Food Lover’s Day-trip to Vashon Island

Washington State governor declared a state of emergency last Saturday. With the forest fire spreading across the region and ashes falling from the sky, this has certainly been a VERY unusual summer!

On a separate note, in mid-July – before all the craziness – my friend and I made a food-themed day trip to Vashon Island.

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We began the day with a scenic ferry ride from downtown Seattle, and caught a glimpse of Mt. Rainier in the distance.

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Upon disembarkation, we stopped by Bramble House for brunch.

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Opened just a year ago, Bramble house is homecoming for local chef/owner Lia Lira, who cooked her way through kitchens in Manhattan and around the world. The name Bramble House references the summers of berry picking and bounty of Vashon that the chef grew up with and are reflected in her eat local, eat fresh, seasonal menus.

We ordered three dishes off the brunch menu – a refreshing Melon Salad; a hearty Braised Duck Chiloquiles with Corn tortillas, Tomatillo Salsa, and Sunny side up egg; And their signature Stone Ground Polenta with Roasted mushroom gravy and Poached egg. All dishes were prepared using fresh ingredients, no-frill cooking method and good combination of flavors. We also loved the decor and the ambiance of the place. Definitely worth a re-visit!

Given the island’s rural setting and its high concentration of farms, a trip to Vashon is not complete without a visit to the local Farmer’s Market, which opens every Saturday from 10am – 2pm April 1st through December 16th.

Although the market was smaller in scale compared to the more touristy PPM (Pike Place Market) or the more popular BFM (Ballard Farmers Market), it is filled with characters: such as the owner of Vashon Olive Oil Company – who vows to grow his own olive tree in Pacific Northwest.

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A stand for the island’s new carnivore-happy destination with a Southern twist – you don’t have to dine-in to enjoy their food;

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Or this Brit who ditched his banking job and started a farm on the island producing free-range, pasture-raised and locally butchered meats.

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The historic Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie building – made from old growth island fir – was where it all started for Seattle’s Best Coffee (SBC).

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Although, since the 2003 Starbuck’s acquisition, the Roasterie is SBC no more, it remains a hang out place for locals and tourists alike.

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It was past noon on a hot summer day. After lounging on the patio chairs in front of the roasterie and getting all comfy and lethargic, we decided a scoop of ice cream is all we needed to bring us back to life.

Glass Bottle Creamery, located in the center of Vashon town, is a retail store selling local raw milk, kefir, eggs, cheese and yogurt sourced right from the island. Their ice cream is made down the street at the sister business, Vashon Island Baking Company.

We sampled Mint Chocolate Chip and Strawberry Balsamic

Of the two flavors, the Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream stood out. The secret is in the ingredient – you can tell that it is made with fresh mint, not artificial flavoring.

One of our missions on this island trip is to visit Nashi Orchards and taste their award-winning perry and hard cider.

Perry is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented pears. Top of Nashi’s tasting list is Chojuro Asian Pear Perry – floral note with a hint of summer fruit and a clean finish – winner of Silver Medal at the 2015 Pacific Northwest Cider Awards in Modern Perry and Bronze in the 2016 GLINTCAP international Perry and Cider competition.

Their Barrel Fermented Cider took Gold Medal at the 2016 GLINTCAP Awards.

For dinner, we picked the 2013 Dinner’s Choice winner Thai restaurant May Kitchen. Despite the acclaim, we had to admit, that we had serious doubt of this place. This is because first of all, if you are looking for a sign of the restaurant in English, you won’t find it. You identify the restaurant by the two elephants statues on the roof and a small sign written in Thai. Secondly, good luck sizing up the place from outside the windows – they are covered with lengthy curtains. Last but not least, the staff – from server to bar tender – are young, handsome and unmistakably Caucasians.

But, the food was delicious. I can’t say how authentic they are, having never been to Thailand myself. But if you can judge a Thai dish by its spice level, the ones at May Kitchen ran supreme!

After dinner, we took a stroll around Robinson Lighthouse, located on the eastern shore of the Maury Island. The lighthouse has been in service since 1885 and was fully automated in 1978.

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So this was our day on Vashon Island. By sunset we ferried back to Seattle.

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Overall, we found this island a relaxing getaway from our busy city life. It is also a cute small place with a lot of characters – for instance, check out this tour map below:

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and the front page of the Mostly True Vashon News – I love collect local newspapers from the places I visit. They tell you a lot about the place.

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Note (sourced from wikipedia):

Vashon Island was named on May 28, 1792, by the explorer and British officer of the Royal Navy George Vancouver after his friend James Vashon.

Captain George Vancouver is best known for his 1791–1795 expedition, which explored and charted North America’s northwestern Pacific Coast regions, including the coasts of contemporary Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon. He also explored the Hawaiian Islands and the southwest coast of Australia.

In Canada, Vancouver Island and the city of Vancouver are named after him, as are Vancouver, Washington, in the United States, Mount Vancouver on the Yukon/Alaska border, and New Zealand’s sixth highest mountain.

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