It was a wonderful trip.
My wife and I were focused on food for this excursion.
We stayed in the little town of Woodinville
about fifteen miles Northeast of town, for a variety of reasons.
The first of which is that we could stay at
the Willows Lodge
, one of our all-time favorite inns.
Quiet, clean, well-staffed, easy parking, and
a great restaurant – the Barking Frog
It also is less than a hundred yards from the brewery and brewpub for
And, most importantly, is
about twenty yards from the Herbfarm Restaurant
– one of the finest restaurants
in North America.
We had reservations
there Friday night – and it did not disappoint.
The current theme just changed from what we had, which was the use of smoke in cooking, but an upcoming menu
will give you an idea.
can see, multiple courses with carefully matched wines, and virtually
everything from the region, if not the immediate vicinity.
You can’t call it a meal, it’s a whole dining
experience, with the owners, chef and staff right there serving it to you, explaining
each course, answering any and all questions.
Yes, it’s a set-piece meal, but I prefer that, in many ways.
Everybody knows what they’re doing, there are
no short cuts, and it’s done to perfection.
Before the meal, one of the owners takes you out to the herb garden to
show and sample what’s been harvested for that night’s meal.
One can wander around there, or go inside to
peruse the cook book library; or, (my favorite), go to the wine cellar to
discuss important matters of the soul with the sommelier.
I am proud to say that I even caught some
sort of in-joke going on down there during my stay – someone had placed a
bottle of half drunk MD 20/20 in the center of one of the main displays of
The sommelier put on a
nice front, but I think he was caught a little off-guard by the whole
experience takes a full evening, as any proper religious awakening should. In addition to the normal menu, we ordered a
brace of Madeira’s to compare and contrast.
A perfect night. If you’re ever
within 300 miles of the area, you’ve just got to eat dinner here, at least once
in your life. I can’t bear the thought
of anyone missing out on this.
advantage to Woodinville is that it’s in the heart of the wine country for
I’d wager that there
are at least two dozen wineries and/or tasting rooms there – two within easy
walking distance of the Willows Lodge.
We visited the Columbia Winery
, Dusted Valley
, and Chateau Ste.Michelle
We also hit the WoodinvilleWhiskey Company
, to sample some native bourbon, (Yummy!), and dined at the
local wine bar – The Purple Café
(an excellent selection of cheeses paired with
wines, including one of our faves – Humboldt Fog
into Seattle proper, we hit the International District
, a wonderful neighborhood
of East Asian stores and restaurants, centered around Uwajimaya
– a large
oriental grocery store and series of food stalls and shops.
The whole neighborhood is one big
I’d guess that there’s an East
Asian restaurant about every 60 feet, or so.
We stopped at one of the larger ones that we saw, called the Honey CourtSeafood Restaurant
And it was there
amidst a feeding frenzy of dim sung, that I first got to munch on geoduck
, (they also
served it to us at the Herbfarm).
tried for over three years now to find a place that had it; my quest was at an
It was good!
To me, they taste much like mussels;
Very expensive mussels…
went down to the waterfront one day to dine on a pile of raw oysters at the
city’s mecca for such: Elliott’s OysterHouse
We ordered a huge sampling of
local types, (my favorite was the Totten).
The house drink is the dark’n’stormy – it was the best one I’ve ever
drunk, (I’m now convinced that the secret is in how much lime juice might be
added – experiments are necessary…)
And, of course, you just gotta go to Pike Place Market
I’m pretty sure that it’s
required by law.
And yes, you gotta go
to the Fish Market
; and yes we saw ‘em being tossed around.
At one point, they picked a woman from the
crowd, placed the Styrofoam coffee cup she was holding on top of her head, and
knocked it right off with a small tuna at about twenty paces.
Now, that’s entertainment!
Now, if you’ve never been to Seattle, plan on at least one
full day here at the Market.
Imagine about 3-4 city
blocks, as a maze and warren of food and craft shops, stands, carts, and dens, with
a few great eateries thrown in for good measure.
It’s incredible, and unlike anything that I’ve
ever really seen back East.
combined the Lancaster Central Market
with DC’s Maine Avenue
, AND the famous
Green Dragon Flea Market
of Ephrata, you might come close).
One new micro-shop that just opened up that I
had fun browsing through was this one – Orange Dracula
Fun stuff - A dime store for somebody like
Finally, we ended up at the Bellevue Botanical Garden
East of town.
A beautiful combination of
natural, American and Japanese styles.
very relaxing capper to the trip.