Lotus Root Salad

This crisp, light salad makes a nice accompaniment to a summer outing. Combine with a spicy meat or fish dish to round out the meal.

Ingredients:

1 lb Lotus root, peeled and sliced thin 1/8”

2 C Water

1 tsp Vinegar

2 Green onions, cut on bias

1 tbl Sesame seeds, toasted

Marinade:

1 tbl Dark soy sauce

4 tbl Soy sauce

1 tbl Sesame oil

1 tbl Shaoxing rice wine vinegar

1.5 tbl Sugar

4 Slices pickled ginger

Directions:

Slice lotus root and blanch in boiling water for 15 -20 seconds. Drain and soak in vinegar/water solution. Combine the marinade ingredients in medium bowl. Drain and discard vinegar water and place lotus root slices in marinate for one hour at room temperature or overnight in refrigerator, tossing occasionally to coat. Arrange lotus root on plate and garnish with onions and sesame seeds.

Wild Ginger – Bellevue and Seattle, Wash.

With two locations in Seattle and Bellevue, Wild Ginger offers an experience for the senses in a delightful, vibrant and inspiring space. Chefs insist on house-made ingredients, cracking coconuts to make coconut milk, grinding spices for curries, blending spicy chili sambals and cooking fresh oysters to bottle pungent oyster sauce—all from scratch. For more information visit www.wildginger.net.

Far Flung Escape

There’s more to do in Las Vegas than trying your luck at the tables and slot machines in the casinos.

Obviously Las Vegas doesn’t offer freebies without an agenda behind the action. They want you to spend as much money as you’re willing, so they entice you with inexpensive hotel rooms, free shows, drinks and cheap buffet services. If you’re not particularly fond of the casinos though and have no intention of spending all of your money in Vegas, you can spend your time enjoying the freebies and watching shows like Zarkana at ARIA resort instead. A walk along the Strip is free, and if you pass by the fountains of Bellagio, you’ll witness a choreographed dance to classics like Hey Big Spender and Luck Be a Lady (performances happen every 30 minutes from 3pm-8pm).

Exhibitions

There are lots of exhibitions to visit while you’re in Vegas too. Check out the Gunther von Hagens exhibition Bodies under the Luxor hotel. The scientific spectacle shows you preserved human bodies in various stages of dissection. Or if you’re a little squeamish you could always visit the Titanic. Well, parts of it. The exhibition tells you all about the history of the ship, from construction to the details of its first and last voyage across the ocean. Pieces have been recovered from two and a half miles beneath the Atlantic ocean and a recreation of the Grand staircase can be observed.

Valley of Fire

Overwhelmed by the dazzling lights and crowds of the Vegas Strip? Take a trip away for a while. Around an hour’s drive from the Strip are stunning views of the south-western American desert. Striking red rock formations which were millions of years in the making, make up the Valley of Fire state park, which is open all year-round. Perfect for any of you hiking and camping enthusiasts. Beware of the temperatures though. The desert can get up to highs of 50c during the day before plummeting at night time.

Shopping

Americans can head to the canals of Venice without ever leaving the country. All they have to do is go shopping in Vegas, where Venice turns into French Boulevards and themed shopping malls make for some entertaining (if somewhat tacky) retail experiences. It’s almost serene to take a gondola ride where you can window shop from afar, knowing full well the chaos of Vegas awaits you later. Even if you’re not a big shopper and have been dragged along by the Mrs, you’ll still be entertained by fashion shows, singing gondoliers and moving statues. Try out the Town Square mall.

Live A Mortgage-Free Life

Qualified homeowners throughout the South Sound can live a mortgage-free life in as little as a year. Dave Echtle, vice president of lending at O Bee Credit Union, developed this innovative mortgage product in response to a growing demand for home loans with shorter terms.

Called the “mortgage free life,” the home loans are written for periods of one to 10 years at competitive interest rates. Unlike mortgages with extensive closing costs, O Bee offers these mortgages for a $595 flat fee, including appraisal fees, title insurance, and other fees. Loans close in two to three weeks. These features make refinancing affordable as well as attractive to homeowners.

“People are trying to get ready for retirement or get out of debt,” says Echtle.

Based in Tumwater, O Bee has been offering a similar mortgage product since 2011. To date, about 130 homeowners have taken advantage of the program and some are already debt-free.

“Customers are very satisfied with the product,” says Lee Wojnar, vice president of marketing. “We want you to be successful. We don’t want you to have a mortgage.”

On average, those taking advantage of the mortgage program are homeowners in their mid to late 50s who are approaching retirement and whose homes have a loan-to-value ratio of 80 percent or less. Homeowners tend to have at least 50 percent home equity, have paid down their mortgages and want to pay their mortgage loans off entirely before retirement.

“As a credit union, we’re here to serve our members and to help them achieve their financial freedom and goals,” Echtle says. “This is one way to do it.”

DANA NEUTS

For more information:
obee.com

Evergreen Eye Center Exclusive

Bladeless Cataract Surgery

Almost everyone eventually develops cataracts, and cataract removal is the most common surgical procedure in America. But there is nothing common about how it is done at Evergreen Eye Center in Federal Way. This is the first medical facility in Washington state to acquire the FDA-approved LenSx femtosecond laser, offering a breakthrough in the science of refractive cataract surgery. It’s “cutting edge” technology, but without a blade.

“There are evolutions in medicine, and there are revolutions in medicine,” said Rick Boudreau, Evergreen’s marketing director and practice manager. “You can go anyplace and get cataract surgery, and maybe you’ll get a great result. But we’re going to more consistently give you a great result, because the laser is just more accurate.”

Removal of the clouded lens and replacement with a man-made intraocular one in conventional surgery involves using a hand-held blade to cut a circle as close to perfectly round as is humanly possible. But even the best doctors can’t match the precision of the LenSx laser. It eliminates human error and uncertain outcomes.

After exact, customized positioning, the laser makes tiny incisions that close without sutures, causing far less trauma to the eye and avoiding surgery-induced astigmatism. In fact, it corrects existing astigmatism and, along with multifocal replacement lenses, usually eliminates any need for glasses. The whole procedure takes only about 15 minutes. Vision improvement is predictable, instant, and life-changing.

“There are people who are 85 years old, who have worn glasses since they were 8, who are completely free of glasses today,” Boudreau said.

Pioneering ophthalmologist John S. Jarstad, M.D., founded Evergreen Eye Center in 1989. Evergreen has expanded to four locations, but only the ambulatory surgery center in Federal Way has the LenSx laser.

“This is a game-changer,” Boudreau declared. “We are so excited about this technology.”

CANDACE BROWN

For more information:
evergreenbladeless.com
34719 Sixth Ave S, Federal Way
800.254.4934

12 Local Summer Escapes

Outdoor adventure, world-class golf, wine tasting and live entertainment. Why leave the Pacific Northwest this summer when exciting destinations and activities are right here? Here are 12 of our favorite local summer escapes. DANA NEUTS

Auburn

Home of the University of Washington’s men’s and women’s golf teams, Washington National Golf Club is a challenging, worldclass golf course with breathtaking views of Mount Rainier.
washingtonnationalgolf.com

Tacoma

Want a taste of history, art or modern culture? Tacoma has museums galore: Museum of Natural History, Tacoma Art Museum, Museum of Glass, Children’s Museum of Tacoma, Lemay—America’s Car Museum and the Washington State History Museum.
traveltacoma.com

Puyallup

Puyallup celebrates its founder with Meeker Street Days June 21-23 with entertainment, an art fair, classic car show, kids’ activities, Lego Land and more.
puyallupmainstreet.com

Eatonville

Adventurers will love zip-lining through the trees at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Prefer staying on the ground? The park offers a tram tour, walking tour and nature trails where guests can view wild animals in their natural habitats.
nwtrek.org

Steilacoom

The Steilacoom Farmer’s Market brings produce, food, and arts and crafts vendors each Wednesday, along with evening concerts in a park overlooking the Puget Sound.
steilacoomfarmersmarket.org

Lakewood

Families will love visiting Fort Steilacoom Park on July 13-14 for SummerFEST2013 with entertainment, a car show, food and arts vendors and a 5K fun run.
cityoflakewood.us

Lacey

Thurston County Fair returns to Lacey July 31-August 4 for entertainment, rides, 4-H exhibits, fried fair food and more!
co.thurston.wa.us

Sumner

Summertime activities include Music Off Main concerts on Fridays in July at the Heritage Park Stage, Rhubarb Days (July 13-14), Sumner Fine Arts Festival (August 2-4) and the Classy Chassis Car Show (August 18).
sumnerdowntown.com

Seattle

Experience the Ring at Seattle Opera. Sweeping orchestral music, soaring voices, spectacular sets, sumptuous costumes, and breathtaking special effects combine to deliver unparalleled live entertainment.
seattlering.com

Federal Way

Master gardeners and nature lovers alike will enjoy learning more about the Washington state flower at the 22-acre Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden.
rhodygarden.org

Olympia

Take a trip to the Medicine Creek Winery on Old Pacific Highway to sample wine in the beautiful tasting room. Be sure to ask about the barn’s sordid history!
medicinecreekwinery.com

Experience Sweet Indulgence at Salish Lodge & Spa

Perched on the hillside adjacent to Snoqualmie Falls, the Salish Lodge and Spa’s iconic property has recently undergone renovations, including a water feature that greets you as you enter the property, a new lobby, upgrades to the dining lounge and an infusion of “sweet indulgence” to the overall experience.

As a part of the improvements, a honeybee apiary has been installed on the hillside overlooking the property. The quintessential Pacific Northwest retreat now infuses its honey into its fresh Northwest cuisine in The Dining Room, its Salish Honey Beer, and its organic body treatments in The Spa. “Our guests have been enjoying our honey through every aspect of our hotel,” said Rod Lapasin, general manager of Salish Lodge and Spa.

If you are a spa-goer, you will be delighted to find that The Spa at Salish has introduced a Honey and Herb Scrub Bar, where you can work with a spa mixologist to choose from a variety of fresh herbs from the Salish garden. The chosen herbs will be blended with Salish honey, essential oils, salts or sugar scrubs, depending on the treatment needs. This decadent custom scrub is then used in spa body treatments, manicures and pedicures.

During your stay, you will also want to take in the view of the falls from the newly remodeled Attic Lounge. The lounge has a relaxed vibe with hand-blown glass behind the bar, natural furnishings and an open-air pizza oven. The menu features lighter dining options that appeal to a food lover’s palate and a comfortable atmosphere that invites conversation and relaxation. Find your sweet spot at the magnificent Salish Lodge and Spa. Take in breathtaking views, impeccable accommodations and dining, incredible service and luxurious spa treatments all designed to provide you with a SWEET and INDULGENT experience.

LEAH GROUT

For more information:
salishlodge.com
800.2.SALISH

Dine, Learn & Live Artistically At The Art House Cafe

Picture the perfect local hangout and
you have the Art House Café, which opened in Tacoma’s historic Stadium District in the spring of 2013. Start with morning coffee and pastry. Then enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner, a full bar, signature pizza, and a take-out bakery, as well as live music on weekends—all in a colorful décor inspired by a peacock’s tail. The atmosphere suits everything from your first cup of java to a romantic date. Handmade tiles decorate the bar. Smoked hickory floors add warmth.

Two of the three co-owners, John and Luci Armstrong, conceived of the café as a companion business to their Open Arts Studio. In the same building, the studio offers classes in visual arts and music. Now the Armstrongs also offer cooking and mixology classes in the café. The two spaces connect indoors.

“John and I started the concept because we wanted to do ‘wine and painting’ classes,” Luci Armstrong said. “We’ve always wanted to do culinary arts and also etiquette classes through the studio, so we decided the restaurant would be a great avenue.”

Many people know the third owner, Chef Dustin Joseph, from his days as executive chef at the Chambers Bay Grill. In addition to actually cooking, he teaches cooking. Most of all, Joseph wants guests to experience a new relationship with high-quality food and great service. “I really want to make the plates and the dishes very special,” he said. “I want to hit the emotional balance with food, not to have people just eat for nourishment, but for the enjoyment.”

John Armstrong is an art teacher, actor and opera singer, and Luci studied accounting. But this began as her vision. She hopes Art House Café will become a community arts hub. “This is what you get when an accountant marries an artist,” she joked.

CANDACE BROWN

For more information:
arthousecafe.com
111 N Tacoma Ave, Tacoma
253.212.2011

Marrow Kitchen And Bar

2717 Sixth Ave, Tacoma
253.267.5299
marrowtacoma.com

For an establishment with a name like Marrow, you might envision a manly cave with prehistoric artifacts. Yet once inside this Tacoma restaurant, you find an unpretentious ambiance exemplified by a chandelier made of light bulbs and glass bottles suspended by wire. On a recent visit, midweek happy chatter exuded from tables with diverse groups of diners, and funky, mellow music played in the background. A simple outlook on decor lets the food shine.

The menu is full of delicious protein/meat-based dishes (the “Marrow” side of the menu) and creative vegetarian dishes (the “Arrow” side of the menu).

Since we arrived ravenous, we ordered a large spread, starting with chilled lobster claw, 63 degree duck egg and Louie sauce. This salad was amazing with the delicate, perfectly cooked duck egg oozing over the lobster, complemented by the tangy Louie sauce. It’s the kind of dish that isn’t too decadent, with a wonderful balance of flavors and textures.

Marrow is definitely known for its adventurous protein offerings. We went with the squab with foie gras, pan jus, poached pears and mascarpone-whipped Yukon gold potatoes. The rich, delicate flavors of these ingredients complemented one another perfectly.

Unarguably our favorite dish was the hanger steak poutine with Beechers cheese curds, marrow gravy and shoestring fries. It arrived with the steak perfectly cooked and topped with undeniably the best gravy we ever tasted.

The Marrow Burger is a people’s choice favorite. Layered with wild boar bacon, white cheddar, fried fennel and grilled onion aioli between a brioche bun, it is mouthwatering.

We finished our meal by splitting the most delicious chocolate flourless cake with salted caramel fluff and a ganache topping sprinkled with cocoa nibs and espresso powder.

Tacoma’s Marrow Kitchen and Bar serves up the essentials of life—food and friends sharing experiences. If you are looking for delicious, out-of-the-box fare accompanied by impeccable service, try Marrow.

TAMMY LARSEN, AKA the foodie couple

Creative Forces Gallery At Hotel Murano

Inside Tacoma’s Hotel Murano, on Broadway, a shop in the lobby’s southeast corner attracts attention with pleasant daylight and a unique gallery featuring local artists. Even its name, Creative Forces Gifts & Sundries, suggests discoveries far more exciting than a bottle of aspirin or a packaged snack.

Unique and inspired pieces of original Northwest art—paintings, drawings, sculpture, pottery, photography, stationery, blown glass, handmade jewelry and accessories— cover the walls and fill the shelves. But the special atmosphere comes from the heart of owner Carolyn Osborne, an artist herself and the recipient of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber’s 2012 Spotlight on Business Award for a minority-owned business.

When Osborne’s brother David Osborne died of cancer in 2008, their family held a fundraiser at Hotel Murano to benefit St. Anthony Hospital’s oncology center. After that, they called it “David’s hotel.” When invited to open a shop there, in 2012, Carolyn Osborne felt it was all meant to be.

“I love it here,” she said during an interview. “I want to be here forever because it’s fun. Every day, I get to meet amazing people from our community and all over the world. It’s like a continuous art show. I get to help my artists who are in here too.” Those 27 local artists include a real estate agent, a pastry chef, an architect, and a stay-at-home mother of twin girls.

Hotel guests from all over the world love the opportunity to take home genuine Northwest artwork, but Creative Forces also welcomes those who live nearby to visit the shop Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Osborne hopes that when residents of the South Sound area need a special gift, or just want to spoil themselves, Creative Forces will come to mind immediately.

CANDACE BROWN

For more information:
creativeforcesgallery.com
1320 Broadway Plaza, Tacoma
253.227.8871

Master Builders Association – House For Hope

Home is where the heart is at the Master Builders Association. The non profit trade association pulled together a lot of resources in their latest fundraising project, House for Hope. They built a beautiful new home in Pierce County then opened it to the public to sell in May as part of the MBAPC’s Parade of New Homes. All funds raised from the sale of the house will be shared among MBA and with the community and schools of Tacoma.

“We think House for Hope is the start of a long standing relationship with local schools and the community. It is a wonderful way for our association to give back to the entire community,” said Tiffany Speir, executive director of MBA.

Located in Soundbuilt Homes Rock Creek new home development in Spanaway, Washington, this is the first House for Hope project for the organization. Land, labor and materials were donated by MBAPC members, volunteers and general contractor Soundbuilt Homes.

This unique fundraising project arose out of a need the association identified during the recession. Membership dropped during the recession, but Speir reported how this project and the idea of community partnering and fundraising for House for Hope helped them grow the MBA membership.

They also have a new focus on education. By placing emphasis on outreach to schools and younger people entering the home building trades, such as framers, painters, electricians, HVAC installers and drywallers, Speir believes it will create relationships with the next generation. “There’s a need for younger people. We want to help educate and train the kids who will be coming into our work force,” said Speir.

Due to the success of the project, future fundraising goals for MBA may include a second House for Hope endeavor. “We are already looking at a similar project for 2014,” said Speir.

TAMMY ROBACKER

For more information:
2013houseforhope.com