"Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art." -Andy Warhol
Some of you may know that I hold a Bachelor's degree in Studio Art. It doesn't really mean that much, but art was a large part of my life for four years (more if you include high school). After graduating, I made a conscious choice not to delve into the art world. To me, art was a way of seeing differently, a different framework to make decisions. For me, it wouldn't be a career. Instead, I choose to work at a small bakery in Fremont called Simply Desserts. In some ways, I learned just as much there as I did from my formal education. Simply Desserts was my Graduate School where I realized my art would be whatever I set my mind to and create. It is where my identity in the love and knowledge of food was born. Where, I decided one day I would open a shop of my own.
Now, Noah and I have Argonaut and it is where we get to be artists together. But the baking, that is where I get to be an artist with just me. The beautiful thing about baking, is that your creation is tasted. People get to experience your work in a wholly different way than any other art. They sip and swallow, letting their palates be the judge of whether it is good or not. I love this. Baking is not my creation alone, it wouldn't be as good without feedback from others.
To be the best artist, you have to listen and make changes. An artist is nothing if people do not respond to the work. If it is not of value to the community, it is not worthwhile. This is a tricky balance because the artist's responsibility is to help the community see deeper, know more, expand their minds, challenge. The trick is how to do that with where the people stand currently.
That is why this quote from Andy Warhol rings so true to me. In the time when people are deciding if what you are doing is beneficial, keep producing and fine tuning. Make it a discipline to create. Through discipline, a true artist will emerge.
This season, we are bringing on a few new items to the shop. First, we have a new Orange + Almond Biscotti made with Oh Yeah Farms whole grain wheat, milled fresh here in Leavenworth. Next, and I’m oh so excited about, our new sweet bread is a Rustic, Rye cake (with Rye from Oh Yeah) served with an infused butter. And last but not least, you may have seen from Facebook our tests with the Chocolate swirl, Blondie Brownie to take the place of the Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie.
Now, I will continue to bake. Will you continue to taste and help make me a better artist?
Winter is turning to spring rapidly here in Leavenworth. The days are getting longer and lighter. The sun is getting brighter and warmer but a frost still makes its way in the morning. A glimpse of snow still sits on the mountains.
We had friends make a last minute trip this weekend to visit us and it was so nice to be with them. You know when you know someone so well and everything is easy? That is what it is like with Zach + Lauren.
e.e. cummings (1920)
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
whistles far and wee
and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s
when the world is puddle-wonderful
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing
from hop-scotch and jump-rope and
Sometimes you just have to jump in a puddle. Sometimes you just have to laugh. You just have to run around and be silly. Sometimes, you just have to play.
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, love is on the mind.
Here at Argonaut, we have been thinking about all the things we are in love with. There just so happens to be fourteen ;)
We are in love with our new menu board sign + logo for our new stamp. If you follow us on Facebook then you know about our new sign. Having crafted it and our logo entirely on our own, we are filled with so much pride for this project. When we started Argonaut, we weren’t quite sure about what we wanted and how to communicate who we were through a sign. It is rewarding to see it come together now.
We are in love with our house-made biscuits sandwiches and think they are the BOMB. We hope you will try one for yourself and let us know what you think!
We are in love with Snake River Farms where we will be getting our ham for the breakfast sandwiches. These farmers make it their number one priority to care for their animals. It is important to us to source that for you. So you know when you purchase something from Argonaut it is humanely raised and grown. That is why we are looking for a way to provide you with organic milk, why our coffee is organic, and why we try to use Oh Yeah Farms wheat in our baked goods.
Speaking of Oh Yeah Farms, we are in love with their Rye. All of their product is grown and milled right here in Leavenworth! Come taste the difference sourcing local brings to our recipes!
We are in love with the Sidecar Lounge in Wenatchee. These people are fantastic and are serving up the best cocktails in the Valley. I am serious. Go there now.
We are in love with our friends at Eagle Creek + Stemilt Wineries. What great neighbors! We are so happy to habited next to these people, to talk and laugh together everyday. Just great!
We are in love with Yoga in the Yurt with Keri at the Tierra Retreat Center. What a beautiful way to rein in the week with one of these yoga classes. I truly feel more centered and grounded. Amazing! Come with me sometime!
We are in love with Club West, or as our friend Kevin likes to call, “Average Joe’s.” It has been my saving grace since the weather has not been cooperating with winter sports.
After a good workout, I enjoy indulging a little and now we are in love with Moonstruck Chocolates, these hand-crafted chocolates are made nearby, in Portland. Lately, we’ve been obsessed with the Dark Chocolate + Sea Salt + Almond. SO GOOD.
We are in love with Chef Steps and food science. Check it out- you're welcome.
When making meals at home, we usually listen to music and right now we are in love with the band Wet. Seriously, I cannot stop listening to them. When you run out of songs…
We are (also) in love with Laura Welsh. If you are Spotify-er, Laura Welsh Radio is where it is at.
Being a sidewalk cafe, we have the privilege of meeting all your adorable doggies and we are (seriously) in love with Ollie, our friend Tyler’s not-so-little-anymore puppy. It makes me want to go out right now and get a dog myself. Can you imagine it? A little Argonaut puppy?
Last, but certainly not least, we are in love with YOU. Our loyal customers. Thank you for coming. Thank you for trying us out. Thank you for reading this blog. Thank you for liking our posts on Facebook. Thank you for opening your hearts. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for listening to ours. Thank you for being you and letting us know you. We are better for it.
With all our love from Argonaut,
When Noah and I dreamed of moving out of Seattle and into the mountains, I admit, we had some pretty idealistic versions of what it would be: we’d have more time, it’d be restful, lots of like-minded, young people are moving there. Ultimately, we chose Leavenworth to live and open a business in because of its seemingly ideal circumstances: proximity to the mountains + outdoor activities paired with a strong (tourist-driven) economy.
The reality of tourism has been a shock to us. It is a very different economy than a city's day to day operations.
To start, there is a different rhythm. You have an influx and outflow of people throughout the year. There are highs and lows. Yes, you always have your locals but I'll get to that later. The tourists come in, flood the town and leave. All of the businesses try to sell as much as possible while they are here. Then, they leave and the town is quiet. There is a high in the summer, drops off in the fall but weekends are still good until December when everything is crazy again and January starts well to drop off into the dead of winter and you wait that out until summer starts to pick up again.
From this flow comes a change in how locals treat the town. We have noticed that locals stay away during the frenzy times. Noah and I even participate in this behavior- not even going to the grocery store unless we must.
The reality of the population in Leavenworth is that it is small yet diverse (in generation + philosophy).
Yes, there are young, adventurous people (like ourselves) but there are also young families, older families, retired couples, people who have lived here their whole lives, people who work here and live in Wenatchee or Cashmere, people who have summer homes, students, artists, rednecks, hippies... There is a small number of many different kinds of people who find themselves in Leavenworth. It is important to engage them all.
The reality of owning a business here is the dilemma of how to provide a service to all locals and how to do it year-round, while staying true to yourself.
When the culmination of these realities sunk in, we began to question our move and decision to open a business here. We were idealistic in thinking we would walk in, open an espresso bar and expect everyone to stop their routines and come to us. Fear started to creep in and the question loomed, "should we have done this?"
The other day I was on Pinterest and saw someone had posted a quote: "Remember why you started." I haven't been able to get it out of my head. "Remember why you started." We moved to Leavenworth because we needed the mountains, we needed fresh air. We needed to wake up in the morning and be in a beautiful place. We needed refreshment. We started Argonaut because we believe in good coffee. No, we believe in great coffee and not sacrificing that. We started Argonaut because we wanted to bring great espresso to the people who live and play here and believe you don't have to sacrifice that in order to be in a beautiful place. We started from our idealistic convictions because we don't want to let them go. But in order to be here, we have to be broader. We have to provide something that people are not getting already.
Right now, I am thinking about what it is others don't want to sacrifice to live here. What brought you to Leavenworth? And, what do you miss from where you came? If you've always lived here, what would you like to see here?
Let's have it all, Leavenworth! Let's make it happen. Let’s raise the bar for quality product, quality service at a fair price. How can we at Argonaut better serve you? What are the things you want to see happen in this town? Let’s work together and remember why we started.