So, come by our stand some Thursday between 4 and 8PM, we’d love to chat more about why we are in Leavenworth and why we love coffee and food so much.
I love farmers markets! The abundance of fresh veggies, homemade products, being outside, friendly, happy people, the range of ages who participate, live music, local cheeses... they are happy places. Last year, when Noah and I had just moved to Leavenworth we tried to go every week- bulking up on our fresh greens and usually ending up grabbing some local blueberries or other impulse goodie. It's refreshing to buy your vegetables from the farmers themselves. They had an intimate hand in making them grow, there's no middle man.
Since people are still shocked when we tell them we make all of our food fresh, from scratch, using our own recipes, sourcing local ingredients (like Oh Yeah Farms whole grain wheat) we thought it'd be a good idea to join in on the fun. This past Thursday was the first Leavenworth Farmer's Market of the year and Argonaut was there!
It feels right to be a part of this community. We want to be there for the people who live here, who care about the land, who know how beautiful this place really is. People who love Leavenworth.
So, come by our stand some Thursday between 4 and 8PM, we’d love to chat more about why we are in Leavenworth and why we love coffee and food so much.
For the past five years or so I have been following a blog called Orangette. Four years ago, Noah and I lived in Ballard on 70th and 24th and would walk 10 blocks to our favorite little pizza place, Delancey. When we got married, my friend bought me a book, A Homemade Life, that I couldn’t put down for our entire honeymoon!!
These three things have one thing in common: Molly Wizenberg.
A week ago, this last Monday, I got to meet her. I met Molly Wizenberg.
It was a surreal experience- meeting and talking to someone I’ve only read about. A person who I have idolized and who has inspired me. Well, I met her, she is real- and she is lovely. You know what the real icing on the cake is? The next day, she and Brandon, and their adorable daughter June, came to Argonaut! It was such a great moment, sharing our space with someone who I’ve looked up to. If you follow Orangette, it isn’t hard to tell I’m heavily influenced by her simplistic layout, personal stories and careful photography.
When I read “Gastronomical Me” by M.F.K. Fisher my admiration for Molly was realized even more. There is a quote in the forward that reads: “People ask me: Why do you write about food, and eating and drinking? Why don’t you write about the struggle for power and security, and about love, the way others do? / They ask it accusingly, as if I were somehow gross, unfaithful to the honor of my craft. / The easiest answer is to say that, like most other humans, I am hungry.” It was when I read that, that I understood why I love what Molly does. She writes in a way that you get a glimpse into the people behind the food. This is part of why Delancey is so great: great people. I love the experience of food and beverage and how it brings people together, allows for conversation, the experience of food allows for life.
Cheers on the beginning of another beautiful week! May it be filled with love and laughter and especially good food!
You guys! Argonaut is OPEN EVERY SINGLE DAY.
As you know, this winter season we decided to be closed two days a week. It was a response to our space being merely a walk-up and the fact that there are less people in town. Now, as the weather has been getting increasingly nicer and warmer and so many of you are asking for it, we have decided to be open every day. We want to be able to provide you with the best espresso in town on the daily so you don't ever have to ask yourself, "Wait, is Argonaut open today?" Also, with the days getting longer and many of us waking up earlier, we want to be there for you when you need it so, not only are we open everyday but we are open earlier on the weekdays! Argonaut is now open at 7AM Monday-Friday.
This decision has been a long one coming. Since we opened, Noah and I have debated whether we should be closed one, two or no days. Up until now, we've opted for at least one day to ourselves. And although we totally believe in self-care, making sure to take time for yourself, it seems like the right time to make the switch. We must move with the way we feel is right and figure it out as we go!
When Noah and I go rock climbing, a point in our adventure usually occurs when I'm on a route, Noah belaying below, when I say "I don't know what to do, there's no holds, there's no where to go." And Noah responds, "Just reach out, stand up and the hold will be there for you. And, even if it's not, I've got you." We've reached that point at Argonaut and we can't deny it anymore- we have to grab the next hold even if we don't fully understand how it will work yet. We've made this move cautiously with sustainability on our mind, but it is time to stand up and reach out. Noah and I have had the best time settling in to our little spot and we're so excited for this summer. We hope Argonaut will meet some new faces and spread the joy of finely crafted espresso to even more people who live and work in the area.
Argonaut's NEW HOURS:
Saturday + Sunday 8am-4pm
See you soon!
This post is a couple weeks late but I thought I would share some pictures with you...
For my Twenty-Eighth birthday this year, Noah and I took a trip to Seattle to hit some new food-spots. It was a tour d' eats in the city and it was delicious!
The weekend after my birthday I got to go on a Bachelorette weekend while our friend Zach guest Barista'd. The ladies and I enjoyed some pretty amazing views from our rented house atop the hill.
Last weekend, while Zach was still around, we all took a hike to the Eight Mile Lake. It was beautiful, to say the least.
All of these trips and adventures make me feel so blessed to live in this amazing place. We are so close to so much beauty- whether it is a short trip over the pass to the city, a drive down the road to an amazing trail or a jaunt to the next town north for a little get-a-way, Leavenworth is a pretty magical place.
Yesterday morning, at Argonaut, our friends sprawled out on the patio sharing biscuit breakfast sandwiches, americanos, and doughnuts. It was the final "Bon Voyage!" to a couple friends we have become close to here in Leavenworth. We are so happy for them as their journey moves on towards new adventures working on the trains in Alaska this summer but it is coupled with a sadness that we may never live in the same place again. Tears started to well in my eyes as we hugged them goodbye, a "so long" to Leavenworth.
It got me thinking about all of the lives we interact with and how our lives move in and out of those relationships. Some relationships are only meant for a short time, others a lifetime. Some for a moment- just an order of coffee, others a daily brew. But all of them shape us in one way or another.
When we decided to leave Seattle, the hardest part may have been leaving all of our friends. It is difficult to leave. Part of me wanted to stay for them but it was just what we had to do. And after deciding that, staying wouldn’t have been the same either. Change is inevitable. But, I miss those daily conversations, the mundane, that in some ways bring you closer. I miss sharing the little details of friendship.
One of my friends moved to New York almost two years ago. It was a huge choice to pick up and move from a place she loved (and still loves and misses) but she is a writer and had a dream. We've had many conversations about how following your dreams doesn't mean your dreams come true and it doesn't mean it isn't difficult. There are things you just have to do. If we don't do them out of fear of failure or a desire for things to always stay the same, who do we become? Or maybe, a better question is who do we not become?
Sometimes, life begins when we say goodbye.
Man, it has been a little while since a real post here. Sorry for that. Lindsey and I have been occupied with projects at the shop (not to mention playing in the mountains on our days off) that we have neglected telling you all about it!
Most notable is, on Tuesday while Argonaut was closed, we got a brand new La Marzocco espresso machine delivered and installed. This is so exciting for me because it is going to bring our already perfection-obsessed coffee game up to another level. We can now count on an extremely consistent brew temperature and pressure while preparing drinks. This will mean a more consistent taste and better steamed milk quality even when the summer crowds arrive and we are making hundreds of drinks per day.
Now, no one had told us that our coffee could be better and I am still proud of the drinks we made on the more basic refurbished machine we started with. The problem was that I knew it could be better. And, I have a very strong belief that if I am going to do something, then I have to do it the best that I can.
My parents taught me this and sometimes even quoted Ecclesiastes: "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all of your might." Now, I don't go throwing Bible verses around every day but this one has stuck with me in a big way. One of my best friends and former housemate also taught me a similar lesson with how he threw parties. We decided to get way into legit slow 'n low BBQ. That same day, we sent texts to everyone we knew alerting them to the BBQ bash planned for the next day. I think we even made fliers. Then, we got to digging. We built a 5 foot diameter, brick-lined pit smoker, bought 2 briskets and 3 racks of ribs. The next day, we had some of the best BBQ I have ever had. While I tend to test the waters and make a plan, he goes all in and I love it!
Go big and give it your all. Whatever my occupation, it is very important to me to give it my all. Not only is it good for the craft or service I am providing, but it is also beneficial to my self esteem. I can feel good about the thousands of hours spent perfecting my craft, even if it is "just" food or coffee or whatever, because making something beautiful is always worthwhile. Work doesn't feel nearly as much like "work" when you are giving it a serious go.
As business owners, Lindsey and I have the difficult task of being our own critics. We are constantly looking at Argonaut from the outside and asking, "how can this be better?" It is exhausting and stressful but can be incredibly rewarding.
I am going to try very hard not to lose the energy and perspective it takes to make my business better. If I ever sit back and say, "Alright, I know it's not perfect but it's good enough." Then, I am no longer being a responsible business owner and don't really deserve to be one. If that ever happens, I hope my friends will tell me and suggest I shape up or find a new line of work.
When we opened Argonaut we used the tagline:
"Be great at what you do.
We do coffee."
I am so proud that 9 months later we are holding true to that and continuing to get even better.
You may have guessed already, but I love food. I also enjoy a good read. Mondays just so happen to be days I spend doing a lot of research on what I’m going to eat next. Since I was already there myself, I thought I'd share some of my favorite food blogs. AND since I am sharing those, I thought I’d throw in some of my favorite food-related books too!
So, here are my Monday Muses to inspire you today and hopefully many Mondays to come.
Orangette has been one of my favorite blogs for the past few years. Molly Wizenberg also wrote "A Homemade Life," which happens to be one of my favorite food books! The way she blends life and relationships with the simplicity of preparing a meal together is beautiful.
Molly Yeh takes a young, fresh approach to baking that I really enjoy. Her blog “my name is yeh,” is so fun and playful. The recipes are legit. We made the Cheeto-Crusted Jalapeno Poppers for the Super Bowl and they were every bit as amazing as they sound!
Lucky Peach is always a good time. I love following them on Instagram. Okay, now I’m hungry again.
I recently discovered The Vanilla Bean Blog. I really like what she has to say and her photographs are so good.
If you are looking for a good food-book, The Gastronomical Me by M.F.K. Fisher changed my life and so did Fresh off the Boat by Eddie Huang. It is also fun to get lost in Huang’s World.
Here's to making Monday's more a-musing! Cheers!
This week Argonaut has been testing doughnuts. That's right, DOUGHNUTS. Very soon we will be offering cake doughnuts as a special Sunday treat (by very soon, I mean tomorrow!). You will be able to swing by for one or pre-order them by the dozen!
Noah recently reminded me that our second date was spent attempting croissants. A large feat when neither of us had really baked anything before that, that hadn't first come out of a box. Needless to say, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.
There was an afternoon dedicated to the task, which promptly turned into a couple days... I remember a lot of laughter and even more butter. These goodies didn't really look like much but let me tell you, they were delicious. From then on, I was hooked. Hooked on baking and (maybe) a certain someone. Wink, wink.
I love baking, in part because it makes people happy. Even just the thought. I don't (necessarily) need to eat the final product- just looking at that little baked treat brings joy. It's that childish grin inside us all- you can't help but smile and think "yum!"
Let us know if we can provide doughnuts for your Sunday treat or simply stop in and grab one to go.
A week ago, we visited the Blue Star Roastery in Twisp. It was so great to see the place where our beans are handled with such care. Dan, the Roaster, showed us the roasting space and, much to our delight, they happened to be roasting while we were there! He told us about the different beans and how each varietal had to be handled a different way, bringing out the best flavor profile unique to each bean. There is a grace in allowing the bean show its full range of flavor, respecting what it is meant to taste like in the end.
Last night, we had friends from Seattle over for a little BBQ and my friend Erika asked me, “What do you love about having Argonaut in the space that it is in? Compared to if it was in a larger space, like a normal coffee shop.” I think this is a great question!
A few years ago, I spent a month in Rome on a study abroad trip. I did a lot of coffee drinking and even more people watching. In Rome, there are many espresso bars where being a Barista is a profession. Fancy Italian Businessmen walk in, order their espressos, sip them (never sitting down) and go back to their jobs. It is not that they are not enjoying their coffee or the experience but, it is meant to be a speedy transaction. One that the Baristas take very seriously. The thing is, this experience is purely about the coffee and nothing else. It isn’t about the conversation it isn’t about the space, it is about espresso.
I love Argonaut’s intrinsic connection to this history in that the space is small. Just like Dan, we hope to use Argonaut’s space for what it is and bring out the beauty and purpose of its location. We may not have as long a history in the tradition of espresso, compared to the Italians, but I can assure you I am a Barista for life and the most important thing to me is bringing you delicious espresso.
Happy Wednesday, people!
My favorite book from childhood is called “Roxaboxen” by Alice McLerran. Have you heard of it?
It is about a town called Roxaboxen. This imaginary village was made of rocks and sticks and boxes. It was created by all the neighborhood children. Everyone had a job or purpose for being there. They traded pebbles for money, rode around on horses, built their homes and even elected a mayor. When school was in session no one went to Roxaboxen but it was always there. Even when they all grew up, it was there.
Now, I know that this town was imaginary and it is just about some kids playing make-believe. BUT... recently, I have been thinking about the power of being able to imagine your dreams- to have a vision. It is vital to the process of producing something worthwhile. Without a vision, you are void of anything to create. You are staring at a blank canvas with nothing to paint.
In our time together, Noah and I spend much of it talking about business ventures. It is one of our favorite things to discuss. Some days, it seems, all we do is dream up the next one.
At Argonaut, this February, we’ve been diving deep into our brand. When we began this business journey our aesthetic was not as succinct as it is now. This didn’t just happen out of thin air, we didn’t just wake up and know what our brand was. It took time imagining it- seeing it, visualizing who Argonaut is and how to communicate that through an image, through a font, a color, a photograph. And we are not done imagining it. We will continue to develop and grow our brand.
To become good at anything, you must practice. I’m glad I had such a great childhood, one that was (for the most part) burden-less and carefree. One where I was allowed the opportunity and encouraged to imagine. One where I built homes out of sticks, traded rocks for small treasures, and ran around riding invisible horses. One that gave me lots of practice imagining my dreams.
May your imagination take you to wondrous places. Never stop dreaming.
*All illustrations are by Barbara Cooney and from "Roxaboxen."