Friday, May 31, 2013

Penny Profiler #57

If you'll recall a couple profilers ago, I intentionally skipped one as we were waiting on official clearance.  Today we received some great news and I can officially welcome Deanna Mantie to the penny profiles.

Banner Bank has agreed to lend us the start up funds necessary to set our ship in motion and join us down this exciting path.  Headquartered in Walla Walla, they have been in business for more than a century and pride themselves on strong customer relations and a high level of community involvement.  Our cup of gratitude is overflowing and cannot wait to make them proud of their decision.

Deanna will now be my bank liaison from here on out and I am sure we are going to have plenty of opportunities to get to know each other better.  At our last gathering I told her that I was leaving our meeting to see one of my old customers to pick up some pennies and explaining the backstory.  She immediately pulled one from her wallet adding  it to the collection.  The other penny profiles have a long term bond in common and while this is a new introduction, the gesture was sincere and heartfelt just like the others. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Penny Profiler #59

Betty Frost. Have you ever known someone for a long time but never really known them?  Betty is someone with whom I have crossed paths for years, often at wine and food events.  I have always had an affinity for her but never really known the source since our engagements have been in passing, until now.  Betty immediately responded to my penny query and we recently sat down for a lovely breakfast.

I learned of her deep love for animals, pastry, wine, cheese, volunteering, cooking, travel, and tomatoes (in no particular order).  She has lived in England, Italy, and Peru almost counts as a place of residence. 

Her active life and mind is no doubt a magnet for my adoration.  She radiates style, confidence, warmth and charisma.  I couldn't be more thankful for our penny exchange breakfast and look forward to strengthening the existing ties.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Maria’s Got Your Back (Literally)

As most of you know, my recent post has been working with the Maria Hines Restaurant Group, first helping open Agrodolce and the last few months as Lead Server at Tilth.  Maria was kind enough to bring me on board knowing my long term potential was limited. 

Her culinary achievements speaks for themselves and loudly:  James Beard Award for Best Chef Northwest, Food & Wine Magazine’s 10 Best New Chefs, New York Times top 10 best new restaurants in the country, Iron Chef winner, and all three of her restaurants certified organic under Oregon Tilth. Only ten restaurants in the nation have the latter certification by the way. 

As impressive, it is worth noting that Maria is a board member with PCC Farmland Trust.  Their mission is to secure, preserve and steward threatened farmland in the Northwest, ensuring that generations of local farmers productively farm using sustainable, organic growing methods. The Farmland Trust takes its mission one step further by working to place farmers on rescued property, actively producing food for the local community. To date, PCC Farmland Trust has saved eight farm properties, totaling 1169 acres that support 13 organic farms.

Hopefully it is obvious how she has your culinary back, but wait there’s more!  Maria is in the process of updating the dining room at Tilth with a fresh paint job and new chairs, slated for a debut later this summer.  Knowing firsthand the daunting list of expenses for getting started, she has gifted me these green chairs.  They will undoubtedly get a little makeover before the B&H introduction but I am a firm believer in good juju and given the great dining experiences guests have had in them to date, I am beyond grateful for this amazing gesture. We want to make her proud and the future guests of B&H.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Penny Profiler #58

Yes, I intentionally skipped #57.  You'll see why soon enough.

#58 is dedicated to Mr. Gary Simeral. Gary is one of the most loyal and generous customer I have ever met.  His work routine brought him to the market weekly and he made a point of coming by The Tasting Room on each visit.  He would talk to anyone that would listen, attend every event we hosted, and for a man in his mid seventies still finds the time to tend to his several hundred roses, collect art, travel, and run his own business.

I have no doubt that Gary will be sitting at the bar upon opening, and I can only hope the neighbor to either side will indulge in his hair raising stories from yesteryear.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Penny Profiler #56

Kristen Winn.  Industry relations connected us while she was at DeLille Cellars and me at the Washington Wine Commission.  Needless to say our worlds have commingled for the better part of a decade and recent times have spawned deeper roots.  It is humbling to join in the transition from colleagues to friends.  I am grateful for the evolution and can't help but hope that B&H will initiate the same sort of introductions and conversions for the people that find themselves within our walls.

Kristen’s foot in the artistic world is such a gravitational lure.  Her peaceful and imaginative demeanor continues to inspire.  In addition to being a professional woman in the wine world, you can find her works of art online at

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Hope Springs Eternal

Spring symbolizes new life and lends to ideas of rebirth, rejuvenation and renewal.  For me, it has generally been a time of awakening and development.  This year is no exception. 

As the winter season rounded out and 2013 became a reality, I have spent the last several months with my head down and working hard within the Maria Hines Restaurant group.  Maria is an advocate for growth and personal development and she has fostered my curiosity with open arms.  I am forever grateful for this opportunity.

The last few months have also delivered property and bank negotiations.  Formal offers are being penned and SO hopeful of securing a permanent resting space for B&H.  I invite anyone willing, to cross your fingers, light a candle, do a Hail Mary, or rub a rabbit’s foot for us.  We could use the extra good vibes.