Firebird Chocolate Giveaway

Today my little blog turns one. And what better way to celebrate than with chocolate?

Firebird Chocolate is the brainchild of Foodbeat Northwest’s founder, Michael Smith. Firebird Chocolate:

sources some of the world’s finest handmade, organic, better-than-Fair Trade chocolate. Our unique funding model puts more money into the hands that need it most, the farmers who provide the cocoa beans and other ingredients. Over half of the money earned in our sales go back to the farmers either directly (through acquisition of raw ingredients and profit-sharing) or indirectly (through the strategic partnerships we have set up with our vendors).

-Firebird’s Mission & Vision

I’m one of the only girls I know who isn’t a grab-it-by-the-handful-and-shovel-it-in chocolate lover. I only like good quality chocolate. Just like I only drink good quality wine. Subpar representations of what these two proofs that God loves me just aren’t worthy of my palate.

And, just like I only like good chocolate, I’m a sucker for good branding. Must be the former marketing professional in me. Similarly, I choose books by their cover.*  Firebird Chocolate definitely has cute labeling, which drew me in. And the bars fit in the palm of my hand, which provides perfect portion control. Although this chocolate is so creamy and rich, it is unnecessary to have more than one square at a time.

*Shh, I used to be a librarian, I didn’t say that.

The milk chocolate (41% cocoa) doesn’t have the chalky aftertaste I’ve come to know from mass-produced milk chocolate. Instead the flavor lingers in your mouth, long after the square has been consumed. But the star of the show is the dark chocolate espresso (70% cocoa). One bite sent me back to my days as a barista, filled with the glorious smell of espresso as shots were pulled for the waking. The chocolate isn’t just espresso flavored, but it has actual espresso beans chopped up and mixed inside. While, again, one bite is a sufficient after dinner treat, the flavor and calorie content make eating the entire bar in one sitting entirely appropriate. In fact, it might be a requirement.

That’s an ingredient list I can get behind. 

Firebird Chocolate is based out of Seattle and is available for purchase at small independent retailers and online. In Spokane you can find their chocolate at Atticus Coffee or Chocolate Apothecary.

When Michael realized my blog was about to turn one he was thrilled to celebrate with me, and is offering one lucky reader the chance to try three bars of their chocolate (Dark Chocolate Espresso, Milk Chocolate and Huckleberry Dark Chocolate).

To enter, simply visit Firebird Chocolate and tell me, by leaving a comment on this post, which chocolate from their currently available and/or future available chocolate you’re most interested in. They also take suggestions on flavors you’d like to see. I think a dark chocolate with sea salt would be divine.

You’ll receive an extra entry for tweeting about this giveaway (and leaving a separate comment). Stuck on what to say? Perhaps you could write:

@spinachandskittles is giving away Firebird Chocolate, which sources some of the world’s finest handmade, organic, better-than-Fair Trade chocolate

This giveaway closes at 11:59 p.m. Monday, December 26th.

*Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review, all thoughts and comments are entirely my own. Michael sent me a few chocolate bars along with a Christmas card because he is nice like that. I asked him if he would be interested in donating the bars for this giveaway. He happily agreed.

Downtown Spokane Eats: Mizuna

Hey, hey, hey, it’s that time again. Restaurant review, Foodbeat NW style. You may remember the review on The Flying Goat I did a few months back.  This review, again, is written by me and brought to you in conjunction with Foodbeat NW.

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Foodbeat NW‘s mission is:

SUPPORT LOCAL FOOD. Committed to showcasing independent restaurants and food artisans around the Pacific NW. Keep coming back for fresh, releveant info about local dining in & dining out experiences.

Check out their facebook page to find foodie news from all over the Pacific Northwest. But until then, find out my thoughts on Mizuna below.

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Spokane is often scoffed at, considered the neglected redheaded, freckled, stepchild of Seattle. While chain restaurants still cloud the northern, southern and eastern corners of our city, the downtown scene has picked itself up, cleaned itself off, and is here to offer residents and travelers quite a few dining options.

 

One restaurant that has called downtown Spokane home for many years is Mizuna. Mizuna touts itself as Spokane’s leading vegetarian restaurant, and for good reason. While many restaurants offer one or two vegetarian options, Mizuna has an entire menu dedicated to the herbivore crowd. Carnivores have no fear; many local meat options are available as well.

All entrée options sound interesting at first glance, and I am pleased to report that the menu rotates seasonally and features local northwest organic ingredients, earning it a Foodbeat Northwest stamp of approval. Also full of local favorites is the rather extensive Northwest wine list, featuring many of my favorite Washington wineries.

While considering the menu options, including the Pan Seared Halibut, Sweet Chili Marinated Tempe and House-Made Seitan, we nibbled on bread dipped in house-infused garlic rosemary olive oil. They chose the Pappardelle Pasta with Eggplant Meatballs and Vegetarian Carbonara with Vegan Bacon, peas, shallots, herbs, cherry tomatoes and shaved parmesan, (options I was salivating over). I selected the meat special of the evening: Lamb Shank Osso Buco with goat cheese polenta and gremolata braised carrots.

 

As a woman married to a bacon aficionado, (aren’t all men?), I enjoy a crispy slice every so often. I did not have high hopes for the vegan bacon in the Vegetarian Carbonara dish, but I was blown away! I couldn’t believe I was eating a vegan version of my beloved breakfast protein source. Equally enjoyable were the eggplant meatballs. These orbs were perfectly seasoned, smooth and moist in the center and crisp on the outside. I opted against stealing the entire plate and focused instead on my mouth watering, fall off the bone lamb osso buco. Although we were all rather full, we decided to split the famous vegan carrot cake. This vegan delight is hearty and chunky, and easily beats out any carrot cake I’ve ever eaten. I’m still slightly sad I did not order a second piece to take home.

 

All in all I was, and always am, very pleased with my Mizuna dining experience. The staff is knowledgeable, friendly and accommodating and you will be welcomed as though you were an old friend.