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!


  5 Responses to “Welcome to the Madrona Bar and Grill on Orcas Island and a Farewell Goodbye”

  1. Sad yes, but also Yay! How long are you on San Juan? Can’t wait to hear all about it. -J

  2. What a lovely blog! We are curious though… where do you park your Airstream on the San Juan and Orcas Islands?!

    • Thank you Kathryn :) When we are on Orcas island “West Beach Resort” is our favorite place to camp with our Airstream. When we are in the mood to dry camp we head over to Moran State Park where there is beautiful camping right alongside Cascade Lake. On San Juan Island we LOVE to stay at San Juan County Park; however, there is a 25′ limit to trailers there. We did see some campers/trailers with full hookups at the fairgrounds near Friday Harbor but I am not sure how reserving a spot there works. If you have intentions of coming to San Juan Island it would probably be a good idea to call the chamber to see how one goes about reserving a spot there if it is even an option. One thing to note, you can stay on Orcas and explore the other islands on day trips — something we have done plenty of times :)

  3. Ive never received a responce to when I was asked to leave four years ago to give up my seats for someone waiting My bill was $60 The person had a patch on his eye
    I called repeatedly for an explanation from him without a responce ? I couldnt believe on my island this happened and Ive dinned worldwise without this ever happening ever Ill never go back here and I tell all my story to all visotors and locals alike! Chuck

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