The Seared Prawns speciality plate is one of many exquisite meals offered at the Hearth Wood Oven Bistro in downtown Washougal. The two-year-old restaurant is one of Clark County’s restaurant treasures and is a must-stop for foodies.

Stay tuned for an upcoming video feature and article about the Hearth. It’ll be an experience.
The restaurant is located at 1700 Main Street, Washougal. 360.210.7028.



By Seth Sjostrom


Jason Vanderhoven awoke one morning following a vivid dream. He wasn’t being chased by a serial killer, he hadn’t inserted himself into a spy thriller, he wasn’t even waking in a start from that horrible falling kind of dream. Nope. He dreamt of cocoa beans. Roasted cocoa beans. At the time, he wasn’t entirely sure why.

Perhaps his subconscious had worked its way through the complex networks of his REM state brain. As an athlete training for the Olympics (Jason was highly competitive in the luge), he and his compatriots were well-versed and disciplined in nutrition. Yet, he was taken aback by how many of his fellow athletes downed caffeine-laden drinks before an event. This flew in the face what they had been taught of performance nutrition.



As he mused about his dream, Jason couldn’t help but wonder if the concoction would actually work. His initial attempts, sheet pans of cocoa beans roasted in his oven, produced less than ideal results. Handing a cup of his brew to his father-in-law, he waited eagerly for a response. After a few sips, a glance across a mug was followed with, “Hmmm. You’ve made a bad cup of coffee.” Undaunted, Jason forged ahead with tweaks and trials. Three years later, he arrived at the selection, roast and grind of a delicious cup of Choffy. While the Aztecs and Samoans have Jason beat by a millennia, Choffy is certainly a ground-breaking invention as the modern roasted coffee bean drink.

What does Choffy taste like? When you have your first sip, you need to exorcise any pre-conceptions of what you think it might taste like in your head. It is not hot cocoa, it is not coffee. It is a slightly bitter, slightly creamy, genuinely satisfying flavor that hits upon a unique combination of taste buds. It satisfies the bit of sweet-tooth as well as the warm, invigorating yearn for coffee.

Why Choffy at all? First, the cocoa bean (correctly cacoa) has tremendous potential health benefits with very few of coffee’s detriments. Let’s start with what it does have. The cocoa bean has been revered for its high antioxidant content. In fact, a serving of Choffy has nearly the antioxidant power of two cups of superfood blueberries. Cocoa is packed with theobromine (similar, yet different than chemical cousin caffeine), a mild stimulant that increases heartbeat while acting as a vasodilator, actually reducing blood pressure. This buys you a boost without the crash.

Almost as important as what cocoa beans have in them is what they don’t. A cup of Choffy has less caffeine than a cup of decaf coffee. Courtesy of its other properties, you get the lift without the addiction and jitters of coffee. Choffy comes with only 20 calories and 3 carbs, with the reduced need for creamer (if you are so inclined), your diet is going to mind less too. In fact, Choffy is safe for children to drink, pregnant women and diabetics alike.

I love a cup of coffee, but I have been perplexed with the split reports on the praises and evils of my beloved cup of joe. For every positive article, I read a negative. With Choffy, there aren’t the confounding  reservations. Choffy is 100% premium cocoa bean. That’s it. Have yours straight up or with a splash of vanilla creamer (a little goes along way here, not like your old latte!)

How do you make this yummy (is it a stretch to call it health food) drink? The folks at Choffy recommend French press style. This simple process extracts the perfect amount of cacoa goodness in your drink. No press in your cabinet, no worries. You can use a regular drip coffee maker too. Serve it cold or hot, on its own or with a splash of cream.

Choffy is based right here in Vancouver. Inventer Jason Vanderhoven called up longtime friend Jason Sherwood to help develop and market Choffy, while Jason S’s wife, Andi, implemented the distribution strategy. A direct selling guru, Andi has enlisted a small army of Choffy lovers to not only distribute Choffy to consumers and independent businesses, but to create a viable business for their families. As Jason S. says, “Choffy’s purpose is to champion healthy living – beyond the product, but to impact life overall for families.” Utilizing independent distributors allows them to nurture a Choffy family that likes to share “Try this great tasting, healthy drink” to the world.

While a local phenomenon, Choffy has found success nationwide, being highlighted on the Dr. Oz show and in several food and health publications. Haven’t tried Choffy yet? It is worth finding. I am nearly a coffee to Choffy convert myself. Love it already? Become a distributor and make an extra few bucks a month for your family.

Choffy is located in Hazel Dell. You can get more information at

About the contributor: Seth Sjostrom is  local resident and author of the thriller Blood in the Snow and holiday title Finding Christmas. Seth is also co-producer of children’s magazine Kids Ink NW. For more information on Seth or his books, visit