TEXT: EVA SOROKEN
PHOTO: JIM HENKENS
Flying out from the east coast, I have always appreciated Seattle for its unique food culture, picturesque natural surroundings, vibrant weather trends, and bold tattoo art. This city is bordered by jagged mountain ranges, where you can breathe the crisp Northwest air, and enjoy a balanced lifestyle of home and work. I will never cease to be mystified by this quietly tucked away region of North America.
I must admit that I couldn’t exactly put my finger on what I loved and admired so much about Seattle until recently, when my friend Yuri came to visit. We defined her time here with a mission to “eatrip” our way through this city and the surrounding islands. After two weeks, I recognized that the most defining aspect of the Northwest is the synergy, the vibe, and the relationship that people living here have with what they eat. It is this symbiotic flow, a circular pattern of wilderness and civilization pleasantly blending into one that defines Seattle and the Northwest as such a unique region.
After a calming dinner at the Willows Inn on Lummi Island we rode back to our beach house, slightly tipsy, yet faithfully guided by the stars. There was a darkness cast over the richly forested island but fortunately our bikes were electric, as were the stars that night. At dinner I was staring eye to eye with a delicious Sockeye salmon snack freshly netted just a few hours prior from the cold Pacific waters. Before that we devoured sweet blackberries along the island roads, Yuri carrying handfuls towards me to add to our secret stash.
During a second dining experience at Sitka & Spruce in downtown Seattle, we sat close to the kitchen, observed the staff, and enjoyed a tasting menu gracefully prepared omakase-style by Kylen, the head chef. Earlier that day, we had breakfast at Matt’s house (the owner of Sitka & Spruce) after wandering through his farm, the source of his restaurant’s produce, and we met Spunky Thomas, the goat.
What impacted me the most about our “eatrip” was the path of the ingredients from the farm directly to the table at both Sitka & Spruce and the Willow’s Inn. We toured the very farms that feed directly into each kitchen, touching and smelling the fruits and veggies, and finally we gathered to enjoy a beautifully prepared dinner at the end of the day. Yuri and I were able to establish relationships with new friends gathered around food. We were able to experience the food at the farm, while receiving concise explanations from the farmers themselves. We could see the farmers committing hours of labor on the farm to the chefs laboring in the kitchens. I felt awakened and thankful to be a part of this new link involving friends and food. Nourishment and community…I think the most basic principles of our life, are often overlooked. It was satisfying to re-identify with the simple aspects, the most beautiful and joyful principles of living.
Here’s to laughter, smiles, good food, and great conversations. Many thanks, much love, cheers!