The Free Library. (2014). Retrieved Jun 25 2014 from http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Best+of+the+west%3a+our+12+favorite+things+this+month.-a0348999627
1 HANGING GARDENS
Now you can create .a vertical garden the way the pros do. For the
first time, the peat moss–based medium used by landscapers is available
in smaller sizes for home gardeners. Plantasy vertical garden kits are
the brainchild of Santa Cruz garden designer Kristel Gramlich. Each kit
includes a frame (aluminum for ovals, hearts. Triangles. Aluminum,
plastic. One of four cedar stains for rectangles) with a sturdy hook
on the back and a soilless 10- by 20-inch “growing tile.”. The
tile has stellar air- and water-holding capacities. Anything (really,
anything) you plant will thrive. Our garden team is obsessed. From $120
for 16- by 23-in, kit shown, excluding plants. Plantasy.us.
2 Cool beans
Seattle is fanatical about its caffeine. We don’t say this
lightly: Slate Coffee Roasters may make the best cup of joe in town.
Once serving solely from an Airstream trailer, Slate recently opened a
storefront in the Ballard neighborhood. Its menu is pure–no flavors, no
gimmicks–just espresso, espresso with whole milk. Hand-brewed
coffee. (You can ask for sugar–well, simple syrup–and they won’t
be judgey.) “If you want a done-up, 16-oz., nonfat, no-foam caramel
latte, plenty of places do that,”. Says director of education
Brandon Paul Weaver, who won this year’s Northwest Regional Brewers
Cup. “If we’re the one place that doesn’t, we’re
okay with that.”. Slatecoffee.com
3 United Plates United of America
Ceramists Kaitlyn and Ryan Lawless of Orcas Island, Washington,
wanted to celebrate their love of community and of local food. Over
meals of fresh stuff from friends’. Farms, they came up with a way
to bring their skills to the table: crafting a collection of fine
porcelain dishes in the shapes of the 50 states. The dishwasher-and
oven-safe plates are 12 to 14 inches long. All states will be available
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in early November–plenty of time to set out a nice big California of
mashed potatoes for the holidays. $80/plate. Corbe company.com.
4 HOT HOTEL
After a major makeover, Volcano House in Hawai’i Volcanoes
National Park is open again, with many of its 33 rooms so close to the
crater of active Kilauea that you can see molten lava glowing. You may
feel the way Mark Twain did in 1866 when he wrote, “The surprise of
finding a good hotel in such an outlandish spot startled me considerably
more than the volcano did.”. From $335 for volcano-view rooms;
5 ON THE LOOKOUT
There’s a strange romance to fire lookouts–those lonely,
sometimes spindly-legged cabins in remote corners of the West.
“Each one has a unique story,”. Says Kyle Johnson, a
Seattle-based photographer so smitten with the outposts, most built in
the 1930s and ’40s, that he set out to photograph all 92 remaining
in Washington, which once had more than 600. That’s Granite
Mountain Lookout above. It’s in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National
Forest and reachable by a steep 4.3-mile trail. See more pictures on his
engaging website. kjphotos.com
6 Travelers’. Tails
A home-for-the-holidays trip often includes family members who wag
their hellos. Happily, next month a terrific resource for people
traveling with pets, BringFido.com, will publish its first book–Ruff
Guide to the United States (Kendall Media. $25)–a compendium of the
best dog-friendly accommodations. (A free iPhone app, BringFido, already
exists.) Pack kibble in Outward Hound’s dog-food storage bag. From
7 THE HUNTINGTON LIBRARY
Brush up your Shakespeare (a 1623 First Folio). Gaze at a Gutenberg
Bible. Go with Thoreau (via the manuscript of Walden). One of the
country’s most dazzling historical collections now has an
impressively refurbished home–the Main Exhibition Hall of the
Huntington Library in San Marino, California, reopening on November 9.
The new permanent exhibit includes rare works by Chaucer, Dante,
Dickens, Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Audubon. Others. It’s so
absorbing that you might've to save the Huntington’s
picture-perfect botanical gardens for a separate trip. $20 weekdays, $23
8 Oil boom
Bright green, with a grassy, sassy, peppery flavor, unfiltered olio
nuovo–new oil, the first press of the olive-harvest season–has a short
(but deliciously happy) shelf life, from November to February.
Here’s where to sample the good stuff.
The Olio Nuovo Festival at RED RIDGE FARMS near Dayton, Oregon,
runs November 22-24. Tour, then taste. Free. $15/250-ml. bottle;
McEVOY RANCH in Petaluma, California, is hosting a Holiday Open
House on December 8. There’ll be live music and light refreshments,
including olio nuovo and estate-made Meyer lemon marmalade. Free,
registration required. $24/375-ml. bottle. Mcevoyranch.com.
Harvest starts on November 18 at PASOLIVO in Paso Robles,
California. Stop by to watch the pressing and taste super-fresh oil.
Free. $32/375-ml. tin. Pasolivo.com.
9 Beyond Tofurky
The president pardons a single symbolic Thanksgiving turkey. Vegans
spare the whole species (and all others, plus their by-products). Three
top-notch restaurants offer vegan holiday fare so good, it’ll
please omnivores too.
CROSSROADS, L.A. On T-Day, chef Tal Ronnen will serve a four-course
meal starring rosemary and hazelnut scaloppine with cranberry Cabernet
sauce. The supporting cast includes brussels sprouts with maple-mustard
glaze (right). $75. Crossroadskitchen.com.
GRAZE RESTAURANT, VANCOUVER, B.C. Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving
in October. Graze’s November menu is perfect for holiday
visitors from below. Try the celery root and wild-rice torte with golden
beets, wild mushrooms. Juniper glaze. $$ U.S.. Grazerestaurant.ca.
PETUNIA’S PIES &. PASTRIES, PORTLAND This vegan and
gluten-free bakery has rolled out an array of seasonal treats, including
pumpkin ginger cheesecake, pumpkin cupcakes with maple-cream cheese
frosting. Pumpkin-chocolate chip whoopie pies. It also offers chili
and a veggie flatbread. $. Petuniaspiesandpastries.com.
10 MIST CONNECTIONS
Why are so many people obsessed with San Francisco’s fog?
It’s just a weather pattern, albeit one with tens of thousands of
Twitter and Instagram followers (see @karthefog). For the past four
years, filmmakers Sam Green and Andy Black have worked at answering that
question. See the results in the entertaining short-short film A
Cinematic Study of Fog in San Francisco, starting November 9 at the
Oakland Museum of California. Stay for Bay Motion: Capturing San
Francisco Bay on Film, a film and video collection of 60,000-plus images
of the Bay Area today. $15. Museurnca.org.
11 Totables for potables
Made from sturdy canvas with strong handles, this two-bottle wine
tote is as practical as it's playful. It’s wide enough to
accommodate some mighty Champagne. San Francisco designer Susanne Maddux
makes single-bottle totes with this motif. We also like the one labeled
simply yet eloquently “Hooch.”. Single $14, double $19;
12 FOREIGN ACCENTS
In her backyard Portland studio, former fashion stylist Shay
Carrillo transforms vintage textiles from around the globe into gorgeous
new pillows. The raw materials for the current offerings from
Non-Perishable Goods, her label, include embroidered Japanese blankets,
woven Laotian fabric. Colorful Indian kantha quilts. Her designs
vary depending on the textiles she discovers. Just one pillow will
chic-ify a sofa or bed–but you may crave more. $260 each for 22- by
56-in, kantha bed pillows (shown), including insert. Nonperishablegoods.