CASUAL A Cultured Menu & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & P & lt;/span & oet Mary Oliver asked, "What will you do with your one wild and precious life?" & r & & r & The answer to that question for Rachel Young, co-owner of COFFEE SOCIAL with husband Matt Karasu, can be found in the form of a coffeehouse owned and operated by idealists who described themselves as "erudite" in a recent help-wanted ad. "It's how I live my beautiful life," says Rachel, looking around.
Her conversation is sprinkled with words like "organic," "sustainable," "local," "earth-friendly" and so on, but also words like "passion," "love," "commitment" and "real" -- as in, "This is real food." As someone who likes food, I appreciate that I can pronounce every ingredient on the menu.
I'm a big fan of lamb already, but when I learn that the lamb pastie ($9.50) is made with meat from Thundering Hooves (thunderinghoves.net) -- a Walla Walla Valley family farm raising grass-fed beef, lamb, goat and pastured poultry -- I have to try it.
"Lamb has a more robust flavor, a fuller flavor than beef," says chef Nicola Payette. "You're not used to tasting your meat."
The shell is made from nothing more exotic than flour, eggs and butter, and the fragrant filling is lamb combined with potatoes, carrots, onions and turnips in a rich brown gravy and baked to golden deliciousness.
One of these pasties is a hearty meal, but I decide to try a fruit pasty ($5) for dessert. It's made with a similar shell that's been lightly sweetened and filled with a blend of chopped apple and strawberry, folded, sealed and baked to perfection. This goes beautifully with my 12-ounce Doma latt & eacute; ($3), which I had in a mug, but which I could have had to go in a conscience-friendly compostable container.
Young says that she and Karasu chose Doma coffee based on their taste testing, but that they also share the company's philosophy of giving back to the community. Although both soy milk and skim milk are available, they also believe in using whole milk as the default base for latt & eacute;s and mochas because "it actually tastes better," according to Young.
Coffee Social will celebrate its grand opening all day long on Friday, Oct. 3, with half-pound bags of Doma coffee as door prizes, plus food sampling and free 12-ounce coffee drinks.
My meal was fabulous, and I took the leftovers home in a microwavable, compostable container. As I enjoyed another eco-friendly meal later, I thought, "Ya know, this is part of my beautiful life."
-- M.C. PAUL
Coffee Social, 113 W. Indiana Ave., is open Mon-Fri 7 am-5 pm, Sat-Sun 8 am-5 pm. Visit coffeesocial.net or call 327-7127.
EVENT Green Apples
& lt;span class= "dropcap " & A & lt;/span & s the days grow shorter, the apples ripen at orchards across the area. All this month, the growers of Green Bluff will celebrate the harvest with the annual APPLE HARVEST FESTIVAL, held every weekend throughout October. Participating Green Bluff growers draw big crowds with special events including live music, barbecues, corn mazes and family strolls through the pumpkin patch.
Until last year, Green Bluff had no certified organic growers. But that's changed now that COLE'S ORCHARD has received its organic certification. Steve and Marie Cole have been growing their tree fruits and vegetables without conventional pesticides for more than a decade, and after a long transitional period, they became officially certified in 2007. This weekend, they'll have plenty of apple varieties for sale -- Macintosh, Spartan, Cortland, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious and possibly Jonagolds -- along with winter squash and lots of tomatoes.
The Coles sell most of their produce direct to customers right there at the farm -- although you'll find their apples in some of the delectable treats at Natural Start Bakery on Hamilton -- and buying direct like that is a great opportunity to chat up the person who grew your food. It's just one more way to rebuild the links between eaters and growers -- and to get some tasty, juicy, fresh-off-the-tree apples besides.
-- ANN M. COLFORD
The Green Bluff Apple Festival runs every weekend through Oct. 26. Visit www.greenbluffgrowers.com for information and a map.
Cole's Orchard, 18423 N. Green Bluff Rd., is open Friday afternoon plus Sat-Sun 9 am-5 pm throughout October. Call 238-4962.