Eat Your Christmas Tree!


Or, in this case, drink it. Above, a Grand Firtini.

This year, Bainbridge’s Town & Country Market (aka “the T&C”) had Grand Firs, and Grand Firs only, for Christmas trees.  Good news for me, because they’re the most fragrant, and most delicious trees I know, with a tangerine-like bouquet that is easily extracted.

Coastal Salish tribes were fond of Douglas Fir tea, a great source of vitamin C, and Doug Fir sorbet has been around for a while, thanks to Jerry Taunfeld, who served it as an intermezzo at the Herbfarm in Woodinville. But the Grand Fir is the one for me.

Two cups of Grand Fir needles (or tips if you can get them – the trees at the T&C were “shaped”) in 3 cups of water and a half cup of sugar, bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 minutes, strain & chill.

Make sorbet.

Scoop some into a martini glass, add some Citron vodka, the juice of a Meyer lemon, garnish with cedar tip.


And here’s our tree:


Open 1/5: Greenspot Waterfront


Update:  Once again, this house went pending after I scheduled the Open House. So, it’s cancelled for 1/5.

How’s that for a view from your living room? Next Sunday, 1/5/14, I’ll be holding open this gorgeous waterfront home in the Ferncliff neighborhood, close-in on the East side of the Island. This 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom home has 3720 square feet with low bank frontage, a guest house and a really gnarly old apple tree.

Here are some more thumbnails, click for full images:


Photos by Tom Snyder

For full information  CLICK HERE.

Bainbridge Bus Shelters


This is my favorite School Bus Shelter, right on the corner of Koura Road and SR 305. Now, I’ve never actually seen any schoolkids under a shelter while they wait for the school bus, but maybe that’s an uncool thing to do.

Here are some more shelters from around the Island. some fancy, some plain, but none with quite the charm of the one on Koura:

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Terminal Conditions


The Washington State Department of Transportation has come up with a really cool tool with the unfortunate name of Terminal Conditions. Now you can go online and find out how many spaces are available for the next sailing! It updates every 15 seconds, so it’s virtually real time.

Here’s the link for the Winslow terminal:

Winslow Terminal Conditions

And here’s the one for Coleman Dock on the Seattle side:

Coleman Dock Terminal Conditions

I’ve got them both bookmarked on my iPhone home screen.

Going Mobile

thThe Wall Street Journal last Friday reported that more than half of all page views of online real estate listings now occur on mobile devices like smart phones and tablets, overtaking traditional desktop searches especially in high-end markets like here on Bainbridge Island. And, mobile users make five times as many property searches as web users.

Here at Coldwell Banker McKenzie, we give every listing its own individual webpage, and we imbed our promotional print material (flyers, ads, etc.) with a QR code that takes the mobile user directly to a mobile-friendly page that can actually be read. So if you stop in front of one of our listings, just scan the QR code on the yard sign or flyer and you can get all the information about it, including dozens of photos.

You can download a QR reader app for free, then just hold your device’s camera over the code until it reads it. QR stands for Quick Response, and that’s what you get.

Any web page can have a QR code, but many real estate companies don’t have mobile-friendly sites, nor do they have individual web pages for each listing.

And here’s the QR code for this blog, BasicallyBainbridge: bb blue short qr


No Thorns, No Heart


That’s what they say in Castroville, CA, home of the Artichoke Festival, where they celebrate all things artichoke. I celebrate when I see nice big ones on sale and I do it by making Artichoke Sauce.  Look for chokes that feel “heavy” and have tight leaves and long thick stems, since the core of the stem is as tasty as the heart. To judge freshness, bend back a leaf, it should “snap.” Ignore brown patches on the leaves, that’s just harmless frost damage.

Prepping the chokes is the hard part, but it’s worth the effort. Have a bowl of acidulated water nearby – that’s just water and the juice of a lemon. Bend back and snap off the outer leaves until you reach the pale green or white ones, then cut those off just above the heart. Cut off the very bottom of the stem and using a vegetable peeler, remove all the green on the stem and the heart. Quarter the artichoke and remove the actual choke from each quarter, then cut each one into four pieces: two with stems and two without. Place in acidulated water to prevent browning.

Sauté a few cloves of diced garlic in about 1/4 cup of olive oil until soft, then add a tablespoon of fresh oregano and the artichokes. Add a cup of water, cover and cook for 5 minutes, then uncover and cook for another 5 minutes, until most of the liquid is gone. Add a 28 ounce can of Italian tomatoes for every 4 artichokes and simmer, uncovered for 45 minutes until the chokes are tender.

Here are my favorite uses for the sauce:


Fettucine con Carciofi


Frittata con Carciofi