Brimmer & Heeltap Q&A with AM Sous Chef Angela Ortez-Davis


We started brunch on Mother’s Day weekend two years ago. Since then, we have enjoyed serving hungry diners an evolving menu inspired with full flavors and regional influences. One of the people so instrumental to its success is our AM Sous Chef, Angela Ortez-Davis.

Originally from Los Angeles, Angela moved to Seattle back in 2004 to get her undergraduate degree at Seattle University in Political Science and Latin American Studies. According to her, culinary school was a way to avoid graduate school.

We couldn’t be more delighted to have this intelligent, kind, and resourceful chef as a part of our team!

When asked about her influences, she was quick to acknowledge her roots: “A great deal of my upbringing influences me today. My mom is chef from Mexico who taught me about art and food. My dad is a mechanical engineer from El Salvador who taught me about history and work ethic. Both of them are activists who instilled social justice values in my siblings and me. I’m also influenced by where I grew up. I love Los Angeles! Living in such a diverse and multifaceted place always kept me hungry for more. There’s always something new to try, some new way to live that I hadn’t considered. I feel like that same restlessness keeps me motivated.”

A few of her newest menu additions include:

Housemade Granola, (pro tip: get it to-go) made with steel cut oats, coconut flakes, pepitas, dried cranberries, chia seeds, butter, honey, brown sugar, and nutmeg. She accompanies this with house made yogurt. Morning brain power people!


Greens, Egg & Ham, (Jen’s personal favorite thing on the menu) made with lentil, spinach, sunny-side egg, lardon, bacon fat vinaigrette, citrus-herb crema.


When Angela isn’t working, she’s likely cooking for her husband, playing pinball, or eating out with friends.

We were curious what her favorite menu items are right now and here’s the inside scoop…

“For dinner, I love the beef cheeks with masa gnocchi. That texture reminds me of a beef tamal , but feels fresh and new at the same time! Swoon.

On the brunch side, our Scotch Egg is pretty special. I think it’s a true example of how collaborative our kitchen is. The dish kept evolving and I love where it is right now. Rather than a traditional caraway profile, we have house made green chorizo in our Scotch Egg. It’s served on a thick slice of brioche, toad-in-the-hole style. Then it’s topped with rotating pickled vegetables, pickled mustard seeds and a delicious sorghum demiglace. A lot of love goes into that dish and it’s so much more than the sum of its parts.”

What changes can we expect to see next on the menu? She’s looking forward to the summertime bounty of corn and peppers, not to mention preserving them for our pantry.

I think it’s safe to say a few of us are excited about that too!

Thanks to all of you for making our brunch so worthwhile for us to cook and take care of you on weekend mornings!

Author: Jen Doak

Images: Will Foster

That's a Wrap Baby!

Did you know that the word nostalgia is a compound of two Greek words nóstos & álgos, referring to homecoming and ache?  Now that 2016 is behind us, we’re experiencing a little homesickness and relief for another year gone by.

At B&H we take comfort in the events of our past, the personal ties and threads connecting them at this little corner of Ballard. Smell and touch happen to be key factors of evoking such emotions so it’s no wonder we are warm and fuzzy with a pinch of melancholy just thinking about 2016.  Nostalgia for the last year, or three, helps carbonate my personal and professional life in way that provides texture, connection, and gives me inspiration to keep moving forward.

A New York Times article a few years back states “nostalgia has been shown to counteract loneliness, boredom, and anxiety. It makes people more generous to strangers and more tolerant of outsiders.”

In an industry that breeds newness and change, our memories are among some of the gatekeepers to our development and evolution.

Can our past predict our future? Some dear friends are investors with a team of us that own the real estate the restaurant sits on. One night Ryan and his family came in for dinner and introduced the restaurant to his mom & dad. Within earshot, his mom said “you know your great grandfather owned a grocery store somewhere in Ballard.” Instantly I got chills knowing that somewhere in the history of our building was a grocery store. What were the chances, that unbeknownst to Ryan, he bought into the real estate that once belonged to his family?

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As it turns out, the nostalgia must have been flowing pretty good to have his mom say something and was able to dig up this amazing relic. Ryan’s great grandfather George Leu is the one pictured in front of the very door you walk through on any given day or night and we are reminded of how powerfully connected our past and present can be.

One of the biggest developments for the year was the spring arrival of brunch. Adding mornings to our routine meant seeing the space in a new light, welcoming more families to dine, expanding our amazing crew, and letting Mike’s expression of flavors explore different ingredients. One of my favorite dishes from the year happens to be on the brunch menu and has been receiving praise and adoration ever since our launch.

Hot puffed black rice with fresh mango, and warm sweet coconut milk

Hot puffed black rice with fresh mango, and warm sweet coconut milk

At the height of summer, bartender Nick Baralow and I embarked on the fantasy of aged eggnog. A crazy idea to mix alcohol, sugar, eggs, cream, and spices 5 months before we were to drink it. Would this be genius or devastating? Only time would tell. We didn’t know what to expect as this was our maiden batch. How small? How large? Would anyone like it?

Lessons learned: You loved it. Make more!

As summer turned into fall, Brian Hibbard joined the restaurant as our new bar manager. He was far and away the obvious choice because of his genuine care for fostering relationships and his innate ability to pair cocktails with Chef’s menu of bold flavors.

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One of my personal favorites of his, 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.

Our recognition in the media has been significant this year and I couldn’t be more proud of our team. We were super excited to discover that we made Food & Wine’s “Best Bars in America”!  We also made appearances in Seattle Weekly’s “Favorite Restaurants”, Seattle Met’s “Seattle’s Very Best 100 Restaurants”, Eater Seattle’s Top 38 Restaurants, and multiple mentions in other publications including Seattle Magazine.

Media backing or not, you are the reason we are still here and striving for greatness every day. This coming January 15th we will officially celebrate our third year and you. We will have a special throwback menu with some of our favorite dishes. It’s really insane to think about growing up but I hear that part is optional. The growing older part is mandatory.

Each year we work to support the community through the creation and sale of limited edition commemorative anniversary prints, signed by the artists, to benefit a local charity. We are dedicated to raising awareness about vital work being done on a local level, and raising funds for Seattle-based nonprofits.

This year we teamed up with Patrick Nguyen or artist name Dozfy. One night he was in having dinner with his wife and simultaneously drawing/painting on the menus. The entire team was blown away and soon discovered that his m.o. is going to restaurants and leaving behind this incredibly beautiful souvenir. You can find him on Instagram by his artist name and see for yourself or check out his poster design below.

In his own words, he states that “I make art. I am obsessed with single images. These images are meant for the audience to input their own feelings, own thoughts, or own memories. … My Current Inspiration is food. I love how an abstract form of meat and vegetables is manipulated from its original source. Extending from the visual aspect, the smell and taste takes the audience on another journey derived from the life experiences. This is exactly what I want my art to do hence I dissect the eating experience.”


Net proceeds for this year's poster benefit Arts Corps, a local arts education organization that is dedicated to developing creative habits of mind in young people with hands-on art classes in areas with little or no access, and predominantly children in low income communities of color. In 2012 Arts Corps was awarded the highest national honor by the White House, The National Arts & Humanities Youth Program Award.

As we forecast and navigate the year ahead, I am comforted by the thought of seeing Sylvia, the crossing guard to Market Street on school days. The flock of kids that grow up before our very eyes. The details you share about your lives when you come in for a visit. The dogs that collect each night at our front door for their snack (Thanks Blue Dog Bakery). And the countless hugs we received from you and first time guests. You're a special bunch and I am honored that we have a place people can gather.

In loving gratitude, 


Morning People

Chef Mike Whisenhunt's hot puffed rice served with sweet, warm coconut milk and fresh mango. 

Chef Mike Whisenhunt's hot puffed rice served with sweet, warm coconut milk and fresh mango. 

Mornings just got a lot tastier in Ballard, you guys.

After months of extensive menu testing, crew training, and intense planning, Brimmer & Heeltap has officially launched its brand-spanking-new brunch program. We are so pleased to announce that we are now feeding the hungry masses not one, not two, but THREE mornings every week on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Can I get a hell to the yeah!?

If you’ve ever been to Brimmer & Heeltap in the evening, you know that the space itself possesses a very special, animated quality. From the excited, laborious clangs and clinks coming from the open kitchen, to the lively chatter of friends coming together to nosh on Chef Mike Whisenhunt’s signature menu in the adjacent dining rooms, there is a very present sense of joie de vivre that invigorates each of us that works here. It’s what makes this job such a delight.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when we opened our doors to welcome guests to dine with us for brunch for the first time earlier this month. Would that same sense of playfulness and energy be present during the daytime, I found myself wondering? Neighbors, friends – I am so happy to report that being at Brimmer & Heeltap in the morning is just as wonderful as it is at night. Spring’s early light floods the main dining room in the most incredible way, and spills into the nooks and crannies of the restaurant, reminding me what a truly unique and beautiful space it is. The kitchen crew is hard at work preparing the thoughtful, dynamic, boldly-flavored food that our regular guests have come to know and cherish. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee mingles with the fragrant blooms of the garden, and a wonderfully serene feeling washes over our little corner on NW Market Street.

Not one to ever dabble in the ordinary, Chef Whisenhunt’s brunch menu is a deeply satiating combination of sweet, savory, and umami flavors, unique textures, and complex combinations of ingredients. The Dungeness crab salad with smoked fingerling potatoes and lemongrass green goddess dressing has been met with great praise by guests, as has the giant lemon pancake served with seasonal berry syrup, a menu item that absolutely lives up to its name. His hot puffed black rice, served with fresh mango and warm, delightfully sweet coconut milk, is the grown-up Rice Krispies you never knew how much you needed. The thick-cut bread slathered with house-made jam and peanut butter frosting is ridiculously tasty. The slab of bacon is out-of-this-world good.

Thick cut bread, toasted to order and slathered with housemade jam and peanut butter frosting. 

Thick cut bread, toasted to order and slathered with housemade jam and peanut butter frosting. 

Our fried duck leg and Belgian waffle awaiting a hungry diner. 

Our fried duck leg and Belgian waffle awaiting a hungry diner. 

The "Italian Panache" - a delightful combination of Carpano dry vermouth, lime, grenadine, and egg whites. 

The "Italian Panache" - a delightful combination of Carpano dry vermouth, lime, grenadine, and egg whites. 

If you love brunch as much as we do, you know that a good cocktail can be the best way to kick off your weekend, or quell your hangover. Our list of brunch libations showcases an array of vermouths and is a thoughtful, fresh complement to the bold flavors you’ll find coming from the kitchen. During our opening weekend we delighted in seeing so many friends and regular diners sitting at the bar sipping sweet coconut milk and tasting our refreshing, unique brunch cocktails for the first time.

Now that our brunch kickoff weekend has come and gone, we are more excited than ever to share mornings with you. We are looking so forward to seeing friends come and spend their mornings drinking and dining on our garden patio together. We can’t wait to see moms, dads, and their little ones trying new foods and flavors together for the first time. We’re so stoked to serve our fellow cooks, servers, and bartenders on Friday mornings before they start their long work weekends. Perhaps more than anything else, we are so excited to share this new, delicious side of Brimmer & Heeltap with you. So come in soon, and come hungry.

Brimmer & Heeltap now serves brunch weekly on Friday, Saturday, and Sundays from 9am-2pm. You can reserve your spot for this weekend here.

Author: Caitlyn Edson

Images: Will Foster Photography