Shelburne Inn – Cozy Comfort with Great Cuisine in Seaview, Washington

Shelburne Inn
Shelburne Inn

I discovered at the Shelburne Inn in Seaview, Washington that I am just a pushover for stained glass. The inn has the distinction of being the oldest continuously operating hotel in the state of Washington, but that doesn’t mean that it’s frozen in the 1800’s.  It has an eclectic and delightful mix of styles that take away any stuffiness that may be lurking in any haunted corners.

The dining room and pub feature Art Nouveau stained glass windows salvaged from a church in Morecambe, England. The woodwork evokes a country church or inn from old England. Ceramics by owner David Campiche and Native American art grace the public areas. Half of the inn was moved in the early years of the 1900’s to mate a Victorian Queen Anne inn with an existing building. The resulting twisting corridors add to the charm.

Shelburne Inn Stained Glass Window
Shelburne Inn Stained Glass Window

We were enthusiastically greeted by the owners and David Campiche (chef/owner/artist) carried our bags up the quaintly creaky staircase. If you have mobility problems, it would be best to book one of the ground floor rooms as there is no elevator.

Shelburne Inn Lobby and Stairs
Shelburne Inn Lobby and Stairs

The Shelburne Inn has a feel of a bed and breakfast, and indeed a fantastic Innkeeper’s breakfast is included with any of the 17 rooms. The rooms vary quite a bit in size and amenities – unoccupied rooms were open for viewing and some were tiny, but travelers can check the room details before booking.  Rates are very reasonable ($149 -$199 at the time of our stay). Each is lovingly decorated. and some have balconies. We stayed in room 15, which has a queen and a twin bed, with private balcony and a shower rather than the tub. No pets are allowed. I was very pleased that there was no floral or perfumed scent, as I am allergic to many of those. Our room was quiet and the shower had great water pressure.

Shelburne Inn - Room 15
Shelburne Inn – Room 15

In every nook there are fun antiques and artwork. I wanted to faint onto the fainting couch next to the fireplace in the lobby, but I had too much on the agenda.

We came for the April Long Beach Razor Clam Festival and enjoyed harvesting our limit and attending the community celebration. David Campiche was seen assisting the student contestants at the World’s Largest Frying Pan Clam Fritter Cook-Off.

The inn is on Highway 103 on the southern end of the Long Beach peninsula.  Dunes separate the town from the sea, so there isn’t an ocean view from the hotel. But it’s just a short drive or a quarter mile walk to the ocean. I have an uneasiness about tsunamis, so I like that it’s closer to the high ground at Cape Disappointment than the town of Long Beach.

Shelburne Inn Dining Room
Shelburne Inn Dining Room

The breakfast was excellent. If I were staying elsewhere, I would choose to go to the Shelburne as a breakfast customer. The dining room is beautiful with tables set with glass and china, the walls and ceilings finished like an old English country church. The orange juice and coffee served were great, and you have your choice from the menu.

Shelburne Inn - DDD Daily Breakfast Special - Wild Mushroom and Sausage Omelet
Shelburne Inn – DDD Daily Breakfast Special – Wild Mushroom and Sausage Omelet

I had the DDD special each day, seasonal creations by chef/owner David Campiche. The plates included a small bran muffin and a variety of sliced fruit in addition to the entree and breakfast potatoes. The first morning I had an omelet with wild mushrooms and housemade sausage. The next day I enjoyed the razor clam cakes with eggs. Each dish was beautifully balanced and seasoned. I appreciated the respect for locally-sourced and seasonal ingredients. My companion and I agreed this was a big step up from the wait-in-line-for-dull-pancakes experience we have become used to on the Northwest coast.

We stopped in at the pub on our second evening and enjoyed local craft beer and a cocktail. The pub menu looked great, but we were full from dinner at The Depot. I loved sitting beneath the stained glass windows enjoying a drink.

Shelburne Inn Pub
Shelburne Inn Pub

We weren’t able to enjoy dinner at the restaurant, but I’d enjoy their 3-Course Prix-Fixe for $38 with a choice of locally-sourced items (mussels, wild salmon, wild mushrooms, local wine). The Shelburne Beef Wellington earns high praise on TripAdvisor.com (as does the Inn, receiving their Certificate of Excellence).

My fellow writer Elizabeth Rose stayed at their China Beach Retreat, which offers a view of the bay – and the guests are treated to breakfast at Shelburne Inn.

I would definitely choose to return to the Shelburne Inn for upcoming events on the Long Beach Peninsula.

Note: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary accommodations for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.

The Thirsty Sasquatch quenches Uptown Vancouver, WA

Uptown Vancouver, Washington has a new taproom and whiskey bar. The Thirsty Sasquatch opened April 13, 2015 at 2110 Main Street. They are completely focused on craft beer and spirits from the Northwest and West Coast.

The Thirsty Sasquatch - Taps
The Thirsty Sasquatch – Taps

The taproom has 26 taps pouring Northwest craft beer, wine, cider, kombucha and root beer. Their tap list is online and posted on a screen, complete with how much is remaining in the keg. We enjoyed the variety on the list, which includes Vancouver breweries such as Loowit and Ghost Runners and Bend offerings from Crux and Boneyard.

The Spirits menu offered pours from Northwest distilleries, and they offer a tasting flight of 0.75 oz. sample pours.

The Thirsty Sasquatch has no in-house food service, but they invite you to call their neighboring restaurants for food delivery to your table. The handy menus on the table on our visit were from Sabor Mexicano and Vancouver Pizza Company.

The Thirsty Sasquatch - Loowit and Breakside beer
The Thirsty Sasquatch – Loowit and Breakside beer

The decor is minimalist with wood paneling and custom wood benches and tables. A large mural covers one wall, and a small Sasquatch carving looks down on everyone from behind the counter. There are two booths that can seat six, 12 seats at the bar and several four-top tables with bench seating against the wall and metal chairs on the opposite side.

They will open a beer garden patio soon (the concrete still needs to be poured) for outdoor seating in back.

The Thirsty Sasquatch is for age 21 and over only, no underage patrons allowed. Well-behaved dogs are welcome. They are open 2 pm – 10 pm.

We enjoyed our afternoon quaff of beer. It is a a pleasant no-fuss place to enjoy craft brews and spirits amongst adults. It’s easy to access the location by either car or C-Tran.

Brunch.bou.tique great locavore dishes at Vancouver Farmers Market

Brunch.bou.tique
Brunch.bou.tique

Strolling the Vancouver Farmers Market I spied Brunch.bou.tique by Herb N’ Roots Company. The menu promised creative locavore dishes, including a “hood” special sourced from the farmer’s market.

Everything on the menu looked worthy of grazing, but I had to make a choice. I went with the top two items.

Brunch.bou.tique quinoa salad and chicken and waffle taco
Brunch.bou.tique quinoa salad and chicken and waffle taco

The black quinoa salad with pickled fiddleheads, piquillo peppers, wild cress and blood orange vinaigrette was amazing. I saw fiddleheads at one of the other booths, but I’ve never been able to cook them as well as should be done. Pickling them preserved their adorableness while adding a burst of flavor. The quinoa was flavored by the vinaigrette and the entire dish was refreshing and delightful.

Brunch.bou.tique menu
Brunch.bou.tique menu

I ordered one chicken-waffle taco with smoked collard slaw. The buttermilk-cheddar waffle taco shell was crisp, while the cornflake-crusted chicken tender was exactly what I like in chicken. It was a fun taco, and only $3 I’m looking forward to stopping there every weekend when I visit the farmers market.


 

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Zeek’s Cheese Grill – microrestaurants opening in the ‘burbs

Zeek's Cheese Grill - Oregon Sandwich
Zeek’s Cheese Grill – Oregon Sandwich

The Portland food cart craze is evolving as it spreads to suburbia and encounters a different set of zoning regulations and laws and a different local lifestyle. The Sunset Highway corridor is seeing a new breed – microrestaurants in new and existing malls. They offer the local/sustainable/creative/foodie cuisine we’ve come to expect from Portland food carts, but in a suburban setting.

Zeek’s Cheese Grill has a new outpost at Bethany Village, joining KOi Fusion, The Bowl & Berry and soon-to-open Cackalack’s Hot Chicken Shack. All are food cart successes spinning off into suburban microrestaurants.

Zeek's Cheese Grill - Soup
Zeek’s Cheese Grill – Soup

Zeek’s offers outstanding creative grilled cheese creations. I had the Oregon with pear, bacon jam, brie and gorgonzola, plus a tomato and gorgonzola soup.  They have a tiny counter for inside seating, but share lots of outdoor tables with the other establishments. I loved being able to get half sandwich (more diet friendly), and it comes with a dipping cup of tomato soup. They also have a cart in Hillsdale Food Park.

Now all of those hard-working Intel employees living in the nearby condos don’t have to hop MAX to get some great food cart food.

Or, if you’re headed to the Oregon Coast or returning, take the small detour at Cornell Road/Bethany Blvd. and go north about a mile to the Bethany Village shopping center (on the right/east side of the road).

Zeek’s Cheese Grill
Bethany Village: 4780 NW Bethany Blvd, Portland, OR
Hillsdale: 6238 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland, OR
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See also: Clutch Prime Sausagery Opens in Cedar Mill


 

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Backwoods Brewing Company – great craft beer from Carson, WA

The Vancouver Brewfest always introduces us to local NW craft breweries we need to explore further.  Our discovery at the Spring Brewfest was Backwoods Brewing Company from Carson, Washington.

Backwoods Brewing Company
Backwoods Brewing Company

Their allotted two brews at the brewfest were their Logyard IPA (which they brew year-round and can be found in bottles and cans) and a special AshWoods IPA, a collaboration with Ashtown Brewing of Longview, WA.  One taste of the AshWoods had both me and my husband eager for more. It had that great Citra hops citrus punch with a sweet malty body. 7.5% alcohol, 55 IBU.

Backwoods Brewing Company Beer List
Backwoods Brewing Company Beer List

What better to do on a spring Saturday than zip down the Columbia Gorge to Carson to sample what Backwoods had to offer? This family-owned brewery got its start in 2012. They converted the back of the general store into a rustic brewpub, open Thursday – Monday from 3 pm (at least for the winter).

We arrived at 3:30 on Saturday and the tables were already full. They have 12 picnic tables inside and a bar, with more picnic tables outside overlooking a pasture and mountains. The chainlink fence topped with barbed wire serves to keep the cattle away from your picnic. It looked like a great place to lounge after a fun day in the Gorge.

Back patio - Backwoods Brewing Company, Carson, WA
Back patio – Backwoods Brewing Company, Carson, WA

The food menu includes pizza, salads, bar snacks and grilled sandwiches.  They offer a six-sample taster with generous 4+ ounce pours set into a slice of log. I went straight for a pint of AshWoods IPA while my husband sampled the taster.

He gave top ratings to the Double Cutt IPA and AshWoods, and we both enjoy the Logyard IPA. We got a growler fill of AshWoods to take home.

Pizza - Backwoods Brewing Company
Pizza – Backwoods Brewing Company

The pizza was very good, and available in three sizes. They have a list of combos that should please anyone.

It is a place for locals as well as the tourists – loggers who love lagers and sailboarders and cyclists who love suds. It’s definitely worth setting your Garmin for to end a day in the Gorge. They are one of 10 on the Breweries in the Gorge Passport Tour. Visit 8 to get a free pint glass.

Their beer can be found on tap throughout the Northwest as well as in cans and bottles at well-stocked Northwest markets.

1162 Wind River Rd # B
Carson, Washington

 


 

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Ben Bettinger – Kevin Ludwig – Patrick McKee – New Laurelhurst Market Team Dinner

The new team at Laurelhurst Market delivered a great Portland Food Adventure dinner on February 5, 2015. Executive Chef Ben Bettinger cut his teeth in the Portland culinary scene at Paley’s Place, then joined cocktail master Kevin Ludwig’s Beaker & Flask in 2009. Together they quickly earned the honor of Willamette Week’s Restaurant of the Year for their innovative cuisine and cocktails. It was there that I learned what a craft cocktail could be, and found myself eating pickled octopus and pork cheeks and loving it.

Ben Bettinger and Kevin Ludwig of Laurelhurst Market
Ben Bettinger and Kevin Ludwig of Laurelhurst Market

Alas, that partnership came to an end when Bettinger was lured away by Vitaly Paley to open Imperial. Meanwhile, Patrick McKee also honed his craft at Paley’s Place and served as Executive Chef there since 2012. Both Bettinger and McKee were Paley’s sous chefs during his Iron Chef America victory in Battle Radish in 2011.

But now all three are back together at Laurelhurst Market. Our Portland Food Adventure meal featured some classics from Beaker & Flask plus a tour de force of beef prepared multiple ways to showcase what Laurelhurst Market can provide.

Portland Food Adventures is a type of pop-up that invites chefs to design an exciting menu paired with beverages and booked at an all-inclusive price. I’ve been attending them faithfully for the past four years and I’m never disappointed. The next dinner will be at Paley’s Place with their new Chef de Cuisine Luis Cabanas and a new French/Russian focused menu.

We assembled at Simpatica dining hall, which is owned by Laurelhurst Market. The starter was a “Grounded for Life” cocktail poured by Kevin Ludwig. It was a refreshing and complex mix of pepper vodka, cointreau, fresh celery juice, lime and a salted rim. A smoked salmon rillette with fennel on crostini was the passed appetizer.

Kevin Ludwig crafts the cocktails
Kevin Ludwig crafts the cocktails

We sat down for a pleasant evening with our individually printed menus. The first course of coffee rubbed beef carpaccio, Oregon truffles, grana padano and pickled onions was superb. The 2013 Schloss Gobelsburg Gruner Veltliner went well. It was followed by a classic Beaker and Flask dish of pan-seared veal sweetbreads, creamed kale, pickled yellow foot chanterelles and sweet onion agrodolce. I knew my friend Krista would be green with envy as she loved their sweetbreads. This was paired with a Norwegian Negroni cocktail with Krogstad aquavit, cynar, sweet vermouth and orange oil.

The third dish was the classic grilled pork cheeks, pickled octopus, braised peppers and onions on grilled bread with aioli. Weird and wonderful as usual!

Now for the beef. Smoked ribeye, grilled spinella, braised rib tip marmalade and roasted bone marrow. How’s that for different preps? We also passed around grilled romaine with salsa verde and feta. Everything was great, served with a Rioja.

The dessert was also too delicious to pass up, an olive oil pound cake with orange marmalade, creme fraiche and toasted almonds.

Bravo for Ben, Kevin and Patrick! I stopped in at Laurelhurst Market on Sunday for a Meetup historic walking tour. All three were deep into dinner prep. I enjoyed a sandwich (great bahn mi!) and hope to return soon for dinner.