Mary Preiser Potts

Shorewood Cafe: Right, At Home

Tucked into the Shorewood Apartment complex just off SR14 on the bluff, the Shorewood Market, Cafe and Bar is a unique community feature. But you don't have to be a resident of the apartments or the neighboring Shorewood Condominiums to enjoy this little gem of a restaurant.

Owner Adrienne Foster has worked her whole life in the restaurant business, and she's clearly a natural at creating a welcoming environment. Walking into the cafe it feels like a vibrant community hub. The apartment/condo residents make up much of the customer base, but they also help Foster advertise outside the complex via old-fashioned word of mouth.

According to Foster, the apartment complex was built in the 1960s, and the space has always been either a market or a cafe. As last May, it's both with a new bar providing just one more reason to stop in for a bite. The market portion offers an array of staple foods, local condiments and refrigerated beverages. Though it isn't a huge space, it feels spacious with ample seating in the small bar, a comfortable dining room and open kitchen.

Lunch and dinner are served seven days a week and breakfast is served on the weekends, including an all you can eat Sunday Brunch Buffet. Perhaps the outstanding feature of the cafe menu is the charcuterie sandwiches. Canadian-style ham, smoked turkey, pulled pork and pastrami are all made in-house. On Fridays, you can also enjoy house smoked salmon chowder. Weekly dinner specials are new to the menu, and every Friday is all you can eat Fish n' Chips. A generous appetizer menu is available all day as well.

“When they come in for the first time, people are always pleasantly surprised by our offerings,” Foster said. “They also can't believe the prices.”

It was difficult to decide, but I opted for the Reuben Panini with a side of Shorewood's Signature Fries. The Reuben came on marbled rye bread and the house pastrami was a beautiful burgundy. The sandwich was pastrami heavy with sauerkraut, and just enough Thousand Island dressing and melted Swiss cheese to enhance the flavor. The Signature Fries were subtly seasoned with rosemary and garlic, topped with crumbled blue cheese and served with blue cheese dressing for dipping.

I hope to get back there to sample the Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon and Lobster dinner special sometime soon. And, I'd top it off with a homemade cookie for dessert!

photo by mary preiser potts

5555 E Evergreen Blvd, Suite D, Vancouver
360-693-9440
Monday to Friday 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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Promoting good works for women

photo by mary preiser potts

Katlin Smith discovered Dining for Women, an organization dedicated to empowering women and girls in developing countries, in a 2010 travel piece about Africa published in The Oregonian. Intrigued by the article, Smith took a few friends and attended a meeting in Portland. The idea is that each chapter hosts a potluck dinner once a month. Members donate money they would otherwise spend on a dinner out, and Dining for Women uses the donations to fund a specific cause. Smith was so impressed with the organization that she founded a Vancouver chapter a few months later. The first dinner was held at the Unitarian Church with about 45 people in attendance.

“Not all chapters have so many people attending,” Smith said, “We just started big, and we stayed big.”

It’s no surprise that Smith’s chapter of Dining for Women draws such a crowd. After all, she has made a career of publicizing the good works of nonprofit organizations. Her chapter raises anywhere from $700 to $1,200 in an evening.

Vietnam group

“Donations vary widely from person to person,” Smith said, “For some people a dinner out means a fancy restaurant. For others, it’s fast food – just whatever a typical dinner out would cost.”

Recently, Smith had the opportunity through Dining for Women to travel to Vietnam and visit several women who received microloans for businesses through the nonprofit Children of Vietnam. She was delighted to see the huge impact of these loans, some as little as $50, that give the women she met independence as small business owners while allowing them to keep their children in school.

Smith owns Urban Words Group, a public relations firm specializing in working with nonprofits and small businesses. She has been an active member of the Rotary Club of Vancouver since 2004, and currently serves as president of the Vancouver Rotary Foundation. In September the Rotary Foundation gave $48,000 in grants to community groups as well as giving scholarships to girls in Puerto Vallarta to encourage them to stay in school.

Smith was the recipient of a 2011 Rotary Club of Vancouver Vocational Service Award and a 2012 Ron Schmidt Community Involvement Award from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Portland Metro Chapter.

“My motivation for volunteering,” said Smith, “is to make an effective difference in people’s lives.”  

Sebastian Carosi – Muddy Waters

photo by mary preiser potts

A passionate food advocate, Sebastian Carosi has spent his career as a chef connecting small farmers to restaurant kitchens from one coast to the other. Visiting small farms, establishing farmers markets and farm-to-table initiatives, giving cooking demonstrations to pig farmers and artisan cheesemakers and inviting farmers to bring their weekly produce to his back door are just some of the ways Carosi stays connected to his food sources.

“Farmers don’t always know how to communicate with restaurants to sell their products. I’ve tried to encourage that as much as possible because in the kitchens where I cook I think it’s best if the farmers write the menu,” Carosi said.

Farmers do have a hand in writing the menu for Muddy Waters, the restaurant Carosi opened in downtown Vancouver last August. The menu is decidedly southern but the ingredients are indigenous and seasonal. He spends lots of time outside his “from scratch” kitchen developing relationships with the local farmers who supply his meat, shopping for produce at the Vancouver Farmers Market and foraging for wild edibles.

“When the land gives something up for free, you have to take advantage of it. It’s a shame that so much food is wasted because of ignorance about what’s edible,” Carosi said.

Beyond wild mushrooms, he forages locally for stinging nettles, cattails, wild celery, wild garlic, salmon berries, fiddlehead ferns and watercress, to name just a few. His menu is carefully crafted to reflect the philosophy that what grows together goes together.

The bar at Muddy Waters is another point of distinction. With more than 120 artisan made spirits exclusively from Washington and Oregon, according to Carosi, it may be the largest collection of local liquors in the Pacific Northwest.

Originally from Rhode Island, Carosi obtained his culinary degree from Portland’s Western Culinary Institute. He worked as executive chef at Tribeca before making his way to the Southeast, where he immersed himself in southern cooking while bringing his brand of food activism and enlightenment to local food scenes up and down the East Coast.

It was by chance or perhaps a bit of serendipity that brought Carosi back to the Pacific Northwest. Vancouver gains a sustainably sourced restaurant, as well as an experienced chef dedicated to supporting the local and regional purveyors who help write his menu.

Sebastian Carosi

Muddy Waters

609 W. 11th St., Vancouver

www.muddywatersvancouver.com

360-816-0054

New digs complement traditional South Asian menu

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photos by mary preiser potts

Thai Orchid Vancouver recently moved to its new home at the corner of 11th and Columbia streets in downtown. Months of renovating resulted in a modern, thoughtfully-designed interior with reclaimed wood and handcrafted metal accents. Expect the same friendly service and warm atmosphere inspired by owner, Kat Saenguraiporn.

The traditional menu comes from her uncle’s Portland Thai Orchid restaurants. According to Kat, the recipes are authentic Thai dishes adapted and brought to the Northwest by her aunt and Thai Orchid executive chef, Prapapen Saenguraiporn. In addition, Kat offers rotating monthly specials, and she added a sushi bar in 2010.

Kat explained that in Thailand there are many Japanese restaurants, so Thai chefs learn to make sushi from Japanese sushi chefs. But, Thai sushi is a little different. For starters, there is less of a focus on rice, which she says can overwhelm the other flavors.

“In Japan sushi is plain, fish and rice. It’s all about the flavor of the fish. Thai sushi focuses on presentation. If it looks beautiful, that becomes part of the taste,” she said.

The sushi chef at Thai Orchid creates inviting sushi platters with colorful roe, sauces and vegetable garnishes, accompanying beautifully arranged rolls and sushi. I was treated to an artisan platter that included salmon and tuna sashimi, a crab roll topped with red, orange, black and green roe, and a Coconut Gaga roll, recommended by Kat. The Coconut Gaga roll is a fresh and creamy combination of cream cheese, avocado and mango with flaked coconut. I also sampled the sushi balls – think nigiri on a stick – featured on the new kids’ menu. Everything was superb, but I almost felt guilty for eating something so beautiful!

I also had the Pad Thai, which is served with sliced chicken breast to accommodate the American palate, as well as the more traditional shrimp and small pieces of fried tofu. Crushed peanuts and bean sprouts are served on the side, then mixed together creating a flavorful yet not-too-spicy entree. I thoroughly enjoyed its distinctly different flavors and textures. The sauce didn’t drown the noodles and the noodles didn’t dampen the sauce – proportion is everything.

For refreshment I sipped the Kiwi Kamikaze, also a house favorite. Fresh kiwi and lime juices mingled with vodka, cointreau and finely crushed ice. It was sweetly tart and delightfully smooth.

OurBar can be your bar, too

Kevin Credelle and Alex Yost

photo by mary preiser potts

Meet Kevin Credelle and Alex Yost of OurBar, a brand new gathering place in downtown Washougal. Credelle and Yost met four years ago in a Boulder, Colorado, pub. They were drawn together by a common love of food preparation and occasional fine dining. OurBar is the culmination of years spent passionately critiquing restaurant experiences.

“We would say things like: When we open our bar, it’ll be like this…or that,” Yost said.

When they decided to open “their” bar, they wanted to create more than just a place to drink. They wanted it to be a place to build community, open all day and family friendly. They wanted the folks who came to eat and drink to feel that it was “their” bar, too. So, they hunted around for just the right name to convey this sense of community. In the end OurBar, with its double meaning, had just the right feel.

Both Yost and Credelle have a long history in the restaurant business. Credelle got his start in coffee shops as a barista and later worked at the Boulder Brewery. As well as being an avid beverage historian, he’s also a self-taught cook skilled in kitchen management and operations. Yost attended the Oregon Culinary Institute and worked with exceptional chefs in Portland, Boulder and San Francisco. Also in her background is a love of performing, which she later found useful working in open kitchens. This is how OurBar is set up as well, allowing them to interact with their customers as they work. In fact, they built a counter right at the side window where passersby can watch Yost expertly roll out pasta or bread dough each day.

The menu at OurBar is inspired mostly by family recipes and old recipes, re-imagined with seasonal ingredients. One of these dishes is the Flank Steak a la Plancha, made with ginger, hot sauce, potatoes and parsley.

“A lot of traditional recipes that we like from the 40’s need to be updated to include ingredients that just weren’t accessible at the time, like fresh ginger,” Credelle explained.

A tall bookshelf lined with cookbooks sits in the front window, evidence of their broad interest in cooking.

They’re starting their menu with coffee and breakfast. Later, they’ll add Sunday brunch, then lunch and finally dinner. Because many of the recipes on the menu are rich and buttery, they’ve decided to keep the portions reasonable and the prices low so people can come back day after day and try new things. Most items on the menu are under $10.

“We’re a small operation, just three employees, so starting out slow, adding items over time, allows us to get a feel for the business and for the local food palate,” Alex said.

They intend to utilize local small farms as much as possible and, in the future, a small vegetable plot at their house just up the street.

Low Bar Lounge

Low Bar Burger & Jo-Jo’s

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photos by mary preiser potts

Eye-catching, skilled, yet unpretentious illustrations appear on both the website and the menu at Low Bar in downtown Vancouver. It’s not surprising to discover that bar owner Claire Ghormley is also the artist. Creativity and a focus on conscious ingredients, she says, elevates Low Bar to “dive bar with classy comfort food.”

So here’s the lowdown on the Low Bar Burger. It wears the signature dish crown because almost everything on it is made from scratch. Beginning with a sweet potato brioche bun that soaks up the tangy juices from house-made pickles and pickled onions to the creamy garlic aioli that holds everything together. Melted local cheese (cheddar, gruyere, bleu or chevre) tops a natural beef patty made from whole chuck roast that is cubed, spiced and ground fresh daily in-house. At $6 a la carte for lunch and $8 paired with jo-jo’s for dinner, the cost-benefit of this burger is clear.

The side of jo-jo’s may play second fiddle, but they deserve their own mention. Whole potatoes are wedged, dredged and fried in a pressure fryer that is, apparently, a secret weapon in Low Bar’s kitchen. The result is a perfectly cooked potato wedge with crispy fried chicken satisfaction. You may even decide to skip the ketchup.

Low Bar Lounge

809 Washington St., Vancouver

www.lowbarlounge.com

White Salmon & Bingen

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photos by mary preiser potts

A pioneer family feud may have separated these two towns back in the day, but in modern times Bingen and White Salmon go together like . . . gorge and bluff. Bingen is home to big employers such as SDS Lumber and Insitu, but recreation is an important economic focus for both towns. Located just 60 miles west of Vancouver, Bingen and White Salmon reside in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge. A variety of winter mountain sports are nearby and the Columbia River abounds with opportunities for summer recreation as well.

White Salmon sits on the bluff above Bingen and the view in every direction is simply picturesque. The community is primarily a mix of multi-generational residents and professional newcomers seeking a different pace to life. It has the feel of a community growing towards self-sustainability in partnership with surrounding towns.

Mugs Coffee

120 W. Steuben St., Bingen

www.mugsco.com

509-281-3100

Mugs Coffee opened in April 2012 and rivals many an urban coffee shop in terms of atmosphere, quality and service. The cafe is freshly painted in contemporary colors with hardwood flooring and wood furnishings, resulting in a clean, wide open feel with plenty of seating and natural light. Pastries, muffins and hand pies are made fresh daily by local bakers, but I couldn’t resist the tug of a slice of house made brie, prosciutto and fig quiche to go along with a decadent cinnamon swirl latte. Both were excellent. For lunch, panini sandwiches, soup and salad round out the menu. The service was friendly and the environment warm and inviting. The contemporary outdoor “Mugs” signage was created by local metal artist, Nick Miles (outrageousiron.com).

Alma Terra Tasting Room and Wine Bar

208 W. Steuben St., Bingen

www.almaterrawines.com

All the reasons to visit the Gorge are found in Bingen and White Salmon, including local wine. The Alma Terra Tasting Room and Wine Bar opened less than two years ago and showcases the talents of geologist/viticulturist Alan Busacca and winemaker Robert Smasne. Alma Terra endeavors to create superb single-vineyard Syrah and Voignier wines from vineyards in three regional AVA’s. The result is wine that is deeply characteristic of the geography and climate where the grapes are grown, wine with a sense of place, or terroir. Alma Terra is open Thursday through Sunday with live music on Friday evenings.

Yoga Samadhi

177 W. Jewett Blvd., White Salmon

www. columbiagorgeyoga.com

509-637-4293

Located directly across from the Inn of the White Salmon, Yoga Samadhi is clearly a hub for yogic and meditation practices. I spotted a number of folks coming and going, yoga mats tucked under their arms. The street entrance is a stark and unassuming office building, but the studio is spacious with windows offering a spiritual view of the Gorge and Mt. Hood in the distance. Yoga Samadhi offers a variety of classes as well as a weekly meditation with Buddhist monks residing at the nearby Pacific Hermitage (pacifichermitage.org) and a monthly gathering called One River Dances of Universal Peace. Owner Kathy Kacena has been teaching yoga since 1999.

Feast Market & Delicatessen

320 E. Jewett Blvd., White Salmon

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Feast opened its doors on June 21, 2012, focusing on local, organic, sustainable foods and household goods. The deli case is full of artisan cheeses, charcuterie and house made whole foods. The coolers are stocked with fresh eggs and produce from nearby farms. Local beer and wine is available, as well as an assortment of dry goods, including a new bulk section. Earth friendly cleaners, detergents, baby diapers and handmade soaps round out the selection. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and in the summers, utilize a spacious outdoor patio with (at the risk of sounding repetitive) a fabulous view of the Gorge and Mt. Hood.

Solstice Wood Fire Cafe

415 W. Steuben St., Bingen

www. solsticewoodfirecafe.com

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We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: No excursion to the heart of the Gorge would be complete without stopping in at Solstice. Best known for scrumptious pizzas baked in their Italian wood fire oven, Solstice also offers wood-fired chicken, Moroccan beef stew and hearty pasta dishes. They serve local wines, as well as a rotating selection of beer and kombucha on tap. Truly an artisan, family friendly space, Solstice now has a roving pizza oven for even more community gathering.

Inn of the White Salmon

172 W. Jewett Blvd., White Salmon

www. innofthewhitesalmon.com

509-493-2335

This regional landmark was built in 1937. When Dennice and David Dierck took over ownership in 2007, they brought it into the new millennium. Antique furnishings made way for contemporary décor utilizing reclaimed and sustainable hardwoods and eco-friendly carpeting. Each of the 15 private rooms and a hostel room feature inspiring quotes painted on the walls and the hallways are adorned with local art. Last spring they updated the landscaping around the imposing brick edifice, installing rain barrels and adding native plants. They offer vouchers to local restaurants, all within walking distance. Owner Dennice Dierck says that the comment she hears most often from her Vancouver guests is that they can’t believe how different it is here – the climate, the landscape, the pace of things, and yet it’s so close to home.

Something old, something cool

Go vintage and your gift could be the most unique one under the tree

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photos by mary preiser potts

If you’re on a mission to keep it local this holiday season, consider the advantages of giving vintage, antique and re-purposed gifts. Not only is it friendlier to the environment, it can be easier on your budget as well. The following are a handful of shops in downtown Vancouver where you’ll find a selection of unique and useful treasures with personality, pizzazz or a pinch of whimsy. PS: Check out our excursion to Kalama on page 14 for more antiquing opportunities.

The Cat’s Pajamas

1411 Broadway Street

www.catspajamasvancouver.com

360-567-1009

If sheer variety is important, The Cat’s Pajamas should be at the top of your list. The space is not huge, but it’s well-utilized and the displays are eye-popping. Standout items are industrial and primitive furnishings, a collection of colorful perfume bottles, cowboy boots, western handbags, pictures, prints, Native American pottery and a magician’s rabbit table (you just have to see it). Kitchen items, ornate boxes, camping gear, telephones and typewriters round out an impressive assortment of desirable items from yesteryear.

2nd Bloom

108 Ninth Street

360-310-2250

2nd Bloom is owned by sisters Keri Frendt and Kayla Castiglioni. Inviting displays feature an eclectic mix of rustic vintage home décor items, silver, lamps and jewelry. They also carry unique jewelry made locally from re-purposed objects by Humblebug Jewelry (humblebugjewelry.com). Vegan, organic candles made by Objects with Purpose also make a great gift. The warm candle wax is scented with essential oils and is pure enough to be used warm as a body butter or dabbed on wrists as perfume.

Most Everything

815 Washington Street

mosteverything.wordpress.com

360-828-7211

If it’s vintage fashion you seek, this is the place to find an amazing collection of plaid, leather jackets, hats, women’s gloves and men’s long-sleeve shirts. There’s also luggage, jewelry, vintage glass, local art and handbags created locally from re-purposed materials. Most Everything is also the engine behind Couve Couture, Vancouver’s fall fashion show event.

Divine Consign

904 Main Street

www.divineconsignfurniture.org

360-695-6443

Divine Consign is a community fundraiser nonprofit staffed by volunteers. The ample showroom is filled with mid-century, traditional and contemporary home furnishings for every room of the house, as well as rugs, tableware, lighting and smaller home décor items. Divine Consign gives grants to local charities providing community services in the arts, education and human services. Not only do they have a great selection, but it’s for a great cause.

Main Street Vintage

1817 Main Street

mainstreetvintage.blogspot.com

360-388-4100

Owned by home decorating enthusiast Marci Fitzgerald and her husband, Glen, Main Street Vintage features 30 antique and vintage dealers. The displays are impeccable and the selection of merchandise is well curated. From large furniture pieces to vintage toys, tools, storage solutions and unique lighting fixtures, this is a store to get lost in.

Meadow Lark Tea Room & Antiques

1803 Main Street

www.meadowlarkta.com

360-694-9075

Located in the same shopping center as Main Street Vintage, Meadow Lark Tea Room & Antiques is an antique mall with a twist. The mall showcases more than 25 antique dealers with an emphasis on glass, china and costume jewelry. A large English tea room serves home baked items and a wide selection of loose leaf teas. There’s also a gift area featuring the work of local artisans. Do a little shopping, have a bite to eat, do a little more shopping, all while staying dry!

Amour Mercantile

1006 Main Street

360-836-4441

Amour Mercantile is a fusion of mercantile, vintage and antique shop where you’ll find an array of home decor, reclaimed and re-purposed treasures of all kinds, vintage treats and military collectibles. And, just in time for the holidays, the mercantile is also carrying wearable arts from local artisans in the form of cashmere hats, gloves and scarves, as well as playful skirts and t-shirts; simple, locally crafted and custom jewelry; and a line of organic bath and beauty products.


Hot holiday shopping

So, what items do the proprietors of downtown Vancouver’s fine vintage and antique shops think will top gift giving lists this holiday season? Let’s have a look:

2nd Bloom: Angel wings wall décor and jewelry, because of the versatility and range of style and price.

Most Everything: Anything with owls on it and crazy Christmas sweaters.

Amour Mercantile: Vintage candy, handmade jewelry and soap.

Meadow Lark Tea & Antiques: Tea cups, hand-embroidered pillowcases and loose leaf tea.

Main Street Vintage: Mercury glass, pewter and Native American blankets in neutral tones.

Divine Consign: Pairs of traditional chairs, unique glass items and anything in the color range from apple green to turquoise.
 

Kalama

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photos by mary preiser potts

Kalama Middle/High School was made famous in 2008 by scenes shot in the parking lot for the first Twilight movie. Looking up at the imposing brick building built around 1938, it’s not difficult to imagine vampires lurking about.

Long before Twilight, however, Kalama was a destination town for folks crazy about antiques. A short stroll down First Street reveals about half a dozen antiques and collectibles shops, each with a unique flavor.

Easy day trips from Kalama include Astoria, Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier National Park.

Kalama Koffee

724 Northeast Frontage Road

360-673-3913

This tiny coffee shop is located just off I-5. Not only is it convenient to get to, but the double-paned glass keeps out a surprising amount of highway noise. It is cozily decorated with antiques and an impressive floor mural that runs throughout the shop. We sipped delicious, local Chinook Coffee Roasters coffee while playing a relaxed (and long) game of chess that unfortunately ended in a stalemate. They also offer baked goodies and ice cream in addition to an exhaustive list of espresso drinks and coffee.

Marine Park and Louis Rasmussen Day Use Park

Port of Kalama

360-673-2325

This park runs along the Columbia River where fishermen line the sandy, driftwood populated shore to fish for steelhead, chinook and sturgeon. This park boasts the tallest one-piece totem pole in the Pacific Northwest. At 140 feet, it’s a pretty impressive sight. What’s truly impressive, though, is the day use park. Five acres stretch out from the walking path along the river. Huge grassy fields, picnic tables, basketball, tennis and volleyball courts, as well as a playground are all conveniently located right above the beach.

Antique Deli & Pastry Shoppe

413 North First Street

360-673-3310

The Antique Deli and Pastry Shoppe was recommended to us several times by local shop owners. As evidenced by the steady stream of people coming and going, it’s a popular place to eat. We ordered sandwiches at the counter and found an empty table near the window. A tuna sandwich with homemade potato salad and a turkey breast sandwich with a side of homemade pasta salad came to us lightning quick and on the thickest homemade wheat bread I’ve ever seen. Honestly, I was a little daunted by those slabs of bread, but taking my first bite, it was clear that the bread was soft and housed the tuna salad inside just right. The women working there were friendly and efficient and, though it was busy, did not neglect to thank us when we left.

Lee’s Attic Antiques and Collectibles

413 North First Street

360-673-3535

Lee’s Attic is located inside the Hendrickson Antique Mall, along with The Country Gentleman and the Antique Deli and Pastry Shoppe. Curated by owner Lee Bunn, the selection includes a variety of old tools and a case full of baseball memorabilia. You’ll also find vintage clothing, kitchen items, glass, linens and toys.

Old Tin Roof Antiques

175 North First Street

360-673-2467

Old Tin Roof Antiques is a mix of creatively displayed used and new home décor items. Because scented candles are part of the mix, it smells surprisingly unlike an antique store. Signs, letterpress letters and small maps, as well as furniture, kitchen items and a phone booth were among the interesting finds. According to owner Craig Rogers, holiday décor like molded plastic santas, are some of the hottest items he sells during the holiday season.

Judy’s Antiques

135 North First Street

360-673-4415

Judy’s Antiques is an iconic antique store – musty, filled with treasures of all kinds and wonderful! Judy’s offers a great variety of just about everything from furniture and glass to antique clocks, radios, toys, tapestries, clothing, postcards and more. Owner Judy Swain, has 28 years experience in the antique business. She got her start picking items from the area open dump and selling the treasures she found at garage sales. From there, she sold at flea markets, owned a store in Longview and, finally, opened this spacious location in Kalama two years ago.

Rivertown Antique Market

155 Elm Street

360-673-2263

Located on the main floor of an enormous renovated church, the Rivertown Antique Market is well worth the short walk from First Street. If you’re looking for large furniture items or antiques from around the world, this is the place. Some impressive pieces included a Thai ‘King’s’ Throne, a painted Chinese room divider, several large, religious-themed stained glass windows, an oversized spinning wheel and an Egyptian triptych.

Grace’s Place

226 North First Street

360-442-0064

And, because downtown Kalama has more to offer than antiques, I also stopped by Grace’s Place, a full service beauty salon run by Grace Harris, a Kalama High School graduate (class of 2001). Grace is a multi-creative woman who not only specializes in hair, but is a singer/songwriter as well. You can find Grace’s music at www.reverbnation.com/graceharris. Check out the sidebar for more of Kalama’s young entrepreneurs.


Kalama culture

Don’t miss the rest of the antique stores on First Street: Lucky Penny Antiques and Collectibles, Drew and Davis Antiques, Memory Lane Antique Mall and The Country Gentleman. And be sure to visit the young entrepreneurs keeping Kalama vibrant: Jenn Davenport Photography (447 N. First Street, 360-431-3673), Angela Nicole’s Photography (175 North First Street, 360-673-2177) and Kalama Skin and Body Day Spa (150 Fir Street, 360-673-7546).

PS: Check out our theme story on page 11 for awesome antiquing opportunities in downtown Vancouver.
 

Heritage orchards

Preserve Diversity and Provide Links to the Past

Tree blossomsWhen Biological Science Technician Robert Goughnour came to work at the Washington State University Vancouver Extension in 2000, his job was researching apple maggots and cherry fruit flies in collaboration with the USDA Agricultural Research Foundation. The goal of his research was to find out what kinds of plants and trees fruit flies lay their eggs in – vital information for Washington apple and cherry farmers.

As Goughnour traveled into the fields around Clark, Skamania and Cowlitz counties, he often found himself at old homesteads where he discovered some unusual varieties of apple trees. Research into the history of apples revealed, not surprisingly, that there were many more varieties grown in the 1800s than there are now. An interest in anthropology and archeology fueled Goughnour’s desire to save these heritage trees for future generations.

“We still don’t know what some of the varieties are because it’s so costly to find out,” Goughnour said. “And, when these trees are gone, they’re gone.”

Historic trees get a new future

With the help of Blair Wolfley, former WSU Extension District Director and current 78th Street Heritage Farm manager, and other members of the Master Gardener Foundation, Goughnour formed a committee to begin plans for a heritage orchard in 2003.

The WSU Heritage Orchard got off the ground with a grant from the Master Gardener Foundation to purchase tools and root stock for the original tree grafts. They were given permission to use space at the WSU Heritage Site on the Salmon Creek campus, and in 2004, the WSU Heritage Orchard was dedicated.

robert-exporchardAccording to Goughnour (pictured), several well-known community members have supported the WSU Heritage Orchard, including former educator and state legislator, Al Bauer, who contributed cuttings from two trees from his property originating in the 1920s, and Clark County Commissioner Mark Boldt.

The WSU Heritage Orchard is planted along a public walking trail that winds through the Heritage Site. The orchard was recently moved and replanted due to a salmon preservation project on the nearby banks of Mill Creek. According to John Benson from WSU facilities operations and a Clark County Master Gardener, invasive reed canary grass and Himalayan blackberry bushes were removed from along the creek. Native riparian plants were then introduced to address soil erosion and other factors contributing to the decline of salmon populations in recent years.

“The heritage orchard is a living repository,” Benson said, “It’s a part of preserving the history of the area, and it adds interest on the walking trail.”

There are currently 50 to 60 heritage apple and pear trees planted in the WSU Heritage Orchard. They bear modest tags stating their type and which pioneer homestead they came from (see sidebar). Goughnour says there’s room to expand the orchard at this site, and he hopes to someday replace the tags with plaques to identify the tree type and its origin. The trees in the orchard are intentionally low maintenance. The cuttings were grafted onto semi-dwarf root stock, so they’ll grow only about eight to 10 feet tall. The most mature trees in the orchards are six years old and just now beginning to bear fruit.

Goughnour’s vision for the future of the WSU Heritage Orchard has evolved beyond the preservation of fruit trees. There are several lilacs near the old homestead ruins at the WSU Heritage Site that he’d like to see moved to the orchard. He imagines adding heirloom flowers and other perennials someday as well.

A site for research and demonstration

Extra cuttings from WSU Heritage Orchard were planted in a small orchard at the 78th Street Heritage Farm, where Goughnour conducts his fruit fly research. This became the Experimental and Heritage Orchard where Goughnour also grows ornamental shrubs, currants, grapes, blueberries and cherry trees among the heritage trees. Many of these come from the same pioneer homesteads as the heritage apple and pear trees.

“This not only utilizes the space between the trees but allows me to continue my research on how fruit flies interact with different shrubs and fruit bearing plants,” Goughnour explained.

There is currently no walking trail at the Experimental and Heritage Orchard, but it can be viewed by appointment. The WSU Vancouver Extension also offers several public workshops on site. Goughnour hopes that when his research is finished, the Experimental and Heritage Orchard will continue to be utilized as a demonstration site for backyard growers.


Washington State University Heritage Orchard

WSU Vancouver Barn at Salmon Creek Avenue, Vancouver

The WSU Heritage Orchard is a repository of heritage fruit trees from area pioneer homesteads. An on-site walking trail is open daily, dawn to dusk.

Experimental and Heritage Orchard

WSU Clark County Extension / 78th Street Heritage Farm

1919 N.E. 78th St., Vancouver

360-397-6060

The Experimental and Heritage Orchard contains heritage fruit trees from pioneer homesteads, and other shrubs, bushes and trees for demonstration and research. It is open weekdays by appointment.

 

Comfort food with heart

Pioneer-inspired Mill Creek Pub raises the bar in Battle Ground

When you walk into Mill Creek Pub, you're entering an environment inspired by the area's historical past. And, you can be certain that the 10-foot water wheel between the bar and the dining room has a story to tell.

“Someone suggested I pick up the book, Battle Ground …In and Around, which is a pictorial drama of northwest pioneer life,” explained pub owner Russell Brent. “I was inspired by the many mills and covered bridges that were in the area.”

Mill Creek Pub opened its doors in November 2011. The atmosphere feels inviting to adults and families with children. Brent's inspiration for the restaurant comes alive in the rustic décor, water wheel and covered bridge entrance that utilize reclaimed wood from around Clark County.

“I searched by bike for old barns in Clark County, acquired lumber from a Camas paper mill that's over 100 years old and salvaged 35-foot beams from a barn in Ridgefield,” Brent said.

Mill Creek Pub's menu is simple, but features plenty of surprises.

The bar offers several pleasing twists on signature cocktails such as a Maple Maker's Manhattan and a Lavender Cosmopolitan made with house-made simple syrup. For those interested in beer, a carefully curated selection includes some of the finest local microbrews on tap as well as bottled Rogue and Samuel Smith beers. There are also treasures like the limited batch Deschutes Abyss Russian Imperial Stout (say that 10 times fast) and the Widmer Bourbon 2010 Resurrection, aged one year in bourbon casks.

For starters, the Chilled Shrimp and Avocado Martini is a refreshing mix of shrimp and avocado in pico de gallo, served with crunchy house made tortilla chips.

The Lamb Shank entree is tender with light gravy on a bed of seasoned mashed potatoes and a side of buttery green beans. And, the Pub Burger is over-the-top with house made onion rings and peppered bacon inside the bun. It's paired with light and crunchy french fries.

For dessert, the Crème Brulee is sweet and tart, and finished before you realize what you've done. The Pecan Praline Brownie is decadent and the Berry Cobbler is a divine mixture of hot cobbler and cold vanilla ice cream, reminiscent of simpler times.

Brent said of the menu, “I chose food reflective of pioneer life – comfort food with heart, I like to say.”

It was also important that the food be locally sourced as much as possible. According to Brent, this has become much easier in the last three-to-four years as small farmers coordinate their efforts to supply local restaurants.