Heading into 2021—Second verse is same as the first.

Two things kept me from jumping off the balcony this year: Her Holy & Hotness Kitchen Storey, The Only of Her Kind, and my happily self-induced addiction to the world of print publication subscriptions. As we head into 2021 with news that new strains of COVID-19 have been found in the States, it’s clear that this winter will likely be worse than the last one. So I share with you what worked here at the top of downtown Tacoma.

My wife has been a source of inspiration, joy, back-scratching, and food delivery. She is a chef whose talent knows no boundaries for audacity, improvisation, and a healthy dose of panache. The table at Storeyhouse has hosted many excellent meals, making quarantine tolerable and becoming preferable. We have had new decadent dishes created simply by looking at a photo of another creation in the newspaper or a random food goods catalog delivered to the previous tenant to our mailbox. I will also add that the wine program here has done what it can to keep up by ordering more wine via telephone than ever. A handful of affordable wines are kept in constant stock for the everyday meal. At the same time, we have invested in a diverse array of blends and varietals to be paired with the exquisite dining experiences put together for a weekend. This personal challenge to re-create experiences that we would otherwise enjoy outside of our home has led to an upgrade in our cocktail and coffee programs. Morning Joe now requires measuring the critical ingredient in grams (And yes, I just typed that with my pinky fingers pointing up and out).

While I’ve shared the highest of highs, Storeystyle also dictates that I share the low of lows. In 2020 there have been scores of ramen bowls served with boiling hot Nongshim Shin Black Noodle Soup and the occasional run to Taco Bell (without the wife who refuses the authentic American-Mexican food found South of the Border). And we are making our way through the local pizza providers because we have to keep some form of mystery in the relationship, and what better type than pizza mystery. Trust me, it’s way more exciting and delicious than subscribing to a monthly co-op vegetable box (Rutabagas again—WTF?!).

In addition to bespoke cuisine, 2020 was easier to tolerate with subscriptions to a stack of independent magazines. Though we have access to just about every big title through Apple News, it’s simply not the same as having a well-crafted item delivered to the door in nifty packaging to keep it nice, flat, and fresh. Of the many subscriptions that we have to media, a few stand out that I wholeheartedly recommend. Delayed Gratification is by far a champion of both quality journalism and editorial design. Published quarterly, it covers stories long after they were headlines in the 24/7 news cycle. Superb infographics are laced throughout the stories and pages, making the entire experience a visual and intellectual delight. Drift and Eighty cover the worlds of tea and coffee on pages masterfully designed combined with photography to appeal to everyone’s inner art director. No matter how you enjoy your caffeine, picking up either journal will add a lift to your week. Senet is relatively new, but you would not know it based on the content and form. A British publication devoted to current and upcoming board games is a rewarding addition to our newsstand at home. Eye brings nothing but design joy every quarter. I have found Eye to be, by far, the best magazine focused on the subject. They just crossed the 100 issue mark this Fall and devoted the two previous issues to share their knowledge for designing and publishing a quality magazine.

Monocle has been a monthly staple since its debut more than ten years ago. Each year, a subscription brings ten issues with four special publications: The Entrepreneurs (two issues), The Forecast, and The Escape. It’s a fantastic deal that brings fresh perspectives at least once a month to your door. Lastly is Grit City, an oversized, hand-stitched quarterly that tells the stories found in Tacoma. Hyperlocal, though not a newspaper, this is a luxury item I have yet to find it’s equal in any other metropolitan area of the United States—and I’ve been to many. Grit City is a prime example of what happens when a community recognizes a good thing and does everything to support it.

Who knows what 2021 will bring, how it might be different, or dare we hope, better? We are preparing for winter by pouring through recipe books, looking for new things to try. And I am always on the hunt for a new, quality publication to have delivered to the door. If you have recommendations for either or both, do tell.