Nov 132012

Every. Single. Weekend.

Those are the days over the past summer that I was lucky enough to spend here in the San Juan Islands helping spread the word on J5MM about how lovely these islands truly are.

Hubby and B were even luckier.  They vacationed here all summer and were always on time to pick me up at the ferry landing of whatever island we happened to be on.  Our last island to spend time on was none other than Lopez.

“Mommy do you remember when we made the forts on Spencer’s Spit?”  B asks me this over dinner last night.

Hubby and I glance up at each other and together our minds go back to that wonderful time. Continue reading »

Aug 212012

{ Chef Gretchen Allison – Duck Soup Inn, San Juan Island – Washington State }

As you slowly travel down a forested gravel drive meandering alongside a golden sunlit pond, you soon find yourself at Duck Soup Inn.

Situated in a fairytale-like forest setting complete with giant pine trees, twinkling lights and lanterns hanging here and there, you soon realize that your dining experience at Duck Soup Inn will extend beyond your dining table. Once again, we were amazed and rightly so.

Continue reading »

Aug 152012

One thing that we have come to learn while spending time here in the San Juan Islands is that people take things pretty slow.  No one is really ever in a rush and for us, that is very comforting.

We’ve spied these cute little candy apple red mopeds and scoot coupes all over San Juan Island and often wondered to ourselves what it would be like to have a ride in one of them.  Taking life slow and really exploring the island is how I always perceived the experience to be.   Of course B was always chiming in with his opinions.

“Oh mommy, it would be so fun!”

Could you guess how happy he was when hubby and I told him that today would be the day we would go and take a scoot coupe out for spin?

Pretty happy indeed. Continue reading »

Aug 072012

~ Perfectly Steamed Clams from Buck Bay Shellfish Farm

Have you ever had one of those days where you are so taken by your surroundings that for a moment you forget the time?  This was our day on Orcas Island when we realized that #1 we were starving and #2, we had a ferry to catch.   We were making the move with our Airstream to begin our non-stop outdoor and epicurean adventures on San Juan Island and didn’t have much time to spare.

Luckily the Madrona Bar and Grill in the Eastsound village was open and ready for us.  We could always count on the Madrona for serving us quickly so we could catch our ferry on time.  We have dined here countless times selecting a spot in the spacious interior seating area or opting for outdoor seating with views of Fishing Bay.  Either way both are excellent choices.  Time and time again we were impressed with the quick service and smiling faces not to mention delicious fare and today was no exception.  Sourcing local ingredients and supporting local farmers is what the dining establishments on island excel at.  The steamed clams were one of our favorites and came straight from Toni, who with Mark runs Buck Bay Shellfish Farm in Olga.  Thank you to owner Monica Duthie for sharing this simple but yet mouthwatering recipe !!

It’s a great atmosphere here at the Madrona. On any given day you can find the locals of Orcas mingling with one another and catching up about the days happenings.   Belly up to the bar during happy hour, order some appetizers,  say hello to the locals and soon you will get to know them.  Bonus here aside from the delicious food at great prices is that you may just walk away with some island rich folklore that you will keep in your heart forever.

Thank you for always being there for us Madrona!  Not only is the service A+ but our dinner was pure perfection and a perfect ending to our journey  and explorations on Orcas Island.

~ Refreshing Ahi tuna flame grilled medium rare and served with wasabi, pickled ginger and ponzu sauce
~ Our Airstream in front of the Orcas Island Museum in the village of Eastsound

~ Decadent chicken fettuccine with a flame grilled chicken breast atop a creamy sundried tomato, shallot, fresh herb and white wine sauce complete with fresh grated parmesan and toasted baguettes

~ Make sure to stop in and say hello to Kyle at the Orcas Homegrown Market.  It’s by far, one of my favorite markets ever.  Organic produce, meats, eggs, cheeses — all come from Orcas Island as well as San Juan and Lopez.  

~ Fresh spinach with candied walnuts, mushrooms, pan fried capicola and chevre goat cheese tossed in Madrona’s special fennel infused honey vinaigrette

~ shots around darling Eastsound Village

~ Melt in your mouth hand cut and flame grilled certified Angus beef rib eye served with garlic mashed potatoes and chef choice vegetables with creamed horseradish

With heavy hearts we say goodbye to Orcas Island as we sail towards San Juan Island and begin a new series of adventures.  We are happy to have you along with us!

Buck Bay Steamed Clams


  • 1lb manilla clams
  • 1 tablespoon garlic (rough chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • parsley for garnish
  • lemon wedges for garnish


Step 1
Over medium high heat in a medium sized saute pan melt your butter and add the garlic and cook for one minute taking care not to burn the garlic.
Step 2
Add the clams, white wine and cover your saute pan cook for about one minute taking the pan off the heat once the clams open. The goal here is just to have them open and they are ready.
Step 3
Garnish with freshly chopped parsley, lemon wedges and serve with buttered toasted baguettes.
Step 4
Bon appetit!


May 082012

Our trip through Oregon’s Spring Splendor was coming to an end.  It would not have been a proper trip to Oregon if we hadn’t stopped off at Cannon Beach.  Full of rich history, fabulous restaurants with the friendliest hosts, candy shops galore and boutiques upon endless boutiques to fullfill your shopping desires are just a few of things you will find here.

Of course I won’t forget to tell you all about the sandy beach with infamous Haystack Rock.  Maybe my pictures will help you understand just how breathtaking it is here.

Oh, did I mention the surfers?

They are amazing.

Morris’ Fireside Restaurant was our stop for lunch.  It was hubby’s favorite place to go — for me, I have never been.  I was so happy he took B and I there. It was a slightly chilly day outside so you can imagine what a pleasure it was to walk into such a cozy and warm place.  The fire was so inviting along with the log cabin charm Morris’ offered.

We split a burger with some of the most delicious fries I have had in a long time.  They were definitely made here and they were not greasy but rather thick and hearty.  I loved them!  B enjoyed his little sliders :)  They were just the right size for his little hands.

We also enjoyed a Bloody Mary.  It was hands down, the BEST Bloody Mary I have ever had.

That’s Armando our host.  What a pleasure it was to meet him. He made me laugh and made our entire dining experience such a fun time. Oh and I should mention that the Bloody Mary recipe belongs to him so if you do stop by and you like this particular drink, I highly recommend it. It’s on the menu too “Armando’s Famous Bloody Mary.”

Armando :)

I am sad that our trip was over so soon.  We will definitely be back to beautiful Oregon.

From our memories of Kahneeta, Smith Rock State Park, and Jetty Fishery to spending time on the beach with our Airstream, it was all an incredible time.

As usual :)


Apr 202012

“I just don’t feel like cooking tonight,” I mentioned to hubby as we headed back down from the mountain (it was another beautiful hike that day).

I had plenty of delicious fresh goodies in the fridge, but tonight I wanted to do something different.  I wanted to go and see the Chinook Room located in the Lodge where I have heard from many guests here at Kahneeta that it is the place to go for incredibly delicious cuisine.

Apparently it is so good there that people drive all the way from Portland and beyond to enjoy the gourmet fare.

Boy were they right.

We enjoyed perfectly cooked salmon with hollandaise sauce, tender lamb (B’s favorite),  flaky elk empanadas (yes, elk — my first time ever trying it and it was delicious!) and thinly sliced venison that was topped with the most incredible berry sauce I had ever tasted.  The combination of all the flavors were perfect and everything was cooked to absolute perfection and served, once again, but a smiling face from our sweet hostess.

No wonder everyone is always so happy here and smiling.

It really is such a wonderful place to be — beautiful landscapes and amazing cuisine.

Bon appetit!