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Three weeks of great food


Chufi
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3 weeks ago, we flew to Seattle for a trip round British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest. I had been planning and preparing this trip for months, I had a huge list of recommendations and info. Over on this thread and this thread, all of eGullet helped me plan this trip.

My question on those threads was: help us eat well!

We’re back.

Did we eat well?

We did.

Thanks to the advice of so many eGulleters, and sometimes thanks to our good fortune which stayed with us thoughout the entire trip (except when we visited Mount Rainier and couldn’t see 2 meters because of the fog :sad: ) we ate extremely well. We had some wonderful food, a lot of good food, and very little bad food.

So here’s my trip report, in installments, because it takes a lot of time to process all these pictures, and because I decided I’m going to show you almost everything we ate – the wonderful, the good, the bad.

Day 1 – drive from Seattle to Vancouver.

Holiday, to me, is having a light breakfast and then stopping somewhere for coffee and sweets. Fortunately there are coffeehouses and good bakeries everywhere in Canada and the US! First stop: the Old Town café in Bellingham.

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Peanutbuttercookie for me, something caramelly for Dennis.

Upon arrival in Vancouver we were immediately whisked away by eGulleter Chef Metcalf to restaurant The Beachhouse, right by the water, with an incredible view and lovely food. We had champagne, a bottle of Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris, mussels in a spicy coconut broth and crabsalad with grapefruit vinaigrette.

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That night we had dinner at Guu, which is described as a Japanese tapas place. The best dishes where this tuna sashimi (which is more a pate of raw tuna than a traditional sashimi) and the dessert I had, almond tofu. I never tasted anything so silky smooth and creamy, it was lovely.

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Day 2

Next morning we went for an early-morning hike with Chef Metcalf. Here’s what you get for breakfast when you go for a 8 am picnic with an eGulleter: local peaches, blueberries, raspberries and cherries, and baguette with slowroasted tomatoes and goatscheese!

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Lunch was at the Fillipino restaurant Rekados, where I did not take a single picture, but the food was wonderful.

Edited by Chufi (log)
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Dinner was the much anticipated Chinese dinner. Mooshmouse and canucklehead had pre-ordered a wonderful Szechuan feast for us! We met peppyre, Chef Metcalf and her partner, Mooshmouse, BCinBC, and *Deborah* at the Golden Szechuan.

Here are some of the dishes we had:

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rice cakes. this was sweet and soothing, I loved it.

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2 types of dumplings, which were both wonderful, the one with the dark sauce was my favorite – quite spicy!

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spicy pork belly. This was my favorite of the evening. The pork is succulent and sweet, the sauce really fiery, and they are great together. And is there a more fun presentation for slices of pork?

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spinach with garlic

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crab. Lovely, and wonderfully messy to eat :biggrin:

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thready bread with sweet milk. very tasty, and a great way to soothe your palate between fiery dishes.

More food

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there were also green beans, which were great, a noodle dish that was so good I could have eaten just that for dinner, and some really spicy beef that was, actually, too spicy for me. :raz:

I am sorry I can't be more specific about the dishes, i lost my notes with the names of everything. Maybe someone who was also present, and more knowledgeable about Chinese food, can chime in here?

It was great fun to meet eGulleters, sit around the table, and share some delicious food. Thanks Mooshmouse and canucklehead for organizing! I can post a group picture if all attending PM me that that’s okay.

After that dinner, we sure had enough salt and pepper, but it was decided we hadn’t had enough sugar so a bunch of us went to Parkside for dessert. Banoffee pie, lemon cream cannoli, and Okanagan peachtart. The banoffee pie was delicious but the cannoli were my favorite, possibly because their tangy lemon filling was just right after the Chinese dinner.

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Day 3

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Next morning coffee and a fig scone at café Artigiano. The scone was not that good, a bit dry, but it was the prettiest coffee I’d ever had. I made a museum trip to Whole Foods, which was impressive – both the selection on offer and the prices!

That evening we had dinner at Rare. I did not take pictures, and I did not even write down everything we ate. We had the 6-course tasting menu, with items chosen from the menu, and the wine pairing, and just let ourselves float through the evening on the succession of courses and glasses. The food is subtle, creative, and another word I thought of, is 'glamorous'. This is not so much because of the fancy ingredients as the way the food is presented, and the flavor combinations. My favorite dishes were the cauliflower soup with truffle, the smoked sablefish and the mushroom ravioli. Dennis loved the quail stuffed with sweetbread. Chef Fowke kindly invited us to the kitchen after dinner and showed us around, but I am afraid that after the wine we had before dinner with Chef Metcalf, and the six glasses with dinner :shock: , I was in no shape to make intelligent comments anymore, about the only thing I could say (or can remember saying) was that dinner had been wonderful and that the kitchen looked very nice. :wacko: Sorry Chef! :smile:

Day 4

Drive to Kelowna. In Kelowna, the menu of Fresco looked tempting, but we were trying to budget a bit, so we ended up at a wine & tapas bar near the water, the Rotten Grape. Lots of wine by the glass, food okay – a bit uninspired, but the wild boar chorizo pizza was very nice. Next door is icecream shop Moo-lix, where we had large cones of delicious icecream. Peanutbutter-chocolate, my favorite!

Day 5

drive from Kelowna to Oliver.

Lunch in Penticton, the Gypsy Dream café. Very nice place with great atmosphere and cheap, nice food. Dennis’ splitpeasoup was delicious.

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I can also recommend a visit to the bookshop on Penticton Mainstreet, they have a nice collection of secondhand cookbooks (lots of volmues from the Time Life series).

Winetasting in the Naramata Bench area. We went to Poplar Grove and bought some wine and cheese. After a number of other wineries we ended up at fruit winery Elephant Island, and were pleasantly surprised. They have a lovely patio where you can sit while they pour you almost all of their fruit wines for tasting, from the dry and crisp apple and pear wines to the intensely sweet cassis and apricot dessert wines. We thought our chunk of Poplar Grove Tiger blue would go very well with the semi-sweet crab apple wine. And it did!

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we stayed in Oliver, and had dinner that night at the Toasted Oak, great pubfood, and wonderful beers (we needed some beer after all that winetasting. So we did a beertasting :biggrin: )

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In the glass: Granville Island Hefeweizen, Mount Begbie Kolsh (from Revelstoke), Cannery Brewery Naramata Nutbrown (Penticton), Crannog Ales Backhand of God Stout (Sorrento) Tin Whistle Coyote Ale (Penticton) There may be some spelling errors here as I wrote down the names of the beers in my notebook after drinking them all..

Awesome burger, with blue cheese and terrific bacon:

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I just learned the word awesome on this trip, and I promise not to use it too often, but I think it is really appropriate for this burger!

Day 6

The next morning, Poplar Tiger Blue on crackers for breakfast:

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To be continued...

Edited by Chufi (log)
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Wow, wow, wow. Cannot wait to see this thread unfold, Klary! I'm off to Europe on Friday, but I'll be checking in hourly till then. Sounds like you had an awesome trip - I'm glad you made it home safe. :biggrin:

ETA: And I love that shot of the cheese on the bench - beeee-yoo-tee-ful.

Edited by Megan Blocker (log)

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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Wow, wow, wow.  Cannot wait to see this thread unfold, Klary!  I'm off to Europe on Friday, but I'll be checking in hourly till then.  Sounds like you had an awesome trip - I'm glad you made it home safe. :biggrin:

I would wait with the hourly check-in, because it's now 1 AM here, and I have to get some sleep! :smile:

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Chufi, the ham sandwich I just ate for lunch is so disappointing and boring after looking at all of the wonderful photos and descriptions of your trip so far. I'm looking forward to the next installment. Fabulous.

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Golden Szechuan looks really good, especially that pork belly. At first I thought it was some sort of demented towel-drying arrangement - how clever. And the crab would be my next pick for sure, although the dumplings look really good too. What is thready bread, some sort of cruller? Such a weird texture - it almost looks like it's made of crab. I wonder how they get it to do that.

That Artigiano coffee is definitely the prettiest I've ever seen, and I've seen some pretty coffee. Did it taste as good as it looks?

And it's so interesting to see beer served in wine glasses, that's a new one for me. I'm really delighted to see all these early and wonderful parts of your trip.

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Glad you made it home safely and enjoyed the rest of your trip Chufi and Dennis.

And I'm really thankful that we didn't lose Dennis down the 300 foot cliff on the trail to breakfast, on day two. :shock:

Noodles at Golden Szechuan were called Dan Dan, I think.

I could have eaten another 3 bowls they were so good.

And Chufi, I'm amazed! You just got home and have downloaded this many pics?

That's awesome! :laugh:

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Day 6, continued.

we visited some more wineries. It was just the right time to see the grapes in their full glory:

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a visit to Burrowing Owl Winery for a tour of the winery and lunch!

view from the patio. Vineyards as far as you can see

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Dennis had a glass of the 2001 Burrowing Owl Merlot and I had a glass of Wild Goose Gewurztraminer from Okanagan Falls,

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Food: Chardonnay-poached pear & blue cheese tart, and duck confit salad.

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Lavender cheesecake

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It was a very memorable experience. The patio, the sunshine, the wonderful view, good food and wine. It doesn't get much better than that!

Edited by Chufi (log)
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Day 7

Oliver -Twisp.

Drove on south and crossed the border into the US again. Landed in Twisp.

Now, I am sure the River Pub serves great beer and good food, but when you're in Twisp on a Mondaynight the pub is closed and so is pretty much everything else.. Our only option was the pizza place across the street from the River Pub. We did not have high hopes when we entered and our spirits sank even more when we found out they did not serve beer... But, again, we had a pleasant surprise.. this pizza was actually good!

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afterwards we got beer and icecreamsandwiches at the gasstation. Consumed lying on the bed watching the Foodnetwork. A true Holiday-Moment :biggrin:

Day 8

Twisp - Rockport

Drove over the North Cascades Pass and made a stop for a hike. Now, with a view like this anything will taste good, but it's even better with a cinnamon twisp from the Cinnamon Twisp Bakery in Twisp..

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Just outside of Rockport is the famous Cascadian Farmstand. A huge cup of blueberry icecream, the last of the season:

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this icecream was utterly delicious.. it tasted like blueberries and cream that had only just been frozen, so fresh and light.

The pink scoop is raspberry chocolatechip, also good, but not as good as the blueberry.

It was a good thing we had that icecream because dinner at Clark's cabin's eatery was nothing special.

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Edited by Chufi (log)
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Day 9 (are you all tired yet? we have to keep going till Day 21! :biggrin: )

Rockport - Port Townsend

We left Rockport very early, without breakfast, and drove drove drove till we arrived at La Conner, very hungry. Now I usually like to have a light breakfast, just some joghurt and fruit, but i said i wanted at least one 'proper' breakfast this holiday. So we went to the Calico Cupboard in La Conner.

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Dennis could have his healthy breakfast and I could have my pancake (they call it a griddlecake, it was very light and fluffy), bacon, syrup and poached egg. Sooo good! Their pastries looked really good too but I resisted those..

Drove on to Coupeville for coffee and sweets in the Coupeville Coffeehouse. Such a charming place with huge comfy chairs, a whole library to pick books from, pleasantly slow and erratic service (we're on holiday, rememberm so we don't mind to wait) and nice pastries. Peanutbuttercookie and lemon cranberry scone, the scone was the best.

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We took the ferry to Port Townsend. The weather was rainy and foggy, but the moment we came to Port Townsend the clouds broke and we had glorious weather all through our stay there. We stayed 3 days and we absolutely loved this town!

On our first walk we stumbled upon a little farmers market with amazing produce. I know for many of you this is easily obtainable stuff, for me it was another occasion to sing the holiday refrain: "why can't we buy this in Amsterdam"??

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Really nice beer in the Water Street Brewing House in PT. Apparently, the 'barscene' in the movie An Officer and a Gentleman' was filmed in this bar! Richard was here! :biggrin:

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Dinner at the Fountain cafe. We really liked the food there. It's deceptively simple, but with real interesting and gutsy flavors. Not expensive, great service and a very warm and welcoming atmosphere.

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Dennis had a soupy dish of clams and mussels (fantastic mussels) in a pesto broth, I had a wild salmon potatocake which was so good that I almost ordered it again when we went back there for dinner 2 days later.

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Then we shared the anchovy pasta:

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..and a really over-the-top delicious tiramisu. I know that's not a very trendy dessert but I feel, chocolate, mascarpone, booze, what's not to like?

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Edited by Chufi (log)
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WOW! That's some good eating out there. I gotta get me to the Pacific Northwest.

Beautiful pictures!! My favorite (such a great presentation):

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spicy pork belly. 

Edited by I_call_the_duck (log)

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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Day 10

breakfast (granola, soymilk, fruitsalad) at the Bread & Roses Bakery in PT. Then we bought some spinach/cheese pastries there, and oatmeal raisin cookies, and headed to Olympic National Park. It's breathtakingly beautiful up there.. we hiked for a couple of hours, observed 2 lazy Olympic marmots and a couple of deer, then came back to Hurricane Ridge to have lunch on top of the world. It was a good thing we brought lunch, considering the smell of old frying oil that came from the visitor's center!

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That night we went to the Wild Coho for dinner. It was Thursday, which is 'small plates' ight in the restaurant, which means you pick from an extensive menu of small dishes ranging from 5-8 dollars. Everything looked good. We had a beautiful beetroot/mascarpone risotto, a salad with goatscheese, salami and organic greens,

Duck liver pate with wine jelly

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roasted organic vegetables with harissa

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We also had 2 wild salmon dishes that were both very good (one with shii-takes, bacon and miso dressing, one with chive butter, tomatosauce and sweet potato rosti). Sorry for the bad pics, it was really a candle-lit dinner!

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dessert: tiramisu.. again. This was so different from the one the night before.. very light and elegant.. maybe not as luscious.. but maybe even more seductive...

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We loved the Wild Coho. One of the nicest things was that most ingredients that I saw on my plate, I had seen at the farmers market the day before.. everything so fresh, and bright-tasting.. it was one of my favorite dinners from the trip.

Edited by Chufi (log)
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Oh my. Oh my. Oh my.

I can't wait to read the rest.

And Klary, your refrain reminds me of what I say in the supermarkets of Amsterdam: "Why can't we get this at home?" (I usually say this standing in front of the cheese selection...or in the chocolate aisle.)

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Day 11

Coffee and pain au chocolat at Bread and Roses bakery

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That night we went back to the Fountain Cafe for dinner. Sometimes on a trip like this it's nice to return to a place.. to have a waiter remember you and the wine you drank a couple of days ago.. to view a menu you've seen before.. instead of something 'new' every night. Dennis had all kinds of seafood in a spicy tomato sauce:

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Fried oysters for me.. Oh these were so good.. crispy herby garlicky coating (Panko, I think) and oh so soft and juicy inside. They served it with a smoky spicy sweet sauce though that was much too overwhelming for the oysters.. that's where their 'gutsy' style of cooking went slightly wrong.. Not too big a problem though, I just skipped the sauce..

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Dessert: Icecream at the Elevated Icecream Company in Port Townsend.. rocky road and white chocolate for me.. don't know what Dennis had.. espresso, I think.. he doesn't drink coffee but he likes anything coffee-flavored.. It was good icecream, but I think it was served too cold.. if that makes sense for icecream.. but I have noticed that at other places in the US too, the icecream is served frozen solid, and you have to wait a couple of minutes for it to soften before you can enjoy it.. is it a health regulations thing?

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Edited by Chufi (log)
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And Klary, your refrain reminds me of what I say in the supermarkets of Amsterdam: "Why can't we get this at home?" (I usually say this standing in front of the cheese selection...or in the chocolate aisle.)

I can understand you about the cheese... infact, Dutch cheese is about the only food-item I miss when I'm on vacation!

But chocolate.. I have seen chocolate in supermarkets in the PNW that I've never seen before.. I really think BC and the PNW is one of the best foodregions around.. not that I've been everywhere ofcourse.. but even tiny supermarktes in small towns seemed to have such a great variety of high quality produce..

Edited by Chufi (log)
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Klary,

It was such fun meeting you and Dennis last Saturday. Glad you liked the area so much. Al and I are headed to the Wild Coho for "small plates" tonight with another couple. It is definitely our favorite restaurant in the area. Jay does some amazing dishes.

Kay

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