Restaurant News & Reviews

Cocktail party at Whatcom Museum, fine dining in Deming

Whatcom Museum's month-long Deck the Old City Hall celebration opens with a cocktail party on Dec. 2.
Whatcom Museum's month-long Deck the Old City Hall celebration opens with a cocktail party on Dec. 2. THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

Holiday gala events are always a good excuse to dress up. A signature cocktail party opens the fourth year of Whatcom Museum’s “Deck the Old City Hall” festivities from 5:30-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, at Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St.

Guests will enjoy appetizers and drinks, music, dancing and view decorated trees. Tickets are $50 for museum members and non-members, and are available on Brown Paper Tickets.

Guests can also enter to win raffle prizes, including a decorated tree.

The monthly Downtown Art Walk is concurrent with the party, and the Lightcatcher, 250 Flora St., is open 6-10 p.m. Through December, the building will be decorated in garlands, wreaths and sparkling lights and will feature more than 20 themed, decorated trees, plus visits with Santa (12:30-2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, only) and a pop-up shop at the museum store at the Lightcatcher that features seasonal and handmade gift items and decor.

Admission to the monthlong Old City Hall festivities is by donation. Proceeds help make museum programs and exhibitions affordable. Details: 360-778-8930,

Sicily comes to Deming

Richard Balogh, who’s owned Deming’s Il Caffee Rifugio since 2008, has changed the name of the restaurant to Rifugio’s Country Italian Cuisine.

He says the new name reflects the new menu, inspired by traditional Sicilian foods: balsamic-glazed mushrooms; Italian-style fries with Parmesan cheese, fresh herbs and marinara sauce; polenta steak; chicken pesto; pierogi with an Italian twist; grilled cheese sandwiches with provolone, cheddar and aoli; and a mac-and-cheese with the option of adding seasonal vegetables, shrimp, chicken or Italian sausage.

“Our intention is to adapt our menu to the local products of our closest farms, such as Cloud Mountain Farm Center, Misty Mountain Farms, Osprey Farms and Chubby Bunny Farms,” among others, he said.

The restaurant is at 5415 Mount Baker Highway.

Balogh also updated the wine menu, keeping it precise and simple. Nobel Wines and Mount Baker Wines are the restaurant’s two vendors, supplying everything from Chianti to moscato.

The wines do change with availability and menu requirements.

Next up: coffee, holiday drinks and desserts, which include homemade pies, cheese cake and tiramisu.

Balogh hopes to offer live music on Saturday and Sunday evenings, and he welcomes special events and parties.

Details: 360-592-2888, and on Facebook.

Anniversary party at Structures

James Alexander, brewer and owner of Structures Brewing, 1420 N. State St., hosts a one-year anniversary party from 3 to 11 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, and from noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. He plans to release two new packaged beers; a conditioned, barrel-aged blend atop heaps of fresh mangoes; and a canned IPA brewed with oats and hopped with Citra, Chinook, Columbus and Mosaic. The brewery also will be tapping kegs of most of their saisons.

“We are trying our hardest to articulate to our clientele how important it is to consume hop forward beers when they are fresh and how important it is to buy from the source,” Alexander says.

“Buying these packaged products from the source means the product has been stored properly. It also means that our business gets to see a better margins, allowing us to continue to seek out the highest quality ingredients and to continue to pay our employees livable wages.”

Hoppy beer, he says, “is like a rad loaf of sourdough bread. Consume it shortly after you get it and share it with your friends over food or conversation.”


Chuckanut Brewery taps holiday beers

Chuckanut Brewery and Kitchen, 601 W. Holly St., will offer Marzen Lager and Baltic Porter for the holidays, says co-owner Mari Kemper. Both beers are malty, drinkable beers brewed from specialty malts and European hops.

Kemper says the cooper-colored Marzen, with an almost spicy flavor, goes great with roast turkey, char-broiled steaks, pizzas and burgers; and the Baltic Porter, a full-bodied, aged lager that’s fashioned after the British porters and Russian stouts, complements winter squashes.

Details: 360-752-3377,

Holiday shopping at K2

Kulshan Brewing Co.’s K2, 1538 Kentucky St. will host a pop-up shop and brewers’ boutique from 4 to 9 p.m. Dec. 8, when guests can shop among the tanks while drinking yummy beer.

Among the local artisans and business owners participating: Megan Lee Designs, Jaxstone Jewelry, Cloudy Mountain Pottery, Oak Ash Leather, Lariat Creative-Bellingham Flag, Avalon Records, Fit Body Wellness, Tricky Timbers, Bellingham Pet Supply and Leif Whittaker, author of “My Old Man and the Mountain,” with tunes by PhDJ around 7 p.m.

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