Oct 162012

Chef Bill Messick

{Chef Bill Messick – Coho Restaurant, Friday Harbor – San Juan Island, Washington}

When you arrive on San Juan Island you are greeted with many options for lodging from tranquil camp spots to plush accommodations, gourmet dining and enough outdoor activities to keep you on island for an eternity.

A little over a year or so ago you may remember when we camped at this spot in San Juan Island County Park.  Complete with sweeping views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca make sure to bring your binoculars for some amazing wildlife watching from the eagles soaring above to the whales traveling through the Salish Sea below.  In the evening enjoy the twinkling lights of Sydney, BC to the North and Victoria, BC to the South.   It is by far one of the most beautiful spots we have ever had the pleasure to camp at.  I will never, ever forget it.  I would also like to add a “ps” and tell you that camping here in the “off season” is even more spectacular than in the summer months.  You will feel as if you have this incredible piece of the world all to yourself.  We wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Over this past summer however, we changed things up a bit and decided to explore other options for accommodations.  Through a mutual friend, I had the pleasure to meet Anna Maria who, with her husband David are the proud owners/caretakers of Tucker House Inn and Harrison House Suites.  Located in Friday Harbor, just three blocks from the ferry landing, here is where you can step right outside and start exploring walkable Friday Harbor and all that this fun town has to offer from fabulous restaurants to quaint boutiques and even a movie theater.  Then in the evening retreat into your cozy and comfortable room and reflect back on your day while watching the pastel sunset unfold before your eyes (the sunsets in the San Juan Islands are some of the most incredible you will ever witness).

Additionally Anna Maria and David also proudly run “Coho,” the popular (and ah-mazing) restaurant located next to the House Inn and Suites.  Serving up island grown Pacific cuisine with a Mediterranean flair was all that I needed to hear to book a reservation.

“Monica, tonight Chef Bill is preparing Burrata,” Anna Maria tells me with all smiles.

I nearly dropped my camera.

“Did you say Burrata??”  I couldn’t believe my ears . . .

If you are a regular reader here on J5MM, you may remember this time in my life when I first discovered Burrata.  Oh, how heavenly it was.  I could hardly wait to see how it was prepared and by none other than Chef Bill Messick.

~ Our Dinner at Coho prepared by Chef Bill

When I first met Chef Bill I immediately felt a particular kinship towards him.  Lover of nature and the great outdoors, he found himself anxious to leave behind the hustle and bustle of the Colorado city life and find a smaller, close-knit community that was surrounded by plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities.  It’s no wonder he picked the San Juan Islands. 

“I fell in love with here,” he tells me.  {I understood completely}

Thank you Chef Bill for allowing me to share your Burrata recipe with my readers!  Our dinner experience at Coho was one that we will never forget!!

~ Just one of the suites at Harrison House – perfect for a family!

If you happen to stay at either the Tucker House Inn or the Harrison House Suites you can begin your day this way:

~ Breakfast Tray For Room Delivery

The Tucker House Inn and Harrison House Suites are known for their fabulous breakfasts prepared by talented chef Anna Maria and her culinary team and I was excited to experience it for myself. Three course feasts prepared from scratch daily using fresh ingredients from Island farms was the perfect start to our day.  Anna Maria tells me that recipes are adapted to accommodate special dietary requirements.  I think that is wonderful!

Be it breakfast, lunch or dinner – dining in the San Juan Islands is always an incredible experience and this morning was no exception.  The combination of the warm poached egg atop a bed of cheesy polenta was perfect for our busy day ahead and the finale of the sweet, delicate heart shaped strawberry shortcake brought it all together.  The warm apricot with the creme fraiche and lavender tips?  It made my heart sing . . .

We said our goodbyes to Anna Maria and her lovely team and began our hunt to find the (secret) Roche Harbor swimming quarries. I’ve heard from many locals that this is the spot to be on those hot summer days.  Located on the top of the hill over Roche Harbor we finally find it and meet some locals leaving.

“Excuse me, is this where the swimming quarries are?”  I ask one of them.

“It sure is!! But watch out for the fish – they like to nibble on your toes . . .” 

Before I could tell B he could go on ahead, he was off and running full speed to stick his little feet in the water to feel those fish “nibble.”

Our summer spent on San Juan Island was full of fun, adventure and new discoveries.  Please come with me as I reflect back on some of my favorites . . .

Camping at San Juan County Park {click image to read story}

A Zip Lining Adventures with Zip San Juan {click image to read story}

A Whale of a Tale {click image to read story}

Let’s Go! A Day with Susie’s Mopeds {click on image to read story}

Sweet Inspirations from Pelindaba Lavender Farm {click image to read story}

The Magic of Duck Soup Inn {click image to read story}

Chef Bill’s Burrata


  • Mozzarella Curds (The amount depends on how much you would like to prepare. (1 cup of curds will create one ball of mozzarella))
  • Heavy Cream (1/4 cup for every ball of mozzarella)
  • Cracked Pepper (To Taste)
  • Fresh Herbs (Of Your Choice)


Step 1: Mozzarella
Step 1
1. Bring a quart of heavily salted water (it should taste like the sea) to a simmer.
Step 2
Dice mozzarella curd into ½ inch cubes and place in stainless steel bowl.
Step 3
Pour hot water over the curd and let sit for 10-15 minutes
Step 4
Take a slotted spoon and portion out 1 cup of the curd.
Step 5
Kneed into a ball for about 1 minute and keep on turning in on itself like you would finish bread dough. The cheese will become smooth and shiny when finished. Do not over kneed or cheese will become tough.
Step 6
Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and twist ends to tighten. Keep at room temperature until serving.
Step 2: Prepare the Burrata
Step 7
Refrigerate fresh mozzarella for 4 hours or overnight.
Step 8
Dice up one ball (the size of a tennis ball) of chilled mozzarella. Place in food processor and add cracked pepper and 1 teaspoon salt.
Step 9
Add ¼ cup heavy cream and pulse. The filling should become the consistency of a fresh ricotta cheese. (You can add fresh herbs, chopped olive, or other ingredients to the filling at this point.)
Step 10
Make fresh mozzarella using instructions above through step #4.
Step 11
Squeeze out excess water. Kneed about 20 seconds and flatten into 1/8 inch thick round disc.
Step 12
Take a ½ cup of filling and place in center. Fold up the outsides of the round to form a purse. Pinch off the top to seal the filling inside.
Step 13
Place in plastic wrap and twist off ends to form a tight ball around the cheese.
Step 14
Leave at room temp until serving.
Step 15
Enjoy with an antipasti platter including crostinis, fresh heirloom tomatoes, grilled vegetables, olives, pesto and basil chiffonade.

  10 Responses to “For the Love of San Juan Island & Chef Bills Burratta”

  1. My family and I have visited many times and I must say that Coho is definitely on the top of our “favorite” dining lists. Thank you for also sharing the Burata recipe. Going to make it this weekend.

    • I have give big thanks to Chef Bill and Anna Maria for passing the recipe along! I’m going to make it too on the Airstream and am thinking of adding some dill — we shall see :) xoxo

  2. Your photography is absolutely stellar. I found your site through the Airforums and am so happy I did. The San Juan Islands look so beautiful and enchanting.

  3. I’m absolutely drooling now… how wonderful!

  4. I’ve been following your blog now for quite some time and I am completely blown away by your photography and writing style. You’ve completely convinced me that I need to visit the San Juan Islands. Thank you for all of the recommendations and photography of the incredible restaurants. I am starving!!

  5. Monica, thank you for always promoting the islands in such a beautiful way! We loved having you here with your beautiful smile and energetic personality. Please come back soon and bring the NEW Airstream!

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