feasts: Dining that's worth the drive
Whatcom Magazine, Spring 2005
Bellingham is full of
fabulous fare, but even its outskirts offer outstanding
heading out to hike near the Nooksack River, ambling
down spectacular Chuckanut Drive or bound for the
border, here are a few restaurants in our area that make
for delicious destination dining.
Spring means it’s time to dust off the hiking boots.
After a jaunt up Church Mountain or to Yellow Aster
Butte, stop at historic Graham’s Restaurant in Glacier.
years ago under new ownership, this eclectic eatery
(first opened in 1975) still sports much
of its original décor. You can spot photographs of
famous Mount Baker area visitors such as Clark Gable,
Loretta Young and Robert DeNiro.
Head chef and
co-owner Chris Collins has revitalized the menu with
options that range from burgers,
St. Louis ribs and T-bone steak to fish tacos, a not-to-be-missed
hemp salad and Thai fried rice. An equally varied
breakfast menu is served on weekends.
Some of the area’s most popular pizza can be found at
the North Fork Brewery in Deming. The scenic drive along
Mount Baker Highway
offers gorgeous vistas of the Cascade foothills before
you reach a modest building housing a brewery, pizzeria,
beer shrine and wedding chapel.
Come for the pizza,
but linger over the beer, because both are exceptional.
North Fork’s crusts
are concocted with specialty flour, olive oil and beer.
The hand-tossed result is a thin but toothy delight.
Choose a zesty marinara or olive oil and garlic base,
then build a pie with toppings ranging from salami to
This well-loved brew
house is also known for scrumptious salads like its
smoked salmon and spinach version, tossed with
basil-pesto feta vinaigrette. Grinders are another hit,
and multitudes make the trip just for the ale steamer
clams from Manila Bay.
If you’re in the mood for a scenic Chuckanut excursion
but want phenomenal food in a more laid-back setting,
keep on driving until you reach the Skagit Valley and
come upon the Rhododendron Café.
Known to its legions
of fans as the Rhody Café, it serves a mix of fresh,
flavorful dishes, including pan-fried oysters, Cajun
pasta, chicken Parmesan and a variety of scrumptious
sandwiches. Devotees swear by the café’s eclectic ethnic
monthly specials which include offerings from Trinidad,
Austria, Guatemala or Greece.
A longtime hot spot
for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, the Rhododendron Café
celebrated its 20th anniversary last year.
Marry a breathtaking drive with an equally stunning meal
by heading to the Oyster Creek Inn on Chuckanut Drive’s
winding coastal road.
Ideal for a
special-occasion meal (or leisurely lunch), its
carefully crafted entrées and lavish desserts are served
in a setting of upscale charm that avoids being stiff.
Obviously the Oyster
Creek Inn serves out-of-this-world fresh oysters, but
scope out the wild Alaskan salmon, served in a lemon
garlic caramel sauce with scallions and sweet butter.
And don’t miss the duckling, rubbed with a fiery harrisa
paste and oven roasted, then teamed with a
sweet-and-sour apricot sauce. Definitely worth the
Stacee Sledge is a
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