lummi island wine tasting November 22 ’14


At left is the lovely new logo of the latest incarnation of the “you may not love it but by gawd you shuah need it” Beach Store Cafe, Lummi Island’s only Real Restaurant. I don’t know who designed this logo, but I do absolutely love it. I have an old ball cap with the logo of the late-90′s incarnation of the BSC, but it is too grubby to photograph. This logo graces the web page of the new Cafe.

Anyway, Ryan (he who opens our wine shop on most Fridays) is on loan to the BSC as wine advisor/wait staff trainer/sommelier for a few weeks, so is not available to open the wine shop on Fridays for a few weeks. Unfortunately, we are not available this weekend either, as we have a long standing reservation for Pre-Thanksgiving dinner at Ciao Thyme on Friday…!!

Your important Take-Aways here are that 1) we will NOT be open this Friday as usual, and 2) Janice will NOT be bringing bread this weekend. (We know because she and David will be with us at Ciao Thyme!) We regret any inconvenience, and look forward to seeing you Friday regulars on Saturday as you load up wines for Thanksgiving!

Old BSC Logo

dscn1046 (Modified)I don’t remember the exact year. The basic history (these are impressions, not facts, so I expect many corrections before next week!) is that there was once an old Store in this building called the Beach Store, because it was a “store” and because it was on a little spot actually known as “Beach, Washington.” The store closed a Long Time Ago. In the late eighties, Mark and Lis Marshall bought it, made it beautiful, and reopened it as the original Beach Store Cafe.

Over several years they built it into a Fine Dining Experience, with great food, good jazz, and a clientele from both the Island and the mainland. They closed the restaurant and moved on to other things sometime in the mid-nineties, and the building was dormant for several years, prompting the brief and incandescent manifestation of Java the Hut (more on that next week!), which for a brief time presented great coffee and weekend pasta meals where Art Hohl now has his Glass Studio.

This old sew-on decal has lost most of its color over the years, and I don’t remember who did the graphic. It shows sunrise over Mt. Baker, a checkered table with (l to r) a cup of coffee, a loaf of bread, and fresh vegetables. And yes, I think there was more color back then…but it is still a cool image. Obviously graphics have gotten a lot less personal in fifteen years. But the idea is the same, here and everywhere: “come on in, sit down, and be nourished. And take a moment to savor this amazing view!”

We take a moment to wish Tess, Jason, Craig, Janice, Ryan, and all the staff every success with their new vision of the BSC! Most of you will love it; some will hate it; and we will continue to bow in Gratitude to anyone who puts in the time and energy to try to make a restaurant happen way out here at the End of the Universe.


Good deeds, Punishment, and “Never Volunteer”

Circumstances require that I be a little cryptic here, a little (for lack of a better term) diplomatic, a tad obscure. The insight I would like to share with you is that after feeling Very Badly Burned in my last outing in Community Service over a decade ago, I have been duly conditioned to “never volunteer” (yes I know it is a split infinitive, mea culpa, mea culpa, it’s for a good cause…!).

So it was with some trepidation that recently I took on a couple of Civic Responsibilities. And for the most part it has been congenial and rewarding. So from that perspective, the old Adage about volunteering is entirely misplaced.

The image here is Titan Prometheus’ daily torture, assigned by a Jealous Zeus, of having his liver ripped out and eaten by an eagle, only to have it regenerate in time for the next day’s repetition of the same Hell. At the moment, given things that have been going on in my life lately, it is absolutely clear to me that this fable, this image, this extraordinary metaphor, could ONLY have been the Insight of someone who, with all Good Intentions, in a weak moment allowed himself or herself to be persuaded to volunteer for the Public Good. We are a strange species, passionate, irrational, and hateful as often as we are thoughtful, rational, and compassionate. No wonder the Rats fear us, huh…?



Curiously, the image here illustrates the point at a deeper metaphysical level. This paragraph started with an intention to take a more positive attitude about our so-called “Culture,” with a search on “Pollyanna,” motivated by my new conversational mantra, “Yeah, it’s all Good!” But “Pollyanna” turned out to be yet another name that has been commercialized into meaninglessness by the New Thought Police: a search for images relating to “Pollyanna” delivered (I’m not making this up, you should try it for yourself!) a gazillion images of nail polish ads, which were, like, “Hello, wtf…?”

This leaves us with the gear-spinning, clutch-slipping, mind-blowing Reality that the Big Algorithm designed to Think As We Think has determined that a commercial interpretation of what is basically a  literary reference must be what people are looking for when they put the term in a Search Engine. I mean, just Think about that for a few seconds…OMD, what happened to what we used to call “Reality”….!

Admittedly, this recent finding makes it even harder to keep telling ourselves, “Hey Dude, it’s all Good, man!” So okay, it’s not necessarily All Good, and if you believe that and don’t watch out you are gonna get Squashed into a blob of yellow-green Goo like a Bug. What’s important here is that we’re all salmon swimming against a powerful stream, and no matter how tired we get, we still have to keep swimming. We swim for Truth, we swim for Wholeness, we swim for Whatever we believe in. Sorry, Pollyanna, modern politics and business have made you an endangered species; it is, we are sorry to say, not a good time for Optimists…but hey, hang in there!

This week’s tasting menu

Brancott sauv blanc ’12 New Zealand $14
Spicy quince and Asian pear flavors rest on a crisp, juicy body, with plenty of lime zest and grapefruit notes through the juicy finish.

Campo Viejo Tempranillo ’12      Spain       $11
Aromas of ripe red fruit followed by gentle sweet notes of vanilla and spices. On the palate it is perfumed, soft and fresh with a long finish that leaves memories of red fruit, vanilla and cocoa.A perennial go-to value here at AWG.

Maryhill Winemaker’s Red ’11 Washington $11
Aromas of berry jam, chocolate, and cinnamon, with fruity notes of strawberry, caramel, and hints of white pepper, oak, and tart marionberry.

Lacroix-Vanel Fine Amor ’12 France $18
Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvedre, and Carignan; generous dark cherry and black raspberry tinged with lavender, sassafras, brown spices and tobacco, with suggestions of iodine and crushed stone.

Pomum Red ’11 Washington $19
Bordeaux blend with a bit of syrah– Inviting, open-knit aromas of plum, raspberry and tobacco. Supple, sweet and mellow; plummy and broad in the mouth, displaying good depth of texture.t

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Ferry photo




Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting november 15, ’14

This Week’s Breads

20141024-122220.jpgJanice brings a basket of fresh-baked bread for sale each Friday afternoon shortly after 4pm. All breads are first come first served.

This week:

Hearty Country Hearth Bread with toasted pumpkin seeds –mmm, delicious!   $5/loaf

Multi-grain Cranberry Walnut Bread– made with buckwheat and whole wheat flours, dried cranberries and toasted walnuts – turkey sandwich anyone? – yum!    $5/loaf

Be sure to stock up this week, cuz no bread for the next TWO WEEKS!  Next “Bread Friday” will be Friday December 5th!!


Green Ketch update

dscn1039 (Modified)The three-foot hole in her side has been repaired, and she has been drawn in higher on the shore somewhat in the shelter of Lovers’ Bluff. It may be some time until engine power is restored, and we have received no updates. We can tell you that she is sitting Very Close to the spot on the beach where the Happy Jack spent many quiet years before being carved up into car-sized chunks and hauled away Somewhere. The Green Ketch (aka “Ning Ning”) is a long way from home and needs a lot of work. So maybe she will just lie here for the winter and then we’ll see.

We worry that, like the old cars that we can’t seem to part with, and which will probably never run again, she could settle into the landscape for a decade or two, waiting for rescue. Still, she’s pretty solid, and we continue to hope her lads will sail her away yet.


Longing for something to Yay about

As nearly as I can tell, what I am calling “yaying” became extinct when I turned about 12,  maybe even before, and that was way back in the mid-fifties. Here’s how it worked. It’s early Saturday afternoon, any time of year. A gang of neighborhood kids walks en masse downtown to one of the local movie theaters (there were only four). There was usually a Newsreel, often a Cartoon, and then a main feature, often a Western featuring Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, or even Audie Murphy (the soft-spoken, real-world war hero). And of course there were lots of war movies, also.

Now I know it is hard for the four of you who occasionally read this blog to imagine a world in which TV was still a novelty, and home video players were the stuff of science fiction. The point here is that each Saturday, given the adventurous nature of the films, and given that we were kids and could still allow our imaginations to get us excited, there were always a few scenes in each movie in which the hero, (or the actual Cavalry!) would show up just in the nick of time to save The Girl or the Hapless Scapegoat from the cruel plans of the Bad Guys in general and the Really Bad Guy in particular. Inevitably, each time such a moment arrived (sometimes actually accompanied by a bugler playing “Charge!”) the entire theater would erupt in a deafening “YAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYY!!!!! (click on the image and turn on your sound for a half-hearted imitation of what it was like)

Unfortunately right now feels like one of the Darker Moments in our history, for a lot of reasons, including the recent “Best Election that money could buy,” the Drug Traffickers in Mexico, the Fanatics in the Middle East (yes, including Israel), the bankers owning Everything, Climate Change putting the Entire Future up for grabs, Democrats who act like Republicans, Republicans who act like Idiots…in sum, the World Gone Crazy. So the tiny point of this rant is, yeah, I long for the simple days when here in our Darkest Hour the Cosmic Cavalry would come charging over the hill, bringing with them Justice, Peace, Hope, Community, and Mutual Respect, and we would all stand on our seats and yell with all our hearts, “YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYY!!!!!

sad sigh…

November Ducks

dscn1038 (Modified)Given the small rant above (I’ve been under a lots of stress lately), sometimes the best we can do is take comfort in the small glories of Everyday Life. Most days find us walking the dogs from our place down to Legoe Bay. Most of the year there is a group of Mallards (three pairs) resident in the little slough along Legoe Bay Road south of Tuttle. I don’t know enough about them to know if the same families are year-round residents (please post a comment if you know) or if there is a parade of transients. What I do know is that their life is appealing– a little paddling, a little browsing, a little sticking your head in the water and your tail in toward the sky, a little munching, a little napping…hey, even an occasional spin around the joint on wing! All in all, a pretty good life, and all in all, a pretty good reminder that we are so very lucky to be here in this place and, like our feathered friends, have each other and this lovely pond to swim in.

comforted sigh…


You sing, we pour

dscn1037 (Modified)It has been very slowly evolving as a “policy.” But like starfish wars, it has been So Slow that unless you see it in ultra slo-mo, it’s hard to tell anything is going on at all. But every once in a while, a musician will stop by the wine shop, and at some point in the conversation will offer to go out to the car and get an instrument and play music for awhile.

It turns out that because of all the hard surfaces in the shop the acoustics are excellent. Of course, this has been clear to all of us for a long time, because generally somewhere between 10 and 14 people in the space the ambient conversational noise level makes conversation impossible. Yes, that’s right, the act of conversation makes conversation impossible. But that’s another story.

The point here is that friend and occasional wine shop visitor Paul came by in late afternoon on Sunday, near the close of Studio Tour, with his lovely Martin D28 guitar (which, I confess, I DO covet!), and offered to play a few tunes. As always, we were delighted, because when everyone is listening and not talking, live music sounds very, very good in our little space. The downside of our acoustic situation is that when ten or more people are talking at once, conversation is essentially impossible! All of this is to say that we encourage performers of all persuasions and talents to bring your stuff by. We are always happy to trade a full tasting for two for a 20 minute performance (longer if you want!).

This Week’s Wine Tasting

Domaine Girard Chardonnay ’12 France $13
Medium to full bodied with fleshy notes of fresh-picked apples and pears; no oak, but spends time on the lees to give it richness; clay soils at a higher elevation impart a delightful freshness.

Renegade Red ’12 Washington $10
Blend of mostly Cab Sauv, 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.

Atalaya Laya ’12 Spain $10
70% Garnacha and 30% Monastrell; Cassis, blueberry, pungent herbs and mocha aromas lead to an open-knit palateof fresh cherry, dark berry, and a hint of black pepper and a subtle floral note.

Renaudie Tradition  ’11    France    $16
Côt and Cab Franc; aromas of cherries, blackcurrant, and dark fruit with fine, silky tannins.

William Church Bishop’s Blend ’10   Washington    $18
Cab-dominant Bordeaux blend with a splash of Grenache; lush and round with notes of grenadine, black cherry, sweet tobacco and forest spice.

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lummi island wine tasting november 8 ’14 winter studio tour

This Week’s Breads

20141024-122220.jpgJanice brings a basket of fresh-baked bread for sale each Friday afternoon shortly after 4pm.

This week:

–Italian walnut with a hint of rosemary;
–Breton Bread which includes buckwheat and rye flours – awesome with cheese and coldcuts.

Whatever the recipes of the day, after 4:30 or 5:00 the pickings often get slim…be warned!



Studio Tour Artists

dscn1029 (Modified)This weekend we continue with our showing of recent works by Anne Gibert, plus adding some new works by Meredith Moench. We will be open for wine tasting Friday from 4-7, Saturday and Sunday from 1-6 pm.






Two sides to every story

dscn1020 (Modified) dscn1021For the dinner table on Sunday Pat picked a bouquet of hydrangeas down the street. Not only were they lovely and exotic, but the difference in coloring from different angles makes them seem two entirely different plants. Our weather continues to be unseasonably mild though quite wet. The occasional sunbreaks are a relief and a treat, and the lingering echoes of a long and lovely summer still show in the landscape around us. Though the weather has been very pleasant much of the past year, in another sense it has been so weird for so many months that it definitely heightens concerns about our climate future.

As the old teaching goes, “Things are not as they seem……nor are they otherwise.”

Green Ketch Afloat!

dscn1025 (Modified)For the past few weeks we have been following the fate of the Green Ketch, which spent much of the summer anchored in Legoe Bay, and which broke away from her mooring two weeks ago and got stranded on shore, unfortunately perched on her side against the concrete ramp used for launching reefnet rigs. There the waves were relentlessly making the small hole in her side bigger and bigger, which prompted the heroic mobilization of Island volunteers to move her south to better shelter and a friendlier beach.


dscn1026 (Modified)Yesterday we noticed she was again afloat, her two young crewmen Bud and Kyler busily pumping our water after having spent much of the night patching her cement hull. They were as surprised as anyone that she was floating, and concerned that pressure on their cement patchwork would open up. But today she was still afloat, and presumably last night they continued the repair on the inside part of the hole, reinforcing the work they did the night before. They turn out to be resourceful and committed to getting the boat back to her home anchorage in Olympia. Almost certainly they will need to do a lot of electrical system replacement before the engine will work again, but we are betting they will make it happen. Arrrr, fair winds to ye, lads, and an easy, followin’ sea…!

Mah jong Ladies        

dscn1028 (Modified (2))As I have often mentioned, my Thursday evening blogging coincides with the weekly meeting of the Local Neighborhood Ladies Weekly Mah Jong Time-Out Time. This is an unlikely group pursuing an unlikely activity in an unlikely place, and it has been going on for some years now. Tonight I had to take time out to shoot a few photos of the new paintings that Meredith just installed this afternoon (see above) and found this unruly crowd. Depending on the season, and who is around and available any particular Thursday night it seems to vary from three or four to, in this case, seven.

I have gotten the impression that one of the attractions is that there is no agenda and no objective except to step away from the mundane demands of daily life, share wine and conversation, and yes, play this ancient game, although everyone knows nothing at all is at stake.

So this is a good lesson for all of us, to remind ourselves many times a day: “Nothing Ultimate is at stake here…!”


This Week’s Wine Tasting

Marchetti Tenuta de Cavaliere Verdicchio ’13     Italy    $16
Full-bodied, with lush pear, melon, and a touch of honey; a little off-dry, with an extra month on the vine to develop greater body, structure, and fruit essence; deftly made, with beautiful acidity. Lovely!

Marchesi del Salento nero d’avola ’13      Italy    $9
no notes available…but hey, I must have liked it for some reason!

Borsao Garnacha ’12 Spain $9
Inky purple. Aromas and flavors of blueberry, blackberry and bitter cherry are brightened by peppery spices. Concentrated and velvety in texture, with good finishing breadth and cling. An outstanding value.

Domaine Girard Malepere Rouge ’12    France      $14
An easy-drinking Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot; vines are 17 years old; harvesting is manual and totally destemmed; soils are mainly clay and silt, with some gravels.

Matthews Blackboard Red ’12 Washington $18
Aromas of strawberry, plum and chocolate. Silky and pliant on entry, concentrated and seamless in the middle, with plum and spicecake flavors complicated by vanilla and cola notes, finishing with soft tannins and moderate grip.

Wine Tasting