This week the siren that is comedy took me to a small town in the North Cascades, Twisp, population 938, where my attempt at dieting


Munchen the Valley Fudge in Twisp

This week the siren that is comedy took me to a small town in the North Cascades, Twisp, population 938, where my attempt at dieting and staying healthy took a backseat. This spunky town has a unique venue that runs parallel to the Twisp River, aptly named the "Twisp River Pub," where the Methow Valley receive the bulk of their entertainment.

This was my second time performing there, and it happens to be my favorite place to perform comedy, as it's always packed with what feels like half of the town. The audience is witty, carefree and eager for a good time, because honestly, it's Twisp, and where else are you going to go?

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Cinnamon Twisps in Twisp the home of the perfect cinnamon treat!

On this particular evening, I opened for Arizona-based comedian, Kenny Smith, who is a favorite guest of the syndicated radio show "Bob & Tom." I asked Smith for some advice prior to the show, as there were some kids in the venue past their bedtime eager to watch the show and I wasn't sure if I should tailor my entire set to three kids scattered around the room. Smith pointed out to me that it wouldn't be fair to the rest of the audience to censor me because of a couple of kids, as the parents know that live comedy at a pub on the weekend is bound to have adult themes. With a combination of Smith's logic and the owner saying "do what you want," I felt fine to give it my all without reservations.

Children and adults were cracking up to each set, eager for more, and a few audience members stole the show with their larger-than-life laughs. In the middle of one of my jokes, a woman let loose a huge rolling laugh followed by a snort and closed with an additional rolling laugh which stopped the show, giving the audience an experience that couldn't have been staged and was unique to them... their very own orgasm laughter.

Saturday morning at the Cinnamon Twisp Bakery.

The last time I spent the night in Twisp, my morning was rudely awakened with a piercing hangover due to the neighboring pub, BJ's Branding Iron Cafe & Saloon, a notable dive bar which is the heartbeat of the Methow Valley, full of a wide variety of characters. Last weekend as I sat in front of the bar, I witnessed three women yelling at one man in a Jerry Springer-like fashion. Finally all of the excitement of being a part of a Springer audience but none of the shame or unemployment benefits!

The morning was gorgeous in the valley. We walked over to the local bakery, Cinnamon Twisp Bakery, which had a unique Columbia City meets the Wild West vibe--if the Wild West went organic, vibe. At 9 a.m. there was a line out the door for their organic scones and spanakopita, which they described as Greek Spinach Pie. There was a charming older woman who sat outside the entrance holding her Pomeranian on her lap and greeted us with a smile, saying it was his normal Saturday morning outing. And why not? When you look up, people are already smacking their lips in anticipation.

I enjoyed a Cinnamon Twisp, which is their version of a cinnamon roll, only the consistency of the entire roll reminded me of my favorite part of a cinnamon roll: the sweet and soft inner core--the part that isn't tainted by the crusty outer layers and is drenched in cinnamon sugar! Twisp perfected what I like to call "one large core roll," sticky and delicious, with small hazelnuts sprinkled on top and warmed upon ordering. This was worth the four-hour drive.

A tropical treat in the Methow Valley, Fresh Fruit Delight

There are so many options at Cinnamon Twisp Bakery that it was hard to choose one breakfast option. I also ordered a Fresh Fruit Delight, which is an organic tart with cream cheese topping covered in fresh fruit and pineapple juice. It's a delightfully tropical and divinely fresh, semi-healthy "cheesecake." The layers of fresh fruit are so enchanting that it makes it hard to know where to plunge your fork, as you don't want to ruin the rainbow of strawberries, grapes and peaches. I found it funny at first that Cinnamon Twisp Bakery didn't have a business card anywhere to bring home, but with a town of less than 1,000, why would you?

Luckily, as we were leaving Twisp, we happened upon their farmers market. I felt like there were more people manning booths than there were walking through. I found a small booth called Harmony Preserves that was serving lavender lemonade. Surprisingly, it was pink lemonade with a hint of lavender. Tart yet sweet, it was a delicious cool-down treat in the soon to be 90-degree weather. The prize of my trip was the purchase of a mason jar filled with fresh honey for $9, a steal considering I'd have paid double at similar markets in Seattle.

The fudge is packed... with flavor at the Flavor Express

We ventured into Leavenworth later in the day searching for German-style cuisine and instead discovered fudge! The Flavor Express is a guilt-free fudge shop which uses half and half instead of butter, oils or margarine. There are only 13 grams of fat per half pound of fudge! They also use a soy substitute for their vegan fudge. My favorite flavor offered was cookies and cream, which had a lighter feeling to it and a much creamier texture. If you're worried about which flavor to chose, don't fret, as the clerk told us you can try anything in the store but him--because that'd be cannibalism.

We ended our trip with a visit to the München Haus for brats and German potato salad. München Haus has an outdoor eating environment with a beer garden and large communal tables. A huge line awaited us, as the smell of brats and sounds of polka music was too hard for many tourists to pass up. I had the Hans' Jalapeno & Cheddar Sausage, a "lean" choice if ever I saw one. The cheddar was mild, not squirting out from all angles like the cheddar dogs we had as kids. The jalapenos were ground in with the meat, creating a pleasant kick that wasn't overpowering but was just enough to be enjoyable rather than painful. München Haus has a variety of mustards and sauces available, including amber ale sauce, German curry and their fresh-simmered apple cider sauerkraut. This makes it possible to personalize your brat for your mood. Although that mood could change easily during your stay, as the music being played felt like a German version of "Who Let the Dogs Out."

Hans' Jalapeno & Cheddar Sausage at München Haus in Leavenworth.

One of their signature dogs and reason for the 30-minute detour was the München Haus' currywurst. This bizarre and ingenious creation of German street vendors takes a regular bratwurst and combines it with curry flavoring, allowing it to soak up all the spices. Traditionally it's served cut up into pieces with a roll, but in Leavenworth, a town that screams German "authentic" tradition, it's served on a hoagie roll, because let's face it, nothing says German like curry!

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