The tenure of US Coast Guard?certified Captain Brett as captain of the Island Whaler began as a dream. In the course of nine months, he had a recurring dream about an unusual flatbed boat, which replaced his normal dreams about beating up Napoleon with Horatio Hornblower. More than a year after the visions stopped, Brett discovered his fantasy boat sitting in a parking lot in Anacortes. He now owns that boat and pilots the open-topped Island Whaler through picturesque waters to view the multitudinous wildlife found in and around Deception Pass.
The open deck and low-slung cabin of the seafaring sloop grants easy, panoramic views of the steep, rocky landscape. Captain Brett chimes in against the breeze with educational details about the pass's historical significance, structures, and ecology. Throughout the tours, spritely fauna with unevolved senses of stage fright perform lively, natural ballets as visitors potentially lock eyes with bald eagles, seals, porpoises, gray whales, and Pacific Northwest giant squid.
Stretching across Skagit Valley since 1875, Lenning Farms has seen countless oats, grains, vegetables, and fruit grown and harvested on its land throughout five generations of hard work. The farm’s current operators, Todd and Bev Lenning, erected The Berry Barn more than 10 years ago to house their berry-related goods, then a new endeavor for the farm. The pair stocks the big red barn with dozens of varieties of fresh-picked berries—from strawberries to gooseberries to blueberries—14 types of fresh-baked pies, hand-dipped ice cream, and handmade gifts. To challenge and entertain their visitors, Todd and Bev constructed their mind-exercising hedge maze, which has grown to be one of the largest in North America, where customers search for different stations featuring facts about berries and Lenning Farms. Lenning Farms also has a rope maze available for younger guests.
Founder Jeff Ericson insists his staff only pours fairly traded Specialty Grade Arabica coffee beans. By roasting only USDA Certified organic beans, all grown in the shade to farmers' personal standards, the coffee guru and his company can promise a consistently less acidic cup of coffee. Roasts range between light to dark and espresso, and include varietals from Sumatra, Honduras, Peru, and Brazil. For anyone uninterested in lattes, mochas, or any drink crafted at the full espresso bar, the shop serves retro sodas, Frozen X-Plosion smoothies, soft-serve ice cream, and deli sandwiches prepared with Del Fox Custom Meats. Fresh bread and produce from Breadfarm and Klesick Family Farm, as well as gourmet chocolate truffles from Pirate's Chocolate, are also available. Guests can sip their drink of choice as their eyes peer out from the coffee shop windows, which showcase the landscape between Puget Sound and Livingston Bay's mountain views, beaches, and small dogs, probably.
Following her culinary curiosity all the way to Varcaturo, Italy, Tiffany Hudson’s found herself learning dry farming and food preservation. More importantly, she discovered how a dinner can bring a community together. After coming back to the States, Tiffany teamed up with Chef Martin Woods whose resume includes serving as opening sous chef at Bastille as well as executive chef at Re:Public. Together, the two created Cassoulet Café, an eatery that serves seasonal French cuisine amid a communal table.
And the collaboration isn’t running short on admirers. Writer Sally Wolff for the Cascadia Weekly praised Cassoulet as “evok[ing] the atmosphere of a country kitchen in France” complete with “heavy plates of well-made food.” These ever-changing entrees have included bacon cinnamon rolls for brunch, ratatouille for lunch, and goat cheese pansotti pasta for dinner, accompanied by specialty cocktails and ciders. Chef Martin also serves up the restaurant’s signature French bean stew bursting with duck and house-cured pancetta.
Along with promoting conversation amongst diners, Cassoulet Café fosters green living. This includes using fresh ingredients from local farms as well as reducing their carbon footprint by 1,200 pounds of CO2 emission. That accomplishment earned the restaurant a 2012 Sustainable Practice Leader award from General Biodiesel, a company named after the first robot five-star general in U.S. history.
One million probiotic cultures per gram sounds like a lot. That's the amount of the healthful stuff you'll ingest when eating frozen yogurt made from powdered mix. But when eating fro-yo made from fresh yogurt, as it's made at Qoola Frozen Yogurt Bar, you'll be consuming as many as 700 million probiotic cultures per gram. It's an astonishing increase, one that's complemented by other conscientious methods: Most of Qoola's products are fat-free, gluten-free, and certified kosher.
Qoola's low-calorie concoctions helps patrons feel better about indulging a bit at the toppings bar, where they can opt for lighter scoops of fresh fruit and flax seeds, or go all-out with crumbled candy bars and chocolate sauce. As committed to the health of the planet as it is to the health of its customers, Qoola uses biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable containers and utensils, and keeps its facility bright and sparkling with energy-efficient lighting and natural cleaning supplies. Qoola also proudly gives back to the community by supporting a number of charitable organizations.