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Small food, Small Vineyards, Small Cafe, & A taste of summer

Have you seen the movie ‘Food, Inc’ yet? If not, get thee to The Historic Orchard Theater, downtown Port Orchard to see it before the last run Thursday night. The bonus is that the theater is generously donating a portion of the sales to the Kitsap Community Food Co-Op and we need them to have all the funds they can get so we can get them open! We went to the movie with our favorite nephew, Travis, and I wasn’t sure what he would think about it, or if he would think it was important to know where our food comes from. He said he liked the movie and the fact that it made him think about things like that. It is not the easiest movie to watch, and yet I find that most things worth knowing about are not going to be the ‘easy’ way out. Whoever first said “ignorance is bliss” obviously knew enough to have to have to do things the harder way. It is important stuff to know, though, if we want to count ourselves in with the larger community of the world. Plus it is nice to have it reinforced that our eating habits are pretty darn good when it comes to finding the better nutrition, supporting the smaller farmers and producers, doing better things for the environment, and building up our local economy. Can we do better? Of course…and it feels great to be on the ‘right’ path.

That Thursday when it was too hot to think, we had a private wine tasting scheduled for our Old Town neighbor, friend and great customer Jason Parker, of Parker Financial, LLC. This was a client appreciation event that he had scheduled and he had 36 clients come out for it. The afternoon sun was beating through the windows and the air conditioning could not keep up with 40 of us up there. It was sort of chaotic, with everyone fanning themselves and finding it difficult to listen to the speakers who were invited to the event. Let’s face it, we were all miserable and even though it was cooler by 10 degrees than outside, it was still in the upper 80’s inside! Folks seemed to have a nice time in spite of all that and hopefully they went away feeling nourished and appreciated! The best thing about the evening for me was working with Bainbridge Island Vineyard & Winery. Jo Ann was a trooper and hung in there with me, going with the flow of a very strange wine tasting. I loved their wines and, with their permission, we will be featuring some of them for the holidays, and again in the Spring. They grow their grapes on BI and have done so for about 30 years! True farmers and entrepreneurs, they have really good wine at great prices to boot. I am really looking forward to getting them on the menu!

On Sunday we joined the rest of the immediate Downen family at Safeco Field for the annual ball game. You can thank us for bringing the luck for that astounding victory! We had a great time with the family and what made it extra fun was that we parked in Tukwila and took the new light rail in to the stadium. 26 minutes and it is a great way to go! I want to do the whole line, and better explore a couple of the neighborhoods that we never get to when we ferry or use the freeway, like Columbia City (the best pizza this side of NYC is there at Tutta Bella and a great Ethiopian restaurant was there years ago…). You can get on/off the train within 2 hours, and if you have a bus to catch your ticket is good for one transfer. When it goes the airport it will be the smartest choice! If only we could get Bremerton to catch up and offer long term parking; wouldn’t that be great! If any of you know any other great restaurants along the light rail line, tell us about them! I know some of you Metro guys must have some ideas!

And with that we are at yesterday. Ah yesterday, such a lovely day. Mark and I attended the Small Vineyards trade wine tasting, to choose our winter lineup. The event was at a wine rep’s house and he and his wife showed us some fantastic hospitality! They had a lovely view of the water, a beautiful home, the food was nicely matched for the wines and it was all very relaxed and enjoyable. We will do a tasting after the boat brings it in early November, so be looking for that. Afterwards we wanted a bit more time to collect ourselves so we got a bite to eat at the Ajax Cafe in Port Hadlock. Several of our customers have told us we would love this place, and sure enough we did! It is funky and fun with enough hats for everyone to wear one if you wanted to! Which of course, I did. It was purple (big surprise) and fabulous. I had the Portabella Taglietelle and finished it for breakfast this morning. If you find yourself in that area definitely check it out!

This lovely rain has me itching for more substantial cooking, such as a meat sauce, but it is still august and summer and I want to offer another lovely light recipe for the warmer days. And yes, we will still have a few more of those! So get to a farmer’s market or a farm stand and buy up all the best cantaloupe you can find. Our farmer Paul grew “Goddess” melons for us this year and they are amazingly tasty. Then blend up this ‘soup’…it is savory enough to serve as a first course and refreshing enough as dessert, or it can be the whole meal!

Chilled Cantaloupe ‘Gazpacho’

3 cantaloupe, peeled/seeded/chunked
3 c plain yogurt
2 1/4 c fresh OJ
1/4 C honey
3/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne (more if you love it spicy!)

Puree it all, mix it together, chill and serve with fresh mint as a garnish. It is a fabulous taste of summer!!!