Monthly Archives: December 2009

Vita Holiday Party Videos: Head Like A Kite made the night!

| December 28, 2009

Pregnant Santas, Dancing Pandas, Darth Vader in Sequins, The Grim Reaper…

Here are a couple raucous vids from our annual Holiday Party; this year we invaded the Showbox and watched as Green Apple Quick Step reunited after a dozen year hiatus, Dr Dr strutted their stuff, DJ Greasy laid down the tracks, The Raggedy Anns got everyone on the dance floor, and bellies were sated by Big Mario’s sumptuous Italian cooking. Thanks for a great year!

Farm Direct Panama Cafe Epica just arrived!

| December 16, 2009

Click here to order.
Rare Geisha Reserve = Very limited supply.
Order Today and we will get it to you before Christmas.

Cafe Epica. This farm is a remarkable organic property in Boquette Panama in the lush green mountain highlands of the Chiriqui province. The farm is heavily planted with the much sought after Geisha varietal, a unique strain of bean that has garnered intense press and unprecedented prices on the coffee market. The trees on the Epica farm are harvested using ancient lunar methods and the beans are carefully hand picked and dried on raised beds. The entire production is governed according to rigorous bio-dynamic principles. And the flavor profile is unparalleled reminding us more of a fine Ethiopian bean than a Latin American coffee. In short – this is a very rare coffee and it completely blew us away.

Huge aromas of sun dried blueberry dominate the nose, and nuances of cinnamon and dark chocolate abound. Epica is a full bodied coffee with moderate acidity. Prominent flavors of dark chocolate and blueberry fill the cup with hints of spice and citrus zest dissipating throughout the caramel finish. And this coffee will be gone within the next couple of weeks. $20 for one pound bag.

Last DAY for Chocolate + Coffee of the Month for guaranteed Christmas shipping!

| December 15, 2009

Order a subscription today and we will get it to you or a loved one before Christmas day… Click to order.

This incredibly popular collaboration between Caffe Vita and renowned chocolate-maker Theo has been featured in the New York Times, GQ, Gourmet, and made its way to hundreds of homes across the country.

Every month we hand select one of our Farm Direct coffees or expertly crafted blends and carefully match it with a remarkable bar of Theo chocolate. Expect a 12oz bag of Caffe Vita coffee and a bar of Fair Trade Theo Chocolate. We include tasting notes and specifics about the origins of each product. $66/3 months, $122/6 months, $250/year.

Columbia City’s La Madusa featured in The Seattle Times.

| December 11, 2009
Seattle Times was spot on when they mentioned “La Medusa offers well-prepared Sicilian favorites”.

The Following was also said for the great restaurant in Columbia City….
For a dozen years La Medusa’s Sicilian siren song has lured those hooked on baccala fritters, anchovy-laced “Grandma’s greens,” eggplant caponata and sardine-rich pasta con le sarde to Columbia City.

The restaurant’s founding mothers, Sherri Serino and Lisa Becklund, were among the new urban pioneers who tilled the soil along a stretch of Rainier Avenue South once nicknamed “Garlic Gulch,” nurturing a food renaissance that has yielded a richly diverse crop of restaurants, bakeries and markets.

Julie Andres has worked at La Medusa almost from the beginning, a budding chef mentored by Serino. In 2003, she and her husband, Evan (a gifted baker who eventually opened Columbia City Bakery), bought the restaurant.

If you haven’t been to La Medusa in years, you must return, not only for those Sicilian favorites but to savor a dining experience that, while still homespun, has become the finely woven product of well-practiced artisans.

Andres, a smiling sylph with the bearing of a ballerina, roams the front of the house with a watchful eye. Veteran servers, wrapped in waist-to-ankle aprons, are smoothly efficient, however, willing and able to recite every detail of every dish, even the frequently changing specials.

The food has never been better. Top-notch chefs — for a while it was Joe Hook (formerly of Café Juanita); currently it is Gordon Wishard (Lark, Licorous, Vios) and Zach Millican (Artemis and Spinasse) — take their vows of fresh, local, seasonal and house-made seriously.

Look to the printed menu for La Medusa stalwarts such as caponata and pasta con le sarde. The former, a chunky relish blending eggplant, red pepper, olives, capers, raisins and pine nuts, pals happily with panelle, spears of fried chickpea dough so thickly cut that the middles are almost creamy under their golden sheaths.

I can’t imagine you’d get a better version of pasta con le sarde in Palermo itself. Sturdy perciatelli noodles, thick spaghettilike strands with a hollow core, are well suited to wear the heavy mantle of sauce, a gritty, saffron-kissed mash of sardines and breadcrumbs, fennel and pine nuts, olives and raisins.

Consult the chalkboard for more ephemeral fare. Lately, whole chanterelles nestled among beautiful, nearly translucent house-made fettuccine coated with olive oil, garlic and a bit of Parmigiano. Crumbled house-made sausage, sautéed with garlic, fennel and a drop of cream, transformed sturdy rigatoni into a dish of surprising elegance.

Grilled slices of green tomato, steeped in “Snapping Red” Controne peppers and other spices, were served atop paper-thin mats of spicy sopressata. Bitter met sweet in a balsamic-kissed winter salad of Treviso endive and sliced fennel sparked with orange and grapefruit, red onion and apple.

Grilled Lido Farm lamb chops were as carefully cooked as oven-roasted walleye pike. Vivid coral ribbons of musky persimmon coiled among the smoky, cumin-spiced chickpeas and charred rapini that accompanied the meat. The fish, in briny broth lightly flavored with fennel, tomato and saffron, flaunted skin that crackled like cellophane with each bite.

Clove, bay, smoked cherry pepper and lemon mingle in the broth bathing soft shards of milk-braised pork, flavors as flattering to the meat as to the pale Controne beans and astonishingly vibrant Stony Plains celery with it.

La Medusa’s pizzas still achieve a crackerlike fragility. Naturally, the bread basket is full of Columbia City Bakery’s wares, making it well worth the $2.50 surcharge.

Among other upgrades: La Medusa serves cocktails and will soon have a retail wine license. There’s even a wine director, Julia Bandy, who knows just the Marsala you should sip with the don’t-miss dessert: thumb-size pistachio-covered cannoli made fresh daily.

La Medusa’s modest storefront still resembles a Sicilian grandma’s kitchen, with colorful folk art on the walls and tabletops stained glossy malachite green. A velvet curtain shrouding the door contains the chill breeze and conceals the knot of people almost always waiting for a table. There are some cracks in the ceramic floor Serino and Becklund installed themselves a dozen years ago, but nothing else about La Medusa is showing its age.