Hama Hama Oyster Saloon. Photo by Julie Qiu

Sipping and Slurping Along Hood Canal

A sampling of some of the best the Olympic Peninsula has to offer.

Summer is an exceptional season for food in Seattle. But it is also a great time to explore outside the city limits. In this week’s installation of our summer road-trip series, we’re heading northwest toward Port Townsend and the treasures in the Hood Canal, guided by suggestions from chefs and insiders.

First aim your car toward the triumvirate of cider: Alpenfire Cider (220 Pocket Lane, Port Townsend), Eaglemount Wine & Cider (1893 S. Jacob Miller Rd, Port Townsend), and Finnriver Cider (124 Center Road, Chimacum). All offer tasting rooms to sample their award-winning wares and picnics on the property are encouraged, but it’s Finnriver that’s best-equipped for a stop, with weekend days and nights full of local bratwurst, crepes, and pizza made onsite; an oyster Sunday featuring Hama Hama oysters; and frequent music in the summer.

Alpenfire owner Nancy Bishop recommends a stop for burgers at Quench Waterfront Burgers (1019 Water St., Port Townsend) where you can enjoy a view of the ferries coming and going before heading to Alchemy (842 Washington St., Port Townsend). “Best of all is a picnic from Aldrich’s Market (940 Lawrence St., Port Townsend) on the beach at Fort Worden State Park (200 Battery Way, Port Townsend),” she says.

Hama Hama’s Oyster Saloon (35846 US-101, Lilliwaup) is perhaps the most popular destination in the area, with grilled and fresh oysters available, plus wine and beer, crab cakes, and specials, all enjoyed on picnic tables yards away from where they harvest the oysters. Chef Renee Erickson is a frequent visitor and eats ’em both grilled and freshly shucked. Erickson also suggests a jaunt down the road to Eagle Creek Saloon (31281 US-101, Lilliwaup)—where you might also find Hama Hama marketing director Lissa James—for their “bacon cheeseburger, straight up,” which the chef eats with a bottle of Rainier. The prime rib dinner is the stuff of legends, as well. James also heads to Pleasant Harbor Resort (308913 US-101, Brinnon) for a drink “if I don’t want anyone to know where I am,” or may swing by nearby Alderbrook Resort (10 E. Alderbrook Dr., Union) for a good meal. And where the 101 rounds Discovery Bay, chef Jason Stoneburner heads to Fat Smitty’s (282624 US-101, Port Townsend) for burgers, which he calls the “siren of the straits, with the right amount of grease and always double patties.”

Chef Tamara Murphy of Terra Plata is no stranger to the area, either. “We go to Chevy Chase beach cabins in Port Townsend for Camp Terra Plata every year; we’ve been going since the Brasa days, back in 2000 or so,” she says. “The best bagels are delivered to us daily by Bob’s Bagels (939 Kearney St., Port Townsend).” She also points to Pane d’Amore (617 Tyler St., Port Townsend) for great bread and pastries, including gluten-free options. And for nights when they cook, she heads to Key City Fish (307 10th St., Port Townsend) for her fresh fish, crab, and salmon. Another pick is Chimacum Corner Farmstand (9122 Rhody Dr, Chimacum)—“It’s a great little hippie store; they have all the good stuff.” For breakfast, Blue Moose Cafe (311 Haines Pl, Port Townsend) is “good ol’ hangover food.”

There on a Saturday? Murphy recommends you attend the Port Townsend Farmers Market, which includes the usual locally grown produce, plus great ready-to-eat items—including kouign-amann and other delicacies from Sweet Lamb Baking Company. Sweet Lamb owner Jessica Brooks is an ecstatic supporter of her fellow PT Farmers Market cooks, and says much of the best food in the area is to be found there. “Every time I work the market, it’s always hard to choose what to have for breakfast and lunch. I highly recommend a visit,” she says. , listing Salmon Wagon, Paella House, Sputnik’s Fries, Mo Chilli BBQ, Crepe de Quimper, Bob’s Bagels, For Real Dough Pierogi, and Flutterby Pizza among her favorites. Outside of the market, she says must-stops include Geoduck Family Restaurant (307103 US-101, Brinnon) for its fried clams and cheap beer; Hanazono Asian Noodles (225 Taylor St., Port Townsend) for ramen; Pourhouse (2231 Washington St., Port Townsend) for “the best craft beer spot with an awesome beer garden on the beach”; Cellar Door (940 Water St., #1, Port Townsend) for the best cocktail in town; and Propolis Brewing (2457 Jefferson St., Port Townsend) for their unusual brews.

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