Rapid Repasts
By Stacee Sledge
Whatcom Magazine, Winter 2006

Where to sup between shopping

Poised to shop until you drop this gift-shopping-wrapping-shipping-returning season? We have an alternative suggestions.

Why not take a break and grab a light bite at any of these area eateries to head off holiday overload and restore your spirits.

Flats Tapas Bar
1307 11th Street

Opened last January by Rich and Yasmine McCudden, Flats Tapas Bar in Fairhaven brings a smidge of Spain to the popular, character-filled shopping district.

Intensely flavored morsels talke a gourmet twist at this brick-walled, two-story eatery.

“We give you a taste of this, and a taste of that,” says Yasmine McCudden. “We’ve shrunk the plate down, so diners can try several different dishes.”

Choose a few menu items – all made daily in-house – for surprising by tastes you may not have previously experienced in Whatcom County.

Try the Anchoa, a white marinated anchovy with avocado garlic aioli served on a seeded baguette. Its lemony undertones blend with the fish’s salt tang in a heady combo of tastes.

Yams bravas is another popular dish, mixing smoked Spanish paprika with the sweetness of yams, finished with a complex and spicy tomato sauce. 

Seafood sampling is a peak experience at Flats. Braised octopus, prawns, scallops, salmon and tuna are presented in inventive interplay of texture and seasoning.

Coppa Mediterranean Bistro
1224 Harris Avenue


This colorful restaurant offers another respite amid the busy Fairhaven shops.

Named as one of Bellingham’s noteworthy eateries in the “2005 Best Places Northwest” guide, Coppa Mediterranean Bistro presents an array of tapas and main courses inspired by owner Fahri Ugurlu’s upbringing in southern Turkey. You’ll also find Mediterranean treats from Spain, Italy, Portugal, Morocco, and more.

If you’re looking for a light repast, you can build a meal out of many morsels off Coppa’s tapas menu. From granseola (a rich crab dip inspired by the Venetian classic and served with warm pita bread) to pancar salatasi (a Turkish dish of roasted beets, lemon juice, olive oil and fresh mint topped with yogurt cheese), you’re sure to discover a new flavor worth savoring.

Coppa also serves four distinct flatbreads, inspired by Spain, France, the Middle East and Italy. The lahmajun tops a duo of thin, crisp flatbreads with minced lamb, onions, tomatoes, peppers, parsley, and cinnamon, accompanied by pink pickled onions and lemon wedges.

If you’re out early to avoid the holiday gift-buying horde, consider Coppa’s crabcake benedict, served at its weekend brunch. 

Miyoshi Japanese Restaurant
4459 Guide Meridian

Tackling traffic to shop the stores that line the Guide? While there are lots of chains offering reliable fare en route to shopping standbys Wal-Mart and Costco, you’ll find a locally owned gem that can turn an afternoon tangling with traffic and post-office lines to more pleasurable pursuits. Escape into Miyoshi Japanese Restaurant, and you’ll find spectacular sushi alongside an array of popular Japanese appetizers and entrées.

Opened by chef Masa Kato in October 1992, Miyoshi’s menu and environs set the stage for an authentic Japanese dining experience.

For a quick but relaxing nibble, try a snack of sushi. From octopus to salmon, the diverse sushi delights created by Miyoshi’s talented “Sushi Boys,” as regulars know them, dazzle with their unfailingly fresh flavors.

Miyoshi noodle dishes also make for a nice mid-shopping nosh. Yakisoba and udon are served up in a myriad of tantalizing ways, cold or hot, alongside ingredients like sliced pork with onions, nori seaweed, or Hawaiian tuna teamed with teriyaki sauce. More traditional teriyaki or tempura dishes are also tempting.

Stacee Sledge is a Bellingham freelance writer who recently remodeled her kitchen.

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