Weekend Getaway: Westcoast Food Tour

I was recently invited on a whirlwind food tour of the Fraser Valley, Surrey and White Rock, all of which are part of the Lower Mainland, sitting just north of the U.S. border and south of Vancouver. A hop, skip and jump from Seattle, particularly if you nab a train and make yourself some cocktails in a jar for the voyage (who me?), the American dollar is strong compared to the Canadian dollar making for a budget friendly adventure. The best! I grabbed a friend, hopped on the train and spent two days on a

Westcoast Food Tour

, eating a massive amount of food and learning. Here, a few highlights:

.The green goddess dressing (and entire menu) from Water Shed Arts Cafe in Langley. It was some of the best food I've had in a long time. Simple, healthy, delicious. Thank you to Tourism Langley for showing off your part of the world!

Water Shed Arts Cafe
Water Shed Arts Cafe

.A helicopter ride from

Sky Helicopters

in Pitt Meadows, who are currently running an AMAZING deal you should definitely, immediately take advantage of.

Sky Helicopters
Sky Helicopters

.

Chaberton Winery

who makes delicious, crisp, affordable and

refined

white, rose and red wines. I fell in love with their wines and I lugged home so many bottles that I now can't bring myself to drink because they're SO good, I'm waiting for a special occasion. (You can also take a

helicopter to the winery

, btw!)

Chaberton Winery
Chaberton Winery

.Local Harvest Market in Chilliwack - a young farm run by a small, passionate family, they use earth-friendly growing techniques wherein they layer thick mulch (from local mushroom growers, and wood chippers) and minimize weeding, turn out amazing produce. Walking through the fields with the owner inspired me to get back into my gardens at home. This area is also home to several dairies and food producers, including Smits & Cow. Simply driving down a road will inevitably lead you to a tasting room or small store of food. Check out Tourism Chilliwack to learn more about this area and for maps to all the fab food finds.

Local Harvest
Local Harvest

.Tulip season is over, but I highly recommend a visit to Abbotsford Tulip Festival. Planted and managed by a young woman whose father owns the land, she did an AMAZING job laying out the fields and finding rare varieties. It was a fabulous visit! Stunning afternoon, even in the rain.

Image-1
Image-1

.

The Wooden Spoon

cafe in White Rock is perfect for a brunch for dudes, hungry people, anyone with a hangover, or anyone wanting to feel in with the in crowd. This modern, hip cafe is clearly a neighborhood favorite, offers hearty portions and makes delicious morning-appropriate cocktails.

.

The Honey Bee Centre

in Surrey - if you love honey, you must stop here. I collect honey on any adventure, as the flavors tend to be something you can't find at home. Here, they offer jars of local honey (I chose the Blueberry Honey and sent a jar home to my family in NY, and the Dandelion honey for it's strong medicinal taste) and some rare, international finds. EXCELLENT SELECTION.

 **This is not a sponsored post! My trip was hosted, but my blog, ideas and recommendations are 100% amyp**

International Food Bloggers Conference 2014

This is first year I will attend, legitimately (as opposed to sneaking in for a session or two here and there) the International Food Bloggers Conference, being hosted by Foodista.com and held in Seattle. This conference is an excellent resource for food lovers (they have SO many brands represented and on display all weekend), food bloggers (a weekend packed with technology sessions and information), media types (unfettered access to active bloggers) and businesses seeking to commiserate with food experts. While the conference is ONE WEEK away, there are a few spots left! Sign up here and let me know you'll be coming. ifbc2014-seattle-banner.pngProfessionally, the event makes sense for me. I've never thought of myself as a blogger (I'm terrible at keeping up) but I do have great information available on my site featuring food and urban farming. Personally, there is nothing better than doing business with friends, and the founders of CEO are like family to me. Many years ago I heard from my dear friend Sheri that she and her partner, Barnaby were launching a new website about food. Today, as a well-used and adored site that "features a wealth of encyclopedic content about foods, tools, and techniques, and house a growing database of user-added recipes," FOODISTA has been a home to many food bloggers and food lovers since their launch in 2008. I couldn't be more proud of the founding team and I'm stoked to see them all at IFBC Seattle 2014!

Garden to Glass :: An Evening of Botanical Cocktails & Herb Inspiration at Swanson's Nursery

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 9.32.04 AMHey Seattle - do you have plans this Thursday?!! The weather has been so lovely and summer is here in all her glory, so it's time to get outside and get growing in the gardens. Come join me this Thursday at Swanson's Nursery for an exclusive INVITE ONLY EVENT, where I'll be shaking up a refreshing & herbaceous beverage and signing copies of Fresh Pantry! Get your personal invite here. Over the years, interest in urban gardening has continued to grow and I'm thrilled to be part of a movement that gets people out in their gardens and into their yards to grow their own food. Even more thrilled when they love to cook with it! Come learn how to maximize your herb garden and make use of those prolific perennial plants.

This Thursday, join me, Swanson's and the distillers from Sound Spirits for a festive evening event, Garden to Glass. This evening of botanical cocktails features cocktail demonstrations, botanical infused waters, an herb planting station and several of Seattle's delicious food trucks.

The Garden to Glass event will be an opportunity for people to:

  • Learn more about planting & using herbs
  • Get inspired & learn a few cocktail recipes
  • Relax on the gorgeous and peaceful grounds of Swanson's
  • Shop for your home garden

This event is 21 and over and you must RSVP HERE, so Swanson's can send you a super VIP invite!

You can find us here on Thursday from 6-9pm: 9701 15th Avenue NW

 

Seattle Garden Party :: Grow & Grill !

Hey East Siders - do you have plans this Saturday?!! The weather has been so lovely and spring has officially SPRUNG, so it's time to get out the grill and get growing in the gardens. Come join me this Saturday, where I'll be manning the grill and serving up bits from my eBook series, Fresh Pantry! 1966814_10152703861115031_911191588_n

Over the years, interest in urban gardening has continued growing and I'm thrilled to be part of a movement that gets people out in their gardens and into their yards to grow their own food. Even more thrilled when they love to cook it!

In my business, there are plenty of occasions I need extra materials - hoses, bamboo, timber for bed-building - and as a DIY guru, I pick up these supplies at my local Home Depot. (You can sign up for their educational garden club HERE.) It is this dedication to DIY gardening that inspired me to jump at the chance to participate in an upcoming event at a store in Issaquah, Wa - the Seattle Garden Party!

This Saturday, join me and the Home Depot Garden Club - an amazing resource for any gardener, from confused beginners to adept green thumbs. The event boasts several DIY gardening stations, a Q&A with vendors (garden expert Teena Spindler & event host Melissa Michaels of The Inspired Room) and celebratory spring food and refreshments.  including DIY gardening stations.

The Garden Party will be an opportunity for people to:

  • Get their hands dirty
  • Get inspired
  • Get informed
  • And share their experience

RSVP HERE, so I know you're coming!

You can find us here on Saturday: 200 E Lke Samammish Pky Issaquah, WA 98029

Miami Garden Party :: Grow! Grill! Garden!

Over the years, interest in urban gardening has continued growing and I'm thrilled to be part of a movement that gets people out in their gardens and into their yards to grow their own food. Social_Cities_miamiIn my business, there are plenty of occasions I need extra materials - hoses, bamboo, timber for bed-building - and as a DIY guru, I pick up these supplies at my local Home Depot. (You can sign up for their educational garden club HERE.) It is this dedication to DIY gardening that inspired me to jump at the chance to participate in an upcoming event at a store in South Florida - the Miami Garden Party!

This Thursday, join me and the Home Depot Garden Club - an amazing resource for any gardener, from confused beginners to adept green thumbs. The event boasts several DIY gardening stations, a Q&A with vendors (garden expert Jim Cunneen & event host Ruth Soukup) and celebratory spring food and refreshments.  including DIY gardening stations.

The Garden Party will be an opportunity for people to:

      • Get their hands dirty
      • Get inspired
      • Get informed
      • And share their experience

 

Anyone is welcome, but if you'd like RSVP here so I know you're coming!

Find us at: Deerwood Home Depot (Parking Lot) 11905 SW 152nd Street Miami, FL 33186

Hope to see you there!

“I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in this “Garden Party” event. As a part of the project, I am receiving compensation in the form of cash, for the purpose of serving as the local culinary expert and for promoting this event and The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.”

Farm School Life Changer

It is not often an experience happens upon you and life changes. I went to Quillisascut Farm School in 2004 because I wanted to milk a goat. It was that simple. I grew up with milk goats and daily homestead chores. The desire to reconnect led me to a week at Quillisacut Farm School. It's an opportunity I think everyone should take - forget saving for a food tour of Italy - get your ass in the car and drive to Eastern Washington for an experience of a lifetime. Quiet your brain, wake up early, bust your butt and experience life as it's meant to be. It will shake your core, I promise. Here is a small excerpt from an interview I gave to Lora Lea at Quillisascut last week. I hope it inspires you. Keep in touch!

How did the Quillisascut experience help shape your decisions?

I kept a journal when I was at Quillisascut and on the way home in the car, I wrote in my journal (which I happen to have with me in Scotland!) that “My life has not been altered. My life has been affirmed.” From that moment forward, I have always made business and personal decisions with the environment in mind. I was always good about being conscious – recycling, saving water, etc, but after the farm I went to an extreme. And while it seems extreme to be vigilant about not wasting food or not wasting water or saying you have ‘enough’, any decision I make harkens back to this simple agenda. READ MORE...

 

Summer Classes

I have some great events coming up this summer and I'd love to see all of your faces. I'm working to add more canning classes this year, as you know. Come learn how to preserve cherries 3 ways OR build your pantry with savory spreads like mostarda, Asian plum sauce & habanero hot sauce. I also FINALLY reschedule the SUPER VIP Italian class! You'll want to save the date for this class that is near and dear to my heart - Italian, Long Island Style. This two hour class will cover the Perfect Meat Sauce & Meatballs. We may even sneak in a quick Homemade Pasta. This class is a total winner and a must for anyone wanting to cook like the grannies do it back home. And speaking of Croatia, I'm also offering a redux of the popular Croatian Cooking Class I taught earlier this year. Strudel pulling, dishes you've never heard of and a little preserving on the side make it a not-to-miss opportunity. For anyone wanting to make the connection between growing & cooking food at home.

Host for Check, Please! Northwest

Have you heard the news or seen the show?! I am the host for the PBS show Check, Please! Northwest which airs on KCTS9 each Thursday at 7pm. It's a show about dining out - each week, three guests join me around the table and talk about their favorite Pacific Northwest Resturants. The most exciting thing for me is watching people try something new and going out to a restaurant they never would have thought of. It's awesome! The show is a great way to gather some new restaurant suggestions AND a perfect way to try something new. All guests dine out at their favorite resto AND get to try two new places, meeting back at the table to discuss. Anyone can be a guest, so you should most definitely apply here! And for anyone outside of the Pac NW, you can keep up with the shows online. A special THANK YOU to SkyCity Restaurant at the Space Needle for underwriting the show! If you haven't eat on top of the Space Needle yet, now's the time. I've had great meals there, and that view? Come on!

GoGo Green Garden on DailyCandy

This week I had the fortune, luck, pleasure of being featured on the uber-cool Daily Candy for gogo.  What a treat!  By 7:15am I had five emails and by days end about 40ish from hopeful gardeners in Seattle and beyond.  I even got a few 'Ask the Gardener' type questions, which I loved.  Everyone seems curious about growing their own food, but not necessarily sure how to tackle the project.  Enter gogo green garden.  If you haven't seen the piece, check it out. (And, yes, I know my arms are totally ripped - thanks to a bit of hard work and a whole lotta Dillon.  gogo see her - you won't be sorry!)