The first thing I notice upon arriving are the smells: the salt ocean air, fresh cut grass, a whiff of wood smoke. The ferry ride from the mainland takes only about ten minutes, but Lummi Island - the home of the Willows Inn - seems almost a world to itself. Lummi, about a dozen miles from end to end, is the easternmost of the San Juan Islands, an archipelago in the Strait of Juan de Fuca stretching between mainland Washington State and Vancouver Island. It's also one of the more beautiful places I've ever been.
It provided context. And perhaps more than anything else, Chef Blaine Wetzel's cooking is all about context.
The best meals not only nourish and satisfy; they tell a story. It doesn't need to be a complicated one - and indeed, when your mode of communication is a plate of food, it probably can't be. The story of Willows Inn is a simple one, eloquently told: "Here is where you are, right now."
This is the story of Willows Inn, and Lummi Island, on August 15, 2013.
(You can see all my pictures in this Willows Inn flickr set.)