Rifugio's Country Italian Cuisine

A Farm to Table Culinary Destination

 Rifugio's Country Italian Cuisine is an Eclectic Italian Restorante well worth the drive into the countryside. Just fifteen minutes outside of Bellingham in beautiful Deming, Washington. We source local ingredients use the highest quality products able. It takes time to have a great experience. So sit down relax and enjoy. Our site will lead you through our menu, venues, specials, local events, peoples experiences and stories of food, love and life.

Note: eclectic - deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources. 

Warmth & Love to all.............. Mr. Rifugio

September Feast at Rifugio's

This was our bread course at Rifugio's September Feast. It's story? The grain was from Cairnspring Mill in skagit valley freshly milled locally grown. Talk about being alive with flavor and texture. It was moist tender with a great crust and crumb. More air pockets than normal. We salted the top and smoked it at about 300 and wow!!! Buttered the top first the baked but no need for a drop of anything extra 

Salted Smoked Bread

Salted Smoked Bread

School Hot Lunch by Gastropod

So this podcast I have been listening to since it began. It is by far one of my favorites. I am coping this episode in full due to it's subject. A must to read or listen to if you care about school and our children and food culture. Here it is listed below



Across the United States, school lunch is being transformed, as counties and cities partner with local farms to access fresh vegetables, as well as hire chefs to introduce tastier and more adventurous meals. This is a much-needed correction after decades of processed meals that contained little in the way of nutrition and flavor. But how did we get to trays of spongy pizza and freezer-burned tater tots in the first place? While it seems as if such culinary delights were always part of a child’s day, the school lunch is barely a century old—and there are plenty of countries in the world, like Canada and Norway, where school lunch doesn’t even exist. This episode, we dive into the history of how we got to today’s school lunch situation, as well as what it tells us about our economic and gender priorities. Listen in now for all that, plus the science on whether school lunch even matters.

In centuries past, few children other than those of wealthy, aristocratic families received a formal education, certainly not one that had them sitting in a classroom for hours on end, from morning through early afternoon. That all started to change around the time of the Industrial Revolution, according to Andrew Ruis, medical historian at the University of Wisconsin and author of a new book, Eating to Learn, Learning to Eat: The Origins of School Lunch in the United States. “You have a large number of people moving into cities, moving into new kinds of employment, working in factories and mills,” Ruis told Gastropod. “That has a pretty wide ranging effects on social structures,” he said—one of which was that many families were no longer working alongside each other on the farm or in the family trade, where they could break for a midday meal together. As children instead began working in dangerous factories, European authors and philosophers reacted by starting to write about childhood as a time of innocence—one that deserved protection. Gradually, authorities in Europe and North America responded: first, by passing child labor laws, and then by mandating compulsory education.

Children—all children—now had to attend school. Which raises an important question: if kids are spending the majority of their day in school, how should they be fed? This question gets to the heart of the school lunch debate, one that has raged around the world for more than a century. As Jennifer Geist Rutledge, assistant professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and author of Feeding the Future: School Lunch Programs as Global Social Policy, explained to Gastropod, the decisions that countries made about school lunch—decisions that mean Sweden offers school lunch and Norway doesn’t, and the U.S. feeds its schoolchildren while Canada assumes the family will do so—were a reflection of prevailing attitudes to issues as seemingly unconnected as farming, national identity and security, and the role of women in society. As we discover in the episode, the same underlying attitudes shape school lunch even today.

The groups behind the first school lunch programs in the U.S. attempted to measure its effects on students academic performance and health, though the resulting data weren’t particularly scientifically rigorous. In past decades, however, scientists have teased out the fact that access to school lunch does indeed improve student achievement. But does the nutritional quality of the lunch matter? Elizabeth Ramirez Ritchie, one of the authors of a recent Brookings Institute study titled “School Lunch Quality and Academic Performance,” reveals what her research shows about the connection between healthier lunches, test scores, and student health. Meanwhile, as activists, school districts, and nonprofits across the country try to improve school lunch, we talk to food writer Jane Black about what happened in Huntington, West Virginia, once British chef Jamie Oliver and his “Food Revolution” left town, leaving the local food service director to pick up the pieces. Finally, while our experts agree that school lunch is important for all kids—a consensus reflected in New York City’s recent decision to make school lunch free for all—why is it threatened today?


Andrew Ruis and School Lunch in the U.S.

a GIFT from a dear friend . To add to my collection of Espresso Cups

Once in awhile someone drops off a gem. Sometimes its fruit, others its a wood bowl and yet others its just a surprise visit to say hi. This time it was from a dear friend names Dawn. She has her eyes open for small things such as this and stones that are special like the one that came with this cup. I believe this is a Japanese Sake cup with saucer. But it is perfect for espresso. Thanks Dawn.


Mr. Rifugio

Espresso the joy of Bitterness IMG_4512.JPG

New Beers at Rifugio's



Belgian Blond

Belgian abbey yeast combines with imported malts and aromatic hops resulting in a flowery, earthy spiciness.



Baltic Porter

Coffee sourced direct from the farmer in Brazil, fair trade cocoa nibs from the Democratic Republic of Congo, chocolate from Theo's in Seattle, water from Bellingham, hops from Yakima, and specialty malt from Europe dance together in this BIG Baltic porter... a true Global Mutt

Arlen Coiley and HandShake Coffee one of our Own Past Chefs at Rifugio's

Community—A Handshake Away

By Kenneth Clarkson

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Ah, the era of mobile food service. Throughout the last decade, we have seen an influx of food trucks, pop-ups and bars on wheels burst onto the food and beverage scene. This new fad combines the idea of convenience with that of community. The proprietors of these literal “meals on wheels” set up anywhere and everywhere to share their product with the world. From farmers’ markets to neighborhood gatherings, breweries to music festivals, you’re bound to run into a pop-up food or beverage stand somewhere. Arlen Coiley of Handshake Coffee aims to take the movement one step further, using his mobile coffee bar to forge relationships between the coffee drinker and the local coffee roaster.

Having just recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, Handshake Coffee is a mobile business unlike any other. Not only is Coiley’s company one of the few transportable coffee bars, but it is also a business with a clear goal – connect people with others around them. Think about it. When is the last time you stopped to ask where your coffee was from? Just like every person, every product has a story and Handshake Coffee is there to help tell it.

Handshake Coffee’s mobile cart set up at Maritime Heritage Park in Bellingham, WA. Photo courtesy: Arlen Coiley.

I love the pop-up business model. It is truly an amazing outlet. I’ve learned so many different things through pop-up business,” Coiley says.

Coiley has been an active member of the food service industry for many years, most recently as one of the chefs at Rifugio’s Country Italian Cuisine in Deming, WA. A stalwart of the Bellingham community, he graduated with a degree in ethnic gastronomy and a minor in entrepreneurship from Western Washington University.

The idea for the small-scale specialty roaster came shortly after Coiley travelled to Central America for three months. During his travels, he and a friend visited coffee farms and developed relationships with the local farmers. Upon returning to Bellingham, he enrolled in Western Washington University’s newly created entrepreneurship minor. The program calls for students to create their own small business. Coiley settled on Handshake Coffee for his business proposal but it wasn’t his first idea.

The very first idea I pitched for the minor was to create a waterfront restaurant in Bellingham called the Salish Circle,” Coiley says. “As more time went by I thought about my trip to Central America and realized I wanted my business to be involved with the coffee trade,” he says.

Arlen Coiley operates a hand-pulled espresso machine at Handshake Coffee’s mobile coffee bar. Photo courtesy: Arlen Coiley.

Handshake Coffee’s original idea was to serve as a local coffee roaster that only sold bags of coffee. Coiley wanted to establish a relationship with farmers and then help sell their high-quality product. Handshake’s first incarnation operated on this platform for a while but Coiley wasn’t satisfied with the model. He wanted more. After some frustration and a few trips back to the drawing board he came up with the idea to not only establish relationships with the farmers, but to create meaningful connections with the people drinking the coffee.

“One day in the spring of 2016 I grabbed my barbecue, a table and my coffee gear and set up downtown,” he says. “I knew my strengths laid in meeting and interacting with people, so it was logical that a mobile coffee bar was the next step for Handshake Coffee.”

Using pour over and aeropress methods of brewing for their coffee, Handshake Coffee ensures no one cup of coffee is the same. In addition, the coffee bar is a great staging area for conversation. When you walk up to the coffee bar, not only do you get a fresh cup of hand-ground locally roasted coffee, but you interact with community members you may have never encountered before. Coiley dubs it his “coffee theater.” Coiley uses social media to announce when and where Handshake Coffee’s mobile coffee bar will be located at on certain days.

Handshake Coffee’s mobile coffee bar set up at the Alternative Library in Bellingham, WA. Photo courtesy: Arlen Coiley.

I want to create spaces and events that are positive for everyone involved,” he says. “Community support is one of the most important things and Handshake Coffee is built on the idea of human interaction.”

Right now, the name of the game in the food industry is hyperlocal, and Handshake Coffee is most certainly a player. With all roasts coming from various local roasters, or Coiley’s own private roasts, he wants to connect his customers with the many great coffee producers in their area. And if you find that one of the roasts quickly enters you into a state of caffeine-fueled bliss, you’ll be happy to know that Handshake Coffee sells roasts by the bag. After visiting Handshake’s coffee bar, you may just walk away with your new favorite coffee blend.

Coiley is a man with many ideas and what it means to be Handshake Coffee keeps expanding. With an eye on the future he plans on Handshake becoming a hub to help future entrepreneurs. He will be using a 3D printer to create more mobile carts and will then sell the carts to other small business owners and offer instructional courses on mobile entrepreneurial endeavors.

I want to see real change in our business models and in the community,” Coiley says. Active collective participation in your local economy is what will bring people together and allow them to work side by side.”

Weather Weather Thunder Hear Thunder There

The weather was so splendid Thursday that it had to give a bad day thereafter. Our customers joked stating that for every good day we get 3 bad in Washington. I however, am very grateful for the weather we have in the great NW just wished it did not keep customers away for having a warm meal. Saturday is another wonderful day to look to. 

Ah!! the Joy of Service.