Entries from June 2009 ↓

I’m a WINNER!!

I won ice cream! I won ice cream! I won ice cream from Mallard’s because they called my # during last night’s film at The Pickford Cinema! I’m going to pick something wonderful. Even though all the flavors are perfect, I will choose the one perfect for ME! Because I am a winner! Okay, I’ll stop now before I make you gag.

Mallard Ice Cream is located in downtown Bellingham and if you ever get the hankering for hand made fresh ice cream with local and seasonal flavors, it is THE place to go.

And in case you haven’t frequented The Pickford Cinema, you should. Indie cinema is cutting edge performance. Plus, there is NO WHERE ELSE to go out to see something different from the mass viewings. Support Bellingham’s Independent Cinema @ 1416 Cornwall Ave.

QUACK 1323 Railroad Ave  734-3884

Ivar’s Seafood Bar

I love to eat fish and with all due respect to my omnivorous place in the food chain: local and wild. Good thing I live in the Pacific NW! Be it fish sticks, tempura or chips, there are a lot of ways for me to enjoy fish. There is, however, one place I admit to being addicted to: Ivar’s Seafood Bar. Whether I’m at Pike Place Market or a Mariner’s Ballgame or that Bellis Fair Mall, I get my fish fix. I only order the fish. It’s always fresh moist light and crisp. Ivar’s uses only wild Alaskan deep water Halibut, salmon and Pacific True cod caught on their Katie Ann vessel.

Visiting their website I found out Ivar’s won best seafood in Western Washington for 2008. And Frommer’s ranked the top 10 airport restaurants: Ivar’s was the winner in SEATAC. I guess my taste buds know what they like.

Ivar Haglund opened Seattle’s first aquarium filling it with the marine life from Puget Sound. He charged a nickel for gawking. I guess watching fish made people hungry so he started selling red clam chowder and fish & chips. Boom – 70 years later Ivar’s an icon. If you’d like to thank him you’ll have to be channeled; otherwise, you can visit his statue on Pier 54 next to his first restaurant: Ivar’s Acres of Clams. If this bit of info whet your appetite, you should read about this week in Washington State history.

Ivar’s Locations

Ice Cream, Donuts & Cupcakes in Bellingham

Treats. What kind of parent would you be if you didn’t take the kids out to eat treats? Here are my suggestions:

Mallard Ice Cream. In my house I just have to say ‘quack’ and they run for the door. Pavlov’s dogs. Mallard Ice Cream makes the best ice cream in Bellingham with seasonal flavor combinations. They also have delicious ices if you want to pass on dairy. Sit on the sofa next to the fire place next to the kiddie size table and chairs. After the ice cream is gone wash up is a snap at the sinks outside of the restrooms. Then choose a game from the shelf and play. Remember: play is FUN work whether you’re a child or adult! Mon-Fri open @ 8:30am Sat & Sun 11am. Located downtown Bellingham 1323 Railroad Ave.

Rocket Donuts is a lot of fun to go to. The store is retro styled sci-fi Buck Rogers with movie posters, his movies and a GIANT SILVER ROBOTMAN that talks. The donuts taste really good, too! The coffee is excellent (don’t give the kid any) and they feature a donut of the month. Decadent. 7 days 8am-4pm located downtown Bellingham @ the corner of Holly & Bay.

Katie’s Cupcake is too cute and yummy to miss. The shop is bright with whites and pastels and polka dots. The cupcakes are too good and come in 2 sizes: jr and you. She serves Spice Hut Teas which are excellent. And remember to sit and play a game from the shelf. My daughter chose chess. And then the noisy duck duck goose game. Go figure! Tues-Thurs 11am-7pm, Fri-Sun 11-4 (til 9pm Sat) located in downtown Fairhaven @ 1105 Harris Ave.

Take every opportunity to create positive experiences. Food, hike, water, snowball. It’s Bellingham – take your pick!

The Fork

The Fork. It conjures images of food. It will also conjure images of white table linens, muted lighting and soft moss colored walls.

Go ahead and take the drive to North Whatcom Lake. Enjoy the scenery, the winding road, the smell of green. At journey’s end, you will find a restaurant with touches of perfection. Solid wood floors, comfortable seating. 2 bars: 1 for imbibing and 1 for the wood fire cooking. And your server will be very nice and subtle in her attention to your needs. The table is kept clean – no tea bag pouches, no dirty dishes, never an empty coffee cup. The Fork serves Stumptown Direct Trade Coffee. My breakfast partner rated it a 7 out of 10. He gave  Moka Joe a 9+ and Starbuck’s a 5. You decide. I drank Mighty Leaf chamomile tea and was very pleased; an 8 to Spice Hut‘s 10.

Obviously, we went for breakfast. I ordered the Smoked Salmon & Baked Egg Sando in red onion, cucumber, tomatoes and yogurt dill sauce. It came gyro style and was delicious. Tom ordered the Daily Omelet with house potatoes and toast. The omelet had Italian sausage,  sun-dried tomatoes, baby spinach and manchego cheese. I was allowed a small taste – he thoroughly enjoyed it. What stood out with our meal were the flavor bursts. My salad had some stewed tomatoes and the sun-dried tomatoes in the omelet were very tasty. Tom’s omelet included ample whole gently-baked garlic cloves.

In fact, Tom very much liked The Fork and said we would be back. He doesn’t say that about very many places at all. It makes perfect sense once you know the restaurant’s he has worked/trained in.  He had humored me this morning by agreeing to play guinea pig with me,  but later noted that the wine list included his favorite Pinot Noir (Argyle) by the glass, which demonstrated  good taste as well as economic wisdom.  Needless to say I was relieved the experience didn’t dissappoint.  Tom did come away with a few mosquito bites… a wet morning on the north side of the lake, doors wide open for the fresh morning air. Or perhaps it was because of the fresh fruit berry compote he enjoyed.

Some other breakfast offerings at The Fork at Agate Bay are Biscuits & Country Gravy with 2 eggs, house potatoes; Georgia’s Peach-Stuffed French Toast with Russell’s Chantilly Cream. There’s more – including a large tray of morning breads/muffins/pastries. Visit and find out.

Stand-outs on the lunch menu are Curried Marcona Almonds, Nectarine & Strawberry Salad with organic greens, candied walnuts, manchego and balsamic vinaigrette. There is a Grilled Jerk Chicken Sandwich and a Wood-Fired Portobello Sandwich. The Fork makes what they call ‘Firebreads’: Sausage & Apple and “Mario & Luigi” (pepperoni or cheese).

What I would like to try for dinner on my next visit: Dungeoness Crab Cake-Potato Napolean, Nectarine & Strawberry Salad, and Cedar Plank Wild Salmon (sunchoke potato puree, wild mushroom & asparagus succotash with black pepper butter).

Breakfast 8-2pm, lunch 10-2pm and dinner 5:30 til closing.

See also “the Fork at Agate Bay“. Find it at the fork of Y and North Shore Roads in Bellingham.   733-1126

Last Meals in Padded Cells

The Whatcom Museum was Bellingham City Hall long ago. The rooms and halls we walk filled with artifacts, objects and art were once the space of politics and ordinances. Downstairs from the public rooms are now offices, but once were the Police Station with jail cells. The ornate central staircase has a twin underneath it – walk down it and imagine the sarge sitting high behind the elevated desk looking down on the criminal brought in for booking. The jail cell bars are still on the walls. The walls are as thick as a chocolate layer cake. And there is a padded cell. The original padding is still on the inside of the door. I touched it and I felt afraid for who had been in it.

It made me wonder about last meals.

Some people would choose a favorite meal. I would choose something I couldn’t have anymore – Howard Johnson’s strawberry ice cream.

When I was growing up our family drove many miles. My folks LOVED driving to new places and this was also the way we spent our vacations. If you are familiar with the long road trip as part of your childhood vacations, then you also remember the rest stops and for me  all of them were Howard Johnson restaurant/inns (eastern seaboard). In fact, part of the highlight of going on vacation was eating out and I LOVED eating at Howard Johnson’s. I am not a picky eater, then or now, and always cleared my plate(s). And I always chose the same dessert:  Howard Johnson’s strawberry ice cream.

Paul H. Beckner created the formula for the strawberry ice cream almost 100 years ago while working for Louis Sherry.  Louis Sherry ice cream was being served at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York when Howard Johnson sampled it. Mr. Johnson wanted Mr. Becker to work for him. And he did. Time has passed and Howard Johnson’s has been bought and sold a few times. There are 3 franchises left: 2 in NY and 1 in Maine. It was a great childhood memory and strawberry ice cream is still my favorite!

x-country road trip anyone?