Our anniversary dinner at the Willows Inn on Lummi Island

IMG_0513 We were so excited for our anniversary dinner at the Willows Inn, that we arrived 30 minutes early! IMG_0509 We had locally foraged drinks on the deck from Taft’s Cocktails while we were waiting for our table to be ready. IMG_0524 IMG_0517 I had the Sunset Beach Martini with lavender and blueberry vinegar. IMG_0525  IMG_0532We had heard so many great things about the Willow Inn restaurant, including, Chef Blaine Wetzel was the “chef-de-partie at noma in Copenhagen that repeatedly garnered recognition as the best restaurant in the world.’ ‘Since arriving on Lummi Island and becoming a partner in the new ownership group, Wetzel has attracted international attention. Last year Food & Wine magazine named him Best New Chef of 2012 and he became a James Beard Award semifinalist in the Pacific Northwest for the third year in a row.’

Wetzel brands his exquisite meals with a commitment to island and locally-sourced ingredients and the traditions of farm-to-table preparation. He designs a provocative, yet honest food presentation, delivering much of it to the tables himself.

You’ll experience salmon caught around the corner and cooked to moist tenderness right on the Willows Inn grounds in our specialty smokehouse; seaweed gathered from the beach out front, and berries plucked from the back fields. Wetzel’s food brings you into an intimate relationship with the landscape he loves, allowing you to touch, taste, see and smell the ocean, the coastal lands, the soft gray light on the water.

” IMG_0533We were thrilled to sit down, IMG_0589 viewing the kitchen, and to open the cool leather bound menus. IMG_0534 IMG_0536 IMG_0538 The first “snack” was a smoked oyster in a cedar smoke box with beach stones. The smell alone was mouthwatering and it was a delicious morsel. IMG_0541 The menu was informative with information on where the food came from and the depictions were enchanting too. IMG_0544 IMG_0546 IMG_0547 We ate most of these delectable seafood creatures and vegetables illustrated in the menu!IMG_0548 IMG_0549 IMG_0550 IMG_0554 The second “snack” was a crispy crepe with salmon roe on top of fragrant hay! IMG_0555 In between courses, we appreciated the paintings around our table too.IMG_0556 IMG_0563 Our next “snack” was kale with black truffle and rye served on a heart shaped rock. It was like a crispy chip!IMG_0564 IMG_0565 We also had a “snack” of young goat tartare. IMG_0567 It was surprisingly non-gamey and smooth. IMG_0569 We also had a grilled shiitake mushroom “snack” harvested from nearby, on the island. IMG_0570 The first dinner course was a beautiful bowl of ancient grains, geoduck and watercress.IMG_0573 The smoked sockeye “snack” was one of our favorites! IMG_0574 Another course was dried beets IMG_0580 glazed with lingonberries and bone marrow. IMG_0582Each course was served by one of the sous chefs, or Chef Blaine Wetzel. When Chef Blaine Wetzel came to our table, he had an infectious grin and an exuberance that made it obvious he was so proud of his food! IMG_0591We also had slow roasted leeks with elderberries and black cod, as well as wild blackberries with grasses. IMG_0597 IMG_0601 Our favorite dessert was the blueberries with woodruff and malt for dessert! IMG_0602We had no idea that we liked the herb, woodruff, so much! There were a few other snacks and courses that I forgot to photograph because I was so eager to eat them. Fortunately we received a menu at the end of the meal to remind us of all the courses! IMG_0603I almost forgot to mention the amazing Washington/Oregon wine pairing with all the courses! We had a couple of Walla Walla wines, including the stunning Rasa “Composer” Riesling. We also enjoyed two Oregon Pinot Noirs!

Mr. F and I were delighted to celebrate our anniversary at Willows Inn. We cannot wait for an excuse to go back! We may even ask to have our table watching the kitchen again. The staff had a synergistic choreography in the kitchen and they all looked genuinely happy working together.IMG_0586 We also asked if our friend with a shellfish allergy would be able to enjoy their courses and the staff said they would be happy to accommodate!! I cannot wait to go back!

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