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01/09/15 - Short Trip to Seattle

We took yet another short trip into Seattle. The high point was our wonderful dinner at Sitka & Spruce.

To be honest, we started our meal around 4PM at Taylor Shellfish which is just down the block. We had dropped by before and checked out the oysters bubbling in their holding tanks. This time we tried some Olympias and Kumamotos, fresh and tasting of the sea. We also had some of the calamari salad with seaweed and mushrooms. It was quite good.

Then, we had dinner at Sitka & Spruce which was quite an experience. We knew we were in good hands when the sourdough bread arrived with the lightly whipped cultured butter. We were served each dish in turn, family style, and when the corned lamb with seared cabbage arrived, we knew we were in the hands of genius. The theme for the meal was crisp skin on the outside and tender meat inside. We had the pork belly with caraway seeds on toast, the porchetta with squash and rye crisps and the amazingly good rabbit. We were in heaven.

We finished off with a floating island with two types of meringue, one light and fluffy and one crisp like a cracker. It was an intense experience.


Wild water at the Ballard Locks

The winter garden at the Locks had its charms.

Contrail

Downtown evening light

More light

The sunset in close up

Sitka and Spruce

More Sitka & Spruce

The ferris wheel down by the waterfront

Keywords: oysters, seattle, winter


09/27/12 - Seattle Update

On our latest lightning trip to Seattle we went to one of our favorite places in the city, the Ballard Locks. We just love the early 20th century Army Corps of Engineers style, the botanical garden and the amazing fish ladder viewing area. There were plenty of salmon, and though there weren't a lot of boats, we still got to see the locks cycle. We definitely got our civil engineering fix this trip.

We also tried out the cupcakes and ice cream at Cupcake Royale and were pretty impressed. We aren't big ice cream people, but we did enjoy the mix of caramel cupcake chunks with partially crystallized caramel smooshed into sea salt ice cream. The whiskey bacon crack ice cream was pretty impressive too with a good clean whiskey flavor and good use of the salty bacon. If ice cream is just too sweet for you, this might just be close enough to savory to please. The chocolate cream cheese cupcake we tried, however, was the real treat. They are serious about their cake and crumb, and their icing expertise is excellent.

Ballard seems to have a number of pretty good bakeries. The Great Harvest Bread Company down the street smelled pretty good, and they had seriously sticky looking cinnamon rolls, but we were also booked for dinner, so it will have to wait until next time.

In fact, we went to two restaurants for dinner. First, we went back to The Walrus and The Carpenter for some oysters. They only had four types, including some lovely little Olympias, but we still had a nice tasting. Then, we went down the hall of the bicycle shop and checked in to Staple and Fancy Mercantile where we had a great charcuterie plate with some of the best speck we've ever had with some coppa to match. (The octopus salad was good, but not great.) For our main courses we had their wonderfully tender pork shank with an eggplant puree, grilled padron peppers, and oil cured dried tomatoes. As usual, some of the padron peppers were mild, while others were quite spicy. We also had some wonderful penna full of rich melted cheese. Staple and Fancy is definitely a restaurant we have to get back to.


Cupcakes royale

Sprinkles at Cupcakes Royale

A ship coming through the Ballard Locks

Serious civil engineering style

Botanical garden

A fishy friend at the fish ladder

A passion flower

We'll check out the cinnamon rolls on our next trip, if we're feeling thin.

Staple and Fancy Mercantile

Keywords: oysters, restaurants, salmon, seattle


06/13/12 - Port Angeles Farmers Market

This has been a cold spring, so the Port Angeles Farmers' Market is still a bit lean, but there have been signs of spring, and, with the solstice coming soon, we are hoping for signs of summer. We've been buying eggs, spinach, arugula, chards of various colors, salmon, halibut, salad greens, potatoes, garlic and asparagus. Yes, Westwind Farm still has asparagus in June. According to the farmers, things are looking up, but already we are buying more and more of our groceries at the market, and we're looking forward to more.

Nash Huber

Westwind Farm

The Korean garlic lady, with greens

Johnston Farm

Kol Simcha with lamb - The Clark family was also there selling their beef and pork.

The Family Farm is back.

Mystery Bay has steamed clams and oysters.

Keywords: clark family, farmers' market, johnston farm, nash huber, oysters, port angeles, salmon, spring, summer, westwind farm, garlic lady


11/13/11 - Port Angeles Farmers Market Report

The autumn market is here. There are potatoes, in red, brown and blue, squashes, pumpkins, celery, lacinato kale, garlic, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, baby turnips, bok choy, savoy cabbage and all of our fall favorites. The four stalwarts, Nash Huber, Westwind Farm, Johnston Farm and the Korean garlic lady are all there along with a number of other sellers.

It isn't just vegetables either. You can also buy beef, pork, lamb, cheese, salmon, halibut, steelhead, oysters, bread, and an array of seasonal mushrooms. If you search a bit, you can find a last few tomatoes, arugula, coriander and a few other hold outs, but the cold weather is coming.

Don't miss out on the prime of the harvest. Drop by the Port Angeles Farmers' Market this coming Saturday.








Keywords: autumn, farmers' market, johnston farm, nash huber, oysters, port angeles, salmon, weather, westwind farm, garlic lady, kale


07/17/11 - Seattle Collage

We were in Seattle a while back and visited the Ballard Locks which are always wonderful. The channel was full of water, and the fish ladder was full of fish. We got to see the railroad truss bridge go up and down. The locks didn't cycle this time, but they're a wonderful working piece of architecture as well as a museum piece.

We also tried out a new Ballard restaurant, The Walrus and The Carpenter. We came early, at 4PM, and loaded up on oysters which were half price. We also had some wonderful grilled sardines with walnuts and coriander, fried oysters with coriander aioli and some wonderful bread pudding with caramel sauce.

Like the Ballard Locks and the fish ladder, The Walrus and The Carpenter was a very Seattle experience. One enters through a coffee shop which fronts a bike shop which leads to the restaurant. Sorry, but we couldn't get a really good photo of the place, but we'll try again when we get back.


The Ballard Locks

There's a lot of water,

some wonderful early 20th century civil engineering architecture,

railroad bridges,

and, of course, fish in the fish ladder.

This is not The Walrus and The Carpenter, but we passed it en route.

The entrance to The Walrus and The Carpenter, a coffee shop,

which leads to the bike shop,

and finally to the restaurant where they had these wonderful oysters.

Keywords: oysters, seattle


02/06/11 - Farmers' Market in February

This isn't prime farmers' market season. It's the middle of the winter, but our hardy local food providers have been putting on a good show, all things considered. Johnston and Lazy J Farms have been selling their braising greens. Apparently, all it takes is a bit of sun, and out of the ground come little mustard leaves and the like, all ready for the pan. We have a way to go before the spring crops appear, but it is worth checking out the market, even this time of year.

Korean food is great for warming up in the winter. It's cold in Korea this time of year.

We made a great Greek stew with our Clark Family pork chops. It's great pork.

Good To Go has their own pastries on sale. They are the only baker in Port Angeles these days.

Aside from their famous potatoes, Lazy J has brussels sprouts, leeks and their own braising mix.

Mystery Bay has lots of oysters, large and small.

Keywords: clark family, farmers' market, farms, good to go, oysters, port angeles, winter


12/15/10 - Buddha's Hand

Buddha's hand, that's what they call this peculiar looking citrus fruit. In the monkey folk novel of China, Buddha's hand, when he is subduing Monkey who has challenged heaven, stretches to the far horizon. Clearly that was not the reference in mind when this fruit was named. To be honest, we're not exactly sure what they were thinking when they came up with that name.

As for the fruit itself, it has a wonderful scent, part lemon, part orange, tangy and fresh. We tried it with seafood, grating a fair bit on some sauteed oysters with garlic, parsley and butter. We were quite impressed. We also used it in a braided hoska bread along with the almonds, raisins, candied lemon peel and orange peel. It smelled great and it brightened the flavor. The fruit is all rind, so we're hoping to try to find a few more uses for it.


Keywords: oysters, food


12/02/10 - The Winter Farmers' Market

It's the winter Farmers' Market, and we've gotten way behind with our photos and updates. Just about all of the summer vegetables are past, but this is our favorite season, so there are finally lots of lacinato kale, all the great local potatoes, carrots, cabbages, and brussels sprouts. Everything was a bit late this year, and it has been a cold autumn, so we have been making the most of what is available.

If you do go, remember that Preston and Tuna Dan have been selling salmon, steelhead and black cod, and Preston has been selling chanterelles and white truffles. It's a great place for food shopping. We get our eggs, Clark Family beef, Bell Street Bakery bread and most of our seafood there. The Mystery Bay folks have been at the market too, selling oysters and clams, in the shell or steamed with butter and garlic. We've been sore tempted on some of these cold days.


Lazy J Farm

Johnston Farm

Nash Huber's Produce

Westwind Farm, a carrot close up because we didn't take an even number of photos.

West Wind Farm

Keywords: autumn, farmers' market, oysters, shopping, winter, clark family, westwind farm, johnston farm, nash huber, salmon, kale


04/03/10 - The Farmers' Marking is Springing Back

The Port Angeles Farmers' Market is springing back. Red Dog Farm, The Family Farm and Johnston Farm are all back, a sure sign of spring. Wild West had some magnificent halibut and kushi oysters. We went for the oysters at Mystery Bay, because we were too lazy to shuck our own. We were quite loaded down with beef, eggs, fish, kale raab, garlic radish leaves, german butterball potatoes, and other goodies, so we didn't explore everything. We did notice the jam and preserves people had their stand up, and even more people were selling eggs. We will get around to everyone eventually. Word is that more farmers are harvesting, so we're looking forward to the season.

P. S. There is a real demand for local foods around here. The Clark Family Farm expected to sell two animals in their first month. They sold out in a week.


Johnston Farm is back

The Family Farm is back - It looks like spring!

Red Dog is back too!

Keywords: farmers' market, johnston farm, oysters, port angeles, spring, clark family, kale


03/27/10 - Long Beach, Astoria and Environs

We recently took a trip to Long Beach in southern Washington, not far from the Oregon border. We took some pictures, ate some good food and learned a lot about the Columbia River, the Coast Guard and the Lewis and Clark expedition. Follow some of the links to the right to see some of our photos.

A glimpse of the beach

The long beach at Long Beach

A wilder day

Leadbetter Point State Park - a forest walk

Astoria, Oregon, from a pier

The lightship Columbia at the Columbia River Maritime Museum

The river inlets near Fort Clatsop

Trilliums at Fort Clatsop

The barbequed oysters of South Bend

Keywords: oregon, oysters, restaurants, beaches, trillium


01/10/10 - The Winter Market

We missed the Korean garlic lady last week, but she was back again with her excellent garlic, scallions and Korean goodies including fish soup and kim chi pancakes. Korea gets pretty cold in the winter, so they have lots of good dishes for cold weather, and you can try some at the Port Angeles Farmers' Market.

Another newcomer was the Mystery Bay Oyster guy who sells oysters and clams with lots of garlic and butter. He's usually at the Port Townsend market, but they are closed right now, so he's offering his wares to us Port Angelenos. We had a plate of his oysters, and they were wonderful. We'll miss him when the PT market reopens.


The Korean garlic lady

The Mystery Bay Oyster guy

The Johnston Farm lady

Keywords: farmers' market, johnston farm, oysters, winter, garlic lady


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