On a very sunny & beautiful weekend in July Dayne & I left Seattle late in the afternoon and drove north to the Anacortes ferry dock. Securing a place in line for the next ferry (2 hour wait in the summer) we left our car and walked up the hill to where there use to be a restaurant and bar. Closed. Wtf? How are you the only resto/bar in the ferry area and you can't stay in business?
Back to the car and with 2 hours to wait we busted into the Thomas Keller fried chicken I had made & pasta mango salad Dayne had made (well we made them to share with our friends that evening!). Dayne also had a case of booze he was carting up for the festivities so a "trunk tiki drink" was crafted to go with our meal. Seconds were made on board the ferry which we dubbed "The Elwah"
Upon arriving in Friday Harbor we checked into the cute Bird Rock Hotel before meeting our friends at host Mark's fabulous house over looking the Sound. Being the last to arrive to the party we tried our best to catch up!
The next morning Dayne and I enjoyed a very nice breakfast of fresh scones, fruit & yogurt on the patio of the hotel. We then wandered around town, doing a bit of shopping (cute boutiques!), checked out the farmers market & scored some rare(ish) DeLille rose at the grocery store before heading out to Mark's for lunch.
Our friend Wayland had made amazing roasted duck sandwiches with cashew butter & jam (which I've forgotten which kind). Rose was poured, the potluck of cold salads, fried chicken, etc were put out and we sat on the deck enjoying the views. Ahhhhhh.....
Camp counselor Mark had arranged for us to tour the San Juan Distillery in the afternoon (he's good like that) so we loaded in the cars as he and his brother stayed behind- secretly putting the finishing touches on that evenings extravaganza & the raison d'etre of the weekend, THE DINNER PARTY.
SJD tasted us through their ciders and their gins, explaining the uniqueness of their products. We all found something(s) we liked and especially enjoyed the passion and sincerity these guys bring to their products.
We all met back later for Mark's big event. A culinary feast! Mark had been working for days (weeks?) on an amazing menu combining molecular gastronomy, local/in season ingredients & wine from his fantastic cellar. Mark took the dishes inspirations from sources such as "Alinea", "Modernist Cuisine", "Ideas in Food" and his own tinkerings.
10 course and dessert all flawlessly paired with beautiful wines. As someone who throws a dinner party from time to time let me just say this was a huge feat and a huge success! We're lucky and grateful to have been included.
Some of my favorite dishes of the night were:
- exploded Delice de Bourgogne & strawberries
- bacon, apple, salted caramel
- champagne grapes
- smoked quail w/ cherries, asparagus stuffed w/ garlic caper cream
But really my favorite thing was spending time with such great friends, some for whom this food was quite new and interesting. And of course our wonderful wonderful host!
After glasses of 1905 D'Oliveras Verdelho Madeira (ok I'm kind of just rubbing it in at this point) we all left to sleep off the food coma. The next morning those of us who don't own a home on the island met for lunch before buying some bottles of Rosie and heading to our ferry.
Sometimes it doesn't have to take too many miles to transport you to a relaxing mini break (I even bought a magnet!). Good friends and good food (especially when made by the former) is a special get away in it's own.
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