My favorite part of every trip is not only the company I’m sharing it with but most importantly, the FOOD! Being a typical Southern girl, this bayou gypsy loves to eat. This is my run down of restaurants, coffee shops and bakeries that I visited while in the Pacific Northwest. If you aren’t hungry now, you will be by the end of this.
This first official evening out on the town wasn’t until the second day and we opted for a local favorite in Poulsbo, WA, JJ’s Fish House. They are known for their fresh seafood, in particular their fish and chips. I was eager to try the fresh Cod and wasn’t disappointed. It was perfectly crisp, thick, flaky and fresher than fresh. One wonderful attraction to this restaurant is the bay view. During warmer temperatures, they open their garage doors and provide outdoor seating on the large deck overlooking Liberty Bay.
While I thought JJ’s Fish House had a nice waterfront view, The Loft served it up on a silver platter. Our eyes feasted on this beautiful view and even better food.
I was in the mood for heavy carbs that evening and opted for chicken and scallops over pasta in a sun-dried tomato cream sauce. Divine. It had a nice kick to it which is always welcomed by a Louisiana girl. The scallops were fresh and delectable.
After exploring one day, we headed to Bainbridge Island, WA for dinner and landed at the Harbour Public House. This popular pub has a rather interesting history dating back to 1881. Ambrose Grow, a Civil War veteran, and his wife Amanda migrated to Eagle Harbor in 1881 after Ambrose read descriptive letters of the virtues of Bainbridge Island. He sold his large farm in Manhattan, Kansas, and purchased 160 acres along the waterfront of Eagle Harbor. The Harbour Public House was originally the Grow’s family home and was extensively renovated in 1990. The Public House prides itself on serving local free range and organic products. I noticed a small write up on the menu regarding Harlow Cattle Co., their partner for all of their beef needs. Their cattle are grass-fed, antibiotic-free and humanely treated, farmed on the Western side of Washington.
I ordered the Bacon Blue which included Harlow Cattle Co. grass-fed beef, two strips of Montana Bacon & Willapa Hills Big Boy Blue cheese with a side Caesar salad. Yum! Willapa Hills is a SW Washington family farm on the bank of the Chehalis River that partners with two local dairies to process their sheep milk, cow milk and sheep/cow milk mix cheeses. Their cheeses are all natural and the milk is antibiotic free. Good to know more about what you’re putting in your body. Now, I love cheese but I really loooooove blue cheese. I could tell the difference in the Willapa Hills good stuff on the burger. Big thumbs up!
Lydia selected the Pub’s Famous Chowder with Baywater Salish Blue Clams. She was pleased with the the white wine and cream sauce, full of organic potatoes, onion and bacon.
The food was superb, the atmosphere was interesting and from the looks of it, many found it to be their favorite neighborhood pub.
The next Poulsbo hot spot is one I didn’t even want to attempt. Lydia asked me if I like Vietnamese food and I mentioned the last time I tried it, I wasn’t a fan. Well, she was in the mood for it and felt sure I would love her frequent dinner locale, Pho T & N. It is a cozy restaurant, family owned by the Nguyen family specializing in authentic Vietnamese cuisine. I trusted my sister’s expertise and went with the #42, Stir Fry Beef and Shrimp with Mixed Vegetables.
All of the ingredients were fresh and in a light sauce that pleased my taste buds. After finishing an exercise class, this meal was exactly what I wanted, light but filling.
Last restaurant I will share is the only one we enjoyed while bouncing around the big city of Seattle. We walked off the ferry, walked around Pike Place Public Market and ventured down a small ally until we found an interesting place to settle in.
My eyes landed on the dual pistols on the door and figured a little Cantina cuisine was exactly what I needed to get my Mexican fix. Cantina de San Patricio met that craving.
Isn’t my sister just the cutest? I did a little research when I returned home and found out the history of Cantina de San Patricio. Apparently there’s a mysterious story of an Irish-American unit, the St. Patrick’s Battalion (San Patricios), led by John Riley. To escape Ireland’s harsh conditions, many immigrants landed in the U.S. who later joined the army and became part of the forces that later invaded Mexico in the Mexican-American War. These expatriates weren’t too happy as Irish-Americans, life was hard, prejudices ran far and wide for them. During a final battle, the U.S. forces captured 85 San Patricios and convicted 72 for desertion, 50 were executed, whipped and branded. Although they were seen as traitors to the U.S., they were viewed as heroes by the Mexican government. How’s that for a history lesson.
I forgot to take a picture of my scrumptious fajitas but I do have pics of the festive decor. I couldn’t stop staring at the ceiling – banners, flags, lights, my kind of party.
I wanted this Christmas tree cactus so bad, you have no idea. I would have loved to add this to my back porch for the holidays. Everyone needs one of these, don’t you think?
Although we did lots of eating, I also made sure to try a couple of the local coffee shops in Poulsbo and their famous bakery, Sluy’s Bakery (pronounced Sly’s).
First coffee break was spent at Hot Shots Java. It’s in the middle of all the shops and boutiques of downtown Poulsbo and has the hometown feel you want in your local barista.
All of their coffee is organic, fair trade and custom roasted exclusively for them by a local roaster. How’s that for specialized? I enjoyed my Macchiato there but I really fell in love with the Poulsbohemian. I knew I was going to love it when Lydia told me about it. The name itself attracted me and I later enjoyed a full afternoon of sipping and reading with the most stunning view of the waterfront.
I ordered THE BEST coffee I have ever had in my life, a Mexican Mocha. It had a hint of spice with boisterous espresso and mocha flavors.
I sat back, stared at the incredible view and contemplated life while catching up on some reading.
I remember feeling overwhelmingly blessed sitting in that chair. The sun was glistening on the water, creating all sorts of prisms on the wall that you can’t see in this picture. God’s beauty is everywhere there. You can’t help but feel His presence in moments like these.
Last but not least is Sluy’s Bakery located on Front Street in Poulsbo.
It is family owned and they create from scratch, by hand and not big equipment, natural grain, rye and sourdough breads, delicious donuts, pastries and specialty desserts.
It’s really refreshing to know there is a personalized touch to every sweet treat they create.
When I stopped in one morning, I picked up one of the Large Butterhorns you see to the left of the picture above. It is basically the size of your face and buttery goodness in every bite. I also snagged a large pecan roll with a massive slab of cream cheese topping (to the right of the Butterhorn in the picture above). Yep, I packed on the calories this trip. Life is to be enjoyed and it’s too short to be counting calories all the time.
Remember that sign from a previous travel post? I saw that on our trip to Natchez last year. You can read about that wonderful anniversary trip here.
That wraps up the foodie portion of my Pacific NW trip. Hope you enjoyed a little snapshot of some great places to eat, drink coffee and indulge your sweet tooth. Going local is always the way to go when traveling in my opinion. You usually won’t be disappointed. I was lucky to have a sister that guided me around and knew all the good spots to go.
After the Christmas holiday, I’ll catch you up on some of the activities and festivities me and my sister knocked out while I was in the PACNW.