the state

– of wine tasting responsibility. by vastate
Friday, 5 March 2010, 11:06
Filed under: -of drink, -of harrisonburg, -of upcoming, -of vino

as if you needed another reason to go to downtown wine & gourmet’s wine tasting tonight:

College wine tastings can prevent alcoholism among pupils, believe French advisers

the theory being that controlled wine tastings can prevent binge drinking.


so, for the good of our community, it is your duty to attend the wine tastings each week.


5-7p tonight!


– of dry soda. by vastate
Tuesday, 16 February 2010, 23:55
Filed under: -of drink, -of eats, -of harrisonburg, -of jhumphrey

there were some very exciting new foodstuffs delivered to downtown wine and gourmet today…

including the realization of a special request from a very pregnant woman desperate for a grown-up alternative to cranberry gingerale:


you rock.

-of shopping synergy by jgrimsrud
Monday, 15 February 2010, 15:44
Filed under: -of deals, -of drink, -of harrisonburg, -of jgrimsrud, -of localism, -of sound

i made my regular visit to kroger, mainly to get a new round of homestead milk (i miss the eggnog!), and of course the impending-doom-panic of a snow-inspired grocery run.

the $2.00 bottle deposit may be offputting to some, but not only do i believe it to be worth it, but the bottle return cash i get at the front desk leads me & my 3-year-old across the parking lot to goodwill.  with a few milk bucks in my pocket, we’re set to score some toys & books.  today’s crop included:

two mini coopers, one eric carle book about cats,

a recycled frisbee,

and some amazing books.

(today, i believe the Lord would gather his flock around the water cooler.)

i was thinking of using the latter as freebie giveaways for preacher’s show on wxjm live this thursday night (streaming here). 

but we’ll see if i can bear to part with them…

– of bakeries. by vastate
Wednesday, 13 January 2010, 15:56
Filed under: - of restaurant review, -of harrisonburg, -of jhumphrey, -of localism, -of upcoming

a friend recently divulged her thoughts of opening a new bakery in downtown h’burg…

do you know what a great idea i think this is?

perhaps shank’s wouldn’t agree – but i personally think there are too many baked goods in the world for one bakery to handle.  harrisonburg needs to graduate from being a one-bakery town.  (sorry, panera definitely doesn’t count.)

in anticipation, i’ve been remembering the baguette sandwiches at the bread peddler in olympia, wa.

especially this one:

Ham and Comté

The traditional Parisian baguette sandwich. Thinly shaved honey smoked ham, paired with Comté, an aged cheese in the “Swiss” family, Garnished with dressed mesclun.

and, i’m drooling over the goods at lovejoy bakers in portland (never been, but wish i could):
especially this adorable deliciousness:
What do you get when you cross a butter cookie with delicate egg bread?  The unusual looking beauty above.   My Shortbread topped Brioche came to me, like many of my other creations, during the magic hours of middle-of-the-night baking.  Try one.  They’re very popular with people who prefer their pastries not too sweet.
and dreaming of a place right down the street that serves up something like these:
i hear that the first order of business for my friend is to perfect the almighty cinnamon bun.  after that, she’ll move on to the more mundane details of opening up a new store.  but not before.  this is a girl who has her priorities straight.
i’m excited.  are you?

– of christmas parades. by vastate
Friday, 4 December 2009, 21:57
Filed under: -of funny, -of harrisonburg, -of jhumphrey, -of localism

just got back from the harrisonburg holiday parade.

the best parts:

1.) the Turner Ashby marching band bass guitarist – complete with un-uniformed amp-puller at his side.

2.) the rocktown rollers. and the fact that they were so refreshingly out of place amidst the SUVs and farm mobiles.

3.) whichever float was playing “sweet dreams are made of these” – evoking sweet memories of bigger, gayer parades.

4.) the weird, circa 1954, animal costumes dug out of some local government basement. the resident 3 year old vote went to “the pooping bear” whose strangely placed tail unfortunately led to potty thoughts. i love vintage tact.

– of uncorking the beaujolais. by vastate
Wednesday, 18 November 2009, 20:20
Filed under: -of drink, -of guest blogger., -of harrisonburg, -of jhumphrey, -of vino

remember this guy?

well, the dapper wine fellow has a message for you:

Join us on Thursday the 19th of November as we celebrate the release
of the 2009 Beaujolais Nouveau! Downtown Wine and Gourmet will be
hosting a FREE wine tasting of several producers’ nouveau wines
beginning at 5:00pm and going until 7:00pm. Then head over to
Clementine for a FREE Beaujolais Nouveau release party which will
begin at 8:00pm in the lounge! The event will include Beaujolais
Nouveau for sale by the glass and music from DJ Neals Barkley! So join
the global celebration and keep the tradition alive!

A few fascinating facts about Beaujolais Nouveau:

*Beaujolais [BOE-zjoh-lay] Nouveau is always released the third
Thursday of November, regardless of the start of the harvest.

*All the grapes in the Beaujolais region must be picked by hand. These
are the only vineyards, along with Champagne, where hand harvesting is

*Gamay is the only grape permitted for Beaujolais Nouveau. While
certain California wineries may label their wine “Gamay Beaujolais”
this is not the same grape variety as what is grown in France, and is
quite different in taste and growing habits.

*Beaujolais Nouveau owes its easy drink-ability to a wine-making
process called carbonic maceration – also called whole berry
fermentation. This technique preserves the fresh, fruity quality of
the wine, without extracting bitter tannins from the grape skins.

*Beaujolais Nouveau is meant to be drunk young. In average vintages it
should be consumed by the following summertime after its release.
However, in excellent vintages the wine can live longer and can be
enjoyed until the next harvest rolls around.

Speaking of excellent vintages, Georges Dubeouf (one of the most
renowned producers in Beaujolais) is ecstatic about this year’s
Beaujolais harvest, predicting it one of the best Beaujolais vintages
in the last 50 years. He says, “The grape bunches are small with a
fine purplish black color, and are exceptionally rich in sugar. The
berries are thick, and the seeds are a gorgeous amber color, a sign of
perfect phenolic maturity. Their brightness, intensity, and above all,
their perfect health are something to behold. We have not seen
anything like this for a long time.”

Another bit of information which I think is important is the fact
that, unlike some previous releases, the 2009 Beaujolais that we
feature will be shipped by boat, not by air, to reduce the carbon
footprint of shipping the wine.

why would you dream of missing out?

high drink-ability, turntables, and a sense of global togetherness…

what a way to start the holiday season.

we’ll be there.

– of co-op homes. by vastate
Wednesday, 11 November 2009, 15:55
Filed under: -of eats, -of harrisonburg, -of jhumphrey, -of localism, -of upcoming

you’ve probably heard the news by now:

The future site of the Friendly City Food Coop will be 150 E. Wolfe St, between the downtown Harrisonburg Post Office and Kline’s Dairy Bar!


The old Mick or’ Mack store?  That’s right – it will be so great to have a grocery store there again!

this concrete development is pretty exciting, especially since much of the frustration we’ve heard in the community centers around the previous ambiguity of the co-op project.

hopefully, the community can help the co-op break the tradition of frequently-rotated, bizarre businesses that have occupied this building (anyone remember the era where gimpy limos would drop folks off at harrisonburg’s “dance club” located at 150 E. Wolfe?  or the tanning salon? or, most recently, the scary gym?)


now, those folks who said they would gladly roll up their sleeve and volunteer time and resources towards getting a site location ready for opening have opportunity staring them in the face.

but.  before any painting or cleaning, a party is apparently in order.


the details:

You’re Invited to the Friendly City Food Coop “Carpe Diem” Party-in-the-Parking-Lot!

Nov. 14, 4-7pm in the parking lot of the FUTURE STORE!

here’s a big list of ways to help celebrate:

Help Before the party:
1.  Join Deb on Thursday or Friday, any time between 8am and 5pm, to help clean the building, set up, prepare goodie bags, etc..

Help At the party:
** The FCFC has a budget for this event.  If you can provide the food needed but would like to be reimbursed for the expense we are happy to do so!  Please provide an estimate of cost and bring receipts or an invoice to the party.
2.  Provide soup for 50 people (4 volunteers needed).
3.  Provide beverage for 100 people (4 volunteers needed).
4.  Grill.  Bring a portable grill and cook up some great smells and tasty food for 25 people (4 volunteers needed).
5.  Provide finger desserts for 25 people (3 volunteers needed).

6.  Bring several extension cords, splitters, and tape, and run power to a mic and lights.
7.  Bring a boom box and provide music.
8.  Decorate!  Lights, balloons – whatever inspires you (2-4 volunteers needed).

9.  Provide bubbles.
10.  Provide frisbees, nerf football, other outdoor fun.
11.  Provide face-painting.
12.  Play music!  We will have an open bandstand, but it would be really great to know that there are a few folks lined up and planning to play (1-10 songs each).

so, there you go!  have at it…

make this co-op a success.

starting next saturday.