Weeklong Vacation Review: Island Eats


I spent the past nine days in the North Puget Sound trying to rediscover my chi. While on Whidbey Island, in between walks on the beach and in the forest, I availed myself of the free Wi-Fi at Pickles, a strip mall deli near both Clinton and Langley which serves top-notch sandwiches, my favorite being a meaty concoction called the "Salami Mommy." Further on down the road, on the Coupeville waterfront, I visited historic Toby's Tavern. There, I had a pastrami sandwich, but the place is renowned for its mussels, which are regularly named "Best of Whidbey" by the local media there. Toby's is the sort of laid-back bar I never want to leave; next time I visit, I'll be spending at least six hours there, beginning in mid-afternoon.

From Whidbey, I crossed the Deception Pass Bridge to Anacrotes to watch Carolyn Mark's show at an Old Town restaurant called Adrift. The restaurant is something of a local sensation, proof that culinary creativity can abound virtually anywhere 'round these parts, even in what I consider to be Western Washington's most archetypal blue-collar coastal town (for me, this makes Anacortes all the more enjoyable, by the by). At Adrift, which places a firm emphasis on serving foods culled from as close to Anacortes as possible, I had way too much Boundary Bay ale (produced in Bellingham) and just enough edamame. All edamame is created equal, right? Wrong -- whatever sauce was on those peas was something special.

Sunday rolled around, which led us to the Brown Lantern (pictured above) for breakfast and football. Here, a table of guys, many on staff at the Lantern, had their laptops whipped out to chart the minute-to-minute success of their fantasy football squads. The breakfast item was one item -- breakfast burritos -- long, but man was that breakfast burrito good. The key: lining the bottom of the wrap with tater tots, which not only added flavor but left us stuffed like a dead turkey on Thanksgiving.

And did you know there are no cops stationed on Guemes Island, not even a friggin' Skagit County substation? That's either totally awesome or totally scary, depending on how one looks at it.

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