We just returned from a three day weekend at the Willows Inn from 3/4/11 - 3/6/11. Having read the New York Times article stating that the up and coming chef Blaine Wetzel's food was worth a plane ride, I had high expectations...and they were exceeded! The extremely fresh, unpretentious, local ingredients were bursting with clever and unusual herbal combinations of tastes and flavors. My husband is a lacto-ovo-pescatarian and there was no problems accommodating his dietary requirements. I would put these dinners among the top three I have eaten in my life, up there with Aqua in San Francisco and Hotel Florence in Bellagio, Italy. There were FIVE amuse bouches with each meal, and the flow in the kitchen was amazing...no prolonged waits in between courses. The chef is 24 and also pitches in serving in the dining room, and was very patient answering questions about the food.
Black cod with homemade sauerkraut
Toast with brown butter and fresh herbs
Oyster with mignonette
Dungeness crab with sea beans and sea weed
Baby turnips with pork drippings
Foraged mushrooms with woodruff sauce
Kabocha squash with hazelnuts and black truffles (from Bellingham)
Slow roasted pork shoulder with mustard sauce
Walnut ice cream with bosc pear, candied lemon verbena and frozen mead
Same amuse bouches
Roasted beet in tarragon emulsion
Weathervane scallop with pickled cabbage and mussel sauce
Fingerling potatoes, havarti cheese and buttermilk whey soup with dill oil
Steelhead and mustard sauce
Green apple sorbet with buttermilk foam and licorice wafers
Breakfasts are equally delicious. Day 1 was poached eggs with ranchero sauce, polenta, bacon, apple muffin, fruit and beverages. Day 2 was daal potatoes, spinach, scrambled eggs, sausage, fruit, homemade jelly and sweet roll.
The location of the inn is gorgeous. It is just 2 hours north of Seattle plus a 5 minute ferry ride. While the common rooms of the inn are warm, with beautiful views, comfortable furniture and a roaring fireplace, the actual guest rooms could use updating in terms of finishes (laminate, carpet, and fixtures). Our room had a lovely cast iron stove in the corner but the room itself smelled mildewy (Sans Souci). I also had a massage in the lovely massage room with Michelle, and it was high quality. There is not much to do on the island itself. Biking and hiking are two activities. For a romantic, relaxing, delicious weekend, I would highly recommend the Willows Inn.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Willows Inn on Lummi Island has become the Northwest's premiere destination for authentic farm to table dining. Come in and experience the culinary magic of our chef, Blaine Wetzel, and find out what eating from your landscape is all about. Savor wines from our extensive selection. Enjoy our elegantly comfortable accommodations. Drink in the views, watch whales, or relax with a cocktail by a blazing fire. Unplug, recharge and experience the Willows Inn--an authentic and affordable San Juan Islands adventure! Offering romantic beachside lodge rooms, cottage, and guest house accommodations and marine experiences. Organic food from Loganita Farm. A car ferry departs at least hourly for the five minute crossing to this scenic island retreat. Less than two hours from Seattle or Vancouver, BC. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Willows Hotel Lummi Island