October 3, 2010

The Willows Inn on Lummi Island

Thanks to a tip in Seattle Magazine, yesterday we found ourselves on a tiny island watching a beautiful sunset, enjoying a fantastic meal of pristine local ingredients. And the team preparing the meal? Led by a young and talented chef, Blaine Wetzel, returning to Washington after 18 months as a sous chef at none other than Noma, Copenhagen's gastronomic icon of intensely local and indigenous food, to lead the kitchen at the Willows Inn.

Why was this one of the most exciting meals we've had in recent memory? Maybe it was the spectacular setting of the property... the amazing sourcing of ingredients from the gardens adjacent to the property and from the waters viewable from deck... or the techniques and flavor combinations expressed in the dishes we enjoyed... perhaps the time taken by Chef Blaine, his sous chef Jason, and Riley Stark (the proprietor of the inn) to hang out after the meal to talk about what they are trying to accomplish with the food at the inn.

What I do know is that the first bite of each dish had a bit of revelation, sparking an interest and anticipation for what might be coming next.