25 September, 2010

Farm Life on Vashon Island

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A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting two farms on Vashon Island--a short 15-minute ferry ride from West Seattle--with the lovely food photographer extraordinaire, Clare Barboza, who organized (and taught) a farm photo safari.

We first went to visit the lovely folks at Sea Breeze Farm where we got a tour of the farm, after which we roamed around freely snapping pictures of farm life. After enjoying the morning there, we went to Sea Breeze Farm's La Boucherie, their butcher shop and restaurant. They raise and sell beef, pork, veal, lamb, chicken, milk, eggs, cheese, charcuterie, and wine. Essentially, they farm and harvest their food, process and sell it, and cook and serve it in their restaurant--basically a full-circle operation.

The second half of the day was spent at the unbelievably lovely and serene Kurtwood Farms, where Kurt Timmermeister grows, harvests, and shares his bounty from fruit and nut trees, vegetables and herbs, milk, artisan cheese, sheep, pig, cows, chicken, geese, and ducks. We roamed around the farm, including the underground cheese cave, and relaxed in his farmhouse kitchen while eating a homemade lunch and getting inspired for still-life food photos.

The lovely Clare even made an absolutely delicious vegan soup for lunch because I was doing a vegan cleanse at the time of my visit. What a gem! So very thoughtful, as well as talented and beautiful. If you haven't had the chance yet, please check out her work. She has, quite honestly, been a source of inspiration for years.

Between the two farms, my intent was to "tell a story" of slices of life on Washington farms, as well as photograph the food that is from those farms. This is a collection of photos from that day. Many thanks to Clare, Kurt, and the lovely folks at Sea Breeze Farms for the access and inspiration. I feel blessed to have connected with nature and with the source of our sustenance.

Sea Breeze Farms

la Boucherie

Kurtwood Farm

10 September, 2010

Portlandia (Part II)

I adore Portland, Oregon for many reasons, the least of which is the amazingly great food there. On my most recent trip there, I tried three new-to-me locales and can highly recommend all three to those in, or planning a trip to, Portland.

First up is The Secret Society lounge, which is a quaint, second-story gastropub tucked quietly away above other more prominent street-level restaurants and cafes. It's a lovely place to have cocktails and perhaps a small bite to eat after work. It was a sweltering day when I was there, and it was nicely air-conditioned and a cozy setup atop a cute neighborhood street.

After the Secret Society, we walked directly downstairs to Toro Bravo, a Spanish-inspired tapas restaurant, serving pinchos, tapas, charcuterie, paella, desserts, and small provisions. We tried several different things from all parts of the menu, all excellent offerings.

The next day, I had the immense pleasure of patronizing Olympic Provisions, a meat-curing facility that doubles as a European style bistro and deli. We had pickles of all flavors, colors, and varieties, as well as house-made charcuterie, cheese, and bread. All of it was outstanding.

Drink on the left is the Bee's Knees, but they have a drink
"Queen Bee" which is a takeoff of that, and it's even better.

The Salmon Croquettes w/ Saffron Aioli were delightful.

They also have a selection of absinthes.

Salmon croquettes and a potato frittata.

Downstairs from Secret Society is Toro Bravo.

Spanish-style tapas, pinchos, and charcuterie.

Brandied prunes stuffed with foie gras, rustic bread and cheese

Bread and cheese.

Oxtail croquettes, and a cheese, herb, and chorizo dish

Breaded and deep-fried squash blossoms stuffed
with sheep's cheese and topped with mojo picon sauce

Pork Empanada, almond ice cream with espresso

Olympic Provisions is in the industrial part of Portland

The meat-packing district

A variety of pickles

Sea-salted bread with garlic-pepper oil

Charcuterie plate (my favorite was the saucisson sec,
Alsatian-style salami)

I found it funny that a meat-curing facility offered homemade granola.
But I guess it's a "provision" after all.

Part of the deli case.