May 8, 2012

Pie for Breakfast

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I could write a whole post about eating my way through Walla Walla and then put up a few photos of me bloated from days of wheat and sugar.  But I won’t.  At least I won’t post the photos.  But here are some notes from the weekend’s menu:

In my Postcard from Walla Walla I mentioned the bacon and asparagus pizza that former piano student and soon to be Whitman graduate Katie and I shared at Olive Marketplace and Cafe. ( Then there was the penuche I bought every time I walked past Bright’s Candies smack in the center of Main Street on the same side as Olive’s.

The one place where I didn’t eat was the TV station in Kennewick.  I don’t know exactly what I expected other than slightly less of the carnival crowds than at the Today Show in Rockefeller Center.  Actually I do know what I had expected.  I expected a breakfast buffet and someone to do my camera make-up.  There wasn’t so much as a Mr Coffee or a stick of lipstick on the premises.

I had to get up at 4:30 in order to be at KVEW-TV in Kennewick for my 6:45 spot on Good Morning Northwest.  Over the aforementioned pizza at Olive’s, Katie offered to pick me up the next morning and be my chauffeur. She told me she would set four alarm clocks and put them in different places in her bedroom.  Even so I called her at 4:55 to see if she was up.  It is a measure either of her easy-going nature or of how much she loves me that there was scarcely a hint of exasperation in her voice when she said, “I just got out of the shower.”  At 5:10 her car’s headlights were shining up the drive and into the kitchen where Debi and I were yawning and grunting at each other.

Katie and I watched the sun rise through the rear view mirrors as we drove to Kennewick.  At the TV station we loitered outside the control room and watched until we were moved into the studio where the segment before us was some guys cooking crayfish.  Katie documented my TV debut on her smart phone.  We ate some crayfish and drove back to Walla Walla where we had breakfast at Olive’s.

Katie on Main Street outside Olive's and down the street from Bright's Candies

I got on my bicycle to make my rounds of Walla Walla which included coffee and a little nosh at Colville Street Patisserie and culminating with a visit to Willis and Toews, Debi’s law office.  In a spacious room Debi’s head bobbed up from an oceanic desk—handcrafted by husband Jim– and a sea of papers.

“Debi, this is a gorgeous office!”  I said. “For some reason I expected a cramped room in a seedy alley.”

“Why? Because I’m a seedy little person?”

Debi is hardly that.  Beneath her unflappable demeanor, she is funny and outgoing. She recently went through two corneal transplants with grace and humor.

Debi and Jim buy their milk at the dairy, their produce and meat at the farm, their bread at the Walla Walla Bread Co, and their coffee beans at the Walla Walla Roastery out by the airport.  I think the only actual store they frequent is Andy’s Market in College Place, Seventh-Day Adventist country where you can get all manner of herbs and healthy food in bulk.

Jim is the chef at The Toews Towers on Tieton.  Don’t try to make reservations.  It’s their home.  I just have a foible for alliterations.  For dinner Jim made enough savory Cioppino to feed a ship full of Portuguese fisherman.

So endeth the second day.

On Saturday morning we were up and eating again.  I sampled everything available in paper pill cups at the Walla Walla Farmer’s Market.  Debi and I went to the Walla Walla Bread Co where we ordered pieces of strawberry rhubarb pie and lemon Shaker pie. Debi leaned against the display case and said, “Put it on my tab.” Debi can eat like this because she bicycles fifty miles a day.  But as Eeyore says: “We can’t all and some of us don’t.”

Debi casting a spell on the produce at Walla2 Farmer's Market

Really, my book signing at Book and Game Co (across Main Street from Bright’s Candies) that began at 11:00 takes a back seat to the gustatory pleasures of the weekend.   When I had signed my last book and the bookstore had written me a check (yay!), Debi and I made our way north to Klickers which was a seasonal fruit stand when I was at Whitman.  I remember cycling out to it for berries.  Now it’s open year round and has antiques, yard art, produce, cheese, jams, honey, condiments, and what we were there for: Umpqua ice cream.

Four hours later I had just enough room to pack in tender, brined chicken with caramelized onions which Jim had been preparing pretty much ever since we left the house to go to the farmer’s market in the morning.

Now that I’m back home in Seattle, I’m on a diet of herb tea and sticks.


Debi running a tab at Walla Walla Bread Company














Chef James

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