SHOP LOCAL Holiday Gift-Giving Guide

Image courtesy of Batch Bake Shop

December has officially arrived. Soon the landscape will be a Winter wonderland, the staying in and being cozy will begin, we will prepare to celebrate the reason for the season, we'll start making our traditional family recipes and trying out new ones, all the wonders of the season will come to life and of course we'll begin to go on the hunt for that perfect gift for each person on our gifting list.

I thought I would put together a "SHOP LOCAL holiday gift-giving guide" for the food and drink loving person in your life.  Maybe you know without a shadow of a doubt that you have a foodie on your Christmas list or maybe you just aren't quite sure. Well you're in luck because I have come up with a few questions to ask yourself so you can be absolutely certain.

Here they are: Do they take pictures of their food EVERYTIME you dine out? Are they always telling you about the most A-mazing dish that they had at *fill in the blank* restaurant? Are the majority of their Pinterest boards for recipes? Do they plan their travel destinations around where the places are for good food? Do they talk about food, while eating food while planning where they want to go eat food next?

If you answered an enthusiastic YES to most or all of these questions then you've come to the right place and the the list below will serve as a great guide to find that perfect "foodie gift" all while shopping and supporting local. I call that a WIN-WIN. You've likely heard the adage that "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach", well the same can be said about the foodies in your life.

Whether you want to pop by any of the listed places in person or visit their websites I am certain you will find something just right for your food loving friend or family member. I have included a direct link to the website of each of the 25 mentioned businesses.

Image courtesy of Mandala Chai Company

Mandala Chai Company makes hand-crafted, artisan chai with only organic, local and fair trade ingredients. Mandala Chai is always consciously crafted in small batches and made with love. Available in Original Chai or Spicy Chai. This drink is chai perfection enjoyed hot or cold and the chai concentrate makes a lovely addition to a variety of recipes.  Mandala Chai Company logo T-shirts, mugs, and canvas totes are also available on the website.

Image courtesy of Indaba Coffee

Indaba Coffee Roasters is a family run business that "believes radical hospitality can change the world". With 2 locations in Spokane, Indaba can be found downtown Spokane on Howard Street and in the West Central neighborhood on Broadway Avenue. They are passionate about loving people through serving them finely crafted coffee. Visit either location for Indaba merchandise and coffee products and tools. Gift cards also available.

Image courtesy of Winterwoods Tea Company

Winterwoods Tea Company offers organic loose leaf tea blends that are "inspired by community and nature's bounty". With 20 different blends to choose from you are sure to find the tea that best suits any personal tea preference. You will find additional gifts for the tea loving person in your life including the perfect tea measuring spoon, tea infusers, tea samplers, and mugs.

Image courtesy of Ladder Coffee and Toast

Image courtesy of Ladder Coffee and Toast

Ladder Coffee and Toast is new to the Spokane coffee scene and already making waves. They have a heart to love and support people no matter their background. Gift cards of $20 or more are available. To complement your coffee they also serve three kinds of toasts:
1. Yogurt & Honey
2. Nutella & Banana
3. Avocado Toast

Image courtesy of Vessel Coffee Roasters

Vessel Coffee Roasters has a modern, hip vibe and is quite Instagram picture worthy. Even though this coffee shop is known for is photogenic aesthetic, they are first known for their amazing coffee that includes epic latte art. Gift cards and Vessel Coffee merchandise available. Be sure to give yourself a little extra time when you pop by to buy something for your coffee loving friend because you're going to want to hang out awhile.

Image courtesy of Townshend

Townshend Cellar is a family owned and operated Washington winery located on Greenbluff. Their wine "combines the notably expressive qualities of Washington State grapes with the depth and elegance of wines made in the Old World style." Be sure to check out their website for tasting room and wine club information.

Image courtsey of Dry Fly Distilling

Dry Fly Distilling For the spirits connoisseur Dry Fly Distilling has a wide variety of vodka, gin, and whiskies, all made here in the inland Northwest from local ingredients sourced from 100+ year old farms. Cocktail classes available, check website for details and prices. Dry Fly is also open to hosting private classes for groups.

Image courtesy of Barrister Winery

Image courtesy of Barrister Winery

Barrister Winery was started in 2002 by 2 attorneys and has become one of Washington's finest wineries. Known mainly for their full bodied reds, their 2 most well known wines are their Cabernet Franc and their Rough Justice both winners of multiple awards throughout the years. The winery is open from noon to 5 for tastings daily. Check website for downtown location hours. Gift certificates are available at both locations.

Image courtesy of Damnbucha

Image courtesy of Damnbucha

 Damnbucha is a kombucha brewery right here in Spokane! You can find their kombucha at the following Spokane locations. Growler Guys on the South hill (flavors: spiced pear and blueberry mint), The Blackbird (Flavors: Cranberry blood orange) Iron Goat (Flavors: Blueberry mint blast and Cranberry blood orange) and Black label brewing (Flavors: hibiscus orange). Growlers are available at all locations listed above.

Image courtesy of Chocolate Apothecary and Coffee

Chocolate Apothecary is located in the Flour Mill. Chocolate Apothecary offers delicious and decadent hand-crafted chocolates and a wide variety of unique and tasty sweets which are one of the oldest traditional gifts given around the world and are sure to be very well received. One of their top selling products is their gelato truffles. Yes you heard that right gelato truffles and while you're there don't forget to check out their world famous drinking chocolate.

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Batch Bake Shop is a tiny bakery with a huge heart that will help in making all your savory, sweet or flaky baked-goods dreams come true. With everything from hand-crafted pies and rustic galettes to cakes and pastries, there's something for everyone.  Batch also offers small group classes and workshops. Batch will be open on Fridays throughout December from Noon-5:30pm with pies, cake and holiday goodies available. For custom orders check out their website.

Image courtesy of The Scoop

Image courtesy of The Scoop

The Scoop is a family owned cream shop that is nestled in an adorable neighborhood on the South hill. They serve amazing made ice cream that is created in store using fresh ingredients and liquid nitrogen. Even though the Scoop is best known for their ice cream they also have liege waffles, savory sandwiches and an espresso bar that serves Roast House coffee. The Scoop is a wonderful community gathering place no matter the time of year. Because any day is a good day for ice cream, right?

Bean and Pie is located in Post Falls. They are passionate about using quality ingredients such as organic butter, flour, fruit and sugar. Sourcing their ingredients locally is a focal point of their mission. Who doesn't love pie?!? "All I'm saying is you rarely see a person crying and eating pie at the same time." Bean and Pie will be announcing their Christmas flavors pie selection very soon so be sure to stay tuned on their website. My personal favorite pie is their Chai apple pie!

Image courtesy of Kitchen Engine

Kitchen Engine is a specialty kitchen store located in the Flour Mill in downtown Spokane that recently celebrated 11 years in business. They continually strive for excellence in customer service and they carry a wide variety of merchandise from gourmet cookware to locally roasted coffee. They are Spokane's only Bosch small appliance dealer. Additionally they have a monthly schedule of cooking classes available to the public, for cooking class schedule and prices see their website. Kitchen Engine "invites you to come in, have a cup of coffee or tea on them and discover your inner chef. "

Image courtesy of Sweet Annie's

Image courtesy of Sweet Annie's

Sweet Annie's artisan ice cream is described as "life affirming and crazy delicious" and I would have to agree 110%!  It is also locally sourced and made in small batches. Just listen to these flavors: Spiked egg nog, Sweet cream, Dark chocolate peppermint, Salted almond toffee, Sweetie potato pie and more. Now that your mouth is watering I think you'll really want to check out their "flights of fancy" while you're buying a gift card for the foodie in your life I think you'll want to buy one for yourself as well.

Image courtesy of Simplholistic

Image courtesy of Simplholistic

Simplholistic is offering a fantastic deal on their "Ultimate Health Bundle" This bundle will provide you with a 1 week meal plan that includes recipes, a grocery store guide as well as the Simplholistic favorites and and supplement discounts. Additionally you will also receive nutrition consultation from Ashlee, founder and owner of Simplholistic, and it's budget friendly coming in under $20 at $18 which is what I call a steal of a deal.

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The Culinary Stone has a passion for living and eating well. "Gourmet living meets everyday prices." is part of their mission. The Culinary Stone is the perfect place to visit and discover specialty foods from all around the world as well as our local region. Whether you're looking for kitchen tools and gadgets, cooking classes to expand your skills in the kitchen or specialty foods I can guarantee you'll enjoy your experience at the store. When I visit this wondrous store I literally feel like a kid in a candy store, I just want to wander around for hours taking it all in. Be sure to pull up a seat in the cafe area of the store to re-fuel with a variety of delicious pastries and coffee available.

Image courtesy of Bruttles

Bruttles is Spokane's original soft peanut brittle maker serving "goodness 64 years in the making". If you've never tried this, you're seriously in for a treat and possibly a lifetime addiction. Their unique recipe for peanut brittle has been handed down, improved and protected over the years. Additionally they offer cookies and cream bark, butter toffee, caramels, white chocolate bark, cashew brittle, etc. There are 2 locations available with one in Spokane Valley and the other in Downtown Spokane.

Photo taken at Sante

Photo taken at Sante

If you've scrolled through this list and you still aren't sure what to get for the foodie in your life then I'd suggest grabbing a gift card from one of the wonderful local restaurants and let your foodie friend or family member decide what sounds best.

Clover      Sante      Wild Sage      Luna      Downriver Grill      Central Food   Blackbird  Ruins

Okay friends, I hope this list has been helpful and will serve as a guide for you as you get to shopping. Happy December, ALL!

Hotel RL brings the magic of the holidays to Spokane with Life-sized Gingerbread House

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The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing others’ loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of the holidays.”
— W.C. Jones

Chef Ricky Webster, his culinary team and Hotel RL have something very special and magical planned for the upcoming holiday season. They will be turning their dream of a Life-sized, walk through Gingerbread house into reality. This magical, Life-sized house will make its debut on Friday, November 24th, the day after Thanksgiving. There will even be a ribbon cutting ceremony but the time has yet to be set so stay tuned for that.

During my recent visit with Chef Ricky at Hotel RL, we wandered back into the kitchen to meet Pastry Chef Megan Gaines who was hard at work making Gingerbread bricks just like one of Santa's elves. The kitchen was warm and had the sweet and spicy essence of gingerbread wafting throughout, in that moment I felt the magic and sentiment of the holidays.

With his pastry background, Chef Ricky has always had a passion for gingerbread and began to dream and scheme about the Life-sized Gingerbread house back in May and June. Once the design for the gingerbread house was settled upon, it was time to get started on making the gingerbread dough which began in September and the first bricks were baked in the beginning of October. Here are some fun facts about this Life-sized Gingerbread house that is slated to be 120-150 square feet. There will be 750 pounds of gingerbread used for the house alone, this doesn't include door frames, window boxes, etc. There will be 1,300 gingerbread bricks used on the exterior, they have baked a little over 500 bricks to date. For the interior there will be graham cracker wallpaper and sugar chandeliers. I know Chef Ricky and his team have more sweet (pun intended) details planned but you'll just have to come visit this magical house and see them for yourself.

When I asked Chef Ricky why both he and Hotel RL wanted to make this dream a reality here in Spokane this is what he had to say. "Spokane is a city full of passionate people and people who have a lot of heart and like to celebrate. This would be big for a major city like Seattle, San Francisco or LA. but why not here? We can use a project like this to bring people together. We can show that we are that place to come, that's fun, that's interesting and unique and we will get to see a great result at the end that is benefiting a local charity that is doing wonderful things 365 days out of the year."

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The elevated area of the lobby where the cacoon hammocks currently are will be transformed into this magical house and official construction is set to begin on Friday, November 17th. It will be a busy and full marathon of a week for Chef Ricky and his team. If you are interested in volunteering during that week or any of the weeks leading up to that Friday you can reach out using the following email address: Ricky.Webster@RLHCO.com

In addition to the Life-sized Gingerbread house itself there will also be activities offered during select Saturdays and there will be sweets and treats available in the Gingerbread House shop which will be open Monday through Friday in the evenings and all day on the weekends. Check out the holiday themed sweets and treats line up: Coffee and Hot chocolate, Iced Gingerbread Cookies, Pecan Snowballs and Candy Cane Chocolate Chip Cookies will be offered. There will also be life-sized Mr. and Mrs. Gingerbread cut-outs for to get your picture taken with. To be taken to the Hotel RL page directly for all the important details click here.

Join Pastry Chef Megan Gaines from 1-3pm on select Saturdays during the holiday season and purchase a $5 Build-Your-Own Gingerbread Person then let your creative juices and imagination flow as you create your very own customized gingerbread person. There will also be Build-Your-Own Gingerbread House kits to take home available for $12. See schedule below for select Saturdays:

  • November 25, 2017
  • December 2, 2017
  • December 9, 2017
  • December 16, 2017

Is there anything that could make this Life-sized Gingerbread house any more amazing? Why yes, there actually is and it's one of my favorite parts of this dream becoming a reality in our very own city. Every Hotel RL throughout the nation partners with local charities through their Project Wake up Call program and our Spokane Hotel RL has partnered with Blessings Under the Bridge. "For the past ten years, Blessings Under The Bridge has been providing weekly events for the homeless population of Spokane every Wednesday night, under the freeway overpass at 4th & McClellan. Through their year-round events, they have allowed others to take part in the amazing blessings and have many success stories from reuniting the homeless with families to building relationships and bringing hope."

If you would like to know more about Project Wake Up Call and Blessings Under the Bridge, be sure to visit their websites. You may also visit Hotel RL and check out their Project Wake Up Call wall. As you enter the Hotel RL lobby, take an immediate right. It's a wall of stories and testimonies that will bless and touch your heart. Stories of lives that have been touched and changed because of their partnership between the Spokane Hotel RL and Blessings Under the Bridge. This wall will make you tear up so bring some tissue.

During the ribbon cutting ceremony of Friday, November 24th the Gingerbread house will be presented to Blessings Under the Bridge. Below are the ways that funds will be raised for Blessings Under the Bridge:

    • Enjoy a holiday treat: $1 from each of the purchases of our house-made cookies, hot chocolate drinks, charity cocktails and dessert specials, for sale at the Coffee Bar and Gingerbread House, will be donated directly.
    • Purchase a gingerbread person kit for $5 and enjoy putting it together in the lobby on select Saturdays between 1-3pm.
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    These last 3 images are used with permission from Chef Ricky and Hotel RL.

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    Making memories at Greenbluff

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    Last week I took our youngest kiddo up to Greenbluff to take a peak around and enjoy an afternoon together while the 2 older kids were at school. It was a gorgeous quintessential Fall day. The sun was shining and the skies were the most perfect blue. If you aren't a Spokane local or aren't familiar with Greenbluff it's an area Northeast of Spokane that covers acres and acres of privately owned farms and orchards.  Depending on the season you can find the following for sale: raspberries, strawberries, cherries, tomatoes, rhubarb, corn, winter squash, pumpkins, peaches, apples, summer squash, beets, onions, gourds, herbs, garlic and much more.

    I have been visiting Greenbluff for over 20 years. I remember back to when one of the farms had a Ferris wheel. Yes, a Ferris wheel. It was amazing as you would go up, up, up and be able to see for what felt like forever over the tops of the apple trees and all across the bluff. So as you can imagine Greenbluff holds very special memories for our family as visiting it has become a Fall tradition. We have pictures of each of our kiddos as little tikes on their first visit to Greenbluff. The love of the land and appreciation of it runs deeply in us so going to Greenbluff each year is memorable and fun way to celebrate the end of the growing season and all that that season has meant. When you combine caramel apples, tractor rides, hay bales, pumpkin donuts, corn mazes, October skies, long orchard rows, pumpkin patches, kettle corn, pony rides and farm animals you can't help but have a grand time and make some lasting memories. So consider taking a trip to Greenbluff through the month of October to slow down, breathe some fresh country air, make some special memories and support some local farmers.

    If you are interested in visiting Greenbluff there is a great website that is a very helpful resource called Greenbluff Growers It lists 59 "Growers" on the bluff along with "Events", what is "Fresh on the Bluff", Information about the "Cherry Pickers trot" and "History"

    Below I have listed 7 of the farms along with their address, phone number, hours and website.

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    High Country Orchard

    8518 E. Green Bluff Road
    Colbert, WA 99005
    509-238-9545

    Current HOURS:

    Sunday-Thursday 10AM-5PMFriday 10AM-5:30PM Saturday 9AM-5:30PM

    Hansen's

    8215 E. Green Bluff Road
    Colbert, WA 99005
    509-238-4902

    Current HOURS: Open 7 days a week 10AM-4PM

    Strawberry Hill Nutrition Farm

    N. 16904 Day Mt. Spokane Rd.
    Mead, WA 99021
    509-238-6919

    Current HOURS: Closed on Sunday and Monday    Open Tuesday - Saturday 8AM-5PM

    Beck's Harvest House

    9919 Greenbluff Road
    Colbert, WA 99005
    509-238-6970

    Current HOURS: Open 7 days a week 9AM-6PM

    Walter's Fruit Ranch

    9807 E. Day Rd.
    Mead, WA 99021
    509-238-4709

    Current HOURS: Open 7 days a week 9AM-5PM

    Siemers Farm

    11125 E. Day Mt. Spokane Rd.
    Mead, WA 99021
    509-238-6242

    Current HOURS: Open 7 days a week 10AM-6PM

    11 Acres Farm

    10909 E. Day Mt. Spokane Rd.
    Mead, WA 99021
    509-238-9473

    Current Hours:

    Closed on Mondays   Open Tuesday - Sunday 7:30AM-5PM

    Be sure to keep the following in mind when visiting Greenbluff:

    ~ Be respectful of the farms and the "No trespassing" signs. These farmers are inviting you onto their land and into their lives so be sure to be respectful and kind to their land, it's their livelihood.

    ~ You just never know what kind of weather you are going to get. It's always a good idea to bring a jacket and hat as it can be windy and rainy being that it's October.

    ~ Weekends are the busiest. The farms that attract more traffic can get quite busy so be prepared as there may be some lines when parking and there will most certainly be lines for buying pumpkin donuts. Hehe.

    ~ Bringing cash is a good idea. Many of the farms accept debit/credit but some don't. Some of the farms do have a ATM machines but they are few and far between.

    ~ Since these are farms after all there will be plenty of dirt and possibly mud. So I wouldn't suggest wearing your favorite pair of white shoes.

    ~ If you are going on a weekday some of the attractions and activities may not be available so you may want to call ahead.

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    All picture were taken at Siemers, Walts Fruit Ranch and Beck's Harvest House

    Emerson-Garfield Farmers Market

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    "Farmers markets should be for everyone." This core value belief is seen in action every Friday from 3-7pm at 2310 N. Monroe during the Emerson-Garfield Farmers' Market.

    The Emerson-Garfield Farmers' Market is a totally grassroots, seasonal weekly marketplace that has an average of 20 vendors who sell the following: organic, locally grown fruits and vegetables, baked goods including some gluten-free options, artisanal soaps, treats for your dogs, raw and flavored honey, flowers and plant starts, crafts, kettle corn, floral arrangements and occasionally pasture-raised meats. It's now in its fifth season.

    The story of how the Emerson-Garfield Farmers' Market came to be is an inspiring one. Little did I know that until a recent phone conversation/interview that I had with the volunteer market manager, E.J. Iannelli. E.J., who is a writer and translator by trade and moved from Germany to Spokane with his family 7 years ago, is much more than a market manager. Like the rest of the market vendors and volunteer staff, he truly carries the heart of all that this market can be and how it can touch lives in as a practical way as putting nutritious food on the tables of local families.

    Emerson-Garfield Farmers' Market was born out of a desire by the Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council to foster a sense of community and create positive activities that would help bring the wider neighborhood (there are 9,000 residents in the E-G area) together.

    Yet the road to launching the market was lined with many hurdles. They had no funding, no experience running a market, and no buzz. But the people and partners who were involved from the start (E.J., Dave Musser, Project Hope Spokane, Catholic Charities Spokane) persevered out of their strong shared goals, and the Emerson-Garfield Farmers' Market went from idea to reality in record time — just two months! The first market was held on July 17, 2013 in the parking lot of Knox Presbyterian Church.

    "The aim of the market is to bring fresh, healthy, affordable goods that
    are locally grown or produced to the residents of Emerson-Garfield as well
    as all those who pass through our up-and-coming neighborhood. An
    intentional side benefit is that it also serves as a community hub,
    bringing both people and organizations together and cultivating meaningful
    relationships between them."

    As you scroll through the pictures below you will see that at the
    Emerson-Garfield Farmers Market its about the people. The market
    facilitates in bringing people together, connecting them, and gives them a
    place of common ground and belonging.

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    "In addition weekly musical entertainment from a variety of bands and solo artists, the Emerson-Garfield Farmers’ Market features regular events, such as cooking demos, book readings for all ages, craft fairs, cider pressing and kids’ activities. Other events are a hands-on composting workshop, a home canning and pickling demo, a vermiculture tutorial, book readings and much more. Many businesses and nonprofits take advantage of the casual, friendly atmosphere to set up an outreach table and raise awareness about their services. In the past the Emerson-Garfield Farmers’ Market has hosted booths by the Main Market Co-op, doctors’ offices, the Lands Council, BECU, Allstate Insurance, neighborhood schools and many others."

    The 2017 market season started on June 9th and will conclude on September 29th with a season finale that includes a hand-cranked cider press and a cooking demo with celebrity chef Ricky Webster. So that means you have three more Fridays to go visit, connect and support the local community.

    If you would be interested in partnering with the Emerson-Garfield Farmers’ Market to schedule an activity, conduct a workshop, set up an outreach table, etc.  you may get in touch with them via market@emersongarfield.org. They are always receptive to new suggestions and opportunities!

    For additional information about Emerson-Garfield Farmers Market you can find them on Facebook, Instagram and you can also visit their website Emerson-Garfield Farmers Market

    If you have further questions about the market you can get in touch by calling (509) 255-3072 or you may email market@emersongarfield.org.

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    A huge thank you to Rogue Heart Media for providing the images for this blog post and for so beautifully capturing the heart of the Emerson-Garfield farmer market. 

    Spokane locals, Rob and Megan Kennedy own and operate Rogue Heart Media which is a production studio focused on photo, video and web services for community minded businesses and organizations.