned or precooked

1 cup apple cider

¼ cup Italian parsley, coarsely chopped

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

8 eggs

1 avocado, peeled and quartered

16 slices Mama Lil’s Sweet Hot Pickled Peppers

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

Remove the stem and base of the Delicata squash, then halve the squash and scoop out the seeds (refrigerate one half to use for another dish). Cut the squash into ¾” squares and toss with 2 Tbsp of olive oil, ¼ tsp salt and 2 tsp of za’atar. Spread the seasoned squash on one-third of the prepared baking sheet.

Cut the zucchini into ¾” squares and toss with 2 Tbsp of olive oil, ¼ tsp salt and the final 2 tsp of za’atar. Place on the middle third of the baking sheet.

On the final third of the baking sheet, place the 2 red bell peppers. Brush the exterior with 2 Tbsp of olive oil and season with salt.

Roast the squash, zucchini and bell peppers for 30 minutes, or until the squash is tender and golden brown. Allow the vegetables to cool for 20 minutes, then peel the bell peppers. Cut the peppers in half, remove the seeds, then coarsely dice them. Set aside

In a large saucepan, place the final 2 Tbsp of olive oil and sauté the leeks over medium-high heat. Cover to sweat the leeks. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the diced tomatoes and garlic, simmer for another 3 minutes. Add the lentils, water and ½ tsp salt. Simmer for 30 minutes to cook the lentils.

Add the roasted peppers, delicata squash, zucchini, chickpeas and apple cider to the large saucepan. Simmer for another 8 to 10 minutes to marry the flavors. Add the Italian parsley and stir to combine.

Divide the stew between 4 plates and start preparing the eggs.

Warm a small sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil and crack 2 eggs into the pan. Season with salt and pepper and cook to your doneness preference. Top the stew with the eggs and any extra olive oil in the pan. Garnish the plate with a quarter of the sliced avocado and 4 slices of Mama Lil’s Peppers. Repeat for the other 3 plates. The eggs cook quickly, and the stew holds its heat, so all 4 plates will come out warm.

Serve with a slice of Macrina’s Skagit Sourdough toast (our preference), or another hearty loaf.

Meet James Stanton: Cartoonist

This Sunday, art and football intersect in the Seahawks Gameday Poster created by our Sodo café’s very own James Stanton.

The Seattle Seahawks partnered with the legendary local graphic designers Ames Bros to curate a series of posters with unique artwork to commemorate this season’s home games. Barry Ament and Coby Schwartz, the creative force behind Ames Bros, invited James Stanton to be one of the eight accomplished Seattle artists to produce a poster.

James, who has worked part-time at Macrina’s Sodo café for nearly five years, is a cartoonist and illustrator who has been publishing his small-press comic Gnartoons since 2005. He’s also done comics and illustrations for Thrasher, The Atlantic, The Stranger, The Nib, Adventure Time and other publications.

“It’s such an honor to work with the Ames Bros on a Seahawks poster,” James says. “Coby and Barry know my stuff. They pointed out what in my portfolio they thought would work well, which mostly wound up being comic book covers. I ended up thinking about the poster as a comic book cover more than I did as a print.”

Assigned the November 3 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, James created a serpentine-like hawk rising from the sea and swamping a pirate ship with shredded sails. Majestic Doug firs tower in the background. The 18” x 24” posters are screen printed and can be ordered online and picked up at CenturyLink Field on game day or at the CenturyLink Field Pro Shop during designated hours. The Seahawks are also producing 12 “platinum” posters on special paper with enhanced printing techniques. Those will be sold on the Seahawks’ Auction Website the day after each game and shipped to winners.

Buying a poster will not only serve as a unique art piece on your wall, but it helps fund arts education for kids. The Seahawks are donating all proceeds from sales of the posters to The Creative Advantage, an arts education equity program for Seattle Public Schools.

In addition to some cash, posters, and the prestige, James gets tickets to the game and a field pass. It’ll be his first live Seahawks game. “The Seahawks are a much bigger stage than I’m used to working on,” James says. “This was fun because they gave me a lot of freedom to draw whatever I wanted to, within certain parameters, of course.”

James moved to Seattle specifically because it’s a hotspot for independent comics and to help publish a free comics newspaper called The Intruder. He immediately found a room to rent in a Beacon Hill house already occupied by a few other comics artists. More than seven years later, that’s still the case. “When someone moves out, we find another cartoonist to take their place,” says James.

This coming spring, a hardbound collection of James’ collected work, titled Gnartoons, will be released by the Bay Area publisher Silver Sprocket Bicycle Club. And on Saturday, November 9, you will find James at Short Run, the one-day annual comics and arts festival that takes place at the Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center, with his newest comic, Swamp Mythos,—and copies of the Seahawks poster.

See more of James’ work on his website  or on Instagram and other social media apps at  @gnartoons.

 

Salumi: The Best Cured Meats in the Country?

Meat lovers speak of Salumi in hushed, reverent tones as though they’re in church, or maybe just worried an eavesdropper will beat them to the Pioneer Square deli and get the last culatello.  

And it’s been this way for 20 years now! 

That kind of hype is beyond incredible in an industry that favors the hot new thing. Just this month Tan Vinh, of the Seattle Times, included Salumi’s porchetta sandwich (juicy, slow-roasted pork laced with fennel stuffed into a Macrina Giuseppe Roll) in his list of the four best sandwiches in Seattle. And this comes on top of just about every major food writer in the country having written in ecstatic tones about Salumi’s meats and sandwiches over the years. 

Of Salumi, the late Anthony Bourdain said, “That is a holy place for me.” In 2005, Ruth Reichl, tasting Salumi’s mole salami, said, “(I taste) cinnamon, clove, a lot of clove. And that faint edge of chocolate. God, it’s so good. It’s such a surprise. It makes the pork seem so sweet. Oh, my god, it’s like he’s invented something new here.” She went on to suggest that Salumi’s mole salami would sweep the nation.  

But salami is not an entirely easy thing to make. It takes a lot of skill, equipment and specialized curing rooms. Despite enlarging their production space, Salumi could never meet demand. This is why Gina and Brian Batali, who took over operations when Armandino, the founder and Gina’s father, retired, sold Salumi in October 2017 to Clara Veniard and Martinique Grigg. 

Clara and Martinique were food lovers with Harvard MBAs and plenty of leadership experience looking to invest in a local business together. “Both Martinique and I were long-time lovers of Salumi,” Clara says. “We’d travel to visit relatives carrying sticks of Salumi’s meats.” Gina and Brian were at a point in their lives where they felt Salumi could take a step to the next level, and they weren’t at a stage in their lives where they wanted to do that. A mutual acquaintance bridged a connection, and after a few coffees at Grand Central, both parties felt they’d found the perfect fit.  

Clara and Martinique donned hairnets and spent the first year apprenticing, listening and learning. “We wanted to learn from as many voices as we could what makes Salumi a really special place,” Clara says. “So many people came together to make Salumi what it is today, Armandino and Marilyn, Gina and Brian, the people that work there, and the customers. We worked in all parts of the organization, including arriving at five in the morning to make salami.” 

In November of 2018, they made their first big change: moving the restaurant from its sliver of a space to the former location of Rain Shadow Meats at 404 Occidental Ave. “We hadn’t planned to move, but it was just perfect for us—only two blocks away from our old location—and as a former butcher shop, it had everything we needed. We reused everything that was already in place,” Clara says. 

Spacious and filled with light, the new Salumi retains the filled-with-good-smells charm of the old space. Beloved features remain, like the private dining room and communal tables, but now there is more seating and a line that moves three times as fast. 

Next up: a state-of-the-art production facility in South Seattle. Clara says, “Last December, we got to the point where we literally couldn’t fill most orders. I remember selling the last salami stick. It was a customer who came to the back door. We had one stick to offer them. My sisters and parents-in-law were shocked at Christmas that I didn’t bring them any salami.” Now Salumi will have the capacity to be able to meet customer’s needs. New flavors and new product lines are also in the works.  

To find the best meats, Salumi is going straight to the farms. “We’re taking a hard look at the farms we source from, and how they treat their animals,” Clara says. “Everything will be all-natural.” 

Through the changes, what makes Salumi Salumi are the same recipes and the same crew. “Culture is number one for us,” Clara says. “We have people who’ve been here since the very beginning. The first person who Armandino hired still works for us. It amazes me the level of care that I see from everybody on the team. They take great pride in what we’re doing here.” As Salumi grows, there will be more leadership roles and room for people to grow with the organization.  

At Macrina, we’re thrilled to be a part of Salumi’s growth and are impressed at the seamless way Clara and Martinique have taken the best parts of a sacred Seattle treasure and made them even better. Ruth Reichl’s prediction that Salumi’s cured meats will sweep the nation just may come to pass.