Brimmer & Heeltap team

Brimmer & Heeltap Team Member Q&A with Bartender Kate Mcmahon

Kate Mcmahon has been on the Brimmer & Heeltap team as a bartender and server since last spring. Originally from New England, Kate loves the beautiful Pacific Northwest and stays active outdoors with friends and her pup Maggie. She’s also very fond of drinking beers at local breweries and honing her tiki drink-making skills behind the bar. She’s got a knack for soccer, knowing where to find all of the best dive bars, and making genuine connections with her guests. Always laughing and up for an adventure, Kate is a wonderfully kind, big-hearted, and talented member of the Brimmer & Heeltap team. You can learn a little bit more about her in this Q&A.

What is your go-to cocktail to make when you’re trying to impress someone?

KM: Hmm…When I want to impress a bar patron, I usually just pour a good whiskey…but with LOTS of flair.

What spirits and ingredients have you been most drawn to when crafting special cocktails lately?

KM: We've been into making our own ingredients for the bar from shrubbery to Worcestershire sauce for bloodies to Cynar falernum. Hopefully guests appreciate all of the thought and effort that goes into that. If that doesn't do it, I resort to lighting things on fire. 

What is your favorite part about making tiki drinks? How did you first get into/inspired by tiki-style drinks?

KM: Tiki drinks?! I don't like tiki drinks, who told you that?! I think it was me trying to escape winter somehow and imagining myself on a tropical beach somewhere, anywhere, sipping island booze and feeling so relaxed - and wanting others to feel that way when they drink tiki vibes. That's why tiki bars were first invented, to transcend. It's better than nothing, right?

Where are some of your favorite watering holes around Seattle?

KM: Grizzled Wizard in Wallingford, Pacific Inn in Fremont, Duck Island Ale House in Green Lake, Essex (is that still Ballard?) and the Independent Beer Bar in....Everett. 

What differences have you noticed about Seattle vs. Boston bar culture?

KM: Boston drinks more! I don't think Boston is really into Duck Farts (I think they originated in Alaska and didn't catch on out there) or Touchdowns - cocktails that is. Millennials really seem to like Touchdowns, and Trash Cans. Kill me. 

Kate also says that “It's inspiring how many breweries and distilleries exist these days...obviously if they're putting out good product, the more local the better…get it while you can before Trump reinstates prohibition.”

Be sure to say hi to Kate on your next visit to the restaurant. Better yet, ask her to make you a tiki drink!

Embracing the Seasonal Shift: Fall Cocktail Edition

Brimmer & Heeltap Bar Manager Brian Hibbard muses on Autumn, nostalgia, and his brand new cocktail list. 

Brimmer & Heeltap Bar Manager Brian Hibbard muses on Autumn, nostalgia, and his brand new cocktail list. 

You know those times you feel memories being formed in an exact moment? Driving down the coast with your windows down, salty air blowing your hair around while you listen to dream-pop music (okay maybe that’s just one of my recurring fondest) becomes an imprint in your mind, and you feel it. Or the time you experience a newness in life: maybe a newborn, a new job, a new love, or a move that allows new breath and feelings you haven’t felt in the longest time prevail throughout your body. Or maybe it’s smaller: an inspiring conversation, a plate of food that you can’t stop thinking about, a reunion where your nearest and dearest are all in the same room with you.

Seasonal change offers these natural twists and turns; we can feel the vibrational shift and choose to embrace it. Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it’s magic, sometimes it's energy that allows for us to create new ritual and new experiences. Fall is an important time for me. I was born and raised here in the Pacific Northwest, and Fall meant rain finally, post-season baseball, wearing layers, last minute camping trips, and foolish road trips to god knows where because hell we’re young and why not?

I recently put out a new cocktail menu to represent and embrace this seasonal shift. Part of the beauty is the we-ness of it all. We all have different tastes, interests, triggers of happiness, and the question remains: how can we create this tangibly in our food and drinks? A few weeks ago we sat around the bar and tasted through these new cocktails. Listening and observing my lovely crew’s reactions and feedback to these drinks is one of the many reasons why Brimmer & Heeltap is a special place. We all have a certain piece, an insight, a suggestion, a thought that makes up these recipes.

Cardamom, rosemary, lavender, sage, allspice, nutmeg, apple…these are all elements of the new menu. While not all of these are specifically Fall flavors and aromatics, for myself and the B&H team, these represent something that we love about the fall and carry a sort of nostalgia. It represents staying cozy, drinking boozy cider with friends, leaves changing color and falling, seasonal beer and planning Halloween costumes. Incorporating these flavors and smells, for example, means more to us than presenting something that is simply delicious. It’s presenting the opportunity for reflecting on good memories and creating new ones.

My mom has a quince tree in her yard, so I’ve been experiencing the delicious, unique flavor and recipes of quince for quite some time. Lucky me, Brimmer & Heeltap has two quince trees right out front that were full of this thick and intense fruit. You’ll find the Lucky Quince-idence on the menu featuring a homemade quince shrub from those trees along with some rye whiskey, white rum, elderflower, and bitters. Another one of my personal favorites is the Market Drop Kick. Combining Brandy, Ramazzotti, Campari and Curacao, this is a big drink - hence Drop Kick - that lingers in a way that will bring up several different flavors while you enjoy it. Allspice hits your nose right from the get go, and serving the cocktail over a large ice cube allows the flavors to meld and come through more and more as the ice slowly melts.

There are many more fantastic new cocktails to try, so come hangout! Ask your kind and knowledgeable server or bartender to share their excitement about the menu with you and let’s choose to drink well and be cozy together. 

Blog Author: Brian Hibbard 

Crew Spotlight: A Dynamic Duo

Phenomenally talented husband-wife duo Heather Padella Dziedzic and Dallas Dziedzic.

Phenomenally talented husband-wife duo Heather Padella Dziedzic and Dallas Dziedzic.

The hospitality industry attracts all kinds of intelligent, passionate, eccentric people. We’re artists, musicians, yoga instructors, parents, students and stylists that also happen to work in restaurants. At Brimmer & Heeltap, we’re proud to be a team comprised of professional and deeply multifaceted individuals, including Dallas Dziedzic and Heather Padella Dziedzic, a husband-wife duo that uses their incredible skillsets to elevate service in our kitchen and front of house, respectively.

Heather and Dallas, Midwest transplants that have lived in Seattle on and off since 2008, have both worked in the hospitality industry since they were kids in their hometown, a bustling summertime tourist destination on the coast of Lake Michigan. Dallas got his start in kitchens working as a dishwasher at a local bar, and Heather’s first industry gig was scooping ice cream at a candy store. Their first entries into the restaurant industry are a far cry from what these two do today; Dallas leads the kitchen as Brimmer & Heeltap’s Chef de Cuisine, and Heather provides excellent hospitality in the dining room as the restaurant’s Lead Server.

“One of my favorite parts of the industry is helping people discover something they didn’t know about,” says Heather, “also the team who you get to work with - it always brings people from all walks of life at all stages.” With extensive wine knowledge and time spent working at the celebrated Purple Café and Wine Bar here in Seattle and Gemini Bistro in Chicago, Heather’s attention to detail, powerful leadership, and gracefulness during service is a nod to her years of experience in acclaimed restaurants.

With years of experience cooking in professional kitchens at Chicago's The Pump Room and the W Hotel's now-closed Earth and Ocean, Dallas moves at a rapid pace during service, plating each dish with expert precision and care. His high energy level, passion for food, and creative approach to ingredients local to the Northwest make him a vital part of our team at the restaurant. Since he came on board in May, 2015, the kitchen has invigorated its approach to harnessing umami flavors, elevated its dessert offerings, and even launched a brand new brunch program. The techniques he uses coupled with his innovative approach to cuisine make him an invaluable member of the culinary team.

Outside of work, you’ll find Heather and Dallas spending time with family, getting inspired by local fare at Seattle’s many fantastic eateries, and sipping on white wine, cheap beer, and whiskey. These two also have plans to open their own restaurant one day, using their remarkable talents to create a place that offers truly delicious food and drinks in a relaxed environment. “I think our ultimate goal is to own a restaurant where we can work and raise a family and become part of a community,” says Heather.

We’re so glad to have Heather and Dallas as part of our community at Brimmer & Heeltap. Their enthusiasm for food and hospitality and wonderful personalities make them both fun and inspiring to work alongside every day.  

Be sure to say hello to these two on your next visit!

Author: Caitlyn Edson

Images: Will Foster Photography

Breaking the Ice

New techniques, flavors, and ingredients are being used at Brimmer & Heeltap this summer, and not just in the kitchen. Getting our guests excited about trying something unexpected is one of our very favorite things, and, lucky for us, there are many things to get excited about these days thanks to our fantastic bartenders.

Ever curious and passionate about libations, B&H bartender Nick Barkalow has extensively researched and tested new techniques as a way to continue elevating the bar program at the restaurant. Such care and time spent innovating our offerings has resulted in a list of phenomenal new cocktails, including one standout dubbed the “Clear Cut.” Inspired by Dave Arnold’s James Beard Award-winning book Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail, Nick set out to create crystal-clear ice cubes, a task that is surprisingly complicated. Suddenly, a drink that would normally take 2 minutes to make takes over 48 hours; elevating a process as simple as freezing water in order to enhance the entire cocktail experience is one of the things that makes Nick such a fantastic bartender.

Nick's "Clear Cut" cocktail.

Nick's "Clear Cut" cocktail.

Have you tried Nick’s “Clear Cut” cocktail yet? A beautiful thing to behold, at first glance it looks like nothing more than a clear spirit filling your glass. After a moment though, you’ll notice the sharp edges of a large square ice cube – hand carved and clear as crystal – floating among a balanced combination of gin, Salers, Pisco, Lillet Blanc, and bitters. It is the perfect cocktail to sip on as you begin your meal, and can also stand alone if you fancy a cocktail experience sans food.

Of course, this is just one of a handful of new drinks Nick has created just in time for summer. “My summer menu reflects what I would want to drink if I was sitting on the patio enjoying our famous steak tartare or our incredible duck fried rice,” Nick recently told Seattle Magazine of his food-friendly, imaginative cocktails. The “Porch Reviver” is another standout. A play on the classic “Corpse Reviver” that utilizes mezcal, Cocchi Americano, Ancho Reyes, and lime, this cocktail embodies Nick’s idea of a great summertime drink in all of its smoky, citrusy glory. 

Ryyan hard at work stirring something delicious. 

Ryyan hard at work stirring something delicious. 

These cocktails are fantastic to sip on before and during a meal at Brimmer & Heeltap, but we suggest trying Nick’s take on espresso to really end your night on a high note. Inspired by the idea of an after-dinner espresso, our bartenders have been infusing scotch with a rotating selection of fantastic coffee beans from Seattle-based Slate Coffee. The 24-hour infusion creates a delicate flavor profile that evokes espresso in a completely inventive way. Served with a side of soda water to cleanse the palate, this after-dinner drink option is truly not to be missed.

Summer isn’t the only time you’ll find thoughtful, creative techniques elevating beverages behind the bar; ongoing projects spearheaded by our bartenders are giving us lots to look forward to year-round. A house-made eggnog recipe that utilizes tequila, scotch, and dry sherry was recently perfected, batched, sealed, and is now being aged for 5 months. We can’t wait to taste the finished product this coming holiday season when it will be ready! Our Bloody Mary, tested and tweaked with great care by our brunch bartender Floyd Bender, is another cocktail that takes hours and hours each week to prepare. The homemade Worcestershire sauce alone takes 5-7 days to develop its funky flavor, Floyd says, not to mention the homemade pickles, freshly made tomato-based mix, and the careful execution of the cocktail itself each weekend during brunch.

Floyd spends hours each week perfecting our Bloody Mary recipe for brunch. 

Floyd spends hours each week perfecting our Bloody Mary recipe for brunch. 

Do carefully prepared ice cubes make cocktails taste better? How could we make awesome Worcestershire sauce in-house? What if we infused scotch with some of the best coffee beans in the city? How can we inspire our guests to get as stoked about mezcal as we are? It’s the questions that our bartenders continue to ask – and the creative, playful answers they come up with – that make sitting at the bar such a treat. Come in soon for beautifully executed cocktails and the chance to geek out on libations with some seriously talented bartenders.


Blog Author: Caitlyn Edson

Images: Will Foster Photography

Saving the Best for Last

“Dessert is probably the most important stage of the meal, since it will be the last thing your guests remember before they pass out all over the table.” – William Powell

Summer is a magical time to work in a restaurant. The kitchen is hotter than ever, and the dining room is brighter. Our guests visit us more regularly and tend to stay later, their conversations around the fire pit dissolving into the warm night air as their glasses hold the final sips of wine. It’s a time when Seattle’s weather is volatile, and our seasonally-inspired menu changes constantly based on what ingredients we can get fresh. Unpredictable and ever-busy, Brimmer & Heeltap’s crew adapts to this lively season with great care.

With so many random seasonal elements creating a deeply energetic atmosphere each night, there is one consistent thing we can all take comfort in: dessert. I love peering out into the dining room to see guests delight in the final sweet bites of their meal, eyes closed as they slowly savor each bite. If you haven’t ended your meal with us on a sweet note lately, you’ve got to come in and try the bold, inspired desserts we’re serving this summer. Here’s a taste of what you can look forward to on your next visit:

Nick’s Slate Coffee-infused scotch

If you prefer to drink your dessert, you are in for a wonderful treat from behind the bar. Inspired by the idea of an after dinner espresso, Brimmer & Heeltap bartender Nick Barkalow has been infusing scotch with the high-quality coffee beans we’ve come to love from our neighbors over at Slate Coffee. The 24-hour infusion results in a soft, subtly smoky and flavorful finish to one’s meal. Served with a side of soda water, this after-dinner drink option is one that is not to be missed.

Koji Rice Sorbet

Chef Mike Whisenhunt’s koji rice sorbet served with toasted rice powder is a light, refreshing way to end any meal, or to enjoy as a wonderful intermezzo. Koji is a cooked rice that has been infused with a naturally occurring fermentation culture, and can be found in many ingredients and even beverages including sake, miso, and rice vinegar. This sorbet is a perfect example of Chef’s love of playful flavors and unexpected twists on more traditional recipes.

Spiced Chocolate Cake

Served with a luscious chocolate buttercream frosting and spiced cocoa crumble, this chocolate cake is the stuff that chocolate-lovers’ dreams are made of. Rich and comforting with a surprising, subtle use of savory spices, this cake is a fantastic way to end a meal. Enjoy it with a glass of the Cocchi Barolo Chinato for a truly balanced, phenomenal dessert experience.

Almond Panna Cotta

Sous Chef Dallas Dziedzic’s almond panna cotta is the pièce de résistance of our summer dessert menu. With elements that alone are crunchy, creamy, tart, and sweet, the sum of its parts is a whimsical, dynamic dish that is as beautiful to look at as it is to eat. A perfectly executed almond panna cotta sits beneath layers of blueberry caramel sauce and rice crisps rendered purple from beet powder. A candied egg yolk sits atop these violet layers and is meant to be broken over the other components as a way to marry the unique, powerful ingredients. Creating something classic like panna cotta and innovating it by adding unexpected, fantastic elements is one of the things we love to do most.

We can’t wait for you to indulge in our playful, delicious desserts on your next visit. Even if you’ve already had a cookout at home, there’s no better way to end a summer evening than with something sweet paired with a cocktail or glass of wine at the bar. It’s okay to save the best for last, after all.

Blog Author: Caitlyn Edson

Images: Will Foster Photography

Crew Spotlight: Dawn Shelley

Dawn has been an important member of the Brimmer & Heeltap team for nearly two years.

Dawn has been an important member of the Brimmer & Heeltap team for nearly two years.

Dawn Shelley has been part of the Brimmer & Heeltap team for almost two years! Our regular guests would agree that her smiling face and positive attitude are absolutely infectious, and all of us can appreciate the level of energy and humor she brings to work with her each day.

A Seattle native, Dawn has been working in the hospitality industry locally for years; Liberty Bar, Lottie’s Lounge, and Caravan Crepes are just a handful of the various bars and eateries she’s gained invaluable experience at. “I love the opportunity I have to impact or shape someone’s day,” she says, about her favorite part of working in restaurants and bars. 

Outside of work, Dawn keeps busy as a student at Green River College, where she is working hard to earn her certification as an occupational therapy assistant (OTA). After speaking to other occupational therapists prior to enrolling in the program, she became immediately inspired by how holistic and client-centered the healthcare practice is. Dawn enjoys being social and working with people in a personalized and connected way, qualities that make this career path a perfect one for her. Just like her ability to shape someone’s experience as a server at B&H, Dawn was drawn to occupational therapy because of how it will allow her to empower patients on social and emotional levels, as well as improve their overall wellbeing.

For fun, Dawn says that she likes to do “typical Seattle things” like going on hikes and to concerts. She’s also a self-described “cupcake nerd” who makes elaborate, meticulously decorated cupcakes just for fun in her rare free time. She says she’s the first person her friends call when they’re hosting a party and need something special and sweet.

Make sure to say hello to Dawn on your next visit to B&H!


Author: Caitlyn Edson

Images: Will Foster Photography