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Portland, Oregon food blog with many years worth of recipes, restaurant features, and food photos.

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Exploring Washington’s Lopez Island and Ursa Minor

Lopez Island, Washington

Last month, we traveled to Lopez Island, Washington which involves a ferry ride from Anacortes and a sense of adventure. Or at least a willingness to wait in a line of cars, drive onto a Washington State Ferry, and then enjoy the breezes off the Salish Sea as the ferry makes fairly good speed on its way to the sleepiest island in the San Juans.

Lopez Island may have earned its nickname (Slowpez Island) by being a little too laid-back and relaxed, but if you are on vacation, isn’t that what you want? And Lopez does not disappoint.

Lopez Island, Washington

The central hub, Lopez Village, is right off Fisherman’s Bay and has a few shops, some excellent restaurants, and a whole lot of wild bunnies hopping around its quaint and charming expanse. It’s about four miles from the ferry terminal, and while a car is the handiest way to get around the island, you could probably make due with a bike if you wanted a more low tech way to get into the village.

Lopez Island, Washington

Definitely worth visiting are Spencer Spit State Park on the island’s northeast side and Watmough Bay to the southeast. Actually, the whole island is only 29.81 square miles so you should make sure you plan a full day to drive around and explore. Get a little lost. When you work up an appetite and make your way back, there are a few noteworthy dining options.

Setsunai – It’s not just a noodle bar, but also a showcase for sauerkraut, kimchi, and other fermented goodies. Oh, but the noodles are all made by hand so you’re really going to want to get an udon or a ramen bowl. On the night we were there, they had live music out in the courtyard and seating both inside and out.

Haven Kitchen & Bar – Right on the water’s edge, this cozy and modern looking restaurant has a great drink list. The first day we had a snack here, I got a glass of wine, but on the second day, I just had to try the Arugula Martini (fresh organic arugula, hendrick’s gin, st. germain, fresh lime juice, cracked black pepper, agave nectar) and it was life-changing. And although on both visits we only split a plate and had a drink, I’d go back here again for a real lunch or dinner anytime.

Holly B’s Bakery – This busy bakery on twon’s main street is a delightful stop for a ham and cheese croissant or some kind of sweet or savory pastry. Go early because everyone else wants a savory croissant, an almond butterhorn, and a gooey cinnamon roll too!

Ursa Minor – This restaurant has its own manifesto from Chef Nick Coffey that expresses the aim to celebrate the edible bounty of Lopez Island and offer “a cuisine that defines this unique landscape.” It’s definitely more of a destination-type restaurant, and you could easily spend a couple of hours delighting in the plates and bowls that are presented to the table. If it’s in your budget, make a reservation for Ursa Minor, and taste everything that Lopez has to offer. They also do a chef’s tasting menu with advance notice.

Our meal from mid-May is shown below and honestly–I’m already plotting the next visit.

Lopez Island, Washington

Lopez Island, Washington

Lopez Island, Washington

Lopez Island, Washington

Lopez Island, Washington

Lopez Island, Washington

Ursa Minor
210 Lopez Road
Lopez Island, WA 98261

Holly B’s Bakery
211 Lopez Road
Lopez Island, WA 98261

Haven Kitchen & Bar
9 Old Post Road
Lopez Island, WA 98261

45 Eads Lane
Lopez Island, WA 98261

Tandoori-Spiced Salmon w/ Pickled Cucumber

Tandoori-Spiced Salmon

Hands down, this has become my most favorite salmon recipe. I came across it in Saveur Magazine and combined a lot of the steps and played around with the spices a little bit to better match what I had in my spice cabinet and ended up with this winner. This recipe does not use a completely traditional Tandoori spice mix, but I like to think it’s close enough in spirit? (My main spice swap is substituting smoked paprika for chili powder, but I think the smokiness adds an interesting note. If you don’t have smoked . . . → Read More: Tandoori-Spiced Salmon w/ Pickled Cucumber

Winter Cooking: Kale and Black Bean Mole Enchiladas

Kale and Black Bean Mole Enchiladas
Cold wintery weather calls for something with melted cheese and bubbling sauce, right? Yeah, that’s what I thought too. And it’s really hard to go wrong with Mole Enchiladas. And when you make them a little lighter with kale and black beans instead of chicken, it’s a dinner that’ll find its way into your rotation on a regular basis–maybe even for a Meatless Monday!

For this recipe, I specify an amount of mole sauce to use. Because here’s a confession–the handful of times I’ve made mole from scratch, it’s been um, . . . → Read More: Winter Cooking: Kale and Black Bean Mole Enchiladas

Winter Cooking: Chicken Goulash with Sour Cream Dumplings

Chicken Goulash with Sour Cream Dumplings

This is the blog post where I announce a triumphant return to blogging on the regular.

Really. This time I mean it. And what better way to start mid-January 2018, than with a recipe for a smoky and delicious chicken goulash? This dish originally comes from Food and Wine Magazine but I’ve played around with it a bit and finally landed on this version. It’s a meal I make at least three or four times throughout the fall and winter. I think it’s best if you can make the goulash earlier . . . → Read More: Winter Cooking: Chicken Goulash with Sour Cream Dumplings

National Pumpkin Day: Let's Celebrate with Pumpkin, Poblano, and Manchego Soup

Pumpkin, Poblano, Manchego Soup

October 26th is National Pumpkin Day so let’s live it up with this spicy and satisfying soup!

Aside from being just plain delicious, the aroma of roasting squash and then chiles will make your kitchen smell like Fall with a capital F. You can certainly use canned pumpkin here, but there’s something to be said for diy-ing it—the slightly caramelized edges, the satisfaction of scooping out the velvety goodness from the golden pumpkin shells—it’s all part of this soup’s charm. That said, we all have jobs and responsibilities and using canned pumpkin is certainly . . . → Read More: National Pumpkin Day: Let's Celebrate with Pumpkin, Poblano, and Manchego Soup