Know Jack #84-86

Know Jack #84

I went on an amazing adventure over the weekend with my housemate. It began with a bumpy flight through some heavy rain and wind, but we landed in Seattle safely after an hour delay. Many thanks for that go out to the men and women of Alaska Air. I also have to give credit to the folks at Cross Grain Brewhouse at the airport for supplying an alternate dark brew.

There’s an old saying, (I got a lot of them) “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Landing in the Emerald City, we took a shot at practicing diversity. In the span of two hours, we took a plane, a subway-like train, a bus, a rental car, the light rail, a rickshaw, and hoofed it too. I had to wait for the return trip to add a ferry to the list.

When traveling it’s best to be flexible and expect the unplanned for to come up as a matter of course. Transportation went smoothing the entire way, but it was not without it’s moments.
Since I don’t have a keen interest in football, I didn’t think about Saturday morning being a particularly heavy transportation day. Surprise! The University of Washington Huskies were playing the Oregon Ducks. It’s interesting how many UW fans can squeeze into a light rail car. I think our car was going for the record.

The odor of tightly packed humanity came in a close second to that game day favorite brew of malt and hops. At Westlake Station, we abandoned the contest leaving our places to a dozen football fans in purple waiting for the doors to open. After stops at Ivar’s for lunch and watching the fish toss at Pike Place Market, we set out for Harstine Island.

The one of the original highlights of the trip was to be the fall colors at Kubota Garden. The garden was in full color, but before arriving there on Monday, we were treated to two days of amazing color lining the highways along the Hood Canal and Bainbridge Island. The trees on Harstine Island did not disappoint either, but the object of the stop there was not about the colors of the changing season.

Harstine Island is well known among Bigfoot enthusiasts and researchers for frequent sightings. When driving produced no evidence, it was time to go off road that ended up at the state park and a brief respite on the beach. It was deep twilight went I left the island behind to stop for dinner at Smoking Mo’s in Shelton. The final stop for the day was the Waterfront Inn in Potlatch. The room looked out on the canal…which, by the way, is not a canal at all. It’s fjord, the only one in the lower 48 states.

Part of the adventure was to sample as much coffee, beer and wine as was prudent as we traveled around Puget Sound which has a reputation for all three. Not wanting to just take people’s word it we were out to see for ourselves. After some nice morning coffee on the balcony and watching the boats and birds out on the canal, we were off for some more serious coffee and bagels at the Hoodsport Coffee Company. Yep, it was good stuff. Yielding to my decision to have fun, but not to throw my glucometer under the bus and through Herculean self-control, I passed on Olympic Ice Cream…but, if you are ever in the area, you should not. 101 Jubliee…just saying.

Weather forced a cancellation of a kayak lesson at Brinnon. There was a small craft advisory out and the wind was picking up. We used the time to visit Sunshine Creations NW, an arts and craft shop next to the coffee company. They had some very nice art by local artists and the owners were great ambassadors for Hoodsport. Then, it was on to Dosewallips State Park and Rocky Falls, before taking the bridge across the canal.

Parking downtown on Bainbridge Island is only a degree or two less trying and labor intensive than parking in Seattle. Unfortunately, the vegetarian eatery we planned on visiting was closed on Sunday which was a mistake in my calculations rather than the web direction. The next place we tried was called the Proper Fish. Sounds good and it might be. We didn’t get that far. The staff were put out because we didn’t follow procedure which called for us to read the menu outside in the rain and order before sitting at a table. We left at my insistance after their second attempt to get me to “do it their way.” Sorry folks, that’s how I roll.

We finally landed at Restaurant Marche, a lovely French restaurant with a Pacific Northwest twist. It was an opportunity for me to try some new things. All of that enthusiasm for the new was nearly lost when they brought us bread…it was so good it almost made me want nothing else. Being the trooper that I am, I did go on to try a Croque Monsieur, a halibut based soup and pate.

Next, it was off to the object of our visit, a tour of the wine tasting rooms. We had time to visit three of the four located nearby, Eagle Harbor, Eleven, and Amelia Wynn. All were small quaint, tasting rooms with friendly, knowledgeable staff who made our visit special. Of course, none of that would matter if the wine was not good. The wine was very good. We did buy a bottle at one of the stops and regretted we could not buy one at each stop (airline regulations).

After tasting the wine, we decided to try coffee and dessert at a shop I had spotted earlier called J’Aime Crepes. It was might first experience with crepes, but won’t be my last. Research for the novel I’m currently working on, Lady on the Edge, had me doing informational research on crepes today. I will do further tasting research on my own abandoning the Americanized version I tried and going more traditional French.

The last day of our trip may have been the most exciting. We had breakfast in Bremerton at The Garage with two of my friends and former co-workers. They were just finishing up a three day long weekend on the night shift and were gracious enough to me me before they went home. As always, we had some wonderful conversation and great food. Three words stand out here…Bacon Bloody Mary.

The next stop we made was a very pleasant surprise that actually began on Friday and continued on Monday. We have been buying wines with the Chateau Ste. Chappelle label for a month or two. The label says they are made with grapes from the Columbia River valley an area know for good wines. On a whim, Friday I decided to look up the winery in anticipation of visiting there on a future wine tasting trip.

Surprise! The winery was not located in the Columbia river area, but in Woodinville a short drive northeast from Seattle. We caught the Bremerton ferry and drove to Woodinville on Monday. The winery was a beautiful place and the wines were exceptional. Even better, we discovered that was not the only winery in the area. We counted at least four more. That is going to mean another trip back there…oh boy!

We left Chateau Ste. Chappelle wishing we had time for the tour, but needing to get to Kubota Garden in time to see it before our flight that evening. I’ll just have to post pictures because words don’t do it justice. If you want to see how many shades of yellows, golds, oranges, and reds that Mother Nature can do, go to Kubota Garden in the fall.

We had one last surprise adventure. We left Kubota Garden feeling hungry and needing a souvenir. A quick search came up with a place called Odin Brewing Company that was on the way to the airport. We hit the jackpot here. We tried a flight of their amber and dark beers along with jackfruit tacos. Wow! It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I’m going to recommend the Night Dragon, it’s black as my heart and delicious.

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