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Multi-Grain Levain – Made with a mix of bread flour, fresh milled whole wheat and rye flours, and polenta. A little sweetness from honey helps balance the flavors of he grains, then it is loaded up with flax, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, making for a flavorful and hearty bread -$5/loaf
Breton – From the Brittany region in France; made with bread flour with buckwheat and fresh milled rye flours. The salt is the regional “sel gris,” or grey salt, with its distinctive mineralized flavor. This bread goes well with meats and cheese – $5/loaf
And for a bit of pastry –
Croissants – Incorporating some wild yeast culture in an overnight
pre-fermented dough, laminated with butter for beautiful crisp layers. Some have told me these are better than any they had in France! – 2/$5
Wine Club Reminder
After several trial iterations in the last few years, we have settled on a pretty simple set of Wine Club principles: you pay us $35 per calendar year, and in return we will give you $5 off on your wine tastings through the year AND we will pay the sales tax on all your wine purchases (8.7%! ). Yes, it it’s true: the more you visit and the more wine you buy, the more you save. Is this an Awesome Deal or What…???!!!
But of course every Silver Lining has a Cloud around it. In this case, it means we are now in a new Calendar Year, and all members must renew to continue enjoying these Fabulous Benefits in 2017. This year promises to be a Particular Bargain as because, let’s face it, your need for wine is Certain to Increase as Civilization As We Know it Crumbles, Implodes, and Fades into a Cosmic Cinder. Our Philosophy; even Apocolypse is Better when shared with Good Friends and Good Wine!
This weekend, Friday the Thirteenth or no, we offer a Safe and Celebratory Haven, a Salon of sorts, where you can pick up your weekly Bread, Meet Up and Let Down with friends, and be Unconditionally Welcome. Sure, there may be a Yawning Black Hole in that other Washington, one that Threatens our Entire Galaxy, but out here on the Remote Fringes, Life is gonna go on pretty much as before. So everybody take a deep breath…and hold…hold…hold…and a long slow exhalation— aaahhhhhh…hhhhhhhhh…hhhhhhhhh…hhhhhhh…. let a Big Breath happen on its own, and then come on by for some wine and Good Cheer!
We have also decided to be Open Next Friday, January 20, as well…a day that is So Weird that not even Kurt Vonnegut could have made it up, but here it comes. We will be here for you, and invite you to come by and celebrate our New-Found Status, Elevated as it were from being Lowly Tree-Huggers to (I’m not making this up) “Coastal Elites.” That is Totally worth Celebrating, Right? Am I Right? You know I’m Right. Of Course I’m Right.
Btw, this photo was taken last summer at Friday Harbor, at a little waterfall in a park near the docks. Someone had left this Plastic Yellow Duck there, looking quite At Home, actually, Laid Back in Designer Shades, and I immediately saw the Obvious Trumpaphor…all this photo lacks is a bunch of circling Sharks..!
Probably Us Guys aren’t supposed to Talk About This. Then again, those of us married to Island Women, being New Men, naturally feel Some Juice to Show Up for our local Bellingham Protest against the DT’s on January 21. We Coastal Elite Males do have Our Ongoing Responsibilities, and I look forward to joining you and your Hearth-Mates in our local March Against Trumpism next Saturday, January 21.
Of local importance, there is a National Network of Knitters making Hats for this event. Locally, that is our Gud Erth spinner, knitter, and Alaska photographer Nancy S, who has knitted a Pile of Pink Hats for this event, on which Volunteers like Pat stitch a pair of Little Cat Ears.
The idea is that the Million Woman March in Bellingham will include Lots of Pussy Hats. Having been a Liberal for a Long Time, and having Learned, as most Lummi Island Men married to Strong Women have, that Language is Edgy Stuff, we will avoid Interpretive Comment. Suffice it to say we will All Show Up and March at this event in support of the Women We Love, in support of All Beings, of whatever subgroup, because Everyone suffers, and Everyone deserves compassion and a Better Deal.
We are at a Major Crossroads, folks. As Hal the Sentient Computer said in 2001: A Space Odyssey, “Yes…yes…My Mind is Going…I Can Feel It…I Can Feel It…” Right now, we All feel it, and it hurts. So the Koan of the moment seems to be,given that we are all Human Beings, “how can one person’s Model of Utopia be another person’s Model of Dystopia…? Stay tuned….
This week’s Wine Tasting
Flaugerges Les Comptes Blanc ’14 France $13
Aromatic, fruity aromas lead into a vibrant, generous, unctuous palate with lilac and peach overtones, good minerality, and pleasing length.
Poderi Elia Dolcetto d’Alba ’11 Italy $12
Clean, stinging rhubarb, pleasant toastiness, and bright red fruits with a nice touch of sweet cigar smokiness. Very smooth, with cashmere tannins; classic Piemonte style for an everyday wine.
Joel Gott Cab-Merlot’14 Washington $14
Beautiful notes of crème de cassis, vanilla and spice with a medium to full body, beautiful purity and texture. Satisfying and very easy to like.
Flaugerges Les Comptes Rouge ’12 France $13
Grenache blend; Garnet red, with slightly spicy aromas and flavors of olives, herbs, blackcurrant, cherries, and raspberries.
Castillo la Mendoza Crianza ’10 Spain $13
Ruby red with nose of red ripe fruit and morello cherry with vanilla and coconut notes; warm and round, with fruity flavors with notes of figs, toast and licorice; very easy to drink.
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Sonnenblumenbrot (aka Sunflower Seed Bread) – a hearty bread made with bread flour and fresh milled rye, a bit of malt syrup for sweetness and loaded up with sunflower seeds for flavor and crunch. A great all around bread that would be great with soup or stew for the cold weather this week -$5/loaf
Honey Wheat w/ Poppy Seeds & Lemon – made with a mix of bread and fresh milled whole wheat flours, some honey, poppy seeds and lemon zest make for a flavorful loaf. Some of you may remember that I made these as dinner rolls for the Heritage Trust dinner – $5/loaf
And for this week’s pastry…
Rum Raisin Brioche – A delicious rich brioche made with lots of eggs and butter and filled with bits of almond paste, raisins that are soaked in rum overnight, and topped with a delicious chocolate glaze. One of my favorites. These are delicious be sure to order early as quantities are limited – 2/$5
Wine Club Reminder
After several trial iterations in the last few years, we have settled on a pretty simple set of Wine Club principles: you pay us $35 per calendar year, and in return we will give you $5 off on your wine tastings through the year AND we will pay sales tax (8.7%! ) on all your wine purchases for the year.
As we are now entering a new Calendar Year, that means that you must renew your membership to continue these benefits in 2017, when, as nearly as we can tell at this point, your need for wine is likely to increase, and any economist can tell you that your marginal benefit from membership is increasing all the time. Any way you look at it, Wine Club membership may be one of the Last Best Bargains before, you know, the Collapse of Civilization As We Know It!
Old-timers will recall that we are usually closed much of January and February, and this year is no different. However, Bread Fridays continue on their own schedule, and if we are around, we will do a tasting as usual on Friday evenings from 4-7 pm. If we are not here, on some Fridays Janice will be delivering bread, and a sort of impromptu, customer-funded tasting might ensue.
What we can tell you now is that there will be both bread and wine tasting This Friday January 6, and next Friday, January 13.
Then there will be neither bread or wine tasting on January 20.
Mark your calendars, and stay tuned!
New Year’s Eve in Review
Magnuminity: Occurs when Various Elements of the Wine Trade say, “okay, if you buy three cases of This, we will throw in a Big Bottle of That to sweeten the deal.” Such was the case this past year when we bought one case of Tarima Hill Monastrell and got a magnum ( equal to two regular bottles– at left in photo); and, for buying three cases of Bogle Essential Red, we got a Jeroboam ( Three Liters!) of Phantom, their pretty tasty red blend of zin, syrah, and mourvedre (the Big Bottle in the photo). And these large-format bottles definitely added to the Festivity!
Best Finger Food Ever!
Every year our guests seem to try harder to Outdo each other. This year in particular seemed to bring out the best in our Foodie Community, with nearly every little “snack” inviting eye-rolling moans of pleasure. Yummy in Every Direction! So heartfelt Thanks to all of you for sharing your delicious Creations; can there be any greater Pleasure than Good Friends, Good Food, and Good Wine? Ahhhhh…!
Mary Jane’s Stuffed Jalapenos: Spicy, Toasty, Savory, and Rich, not to mention as Lovely as Salmon Swimming Upstream!
Michelle’s Chocolate-Dipped Gibraltar-shaped Macaroons: both Eye-Catching and Delicious!
Mary Beth’s two kinds of Potsticker/Steam Buns with Soy Dip: Fastest Disappearing Dish!
Barbara’s Baked Brie in Puff Pastry: Hot, Gooey, and Addictive!
Ann’s Pepper Bread with Camembert: moist, dense bread with a peppery kick and lots of Umami to accompany your glass of wine!
Principal Active Principle
This week has brought Coopie as close to Normal as we have seen for a couple of months. He is often feisty, energetic and playful, and has had a great appetite. Part of that is due to Pat’s commitment to feeding him along the guidelines of an anti-cancer diet, which as nearly as I can tell was written by dogs. As you might expect, it basically says that dogs should eat what WE eat: a blend of meat, veggies, rice, and even some kibbles (but all Kibbles are Not created Equal!). Both dogs have better appetites and silkier coats, whatever that might mean. And after his post-chemo week of Zero Appetite, his new enthusiasm for food is comforting, as are all the moment to moment manifestations of his particular Aliveness and our collective Companionship.
Tomorrow we take him in for a few tests to see if we need to tweak his treatment plan. For now he is a pretty happy dog, and that is a Wonderful Thing!
This week’s Wine Tasting
Jardin Unoaked Chardonnay ’13 South Africa $15
Alluring aromas of ripe pears and honey lead to a bright, crisp palate of fresh lemon, honey, and a touch of quinine. Delicious!
Steele Outkaste Red ’11 Mendocino $16
53% zinfandel, with syrah, tempranillo, petite sirah, and petit verdot; aromas of black pepper, raspberry, and cobbler, with palate of brambly blackberry, cassis, and spices.
Portteus Bistro Red ’13 Washington $10
54% Merlot and 46% Cabernet Franc. A food friendly wine with delicate, elegant texture. Notes of blackberry, pomegranate, cocoa, honey and licorice, with a creamy finish. Over-delivers for the $.
Tomas Cusine Lliebre ’14 Spain $12
Tempranillo, Merlot, Cab, Grenache, Syrah, and Carignan make for a full-bodied, spiced, currant-like wine reminiscent of old school California Cabernet Sauvignon, with nuances of tobacco, baking chocolate, and fennel.
Chateau Les Croisille Cahors Malbec “Croizillon” ’15 France $15
100% malbec organically farmed by hand; aromas and flavors of black cherry, saddle leather, blackberry, cocoa and spice.
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Seeded Country Hearth- a portion of the flour is pre-fermented overnight in a poolish which allows for a jump start on the enzymatic activity. Made with bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat. Then loaded up with pumpkin sunflower and poppy seeds A nice hearty bread that is a great all around bread -$5/loaf
Levain w/ Pecans and Dried Cherries – made with a levain, also known as sourdough, a nice mix of bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat. Then toasted pecans and dried cherries are added for a nice crunch and sweetness. The addition of dried fruit makes this a great pairing with cheese – $5/loaf
And a special Holiday pastry…
Gibassier – A traditional Christmas time french pastry that includes the sunny flavors of Provence. Made with a rich dough full of eggs, butter and sugar, and then olive oil, orange flower water, candied orange peel and anise seed are added. Ooh, la, la! Quantities are limited so get your order in fast so you don’t miss out – 2/$5
If you are looking for last-minute stocking stuffers (or treats for yourself!) note that we have restocked our chocolate shelves with more offerings from Theo, Seattle’s Premier Chocolatier, and more of the super-refined bars from “Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate,” an innovative and refined chocolatier in Eureka, California, including their Truly Delicious, hedonistic, and Deeply Comforting Drinking Chocolate, both the Regular and the Peppermint.
With the New Year Looming, now is the time to make that Resolution you have been Waffling about for Decades: A Day Without Chocolate Is a Day Without Meaning!”
2016: Year of the Monkey
According to the Astrology Club , The Monkey is an inventive and independent problem solver who symbolizes irrepressible curiosity and creative energy. Intelligent, hyperactive, and sociopathic, the Monkey is free from inhibitions and guilt, not hesitating to test his theories on an unwitting audience. His innate problem-solving tendencies can turn the Monkey into a tricky, opportunistic, and deceptive tactician, whose unscrupulous and adolescent fantasies can both entertain and lead to Disaster.
As I said a year ago when I posted this paragraph, Hmm…I’m getting a bad feeling about this…!
So The Thing that is Now on All Our Minds is, um, now that the Monkey is In Charge, what about (cringe) 2017?
2017: Year of the Fire Rooster
The Rooster is one of three Chinese astrological signs that are energetically unbalanced, in this case the Fire side of Yin, which on the one hand can be sort of warm and fuzzy, hearth-like if you will, not at all a bad thing. It also suggests rewards under this sign will come more from hard work and patience than by chance. In general terms the 2017 combination of Fire with Metal (in each 12-year cycle the Rooster aligns with a different one of the Five Elements) will make for complications and tensions that make problem-solving even more challenging. So even though generally people will be more polite and less stubborn, they will be pragmatically oriented toward a sort of muddling through until things get better, which might take Awhile.
One possible Takeaway from this is something like “keep your eye on the ball, be kind, and stay focused on creating the conditions for things to get better a little down the road.
As I write this, the phrase comes to mind “Muddling Through Mediocrity,” which rings a bell as a book I read many years ago, but to which I can find no reference. Puzzling. Yet this is where this little toy thought train comes into the Station on the “Year of the Fire Rooster”…not so much in the Realm of Ultimate Disaster, but more that of “Keep Your Head Down till it all Blows Over…”
Twelfth Annual “East Coast” New Year’s Eve
Please join us for our annual “East Coast New Year’s Eve Party” from 7- 9pm on New Year’s Eve! We provide the wine, and You bring Something Delicious to Share. When the ball drops in Times Square three hours East, we all hoist our glasses, belt out Auld Lang Syne, and toast the New Year! We welcome this annual opportunity to thank all of you for your support during past year, and toast to even more fun in Aught-Seventeen! Arrrr, lads and lassies, mark yer calendars now ‘n’ start planning yer finger food!
NOTE: The shop WILL BE OPEN Friday, Dec 30 as usual from 4-7, but only open on New Year’s Eve for The Party from 7-9!
Prizes! We will again this year have a Secret Operative sampling the dishes and Assigning Points! Yummiest Dish wins a $25 credit, and Yummiest-Looking Dish wins a $15-dollar credit! So make ’em Good an’ make ’em Pretty!
Another good week for The Coopster!
Coopie’s blood test last week showed his red cell count had increased from a barely alive 17 after his transfusion to 24, meaning he is making red cells faster than he is losing them. He has had good energy and a great appetite this week, and is enjoying being Himself. Though I realize I am probably not being entirely objective about this, it is becoming increasingly clear that yes, he is, indeed the Best Dog Ever, totally tuned in to what is going on around him in every moment.
As you know there are dogs that people love and leave alone all day while they are at work; then when they come home the dog has a vague look of “Have you been Gone?”
Herding dogs in general and Cooper in particular are more of the cloth of looking you directly in the eye as if to say, “You have Abandoned me for four hours and thirty-five minutes; how are you going to make it up to me?” In short, he has a Strong Presence and a Charismatic Personality, an Admirable Being in every respect, who stands Squarely on His Own Four Feet.
On a practical level we are getting better at administering his herbal supplements– turkey tail mushroom capsules to boost his immune system, and yunnan baiyao, a Chinese herb blend invented a century ago that is quite effective at reducing bleeding, either internally or from wounds. Hiding capsules in food is still hit or miss, but the easiest method of administration. However he is a smart guy and if he detects the capsule before he swallows its tasty wrapping he is adept at separating it from the good stuff and leaving it on the floor. At that point we resort to the more direct method of open the and getting better with practice. Still, though, it is So much Easier for All Concerned when pill is embedded in a nice piece of sausage!
This week’s Wine Tasting
Waitsburg Cellars “Three” white ’15 Washington $16
Outstanding blend of Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Picpoul; Medium-bodied, pure, clean and lively, with lots of apple blossom, buttered citrus and hints of tangerine on the nose. Rich and fresh with hint of bitters on the finish.
Virginia Dare Pinot Noir ’14 California $17
Uncomplicated but entirely engaging with notes of blackberry, ground black pepper, and black olives along with typical Russian River notes of strawberry and pit fruits.
Gilbert Pilgrim Red Washington $17
Malbec, grenache, pinot noir; nose of dried cranberry and pomegranate with white pepper and mint notes; flavors begin soft, round, smooth and balanced.
Tommasi Poggio Al Tufo Rompicollo ’12 Italy 93pts $18
Opulent, with a raisiny nuance to the ripe, soft red cherry, sweet spice, and herb aromas and flavors. Velvety, opulent, well balanced and smooth, with long, with lush, smooth tannins. Terrific buy!
La Quercia Montepulciano Riserva ’12 Italy $18
100% organic montepulciano from low-yield vines; rich, port-like nose of candied cherries that carry through on the expressive, rich, earthy palate; nice balance of fruit and acidity.
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Pain aux Noix- a delicious bread from fresh milled white whole wheat, milk, and butter, with lots of toasted hazelnuts, a traditional holiday bread. Shaped into a 4-strand braid. A delicious, refined bread that makes great toast or better yet, french toast. -$5/loaf
And for a bit of pastry…
Brioche au Chocolate – Made with a rich brioche dough full of eggs and butter. The dough is rolled out, spread with pastry cream and covered with chopped bittersweet chocolate, folded over and cut into strips. Yum, Yum! – 2/$5
Dick Taylor Drinking Chocolate!
Let’s face it, Life is often challenging, and at those times we all need a little help, a little boost. The downer you are, the bigger boost you need, and that’s where Chocolate comes in. Chocolate is there for you. It doesn’t criticize; it’s never passive-aggressive; it doesn’t make judgments. It’s There for you in the deepest possible way: sometimes it’s your Only Friend. Yes, yes, Sad but True. Because we never know when Life’s Delivery Person is going to show up with something indigestible, we all need to keep a little secret stash of Chocolate tucked away. File it under “Emergency Preparedness;” when the worst happens, you don’t want to be without it.
For all these patently Sensible reasons, we have restocked our chocolate shelves with more offerings from Theo, Seattle’s Premier Chocolatier, and more of the super-refined bars from “Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate, ” an innovative and refined chocolatier in Eureka, California. More important for right now, with so many Cold days and nights, we have stocked up with their Truly Delicious, hedonistic, and Deeply Comforting Drinking Chocolate, both the Regular and the Peppermint. It goes fast; don’t miss it!
Twelfth Annual “East Coast” New Year’s Eve Gala Extravaganza!
Please join us for our annual “East Coast New Year’s Eve Party” from 7-9pm on New Year’s Eve! We provide the wine, and You bring something delicious to share. When the ball drops in Times Square three hours East, we all hoist our glasses and belt out Auld Lang Syne and toast the New Year! We welcome this annual opportunity to thank all of you for your support during past year, and toast to even more fun in Aught-Seventeen! Arrrr, lads and lassies, mark yer calendars now ‘n’ start planning yer finger food!
NOTE ON HOLIDAY HOURS: This year both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve fall on Saturdays, when we would ordinarily be open from 2-6. Because so many people have other plans for these days, however, the wine shop will NOT be open for regular business on either day. The shop WILL BE OPEN both Friday, Dec 23 and Friday, Dec 30 as usual from 4-7, but closed all day on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve except for The Party from 7-9!
Important Note! Speaking of Finger Food, we will again this year have a Secret Operative sampling the dishes and Assigning Points! Yummiest Dish wins a $25 credit, and Yummiest-Looking Dish wins a $15-dollar credit! So make ’em Good an’ make ’em Pretty!
Doh! It was Never about Chads!
The movie was a long time ago, probably mid-fifties. I think it was “Abbott and Costello meet Captain Kidd.” The schtick is that they are Pirates, and in this particular scene they are dividing up The Spoils. So the straight guy (Abbott) is counting shares and he starts two piles of coins in front of him…
“There’s one for you…and one for me…
“And here’s two for you (one coin), and here’s one, two for me (two coins)…
“And here’s three (one coin) for you, and here’s one, two, and three (more) for me.”
The point is that the people who make the rules have a lot of power. We saw that in the 2000 election, when a Republican Secretary of State, with the help of the Supreme Court, got “W” appointed as President over Gore, who had won the popular vote. And we see it again now, before our eyes, with probability-defying results all over the map, including especially Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina. among others. And we find that any attempts at conscientious recounts are effectively blocked. Our country has been Stolen from us. We Know it. We can Feel it. As one headline from the Bush era put it, they intend to “Roll Back the Twentieth Century.”
But hey, don’t Despair…since most of our members are Leftist Radicals, the Good News is that Wine Sales should be up for the next several years, or until the Collapse of Civilization As We Know It, whichever, you know, comes first…
A good week for Coopie
Cooper has done much better since his transfusion last Thursday. His red cells are still pretty low, but he has had better appetites for important things like food, walks ( sniffing and sending p-mail to other dogs plays a major role), snacks, snuggles, going in and out the flip-flop door, and of course his evening Greenie– in other words being pretty much Himself. Therefore we too have had a good week, are deeply grateful for it and hoping for a lot more!
Tomorrow he goes back to the vet for a numbers check– let’s all keep our paws crossed for good news!
This week’s Wine Tasting
Chateau L’Ermitage ’15 France $10
Roussanne, grenache, and viognier. Light gold in color with aromas of peach, flowers, and honey; the Grenache provides the richness and the Roussanne the balancing acidity.
Renegade Red ’13 Washington $11
Nicely crafted blend of Cab, Merlot, and Cab Franc; shows lots of red and black fruits, scents of loamy minerality, and fine grained tannins that are matched with balanced acidity.
Anciano 5-Yr Tempranillo Riserva ’08 Spain $11
Aromas of damp earth, mocha, tobacco, and black cherry. On the palate it is sweetly fruited, easy-going, and nicely balanced leading to a seamless, fruity finish.
Chapoutier Bila Haut Roussillon Villages ’15 France $14
Grenache, carignan, syrah from schiste, gneiss, and clay soils; exhibits distinctive pepper and spice of Syrah, but are bigger and rounder in the mouth, with great complexity coming from the Carignan and Grenache.
Castellare di Castellina Chianti Classico ’14 Italy $18
Fermented with ambient yeasts and aged in cement for up to eight months to rest and lock in its fruity freshness; easy palate of bright berry; silky and seductive mouthfeel.