Well, to answer my title question, quite a lot — especially in the last few years. In fact, there have been more changes then I can cover in a single column. So, this week I’ll delve into a few of them — three relatively new shops, to be exact — and hopefully get around to the others in the near future.
To begin, we have “Ann’s Fudge and Bakery,” which offers a wonderfully enticing selection of baked, creative confections. Ann Smith has been selling her fudge at Farmers’ Markets, street fairs, and holiday celebrations for at least 15 years. For the last several years, she’s been promoting her product quite successfully on-line — ohfudgebyann — where she averages about 30 orders a day from all over the country and, on special occasions, she has sometimes received more orders then she can handle — as much as 1000 over Mothers’ Day weekend.
Finally, around three or four weeks ago, with the help of her son, Jason, she opened a brick and mortar shop on Cole Street, across from the Kitchen. She offers a surprisingly wide assortment of muffins, cookies, and cupcakes, many of which are gluten free. Of course, her specialty is her fudge and she has a mind-boggling collection of flavors, such as coconut cream fudge, maple walnut fudge, and strawberry cheesecake fudge. Get the idea?
Currently, most of her local business — that is, the business in her store — comes in the morning. For breakfast, of course. I might suggest you drop by in the afternoon, sit in the front window, and gaze out on the street over your coffee and a banana nut muffin.
Now, to abruptly shift gears to an entirely different bailiwick, two new wine businesses have opened on Cole. (More appropriately, I should call them lounges.) There’s the “Bordeaux Wine Bar” across from the Senior Center that Emma Gunning and Ashley Milligan opened a couple months ago and, second, there’s “Plateau Wines” next door to Jackson’s, which is managed by Maria Kok.
The latter carries wines from all over the world, but Washington State cabernet, strange enough, is the most popular. The most expensive bottle is Woodward Canyon at $120 bucks a pop. It’s difficult to determine what the “average” glass of “average” wine costs, but Maria guesses around seven dollars. The place also has some light, tasty snacks, like Swiss cheese fondue, and three micro brews on tap.
The Bordeaux lounge specializes in Washington State wines, though it always features at least one wine from out of state. Like Maria, Emma says Washington cabernets are very popular. The Bordeaux also has a limited selection of beers and small, light desserts, like Bon Bons and mixed nuts. The meat and cheese board is the most popular item on Emma’s food menu.
When these wine clubs opened I didn’t think either one would last very long. I mean, what-the-hell, neither place has a pool-table, jukebox, or hard booze. Quite to the contrary, they’re relatively quiet and secluded.
And that, as it turns out, accounts for much of their appeal. So, if you and your sweetheart want to escape the noise and crowds in Seeders or the Ski, you might stumble into one of the wine bars and kick back in the tranquil atmosphere, comfortable couches, and easy chairs. What can I say; Sometimes you don’t wanna dance or analyze the pool balls. Sometimes you just wanna hold hands and sip a merlot.