Thursday, May 16, 2013

Healthy Food Options at the Flying Apron Cafe Will Not Disappoint!

Stopping in at the Flying Apron Cafe, Seattle, WA.

Let me just say, it was the best cup of brewed coffee I’d had in a long time.  
Now, let’s talk about the food and atmosphere.

We were looking for an afternoon treat and a little coffee pick-me-up.

• A café with a comfortable place to watch the world for a while? That would be an added bonus.

The Flying Apron Cafe, Fremont
• A menu of sweets and savory offerings that are delicious and made in-house with tremendous care? Even better.

Hm, where could we find a café with all these desirable qualities?

We were visiting the Fremont area of Seattle on a rainy, spring Saturday afternoon and decided to try the outwardly charming “Flying Apron”. Seattle's only 100% Gluten-Free and Vegan bakery as stated on their website. 

Okay, stop! Do not allow your preconceived idea of health food and gluten-free to keep you from reading the rest of this post! Keep going. Look at the pretty pictures. You just might be surprised at what you find. Did I mention that my cup of coffee was incredibly delicious? Just keep that in mind.

Always eat dessert first!
I am not vegan myself. I tried for a couple of weeks last year, and though I enjoy vegan menus, I was not able to overcome my years of cooking with meat products and enjoying them immensely. But I do enjoy good, healthy food alternatives and scrumptious delights in any form.

The delectable offerings at the 

Flying Apron did not disappoint. 

There were sweets in all varieties and a plethora of fresh lunch entrees, as well.

The Flying Apron website describes it’s fare.

Lunch, anyone?
“The Flying Apron Bakery is Seattle's only 100% Gluten-Free and Vegan bakery.  Our products are created with your good health in mind. They are made using the finest gluten free, vegan ingredients; whole grain wheat free flours and non-hydrogenated oils.  Many of our products are or can be alternatively sweetened using such ingredients as agave, maple syrup or stevia.  We proudly list all of the ingredients above each product in the Flying Apron and on the label of every product that goes out to our partners.” 
The Flying Apron's delicious Ginger Currant Scone.

Sitting at one of the many antique oak tables, nestled by a large window overlooking the bustling street, my friend and I shared a Ginger Currant Scone and a large, yummy Peanut Butter Cookie. Both were deliciously complimented by our fresh, rich, perfectly-brewed coffee. I mentioned the coffee before, right?

Additional menu items that we did not try include such treats as Apple Pie, Apricot Thumbprint Cookies, Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, Berry Corn Muffins, Berry oat Wondies, Berry Scones, Berry Tea Bisquets, Cardamon Cupcakes with Chai Frosting… well, I think you get the idea. You might want to check out the rest of the menu at the Flying Apron website.

Even the dogs were lining up for the delicious coffee.

The afternoon was waning and the baked good selections were a bit limited. The shop had obviously served a large number of voracious Seattlites that day. All I can say for sure is that we were happy campers after our delicious respite to the Flying Apron. Maybe we'll see you there some afternoon?

There are two locations for the Flying Apron cafes. They are located in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood at 3510 Fremont Ave N and also at the entrance to Redmond Town Center at 16541 Redmond Way.



Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Musician or Not - Dusty Strings, in Fremont, is a Feast for the Eyes and Ears.

An Unexpected Musical Encounter -

I thought I was going to be writing a post on a wonderful lunch with my daughter at Jai Thai on Fremont Ave. in Fremont, an eclectically charming neighborhood of Seattle; self-proclaimed “ImagiNation” and Artistic Republic as recognized by the King County Council. And we did have a delicious lunch of Thai food but the restaurant was slightly uninspiring. It was a little worn around the edges, in need of repairs – which was not all bad, except in the ladies room.  But I got the feeling that deep cleaning was not a priority. The food was enjoyable, fresh and reasonably priced but this was perhaps, not a destination restaurant.

We left Jai Thai to stroll the inviting neighborhood. My daughter wanted to sample the wares at the “Flying Apron”, a gluten-free coffee shop she had heard about, but we needed to walk off a little Phad See Iew (which was delicious, by the way) before heading into another foodie experience.

So, my daughter suggested we pop into the Dusty Strings, Acoustic Music Shop, a music store on Fremont Ave. specializing in acoustic stringed instruments.  I’m a musician so I always take an interest in music-related outings. Though my stringed instrument of choice is the piano, I do love to ogle over beautifully made instruments of all types. My daughter plays guitar and has an affinity for the dulcimer, as well. Little did I know, she was on a mission.

This is how Dusty Strings describes itself.

"Since 1982, Dusty Strings Music Shop has been a haven for music lovers from the curious beginner to the seasoned professional. We offer guitars (electric and acoustic) and other fine instruments in a store that encourages you to pick them up and play. A friendly and experienced staff will help you sort out the options between models, woods, features, and all the accessories to go with it."

This is how I describe Dusty Strings

You step off Fremont Ave. and head down a flight of stairs. You enter into a warm room and are surrounded by luscious, rich wooden instruments of every shape and size. Several people are seated around the space, sampling guitars, hammering away at various dulcimers, seriously determining the perfect instrument with which to begin a lifelong relationship. Unlike many music stores I have visited, Dusty Strings offers a “hands-on” experience. Music lovers are encouraged to try, touch and test-drive the wide variety of acoustic instruments.

My daughter entered the store, wide-eyed, and in a hushed voice whispered, “Where are the dulcimers?” Suddenly, she was off. I was immediately mesmerized by the large section of beautiful lever harps - row after row of beautifully carved, stringed instruments evoking scenes of ethereal melodies and pastoral scenes. 

I finally caught up with my daughter as she stood in front of a beautiful, large hammered dulcimer, gently tapping the strings with delicately carved mallets to test the tone quality and feel. The result was lovely.

We spent the next two hours sampling exquisite lap dulcimers, looking for the perfect shape, tone, feel and vibe. With expert (and patient) help from Steve, my daughter managed to find her perfect soul mate and, much to her surprise and mine, took it home that day. It turned out to be an unexpected, immensely pleasurable day. 
Whether you are a seasoned musician, acoustic music lover or just appreciate meticulously handmade instruments, I know you will enjoy spending some quality time at Dusty Strings, home of fine acoustic instruments, in Fremont.

Concerts, events, and music school activities take place at Dusty Strings Acoustic Music Shop, 3406 Fremont Ave. N., Seattle. Tickets for events or music school registration can be arranged by visiting the website at the link above.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Book 'em - A Used Book Store in Port Orchard Tops the Literary List of Things to Do in Kitsap County!

 I will be the first to admit I am a bookaholic! 

I love to read. I remember as a child reading with a flashlight until way past midnight because I was supposed to be sleeping. My favorite genre has always been Science Fiction. In my later years I have branched out to fantasy, mysteries, and best-selling literature.
When traveling, the first thing I look for in a new town is a bookstore - new or used. I have no interest in chain stores with tens of thousands of books and few clerks, who don’t know the difference between true crime and fiction, let alone science fiction and fantasy.

Book 'em - The Quintessential Used Book Store for Avid Readers.  

Upon my arrival to Port Orchard, Washington, I was amazed to find not just a book store in my town but the largest used book store in Kitsap County! That’s right, Book‘em on Bethel Rd. has over 10,000 books lining their shelves.
    Picture four rooms with shelves from floor to ceiling filled with both hardback and paperback books. Each room has several sections divided by genre AND each section is alphabetized by author. For the uninitiated being alphabetized is a big deal. Have you ever been to a thrift store with books shelved with no rhyme or reason why they were placed on the shelf? UGH! I want genre, I want alphabetized authors, I want to find the author, see if there is a book by that person I haven’t read and leave happily. With over 10,000 books on the shelves, Book’em lets me find the author I am interested in and keep browsing!

Knowledgeable Staff Points You in the Right Direction.

    Geri, Jim and new staff member Tracie always greet me with a smile. All three share their love of books and know where to point me for a given title or author. I can’t tell you how many times when I am looking for a title and am not sure of the author, Geri hops on the computer and looks it up for me.

   In one little corner is a shelf labeled Cozy Mysteries. I had no idea what that meant but I am a sucker for kitschy titles. “For Whom the Mini Van Rolls”, “Some Like it Hot Buttered”, and “The Long Quiche Goodbye” to name a few. Jim easily answered my questions. A Cozy Mystery is a murder mystery without the blow by blow description of a bloody, ghastly murder. They take place in small intimate communities and the detectives are almost always amateurs. Yes, someone is murdered, yes, there is blood (not guts and gore) BUT the murderer is always caught and brought to justice! In other words, a quick, fun, fluffy read. Just what I need to escape from a dreary, Northwest winter day.
   It gets better!! Book’em trades books. When you bring in your books you will get credit. If I have credit with them, any book I want to purchase is half off the sale price! I look at it like a lending library with a fee.

   If you are like me and have the need to read, Book 'em at 2289 Bethel Rd SE in Port Orchard should be a regular stop!