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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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Global Adventures – Lummi Island, a Haven for Nature & Food Lovers

April 9, 2014

Global Adventures – Lummi Island, a Haven for Nature & Food Lovers

Looking for a great escape in the Pacific Northwest? Just north of Seattle, and south of Vancouver, Canada, you’ll find one of the San Juan Island’s best kept secrets. Tranquil Lummi Island has only 800 residents and is home to The Willows Inn, a perfect getaway anytime of year. Reid Johnson, PR Director for The Willows Inn introduced us to this island “Lummi Island is located in the archipelago that includes the San Juan Islands and the Gulf Islands in the Salish Sea, the waters off the coasts of the Pacific Northwest and southwest...

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the ulterior epicure – review: heart of tartness… (willows inn)

January 31, 2014

the ulterior epicure – review: heart of tartness… (willows inn)

Is there a happier summer soundtrack than the splash of cannonballs accompanied by the reckless hoot of youth? My friend and I arrived at the ferry slip on a warm summer afternoon to the sight of children hurling themselves off the headworks into the cool waters of the sound. We got out of the car and cheered them on as we waited for the ferry to arrive from Lummi Island. It’s hard not to romanticize my first visit to Willows Inn last year, which unfolded like a summer flick on the big screen, easy and neat. After settling into the Aerie, a...

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the ulterior epicure – the best of 2013: the restaurant edition…

January 10, 2014

the ulterior epicure – the best of 2013: the restaurant edition…

The late, great Diana Vreeland once said: “A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika. We all need a splash of bad taste––it’s hearty, it’s healthy, it’s physical. I think we could use more of it. No taste is what I’m against.” I couldn’t agree more. There is a growing class of restaurants with no taste, and an army of identity-less chefs serving identity-less food to accompany it. You could swap the menus from one of their restaurants to another, and you might not know the difference. Sure, we’ve come a long way....

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Eater – The 15 best dishes of 2013

January 2, 2014

Eater – The 15 best dishes of 2013

I literally sat in front of my computer and scrolled through every single dish I ate this year. When I was finished, I did it again. And then again. Eight years ago, I surveyed all of the dishes I had eaten that year and compiled a list of my favorites, more for my own record than for posterity. Since, it has become an annual tradition. Considering the incredibly packed years that preceded it, it’s unbelievable that 2013 was busier. I spent more time traveling and eating this year than any year before it. Like last year, I continued to...

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Food For Thought – Willows Inn – Lummi Island, Washington

November 19, 2013

Food For Thought – Willows Inn – Lummi Island, Washington

The first thing I notice upon arriving are the smells: the salt ocean air, fresh cut grass, a whiff of wood smoke. The ferry ride from the mainland takes only about ten minutes, but Lummi Island – the home of the Willows Inn – seems almost a world to itself. Lummi, about a dozen miles from end to end, is the easternmost of the San Juan Islands, an archipelago in the Strait of Juan de Fuca stretching between mainland Washington State and Vancouver Island. It’s also one of the more beautiful places I’ve ever been. We...

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JustLuxe – Willows Inn on Lummi Island Might Be Worth A Pilgrimage For Big Time Foodies

October 31, 2013

JustLuxe – Willows Inn on Lummi Island Might Be Worth A Pilgrimage For Big Time Foodies

It was a sliver of the perfectly balanced sweet/salty, smoked reef-net salmon, simply presented on a cedar slab — I was a goner. Every nibble was unconsciously accompanied by a soulful ‘mmmm.’ I knew then that no matter how hard I tried to search out its equal, I would fall short, because each bite was absolute perfection. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I should start at the beginning, which was a dinner I attended last year with about a dozen other journalists at the Willows Inn on Lummi (rhymes with yummy) Island, part of the San...

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Examiner.com – The Willows on Lummi Island perfect for culinary girlfriend getaway

September 27, 2013

Examiner.com – The Willows on Lummi Island perfect for culinary girlfriend getaway

Most gastronomic bucket lists reserve the top spot for what is generally considered the world’s #1 restaurant, Noma, in Copenhagen. But quietly nipping at its heels is the remote Willows Inn on Lummi (rhymes with yummy) Island in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Not only is it more accessible and affordable but IF you book an overnight stay either at The Willows Inn or one of their more luxurious rental homes, you can secure a reservation in a fairly reasonable amount of time. Food pundits from Gayot, N.Y. Times, Bon Appétit, Food &...

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Stark Insider – Travel with Janice Nieder: Waxing poetic about Lummi Island

September 26, 2013

Stark Insider – Travel with Janice Nieder: Waxing poetic about Lummi Island

If there’s ever a contest for the “poster child” for a YOLO (You Only Live Once) meal, the Willows Inn, located on Lummi (rhymes with yummy) Island in the Pacific Northwest would certainly get my vote. Food pundits from N.Y. Times, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Travel & Leisure have been waxing euphoric about the Willows ever since 24 year old wunderkind, Chef Blaine Wetzel, came aboard in 2010. And guess where he cooked before? Yup, he came straight from a 2 year stint as chef-de-partie at Noma, where he cooked alongside Chef...

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Through the eyes of the a70 – The Willows Inn Restaurant – Lummi Island

September 6, 2013

Through the eyes of the a70 – The Willows Inn Restaurant – Lummi Island

After fellow foodie friends posted about their experience to this amazing restaurant just an hour and half away from Vancouver (plus a short ferry ride), I knew I had to dine there some time. In fact, it was featured in 2011 by New York Times as “10 Restaurants Worth a Plane Ride” and again in 2013 as “The Top 10 Food Lover’s Hotels in The United States“. I’m pretty certain it would be rated on the Michelin guide, except they don’t do Michelin ratings in Washington state. The chef is Blaine Wetzel, who has worked at Noma, #1 on...

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