Neighbors helping neighbors

 Birch Bay Issues  Comments Off on Neighbors helping neighbors
Jan 142013
 

On January 5th, the Birch Bay community turned out by the hundreds at a spaghetti dinner to demonstrate their support for victims of the December 17th King Tide.

Via Birch Bay Cafe and Bistro and the Birch Bay Consignment and Thrift store suffered the worst effects. See more on here.

Political Activism

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Oct 302012
 
If you’ve been reading the COMING UP calender of the Northern Light or your neighborhood utility pole, you know that we’ve been promoting progressive people for office–see this post.

First Congressional District candidate Suzan DelBene, with one of the event organizers, Ruth Higgins, thanks residents for their interest in her campaign, October 28, 2012 at Via Birch Bay Cafe and Bistro. Photo by Al Krause

In earlier times, the leaders of our community organized forums where voters could see and hear opposing candidates present their views.
If you’re still looking for information on the 42nddistrict state legislature candidates, John Stark at the Bellingham Herald wrote two excellent articles comparing Natalie McClendon (October 21) and Matt Krogh (October 22) with their competitors. You can find these articles on the Herald’s site. Go to the search window to the right at the top of their online masthead.

Suzan DelBene–A Remarkably Pleasant Experience

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Oct 302012
 
As publicized, three of the Birch Bay Democrat PCO’s, Sunny Brown, Pat Jerns and Ruth Higgins, organized a “meet and greet” for Suzan DelBene, the First Congressional District candidate, Sunday, the 28th.
My tasks were to register participants at the door of Via Birch Bay Cafe and Bistro, and to keep free a parking space for the candidate’s vehicle. In addition to one space I had two-thirds of another where a motor cycle was parked. That made enough room for a limo, but what if she had a retinue with two or three cars?
Shortly after one o’clock Sunny and I were startled to look up and see the candidate walking to the door with one assistant. Smiling, more relaxed than most participants.
I waited ’till one thirty to go upstairs to find Ms. DelBene still talking with small groups of people a stranger might assume were old friends.
Campaigners are coached to tell “your story” that will gain emotional appeal from voters. If you know anything about Suzan DelBene, it is that she is rich. That she held management positions with Microsoft and a couple of successful tech start-ups; that her husband is a division president at MSFT and they live in a multimillion dollar house on Lake Washington.
So here’s DelBene’s story: When she was in high school her father, an airline pilot lost his job, and the family moved around as he sought work. She got through college on scholarships, grants and work-study programs. In her first year out of school she was able to take her family into her home. She knows what it’s like for people are suffering now. Here she is in a simple black sweater and slacks that she might have bought at Target. Empathy!
And it gets better when she asks for questions. To a long list she spontaneously renders the progressive’s perfect answers. Asked about the proposed coal pier and more coal trains–“the question that is asked most up this way”–DelBene said she is waiting for answers from the scoping process and environmental impact study, and then went on to enumerate all the issues involved–mostly negative.
When she put her competitor, John Koster, away with, “I believe in science,” the 50 people there broke into applause.
For me the most interesting answer was to the question, “How can you, as a new Congresswoman, expect to make a difference in a body with 435 partisans?” Her answer: Information can be powerful. If one knows a subject she will be sought out even if one’s office is in the basement of the Capitol. “When John Koster voted against an appropriations bill five times in six, he said it was because he hadn’t had time to read the bills–you don’t want to employ someone like that to be your representative.”
Via, the view of the Bay and the people at the meeting who came from Blaine and Custer and elsewhere were just as attractive as the candidate. It is satisfying for our community to make such a good impression on someone whose base is Bellevue.

 

 

*** ***
Standing by the door, I found that as many people were coming to Via to eat as came to meet DelBene. After Suzan left, Ruth and I stayed to split a small salad and eat two appetizers–Steamed Mussles and Seafood Mitkof. When I asked Google about the latter, up came Via Birch Bay and explained it is a seafood saute in a brandy cream finished with a toasted smoked Gouda. With this meal, we drank a nice Pinot Grigio. Via Birch Bay Bar and Bistro is a keeper!

Congressional Conversation

 Birch Bay Issues, Politics  Comments Off on Congressional Conversation
Oct 152012
 
Meet 1st Congressional District Candidate Suzan DelBene.

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Sunday, October 28th, 1 to 2 p.m. at the Topside Room, VIA Birch Bay Cafe and Bistro, 7829 Birch Bay Drive, Birch Bay, WA.
Complimentary snacks, tea and coffee; no-host bar.
RSVP: 371-5312.
Organized by Birch Bay and Blaine Precinct Committee Officers in cooperation with the Whatcom County Democrats.

Fish and Chips at VIA Birch Bay Cafe and Bistro

 Birch Bay Issues, Food  Comments Off on Fish and Chips at VIA Birch Bay Cafe and Bistro
Oct 152012
 

VIA Birch Bay Cafe and Bistro, the only property on the water side of central Birch Bay Drive, recently opened for business under the experienced eye of Mr. Yoon Oh. This genial and optimistic restauranteur welcomes patrons with a warm handshake and cheerful smile. He offers us boat-side service if we ever paddle up in our kayak.

VIA Birch Bay Cafe and Bistro
 Mr. Oh tells us that, because of his shoreline location, multiple county and state restrictions limit what he could and could not do when renovating the space for his new restaurant.

View of Birch Bay from VIA

The main improvement was replacing the musty old carpeting with an appealing hardwood floor. And, of course, the exterior Ivory Palace paint that erased the former dull brown. The dining area, bar and espresso counter offer amazing views of the bay, ever changing with the weather and the tide level.

This is the second in our “Who has the best fish and chips in Birch Bay?” series. We order their cod and Al has chips and coleslaw, which come standard, with his; Ruth requests a substitute garden salad ($10.00 each – Mr. Oh does not fool around with .99 prices). We also spring for a shared appetizer of pick ‘n peel shrimp ($8.00).
Farren, our wait person, is a model customer-service person–as is Steve, the manager on duty.
       Water and wine (a couple of crisp Barefoot Pinot Grigios–$5.00 each) keep us occupied while we wait for the appetizer. In less than ten minutes, the succulent shrimp hit our table. They with the cocktail sauce are sensational.
Succulent shrimp

Many of the staff are familiar to Birch Bay patrons from their previous service at the former CJ’s Beachhouse.

Scrumptious fish with fries
Scrumptious fish with salad
When the entrees arrive, the fish batter is crisp and brown, cooked  throughout,  The cod is moist and scrumptious. The platter comes with a lemon wedge and we request malt vinegar.
The food is fine and upcoming events at VIA include Hallowe’en, New Years Eve and New Years Day Parties.  (Oh yes, see PrudentVentures.blogspot.com for an October 28 Conversation with Congressional Candidate Suzan
                                                                           DelBene.)
Our conclusion is that VIA is a positive addition to the food establishments of Birch Bay.