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ChuckEats – Willows Inn Summer ’14 – Elemental

September 11, 2014

ChuckEats – Willows Inn Summer ’14 – Elemental

Has it become a summer ritual? Queue up the car. Pay the ferry and cross the choppy waters. Disembark and roll down the windows. Turn right and follow the island’s loose curves for three miles. Look for the wafts of smoke drift across the road. The same journey every year offers a total escape with each visit. Crisp air. Overflowing greens brush along the roadside. Red, blue, and pink dots pop in the brush. A kaleidoscope of buoys pop even brighter on Legoe Bay. Purple starfish crawl in the tide pools. A brilliant blue sky hugs the world....

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The Culinary Adventures of a Greedy Guts – Willows Inn – Round 2!

August 18, 2014

The Culinary Adventures of a Greedy Guts – Willows Inn – Round 2!

B and I recently celebrated our four-year wedding anniversary and, as has become tradition, we try to get away for a day or two to indulge in some good food and a bit of R&R. Last year, we visited Willows Inn for the first time and had such a blast that we decided to return again this year. I am saving myself the effort of re-writing my glowing review and instead will direct you to my post from last year. You’ll notice that there were a number of dishes that were the same as last year’s menu but those were the snacks, not the main...

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The Escape Pod – Taking a 50-Year Step Backwards

July 19, 2014

The Escape Pod – Taking a 50-Year Step Backwards

With the heat increasing and work stress building it was time to get out of the city for a bit. When an invitation to do so was extended by our dear friends we jumped at the offer. We were heading to Lummi Island. Never heard of Lummi Island? I hadn’t either until our friends first visited the island a couple of years ago. It’s a 9 square mile island that is accessed by a 22 car ferry from Gooseberry Point near Bellingham, WA (a 1 1/2 hour drive from Seattle). The island has just over 800 residents and conveniences are limited. There is...

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SippitySup – lummi island getaway- the willows inn

July 5, 2014

SippitySup – lummi island getaway- the willows inn

I’ve got a story. It starts with an me sitting on the deck of a two-bedroom beach house watching a convocation of American Bald Eagles. It ends with a spoonful of tart fruit swimming in grassy greens (among other taste treats). It’s the story of a grateful guest experiencing the authentic lifestyle of a small island in the Pacific Northwest on a sunny summer’s day. It’s the story of my getaway to The Willows Inn on Lummi Island. It’s hard for a Californian like me to admit, but the hottest restaurant on the West Coast right now is in...

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Jeffrey Chao – Willows Inn on Lummi Island (Pacific Northwest 2014)

June 24, 2014

Jeffrey Chao – Willows Inn on Lummi Island (Pacific Northwest 2014)

To visit a destination restaurant without understanding their terroir is a waste. I’ve gone to many exceptional restaurants without any due diligence and left rather confused and frustrated, knowing I squandered an opportunity to understand the experience.1 A second visit to Willows Inn on Lummi Island, paired with an extended trip in Washington state, allowed me to more fully embrace the experience of this special restaurant. Half a year ago, I visited and was excited d by the sorrel picked by the side of the road, the grilled escarole, and...

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10 Legs In The Kitchen – A Gift of Treasures

June 8, 2014

10 Legs In The Kitchen – A Gift of Treasures

We get this a lot, and it never tires: “Smoked salmon….the pristine quality, sustainable fishing methods (reef-netting), and locality of the fish make for an ethereal treat. The perfect combination of smoke, succulence, and sea are a product of the thoughtfulness put into every detail, and result in what, we think, is the best smoked fish ever produced.” Stacey Bender wrote that in her blog, “10 Legs in the Kitchen.” Eight belong to Ginger and Buddy, the pups who rode along with her and husband Tom on a recent stay...

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Ginger and Salt – A Peak Experience: Willows Inn

May 10, 2014

Ginger and Salt – A Peak Experience: Willows Inn

A young lady in Seattle named Taylor Fleming, who describes herself as “a girl who loves to eat good food,” wrote in her Ginger and Salt food blog, one of the best descriptions we’ve been blessed to read about The Willows Inn on Lummi Island. It’s fun to see how others perceive us. The story contains insights into our most-loved standards (everybody sings high praise of the Lummi Island Wild smoked salmon), and some seasonal standouts. One footnote about a change in 2014: The breakfast she describes now appears on the...

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Forbes Travel Guide – Five U.S. Sous Chefs To Watch

April 29, 2014

Forbes Travel Guide – Five U.S. Sous Chefs To Watch

In kitchens across the nation, executive chefs rely on a team of culinary professionals to bring their visions to life. While the role of the sous chef may seem unglamorous or under-appreciated, often the most promising sous chefs of today become the award-winning culinary leaders of tomorrow. Here, five sous chefs from across the nation describe what it takes to make it in the culinary world, and what’s in store for the future. Nick Green The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Washington Located on a stunning and remote island along the...

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Fine Dining Lovers – A Chat With Blaine Wetzel, Lummi Island’s Rising Star

April 17, 2014

Fine Dining Lovers – A Chat With Blaine Wetzel, Lummi Island’s Rising Star

How does the team at Willows Inn on Lummi Island, WA infuse the essence of their natural surroundings into every meal? With the words “fished, foraged, and farmed” serving as their shared mantra, it comes quite easily. This rustic Washington gem is also home to a fresh face in the culinary world – chef Blaine Wetzel. Recently, we set out to Lummi Island for a chance to meet this rising talent in his home kitchen. Wetzel is one of 2014’s James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef of the Year nominees and boasts an impressive resume,...

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James Beard Foundation – Interview with JBF Award Nominee Blaine Wetzel of the Willows Inn on Lummi Island

April 17, 2014

James Beard Foundation – Interview with JBF Award Nominee Blaine Wetzel of the Willows Inn on Lummi Island

Tucked away in an archipelago off the coast of Washington lies the elegant Willows Inn on Lummi Island, where chef Blaine Wetzel helms the nationally renowned kitchen. Here, the four-time nominee for Rising Star Chef of the Year tell us about his formative culinary experiences, how he draws inspiration from the Pacific Northwest’s terroir, and the ubiquitous food trend he hopes will disappear. JBF: How would you describe your culinary style? Blaine Wetzel: My culinary style is determined by geography. The Pacific Northwest offers an...

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