Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Penny Profiler #34

Victoria Trimmer.  This was my first (and only, to date) delivery of pennies that arrived via Priority Mail.  You can imagine the smile on my face when I picked up the box to hear its sweet musical jingle.  I immediately knew what kind of present arrived.  The thoughtful note was too good not to share. 

“In for a penny, in for a pound. If you are going to take a risk at all, might as well make it a big risk.” Once involved, one must not stop at half measures!  This term originally meant that if one owes a penny one might as well owe a pound, and came into American use without changing the British monetary unit to dollar.  

I crossed paths with Victoria when I was a mere intern, starting out in the industry more than 15 years ago.  She is a woman I often look up to with a sustained passion in all things family, wine, food, community, fishing, travel, and then some.  

Sunday, July 29, 2012

What about the food?

From the inception I knew that I wanted fun, bold flavors, new spins on old classics, new spins on new spins, and overall to offer amazing quality food at reasonable prices.  I had my eyes set on only one chef.  Some of my colleagues cautioned me not to put all my eggs in one basket but I truly felt in my heart and gut that this was the one.  That is, if this person would have me.  Thoughts entered my mind that this person might not get or like what I was trying to create or perhaps they had their sites on something else.  After a lot of back and forth, massaging the terms, expanding the vision, this courtship has been solidified. I am over the moon with excitement, relief, and joy.  I cannot wait to introduce you!   We’re planning the coming out party now, so stay tuned.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Penny Profiler #33

Michi Suzuki & Jeanine Burke.  Movers and Shakers extraordinaire.  I can’t decide whether they have their fingers on the pulse or they are the pulse.  Their impressive credentials include being moms, business owners (see it for yourself at http://www.suzukichoumedia.com and http://www.windermere.com/agents/jeanine-burke-1), civic wonder women, animal lovers, cyclists, spirited friends, excellent cooks, drinkers, and disco dancers (although Jeanine really deserves the title on this one)… and this list just scratches the surface because the list goes on and on!  In the midst of all of that, they made time to deliver pennies for my project.  This blog feels a little like a modern day show & tell, that allows me to introduce you all to my special friends.  I think they’re pretty rad, neato, tubular, or whatever I would have said back in 1980.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Penny Profiler #32

Bo Maisano & Sue McCown. Sue is among my dearest friends and while she is worthy of my constant praise, Bo (her beau) deserves the credit for this penny endowment. 

The picture doesn’t do the 18 lbs of pennies justice.  These coins have been with him, a collection on the floor of his car, since he lived in Louisiana before 2000. Every so often, he would throw them in a bag when he cleaned the car. When he returned to New Orleans post Katrina, a new bag started and as he let me know, there are lots of dirty Katrina pennies in the midst too.  Moving around all of those years, the bag just came along for the trip, getting a little bigger year after year. It only shrank when he would rifle through it looking for quarters for the parking meter.  Then my callout arrived in his inbox for these little one scent wonders and he granted this loving collection a new home. 

When I think about one single penny and its seemingly minuscule worth, I think about the bigger collection.  By themselves they mean very little, but join them with a group and their union makes something very special and unique with beautifully woven stories.  So humbled they will be the ground floor to my first bar.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Subject to Public Opinion

My annual Wine Rocks event drew to a close last week drawing the praise of most who were in attendance, but not all.  An attendee who writes for the Seattle Weekly blog shared her disdain for the night and it was a reminder of an old lesson… “You can please some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time”.  I walked away feeling conflicted.  On one hand grateful that we were noticed, just not in the way I would have hoped.  And, no matter what the circumstances are, you don’t want people to leave with a bad taste in their mouth. 

This made me think of the scrutiny I will open myself and crew up to with a public establishment.  Brimmer & Heeltap will be subjected to even more reviews, especially as those that want to share experiences - good and bad - scratch that social media itch.   I just want all feedback to be overwhelmingly great. But I believe that no matter what we try to create or the level to which we try to control the factors ensuring an enjoyable experience, some people just won’t get it or won’t like us no matter what we do to make it better.  Let the thick skin begin growing extra layers.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Penny Profiler #31

Julia Jongsma. I am convinced that she was born in the wrong era or perhaps mixed in between a few.  A lovely lady that is straddled with women’s lib and free love.  She’s among the first to hug a tree, donate to kickstarter and promote a cause on seeyourimpact.org.   Her adoration of beer, wine, and all things booginish lure the best of us.  One of these years I’ll join her naked splendor and ride along side at the Solstice Parade.  Her laugh (and handkerchief episodes) are never to be forgotten.  While her butt may be in a different state at the moment, someday she’ll be back and be bellied up to the B&H bar and we’ll all be better for it.   

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Penny Profiler #30

Danielle Zahaba.  Witty banter, literary tales, excellent use of adjectives or superlatives, and delectable cocktails come to mind with Miss DZ.  Our paths crossed when she returned to the great northwest after a stint on the east coast.  My liver and reality tv show frivolity can attest to her spirited return.  My favorite cocktail of hers that will have a spot on our menu (invoice me for the royalties) is the Snarky Ginger served in a rocks glass over ice.  1.5 ounces of Bourbon, ½ ounce lime juice, dash of rhubarb bitters and top with ginger beer.  I cannot confirm or deny that the cocktail name was derived from the reputation of said friend.  Snarky isn’t a bad thing!

Monday, July 9, 2012


I wrestle with what to include/exclude on our menu of drinking options.  There are so many wonderful wines, brews and spirits.  I see the list changing often and with emphasis on the more limited production and owner operated products.  This alone is worthy of its own post.

My time at Pike & Western wine shop and their new sister, Soul Wine, helped open my palate in ways I can never repay.  I often rely upon recommendations from their spirited team to introduce me to the latest and greatest. 

Meet the 2009 Sattler St. Laurent from Burgenland, retails for around $20 +/-.  I had never heard of Burgenland before this wine and I couldn’t be happier to know such a place exists after trying it.  Burgenland is Austria’s most Eastern province and joined the Republic only in 1921.  Before that, they were under Hungarian administration and referred to as “Western Hungary” or “Vierburgenland”, that means four castle land.

Erich Sattler is part of a fourth generation winemaking family taking the helm around 1999.  If you’re ever in the neighborhood and want to visit them check out  http://www.erichsattler.at/Default.aspx

A bit about the grape: St. Laurent is a highly aromatic dark-skinned wine grape from the same family as Pinot Noir, originating in France.  It is the most widely planted red variety in the Czech Republic.  In Austria, it is primarily found in the regions of Niederosterreich and Burgenland.  A small quantity is also grown in New Zealand and the varietal is also finding a small foothold in Canada.

The wines are part of the Terry Theise Collection and his write up was too priceless not to share…

“Three days’ bottled when I saw it, but its juicy velvety texture was lovely and the sweet plum fruit gives a forthright tasty wine with substance and discretion. Though the texture is almost creamy, the quality of fruit is dry and leans in the Mourvedre direction. 

I had a jar of some truffle goop and wanted to make use of it. Then I thought of Bouloud’s black-truffle and foie burger, and I thought I too can be decadent, so we got some ground veal and made us some slutty patties with the truffle stuff, and just to totally gild the lily we stuffed a pat of Dartagnan black truffle butter in the middle of each, tomelt as the burgers cooked. Oh yeah baby, it tastes as good as it sounds – and the wine to drink with it is precisely, absolutely specifically and particularly a “basic” St. Laurent, assuming you can’t find a decent basic Chorey-Les-Beaune, or would rather pay half its price. 

The bigger “reserve” St. Laurent would have too much fruit, and maybe oak would show, and these wicked little burgers don’t need all that mojo – they have their own. What they need is a yummy wine that knows how to be a straight-man and let the food get the laughs. 

We’re all insanely busy stretching towards the stellar; we really got to rawk the carafe, but if I stand for anything in this lil’ wine-life of mine, it is to insist we learn to cherish wines of modesty. It will make us more kind. It will help us understand the beauty of the humble. It will save us money! 

I have a fantasy that somewhere up on a stage, some international wine mega-star, Guigal comes to mind, is getting a big ostentatious trophy for attaining an average “score” of 98.3 points for his $300+ wines, but back in the big general tasting they’re cleaning up, and a guy approaches some Rhône grower whose $12 Cotes-du-Rhône gave him pleasure, and he says to the grower, “Thank you for this wine, it makes me happy.” No question in my mind where I’d rather be, and who I’d rather be.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Penny Profiler #29

Mandy Machamer.  My mom told me growing up that boyfriends will come and go but girlfriends can last a lifetime.  Mandy and I may have met when we each had different men on our arms but thankfully the girlfriend connection passed muster.  She is one of the silliest, most outgoing girls I know.  With a distinguishable laugh that lights up a room, I can hardly wait for her butt to be at the bar for some comic and sweet relief. 

For the penny exchange I was invited over to enjoy dinner for one of the first al fresco meals of the season.  Mandy, her sweet boyfriend Brian, and their pet hedgehog Quest made my night!  

Monday, July 2, 2012

Local Inspirations (Part IV)

I continue to scour this area, and beyond, for destinations that motivates my senses and act as a template for better business practices.  These are a few downtown options that I have always been impressed with and hope that you can make time to enjoy a meal within their walls.

Lecosho: Matt Janke won me over years ago at his gourmet counter in the market known as Matt’s in the Market.  Today, Lecosho is always among my favorites to visit.  It’s convenient and semi-hidden location on Harbor Steps makes this a great destination downtown for lunch, happy hour, and dinner.

Beloved Dish: Tie between the anchovy salad or the roasted chicken
Special detail: Great happy hour & late night menu!

Farestart: Their tagline is “the most socially responsible crouton you’ll ever eat.”  This is a comprehensive 16 week training program combining hands on food service training with classroom instruction, individual case management and job placement services.  This program prepares homeless and disadvantaged men and women for jobs in the restaurant and hospitality industry and helps them to keep those jobs. 

Each Thursday evening they host Guest Chef Night where a different local area restaurant brings their culinary team to work with the students in preparing a 3 course meal for only $29.95, with a 100% of those proceeds going back into the program. 

Beloved Chef: Paratti Café (His business partner is a former graduate of this program)
Special Detail: Farestart offers catering options too!
Favorite Server: Timothy