Food & Drink

A Delicious Start to Women Making History Month 

Start by supporting these women-owned restaurants, wineries, and breweries

By Alicia Erickson March 5, 2024

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This article originally appeared in the July/August 2024 issue of Seattle magazine.

March has long been observed as Women’s History Month, with International Women’s Day being celebrated on March 8. Here in Washington state, March is now Women Making History Month” for the first time.

National Women’s Day was first observed in the United States on Feb. 28, 1908, to honor the garment worker’s 1908 strike in New York, who were protesting against working conditions. Over the next several years, other countries followed suit. In 1910, the Socialist International established Women’s Day in Copenhagen. A few years on, in early March, women began holding rallies to protest World War I and show their solidarity with other activists. 

More than a century later, March is still lauded as a time to commemorate women. From marches to themed brunches, concerts to panels, women’s day celebrations take on various shapes and colors around the world. It’s a time to uplift female entrepreneurs, creatives, businesses, and initiatives around the world. 

One of my favorite ways to do this is by supporting women-run cafes, restaurants, wineries, and breweries. Join me in raising a glass to some of the women chefs, winemakers, brewers, and business owners who make Seattle and Washington’s culinary and imbibe scene so dynamic.   

 

Taste your way through Seattle’s female-owned restaurants: Many of Seattle’s landmark food spots are female-owned. Molly Moon Neitzel heads up Seattle’s coveted local ice cream shop, Molly Moon, and Renee Erickson — award-winning chef and cookbook author —  is co-owner of several of Seattle’s favorite restaurants, including The Walrus and the Carpenter and The Whale Wins. For some mouthwatering inspiration, here are a few other fabulous female-run eateries in Seattle. 

Taste your way through Delhi’s favorite street foods at Spice Waala in Capitol Hill, Ballard, and soon-to-be Columbia City. Delhi-native Dr. Aakanksha Sinha runs Spice Waala with her husband, and the concept is as much of a reflection of Sinha’s pride for her city’s food as it is her dedication to food justice and social change. Each week, Spice Waala provides 200 meals to those in need through its Bhojan Program.

Dr. Aakanksha Sinha in action at Spice Waala in Capital Hill.

Share a meal at Communion, Chef Kristi Brown’s Central District spot, where the food is an inviting as the ambiance. Communion serves up “Seattle Soul,” which reflects Brown’s heart, soul, and culinary journey. The space invites people home to gather, connect, relax, and recharge over really, really good food. 

Chef Kristi Brown, a 2024 James Beard Award semifinalist, is the owner of Communion Restaurant & Bar.

Photo courtesy of Communion

Marissa Miranda’s Beacon Hill eatery, Musang, features food inspired by her Filipina American upbringing. The community-driven space changes the trajectory of the typical restaurant experience and is indicative of the power that women can breathe into the food industry. Although Musang is currently closed for repairs, you can still fill up on pancit and bulalo while supporting Musang at sister restaurant Kilig, co-owned by Miranda and Amelia Frenada.  

Melissa Miranda and Amelia Franada, founders of Kilig, offering Filipino-inspired dishes made with local Pacific Northwest ingredients.

Photos courtesy of Kilig Seattle

Get your tea fix: Seattle may be deeply tied to its coffee fanaticism, but the Emerald City and its surroundings are also home to some noteworthy tea-dedicated spaces, and women-owned ones at that. Matcha lovers will be in green tea heaven at Bellevue’s Matcha Magic. Inspired by her Japanese, Filipino, Black, and Hispanic heritage, Rachel Barnecut launched a plant-forward space dedicated to the art of whipping up creative drinks with matcha as the focus. Your green tea obsession also has a selfless benefit, as 5% of Matcha Magic’s profits supports Ladies who Launch, a nonprofit supporting female and non-binary entrepreneurs. Tea enthusiasts can also head to the cozy Foggy Tea Shop in Pioneer Square. Michelle Ishimitsu opened its doors in 2023 to share her love of tea with the public. From Matcha, Assam black tea, rooibos, and chamomile, Foggy Tea Shop has something for all tea palates. 

Expand your cultural knowledge with a cooking class: Professional chef Christian Arokiyasamy, born and raised in Malaysia, is passionate about telling the story of Kent’s strong immigrant influences. Through cooking classes and market tours with Cultural Kitchen, Arokiyasamy invites guests to connect to Kent’s minority community. She runs regular tours and classes that open up the vibrant culinary worlds of Thailand, India, Afghanistan, Iran, and Malaysia, to name a few. 

Christian Arokiyasamy hosting the program ‘The Malaysian Kitchen’ at The Cultural Kitchen in Kent.

Photo courtesy of Culture Generation

Explore the farms and tables of the San Juan Islands: The San Juan archipelago’s colorful food scene reflects the bounties of the islands’ farmland and the Salish Sea. Girl Meets Dirt, Audra Lawlor’s island orchard and farm shop, is inspired by the orchard traditions of Orcas Island. Sample her tasty preserves crafted from homegrown fruits, as well as her shrubs and bitters brewed from leftover ingredients. For a more elaborate experience of the flavors of San Juan, book a table at Coho Restaurant in Friday Harbor, owned by Anna Maria de Freitas and David Pass. Coho works with local farms and suppliers to gather seasonal, local, and fresh ingredients artfully executed dishes featuring ingredients like Steelhead Trout and Washington clams. 

 

Audra Lawlor offers a selection of  preserves from homegrown fruit at Girl Meets Dirt.

Photo by Todd Montgomery

Pink scallops at Coho Restaurant in Friday Harbor.

Photo by Lindsey Smith

Sip your way through Washington’s women-owned wineries: Women may run just 8% of wineries in Washington state, but they are a force to be reckoned with. Princess and Bear, inspired by the vintages of Languedoc-Roussillon region of Southern France, is featuring “Women in Wine” as part of its Root-to-Sip series. Head to the South Park wine bar on March 23 to learn about and sip wines produced by women winemakers and growers. And for any other time, taste your way through Washington’s women-owned wineries. A few of my favorites are below. 

An opera singer in another life, Mary Derby and her husband moved into the wine business in 2000. Following his sudden death in 2004, winemakers came together and crafted and sold a blend named after Mary’s late husband to help Mary and her early-stage wine business stay afloat. Mary officially launched DAMA Wines in 2007 and became one of Walla Walla’s first female winemakers. Almost two decades later, DAMA’s all-women team crafts phenomenal Bordeaux and Rhone-style wines and supports women wherever they can, including featuring the artwork of female artists on the labels. 

Calling all rosé lovers. Fiona Mak’s SMAK Winery also happens to be the first Asian-owned winery in Washington. Upon falling in love with the sunny days fueled by rosé on the French Riviera, Mak transported this mentality back to Walla Walla. SMAK produces four rosés, one for each season, to showcase the adaptability of summer’s favorite wine, regardless of the season. 

Fiona Mak owns SMAK Winery which specializes in making rosè wine.

Washington-grown and Seattle-crafted, SoDo’s Elsom Cellars is headed up by a dynamic female duo. From Grenache to Albarino, owner Jody Elsom and winemaker Rebecca Weber specialize in small-batch, artisanal wines with community at the heart of the Elsom’s ethos. 

Winemaker Rebecca Weber (left) and owner Jody Elsom (right) sample their artisanal wines at Elsom Cellars.

Photo courtesy of Elsom Cellars

Raise a pint to Washington’s female brewers: Thousands of years ago, women were the traditional makers of beer. Somewhere along the way, the beer industry became dominated by men. In Washington and beyond, a growing number of powerhouse female brewers are taking back the reins and leaving their mark with some delicious craft beers. Yakima Valley’s Outskirts Brewing Company has partnered with Pink Boots to support aspiring women brewers. Together, they’ve brewed some tasty ales to be released at Outskirts on March 8 for Women’s Day. And in Seattle, Pike Brewing is launching a limited release “Women in Beer” ale to pay tribute to one of its co-founders, the late Rose Ann Finkel. Stop by Pike throughout March when the brewery will honor impactful women in Washington’s beer scene, culminating in an interactive tasting and fundraising event to support women in brewing on March 21.

Limited release Women in Beer ale from Pike Brewing.

Image courtesy of Pike Brewing

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