“Virtual” Amuse – Bouche

Covid has sure forced us all into a new way of life. For many, our new life of quarantine and stay home orders have inspired imaginative and innovative ways to still connect and create.

Like so many things that happen in our town , it always starts with someone who knows someone that knows someone…..and this was no exception.

I received a text from a friend asking ….would I be interested in a virtual French cooking class with a chef hosting and teaching out of a Chateau in Ardeche France? Well…let me check my calendar……duh, of course, this sounds amazing!!

While Isabelle, our chef , was a halfway across the globe 9 hours ahead, 4 Bremerton kitchens were beginning prep at 9:30 am our time. We had received our shopping list prior…acorn squash….a raw vanilla bean?….I knew right away that I was in for not only a great new learning experience but also a new taste experience.

Isabelle who was raised in Ardeche shares her passion for healthy cooking with her daughter Margaux, who while raised locally here on Bainbridge, has now joined her mother in Ardeche where she uses her love of organic and healthy nutrition to educate others on the culture she feels most connected.

Our four course meal was a vegetarian delight and made for a lovely meal that was hearty, with the scent of fall, and it beautifully plated for a nice lunch that day. Our small group had a wonderful shared experience and enjoyed connecting with our neighboring kitchens virtually.

The meal courses were as follows:
Faux Gras – A lentil & mushroom base pate with hints of rosemary.
Honey roasted squash with warm kale– Acorn squash roasted with fresh herbs served over lightly sauteed kale.
Classic french onion soup – served with crostini bread & gruyere
Chocolate poached pears – warm pear drizzled with freshly made chocolate sauce. Bon Appetit!

Below are photos from some of the kitchens that participated as well as information for Isabelle & Margaux our hosts. Photos taken by our good friend, French travel guru & organizer of this magical day…Wendy Dreaney.



A Scenic Drive For Your Inner Foodie…


We’re lucky.  Right in our own backyard are wonderful drives down roads lined with old growth trees, mountains & bays in the back drop , even the occasional bald eagle flying over head….its pretty cool.  Looking for a fun day Sunday? Let me make a suggestion.

We recently set out to visit the oyster saloon at Hama Hama Oyster Company.  I had heard they created an outdoor kitchen and dining experience right on the shores of their oyster farm.  We set out last Sunday to check it out.  Here is what we stumbled upon along the way.

First, to get there, take HWY 3 to Belfair then get on 106 to drive along the south shore of the Hood Canal.  This is a scenic drive in itself , you’ll pass  Twanoh State Park and Alderbrook resort, both also interesting stops if you choose.

We decided to pull off in Union at the Union City Market.  WOW, talk about quintessential Pacific Northwest… this is a must stop. First, as we walked up, we noticed  tables set up, a couple guys grilling, chatting, handing out breakfast orders on wood planks to bundled up guests sitting outside just soaking up the morning.  Inside, they have a perfectly curated gift shop with local art, foods and ciders. Want a mimosa while you shop …..no problem, they’re happy to sell you one.  I am excited to go back to this stop.  It’s also a marina with fuel and moorage, evidently most of their patrons show up by boat.  Sounds pretty nice to me.


Union City Market

As we reluctantly left this newly discovered spot, we headed out towards HWY 101 where you’ll drive through the small town of Hoodsport.  While not expecting to stop,  I noticed a distillery and tasting room.  Of course, you can’t just drive by that!  We turned around and pulled in.

Hardware Distillery Co. is a find.  What made this stop really special is that the owners, Chuck & Jan , are on site and love telling the story of their craft. Super local, from the water to the grains,  they proudly source their products locally.  The story of the barrels and the process is fun to learn along with tasting their products.  We tasted their gin, whisky and the award winning aquavits.

We left there with the ingredients to make their recipe for a Fort Worden, a delicious drink that left me with warm cheeks.


Hardware Distillery 

So……now, where were we going?  By this time we were ready to get to our Oyster Saloon for lunch.  From Hoodsport, we had about another 14 miles or so to go.  This drive has you in and out of the Olympic National forest with trailheads and turn offs every so many miles.  The hood canal shoreline is on your right and is just breathtaking.

Arriving in Lillywaup, we had made it, at last,  to the Oyster Saloon.  Lots of parking,  its easy to get in and check it out.  Along with the outdoor Oyster Saloon, they have a large commercial building with fresh oysters, smoked salmon,  gourmet foods, sweatshirts and other items for sale.  You’ll walk around the building to the saloon, it provides outdoor eating areas that are covered and uncovered with heaters going and a fire pit.  They have a simple menu where you can sample oysters raw or cooked, there is a chowder that warms the belly as well as beer, wine and soda.  You’ll order at a counter and they bring it to you.  Since the line can get long at times, you may want to order strategically.


We ordered the cooked oysters and two bowls of chowder.  The Oysters are dressed with  tasty sauces, ours came out with three different styles, pretty garlic forward,  but all amazing.  The chowder is hot and hearty and feels good on a cold day.  Dress warm if you’re headed out in the off season, but even a cold winter day, this is a fun experience, especially with a fire going.  You can walk out to the beach, explore the mountains of oyster shells or walk out to the Hamma Hamma bridge.  Best to watch out for where you can walk your dog, there are some restrictions near the beaches, but all of our stops really made our dog feel welcome.

We left with full bellies, some smoked salmon for the road and a new sweatshirt.  It was a perfect stop.


Hama Hama Oysters

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to keep your scenic drive going, continuing on HWY 101 will take you another 45 miles or so to connect you with the Hood Canal floating bridge which gets you back on the Kitsap Peninsula and on your path back to Bremerton.    There are many amazing spots to explore in our backyard, let me know what your favorites are.


End of Summer Seafood Boil

A tradition in many coastal areas is some kind of seafood boil.  The Pacific Northwest has such an abundance of fresh seafood it becomes a great excuse to gather your friends and have a fun and unique dinner experience.

My dear friend,  who recently sold her waterfront home on the Hood Canal, had passed down to me,  her box of fun and festive nautical themed dishes, serving plates and most importantly the giant pot and burner.   What’s a girl to do but invite over some friends and carry on this wonderful tradition on the shore of Ostrich Bay in Bremerton.

The table was set with layered dishes, blue and red enamelware were used like a charger with the top plate a cute nautical melamine style dish.  Gingham napkins and vases with sunflowers added lots of color to the table.

This night was a bit breezy so our outdoor burner was struggling a bit to get our pot to a boil, we decided to move it back to a more protected area.  That was the trick, it came to a boil and we began, under the supervision of my friend and seafood boil expert,  to add our layers.

On the menu this night was a pot stocked with jumbo shrimp, clams, mussels, andouille sausage, small potatoes, & corn.   The stock got it flavors by adding garlic & onions, seaweed for added steam,  and most importantly, old bay seasoning. Chardonnay or your favorite white wine is a great pairing choice along with sparkling water.  We included a caesar salad with fresh made dressing & croutons, warm loaves of crusty bread and ended the night with peach & blackberry cobbler.

While another fun tradition is to dump the boil right on the table, this night, because of our group size, we dumped the boil onto a huge serving tray and dished up from there. Craft paper or newspaper on the table to catch the butter and seafood mess is a must, along with lots of lemon and more old bay.  I also added several galvanized containers to collect the shells.

This was a special night watching the sunset behind the Olympics with a slight chill of fall in the air signaling the final goodbyes of summer.



Bridging Bremerton

“The Bridges” is a popular walk for many Bremerton residents.

Our local Kitsap Sun reporter and community hero, Josh Farley, is hosting three walks today on this loop which is roughly 3 miles.

This morning I joined in on the first walk which was the “early bird” focusing on our urban wildlife. We started at the 9/11 Memorial and walked through Evergreen Park , passed the “face” , which I’ve never noticed before and found ourselves at the Rota Vista Park. This is where you can see the largest colony of pelagic cormorants living under the Warren Ave bridge. There is also a pair of nesting Falcons.

The walk went over the Warren bridge and along lower Wheaton way past the old Bay bowl and Schley Canyon to the Art Walls which were already being transformed into the next display.

We finished at the Domstad Park for a history lesson about Manette and the first bridge.

This walk was a wonderful community gathering. It was was fun to hear from other locals, their own personal stories of growing up here. As a third generation Bremerton girl myself, I was thrilled to learn more about my home town.

Thank you to Josh for organizing this event and bringing us all together for a shared appreciation of our beautiful city.

If you can catch one of the later walks, I encourage you to do so.

8:00 Early Bird

10:30 Art in motion

1:00 Centennial scavenger hunt

4:00 Centennial pub crawl

#bremertonliving #bridgingbremerton #thebridges #kitsapsun

Orcas…on the way home from the Boat Shed

On a beautiful PNW evening, if you can get in a boat you do. Tonight, we jumped in our little inflatable and cruised to the Boat Shed for a great dinner. On our way home, we had the privilege of being escorted by some local orcas. Always a blast when they show up.

#Pnwliving #orcapod #boating #bremertonliving #theboatshed

Breakfast- can you dig it?

When in Bremerton, one of your stops must be breakfast at Hi-Lo’s. Served with love and a smile, they have a simple but delicious menu, a self serve coffee bar out of the back of a van and a pretty impressive thermos collection, I dare you to find a better one.

This place is just another wonderful gem in Bremerton. Heidi and Lowell created this colorful and fun breakfast spot years ago and it only gets better with time. Be sure to reserve the VW van for your breakfast table with your group of 4-6.

Located on the corner of 15th and Wycoff in West Bremerton.

#breakfastspots #vwbus #eggsandbacon

Bringing back the dinner party!

The Scene


Recently, I hosted a dinner party with a group of friends.  Entertaining can be fun and doesn’t have to be stressful.  The fun part for me is decorating and creating an interesting  cocktail.  I’m an ok cook however….my advice is,  know what you’re good at,  delegate the rest.   Keep it easy.   This particular dinner party was with a group of girlfriends, so I asked everyone to bring something and they were happy to do it.  I had each friend volunteer for an item.  We had a couple wonderful salads, side dishes, a roasted tri-tip, and a beautiful dessert.  I made the champagne cocktails and handed them out upon my guests arrival .   There was plenty of wine too,  so, you know,  the essentials were covered.

Adding a theme can make it fun.    Since this was a ladies only dinner party,  I wanted to add pink,  in particular,  some vintage pink glass cake plates and vase that I had been unable to really add into any other occasion.  So our theme was ” Pink at night, ladies delight”.    The ladies loved it.  It was fall , so I picked up some pumpkins and gourds and spray painted them rose gold & pink , added some fresh eucalyptus, added candles and voila!  It was easy and fun to create,  and the bonus was I was able to re-use some of the same items for Thanksgiving a week or so later.

A dear friend captured the evening, her photos are below.  Wendy Dreaney Photography


#entertaining #bremertonliving #wendydreaneyphotography #dinnerparty



Bremerton Bridge blast 

This year was the first year for a fireworks show off the Manette Bridge in Bremerton ….and wow, what a great night.  

We happened to be down at the Bremerton marina during the day which was hosting many guests. We had fun befriending the very social & fun “West Seattle Yacht club”.   The boardwalk hosted live music and food vendors,  then off to Manette where businesses were open all day.  Manette & downtown neighborhoods and homes were hosting lively parties.   Our lucky viewpoint was from a friends waterfront condo, a stones throw from the bridge.  

Great weather, a perfectly executed fireworks show along with a sprinkling of anchored boats on the water made for a pretty magical evening.   

 Way to go Bremerton.  Looking forward to next year.  

#bremertonbridgeblast  #manette #downtownbremerton #bremertonliving #fireworks #bridgeblast

New Chimacum ferry makes her debut


chimicum ferry

This morning,  Bremerton commuters got to enjoy the newest Olympic class ferry named  “Chimacum”  on her maiden voyage into downtown Seattle.  So many Bremerton and Kitsap residents rely on the ferries to get into the city for work every day.  The ferries at peak commute times can be very full.  The Kitsap and the Kaleetan have been on this run for many years and like any boat has had their mechanical issues.  The new boat wasn’t quite ready for her debut yet but due to the shortage and a holiday weekend, they put her into service today.  The galley isn’t up and running yet so tonight passengers on their way home won’t be able to enjoy their usual beer or glass of wine but I guess thats coming soon. The other feedback I heard was “where is the makeup counter” … I did hear some say it had the “new car smell”.

Lots of these commuters are anxious for the “fast ferry” passenger only service to start in July.  Those boats only hold a limited amount of passengers, I believe around 120.  This route will take just 28 minutes and give many commuters much needed personal time back into their day.   Exciting times Bremerton…stay tuned.


Kettle Generosity


I have rang the bell through my service group in the past and that has always been a fun tradition however I hadn’t ever volunteered to count.  I was asked to put together a group of friends and sign up for a night in December.  Our group of ten or so arrived at the Salvation Army around 7:45 last night as the kettles were being brought in from all over the county.

As we began to get our kettles ready,  we were given a brief coaching on the process.  We all began to open our kettles and begin the counting  when around the table we started to hear…”there’s a check in mine”, followed by a cheer.  “I’ve got a twenty!” ..cheer!  Dollars, fives and change are the most common donation,  but the occasional twenty or hundred would also get our crowd roaring with excitement.   As we proceeded through our 40 some odd kettles that night, one of our volunteers found a bank envelope in one of the kettles.  No name, just a date and a large cash donation….clapping and cheers ring out!!  This was an exciting moment not only to find an envelope with a substantial amount of cash in it, but to find that this donor had done this three times yesterday, in three different locations through out the county. Opening a kettle with one of these envelopes inside felt like winning the lotto!

What struck our group  the most was the heart of this donor, no recognition for his donation, no tax deduction, just the pure and simple happiness it must have brought him  or her to donate.  Our community is generous.  It’s generous with its resources, it’s time and it’s talent.  Last night, again, I felt lucky to be part of this community, this family,  that takes care of one another.  The holiday spirit was in full force and I was lucky enough to bear witness to it.

#salvationarmy  #generosity  #kettlecampaign  #bremertonliving

If you’d like to donate or volunteer your time, please contact our local Salvation Army for more information.

Salvation Army Bremerton