Just returned from a fabulous trip to the Pacific Northwest. It just so happened to be our 15th Wedding Anniversary, so we decided to head 30 minutes north of Seattle to Woodinville to celebrate. I had read about a restaurant, The Herbfarm, which was named #1 farm-to-table restaurant in Washington state. It seemed like the perfect place for our anniversary dinner.
The Willows Lodge was across the driveway from The Herbfarm – the perfect location to stay after a 4-hour dinner. The lodge was rustic and casual with antique finishes and the rooms decorated in a similar fashion. The most impressive part of the lodge was the garden to explore and enjoy, while visiting. I really loved feeding the pigs — watch your fingers!
The Herbfarm had a large dining room with tables facing an open kitchen. You could choose between communal or private dining tables – we chose private for our anniversary. Our dinner was a Spring Forager’s Dinner with paired wines, which explored the wild foods of the Pacific Northwest. Chef Chris, introduced himself and his staff made a small presentation before the meal – impressive.
One of the most unique things I had ever eaten was the Pancetta-Wrapped Wapato Bulb Stuffed with Fish Mousse. The bulb tasted of earthy potato with a dryish texture and the Beef Marrow Emulsion with Lemon Thyme for dipping, it was down right awesome.
The Halibut with Wild Sea Beans and Whey needed another minute to cook — too rare for my taste. The Shellfish steamed in Wild Ginger Root was super aromatic and coated in a Panko, gave it a nice light crunch.
My two favorites were the Black Sheep Creamery Gnuddi with Bee’s Wax & Whiskey Syrup and the dessert of Rhubarb Sable Cookie with Buttermilk Ice Cream, White Chocolate and Sorrel Sauce – simply divine.
In the morning we walked to The Commons Kitchen & Bar from The Willows Lodge for a little brunch. I highly recommend the Wild Mushroom Benedict and Morning Glory Muffin. My husband loved the poached eggs with creamy sauce, while I noshed on a perfectly baked muffin with coffee.
There are many wineries to visit & taste in Woodinville — Some of the bigger houses are Chateau St. Michelle and Columbia, but there are 50+ others to choose from, we enjoyed DeLille Carriage House. Taste the Roussanne, pretty lovely!
After a couple wineries we drove to Seattle to settle in and explore the sights. Pike Place Market was our first stop. The vegetables and seafood are some of the best and it’s delightful to walk through the stalls and admire what beautiful foods this part of the country has to offer.
Our favorite stops – Ellenos for fresh Greek Yogurt — Lemony Turmeric and Passion Fruit were my favorites, creamy with a hint of fruit and spice. I recommend getting a hand-packed container to-go and enjoy it for breakfast with some local coffee. Also, when it’s cold outside, Beecher’s for Macaroni & Cheese is a Seattle staple. Click the Beecher’s link for the recipe!
That evening we met friends for dinner at Spinasse for some of the best Northern Italian food since visiting Piedmont, Italy a few years ago. We ordered the chefs tasting menu, which was pretty much the entire menu. Thank heaven our friends live in town to take the extras home. We started with an Aperol Spritz and Pio Tosini Prosciutto di Parma, it melted in my mouth.
Followed by courses of Scrambled Eggs with Spot Prawns in Prawn Butter and four pastas. My favorite pasta of the evening, was the Tajarin with Butter & Sage. One bite took me back to a little restaurant in Turin, where I could smell the fresh herbs being tossed with the egg pasta in the kitchen.
The Secondi or meat courses were Braised Beef, Pork & Veal wrapped in Chard and Pork Belly rolled with Prosciutto – both slow cooked to perfection.
The following day, I had one last thing to go do before our flight – visit Salumi! Salumi is Mario Batali’s father’s salami cafe. The Mole’ Salami – some of the best I have ever eaten and it is hard to come by. The space is tight and Mario’s mother was rolling Gnocchi in the window when we arrived. The Salumi Plate is the way to go – best selection of cured meats and order a meatball on the side. The daily sandwich special isn’t bad either!