Seattle has a reputation for breathtaking natural beauty and exceptional food, it’s also my hometown. Before “Foodies” or “Farm to Table” there was Northwest home cooking.
Growing up in the Pacific North West — PNW — I knew I lived somewhere special. The entire month of August my brother and I lived on a beach, swimming, tanning, picking blackberry’s, catching crab, digging for goeieducks, and fishing. By age 13 I knew how to shuck oysters, clean crabs and cook any shellfish from clams to winkles. Our special family dinners start with freshly dug steamer clams (dipped in butter) followed by whatever fish my Uncle plucked from the sea that weekend with a side of garden fresh veggie’s, and we finish with grandma’s apple pie. All fresh, all local, often organic, that’s just the way we roll in the PNW.
Guests to Seattle get a taste of the Northwest on the practically mandatory visit to Pike Place Market. Taste the bounty in the hands of master chief’s in any of the following Seattle restaurants: Walrus and the Carpenter, Etta’s, Anchovies and Olives, Canlis, Palisades, Elliot’s Oyster House and the classic Ivars Fish and Chips.
For an unforgettable small farm food experience, after you’ve seen Seattle… Eat Drink Kitsap.
Try This – Kitsap and Olympic Peninsula Foodie Trail
The Kitsap Peninsula is on the Olympic Peninsula across the Puget Sound from Seattle. Often overshadowed by the San Juan Islands, the Kitsap peninsula is an easy day trip or single overnight with hidden foodie treasures.
There are two ways to get there. 1) Drive south through Tacoma and across the narrows bridge and up the peninsula, or 2) a relaxing Ferry ride from Seattle – drive your car on the boat and enjoy the scenery with a fresh cup of coffee, beer, wine or Ivar’s Clam Chowder.
Walk-on Day Trip — Seattle to Bainbridge Island
The most popular and easiest route is to walk-on the Washington State Ferry from down-town Seattle then walk-off the ferry and up to the City of Bainbridge Island, formerly known as Winslow. There is a winery, shops and restaurants and in town — ideal for a day trip. But if you have the time and want to get farther off the beaten path TRY THIS….
North Kitsap and the Olymipic Peninsula is undiscovered food, beer, and apple cider bliss – Google Map – Try This Travel Kitsap Foodie Trail. There is plenty to see in this seemingly empty rural area so divide the bellow activities between two days with one night in Port Townsend.
Start by driving 45 minutes north of Seattle to Edmonds – Rick Steve’s home town and travel office/store headquarters – then Drive onto the Ferry to Kingston. Kingston has a Farmers Market at the Ferry Dock Saturdays, May to mid-October 9:00-2:00
Drive straight off the ferry and onto Highway 104 where the highway merges with 307 (more like a Y intercetion) stop at CB’s Nuts for peanut perfection. Sample fresh almond or peanut butter or sample local ice creams in the new tasting room.
Drive acoss Hwy 307 and grabs some Beers to go with CB’s nuts. Sample the brew’s at Hood Canal Brewery Beer. where they literally rolling up the doors and welcome the public. This warehouse- mini-micro-brewery crafts a variety of Ambers IBAs and ESBs on tap, in bottles or fill a growler.
Continue north on 104 to Port Gamble – a picturesque small town founded in 1853 this tinny town has a knitting store, quilting store, kayak rental, cafe, museum and my childhood favorite the Seashell Museum — secretly tucked above the Port Gamble General Store — it hasn’t changes in decades and is now a kitchy town treasure.
Lunch in Port Gamble at Mike’s Four Star BBQ a converted gas station now serving up Mt. Rainier size portions of slow-cooked pink-rimed meat. Bring your friends and share the Three-Way (Ribs, Brisket, Pulled Pork) The Four Way (same+Chicken) or Five Way – (same + chicken + Sausage) all with bread, beans and coleslaw. Open Wednesday to Sunday 11am to 8pm and Sunday 11am to 6pm.
Let your BBQ feast digest with a 40 minute drive over the Hood Cannel floating-draw-bridge onto the Olympic Peninsula to the highlight of the trip — Finn River Cider Farm. Family owned, organic farm and fermentor this place is authentic Northwest. You-pick blueberry’s (in season) self-guided garden tour and friendly owners create a happy atmosphere where you can’t help but smile.
Finn River’s kid-friendly farm is fun rain or shine, and especially on Sunday’s when they cook up wood-fire pizza and live music. Finn River ciders are small-batch hand-crafted artisan beverages with flavors ranging from earthly English style Cider to a peppery, unique, Habanero Cider and my favorite the tart, crisp, and classy Champaign Cider — I buy cases and they arrange shipping. This is beyond Mangers, better than Crispin, unlike any cider you have ever tasted, and well worth the trip!
Drive North and merge onto Highway 20 to Port Townsend. Stop just before you get to main street at the Mt Townsend Creamery , where you can sample their creamy small batch cheeses including my favorite Cirrrus a Rich and creamy Camembert. Mt Townsend Creamery tasting room and store is open Wednesday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm. If you don’t make the cheese lover’s pilgrimage, you can get this artisan cheese everyday in their Pike Place Market location.
Stop at the Port Townsend Brewery just before you get into town for a final top off of local micro-brew craft.
Enjoy old PNW charm in quiet Port Townsend, founded in 1851 and littered with last 19th century buildings. Choose from dozens of victorian B&B and walking on historic main street. One night here will leave you recharged and ready to continue north across the sound to Whidbey Island — or West to Port Angeles, Forks (Twilight fans) or take the ferry to Victoria Canada — or simply return to Seattle.
For a varied return Journey to Seattle drive south to Poulsbo then east Bainbridge Island MAP – Poulsbo is a viking themed village, popular with locals and Tourists like. It’s a great stop for lunch before you drive onto Bainbridge Island and back on the Bainbridge Island Ferry. Stop at the Clear Water Casino-Hotel-Spa if that’s what you’re into.
After you sample PNW food and drink in Seattle’s Pike Place Market… TRY THIS, take a overnight on the Olympic Peninsula and experience the Northwest lifestyle with the artisans who craft local specialties.