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Coastal Cuisine – An Olympic Peninsula Edible Adventure

Supplement to the February 29, 2012 issue of the Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader


Coastal Cuisine ≈

An

An Olympic Peninsula Edible Adventure February 29, 2012

3 GET HAPPY WITH CRAB What tastes fresh like the Olympic Peninsula? Crab cakes, of course. Tell us where you find them on your adventure with Coastal Cuisine.

The Olympic Peninsula Loop Culinary Tourism Association Invites You to

4 TIDBITS

What’s cooking and new on the Olympic Peninsula? Check out the cuisine at the local hospital, Jefferson Healthcare, in Port Townsend. Graham Kerr has eaten there with chef Arran Stark.

6 CULINARY ADVENTURES

Wine and cheese together. Lavender-scented pizza. Festivals with mountains of crab and piles of oysters. Bear stew, anyone? It’s a gastronomic adventure at big events on the Olympic Peninsula.

10 FOOD FOR THOUGHT

It’s about being social: Chef Neil Conklin of Bella Italia Restaurant in Port Angeles talks about why he got into the business and about Twilight-inspired Bella’s Mushroom Ravioli.

12 MOVABLE FEAST

Where can you get razor clam sausages, Jose’s Famous Salsa, Nash’s carrots and so much more? Every farmers market has something special. Find out when they’re open.

14 COOK’S PARADISE

Plan your culinary itinerary and experience Olympic Coast Cuisine – all within reach of Highway 101!

www.OlympicCulinaryLoop.com

Pane d’Amore Artisan Bakery

Catherine Kapp offers tips about how to pick mussels – and a recipe on how to flex them onto the dinner plate.

18 TASTING NOTES

There’s a treasure trove of new breweries and pubs on the peninsula – and a cranberry winery, too. ON THE COVER: Castle Key Restaurant at Manresa Castle serves these crab cakes with an Asian slaw. Chef Jimmy Snyder made them one day and we took them to “The End of the World,” a local dead-end perfect for submarine-watching near North Beach in Port Townsend. So, no, the photo wasn’t edited in Photoshop. It’s real and it’s by Nicholas Johnson.

≈ Coastal Cuisine: An Olympic Peninsula Edible Adventure PUBLISHER Scott Wilson EDITOR Allison Arthur DESIGN & LAYOUT Marian Roh PHOTOGRAPHERS Allison Arthur Nicholas Johnson Catherine Kapp James Robinson

WRITERS Allison Arthur Catherine Kapp James Robinson COPY EDITORS Lynn Nowak Sunny Parsons Renae Reed ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Sara Radka

CONTACT The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader 226 Adams Street Port Townsend, WA 98368 360.385.2900 website: ptleader.com

2 ❘ February 2012 ❘ COASTAL CUISINE: AN OLYMPIC PENINSULA EDIBLE ADVENTURE

Award-winning Bread & Pastry Port Townsend, WA • 360-385-1199 Sequim, WA • 360-681-3280 Bainbridge Isl., WA • 206-780-1902

www.panedamore.com The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader


editor’s note

Get happy with Dungeness crab Fresh crab makes me incredibly happy. Maybe because it’s one of those foods that make memories. And that’s what I think you’ll find on the Olympic Peninsula. Great food that will make delicious memories. My first taste of fresh crab was in the San Juan Islands years ago when I was living at Cape San Juan. A friend and I went wading along a nearby beach, hip deep in water, to find a crab or two to cook for dinner. Yes, with our bare hands. It was a stunning, warm day and after beachcombing for crab, we got out a recipe book. No Googling back then. We cooked ’em, cracked ’em, ate ’em with melted butter. And beer. And enjoyed a free meal thanks to the sea around us. It was a rich experience. Last summer another friend, who owns a waterfront cabin on Discovery Bay, invited my family out for fresh Dungeness crab. But first, we had to help reel them in. My daughters, now about the age I was back in the San Juans, went out in a boat and helped pull up dinner. They came bounding back from the adventure, wet, salty, smiling. These days, of course, there are seasons for crab gathering and state rules and licenses to boot – both of which my friends followed, of course. I don’t think I did back in the San Juans. Somewhere along the coast, I learned about crab cakes. Since then, I’ve been on a quest to find the perfect crab cake recipe, which, of course, entails eating around, so to speak. There’s no better place to go “fishing” for that recipe than on the Olympic Peninsula, where Dungeness crab is king. Although I would love to have the time to eat at every restaurant on the peninsula, that’s just not practical. So, let me confess, first of all, that I love the crab cakes at pretty much every restaurant where I’ve eaten them – especially at Castle Key Restaurant at Manresa Castle in The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader

slight tug of a fork, not pasty and compact. Lumps of crab meat should present themselves like Marilyn Monroe in a Playboy photo shoot, pure but indelibly sexy!” Crab as a food goddess, a dripping wet, ready-to-be-devoured luscious, edible treat.

≈ A perfect crab cake should be flaky enough to fall apart with the slight tug of a fork, not pasty and compact. Lumps of crab meat should present themselves like Marilyn Monroe in a Playboy photo shoot, pure but indelibly sexy! Tom Douglas Seattle chef, author of I Love Crab Cakes

≈ Port Townsend (651 Cleveland St., 360-379-1990) . Chef Jimmy Snyder told me recently when he first ate crab cakes at Manresa he knew he wanted to live in Port Townsend and work for the chef whose cakes he admired. Now, of course, he’s in charge of making those tasty morsels at the restaurant. He serves them with an Asian slaw that’s delicious.

ask Seattle chef Tom Douglas for his thoughts about the perfect crabcake. Douglas wrote the book on crab cakes, literally. I Love Crab Cakes! 50 recipes for an American classic, is still available. Here’s what Douglas wrote in response: “A perfect crab cake should be flaky enough to fall apart with the

Truly, food is so fresh and delicious here that we hope you’ll come and then share what you discover about Coastal Cuisine. Where did you find the best crab cakes? I want to know! Connect with us on Facebook at Port Townsend Jefferson County Leader. “Friend” us and then tell us what you’ve found on the Olympic Peninsula that you’ve enjoyed and what you will come back for – or want to try next. We’d like to learn from you, too.

I think it was Port Angeles chef Neil Conklin who suggested we

A Very Good Crab Cake This recipe began with Burt Wolf’s Eating Well book and has been modified over the years, influenced by other crab cake recipes and eating out – a lot. 1 cup mayonnaise (homemade is best) 2 Tablespoons lemon juice 1 teaspoon ground ginger 4 teaspoons of seasoning mix made of fresh herbs (salt, pepper, paprika, dill, parsley – amounts to taste) ¼ cup finely chopped red pepper 2 Tablespoons fresh chives

Maybe it will be crab. Maybe you’ll discover your true love is mussels or oysters.

4 cups fresh Dungeness crabmeat

That’s the point of it all, in any event: Coastal Cuisine is dedicated to helping you discover – no, experience – your food.

more breadcrumbs for dredging

So wade in. Get wet. Get your hands on it. Fall in love with your food all over again. – Allison Arthur

The 3 Crabs in Sequim (11 Three Crabs Road, 360-683-4264) is one of the better-known places on the peninsula for all things Dungeness. It’s a no-nonsense, 50-year-old-plus restaurant on the beach that has been written up in more publications than can be named. But what they say is true. It’s a destination place for crab – in oh-so-many ways. Yes, I’ve eaten there, too. But what should you look for in a crab cake? How to describe it?

recipe

¼ cup cracker crumbs or stale breadcrumbs

Sauce ¼ cup mustard ½ cup mayonnaise 4 teaspoons lemon juice Vegetable oil for sautéing 1. Combine mayo, lemon juice, ginger, seasonings and finely chopped red peppers, crabmeat and cracker crumbs and blend thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour or less depending on when you want to eat. 2. Pour enough oil to cover the bottom of a large frying pan. Heat the oil.

Crab cakes made from crab you’ve caught are the best. But there are plenty of places to buy fresh crab on the Olympic Peninsula and lots of restaurants that serve them.

3. Form chilled crab mixture into patties, using about ½ cup for each cake. Dredge the patties in bread crumbs and carefully place in the hot oil. Cook for two to three minutes on each side. Turn the crab cakes over very carefully. Add more oil if necessary. Place crabcakes on a paper towel and serve as quickly as possible. 4. Mix sauce and serve on the side.

Coastal Cuisine: An Olympic Peninsula Edible AdventurE ❘ February 2012 ❘ 3


Fresh organic produce

local meats & cheeses

every day great prices

live foods, juice bar & organic coffee daily

everyone welcome!

tidbits

What’s new, hot on peninsula? Port Townsend – Where can you find fresh produce cooked with your health in mind? Check out Jefferson Healthcare Hospital, where Port Townsend’s famous chef Arran Stark took the helm as executive chef. Even international chef Graham Kerr stopped for a bite on his way to the Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival. Kerr dined on delicata squash, Swiss chard and a roulade made of beef from Roger Short’s farm in Chimacum and pork and vegetables from Nash’s Organic Produce in Sequim. Potatoes came from Colinwood Farm in Port Townsend.

www.foodcoop.coop

414 Kearney

360 385-2883

Elsewhere in Port Townsend, Picnic is set to open some time in March at 810 Water St. Pam and Tim Nebel plan to offer foods made locally as well as pre-packaged gourmet foods from all over the world.

Italian by Name

Have a Festival in Your Own Galley! Affordable, unbreakable dishware, nautical glassware, NW cookbooks, colorful dishtowels & napkins order online: shop.woodenboat.org

~ Est. 1996 ~

Featuring fresh Olympic Coast Cuisine 360-457-5442 118 East First Street Port Angeles, WA 98362 Open 7 days at 4pm

431 Water St. / Point Hudson Open 7 Days • 10-5 360-385-3628 ext. 101

www.bellaitaliapa.com

Westport – Odysseus Greek Restaurant opened in February and will be serving up seafood – including oysters, of course. The restaurant is across the street from the lighthouse.

The Apothecarium espresso, coffee and teahouse opened at 1300 Water St., No. 103, across from the ferry terminal. Owners Aliza Finley and Beau Richards are serving up all sorts of coffee drinks and tea. Enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine at Necesito Burrito at 940 Water St. Sam Force and Jesse Rose offer burritos, tacos, tortas, combo plates

Local Foods by Nature

Graham Kerr and Arran Stark chat about food at Jefferson Healthcare Hospital. Leader photo

Tacos at Necesito Burrito are topped with pico de gallo, which is made with cabbage and citrus. Photo by Nicholas Johnson

Pottery from the Daily Bird is being used by chefs around the Northwest. Leader photo Huffman to craft specialty terra cotta dishes just for them. The “tasty” ware is so popular that the Huffmans have opened Daily Bird Pottery at 820 Water St. It features their cups, bowls and cookware. Some people say their “naked pottery” enhances flavor of wine and food.

Up the street on Sims Way, Metro Bagels, at the Thomas Street roundabout on State Route 20, has inside seating now.

Quilcene – The Plaid Pepper at 294773 U.S. Highway 101 is making a name for itself featuring gourmet and locally produced foods. Look for Princess Valiant coffee from Port Angeles. Debbie and Larry Williams work both the store and a gourmet hotdog stand outside. Check out the oyster dog. Yes, oyster dog.

Restaurants and chefs from throughout the Northwest have commissioned Phoebe and Darby

Sequim – Jose’s Famous Salsa is expanding its line of fresh salsas to include ceviche and tamales.

and more. Nearby, Gina Landon, owner of Sweet P.T. candy shop at 1034 Water St., packs a lot of goodies in her little shop.

4 ❘ February 2012 ❘ Coastal Cuisine: An Olympic Peninsula Edible Adventure

Hama Hama – The Hama Hama Oyster Company has a new oyster called the Blue Pool. Retail manager Lissa James says it has a different flavor than the Pacific oyster. It’s a little sweeter, creamier and more earthy than fruity. Look for it at farmers markets and in Seattle at Metropolitian Market. Port Angeles – Bella’s Mushroom Ravioli, inspired by the book Twilight, is now a frozen entrée thanks to Bella Italia Restaurant. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Quileute Tribal School and Forks High School. The delicious entrée is also available at the restaurant in downtown Port Angeles. Bainbridge Island – Chef Greg Atkinson will be opening Marché, a French restaurant on Bainbridge Island this spring. Atkinson loves the Olympic Peninsula and is an advocate of using local fresh food, especially from farmers markets. Got other news? Send it to news@ ptleader.com with Cuisine 2012 in the subject line.

The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader


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Your Seat is Open! Since 1967, the original Soda Fountain has drawn locals with malts, shakes, sundaes – and they return for hefty breakfasts and traditional lunches. The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader

The Soda Fountain inside

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360-385-2622 Coastal Cuisine: An Olympic Peninsula Edible AdventurE ❘ February 2012 ❘ 5


culinary adventures

What’s cooking on the peninsula MARCH 3

APRIL 14-15

Ocosta Booster Club Crab Feed serves all the crab you can eat for $20. Event is noon-7 p.m. at old Ocasta School at milepost 35 on State Highway 105. ocostarechall.org

Northwest Wine & Cheese Tour pairs Olympic Peninsula wineries and local cheesemakers, and the result is a tour of culinary delight, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Find a designated driver to truly enjoy. Tickets for tastings at all eight wineries and eight creameries are $30; also sold independently for $5 each. The tour is self-guided and includes a commemorative wine glass. 800-785-5495 olympicpeninsulawineries.org

MARCH 24 Sixth annual Razor Clam Festival at the Ocean Shores Convention Center in Ocean Shores includes professional and amateur chowder cook-offs. Fest also includes craft market, beer and wine bars, and lots of food. Admission is $3 for adults; free for children 12 and younger. 360289-2451. oceanshores.org

MAY 12 APRIL 14 Oysters have been keeping the Porter Grange open for more than 50 years, and they’ll do it again this year. Fried oysters, baked ham, potatoes, green beans, coleslaw and pie. It’s a sit-down dinner. $17 for adults, $15 for seniors. Noon-7 p.m. The Grange is west of Porter on Highway 12 on South Bank Road. 360-482-4110.

Decadent Dessert Auction, held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the Port Angeles Farmers Market, features baked goods from local restaurants, vendors and community members as a way to raise funds for the market. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. See portangelesfarmersmarket.com.

APRIL 21 “World-class” Crab Races & Crab Feed, which begins at noon in Westport, has food, crab races, music and more, down on the docks on Nyhus Street. Admission into the tent is $2. Dinner prices not yet set, approximately $12-$15. 800-3456223. experiencewestport.com

APRIL 28 “A Day in the Country” is the theme of the 15th annual AAUW Kitchen Tour in the Tri-Area, which includes fabulous kitchens in Center Valley. Tickets are $14 in advance at Chimacum Corner Farmstand, Dana Pointe Interiors, Dream City Market and Café, Kitchen & Bath Studio, Personalize It, What’s Cookin’, all in Jefferson County, and at Over the Fence in Sequim; $18 the day of the tour. For more information, call 360-385-2224 or go to aauwpt.org.

JUNE 9

Look for lots of oysters at the Hama Hama Oyster Rama, May 5. This couple is competing in a shuckathalon. Courtesy photo

MAY 5 Annual Ocosta Oyster Feed in Westport is a fundraising event for the club at the old Ocasta School site, at milepost 35 on Highway 105. Oysters come stewed, fried or steamed, and it’s all you can eat. Clam chowder and hotdogs, too. $15 per person; $7, children 12 and younger. ocostarechall.org

6 ❘ February 2012 ❘ COASTAL CUISINE: AN OLYMPIC PENINSULA EDIBLE ADVENTURE

Hama Hama Oyster Rama features an oyster school, a shuckathalon and lots of food, maybe even nettles, since Seattle-based bluegrass band Nettle Honey is playing. Runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Lilliwaup, on Highway 101. Sponsored by Hama Hama Oysters, but the event is a fundraiser for the Hood Canal Education Foundation. Buy tickets at hamahamastore.com in March and check the website for other tideflats events.

Fleur de Lis Festival & Art in the Vines, hosted by Westport Winery, offers a French marketplace experience with French onion soup for sale, a petanque tournament, a grapeplant sale, music, and cheese and wine tasting. Westport Winery is at 1 South Arbor Road in Aberdeen. No admission fee. 360-648-2224. westportwinery.org

JUNE 10 Co-op Kids Festival in Port Townsend takes place from 1 to 4 p.m. The free fest includes food samples, fresh local food, games and more at the Port Townsend

≈ Continued on page 8

The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader


Zoogʼs Texas Style BBQ every weekend noon - 6:30. Taste it to believe it! And those sides! 9122 Rhody Dr, Chimacum

Great Food, Good Company Breakfast Lunch & Dinner Espresso & Pastries

Sweet Laurette Café & Bistro www.sweetlaurette.com

1029 Lawrence St • 360-385-4886

The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader

COASTAL CUISINE: AN OLYMPIC PENINSULA EDIBLE ADVENTURE ❘ February 2012 ❘ 7


Events

October 3 Harvest Celebration Farm Tours through Washington State University offer close looks at farmers and food producers in Clallam County. Free, self-guided. 360-417-2279. friendsofthefields.org

≈ Continued from page 6 Food Co-op, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. 414 Kearney St. 360-385-2831, ext. 308, or foodcoop.coop.

October 6-7 June 14 Taste of Port Townsend features eateries throughout Port Townsend; sponsored by Port Townsend Main Street Program. See ptmainstreet.org.

Crush Me, Squeeze Me, Make Me Wine at Westport Winery includes all-ages grape stomping, food, contests, red wine grapes from eastern Washington. The free event is noon-5 p.m. 360-6482224. westportwinery.org

July 13-15

October 12-14

McCleary Bear Festival in McCleary features bear stew – yes, the real stuff – plus a carnival, big car show, parade, games, and 5K and 10K run. No admission fee. mcclearybearfestival.org

Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival takes place at the Port Angeles City Pier and Red Lion Hotel. Considered by some to be one of the best fall festivals on the coast, the free event celebrates seafood and the maritime world, but the focus is on the Dungeness crab. Big crab feed on Friday night, 4-8:30 p.m. Details at crabfestival.org.

July 20-22 Lavender Weekend in Sequim and Dungeness Valley has lavender farm tours, street vendors in downtown Sequim, and all local restaurants produce something with lavender, from lavender-and-strawberry pizza that’s “unbelievable” to lavender ice cream and tea. Self-guided tour with a fee for bus tour. sequimlavenderfarms.org

➧ More fresh food ideas: olympicculinaryloop.com

Lavender is everywhere in July and Sequim restaurants even offer lavender-infused foods. Courtesy photo

September 1 Annual Seafood Festival & Craft Show in Westport has all kinds of local seafood, crafts, music and fun at the Maritime Museum. Noon to 6 p.m. No admission fee. 800-345-6223. experiencewestport.com

September 8 Zucchini Jubilee in Oakville celebrates the wonderful harvest of zucchini. The local garden squash is honored, and there is a zucchini cookoff. 360-273-2702. oakville-wa.org

Brady’s Annual World-famous Oyster Feed takes place at Brady’s on Highway 105, just outside of Westport. On the menu: oyster stew, steamed oysters, barbecued oysters and clam chowder. $15, all you can eat; kids 12 and younger eat for free. Proceeds benefit clean water and scholarships. 800-3456223. experiencewestport.com

September 16

October 13-14 Cranberry Harvest Festival at Grayland Community Hall celebrates the tart berry, 10 a.m.5 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Sunday. Cranberry crafts, food, decorations, bog tours and more. Contact 800-473-6018 or experiencewestport.com.

October 19-21 Forage for your own mushrooms during the Mushroom Festival at Lake Quinault Lodge. The fest includes cooking demonstrations, lectures and a guided hunt. New events coming. Admission, $25. Not necessary to be a guest of the lodge to participate. 360-2882910. olympicnationalparks.com.

Come back More food-related events November 3 ≈ A Taste of the Peninsula, olympicpeninsula.org November 10-11 ≈ Harvest Wine Tour, olympicpeninsulawineries.org January 2013 ≈ Strange Brewfest, strangebrewfestpt. com February 2013 ≈ Red Wine & Chocolate Tour, olympicpeninsulawineries.org

10th annual Washington State University Farm Tour in Jefferson County showcases nearly 20 Jefferson County farms, which feature fresh produce, cheese, meat, dairy and lots of fresh, local food. The free, self-guided tour runs 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Check the Chimacum Corner Farmstand for details. 360-3795610. jefferson.wsu.edu

September 27

Select farms throughout Jefferson County are open to the public on Sept. 16. Leader file photo

10th annual Friends of the Fields 100-mile dinner features local foods. Event begins at 5:30 p.m. at Guy Cole Convention Center, Carrie Blake Park, in Sequim. Meal, music and silent auction help protect local farmland. For details, see friendsofthefields.org.

8 ❘ February 2012 ❘ Coastal Cuisine: An Olympic Peninsula Edible Adventure

Look for breakfast at the Port Townsend Farmers Market, including a salmon sandwich with egg. Leader Photo The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader


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The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader

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Coastal Cuisine: An Olympic Peninsula Edible AdventurE ❘ February 2012 ❘ 9


food for thought

Neil Conklin: It’s all abo N

eil Conklin came to the Olympic Peninsula more than 20 years ago to start an organic garlic farm and never expected to stay. Instead, he’s taken root on the peninsula, coining the term Olympic Coastal Cuisine, helping to found the Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival and establishing Bella Italia, a fine-dining Italian restaurant in Port Angeles. Like other chefs on the peninsula, Conklin defines the cuisine as being fresh and local. A third of the menu at the restaurant features fresh produce growing on the peninsula, fresh seafood from Neah Bay and Quileute, fresh Dungeness crab from Sequim, and mussels and clams from Hood Canal. And fresh vegetables, of course. Conklin also is making headlines as an entrepreneur. His restaurant is featured in Stephenie Meyer’s book Twilight as the place where heroine Bella Swan had a first date with heartthrob vampire Edward Cullen. Bella ordered the mushroom ravioli; Edward didn’t eat, for obvious reasons. Conklin created Bella’s Mushroom Ravioli, which was well-received at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. Always a fan of what Paul Newman did with his salad dressing – giving a portion to charity – part of the proceeds of the ravioli sales will benefit the Quileute Tribal School and Forks High School, “both of which are part of the legend and always deserve the spotlight.” Single, Conklin admits he’s married to his restaurant and perhaps a bit to the Olympic Peninsula. Although Conklin has handed chef duties to Dave Senters, he caters special events and loves to experiment. He recently started a culinary relationship with Brussels sprouts, a crop that excels on the peninsula. The Leader sat down to talk with him over a cup of coffee but ended up enjoying two small platters of food, organic squash mashed with Gorgonzola and a black mouth salmon that melted in the mouth. It was hard to stay focused. At the mention of crab cakes, out came a plate of them with roasted red pepper linguine. And a glass of house wine, Bella Italia Sangiovese, which Conklin and his employees blend themselves at Walla Walla Vintners. Conklin loves to eat and he loves to share. With all that food and wine around, Conklin remains in shape by biking, doing yoga, measuring his food and checking himself in on a treadmill.

Sit in a corner window seat at Bella Italia at 118 East First St. in Port Angeles and you are apt to see logging trucks pass by outside on the downtown street. Owner Neil Conklin wants his restaurant to be inviting to everyone, including people who’ve been hiking for a day on the beach or in the mountains. 10 ❘ February 2012 ❘ COASTAL CUISINE: AN OLYMPIC PENINSULA EDIBLE ADVENTURE

What is your background with food and what is your favorite memory? My first inspiration in the kitchen was my mom, who always had me sautéing the mushrooms

for the grilled steak. It was a fun task but for some reason about only half of the mushrooms made it to the table. I just love to eat mushrooms. But my first real experience I owe to my grandmother Ethel, who was Scottish. She made meat pies. That deeper level of family ethnic connection was from her. It got me cooking as a social activity. So were you inspired to start a restaurant because of that? The restaurant itself came to fruition because at that time there wasn’t a fine dining Italian restaurant. We would go to Port Townsend to a restaurant called Café Piccolo. This is back in ’89 or ’90. I moved to the Olympic Peninsula in 1989 with a group of students from Evergreen and started an organic garlic farm on Deer Park Road called Frog Creek Farm. It was a typical idealistic back-to-theland adventure. What did you want to do before this? When I returned to school it was definitely to learn to farm. But I did have a background in technology and I had been an entrepreneur. I started, with a friend, Salmon Bay Fish Company, which was a smoked seafood business. We did that in the mid ’80s. So you’ve been around the Northwest with food? The little restaurant experience I had before this was working in a fine French restaurant on the top of the Seafirst Bank building called the Mirabeau. I was in the kitchen for a while and on the floor. I did both.

Chef Neil C pleased wi 500 wines mix themse

It In all

I never knew I was going to end up on the Olympic Peninsula. When I was moved to Seattle I worked for a computer business in Redmond and turned down a job with Microsoft in 1982 to work for a smaller company. So why food and not computers? I love to be in a social atmosphere. Whenever I invite someone over to my house for dinner it’s not for them to sit down at the table and expect a meal to be served. It’s for them to join me in the kitchen and help prepare it. And vice versa. When I go to someone’s home, I just love the social interaction of cooking with people. What about your experiences with food on the peninsula? One of the experiences I had that introduced me to the Northwest on a root level was working with the Quileute tribe in 1989. I helped coordinate the Paddle to Seattle. I helped run a kitchen that went from LaPush to Seattle and back and it was an extraordinary time. I made contacts with tribes all round the coast.

documenting kitchen.

Mirella Lore a Quileute fa I smoked the smoked salm

Do you co days? Not as much do prep work over 50 cove do large-scal stayed pretty

What’s new Olympic Pe A third of ou the Culinary what’s fresh farm we can year-round.

The Port Townsend & Jefferson County


l about being social – and going fresh

me it to

stories. What was it like at Cape Flattery today? Was the sun shining at Hurricane Ridge? How was your walk on the spit? What did you see? That’s part of the environment. I think that’s what makes the food taste so good. We have clean air and the soils are fertile. We’re really fortunate.

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a

Foodwise, what are you enjoying, experimenting with? We’ve turned more people on to Brussels spouts. My latest joy with Brussels spouts is to deconstruct them. I did a main course with Neah Bay black cod. It’s like heaven, so buttery. I served that on top of some garlic fried potatoes. And then it was served in a truffled mushroom broth with a winter vegetable confetti of Nash’s red beets, orange carrots and parsnips. I confettied everything into a fine dice and then I put Brussels spouts leaves around. They were almost like rose petals, in the broth.

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Chef Neil Conklin is known for coining the phrase Olympic Coastal Cuisine, but he’s also pleased with his reputation for wine. Bella Italia Restaurant in Port Angeles has more than 500 wines on its list and the house wine, Bella Italia Sangiovese, is one he and his employees mix themselves at Walla Walla Vintners. Photos by Allison Arthur

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≈ It’s easy for me to get excited about food from here. In all the traveling that I’ve been able to do, I always feel like I can come home and eat better.

≈ Today, we buy most of our fish from the Quileute and Makah [tribes]. During that time there was an Italian woman documenting the trip and she got involved in the kitchen. Mirella Lorena Beneditti and I made a dinner for a Quileute family. She made hand-rolled pasta and I smoked the salmon. I grew the leeks. We made a smoked salmon fettuccine. It’s on the menu. Do you cook at the restaurant these days? Not as much any longer. On occasion I do prep work. Once we started doing over 50 covers a night I got out. But I do large-scale events. The menu has stayed pretty much consistent. What’s new in cuisine on the Olympic Peninsula? A third of our menu is fresh sheet. You’ll see it on the Culinary Loop. It’s going to be a new push of what’s fresh today. Thanks to Nash Huber and his farm we can have some kind of fresh vegetable year-round.

wnsend & Jefferson County Leader

We just take what comes out of the field and make our own interpretations of it. It’s basically taking local ingredients and making Italian interpretations. Our chef Dave Senters is a master of risotto. We use a rice from just outside Milan from a farm that Dave has actually worked on. We’ve spent time in Italy going to cooking festivals. He’s even taught chefs over there how to do it for large audiences. So the menu you have is Italian with a twist of the coast? The beauty of this menu is that you can come in and have spaghetti and meatballs if you want … or you can have whatever comes off the coast. Tonight we’re serving, from Neah Bay, grilled black mouth king salmon with a pinot noir sauce and an Oregon truffle-scented risotto. So you eat here a lot and it’s not just about being a fancy restaurant? Oh yeah, when I see things like that on the menu. You don’t want to be just a fine dining restaurant. We enjoy living here, too, so we enjoy hearing the

You get excited when you talk about food. How so? It’s easy for me to get excited about food from here. In all the traveling that I’ve been able to do, I always feel like I can come home and eat better. I think it has to do with the quality of the ingredients, the closeness of the producers. We don’t have to go far to have extraordinary produce, fish, berries. That brings a microenvironment to this notion of creating a cuisine. Tell us about your mushroom ravioli that’s featured in the Twilight book. We’ve gotten entrepreneurial with Bella’s Mushroom Ravioli. We’re starting to ship it all over the country. We’ve gotten some rave reviews. [Author] Stephenie Meyer chose us. We were doing mushroom ravioli before the book. We were just calling it Olympic Mushroom Ravioli. She called the restaurant and asked us what was on our menu and it was the fall and at the time we were running mushroom ravioli as a special. It was a couple of years before the phenomenon took off. But then all of a sudden people saw we had been written up in the book. It’s been in a blessing in disguise. But it has had a price. In the thick of it, we would have a line out the front before we opened, about three years ago. We’ve remained intact. We still do what we do. It’s [the entrée] at Sunny Farms. It’s an all-natural product, no GMOs. It’s a high quality frozen entrée. People are raving about it. That brings up the economy. How are restaurants doing on the Olympic Peninsula? The restaurant business has been glorified by TV. It’s a difficult business inherently, but when your costs keep go

up, it’s a challenge. I’m part of the Washington Restaurant Association lobbying committee and so the minimum wage is an issue that challenges all restaurants. Restaurants are the largest employer in the state. We hire more people than Boeing. What challenges us on the Olympic Peninsula is seasonality. You basically make money for six months and lose it for the other. So one of your best skills is managing cash flow, once you figure that out and figure out the lean times. It’s like farming. If you don’t put up your hay, the cows aren’t going to eat. It’s a challenge but it’s also a labor of love. What do you know about food that you wish other people knew? You really should eat more vegetables. I would say three quarters of your diet should be vegetables. I’ve started juicing and that’s helped me get more vegetables. I do a morning juice. I base it with almond milk, some citrus, some frozen berries, kale or chard, carrots, apples and I also add a rice and pea protein powder my naturopath recommended. Crab is a big deal on the peninsula. You have crab cakes? Oh, we have the best. The parent company of Bella Italia is called the Olympic Coast Cuisine Inc. I run a business called the Dungeness Crab Cake Company and at the crab festival [Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival in Port Angeles] I served over 600 pounds of crab cakes. I don’t know if anyone else has ever done that. At the restaurant, we serve them with a linguini with red roasted peppers. I don’t think you need a sauce. We put a little spice in it. It’s got diced celery and red peppers. It’s kind of a totem food, if you will. Wine is a big deal for you, is that right? Over the years we’ve become good friends at Walla Wall Vintners and so subsequently we’ve been making this domestic Chianti. I take my staff out there and we blend it and bottle it. We go out a couple of times a year. We taste barrels throughout the year. We’re also aware of all the local producers and serve their wine as well. You have some thoughts about food that are important to share? I’ve gotten philosophical. There are ideas about terroir, where you can taste the soil and the climate where the grape was grown. There’s also an idea called merroir where you can taste the flavors of the ocean in the seafood you eat. – Interviewed by Allison Arthur

COASTAL CUISINE: AN OLYMPIC PENINSULA EDIBLE ADVENTURE ❘ February 2012 ❘ 11


movable feast

To market, to market

F

resh vegetables picked and pulled that morning. Salmon line-caught by the family that’s selling it. Kimchi made by the woman whose farm you passed on your way into town. Cheese you can watch being made at the factory up the street.

Sunday market: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sundays, starting May 20 and ending in October. 9122 Rhody Drive at the Chimacum Corner Farmstand.

There’s a breeze, and the smell of baked goods mingles with the sounds of live music. People talking about the book sale in the community center. Do you smell lavender sachets? Crab cakes? Steaming tamales?

Info: JeffersonCountyFarmersMarket. org or 360-379-9098

You can experience all this and more at farmers markets throughout the Olympic Peninsula – from the tiny Port Ludlow market on Fridays to the Saturday market in Port Townsend, judged by the Washington State Farmers Market Association as the best large market in Washington, to the Sequim Open Aire Market, the market in Port Angeles and the Grays Harbor Public Market, which is open all year around and located indoors, complete with a bakery and deli.

Port Ludlow Farmers Market Just in time to celebrate Mother’s Day, this market is open on Fridays starting on May 11. Fresh, locally grown vegetables and fruit, fresh salmon, grass-fed beef, free-range eggs and artisan baked goods are among the goodies. Artisans offer handmade items, and there are lots of plant starts for sale.

All offer fresh local produce and all provide a taste of their communities and their cuisine. So take the map, remember the hours, go and enjoy. Port Townsend Farmers Market

clams and oysters, tamales, bagels and other delectable edibles.

Honored as the best big market in the state of Washington in 2011, the Port Townsend Farmers Market hosts more than 70 vendors, offering everything from locally grown produce to fresh clams, oysters and salmon, and even local beef, chicken and pork, as well as several kinds of locally made cheese, artisan breads and specialty foods. You’ll also find authentic English jams, farmer-made kimchi, paprika, chocolate and a whole lot more. For noshing on the spot, there is wood-fired pizza, grilled

Saturday market: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., from April 7 through December. Uptown on Tyler Street; ATM available at the market. Wednesday market: 3-6 p.m., from June 20 through September. Polk & Lawrence streets. Info: JeffersonCountyFarmersMarket. org or 360-379-9098

Friday market: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday, from May 11 through Sept. 28. Village Market at Oak Bay and Paradise Bay roads. Laurette Feit, owner of Sweet Laurette Café & Bistro in Port Townsend, brings a small wagon to the Port Townsend Farmers Market to stock up on fresh vegetables, wild mushrooms, organic eggs and flowers for her restaurant. Photo by Allison Arthur

Info: PortLudlowToday.com or 360-4370882 Sequim Open Aire Market

Chimacum Farmers’ Market Like its sister market in Port Townsend, the Chimacum Farmers’ Market features local produce and meats raised in Jefferson County, as well as a variety of breads and

12 ❘ February 2012 ❘ Coastal Cuisine: An Olympic Peninsula Edible Adventure

baked goods, and tamales. Check out the food booths, one of which serves barbecued pork and beef. The market also features handmade products from local farms, including goat-milk soap.

This Saturday market features Nash’s Organic Produce, lavender and lavender products, honey, Jose’s Famous Salsa, plants, flowers and succulents, in addition

≈ Continued on page 16

The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader


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COASTAL CUISINE: AN OLYMPIC PENINSULA EDIBLE ADVENTURE ❘ February 2012 ❘ 13


cook’s paradise

Flex those mussels! Walk into a high-end eatery in New York or Washington and you may be surprised to see some familiar place names: Olympia, Dungeness and Hama Hama. For with its cold and relatively pristine waters, the Olympic Peninsula is one of the world’s premier sources of fine crab and shellfish. What you are very unlikely to see, however, are mussels. This is not because our mussels are subpar – far from it, they are among the finest in the world – but because mussels are more fragile than their crustier relatives and can’t be stored or shipped as easily. Best enjoyed within a day of harvest, fresh mussels have a sweet, briny taste that is ambrosial but fleeting, making them the quintessential food for local eating. Here on the peninsula, you will commonly find two varieties: the smaller Penn Cove or the larger, plumper Mediterranean, both delicious. No matter the type, look for mussels with glowing shells. Don’t be embarrassed to smell them. They should smell like a fresh breeze from the sea. If there is any hint of gaminess, instantly move on to another vendor. Allow about one-half to three-quarters of a pound of mussels per serving and ask that they be packed with ice in a plastic bag. When you get home from the market, immediately remove them from the bag, put them in a bowl of ice, cover with a wet towel, and place them in the refrigerator. While their more robust relatives bask in the assertive society of red wine, garlic and hearty tomato sauces, mussels fare best in more restrained company: White wine, cream, butter, a small amount of seasoning seem to suit their delicate nature.

Delicate mussels like to keep restrained company, such as that of dry white wine and cream.

RECIPE

Olympic Peninsula Mussels

Servings: 3 generous dinner servings or 6 lunch-size servings Prep time: 20 minutes 2 pounds mussels 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter 2 shallots, minced (about 2 Tablespoons)

keep warm. Reserve the broth.

2. In a large, deep-sided pan, heat the butter until foamy. Add the shallots, leek, herbs and curry powder, and cook briefly to release the flavors, about 1 minute.

For the lean version: Portion the mussels into serving bowls, pour on the broth, garnish with parsley and serve.

3. Drain the mussels, add them to the pan and toss to coat, then add the wine. 4. Cover and simmer until mussels open, about 5 minutes. 5. Remove the mussels from the broth with a slotted spoon. Discard any mussels that did not open and place the remainder in a casserole or bowl and cover to

For the rich version: Whisk the egg yolk into the cream. Heat the broth as above, then whisk in the cream-yolk mixture and stir until the sauce thickens slightly. (Watch it carefully and remove from heat before it boils or it will curdle.) Portion and serve as above.

1/2 cup minced leek, white part only

The following recipe can be made in two ways: the first one, lean; the second, rich and luxurious with cream. Either way, the mussels are the stars.

2 Tablespoons minced Italian parsley

Sweet-salty salad: Don’t be put off by the rather strange combination of Parmesan cheese and citrus in the suggested salad. It, too, has sweetness and saltiness, smoothness and piquancy, echoing and complementing the flavors of the mussels. Out of everyday ingredients they make a sumptuous and sophisticated pair.

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced

On the side: Serve this meal with a great baguette – for example, the classic French style from Pane d’Amore – to sop up the delicious soupy broth.

knife or scissors.

1 small bay leaf, crushed

1/2 teaspoon curry powder 1 cup dry white wine 1 cup heavy cream 1 egg yolk Parsley for garnish

Catherine Kapp writes a monthly food column for the Leader.

1. Rinse the mussels quickly under cold running water and remove the beards (the fibrous attachment threads) with a paring

14 ❘ February 2012 ❘ Coastal Cuisine: An Olympic Peninsula Edible Adventure

Pair this mussel recipe with some salty-sweet citrus salad. Photos by Catherine Kapp The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader


recipe

Orange & Parmesan Salad

Servings: 4 Preparation time: 10 minutes The zing of this salad comes from the contrast of the sweetness of the citrus and the saltiness of the Parmesan and pistachios, so make sure the fruit is ripe and sweet. Use the best Parmesan you can afford and use a vegetable peeler or sharp knife to make the shavings. 4 cups arugula, washed and gently dried 1 large, bright navel orange or 4 tangerines 4 tablespoons finely minced red onion 1/2 large avocado, sliced lengthwise into 12 slices

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Coastal Cuisine – An Olympic Peninsula Edible

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1 Tablespoon olive oil* 2 teaspoons wine vinegar ** 1. Crush the garlic with the flat edge of a knife or cleaver and rub it, with the salt, in the salad bowl.

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2. Add the arugula, orange, onion and avocado. 3. Sprinkle with olive oil and toss gently – just enough to coat. Sprinkle on the vinegar; toss gently again. Taste and adjust the amount of oil* and vinegar** as desired. 4. Place a portion of salad onto each serving dish, then top with the pistachios and cheese shavings. Serve immediately.

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Coastal Cuisine: An Olympic Peninsula Edible AdventurE ❘ February 2012 ❘ 15


Market

≈ Continued from page 12 to a fine selection of art and jewelry, recycled and reclaimed products, soaps, wood products, baked goods and chocolate. New this year is gluten-free buckwheat flour. Saturday market: 9 a.m.-3 p.m., beginning on May 5. Cedar Street, Sequim. Info: SequimMarket.com or 360460-2668

Port Angeles Farmers Market This year-round market offers fresh shellfish, Jose’s Famous Salsa, tamales, shrimp ceviche, organic bread, produce, eggs, honey and jam. Grass-fed meats for sale include beef, pork and lamb. There are also local handcrafts, such as baskets and pottery, for sale. Saturday market: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., year-round; Wednesday

≈ In summertime, I probably get 99 percent of my produce and fruit from the market. Laurette Feit Sweet Laurette Café & Bistro, Port Townsend

≈ market, 2:30-5:30 p.m., starting in mid-June and running through September. Downtown at Gateway Transit Center on Front and Lincoln streets. Info: PortAngelesFarmersMarket. com or 360-460-0361

Forks Open Air Market Look for a variety of items at the market beginning in June. Saturday market: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., from mid-May to mid-October. (Exact opening date unavailable at press time.) The market is at 1421 S. Forks Ave., next to the Forks Visitor Center and Timber Museum. Info: olympicpeninsula.org

Grays Harbor Public Market Because it’s on the coast and you just never know about the weather, Hoquiam has an indoor farmers’ market that’s open year around. The market and co-op sit on the riverfront, so there’s a great view

Shoppers check out what’s fresh at Nash’s Organic Produce stand at the Port Angeles Farmers Market. Courtesy photo to boot. More than 45 vendors offer local produce. Check out the wild blackberry jam and the pastries. Farmers bring in plants and bulbs, and there’s everything from Anthony’s razor clam sausages to alpaca yarns. Nancy Lachel’s pies are a big draw. Daily market: Daily in the summer, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays in the winter, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (officially; when the bakery staff is in, they will help anyone who walks through the door). 1958 Riverside, Hoquiam. Info: GHPublicMarket.com or 360538-9747

Shelton Farmers Market Everything is local at the Shelton Farmers Market, and there’s hope that the market will grow. Find organically grown produce, baked goods, flowers and plants, music and handcrafted goods. The first Saturday of each month is kids’ day. The market includes live entertainment from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

16 ❘ February 2012 ❘ Coastal Cuisine: An Olympic Peninsula Edible Adventure

Nancy Lachel makes about a dozen kinds of pies for the Grays Harbor Public Market and is the market’s top draw. Courtesy photo by Barbara Bennett Parsons Saturdays: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., from May 5 to the last Saturday in September. Third Street between

Cedar and Franklin, in downtown Shelton, behind the post office. Info: SheltonFarmersMarket.com

The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader


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17 ❘ February 2012 ❘ Coastal Cuisine: An Olympic Peninsula Edible Adventure

The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader


tasting notes

F

Passions fermented, fermenting

or travelers keen to pursue their passion for all things fermented, the Olympic Peninsula’s four counties offer a trove of new and exciting tasting destinations for virtually every persuasion and palate. In Grays Harbor County on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, the community – virtual and otherwise – is abuzz with the opening of Westport Brewing Company. The January launch of this downtown Westport watering hole featured a variety of brews including: Wetsuit Wheat, Cohasset Cream Ale, Horizontal Lager, Kaleidoscope Kolsch, Sailor’s Delight Amber, Navigator IPA, Plank Island Porter, Dungeness Dark CDA and Shoalwater Stout. The taproom is at 118 W. Pacific Ave. in Westport. Beer lovers can follow the brewery on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-the-minute information on operating hours,

new or special releases and special events. Also in Westport, Cranberry Road Winery sits poised to expand from its humble beginnings as a garage-based wine-making project into a 4,200-square-foot production facility slated for construction at 2858 South Forrest Road. Cranberry Road Winery makes two types of cranberry wines from whole cranberries grown in Grayland. The production facility project also includes a tasting room, which is scheduled to open to the public this summer. Farther north on the peninsula along the Straight of Juan de Fuca, travelers can find Wind Rose Cellars, one of the newest players on the Clallam County winemaking scene. Wind Rose – led by the husband and wife winemaking team of David Volmut and Jennifer States – is

dedicated to the Italian varietals dolcetto, barbera, primitivo and nebbiolo. The couple sources their fruit from Washington’s Wahluke Slope, Red Mountain AVA (American Viticultural Area) and the 24k Vineyard. Wine lovers keen on Italian varietals can drop into the tasting room for a Friday evening or Saturday afternoon sampling of Wind Rose’s latest juice. The tasting room is in downtown Sequim at 155 B, West Cedar St. Visitors should call ahead for tasting room hours or to make an appointment at 360-358-5469. Wind Rose is also on the Web at windrosecellars.com. In Jefferson County, the most recent addition to Port Townsend’s drinking and dining scene is the Pourhouse – a craft beer taproom and bottle shop touting 12 rotating taps, 200 bottled beers for on-site or takehome consumption, growlers to go and a beer garden. Plans for the beer garden include space to host mobile food vendors, live music, a bocce ball court and a horseshoe pit. With 5-ounce, 10-ounce and 16-ounce pours, the menu encourages tasting and allows patrons to enjoy smaller portions of a wider variety of beers if they choose: Opportunities for custom samplers abound. In addition to featuring beers from Fremont Brewing Co., Georgetown Brewing Co., Anacortes Brewery, North Sound Brewing Co. in Mount Vernon, Flyers Restaurant & Brewery in Oak Harbor and Cascade Brewing Barrel House in Portland, Pourhouse owners Ned Herbert and Virginia Marston said they plan to offer some of Marston’s favorite canned beers, such as Colorado’s Oskar Blues, Philadelphia’s Victory Brewing

The Pourhouse recently opened at 2231 Washington St. in Port Townsend. A beer garden is planned. Photo by Nicholas Johnson 18 ❘ February 2012 ❘ Coastal Cuisine: An Olympic Peninsula Edible Adventure

Co., Portland’s Hair of the Dog Brewing Co. and Caldera Brewing Company in Ashland, Ore. Local cider, mead, and Washington state wines will also be featured on the menu. The Pourhouse is at 2231 Washington St., along Port Townsend’s boatyard waterfront.

James Robinson was the first editor of Coastal Cuisine. He left the Leader to pursue his other love, food and wine. James is currently food and beverage manager at the Resort at Port Ludlow’s Fireside Restaurant.

The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader


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19 ❘ February 2012 ❘ COASTAL CUISINE: AN OLYMPIC PENINSULA EDIBLE ADVENTURE

The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader


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fresh. local. unsurpassed. Breakfast I Lunch I Happy Hour I Dinner I Special Events Perched on the shores of Ludlow Bay and nestled just minutes from Jefferson County’s agricultural heartland, The Fireside Restaurant at The Resort At Port Ludlow offers the finest farm-to-table cuisine available on the Olympic Peninsula. With its award winning wine list, carefully selected and locally sourced seafood, meats, vegetables and artisanal ingredients, The Fireside is the superlative place for those passionate about food and drink.

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20 ❘ February 2012 ❘ Coastal Cuisine: An Olympic Peninsula Edible Adventure

The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader


Coastal Cuisine 2012