A Salt Spring Summary

9b8e2-james2bat2bembeJ: Ed and I hit the road (or just the water) for a 24 hour stay over on beautiful Salt Spring Island. We met many wonderful different people from the interesting Dr. Delightments to the downright cranky employee at Morningside Organic Bakery Cafe & Bookstore. And even a horrible motel and heatstroke couldn’t dampen my spirits for exploring the sights and sounds of Ganges.

With luck on our side we landed ashore during the Tuesday market.

E: The timing couldn’t be any better. We arrived late morning and James needed to cool off. Either I can’t take this boy anywhere, or I have to remind him that heavy jackets are not required–except for wandering around late at night when the ocean air really comes in.

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Back home for more food!

Okay, Victoria, B.C. is no true mecca for gastronomic goodness, but it comes close.

After Seattle and Portland, this city feels very smaller but at least we have a certain pride for locally produced products and a few gems which does get international attention.

But as I unwind, I’ll be processing through all the drafts I’ve written up (god bless my iPod touch) of the diners in the smaller towns Yvonne Fried and I visited. We toured through various parts of Washington State, and I went by instinct to see where we should eat.

Out of every place we went to, I’d say only one was disappointing. The rest made for worthwhile stops. I’ll get the articles hopefully posted during the course of the next two weeks.

And at the same time, I’ll nudge James out of his heat induced coma to get some product reviews up.

Feed Me Amadeus!

Cafe Mozart Restaurant
829 Front Street
Leavenworth, Washington
(509) 548-0600

I’ve had German food before and usually, never found it hugely spectacular. Maybe that’s because there’s only one place back home (The Rathskeller) that I’m aware of which never really exemplified the best of what this regional style of food offers. To really enjoy the basics, I had to find more than just the differences in how the food is cooked.

While in a tourist town like Leavenworth, I set aside my reservations and parlayed into a restaurant named after my favourite composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. With a bit of Yvonne’s heritage in tow, she could tell me more about the intricacies of what makes a good sauerkraut.

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A Touch of Nostalgia

Barb & Ed’s Drive In
601 Basin St NW
Ephrata, Washington
(509) 754-2037

It’s amazing in what I can notice when my name is out there in lights and cruising down Basin St. Okay, I don’t really own this diner or even cook here, but I can dream.

Apparently this place reopened not too long ago, and locals have praised it’s return. As a fellow Ed, I have to applaud more than just that.

This place was probably once a real drive-in at some point in time, and there’s an atmosphere in here that’s reminiscent of an era long gone. It has a very simplistic casual vibe that I could just feel by looking around. I’m at home, even though the eyes say otherwise.

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A Mexican Standoff

El Caporal
201 West University Way
Ellensburg, Washington
(509) 962-5528

Ellensburg, Washington is a heaven for rock hounds, but for food, that depends on where you go and if you’re willing to hunt around for it.

Yvonne and I should’ve went further down the block than to hit the first restaurant we saw. I thought Mexican would be good on another go during the roadtrip, but not here. Temperatures were high and we both waited until the weather was cool enough to head out. I noticed El Caporal won many local awards which were proudly displayed by their front door, and we both agreed that none of them feel justified.

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Dining with a Sasquatch

Cougar Bar & Grill
1689 Lewis River Rd
Cougar, Washington 98616
(360) 238-5252

Nestled near the base of Mount St. Helens is a town where there’s more than just one type wildlife for one to hunt for. For some people, it’s like the last vestige of humanity before Big Foot comes knocking at your door or it’s the last resort for folks like me before I go venturing near a volcano that nearly blew off its top back in the 80’s.

There’s an aptly named Volcano Burger ($8.95) that I had to try at the Cougar Bar & Grill. For the chili lover, this meal can set you simmering with delight. For the hamburger lover, you’ll wonder what the fuss is about.

If there were a few veggies added to the meal and they were propped up to mimic a forest, I’d say the cooks here were making a statement. Culinary art would be imitating history. In this case, when there’s a lava flow coming your way, that forest is going to burn. I imagined the fries were the woods, and they were certainly crisped up nice.

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