Aug 20 2011

Willows Inn, Lummi Island, WA


After hearing the accolades building up about the Willow’s Inn, I was more than anxious to get here to try the food! We went on a perfect weekend, and had a wonderful time.

The dining room is quite small, and limited to one seating a night. I loved that the chefs were quite interactive with the diners, bringing out most of the dishes themselves and explaining each course. For our first appetizer, Chef Wetzel himself brought our mystery ‘box’ to the table for us. More on that, plus the rest of the food:

That mystery box? As soon as we opened it, a waft of smoke rose out, and inside were two perfect, tiny cubes of smoked wild king salmon, resting on top of still smoldering alderwood. Gorgeous presentation, and the salmon was to die for!

Our second appetizer was black code over saukerkraut, on a potato chip. Another tasty bite, with plenty of freshness and zing.

The third appetizer was so cute… a mini bushel of fresh baby veggies! The dressing was creamy, with plenty of chives. The veggies included baby radishes, turnips, and kale, and were covered in edible ‘dirt’ (toasted hazelnut) which was quite tasty!

Our fourth appetizer was a fried kale chip with black truffle toasted rye bread. Although it was a small bite, the truffle definitely shined through, and made for a delectable, crispy dish!

Our fifth appetizer (yes, these are still appetizers!) was herbed toast with a brown butter emulsion, and ‘powdered’ vinagrette. No idea how they made that vinagrette, but the dish was fresh, and delicious!

The final appetizer consisted of organic watercress with mushrooms and berries, with what I believe were fiddlehead ferns. Light, fresh, and really good.

Finally, we got to our five course meal. Along with our meal, we both opted to do the juice pairing in lieu of the wine pairing. I LOVE that they have this option! At $40 for 5 juices, yes it’s a bit expensive. But all of the juices are house made, super fresh, and quite unique!

The first juice pairing was cucumber, and as expected, quite cool and refreshing!

The first dish consisted of porcinis, red currants, with fresh cheese and woodruff. Again, everything incredibly fresh. Those currants were incredible! Tart, juicy, and sweet.

Our second juice pairing was carrot juice, and this was probably my favorite. It tasted so incredibly sweet and creamy. Just what kind of carrots are they growing on this island?!

Dish #2 consisted of a skate wing with cabbage and mussel sauce. Although this may have been my least favorite (if I had to name a least favorite) dish of the night, it was quite good.. I’d never had skate with this texture before. Tasty!

Our 3rd juice pairing was granny smith apple juice. A very close second favorite of mine to the carrot juice. Tart, sweet, and very apple-y. Wish I had some of this right now!

The accompanying dish was spring onions with rhubarb and thyme. Very light, very fresh, and that crunchy green rhubarb added quite a zing!

Our fourth juice was huckleberry. Very tart, and quite a nice replacement to red wine. This juice pairing went exceptionally well with the accompanying dish.

One of my favorite dishes of the night, the slow roasted Peking duck breast with red beets and berries. The duck was incredibly fresh and tender (coming straight from a nearby island). That little layer of fat? And the crispy skin? Perfection. Adam mentioned that the taste was reminiscent of pork rind, but not at all in a bad way! Oh, and the meat was tender and juicy, too…

Our final juice pairing was sorrel juice. Quite grassy, and my least favorite of the night. Still, I have to say, it did complement dessert well!

Dessert consisted of a fresh strawberry sorbet with chamomile milk foam, strawberries, meringue, and lavender glass. What a great combination of flavors and textures, and a great way to end an incredible meal!

The next morning? Scrambled eggs, potatoes with kale and cheese, and zucchini carrot muffin. Simple, and delicious. The cheesy potatoes were incredible.. only lightly seasoned, so the flavour of kale, cheese, and chives could really shine through. And the muffin? Soft, fresh, and delicious!

This is definitely one of the best meals I’ve had in the Pacific NW to date, if not the best. I highly recommend a weekend getaway to Lummi Island, and visit to the Willows Inn. I’ll be dreaming about what Chef Wetzel will have created the next time we visit!

Cost: $$$
2579 West Shore Drive, Lummi Island, WA 98262
(888) 294-2620
The Willows Inn on Urbanspoon

Aug 20 2011

Lummi Island, WA


While the primary purpose for our visit to Lummi Island was to dine at the Willow’s Inn, we spent the night on the island, and did a bit of exploring. This is not a difficult feat, as the Island is only around 9 miles long! The weekend we visited, the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. Sunny and warm, but not too warm. Here’s some shots I took during our mini-vacay:

View of the ocean from outside our room:

Our room at the Willow’s Inn, the low-tide. Tiny room, but clean, and with quite a nice view!

The first place we visited was the Beach Store Cafe, which is just up the road from the ferry. We were hungry, so we immediately stopped for lunch. The food wasn’t much to write home about, but it was good, fresh, and satisfied our hunger!

Clam chowder:

Club sandwich

Cod fish and chips:

2200 N Nugent Rd, Lummi Island, WA 98262
(360) 758-2233
Beach Store Cafe on Urbanspoon

If you squint, you can see two bald eagles in this tree, which was right up the road from our room:

The Nettles farm is where a great deal of the produce at the Willow’s Inn comes from.

Quite a variety of produce, as well as honeybees, and chickens!


Colorful, healthy chickens. No wonder those breakfast eggs were so tasty!

Very much a working farm!

If you’re planning to go to dinner at the Willow’s Inn, (which I also HIGHLY recommend), I also recommend staying at the Willow’s Inn, rather than trekking home after such a long, relaxing meal. I’m hoping to be back soon!

Jun 12 2011

Toby’s Tavern, Whidbey Island


Last weekend the weather was gorgeous here in Seattle. FINALLY! I’ve been waiting for this ‘gorgeous spring/summer’ weather that everyone keeps telling me about, and to be honest, was starting to think it was a myth!

Anyway, we decided to take a short day trip to Whidbey Island to take advantage of the sun. Off we went on the ferry, and drove through a good part of the island, which was relaxing, and quite lovely.

As for food? We were walking through the small town of Coupeville, and stopped in at this little bar. Even though it didn’t look like much from the outside (or from the inside), I’m glad we picked this place. After hearing about the local Penn Cove mussels, I had to give them a try.

Now, I rarely eat mussels, but I think it would be hard for anyone to not appreciate the freshness of these. They were served up steaming hot, had a bit of sweetness to them, and were incredibly tender.  Cooked simply in a broth of white wine and onions, they made for a delectable lunch! And even though at first glance it didn’t look like a lot of food, I struggled to finish the entire pound of mussels in this dish. Thankfully Adam was there to help out (turns out he’s not allergic to mussels. Whew!).

Adam went with one of his favorites, fish and chips. While I think it was a good version, this place is all about the mussels!

Speaking of mussels, after lunch, we went for a walk along the pier right outside the bar. I wonder if the owners of the bar just scoop up the incredible amount of mussels sitting in this cove?!

Cost: $
8 NW Front St, Coupeville, WA 98239
(360) 678-4222

Toby's on Urbanspoon


Oct 3 2010

Puyallup Fair


I’ve always enjoyed going to fairs. When I was a little girl, I remember my parents taking us to the Pomona fair in Southern California every few years. I think that’s about good for me still… every few years. I actually hadn’t been to a fair in awhile; I think the last one was in Orange County, (again in Southern California) 6 or 7 years ago.

Anyway, I was motivated to attend the Puyallup fair by a door mat. Seriously. Our realtor told us she’d gone recently, and a friend of hers had bought this ‘miracle mat’. It just so happens I’d been looking for a good doormat for our new home, one that would serve to mop up some of the mud our dogs will undoubtedly try to track into the house. Remember, we’re coming from Las Vegas. Not a lot of mud there! So off to the fair it was.

The Puyallup fair is supposedly the largest annual attraction in the state of Washington, and one of the 10 largest state fairs in the country. It took us a little under an hour to get there from the Seattle area. We were warned to arrive early, as parking could be scarce, and it would just get more crowded as the day went on. It was a gorgeous day, and we spent about 2-3 hours wandering the various buildings full of vendors, exhibits, and animals. There were a lot of sheep on the day we went. I mean a LOT of sheep. But also a few interesting food items. I mean, this is primarily a food blog, so I’ve gotta talk about the food, right?!

Our favorite food item at the fair, hands down? The scones. A coworker advised that I HAD to get the scones, and she was right. Fisher makes some mean scones. They’re served hot, fresh, with a bit of butter and raspberry jam. Delicious!!

One of the other items we tried was Kaleenka’s piroshky. essentially a pastry stuffed with beef and cheese, then fried. I liken it to a larger version of an empanada. It was good, although surprisingly a bit on the bland side.

We couldn’t go to the fair and not get some weird, fried thing, right?! We decided on the deep fried oreos.

Here I thought we’d get maybe two of them, and out comes a basket of 5! More than we could possibly eat.

Ever wonder what a deep fried oreo looks like inside? Probably not, but I’ll show you anyway. It had a cornmeal type of breading, kind of like a corndog. The oreo was barely disernable as an oreo, as it had melted into a big glop of sticky sweetness. Maybe this sounds good, but unfortunately, it wasn’t. We ended up eating two and trashing the rest…

By the way, we did get those miracle mats! Fingers crossed that they work. =)

Puyallup Fair & Events Center
110 9th Ave SW, Puyallup, WA 98371