Friday, June 29, 2012

Chuckanut Drive and Oyster Bar


Heading back towards Vancouver from Seattle, there is a beautiful scenic route off the highway called Chuckanut Drive that hugs the coastlines of Samish and Chucknut Bays between the towns of Burlington and Bellingham.  En route is a restaurant called The Oyster Bar that has a spectacular view of the bays and Chuckanut mountain ranges, especially if you sit on the outdoor terrace.  Being a relatively cool day when we arrive, we are initially the only ones to brave the terrace, which in nicer weather would be packed.   Instead of cushions, each patio chair is draped with a plush blanket for warmth and protection from dampness.


We debated over cooked versus raw oysters for our starter and settled on sharing the baked oysters with spinach, tomatoes, Boar bacon, dry sherry and chives  In retrospect we should have had both and made it an all oyster meal.  Instead, I warmed myself up with a hot bowl of wild nettles and artichoke soup while Rich had the Dungeness crab cakes with mango chutney and curried aioli.

 For the main course, we had the fried oysters coated with a light Parmesan breadcrumb crust that came with a creamy sour apple aioli, served with a savoury cheese soufflĂ© and fresh vegetables.  In between the appetizers and the main, we were given a raspberry sorbet as palette cleanser.

As we sat there enjoying our meal, we watched the tide go down and the oyster beds started to appear.  The Pacific oysters from our lunch were grown from seed and harvested from the farms right in front of us.  You could call this the 100 feet diet.  Talk about freshness!  We kept track of three oyster farmers in tall wading boots as they gingerly walked out into the low tide to inspect the oysters.  It felt like I was witnessing a live reenactment of last year's Oscar winning short film "The Shore" which featured three such characters.

To make a fabulous experience even better, the sun made a rare appearance for one of the few times on our trip.  Sitting there with the amazing view, great food, fresh air and sunshine - life was good.

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