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Lox and Leeks with a Beer Chaser in Edmonds

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Lox and Leeks in Edmonds

A view of the Kingston Ferry and the Olympic Mountains from Edmonds, Washington.

The Harbor Inn in Edmonds, Washington.You start an adventure with some ideas in place and sometimes they happen and sometimes they don't. Mostly they don't. We originally planned the trip to Edmonds to reflect Peg's annual calligraphy event, Letters of Joy. Peg usually goes with a friend, but last year the two of us drove to Edmonds and I read and relaxed, while Peg participated in classes and workshops. This year her friend decided not to go as all. With other things going on we didn't think Peg would participate at all, but we still wanted to go and have fun. At the last minute she decided to attend the welcoming ceremony, while I stayed at the lovely Harbor Inn with their unlimited chocolate chip cookies, and with my diet sodas, and two bags of Ruffles BBQ potato chips.

When Peg arrived back in the room after nine she declared she was hungry, so we ordered an Italian sausage pizza from room service. To remain sociable, I ate my share when the delivery was made forty minutes later.

Kingston Ferry traffic in Edmonds, WashingtonSaturday morning I was up at my normal time - 4:30 a.m. I took a shower and went to the business center where I accessed my email and came up with a few marketing ploys for my clients. At 6:30 the dining room opened. I grabbed the Edmonds Herald and the Seattle Times along with some coffee and snooped over the breakfast offerings. I had a bowl of cantaloupe pieces, a bran muffin, two glasses of tomato juice, and a cup of coffee and hot chocolate mixed together, along with some of those little containers of half-and-half.

After reviewing my notes and looking over both newspapers I was almost ready to return to the room. Seeing my camera on the table, the dining room attendant asked, "Are you here to shoot the birds?" "What birds," I asked. "Herron, geese and all kinds of them." she replied. I thought she was talking about the waterfront, but from her description it sounded a little closer than that.

The Edmonds Salt Marsh in Edmonds, WashingtonI decided to walk around the grounds of the hotel before returning to my room. There really aren't many grounds. Mostly there is parking lot. It the front parking lot, however, I looked t the traffic collecting for the next ferry to Kingston. I took a photograph and remarked to myself, it looks like this entire area was once a wetland. When I met up with Peg we found the Salt Water Marsh that Sue, the dining room attendant was talking about. It was just around the other side of the parking lot.

There is a boardwalk the skirts the northern side of the marsh. The Edmonds Marsh is one of last urban saltwater estuaries remaining around Puget Sound. Before settlement this salt marsh was around 40 acres in size. Now it's just almost half of that. The parking lot, roads and business developments probably take up the rest.

Over the year 225 species of birds can be found in and around the Edmonds Marsh.

The Edmonds Salt Marsh in Edmonds, Washington.

The nearby railroad and man-made barriers blocked the tidewater flow creating a fresh water marsh, but in 1988 the tidewater flow was re-established. The marsh now has both fresh and saltwater vegetation and has regained its standing as a natural habitat. It was nice walking the wooden boardwalk and looking down at nature's handiwork.

SCUBA divers in Edmonds, Washington.From the salt water marsh we drove over the railroad tracks to the shoreline. We looked at the marinas and then turned around just as a long freight train came through. Since we couldn't cross the tracks, we continued parallel going north. We passed the ferry landing and then found ourselves in a tight little parking lot. We drove in as far as we could and then parked to watch the people. It looked like the entire SCUBA world was at the waterfront. Every car seemed to have its trunk open and there were air tanks everywhere. This was the hottest day of the year so far and people were out enjoying the weather and the views which seemed to stretch out for miles and miles.

It seemed like August with people sitting on the sand and laughing. It was hard to see if the SCUBA people were laughing, but I'm guessing they were getting ready to have a good time.

SCUBA divers and the Kingston Ferry in Edmonds, Washington.The divers were making their way to the water just north of the Kingston Ferry. Normally, when I see something black bobbing in the waves of Puget Sound, it's usually a harbor seal. On this day it was divers. Tall divers, short divers and they could have been from many ethnic backgrounds, but all geared up, they were simply black wetsuits.

We watched them for a while and then once the freight passed, we got caught in the ferry traffic coming off the ferry. Soon we were able to drive the four or five blocks to the center of town. We turned left at the fountain and then left again. Peg wanted to see drive on the road that overlooked the train tracks and the shoreline. Actually, I think Peg was following the "Plant Sale" signs. Soon we found the source.

A plant sale in Edmonds, Washington.I parked illegally and stayed in the car while Peg crossed the street and looked over the plants. I looked out over the water and watched as joggers ran by my windshield and tourists stopped in front of my diagonally parked car to take their own pictures of our gorgeous surroundings.

I saw people coming and going to and from the plant sale and as I watched I started putting two and two together. I finally figured out what the divers were doing and why they were flocking to the water. The waters of Puget Sound are great grounds for exploring the undersea world, but there was more than just that.

Succulents purchased at a plant sale in Edmonds, Washington.Peg returned with two prizes. She had a basket planted with succulents and a tiny violet. Succulents do best around our house; they exist in spite of our care. Our Christmas cactus, which welcomes visitors to our home, blooms at the appropriate times of year though very little thanks to our care. We water when we think about it and when we do, we sometimes we water too much. One way or another we kill a lot of plants.

Succulents can count on a minimum of attention from us. If that's all they need, and they still can survive. The varieties in the basket all looked healthy. I think they were well worth the $4 Peg paid for them. She also got a tiny violet that she called a Johnny Jump Up for another buck. I know from nothing about Johnnys.

Looking down on the Edmonds Underwater Park in Edmonds, Washington.Before we drove away I told Peg to take a closer look at the area where the divers were going. There were a number of buoys and markers floating all over. I was just reading about an undersea park. I bet this is it. I was correct! It's the Edmonds Underwater Park. It's the most popular underwater park in the state. Each year about 25,000 divers come to visit. This excellent spring day was ideal for an underwater adventure.

"The Underwater Park itself is a series of man-made reef structures interspersed with sunken vessels in various states of decay, which together create an extensive artificial habitat for a wide variety of marine life. These features are connected by an extensive network of fixed guide ropes anchored to the bottom which make it easy for divers to get around the Park. The man-made reefs are made from concrete blocks, tractor tires, PVC pipes of various sizes, sunken navigation buoys, an old tree trunk, sunken boats & ships, old pieces of the 520 floating bridge and much, much more. There is even a cash register and the bed of a pickup truck."

Tom and Jerry artwork purchased at a yard sale in Edmonds, Washington.Happy to understand better what was going on, we next began following "yard sale" signs. We ended up on a one-way road between several houses. This was on the nice side of town, but then, I don't know if there is a bad side of town.

I dropped Peg off at the sale and drove forward looking for a place to park. By the time I made it back to the sale Peg already had a pile of our purchases. This little side-trip cost us $59, but we ended up with many new treasures including a Hannah-Barbera limited edition print of Tom and Jerry. It only cost $20. Once I got back to the hotel I looked it up online and found one selling on ebay for $175. Whoo, whoo. We made money! Not for the whole trip perhaps, but profit is profit.

The chicken and goat cheese pastry from the Chanterelle in Edmonds, Washington.After our hard work shopping, it was time for lunch. Peg had dined years before at a tapas bar in Edmonds. She had pointed it out several times, but I still didn't know where it was. The pointing seemed to change each time we drove through town, "No, it's a little further . . . that must be it back there."

Books come first with Peg, however. I dropped her off by the local book store and then went looking for a parking spot. Looking and finding are two different things. Besides the constant ferry traffic, a local farmers market going on somewhere in town. I parked outside city hall and walked back to what I thought was the tapas bar. It wasn't open yet and the menu posted had nothing to do with Spain. I looked down the street and saw a bench near the fountain. I sat down and called Peg. She answered. It's rare when we even have our phones on, so this was unusual. She didn't know where she was, but it wasn't near the bookstore, which was south of my bench. I looked north and saw Peg as she came into view.

The seafood passion salad from the Chanterelle in Edmonds, Washington.We looked in the Edmonds Bakery, but thought we could probably find a full restaurant. Next we saw an interesting shop, which turned out to be a butcher store, which was next to a tea and cake place, which was next to a fossil and stone shop and then we looked across the street at the Chanterelle.

I love places where you have no expectations and each one is exceeded. This so much better than having high expectations and taking a one-two punch and end up taking a ten count and still paying a 20% tip. From the lemonade to the tomato bisque and the dishes in-between, the Chanterelle was an outstanding restaurant. We ordered a goat cheese and chicken pastry, a meatloaf sandwich, and a seafood passion salad to share between us.

Our waiter, Troy from the Chanterelle in Edmonds, Washington.I think our favorite was the seafood passion salad with lox, capers, prawns, and apple-horseradish dressing. There were three slices of perfectly buttered toasted crostini for the lox. I would have traded all three prawns for one more piece of bread and lox. Peg was surprised when I told her about the horseradish. There was no bite. Peg likes capers; she finds them a tiny salty nugget. Everything worked well together.

We took three-quarters of the pastry back to the room along with half of the meatloaf sandwich. We also took a couple desserts for a late night snack. Our waiter was Troy was excellent. He saw to our every need. If I could re-do lunch I would skip the sandwich (it was excellent) and the pastry (AND it was better than the sandwich). I would order the same salad and not share it. I would recommend Peg get her own salad, which I might have to help her finish. That would be perfect.

The Farmers Market in Edmonds, Washington.I left Peg and walked back to the car, so I could pick her up. As I walked back I found the farmers market on the other side of city hall. I saw Rotarians selling event tickets for a jazz concert and saw all kinds of craft items and then stopped in my tracks when I saw the leeks. I love leeks. They are like really big green onions, but milder. They are part of the same onion/garlic family, but I like them because they had color and crunch to salads and soups. These leeks were really cute. They weren't huge and they weren't small; they looked like they would be just right for anything I wanted to cook, just like in Goldilocks and the Three Bears. And they were perfect.

A portrait by Nicolai Fechen of his father.I paid for the leeks, looked at some leather belts and hurried back to the car. With my leeks in hand I felt very Welsh. The leek is their national emblem along with the daffodil. Locally we have lots of daffodils and leeks. I think a Leek Parade in the Puyallup Valley would be a wonderful thing to behold. According to legend, Saint David ordered his Welsh soldiers to identify themselves by wearing the vegetable on their helmets in a battle against the Saxons. In Wales the leek is still worn on St David's Day each March first.

Driving back to the Chanterelle, I passed the Rusty Pelican, a recommended restaurant for breakfast. A few more days in town and I would be able to find my way around. The next time we travel to Edmonds, I'll have to find out when Rotary meets here. I think they even have two clubs. I could be a native in no time.

I picked up Peg. We had one more stop before calling it a day.

Gallaghers where you brew in Edmonds, Washington.After we had left the salt marsh we had driven by beer joint, Gallaghers' - Where You Brew. It wasn't a pub, we weren't sure what it was, but since it was only about a hundred yards from the hotel, we thought we should investigate.

Gallagher’s is a brewing establishment. There must have been forty people inside happily brewing their own concoctions and sipping others. The handle puller was happy to keep a tab for us and some names on the white board had more hashes by their name than a chief petty officer. Peg and I shared a brew. It was good, but I wish I had chosen the one labeled "floor sweepings." Doesn't that sound like a beer you would want to try . . . perhaps after last call.

At Gallaghers' you can join their Mug Club and have your own beer mug. They adorn the wall and the window decor.

The Mug Club members of Gallaghers in Edmonds, Washington.

As we sat a little mini-bar we read from a joke book, A Man Walks Into a Bar . . .. Several made me laugh:
1. A cowboy walks into a bar wearing an outfit made out of paper. After a few drinks he was arrested for rustling. 2. A seal walks into the bar. The bartender says, "What'll you have?" The seal says, "Anything but Canadian Club." 3. A man walks into a bar with a giraffe. After a few drinks the giraffe passes out on the floor and the man starts to leave. The bartender says, "You can't leave that lyin' around here.” The man says, “That's not a lion, it's a giraffe.”

After a little wine with lunch and a beer chaser, we called it a day. It was two in the afternoon. It gets late early in Edmonds . . . for us.

The Rusty Pelican in Edmonds, Washington.Later in the evening we ate our leftovers from the Chanterelle. As I opened the box and began nibbling, I asked Peg, "Do you want to . . ." "No," she said, "and stop eating my pastry." I finished off the meatloaf sandwich and Peg ate her pastry without offering me a bite. I offered her a bite of my sandwich, however. Then we finished off the pastry desserts. We were a little disappointed. Next time, we'll let the main dishes be dessert as well.

Sunday morning I was up early. I wanted to find a viewpoint higher than sea level. I had seen some condos on the south side of town that were built on a ridge overlooking the salt water marsh and the waterfront. Wow, am I glad I took the time. Afterwards I drove to the Rusty Pelican for breakfast.

Biscuit and gravy from the Rusty Pelican in Edmonds, Washington.Established in 2012, the Rusty Pelican has a lot going for it, but still has a long way to go. I was dismayed that they didn't have hash browns when I placed my order. They also didn't have onions in their fried potatoes. However, when my coffee arrived with a little pitcher of real cream, all was forgiven.

I never expect biscuits to be homemade no matter what the menu says, but the Rusty Pelican has homemade biscuits. This was good. The problem was with the gravy. It was beyond bland. There was a little sausage (very little), flour and very little else. Perhaps, the cook has something against onions. Maybe he should try leeks! I broke the biscuit in half. The gravy barely covered the half biscuit. I would have loved eating the other half without gravy, but it was served with no butter. I had to ask for butter and jam. By the time I had butter and jam, the biscuit was cold. I don't mind Peg's biscuits being served cold the next day, but in a restaurant, I shouldn't have had to ask. The bacon, however was cooked perfectly.

Cockaleeky soup made from leeks purchased in Edmonds, Washington.Instead of heading back to Seattle on I-5, we drove north to Alderwoods Mall and caught 405 going south on the east side of Lake Washington. We absolutely flew down the freeway and arrived back in Tacoma just a shade over an hour later, just in time for a video shoot at the Starlite Swapmeet. This was the first decent weekend of the season - eighty degrees and lots of people at the swap meet. This was my first time seeing it really in action. I was surprised at the numbers of baby strollers. It seemed like every group of people was a family with children and babies. I love it.

After logging in the video I needed for a presentation video, Peg and I drove home and unpacked. Two hours later I began cutting up one leek, some celery and disassembling a baked chicken for a dinner of "cockaleeky" soup. Peg made biscuits from scratch and we ate dinner looking up Puget Sound at Mount Baker . . . enjoying our soup and talking about our favorite memories of the trip to Edmonds.

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