Fresh Herbs for Cooking and Cocktails

With summer here, it is a great time to enhance drinks and meals using fresh herbs that are plucked from your backyard, windowsill pot or planter. Here is a list of our favorite herbs to add a boost of fresh flavor to your favorite dish or libation.


For its prolific leaves, brilliant color, and its popular fragrance, basil is loved by many. Basil is so famous that it is widely used all around the world in both fresh and dried capacities. Its flavor can complement many different cuisines, and it also offers health benefits like anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.


Tarragon is widely used in classic French cooking, particularly as part of a bearnaise sauce, as well as with chicken, fish, and vegetables. Since the leaves are so tender, they can be mixed in with other greens for salads or sprinkled over a finished dish much like parsley. The anise flavor goes well in tomato dishes, so we can see using it in panzanella and caprese salads, in tomato-based soups, or in tomato sauces for pasta. Tarragon can also be muddled or infused into simple syrup for use in cocktails and summer coolers.


One of the most commonly called-for herbs, thyme is also one of the easiest to grow. Thyme is a more subtle herb, which, like basil, can work just as well in a cocktail as it does in a soup or mashed potatoes. Make lemon-thyme butter to slather on roast chicken, or combine it with sweet tea, vodka, fresh lemon juice, honey, and ice for a refreshing drink.


The dill herb provides a pleasant anise-like flavor to soups, seafoods, salads and sauces. The subtle taste of dill makes an excellent complement to foods with delicate flavors like shellfish and fish.


Lavender tops many gardeners’ lists for ornamental value alone; resilience, drought tolerance and the fact that it’s a bee magnet only further illustrate why this sun-loving Mediterranean native is a great herb garden addition. Oh, and it’s a killer cocktail ingredient.


Grown in a pot by the kitchen, fresh mint refreshes everything from dressings, salads and sides to drinks and desserts with a sprig or two.


Old Town Delights Cares for Seniors

Owner Kelly Garofalo of  Old Town Delights became involved with Weatherly Inn in Tacoma reaching out to them to help provide treats for an event.  From the moment Kelly walked in the front door of Weatherly, “it just felt like home the staff and seniors were so welcoming and friendly”, commented owner Kelly Garofalo  

When these trying times of Covid 19 came to pass, Old Town Delights went into action. “We could give back to them by dropping off caramels and boxes of truffles for their wonderful employees and seniors.  We hoped that this would bring them a smile and give them a boost, says Garofalo. It certainly did the seniors and staff love the treats. 

 Kelly says that, “Weatherly Inn is such an important part of our community and has embraced our candy company by supporting small local businesses.  “It is our turn to give back to them”. ShowCase Magazine applauds this simple act of compassion that brought smiles to the faces of many seniors and staff at Weatherly Inn.

Community helping Restaurants

The COVID pandemic is brutalizing every industry. Every industry has their experts, and I trust them to tell their stories. For the last 13 years, we have told the stories of the people in the food and libations industry and we have come to love and adore the local owners. 

As you can imagine we have seen a lot. Due to the recent outbreak restaurants are closing and having a tough go of things. Many report business is down between 20-80 percent. Small, independent restaurants need our help the most. I’m not against chain restaurants. But right now—if you have the means—pick a couple independently owned places to support. Most chain restaurants have the financial means to weather the economic fallout of COVID (some independently-owned franchises are an exception). Most bistros or local spots you love do not. 

What’s crushing them further is that restaurant profit margins have always been notoriously low. The way they make money is through the high markup on alcohol sales. With the mandate to close restaurants this has become a difficult time for restaurants as alchohol sales are limited.

What can you do?  We’re trying to balance two things here—preventing the spread of a global pandemic, while also preventing economic ruin for our neighborhood restaurants and the untold number of locals employed by them. What we can do is order food to-go from the restuarants that are offerign this service. Many local favorites are offering curbside pickup. Several people we know have said, “we are committed to dining take out with our local restaurants twice a week to support them through this,” We like that idea to keep it simple and easy and strategic support the local business owner. If you are choosing to opt in for home dining only, buy a gift certificate from them for later use.

Bottom line is that this is all changing minute to minute. But for now, it looks like we can support local restaurants without putting our at-risk people at more risk, with take out and gift certificate purchases. 

Crudo and Cotto: A Fresh Twist on Italian

Giampaolo Falchetti and Kathryn Philbrook recently opened Crudo and Cotto, a fresh Italian and northwest inspired restaurant in Proctor. The husband-wife dynamic duo are also the owners of Olympia’s Basilico Ristorante. Italian cuisine comes naturally for Giampaolo; he grew up in Umbria, Italy, where food is synonymous with fellowship, providing a hospitable meeting place for family and friends to share moments together.

The dining room is an old house restored to a chic new dining option with a bar. Diners can enjoy the visceral experience of watching the food being prepared. The restaurant invites you to linger with friends and loved ones and spend time together.

Crudo and Cotto has a playful and unexpected menu featuring both uncooked selections, with salads, cheese, fresh prosciutto, seafood and oysters, and cooked offerings for entrees, such as pasta and braised meat. The dishes represent a mix of Italian tradition, modern Pacific Northwest influence and a healthy sprinkling of local ingredients, all presented with a dash of fun. Giampaolo says, “We want to bring a new dining experience to Tacoma that is fresh and inviting. This is our pleasure!”

Some favorite items include the raw oysters, shucked fresh at the bar, paired with a light bubbly drink. Salmon and halibut are cut expertly, and Giampaolo’s mom’s favorite dish, Fritto Misto– an assortment of vegetables, shrimp, and calamari– is perfectly prepared. Ravioli di Salmone, also a favorite on the menu, is freshly made ravioli with a salmon-filled center. Specialty cocktails include signature Italian cocktails, liquor, and digestives. There is sure to be something for everyone.

Crudo and Cotto offers a dining experience that is fresh and inviting, like a fresh breeze from the sea, with a focus on delicious and well-presented food. It is certainly a place where care is given to each and every dish. “It is like having art on your plate,” says ShowCase publisher Robin Lucas. Visit Crudo and Cotto for the food and fellowship, and taste Italy in a new, refreshing way.

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Magnuson Kitchen & Brewery Opens at Ruston

Point Ruston’s newest addition to its waterfront dining options is the Magnuson Kitchen & Brewery, an eagerly-anticipation second location and expansion of the Magnuson Cafe & Brewery in Seattle. Located on the edge of the one-acre Grand Plaza at Point Ruston, Magnuson’s offers an exciting and fresh culinary experience. 

The restaurant and brewery features a progressive beer assortment from their onsite brewing operation. Fourteen beers on tap and the ability to brew each batch on-site allows every batch to keep the highest quality and richness of flavor.

Magnuson’s also offers a full brunch menu on the weekends from 10 am to 2 pm, perfect timing to bring friends and family to catch up over a satisfying lunch. Chef Jody Rosencrance has curated an assortment of menu options that offer creative and delightful dishes for everyone. A few specialty favorites include the Magnuson Burger, with beef, vegetables, a brioche bun, and house sauce, the Shrimp Bahn Mi sandwich, and chilaquiles for brunch, with avocado, eggs, and freshly made tortilla chips.

Beyond the mouthwatering food choices, Magnuson’s has an idyllic location on the shores of Lake Washington. The restaurant highlights a large outdoor deck on the warm afternoons and evenings and has a view of the water to enjoy while dining. This “modern American brewhouse restaurant” will certainly be a new local favorite for hand-crafted meals and richly brewed beer. Visit their website or their new Point Ruston location at 5108 Grand Loop, Ruston WA 98402 to try it for yourself!


A New and Improved “Candy That Travels”

The classic Almond Roca candy is well-known and well-loved, with its toffee center, chocolate enrobing, and crushed almond pieces. The candy, and Brown & Haley, the company, have roots locally in the city of Tacoma. Now one hundred and eight years old, the company began because of a friendship between Harry L. Brown, who owned a small confectionary store of his own, and J. C. Haley, who had a special flair for marketing and sales. The duo launched Brown & Haley in 1912, and their families have continued the legacy by making the candy company into one of the top selling candy companies in the world.

Almond Roca, the most famous candy creation of Brown & Haley’s, had its first taste of worldwide popularity in the early 1940s when it was shipped in care packages to American troops in Europe. Brown & Haley also created the Mountain bar, named originally for Mount Tacoma itself. The Almond Roca, which stood alone in the Roca brand until 2002 and the creation of the Mocha Roca, is affectionately known as “The Candy That Travels” for its international influence.

Every year, the 80,000 square-foot Brown & Haley plant in Tacoma uses over two million pounds of chocolate. Twelve thousand pounds of those each day are reserved for the Roca candies. Last year, the factory briefly closed in order to reinstall new machinery that allows for Rocas to be wrapped at a rate of over two thousand pieces per minute.

This year, Brown & Haley is working to expand the popularity of the Roca candies even more with the introduction of Roca Bites. Retaining the classic flavors of Almond, Milk Chocolate, and Dark Chocolate, Roca Bites are a third of the size of the original Roca, and half as thick. The Bites are made with the same premium ingredients as the traditional candies, with the addition of 100% sustainably sourced cacao. 

This is an exciting new addition to the classic local candy brand the nation has come to love. Brown & Haley’s is certainly one of the sweetest parts of the city, from its historical roots and the birth of the company over one hundred years ago to its newest products and plans for the future. To visit the store in the heart of Tacoma, or to purchase candies, visit Brown & Haley’s website or store location at 110 E 26th St, Tacoma, WA 98421.


Art of the Table

Restaurants have opened up a new way to savor art—on a plate—food that will intrigue, impress and immerse you in a sensory experience like no other. We’re lucky to have such talented culinary artists in the South Sound, serving delicious and beautiful plates. The following restaurants offer an experience that is both aesthetically elevated and relaxing


Hudson Slater is head chef for Asado Cucina Argentina, known for its mesquite-fired grill. Voted Western Washington’s Best Latin American Restaurant six years running.

Asado Cucina Argentina
2810 6th Ave, Tacoma

Brix 25° Chef/Owner Thad Lyman’s seasonal menu is rustic and refined, rooted in Northwest products, embellished with classic cooking techniques.

Brix 25°
3315 Harborview Dr, Gig Harbor

ChūcH is an upscale restaurant concept created by award-winning Chef Jon Maley. Starting as pop ups, Chef Jon serves exquisitely presented dishes.


en Rama, the latest project from Chris Kiel (1022, Hilltop Kitchen) serves up food and drinks that can only be described as an art form. The menu changes seasonally to delight diners with new food experiences.

en Rama
1102 A St, Tacoma

Marzano treats South Sound diners to Chef Elisa Marzano’s interpretation of Italian cuisine based solidly on traditions of the Veneto region in Northern Italy.

516 Garfield St South, Parkland

Pimienta Bistro and Bar is an urban fusion of Latin American cuisine. Chef Blanca Rodriguez takes great care to create a delectable piece of art for every guest, appealing to every sense.

Pimienta Bistro and Bar
34029 Hoyt Rd SW, Federal Way

Primo Grill is a chef-driven restaurant using relationships with local farmers to craft a Mediterranean-by-Northwest cuisine featuring the freshest local produce and seafood.

Primo Grill
2701 6th Ave, Tacoma

Derek Bray, Chef/Owner at The Table, works closely with local farmers to provide a dining experience paying homage to the rich culinary history of the Pacific Northwest.

The Table
2715 6th Ave, Tacoma

Chef Rick Nelson at Ricardo’s Kitchen + Bar has a passion for steak and great food. Serving up dry-aged beef that is a feast for the palate and the senses.

Ricardo’s Kitchen + Bar
676 Woodland Square Loop SE, Lacey

Ten Washington Wines for the Holidays

With over 900 wineries and thousands of lush vineyard acres, Washington State is home to some of the country’s prime grape-growing regions and every year provides delicious, award-winning wines. We would like to share ten Washington wines that we feel are perfect to enjoy during the holidays this year.



Jet Black, Syrah, 2017- Alexandria Nicole Cellars
Velvety rich texture, featuring a variety of fruits that are complemented by earthy, smokey notes.

Reserve Zinfandel, 2014 – Maryhill Winery
Envelops the taster in sweet pie aromas, a toasty palate and a warm, silky finish.

Cabernet Sauvignon XXI, 2015 – Dunham Cellars
Raspberry opens on the nose and notes of black currant and dried herbs dance on the mid-palate in this deep, full-bodied Red.

Cabernet Franc, 2017- Tamarack Cellars
Smooth body infused with sweet spice and subtle elderberry. Cherry hits the nose nicely and leads to outstanding flavors of honey and ripe red plum.

Don Isidro, Red Blend, 2015 – Gard Vintners
A one-of-a-kind, gentle blend deep with rich fruit flavor. Named in honor of the Vineyard Manager, Isidro Mondragon.

Carmenere, 2015 – Jones Winery
Light and supple, hinted with peppercorn spice and abundant with aromas of cherry, raspberry, and juicy cranberry.

Brother’s Blend, Red Blend, 2016- Milbrandt Vineyards
A banquet of black cherry, raspberry, plum and savory herbs pairs beautifully with decadent dark fruit and is perfected by vanilla and subtle toast at the finish.


Icon Late Harvest Semillon, 2014 – Waterbrook Winery
A bright dessert wine leavened with ripe apricot and dried pear flavor.

Sparkling Brut, 2013 – Jones Winery
Bursting with apple, lemon zest, honeysuckle, pineapple and toasted hazelnut. Laced with floral notes and a touch of buttered croissant. A surprising creamy texture and perfectly balanced.

Syrah Rose, 2018 – Radiance Winery
Refreshing and fruit forward with a unique rhubarb finish. A Syrah bridal blend that gives it a bit of warmth, ideal for anytime of the year.

Cooking it Up with Carla Hall

Carla Hall is best known as co-host of ABC’s popular, Emmy Award–winning lifestyle series The Chew. And on Nov. 2 she will bring her love for cooking to the Saint Martin’s Gala in the university’s Marcus Pavilion.

Hall won over audiences when she competed on Bravo’s Top Chef and Top Chef: All Stars and shared her philosophy of always cooking with love. She believes food connects us all. She strives to communicate this through her work, her cooking, and in her daily interactions with others.

Born in Nashville, Tenn., Hall grew up surrounded by soul food. When the time came for her to select her career path, she first opted for a business route. She graduated from Howard University and worked as an accountant for two years. Then she switched gears to work as a runway model. It was during that time, as she traveled (and ate) her way through Europe for a few years, she realized that her deep-rooted passion for food could be her career path. Today she is a trained chef who has worked in restaurant kitchens in and around Washington, D.C.

On the literary front, Hall has combined her love of food, people and culture to write several cookbooks. Her latest cookbook, Carla Hall’s Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration, will be published on Oct. 23. Her two other cookbooks are Carla’s Comfort Food: Favorite Dishes from Around the World and Cooking with Love: Comfort Food That Hugs You.

The author says that one of the most positive aspects of her cookbooks has been having a voice for African American cooking and discovering the South. “It’s been an inspiration to check out your past and explore what culture looks like on a plate,” she says. Hall is active with a number of charitable organizations that reflect her passion for causes close to her heart. These include Helen Keller International, an organization that works to improve the lives of those with blindness and to prevent the causes and consequences of blindness. She is also the culinary ambassador for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

“Giving back has always been important,” says Hall. The TV shows and notoriety have offered a platform for me to be intentional and authentic about giving back and setting an example for others.” Carla will be doing that at the Saint Martin University’s Gala in November. The black-tie gourmet evening includes an exquisite five course dinner, cooking demos and a live auction benefiting Saint Martin’s student scholarships.


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Olympia Goat Dairy Crafts Award-Winning Cheeses

“We like to say that our cheese is a love letter to our community.” In this simple statement, Rachel Taylor-Tuller encapsulates the spirit of Lost Peacock Creamery. She’s a first-generation farmer, veteran and chief milkmaid at the creamery. Her husband, Matthew, is known as the head cheesemaker. At the couple’s micro dairy in Olympia, Lost Peacock hand-crafts “ridiculously fabulous cheese” from the milk of goats.

“I fell in love with goats and thought about what job I could do that would let me own all the goats,” explains Taylor-Tuller. She’s only half joking. A goat diary was what she landed on, even though the couple had no prior farming experience.

“It’s very hard for first-generation farmers to break into dairy,” she says. Lost Peacock is required to adhere to the same regulations, licensing and infrastructure of a large commercial goat dairy, even though it is a fraction of the size.

Despite the many challenges, Lost Peacock takes great pride in raising and caring for its goat herd. The goats eat organic alfalfa. Each one is named, usually by the couple’s 3- and 5-year-old children. And the individual goat personalities are catered to when it’s time for milking.

“We have 100% control over our milk, which is important because that’s the source of the food we’re eating,” says Taylor-Tuller. “We believe that because our goats have such amazing lives, the milk they give us is that much better.”

The combination of clean living and lots of love transforms the goats’ milk into two types of chevre—plain and Thai garlic—and halloumi. These are sold at more than 30 grocers from Olympia to Lynnwood. In 2018 the Thai garlic chevre and halloumi earned top honors at the Washington Artisan Cheesemakers Festival as the second- and third-place winners of the People’s Choice Award. The competition included 80 cheeses presented by 18 cheesemakers.

Lost Peacock Creamery also offers opportunities to get up close and personal with its goats, chickens, peacocks, pigs and other farm animals. Goat yoga, baby goat cuddling, cheesemaking classes, day camps for kids and special events are available throughout the year.


For Additional Information

Lost Peacock Creamery

5504 Cross Creek Lane NE, Olympia