Locals know best so they pointed our host to each stop on his visit to Poulsbo. #k5evening
POULSBO, Wash. — Before venturing into the Norwegian flag-draped streets of downtown Poulsbo, I stop at Caffe Cocina where owner Eric Mahler has spent more than 10 years in search of the perfect cup of coffee.
I’d say he’s already there.
The coffee beans he roasts on site come from 33 different farms in 22 different countries.
“There’s a big world of coffee that we get to dive into,” Mahler said while roasting a fresh batch of beans. “And I’ve had people that are like ‘No I don’t drink coffee. It’s not for me.’ I will make them a coffee and they’re like… ‘What’s this?'”
“‘And they’re like ‘No way!'”
“And next thing I know they’re coffee drinkers.”
I asked Mahler to send me someplace in Poulsbo where I can have a little fun.
“Pop down to Dancing Brush and look at their ceramics,” he said. “They’re not the cookie cutter ceramics, man. They got really cool stuff down there. Pop in and paint a little thing. They got a really good staff there too!”
I’ve never made anything but a mess with a paint brush, but for 27 years, Dancing Brush has been convincing people like me to give it go.
“You just have to be brave, step out and try to do art and then you leave happy,” employee Mandi Collins said.
I’m only brave enough to splash some color on a coffee cup, which I nearly ruin by inscribing “Wake Up Saint!” in a messy scrawl. It will take about a week of glazing and a visit to a kiln before the studio can send the cup to my home.
In the meantime, I’ve grown hungry so I ask Collins where I should grab lunch.
“We love the Green Light Diner,” she said. “It’s close to where we are here at the Dancing Brush so we just go up the way. It’s got breakfast and lunch.”
The Green Light Diner has a ’50s vibe and servers who can really scoot. Marie Baldwin says all the portions are big but I should go with the biggest of them all.
“The Hungry Viking is one of our signature dishes,” Baldwin said. “But everything is really good. Anything you eat you’re gonna like.”
I always thought of myself as a hungry Viking but this is a huge meal: golden hash browns and a buttermilk biscuit topped with sausage gravy, a grilled ham steak, two eggs over easy with cheddar cheese and two strips of bacon.
I can’t finish it and, besides, I’m excited to find out where Baldwin will send me next.
“I think you should go right across the street to Details,” Baldwin said. “They have a lot of really cool home décor and vintage things so you’re gonna love it over there. It’s beautiful.”
Customers come from all over the state just to have a look around this carefully curated shop, where I met Elizabeth True behind the cash register.
“What they say is this is my happy place,” True said. “They just loving coming in here even if they’re just browsing to get inspiration.”
Details Home and Garden is currently celebrating the fall season but they will close down for several days in early November to dress up the shop for the holidays. That’s when the store truly is a wonderland.
Elizabeth True sends me to my last stop, a place to get something sweet.
“My favorite place is Oxalis Kitchen which is a little off of the beaten path,” True said.
Owner Darice Grass sources locally and makes everything from scratch.
“I love creating space,” Grass said. “A space for people to gather and I also just love the tangible making of food.”
I’ve got two tangible oatmeal raisin cookies for the road, and a lot of sweet memories of a sunny day spent in Poulsbo.
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