Don’t let the small town feel fool you; Eastern Washington’s wine country is brimming with alluring weekend adventures. Residents know how to live the good life. If you are seeking an exceptional bottle of wine, one-of-a-kind accommodations, memorable dining adventures or a revitalizing spa experience, this region has you covered.
Desert Wind Winery
2258 Wine Country Rd, Prosser
Owned by the Fries family, Desert Wind Winery is an exclusive wine, culinary and lodging destination. In addition to owner-led facility tours, a Southwestern inspired tasting room, comfortable suites, and knowledgeable staff, the winery offers a quaint retail shop featuring an extensive selection of local specialty and gift items.
The Desert Wind brand focus is on producing quality, reasonably-priced wines. “We produce wines that people can drink and enjoy every day,” noted Amber Fries, director of communications.
Under the direction of Chef Frank Magana, Mojave by Picazo is the winery’s restaurant, specializing in casual Southwestern cuisine paired with appropriate Desert Wind wines. Some notable signature dishes are firecracker prawns, seared herb-crusted scallops, and crab cakes with sweet Thai chili aioli dipping sauce.
The eatery offers a supper club series; monthly gatherings of foodies who appreciate excellent food, wine and conversation relax around a communal dining table. Additionally, cooking classes are offered throughout the year.
Chef Frank Magana cooks up flavor and levity with his casual, approachable style. Just as easily inspired by a bunch of fresh parsley as he is by planning a 5-star dinner, “Keepin’ it fresh!” is his educational mantra.
Prosser Vintner’s Village
100 Merlot Dr, Prosser
An inviting wine walking tour lies just north of Prosser in Vintner’s Village. An established 32-acre site with meandering trails leading to over a dozen wineries, the Village is home to the Winemaker’s Loft, which is a winery incubator housing a half-dozen wineries and exceptional tasting rooms.
Inside the Winemaker’s Loft, Apex Cellars is a standout tasting room. Personable and enthusiastic, Apex Wine Club director Ben Goroch, tells us that the Apex Cellars was launched in 1988 and has grown to be one of Washington’s most respected wineries. Products cover the spectrum from reserve-caliber, vineyard-designate
wines to wines that can be enjoyed every day. Over the years, Apex Cellars has become known as a producer of consistently outstanding wine that can be served and enjoyed with confidence—a winery you can trust.
Ummelina Yakima Valley Spa Retreat
399 E Yakima Ave,Yakima
Mae West said, “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful!” If “wonderful” has not yet been achieved, more pampering and relaxation can be enjoyed in Yakima, only an hour away from Prosser. An unforgettable spa experience and an innovative restaurant await those of you who make the journey.
Feel like visiting an exotic location but your passport has expired? Ummelina Spa will indulge you. Ummelina specializes in package treatments or “journeys”. During your Journey to Eden, you will drift on tides of solitude and renew your spirit amidst the bounties of this environment. Your trip begins amid the nourishing mineral waters of Oceana where essential oils are added to give you the ultimate “scentsory” experience. You’ll continue in to the Herbarium where you recline, as aromatic mist moistens and lightly scents the air. Your face is deeply cleansed, exfoliated and nourished with vitamins. A soothing face, neck and shoulder massage prepares you for total enjoyment as your feet and hands are soothed and softened.
The Pacific Rim journey takes you to the land of the Far East, a tranquil temple garden. Step into an authentic Japanese soaking tub for a time of deep relaxation. The water, infused with herbs and oils brought from the Pacific Rim promotes a Zen-like state. Return from this journey a calmer, centered you.
Second Street Grill
28 N 2nd St, Yakima
The Second Street Grill is housed in a noteworthy structure in the heart of downtown Yakima. A stylish red brick facing and large windows allow a great deal of natural light into the building. The glass openings double as garage-style overhead doors that open; the fun atmosphere inside can spill out onto the sidewalk during good weather.
The restaurant features inspired contemporary American favorites with an Asian flair. Try the chili shrimp, a spicy yet sweet combination of flavors, Tuscan nachos, or a Chinese chicken salad. The bar offers a variety of specialty drinks, martinis, local and regional wines, and an assortment of beers from around the world. As Jacob from Ummelina commented, “I’ve never been disappointed in a meal at Second Street Grill”.
The Second Street Grill is a welcoming refuge for the traveler or native alike. With a large and varied menu, a quality bar, and a casual, pleasant environment, it is a “must try”.
Tammy Robacker Mary Morgan
Healthy Reflections Medical & Day Spa
With a warm, quiet atmosphere and personal attention often associated with medical spas, Healthy Reflections Medical and Day Spa in Gig Harbor offers a much needed reprieve from the pace of everyday life.
Customizing each individual spa-goer’s experience is the goal. “We tailor the experience for the guest,” says Justine Allen, Spa Esthetician. The menu of services is ample, from body and facial treatments to injectable services and spa packages. Before and after any treatment, guests are escorted back to the Quiet Lounge to unwind while enjoying tea, an aromatherapy neck wrap and a foot ritual.
To soften and renew the skin, we recommend (love, really!) the Pacific Northwest seaweed wrap and massage treatment. Sea kelp body polish is used in the wrap to remove dry skin, aiding in the absorption of essential minerals and vitamins provided by the ensuing massage. Massage oils use a blend of local, certified organic oils and seaweeds; the exfoliated skin is easily saturated. When guests leave this treatment they are glowing!
Healthy Reflections has uniquely qualified staff who are experienced and extensively trained. The spa offers clinical standards of care with luxurious levels of pampering. A fusion of innovative therapies based on medical research and soul-satisfying treatments geared to place the visitor on the path to wellness and beauty.
Healthy Reflections Medical & Day Spa, 253.530.8005, or visit healthyreflections.org
Anyone who has experienced a spectacularly bad haircut may be tempted to swear off all stylists. Yet, one must admit that as a style refresher, nothing beats the thrill of trying on a dramatically new ‘do. For our makeover feature, Showcase visited Tacoma’s Embellish Multispace Salon. We think you’ll agree, the results are amazingly fresh, revitalizing, and easy to wear.
Occupation: Public art assistant
Off the clock: Active lifestyle
Rx: Color boost
[Photo: Rebecca’s vintage
shirt & jeans, Urban Xchange.
Necklaces, Lisa Kinoshita for
Occupation: Cable technician
Off the clock: Musician/deejay
Rx: Grooming update
[Photo: Chris’s vintage shirt and jeans available at Urban
Xchange. Bracelet, Lisa Kinoshita for 253heart.com]
Occupation: Deputy state surgeon of the
Washington Army National Guard
Off the clock: Pilates and ballet instructor
Rx: Dimensional cut and color
[Photo: Carol’s dress by Doucette Duvall available
through Dame Lola. Necklace & earrings, Mineral]
Embellish Multispace Salon [hair & makeup]
Patricia Lecy-Davis, makeup
1121 Court D, Tacoma | 253.752.8144
Urban Xchange [clothing]
1934 Pacific Ave, Tacoma | 253.572.2280
Dame Lola [styling & clothing] Rebecca Dashow Baldwin
Mineral [jewelry] Lisa Kinoshita, before photos
301 Puyallup Ave, Tacoma | 253.250.7745
Jessica Alexander [Jewelry] jessicaalexander.blogspot.com
253heart.com [jewelry] Steve Naccarato | 253.988.7031
Jason Ganwich [photography] jasonganwich.com
Banyan Tree Restaurant
504 Ramsay Way, Kent
“Narm khuen hai reeb thug,” is a Thai proverb meaning “Seize the opportunity,” which is exactly what Gabe Wiborg and Porntip (Yuie) Helseth did when they turned a successful farmers’ market enterprise into a full-service restaurant.
Banyan Tree had humble beginnings at the Fremont Sunday Market, where Thailand native, Yuie, and fiance, Gabe, began selling Thai desserts; desserts led to salads dressed with Yuie’s exclusive recipe. Salads led to stir-fries; stir-fries led to sates. The dream of a restaurant began and became a reality four years later.
Banyan Tree welcomes you with its warm and uniquely appointed interior. Amber walls are adorned with three-dimensional, abstract brass pieces which represent Banyan leaves. Tall creations serve as a divider and are made from the same gold-colored alloy; they portray lilies.
Fresh garden rolls are created with fresh herbs with crispy tofu, cucumber, carrot, and thin rice noodles, hand rolled in a rice wrapper. Garnished with a carrot flower, they are served with homemade Thai herb dipping sauce. The distinct taste of cilantro in the condiment contrasts with the mildness of the spring roll.
Marinated in coriander, cumin and lemon grass, skewered shrimp satay are grilled and served with tart lime sauce. They’re served in the authentic Thai style, heads intact. Another starter, meatball lettuce wraps, are pork meatballs marinated in garlic, cilantro, shallots and green onion. Intended as finger food, they’re nestled in a lettuce wrap and garnished with peanuts and julienne ginger.
A house signature entrée, Pla Nieng Manao, is a whole sea bass, steamed and presented on a hot plate. A layer of lime slices blankets the fish. Served with lime vinaigrette infused with chilis, the delicate fish flavor comes alive as the dressing evolves from sweet to tart and ends with heat. Other main courses are classics such as Cashey Nut chicken and Swimming Rama.
Tom Yum fried rice is seasoned with lemon grass, hand-squeezed lime juice, kaffir lime leaf, galangal, and cilantro. Chili paste adds a subtle bite. Though recommended with prawns, it proved a satisfying accompaniment to the sea bass. Other side dishes are Garlic Fried Rice, Phad Thai and Rama Noodle.
A signature vegetable and seasonal offering, Phad Pak Boong Fai Dang, is morning glory stir-fried with fresh garlic, chili, black bean and soy sauce. Textures contrast; crisp-tender combines with delicate. Its subdued flavor is pleasantly complemented by the seasonings.
Dessert was firm, green bananas encased in wonton wrappers and fried until crisp. This final course is accompanied by coconut ice cream, and drizzled with honey and chocolate sauce. As an alternative, try the sticky rice with mangos or black rice pudding.
Yuie prides herself on serving authentic Thai food, unadulterated by American influences. She has perfected regional techniques and incorporated generational food and cooking methods, creating unique dishes.
Banyan Tree is an example of British poet, John Dryden’s observation, “Mighty things from small beginnings grow.” From farmers’ market concession to a thriving restaurant, this dining establishment is proof that, with hard work, talent, and expertise, dreams can become reality.
1114 Broadway, Tacoma
With its casual, bustling atmosphere and walls studded with ten plasma televisions, Varsity Grill is the place to be on game day—or on any day. With generous portions of enticing food, this sports bar is an excellent locale for lunch or to unwind after a busy day.
For starters, try one of the two signature items. Buffalo chicken strips are fried to a golden brown and tossed in homemade wing sauce. Served with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing, this classic appetizer is a small meal in itself. Sour cream and guacamole accompany Varsity nachos; crisp tortilla chips are smothered with pepper jack and cheddar cheeses, tomatoes, green onions, and your choice of chicken or beef.
The full bar features a rotating selection of domestic and microbrews; just ask your server what’s currently available. Inclined to sample a new specialty cocktail? The menu offers close to a dozen signature drinks. The grapefruit Collins is a blend of Finlandia Grapefruit vodka, Pama and sweet and sour. A hint of grapefruit with a pomegranate undertone make it tart and invigorating.
One of their biggest sellers—both literally and figuratively—is the Varsity burger. This diner chose to make the double patty burger a knife and fork affair! This American classic is made with one pound of fresh ground beef, two slices of cheddar, and two huge slices of applewood smoked bacon, all topped with an onion ring and blue cheese dressing. Served with some of the crispiest, best fries around, this is definitely a meal for a hearty appetite.
A fresh salmon filet is basted in garlic herb butter and grilled to moist, succulent perfection. The accompanying subtly seasoned fresh vegetables do not detract from the seafood’s distinctive, delicate attributes; nor does the rice pilaf. The natural aroma and flavor of the salmon is allowed to shine.
St. Louis Ribs are slow smoked until falling-off-the-bone tender, then basted with homemade Varsity BBQ sauce; the condiment is mild—smoky and sweet. Available as a full- or half- slab, the pork is served with fries and lightly dressed coleslaw.
Sandwich choices are plentiful—choose anything from a BBQ pork sandwich to a club wrap or a French dip. The eatery’s BLTA is a remake of an old classic. It’s composed of house-smoked applewood bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado and mayo on a fresh croissant.
The menu includes almost every burger variation ever thought of, both chicken and beef. Three different cuts of choice, juicy steaks are served. The restaurant also serves up favorites like chicken penne and fish and chips.
Save room for dessert! The jumbo apple turnover, made in-house, is a must-try! With its paper-thin layers of flaky filo crust, it is reminiscent of apple strudel. Encased in the tender pastry are tender apple chunks in a thick caramel-colored sauce laced with cinnamon. Served on a caramel-drizzled platter, this treat is enough for at least four people.
The eatery is close to downtown businesses, the theatre district, and UW Tacoma. With a different special or promotion every day of the week, a relaxed mood and quality fare, Varsity Grill is the place to try the next time you’re in Tacoma.
Showcase Magazine features four of the most passionate professionals in fields relating to health and wellness. These practitioners consider the holistic intermingling of environment, education, fitness, nutrition, and spirit; they are all about incorporating where we live and interact, sustainable and wholesome food sources, and how we move and are moved.
Chef, Primo Grill & “Eat Local”, Advocate
Tacoma | primogrilltacoma.com
Belfast native Charlie McManus embarked on a progressive journey in the American restaurant industry over three decades ago. McManus, along with partner and wife Jacqueline Plattner, owns and operates two Tacoma restaurants— Primo Grill and Crown Bar. Belief in sustainability in food production fostered a commitment to use locally sourced fare creating menus rich with Pacific Northwest meats, seafood and produce in season. Further supporting overall community wellness, protection of farms, the land and farming life, McManus conducts cooking classes using locally sourced food to educate the public on eating what’s in their own backyards.
Manager, Olympia Farmers’ Market
Olympia | olympiafarmersmarket.com
Charley has been the market manager since 2000; she has held that title longer than anyone else in Washington. She is an advocate for environmental, economic and social awareness through sustainable harvesting from local farms, fields and streams. Charley strives to educate people on where food is sourced, organic growing processes and resulting freshness at area events, colleges and through the market information booth.
Imaje Massage Therapy
Olympia | imajemassage.com
A licensed massage therapist for over seventeen years, James Pence, owner of Imaje Massage Therapy, identifies his life calling as providing comfort and physical relief from pain through therapy. He is skilled at relaxation, injury relief, reflexology, hot stone and massage cupping. Based in Olympia, Pence gives community talks on proper nutrient absorption, use of vitamin, supplement and anti-aging products, preventing potential health issues and toxin elimination.
Gig Harbor | ayurvedayogahealth.com
Director of the yoga teacher training program at Hari Om Ashram in Pushkar, India, Chivito Cowa is a traveling monk with roots in the Pacific Northwest. He focuses on Ayurveda instruction—how to align one’s body, mind and spirit through awareness of foods ingested, digestion, physical activity, mood and environment. Cowa brings his diverse knowledge and skills to local and international communities providing treatments, clinics and workshops through the Living Enlightenment Foundation to assist clients in achieving dedicated wellness from the inside out.
Many artists have beautiful voices with impressive range. Few, however, really consider the words they sing, or dramatize the emotion of the lyrics. Legendary vocalists such as Frank Sinatra and Sarah Vaughan possessed this rare gift, and contemporary jazz singer Jane Monheit has been blessed with this intuitive genius, perfect pitch and a warm, supple voice. This stunning jazz and adult contemporary vocalist has collaborated with artists such as Michael Bublé, Ivan Lins and Terence Blanchard, resulting in two Grammy nominations.
A native of Oakdale, a suburb of Long Island, New York, she was a mere two years of age when she began belting out tunes like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Honeysuckle Rose” in a perfect pitch around the family home. Monheit’s innate gifts probably came as no surprise, as other family members likewise displayed an aptitude for music; thus, music always played a prominent role in Monheit’s day-to-day life. The young songstress received her earliest musical education at her grandparents’ home. Along with the support of her family, Monheit also had the good fortune of attending a school that placed great importance on the arts.
What inspires your music?
Life, I guess. I grew up with jazz in my life around our family home. I will hear a tune and remember the song from hearing it growing up.
What are you most proud of?
Outside of being a parent, writing lyrics for Ivan Lins was really a dream come true.
What is something people generally don’t know about you?
I am a strict vegetarian. I am also addicted to pop music like Lady Gaga. She’s a great singer! She’s got a trained voice and writes great melodies. I just got her new CD and I love it.
How have you handled success?
My home life is so normal that it has not been difficult for me. At home I have real grounded responsibilities like taking care of my two-year-old son, Jack, and our animals.
Who do you think deserves the spotlight?
There are tons of jazz professionals out there that work really hard and never see the spotlight. If anything, I would like to see those professionals in the spotlight.
What is your next goal for your career?
The one thing I have always wanted is to cross genres to do musical theater.
Hearing a skilled jazz vocalist interpret classics that contain inspired lyrics is a rare experience, and Monheit’s concerts invite the audience to listen closely and relish in the songs’ timeless words and powerful emotions. Jane brings her sultry voice to the Broadway Center, April 23rd, 2011. Website: broadwaycenter.org
Four hundred and seventy-five guests attended a Born to Be Wild auction and dinner for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County. Top selling items included a three day weekend getaway to a beautiful private home in the hills of Sonoma Valley’s Wine Country. The package included private jet service, a private wine tour and chef’s dinner in the house. Another sought after item was a bottled wine collection that numbered over 100 bottles with a hand crafted wine rack. Big bids were also taken in interest of a VIP trip to NASCAR’s biggest race at Talladega Super Speedway. All proceeds benefit Boys & Girls Clubs after school programs that help more than 2,000 low income and at risk youth in our community.
The accolade, bestowed by Artist Trust, was established in 2010; it is an unrestricted $25,000 endowment given annually to two Washington State generative artists who are originating new work, experimenting with novel ideas, taking risks, and pushing the boundaries in their respective fields. Both Berk and Livingston were honored because they demonstrated innovation in their art practices.
The funding for the first three years of the award is provided by The Dale and Leslie Chihuly Foundation.
“This is a very generous investment from The Dale and Leslie Chihuly Foundation, making this the largest grant available in Washington State to individual artists. It will have a profound and life-changing impact on those selected. We are honored to partner with the Foundation to administer these awards,” said Fidelma McGinn, Executive Director at Artist Trust.
Leo Berk creates designs relating to real and depicted or imagined space using diverse materials in contemporary industrial processes, including computer modeled and fabricated artworks. Berk has used this technology extensively including exploring Naj Tunich, an ancient cave in Guatemala, and the Quecreek Mine in Pennsylvania. Through his innovative use of technology, Berk is able to produce works of art portraying the negative space of these caves. Berk has spent six years learning to use this technology, effectively making it an extension of his own hand and expanding his vocabulary. He is represented by Lawrimore Project. To view his compositions, visit leosaulberk.com.
Margie Livingston, an accomplished painter, explores the physicality of paint. Using it as a sculptural medium, she fashions pieces that straddle two disciplines. Using acrylics, Livingston pours and layers pigment to create her own unique three-dimensional material which she uses to form sculptural creations, revealing an intimate relationship with her medium. Livingston is represented by Greg Kucera Gallery. Her artistic mission reveals an inspired spontaneity that also has purpose. “As I work, my goal is to keep the process open so that accident and discovery can combine with invention to make works that surprise me, in hopes of making work that is not merely personal but also cognizant of history and relevant to our time.” To see her designs, go to margie.net.
Artist Trust is a not-for-profit organization; its sole mission is to support and encourage individual artists working in all disciplines in order to enrich community life throughout Washington State. Learn more at artisttrust.org.