Walnut Street Coffee

Walnut Street Coffee is a perfect destination, whether you’re a local or looking for a little weekend adventure. Downtown Edmonds is a charming spot. The baristas are friendly and efficient and they make beautiful coffee. ~ Leslie

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A headline in the recent issue of the Edmonds Beacon declares “Edmonds is no longer ‘Deadmonds.” With a growing population and an invigorated downtown, Edmonds is on the rise. Pam Stuller, the founder and owner of local favorite Walnut Street Coffee, is just the kind of entrepreneur that has helped make downtown Edmonds the vibrant place it is today.

When she found the space for her cafe in 2006, Walnut Street was pretty quiet. She and her husband, who live in nearby Richmond Beach, were riding their bikes around town and encountered a funky cinderblock building that had originally been built as a boat engine repair shop. Its defining feature was a roll-up garage door. A dream location; downtown, but enough off the beaten track to be the place locals would seek out away from the ferry and tourist crowd. One problem: a flower shop occupied the space. So she sent the letter to the landlord and six months later he called.

“People thought I was a crazy to take the space,” Pam said.

IMG_4350Out of college Pam didn’t imagine herself running a busy coffee shop. For ten years she worked in human resources. In 2002, a friend, Michael Prins was opening the first Herkimer Coffee on Phinney Ridge. She was working for Nature Conservancy, an organization she loved. But she was restless.

“If you can’t love your job and you’re working at an amazing organization what do you do? I felt like I’d already done everything I could to love what I do and it wasn’t working.”

So she left her job to help Michael get Herkimer Coffee up and running, focusing on the things she had experience doing, such as hiring a staff. A year and a half later she found herself still working there as a barista.

“It was the most fun, most rewarding, most enriching work experience I’d ever had. I loved it. I’d always loved cafes and cafe culture but I’d always been intimidated by the art of coffee. That was where I got to learn the craft and the trade. I knew then this was what I wanted to do. In coffee, you get to know people in such a different way. Most people are pretty routine about their coffee. You have this two-minute touch. Over time you pick up all the little intimate details—a kid is sick, news of a vacation, job changes—and you build a meaningful personal relationship. It’s pretty amazing.”

That led her to Edmonds and Walnut Street Coffee. She and her husband did most of the buildout themselves.

“My goal was to do one thing and to do it really well and to keep focused on what brings me joy. I figured that if I was happy to come here every day, the customers would follow.”

They did, but it took a lot of work. For the first two years, Pam worked seven days a week.

“The business almost ate me alive. Around year three I began adding enough staff that I could have a couple of days off a week.”

Keeping things simple has been key to her success.

“My passion and my love is espresso. But I don’t have experience making pastries. I’ve worked in restaurants and I know how much goes into food service. I wanted to keep things as simple and focused as possible.”

Initially, bakery options were few, but as Edmonds has grown so have options.

IMG_4338“I’m so thrilled to have Macrina. Edmonds is enough off the beaten track that delivery
options are few. You’re not on your way to anywhere when you come to Edmonds. When Macrina started delivering here, I was thrilled. The caliber and consistency of the baked goods are first-rate. Our customers love them.”

Approaching her ten-year anniversary, Pam is lucky to have two baristas who have been with her for over eight years. That’s exceptional in a high-turnover industry where the average barista stays at a job for one year. With her background in human resources maybe it should come as no surprise.

“I have a pretty amazing benefits package, especially for this kind of business. I have a retirement plan, profit sharing, health care, paid time off, holiday pay.”

She attributes much of the success of her business to her employees.

“I never underestimate the value of my people. They’re instrumental in maintaining and in continuing to build our business. Our business has grown every year since we opened, which includes the downturn.”

Occasionally she thinks about expanding, but worries she’d wind up doing more of the stuff she doesn’t love doing, like bookkeeping and back of the house work.

“I love the connection I have with my staff and my customers, and I worry that would get diluted. I live simply, and I’m happy the way things are. I hike, bike, cross-country ski, garden, walk my dog, I’m an avid reader, and I love to spend time with my family, friends, and my parents. I don’t want to lose any of that.”

Her love of the city recently led her to get involved in a business group called the Edmonds Downtown Alliance. She served a stint as president last year.

“That was rewarding, developing deeper relationships with the other merchants and finding ways to take what is so great about this town and amplify that so everybody does better.”

IMG_4345If you don’t already spend time in the seaside town of Edmonds, it’s time to make a trip. There are a couple of breweries, a distillery, a movie theater, lots of shopping, a bookstore, tasty restaurants. Most shops are small and owner-operated.

“You wouldn’t have to leave Edmonds if you didn’t want to. We kind of have it all in this little pocket, and it’s so scenic. It’s very Mayberryish in a way, but it also has an authenticity to it that I really enjoy.”

Start with a caffe latte and a treat from Walnut Street Coffee and take a stroll down 5th Avenue towards Main Street and you’ll discover that “Deadmonds” no longer exists.

Meet Linda Derschang

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For over 20 years Linda Derschang has been a dynamic figure in Seattle’s dining and nightlife scene, particularly on Capitol Hill.

It all started in 1994 on Pine Street, in the heart of the now thriving Pike/Pine corridor, with the beloved and quirky Linda’s Tavern. The tavern drew inspiration from the mountain bars around Crested Butte near where Linda grew up in Colorado. Located on a formerly gritty stretch of Pine Street, the neon sign in the window reads “TOOLS RADIO TACKLE.” When you step through the door you are transported somewhere else. The rustic wooden booths, neon signs, the rough-hewn planks that hold the liquor bottles, and the glowering bison head behind the bar are not the stuff of any ordinary scruffy bar. Add to that one of the best patios in the city, a crowd of talented creatives, and you’ve got a hit.

Twenty years on, it’s still hard to find an open table. The bar looks much as it did when it opened though the neighborhood surrounding it has changed immensely. And Linda, both the person and her namesake bar, have helped shape the aesthetic that makes Capitol Hill such a draw.

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A stream of very different and equally memorable places followed Linda’s: The Capital Club, The Baltic Room, Chop Suey, (she has sold her interest in these three), King’s Hardware, Smith, Oddfellows Cafe and Bar, Little Oddfellows in the Elliot Bay Book Company, Bait Shop, and Tallulah’s.

With the exception of Ballard’s King’s Hardware, all of them are a short bike ride away from each other. Each attracts an eclectic and devoted neighborhood crowd. What unites them is Linda’s unerring sense of design—whether it’s applied to the airy, elegant Oddfellow’s Cafe or the eccentric dive-bar feel of Bait Shop.

Linda has been a long-time wholesale customer of Macrina, a relationship we’re very proud of. Recently we had an opportunity to ask her a few questions.

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Each of your places feels like someone had fun creating them—that sense of  “Wouldn’t it be cool if….” And they feel authentic. There seems to be a real enjoyment of design down to the smallest details, such as the owl salt/pepper shakers at Tallulah’s. Would you talk a bit about your design process?

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The design process is different for each project. I approached Little Oddfellows very differently because it was a remodel of a business than from Tallulah’s, which was in new construction, or Oddfellows which is in a very old building. Sometimes I make up a story about the place I am designing. For Little Oddfellows I imagined a coffee shop in Amsterdam or Copenhagen perhaps. Sometimes I think of a few key terms like turn of the century mercantile.

You’re right about the loving of the details, that can be the most enjoyable part. I think when opening a business it can be easy to think that you’ll get to the little details later but I believe it’s really important to open with them to give a really finished feel to a place.

Found objects play a role in a number of the establishments. Are you always on the hunt?

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I am always keeping an eye out and over the years, I’ve ended up with lots of interesting, quirky objects that often I will keep at my home for a while before I find the perfect spot for them. Take the portrait wall at Smith – I started collecting old portraits because I kept running across them at all sorts of places, years ago they were very inexpensive and I felt that in a sense they were all orphans. I really loved using many of them at Smith. I feel that they add to the charm and look.

Where do you find so many cool signs, great used furniture, the drink mixer at Bait Shop, etc.?

I find things all over the place, including antique malls, thrift stores, and Craigslist. Cashmere, the huge cat painting in Tallulah’s, came from Kirk Albert in Georgetown as did the old Firebird hood mounted to the wall at Bait Shop. I love the stories these pieces can add to a space. 

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How has your design taste evolved over time? 

My taste and style has always been a mix of old and new and high and low. Having a mix of styles has always been very natural for me. I think traveling has definitely added to my taste, I get so much inspiration and so many ideas from other places. I went to Denmark a few months before I opened Little Oddfellows and the Scandinavian cafes I visited while I was there were so inspiring and influenced my approach to designing the space.

Do you come to a space with a concept in mind or does the space drive the concept?

I always think about the neighborhood the space will be part of. I try to create businesses that are meaningful to their neighborhoods and communities. Each one of my businesses is different from each other, but they are all neighborhood spots. That’s a common thread they share.

http://www.thederschanggroup.com/who-we-are/ for more information on Linda.

 

Heyday – Not Your Average Burger Joint

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In the kind of cosmic connection that makes us all smile, Gary Snyder, co-owner of Geraldine’s Counter and now co-owner of Heyday, shares a random point of intersection with that other Gary Snyder, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Zen Buddhist, and protagonist of Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums. The publisher of Gary Snyder, the poet, is also named Heyday. Gary Snyder, the restauranteur, had no idea. He and his business partner, Dang Nguyen, chose the playful name because the space is located on Day Street in Seattle’s quiet Mount Baker neighborhood. “Names are really hard to come by,” Snyder said. “My partner came up with Heyday and it just stuck. It works.”

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Heyday is no ordinary burger joint. Starting with the interior. The space was designed by Graham Baba, the architect behind many treasured eating spots such as Melrose Market, Chophouse Row, and La Spiga. Floor-to-ceiling windows, sleek lighting, concrete floors, slotted wood on the walls and ceiling, and the use of lots of blue in the tile work that surrounds the bar and an inspired geometric mural that adorns a back wall give the space a warm, modern look.

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And the burgers aren’t the usual assortment. The menu was created by Melissa Nyffeler, the former chef/owner of the beloved Capitol Hill restaurant Dinette, which closed in 2013. The Saigon patty has equal portions beef, pork, and shrimp and is topped with Napa cabbage, fresh mint, cilantro, pickled daikon, carrots, and Sriracha aioli. Other offerings are made with lamb, bison, falafel, jerk chicken, and cod. All are served on Macrina Bakery’s potato buns and served with a side of the house-made pickles. Creative starters such as blackened cauliflower are excellent, and so are the hand-cut french fries that are deep-fried twice for the perfect crunch. The thick, crispy onion rings shouldn’t be overlooked. Another standout is the house-made pickled vegetables served with every burger and available as an appetizer.

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Snyder and crew went through a lengthy process to choose the right bun for their burgers, looking for one that would hold all the ingredients without getting soggy or being so firm that the filling squeezes out. “Originally I thought we should have a different bun that works for each burger,” Snyder said. “We sampled multiple buns from different bakeries. Macrina’s potato bun just worked, and it worked on every burger. Such a good bun. It toasts really well. We decided we didn’t need different varieties.”

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Heyday is family-friendly, with the space split about evenly between seating in the adults-only bar and the all-ages restaurant side. “We get a lot of families. I almost wish I had more room than I do. That’s the part that fills the quickest,” Snyder said.

While the neighborhood is quiet, Heyday is open late. Regular hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m, with the kitchen serving until 10 p.m. At some point next year weekend brunch may become a reality. Keep your ears open. Geraldine’s brunch is so highly-regarded that the to-be-determined offerings will surely be worth investigating.

 

 

Un Bien: On Their Own

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“These are the guys that turned down Guy Fieri,” Ornella Lorenzo blurted out.

“Not because we didn’t want the exposure,” her husband, Lucas Lorenzo protested. “We’re just not the best at publicity, actually we’re pretty bad. I mean, look at us. We suck on paper. We didn’t attend a fancy culinary institute, we’ve never traveled the world sourcing the best international flavors. We just grew up working with my dad, day in and day out, learning the recipes and cuisine he brought with him from Cuba.”

Welcome to Un Bien, the child of Paseo, or more accurately, a restaurant by the children of Lorenzo Lorenzo (his real name), the founder and former owner of Paseo, arguably Seattle’s most celebrated sandwich shop. For over 20 years, until it’s abrupt closing last November, Paseo was a favorite of locals and travelers alike. Lorenzo’s two children, Julian and Lucas Lorenzo, worked weekends at Paseo while in high school and full-time for the last five years. When their father, amidst some legal trouble, abruptly closed both stores, Julian and Lucas were left without jobs.

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Four months ago they opened Un Bien at 7302 15th Ave NW in Ballard, at the former site of Burger Hero (and Lunchbox Laboratory before that). They’ve painted the building a Caribbean-pink and are serving many of the same sandwiches that made Paseo famous—such as the nationally-renowned Caribbean Roast. They use the same bread Paseo did for 20 years, the Giuseppe Roll made by Macrina, the perfect roll for a robust sandwich like the Caribbean Roast—not so soft that it collapses under the weight and juices of the marinated pork, aioli, onions, lettuce, and jalapeños, and not so firm that the sandwich’s ingredients spill out into your lap (or at least most of them) when you take a bite.

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They opened with a staff comprised entirely of former Paseo employees. Business has been brisk, largely fueled by word of mouth. To keep up, they’ve recently had to hire two new employees. Lucas works the kitchen in the mornings, Julian in the evenings. They are busy at lunch and then again later at dinner. As their father was, they are very protective of the secret ingredients in the marinades. But they’ve tweaked things a bit, finding ways to speed up the line by making the kitchen more efficient, adding a helpful new POS system, and accepting credit cards, a big difference from the cash-only days of their father’s Paseo.

On a recent weekday afternoon, Un Bien’s long outdoor communal table was full, a steady line at the order window, the kitchen a bustle of activity. Lucas, his wife Ornella, and Julian stood in front, tired from the days work, but grateful to be open and doing their own thing. “We feel very fortunate for the reception we’ve gotten,” Julian said. When asked about the future Lucas said, “We still have to get through our first winter. We work to make the food we know the best we can. We’re proud to make our father’s recipes, to carry that on, and also to be doing our own thing. One day at a time. We’re restaurant people, that’s what we do.”

Un Bien:  7302 15th Ave NW; Open Wednesday-Saturday 11 am – 9 pm and Sunday 11 am – 8 pm; Closed Monday and Tuesday

Expect the Unexpected: Green Tables Summer Supper

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You know what they say about the best-laid plans. When I got involved in the planning stages of Les Dames D’escoffier’s Green Tables Summer Supper, an annual fundraiser for an organization I’m part of, no one could have predicted the historic windstorm we would have to deal with. August in the Pacific Northwest is about as reliably sunny and beautiful as anywhere on the globe. We get our wind and our rain alright, just not in August.

This year’s Summer Supper was an elegant outdoor tour of Washington’s Skagit Valley, a place with some of the best soil in the country and one of the state’s premier growing regions. We wanted to show off a variety of the great foods that grow in the region. Guests were invited to tour the Taylor Shellfish Farm at 12:30 in the afternoon. The next stop was Hedlin Farms, a 100-year old farm comprised of 300 acres of seed crops that ship around the world, 40 acres of organically grown produce, and 2 acres of hothouses lined with beautiful heirloom tomatoes and peppers. From there everyone moved to La Conner Flats, a scenic farm with 11 acres of breathtaking European display gardens. The capstone to the day was a dinner al fresco featuring Skagit Valley ingredients at Cathy Conner’s 1890’s home on Fir Island, prepared by several Les Dames d’Escoffier’s chefs, including myself.

Four days before the event we were very nervous about rain. Just rain, not the unbelievable winds that the tropical storm heading our way from Hawaii would bring. Cathy Conner borrowed six tents to provide cover for the dining guests. Set for rain, should it happen, we procured the best local foods and wines, we chopped, marinated, and baked. The sold-out event had to go well. It’s a really important fundraiser for Green Tables and provides grants to support teaching and training students to cook seasonally healthy foods and garden-to-table concepts.

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Low tide at Taylor Shellfish

As guests began to show up at Taylor Shellfish, the fierce wind howled off the hills, gusts reaching over 50 miles per hour. (I would learn later that we experienced record high winds for the month of August.) The tide was out and guests walked right out to the oyster fields to look at geoducks and baby oysters in various stages of development. With seriously wind-blown hair, guests finished their visit with a delicious tasting of Shigoku oysters paired with a crisp white wine from La Conner’s Hellam’s Wine Cellar. So far so good, but I sure worried about those tents.

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On our drive over to Hedlin Farms, the second stop, we saw many trees and branches down. Dave Hedlin and Serena Campbell have been farming the family land since 1974, the fourth generation to do so. Serena gave a gracious tour, explaining why the soil is so good for growing organic seed crops. The farm produces the bulk of the cabbage seeds for the kimchi market in Korea. Plump large heirloom tomatoes filled their hoop houses. Cherry tomatoes tasted like candy picked right off the vine. During high season, they pick half a ton of tomatoes every day.

In between snacking on the tomatoes and enjoying the scenery of the farm, I learned the power had gone out. I conferred with the kitchen crew. We’d prepped really well, but we still had a lot of cooking to do, heating up sauces, sautéing spinach and gnocchi, roasting the potato gratin, and so forth. With all the trees down we couldn’t count on the power coming back anytime soon. We’d all planned on going to each stop but leaving the last stop before dinner a little early. Scratch that. We needed more time to deal with the unknown. A bunch of us made a beeline for Cathy’s house to see what we were up against. Stressful as it was, I never doubted we’d figure it out, somehow. One thing you learn working in a busy kitchen is to expect the unexpected. You hone your improvisational skills and make the best of what you’ve got.

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The group moved on to La Conner Flats, a smaller family-run farm, with beautiful gardens that, I hear, got a little roughed up by the winds. The farm would be a perfect venue for a wedding, with its beautiful broad lawn filled with different varieties of pear and apple trees, and at the back a gazebo surrounded by circled rows of different colored roses. Amongst many other crops, they grow delicate teeny-tiny cucumbers, all of which are reserved for Canlis restaurant. It was at this farm that the Seattle Culinary Academy created the farmer/student partnership that Les Dames d’Escoffier made possible. The guests enjoyed wine from Hellam’s Wine Cellar in La Conner and local cheese while touring the gardens.

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Meanwhile, back at Cathy Conner’s house, we surveyed the damage. The wind had blown the tents many feet from where we’d set them up. And there was no power. Fortunately, we had several grills, and the stove top was gas. A team worked on fixing the tents and readying candles while the rest of us tackled the food. As we were lighting the grills, the winds began to die down, thankfully. Between the grills and the gas burners in the house, we were able to do most things. The challenge was the potato gratin that needed to bake for 45 minutes. We improvised. Grilled gratin it would be. After starting it, we moved it to the grill’s warming rack. While we couldn’t caramelize the top, it cooked beautifully.

The candles cast a beautiful light on the tables. It would be a lovely setting. But without any electricity we would have to be sure we got everyone back to their cars before the daylight vanished. Out in the country it gets very dark. We would have to stay on a tight schedule. Everyone worked together and we stayed on pace.

The guests arrived on time and in good spirits, despite the wild weather. Cathy’s home, barn, and gardens are absolutely stunning. The guests were led on tours by the women of Les Dames while enjoying a summer berry vodka spritzer and passed appetizers. Mother nature had whipped up quite a storm, but it wasn’t going to stop us. We seated everyone for a starter of homemade gnocchi and grilled spot prawns, followed by an entree of sockeye salmon and a chimichurri spiced lamb chop, and finally an apple crostata with my quince caramel and Cathy’s soft cream. Exhausted, but exhilarated, I gave my best heartfelt thanks to everyone, while holding a candle that kept blowing out. It had been a fantastic day. Everyone had a great time. The rain even held off until just after the last guest made it to their car.

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Leslie

Leslie Mackie opened Macrina Bakery in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood in 1993.  Leslie has been an active and devoted member of the Seattle chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier since 1992.  She finds her work with the Dames to be a wonderful source of mentorship, camaraderie and resource sharing.

To find out more information about the Les Dames d’Escoffier Green Tables programs, click here.

Farm to Brunch: Touring Seattle Tilth

logoEarly this June I visited Seattle Tilth’s farm incubator in Auburn with Marilyn Mercer, Elizabeth Hall, Mandela Turner, and Crystal Kitchin, Macrina’s brunch team. We were especially excited to visit the farm – Macrina is one of the lucky few establishments that buys freshly grown vegetables from Seattle Tilth for our weekly rotating brunch menus.

Seattle Tilth started in 1978 with its Urban Agriculture Center in Wallingford. The Tilth Association began as an alternative agriculture movement with the aim of supporting and promoting biologically sound and socially equitable agriculture in the Pacific Northwest. While the parent association disbanded in 1984, Seattle Tilth has continued to grow and thrive with a stated mission today to inspire and educate people to safeguard our natural resources while building an equitable and sustainable local food system. They teach people to grow food organically while taking care of the environment through a wide variety of classes, programs, and community events. There are classes for both kids and adults, many of them located in Seattle’s most diverse and densely populated urban neighborhoods. They’re an amazing resource for organic gardening education in the region.

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One of their newer programs is the farm incubator.  Matthew McDermott, the director of Seattle Tilth Farm Works, and Chris Iberle, the Food Hub Manager, led us on our tour of their forty-acre site in Auburn. They call it “The Red Barn Farm.”  While we walked through the fields of young starts, Matthew filled us in on the history of the land. Originally owned by former Seattle Supersonics Greg Ballard, who bought the land for a kid’s basketball camp, it was later donated to Seattle Parks and Recreation. They make it available to Seattle Tilth Farm Works as part of their Parks Urban Food Systems program.

The program provides farm business training and support to immigrants, refugees and people with limited resources in South King County. Each year they add ten new farmers to their training program that runs from February to June, reserving ten spots for returning farmers. Their aim is to help new farmers get into small farming, teaching them not just the elements of organic farming through hands-on experience, but also business planning, operations, and marketing. Matthew explains that the average age of an American small farmer is 60 years old. They hope to lower that through their program.

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Each of the twenty farmers tends a quarter-acre parcel, growing vegetables for Seattle Tilth’s CSA subscription program that provides subscribers with a weekly box full of fresh, delicious produce from June through October. The farm also supplies the fresh produce for their Good Food Bag program, which helps supply healthy organic vegetables to qualifying limited-resource families. We saw peas, radishes, onions, garlic, corn, squash, and pole-beans. In addition to the open fields they have 13 100-foot hoop houses, most of them planted with tomatoes. Due to the low snow pack this year and the possibility of a drought they mandated a water irrigation system. To supplement their water supply, they have a large cistern that collects rainwater. At the end of our tour, we stopped by the cleaning station where the farmers wash and trim their veggies, weighing their daily harvest and logging it onto the weekly production board.

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It feels good to be a part of a program that is training young farmers in the best practices for sustainable and environmentally sensitive farming. Moreover, their produce is simply delicious. Visit one of our Macrina cafe locations over the weekend and try something off of our rotating brunch menu to see for yourself.

Leslie Mackie

Tipsy Cow Burger Bar: Built from the Grind Up

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The Arsonist burger paired with Jacked Up Fries (Hand Cut Kennebec Potato Fries topped with Beecher’s Just Jack and Roasted Jalapeno Sauce) at Tipsy Cow Burger Bar.

Seattle’s red hot love-affair with burgers is swiftly overtaking the Eastside. Enter Redmond’s latest stop on the burger blitz: Tipsy Cow Burger Bar. Of coarse, we believe that the bun makes the burger, so we’re over-the-moon to play a part in this love triangle.

It all started with one man’s dream to bring meaty goodness to the masses. Keith Mourer, co-owner of Tipsy Cow, is a burger man and an avid traveler. During his stopovers in different spots around the country, Keith makes it a point to check out the local burger haunts. Over the years, he has sampled everything from bison to black bean, but his heart has always belonged to one favorite burger.

“The inspiration for Tipsy Cow came from Shake Shack in New York,” says Keith. “I wanted to open a place that’s fun and casual, and we really wanted to build a better burger using great, local ingredients.”

Armed with that simple concept in mind – building a better burger – Keith and fellow co-owner Dave Zimmerman began enlisting a dream team of suppliers.

“That’s actually how we found Macrina Bakery,” Keith says. “We decided to use the Sodo Bun for our burgers and beef from Long Valley Ranch in Central Oregon. We use Snoqualmie Ice Cream for our milkshakes, local distilleries for our vodka and whiskey, Walla Walla sweet onions for our burgers and onion rings. Our fries are made from Kennebec potatoes, cut and fried in-house daily. The Kennebec potato just makes a better fry.”

After Keith and Dave earned their restaurant chops at Kirkland’s Brix Wine Café, they opened Tipsy Cow in 2013 to a throng of burger-hungry supporters. “The community has really welcomed us. Everything has gone off very well; obviously much better than we imagined.”

With a robust menu featuring a myriad of meat and meatless options, snackable sides, and a tap list of 42 draft beers and ciders, Tipsy Cow’s mounting popularity comes as no surprise to us.

“Right now, I’m really into the Scottish ales, like Black Raven’s Second Sight Strong Scotch Ale, and my favorite burger at the moment is The Arsonist. It’s got fire-roasted jalapenos and serranos on it as well as harissa pepper aioli.”

Our server recommended keeping the flames from this burger from reaching five-alarm levels by teaming it up with a handmade milkshake (booze optional) and heaping helping of onion rings made with breadcrumbs from leftover Sodo Buns. Sage advice and well worth heading.

Marination: Everyday Aloha on a Really Good Bun

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A line of hungry customers trails out of a blue-trimmed building reminiscent of a beach shack as gulls fly overhead and waves from the water taxi’s wake lap against the shore. Behind us, divers suit up in the parking lot. We slowly trickle into the building, but no one seems antsy about the wait. Instead everyone pores over the menu, snaps photos against the backdrop of Seattle’s skyline bathed in the early evening glow, and talks about what’s good here. The short answer? Everything.

The Marination trifecta – Marination Mobile, Marination Station, and Marination Ma Kai – serves up Hawaiian-Korean no-fuss food fittingly wrapped in the breezy slogan: Everyday aloha. Co-owners Kamala Saxton and Roz Edison previously worked in public education on national educational policy reform, and after hitting hard times during the recession, decided to open up a food truck in 2009.

“We were inspired by Kogi in L.A.,” remembers Kamala. “They were the first ones to hit the streets with Korean tacos. We added the Hawaiian part and away we went.”

Recently the duo brought a new head chef aboard after previous chef Josh Kelly went on to pursue new culinary adventures (more on that later). Angie Roberts, who’s résumé reads like a Seattle foodie’s bucket list (Flying Fish, Boka Restaurant and Bar, and The Hollywood Tavern) couldn’t be more thrilled for a change of pace.

“It’s a completely new style of service for me, so I’m definitely learning,” says Angie. “I love that we have a truck in the company and I like that we have so many moving parts. It keeps me on my toes!”

Angie is working on some changes to Marination’s mouthwatering lineup, including a gluten-free option, something for the kids, and a “more significant-sized menu item.” Word on the street is she will also be throwing some blazing-hot beach parties at Ma Kai this summer. She’s not denying the rumors, “Think pig roast with the best view in the city!”

But, some things will never change. Including their much-praised Pork Katsu Sandwich; a healthy cut of crispy pork heaped with tangy slaw and their signature Bulldog Sauce. Kamala and Roz knew there was only one bun for the job of holding in this sandwich’s fillings: our Ciabatta.

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“In this city we are fortunate to have many bakeries that provide wholesale baked goods for restaurants,” says Kamala. “Macrina had the products we were seeking and hands-down they have the best customer service.” Plus, she says, there is nothing better than our Giuseppe bread right out of the oven. We can’t argue with her.

As Team Marination barrels toward an action-packed summer, Roz and Kamala have decided to throw another pan in the fire. They’re partnering with Josh and his wife Nancy for a bar in Pioneer Square.

“Josh is going to create a small but focused and delicious menu,” Kamala hints at Good Bar’s plan. “One that will have something for everyone. A menu that is just right.”

Given the group’s track record, we imagine it will be nothing short of greatness.

Rain Shadow Meats: A Cut Above the Rest

Rain Shadow Meats

Tucked into Capitol Hill’s adorably hip Melrose Market and a new location situated in up-and-coming Pioneer Square, our wholesale partner Rain Shadow Meats is quickly becoming Seattle’s favorite butcher shop. We sat down with Owner Russell Flint to talk about how he’s changing the butchery business for the better, what’s on the horizon, and which cuts of meat you should be eating.

What makes Rain Shadow Meats unique?

We use everything. We throw some fat and little weird bits that we can’t really do anything with into the compost, but those bones don’t go into the compost until they’ve been worked into stock twice. We are really, truly utilizing every bit of these whole animals that we’re given, which I think is lost on a lot of people. But to me, it’s rad. Nothing goes to waste. Not too many butcher shops can say that they do that.

Are people going for the odd cuts of meat or do they tend to stick with what’s familiar?

Regular customers, people who trust us and have been coming to us for a long time, they ask, “Hey, what should I eat today?” or “What’s cool in the case today?” But the average consumer comes in knowing what they want. They want a ribeye and if there aren’t any ribeyes, they walk out the door. But as you a develop relationship with the customer, they start to trust you, you learn about them and what they like, and you can set things aside for them.

What cuts should people be buying that they may not know about?

I love pork top sirloin. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the butcher’s cut. Not a lot of people know about it. It’s much cheaper than a pork chop but it’s just as good if not better. There’s also a true country-style spare rib, which is where the shoulder ends and the loin starts. Those pieces are always super cheap and really delicious; way better than a pork chop. For beef, I love the top sirloin. It’s a big muscle but usually cheaper than say your ribeyes and tenderloins. You don’t see beef neck very often, but since we butcher the whole animal, we get the neck from the beef. Beef neck braised together with some beef shanks is insanely good.

What do you have in store for Easter?

For Easter, lamb and ham are the meats people want. We work with a smokehouse in Oakland, California. This guy double smokes our bacon, so we asked him to do the same process with our hams. They’re honey cured and then he smokes them with applewood and cools them down and then smokes them again with maple. They turn out this beautiful lacquered dark brown and are absolutely incredible.

Our lamb mainly comes out of Anderson Valley just south of Portland at Anderson Ranch. Reed Anderson has been farming and ranching his whole life and we’ve known him for years. He has beautiful pasture-raised, grass-fed lamb. That area of Oregon is really conducive for lamb as far as the grass and year-round climate goes; it’s super-consistent all year long.

Any plans for a third location?

This is it! The [Pioneer Square] project was huge, a lot bigger than I really anticipated it being. What I’m trying to do is kind of incredible. I don’t think everyone quite gets it yet or they don’t know how to use it yet, but we’ll get there. It’s all about education. As far as a third location goes, I have some ideas. Not another butcher shop, maybe a restaurant or something. Obviously something with food, but it’s going to be a long, long way down the road.

In addition to stocking both locations with every cut of meat imaginable, Rain Shadow Meats in Pioneer Square serves up delicious sandwiches piled high on our bread, housemade charcuterie and rotating specials. Wash it all down with a glass of French wine, a pint of local craft beer, or the savory fizz of celery soda fresh from his girlfriend’s shop, Seattle Seltzer Co.

Ravishing Radish: Where Epic Parties & Amazing Food Meet

Ravishing Radish Catering Team

Photo courtesy of Ravishing Radish Catering

Wedding season might be over, but you won’t find the team at Ravishing Radish Catering resting on their laurels.

“We stay busy in the fall getting ready for holiday events, auctions and some weddings,” says Lisbet Larsen Mielke, founder of the down-to-earth catering company.

Lisbet caught the entertaining bug early in life, growing up with parents who loved to throw a good backyard bash. After graduating from culinary school, she set her sights on opening a business that combined her favorite things: amazing food and legendary parties.

“I’ve always worked in restaurants and kitchens and enjoyed it. I love troubleshooting on the fly and seeing everything come together.” And ultimately, she adds, she loves seeing people happy.

She launched Ravishing Radish in 1993, the same year that we opened our first little bakery in Belltown. In fact, Lisbet says, we were just down the street from her. She and her staff frequented our café for breakfast and lunch, and it wasn’t long before she tapped Leslie Mackie to make cakes for catered wedding receptions.

“We loved the food and bread at Macrina so much, we knew we wanted to use Macrina products on the menu,” says Lisbet, who enlisted JoAnna Cruz, a former Macrina employee, as her “chef extraordinaire.”

Our handmade breads paired with mouthwatering delights like rosemary butter or sour cherry compote and goat cheese weave through Ravishing Radish’s fall dinner menu. Sourcing ingredients from local businesses is a cornerstone of the company. Depending on the season, you’ll find Carlton Farms pork, Foraged & Found mushrooms, fresh catches from Wild Salmon Seafood Market, even choice edibles from the company’s 2,000-square-foot rooftop garden.

As if overseeing the fine details of lavish events weren’t enough, Lisbet has since opened Ravish, a bar and bistro that upholds the same steadfast commitment to community and sustainability.