wonder the Lake Chelan area is already being called Washington’s “new Napa.” I stopped in at Timi Starkweather’s Fromaggio Bistro at its new can’t-miss-it location on Wapato Way. Starkweather has sold, made and taught cheesemaking and other cooking classes for more than 30 years. She has a popular radio show about food and wine and loves to show people around the bistro, which offers world cheeses, a daily selection of tapas and a wine bar. You can watch Sherry Palmiter make ice cream, gelato and fresh mozzarella through a large viewing window. “We always try to prepare some little surprises,” Starkweather said, while sampling a batch of steaming clams. Manson’s upsurge of new wineries, restaurants and entertainment is attracting tourists that have in the past stayed in Chelan, she said. “That’s not been done before.” After coffee and a scone at the bistro, I was ready to get back on the road. I stopped in at the Rivers Restaurant Super-Stop in Pateros to gas up and
Fromaggio Bistro in Manson is one of several new businesses that have popped up to augment Lake Chelan’s booming wine culture. More than 20 wineries can be found around the southeast end of the lake. met a couple of fishermen who had to show me the huge King salmon they had caught on the Columbia River that morning. Pateros — named for a village in the Philippine Islands by a pioneer who served there during the SpanishAmerican War — is a very friendly town at the confluence of the Methow and Columbia Rivers. A bakery stop at the Sweet Rivers Bakery is mandatory.
The Rivers Restaurant grills some of the best steaks served in North Central Washington. The drive up Highway 153 along the winding Methow River is a trip back in time. The mountain-cradled valley’s rolling pastures — antique farm equipment left where they stopped, dilapidated barns, grazing livestock — can lull you to dreaming of simpler, quieter times. Be careful not to nod off. Keep your wits sharp and eyes open for deer. More are hit by vehicles on this road than nearly anywhere else in the state. Many Methow Valley residents have indeed gone back to older times. It’s tough to earn a living in this region of remote and serene beauty. I made a few stops to visit with free-thinking entrepreneurs who have blended new world business sense with old-world concepts of sustainability. All are open for tours. A coffee stop at Blue Star Coffee Roasters in Twisp adds zip to my tour. This is no ordinary coffee. Owners Dan
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September / October 2013
Published on Aug 21, 2013